‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7: What the Shocking Finale Revealed About Jon and Daenerys
It began with a surprisingly warm reunion for many of Game of Thrones’ major player — and it ended with the most stunning moment in the series history. The Season 7 finale of GoT brought some characters together, tore others apart, and saw the long-awaited end of one of the series most manipulative villains.
“The Dragon and the Wolf” offered the long anticipated meeting between Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. They met up in King’s Landing to discuss the possibility of fighting together against the army of the undead.
True to Game of Thrones form, nothing — not a truce nor a decisive lack of one — comes easily. This finale managed to do what few others have before it, which is to distinguish itself as a thrilling high point in an already impressively fast-paced season. It offered up enough plot to justify its super-sized runtime. But it also gave us plenty of reasons to tune in next year for the series’ conclusion.
Here’s everything you missed in the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale.
1. A strange place for a reunion
“The Dragon and the Wolf” begins with many of Game of Thrones’ main characters making their way to King’s Landing. By the time they arrive, the players assembled — from Jorah Mormont to the Mountain — represent the single biggest gathering of the main characters we’ve seen in quite some time.
“Strange place for a reunion,” Tyrion Lannister muses, though he himself is happy to see both Podrick Payne and Bronn. But really, the moment comes down to two very important initial encounters.
Cersei and Jon Snow meet for the first time, and the moment is full of plenty of brooding stares and sneers from the two foes as they size one another up. But their tense standoff is quickly overshadowed by Daenerys’ late arrival to the meeting on a roaring Drogon’s back (the Mother of Dragons has certainly proven she knows how to make an entrance).
As Hand of the (not-yet-seated) Queen, Tyrion makes himself useful and gets right to the point. “We are a group of people who do not like one another,” he tells the gathered crowd, before reminding them that they didn’t need to meet face to face just to continue fighting.
Jon steps in to let Cersei know why he and his allies have journeyed to sit in her presence. He wants her to tell her armies to stand with theirs and fight together against their common enemy, the undead.
But Cersei isn’t ready to call a truce — that is, until she sees the wight that they have brought to her as proof. Jon offers a demonstration on how to kill wights to a clearly shaken Cersei. He reiterates his point: “There is only one war that matters, the Great War. And it is here.”
2. The queens’ requests
Not everyone is moved to fight after Jon’s display. Euron Greyjoy storms out, after explaining that he’s been around the world, but the wights are the only thing that’s ever left him terrified. But, to their credit, everyone else seated in the forum stays put.
More importantly, Cersei quickly sees reason, and she accepts Daenerys’ request for a truce. But, of course, on one fairly significant condition: She demands that the King in the North extend the truce indefinitely and never take up arms against the Lannisters. When Daenerys asks why Cersei is only asking this of Jon, she gets an honest answer in reply: “I would never ask it of you. You would never agree to it, and if you did, I would trust you even less than I do now.”
Jon says, that he can’t promise what she’s asked, because he’s already pledged his loyalty to Daenerys. At that, Cersei leaves in a huff, calling the truce off.
Tyrion and Daenerys are frustrated with Jon’s sudden unyielding loyalty to the Mother of Dragons, but Jon insists that he did the right thing. “When enough people make false promises,” he tells them, “words stop meaning anything.”
Daenerys seeks Jon out to tell him that while she wishes he agreed, she understands why he refused to make an oath he couldn’t keep. She opens up to him, telling him that her family ended when their dragons died.
But Jon tells her that her family hasn’t ended — even if she thinks she can’t have children. It comes off as a very awkward attempt at both reassuring and flirting with her. And it seems to work, because Daenerys seems even happier to be by his side when the conversation is done.
3. A meeting of the minds
Brienne pleads with Jaime Lannister to reason with Cersei. He tries and fails and meets his youngest sibling at the door to her chambers. There, they trade a few words about the predicament they’ve found themselves in, and how precarious it is.
“I’m about to step into a room with the most murderous woman in the world, who’s already tried to kill me twice, that I know of,” Tyrion tells his brother. And with that, he enters the lion’s den.
The conversations between Cersei and Tyrion have always been the most captivating in Game of Thrones, because it is truly a meeting of the minds. And this one was no exception — blistering and charged with years of anger and resentment.
Tyrion senses that his sister doesn’t want to listen to him, so he goes on the attack to try to wear her down. “You love your family, and I have destroyed it. I will always be a threat. So put an end to me,” Tyrion says, as the Mountain stands in the background, ready to strike.
But even as Tyrion taunts her with a long list of every way he’s wronged her, Cersei can’t bring herself drop the axe on her brother. At a stalemate, the two siblings do what they do best, besides fight — drink and revel in their mutual misery.
4. ‘Hang the world’
Tyrion explains to Cersei that he is loyal to Daenerys because he truly believes she will make the world better. “Hang the world,” Cersei replies. She tells him that she only cares about protecting her own family. Since he knows his sister better than most, Tyrion realizes that she is pregnant.
And somehow, he appears to convince Cersei to join the fight against the Night King. She marches back to Jon and Daenerys and tells them with a scowl, “The darkness is coming for us all. We’ll face it together.”
She’s sure to let them know that she hopes they’ll remember that she chose to help them, without any assurance of safety. But she also makes it clear that she isn’t convinced they will show her any mercy.
5. Walking away
Even though Jon isn’t capable of promising something he won’t deliver on, Cersei most certainly is. Because as Jaime begins to rally his troops, Cersei tells him she has no intention of fighting alongside Jon and Daenerys. She doesn’t believe anything will be able to defeat the undead. She believes they can retake the lands they’ve lost while their enemies are distracted. “Let the monsters defeat each other,” she states.
Jaime isn’t willing to break his promise to fight, though. And though he tries to reason with Cersei, she won’t hear it. She tells him she instructed Euron Greyjoy to leave the meeting with Daenerys so he could sail to Essos and bring the Golden Company, a mercenary army, to defend them. This revelation only makes Jaime, her military commander, feel betrayed.
He moves to leave, but Cersei threatens to have him killed if he walks away. Jaime, who knows his sister better than anyone, can see in her face that she won’t do it and calls her bluff. Once again, Cersei is unable to order the death of her brother. And so, Jaime leaves his sister alone in King’s Landing and rides off into the snow, his allegiance unclear.
6. Murder and treason
Back in Winterfell, Littlefinger does his best to get under Sansa Stark’s skin. He reminds her that an alliance between Jon and Daenerys would make a lot of sense to her brother — but, perhaps, not to everyone else in Winterfell. He suggests un-naming him King in the North, but Sansa is reluctant — mostly because she knows her sister, Arya Stark, would never go along with it, and she’s scared she’ll kill her.
Lord Baelish feeds that fear, coaxing out of her the theory that Arya came home to kill Sansa and take her place as Lady of Winterfell. His words seem to work when Sansa has Arya brought to the Great Hall. The elder sister initially appears to be accusing her sister of murder and treason — until she turns to level those charges at Baelish.
He feigns innocence until she reminds him that he murdered Lysa Arryn and conspired to kill her husband, Jon. Then, she continues, accusing him of conspiring to murder her father, Ned Stark.
Baelish falls to his knees and begs for his life, telling Sansa that he loved both her and her mother. But Sansa remains stoic as she sentences him to death. And it’s Arya who uses the dagger he gave Bran to cut his throat. For fans, it was justice long served. For the remaining Starks, it marked a new beginning.
The two sisters meet later to discuss their actions and what happens next. Despite the tension that’s been brewing between them, they seem to have reached a mutual respect and understanding after working together to take down their enemy.
7. Revelations and romantic entanglements
Sam Tarly returns to Winterfell, where he meets Bran, who informs him that he’s the Three Eyed Raven. The two catch up, and Sam tells Bran he wants to help Jon fight. Bran, too, wants to help the King in the North — by giving him information.
“He needs to know the truth. No one knows. No one but me,” Bran tells Sam. Then, he finally spells out what the series hinted at in the Season 6 finale: Jon Snow is the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Samwell, it turns out, has a crucial piece of information as well. He tells Bran that Jon isn’t really a bastard at all.
“Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie,” Bran says, before announcing Jon’s real name: Aegon Targaryen.
As he says this, Jon and Daenerys are sailing together toward Winterfell. And we see the King in the North going to the Mother of Dragon’s bedroom, where the two passionately consummate their relationship. So, it seems, Jon will learn just a bit too late that Daenerys is actually his aunt, and that he is, in fact, the real heir to the Iron Throne.
8. The dragon and the Wall
In the closing moments of “The Dragon and the Wolf,” we find Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion standing guard at the Wall. The undead army emerges from the forest below. Their numbers alone, finally at the Wall, would be enough to elicit a sense of dread. But then the Night King arrives by air, riding his newest weapon: the ice dragon, Viserion. He breathes icy fire at the wall and with minimal effort, manages to bring the longstanding barrier tumbling down.
As the Night King rides south, his army follows him into the Seven Kingdoms. And we will have to wait until Season 8 of Game of Thrones to find out whether he, or the forces of good, will reign victorious.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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