A Binge Guide for Season 7, Episode 5 – “Eastwatch”
by Greg Enslen
Episode Number: S07E05
Original Air Date: August 13, 2017
Time: 59 minutes
Synopsis: Daenerys demands loyalty from the surviving Lannister soldiers; Jon heeds Bran's warning about White Walkers on the move; Cersei vows to vanquish anyone or anything that stands in her way.
The animated map during the credits shows several important locations: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, Winterfell, the Wall, Eastwatch and far to the south, Oldtown.
Notes: The Baratheon stag is still shown over King’s Landing in opening credits animation, even though Cersei Lannister took power in S06E10 — it should be a Lannister Lion but apparently Cersei is technically going by Queen Cersei Baratheon. This is the first time the castle of Eastwatch, or Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, has appeared in the opening credits.
From the Blackwater
Ser Bronn of the Blackwater manages to pull Jaime Lannister from the river known as the Blackwater Rush, chastising him for trying to kill Daenerys by himself. But Jaime has now seen the dragons in action and needs to return to King’s Landing to tell Cersei there is no hope in defeating them.
Tyrion Lannister walks the charred battlefield, aghast at the destruction as the Dothraki horde take captives and pick through the ruined loot train for spoils. On a nearby hill, Daenerys Targaryen speaks to the captured Lannister men. She offers them a choice—join her on her quest to “break the wheel” that rolls over rich and poor, or die. Most of them kneel, but Randyll and Dickon Tarly refuse. Tyrion suggests that they “take the Black” or be jailed, but Daenerys doesn’t have time to quibble. After refusing one more time, she has Drogon burn them alive. The rest of the captured men immediately bend the knee.
Back in King’s Landing, Jaime hurries to warn Queen Cersei Lannister about the dangers they face, but she is unmoved. Jaime informs her that Lady Olenna was behind the assassination of King Joffrey, and Cersei, angered further, resolves to fight until the bitter end.
Notes: Daenerys mentions that she wants to “break the wheel,” a phrase she has used before, including in S05E08 during a discussion with Tyrion in Meereen. Tyrion mentions that Cersei has destroyed House Tyrell “for all time.” This is probably somewhat of a stretch as there are likely members of House Tyrell that still exists. The power structure of the family, though, has been eliminated. The words Daenerys uses to sentence the Tarly’s to death are very similar to the words Ned Stark used in S01E01 before executing the Night’s Watch deserter. With the death of Randyll and Dickon, Samwell is now technically the eldest son and should be head of House Tarly and the rightful heir of all its holdings and possessions, including the castle at Horn Hill, but he was disinherited when he took the Black and joined the Night’s Watch. The new head of House Tyrell would be his sister, Talla Tarly, seen in S06E06. There is precedent for a member of royalty to release a man from his Night’s Watch vows to lead his House—in fact, Stannis Baratheon offers to excuse Jon Snow from his vows so that he may lead House Stark. Jon politely declines, but then leaves the Night’s Watch after being killed and resurrected, thereby fulfilling his vow to serve in the Watch “until his death.”
Quotes: Jaime Lannister: “I just saw the Dothraki fight. They'll beat any mercenary army, they'll beat any army I've ever seen. Killing our men wasn't war for them, it was sport. Her dragon burned a thousand wagons. Qyburn's scorpion fired bolts bigger than you. They couldn't stop it. And she has three of them! This isn't a war we can win.” Cersei Lannister: “So what do we do? Sue for peace? I sit on her father's throne, a father you betrayed and murdered, and in her mind, she's winning. What sort of offer do you think she'd make? Maybe we can count on Tyrion to intercede on our behalf, by way of apology for murdering our father and son.” Jaime: “He didn't.” Cersei: “You saw the crossbow, you saw his body.” Jaime: “I'm not talking about Father. Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey, he had nothing to do with it.” Cersei: “After all this time, it still amazes me that you...” Jaime: “It was Olenna. She confessed before she died.” Cersei: “And this was before or after she drank the poison you so kindly provided her?” Jaime: “After.” Cersei: “And you believed her?” Jaime: “If you were Olenna, would you rather have seen your granddaughter married to Joffrey or Tommen? Which one would Margaery have been better able to control? Which one would have made Olenna the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms? She was telling the truth.” Cersei: “I shouldn't have listened to you. She should've died screaming.” Jaime: “She's dead. Like her son, her grandchildren, her whole house. And if we don't find a way out of this war, we'll follow them.” Cersei: “So we fight and die, or we submit and die. I know my choice. A soldier should know his.”
Daenerys returns from the battlefield atop Drogon and the dragon lands near Jon Snow, who was waiting atop the mountains of Dragonstone. Drogon is curious about Jon and allows the young man to stroke his face. Daenerys is again surprised by Jon. She tells him that they are both trying to help the people, but they must do that from a position of strength. She asks about Ser Davos’ “knife in the heart” comment, but before he can answer, Ser Jorah Mormont approaches, cured and offering his fealty again. She accepts with a smile, and Jon mentions that he served with Jorah’s father at the Wall.
Above the Wall
Bran Stark has another vision, seeing through the eyes of a flock of ravens. He flies above Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and soon finds the massive Army of the Dead, moving slowly south toward the Wall. He awakens near the godswood and turns to Maester Wolkan. “We need to send ravens.”
Later, in the Great Hall, Arya Stark watches as Lady Sansa Stark listens as her bannermen complain that Jon Snow, the King in the North, has yet to return. After, Arya and Sansa discuss the political situation, made difficult by Jon’s absence. Arya thinks that Sansa lusts for more power and they bicker before Arya leaves.
Later, Petyr Baelish meets with several men and women, and Arya follows him, curious. He discusses a scroll with Maester Wolkan. She breaks into Petyr’s room and finds the scroll. She reads it and leaves—and Petyr is watching from the shadows, pleased.
Notes: The scroll Arya finds is the message Sansa wrote to Robb in S01E08, asking him to surrender. Petyr probably thinks that the contents of the message will turn Arya against Sansa, who, in the message, appears to be siding with the Lannisters. The fireplace behind Sansa in the main hall is decorated with stone direwolf sigils. Petyr talks to a servant girl—this may be the elusive “Lady Stoneheart” figure seen several times during the Arya/Brienne sparring session in S07E04.
In the Citadel
Inside the Citadel in Oldtown, Archmaester Ebrose and the other senior maesters discuss Bran Stark’s raven, warning about the approaching Army of the Dead. Samwell Tarly overhears the discussion and insists they heed the warning, but the maesters assume it’s a prophecy of doom and thereby can be ignored.
Later, Samwell and Gilly read and discuss the books he has stolen from the Citadel. Gilly reads about an “annulment” while Samwell complains about the maesters. He resolves to leave and travels to the Citadel, taking a load of books and scrolls from the restricted section. At home, he bundles the three of them into a wagon and departs Oldtown.
Notes: One of the other maesters asks if Samwell is the person whose father and brother were just “burned alive.” Archmaester Ebrose nods and says he hasn't’ told Samwell yet—he doesn’t have the heart. The annulment of Prince Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell, and his marriage to another woman confirms a long-standing fan theory that Jon isn't a bastard but is, in fact, the son of Prince Rhaegar and Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark. This means Jon Snow, raised as a bastard in Winterfell, is a true-born Stark and Ned’s nephew. Samwell mentions that he’s tired of “reading about the achievements of better men,” an insult his late-father used against him in S06E06.
Quotes: Gilly: “What does "annulment" mean?” Samwell Tarly: “It's when a man sets aside his lawful wife.” Gilly: “Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for Prince ‘Ragger’ and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Is that a common thing in the South... ?”
In the Throne Room
Tyrion tells Varys what happened in Westeros, and Varys chastises him for not stopping Daenerys from burning the Tarlys. They discuss her father, the Mad King, hoping that she’s not cut from the same cloth.
Jon receives the news from Winterfell—Bran and Arya Stark are alive and have returned home. And Bran has seen visions of the Army of the Dead marching on the Wall. Jon asks Daenerys again for her help, but she thinks Cersei will simply take advantage and seize the rest of Westeros.
Tyrion has an idea—they could halt the war in the south if Cersei believed the threat from the north is real. He suggests they show her by capturing a single walker and travel to King’s Landing to ask for a temporary truce to allow all armies to march north and fight the Night King together. Tyrion thinks he can convince Jaime to get them an audience with Cersei, and Ser Davos, a former smuggler, offers to get Tyrion in and out of King’s Landing safely. Jorah volunteers to go north and capture a single undead soldier, and Jon will .
Under King’s Landing
Tyrion and Ser Davos arrive on a beach near King’s Landing and Davos smuggles Tyrion into the city to meet with Jaime Lannister. Ser Davos makes his way to Flea Bottom and the Street of Steel, locating Gendry and recruiting him to their cause. Jaime is surprised to see Tyrion—and even more surprised when he hears what he has to say. Jaime reluctantly agrees to speak with Cersei and arrange for a meeting between all the interested parties.
Back at the beach, Davos and Gendry prepare to leave when they are set upon by two gold cloaks, who recognize Tyrion. Gendry swings his hammer with skill, cutting down the soldiers. In Cersei’s chambers, Jaime tells her of Tyrion’s request. Strangely, Cersei agrees to it—and then informs Jaime that he is to be a father again. Cersei is pregnant.
Notes: This is the first time Tyrion Lannister has been in King’s Landing or spoken to his brother Jaime since Tyrion fled the city after killing their father, Tywin Lannister, in S04E10. Tyrion saw his brother in the previous episode but did not speak to him. Ser Davos mentions that the last time he as in King’s Landing, Tyrion’s forces killed his son with wildfire—this happened during the Battle of Blackwater Bay in S02E09. This is the first time Tyrion and Bronn are reunited since S04E10, even though they don’t speak to each other. This is the first appearance of Gendry, a bastard son of King Robert Baratheon, since Ser Davos helped him escape Dragonstone and put him into a rowboat in S03E10. There have been MANY memes on the Internet about Gendry endlessly rowing for several seasons—Davos even makes a joke about it. But it turns out Gendry simply returned to King’s Landing and hid in plain sight. Of course, he is the only living member of House Baratheon that we know of—and has a strong claim on the Iron Throne. Gendry’s hammer is decorated with a golden stag, the symbol of House Baratheon.
On the Island
After returning to Dragonstone, Ser Davos introduces Gendry to Jon Snow, the King in the North. Davos asks Gendry to hide his identity, but Gendry doesn’t. They discuss their fathers, and Gendry asks to travel north with them. Jon and the others are to leave immediately for the North, taking as much dragonglass as they’ve been able to mine. Tyrion and Daenerys come to the beach to see them off, saying goodbye to Jon Snow, Davos, Gendry and Jorah. Daenerys seems genuinely sad to see Jon leave.
Quotes: Jon Snow: “If I don't return, at least you won't have to deal with the King in the North anymore.” Daenerys Targaryen: “I've grown used to him.”
Jon and the others arrive at Eastwatch, preparing to head north of the Wall in an attempt to capture an undead soldier. Jon discusses the plan with the always-plain-speaking Tormund, who says they don’t have enough men to attempt such a reckless plan. In the cells below Eastwatch, Jon finds several captured men—Sandor “the Hound” Clegane, Thoros of Myr, and Berric Dondarrion, among others—who were caught trying to cross the Wall. Jon takes their appearance as serendipitous and recruits them to his band of travelers. The group exits the tunnel under the Wall together and begins to travel north in search of a captive.
Notes: This is the first time on the show that we see Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. And this group of men coming together is a reunion of sorts: it’s the first time since S03E06 that Gendry has seen the Hound, Thoros or Beric since the Brotherhood without Banners sold him to Melisandre; Jon recognizes the Hound from them meeting at Winterfell in S01E01; Jorah recognizes Thoros of Myr; and Tormund realizes that Jorah is a Mormont. This is also the first time north of the Wall for all of these characters except Jon Snow and Tormund.
Filming Locations: The black beach where Jon lands before traveling to Eastwatch is the famous black sand beach located near Vik, Iceland.
Quotes: Beric Dondarrion: “Here we all are... at the edge of the world, at the same moment, heading in the same direction for the same reason.” Davos Seaworth: “Our reasons aren't your reasons.” Beric: “It doesn't matter what we think our reasons are. There's a greater purpose at work. And we serve it together, whether we know it or not. We may take the steps, but the Lord of Light...” Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane: “For f*ck's sake, will you shut your hole? Are we coming with you or not?” Jorah Mormont: “Don't you want to know what we're doing?” Thoros of Myr: “Is it worse than sitting in a freezing cell, waiting to die?” Jon Snow: “He's right. We're all on the same side.” Gendry: “How can we be?” Jon: “We're all breathing.”
Wow, LOTS of stuff is happening in a very short amount of time, and people are traveling very long distances as if they just invented airplanes. I won’t quibble too much with what they’re doing, as I know they’re trying to speed up the narrative, but just in this episode: Tyrion arranges for a meeting with Jaime and travels to travel to King’s Landing; Bran sends out ravens to the entire world, who receive and presumably discuss the news; Tyrion and the others return from King’s Landing; and, most amazingly, Jon and the others travel all the way up the coast from Dragonstone to Eastwatch. These are journey and time periods where things should take time to happen but are compressed to serve the stories being told. I can’t help but think it stretches the “realistic” nature of the narrative. But yet again, this episode feels like a whole season of shows crammed into 60 minutes.
That being said, let’s get to the story. Olympic swimmer/weightlifter Bronn manages to retrieve a wet Jaime and his thirty pounds of armor from the river and throw him onto the shore, where he informs Jaime that their agreement ends when dragons are involved. I liked how Jaime rushed home to tell Cersei about the threat, but safe in her tower she doesn’t really listen to him. She’s preggers again and will fight to the last moment to keep herself in power.
At Winterfell there are a few developments—Bran confirms the location and strength of the Army of the Dead and then FINALLY tells someone something truly important, having Wolkan send out ravens to the whole of Westeros with a warning. For some unknown reason, Arya and Sansa begin bickering (after reuniting and getting along splendidly last episode) and Petyr is apparently plotting against Arya.
GENDRY’S ALIVE! Thank the Lord of Light. But “hiding in plain sight?” That’s just stupid. He’s literally in the one place King Joffrey’s and Queen Cersei’s men would have been looking for him: WORKING IN A SHOP in King’s Landing. You’re telling me they don’t make armor and weapons anywhere else in the whole world? Working in King’s Landing increases the likelihood of being recognized by a factor of, oh I don’t know — a billion? And he’s back to doing what he did before, though it looks like he owns the shop now. Or he works for a boss that doesn’t care if he comes and goes. And he doesn’t tell anyone he’s leaving—don’t you have to let people know you’re taking a smoke break? “Oh, say, I’m going to run out for a while and visit Dragonstone and maybe go north to the Wall.” And who will lock up at the end of the night? Did he give anyone the keys to the shop? Does the shop even HAVE keys? I need answers to my questions, dammit!!
I was excited to learn about fermented crab and how, after five minutes, it can put a man “back in the race.” One of my favorite things about Game of Thrones is when they talk about raunchy stuff using all the wrong words. I really don’t want to think about those soldiers “putting a hole in their chain-mail.” Yikes.
At Dragonstone, Jon and Tyrion come up with a truly daft plan. Seriously, when I heard it I was like “okay, who is coming up with this stuff?” The stories have gone far beyond the Game of Thrones novels by now and I know it’s just a room full of people brainstorming instead of one person sitting at his computer crafting a cohesive story. But this plan sounds insane and is predicated on an insane number of things going right, including their ability to capture a zombie, travel south to King’s Landing, and gain an audience with Cersei. Will Daenerys risk going into the city and be surrounded by Lannister men? I can’t believe that will happen, or that Daenerys could EVER be convinced to be that trusting of her enemies. Oh well, we’ll see, right?
The title of the episode refers to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the easternmost castle on the Wall where it ends at the sea. It has been mentioned before but this is the first appearance of the castle on the show. And, over the course of the show, several characters mention that House Tyrell is officially extinct, even though there are probably surviving members. If there are, they have lost their castle at Highgarden and any official holdings. According to the GoT Wikia, it’s apparent that the show is assuming that any prominent members of House Tyrell “died during the Sack of Highgarden,” thereby ending the noble House for good.
Nudity and Violence:
The Hammer—Gendry “arranges” for their escape from King’s Landing by clobbering two gold cloaks (40:25).
Notes: All sites accessed November 27, 2017.
HBO Game of Thrones episode synopsis. https://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/season-07/5-eastwatch/synopsis
Game of Thrones Wiki, several pages. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Game_of_Thrones_Wiki
UK Telegraph, Filming Locations for Game of Thrones Season Seven. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/arts-and-culture/filming-locations-game-of-thrones-season-seven/
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