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Game Of Thrones Recap: Season 7 Finale - The Dragon And The Wolf

Contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7, episode 7

At 79 minutes, 43 seconds, the Game of Thrones season 7 finale clocks in as the longest in the show's history. In this episode, Jon and Dany put on a demonstration for Cersei with The Hound's help, but Cersei is reluctant to join their cause. Tyrion and Cersei have a chat that ends on a surprisingly positive note, and Jaime and Cersei later have their own chat—one that does not end well. The drama in Winterfell between Sansa and Arya finally reaches a conclusion, while Sam and Bran make a startling discovery about Jon. Daenerys and Jon share another intimate moment on a boat, and the Night King makes his move. Our final season 7 recap reveals all that you missed in "The Dragon and the Wolf."

What happened last time
In the sixth episode of the season, the expedition made its way beyond the Wall. Jon (Kit Harington) and Jorah (Iain Glen) had a heart-to-heart chat, while The Hound (Rory McCann) and Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) bonded while gossiping about Brienne (Gwendolyn Christie). Thoros (Paul Kaye) got eaten by an undead bear, the gang caught a wight, and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) ran the Eastwatch marathon in record time. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) had a spat, and Dany flew off in a huff. Jon and the others got trapped by the undead army, and Beric (Richard Dormer) tried to convince Jon to attack the Night King. Arya (Maisie Williams) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) had a contest to see who could creep out Sansa (Sophie Turner) more, and it looked like Arya was winning. Daenerys arrived to save Jon, but things didn't go according to plan—Jon was left behind and the Night King killed one of the dragons. Thanks to Benjen (Joseph Mawle), Jon managed to escape and make it back to Eastwatch, where Dany admired his scars, and Jon told her how sorry he was for getting one of her children killed. Meanwhile, the Night King traded his horse for a dragon mount when he raised Viserion from the dead.

King's Landing
In the massive scene we've been waiting for all season long, more than a dozen major characters come together for a parlay at the Dragonpit in King's Landing. The group includes Jon, Davos (Liam Cunningham), Brienne, Podrick (Daniel Portman), The Hound, Daenerys, Varys (Conleth Hill), Jorah, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Qhono (Staz Nair), Tyrion, Theon (Alfie Allen), Cersei (Lena Headey), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Qyburn (Anton Lesser), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), and The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). Daenerys' Unsullied and Dothraki forces array themselves outside the city in a display which impresses Jaime and Bronn. Jon and the rest of Dany's allies arrive by boat, and are greeted by Bronn.

We get a few reunions before the action begins. Brienne and Pod are already in the city, and she and The Hound have a brief conversation about Arya. The Hound asks her why she isn't off protecting Arya, and Brienne tells him, "The only person needing protecting is the one who gets in her way," which earns her a rare smile from Clegane. Podrick and Tyrion also have a happy reunion outside of the Dragonpit, and Pod tells Tyrion that he will always be his Lord. Finally, The Hound has a brief stare-down with his brother The Mountain, which will no doubt cause "Cleganebowl" hype levels to rise even higher after Sandor tells Gregor, "You know who's coming for you—you've always known."

Eventually, all of the major players have gathered inside of the Dragonpit, except for Daenerys. She makes a grand entrance atop of Drogon, with Rhaegal in tow. While it's an impressive display, it doesn't escape Cersei's notice that Dany only has two dragons with her. Tyrion starts things off by explaining the purpose of the meeting, but Euron acts like a class clown, making dwarf jokes and goading Theon. After Cersei tells Euron to sit down and shut up, Jon takes over, telling a skeptical Cersei and her retinue about the Night King and his Army of the Dead.

Naturally, Cersei doesn't believe him, and so The Hound opens the crate which has been holding their captive wight. It makes a beeline for Cersei (who looks terrified) but Sandor has it on a chain, which stops it just before it can attack her. The Hound demonstrates how they don't die like other creatures; he chops off limbs that continue to twitch, and even cuts the wight in half, which still doesn't stop it. Jon explains that only a few things can stop a wight, including fire (he sets the wight's dismembered arm alight and it screams), or dragonglass (he stabs the wight with a dragonglass dagger and it finally dies). Jon then gives the impassioned speech, telling Cersei, "There is only one war that matters. The Great War, and it is here." All the peoples of Westeros must unite if they are to survive.

Euron (Pilou Asbæk) interjects to ask Jon if the wights can swim, and when he learns they can't, he says, "Good. I'm going back to the Iron Islands," and scurries out of the meeting. Cersei recognizes the danger posed by the Night King and agrees to a truce—but only if she remains Queen. Cersei asks Jon to stand his armies down against her, and seems to imply that he might remain King in the North if he does. Jon tells her that the only queen he will recognize is Queen Daenerys Targaryen, and that he's already pledged to her. This surprises everyone, and probably wasn't the smartest move, as it really ticks off Cersei. Cersei immediately leaves, and the tenuous alliance seems to be in peril. Brienne pleads with Jaime to convince Cersei to change her mind. Jaime tells her that he admires her loyalty to the Starks, but Brienne replies, "F**k loyalty!" This is a matter of survival.

The Red Keep
After Cersei leaves the meeting in a huff, Tyrion (escorted by The Mountain) heads up to the Red Keep to speak with her privately. Cersei clearly still despises her little brother, telling him how she blames him for every ill that has befallen their family. He challenges her to just have The Mountain kill him, then—but Cersei ultimately decides to hear him out. Tyrion tries again to convince her to join their cause against the undead, even if she won't agree to kneel to Daenerys. Ever the observant one, Tyrion correctly surmises that Cersei is pregnant. Cersei agrees to send a force north to combat the threat, and she and Tyrion go back to the Dragonpit to inform the others of her decision.

Sansa and Littlefinger discuss Jon, and what has transpired at King's Landing. Sansa is upset that Jon has bent the knee to Daenerys, and Littlefinger points out that perhaps Jon is interested in marrying Dany. He also tries to plant a dangerous seed in Sansa's mind, telling her, "He was named the King in the North; he can be unnamed." Sansa tells him that Arya would never go along with such a thing, telling Littlefinger that she's a killer now. Littlefinger gives Sansa a piece of advice—start with the worst assumption you can make about someone, and see if it fits their actions. Sansa thinks on this, then tells Littlefinger that Arya is there to kill her, to prove to the northern lords that Sansa betrayed House Stark, and then take her place as Lady of Winterfell.  

In the Chamber of the Painted Table at Dragonstone, Daenerys meets with Jon and her other advisors to discuss tactics for the war against the Night King. They agree that the Dothraki will take the Kingsroad north, while Jon and Dany will sail with the Unsullied to White Harbor and then travel on together to Winterfell.

Later, Jon and Theon have a slightly friendlier meeting than their beachside chat in episode 4. Theon asks Jon for his advice, and while he can't absolve Theon of his crimes, Jon does forgive him for what he's done. "You're a Greyjoy and a Stark," Jon tells him.

Earlier at the Dragonpit, Euron goaded Theon about Yara (Gemma Whelan), daring him to come and get her. Theon tries to tell the remaining Ironborn they should go save Yara, but Harrag (Brendan Cowell) says they should go find some island to hide on. He and Theon get into a fist fight, and Theon takes quite a beating at the Ironborn captain's hands—until Harrag tries to kick Theon between the legs. Being castrated by Ramsay has finally paid off for Theon in some small way, as he's able to use this opportunity to get the upper hand and win the fight. Having regained the respect of his men, Theon and the Ironborn set out to rescue Yara.

In the Great Hall, Sansa gathers all the Lords of the North and Vale, along with Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), Littlefinger, and Arya. She calls Arya forward before her, and for several nervous moments it looks like Littlefinger's plan to divide the Stark sisters may have succeeded. Littlefinger watches from his accustomed place along the wall, looking like the cat that got the cream. "You are accused of murder and treason," Sansa says. "How do you answer these charges...Lord Baelish?"  

All eyes turn to Littlefinger, and his smirk quickly vanishes when he realizes his peril. Sansa begins to list all of his crimes: the murder of Lysa Arryn, the conspiracy to kill Jon Arryn, setting House Stark against Lannister with his lies, and his betrayal of Ned Stark. At this point, Bran chimes in, reminding Littlefinger that he held a knife to Ned's throat and told him, 'I warned you not to trust me.'" At this point, Baelish sees that the writing is on the wall, and unsuccessfully appeals to Lord Royce (Rupert Vansittart) for help. Sansa interjects, telling the assembled lords how Littlefinger sold her to the Boltons. "You told me, 'There's no justice in the world unless we make it,'" Sansa reminds Baelish. Arya steps up in front of Littlefinger, the Valyrian steel dagger in her hand. "Thank you for all your many lessons, Lord Baelish. I will not forget them," Sansa says. In one swift motion, Arya draws the dagger across his throat. He collapses to the ground, blood pouring from the wound as he dies.

King's Landing
If you thought Cersei's agreement to send the Lannister army north seemed suspicious, then congratulations, you win a gold star. Jaime speaks with Cersei, thinking that they'll be discussing their strategy against the the undead army. He soon learns that the whole meeting was nothing but a double-cross. Euron hasn't run off to go hide on Pyke—he's crossing the Narrow Sea to go pick up the Golden Company. With her new line of credit from the Iron Bank, Cersei has hired 20,000 of the sellswords to come and fight for her. She won't be sending the Lannister army north at all, in hopes that the Night King will thin out the forces of Daenerys and Jon.

Jaime is completely disgusted with her, and tells her he'll have no part of this deception. He recognizes the threat the Night King poses to all of Westeros, and her plan is not just reprehensible, it also risks the lives of all the people who expect her protection. The twins' argument escalates, and Jaime decides to leave. Cersei angrily tells him "No one walks away from me," and The Mountain (who is standing nearby) draws his sword. Jaime calls her bluff, however, and storms past them both.

When we see Jaime again, he is alone and riding north outside of King's Landing. No longer dressed in his lacquered Lannister plate, instead, Jaime is wearing the anonymous boiled leather armor of a sellsword. He stops his horse to pull a glove on over his famous golden hand, and sees a snowflake land on the black fabric. Winter has arrived in King's Landing. He turns north on the Kingsroad and rides away.

Winterfell/on a boat
Sam (John Bradley-West) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) have made it to Winterfell, and Sam goes to visit Bran. Together, they piece together Jon's true origins. Bran reveals that Jon is not Ned Stark's bastard, but the bastard son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Sam corrects him (apparently he was listening to Gilly) telling Bran that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia annulled, and that Rhaegar and Lyanna married in a secret ceremony. Sam suggests that Bran use his powers to see the truth for himself, and so Bran slides into his green dream.

In his first vision, we see a flashback scene of Rhaegar (Wilf Scolding) and Lyanna (Aisling Franciosi‎) getting married in a forest clearing before Septon Maynard. The pair appear to love each other very much, and they recite their vows in a ceremony similar to Robb and Talisa's wedding. Throughout Bran's flashbacks, we cut away several times from his visions to Daenerys' ship, which is sailing north from Dragonstone to White Harbor.

Jon goes to Dany's cabin on the boat, and the romantic tension that's been building between them all season finally breaks. As Rhaegar and Lyanna embrace in the flashback, Dany lets Jon into her cabin and shuts the door behind him. Bran's vision shifts to a replay of the Tower of Joy scene from season six. This time (as Jon and Dany begin to make love on the boat), Bran (and the audience) are able to hear the words that Lyanna whispers to Ned: "His name is Aegon Targaryen." This changes everything of course, as this makes Jon a trueborn son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. What's more, it means he is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, not his aunt Daenerys.

Later, Sansa and Arya stand together on the walls of Winterfell, looking out at the snowy landscape. Sansa seems a bit shaken up, and Arya asks if she's okay with what they just did to Littlefinger. Sansa is, but she tells Arya that "in his own horrible way, I think he loved me."  The sisters reconcile, Arya telling Sansa that she's glad Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell, and not her. It's clear that whatever rift Littlefinger managed to open between them is now healed.

The Wall
Bran sits in the Godswood at Winterfell and sends a flight of ravens winging north. Through his eyes, we see what is transpiring at Eastwatch. Tormund and Beric watch with trepidation as the dark and swirling storm heralding the Night King's army approaches the Wall. To their shock and horror, the Night King himself emerges, riding upon Viserion's back. He uses the dragon to make a few strafing passes at the Wall, and the blue flames send Tormund and Beric running for their lives. The Wall starts to melt and crumble as the Night King focuses his attack on one spot, and we finally see a huge section of the Wall tumble to the ground. The last shot of the finale shows the Night King flying through the breach, his army close behind.

Final thoughts
Wow, what an episode! The action in the Dragonpit was awesome, especially Jon's speech and kneeling to Daenerys, which was unexpected and touching. It was also very gratifying to see Cersei's reaction to the wight trying to attack her, especially after The Hound cut it in half. The title of the episode, "The Dragon and the Wolf," echoes the season 1 episode "The Wolf and the Lion," which offers a number of interesting parallels. For example, that episode was the last time we saw The Hound and The Mountain on screen together, when Sandor stopped his brother from killing Loras Tyrell.

Additionally, Cersei and Robert Baratheon had a conversation in that episode, one in which Robert told her how "one army, a real army, united behind one leader with one purpose" would always be more effective than a cobbled-together army of multiple factions would be. It seems Cersei has forgotten this advice, and with Jon bending the knee to Daenerys, Dany now effectively has the "one army behind one leader" that Robert spoke of. They are united in their purpose to defeat the Night King, and if they manage to survive, they will undoubtedly prove a hard nut for Cersei to crack.

Cersei's betrayal of the Targaryen-Northern alliance was not surprising, and neither was Jaime's reaction to it. He has come such a long way since season 1, and this scene also echoes a similar one from "The Wolf and the Lion." In that episode, Jaime crosses swords with Ned Stark after hearing of Tyrion's arrest by Catelyn, and when one of his guards spears Ned in the thigh, Jaime knocks the soldier out for the dishonorable move.

Even as despicable and shallow as Jaime was back then, he still had a sense of honor. He has exponentially grown as a character since then, and the rest of Robert's speech to Cersei was practically written on Jaime's face when he learned of her plan: "How long do the people of the Seven Kingdoms stand behind their absentee king, their cowardly king hiding behind high walls?" Since Jaime is taking the Kingsroad north (as did Brienne and Podrick) we can hopefully look forward to another reunion between him and Brienne along the road in season 8.

In Winterfell, we finally saw the Stark sisters (with some help from Bran) take control and play Littlefinger for a fool, revealing all of his misdeeds in front of the Northern lords before finally killing him. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Sam and Bran's reveal of Jon's true heritage was awesome, and the way the showrunners interweaved the flashback scenes with Daenerys and Jon's love scene on the boat was great. We just hope that wasn't jealousy on Tyrion's face, or there could be trouble on the horizon. Also, Daenerys mentioned not being able to have children again this episode, so you just know she's going to end up pregnant somehow.

Finally, the Night King riding on Viserion was all that we had hoped for and more. The blue flames were epic, and the fact that he was able to take down a gigantic section of the Wall within a few minutes is terrifying. We imagine the battle between the living and the dead will happen a lot closer to Winterfell than we'd like. It seems that all the major pieces of the puzzle are heading there now. And now our watch begins. It's going to be a long and lonely 18 months before the final season premieres.