David and Adam Shimer are twin brothers — and close Game of Thrones watchers. David is an incoming senior at Yale and the editor in chief of the Yale Daily News. Adam is an incoming senior at Northwestern University. Nicole is their older sister, and like Cersei, she has on more than one occasion wanted to murder her two brothers, but hasn’t!
Tywin Lannister In Memoriam Award for Best Political Maneuvering: Clearly Cersei [NS + AS believed her fake-alliance-proclamation, we’d both be the stupidest Lannister].
Eddard and Robb Stark In Memoriam Award for Worst Political Maneuvering: Lord Baelish went from smirking in a dark corner to getting his throat slashed with incredible speed.
Gilly-and-Her-Baby Award for Most Boring Storyline: The unbearably long walk to the dragon pit.
Jaime Lannister’s Right Hand Award for Best Fight Sequence: Not much violence this episode… I guess Jon’s live demonstration on the best practices for killing a dead man?
You Know Nothing Jon Snow’ Award for Best Quote: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
Breaking it Down
AS: Cersei once proclaimed that “power is power” and twice this episode she could have used the power of her zombie-Mountain to execute both of her brothers. In each instance, she had the lives of one of her brothers — one the only person she loves in the world, and the other the one she most hates — at her fingertips. Both times the “most murderous woman in Westeros” opted to spare the lives of her family. Jaime and Tyrion both believed their sister wasn’t capable of executing them in cold-blood, and yet watching the Jaime scene unfold, I absolutely thought he was a dead man. But Cersei proved me wrong. She still has the ability to surprise, not just once, but multiple times in one episode: the theatrics with Euron, her manipulation of Tyrion, and the final reveal that she had lied to Daenerys right after Jon nobly refused to do the same. Cersei understands who she is. Rather than shy away from her worst impulses, she embraces them. Now with literally every character on the show either already in the North or marching in that direction, Cersei alone refuses the call. After she took the Iron Throne at the end of Season 6, it was hard to believe that she would survive for long with Daenerys and three dragons heading in her direction (RIP Viserion). But Cersei has shown that no matter the cost, she intends to stay amongst the living.
NS: It should have been obvious to Dany and crew, especially Tyrion, that worst-person-ever Cersei would renege on her word. In an episode filled with predictable outcomes, her behavior was no exception. No one would have expected the Stark sisters, who after the deaths of nearly their entire family and years of solitude among enemies, to turn on each other. And they didn’t! But maybe the Night King won’t use his newfound dragon to finally take down the wall, as has been foreshadowed across 7 seasons… oh wait, that happened too. Obnoxious sexual tension between Jon and Dany acted on? Yup. Big reveal that Jon is a Targaryen that was more or less already revealed last season? Yup. Basically anything you’ve read in a Buzzfeed article on GOT? Yup. But for me, the biggest let down was the dragon pit. I had hoped for an old school GOT moment, where a key character would end up beheaded or where Cersei would blast a room of enemies with wildfire. Over the first six seasons, GOT trained the viewership to expect the unexpected. But in the season seven finale, the writers delivered a predictable episode that, while satisfying, also felt increasingly detached from the show’s initial style.
AS: While Littlefinger’s demise may have been predictable, it did not make his death any less satisfying. He has officially smirked creepily from a dark corner for the last time! I was worried about Arya and Sansa when they sent away their protector Brienne, but it turned out that they were more than capable of protecting themselves. Littlefinger attempted to sow the same chaos that he had created with brutal efficiency in the past, but this time he failed spectacularly. “When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything,” Jon said to Tyrion and Daenerys, but his words rang most true when put into the context of Littlefinger’s fall. As Jon, Dany, Jaime and others departed for Winterfell, and the White Walkers descended south, Littlefinger’s petty machinations began to feel more and more irrelevant. How did his scheming to turn sister against sister fit into the larger framework of the dead versus the living? He was still playing his game with outdated rules. His calculations never accounted for a creepy, all-seeing three-eyed raven, for White Walkers, or for dragons. He felt like an artifact from earlier seasons. Fittingly, Arya got to cross another name off her shrinking list by killing Baelish - a proudly self-made man - with his very own blade.
DS: Random Thoughts:
• Bran has turned into quite the godlike figure, forcing characters to answer for sins they thought would never be uncovered.
• One of the biggest questions heading into next season is what exactly happened at the end of the meeting between Cersei and Tyrion. Did Tyrion know that his sister would fail to follow through on her promise and, if so, does that amount to treason? Or after revealing that he has never wanted House Lannister to fall, did Tyrion betray Dany more directly? If so, how?
• Credit to the showrunners for placing the Jaime/Cersei showdown right after the Littlefinger ambush. It made me believe, if only for a moment, that we were about to witness a second execution.
• The magical wall that has stood for thousands of years… obliterated to shreds by a single dead dragon?
• Theon having the capacity to get the crap beaten out of him is a scenario in which his stint as Reek was actually helpful.
• Everyone always talks about Ned — how much they miss him and how honorable he was. Why does no one mention Catelyn? I miss Catelyn, and Arya and Sansa should too!