Game of Thrones Review by John Keegan

Game of Thrones 7.07: The Dragon and the Wolf

Game of Thrones 7.07: The Dragon and the Wolf

Written By:
David Benioff and D. B. Weiss
Directed By:
Jeremy Podeswa

One of the unusual aspects of the current state of Game of Thrones is that it is, in many cases, damn predictable.  Part of that is simply the result of a massive saga with tons of foreshadowing coming to fruition.  But another part is that the final two seasons have become a bit of a Cliff Notes version of the story, delivering the major beats of where the resolutions needed to go with some of the connective tissue tossed aside in favor of driving to the finish.  The irony is that the series used to be criticized for being too slow and ponderous, and now the audience is largely noting the lack of something vital.  Still, there is a satisfaction in seeing the pieces fall into place, even when much of it has been long awaited and predicted.

 


 

The Lannisters: One big theme of this episode is family, with the three major houses still left in the spotlight.  By far, the Lannisters are in the worst state possible.  I’m still not convinced that Cersei is pregnant, though I suspect at this point that she desperately believes (or wants to believe) that she is.  For all that she says she is willing to do anything to protect the future for her unborn child, the fact that she is willing to threaten Jamie in the name of retaining power, in the face of all the logic he throws at her, exposes the true depth of her madness.

 

It was a bit surprising to see Cersei and Tyrion have a conversation that left both of them alive.  It’s even more surprising that the rift between Cersei and Jamie hit so “early”.  I was convinced that Jamie would back Cersei right to the end, before engaging in murder/suicide.  Maybe that will still happen, but for now, Jamie seems intent on keeping his promise to fight the true threat to Westeros.  It’s rather hard to tell, of course, when Jamie’s apparent redemption arc has seen so many false starts.

 


 

The Starks: I don’t have a problem with the notion that Littlefinger was too arrogant to see that he was being played by Sansa and Arya.  I essentially saw that coming anyway, considering that nearly every single conversation between the sisters and/or Littlefinger presented a strong case for why Sansa should rid herself of him.  And on a certain level, the writers actually pointed that out, which should have been the beginning of the reveal that he designed his own demise.

 

But I wasn’t expecting his downfall to come in a big public showdown, or without a payoff to the hints of Arya’s abilities being part of the equation.  It turns out that Sansa and Arya have been playing him all along, preparing him for this public shaming and execution.  But the writers gloss over how that all went down, and as a result, it doesn’t quite add up.  It would have made more sense if it was something done quietly, the confrontation handled secretly between sisters and victim.  The public spectacle works to cement Sansa as Lady of Winterfell, but that’s about it.

 


 

The Targaryens: As anticipated, the finale revealed that Jon Snow is really Aegon Targaryen, which is the worst kept secret in the history of Westeros from the audience’s point of view.  It seems a bit ludicrous that Bran would keep his knowledge of Jon’s true parentage to himself all this time, given how that could have drastically reduced the issues between Jon and Daenerys throughout the season.  Equally ludicrous is the notion that Bran wouldn’t look more carefully at the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna until Sam said something about it.

 

But it seems designed to intersect with the moment that Jon and Dany become lovers, as if this is something taboo or worrisome.  Regardless of the audience’s cringing over the notion of incest, this is not the same as the Lannister situation.  The Targaryens have always intermarried throughout their dynasty, and if anything, this is a more reasonable mixing of bloodlines than would normally have been the case in the past.  Add to that the quick dismissal of Dany’s barren status, and suddenly all that talk between Tyrion and Dany about lines of succession is revealed for the false drama that it was, intended only to remind the audience of what might be at stake.

 


 

The Greyjoys: Perhaps the biggest surprise of the finale was the attention given to Theon.  His sudden growth of a backbone, however welcome, is far from elegant.  It was clear that his story wasn’t quite over, and having his lack of genitals turn out to be a hilariously important plot point was a nice touch, but it was exceedingly abrupt.  This is one of those plot threads that would have benefitted tremendously from a lot more time available for character development.

 

The Army of the Dead: As one might have anticipated, The Night King used a revived Viserion to decimate Eastwatch and take down that section of the Wall.  It’s unclear whether or not Tormund or Boric survived the onslaught, which would seem like a bit of a cheat, but any death that takes place off-screen is suspect.  As it is, I still have to wonder: if the Night King had not managed to take Viserion in the first place, how was he intending to get past the Wall?  Regardless, the army of the dead has a nice big hole to walk right into the North through, and that sets the stage for massive battles in the final six episodes!


Our Grade:
A
The Good:
  • It’s about damn time the Starks made their move for true independence
  • Jon’s ancestry is finally revealed in full, meaning we can move on from that point!
The Bad:
  • Way too many plot threads propel forward on shaky premises, all because time is running out

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Game of Thrones by - 8/28/2017 8:08 AM73 views

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