1. Why are the White Walkers weak to dragonglass, again?

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Using the show's logic, it makes sense that dragonglass would function as kryptonite for White Walkers. At least, it seems that way at first. Dragonglass is the Westeros term for obsidian, a kind of volcanic glass. In context of the Game of Thrones universe, it's basically solid fire. When someone kills a White Walker with dragonglass, they're destroying ice with the opposite element. For a fantasy show, that's about as reasonable as you can get. Even though the wights are made of rotting flesh and not pure embodiments of cold, you could argue that dragonglass severs the ice magic that connects them to their creators. 

The black glass is pretty versatile, as it turns out. Not only can it kill White Walkers and their armies, but as we saw with Benjen, it can also stave off icy assimilation. Wait, how did the Children of the Forest save Benjen again?

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Oh, right. The Children plunged a shard of dragonglass into Benjen's heart to save him from becoming a wight. Which is... how they made White Walkers in the first place? ...What?

This is where it all breaks down. Everything else about dragonglass tells us that it destroys the White Walker's magic. Again, that makes imaginary sense because we imagine that blizzard demons don't like volcanoes or their shiny rocks. But if the White Walkers were created by dragonglass, why are they weak to dragonglass? In The Walking Dead, humans are turned by zombie bites, but it's not like they die from another zombie bite. Wonder Woman is said to have been created out of clay, but her weakness is not more clay

Sauron's One Ring can only be destroyed in the fires from whence it came, but that's not really what's happening in Game of Thrones. A ring melting back into lava isn't the same as a man who was previously stabbed by a magic rock being impervious to everything but being stabbed a second time. The Children could have stabbed the pre-Night King with a giant magic icicle and that would have made more sense. As it stands, it feels like the show needed a substance that was already established as having supernatural qualities, and just used dragonglass because they didn't have rights to adamantium.


2. How do Arya's disguises even work? Is it magic?

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We've never seen exactly how the dark magic of the Faceless Men works, so we're left to speculate just how all those skinned faces end up on the assassins. Up until the end of last season, I always assumed that it was a special trick that only someone (or uh, no one) like Jaqen H'ghar could pull off. But as it turns out, even though Arya is hundreds if not thousands away from Faceless Men HQ, she can easily disguise herself as anyone she kills. 

I could almost get behind the idea that the Faceless Men taught Arya how to cut an shape a human face juuust right so it looks natural when you slip it on your own head. But she's also changing her height and most importantly, mimicking the exact voice of Walder Frey in the opening scene of this season. So does Arya know magic? If so, shouldn't she need some kind of potions or gear or ingredients or something from the Faceless Men HQ? Could she teach Hot Pie this trick if she wanted to? I have a feeling we'll never get answers on this one. Maybe that's for the best -- I think we could all use more dead Freys.



3. Has no one thought about peeling off greyscale before?

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Sam and Jorah's adventures with disease were pretty low scale (get it??) compared to the rest of the show, but they do have one of the most memorable moments of the season. With the help of excruciating special effects, Sam gets to work on the secret cure for greyscale: Peeling off all that infected skin. Wait, that's it?

People with this disease know that they're in pretty dire straits -- Jorah was heavily implied to be contemplating suicide rather than succumb to its effects, for instance. So you'd figure that peeling off the infection spreading across their body would be the very first thing that a desperate person would try, should they be infected with greyscale. And yet, this crude procedure is hidden away in a textbook like it's some kind of lost knowledge. Yeah, there's a chance of infection for the person doing the peeling, but it's hard to imagine that two people with greyscale wouldn't come up with a "You do me, then I do you" kind of solution.

Is it really just the added salve that Sam applies that makes all the difference? Maybe they borrowed the invincibility formula from the Iron Islands...


4. So is Euron just an invincible asshole or what?

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Season 7 needed an active villain to be out in the thick of things, and since Cersei and the Night King were slowly brooding in the South and North for most of the duration, it was up to Euron Greyjoy to be this season's Ramsay. It wouldn't make sense to kill the "new" villain off in the second episode of the season, but that line of thinking is how you get scenes like this: 

Euron took an incredible amount of punishment and just cackled all the way through it. It's not frustrating because he's killing the Sand Snakes, who have pretty much always been poorly handled -- it's frustrating because Euron seems to know he's got a full set of plot armor that guarantees he's unkillable until an undisclosed point in the story. What should have been (and honestly, what still was) a cool battle scene was made much more cartoony by this supervillain who can do whatever he wants just because the show needs you to hate someone new for a while. 


5. How the hell did Jorah's skin heal so quickly?

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It's tough not to notice how flexible time is on Game of Thrones. Especially coming into the later seasons, everyone but Bran seems like they have an Enterprise teleporter ready to magically reassemble their molecules a thousand miles away. It can be frustrating and even bewildering, but it's a sacrifice made in an attempt to move along the plot in a show that doesn't have many episodes left.

That being said, the whole situation with the magically healing greyscale sure is a headscratcher. Once Jorah's skin is peeled off like a burnt puss marshmallow, his skin is healed axactly one episode later, almost overnight. 

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I say overnight specifically because the operation was done out of desperation, since Jorah was slated to be shipped out the next day. You could imagine a scenario where the archmaester finds a post-op patient in a cell and decides to wait it out a month or two to see what comes of it -- but that's not what happens. When Sam's boss examines Jorah's scar tissue and then subsequently gives a nice but stern lecture to his Citadel intern, the conversation plays out like this is the first time either of them is addressing Jorah's new condition.

Did the random ointments and oils Sam applied to Jorah's skin really heal them that quickly? Does... does Sam know magic? Is it really as simple as reading a book and following the instructions? There aren't easy answers to those questions, but when the logical alternative would be watching Jorah fester in a leper cell for five more episodes, we kind of have to take what we can get.


6. How does Daenerys know that Jon only lost two brothers?

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This is a small thing, but I still found it kind of jarring. Just before Daenerys agrees to let Jon Snow and his people mine the dragonglass, she remarks on her dragons. She named them after her brothers, who are both dead -- then she says "You lost two brothers as well?" This refers to Robb and Rickon Stark, but specifically leaves out Bran, who no one knows is alive. It's almost like Dany read the script and knows everything the writers know. Either that, or she forgot that Rickon existed like everyone else. 


7. So uh, where's Ghost?

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CGI wolves are expensive, no one is denying that. But at this point, most of them are dead, and the only one we should be seeing with any regularity is nowhere to be seen. Jon Snow's white direwolf Ghost was inexplicably absent at the Battle of the Bastards, and then sat out all of season seven. There wasn't even an offhand mention of him, something like "Don't forget to feed Ghost while I'm gone, preferably with the throat of Littlefinger." Then again, mentioning Ghost would only highlight his absence.

According to one of the show's producers, Ghost had a scene in one episode, but it got cut. So the people behind Game of Thrones actively considered filling a plot hole, but decided instead to save all the direwolf budget for Arya and Nymeria. Not only has the show killed tons of fan-favorite characters, but it has now murdered hopes and dreams. 


8. Why burn the supply caravan? Didn't they just say they needed that?

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Save for the satchel on Bronn's hip, all of Highgarden's gold is said to be safely in King's Landing before the rest of the caravan goes up in flames during the epic Loot Train Battle. Granted, Daenerys could have definitely used that money to benefit her forces, but there still plenty of wagons stacked with hay for Dothraki horses and barrels full of what I presume to be the finest Dornish wine. So why in the world would Daenerys specifically target the supply line for incineration?

Earlier in the episode, Dany (rightfully) gives Tyrion a lot of shit for being a terrible strategist. He's cost his queen access to her most powerful allies, some of which are now cut off from life-sustaining resources. 

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So hear me out here -- maybe don't turn all the food Cersei stole from the Reach into powdery, uneatable ash? That would seem like the right play for someone who's worried about filling the stomachs of her soldiers. Then again, Dany made a lot of strange decisions during this battle -- like bringing Tyrion along for no other reason than to hope Jaime doesn't die.


9. How fast was Gendry's raven?

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Complaining about how fast everyone moves in Game of Thrones has become exhausting in the last season, mostly because everyone does it every single episode. You can try to ignore it and just sort of imagine a lot of awkward timeskips in between, even when they don't make a whole lot of sense. But sometimes the speed of travel is just out of control, specifically when it comes to Gendry's raven. 

The brothers of the Night's Watch send that message to Daenerys in the middle of the night. While it's on its way, we see the Suicide Squad wake up in the morning. At no point do we ever get any impression that more days pass before the Hound starts tossing rocks. If the crew was out in subzero temperatures for more than just that night, we likely would have heard them worry about food scarcity or frostbite. 

So that means, in less than 24 hours, a bird flew from the Wall to Dragonstone, and Daenerys still had time to fly back beyond the wall in time to save the day. That sure as hell sounds impossible, but it's hard to know without some kind of reference for distance. There are maps out there that give the scale of the book world, but for all we know the show world could have a different scale. Fortunately, Jon Snow gave us a pretty good baseline in the first episode of season seven. 

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It's undoubtedly a rough estimate, but for argument's sake let's take it at face value. If it's 1000 miles from Winterfell to King's Landing, that tells us a lot about the journey of Gendry's raven. Dragonstone is actually pretty close to King's Landing, but Winterfell is comparatively much further from The Wall.

Basically, that raven had to have flown over a thousand miles to get to Daenerys. Here's a rough map to give you a general idea of the distance we're talking about here. 

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(yeah yeah I know the raven flew from Eastwatch, but I wanted to make the lines parallel-ish for easier comparison)
 

Dragons are magical, impossible beasts and if you said that they could fly 500mph, no one could argue with you about the validity of imaginary facts. But ravens are just birds. Even if messanger ravens are bred for speed, they still need to stop and eat every once in a while. In the past you could hand-wave teleporting characters away with invisible weeks ocurring between scenes, but there simply isn't enough time for everything in this episode to happen when it does. 

The worst part of all this is how easily this gaping plothole could have been smoothed over. Reddit user maledictus_homo_sum suggested an easy fixAfter doubting her decision to let Jon Snow roll North on a dangerous mission, Daenerys starts flying up to The Wall earlier in the episode. Arriving at Eastwatch, Dany meets up with Gendry, who points her in the direction of the action. Boom, done. A cleaner, less bewildering and more believable sequence of events that relies on character motivations (and some lucky coincidence) over sloppy editing that makes the audience fill in the gaps. Think HBO could make space in the writer's room for that Reddit dude during season eight?

10. Why didn't the White Walker kill the dragon that EVERYONE was on?

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All in all, things are going swimmingly for the White Walkers so far. Most everyone South of the Wall is still bickering among themselves, unaware that they'll probably never see another summer day ever again. The few rascally punks that are wise to their game are too low in number to really do any actual damage. 

Even dragons don't stand a chance against the overprepared army of the dead. 

Up until this moment, the Night King had done everything pretty much perfectly. All of his plans seemed to be working out, his enemies' numbers were dwindling and their cause was growing more hopeless by the day. So why in the world would the Night King squander this chance to kill the only ones in any position to stop him?

Come on, dude. There was a dragon sitting down, in plain view, carrying all the characters your army came here to kill and then some.

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All the Night King had to do was aim his spear just a bit to the left and the humans his underlings were pursuing would have no chance of getting away. On top of all that, he'd still have an ice dragon. There doesn't seem to be any discernable reason why the dragon in the air was a more valuable or desirable target. 

I'm starting to think that the ice zombie army that walks one mile every season isn't that smart. 


11. So Littlefinger is dead, but Arya still totally wanted to murder Sansa, right?

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The big reveal with Littlefinger was incredibly satisfying, but that cathartic payoff came at the end of a Winterfell storyline that never made any sense. We were all waiting for Sansa to use Littlefinger's teachings against him, but that deception seemed to mostly happen offscreen. For the last few seasons, Sansa and Arya were at each other's throats. It was so bizarre and out of character that it seemed as though there had to be something else going on -- but there kind of wasn't? We're left to assume there was a scene we didn't see in which Sansa reconciles with Arya and they hatch a plan together, dealing Bran into the mix at some point (more on that drip later). 

But that would mean that everything leading up to that moment was real, including the bit where Arya talked about becoming her sister. 

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Let's be clear: Arya held a dagger in her hand and threatened to cut her sister's face off and wear it around town. Littlefinger was not skulking in the background, watching a fake scene put on by the Stark sisters. This was not for show. But all this drama wasn't building to anything. The tension between Arya and Sansa is completely nullified by the end of the finale. The only reason for that confrontation to exist was to set up false expectations for the audience, to make the delicious twist of Sansa saying "...Lord Baelish" all the sweeter.

But in holding back that information for the big shocker, we lost a scene of two sisters realizing that they value and trust each other more than anything. The juicy payoff of a plot inevitability came at the cost of vital character moments. At least we got to see Littlefinger cry.



12. Why does everyone in Winterfell instantly believe Bran's psychic visions?

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Littlefinger's mock trial came to a head when Bran backed up Sansa's claims of treason. But even though Lord Baelish could have hidden his shock a bit better as the Three Eyed Raven gave an exact play-by-play of past events, this shouldn't have been enough for a conviction in the court of public opinion. The main piece of evidence here is Bran's word, which to most everyone else, shouldn't mean dick. The Stark siblings weren't convinced of their brother's abilities until he brought up terrible secrets that no one else would know -- so why would the rest of Winterfell go along with this?

The Northern lords are breathing human beings and as such probably hate Littlefinger, but they should also be skeptical of a boy that hasn't been seen for years showing up and throwing around accusations based on "visions." Hell, Sam Tarly has seen some of the wildest shit Westeros has to offer and even he's weirded out by Bran's declarations. 

Even if the whole gang was collectively convinced of Bran's power, that would only bring up more problems. Some of the lords might wonder why in the blue fuck Bran didn't bring up Littlefinger's treason weeks earlier, for instance. 

It might be too late to think about that now. That particular plotline has been cut at the root. Speaking of...



13. If the White Walkers didn't luck out and get a dragon... what was their plan for bringing down the Wall?

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Jon Snow's plan to bring a wight back to King's Landing was more than silly at first blush, but in hindsight it's the worst trade imaginable. For their trouble, Jon and Dany gained a fake ally that will stab them in the back, and in return the White Walkers gained a giant dead dragon that spews blue fire hot(?) enough to destroy the Wall. 

About that... was this the Night King's plan the whole time? Just kinda wait around until someone was stupid enough to bring a dragon up North and bring it over to the dead side? Because that seems like a somewhat flawed plan for a mega-powerful ice devil with thousands of years of prep time. Was there any kind of backup strategy in case Daenerys didn't have a change of heart and fly beyond the Wall? If all of Westeros just ignored the White Walkers, would they have any other way of invading? It seems awfully risky to base your entire offensive on your opponent making a brainless mistake. Or it would seem risky, if this wasn't Game of Thrones.



Tristan Cooper can be found on Twitter.