In “Eastwatch,” the fifth episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, Westeros recovers from the aftermath of that crazy battle in The Spoils of War — and sets up a much colder fight to come.
“Eastwatch” is about pivoting away from the war for the Iron Thrones and towards the war with the Night King, making sure all the human players are on the right side. Jaime and Bronn recover from almost dying and they reunite with Tyrion, Jon rallies a band of Merry Men for a dangerous expedition North, and a very long lost character returns at last.
Spoilers below for the fifth episode of Game of Thrones Season 7.
The North Remembers
In Winterfell, the three Starks uneasily work together. When Bran has a vision of the Night King making moves by the Wall, Sansa and Arya send ravens to alert Jon and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. They don’t stop to debate about how to make it sound believable that their magic brother had a vision about mythical creatures; they just do it.
Later, Arya and Sansa have a tense conversation about Sansa’s leadership of the North. Luckily they have their conversation in private — the way Jon and Sansa should have earlier in the season. Petyr Baelish schemes to separate the sisters by baiting Arya against Sansa. But if Arya could deal with Jaqen H’hghar’s double-speak, seeing through Baelish should hopefully be easy as pie.
“Hopefully” being the operative word, since it seems Littlefinger played Arya, tricking her into finding a raven scroll that Sansa sent (under duress) in Season 1. The scroll, written in Sansa’s hand, labels their father a traitor, and asks Robb Stark to bend the knee. Of course, Sansa didn’t mean it — she just had to write it given her circumstances at the time. But … will Arya understand?
The Lannisters Send Their Regards
Jaime and Tyrion haven’t come face to face since Season 4. Since then, Jaime has adopted Tyrion’s best friend and learned that Tyrion killed their father but definitely didn’t kill Joffrey. Tyrion, for his part, has watched from afar as Jaime jousted a dragon. In short, the two have a lot of catching up to do.
In order for Tyrion’s crazy plan to work — and more on that in a bit — he needs to use Jaime to get Cersei to join Team Stop the Zombie Winter Apocalypse. Their meeting is tense, since Jaime is understandably still pissed about that time Tyrion murdered their father. Nonetheless, Jaime is a reasonable guy and doesn’t want to repeat his recent battlefield experience.
All Men Must Die
Daenerys talks a big game about being more progressive than her father and monarchs like Cersei or Robert Baratheon. But so far she’s killed innocents like Dickon Tarly and rigidly pushed for people to “bend the knee” — which is exactly how things have always been done. As Jon warned last episode, she’s currently showing people the same “shit they’ve always known.” It’s not so much that she’s becoming a “Mad Queen” — she’s never been a wise or particularly competent ruler. It’s never been clear if Game of Thrones knows this, but “Eastwatch” shows some self-awareness.
RIP Randyll and Dickon Tarly, we hardly knew ye. Good thing Sam took the Tarly family Valyrian steel sword in Season 6.
A Lannister Always Pays His Debts
The revelation that Cersei is pregnant presents a much-needed breaking point for the Jaime and Cersei relationship. If they don’t want their child to be a bastard, they have to marry. But even though the Targaryens did it, brother/sister marriage is still pretty taboo. On the other hand, if Cersei wants to marry Euron Greyjoy, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to raise another man’s kid with good cheer. Cersei has to act fast.
Ours is the Fury
Just when it seems like Houses Stark, Targaryen, and Lannister are the last remaining power players in this story, House Baratheon makes a comeback in the ninth inning! Game of Thrones likes its long-lost characters, but Gendry is the most egregious example of this. The show pretended he didn’t exist for four damn seasons. Davos sent him off in a row boat all the way back in Season 3. As “Eastwatch” reveals, he apparently just rowed right back where he started: smithing in King’s Landing.
But he made himself a cool hammer like his father Robert Baratheon used, and with it he handily helps Tyrion, Davos, and their group escape King’s Landing after their meeting with Jaime. Welcome back Gendry. Maybe during their adventure in the North, he’ll duke it out with Jon Snow over who is the prettiest bastard in Westeros. But actually, about that…
So, Jon isn’t a bastard. At the Citadel, Sam and Gilly continue their quest to uncover plot points in libraries. “Eastwatch” presents the most significant yet (no offense to Jorah and his newly descaled skin), because Gilly reads about how Rhaegar Targaryen annulled his marriage with his first wife and married “someone else” in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Who would Rhaegar want to secretly marry in Dorne? Lyanna Stark, who he ran away to Dorne with. The fact that they actually married means that Jon Snow is not a bastard. It also means if the Iron Throne is going to a Targaryen ruler, Daenerys is not next in line. Jon is. Good thing Daenerys hasn’t done anything violent in order to assert her right to rule — that would sure be awkward!
Having learned about this information and the impending White Walker invasion, Sam and Gilly pull a Fred and George and ditch Hogwarts before graduation. Here’s hoping their next destination contains less gross body fluids.
You know nothing, Jon Snow
Bringing back a wight in order to convince Cersei to join Team Stop the Zombie Winter Apocalypse is the worst plan Jon has ever had. Granted, it’s mostly Tyrion’s plan, but Jon is spearheading the practical aspect of it. Everyone knows that Cersei obtained the Iron Throne by blowing up half of King’s Landing. That’s an objectively insane thing to do.
So the fact that anyone expects her to respond to proof of White Walkers in a rational way is incredible. It doesn’t matter that White Walkers should unite everyone; Cersei hasn’t done anything the way people should.
But as questionable as this venture is, with a rag-tag team that includes Jon, Tormund, Gendry, Jorah, and Sandor Clegane, there’s no way the expedition itself won’t be an absolute blast.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO.