Monday, August 14, 2017

It's GOTten Real

The somewhat deceptively named "Eastwatch," the fifth episode of the seventh season of Game Of Thrones, offered a lot.  It didn't have a big fight at the end, so some may have been disappointed, but that's not why I watch the show.

We start with the aftermath of the big battle--now featuring a dragon-y goodness--from last week.  If there was any doubt as to Jaime and Bronn's fate, fear not.  Bronn comes up out the water--surprisingly far from where he went in--and pulls out Jaime.  Bronn won't let his meal ticket die, and neither will the show, just yet.

The Kingslayer just wanted to end the war by attacking Dany--it's what he does.  But that's a no-go with dragons.  Now, however, they've both seen warfare with dragons, and realize something has to change.  Dany's the one with the atom bomb.  Jaime will tell his sister, but how will that go?

Tyrion looks at the brutal aftermath.  Dany address the Lannister troops still alive.  She doesn't want this, she wants a better world.  So bend the knee or die.  One who won't bend is Randyll Tarly.  Enjoy your honor for another minute, Tarl.  His son Dickon agrees, and off they go--no one will ever confuse his name again.  Tyrion advises mercy, but that's not how Dany works it.

There's been some dispute over whether Dany would save Westeros, or be just another cruel dictator.  It's hard to say, but she certainly knows how to be brutal when people don't do what she says.  She has Drogon barbecue the Tarly men.  It's pretty horrifying (though is it worse than any death in a war?)--not quite as bad as burning Shireen at the stake, but it gives you pause.

At King's Landing, Jaime explains to sis the disastrous battle and how they can't buy their way out of it with mercenaries.  But what to do then?  Submit and die? Also, some other news (so much going on this season they've got a lot to get through).  Jaime explains Olenna was behind Joffrey's death, not Tyrion, though Cersei has trouble believing it.

At a bluff back in Dragonstone, with the help of some bad CGI, Dany lands Drogon right in front of Jon Snow.  Snow takes off his glove and has the dragon sniff.  Does Drogon recognize Targaryen blood?  Dany gets off and the two talk...about dragons, battles and oh yeah, what was that Davos said about a knife to your heart?

But before he can answer (guess we'll get that later, just like his true parentage), the Dothraki bring in Jorah.  It's a better reunion than the ones we've been getting a Winterfell--it happens fast, but you don't see it coming. Jon knew Mormont's dad, of course, because in Westeros it's who you know.

Speaking of Winterfell, Bran is hanging out with ravens, who fly beyond the wall to see the army of the dead.  They spot the Night King and scatter.  Have we forgotten, by the way, it's Bran's fault the Night King got to the last Three-Eyed Raven?  Anyway, Bran needs to send out ravens to warn everyone. (Why didn't he do it earlier?)

Way down at the Citadel, the archmaesters are discussing Bran's claims of dead men marching.  They mock him a bit, but Samwell, who's hanging around, says he know Bran, and maybe more important, he knows the dead, and they're no joke.  He advises them (like they'll listen) to warn everyone about this threat, so people will send their armies up North.  Ebrose says they'll look into it, now back to work.  He also knows Sam's dad and brother have died, but hasn't told him yet. (I wonder how Sam'll take it--being head Tarly doesn't sound so bad.)

At Dragonstone, Varys and Tyrion fret about the Dragon Queen.  Varys served the  Mad King, and knows what it feels like to give advice and then watch people burn.

Meanwhile, Jon has gotten the news that Arya and Bran are alive.  You think he'd be happy, but downer Bran also lets him know the dead are on the march.  Snow needs to return.  The brain trust at Dragonstone come up with what sounds to me like an unnecessarily complicated and unlikely to work plan--go beyond the Wall, get a wight, bring him back, show him to Cersei and convince her to have a truce while they defeat the dead.  Why not just burn Cersei, have them surrender and then turn their attention to the Wall?

So Tyrion has to meet Jaime to tell him the plan and let Cersei know.  Davos will smuggle him in.  It'll be good to have the Onion Knight do what he does best.

Back at Winterfell, the Lords are whining again. It's getting tiresome.  They've unhappy that Jon is gone and seem to prefer Lady Stark.  Sansa reassures them that Jon is doing what he thinks is best, as Arya watches.  Later, the two sisters talk, like old days--i.e., they're at odds.  Sansa has gotten used to being in charge, and wants to be better than everyone, including Jon, whom they were insulting.  Hey, these two just got back together and already they're fighting?

Davos and Tyrion get ashore at a secret spot at King's Landing.  Davos has business at Flea Bottom, but first we follow the Imp.  As Bronn has brokered the meeting, Jaime is surprised to see Tyrion.  He swore to kill him after his father's death.  Tyrion gets somewhat emotional, explaining dad was ready to execute him thought he was innocent.  But enough about that.  Here's the deal--a truce, which isn't bad coming from Dan.  Just give us some time to handle this threat up North.

Meanwhile, Davos (who apparently figure he won't be recognized--really?) goes into a smith shop and sure enough, there's Gendry.  Lots of reunions this year, and this episode has more than most.  There's been talk for a while of Gendry's return--he was last seen being saved and sent off by Seaworth.  To be honest, I don't care about Gendry, and if he never came back that would be fine with me.  But he's a hero, and can't wait to leave, so I guess he'll be part of the adventure.

Back at the shore, two guards chance upon Gendry and Davos at their boat.  The trip had been too easy, so something had to happen.  Davos knows the drill and pays them off.  It's going fine, but then Tyrion returns and you can't fool the guards about a dwarf with a scar.  It looks tense, till bang bang, Gendry's silver hammer comes down upon their heads.

Jaime tells Cersei about the armistice.  In a plot development I don't like, but can sort of understand, Cersei already knew about the meeting, but let it go on.  Really?  If she knew everything going on, how could she possibly let Tyrion go?  In any case, Cersei knows she doesn't have the power, so has to play Dany carefully, and this truce thing is a good start.

And oh yeah, Cersei is pregnant.  This time she won't be embarrassed to let everyone know that Jaime is the father. (How Targaryen of her.)

At Dragonstone, it's time for Jon to leave.  Davos introduces Gendry, who spills the beans about his parentage.  Why not?  Two royal bastards.  They've got plenty in common.  Anyway, Gendry plans to go up north with Jon to fight.

Though Tyrion has seen Mormont, they haven't spoken, and have a mini-reunion at the shore before Jorah leaves.  They talk about all the good times they had. (Jorah probably isn't too mad--the Imp got him back to the Queen, and he's been cured of greyscale). Jon takes his leave of Dany, without having bent the knee--though they seem to get along.

In Oldtown, Samwell and Gilly (back from Detroit) are reading the old scrolls.  Gilly has something interesting about Rhaegar's wife, but Sam doesn't care.  He's too angry that he's doing what he thinks is scut work while defeating the Night King is put on hold.  He decides he'll do something about it. He and Gilly take off.  Same, get your degree first.

At Winterfell, some action I'm not clear about.  Littlefinger seems to be conspiring about something, while Arya secretly watches.  He gets an old raven note (he seemed quite interested when he heard a couple episodes ago how all the raven notes had been stored at Winterfell).  Arya sneaks into his bedroom and finds the note. I'm sure there are screen grabs around that have it, but I couldn't make it out.  After she leaves, turns out Littlefinger is watching.

Hmm. I thought being a faceless woman (or girl, as they'd say), Arya is the one who pulls off ruses.  But it's good to see Littlefinger is doing something, and playing others again, after a season of everyone getting the best of him.  (Many fans want him to buy it, but I've always sort of liked him.  I'd at least like him to survive till the last season.)

Finally we get to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.  Jon has his plan, though Tormund thinks returning to beyond the wall is stupid.  Also, they captured some guys who said they had business there--Thoros and the Hound!  Good to see them.  As I said, lots of reunions. (Jon hasn't seen the Hound since the start of the series.)

Lots of anger.  Tormund wants nothing to do with any Mormont.  And Gendry has no lost love with Thoros and the Brotherhood, who sold him to be killed by Melisandre.  But next thing you know, they're opening to gate, ready to march north.  What can I say?--Jon knows how to bring people together.

A fun episode, with lots of good scenes. And quite a motley crew at the end.  Imagine if someone told you at the beginning of the season we're going to get to a point where this gang marches beyond the wall to find someone from the army of the dead.  Who?  Oh, just Jon, Davos, Tormund, Jorah, Gendry, Thoros and the Hound.  Now that's a gang.


Blogger New England Guy said...

I think Davos stayed behind in Eastwatch (He said he would be useless beyond the Wall and Tormund agreed) but apparently I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have last night. I missed the whole Cersei being pregnant bit until I read the updates this morning. I still think they are leading us down the path on a few strands and there are some surprises (beyond the expected and anticipated surprises) in store.

Whatever became of Uncle Benjen Stark? If he hooked up with Jon and Beric- we could have all the good back from the dead guys together facing off against all the bad back from the dead guys. Then again he might be dead dead by now- I lost concentration in some of the Bran scenes in the cave back a few seasons.

7:30 AM, August 14, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I guess it was Beric going instead of Davos, but the point is this disparate group, who have been on all sorts of solo adventures throughout the show, were together.

I don't know what they're planning with Cersei. Would they dare to kill her know she's with child?

11:11 AM, August 14, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qyburn and Cersei are conspiring. Is it just getting the latest gossip, or is it something deeper, like killing dragons or helping with her pregnancy?

12:30 PM, August 14, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing. For those following the impossible timeline, note that Samwell stated Bran had been behind the wall for years, so that gives you some idea of how long things take.

12:32 PM, August 14, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think GOT devolving into a soap opera? A flurry of peaks into threads, but what really happened? Very soap-ish.

6:26 AM, August 20, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I don't think it's gone soap opera, but I do feel over the years the story has gotten unwieldy and many threads don't pay off. Plus there's just too much to do most of the characters justice. In the first few seasons, when they were closely following the books, they moved more slowly but had greater wit and depth and storytelling. (Not that it all came from the book. I hear the Arya doesn't meet Tywin in the books, and their scenes are some of the best the show ever did).

Since then, as they try to tie it all together, they dash through too much and have sloppy, even unbelievable moments. (Martin has the other problem. He's created a mess and it's taking too long for him to make it all work.) But we're invested enough in the characters that the show still holds up.

2:13 PM, August 20, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your insight. Perhaps they need to start killing off characters to close threads and get back to storytelling. There's plenty of buzz on the web on the resemblance to soaps.

5:54 AM, August 21, 2017  

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