Game of Thrones S07E07 “The Dragon and the Wolf” REVIEW

Game of Thrones S07E07 “The Dragon and the Wolf” REVIEW

0 comments 📅28 August 2017, 08:43

Airing in the UK at 2am and 9pm Mondays on Sky Atlantic
David Benioff and DB Weiss   
Jeremy Podeswa

Essential Plot Points:

  • The camera pans up from Grey Worm to show the Unsullied army, neatly camped outside King’s Landing. Lord Bronn of the Black Water ponders the life of a soldier without wedding tackle. Then the Dothraki show up.

  • Tyrion and Jon Snow approach by boat. The Hound taps on a box – the captured walker is still alive.
  • Brianne of Tarth is impressed the Hound is still alive. She tells him Arya is alive, and in Winterfell.
  • Bronn and Podrick head off for a drink, “while the fancy folks talk.” There’s a tense wait for everyone else – although the Dragon Queen has yet to appear, no doubt coming in on a later flight.
  • Cersei and Jaime Lannister show up with Euron Greyjoy. The Hound and the Mountain face off.
  • Dragon flight 001 arrives. Cersei looks unimpressed. Euron looks like he’s found a new queen to lust after.
  • Before the chat begins, Euron Greyjoy breaks into Tyrion’s speech, saying he’ll kill Yara if Theon doesn’t submit to him. He’s cowed by his own side.
  • The sides don’t like – or trust – each other. It’s time for show and tell. Meister Qyburn is impressed.
  • The dead can’t swim, so Euron is taking his fleet and going home. “When winter’s over, we’ll be the only ones left alive.”
  • Cersei accepts the truce. “Until the dead are defeated. They are the true enemy.” But only if the King of the North remains in the North and doesn’t “choose sides.”
  • Jon Snow can’t pledge himself to two queens. So the talks are over. Tyrion heads off to see his sister, alone.
  • Cersei doesn’t care about making the world a better place. She wants to protect those who matter. Tyrion surmises she’s pregnant.
  • Jon and Daenerys share a moment, before Tyrion and Cersei return. Cersei’s armies – all her banners – will march north and fight.
  • Littlefinger continues his manipulation of Sansa Stark. He asks her to imagine the worst her sister Arya could do.

  • Theon Greyjoy asks to speak with Jon. Jon forgives him what he can, and Theon determines to save Yara.
  • Sansa confronts Arya in the Great Hall. She throws down accusations of murder and treason – to Lord Baelish. Arya executes him.
  • Jaime is gathering the troops. Cersei says he always was the stupidest Lannister – the troops are going nowhere. Cersei threatens him with death, but Jaime calls her bluff and leaves to honour his commitment to fight with the north.
  • It’s snowing in King’s Landing. Winter has come.
  • Sam Tarly arrives at Winterfell. He and Brandon Stark piece together Jon’s history – his real name is Aegon Targaryen, and he’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

  • The wall is breached, courtesy of dragon fire that melts the ice.


The short but sweet meeting of the major players (something we never thought we’d see without swords being drawn) is but a trifle ahead of the real meeting in this episode – between Cersei and Tyrion. The hatred between them, the blame apportioned for past wrongs, makes this tenser than a performance appraisal in the White House.

To our eyes, Cersei’s pregnancy – now more than ever – appears to be a gambit. It’s clearly a ruse to make Tyrion think she has bigger concerns, and a way to keep Jaime in check as she plots behind his back, even if she only manages one of those things. If anything, Jaime’s view of the threat from the dead is more likely to send him north to fight them if he thinks he has a child to protect, so for once her scheming seems to have backfired. And it’s also rare to see her make a threat she can’t keep – but even she can’t keep that one.

Jon might be the poster boy for not telling lies, almost scuppering the negotiations, but his sisters are on the same page. Littlefinger’s manipulations are interesting, although they now focus on Arya so much you start to wonder if the youngest Stark daughter has already killed and replaced him, as she did Walder Frey, and is using his form to gauge how far her sister would go. His inevitable death – we did warn you not to pit Stark against Stark, Lord Baelish – doesn’t quite have the sting we’d hoped for, given all the trouble he has caused, even if death by committee is always the way he should have gone. In our eyes he was as dangerous as Cersei, so it’s a shame to see him ushered out, but we can’t help wondering if Arya has claimed his face?

Elsewhere, Theon’s chat with Jon is a lot more satisfying than the fight that follows, the knee in the groin being a bit of a sad punchline. His story is now easily the weakest, in a way that Bran’s was in the early seasons. At least the news that Euron has sailed to pick up the Golden Company means the rescue of his sister shouldn’t eat up too much screen time next season.

Bran’s role as the Three-eyed Raven comes good in so many ways – exposing Littlefinger and uncovering the truth of Jon Snow’s lineage. Robert’s rebellion was a sham, it seems, as prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark were in love – she wasn’t kidnapped! Unfortunately, it comes just a little too late to stop some Targaryen on Targaryen action, as Jon and Daenerys finally give in to their emotions.

You have to wonder what the Night King’s plan would have been before he took that order from Dead Dragons ‘R’ Us. When his army of the dead arrives at Eastwatch, their attack plan appears to be something along the lines of ‘walk slowly towards the big wall’. By god, there’s a lot of them, but what was plan B before last week’s final reveal? Of course, we already know they have something up their ragged sleeve – beyond the dead giants that now feature among their numbers. Its blue fire eats through the wall of ice as the merciless dead look on, making war unavoidable in the final season.

But Thrones has always been about the plotting and that’s where this episode excels. We thought it might when we saw Jeremy Podeswa was directing, as he kicked the season off with more of the same. Unfortunately, even as the Night King destroys that almighty cliff as he begins his trek south, we’re still left hanging disappointingly off it.

Given the excitement of last week’s episode, you could argue that would have made a better end to this series – the joy of Jon’s unlikely, last-second rescue, fading out on that one massive blue eye. This feels like a beginning, and pitching it at the start of the next season – making that seven episodes instead of six – would have been the wise move. And there are now just six episodes left…

The Good:

  • The Hound facing off against the Mountain. That’s a fight we’d dearly love to see.
  • Tormund Giantsbane looks like he’ll get to try out that title again when the Night King’s army appears. There’s some big fellas among their numbers.
  • The Night King riding on the resurrected dragon’s back in a Daenerys stylee. Because you would, wouldn’t you.

The Bad:

  • Given all Littlefinger’s politicking and betrayals, it’s apt that his death has the feel of a committee meeting held by lowly councillors. But apt doesn’t cut it in Game of Thrones and we can’t help feeling a little disappointed – both that he’s gone, and that it happens in such a perfunctory way.

Best Quotes:

Cersei Lannister [to the Mountain]: “If anything goes wrong, kill the silver-haired bitch first, then our brother, then the bastard who calls himself king. The rest of them you can kill in any order you see fit.”

The Hound: “I left this shit city because I didn’t want to die in it. Am I going to die in this shit city?”
Tyrion Lannister: “You might.”

Review by Matt Chapman

Read all of our Game of Thrones reviews

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