Initial Reaction To Episode Six: The Fellowship of the Wight
Wowee, I can’t think of any way to summarize this episode other than that I was simultaneously very impressed and very disappointed with how things went.
Of course, we needed to spend this episode in the North. But taking up time by making sure everyone chatted with everyone seemed like a so-so way to take up some time. But of course, I’m into this romantic side of Tormund.
Let’s get into it. Normally, as y’all know by now, I’m often disappointed by the tendency of the Game of Thrones writers, especially once they could no longer rely on the books for reference material, to have a couple heroes mow down countless extras without a single casualty. It’s straight out of some Lord of the Rings bullshit where Gimli and Legolas can have a friendly kill count contest because we know nothing would ever happen to them. But if there was ever a battle to let some fan favorites play home run derby, it makes sense to have it be this one against the army of the dead.
For most of the battle, the wights ran into our heroes at a regular pace so that they could grunt and kill a new one roughly every two seconds. The undead only decided to use their obvious advantage and swarm the nameless extras — those guys with the spears who might as well have been wearing red shirts — who were very obviously added to the roster so they could die.
So the tier three-level fighting gets a pass, only because there’s no need for finesse when hammering away at an endless onslaught of zombies is really the only way to survive. I will say that Jon moved pretty well when he was killing time for the rest of his Fellowship of the Wight comrades to board Drogon, but even then he managed to get his ass drowned.
And that brings me to my main takeaway: they all should be dead as hell. I’m normally willing to forgive various characters’ ability to travel around Westeros at warp speed, but having Gendry sprint to the wall, send a raven to Dragonstone, and then have Daenerys fly back up all within the couple of hours that Jon & Friendzz spent snoozing seems ridiculous. For a show that earned a reputation of killing off our favorites, Game of Thrones has really been pulling its punches lately. I mean, does anyone other than Beric truly miss Thoros? They didn’t even bother reminding us what the slain dragon’s name was.
Beyond the fact that they should all be wights, some of Jon’s party had some truly stupid moments that will probably cost them some points. Let’s start with Jorah. Boy oh boy, did he earn his spot at the bottom of the barrel once again. Every now and then I get some messages from readers who want me to go easier on Jorah, and I always remain optimistic that we’ll see him improve in the future. But in this episode, we see him nearly get choked out by a wight skeleton — an undead soldier whose bones are so fragile that they practically explode when slashed by a sword. And yet Jorah managed to get beaten once again, just like when he faced Aggo last season. Granted, this was his first encounter with a wight, but still.
Aside from that, this is the second major battle where Jon and Tormund exchanged a knowing look that indicated an unspoken agreement: “we’re fucked.” For this second time, they both should have died and yet the writers were unwilling to kill them off for good. As much as I’d like Tormund to stay at the top of my rankings, this was disappointing and will likely cost him. Switching to a heavy axe was a bad tactical move against a vast army of fast-moving drones, and Tormund paid for it by getting knocked down, swarmed, and dragged into the lake. But he survived, thanks to a plot device and ~character development.~ Having The Hound rescue Tormund wasn’t about keeping Tormund alive, but rather about redeeming The Hound after he failed to help Thoros. The fact that it was Tormund that he saved was inconsequential.
And Jon should be dead. I ran some numbers and found out that Jaime should have survived his underwater adventure, even without Bronn pulling him ashore, but Jon was actively being pulled underwater in a frozen lake by two wights, all while he was unarmed. I wasn’t surprised to see that the show kept him around, but he had no business climbing his way out of that hole just to have Benjen ride to the rescue.
Don’t think I forgot that he tried to give away Longclaw right before the most dangerous mission of his life, too. It was honorable and all that, and his willingness to make peace with a slave trader made for some great foreshadowing to D&D’s next showrunning venture, but god was it dumb. I mean, was he just going to trade swords with Jorah? Was he planning on punching the white walkers to death? Pragmatically, Longclaw would have been wasted on Jorah and there was no reason the offering couldn’t wait.
Finally, the Night King also made some poor choices. Drogon was sitting right in front of him along with Daenerys, Jon, Tormund, and all the others. All he needed to do was flick his spear like a hundred feet forwards and he would have ensured his victory, but he chose to take out a different dragon first. Yes, he then grabbed another spear and aimed at Drogon, but there’s no reason that he shouldn’t have started off with the easy, decisive kill — especially given the earlier foreshadowing of Drogon’s injury to the shoulder when Bronn hit him with a scorpion bolt . But at this point I’m ranting. I’m not yet sure how all this will affect my rankings because once again there weren’t any true duels, but I’m sure these disappointing choices will factor in.
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