Every Tuesday this season, a few of us here at The Comeback gather to reflect on the previous episode of Game of Thrones and predict what might happen next week and beyond.

Last week, we looked back at episode six, “Beyond The Wall,” and some of us wrote about our frustration with the sixth episode’s writing. Now it’s time to discuss the Season 7 finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf.”

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Grade that episode! Also, the season! Where does this season and episode rank for you?

David Lauterbach: I’ll give this one an A- and probably the second- or third-best this season. As for the season as a whole, I’m partial to the first three seasons, so this one is in the middle of the pack for me.

Andrew Bucholtz: I thought this episode was a B-plus. The show’s still facing the problems of bad writing, but it’s executing the writing it has quite well. And there were a couple of great twisty moments in Littlefinger’s trial and the Jaime-Cersei conversation.

Alex Putterman: I’ll give the episode an A-. It cleaned up some of the problems its predecessors faced and gave us a nice mix of things we wanted to see and things we didn’t quite expect to see. If we judge on a scale of all television seasons, this season also gets an A-. But if we judge it compared to previous GoT seasons, it’s a C. Pacing problems, plot holes, predictability. It was just uneven overall. I think we have to say it was the worst season we’ve seen of this show… while still being better than anything else on TV.

Matt Clapp: 9.5/10 for the episode. 9.0/10 for the season. Second-best episode of the season behind Episode Four, “The Spoils of War”.

Taylor Nigrelli: I’ll go with B+ for the episode and season. This episode was maybe 20th or so best in the series. It’s hard to say how good the season without the benefit of much reflection time, but it’s certainly behind six. The finale of last season was a height that probably won’t be reached again.

Jeff Snyder: The episode has to rank among some of the best (A+). There was just so much payoff that it felt really satisfying. The season was probably a B+ or an A-.

Grade that final scene. Where does it rank among the other six season’s final scenes? 

DL: Spectacle-wise, this was the best final scene of a season by far because it’s something we’ve been waiting years for. As for the best season final scene, that honor still belongs to Season 1.

AB:The final scene was fine. The dragon destroying The Wall felt a bit predictable, but it was executed well. My one complaint here was not showing what happened to Tormund and Beric, whether that was their death or their survival.

AP: I do not have the type of memory that lets me recall and rank final scenes, but it was pretty chilling. Nothing gets you excited for a far-away next season than an ice dragon breathing blue fire(?).

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

MC: 9.2/10. The only reason my grade isn’t higher is because of how predictable the scene was once we saw The Night King acquire the dragon. But it was amazing to watch. And I’ll say it’s the third-best final scene.

TN: I’ll give that scene an A. The final scenes are generally pretty epic, so I’ll go: 1. 6, 2. 7, 3. 5, 4. 1, 5. 2, 6. 3, 7. 4

JS: The final scene was an A, and ranks pretty highly among the others. The White Walkers have been this nebulous threat for seasons, and now here they are, through the Wall. Winter is here.

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty and start off with the Dragonpit. What did you think of that scene with all our favorites (minus the Starks) in the same place?

DL: What I loved about the early seasons of GoT that have been missing in recent seasons were the scenes where a bunch of people, or even just a couple, would go head-to-head with words. That’s what we saw this week in the Dragonpit and it was marvelous.

AB: The lead-up to this was good, especially with Bronn and Tyrion, and the Dragonpit scene had its moments, especially the wight not jumping out at first (and the Hound wondering where it was) and the horror from Cersei and Jaime (and intrigue from Qyburn) as it attacked. And it was cool to see so many important characters together. But the general plot still feels dumb on Team Dany’s part.

AP: Fun banter, fun reunions, somewhat bizarre action. Euron’s decision to storm away seemed rash (though it was later explained), and Jon’s decision not to just accept the truce was bizarre, if characteristic. It was definitely cool to see all those characters in one pit, though.

TN: The scene was well-paced, well-written and well-done, but it kind of stops making sense with the later reveal. So if Euron was going to get the Golden Company anyway, why did he come to the meeting at all? Did they know there was going to be a perfect opportunity for him to leave? Hell, did anyone care that he was there or even whether he came? What was the point of all that?

JS: In short, the scene was well-acted, well-shot, and well-written. You got everything you want from Game of Thrones. Politicking, backstabbing, dragons, a bit of action. That section was the crystalized essence of Game of Thrones.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

How bad were you hoping for a Cleganebowl?

AB: I’m glad we didn’t actually get one here; it wouldn’t have felt right for the setting. But I liked the Hound planting the seeds of one.

AP: It would have been fun, but in all the hype, no one quite explained how it would serve the plot. It looks like we’ll instead get the matchup we’ve been looking for as part of the coming Cersei-Dany war, which should give it some higher stakes.

MC: Badly, and I was expecting it, especially when The Hound approached his Frankenstein-esque brother.

TN: We all want a Cleganebowl, but it has to be the right moment. It’s not time yet.

JS: Ain’t no brakes on this hypetrain. Sandor said it’s happening. I’m more hopeful of it happening now than I was before the scene.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Were you surprised that Cersei didn’t spring a trap and kill some of her enemies?

DL: Yes! Although she kind of did spring a non-lethal trap in a way with Euron leaving to get the Golden Company.

AB: I was; I expected some out-and-out violence here. But this plan’s actually even cleverer on her part. She probably loses to the dragons, but lying this way has its advantages.

AP: I was surprised there wasn’t at least some deception, but then again Dany had a huge army and a dragon and everything. If Cersei had tried some shit, the war would’ve been over right there. She wound up duping them in a different way.

MC: Not once the dragons showed up, anyway!

TN: Yes and no. That’s certainly her MO, especially when her back appears to be against the wall. But it’s not like she could just kill Dany or Tyrion or whoever.

 

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Speaking of Cersei, are she and Jaime done? What do you think their future relationship looks like?

DL: Before the season began, I predicted Jaime would end up killing Cersei this year. That didn’t happen in Season 7, but I honestly can’t imagine it not happening in Season 8.

AB: I think we maybe haven’t seen the last of their interactions, but their positive relationship may well be over. So much depends on how things play out up north, though.

AP: Their future looks like Jaime killing her.

MC: I think Jaime’s had enough of her shit, definitely.

TN: Yeah, they’re done. Ideally, one of them will kill each other. Or Jaime rides North and Arya kills him,  puts his face on and kills Cersei as Jaime.

JS: I think they’re done, and Jaime is the Valonqar. I think he’s finally seen his sister for what she is and her accusing him of treason for keeping his oath to go North broke whatever hold she had over him.

Shipping North, Jon and Dany are now officially a thing. If you thought that was coming, how long have you been waiting for that? If you didn’t see that coming, were you surprised?

DL: It has made sense for years with the main book series being called “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Jon is the Ice and Dany is the Fire. I do feel bad for Tyrion though, I think he may be jealous.

AP: I’ve always been unsure how they would deal with that, given that incest is considered icky in most modern societies. I thought if it did happen they would downplay the familial relationship, which made it quite surprising to me that they actually interpolated it with a voiceover EXPLAINING said relationship.

MC: It’s been pretty obviously in the works over the last few weeks, just by how they look at each other.

TN: I did see it coming, but I think it would be frowned upon if I said I was looking forward to incest. Prude kinda place, the internet is.

JS: It’s been a theory in the books since the House of the Undying in Clash of Kings. In her visions, Dany sees a “blue flower growing from a chink in a wall of ice, filling the air with sweetness.”

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

We learned a HUGE plot point about Jon (or rather, AEGON) being the rightful heir to the Iron Throne this week, thanks to Sam and Bran piecing together the info they knew. Did you see that coming?

DL: I actually predicted this exact scene happening to a couple friends, so I can proudly say, yes, I did see it coming.

AB: This had been telegraphed for a long time (explicitly since Bran’s vision of the Tower of Joy on-screen, but with plenty of clues before that), but it was good to see the show actually state it, and to see that Sam paid attention to Gilly’s discovery (even if he took credit).

AP: Yeah, I think we all saw that coming, not least of all because they told us last season and then hinted at it throughout this season. Now the question is, what does it actually matter who Jon’s parents are?

MC: The Targaryen reveal seemed very likely to happen in the finale, but that his name is actually Aegon was was certainly a surprise.

TN: I didn’t picture that coming together so fast, until Sam met up with Bran.

JS: Eastwatch actually revealed this to the viewers, so we’re actually ahead of the characters for once. I kind of thought that Bran would have known on his own, though. I guess he’s still in training.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Moving North, bye-bye Littlefinger! I think we all predicted at some point he would die this season. Were you satisfied with his death?

DL: This scene was AMAZING and Aidan Gillen who played Littlefinger acted exceptionally well in this scene. I was extremely satisfied with how the death was written and acted out, but I will miss Gillen and Littlefinger in a way.

AB: I thought this was handled very well, with the swerve from Arya’s trial to his, with Bran chiming in with the crucial evidence, with his eventual begging (he’d do anything to survive, so that fit), and with Arya slitting his throat mid-plea. Aidan Gillen did a great job of showing his confusion and desperation.

AP: I think it was all we could have asked for. We got confirmation that he had ordered the hit on Bran and watched him die as the entire North learned of his various plots and treacheries. It was how he deserved to go.

MC: Yes, that whole scene was easily the most shocking part of the episode to me. It was long overdue, but well worth the wait.

TN: Oh, hell yes. I know Ned was all about the “whoever lays down the sentence should swing the sword” or whatever, but Ned’s kids aren’t exactly like him and that’s fine. Sansa seems to be a stronger leader and a more level-headed arbiter of justice, while Arya is super good at killing people. Also, Bran can creepily deadpan past events. And the scene was very well-done. Great reveal, great use of Bran.

JS: Yeah, pretty much. I was disappointed with the Winterfell storyline for the most part, but I’m glad it all turned out to be a ruse to fool Littlefinger. I have a feeling Sansa was on the fence about killing him until their last conversation, though.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

So the wall came down (or at least part of it). Were you surprised? Did you think that was well done?

DL: I wasn’t really surprised because to me, it had to come down or be crossed by The Night King and his army at some point. As a result, it made too much sense for it to come down as the final scene before the final season. The way it was shot and done production- and writing-wise was also brilliant.

AB: This had to be done given what we were told about the Wall’s magic by Benjen’s exposition a while back, and the dragon was the logical way to do it. The scene was well-shot and well-scored, too. But this shows my problem with the writing; the writers needed the Night King to have a dragon to bring down the Wall, so they came up with the wight quest that ruined so much of this season.

AP: I wasn’t surprised. The White Walkers had to get across somehow. I thought it was fairly well done, although maybe a little bit rushed. After thousands of years, we watched that thing come down in like a minute. Also, I wish they hadn’t left Beric and Tormund, you know, hanging.

MC: Not at all surprised; this — or Littlefinger’s death — seemed like the most predictable final scene. But how it happened was incredible to watch.

TN:  It was well-shot for sure, even if I don’t totally understand what exactly was coming out of the dragon’s mouth. Also, couldn’t they just have busted throw the wall at any point, not just at a base? Also, Benioff and Weiss should have grown a set and killed Tormund and Berric.

JS: I’ve heard people complaining about how the Wall came down, but come on, it was amazing. That scene was some of the best visuals we’ve had so far in the show. Just hoping my boy, Tormund, survived.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Episode MVP?

DL: Jon/Aegon is the rightful heir and that’s massive news! Also, The Wall gets co-MVP honors despite coming down. That thing lasted so long, it deserves some recognition.

AB: For me, Bronn’s the MVP. His “It’s all about cocks” discussion was fantastic, and he had plenty of great lines throughout. Awesome to see more of him.

AP: MVP of the episode and the season is Mr. Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen/King of the North/Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne. He got the whole realm to believe the story he’s been telling for seasons, he got the alliance he needed to have a shot at taking down the Night King, and of course he got a woman. All Ws for Jonny Snow.

MC: I’m giving out the MVP to three characters, if that’s allowed! The Night King, again. Last week, he acquires the dragon, now he uses the zombie dragon to take down the wall and now potentially take down everyone. Sansa, for finally saying enough’s enough with Littlefinger and bringing the good Stark family vibes back. Jon/Aegon, the rightful heir to the Iron throne. Even if he has no idea, and even if he potentially wants no part of it, it’s obviously a huge, game-changing development.

TN: The Night King is the MVP until he doesn’t have an ice dragon.

JS: Viserion. After being traded to the Team White Walker, I thought there was no way he’d be able to top his performances for Dany, but the Night King will be pleased with Viserion’s contributions already.

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