Daenerys flies with her dragons and scorches the masters fleet as Tyrion and Greyworm force the masters to surrender. Afterwards, Yara and Theon arrive and convince Dany to join their support to her return to Westeros. At Winterfell, Jon and Ramsay meet on the field declaring the other side will be defeated. At night, Sansa beckons for Jon not to fall for Ramsay’s traps and Jon requests that Melisandre not bring him back should he die again. Davos discovers Shireen’s horse carving among the pyre that she died in. In the morning, both armies meet. Ramsay releases Rickon to play a game as the young Stark runs to Jon, but suffers an arrow through his chest and dies. Enraged, Jon charges the cavalry while Tormund and his men charge behind him. Arrows and blades engulf the battlefield as Ramsay sends the Umbers to surround Jon and his men. Nearly suffocating, Jon sees Littlefinger and his army of the Vale arrive with Sansa by Littlefinger’s side. They disperse Umber’s men as Tormund kills Smalljon. Ramsay retreats back to Winterfell but with the giant’s help, Jon and his men storm through and Jon captures Ramsay, nearly beating him to death. Later, Sansa declares to a wounded Ramsay that his name and legacy will disappear and be forgotten. She then watches as Ramsay’s dogs feast on his body. She leaves with a satisfied look on her face.
It was a cold and dirty path to victory, but Jon managed to come out on top as we essentially knew he would. We hoped Rickon would survive, but sadly he didn’t and Sansa’s path is growing darker in a way that may be a future tale we won’t see coming. I understand the plight and helplessness Jon had to be put through, but watching the Vale come to his aid the way they did almost seemed like it’s setting up the biggest “You owe me” conversation that Littlefinger intends to have with Jon. Now Jon doesn’t know quite the relationship Sansa had with him, but there’s plenty of tells that will cause some possible dissention between the Starks in the near future. The dramatic nature of combat has been dressed a number of times on this show, and it was just as apparent tonight with dirt and muck and guts littering the ground for all to see. As Ramsay’s chapter came to a close a new alliance is formed, one that wasn’t so much predictable as it was too easy to push onto us because the ladies fancy their way of rule, it’s like they’re sisters already. Now that we have Winterfell’s return to glory checked on the list, all that’s missing for the finale is Cersei’s trial. Not looking as promising as it could be, unless King’s Landing bursts into flames by the end.
The battle itself was very well choreographed with enough tight shots to brutally showcase what it feels like to suffocate while surrounded by panicking men. Honor and strength be damned when the spears and shields come closing in. Jon did what he could but fell into anger by not truly listening to Sansa’s advice when it came to Ramsay, that meant he had to physically lose the battle with who he had. That was never in question, because disparity is a necessity in these times of battle. Jon and Sansa both got their vengeance in against Ramsay and for what it’s worth, they gave him the end he deserved. He never thought he’d be overrun by more men and suffered the cost of it by retreating. Now, as the pieces begin to fill, Jon will probably have little time to recoup as he buries a brother and prepares the North for the true winter.
If Dany can undo an entire fleet with three dragons, what will Westeros throw at her that would even make a dent? The start and finish of the failed siege of Meereen was there to close the gap between the battle of the bastards, an event that probably could have been saved for the finale. Instead, Dany snatched some of the glory for herself and made new friends which came entirely too easily considering the placement of the storyline in the penultimate episode. Tyrion, as always is cautious and to the point, but I’d think this alliance would have been held under more scrutiny considering the Greyjoy’s don’t have a long history of trustworthiness, but since Yara and Dany got along just fine, all is well. At this in the interim. But does this mean she’ll finally set sail to Westeros this time? Winter really is taking forever.
Hands down, Jon’s clash into the extreme of battle with the single shot showing each slash, stab, and punch from him against his enemies. Filming extensive battle scenes of that magnitude couldn’t have been easy, and it sold his ferocity and willingness to go all out in the effort. I applaud the direction they went and hope it’s not the last time we see something as defined and wild as that moment.
Even though Jon fell for Ramsay’s game, he still gave it all he had. Even when he was overrun and drowning in the fear and onslaught of his own men, he pulled through and persevered to defeat Ramsay, due in no small part by Littlefinger’s timely aid. And with only a shield, he overcame Ramsay’s arrows and beat him to a bloody mess, giving back all Ramsay had taken. How he manages Winterfell from here is where it gets interesting.
I’ll probably start with Sansa and Littlefinger. No doubt, Sansa will forgive most of his offenses now that Ramsay is dead, and Littlefinger will be in no short supply of favors and machinations to guarantee the North will be under his tutelage and safety. I can already see him pulling stunts with Sansa needing to marry Robin to join the Vale and Winterfell officially. Whether Sansa will see past this or not remains to be seen because she was simply too eager to get him back as a saving throw. If Littlefinger pushes further to distance Jon from the throne as a bastard and she goes along with it, well then we’ll know she hasn’t grown at all.
Davos has all but put the pieces together regarding Shireen’s death at the instruction of Melisandre who as such as been little more than a passive caricature on this season outside of bringing Jon back from the dead. He’ll confront her no doubt, but I’m not certain as to the finality of situation. She’s been so unsure of everything that given an option to flat out be murdered, she’ll probably accept it as a reprieve from her long standing servitude to the lord of light. She hasn’t quite fingered Jon as the Azor Ahai, but if she doesn’t declare that soon, she won’t have much of a purpose outside of being forgiven by Davos, and that may not be very easy for him if at all.
I think one of the more disappointing theories that were killed tonight was that the Umber’s only allied with Ramsay under false pretenses and in the end didn’t actually switch sides as fans noted. That would have been a little too Braveheart had they done that, so I understand it was best to keep them allied with evil and keep Jon’s forces gasping for air. There was very little in the way of surprise accept perhaps the actual manner in which Rickon was killed. Many speculated the prince would suffer and suffer he did just as Jon was about to catch him. And that’s how this show works, put people on the verge of meeting and then take it away, mercilessly. I’m starting to wonder which Northerners actually remember anything up in the North.
It’s too early to ascertain season 7’s seasonal plot but one can expect a lot of confusing alliances as Westeros deals with Dany’s arrival. If it’s anything but that, then it better be infused with the rise of the WhiteWalkers who could be overtaking the wall as we speak. Imagine this finale emcompassing both the fiery destruction of King’s Landing and the snowy collapse of the wall at the same time. It would be the best finale in existence, short of Bran warging into a dragon and controlling it.
Two plot holes that I feel were left tonight were the following:
- Why didn’t Sansa reveal to Jon that she sent for help from Littlefinger’s army of the Vale? Did it really matter how she knew of them or who Littlefinger represented? Imagine if they waited just 12 more hours they could have had a proper battle with no edge of defeat. Jon heard what Sansa had to say and none of it was “wait for the army I asked to show up” Granted, Sansa didn’t know if Littlefinger would return but it would have been worth investigating at the least. That’s what ravens are for.
- I’m actually surprised that Melisandre didn’t offer up any “blood magic” techniques to help Jon win the war. She was entirely too resourceful in that department, but because Jon is more pure and kind-hearted, she never even attempted to tell him what she could actually do, like birth a shadow to kill Ramsay would have been a nice ace up the sleeve. If she didn’t have those abilities anymore then maybe some lines on that would have been sufficient.
8 out of 10. As far as penultimate episodes go for GOT it still ranks below “Watchers on the Wall” and “Blackwater”, but it was still a phenomenal episode for the carnage it conveyed. Another Stark fell in the 9th episode of the season but vengeance was secured as well as the old kingdom. Dany’s mythical presence and dragon riding is as always an unstoppable force that continues to dominant all the lands she crosses. Her travels back to Westeros need more fancy adversaries and if Euron isn’t going to be that force, then someone else has to be because the WhiteWalkers are too far away at the moment to matter. The finale will be lengthy and hopefully worthy of remembrance as Jon has returned Winterfell to it’s proper banner. Let’s hope it lasts long enough for him to embrace the Stark name and be who he was born to be. Thanks for reading.
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