“The Dragon and the Wolf” was a super-sized episode and it packed an emotional punch for those rooting for the Stark children, as well as fans of master-manipulator Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. Artist Robert Ball shares how he approached making the final Beautiful Death piece for Season 7.
Ball refers to the Season 7 finale as, “One of the classic Game of Thrones episodes. It took me a while to come back down to earth afterwards. And that surprise death! Petyr Baelish was one of my favorite characters, and if I were a betting man, my money would have been on him sitting on the Iron Throne at the saga’s end — which is why I never gamble, and why I was doubly upset when his schemes finally caught up with him.”
“When I saw Littlefinger fall to the Great Hall floor, my immediate idea was to use the floor’s flagstones to make a web with Baelish finally caught in the lies that have spun out of control,” Ball says. “Then I decided, as it’s the last poster of the season, to cram in as much symbolism as the image could take.”
Referencing the final drawing, Ball explains, “I’ve drawn Petyr a mockingbird, his sigil, with his throat cut by the Catspaw blade. The shadow of his wings form three wolves: the Stark children. [The wolf representing] Bran has white eyes, to show his power to warg. Above the mockingbird, the floor forms his web of lies, and below there is a crescent moon — a grisly version of the House Arryn sigil.”
“Baelish is multi-coloured to represent his ability to insinuate his way into any house,” continues Ball. “The blood from his throat forms a ladder: a nod to his famous quote, ‘Chaos is a ladder,’ which Bran repeated back to him [in Episode 4]. Sansa’s note, which ultimately helped the Stark children trap him, is in his claws, and finally, there is blood on his heart. I believe he genuinely loved Catelyn Stark, maybe even Sansa, and this is a nod to that poisonous love.”
Ball’s final thought about the season ending? “Bring on Season 8!”
Check out the final poster, and original concept, in the slideshow below.