OK, so last night’s episode of Game of Thrones wasn’t exactly the fire-breathing, pirate-fighting, Olenna-poisoning, action-packed hour we’ve been spoiled by most of this season. However, among all the maneuvering and strategizing, some very, very, VERY big revelations were (possibly)(probably) made, and we witnessed a few long-awaited returns.
Last night’s episode, titled “Eastwatch,” packed an awful lot of development in with minimal bloodshed, but the sheer volume of narrative progress has my head spinning. Plus, now I’m truly convinced they installed some kind of rapid mass transit Acela line in Westeros because factions are traveling at downright comical paces now.
There is a ton to parse through in this episode, and to be completely honest, I’m not even sure I’m fully grasping the importance of everything. You guys have been great filling in gaps in the comments, and I’m super curious to hear your thoughts on some of last night’s reveals.
So let’s not waste another moment before hopping into our recap, below!
Meanwhile, at the Reach …
Jaime and Bronn emerge from the watery depths with one pretty staggering realization: There is no way they can win this war, not with all the Dothraki and dragons and what not. This is also a great time for Bronn to let Jaime that he’s putting in his
two week’s three dragons notice, because he did not sign up for all of that. Sorry!
Nearby, Daenerys rounds up the Lannister troops that haven’t yet been torched. Our benevolent Breaker of Chains gives the remaining soldiers an option: Bend the knee or get your gooey insides turned into crème brûlée. Many of the Lannister men drop to their knees faster than a BrokeStraightGuys model on a pile of $20 bills. Two notable exceptions are the Tarlys.
Daenerys calls out Papa Tarly and gives him one more chance to reconsider, but he’s like NOPE, I am one loyal dude, which sounds very noble at first. Then Tyrion points out that he wasn’t so loyal when he sold out the Tyrells to fight alongside the Lannisters. Then Papa Tarly — who you may recall is a real jerkface — reminds us that at least the Lannisters didn’t side with outsiders and savages, and it’s all suddenly clear that Daddy Tarly is just a big ol’ Westerosi racist! BURN THEM.
Then, despite Tyrion’s pleading to maybe just throw the racist Tarlys in a timeout to think about what they’ve done, Daenerys has Drogon fire up Papa Tarly and handsome Dickon, whom I don’t even miss anymore because he chose to get burned alive with his racist daddy.
Meanwhile, at Winterfell …
Arya is playing secret shopper, casually observing how Sansa is running Winterfell, and, honey, you are not going to be happy with her comment card!
First off, she watches as the bannermen in the North complain about Jon Snow’s absence and make the case Sansa would be better suited to rule. Sansa is all like “No way, you think?” but tries to modestly take the compliment without reveling in the idea for too long.
Arya does catch her reveling just enough to confront her about it in a passive-aggressive exchange that rivals some of the best Real Housewives episodes. Catching her taking up residence in their parents’ old chamber, Arya drops a bunch of lines and side-eye about how Sansa always wants nice things, and clearly one of those nice things she wants to have is to rule Winterfell instead of Jon. If that wasn’t the case, she’d just behead the other bannermen who dare question Jon’s authority.
Sansa, though, is a little more world weary. She knows she can’t just behead her way out of every problem. That didn’t work out for Joffrey or Ramsay or really anyone. You need to have allies. Arya still isn’t convinced. She thinks Sansa only wants to stay in the good graces of the other Northern houses so when she makes her powerplay, she has their support. It’s an incredibly juicy scene for the two sisters, and it reinforces that although they’ve both been through dramatically transformative experiences, their core differences still simmer just below the surface. They’re both survivors, but they’ve made it this far using very different tactics.
Her sister is not the only one Arya has her eye on. She’s tailing Littlefinger all over Winterfell, watching him conspire with various lords and maesters. She catches him receiving a scroll from a maester, which Littlefinger says in full-throated stage whisper “You’re sure this is the only one in Winterfell … Lady Sansa appreciates it, homey.” Then he winks directly into the camera, before twirling his mustache and retiring into his room. He re-emerges shortly thereafter and locks his door behind him.
Like clockwork, Arya MacGuyver’s her way into his room and quickly finds the scroll in question. It was from a raven Sansa had sent back to Winterfell under pressure from Cersei way back in season one asking her family to bend the knee to Joffrey. She makes her way out of the room, and we see Littlefinger watching from the shadows, obviously pleased at how these events unfolded.
Now I’m not entirely sure how to read all this. Clearly Littlefinger wanted Arya to find this info, but to what end? Arya likely will assume this is evidence of Sansa’s scheming, but will she act on that suspicion before Sansa can explain? Besides stirring up chaos (which is a ladder, remember), what is Littlefinger’s end game? I truly don’t believe he wants to see Sansa harmed or killed, so he wouldn’t want her in a position where Arya could hurt her. Where is it all going? I DO NOT KNOW.
Elsewhere in Winterfell, Bran is plugging his mental router into the World Warg Web, launching his consciousness into a raven flying out beyond the Wall. Well, look here, it’s the Night King and all his White Walkers and his wights marching steadily along. Eep!
Bran readies warnings for the other kingdoms. Ooh, gurl, you’ve got a three(-eyed raven)-mail!
Meanwhile, at Old Town …
The maesters get Bran’s message, but they’re not totally convinced. What if this message is just a trick from Daenerys to lure all the armies out of Westeros so she can fly in and takeover?
Well, for starters, Sam pipes up, Bran somehow survived outside the wall for years despite the fact he’s paralyzed. That’s pretty notable. Plus, Sam can attest this Army of the Dead is the real deal.
The maesters decide they’re going to look into it, but that’s not enough for Samuel.
Back at his home, Gilly is studying up for her Jeopardy try-out, cramming Westerosi trivia. Did you know this maester kept super meticulous records? Did you know how many windows are in the Great Sept of Baelor? Did you know Rhaegar got an annulment and remarried on the same night? And also …
I CAN’T EAT TACO BELL, I’M ON ALL CARB DIETTHERE IS NO SEPT OF BAELOR ANYMORE. GOD, KARENGILLY, YOU’RE SO STUPID! And Sam huffs away. He packs up the baby and Gilly and leaves the Citadel behind, abandoning the worst winter internship to serve a great purpose.
Hold up. Let’s rewind. Rhaegar REMARRIED? Now, I’m making two BIG (however LIKLEY) assumptions. The first is that Rhaegar is the father of Jon Snow, which is something that feels extremely likely, but has not been confirmed. And secondly, that Lyanna Stark is the one Rhaegar married. This is VERY important information. Although most people had assume Rhaegar and Lyanna were Jon’s true parents, the popular theory was that he was the product of rape. HOWEVER, if he was born out of a recognized marriage, that would make him the legitimate heir to throne. In fact, his claim to the throne would supersede Daenerys’ because he’s a boy. (Sorry, #feminism.)
It’s certainly a very interesting wrinkle to intro into our story at this point. Will Daenerys learn this information? Will it shake her sense of self? She’s lived her whole life believing she was the rightful heir. Will she feel like she needs to knock Jon out of her way? It feels like the story has been building toward these two coming together, not fighting one another. It also feels like Jon isn’t ambitious enough to even want the Iron Throne. His ultimate purpose feels like it has more to do with the Night King (and I would wager it will require him to sacrifice his life, again). So what does this all mean? I. DO. NOT. KNOW.
Meanwhile, at Dragonstone …
Daenerys comes back from toasting the Lannister army and lands Drogon right in front of Jon Snow. The snarling, growling dragon gets all up in Jon’s face before allowing him to place a bare hand on his snout. Drogon might as well have rolled over, showed his belly and licked Jon’s face. This certainly goes a long way in supporting the theory that Jon has some Targaryen blood in him.
(It also reminds me of when Tyrion confronted the dragons when Daenerys used to keep them chained up in Meereen and they also didn’t pop him in their mouth like some kind of human amuse bouche. Could Tyrion also be part Targaryen? There are certainly corners of the internet that believe Dany’s daddy raped Tyrion’s mom, which is REALLY why Tywin always hated Tyrion, but, honestly, you guys, I can only handle so many crazy theories in one episode.)
Before Daenerys can be like DO YOU HAVE SOME KIND OF DRAGON SCOOBY SNACK IN YOUR CLOAK? Ser Jorah arrives and they have a sweet little reunion.
There’s not a ton of time to explore which of these two men have a better chance at capturing the Dragon Queen’s heart. There are too many other far more pressing matters to attend to than turning this all into a rom-com love triangle, anyway. For example, there’s this message from Bran about the Night King.
Jon knows they’re running out of time. Tyrion hatches a plan to convince Cersei to stop the immediate war so they can all fight the Army of the Dead together. Jon will just have to catch a wight and bring it to King’s Landing, while Tyrion convinces Jaime to get Cersei to grant them an audience. What could go wrong?!
Meanwhile, at King’s landing …
Jaime returns to King’s Landing to drop some hard truths on Queen Cersei. They are vastly outmanned (and more importantly out-dragoned) by Daenerys’ forces. This is not a battle they can win.
That’s all well and good, but what other option do they have? As Cersei puts it, they could surrender and be killed, or they can fight and be killed. Her choice is clear, his should be too.
Oh, and also, Jaime tells Cersei, Tyrion never killed Joffrey, Cersei, Olenna did. I mean, talk about your classic I’ve got bad news and more bad news situation. Cersei takes this about as well as expected, focused less on how she misjudged Tyrion and more on how she missed her chance to concoct an elaborate death/torture for Olenna before Jaime convinced her to use the painless poison.
From there Jaime heads down to train with Bronn, except, just kidding! Bronn brought him down to the Skull Room to arrange a rendezvous with Tyrion.
Much like the Arya/Sansa tête-à-tête, this sibling meeting is just as emotionally charged. Tyrion tries to play to Jaime’s ego, first complimenting him on his strategic win at Casterly Rock. When that doesn’t move him, he tries to appeal to Jaime’s sympathies considering how their father tried to have him executed despite the fact he was innocent. Jaime is still not ready to embrace his little brother, so Tyrion cuts to the chase. Let’s put a pin in this whole war so we can fight the icy zombie people marching toward Westeros.
Jaime brings this plan to Cersei, and she’s surprisingly cool with it. A break from the battle gives the Lannisters a chance to regroup, and working closely with Daenerys gives them an opportunity to fight a battle of wits instead of arms, really.
Also, Cersei totally knew about Jaime’s meeting with Tyrion, so is Jaime going to punish Bronn for going behind his back? Oh, yeah, and one more thing, Cersei is “pregnant.”
OK, OK. I put pregnant in quotes, because I for one just do not believe it. I think Cersei is lying to manipulate Jaime. But let’s say she’s not. I still don’t think she’s ever going to carry this baby to term because of that pesky Maggy the Frog prophecy about only having three kids. So far, that prophecy has been pretty spot on, so I don’t expect it to veer now.
As Jaime embraces the mother-aunt of his next child, she leans into his ear and warns him about betraying her again. Yikes.
Over in Flea Bottom, Davos stops by a handsome, young swordsman’s stall and … oh my goodness, is that? … Is it really? … It is! It’s GENDRY! You remember Gendry. He was Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. He escaped King’s Landing when they were slaughtering all of Robert’s bastards, he palled around with Ayra and Hot Pie for a while. Eventually he ended up with the Brotherhood until Thoros and Beric sold him to Melisandre who used leeches to steal his royal blood. She and Stannis would have sacrificed Gendry had Davos not helped him escape in a rowboat. The ongoing joke has been that he’s been rowing ever since.
Turns out that wasn’t the case! He kept his lineage secret right under Cersei’s nose. He’s been back to blacksmithing in King’s Landing, and he’s very, very good with a warhammer. Just watch him blast these two Lannister guards in the head with it before he, Davos and Tyrion return to Dragonstone.
Meanwhile, at Dragonstone, again …
Davos tells Gendry in no uncertain terms to still keep his parentage a secret. So, naturally, Gendry walks righ up to Jon Snow and immediately blabs that he’s Robert Baratheon’s son, and he’s here to adventure with Jon the same way their “fathers” did back in the day. He’s going to join them in their quest to capture a wight.
And so is Jorah, which, jeez man, take your coat off and stay a while, why don’t you? He came back to serve Dany, so serve her he will. Before he goes, Tyrion gives him back the coin the slaver gave him in season five when he suggested the master allow them to fight in the pits as free men. It’s all very Elizabeth Taylor “these have always brought me luck” White Diamonds to me.
Meanwhile, at Eastwatch …
Jon, Davos, Jorah and Gendry arrive at Eastwatch, one of the last three manned castles along the Wall. It’s where Jon sent Tormund and the Free Folk. Also residing at Eastwatch, but as prisoners, are Beric, Thoros and the Hound.
Now this is a motley crew indeed. Tormund is suspicious of Jorah because his father hunted Free Folk when he ran the Night’s Watch. Gendry is suspicious of Beric and Thoros because they’re the ones that sold him to Melisandre. Also, Jon knows the Hound from way back when he visited Winterfell in a season one scene I’m struggling to remember the significance of. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of ill will to be shared among the ragtag group.
Jon, ever the uniter, reminds them they are all on the side of the living, so there’s no time for petty squabbling. Let’s go out there and catch us a wight!
And that’s where we leave off. Next week’s episode clocks in at an astounding 75 minutes, so be sure to extend all your DVR recordings, hennies. It’s going to be a doozy!
Leave your predictions in the comments!