Picking the Game of Thrones Winners and Losers
Okay, it was an interesting and ultimately satisfying season of Game of Thrones (not sure I though that I would be saying that).
Were there lots of problems? Sure.
Did most of the problems resolve in a good way? Yes.
Before we get to the results, If you missed my recap from last night, here it is:
Neither Snow nor Sand: Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 7 "The Dragon and the Wolf" (HBO)
"The Dragon and the Wolf" includes betrayals (big and small), reunions, and legendary theories verified for once and…
The Winner: The Night King
Look, The Night King now commands an army of over 100.000 hard-to-kill zombies, a bunch of zombie giants, and one speedy zombie ice dragon. In addition, every human his army kills becomes another mindlessly obedient member of his army.
Every army he fights will always provide him one more soldier for every solider his army kills (a huge arithmetic advantage).
He also just used his gigantic zombie ice dragon to, in a matter of minutes, collapse the wall that has protected humans from zombies for around a thousand years.
Sorry, I know he doesn’t talk much, but The Night King clearly won Season 7.
Silver Medal: Cersei Lannister
Cersei was so masterful during the finale that she convinced at least ten people (who all should have known better) that she cared about the world’s future (as opposed to her own future as Queen and/or the future of her ‘family’ in leadership).
After the ‘Battle of the Plunder Carts’ she knew that her shelf-life as Queen was almost expired and that her forces could not stand up to the forces of Daenerys. Her only hope was to delay and rebuild (and restock). Somehow, despite her terrible strategic position, she got the other team to beg her for a delay.
If there was a truly weak link in the plot of season 7 it was that Tyrion and Varys would every think it was a good idea to restrain Daenerys when they were right on the brink of winning the war.
Win the war, regroup, go fight White Walkers.
Cersei always assumed, from the jump, that Tyrion would bring a real-live White Walker. She made a brilliant calculation (which she shared with Jaime).
- If the White Walkers are stopped it won’t be the limited Lannister troops that would make the difference
- If Daenerys wins, the Dragon Queen would be greatly weakened while Cersei can use the pause in combat to massively improve her position
- If Daenerys loses, Cersei would have to face the same problems she would face inevitably (having to defeat the Walkers), but she would at least have more time to deal with them (if her troops were committed to the fight, she would be entirely out of options if they lost).
- If all else fails, Cersei knows she still has a navy and White Walkers can’t swim (do you doubt for a second she would abandon her people?).
Anyway, Cersei avoided total destruction and has now repositioned herself to a much better strategic situation. Is she taking a massive gamble? Yes. Does she care? Probably not.
Bronze Medal: The Stark Sisters
Hard to believe, but seeing their father Ned killed was the last time that they saw each other until now. Sansa and Arya teaming up to take out Littlefinger was one of my favorite moments in the history of the show (and redeemed the season IMHO).
Everything about it, from the careful setup (and yes, it was a careful setup with lots of little clues left for all of us to interpret) to Sansa mentioning at the end that Arya was “still very strange and annoying” was pitch perfect.
Unfortunately, while I approve of everything that happened here, I don’t think zombies care what face humans wear.
Zombies are equal opportunity destroyers.
Unless Arya can learn to play the “game of not appearing to be alive” beating Littlefinger didn’t really mean much strategically (otherwise the Stark Sisters would have ranked higher #GameOfSisters).
The Loser: Tyrion Lannister
So, Tyrion’s Queen was in a dominant position, with Dothraki hordes, Unsullied, the Dornish armies, the Armies of the Reach, a huge portion of the Iron Islands fleet, and three Dragons.
Tyrion split his forces three ways, got the Dornish army destroyed, most of the Iron Islands navy totally decimated, and the unsullied stranded at Casterly Rock.
But here’s the kicker, this wasn’t Tyrion’s worst plan of the year. Oh no, not his worst plan by far.
After Daenerys saved the day by winning the ‘Battle of the Plunder Carts.’ Tyrion and Varys, in order to make Daenerys seem less blood thirsty, suggested that she not press the attack (an attack that even Jaime was certain would have resulted in a quick victory).
Nope, instead of pressing the attack on Cersei, Tyrion decided they should send several of their best generals to go on a suicide mission to grab a White Walker beyond the wall.
And why would they do this? Because, as Tyrion argued, if they captured a White Walker and took it to Cersei, Cersei would call off the war and help them fight zombies.
Yup, that was it.
And, predictably, the consequences were dire.
As a result of the predictable consequences of this colossally stupid plan, the Night King just used a gigantic zombie ice dragon to totally collapse the lone bulwark that has protected the humans from the zombies for a thousand years.
But even this was not enough, Tyrion actually want to King’s Landing and co-signed on letting Cersei reconstitute her forces at a time when, as Bronn suggested, the Lannister's could easily have become “The Downtrodden.”
Oh, and even better, his Queen just hooked up with her Nephew (implicit in declaring Tyrion the loser is that things are not going well for Daenerys or Jon either).
Tyrion is CLEARLY the loser of Season 7. I would go as far as to suggest he needs to go back to being a full-time drunk (he was much smarter when he was wasted).
Silver Medal: The Wildlings
Not much to say here, the Wall just got totally destroyed by a zombie ice dragon. You and your people were on the wall when it happened. 100,00 zombies are about to do clean-up duty. Sorry wildlings, most of you are about to be reborn as mindless zombies.
It would take hours for me to retype all of the hundreds of leaps in logic taken this season (from Euron’s teleportation to Bran’s failure to see the threat to the wall posed by a gigantic zombie ice dragon).
I was very impressed with the finale, it made me much less grumpy with Benioff and Weiss, but I still can’t forget all the damage that was done to the characters and plot over the last 2.5 seasons (since they went off-book).
Okay, that is it for winners and losers. Let me know who your winners and losers for the season were in the comments!
The Ongoing Guide to Game of Thrones Season 7
Everything Josh H has written about Game of Thrones Season 2017