WARNING: If you haven’t seen Season 7 Episode 6, Beyond The Wall, I’d advise you to get outta here until you’re caught up.
So where do we even start with this one? The famed penultimate episode of season 7 – I guess episode 6 is the new 9. Let’s be honest, we knew that something big was coming our way in this episode as from season 1, it has always been the one to grab us by the throat, shake us up, and leave us wanting more. Let’s take a moment to revisit a few of those gripping moments as we head towards the finale of yet another season.
Ask a fan which moment it was that first had them gripped by the hands of George R.R. Martin and many will reply with the death of the honorable Ned Stark. This was when we realised that Game of Thrones was no ordinary T.V. show and that we should brace ourselves. Gone were the safety blankets of traditional storytelling with which we used to comfort ourselves in moments of strife, surely the protagonist can’t die. A friend of mine has been catching up recently and the below message that I received perfectly demonstrates this. Oh sweet summer child.
This episode has become widely known as The Red Wedding, in which a lot of blood was shed, more specifically Stark blood. Admittedly, I was a little late to the whole Game of Thrones thing, but even I knew of an elusive Red Wedding that I was apparently never going to be ready for. I showed up to work the next day, still reeling from the horrors, just to be laughed at in the lunch room and told that I knew nothing. As if seeing Robb Stark, his wife, his unborn baby Eddard (ugh, my heart) be slaughtered wasn’t traumatic enough. Oh and they had to kill his direwolf, Grey Wind for good measure. Not forgetting the horrific slashing of Catelyn’s throat after she’d witnessed the whole darn massacre. Clearly, I’m still a bit sore about this one, as is the same friend who just witnessed Ned’s death.
For me and many others, The Battle of the Bastards (or B.O.B) immediately became the pinnacle of all fight scenes that we’ve witnessed over the years. The archetypal good vs. evil, Jon Snow vs. Ramsay (the devil) Bolton. But by this stage in the game we knew what tends to happen to those we hold dear.
The most remarkable thing about this sequence is not the scale of it, the countless extras, or that the stakes were so high. It’s the emotional turmoil that was inflicted. Showrunners Benioff and Weiss dragged the audience right onto the battlefield and despite how we were (probably) at home in our pyjamas, we were petrified. The uninterrupted minute long shot, that is now known as Jon’s fog of war, features Kit Harington in a brutal struggle for survival hacking and dodging his way through bloody carnage. Jon narrowly avoids multiple gruesome deaths, not by his great fighting ability but seemingly by luck. This only reinforces the point that we should all know by now: never. predict. Game of Thrones.
This brings us to the most recent penultimate episode, where we saw a seemingly random (but badass) band of characters set off above the wall on a
suicide noble mission. I’ve already voiced my grievances with said mission here. In anticipation, we were preparing ourselves for the worst – who’s turn was it next on the chopping block? Our dearest Jon, wise-cracking Tormund, or poor friend-zoned Jorah? Nope, it was… Viserion. Dany’s dragon/child was shot out of the sky by the Night King himself, who displayed some rather impressive ice javelin skills. If there’s an undead version of the Olympics above the wall, he should definitely consider going for it. Watching Viserion fall from the sky and slump to the depths of the icy lake was indeed painful, along with hearing poor Drogon’s cries, however something much worse was still to come. Not even that zombie polar bear was enough to prepare us for the ICE DRAGON. Viserion is now an undead zombie dragon and this show has become a show with not only dragons, but with zombie dragons and I’m not complaining.
Heads up! There’s not much time left to save 11% on The Game of Thrones Tours where Hodor (Kristain Nairn) recently made a surprise appearance.