Spoilers are coming! Don't proceed unless you've watched the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, "The Dragon and the Wolf."
As Al Pacino's swampland salesman, Ricky Roma, said in Glengarry Glen Ross, "Our life is looking forward, or looking back. That's it. Where is the moment?"
And in myriad ways Game of Thrones mirrors that sentiment as we've engaged in a weekly match of high-stakes speculation and acceptance, twisting our heads back and forth to past and future plot threads like spectators at some fateful medieval tennis match, attempting to divine meaning out of its intricately dramatic web.
But the filmmakers and cast delivered several key moments tonight for faithful fans of the monumental fantasy adventure, clearing the way into its series-ending final season next year and embarking on a narrative quest "beyond houses, and honors, and oaths."
It focuses our attention beyond shameful deeds of power plotting and unites our attention on the end game, bringing to light which allliances are rotten to the core and which ones are forged in rarer waters.
In the wall-crumbling aftermath of "The Dragon and the Wolf," vital game pieces have been shifted and rearranged, clarifying or altering our perceptions of what may arise next year.
But where do we stand now that the last episode has entered the realm of the past, emotionally and psychologically? Somewhat relieved? Exhausted? Satiated? Angry? The cathartic communal experience of Game of Thrones is one of its many charms and hallmarks, having a profound and lasting effect on our psyches as these characters we've come to love over the past seven years enter the home stretch of destiny.
The greatest reveal tonight is the legitimacy of Jon Snow as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, as the Three-Eyed Raven (Bran) and Sam confirm and reinforce this fact, with Bran summoning a vision of the secret wedding ceremony between Rhaegar and Lyanna. During this spectral flashback, Jon's true name is given: Aegon Targaryen. Aegon I Targaryen was the storied first king of the dragon-bannered Targaryen dynasty of Westeros and was called Aegon the Conqueror, the Unifier of the Seven Kingdoms. His notoriety made this a popular name for offspring of the family.
This sets up the likelihood of a serious conflict with Daenerys and Jon, especially after engaging in carnal pleasures together. Will she relinquish her claim to the throne and bend the knee to him? It would make for some intense pillow talk! And following her mentioning SEVERAL TIMES that she cannot get pregnant after giving birth to a scaly infant via Khal Drogo, she most undoubtedly will become with child, counterbalancing out Cersei's possible lie about her little bun in the oven by Jaime.
Meanwhile, with Littlefinger's shocking but inevitable death by Arya's hand appropriately wielding the catspaw dagger, this evaporates an enormous amount of pent-up guilt, animosities, resentments, and rivalries.
Sansa, empowered with the supernatural knowledge of her brother, the Three-Eyed Raven, strips the veil of falsities and lies right out from under his feet. The pestilence of Lord Petyr Baelish will burden the world no longer. Littlefinger's dark connections to the many murders, deceits, and schemings since the death of Jon Arryn made his offing absolutely necessary for the show's writers, uniting the entire remaining Stark family in a common bond. It also establishes the precise hierarchy of Winterfell, with Arya deferring to Sansa's rule. The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.
And after what seemed like a mild finale, we're treated to the assault of the Army of the Dead and their effortless breach of the wall at Eastwatch without one single member being lost. The towering barrier proved to be little more than a speed bump for the endless army, using the piercing electric-blue flames of an awesome zombie dragon being ridden by the Night King to melt and destroy the fortification.
All these scenes also clear the way to show the epic Tournament of Harrenhal, which many believed would be seen in this finale tonight. This is where Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark first meet and the depicts the event that sets the entire Robert's Rebellion in motion. It will no doubt be featured in Season 8 in all its chivalric pageantry.
So as this new dawn has broken and Jaime flees King's Landing after Cersei orders Frankenmountain to kill him for treason, it indoctrinates us into another dimension of endless speculation as to what can be expected in 2018, when Game of Thrones will eventually fade into eternity and leave us crying in its absence. Need a tissue yet?