If you haven't seen last night's episode of Game of Thrones you may want to stop reading now as there are plenty of spoilers ahead. Game of Thrones is no stranger to shock value, but last night's episode "Beyond The Wall" can be officially chalked up to one of the greatest episodes of the season... even if the episode did leak a week early.
As Jon Snow and the others trudge through the snowy landscape beyond the Wall. Jon explains to Tormund that Daenerys won't help unless he bends the knee. Sensing Gendry's resentment, Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion rationalize their past decision to sell the boy to Melisandre: Wars cost money. Gendry's description of his experience -- stripped naked, strapped to a bed, leeches placed on him -- wins him no sympathy. Jon connects with Jorah, relieved when the older man refuses to take back Longclaw.
While the Hound and Tormund share their different perspectives on Brienne of Tarth, Beric catches up to Jon to discuss his resurrection. Jon is frustrated he doesn't know why he was brought back, but Beric posits what matters is knowing what they're fighting for. Jon repeats his old Night's Watch vow, "I am the shield that guards the realms of men" and the two men agree, maybe that's enough. The group stops as the Hound takes in a distinctive mountaintop: the one he saw in the flames.
The small band runs into a heavy blizzard. Tormund glimpses something through the snow, and the men ready themselves for what emerges: a bear with blue eyes. Beric attacks, sword ablaze, but the burning bear continues to charge, and turns on the Hound. He stands frozen in terror, until Thoros intercedes. The bear targets the Red Priest, sinking its jaws into Thoros' shoulder just before Jorah vanquishes it with a dragonglass dagger into its neck. Thoros refuses to return to Eastwatch so Beric cauterizes the wound with his fiery blade. The group soldiers on.
Tormund halts the march; the Army of the Dead moves through a canyon below. The team lights a fire near the mouth of the pass to draw the attention of a White Walker. Jon and the rest of the men spring into action; Jon takes down the Walker with Longclaw. Once the White Walker shatters, several of the wights accompanying him drop as well. The Hound grabs the last remaining wight, but not before it lets out a high-pitched scream. The sound of the massive army on the move is heard in the distance. The group rush to bind their captive wight, placing a sack over its head. Jon instructs Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send a raven to Daenerys. Faster without his hammer, Gendry reluctantly leaves it behind and sprints south.
The remaining men head to a small island in the middle of an iced-over lake. They tread carefully when the Hound makes a slight crack on the surface. They wights close in but the weight of the army causes the crack to give way, forming a protective moat around the tiny island. Dozens of the dead fall into the water and sink. Safe for the moment, the men prepare for the cold night ahead.
Running to the point of exhaustion, Gendry collapses just outside the Eastwatch gate. Panting for breath, the young man tells Davos to send a raven immediately. Receiving the message at Dragonstone, Tyrion tries to convince Daenerys she cannot fly off on a rescue-mission. Unwilling to simply do nothing again, she sets off for the North.
The men and wights realize the ice has frozen solid. The army begins to cross towards the small island and a chaotic fight ensues, the wights relentless in their pursuit. The Hound wields Gendry's hammer but realizes a dragonglass dagger is more effective. Tormund is nearly dragged into the water but is saved by the Hound. Still, the men begin to tire, and their wight struggles in its bindings. They fall into a circle formation around it, their situation increasingly bleak.
Overhead, Drogon roars into view with Viserion and Rhaegal behind him. Daenerys quickly takes stock, and guides Drogon to land on the island. The men climb on board the massive dragon but Jon remains on the ground to fight off approaching wights.
And of course, the most shocking moment of the entire episode, under the observance of the White Walkers, a crew of wights hoist a huge chain from the frozen lake. Viserion's lifeless body emerges onto the shore. The Night King approaches the lifeless creature, and lays his hand on it. The dragon's eye opens and turns a deep, icy blue. That's right. The White Walkers have a dragon now. How, or will that play into the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, only next week will tell. Watch a clip of The Night King and the dragon below.