The fifth episode ratcheted the physical violence down a notch from “The Spoils of War”—I counted four on-screen deaths, which barely meets the requirement of a not dull Dothraki wedding—but it did not lack for drama or interesting reveals. So, to avoid gilding the lily, let’s just jump in and catch up with two kings, two queens, and … a baby?
As always, if you’re trying to avoid spoilers, click away now or forever hold your peace.
“Eastwatch” opens in the Reach, as Bronn is pulling a nearly drowned Jaime from the river. While Jaime’s still trying to process just how very screwed they are, Bronn makes two things clear: a) no one is allowed to kill Jaime until Bronn collects what he’s owed and b) Bronn draws the line in his partnership with Jaime at dragons. Meanwhile, Tyrion is uneasily surveying the scene after the fiery battle on his way to where Daenerys is planning to speak to the surviving Lannister troops. The intro to Dany’s pitch to the soldiers standing in front of her starts off fairly reasonable but, as far as Tyrion is concerned, it goes more than a little bit sideways when she provides the soldiers with two choices: bend the knee or die. When Lord Randyll Tarly refuses to bend the knee—throwing out some of that bullshit racist rhetoric in the process—, Tyrion tries, unsuccessfully, to intercede; as he is led away from the group, son-that-is-not-Sam declares that she will have to kill him too—both his father and Tyrion try to talk him out of it, but he stands by his father and Dany sentences them both to die.
Down in King’s Landing, Jaime puts his game face on and tries to talk to Cersei. He tells her that the Dothraki will beat any army he could throw at them, that just the one dragon was devastating enough to go up against, and that—*cacklesnort*—Lady Olenna was the one who murder Joffery, not Tyrion. Oh, Cersei’s face!
Over at Dragonstone, Dany returns after a long day of scorching the Reach and basically making Sam (though, unbeknownst to him) the new Lord Tarly. She and Drogon land in front of Jon Snow, who manages to look both pants-shittingly terrified and like a total boss as he removes a glove and reaches out toward the dragon. Drogon let Jon touch him! Y’all! And then Ser Jorah shows up and yay-rah reunion, blah blah blah, I don’t care right now—Jon is definitely one of the three heads of the dragon. If I were to write this as an inequality, it would look like this: Nice Guy™Jorah < Jon “I’m actually a Targaryen and, yes, I did take a literal knife to the heart” Snow petting a friggin’ dragon!
Up at Winterfell, Bran wargs into an entire conspiracy of ravens and has them fly northeast over Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and beyond the wall. The army of the dead is much larger than the last time we saw it—which is terrifying, if not unexpected. The conspiracy disperses and Bran leaves them when the Night’s King see them; whether or not Bran jumped out of his warg hurriedly or he was pushed out by the connection between he and the Night’s King, I’m not sure. In any event, he immediately turns to the new maester at Winterfell and insists that they have to send out ravens ASAP.
At the Citadel, Sam walks into a meeting of some of the higher up maesters and overhears them talking about a doomsday prophecy made by a kid who claims to see things with the help of a three-eyed raven. Sam puts the pieces together and realizes that they are talking about Bran and advocates heeding Bran’s warning; he proposes that the archmaester order all of the maesters in the Citadel to search all the texts for clues about how to defeat the White Walkers. Ultimately, Professor Slughorn… er… the archmaester dismisses Sam and his concerns with a “we’ll write back and ask for clarification.” Though, as Sam leaves, the archmaester does seem to have a pained expression on his face; it’s unclear whether it is because he believes Sam, but is afraid to act on that belief or if it is because, as we find out moments later, he hasn’t told Sam about his father and brother yet.
Back at Dragonstone, Varys is having a heart to heart with Tyrion about getting Daenerys to listen to counsel and revealing, in the process, of some of his more horrid memories from serving the Mad King. Oh, and Varys totally did not read that sealed scroll bearing the Stark sigil sent to the King in the North. That scroll is how Jon learns that Arya and Bran are alive and back at Winterfell, which I’d like to think he’d be waaaaay more excited about were it not for the other news contained in the scroll: Bran’s seen the army of the dead marching toward Eastwatch. Tyrion proposes approaching Cersei with an armistice agreement so that the focus might be surviving the White Walkers—Dany’s small council goes on to concoct a plan that will include Jon and Jorah venturing north of the Wall to capture a wight that can be brought to Cersei as proof of why the armistice is necessary and Davos smuggling Tyrion to King’s Landing so he can try to have an audience with Jaime. Meanwhile, back north at Winterfell, Sansa and Arya are definitely starting to butt heads. Arya is definitely questioning Sansa’s loyalty to Jon, especially given Baelish’s continuing presence at Winterfell and, specifically, near Sansa.
I guess, as long as you’re not Gendry, everyone can get anywhere in record time, considering Davos and Tyrion have already landed at King’s Landing. And some weirdness ensues: Tyrion, understandably nervous about being back in the capital, says, “the last time I was here I killed my father.” To which Davos responds:
Anyway, they go their separate ways—Tyrion to meet with Jaime and Davos heading off to Fleabottom. Tyrion uses Bronn as an intermediary, escorting Jaime beneath the Red Keep under the guise of training him out of sight of other folks. Jaime is not a happy camper when he sees Tyrion. He tries to explain to Jaime his reasons for killing their father and—knowing that the showrunners do not waste dialogue—the words Tyrion uses are important: “he didn’t hate me because of anything I did, he hated me for what I am.” Just keep those words tucked away in your noggin, I have a super strong feeling they are going to be very relevant down the line. When he finally tells Jaime that Daenerys isn’t demanding they bend the knee (…yet), Jaime shows a bit more interest in hearing Tyrion out.
Meanwhile, Davos heads to Steel Street and finds Gendry! YAY!
The source material responding to the fandom with a joke aside, Davos starts to explain that he’s taking Gendry away but, before he can finish a sentence, Gendry’s all, “it’s about time. Let’s roll.” Then he very much reveals himself to be his father’s son when he admits he can’t do much with a sword, but he’s all about his war hammer. As they prepare to leave King’s Landing, two goldcloaks approach and Davos successfully bribes them. Well, until the goldcloaks make Tyrion when he arrives on the scene, at which point Gendry proves himself quite able with the hammer.
Meanwhile, Jaime takes what he’s learned from his conversation with Tyrion to Cersei. As it happens, she totally already knew that they were meeting, much to Jaime’s surprise. She, very much being her father’s daughter, is down to meet with Dany, if for no other reason than it seems beneficial in the short term and buys her time to try to outfox Daenerys down the road. Then Cersei reveals that she’s pregnant and then follows up that announcement by implicitly threatening Jaime. So, you know, super healthy family/relationship dynamic there.
Tyrion, Gendry, and Davos return to Dragonstone and Davos tries to coach Gendry on how to interact with Jon Snow. Gendry’s all in agreement and then definitely takes the RDJ approach and blurts out exactly what Davos told him not to say: that he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard son and that he’s planning to go fight with Jon Snow. So, Gendry, Davos, Jorah, and Jon are leaving Dragonstone and heading to Eastwatch—awkward goodbyes are exchanged and stuff and, just before they shove off in their landing craft, this frame happens:
Now I’m not saying that shot is super important; I’m just saying that it’s super important. *wink* And it will become increasingly important, especially when and if Sam ever gets around to actually listening to Gilly instead of having a mantrum. I get that Sam is pissed that no one seems to be taking him seriously about the White Walkers, but Gilly just dropped some massively important information: Rhaegar Targaryen had his marriage annulled and married someone else in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Y’all, Jon Snow is actually Rhaegar Targaryen’s true born son.
Maybe Sam will actually listen at some point, but this is not that point. Instead, he makes his mind up to steal a bunch of texts from the restricted section of the Citadel and ride off with Gilly and little Sam. When Gilly asks if he’s sure he wants to leave the Citadel, he says that he’s over reading about what other, “greater” men have achieved. He still doesn’t know about his father and brother yet, though, so I’m curious as to when he is going to catch wind of that information.
Up at Winterfell, Baelish is definitely stirring up shit with the northern lords against Jon Snow and he’s totally laying a trap for Arya in an attempt to drive a wedge between the sisters. Because Baelish. He leads Arya to an old scroll; the entreaty Sansa was forced to write to Robb to encourage him to bend the knee to King Joffery. At the time Sansa wrote that, Arya had left King’s Landing and was headed north to the Wall and so she has no idea what all Sansa went through in the capital while Joffery was alive, a fact that Baelish seems to be banking on.
Meanwhile, Jon & co. make landfall at Eastwatch. They tell Tormund about their plan and Tormund is appropriately skeptical. As luck would have it though, Jon and his compatriots (minus Davos) are not the first kids on the block to show up near Eastwatch looking to go north of the Wall. Tormund caught Berric, Thoros, and the Hound just south of the wall and had been holding them in a cell. All kinds of awkwardness abound when folks start recognizing one another: Gendry urges Jon not to trust Berric and Thoros because they sold him to Melisandre; Thoros outs Jorah as a Mormont; Tormund turns on Jorah and the two of them get into it. Jon, building off of Berric’s words, gets everyone to an uneasy truce when he says that they are all on the same side: they’re still breathing—talk about lowest common denominator. But—hey!—you gotta start somewhere. The episode ends with Jon, Gendry, Tormund, Berric, Thoros, the Hound, and a number of the Free Folk heading north.
Large promo source: http://gameofthronesfanart.com/post/147848068610/the-nights-king-by-carlos-giraldo-orozco (terms of submission: http://gameofthronesfanart.com/terms_of_submission/en_US; terms of service: https://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms-of-service)
Small promo source: http://watchersonthewall.com/character-posters-game-thrones-season-7-revealed/, ©HBO, 2017