Halt! This here post is dark and full of spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “Beyond the Wall.” If you haven't watched it, turn away and head back to the Citadel to complete your homework.
Game of Thrones is a series of surprises. In the beginning, it was a shock to see the nice, “good” characters come to awful ends. We learned no one was safe and threw around the phrase as comfort every time another heroic person bit the dust. Then, we were awed by smoke monsters and the presence of dragons. Most recently, it's been a bit of a wonder that none of our favorite characters are dying; they're actually making it out of seemingly impossible situations.
“Beyond the Wall” changed the game with a blue-eyed wight dragon revelation in its final scene. I don't use the game-changer line lightly. The Night King's action altered what I thought I knew about how Game of Thrones would end. That's one of the reasons the Night King is the MVP of the penultimate episode of season seven.
Before we dive into the Night King's profound show of power, let's touch on the obvious rationale for naming him MVP. He was a textbook example of working smart, not hard in “Beyond the Wall.” The Night King didn't have to do anything to lure Jon Snow and his men; they planned their own idiotic Tour of the North trip. Once he had them there, he let his vast, exceptionally expendable army do their thing. He didn't have to raise a bony finger.
The Night King has all the time in the world. He was content to let his army wait out the refreezing of the lake and go after Jon and his men. His patience paid off when Daenerys flew her dragons to the scene, which leads us to another reason the Night King wins the episode. He got himself a damn undead dragon.
The leader of all the White Walkers had massive, dragon-killing spears for some reason. I guess he's probably heard about Dany and her dragons by now, so maybe he's been getting prepared. He didn't panic when he saw Drogon light swaths of his army on fire or call for a retreat. He doesn't have the burden of compassion to hold him back. The Night King remained calm and took down Viserion without any sign of emotion.
Awful? Yes. I'm not siding with the Night King. But I can't deny he made an intelligent and valuable move in a sea of our heroes making stupid decisions. He resurrected Viserion and gained a giant, scaly asset—a weapon capable of changing the tide.
Call me a sweet summer child, but I believed Daenerys and her dragons would be the end of the Night King and his army. Dragon fire is one of the few guaranteed ways to end a White Walker's existence. You'd think by now I would know Game of Thrones isn't a show about happy endings, but I had a hope it's where the story was going.
I can see how a dragon fueled triumph could still happen. Since Jon has been dead before, maybe he'll be able to connect with and ride Viserion. But that's a theory for another time.
As it is, the Night King scored a huge win by gaining an ice dragon. The dragons seemed like undefeatable, surefire solutions to the survival of Westeros. If the Night King can take down such a powerful force by barely exerting any effort, what else can he do? We thought we saw it all when Jon witnessed the Night King in action at “Hardhome,” but that terrifying display was nothing compared to how the zombie ruler shifted an entire freaking war by throwing a spear at a dragon like most of us toss trash into a dumpster.
For the first time, I feel like the citizens of Westeros are utterly and completely screwed. Good job, Night King.
Does my choice for MVP align with yours? Fly a dragon (too soon?) to the comments and tell me your pick.
Images: HBO, Tumblr/Mohammed