Though not quite as packed with fire and blood as “The Spoils of War,” this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Eastwatch” advanced the plot in boatloads of ways and set up what is likely going to compete with the Loot Train Battle for the most epic moment of the season in next week’s episode. Most of this week’s top moments were broken apart in various scenes, so if you’re looking for something in particular, it might be connected in a later moment or hanging out down in the assorted musings section. As always, spoilers abound, so ye be warned.
Top 9 Moments in “Eastwatch”
(In relatively chronological order)
Bronn and Jaime on the Riverbank
We all knew this was going to happen, so it was kind of nice to start off with Bronn and Jaime coming out of the river after the Loot Train Battle. Bronn had a nice little line about being the only one who was allowed to kill Jaime until he gets what he wants, and an even better one telling Jaime to jump back in the river rather than tell Cersei they’re going to lose the war. Jaime’s reaction to Drogon is one of the best parts of this scene, as it really marks just how hard it hits him that there’s no chance at all for the Lannisters against not one, but three full-grown dragons. He later points out that the Scorpion–their best hope at taking the dragons out–was minimally effective against one dragon, let alone three. Coupled with his point that massacring Lannisters was more like training than actual fighting for the Dothraki horde and Jaime is one of the only people alive who fully understands just how screwed they are.
2. The Other Queen’s Justice
Perhaps the only reason Jaime and Bronn are able to escape the field of battle is the fact that Daenerys doesn’t wait long to start demanding a whole lot of knee bending from the defeated Lannister/Tarly force. For the most part, she gets what she wants, with a little help from a big dragon scream from Drogon. However, not everything goes quite perfectly, as Randall and Dickon Tarly refuse to bend the knee and join the Dragon Queen. For this, they’re rewarded with a swift death via immolation, despite Tyrion’s best efforts to not allow a second great house to be wiped off the map within a week’s time. It’s a brutal moment for sure, but it’s also a fair one. She lets these men know that she’s not trying to murder them, but if they continue to defy her they face death. The fact that she follows-through on this threat is nothing if not in line with her character.
3. Jon Snow: Dragon Whisperer
Dany’s return to Dragonstone is marked with a brief interaction with Jon Snow. It doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot as far as plot is concerned, but it does set up the fact that Jon can hang with the dragons. It’s a nice little callback to the way that Tyrion manages to stay alive when freeing Rhaegal and Viserion and perhaps sets up a potential moment when the King in the North becomes the Dragon Riding King in the North. It’s also important to note that it’s not Rhaegal or Viserion that Jon touches here, but the notoriously difficult Drogon. That’s a big damn deal and one that doesn’t pass Daenerys by.
4. Those Who Give Counsel
Most of the comparisons between Daenerys and the Mad King come in the form of claiming how unlike her father she is; however, in this scene, the focus lands on those who give counsel to the King or Queen. Tyrion is finding it more and more difficult to act as Hand of the Queen to Daenerys and spends some time rationalizing his ineffectiveness to Varys, who doesn’t offer much in the way of consolation. In fact, Varys turns this back on Tyrion, saying that Daenerys will be nothing like her father so long as she has the right counsel. It sounds an awful lot like he might think she’s got more than a touch of the Mad King in her and that it’s up to Tyrion to prevent that touch from taking over. How Tyrion manages to do this is going to be anyone’s guess, but he’s one of the smartest folks in Westeros, so whatever shot he gives is going to be a good one.
5. Reunions Abound in King’s Landing
Two major sets of reunions took place in King’s Landing this week: Tyrion with Bronn and Jaime and Davos with Gendry. Tyrion’s meet with Jaime had all the markers of his best plans: it involved Bronn doing something for him, Jaime would have had an awful hard time killing him with a practice sword, and it set in motion a series of events that will hopefully prove useful to everyone in the realm. It was really nice to see the two Lannister brothers together again, as they’ve always shared a very strong bond. Dinklage’s performance was particularly strong here as he struggled with Jaime’s verbal attacks. It’s fortunate that this ends well for everyone.
The other major reunion is one that many Thrones fans have been speculating about for quite some time: the return of Gendry to the fold. Davos finds him, of course, back in a smithy making swords and armor for the Lannister army. Gendry, of course, has been doing little more than thinking about what he’s going to do later down the line and has made himself a nice little war hammer, because of course the smith is going to be using a war hammer. It’s also a nice little throwback to the fact that a hammer was his father Robert’s weapon of choice. Seeing him wield said hammer against a couple of Lannister guards was enough to get me excited for seeing him take out wights in next week’s episode.
6. A Baby Lion Cometh
In a lot of ways there’s a growing division between Jaime and Cersei in this episode. It starts when he returns from nearly being fried to a crisp and tells her about how Joffrey died. Cersei is, predictably, unhappy that the woman who murdered their son got away with a relatively painless death and is quick to point out that she shouldn’t have listened to Jaime. It’s doubtful that she’ll ever listen to his advice again, especially if that advice involves some degree of mercy. She also refers to him directly as a soldier, saying that he should know his place. Presumably that place is doing whatever it is the Queen commands.
But perhaps the most important bit here is the fact that there’s a little Lannister on the way. This changes things for both Cersei and Jaime, as they now have to think about what kind of world they’re going to leave their unborn child. The lone redeeming aspect of Cersei has been the way that she cherishes her children, so perhaps the fact that she’s going to have another one is why she’s decided to meet with Daenerys. It doesn’t really sound much like she’s going into the meeting because she wants to save the world from the army of the dead, but it’s definitely a ploy to make sure that she’s alive and in a position to raise her child.
Even more striking in this scene is the way that she deals with Jaime’s conversation with Tyrion. With Qyburn’s little birds feeding her information there’s nothing that she doesn’t know, and this second tense moment between her and Jaime feels even more fraught with meaning. She claims that Bronn must be punished, and then warns Jaime never to betray her again. Coupled with the fact that she has no qualms whatsoever about letting the world know that Jaime’s the father, this is laying the groundwork for a serious conflict between these two.
7. Gilly’s Discovery and Leaving the Citadel
The maesters of the Citadel receive a raven from Bran Stark detailing the movements of the Night King’s army and, despite Sam’s desperate pleading that they immediately recognize the threat and put out a statement that this is a real thing, decide to essentially do nothing. This doesn’t sit well with Sam, who–back in his chambers with Gilly–claims that the maesters are letting potentially essential knowledge in the fight against the Night King remain useless within the pages of a dusty old book. So Sam does what Sam does best–takes a bunch of books, packs up his family, and decides to handle this his own way.
But that’s not even the most important part of this scene. The most important part comes from Gilly’s reading about the secret annulment and remarriage of Rhaegar Targaryen. It doesn’t take a whole lot of wondering to figure out who this prince’s new wife is, and this largely changes things for our favorite bastard of Winterfell. In fact, it changes things so much that Jon Snow isn’t a bastard at all, but a legitimate Targaryen prince. Perhaps even a prince who was promised! This is big to the point of being bigger than the Tower of Joy revelation. This, quite simply, changes everything.
8. A Battle of Stealth
Arya’s used to being able to stealth her way around, observing and learning without being detected. Initially, this is what it seems like she’s doing when she spends her day following Petyr Baelish around. Inspired by her less than pleasant conversation with Sansa concerning her sister’s ruling of the North and attachment to Littlefinger, Arya’s clearly looking for some dirt here. What she finds is a letter written by Sansa urging Robb to come to King’s Landing and swear fealty to Joffrey. The thing that Arya can’t know is the fact that Sansa wrote this under duress from Cersei, but this is absolutely something that Baelish knows–he was in the room when it happened. He knew that if he didn’t take action in driving a wedge between the Stark sisters that he was going to see his power rapidly diminish, and this is absolutely going to create some problems between Sansa and her younger sister. Arya’s a good spy and a better warrior, but attempting to match Littlefinger in a game of subterfuge is a serious miscalculation on her part.
9. Eastwatch Dream Team
The episode concludes with Jon’s contingent from the North, plus the newly returned Jorah arriving at Eastwatch by the Sea with the plan of ranging north of the Wall to bring back a living dead man. They need all the help they can get and it’s fortunate for them that the Brotherhood Without Banners has recently arrived to the castle as well, looking to make their way north. There are tensions all around, because Gendry doesn’t trust the Brotherhood, Tormund doesn’t trust Jorah, and The Hound is just grumpy. But Jon reminds them all that they’re all on the same side–the side of the living–and they make their way north. It’s a veritable dream team of warriors here, with Jon and The Hound being two of the fiercest fighters in Westeros, Jorah and Tormund being battle-hardened veterans, Beric Dondarion wielding a flaming sword, Thoros of Myr wielding the powers of the Lord of Light, and Gendry swinging a big damn hammer. The deck is absolutely stacked agains them, but it’s hard to envision a more capable team to walk directly into the army of the dead.
- Bronn is still hilarious. I seriously hope he dips out of King’s Landing before Cersei does him in.
- Tyrion’s walk through the ashes of the Loot Train Battle said a lot. While he was there to observe the action as it was taking place, a closer look at the aftermath really informs his approach to advising Daenerys from here on.
- The relationship between Daenerys and Jon Snow is getting stronger. She gives him some kind of look when he’s petting Drogon and then says that she’s gotten used to having him around. It would appear that she’s implying she’d like to have him around even more.
- Bran’s use of the ravens to spy on the Night King’s army was super cool. The fact that the Night King seems to recognize Bran’s presence within those ravens and break apart his attempt at reconnoissance is even cooler. The connection between these two characters is so intriguing.
- Of course Varys read the letter to Jon. The fact that Tyrion calls him on it is pretty funny.
- The North is restless. It’ll be interesting to see how Sansa handles this going forward, especially considering Arya is now going to be second guessing her motives even more.
- Part of me thinks that Gendry’s return is largely here only for the purpose of tying up loose ends. He couldn’t be forgotten about, and what better way to bring him back and send him out than to give him a hammer and send him north of the Wall. At least let him take out a couple of wights before going down.
- Tyrion gives Jorah the coin that the slaver paid them. These two have been through some stuff together, and it was nice to see that acknowledged.
- Tormund wishes Brienne had been a part of the dream team, because of course he does.
- The Hound has no time for nonsense.
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