The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones arrived and delivered a serious game changer in the fight between living and dead.

GAME OF THRONES RECAP

The episode started up briefly at Dragonstone, but only to show Dany’s table map, which the camera stops ominously on the Wall, gearing us up for an episode that takes place almost entirely up North. We head to Winterfell next, which looks cold and gray. Arya joins Sansa on the courtyard balcony and tells a cute story about teaching herself to shoot and arrow when she thought no one was looking, only to her father clap for her when she hit the bullseye. The cute story quickly turned dark when she reveals that she read Sansa’s letter to Robb, telling him that their father had betrayed the Lannisters.

The sisters squabble over the past and what Sansa perhaps “should have” done, but of course there is no point to this. Both women just end up more angry, and Arya threatens to undermine her sister’s power by revealing the misstep to the people of North. “You should be on your knees thanking me,” Sansa shoots back. “We’re standing in Winterfell again because of me… I suffered things you can never imagine. You never would have survived what I survived.. Do you know how happy Cersei would be if she saw us fighting?” She has a point, but Arya will have none of it.

Sansa meets with Littlefinger to discuss the issue, and he of course plays dumb, despite setting all of this up. He even puts the idea in Sansa’s mind that Arya might threaten her life. It appears Littlefinger is pitting the Stark girls against each other and putting all his bets on Sansa for the Iron Throne.

Later, Sansa receives a letter requesting her attendance at a summit with the Lannisters at the Red Keep. Her response is essentially, ‘No way.’ She sends Brienne in her stead, much to her upset, because she is afraid of leaving her alone with Littlefinger. But Sansa dismisses her and sends her on her way anyway.

One more scene at Winterfell happens before we are transported North of the Wall. Sansa sneaks into Arya’s room, supposedly to find the scroll, but stumbles across her suitcase instead, where Arya keeps her many faces. But no one can possible sneak up on Arya (except maybe Littlefinger), and she shows up right behind Sansa. She threatens her sister again, refusing to tell her what the faces are. Arya simply says how easy it would be to rule if only she had her sister’s face, while walking menacingly close and clutching a dagger. In the end, she just freaks Sansa out, but hands her the dagger. “The world just doesn’t let girls decide what they’re going to be,” she says.

And finally we’re at the Wall. Jon Snow and his ragtag group of misfits in Tormund, Beric, the Hound, Jorah, Gendry, and some other Lord of Light worshippers travel through the freezing North, talking about women and how cold their balls are. Jon tries to give Jorah his sword, Longclaw, which belonged to Jorah’s father (former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch), but Jorah refuses. He says he dishonored his family by leaving, and that Jon deserves the sword. Meanwhile Tormund tells the Hound how he wants to make “great big monster” babies with Brienne, and then gives Jon grief about refusing to bend the knee to Daenerys.

The fun is put to a standstill when an undead polar bear comes out of nowhere and attacks the gang. Beric and his buddies’ swords set fire and together they all fight the bear. They kill it with fire and swords, but not before it mars one of Beric’s underlings, Thoros. He doesn’t die at the time, but he will before the episode’s end.

They continue on their hunt for a wight, and come across a horde of them, along with one White Walker. As they all engage in battle, Jon kills the White Walker, and suddenly the rest of the dead disintegrate all at once. Good to know.

All except one, that is, who tries to fight, but the boys decide this is the wight they will take back to Cersei. They knock him out and capture him, tying him up so he can’t fight or get away. As they scuffle with the wight, it lets out an ear-splitting shriek, and Jon knows more trouble is coming. He orders Gendry to run back to Castle Black and send a raven to Dragonstone to request Dany’s help. He runs and runs, and as the rest of the men are encircled by wights, we see Gendry just barely make it to the Wall, where Ser Davos immediately requests a raven.

We’re taken back to Dragonstone quikcly to see a conversation between Khaleesi and Tyrion, who has been altogether failing at being her hand this season. Tyrion suggests that Jon Snow is in love with Dany, and she coyly rejects the idea. “He’s too little for me,” she says in response, clearly to the wrong person. The conversation goes downhill from there, with Tyrion asking who would be her successor if she were to die, and Dany again mentions that her dragons are her only babies.

Once Khaleesi receives the frantic raven from Gendry, she hops on her dragon immediately. Tyrion begs her not to go, but she tells him that the last time he suggested she do nothing, bad things happened, and informs him that she will not do nothing again.

Back North of the Wall, Jon and his team have run from a group of thousands of wights only to find themselves on a frozen lake. They commit to running across it, and make their way to a large rock formation in the middle. The wights try chasing them, but they break the ice and many fall into the water. So they stop, and the groups are at a standstill, with Jon on the rock, and the wights completely surrounding them. In the distance, the Night King and some of his underlings watch.

While Thoros dies and they mourn, and Beric suggests they all attack the Night King, the Hound decides he has to do something because he’s bored. So he throws a stone at the wights, and breaks off one of their jaws. Finally having a way to entertain himself, he throws another, larger rock. But his throw is short, and hits the ice, only to skid toward the wights. Without breaking the ice. The wights see this, and one by one march toward the group on the rock. Then they start running, which brings us to the end scene of the episode.

The boys fight off the wights as they come, and Jon seems defeated when he realizes there is no way they can defeat all of them. Tormund almost gets pulled into the icy water but the Hound saves him at the last moment. And finally, Dany comes to the rescue with her three dragons. They are breathing fire and burning up tons of wights. She lands and the men all climb aboard. All except Jon, who can’t just stop and run. He keeps fighting the few wights that continue to come at him.

While we’re waiting for Jon to Get. On. The damn. Dragon., we see the Night King slowly but surely grab a huge icy spear. He aims and throws, hitting one of the flying dragons in the side. Viserion screams and goes down, spewing blood seemingly by the gallon. Dany and the men watch in horror as the dragon hits the ice and slinks into the icy water.

This is Jon’s wake up call to get to the dragon, but it happens moments too late. He is overtaken by wights. He fights but they are dragging him down, and he shouts at Dany to just go. She is hesitant but sees the Night King readying another ice spear, so she kicks off. The spear just misses Drogon as they fly away. And then we see Jon pulled into the icy depths of the lake, and the wights walk away. But then Jon somehow climbs out of the water alive. Which is great for him, until the wights take notice and descend upon him again.

Before they reach him though, good old Uncle Benjen shows up in his half-dead-half-alive state and offers Jon his horse. He rides off toward Castle Black while Benjen fights off walkers with a fiery weapon.

Jon ends up back at Eastwatch and then on Dany’s boat, where he wakes up with Khaleesi sitting at his bedside. He sincerely apologizes for the loss of her dragon. Dany, again, mentions that her dragons are her children, and vows to help Jon destroy the Night King. As a response, Jon calls Dany “my Queen,” and says he would bend the knee if he were not stuck in a bed. “I hope I deserve it,” she responds in a rare moment of vulnerability.

The episode ends where most probably guessed – back at the Northern battle site, the wights manage to lift Viserion’s body out of the icy lake. The Night King walks up to the dragon and touches it, after which the Dragon awakes with blue eyes. So now the White Walkers not only have a quick and easy way to kill a dragon, but also have added an undead dragon to their army. We’ll just have to wait and see if it spits fire or ice.

The season finale of Game of Thrones premieres next Sunday on HBO.

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