At this point, I would normally expect to be in a state of shock and counting the days until Season 8 – so why am I not?
It’s not as if Season 7 lacked spectacle – it had that by the ton, but what it did lack – for me – was depth, character development and, perhaps most importantly, memorable dialogue and the kind of clever, Machiavellian plotting devised by a master rather than a frenzied race through Westeros which at times seemed more intent on fulfilling popular fan fiction fantasies than the Great Game we watchers had all become invested in.
I’m not saying that I hated it – I really didn’t – when I was actually watching it, I was on the edge of my seat exulting in the exciting dragon-flaming and excellent weekly set-piece battles, but when they were over, it felt as if I’d looked forward to a gourmet dinner prepared by a genius and ending up having to make do with a fish supper from the chippy!
Okay – at the risk of being thought too cynical, let’s have a quick squint back at the episode – it began with Jaime and Bron gazing at the assembled Unsullied and Dothraki forces from the safety of the top of the city wall of King’s Landing and making ‘c*ck’ jokes – as if – although Jaime might have actually summed up this whole Season when he mused, “Maybe it’s all about c*cks’!”
Yeah, deep philosophy there, mate – I bet Schopenhauer wishes he’d thought that one up!
Crashing on – quickly - all of the remaining main players (and their brothers) made their way to the Dragon Pit, which seemed a strange place to have a meeting, although Cersei did burn down quite a bit of King’s Landing in Season 6, and had they met anywhere else, Drogon would have had to drop Barbie the U off on the roof and she’d have had to abseil down to join the others.
Cue Urine Greyjoy acting like the total t*t he is, Cersei fulfilling her role as Pantomime Evil Queen, and Barbie wearing the expression which the producers think is ‘serene’ and everyone else recognises as ‘smug’.
After the initial sparring – that between the Clegane brothers seemed to indicate that the fan-favourite ‘Cleganebowl’ was on for Season 8, the assembly all listened to Jon Snow (Stark/Tagaryan), who was wearing so much fur and leather he’d have run the risk of heatstroke even if he were North of the Wall, bring them up to date with the state of play Oop North.
Cersei was cynical until The Hound brought his special guest to the party – and in the funniest moment up to then, the undead wight made a beeline for Cersei who looked suitably horrified until it was cut in half, then ultra-horrified as the two disparate parts kept wriggling and the upper half continued to inch rapidly toward her.
Enter the dragon – well – he is, isn’t he, as we later had confirmed, in the form of Jon (definitely Targaryan) who first cut off its hand, which Qyburn dived for like a spinster at a hurled weddding-bouquet, then snatched the hand from the annoyed former-maester, set fire to it, and stabbed the upper part of the wight with a dragonstone dagger!
Yay – what a man – but wait, the simple sod might have just proved himself an action hero, but somebody – Tyrion, Davos where were you – should have stopped him from speaking.
Despite Cersei being the only person since Winterfell to actually acknowledge him as ‘King in the North’, and accept a truce on certain, relatively reasonable terms, honest Jon just had to blurt out in true, senseless Ned Stark fashion, that he’s already pledged himself to Barbie!
Cue Cersei cancelling the deal and flouncing out of the meeting, furious, and everyone else glowering at our hero, as Tyrion, who has been woefully miss-used this season, summed it all up by saying simply, “We’re f*cked!”
In the absence of anyone else in possession of even a particle of commonsense, off he went after Cersei to try to strike a new deal, and for a few minutes, he and Cersei lit up the screen with the kind of terrific acting which, despite the threadbare nature of the plot and the truncated dialogue compared to that of previous seasons, was a joy to watch.
This is getting too long – the new deal was struck after Cersei and her entourage trailed all the way back to the Dragon Pit, and our heroes departed King’s Landing.
Jaime, his ears probably still ringing from Brienne’s impassioned cry of ‘F*ck ‘loyalty’!” in response to his would-be tender farewell and poignant words about their next meeting probably being on the battlefield where he would be because of his loyalty to Cersei, was probably the only person in the entire world to be shocked when he found out that his beloved sister was lying about the newly-negotiated truce and was planning despotic business-as-usual.
Finally, the scales dropped from his eyes, and despite her threat to have the Mountain kill him, he left King’s Landing and rode North to join the rebels.
Not a good idea, mate – ask Petyr Baelish – oh wait – you can’t, because the master of lies and intrigue is dead, hoist by his own petard and the combined forces of Arya, Sansa and Bran the Intoner. You know – the one you so carelessly tossed out of a window in Season 1.
I’ve never liked Bran – I like him even less now that he is a sort of breathing version of Wikipedia, although he did seem more than a bit brassed off when Sam, who seems to have a brain organised by Google which retains throwaway bits of trivial knowledge which can be summoned up in an instant, corrected him re: Jon Snow/Stark/Targaryan being a bastard.
Off we went, via Bran’s mind-movie to the wedding of Rhaegar and Lyanna – and to my disappointment, Rhaegar looked exactly like Barbie’s barmy brother – I thought he was supposed to be the most beautiful man in the world, I was expecting a sort of blonde, blue-eyed Aidan Turner. What a let-down.
Of course, Bran imparted this news just as every fan fantasy (except mine) was being fulfilled on the long cruise home to Winterfell, and Jon and Barbie tumbled into bed at last.
Their so-called ‘chemistry’ is not apparent to me – it all seemed so soulless, I was surprised he didn’t struggle back into his hose, leave a gold piece or two on the bedside table and slope off – I mean – there was
a queue in the corridor, although by the look on Tyrion’s face, he knew he was destined to join Jorah the Stalker in the Friendzone for ever.
Finally, in my favourite scene of the night, the Army of the Dead approached the Wall – very slowly, as they do – and out of the clouds came Viserion, clearly having the time of his life (death?) as an Ice Dragon, searing the Wall with white-hot fire and melting it.
Run, Tormund – you’re one of my favourite favourites and I really, really want you to be in the next series – and take Gendry and Beric Dondarrion with you!
Sorry - too long and had to skim to fit this much in!
And now our Watch is over and the Long Night has come – the gods – Old and New – only know when we’ll return to Westeros!