Get ready to go Beyond The Wall.
After a quick shot scanning across Daenerys Targaryen’ massive map in Dragonstone, we’re taken north of the Wall, picking up where the fifth episode left off.
The Westerosi version of The Magnificent 7 trudge along through the snow, heading toward a pointy mountain as seen by Sandor Clegane during his reacquaintance with fire. They are accompanied by a few Wildling redshirts who are guaranteed not to survive.
Jon Snow, Tormund Giantsbane, and Gendry Not-Baratheon talk together first, Gendry in awe of the snow. Tormund gets a little creepy and alludes he likes to have sex with pretty much anything. But he does give Jon some insight into his conflict with Daenerys, encouraging him to bend the knee.
Gendry whines to Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion about that time they sold him to Melissandre, but a few insults from the Hound and a sip of Thoros’ secret stash mend those wounds.
Jon and Ser Jorah Mormont talk about their dads. Jon recounts taking vengeance on the Night’s Watch mutineers who killed Jeor Mormont, while Jorah reminds Jon that Ned Stark wanted him killed. Jon attempts to give Jorah Longclaw, saying it’s been in the Mormont family for generations, but Jorah won’t accept it. He says he doesn’t deserve it and implores Jon to give it to his own kids one day.
The scene is an effective reminder of all of the different stories that have already occurred in the previous seasons and how closely connected everyone is.
Family Feud: Winterfell Edition
Back in Winterfell, Arya Stark confronts Sansa about the letter she wrote in season one, unwilling to entertain her excuses. Arya’s angry as she remembers seeing Sansa standing with the Lannisters when their father was executed.
Sansa tells her she “should be on her knees thanking me” for securing Winterfell after Ramsey Bolton’s forces took it over, telling her younger sister she never would have survived the events she suffered.
Arya knows Jon wouldn’t get mad at Sansa, though she does threaten to show the other Northern lords and ruin Sansa’s standing with them.
“What would little Lyanna Mormont say? She’s younger than you were when you wrote this. Are you going to say ‘But I was just a child’?”
Tormund and the Hound: Worthy of a Spinoff
North of the Wall, Tormund and the Hound have a wonderful, insulting exchange that eventually leads them to talk about Brienne of Tarth.
Beric tells Jon he doesn’t look like Ned Stark, recounting how the deceased Warden of the North sent him out to hunt the Mountain as we saw in season one. That moment drove him into membership in the Brotherhood without Brothers.
They talk about the Lord of Light and why he would resurrect them — Jon is skeptical, but Beric kind of sways him with the speech we heard in the trailer for this week’s episode. “Death is the enemy.”
The Hound points out the arrow-shaped mountain in the distance, the one he saw in his vision. Finally, they have arrived.
Dragon versus Lion
In Dragonstone, Daenerys and Tyrion discuss all of the people in love with her and their penchant to do dumb things while attempting to be heroic. Tyrion claims Jon loves her, causing her to scoff and call him “too little.” To Tyrion’s face, too. Ouch.
Their conversation gets hostile when they discuss Cersei and the plan to meet her at King’s Landing. They plan to bring some of Daenerys’ army and all three of her dragons in order to keep the Lannister forces at bay, but when it comes to “laying traps” Tyrion reminds her of when she first told him that she wanted to break the wheel.
Tyrion tells her using fear is not the best way to rule, that it makes power brittle because all of the people want to see their leaders fall. Dany replies that Aegon Targaryen ruled with fear and Tyrion reminds her that Aegon built that wheel she wants to break.
Tyrion warns her not to lose her temper in the meeting, leading them to discuss the necessity of burning the Tarlys alive. The Hand reiterates that he wants Daenerys to win the war, but they need to make sure the wheel stays broken long after her rule ends.
Daenerys doesn’t want to talk about her potential successor because she cannot have children after the magic abortion the Dothraki witch gave her, but Tyrion feels its a necessary discussion if she’s going to continue riding dragons into battle and risk her life.
“We will discuss the succession after I wear the crown,” she says before storming off.
The Revenant/Game of Thrones Crossover
North of the Wall, the snow has picked up and the group cannot see very well in the distance.
A dead, zombified bear charges through the flurry and attacks them, killing two of the redshirt Wildings.
Thoros and Baric ignite their swords and set the bear on fire, causing the Hound to freeze up. When the bear starts charging him, Thoros shoves the Hound aside and takes the blow instead.
The bear bites into Thoros’ shoulder before Jorah stabs it in the brain, finally killing it.
Baric uses his flaming sword to seal Thoros’ wound, but the damage has been done. He doesn’t want to go back to Eastwatch and continues with the group as they follow the bear’s tracks in hopes of finding the wights and White Walkers.
Littlefinger Gon’ Littlefinger
Sansa meets with Littlefinger in her chambers, wondering how Arya found that letter. Littlefinger, being Littlefinger, tells her “I don’t know.”
Sansa worries the lords will return home with their armies if they find out, looking for a good excuse to abandon the fight in the midst of the worst winter any of them have ever seen.
She thinks they’re loyal to Jon, but Littlefinger talks her up and says they prefer her to Jon at the moment. The Lady of Winterfell knows this, pointing out how their loyalty wavers like weather vanes.
Littlefinger tells her that Arya would never betray her family but Sansa thinks she would if Arya thought they were betraying Jon, adding that she doesn’t know her little sister anymore.
Littlefinger suggests going to Brienne, knowing that she’s sworn to protect both of the Stark girls. It seems like Littlefinger’s machinations are starting to have an effect on Sansa, who seemed so impervious to his plans until now.
It’s About To Go Down
Jorah and Thoros talk about a time they invaded Pyke during House Greyjoy’s failed rebellion, and Jorah calls him “the bravest man he ever saw.” Thoros corrects him; “Just the drunkest.”
They discover a small group of wights lead by a single White Walker marching through a canyon below them, deciding this is their best chance to capture one.
The White Walker notices an abandoned campfire and in a moment of confusion, Jon Snow leads an attack.
Jon takes out the Walker with his Valyrian steel, causing all but one of the wights to crumble to dust.
The group captures the wight, but he shrieks out and gets the attention of the larger army which starts to chase the group. Jon commands Gendry to run ahead to Eastwatch to send a raven for Daenerys.
As Gendry takes off, the group secures the wight and attempts to follow with the Hound carrying Thoros on his shoulder, but the Night King’s army descends upon them.
Chased into the middle of a frozen lake, one of the Wildling redshirts falls behind and gets tackled onto the ice. This causes a massive break, stranding the group in the center of the lake with the ice cold water separating them from the massive forces of the undead that surrounds them on all sides.
Night falls and Gendry barely makes it to Eastwatch before collapsing. See Davos takes him in and sends the raven to Dragonstone.
Where’s Your Lord of Light Now?
The morning comes but the break in the lake still hasn’t frozen over, keeping the wights at bay.
Thoros succumbs to his would, and the group burns his body before he can turn into one of the wights and attack them.
Jorah Jon, and Baric talk about how the wights fell when the White Walker was killed. Jon theorizes that killing a Walker destroys all of the wights that Walker turned.
Baric points out the Night King, who watches them from afar and says they can end the war if they kill him — all of his forces would be destroyed too. The Hound cautions Baric’s tenacity, reminding him with Thoros dead that he’s on his last life.
The Night King and his lieutenants watch from atop their dead horses, each of them clutching spears made of ice.
Sansa and Daenerys, Independent Women
Sansa receives a raven from Cersei inviting her to King’s Landing for the meeting with Daenerys.
Sansa believes it’s a trap, so she sends Brienne of Tarth in her stead knowing that Jaime Lannister won’t harm her.
But Brienne doesn’t want to leave her alone with Littlefinger, thinking it’s unsafe, but Sansa implores her that she doesn’t need to be protected now that she is the Lady of Winterfell in her own home.
She basically ignores Littlefinger’s advice, meaning Sansa might have her own plans for her little sister.
In Dragonstone, Daenerys is wearing her finest winter coat and she mounts Drogon. She’s going to rescue Jon and the group herself.
Tyrion pleads with her to stay behind and do nothing, not wanting her to risk her lives because they risked theirs and failed.
“You told me to do nothing before and I listened to you,” Dany says. “I’m not going to do nothing again.”
She takes off for the Wall riding Drogon, leading Viserion and Rhaegal behind her.
The lake freezes over, giving the wights an opportunity to attack the stranded group. They approach in waves so not to break the ice again.
Jon and his companions are quickly overwhelmed, so they begin to retreat to a high point in the lake all while dragging the restrained wight they need as proof.
Tormund nearly falls through the ice and gets overwhelmed by the dead as they try to drag him into the lake.
It appears to be the end for the crimson-haired Wildling as wights begin to cover him…
Not Today, Night King
But the Hound comes to his rescue, killing the wights with a hatchet and dragging Tormund to safety.
Jon Snow and the group are surrounded and nearly overtaken when the last Wildling redshirt falls into a group of the dead, meeting a grisly end.
Jon seems resigned to die, but he’s not going to accept defeat without a fight. Just as the wights are about to climb up to their position and surround the group, a burst of light appears behind him.
The King in the North ducks out of the way right as a blaze of dragon fire takes out the approaching wights.
Daenerys has arrived with her children and now she’s seen the true threat facing Westeros.
Drogon lands on a stable patch in the ice and the group minus Jon mount the dragon to escape.
Viserion and Rhaegal remain in the sky, burning the wights up. They take out many in the army of the dead, showing how much damage a few dragons can do in a battle.
Jon stays behind to buy the group some time, but the appearance of the dragons makes the Night King decide to get in on the action.
He hops off his horse and retrieves one of the ice spears.
More wights approach Drogon, but Jon takes them out one by one.
Viserion flies over head, and the Night King takes aim…
Good Night, Sweet Prince
The leader of the White Walkers throws his spear, hitting Viserion in the neck in an explosion of fire. The dragon crashes into the ice and dies before sinking to the bottom of the lake.
Jon beckons the group to leave after a tense standoff with the Night King, but Daenerys is in shock having witnessed one of her children die.
Unfortunately, Jon gets tackled into the ice water, forcing Daenerys to leave him behind. Drogon barely dodges another one of the Night King’s spears, but the group escapes with the wight they need to convince Cersei of the fight in the North.
And just when it seems that Jon Snow will die a second time, he climbs out of the lake… only to be surrounded by the Night King’s army.
A Stark Reunion
Again, Jon prepares for the cold embrace of death as wights begin to charge toward him, but a figure riding atop a horse comes to his rescue.
It’s Benjen Stark! He helps Jon onto his horse and sends him to Eastwatch, staying behind to take on the army while his nephew rides to safety. But Jon watches as Benjen becomes overwhelmed by the dead, yet at least he lives to fight another day.
In Eastwatch, the Hound tosses the wight into a boat and begins to sail for King’s Landing. He says goodbye to Tormund and Baric, who stay behind at the Night’s Watch stronghold on the Wall.
Daenerys stays at the Wall, waiting for something… anything. She just watched Viserion die and now Jon could be gone too. And just when she’s about to leave, a horn sounds beckoning Jon Snow’s return.
They take Jon to her boat and dress his wounds, but he remains unconscious.
When Did Arya Become Such a Creep?
Back in Winterfell, Sansa sneaks into Arya’s room and snoops around. She finds the different faces in Arya’s bag, including Walder Frey’s.
Arya catches her and tells Sansa of her training to be a Faceless Man. She wants Sansa to play the training game, “try to make a lie sound like the truth. If you fool me, you win. If I catch you, you lose.” But Sansa refuses, demanding to know what the faces are for.
Arya frightens Sansa when she tells her of her power with the faces and how she can become anyone she wants. She even threatens to become Sansa, holding the dagger Bran gifted her.
But instead, she gives it to Sansa and leaves the room, leaving Sansa to wonder what the hell is wrong with her little sister.
Thank You, Aunt Dany
Jon wakes up on Daenerys’ boat to find the Mother of Dragons in mourning at his side. He apologizes and grabs her hand.
But Daenerys doesn’t regret what happened, because now she knows the true threat of the Night King. She pledges to destroy the army of the dead together with Jon.
In turn, Jon pledges his allegiance to her and says he would bend the knee, if he weren’t stuck in a bed and healing from his wounds. He’s not worried about his followers in the North, saying “they’ll come to see you for what you are.”
“I hope I deserve it,” she says, holding Jon’s hand.
“You do,” he replies.
She then leaves him to rest and heal.
Ice and Fire
North of the Wall, on the cracked ice lake, the wights are in formation of four long lines, hauling massive chains.
They pull away from a hole in the lake, and finally pull the dead body of Viserion out of the water.
The Night King approaches and places his hand on the dragon’s head.
The episode ends with Viserion’s eyes opening, his eyes now ice blue.
The Night King’s army just got a whole lot deadlier.