Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones Season 7, Episode 5
After “The Spoils of War” it’s hard pressed for the follow up episode to match the intensity. Not every episode needs to hit it out of the park action wise. Still, “Eastwatch” is a solid hour filled with many fan service moments. “Eastwatch” is about positioning the characters for the next big action set piece. This meant a lot of characters criss-crossing Westeros and the Narrow Sea from one scene to the next.
A couple of main take aways from Dany burning alive the Tarlys is that Tyrion doesn’t have that much influence as Hand of the Queen. Dany is headstrong which is a good quality to have as a leader because she shouldn’t be easily pushed around. At the same time, the reason why Dany has many advisers is to help point out her blind spots, especially when it comes to doling out cruel justice. Of course, the Tarlys had every chance to save their own hides even if none of the other choices allowed them to maintain their strong sense of honor.
Emilia Clarke is good at expressing what Dany is thinking without having to say the words both in her scenes with Jorah and Jon. The way Drogon took a shining to Jon has Dany curious about the King of the North. Jon is forthright and honorable. These are qualities she appears to be appreciating and is beginning to respect Jon as her equal. Further, Jon didn’t out right deny being stabbed in the heart and Dany seems to have picked up on that.
Season 7 is getting good mileage out of light comical moments. Now that the show is in the home stretch, we are getting a bunch of callbacks to earlier seasons and character’s story lines converging at a rapid pace. Characters are often saying, “hey I know you from back in the day” type dialogue. The writers are also mining meta moments. Many quotable lines are referencing what fans have been discussing online. Some of the funniest bits is “I thought you might still be rowing” and Gilly reading about Prince Rhaegar’s secret nuptial only to be interrupted by Sam.
The manner in which Gendry is brought back into the fold is a sign that he will be of some significance. The North could use a good blacksmith to turn the dragonglass into weapons. Plus, I like how Gendry and Jon could be like bastard brothers in arms, which is a nice nod back to Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon’s friendship. On the flip side, it’s interesting to note that it’s a war hammer that defeated Jon’s biological father.
In Winterfell, Sansa and Arya’s scene conveys two main truths. First is that these sisters have always had an intense sibling rivalry and second, Sansa aspires to be Queen. I think their scene is written to lend weight to Littlefinger’s plan to keep the Stark sister’s apart. However, I don’t think the letter Sansa was forced to write by Cersei back in Season 1 is enough of a smoking gun to trigger Ayra into doing anything irrational against her sister. Further, although Littlefinger believes in envisioning all the possible outcomes when scheming, he might not fully realize Bran’s abilities. Bran can literally see the past, present and future. If he is aware and inform his sisters, Litterfinger might get caught in his own trap.
It always good to see Tyrion have a prominent role as seen in “Eastwatch”. Tyrion is a hard character to write for because if his scenes aren’t incredibly witty nor show off his verbal acuity, it isn’t quite the Tyrion that we’ve come to enjoy. At times, he’s been in Dany’s shadow. Many of his scenes are serving to push forward certain plot threads and exposit needed information. For these reasons, I liked how Varys spoke about the important moral role Tyrion needs to play as Hand of The Queen, a scene which showed glimmers of that classic wit. However, his reunion with Jamie lacked punch and was rushed.
Down: Cersei Tyrion said that Cersei only trusts Jamie but it appears she puts her full trust in Maester Qyburn. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cersei has some more tricks up her sleeve, including how the Iron Bank/The Golden Company might play a bigger role. But the decked is stacked against Cersei. And if Cersei’s prophecy comes to pass, she won’t live long enough to have a fourth child.
Up: Gendry He’s alive and not rowing! The war hammer kills on those two guards are brutal and glorious. Did anyone else say ewww when those guard ate the fermented crabmeat?
The image of Team Eastwatch as they leave the Wall is pretty cool. It builds up the anticipation as they head out into danger and death awaiting them. They are a ragtag bunch that I’m going to enjoy seeing their adventures however brief it might be. One thing about Season 7 is that I’m still getting used to how characters are literally all over the map in record time. Who knows where Sam will show up next but fortunately we won’t be wasting any time finding that out. Another sign that we are in the final stretch is that all the key players are now aware of the undead army in the North, even if some might not truly grasp how much danger they are in. Two episodes to go.