Let’s start the discussion about the dragon and the wolf at the end, because it’s the end that really matters.

The wall fell down. He defended the human kingdoms for over 8,000 years, but now it’s over. The White Walkers are coming. The dead are coming. Winter’s not coming, it’s here.

This has all happened before. Eight thousand years before Aegon, the conqueror of the Targaryen dynasty, heralded modern times, winter came and lasted for a generation. It was known as the Long Night, and old Nan told Bran about it in the third episode of the Game of Thrones:

Oh, my dear child of the summer, what do you know about fear? Fear of winter, when the snow is a hundred meters deep. The fear of a long night in which the sun hides for years and children are born, live and die, all in darkness. It’s time to be afraid, my little lord, when the White Walkers go into the forest. Thousands of years ago, it was a night that lasted a generation. Kings have died in their castles, like shepherds in their huts. And the women strangled their children instead of seeing them starving, and cried, and felt the tears on their cheeks freezing … In this darkness came the White Walkers for the first time. They combed cities and kingdoms, rode their dead horses, hunted with their herds of pale spiders as big as dogs…

A long night almost destroyed mankind. It only ended when the first people and children of the enemies of the forest united against the vagrants in the so-called Battle of Dawn. As John Dani reported at the beginning of this season, despite their differences and despite their distrust, they fought together against the common enemy.

Together, the Children and First Nations stopped the White House offensive from the south and brought them back to the far north. A great hero among the First Men, Brandon Stark, known as Bran Builder, built a 500 mile long and 700 foot high wall filled with magic to prevent the forces of the dead from returning forever. The Night Watch was established to guard the Wall, and Bran Builder founded the House of Stark, which eventually became the first King of the North.

These are stories that lasted more than 8000 years until they became myths, legends and fairy tales to frighten children. By the time a distant descendant of Bran Builder and his namesake Brandon Stark heard the stories of Old Nan, people had stopped believing in the Children and the White Walkers and had long since forgotten what the Wall was really for. When they thought about it, which most Westeros never did, they thought about protecting the wilderness.

But the savages – the free men – were only human. The only real difference between them and everyone else is that they were unlucky enough to have been born on the wrong side of the wall. Ygritt-John Snow’s first love led him to him shortly after they met in their second season. It’s not your country! Ygritt said. We were here the whole time. They all came and just put up a big wall and said it was yours. John protested that his ancestors were the First Men, so his people were there the whole time.

Then why are you fighting us? Ygritte asked.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

This conversation and the relationship between the two participants was an important moment in the throne play. It was at this point that Jon Snow began to doubt his vows and strict rules of loyalty and began to think for himself. Then he began to realize that people are only human and that you can sympathize – and even love – with someone who is officially your enemy. It will be a few more seasons before Jon Snow becomes 998. Lord of the Night Watch and be the first to let the wildlings back into the Wall. A few years ago he would have been the King of the North, and he decided to unite all the warring houses in one cause. And he still doesn’t know – although we do now – that he is in fact the legitimate son of Reagar Targaryen, direct descendant and aunt of Aegon the Conqueror, the legitimate ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

But the process of preparing John for this role – morally and ethically – has continued unabated. And most of that training was to acknowledge that we weren’t – as Samwell Tarley once said – building 500 miles of 700-foot-high ice walls to keep people away.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

I mean, the wall has a double meaning. It was meant to protect the living from the dead, so it was once a symbol of hope and unity. But it has become something that separates the living from the living, and thus a symbol of discord and distrust. It’s the double nature of walls: They protect, but also divide, isolate and exclude. 8300 years after the builder Bran built the Wall and removed the general threat to mankind, mankind continued to build the Wall. Walls became houses, and the forgotten houses were once united against a common threat – war between them.

Now I’m invading an area I’ve already covered. (It is becoming increasingly difficult not to, because the throne play is coming to an end and all the individual threads are intertwined). So maybe you can forgive me if I quote you a few paragraphs from my play about one of the most played episodes of the whole series, the Hardhome of season 5. (Everything I said then is now applied twice).

In George R. R. Martin’s novels, White Walkers is better known by another name: We call them the Others. I have already said that alienation is the process by which people outside the circle of themselves are identified as something extraterrestrial, as something different and smaller, as something that does not deserve compassion and is of no importance. Walkers are the last thing behind the wall of humanity that defines the boundaries of sympathy, compassion and cooperation. In this case, the walls that divide us will literally and figuratively crumble: Because they simply exist, they unite all others in a unity with common interests….

White Walkers represents death, the multiple God who defines the limits of life, who makes us all equal, who unites us all and who waits to claim us. If we can pretend that this is not the case – like most people in Westeros – then all the small differences between us seem big enough to confuse, hate or even kill us. We can then objectify each other, deny each other kindness and not acknowledge the humanity of the other. That’s how wars start. So there could be torture, cruelty and slavery. Little boys can be thrown out of windows, women raped and whole families murdered in weddings….

From the beginning, the play on the throne was about the walls between people, about the forces – sympathy, compassion, understanding – that can sometimes hurt them. Now the whole game – with all its small divisions by classes and clans – has been put into perspective and the walls are confused. Empathy, compassion, understanding and acceptance by the community: That’s what’s important, and only with those qualities can we… as John calls it… forgive the bastards a fight. The time of quarrel between us and them is over. Now the others are them, and every living person suddenly becomes a part of Us.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

There’s nothing random about this show. It is no coincidence that the very first sculpture in the series showed the door in the opening of the wall and the people passing through it. It is no coincidence that, before getting to know our usual characters or their complex rivalry, we discovered that the White Walkers really exist and that the dead are close by. The first episode is called The Winter Comes, because the show didn’t want this threat to disappear for a long time. In fact, the whole series is mentioned on purpose: We should never have forgotten that everything we (and the characters) thought was so important – all their politics, rivalry, disputes and wars – was just a stupid throne game.

It is also no coincidence that the dragon and the wolf begin and end with armies gathering outside the walls. And it is no coincidence that – after seven seasons of existence in separate plots – each protagonist now comes together in an open forum where the walls have almost completely collapsed. The Starks, Targaryens, Lannisters and Greyjoyes have joined forces for the first time to solve a common problem. In the first season, Wolf and Leo started an open war between the big houses. The seventh season, which bears the same name of dragon and wolf, should put an end to this war and bring the big houses together.

By the end of that episode, the wall had fallen. All walls on the ground floor, including those between the houses. The games are over. There’s only one war that matters: The Great War.

And there he is. Winter has arrived.

We are a group of people who don’t like each other.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

But here’s the problem: Just because something was a game doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable.

I have noticed that this season it has become fashionable to denigrate and humiliate the Throne Game as if it were a pale shadow of what it once was. Without a detailed map of George R. R. Martin to guide them, this furious story says that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss began to write what is, in fact, without the nuances of established fan-fiction in Martin’s world.

I’m vaguely aware of this reaction and I’m certainly not complaining about the absurdly hurried conspiracy we saw at the end of Benioff and Weiss. (In fact, I will complain about some of them in this magazine).

But on the whole, I find the criticism unfair, even ungrateful. We’re about 70 hours into an 80-hour story; if it was a movie, we’d be in the last ten to fifteen minutes. Is it any wonder the speed is increasing? Is it any wonder that the determination of one’s position takes precedence over long discussions and the development of one’s character in peace? Some critical remarks seem to focus on the predictability of certain events, as if we should not only be surprised, but also disappointed when we see that the seeds, carefully cultivated over the seven seasons, blossom to what they should always have been.

And I find some of these criticisms incomprehensible, because they imply that all the excellent character development that took place earlier has somehow been interrupted. As we said earlier in the season, everything these characters have been through, everything that happens now, continues to inform. Actually, that was the point of the whole thing. Jon Snow is not the only character whose moral education lasted seven seasons: Everyone has travelled a long, difficult and ethically delicate path to get where he is, in the dragon and the wolf. I have a few small complaints about what Benioff and Weiss are doing ever shorter, but they have structured the themes so well and made these characters so good that the series can now speak with short hands.

In my article on war trophies, I focused on the amount of psychological context and emotional connotations that can be read today in the person of a character or in the silent gaze exchanged between two characters with a common story. I could, but you’ll be glad to know you’re not writing the same article about the meaningful close-up battles that take place when everyone arrives at the King’s Harbour Dragon Pit. (A charged look goes between Cersei and Tyrion, Jaime and Brienne, Theon and Euron and the dogs and goes up before anyone says a word).

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

And the larger flowchart of the emotional ties between the people at this meeting is somewhat overwhelming. For example, we’re used to seeing Podrick with Brienne and Bronn with Jaime – but we also remember that Podrick and Bronn were Tyrion’s first real friends. We remember that Brienne and Jaime spent the whole season together alone in company, and that this relationship – more than any other – shook the hero of The Kingslayer awake. We remember that Brienne almost killed the Dog that led to his rebirth as another man, because they did not understand what they could admit now: that although their official loyalties were different, they shared a common goal, that of protecting Arya Stark.

I could spend this whole article trying to make these (and other) relationships meaningful, but that would be a story of almost the whole throne game. In any case, this series was a chronicle of how people were forced to see the past of their clan mentality, to discover the humanity of their supposed enemies and thus rediscover their own humanity. As I said in my review of last season’s final, that is the real purpose of the game: determine whether humanity deserves to survive.

We can go back to the careers of almost all these characters and discuss how everything they’ve been through has brought them here, to the point where they’ve been able to rise above their beginnings, put their selfish interests aside and see what really matters.

Take Brienne as an example: His character has always been determined by his stubborn attachment to a strict clan loyalty to the Seven Kingdoms and the strict ethical codes that underlie it. We now understand that although her essential character has never changed, she has become someone who is able to see the big picture. Oh, to hell with the loyalty! She’s yelling at Jaime. This goes beyond homes, honor and vows!

To hell with the loyalty? From Brienne or Tartu? She is the most loyal, honoured and faithful woman in Westeros who once held the Kingslayer in utter contempt because he broke his sacred oath to defend the Mad King. But in the course of the show – and especially through her experience with Jaime – she realized that there are things that are more important than vows, loyalty and the code of honor.

So maybe you shouldn’t call everything that happened to these characters, the game in general and the school a long criminal program to broaden their worldview and reprogram their priorities. Here at Dragon Pit, we have Game of Thrones graduates ready to go out into the world and show what they’ve learned. These people – along with some absent classmates like Arya and Sansa – are a handful of people who have survived the cruel emotional gauntlet of the series and have reached the final test: a test that will determine whether the human race will survive anything.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

I have to say that the most important peace summit in the history of this world has not made a promising start. Each looks at the other with daggers, and the first conversation is delayed by old conflicts and petty complaints. Daenerys is late for Cersei, who knows that the latter’s arrival is a privilege of power, and makes a deliberately terrifying display of power when she finally reaches the top of her greatest dragon. (Never say the girl doesn’t know how to get in.) The dog has a few words for what was once her brother and promises her that some old sins cannot and will not be forgiven. And the unworthy Euron waits for the official conversation to begin, and demands Theon’s obedience in exchange for Yara’s life.

This last point is very important because Euron is not one of our classmates: It is a relic and a representative of the ancient methods, destructive and objectifying games of power and loyalty that were the paradigm of this society. (We must not forget that he came to power mainly because of the call for rape, the murderous traditions of the Iron Isles and the rejection of a radically reformed idea that a woman can rule). Here he tells Tyrion that dwarves are killed at birth on the Iron Islands. As I have said many times before, the throne play was mainly about making room for the cripples, the bastards and the broken things in a rigid, power-based hierarchy, and now Euron reminds us how cruel and heartless the old system is. He is the embodiment of those parts of Westeros that are not worth surviving.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

We are a group of people who don’t love each other, Tyrion says and recognizes the elephant in the room. We’ve suffered from each other. We lost the people we loved. If we just wanted more, this meeting wouldn’t be necessary. We’re perfectly capable of waging war against each other without meeting in person.

Most of the throne play was played with protagonists who hated each other behind separate walls and never met in person. This is indeed one of the causes of the problem, because it is too easy to hate people you don’t really know and too easy to kill people if you don’t have to look them in the eye. (Ned taught us this in the first episode when he insisted that the condemned man wield his sword).

According to Tyrion, no amount of rhetoric has been erased in the last 50 years, and he’s absolutely right: Nobody offers full amnesty for past crimes, and it would be a utopia to wait for everyone to live in harmony. There is no gossip to erase the last seven seasons from the throne room, and one of the worst things Benioff and Weiss can do in this final act is pretend that everything that has happened before can somehow be forgiven and forgiven. (There is a moment later in the process that Cersei seems to be ready and willing to adopt the super attitude and leave the past for what it is. A false phone call that, as we’ll discuss later, graciously turns out to be a fake).

It’s not about living in harmony, John. It’s just life. It is a repetition of John’s ideas in Hardom, when he had to convince two other warring tribes to put aside centuries of mutual hatred to protect the common good. (We were never friends, he says to the wildlings). We won’t be friends today. It’s not about friendship. It’s a matter of survival).

Today is about convincing one person: Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Andals and First Men, defender of the Empire. And at the beginning of this meeting, Cersei is still herself, playing a familiar game. It is characterized by bitterness, anger, vengefulness and contempt for all mankind. (I suppose it would be an improvement for most of them, she says, given that all their subjects become zombies in the army of the dead). She’s still fighting old wars, playing by the old rules.

(It’s almost understandable: after all, she’s just starting to win. Dani and Cersei have decided to be the first woman to win the game on the throne this season, so it’s only natural that they can resist the offer to name the game because of their approaching death).

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

So the honor must be given to John and Tyrion: I was skeptical about her stupid plan to get Cersei White, and I’m still skeptical about how that mission went, but no one denies that her little gift made a big impression on the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

When these things come for us, there will be no more kingdoms to rule, Cersei said after seeing a dead man go down her throat. Everything we’ve been through will be for nothing. Everything we’ve lost will be for nothing. The Crown accepts your truce. Until the dead are defeated, they are the real enemy.

That’s exactly what Cersei has to say right now: The absurdity and triviality of the throne play – that’s exactly what the other characters understood, and they all came here to make him understand. But it seems too easy, and it is.

So let’s talk about Cersei, because she seems to be the only protagonist who hasn’t learned all her lessons. The Night King may be the last threat, but Cersei Lannister appears here, apparently once and for all, as the real last villain in the Throne Game.

I’m indifferent to making the world a better place

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Yeah, White made an impression, but that doesn’t really change the game for Cersei: She knew all along that her family was facing possible destruction.

So we fight and die, or we obey and die, she told Jaime a few episodes ago. I know my choice. Her pregnancy changes the stakes a little – she is a little less determined than before to follow a ruthlessly destructive path – but she still only cares about the Lannisters, and now the days of the Lannister house are numbered after all. As Jaime would later point out to him, someone will win the Great War, and the winner, alive or dead, will then attack Cersei.

But that’s a bad argument for Cersei, because her chances of survival are about the same.

Knowing that, Cersei is too big a girl not to plan a long game and not to look for the tactical advantage she can get. So your first gambit – the first of many – will try to level the odds a bit. She will help fight the dead, she says, as long as Jon Snow promises to stay out of the next war. (There is a chance that she can defeat Dani, she says – she has noticed that Dani is a shy dragon among many others, but there is no chance that she can defeat the combined forces of Dani and the North). If John gives up this concession for reasons we will talk about later, Cersei is completely out of negotiations. Then there’d be nothing more to discuss, she says. The dead will come north first. Have fun communicating with them. We’re gonna find out what’s left of you.

From Cersei’s point of view, her position makes perfect sense. Lannister’s only hope to keep the power is for the living to defeat the dead, and then she can defeat the living. But his point of view is problematic: In fact, this is the central problem in the throne game. For what is missing from his well-considered strategic analysis of the situation is caring for someone in Westeros who is not a Lannister. (We are the last Lannisters, she told Jaime at the beginning of the season). The last of them still thinks). She calls Euron a coward because he fled (or in fact faked) to the island, but her attitude is exactly the same: As long as she can isolate herself from danger, she doesn’t care what happens to others.

In other words: Cersei is a personalized power structure in Westeros: The one who isn’t is an enemy, another. Since the Game of Thrones is about who deserves to be on the Iron Throne, Cersei is exactly the worst case scenario. It is the highest expression of the wall mentality, and in the whole series the space behind the walls – which initially never widened – has been narrowed. As one of the protagonists, Cersei has never built a new relationship that could challenge or broaden her world view. Because almost everyone broadened their definition of family in the course of the series, Cersei signed a contract. (At the end of Dragon and Wolf the Cersei family was actually reduced to 1.5 Lannister).

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Cersei has long since rejected her younger brother. From the moment Tyrion was born and committed the double sin of killing his mother and being a dwarf, Cersei hated him because she didn’t hate anyone else.

So Tyrion’s a little surprised that the deadliest woman in his life didn’t kill him, and we think Cersei himself might be a little surprised. We can assume that for practical reasons she will refrain from her murderous impulses, as this would almost certainly accelerate an immediate war that Cersei would not be able to win. But I think it’s more complicated than that. Their relationship has always been more complicated.

In this episode, which so consciously evokes our memories of past interactions between the characters, it is no coincidence that Tyrion – after realizing that his sister won’t cut him up – first pours them a glass of wine. One can remember – even though it seems so old – that these two characters spent most of the second and third seasons with strategic and general conversations about wine, which they both enjoyed like water. Apart from their mutual enmity, which is not false, powerful and deep – there has always been a strange mutual respect, the recognition of like-minded people, even soul mates. Cersei can talk to Tyrion like no other: It’s not a desperate, exciting way to talk to Tywin, or a flirty, controlling way to talk to Jaime. Cersei is in many ways the loneliest woman in the world and – although she never admits or acknowledges it – this isolation gives Tyrion a special place in her life. After all, only Lannisters count, and the only Lannister she can really deal with on an equal footing with is Tyrion.

(If you watch their scenes from the first half of the series together – for example, the Honourable Man from season two or the Mkhisa from season three – then you intimidate them with their intimacy and honesty. We now understand that Tyrion, who claimed to hate him, may have been Cersei’s best friend).

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

What seems important to me is that this makes Tyrion unique for the understanding and (limited) development of Cersei’s character. If, as I have always claimed, the Throne Game is a demonstration of the importance of broadening perspective and empathy, then Tyrion may be the only pit in Cersei’s hermetic armor. The world is full of cripples, assholes and broken things, and Cersei can ignore and ignore them all, but she can’t ignore the one who shares her blood and her name. It’s a fly in its ointment, a cuckoo clock in its nest, a stranger who, by a lucky coincidence, has been placed in the obscene walls of its fortress. So he is the only person who can really challenge their assumptions, complicate their understanding of the world and confront them with truths they do not want to acknowledge. No wonder she hates him: His very existence – and his complex relationship with him – calls into question the disastrous black and white simplicity of his world view.

And that’s what he’s doing for her now. Since Joffrey’s death, at least Cersei has demonized her younger brother: He became a soulless monster in her mind, a devil whose only purpose from birth, she now says, was to destroy the Lannister family. He became his great other, a player on the other side, the cause of all his suffering and the cradle of all his hatred. And we see in this scene (not for the first time) that most of her hatred of him comes from a projection of her own sins, of what would have happened if she had had even a shred of self-confidence – her guilt and self-hatred.

They exposed us to the vultures, and the vultures came and tore us apart, she says. You may not have killed Joffrey, but you killed Myrcella and you killed Tommy. No one would have touched her if Dad had been here.

To which we can only respond: Bitch, please. Deep inside, one of them suspects that even Cersei, a wise woman, must understand, whatever her shortcomings, that it is because of her, and not Tyrion, that her children have died and her family has become vulnerable. She’s the one who tried to execute Tyrion, which led to Myrcella’s murder. It was she who, through petty rivalry, gave power to the struggle of faith, weakening the power of the Lannisters and leading to their own public humiliation. She’s the one who killed hundreds of people in Seven Baylor, including the young royal wife, and forced Tommy to commit suicide. Yet she falls at the feet of her scapegoat Tyrion, whose crime included the murder of Tywin, and puts Cersei in a position to make such terrible mistakes.

Showing others – and blaming them for their own problems – is one of the most important hobbies in an unjust society. But, as we’ve said, it’s easier to demonize someone if you don’t have to look them in the eye. Here, in her room, opposite her Great Other, she doesn’t find a dehumanized monster, but at least her human brother. (I regret the children more than you’ll ever know, he says.) I loved them, you know that. You know it in your heart if there’s anything left of them). She is confronted with a man who – unlike her – is able to recognise and fight both his own sins and his terrible feelings of conflict. (I hate myself for this, if you will, he’s talking about killing Tywin.) I hate myself for this, despite what he was, despite what he did to me.) One of the many qualities Tyrion possesses that Cersei lacks is the ability to live in a world of grey: He cannot see the complexity and contradictions in himself and in others, he cannot justify or demonize them. Cersei, for example, thinks he deserves a point by reminding him that Dani wanted to burn down the Red Warehouse, but Tyrion is not unaware of Dani’s flaws. But she knows herself, he says. She chose a counselor to test her worst impulses instead of feeding them. That’s the difference between you two. Danny’s not perfect, but he wants to make the world a better place. Danny’s not perfect, but Danny knows she’s not perfect, and he can admit it. She could say… I’m not sure Cersei was ever wrong.

Striking about this scene again is the intimacy: With all the murderous missions in the world, with all the decades of bitterness and hatred, with the attempted murder between them, it is a brother and sister conversation. After all, this is what Tyrion does for Cersei: He sees her and treats her like a man and lets her meet on the same level in spite of everything. You love your children. He told her once. It’s the only quality that redeems you: this, and your cheekbones. Now he cancels that one human trait by referring to his own love for his children, and in return receives a discourse that may have come closest to her admitting that she was wrong:

I don’t want to test my worst impulses. I don’t care how I can make the world a better place. Hook the world up. This thing that brought you here, I know what it is, I know what it means. And when it came to me, I didn’t think about the world – not at all. As soon as he opened his mouth, the world disappeared down his black throat for me. All I could think about was taking those dirty teeth away from the main teeth, from my family.

This is typical of Cersei – the recognition of her selfishness and her almost total lack of sympathy. But it is also a very human recognition that shows the redeeming quality Tyrion has always seen in her. This is a confession from the mother, not the queen, and it allows Tyrion to know immediately that she is pregnant.

Immediately after this conversation Cersei returns to the Dragon Pit and offers to join the fight against the White Walkers. She says the darkness is coming for all of us. We’ll face the truth together.

And if this was the last time we saw Cersei in this episode, we would think that Tyrion succeeded: that he really succeeded in reaching the man in the heartless ruler and tapped into the fine, almost rudimentary vein of empathy that was always buried somewhere in his maternal instincts.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

What I like about this episode of Cersei’s Ark is that I have to believe Tyrion almost made it. After all, you can’t get much out of the feedback Cersei gives here: He refuses to help, then offers help and decides (eventually) not to help. (Her last disappointment, which she tells only to Jaime, will surely only give him a small headache. After all, it won’t be long before John and Dani realize that the Lannister army won’t be joining them.) To be honest, it can be read with a lot of cynicism as Benioff and Weiss teasing the audience with the possibility of an 11 hour salvation of Cersei. (No doubt they are guilty of this kind of deception elsewhere in this episode).

But I prefer to read it as Cersei, consciously or unconsciously, teasing me with the possibility of redemption. Somewhere in all these negotiations there was a moment when Cersei Lannister was able to continue her almost infallible career of insensitivity with a decent goal. He wouldn’t forgive her for everything she’s done, but that would be something. She’d still be a monster, but when things get tough, she’d be a monster trying to save the world. I think that attracted her at least a little bit. I like to think that in her virtuous speech to her gathered enemies, in which she offered to join their ranks, there was a part of her that appreciated the idea and vision of herself. It’s a lie, but it’s a lie that represents a modified and better version of yourself, which might be tempting to believe for a moment.

Nobody leaves me.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

But Cersei’s attachment will not change completely, and the moment of her redemption comes and goes without her claiming it. It is of course Jaime who confesses his duality, because she trusts him to do what he has always done: love her, support her and follow her plans, whatever her misfortune.

For space’s sake, I’d just like to talk briefly about Jaime this week. But it is important to note that Jame, like her sister, has changed. In fact, I find Jaime Lannister one of the infinitely more fascinating in a series of unusual character arches. Remember when we first met, he pushed an innocent kid out the window. The first season he stabbed Rory in the eye with a knife. The second season he killed his cousin to escape captivity. It wasn’t until last season that he threatened to launch himself into baby Edmure Tully’s catapult. He did terrible things, all out of unnatural but unconditional love for his irreplaceable sister, who – as I said in my Personne magazine – was the only guide to his existence.

But we’ve also seen other facets of Jaime Lannister. In the third season we saw how he saved Brienne from being raped when there was really no reason for it. (In fact, he seems to have paid a high price for this accidental act of kindness, as this episode ended with the loss of the hand of the sword: as if the gods had recognized and interrupted his painful transformation from the man he was into the man he could have become). A few episodes later we heard his version of the incident that earned him the nickname Kingslayer, and like Brienne, we had to admit that his interpretation of events seemed much more reasonable than the twist imposed by such noble men as Eddard Stark. Shortly afterwards Jaime performed the first real heroic act ever, risking his life to save Brienne from a bear pit.

I leave you with the exhaustive catalogue of Jaime’s actions since then – suffice it to say that the road to salvation is seldom absolutely direct – but the good in it has often defeated evil during the development of the series, and often at the expense of Cersei’s machinations. For example, he sent Brienne to hunt down and protect the Stark girls, indirectly and too late to fulfill a promise he had made to Catelyn Stark. He did his best to convince Cersei and Tywin that Tyrion was innocent of Joffrey’s murder and to free Tyrion after the court found him guilty. He led Cersei openly and subtly on the path of open warfare and interfered with the search for more peaceful solutions in Dorn and Riverlands. He has – as Cersei now blames her, with her declared enemies – conspired to form alliances which she considers treacherous.

In other words: Every crime Jaime committed was for Cersei, and almost every decent thing he did was despite her. Now, if, as I suggested, The Dragon and the Wolf is a final exam for the senior class of Game of Thrones, it’s only appropriate if Jaime’s final exam requires an irrevocable break with his sister.

These are not aristocratic houses, says Jaime, which proves that he at least absorbed the lessons of the series. We’re talking about the living or the dead. For Jaime, of course, they weren’t aristocratic houses: He never cared about the family name, he only cared about Cersei. But unlike his sister, he has the ability to care for other people and the fact that he has ended his dependence on the island is a turning point for humanity and a conscious dismantling of the walls that separate people. This, too, is an extension of his field of interest, even if his departure means a reduction. I’m the only one you have left. I’m an observer. Our children are gone, our father is gone. Now it’s just you and me.

Another has not yet arrived, she answers, referring to the baby in the womb. But this baby’s just a chance now. Right now, Cersei Lannister is alone against peace.

You don’t have to decide.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

The walls that separate people in the seven kingdoms are the walls of the family. As I said before, pedigrees have always been the border of Westeros: They all belonged to the same family, and most of them came from different families. The family almost completely determined the structure of society and it was the intention and desire to determine the identity of each individual within that society. Distilled to the marrow, that’s what matters: Once again we are against their mentality, in which everyone defends their own mentality, and betraying their own family is the greatest sin.

It is a system that requires the safety and protection of the family to take precedence over all non-family members, thus dehumanizing them to the outside world. (All those who are not us are enemies, as Cersei Joffrey said in the first season) But it is also a system that dehumanises from within, because it requires each person to subject his or her own desires, needs and morals to the great demands of the family, or the family that serves your family. (The house that puts family first will always win the house that puts the whims and desires of its sons and daughters first, as Tywin Lannister said).

I have long argued that this tension is at the heart of the Throne Game, and that almost all characters can be brought back to a path, away from the harsh dictates of blood families to a more compassionate and comprehensive concept of family research or expansion. I’m not going to list these arguments, but the point is worth repeating, because there is probably no character in the series that embodies this tension more than Theon Greyjoy.

Whatever you do, you give up a vow, Jaime once said to Catelyn, about all the vows and allegiances that people should keep. This fundamental truth about Western society is extremely painful for a man like Theon, whose personality has been torn apart throughout his life by the irreconcilable division of his family. When Theon was a child, Ned Stark fought with his father, killed all his brothers and took Theon to Winterfell to grow up among his own children. He was called to the station, and the Starks treated him kindly, but as Tyrion pointed out when we first heard Theon’s story, he was actually just a hostage. (Your loyalty to your kidnappers is touching, Tyrion said). Later in the same episode Jaime Theon called out a shark to the top of a mountain or literally a fish from the water).

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

I was very strict with Theon for many years, but Theon was in an impossible situation. According to all the laws of Westeros, written and unwritten, Theon’s loyalty was to the Greyjoy and Ironborn. But by all standards of ethics, decency and love, his loyalty to the Starks. Am I now and always your brother? he asked Robb, in fire and blood, and Robb assured him. But only three episodes later, Theon was crossed as Iron Islander: He betrayed Robb, and he committed his biggest crimes in Winterfell – the murder of Rodrick Cassel and the two innocent boys on the farm – for which he was punished (and has been punishing himself ever since).

It’s easy for us to judge Theon because we know the Starks are (mostly) good and the Greyjoyes are (mostly) assholes. But it is also important to understand that this is not the standard with which Westeros has ever been allowed to make decisions: People had to be faithful to their homes and to their oaths, even if this meant a total disregard for the obligations of ethics, decency, and love. According to this standard Theon was right to betray the Starks when Sansa escaped from the Lannisters and Boltons or Bran and Ricon themselves. (Ironically, Yara pointed to Theon when he complained that the Stark boys had betrayed him. I treated the Stark boys with honor, and they thanked me for their betrayal, he said. Your prisoner little boy made you a promise and you got angry when she broke it… she asked him. Are you the dumbest son of a bitch in the world?)

So we can’t accuse Theon of breaking the laws of his society: He didn’t. In fact, we condemn him because he did not break these laws, because he did not replace his own judgment with the dictates of the Westeros tradition. On the one hand he had a very important name, Greyjoy, who told him what kind of person he had to be, and on the other hand he had the fundamental decency that he had learned from the Starks, who told him to be a very different kind of person. The two standards were incompatible, and Theon’s desperate need to meet eventually tore him apart. I always wanted to do the right thing, be the right person, but I never knew what that meant, Theon John says now. It always seemed like I had an impossible choice: Stark of Greyjoy.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

In Jonah Snow he recognizes someone who was not completely different from himself. Their situations were not exactly the same (although, as this episode confirms, their situations were more similar than they thought). But, as a bastard was raised, John’s position with the strong children must have been similar to what Theon once said about himself – about them, but not about any of them. In the strict patrilineal hierarchies of Westeros, such people – cripples, assholes, broken people – have always been on the lookout.

And all John’s conspiracy was a glove – to use Theon’s expression, it’s an impossible choice. At the end of the first season, after Ned’s execution, John was tempted to leave the Night Watch – his chosen family – to help his blood relative. At the end of the second season he had to pretend to have betrayed the watchmaker, who had murdered his brother Horin Halfhand, to join the Wildlings among their arch-enemies. By the end of the third season he had fallen in love with the Wildlings and respected them, but he had to betray them – and his feelings – in order to return to the Sentinels. He went to battle against the Wildlings in the fourth season to protect his brothers and was killed again in the fifth season by his brothers to defend the Wildlings.

The impossible choice for John now continues, and it is always a choice between duty to family and clan loyalty on the one hand, and what his own conscience tells him on the other. But John is his father’s son, and his father is a real father, if not his blood father, Eddard Stark. Old Maester Aemon, who, as we now know, was John’s great uncle, asked John what Ned would have done if he had been asked to choose between love and honor, and John rejected the binary limits of this question. He did the right thing, John insisted, and Ned proved it in the same episode.

(We tend to believe that Ned had good intentions and great devotion, but it is important to remember that Ned’s last act on this earth was to proclaim Joffrey as the true King of the Seven Kingdoms. In doing so, he violated every code of honor he had ever had and every law of Westeros designed to protect the paternal authority he had inherited. But he did so out of love for his daughter: with the distinction Arya made last week, it was against the rules, but it was not wrong).

John has always been the one who was able to make those differences and thus make those decisions. And that’s exactly what Theon is telling him now: They always knew what was right, Theon is jealous. Every step you take is always the right one. И… …though John is modest in his approach… …it’s almost true: John is in fact the only (still alive) protagonist who has never really expressed himself ethically. He made mistakes and had to make difficult and uncertain decisions, but he never committed a crime out of cruelty, meanness, or hatred, and he never committed an atrocity out of duty or devotion. And partly because, whether he means it or not, he rejects the rigid, binary definitions of good and evil that Westeros has always structured. He rejects our mentality – against us – and refuses to subject his own morality to any external expectations.

The ability to make such a distinction is what John has always had, and it is what Theon missed between blind loyalty to two opposing ideologies. But John prefers to forgive him, and that forgiveness is also necessary for the modern ethical climate in the throne game. In the end, almost all Westeros worked under the same harmful, slavish, and impossible rules, and almost all of the main characters did terrible things in the name of obeying those rules. How can one really judge someone like Theon, who does not have the innate moral strength to realize that so few people in Westeros have realized: that he can and must make his own decisions.

John’s telling him now. Theon’s tragedy has always been his inability to choose between Greyjoyce and Starks, but John insists that this is a false dichotomy. You don’t have to decide, he told Theon, and he pointed out that, as Theon himself once understood, he is Ned Stark’s son. Everything John learned from Ned is in Theon. You’re Greyjoy and you’re Stark.

In fact, it would be more appropriate to say that you cannot vote. Choosing one side or the other is the simplest solution, the one that allows you to let someone else do everything you think you should be and what you should do for you. That’s what Theon’s been doing all his life and that’s what got him into all his trouble. He did it in the second season, when his father and the Iron Island team told him what it means to be a man. John never did: His life would have been much easier if he had chosen to follow the rules, but John knew that a simple decision like that of the Night Watch and the Indians was rarely the right one. (In the words of little Shirin Baratheon, one of the brightest eyes in the ethics of throne play, it was the choice of sides that made it all so terrible) Being strong doesn’t tell you what’s right, being something other than a Greyjoy: You have to decide for yourself.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

That’s what Theon Greyjoy is finally doing. In the end, he tells John about Yara, his sister, the only person who always tried to save him, even though, as she said, he was the stupidest asshole in the world. He says she needs me now. He asks permission to go and tries to save her, but John doesn’t give it to him, which reinforces the idea that Theon should stop asking others who he should be. Then why are you still talking to me? Says John. In other words: You know the right thing to do, so do it.

The final scene of this episode of Theon is an echo of the moment he made his first mistake, the moment he betrayed the Starks and was named Iron Islander. But it is important to note that this time no one else can wash away his sins and dictate the contents of his soul. When he is left alone on his knees in the surf of the Dragon Stone, Theon finally decides who he is and what to do, he baptizes himself.

How will you respond to these accusations, Lord Baelish?

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

As I said before, the title of this episode, Dragon and Wolf, is deliberately reminiscent of the fifth episode of the first episode of Wolf and Lion, because this episode is a likely candidate at a time when there was in fact open warfare between all the great houses of Westeros. In that episode Robert Baratheon ordered the murder of Daenerys Targaryen, Lisa Arryn captured Tyrion Lannister and Jaime Lannister killed Ned Stark’s men. The War of the Five Kings officially only begins at the end of the first season, but the wolf and the lion have shown that the war opens confrontations.

This episode also showed a scene in which Varys and Baelish confront each other in the throne room of King’s Landing. There is a feeling that Baelish and Varys could be the true rulers of this kingdom, I wrote at the time. They’re chess players, and Robert and Ned can only be pieces on the chessboard. Back then, these two chess players cheated on me: I found Varys scary, while Littlefinger seemed to be a loving side of good. But we now know that for me it was the other way around, because shortly afterwards Littlefinger became the main architect of discord and mistrust in the Seven Kingdoms. He’s the one who convinced Lisa to poison John Arryn and frame the Lannisters for the murder. It was his knife that must have cut Brandon Stark’s throat when he was in a coma. He’s the one who betrayed Ned Stark, which led Ned to the executioner’s block and pulled the people into the war.

As his rival on the chessboard, Varys, accompanies his queen to King’s Landing to save the world, Littlefinger kneels down before cutting her throat. It’s a check and a friend, Peter.

To be honest, the character (and the actor) probably deserved a slightly better narrative spell than his, which should have covered his death with a lot of useless nonsense between the Stark sisters (see below). But there’s no doubt the timing was right. Even before the series began – with the murder of John Arryn behind the scenes, which set the whole story in motion – all the bad things that happened between the people in the Throne game can be traced back to Littlefinger’s machinations. Therefore, from a narrative point of view, it is appropriate that Kleinfinger dies here before we enter the final season and face a real and inhuman threat. With the arrival of the White Walkers and the inevitable destruction of the world, the show no longer needs political and interpersonal tricks, or even room for any kind of trick in which the Balishies succeed. (If you imagine Littlefinger desperately trying to take control of the Night King, imagine a show that ends with a comic parody).

And lately Littlefinger’s actions seem both vaguely motivated and random. After all, what was his final plan? It looked like he was going to marry Sansa and rule next to her on the Iron Throne, but we’ll never really know how he’d make it. (Maybe George R.R. Martin tells us this in these novels that should be published every day). The show gave a fantastic speech for Littlefinger in The Climb-in in season three, in which Baelish expressed his general philosophy that chaos is a ladder, and then he seemed happy to be able to create and climb the different rungs of that ladder without a clear goal. Gillen’s speech did a lot to make Littlefinger an attractive character in this story, but he’s never been much of a character who seems unable to change or develop. When he died, it was relegated to something more than a practical tracking system, after he experienced its usefulness instead.

Thematically, however, Littlefinger’s death seems very appropriate, if not entirely satisfactory. Even more than Littlefinger, he defends absolute isolationism, selfishness and self-preservation. You signed your own, didn’t you? Cersei took a look. Some people are lucky to be born into the right family, Mr. Littlefinger said. Others must find their way. Littlefinger was made by a gentleman at the end of the first season, but the house of the Baelish is the house of one: Nobody wears a mockingbird shield but him. He pretended to love Catelyn Stark, but he betrayed his family and killed her husband. He pretended to love Sansa Stark, but sold her to a psychopath who raped and tortured her. He married Lisa Stark, then left her through the moongate. In a series devoted primarily to learning empathy and broadening their fields of interest, the Bailiwicks have remained ruthlessly selfish and heartless. As Varis has long said, Littlefinger would see this country burn if he could be the Ax king.

Littlefinger did well with door-to-door mentoring. That’s what you do, isn’t it? Sansa invited him here. You always have: Turn family against family, sister against sister. In an episode in which all the big families put aside their petty aversion and unite for a common cause, Littlefinger’s death is a symbolic sign of how everything has changed in the throne game.

The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Perhaps it has not escaped my usual readers that this article is almost two years late. (In fact, I’ve heard of some of you, and I know it hasn’t escaped your attention). It is strange that I wrote most of these works on time, at the end of August and the beginning of September 2017. I would probably have published it in time or at the latest in my place if there had been more than one factor:

I really, really didn’t want to write about Arya and Sansa. Every time I took a design to finish it, I got stuck in the Arya and Sansa sections.

It didn’t help that some of the impatient fans I heard about seemed to hope I was just someone who could understand. (Where’s the GOT final exam?) A letter has been read out. You have to explain to me that the Sansa/Arya WTF happened)!

Guys, I’m sorry. I tried, but I couldn’t: I have to admit, it was one of the worst stories in the whole Thrones game. It just doesn’t make sense. I was about to admit that in recent episodes Arya and Sansa have staged a play for Littlefinger and his spies to obtain evidence of their past crimes and current plans. But if that was the case, it was stupid and pointless: Everything that comes out of Littlefinger’s duality is either something that Sansa already knew, or something that Bran saw with his (boring) magical powers. So, what was that all about?

I always take Littlefinger Sansa’s advice:

Sometimes when I’m trying to understand someone’s motives, I play a game: I appreciate the worst. What’s the worst reason they can say what they say and do what they do? Then I wonder: To what extent does this explain what they say and what they do?

In fact, it is a very useful thought experiment. And when I apply this to Benioff and Weiss’ plan, I realize that the worst reason they could have staged this (fortunately short) battle simulation between the Stark sisters – and the only one who explains it perfectly – was that they wanted to manipulate the audience. They were willing to sacrifice logic and disrespect for their characters for a cheap reception moment that almost everyone had somehow planned. (There were a few moments like that in the last episode: That’s what would make me shudder to go to last season if I thought too much about it).

It doesn’t matter: Apart from the disastrous performance of this story – or at best erasing it at the absurd pace of this season – there are interesting things to discuss and even evidence of good intentions. As I suggested last week, there are ideas and themes worth exploring that are really in these two characters, even if the illustration of these themes and ideas makes them both foolish.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

At the end of the third season, after the Red Wedding, I spent an entire period researching the meaning of family in the throne game. As we have said before, this has always been an important and complex subject, but the most important lesson in the series on this subject is that the family you choose is just as important or more important than the family you were born into. Tyrion Lannister found a house in Targaryen’s house. Theon and Stark and Greyjoy. Sam was born in Tarly, and one day the brother of the Night Watch started a family with wild animals. Even Jaime, whose obsessive love for his twin sister has caused so much pain and shock, can break these family ties and join his former enemies in the common cause.

With this almost constant progression of blind loyalty to home and blood, it is natural, if not inevitable, that Arya and Sansa do not trust each other. The opposite poles, they’ve never been close: They had very few scenes together before they were separated at the end of the first season, and neither was particularly happy.

Of course, they were also children when they last met, and they did not experience the incredible mental suffering and agitation, torture or growth that they will both experience over the course of the series. And they took very different paths back to Winterfell. Arya was mostly single and independent, and she became a strange, cruel and (frankly) terrifyingly angry person. Sansa, on the other hand, spent almost the entire series with one enemy after another – Joffrey, Cersei, Littlefinger, Tyrion, Ramsey – had to constantly adapt to survive. Simply put: These two young women don’t know each other at all and have little reason to trust each other.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

So, to some extent, it all comes back to the family issue. Right now in the throne game, what do you think these two women are sisters? How much is it worth and how much can you trust?

Benioff and Weiss, directed by Jeremy Podsva and the two actors involved, have saved almost the entire plot with an absolutely beautiful scene. On the walls of Winterfell, Sansa and Arya stand together, not looking at each other, separated and framed by battlements, but detached from each other, with a brief conversation that somehow reconciles the Sisters’ past, their different experiences and nature, and the whole question of what family means today.

It begins with a simple expression of the fears of the brotherhood: Are you okay? Ask Arya Sansa, and although this scene seems more sincere than all her interactions over the last few weeks. They agree on their respective roles. (I’m just an executioner, Arya says.) You are the Lady of Winterfell– I could never have been a good lady like you, so I had to be someone else.) And they have a mutual exchange of admiration and recognition of what the other has experienced. (I could never have survived what you went through, Arya says.) You could have, Sansa answers. (You’re the strongest person I know.) And then of course the memory that they are still sisters and still very different. (They’re still weird and boring, Sansa adds).

But that brings the conversation back to Eddard Stark, who really seals their relationship. Arya starts with a quote from Ned: In winter, we have to protect ourselves, take care of each other. And Sansa, who’s learning her father’s words, finishes the quote. When the snow falls and the white wind blows, a lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. I miss him, Arya said. Me, too. Sansa agrees.

Ned’s memory is all over the dragon and the wolf. Cersei refers to his name and appeals to John’s honour. (I know Ned Stark’s son keeps his word.) And John sets an example that Ned doesn’t lie to him. (Talk about my father if you want, he says.) Tell me that’s why he was murdered.) And again, in a scene where he tells Theon he’s a Stark, just like Greyjoy. Now that they have avenged Ned’s death and executed the person responsible, Arya and Sansa remember his lesson, which is also a lesson of the whole episode and one of the lessons of the series: Together we are stronger than we are apart.

Blood ties are still of little importance: Tyrion and Cersei are related; Euron and Theon are related; Sandor and Gregor Clegane are related. (Although they don’t know it yet, John and Dani are related.) But the most important thing is to share ideas, experiences and values: That’s what a family does. The Starks are special, not because they share the same blood, but because they’ve been in the Game of Thrones for seven seasons – they’re still the only happy family we’ve ever seen, the only family that seemed to share intimacy, kindness and true affection. It is this, more than anything else in the world – the memory of the elementary decency that inspired stupid Eddard Stark – that makes the Sisters Arya and Sansa eternal life.

He was never a bastard.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Finally, what can we say about the connection between Danny and John or the revelation of John Snow’s true lineage? These two events, taking place simultaneously in the dragon and the wolf, seemed inevitable, at least for several seasons.

Most of us have long suspected that the bastard Jon Snow was the child of Reagar Targaryen and Lianna Stark, which more or less confirmed the series at the end of season 6. So the bomb here that he’s actually Aegon Targaryen, the true heir to the Iron Throne, has no particular shock.

And by the second season it became clear that John and Dani are the real protagonists of the throne game and the most likely candidates for the crown one day. This means that these two were on a collision course from the start, destined for lovers or enemies. Since neither was bad or had had a relationship forever, it was clear that they would end together, at least temporarily.

I don’t expect them to stick together: Even if we would all be willing to ignore the fact that they are cousins and aunts, playing on the throne is not traditional enough to end in a happy marriage, and perhaps (at best) just a new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

GAME OF THRONES 7×07 – “The Dragon and the Wolf”

However, these two parallel love stories – the title of the episode of course refers to them – have the greatest significance for the throne play. If these events now seem predictable, it is partly, as I said before, because everything in this series is patiently but consciously constructed in relation to these events, not only narratively but also thematically.

I’ve been saying for a long time that one of the recurring themes in this series is the dominant narrative theme. Loyalty, code of honour, stories, fairy tales, beliefs, family, gender and class heaps: all the stories that kept this society together and told its members that should have broken it and broken it down during the series.

Here we have the final confirmation that everything in this company, as we have learned, was wrong. Robert’s rebellion was built on lies, Bran says. Reagar didn’t kidnap or rape my aunt. He loved her, and she loved him. The war that brought Robert Baratheon to the throne – the war that Ned Stark fought – was therefore based on lies. In fact, Ned and Robert created the whole power structure of Westeros as we knew it, and they were on the wrong side of history.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that. (According to all reports, the Mad King was ultimately quite mad and probably had to be removed from power). But is it hard to imagine that the Seven Kingdoms would be better off if Reagar were to replace his father on the throne and be his queen Liana Stark? Is this, as far as we know, not the favorite alternative to the story that Robert Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, Tommen Baratheon and Cersei Lannister give us?

What’s important here is that Jon Snow himself is a symbol of unity, not division. It was the product of two large houses that were to be connected, but which became mortal enemies. He grew up as a foreigner in this society, but in reality he must have been an absolute insider and an inherited leader of the whole nation.

So if, as I’ve said in my reviews, the throne game is about making the differences between different kinds of people disappear, creating new families of old enemies and making room for the cripples, the bastards and the broken things, then John is the perfect capsule for that. And indeed, his entire career in the throne room has been dedicated to this goal: first by uniting the Night Watch and the Wild, now by uniting all the great houses. And it is no coincidence that in both cases he fell in love and accepted sympathy and affection where mistrust, hatred and fear reigned.

The love between John and Danny is probably doomed. All mankind may be doomed. But if there is any hope for anyone in the throne game – both in winter and after the fall of the Wall – it is to come together: to forget old grievances, to rewrite the stories that divide and create new families with people who live on the other side of the barriers we have erected. If there’s any hope, strange as it may seem, it’s love.

In this – if not in another – the throne play was a bit like a fairy tale from the beginning.

Extra thoughts and favourite songs

  • What about Tyrion’s sad and bitter reaction to John’s entry into Danny’s cabin? Maybe it’s just dissatisfaction with the way John has de facto become the hand of the queen and repressed Tyrion as the most trusted advisor. But it is also the first real, textual hypothesis that Tyrion could be in love with his new queen – although I think we can read about this in Dinklage’s speech. I said she and Clark have great chemistry at hardhome. Unfortunately, they have better chemistry than Clark and Keith Harington. Right now the show has no time for another love story, but if John and Danny are doomed to genetics and fate, I wouldn’t mind seeing the dragon and the lion merge.
  • Can we talk about Cersei’s baby? I have a bad feeling about this baby. I have some doubts about its real existence, and – if it exists – I have other doubts about whether it really belongs to Jaime. I can’t get it out of my head that a cybernetic engineer, Gora’s monstrous son, could grow up in Cersei’s body. On a completely different (and probably just as bad) path I can imagine that at some point Cersei offers her child to the King of the Night.
  • While I’m thinking about it, let’s talk about the general theory that Bran is the king of the night after all. I’ve given up for a long time, but I find it more and more plausible, especially after the jokes about the temporary doors. One: The Night King looks like Bran. And it has a certain thematic meaning: A heartless attempt to kill a ten-year-old boy is the beginning of the throne play, and it would be just like this show that this original sin is a crime for which this society eventually pays. (By the way, we still have to fight the prophecy of a child’s three-eyed raven: You’ll never walk again, he said to Bran. But you will. Does that mean he’ll fly with the eyes of a crow? Does it mean he’ll fly one of Dani’s two remaining dragons? Or does it mean he’ll fly on the resurrected Viserion, like the King of the Night?)
  • Speaking of Bran, I laugh every time he tells someone he’s a three-eyed raven, and they react like Sam: Я… I don’t know what that means. You and me, brother.
  • Although I love the show and respect it, I still shudder at the sight of the 12-year-old boys who, in a way, are still coming out. I mean, uh… I could do it without Theon being pushed on stage over and over again, where his balls are.
  • I loved that exchange (premonition?) between John and Danny when she told him she couldn’t have children. Who told you that? He asked. The witch who killed my husband answers. Has it occurred to you that she might be an unreliable source of information?
  • Although I sincerely apologize for the delay in publishing this news, it was nice to think back to the Game of Thrones, a week before last season’s premiere. I love to write about this show and I appreciate the messages from my readers telling me they still want to hear what I have to say about it two years later. I will of course write about the past season, and I have another exciting announcement for my GOT fans, which will come around next week. Keep an eye on this room.

Read all my contributions to the Throne Game here.

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