The big day has come and gone, and last Sunday the seventh and penultimate season of “Game of Thrones” on HBO aired and broke records, again. Home Box Office has got to be banking on the impending end of their cash cow series to pull in those viewer ratings really, and who can blame them? Season 7 Episode 7 – “The Dragon and the Wolf” ended up pulling in 12.1 million people to watch it according to the Nielsen Ratings. That is 13% more views than the last record-breaker, episode 5 - “Eastwatch” (10.72) and a goodly 36% more than the season 6 finale, “The Winds of Winter” (8.89).

The true war revealed

The Dragon and the Wolf” finally plays out the grand meeting of characters that has been a long time in coming for succeeding seasons of “Game of Thrones.” Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally parley with Queen Cersei (Lena Headey), revealing their captured wight as proof of the true war that is coming. Cersei being Cersei, she refuses to aid anyone who will not bend the knee to her, to the point that her twin Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) gets disillusioned with her anew and leaves alone for the North despite her threat to kill him for betraying her. His decision is proven right when the snows of winter finally reach King’s Landing.

Back on Dragonstone, Jon and Daenerys make ready to sail north themselves, while Jon manages to somehow patch things up with Theon (Alfie Allen).

Now affirming that he feels more a Stark than Greyjoy, he wins the loyalty of the other Ironborn on the island by beating a dissenter in combat (thanks to his castration making him immune to low blows). They sail back to the Iron Islands to rescue Theon’s sister from their sinister uncle Euron, though that will have to wait until “Game of Thrones” season 8.

Endings with a big twist

While all this is going on, a final reckoning of sorts takes place in Winterfell that has been long in coming since HBO started the series in 2011. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) believes he has turned the Stark sisters against each other, only for Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) to reveal that they saw his plot coming, and finally kill him for many crimes to their house and the realm.

Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) then confers with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) over his discoveries at the Citadel. Jon Snow is no bastard but a legally born Targaryen because his parents Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark were wed, a major divergence by “Game of Thrones” from the books of George R.R. Martin. Totally ignorant of their family ties, Jon and Daenerys becomes a couple, while the White Walker leader the Night King uses his new undead dragon to melt the Wall and allow his army to march on Westeros.

The 12.1 rating for this finale episode was remarkable as it aired without any advance leaks, though it could also mean that leak or otherwise, “Game of Thrones” will keep getting record highs now as it heads into the eighth and final season, tentatively scheduled by Home Box Office for 2018.