Battle Breakdown: Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 6

By AT&T Digital Media Productions editorial team 


THE PLAYERS: Jon Snow & Co. vs. The Entire Army of the Dead

THE SETTING: North of the Wall, on a rocky island in the middle of a frozen lake

THE PLAN: There is no plan: Jon’s crack team of warriors are backed into a corner for reasons.

The original idea was to capture a wight and bring it back to Cersei Lannister, in order to prove the existence of the Night King and compel the Crown to declare an armistice. Admittedly not the greatest plan, this is supposed to convince Cersei that the undead are descending upon Westeros. Then again, she does have her own zombie servant (The unMountain), so she knows the dead may rise with or without a mythical Night King. But does she care?

The idea is good enough for the King in the North, who, we all know, isn’t the sharpest sword on the rack. Jon cobbles together Tormund Giantsbane, Jorah Mormont, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, Gendry Rivers, and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, and sets out beyond the Wall, accompanied by convenient fodder for the wight army. The no-so-Magnificent Seven trade bon mots while traversing the bleak terrain, but things start going downhill when a pair of undead polar bears attack and fatally maul Thoros.

The Seven eventually find a small squad of undead and manage to capture one, but its piercing screams bring the entire wight army down upon them. Jon sends Gendry racing back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Daenerys, their only hope, and the remaining warriors hunker down on a rock in the middle of a frozen lake, surrounded by the Night King’s menacing horde. The only thing keeping them at bay is cracked ice and the undead’s fear of water.



Fortunately, Daenerys gets the raven in the nick of time. She dons her fiercest battle coat and swoops in with her three dragons to save the day. As her dragons force ice to meet fire, she scoops up Jon’s team (sans Jon, who gets away anyway) and torches a good portion of the Night King’s forces, smoking wights with a satisfying crackle.

Unfortunately, the Night King throws an icicle-tipped spear with enough force and impossibly good accuracy to kill Viserion. Daenerys’ baby plunges beneath the ice in an earth-shattering, heartbreaking turn.



Worst of all, the Night King fishes out Viserion’s corpse and turns him into an undead ice dragon.

THE VICTOR: The Night King. Sorry, Jon, but capturing one pitiful wight is in no way worth the loss of a dragon, Thoros of Myr, and several red shirts, no matter how much hot hand-holding action you got from Daenerys.

WHAT IT MEANS: Well, Jon can bring that wight to King’s Landing to show Cersei. Hopefully she’ll be moved enough to join their cause, because the Night King will basically be unstoppable now that he has a reanimated dragon at his disposal. But given Cersei’s ruthless self-interest, that outcome remains in doubt.

What are the capabilities of an ice dragon? We shudder to find out. And Daenerys will surely struggle when she finds out she has to re-kill one of her children. Will Drogon and Rhaegal be able to fight their sibling?

Also, with Thoros of Myr dead and Melisandre out of town, Beric Dondarrion is likely on his last life. Same goes for Jon. No more do-overs for anyone from the Lord of Light. Benjen Stark, or whatever you call the sort-of-undead Benjen that’s been running around beyond the Wall, is also down for the count.

Most importantly, however, Daenerys has now pledged to fight the Night King with all her strength. She’s finally prepared to put aside her conquest of Westeros and join battle with the real enemy—and, thanks to her saving him and joining his cause, Jon is finally prepared to bend the knee to the Mother of Dragons. If he can get out of bed.

Oh, and after almost losing one another, Jon and Daenerys might finally start to act on the feelings that have been building all season. Let’s hope something good comes out of this tragedy.

Will the Night King use Viserion against Daenerys? Will the undead dragon breathe fire or ice? Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Find out on the season finale of Game of Thrones, exclusively on HBO.


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