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Breathe, just breathe. That’s what we were telling ourselves from the moment that familiar map popped up on our screens Sunday night, foreshadowing the final season seven journey we were about to take with the supersized finale of Game of Thrones, “The Dragon and the Wolf.” And boy, did it deliver.

There were tense leadership powwows, tons of sibling rivalries, a relationship consummated and of course several of those dramatic moments that we’re beginning to live for. For anyone who thought this season was lacking or problematic, we have to say that we strongly disagree. Especially after that episode.

Here are all nine of the finale’s bigger moments, ranked.

9. A grand entrance

Yes, yes… Dany flying into the truce meeting at King’s Landing was impressive and a show of force and awesome, and all that. But the real entrance that had us on pins and needles was the revelation of the wight. “Please still be alive, please still be alive,” we whispered to ourselves when the zombie-like creature didn’t pop up right away and attack.

Turns out, all that thing needed was a little kick from The Hound to get things going. Then it was a full-on demonstration of fire and dragon glass to finally prove to Ms. Cersei that shit has indeed gotten real and that everyone should have larger concerns than an Iron Throne on their minds.

8. Sibling rivalry

Okay so everyone hoping that #Cleganebowl was going to go down in this episode was probably disappointed, but it was foreshadowed at least, when The Hound went up to his bigger brother The Mountain and promised as much.

“Remember me? Yeah, you do. You’re even fucking uglier than I am now. What did they do to you? Doesn’t matter. It’s not how it ends for you brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”

That’s right, folks. Should we all survive this winter #Cleganebowl is back on.

7. Theon gets his groove back

Admittedly, we don’t really care what happens to Theon so much as we do to some of the other characters, but we did really like Yara. So after little Greyjoy ran into his uncle Euron at the meeting and got confirmation that Yara is still alive, he finally ditched that Reek persona once and for all. With a little help, mind you.

First, Theon’s heart-to-heart with Jon Snow was an important step to rediscovering that inner strength. “You’re a Greyjoy. And you’re a Stark,” Jon kindly told his former childhood friend/brother. (Here’s hoping Jon remembers his own advice later on next season, huh?)

Then, Theon needed to duke it out with the Iron Islands naysayer in order to finally earn back some of the respect from his men and to go and save his sister, a.k.a. the only person in the world who ever tried to save him.

6. Cersei and Tyrion drink wine

Holy Mountain Man we’re glad that Tyrion is still alive after that exchange with Cersei. Sure, it turns out she was using him for a greater purpose (if Tyrion is so clever, why does his older sis keep outmanoeuvring him in all things war?) but that scene between the two of them was like a throwback to a simpler time, and as such was one of our favourites of the entire season. Peter Dinklage is such a great actor, and with so much else going on this season he just hasn’t had as much screen time as we would have liked. But boy did he and Lena Headey rock that exchange, to the point where we wanted more.

It was an important one, too. Tyrion has always had a soft spot for children and Cersei knows it. That’s why she purposely let it slip that she’s expecting; even though she has no plans to follow through with her promise and lead her men North in the fight against the Night Army, her baby bro may now plead on her unborn child’s behalf. Should it come to that, anyhow. There are larger concerns here people.

5. Another sibling spat

Breakups are tough, huh Jaime? As Olenna previewed before her death, Jamie is so blinded by his love for Cersei that he can’t realize she’s pretty much the devil. But even the Oathbreaker has his limits, and when he gives word that he’ll march North, well damned if he doesn’t follow through. There was that super tense moment when Cersei called her brother stupid for not realizing the power of gold, and suggested that she was going to have The Mountain crush him. That was all Jaime needed to finally break ties with his sister and follow through on his promise, though how that shapes up remains to be seen. All we know is that for now, as snow falls in Westeros, Cersei has grand plans of retaking territory and has wised up to the fact that dragons can indeed be taken down.

4. Sam and Bran knock heads

One of our major frustrations with this season is the fact that while Bran can see everything, he seems to be keeping his mouth shut an awful lot. Well that finally changed when Samwell made a return to Winterfell and went to visit the younger Stark boy. No, Bran didn’t fill him in on the fact that his own father and brother were killed (therefore making him the heir to House Tarly), but he did, finally, share the fact that Jon’s father was actually Rhaegar Targaryen.

Of course Sam, who was forced to transcribe all of those old diaries, was quickly able to put two and two together and conclude that not only was Jon the son of Rhaegar, but that Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark had secretly wed. Bran’s quick fact-checking mission through time revealed that this was indeed true, making Jon… Aegon Targaryen.

Minds blown.

3. The dragon and the wolf

Something tells us that Jon Aegon would have loved to have had that information moments before stepping into Dany’s bedchambers on that boat, mind you. As it went, Aunt and Nephew discovered each other in all of the unfulfilled places, solidifying that romance just in time for things to get truly interesting. Once Jon’s true lineage is revealed he will, of course, have a better claim to the throne according to Westeros law, which will inevitably throw a wrench in that relationship. As for the consummation itself? Well, Targaryens have a history of incestuous relationships, so it’s not that bad compared to some. In any case it’s no worse than Cersei and Jaime. Yet something tells us that when they do find out they’ll put a stop to the lovemaking, potentially disappointing fans everywhere.

Besides, no one really knows about it anyhow. Well, no one but Tyrion, who spent an awful long time lurking at that door… and Bran, if he goes there with his mind.

2. The Starks’ revenge

Can we just take a small moment to celebrate the fact that we got through the entirety of season seven without one single Stark death? And can we please take another second to acknowledge that Littlefinger’s infuriating plotting has finally been put to rest? Sure, we were quite annoyed with Sansa for listening to Petyr go on and on as he plotted to alienate her from the rest of her family. “Does she never learn?” we asked ourselves.

Turns out she may be slow, but Sansa does indeed learn from her past mistakes. And no man will ever manipulate her again. While we don’t think anyone will be sad over Littlefinger’s demise, it is important for at least three reasons. One, it ended the life of the man who essentially started this whole damned war. Two, it solidified the Starks’ bond just in time for them to finally rule over Winterfell the way their parents probably always intended. Three, it gives Arya yet another face to use in her repertoire. Should she go after Cersei in the near future, she could certainly use that face to her advantage. But let’s put a pin in that for now because…

1. Viserion returns

The second we saw the Night Army make its way to the wall we knew it was game over. It took Tormund and Beric a few more seconds to realize that, but it kicked in when the undead dragon Viserion finally surfaced, the Night King on his back.

Whether the beast was breathing ice, a blue fire or some chilling combination of both (there are plenty of theories circling around Monday morning), we know that it was enough to take down The Wall after thousands of years. Okay, so storytellers don’t usually construct such a wall without the intent of eventually destroying it, but that didn’t make the visual any less jaw-dropping. That wall came down, all the way to hell.

And that means the entire Night Army, with its giants, its wights, its White Walkers and its dragons are now poised to march South, with Winterfell as its first stop. Sigh. Just when we were celebrating the Starks’ big victory, too.

And now we wait. Based on everything we know there are six, potentially feature-film length episodes of Game of Thrones left. They could unroll in summer 2018, or they could come at us in 2019.

That’s right — two years of waiting to see what the heck happens next. In the meantime hug your loved ones, check their lineage and prepare for an all-out war when we return. Winter is here, and the end is near.

 

We know you can’t wait that long. You can re-watch every season of Game of Thrones right now on TMN GO.

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