- Series Title: Game of Thrones
- Season: 7
- Episodes: 7
- Discs: 3
- Network: HBO
- Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Caster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Gwendoline Christie, Jerome Flynn, Diana Rigg, Jim Broadbent
- Format: Widescreen, Color, Blu-Ray, NTSC
I did watch season 7 twice on Blu-Ray, this show is too complex to catch everything on the first run through. Season 7 is reduced to seven episodes, though some have longer running times. Still, I felt the lack of three episodes keenly – and some of the rough spots wouldn’t have been quite so rough if the running time of the entire season was longer.
The season opens with Daenerys returning to her ancient, family seat of Dragonstone. She is now allies with Yara of the Iron Islands, Ellaria Sand of Dorne, and Olenna Tyrell of HighGarden, all of whom are united in wanting to overthrow Cersei. After a very interesting meeting and discussion of their plans between the women, with some advice from Tyrion and Varys, Daenerys decides to sent part of Yara’s fleet, under Yara’s command to transport Ellaria and her daughters to Dorne to pick up her army and bring it back to Westros to attack Cersei. It does not go well. The fleet is attacked by Euron Greyjoy, and the ships destroyed. Those sailing on them are killed or captured, with Euron capturing Yara, Ellaria, and Ellaria’s eldest daughter and taking them to King’s Landing. The two younger Sand girls are killed. In retrospect, they should have sent a raven.
This isn’t the only set-back for Daenerys, though. Tyrion convinces her to attack Castlery Rock, using an underground tunnel to get in to the castle. The attack actually goes OK, but the castle is strangely empty. While Daenerys’ Unsullied army attacked Castlery Rock, Jaime takes the majority of the Lannister Army to Highgarden to take the castle. Jaime offers Olenna poisoned wine and she takes it – then she tells him that she killed Joffery. Later when Jaime tells Cersei this, she doesn’t seem to believe him.
Meanwhile, Daenerys invites Jon Snow to Dragonstone to bend the knee. Jon also receives a raven from Samwell Tarly at the Citadel, telling him that there is a mountain of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone, which is needed to forge weapons to fight the army of the dead and the White Walkers. Jon goes to Dragonstone. Jon introduces himself as the King in the North, which angers Daenerys who keeps getting focused on having him bend the knee. It seems to be an impass, but Tyrion convinces Daenerys to let Jon mine dragonglass. Jon finds and shows Daenerys some cave drawings of the Children of the Forest and the First Men fighting the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead together. He then starts mining, destroying the evidence and information.
In the citadel, Samwell Tarly runs into Ser Jorah Mormont who is dying from Greyscale. He performs an experimental procedure and saves Jorah’s life. Samwell also discovers the information about the dragonglass, but it is actually Gilly who discovers the truth of Jon Snow’s parentage.
Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Sansa is defacto ruler. Bran makes his way to Winterfell, tells her he’s the Three-Eyed Raven, and dismisses Meera, who goes back to her family. Lord Baelish is quickly up to his old tricks, whispering in the ear of Sansa and Arya – trying to turn the two sisters on each other. It does not work, in the last episode of the season, Sansa formally accuses Baelish of murder (of Lysa, their aunt) and treason. Sansa, no doubt with help from Arya and Bran, had put together everything Baelish did – turning Lysa and Catelyn against each other, supplying Lysa with poison to kill her husband, Jon Arryn, then blaming it on the Lannisters, and betraying Ned Stark in King’s Landing. Not to mention it was Lord Baelish who orchestrated the death of King Joffrey – which Sansa and Tyrion were blamed for. Sansa orders Lord Petyr Baelish be executed and Arya carries out the sentence. Sansa, Lady of Winterfell, also prepares her people for The Long Night – gathering food and grain into Winterfell’s stores, preparing weapons, having all the people, both male and female, learn how to fight.
Euron brings Cersei the gift of Ellaria and her daughter. Cersei has the two chained up in her dungeon, kisses the daughter, then wipes her lips and takes the antidote. Ellaria will have to watch her daughter die the same way that Mycella Baratheon did. We never see Ellaria again. Yara, meanwhile is taken, as prisoner, to the Iron Islands.
After two defeats, Daenerys decides to try a new strategy. She leads her armies from dragonback to attack the transport of Highgarden’s gold and grain stores to King’s Landing. She and her armies are extremely successful in this attack, but her dragons prove to be the WMDs of Westros – turning men to ash in seconds. Also, the majority of the grain wagons are destroyed not captured. Daenerys demands the few survivors bend the knee – and the majority do, joining her forces. Randall Tarly and his son, Dickon, refuse to bend the knee. Tyrion proposes they be forced to “take the black” and be sent to the Wall. Daenerys declines, and when the Tarly men still refuse to bend the knee, she executes them by dragonfire.
After this win, Daenerys is in a stronger position. But Jon reminds her of the threat of to the North, that is, the Army of the Dead. Lord Tyrion also thinks the coming war is more important. An expedition of the now returned Jorah Mormont, Jon Snow, a few wildings (including Tormund Giantsbane), several of the Band without Banners, and the Hound set off to capture a member of the army of the dead to show Cersei they are serious about the threat and the need for a ceasefire. This expedition pretty much takes up all of episode six. They are successful in capturing a dead soldier, but not without cost, both in members of the expedition (a red priest dies), and in Daenerys losing one of her dragons – which is resurrected by the Night King and turned into an Ice Dragon. Jon however does discover that if you kill a White Walker, the army of the dead soldiers it turned also die.
The dead soldier is taken to a discussion at King’s Landing. Everyone is there – both Daenerys allies and Cersei’s allies. Cersei shows an incredible amount of arrogance, claiming that Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys are all making up the stories of the Army of the Dead. The Hound opens the box containing the soldier, and although she is frightened – Cersei still refuses to honor the ceasefire, claiming the Army of the Dead will hit the North first, so let them.
Tyrion speaks with Cersei later, and gets her to agree to the ceasefire. However, after that Cersei interrupts Jaime’s organizing of Lannister troops to send North and reveals she will not keep the deal. Jaime becomes angry at the double-cross, and Cersei threatens to have the Mountain kill him. She’s pregnant, so she thinks she no longer needs Jaime. Jaime leaves King’s Landing in civilian (not Lannister) armor on horseback. It begins to snow in King’s Landing. The Army of the Dead attacks Eastwatch, and the Ice Dragon destroys the wall.
There are some issues with this season. First, it starts with four strong women strategizing the way to defeat another women, Cersei Lannister. To give the show credit, Varys is shown providing information after swearing his loyalty to Daenerys and Lord Tyrion only gives his advice – he doesn’t take over the conversation, talk down to Daenerys, or mansplain to her. Tyrion treats her with respect, and supplies suggestions. But then all of the women other than Daenerys are taken out of the picture. Ellaria is captured, forced to watch her daughter die, and we never see her again after that. We never see anyone in Dorne. Presumably, her entire country must know Cersei Lannister has killed the Sand sisters and captured Ellaria – you’d think they would want to rescue their queen. Yara also disappears – we see Euron parade her through the streets of King’s Landing, know he keeps her captured, and she’s mentioned in the great debate in episode 7. Theon also gathers some of Yara’s men and vows to rescue her – but not until episode 7. Shouldn’t he have done that a bit earlier? And Olenna simply drinks a glass of poisoned wine handed to her by Jaime Lannister when her forces are defeated and her castle captured. Seriously? So we go from four strong women, including Daenerys, to just Daenerys. Daenerys is cool – but I liked the idea of a group of women taking over Westros (including Sansa in the North).
Another issue is the Citadel. The Citadel is the library of all the information in Westros – yet the Maesters jealously guard their information. Civilians aren’t allowed in. Women aren’t allowed at all. The Maesters are shown to be arrogant, and mock what they do not know. When Bran sends them a warning about the Long Night, they pooh-pooh the information, even when Sam says they should pay attention to the warning. The Archmaester is willing to let Ser Jorah die rather than treat him because it’s dangerous. Samwell treats him anyway – and cures him. Once Jorah is cured, he puts on his shirt covered in stains from the weeping Greyscale – why didn’t they just burn the shirt? Surely, the Citadel can spare some clothes?
The entire expedition north of the wall seemed pretty pointless to me. This show seems to have to do at least one episode at or north of the wall per season – and it’s even more so this time. Cersei is so arrogant she doesn’t quite get that the dead are a threat to her as well as her enemies. Also, Daenerys just supplied the Night King with his own WMD in the form of an Ice Dragon. The only thing the expedition did was that Jon found out that not only can the dead be killed by burning, dragonglass, and Valerian steel swords – but also if you kill a White Walker, all the dead it created explode. So basically, the dead are vampires. We’ve also been just handed the end of the story – they don’t have to kill the Army of the Dead – they just have to kill the White Walkers, and, ultimately, the Night King. In other words, kill the commanders and the army will fall apart – a very old Medieval battle strategy.
Finally, we discover that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Not only that, but the previous marriage was annulled and the two were married, making Jon not a Snow at all but the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. And, since the previous marriage was annulled, the two were legally married, and Rhaegar did not kidnap or rape Lyanna but legally married her and they were star-crossed lovers – there was no reason for Robert’s rebellion in the first place (similar to Lysa blaming her husband’s death on the Lannisters when she was responsible herself). But considering that Jon, like Jorah and Tyrion, has, by the end of the season, fallen in love with Daenerys, and the two sleep together – it’s a real problem making Jon the legitimate heir to the throne, rather than Daenerys.
Jon, after all, isn’t a great leader. People follow him – and he usually leads them into disaster. Jon’s expedition to kidnap a member of the army of the dead to convince Cersei to help in the Great War – backfires. Hard Home – backfired. Jon inspires loyalty, but he’s a bit cursed when it comes to making plans. I did find it interesting that when he tells Cersei and everyone listening how to kill the Army of the Dead – he only mentions two of the four ways we know about so far. But I do not want to see Jon steal the iron throne from Daenerys – who is a good leader. I find it a bit frustrating that considering how well she did conquering Slaver’s Bay twice, that she’s suddenly having so much trouble.
Samwell Tarly makes it back to Winterfell, and he and Bran realise the truth about Jon’s parentage.
And we have a long wait until season 8 the final season. Season 7 was a season of diplomacy and battles. There are a lot of strong women still left in Game of Thrones – and I want to see those women triumph. Daenerys is a great leader, especially when she talks of “breaking the wheel” – which is what she did in Essos by overthrowing slavery. Jon, not so much, despite his now revealed parentage, and he’s better as a consort or Warden of the North. Sansa is a still better choice for leading the North, and I can’t wait to see what he thinks of her work so far as Lady of Winterfell. Next season, the battle of the Great War will no doubt be important to the story. I also think that Jaime is going to join Tyrion and Daenerys, either at Dragonstone or Winterfell – where ever she is. That killing a White Walker, kills the troops it turned, is no doubt going to be important – but I think we can plan on seeing dragon-on-dragon violence too.
I hope the actual reason for The Long Night is actually explained.
Still the season, like all of Game of Thrones is recommended. The filming, the characters, the costumes – it’s all fantastic.
Read my Game of Thrones Season 6 Review.
Read my Game of Thrones Season 5 Review.
Read my Game of Thrones Season 4 Review.