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Game of Thrones

"Beyond the Wall," the penultimate episode in HBO's seventh season of Game of Thrones, concentrates its energies in one place, the north, with much of the action taking place exactly where its title suggests, beyond the wall. There are perfunctory throwaways to Dragonstone to establish where Danny is, and we get glimpses of the political jockeying unfolding at Winterfell, but the episode serves to move this game forward so that the now inevitable meeting to persuade the Lannisters can take place, and set up the final season, the battle between life and death, fire and ice.

The episode starts strongly, following our band of frozen questers north of the wall, but as obvious plot points were ticked off down a checklist of suspected happenings, and improbable travelings, it faded from prominence to one I'd rather forget. Let's get into what happened, what was great, and what made me pull out my little remaining hair.

And to those of you who watched this a week early when the episode was leaked online, thank you for not spoiling it for the rest of us.

[Editor's Note: This recap will obviously go into detail about last night's episode of Game of Thrones, so there are going to be a ton of spoilers. Final warning!]

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