Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, though it is currently on hiatus.
What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).
When: The Season Seven finale aired on HBO on Sunday, August 27, 2017, at 9:00 PM.
Where: The show is set in the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms. Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.
Why: A friend basically said the Chief CP had to watch it and for good reason (other panelists received similar recommendations). I, personally, gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read. I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, as some of the panelists have, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so. Our resident book readers laud the show about as highly as they do the novels; thus, with this solid foundation, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born, for all of our (returning) panelists.
How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS
For a recap of season 4, read here.
CPU! also previously published podcast episodes reviewing and recapping Seasons 5 and 6. To catch up, click the embedded links below:
This year, with the explosive and epic and (SPOILER) zombie-dragon laden seventh season behind us, CPU!’s noble group of Game of Thrones panelists – Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob – returns to the Water Cooler with one of our “lost” episodes to discuss what many of us find to be our favorite show, including the goings-on of the penultimate seventh season. Plus, many of panelist Kristen’s so-called dominoes continued to fall this season in spectacular and satisfying ways, so our panel was only too excited to spend time gushing, a few times owing to equipment failures and such, about what was ultimately another thrilling Thrones season.
In this episode, then, our panel of GoT obsessed chats and theorizes all things Season Seven as well as speculates about what Season Eight – the finale season – might look like, especially since the show has, permanently, surpassed the books in terms of plot propulsion. Our scholarly bunch does not disappoint with their effusive opinions; as usual, we cover quite a bit of territory, revisiting three-headed dragon theories, the continued consequences of incest, and hopes and wishes for the ensuing war to come. We can only salivate and speculate about possible future developments.
This podcast was (re)recorded in April 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the seventh season of GoT. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Broadchurch panel will finally return to the Water Cooler after a two-year (!) hiatus to discuss and to digest the third and final series of the acclaimed British drama and to look back at the success of the program as a whole. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise? Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon (Kit Harington) or Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) or someone else? Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons? And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)? Anyone else?
REPEAT ANSWER: The Azor A’hai and the Prince Who Was Promised are two names for the same basic concept. As above, however, the question of who or what that is remains unanswered. We also do not know if the Three-Headed Dragon theory and the Prince Who Was Promised theory/prophecy are linked.
2) Will we see “Clegane-bowl,” i.e. the Hound (Rory McCann) v. the Mountain in hand-to-hand combat in the war to come?
ANSWER: Much to panelist Kristen’s dismay, “Clegane-bowl” has not yet manifested on Game of Thrones. Though Sandor and Gregor experience a brief reunion near the end of the season, when various forces meet at King’s Landing in council to discuss the coming threat of the White Walkers, neither brother, living nor undead, seem feisty enough to fight, each other or anyone else. Yet.
3) Will Dany reach Westeros and aim specifically for King’s Landing and Cersei (Lena Headey)?
ANSWER: Yes and yes. Dany reaches Dragonstone, the Targaryen ancestral home, in the first episode of the season, and it is a magical and wonderful landing, full of awe and wistfulness on the part of the intrepid Khaleesi. Once she collects herself from reveling in this accomplishment, she almost immediately turns her sights toward King’s Landing on the advice of her hand, Tyrion Lannister, Cersei’s much estranged younger brother. Listen to the podcast episode for details.
4) Will Arya (Maisie Williams) or Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) find their siblings/return to Winterfell? Or, will Bran go North, and Arya go South?
ANSWER: In a surprisingly happy season for the Starks, Arya and Bran both returned home to Winterfell. Arya learns from some passing travelers/Lannister soldiers (one played by Maisie Williams’ favorite singer, Ed Sheeran) that Jon Snow is currently serving as King in the North, and so she turns her attention away from her revenge list and heads home. Bran, in the meantime, in an awkwardly antisocial, if not catatonic, Three-Eyed Raven state, also returns home, anticipating a reunion with his brother (but really his cousin) Jon. Unfortunately, when Bran arrives at his childhood home, Jon had already left Winterfell to visit Dragonstone to entreat Dany to an alliance against the White Walkers and/or to mine the palace’s dragon-glass to use against them. Listen to the episode for details.
5) Who will Arya aim for next, now that she has the backing of the Many Faced God and the skills taught to her by the House of Black and White?
ANSWER: Her first name to check off her list: Walder Frey. We see her master ninja superhero revenge plan in an extended sequence in the season premiere, inclusive of some pie filled with parts of Freys, ingested by Walder before Arya ruthlessly slits his throat. She clearly intends to aim for Lannister necks next, particularly Cersei’s, but a chance encounter with her lost direwolf, Nymeria, and the aforementioned Ed Sheeran convinces her to go north instead, which is well and good for our intrepid Girl, as Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) becomes her next target through the machinations of an elaborate con orchestrated by Arya and her sister Sansa (Sophie Turner). Listen to the podcast episode for details.
6) Will Sansa make a play to be Queen of the North? Will she finally be seduced by Littlefinger’s romantic advances and plan for their future?
ANSWER: Sansa never finds herself in the position of having to “make a play.” Though she rarely agrees with Jon’s direction while he wears the proverbial Winterfell crown, Jon ultimately leaves Sansa as steward of Winterfell when he departs to go talk to Dany down south. Sansa also staves off heavy attempts at seduction by Lord Baelish, to which he devotes his best college try in an effort to manipulate Sansa to work against her suspicious ninja sister and brooding brother/secret cousin one last time. Sansa, however, first tells Littlefinger off for leaving her in the custody of Ramsey, only to be raped and brutally tortured by the sadistic but expired so-called bastard. Later, she executes a brilliantly mapped out scheme, in which Sansa and Arya act as if Baelish is playing each sister off one another, for the purpose of exposing the manipulator for his traitorous actions, which, among other dire results, led to an assassination attempt on Bran, the death of Ned, Sansa’s sham marriage to Ramsey, and other crimes against House Stark. As a result, by the end of the season, Sansa orders Littlefinger’s execution, carried out by none other than her Needle-wielding sister, Arya. RIP Littlefinger. Your ample game is finished.
7) Will Jon Snow stay parked at Winterfell? Will he find out about his true parentage? Will he be forced to engage the White Walkers in the next season, or will he be forced to enter a battle in the South between Lannisters and Targaryens?
ANSWER: Jon does not stay parked for long. As a result, he also narrowly misses the opportunity to learn his true parentage from his brother/cousin Bran, who returns to Winterfell this season, or from Sam Tarly (John Bradley), who leaves Oldtown having learned the same juicy information, later confirmed for Sam by Bran when Sam and Gilly (Hannah Murray) arrive (in record time) at Winterfell. Jon, meanwhile, picks a fight with the Walkers when he decides to lead a somewhat suicidal expedition, staffed by Thoros of the Brotherhood, Gendry Baratheon (Joe Dempsie, out from being in hiding as a blacksmith in King’s Landing for several seasons, apparently), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), the Hound, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), and a few others, north of the Wall to capture a wight, in order that they might bring it south to King’s Landing to convince Cersei to ally with Houses Stark and Targaryen against the coming of White Walker Winter. This expedition results in extreme casualties (we don’t even want to say but do below and in the episode). Though the Lannisters and Targaryens, or, namely, Dany definitely do battle among themselves, Jon does not involve himself or the armies of the North in the fight.
8) Will we see more Lyanna Mormont? The panel votes yes.
ANSWER: We see the Little Bear briefly. She is around early in the season to question Jon’s decision to appeal to Dany, as northerners do not trust southerners, especially Targaryens, very much. In the end, she supports him, though, and convinces the other Northern heads of houses to do the same.
9) Will we see the emergence of Lady Stoneheart? Will she be in the form described by the books, or will one of the Stark daughters take on her story lines?
ANSWER: We suspect that the possibility of encountering Lady Stoneheart is probably a non-starter at this point. If there was an opportunity to see a return of Catelyn Stark in partial zombie form, it is likely that said opportunity has passed.
10) How will Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) react to Cersei’s new power? Will he be the younger brother that fulfills Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, or will it be Tyrion, now that he’s on his way back home at the side of Dany?
ANSWER: Jaime, it is apparent, is not loving Cersei’s new look. She is as ruthless, cold, and mad as her father Tywin, certainly, or possibly even as much as the Mad King Aerys, who was slain by Jaime before the events of the series started (and who might quite possibly be the secret, illegitimate father of any or all of the Lannister children, if abounding theories are correct). As for Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, we are still anticipating its ultimate fruition. The panelists continue to hold strong hope that Jaime will be the younger (twin) brother in question who finally gets sane and ends his sister’s life and, therefore, their twincest relationship once and for all. He has taken a hopeful step in that direction as of the end of the season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.
11) How will King’s Landing react to Cersei’s rule, in the absence of the strength of the High Sparrow and the new religion?
ANSWER: Most of King’s Landing subjects react either in fear toward Cersei or in awe and allegiance because they trust the evil they know, even one as ruthless as Cersei, over the Targaryen princess who recently returned to Westeros, despite being the last (known) survivor of her line. Yet, Cersei struggles all season with being financially indebted to the Bank of Westeros and with gathering enough might to prepare for Dany’s inevitable attacks. Early in the season, Jaime lays siege to Highgarden and the last of House Tyrell, the richest house on the continent, in order to take their money and land at Cersei’s order. Of course, that decision does not come without several disappointing consequences and delicious comeuppances all around and in their own right. Listen to the episode already!
12) Will we see the emergence of more dragon riders? Will the Three-Headed Dragon prophecy/theory come true this season?
ANSWER: Other than Dany, no one’s mounting dragons yet…though Jon Snow does experience a curious connection with Drogon when he visits Dragonstone… The panelists, your Chief CP included, still hold out hope for this theory in the end, though events of the season make us question whether the hope we have is that of the fool.
13) House Bolton is out of the Game of Thrones with the death of Ramsey. Will Euron Greyjoy and his bid for the Iron Islands and the Iron Throne render him the new sadistic villain of the series, as panelist Rob predicts?
ANSWER: Euron turns out to be a B-villain at best. Though his strongest gambit for the Throne is to propose marriage to Cersei, she is unimpressed and rejects his proposal. He then attacks the Sand Snakes and their forces, thereafter bringing his queen two surviving Snakes of the original four: Ellaria (Indira Varma) and one of her daughters. Cersei subsequently exacts ruthless revenge against Ellaria by poisoning her remaining daughter with the same substance used by Ellaria to eliminate Cersei’s daughter Myrcella. She then leaves Ellaria alive, in chains, to watch her daughter die and decompose until she wastes away herself. Despite this poetic but stone cold revenge, Cersei still does not acquiesce to Euron’s questionable charms, and when the madder Greyjoy learns of the approach of the White Walkers, he kind of flees back to the Iron Islands, only to encounter a feistier Theon (Alfie Allen) and sister Yara, who Theon rescues from Euron’s clutches. The panel, though, groans when discussing this House and wonders how much we should still care. Seriously, they are kind of tedious.
14) Where is Jon’s direwolf Ghost and Arya’s direwolf Nymeria? Will they survive the series?
ANSWER: We have not seen Ghost this season, though we presume he is kicking it, direwolf-style, in Winterfell while Jon is off meeting and eventually romancing (secret aunt) Dany. Arya reunites briefly with Nymeria, but her direwolf has grown wild, independent, and has taken on a new life as leader of a roaming wolf pack. Arya, talking with her former companion, realizes that she and Nymeria are leading the same existence, as the youngest Stark daughter has also grown wild, independent, and leads her own new life, filled with super Many Faced God powers and ninja-like fighting reflexes and skills. Arya, then, looks on as Nymeria returns to her new life, while Arya grabs hold of her own and heads toward Winterfell.
15) Will the White Walkers breech the Wall next season?
ANSWER: I almost do not want to type this answer! YES. Yes, they breech the Wall. How, you ask? Well, remember when Jon takes his small party north to go get a wight? That does not go so well. They capture a wight, sure, but end up surrounded by the Armies of the Dead, with the Night King looking on from a nearby cliff overhead. Thoros is wounded and freezes to death. Gendry is able to (somehow) run away and to (somehow) send the fastest raven in this fantastical world to Dany, who, also in record time, finds Jon and company north of the Wall on the back of her beloved Drogon. Unfortunately, the trouble is, she also brings the other two dragons, not knowing about the Night King’s considerable javelin-throwing skills, mimicking the best ballista Qyburn can construct. With zombie power and strength, our favorite blue eyed zombie demon tosses his weapon and pierces the neck of Viserion (the green one, I believe). Viserion, beloved dragon child of Dany, falls through the ice of the frozen lake that nearly becomes the burial ground – or zombie-making waters – of Jon and his group. Though Dany manages to save Jon and most of the others, and flies away narrowly unscathed, we watch as Viserion emerges from the ice, A WHITE WALKER DRAGON ZOMBIE WHO SHOOTS BLUE FIRE. We do not know what this blue fire is. We do know that it is ultimately capable of – you guessed it – taking out the Wall. The last shot of the season shows the Armies of the Dead, advancing over the rubble of what was formerly the Wall into the Northern countryside below. Winter is fricking here, man, and it’s terrifying. And the Three-Headed Dragon theory? Well, that fan favorite speculation, and panel favorite too, teeters precariously in the balance. The panel’s only hope is that Jon, being sort of undead himself what with his previous resurrection and all, might be able to ride Viserion in his current state. Or, maybe Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, now much like a zombie himself, will warg into and take control of Viserion’s zombified brain. WE JUST DON’T KNOW!! This is the biggest question going into Season Eight: will Viserion be saved? Or, will he help the Walkers decimate their opposition in their march south? Or a little of both? We’re hoping both, though we definitely expect the latter.
16) Is there something in the Wall other than protective magic, as panelist Kristen has theorized?
ANSWER: Unless something comes out of the rubble next season, panelist Kristen’s theory does not so much pan out. A Wall is, sometimes, just a wall. Like a Girl is, sometimes, just a Girl.
1) The panelists predict 6 to 1 that Cersei will meet her maker next season: will it be Jaime (as we hope) who ultimately ends her life? Will it be Tyrion, though he is not one for getting his hands dirty and though he tries to make amends with his rotten older sister at the end of Season Seven? Or, will it be Arya, wearing the face of Jaime after offing him first and then using the power of the Many Faced God to complete her list? Or, will it be the alleged baby that Cersei is now purportedly pregnant with, as she informs her brother that it is his, of course, what with all of their twincesting, at the end of the season? Although, the baby would be her other children’s younger brother, and is that idea really within the purview of the prophecy? Panelist Kristen also surmises that Cersei could die in childbirth, like her mother; could have a miscarriage; or could end her pregnancy, though the panel determined that neither of these ends really satisfy as much as the first three proposals. What we know is that we are agreed: Cersei will die. It’s just a question of when and how.
2) Now that Jon Snow and Dany have fallen in love, not knowing their true relationship – i.e. that Dany is Jon’s secret aunt – will Dany become pregnant with a human baby? Will that baby be, in fact, the Prince Who Was Promised? The Song of Ice and Fire? The Azor Ahai? The Savior of All? Will the show finally answer the question of that mystical entity’s identity: Jon, Dany, or the offspring of Ice and Fire, respectively? How much ice and how much fire does one story possibly need?! (Okay, we agree…a lot, when it’s called A Song of Ice and Fire).
3) The panel universally predicts and agrees that there are two major battles left. One: fighting to fend off Winter, i.e. the White Walkers. Two: the fight for the Iron Throne. Which will come first? Will the White Walkers be beaten back? Will the Iron Throne remain standing after all is said and done?
4) Will both Jon and Dany survive the series? Panelist Rob predicts that Jon will nobly sacrifice himself for the good of all. The rest of the panel, panelist Amanda most reluctantly, feels that Dany’s tragic death, after all of her struggle to be ruler of Westeros, is the more likely scenario. We expect her to sacrifice herself for the good of all, including her dragons, her Jon, and her country. Of course, everyone hopes everyone will survive, but the show already took out a dragon, and after seven seasons, we know that nothing is safe, even as Jon Snow knows nothing. Still.
5) Will Tyrion survive? What was with his suspicious look when he saw Jon and Dany enter a room together, making googly eyes at each other, about to do some unbeknownst-to-them incest?? Panelist Kylie predicts that Tyrion will survive and will be the character who provides the end commentary about the future fates of Westeros.
6) Will Sansa end up being Queen in the North? Will Winterfell survive? Or, will the Walkers lay waste to the north, resulting in the Starks abandoning their ancestral home, as panelist Jay predicts? Will Sansa be around to help rebuild? Or, will she fall in defense of the North that she loves?
7) Will Arya survive? Will she do something awesome in battle, like take out some White Walkers? Will she kill Jaime? Will she kill Cersei? If she does survive, what will be her life’s purpose, should her vendetta list no longer apply? Will she at least get to see Jon before too long? They’re each other’s favorite not-quite-sibling. It would be nice.
8) Why should we bother or care about House Greyjoy at this point? Seriously, though, show. Several panelists, Amanda most of all, predict that Theon and Yara might have some redemption deed to do in one or both of the upcoming battles. Most of us just find it hard to care more about them than other characters still in the game.
9) Will anyone save Viserion the Dragon? Will the other dragons, Rhaegal and Drogon, survive? WILL THERE BE A THREE-HEADED DRAGON RIDING SITUATION IN THE END? PLEASE?
10) Are the Lannisters, any of them, secretly Targaryen offspring? Kylie’s money is still on Tyrion, but how would we even know that now? Would it matter, except for the purpose of fulfilling the Three-Headed Dragon theory, that may or may not come to pass, on account of zombified Viserion flying around the unfriendly skies?
11) Will Bran or Sam finally tell Jon who his real parents are? And if either of them do, what difference will that information make, other than to prove that Jon has, currently, the most legitimate claim to the Iron Throne, given that Rhaegar, his biological father, legitimately but secretly married to Jon’s mother, Lyanna Stark, at the time of his death, was the true heir to the throne prior to Robert’s Rebellion?
12) What is Bran’s ultimate purpose as the Three-Eyed Raven? Will he be the magic that keeps the White Walkers at bay in the end, as panelist Jay predicts? Will he warg into direwolves or zombie dragons to save the day, as panelist Chelsea predicts? Where will Bran end up? Of course, several panelists estimate that he’ll just live out his days creepily telling everyone that he is the Three-Eyed Raven, no matter what happens in this Game of Thrones.
13) Did Tormund Giantsbane, who was on the parapets of the Wall at the time that zombie Viserion blue-fired it into ash, survive this onslaught? Many of the panel, with the somewhat strong exception of Jay, wish for Tormund and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) to have gigantic babies, which necessarily requires that he stay alive.
14) Or, is Brienne finally going to get requited admiration from Jaime, who decides to ride North, away from his selfish sister, when she refuses to form an alliance with Houses Stark and Targaryen to defeat the White Walkers?
15) What will Sam and Gilly do once – and if – they share the information they learned from Oldtown with Jon Snow?
Game of Thrones continues to be, and is still possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today. The fact that the show has caught up with and has now surpassed the timeline of the books is admirable in and of itself. The pacing quickened this season, which left some of the CPU! panelists struggling to adjust to the new sense of time passing, as the story revved up toward its inevitable conclusion in this penultimate season without benefit of book-based foundation. Yet, nearly all of the episodes remained fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen. The panelists, again with mostly positive regard of Season Seven, remain generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and are quivering with anticipation as we await, anxiously and for an extra long time, the show’s final six extra long episodes, slated to premiere in 2019. As always, the panelists discuss many theories and observations in this podcast episode, but all are unequivocally excited for the final eighth season and to watch the end of this epic tale unfold!
Game of Thrones was renewed for an eighth and final season, which is not slated to premiere on HBO until 2019; a premiere date has not yet, in fact, been announced. The CPU! Game of Thrones podcast panel will next reconvene following the eighth season and overall series finale of GoT with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes. The first of these episodes will review the show’s final season; the second will look back at the show as a whole. As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Thrones coverage. Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.