REVIEW: Game of Thrones, S7 Ep5 – Eastwatch

Game of Thrones, S7 ep 5 - Eastwatch

Game of Thrones delivered another eventful episode that may have been light on the action, but was heavy with major character reunions and alliances, and a risky plan for Jon to gain the support of Daenerys and Cersei. Daenerys had to reassert her power and control (making Tyrion, Varys, and some of us watch in discomfort) while Littlefinger continues to poison Winterfell with his presence, seemingly intent on driving a wedge between the Stark sisters.

In the aftermath of last week’s momentous battle against the Lannisters, Daenerys decides to show her hand. She gives the men a “choice” between bending the knee and dying and most of them chose the former, if only to survive. The tough and honorable Tarly’s stood their ground and, much to Tyrion’s dismay, were made an example of, burned alive by Drogon for their refusal to betray their queen. (Tom Hopper was only on Game of Thrones for a few episodes but at least he went out with a bang).

Game of Thrones, S7 ep 5 - EastwatchAs much as Daenerys asserts that she is not her father, the Mad King, some of her actions in the past episodes (burning her enemies alive) are proving her wrong. Tyrion and Varys are certainly worried, but hopefully Dany will try and curb her genetic pyromaniac tendencies enough to be the courageous and compassionate ruler she is at heart.

And it’s clear that she and Jon share a mutual admiration for each other, one reinforced by her seeing that he can touch Drogon without being burned to a crisp (did she ever find out that Tyrion can do the same, I wonder?). We all know that this is due to his Targaryen lineage but Dany senses the forces of destiny.

Bran used his Raven powers to send a message to everyone about the army of the dead at their door. The Maesters of the Citadel paid little heed, despite Sam’s protestations, but at least Jon paid attention. And it’s amazing how fast news gets around Westeros in these latter seasons of Game of Thrones. The accelerated pacing takes some getting used to after years of joining the characters in almost real-time travels.

Cersei and Jaime were a little more willing to discuss terms with their younger brother, probably because they now know that he had nothing to do with Joffrey’s death and none of them loved their father that much anyway. The less said about this new Lannister incest baby, the better. I can understand Cersei’s desire for a peaceful life but one that can be bought at the cost of tyranny? Not appealing.

Game of Thrones, S7 ep 5 - EastwatchJon comes up with a risky plan to try and convince Cersei to fight alongside him and Daenerys against the White Walkers. It involves bringing back a wight from the North and to do this, he and Ser Jorah lead a very risky raid. Part of the plan also involved Davos using his smuggling skills (special mention: fermented crab) to lead Tyrion into King’s Landing and to bring back a certain blacksmith (more on that later).

Back in Winterfell, discord is growing amongst the Lords of the North and Sansa is trying her best to keep them at bay. Arya observes all of this in the shadows and sees how her sister has (rightly) earned the respect and loyalty of the lords, even more so than Jon. Arya hasn’t seen her sister in years so she still thinks that Sansa is the girl she knew obsessed with nice things. I’m glad they’re talking about things though, but they will need a little more honesty and openness between them if they are to work together well.

And it doesn’t help that Littlefinger seems to be plotting to pit them against each other. He was aware that Arya was spying on him and he intentionally led her to find the raven letter Sansa sent years ago, written under duress, to ask Robb to pledge his allegiance to King Joffrey. This obviously rubs Arya the wrong way but hopefully she and her sister discuss things frankly so that she can understand the context of this letter.

The sooner they find out that Littlefinger is manipulating them (and I’m sure Sansa will be on to it first, having had more experience with him), the better. Now is the time for everyone to stand together and the Starks have only just found each other after years of trials. It should take more than a scheming sparrow to destroy the bond of the wolves.

Game of Thrones, S7 ep 5 - EastwatchMajor power plays aside, there were some short scenes devoted to Sam at the Citadel which may have revealed more than we expected. Engrossed in her late night reading, Gilly mentioned in passing something about an annulment of the marriage of a certain Prince Rha(e)gar. Though Sam brushed this off in his frustration with the Maesters, this may be another key piece of information about Jon’s parentage and the possibility that he may not be a bastard Targaryen after all. How this will play out for the rest of the show remains to be seen, but it is not something to be taken lightly.

This episode was filled with reunions all around, with characters who had been separated by time, distance, and plot necessity finally banding together to fight for a common cause. Some have described it as the Game of Thrones version of The Avengers. In this episode alone we had: Jorah returning to Dany’s service, Tyrion having a meaningful chat with Jaime, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and Sandor Clegane meeting up with Jon and company at the wall, and the biggest, most exciting return to the show: Gendry is back!

Game of Thrones, S7 ep 5 - EastwatchSo Davos helped him hide effectively under Cersei’s nose, as a blacksmith in Flea Bottom. The old smuggler greeted everyone’s favorite Baratheon bastard with what is probably the most fan service-y line on the show: “Thought you might still be rowing.”

So did we, Ser Davos, so did we!

It doesn’t even matter. Gendry’s back on Game of Thrones and he’s already joined forces with Jon, the new Ned and Robert, and hopefully their friendship will not be as tragic as their fathers’.

Beric Dondarrion pretty much summed it up for us:

“Here we all are, at the edge of the world, at the same moment, heading in the same direction for the same reason.”

So the brave company of warriors are off to the North to find themselves a White Walker to convince the two queens of the truth. The penultimate episode of this season of Game of Thrones looks like it will follow the tradition of having a truly epic battle before the season draws to a close, as evidenced by the preview below: