Game of Thrones: Death is the Enemy

Title: Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6: “Beyond the Wall”
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Drama
Platform: TV – HBO
Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Rating: TV-MA
Release: August 20, 2017
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington
Feature image: Source


“Life. Death is the enemy, the first enemy and the last.” Beric Dondarrion – Game of Thrones

Beyond the Wall

Snow’s Seven, the Frozen Seven, the idiots who went with Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) are walking and talking. Gendry (Joe Dempsie) asks Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) how they keep from freezing. Tormund tells him walking is good, fighting is better, and fucking is the best. Jon points out there are no women within 100 miles. Tormund looking at Gendry says, “You have to make do with what you’ve got.” Tormund asks Jon about the Dragon Queen and Jon mentions Daenerys wants him to bend the knee. Tormund reminds Jon about Mance Rayder who also would not bend the knee, “Mance Rayder was a great man, a proud man,” Tormund continues. “How many of his people died for his pride?”

Gendry starts complaining to Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye), Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), and Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane (Rory McCann) about their previous treatment of him. Thoros: “You still mad at us, boy?”  Gendry: “You sold me to a witch.”   Thoros: “A priestess. I’ll admit it is a subtle distinction.”   Beric: “We’re fighting a great war. Wars cost money.”  Gendry: “I wanted to be one of you. I wanted to join the brotherhood, but you sold me off… like a slave. Do you know what she did to me? She strapped me down in the bed. She stripped me naked.”   The Hound: “Sounds alright so far.”   Gendry: “And put leeches on me.”   The Hound: “Was she naked, too?”  Thoros: “She needed your blood.”  Gendry: “Yes, thank you. I know that.”  The Hound: “Could have been worse.”  Gendry: “She wanted to kill me. They would have killed me if it wasn’t for Davos.”  The Hound: “But they didn’t, did they? So what are you whinging about?”  Gendry: “I’m not whinging.”   The Hound: “Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something. That’s whinging. This one’s been killed six times. You don’t hear him whining about it.”

Jon and Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) hold a private conversation about their fathers. Both are sad at the fate that Jorah’s father met, but Jon confirms that the mutineers who killed his father paid for their crime. Jon states that Ned was the best man he knew and he met execution.  Jorah tells Jon how his father was going to execute him and how he was angry with Ned even though he knew he deserved it. Jon tells Jorah he’s glad Ned didn’t execute him, and Jorah agrees he’s glad too.  Jon: “Your father gave me this sword [after some alterations], but it’s still Longclaw.”  Jorah holds the sword for a minute and says, “He gave it to you.” Jon: “I’m not his son.” Jorah: “I brought shame unto my house. I broke my father’s heart. I forfeited the right to claim this sword. It’s yours. May it serve you well, and your children after you.”

“How did a mad fucker like you live this long?”  “I’m good at killing.”  Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane and Tormund Giantsbane – Game of Thrones

Now it’s Tormund and the Hound turn to become acquainted. Tormund: “You’re the one they call the dog.”  The Hound: “Fuck off.”   Tormund: “They told me you were mean. Were you born mean or do you just hate wildlings.”  The Hound: “I don’t give two shits about wildlings. It’s gingers I hate.”   Tormund: “Gingers are beautiful. We are kissed by fire. Just like you.”  The Hound: “Don’t point your fucking finger at me.” Tormund continues talking about fire to the Hound’s annoyance. Tormund: “Did you trip into the fire when you were a baby?”  The Hound: “I didn’t trip. I was pushed.”   Tormund: “Ever since you’ve been mean.”  The Hound: “Will you fuck off?”  Tormund: “I don’t think you’re truly mean. You have sad eyes.”  The Hound: “You want to suck my dick, is that?” Tormund: “Dick?”  The Hound: “Cock.”  Tormund: “Ah. DICK! I like it.”  The Hound: “Bet you do.”  Tormund assures him he likes the ‘pussy’ and talks about his great love. Tormund: “I have a beauty waiting for me back in Winterfell… if I ever get back there. Yellow hair, blue eyes, tallest woman you’ve ever seen. Almost as tall as you.”  The Hound: “Brienne of Tarth.”  Tormund: “You know her?”  The Hound: “You’re with Brienne of fucking Tarth.”  Tormund: “Well, not with her yet. But I see the way she looks at me.”  The Hound: “How does she look at you? Like, she wants to carve you up and eat your liver?”  Tormund: “You do know her.”   The Hound: “We’ve met.”   Tormund: “I want to make babies with her. Think of them, great big monsters. They’d conquer the world.”  The Hound: “How did a mad fucker like you live this long?” Tormund: “I’m good at killing.”

Just like an episode of “The West Wing” set in a medieval Arctic setting, we get one more walk and talk from Jon and Beric. This discussion is more philosophical in nature. Beric: “We both serve the same Lord.”   Jon: “I serve the north.” Jon admits that when he died and came back he didn’t hear anything from the Lord of Light. “What’s the point in serving a god when none of us knows what he wants?” Jon asks. Beric: “I don’t think it’s our purpose to understand except for one thing…we’re soldiers. We have to know what we’re fighting for. I’m not fighting for some man or woman I barely know so they can sit on a throne made from swords.    Jon: “So what are you fighting for?”   Beric: “Life. Death is the enemy, the first enemy and the last.” Beric emphasizes their duty of protecting those that can’t protect themselves.   “You and I won’t find much joy while we’re here, but we can keep others alive,” Beric said.  Jon quotes from the oath of the Night Watch, “I am the shield that guards the realms of men” Beric: “The enemy always wins, and we still need to fight it. That’s all I know.” Jon agrees.

The story now goes from a lot of talking, to a lot of throwing down. They see a big bear from a distance and Gendry asks do bears have blue eyes. One of their guides who is ahead of them tries to run back to the group but a zombie polar bear mauls him. The men form a defensive circle and fight off the zombie bear attack. The zombie bear is able to get hold of Thoros and do some major damage to him before Beric is able to set it afire with his flaming sword. The rest of the men kill it. They give Thoros some booze from his pouch. Beric tries to comfort his friend. “I just got bit by a dead bear,” he tells Beric. “Funny old life.” They help him to his feet and they continue walking. They see the mountain that looks like an arrowhead from the Hound’s vision in the flames. They find a small group of wights with their Night Walker leader. Snow’s Seven attack, Jon uses Longclaw to kill the Night Walker, and all the wights immediately die. They are able to capture the surviving Wight. It screams for help and they can hear an army coming. Jon turns to Gendry. Jon Snow: “Run back to Eastwatch. Get a raven to Daenerys. Tell her what’s happened.” Gendry: “I’m not leaving ya.”  Jon Snow: “You’re the fastest. Go. Now.”  Tormund: “It has to be without the hammer. Give it. Give it.” They also take off running with the army of the dead in hot pursuit. They run on a frozen lake and make it to a small island in the middle of the frozen lake. When the army of wights try to run on the ice, their sheer weight causes the ice to collapse and they fall in the ice-cold water. Jon and his men find themselves surrounded by wights. Gendry runs, runs, and collapses near the gate at Eastwatch. Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and some other men retrieve him. Davos asks where the others are. Gendry tells them to send a raven to Daenerys. On the island, Thoros dies and they burn his body so he won’t become a Wight.

“He was smiling, so I knew it wasn’t wrong. The rules were wrong.”   Arya Stark – Game of Thrones


Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is looking down at the courtyard when her sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) joins her. It wouldn’t hurt for either one to remember they are sisters. Arya tells a story about secretly practicing archery and her father seeing her and applauding when she made a bullseye. Arya: “He was smiling, so I knew it wasn’t wrong. The rules were wrong.”  Arya goes from this happy memory to Sansa’s letter. Sansa tries to explain to Arya that she wrote it under duress. Arya doesn’t care, she knows Jon would understand and forgive her, but would the northern Lords do the same. Sansa tries to go on the offensive, “You should be on your knees thanking me. We’re standing in Winterfell again; because of me…I suffered things you can never imagine. You never would have survived what I survived…Do you know how happy Cersei would be if she saw us fighting?” Arya responds icily, “Oh, I don’t know about that, I can imagine quite a lot.” Sansa tries to reason with Arya. Sansa: “Sometimes anger makes people do unfortunate things,” Arya: “Sometimes fear makes them do unfortunate things. I’ll go with anger.” Foolishly, Sansa goes to Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen). He acts surprised that Arya has the letter, and subtly implants in Sansa’s head that Arya might hurt her. He advises her to let Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) become involved, since she is honor bound to intercede if one sister is “planning to harm the other in any way.”

“The world just doesn’t let girls decide what they’re going to be.”  Arya Stark – Game of Thrones

Sansa gets an invitation to the big meeting in King’s Landing. (It is the meeting where Cersei and Daenerys will meet about an armistice to join forces to fight the Night Walkers) She is wary of going down to King’s Landing to become Cersei’s prisoner again so she plans to send Brienne in her place to represent her. Brienne doesn’t want to leave. She is afraid to leave Sansa alone with Littlefinger. Sansa: “I’m not a child. I’m the lady of Winterfell, and I am home.” Sansa thinks she can handle Littlefinger and is safe. Thinking that she is safe changes quickly when she goes into Arya’s room looking for the letter. She finds a satchel full of faces. Arya appears out of nowhere. Sansa asks her about the faces and Arya tells her to be careful about asking her about it. She reminds Sansa she wanted to marry a handsome prince and rule Westeros and she Arya wanted to be a knight, but it didn’t happen for either of them. Arya: “The world just doesn’t let girls decide what they’re going to be.” She tells Sansa she became a Faceless Man, and she wonders aloud what it would be like to have her sister’s face. She picks up the dagger and slowly heads towards her sister. Instead of using it, she hands it to Sansa and leaves. Yeah Sansa, maybe you’d be safer at King’s Landing.

“The most important person in the world can’t fly off to the most dangerous place in the world!”  Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones


Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) are sitting by the old fireside-discussing boys, especially the ones beyond the wall. Tyrion tells Daenerys how Jon looks longingly at her. Daenerys: “He’s too little for me.” Daenerys, thinking about Jon and Jorah, disses how heroes go and do stupid things, that’s why she’s glad Tyrion isn’t one. Tyrion isn’t sure how to take that, but she assures him she knows he is courageous. They change the subject to Daenerys upcoming summit with Cersei. Tyrion wants Daenerys to control her temper, since he knows his sister will try to provoke her. Daenerys asks what temper, and he reminds her of torching both Tarly men. Daenerys says that wasn’t her losing her temper, but her showing she means business. Tyrion says that might work in the short term, but he’s thinking long term. Daenerys: “Perhaps if you planned for the short term, we wouldn’t have lost Dorne and Highgarden.” To annoy her further, Tyrion mentions how she nearly got herself killed flying into battle, and that they should start thinking about her successor. Daenerys tells him she’ll worry about that after they have won the war. Before Tyrion can piss her off some more, they get word that Jon needs her help. She immediately heads out to take her dragons beyond the wall. Tyrion exclaims, “The most important person in the world can’t fly off to the most dangerous place in the world!” Daenerys isn’t listening, her man is in trouble and needs her help.

The Battle of the Lake

The Hound is bored and throws stones at the Wights. One of the stones hits the frozen lake. One of the Wights realizes that the ice didn’t break. It starts walking towards them; the other Wights notice and join him. Jon and company realize what is happening and prepare for battle. It looks bleak for our boys. The Wights nearly drag Tormund into the lake but the Hound rescues him. The Wights are overrunning their position when fire comes falling from the sky. Daenerys and her dragons have arrived and they light up the Wights. The Night King observes this and gets an idea. He grabs an ice spear and throws it at Viserion, and hits him. The dragon screams in pain; fire spills out of him as he crashes into the lake and submerges into the icy water. The other dragons cry out for their lost brother, and Daenerys looks devastated from losing one of her children. She and Drogon land to pick up the men. Jon sees the Night King preparing to throw an ice spear at Drogon and tells Daenerys to leave without him. He is going to fight to give them a chance to escape. Drogon takes off and is able to avoid the incoming ice spear. Jorah nearly falls off Drogon but they catch him before he falls. They watch Jon fight off the Wights until they drag him in the lake. The Night King seems satisfied, and he leads his dead army away. Jon emerges from the lake and picks up Longclaw. The Wights notice and turn around to get him. Before they do, Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) rides in. He gives Jon his horse and stays to fight the Wights. They kill him, but he saves another Stark relative. (Having saved Bran last season). Back at Eastwatch, Daenerys is waiting against hope that Jon might appear. As she is ready to leave, she hears a horn; a rider is approaching. It is Jon Snow.

We are going to destroy the Night King and his army. We will do it together.  Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones

The Boat

Daenerys sits beside Jon, who is asleep. She notices the wounds on his chest and realizes the story Davos told of Jon being stabbed in his heart for his people is true. Jon awakens and speaks. Jon: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I wish we’d never gone.”  Daenerys: “I don’t. If we hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have seen. You have to see it to know. Now, I know. The dragons are my children. They’re the only children I’ll ever have. Do you understand? We are going to destroy the Night King and his army. We will do it together. You have my word.”   Jon: “Thank you, Dany.”  Daenerys: “Dany. Who was the last person who called me that? I’m not sure. Was it brother? Hmm. Not the company you want to keep.”  Jon: “Alright. Not Dany. How about my Queen? I’d, um, bend the knee but…”  Daenerys: “What about those you swore allegiance to?”  Jon: “They will come to see you for what you are.”  Daenerys {Crying]: “I hope I deserve it.”   Jon: “You do.” They hold hands for a while.

Back at the Frozen Lake

Using giant chains, the Wights drag Viserion’s corpse out of the frozen lake. The Night King pets the dead dragon, and his blue eye opens.  Oh S**T!


Jon and his men try to execute one of the stupidest plans ever made. I would advise Tyrion not to put it in his resume. The men go out into the freezing cold and get a chance to bond. The dialogue in this section of the episode was fantastic. It was hilarious, bawdy, heartfelt, and philosophical. I wrote as much of the dialogue down as I could. All of the actors did a great job with it. The action that followed it was as strong as the dialogues that proceeded it. I jumped when the zombie polar bear killed the redshirt with the group. That was a fun fight scene with the bear. I love Beric’s flaming sword. It could start fires at the grill and fireplace. The battle for the Wights was exciting, suspenseful, and frightening. I was especially afraid when the Wights were dragging Tormund into the frozen lake. I was sure we were going to lose the big ginger. I want to see the “great big monsters” he and Brienne would produce. I’m sure some of their descendants are playing in the NBA now. All was lost until the cavalry arrived, in the form of Dany and her three kids. Unfortunately, Dany lost Viserion, and I was sad, not as sad if it had been Drogon, but sad nevertheless. With the Night King bringing the beast back, it’ll be fun watching it fight his brothers in aerial battles.

Speaking of siblings fighting, what’s up with the Stark sisters? Are these two really being manipulated this easily by Baelish? This was my least favorite storyline. I wanted to get back to the action beyond the wall, instead of their dreary childishness. Thinking about it later though, I find it more interesting than I did during the initial viewing. Not so much for the scenes, but for the psychological implications for Arya. Arya is a fan favorite, nearly everyone, including myself, loved her drive and determination to survive. So she killed a few people along the way, good for you Arya. After she baked the Frey sons into a meat pie to feed to Walder Frey, you had to begin thinking; maybe she’s taking this revenge thing too far. Trapped in vengeance mode, Arya can’t feel empathy for Sansa. She is smart enough to know that the Lannisters coerced Sansa to write that letter, but she doesn’t care. She is living in the past in her childhood grievances and jealousies about her sister, and with the trauma, she has experienced since seeing Ned beheaded, she can’t move on. At least for Sansa, she is trying to move on. If Arya can’t get beyond this, she’ll give Littlefinger what he wants. Who is going to help her move on?

This was a great episode, despite the plot being stupid. Jon being up north to catch a Wight to prove to Cersei they exist is stupid. The show’s character knew it was stupid too. There were things you had to overlook, such as Dany flying in at the last minute to rescue them, and her being there in the first place. The King of the North and the Mother of Dragons love putting themselves in danger. One thing I have to give Cersei credit for, she knows to send others to do her fighting. Still with all the silly things they had the characters do, the episode was fun and exciting. The day I stop enjoying seeing dragons light up stuff, and zombie polar bears, well I hope I never see that day. Here is a video of the making of the Battle of the Frozen Lake. They put a lot of work into it, and it shows.

Grade: A-





Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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