Re: Lord Parramandas's written reviews
Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:31 pm
S07E06 – Beyond the Wall
A review by Lord Parramandas, written on August 26th 2017
Side note 1: The review is show-related without mention of book events, but it does contain some past TV show speculation (mine and from fandom) that originates from the books as well. All the historical events mentioned in this review are part of »Histories & Lore« which is canon to TV show.
Hello everyone and welcome to another review from Lord Parramandas! First, I need to say that I'm sorry I didn't write a review previous week. The reason... well, I forgot, possibly due to all the pressure I went through the week before. But I'm back now with this episode, which might be my favorite one up to date. I won't rank it yet and rather wait for the finale to air. Then, I will surely have clear picture where to put it on my ranklist. This time, the episode focuses on only two locations – Winterfell and Beyond the Wall. So, let us begin:
WINTERFELL: Let me being with the »less pleasant« part first, the Winterfell story or should I say »the clash of two sisters«. I already expressed my annoyment over Arya after episode 5 but in this episode, she was outright disturbing for me, literally threatening Sansa with death. And what makes the situation even worse is the cause for this threat: Sansa's letter that she wrote to Robb in S1. Arya accused her of »betraying her family« but I really wonder what else could Sansa do in that situation? Let's put Arya in this situation. What would she do? Possibly yell at Cersei how they're awful because as we know, Arya never had any manners at all. She always said everything in the face, regardless of the consequences. In S1, it was often seen as a »good trait« as Starks were good guys and Lannisters were bad guys. But in this situation... what exactly would Arya achieve? In best case, she would probably get locked in a cell, in worse case, she would be harmed or even tortured by Joffrey. Funny thing is that this Northern stubborness is not always an admirable quality. Relying only on stubbornes and you will get yourself killed. So in this case, I was really glad that Sansa told Arya how she would never survive in her situation. And funny, I think similar thing could be said for Sansa in Arya's situation, but Sansa was not the one threatening Arya in this case.
So yes, I was very angry at Arya in this scene as she was in no position to threaten Sansa. Sansa is no saint, but neither is Arya... she never was. And accusing Sansa od betraying her family... Sansa told her right that she played a big part in Winterfell liberation and I don't think she meant to be nasty to her... she just defended herself. I can say I have a tiny bit of hope that Arya was some sort of testing Sansa, considering she gave her the knife at the end (in a sense »Okay, you passed«), but I think her behavior was way over the top in this episode. If I don't see her apologizing to Sansa in some way in next episode, I'm basically done with her. I do hope these two sisters will make things right again in next episode... maybe such extreme behavior was done in order for some twist to happen in next episode. And pleeease... LF needs to go. Regardless of everything, he's the one responsible for all this.
Just one final mention... I must say Arya's behavior did remind me of certain GoT fans who condemn Sansa for every minor bit she does (no offense to anyone here).
BEYOND THE WALL: Okay, time for the real stuff now. The story that really gave me the movie vibe. Yes, I know this story is surrounded by a lot of controversy, but for me, it might have been my favorite part of the entire show so far. There were a lot of signs that made feel like that even prior the episode airing... First of all, it's an event focusing on a small group of characters, all of them being fleshed out (apart from a couple extras). Second, those characters are all among my favorites... Jorah, Jon, Hound, Tormund, Thoros, Beric. I love character-focused shows and while GoT is (in my eyes) a character focused show, my biggest complaint about it is that the characters are all over the place. But it all started to change in S7 as they're together now and that leads to some incredible character interractions, that I could very well sense for this episode. Third, we had a »strike team« going beyond the wall, facing death itself... so I could sense that at least one named character would bite the dust in this episode, if not more of them. So yes, my hype was very high and the episode definitely didn't disappoint me at all.
So how should I proceed with my recap without rambling too much... let's say this way. They searched for it, they found it, they got screwed up, somebody died. That's it. I think I covered everything. See you next time!
Just kidding! It's far from over. Part 1: Yes, they searched for the undead and found a bear first (undead of course), that heavily wounded Thoros (all thanks to Sandor's fear of fire). At this point, I was sure Thoros will die... but he didn't. Not yet at least. So in the events that followed... they killed a bear, Gendry went back to Eastwatch to send a message to Dany (for more fire), and our small strike team continued their journey into the unknown. Part 2: they finally encountered a small group of living dead, led by one White Walker. And at this point, there followed a revelation that killing a White Walker also destroys all the undead that were reanimated by it. Basically »Don't go for the soldiers, focus on the commanders«. Bad part: it's nearly impossible to kill White Walkers. So at this point, one wight actually remained alive after killing the White Walker (quite convenient, right?) so our team subdued him (at least I think it was a male wight). Perfect, right? But there was a teeny tiny little problem... the wight's screams alerted the Night King's army and suddenly, our team got stuck on an island in the middle of (formerly) frozen lake, surrounded by thousands of living dead and many White Walkers as well. And now... they wait. And wait...and wait (Thoros dies in the night)...and wait...and wait till the Hound gets bored enough to start throwing rocks at living corposes... and screws everything up as the horde realized the lake has frozen again. And now... they're screwed.
SIDE NOTE 2: From here onwards, I may include some past speculation that may originate from the novels. Non-book readers, fear not, I'm not going to spoil anything for you and my review is still strictly show related.
So Jon and his gang were screwed and overwhelmed with undead. At this point, I was sure there has to be at least one more casuality. Who will be? Tormund? Beric? Jorah? At one point, it really seemed to me Tormund will bite the dust as he nearly got dragged into the horde (TWD-style) but in last moment, the crew got him out. So who will be the next death? The question I had for the entire episode... but I was looking at wrong characters. There was a death that turned the tide... a death I really didn't see coming.
If I distance myself from the show itself at this point and delve into general past speculation... »A Song of Ice and Fire« - battle of Ice (White Walkers) and Fire (dragons). I'm sure this battle was in many minds. White Walkers would breach the wall, lay waste to Seven Kingdoms but the dragons will beat them... WW are ice, fire melts ice. WW are invulnerable to fire, but they're vulnerable to Valyrian steel... but VS was forged in dragonfire, so they will surely be vulnerable to dragonfire, right? The dragon has three heads... so that means three dragon riders fighting against White Walkers. Dany and Jon were an obvious choice, who would be the third? Tyrion was a very common choice, another possibility was that Bran would warg into one of the dragons... in any case, three dragonriders fighting against White Walkers when everything would seem lost.
Sadly, this is GoT where things are never so poetic. First of all, White Walkers are immune to dragonfire as well, which leaves only dragonglass and valyrian steel to harm them. Second of all, the first dragons vs WW happened even before the dragons would cross the Wall. Third of all, there was only one dragonrider at this point. Fourth of all, this was the only battle that would include three dragons against the WW.
Yes, Gendry's letter reached Daenerys in time and despite Tyrion's advice, she ventured to the North to help the strike team. And here comes the poetic image... three dragons unleashing their fire wrath on the living dead, turning the undead corpses into ashes. And while Rhaegal and Viserion distracted the wights, Dany landed with Drogon to help the team. Funny... so much speculation about three dragonriders and here, we got 4 more »riders« which didn't include Jon. Well, these riders only sat behind Dany in this case, so they were more passengers. But they still rode a dragon. So they boarded the dragon with the undead corpse but Jon was still on the ground being overwhelmed with undead. And here is when sh*t really went up.
As Jon was fighting living corpses, Night King calmly took an ice spear and advanced towards them. Funny, I watched a couple reaction videos after the episode and many thought he was aiming for Jon, but when the camera focused on the sky, it was clear he meant to catch a much bigger fish – he was aiming for a dragon. When Qyburn's scorpion was introduced, I felt that it may foreshadow dragon death (Meraxes died in the same manner shortly after Aegon's Conquest). But then Drogon survived the battle of the wagons and I felt »Oh, maybe the scorpion was only meant to show dragons and especially Dany were not invulnerable and add the tension...« But I was wrong. Because this situation resembled exactly that, only that the scorpion was the Night King and the bolt was his ice spear. He aimed at one of the dragons... and hit him in the neck, killing him. And this scene was the highlight of this episode and it so touched me on emotional level. The way how this scene was shot... the rising terror, the dragon setting himself on fire and crashing into the ice below, and Drogon's sad roar to see one of his brothers fall. Yes, this dragon was the biggest loss for Dany so far. And it's such an irony that ice beat fire in this case. When I watched the episode, I wasn't really sure which dragon died but I looked on the web and I saw it was Viserion, the white dragon. So no, white dragon did not resemble house Stark as some assumed... if Jon will ride any dragon, it will be the green one, Rhaegal. White dragon more resembled the WW in this case... maybe this was meant from the beginning. Any way, the plan to get a corpse suceeded, but with a major casuality that will affect the remainder of a story.
But enough dragons for now. As Jon got overwhelmed with the undead, he got rescued by Benjen in the last moment. Benjen literally made a cameo apperiance in this episode, before finally getting killed himself but it was such an emotional moment for me, that Jon finally acknowledged his uncle is alive, before seeing him die mere moments later. Benjen had a brief presence in the show, but he surely left an impact on me.
Now comes the more tender scene. Jon managed to reach Eastwatch but he was half-dead at the moment so they dragged him on the ship and there, Dany finally saw Jon's stab wounds. This moment was a turning point for them both. As I don't know how much time passed between their first meeting, I can't speak about »love« yet but I could say I sensed the bond between them that could develop to love in time (yes, I personally think love needs to be built). Some time later, Jon woke up and noticed Dany sitting next to him, visibly emotional. Dany promised Jon that she will help him fight the WW and in return, Jon bent the knee to her... well with words only as he was lying on the bed. I like how it was completely his decision and wasn't forced into it by Dany. Yes, she surely learned to care about him. I only wish Jon bending the knee wont drive another wedge between him and Sansa... I don't want to see my favorite character fighting with him again.
As many of you know, Dany is among my less favorite characters in general, also when it came to actress's performance in previous seasons. But in this particular episode, I really enjoyed her scenes. She did some very selfless action in this episode, abandoning her conquest to help Jon and the rest of them beyond the wall, and openly showed her tender and caring side again. Yes, this side is necessary for me to warm up to character (except if the character is antagonist) and Dany is on good path at the moment. She may never reach my top characters, but I'm a lot less annoyed by her this season, possibly due the fact that she shares scenes with my other favorite characters. I'm not really a Dany/Jon shipper (mostly due to aunt-nephew relationship, which I find repulsive) but when it comes to scenes themselves, I enjoyed them a lot. Also, I think Emilia really improved when it comes to her performance this season.
OK, I'm almost at the end now. If killing one of the dragons was bad, then the next act is even worse. Not only that Dany is one dragon shorter, NK is one dragon richer as his first act was to drag Viserion's corpse out of the frozen lake and bring him back to life. I would call it »evening the odds«. I wonder... is an undead dragon still capable of breathing fire? Because if that's the case, then the Wall is a goner and White Walkers clearly have advantage. If it's not... well, a grown dragon is still a formidable beast against Dany's two surviving dragons. I guess the question about fire will have to wait till next episode or maybe next season... in any way, White Walkers became even more dangerous than before.
This is it! We reached the end of another review! I know, I was rambling a lot, but that's how I write when an episode impresses me so much. Like I said at the beginning, this might be my favorite GoT episode up to date and it gives me so many special feelings. Character interractions were gold in this episode for me and it was intense and action packed as well. A whole package for me basically. So, our mutual journey is nearly to the end, with only the season finale left to air. Till next time, goodbye!
With best regards from Lord Parramandas.
Re: Lord Parramandas's written reviews
Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:26 pm
Hello Lord Parramandas,
Thank you very much for your reviews and all your comments at the Main site.
I have been lurking at WotW for 2 seasons now, always enjoying the contributions of the team and the fans. As you mentioned in one of the threads, some fans have been carried away some bit by nitpicking and whinging this season. I just started ignoring these kind of posts and sticked to the appreciating and fun ones like yours and Dee's and many others. So thanks again to all of you.
I loved every single episode of this season and hope to see you still around during The Long Night and the final season
(almost two years
, how are we going two survive the tension
, I just picture myself in an endless rewatching circle
I might even start to comment more often myself (this being my 2. post ever
) to add some positive vibes
( even though my tablets autocorrect is just killing me right now