Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 7 recap
All season we’ve been seeing women rise to power across Westeros, and this week the power shift continues. Some have said that the shift is due to the showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, responding to years of criticism lobbed at them for the brutal and degrading treatment of women on Game of Thrones. Weiss and Benioff haven’t been perfect, but their mistakes have been fewer than presumed—although their missteps are borderline catastrophic—and the changes we’re seeing in Thrones this season are simply because we’ve arrived at Act Three, and sh*t is getting real. We’re living in the land of payoffs now, and plot lines seeded years ago are finally coming to fruition. Yes, at times this show has been hard to watch. But the result is a world so unstable and changed that a ten year old girl is now calling the shots on Bear Island.
Lady Lyanna Mormont makes a HUGE impression in her one key scene. She’s got that Northern hardness to her, and she is suffering no Stark bullsh*t. Reading between the lines, the toll on her house has been great—as Davos said, she never expected to be the only Mormont left to call the shots. But she is, because Robb Stark lost the War of the Five Kings. She ultimately pledges with the Starks again, but only because Davos wins her over, and she puts some stock in his warning about the White Walkers, which it seems not everyone does.
Sansa and Jon Snow are having a much harder time assembling an army than anticipated—so much for “the North remembers”. This leaves Sansa sending a raven to presumably Littlefinger, asking for the Knights of the Vale back, which makes her look a bit weak, but at the same time, it’s the only play she has. At least she’s making some moves. Arya, on the other hand, seems totally surprised that the waif tried to kill her. Why?! Why wasn’t Arya just crouching in an alley somewhere, waiting for that sh*t to happen?! Did she learn nothing?! Not a good week for the Stark kids, who can’t seem to do anything right.
Margaery, on the other hand, is doing sh*t right all up and down King’s Landing. She’s playing the part of a converted fanatic perfectly, but she signals to Lady Olenna that she is still a Tyrell. Olenna heeds her warning to leave King’s Landing, but not before tearing strips off Cersei with some patented Olenna Burns. I’m interested to see Margaery’s plan play out—as Olenna points out, Cersei’s position has never been weaker. And Margaery definitely has something up her sleeve. Remember when she was a trophy wife? And now she’s about to control King’s Landing. Act Three, motherf*ckers!
Down in the Riverlands everything is a mess as the Blackfish, Brynden Tully, squares off with Jaime, whom he does not find impressive, and refuses to relinquish Riverrun. It’s his home, his birthplace, and he’s ready to die for it and take out as many Lannisters and Freys as he can while doing so. The Brotherhood Without Banners is also back in play, randomly slaughtering a bunch of hippies led by Ian McShane, which doesn’t seem in character for them. But the hippie commune was harboring Sandor Clegane, the Hound, whom no one thought was dead, sorry big dramatic reveal at the top of the episode. And now the Hound is after the Brotherhood, right as Lannisters and Freys are about to fight Tullys. One wonders if Lady Stoneheart is waiting in the wings. (Lainey: Please, God, no. Catelyn Stark, to me, is the worst, most useless dumbass character of all time on Game Of Thrones I hate her so much.)
Circling back to Jon Snow, it’s actually painful to return to moody broody Jon after his resurrection. But this episode makes a point of showing us, repeatedly, how little anyone in Westeros thinks of a bastard. And to credit Kit Harington, not always the most compelling actor, you can see how it hurts Jon every time someone points out he’s not a Stark. Ramsey Bolton has a similar tic, but with Ramsey acceptance means gaining power. With Jon it’s not about power at all—it’s about honor. As a bastard, his honor isn’t worth as much. His word doesn’t matter as much. His name certainly doesn’t count.
At a time when Jon ought to be feeling his power more than ever before, he is instead getting more sh*t kicked on him for being a bastard—reconciling with Sansa doesn’t magically make him acceptable to the high-born lords of Westeros. When Daenerys has been at her lowest, she’s always had dragons and witnesses as proof of her power. Jon Snow doesn’t have dragons, and the coolest thing he’s ever done was witnessed by his dog. But things are coming to a head, and it’s clear that Jon needs to take command of the rabble-scrabble Northern army. This series is called A Song of Ice and Fire. We’ve seen the fire. Now we need to see the ice.