“Eastwatch” brings us multiple, major confirmations of Jon’s parentage, reunions between characters who have been long estranged, and the potential for an armistice in order to prepare for war with the Army of the Dead. Full recap, plus preview of episode 6 “Beyond the Wall”.
“Eastwatch” picks up shortly after the end of “The Spoils of War” after Bronn saves Jaime from being fricasseed by Drogon. They emerge on the other side of the lake alive, but very much afraid. Jaime is eager to get back to King’s Landing to warn Cersei about Dany’s military might, Dothraki and dragons included.
Meanwhile, Dany gives a choice to the surviving Lannister/Tarly soldiers. They can either bend the knee to her (joining her crusade to build a new, better world) or they die. While most of the lower level soldiers kneel (after an emphatic cosign from Drogon), Lord Randyll Tarly and Dickon remain standing. Lord Tarly speaks fervently about being loyal to his Queen (Cersei), who at least was born in Westeros and knows the land and people, unlike Dany. Tyrion tries to speak on his behalf, perhaps Lord Tarly will change his mind after some time in a cell. Or he can go to the Wall and serve. But for Dany, Tarly already made his choice, and Dickon is adamant about standing by his father’s side. With the order of DRACARYS, Drogon fires on Lord Tarly and Dickon until they die. And House Tarly falls.
Interestingly, you can tell that Tyrion is highly concerned about Dany going too far. Did she need to kill Tarly’s heir and eliminate his House? Did she need to engage in such savage tactics, via the Dothraki and Drogon? Later, when back at Dragonstone, Tyrion and Varys reflect on this very question. Varys thinks about the way he used to diffuse his guilt when the Mad King would execute people with wildfire. No, Dany isn’t her father, but she needs wise counsel to ensure she remains just in her conduct.
Upon Dany and Drogon’s return, they meet Jon on the cliffs, and we observe a very telling interaction between Jon and Drogon. Drogon looks Jon in the eye, and even though Jon is nervous, he takes off his glove and pets the dragon. Drogon quiets and watches this, as if he recognizes the Taragaryen in Jon. It’s such a lovely and powerful moment. We’re all in awe, as R+L+J becomes more and more evident. You can tell that Dany is taken aback, but this likely reassures her instinct in trusting Jon.
And as for me, I have all the feels. First, can we just call Jon the Father of Dragons? Because he is! Jon and Dany definitely bond over this moment, especially as she articulates that her dragons are her children, the only children she will ever have. Second, the reaction that Drogon has to Jon? We’ve seen it before… it’s the way Viserion and Rhaegal react to Tyrion in Season 6 (“Home”) when he releases them from the catacombs of the Great Pyramid in Meereen. So, I feel like we’ve gotten even more confirmation for the Tyrion Targaryen theory…
As Dany and Jon talk, they’re interrupted by a new arrival. Jorah has returned to serve at his Queen’s side and it’s another great reunion! Dany notices that Jorah is healed and strong, it gives her joy. She embraces Jorah, and you can tell that this hug is all Ser Jorah has ever wanted in his life. He loves Dany, but perhaps recognizes some competition from Jon Snow…?
In King’s Landing, Jaime tries to warn Cersei that this is a war they cannot win. But for Cersei, there is no other option. If they do not fight, Dany will kill them. She sits on Aerys’ throne and Jaime was the one who killed him. The only way out of this is to continue the battle and if more soldiers die, so be it. Jaime also tells Cersei that she learned is was Olenna that killed Joffrey, not Tyrion. Cersei is even more angry that she listened to Jaime to kill Olenna by poison. No, the only way forward is to continue the fight, unless Tyrion is somehow willing to intercede with Dany on their behalf…
At Winterfell, Bran spends time in the godswood attempting to use his warging abilities to observe what the Night’s King is up to beyond the wall. The Night’s King recognizes the crows for what they are and disrupts their progress. But Bran knows enough to see that the Army of the Dead is close. He asks Maester Wolkan to send ravens to the Citadel and Jon at Dragonstone.
The Citadel receives Bran’s message and Samwell walks in on the maesters discussing it. For the most part, the maesters highly doubt Bran’s account and sanity. Sam tries to back Bran up, afterall, if Bran (“a crippled boy”) was able to survive all those years beyond the wall, he’s definitelt worth being listened to. Sam knows that if the maesters take action, warn the realm that the threat is real, evey house will send men to reinforce the Wall and every maester will scour for information on how to end the Long Night. However, the Archmaester believes that the message is more likely a ploy by Dany to relocate the Southern armies North so that she can take King’s Landing and Westeros more easily. Sam leaves the room in frustration… the maesters also don’t tell Sam that his father and brother have been killed by Dany.
At Dragonstone, when Jon receives the message from Bran, while news that Bran and Arya are alive is good, the impending arrival of the Night King is something to be concerned about. Jon needs to go back home and prepare to fight, even if it’s without Dany’s help. But Tyrion makes a proposal, if there is a way to convince Cersei the Army of the Dead is real, maybe she’ll negotiate a surrender. That way, Dany will be able to concentrate resources in the North. Jon, Davos, and Jorah will travel to Eastwatch and then beyond the Wall to get a wight and bring it south. Dany doesn’t want Jon to leave, but he speaks passionately about how she must trust him, that this is their best chance.
But beforehand, Davos helps smuggle Tyrion into King’s Landing in order to appeal to Jaime for an audience with Cersei. Bronn lures Jaime (who thinks they’re going to do sword training) to meet Tyrion. Jaime is angry, but Tyrion is too. Tyrion explains that he didn’t have a choice when killing their father. Tywin was going to execute Tyrion for Joffrey’s murder, even knowing Tyrion was innocent, all because of what Tyrion was (A little person? A Targaryen? 😉 ) Jaime interrupts Tyrion, telling him to get to the reason he’s there. Tyrion proposes they cease hostilities.
When Jaime goes to Cersei (who’s meeting with Qyburn about…?), he confesses that he met with Tyrion. Cersei knows this happens, but Dany wants to meet to discuss an armistice because the Army of the Dead is coming. Cersei doesn’t believe the Night King tale, but believes meeting with Dany would be in her interest for now. They’ll have to be clever to beat Dany. Cersei means to build a new dynasty and reveals that she is pregnant.
While Tyrion is in the Red Keep, Davos goes to Flea Bottom. Why? Because he’s going to get Gendry!!! Gendry has been here all these years, working as a blacksmith. But Gendry is so ready to pack up and head to the North to join the fight with Davos. Once they return to the boat, they’re met by some soldiers. After paying them off (and offering them some fermented crab that has vigra-like qualities), it seems the soldiers will leave. That is, until Tyrion arrives, and the soldiers recognize him. For Gendry, the time for talk is over, so he kills both soldiers with a deadly swing of his giant hammer.
They return to Dragonstone and Davos plans to introduce Gendry (as Clovis) to Jon before sending Gendry to work at Winterfell. However, Gendry interrupts and tells Jon the truth, that he is Robert Baratheon’s bastard, like Jon is Ned Stark’s bastard. As sons of two best friends, they can trust and work together, right? And so the Jondry bromance is born, and Gendry intends to follow Jon beyond the Wall.
Jon and crew leave Dragonstone for Eastwatch. Tyrion and Dany wish Jorah well. Then Dany and Jon say their goodbyes–
Jon: “If I don’t return at least you don’t have to deal with a king in the North anymore.”
Dany: “I’ve grown used to him.”
Jon: “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come, Your Grace.”
OK. First, these two are so smitten with one another. While I’d prefer that Jonerys bond over their familial relationship, rather than a romantic one (because all both of them have ever wanted is to be a meaningful part of a family), I have no problem shipping Jon and Dany. Besides, it’s the Targaryen way. 😉
Second, “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come, Your Grace.” We’ve heard this before! It’s what Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning, says to Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy before their fight to the death begins (Season 6, “Oathbreaker“). What does it mean that Jon just says the same thing to Dany???
Speaking of the Targaryen way, at the Citadel, while Sam is transcribing, Gilly keeps him company by reading from High Septon Maynard’s meticulous journals. And she comes across an interesting entry… one where Maynard discusses being in Dorne with Prince Targaryen and presiding over his annulment to one person remarraige to another person in a secret ceremony. OH. MY. GOODNESS. And we all collectively freak out because it means, not only that R+L=J, but also Jon is legitimate!
Yet, the question remains, why would Rhaegar annul his marriage to Elia Martell, all to marry Lyanna Stark, especially when polygamy is an actual thing? The best guess I’ve seen is that Rhaegar would do this so he could also set aside his children with Elia so his child with Lyanna would sit on the Iron Throne. So Rhaegar believed in the prophecy of the Prince who was Promised (Jon), the product of a song of ice (Lyanna) and Fire (Rhaegar), who would conquer the Night King and bring an end to the Long Night, and wanted to ensure that child would have all resources at his disposal.
Because we can’t have nice things, Sam totally interrupts Gilly’s MAJOR discovery to lament his place at the Citadel. UGH. In any event, he’s ready to get back into the action, so after taking a book from the library, Sam packs up Gilly and Little Sam and they head out (presumably to Winterfell to meet Jon). Let us hope, wish, and pray that Gilly takes Maynard’s journal with them!
Back at Winterfell, Arya watches Sansa lead a meeting with Stark bannerman who are increasingly upset with Jon’s absence. Lord Flover suggests that maybe they should name Sansa their Queen and the proposal is supported by the Knights of the Vale. Sansa reaffirms Jon’s place at king, but Arya sees something else in her sister. While Sansa wants to build an alliance to hold the North, Arya thinks that ill words about Jon should be punished. And even if Sansa won’t admit it to herself, and Arya won’t speak it alound, maybe Sansa really wants to be queen.
Arya decides to turn her skills on Littlefinger and observes his secret dealings, bribing servants, etc. She also observes that Littlefinger has asked the maester to locate a letter, supposedly on Sansa’s behalf. When Littlefinger hides the note in his room, Arya breaks in to find it. Whe she does, what is in the messge shocks Arya. She leaves the room with none the wiser… not really, because Littlefinder has orchestrated this whole thing. Why would be want Arya to read the letter? Thanks to intrepid Thrones fans, we know that the note is the one that Cersei forced Sansa to write to Robb in Season 2, calling their father a traitor and telling Robb to come to King’s Landing and bend the knee to Joffrey. Yeah, Arya won’t be happy with Sansa for writing that, even if it was under major duress. And if there’s a wedge between the sisters, this means Littlefinger can use it to manipulate Sansa back to his side. *SIGH*
The episode ends with Jon, Davos, Jorah, and Gendry meeting Tormund at Eastwatch. He’s not too enthusiastic about the plan to go beyond the Wall, but he’s down. It’s curious, because there is another group of people trying to go beyond the Wall too… Dondarrion, Thoros, and Sandor Clegane are being kept in the prison. None of these people like one another, but Jon says that, in this, they’re all on the same side, that of Life against Death. And so this unlikely crew begins their journey…
In tonight’s episode,”Beyond the Wall” written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, directed by Alan Taylor:
Jon and his team go beyond the wall to capture a wight. Daenerys has to make a tough decision. (via IMDb)
As we can imagine, we’ll be spending a lot time beyond the Wall and we should start preparing ourselves for some serious danger. In the images and episode trailer (below) Jon, Tormund, Jorah, Dondarrion, Gendry, Sandor, and Thoros make the treacherous journey and there’s absolutely NO guarantee that any of them will make it out alive. *SIGH*
It looks like we’ll also spend time with Sansa, Arya, and Brienne in Winterfell (perhaps with the sisters in conflict) and with Dany and Tyrion at Dragonstone.
“Beyond the Wall” airs August 20 at 9p/8c on HBO, so make sure to tune in and come live tweet with us!