OnScreen Recap: Game of Thrones 'Beyond the Wall'
The following contains spoilers for season 7 episode 6 of Game of Thrones.
The Westeros Suicide Squad goes beyond the wall. The team consists of Jon Snow, Ser Jorah Mormont, Tormund Giantsbane, Gendry Waters, Thoros of Myr, Sandor Clegane and Beric Dondarrion. Each of these characters have proven to be worth their salt in a fight. Their plan was to grab a Wight and show it to Cersei, because the Frankenmountain apparently isn’t enough proof that zombies exist.
The banter is really enjoyable during these scenes, especially for those with an interest in the linage and lore in the Song and Ice and Fire universe. Tormund was fantastic in that gritty Wildling way. Tormund asks Jon how many people will have to die for his pride, this dialog echoes when Mance refused to bend to Stannis. Jon tries to give Jorah the sword Longclaw that Jorah’s father gifted him, but the knight refuses the sword. This is important because it shows Jon’s emphasis on his bastard status. It’s something that has haunted him his whole life and it will be exciting when Jon learns his true parentage.
A snow bear attacks the Squad. According to the lore set forth in the novels, snow bears are massive white bears that live north of the wall. They are much like real life polar bears except that they stand thirteen feet at the withers. This particular snow bear is also a zombified Wight. Thoros and Beric strike it with their flaming swords and it catches fire. The Hound is triggered and Thoros is injured. Thoros later succumbs to his injuries.
The men find an Other with a small group of Wights. The sound effects of the White Walkers was so horrifyingly inhuman. It really drove home that these creatures are monsters. Jon kills the Other with Longclaw and the zombies are killed except one. It looks like mission accomplished until the rest of the undead strike. The men retreat to an island and Gendry hoofs it back to Eastwatch.
Daenerys receives the distress raven from Eastwatch and flies into action. She mounts Drogon and takes all three of her children north. Beyond the wall the Magnificent Seven are literally fighting a losing battle when the Targaryen Cavalry appears and rescues the dream team. Dany reaches for Jon but he must continue to fight the walkers to save his people. Jon is overwhelmed by the Wights and sinks into the icy water as the Squad fly away on Drogon. The Night King hurls a javelin at one of the dragons. The javelin hits Viserion, and the animal falls to his death. He slides into the lake and is lost in the icy black water. The Hound, Beric, Jorah, Tormund and Dany fly away with the two remaining dragons.
In a later scene, Jon Snow comes up for air and is being charged by the Wights. Just when it appears all is lost for him, a rider on horseback saves him. It is Jon’s Uncle Benjen, who saved Bran in a similar fashion last season. Coldhands gives Jon his horse and sends him off. Benjen fights the walkers with his last bit of strength.
At Winterfell Arya confronts Sansa about the letter she found. Sansa goes to look for it in her sister’s quarters. She doesn’t find the letter, but instead finds Arya’s portfolio of faces that she has collected. Arya was trained on detecting lies but somehow, she can’t tell that Sansa is telling the truth. Arya has no clue how much her sister has grown through the years. This plotline is a little frustrating and hopefully will work out in the next episode.
Jon rides up on Coldhands ex machina’s horse. They bring Jon into Dany’s ship. Dany sees Jon’s mortal wounds in his bare chest. In a quiet conversation, Dany mourns Viserion and she vows to destroy the Night King and the Army of the Dead. “You have to see it to know,” she says “and now I know.” Jon finally bends the knee to Daenerys.
The final moments contain what is arguably the most important scene in the episode. The corpse of Viserion is pulled out of the icy lake and the Night King lays a hand on the dead dragon. His blue eye opens, resurrecting him as a weapon for the army of the dead. The undead dragon is now the personal mount of the Night King.
There was so much that happened in this episode. This was the only episode that the time jumps that have plagued some viewers all season was really very jarring. In seasons past the penultimate episodes were a huge plot point in the story as a whole. The horrors of the Night King and the threat of his new mount sets up a malevolent force to be reckoned with for the season finale and the next season.