What That Major Death Means For Game Of Thrones

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Game Of Thrones episode "Beyond The Wall" ahead.
Up until last night’s "Beyond The Wall," Game Of Thrones season 7 has been missing the show’s signature habit of murdering beloved characters in the most violent and gut-wrenching way possible. Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)? Saved from the jaws of death by both dragon incineration and drowning by Westeros’ true hero, Bronn (Jerome Flynn). Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson)? He barely got a scratch while taking Casterly Rock. Even Drogon was stabbed with a weapon called "The Scorpion" and survived to fly another day. But, Thrones reversed its shockingly benevolent new behaviour by the time "Beyond," closed, killing one of Daenerys Targaryen’s children — Viserion, to be exact — right in front of her. But, the dragon isn’t staying dead, as the Night Kning (Vladimir Furdik) resurrected the magical creature in the final moments of the episode. Now, Viserion’s newly-forced allegiance to the army of the dead has major ramifications throughout Game Of Thrones.
Although Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his merry band of nearly-dead pals were trying to save the realm, they essentially doomed it with one terrible plan. Before the episode, Thrones’ so-called "Suicide Squad" wanted to capture a single wight to prove to Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) there are bigger problems facing Westeros than who sits upon the Iron Throne. Now, Team Ice And Fire has given the Night King a way to fill King’s Landing with more wights than anyone could imagine. Why? Because throughout Thrones, the White Walkers’ biggest problem has been figuring out how to get through The Wall, which was built centuries ago with enough magic to keep the malevolent creatures at bay. Now, the White Walkers don’t need to get through or around any wall — they can fly directly over it. Just as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) rode Drogon over The Wall to save Jon, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), and a bunch of men she’s never met, the Night King can now hop on a blue-eyed Viserion to bring death, destruction, and ice zombification to the Seven Kingdoms.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Viserion’s implied new status as an ice dragon is even more terrifying when you hear the descriptions of such creatures within the various works by George R.R. Martin, who wrote the Song Of Ice And Fire series Game Of Thrones is based off of. Ice dragons are believed to exist in the Thrones world's Shivering Sea, which is located north of Essos. As Vanity Fair points out, A World Of Ice And Fire explains of the mythological creatures, "Whereas common dragons ... breathe flame, ice dragons supposedly breathe cold, a chill so terrible that it can freeze a man solid in half a heartbeat."
Another George R.R. Martin book, 1980’s aptly-titled The Ice Dragon, paints an even darker picture, per Vanity Fair, saying, "Ice formed when [an ice dragon] breathed. Warmth fled. Fires guttered and went out, shriven by the chill. Trees froze through to their slow secret souls, and their limbs turned brittle and cracked from their own weight. Animals turned blue and whimpered and died, their eyes bulging and their skin covered over with frost. The ice dragon breathed death into the world; death and quiet and cold." Although the Thrones team doesn’t have to base their own depiction of wight Viserion off of these chilling passages, these accounts hint the Night King will now be able to bring winter to Westeros even faster than before.
At least this means Dany, Cersei, and Jon will likely have to work together, as their meeting in the still-unnamed season 7 finale intends. In the post-show conversation with creator D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the latter explains the Night King now has "his own weapon of mass destruction" in a Viserion wight. Few things can bring enemies together quite like an ice demon wielding a flying WMD. Interestingly, Dany, Cersei, and Jon have everything they need to defeat the Night King, and sadly bring Viserion down, if they work together. Daenerys still has two other dragons, who breathe fire, which can kill a wight, even one as massive as Viserion. Cersei has the ability to build another Scorpion weapon, since we all know Qyburn (Anton Lesser) would love that. And Jon has amassed enough dragonglass to create the perfect wight-killing weapons to load into the second Scorpion. All of these disparate parts equal an ice dragon killing machine when put together.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
If the various kings and queens of Westeros don’t realise they already have the capabilities to kill Viserion, "Beyond The Wall" shows a secondary clear path to ending the White Walker threat: killing the Night King. In the middle of season 7’s penultimate episode, Jon slices a White Walker in half with his Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw. The White Walker immediately dies, shattering into countless pieces of ice, as do the wights fighting with him, who in turn break down into black brittle. It’s implied, like in most vampire lore, killing one White Walker also kills all of the wights he has sired. That means killing the Night King, who has technically created the entire army of the dead, would actually eliminate the entire threat.
Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) is the first person to realise this kind of plan might work, coming to the realisation while the “Suicide Squad” is surrounded by thousands of wights. "Kill him," he says, pointing a dagger at a far-off Night King. "He turned them all." Due to the Night King's whole "Flip a fire-breathing dragon onto my team with a single lance" scheme, Jon isn't able to follow through on this train of thought. But, if someone were to take out the Night King now, they would very likely take out Viserion as well.
Sorry, Dany. It looks like the heroes of Game Of Thrones will need to eliminate your child for good sooner rather than later.
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