Spoilers for Game of Thrones season finale to follow.
So I got a hair cut tonight (I write these in advance of posting). A guy at my salon insists that I talk to him about Game of Thrones, much to the chagrin of the stylist. I'll admit that after his reading my Star Wars deconstructions and talking to me about GoT, he insisted that I start these posts. So last night we spoke of this episode (it's why this one is a day late). He found it boring. I found it fairly intense and riveting. He found Dunkirk the same way while I found Dunkirk intense. So some of that might just be our taste in shows. But I've been thinking about his criticisms, and I believe he has a point. Many elements of this season finale have a touch of the "too little, too late." Many others rely on screen techniques to sell them that don't hold up under real scrutiny. For instance, they bank a great deal on us feeling tension over the meeting between Tyrion and Cersei, but as my friend at the salon pointed out, there was no chance that Cersei would kill Tyrion in that meeting. Tyrion was the only safety valve on Dany at that point. If Tyrion dies, Dany burns King's Landing to the ground, and whether Cersei knows Tyrion's role at that point, she has to know the chance or retribution for killing Dany's Hand. The only fear we should have during that meeting is that Cersei goes crazy, Dany releases her inner dragon on the Lannisters once and for all, Jon and Dany have to fight the White Walkers without Cersei's armies, because it's not like there's a real risk of her armies hurting them much once that safety gets taken off the dragon cannon. Another little bait and switch revolves around the Arya/Sansa plot. We never see them plot together, but we see plenty of scenes where they are supposedly alone where they seem to be enemies. That whole reveal is based on the fact that we want it to be true so badly that we won't dig too deeply into it. (The movie The Sting did the same thing. You'll see a scene and then when you find out later that the whole thing was a con, you'll be like, wait...who were they playing that scene for? The audience?)
Anyway, let's look at the characters.
The Hound and the Mountain - I wonder if the Hound can actually kill his brother. I hope he can. I'd love to see it. It's been a long time coming. Anyway, I'm referring to the theory that the Mountain is mostly undead. I believe that's just a theory and not something widely known. The skin we see through that helmet doesn't look entirely...natural.
Arya and Sansa - Another buddy theorized Friday night that they were working together. I pointed out that Arya was acting completely consistantly with how much she hated Sansa in Season 1. My issues with storytelling aside, I've never been so glad to be wrong. Normally, I'd be suspicisious. It's his job to QC copies of the digital file for a major company, but he doesn't do that until Saturday, so he doesn't have to bite back spoilers until I see him Saturday night. Anyway, I might have started singing Sisters Are Doing it For Themselves at that point.
Littlefinger - Good riddance. Good God, how much of the evil in this show has actually sprung from him. Let's see. 1) He killed Jon Aryn. 2) He pinned the assassination attempt of Bran on Tyrion, essentially starting the war between the Starks and the Lanisters. 3) He double-crossed Ned, leading to his death. 4) He wed Tyrell to Joffrey, giving the Lanisters the power to win the Battle of Blackwater 5) He killed Joffrey (and in the end no one ever did figure out his part in it, although that might have been a public service) 6) He married and killed Lysa becoming Lord of the Vale 7) He (presumably) almost succeeded in putting a wedge between Arya and Sansa.
Watching him die was very satisfying. The only thing that wasn't satisfying about it was that Sansa passed sentence and Arya executed it, in direct contravention of their father's first rule of kingship. But you could argue the sisters were operating as a single person in that scene and therefore they get a pass.
Euron and Theon - Euron is still a dick. If anyone doubted it before, we know it now. Theon seems to be, in defiance of all logic, attempting to perform a bonified medical miracle and grow a pair. As much as he's done to earn our hatred (I'm rewatching his heinous acts of season two right now), I wish him well. I hate Euron that much, and I like Theon's sister.
Bronn and that One Kid Who's Name I Can't Bother To Look Up - They got out of that meeting quick, didn't they? Survival instinct. That's what that is.
Sam and Bran - Not much there, although was that the first time we actually officially learned Jon's real name? Anyway. All is confirmed, just in time for some hot Aunt on Nephew sex.
Cersei and Jaime - My coworker reminded me Monday that it's been prophecized that Cersei would be killed by one of her brothers. I'm guessing it Jaime at this point that would certainly be the better poetic choice. I've been saying all season that he'd never do that, but now I see it's probably overdue. They probably drew that out too long. Anyway, I'll be interested to see where he lands next season.
Jon and Dany - It's great to see that getting yourself killed for your morals is a dominant genetic trait in the male Stark line (he's still a Stark, don't forget, just by Ned's sister). Jon barely got out of this episode alive. Of course, he was rewarded at the end with sex with his aunt. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about that. I mean, they're Targaryens, so...yay?
The Night King and the Undead Dragon - I thought the undead dragon would breath ice. Evidently in breath blue-white fire. So building that wall out of ice turns out to have been a bad idea. Hindsight.