KV: Hey gang! I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a little blindsided by that battle sequence. Woah! But let's start by recapping the first part of the episode.
I am not sure how I feel about the Jon and Dany scenes in this episode. The attraction is feeling forced. I was worried they were going to kiss in that cave and it isn't feeling earned yet. I'm glad they are holding off on that move, and I hope when it happens, it's believable. What did you all make of that? And is it me, or is the Onion Knight coming off as a little bit of a perv lately?
SW: I didn't love their scene either. The chemistry didn't bother me as much as the cave art. I get that it's a strong narrative device to help build Jon’s case about the Night King. But come on...those cave drawings have been there for thousands of years and they're just now discovering them? Plus, the way they drew the people in such a primitive way but the White Walkers looked exactly as they do in real life? It's a bit too convenient. I did love that she asked Jon’s advice about her military strategy. The fact that it coincided with Tyrion's approach helped restore some faith in Tyrion as well. I hope, with their counsel, she can find a balance between the force she is capable of and the humanitarian approach that has inspired her followers.
KV: When Theon stepped off that boat and saw Jon, I have to say it took me a few minutes to process that they haven't seen each other since like episode one. The space the show gave us as they look at each other for a few minutes was great. Everything these two have been through- all the ways Theon has failed the people he loves- it was a rough couple of minutes. I'm interested to see how and if that relationship will evolve.
SW: The Theon/Jon reunion highlights what I love most about this series. The character development is so strong. These are deeply flawed characters but their stories still manage to make them relatable and even sympathetic. This is particularly true of Theon. He did unspeakable things in the first season. The Starks have every reason to hate him. But he's also been through so much torment. I'd like to see him try to make amends. But he may be too broken.
KV: Yes, Theon is just one of several characters I have gone from despising to caring about--a complete 180. Another reunion this week was between Sansa, Arya and Bran. It's a bit awkward and bittersweet, I was still overjoyed to see them all together. Unfortunately, I think Sansa’s loyalty to House Stark might fall apart now that she sees who her siblings have become. Jon is ranting and raving about zombies, Bran practically is a zombie, and Arya is a frighteningly adept assassin. I was hoping Sansa would find Arya’s Kill List kind of cool, but I guess not. What's the future of House Stark?
SW: I loved Arya’s homecoming. They really took time to show her taking it all in. We've witnessed her journey and seen what she's capable of doing now. But once she was home there was a touch of vulnerability there, too. I thought for a second she may be able to rekindle her relationship with Sansa. That is until she kicks Brienne’s ass! It's clear the Stark family will never be what they were. But the hardship they've faced may be what prepares them for the inevitable threat beyond the wall.
KV: I absolutely loved the scene with Bran and Littlefinger, too. Littlefinger is trying to win Bran over by presenting him with a badass dagger (do we know who this dagger originally belonged to…? He claims Tyrion but I thought that was not true?) Littlefinger makes a comment about the chaos in Bran’s life, and in a rare moment when Bran’s flat affect actually works, he responds “Chaos is a ladder.” Now, the folks I watched the show with did not recall the significance of this line, but I sure did. Littlefinger himself says this (was it to Varys?) back in King’s Landing. It's Littlefinger’s game plan, and Bran knows it. I still don't know what Littlefinger’s next move will be, but there is no doubt that he feels threatened by Bran now.
SW: Kris, I believe the dagger was Joffery’s and yes, that scene was chilling. Littlefinger is so scummy and I enjoyed watching Bran threaten him with his own words. Bran is very strange now. They've explained this away by saying he has so many more memories than his own that he's no longer himself. But that feels gimmicky to me. He has knowledge that could move this story along and put to rest many mysteries. Why does he keep it to himself? Is he trying not to take sides? Is the knowledge irrelevant because he knows what will happen regardless of what he says or does? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
KV: Cersei has control of the Iron Bank now that she's about to pay her debts. Cersei’s position has improved considerably since the start of the season, and she's proving herself to be an able strategist. Her brother Jamie is securing the delivery of the Tyrell storehouses (the gold has already made it past the gate of Kings Landing). A surprise attack by the Targaryen-led Dothraki army and a big muthaflippin’ dragon annihilate the Lannister and Tarly forces. There's a lot to discuss with this battle scene- what stood out to you? I was particularly moved by Tyrion’s position, watching his new Queen get knocked out of the sky by the mega-crossbow (which seemed a bit less silly in action) and simultaneously watching his brother Jamie and his old pal Bronn come close to getting killed. I have to say, I identified with him. As much as I want Daenerys to prevail, I did not want to see Jamie or Bronn die.
SW: OMG. That fight scene was glorious. I had to watch it twice! The dragons, the Dothraki standing on their horses wielding a scythe in each hand, watching Drogon annihilate that stupid crossbow, the pit in my stomach that something may happen to Bronn or Jamie or Dany. I loved every second of it. And I'm not really into fight scenes. But we've become so invested in these characters and the stakes are so high. These are the scenes we've been waiting seven seasons for!
KV: Agreed! The battle scenes are always beyond cinematic. I loved how we followed Bronn through the field at one point. We witness little decisions that he had to make, such as leaving the bag of gold while he is surrounded by chaos. They have a knack for making these battle scenes epic and personal at the same time. The stakes are so high because of the complexity of the characters and their relationships with one another.
I think our pal Jamie will make it out of the water- it just doesn't make sense for Olenna to reveal that she killed Joffrey last week and then that information dies with Jamie. We also could have seen him burn alive, but instead he’s shoved out of the fire and into the water at the last second. Was that Bronn? If so, he may be able to pull Jamie out since he doesn't wear armor (“it slows you down”). Where will Jamie end up? Will he make it back to Cersei or end up a prisoner of Dany? And is the dragon’s injury fatal?
SW: There's no way Jamie is dead. His story isn't over yet. It's funny you mention Olenna. The first thing I thought was, “there's no way he's dead. He's the only one who can tell Cersei who actually killed Joffrey.” I think he'll end up back in Kings Landing but he’s changed after his conversation with Olenna and the experience seeing the dragon. And I must mention how lucky it was for Cersei that the gold just happened to make it inside the gate before the surprise attack. Yet another ridiculous coincidence in this episode.
KV: The battle scenes on this show are so cinematic and thrilling, it's unbelievable. I watched this week with some friends who had never seen the show before and I think we have some converts!
SW: I loved this episode. Arya’s homecoming and the battle were enough to make me forget about those few irksome details I mentioned above. I can't wait for next week.