Game of Thrones Episode 706 Recap: Beyond the Wall
Jon and his group trudge through the snow, making jokes and small talk to pass the time. Jon tries to give Jorah’s father’s sword back to him. Jorah explains he brought shame to his house and forfeited the right to the sword. He insists Jon keep it.
In Winterfell, Arya reminisces about her father watching her play in the courtyard with Bran’s forgotten bow and a single arrow left in the target. She explains to Sansa that she knew what she was doing was against the rules, but Ned’s applause for her told her that what she was doing wasn’t wrong; the rules were wrong. Arya points out that Ned was killed by the Lannisters – with Sansa’s help. She reveals the letter she found in Littlefinger’s room. Sansa insists that she was a child when she wrote it, and that the Lannisters forced her to write it. Arya doesn’t believe her, and Sansa turns the tables, putting her anger on her little sister. “You should be on your knees, thanking me!” Sansa explodes, reminding Arya that it was she who got Winterfell back, and that Arya can’t imagine what she survived. Arya isn’t swayed, and Sansa asks what she is going to do with the letter. Arya recognizes that her sister is scared, and Sansa tells her this is exactly what Cersei wants – for the sisters to be fighting one another. Arya makes a vague threat to show the other leaders of the North.
Sansa expresses her concerns to Littlefinger in private. She is worried about how Arya got the note, and that their army will look for any excuse to leave. Littlefinger suggests that Arya would not betray her sister; Sansa thinks she would if she thought she would betray Jon. So Littlefinger suggests she seek out Brienne for advice.
Beric mentions to Jon that he doesn’t look anything like Ned. The two of them discuss being brought back to life, and what their god wants from them. Beric points out death is the enemy, and the enemy always wins, but they can defend those who can’t defend themselves. The Hound stops and points to a mountain, “shaped like an arrowhead.” That’s what he saw in the fire.
Daenerys likes that Tyrion isn’t a hero; she doesn’t want him to be a hero. “They do stupid things and die.” Tyrion thinks that Jon is in love with her. Daenerys changes the subject, and discusses whether or not she should go to King’s Landing. He is worried that if anyone touches her, she will burn the city to the ground, and murder and ruthlessness isn’t the way to lead. Tyrion thinks it was impulsive for her to burn both the Tarlys, and promises not to let her do that in the future, especially since a negotiation with his sister will be a difficult one. Tyrion finishes the discussion asking her to choose a successor. Daenerys doesn’t like this idea and insists they will discuss it after she wears the crown.
In the North, Jon and his men are attacked by an enormous undead bear. Beric attacks with his flaming sword, setting it alight, but the bear doesn’t slow down. It turns towards the Hound, who is frozen in fear. Thoros intercedes, and ends up in the zombie bear’s jaw before Jorah can slay it with dragonglass. Thoros refuses to turn back, so Beric cauterizes his wound and the group continues on. A short distance away, Tormund hears something. He and Jon peer over a cliff and sees a White Walker leading a handful of wights. Jon worries about where the rest of the army is.
The White Walker comes across a small fire in his path. He stops his handful of soldiers and looks around. It’s a trap. Jon and his men come out with weapons swinging. Jon kills the White Walker, and all but one of the wights crumble to the ground. The one left is freaking out. Tormund punches it and the Hound tackles it to the ground. They put a sack over its head and tie it up, a prisoner of war. The group hears more dead coming, so Jon sends Gendry back to the wall to get a raven out.
The group runs onto a huge sheet of ice that cracks under their feet. Thousands of the dead have encircled them. One of the dead tries to attack, and the ice gives way, causing hundreds of the dead to lemming their way into the icy water. Jon and his men take refuge on a tiny “island” in the center of the ice lake. They wait. Night falls, and neither side makes a move.
Gendry collapses just outside Eastwatch, nearly frozen. Davos and several others rush to help him. He can barely spit out the words, “We need to send a raven!”
Morning comes, and Jon and his men are still surrounded. Thoros did not survive the night. Beric says a prayer over him while the Hound drinks his booze. Jon takes it and pours it over the corpse. Beric sets him aflame. Jorah noted that when they killed the White Walker yesterday, the wights around it died, too. The group sets their eyes on the Night King, perched atop a hill. If they kill him, they kill them all.
Sansa receives an invite to King’s Landing to meet with Cersei. She will not leave Winterfell, especially not while Jon is gone, and anyway, she refuses to set foot in King’s Landing while Cersei is still alive. Instead, she tells Brienne to go in her stead. Brienne worries that Sansa is not safe in Winterfell, not with Littlefinger there. She worries that he has turned some of these other men that Sansa trusts, and suggests Podrick stay behind to look after her. Sansa becomes annoyed and doesn’t want to be looked after. Brienne takes her leave.
The raven has reached Daenerys and she is going to fly to Jon’s aide. Tyrion begs her not to go. “Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing to do,” he implores. “If you die, we are all lost.” Daenerys insists that she isn’t doing nothing ever again. She and her three dragons take off.
The dead watch Jon and his men silently. Bored, the Hound throws a rock, hitting one of the dead in the head, partially caving in its skull. The wight doesn’t move. The Hound throws another rock, and this one lands close to the wight’s feet and the ice doesn’t break. The wight notices this and marches forward, with others following. Jon and his men ready their weapons. The fight begins, with the dead moving in slowly enough to keep from overwhelming the humans. But the men look like they will tire quickly, and Jon shouts for them to fall back. I’m not sure where he hopes to fall back to; they are literally surrounded. Tormund is overwhelmed by the dead when the dead crawl up out of the water and try to pull him in. The Hound saves him, but things aren’t looking too good. The dead are advancing and getting closer every second.
Suddenly, the dragons appear. They breathe fire on the swarms of the dead, melting them into the frozen lake. It is rather impressive. Drogon lands and Daenerys encourages the men to get on. The flood of the dead continues, and Jon keeps fighting.
The Night King steps forward and throws an enormous ice spear, striking Viserion. It sets the dragon on fire and crashes into the icy water. The dragon slides into the depths, dead. The men are stunned, and Daenerys is horrified. Jon, full of himself, insists Daenerys and the others take off. He has seen the Night King, and is determined to kill him – or die trying. Jon is tackled into the water and Daenerys, realizing there is nothing more she can do, takes off. Another spear flies, this time at Drogon, but the dragon avoids it.
Jon climbs out of the water, alive but hypothermic. His sword is waiting for him on the ice. Undeterred, Jon readies himself to fight again, when someone on horseback rides up, swinging a flaming mace. It is uncle Benjen. He puts his nephew on the horse and sends him back alone. Benjen is soon swallowed up by the mass of the dead.
At the Wall, Daenerys stares out at the frozen land sad about Viserion, and presumably sad about Jon. As she is about to leave, she spies a horse coming out of the woods. Jon is badly injured, but alive.
Sansa is snooping around in Arya’s room when she finds several of Arya’s masks in a tote bag. She is horrified. When Arya sneaks up on her, she confronts her sister. “They are my faces,” Arya says simply, explaining her training in Braavos. Arya wants to play a little game with her sister and asks if Sansa thinks Jon should be king of the North. Sansa wants to know about the faces. “You wanted to be a queen when we were younger. I wanted to be a knight,” Arya says. “Neither of us got to be those, did we? The world doesn’t let girls decide what they want to be. But the faces allow me to be those people. I could even be you.” Arya takes the dagger and moves towards Sansa. “All I need is your face.” Sansa is terrified, but when Arya reaches her sister, she hands the dagger over and leaves.
Jon wakes on the ship and finds Daenerys at his side. He takes her hand and apologizes for the loss of her dragon, and his foolhardiness. He wishes he could take it all back. Despite being grief stricken over the loss of one of her children, Daenerys is happy she got to see the dead and now knows they are real. She gives him her word that they are going to defeat the Night King and his army. Together. “Thank you Dany,” Jon says. Daenerys practically blushes and says the last person to call her that was her brother (!!!) and that is not the company he should keep. “Then how about my queen?” Jon suggests. He would bend the knee if he could. She takes his hand again. “I hope I deserve it,” she murmurs. Jon assures her she does. They share a long, lusty look, and Daenerys gets uncomfortable, suggests he get some rest, and takes her leave.
The dead are pulling enormous chains. They drag the dead Viserion from the lake. The Night King approaches and lays his hand on the dragon’s snout. A long minute, then the dragon’s eye opens. It is supernaturally blue.