Do you, like Jon Snow, feel a hole in your heart now that Season Seven of Game of Thrones is over and you have to wait until 2019 (!!!) for Season Eight? You’re welcome here, friend.
Instead of writing a traditional review of what has been a rather pivotal season, I have awarded moments that capture both the best and the worst of these past seven episodes. There is no jury here, it’s just me, and as Drew Carey says, “everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.”
Shall we begin?
Most ‘omg yes’ moment – Loot Train Attack, ‘The Spoils of War’
It’s always much more interesting when directors reveal vital information to their audience but keep it hidden from their characters, as opposed to the other way around. We’ve all known Dany and her dragons exist, but this is something the Lannisters have never believed. Seeing the dragons in combat, then, is so spectacular because we finally see characters who denounced the existence of dragons suddenly having to battle one. And, of course, all the fire and carnage is pretty fun.
Runner-up: Jaime leaving Cersei ,‘The Dragon and the Wolf’
Look, in his heart Jaime is a good guy, there’s no two ways about it. And in a way, he kinda sorta made Bran the three-eyed raven (too far? Ok…). All I’m saying is, I hope this time he’s done with Cersei for real.
Most ‘omg nooo’ moment – Jon and Dany pulling a Jack and Rose on that boat ,‘The Dragon and the Wolf’
I am not here for Janaerys (Aegaerys?). Not here at all. Perhaps the only redeeming factor of this union is the faces they’ll make when they find out they’re nephew and aunt. To the writers’ credit, however, the incest angle is a bold way to put the audience’s moral compass into question. After all, we’re too comfortably used to rooting for the two good protagonists to get together. But still, the ‘sister-brother’ bad couple vs. the ‘aunt-nephew’ good couple is a little too neat for me. And poor Tyrion caught in the middle of it all, seems like incest follows wherever he goes…
Runner-Up: The Hound and his rock, ‘Beyond the Wall’
Here’s the thing – I don’t know much about skipping stones on water, but I do know that stones do not skip on ice. So what was even the point? I mean, maybe the wights could have figured out the lake is frozen on their own, but surely the Hound didn’t help in terms of buying time.
Most ‘wtf?!’ moment – Ed Sheeran, ‘Dragonstone’
Ed Sheeran. Need I say more? What’s worse than agreeing to cast arguably the most easily identifiable pop star of this generation was the absolute disregard to even try make it work. It’s lazy. Starting the scene with him singing off-screen? Strike One. His cringe-y response to Arya’s question about the song, (i.e. “it’s a new one”)? Strike Two. Having Arya sit right next to him so that he’s in frame even without any dialogue? Strike Three.
Runner-Up: TIE between Bran’s return and Euron – ‘The Queen’s Justice’
Helpful tip #1: when you’re seeing your sister after many years (who spent most of those years thinking you were dead, by the way) maybe don’t mention how pretty she looked the night she got married to a sadistic rapist?
Helpful tip #2: don’t ask your crush’s brother (who also happens to be her on-and-off boyfriend) if she likes “a finger in the bum”. It’s just not classy, you know?
Needless to say, the writers could have made much better scriptwriting choices here…
Most heartbreaking death – Viserion, ‘Beyond the Wall’
There are many layers to this. If you think about it, the dragons are the only characters we’ve seen from pre-birth to adulthood. So losing one of them was an ice cold stab in our hearts too. What makes this death perhaps the most catastrophic death on the show is of course the fact that Viserion is now a wall-breaking-zombie-dragon. Also, just take a moment and imagine the emotional potency of the scene when Dany will confront and battle an undead version of her child.
Runner-up: Uncle Benjen, ‘Beyond the Wall’
As if killing Viserion wasn’t enough in one episode, we also lost Uncle Benjen. An inspiring figure in Jon’s life, he was additionally the only ‘true’ relative Jon had. Jon’s father was really his uncle, his half-siblings are really his cousins, and his new girlfriend is really his aunt. Kid could use a break here.
Most redeeming death – Littlefinger, ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’
In a season where surprises were rare, Littlefinger’s death was a surprise I warmly welcomed. For a moment it seemed as though he had succeeded in creating a rift between the Stark sisters, which was frustrating precisely because the sisters have matured into very different but very similar characters. Sansa and Arya both became the queen and warrior, respectively, they wanted to be as children. However, in their journeys, both faced traumatizing horrors and the realization that the world isn’t what they expected it to be. So to see them both squabbling over Littlefinger’s petty games felt like an unfortunate distraction from what could have been a much more interesting plotline, where perhaps the sisters could have finally bonded over their shared suffering. At least we got Littlefinger’s death out of it.
Runner-up: Lady Olenna, ‘The Queen’s Justice’
Lady Olenna’s revelation of her role in Joffrey’s death was more surprising than the death itself. At this point, I thought we were all done with Joffrey’s death and there wasn’t much else to say – but Olenna’s revelation set in motion Jaime’s eventual decision to leave Cersei, and certainly played a defining role in the dynamic between Cersei and Tyrion in the finale.
Most irritating character – Dany
Dany’s rise to power began as a fascinating story of how a woman learned to love her rapist husband. However, after she put her faith in a witch-doctor and killed said husband, her rise to power has been questionable. Yes, she freed slaves, yes, the unsullied chose to serve her… but so far the only reason anyone is choosing her side is because she “claims” to be the rightful heir… and because she has dragons?
What made her particularly irritating this season was her blindness to her sense of entitlement, which is a shame because there is so much more potential to make that blindness interesting. For instance, focusing on Dany’s “mad” behavior, following in her father and brother’s footsteps, coming into conflict with the genuinely well-intentioned side of her. Instead, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe that Dany simply wants to create a better world, rather she seems to be just as power-hungry as her enemies.
What better example of this can there be than the moment in‘Eastwatch’ when Dany “asked” the Lannister army to kneel, with Drogon casually perched behind her, completely disregarding Tyrion’s advice to show mercy.
You would think after Battle of the Bastards, Jon would know having numbers on his side is kind of important if he wants to win a war… or make it out alive. Nope. Somehow he thinks his chances are better when it is five men to thousands of the undead.
Most exciting character – Tyrion
Tyrion’s best moments of the entire show undoubtedly were when he was hand to Tywin. His role in Blackwater Bay goes down as one of the greatest moments in the show, in my opinion. Things had dulled a little when he fell into Dany’s shadow, but it was great seeing Tyrion the Hand back in action this season. If Dany annoyingly loses sight of her abuses of power, Tyrion acts as her foil, instilling in her some sense of moral justice.
More than that, this season we also got to see Tyrion struggle between his allegiance to Dany and his Lannister roots. At the Loot Train Attack, when he’s muttering “don’t do it, you idiot” as Jaime is charging towards Dany and Drogon, it feels quite ambivalent – he could be saying “don’t do it” to protect Dany, but it’s quite likely he doesn’t want to watch Jaime getting burned to a crisp either.
If Dany seems blind to her entitlement, Cersei bathes in it. She knows she has no legitimate claim to the throne, but the crucial difference is that she does not care.
So there you have it – my list of fake awards. On the whole, this season definitely moved the plot farther than three ordinary seasons combined. It was good to see things move faster than usual, but a lot of interesting storylines were compromised along the way. Overall, it definitely wasn’t the best season of Thrones but it wasn’t the worst. Either way, the hype train for Season 8 is most definitely charging full speed ahead.