This week on ‘Game of Thrones’: Arya and Sansa have CW levels of drama, the stupid plot to catch a wight moves forward, white walkers strike back.
Spoilers through Game of Thrones 7×06: “Beyond the Wall.”
For all the excitement and fanservice, Game of Thrones’ seventh season has been an absolute mess. It’s clear that without book material to rely on, the writers are having a hard time creating a compelling narrative while also wrapping up the many, many loose threads from over the years. “Beyond the Wall” may be exciting TV, laden with CGI battles, but it’s full of so many character inconsistencies and a lack of consequences that it’s becoming hard to watch.
What Happened to the Arya I Used to Know
“Beyond the Wall” is a hot mess, and you can rest assured that my feelings will be made known about every irritating detail, but by far the most irksome part of the episode was what went down between the Stark sisters. The drama between the Stark girls came about because Littlefinger set a trap with the letter Sansa wrote back in season one. Arya becomes irate that Sansa would dare betray her family and threatens to out Sansa’s history to the northern lords because Sansa isn’t ruling the way Arya would. Talk about acting like a child.
Last week, I held out hope that Arya was acting suspicious so as to protect her sister from Littlefinger. Anyone with eyeballs can see that dude is not to be trusted, so I thought that Arya saw the sliminess in him and sought to rid Winterfell of his creepy gaze.
I was wrong.
INSTEAD, Arya lambasted her sister, the one she hasn’t seen in YEARS, for a decision she made when she was thirteen. Arya claimed that Sansa’s actions were a betrayal to House Stark and she acted selfishly against her family, thereby leading the Stark house to ruin. Hi, Arya. Baby. Pot, meet kettle. While Sansa may have acted rashly as a child in an attempt to, as she thought, SAVE her family, Arya is currently acting rashly in a way that divides her family during a time where Littlefinger sharks are all up in the water, ready to attack at the proper moment. The time away from non-murderous family members hasn’t been kind to Arya and she is going to get herself or Sansa killed because she doesn’t know how to be around people. (If it’s the latter, I riot.)
There are theories that Arya and Sansa are working together to fool Littlefinger into giving away his secrets. Judging by Sansa’s interaction with the sleazeball, she knows something is up, and she’s quick to get Brienne out of dodge so she doesn’t have to involve the gallant knight in all the drama happening in Real World: Winterfell. Arya, however, I don’t buy. Given that the show has completely botched her Faceless Man training, and her entire arc last year was nonsensical, I don’t have faith that Arya can con anyone. In fact, viewers love to cheer on the little fantasy trope that is Arya Horseface, but I’m over it. She could have prevented the Red Wedding herself by killing Tywin while acting as his cupbearer, but did she? No. So even she’s guilty of inaction in the same way Sansa is. Arya is a mess and Sansa is completely justified in looking at her like the sociopath she is.
Yea, I said it. Arya is a mess. Come at me.
Also, while we’re throwing insults: I’m furious that Arya would deem to think Sansa is somehow “less” because she likes pretty things and once dreamed of being a princess. There is nothing wrong with girls liking nice dresses or wanting to be pretty. AND: sometimes emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse so get off your “my abuse is worse than yours” high horse and actually talk to your sister like a human being you freaking cob.
Maybe don’t leave your weird faces around the house where any snooping sister can just find them. Maybe also remain at least below a ten on the “Bran creepy scale” please and thank you. Don’t threaten your loved ones with wearing their face. It’s unbecoming of a lady and also it’s gross.
Sansa baby, you look wonderful. Your winter outfits are dope as hell. I hope you kill Littlefinger with that dagger and make Arya eat her bitter words.
Let Me Tell You How To Feel: A Game of Thrones Love Story
Game of Thrones doesn’t quite know what to do with Tyrion Lannister these days. This is the man who saved King’s Landing several times over, at one point was on par intellectually with both Littlefinger and Varys, and yet, somehow he’s been relegated to being Dany’s therapist. Tyrion may not be the best military mind, but watching him fail and look like a fool only makes the rest of the “good guys” suffer as well. The only real reason Tyrion has failed militarily in both Meereen and Westeros is because the plot demanded he fail. The plot deemed the “enemies” needed to have equal footing and because of it, Tyrion is forced to lose at every turn. I know that with the story rushing toward the end, the chance of introducing new plot elements to make Tyrion’s character exciting again is slim to none, but goodness it’s not fun watching him fizzle out this way.
It is fun, however, watching him try to teach the baby dragon Dany why it’s bad to burn your enemies alive.
Moreover, using Tyrion as the character who constantly reminds the viewers that Jon and Dany have feelings for one another seems like a slap in the face. Not only do I not buy the romance between the two leads, because they’ve spent no time together, but having outside characters constantly remark on their puppy dog eyes and chemistry is lazy writing. Jon and Dany aren’t characters known for their light-hearted moments, they’re the heroes, I get and respect their stoic natures, but give them something. Give them ten minutes together where it’s not just plot propelling them forward, but instead where it’s just the two of them being humans with feelings and smiles and anything other than Bran Stark emotions. Have them laugh together. For goodness sake, don’t have Dany watch Jon while he sleeps or have them stare longingly at one another from across the entirety of Dragonstone. Thrones had a chance to build this romance long-term and they blew it. Judging by the end of “Beyond the Wall”, I give it about thirty seconds into the season finale before the two heroes get naked. Together.
The Dumbest Move in Westeros History: The Jon Snuh Biography
I can’t get behind the “we need a wight to convince Cersei of the Long Night” plot. I simply can’t. It was a stupid move and the only reason it happened was so the White Walkers could gain a dragon. The White Walkers didn’t bait Dany or Jon north. There wasn’t an attack on Eastwatch. Instead, Jon Snuh with his dumb “I know nothing” face stupidly ranged north of the Wall to PICK UP A WIGHT AND BRING IT TO CERSEI. I know only a few surviving characters on Game of Thrones have the privilege of knowing Cersei Lannister, but show of hands: who thinks she’ll give one flying dragon fuck if a White Walker himself shows up at the Red Keep? Anyone?
Yea, no one. Because Cersei don’t care.
Cersei cares about Cersei. If the White Walker isn’t actively trying to drink her wine, she isn’t going to care what it does. Tyrion should know this. Tyrion should know better than anyone that Cersei will try to use the war in the north to her advantage but noooooo Jon Snuh knows best, so off the idiots go beyond the Wall.
There are attacks and skirmishes but ultimately they’re all pointless because Jon brought just enough red shirts to keep the episode from being too tense and suddenly, just like that, Game of Thrones has lost that oomph that made people love it in the first place. Instead of worrying that a group of named characters are together, we now know that said group is inherently safe. Where’s the danger in ranging beyond the wall? Where’s the character development and the excitement? Don’t tell me that it can’t happen.
Don’t tell me that Game of Thrones can’t introduce a character, make her likable in twenty minutes, and then kill her off five seconds later, because I’m STILL grieving the loss of Karsi after the “Hardhome” episode so I know gorram well that Thrones has the ability to write one-episode characters and make them engaging human beings. Instead, Thrones has opted for the cinematic route, scenes of zombie bears and wights surrounding all seven named characters on an island of ice.
I’d be insulted by the ridiculous nature of “Beyond the Wall” if Thrones hadn’t been building toward this nonsense all year, what with Jaime and Bronn miraculously surviving Dany’s attack and Euron winning everything. Somehow Gendry, the boy who had never seen snow before in his life, is able to run his fine ass back to Eastwatch without getting lost. I STILL get lost looking for protein bars in Costco. But okay, let’s suspend belief and pretend that maybe Gendry is really into Crossfit and navigates blizzard conditions in his spare time.
Let’s also pretend that a raven makes its way south to Dragonstone, and sure, ravens are fast flyers. Maybe the raven even made it to Dany in under a day’s time. Then, in less than a day, Dany would have been well on her way north to save Jon, thereby preventing the world from losing such an esteemed artist. Maybe Dany flies around in the frigid north, never having been there before, for only a few hours before finding the ranging party conveniently atop an island in the middle of a frozen lake. Maybe the party was kept alive by Beric’s fire sword and Jorah’s affinity for making zombie bear jerky and trail mix. Maybe Tormund kept everyone warm with his magnificent flowing beard. Even suspending ALL that belief, supposing that all of these events are just contrived moments necessary to keep the plot moving, I still can’t believe that out of nowhere, Benjen “Coldhands” Stark shows up to save Jon Snuh. Then he Titanic’s himself, sacrificing his
door horse and life (maybe?) so the wee baby bastard could escape back to his bonnie lass in Eastwatch.
Maybe the entire skirmish was a plot by the Night King to bring Dany north so that he could acquire a dragon. He’s already winning the war, but sure, no one would say no to a dragon. Maybe he’s a greenseer like Bran and he knew that if he waited with hope in his heart and spears in his hands, he’d eventually lure her babies to him so that he could get a child of his very own. Maybe he even planned to have those big ass chains ready ahead of time, kind of like buying a crib before you give birth. Maybe now the Night King can just knock over that pesky wall and we can be done with this nonsense. That’s a lot of maybes.
The thing that makes episodes like “Hardhome”, “Battle of the Bastards”, and “Blackwater” so great is the threat level. In “Hardhome”, Jon suffers. He’s knocked off his feet and left breathless. He’s absolutely overrun by the White Walkers but still he fights and his claws his way out of that shit situation, not because someone showed up on a dragon, but because he made it happen. There’s a grittiness to those battles that makes them feel real. They are cinematic feats but they’re also dirty and gross and hard to watch at times. “Battle of the Bastards” succeeded at making viewers believe that Jon might die at the bottom of a pile of his own soldiers because sometimes war isn’t a beautiful mess. Sometimes it’s just a mess.
Maybe the struggle with the seventh season is because Thrones doesn’t know how to do realistic battles when dragons are involved. It’s possible that it’s hard to focus on the ground battles when the dragons are so cool as they bombard armies with fireballs of death. However, if Thrones wants to return to the any semblance of what it once was in the it needs to figure out how to balance that ice and fire, and quickly.
I will say, Emilia Clarke was fantastic in “Beyond the Wall.” She usually only shows emotion when screaming in a foreign language but I believed her grief over losing Viserion. (Even though the director and writers did wrong by not even mentioning the dragon’s name. Honestly, do they not know that we only care about the animals in this show?)
The only truly exciting moment in this episode was watching the Night King get a dragon. I can’t handle characters that act stupid for the sake of the plot so as long as Sansa lives, I’ll cheer for the Night King’s victory.
Also, the music was on point, especially when Dany rescued those idiots.
Apparently the suicide squad was armed with dragonglass weapons but no one made mention of it. That’s a pretty big writing oversight and it’s integral that fans understand the work that went into planning that trip.
Arya, do you really think Papa Ned would be okay with you threatening to wear your sister’s face? I know my sisters’ and I were mean to each other, but damn. That’s a new low.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9pm EST.