Tales from Westeros: Season 7 Episode 6 “Beyond the Wall”
A bittersweet hello to you today, Thrones fans. I am Grand Master Zed and I am your guide for the end of the world as we know it. Lets hop into the last hours of this Season 7. Once we’re done, we’ll have the next season; the final season. My final time serving the realm for Tales from Westeros. But we’ll cross that horribly depressing bridge when we come to it.
We open North of the Wall where its wight hunting season and the Suicide Squad is ready for action. Tormund answers Gendry’s queries about how the wildlings live up here without freezing to death by saying that they keep moving. “Walking’s good, fighting’s better, fucking’s best.” Tormund queries Jon about Dany and his tentativeness to bend the knee and Tormund brings up Mance and how many wildlings died because he didn’t, perhaps trying to counsel Jon to join up with Dany. Gendry brings up his beef with Thoros and Beric and the Hound tells him to man up. Normally toxically masculine and unappealing, but god damn whenever Rory McCann opens his mouth as the Hound I’m on board with whatever he’s saying. Jon talks to Jorah about his dad, about Ned, and tries to give him back Longclaw, but J Bear tells Jon to keep it.
Back in Winterfell, Sansa and Arya reminisce on the parapets of their childhood home. Arya talks about how she practiced archery when no one else was around. About how when she finally got it right, Ned was there and applauded her. She goes from 0 to 100 real fast and blames Sansa for helping the Lannisters kill their father. She reads the letter Cersei forced Sansa to write back in Season 1 telling Robb to bend the knee to Joffery. Arya chides her sister for being stupid enough to believe the Lannisters. Sansa defends that she was young. Arya gets backed into a corner when Sansa points out she did about fuck all to save Ned as well, because she too was a child. She brings the hammer down when she says that they won Winterfell back because of her and her alone, with the help of her connections in the Vale. And she’s not wrong, Jon was in dire straits until the Vale showed up. The tension swings back in Arya’s favor when Sansa asks what her intentions with the letter are. Arya calls Sansa’s fears out by saying if the Northern Lords knew about this, they wouldn’t be happy with the Lady of Winterfell having done Cersei’s bidding in the past. Arya and Sansa split with some serious beef hanging in the air.
Back up North of the Wall, Tormund playfully jokes with a super unimpressed Hound who believes that Tormund has homosexual intentions on him and teaches him the word “dick”. Tormund assures him he’s straight and that he has plans on Brienne. Beric claims that Jon doesn’t look like Ned and starts to lecture him about how it’s important that he serves the Lord of Light because Melisandre used his magic to raise him from the dead. He claims that death is the enemy, “the first enemy and the last” and that even though death will win out in the end, they still have to fight. Jon quotes a bit from his Night’s Watch vows, “I am the shield that guards the realms of men”, which now seems to be their job. The Hound spots the mountain in the shape of an arrowhead he saw in his fire vision and claims the gang is getting close to the army of the dead.
Back on Dragonstone, Dany and Tyrion chat. She praises Tyrion for not being heroic, which bruises his ego a bit, but as she claims, heroes often do stupid things and die, which isn’t entirely untrue. Tyrion jabs at Dany for Jon’s apparent crush on her that she denies. Tyrion defeats all of Dany’s talking points about her soon to be queenship and says that they’re rolling up to King’s Landing strapped with two powerful armies and three dragons. Anything goes south, the realm burns. Tyrion says Jaime is down with keeping a grip on the Lannister forces so long as Little T makes sure his new dragon queen doesn’t Dracarys all over the damn place. Dany doesn’t take Tyrion’s following critique too well and when he brings up the issue of succession, she only doubles down. Tyrion is trying to get through to her but she doesn’t trust him due to his repeated military failures in recent weeks. As Dany says, they will discuss her successor after she takes the throne.
North of the Wall, the Suicide Squad spot a bear while walking through a blizzard and notice it has blue eyes. A nameless guard gets ganked by said bear and the ladies get in formation. The camera pans around the circle of men and the bear attacks. Beric and Thoros attack them with their wildfire swords, lighting the beast up. The Hound, due to his fear of fire, is tentative to attack and the bear pounces on Thoros, biting at his chest and shaking him around like a rag doll. After Jorah one shots the bear with a dragonglass dagger, the crew inspects Thoros’ wounds and J Bear suggests they go back to Eastwatch. “Flask.” the red priest chokes out. He chugs it all, and Beric uses his flaming sword to cauterize the wound. Walk it off, Thor!
Back in Winterfell, Sansa chats with Littlefinger about Arya’s betrayal. LF plays the fool as usual and tries to pit Sansa against Arya. Sansa seems worried that if the Northern Lords find out, they’ll get outta Dodge, leaving the North fractured and defenseless against the Night King. LF tries to push the narrative that even though Arya is a kookoo assassin now, she’s still her sister and wouldn’t betray family, and then says that Sansa should enlist Brienne’s help. But he seems to be pushing more of a bodyguard angle instead of a peacemaker angle for ol Brienne the Beauty.
Back up way North, the gang trudge toward Arrowhead Mountain, and we get the backstory behind two old soldiers. Jorah asks Thoros how drunk he was when he charged through the breach at Pyke back during the Greyjoy Rebellion, and Thoros answers that he has no recollection of doing so. Jorah remarks that Thor’s flaming sword made the ironborn think he was some kind of god, but J Bear just comments on the Red Priest’s bravery; but Thoros just chooses to assert that he was drunk. This was a really awesome nod to two characters that have an interesting shared moment in their history. The party hears some noise up ahead and sees some wights marching down in a ravine. They plant a decoy fire, and the Walker and his small pack of wights take the bait. Jon and Co. surprise them and when Jon kills the Walker, the wights all die Attack of The Clones style. This shows that the Walkers are in control of the wights and if they kill the Night King, they might just one shot the whole army. For whatever reason, a wight is still alive and the gang capture it. In distress, it sends out a wail that causes other wights to come a runnin. With some time, Jon wisely sends Gendry (their fastest runner apparently) back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Dany for support. Tormund grabs Gendry’s hammer and that young bastard starts bookin it. The gang run until they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, a thinly frozen lake and an army of wights. They run over the now perfectly sturdy ice and make it to a rock at the center of the lake. A nameless extra gets ganked by some wights but in doing so cracks the ice, creating a domino effect that causes some of the undead army to drown. The wight army surrounds them. Safe though they may be for the moment, the wights are far too numerous for them to deal with. Things look grim for our heroes, but this is what the threat is all about. The sheer numbers and the mindless control is what makes the White Walkers so dangerous. Gendry makes it back to the Wall and collapses, but Davos comes to grab him. The lake heroes sleep fitfully until they learn that Thoros has frozen to death. Beric covers him and mutters a prayer to the Lord of Light. The Hound drinks the rest of Thoros’s booze. He’s trying, you guys. Jon says that they must burn Thoros so he isn’t resurrected as a wight, so Beric does just that. Some plans get bounced around: kill the walkers, wait for Dany, kill the Night King, but we cut without seeing anything.
Back in Winterfell, Maester Wolken gives Sansa a raven: an invitation to King’s Landing. DUN DUN. Sansa asks Brienne to represent her at this meeting, but Brienne has some understandable qualms about leaving her alone with Littlefinger. Brienne tries to press on, but Sansa gives her the boot. Brienne, ever dutiful, obeys. I’m into how ride or die Brienne is for Sansa, but lets hope that she didn’t just send her most valuable ally several miles South.
At Dragonstone, Dany hops aboard one of her dragons to Tyrion’s protestations. Dany wants to ride off and be little miss badass, but Tyrion raises the point that Dany is kinda the linchpin of this whole operation. “If you die, we’re all lost.” What do you guys think happens? She listens? NOPE. She rides off with what might as well be two middle fingers up on her way out. But presumably she’s going to help Jon, so, I’ll give her a pass on not listening this time.
The frozen lake remains frozen. Out of boredom, or perhaps frustration, Sandy Clegs beans a wight with a rock. On his second attempt, he undershoots and showcases to the (now apparently intelligent?) wights that the lake has frozen over and they could cross. A test wight is sent over the lake as the lads gear up for battle. Why the entire army doesn’t cross and gank them, I have no idea. They hold off for a little bit until the numbers game starts to mess with them. Jon puts out the command to fall back. For a moment it looks scary for our favorite wildling ginger, but an assist by the Hound saves his skin just in time. The lads make their last stand, perhaps the greatest squad Westeros has ever known. They will die fighting. Suddenly, a dragon save! That’s right, those scaly SOB’s shows up and starts turning the wight army into barbecue. Drogon lands with Dany on its back and the gang hurry atop it. One of the Night King’s flunkies hands him a spear, and it doesn’t take a Three Eyed Raven to tell you he’s about to take aim. Jon decides to kill some more wights for whatever reason and the Night King takes the gold medal in the javelin throw, hitting Viserion dead on. The dragon crashes and dies unceremoniously on the ice. Jon squares up with the Night King, but he sees him gearing up to take another shot. Hastily, Jon tells Dany to leave and is tackled by some wights. Their combined weight cracks the ice and sends Jon plummeting into the freezing water. The Night King’s next spear misses by an ass hair as Drogon takes off. Jon somehow makes it out of the water, gets to his feet and is noticed by the wights. It looks like the end for our King in the North before his plot armor proves too thick for death. Benjen Stark aka Coldhands shows up and gives Jon his horse. This is the first time Jon has seen Benjen since season 1 and their reunion lasts for only a moment before Benjen sends Jon on his way. As the nephew looks back, the uncle stands his ground but is eventually overtaken by the sheer numbers of the wights. Its really heartbreaking when you consider how vehemently Jon tried to convince his fellow Night’s Watch men that Benjen was still alive and how he was lured to his death at their hands by saying the aforementioned uncle had finally made it back to Castle Black. RIP Benjen, you were a good undead man.
The men arrive back at Eastwatch with the captured wight in tow. Beric claims that he and Sandor will meet again and in true Hound fashion, Sandor replies, “Fucking hope not.” I mean, Sandy Clegs never asked for any of this. He was living a peaceful life before the Brotherhood intervened, and now here he is, North of the Wall, surviving an army of wights and riding on the back of a dragon. A wild ride for anyone, even someone who’s lived as crazy an existence as Sandor has.
Up on the wall, Jorah tries to get Dany to go, but she’s clearly still in mourning. Or is she maybe waiting for someone? The horn blares. A single sound. Riders returning. Or in this case, rider. Jon arrives on the back of Benjen’s horse and is stripped of his wet clothes by Davos and some others. Dany, watching closeby, finally sees Jon’s scars and proof of his taking a knife in the heart. She looks understandably shocked, but what’s gonna be even more awkward is when Jon tells her that Melisandre, the reason these two even met in the first place, is the one who brought him back to life.
Back in Winterfell, Sansa goes to Arya’s room to do some snoopin and finds a bag with a face in it. She pulls out a second that appears to be the face of Walder Frey. Arya ninjas her way into the room, frightening Sansa into threatening to call her guards. Arya states that her guards aren’t here, basically stating that she is at the mercy of the younger Stark sister. Arya explains about her faces and her Faceless Man training, and launches into some general mind games. Arya threatens to take Sansa’s face and become Lady of Winterfell, and you can see that Sansa is visibly shook. Arya hands Sansa her dagger and leaves, with both the mic dropped and the ball in her court.
Back on the boat, Jon wakes up to Dany by his bedside. Immediately, like the good guy he is, he apologizes profusely for the death of Dany’s dragon. Jon knows that the engines of destruction are like children to Dany and that she must be devestated, which she is. Dany claims that it wasn’t a total loss that now she has seen the threat and pledges her powers to his cause. In return, Jon bends the knee. Seems like reciprocity. Dany wonders if she deserves it. She doesn’t. Jon says she does. She doesn’t. The two stare longingly at each other and Dany leaves without even a “you were right”. Its the kinda stare where if you listen closely, you can hear thousands of fanfics being written at once.
It appears that the wight army is pulling something out of the water with insanely long chains. Now, a friend of mine has been calling this plot point since the beginning of the season and like many of our friends, I pooh pooh’ed him, mostly because I wanted to believe the good guys had a shot. But as soon as I saw them pulling the dragon, Viserion, out of the water, I knew it was too late. After yanking the lump up on the ice, big homie Night King steps up and touches it. The music swells as Westeros’s fate is sealed, and the dragon awakes; blue eyes shimmering.
Now, I’m sure I’m not wrong when I say that this show has a past of having their penultimate episodes of the season as the “holy shit” episode, where the most ish hits the fan. Now with this episode, I can say it doesn’t end quite as bloody as some (looking at you, Red Wedding) but it does a nice job of giving us that last barb with the ice dragon right at the end to get you talking around the water cooler. But some great moments this episode, but lets not dawdle! Onto the finale!
(This is coming out well late I understand, (WordPress’ draft feature is amazing) and I will catch up with both the finale of this season and the premiere of the new season 8 later today! 4/18/19- GMZ)
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