Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale: What Is Team Khaleesi Doing?

9.5
  • Drama
  • Fantasy
2011-04-17
Game of Thrones Season 7 Jon Snow
Jon Snow in Game of Thrones Season 7 HBO

Tonight, Game of Thrones barrels towards the finale of its first shortened season and so far, it feels like it  has been a rollercoaster. But not a classic rollercoaster that slowly cranks you up into the air, building expectation and excitement before you drop. Instead, it more closely resembles those metal coasters built in the late 90s when there wasn’t much room left in the amusement park. They violently whip you around, jerking you left and right with no respite. You can pretend to prefer it because it is more ‘action packed,’ but ultimately it is really was just more violent and far less memorable. We’ve had some stunning moments this season, but only time will tell if they remain as emotionally powerful as the great moments of earlier ones.

What has struck me the most in this shortened season is that plotlines I’m sure could make sense end up feeling foolish and idiotic given the lack of set-up and explanation. The show has set up three fan-favorite characters – Jon, Dany, Tyrion – on one side, yet it is hard to root for them when I actually just can’t connect with what they are doing and why. Let’s talk about the expedition beyond the wall:

In case you forgot, the entire failed expedition beyond the wall was intended to gather proof of the White Walkers in order to broker a ceasefire with Cersei. Dany fears that if she brings her armies north to fight the Others, she will leave Dragonstone undefended and would risk Cersei sending her forces up the neck and attacking Dany from the south.

I just want to unwind this thinking strategically. Here are how the scenarios could play out.

Stop Making Excuses and Take The Throne

So first of all, what has somewhat been covered is that the best thing for Dany to do is to take King’s Landing and knock Cersei out of the game. With that out of the way, the Mother of Dragons can then move North and deal with the White Walkers more efficiently. The White Walkers seem to march VERY slowly, taking multiple Seasons to get even close to the wall. With Dany’s much larger force and now two dragons, she should be able to knock the Lannisters out and then fight the dead. The show’s explanation for this is that too many innocents will die in King’s Landing. I don’t really buy it – a dragon could roast the Red Keep and Cersei would be like Harren the Black with minimal civilian casualties. I mean Cersei literally blew up the greatest Cathedral in Westeros and everyone seems to know and not care, so the idea that Dany has to worry about a public relations issue seems silly.

But fine, they don’t want to sack King’s Landing. Though it’s not like Cersei is moving out, so it’s unclear how they would ever lock it down without taking it by force…

Go North Without A Ceasefire

The Lannisters have been fighting a civil war for years now. In that time, they lost several battles, including the recent decimation of a good portion of what seems to be their last field army, not to mention tons of supplies. Even with the influx of half of the Greyjoys, it is hard to imagine they are fighting fit. Especially if they intent to hold The Reach.

The Targaryen alliance, however, is far stronger. The Unsullied have been allowed to march back across Westeros and between them and the Dothraki screamers, they could take on any field army the Lannisters could muster. That combined with two dragons and there is just no chance for the Lannisters to win a pitched battle. We’ve seen in the loot train battle how extra crispy one dragon can make a Lannister army in the field, so I’m not sure what the risk is here.

Let’s say that Dany moves north. She could stash five hundred Unsullied in Moat Cailin and hold the neck indefinitely from a Lannister force. The only threat then would be the teleporting Greyjoy fleet, but guess what? Dragons are great at sinking fleets as we saw in Slaver’s bay. So I just genuinely don’t understand the threat the Lannisters can pose, nor why Dany and Jon would go to such insane lengths just for the vague hope of brokering a deal.

For that matter, and I know this is not how the logic in the show works, but Dorne is relatively untouched and still ostensibly allied to Dany. Dorne doesn’t disappear because Ellaria gets taken out, they are an entire region of Westeros with a large army.

Cersei Will Break Any Deal

What is the point of making a deal with someone that you know for a fact puts no value into keeping their promises? Who has shown that they will do anything to win? Worth stating again that this is a person who blew up a major center of religion and hundreds of people, great and small, inside and nearly wiping out one of the seven great houses in the process. Why would anyone think  this is a person you can make deals with? The Tyrells had deals with Cersei and look how they turned out. Tyrion knows all of this, so why is he advising for this plan?

Cersei also has nothing left that matters to her except clinging onto power, it’s not like they could exchange hostages to ensure each side keeps the peace. To me unless there is some deeper reveal of another layer to the Targaryen plan, it feels like a lot of work for nothing. Maybe the purpose is simply to force a face to face meeting by what has emerges as the ‘good’ team and the ‘bad’ team? Either way, if we don’t think the plan has a point, it’s hard to root for it working out, and thus its hard to make an audience emotionally engaged when they’re just waiting for something to go wrong.

I don’t Understand The Rules Of The Wights

Okay, this is perhaps a side point, but what are the rules of the Wights? When they killed the White Walker in ‘Beyond the Wall,’ all of the Wights died except one. Why would that one be immune to the fate of his zombie-kin? Moreover, if I saw creatures magically die when the White Walker died, I’d be worried about the casting distance of that magic. Could you really fly the last one thousands of miles south and expect the White Walker magic to hold it together? Can White Walkers just shut down the magic flow to Wights leaving Jon with a very expensive bag of bones?

The strange inconsistencies with the Wights’ behavior feels like show writing short cuts, but it leaves me in a place where I just don’t understand why they think this will work. Or even if Cersei could be trusted to keep a deal, why a Wight would move her. She’s shown she is ready to burn the kingdom to the ground to keep power, so why not just say, “the White Walkers aren’t my problem, go weaken yourself fighting them.” In fact when Tywin was warned about the White Walkers in the books, he didn’t care. If it was true, big deal, all that would happen was the threat would destroy his northern enemies before it got to him. That sounds like a win. Hard to imagine Cersei is much different.

So all in all, I neither understand why the plan was ever necessary, nor how Cersei could ever agree to it, nor how even if she did agree to it she would adhere to it. This is not a great emotional place to have an audience in coming into the Game of Thrones penultimate season finale. But we will have to wait until tonight to see how it plays out.

Game of Thrones Season 7 finale airs tonight, Aug. 27. Will you be watching? Let us know in the comment section below.

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