Oh boy this is an awkward situation now isn’t it. Over the last six weeks I have been talking about why each season of Game of Thrones is the best, or worst in one case, but now I get to the middle child equivalent for the show, the seventh season. I’ll admit it, I used to love season seven and would defend it from any criticism, but having re-watched it over the last week I’m finding less and less than I enjoy about it. This is, of course, because we now know exactly how Game of Thrones ends and there’s no room for juicy speculation about the future, and we also know that the ending of the show is weaker than Robin Arryn.
However, I’m trying to be professional about this (stop laughing at me) and so I’m going to list the five best things about season seven. I’m dropping all pretence about calling this the best season as that joke is as dead as Robb Stark, and wasn’t even that funny when he was still alive. Let’s get on with it!
Beyond The Wall Banter
Despite the shortcomings of the series, it’s still nice to see characters who have had years to flesh out their own stories finally meeting for the first time. Take Tormund and the Hound for example; these two have never had cause to meet previously but here they are arguing about the latter’s ill temper and sharing their thoughts on the subject of Brienne. Jorah and Thoros were a clear highlight as well when recounting the siege of Pyke, which it transpires during this conversation that Thoros doesn’t even remember it.
Jorah also had a great moment with Jon, with Jon offering the Valyrian steel sword given to him by Jorah’s father in season one.
The Dragon Pit Gathering
The gathering of all essential characters in one location was as tense and exciting as we had hoped it would be. A clear highlight is the thirty second segment where nobody is talking and several characters are sharing awkward glances around at each other while they wait for Daenerys to arrive fashionably late on the back of Drogon.
The look of horror on Cersei’s face when the Hound reveals the wight they had captured in the previous episode is one of my favourite still images of the season, as well as the earlier reunion between Tyrion, Bronn and Pod.
Overall it serves as a good ending to an average season, though I think a lot of long term viewers would have liked to see a little bloodshed, as after all the talk about how dangerous most of these characters are everybody leaves the meeting without so much as a scratch on them.
Blood! We want to see blood!
The Caravan Attack
Finally! After years of hype and build-up we got to see how the Dothraki contends with a Westerosi army. Pretty damn well as it turns out! In retaliation for Euron wiping out her side of the Iron Fleet and capturing her Dornish allies, Daenerys takes flight on Drogon to attack the Lannister army in a direct assault. As you’d expect, a gigantic dragon breathing jets of fire and ten thousand Dothraki screamers on horseback carve through Queen Cersei’s men like a hot knife through butter, though the latter were not without their own surprises.
Wielding the scorpion catapult whose design had been upgraded by Hand of the Queen (to Cersei) Qyburn, Ser Bronn of the Blackwater managed to one-shot Drogon (not fatally) with one of the cruelly hooked spears the scorpion fires, forcing the dragon to drop suddenly out of the sky. Jaime Lannister’s mad charge at Daenerys in a bid to abruptly end the war is cut short when Bronn rugby tackles him into a lake to avoid an imminent roasting by the suddenly recuperated Drogon. The episode ends with Jaime sinking down into the dark depths of the lake, weighed down by his armour, and some viewers actually believed the showrunners would allow one of their main characters to die in such an anti-climactic way..
We can look back and laugh now..
Despite all the times I have watched Game of Thrones, the death of a dragon remains among the most shocking. Impaled by an ice spear thrown by the Night King, Viserion plummets from the sky awash in smoke and blood, crashing through the frozen lake surface and disappearing into the cold depths.
Of the many criticisms this episode attracts, my biggest gripe isn’t with the short time in which Daenerys arrives to save the day (though that is infuriatingly ignorant on the producers part), it is with the massive chains the White Walkers appear to conjure from thin air. Hauling Viserion’s corpse out of the lake so the Night King can reanimate him is a cool plot point but in practise makes precisely no sense whatsoever.
Viserion being used to melt a segment of the Wall in the season’s final moments was incredible, and despite all the bullshit it took to get to that moment a part of me wants to say it was worth it.
A Finger In The Bum
This line still makes me laugh I’m ashamed to say.
Euron Greyjoy was a criminally under-used character after all the screen time previous villains, Joffrey and Ramsay, received. A lot of book readers, myself included, lament that some of his best quotes and exploits were not included in the show, though that is likely because some of them are unbelievably dark. His playful attempts at banter with Jaime in the throne room are his most comical appearances, and he proves quite masterful at getting under Jaime’s skin when speaking about Cersei, a character previously thought to be relatively unshakeable.
Thanks for reading why season seven is definitely a season of Game of Thrones. Not the worst and certainly not the best, but fairly entertaining if you’re willing to part ways with a lot of the world building the previous six seasons put a lot of effort into. Next up I’ll be watching season eight, which I’m not looking forward to, and so I’ll report back here next week with how that went. Speak to you then!