For too long, Jon Snow has been the only character in Game of Thrones to properly grasp the gravity of the situation presented by the White Walkers – or at least the only character who understood that and could actually do something to prevent it. But after “Eastwatch, ” it seems as if Daenerys will help Jon, as long as he can provide proof that the undead army exists.
So just like that, the fate of humankind rests on the shoulders of seven unlikely men. There's Thoros, the suddenly sober red priest; Beric Dondarrion, the red god's OG puppet; Jorah Mormont, the man who conquered grey scale but not the friendzone; the Hound, a man so scared of fire he’s fled north of the Wall; Tormund, a wildling who fights today so he can love Brienne tomorrow; Jon, a resurrected King about to take on another king’s resurrected army; and motherfucking Gendry, a bastard, a smith, and the only possible choice for…
Riser of the Week: Gendry
And now our #GendryWatch has ended. Despite Davos’s fears, Gendry has not been rowing this entire time. Instead, he’s behaved smartly by hiding in plain sight and doing what he does best – swinging a hammer. This really was the only way to reintroduce Gendry and have it make sense, so I was prepared to see him in Flea Bottom again at some point this season. But in all my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d get to watch a warhammer-wielding Gendry mash his way through the army of the undead next to Jon Snow, the Hound, and Jorah Mormont. If we could somehow throw in Bronn and Brienne, my fanfic would suddenly have become canon.
Gendry has done what seemingly no characters in this series are capable of doing – sitting idly by and biding time. He wasn’t sure when or how he’d be needed, but when Davos shows up, he doesn’t need to hear a rousing, convincing speech. He’s ready – ready to go, ready to wreak havoc, and most importantly, ready for revenge.
Honorable Mention: Littlefinger, for remembering that it takes more than mischievous looks to get what you want.
Faller of the Week: The Members of House Tarly
What do you get when you take a premier military mind and couple it with a penchant for betraying the very people who made you powerful? No, it’s not Michael Flynn … but close. It’s Randyl Tarly! So you’ll have to excuse me when I say this, but fuck you Randyl Tarly. For decades, your house supported the Tyrells, and now because of you, they’re completely gone. You were so scared of Daenerys – a foreigner by force, not by choice – that you forsook your vows as a Tyrell bannerman and rebelled against your rightful rulers. I could have forgiven you, at least somewhat, if there was a greater plan in play, such as proposing Dickon wed Cersei. Scheming is second nature in Westeros, and you’d hardly be the only guilty party. But no, you weren’t even smart enough for that. All it took was Jaime whispering the word “foreigners” and you were all in, ready to make Westeros great again. Well, you succeeded, Randyl Tarly, because Westeros is better off now that you’re dead.
And way to live up to your name, Dickon. You had me fooled last week when you posited the moral ambiguity of war. But like you, that was shortlived. You had the chance to fight for Daenerys and return home. To have children and grow old. To warn future generations about the needlessness of war. Instead, you proved you were every bit your father’s son and opted for a fiery death. Don’t expect any tears from me.
And Sam. I understand that your frustrations towards the Citadel’s overwhelming lassitude at addressing the problems in the North are justified. And in fact, I applaud you for quitting your apprenticeship in an effort to speed along the only research that matters. But when you shushed Gilly right after she dropped a nuclear bomb on us, I couldn’t help but lump you in with your terrible family.
Honorable Mention: Bronn, for now finding himself in the least safe place in King’s Landing: Cersei’s crosshairs.
Backstory of the Week: Sansa’s Forced Letter
We have to go way back to Season 1 to find the origins of this letter. Back towards the end of Season 1, after Ned had been taken prisoner by the Lannisters, Cersei forced Sansa to write a letter to Robb urging him to bend the knee and cease hostilities. In doing so, the Lannisters would allow Ned to live. Well, we all know how that turned out.
But what Arya doesn’t know is the context. Sansa’s letter is the equivalent of a prisoner recording a video telling the world that she hasn’t been mistreated. We all know it’s a lie. But somehow, it seems that Arya won’t figure that out. Credit is due to Littlefinger here. All episode, we assume that Arya has the step on Baelish, but it’s the other way around. We’re not sure what Littlefinger's endgame is, but we do know that it requires a rift between the Stark sisters. And the cherry on top of Littlefinger’s charade was telling the maester who brought him the scroll that Lady Sansa thanks him. He knew Arya was listening, and now it seems like Sansa requested that scroll and planned to have it destroyed. I don’t want to celebrate yet because I think Arya is smarter than we are assuming here, but it seems that Littlefinger is back … at least for a little bit.
Item of Power: Sam’s Stolen Book
Despite Gilly’s nonchalance, she delivered the biggest revelation in the show’s history. As we learned last season, Jon is not the son of Ned Stark but rather the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. But despite the beautiful ice and fire symbolism there, Jon was still technically considered a bastard since Lyanna and Rhaegar were not married. However, we now know that Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia was annulled and that he was quietly married to Lyanna right before she gave birth. This means Jon is the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and the rightful claimant to the Iron Throne. As the son of Aerys Targaryen’s firstborn, Jon’s claim supersedes Daenerys’s.
Unfortunately, Sam didn’t process this news properly, so only we – the show watchers – know the truth at the moment. But Sam packed that book with him before leaving the Citadel, so he’s likely to connect the dots later on. And when he does, one hell of a question will arise: how will Daenerys react to the news?
- I originally questioned how Jon and company made it from Dragonstone to the Wall so quickly, but then I remembered they had Gendry, the best rower in all the land.
- I’m suspecting that one of the seven men who went north of the Wall will fall, and that will be the wight that Jon takes back to King’s Landing. My bet? Beric. (Also, I’m curious as to what will happen if someone resurrected by the red god is then turned into a wight.)
- Hopefully, we see Benjen again next week. I'm sure he has some info he could share with Jon.
- Let’s say that Jon’s team succeeds in capturing a wight and bringing it to King’s Landing to present to Cersei. That would place the Hound in the same room as his brother. Perhaps CleganeBowl isn’t dead after all!
- So Cersei’s skeptical of the possibility of an undead army even though her bodyguard is literally undead?
- And the reunions keep on coming: Jorah and Daenerys; Gendry and the Brotherhood; Tyrion and Jaime.
- So Cersei’s pregnant (allegedly). My first thought was that she’ll never live long enough to see it born, but then I realized that at the current pace we’re going this season, it’ll likely be born next episode.
- I, for one, don’t appreciate Jon cheating on Ghost with Drogon.
- And I swear to god, if Jorah tries to betray Jon because Daenerys is smitten with him, I will lose it. There were too many glances for my liking.
Images via HBO.
Joe Brosnan works in marketing at St. Martin's Press and manages Criminal Element. He’s a New York Giants fan, a Petyr Baelish supporter, and is only now realizing how weird it is to write in the third person. You can follow him on Twitter @joebrosnan_.
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