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Game of Thrones Season Finale Recap: Winter Came

Before we start this blog, I would like to just do one thing…and that’s HIT THE NIGHT KING’S MUSIC!!!

Damn that was satisfying to watch. I was slightly scared, I had anxiety, I was excited, it was actually a lot like watching the Dany-Jon incest scene now that I think about it. And before we get into that, would you like to listen to a recap podcast going over our reaction to that scene nary 10 minutes after it happened? Well you’re in luck! For our final Postgame of Thrones, Feitelberg, the captain of #TeamNormalizeIncest joined me and Clem to talk about all things about the finale and preview the next season. We went over an hour and it was a blast. As if you needed anymore selling, as an additional treat the Google Hangout camera wouldn’t switch so you get to see Clem’s beautiful face on the main screen for the full time. Here it is:

Traditionally, the most exciting episode of Game of Thrones has been the second-to-last one. The penultimate episode of seasons has given us classics like Baelor (Ned Stark execution), Blackwater, The Rains of Castamere (Red Wedding), The Watchers On The Wall, The Dance of Dragons (Dany rides Drogon for the first time) and the Battle of the Bastards.

Most finales have been reserved for laying groundwork, giving us a couple of deaths to tie up some storylines within a season to leave them behind. The finales have actually somewhat looked like premieres. But last season broke tradition where the finale was the best episode of the season (and entire series for that matter), leaving everyone to wonder if that was the new normal. It wasn’t, and last night was centered mostly on scripting, plot and the final touches on some character development. You won’t hear me complaining though, as it delivered us some moments of tension that were almost unbearable, tour de forces of acting and laid the groundwork for what is legitimately going to be the most anticipated season of television of all-time.

In many ways, this entire season was something of a setup. The chess pieces have been put in motion, but are nowhere near their conclusions. With only six episodes left, the pace should be furious and the episodes explosive. Was this season one of the best in Game of Thrones history? I wouldn’t say so, giving that distinction to Seasons 2 and 3. But it held it’s own against impossibly high standards as a television show that has transcended into becoming a cultural event, with all the critics, contrarians and naysayers that comes with that.

Some people hated this season and have criticized the show as it’s increasingly become more about fantasy and less about people. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism when the first scene of the show was a Night’s Watch Ranger running from a wight child of the White Walkers. We all knew that this was coming, that the door to that would be opened. Even if it’s not your favorite part of the show, it comes off to me as a little whiny to know going into a show that there’s this upcoming integral plot element, and then complain when it happens. Inevitability, predestination due to coincidences, and long expository scenes spelling out everything that’s happening are all parts of fantasy. Even if that’s not your cup of tea, I think the rest of the show is more than good enough to make that worth it.

No one better exemplifies that human element than Cersei Lannister, however, who I believe even more than Jon, Dany and Tyrion now deserves to be remembered as the signature character of Game of Thrones. No one is more diabolic and ruthless. Did anyone believe her when she pledged her armies up North? If so, congratulations on your self-esteem, I’m sure you believe your girlfriend when she says you’re the best she’s ever had! Yes, Cersei is a monster, willing to gamble on a country dying rather than lose it herself. But she also is a human being too, and showed a moment of vulnerability in her speech to Tyrion, and for the first time in many years, made us feel a touch of sympathy for her.

But why did she let Tyrion live? For the same reason she does anything, because there was something in it for her. Did they make some sort of deal, where if she lets them deal with the White Walker threat in peace, Tyrion has to backstab Jon and Dany for her? A bargain for his life? Whatever the reason, Cersei didn’t do that for mercy. She did it for her.

It was probably love and mercy that saved the life of Jaime, however. I thought up until the final moment that he was dead, and I believe he did too. We always wondered if Jaime saw Cersei for what she was, and now I believe he clearly sees her. He’s left, completing his seven-season long redemption from kicking Bran out the window after banging his sister, to now riding North to fight for the good guys on the side of the living. His transition is fully complete. Will he be the death of Cersei or the other way around still? I think so. But not yet.

Meanwhile Sansa out-Littlefinger’d Littlefinger. As we all hoped, the act of complicity and agreement with him was just that, an act. Littlefinger rose up higher and played the game better than anyone else, all credit to him. But at the end of the day, the entire thing was a juggling act, a desperate façade of power that gradually translated into real power. At some point, the balls were going to drop and the baggage was going to be too much. It was going to find a way to turn on him eventually, and break his back in the most painful and humiliating way possible eventually. Kind of like Hillary Clinton. Farewell to one of the best characters the show has ever had, and thank you to him for giving us one of the better ones we have now: Cunning Sansa.

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The only complain I had that episode was the screen time devoted to Theon. It’d be hypocritical to spend more than 5 sentence fragments on it therefore, so here it goes, my condensed thoughts on Theon:

I appreciated the metaphor of him fighting for an honorable cause being his Stark and Greyjoy side. He will sacrifice himself to save Yara and be somewhat redeemed. Possibly unveil Cersei’s plan by finding out where Euron is? Still hope he isn’t too prominent with six seasons left. Who knew fighting with no dick such an advantage?

And finally, oh baby baby, the incest that America has been waiting for, the forecast finally called for seven inches of Snow, it happened…JON AND DANY TOTALLY DID IT OMG OMG OM-oh wow I just totally watched two people have sex while a narrator explained how they’re related as it happened, what the hell is wrong with all of us?

Jon and Dany’s connection has real signifigance. Jon is the heir to the Targaryan dynasty, full stop. There’s no debate about it. So Dany is now going to have to look at herself in the mirror and ask if she’s really fighting for her family or for herself because SHE wants to be queen. I think we all know the answer to that one. Jon could always reject the crown when he finds out, but Jon is all about honor and doing the right thing, would he refuse something that by the law of the land is rightfully his? I don’t know. He was fucking stupid enough to do the right thing by being honest with Cersei and nearly blew his life’s work in the process, he might be stupid enough to do that too. Jon Snow is the dumbest character in the history of television, he’s like your friend who is SUCH a good guy it’s almost annoying. You just want to hear him get mad or be selfish ONE TIME so everyone else doesn’t feel like such a prick.

The easy route out of all of this is marriage. But will Jon marry his aunt? Maybe he’ll use the timeless logic college kids have been using time immemoriam to justify when they made a bad decision a week before, it’s 2 AM and they’re by themselves: “Well I already did it once so there’s no harm in doing it 100 more times.” The Khaleesi is from a long-line of incest practitioners, she’s a product of it herself. I could see Jon being cool with it, I could see Jon going full Oedipus on us and stabbing his eyes out and trying to kill himself. Nothing would surprise me. Can’t ever really predict what a man would be willing to do for a woman, as we all know. Especially when she’s pregnant, and I’d be just as confident as I was betting on Floyd Mayweather as I would be that Dany now has a Little Jon, excuse me a Little Aegon, inside her right now.

The Walker threat is here, it has a dragon, it has giants, it’s real, and the biggest clash of the show is about to go down. I expect next season to be divided between the dream team of Jon/Dany/Tyrion/Bran/Jaime dealing with that, and the other half them dealing with an equally cold and monstrous threat: Cersei. What’s going to happen next? For a show that some people deride as predictable, I think how it goes down is anyone’s guess. The eight main characters (Jon/Dany/Starks/Lannisters) all escaped Season 7 alive. I very much doubt that will continue to be the case moving forward. Other than the Cleganebowl eventually happening (HYPE OVERLOAD), the fate of the people who have defined this Westerosi epic is still largely unwritten. And all I know is I can’t wait until 2019 is here to see the final story.

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And that’s about it for me for the recap. Not that I expect anyone to care about this, a little personal note for the few that do, this is my last blog and day working for Barstool Sports. Trust me, I don’t think I’m important enough for it to be headline news, but I just wanted to say thanks to the people who made working here so awesome: The audience.

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I joined Barstool as an 18 year-old college freshman, with all the bluster and insecurity that comes with that. In the four years since, I’ve changed, grown up, travelled and had experiences I would’ve never guessed I’d have. One of the constants during all that time was Barstool and it’s fans. This may sound corny, but the Barstool audience with all it’s loyalty, ball-busting, and I’d go so far as to say friendship, have had a huge effect on me being the person I am today and the opportunities I’ve been given. Did I handle every situation perfectly and am 100% proud of every word I’ve said over the last four years? No, and I realize there are people who still might not like me because of it. I completely understand that and have no ill will towards them. But someone once told me a man who likes himself can have no regrets, and I like the person I’ve become, have loved and am proud of how I’ve spent the last four years, and am more genuinely optimistic about my future than I’ve ever been. If you’re reading this, whether you’re a brand new reader or have been following and cheering me on for the last four years, you are a part of that. I might not have been a big part of Barstool, but Barstool will always be a big part of me. I’ll love it and cherish it forever and be it’s biggest fan on its rocket journey to the moon. I sincerely appreciate all of you for letting me be a part of it and for being a part of the best four years I could’ve asked for. With all the sincerity I have in my heart, thank you to each and every one of you, Valar Morgulis and Viva La Fucking Stool. And now…

PS: Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

Twitter @CharlieWisco