Last week, things on Game of Thrones heated up big time, and this week things cooled down, but only in the literal sense. Up until this episode (of this season at least), we’d only seen hints of the Night King in Bran’s visions and in the cave paintings at Dragonstone. Jon has been trying to rally believers relentlessly to only mild success, but the arrival of the army to the north is finally imminent and GoT couldn’t put it off anymore.
Anyway, tonight we opened with where the battle left off, and surprise to no one, we quickly found out Jaime’s fate. What would have been a super-lame death actually was a Baywatch-style rescue by Bronn, who isn’t thrilled, and whose loyalty is waning. Jaime looks wistfully across the water and is finally convinced that this war is not his. I mean, dragons. Three of them. Even he can’t fathom the heat.
Across the lake, Dany is “requesting” loyalty from the Lannister soldiers who escaped dragon fire and Dothraki. She gives them the “choice” of join or die. They’re not so sure, even with the majestic AF image of Drogon doing his thing behind Dany. That is, except for the loyal Tarlys. Randyll and Dickon (NOT Rickon) are loyal to their queen. The one who was born and lived her whole life in Westeros—ahem, that’d be Cersei. Anyway, Dany gave them one last chance to bend the knee, and when they didn’t, she kept her word, thus BBQing the Tarly lineage. (Technically Sam “can’t” have kids as a Night’s Watchman, which…) That changes the remaining soldiers’ minds, and Dany leaves her first Westerosi battle with a bigger, if not reluctant army. She speaks of creating a world that’s a better place, but she’s not quite practicing what she preaches along the way.
Jaime misses this little gathering and retreats back to King’s Landing to break the news to his sister, who in her naivete is extremely optimistic and confident. Jaime takes her down a few notches with the bad news from the battle and the truth about who killed Joffrey, but true to form, she’s not giving up. She switches modes to trying to strategize her way to staying queen. Similar to the choice Dany gave the Lannister soldiers, Cersei knows hers, “Fight and die or submit and die.” We all know she’s got a firm grip on that Iron Throne.
Elsewhere in King’s Landing, some unexpected visitors arrive for some more scheming. Ser Davos smuggles Tyrion into the city to meet with Jaime, the only family member left that wouldn’t try to kill him on sight. Plus, Davos has an errand of his own in his home neighborhood of Flea Bottom.
Unsurprisingly given the recent Lannister roasting, Jaime’s not to pleased to see his long lost brother, but listens to his proposal regarding the enemy to the north of the wall. Turns out, Cersei was a few steps ahead as always. She’d already seen the benefit in a face-to-face with Dany, and now that Jaime is also on board, another certainly clever plan is set into motion. And that’s not the only surprise Cersei serves up: Congrats, Jaime! He’s going to be a father again. This time, everyone in the land will know Cersei’s golden-haired offspring are all his. That is, if she’s telling the truth. With her, you never know. That “don’t ever betray me again” line of hers was as icy as the wall.
While Jaime recaps his meeting with Tyrion to his sister, Davos is on the hunt in the dirtier part of King’s Landing. If you peeped IMDB as “research” (or Googled spoilers or watched the opening credits with an eagle eye) you might have already known that Gendry was going to return in this episode. Contrary to what you might have assumed, Robert Baratheon’s (probably) only remaining bastard didn’t drown, freeze, or starve to death at sea. If you don’t remember where you last saw him, that’s not surprising (especially considering the “previously on” totally left him out). Davos helped him escape death by sacrifice at Dragonstone way back in season three when Melisandre leeched him as a sacrifice lite. Now we find out Gendry is back where he started, in the smithies. This time he knows who his father is, and he is ready to PTFO from making weapons for the people who killed him. He knew he had a purpose, but he also knew he’d only know it when he saw it. He literally had a bag ready—along with one hell of a weapon.
The excursion to King’s Landing got everyone everything they wanted, but leaving was a close call. Davos had to schmooze with some gold cloaks and when they recognized Tyrion, Gendry certainly already proved himself useful by hammering in their faces so they could get back to Dragonstone.
Speaking of Dragonstone, Dany is back with her first victory under her belt, and Tyrion and Varys have some concerns. The mother of dragons is showing signs of being awfully like her father, and only good counsel could steer her away from her vicious genetics.
Jorah makes his grand return, and Dany is visibly pleased to see her soldier back. Turns out, he’s not there for long. As loyal as he was in the desert, he’s itching to show he’s healthy and committed as ever beyond the wall against the army of the dead, which Dany seems to now fully believe is real.
Also real? Dany and Jon’s chemistry. Jon looks terrified but undeterred when Dany lands back on Dragonstone. As Drogon roars in his face (and glorious curly hair), he stands his ground and goes in for a pet. Dany looks like she has some ~feelings~ about Jon befriending her child. There’s not much time left for Dany and Jon’s romance this time, though. Jon and Jorah, after sizing each other up, are on the move. Dany seems sad to see them both go. But the enemy is in the north.
Also in the north, Sansa is not having an easy time with her “subjects.” Half are pissed Jon left the north, and half are only there because of Sansa. Arya watches on, forming her own thoughts, which she shares in her parents-turned-Sansa’s chambers. Here, we see both a sibling squabble and the product of both of their journeys. Sansa wants to be gentle as not to alienate half of the men they’ve won over (not unlike Jon’s advice to Dany last week). Arya is more into violence and scare tactics (not unlike Dany last week). They cannot see eye to eye, and both are right and wrong. They’re also both scared that Jon won’t return. It’s refreshing to see Arya and Sansa have fallen into their old ways.
Also at Winterfell, we see Bran watching the army of the dead for the second time this season, this time as a sequel to the movie The Birds. Things aren’t looking any more positive for the folks of Westeros, that’s for sure.
Arya is seeing things at Winterfell, too: the shady comings and goings of Littlefinger. The only problem is, he’s on to her. It’s like Tom and Jerry, and Littlefinger is as cunning as Arya is violent. This can’t end well.
While we’re on the subject of endings, Sam is going rogue and making one of his own. He gives helpful intel to the jaded maesters of the Citadel, and they laugh him off. Some seem to listen a little, but he’s tired of going unheard and reading of the great adventures of other men. He wants to be a man who’s written about, so he makes out with a bunch of texts and his little family in the night.
As Sam’s journey is just beginning, we see his Night’s Watch brother arrive at Eastwatch and back at the wall. They’re a small crew who all know what they must do. The only people who truly believe Jon’s stories about the enemy to the north are Beric’s crazy band of brothers, but since they’re all breathing, they’re all a team. They decide the time is now, and like the awesome beginning of a Backstreet Boys concert, the door to the north of the wall opens and they set out into the blustery beyond. Someone’s back, alright, but it’s definitely not Backstreet. The battle with the undead is nigh.
And some things we can’t forget:
-Sam ignored Gilly’s questioning after he explained what an annulment was, but she didn’t realize she was telling fans something extremely important. If it’s true, Rhaegar Targaryen actually married Lyanna Stark which means their child (Jon) isn’t a bastard but a Targaryen. This means Jon has some extremely legit claim to the Iron Throne. R + L = J just got deeper.
-Officially add lock-picking to Arya’s list of impressive spy skills.
-Tyrion definitely saw the look on Daenerys’s face when she said goodbye to Jon. Let’s hope we haven’t seen the last of this potential romance (or is that gross because they’re related?).
-Would anyone else watch a spinoff of Gendry and Jon called The Bastards? Their little jabs made me smile and there was not a ton to smile about in this heavy episode.
Miss our other Game of Thrones recaps from this season? Check out:
–‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Episode 4 Recap: Daenerys Finally Rode a Dragon Into Battle
–Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 Recap: Daenerys and Jon Finally Meet
–Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2 Recap: Melisandre Returns and Arya’s (Maybe) Going Home