Is “Beyond the Wall” The Worst Moment of “Game of Thrones” Season 7?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: HBO)

“Game of Thrones” fansite Winter is Coming has been having fun with a little roast of its readers’ favorite show. In an online poll, fans were asked to vote for the worst moment of season seven of “Game of Thrones”, and the result may surprise you.

Actually, no, not really, this isn’t a surprise at all. It’s “Beyond the Wall”, in its entirety. This one episode of the show dominated the poll, as people complained about plenty of moments that take place during this chunk of story.

Game of Thrones Poll
Source: HBO

Jon Snow and his buddies foolishly wandering out into hostile territory, getting pinned down, and then Dany’s beloved dragon getting killed and zombified as a result. This episode is a bad experience for fans on several levels.

First off, let’s face it, this episode isn’t very fun to watch. Of all the deaths in season seven, seeing a beautiful dragon baby go the way of Drogo was pretty traumatic to say the least. This was certainly a lot less pleasant than the far more satisfying death of Littlefinger a few episodes later.

To a certain extent, a sad scene can be a fulfilling experience. It’s not fun to see a beloved character die, but if a show moves the audience, it can still be seen as achieving its goal. If it weren’t for the gruesome deaths in “Game of Thrones”, the victories wouldn’t feel so important as and when they come.

Besides, some of us just like to see morbid death scenes.

Beyond the Wall Lake
Source: HBO

The problem with “Beyond the Wall”, though, is that this death comes as a result of bad decision making on the part of the characters, and bad storytelling on the part of the writers.

The entire titular trek in this episode feels foolhardy at best, so when our heroes run into trouble, it’s hard for fans not to scream at their TV in frustration. The tension is entirely manufactured because the entire expedition is a bad idea from the start, and as such, it robs the casualties of much of their intended weight.

Then, there’s the pacing. Apparently people can teleport around Westeros at will now, as Jon Snow spends a single night on a frozen lake while messages are sent across the country and Dany raises a flying dragon army to swoop in and save the day.

This feels like lazy writing. The entire episode seems to come from a position of the writers needing something bad to happen, but not really thinking through how they were going to make it happen.

Beyond the Wall Dany
Source: HBO

We see this kind of writing in bad horror movies all the time, when characters make obviously foolish decisions not because a person would actually act in this way, but because the writers need to get the plot to the next jumpscare.

Ultimately, it makes sense that “Beyond the Wall” is the least popular episode of “Game of Thrones” season seven, and we can only hope that we won’t get any more of this haphazard storytelling in the show’s final season.