Greetings, and welcome! My name is Ben, and you have stumbled upon the ONLY Game of Thrones recap on the entire internet. Week to week I will be breaking down each episode of season 7, giving out highly prestigious awards, and wrapping everything up with a haiku.
Season 7, Episode 5: Eastwatch
One of the defining characteristics of this season of Game of Thrones has been its pacing. Instead of taking three or four weeks for characters to travel to their next destination, they often show up there half an episode later. In general, this has made for some compelling and gratifying storytelling. Not having to wait is fine until you get to an episode like Eastwatch, where it feels like the narrative is traveling too fast for its own good.
We begin the episode, to no one’s surprise, to find out that Jaime survived the end of last week’s chaos. Bronn seems confused as to why he has such a death wish, and the Kingslayer vows to warn Cersei about just how one-sided the battle really was. You can see the horror slowly wash over his face when he realizes that his queen will not compromise in the face of certain doom. The woman he loves, and his family’s legacy, don’t seem as if they will be around much longer.
To further complicate Jaime’s life, Daenerys sends Tyrion to meet with him to see if Cersei might be willing to halt hostilities if it can be proven that dead men are really coming for everyone. Yet, the writers don’t seem to understand how complicated and potentially interesting this reunion between the two brothers really is. Everyone’s favorite dwarf is smuggled into King’s Landing with seemingly no effort and the scene is over before it has a chance to begin. Oh, and Cersei is pregnant? Give me a chance to breathe over here! Anyway, Cersei is open to this meeting because it might allow her to exploit Dany’s inexperience in Westeros and buy time.
Speaking of the Mother of Dragons, it seems the apple does not fall too far from the charred corpses. With the surviving Lannister forces from last week before her, Daenerys offers a simple choice: bend the knee or be burned alive. Randyll and Dickon Tarly refuse, because the former is a grumpy man of principle and the latter was raised by a grumpy man of principle. Drogon’s breath reduces them to ash and everyone else is like, “Hmm, I wonder what’s on the ground here…oh how about that I’m kneeling that’s weird!” And just like that, another great house of Westeros is (almost) destroyed. Tyrion and Varys discuss these events over some wine, and it seems that they are starting to have some misgivings about the woman they are following. Mainly that she appears to be going insane. While no one could confuse her with the Mad King at this point, it does seem possible that she is trending slightly in that direction. Perhaps Daenerys will be more reasonable now that Jorah is back to provide council? Oh nevermind, he’s leaving already. Wasn’t their reunion supposed to feel more important?
Fan favorite Gendry also returns to the story, having been located by Davos. It takes about two seconds to convince him to abandon his post as King’s Landing blacksmith and assist the Onion Knight, partially because he hates making swords for people who killed his father and also because THERE IS NO TIME FOR STORYTELLING GO GO GO.
In the North, there is quite a lot going on. Bran wargs into some ravens to scout the army of the dead. Spoiler alert: they are still terrifying. From here he sends ravens throughout the Seven Kingdoms to notify everyone that the Night’s King is on the move. The reaction is skeptical at best. In Oldtown, some of the smartest men in the world sit around a table and laugh about the supposed threat. This eventually leads to Samwell stealing a bunch of books and taking off with his family, but not before Jon Snow’s heritage and possible lineage to the throne is put right in front of him by Gilly only for him to ignore it. Hopefully that’s in one of the books that he’s bringing along? It’s ironic that in an episode that saw his father get burned to death, Sam can’t help but repeat Randyll’s criticism of him: “I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men.”
In other northern news, Littlefinger is working hard to drive a wedge between the newly reunited Sansa and Arya Stark. Sansa defends Jon against all of the whiney Winterfell lords who seem to keep forgetting that they swore to obey whatever Jon said. She doesn’t defend him enough for Arya’s liking however. For those of you who need some clarification about that note that Arya found, allow me to elaborate. Earlier this season Littlefinger overheard that Maester Luwin (who held the job during seasons 1 & 2) kept meticulous records and saved every raven’s scroll that came to Winterfell. He uses this knowledge to find the scroll that Cersei forced Sansa to write in season 1, which acknowledged Ned’s “treason” and asked Robb Stark to ride south and bend the knee for Joffrey. Baelish knows that Arya will be following him, so he makes it seem as if he is trying to keep this note secret. Arya already has trust issues and disagreements with her sister, so this method might prove to be effective. Out of context, this note does make it seem as if Sansa is, or once was, a Lannister sympathizer. While my overall criticism of this episode stands, this sequence was stellar and full of nuance.
The episode closes with Jon, Davos, Gendry, and Jorah encountering Beric Dondarrion, (aka that guy who has died a dozen times with the awesome flaming sword) the Hound and Thoros of Myr. Jon assumes that because that all of these men are living they are going to make great allies, and while in this case he is likely right, it is another reminder how naïve he can really be. Regardless, they are all off to capture a living (poor word choice) Wight so that they can potentially unite all of the show’s principle characters against the dead. Good luck with that, guys, Westeros is full of jerks.
This wasn’t Thrones’ finest hour, but it appears to be setting up a lot of action beyond the wall next week and it’s hard not to be excited about that.
Here are a few random thoughts:
- While the reunion of Sansa and Arya was cathartic, it doesn’t take long to remember why they didn’t get along very well in the first place. It feels like something incredibly tragic is coming here, and I still can’t put my finger on exactly what.
- Qyburn is constantly walking out of secret meetings with Cersei in this episode. My guess is his next plan will be a bit more effective than the giant crossbow.
- Is it possible that the end game here really is everyone uniting against the dead? That seems too clean.
“I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying, but that’s not the way to get people to work together” – Sansa, explaining to Arya the fundamental difference in their leadership strategies
“Nothing f#&%s you harder than time” – Davos, smuggler and poet
“Nobody glowers quite like you, not even Grey Worm” – Tyrion, in the midst of an awkward reunion with Ser Jorah
- The latest “We Miss You and Wish You Weren’t Murdered in Horrifying Fashion” award goes to Maester Luwin, who really did have a great presence in those early seasons. As a side note, it is a good thing this show is ending soon because at some point they are going to run out of old British people to cast.
- Haven’t done this award for a while, but the first “Spinoff Alert” in a few years goes to the Hound, Thyros and Beric. After all of the dust settles I wouldn’t mind watching those three wander the countryside drinking wine and arguing with each other for a few seasons. There can be a reoccurring gag where Beric dies once an episode, like Kenny from South Park.
- The first ever “Sensual Dragon Sniffing Scene of the Week” award goes to Drogon and Jon’s encounter. Is that to establish that Jon is one of the three heads of the dragon? Or just that Dany is into some weird stuff?
And Now, a Haiku by Ser Jorah Mormont
Glad to be healthy
And back with the queen I love
Time to die I guess