In ‘Beyond The Wall,’ Game of Thrones dispatched with at least two characters that will have massive consequences.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for everything through Game of Thrones season 7, episode 6, “Beyond The Wall” and a little bit of speculation.
We love the spectacle of it. How can you not, right? “Beyond The Wall,” as directed by Alan Taylor, was one of Game of Thrones‘ most massive battle episodes. It was the first time we’ve seen Daenerys and her dragons take on The Night King and the army of the dead. That’s a huge moment in the context of the show and the meta context of what fans have been waiting to see for years. And even though it took a horrifying turn, it was well worth the wait. Plus, it sets up some very large stakes to come. Now we know that Daenerys’ dragons aren’t completely invincible against The Night King. Cersei doesn’t stand a chance, but he’s got a few magical spear-chucking tricks up his sleeve.
For every glorious polygon “Beyond The Wall” gave us, it also took away two fairly major characters: Viserion the dragon and Thoros of Myr, the Red Priest. Both of these losses will be felt in different ways by the people who will carry on. But neither of them should be minimized in any way. These aren’t hoods-up red shirts from Eastwatch. Both of them matter in a big way to someone. Let’s break down what their losses will mean.
This one is a very tough break, as the side that fights for the living not only lost one of its three biggest weapons, said weapon was also turned over to the other side. Now The Night King has a dragon to ride that spits — fire, we assume. This evens the odds considerably between Daenerys’ crew and the army of the dead. It also gives The Night King a vessel upon which he can go over The Wall.
What does it truly mean for The Night King to have a dragon? It’s hard to say at this point. We don’t know much about what Viserion will be like as an undead dragon. Will he breathe ice or fire? Blue fire, perhaps? Beyond the battlefield implications, we also have to wonder if somehow Viserion will be the key to the army of the dead crossing The Wall. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t come into play.
Thoros of Myr
It’s not such a bad way to go, dying in your sleep. Although Thoros did also get his chest ripped open by a zombie polar bear and the only anesthesia within a hundred mile radius was some wine. Which would be fine if he weren’t one of the most notorious lushes in Westeros. His tolerance for alcohol must have been extraordinary, making it that much harder to numb the pain from the bear attack.
The worst part about losing Thoros is what it means for both Beric Dondarrion and Jon Snow. With Melisandre headed back to Essos, there are no more purveyors of the Red Faith in Westeros. This means no more resurrections for the time being. In recent statements, George R.R. Martin likened Beric and Jon to the wights of the icy army, calling them wights resurrected by fire, soldiers of the Lord of Light. The question is: if there aren’t any priests or priestesses of R’Hllor around when they die, can the Lord of Light still bring them back? It does escalate the stakes of their future battles if they don’t have the Undead Plan B option.
Luckily for Jon Snow, this episode once again proves that he’s still wearing significant plot armor. Which brings us to our bonus death…
Shout Out to Uncle Benjen
The way the show has used Benjen Stark, aka Coldhands, aka Uncle Benhands, has been disappointing. At least when you compare what the show did with the legend of Coldhands in the book. They could have at least given him a massive undead elk to ride. That said, he did get his moment to shine at the end of this episode, showing up just in time to say hello and goodbye to his nephew Jon. I have to wonder because I’m wired this way, whether Benjen knew about Jon’s true parentage. If anyone knew about Jon being the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, it would be Ned, Benjen, and Howland Reed (Meera’s dad who accompanied Ned to the Tower of Joy). The finality of Benjen’s death in “Beyond the Wall” crosses off another name of someone who can explain Jon’s family history, not only to Jon but to others, as well.
In the end, none of these three characters were going to be Azor Ahai or be the lynchpin to defeating either Cersei or The Night King. Although you could make a case for the dragon. But as I’ve explained, each of these three deaths comes with reverberations that will be important in the future, especially in the wars to come.
Related Topics: Game of Thrones