CULTURE

Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale: How the Internet Reacted to the Surprising First—and Only—Major Death

We should have known the sisters Stark were too smart for this.


HBO

This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7, episode 7.

For several weeks now, Game of Thrones’ Lord Baelish—the devious Littlefinger—has been trying to turn the sisters Sansa and Arya Stark against each other, an attempt to get himself closer to Sansa because of some weird deferred crush. (Baelish was, after all, hopelessly in love with the late Catelyn Stark.) He planted a letter Sansa had written, under duress, apparently betraying her family to the Lannisters, in a convenient location for Arya to find; he whispered of Arya’s plotted betrayal in her ear. Arya, for her part, seemed to buy it: Sansa’s betrayal, the power going to her head as lady of Winterfell. Sansa, too, appeared to lap up all Littlefinger’s schemes, eager to affirm her position as the ruler of the north in Jon Snow’s absence.

But, after all, it was all too convenient. Arya Stark was too smart to succumb to Littlefinger’s schemings. Sansa, too, for that matter. Midway through Sunday night’s season finale, while a peace summit was underway all the way down in King’s Landing, all the action was going down back in the north. After Littlefinger had done his utmost to turn Sansa against her sister and all but telling her outright Arya aspired to be lady of Winterfell, Sansa summoned her sister to the castle’s Great Hall. Sansa delivers the charges: murder, treason. Dramatic pause. “How do you plead,” she asks, “Lord Baelish?”

The Most Pompous Entrances and Rudest Exits on Game of Thrones Season 7 So Far

Olenna Tyrell may have been served poison after her army had been defeated and her grain stores raided, but she didn’t go out without making a gut-punch of a reveal: It was she who poisoned Joffrey Baratheon, not his uncle Tyrion Lannister, three ago. Good thing Cersei is again pregnant by her brother, because their incestuous brood has dwindled considerably since Joffrey’s death.

Courtesy HBO

Melisandre might have made her graceful exit when she incited Stannis Baratheon to roast his own daughter Shireen on a burning pyre, but no—it’s taken her two more seasons to take her leave. She left Dragonstone bound for Volantis, but never fear. She’ll be back, because, as she promised, she has to die in Westeros. As does Varys, apparently.

Courtesy HBO

Not Bran Stark precisely, but at least, his social skills—since he became the Three-Eyed Raven, these have quietly bid him adieu (as Meera Reed says dramatically, “You died in that cave”). Even his sister Arya, who has undergone her own transformation into a girl with no name (it’s Arya. her name is Arya.), has taken note. The Three-Eyed Raven might be the biggest drama queen in Westeros, and it’s a land filled with high drama. “I remember what it felt like to be Brandon Stark,” he tells Meera. “But I remember so much else now.” Including, apparently, “everything that’s ever happened to anyone.”

Speaking of Meera Reed, Bran Stark’s faithful companion north of the wall takes her leave once Bran (sorry, the Three-Eyed Raven) is securely installed back at Winterfell.

Courtesy HBO

Nymeria (Stark?), Arya Stark’s direwolf, had been AWOL since the first season, but she returned earlier this year for a brief mystical encounter with her former mistress in the forest. Just as quickly as she appears, Nymeria vanishes again into the woods, because a wolf has no master.

Courtesy HBO

The latest victim of Cersei Lannister’s revenge tour—an odyssey that gives Arya Stark’s murder list some real competition—Ellaria Sand and her daughter were chained in the basement of the Red Keep, where Ellaria was forced to watch her daughter die of the same poison with which she poisoned Myrcella Lannister.

Courtesy HBO

Euron Greyjoy didn’t make a literal return this season, because after he dropped in on the Iron Islands last season, he never really left. But when he arrived at King’s Landing earlier this season, intent on seducing Cersei Lannister—or at least securing the power and authority that comes with marrying her—he did so with a new look. Meera’s departure from Winterfell may have been meme-able, but it couldn’t compare to the stir Euron’s Rick Owens makeover caused on Twitter.

Courtesy HBO

Thanks to Samwell Tarley, Jorah “no one glowers like you” Mormont has been reintegrated into society, free of greyscale at last. It remains to be seen if that’s a good thing.

Courtesy HBO

Dickon Tarly, gone too soon. While he made a prominent entrance at the beginning of the season and spent the first four episodes currying favor with Jaime Lannister—seeming to secure his future on the series in the process—it turns out, he allied himself with the wrong team; this week, he was promptly incinerated alongside his father.

Courtesy HBO

The Night King, still freezing hearts and taking names, is back, and Jon Snow and co. are running straight for him.

Courtesy HBO

Certainly our favorite blacksmith-hammer-wielding bastard, if not our favorite bastard, Gendry Baratheon, the illegitimate son of King Robert Baratheon, made a grand re-entrance, joining the cause of the King in the North.

Courtesy HBO

First Ranger of the Night’s Watch Benjen Stark makes a grand entrance swinging a ball and chain wreathed in fire. He sends Jon Snow on his way, and we last see him falling beneath a dog pile of wights. (Zombies. They’re zombies.) Local hero Benjen Stark seems to always show up at the right place at the right time.

Courtesy HBO

Don’t call her Dany. That’s all.

Courtesy HBO

The Brotherhood Without Banners is dwindling; Thoros of Myr has been eviscerated by a zombie bear. (Zombies, everywhere.) For the uninitiated, Thoros is the one without the eyepatch. The other one is Beric.

Courtesy HBO

To anyone who isn’t Daenerys, her three dragons—her “children,” as she tells us again and again—might appear interchangeable. But with the death of Viserion by the Night King’s ice javelin, we lose the dragon named for her psychopathic late brother Viserys Targaryen. But where we lose a dragon, we gain a zombie dragon, which definitely seems like an upgrade as far as fantasy scenarios go.

Courtesy HBO

Honestly, it’s impressive Littlefinger survived this long. Nobody wanted him around, least of all the sisters Stark, who wrought his demise. But as they say, one man’s death is another woman’s death mask. Arya, here’s a face for your morbid collection of tokens.

Courtesy HBO
1/16

When Littlefinger vehemently denied the claims, Bran Stark chimed in—the Three-Eyed Raven had seen it all. It turns out, Littlefinger was the one who got them into this whole mess in the first place, turning Lannisters against Starks by killing Jon Arryn and then, in the fourth season, Arryn’s wife Lysa, aunt of Sansa and Arya. (Littlefinger had been fostered by Lysa’s parents, making them practically siblings—and making the betrayal all the more cutting.)

So, with no defense in the face of Bran Stark’s omniscience—finally, the socially inept Three-Eyed Raven serves his use—Littlefinger and his little mustache were doomed. In a bit of poetic justice, Arya pulled out the dagger Littlefinger gave Bran, and Bran passed on to Arya, and slit his throat. (Here’s hoping the Faceless Woman at least gets to keep Lord Baelish’s face. It could come in handy.) Despite the finale’s nearly feature film length, Petyr Baelish’s violent demise was the first and only major death in an episode that yielded plenty of setup for next season, but not the usual bloodshed of a Game of Thrones season closer. Still, Twitter had plenty to say on the subject—read on for a few of the reactions to the sudden reversal, and Lord Baelish’s death, circulating across social media Sunday night.