HBO's Game of Thrones comes to a thundering season seven conclusion with "The Dragon and the Wolf". Tonight was like drinking water through a firehose. Many of the questions at the heart of the show were finally answered. We confirm the true parentage of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. The Stark family unites and rids the game of the most treacherous player. The white walker threat is proven to the Lannisters, but Cersei (Lena Headey) is as duplicitous as her father. The Wall meets its match in the resurrected wight dragon Viserion. The war between the dead and living begins in earnest. Epic is an understatement.
The Dragon and the Wolf opens in Kings Landing. Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), the Unsullied, and Dothraki horde amass outside the city. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) shore up the Lannister defenses. Bronn wonders why eunuchs fight for anything. Team Targaryen arrives via ship with the captured wight. Jon has never been to the capital. He asks Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) how many people live here. Tyrion replies a million, more than everyone in the North. The Hound (Rory McCann) goes below to check on their boxed wight prisoner.
At the Red Keep, Cersei prepares for the meeting. She tells the Mountain (Hafbor Julius Bjornsson) to kill Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), Jon Snow, and Tyrion if there's any treachery. Bronn meets Tyrion and Jon as they arrive. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman) are with him. Brienne is shocked to see the Hound alive. He congratulates her for almost finishing him off. He inquires why she isn't protecting Arya (Maisie Williams). Brienne responds that Arya can take care of herself, which actually leads to a smile on the curmudgeon's face. Podrick reaffirms his loyalty and respect for Tyrion. He is glad to see his old master alive. Bronn is not as sweet in his responses. The Hound has the box with the wight on a carriage.
The meeting takes place inside the Dragon Pit amphitheater. Three tents are set up for the various parties. Cersei shows up fashionably late with Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek), the Mountain, Jaime, and Qyburn (Anton Lesser). The Hound issues a dire warning to his brother, but there's no Clegane showdown yet. Daenerys is not there, which irks Cersei. Cue the Dragon Queen atop Drogon with Rhaegal in tow. Her landing is impressive. Drogon climbs down the pit stairs and deposits her in front of them. Tyrion starts to speak when Euron steals the show. He insults the dwarf, and then beckons Theon to swear loyalty or Yara dies. Cersei has had enough, she tells Euron to sit down as the Mountain threatens.
Jon addresses the gathering about the threat of the white walkers. Cersei laughs, she is unconvinced. The Hound releases the wight from its box. It charges Cersei, but has been chained. The Lannisters watch in amazement as the Hound hacks the wight to pieces, but it still lives. Qyburn picks up a severed, moving hand. Jon explains that a wight can only be killed two ways. They set fire to the wight's arm, which causes it to shriek in pain. Then Jon finishes it off with the Dragonglass. He explains that the long night is here, they must fight together for the living. Euron asks if the wights are able to swim. Jon responds no, he gives everyone the proverbial finger and flees back home.
Cersei now understands the threat, but wants Jon to remain neutral. Jon refuses, he swears loyalty to Daenerys. This catches everyone by surprise. Cersei is furious. She will not fight as her enemies ally against her. She leaves with her entourage. Brienne runs to Jaime. She begs him to make Cersei reconsider. He walks away.
Tyrion is stupefied by Jon's honesty. Couldn't he have lied just once to preserve the truce? Daenerys is upset. Her dragon died for nothing. Tyrion decides he will talk to Cersei alone. He is led into the Red Keep by the Mountain. Cersei and Tyrion have a bitter argument, but all chips are on the table. He swears his love for her children, then pours her a glass of wine. She doesn't drink, but holds her abdomen. He asks her to fight for the future. Her pregnancy has been exposed. Back at Dragon Pit, Daenerys and Jon talk about her inability to have children. Insert foreshadowing here. Cersei returns to the meeting. She has changed her mind. She will draw their banner men back, then send them north to join the fight.
At Winterfell, Sansa has received a letter from Jon. He will bend the knee to the Dragon Queen. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) continues to poison Sansa (Sophie Turner) against Arya. He says that with Sansa gone, Arya will be the Lady of Winterfell. At the Dragonstone war council, plans are being made. Jon and Daenerys decide to sail north together. They will present a united front. Theon and Jon have a reckoning in the throne room. Jon accepts Theon's apology for what he can. He says that Theon is a Stark and a Greyjoy. Theon must go to rescue his sister. Jon wonders why he's still standing there. Theon goes to the beach and addresses Yara's men. He fights the leader, who continually kicks him in the groin to no avail. A bloodied and victorious Theon rallies them to save Yara.
At Winterfell, Sansa has Arya brought in front of the north lords. But instead of accusing her of treason and murder, she turns her accusations to a stunned Littlefinger. He watches in amazement as Sansa coldly lists his many crimes; the murder of Jon and Lisa Arryn, the betrayal of her father, the attempt on Bran's life, and his treachery with the Boltons. He begs for mercy, but the sentence is clear. Sansa thanks him for his many lessons. Arya cuts his throat. Littlefinger dies as he bleeds to death in front of everyone.
At the Red Keep, Jaime is giving their banner men instructions. Cersei tells him to halt. He is a fool. Did he really think that she would join the fight? Let the Starks and Targaryens fight the wights. She has learned from her father the power of gold. She has hired the Golden Company of Essos with help from the Iron Bank. Euron did not leave for the Iron Islands. He is going to pick up their 20,000 soldiers. What happened to Daenerys third dragon? Maybe they can be killed after all. Jaime has had enough. He goes to leave, but is briefly blocked by the Mountain. He dares Cersei to give the order to kill him. She doesn't. Jaime rides away from King's Landing as snow begins to fall.
At Winterfell, Sam (John Bradley) has arrived to join the fight. He goes to see Bran (Isaac Hempsted Wright), who remembers him from the Wall. Bran tells Sam he can see anything as the Three-Eyed Raven. He also drops the bombshell that Jon is actually the bastard son of his aunt Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen. Sam says he's not a bastard. He has proof that Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell was annulled by the High Septon Maynard. Bran goes back in time and witnesses their marriage ceremony in Dorne. As he does this, the long awaited coupling of Jon and Daenerys take place on the boat. They engage in passionate sex (which chalks up more Game of Thrones incest into the realm), giving in to their long-simmering feelings. Tyrion is the only one on the ship that sees this. Bran then goes back to the whisper that Lyanna had told his father on her deathbed in Dorne. Jon Snow's real name is Aegon Targaryen. Since his parents were married, Sam and Bran realize that Robert's rebellion was a lie. Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Arya and Sansa are together atop the wall at Winterfell. Arya congratulates her sister for making the decision to execute Littlefinger. Sansa replies that her sister is the bravest person she has known. They talk about how a pack of wolves are stronger together. The Starks are united. They are finally back together after years apart.
At Eastwatch, Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Beric (Richard Dormer) hear horns blaring. They go to the lookout. The dead are gathering below the Wall. There is a screech from above. The undead Viserion comes swooping out of the clouds with the Night King on its back. It blasts the wall with a ferocious torrent of blue energy. The wildlings and Beric run for their lives as a huge chunk of the wall comes crashing down. The final shot of Game of Thrones season seven has the white walkers and the undead army pouring through the breach.
Game of Thrones season 8 may possibly be years away, but that doesn't sway our love for this show. This may be in fact, the most epic story every told on celluloid, and even 7 seasons in, it's been gripping and dragging our emotions through the ringer the entire time.