Watching the “Game of Thrones” season seven finale was as entertaining as it was frustrating.
The creators of HBO’s fantasy and action juggernaut provided six seasons of carefully crafted dynamic characters and complex interwoven storylines.
But the finale of season seven was unfortunately rushed — reunions between characters lacked dimension, important plot points that took seasons to set up rushed past in a matter of minutes and fan theories were confirmed in a very predictable fashion.
Even with the finale’s issues, including the contrived writing and hurried along plot points plaguing the entire season, it’s also a reminder of why people were attracted to the show in the first place — unexpected twists accompanied by striking visuals.
The finale begins with a meeting between all of the show’s big players to date as the many-titled Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow — or should I call him Aegon Targaryen — attempt to convince Cersei Lannister of the looming threat north of The Wall by presenting her with a wight from the White Walkers’ army of the dead. The characters are accompanied by their respective entourages, leading to some fun — if not awkward — reunions.
To set the scene, the meeting is comprised of Jon, Daenerys and her crew, the Lannisters, The Hound, The Mountain, the Greyjoys, Brienne of Tarth, and the baby faced, secret MVP of the show — Podrick Payne.
With all of the set up from previous seasons leading up to this one scene, there is entirely too much history to be dealt with in what they only gave half of an episode.
This season has changed the structure of the show to seven episodes that run upwards of an hour each, instead of the usual ten 50 minute shows. But the way the show deals with this cobweb of relationships are not handled with justice.
As a result, characters literally run from conversation to conversation on their way to the location of the meeting — The Dragonpit. And once they arrive, characters take turns squashing their specific feuds and it draws on so long you forget the reason they’re all there — to create a truce between the rival queens in order to fight a greater threat.
Cersei’s reaction to seeing the undead for the first time is more than entertaining, and her conversation with Tyrion in the aftermath is one of her best moments this season. Cersei has served as the primary villain in the last few seasons, and it’s impressive how the writers show her make the turn from malicious queen to grieving mother in a single scene.
This momentum continues throughout the episode, and as the storyline in the south wraps up, the episode cuts to the north — home to one of the most frustrating and boring plot points this season. Only this time, things pay off in a big way.
Season seven in the Stark’s home of Winterfell has been a mixed bag to say the least. Even though Sansa has finally come into her own as a leader, her interactions with her sister Arya have shown both characters to have confusing and occasionally irrational motivations. This is why an eyeroll is deserved when Littlefinger tries to convince Sansa that Arya returned home only to murder her and take the role of Lady of Winterfell.
Luckily this storyline picks up in a big way as the Stark sisters punk Littlefinger, exposing him for all the treachery he has been responsible for since the very first season. Arya then opens him up like a can of beans in front of the lords of the north just in case anyone forgot that she’s gone whole hog on the murder thing this season.
The scene with Littlefinger doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because the events leading up to it are vaguely written, being in line with our expectations of this storyline so far. And without explanation, Sansa and Arya have apparently settled their differences offscreen, and everyone seems to trust Bran — excuse me, the Three Eyed Raven — all of the sudden.
The episode continues with a huge revelation that Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen and that Daenarys is actually his aunt. This is a moment fans have been waiting over a year for, but it’s undercut a little when the show splices the big reveal with scenes of Jon and The Mother of Dragons herself finally boning down.
Game of Thrones is no stranger to incest, but usually the two heroes of the show take a back seat to it.
The finale’s ending finally sets up the pins for season eight as the Night King — saddling his zombie ice dragon — destroys the wall at its eastern end, and leads his army of the dead in an impressive CGI sequence that leaves the fate of everyone’s favorite bearded ginger Tormund unknown.
Here’s to him and Brienne having a gorgeous family when the final season premieres sometime in 2019.