ROUND-UP: Game of Thrones – ‘Eastwatch’ (Season 7, Episode 5)

Burning Down the House

Marieke: “Bend the knee.” You would think this is Daenerys’ new catchphrase. I understand that from her POV she offers the Lannister soldiers a choice. I also understand Tyrion thinking some form of mercy is better than the decision she gave them. Also, the more people fighting the dead, the better? Unless they suck and add to the army. Anyway, we will never know because after some ‘Dracarys’ House Tarly lost its head, and the son destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Oh dear. Whilst I don’t feel for Randyll at all, I do feel for Dickon. He was not a typical soldier, but he felt he had to join his father in not bending the knee. Wrong choice there, son. Now you’re both flambéed, scaring the other soldiers into submission.

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Dickon (Tom Hopper) and Randyll (James Faulkner) refusing to bend the knee to Daenerys.

Maybe that fear thing works, but whether it is the sensible thing is the topic of discussion between Varys and Tyrion. They both see shades of the Mad King, but also think Dany is not like him. It is hard to deny some doubt living in both men. Tyrion needs to find a way to gain back influence on her. In the meantime, Varys of course reads messages not meant for him. He needs to get information one way or another without his little birds. In terms of keeping Dany in check, Tyrion’s saviour might have come quicker than expected. Via WesterosExpress© straight from the Citadel, Jorah reaches Dragonstone to see HIS Khaleesi again! She’s happy to see him too. Even Tyrion is happy, in his own unique way. Maybe Jorah will be the one to aid getting through to Dany. He does not stay for long however, after meeting Jon and the predictable Mormont exchange has been made. He’d better come back alive, would suck to be killed by death after surviving Greyscale! Or maybe he should have Greyscaled the hell of those Walkers. Would that even work???

Danielle: Daenarys’ ‘Mother of Dragons, Bender of Knees’ schtick really is becoming tedious. Even though Randyll was a terrible person, who essentially backed the wrong horse in this race before he was turned to charcoal by Drogon, he’s not wrong about her being a foreign invader and her bringing ‘savages’ to Westerosi shores. As much as his speech did have racist, xenophobic undertones, he did highlight the fact that Dany’s methods are far more at home in the East and that her horde of bloodriders have no vested interests in preserving the country they’re currently helping to attack. I did feel for Dickon too. On the scale of Randyll to Sam, he seemed much, much closer in temperament to Sam, but loyal to a fault and foolishly brave. Let’s face it, he was pretty too. nobody in their right mind wanted to see him go up in smoke, least of all Tyrion, who wanted a much more merciful mode of punishment for both men, suggesting they be sent to the Wall or put in a prison cell, both ideas quickly being shot down. This is the downside of Dany being ‘the breaker of chains’: she’ll take no prisoners.

The whole thing is something that weighs heavily on both Tyrion and particularly Varys, who served Aerys and obviously still feels a major amount of guilt about propping up his brutal reign. The question is, just like dragons can’t be tamed, can Targaryens really be controlled by their advisers? The jury’s out on that one. I’m not even sure that Jorah’s rather rushed return is the answer to their woes. Yes, it was nice to see him bounce back into their camp for two minutes before heading back out again, but I’m not convinced that’s his purpose within the story. My Fezzy friend and I don’t see eye to eye on this, but Ser Friendzone’s intitial, no skin on skin embrace contrasted sharply with his gloveless hand touching her as he left; enough for me to still consider that he’s perhaps Patient Zero in an upcoming greyscale epidemic, and that either Sam or now Dany, are Patient One.

Cersei Corleone

 

Marieke: I reckon Jaime did not fall that deep, and Bronn is incredibly strong, as well as being super pissed off with Jaime. He, and only he, can kill him now; his boss owes him that luxury. Jaime quickly makes his way home, where he tells Cersei that it wasn’t Tyrion who killed Joffrey. She is obviously all annoyed now, because now she is angry at Jaime for letting him talk her out of a painful death for Olenna, and she has one less reason to hate her littlest brother. It is almost more inconvenient to her than the loss of a huge part of the army. It takes some Joffrey bashing from Jaime to convince Cersei though. They knew they raised a child from hell in him. It is funny to sort of see them acknowledge that.

Later, Bronn convinces to Jaime to do some sparring in the basement, because those Dothraki sure can fight. Yeah, that helps after he told Cersei the Lannister army can’t even take on the Dothraki. The sparring turns out to be verbal though, after Tyrion managed to get his way into the city, secretly. Jaime has mixed feeling about his little traitor brother, but at least the death of his child is not between them anymore. Tyrion tries to convince Jaime that a truce between his Queen and Jaime’s would be the way to go, because there is a much bigger threat slowly making its way to Westeros. Proof will follow ASAP. I can’t help thinking about Jorah delivering a White Walker on a leash to Cersei. Another WesterosExpress© satisfied customer. It would be hilarious. Jaime talks to Cersei about this and she tells him that she knew about the meeting and that he should handle Bronn now (Will he? Will we see Bronn again?) She knows all that goes on in her city (ehhm, you missed that Baratheon bastard though, darling). She then reveals her pregnancy to Jaime and he seems happy with it. The question is, is it real or is she just trying to get Jaime entirely back to her side now? Her threat in that hug did feel awkward though. Mobster Cersei. The confusion returned in Jaime’s eyes. What will his position be? Before Jaime entered the room, Qyburn told Cersei that he ‘could help her with that’. Nausea medicine? An abortion perhaps? I would not put it past Cersei to fake a pregnancy. After all, the prophecy promised her -three- golden haired children. (It would be too unbelievable and too soapy to think Euron made his way into her bedroom, no?)

Danielle: The fact Jaime and Bronn seem to be accomplished deep sea divers aside, I absolutely loved that scene where the latter pulled the former out, and in no uncertain terms told him that he’s not going to do unless it’s by his own hand. Bronn’s going to have that wife and castle if it damn well kills him, just as long as it’s not Jaime drawing his last breath. The whole scene was beautifully shot though, and as ‘Lord Lannister’ was left alone to ponder how the hell he was going to tell his sister that they can’t possibly win this war against Dany and her dragons, once again it became clear that he’s depressed with the situation. Tell his sister he does though, but still she’s convinced that they can win the war with mercenary soldiers from Essos, something which Jaime openly contradicts having seen the brute force of the Dothraki, who cut people down for sport. It’s then that he tells her about Olenna’s hand in Joffrey’s death, and quickly quells her disbelief with cold, hard logic. At the same time, she brutally infers Jaime’s wish to sue for peace in an unwinnable war is cowardice, and outright dispels any notion that he’s really her equal by outright telling him he’s a mere soldier.

Tyrion Jaime got ep 5
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) coming face to face with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) for the first time since he killed their father.

Moving onto that brotherly reunion, was I the only one who was a little disappointed by it? Just as Jorah seemed to ping in and out without too much emotional impact, the same goes for Tyrion coming face to face with Jaime, who’d previously promised to chop him in half if he saw him again after he murdered their father. It felt like we’d already heard Tyrion’s impassioned speech about being a monster in his father’s eyes, and that most of the important stuff happened off-screen as they talked about halting the animosity between the two Queens they’re respectively backing. What was interesting was that Cersei not only knew that the meeting was going ahead, but also that she allowed it to happen because she’s trying to work the whole armistice to her own advantage. How, we’re not yet aware, but speaking of her scheming, that pregnancy announcement came at exactly the right moment as her twin started to question her judgement. For a moment she allowed him to be happy about becoming a father, even promising to publicly name him as the baby daddy this time, before coldly telling him not to betray her again. To be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure I know what the perceived betrayal is. She was quick to ask her her brother if he was going to punish Bronn for tricking him into meeting Tyrion, so I doubt that’s it. There’s a tiny part of me that wonders if she’s finally found out that Jaime sent Brienne off with Oathkeeper to find Sansa and return her to safety. Littlefinger was rather shadily hanging out by the ravens in the last episode. Hmmm.

 

The Marching Dead

Marieke: Bran the Stoner, the greenseeing Three-Eyed Raven,  is still doing what he does best. Rolling back his eyes and controlling some animals. Ravens in this case, flying past the Wall to check on that lovely dead horde coming straight for the barrier between the living and the dead, and beyond. The Night King sees Bran amongst the ravens though and scares them away. You got some creepy connection there Bran! You logged into the Night King’s network and there’s no way to get out.

Meanwhile in the Citadel there is one person trying to convince the Maesters that the Walkers are real, and that the message is from Bran Stark, whom he had helped years ago to go past the wall when he was in the Night’s Watch. Not even mentioning that a cripple boy survived years beyond the wall convinces those bloody old and stubborn Maesters, who start to joke about it being a trick and whatever odd stories have been told to them, which just cannot be true. Sam decides to pack up, steal the necessary literature and leave with his family to go North. Only reading about better men is boring!

Danielle: Allowing the Night King to touch his arm during one of his visions has really messed things up for Bran, hasn’t it? It’s hard to know how deep the connection goes, but the undead baddie was automatically aware of his presence amongst that unkindness of ravens. Does this premonitive awareness works both ways? Regardless, seeing what he’s seen, the Three-Eyed Raven immediately tells Maester Wolken to send word to everyone in the Seven Kingdoms that the dead are coming. For all the good it does. Sam is left pleading with Archmaester Ebrose to listen to him when he says the White Walker threat is as real as Bran says it is, because he’s seen it himself. His pleas fall on deaf ears, however, as the learned men in the room openly mock him and only agree to compromise by writing back to Maester Wolken to ask for clarification. It’s this, and the fact that he feels like he’s fiddling whilst Rome burns, which spurs Sam on to take all of the tomes relating to the Long Night in the prohibited part of the library and run away from the Citadel with Little Sam and Gilly, leaving behind any ambitions he once had to wear a maester’s chain, and still unaware that his father and brother were burnt to death by Dany. Something tells me that those ‘learned men’ he left behind will soon be suffering the aftereffects of their blinding hubris, and that the books the new, unwitting head of House Tarly will be the only ones that remain of the truly impressive library in The Citadel.

The ‘Legit’ King in the North

Marieke: “A tear in my eye. That stranger. He’s is not a stranger. Mummy, can’t you see? He belongs with us. He smells… nice. Kinda Targy. I bare my teeth, but all I want is for him to touch me. MUMMY CAN’T YOU SENSE IT?” That must have been what went through Drogon’s mind when he let Jon touch him. I bet Jon’s own thinking swung from ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH’ to ‘gorgeous beast!’ once he realised Drogon would not hurt him. I guess it would have been sweeter if the dragon which has almost the same name as his actual father would have let him pet him, but dragon-mummy has her favourites. It was an unexpectedly lovely scene in between all the action and talk.

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Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harington) bonding after Drogon allowed him to pet him.

After getting the letter from Varys, who steamed it open and then made it look like it was still in tact (skills, Varys, skills), Jon finds out that both Arya and Bran are still alive. YAY! But not entirely yay, as he’s not able to go home straight away. Bran saw Walkers coming and he warns the whole of Westeros. Jon obviously believes him and he convinces everyone that the war with Cersei has to stop, leaving Tyrion to suggests that in order to bring the war to a temporary halt, they’re going to need proof of supernatural threat. Jorah, stiff from the stony skin he once had and having lived in that small cell, is in need of some action, something he will never get from his Khaleesi. Davos’s ultimate skill, no not being a coward, but smuggling is being called upon again. It will be faster to get some dead proof than fashion a camera, or something. GoT’s own little heist scenario in the making here!

At the same time that Sam is becoming disillusioned about the Maesters, he manages to talk over Gilly, who is reading a boring, but also incredibly detailed, book. She asks what an annulment is, because Prince ‘Ragger’ had one. Sam is not interested, but we manage to find out from Gilly that Raegar married someone else in Dorne. Jon is not a bastard! He is a true heir! Go North Gilly, and combine your info with Bran’s! Shake the Starks, shake Westeros, shake the world!! And don’t let a man shut you up, okay? Wonder what Jon will think when he hears all this. Or what Dany will think…

Danielle: Never work with children or animals they say. Well, what if a particularly gorgeous beast is sniffing out your Targaryen blood and allowing you to pat him on the head like a scaly puppy, what you gonna do? That was a nice enough scene, if something we’ve been expecting all along. Of course the dragons know he’s a half dragon too! What that whole scene did do was strengthen the bond between Jon and Dany, something which was echoed again when she admitted that she’d grown used to him as he left for Eastwatch, and which contributed to her letting him go in the first place. I was so pleased that he actually stood up to her over that, incidentally. The King in the North DOES belong in the North, especially when the White Walkers are bearing down on his people. Anyway, little does she know that he has a better claim to the throne, as Rhaegar’s (Dany’s older brother) legitimate son, something that we inadvertently found out when Gilly was thumbing through that rather dry tome back in Oldtown. Awkward!

I have to say that I think Tyrion’s wight hunt idea is fairly terrible, but then he’s had a season of bad ideas so far. Of course Jon goes along with it. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place in trying to convince everyone that their wars are petty squabbles in comparison with what’s to come. It’s nice that Jorah agrees to go too, but mate, if you’re hoping your Khaleesi is going to bump uglies with you any time soon then you’re going to be very upset. Dany’s eye is obviously wandering towards her nephew, who now very clearly seems to be having impure thoughts about her too.

Swapping Oars for a Hammer

Marieke: Davos also had reason to go to King’s Landing; to reacquaint himself with the old sights, sounds and smells of Fleabottom. Or, in actuality, to pick up this bloke her sent away on a rowing boat once. I loved the self aware ‘still rowing’ gag, I am a sucker for those lame jokes. It was genuinely nice to see Gendry again, who had been forging armour and swords instead of rowing. He always knew a better thing would come along and he joins Davos with a hammer, so he does take after his father. When preparing the boat, two guards bother them. Davos talks and buys his way out of it, but they are not that easy to fool, so he shows the fermented crab used in brothels, giving them a sample. He is one smooth talking and smuggling onion knight! He would have gotten away with it too had Tyrion not arrived at the same moment. I think his WANTED description is ‘Dwarf with scar’, because that is what those super smart eagle eyed guards notice about him. With two swings from his hammer, Gendry not only kills them but also convinces Tyrion that he is a fine addition to the team. Whilst Davos tries to convince Gendry to not give his heritage away, he immediately introduces himself as Gendry, Baratheon bastard to Jon. The two bond over being bastards and their fathers fighting together (which would be fighting against, but ignorance is bonding bliss here). Gendry is a lot leaner, and Jon shorter. Laughter and a handshake, a new ‘Stark-Baratheon’ bromance is born.

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Gendry (Joe Dempsie) was quickly armed and ready to go when Davos came for him.

Danielle: I think Gendry being re-introduced was my favourite part of the episode. There’s a really lovely pseudo father/son bond between Davos and Robert’s bastard that’s a product of their very similar upbringings and shared experiences. It seems perfectly natural that the lad would want to leave his post as a blacksmith whilst he’s forging weapons for the very House that killed his father and sanctioned the attempt on his own life. It’s cute too that he’s fashioned his own war hammer, even if it does nevertheless feel a little ‘fan-servicey’. I really enjoyed their ‘getaway’ scene too. Davos has been providing much of the comic relief this season and his tactic for getting around the gold cloaks with his crab Viagra was genius. Naturally Tyrion was too recognisable to get past them so easily and so it was down to Gendry to utilise his brute strength to get them out of that particular quandary, smashing those guards into oblivion to a surprised Davos and a satisfied Tyrion. The interaction between the ‘two’ bastards was golden too. Gendry’s far too straight forward to lie about who he is, and Jon seemed to take the revelation in his stride. The only thing that could have made it better would’ve been them talking about Arya, but I guess there’s still time for that. I do worry though that freely letting on who he actually is might backfire for Gendry. He’s a threat to both Cersei’s and Dany’s grasp on that Iron Throne, even if he shows no interest in ruling.

Little Creep
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Who’s playing who? Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) fully aware that Arya has been watching him.

Marieke: The Stark sisters still act around each other as they did before, and can’t see the changes they went through. Especially Arya with Sansa. She thinks her older sister has their parents bedroom because she likes pretty things. I don’t know why Sansa didn’t say that Jon insisted on it. Maybe she was too busy being part-time Queen, something Arya thinks she didn’t do well either. I understand the little assassin’s need to stand up for Jon. I also get Sansa, trying to keep everyone together and happy, so their allies won’t abandon the Starks and the main cause. I think Jon is needed here… Littlefinger also does his best breaking the sisters up, to gain power and Sansa of course. Arya learned a lot in spy school and she does know where to hide stuff. That’s why she found that note after watching Littlefinger scheme around Winterfell. The note Sansa had to write to their mother and brother, forced by Cersei. I hope Arya is more clever than to just fall for this. That image of creepy Littlefinger hiding in the dark is one we could do without. For this episode I counted my blessings not to have to hear his creepy voice too.

Danielle: I’m calling it now, Sansa and Arya are playing Littlefinger, likely with Bran’s input. Chaos doesn’t just have to be a ladder for Westeros’ No. 1 schemer. If the siblings are able to work together, then they can use this uncertainty to see him off. I think Gillan’s character’s biggest mistake here is that he’s underestimated how much Sansa has grown under his tutelage and is unaware that living in Braavos allowed Arya to hone her skills as a killer AND an actress. Frankly, if this isn’t a ruse, then the characterisation is sloppy as hell, and so unsatisfying. Having that note from Season 1 resurface was a nice touch though. I wonder what else Maester Luwin kept in his exhaustive collection of scrolls. Perhaps something that might incriminate Mr Creepy in his role in Ned’s death? Let’s hope so!

Misfits Assemble

Marieke: Where there were hints of a heist movie on Dragonstone, it goes full trope at Eastwatch. Jon, Davos, Gendry and Jorah arrive. Funny and serious talks are had Tormund is asking about which queen’s benefit this all is for (the one with the dragons, or the one who fucks her brother), and also wonders if perhaps Brienne came along (seriously girl, how can you not see it??). Tormund also demonstrates that their cells are not empty. Well, what do you know? Beric, Thoros and Clegane are freezing their balls off there! There’s a lovely reunion with Gendry, who tells the rest that they sold him off to a red witch (Davos must be so pleased hearing about her again..). Little side note, neither Gendry nor the Hound mention Arya to Jon. COME ON. Okay, back to prison. Tormund finding out Jorah is a Mormont does not go down that well either. Feel the love! The Brotherhood tells the new arrivals that they have the same mission. Jon agrees, they are all breathing, so there is only one right side here. Hmm, unexpectedly political! Davos is no use to them, because he cannot swindle dead people. He stays behind, whilst Jon, Tormund, Gendry, Jorah, The Hound, Beric and Thoros form the Snownificent Seven. Objective: Catch a dead person. Also: Do not die. The gate opens. There is a snowstorm… Oh how I wish Jon could have just said ‘hi’ to Arya and Bran, and Gendry to say ‘hi’ to Arya, for Tormund to be able to make a move on Brienne, and for Jorah to bend the knee for Lyanna. Alas! There are more important things at hand. Now where is that special ‘catch the dead’-leash?

Davos Tormund Jorah Jon Gendry got ep 5
Davos (Liam Cunningham), Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Jorah (Iain Glen) Jon and Gendry discussing going beyond the Wall.

Danielle: Oh how I love it when they throw characters together, but the whole situation is insane! Tormund even drew a chuckle from me when he was didn’t know which of the two monarchs they going after this wight for, although everyone’s favourite ginger wildling needs to cool his aspirations regarding ‘The Big Woman’. I’m sorry, but if you haven’t taken the time to learn her name so far then you don’t get to tap that fine, lady warrior. Them’s the rules! (Marieke disagrees, but she’s wrong.) Anyhow, now we see where those visions have led Beric, Thoros and The Hound, – to a prison cell at Eastwatch, where they were already clamouring for some action beyond the Wall. All those differing factions in that small space, individuals who have legitimate concerns about each other, are being forced to forget them for the greater good. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when they really branch out beyond the Wall, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this whole venture!

MVP of the Week

Davos and his fermented crab Viagra.

Death(s) of the Week

Randyll Tarly (deserved) and his son, Dickon, (awww poor bloke, the wrong time to stick with your dad!).

Quote of the Week

Davos, when meeting Gendry again: Thought you might still be rowing.

AND

Jaime: I once told Bronn that if I ever saw you again I’d cut you in half.

Tyrion: It’ll take you a while with a sparring sword.

The Verdict?

Marieke: More character than action driven, this seemed to be a quieter episode, but still a lot happened. Again the situations for the next episodes have been laid out. Travelling is non existent anymore in Westeros and people turn up in places like they have their own TARDIS. Whilst the speed is nice and the travelling does not need to be seen, it does contrast too much with earlier, much slower seasons. It feels like they are trying to rush things, and perhaps the lack of source material does not help here. On the other hand, we know where everyone is and that Westeros is huge. I do not mind the lack of travelling much, but I do notice it every time, which does take me out of the story a little. I actually liked this more dialogue-driven episode, as the action will no doubt happen in the last two episodes. A little breather, with a lot of comedic lines (Davos, Tormund asking about the large woman, the Snownificent Seven) for some relief, before death will strike again. We’re past the Wall once more. Put some wood in the fire place and get some IKEA rugs. It’s getting cold again.

Danielle: Pacing has become a huge, glaring issue in Season 7, and nowhere was it more obvious than in ‘Eastwatch’. Amidst everybody zipping across Westeros, and much anticipated reunions being given no time to sit in the moment and unleash their full impact, it feels like we’re losing touch with the emotional resonance of earlier seasons. In fact, it’s possible to go so far as to say it’s starting to feel like a different show. Viewers cannot live on CGI and fanservice alone.

Our Fezzy Score: rsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_tiny_fez

So what do you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments…

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