As expected, Thrones slowed its roll this week and gave us more reunions and a focus on sibling bonds (or lack thereof). Jaime is shell-shocked from the events of last episode, Arya doesn’t understand Westerosi politics, Tyrion is having second thoughts about his direction, and the end is certainly near with two episodes left this season.
Tensions are high in Winterfell right now. Not only is Bran Facebook-stalking the Night King, but Arya isn’t sure if Sansa is running Winterfell the right way. To be frank, Arya is out of her lane here. She has no idea how politics work the way Sansa does, and she thinks the world is cruel and it’s either life or death. She’s not far off, but as Sansa says, it’s not that (house of) black and white. If Sansa offends families with armies, they will leave, their armies included. I love how Arya is getting up to her old tricks again, prowling and eavesdropping like in King’s Landing back in Season 1. Arya sneaks into Littlefinger’s chambers and sees a scroll “written” by Sansa all the way back in Season 1, asking Robb Stark to bend the knee to Joffrey because King Robert is dead and Ned is a traitor. Cersei certainly wrote the note, and I have no idea if Littlefinger wanted Arya to see that or not. I still have no idea what Littlefinger wants, to be honest, and I’m getting sick of it. There’s two episodes left and I’m anticipating him making his final move in one of them because the guy just needs to die already.
THE ROSE ROAD
Jaime is (not surprisingly) alive after Bronn saves him from getting roasted anymore than he already has this season. Seriously, this has not been a fun season for Jaime. The guy’s sister/lover is a monster and he knows it, he learned the truth about Joffrey, and saw most of his army torched by Dany. I don’t blame Jaime at all for trying to kill Dany, there’s no other option there. This war is over. Bronn has the right idea ending his Lannister partnership now that dragons are involved, but I’m hoping he sticks around for just a bit longer.
Meanwhile, Dany is using this opportunity to offer her captured Lannister soldiers a shot at redemption by bending the knee. It takes a few snarls from Drogon and the Tarly’s being set on fire to do some convincing, but eventually everyone screws their head on straight. I give Randyll Tarly props for holding his ground out of loyalty to Cersei the same way I respected Ser Alliser Thorne’s commitment to the Night’s Watch. Either way, we hardly knew both of these characters so I wasn’t too taken by their deaths. If anything, Thrones’ lack of deaths this season is more surprising than the likes of last season, where it seemed like everyone died. Tyrion and Dany’s conflicting ideals have been a highlight and it looks like this scene with the Tarly’s refusing to bend the knee is when it reaches a boiling point. Both characters are right, given what they each know: Dany gave them a fair choice – this is war and there is going to be loss. But Tyrion has seen the Mad King at work and he does not want the Seven Kingdoms to spiral into the same turmoil Dany’s father caused. It makes for a great scene when characters we love and who love each other reach a fork in the road and their identities are tested.
Jaime finally sees Cersei and she still thinks this war can be won, which makes sense when you haven’t seen what a dragon can do to an entire army and you haven’t seen the Dothraki fight. “They kill for sport,” Jaime says, and it cannot be truer. It isn’t until Jaime’s unexpected reunion with Tyrion that he sees a way to get Cersei to meet with Dany: the dead. Tyrion and Jaime’s reunion was expected this season and we all knew it wouldn’t be the happiest given that Tyrion killed their father, Tywin. This was my favorite scene in this episode. Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau give two of the best performances of their characters and of the series. Tensions are high but they love each other now, more than ever. Tyrion, Jon, and Dany understand that if any of them are to stand a chance when the Long Night comes, all of them, including the Lannisters back at King’s Landing, need to band together. While Cersei agrees to meet with Dany, she still isn’t convinced of this dead army or the might of Dany’s dragons, so she still has the best interests of House Lannister in mind (certainly Tywin Lannister’s daughter). While she isn’t necessarily on board with fighting the dead, she’s going to meet with the ones who are and that’s a start.
Meanwhile in Flea-bottom, the common folk of King’s Landing seem to be happy –something not seen a lot in King’s Landing, actually. Davos Seaworth finds a familiar face: Gendry Baratheon. Gendry had a run-in with Stannis, Davos, and Melisandre back in Season 3 before Davos smuggled him out of Dragonstone. Gendry’s reappearance was one of those Benjen Stark-esque scenarios where you knew he was going to come back but you weren’t necessarily depending on it. When Gendry finally meets Jon Snow, the two hit it off almost immediately and it’s the perfect reflection of Robert and Ned’s friendship. Hopefully this isn’t the last time these two crack a smile together and I can’t think of something more fitting than Ned and Robert’s bastard sons helping shape the seven kingdoms when this is all said and done… even though Jon is not only not Ned’s son anymore, but he’s also not even a bastard!
Sam is fed up with people not believing about the Long Night and it is certainly getting frustrating for all parties. He’s so angry that he completely misses the cliff note Gilly drops about Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s brother). According to the notes of an old Maester, Rhaegar annulled his marriage to Elia Martell and wed someone else in Dorne… that someone being one Lyanna Stark, whom Bran saw in his visions giving birth to her son, Jon Snow – now Jon Targaryen. This is heavy, Doc. Word of mouth was that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna, but in actuality, the two of them loved each other and ran off to be together – making them the original song of ice and fire… yeah. Sam literally missed all of that. This isn’t the first time Thrones casually blew over game changing information, like when Littlefinger admitted to convincing Lysa Tully to poison Jon Arryn, thus starting this entire series in the first place. But Sam does take this opportunity to leave the Citadel and do something about the impending doom himself. “I’m sick of reading about the achievements of greater men,” Sam says as he quotes his (now) late father. Good thing Sam’s about to be head of his house.
Jon has a beautiful scene with Drogon in this episode. It make sense, given his Targaryen blood, and now I’m more convinced that Tyrion could also be a Targaryen. Think about it for a second: Tywin may hate Tyrion because perhaps the Mad King had some sort of affair (or rape, knowing Thrones, I hate to say it) with Tywin’s wife and the result was Tyrion. Tywin would consistently remind Tyrion that he was no son of his, and perhaps there’s more literal truth to that than we believe. Dany is certainly baffled by this connection Jon apparently has with Drogon, and for some reason it seems to be the catalyst for what looks like an eventual romance between the two. I’m not the biggest fan of the romantic comedy aspect of this season but I guess television is a business like anything and it needs to put viewers in front of the TV. Too bad most viewers are more concerned with the will they/won’t they of Jon and Dany than the will they/won’t they with the everyone dying in this show.
If there’s one thing Thrones has completely thrown out the door this season, it’s any semblance of a passage of time. It used to take characters half a season to get from one side of the map to the other, and now it takes an episode for a raven to arrive, ten minutes to go to and from King’s Landing, Jorah an episode to get from the Citadel to Dragonstone. Jorah and Dany reunite, as do Jorah and Tyrion, and Jorah meets Jon Snow. Immediately the two have an immense amount of respect for each other due to Jon serving under Jorah’s father. Jorah agrees to come with Jon to Eastwatch because he received a raven (again with the timeline!) from Bran at Winterfell describing the army of the dead marching on…
EASTWATCH – THE EDGE OF THE WALL
Jon, Davos, Gendry, and Jorah (already you’re drooling) meet Tormund at Eastwatch after Jon is told by Bran that that’s where the White Walkers are headed. When they show up, Tormund says there are others trying to go beyond the Wall as well: Beric, Thoros, and the Hound. Immediately the seven of these men put all of their cards on the table. Gendry doesn’t trust Thoros or Beric because they sold him to Melisandre and Stannis, Tormund doesn’t trust Jorah because Jorah’s father hunted down Wildlings and Jorah doesn’t trust Tormund because he’s a Wildling, and The Hound doesn’t care about any of this. Like Jon and Beric say, they are all on the same side no matter what: the side that’s still breathing. That could be the perfect tagline for what’s to come. If you’re still breathing, you’re one of the good guys.
As my brother texted me after this episode, it’s Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont, Gendry Baratheon, Tormund Giantsbane, The Hound, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr…. attempting to save the world.
Was not expecting Eastwatch to get a shoutout in the opening credits… Don’t really buy Bronn and Jaime getting that far away with Jaime in all that armor… I hate to say it but its the only way to describe it, RIP Randyll Tarly, you were a knock off Tywin Lannister… RIP Dickon Tarly, the best running joke this season… Despite Randyll being a jerk to Sam, I love characters like him, Tywin Lannister, or Alliser Thorne who are just all in for whatever cause they’re behind… Heavy breathing ensued for the realization that Olenna Tyrell was running the seven kingdoms the whole time… There’s like a solid 30% chance Jon Snow soiled himself when Drogon roared in his face… Jorah definitely thought about kissing Dany there… Bran is every one of us who’ve ever stalked someone on Instagram and accidentally liked a post from 2014… This timeline is so absurd… Is this the first time Varys has drank with Tyrion?… Jon going back to the Wall is the Westeros equivalent of Lebron going back to the Cavs… Wow Jon really dropped the mic on Dany… It’s tough having siblings in Westeros… “Thought you might still be rowing” -Davos; the most meta Thrones has ever been… Gendry’s knee-jerk reaction to come with Davos was a breath of fresh air, finally it didn’t take three episodes to convince someone of something… Needed the Curb theme when Davos was bribing the gold cloaks… “I prefer a hammer.” -Gendry… Davos deserves Father Figure of the Year… Wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last time Jon and Dany are together this season… Sam needs an invisibility cloak… Whatever you’re going to do, Littlefinger, do it fast, time’s not on your side… Tormund is every guy who went to the party expecting that one girl to show up and she never does… Everyone has beef with at least one other person or their father in this room… “Here we all are at the end of the world heading in the same direction for the same reason.” -Beric… the 92 Dream Team of Westeros right here… Place your bets on who’s making it back because you know its not all of them… Maybe not even half…
Next week will be the best blockbuster of the summer.