‘Game of Thrones’: Between the hammer and the anvil
Season Seven, Episode Five — “Eastwatch”
By Jarrod Jones. Daenerys Targaryen’s dragonfire was all but spent last week, but that shouldn’t suggest there wasn’t room for one more show-stopping moment with our pal Drogon.
There he was: Jon Snow, the mopey King in the North, ruminating over the cliffs of Dragonstone, when Dany and her favorite pet came swooshing in, casual as you like. Instead of dropping his momma off and flying away for a hearty helping of dragon-roasted goat (or whatever), Drogon approached Jon instead, slowly, stiffly, teeth bared.
Props to Kit Harrington for conveying the trousers-soaking dread one might have when facing a terrifying sky demon with smoke billowing from its nostrils. Because we’re entering the home stretch of Season Seven there was no reason to believe Drogon might have gobbled Jon up, but it was still exhilarating to watch Dany’s Black take a sniff or two at He Who Knows Nothing, largely because our man Kit sold the moment so well.
Jon got the okay from a dragon on Sunday night, which means his Targaryen bonafides will be beyond question, you know, once everybody else in the show figures it out.
Sam got close this week to uncovering the biggest hint yet that Rhaegar Targaryen’s subterfuge at the Tower of Joy wasn’t what it seemed — he was too busy resenting Gilly’s happy songs of Westerosi trivia while he burned the midnight oil in the name of the Citadel. Oh look, Gilly squeaked, this maester recorded all the poos he ever had! And did you know that Rhaegar married Lyanna —
Sam cut her off before his head exploded from the stress. Did he get the information he needed before he brusquely shut Gilly down? Who can say. But it was clear the monotony of his maesterly life had gotten the better of him, and so it was that Samwell Tarly packed up some off-limits tomes, as well as Gilly and her babe, and said goodbye to a life of chamber pots, inkwells, and condescension. Where’s he off to? Probably Winterfell, where a certain Three Eyed-Raven does dwell.
Sam and Bran will likely make a formidable pair in convincing the world of Jon Snow’s true parentage, which is important since it’s now clear (to us, anyway) that he’s the person with the only true claim to the Iron Throne.
What does this mean for Dany? Well, it’s clear her war against Cersei will continue to go her way so long as she keeps her three dragons around, and her numbers are certainly bouncing back after the Euron Greyjoy clusterfuck a few episodes ago. After the Dothraki siege, what remained of the Lannister and Tarly armies bent the knee after seeing what defiance reaps in the presence of a pissed-off dragon.
As an aside, it should be said that Bronn got off light after shooting Drogon out of the sky, though it’s likely we won’t be seeing him face off with a dragon ever again after that insanity. That’s where we part company, pal, he told Jaime, before sauntering off to the nearest brothel. (Presumably.)
Dany followed through on her promises of fire and brimstone even after Jon warned her to do the opposite last week. (As a result, Tyrion’s side-eye towards the Breaker of Chains is getting more obvious by the second.) Bend the knee and live to see the next years of your house, The Mother of Dragons put to Randyll Tarly and his son, Dickon. Of course, Mr. Heartsbane, who just sacked the Tyrell castle he was once sworn to, decided to stick to his guns now with an excruciating death staring him in the face. Nah, I’m good, he said, and his dummy son stood by his side. It’s a wonder what Sam will think now that a good chunk of his family has gone the way of the Starks. (At least he doesn’t have to worry about reprisals for stealing the family sword.)
Yes, it was quite something to see Dany kill Dickon and Randyll in the same fashion her father had killed Brandon and Rickon Stark a lifetime ago. (No response from Jon on that front, and at the rate this show is going, we’re likely not gonna hear about it again.) There was less malice on Dany’s part, certainly, but she’s showing the same lack of mercy her poppa Aegon once showed the Seven Kingdoms. The armies dropped to the ground and swore allegiance to the Targaryen cause, but you don’t need to be Maggie the Frog to see their hearts weren’t in it.
No wonder we saw Varys and Tyrion later, lamenting in their cups the woes of serving the Blood of the Dragon. They may not give the orders, but they’re just as guilty of the carnage that comes from their hard work.
“Listen to me, cunt: Until I get what I’m owed, a dragon doesn’t get to kill you. You don’t get to kill you. Only I get to kill you!” – Bronn, to an especially melancholy Jaime.
“I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men.” – Sam, getting a move on.
BEST MOMENT: Tyrion and Jaime share one last brotherly jape. We haven’t seen these two in the same room since the end of Season Four, and the sequence — brief as it was — illustrated how strained these two have become, and how little any of it matters now that their respective queens are both willing to destroy the world just to rule it.
EPISODE’S MVP: Joe Dempsie brough Gendry back in all his warhammer-swinging glory. There was no way those goldcloaks weren’t gonna get their heads smashed in, the dopes, but it was especially gratifying to see a Baratheon take up arms against Cersei Lannister, even symbolically.
– So Tormund and his pack of wildlings found a way to stuff Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and Sandor flippin’ Clegane in a dank cell? Where was that sequence? That would have made great television.
– Speaking of things that should have been: Where was Tyrion when Jaime was fished out of the river? Ruminating amid the ashes? Come on; Tyrion saw Jaime go in, and last I checked those two still had quite a bit of love for each other — at least, in the show.
– Ser Davos showed his sea worth this week with a few slick smuggler moves. Gendry’s way around the guards was quicker, of course — not cleaner, but quicker, surely.
– Let’s run down the list of those beyond the Wall, ready to die: Jon Snow. Jorah Mormont. Davos Seaworth. Gendry… Baratheon? (Let’s just say Baratheon.) Beric Dondarrion. Thoros of Myr. Sandor Clegane. Tormund Giantsbane. (Throw in Jaime, Bronn, Brienne, and Arya, and you’d have yourself a Dirty Dozen.) What do you make of their plan to purloin a wight for the benefit of Cersei Lannister? More trouble than its worth?
– Ser Jorah: Hello, Khaleesi, it warms my heart to see you again. (Next scene) Ser Jorah: All right, see you later.
– HBO still hasn’t released the name of next week’s episode. Probably because they’re too busy trying to get a lid on all that hacking and illegal streaming that’s been going on lately. (PSA: Stop hacking and stop streaming; you’re fucking everything up.)
– What do you think, group? Is Cersei lying about her little bun in the oven? Is this a ploy to further manipulate Jaime’s increasingly thin devotion to their family’s cause? Let us know in the comments below.
7 out of 10
Next: “?????,” in one week.
Before: “The Spoils of War,” here.