Yeah sure, but… why are they sending a raiding pack up north of the wall again? They’re gonna send a bunch of the best soldiers in Westeros all north towards potential doom to prove a point, okay then. And how, might I ask, are they expecting to carry this zombie south all the way to King’s Landing?
What a clan though. A bunch of weird and wild characters, it’d make one hell of a spinoff show. You’ve got the King of the North who has parental issues and was once literally dead but isn’t any longer (how is he different from the White Walkers then…). You’ve got the Red Priest who is also an alcoholic and his buddy who has been revived more times than he has eyeballs. The Hound, mate he’s got all sorts of guilt and terror. Gendry is the bastard son of the former king who swings a hammer like he rows a boat. Tormund, yo that ginger ninja is afraid of nothing but his unrequited love for Brienne. Then there’s Jorah, son of the former Night’s Watch Lord Commander and in love with a queen half his age. He survived greyscale. Oh and a whole bunch of randoms who you can expect to be murdered, every last one of them. Extras don’t live.
Plus the Brotherhood tried to kill Gendy, the Hound did kill one of the Brotherhood (Beric) but now they’re sort of friends. Jon has plenty reason to hate Houndy while Tormund hates Jorah for all his dad did in hunting wildlings. Gendry and Jon were both raised bastards, Tormund has no formal citizenship at all, Jorah is dealing with a few enemies of his beloved while Tormund’s fantasy missus once duelled the Hound in fierce combat. Plenty more complications that I’ve forgotten too, no doubt. But you know what they all have in common? They’re all still breathing.
Presumably the main reason they’re marching is to give us something awesome to watch the next two weeks that doesn’t involve a having to kill off too many major characters. They’ve made it rather clear lately that there are expendable characters and there are those they’d prefer to still be showing up and confusing things next season. Five bucks says those dragons don’t go any further south again this season.
For good reason too. Those dragons are like nuclear bombs. It’s one thing to have them but you should never, ever use them. Jon warned Dany about the dragons. There will always be consequences of war but to drop the A-bomb is a crime against all humanity. And, hey, it’s not like those dragons aren’t also majestic creatures. They can be terrifying as an abstract threat or as a very obvious fly-over warning but mass flame murder ain’t cool, babe.
Jon touched a dragon. The look in Dany’s eyes when he did… single mothers like a dude who’s good with their kids. That was more than just Jon being a toughnut, however. That was another sign of a Targaryen bloodline.
Having said that, I, like Tyrion and Varys, am getting rather worried about Dany’s penchant for burning people. This week the Tarly’s were executed by flame as if that’s just a normal practice for a queen. She wants to be a great ruler but she has zero knowledge about the art of compromise – it’s bend the knee or burn. At least Jon was able to demand his way around things but we all know that Jon has a way with the ladies. It’s called a Song of Fire and Ice – Dany and Jon have to team up for this thing to work.
Also… Dany had a dragon and somehow Bronn and Jaime still got away? How big was that lake!? How long can those two hold their breath for!?
Cersei’s got a lot to think about. She apparently knew that Tyrion had snuck in and she let it slide, even though she abhors the dwarfish one with all her heart. That doesn’t seem to make sense no matter how the message got through to Bronn. Either that’s lazy writing or she’s bluffing… which I certainly wouldn’t doubt. I also wouldn’t doubt that she’s bluffing her pregnancy, Qyburn just conveniently being there in the room as Jaime shows up and all. She probably isn’t because we sure know that she and Jaime have been getting on down but, you know, remember I said that just in case.
As for her master plan… be like father. What would Tywin do? Well I seem to recall Tywin once married his daughter off to Robert Baratheon for a little more family power and that long game eventually led to whole lot of blood but also to three different Lannisters serving as monarchs of Westeros.
So what’s if Cersei does what Littlefinger is doing up north and allies herself with Dany? Bends the knee as Daenerys is so fond of and denounces her rights to the iron throne. Say then that she maintains, in return for her family’s wealth and power, an important seat on the queen’s council and then spends the next decade plotting away behind the scenes. Is Dany sharp enough to realise she’d be getting played? Is she desperate enough for power to take that short cut to save lives in the short term? Maybe not but from Cersei’s point of view it’s better than running head on into dragon fire. Look, she’s about to bring another child into the world. Remember what happened to her last three? That’s the price of war and power and maybe Cersei just wants to see a more peaceful world for bubba #4… haha, yeah right. The bitch is plotting something.
Also plotting something is Littlefinger: surprise, surprise. It was a little odd to see Sansa and Arya pick up with their bickering after all these intervening years. Didn’t make much sense until Littlefinger’s little moment of reverse-subterfuge, that is. Arya stalked him while Littlefinger left clues for her to follow, knowing she’d be onto something. In the end he plants that scroll from way, waaay back in season one and once she finds it, well, that’s where the cracks emerge in the Stark household. If Arya and Sansa can’t get along (seriously, Arya has been and done some crazy things and she’s upset about the new Lady Stark sleeping in their parents’ old room!? Bugger off with that) then Littlefinger’s chaos = ladder theory comes into play.
What was on the scroll? It’s an old raven message from the bad days which Sansa was forced to write under duress containing the news of King Robert’s death and pleading with Robb to surrender to the Lannisters. Arya reads that and she doesn’t know the circumstances, she just sees Sansa as a traitor. It’s something dramatic for the two girls to deal with but… necessary? Probably not. All they have to do is talk and listen and Littlefinger’s exposed as a scumbag once again. Please don’t drag this thread out too far.
Speaking of dumb things, Sam Tarly sure cocked things up this week. You’re just gonna rob the library, bro do you even realise how hefty those fines are gonna be!? The frustration that the maesters wouldn’t listen to him is one thing but the lad might wanna look in the mirror because Gilly accidentally dropped a major clue that more or less corroborates what Bran is waiting to tell Jon and Sam missed it because he was too busy thinking about his own dramas. Dumbass. Running away is stupid too.
You know, some people gotta know their place. Sam’s place is at The Citadel, whether he likes it, whether they’re nice to him, or not. That’s where he fits into this tale but in uttering his father’s words about the deeds of better men he’s once more succumbed to his own insecurities. That’s where The Brotherhood trio all deserve praise. Each and every one of them might be a dropkick but they’re also fully dedicated to their true calling. How many others can you say that about? Maybe only Jon Snow.
Shout out to Gendry too. The joke has was that he’s still rowing off Dragonstone (just like Huell is still waiting in the safe house) so of course Davos made a winking joke about it - Thrones has always known how to please an audience. But Gendry knows what’s up. He didn’t need any convincing to leave his old life and he wasn’t about to play games of secrets with Jon either. For a dude that hasn’t even been in the show since season three, he straight away feels like a relevant and important character again.
Funny story: Robert Baratheon once killed Rhaegar Targaryen with a hammer. Gendry thinks that he and Jon are bonded by their fathers – each met the other’s once and both are bastards. Except that Jon doesn’t realise that he’s actually Rhaegar’s son (probably). So… that fatherly connection goes a little deeper and that hammer swings with a little more force.
For as long as I can remember, in writing about Game of Thrones I have been sympathetic towards Sansa. She's an absolute battler and here I was thinking that she was done a reasonable job of managing a precarious situation up in Winterfell. The Lords who gathered to join their King of the North Jon Snow are restless because their king gapped the scene and Sansa - as she predicted - is having to deal with these restless souls, that ain't no easy task for anyone and we've seen how difficult it has been for Jonny to settle into a position of leadership.
Jon's had his struggles in that very same room and same scenario as Sansa, struggles in terms of trying to keep different people with different interests, on the same page. And to the best of my knowledge, Sansa did an admirable job in that very moment, followed by her telling Arya that teamwork makes the dream work; Sansa gets it, Sansa exploring her political prowess that she's absorbed throughout her torturous travels.
But Arya's being a bit of a hater and when you spread those vibrations, they come back around. Wtf is Arya up to!?
Is Arya being really dumb with her crappy attitude, or is she in some way testing her older sister? Arya keeps pointing towards how Sansa was before they parted ways ('you always loved nice things to make yourself feel better than everyone') and this is so over the top, I wonder if she's just niggling away at Sansa to see what Sansa is made of. Otherwise, Arya's just stirring the pot for no real reason and at this point I'm struggling to differentiate who was more annoying between Arya and Littlefinger.
Ideally, Arya and Sansa come together and knock off Littlefinger. Maybe Bran will have something to say about how the note Littlefinger planted for Arya to read came about. Bran might be a bit busy though.
Eastwatch featured a couple low key blockbuster moments, narrative moments and Bran's interaction with the Night's King was one of them. Bran could have probably been more discrete about how he spied on the dead; Bran flew a bunch of ravens right over the top of that army while Arya and Littlefinger crept in the shadows. That's where Bran's still got a bit to learn, although this did show (again) that the Blue Eyes White Dragon can catch Bran's vibe when Bran is worging.
Last time we caught a glimpse of this, Bran was himself hustlin' through time and the Night's King touched him. A quick glimpse skywards startled Bran (and the ravens ... who are all Bran?), so this Night's King can somehow exist in the plain-Jane world that most characters know while also sifting through the world where Bran's controlling ravens or moving through time. I wouldn't want that connection personally, Bran needs that connection however and doesn't really have a choice, poor bugger.
There's not a whole lot to say about Jon's move north of the wall with his Wu Tang Clan of wight hunters. We're gonna be treated to an almighty battle, almighty in the sense that Jon and friends are fucked. There's seven of them and no matter how specific their mission is, or how astronomically stupid it is to go north just to capture one wight, they will meet doom.
When there is little hope and we have such a heavy underdog like Jon's crew, you start to wonder about how this pans out. I don't really care for this 'who dies next?' stuff and these dudes are effectively walking into their death, so like, how do some of them not die? Surely some will survive to keep the story going which is countered by the nightmare they are approaching.
Eastwatch planted seeds for this and beautifully so. From Gilly telling Sam about Rhaegar's annulment in Dorne (later bo Elia Martell and kia ora Lyanna Stark) which again hinted at Jon being a Targaryen, to Jon calming Drogon and then Dany telling Jon how she views her dragons as her children and not beasts. I dunno about y'all but Jon sussed Drogon as if Drogon was his son, not through words or any crazy action but Drogon could sniff Jon's Targaryen blood and once that Targaryen/Stark hand touched Drogon, Drogon was hook, line and sinker.
Jon's not just a ballsy chap who has seen the dead and been dead, so what's the best a dragon can do? Jon's got that energy jah and Drogon knows, so don't be surprised when Drogon starts acting up like a dog when a storm's coming. Dany's concern when Jon told her he'd go north on the Wu Tang Wight Hunt also plays a role here and the connection that is steadily being built between Jon, Dany and her dragons will lead her to ride north.
Oh and Jorah's there, don't worry Jorah; Dany is Jon's aunty and Jon ain't got time for no weird lovey-dovey shit, he's dead.
The best parallel between GoT and our real world is how the young characters in GoT have worked their way through the bullshit of older folk. This is the same as how us young folk on Earth are having to deal with the problems created by older folk, or at the very least old school beliefs. Young folk are in charge in GoT, while us young folk on Earth are getting there slowly.
So when the Maesters went full prick-mode on Sam, this was only reinforced and Sam wasn't having any of this. There's obviously some lovely older folk, just like on Earth and Eastwatch's MVP for me was Ser Davos, but the Maesters were cool once and now their just being silly. Sam has kinda just exposed the Maesters at the Citadel for not doing a whole lot and of all the people who you'd think would embrace magical stuff, those Maesters don't believe jack.
Close-minded older folk who are stuck in their ways? Sounds familiar.
Ah baby blue eyes, a child of Craster who was going to be sacrificed to the White Walkers and is now reading books...
GoT S07E05 Character Rankings:
- Jon Snow – When you say you’re heading north to face death incarnate and people actually wanna follow you then you’re doing something right.
- Gendry – Young Gendry is a steel-drivin’ man, yes he is. Swing that hammer, son.
- Ser Davos – Not much of a soldier but one hell of a smuggler. Those crab baskets? Genius.
- Daenerys Targaryen – Does anyone else smell burning? Check the stove.
- Cersei Lannister – Little miss fertile, over here.
- Lord Baelish – About time to get back on that ladder then.
- Bronn – Keep cashing them cheques, bro.
- Tormund – Say what you want about the wildling, looks like he’s got that castle back in nice shape.
- Gilly – Easily the best librarian in her immediate family.
- Tyrion Lannister – You can’t say he isn’t willing to try.
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