(Cross posted at AgonyBooth.com)
Now, you’ve really done it, Night King! I stuck up for you when people said bad things. I thought you were just “misunderstood.” I was digging your style, your cool hand gestures, the magical charisma you had. Whenever you entered a snow bank, all vacant undead eyes were immediately on you! (And it’s really hard to get un-deadies excited about things, these days!)
But this? So not cool! It’s all fun and games until somebody brutally murders, then zombifies a dragon! It was the last straw for me. I’m afraid I’m going to have to unfollow you on Instagram . . .
Before we get started, let’s pour one out (or two, or ten) for Viserion Targaryen, guys. (Not to be confused with Dickish Brother Viserys, who bought it back in Season 1.) I’m talking about the cool, loyal, oddly adorable, world-saving dragon one, who gave up his life for a great cause, and has now been doomed to second existence as a pretty gosh darn horrifying big baddie, by no fault of his own.)
It’s a sad, sad day in Westeros. That’s for sure. But how the heck did we get here? Let’s backtrack a bit, shall we?
A Zombie Hunting, We Will Go!
Nothing says “an excellent opportunity for male bonding,” like a journey into a snow storm on the way to get murdered by a bunch of zombies and creepy ice dudes. Cold weather expert Tormund sets the mood for this jolly Team Breathing Party by instructing his warmer blooded pals how to keep the blood pumping in sub-zero temperatures.
Yes, you read correctly. Tormund has just suggested that he and his friends fight the cold by . . . engaging in a GIANT ORGY. Your move, Game of Bones . . .
In response to this overture for group sex, Gendry pipes in about that one time at Baratheon Camp when Melissandre stripped him naked and covered him in leeches. Now, if that kind of traumatic experience doesn’t make you want to row a boat nonstop for four seasons, I don’t know what will.
In other romantic news, when the Hound bluntly admits to Tormund that he hates all gingers, the Wildling tries to ingratiate himself to Mr. Grumpy Pants by telling him which girl he wants to ask to prom. It’s Brienne of Tarth, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed! In fact, Tormund is so confident that Brienne will accept his advances, that he’s already thinking ahead to Prom Night.
Is this baby making going to be happening before or after your Giant Team Breathing Orgy, Tormund?
While Brienne’s prom dance card has already been decisively filled, Dany’s is still open. And Jorah and Jon Snow clearly both want a spot on it. But rather than beat the crap out of one another for the honor of a girl (at least not yet), the two heroes share a sweet moment in which Jon passes on to Jorah the latter’s deceased father’s sword, Longclaw.
We interrupt this heart-warming exchange to bring you a BIG SCARY EVIL ZOMBIE BEAR!!!
Zombie bears, I’ve learned, are kind of like Care Bears, only really f*&king terrifying. OK, actually they are not like Care Bears at all. But imagining them as Care Bears will maybe, but probably not, help me to not have nightmares when I go to bed tonight.
Zombie Bear advances on Team Breathing with a vengeance. Not one to play favorites, he (or she?) efficiently takes a bite out of pretty much every one of the Team Members. (Hey, at least this isn’t one of those shows where getting bit by a zombie turns you into one. Otherwise, they’d have to change the name of the show to Game of Zombies by Season 8.)
Then, of course, one of the Red Shirts on Team Breathing (When did this guy get here? Who invited him?) has to actually get killed by Zombie Bear to remind us that these undeadies are NOT screwing around. Happy Drunk Thoros also gets chomped on by Zombie Bear a bit more than the others. (Perhaps, the bear was looking for a contact high?)
Eventually Jorah manages to put Zombie Bear out of his undead misery using the recently acquired Longclaw Sword. Then, Beric Dondarrion (who we know has to be cool because he wears an eye patch like a pirate) uses his awesome fire-breathing sword to cauterize Thoros’ wounds (Ouch!) Now, the Team, minus Red Shirt Guy, can advance even closer to certain doom.
But how will they know where to go, you might be wondering?
Hound instantly recognizes the arrowhead mountain he saw in the YouTube trailer with a Google Maps link that BranBot3000 sent him last week, and tells the gang as much. So, they head toward it. He fails to mention, however, the giant Neon Sign above that mountain in the trailer that says, “Die here, please.”
Way to bury the lead, Hound!
Because I feel like you might need a break from all this zombie carnage, red shirt death, and bloody wounds cauterized by cool pirate fire swords, I’m going to take an abrupt southern turn to Winterfell. This way, I can tell you about how much the Stark sisters, Arya and Sansa, hate each other’s guts!
Things start cordially enough with Arya relaying to Sansa a sweet story about Papa Ed watched the younger sister practice archery, cheering her on and being supportive of her interests, despite them being “unladylike.”
“Annnnnnnd then you got him killed . . .” Arya adds conversationally. (Oh, yeah, she went there!)
It’s at this moment that it dawns on Sansa that Arya found her letter to Robb Stark back in Season 1, in which the older Stark sister called her father out as a traitor and begged her brother to offer fealty to Joffrey. And just in case Sansa wasn’t entirely sure Arya found the letter, the younger Stark takes this opportunity to READ IT TO HER, WORD FOR WORD.
Sansa reacts to this accusation, as you might expect, by claiming she acted only out of necessity and fear for her life. The newly-minted Lady of Winterfell then proceeds to get a bit haughty by claiming full credit for Jon’s victory at the Battle of the Bastards. This was probably the exact wrong thing to say to Arya, in that it confirms to her that her older sister has designs on making her position of power in the North more permanent.
Fearing that Arya will turn the North against Sansa by showing this letter to them, Sansa runs to Littlefinger, of all people, for advice. All of the sudden it’s like the moment in the horror film where the young big-breasted teenager goes alone to investigate a “strange sound” in the dark spooky basement. And you find yourself screaming at the screen. “DON’T GO IN THERE, YOU MORON! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? DO YOU WANT TO DIE?”
Littlefinger, of course, jumps at the opportunity to further cement the rift he’s created between the Stark sisters, even going as far as to suggest that Sansa get Brienne to intercede on her behalf (with violence, if necessary) to keep Arya from harming the Lady of Winterfell.
Sansa, to her credit, does not take Littlefinger’s advice. In fact, she does the exact opposite, by sending Brienne to Kings Landing to act as her proxy for the Come See the Zombie party she was just invited to attend at King’s Landing. “I don’t think I should leave you with that creeper, Littlefinger,” Brienne quite rightly asserts.
“Hot Jaime Lannister will be there . . . ” Sansa responds.
“I’ll send you a postcard. See ya,” Brienne answers, before dashing off to change into the most feminine piece of giant armor she owns.
Sansa ultimately comes to wish she had heeded Brienne’s initial advice. Later in the episode, she sneaks into her sister’s room to find the younger female Stark’s briefcase filled with faces. (And people think I keep a lot of random crap in my purse.)
Arya comes upon Sansa snooping in her room. And we all kind of expect her to act like Leighton Meester in this College Humor video.
But instead, Arya’s all, “Hey, do you like my face collection? Would you like to become a part of it? Say hello to my little knife.”
Ahhh, nothing says sisterly bonding like cutting off your sibling’s face, and wearing it as a mask . . .
Ashes, Ashes, We all Fall Down!
Back North of the Wall in this next installment of “Holy crap everyone is totally going to die.” Captain of Team Breathing Jon and his pals encounter the Dreadlocked White Walker and his football team’s worth of zombie pals.
Unlike most of the battles on this show, this one actually seems like a pretty fair fight, with each member of Team Breathing matched against a Team Dead counterpart. But then Jon murders Dreadlock White Walker and all but one member of his football team conveniently collapse. This lucky lone survivor seems like a perfect candidate for Cersei’s zombie Christmas gift, so Team Breathing gift wraps him accordingly, and sets him aside for next week’s episode.
Jorah and Jon later surmise that the reason all the other zombies died was that they were all turned into zombies by the Dreadlocked White Walker, so their undeaths were linked to his. As for Gift Wrapped Zombie? Well, I guess that makes him the guy nobody ever invites to the party, but somehow always manages to show up, anyway . . .
Beric gets the gold star for the episode by taking Jorah’s and Jon’s supposition one step further. Specifically, he reasons that since the Night King was the genesis for all the White Walkers and zombies that came after him, all you have to do is kill him and the entire undead portion of this series is over. We can go back to fighting over uncomfortable chairs again! (This kind of information probably should have been included in Gendry’s message to Dany later in the episode. Just saying . . .)
Hold that thought, Beric, because here come an ENTIRE FOOTBALL STADIUM WORTH OF ZOMBIES, AND THEY ARE SUPER PISSED THAT THE ENTIRE HOME TEAM JUST CROAKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD.
Jon, who has been on this show long enough to know when he’s been massively out matched, sends Gendry south to get a message to Dany and her dragons that help is needed ASAP.
RUN, GENDRY RUN!
JON! NO! Don’t you realize you just sent the guy who took four seasons to row a boat across a single river to deliver a message across the world that you need to have been received about ten minutes ago?
Fortunately, Gendry must run faster than he rows. And by that I mean, this guy must have a secret identity as the Super Hero, Flash, because he gets back to the Wall in about three seconds. Then, GendryFlash gets the “SOS, 911. Don’t let the hot guy who would be a good daddy to your dragons become zombie chow,” text to Dany in under four.
Try not to die in the next five minutes, Jon! Help is on the way! Maybe . . .
A Fireside Chat with Tyrion Lannister, a.k.a “Why listening to Tyrion will keep your dragons alive.”
Back in Dragonstone, Dany and Tyrion are chilling by the fire, gossiping about boys. “Ugh, Tyrion,” Dany grouses. “I am so glad you are not a hero. Because heroes are so annoying, and macho, and like totally sexy, like Drogo, and Dario, and Jorah, Jon . . .”
“Ooh, I know the answer to this Jeopardy question,” Tyrion interrupts. “Who are people who would die to f*&k the Mother of Dragons?”
“What? Nuh-uh! Jon doesn’t want to have sex with me,” Dany responds, but in this way that indicates that she knows that he absolutely does, and the idea thrills her.
Once Tyrion has Dany all heart-eyed and softened up, he decides to casually let it slip that he thinks the Breaker of Chains has anger management issues . . . the kind of anger management issues that would cause a girl to Dragon Murder a nice guy like Brickon, Rickon, Pickon or whatever his name is from a couple weeks ago. I guess you could call this a friend-ter-vention.
Tyrion once again instructs Dany to act with patience and diplomacy, rather than impulsivity and violence. He assures her that doing so will ensure that her reign will sustain beyond her passing, even if the only babies she can have to succeed her on the throne are the green kind with scales.
“You are totally right, Tyrion. I’m going to be less impulsive and angry from now on. Ooh . . . I just got a text from Gendry. He says some zombies are being mean to that hottie Jon Snow. I’M GOING TO BURN DOWN THIS ENTIRE F*&KING PLANET, AND EVERYONE ON IT. Come on Dragons. Toodles Tyrion.”
Why People Who Live in Snow Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones at Zombies . . .
Back North of the Wall, Team Breathing experiences another marginal win, when Tormund uses Gendry’s hammer to break the ice between them and Team Dead. This not only puts a temporary body of water between the Team and THOUSANDS of zombies. It also causes about 100 dumb as dirt zombies to walk right into the water and off themselves AGAIN. (Then again, maybe it was suicide. As a boss, Night King seems like a bit of a task master.)
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Team Breathing is pretty much surrounded by zombies on all sides, and has literally nowhere to go. Also, Drunk Thoros succumbs to his wounds, which sucks. (Why do these shows always have to kill off the guy who’s the most fun at parties?) Fittingly, Beric uses the poor guy’s flask to ignite his body on fire, and prevent him from turning into Zombie Drunk Thoros.
Thoros . . . good to the last drop.
Then, Hound gets bored and starts chucking rocks at the zombies heads, which is actually pretty funny . . . at least until one of the rocks lands at the zombie’s feet, thereby proving that the lake between Team Breathing and Team Dead has finally refrozen over.
Now, that’s not funny at all . . .
A Daring Rescue, A Gut-Wrenching Defeat
Considering they are vastly outnumbered, Team Breathing does a really solid job of holding off the zombie hoard. Swatting them away like flies. Tormund occasionally gets thrown around like a rag doll by about eight zombies, but Hound rescues him from them, even though he’s a Ginger.
But Team Breathing can’t hold off Team Dead forever, as the zombie hoard closes in on them completely. Fortunately, this is the exact moment when Dany and her dragon trio arrive to save the day!
It’s so exciting and cathartic! Watching the dragons burn zombies is almost as much fun as watching them decimate Lannisters! But when it comes time for Team Breathing to hop aboard Drogon and blow this popsicle stand, Jon inexplicably decides to stay and kill a few more zombies.
So Night King takes this opportunity to utilize his high school track and field team skills to javelin a spear at poor Viserion, sending the smallest of Dany’s dragon’s tumbling into the sea. It’s awful, and sad, and the only thing we can do to make ourselves feel a little bit better about this is to post cheesy pictures on Instagram of Night King as an Olympic athlete from an enemy country, wearing silly short shorts.
Eventually a devastated Dany and co. leave the scene of the crime as Jon poorly fends for himself alone in a literal sea of zombies. At one point, Jon falls into the icy drink, only to find trusty sword Longclaw there to give him a hand back to the surface. How did that get there?
In other good news, enter Uncle Benjen, whose own brush with death, gives him total zombie-dar. He offers Jon his horse, so the King of the North can ride toward the safety of the Wall, while Benjen gives himself over to the Team Breathing cause.
Licking His Wounds (Dany wishes she was!)
On a boat back to Dragonstone, Dany is still in mourning. However, she’s not so in mourning that she doesn’t notice a half unconscious Jon’s naked sexy body, covered in the tell-tale knife wounds of his first “death.”
Jon, to his credit, has enough sense to understand the part he played in the demise of one of Dany’s beloved kids. He apologizes profusely for this.
Dany, in a response that’s uncommonly diplomatic for her (maybe she listens to Tyrion sometimes after all), tells Jon that she doesn’t regret what happened beyond the Wall, as it was necessary for her to see for her own eyes the undead threat in Westeros. Now that she knows it’s there, she will stop at nothing to defeat it, and to ensure that her child didn’t die in vain.
Jon uses this sudden camaraderie with the mother of dragons as an opportunity to speak more informally with the woman who would be Queen, calling her by her shortened, informal name, Dany. “Nobody calls me that anymore,” Dany mused. (Actually Dany, lots of recappers call you that. Your full name is super long and occasionally really hard to spell!)
Jon isn’t too wounded to know an overture when he sees one, and turns his charm full force on the Breaker of Chains (and Hearts). He decides to call her his Queen. He tells her he’d bend the knee to her, if his knees weren’t feeling so un-bendy. Jon believes that Dany’s heroism at the Battle Beyond the Wall has proven her to be the Queen that his people deserve.
I wonder how Sansa and Littlefinger will feel about this . ..
Don’t You Dare Wake THAT Dragon!
Back beyond the wall, we see a surprisingly well-organized crew of zombies working on a chain gang. (Where did the Night’s King get all those chains? Is there a Home Depot beyond the wall?) They are pulling something out of the icy water . . . something big . . . something that’s going to be really bad news for Team Breathing and the rest of Westeros.
It’s Viserion. And he’s looking decidedly dead . . . at least until the Night King approaches him with a new giant pair of bright blue colored contacts, and his eyes open again.
RUH-ROH, guys! I think we all know where this is going, and it’s nowhere good.
Harvey Dent once said, “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.”
Viserion the Dragon, unfortunately, gets to do both . . .