All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
One of the many castles along the Wall, Eastwatch sits on the northeast-most corner of Westeros. It’s one of the few castles that has actual men and let’s remember that Tormund and a bunch of Wildlings recently departed Winterfell to go stand watch for signs of the army of the dead. We hit up Eastwatch in the opening credits, one of the last additions we will see… maybe until next season. We can also welcome back Joe Dempsie, who plays Gendry! He’s all done rowing and he rowed all the way… right back to… King’s Landing.
The episode opens where it left off- with Bronn pulling Jaime out of the water after he abandoned his horse, which became Drogon’s next meal. Jaime remarks that his wiped out army was the result of one dragon- and Dany has two others she can use at anytime.
Meanwhile, Jaime’s brother surveys the scene- all that’s left of the battle are ashes or burnt remnants of the Lannister army. The Dothraki are rounding up any survivors in front of Dany and Drogon. Note that Drogon now sounds like a velociraptor. It actually sounds like a mix of… an elephant and maybe a large cat of sorts. (Thanks LOTR!)
Dany acknowledges that she knows the lies Cersei has been spinning about her- how she wants to destroy and conquer Westeros and Dany says it’s just the system that’s her target- the one that Cersei sits on top of as the rest of the people squabble below her. Dany asks them to bend the knee and join her- or to die. Tyrion’s face is like, “That’s not what we agreed on” and most of the Lannister army kneels down. The Tarlys remain standing and Tyrion points out that they don’t owe Cersei any loyalty since she technically killed the rightful queen.
Tyrion pleads with Dany to do something a bit more diplomatic and to take the opportunity to show some mercy but Dany’s over it. Dickon steps forward and Tyrion sees that House Tarly is about to be wiped out- not a great start for Dany’s reputation in Westeros- and both he and Randyll plead with Dickon to align with Dany and he still refuses.
Dany’s pretty firm in the decision to kill anyone who doesn’t agree to be her ally and Tyrion is still set upon the idea that Dany needs to show more understanding in her actions. In her mind, she’s given them a choice, but it’s not a very good one is it? It’s not too far away from what her Unsullied were offered prior to her arrival- obey and live, resist and die. It’s weird how she doesn’t see this. Anyway, Drogon gets the grill ready and… the music that the Sons of the Harpy are typically associated with starts playing for whatever reason. I guess her theme was too inspiring and they didn’t want to show that she was making the right decision- just a chaotic one. Also, since when could Drogon pinpoint his targets like that? I didn’t know she had trained him that successfully. The move convinces the rest of the standers to kneel down and Tyrion can’t hide his disappointment as she strolls away.
Jaime makes his way back to Cersei’s chambers and he reports that they’re still counting the dead. Cersei says it’s no matter- they can hire a ton of mercenaries, which is I guess ten times better than the foreign army or exactly the same. I can’t tell. Jaime’s putting his money that anyone will be beaten by the Dothraki army, her dragons- he’s never seen a one-sided battle like this before. As a last resort, Cersei muses that maybe they can talk to Tyrion and he’ll intercede on their behalf, trying to make up for the deaths of Tywin and Joff- but Jaime breaks it to her that Olenna was responsible for Joff’s death.
Drogon does a victory lap around Dragonstone as Jon watches from the cliff and when Dany dismounts, Jon reaches out to pat Drogon’s snout- Dany’s never seen another person touch the dragons without getting scorched and it turns her on- but it’s also another indicator that Drogon can sense Jon’s bloodline. The Dany/Jon theme can be heard in full for the first time as the two make googoo eyes at each other, or at least try to- there is such a lack of chemistry between them and a lot of it is due to Clarke’s one-note, batting-eyes and heavy-breath acting. They’re interrupted by Jorah’s arrival and he kneels at Dany’s feet. Jon acknowledges his father and Dany immediately accepts him back into her service and gives him a big old hug- but it’s clear Jorah sees Jon as competition because if you weren’t buying the Dany and Jon dynamic like me, Creepy Jorah being jealous should be a huge indicator that there’s something boiling between them.
Up North, Bran is warging into a bunch of crows and sends them over Eastwatch, where they find the army of the dead led by the Night King. The Night King peers up and makes eye contact- he knows Bran is spying on him- and the crows scatter away.
Down in Oldtown, Archmaester Slughorn receives a raven from Winterfell’s Maester Wolkan and Sam confirms he knows Bran and the contents of the scroll are what he’s been trying to tell the old men- that the army of the dead is on its way. Sam says that the maesters have the most power out of anyone in Westeros and if they request that everyone lay down their weapons, band together, and head North, that they will. The maesters are more fans of the theory that the note is a trick from Dany but Ebrose assures Sam that he will write a raven back to Wolkan asking for more evidence.
At Dragonstone, Varys contemplates the similarities between himself with Aerys and Tyrion with Dany- how Varys used to just accept whatever Aerys did because it wasn’t technically Varys’ hands performing the actions. Varys was ok with the Mad King’s antics, but realizes how wrong he was and tells Tyrion that he needs to find a better way to counsel her out of these decisions. I think Varys’ support is beginning to wane- a big indicator that Dany is no good for Westeros.
Jon receives a raven from Sansa explaining that Bran and Arya are alive, and insists that he has to go North to get ready for the fight, even if that means he doesn’t have Dany’s support. Dany still refuses as she doesn’t want to lose more ground to Cersei and Tyrion takes the opportunity to propose that maybe they at least try to rope Cersei in as an ally. If he can get to Jaime and parlay a meeting and also present a wight, they might have more weight to their argument. Davos proposes to smuggle Tyrion in so he can conference with Jaime and Jorah volunteers to go North- and Jon also volunteers as he’s one of the few that has actually fought them. Dany goes all heavy-breathey, which of course Jorah takes notice of so that we can take notice of it- whatever. And Jon plays hard-to-get telling her he doesn’t need her permission to leave because he’s a king and kings can do what they want and he will act on behalf of all his people and she should do the same and I’m over this. They only takeaway I have is that she recognizes that Jon is a good leader and if only the writers would grant her some sort of actions to show that Jon has been a good influence on her… but we can’t have that, can we?
In Winterfell, the Northmen are growing restless with Jon’s absence, saying that maybe they should have elected Sansa as their leader because the North and their loyalty has been ruined. Sansa stands behind her brother’s decision to go south and Arya sees her in a seat of power, in her parent’s old bedroom, and confronts Sansa about liking the position she’s in as leader of the North. Sansa argues that a leader needs to listen to their people, even if they are being insulted and Arya’s like, or we could just kill them. This is a dumb conversation. This whole angle is dumb. What’s the conflict here? Why is Arya a shit? Is this all a ploy for someone to overhear? Is it real? An indicator to show what the purpose of this (if it was a baiting scheme) needed to be in here somewhere, because it comes off as jumbled and senseless. It’s clear that the showrunners got more interested in how to leave the audience guessing and how to provide a shock over crafting an actual storyline and getting us in deeper with these characters. It’s a let down.
Davos and Tyrion arrive in King’s Landing and Bronn lures Jaime into the meeting with Tyrion. It’s the first time they’ve come face to face after Tyrion’s escape in Season 4. Jaime swore that if he saw Tyrion again, he would cut him in half and Tyrion interjects that Tywin always hated him for no reason other than his physique. Tyrion says that Dany doesn’t want Cersei to bend the knee (lie!), but has a more important question-
But we cut to Davos roaming around Flea Bottom and stumbling across a bald Gendry. You know, I never understood why Davos wanted Gendry but duh- Gendry can shape the dragonglass. He’s a smith. Kind of plot convenience to how he found him thought. Gendry drops everything at once to join the excursion, picking up his hammer (the same weapon of choice as his father). They’re approached by Gold Cloaks just as they’re getting ready to leave and it’s like they’re in the clear until Tyrion stumbles in (why did you head towards them, you idiot?) and Gendry wipes them out with his hammer as a precaution. Simple establishment to show that Gendry is a capable fighter and hasn’t been idle in his spare time.
Upstairs, Jaime interrupts Qyburn telling Cersei he can give her something, which Cersei waves off. Cersei already knows that Jaime met with Tyrion and her strategy is to comply with Dany and then defeat her from the inside. Cersei is intent on winning and survival for the sake of her (points at belly)- it’s a baby! Sure it is. She plans on announcing that Jaime is the father because she no longer cares about what other people might say and Jaime is overcome with joy- he has a real opportunity to be a father now.
Gendry marches up to Jon at Dragonstone and promptly introduces himself as Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. They reminisce really quickly about their father and there’s almost an instant friendship that feels real- it’s been a while since we had a scene like this. Jon and Gendry have ten times more chemistry than Jon has with Dany. Dany sees Jorah off, but he cuts it off quick when he sees Jon approaching. She tells Jon she’s grown used to him and I wouldn’t have minded this scene so much if she hadn’t been so short of breath in the previous scenes. Subtlety is never a bad thing, people.
Back in Oldtown, where the fuck has Gilly been staying and where are they now if women aren’t allowed in the Citadel? Gilly is reading Sam some random facts she’s come across thanks to High Septon Maynard who wrote down everything- most notably a “Prince Ragger” had his marriage annulled and he was remarried to someone else while in Dorne- and Sam snaps telling Gilly he has work to do and can’t be bothered listening to traditions of the past when mankind is about to die and everyone dies a little inside because it’s confirmed Jon is a legitimate child of Lyanna and Rhaegar’s marriage and he’s heir to the Iron Throne, not Dany.
Sam storms inside the library, steals a bunch of books and scrolls, and gives up his dream of becoming a maester and the most amazing library he’s ever been in so he can return North and help in the things that matter.
In Winterfell, Arya spies on Littlefinger as he receives a scroll from Luwin’s archives and he thanks Wolkan on behalf of Sansa, which we find out later is an attempt to drive a wedge between the sisters- he’s aware of being followed. The scroll in question is the one Sansa wrote to Robb when Ned was Joff’s prisoner in Season 1, asking him to come and bend the knee to Joffrey.
Jon and his party arrive at Eastwatch, where Tormund Tormunds it up, putting things bluntly and into perspective, and informs Jon that there are a lot of people heading North- Beric, Thoros, and the Hound. Jon recognizes the Hound, Gendry recognizes the other two, Jorah recognizes Thoros (they fought together in Balon’s Rebellion- Jorah told us this story back in the day), Tormund realizes that Jorah’s father was Jeor Mormont who wiped out most of his people- Jon asks everyone to put aside their differences to face the common enemy and it’s one big happy family.
The six make their way out below the gate and into the snow for our next episode, 7.6 Beyond the Wall!