The Morning After Thrones: Pick a Side. If Inconvenient, Pick All the Same— GOT S07E05
In last night’s telenovela-esque Game of Thrones, it was finally clear: Winter is Here, and while the drama is very much alive, we all need to start thinking about the army of the dead.
Last night’s episode was one of those Game of Thrones setup episodes, but it had an urgency that was lacking in earlier seasons. The show is ending, winter is here, and while there are (maybe fake?) pregnancies, reunions, and sibling betrayal, there is a larger fear and a larger goal, and so, we must leave the world of old behind, and enter a new, cold, bitter world together– forging the uneasiest of alliances.
The episode starts with a choice: Daenerys presents the few survivors of the Battle of the Loot Train with her faux-benevolent leader schpiel: Join me or die. And so, the Tarlys perish. The last remnants of the world of men. The world we’ve seen for 6 seasons in this show burns in Drogon’s flame. The writers somehow managed to make us feel a speck of compassion for the generally detestable Lord Tarly thanks to his attempts to save Dickon. Was he appealing to his humanity? Trying to save his son? Or was he thinking about his House? Still engrained in the old world? We may never know. But now Samwell, who is yet to find out is the heir of Horn Hill, and the rightful owner of the Valyrian steel sword he stole from his dad.
Speaking of Sam, his arc in this episode is the one that shows the dichotomy between the world of old and the world of Winter the clearest. Sam tries to warn the maesters of the Citadel of the threat of the Others. The old men, comfortable, “all-knowing” ignore him while relishing in what they know to be true. Sam, in frustration heads home where Gilly is eager to prove her reading skills. There, she is about to reveal the biggest piece of goss (a tea as scalding as the flames that killed the Tarlys) when she’s interrupted by Sam. More on that later. Sam, ultimately, rejects the Citadel and breaks his oath. Samwell “Oathbreaker” Tarly now has broken his oath to the Night’s Watch and to the Citadel. Two institutions that have proven to be unprepared for the coming Long Night. Farewell, Citadel, farewell Maester Slughorn, you are 2 for 2 in allowing evil to creep right under your nose.
In the telenovela of Jon and Dany (Amor Caliente), Jon and Dany’s tender moment is cockblocked by Drogon, who feels the fuego inside Jon’s veins. He is blood of the dragon. That much is obvious. And he has a better stake to the throne than Dany has, if we are to believe Gilly. If Rhaegar Targaryen did get an annulment on his marriage to Elia Martell, Jon is his legitimate son, and Dany’s claim to the throne crumbles. She is behind Jon in the line of succession. This does not bode well for your new favorite ship.
To add further complications to Jon and Dany’s budding romance, Dany’s former paramour, Ser Jorah, returns to Dany, all healed from his gross disease. Really, Game of Thrones is coming to your abuelita’s TV set at 7 pm this Monday on Univisión. There, the forge the first of uneasy alliances: Jon will head to Eastwatch to try and stop the advance of the army of the dead, but more importantly to try and bring a wight/White Walker back. The purpose of this, to finally bring definitive proof of the fact that Winter is here. This, is all an effort to convince Cersei that they must put an end to the war, at least for the time being.
Back in the King’s Landing telenovela (airing on Telemundo at 7 pm in direct competition to Amor Caliente,) Cersei claims to be pregnant in what could be true or an attempt to rein back Jaime, who has seen the true cost of crossing Daenerys (and Drogon). “She has three dragons,” he says repeatedly in this episode in a PTSD-esque way. It’s amazing how despite we saw him play the knight in the last moments of last week’s episode, this time around he’s back to the broken soldier he’s been since he lost his hand. In the end, he is the Goldilocks of this story. Not quite as cerebral as Tyrion, not quite as passionate as Cersei. However, his passions prove to be more powerful. In the world of men, Jaime was a paladin, in the new world order, even his clandestine meetings are not so secret.
Cersei, meanwhile, claims to be willing to negotiate with Dany, but you’d be a fool to believe her, and neither Tyrion nor Varys and much less Dany are to be played fools one more time. I wonder if Cersei’s plan remains as self-destructive as it seemed earlier in the season. Her whole power-for-power’s-sake stance seems to have eased off a bit. Is Cersei perhaps also ready to let go of the old world, one where she let a prophecy guide her life, and start a new one? The prophecy says she will have three children who will all die. She is now expecting a fourth. Is this new child the beginning of a whole new world for Cersei? Or is the baby the second part of the prophecy? The part we might’ve misinterpreted that says that she will die at the hand of teh valonqar (the younger sibling). What if the valonqar is neither Jaime or Tyrion? The younger sibling could be this child.
Up north, in this week’s episode of Las Hermanitas Stark, Arya and Sansa argue because they’re not over the people they were last they met. Can you blame them? The trauma they have each lived in the old world, they each seem to want to keep from each other. They know it would break them, and so it remains a secret. Until Littlefinger comes in. His ploy to make Arya discover the scroll Cersei forced Sansa to write (in which she called Ned Stark a traitor and begged Robb to travel South and bend the knee) will surely fill Arya with rage. My hope, however is that the presence of Brienne and Bran’s gift of *ahem* drugs *ahem* “vision” will help them come together. Brienne may think her duty is done, but it is clear that the Stark girls will not be safe until Petyr Baelish, the “nice guy” of Westeros is out of the picture.
And so, the characters in this world are being flung into a new world order. One where they must pick a side. The side of the living. Where they must accept that the order of the old world, where bastards were smiths and men of the Night’s Watch is over. When Gendry and Jon team up, they are the echoes of their fathers. Gendry even uses a war hammer, like Robert! However, they are better, improved versions of them. Gendry is loyal, he lacks the ego Robert had, and Jon is smarter than Ned; he had to learn that the hard way. Jon’s whole crew is the embodiment of the new world order. One where survival is the key. As we see Jon’s new band exit through the Wall, we see a Wildling general fighting alongside the son of the man who slaughtered his men. We see a boy who was sold for evil magic sacrifices fighting alongside the men who sold him. And we see The Hound, who is not to be trusted. Ever. Then, we see Jon Snow, or as some would like to call him Jaeherys Targaryen, leading this group into tomorrow. Into death? For some of them, sure. Into a brave new world.
- Next week is the penultimate episode of the season. It’s gonna be lit.
- My death-o-meter is all the way up for Thoros of Myr, Berric, and sadly Tormund. I’ve been incorrectly guessing Tromund will die in every major battle since season 5. Thankfully I’ve been proven wrong.
- Tormund’s comment about the queens “You need to convince the one with the dragons or the one who fucks her brother?” 🔥
- Arya may yet outsmart Littlefinger. She is rash, but she’s trained to know about this.
- Why was Qyburn in the room with Cersei? Does it have to do with her pregnancy? Or with how fake it was.
- I find it slightly hard to believe that Cersei wouldn’t punish Qyburn for the failure of his supposed “dragon-killer.” Really, a big arrow?
- Varys’ conversation with Tyrion is, to me, a sign that he is not made for this new world. The guilt torments him. He has managed to stay alive this long, but I suspect he may not survive the Long Night.
- In the trailer we saw a shot of what seemed to be The Hound in the South. Will we get Cleganebowl this season? This is a fan-favorite theory that I’ve never found particularly appealing, mainly because I find the Mountain imposing, yet boring. Sandor is a way more interesting character. However, let me posit this level-up on the Cleganebowl theory: Jon’s expedition North of the Wall goes South (hehe) and he ends up with a dead Sandor. They allow him to become a White Walker, and this is the proof they bring to Cersei. Cersei makes him fight her strongest (also undead) warrior. Never gonna happen, but Zombie Hound vs. Zombie Mountain is a cool scenario.
- Gotta try the benefits of fermented crab.