For those scoring at home, this is episode 69 of “Game of Thrones.”
This is one of the lustiest episodes, one of the least violent and one of the sweetest, a hat trick it never occurred to me they could pull off except ... oh, yeah, it’s the night before the White Walkers show up and everyone thinks they are going to die.
This episode, which is just a big string of two- or three-handers between main and supporting characters, managed to cover a staggering amount of emotional ground in just *checks watch* 58 minutes, so let’s get right to it.
We open with Jaime standing tall before The Man — The Man being Dany in the Great Hall at Winterfell.
Everyone is there: Jon, Tyrion, Brienne, all the big names. The Mother of Dragons and Aunt of Her Boyfriend is not pleased. Hey, that’s right: The King that the Kingslayer slayed, that was her dad. It is a tough conversation.
Dany: When I was a child, my brother would tell me a bedtime story about the guy who murdered our father.
Jaime: I can’t deny it.
Dany: Where’s your sister’s army that she promised?
Jaime: Yeah ... about that.
Jaime tells the room there is no army coming from Cersei, and also the Golden Company plans to sweep up after the Night King bodies everyone in Winterfell.
Tyrion tries to defend his big brother.
Dany: Not today, Satan.
Suddenly, it looks like Sansa and Dany agree on something.
Sansa: He tried to kill my dad. You’re right, dragonlady, we can’t trust him.
Dany: Oh, word?
Jaime: Look, I did this for my house and my family.
Bran is there, reminding everyone that he can see the entire past.
Bran: The things we do for love. (Which is what Jaime said when he defenestrated Bran.)
Jaime: *EYES EMOJI*
Brienne, who has been silent, decides to go in and defend Jaime.
Brienne: He prevented me from being raped and killed and lost his hand for his trouble. Look, Lady Sansa, I can’t believe I am saying it either, but he is a man of honor.
Sansa: You vouch for him?
Brienne: (Don’t say “I love him” don’t say “I love him”) Yes, I do.
Sansa: Well, you’ve convinced me. He stays.
Dany: *EYES EMOJI*
Dany: What does the Warden of the North say about it?
Jon: (OH, *NOW* I’M THE WARDEN OF THE NORTH?) ...Whatever
Dany: (I can’t take you anywhere.)
Dany is colossally annoyed at Tyrion for doing a big thing badly yet again. He either trusted Cersei, which was dumb, or lied to Dany, which is worse.
Dany: You are either a traitor or a fool.
Tyrion: I mean, fair.
Dany: If you can’t help me take the Iron Throne, I am happy to trade you for a third-string center fielder and a bag of broken bats.
Tyrion to Varys and Jorah: I suspect one of you will be wearing (the Hand of the King pin) before it’s all over.
Varys and Jorah: *crickets*
» MORE: A guide to where we left off on ‘Game of Thrones’
Down in the forge, Gendry is making stuff. Look, I am depressingly heterosexual but I am not made of stone. Guys pounding metal is HOT, and Arya is here for it. The Winterfell forge is the thirst trap you didn’t know you needed.
Gendry: (drops sword in water)
Gendry: Don’t you have something better to do?
Arya: (Don’t say NO Don’t say NO Don’t say — ah I got it) You make my weapon yet?
Gendry tells her there are like a billion people in front of her. She asks him to do it now. Arya will cut in front of you at Starbucks, then wonder where her drink is like 90 seconds later.
That said, Arya is a killer and wants to know what the White Walkers are like.
Gendry: Death is what they are like.
Arya: Funny you should mention that.
Arya grabs some dragonglass spear heads or knives or whatever and bullseyes three in a row. Gendry looks like his eyes are about to melt.
Arya: So about my weapon.
Gendry: I’ll get right on it (after some private "me" time).
Elsewhere, Bran is off being Bran. Jaime approaches and apologizes.
Jaime: I’m sorry for what I did to you.
Bran: You weren’t sorry then. Also if you hadn’t chucked me out a window, we would not be here now. Destiny and all that.
Jaime: Well, what happens after the war?
Bran: How do you know there is an afterwards?
Jaime: I just made you a ray of sunshine, huh?
» MORE: Win or Die: All our 'Game of Thrones' coverage
Tyrion runs into Jaime and they start the heart to heart they will continue later. First up, complaining about Cersei.
Jaime: She’s always been good at using the truth to tell lies.
Tyrion: Dude, she SUCKS and you don’t care, come on now.
Tyrion just kind of keeps talking but Jaime is busy looking at ... Brienne, surveying the troops. Nobody, anywhere, is going to love him as much as she does. Maybe he knows, maybe he doesn’t.
Brienne: When did you stop being a trash fire to me? Or in general, for that matter?
Jaime: You don’t know my life. Also, can I serve in your army?
Brienne: ... OK, fine.
This is all very "Star Wars" to me, folks who are maybe not used to command stepping up and being leaders going after the Death Star that is the White Walkers.
Jorah and Dany meet. He is just happy to be there and is fine with Tyrion as Hand.
Dany: You forgive the man who stole your position?
Jorah: Dude is still crazy smart.
Dany decides it is time to try to mend fences with Sansa.
Sansa: Let Tyrion out of the penalty box, he’s a good dude.
Dany: He shouldn’t have trusted his sister.
Sansa: Hey, blondie, which one of us NEVER did? Also my brother loves you and is not thinking correctly.
Dany: I could be literally anywhere else with two dragons right now, you know.
Sansa: I should have thanked you the moment you arrived.
Dany: You know, when YOU say it, it sounds wrong.
Sansa: Also what happens after we defeat the dead and we destroy Cersei? What happens then?
Dany: ... I take the Iron Throne.
Sansa: What about the North? What part of King in the North do you not get?
Dany: Yeah, we’re done here.
Then Theon shows up and Sansa runs to him, giving him a huge hug. Talk about people who did NOT have to be there. Dany looks legitimately jealous that Theon inspires such filial love from Sansa. For all her dragons, Dany doesn’t exactly have a lot of girl pals.
Theon: My queen.
Dany: You know, when YOU say it, it sounds wrong.
We check in on Davos, the mensch of Winterfell, handing out gruel and weapons to the everyday citizens of the town around Winterfell. A child with a very serious Irish/Northern accent approaches.
Kid: I want to fight, too.
Davos is moved; she clearly reminds him of Shireen, who TAUGHT HIS BEHIND TO READ before *checks notes* her father burned her at the stake because of monotheism.
Davos and Gilly convince the kid to go to the Crypt with the other kiddos. It’s a nice moment. Remember when Gilly was a sex slave in the middle of nowhere? Now she is running citizen organization efforts. Never let it be said there isn’t room to move in the Winterfell organization.
Tormund and his boys show up.
Tormund: We have less than 24 hours before the dead show up.
Also Tormund: ... Is the big woman (Brienne) still here?
Tormund, knowing full well that today may be his last, has his priorities in order. It’s a great performance from Kristofer Hivju, who has made Tormund a fan fave for a reason.
It’s time for a war council and a big war games map.
Jon: All of these guys are already dead so ...
Everyone else: How do we win?
Bran: The Night King wants to kill me because I am the memory of humanity.
Everyone: *EYES EMOJI*
Sam: I am a big nerd and let me tell you, that makes sense, actually.
Bran: I am going to hang by my tree.
Theon: The Iron Born and I will protect you.
Everyone: Welp you are gonna die HUGE, my dude.
Dany: BTW, Tyrion, please hide with the children since you are smart.
Tyrion: ……. fine.
Tormund, basically to Brienne: We’re all going to die but at least we die together.
Brienne: *EYES EMOJI*
While Tyrion and Bran bro down, Missandei tries to be nice to some Winterfell kids. They glare at her in an Extremely Problematic Way and leave.
Grey Worm: If we win, we absolutely have to leave this place. I mean, have you seen how these people look at us? I am NOT about this Winterfell life.
Missandei: I would like to see beaches again.
Grey Worm: *cues up “You’re All I Need” by Method Man feat. Mary J. Blige.*
Sam and Jon run into each other on a Winterfell parapet. Edd eventually shows up.
Sam: Have you told Dany you are her nephew yet?
Jon: I don’t want to talk about this, fam.
Edd: And now our watch begins. Also, Sam, you suck at physical stuff.
Sam: I killed a White Walker and Thenns. I protected my girl and child.
Edd: One Thenn.
Sam: I am That Dude and you will put respect on my name.
Tyrion and Jaime are chilling by the fire, talking about their absurd family. Then Pod and Brienne show up.
Tyrion and Pod have always been down — remember, Pod went to some sex workers and they GAVE HIS MONEY BACK, which gob-smacked Tyrion and Bronn. The Lannisters always recognize game.
Tyrion: Want a drink?
Brienne: Pod shouldn’t have any, he is my squire. Okay, fine, a little.
Tyrion: *massive pour*
Pod: God bless, brother.
Davos shows up.
Davos: Nah. For all you know, I know Bill W. Don’t I kinda seem like it?
Tormund shows up. He is thrilled to see Brienne.
Tormund: Is it Kingkiller?
Jaime: …. sure.
Tormund: Let me tell you this hilariously gross story about killing a giant at the age of 10, because that is just how we do things north of the Wall, climbing into bed with his wife only to have her mistake me for a child, so I nursed at her breast for a spell, which is why I am huge.
Brienne: *EYES EMOJI*
Davos: ... bartender?
Arya runs into the Hound. HE IS STILL ON HER LIST. She is also curious as to why he is at Winterfell at all. Then Beric Dondarrion shows up.
Arya and the Hound: Yo.
Beric: Do you have a moment to talk about our savior, the Lord of Light?
Arya: Wow, dude, absolutely not. Goodbye.
Time for Arya to practice archery in the crypt. Gendry shows up with a very badass-looking dragonglass spear. Arya flips it around like the killer she is.
Arya: So, about the Red Woman.
Gendry: Not fun, also I am a Baratheon.
Arya: Lord, how many people have a claim to this freakin’ Throne?
Also Arya: Hey, have you had sex? Like, more than once, maybe?
Gendry: ... Wait, what?
Arya: I would like to have sex with you since I have not ever done it.
Gendry: Um, I was just delivering a spear. Is this a pizza-guy-at-the-door thing?
THEN THERE IS A KISS WE THE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.
Arya: What am I, a witch? Take your pants off please. Now.
Then we get to the scene that made everyone I know cry like a baby. Like, ugly cry. Hard.
We are back around the fire. Tyrion, Tormund, Pod, Brienne, Jaime, Davos. Everyone is probably a leeeettle bit drunk.
Tormund is taking his shot.
Tormund: Are you a knight?
Brienne: Ladies can’t be knights. It’s tradition.
Tormund: (BEEP) tradition.
Also Tormund: I would knight you 10 times over.
MY MAN IS SPITTING HIS BEST GAME RIGHT NOW AND BRIENNE IS NOT INTO IT. (Also he is using his privilege to advocate for a female colleague.)
Jaime: .... Any knight can make someone else a knight.
Brienne kneels and everyone I know, everyone who has watched this extraordinary character over the past seven seasons be the very best example for the knightly virtues, starts SOBBING.
Jaime: “In the name of the Warrior, I charge you to be brave. In the name of the Father, I charge you to be just. In the name of the Mother, I charge you to defend the young and innocent ... Arise, Brienne of Tarth, a knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”
And then we see Brienne do something I don’t think we have ever seen: She smiles.
Outside, in an epic bit of fan service, Lyanna Mormont schools the heck out of her cousin Jorah.
Jorah: You should hide.
Lyanna: Yo, have we met? No, cousin. Stay healthy.
Lyanna Mormont, still ill.
Sam approaches Jorah and reminds everyone he is a stone-cold class act.
Sam: So ... this is my family sword. Your father ran the Night’s Watch, he was a good man and a good teacher. Here is the sword (even if you SERVE THE LADY WHO KILLED MY ENTIRE FAMILY).
Jorah: ... You honor me and him.
Sam: You’re damn skippy. Just try to win please.
We go back to the fire. Someone suggests a song. Nobody wants to sing and then Pod (Daniel Portman) starts to sing, lovely and clear and a capella. It is called “Jenny of the Oldstones.” Remember when Pod didn’t have to pay for the companionship of the sex workers? I am CONVINCED this is what he did. Not to get out of the bill, because Pod wouldn’t do that. I am convinced he just started to sing and the ladies were like, “....this one’s on us, kid.”
Dany and Jon meet in the Winterfell crypt. Jon is brooding, but this is a new kind of brood.
Dany: Who is that?
Jon: Lyanna Stark.
Dany: You know, my brother was supposed to be a good guy. But he kidnapped and raped Lyanna.
Jon: ...Yeah, about that.
So Jon tells her: He is Aegon Targaryen.
Dany: That’s impossible.
Jon: Bran and Sam told me.
Dany: A secret no one in the world knew and your CREW told you? Really?
Jon: Why would I lie?
Dany: If it were true, it would make you the last male heir to house Targaryen. You’d have a claim to the Iron Throne.
Jon: *EYES EMOJI*
Dany: *EYES EMOJI*
And then we see an undead horse on the horizon and a Walker is on it.
Winter is here. Like, now. This second.
Next week: An 80-minute battle of Winterfell. See you then.