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"The Dragon and the Wolf" is the seventh and final episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones. It is the sixty-seventh episode of the series overall. It premiered on August 27, 2017. It was written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Jeremy Podeswa.

Plot

Tyrion tries to save Westeros from itself. Sansa questions loyalties

Summary

In King's Landing

The Unsullied, led by a grim-faced Grey Worm, line up in tight formation outside the walls of King's Landing. On the walls, Jaime Lannister and Bronn discuss how the latter is unnerved by the idea of soldiers without genitalia, as he's been around enough soldiers to know why they fight, and that the idea of soldiers who fight for no promise of sex is alien to him. As they talk, hordes of Dothraki ride in, a stark contrast to the disiplined Unsullied; but the two ancient enemies are united in cause today.

At the harbor, Tyrion Lannister, Varys, Missandei, Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth nervously sail past Euron Greyjoy's fleet. Sandor Clegane goes below decks to check on their "guest", who is thankfully just as riled up as ever.

The group arrives and are escorted to the Dragonpit, the location of the summit. Tyrion reconnects with Bronn, who concedes it is good to see him again. The pair greet Podrick Payne, who had arrived earlier with Brienne of Tarth. As Pod goes off with Bronn, Brienne hangs back to talk with Sandor. They both acknowledge that they only fought to protect Arya, and she tells him that Arya doesn't need looking out for anymore; rather, he should reserve his concern for whoever is unfortunate or stupid enough to stand in her way, which seems to amuse him.

At the Dragonpit, the various factions meet: Cersei Lannister, Jaime, Qyburn and Euron representing the Iron Throne, Jon, Davos and Brienne representing the North, and Daenerys' court. When Cersei demands to know where her rival is, the Dragon Queen makes a suitably dramatic entrance on Drogon's back, with Rhaegal flying overhead. Sandor, for the first time in years, comes face-to-helmet with his brother Gregor, and wonders what exactly has happened to him, before leaving to retrieve the wight. Sandor ultimately muses however that what happened to Gregor is irrelevant, and promises what's left of his brother that he still intends to end Gregor. Euron tries to posture, threatening to kill Yara unless Theon yields to him and deriding Tyrion's dwarfism; when Tyrion and Theon retort to his taunts with their own, Euron remarks that Tyrion would have been killed at birth in the Iron Islands. A furious Jaime orders Euron to sit down, and when he disregards the warning, Cersei reiterates it; a subdued Euron returns to his seat.

Getting the meeting on track, Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon try to warn Cersei of the greater threat coming for them all, but she dismisses it as a ploy to trick her into lowering her defenses. To prove their claims, Sandor returns with the crate containing the wight, which is worryingly silent. Sandor gets the crate open, but there is still no movement. He finally gives the crate a massive kick, which prompts the enraged wight to launch itself out and charge toward the nearest target - Cersei, appropriately enough. Visibly horrified, the Lannister queen and her allies recoil in horror as Sandor pulls the wight back on a chain, its claws inches from Cersei's face, and manages to slice the creature in half when it turns to attack him. The assembled look on in shock as the wight's upper half still moves around. Jon steps forward and picks up the wight's discarded hand, using a torch provided by Davos to demonstrate how fire can be used to stop them. He then uses a dragonglass dagger to the heart to end the wight's upper half, bluntly stating that if they don't win the coming war, such a fate awaits every person in Westeros. A horror-struck Jaime asks how many wights are coming, and Daenerys tells him the army of the dead numbers at least 100,000. Euron asks if the wights can swim. When Jon responds, "No," Euron announces to Cersei his intention to withdraw the Iron Fleet back to the Iron Isles. He declares that he has been over the whole world and has never been terrified until now. On his way out, he tells Daenerys to retreat to her island while he returns to his own, and to come find him when they are the only two left alive.

Seemingly convinced, Cersei immediately offers terms: satisfied that Daenerys is concerned with the Army of the Dead, Cersei will not withdraw her troops, but will guarantee that they will not hinder the Targaryen or Northern forces in any way during the battle against the White Walkers. She refuses to deal with Daenerys at all, however, and calls on Jon Snow, as King in the North and Ned Stark's son, to keep the truce and to stay out of any future conflict between Cersei and Daenerys. Jon, however, says that he cannot serve two queens - and reveals to all assembled that he has already declared for Daenerys, infuriating all three Lannisters present. Declaring that there will be no truce if it is just her and Daenerys, Cersei storms out, content to let the Starks and Targaryens battle the undead alone and then deal with whoever emerges victorious from that conflict. Desperate, Brienne grabs Jaime and begs him to reconsider, as what they've seen goes beyond family, Houses, and thrones. Jaime doesn't disagree, but walks away, not knowing what he can say to convince his sister.

Meanwhile, Daenerys and Tyrion (who never knew about Jon's change of heart in the first place) rip into Jon over his ill-advised action, suggesting that learning to lie just a little might be a good skill. Jon responds by arguing that while such an attitude may or may not have contributed to getting his father killed, if no one is willing to speak the truth, then everyone's word is worthless, and lies will not help them win the coming fight. Tyrion reluctantly decides that he will go and try to talk some reason into Cersei alone. Daenerys and Jon protest, fearing Cersei may have him killed out of spite, but Tyrion insists it's the only way if they don't want everything they've done to be for nothing and bids them wait.

In the Red Keep, Tyrion, escorted by Ser Gregor, meets Jaime, who confirms that he believes the threat of the Dead, but has been unable to convince Cersei. Tyrion enters Cersei's office, and the two trade savage barbs, Cersei blames his murder of Tywin for the series of events that led to her younger children's deaths and the destruction of House Lannister's future. Tyrion maintains that he loved Myrcella Baratheon and Tommen Baratheon almost as much as Cersei and that he regrets what happened to them. He attempts to call Cersei's bluff, claiming that if Cersei genuinely blamed him for their deaths, then Gregor should just kill him right then and there. A tense moment passes... in which Cersei does not give the order. Relieved, Tyrion heads straight for the wine. They continue their discussion until Tyrion realizes that Cersei is pregnant.

Back at the Dragonpit, Daenerys and Jon discuss the dragons and how her ancestors caged them, and in turn become less impressive as the power of the dragons waned. Jon questions Daenerys's assertion of infertility, particularly when she admits that she never got an informed opinion about her condition from anyone except Mirri Maz Duur herself. Their conversation is interrupted by the return of all three Lannisters. Cersei has agreed to work with Daenerys, but not by keeping her troops back: the Lannister army will march north to fight alongside the Starks and Targaryens.

After the enemy delegation has left, an eager and relieved Jaime meets with his commanders to discuss the logistics of moving the army north. Cersei enters the map room and asks what he is doing. Dismissing the commanders, she tells Jaime he really is the stupidest Lannister. Shocked, Jaime listens as Cersei explains that Euron has not abandoned her, but has gone to Essos to ferry the Golden Company back to Westeros. She intentionally leaked her pregnancy to Tyrion so he would believe her, and now she intends to allow their enemies to exhaust themselves against the Army of the Dead, then have the Golden Company clean up what's left of whoever wins in the North. Jaime is furious that his sister and Euron plotted this behind his back, but Cersei angrily accuses him of plotting with Tyrion in favour of her enemies. Reeling from the accusation, Jaime incredulously reminds her that whoever wins the conflict in the North will turn their attention south afterwards; either the White Walkers will march south to kill them, or the Starks and Targaryens will come seeking revenge over the fact Cersei betrayed and left them (and essentially all of Westeros) to die, but Cersei is indifferent. Finally seeing his sister for what she is, Jaime disgustedly declares that he, at least, will fight to honour the pledge he made. When he tries to leave, he finds his way blocked by Ser Gregor. Cersei furiously insists that she will kill him as a traitor if he tries to leave, but Jaime calls her bluff and storms out, and Cersei does not give the order.

Alone, Jaime rides out of King's Landing. Realizing how conspicuous he is, he nervously pulls a glove over his golden hand. Surprised by the sudden appearance of a drop of water on the glove, Jaime looks up and sees a blanket of snow descending upon King's Landing. As Jaime rides away, the snow begins to cover everything; the streets, the houses, the ruins where the Great Sept once stood, the little skulls in the Dragonpit and even Cersei's map in the Red Keep.

Winter has come at last for the south.

At Winterfell

Sansa Stark discusses the potential threat of her sister Arya Stark with Petyr Baelish. Baelish tries to manipulate her as usual, encouraging her to think as he does. He tells Sansa to ask herself what Arya's worst possible motivation is. Seemingly overcome with horror at the thought that Arya would want to take her place and reign as Lady of Winterfell, it seems that Sansa decides to do something about it, to Baelish's quiet delight.

After a long time reflecting on her course of action on the battlements, Sansa orders Arya be brought to the great hall. In the Hall, Sansa and Bran are seated at the great table, the hall lined with Stark and Arryn men and a few key lords such as Yohn Royce and, of course, Baelish. Arya is brought in and asks Sansa if she "really wants to do this". Sansa replies it's not about what she wants, it's about justice, and them proceeds to rattle off a list of crimes perpetuated against House Stark... and asks Baelish how he intends to answer the charges. At this, all eyes turn towards Baelish. Thrown, Littlefinger tries to figure out what is going on. Sansa reveals his murder of Lysa Arryn and his use of Lysa to murder Jon Arryn. She uses his own words against him and accuses him (quite correctly) of orchestrating the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters that has ultimately engulfed the Seven Kingdoms for the better part of the last decade, including the betrayal and death of her father Eddard Stark. Baelish tries to deny this, but Bran uses his Greensight to recall the exact words Baelish said as he held the knife to Ned's throat. Swiftly realizing that he has lost control of the situation and the trial is just a drumhead, Baelish demands that Lord Royce take him, the Lord Protector of the Vale, to safety; Bronze Yohn refuses him. In desperation, Baelish falls to his knees and pleads for his life, insisting yet again how much he loved Cat and how much he now loves Sansa, but Sansa, unswayed by his pleadings, sentences him to death and promises she will never forget all the lessons he taught her. As Baelish tries to speak, Arya slits his throat with the same Valyrian steel dagger that lay at the heart of his plots. Littlefinger slumps dead to the floor, the Northern and Vale men and women watching dispassionately.

On the battlements, Sansa and Arya discuss Littlefinger's plots and how much they, as people, have changed. Arya tells Sansa that she wouldn't have been able to survive what Sansa did, although her sister disagrees, saying Arya is the strongest person she knows. The sisters muse on another of their father's stories, about how lone wolves die in the winter, but wolf packs survive, and realize the truth of his words as the Starks have at last been reunited.

Some time later, Samwell Tarly and Gilly arrive at Winterfell. Upon hearing that Bran is back, Sam calls on him, recalling their meeting at the Nightfort some years earlier. Bran is glad to see Sam, but is surprised to find him here. When Sam reiterates his loyalty to Jon, Bran, unable to keep it a secret any longer, reveals the truth of Jon's origins: he was born to Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark at a Tower in Dorne, and is not a Snow at all, but a Sand. Sam realizes that that isn't true either, recalling the entry from High Septon Maynard's private journal about annulling Rhaegar's marriage. Bran expressed his doubts, but Sam reiterates the private nature of the journal and encourages Bran to use Greensight to confirm it. To his own surprise, Bran easily finds the wedding, where he sees a clearly happy Lyanna wedding Rhaegar in a Faith of the Seven ceremony before a Heart tree. Warging forward to the Tower of Joy, Bran finally hears Lyanna's dying words. Now piecing the truth together, Bran declares that Rhaegar never raped Lyanna. She loved him and ran off with him, and bore him a son: Aegon Targaryen. His voice breaks a little as he realises that Robert's Rebellion, the deaths of his grandfather and uncle, and the entire reign of House Baratheon of King's Landing was all for nothing and built on a lie.

In the Narrow Sea

In the Chamber of the Painted Table, Daenerys and her court discuss logistics. It will take the Dothraki a fortnight to reach Winterfell, and the plan is to have Jon and the Unsullied cross the sea by ship and meet them at White Harbor. Jorah Mormont points out that the North is not really safer for her than anywhere else, as someone with a memory of Robert's Rebellion and an idea of becoming a hero could easily take her out with a single crossbow bolt. He suggests she fly to Winterfell to avoid any potential unpleasantness. Jon counters that Daenerys ride with them so that the North can see her as a liberator and ally. After a moment's consideration, Dany decides to sail north with Jon. Jorah, suspecting a different reason for her decision, throws her a look, which she notices but avoids.

Meanwhile, Theon returns to the remaining Ironborn who continue to regard him with disgust. Theon tells his men that Euron has his sister and that they must go back for her. Harrag shuts Theon down, regarding him a coward, and proclaims that they are going to where they can rape and pillage as they usually do. Theon reminds them that Yara has forbidden their old ways, but Harrag threatens Theon and begins to assault him, telling him to stay down. Although he is knocked down, Theon barely reacts to the blows, as he has experienced far greater pain at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. He gets up to attack, but Harrag continues to beat Theon, again insisting he stay or he will kill him. Theon once more defies him, and attacks Harrag who grabs Theon, and kicks him several times in the crotch. However, as Ramsay had previously castrated Theon, there are no testicles for Harrag to injure. Theon smiles as he gets the upper hand, smashing the captain's face practically to a pulp, and beating him into submission. The other Ironborn finally relent, accepting Theon and his mission. As they prepare to set sail, Theon wades into the sea to wash his wounds in salt water, embracing his identity as an ironborn.

Some time after setting sail, Jon knocks on the door of Daenerys's cabin. She answers and meets his gaze without words. After a moment, he enters, and, with their eyes still locked, shuts the door. Unaware of the truth of Jon's past (or the fact that they are biologically aunt and nephew), they finally give into the burgeoning passion between them and have sex.

Unknown to both of them, Tyrion had also been on his way to speak with his queen, and had seen Jon enter the cabin. Silently concerned at the possible implications of what may occur, Tyrion walks away.

At the Wall

Tormund and Beric Dondarrion review the defenses atop the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Tormund remarks that the crows say he'll get used to the height, but he admits it'll probably be a while. Suddenly, the pair see movement at the edge of the Haunted Forest. A white walker emerges atop an undead horse, followed shortly by a horde of wights. More and more white walkers emerge as the Night Watch's horns sound three times. The army stops some distance from the foot of the Wall, however, and Tormund looks relieved since they can't hope to get through. But then all on the Wall stop in horror as they hear a very familiar sound; a screeching roar mixed with the heavy thumping of huge wings beating the air.

Suddenly, the undead Viserion swoops down, with the Night King riding on his back. In a burst of blue flame, Viserion demolishes some of the scouting platforms atop the Wall and then turns his flames against the Wall itself. Realising they have no chance against such a foe, Tormund shouts for them all to run and the Night's Watch, and black brothers and wildlings alike desperately try to evacuate as ice melts and rock crumbles. Tormund and Beric watch in horror as the entire eastern extremity of the Wall collapses under Viserion's breath...leaving plenty of space between the Wall and the sea for the Army of the Dead to cross. A road now open to them, the White Walkers direct the wights to begin their march into the North. Wights and giants and other monstrosities march by the thousands into the North as the undead Viserion flies overhead to lead the march.

The Great War has begun.

Appearances

Main: The Dragon and the Wolf/Appearances

First

Deaths

Production

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Uncredited

Cast notes

Notes

General

  • The episode title is a reference to the sigils of House Targaryen (a three-headed dragon) and House Stark (a direwolf). Previous episodes have followed a similar theme in nomenclature: "The Wolf and the Lion" in Season 1, referencing the sigils of Houses Stark and Lannister; "The Lion and the Rose" in Season 4, referencing the sigils of Houses Lannister and Tyrell; "Mockingbird", referencing the sigil of House Baelish.
  • Cersei and Jaime refer to bringing sellswords from Essos, making this only the seventh episode to refer to the eastern continent by name in seven TV seasons (it is so large, comparable to Eurasia, that most characters just refer to the overall region of it they are heading to: "the Free Cities", "Slaver's Bay", etc.). In this case, it isn't entirely necessary, as the Golden Company is based largely in the Free Cities region - although Euron could have to pick them up from somewhere further east.
  • With a runtime of 79 minutes, 43 seconds, this episode is the longest episode of the television series thus far.
  • In the previous seasons, at least one king was killed per season: Season 1 - Robert; Season 2 - Renly; Season 3 - Robb; Season 4 - Joffrey; Season 5 - Mance Rayder and Stannis; Season 6 - Balon and Tommen. No king was killed in this season.
  • The Season 7 finale broke Nielson ratings once again, to become the most-watched Game of Thrones episode of all time (as well as most watched episode for any TV series on HBO to date). According to the Nielson ratings, "The Dragon and the Wolf" was watched by 12.1 million live viewers on HBO (this doesn't include DVR or streaming services, which in a three-day span are usually 50% higher than that - and this doesn't include all the pirated versions online, which are drastically higher still). "Eastwatch" had the previous series-high with 10.72 million live viewers (coming off the buzz from the huge dragon battle scene in the preceding episode, "The Spoils of War").
    • The second half of Season 7 had a continued trend of each new episode breaking the all-time high day-after-site-visits for Game of Thrones Wiki as well. The highest traffic days from Season 6 were for "The Door" (the episode that Hodor died) with 4.8 million visits, and the Season 6 finale, "The Winds of Winter", which jumped to 9.1 million. Season 7's numbers rose steadily and approached 5 million after "The Spoils of War" (episode 7.4) then hovered above 5 million from "Eastwatch" onwards (episode 7.5) Surprisingly, the site visit traffic for the wiki that day after the Season 7 finale aired was exactly 9.1 million - the exact same number it jumped to after the Season 6 finale, thus tying it as the highest traffic day ever (it's possible that 9.1 million is truly the upper limit of people who watch the TV show and then go online to search for information on it - in which case the wiki reached total market saturation on those days).

In King's Landing

  • The Dragonpit appears for the first time in this episode. Although explicitly stated to one have been the home of the Targaryen dragons, the structure is clearly too small to hold full-size dragons, in chambers that ringed the inside of the arena. In the books, it is enormous, easily large enough to have held forty dragons (although there were never more than 20 alive at any time during the reign of the Targaryens). This is the result of impracticalities in filming: the crew had the opportunity to film in an actual Roman amphitheater for the scene, and went with the realism of a real ruin rather than try and CG something that would have been the right size, but might have looked fake. Notice that Drogon - who isn't even as large as some of the centuries-old dragons like Balerion - can barely fit inside the arena with his wings fully extended. Nor can he possibly fit in any of the entrances - in the books, the main entrance is big enough for thirty knights to ride through abreast on their horses.
    • In contrast, when the TV series depicted Daznak's Pit in Season 5, the massive gladiatorial arena in Meereen, it did film in a real Roman ruin - but then used CGI extensions to make it appear bigger than it actually was in real life. Compare the size of the Dragonpit depicted on-screen here with the size of Meereen's arena, which could plausibly have contained an adult dragon (Drogon was a juvenile at the time).
    • It might be waved aside that in the TV continuity, the chambers for the dragons are all on the outside of the structure, and they would just fly in through an open roof for public events, and the arena is some sort of top section above the rest - but this would be fan theorization. The TV writers have made no attempt to explain the discrepancy.
    • It is also mentioned in dialogue that the dragons that grew up in the pit never reached the full size of the others, but were increasingly stunted and sickly - but that still doesn't explain how Tyrion says that Balerion could reside inside of it.
    • It's vaguely possible to wave aside that the Dragonpit is, of course, in ruins, and what we're seeing here are just some foundations, thus when it was whole it appeared much larger - if the remaining huge wall on one side is an indication.
  • Daenerys laments that keeping the dragons restrained in the Dragonpit made them grow stunted and sickly. Other characters have previously mentioned that the Targaryen dragons grew smaller over the generations like this, until the last one left a skull not much bigger than a dog's. Many characters do think this in the novels, but the exact reason the dragons dwindled in size has never been confirmed. Daenerys has a conversation with Jorah and Barristan Selmy about this in the novels debating this: Jorah scoffs that by the same logic, men who live in small huts should give rise to a race of dwarfs, while men who live in castles should give rise to a race of giants; Selmy answers that "Men are men, dragons are dragons". Quentyn Martell, as he is about to steal Daenerys's dragons, recalls reading about the fact that none of the dragons bred and raised in the Dragonpit of King’s Landing had ever approached the size of Vhagar or Meraxes, much less that of Balerion; the reason given in the books he read is that the pit has slowed their growth. The far more pragmatic answer is probably that, much like their Targaryen masters, generations of heavy incest severely damaged the health of later generations: all Targaryen dragons descended from only three original ones they brought to Westeros (siblings mated with each other, aunts with nephews, etc.).
    • Some readers suspect that the Maesters secretly started poisoning dragon hatchlings whenever they could, because they champion science and order, abhoring the magic and destruction that dragons represent. Notably, the largest contributing factor to the extinction of the dragons was that they killed each other. Nearly all of the Targaryen dragons were killed during the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war. When the war began, House Targaryen had 20 dragons. When the war was over, only four were left alive.
  • As the showrunners point out in the Inside the Episode video, the parley at the Dragonpit is the first time that most of the starring cast members have interacted with each other in the same scene after seven TV seasons: so many major characters appear in it, and they had to plan out reaction shots for each of them (instead of just having some them stand in the background), that it took 10 full days to film the entire sequence. The entire sequence has 17 named recurring characters in it: Cersei, Jaime, Gregor, Qyburn, Euron, Jon Snow, Tyrion, Daenerys, Varys, Davos, Theon, Jorah, Missandei, Sandor, Brienne, as well as (briefly) Bronn and Podrick.
    • Starting in at least Season 5, the TV series defined the core of its starring cast by pay grade as specifically five actors, called "Tier A": Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the three Lannister siblings (Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime). The younger Stark siblings might not have been included because they were under-aged. Nonetheless this generally matches which characters get the most POV chapters in the books (Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, etc.). Thus this scene is the absolute first time in the entire series that all five "Tier A" cast members have been in the same scene together.
    • Some of the characters besides Daenerys had a few brief scenes together in the Season 1 premiere, "Winter is Coming": Jon and Theon were in the courtyard when King Robert's royal party (which also includes Tyrion, Cersei, and Jaime) arrived at Winterfell, but they appeared in the background and didn't share any lines (Jon then didn't appear at the feast with Cersei due to his bastard status). Theon and Jon shared a few more scenes in the first episode (the execution, finding the direwolves). Similarly, Tyrion had separate scenes with Jon and later Theon before departing Winterfell. Jon also had a very brief scene with Jaime at Winterfell, which the producers explained in the TV commentary that they put in because they realized these two core characters wouldn't meet again for many seasons.
  • Several of the participants of the parley confront those who are responsible to the death of their fathers: Jaime and Cersei face Tyrion, who killed Tywin; Theon faces Euron, who killed Balon; Daenerys faces Jaime, who killed Aerys.
  • In-universe, the absence of lords from the Riverlands, the Vale, the Stormlands, the Reach, and Dorne at the parley is curious - one would think that people like Robin Arryn, Lord of the Vale, would be invited to such an important event. However, it's difficult to say who would represent each of the other kingdoms: House Frey appears to be extinct in the male line, and the Baratheons, Tyrells, and Martells seem to have gone extinct. Still, there are still powerful houses like House Hightower whose presence would certainly be warranted at the parley.
  • Brienne and the Hound speak about their duel ("The Children").
  • Qhono Dragonpit

    Dothraki wearing looted Lannister coats.

    If examined closely it can be seen that the Dothraki who accompany the party to the Dragonpit (such as Qhono) are wearing bits of Lannister clothing under their usual dress. The clothing has likely been obtained from the bodies Lannister soldiers killed during the Battle of the Goldroad (and the Dothraki were shown looting corpses in the aftermath of the battle). This would also indicate a steady drop in temperature and the Dothraki, unused to these colder climates, would naturally have scavenged warmer clothing from their slain enemies. The change in temperature is also indicated somewhat by the addition of a fur cloak to Cersei's outfit. Oviously winter does not strike King's Landing as hard as it does Winterfell, but it is felt there nonetheless.
  • The special effects for the undead Wights are greatly improved for the one displayed at the Dragonpit. The novels make this more clear, but every part of a wight will continue to move, even after it has been severed from its main body - i.e. a severed hand will continue to slowly crawl around to try to claw someone to death. Understandably, this would have been difficult to emphasize in large scale fight scenes, with dozens of severed wight limbs still crawling at the Night's Watch. The display of the wight in the Dragonpit puts extra focus on getting this detail across: the wight's severed hands keeps moving, after it has been cut in half through the waist, the upper half of the wight continues crawling around, and if you pay close attention, even the severed legs of the wight continue to thrash around.
    • In pop culture terms, wights do not follow "zombie" rules like from The Walking Dead, but deadite rules from The Evil Dead. Destroying the brain does nothing - wights were shown at Hardhome being shot through the head with arrows, or outright decapitated, to no effect. The only way to fully stop one with a sword is total body dismemberment of every joint. Fire is more effective - not just because it destroys their entire body, but because wights are extremely flammable, as if their flesh was made of pitch (even a few sparks will set them totally ablaze and then burn away to nothing).
  • Daenerys repeats her famous line, "Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor", providing a direct translation for Jon: "A dragon is not a slave". She previously said this in Season 3's "And Now His Watch Is Ended" when she declared to the slave-masters of Astapor that she wouldn't sell Drogon, right before burning them all to death. "Buzdari" is actually the Astapori Low Valyrian word for "slave"; the High Valyrian is "dohaeriros". Daenerys was likely defaulting to the term she was most used to using, rather than trying to say something profound. Given she had to translate for Jon, the point is moot anyway.
  • Jon asks if Daenerys has confirmed her infertility with someone other than the witch who cursed her in the first place ("Fire and Blood"). He asks half-seriously and half-humorously, since it is indeed precisely the sort of thing someone would get a second opinion on. In the books, Daenerys believes she is infertile, but in her final chapter at the end of the fifth novel, while stranded in the Dothraki Sea again (corresponding to the Season 5 finale), she starts passing blood again - which she interprets as being sick, but which might mean that she has started Flowering again and her reproductive organs have recovered.
  • Multiple lines in this episode contradict information previously established in dialogue by the TV series (which originally matched the books):
    • Jon asks Tyrion how many people live in King's Landing, and he responds "a million" (which Jon repeats later). In Season 3's "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", Jaime Lannister stated that the population is half a million ("five hundred thousand"), which is what it is in the novels. It's possible that Tyrion was including a rough guess at how many refugees have flooded into the city during the course of the war (which is a factor), but it seems more likely that the TV writers just wanted a round number.
      • Jon also responds that "one million" is more than the entire population of The North, but co-authors of The World of Ice and Fire sourcebook estimated that the population of the North is actually around 3 to 4 million.
    • Daenerys claims that she didn't believe that the White Walkers were real until she saw them, however when Jon Snow first shows her the cave drawings of them and insists that the enemy has "always been real", she appeared to be legitimately convinced that they were real, and agreed to help Jon if he bent the knee. Of course, it is possible that this is what Daenerys meant when she said she "saw them", rather than her seeing them physically in the flesh in the previous episode.
    • Cersei states that the Golden Company has "20,000 men". When they were first mentioned in Season 4, however, Davos and Stannis stated that they have 10,000 men - which is accurate to the novels. It might be waved aside that Cersei is simply in error, but this would also be fan theorization that the TV writers themselves didn't address.
      • Cersei's line was possibly based on a line from the sixth novel: in the "Theon I" sample chapter, after receiving the fund he needs from Tycho Nestoris, Stannis orders Ser Justin Massey to travel to Braavos and hire sellswords, preferably the Golden Company, unless they are already under contract (which they are) - at least 20,000 men. It is doubful, though, if Ser Justin can make it to Braavos and back in time with reinforcements. Yet what Stannis meant was 20,000 men including the Golden Company, who can only make up about half of that number.
  • It is confusing why, at the beginning of the episode, Bronn remarks on how pleasant it is when soldiers call him "my lord" now - as if this is a new development. He is still just a landless knight, but was knighted at the beginning of Season 3 (knights are sometimes generically addressed as "my lord"). Later with Tyrion, Bronn remarks on how he actually hasn't gotten the full reward he wanted, of a castle and a marriage to a noblewoman so he can join the ranks of the nobility. In the novels by this point, Bronn has actually already married Lollys Stokeworth - who was introduced in Season 5, only for the Lannisters to call off the betrothal because they still needed Bronn's help. It's unclear if there was supposed to be some sort of deleted scene in Season 7 explaining that he recently has been allowed to marry Lollys, which was then cut for time, or if this is purely meant to refer to his status as a knight. Bryan Cogman did mention in passing that there were more Bronn scenes intended for previous episodes this season that were cut for time, which seems to support this somewhat.
  • Tyrion reminds Bronn his offer to outbid whatever fee anyone else pays him ("The Pointy End").
  • Bronn interrupts the conversation between Tyrion and Pod with "You can suck his magic cock later" - prehaps referring to Pod's amazing sexual prowess ("Walk of Punishment").
  • Bronn invites Pod to have a drink somewhere else. They are seen walking away, but strangely - neither of them reappear later. It's possible this was meant to be misdirection for the audience to build up tension - playing with the suspicion that Cersei was going to ambush and attack everyone, and Bronn led Podrick out to spare him, only to then reveal that there was no trap.
  • Cersei states that the Golden Company has men, horses, and Elephants - the first time that their use of war elephants has been mentioned in the TV continuity. Elephants are quite regularly used in Volantis and not an uncommon sight in the southern Free Cities, imported as beasts of war.
  • Tyrion says that nothing can erase the past "50 years" of bad blood between their families. Apparently he is referring to when the Mad King's reign began (rounding to a broad figure). Actually, the first two decades of the Mad King's reign were a time of peace and prosperity in the Seven Kingdoms, if only because his capable Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister was the one really holding the realm together. While the Timeline is somewhat in flux at this point, in Season 4 the chronology was more certain, and at that point Littlefinger said that Robert's Rebellion was "20 years ago" (which is more or less accurate, as it was "17 years ago" in Season 1, and other statements give that about 3 years passed between Season 1 and Season 4).
  • Sandor Clegane hasn't seen his brother Gregor Clegane (or what's left of him) since he stopped him during his rampage at the Tourney of the Hand in Season 1's "The Wolf and the Lion". When Sandor eyes his brother's bizarre appearance and wonders "What have they done to you?", this introduces a meta-narrative joke the writers probably didn't intend - given that the last time Sandor saw Gregor in Season 1, he was played by a different actor (the role was recast twice since then). Sandor uses the opportunity to implicitly threaten Gregor that some day he'll settle the score with him; he told that to Arya in "First of His Name".
  • Euron's insult to Tyrion that dwarfs are killed at birth in the Iron Islands because of their physical infirmity hasn't been mentioned in the novels - though it is stated that this is done among the Dothraki, the wildlings, and in the pirate dens of the Three Sisters off the north coast of the Vale. Given that hard way of life on the Iron Islands, it's reasonable to assume the ironborn follow the same practice. As Tyrion recounted in Season 1's "The Kingsroad", most commoners throughout the Seven Kingdoms will leave a dwarf baby out in the woods to die (because they can't work enough to sustain themselves and are just another mouth to feed), but he was spared this because he was born into a wealthy noble family.
  • Euron's dialogue asking if the undead wights can swim across water - then being told they can't, and thinking the Iron islands are safe - raises an interesting question applicable to the novels as well. It is repeatedly stated that the White Walkers and their undead armies are a threat to the entire world, but it is never explained how they can spread to the other continents, or even islands off the coast of Westeros like Pyke or Dragonstone. While wights can't swim, they don't need to breathe either, meaning that the ones in good enough condition can walk along the seafloor, although this is a rather ineffective means of moving an army. In the books, Cotter Pyke's desperate plea for help, sent from Hardhome by messenger-raven, mentions "dead things in the water", so this may mean that wights can lurk in water waiting for victims. Presumably the White Walkers are capable of intelligently directing the wights to be ferried on ships, but this is just conjecture. As for why the White Walkers never tried to build a fleet and sail around the Wall, apparently there was some other sort of magical restriction on them traveling south of it. Future novels will have to address this.
    • Of course, since they now have an undead dragon who can fly, and perhaps two more if they win the war in the North, the Night King can simply fly to the other countries and kill people there to create new armies of wights and White Walkers.
  • Tyrion says that Cersei tried to kill him "twice" already: the first time was when she put him on trial for killing Joffrey, but it's unclear what the second time he's referring to was. When Mandon Moore tried to kill him at the Battle of the Blackwater, he thought Cersei might have ordered him to do it for a time, but then settled on thinking it must have been Joffrey. Maybe the second time was after he escaped to the Free Cities and she put a price out on his head (resulting in the severed heads of several innocent dwarfs being delivered to her).
  • Cersei could have had Tyrion and Jaime killed by the Mountain, yet on both occasions there was something that stopped her. It is doubtful the taboo of kinslaying was what stopped her, because she has already proven she has no qualms about killing her kin (Kevan and Lancel), in the finale of the previous season. For Tyrion at least, it seems she grudgingly realized that killing him now would ruin her plan to betray Daenerys's entire faction in the back while she is too weak to fight her invasion, while as for Jaime, their long relationship complicates matters.
  • When Jaime is discussing troop movements with the Lannister generals, he says: "The remaining forces in the Westerlands will take the River Road east. We'll meet at Lord Harroway's Town". The River Road is indeed the main east-west highway leading out of the Westerlands that an army heading east to link up with other armies from King's Landing would use. It intersects the Kingsroad near the appropriately named Inn at the Crossroads. After passing east from the crossroads into the mountains of the Vale, the nature of the path is so different that it becomes the Eastern Road. The Eastern Road has been mentioned by name in dialogue before, though the River Road has not (albeit it has been plainly visible on maps). Lord Harroway's Town is a large market town just upriver from the Inn at the Crossroads, making it a logical meeting point for armies converging from the west and east to head north.
  • Jaime's final scenes leaving Cersei and King's Landing are loosely transferred from how he left her in the books - which happened much earlier, at the end of the fourth novel. Chronologically, this would have corresponded to the end of Season 5. In the books, the rift between them has begun at their first meeting after Jaime returns to King's Landing; later, Tyrion reveals to Jaime that Cersei has been sleeping with other men. Throughout the first half of the fourth novel, they grow more and more distant from each other, as Jaime is disgusted by Cersei's behavior, and she treats him with contempt. Jaime travels to resolve the Second Siege of Riverrun (which was pushed back to Season 6), and on the way he meets Lancel, who tearfully confesses about his affair with Cersei and his part in Robert's death; only then Jaime realizes that Tyrion's last words about Cersei's promiscuity were true, and she is responsible for the murders of Robert and the previous High Septon. Since that point, he thinks about her as a treacherous slut, thinks about a way to winkle Tommen from her clutches before he becomes another Joffrey, and even contemplates if Tommen would be safer with Cersei dead. He is also distressed by her erratic behavior which threatens their badly needed alliance with the Tyrells (which only gets worse after he leaves King's Landing). In the meantime, Cersei is arrested by the Faith Militant; she is allowed to write a letter to him desperately begging that he come back to help her. At Riverrun, Jaime looks up and sees that the first light dusting of snow is falling across the Riverlands - winter has truly come; after witnessing sadly the devastation that his father's bannermen left in the Riverlands, he becomes worried that there is not enough food for the winter. Next morning, he receives the letter from Cersei, and orders his squire to burn it; he is fully aware that Cersei is guilty of all the crimes she is charged with - high treason, adultery, fornication, incest, regicide and deicide, and has no intention to help her (the fourth novel ends on this cliffhanger image). In the next novel, he continues nonchalantly to Raventree Hall, aware that Cersei may be executed before he returns to King's Landing - and does not seem to care at all.
    • The TV series moved around or delayed much of the above, so that Jaime went to Dorne in Season 5 (which doesn't happen in the novels), then went to Riverrun in Season 6, and then even stayed with Cersei after she killed so many innocent people, including several of their kin and all the Tyrells, at the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor. Loosely paralleling the book events, however, the reason he finally turns against her in the TV series is because she intends to betray badly needed allies instead of seeing the bigger picture they need to survive, and she also isn't including him in her plans anymore.
  • When Cersei rants at Jaime about his treason against her, she claims that he committed treason against her by meeting with Tyrion with secret without her consent. This notably contradicts even her own earlier statements. When Jaime first told her about the meeting with Tyrion, she asks if Jaime will punish Bronn, given that he set up a meeting with Tyrion without Jaime's knowledge or consent, thus admitting that Jaime had no role in it. Cersei's statements in this episode, however, reveal how openly deranged and tyrannical she has become: She is openly accusing Jaime of treason, despite herself admitting Jaime actually hadn't been aware of the meeting beforehand. This happens frequently in the later novels: Cersei starts delusionally blaming everyone around her for things which at best physically couldn't be their fault, and at worst, are things she is actually directly responsible for - which is typical for a sociopath person like Cersei.
  • Cersei blaming Tyrion for the deaths of her three children is also spurious and not a little hypocritical. She bitterly insists that their other enemies would never have moved against her children like that if Tyrion hadn't killed Tywin - Tywin was still alive when Joffrey died, though Tyrion seems to only regret the deaths of Myrcella and Tommen when he says he loved "the children" and didn't want them dead.
    • Even then, Tommen's suicide was the direct result of Cersei blowing up the Great Sept, and her maneuverings against the Tyrells (which including re-creating the Faith Militant). Yet Tommen married Margaery Tyrell while Tywin was still alive, at his insistence. The Faith Militant might not have been as bold in their coup if Tywin was still alive, but Cersei alone was responsible for re-arming them, as a counter to the Tyrells - and the Tyrells were already undermining the Lannisters even before Tywin's death, due to becoming dependent on their money and food supplies.
    • As for Myrcella, the Sand Snakes (in the TV series) killed her to provoke a war with the Lannisters as revenge for Oberyn Martell's death, fighting for Tyrion against Tywin's champion Gregor - a scenario Tyrion couldn't have wanted, as he wanted to win the trial by combat, and never would have happened if Cersei had not accused Tyrion of Joffrey's murder in the first place. She is the only one of the three that might vaguely be a result of Tyrion killing Tywin (arguing that the Dornish never would have tried to provoke a war out of fear of their father). Tyrion could also be considered to be partially responsible for Myrcella's death as he's the one who sent her to Dorne in the first place, unintentionally making her an easy target for the Sand Snakes' vengeance after Oberyn's death. In the books, Myrcella is non-fatally wounded by an assassination attempt in Dorne, and Cersei irrationally believes that Tyrion must have been directly responsible, simply as petty revenge against her; she reaches that highly questionable conclusion by associating Tyrion's disfigurement at the battle of the Blackwater with Myrcella's disfigurement (even though this is utterly untrue and makes very little sense even with the information Cersei has available).
    • It is unclear why Cersei is willing to admit that perhaps Tyrion did not kill Joffrey; maybe because of Olenna's confession. In the books, Cersei deduces herself that the Tyrells had a motive to dispose of Joffrey, but that realization does not make her remove Tyrion from the lists of suspects: driven by paranoia, Cersei believes that Tyrion and the Tyrells conspired together to kill Joffrey, and maybe the Tyrells were involved in Tywin's murder too.
  • Although she doesn't realize it, Cersei is making a major miscalculation: Jon only demonstrated how to kill wights, not White Walkers. Cersei does not know that fire is ineffective against them, and does not know their vulnerability to Valyrian steel (presuming that such information was never discussed off screen). If Daenerys and Jon lose, then Cersei will be hard pressed to stop the army of the dead when she only knows how to fight the foot soldiers and not the commanders.
  • Despite Cersei claiming to have learned from her father, this episode once more demonstrates how that isn't the case. Tywin might have been ruthless against his enemies but he also understood that sometimes one has to ally with their rivals in the interest of survival. Lady Olenna even said this to Cersei's face, but she flippantly responded that House Lannister had no rival. Here, she is utterly refusing to ally with the Targaryens and the Starks despite being given irrefutable proof of an even greater threat to all of them because her petty and spiteful nature refuses to allow it.

At Winterfell

  • This episode apparently establishes that at least some of Arya's bizarre behavior towards Sansa was indeed a ruse to fool Littlefinger. During the actual trial, Arya joins in the accusations by pointing out that Littlefinger lied to their mother Catelyn that the Valyrian steel dagger belonged to Tyrion Lannister, in order to stir up conflict between the Starks and Lannisters. She had no way of knowing this beforehand, so apparently either Bran or Sansa told her off-screen. It remains unclear at what point earlier in the season that Arya started play-acting that she was turning against Sansa, if at all - or if the TV writers ever consciously decided when.
    • What little answer may be gleaned comes from the Inside the Episode video, in which showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss explain how excited they were to build up tension for the audience that Arya and Sansa might actually want to kill each other - apparently not realizing that most of the audience was by now so invested in the characters that most of them realized how out of character the whole thing was.
    • Due to the way critics are taught to write and evaluate, critical reviews are usually based on the final aired version of a piece of media, with minimal consideration for behind the scenes information (multiple rewrites, disagreements between writers and directors, etc.) that sometimes result in incongruous scenes. Judging from the showrunners' comments, it appears that the original intention was to depict Arya and Sansa play-acting that they were turning on each other, in order to fool Littlefinger's spies around Winterfell - but then Benioff and Weiss became so excited building up tension for the audience that they removed any parts making it clear what the Stark sisters were planning. A purely speculative example: if Arya's speech in the previous episode threatening to cut off Sansa's face, then incongruously handing Sansa the dagger, had originally been meant to end with Arya winking at Sansa/flicking her eyes in the direction of a servant in the hallway who could overhear them, etc., this was cut out of the final version in order to make the final reveal more shocking.
    • Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran) confirmed in a subsequent interview with Variety that several scenes were filmed but ultimately deleted from this storyline - partially confirming the suspicions that it went through multiple last-minute rewrites. It's not certain if all of these deleted scenes built up to a cohesive whole, or contradicted each other. Whatever the case, he said that he filmed a scene in which Sansa knocks on the door to Bran's room, and says "I need your help", right before the trial. From his perspective, Isaac interpreted this to mean that Sansa and Arya actually were threatening each other before, but off-screen right before the trial, Sansa revealed information from Bran's visions to Arya, convincing her to change her mind and that Littlefinger was manipulating them against each other. It's unclear if he is correct, because he wasn't in most of these scenes - whether Arya and Sansa were actually supposed to be threatening each other or just play-acting. Moreover, the fact that the scene was deleted means that it isn't necessarily canon anymore: it's possible that it was deleted specifically because the writers changed their minds and wanted to retroactively imply that Sansa and Arya were faking their animosity in earlier episodes. Either way, io9's Beth Elderkin concluded: "Game of Thrones screwed the pooch with Arya and Sansa’s storyline, turning what could’ve been a conflict of ideals into a nonsensical female rivalry that almost ended in one of their deaths...It just goes to show that this whole storyline failed Arya as a character, and only barely served Sansa until the very end, just so the sisters’ storyline could have a last-minute twist."[1]
      • If Isaac Hempstead-Wright's conclusion is what the writers actually intended, it would confirm that Sansa did not "outmaneuver" Littlefinger, did not realize what he was doing or out-plan him, but literally relied on the deus ex machina of using her brother's magical visions, with little action by Sansa herself. As the scene was deleted, it isn't even clear if there is one, single, "final version" that the showrunners settled on, or if even as of the airing of this episode, each of them thought that a different off-screen scenario happened (such confusion happened before, i.e. when Benioff and Weiss gave directly contradictory statements on what Alliser Thorne's motivation was for turning against Jon Snow).
    • While the editing of these scenes may be somewhat confusing, the revelation in this episode that Arya was working together with Sansa on this ploy to fool Littlefinger (though starting exactly when is unclear) will be taken as proof by Game of Thrones Wiki that within the "TV-continuity" (as a persistent fictional universe that exists outside of the camera frame), Arya never seriously meant her threats to actually kill Sansa, but this was just an act. The fact that Arya surrenders the dagger to Sansa in particular indicates that Arya may have only been as hostile as she was to test Sansa's loyalty and instincts, and the information provided by Hempstead-Wright about the cut scene of Sansa's request for his help taking place in this episode would suggest Sansa passed the test.
  • The subplot of Littlefinger trying to turn the Stark sisters against each other was negatively received by major critics. To give but one example, Rob Bricken of io9 concluded in his review of this episode: "As satisfying as it was to watch Littlefinger finally get his comeuppance for trying to set two Stark women against each other, I can’t honestly say it makes up for the past two episodes. I can’t help but think at least some, if not most of Sansa and Arya’s fights were real (they had several scenes where it seems highly unlikely that they were performing for one of Petyr’s spies), and it was only Littlefinger’s clumsy push at the end—or maybe Bran rolling in with the truth, since he was sitting next to Sansa in the room—that made them realized their rift was primarily Baelish’s fault. Even if they were playing him the whole time, surely there was a way for the show to tell this story without both of them turning into weird, awful caricatures of themselves. But still, I’m still so relieved this horrible storyline course-corrected that I don’t mind Littlefinger’s ignoble, ignominious death, or how he basically did nothing but get himself killed in season seven. Thank the gods it happened."[2]
  • With the death of Littlefinger, Varys is the only member of Robert Baratheon's former small council that is still alive.
  • Sansa didn't do anything to "outmaneuver" Littlefinger, even though the TV writers seem to be presenting it that way. The evidence Sansa presents against Littlefinger is heavily dependent on her brother Bran's literally magical powers, which no one else can confirm or deny. Sansa did already know that Littlefinger killed Lysa Arryn, but no reason is established for why she feels confident enough to reveal this information now - earlier in the season she decided not to move against Littlefinger, because she felt she was dependent on his Vale army.
    • On a vague level, the one thing Sansa did do to outmaneuver him was pretend to be falling for his manipulations - the showrunners state in the Inside the Episode video that Littlefinger is a sociopath who, on a certain level, honestly thinks he loves Sansa and that she must love him, and would never turn on him. This does not address, however, how Sansa could adequately sway the Northern and Vale lords to turn against Littlefinger based only on her word and that of her brother's alleged magical powers. In fact, Sansa even testified that to Yohn Royce that Lysa did commit suicide (in "The Mountain and the Viper"), leaving open the question of why Lord Royce would trust her word now.
    • Without Bran's powers, Sansa had no way to know that Littlefinger was responsible for Jon Arryn's murder (in "Mockingbird" Lysa said that she killed for him, but did not specify whom) and to the letter Lysa sent Catelyn, in which she falsely blamed the Lannisters. In the novels, however, Sansa learned firsthand that Littelfinger was the mastermind behind both crimes: Lysa blurted out the truth explicitly about those deeds in the presence of Sansa and another person; Littlefinger tried to hush her, clearly feeling uncomfortable that she revealed such dangerous pieces of information, but in vain. It seems the TV writers either forgot that their version of the dialogue in those scenes played out differently, or just assumed it was Bran and not Sansa who discovered this information - which goes nowhere towards making a cohesive storyline about Sansa's rising ability as a political player.
  • In the novels, Littlefinger is arguably the main antagonist of the entire War of the Five Kings: Tywin Lannister, Walder Frey, even Roose Bolton are seemingly only pawns in wider plans he has set. It does not appear that he will die this simply in the future novels, or that he will become as peripheral of a character as he did from Seasons 5 to 7:
    • Starting in Season 5, Littlefinger's storyline was drastically truncated and diverged from the books, confusingly setting up a marriage between Sansa and Ramsay Bolton (a serial rapist who publicly displays the flayed skins of his enemies) with no clearly discernable gain other than to "undermine the Boltons from within". At the time this was presented as Sansa "going from pawn to player" in the political game, but in this episode Sansa criticizes it as "selling me to the Boltons".
    • In the books, Littlefinger and Sansa stayed in the Vale and spent time consolidating their hold over the lords there (through bribery and various other political maneuverings). Sansa is still disguised as Littlefinger's daughter Alayne Stone. A major part of Littlefinger's ongoing plans is for Sansa to marry Harrold Hardyng, cousin and heir of the sickly Sweetrobin Arryn, so she can one day claim rule over the Vale and lead its armies to retake the North (none of which required marrying into the Boltons). Currently, Littlefinger does not plan any military campaigns, because it is premature; he focuses on the first stage of his plan - making Harrold charmed by "Alayne".
    • Book-Littlefinger has incorporated many other political players into his plans, to the point that he has anticipated and apparently doesn't fear either the Lannisters, Boltons, or Tyrells. There are even hints that he may have already incorporated Daenerys Targaryen's upcoming invasion into his plans, judging by his cryptic comments to Sansa that what little order the War of the Five Kings left in Westeros will not long survive the "three queens".
    • In contrast, TV-Littlefinger didn't really have a long-term plan for the North after taking it from the Boltons: he had no way of knowing that Arya or Bran were still alive, or that Jon Snow would be a factor (he'd been planning to use the Vale to invade the weakened North since he started the entire war) - though what exactly his long-term plans are in the books have yet to be revealed. Instead, multiple major reviewers criticized that Littlefinger largely just hung around in the shadows in Season 7 shooting ominous looks at Sansa from the shadows, with his plan consisting of turning the Stark children against each other with no other leverage.
    • Ultimately, the Sansa/Vale/Littlefinger storyline was truncated much as the Tyrell/Reach and Martell/Dorne storylines were heavily condensed then abruptly wrapped up.
  • Likely as a means of highlighting the karmic nature of the scene, the framing of Littlefinger's downfall mirrors Eddard Stark's arrest in Season 1: both walk into a foreign courtroom (Winterfell, the Red Keep) thinking they are about to orchestrate a coup, only for the surprise revelation that they've been double-crossed, and alleged supporters (Sansa and Royce, Littlefinger and the Gold Cloaks) end up turning on them. He then sinks to his knees in the middle of the Winterfell court and pleads for mercy, similar to the shot of Sansa sinking to her knees before the Iron Throne and begging that Joffrey and the Lannister court show mercy to her father Eddard.
  • The question arises if Yohn Royce was ever even willing to work with Littlefinger, as he was seen meeting with him in the previous episode along with Lord Glover (out of fear that Jon was ignoring the North); yet he always mistrusted Littlefinger since he was introduced in Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper", and Littlefinger outright threatened him with a false accusation of treason in Season 6's "Book of the Stranger". Thus, when Littlefinger orders Lord Yohn Royce to escort him back to the Eyrie, it shows how really desperate he is, since old Bronze Yohn never liked him in the first place, accused him of murdering Lysa Arryn after her death and nearly got thrown out the Moon Door thanks to Littlefinger's whisperings to Robin Arryn ("Book of the Stranger"). It's possible he thought Royce would side with him because they met in private with Glover before - but even if this wasn't some sort of ruse against him, Royce never particularly liked him.
  • Although Sansa passes sentence on Littlefinger, she does not carry it out. This violates one of her father's key tenets of good leadership, that the man who passes the sentence must also swing the sword. Both Robb and Jon have taken this lesson to heart (i.e., Rickard Karstark and Janos Slynt). Sansa does allude to this in her conversation with Arya; the sisters seem to acknowledge, based on another of Ned's stories, that as long as the Starks act as one (a pack), Sansa need not swing the blade so long as Arya is the one wielding it. Alternatively, this might symbolize that Sansa has become more like a southern-style political strategist, but Arya remains very much her father's daughter.
  • Littlefinger says he only knows of the Faceless Men of Braavos "by reputation". In the novels, King Robert's Small Council actually debated what to do about Daenerys allying with the Dothraki, and one suggestion was to hire a Faceless Man to assassinate her. Littlefinger himself dismissed this because of the exorbitant price: the Faceless Men charge based on the relative importance of the target, and the price for the last known Targaryen was more than the cost of hiring an entire army.
  • Arya tells Sansa "In winter, we must protect ourselves. Look after one another" - the line her father told her in "Lord Snow". Sansa answers "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives". Both sentences are told by their father to Arya in the first novel, with slight changes.
    • In promotional materials for the season, Sansa's recitation of these lines was used ominously. In context, their use us much more encouraging, cementing the Starks back together.
      • It also carries another possible connotation; Winter has come and the Starks (wolves) and the Targaryens (dragons) have banded together in the face of the undead threat, whilst Cersei has refused to ally with them and is content to stay on her own and leave them to die. The wolf-dragon pact is the pack that will survive, whilst Cersei is the lone wolf who will perish. This is pure speculation, however.
  • Arya claims that she would have never survived what Sansa survived. Indeed, it can be assumed that if Arya was in Sansa's place - at the first opportinuty she would have grabbed some weapon and attempted (and maybe succeeded) in killing Joffrey and/or Cersei - and gotten herself killed.
    • On the other hand, it can be assumed that if Sansa was in Arya's place - travelling in the company of questionable people, in dirty roads strewn with outlaws and enemies everywhere, held captive by inhuman characters like the Mountain and his men - she would have not survived either.
  • On the two occasions Tyrion was in a similar situation to Littlefinger (except that Tyrion was innocent), he realized that he had no chance of acquittal, therefore he demanded a trial by combat. It is unclear why Littlefinger did not try to get away by the same method; perhaps the reason was that he was caught off guard by Sansa, things happened too fast for him to think it over and consider all possible solutions. In any case, it is doubtful that anyone in the room would have agreed to fight for him.
  • In the books, there is a common superstition that Harrenhal is cursed, and that any House that holds it is doomed to extinction within a few generations. In the fourth novel, Littlefinger points out that the Lothstons and all the other Houses who have ever held Harrenhal were destroyed one after another, and every individual who ever served as its castellan was killed: Shella Whent, Tywin Lannister, Amory Lorch, Vargo Hoat (Locke in the show), Gregor Clegane and Polliver; only Roose Bolton somehow evaded the curse by the point the books reached. Although Littlefinger never set foot there in the books, and only visited before being named its Lord in the show, it can be argued that his House (namely him) was destroyed due to the curse, like all the former Houses which ever held the ill-fated castle.
    • In the Histories and Lore supplement on Harrenhal, Catelyn maintains that the "curse" is simple economics combined with Harrenhal's unsettling atmosphere: the castle's associated lands simply aren't large or wealthy enough to maintain it, and all of the Houses it was granted to have lost tremendous amounts of money trying to maintain more of the castle than they could afford. On top of that, the psychological strain of living in a gigantic ruined castle would take its toll: no matter how large the household, it would never fill the castle, and there would always be mysterious noises and the threat of unmaintained buildings collapsing. That said, few people on the above list dwelt there long enough to deal with those issues.
  • With Littlefinger's death, House Baelish is extinct - for years, he has been the only living member.
  • This is the third season finale in a row in which Arya kills someone with whom she has a score to settle by slitting his throat. She previously did this to Meryn Trant in the Season 5 finale, and Walder Frey in the Season 6 finale.

In the Narrow Sea

  • The issue of armies and characters moving implausibly fast across Westeros came up in the preceding episode, and a few issues are raised in this one - though not nearly on the same scale. Back at Dragonstone, Jon says that the Dothraki should reach Winterfell in a fortnight (two weeks) by riding up the Kingsroad. In the books, the rough figure is that it would take riders about eight weeks to travel from King's Landing to Winterfell, without a baggage train (which the Dothraki don't have, being very mobile). Mitigating factors, however, are that we never actually see when the Dothraki left King's Landing - they apparently left when Daenerys did, but some time has passed during which she traveled back to Dragonstone, made other preparations, etc., so there is some leeway in that respect (Jon never says where the Dothraki currently are, for all we know they've already reached the Neck). Dothraki are also light cavalry and move faster than standard Westerosi heavy cavalry.
    • In contrast, Jaime Lannister's generals say that it will take them a fortnight just to gather together a baggage train for their army to head north. Mitigating this is that the Lannister army wasn't expecting to travel north but Daenerys was expecting her Dothraki to go to Winterfell, and the Lannister army is primarily infantry - the Dothraki infamously don't need a baggage train but just carry everything with them on horse to make lightning strikes.
    • No one particularly brings up how slow their armies might move in the heavy snows of the North - despite this being a major plot point resulting in Stannis's defeat in Season 5, three years ago in the internal timeline, before the beginning of winter was officially announced.
  • Jon says that they will sail with the Unsullied to White Harbor to catch up with the Dothraki, meeting them on the Kingsroad before they reach Winterfell. It's quite possible that White Harbor will appear on-screen for the first time at the beginning of Season 8. White Harbor has been mentioned in passing since Season 1, and several times in Season 7 itself: it is the only true "city" in the North, though the smallest of the five cities in Westeros, with a population perhaps around ten to twenty thousand (depending on what figures you use). Nonetheless it is the only major port the North has, and the closest thing to an urban center - if modest compared to King's Landing. In the books, Davos made an extended stay in the city to try to rally support for Stannis against the Boltons. The rulers of the city, House Manderly, briefly appeared in Season 6 at Winterfell - they are actually a family from the Reach that was exiled and fled to the North, where they became loyal bannermen of the Starks. White Harbor is somewhat of an odd exclave of southern Andal culture in the North as a result: the Manderlys follow the Faith of the Seven (so the city is the only part of the North with a sizable minority devoted to that religion), and the architecture looks like an odd mix of North and Reach castle styles (sort of like a cross between Scottish and French architecture).
  • Theon reminds the other ironborn that his sister tried to save him ("The Laws of Gods and Men"), and that she has forbidden their old ways. In response, Harrag reminds Theon how he abandoned Yara to die ("Stormborn"), and states "your sister's dead" - echoing what Yara told her crew after the unsuccessful rescue attempt: "my brother is dead".
  • Theon Greyjoy and Jon Snow do parallel each other in many ways, as noted in their exchange: both were outsiders at Winterfell with Jon as an illegitimate son and Theon as a ward (political hostage) in the Stark family and consider Ned to be their father. Jon managed to rise above bitterness and resentment at his position but Theon did not - Theon always struggled with choosing between his two identities while Jon made peace with his.
    • The irony of course is that Jon's speech to Theon will soon be applicable to himself, when he learns that he's actually half a legitimate Stark, and half Targaryen, just as Theon had to choose between Stark or Greyjoy.
    • Jon tells Theon "Our father [Eddard] was more of a father to you than yours [Balon] ever was" - similarly to what Theon told Ramsay in "And Now His Watch Is Ended". In the first novel Theon says a similar thing, but in his first POV chapter it turns to be a lip service: Eddard had tried to play the father from time to time, but to Theon he had always remained the man who'd brought blood and fire to Pyke and taken him from his home; as a boy, Theon had lived in fear of Eddard's stern face and great dark sword.
  • Apparently, when the slaver fleet was being refurbished, Daenerys's followers had the time to add Targaryen heraldry to the ships' interiors in addition to painting the sails. Of course, at least some months have apparently passed since her forces departed for Westeros.
  • Tyrion is noticeably concerned that Jon and Daenerys have become intimate - though precisely why is unclear, given that a marriage-alliance with Jon would secure the North and the Vale and fully unite the anti-Cersei forces in Westeros. It's possible he's concerned given that Jon's refusal to lie nearly cost them the truce he wanted to broker.

Rhaegar/Lyanna, Jon/Daenerys

  • The episode explicitly confirms that Lyanna ran off with Rhaegar and their relationship was consensual. Although implied by previous revelations, it is finally confirmed here, both through Bran's narration and the fact that Lyanna clearly looks happy at her very private wedding ceremony.
    • As Isaac Hempstead-Wright points out in a tie-in interview, this means that all the events of the last twenty-four years are essentially based on a lie: the elopement of Rhaegar and Lyanna would have been problematic only for House Martell, and for Robert Baratheon personally. The Starks would have been uncomfortable about the bruised honor of Lyanna seemingly stealing another woman's husband, but no actual harm or dishonor had come to their kinswoman.
    • Of course, the true start of Robert's Rebellion was Aerys II Targaryen's brutal murder of Rickard and Brandon Stark, and his subsequent demand that Ned and Robert Baratheon be turned over to the Crown – a request Jon Arryn responded to by raising his banners in revolt. Since Rhaegar had no control over his father, those events were largely unavoidable. On the other hand, Aerys allegedly took such drastic action based on a verbal threat Brandon had made against Rhaegar upon arriving at the Red Keep, a threat that Brandon would probably have been afraid to make if the truth were known.
  • Rhaegar's physical appearance is very similar to his younger brother Viserys Targaryen, and even his clothing style is similar - this isn't a coincidence, as costume designer Michele Clapton specifically said that Viserys was old enough when the Targaryens were overthrown to remember what the old Targaryen fashions at the royal court looked like, so it stands to reason that Viserys was actually imitating the way that Rhaegar used to dress (see "Costumes: The Seven Kingdoms"). On closer inspection, Rhaegar's costume might even be a reuse Viserys's costume: it even includes the mistaken Targaryen sigil that Viserys had on his tunic, featuring a dragon with four legs and two wings (six limbs), instead of the accurate sigil which has two legs and two wings (four limbs). This may have been a cost cutting measure, since the costume barely visible on screen and is only revealed in behind the scenes and publicity photos. As for his physical appearance being similar, this was a point from the books as well: when Daenerys sees Rhaegar during a vision of the past at the House of the Undying in Qarth, she initially mistook him for Viserys, before realizing he was someone else: "The man had her brother's hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac." This description may have been taken literally: it looks as though Wilf Scolding is wearing exactly the same wig that Harry Lloyd was using.
  • Bran's participation at the trial, and Sam and Bran's conversation later, clarifies some of the mechanics of his powers: Bran can use Greensight to view past events at his leisure, but must have some idea of what he is trying access. That is, he is not immediately presented with relevant information from the appropriate visions, but must sift through visions to find what he is looking for. Once he knew to look for a vision of Lyanna's wedding, he could find it easily, but without some hint to search, he had no idea it happened. Similarly, he didn't know about Petyr Baelish's betrayal until he viewed the event himself.
    • Some reviewers criticized that it was a plot contrivance that Bran didn't instantly know about Rhaegar and Lyanna's wedding already, but Bran repeatedly stressed in prior episodes that he has gained more "memories" of past events than one human mind can easily process, to the point that he is overwhelmed - he is not omniscient, he has to know what to look for first. His situation is comparable to a modern person going through a predecessor's computer files with no idea of their filing system, but knowing that everything they need is there.
  • It is implied that Bran no longer needs to be in close proximity to a weirwood tree in order to see through time using Greensight. It is not clear if this is an intentional growth of his powers, or simply a method of expedited storytelling.
    • In the novels, the three-eyed raven does say that Bran's powers will start with being able to see historical events that happened near Weirwood Heart trees, but over time will expand to be able to see much beyond them. Also this helps explain how it was relatively easy for him to quickly sift through his new magical memories of the past and find Rhaegar and Lyanna's wedding: it was conducted in front of a heart tree. The Children of the Forest taught the First Men (from whom the Starks descend) that those who follow the Old Gods of the Forest should conduct all important events in front of heart trees to be witnessed by the gods (marriages, political pacts, etc.) - not realizing that these events were literally being witnessed, because events performed in front of heart trees are easier for Greenseers to observe through the weirwood network.
  • Although he dismissed Gilly's revelation at the time, Samwell now makes note of the High Septon's diary entry she read about Prince Rhaegar's annulment.
  • Bran explicitly clarifies that bastards are supposed to bear the surnames of the region in which they are born: Jon Snow should have been Jon Sand, in spite of one parent being from the North and the other from the Crownlands. Jon's situation was quite unusual, however, in that Eddard Stark refused to even specify where he had been born as part of his cover story, just saying he fathered him with some woman in the south during the war - if he had given a specific name (like "Sand" or "Waters") that would have slightly narrowed down the search if anyone tried to find out who Jon's mother actually was. Thus he just ended up using the surname "Snow" by default – and for safety.
  • As Bran states, Jon's secret identity as Rhaegar Targaryen's legitimate son makes him the real heir to the Iron Throne, ahead of Daenerys, Rhaegar's younger sister. By every law of inheritance currently practiced in Westeros, a man's lawful son inherits before his younger siblings, brother or sister. From time to time, if a lord only leaves an infant daughter behind, etc., his younger brother might claim inheritance due to being more fit to rule (this type of thing is a frequent cause behind civil wars). Yet even under gender-blind Dornish law (different from the rest of Westeros), Jon ranks ahead of Daenerys. The third inheritance law used in Westeros is rare but important: the extreme male-preference primogeniture adopted by the Targaryen dynasty after the Dance of the Dragons, to try to prevent another civil war. This new Iron Throne inheritance law (followed for the past 170 years) puts female candidates behind all possible male ones - yet this is irrelevant, because even under standard Andal inheritance law followed in most of Westeros, Jon should be the real heir as the lawful son of Daenerys's older brother. At one point in the novels, she even remarks that if Rhaegar's infant son with Elia Martell had lived, even after Rhaegar died, he would have had a superior claim to the Iron Throne.
  • In the same episode Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow have sex, it is confirmed she is his paternal aunt, unbeknownst to either of them. "Avunculate relationships" (uncle-niece or aunt-nephew) are officially considered Incest in Westeros. First cousin marriage, however, is not considered incest, even though it was in the real-life Middle Ages (the Lannisters, Tyrells, and Starks all had first cousin marriages in the last generation or two - Ned Stark's own parents were first cousins once removed). For example, given that Sansa Stark actually isn't Jon's sister by blood, but his first cousin, a marriage between the two of them would not technically be considered incest in Westeros.
    • House Targaryen doesn't take issue with aunt-nephew incest: they preferred to marry brother to sister to "keep the bloodline pure" in line with the custom of their Valyrian ancestors, but when none were available in the current generation set, they would wed aunt to nephew or uncle to niece, or beyond that as close a cousin as possible. Rhaenyra Targaryen was married to her own uncle Daemon Targaryen - both of them direct ancestors of all subsequent Targaryen kings (the scandal surrounding that match had more to do with their age difference and Daemon's reputation). In the beginning of the fifth novel, Daenerys ponders that had Elia and Rhaegar's son Aegon lived (but his sister Rhaenys died), she would probably have been expected to marry her nephew as heir to the throne (had all of them lived, she would have been married to her brother Viserys).
    • While Daenerys may not care that she had sex with her kin, Jon may react differently. He has always been conservative about sexual relationships: he refused to sleep with Ros, never went to the brothel in Mole's Town (in contrast to many of the Watch members), and when he slept with Ygritte as part of his undercover mission they were already married under Wildling customs.
    • Although Daenerys is Jon's aunt, they are roughly the same age because she is his father's much younger sister and Jon was born 8-9 months before Daenerys's birth. Additionally, both of them were born after Rhaegar died at the Battle of the Trident. Coincidentally, both of their mothers died soon after giving birth to them, and both of them were born after their fathers died (Queen Rhaella Targaryen gave birth to Daenerys on Dragonstone shortly after the Mad King was killed during the Sack of King's Landing).
    • Due to all of the multiple generations of compound Targaryen incest, Daenerys would be more closely related to Jon than just his aunt - verging on practically being his sister from a genetics standpoint. Jon is Rhaegar and Lyanna's son, but Rhaegar and Daenerys's parents were themselves brother and sister, meaning that Rhaegar and Daenerys were also their own first cousins (and more than that, due to many generations before that of prior brother-sister incest). Doing the math, Jon and Daenerys - in real life - would share around 44-48% of their genetic material (nearly the 50% of full siblings).[3]
    • In response to the union between Jon and Daenerys, actors Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington expressed how they were both “freaking out” over doing a romance story between their characters due to the unique experience of having watched each other's seven-year character journeys before Jon and Daenerys meet on-screen, and because Clarke and Harington have already been friends for the past seven years; in many cases, a romance plot happens with an actor they’ve met recently and it's developed from thereon in – it tends to be easier to play a romance on-screen when you don't have an established dynamic in real life. Of the sex scene itself, Clarke says, "I love that when we get to the saucy stuff, it’s a beautiful acceptance of a wordless... yep." Regarding their storyline, Harington remarks, “I said to Emilia it’s going to be a really cool scene when [Jon and Daenerys] find out [they’re related],”[4][5] and Clarke believes their characters won’t be pleased to learn the news they are relatives, speculating, “The reality of what they are to each other? I don’t know how that’s going to… I mean, kind of ‘gaaaaah’ might be the reaction!” Harington jokes, “I like looking at [Emilia] and going, ‘Oh god, I’m sorry [mock dry-heaves], let’s go again!’” However, Harington believes Jon and Deanerys’s coupling is “inevitable” and sums up, “I think they both know it’s wrong, I think they both know it’s going to cause problems, but it’s that thing when you suddenly feel that deeply about someone and you’ve been through those events together, it’s like a runaway train, you can’t stop it happening."[6]
  • The marriage of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark takes place before a Weirwood Heart tree with the High Septon and recitation of traditional Faith of the Seven vows - apparently due to being an interfaith marriage, as the Starks worship the Old Gods of the Forest and Rhaegar followed the Faith of the Seven. The wedding scene of Robb Stark and Talisa in Season 2 (invented for the TV series), also had Faith of the Seven vows conducted by a Septon in front of a heart tree: the producers said the in-universe reason was that Robb was the product of an interfaith household (Catelyn followed the Faith of the Seven), so he just enjoyed mixing the pageantry of both. Talisa's religious views, if any, were never addressed, but since she was quite happy to leave the bigotry of Volantene high society behind, it's reasonable to assume she didn't have a great personal liking for whatever the Maegyr family's religion is.

Jon Snow's real name

  • Jon Snow's real name might not necessarily be "Aegon Targaryen" in the novels:
    • Rhaegar Targaryen already had a son named "Aegon Targaryen" (Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar)) - had he lived, Rhaegar's firstborn son with Elia Martell would have ascended the Iron Throne as "King Aegon VI Targaryen". Because he died as a baby and was never crowned, any future king named Aegon will become "Aegon VI" (there were numerous Targaryen princes named "Aegon" who never ruled as kings). Elia's son Aegon has been mentioned by name before in the TV continuity. Thus it wouldn't make much sense for Rhaegar to give two sons the same name. Kim Renfro of Insider wrote an article discussing why this is confusing.
      • Similarly, Daenerys Stormborn is officially styled as the first of her name; there was another Targaryen by that name, but she never ruled as a queen, therefore Daenerys Stormborn is not "Daenerys II".
    • The chronology is that Rhaegar was killed at the Battle of the Trident, then a few weeks later his father the Mad King and Elia's baby son Aegon were killed during the Sack of King's Landing, then a few weeks after that Eddard Stark reached the Tower of Joy where he found Lyanna dying from childbirth. Jon was thus born a few weeks after Elia's son Aegon died.
    • Fan theories have suggested several alternate names that Rhaegar might give his son with Lyanna in the books:
      • "Jaehaerys" after Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Aegon I's grandson, considered by many to be the greatest king in the history of the Targaryen dynasty. Aegon I was a conqueror and builder of empire, but Jaehaerys I was a great diplomat, scholar, and law-maker - closer to the kind of man that Rhaegar would admire. Rhaegar was always of a more scholarly bent, and only took up the sword relatively late after he read something in a book (possibly a prophecy). This would also keep Jon's "J" initial.
      • "Aemon" after Maester Aemon. Rhaegar had a great friendship with his great-uncle: despite Aemon living at the Wall, they exchanged written correspondence very frequently.
      • "Viserys". In one of Daenerys's visions in the House of the Undying, she sees Rhaegar and Elia naming their new son Aegon, and Rhaegar proclaims, "There must be one more. The dragon has three heads." Given that he had already named his daughter Rhaenys, it seems that Rhaegar was trying to recreate the original Targaryen conquerors - Aegon, Rhaenys, and Visenya - with his own children. With Aegon and Rhaenys already accounted for, one would think Rhaegar would have wanted his third child to be a daughter named Visenya. However, Jon being a boy would certainly complicate this plan, and Rhaegar could have chosen the nearest possible masculine name to Visenya: Viserys.
    • The TV series conspicuously made it a point to remove "Jaehaerys II" from the TV continuity - father of the Mad King and son of Aegon V, back in Season 1, but avoided giving a clear explanation why (though this might have just been to simplify the relationship between Aemon and Daenerys). Alternatively, it's possible that this was meant to shorten the reference in later seasons, to say "Jon was named after the greatest Targaryen king, Jaehaerys", without having to explain that there were actually two prior kings named "Jaehaerys".
    • Given that the TV series didn't spend as much time introducing information about earlier Targaryen kings (Jaehaerys has been mentioned exactly once) it's possible that the TV continuity changed his name to "Aegon", when it's actually "Jaehaerys" in the books.
  • The possibility that his real name actually is "Aegon" in the books, however, cannot be dismissed either:
    • In their video review of this episode, Westeros.org weighed in on the issue- the semi-official book fansite run by Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson, co-authors of the World of Ice and Fire sourcebook with George R.R. Martin. They actually had a nuanced reaction: initially they both doubted Jon's real name is "Aegon", but on reflection Elio realized that it might be - Linda still doubted it but increasingly felt it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand:
    • The simple answer, as Elio observed, is that even in the books, it's possible that Lyanna named her son, not Rhaegar. Lyanna only gave birth to her son a few weeks after the Sack of King's Landing, after Rhaegar's first son died, and even such a remote location as the Tower of Joy would have received messenger-ravens giving news of what happened. Thus it's possible that the dying Lyanna chose to name her son after Rhaegar's older son who had already died.
    • It's quite possible that Rhaegar didn't give Jon Snow his original name, because he assumed he would be female, and intended to give him a female name. Following the prophecy that "the dragon has three heads", it appears that Rhaegar wanted to essentially re-create the original trinity of Targaryens from the Conquest generation: Aegon the Conqueror, and his two sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya. Rhaegar's first child was a daughter he named "Rhaenys", and his second child with Elia he named "Aegon". It's possible that Rhaegar hoped his child with Lyanna would be a daughter to finish the set, and he thought he'd name her "Visenya" - so he didn't come up with a male name for Lyanna's baby before he was killed.
    • Even if the books give Jon a different name, this scenario is at least internally consistent for the TV continuity (Rhaegar wouldn't give his two living sons the same name, but Lyanna could plausibly have named her son after his dead half-brother).
  • On a meta-narrative level, both "Aegon" and "Jaehaerys" have thematic resonance. The number seven is important in Westeros - Seven Kingdoms, the Faith of the Seven, etc. - while the Targaryens tend to do things in threes ("the dragon has three heads"). Thus if Jon's name is "Jaehaerys" he would rule as "Jaehaerys the Third". If Jon's real name is "Aegon", however, he would not be "Aegon the Seventh" - Rhaegar's first son was never crowned so he wouldn't be counted as "Aegon the Sixth". Thus Jon is "Aegon the Sixth" - missing the thematic significance of naming him "Aegon the Seventh".
    • Of course, it's possible that "Aegon the Seventh" might be a potential future son of Jon and Daenerys.
  • Ultimately this is left an open question, awaiting the next book. It cannot be taken as absolute proof that Jon's real name is also "Aegon" in the books, but the scenario - while a little unusual - is plausible enough that it cannot be automatically dismissed as an invention of the TV series.
  • How Game of Thrones Wiki will respond to this revelation about Jon Snow's real name: The wiki won't re-name the Jon Snow article to "Aegon Targaryen", at least not at present. The simple answer is that "Jon" doesn't call himself that (yet), few people even know that's his original name (yet), and the HBO Viewer's Guide itself still lists him as "Jon Snow". From a more pragmatic, out of universe perspective, most viewers across the past 7 years refer to him as "Jon Snow" so it's a much more recognizable search term. If the situation changes in Season 8, if "Jon Snow" starts calling himself "Aegon Targaryen" and even official HBO materials start renaming the character, the issue will be revisited, but not before. Wiki editors should refer to him as "Jon" in summaries set prior to this point, not "Aegon" - i.e. a summary of the Battle of Castle Black in Season 4 should not say "Aegon held the dying Ygritte in his arms" because no one called him "Aegon" at that point in time (just as the "Darth Vader" article doesn't refer to him as "Anakin Skywalker" during the Battle of Hoth).

At the Wall

  • It is unknown if the Wall will actually be breached like this in future books. In the Inside the Episode videos, showrunners Benioff and Weiss make stray remarks about the Wight Hunt i.e. "we thought it was a good idea", in such a way that it seems to be admitting that this is their invention, not part of George R.R. Martin's outline for future novels. Similarly, in the Inside the Episode video for this one, they remark on how they thought that it would be "logical" to have a dragon breach a hole in the Wall - again, implying this isn't what really happens in future novels.
    • We have no idea if the Night King even exists in the novels, or is an invention of the TV series to provide a main antagonist as a focal point for the narrative. Game of Thrones Wiki directly asked George R.R. Martin about this, but his response was deliberately ambiguous.
    • Given that the Wight Hunt is apparently an invention of the TV series, it's possible that Viserion isn't going to be killed and resurrected as a wight-dragon at all. Instead, it is heavily implied that Euron Greyjoy will use a magical "dragonbinder" horn he obtained from the smoking ruins of Old Valyria to mind-control one of Daenerys's dragons and bind it to his will - possibly as part of a magical ceremony he intends to perform at The Hightower in Oldtown, which he is preparing to attack in the next novel (like the Wall, the Hightower is built on ancient, magical ruins, and may be another leyline of the world).
    • If Viserion is not killed and turned into a wight, that raises the question of how the Wall could be breached in a future novel. Several magical horns are introduced in the novels which characters believe how the power to make the entire Wall crash down, from coast to coast. Mance Rayder claimed to have one, though he later admitted this was a bluff. In both the books and the TV series, Jon finds a mysterious old warhorn at the Fist of the First Men and gives it to Samwell; there is fan speculation that this is the true horn capable of destroying the Wall. Curiously, the horn was introduced in Season 2, and emphasis was put on it, only to then never be mentioned again. The TV writers later explained that they copied many details from the books in the first few seasons without realizing what they would build to, until Martin finally revealed his full future outline to them after Season 3 was written - thus it's possible that after that meeting, they revised their own outline of how the TV series would progress, and chose to abandon the warhorn. Ultimately, of course, only the release of the next novel will confirm any of this. In the books, Sam still has the horn in possession.
  • The debate about Viserion's current nature seems settled: he still breathes fire, not ice, and his abilities are unhindered by damage done to his corpse.
    • In real life, a blue color usually indicates a much hotter fire than a red-yellow fire. It's not clear if Viserion is now somehow breathing hotter flames than when he was alive, or if the color is simply the result of the Night King's magic (the most likely explanation), or even some chemical change in Viserion's reanimated firebreathing organs.
    • Viserion is not, literally, an "ice dragon" now. Ice dragons are a specific mythological creature rumored to exist in the northern polar regions in sailors' tales, but they are literally made out of living ice, and breathe freezing blasts of cold instead of fire.
  • The destruction of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea means that there are only two edaquately manned castles left along the Wall, Castle Black and the Shadow Tower. Both are sitting ducks, given their relative lack of defenses and low manpower - as seen in Season 4's "The Watchers on the Wall", the castles along the Wall intentionally don't have strong defenses on their southern side, so they can't be used against the realms of men.
    • Throughout the fifth novel, Jon acts to restore and garrison the abandoned sixteen castles, and many of them have been restored - but they are badly undermanned, and will not be of much defense against the army of the dead.
  • In the premiere episode of Season 7, Jon mentioned that if the White Walkers got through the Wall, the first obstacles in their path would be the seats of Houses Umber and Karstark, Last Hearth and Karhold, respectively. What this means for the inhabitants of the castles, if any, remains to be seen.

In the books

[This section will be updated with comparisons after the sixth novel is released.]

The episode contains influences from the following chapter of A Feast for Crows:

  • Chapter 44, Jaime VII: Jaime decides to break up with Cersei as snow falls.

The episode contains influences from the following chapters of A Dance with Dragons:

  • Chapter 9, Davos I: Someone mentions the practice to kill dwarfs.
  • Chapter 54, Cersei I: Cersei states that Tyrion is responsible to the attempt on Myrcella.
  • Epilogue: Snow falls on King's Landing, signaling the arrival of winter in full

The episode contains influences from the following chapter of The Winds of Winter:

  • Theon I: Someone intends to hire the Golden Company, at least 20,000 sellswords.

The episode may contain influence from the following fan predictions and theories regarding The Winds of Winter and/or A Dream of Spring:

  • R+L=J: It will be revealed Rhaegar Targaryen married Lyanna Stark in secret. Jon's true name is taken from a previous Targaryen king.
  • Cleganebowl: Sandor Clegane, who survived after Arya refused him "the gift of mercy", will have a final confrontation with his hated brother, Gregor Clegane

Memorable quotes

Sandor Clegane: "Seems every bad idea has some Lannister cunt behind it."
Tyrion Lannister: "And some Clegane cunt to help them see it through."


Daenerys Targaryen: "I'm grateful for your loyalty, but my dragon died so that we could be here. If it's all for nothing, then he died for nothing."
Jon Snow: "I know!"
Tyrion Lannister: "I'm pleased you bent the knee to our Queen. I would've advised it, had you asked. But have you ever considered learning how to lie every now and then? Just a bit?"
Jon Snow: "I'm not gonna swear an oath I can't uphold. Talk about my father if you want, tell me that's the attitude that got him killed, but when enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies, and lies won't help us in this fight."
Tyrion Lannister: "That is indeed a problem. The more immediate problem is that we're fucked."
Sansa Stark: "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives."
Sandor Clegane: "You're even fucking uglier than I am now. What'd they do to you? Doesn't matter. It's not how it ends for you, brother. You know who's coming for you. You've always known."
Podrick Payne: “I’m glad you’re alive."
Bran Stark: “You held a knife to his throat. You said, 'I did warn you not to trust me.'”
Cersei Lannister: "I told you no one walks away from me."
Jaime Lannister: "Are you going to order him to kill me? I'm the only one you have left. Our children are gone, our father is gone. It's just me and you now."
Cersei Lannister: "There's one more yet to come."
Jaime Lannister: "Give the order then."

Gallery

See also

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]