In some ways, Game of Thrones has been setting up the ultimate showdown between the dead and the living since the very first scene of the series. And that’s exactly what fans expected to see in the sixth episode of Season 7, “Beyond the Wall.”
As a general rule, the penultimate episodes before each season finale are among Game of Thrones’ best. In terms of story and character development and sheer excitement alone, “Beyond the Wall” could easily join the ranks of its predecessors.
The episode drew firm lines between characters we’d long assumed would remain allies. It brought many other characters to the brink of destruction. And it introduced a shocking new enemy that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen will have to defeat.
Here’s everything you missed in Episode 6 of Season 7 of Game of Thrones.
Hunting for the dead
On the long walk north, Jon Snow, Tormund, Gendry, and their newfound friends make small talk about the weather, women, and bending the knee. Tormund evokes Mance Rayder’s name when he offers Jon a surprising bit of advice. If he’s looking at a massive loss of life for his people, Tormund admits there may be worse things than pledging fealty for the sake of peace.
Jon gains even more wisdom from Beric Dondarrion, who’s died enough times — six, by his count — to have figured out what’s really worth living for. “Death is the enemy,” he tells Jon. “The first enemy and the last.”
So, by that measure, he, Jon, and everyone else are fighting for the living — not just themselves, but anyone they can protect. And that extra bit of motivation will serve them well when they find what they’re looking for.