Game of Thrones: Eastwatch

We both want to help people. We can only help them from a position of strength. Sometimes strength is terrible. 

In the aftermath of Daenerys' attack on the Lannister army, both Tyrion and Jaime find themselves trying to find ways to work together as the Army of the Dead marches upon Eastwatch.

There's been a question bothering me. How do the people in this show move so bloody fast? They haven't got planes. They have horses and feet. The answer came to me after this and the previous episode.

It's DAVOS. And I'll prove it: it's his abilities which allow all these chess pieces to meet up and hang. But let me set things up a little here. When the episode starts, Jaime and Bronn are reeling from Daenerys' attack. Jaime, despite still having elements of the hard-headed arrogant braggart of the earlier episodes, is now maturing into a different man. I sometimes watch him in this and the previous few eps and wonder what Westeros would be like had he taken the kingship instead of... well, I called it a game of chess, didn't I? Call her the Golden Queen. When Jaime came with his terrible news of loss, and caught her quibbling with Qyburn, I thought Cersei planned to kill Jaime with poison for his betrayal. The truth she shares seems even more dark. Her pregnancy could establish a potential line - but there's a whole prophecy about Cersei only having three children to deal with. Whether or not this King and his Red Queen have another Pawn isn't the question so much as whether or not they live to see the child born - and whether Jaime will have his own mind at all after tonight; it looked as if Cersei, in being open and having a fourth child, has given Jaime all his fondest dreams. At least until that last line. Never betray me again. I shivered.

Betrayal is a big deal for Cersei. She's lost all her children because of it. Her brother Tyrion has also lost everything, hasn't he? Everything Tyrion's advised Dany to do has turned to shit. Everything he's tried to do has turned to shit. He can't even save good families in the war between the Families. The Tarly family refuse to bend the knee, and not all his good advice can save their lives. His confidence is gone - he doesn't seem to know what to do. He leaves rather than watch.

While Dickon and his father, roast, however, I wonder - what does this mean for the brother - Sam? Is the Tarly family now his? Or are there other family members to inherit? Watching the end of the Tarlys, like the end of the Tyrells, was extremely painful - I did NOT want Olenna bowing out this soon! In the end nothing's left of Sam's family but ash at the fires of Drogon, and the Lannister allies bend the knee to Daenerys' power. And this leads to, for me, one of the best scenes of the episode: Daenerys' bishops, her public Hand and her private Hand, sitting in the dark in front of the throne in Dragonstone trying to convince each other that they've backed the right queen, that Daenerys is not her evil father. It's becoming clear exactly how much Varys is investing in Tyrion to keep Dany human. Are hands Bishops? I bet in Westeros, the pieces would be called Hands.

Bran has one job in this show, but it's a pivotal one, and sets all these pieces in motion. Loved the image of him flying over the land like a swarm of ravens. He sees the Night King and is somehow knocked back, with news of an attack, which is sent out to all the players in the land. Each reacts differently.

  • Daenerys. Although she wants to continue to press Cersei, she's actually considering going North. I guess two Starks and a cave with pictures was too much for her; she has to admit this is real. She even reaches out to Cersei in this episode. She's putting a lot of faith in Jon Snow. I love the stark nature of her clothing and the silver ornamentation - call her the Silver Queen. 
  • The Maesters. Again, they have more than one data point to work from now - including Sam's reports - so it's maybe not surprising that the Archmaester is alert and allows Sam to speak where before it would probably have been called insolence. And Sam is right - the Maesters are so taken for granted I forgot what a force they are and could be. There are more pieces than queens active in Westeros, and that some powers can move diagonally (they even know about the death of the Tarlys, soon after its happening.) 
  • Cersei. It's maybe not surprising she sees this as an opportunity to plan. I didn't really see a lot of progress in her story except that she's pregnant (maybe) and has gold, but no soldiers. If she hires the Golden Company though - isn't that led by a certain murky figure from Daenerys' past? In the books, this group is mentioned as supporting Dorne, but I'm not sure of their role here. 
  • Jon. I was hoping we'd see a full Stark reunion in this episode, but instead Jon's got to go all the way from North to South, apparently skipping Winterfell on the way, to find moving dead people and convince Cersei of the reality of the threat of the dead. For the first time I actually wonder: what if this war ends with an alliance? But Cersei wouldn't let that happen. Interestingly, he leaves no word for Sansa on what to do, and Winterfell is idle... and that, my friends, is a problem.

The rest of the episode becomes a mad scramble. Davos uses Mystic Smuggling Skills to get Tyrion to King's Landing to try and negotiate with Jaime - and bring Tyrion back to Dragonstone. FAST. This isn't too bad. They're just across the strait. It's like a Staten Island Ferry trip. The reunion between Jaime and Tyrion was powerful emotionally. Peter Dinklage does an amazing job of giving us insight into Tyrion's state of mind in this episode. His swagger and self-confidence seem greatly shaken. We see this when Tyrion talks to Jaime and breaks down, trying to resolve his own problems about his father.

While there, Davos also pulls off a side quest, bringing in Gendry. Gendry is Robert's son, extremely handsome, and doesn't have much of a plotline. When asked about his motivations in life by Davos, he basically says he doesn't know what his motivations are, he just knows he's pissed at the Lannisters and thus has Motivations, and is sick of making swords. He pulls out a giant warhammer and starts hitting people in the face. His job must be boring. Oh, and he sucks at selling sexual potency seafood, lying, and I completely enjoyed seeing Davos sputter when Gendry ignored all his careful instructions and just told Jon, basically, hey, I'm a bastard, too, our dads were friends, let's be friends and kick ass. BRO MOMENT! And the tiny boat doesn't sink with all the weapons and big men. DAVOS POWER!

Sam becomes furious with the Maesters deliberating, interrupts Gilly as she spells out the most important secret arguably revealed in this episode, and becomes a book thief. I am more and more loving the interactions between Sam and Gilly; this scene was pulled off perfectly. Sam, in my head, is becoming more and more like Sam Gamgee. Is this happening to anyone else. Is Jon Frodo? Regardless, Gilly now knows Rhaegar dissolved his marriage to Elia Martell and legitimately married Lyanna Stark, and she's going everywhere with Sam, so they both now know secrets that could change the world.

Jon and Drogon meeting today was an excellent moment in the series, and Daenerys seems to be taken with Jon. So was later, when we learn of an annulled marriage. If Jon is Dany's true-born nephew, he might be the rightful ruler of Westeros. I somehow think he'd prefer the North, however, and discovering the relationship might remove any tension between him and the White Queen. (And any chance of a weird aunt-nephew yuck.) I kind of want Jorah to end up married to Dany, and being married to a Mormont might cement her power in Westeros.

You know there's evil afoot when someone is lurking in the shadows!
Sansa and Arya, Jon's Rooks, are being split apart, partly by themselves - but partly by Jon being more a general than a King, and partly by Littlefinger, who's clearly engaged in a scheme and who has never looked as Chthonic as he did tonight, carrying out his plans. Arya is right to call out Sansa. She listened to the complaints of Glover and Royce as if she agreed with those complaints - undermining Jon's rule. I'm not sure she entirely realized she was doing it - I think she's been trained so well by Littlefinger that Sansa's own abilities, themselves as entirely complex as Arya's fighting abilities, respond to Sansa's inner as well as conscious desires. But Sansa's also correct: Arya's response of violence isn't what gets people to work together. Is Arya right that Sansa's dream is to be queen and that this is what is truly driving Sansa now? I am not sure. I think if Arya was right Sansa would have given into Littlefinger. Either way, the letter Littlefinger lets Arya find - in all of Arya's pride in herself - couldn't be more calculated to drive a wedge between the two. It's the letter Sansa wrote Robb under Cersei's direction, from Season One, asking Robb to give up the war and bend the knee. Coming after the fight they just had about Jon... This show is unpredictable in terms of plot, and predictably deadly in terms of living. I'm hoping Arya and Sansa find a way to come together over this and blame Littlefinger - but think they'll find a way to suffer instead.

DAVOS POWER! becomes even more obvious at the end of the episode. He brings Gendry, Jon and Jorah up to the wall. Now, it's a little jaunt from Dragonstone to King's Landing... but the trip up North to Eastwatch is a little different. I post map for your marvelization, and do marvel - they weren't on that boat for more than several hours. Now it could be the magic of HBO, but let's call it the magic of Davos. Need quick travels? Quiet snuggles? Call up Davos. The code is SMUGGLE. 


Jon's arrival at the wall brings us to a final set of reunions - the Brotherhood with Gendry, Jorah and Thoros, and Sandor Clegane with reality. And once it's clear who trusts who - and who doesn't - and Davos opens the door, it's them into the Wild North. A George R.R. Martin version of The Magnificent Seven. Jon. Jorah. Gendry. Tormund. Beric Dondarrion. Thoros. And the Hound. I know not all of these pieces will come back alive.


The North Remembers

Too bad Dickon Tarly had such a short stretch on the show; the new actor for the character, Tom Hopper, is one of the hottest in the series so far, and the Internet is rife with videos of him training shirtless or swimming shirtless or taking care of his son shirtless or basically being shirtless, really.

Tyrion giving Mormont the coin was another great moment.

Gilly learning and learning. I know Sam finds the constant excitement annoying but i think it's hella cute!

Josie shared a fantastic link today. If you want to roleplay Jon going north with the Magnificent Other Six, you need a costume - and they made his costume from IKEA PRODUCTS! Check out this link if you want to make your own.

Sent by the Ravens

Jon: You're a lot leaner.
Gendry: And you're a lot shorter. (Remember when Ned and Robert met up back in Season One?)

Davos: As my father used to say, it's better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life.

Tyrion: I've missed you, Mormont. Nobody glowers quite like you.

Sam: I'm tired of reading about the achievements of better men.

Tormund: The big woman? JS: Tormund's still in love with Brienne, I think.

Tormund: You're a fucking Mormont? Like the last Lord Commander?
Jorah: He was my father.
Tormund: He hunted us like animals.
Jorah: You returned the favor, as I recall.

Beric: It doesn't matter what we think our reasons are.

Final Analysis

The best part of this episode was the constant stream of revelations and reunions. The worst part was the way the episode felt so hurried to make all these dominos fall in line; we have scenes like the one between Tyrion and Varys, which are honestly well-acted and play well, and then scenes like the one between Gendry and Jon, which was a great meeting with a couple great lines but did feel like the writers were trying to mash a lot into a short space. OTOH, better short than tortured. Five out of five DAVOS POWER SMUGGLING BOATS!

5 comments:

magritte said...

Ha ha, I was thinking much a same about the way people were bombing around. Jaime and Bronn made pretty good time back to King's Landing, too, but maybe they were aided by Davos magic since they had to meet up with him.

Anonymous said...

I love the shows attempts at making Dany seem ''Mad'' when she is still one of the most soft hearted people on the show..


Whenever Daenerys has a moment like this you have to ask yourself what the other powerful players we have seen over the course of the show would have done in her position.Except for Ned i can't see anyone else showing the restraint she has...Even in this episode...The Tarly's were not the only ones who did not bend the knee. She could have burned them all but chose those two as an example. It ruthless and brutal to us but within that world that i thought it was fairly merciful...It was not prolonged fire either they were ash within moments.

Davos went to Kings landing and back than to eastwatch in a day. Still pales in comparison to Euron sailing halfway to Dragonstone back to Kings Landing and than to Casterly rock.

Arya is my fave character but unless its revealed she has a plan she is being a right bitch at the moment..Not to say she does not have solid suspicions but still...and she is being Creepy.

magritte said...

@anonymous. I don't agree that Daenarys was more merciful than her rivals would have been. Granted, Cersei and Euron are a bit bonkers, so you never know what they might do, but the conventional Westerosi thing to do--what Olenna or Tywin would have done--would be to take them prisoner and hold them as hostages to ransom or ensure the loyalty of the next in line of the family. Edmure Tully was a prisoner for several seasons. And even if they did decide to kill them, the norm for noble prisoners is beheading. Olenna was given an even easier way out. Eddard was beheaded (and would have been allowed to take the black if it hadn't been for Joffrey), Tyrion would have been beheaded, Ser Rodrik was beheaded, Janos Slynt was beheaded. The only crueler executions of nobles I can think of are Ramsey Bolton and possibly the Sand Snake, but Sansa at Cersei had good reason for those.

Granted, I am doubtful that the other players would have simply allowed them to bend the knee to serve freely either. They'd have opted to have hostages in their back pockets, or stripped them of their lands, etc. Executing by fire rather than beheading certainly makes more of an impression than beheading, but it also makes her like a barbarian and recalls her mad father. I'm not sure it's such a great idea. I guess we'll see whether the shock-and-awe approach gets them to serve her loyally, or whether it will bite her in the end.

Anonymous said...

@Magritte.

Oh i totally get where your coming from and considered them especially as im rewatching some earlier seasons. But its easy to think that of the other rulers however they haven't been riding the Wave of power Dany has for as long as she has which is why they are always desperate to cling to the power they have. Negotiations and allegiances were needed..Why fight when thousands would die on each side..Dany does not have that problem.
Tywin and Olenna were wise elder people and understood that(Try to Imagine them in there primes im sure you could see them acting way different)..There was too much to lose fighting each other and they knew that..The difference with Dany is she could wipe everyone out in a day if she chose to and not take major losses.
Im not sure any of the the other rulers would sit on the that type of power as long as she has without unleashing it in much more terrible ways.
This isn't to sugarcoat or completely agree with Dany's methods which will no doubt have some type of consequence. im just surprised so many people are 1. Surprised she did that 2.Believe this makes her a 'mad' queen..
When she starts sweeping in civilians from villages and burning them in her throne room than..Yeah.
I also don't buy into the method of burning being used to say she is more brutal than the rulers who behead. I thought it was more a cultural thing, she is more friendly with the red priestesses and their practices than Westerosi lords but it was subtle way of showing the power and control she has, particularly over the Dragons. She is the unburnt after all:). Dany has always been about Fire.
If she was doing it Red Woman style(Shireens screams still ring my ears)i would concede that, but Drogon ashed them in seconds and the context of the situation was one of reserved Duty,note the difference in her 'Dracarys'.
Something that should be taken into account with Dany. She has selfish and noble reasons for wanting the Iron Throne which does not make her Mad or Evil but flawed. It exemplifies her contradictory character...She is entitled because of her birthright and always being told she was special or beautiful regardless of how badly she was treated but she also earned the Mantle of Queen starting from the bottom just like Jon.
Difference being, that part of her that was made to embrace her inheritage of being a Targaryean and proud of it despite her Fathers history comes out. Whereas John because of how he was treaated with no name bastard etc has the humility she is missing.

Josie Kafka said...

I love Sam and Gilly together.

I love Jon Snow's "Magnificent Six" (awesome, JRS) going North.

Littlefinger...I could do without him. Is he even really scheming for anything anymore?