Deep breaths everyone, I know, the latest episode of Game of Thrones was a doozy, and my goodness was it packed full of key moments and others interactions of note. The episode mostly focused on two of the main plot threads, which are Jon’s mission north of the Wall, and Sansa and Arya’s strained relationship at Winterfell. While the Jon thread provided the most shocking moments of this episode, it’s the Sansa/Arya scenes that may have a bigger impact on the game of thrones before the dust, fire, and now ice settle.
One could argue that this entire episode, which is titled, “Beyond the Wall”, could have been one big top moment for the show and the narratives moving forward, but I was able to limit my choices to nine of the most impactful scenes. There are plenty of other observations of note, but I left those for the Assorted Musings section, which you will find after the break.
Head on down below to see which scenes made the grade and how they may impact the narrative moving forward. The moments are listed in chronological order, so the numbers don’t reflect rank.
Top 9 Moments
1. Arya Confronts Sansa’s Betrayal
We knew this exchange would be coming based off of the end of last week’s episode when we saw Arya find Sansa’s letter to Robb to ask him to bend the knee to Joffrey. As expected, Arya didn’t take the note too well, and she quite frankly wasn’t buying any excuse Sansa threw at her. According to Arya, Sansa betrayed her family by writing the letter, and she could care less about Sansa’s mental state when she wrote the letter. Arya believes that Sansa should have opted for torture and death over succumbing to the Lannister’s threats, so she has no compassion for what her sister went through.
This exchange just goes to show how different these two sisters are, and how they really don’t have a strong bond between each other. Arya highlights this fact to Sansa with her story about her shooting arrows and Ned watching her do so, and how she’s always wanted to be a warrior over a lady, which she holds over Sansa’s head. In the end, the scene has set the stage for Littlefinger’s plan to drive a wedge between these sisters and have Sansa trust only him, which is ultimately why this was such a key scene in this episode.
2. Dany and Tryion Continue to Disagree
There was a brief exchange between Dany and Tyrion in which the dwarf tried to provide council to Dany and caution her on her bold tactics. This scene is important because it continues to show the slight rift between these two lead characters and how Tyrion fears Dany becoming too like her Father, while Dany is tired of being told to do nothing, which ultimately cost her most of her allies.
This exchange carries over into Dany’s choice to help out Jon Snow, which Tyrion highly advises against in the fear of losing her. Once again, Dany scolds him for asking her to do nothing and she blindly heads off to help out Jon. While her actions were very heroic, they ultimately became very costly and could tip the scales in the Night King’s favor now that he has a WMD of his own.
3. Petyr Continues His Masterful Sansa Plan
Littlefinger is a genius and easily one of the best players of the game of thrones. He is proving this once again this season with his slow game of driving a wedge between the Stark children so he can become the only person Sansa trusts, and in turn get her to do his bidding without her feeling like she is doing his dirty work. Sansa lets Petyr know that Arya found her letter, which he pretended to be surprised about even though he planted it. He’s so slimy it’s almost respectable, and regardless of how smart and tough Sansa thinks she is, she is blindly falling into his carefully laid trap.
He will indeed succeed with this plan. He even planted more seeds into Sansa’s head about Arya being such a threat that she may need Brienne to kill her or at least defend her from an Arya attack. Again, Littlefinger is strategically planting seeds into Sansa’s head that he knows full well what they’ll grow into. In fact, we see this seed payoff in this episode when Sansa sends Brienne to King’s Landing to take her place at a meeting with the Queen. I truly think that Sansa sent her to avoid using her against her sister, but in the same light I think that is exactly what Petyr wanted. With Brienne gone Sansa has no physical protection, or more importantly she has lost the one person who is solely dedicated to her safety with no thoughts of capitalizing off of her name. This opens a door for the finger to keep driving his Stark family wedge between the sisters, which will ultimately cause a major rift for Team Stark.
4. White Walker Wight Weakness Exposed
During a battle between a White Walker, his wights, and Jon Snow’s expeditionary force, we were treated to some new information about how the Walkers are tied to their wights (the zombies of the living creatures they’ve turned). It was revealed that if you kill a Walker, all of the wights he’s turned will instantly die as well.
Now the tricky part about this theory is if it only applies to Walkers killed with Valyrian steel, which Jon used with Longclaw. It isn’t clear if this will happen if the walker is killed with a standard sword, or even dragon glass, so that remains to be seen. I’m leaning towards the idea that for this insta-wight-death to happen the Walker has to be killed with Valyrian Steel or dragon glass, but only time will tell if that hypothesis is true or not.
5. Dragons to the Rescue
Ok, so from the moment Dany took off with her three dragons to save Jon and his group until the tragic ending of this decision, easily marks the best moments of this episode. The segments also proved to be very costly in the short term and long term, so this entire exchange is critical to the show moving forward. It also reinforces the fact that Dany is really starting to take an interest in Jon, outside of his fealty, because she clearly flew into danger to save Jon’s party, and I guarantee Jon was the main person her heart wanted to save outside of her longtime protector Jorah.
The whole action set piece of Dany showing up at the last minute to save Jon and his party was a spectacle to behold. It was pure awesomeness to watch Dany and her three dragons lay waste to the Night King’s army. The true power of what she herself can do with her three children was made more clear than ever. She alone could take down an entire army as long as her three children are with her, so I loved the show of power that these four put on.
What I wasn’t expecting — boy did the writers trick us into thinking that the good guys would win the day unscathed — was the death of Viserion at the hands of the Night King. With one ice spear and a powerful toss, he single handily took out Viserion with a kill shot. The poor beast nearly exploded in blood as it came crashing down on the ice where Jon and his team were trapped. His slow sinking into the depths was very sad, and you could feel the pain of the loss on everyone’s faces involved, especially Dany. I figured at least one dragon would die, but not in this manner. I thought Cersei’s forces would take one out, but the Night King beat her to it. Only time will tell if Dany’s choice to save Jon will ultimately payoff, because it did result in her fully believing in Jon’s cause now, but it also cost her one of her children, which will surly come back and burn her in the ass.
6. Benjen the Timely
I have to give one of my Thrones Times Show co-hosts credit here, because he totally predicted that Benjen could make and appearance in this episode. After all, we knew he was still milling around north of the Wall after he dropped off Bran.
Just as Jon’s fate looked sealed after being left behind to ensure the others of his party could survive, Benjen arrived to save the day and sacrifice himself for the greater good. It had to be Benjen to command Jon to take his horse and head back to the Wall, because Jon would instantly trust him due to them being family. Anyone else and Jon would have wasted time trying to be brave and argue with them about who should live and die, so I found Benjen’s sacrifice to be a valiant last push to help the living prepare for the army of the Night King.
7. Arya Ramps Up Sansa’s Creep Meter
In this scene Sansa broke into Arya’s room to look for the letter she found, but all she stumbled upon was Arya’s bag of faces, which naturally creeped her the fuck out. Unfortunately for her, her sister is a Faceless Man, so Arya appeared without a noise like a ninja to startle her sister. This exchange was very dark, and reinforced the fact that Littlefinger has masterfully driven a wedge between these two sisters, and has managed to convince Sansa that Arya is unsafe and will probably murder her.
It was hard to watch this scene play out as a viewer because we know the whole truth, but Arya is unflinching in her disdain for her Sister and her perceived betrayal. It almost looked like Arya would wipe Sansa out to assume her identity, but that didn’t take place, rather she flipped her new dagger around and handed it to Sansa in a show of intimidation. This exchange pretty much sets up an explosive exchange between these two sisters, which will all benefit the master planner himself, Littlefinger. His plan has worked, Arya doesn’t trust Sansa, and vice versa, so it’s only a matter of time before he makes his move to seal the fates of the Starks and his own.
8. Dany and Jon Get on the Same Page in More Ways Than One
It was clear from Dany’s decision to save Jon that she has a thing for him outside of respect for his Northern Kingdom. She was atop the Wall waiting for his return with overly concerned eyes, and when he did show you could feel the relief on her face. Her feelings for him were further enforced when she watched over him in his sick bed. You could see her concern and passion all over her face, especially when she saw his death wounds. You could tell those left a mark on her, and only strengthened her feelings for Jon and the person that he is.
After Jon woke up the two held hands in a way that friends and allies typically don’t, so both of these main characters are really starting to dig the other in a passionate type of way. More importantly Dany divulged to Jon that she now fully believes him about the Night King, and that the loss of her dragon was almost worth it to see the terror the army of the dead brings. We also found out in this exchange that Jon is finally willing to bend the knee, which I credit to a talk he had with Tormund you can read about in the Assorted Musings section. He realizes now the type of person she is, so he could finally check his pride and accept her as his Queen.
This is a huge moment for the show moving forward now that these two very intriguing and impactful characters are on the same page. There is more of their story to tell for sure, namely the fact that they’re related, but now that they’ve each agreed to the terms they both initially set, I think we will see major developments unfold for them before this season wraps, as well as into the final season if they both survive the finale.
9. Ice Dragon
The moment the Night King grabbed an ice spear I knew what would ultimately come with it. I mean earlier on in the episode we saw a zombie bear attack Jon’s group, so we know that the Night King and turn animals to his side in addition to humans. Watching Viserion’s corpse being dragged out of the water was heartbreaking to say the least, mostly because I knew what he was about to come. The Night King has an ice dragon, which is the equivalent to having a WMD in his arsenal. Just think about the carnage and death he can bring now that Viserion is under his control?
There’s no need to even predict the tragedies that will come out of the Night King obtaining an ice dragon, because they’re guaranteed. I could see Viserion taking out one of his brothers, all of the Wall strongholds, and possibly a main character before the show wraps after eight seasons. While Dany got the information she needed to trust Jon and focus on the Night King, she lost a child and a weapon, and it will definitely bite her in the ass in the future.
- Tormund warning Jon about pride by using Mance as an example of what not bending the knee can mean for a King and his followers went a long way with getting Jon to bend the knee to Cersei.
- Winjing, or whatever the Hound called it, was a brilliant word and delivery of a line.
- The moment with Jorah and Jon and Longclaw was touching, but expected, as was its result.
- Tormund and the Hound has some great exchanges, especially the one where the Hound offers to let Tormund suck his dick.
- Flame swords FTW!
- The Hound is still clearly deeply affected by fire, and his wussing out against the zombie bear ultimately cost Thoros his life.
- Thoros’ light is snuffed out, and it’s all the Hound’s fault.
- Brienne clearly knows that Littlefinger is up to some shit, and she expresses it to Sansa before being shut down. This will come back to haunt Sansa. Take it to the bank.
- Dany’s somber looks towards the North hoping to see Jon Snow appear clearly reinforce the fact that she has a thing for him, so much so that she risked her and her dragon’s lives to save him.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”