The Game of Thrones Death Watch is a weekly roundup of who died and who looks like they might be headed for death, written by me, a person who has not read the books and will go a long, long way to make a very stupid joke. This is what we’re doing here. This is not science. Please do not yell at me.
Season 7, Episode 6 – “Beyond the Wall”
Who Died This Week?
Viserion the Dragon
A few notes on this:
– Yes, I’m still mad at Dany for signing off on the Wight Heist plot instead of just flying Drogon out there, plucking a straggler out of the line, then flying back before the Night King even knew what happened. I mean, even then it’s a questionable idea because it requires Cersei to, like, listen to them and not double-cross them, which is asking an almost unreasonable amount from someone who hates listening and loves double-crossing. But if you’re dead set on doing it, at least do it right. Now she has an Ice Dragon to deal with and she has no one to blame but herself.
– A lot of people are rightfully pointing out that the Night King took aim at the flying unmanned dragon in the distance instead of the closer one that was sitting on the ground carrying humanity’s greatest hope for survival, which seems like maybe not the best choice in the moment. On the other hand, dude took out a dragon with a magic exploding ice javelin, from a few hundred yards out, without loosening up. There’s a lot of questions we can ask about the logic at play here, but all I really want is to get the Night King to a carnival Speed Pitch booth to get a radar gun on him, if only to see the face of the confused teen working the stand when a silent ice monster walks up and throws a baseball 225 mph.
– I hope we get one of those scenes where loved ones try to make an emotional plea to a brainwashed/zombie-type in the hopes of triggering something in their brain to turn them back to normal, but it’s just the two remaining dragons screeching at Viserion with subtitles on the screen translating the entire conversation.
Thoros, Benjen, a few extraneous Wildings, a bunch of extraneous wights and Walkers, whatever, who cares
All due respect to Thoros of Myr and Uncle Benjen Ex Machina, but come on. The show set up this suicide mission, stranded our heroes on a damn rock in the middle of a frozen lake, surrounded them with soulless dead/blue-eyed monsters, and… every human of importance escaped on a dragon. It felt like such a cheat. The show has spent seven seasons telling us anyone could die at any time, but whenever it looked like that might happen here, boom, miraculous save.
The most obvious maybe/shoulda here is Tormund. Please don’t confuse my point, I do not want Tormund to die. I love him. I want him and Brienne to have giant children and train them all to be warriors, like a cross between the movie 3 Ninjas and the parenting stylings of Lavar Ball. But this was teed up for him to die. A quick rundown:
- Opening dialogue that sounded like the small talk at the beginning of an of episode of Law & Order, moments before someone finds a dead body
- Talk of love and long-term plans while heading into a dangerous mission
- Dragged away by evil ice zombies
He was basically just a “This is my one last job” away from scoring a Gonna Die bingo. And that woulda been a decent death for Tormund. And then we could have had Ice Tormund. Still not ideal for me, personally, but if we had closed this season on Ice Tormund flying the Ice Dragon, I would have gone full-on Team Night King.
The flaming ice zombie bear
I have said this a few times in a few places since Sunday night, but I will keep repeating it until I run out of breath in my lungs: Zoo has been staging insane animals attacks for almost three full seasons (giant invisible snake in Peru, ooze-emitting octopus with razor claws on an airplane, etc.), but Game of Thrones has ONE flaming ice zombie bear and now it’s a whole “thing.”
Hurtful to me on a number of different but important levels.
Who Might Die?
So here’s the problem, and it’s one the show has kind of fallen backwards into: Someone has to die. Someone important. As I said in my discussion about my beloved Tormund, it’s not that I want someone to die. It’s just that in the world this show has created, death is really the only way to raise the stakes. We’ve seen surprise deaths (Ned Stark, the Red Wedding), long-awaited deaths (Joffrey, Ramsay), and… whatever we file “blowing up the damn Sept with magical green fire” under. So with all that in the show’s history, the lengths they’ve gone to in saving characters at the last second this season — Jaime, Bronn, Tormund, Jon, etc. — feels like a cop-out, even if it’s not.
(I think the people at the show might argue that they did literally just kill a dragon with a magical exploding ice javelin, which, fine, that does have to count for something, on some level, especially since the biggest threat on the show will now have a winged beast of mass destruction in his army. But it’s not the same as losing a human character who we’ve seen and heard and developed feelings about over the run of the show.)
The tricky part is, like, who? We’re close enough to the end game here that the important characters appear really important, so it’s going to be hard to kill them off. Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime, they all still have business to attend to. And without that evil big bad to give us an obvious answer, well, now what? I honestly don’t know. But I think someone might have to go just so this season feels like more than a kid moving the army men around on his floor to set up a big battle.
Which brings us to…
Sansa or Arya? Or Littlefinger?
Considering Jon and Dany and the fuzzy Avengers just survived a dangerous experience last week and are now headed to King’s Landing, it would be weird — not impossible, just weird — to kill off one of them now. Which leaves the gang at Winterfell. Which is tearing itself apart over a plot orchestrated by Littlefinger. And Arya has that bag of faces and gave Sansa a speech that was just a “We’re not so different, you and I” away from completing her transition into supervillain. So…
I guess if I had to rank these three by how likely their deaths are, I would go:
3. Arya. Has too much left to do. Still has that list. Is good at fighting. And Sansa just sent away Brienne, who is maybe the only person at Winterfell who would get even odds in a death match with our tiny teen assassin.
2. Sansa. I would be pretty steamed if Sansa dies now, at the hands of her sister, after everything she’s been through. Like, why do that? And I think between Littlefinger’s love for her — still creepy — and her support from the people around her, she’s probably fine? Who knows. It is possible, though. Either way, if one of the Stark sisters kills the other because of a freaking Littlefinger scheme, we riot.
1. Littlefinger. The closest we could come to that cathartic-y Ramsay/Joffrey death this season would probably be Arya and Sansa teaming up to kill Littlefinger after finding out about his plot. But I’ve thought he was a goner like 8-10 times over the run of this show. The man is like a greased weasel that also has a forcefield. On the other hand…
Yeah, he’s dead.
Holy crap a lot of people
It’s worth pointing out — again, repeatedly — that the Night King now has a dragon. We’ve seen what both his army and dragons are capable of. This will not end well for dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of innocent Westerosi townspeople. Ice dragons raining down fire or ice breath from the heavens. That’s coming at some point. Keep it filed away.