throning it in with andy daly

Andy Daly on Game of Thrones: I Was Told the Golden Company Had Elephants!

Behold Andy Daly, the Vulture comedy section’s very own Game of Thrones recapper. Photo-Illustration: Maya Robinson/Vulture and HBO

The final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones has arrived along with an avalanche of recaps, reviews, and other coverage on the internet, so Vulture’s comedy section decided we’d join in too. We are proud to announce that comedian and former professional reviewer Andy Daly has agreed to cover all six episodes of Game of Thrones’ season eight for us for a column titled “Throning It In With Andy Daly.” Check back here every Monday to see Daly’s thoughts on the latest GOT episode.

Holy crap! The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones has finally arrived. How long have we waited since the last season of this show? I’m not great with numbers. One year? Nine years? Whatever it really was, it feeeels long. My memories of last season are pretty sketchy and I guess I could have rewatched it before this season started, but honestly, I’m not even sure I’ll have time to watch these six episodes and I have agreed to recap all of them for a major online publication! There’s a definite chance I will write one or more of these without having watched the episode. We’ll see if you can tell.

But I watched this one! For serious I did.

For starters, one thing I do remember about last season was that it ended with that zombie ice dragon making very short work of the mighty “wall.” After seeing that I went on record with the prediction that humanity wouldn’t last for more than five minutes of the new season. Well, I guess the Night King and his dragon went on a quick spa retreat or something because I was wrong. Those guys are not even glimpsed in this episode, which concerns itself mainly with complicated romances, troop movements, and burning children. Let’s get to recappin’!

The season starts with a child pushing his way through a crowd to watch an army of — again, not a numbers guy — a million soldiers(?) marching to Winterfell. All of your favorites are here: Arya Stark, Daenerys, Jon Snow, that blacksmith who I think was an illegitimate son of the king who got gored by the wild boar. Or not. I don’t know. Then we see Tyrion and Varys riding in a coach having some good-natured repartee about the fact that Varys was castrated as a child by a wizard. Ha ha! That Tyrion is a wit! Right after that, Game of Thrones, cheekily reveling in the great number of characters on this show who have had their genitals removed, cuts directly to Grey Worm, who’s riding alongside, and flirting with, Missandei (Yeah, I looked up some of these characters’ names. I’m taking this seriously!). Then a hundred dragons swoop down and everybody freaks out, including me.
Then we have a little scene where Jon Snow is psyched to see Bran and the newspaper editor from Downton Abbey is there and we have some nice introductions and then Bran throws cold water on everything and basically says what I was thinking: WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ALL THIS CHIT CHAT! BECAUSE MONSTERS ARE COMING! At that point in the episode, I honestly thought the zombie dragon was about to blot out the sun and destroy everything but no — it’s time for a big meeting!

Yep, it’s another one of these Winterfell meetings where everyone is grousing at the Starks and being completely unreasonable and ill-informed. It’s like any small-town council meeting pretty much. As usual, that one incredibly ballsy little girl sticks it to Jon Snow hard. That little girl doesn’t give a fuck about anything. She will knife you to your face. I’m not sure she’s ever actually won one of these arguments she’s constantly initiating but she goes all in every time and you have to respect it. I always look forward to the choruses of rustic people mumbling agreement through their beards in these scenes, and this one did not disappoint. This meeting ends with Sansa pointing out that people and animals require food, and it’s apparently something that no one else considered up to then. How are these dumb-dumbs supposed to defeat a zombie army? It is not looking good.

Then we see some dragon glass being loaded off of some wagons, which is a little reassuring. There’s a plan it place. Kind of. Then we have a little scene between Sansa and Tyrion. Mostly old business, except, correct me if I’m mistaken, but I don’t believe these two were ever officially divorced. So they’re going to want to either take care of that or figure out how to live together. I’m fine with either thing.

Next up, a tree with a face. Seems to be sleeping. If we’ve seen this tree with a face before, I don’t remember it. What’s up with that? Is it always sleeping? Does it get pissed off when you try to pick its apples? Am I thinking of a different tree with a face? Jon and Arya have a nice reunion and she’s all coy about the fact that she’s the most frighteningly trained assassin in the world. Arya claims in this scene that Sansa is the smartest person she’s ever met and, well, she did remember that people eat so maybe?

Then we pop in to King’s Landing, where that creepy old dude who brought the Mountain back to life (Or was that a different guy? Who cares.) tells Cersei that the dead have breached the wall and she says “good,” so first-time viewers know right away that this lady is bad news. I’m not sure why she thinks it’s good that the wall has been breached. She thinks the zombies are going to defeat the armies of the north and then come to King’s Landing and she’s going to stop them there? How? Seems like half a plan at best. So far, Sansa is looking like the smartest. Arya’s right.

Then we head out to a boat where Yara Greyjoy asks her brother (or cousin or uncle?) why she’s still alive and the answer is, honestly, not great. Euron Greyjoy says he likes having her to talk to because he has a crew full of mutes. Is that literally true? Are they like the Unsullied except with vocal chords? It’s not a bad idea I guess. Nobody wants a chatty navy. Also, it would be a rare instance of budget consciousness on the part of this TV show. They don’t have to pay anybody in the whole Iron Islands navy for a speaking role. Good thinking!

Then Euron and some guy named Captain Strickland of the Golden Company(?) have an audience with Cersei. Has Captain Strickland ever been on this show before? Because he did not ring any bells. And I don’t think we’ll need to get too used to him either because apparently he promised Cersei Lannister elephants and did not deliver. And she was NOT HAPPY. There was a period of several months when the elephant habitat at the L.A. Zoo was under renovation and visitors couldn’t see any elephants, and my children got over their elephant disappointment quicker than Cersei Lannister can. Much later in this episode, we find her still ruminating about these damned elephants. It makes me think that as long as the Night King shows up with a couple of elephants, she’ll just hand over Kings Landing without a fight. In fact, that’s my new prediction for how this season is going to end. Mark it down. The last scene of the season will be Cersei Lannister frolicking with elephants on the beach while everyone else in King’s Landing gets slaughtered by zombies, and a string ensemble plays a mournful version of Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk.” Count on it!

After that, we have probably the worst sex scene in the history of Game of Thrones and then Bronn gets hired to kill Tyrion and Jamie and he pretty much seems to kill whoever he sets out to kill so I guess that’ll happen. Oh well, I’ll miss those guys.

Euron says he’ll put a prince in Cersei’s belly (presumably by way of fucking, but he doesn’t specify), Reek rescues his sister from the Crew of Mutes, she announces her plan to take back the Iron Islands, and Reek says he’s headed to Winterfell to bring his trademark occasional bravery to the zombie fight. All sounds good.

Then we’re back to Winterfell for a Council of Schemers meeting between Tyrion, Varys, and Davos, who suggests a Joe Biden–Stacey Abrams arrangement with Jon Snow and Daenerys, and then we join those two lovers for a bunch of flirty chit chat that Bran would say we DON’T HAVE TIME FOR and he would be RIGHT!

After that, Game of Thrones takes its season eight CGI budget for a spin and gives us an early glimpse at what the eventual Game of Thrones theme park ride will be like as Jon and Daenerys ride dragons through a winter wonderland then make out by a water fall like they’re in a commercial for mink coats. Oh and hey, don’t forget they’re also brother and sister!

Then Arya and the Hound have a tête-à-tête, and this brings me to my next big prediction for season eight: At some point, the Hound and the Mountain are going to have their big fight the way everybody wants them to and we’re all going to assume that the Hound will ultimately prevail because he’s the less awful of the two but no! In a dramatic conclusion, the Mountain will kill the Hound and everyone all over the world will gasp in horror. And then! the Mountain will take off his helmet and then … he will take off his FACE and reveal that he has been Arya Stark throughout this whole fight because Arya Stark killed the Mountain and then became the Mountain in that way that she knows how to do. Again, we’ll hear the mournful “Baby Elephant Walk” because why not? Count on it!

Sam learns that his asshole father and his brother (who I don’t remember but was probably a dick) were killed by Daenerys. He runs into Bran, who says he’s waiting for an old friend, who I’m thinking is probably the Night King but who knows with Bran? He’s so cryptic and weird. Sam goes and tells Jon Snow that he (Jon) is the true heir to the Iron Throne, which is awkward and messy. His real name is apparently Aegon, which is also awkward and messy. Stick with Jon, my two cents.

Then we see a bunch of guys who I thought would have died in that big ice dragon attack last season but whatever, it’s nice to see them. They stumble upon the dead body of a child impaled on a wall and surrounded by, I don’t know, giant crab legs? They hatch a plan to beat the zombies to Winterfell by riding horses (smart!) and then the boy comes back to life as a zombie and gets burned alive (dead) by that eye patch guy’s flaming sword. Fun stuff.

And finally, a bearded Jamie Lannister arrives at Winterfell and we’re invited to imagine how awkward it would be to run into a kid you tried to murder by pushing him out a window because he saw you and your sister having sex. Pretty awkward, I say!

Well all right, I would say that I have successfully recapped this episode of Game of Thrones and now, as my reward I will watch Veep which, in my opinion, is even funnier than Game of Thrones. And unlike Game of Thrones, Veep had the good sense to put me in it this season. Seriously, not even one episode of Game of Thrones for Andy Daly. Can you believe that? Here, this’ll be fun. For each episode of Game of Thrones this season, I’ll tell you the guest role I would have been good for. This episode: sleeping tree.
Okay, thanks for reading! See you next week!

Andy Daly: I Was Told the Golden Company Had Elephants!