Game of thrones season 7 finale recap: a song of ice and incest

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HBO

Major spoilers follow for Game of Thrones’ season seven finale, “The Dragon và the Wolf.”

trò chơi of Thrones concluded its abbreviated seventh season with a superkích thước episode featuring a whole lot of talking, as what seemed lượt thích half of the series’ cast held a very lengthy series of negotations.

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But with the over of “The Dragon & the Wolf,” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss capped off the season with a triple whammy of very big, long-in-the-making moments.

Daenerys Targaryen & Jon Snow finally decide to consummate their mutual attraction while on a boat sailing northward, confirming a long-anticipated thắm thiết pairing of two of the series’ main characters.

At the same time, hundreds of miles away, Bran Stark & Samwell Tarly finally piece together the mystery of Jon’s parentage và realize that that he’s not only a Targaryen but a legitimate Targaryen named “Aegon.” That is: He’s not a bastard, & he has a clayên ổn lớn the Iron Throne according lớn Westeros’s inheritance laws. Also, this makes Dany his aunt — which is something Jon probably would have sầu preferred lớn know before heading khổng lồ her cabin.

Such personal concerns then paled, though, in the face of the true game changer of the season’s final moments: The Night King’s dragon-powered attaông xã destroys part of the Wall, allowing the army of the dead khổng lồ finally pour into lớn the Seven Kingdoms.

This final image makes clear that Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will heavily focus on the war against the White Walkers. And yet there will clearly be more human scheming too, as Cersei Lannister has decided to lớn break her agreement with Jon and Dany, holding her army back from the North in hopes of maintaining her grip on the Iron Throne. So here’s a rundown of the biggest events from the finale.

Ice & fire came together (on a boat)…

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HBO Long before this season began, fans of both the TV series and George R.R. Martin’s books speculated that everything was building toward an eventual thắm thiết pairing of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.

The book series is titled A Song of Ice and Fire, after all. That title seemed to promise an eventual clash between fire-breathing dragons và the icy White Walkers, but it also apparently foreshadowed the union of Dany và Jon, the characters that best represent fire and ice.

And after several episodes of not-exactly-subtle cài đặt, it finally happened. Despite Jon’s previous protestations that there was “no time” for thắm thiết concerns, he eventually concluded that there wasn’t much else to vì on a long and boring boat trip to the North other than pay Dany a private visit. (Okay, he’s fallen in love with her.)

Could the ultimate ending of the series be Jon and Dany, married, as king & queen of Westeros? Or is that too pat và predictable a conclusion for Martin? There’s still one more season, after all, so perhaps their love will over tragically instead.

Plus, they’re about lớn learn one bit of information that could really complicate things.

…as we finally learned the full truth about Jon’s parentage

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HBO From season one, Jon Snow has been described to lớn both the characters and viewers of trò chơi of Thrones as Ned Stark’s bastard son. In truth, though, he’s neither a bastard nor Ned’s son.

When Bran huddles with Sam at Winterfell, he finally explicitly confirms what he saw in visions in the season six finale: that Jon is the son of Ned’s sister Lyanmãng cầu Stark.

In the series’ history, Lyanmãng cầu is a key figure in Robert’s Rebellion, the war that deposed the Targaryen dynasty & brought the Baratheons khổng lồ the throne. It was Lyanna’s supposed kidnapping by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen — Dany’s older brother — that infuriated the Starks & Baratheons & started the war in the first place.

Now, though, Bran learns through another vision that Rhaegar didn’t kidnap Lyanmãng cầu at all — rather, they were in love. What’s more, as Sam clarifies, they made that love official in a secret marriage ceremony. Then, they had a child together that Lyanmãng cầu named “Aegon,” và before she died from complications of childbirth, she handed off the child lớn Ned.

Because the Targaryens lost the war — Robert Baratheon killed Rhaegar on the battlefield and took the throne for himself — this child’s existence was tremendously dangerous, presenting a threat khổng lồ Robert’s rule. So Ned kept the baby’s identity a secret, renaming hyên ổn Jon và passing hlặng off as his own bastard son rather than his sister’s legitimately born & royal child.

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In some ways, this revelation will likely bring Jon & Dany closer together. For instance, the confirmation that Jon has Targaryen heritage seems khổng lồ set hyên up to ride Dany’s only remaining riderless rồng, Rhaegal. The books hint at some sort of magical connection between Targaryens and their dragons, and Rhaegal is named after Jon’s father Rhaegar, after all.

Yet it seems likely that the news will also introduce new tension between Jon & Dany.

For one, the revelation that their love affair is incestuous could be problematic. Though Targaryens have sầu a long tradition of incest — Jon’s ancestor & namesake Aegon married not one but two of his sisters — it’s still considered taboo in much of the rest of Westeros, and in the North. Jon could well react with disgust at what he’s done, à la Oedipus.

Second, the showrunners have sầu specifically chosen lớn emphaform size that Jon is not only a Targaryen but a legitimate Targaryen & the heir khổng lồ the Iron Throne. Indeed, according to Westeros’s succession laws, he has a better claim than Dany lớn the throne, since he’s the only surviving son of the last Targaryen king’s firstborn son.

Might Dany view Jon’s Targaryen heritage as a threat khổng lồ her own rule? They’re getting along wonderfully right now, so it doesn’t seem lượt thích that would be a problem, so long as they just marry và unite their claims. But it’s unclear why the series would emphasize this plot point so late, if it wasn’t going to lớn have sầu a major impact. (What if Jon doesn’t want to marry his aunt?)

And indeed, the showrunners confirm as much in this week’s “Inside the Episode” segment. “It complicates everything on a political cấp độ, on a personal level, and it just makes everything that could have been so neat & kind of perfect for Jon and Dany — it really muddies the waters,” says showrunner David Benioff.

The White Walkers finally make it into the Seven Kingdoms

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HBO But for now, Jon and Dany will have sầu bigger problems than their rival claims to lớn the throne — because at long last, the White Walkers have breached the Wall in a spectacular attaông chồng.

We finally got a glimpse at the full force of the army of the dead, as many White Walkers & a seemingly endless mass of wight foot soldiers amassed north of Eastwatch, but seemed halted by the Wall itself.

Then the Night King made a dramatic airborne entrance on the back of his weapon of mass destruction: the reanimated dragon Viserion, breathing xanh flame.

For many years, fans of the TV series & George R.R. Martin’s books have sầu theorized about how the Wall might eventually fall. (The books introduced the idea that a magic horn could bring it down.) But it turns out the answer has been right in front of us for years now: a wall of magically reinforced ice is rather naturally vulnerable to lớn an assault from magical Long fire.

So Tormund Giantsbane & the Night’s Watch can only look on in horror as the Night King causes a major stretch of the wall khổng lồ collapse and the army of the dead starts pouring through it — entering the North.

What’s next? Well, it’s notable that Jon, Dany, and their armies are still relatively far south — they’re sailing from King’s Landing lớn White Harbor, a port city on the southern border of the North, at season’s over.

Meanwhile, there’s a cluster of important characters — Sansa, Arya, Bran, Sam, và Gilly — currently at Winterfell, which is further north than White Harbor & a likely target for the next big White Walker attaông xã.

With this twist, trò chơi of Thrones would seem to be putting all its stoông chồng in the battle between humanity và the White Walkers. Except…

Cersei remains in the set as a final antagonist

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HBO If you’d asked me last year for my predictions for trò chơi of Thrones season 7, I’d have confidently wagered that we’d see Cersei Lannister at the very least thua trận her throne and probably get killed off entirely.

But no — against all odds, Cersei ends the season still in control of King’s Landing, & prepared lớn sabotage Jon & Dany’s attempts lớn unite all the Seven Kingdoms against the White Walkers (even though it loses her Jaime).

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In the dramatic meeting at the Dragonpit, Cersei commits to lớn Jon và Dany that she’ll send the Lannister army north to lớn help them battle the White Walkers. But she later reveals lớn Jaime that she was lying. Instead, she’ll keep her army down south by her side & further bulk up its forces by sending Euron Greyjoy east, where he’ll use the Iron Bank’s line of credit to lớn hire mercenaries. She’s happy khổng lồ let Jon and Dany’s forces get torn apart by the army of the dead — it’s the North, not King’s Landing, that they’ll hit first, after all.

So though Jon và Dany have sầu united, they’ll now have sầu lớn face threats to their north và south simultaneously. Combined with the complications Jon’s own heritage could present for his alliance with Dany, it’s an intriguing twist suggesting the end of the series may not be as straightforward as we might expect.