Spoiler warning: This article contains plot details
The seventh series of Game of Thrones has come to a dramatic conclusion.
Fans are torn between being stunned by the major plot developments and heartbroken that the episode could be the last one on our screens until 2019.
That’s when the fantasy epic, based on George RR Martin’s books, is rumoured to be coming back one last time.
The finale was shown in the US on Sunday, and broadcast in the UK on Monday. So what have critics said?
The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg said The Dragon and the Wolf episode had “action, twists and just a little incest”. Which all sounds pretty standard for Game of Thrones.
In a series that has often been “dumb”, it was a “satisfying as heck” conclusion, with the storylines between Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, and Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, coming to a climax – if you can excuse the pun.
“The finale worked better than most of the rest of the season for me because while it lacked not for dragons, it also delivered one great two-person chamber scene after another,” wrote Fienberg.
‘Dark and slow-burning’
Ed Power, writing in the Daily Telegraph, was a fan of the “solid 80 minutes of betrayal, nudity and skulduggery in dimly-lit rooms”.
“It was good to welcome the old, happy-stabby Game of Thrones back with a vengeful gleam in its eyes,” he mused, describing it as a “dark and slow-burning instalment”.
But he noted that the revelation about Jon Snow’s parentage was “presented as an interesting nugget rather than continent-quaking pivot”.
On that note – in the New York Times, Jeremy Egner had some good and bad news for Snow.
“The good news is, you’re not actually a bastard… The bad news? Say hi to your aunt.”
Egner noted, though, that the finale “didn’t offer much in the way of surprise” and “largely checked off boxes that have been broadly telegraphed throughout the season”.
Sean T Collins, of Rolling Stone, said there were “moments of happiness and horror straight out of the biggest GoT nerd’s dreams”, and that it was quite right that “the lion’s share of screentime” went to Cersei Lannister.
He said the storyline had been “hurtling to a point of no return”, adding: “The lies, betrayals, power plays, and murders we’ve witnessed for seven years, and which still continue in this episode – they are all a distraction. We’re all in this together, and we’d better realize it ASAP.”
Christopher Hooten complained that the seventh series has become “bonkers and Top Trumps-esque”, but wrote in the Independent: “When it looks this gorgeous, the dialogue exchanges are this pithy and the action is this jaw-dropping and enthralling, it’s hard to be mad about it.
“At some point in season eight, a living dragon is going to fight a dead dragon, jets of blue and red flame meeting in the middle like in a Manga, while dead giants and dead horses do battle with multiple races of men. And I will be there.”