When I recapped this season’s fifth episode, “The Spoils of War,” I stated that the episode was Martin’s “hold my mead” insult to all of us who just want one speck of happiness in all of this dumpster fire. I lied. This is worse.
In the sixth episode, “Beyond the Wall,” the directors of this show take your heart and they spear it, right in the middle and then leave it to bleed on cold, hard ground.
At Winterfell, tensions rise between the Stark sisters as Arya confronts Sansa about the letter to Robb. Sansa defends herself, saying the Cersei forced her to write it but Arya finds it cowardly that she would so easily give in. Sansa later finds Arya’s bag of faces and begins to truly realize the nature of Arya’s newly gained talents. Arya leaves her with words of warning, but also with the dagger from Littlefinger. Sansa hopes that Brienne would be her protector if Arya ever did take action against her, but when Cersei summons Sansa to King’s Landing, she sends Brienne as her representative, leaving her vulnerable to both Arya and Littlefinger.
At Dragonstone, Tyrion discusses with Daenerys how she will choose a successor, a topic she is not keen to discuss. However, her laters actions, brash and destructive, have left them worried that she will find herself in a situation she cannot escape with no one to carry on her cause. He suggests that he’s noticed Jon’s affection for her, but she brushes it off.
And finally, we move to beyond the wall where our band of men hope to capture a wight to bring to Cersei as proof of the war ahead. As they make their way towards the army, they are attacked by a giant undead bear. They survive, though Thoros is injured while helping the Hound. It’s hard to watch knowing that the only man who can bring them back to life will probably die and that the Hound must watch everything be lit on fire.
As they continue on, they come upon a White Walker and a group of wights. They capture one of the wights, but find that when they destroy the White Walker, the rest of the wights drop immediately, which they determine is probably because that said walker turned them.
Unfortunately, a much larger horde of wights descends upon them, so they send Gendry back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Daenerys of their dire situation. They become encircled by the horde with the Night King and White Walkers watching from afar, stranded on a small island of ice, and are stuck at a standstill. Thoros dies and is burned by his companions.
Things are stagnant until the Hound, bored by the standstill they’ve come to, begins throwing rocks at the wights who then attack. Thankfully, Gendry reaches Eastwatch and Daenerys arrives in time to save them. However, as she and Drogon torch the wights below and drop to help the others to safety, the Night King spears Viserion, killing him. Jon is left on the ground and dragged into the water by remaining wights, but is saved by his uncle Benjen Stark, who offers him his horse and allows him to get back to Eastwatch.
Jon recovers aboard a ship, most likely on his way back to Dragonstone. He apologizes to Daenerys for her loss and calls her his queen. Daenerys thanks him for allowing her to see for herself what actual dangers they face and vows to fight the Night King with him.
We end with the Night King and his army pulling Viserion’s body from the water, which he revives and turns into a wight.
Now, completely ignoring that it’s not plausible at all that the Night King would have enough chains lying around to pull a full-size dragon from an ice lake, this is just bad news. With the dead army having a dragon, Daenerys faces the issue of possibly having to not only watch her dragon die again, but having to do it herself. Not to mention, what is a wight dragon like? Does it breathe ice? The Night King has just become that much more powerful, though he already possesses magic and talents unthinkable to his many enemies.
It is safe to say that the survival of the kingdom now rests in whether everyone can come together and fight without fighting each other first. Whether Cersei will be able to put her need for vengeance and control aside to face the problems at hand remains to be seen, but seems unlikely. Characters who lack the stubborn and angry temperament of our two queens, like Jon Snow and Ser Davos, will be paramount in next week’s finale as Westeros prepares for battle.
Let us take this week to relax and think of the good times (the first twenty minutes of season one, episode one) as we head into what may be the end of all things.