By the end of Game of Thrones season seven, it’s hard to find a character worth getting behind. Jon Snow is sleeping with his aunt. Cersei is plotting a move that will surely backfire. Arya and Sansa are pretty heroic, but also sociopaths. Bran is barely a human anymore. Jaime’s an oaf. Euron is way too into scarves. It’s time to start rooting for the ice dragon, a true icon.
The ice dragon didn’t always seem like it was born for destiny. It was born as one of the three dragons hatched by Daenerys back in season one, which she named Viserion in a slightly shady tribute to her brother. (The other two dragons are Drogon, the one Dany likes to ride, and Rhaegal, the other one.) Viserion was doing a great job putzing around being a dragon until it Dany took it on a rescue mission to save Jon Snow. That’s when the Night King decided it was time to take Dany down a peg by throwing an ice spear directly into Viserion’s side, killing him.
Because the Night King loves nothing more than being a little snot, he then decided to dredge Viserion up from depths of a frozen lake and revive him to serve his purposes. Bad news for Jon, Dany, and the rest of the humanity. Great news for those of us who like ice, the best fantasy element.
Once the Night King revives the Dragon Formerly Known As Viserion, it develops blue eyes and an insatiable craving for drama. (The first is obvious, the second assumed.) Game of Thrones was more plotty and predictable in its seventh season, but the second it opened its eye, the show swiveled into operatic absurdity. The ice dragon does not care for your thoughtful drama of politics and genealogy. The ice dragon declares war on both humans and measured, realistic narrative.
Despite the fact that the ice dragon has only done a few things so far, every one of those actions reeks of delightful melodrama. Whereas Drogon and Rhaegal are fairly straightforward fantasy creatures (being dragons that breathe fire and do whatever Dany says), the ice dragon made us wonder whether it would spew ice (or fire? Or candy?). When it finally opened its mouth in the finale, out came … icy fire? Blue dragonfire? Blue-raspberry fire? Whatever, the ice dragon doesn’t subscribe to your binary.
As a consequence of all that unidentified magical plasma spewing, the ice dragon brought down the Wall, giving the Night King a chance to advance his armies southward. The ice dragon was probably happy to contribute to the whole project, because under the death-cold thrall of the Night King, it will do absolutely anything for attention.
The ice dragon, simply put, lives for drama. Its detractors may rightly point out that its creation reeks of plottiness, but there’s an easy way to stop worrying and start loving this 747-size tool of narrative convenience. The ice dragon feels like the product of a Julio Torres–style SNL sketch about Game of Thrones, the logic of his jokes about the sink and well for boys applied to a fantasy universe. The ice dragon is seemingly unnecessary, over-aestheticized, and queerish. It’s silly in a world that takes itself way too seriously. To enjoy watching the ice dragon onscreen, you just have to embrace that silliness.