Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.

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Yada Yada Sex

In 1997, Peter Mehlman and Jill Franklyn were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for “The Yada Yada,” the 153rd episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld.

An immediate fan favorite, the episode centers around George’s new girlfriend’s pesky habit of using the expression “yada yada” as a way to leave out details — sometimes very important ones — from her stories; like how she got a free massage and facial while minding her own business on 3rd Avenue, why she stole a Piaget watch from Bloomingdale’s, and that she had sex with an ex-boyfriend who “came over late last night” and left her “really tired” the next day.

And if you think you can’t “yada yada” something as big as ex-boyfriend sex, trust Elaine, you can…

As George discovers over the course of the episode, one can apparently “yada yada” everything from embarrassing familial histories to accidental fiancée poisonings.

Apparently, one can even “yada yada” the answer to the central, integral question(s) of A Song of Ice and Fire, namely:

What in the Seven Hells is the Three-Eyed Raven; what is its actual purpose; and why is Bran it now?

From what I can gather from the 19-second explanation Sam seemed to instantly comprehend, the Three-Eyed Raven is essentially this world’s trustworthy version of Wikipedia. He knows all. He sees all. He is forever unfazed by the malleability of history.

Which, to be fair, is a fairly important role.

As our favorite demi-Maester explains:

“That’s what death is, isn’t it? Forgetting. Being forgotten.
 
If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore.”

It’s just that Raven Bran’s big raison d’être reveal felt — to use Jerry’s description of his friend’s new sweetheart — “succinct.”

“It’s like you’re dating USA Today.”

But let’s yada yada over that irksome yada yadaing and move on to extoling the resplendent, wrenching montage of Friday Night Lights-esque “night before the State Championship” reminiscing sessions that carried the episode and which served as the consummate aglet for the interwoven chronicle this epic has laced.

Yes, for some, the foreboding evening was simply seen as one more exasperating step in their protracted journey…

For most though, those last few hours of bloodless stillness were a chance to reflect…

To apologize…

To forgive…

To love…

To self-actualize…

To accept the uncertainty of “afterwards.”

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” may not have been as effective an episode as one might like from a pre-battle strategy standpoint — why didn’t Jon start his parental confession with a quick “Hey, I was literally just told this…”? why are the dragons barely mentioned in the battleplan discussion? why are our assembled avengers heedlessly accepting Bran’s last minute suggestion to wait for the Night King at the Godswood? — however, it may have been the most affecting in the entire Game of Thrones series.

In just an under an hour, we were inspired by once-inconceivable absolution, crushed by the weight of impending sorrow, and assuaged by bouts of absurdity. We were given morsels of hope and droplets of ambiguity in equal measure. We were able to take in, and process, the various long farewells that filled a night during which none of us wanted to, or could even, sleep.

Yada yada, we were really tired the next day.
 

Break The Wheel of Hot Takes

We are officially on Death Watch, people.

As such, here are my (and my wife’s) picks, in some particular order:

  • Jorah Mormont
  • Grey Worm and/or Missandei
  • Beric Dondarrion
  • Theon Greyjoy
  • 90% of the women and children currently “safe” in the crypts of Winterfell
  • * Notable absences:

  • The Hound (because if I don’t write it down it won’t happen/CLEGANE BOWL!!!)
  • Gendry (because he’s the last Baratheon)

  •  

    “It Is Known”

    To quote myself from last week, “Holy crap how are we going to tackle the litany of remaining prophecies, conspiracies, and far flung fan theories in only five four episodes?!?! Even with extended running times, I just don’t see it happening.”

    I do think some loose ends are more likely to be tied into bows than others, though…

    HAS to happen:
  • Winterfell falls to the Night King, because he is Bran and Bran knows all the castle’s secret passageways (including the ones that lead to the crypts)
  • Jaime = the valonqar
  • Bran = the Night King/Bran the Builder/the voice inside the Mad King’s “Burn them all!”-filled head
  • An appearance by Howland Reed
  • CLEGANE BOWL!!!
  • The end of Tyrion’s “honeycomb and jackass” joke
  • SHOULD happen:
  • A Night King defeat by Episode 4
  • A Valyrian steel sword and/or dragonglass spear to Bran’s chest
  • A Daario update
  • An on-target shot by Chekhov’s Scorpion, currently in the Red Keep
  • An off-target shot by Bronn that leads to SER Brienne’s death, cementing Jaime’s resolve to valonqar Cersei
  • An explicit acknowledgement that a throne you can ride (e.g. a horse, a dragon, a ship) is better than a stationary one made of iron
  • COULD happen:
  • Tyrion = a Targaryen
  • Syrio Forel = Jaqen H’ghar
  • Harry Strickland = the wielder of Blackfyre
  • Greyscale = the biological weapon we’ve been waiting for
  • PROBABLY WON’T happen (but it would be cool if it did):
  • Varys turns out to be a merman
  • The Hound turns out to be the Lord of Light (and The Mountain is The Great Other)
  • Sam kills the Night King, Neville Longbottom style
  • Westeros becomes so uninhabitable all surviving Westerosi are forced to join Arya in exploring “what’s west of Westeros,” thus becoming a mysterious Other ‘invading’ a foreign land via a once-impenetrable barrier
  • Elephants
  •  

    Monocultured Discomfort


     

    Ba Dum Tssshhh

    “I’m here because I love your brother and I trust him and I know he’s true to his word. He’s only the second man in my life I can say that about.” — Dany
    “Who was the first?” — Sansa
    “Someone taller…” — Dany
     
    Everyone seems to forget that I was the first man to kill a White Walker. I’ve killed Thenns!” — Sam
    “Thenn.” — Edd
     
    “It could be our last night in this world, you know…” — Tormund
    “Yes, well, I’m glad you’re here…Here fighting with us…Glad you survived Eastwatch…” — SER Brienne


     

    Jenny Was a Friend of Mine

    To learn everything there is to know about “Jenny’s Song,” the haunting, poignant requiem Podrick was singing to close out the episode, click here.

    In the meantime, here are the lyrics to the ghost of High Heart’s favorite composition:

    High in the halls
    Of the kings who are gone
    Jenny would dance
    With her ghosts

    The ones she had lost
    And the ones she had found
    And the ones
    Who had loved her the most

    The ones who’d been gone
    For so very long
    She couldn’t remember
    Their names
    They spun her around
    On the damp old stones
    Spun away all her sorrow
    And pain

    And she never wanted
    To leave
    Never wanted to leave
    Never wanted to leave
    Never wanted to leave
    Never wanted to leave
    Never wanted to leave

     

    The HoF of GoT GIFs

     * My fellow recappers/reviewers, feel free to pilfer from these, or any other GIFs from the Just a Game of Thrones archives, anytime

    In addition to the multitude of GIFs in the first section…

    I Look Forward to Seeing This One:

    My Little Crow:

    Someone Taller:

     

    Sword to my Throat, I’d Bet _____ Wins the Game of Thrones

    (this is subject to, and will most likely, change each week)

    A Poorly Thought-Through Installation of Democracy!

    I plan on dedicating a future “Break the Wheel of Hot Takes” to a discussion regarding the (probable) repercussions of Westeros (possibly) implementing a direct democracy after eons of adherence to a feudal system.

    The CliffsNotes version: there is a reason even the United States didn’t provide for the direct popular election of senators until 1913.