Need to refresh your Dornish wine? Check out the Episode 6 recap here.
I haven’t written a Game of Thrones episode recap since late 2017! It’s been a while. Unlike the previous seven seasons, my plan is to watch Season 8 along with everyone else, week by week and come up with episode recaps for each.
I was going to reblog the recaps I wrote of Season 7 when I realized I never got around to writing one for the final episode, if only because the penultimate episode, Beyond the Wall, was such an insane thrill ride, I ran out of gas. If they’d ended the season there, it would’ve worked just as well, which makes The Dragon and the Wolf, the season finale, a bit anti-climactic.
With a runtime of 1:20, it’s frankly bloated and is bit of a drag in the first half, which is why I’ve split this recap into two parts. That tiny spoiler aside, there’s a lot more to come in this post, so without further ado, let’s jump in feet first, shall we?
Aww, look at them yes m’lording and very good m’lording old Bronn of the Blackwater! What a long way our favorite selsword has come from his days in the Vale, eh? He doesn’t have a lot of time to really bask in his newfound social status, because both he and Ser Jamie of House Lannister are busy trying to count how many soldiers Daenerys has in her employ. Of course the presence of a tidy number of the Unsullied camped before the walls of the red Keep would make anyone nervous and twitchy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Still, Kingslayer and selword find a moment of brevity as they gaze over the castle walls at Daenery’s assembled troops, now with extra helping of Dothraki, wondering what eunuchs could possibly have left to fight for. “Maybe it really is all cocks in the end,” says Ser Jamie.
That’s what I keep saying, but don’t mind me because aww sweet reunion! After a nice little bit of verbal exposition on the whys and wherefores of the Dragonpit (which is where all our heroes and villains have agreed to meet), Tyrion is reunited with Pod his former squire of the “magic cock,” as Ser Bronn, probably still caught up in his earlier conversation with Jamie about the male appendage, so ably reminds us. Whatever Pod got up to in that brothel all those years ago is still a mystery, but it’s nice to see he obviously holds a lot of affection for his former master.
There isn’t much room for affection today though, everyone’s so cagey. It’s like they all saw the restaurant scene in The Godfather at one point in time and are primed to defend themselves the moment the slightest bit of mischief occurs.
Before I can get too busy wondering why Jon didn’t dress accordingly – he must be sweltering under those wolf furs of his – the Hound and the Maiden Fair trade a few inside quips about everyone’s favourite angry little girl. Both concede that with Arya left to her own devices at Winterfell, the only one in danger is whoever gets in her way. They walk on to the Dragonpit in amicable silence, a mutual smile of pride on their faces. They’re like a proud pair of twisted parents of an equally twisted child.
A little ways ahead, Tyrion and Ser Bronn are trading equally inside quips about how circumstances brought them together, tore them apart and brought them back together. Sly as ever, Tyrion reminds m’lord Bronn that his offer still stands, he’ll double whatever anyone’s offered the selsword. Nice words, except Tyrion’s never exactly paid his debts just yet, as Bronn reminds him wryly, consigning the Imp, the Spider and everyone else in the party to Cersei’s eventual wrath.
Or maybe it’s not eventual. Maybe it’s already here. Our band of heroes converge into the Dragonpit, and Bronn ushers them onto a raised dais that has obviously been prepared to seat all the persons of interest. But there’s no sign of Cersei, which makes everyone else even cagier if that was possible, looking around them at the ruined and blasted arena of the Dragonpit, wondering if they’re all going end up dead and ambushed after all the painstaking work of setting up a parley. The last time Cersei was a no-show when her attendance was required was at the Trial of the Seven, and we all know how that all turned out for everyone else and the Sept of Baelor.
“Seems every bad idea has some Lannister cunt behind it,” grouses The Hound as the Lannister contingent finally shows up.
“And some Clegane cunt to help them see it through,” mutters Tyrion, never one to miss a beat. Oy, the language!
Never one to clutch her pearls, Cersei, Jamie and her court sashay nonchalantly across the dais, and everyone is giving everyone the stink-eye. Tyrion, especially, is the recipient of one particularly murderous glare from the Mad Queen, who may now be aware that Tyrion isn’t responsible for Joffrey’s death but still blames him for the death of Myrcella and of course, their father.
The best staredown happens when the Clegane brothers meet, though, making all of us cheer wildly in the hope that Cleganebowl finally comes to fruition, but it is not to be. Perhaps that particular morsel is to be saved for season eight, and if it comes, may it be sweet.
Decidedly irritated by having to sit among people she despises without laying a finger on them, Cersei sniffs at Daenerys’ continued absence. With all the excitement of everyone finally in one place together, we’re reminded that the Mother of Dragons has yet to make her entrance. Both queens do love their entrances. The thump of leathery wings announces the arrival of Daenerys, astride a roaring Drogon, for maximum impact. Everyone is suitably impressed, although Cersei is noncommittal, her nerves unruffled.
“We’ve been here for some time,” she snits as Daenerys takes her seat and everyone else looks from one blonde queen to the next, wondering if both will be at each other’s throats within minutes. Daenerys coolly acknowledges her tardiness and the parley, strained as it is, holds.
Tyrion takes the initiative to open proceedings, but is interrupted by Euron Greyjoy, who decides to make it all about the Ironborn by reminding his nephew Theon that he has Yara in his clutches. Sadly, no one cares about the Ironborn’s petty family feud as he is effectively hushed by the Lannister twins amidst an exquisite takedown led by Tyrion and Theon vis-a-vis a discussion about how to make a good dwarf joke.
Anyway, we’ve all spent time waiting for the point of this parley, and the King in the North finally steps up to explain that “it isn’t about waging war with the living, it’s just about living.” The southern contingent is unconvinced, so The Hound very obligingly appears with a box of wight on his back, ready for a little show and tell.
“We have something to show you,” says Tyrion, with delightful self-control and the wight rushes out of the crate straight for Cersei and company. If Cersei was straight-faced at the arrival of dragons, all her cool evaporates as the wight scrabbles at her and she flinches from the unexpected horror. It’s Cersei’s greatest fear – a rotting corpse that somehow remains animated, like something she keeps seeing in her dreams come to horrible life. Even Jamie is stunned, rising to his feet in disbelief as The Hound obligingly hacks the wight in half as everyone watches.
For a moment the everyone is shocked into silence, and it feels like all the animosity has gone, replaced by a mutual dread. And disgust. Although the wight has by now been hacked into a few pieces by the Hound, it still continues to shriek and writhe and look for victims. Into the breach steps Jon, going into infomercial mode, an unlit torch in his right hand, a severed (but still animated) wight hand in his left. Ser Davos helpfully lights the torch with some flint, and Jon holds the wriggling hand up like some sort of grisly trophy.
“We can destroy them with fire,” he announces, setting the severed hand aflame, “and with dragon glass,” stabbing the unfortunate wight, and finally putting it out of its misery. It’s an effective presentation, cheesy TV commercial aside.
As Jamie and Daenerys discuss how many of these wights she’s seen, Euron Greyjoy
asks if they can swim. When Jon replies in the negative, he retreats without further ado.
“I’m going back to my island,” he says, advising Daenerys to do the same. “When winter’s over, we’ll be the only ones left alive.”
He strides away, stripping Cersei of a powerful navy in one fell swoop. Aware that without the Greyjoy fleet, her army is basically nothing at this point, Cersei gives in and says she will accept the truce. On one condition. (There are always conditions. Why are there always conditions?)
Anyway, Cersei says she will uphold a truce if Jon promises not to choose a side, something that unbeknownst to anyone at the gathering except Jon and Dany, is impossible as he had already given her his allegiance, in repayment of her having come to rescue him beyond the wall. It should work for everyone included, if Jon just decides not to share this juicy little tidbit.
But he does. Jon, you complete ass (is what everyone else, including all of us here playing couch quarterback basically tells him). He defends his decision to be honest with a logic that, to be fair, can’t be denied either, so now Tyrion has to go and save everyone’s bacon again because the Bastard of Winterfell refuses to lie to the Mad Queen Lannister.
Tyrion makes his way into the Red Keep, and each step seems a step closer to his own doom. The Mountain behind him, and no Jaime to protect him, his apprehension is unmistakeable, as is ours. If Tyrion dies, we riot.
Anyway, in goes the Imp, about to beard a lioness in her own den. Its lion against lion, as the Lannister siblings finally get the face off we wish the Cleganes had had, and all the bitterness Cersei’s been nursing spills over as she lists everything she’s blamed Tyrion for. Tyrion acknowledges her anger and his regret, telling his sister to end it all. Cersei is tempted, but her rationality overcomes her rage. Tyrion may be little, and he may be alone, but Daenerys will probably roast her alive in the Red Keep if she kills her Hand. Also she’s still shaken by the wight show, and says all she wants to do is protect her baby. Tyrion triumphantly walks back into the Dragonpit with Cersei in his wake, she announces she agrees to the truce, and everyone comes to an uneasy detente.
To be continued