Wow. What a show! So much happened in the “Eastwatch” episode — not to mention that massive revelation at the Citadel. This episode reveals quite a bit about Jon’s heritage.
House Lannister: Aftermath of the Booty Train Battle
Last week, Bronn pushed Jaime out of the path of Drogon’s flames and it was unclear whether they would survive. Jaime appeared to be sinking in his heavy armor in the last frame.
Jaime does not drown in the heavy suit of armor. Bronn hauls Jaime to shore – away from Drogon’s flames. This is extremely fortunate because the Dothraki appear to have herded many of the surviving Lannister troops, including the ones who fought for Lord Randyll Tarly, in front of Daenerys.
She makes them a proposition: bend the knee to me or die by Drogon’s flames. Almost all of them, immediately kneel – except Sam’s brother and dad.
Tyrion is extremely upset by this – and begs for mercy for them with Daenerys. But, the Dragon queen is in no mood to compromise.
When the Tarlys refuse to take the Black, Daenerys sentences them to die and Drogon plays executioner, incinerating them into ashes on the spot.
Even though Daenerys has said that she doesn’t want to be Queen of the Ashes, that’s all that’s left of the battlefield: pale grey soot.
Later on, back at Dragonstone, Tyrion and Varys discuss Tyrion’s concerns about Daenerys’ actions. Both Varys and Tyrion are advisors and not soldiers, so Daenerys’ conquest-style tactics are hard to stomach.
Varys is troubled by replaying his role as sidekick to an torch-happy Targaryen. (Maybe Robert Baratheon isn’t looking so bad after all?) Tyrion and the spymaster resolve to try to guide Daenerys better and make her listen to them.
After the Lannister soldiers bend the knee, Dany flies back to Dragonstone on Drogon’s back. When she lands, she is greeted by Jon, who approaches Drogon and DROGON LETS HIM PAT HIM. Big confirmation about Jon’s Targaryen heritage right there.
As Jon rubs his muzzle, the beast is blissing out. Drogon’s eyes go all soft and he is practically purring like a kitten. As we all know, the Targargyens have a special affinity with dragons.
Daenerys smoothly glosses over her atrocities at the loot train battle. And, then Daenerys and Jon bond over their shared affinity with dragons. Just as Daenerys starts to ask Jon about the dagger in his heart, the Dothraki interrupt to announce the arrival of Jorah Mormont.
After receiving a raven from Bran warning of the Night King’s approach, Jon decides he has to leave. But, Dany won’t give him any men to fight the Night King because Cersei’s armies will just take back all that Daenerys has just won.
And, speaking of what Daenerys has won, what exactly is that? She incinerated all of Highgarden’s grain stores. Sure, she has converted some of the Lannister army to Team Daenerys, but she has no way to feed them.
Bran had an extremely disturbing vision of the Army of the Dead and the Night King’s approach. He sends out ravens to the powerbrokers of Westeros, including the Citadel.
When Bran’s raven arrives, the order of the maesters have the opportunity to show leadership. Instead, when the Bran’s warning comes up in their council meeting, the maesters scoff at Bran’s warning as superstitious nonsense.
Sam pipes up and vouches for Bran’s authenticity. Sam implies that perhaps Bran is capable of the mystical or the divine since he lived for years as a cripple North of the Wall, where most seasoned rangers couldn’t survive that long. (I was waiting for Sam to suggest that one of them goes up to Winterfell or North of the Wall to see for themselves — because as Sam rightly points out, if the Citadel told the lords of Westeros that threat is real, the lords would listen.)
But, Sam doesn’t say this, and rather than taking action, the maesters suggest that perhaps Sam needs more scribe-ing to discipline his mind. Archmaester Ebrose dismisses the Night King threat. It’s far more likely to be a plot by Daenerys than real magic from a crippled boy and it’s on to the next order of business: the rookery for the ravens is in terrible disrepair. Heavens!
Strangely the maesters know that Daenerys’ dragons are real — Archmaester is witholding news of Sam’s father and brother’s immolation from Sam — but the maesters can’t stretch their minds to think that other forms of magic could exist. This feels all too much like a frustrating ivory tower.
Later on, Gilly and Sam are in their quarters reading through some dusty tomes Archmaester Ebrose assigned to Sam. Gilly stumbles upon a huge bombshell: somebody named Rhaegar applied for an annulment and married somebody. Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! That means that JON IS THE LEGITIMATE HEIR to the Iron Throne. In fact, if you go by primogeniture, he has an even stronger claim than Daenerys. Holy mackerel.
Well, depending on how you determine who is the “legitimate heir,” you could just as easily argue that Robert Baratheon’s son Gendry is rightful claimant.
Sam is still too pissed off about being dissed at the maesters’ meeting to pay attention to what Gilly’s saying. Even if he was listening, he’d still be missing the other half of the story: Ned in the Tower with Lyanna. But I’m sick of seeing Gilly playing the fool to Sam, so I’m really hoping that she will be the one to deliver the BIG REVEAL at the appropriate moment: when Jon and company learn that Jon is the rightful king to all of Westeros. Touch wood.
[Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. This is exaclty what Gilly said, “What does “annulment” mean? … [Maester] Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for Prince Rhaegar and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Is that a common thing in the South?”
House Stark: Littlefinger the Splitter
We know Littlefinger wants the Iron Throne with Sansa beside him. And, the North is key to winning the Iron Throne. (In the real world Wars of the Roses, controlling the North’s forces gave the Yorks a huge advantage – especially since the Northerners were much better, seasoned fighters due to their experience fighting against the Scottish raiders at the border.)
It’s a safe bet that Littlefinger is going to be using his “Chaos is a Ladder” technique in Winterfell to help ensure that Sansa gets the North. And, this is where it gets a little murky.
Just when everyone should be on Team Stark/Jon Targaryen, Littlefinger is going to start splitting them apart. Sansa has a secret desire, which she has done a good job of repressing of being the head of House Stark. Arya doesn’t trust anyone due to her past life as an assassin. Arya and Sansa have a history. So, Baelish decides to play Arya.
Littlefinger creates a little piece of theater to make Arya believe that she has stumbled upon a secret message that Sansa intended to send.
When Jaime arrives at King’s Landing, he immediately rushes to Cersei. Presumably, he’s already briefed her by raven of what happened. She knows Daenerys and her dragon showed up at Highgarden.
Jaime informs Cersei that they cannot win the war against Daenerys. One of her massive dragons incinerated 1000 wagons of loot. And, she has three of them.
Cersei doesn’t think they can negotiate a peace and survive. Jaime killed her father. Cersei sits on the throne that belonged to him. The twins would be lucky to get the executioner’s block. They have no choice but to keep fighting. Cersei then mentions that their only chance might be if Tyrion interceded on their behalf – “by way of apologizing for murdering our father and son.”
Then Jaime reveals that it was Olenna Tyrell, and not Tyrion, who murdered Joffrey. Cersei struggles to believe this but then when Jaime walks her through Olenna’s motivations, she knows it’s true. Cersei’s regret: Olenna didn’t die a more painful death.
What’s not clear – to me at least – is what happened to all that Highgarden gold on the loot train. Does Dany have it now? Did it melt away to nothing? Did the gold wagon get away before the dragon fire began? (Jaime thumped the top of the gold wagon to signal for the driver to move.)
Later on, Davos smuggles Tyrion back to King’s Landing so that the Imp can broker a detente with Cersei. It’s quite a gamble. Both Cersei and Jaime want Tyrion’s head on a platter.
Luckily for Tyrion, he still has friends in low places: Bronn arranges for Tyrion to meet with Jaime in the dungeons. Tyrion asks Jaime to talk to Cersei about a temporary truce. The idea is that Jorah will bring Cersei a wight – undoubtedly the most decayed, skeletal member of the Army of the Dead they can find — if Cersei will cease hostilities while Dany goes North with Jon to fight the Army of the Dead.
There are some logical holes in this plan but let’s just go with it.
After Jaime brings the armistice proposal to Cersei, she agrees. After all, what choice does she really have after she sees what Daenerys’ dragons can do?
Cersei agrees to the proposed truce. She also announces that she is pregnant – and it’s Jaime’s baby.
Meanwhile, while Tyrion is meeting with Jaime, Davos has business of his own in King’s Landing. He seeks out Gendry who is back at work as a blacksmith. Davos is there to save Gendry: not recruit him. Davos knows that Robert Baratheon’s son may get incinerated by Dany’s dragons sooner rather than later.
Davos asks Gendry to keep his identity a secret. Things are complicated enough at Dragonstone without Daenerys finding out that Robert Baratheon’s heir is within her reach. But, after they sail back to Dragonstone, Gendry — thrilled to meet Jon Snow — blurts out his identity the moment he sets eyes on him. Or, maybe Gendry is just having none of Davos’ subterfuge.
Either way, Jon and Gendry look like they’re destined to become fast friends. Both lads are two bastard sons of two powerful men (Ned/Robert), who happened to be best friends. Jon grew up hearing stories of Gendry’s father. And, both Jon and Gendry are men of action. (Interestingly enough Gendry’s trusted weapon is just like his father’s favorite weapon: a massive war hammer.)
Gendry plunges into his new life with Jon and Davos – and chooses to accompany them to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, where Jon has decided to range North of the Wall to get a wight. (For Cersei’s “proof of wight.”)
When they arrive, Tormund thinks they are insane to want to go North of the Wall. But, it turns out he has three prisoners who want to make the same trip: Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion, and the Hound.
The group quickly begins to argue. Gendry hates Thoros and Beric’s religion – the red woman almost sacrificed Gendry to the Lord of Light. Tormund snarls when he hears Jorah’s last name is Mormont: Jorah’s dad hunted Tormund’s people up into the end of the world. Jon points out that they might as well quit squabbling and get on with things. They should all range North together. After all, they’re all on the same side: the side of the living.