“Thought you might still be rowing,” Ser Davos Seaworth says in tonight's Game of Thrones to a young blacksmith with close-cropped hair. He turns, grimaces: It’s Gendry Baratheon, our second-favorite bastard son, home at last. It’s been three seasons since we last heard from the last in the Baratheon bloodline; when we finally caught up with him, he was sailing fast in the opposite direction of hopeful king Stannis Baratheon, having narrowly avoided the same fate as Stannis’s own daughter Shireen. Now, he’s back and armed with a hammer—because what else, for a guy who makes swords all day?
This week put a pause on Euron Greyjoy’s cosplay, focusing instead on the escapades of Dany, Jon Snow, and a newly cured Ser Jorah Mormont at DragonstoneDany, Jon Snow, and a newly cured Ser Jorah Mormont at Dragonstone, of Arya and Sansa Stark at Winterfell, Samwell Tarley at the Citadel of the maesters, and of Jaime and Cersei Lannister back at King’s Landing. North of the wall, the Night King finally makes his return, the Army of the Dead grows ever bigger, and Jon Snow and his Wildling compadres venture through the tunnel and into the snow. , of Arya and Sansa Stark at Winterfell, Samwell Tarley at the Citadel of the maesters, and of Jaime and Cersei Lannister back at King’s Landing. North of the wall, the Night King finally makes his return, the Army of the Dead grows ever bigger, and Jon Snow and his Wildling compadres venture through the tunnel and into the snow. cosplay, focusing instead on the escapades of
Alas, there was no grand battle this week, unlike previous weeks where (as is the Game of Thrones M.O.) nothing happens till the last 10 minutes, until everything happens. “Eastwatch” was an episode of subtle power moves; it's named for “Eastwatch by the Sea,” which, as the lords of Winterfell reported last week, is the closest castle to Hardhome, site of the previous face-off between the wildlings and the White Walkers. There, as the next chapter in that saga looms closer, we take a closer look at the winners and losers of this week’s Game of Thrones.
Jaime Lannister: In Game of Thrones, individuals presumed dead have a nasty tendency of popping up again unscathed. So it is with little surprise that we report that Ser Jaime Lannister is not, in fact, dead, though he plummeted to the bottom of the river at Highgarden, weighed down by armor, at the end of the previous episode. In the opening moments of “Eastwatch,” it’s revealed that Bronn was Jaime’s dashing savior, pushing him out of the way of a looming dragon (and into the river, but really, it’s fine, they both survived) when Jaime foolishly thought he might have an opening to take out the dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen.
Daenerys Targaryen: No, literally, she won last week’s battle at Highgarden. This week, she grapples with the aftermath, still serving looks while she’s demanding entire armies bend the knee. (Predictably, they all bend the knee, except illustrious House Tarley—more on them, later.) Dany also wins because, thus far, she has successfully dodged an anticipated hookup with her nephew, which would, theoretically, only be the second-cringiest incestuous relationship in the Seven Kingdoms.
Of course, not everything has gone so swimmingly for Dany—as we’ve noted, she seems to have inherited her family’s penchant for barbecues, taking a little too easily to roasting the members of House Tarley who refuse to bend the knee. She’s also cultivated a bit of a crazy cat lady side, but, you know, with dragons: “They’re not beasts to me, no matter how big they get or how terrifying they are to everyone else,” Dany says, sounding like every infatuated pet owner ever. “They’re my children.”
Ser Jorah Mormont: Miraculously cured of his greyscale, Jorah gets the hero’s welcome when he returns to Dragonstone. Westeros’s foremost glowerer (paging Stephenie Meyer) is lookin’ “strong,” as Dany gushes when he arrives at the castle. This prompts some envy on the part of Jon Snow, who exchanges some looks with Ser Jorah, clearly envying his aunt’s affection for this stranger.
Gendry Baratheon: “I don’t know much about swinging swords, but this,” Gendry says, pulling out a massive hammer, “this, I know.” And it turns out, he does: before the fifth episode is through, he’s smashed in the faces of a couple Lannister guards. “He’ll do,” Tyrion offers by way of endorsement. Gendry only takes an L when Ser Davos insists on calling him “Clovis” to preserve his anonymity as the last of the Baratheon bloodline. But Gendry quickly outs himself to fellow bastard Jon Snow, and they revel in shared memories of each other’s fathers. A blossoming bromance if we’ve ever seen one.
Lord Petyr Baelish: It’s still not clear what he’s up to, but in his ongoing battle of the wits with Arya Stark, he comes out ahead this week. He successfully played Arya, which, as the House of Black and White knows, is no easy feat. Arya has been shadowing Lord Baelish, keeping close tabs on him—so when he receives a mysterious letter late one night and stuffs it in a mattress for safekeeping, Arya is there to retrieve it. Only, it turns out, Lord Baelish seems to know she’s onto him. When she completes her sleuthing, we see Littlefinger looming in the shadows, looking far too pleased with himself.
Bran Stark: The Gerard Way of Westeros is staying above the fray when it comes to inheriting the Seven Kingdoms, leaving such matters to his half-brother. Instead, Bran’s got his three eyes where it really counts—on the Night King and his army, which finally makes an appearance in one of the more striking moments of the season thus far. Bran peers down on the gargantuan zombie army from the perspective of one of his beloved ravens (Bran is to ravens what Dany is to dragons and Arya to misfit children and wayward knights).
House Tarley: Another great house wiped from the map Cersei is painting at the Red Keep. Even Sam, the sole surviving member, isn’t faring so great—turns out, he wasn’t made for a life of academia. He's so on edge, he snaps at his wife Gilly just as she's reading a passage from an old book about Rhaegar Targaryen that we're pretty sure is going to end up being important. He makes a pit stop at the restricted section of the Hogwarts library before hitting the road with Gilly and their (now surprisingly toddler-aged) son. And he departs the Citadel before the maesters even have the chance to tell him his family has been incinerated, so he’s in for a rude surprise in a couple weeks.
Arya Stark: Got played by Lord Baelish, and she didn’t even get to play swords with Brienne of Tarth this week.
Jon Snow: With the heroic return of Ser Jorah Mormont, Jon Snow no longer has such a strong mandate to the title of World Brooding Champion of 2017. “Nobody glowers quite like you,” Tyrion tells Ser Jorah. “Not even Greyworm.” Plus, back at Winterfell, the lords are none too pleased that Jon Snow took his leave to visit Dany at Dragonstone when the threat of the Night King and his Army of the Dead looms so large—something for which, in his absence, Sansa is taking all the heat.
Sansa Stark: Up in the north, Sansa is struggling to maintain her grip on the lords at Winterfell, who aren’t shy about voicing their dissatisfaction with the departed Jon Snow. This also creates some friction with Arya, who is none too pleased Sansa permits the lords to slander their brother. “Lady Sansa” was looking so good on her—she’s even starting to sink into her mall goth chains and robes—but she might not have such a sturdy position after all.
Cersei Lannister: “We fight and die, or we submit and die,” Cersei says, voicing the Catch-22 she and Jaime now confront as they face down Dany’s army of Dothraki soldiers and three dragons. Also, it looks like she's pregnant by her own brother again? This, the cringiest incestuous relationship of the series.
Tyrion Lannister and Varys: Tyrion is coping too well with his new role as Hand of the Queen, it turns out. Never before have we seen a dwarf so morally conflicted—and Varys, who offered similar counsel to the late Mad King Aerys Targaryen, lends an empathetic, if not entirely comforting, ear. Varys vividly describes his own experiences with the Mad King, and the parallels with Dany’s recent reign of terror are clear (minus, you know, some of the outright sadism).
Kit Harington auditioned for Game of Thrones with a black eye: