GAME OF THRONES toned it down this week, avoiding such an epic battle as lat week’s, but still kept up the suspense and continued to raise the stakes. It also touched on the vast majority of surviving major characters. Gone are the days when episodes put storylines on the bench for weeks at a time. Everything and everyone is constantly moving forward, hurtling towards the inevitable end, and ever scene gives that feeling.
There was some question last week about whether Jaime Lannister was really in trouble, as we last saw him sinking under the weight of his armor into the depths of some body of water. This episode begins immediately where we left off, with Bronn, who saved Jaime from Daenerys’ dragon’s fire at the last moment by tackling Jaime into the water, pulling him back up gasping for breath. On the shore Jaime slowly realizes, with some assistance from Bronn, that he and Cersei’s forces are royally f***ed. The devastating attack last week was just ONE dragon. She has two more. He has to go tell Cersei.
Meanwhile, Danaerys returns to Dragonstone triumphantly on Drogon’s back (not before burning the last of the Tarlys alive for not bending the knee to her) and there is quite an interesting moment. Jon Snow was seemingly waiting for her on the cliff’s edge overlooking the sea and when Drogon lands the two formidable forces (okay, Drogon a tad more formidable) come face to face, Dany seems surprised to watch Drogon allow Jon to stroke his snout. Hmmm, could this have some deeper meaning? It is quite likely Jon does have Targaryen blood. Moments later, there was another long awaited reunion (this season seems full of them). Ser Jorah Mormont returns to his Khaleesi, cured as she commanded. It is all too brief a reunion, though (more on this in a moment).
Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Davos, and the rest of the gang at Dragonstone come up with a tentative plan to avoid killing more of the Lannister’s forces that they will so desperately need to fight the dead. They need to prove that the undead are real, and they must do so by going north of the Wall and capturing one to bring back to Cersei. They know that they first need to get the ear of Jaime (as Cersei will never listen, and would certainly have them killed immediately). And so Davos smuggles Tyrion into King’s Landing and Bronn arranges a secret meeting between Jaime and Tyrion. There, Tyrion shakily speaks to Jaime about an armistice between the two sides. In the mean time Davos goes to find an old friend–Gendry Baratheon, son of the late King Robert Baratheon, and who reasonably also has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. Gendry has been making weapons in King’s Landing for the family that killed his father and is all too happy to leave with Davos back to Dragonstone.
When Jaime tells Cersei he met with their brother Tyrion, it turns out she already knew (of course). She knows about the armistice Tyrion has proposed and Jaime tells her about the army of the dead both sides face. Cersei seems incredibly unconcerned with this threat, but does see an opportunity to use the armistice to their advantage, saying they need to play it how their father would have played it (and that’s dirty). She also reveals that she is pregnant–great timing!–and that it is of course Jaime’s. But this time it is different. When he asks her who they will say the father is, she says she will tell the world the truth. Implying that she will be in such a position of power they need not be afraid of any criticism or repercussion. Cersei has some big sinister plans ahead and it makes me uneasy.
Speaking of big sinister plans, Littlefinger is of course up to something in Winterfell. Arya is doing a lot of watching from the shadows. First she witnesses a meeting with Sansa and the lords of Winterfell. Sansa is defacto leader in Jon’s absence, and the lords are complaining that the King of the North should in fact be in Winterfell, not traipsing off to wherever he is (did they miss the whole reason it was important he go?). Arya seems miffed that Sansa did not stick up for her half-brother. Then after seeing Littlefinger in some shady exchanges with people around town, she follows him to his room where he is given a scroll and promised it is the only one in Winterfell. After he leaves, Arya breaks in and finds it–it’s the letter Cersei basically forced Sansa to write Robb in season one, after Ned had been captured; a letter confessing Ned was a traitor and begging Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey. Arya is not happy. But of course this is what Littlefinger wanted–as she leaves, he was watching the entire time.
In Oldtown, Sam is just about fed up with being shrugged aside by the Maesters. Gilly is reading to him from an old book in which every single bowel movement was recorded by the writer and in between these insignificant musings she reads a bit about Rhaegar Targaryen having his marriage annulled in secret and him marrying another, which Sam completely ignores (I screamed at my TV). But this does spur him into action. He’s sick of reading about great men. He collects a bunch of books and scrolls and leaves Oldtown. To where, we are unsure.
And in a tremendously exciting set-up for next week’s episode (second to last of the season) Jon Snow, Ser Davos, Gendry, Jorah Mormont, Tormund Giantsbane, Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion, and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane set out from Eastwatch to capture a zombie! Holy hell this is going to be great, and I expect there to be some casualties. I couldn’t be more excited for next week!
Season 7, Episode 5 (S07E05)
Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9PM on HBO
Paul Gulyas | Contributor