Game of Thrones Episode 706 recap: “Beyond the Wall”


The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones’ season 7 has come and gone. Who lived? Who died? And was Jon able to catch a wight? Read our recap and find out!

Welp, our hearts were shattered into a thousand pieces Sunday night, right after we had a heart attack. Such is the life of a Game of Thrones fans. Just when we thought the action could not get any more exciting, HBO ripped our heart right out of our chest with the penultimate episode of season 7, “Beyond the Wall.” Read our recap below, but beware spoilers. Highly detailed, utterly complex spoilers.

Like most penultimate episodes, “Beyond the Wall” focused on only a few plot lines. And while the majority of the episode was devoted to Jon’s mission to capture a wight, we did take short breaks to catch up with the action in Winterfell and on Dragonstone. Let’s take a look at each plot thread, setting aside the chronological order.

The shortest thread, Dany and Tyrion on Dragonstone, was not without its emotional sledgehammers. Dany and Tyrion are initially enjoying a rather productive meeting in front of the fire, as the duo discuss everything from Jon Snow give Dany heart eye emojis, to meeting with Cersei for the first time. Tyrion comes loaded for bear in this scene and largely seems to be getting his point across until he makes a misstep.

When bringing up the subject of Dany’s heir, Tyrion hits a sore spot with our dragon queen. Reminding Dany that she cannot have children was the wrong move by Tyrion, and Dany is quite naturally defensive. It does seem an odd thing for Tyrion to bring up, but we’re guessing it has some foreshadowing quality to it. When Dany later flies off to rescue Jon, Tyrion’s desperation is evident, even if it’s ultimately futile. It seems Tyrion doesn’t have quite the handle on Dany as he’d hope.

In Winterfell, we get the most annoying sequence of events of the episode. Arya and Sansa still can’t seem to see eye to eye. Arya reveals her knowledge of the letter, and Sansa comes right back at her with an entitled answer about winning the Battle of the Bastards herself (despite not actually fighting in it). Both of them make us wish Catelyn Stark was still alive to smash their heads together, but alas we must watch them bicker and threaten one another.

And while both of them would be well served dialing it down a notch (or seven), Arya ultimately comes across as a crazed psychotic. Sansa is guilty of at worst being stupid, but at best simply surviving. Sansa should have Arya’s respect, not her scorn, and it was frightening to watch Arya threaten to remove Sansa’s face. Sending Brienne to King’s Landing only served to heighten the tension, and we legit wondered if Arya would go full American Psycho and take off Sansa’s face.

Ultimately, despite the bickering at Dragonstone and Winterfell, “Beyond the Wall” is all about, well, the mission beyond the Wall. Before we got to the weight of the episode, we are treated to more than a few scenes of pure comedy gold. From the Hound telling Gendry to stop his whining to the Hound and Tormund forming the most hilarious odd ball buddy duo of all time, Jon’s trek is filled with one joke after another.

More from Show Snob

Sadly, the fun cannot last. The mission to capture a single wight seemed ludicrous from the start, and we are here to report that it did end up being ludicrous. Before it got ludicrous though, it was downright terrifying. When the weather gets rather frightful, our heroes are set upon by an undead polar bear. It was truly terrifying to watch the beast thrash through their ranks, and when its set on fire by Beric’s flaming sword, we completely sympathized with the Hound freezing in his tracks. IT’S AN UNDEAD FREAKING FLAMING POLAR BEAR. Anyways, Jorah stabs it with his steak knife and it dies. Whatever.

Now let’s get to the truly ridiculous stuff. As Jon and company are traipsing through the snow, they conveniently happen upon a small group of wights out for a stroll. And it only gets more ridiculous from there. After Jon quickly dispatches the White Walker leading the group, all but ONE of the wights immediately falls to pieces. Isn’t that convenient?

Before putting a bag over the head of Juan, the lone wight, it lets off a howl that attracts the entirety of the Night King’s army. Tormund quickly sends Gendry back to the Wall for help, because the group never considered they might be discovered or might need help. Lucky for our boys, Gendry can run like the wind and covers the ground back to the Wall in the blink of an eye. Davos sends a raven to Dany asking for help, and you might ask why wouldn’t Dany be already waiting at the Wall in case something went sideways, but we’ve all learned by now that distance has no meaning anymore.

Anyway, back to the boys of the snow, who now find themselves trapped on a rock outcropping in the middle of a frozen lake. The wights cannot cross because the ice is too thin at the moment. During the night, Thoros succumbs to his injuries, and in the morning is cremated using his own liquor. A nice touch.

And here the absurdity gets raised to eleven. As our group sits on the rocks, the ice moat created by the first group of wights attempting to cross not only refreezes but freezes even stronger, now allowing the whole wight army to cross. We’re no physicists, but come on. Still, it does kick the action into high gear, and we particularly liked the Hound’s tossing of stones revealing that the ice was strong enough for the wights to cross.

Once the wights attack in earnest, things quickly go south for Jon and the boys. For a few seconds, it appears that Tormund is going to perish, but the Hound redeems his earlier actions and saves the wildling leader. It doesn’t appear that it will matter though, as the group is quickly being overwhelmed.

Luckily for our wonderful group of idiots, Dany arrives with her dragons to pull their collective asses out of the fire. It’s a truly heart-stopping scene to watch all three of Dany’s dragons burn the Night King’s army like so much kindling. Just like with Tormund’s rescue though, the elation does not last. The Night King is handed a giant ice spear, and the launches it into the sky like a missile where it lands home in Viserion’s neck.

Watching Viserion’s death, and the screams of Drogon and Rhaegal was truly heartbreaking. It was a shocking moment both in its affects on Dany, as well as the revelation of the extent of the Night King’s power. As the group quickly regroups and boards Drogon, Jon is separated and pulled under the ice. Dany beats a hasty retreat, dodging another ice missile from the Night King in the process.

Of course, just like Jaime, Jon isn’t going to drown. When Jon emerges from the ice though, he’s still surrounded by the army of the undead. Uncle Benjen shows up with his magical ball of fiery righteousness though and sends Jon off on his horse. Benjen is quickly consumed by the wights, but Jon rides safely for the Wall.

At the Wall, Dany awaits Jon’s return, and is elated when Jon arrives, frozen like a popsicle. Once Jon thaws, the two monarchs share a tender moment, in which Jon promises to bend the knee. Dany takes the news with much more elation than we would have initially thought, given her belief that it was required of Jon. Clearly, there is an attraction building between the two, but its one that seems to be honest and not forced.

We aren’t done yet though, as we head back to the frozen lake. Rank upon rank of wights are using chains secured from who knows where to pull something from the lake. Of course, that something is Viserion’s body, and its here we all begin to get a sense of dread. As we all fear, the Night King raises Viserion from the dead, blue eyes and all. It’s a stunning development and one that makes things even more dire for our heroes. Dany isn’t the only one with nukes anymore.

Although wildly inconsistent and full of more plot holes than a Transformers movie, overall “Beyond the Wall” is a good episode. Not one of the best episodes of the series, but still a good one. There are a lot of moments that work, like Jon and Dany’s bedside conversation, but many more that do not. The speed of events is getting a bit hard to keep up with, and the passage of time seems to be an afterthought used by producers only when it’s convenient.

Next: Video: Did Jon Snow bend the knee on Game of Thrones “Beyond the Wall”?

The season 7 finale has a lot of mistakes to correct if Game of Thrones wants to stick the landing, but we are confident HBO can bring us all home like it’s done so many times in the past.