Excuse me while I take a moment to emotionally recover from last week, but oh boy. Even just the two minute ‘previously on’ segment has me welling up, so this is off to a great start.
We’re only halfway through the final season and I honestly don’t know how we’re going to wrap up all the loose ends in three episode’s time. My poor fragile soul can hardly take it.
Somehow we’ve managed to destroy the biggest threat to Westerosi civilization and suffer heartbreak at the loss of some of our faves (Lyanna Mormont, I love you) already, and now we’re here wrapping our noodles around the political intrigue and theories of what’s to come.
It’s a lot to take in, but here goes.
This post has been sponsored by Telstra.
What Is Dead May Never Die
As if we didn’t have enough to mourn, now comes the time we have to actually admit that some of our faves carked it in the epic battle for Winterfell.
We open on boots - long boots. Really, really long boots actually. I blinked and I’m guessing they’re the same colour as the armour because they kind of seem like they go all the way up and, is that a thing? Point being, we pan up further and at the top of those boots we see the deathly pale, blue-tinged face of Jorah Mormont.
Daenerys is leaning over him, kissing his forehead. Is it morbid to comment on how much he probably would’ve loved that action if he was alive? Yes? I’m a terrible human? Cool, okay.
Nearby, Sansa is crying over Theon’s lifeless body. His redemption arc is well and truly fulfilled, having bested countless white walkers in defence of Bran. She bestows upon him the House Stark pin, giving him the recognition in death that he hoped for in life.
We zoom out and see that they’re lying on pyres. At least eight across, holding multiple bodies apiece. As Jon eulogises the dead, it’s a strangely heartwarming send-off.
“They were the shields that guarded the world of men and we shall never see their light again,” he says.
Tormund, Grey Worm, Jon, Arya, Sam, Daenerys and Sansa step forward and light the pyres of the ones they loved and respected.
As is only right, even as the bodies of their fallen are still smoking outside, everyone gathers inside to drink and toast the dead in a kind of medieval wake - and of course, to celebrate the victory (however bittersweet following the events of the morning).
Gendry sits opposite the Hound, whose appetite seems to not have decreased one bit. He asks whether the Hound has seen Arya and the Hound’s response seems to indicate that everyone knows that they boinked before the battle. Onya mate.
Gendry gets up, ready to go seek out Arya in the grounds, but is stopped by Daenerys calling him out in front of everyone.
“You’re Robert Baratheon’s son,” she says. You know, son of the guy who usurped her family’s throne? Probably no reason for Gendry to be concerned about the queen because she’s totally logical and reasonable right? Mmmm.
For once, she actually defies expectations and asks him who is the lord of Storm’s End, the ancestral home of the Baratheons. Unsure, Gendry asserts that he only just found out who his daddy even was, so he’s probs not the best person to ask.
“I think you should be,” she says. He’s Lord Gendry Baratheon of Storm’s End. “Because that is what I have made you”.
As the crowd celebrates Gendry’s sudden rise in stature, Daenerys comments to Tyrion. “You’re not the only one who’s clever,” as though naming him so will keep him loyal. Girl, he’s totally obsessed with a Stark. Good luck with that one.
Meanwhile, the Hound is still chowing down, ignoring the crowd, and yep same.
On the other side of the room, Jaime is coaxing Brienne into having a tipple. “We fought dead things and lived to talk about it,” he says. “If this isn’t a time to drink, when is?”
Then we have Bran being Bran as Tyrion congratulates him for essentially being the Lord of Winterfell now. But he’s not keen. Cool, Bran. You do you.
Everyone is drinking and being merry - from Sansa and Tormund goading Jon into drinking from Tormund’s big ol’ horn of liquor, to Daenerys toasting “Arya Stark, the hero of Winterfell” - even though she’s far from the festivities.
Tormund is the best drunk I’ve ever seen and let me just say, I’ve been there. He waxed lyrical about Jon, about how he’s “little but he’s strong” and look, same again. He’s the best friend in the bathrooms at the club who can’t stop talking about how great you are. It would be wholesome AF if he didn’t look like he absolutely smells of alcohol and urine.
Daenerys seems like she’s got the stink of pee up her nose too as she watches on, realising how the power balance could very easily swing in Jon’s favour if things came to light. He has their favour - she’s the outsider.
Down on one of the tables, Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne and Pod are off playing a drinking game. It starts off strong, with them all laughing at their correctly guessed surmises. It’s sweet to see Brienne letting loose for once and frankly I’m all for it.
But Tyrion takes it a liiiiiittle too far and asks if she’s a virgin. So, basically every game of high school ‘Truth or Dare’ that anyone has ever played. Suddenly she’s peeved and has to pee, so off she goes - though Tormund interrupts and is utterly off-putting again with the classic line of, “Now which one of you cowards shit in my pants?”
Smooth, mate. Smooth. She heads off, and Jaime follows.
Cue the sound of Tormund’s heart breaking.
He cries to the Hound. “After all that, this fucker comes north and takes her from me. I mean it Clegane, my heart is broken,” he says between tears. And although the Hound does not want a single bar of it, there’s a northern gal who’s keen and suddenly Tormund ain’t so sad.
Sansa joins the Hound where he sits, and they share a sweet moment - in a weird, Houndy kind of way. “Heard you were broken in,” he says. “Heard you were broken in rough”. But Sansa isn’t all little and meek now so she responds in kind.
“He got what he deserved, I gave it to him”.
He tells her none of it would have happened if she’d left King’s Landing with him, he would have protected her. She reaches out and holds his hand.
“Without Littlefinger and Ramsey and all the rest, I would’ve stayed a Little Bird all my life”.
Outside, Gendry is wandering around looking for Arya. The boy has definitely got a hint of infatuation and look, Arya is pretty great but it sounds like he’s thinking more with his nethers than with his heart.
He finds her shooting arrows in the corridor - after all, balls and feasts were never really her kinda thing. This is her version of celebrating.
Excitedly, Gendry tells her of his brand new promotion. She congratulates him, buuuut here’s where it starts going downhill.
Gendry is WAY too invested in this little tryst because he goes alllllll in. He wants her to be his lady, he gets down on his knee, tells her he loves her (way too soon matey, you’ve bumped uglies ONCE) and says he can’t do any of it without her.
Arya’s face says it all. BIG NOPE. She’s never been a lady. Sorry pal, but it ain’t happening.
Editor’s Note - How amazing would it be if he also did this to the other three girls he banged - Tegan
Upstairs, Brienne is still salty about Tyrion’s comments. As she’s putting logs on the fire she hears a knock at the door. Jaime has followed her up, and oh man, are they gonna bone?
I kind of want them to bone.
He’s here to call her out for not drinking when Tyrion asserted that she wasn’t a virgin, but Brienne isn’t keen on playing anymore. Jaime seems preoccupied with how hot the room is anyway, so it’s not too much of an issue.
Until he brings up Tormund Giantsbane. He asks her, “has he grown on you?” She rightfully points out that he almost sounds jealous - which he totally is.
He struggles to take his shirt off (drunk and one-handed isn’t a particularly dextrous combo) so naturally Brienne (being a generous and helpful soul who is not at all fuelled by horniness) helps him out. He starts undressing her too and WELL HELLO.
“I’ve never slept with a knight before,” he says. Yeah, well, she’s never slept with anyone.
AND THEY FINALLY KISS.
Brienne is such a beautiful flower of a human and it’s so lovely to see that she made it through the battle, got knighted AND gets her man.
KISS KISS KISS.
Keeping It In The Family
In another room, Daenerys walks in on a tipsy Jon, who stumbles as he asserts that he’s “only a little” bit drunk. Sure mate. And I’m “only a little” emotionally invested in this show.
They talk about Jorah, and how he loved Daenerys truly.
“He loved me and I couldn’t love him back,” she tells him. “Not the way he wanted. Not the way I love you. Is that alright?”
Weirdly, now that Jon knows, it’s not that alright. Kind of gross again, really, when they smooch. Looks like Jon agrees, because he puts a stop to it pretty early, even while drunk.
Daenerys is not amused.
“I wish you’d never told me,” she says. And look, even now she’s more pissy about the fact that he has a claim to ~her throne~ than the fact that they are LITERALLY RELATED.
“What happens when they demand you press your claim and take what is mine?”
First of all Daenerys, I reaaaally don’t like you. But second of all, it ain’t yours just yet love. Keep it in your pants until you’ve actually gotten the throne back from Cersei.
She is increasingly paranoid though - bidding Jon to swear secrecy about his true name and parentage, which is absolutely fucked if you ask me. She doesn’t want him to even tell his sisters (even though they aren’t technically his sisters anymore).
“You are my queen,” he tells her. “Nothing will change that. But they are my family. We can live together.”
She goes cold. “We can,” she says. “I’ve just told you how.”.
The regular crew surround the strategy board again, minus Theon (sad), as they try to decide what to do now. “The objective here is to remove Cersei without destroying King’s Landing,” and it’s a lofty goal, but it can be executed.
Jon puts forward a plan to surround the city, and Daenerys agrees - though it seems she feels almost obligated at this point.
Sansa however is more concerned - would it not be more prudent for them to wait until the soldiers and dragons are all rested and recuperated? She’s probably the only one actually thinking about the people here. Sansa for queen! All praise my fave gal!
But of course, Daenerys wants her throne NOW because she’s that girl from Willy Wonka who demands a golden goose egg and gets thrown into the trash instead.
And yeah, yeah. Daenerys is queen so I GUESS what she says goes. Meanwhile Jaime decides to stay in Winterfell to be with Brienne - cue AWWW.
But Arya isn’t letting Jon off that easily.
“We need a word.”
In the middle of the Godswood, the most spiritual part of the Stark family home, the Stark siblings are having a tiff. Jon and Sansa are clearly on opposite sides of the Daenerys debate and it seems fair - meanwhile Bran and Arya are the more pragmatic ones.
Arya tells him he respects that he bent the knee to Daenerys because they needed her armies and her support in the war - but rightfully points out that they absolutely don’t have to trust her. But they should trust family.
Jon makes the bold claim that he’s never been a Stark, which is true, but they take it to mean that he’s referring to his bastard status.
He is ABSOLUTELY gonna spill the beans.
Despite Daenerys’ warnings and veiled threats, he trusts his family. Bran already knows, and tells him it’s his choice if he wants to share or not.
YEP, HE SPILLIN’.
He asks them both to swear to keep the secret, before he even says a word. Arya agrees without question, but Sansa is harder to convince.
“How can I promise to keep a secret when I don’t even know what it is?” And really, fair enough. But in the end they both promise to keep it quiet. But let’s see how long that lasts.
Back inside, Jaime and Tyrion are having a bit of a debrief drink - post-coital for Jaime. Tyrion is just always happy for a bev. They talk about how Jaime and Brienne finally got together and Tyrion’s happy that Jaime is - and happier still that now he can say a bunch of tall person jokes.
But to interrupt all the tomfoolery, Bronn is here with a mighty ol’ crossbow and he wants to have a little chat. Despite Cersei paying him to off the Lannister boys, Bronn is ever the opportunist and wants to see what they’ve got to offer him instead.
And the offer is pretty sweet - Highgarden. It’s enough to convince him not to kill them on the spot, so that’s something. But it’s not enough to convince him to fight alongside them against the crown. He leaves, crossbow in hand, with some sage words of warning.
“I’ll come find you when the war is done. ‘Til then, don’t die”.
Better Options On The Table
On the barricades, Tyrion walks up to a pensive looking Sansa, who wants to know why he supports Daenerys. He believes in her, which feels simplistic.
But he’s still smart, because he knows that she’s the one who needs to be on-side when they win against Cersei. Sansa is the real power in the north, and it’s about time someone acknowledged that.
Sansa realises how afraid Tyrion is of Daenerys, which is really just a hint of what’s to come if you ask me. He can sense that something is wrong, something on her mind.
And despite swearing otherwise to Jon, all this talk about how Daenerys will be as queen means Sansa can’t help herself.
“What if there’s someone else? Someone better?”
Down in the courtyard, Tormund is bidding Jon adieu, as the free folk are heading back up to the true north where they can wander. Jon bids him to take a VERY MUCH ALIVE Ghost with him, and on the one hand I’m frankly just glad to see the dog alive, he’s being taken away from us again anyway.
Then it’s time for more goodbyes, as we see Sam and Gilly approach. Jon hugs Gilly goodbye, and with that action Jon realises that Sam’s been getting busy because Gilly is pregnant - and if it’s a boy, they want to name him Jon.
It’s a very sweet interaction where Sam waffles on about not having much to do in the Citadel (any excuse will do), but it’s a chance for them to tell each other that they’ve been the best friend the other had ever had. Naw.
I’m sad, they’re sad, the dog is sad. Off Jon goes.
On Daenerys’ fleet, Grey Worm and Missandei hold hands on the top deck. Below, Tyrion and Varys discuss the poorly-kept secret of Jon’s parentage.
As Daenerys’ key advisors, it’s telling to see how they discuss it - they both know that people are far more drawn to Jon than they are to their queen (maybe ‘coz he’s not a total pain).
Varys rightfully points out that he has the better claim, and Tyrion suggests wedding them to each other to make the problem go away, except we all know Daenerys ain’t keen on sharing and Jon ain’t keen on marrying his aunty - one of those seems reasonable to me.
Queen v. Queen
Once again, time seems to be pretty subjective because they’re miraculously at King’s Landing super quick again - which is frankly more off-putting than the present of literal dragons? They must have really zippy boats, but I digress.
Daenerys is flying high above the ships with her dragons, riding Drogon as Rhaegal flies beside her, scoping out the area.
But apparently not scoping it out well enough, because from the left all of a sudden comes a barrage of gigantic dragon-sized crossbow bolts that plunge first into Rhaegal’s breast, then wing, then straight through his throat as he splutters blood. He falls, splashing into the water.
The Iron Fleet comes into view, with Euron at the helm. Each ship is equipped with a similar bow, and they turn the sights onto the boats, as big bolts come firing through the stern.
Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening. Everyone ends up in the water, and Tyrion reaches the surface just as the mast comes crashing down upon him.
The Unsullied drag them to the shore, gasping for air. Varys, Tyrion and Grey Worm all made it alive, though there’s no sign of Missandei anywhere. Totally called it - either Grey Worm or Missandei were always gonna cark it.
In the castle, Cersei looks over the city at the swarms of people entering the Red Keep. A strategic show of power and protection, she’s gathering the innocent citizens around her to force Daenerys’ hand.
She tells Euron, “When the war is won, the Lion will rule the land, the Kraken will rule the sea, and our child will one day rule them all.”
Pretty sure the baby is still Jaime’s, but you know what? Euron doesn’t know that. Gonna be a peach when he finds out, I’m sure. He seems the type to honourably back out. Ahem.
As Cersei sweeps out of the room, she commands her team to keep the gates open. “If she wants to take the castle she’ll have to murder thousands of innocent people first,” she says, referring to Daenerys.
And as she exits the room, we see that they’ve got Missandei there, captured.
On the boats, Daenerys is seething. She’s ready to storm the castle and destroy everything in her path - but Varys wants nothing to do with it. He swore to her that he’d tell her if ever she made a call that he thought was a mistake. This? This he thinks, is a mistake.
Tyrion advocates a conversation between the two queens. It’s a last ditch effort to prevent Daenerys from reigning terror all over King’s Landing, and it works - kind of.
She agrees to a meeting, if only to demonstrate to the people that, “They should know who to blame when the sky falls down upon them”. She’s a worry, tbh.
We cut to Varys and Tyrion chatting elsewhere. Things are getting more concerning now and the discussions heighten in a similar fashion. Varys wants Jon on the throne, not Daenerys, and they’re discussing treason.
The fact that Jon is male also works in his favour, if you ask Varys. For Tyrion, not so much - “I don’t think a cock is a true qualification,” he says. But even Varys, a eunuch, knows that’s not the case.
But if nothing else, this conversation says a lot about Varys’ allegiances - he’s not just another Littlefinger, manipulating the situation to suit himself. He genuinely holds the people of the Realm’s best wishes at heart.
“I’ve spoken as honestly as I can. Each of us has a choice to make. I pray we choose wisely”
Shit’s getting spicy.
Back in Winterfell, Jaime spots Sansa and Brienne chatting about something serious - word has reached them about Euron’s bolts and the death of the dragon.
He approaches them, and as they give him the news you can see his face change. “I always wanted to be there when they execute your sister,” said Sansa. “Seems like I won’t get the chance”.
That night, Jaime sits awake as Brienne sleeps. He leaves as she stirs and she follows him outside where he’s saddling his horse.
Brienne knows they’re going to destroy the city, and she begs him to stay. To stay with her. It’s very Meredith Grey/Derek Shepherd. Pick me, choose me, and all that.
But Jaime is cold, and tells her of all the things he’s done for Cersei. “You think I’m a good man? I pushed a boy out of a tower window, for Cersei. I strangled my cousin with my own hands, just to get back to Cersei”
“She’s hateful, and so am I,” he says, as he rides off into the night. Brienne sobs alone and
HOW DARE YOU, JAIME LANNISTER.
Editor’s Note: Is it too late for her to go after Tormund, because I’d support that rebound - Tegan
Outside of King’s Landing, Daenerys, Varys Tyrion and Grey Worm stand with a small contingent of Unsullied, looking up at the high walls.
Cersei, Euron, the Mountain and Missandei stand on top, with archers covering the remaining walls. It’s precarious and there are no fences, which seems like a pretty hefty breach of castle WHS if you ask me.
It’s also absolutely a sign that someone’s gonna get turfed over the side.
Tyrion approaches, as Qyburn comes out the door as Cersei’s emissary. It’s very much reminiscent of Aragorn meeting the Mouth of Sauron, though tbh I can’t decide if the ol’ butthead Qyburn is more hateful or not. At least the Mouth had an impressive array of chompers - all Qyburn has is a smarmy face.
They both bear word that their queens want the other’s unconditional surrender, and it’s Missandei’s life that hangs in the balance. It seems like an unstoppable force is hitting an immovable object here, which is not ideal.
Tyrion approaches further, speaking directly to Cersei now as the archers train every last arrow directly at him. Cersei gestures, almost ready to just let them shoot. But she holds off, seemingly interested in what he has to say. And there’s a lot.
“I know you don’t care about your people. Why should you? They hate you and you hate them. But you’re not a monster. I know this. I know this because I’ve seen it. You’ve always loved your children. More than yourself, more than Jaime. More than anything. I beg you. If not for yourself, then for your child. Your reign is over, but that doesn’t mean your life has to end. Doesn’t mean your baby has to die.”
At that, Cersei moves to Missandei and grabs her arm. “If you have any last words, now is the time,” she says.
Missandei looks down onto her friends and loved ones. She forces out one word, dracarys, before the Mountain draws his broadsword and chops her head clean off, her body falling from the barricade (see, no fence).
Grey Worm is NOT OKAY, he’s just seen the love of his life get beheaded and Daenerys is SEEING RED. She is too mad to see reason, and the citizens of King’s Landing are going to be the collateral in her revenge against Cersei - which is exactly what she wants.
Shit’s going down next week.