I’ve been watching Game of Thrones since season one, and last night’s episode included several payoffs years in the making. It had a G on the edge of the seat and that’s a rare thing. Let’s run through these in some particular order.
First, if you’ve been watching GOT from season one, then you understand how monumental it was when Arya Stark walked into Winterfell. As a writer and fan, I’ve enjoyed the dynamism of the Arya character. She’s become my favorite of the Stark kids. (Long crazy sentence alert) Saw her pop head chopped and went from princess of the north to urchin in the wind with nothing, surviving, learning, evolving, and now returning faster, better, stronger and thumping? Speaking of thumping, the sparring with Brienne of Tarth was a major payoff. The Water Dancing joint was wild cool. Lil theory I developed: Arrya getting herself ready to fight the mountain. She called out Brienne to spar because Brienne beat the hound. She’s learning to fight bigger stronger foes. Her lil fit was mad cool too. She’s got two named weapons made of Valerian Steel. She’s a problem.
I read an article about how this entire epic has been a prelude to a love story between Ice and Fire. This episode explored the developing relationship between Ice, John Snow and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen. John has discovered cave paintings that support his claim that White Walkers are real and ill intentioned. Daenerys turns to John for council, foreshadowing a deepening connection. Will that connection manifest itself as a marriage or just some extra tight alliance? Technically, if all the theories are correct, then she’s John’s aunt. (Things you say when discussing GOT). If they marry John ain’t got to bend the knee.
This episode was short, but it made up for it in dragon fire. Jamie Lannister is another of my favorite characters. He’s become a hell of a leader. He’s everything he was trained to be as the eldest son of a noble, and over the course of seasons we learn that he ain’t a whole douche. I say all that to say that I wasn’t rooting against Jamie when Daenerys and the Dothraki and a whole dragon came thundering over the ridge line. GOT had to cut that last eight minutes because they put the whole budget in that dragon. Seen dope dragons before (Ring of Fire, Hobbit Desolation of Smaug), but Drogon? It was impressive. This battle scene had protagonists on both sides. You find yourself rooting for Braun to survive as he sprints away from a Dothraki warrior. I found myself wanting Jamie to survive Drogon’s strafing runs. And of course you root for Daenerys to burn it all down. All four characters converge in the episode’s final scene bringing to its climax a thrilling battle.
Halfway through the season and some threads are finally coming together. Things are moving fast on GOT, and for long time fans of the show the payoffs have been well worth it.