Game of Thrones Epic Battles (Part 10): Beyond the Wall

dragonsSay what you will about Season 7 but it did deliver on epic battles. Dany’s dragons have fully matured and so have their strengths. This makes for a formidable ace in the Great War. However, this battle broke the notion that dragons are invincible and it was a heartbreaking moment to see one fall, for a truly unbelievable reason. The Battle Beyond the Wall is one of the most epic yet frustrating battles ever to happen in the GoT universe which makes me wonder whether the writers were high when they wrote this particular installment.

Synopsis: After Bran sends a raven to Jon informing him of the magnitude of the White Walker army marching towards the wall, Jon decides to go back home to prepare for the Great War. Tyrion understands that the northerners will never win the war on their own but fear that Cersei will strike if Dany leaves her stronghold to help the North. He suggests that they propose an armistice with Cersei by providing her with evidence that the undead exist. For this mission, the newly returned Ser Jorah, Jon Snow, Tormund Giantsbane, Gendry, and the Brotherhood without Banners travel beyond the wall to bring back proof. Unfortunately, they are overwhelmed by the strength of the White Walkers and are cornered with no chance of escape.

In terms of build up, this episode had everything going for it. A dangerous mission, heroic men willing to sacrifice their life to protect humakind, a brilliant tapestry of white to signify that Winter has indeed come. It even came complete with witty banter among the party. While it served up a climax filled with a lot of fighting, close calls and requisite deaths, it also unraveled when the supposed heroes of the piece were also the ones to cause the most damage. (I’m looking at you, Jon Snow)

It was an epic battle because of the sheer size of the White Walker army and the dire predicament that the small band of brothers got themselves into. The treatment was perfect — the slow motion sequence with the ominous gaelic music which set the tone for the hopelessness of the situation and the courage of the humans who fought for a common cause, up until the arrival of the cavalry, so to speak. However, it was utterly frustrating how a bad situation got even worse because of stupidity, by the King of the North no less.

First off, it was already bad that thet got stranded on a patch of rock in the middle of thin ice, the only thing that stood between them and the undead army. But to make sport out of them and provoke them from across the small lake in between like what the Hound obviously did was a stupid move if there ever was one. But when help arrives in the form of Daenerys on her dragon, Jon literally takes the cake as he, instead of responding with a sense of urgency and getting on the damned dragon post haste, resorts to heroics and fights off the White Walker soldiers which in the general scheme of things was quite useless. But wait, there’s more.

Jon doesn’t even get the chance to ride the dragon to safety because he gets taken down into the water while Viserion is targetted effectively by the Night King himself. This episode is a proof that Jon Snow should not have a wolf, but a cat for his sigil because he seems to have nine lives. He just won’t die despite the odds. He rises from the ice and finds himself saved by his Uncle Benjun, who, after all these seasons managed to stay alive beyond the wall. It would be a miracle for him to survive the swarm that greeted him to buy Jon some time to escape. Nice work, buddy.

viserion
The moment before the Night King resurrects Viserion as the Ice Dragon. 

Now, the party succeeds in getting their proof. But the thing is, it cost them even more because Viserion is brought back from the dead by the Night King himself and has now become an ice dragon. So, apart from having all the giants, the undead freefolk, the skeleton army from the batch of the First Men, the northerners and Daenerys have gifted the Night King with a dragon. Well played, Jon and Dany. And its all because they have a soft spot for each other. Its not love, not really. Its because you’re aunt and nephew!

Forgive the rant. Its just too frustrating to see a dragon die when there’s only three remaining in the entire Kingdom because of sentiment. I was frustrated the first time I watched this episode two years ago and all the emotions came flooding back to me when I rewatched it. Apologies if I get too emotionally invested in this series. LOL.

So that’s it, the 10 most epic battles in Westeros to watch before you delve into the final season premiere, which happens in a few hours. This was cutting it pretty close, eh?

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