Remember how in the very first episode we saw that scary ice man with the blue eyes? And then remember when everyone kept saying that Winter Is Coming? And then, then you guys? You remember how those creepy ice dudes showed up on horses and Samwell wet his pants? And then killed one? And then, like, we’ve been wandering in the desert for forty years? So “winter is coming” and “white walkers” are coming?
Frankly, I don’t think they exist.
Previously! BUT LET’S GET TO IT OMG
We open with a moment I’ve been waiting for SEASONS to happen: Tyrion and Daenerys Targaryen. I do love that she’s clever enough to spar with him, even if this moment wasn’t as… rich and fraught with tension as it could have been. (Eh, they can’t all be Lady Olenna) She brings up an excellent point, though: why should she bring the greatest Lannister murderer in living history into her service?
Whoa, hold up. Tyrion didn’t say she deserved him. (Ooooh.) And she doesn’t really know what she’s doing, does she?
Dany: Uh, I have a massive army and dragons, so…
Tyrion: Killing and politics don’t always go together. And wow, Targaryens go hard always, huh?
Dany: Want to see hard? Give me a reason why I shouldn’t kill Jorah.
Tyrion: Here are several? He’s like, completely obsessed with you succeeding? Totes in love with you, and is actually honorable because, and here’s the thing: you made him so.
Jorah: [ACTUAL PUPPY EYES WITH SHIMMERING TEARS WHAAAAAT?]
Dany: Fine. I won’t kill him. Just toss him beyond the wall. Be sure he steps through the place where Daario pissed, pls.
Arya continues her training, and here’s what I think is going on: when she tells a story, she’s telling the story of an actual person who came to the House of Black and White. She’s warging (for lack of a better term) into their previous existence or into the spirit/trace their existence left in those places, which is how she’s able to take on their face/visage/persona now. So when she gets a detail wrong, Jaqen smacks her for the “lie.” Okay, I literally just wrote this while watching, let’s see if everyone jumps down my throat for getting it wrong! ;)
Note: IF YOU ARE A BOOK READER, OMG, DON’T TELL ME OR I WILL CRY LIKE A JORAH DENIED HIS KHALEESI.
I love getting to know more about the Many-Faced God, that Arya is being given her first “job,” and that ultimately it doesn’t matter to Him/Her/It if she doesn’t succeed. The Many-Faced God will know. (And I’m assuming that knowing things is the real power here since it didn’t seem important for her to solve this on her own? Then again it’s a show, so they have to condense things instead of a million training montages.)
Maester Qyburn is allowed to visit Cersei.
Maester Creepy: Well, it’s not good.
Cersei: Give it to me, I can take it.
MC: Incest, fornication, Incest, lies, Incest, and murdering King Robert. Oh, and an extra charge of Incest because there was a LOT of it.
Cersei: [whispers but is screaming inside] WHY I NEVER WHAT NO WHAT THIS IS AN OUTRAGE AND I AM OUTRAGED BY THIS OUTRAGEOUSNESS.
MC: …right. So, the Faith Militant are pretty set on how they see guilt. Also, Uncle Kevan is new Hand of King, wants nothing to do with you, and your son, the King, is starving himself, refuses to let Ser Pounce make biscuits in his lap because it’s too close to food.
Cersei: …I now regret this decision to arm fanatics, but damn if I’ll apologize for it.
MC: Welp. You’re fucked. Farewell, Your Grace!
Back at Hell Hall, aka Winterfell, Reek brings tea to Sansa, and really tries to explain that there is no Dana, only Zuul. Except for how he lets slip that Theon didn’t actually kill Bran and Rikkon, and then Reek freaks and runs out of the room. Now Sansa and Ramsay are the only ones who know this, huh? SANSA. SANSA YOUR SIBLINGS ARE ALMOST ALL ALIVE. Robb is totally dead, though, and I still ache over that, but the rest are alive! WEST’ROS IS ALIIIIIVE! WITH THE HIDDEN STARK KIDS…. [/Sound of Music]
Roose allows Ramsay into the War Room, and I gotta be real: I think Roose is hoping Ramsay dies. Roose is all, “So I played a lot of Stratego and Risk as a kid, and all we need to do is wait out Stannis. Seriously. That’s literally all we need to do.” And Ramsay tosses out a “pussy” cough, and says to give him 20 men and he’ll defeat the entire army. Uh, choking on your own hubris says what?
Tyrion finally gets some wine while talking to Daenerys, calling them two terrible children of two terrible fathers.
Dany: UH. I AM NOT TERRIBLE?
Tyrion: UH. THE DEAD MASTERS WOULD DISAGREE?! Also, care if I top this off…? [refills wine]
Dany: Still not sure why I shouldn’t kill you. I mean, you trust Varys, to whom Jorah was selling secrets about me.
Tyrion: [drains glass, refills] Funny thing about Varys; he actually believes in you 5000%.
Dany: …and why is that funny?
Tyrion: Good point. But I will say he’s the only person in this entire world whom I actually trust.
Dany: Hm. So let’s establish a Happy Hour and I let you live.
Tyrion: [drains another glass, refills] …give an Imp a moment to think on it?
Tyrion: Okay, so! Let’s put the pieces on the board. Here’s everyone on your side. [no gamepieces] You see where I’m going here?
Dany: [flips table]
Tyrion: …interesting strategy.
Meanwhile, back in the slave pits, Jorah returns to the man who bought him, throatily says something that made me need to get a Plan B pill, I hit replay, and hear him say something else that made me pass out. I hit replay a third time (THE MAN HAS A DELICIOUS VOICE, OKAY? Welcome to the world of what turns ladies on, AKA THIS LADY AKA MEEEEEE.) and hear him say in husky, dulcet tones that he will fight for the guy in order to land in front of the queen, because that’s all he wants: to look at her beautiful face.
Ultimate Nice Guy Achievement: Unlocked! Trophy Awarded: Infinite Hat Tip! (Every M’lady uttered increases your damage resistance by 3%)
Once again the nun comes in to demand that Cersei confesses, and pours water on the ground instead of letting her drink it, but the jokes on you, because Cersei’s been debased enough to lick it off the ground like a dog, HA. Sucks to be you, Nun!<– is how I imagine Cersei pictures this playing out in her head.
A little H/C in the form of Gilly doctoring up Sam after his being attacked. Little Olly comes by with grub, asking why Jon Snow is helping the muh-fuhs what kilt his mum and da? Sam explains that there are good and bad in all people, and sometimes you must make decisions that others don’t agree with, but that you know are right, and I’m assuming at this point that Olly is deciding to kill Sam. THIS SHOW HAS TAUGHT ME, OKAY? I am Reek: prepared to go to the Bad Place instantly.
Speaking of Jon, we cut to him and Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër rowing to the shores of Dawnstar. I mean, Hardhome. (Sorry, but if Bethesda isn’t filled with massive GRRM fans, I’ll eat my shoes.) Jon is well-armed with Stannis’ fleet, and the Wildlings know it. But he’s not there to fight them. He’s there to let Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër run the show. Jon’s just here to back him up.
Gjödkr meets up with the Lord Of Bones, and it breaks down to this:
LoB: You suckin’ that Crow’s D?
Gjordkr: [beats him to death] Take me to your leaders.
Wildlings: …uh, yeah. Sure. Damn.
SERIOUSLY, THOUGH. THAT TOWN IS SO ELDER SCROLLS, I CAN’T EVEN. Even the building design, the details on the eaves, you guys!!
Wildlings: [re: Jon] Yeah, let’s kill him.
Jon Snow: Welp, then you won’t get help, because I’m here to save your asses.
Wildlings: Uh, you killed Mance? And you’re a Crow? So…
Jon Snow: HOW ABOUT THIS MAJESTIC SPEECH ABOUT BANDING TOGETHER, THEN?
Wildlings: …is there a pamphlet or newsletter to which we could subscribe?
Gjordkr: I can’t believe you assholes think I would bring a traitor here.
Thenns: Eh, piss off
Wildlings: NO ONE LIKES YOU GUYS.
Lady Wildling: I am basically the only one with sense, and I’m saying I’ll throw my lot in with this pretty baby boy with windswept hair, how you doing?
Giant: HODOR. I mean, HMM.
Thenns: I’m with the giant. [spits on Jon]
So basically only the smart Wildlings join Jon, climbing aboard row boats, no Gendry sighted. Lady Wildling leader loads her babies on a ship and tries not to let her heart break. MEANWHILE, DOGS BEGIN BARKING. Note to anyone reading this: when a dog begins panicked barking, run like hell. YEAH, I KNOW, sometimes they fart themselves awake and start barking. BUT IN A WAR SITUATION: RUN.
The crowd starts to panic, and Asshole Thenn orders the gates shut, locking out thousands who pound against the door to open it. And then… nothing. Shit. SHIT SHIT SHIT. Everyone who can reach a boat races to it, threatening to swamp them as more bodies begin to attack the gate, Draugrs and White Walkers alike. Those left in the inn, the Giant and a few of Jon’s men like Edd, are now under attack, literally under–the undead are coming through the roof. The dead are coming over, under and through and now we see, now we get what Winter Is Coming TRULY means.
It just. keeps. coming.
It’s absolute pandemonium as people are diving into the water, desperate to get away from the undead. They’re fast, unstoppable, and did I mention undead? Like, you can put an arrow through their face, slice off a limb, doesn’t matter. They KEEP COMING.
We can see beyond the wall that there are thousands waiting to come through. Ha, um, hey, I guess this is why they built a wall of ice 700 feet high and forty bazillion miles long, then, huh? JEEEZ.
Jon fights as many off at the almost destroyed gate as they squeeze through. Holy shit, this is brutal. The Thenn and Lady Wildling are at his side, fighting, but Jon sees the four horsemen of the apocalypse—Fancy Leveled Up White Walkers—standing on the cliff overhead and watching everything. Jon remembers: DRAGON GLASS! And I’m thinking that a more seasoned leader would realize that these NEW leaders are Velociraptors testing the fence for weakness. This is just a TASTE, bro.
The undead attack the Giant, and it’s amazing because he just pulls them off and stomps on them (his coat has a 50% frost resistance). Yeah, if I wanted someone on my side, it’s a freaking Giant. (They’re worth more than their toes and mammoth cheese!)
And from within, we see the man we caught sight of in Season 2, the White Walker Leader!! Jon searches for dragon glass, lost in the pandemonium, as the White Walker takes out everyone to get to Jon, knocking aside Jon’s Valyrian steel blade. (Note: if a show keeps pointing out something specific, like a Valyrian steel blade, no one’s made them in a thousand years, etc., PAY ATTENTION. So who has them now? Brienne has Jaime’s, who has Joffrey’s?)
Jon keeps fighting, canny and young, but the wind gets knocked out of him, giving the White Walker Leader? King? (IDK, he seems Kingly) the advantage. Jon finds his sword, but falls, the WWK on his ass with this shockingly high DMR ice blade, but OHO!! LOOK AT THAT! Valyrian steel can destroy them! [looks at you all] And it turns out he’s just a Major or so, because we see one of the real leaders–one of the four horsemen–watching, taking this in. Welp, strategy #1: get the sword with the white wolf handle.
Back at their wall, the Wildlings seem to be turning the tide, taking out the Draugrs and Walkers, but Lady Wildling catches her breath and sees the worst thing ever: children Draugrs and Walkers. SHIT. We’ve established that she’s a mom, and moms don’t kill other kids, even when it’s Josh, the shit bully across the street who picks on the weak as well as his nose and smells like Mountain Dew and FAILURE, YEAH, I CALLED YOUR SON A FAILURE BECAUSE HE’S A BUTT FACE BULLY, KAREN, CONTROL YOUR DAMN SON.
Sorry. Anyway, she can’t just kill children (um, since when? Olly asks) and they all attack at once, taking her down. GOD DAMMIT, I WAS EXCITED FOR A LADY WILDLING LEADER AGAIN.
Edd (it’s Edd, right?) finds Jon, gives him the “we’re going to die here!” speech, and it isn’t until the Four Horsemen give a signal, lemming-ing-the other Draugr/Walkers that we didn’t know even existed right the fuck over a cliff face, landing in an ocean of bones and terror and NOT DYING, that we can really appreciate the whole “winter is coming=you’re going to die” thing.
But like, hang on. Time out. What the hell is in it for these Walkers? Like, when you take over a country, it’s for your benefit. You take over their resources, people, water, what have you. More food, more oil and more power to have healthy citizens (in a sense). These folks are dead. So what the hell resources are they after? Like, what’s the endgame? Just that they’ve won? (OMG, if this is a book thing/you know the actual answer DO NOT TELL ME.)
The wall/gate comes crashing down, Gjördkr yells at the Giant—who is named WUN WUN, I shit you not, is Lavender Brown naming giants??!—to run to the sea. I guess the dead don’t float? Water is their weakness? IDK. But with a giant at their back, Jon, Edd and Gjödrkr stand something of a chance oh god GO FASTER PLEASE. YOU CAN DO THIS!
…except for how as they row off, the 4 Horseman Leader (Night King, we learn in credits!) stalks out to the pier, locks eyes with Jon, and gives the “How you like me now?” stance, cranking the speakers to 11, and instantly transforming every damn dead person (and wow, there are a lot!) into one of his people. That’s a hell of a recruitment tactic.
GAH, Lady Wildling is among them!
The entire shoreline is fifty-deep with new recruits, thousands and thousands of them standing silent vigil, waiting for their leader’s command, and Jon visibly trembles as they continue rowing away.
Winter. Has. Come.
Guys, not going to lie, I thought we’d get this as a season finale. We get this 5.8?? When x.9 is traditionally the “oh shit!” episode?! It looks like we’re going to get a Jon Snow/Lord Butthurt showdown next week, Jorah either finally sways Dany to the “Be Worshipped” side or to his brutal…
death. WAIT. DID I SEE–
MOTHER. FUCKER. I know Jorah is problematic, okay? I KNOW. But son of a BITCH, if he dies I am going to LOSE IT. You think I lost it with Oberyn?? Hahaha, that’s a lie because nothing hurt like that and nothing ever will again because I am now broken inside. But I might make whiney sad noises, okay?
GUYS. Hold me.
But Cersei: prison of her own making, totally unable to see that her White Lady Privilege ain’t going to help her (I MADE him! I won’t bow), totally unable to see that the tree that won’t bend snaps in half. Tyrion: sighing and thinking, “I came all this way for this?” or no? Jon: pissed himself or no?
THE WHITE WALKERS I HAVE WAITED FOR THEIR ARMY SINCE DAY ONE AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. My brain is on permanent capslock. Also, ha, Mastodon’s Brent Hinds was a Wildling. APPROPRIATE.
TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS. <– told you I was on perma-capslock (And I really need Dany to remember she has FREAKING DRAGONS.)
But please leave book discussion out of the boards. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Every week someone wants to tell me how it really is in the book and I AM ASKING YOU NOT TO DO THE THING. Please? And thank you!