[This post contains spoilers from Game of Thrones Season 7, episode 6 "Beyond the Wall."]
The Game of Thrones fandom has experienced a lot of loss throughout the years. From the tragic, abrupt deaths of Catelyn, Robb, and Ned Stark early on in the series to the sacrifices of well-loved characters like Hodor and Olenna Tyrell, we've been thoroughly conditioned to expect the worst. There's something about the untimely deaths of Westeros' majestic, well-meaning animals, though, that strikes us especially hard.
In Game of Thrones Season 7's penultimate episode, "Beyond the Wall," the plan to kidnap a wight as proof to Cersei they exist goes south, Daenerys forced to save Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont, and company by riding her dragons to the north. Unfortunately, the attempted rescue does not go smoothly. The fierce Night King manages to take down one of the Khaleesi's mighty dragons, Viserion, with his ice spear, and everything is terrible. Before we go on, please partake of this sweet dragon baby picture:
We watch, hearts fractured in a thousand pieces, as Daenerys witnesses the death of her child from atop its sibling, Drogon. Shortly after, we audibly gulp as we realize Viserion may meet an even darker fate than death: becoming one of the Night King's soldiers.
When Viserion collapses, he breaks the ice beneath him, sliding into the water. Unfortunately, the Night King has bigger plans for him, commanding his soldiers to pull him out. By the end of the scene, Viserion's eyes are a vivid blue, suggesting the Night King successfully wighted Dany's baby. It is, by all accounts, the absolute worst.
In terms of human deaths, however, the toll is relatively light.
Benjen Stark, who's already half-dead to begin with, manages to save Jon Snow's life before being decimated by the dead army. RIP.
Thoros of Myr, who's attacked by a wight bear, ends up freezing to death. This is unfortunate, but pales in comparison to the rest of the episode's cost. I mean, meh.
Obviously, Daenerys is heartbroken and more livid than we've ever seen her after losing the child she raised from birth. She's also irrevocably convinced that the White Walkers are a bigger threat than any she has ever faced, and emboldened by Jon's figurative knee bend at the end of the episode.
Naturally, then, we can expect one hell of a Season 7 finale on August 27.