‘Game Of Thrones’ Series Finale Recap: And None For Jon Snow

We made it, friends.

After ten years, eight seasons, seventy-one episodes, hundreds of deaths, and countless tears, we’ve made it to the series finale of Game of Thrones. It’s a weird feeling, one I haven’t really come to terms with yet but will undoubtedly read a thousand think pieces about over the coming days. The battle for the Iron Throne has come to a close, and we’re left to sit and analyze every single second of it until the next show comes around that dominates our collective psyche for years at a time.

I like to think I’ve researched my fair share of fan theories and Reddit threads and general hysteria around this show, and yet I was still unprepared for Bran the Broken to end up King of the Six Kingdoms. That shady, psychic bird-loving bitch knew what was coming all along, but he let them all think otherwise. I can’t help but respect it.

There will be many complaints and gripes to come over the next couple days and all of them pale in comparison to mine which is this: where the hell was Daario Naharis? The man just never thought to show up? Too busy f*cking around in his haunted Hill house to come see Dany burn the world down? I demand closure.

Anyways, let’s dive in.

The episode opens on Tyrion, Jon, and Davos walking through the ash-covered remains of King’s Landing. In case you managed to forget last week—it doesn’t look good. While none of the three of them seem especially happy with the way things played out, Tyrion is taking it the hardest. I would imagine his inner monologue at this moment is just an endless loop for Varys saying “I f*cking told you so.”

Tyrion makes his way to the Red Keep alone, denying Jon’s offer of men to accompany him. He’s searching for confirmation of his worst fears and finds it almost immediately—Jaime and Cersei dead amongst the rubble in the underground cavern they tried to escape from. The internet almost tricked me into believing that Jaime Lannister was still alive, and like a fool I fell for it.

Out on the streets, Greyworm is rounding up and executing Lannister prisoners in the “name of the one true queen.” When Jon tries to intervene, the Unsullied react in a way that makes it clear that no dissent will be tolerated, even from the Queen’s nephew/boyfriend. Jon and Davos head off to try and talk some sense into Dany, a truly lost cause.

They come across the square in front of the Sept, where the Dothraki and the Unsullied have gathered for a post-siege pep talk from their Khaleesi. She wasted literally zero time in redecorating, evident by the twenty foot Targaryen banner hanging from the blown-out walls of the Sept. Where has that been stored this entire time? When did she have it made? What poor solider had the job of carrying around the giant team flag just in case they needed to make a statement? I need answers.

Arya is amongst the Dothraki watching this scene unfold, no mystical white horse in sight. No explanation there? Cool. Also worth noting that there’s about 100% more Dothraki present than you would expect after watching them fly face first into a black wall of zombies.

Jon makes his way up the many stairs of the sept as Drogon and Dany fly over. There’s a really great shot of her walking forward while Drogon’s wings unfurl behind her, a nice visual cue for anyone who maybe hadn’t picked up on the fact that Dany is in fact the Dragon now.

After naming Greyworm Master of War, she steps forward and delivers a speech to her troops that can effectively be summed up in a single statement: we’re not done yet, mofos.

Dany: My Unsullied, you have freed the people of King’s Landing from the grip of a tyrant.
Tyrion: More like freed them from life in general, but sure.

To the obvious surprise of Jon and Tyrion, Dany announces that their battle is far from done, because there are still people to “liberate” in the rest of the world. King’s Landing was merely a starting point, and Winterfell is named as being one of the next stops. The look on Arya’s face at the mention of anyone traveling North in the name  of “liberation” can be found in the dictionary next to the word “murder.”

Tyrion steps forward at this point and delivers his resignation by taking off his hand pin and tossing it down the steps in front of them. He was going to be roasted for treason anyway, but it was a nice statement. The guy is nothing if not prone to dramatics. He’s carried away by guards under Dany’s orders but manages one last look at Jon on his way out that says “fix this.”

Dany marches past Jon next, looking at him with nothing but disdain on her face. Good to know that’s where they stand. Arya appears next to Jon, really making the most out of her super assassin sleuthing skills to warn him that he’s 100% next on the list of executions now that his aunt/girlfriend knows who he really is.

Arya: I came here to kill Cersei but your queen got there first.
Jon: She’s everyone’s queen, actually.
Arya: Sansa isn’t here but she’d want me to tell you to pull your head out of your ass.

Jon heads to see Tyrion in captivity, and they have a long, tense conversation about the fact that Dany is now certifiably insane. Tyrion is 100% on team Varys, but Jon is still in total denial.

Jon: I can’t justify what just happened, but at least the war is over now.
Tyrion: Wow I suddenly understand why you got murdered the first time around.

Listening to Jon defend Dany is giving me war flashbacks to having to watch half of Twitter defend do the same thing all week. Yes—she’s been through some sh*t. No one is arguing that point. But you know who else has been through some sh*t? Literally every single person on this show. Most of Sansa’s family was murdered and she spent her entire adolescence being mentally and physically tortured, but she has yet to murder a million innocent people because of it. It’s almost like experiencing trauma isn’t a justification for inciting a bunch more trauma.

Jon: She saw her friend beheaded!

When it becomes clear that subtleties and allusion aren’t getting them anywhere, Tyrion pretty much asks Jon to murder Dany in order to save the rest of Westeros, echoing Arya’s earlier sentiment that the true heir to the Iron Throne is likely next to be killed in the new regime. But Tyrion should have known better; the only thing Jon loves more than doing the wrong thing under the guise of being honorable is risking his life in the process.

In a last-ditch attempt at swaying him, Tyrion plays the family card. Even an idiot like Jon can predict what happens when Dany flies North: Sansa refuses to bend the knee, Winterfell is reduced to rubble, no white horse arrives to save Arya this time. Jon still doesn’t waver and instead apologizes to Tyrion before storming out to find Dany. He is surprised by an ash-covered Drogon who is guarding the door to the throne room and ultimately lets Jon pass. Big mistake, bud.

At this point I truly think Jon was hellbent on following Dany at all costs. He had yet to be confronted by her madness face to face and was still under the mistaken impression that we could talk her off the ledge. But when he finds Dany in standing in front of the Iron Throne, looking truly happy for the first time in months, ranting about building a new world together, the realization slowly starts to creep in. She’s past the point of no return.

Dany: When I was a little girl I heard stories about the throne and how it was made of 1,000—
Jon: Cute anecdote, but there are dead children littering the streets.

Jon begs Dany to forgive Tyrion, to forgive everyone and maybe not take her death tour any further than King’s Landing, and it’s a testament to how much she must love him that she actually looks conflicted for a second. But then Dany starts in on her speech about how the two of them were born for this—destined to build a new world together, deciders of what is Right and what is Wrong—and Jon knows. You can actually see him realize that Tyrion was right, that Dany truly believes she is saving the world and will burn it down to see it happen. Nothing can stop her, except him.

He tells her that she is his queen, now and always, and then stabs her in the chest during their last incestuous impassioned make out. She dies quickly and Jon proceeds to weep over her body while Drogon, who has clearly sensed some mischief in the atmosphere, starts screeching and arrives at the scene of the crime. He proceeds to nudge Dany’s lifeless body like a sad puppy in a Pixar movie and then, upon realizing that his mother is dead, turns and rains fire right past Jon and onto the Iron Throne, melting it down to nothing.

I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that Drogon understands the magnitude of this gesture. I am willing to suspend a certain amount of disbelief for this ridiculous show, but this has gone too far. You’re trying to come in at the series finale and tell me that the dragon can grasp metaphors? Did Drogon take his season-long hiatus to pick up a poli-sci degree with an emphasis on democratic power structures? Nah. Absolutely not. We all blindly accepted the fact that Arya murdered a 1,000-year-old zombie king with some cheeky knife play, but this is where I draw the line.

After singlehandedly dismantling the bourgeois, Drogon picks up Dany’s corpse and flies away with her over the ocean and into the horizon, which means there’s now a roaming, mourning, vindictive dragon on the loose. I’d be worried but he’s probably just going to post up somewhere and start his master’s thesis on Nietzsche.

Flash forward an undisclosed amount of time later, Tyrion is summoned from his cell by Greyworm, and marched outside to stand before a council of the great houses of Westeros made up of the Stark siblings, Brienne of Tarth, Davos, Sam, Gendry, Yara Greyjoy, Edmure Tully, the unnamed Prince of Dorne and a few others. This entire scene was important for a few major reasons, but first and foremost, because we got the greatest reveal in this show’s history: a suddenly hot Robyn Arryn. I’m not happy about it either, but lying about it doesn’t get us anywhere. Perhaps we should all reconsider our stance on late-adolescence breast feeding. But, I digress.

It appears that a few weeks have passed since Jon assassinated Daenerys. In that time the Unsullied have taken control of King’s Landing, and the noble families of Westeros have come together for peace negotiations. Considering the fact that Drogon literally flew into the sunset with the evidence of any crime, this means that Jon confessed to murdering his Queen/aunt/girlfriend. It’s almost impressive how obstinately dumb he remains after all this time.

The Starks demand Jon’s safe release, and Sansa has rallied an army of 1,000 Northmen outside the walls of King’s Landing who are prepared to fight if need be. The Unsullied want Jon to pay for what he did, and Yara agrees with them. Davos, ever the great mediator, offers Greyworm all of the Reach for the Unsullied to take as their own to build their house. The offer falls on deaf ears.

Tyrion has been brought forth for reasons unknown, but he suggests that only a King or Queen of Westeros can decide how to move forward, and that the families gathered should elect a new one. Edmure Tully, the most useless man in this entire show, steps forward to nominate himself before being owned by Sansa in front of all his peers. Just give her the throne already.

Sam: Hey what if we let the common people vote?
Everyone else: Poor people?? Having opinions?? What’s next, dragons grappling with complex physical metaphors??

Once it becomes clear that no one is going to make a decision, Tyrion steps forward and nominates truly the last person I expected him to: Bran. He goes on to explain that the only thing that can truly unite people after all this are stories, and that Bran has the best story of them all. Arya, who spent her entire childhood on the run and lying about her identity while training beside assassins, only to save all their lives by murdering the greatest villain Westeros has ever known, does a really good job of not choking at that statement.

Bran the Broken is potentially the worst name in a show made up almost exclusively of bad names. Like, remember that traumatic childhood event that shaped your entire life? It’s going to define you in the annals of history, you weird bird child. As if that wasn’t insulting enough, Sansa stands up and reminds everyone that Bran’s dick doesn’t even work. Like wow, maybe the kid deserves to be king after suffering all this indignity.

But Bran’s inability to produce an heir is his greatest draw, because from this moment forward the nobles of Westeros are going to start electing their leader. Can you believe that? After all this, democracy wins the Iron Throne. Somewhere in the sky, Drogon lets loose a single tear.

Tyrion: So you down or what?
Bran: Why do you think I rolled my ass all the way down here?

The council votes to make Bran king, all except for Sansa who abstains and declares that the North has dealt with enough Southern nonsense and will remain an independent state. I think the fact that Bran is king now is the only reason the rest of the houses let this fly, knowing that Sansa and Bran wouldn’t war against each other. Or the people have finally recognized that Sansa is the only person on this show who knows what she’s doing. Either way, we love it.

Bran names Tyrion his hand, who immediately attempts to refuse because the man hasn’t exactly had a successful run at it in the past.

Greyworm: Not sure if you forgot but the guy is a war criminal and needs to be punished.
Bran: His punishment will be a lifetime of trying to fix the mistakes he’s made.
Greyworm: Yeah that sounds cool but not exactly what we had in mind.

So just to summarize, Tyrion convinced someone else to assassinate the queen on his behalf, installed a half-sentient bird boy as King, is now the second most powerful man in the kingdom, and will live out a comfortable life, full of wine, without the abuse of his family constantly following him. Not sure about you guys, but I think I know who won this show.

All that’s left is to decide Jon’s fate, and it’s truly the most tragic thing to happen all episode. Tyrion visits Jon in his own captivity to tell him that council came to a compromise. After all of that—constantly risking his life to convince the world of the danger of the White Walkers, fighting countless battles and actually getting assassinated in the process, all in the name of saving Westeros—Jon is being sent back to the Night’s Watch. He will live out his days without the one thing he’s wanted his entire life: a family.

Tyrion: If it makes you feel better, no one is very happy about it.
Jon: That’s the theme of my whole life, so it checks out.

Jon is released and heads to the docks to say goodbye to his family before being shipped North. Sansa asks for his forgiveness for not being able to negotiate his freedom. Arya tells him that she’ll be leaving Westeros to sail west and discover new lands. Gendry is RIGHT THERE in his new fancy leather suits, but sure. Jon cries. Sansa cries. Arya cries. Bran does what he does best: offers up a cryptic farewell.

Jon: I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.
Bran: You were exactly where you needed to be.
Jon: …. Goodbye to you too, I guess?

The rest of the episode wraps up all of our characters while giving us a preview into life in this new Westeros. Brienne stops by the library to finish Jaime’s entry in the book of Knights. She writes his story—their story, really—and ends it very generously by not mentioning that he spent his whole life banging his sister. She’s a better scorned woman than I could ever hope to be.

Tyrion leads the first meeting of Bran’s new small council. He’s joined by Davos; Master of Ships, Sam; Archmaester, Brienne; Captain of the Kingsguard; and Bronn, Master of Coin. Bronn is also Lord of the Reach and Highgarden, which means Tyrion came through on his promise to reward him for not assassinating them. Sam arrives with A Song of Ice and Fire, the written history of the wars after King Robert’s death. I see what you all did there. The camera pans out as the new council bickers about rebuilding the city, and the priority of brothels vs. actual infrastructure. It’s a glimpse into a hopeful future, even if Bronn is somehow meant to keep them from going bankrupt.

The episode ends with parallel shots of Jon, Sansa, and Arya embarking on their new lives set to a choral reprise of the theme song. It’s beautiful and sad and poetic and the only part of the episode that truly felt like a finale.

Arya sets sail aboard a ship under the Stark banner, because apparently the only way to come down from saving humanity is a semester abroad. Here’s hoping she spends the next six months drunk on a beach.

Sansa is crowned Queen in the North, which is all the she deserves a more. Our girl fought her way back home, fought for her people, fought for independence, and now gets to live a long happy life of peace amongst the people who adore her. I love her more than anything.

Jon arrives at the wall to be greeted by none other than Tormund and Ghost, who he actually deigns to recognize this time around. The three of them turn and immediately make their way North of the wall, leading the wildlings back to their now zombie-free homes. I’m really hoping that Jon decides to completely ignore the council’s ruling and just settles down with a nice Wildling wife in the wilderness. Or with Tormund. I’m happy either way.

And that’s it. That’s the end of Game of Thrones.

We’ve had our ups. We’ve had our downs. But through it all there’s no denying the indelible mark this show left on culture. It captivated us all, week after week, year over year, to the point that we’re now circulating unnecessary petitions about the way it’s ended. Hundreds of recaps have been written, thousands of comments have been left, and memes have truly never been stronger than during the course of Game of Thrones. For better or worse, it’s been a wild ride, and I’ve had the time of my life embarking on it with all of you.

All Time MVB: Sansa Stark

She kept her head down, suffered in silence, learned the game, stayed alive, and then came for what was rightfully hers in the end. She is the undisputed winner of this show and also my heart. Sansa Stark forever.

Until next time.

Images: Giphy (4)

‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap: Arya’s Gonna Take Her Horse To The Old Town Road

I could save both you and myself a lot of time by summing this entire Game of Thrones recap up in one statement: what the actual f*ck. To anyone who complained about the lack of gratuitous violence and death in the Battle of Winterfell, this is your fault. I hope you’re happy.

To say “The Bells” was a disappointing lead up to the series finale would be an understatement. While many characters, both beloved and despised, died in last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, the most important death was the character assassination of just about everyone involved.

Daenerys? Spends seven seasons preaching about rescuing the innocent, only to torch an entire city of them even after their leaders had surrendered.

Jon? A wide-eyed idiot whose only real skill is managing to underestimate every single situation he’s ever found himself in.

Arya? Suddenly someone who runs from a fight that she’s spent the last 10 years working toward.

Cersei? Don’t even get me started. That woman has been Villain Number One since day one and she deserved a death that reflected that. Getting torched by Drogon as she stares unwaveringly into Dany’s eyes? That would have worked. Chugging a glass of wine before throwing herself off the keep à la Tommen? Fine. But cowering in the arms of her brother-lover after a failed escape attempt? An insult. Cersei Lannister deserved better.

The entirety of the siege of King’s Landing could have been communicated with a black screen and just scrolling captions that said “She’s the Mad Queen! Dany is bad! Remember how we foreshadowed this?? Also does anyone know where George went?? He’s stopped returning our calls!” It was 45 minutes of gratuitous death and gore, a purposeful move that’s meant to turn the audience against Daenerys so that her death next week will feel like vindication.

But anyway, let’s dive into this mess.

We open back in Dragonstone on Varys, who is writing a letter to an unidentified person about Jon being the true heir to the Iron Throne. He’s interrupted by a young servant girl who reports that Dany isn’t taking meals.

The next morning, Tyrion watches as Varys greets Jon on the shore. The guy doesn’t even manage ten seconds of small talk before diving right into his pitch for Aegon Targaryen, King of Westeros. Jon is not entertained, but to be fair he’s never been entertained by anything so it’s hard to tell at this point.

Jon: I don’t want the throne. Never have.
Varys: Why do people keep saying that like it matters or something?

Varys might have made an impression if he just stuck to logic, but the second he insults Dany’s sanity he loses Jon entirely. Jon drops a steely “she is my queen” before stalking off into the castle.

Tyrion goes straight to Dany and we’re going to address the elephant in the room right off the bat here by saying that our girl does not look good. In fact, she looks downright bad. Not just “I lost my dragon and best friend/hairstylist in one fell swoop” bad. We’re talking “I’ve taken to glaring at the horizon and mumbling about my enemies” bad. They might as well just have hung a plaque around her neck that read “Mad Queen.”

She knows that Jon told Sansa about his lineage, who proceeded to tell the whole world, Tyrion included, who then told Varys, who is now actively campaigning against her. It’s worth nothing that not once during this argument, or any of the ones that follow, does Dany raise her voice. Everything is just a quiet, urgent whisper, which is honestly more disarming than her trademark temper. It’s clear that Varys’ fate is sealed here, only further confirmed by the arrival of Grey Worm at his room later that night. Varys manages to finish burning his letter before he’s escorted out to the cliffs where Dany, Jon, Tyrion, and Drogon are waiting.  It’s safe to say that nothing good is about to happen when you’re dragged out of your room to face a dragon in the middle of the night.

Tyrion steps forward in a truly honorable moment to tell Varys that he was the one to rat him out. Varys isn’t shocked—he’s been in the game long enough to know how this goes.

Varys: I hope I’m wrong about all this.
Varys: But I’m not.
Varys: Clearly.
Varys: See you all in hell, bitch.

I’m surprised Dany is allowing even the slightest showing of remorse on Tyrion’s part. Empathizing with her enemies feels like something she’d be against even on her best day, and this certainly isn’t anywhere close to that. Instead, she just sentences Varys to die, with no charges or justification to offer.

Dany: Dracarys

After torching Varys, Dany heads to the war room with Grey Worm, where she gives him Missandei’s only possession—the shackle she used to wear around her neck. He tosses it into the fire, clearly on Team No Mercy alongside his queen.

Jon shows up and Grey Worm makes a hasty retreat, leaving these two estranged relatives/lovers to sort out some sh*t.

Dany: Sansa basically killed Varys.
Jon: Flawed logic but sure.

Dany goes on a short tirade about the people of Westeros fearing and not loving her, before pivoting and trying to seduce Jon in a way that truly made my skin crawl. He swerves, which confirms for her that she’ll have to rule by fear from here on out, having been slighted by the last person alive who claims to love her.


Later in the throne room, Tyrion is pleading with Dany to not destroy King’s Landing and all the innocent people in it. This argument, which he’ll make many times this episode, falls on deaf ears. Dany is beyond reason and speaking like a true tyrant, claiming that she’ll be saving future generations by cleansing the city now. Tyrion makes a last ditch effort and asks that she at least call off the attack if the city surrenders. She agrees, before sending Grey Worm off to prepare the Unsullied to sail out.

Tyrion: Please tell me you aren’t going to slaughter all the innocent people in King’s Landing who have done nothing to wrong you.

 As Tyrion makes his way out, clearly aware of what he’s now dealing with, Dany drops a bomb: Jaime was captured trying to make his way into King’s Landing. This is the second time that Tyrion has been wrong about his siblings’ intentions, and Daenerys makes it clear that it will also be the last time.

Next we cut to King’s Landing where Jon, Tyrion, and the troops are all arriving for battle. Morale is low at best. They’re greeted on the shore by Davos, who Tyrion pulls aside to ask for a smuggling favor. Safe to say that one doesn’t pan out.

Arya and the Hound arrive at the camp at night, looking like they’re ready to singlehandedly take on this battle. If only that were the case.

Arya: I’m Arya Stark and I’m here to kill Cersei.
The Hound: She is the light of my life.

Tyrion sneaks into the tent where Jaime is being kept prisoner, hellbent on saving at least one person in this entire episode.

Tyrion: How did they find you?
Jaime: Turns out not a lot of men have a solid gold hand.

It becomes clear that Jaime has no intention of asking Cersei to surrender, thereby busting the theory I’ve been lecturing people about all week in which Jaime returns only to kill Cersei and then himself. Instead, Tyrion switches tactics and begs Jaime to escape with Cersei so that they can start fresh elsewhere. Not sure where the world-reviled Lannister twins could escape to, but it’s a nice thought. Against all odds, Jaime agrees and the two say goodbye for the final time. It was the closest I came to feeling anything this entire episode.

Tyrion: You were the best family I’ve ever had.
Jaime: Low bar there but I appreciate the sentiment.

At last, the day of the battle has arrived and both sides are prepping across King’s Landing. Euron is arming his many scorpions on his fleet in Blackwater Bay. John, Greyworm, Tyrion, and Davos, followed by the Northerners, the Unsullied, and the five remaining Dothraki are lined up against the Golden Company outside the walls of the city. Inside, soldiers are taking their places as the civilians race to the Red Keep for protection. The gates close before many of them can get in, Jaime included. He spends the next thirty minutes trying to find his way inside a crumbling city. Cersei looks out over King’s Landing, calm as a cucumber. God grant me the serenity of Cersei Lannister when faced with any kind of adversity.

Things kick off swiftly with Dany flying down from the clouds to torch Euron’s entire fleet of ships. The scorpions, which seemed last week to be the end of all dragons, are entirely ineffective. Drogon is out here, pirouetting across the sky, raining fire down on these giant crossbows as if it’s no big thing. Rhaegal is quaking at the bottom of the ocean.

Dany makes quick work of the bay and then turns her attention to the city itself. She blasts through the wall behind the Golden Company, effectively toppling all of them in seconds. Jon, Grey Worm, Davos, and their armies run through the gaping gates while we’re offered expansive shots of the opposing side lying screaming and burning on the ground. There’s a lot of that kind of behavior over the next forty or so minutes.

It becomes quickly apparent that Cersei does not stand a chance. Like, if Dany had rolled in with all three dragons, this episode could have been five minutes long. While she torches the Lannister army from above, the Unsullied wreak havoc below in the streets. It’s not even a contest, which seems weird considering the fact that Team Dany was looking worse for wear not ten minutes earlier.

Cersei is watching from her balcony, slowly realizing that this won’t be the cake walk she anticipated. Qyburn informs her that the scorpions have all been destroyed, that the Golden Company are charred, lifeless husks, and that everything is rapidly going to sh*t.

Dany parks Drogon on a tower just as Jon and company come face to face with the Lannister army. It’s a standoff of sorts, everyone clearly in over their heads. The Lannister forces drop their swords seconds before the bell signaling surrender rings through the city. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “thank God that was quick. Now we can spend the rest of the episode effectively setting up a plot for next week.” Just call me Jon Snow, I guess.

Up on the tower, Dany watches as the city surrenders. For one second you think things are going to be chill before she suffers a clear mental break, lets out a single sob, and then takes off in the direction of the keep.

“Oh, well, she’s just going to kill Cersei,” I thought, “this plan still checks out.” But guess what? She doesn’t do that. She doesn’t even attempt to do that. Cersei is hanging out, entirely unprotected on a very visible balcony on top of the biggest building in the city, and instead of heading for that very viable target Dany flies down to the streets and begins torching civilians and soldiers alike.

This move is clearly a shock to Jon, Davos, Tyrion, the millions of people in King’s Landing, me at home on my couch, and anyone capable of understanding logic, but you know who’s not fazed at all? Grey Worm, who takes it as a signal to keep on keeping on. He charges full force into a crowd of unarmed Lannister soldiers, and the battle is back on.

What follows is forty straight minutes of carnage. It was clearly meant to shock the audience into submission, but I actually just found myself to be bored by the over-the-top gore of it all. I had more of a visceral reaction to Tyrion outing Brienne as a virgin than I did to the people of King’s Landing being incinerated in HD. So instead of attempting to describe the mayhem, let’s just cover the important plot points that took place while the King’s Landing was being dismantled brick by brick.

Jaime & Euron

Jaime finds his way to the outlet Tyrion directed him to, down on the shores of Blackwater Bay, only to be intercepted by Euron, who immediately challenges him to a duel. This entire scene was the most unnecessary sequence of events in an episode made up solely of unnecessary sequences of events. Euron, whose character arc was already weak at best, has been reduced to a man who operates on chaos alone. He managed to survive Drogon’s attack on the water, and instead of making a break for it he just…goads Jaime Lannister into a fight? To what end?

Euron: I had sex with a queen which makes me a king so now if you kill me everyone will be like “Wow Jaime Lannister killed TWO KINGS” wouldn’t that be crazy?
Jaime: …Sir this is an Arby’s.

Jaime gets stabbed twice in the torso before managing to get a killing blow into Euron’s chest. Dark Pacey Witter, the chaotic Jack Sparrow of Winterfell, dies alone on the shores of King’s Landing. His last words are “I am the man who killed Jaime Lannister.” None of it made sense, but it’s so low on the totem pole of things to be mad about that I guess we’ll just move on.


Jon spends the entire siege running around the city, being shocked that Dany is doing exactly what Varys said she would do. He tries to save a few people and stop a few fights, but is ultimately useless.

Dany: * goes insane, burns King’s Landing to the ground, basically follows up on her promise to rule the people of Westeros by fear*

The Hound & Arya

Pre-Mad Queen, the Hound and Arya were strolling through King’s Landing looking like the best pair of assassins you’ve ever seen. But once the city starts crumbling around them, they lose some of their bravado. The two of them make it all the way to the Keep only for the Hound to turn around and urge Arya to escape. You expect her to laugh in his face but then, against all odds and in opposition to everything we know to be true about her, she just…does it?

The girl who killed the Night King makes it to the doorstep of Cersei, the woman she’s vowed to kill since day one, and then goes “Eh, not feeling it anymore.” At this rate, why didn’t she just stay back and marry Gendry? She could be in Winterfell, eating ice cream and watching rom coms with Brienne and Sansa, having sex with her hot, newly-noble fiancé, not having a care in the world. But sure, this route makes sense, too.

Arya thanks the Hound for I don’t know what, then high tails it out onto the streets of King’s Landing, which appear to be just as dangerous as the Keep. The Hound continues up the stairs and comes across Cersei, Qyburn, and the Mountain, making their escape. The brothers lock eyes, and it’s clear that we’re about to get the fight everyone has been asking for. Cersei commands Ser Gregor to stay by her side, and he answers by picking Qyburn up and busting his skull against a rock. Good riddance. She sneaks past them and leaves the two to battle it out.

Jaime & Cersei

In case my rant above wasn’t enough, let me drive my point home by saying that the death of the Lannister twins was the single most disappointing death scene in this entire show. Qyburn went out more heroically than these two incestuous idiots.

After leaving the Cleganes behind, Cersei comes across Jaime in the Keep. She starts sobbing upon seeing him and they stand there and hold each other for far longer than you would expect, given the fact that the ceiling could come down on them at any moment.

They make their way to the dragon dungeon Tyrion once escaped from, only to find that their route has been blocked by a pile of debris. Instead of doing, I don’t know, anything about this situation, Cersei starts sobbing about not wanting their baby to die. Jaime grabs her by the face, tells her that nothing matters but the two of them, and then they died clutching each other as the entire Keep collapses down onto them.

Their death feels like such a throwaway that I am now retroactively Team Cersei. Dying together? Check, we’re all on board for that. Dying cowering and sobbing in each other’s arms? Not my Lannisters.

What happened to Cersei, whose natural response to any danger is gulping wine and arching her eyebrow? Or Jaime, the brave and honorable knight who would rather go down fighting than surrender? Did everyone just forget the last nine years of character development? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

Clegane Bowl

It shouldn’t be surprising by this point when I tell you that Clegane Bowl was entirely underwhelming. The Hound repeatedly stabs his giant zombie of a brother to no avail while the building collapses around them. Once it becomes clear that nothing will stop the Mountain, not even a dagger through the skull, the Hound tackles him and together they crash through what’s left of the wall and they both tumble hundreds of feet to the fiery city below. I would say it’s safe to assume both of them are dead, but it’s not safe to assume anything about this show anymore.

Arya & The Horse

Out on the streets of the city, Arya is not faring well. Despite the fact that she’s clearly won, Dany is still flying around and roasting people while toppling whole city blocks. Everything is debris and ash and fire and death and it’s honestly awful. Arya almost dies a handful of times, only to be saved by a kind woman who later dies by fire for her efforts.

Arya is knocked unconscious and wakes up covered in debris an undetermined amount of time later. While you can still hear screams in the distance, everything is quieter now. There isn’t a living soul in sight except for one immaculate, entirely unharmed white horse. I thought maybe this was a metaphor or a hallucination on Arya’s part, but It was actually just a whole-ass horse. Arya hops on and gallops away as the screen fades to black and for some reason “Old Town Road” isn’t playing in the background. Yet another disappointment to add to the list.

That’s it, folks. That’s the episode.

It seems like the only possible route now is for what’s left of Westeros (aka the Starks) to rise up against Dany. Now that she’s not even feigning sanity anymore, there’s nothing stopping Dany from riding north and torching her last standing opposer: Sansa. If we don’t get a Stark reunion followed by a Baelish-style surprise execution, I will riot.

Sansa up North, sipping a daiquiri and not being burned alive in a battle she didn’t support, carefully crafting her “I told you so” speech for Jon:

MVB: That stupid horse

Pickings were so slim this week that we’re bestowing the coveted title of Most Valuable Betch to the horse that managed to survive the melee on the streets of King’s Landing. With those kind of instincts, it’s probably smarter than Jon—someone please let the horse develop the game plan for next week.

Images: HBO; Giphy (5)

‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap: You’re A Virgin Who Can’t Drive

I commend each and every one of you for making it back after the utter desolation that was the Battle of Winterfell. We’re all gluttons for punishment, but at least we’re in it together.

While not as traumatic, this week’s episode still saw its share of death. Let’s pour one out for all that we lost last night: one dragon, three ships (the romantic kind), many ships (the boat kind), a good chunk of our collective lingering hope, and saddest of all, Missandei.

This week started off strong with a recap from The Long Night that sparked a severe bout of PTSD and sent me sprinting to the kitchen for the wine that I told myself I’d save for at least halfway through the episode. Like, yeah, throw in that cute supercut of everyone dying last week just in case we somehow forgot, you absolute sadists.

We open on a nice solemn scene of the survivors from the battle saying goodbye to the fallen.

HBO reminds us that they are not here to play games by kicking things off with a nice, slow pan of Jorah’s dead body. Dany drops the world’s longest kiss on his forehead and honestly I’m surprised it didn’t wake him from his eternal slumber.

Next we cut to Sansa, weeping over Theon. Again, I hate it, but I respect Theon and thus will allow it. She attaches her Stark pin to his chest before stepping back to join Jon, Arya, and the rest of those gathered to watch. Amongst them is Ghost, in the first of his two appearances tonight. His agent must have stepped in to secure an additional 30 seconds of screen time in his contract.

Jon, of course, must make a speech before they burn all the bodies. It’s wild that the guy who constantly reminds everyone that he doesn’t want to be a leader is also the one who refuses to turn down an opportunity to yell inspirational things at a crowd of people.

Jon: All these people died at the hands of zombies for us, so it’d be cool if we could all stop being petty and maybe get along from here on out.
Jon: @Daenerys
Jon: @Sansa
Dany and Sansa: Read 7:32AM

Everyone takes a nice lingering look at the person who effectively saved their life before they’re all set ablaze, giving us a last glance at Beric, Edd, and Lyanna Mormont.

Like, I’m sorry, I know it’s a time to be respectful, but why isn’t Arya sitting on Tormund’s shoulders and chugging ale or something? Our girl killed the NIGHT KING. Where is her recognition? Why is Gendry still wearing pants? What is going on?

Afterwards, everyone heads inside to enjoy an incredibly uncomfortable meal and is not making eye contact with each other. It’s understandable—feels like it’d be rough to make small talk after watching half of your people get slaughtered by a dead army.

Gendry: So uh…. Where’s Arya? Asking for a friend.
The Hound: My dude, people are still burning outside, please keep it in your pants for 30 seconds.

Gendry heads off in search of Arya before being called out by Dany, who casually announces to the entire hall that he’s Robert Baratheon’s son. Could she calm down for one second?

Dany: Hey remember that time your dad slaughtered my entire family?
Gendry: No, but I do remember the time that he abandoned me at birth.

But the conversation takes a turn for the better when Dany instates Gendry’s status as the lawful son of Robert Baratheon, the Lord of Storm’s End. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that no one saw that coming. Mercy? In my Khaleesi? Sounds fake.

Except it makes total sense when you realize it was an entirely self-serving move on her part, solidifying Gendry’s life-long loyalty and cutting down a potential competing claim to the Iron Throne at the same time. Tyrion picks up on it, as does Sansa. Their reactions are opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of being impressed.

This proclamation changes the tides of the night, kicking off the celebration in full. What follows is about 25 minutes of nonstop revelry and drunken hookups. It’s equal parts heartwarming and anxiety-inducing to watch, because we all know that happiness does not last long in this show.

Tormund cements his status as Jon Snow’s number-one fan by going on an alcohol-fueled tirade about all the things his little crow has accomplished, all while plying the guy with more wine. In a not-at-all-shocking turn of events, Jon is a lightweight and Tormund believes in puking and rallying.


It looked for a second there like alcohol had cured the awkward tension between Dany and Jon, but it slowly starts creeping in as she takes in her surroundings. Around the room she sees him being celebrated by the Northerners in a way she knows she never will be. She watches the Lannister brothers, once her greatest foes, laughing together as if they’ve never been on opposing sides of the same war. It’s becoming abundantly clear that her road to the Iron Throne isn’t as clear as she once thought it was.

Over at the Lannister table, the drinks are flowing, the romance is brewing, and everything is looking super chummy in the midst of this drinking game where people try and guess things that have occurred in other people’s pasts. 10/10 would destroy relationships if you tried this with your own friends, but I say we do it anyway.

Brienne: You’ve been married before.
Tyrion:Jaime: * chokes on his wine *

Brienne makes a hasty exit from the game and the room just as a drunk-ass Tormund approaches the table. He starts to follow her before being blocked by Jaime, who runs out after her instead, at which point Tormund turns into every drunk girl you’ve ever met in a bathroom at a bar and starts crying over Brienne. I have truly never loved him more.

There’s one person who is distinctly not enjoying the festivities, and that’s the Hound. He is spurning the advances of women, drinking wine like it’s his last day on Earth, and growling any time anyone mentions that Arya saved all their lives.

Dany: To Arya Stark, true hero of Winterfell!
The Hound: I taught her everything she knows, but WHATEVER.

Sansa approaches his table and the energy here is…weird. Someone recently brought to my attention that they think these two should be together, and in unrelated news I recently started punching people who offer up bad opinions.

The Hound: So what happened to Ramsey?
Sansa: I fed him to his dogs.
The Hound: Wow, okay, so the two Stark girls are the only things I’ve ever loved.

These two start strolling down memory lane, which is a sad road littered with trauma. The Hound tells Sansa that she could have avoided every terrible thing that happened to her—Baelish, Ramsey—if she’d only left King’s Landing with him when she had the chance. But all that sh*t is what made Sansa who she is today, and she tells him as much. The last time they saw each other she was still a Little Bird, and now she’s the stone cold Lady of Winterfell. For better or for worse, Ramsey and Baelish played a role in that transformation.

Upon becoming a full-fledged Lord, Gendry immediately bails on the party to track down Arya. Her finds her practicing archery alone, of course. No rest for the wicked and/or murderers of ice zombies.

Gendry: I can’t even use a fork but I would like to marry you.
Arya: You didn’t have to mention that first part.

Gendry drops to his knee and throws out the sweetest, most heartfelt proposal that has probably ever existed in the history of Westeros. We cried. We rewound it and cried again. We hoped and we prayed and we wished, but deep down we all knew what would come next.

Gendry: Marry me and be the Lady of Storm’s End.
Arya: Lol I’ll make you the Lady of Storm’s End.

Arya comes through with the swerve of the century, kissing Gendry and then turning down his proposal. She tells him that she’s not a lady—never has been and never will be—and while she’s right, it didn’t make it any less heartbreaking to watch.

But where one love dies, another flourishes, which is something I whispered to myself as Jaime arrives in Brienne’s room. You know this man has had a lot of sex in his life, sister or not, which makes the fact that he’s so incredibly nervous possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Is the bar low? Yes. Yes it is.

Jaime: Wow it’s so hot in here would be a shame if all my clothes just started falling off.

Brienne accuses Jaime of being jealous of Tormund, and he proves her right by immediately undressing both himself and her. They’re bickering, all the way up to the moment where they just leap at each other. Was truly hoping we’d get a shot of Jaime being the little spoon, but we just can’t have nice things I guess.

Jaime: I’ve never slept with a knight before.

Things are slightly less romantic over in Jon’s room, where Dany has arrived for a drunk confrontation. She starts out by telling him that she loves him before immediately segueing into the whole “true heir to the iron throne” bit. Sure, there’s a hefty makeout session somewhere in there, but who among us hasn’t gotten drunk and then kissed our nephew someone we shouldn’t have?

In a rare moment of vulnerability, Dany confesses that she’s jealous of the support that the Northerners so obviously have for him. Jon tells her he doesn’t want the throne, but that’s not enough for Dany. She wants Jon to keep his secret buried, because she knows that everyone will rally behind him once they find out who he is.

Jon: I have to tell Sansa though.
Dany: No that’s literally the last person I want you to tell.

The next day, we’re back in the strategy room, the time for celebrating clearly over. We learn that we’ve lost half the Unsullied, half the Northmen, and an undisclosed amount of Dothraki. Considering the whole wall of torches disappearing into the solid wall of deadly night, we can probably assume it was most of them. On top of all that, Varys announces that the Golden Company has arrived in King’s Landing, and suddenly this isn’t an even playing field anymore.

Dany: We’re going to destroy Cersei.
Tyrion: But not destroy King’s Landing in the process.
Dany, with barely concealed rage: Yes….that too.

Jon and Tyrion’s plan is to starve the city and force the people to revolt against Cersei. It is far too diplomatic for Dany’s liking, but she acquiesces. At least, until Sansa starts talking.

Sansa: Hey what if we let everyone recover from the great zombie fight that happened last night before we march them to another war.
Dany: Yeah what if we also shut the f*ck up, Sansa? Hm?

Dany thinks that Sansa is trying to renege on their deal when in reality she’s just trying to make sure everyone doesn’t die of exhaustion. Jon steps in and sides with Dany, effectively pissing off everyone in the room. Sansa and Arya share the universal look that women recognize as “men making terrible decisions” that will doom us all.

The game plan they land on is this: Jon and Davos will ride down the Kingsroad with the bulk of the remaining Northmen, Unsullied and handful of Dothraki. Dany and Tyrion, with the dragons, will lead a smaller group to White Harbor, from which point they’ll sail to Dragonstone and then onto King’s Landing. Jaime will stay at Winterfell, as a “guest of Sansa’s” aka Ser Brienne’s boyfriend. Sansa is out here giving Davos a run for the Wingman of Westeros title.

Afterwards, Jon is immediately summoned to the Godswood for a Stark family meeting. Sansa and Arya are, understandably, pissed. Bran, predictably, is silent.

Arya admits that Jon did the right thing by initially bending the knee to Dany and recruiting her support, but that doesn’t mean they’re ever going to trust her. Her and Sansa’s argument is effectively the North’s equivalent of “Locals Only.”

Jon: That’s not a great way to make allies
Arya, standing mere feet from where she killed the Night King: Bold of you to assume I am in need of allies.

Sansa and Arya veer into territory that, ironically, Jon has wanted to hear all his life: you’re a true Stark, son of Ned, our brother who was definitely never resented, blah blah blah. It’s comical watching them both wax poetic about this while Bran stares in the background, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Sansa: You’re a Stark.
Arya: You’re my brother
Bran: LMAO

And then he does it. He tells them the truth. Or at least, he has Bran tell them after swearing them both to secrecy. They cut away before we can watch that conversation unfold, which is a real bummer because I would have loved to see the look on Sansa’s face.

Elsewhere, Jaime and Tyrion are catching up over the only topic that matters anymore: Braime. Or Jienne. I haven’t worked out the details yet but you catch my drift. However, they are interrupted by Bronn, who casually strolls into a tavern in the North wielding a crossbow as if this is a normal thing to do.

Bronn: Is f*cking Brienne, like, looking in a mirror?
Jaime: Considering I used to have sex with my literal twin, not really.

In what may be one of the best interactions all season, Bronn opens negotiations with the Lannister brothers for his loyalty and in turn, their lives. He lets them know what Cersei sent him there to do, but also admits that he doesn’t think she’s on the winning side of this war. As we know well by this point, Bronn is loyal only to victory.

Tyrion brings back his original deal with Bronn, doubling the price anyone offers to kill him for, by throwing Highgarden on the table. Jaime is aghast, but Bronn takes them up on the offer. He leaves as quickly as he arrived, letting them know he’ll be back to collect his debt when all the fighting is said and done.

The next day, the Hound is making his getaway when he comes across Arya on the road outside Winterfell. She is clearly also sneaking out without saying goodbye to anyone. This is a trend that I am beginning to hate. They commiserate over their shared distaste for people, their unfinished business in King’s Landing, and the fact that they won’t be returning to Winterfell. It looks like our favorite buddy cop duo is back.

The Hound: Will you leave me to die again if I get hurt?
Arya: Probably.
The Hound, softly: Love that.

Up on the ramparts of the castle, Tyrion finds Sansa watching as Dany and the dragons fly into the distance. What follows is an almost entirely fruitless conversation in which Tyrion tries to get Sansa to drink some of that Targaryen Kool-Aid. She’s not budging.

Tyrion: You don’t have to be her friend but you could try not being an asshole.
Sansa: Yeah… I’m good.

It’s obvious that Sansa is distressed about the idea of Jon leaving, and she has her reasons. She points out two facts that everyone knows to be true: Dany rules by fear and Stark men don’t do well in the South. The combination of those two things make for a precarious situation for Jon. Tyrion counters with the fact that he’s not actually a Stark, at which point Sansa almost loses it. She sees something in Dany that Tyrion is steadfastly ignoring, and honestly I trust her here. If Sansa has learned anything over the years, it’s how to recognize psychopaths. So if she’s wary, there’s likely a good reason.

Down in the yard, Jon faces a series of rapid goodbyes. First is Tormund, who comes to tell him that he’s heading home with the Free Folk, finally having conceded in the battle for Brienne’s heart. As a parting gift, Jon gives Tormund Ghost, who appears to have lost an ear in battle? Or they’re just running low on that CGI budget, who’s to say?

Jon: A direwolf has no place in the South.
Narrator: That was a metaphor.

The next farewell is with Sam and Gilly, who are apparently pregnant. There’s not a lot to do at the Citadel other than have sex and read about your friend’s true lineage, I guess.

Sam: You’re the best friend I ever had.
Jon: You too.
Me: There wasn’t a lot of competition there but okay.

But the saddest parting of them all comes in the form of Jon and Ghost, because this asshole just walks right by his loyal wolf without so much as a goodbye pet? A coward. That direwolf did not battle wights and live to tell the tale only to suffer this blatant disrespect.

Aboard the Targaryen fleet, Tyrion and Varys start the first of their many conversations this episode about who should really be sitting on the Iron Throne. Tyrion is still in fierce support of Daenerys, although it appears to be wavering by the second, while Varys has slowly shifted over to Team Jon.

Tyrion: He doesn’t want the throne though.
Varys: When in the last nine years has anything that Jon wanted actually mattered.

Tyrion attempts to compromise by floating the two getting married and ruling side by side, but Varys comes out staunchly anti-incest. What a novel idea. More than anything, he’s starting to have some legitimate concerns about Dany’s temperament as a ruler.

Tyrion: Look on the bright side, maybe Cersei will kill us all and we won’t have to ever worry about it.
Varys: Fingers crossed.

And just like that, we’re already back at Dragonstone. I love how fast time flies when there are only three weeks left to wrap up the entire show. All in all, this episode has been smooth. Too smooth. People are hooking up. Marriage is being thrown around willy nilly. Missandei and Greyworm are holding hands AND smiling. Which means we should have all expected what came next: the death of a dragon.

Euron and his fleet lay waiting to ambush Dany and Co, and they brought some giant dragon slaying crossbows with them. They shoot Rhaegal out of the sky no problem, and he plummets to the ocean below. Is this a metaphor? It feels like a metaphor.

Dany flies off into the distance to protect Drogon, her last dragon, leaving Euron to turn his attention towards her ships. He starts skewering them left and right with giant harpoons, and Tyrion is forced to jump overboard to escape. Cut to the shore, where Varys, Tyrion and Greyworm have dragged themselves to dry land, followed by a handful of their soldiers. Missandei is nowhere to be found, at which point the panic starts to set in.

In King’s Landing, Cersei is gathering the people inside the walls of the Red Keep in preparation for Dany’s attack. For a second you think she’s doing it to be a kind and benevolent ruler, until you realize that she’s actually just going to use them as a human shield between herself and the oncoming army. It’s nice that she’s not even pretending to have a soul anymore.

Euron is by her side, and she celebrates his victory at sea by telling him that she’s pregnant with his child. Remember when I was like “wow are we really worried about whatever Cersei is going to pull after all that White Walker nonsense?” Well the answer is yes, we are, because we pan out to see that she’s taken Missandei prisoner. Apparently this woman truly is scarier than an army of zombies.

In the war room at Dragonstone, Varys gets real with Dany. He thinks their plan is a mistake; innocent lives are on the line, and slaughtering them all to get to Cersei is bad optics, not to mention just bad for like, humanity. Dany reminds Varys that she’s going to rid the world of tyrants, no matter the cost. Apparently even if the cost is…becoming a tyrant. Irony is fun.

Tyrion takes a softer stance than Varys, but one that is still prioritizes negotiations over all-out bloodshed. Against all odds it works, and Dany agrees that people should see that she tried to avoid slaughtering an entire city full of bystanders and that it was actually Cersei who forced her hand. Not sure if that’s how it will be received, but it’s a nice thought.

Varys and Tyrion gather for their second discussion RE: Dany might be the Mad King. Varys may have been skeptical before, but he’s now fully in favor of Jon, who he believes should be on the Iron Throne precisely for the reasons that Tyrion thinks he shouldn’t: because he doesn’t want it. Putting a man who does not seek power in charge, and a Targaryen/Stark at that, is their best bet at peace in Westeros.

Varys lays down the facts – Jon is the true heir, better suited to rule, and is in possession of a penis, something that they’ll need to sway the Lords of Westeros. Wait, are they talking about the 2020 election? Sounds familiar.

Tyrion: I believe in our queen.
Tyrion: Wholeheartedly.
Tyrion: No doubts here.
Also Tyrion: Chugs a gallon of wine.

The conversation ends at an impasse. Varys brings back his tried and true line: that his only alliance is to the realm and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it safe. We stan a true chaotic neutral.

News of Cersei’s attack has reached Winterfell, and if Sansa wasn’t anti-Dany before, she sure is now. The news rocks Jaime, who sneaks out of his room in the middle of the night to make his way to King’s Landing, leaving a sleeping Brienne in his bed. She follows him out to the yard, tells him he’s a good man, and then goes full Meredith Grey on him, throwing down a “pick me, choose me, love me.” It works out about as well as her as it did for Meredith.

Jaime may love Brienne, but he hates himself more. He goes on to list all the horrible things he’s done for Cersei which are, to be fair, numerous. It seems like Brienne takes this as confirmation that he’s going back to be with her, but I read it differently. Jaime knows that he’s the only one who can stop Cersei, and he’s going to go do it. He also knows that he’ll probably die in the process. Is this the last time they see each other alive? Probably. Am I okay? Absolutely not.

Outside the gates of King’s Landing, Dany, Tyrion, Varys, Greyworm, and a handful of Unsullied are lined up, ready to begin negotiations. Cersei, Euron, the Mountain, and Missandei watch from the ramparts, giant crossbows at the ready.  Qyburn exits the gate to deliberate with Tyrion, and the both lay out their terms: unconditional surrender on both sides, with Missandei’s life on the line. Tyrion tries to reason with his sister’s Hand, hoping to avoid all out warfare. It is, as was expected, ineffective.

Tyrion: I really don’t want to hear the sounds of children burning alive.
Qyburn: Funny because that’s literally my ringtone.

Tyrion quickly tires of speaking to the mouthpiece and moves forward to address his sister directly. She doesn’t have him immediately shot down, which seems like a step in the right direction, but it’s short-lived.

You know things are going downhill when Tyrion opens with “I know you’re not a monster.” If there’s one thing Cersei loves more than being a monster, it’s proving Tyrion wrong. She listens in a manner that almost appears thoughtful while Tyrion appeals to her more tender nature: being a mother. It’s a cute attempt, but one that ultimately fails. And what do his efforts get him? A dead Missandei.

Cersei allows Missandei some last words, which is a shouted “Dracarys” across the open space between her and her friends. For one fleeting, hopeful second, I thought it might spur Drogon to action, but then remembered the crossbows. The dragon is no Jon Snow, and stays a safe distance back.

The Mountain steps forward to decapitate Missandei, and in that moment you can see Dany’s resolve to burn King’s Landing to the ground solidify, innocents be damned. Remember that time Greyworm was happy? That one time? No more. We’ve been set up for a bloodbath next week, and I, for one, am not ready.

MVB: Varys

We all need a friend who’s ready to tell the hard truths, and that’s Varys. He’s out here fighting for the people of Westeros and campaigning against incest, probably the first person in this entire show to accomplish both tasks. He’ll likely die by fire for his efforts, but at least he’s trying.

Images: HBO; Giphy (5)

‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap: Who Saves the World? GIRLS.

I don’t even know where to start.

The Battle of Winterfell was 82 minutes of straight f*cking torture. Beautifully shot, anxiety-inducing torture. The episode was directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the man who brought us such nightmares as “Hardhome” and “The Battle of the Bastards”, so you know we were going to be in for a traumatizing time from the start.  I am sitting here, scrolling through my TWELVE PAGES of notes and realizing they’re almost entirely incoherent keyboard smashes followed by a roll sheet of people who I could tell were still alive at any given point.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a physical reaction like this to any kind of media in my life. The second the theme music began, I was overcome with a wave of nausea so intense that I had to lie down. My heart raced, as if I was outside running a marathon, for the entirety of the episode. I had to pause halfway through to answer the door for my Postmates, and my hands visibly shook as I reached out to grab for the bag of food. Those enchiladas sat, wholly untouched, until the credits ran. I cried salty tears into my cold Mexican food as my roommate walked through the door, equal parts confused and concerned. It wasn’t even sad crying, but just the kind that little kids do when they’re overwhelmed and don’t know how to communicate it. This show reduced me to the emotional maturity of a toddler. It feels like I just survived a battle, which is more than we can say for some.

Let’s get the worst part out of the way and tally our dead. Ignoring the obvious thousands of unnamed Dothraki, Unsullied and Westerosi who fell to the army of zombies, we also lost Edd, Beric, Lyanna Mormont, Theon, Jorah, Melisandre and … the Night King? Don’t worry, we’ll dive into each one as I try and dissect the almost hour and a half of warfare we just watched unfold.

If you don’t feel like reading this novel of a recap, it can be mostly summarized in this single GIF.

I think it’s fair to say that the women of Winterfell truly put the entire team on their back. From Dany and her dragons to Melisandre and her fire to Lyanna and her final act of heroism, it was the women who saved humanity tonight. Plus, well, the obvious one.

* Extremely Tim Riggins voice * Arya Stark forever.

Typically when these battles episodes take place, I skate over most of the action and recount the main plot points, because words could no truly do scenes any justice. This isn’t really an option for this episode, which was 99% battle and 1% me screaming into a pillow. So, we’ll do our best here.

We’ll start with everyone’s positions at the beginning of the episode. We follow Sam, making his way out onto the battlefield. The Dothraki are on the front lines, being led by Jorah and, for some reason, Ghost. There’s only enough production budget to CGI him into 45 seconds of every episode, so I guess we’ll find out next week whether or not he survived the fray.

The second line is made up of our Westerosi heroes, with Brienne and Jaime leading the pack. They’re joined by Tormund, Podrick, Gendry, Beric, the Hound, Edd and finally Sam. Not one of them look confident.

In the back are the Unsullied, who will later have the very terrible job of holding back the wights as everyone else retreats. From a plot point of view, I understand why both the Dothraki and Unsullied armies were put in the literal worst positions, but it was still horribly sad to watch all these unnamed men die such horrible deaths so far away from their homes.

Jon and Dany soar onto the field on the backs of Drogon and Rhaegal and take their place on a nearby clifftop  observe, while Davos, Sansa, Arya and the archers watch from the ramparts of Winterfell.

This entire set-up unfolds over the course of what felt like 15 minutes, but was likely only three. Every second of it was ominous. This doesn’t feel like any battle we’ve ever seen on Thrones—there is no air of excitement or even optimism. Every single face we come across is terrified.

A single horse rides across the battle field towards Winterfell and, lo and behold, out of the mist and darkness comes Melisandre. I take back every terrible thing I ever said about this woman, who showed up in the final hour of humanity and not only provided fire for the army to fight with, but also provided the single source of lighting in this entire dark as night episode. Honestly, feel free to throw leeches on Gendry’s d*ck any time. You’ve earned it.

The Apocalypse: * is imminent *
Melisandre: Not today, Satan.

She asks Jorah to tell the Dothraki to lift their weapons, at which point she performs a quick spell and every single one of their swords catch fire. Where was this women during the strategy sessions? Would have loved her input while Jon was pushing tiles around on a game board.

Apparently only the Dothraki are being blessed by the Lord of Light, because Melisandre walks past the rest of the waiting armies and right into Winterfell, where she is immediately met by Davos. If you’ll recall, Davos is not her biggest fan, on account of that whole “burning Shireen Baratheon alive” bit.

Melisandre: There’s no need to execute me, I’ll be dead by dawn.
Davos: …. I mean we all will, that doesn’t really count.

Melisandre spies Arya watching from above, and they share the first bout of incredibly meaningful eye contact in this episode. Believe me when I say, there is a lot of it. Everyone is just out here, staring into each other’s souls, getting ready to die. The battle hasn’t even started yet and I’m already sweating.

The Dothraki ride across the field, which is actually a beautiful site to behold from Dany and Jon’s perspective. Just a mass of screaming, burning torches, flying into the night and coming to an almost immediate stop as they collide with the army of the dead. You can actually feel the last shreds of hope die as everyone watches the burning swords of the Dothraki be extinguished one by one. These people followed Daenerys across the ocean only and into the frozen and racist wasteland that is the North only to die on the icy battlefield of Winterfell to save a bunch of people who probably hated them anyways. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

A few horses and Dothraki manage to successfully retreat, Jorah once again in the lead, and sprint past the Westerosi and Unsullied in a futile attempt to escape. Dany watches from above and immediately races to Drogon, trying to get to the battlefield to help before all hell breaks loose. Jon tries to stop her, reminding her that they’re meant to be protecting Bran.

Jon: The Night King is coming.
Dany: You have never created one successful plan in your life and I doubt that you’ll be turning that record around today.

Down on the field, we get one more pan across the terrified faces of all our favorite people before the wights come flying onto the screen. They collide with the first line, and the battle has finally begun.

I get that we’re all going to make the same joke about the total lack of lighting and how you need blackout curtains to even attempt to see what was happening on screen, but I think it makes sense the way it played out. Staring into blackness, only hearing the screams of dying people and seeing flashes of horror by firelight was 10/10 the most terrifying viewing experience imaginable. It put us right in the thick of things, leaving the audience just as confused as those on the field.

What follows here is an hour of straight mayhem, cutting between the battlefield, the Godswood, the skies, and the crypts. Each time we flash to someone we know, they’re in worse shape than when we saw them last. I was convinced Grey Worm died six separate times, but somehow the guy kept coming back. Maybe he really will get that life on a beach in Naath with Missandei. JK, I refuse to believe in anything.

It only takes about 30 seconds of watching events unfold before Sansa sends Arya down to the crypts for safety and takes her place amongst the melee.

Sansa: I don’t know how to use a knife.
Arya: Stick them with the pointy end.

I’ve already seen some Sansa slander circulating, saying she played a minimal role this episode while girls younger than her were risking their lives out in the fray, so we’re going to pause really quick to let you know why that’s wrong. As previously stated, this is a pro-Sansa zone and that kind of behavior won’t be tolerated, but especially not when the take is that bad.

Arya and Lyanna Mormont are warriors. Sansa is not. They are able to meaningfully contribute to a battle, whereas Sansa’s presence would only serve to distract those who would try and save her. Running out to risk your life when it’s only going to make things more difficult for everyone else may be Jon Snow 101, but not Sansa. She’s smart enough to know that everyone is better off with her out of the way.

Throughout the entire battle we get multiple shots of Jaime and Brienne diving into screen at the last minute to save each other from the jaws of death. These two lovebirds, fighting back to back, with dragon fire blazing behind them like a beautiful sunset? Poetic cinema.

The first major character to fall is Edd, who dies seconds after saving Sam from a wight out on the battlefield. It’s the quickest death of the episode, and honestly the one we all care least about, but jarring nonetheless. All week long we’ve been talking about how people are going to start dropping like flies, but it’s different to see it actually happen.

Sansa’s arrival in the crypts is not met with the best reaction. First of all, everyone gathered there knows that her showing up means things are going poorly up top. To make matters worse, she’s looking less than composed, tears welling up in her eyes and at complete a loss for words. Her and Tyrion share some long-held suffering eye contact and it communicates what he already knew to be true: they’re f*cked. At least he planned ahead and brought some wine down there with him.

Up in the sky, Jon and Dany are effectively blind. The darkness wasn’t a great start, but they’re also coming up against a gigantic cloud of fog courtesy of the Night King, which makes it difficult to see where they’re throwing fire onto the field. I didn’t realize until this moment that it’s very likely that a lot of our own people  are going to get roasted on the battle field. Dany may be good but that level of precision is just unrealistic, I say in reference to a show about medieval people with dragons fighting ice zombies.

On the ground, the armies start to retreat behind the gates of Winterfell, where they have their next round of defenses. It looks like Lyanna and House Mormont are leading the charge here, while Jaime and Brienne start manning the ramparts. Remember that scene in Hardhome when all the wights just climb up the fortress wall, World War Z style? Well that’s making a cute comeback soon.

Tormund and the Hound are two of the last to retreat past the Unsullied, who are all silently and dutifully holding down the last line of defense. We don’t deserve them. The Hound is saved from a stray wight by none other than Arya, who shoots a flaming arrow over his shoulder from up on the ramparts. It’s reminiscent of the first time we ever met Arya back in season one, shooting arrows from the walls of Winterfell. You can see the pride swell in his eyes for about half a second before he remembers that he’s on an open field full of zombies, and makes his way inside.

Once everyone is in, Grey Worm makes the call to light the trenches that have been dug around the castle. He pulls a rip cord that appears to effectively separate his army from the safety of Winterfell, the trench between them. Only problem—it’s not on fire. The fog is keeping Dany from being able to see the signal to light it, and she’s stuck looping above the castle trying to what’s going on.

It’s at this point that Melisandre makes her second dramatic appearance and comes forward to light the trenches with her hands. In this moment, when the fire catches seconds before the wights break through, she is forgiven for that time she let a child burn to death. The Lord of Light decrees it. We have no choice but to stan.

Down in the crypts, morale is low. Everyone is sitting in total silence, until Tyrion starts whining about not being up top with everyone else. He’s sure that were we there, he could see something that the rest of the warriors couldn’t. Sansa assures him that’s not the case, probably because that would require actually being able to see what’s going on. She echoes my earlier sentiment, albeit bitterly, that any of them being present in the battle would only serve to distract those who were fighting.

Sansa: We’re useless.
Tyrion: Wow I love that level of self-loathing, perhaps we should have stayed married.
Sansa: You were the best of them.
Tyrion: That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in a lifetime of exclusively sad things.

It appears that Tyrion is actually reconsidering this whole marriage thing but Sansa nips it in the bud, saying that his allegiance to the dragon queen would prove to be a problem for them. I think it’s bold that they’re making plans for anything farther than five minutes into the future, considering the state of things at the moment. Missandei agrees, popping out of the shadows to remind them that they’d all be dead if it weren’t for that dragon queen. Get you a friend like Missandei, defending your honor even on the brink of the apocalypse.

In the Godswood, Theon can see that the trench has been lit, which means they’re seconds from being thrown into battle. He takes this last second of wight-free time to attempt to apologize to Bran for all the sh*t he’s pulled over the years. Bran, in classic three-eyed raven nature, doesn’t let him, telling Theon that everything he’s done has brought them to that moment. This is a theme throughout the episode, as it becomes clear that a lot of the suffering we’ve endured has been to ensure that every single one of these people was present at this exact time. Doesn’t make any of the last nine years any easier, but it’s nice to know we didn’t all cry in vain.


Bran: I’m going to go now.
Theon: …..I’m sorry but what?

Bran wargs into a flock of ravens and suddenly we’re back up above the gates of Winterfell. The trench appears to have worked, leaving all of the wights lined up on the other side, staring into Winterfell. Bran continues to fly until he reaches the Night King, who is now ready to join battle as well. Remember when the Internet thought he wouldn’t show up at Winterfell? The joke is on all of us.

The novelty of the burning trench lasts for all of ten seconds, at which point the wights start throwing themselves onto the flames one by one. Slowly but surely, there are enough bodies to smother the fire, and a tiny bridge has been created for them to cross through.

Everyone in the castle braces for an attack, with Jaime, Brienne, Jorah, Tormund, Gendry and Podrick leading the arches up top, and Lyanna and House Mormont holding the yard below. This is when things truly started getting grim.

The only shining beacon of hope at the moment is Arya, who is flying through wights with the special weapon she had Gendry make for her. Davos is watching from a few feet away, equal parts terrified and impressed, probably looking into adoption papers. Same.

Arya: * murdering zombies left and right, looking like a graceful queen while she does it *

But soon Arya is overcome by the masses, and seeing her almost fall is enough to break the Hound out of the existential crisis he’s been having on the sidelines. The combination of all that fire and the never-ending onslaught of wights was really taking a toll on him.

Beric: Get your sh*t together, Clegane
The Hound: We’re literally all going to die. We can’t beat death.
Arya: * back flipping through the background * WANNA BET

Speaking of tolls, y’all ready for our next death? Down in the yard, the gates of Winterfell splinter to pieces to reveal the giant zombie Wun-Wun. In all the chaos I forgot that there was a literal giant on the side of the Night King. He busts through the gates and knocks Lyanna Mormont to the side before he starts wrecking everyone in sight.

She recovers and charges him, only to be picked up and crushed to death in his giant hands. For a couple horrifying seconds it looks like Wun-Wun was going to eat Lyanna, at which point I was already crafting my home sick email to my boss for the next day. But with her last living breaths, Lyanna leans forward and stabs Wun-Wun in the eyes with her dragonglass dagger. They both go down and Lyanna dies as she hits the ground. This small child singlehandedly took down one of the biggest threats in the Night King’s army, while Jon pirouetted through the air, trying not to collide with his girlfriend. Queen of the North, indeed.

Up in the sky, Jon and Dany finally break through the cloud cover and get about a second of peace before Viserion and the Night King come barreling up through the clouds. A chase scene ensues that only leaves me wondering how high into the atmosphere these people can fly before dying? Like, there’s no way they can breathe up there? There’s not even handles on these dragons? This is no time for nit-picking scientific accuracies, and yet here I am.

Inside the library of Winterfell, a nightmare is unfolding that is giving me PTSD flashbacks to the scene in Jurassic Park where the children are hiding from the velociraptors in the kitchen. The wight have made it inside the castle, but instead of a screaming horde they’re now actually just wandering around like slow, meandering zombies. Arya is dodging them in the stacks of the library, because apparently they only operate off of sound? And not smell? Sure.

She tosses a book to distract them all and barely escapes through the doors, only to alert them all to her presence by sighing too loudly. A girl can truly not catch a break. Neither can the wrinkles in my forehead, which deepened a whole two inches just watching Arya sprint through the castle in utter horror, bleeding from the forehead and narrowly avoiding being killed four separate times.

Down in the crypts, the sounds of battle are starting to permeate through the walls. The children are dead silent. Varys looks like he’s about to sh*t himself. Tyrion is drinking. All in all, things are bad and then they hear a swarm of bodies crash against the door. It’s soldiers from the living side’s armies, who are yelling for them to open the door as they’re being attacked by wights. The screaming lasts about ten seconds before everything goes silent again. No one even moved an inch towards the door.

It’s moments like this that make me really glad that Sansa and Tyrion are down in the crypts and not someone with a mile wide honorable streak *cough* JON *cough*. The two of them are pragmatic enough to know that they can’t save everyone, and that trying to do so would probably get the rest of them killed anyway. Jon would have opened that door, and in doing so ensured the death of everyone who was put down there to hide in the first place.

The Hound and Beric have made their way inside the halls of Winterfell and come across Arya in just the nick of time, who crashes through a door and is tackled to the ground by wights. They pry them off her and start sprinting away, but not before Beric is repeatedly in the chest. The three of them make it into the great hall and manage to barricade the doors before Beric falls to the ground and dies in Arya’s arms.

Melisandre appears, apparently immune to things like walls and zombie wars, and completes her third and final act of greatness for the day: spurring Arya to action. She reminds them of the time they first met, during Gendry’s kidnapping, when Melisandre predicted that Arya would kill many people—people whose eyes are brown, green, and …. BLUE. Did Melisandre predict that Arya would kill the Night King all the way back in season three? Did Beric know that he was meant to keep her alive for that very purpose? Has this entire show been hurtling towards this moment? I’m not sure, but I’m ready to spend the next seven days obsessing over it.

As the wights come crashing against the door, Melisandre gives Arya the strength she needs to go out and finish this sh*t.

Melisandre: What do we say to the God of Death?
Arya: Not today.
Every single person watching:

Things are really escalating on the battle front. The wights have full swarmed the Godswood, and Theon is shocking everyone by holding it down while the rest of the Iron Borne die left and right. Brann sits, entirely unperturbed, still watching bird TV as people are getting massacred all around him.

In the sky, the Night King runs Viserion full force into Winterfell, unleashing his blue fire all across the side of the castle just as Jon and Rhaegal crash into him. They start battling it out up above the battlefield, and eventually both Jon and the Night King fall to the ground.

Dany pulls up above them on Drogon, makes direct eye contact with the Night King, and then unleashes a Dracarys on him. It was far too triumphant a moment for any of us to believe that it would work, which was proved seconds later when the fire dissipates and the Night King is left their SMIRKING AT HER.

Fire cannot kill a dragon, which begs the question…. Is the Night King a Targaryen? It’s possible and I’m exhausted at the very thought of it. This man has gotten far too human and far too confident this episode. He’s just swagging his way across the battlefield towards Winterfell all by himself, laughing at people. The audacity.

Jon tries to catch up to him, under the very mistaken impression that he’s about to singlehandedly take down the Night King. Sorry, that role has already been assigned, my dude. Instead, the Night King turns around, lets Jon get about ten feet closer, and then slowly starts to lift his arms, raising the thousands of dead people surrounding them as he does it. Literally the entire battlefield stands up as Jon limps his way towards the Night King. Inside, we’re treated to an especially horrendous moment as Lyanna Mormont opens up her now electric blue eyes. Talk about adding insult to injury.

The Night King leaves Jon to deal with the newly resurrected sea of wights and takes a couple jaunty steps towards the Godswood. Honestly, he’s having way too much fun. Dany flies down to save Jon’s ass for the 100th time this episode, distracting the dead as Jon runs off to try and beat the Night King to Bran.

Dany makes the mistake of staying on the ground for too long, and suddenly Drogon is overcome by wights. He knocks her off and then attempts to fly away with hundreds of them on his back, leaving Daenerys alone and unprotected on a battle field for potentially the first time ever. But fear not, because before things can get truly dire, Jorah appears out of absolute thin air to defend her.

As Jon passes through the yards of Winterfell and watches each of his friends fight losing battles, it starts to become clear that things are not going to end well here. The ceiling is collapsing, the wights are a ceaseless stream of death, and Sam is on the ground being straight up mangled. Jon passes by all of it, and the fact that he doesn’t try to save anyone is probably the greatest indicator that they’re on the losing side of this battle.

Inside, the wights begin to break through the walls of the crypt. It’s unclear whether they’d found a way in, or if these are the centuries old dead Starks coming back to life. Either way, it’s not a good change of events.

Tyrion and Sansa have taken cover behind a tomb, and I am truly glad that they are sharing what is quite possibly their last moments on Earth together. Further proving her worth, Sansa refuses to go down without a fight and pulls out the dagger that Arya gave her. Tyrion does the same, before grabbing her hand and kissing it. This is the most platonic love scene I’ve ever witnessed, and the effect is not at all lessened by the fact that you can hear young children screaming and dying in the background.

Watching what looks like the end of times, losing any semblance of hope by the second as the noise begins to dim and haunting music plays over the single most depressing sequence of fight scenes I have ever seen, I can’t even believe there was a time on this show when we were worried about anything but the White Walkers. Like, the days of Joffrey are straight-up laughable right now. All former grudges are dropped as each of our heroes stares straight into the depths of hell that are charging throughout Winterfell. We are all on one team, and it’s called  “Team Too Traumatized to Go to Work Tomorrow.”

Finally the supercut of death and despair stops as the Night King arrives in the Godswood, flanked by his generals and a couple hundred wights. All of the Iron Borne are dead, leaving just Theon between Bran and the White Walker army. It is very obvious what direction this is about to go in, and only becomes more so when Bran calls to Theon and tells him that he’s a good man.

With that single sentence, the only thing that he has ever wanted to hear, Theon has effectively completed his redemption arc. He thanks Bran and turns to the Night King, charging at him and then being almost immediately speared through the torso. Theon Greyjoy dies protecting Bran Stark, but more importantly, he dies a good man. Sorry for saying that you didn’t deserve Sansa last week. I stand by it, but at least feel guilty about it now.

As the Night King slowly marches towards Bran, always one to heighten the drama, he looks more human than I’ve ever seen him. Except for that one time when he used to actually be human. I don’t know if that’s just because he’s never had this much consistent screen time, or because I’m suffering from an entire mental break. Both seem plausible.

In an episode chockfull of longing, meaningful eye contact, Bran and the Night King truly take the cake. This thousand-year-old zombie takes his sweet-ass time slowly reaching for Bran, and just as he’s about to reach him, just as Viserion is about to straight up torch Jon out in the yard, Arya comes flying out of the fog to stab the Night King.

In the single most important scene in TV history, the Night King catches Arya’s mid-air, and she drops her dagger from her raised left hand to her lowered right, stabbing him in the chest.

Arya Stark saved humanity. Beric Dondarrion and the Hound were both resurrected to keep her alive long enough to kill the Night King. Syrio Forel, Jaqen H’gar, Melisandre, the Faceless Men—all of them lead her to this moment.

She murdered the Night King, with the dagger that was meant to kill Bran, in the exact spot where she asked Jon how he possibly could have survived being stabbed in the heart only days earlier. There were a hundred clues that led to this moment and we didn’t pick up on a single one because no one dared believe that this battle could actually be won.

Arya Stark is truly THAT BITCH.

love letter to arya pic.twitter.com/3sftUXog7f

— ???????? ⌖ (@kiminostaythere) April 29, 2019

All cross Winterfell, the wights begin to fall. Viserion crumbles to dust before he can blast Jon with blue fire. We flash across the faces of the living, and it’s almost impossible to believe that most of our favorites are still standing.

Sansa. Tyrion. Varys. Gilly. Sam. Little Sam. Missandei. Jaime. Brienne. Podrick. Tormund. Grey Worm. Gendry. The Hound. They’re all still alive. How are they all still alive. I haven’t breathed in an 80 minutes but it’s okay because THEY’RE ALL STILL ALIVE.

Except, well, Jorah. Out on the battlefield, he keeps the brand strong to his literal dying breath, going down defending Dany in a blaze of glory.

Jorah, laying on the ground with upwards of 45 stab wounds: I think I’m hurt.

He dies exactly the way he always wanted to, in Dany’s arms, her weeping over his body. This is truly best case scenario, okay? A dragon, I think Drogon but truly cannot stop crying enough to differentiate at this point, lands next to her and swaddles her with his body while she sobs into Jorah’s corpse. Just like that, the proud House of Mormont is gone.

As everyone looks around in disbelief, also shocked that they somehow survived, Melisandre makes her way out to the grounds. Davos follows her, still wary of this woman even though she showed up and save everyone’s asses.

Melisandre marches out onto the now still battlefield alone, removing her pendant as she goes. Without it, the magic that keeps her alive slowly starts to drain away, and Davos watches as her retreating figure slowly decomposes into dust. She falls just as the sun peaks over the horizon, making true on her promise to be dead by dawn. Much like Beric, she had completed her mission. Then the credits roll into silence, as if we hadn’t all spent that last hour and a half in a state of near cardiac arrest.

Was ten pages of that recap too long for you? Well TL;DR: Arya Motherf*cking Stark killed the Night King. The White Walkers are gone. And somehow, there are still three more episodes left.

I understand that the battle for the Iron Throne is the focal point of this entire show, but the fact that we’re concerned about literally anything happening after this is laughable. Like, I watched the trailer for next week and rolled my eyes. Oh, we’re still worried about Cersei? Arya just murdered a thousand-year-old zombie king, but yeah, the drunk woman who f*cks her brother is definitely still a viable threat. 

On the other hand, this victory is going to leave everyone feeling a little too confident for my liking. Fresh off a victory like that, it would be easy to start taking things for granted and making stupid mistakes. What I’m saying is, we’re not out of the woods yet.

Most Valuable Betch: Melisandre

I know you probably think Arya should be carrying this title for the rest of her life, and you’re not wrong, but none of what she accomplished would have been possible if Melisandre hadn’t showed up and lit a literal and figurative fire under her ass. Our Red Witch Queen, always ready to do the hard jobs that others won’t. A little Machiavellian for my tastes, but you can’t argue with the results.

Images: Giphy (6)

‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap: Winter Isn’t The Only Thing That’s Coming

The entirety of this week’s episode of Game of Thrones can basically be chocked up to one big, weird, existential crisis-ridden house party. If you think about it, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” has all the makings of a teen party movie. There are confrontations, uncomfortable reunions, hookups (!!!), secrets that were better left untold  (@Tormund), secrets that definitely needed to be told (@Jon), moments of absolute absurdity immediately followed by moments of pure sentimentality. Oh, and pretty much every one was drunk.

Let’s dive in.

After an undetermined period of intense staring, it appears the rest of Winterfell was alerted to the arrival of Jaime Lannister. We open on him standing before Daenerys, Sansa, and Jon in the great hall, surrounded by all the lords and ladies currently present in Winterfell. The vibe is tense, to say the least.

Dany: When I was little my brother used to tell me bedtime stories about how you murdered our father.
Jaime: Okay sure, but to be fair, they were both d*cks.

Given the fact that Jaime has had a hand in the demise of both the Starks and the Targaryens, this would have been an uncomfortable conversation no matter the circumstances. But now he’s forced to not only atone for his past sins, but also for the fact that Cersei clearly lied about sending her army to help in the fight against the dead. Tyrion looks on woefully from the background, and it suddenly becomes clear that, despite some very optimistic theorizing, he truly did believe Cersei would help them. Cut to Sansa, continuing to be disappointed by every single man in her life.

Dany: It’s crazy because I was promised an army but all I see before me is a man with one hand.
Jaime: Wow, so you’re both hot and mean. If we were related, I would be in love with you.

Tyrion tries to come to Jaime’s defense but is cut down by both Dany and Sansa. They are, for a single moment, brought together by their shared hatred of the Lannisters. It’s a glimpse into a future that we need but do not deserve: these two strong af women, ruling side by side, while Jon knits in the corner.

Jaime: Everything I did, I did for my house and my family. I’d do it all again.
Bran: tHe ThInGs wE dO fOr LoVe

But before the tensions can escalate any further, Brienne steps in, reminding Sansa that she’s only alive because of the oath that Jaime swore to Catelyn. There’s also a lot of tender staring, but it’s fine, we can address that later.

Sansa may hate the Lannisters, but not as much as she loves Brienne, and she agrees to let Jaime stay. Jon sides with her, knowing that they’re going to need all the help that they can get, even if it’s a sad man with one hand. Dany fumes in the corner, fondly reminiscing on the times when she was allowed to just burn people to a crisp for disagreeing with her.

But more than that, she’s pissed at Tyrion for not seeing through Cersei’s lies. Dany tells him, in no uncertain terms, that if he can’t remove his sister from the Iron Throne, she will find herself a Hand who can do so. Varys and Jorah are awkwardly shuffling around in the background, and maybe it’s just me, but neither of them seem especially excited about the prospect of being the one to replace him.

Meanwhile, in the forges below Winterfell, much more important things are happening. And by that, I mean Arya is stalking Gendry and flirting with him the only way she knows how: vaguely ominous threats followed by knife throwing. That approach has yet to work for me, but I’m optimistic for her.

Arya’s come to check on the status of her weapon, which Gendry has yet to start making. While he’s obviously very busy building weapons for an entire army for a war that could start at literally any second, I also think he’s avoiding making it in the hopes that it’ll deter Arya from fighting. He tells her that it’ll be safer for her down in the crypt when the battle comes, and she proceeds to roll her eyes so hard that I’m concerned she’s about to go blind again.

Arya: What are the White Walkers like?
Gendry: They’re like death.

But as we all know, Arya is no stranger to death. She tells Gendry as much, right before tossing a couple of knives across the room into a post. Foreplay with these two is wild.

Continuing his tour of terrible conversations, Jaime heads out to the Weirwood, where Bran is sitting and gazing into the distance, likely because he’s run out of newcomers to stare at. Guess it’s time to apologize for tossing him out a window all those years ago. Better late than never.

Apparently no one has clued Jaime in on the whole Three Eyed Raven thing, because he expects Bran to be angry with him. Or upset. Or any kind of emotion that one might exhibit in this situation. But of course, he’s none of those things. In fact, I’d say this is the potentially the best conversation that Bran has had this season. He’s open, less cryptic than usual, and almost-kinda-sorta cracks a joke.

Jaime: Sorry I threw you out a window.
Bran: I’m not.

From there, Jaime heads to the yard, where he finally comes face-to-face with his brother. Tyrion tries to get Jaime to sip on some Daenerys Kool-Aid, but he doesn’t seem to be buying it. Clearly at odds, they move onto the next vindictive blond queen in their lives: Cersei.

Tyrion admits that he’d truly believed Cersei would come to their aid. Their last conversation, in which she’d told him that the pregnancy had changed her and would be a new start for her a Jaime, had convinced him that she was on their side. He said this so incredibly casually, as if he wasn’t referring to his sister being pregnant with his brother’s unborn child for the fourth time.

It’s obvious that Jaime isn’t ready to talk about Cersei, or confront whatever feelings he has about the matter, and so he escapes to just outside the gates where Brienne is overseeing Podrick’s training.

I’m going to take this moment to address something that has been coming up all week: Brienne and Jaime vs. Brienne and Tormund. I understand that many of you are devoted to the idea of Brienne and Tormund, and I get it. I really do. Once upon a time, I may have agreed with you. But hear me when I say this: no.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tormund. I know that we’re all obsessed his weird antics and his barbaric tendencies and his less-than-subtle methods of seduction. But you know who doesn’t like any of those things? Brienne. You know who looks at Jaime Lannister like the sun shines out of his ass? Brienne. You know who managed to take the most arrogant piece of sh*t in the Seven Kingdoms and turn him into a good man? Brienne. I will die on this hill (and probably so will both of them, but I digress).

After some horribly stilted small talk, absolutely laden with unrequited love, Brienne gives us a dose of normalcy by screaming at Jaime. Ah, simpler times.


Jaime asks to serve under Brienne’s command, despite the fact that he’s not the fighter he used to be. She agrees and then the eye contact that follows between the two of them is probably the closest we’ll ever get to a kiss. I’ll take it.

Back in Winterfell, Jorah seeks out Daenerys to, against all odds, defend Tyrion. He thinks that Dany should forgive Tyrion for his mistakes, just as she forgave Jorah for his. Jorah was basically a spy, whereas Tyrion just had the audacity to be manipulated by his sister, but yeah we can put them on the same level I guess.

Dany: You want me to…forgive him?
Jorah: Yes.
Dany: Without….fire.
Jorah: Yes.
Dany: Does not compute.
Jorah: Wha-

You know who else thinks Tyrion deserves a break? Sansa. She says as much when Dany finds her later, finally read to lay all her cards on the table.

Dany: He shouldn’t have trusted Cersei.
Sansa: I have been saying this since season two, but sure.

What follows is the closest equivalent to a drunk bathroom heart to heart that we’ll probably ever get from these two. It wasn’t until I sat and watched them giggling over how useless men are that I realized how badly I want them to be friends.  As Dany points out, both of them are powerful women who have risen to their station despite the men in their lives trying to stop them from doing so. But that shared trait is also likely the reason they’ll never truly be on the same side: they’ve lost too much and come too far to compromise now.

Dany: Your brother loves me. Why don’t you?
Sansa: Men are dumb and easily manipulated.
Dany: Lol TRUE.

For the first time in a while, Dany shows some real vulnerability when she tells Sansa that it was her love for Jon that diverted her from her life goal of attaining the Iron Throne, so maybe she was in fact the one being manipulated. I’m hoping this could serve as some foreshadowing to the fact that Dany’s love for Jon will overcome her love of power when she finds out the truth about who he is, but something tells me that won’t be the case.

It looks like the conversation might end on a truly happy note, but then Sansa broaches the topic of life after the war, and where the North fits in relation to Dany’s rule of the Seven Kingdoms. Just like that, any progress made between these two is immediately eliminated.

But before they can truly get into it, they’re interrupted by the arrival of none other than Theon, who addresses Daenerys, but only has eyes for Sansa. He tells Dany that Yara has gone back to the Iron Islands to claim them in her name, but he’s come to fight for the Starks. But it’s very clear that by “fight for the Starks” he means “fight for Sansa,” and I am immediately conflicted about the energy that is flying between these two.

glass case of emotion

In a perfect world, my dream for Sansa is that she survives the war, remains the Lady of Winterfell, and grows old ruling over her people with no husband and 100 wolves. Picture the Queen of England and her corgis, but better. There’s about a 1% chance that the showrunners let her live this beautiful life of solitude, in which case, the only male companion I would settle for is Podrick, whose many secret talents include singing and banging it out. Our girl has suffered too much and for too long to spend the rest of her life taking care of another broken man, redemption arc be damned. Theon, with all his sadness and all his trauma and his total lack of d*ck, does not make the cut here.

Fear not, the reunions aren’t done. Outside a horn sounds, signaling the arrival of the survivors from Eastwatch: Edd, Tormund, Beric, and their band of followers. Tormund stomps in, intercepts a hug from Jon, casually drops the news that the dead will be arriving TOMORROW MORNING, and then immediately asks about Brienne. You’ve got to respect his priorities.

The armies start preparing in earnest now, seeing as how sh*t just got very, very real. Jon and the rest of the important characters gather in the war room for the single most depressing strategy session to yet be featured on this show.

It’s decided that their best bet is taking out the Night King, in the hopes that doing so would result in the deaths of all the wights at once. The plan is to lure him out into the Weirwood by using Bran as bait with Theon and the Ironborn nearby for protection.

Killing Bran, keeper of all memories, would be a vital step in enacting an Endless Night, which is basically the end of man. The Night King could probably save himself a whole lot of trouble by letting Bran ominously roll around Winterfell for a few more days, because he’s probably three weird proclamations away from getting clubbed by literally anyone who has to listen to him.

Jon decides that the dragons will roam close by in case Bran needs saving, and Dany decides that Tyrion will remain in the crypt with the women and children. It’s entirely possible that she really is trying to protect him, knowing that his wisdom will be needed to rebuild Westeros after all of this is said and done, but doing it in front of everyone like that was most definitely a power move. Daenerys Targaryen may forgive, but she does not forget. Also…she doesn’t really forgive.

Tormund: We’re all going to die.
Also Tormund to Brienne:

On that uplifting note, everyone clears out to make the most of what is likely their last night alive. Tyrion hangs back with Bran, asking to hear about the journey that got him here. I’m thinking this is less of a kind gesture and more so in preparation for whatever plan he has for the next day. He may have been fooled once, but he’s not about to let Dany down again.

What follows is a series of scenes in which everyone attempts to come to terms with the fact that in less than twelve hours, they could all be zombies. Some seek comfort in alcohol, others in random sex, but most of all, people just don’t want to be alone. The Westerosi—they’re just like us.

From Missandei and Grey Worm we get warm promises of a happy and peaceful(ish) life together in Naath. The fact that this is later followed by a very dramatic kiss as Grey Worm rides out of the gates leads me to believe that they aren’t going to be able to follow through on that plan. It’s okay, we can all cry about it next week.

Up on the ramparts we get a quick reunion of Jon, Sam, Edd, and most importantly, Ghost. Has he been back this whole time and I just haven’t noticed?? Why didn’t they make a bigger deal about this?? If I have to watch that wolf become a wight I will throw myself into oncoming traffic.

Tyrion and Jaime set up camp in front of a fire inside, reminiscing on happier times when they were both awful rich men with no responsibilities.

Tyrion: Remember how carefree and innocent we were the first time we came to Winterfell?
Jaime: I was sleeping with my sister and you had no friends.
Tyrion: Those were the days.

They’re joined by Brienne, Podric, Davos and Tormund, coming together to form what I can only describe as a Winterfell Breakfast Club. It starts out horribly uncomfortable, and then remains that way until alcohol is introduced, at which points it is still horribly uncomfortable, but at least they’re drunk.

Tormund delivers the performance of a lifetime while explaining the origins of his nickname: Giantsbane. It turns out this isn’t Tormund’s last name, as I’ve thought for literally the entire show, but instead a name he earned after killing a giant, crawling into bed with its wife, and then breastfeeding off of her, all at the age of ten. He offers this story up, entirely unprovoked, while everyone else tries not to make eye contact with each other.

Tormund: Y’all wanna know why I’m so big?

When he isn’t narrating tales from his life, he’s staring at Brienne like she’s a big old jug of breastmilk, leaving Jaime to look on in the background, clearly torn between jealousy and outright horror.

The evening takes a beautifully sentimental turn when Brienne’s greatest dreams are realized: becoming a knight. Women can’t be knights in Westeros, despite the fact that Brienne is more of a hero than most of the men on this show combined. Tormund says as much, cementing his status as a true ally to women.

Tormund: I’d knight you ten times over.

Jaime points out that any knight can make another knight, and then calls Brienne to him. Right there, in the hall of Winterfell, in front of God and everyone, Jaime Lannister knights Brienne of Tarth. I’m crying. You’re crying. She’s crying. Tormund is likely masturbating.

Jaime: Arise Brienne of Tarth, a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Arya finds the Hound up on the ramparts, because obviously these two wouldn’t seek out simple comforts like warmth on their last night alive. They sit in angry silence together before being joined by Beric, who proceeds to preach about the Lord of Light. Feels like this would be a great time for the guy to come through, but that’s neither here nor there. There’s some playful banter before Arya realizes that her last waking hours could be spent in a much better fashion.

“I’m not spending my final hours with you two miserable old sh*ts” – Arya, on her way to get that d*ck.

She ends up back in the castle, practicing archery, when Gendry finds her. She asks him about his time spent with Melisandre, which leads to the slightly complicated story that he’s actually the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. All Arya hears is “not a peasant anymore” and immediately starts quizzing him on his sexual history. Again, her methods are unusual, but also apparently incredibly effective.

Arya: So you had sex with the red woman.
Gendry: What?? nO-
Arya: So you’re a virgin.
Gendry: Also no!!
Arya: How many women have you slept with.
Gendry: I just feel like I’m not going to win here.

Arya Stark, our day one badass, found herself stuck on a snowy rampart with two whiny old men and instead went “I’m gonna get me some. Later, losers.” Was it a little weird to watch, considering we’ve watched Arya grow up? Sure. Did I scream regardless? Absolutely. Would I die for the two of them?  You bet.

Arya: I’m not the red woman. Take off your own pants.
All of us:

Outside, Jorah and Lyanna Mormont are arguing about the coming battle; specifically, Lyanna’s role in it. Jorah wants her in the crypts with the women and children and Lyanna, predictably, doesn’t give a f*ck what Jorah wants. Sam approaches as Lyanna walks away with her men, gifting Jorah with his family’s sword Heartsbane. Jorah’s father was more of a dad to Sam than his own, and he knows that Jorah will probably make better use of the sword than he will.

Across the yard, over the dulcet tones of Podricks’ silky voice, we see Theon and Sansa, who have opted to spend their last night just staring at each other. I still hate it. I will always hate it. But the Gods gave us Arya and Gendry, so I will tolerate it.

Down in the crypts comes the goodbye that we’ve all been waiting for. Dany finds Jon standing before the statue of the woman he now knows to be his mother, Lyanna Stark.

Dany: Who’s that?
Jon: A loaded question, that’s who that is.

Dany starts talking about Rhaegar, and how she can’t reconcile the good things people said about him with the fact that he kidnapped and raped Lyanna. Jon, knowing that this conversation has to happen and figures it might as well be with a zombie army on the horizon, goes for it.

He explains, in a much more eloquent matter than was afforded him, I might add, who his parents are, why it was kept from him, and how he came to know. Sam and Bran could take some notes. Dany rockets from confusion to realization to disbelief to indignant anger faster than Jon has ever experienced one single emotion.

Dany: If that’s true, you have a claim to the Iron Throne.
Jon: If it’s true I also had sex with my aunt but sure let’s focus on your stuff first.

But before they can really have it out, a horn sounds—the White Walkers are here. After two straight episodes of reunions and love, we’re about to get our first major battle of season 8. All hell is about to break loose. Hopefully someone tells Gendry to put on some pants.

Most Valuable Betch: Arya Stark

Looking death in the fact and actively deciding not to die a virgin? An icon. A star. A woman in control of her own destiny. We don’t deserve her.

Images: Giphy (6), Tumblr (2)

Game of Thrones Recap: Everybody Gets A Reunion!

Welcome back, my friends.

The day has finally come. After two long years, we’ve made it to the final season of Game of Thrones. Who’s ready for six straight weeks of anxiety and general despair, followed by a life-long hole in your heart where this show used to belong? Just me? Cool, cool.

There will be a lot of emotional introspection as this final season plays out, but I’d like to start by saying it’s been both an honor and a privilege to spend the last four years watching and recapping this show alongside you all, butchering the names of the characters and pushing my pro-Daario Naharis agenda alike. Thank you for joining me on this journey, and for only mildly berating me for not having read the books. It’s much appreciated.

Before diving in, I’d like to make one thing very clear from the onset here: in this house, we love and respect Sansa Stark. Any other opinion will not be tolerated. Thank you for your time and patience, can’t wait to see you in the comment section.

Our episode opens in Winterfell, on a young child who, for the shortest of seconds, I thought was Rickon. My heart nearly stopped, and we’re not even into the important stuff yet. Could you imagine wasting resurrection on such a useless character?

But no, the small child is a nameless citizen of the North, who has gathered, like the rest of Winterfell, to watch the arrival of Jon and Dany, looking like the most regal incestuous couple to roll in since season one, episode one, with the arrival of the Lannisters. You thought this would start slow? Fools.

The Hound and Gendry are in tow, and literally all of them ride by Arya without noticing her. Seems rude, but sure. Our two favorite queens, Tyrion and Varys, are sharing a carriage into Winterfell, like the incredibly high maintenance icons they are. The Unsullied follow, led by Greyworm and Missandei, who are just one of the four couples that I am hopelessly devoted to this season. I’m sure they’ll all make it through and live happily ever after and I won’t cry once. Let me have this.

All the Northerners in the crowd look skeptical to say the least because, as Jon reminds Dany, they aren’t big fans of outsiders. But that vague skepticism turns to outright fear once the dragons roll in, dramatic as ever.

Jon is way too excited to see Brann, not yet knowing that the kid who used to be his little brother now only speaks in riddles and has some truly tragic information to share with him in the near future. Dany comes in hot with the compliments for Sansa, which I would think are genuine if I was a naïve idiot who’d never been to high school.

Dany and Sansa: *attempting vague pleasantries despite openly disliking each othe*

Brann informs everyone that the Night King has Viserion, he’s a full on wight-dragon, the wall has fallen, and that the army of dead are marching south literally as they speak. I get the urgency but, like, could the kid attempt social etiquette for ONE second.

There’s an immediate gathering of the Lords and Ladies of the North to establish a game plan, and we get about six seconds of cute from the mini Lord Umber before Lady Mormont starts calling Jon on his sh*t. Honestly, just throw her in the ring with the Night King and save everyone some trouble.

Lady Mormont: You left Winterfell a King and came back a…
Jon: …a man in love? With an army behind him?
Lady: a BITCH.

Jon, never one to pass up an opportunity for a Friday Night Lights-inspired speech, lets everyone know that he may have surrendered his crown, but he only did it protect the North. In doing so, he got them an army, two dragons, and a hot girlfriend/aunt for himself. What’s a guy to do?

Tyrion jumps in to defend him, which may have worked until he mentioned that the Lannister army was en route. While almost no one in the Seven Kingdoms are fans of the Lannisters, the North are especially not so. It makes sense, given literally everything that’s happened since the last time the Lannisters rode into Winterfell.

Tyrion and Sansa’s reunion after the mildly successful town hall isn’t as uncomfortable as it could be, all things considered. They touch on their last encounter at Joffrey’s wedding, and the almost unbelievable fact that both of them are still alive.

Tyrion: Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now.
Me, crying on my couch:

Tyrion, against all odds, truly still believes Cersei and the Lannister army is coming to their aid, and Sansa is like “… are you for real? You? The smart one?”

Jon and Arya have a much kinder reunion at the Weirwood, which ranks in one of the most touching moments of the entire episode. In fact, the whole episode was fairly heartwarming, which leads me to believe that we’re all about to get absolutely wrecked next week.

Arya: How do you survive a knife through the heart?
Jon: I didn’t.
Arya: That’s that sh*t I do like

Jon asking Arya if she’s ever used Needle is kind of similar to the time my Dad asked me during college if I’d ever tried alcohol. There was some bad lying followed by a blanket understanding that we were all going to blindly accept the lie because it’s just better that way.

What none of us, including Jon, were prepared for was Arya standing by Sansa. My girls, finally coming together. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Jon: Sansa hates my girlfriend and thinks she’s smarter than everyone
Me and Arya, in unison: SHE IS.

Arya reminds Jon that Sansa is merely defending the Starks, or what’s left of them. It’s clear from this interaction, and many that follow, that while the Starks trust Jon, they’re not psyched about this newfound Queen. Surviving the White Walkers isn’t as exciting a prospect if it’s just going to be followed by another war for the Iron Throne.

Back in King’s Landing, we see Qyburn and Cersei, who are watching the approaching fleet from the Golden Company, led by the Dark Pacey Witter.

Qyburn: Hey, so, uh, the army of the dead have broken through the Wall.
Cersei: Nice.

Euron still has Yara prisoner aboard his ship, who he appears not only be beating but also using as a therapist. Men are really out here demanding emotional support no matter the circumstance aren’t they?

Euron: Yeah I’m gonna f*ck, Cersei.

Wow, I nearly forgot about the gratuitous sex scenes in this show until I had to watch Bronn have a disappointing threesome with three prostitutes who are clearly just trying to get in some good gossip. They’re interrupted by Qyburn, who’s come on Cersei’s behalf with a mission for Bronn: kill Jaime and Tyrion, with a crossbow no less, assuming they manage to survive the zombie war. It’s “poetic justice.”

Cersei commits her greatest crime since blowing up the sept by having the audacity to utter the phrase “You want a whore? Buy one. You want a queen? Earn her.” If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of thousands of white girls sprinting to their nearest tattoo parlor as we speak. Then she goes on to have sex with Euron, because if you’re going to f*ck up, you might as well go all in.


I constantly vacillate between despising this guy and being almost shocked into respecting him. He’s out here, carrying some chaotic Jack Sparrow of Westeros energy, asking a woman who’s been known to murder men on a whim if he’s better at sex than her twin brother. I won’t be sad when he dies, but I will enjoy watching him interact with people up until that point.

Cersei: You’re arrogant, insolent, you look like a dirty pirate….and I’m into it.
Euron: Nice let’s have a kid.

In a twist that none of us were dumb enough to actually believe would happen, Theon successfully, and discreetly, rescues Yara from Euron’s ship. She thanks him the only way this family knows how: by punching him in the face. Yara plans to re-take the Iron Islands, giving Dany somewhere to retreat to if they can’t hold the North. I have a feeling the first spot that she’s offering up is her bed, but I digress. However, she lets Theon return to Winterfell, knowing that he wants to fight alongside the Starks.

Back in Winterfell, Davos, Varys and Tyrion have a small pow wow to discuss the very real issue of the Northerners loyalty. Davos brings up, yet again, the fact that the North won’t trust Dany…unless she were to be married to Jon. Get you a friend like Davos–brings you back from the dead and secures you a hot and powerful dragon wife. Wingman of the century.

Meanwhile, Dany and Jon are discussing the loyalty of one Northerner in particular: Sansa.

Dany: Sansa hates me.
Jon: Okay, yeah, but she hated me for a while, too.
Dany: …no, you were supposed to say that she doesn’t hate me.

God forbid Sansa be wary of strange blond queen riding into her home, pretending to be her friend, and then taking advantage of her family. Not like that’s ever happened before or anything.

Dany lets Jon know that, much like every mean girl on every season of The Bachelor, she is not here to make friends. There’s a slight allusion to the fact that if Sansa can’t learn to respect her, something may have to happen, but they’re interrupted by the Dothraki before that horrible train of conversation can continue. Turns out the dragons hate the cold and are barely eating in protest. If only we all reacted to cold weather in the same way.

Watching Jon and Daenerys flirt while he learns how to ride a dragon is truly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. This is the only rom com I’ve ever needed. I can’t believe I’m twenty-seven years old and openly rooting for incest. What a time to be alive.

They arrive at a desolate waterfall, and proceed to make out as if the world isn’t ending in a week. Ah, young, familial love. The dragons are not as into this PDA as I am, reacting in a similar way as my coworkers did last Friday when we tried explaining the dynamics of this relationship to them.

My boss: So…they’re related. And you’re…into that.
Me: Yes but they’re in LOVE.

Arya, The Hound, and Gendry all reunite in the forges below Winterfell, where Gendry is busy making dragonglass weapons for an entire army.

The Hound: You left me for dead
Arya: And I also robbed you.
The Hound, visibly trying not to cry: That’s my girl.

After some flirting that melts both mine and Arya’s cold, dead hearts, she asks Gendry to make her a special weapon out of dragonglass. Winterfell is currently the set of a romance novel and I am LIVING for it.

Gendry, with literal hearts in his eyes: I always knew you were just a rich girl.
Arya: You don’t know any other rich girls.
Also Arya:

Jon returns from his date only for Sansa to tell him that the Glovers have abandoned them, opting to stay in their castle and take on a zombie army alone rather than fight beside a Targaryen. An overreaction? Sure, but you have to respect their flair for the dramatic.

Lord Glover’s note doesn’t necessarily say that it’s because of the presence of Daenerys, but it doesn’t have to. Jon and Sansa finally have it out, her being upset that Jon relinquished his crown and Jon making the argument he’s been make for upwards of five years now: that none of this matters because literal zombies are coming.

Jon: Do you have any faith in me at all?
Sansa: …you know I do.
Jon: That was a lengthy pause but I’ll take it.

Jorah brings Daenerys down to the library to make his move introduce her to Sam, the man who saved him from grayscale. He’s also the man who knows she’s currently having sex with her nephew, but that’s a conversation for another time, I’m sure.

Dany wants to give Sam something for his service, and he asks for a pardon for stealing from both the Citadel and his father. This brings them to the awkward moment when Dany has to tell Sam that she roasted his father for refusing to bend the knee.

Sam: I’m a Tarly.

This is probably the first time that Dany has ever been confronted with the results of her…less than diplomatic methods. Sure, burning people alive who don’t agree with you seems like a good move in the moment. But having to tell their sons later, the ones who are actively fighting for you? Less awe-inspiring.

Sam, true to his brand, starts blubbering in front of Dany once he finds out that his brother was also part of the Tarly barbecue. He escapes outside only to find Brann, possible the least comforting person in the entire world.

Sam: Whatcha doing out here buddy?
Brann: Waiting for an old friend.
Sam: But…you don’t have any friends.

Brann decides that this is the moment that Sam must tell Jon about his true lineage. The guy just got some mildly traumatic news, but sure, why not go ruin his best friend’s life real quick. He finds Jon in the crypts below Winterfell, and honestly seeing Sam is the happiest Jon has ever looked. Even when he was banging his aunt. He truly loves him.

Sam goes with the tried and true method of bad news, immediately followed by even more bad news. He starts with the fact that Dany executed his father and brother and then railroads directly into “oh, by the way, you’re the King of the Seven Kingdoms.” He breaks down R+L=J in a matter of ten seconds, which seems kind of messed up considering it took all of us two years to come to terms with that news.

Jon: But my honorable father, Ned Stark, does not lie.
Sam: Jesus Christ, not this again.

Further North, Tormund, Beric, Edd, and what’s left of the Night’s watch find each other in the desolate and empty halls of the Umbers’ castle. It’s been ransacked by the Night King and his army, who left little Lord Umber staked to a wall as a message. Has the Night Kind developed a flair for the dramatic since last season? I don’t remember him leaving cryptic and ominous messages before, but adopting a dragon changes a zombie I guess.

The episode closes with a momentous arrival at Winterfell: our boy Jaime Lannister. I REPEAT. JAIME LANNISTER HAS ARRIVED AT WINTERFELL. Last time he was there he pushed a child out a window, so here’s hoping he follows it up with something even better.

I was hoping he’d immediately fall into the arms of Brienne, bringing all of my favorite couples into one very cold castle, but his welcome is, uh, far less romantic. Jaime hops off his horse and  immediately comes face to face with Brann, who is in the same exact spot he’s been since Sam left. Turns out he was was waiting for an old friend.

Jaime: ….
Brann: …
Jaime: ….

Season one, episode one ended with this blonde asshole throwing this sweet child out a window, and here we are, seven seasons later, ending season eight, episode one with the two of them coming face to face for the first time since. Who would have thought we’d all be on Jaime’s side after all this time? In these moments I am reminded that beyond the gore and glory and generally terrible events that take place, this show can be poetic.

To Brann’s credit, he treats the guy who crippled him and effectively started his entire journey to becoming the Three Eyed Raven the way he treated his beloved siblings and every single other person he’s come into contact with this episode: with a weird vacant stare.

And that’s it, folks. Week one, complete. Our main characters are basically all together, our zombie army is uncomfortably close, and Cersei is thousands of miles away, continuing her lifelong trend of having sex with people she shouldn’t be having sex with.

What will next week bring? Despair, most likely. Can’t wait. See you all then.

Images: HBO; Giphy (4); Tumblr (2)

The Lannisters Get Lit: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap

Tonight’s Game of Thrones made me listen to the sound of a horse dying after having its leg sliced off on a burning battlefield and for that, if nothing else, I will never forgive them. The episode opens on the Lannister army in the Reach, marching home from Highgarden with hella money taken to pay back the Iron Bank. Cersei didn’t even need the two weeks she asked for because, you know, the whole Lannisters and their debts thing. It’s season seven. We don’t need to say it. Jaime is clearly upset. Getting your shit rocked one last time by the saltiest woman in Westeros will do that to you. Knowing that he has to tell Cersei that Olenna did in fact get the ultimate last word probably isn’t helping.

Bronn: Did the Queen of Thorns give you one last prick in the balls before saying goodbye?
Jaime: Uh yeah you could say that. *imagines his son dying by poison at her hands*

Bronn wants a castle. Instead, Jaime sends him with the Tarlys (aka Sam’s mean dad) to steal the harvest of local farmers to feed their armies. Not quite the same thing.

The episode will also end in the Reach and it will be FAR more interesting, believe you me.


Baelish is attempting some bonding with Bran in his ongoing attempt to be a weird stepdad/husband hybrid to the children of his unrequited love. Honestly, let’s see this man attempt to win over Arya. Petyr gives him the dagger that was used in the attempt on his life back in season one, the very event that started the War of Five Kings and got everyone into this mess.

Baelish: This dagger made you what you are today.
Bran: Okay well first of all, fuck this dagger.

Petyr very much knows that Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven, or at the very least that he’s seen some shit. You can tell he’s already trying to figure out how to get his proximity to the Jaden Smith of Westeros to work in his advantage, but is interrupted by Meera. Remember her? It’s cool, Bran doesn’t either.

She’s come to tell him that she’s finally going home, and if she was hoping for any sort of emotional response to that news she is sorely out of luck.

Meera: Well you don’t need me anymore…so I guess I’ll go home.
Bran: You’re right, I don’t.
Meera: Okay no, that’s not how that conversation was supposed to go.

Meera reminds Bran of the long list of people who have died for him to become the Three-Eyed Raven, and with one of his now trademarked cryptic messages about existence. 

Bran: I remember what it was like to be Brandon Stark, but I’m not him anymore.
Also Bran:

Three-Eyed Raven? More like the Three-Eyed Fuckboy. Bran was one second away from telling Meera their relationship “wasn’t that serious” and they’d never agreed to be exclusive. You can give a man all-knowing powers and he’d still have no clue how to talk to women. SMDH…

More importantly, ARYA IS BACK.

She initially gets turned away from the gates of Winterfell by some idiot guards, who are no match for her in either intellect or fighting. They lose sight of her and immediately run to Sansa, who knows exactly where her sister would go: the crypts. No one in this family is known for their levity.

On a scale of Stark Reunions, this ranks above Bran but still so far below Jon. Would it kill these people to express emotion? It’s like watching myself reunite relatives I can’t stand at Thanksgiving.

Arya: Do I have to call you Lady Stark?
Sansa: Damn fucking straight.

Their conversation is shy and stilted, almost like they haven’t seen each other in seven years or something. Both are mere shadows of the girls they were when they were separated, hardened by time and suffering. This first interaction seems more like a time to size each other up rather than catch up on lost time.

Instead of bothering with small talk about their tortured existences, Arya gets right to the point: She’s a serial killer with a list of victims.

Sansa: What list?
Arya: I have a list of people I plan to kill.
Sansa: Okay honestly I know we’ve all been through some shit but can anyone just be like “Wow Sansa nice to see you.”

Pleasantries aside, Sansa lets Arya know that she’s not the only missing Stark to roll into Winterfell recently. They both head out to the Weirwood to find Bran, who musters up a semblance of a hug for this long-lost sister at least. Hey dude, last time I checked your arms still worked fine. *cough* fuckboy *cough*

Bran knows that Arya was about to head to King’s Landing to kill Cersei, at which point Sansa appears to finally come around to this list. Then he shows them both the dagger that Littlefinger gave him and hands it off to Arya. Sansa is immediately suspicious of anything that was gifted by Baelish, because she knows it comes with about 1,000 strings tied to it.

Brienne seeing the remaining Stark babies back together:

Baelish seeing the remaining Stark babies back together:

Brienne quickly recovers from her brief moment of sentimentality to embarrass Podrick in some training drills. Arya waltzes in and gives us all a brief, shimmering hope for a buddy cop spin-off starring her and Brienne when she asks for some personal training lessons. Sansa and Baelish watch from above, and it’s clear that Sansa is a little jealous that she has to share her bodyguard with another Stark girl.

The fight scene that follows is impressive, but what’s really notable is Littlefinger’s lingering glances on someone who isn’t Sansa. Either he’s impressed by Arya or sees another opportunity to manipulate the situation in his favor, but she’s having none of his knowing glances.

So, just to recap:

Jon: I rose from the dead!

Bran: I am an all-seeing bird person!

Arya: I’m a faceless child sword prodigy. 

Sansa: I’m like, meaner now? 


Back on the set of everyone’s new favorite romantic comedy, Missandei is talking to Daenerys about her concern for Greyworm.

Dany: Wait, what did I miss.
Missandei: OH GIRL.

Jon interrupts, completely oblivious to girl talk, to show Daenerys their progress. Let’s just say, Sam really came through on this one. There is a fucking mountain of Dragonglass below Dragonstone.

Jon: There’s something else I wanna show you, your grace.

While not his dick, what Jon has to show Dany is still pretty impressive. Below Dragonstone, along with all the Dragonglass, are a bunch of carvings left behind by the Children of the Forest.

The carvings show that the Children and the First Men fought together against their common enemy, the White Walkers, much like Dany and Jon need to do. Let me just say that the cave drawings of the White Walkers are highly detailed for some hieroglyphics. It got the Night King’s cheekbones looking like they just sat through a Kim K makeup session.

Dany: I will fight for you. Will fight for the North.
Jon: DOPE.
Dany: When you bend the knee.

Man, you could cut the sexual tension in this scene with a goddamn knife. Discussing allegiance by firelight? This is basically a first date by Westeros standards. Too bad Dany is probably Jon’s aunt. Though, considering we’ve all been trained to root for a twin-on-twin couple for seven seasons, I doubt the aunt/nephew thing will stop anyone. 

Outside the cave, Tyrion and Varys are waiting with news to significantly dampen the mood. Davos and Jon being there while Daenerys found out that Tyrion’s strategy had lost her the last of her allies was like when your mom made you stand by while she wrecked one of your siblings, just so you knew that you could very well be next.

Daenerys: Maybe you’re not trying to defeat your family after all.
Tyrion: I came out to have a good time and destroy my sister and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.

In a move that is only cementing their love in my mind, Dany turns to Jon for advice. She wants to fly her dragons directly to the Red Keep and burn shit down, but he tells her that doing so would make her just like every other shitty ruler that Westeros had ever had. Her victory depends on her making new, impossible things happen, not returning to the ways of her father and Cersei.

Later Davos tries to get into some good old boy talk with Jon about Daenerys, obviously forgetting that the King in the North is too busy constantly brooding and talking about the White Walkers for silly things like romance.

Davos: What do you think of her?
Jon: Idk she has a good heart, I guess.
Davos: Underneath some good boobs AYOOOOOOO.

They run into Missandei, who has some questions about Jon’s name. Apparently she comes from a place where bastards aren’t an issue because no one gets married. What a dream. When asked why she serves Dany, Missandei comes through like a true best friend should. She tells them both that Daenerys is their queen not because her blood, but because they chose her to be.

Missandei: She is our queen and we love her.
Davos: Listen up lady, no one loves anything as much as I love this angel haired grouch standing right here.

In that moment, their last remaining ally arrives on the shore: Theon and the men who saved him. You want to talk awkward reunions?

Theon: Hey buddy…didn’t realize you were here….

Theon is spared only because of his part in saving Sansa from the Boltons. He’s come back to Dragonstone to ask Dany to help him save Yara. Unfortunately, she is otherwise engaged in the most insane battle scene we’ve seen in a long-ass time.

Meanwhile, Back At The Reach

Okay so before we even get into the sheer dopeness of The Battle at the Reach, can we talk about how the show just introduced some hot-ass man named Dickon and then tried to distract us from the fact that there was a hot-ass man named Dickon by staging a battle? Jokes on them, though, because i would never forget a jaw this square. Never. 

Okay, but back to the battle…

The Battle at the Reach is the reason we watch this show. It was beautifully shot and horrifying to watch and had viewers around the world weeping over the fate of a bunch of horses who honestly did not sign up for this bullshit. They don’t understand politics?? Can we just let them be??

This is the face of a man who knows he fucked up and the face of a man who knows he’s not getting a castle:

The Dothraki ride into battle the way my friends roll in the last bar of the night: Screaming and ready for fucking blood. It doesn’t matter how long Jaime’s armies have trained in combat, they don’t fucking compare to these wild creatures who came in screaming and standing on the backs of horses while they shot arrows into the faces of their enemies.

Dany: *finally rides a dragon into battle on Westeros soil *

It was wild. Words can’t describe. Can’t wait to get fired for rewatching this at work every day this week.

While the Dothraki were busy decimating Jaime’s forces, Dany was riding around on the back of Drogon and setting fire to all the wheat that had been collected to feed the Lannister army. You know what’s rough to watch? Men being turned to ash. Both Jaime on the field and Tyrion on the sidelines are visibly shaken. For men who usually sit in safety while other die for their cause, this was a firsthand look at what their war actually means.


What really made this scene intense was the fact that there are fan favorites on both sides, very close to death. Jaime may be a flawed guy with questionable loyalties, but he’s got a good heart. Bronn is one of the few sources of comic relief left in this show. Dany is riding around, armor free, wildly unaware that there is a weapon on the ground that could actually take her and Drogon down. Tyrion is in the vicinity of fighting which always just makes me nervous. I don’t want any of these people to die but, realistically, some of them are. Probably most, if not all of them. I hate this show.

One single Dothraki goes after Bronn like it’s his fucking job, and his efforts are rewarded by taking a dragon-sized crossbow to the chest. Qyburn’s secret weapon made its way to the battlefield, and when Bronn managed to get one shot off into Drogon I screamed as if my own mother had been stabbed.

Slowed but not stopped, Daenerys circled back around to light the weapon on fire before landing and attempting to pull a 12-foot javelin out of her baby’s neck. Tyrion and Jaime see her at the same time, and the former sits in near silent horror as he watches his brother race full steam ahead at his queen.

Tyrion: You fucking idiot.
Jaime: Hold my beer.

Drogon sees Jaime and stops being injured long enough to shoot an entire stream of fire at him. He is thrown from his horse at the last minute by someone who might have been Bronn, and both go flying into a lake. This seems like a good thing until you remember that the guy is wearing what’s gotta be 20 pounds of metal armor. The screen fades to black as he sinks and the credits roll in silence except for the sound of every person in the country hyperventilating at the same time.

Is Jaime likely alive? Yes. Will that stop me from having stress dreams about this moment until we have 100% proof that he survived? Absolutely not. There are only three episodes of torture left, which means we’re all going to be living with raging adrenaline highs for the next three weeks. Stock up on inhalers, friends, the finale is coming.

Does Ed Sheeran Even Go Here? ‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap

Welcome back to Westeros, the place where everything is made up but the tears are very, very real. We’ve waited. We’ve made predictions. We’ve read fan fiction. (Just kidding). ((Not kidding)). But at last, we’ve arrived. After what feels like an entire winter of suffering, Game of Thrones is back, and it’s not fucking around. With only one season left after this, shit is bound to start getting messy. You know, because everything has been so tame and mild-mannered up this point.

So without further ado, welcome back to our weekly Game of Thrones recaps. It’s this fun tradition where I spend three hours every Sunday meticulously taking notes and pissing off anyone who tries to watch an episode with me, just so some lifelong fan can pop up in the comments to criticize our analysis and let me know that I misspelled a made-up name with too many syllables. So glad you could join us, let’s dive in.

The episode opens on a Walder Frey who is curiously alive and hosting a lavish feast for his family. Neither of these things (living or generosity) are in his nature, so it’s only been six seconds and we’re all immediately on edge. It slowly becomes clear, through a speech drenched in resentment, that his is not a flashback of Walder, but a modern day Arya disguised as the Head of House Frey, admonishing everyone in attendance (all those who took part in the Red Wedding) for the murder of the Starks.

If you thought Season 7 was going to start slow, you were probably surprised to find Arya assassinating an entire household via a poisoned toast three minutes into the episode. Seeing as how this season only has seven episodes, it looks like we’re out of time for slow burns and gradual builds to havoc. No, they went zero to fucking sixty in the time it took Arya to say “The North remembers,” and honestly I have never felt more alive. BRB, getting my first and only tattoo: “Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.”

Arya: You didn’t slaughter every one of the Starks. That was your mistake.

Arya spares the poor raped wives of the Freys, but not before telling them to RT her message.

Arya: When people ask why I was here. Tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey. Tell them Arya Stark is the baddest bitch to ever walk these halls.
Walder’s Wife: Okay but like can you write that down.

Further North at the wall, the White Walkers make their first appearance. Honestly, could have done without them this episode, my blood pressure is already outrageously high. The only thing worse than them appearing in real time, we’re being offered this view through a warg-ing Bran. Remember Hodor? Yeah. Fuck Bran.


The gate to the wall opens and the new Lord of the Night’s Watch, Edd walks out. He’s skeptical of Meera and this kid claiming to be Jon’s brother, but instead of dropping some knowledge that only a true Stark could know, Bran goes full Yoda and just lists all the horrifying shit Edd has been through. Like cool trick but that still doesn’t prove you’re a Stark? It appears to be enough for Edd though, who lets them into Castle Black.

At Winterfell, Jon is explaining his plan to everyone on what they need to do to survive from this point forward, which consists of mining dragonglass day and night and teaching every man, woman, and child to fight. Lyanna Mormont once again steals the scene by shutting down any bit of misogyny that might have sprouted in response to that decision.

Northerner: You expect me to put a sword in my granddaughter’s hands?
Lyanna: yOu ExPeCt Me To PuT a SwOrD iN mY gRaNdDaUgHtErS’s HaNdS?

Jon asks Tormund to enlists the wildings to man the wall while the Northerners ready their castles for war, because what this show lacks in light-hearted moments it makes up for in irony.

Sansa, at Jon’s side, suggests giving the castles of the traitorous Umbers and Karstarks away to loyal families who supported them in the war against Ramsey. Weirdly enough, the son of the “honorable to a fault” Ned Stark isn’t down.

Sansa: Idk maybe let’s give those castles away to people who didn’t try to murder us?

This first (of what I’m sure is to be many) public standoffs between Sansa and Jon is tense to say the least. Jon refuses to take away the ancestral homes of a family because of the sins of their fathers, which is nice in theory but literally not one single good deed has ever gone unpunished in this show.

Instead, Jon asks the two surviving members of both families in question to rise and swear fealty to House Stark. Sure, a unified North is pretty vital at this point if anyone wants to survive, but I guarantee a happy Sansa will also play a significant role there. She is noticeably upset, which means Littlefinger is nearby, twiddling his dick mustache.


But don’t worry, these siblings and potentially soon-to-be lovers get over their little skirmish but mere minutes later. Tensions may be high but after almost dying ten times over each, they recognize that they need each other more than ever. Sansa reminds Jon that there’s a lot at stake here and that previous unnamed family members didn’t necessarily have the temperament to lead in situations that were half as stressful.

Sansa: Rob and Dad were great and all but they also continuously underestimated their enemies and then died painful deaths because of it.
Jon: True.

Because nothing can be calm in Westeros for even one second, Cersei adds some more fuel to the fire, pun absolutely intended, with a raven from King’s Landing that summons Jon to come down a bend a knee to the Lannisters, or suffer the death of a traitor. Despite the conversation they JUST had about misjudging risk, Jon shrugs it off.

Jon: It seems like a lot of work for Cersei to get her southern army up here. She’s probably bluffing.
Sansa: Uh have you met her?

Sansa tells Jon what everyone in King’s Landing learned far too late through some fiery hell: don’t fucking underestimate Cersei or the lengths she will go for revenge.

Later, Brienne is schooling Gendry at sword fighting while Tormund stands nearby, daydreaming their impending nuptials. What would the wedding hashtag be? #WhenTormundMetBrienne? #BeautyAndTheWildling? #MustLoveSlaughter? #SleeplessInWinterfell?

Nearby, Sansa is trying to catch a single moment of peace in her wretched life only to be interrupted by Baelish. No one is surprised and yet everyone is still angry.

Sansa: What do you want.
Baelish: For you to be happy and safe.
Sansa: I am safe. Brienne could snap you.
Baelish: And what about happy?
Sansa: Increasingly less likely the longer you stand here breathing on my neck.

The look Brienne and Sansa share as Baelish walks away is the look that every pair of women have ever shared while trying to escape a creepy guy at a bar. Some things are universal even in fantasy worlds, and by some things I mean women’s collective distaste for lingering men.

Sansa reminds Brienne that, while an absolute creep, Littlefinger is the reason that they’re all still alive. It’s not the happiest alliance, but it is still a necessary one.

Brienne: He wants something.
Sansa: Oh I know exactly what he wants.
Brienne: ….
Sansa: Me. It’s me. I look like my mom and he wants me because of it. He is the Snape of Westeros.
Brienne: Yikes.

Over in the crispy husk that is King’s Landing, Cersei is overseeing the painting of a giant map of Westeros in the palace as a reminder of her and Jamie’s destiny. I see her flair for the dramatic has not lessened at all in the face of the death of her last child.

Cersei: You’ve been quiet since you came home. Are you mad at me?
Jaime: For burning down half the city, committing the one crime I sacrificed my honor to prevent, and then inadvertently killing our last son in the process? Nah, what could I possibly have to be mad about?
Cersei: Okay what about scared?
Jaime: Terrified to the point of arousal, yeah.

Cersei takes this already less than tender moment to let Jaime know that the brother that he freed, the one who killed their father, is now working with their enemy and heading up an armada on its way to take back Westeros. The man just can’t win these days.

Jamie guesses that Danaerys and Tyrion will land at Dragonstone and he’s definitely right. Cersei proceeds to list out their enemies to the east (Dany), to the South (the Sand Snakes), to the West (Olenna Tyrell), and the North (the Starks). I don’t think she even knows that three of those four have teamed up together on a fun sailing expedition towards her demise.

Cersei: We’re surrounded by traitors.
Jaime: You killed just about all their family members but okay.

Jaime is trying really hard to tell Cersei that they are so clearly on the losing side of this battle. She’s burned every bridge (heh) that could possibly save them and even if they managed to survive, there’s no one to pass their dynasty onto. This would be a good time to bring up Tommen and maybe how his death could be affecting them, but Cersei has never talked about her feelings before and she’s not about to start now, dammit.

With all the Freys dead, and the apparent killer still unknown, the Lannisters have no allies to back them. Jamie doesn’t see any hope in recruiting but Cersei has a plan, and it’s an unfortunate one.

It looks like Euron Greyjoy did in fact manage to build an entire fleet of ships on an island without a single tree in sight, so maybe I’ve been underestimating him all this time.

Jaime: The Greyjoys aren’t good at anything. Not one single thing.
Cersei: Except for making a fleet of ships appear out of thin air. Oh and marrying me.

In the between last season and now, Euron has transformed into what looks like the bastard son of Pacey Witter and Jack Sparrow. Not quite blonde enough for Cersei tastes, but he’ll have to do.

Euron thinks that two rightful monarchs with shitty and treasonous (read: actually good) family members should team up to take down everyone and everything in their path. This is a very on brand move for Cersei, but not so much for Jaime.

He isn’t sold, to say the least. Euron is a traitor and the man who started an unsuccessful rebellion against the Lannisters which resulted in his own exile. He also happens to be the single most confident piece of shit in the world, who proposes to Cersei by telling her that he’s always dreamt of marrying the prettiest girl in Westeros and then thanks Jaime for killing his own kin. Definitely a guy you want around for family holidays.

Cersei: Idk. You’re a liar, a cheat, and you murdered your own brother.
Euron: You should try it. Good shit.
Cersei: Literally my lifelong dream but thanks for reminding me.

When Cersei denies him, Euron promises to return to King’s Landing with a gift that will convince her to marry him. If it’s the head of another Stark direwolf I swear to GOD. Honestly kind of a cliché at this point.

In another storyline that I never needed to see again, Sam is effectively living life as the Citadel’s worst unpaid intern. He cleans chamber pots, serves gruel, and shelves books. Real talk, every single master at the Citadel needs to see a doctor. Poop shouldn’t look like that.

After what has to be months of abuse and gallons of feces, Sam finally decides to investigate the gated area in the back of the library. It’s like the restricted section at Hogwarts except twelve year olds can’t break into it with minimal effort and almost zero consequences.

During a truly gruesome autopsy, Sam asks an Archmaester if he could be granted access to the restricted section, considering he’s fought White Walkers firsthand and winter is here and other such things vital to the survival of humanity. The man isn’t swayed.

It sounds like everyone at the citadel is annoyed with Sam and his obsession with the White Walkers. Honestly, same, and we all know he’s actually telling the truth. The arch maester, while being the only who believes Sam, doesn’t seem to really care. His logic: Winters come and tragedies pass but people survive and the Wall keeps standing. It’s cool that, even in Westeros, there’s still eccentric old white men who listen to Bob Marley and think they know everything, but not particularly helpful in this situation. 

Once it’s become abundantly clear that no one is going to help him, Sam grows a pair and steals some keys to the restricted section. Harry Potter would have managed much quicker and without cleaning out all the old man shit in the Citadel but not everyone can be a hero, I guess.

His hard work pays off, because one of the stolen books reveals something rather important: the location of all the naturally occurring dragonglass in Westeros.

Sam: This seems important. Jon should know.
Gilly: I can’t even fucking read and I managed to piece that together. How are you the one in charge here.

Later on his rounds, a mysterious arm attached to a very familiar sounding man scares the shit out of Sam and demands to know if Danaerys Stormborn has arrived yet. It looks like Jorah’s search for a greyscale cure landed him in a locked room in the Citadel. Not sure how productive that will be but at least we don’t have to listen to him urgently whisper anymore.

I had two thoughts when a new scene opened on Arya riding her horse through some light snow. The first being “PLEASE BE HEADED HOME” and the second “when the fuck did Game of Thrones start using Ed Sheeran songs on its soundtrack.” Turns out they didn’t, they just started casting Ed Sheeran to play minor side characters who will likely die gruesome deaths because happy cameos aren’t a thing in Game Of Thrones land.

Turns out Ed is amongst a band of friendly warriors who offer Arya food and shelter, which immediately makes me suspicious. They tell her that they’re part of the army sent to help keep peace at the Freys, still not knowing who killed them all. Walder’s wife had one job and she clearly didn’t follow through.

Arya eats their rabbit and drinks their wine and I get that she has spent seven seasons becoming self-sufficient but she’d last about thirty seconds at a frat party. Never trust the shy guy who offers you homemade wine, Arya. Literally the first rule of survival in any situation.

Stranger who could be dangerous or a Lannister ally or literally anything bad: Why are you going to King’s Landing?
Arya: Oh I’m gonna kill the queen.
Everyone: * jovial laughter *

I’ve discovered the first real thing the Hound and I have in common, and it’s a natural distaste for rum. Maybe he also acquired his on an ill-advised spring break bender? Unclear. He’s still rolling around with the Beric and Thoros and their crew, deadest on ruining anyone’s attempt at a good time. 

The second real thing we have in common, despite existing in an alternate universe in a medieval time period, is that the Hound has a significant distaste for man buns and all that they represent. Not all heroes wear capes, but they do universally hate douchey hair trends.

The party discovers a seemingly abandoned cabin to camp in for the night, but this is clearly a farce because nothing is seemingly abandoned in this God forsaken world. Inside they find a skeleton of what looks like a man holding his daughter after a suicide of necessity. Man, I forgot what it was like to suffer through a full hour of extremely somber and heart wrenching scenes every Sunday night. Missed it.

To make things, if possible, even more sad, The Hound realized that this man and his daughter took pity on Arya and himself a couple seasons back, offering them food and shelter for the night. By way of paying him back, the Hound beat the shit out of him and stole all his food. Is this man possible wrestling with, dare I say it, such complex emotions as guilt? Talk about character development.

To immediately make up for any signs of progression, Clegane continues his streak of not making any friends by telling Beric that he’s not special and definitely not worthy of being resurrected by the Lord of Light.

The Hound: You ain’t shit.
Beric: Dude I am quite aware.

Before he can get much further into questioning every aspect of this fiery religion, Thoros summons Clegane to the fire to teach him some life lessons. The Hound hates a whole lot of things in this life, but learning lessons is probably close to the top of the list.

He stares into the fire, unimpressed, until he’s struck by a vision. The Hound sees the Wall in the fire, specifically at a point where the White Walker army is marching past a castle.  It’s clear that an internal battle is raging inside his icy heart: gut-wrenching fear or general annoyance that he now has to believe in something

Instead of addressing either emotion, the Hound decides to dig a hole in the subzero temperatures and bury the family who likely died because of him. Choosing manual labor over any kind of recognition of feelings: the straight man’s eternal struggle.

Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for. Dany and her mighty armada have arrived at Dragonstone, with actual dragons in tow. It’s an emotional moment for me and I’m not the one returning to the rightful home of my ancestors, so I can imagine she’s feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

I could watch Dany majestically stroll into this castle on loop for the rest of the week, tbh. The only thing glaringly missing from this moment is Daario, but lets not reopen old wounds. After tearing down the lingering Baratheon banner, she walks into the throne room that her family was slaughtered in and looks upon what is honestly a way cooler seat than the Iron Throne, with her loyal inner circle in tow.

Instead of sitting down she marches straight back to what I’m assuming is the war room, complete with the giant Westeros-shaped table that every major family appears to own. There must be a West Elm in the seven kingdoms.

Tyrion follows, potentially lost for words for the first time in his life. Like, what do you say when a woman gets to momentously return to her home after years upon years of hardship and suffering. “This is pretty dope” doesn’t seem to suffice. Luckily he doesn’t have to worry about it, because as always, Dany knows exactly what to say.

Danaerys: Shall we begin?

What will next week bring? Heartbreak? Death? The thwarting of another shitty Internet rumor? All are likely, but nothing more so than the fact that we’ll be here watching, drinking, and crying. Probably all at the same time. See you there.

Need A Refresher? Catch Up On All Of Last Season’s Recaps Here!