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‘Eastwatch’ is a Westeros Western – A N I T H
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‘Eastwatch’ is a Westeros Western

‘Eastwatch’ is a Westeros Western


This recap is dark and full of spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7, episode 5, “Eastwatch.”

Two queens at war. Neither can see past each other to the far greater threat.

Each needs to be convinced, immediately, or this whole Westeros thing goes to hell. And so the many men beneath their heels must go forth and bring forth the evidence.

An adventure is required. A posse is formed. 

Next up: A Westerosi Western.

That’s pretty much the grand equation of “Eastwatch,” episode 5 of this seventh season of Game of Thrones, a scattershot clockwork of updates and minor machinations, paltry plot pivots and pirouettes that had our heads spinning. Nothing happened, yet somehow everything changed.

Except this: A quest on the horizon that should take, oh, about one whole episode to accomplish.

From the swirl of confusion, a few highlights emerged:

  • Cersei and Jaime are expecting again

  • Gendry is back, and he is not messing around

  • Littlefinger got the upper hand on Arya with a very old scroll 

  • Samwell Tarly quit his job at the Citadel to … go kick some ass?

  • The Game of Thrones version of The Avengers has assembled, and their mission is to get a White Walker

Did you catch all that?

We kinda didn’t either. We’ll get into those things in a minute. 

Way too timely, way too Marvel

This guy.

Before we do, did you track on all the stuff that was waaaaaay too timely/politically relevant to be coincidence?

For instance, if the term “many sides” triggers you in some way as of this weekend, then your ears definitely pricked up when Jon Snow spoke with the disparate group of prisoners and volunteers at the Wall — Thoros, Beric, the Hound, Tormund, Jorah Mormont, basically every gruff dude Game of Thrones has ever trotted out — who were about to embark on this doomed mission to capture a wight, so that everyone would finally believe in them.

The script must’ve looked something like this:

Interior, cold jail.

JON SNOW: “He’s right. We’re all on the same side.”

GENDRY: “How can we be?”

JON SNOW: “We’re all breathin’.”

Come on, HBO. 

Are you people just looking into the future to torment us? If we can all agree that Nazis and White Walkers are distillations of pure evil, and that all living creatures — even the President — should fall on one particular side of that argument without equivocating, then what the hell? How did you know?

Or how about Varys, in one of his exposition-rich private conversations with Tyrion, basically revisiting the “we were following orders” argument?

Speaking of his time with the Mad King, Varys details for Tyrion his justification for his actions: “That’s what I used to tell myself about [Daenerys’] father. ‘I found the traitors but I wasn’t the one burning them alive.’ It’s what I’d tell myself when they were begging for mercy: ‘I’m not the one doing it.'”

Tyrion gives him some comfort, at least in his present position, saying “Daenerys is not her father.”

Is she not though?

This is where Varys makes his feelings — and the feelings of just about everyone at this point — clear: Daenerys Targaryen is, in the tradition of her father, going mad. And she needs us, or she’ll go so terribly astray that no one survives.

“You need to find a way to make her listen,” he says to Tyrion, who’s good at doing that thing — just not lately. Not with this queen. In fact, she seems to be defying his counsel at every turn.

Later in the episode, in the frigid meeting room at the Wall, Tormund is taunting Jon Snow about his mission to make the White Walkers a reality worth considering: “And you need to convince the one with the dragons, or the one who [sleeps with] her brother?”

Let’s be real. These are not good prospects.

Cersei and Jaime are expecting again

Nice to see you, too.

Nice to see you, too.

On Cersei’s side, things aren’t going much better. Jaime comes to tell her he’s met with Tyrion, who seems to be bought in with this notion that an “army of the dead” is encroaching upon their little soap opera. 

And all she cares about is who’s been loyal and who hasn’t. 

Typical.

“Are you going to punish him? Bronn?” she asks, since Bronn, THE BIGGEST HERO OF THE WAR SO FAR, who saved thousands of Lannister lives, set up this meeting between brothers. But Jaime gets her to see through that perceived slight, to the fight that really matters.

“We have to be clever,” she says. “We have to fight her like father would have. Dead men, dragons, and dragon queens. Whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it. Ourselves, our house, for this.”

And then she points at her belly.

Jaime’s eyes stir.

“Who will you say is the father?” he asks, tears in his eyes. He’s had it with the secrecy.

“You.”

And for the first time in many seasons, Jaime looks happy. 

“People won’t like that,” he says.

“Do you remember what father used to say about people?” says Cersei, putting it all into the Lannister perspective. “The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.”

Gendry is back, and he is not messing around

I have a hammer.

I have a hammer.

Meanwhile, Gendry is back. But not in some fan-service way to close the long-missing character’s arc … he’s actually going to be a player?

Ser Davos’ visit to King’s Landing has a side mission: to find Gendry. And he’s not where we left him at all — gently rowing out to sea — but back in his old role as a top blacksmith. Gendry follows Jon Snow to the wall for the wight mission, and seems to be serious about asserting his birthright as a bastard son of Robert Baratheon … whatever that means.

Point is: Gendry’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble. Hey now, hey now. Gendry’s back.

Littlefinger got the upper hand on Arya with a very old scroll 

Has Arya finally met her match?

We are no fans of Littlefinger around here — and he’s been about as useful as a boil on a warg lately — but when he scores, he scores big.

In this case, it was leading Arya (who’s clearly tracking him for her “list”) to something she didn’t want to see: A scroll that Sansa wrote long ago, while under Cersei’s spell.

Here’s the best we could transcribe it on the fly:

xxxx is dead, killed from wounds he took in a xxxxx, xxx

xxxx Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters xxxx

xxx xxx and swear fealty to King Joffrey and xxxx

Your faithful sister, Sansa

It looks like this little raven really threw Arya for a loop, and why shouldn’t it? She just told Sansa that leadership suits her (with a few helpful notes on asserting herself) and now she learns that Sansa once sold out her father and swore fealty to that monster?

Chaos is, indeed, a ladder.

Samwell Tarly quit his job at the Citadel to … go kick some ass?

“I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men.”

OK then, Samwell, you take that Valyrian steel sword thingy and do something more productive with it than scrape chamber pots. (Oh whatever, you know he did.)

What’s he gonna do? Kill White Walkers? Sure, why not.

The Game of Thrones version of The Avengers has assembled, and their mission is to get a White Walker

And Jon Snow is their Nick Fury.

All the don’t-give-no-fucks fellas who still draw breath in Westeros are in this Game of Thrones version of Ocean’s Eleven, and we pray to the gods old and new that they devote episode 6 to this possessed posse. 

They ride off into the sunset at episode’s end, except the sunset is a devastating snowblind, and that snowblind must open next week’s bottle episode and never let go.

Wow. It’s a Westerosi Western. 

The Mug-nificent Seven (or Eight? or however many there are). The bad, the ugly, and the uglier.

“Here we all are, at the edge of the world, at the same moment heading in the same direction for the same reasons.”

Many sides.

Fine. We’ll take it. Just give it to us. Give it to us now.

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Anith Gopal
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