We open on my three-year-old, who is refusing to go to bed. It’s half an hour before Game of Thrones starts. She’s been fed, bathed, comforted, cajoled and finally – bribed.
‘Drug her,’ my husband hisses. Just to be clear, we don’t drug her; the promise of Daddy reading her favourite Peppa Pig story is enough to finally herd her into bed.
The book is missing.
‘Fuck–fuck-fuck,’ I mutter, searching from room to room. It’s not in the kitchen. It’s not in the laundry. It’s not in the garden, where she likes to bury favoured objects. Finally, at 6.45pm, I find it on her bookshelf – where she has never put one of her books before.
We read Peppa. She goes to sleep. We pour wine and anxiously fidget on the couch.
Previously, on Game of Thrones: Seven years of death, destruction and betrayal. New credits! Then it’s Winterfell, where some random kid clambers amongst the crowds, much the way Bran did back in Season 1 when King Robert arrived. Except this time it’s Jon and Daenerys, looking very Ying and Yang on horseback. Dany’s sour until Drogon and Rhaegal soar overhead. Everyone in the North shits themselves, except for Arya. Arya looks like a kid on Christmas morning.
Dany and Jon arrive to find Sansa and Bran waiting for them. Jon hugs Bran and marvels at how he’s ‘a man’ now. Even Bran disagrees with this statement. Jon and Sansa hug. Dany walks over, and man it’s icy out here.
Jon: ‘This is Sansa…THE LADY OF WINTERFELL.’
Dany: ‘The North is pretty! So are you!’
Sansa Stink-eye: ‘Whatever.’
Bran: NIGHT KING! UNDEAD DRAGON! THE DEAD MARCH SOUTH!
Everyone huddles in the Great Hall for a Northern Committee meeting. Lyanna Mormont’s predictably pissed off. Jon’s the guy that’s brought his new girlfriend home and doesn’t want his family to say anything embarrassing. Tyrion wants everyone to live together – or die alone. Sansa wants to know what dragons eat. Dany, smug: ‘Whatever they want.’
Cut to Gendry in the yard, there to remind the audience about dragon glass. IT’S PRECIOUS, GEDDIT??! Tyrion spots Sansa and they reminisce about Joffrey’s wedding. I have to admit, it was probably the most enjoyable wedding I’ve ever been to. Tyrion’s still pissed Sansa left him to take the rap. Sansa doesn’t feel particularly guilty, probably because she never agreed to marry him in the first place. Tyrion: ‘Many underestimated you…most of them are dead now.’ The look on Sansa’s face is all I’m just getting started, bitch. Tyrion brings up his sister and Sansa can’t believe he believes Cersei will send her army North. She leaves Tyrion with a juicy parting shot: ‘I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.’ This pricks Tyrion right in the ego. Sansa is winning this episode, and my heart.
Winterfell’s Godswood. Jon’s standing by the heart tree, staring into the middle distance. Do some fucking work, Jon. Arya appears. Jon wonders how she snuck up on him. Has no one told Jon about no one? There’s joyous hugging and comparing of swords. Jon asks Arya if she’s ever used Needle. Seriously, no one has told Jon Arya’s bad ass now? This is an irritating plot hole.
Jon asks Arya where the hell she’s been – he could have used her help with managing Sansa, that difficult bitch who tried to warn him about Ramsay’s cunning, won the Battle of the Bastards for him, relinquished her right to lead the North, and kept Winterfell running while he was getting laid bending the knee. Arya punches Jon in the face. Wait— no, that’s just what I want to happen. But Arya does tell Jon that Sansa’s the smartest person she knows. So for the record – Sansa’s the smartest person Arya knows, Tyrion is no longer the smartest person Sansa knows, and Jon’s the dumbest person everyone knows. Got it?
King’s Landing, where Qyburn has terrible news: the dead have broken through the wall.
Cersei: You talk sexy.
There are lots of ships in the background; Euron has returned with the Golden Company and Yara.
But no elephants.
Golden Company dude: ‘There was no CGI budget left.’
Euron: ‘Can we have the sex now?’
Cersei, for some unfathomable reason, says yes. This whole scene is weird. It’s immediately followed by another weird scene; Bronn surrounded by prostitutes, bragging about shooting a dragon. The girls would prefer to talk about some ginger kid who lost his eyelids. Qyburn appears, presents Bronn with a crossbow, and requests on the queen’s behalf that Bronn poetically execute her brothers. Bronn takes the crossbow. This feels like a ham-fisted way of getting Bronn to go North in time to die for the Lannister boys, but maybe I’m wrong.
Back to Cersei and Euron, post-coital. Cersei’s still upset about the elephants. At this point I have to assume the elephants in ASOIAF world are damn impressive. Not that elephants aren’t generally impressive – they’re very nice – but this a show about dragons.
Euron wants to know how he compares to Cersei’s previous lovers. I’m more interested in how he doesn’t compare to the show’s previous villains; he has none of Ramsay’s menace and he’s never made my blood boil the way Joffrey did. I’m putting him on the gonna-die list simply because he’s boring.
Theon! Here to rescue Yara! Which ends up being a lot easier than I expected. Yara wants to take back the Iron Islands. Theon wants to go to Winterfell and die for the Starks. Add him to the gonna-die list.
Back to Winterfell, where Varys, Tyrion and Davos are talking marriage – namely one between Jon and Dany, which could be the answer to all their Northerners-are-xenophobic problems.
Cut to Jon and Dany. Dany’s worried about Sansa not respecting her. Two Dothraki appear to tell Dany the dragons only ate eighteen goats and eleven sheep. So just the one fucking herd, then?
Dany and Jon visit the dragons. Dany tells Jon they don’t like the North. Rhaegal gives Jon a nudge. Giddyup! Dany tells Jon to jump on. Jon freaks out about consent. This is all happening a lot sooner than I thought it would – I figured Jon would at least know he’s Targaryen before he scored a dragon. But okay.
Jon jumps on and Rhaegal takes off. For some reason this reminds me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Harry rides a broom for the first time. I’m not sure this is the effect they were going for.
Jon and Dany take a scenic dragon ride, which ends in front of a romantic waterfall.
Dany: We could stay here for a thousand years!
Jon: But we’d be old, duh.
Lucky Dany’s a sure thing. They flirt. Drogon gives Jon ‘don’t fuck my mom’ face. It’s a moment of humour that’s pretty twee for GoT, but there’s a dragon involved so I’m on board.
Winterfell’s forge, where Gendry’s hard at work with the dragon glass. DRAGON GLASS = IMPORTANT. The Hound is there. Arya appears, and the reunion between her and the Hound is short and icy. The reunion between Arya and Gendry is better; they banter, Gendry calls Arya ‘m’lady’, and Gendarya shippers worldwide spontaneously explode in front of their screens.
Sansa, looking pensive. Jon enters the room. Sansa tells him that Lord Glover ain’t coming to the party. This Glover guy is a bit of a cop-out. Sansa tells Jon it’s because Glover wanted to serve the King in the North. Jon wants to know if Sansa has any faith in him at all.
Sansa: Tell me you did this for the North and not because your brain is in your penis.
In Winterfell’s library, Sam has apparently been so wrapped up in books that he totally forgot to go say hi to Jon. Or maybe Winterfell is vast in the same way as Ikea – you know your friends are in there somewhere, but you probably won’t find them until the very end. Yet – weirdly – Sam isn’t surprised to see Daenerys or Jorah. He’s actually kind of chuffed – until he brings up the sword he ‘borrowed’, which has been in House Tarly for generations.
Dany: Um…Not Randyll Tarly?
Sam: *excited* You know him??!
Dany breaks it to Sam that she flamed his dad…and Dickon, his tall, gallant moron of a brother.
Aw, Sam’s face.
Sam asks to be excused and runs outside. Bran’s waiting for him, like the unblinking psychotic lurker that he is.
Bran: it’s time to tell Jon the truth.
Sam: You fucking do it.
Bran: Can’t. I’m too creepy.
Off to the crypts of Winterfell, where Jon’s just hangin’. Again. Sam stumbles in and they hug. Jon’s all cheery, presumably after waterfall sex, but Sam’s about to change that. He tells Jon that Dany executed his father and brother. Jon had no idea and is really sorry, but Dany’s his girlfriend now and stuff. Sam wants to know if Jon would have done it. Is this a bad time to point out that Jon executed Janos Slynt specifically because Slynt wouldn’t acknowledge his authority as Lord Commander? Does anyone else remember that? No? Okay.
Sam info dumps on Jon: Your mother was Lyanna Stark, your dad was Rhaegar Targaryen, you’re the real heir to the Iron Throne.
Sam: Oh, and your real name is Aegon Targaryen. Ha!
Full on. Let’s move on to a corpse surrounded by dismembered limbs.
Tormund and Beric survived the collapse of the wall and have arrived at Last Hearth, where they run into Lord Commander Edd. In the books Edd is called Dolorous Edd, so I’m tempted to call him Lord Commander Dolorous Edd, but it doesn’t improve things. Ser Edd, King Edd, Edd the Mighty; Edd is not an inspiring name, regardless of what you put in front of it.
They search Last Hearth and discover that tree-climbing Umber kid came home to some good, old-fashioned White Walker hospitality. Beric says it’s a message from the Night King. I’m left wondering what it says.
Back to Winterfell, where a certain Kingslayer arrives in the yard. Jaime’s looking very Knight of the Crusades this year. He spots Bran. Their eyes lock meaningfully…and we’re out.
Next week: Dany’s all over the Kingslayer, no one should have trusted Cersei, and Winterfell prepares to battle the Night King.