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Week by Week TV: Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 7

Game of Thrones is the adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s series of books A Song of Ice and Fire. The series is a medieval struggle between noble families for the Iron Throne, sets in the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos. First aired in 2011, the show’s seventh season is now underway.

This is part of a continuing series review. Click to read the reviews of Episode OneEpisode TwoEpisode ThreeEpisode FourEpisode Five and Episode Six. This review contains spoilers for the new episode.

After last week’s disappointing episode, I was hoping for a jaw-dropping season finale. Did “The Dragon and the Wolf” live up to my high expectations?

The first half of the episode definitely did not. The negotiations between Cersei, Jon Snow and Daenerys are extremely boring. These characters are currently involved in a war; however, their conversations resemble sit-com dialogue and the White Walker scene feels awfully out of place: the White Walker is removed from the box by The Hound like a rabbit from a magician’s hat. Jon Snow explaining to the audience how to kill it just reinforces the sensation of watching a campy performance. In the end, the negotiations do not end well – Cersei’s armistice terms are not met by Jon Snow (who remains neutral in the war for the Iron Throne).

When the action moved to Winterfell, I was ready for another disappointing sequence. The way in which things have been handled till now haven’t made any sense. Thankfully, I was wrong. Convinced by Littlefinger, Sansa decides to take Arya to court for plotting against her own family. However, in a breath-taking turn of events, Sansa takes Littlefinger to trial; she exposes his crimes (including the death of their father, which Bran has supposedly seen in a vision) and condemns him to death, where he is executed by Arya. Everything suddenly becomes clear: Sansa and Arya have been playing Littlefinger (and me) all along, letting him believe he was succeeding in pitting one against the other. This scene was pure Game of Thrones – unexpected and ruthless. However, I wished this season could have been able to deliver more moments like this.

Unluckily, this episode also features a series of obvious plot twists. Cersei reveals to Jaime that she has no intention of being an ally of Daenerys; indeed, she is waiting for Euron Greyjoy to bring back an army of mercenaries from Essos. Committed to joining the war against the White Walkers, Jaime leaves Cersei. To be fair, an alliance with her enemies would have been way out of character for Cersei.

It is finally explained that Jon Snow is not a bastard, but the secret son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Is this really shocking? It means that he could claim the Iron Throne as the last Targaryen male, but most importantly that he is Daenerys’ niece. Unfortunately this is the same Daenerys he has intimate relations with at the end of this episode. However, close familial relationships in Game of Thrones are not surprising. While this was the first time Jon’s parentage was openly stated to the audience, there have been obvious hints since Season 6.

However, the final scene was a blast. In a vision, Bran sees the Night King destroying the Wall with his brand new dragon in an explosion of ice and blue fire. This last scene and Littlefinger’s death were undoubtedly great moments, but they were also the only noteworthy scenes of the entire episode. While they definitively elevate this season above disaster, they did not represent much of an improvement. Compared to the last two seasons, Season 7 was definitively more enjoyable, but it has not reached the narrative peaks of the initial seasons which still remain my favourites.

Game of Thrones Season 7 airs on Sky Atlantic every Monday at 2am and 9pm in the UK. Image source: Gadgets.ndtv.com