This episode was so beautiful, and this thread was so much fun. Kudos to everyone for giving me so much to think about! As I wait in terror for next week because AGHGHGHGH, I don't want any of these people to die.
Just a few thoughts and observations to add:
To echo a few others here, can someone help me understand why it's a given that Dany has a traitor in her party? I know most are assuming (1) a traitor and (2) that it's Varys, I just don't understand what Varys's motivation would be. He above all people is working for the people of Westeros; he wants the Iron Throne to be a place of justice. So I don't see why on earth he'd be reporting to Cersei...?
I'm so excited for Arya to use her weapon! And loved the little moments of grace she got with the Hound and Beric too (and loved that the Hound reminded her that he had fought and basically died for her). I also loved everything Arya and Gendry here, especially Arya's agency and maturity in choosing to sleep with Gendry (and I thought the scene was handled tastefully and that Maisie looked lovely). Tomorrow the world may end and everyone may die, so... It's what people do.
I was surprised to feel a bit sorry for Dany here. I find her moral relativism generally tiresome, so I hated the way she began here (her coldly reciting her father's assassination like he was some kindly king brutally killed by a villain had me facepalming). But as the story progressed here, I did feel pity for her. She was so isolated, and every attempt to connect went badly. (I loved her scene with Sansa, as well as the final scene with Jon. I think she's going to realize Jon does not want her throne, and that she misjudged him in that moment.)
Sansa's moments with Theon were so beautiful and real. And I was so touched not just by the embrace, but by the revelation that they were spending that last evening simply being together and sharing a meal. Theon's redemption arc has been one of the most moving aspects of the show for me, and beautifully acted by Alfie Allen (who I've always felt is one of the best unsung actors on GoT).
Speaking of Theon: Why do the vast majority assume Theon's feelings for Sansa cannot be romantic? I'm not saying they are, but there is definitely deep feeling there. And regardless of what he's missing, he would still absolutely be able to please a lover if he wanted to. It's just odd to me that his feelings are assumed to be platonic because of, er, mechanics.
Meanwhile, Brienne's shining moment here had me in tears (that beautiful, tearful final smile! GC is fantastic), but then she always affects me really powerfully. I agree with those who do think she and Jaime are romantic, but in that ancient, idealized and "courtly love" manner. I think it's essential for Jaime, in fact, that it be this kind of idealized thing, precisely because his relationship with Cersei was so toxic, this kind of very base sexual narcissism.
So of course Jaime's face killed me this episode because he was basically giving Brienne heart-eyes every single time he looked at her and she was either oblivious or too wounded by her own experiences to believe he could actually care for her (which makes it all even sadder). But the arc of it here was beautiful -- it begins with her wondering why he's not insulting her, and ends with her having zero doubts about his regard for her.
To me, this entire episode was a full circle for Brienne/Jaime, which is why I'm devastated for next week already because there is no way they are both surviving. It began with Brienne declaring unspoken love for Jaime (in vouching for him before the nobles), and with Jaime replying to Brienne, in every possible way, that he loves her in return: By pledging to fight beside her, at her command (unspoken: to die there, as well). And by giving her the one thing she wants more than anything in the world—equality, service, and acknowledgment of her courage and honor.
Because he doesn't just love her, that's easy for Jaime. And we were even reminded that love isn't necessary holy to Jaime when Tyrion noted that he had once loved Cersei even knowing her capacity for evil. But Brienne is the flip side of that coin for Jaime, a love that is based in admiration and respect. In knighting her before that lovely group of cheering men, and doing so with all the formal elements of the ritual, he gave her, once and for all, the knowledge of how much she means to him, and he did it publicly. The big, shy girl who was once shamed by a group of men for being ugly is now cheered by a group of men (knights, princes and squires!) for her courage, honor and ability.
I love Tormund to death, but he has no chance next to this. Brienne has always loved princely types (if men of honor) and courtly romance; it's why she loved Renly then, and why she loves Jaime now. Rough, dirty, ale-drenched Tormund, as adorable as he is, just perplexes and repels her.
And yeah: I'm expecting poor Brienne to die next week, I just hope she gets a kiss from Jaime before she does so. (sheepish, sorry/notsorry)
As far as the Death Pool goes, in addition to Brienne being toast next week, my money's also on Beric, Edd, Gilly, Gendry, and Lyanna (because seeing her zombified would be such a gut punch). And poor Theon, defending Bran and getting his redemption. I kind of think Jorah will live, and that it'll be poor little Lyanna who dies (and whom he possibly frees from undeath by using his sword on her).
I also agree with those worried about the Vault as a place of Certain Death, not safety. If that's the case, then poor Gilly, Tyrion and Sam (and the little girl Davos comforted!) are all likely toast -- as are, potentially, Sansa, Varys and the other nobles. Wouldn't Missandei be down there as well? In which case, it may be a surprise situation where Grey Worm lives and she doesn't. What if Arya has to kill not just an undead Gendry but an undead Sansa? (AGHGHGHG I WANT THEM ALL TO BE OKAY!)
Anyway. This is easily my favorite episode of GoT ever. It was basically a full hour of some of the show's best characters simply enjoying each other's company, and telling their companions they loved them. The fact that I feel so deeply for many of them (and dread losing them) speaks, for me, to how good the episode really was.