Sunday night’s penultimate episode of season 7 of Game of Thrones took us “Beyond the Wall” and, per some critics, beyond the realm of believability. For those willing to load up on spoilers, read on for more on the action north and south of the wall and what it means.
- Relations between Sansa and Arya deteriorated even further, leading to a chilly and somewhat chilling encounter between the two in Arya’s room. While looking for a potentially damning scroll, Sansa stumbles upon Arya’s bag and pulls out two faces. The Verge looks at whose faces they may have originally been.
- Bowled over by the episode? At the Atlantic, David Sims has a lot of bones to pick with it. He brands it a “fairly insulting episode, one that piled frustrating, illogical twists atop a plot (Jon Snow’s quest beyond the wall) that already felt tenuous.” As for the confrontation between the sisters, he sees Arya’s “sudden irrationality … just eye-rollingly one-dimensional.” His fleshed out take is here.
- As for Jon’s improbable rescue by Uncle Benjen after being pulled into the icy waters by some wights, Nina Shen Rastogi has a theory at Vulture: “I’m going to guess that, just as the Three-Eyed Raven once sent him to save Bran and Meera, Bran himself sent Benjen this time, but that doesn’t make it read as any less ridiculous in the moment.” She goes on to outline her own dissatisfaction with the Arya-Sansa plotline: “I just don’t buy it.”
- At the New York Times, Jeremy Egner highlights a thread: babies, and the talk about them. “Dany’s supposed inability to have them, after the Drogo reanimation fiasco in Season 1, and Jorah telling Jon to keep the Mormont sword for ‘your children after you.’ By the end Jon and Dany looked pretty ready to give it a shot.”
- Sonia Saraiya digs deep into their seemingly blossoming relationship at Variety, writing, “For some reason, watching Jon and Dany is like watching two teenagers who have just discovered the merits of staring into each other’s eyes and calling each other ‘babe.’ … Mostly, they appear to be responding to a chemistry that the show hasn’t done much to sell to the audience. … It’s this type of inert character dynamic that makes an episode like ‘Beyond the Wall’ feel sort of superficially magnificent and otherwise somewhat forgettable.”
- But arguably unforgettable is its final moment, and Viserion’s icy blue eye as the Night King touches the dead creature’s face. For anyone wanting to dig into theories and background on the dragon’s death and rebirth as an “ice dragon,” Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair offers it in spades: “The mythical creature is mentioned several times in the works of George R.R. Martin,” and she quotes relevant passages that might give insight.
- Next week is it for season 7, and the preview for the episode shows it to be the “mother of all meetups,” per James Hibberd at EW. For those looking for context, he notes the bigwig conference appears to be taking place at the Dragonpit, “a formerly majestic castle atop a hill in King’s Landing that once housed Targaryen dragons but has long since fallen into ruin.”