Just Another Clever Plan From Tyrion?: Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5: Eastwatch (HBO)

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5 “Eastwatch” (HBO)

HBO

HBO

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5 “Eastwatch” is about clever people making even more clever plans (while many surprises were revealed).

Jorah returns to Dragonstone, Littlefinger tries to turn Arya against Sansa, Tyrion takes a trip home (kind of), Gendry returns, Sam becomes a lord, and Cersei is pregnant with yet another incest baby. Oh, and Olenna's information gets shared with Cersei (Yikes).

Pretty good episode, I only cursed Benioff and Weiss openly a few times this week. Sure, it wasn’t as exciting as last week, but how could it keep that pace up? Sometimes you need to take a deep breath before the tension ramps up again.

My Major Complaints for the Week (and a quick bow and mea culpa)

HBO

HBO

Jaime is alive (bow) but he did take his message to Cersei (mea culpa). I was right that it was a tell that they showed the clip of Jaime learning about Joffrey from Olenna before last week’s episode (and that he didn’t tell Bronn when asked twice during the episode) but I was wrong that he wouldn’t tell Cersei (he is idiotically loyal to his crazy sister). On the good side, she responded exactly the way I said she would (“I should have never listened to you, she should have died screaming”) but I was only about 85% right.

I am pretty pissed that Benioff and Weiss showed Bran sending an army of ravens to spy the Night King. Bran is pretty powerful, but he has never shown the ability to control multiple animals at once that I remember (maybe Shaggydog and Hodor at the same time) but certainly not hundreds of animals at once.

Where would he have learned that skill? At best, the old three-eyed Raven appeared as one Raven several times but not once in all his training with Bran do I remember them talking about Warging and certainly not hundreds of animals at once.

Yes, I get they really love big visual effects, but do you have to take liberties with everything? If he can control multiple animals, why doesn’t he just Warg 10,000 bears and have them cover their claws in Dragonglass (North of the Wall) and go kill White Walkers?

Okay, also pretty grumpy that Arya, trained by the best house of Assassins in the world, doesn’t know to watch her own back?

She is like a super ninja but allows herself to be easily duped and then followed by a guy who sure has some experience in political games but is not a super-ninja. I am supposed to believe that she doesn’t even understand basic entry-level spycraft? Total nonsense.

And how in the world does Littlefinger get the actual note?

Someone is going to mention they did exposition earlier suggesting that Luwin kept meticulous records of everything, fair enough, but records and keeping the actual note Cersei had Sansa send to Robb is a bit convenient (although Littlefinger was there and would know about the note?

Also a bit grumpy about Tyrion seeing absolutely zero angles at all this season, he seems to have lost every bit of his gift for strategy (and all of his cunning) since becoming Hand of the Queen.

Kind of sad, he went from one of the best players to one of the most bumbling. I don’t have a huge amount of hope for the new “show Cersei a White Walker” and she will have to act strategy either.

To keep it 100%, this seems like a fairly stupid plan to me. Yes, people will become terrified. But why would anyone believe that Cersei would do anything but go Donald J. Lannister and use that fear to sew up her base and to crack down on her enemies under the guise of security against the Walkers?

And why does Jon seem to take no weapons featuring the Dragonglass that he has been mining on the trip to fight White Walkers? I get Gendry is good with a hammer, but White Walkers don't give any damns about hammers.

Someone might suggest that if she lets Daenerys solve the White Walker problem successfully, she will lose all credibility. Sure, that is true, but she has never been good at long-term thinking. I suspect she would just say let the White Walkers weaken the Dothraki, pretend to be responding, and then take out whatever is left of Daenerys’ troops after the battle against the Walkers.

I also could complain about Tormund’s men easily capturing the Brotherhood without Banners but they seemed to purposefully want to get captured so that they could go North of the Wall.

Beautiful Reunions?

HBO

HBO

I read so many recaps where people talked about the emotional reunions between Sansa and Arya (and between Sansa, Arya, and Bran).

I suspect that they meant emotional for the viewer, it sure didn’t seem like a warm reunion at the time. Arya and Sansa may have familial love deep down, but they really disliked each other when they were kids and still seem very wary of each other now.

To follow up, this week Arya basically called Sansa out for wanting to win the Iron Throne for herself (and Sansa didn’t deny it at all. Obviously, that is what Littlefinger wants too, as he is busy setting the entire North against Jon Snow (in favor of Lady Sansa as Queen of the North).

Sure, part of this was to raise Arya’s suspicions, but it seems clear that he also believes that he finally has a direct claim he can take where he has always wanted to go (directly to the Iron Throne, do not pass Go do not take the time to collect two hundred dollars).

In case you were wondering, the letter is the one Sansa wrote betraying her own Father way back in Season one. Arya is reading a note that implicates Sansa in the execution of Ned Stark.

And speaking of which, we are getting a bit crowded on people who could be claiming to be the rightful King of Queen of Westeros. As of tonight:

* Daenerys, directly related to the old Targaryen line overthrown by Robert Baratheon when Jaime Lannister killed her Father Arys II.

* Jon Snow, who we know for sure is actually Jon Targaryen (and Daenerys should clearly suspect is also a Targaryen since Drogon allowed Jon to pat his snout). We know this even more because Sam stupidly cut Gilly off right before she revealed that Jon Snow is actually a direct claimant because Rhaegar was officially re-married to Lyanna Stark prior to their deaths.

* Cersei Lannister-Baratheon, ex-wife of the long dead King she had killed in a drunken hunting accident. Oh, by the way, she is also pregnant again, meaning that she has an heir but she is losing her mind if she thinks that the realm is going to accept Jaime as the official father and consort.

As a result of this reveal, I am returning to my theory from earlier in the season, Jaime is going to be betrayed by Cersei (and Euron is returning to play Daddy). I am not sure Jaime will actually die, but he will be betrayed by Cersei, who now has lots of reasons to want him dead (lost the army, met with Tyrion, talked her out of torturing Olenna, blames him for the deaths of many of their children).

Let me repeat that there is no way the public or any of the other challengers are going to accept an official and admitted Lannister incest baby as the legitimate err to the Iron Throne. The Faith Militant would seem like a garden party compared to what would happen in a world where Cersei admits Jaime is the father of the heir to the throne.

* Gendry Baratheon Snow, the bastard of Robert Baratheon. Nice of the good old Onion Knight himself to go retrieve Gendry and bring him back to the game board. Also interesting to see Jon Stark/Targaryen Snow meeting Gendry Baratheon Snow.

* Sansa Stark (see above), she is making a play for uniting the forces of the Vale and the North and taking a run at Cersei herself. That sounds great and all, but how is she going to take on Dragons and Dothraki (even if she finds a way to take out Cersei)?

I guess I am glad that GoT didn’t switch Baby Sam with ASOIAF’s baby King Beyond the Wall or things could be even messier.

Anyway, if you want to see a truly beautiful reunion, the one between Jorah Mormont (aka Ser Friend Zone) and Daenerys was truly emotional and touching (heck, even the reunion between Ser Davos and Gendry wasn’t bad). But the reunion of Bran, Arya, and Sansa was anything but an emotional one.

Lord Tarly, Lord Sam Tarly

HBO

HBO

RIP Dickon Tarly (so many people will mourn the loss of the cheapest laugh-line in Westeros).

RIP Lord Randyll Tarly, you seemed like a real a-hole but at least, in the end, a brave and honorable one.

Long live Lord Sam of House Tarly. His Father’s worst nightmare becomes reality (although Sam has no idea that he is in charge of Horn Hill yet (because the Arch Maester purposefully did not tell him). I suspect that he was left in the dark on his improved circumstances so that he will go with his cart full of stolen books and try to help Jon win the fight.

It is also possible that he cannot inherit, technically Maester's belong to the Citadel and cannot inherit but Sam never became a Maester (never forged a chain and just bailed on becoming one) so I am not sure he is prohibited from ownership and who from the Citadel is going to enforce this on him? 

Of course, as someone just reminded me, Sam is also still a Brother of the Night's Watch so he can't inherit because of that too (unless, of course, he is killed and is resurrected by someone on team Lord of Light like Jon was).

But I absolutely predict this will all matter, there are probably several reasons (as I was reminded here last week) that he stole his Father's sword.

Speaking of winning the fight. What about Daenerys' decision to cook the Tarly's?

Many at, for instance, The Ringer will herald Daenerys’ use of Drogon to BBQ Dickon and Randyll as proof she has become the “Mad Queen” and as crazy as her Father, however, I agree (for once) with Benioff and Weiss who said at the end of the episode that hers was a rational decision.

As I have mentioned more than once, the spine of ASOIAF is political realism and a deconstruction of traditional fantasy tropes. Yes, there is magic and dragons, but a stupid leader with magic and dragons can still get stabbed in the back by one of his own Kingsguard.

In order to maintain rule in a realist world, you have to be credible and consistent, no matter what Varys and Tyrion were grumbling about if she had stood down or shown mercy to the Tarly’s she would have lost credibility across the realm and especially with her Dothraki hordes. She can’t show mercy to people who openly defy her and insult her to her face.

In the crazy world that she lives in, she has to remain credible and consistent. She offered mercy, they refused. It’s like the opening clip at the beginning of Gza’s song ‘4th Chamber,’ “Choose the sword and you will join me, choose the ball and you join your Mother in death.”

In other words, decisions, even with imperfect information, have consequences.

Okay, maybe that was a stretch, but I always love mentioning the Wu.

Think of it like this, many commentators and experts have been talking about how it is a bad idea to draw red lines in the context of North Korea because if North Korea calls us on them and we don't react, we lose credibility. Credibility is critical to the application of hard power.

Okay, see you next week!