A Song of Ice and Hot Takes
Scene by Scene Analysis of GoT Season 7.05 “Eastwatch”
Survive and Advance
Jaime isn’t dead yet. While it looked like he was certain to drown in the river after Bronn saved him from Drogon, Bronn yet again saved his life, carrying him in his heavy armor out of the river onto a nice secluded little beach.
People are complaining about this storyline, given that it does seem a bit farfetched that Daenerys and Tyrion wouldn’t scour the shores of the river looking for Jaime who would unquestionably be the most valuable hostage they could take right now. I happen to think that Tyrion probably let Jaime escape. Later in the episode we’ll see that Tyrion knows that Jaime is alive. How would he know that unless he saw him survive his fall into the river? Whether it be the first stage of Tyrion’s slow betrayal of Daenerys or a part of his long game strategy, Tyrion clearly didn’t tell Dany who it was that rushed at her and was flung into the river, because if he had Dany would have searched far and wide for such a valuable captive.
After Bronn and Jaime appear on the shore, Bronn quickly reminds us that despite what we might have thought, he is still a sellsword. He’s a hired hand, not Jaime’s friend or blind servant. He says: “Til I get what I’m owed, a dragon doesn’t get to kill you… You don’t get to kill you… Only I get to kill you.” He goes on to explain to Jaime that he won’t be fighting alongside him when those dragons come for King’s Landing. “Dragons are where I draw the line.”
Jaime is also beginning to realize how difficult a task fighting against three fully grown dragons is going to be. This war Cersei has gotten them into isn’t winnable, and it’s time to start thinking of alternate strategies.
Her Name is Benjamin D. Knee
Daenerys is going full-on Aegon “The Conqueror” in this scene. And by that, I mean she is more closely mirroring her ancestor Aegon, who conquered the Seven Kingdoms three hundred years earlier, than she is her crazy father, the Mad King.
When Aegon conquered each Kingdom he asked the conquered to bend the knee and join him, quickly growing his army and ground strength with each conquest. It’s a sound and merciful strategy, and one Dany has seemingly adopted.
Having said that, Tyrion seems to be growing skeptical of her.
As he surveys the damage done to his house’s loyal army, he has a look of terror. His face looks as if it’s saying “what have I done?” He isn’t proud of this victory, he’s alarmed by it. Is he enabling yet another “Mad” ruler who won’t be any better than Aerys or Cersei?
When Dany tells the conquered soldiers that if they don’t bend the knee and fight alongside her, she’ll have to kill them — Tyrion gives her a look of disbelief.
The show is sowing the seeds of distrust between Tyrion and Dany and it is almost certain that this distrust will come to boil in the final two episodes of the season.
The clear cut most significant part of this scene, however, comes when two soldiers refuse to kneel: Randyll Tarly and Dickon Tarly, Sam’s father and brother.
You’ll remember last season that Randyll is wildly disappointed in Sam. Sam was never the warrior Randyll wanted in a son, and thus he raised Dickon, Sam’s younger brother, to be everything that Sam wasn’t. In many ways Randyll raised him to be a mirror image of himself. And in this moment it seems Randyll for the first time sees the error in his ways.
He tries to beg Dickon to bend the knee and keep their great house alive, but Dickon is too much like his father. He refuses, choosing instead to die alongside Lord Randyll Tarly.
As these two Tarly men die, House Tarly is left with only one heir — Samwell Tarly, the man who as his father Randyll so eloquently put it last season, is at the Citadel “reading about the achievements of better men.”
Did You Know She Had Dragons?!
“I just saw the Dothraki fight… They’ll beat any army I’ve ever seen. Killing our men wasn’t war for them, it was sport.” Jaime says to Cersei. “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.”
Jaime has seen the strength of Dany’s army and he is trying to persuade Cersei to save the lives of thousands. This war is futile, but Cersei won’t listen. In a telling statement she essentially says she prefers to die fighting: “So we fight and die or submit and die. I know my choice. A soldier should know his.”
But that fact of the matter is Cersei isn’t the one fighting. She isn’t a soldier. Jaime is. Cersei sits in her literal ivory tower as other men fight her war, while Dany and Jon both stand with their men on the battlefield, getting their hands literally and figuratively dirty. They are both leaders and soldiers.
That’s the difference between them and Cersei. That’s their strength as leaders, but it could be that Cersei plans to make that their weakness. They can be killed by a single bolt or sword in battle, like Jaime tried to do last week, whereas Cersei stands behind the best armor there is: A castle.
Jaime proceeds to tell Cersei that Olenna Tyrell is actually the one who killed Joffrey, not Tyrion. To which Cersei’s response is one of cruelty. She immediately wishes they hadn’t given Olenna a peaceful and painless death, but instead tortured her in the same way Cersei’s torturing Ellaria Sand. Her devolution into the Mad Queen is in full effect in this scene and one can only hope Jaime is starting to see it.
Finally, we see Jon meet Drogon. I mean technically they’re first cousins (since the Dragons are Dany’s children and Dany is Jon’s aunt).
Jon is the first person we’ve truly seen come face to face with a dragon and not shudder in fear. In fact, he reaches out and embraces the dragon, touching it in a symbolic gesture that I can’t help but think is a heavy-handed foreshadowing of his soon-to-be embracing of his Targaryen roots.
Drogon is notably the most fearsome, largest, and most volatile of Dany’s dragons, so the fact that he is so submissive when it comes to Jon is of note to Dany. She’s never seen this before and it raises her antennae, so to speak. She can’t understand what about Jon is so special, but she can see that there is, in fact, something special to him.
After Drogon flies away, Dany tells Jon of her resounding victory in Westeros to which she says “You don’t know how you feel about that.” Jon agrees. He is averse to “killing” as we established a few weeks back, he’s good at it but he doesn’t enjoy it, just like his father, so to hear of the death of thousands of innocent men on the field of battle doesn’t exactly sit well with him, even if he has grown to have some affinity for Dany.
“When you first came here, Ser Davos said you took a knife in the heart for your people.” Dany asks Jon, trying to get at that statement that has been troubling her since the first episode of the season. Lucky for Jon, before she can continue pressing the issue, the Dothraki arrive with a man claiming to be a friend of Dany’s.
Jorah is back, and Jon all of a sudden sees some bro swoopin’ in on his girl.
Jon and Jorah lock eyes, staring one another down in a way that would lead us to believe that there will be some tension between them. They both care about Dany at this point and she clearly cares about both of them. This has the makings of a classic love triangle set up to it, but part of me wonders if there isn’t a bigger story here involving Jorah’s daddy, Jeor Mormont.
Jeor was Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch when Jon arrived at the wall in season one. It’s unclear why Jeor joined the Night’s Watch. It’s also unclear why Jeor chose to make Jon Snow his steward. Looking back on the first season of the show, now with the foresight of knowing about Jon’s true parentage, it seems more and more likely that Ned pushed for Jon to join the Night’s Watch to protect him. As a sworn brother of the Watch Jon would disavow any rights or claims he had from his birth, whether that be as the Bastard of Winterfell or the trueborn King of the Seven Kingdoms.
Could it be that Ned asked Jeor to go to the Wall to help protect Jon once he arrived? More and more it seems like Jeor had to have known there was something special about Jon, and as one of Ned Stark’s most loyal bannermen it isn’t out of the question that Ned might have trusted Jeor with this monumental secret. Remember that Jeor also gave Jon his valyrian steel sword, Longclaw. Could it be that this sword isn’t in fact the Mormont family sword, but is actually a sword given to Jeor by Ned, to bestow upon Jon when the time came? Could Jorah know anything about this being the reason his father joined the Night’s Watch?
“Ravens, We Need to Send Ravens”
The army of the dead are marching towards the eastern end of the Wall. Why are they marching there? Maybe because rather than going over or through the Wall, they plan on going around the Wall.
Eastwatch is right up against the sea, and if the White Walkers can simply freeze the water, they would have an easy way to enter into Westeros. Bran sees this while warging into a raven and immediately tells the Maester at Winterfell, Maester Wolkan that they need to send ravens out to alert Jon and other powerful people in the realm.
Maester Meeting!!! Places Everyone, Places!!!
“Prophecies of doom are never in short supply” mouths one Maester as we see this meeting of presumably all the Archmaesters of the Citadel. They’ve received Bran’s raven, warning about the army of the dead and begging for help, but it seems none of them really believe it or trust in the warning.
“A crippled boy claims to have seen an army of dead… thanks to the magical help of a raven with three eyes?” These Maesters sound like every person who doesn’t watch GoT explaining why they don’t watch GoT. “I’m just not into magical ravens and shit.”
Sam speaks up as soon as he hears mention of a “cripple boy” because a number of seasons ago Sam crossed paths with Bran. Sam and Gilly were making their way south of the wall while Bran was making his way north with Jojen, Meera and Hodor. Sam knows that Bran went north of the wall and tries to convince the Archmaesters to listen to Bran, and goes on to explain to them that they have the power to make people believe.
In so many words, Sam is threatening the Maesters, telling them that this figurative blood will be on their hands for not standing up and advising the realm as they should. As Sam leaves, one of the Maesters mentions how much this reminds him of “Jenny of Oldstones.” Jenny of Oldstones was a lowborn woman who a Targaryen prince fell in love with about seventy-five years ago. She’s the one who brought a woods witch to court where she made the prophecy about the prince that was promised, which these Maesters seem to be laughing at, but in time will also prove to be true. Another Maester mentions a different prophecy that he too doesn’t believe which is that of “Lodos.” Lodos was the King of the Iron Islands who claimed that Krakens would rise from the sea and defeat Aegon “The Conqueror.”
This didn’t happen obviously, but it could be that this is foreshadowing of yet another “fairy tale” type of story that these Maesters are writing off, but will in time prove true.
“New Raven Who Dis?”
Jon receives his letter and is shocked to see that it’s from Bran, because this whole time he thought Bran was dead (which is weird because last season Theon told Sansa he never killed Bran and you’d think she would have mentioned that to Jon, or Theon would have told him himself last week).
This scene was mainly one of pure exposition: Tyrion devises a plan to try and convince Cersei to basically call a timeout on the war for the Iron Throne, which is quite convenient, given that Tyrion seems to have had enough of this burning people with dragons business. Whether Tyrion actually thinks this is a good plan, or just thinks this is an alternative to raining fire and blood down on the world is yet to be determined. I think it’s probably a little bit of both.
In my mind this idea of his is a terrible one. Why go north and try to capture a wight, when all you have to really do is handcuff a dead man, leave him in the snow, wait until the Night King resurrects him as a wight and then grab him. That seems a lot easier to me.
I also don’t understand how Tyrion plans on finding Jaime once he’s “smuggled” into King’s Landing by Davos.
But regardless after they map out the plan, Jorah offers to go north of the Wall to capture a wight for Dany. And in doing so he is inadvertently fulfilling his father’s dying wish. You might not remember but Jeor Mormont as he lay dying in Craster’s Keep, asked Sam to find his son Jorah and tell him to “take the black” and join the Night’s Watch. Now Jorah may not be officially “taking the black” but he is going north of the Wall on a ranging mission to protect the realm. Feels like that’s about an A-minus fulfillment of his dad’s dying wish.
Jon then tells everyone that he will go and lead the ranging mission north of the Wall, which clearly scares Dany who has come to have feelings for Jon. She tries to assert some power and tell Jon that she hasn’t given him permission to leave Dragonstone to which Jon says: “I don’t need your permission. I am a King.” This marks the first time we’ve ever heard Jon Snow refer to himself as a King. Which will prove to be a landmark moment once we get to a certain revelation a bit later in the episode.
Meanwhile At Winterfell…
Robett Glover just keeps on admitting “he’s made a mistake.” In case you can’t remember, this is Robett Glover:
The scene opens with him telling Sansa in front of the Lords of the North that “the King in the North should be in the North.” He then goes on to say that he and his Northern Lords may have made a mistake by not proclaiming Sansa Queen in the North instead of her half-brother Jon.
Sansa listens to them complain about Jon and then gives a sort of half-hearted, “you’re all very kind for complimenting me, but let’s just stand behind Jon for now” response. She’s flattered hearing these men praise her, this is what she’s wanted for a long time, to be in a position of power and it’s understandable knowing everything she’s been through. The idea of having an army she can command to protect her probably looks very appealing after dealing with Joffrey and Ramsay.
But Arya hasn’t seen everything Sansa has been through. She just sees her older sister that dreamed of being Queen and having fancy things and servants. She sees a power hungry older sister that is plotting to overthrow their brother. And likewise, it’s important to point out that given everything Arya has experienced since she last was at Winterfell, it’s only fitting she’d see this. Both Arya and Sansa are bringing their past experiences to this present situation and that’s why they can’t see eye to eye.
They go on to argue about the best way to deal with the Lords of the North, with Arya preferring swift, stern justice and Sansa preferring tactful diplomacy.
Arya proceeds to sort of psychoanalyze Sansa, essentially explaining that what she see’s when she looks at Sansa is a conniving plotter, trying to do what she can to satiate these Lord’s in case “Jon doesn’t return.” Because if that happens Sansa will according to Arya “need them to give [her] what [she] really wants,” what she really wants being a golden crown and the title of “Queen in the North.”
The last time Tyrion was in King’s Landing he was sneaking out of the city. This time he’s sneaking in, presumably using the same path Varys did to get him out of the Red Keep after he’d murdered his father. As far as unrealistic plot points, the thing I can’t for the life of me figure out is how Tyrion would have gotten in touch with Bronn to coordinate the meeting… But whatever. Not important.
What is important is that Tyrion and Jaime are reunited, two brothers with a complicated relationship, not unlike last week’s reunion between Sansa and Arya.
Tyrion tries to emotionally explain his side of his decision to murder their father Tywin. Jaime has only just discovered that Tyrion was definitively uninvolved in the poisoning of Joffrey and it seems that when Tyrion now explains to Jaime that their father “knew [he] was innocent but was going to have [him] executed anyways” there’s a cruelty to it that rings true to Jaime like never before. Tyrion was innocent. He only now knows that, if Tywin was willing to kill his son for a crime he knew he didn’t commit, how is what Tyrion did to him any different?
As the scene progresses Tyrion lays out Dany’s request to suspend hostility and focus on the North, and it becomes clear that while Jaime may not have the same level of affinity for Tyrion that he once did, he still does care about him. This point illustrates the difference between Jaime and Cersei. Jaime is a human being capable of changing, capable of empathizing. He doesn’t see the world as being black or white with only friends and enemies. Cersei on the other hand is driven by that and only that: the love of those she loves and the hatred she has for all those that stand in her way.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Gendry is back, and by god did we need him. I’ll start by answering a few questions that have been posed to me in the aftermath of this week’s episode:
Q: How does Davos know him again?
A: Gendry was traveling North with Arya in the aftermath of the beheading of Ned Stark. He was on his way to the wall to take the black at Ned’s behest, when the group of them were captured by the Lannisters. Arya. Gendry and Hot Pie went to Harrenhal and eventually escaped with the help of Jaqen H’ghar (the faceless man) and ended up being captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners. Gendry decided he wanted to join the Brotherhood, but right afterwards Thoros and Beric Dondarrion offered Gendry to Melisandre and Stannis who had been hunting for him, knowing he was Robert’s bastard son. Melisandre was on her quest for “King’s Blood” if you’ll remember… Mel and Stannis took Gendry back to Dragonstone where he met Davos. Davos quickly developed a friendship with him. When Davos learned that Mel and Stannis planned on sacrificing Gendry like they’d eventually do with Shireen (Stannis’ daughter), Davos took action into his own fingerless hand and smuggled Gendry out of Dragonstone. He put Gendry in a rowboat and told him to just “keep rowing.”
It becomes clear in this scene that Davos also told Gendry that the Lannisters would be looking for him, and that the safest place for him to hide would be as Gendry says “right under the Queen’s nose.”
Before we get into the bulk of this scene I think it’s worth noting that Ned’s plan for Gendry was not all that different from his plan for Jon Snow. These are royal children whose parentage is a mystery to the rest of the world. Royal children who if armored with the true knowledge of their parentage could grow up to make a claim on the Iron Throne and thus create more wars in the world. Ned’s solution for both is to shackle them in the sworn vows of the Night’s Watch and make it impossible for them to ever make a claim on their birthrights.
Q: What is the significance of Gendry being back?
A: Other than servicing the fans who’ve always loved Gendry, his return could be a part of the “reconstruction” of Westeros in the aftermath of the story. Gendry is the lone surviving “member” of House Baratheon. I say that with air quotes because he’s technically named Gendry Storm because he’s a bastard. However, if Jon realizes his true parentage, destroys the White Walkers and rises to the Iron Throne, we can assume he’ll have a significant tolerance for bastards, given his upbringing as one, and an affinity for those that fought alongside him and didn’t question his sincerity. So Gendry joining the fray, so to speak, could be setting up him being legitimized as the Lord of Storm’s End… Gendry Baratheon.
Davos tells Gendry that there is now a real threat more serious than the Queen’s Justice that they all have to be fearing, and he expects Gendry to put up a bit of a fight about leaving the comfort of King’s Landing, but it seems that the care Davos has for Gendry is reciprocated, as Gendry agrees without asking any questions. If Davos needs him and says there’s a threat, he’s coming and fighting with every ounce he has.
Gendry, like every character we’ve seen interact with Davos, trusts the old smuggler. He says: “I’ve been getting ready. I didn’t know what for, but I knew I’d know it when it comes.” All it took was one word from Davos and Gendry was reaching for his war hammer, the same weapon his father chose to carry into battle.
The Blacksmith Knows How To Swing That Hammer
As Gendry and Davos are preparing their boat for the voyage back to Dragonstone, they’re accosted by a couple roving Gold Cloaks (members of the City Watch — essentially the cops of King’s Landing). After paying them off, the Gold Cloaks leave but walk right past Tyrion on their way out.
You’ll remember two seasons ago that Cersei essentially put out a WANTED poster, offering a huge reward to whomever brought her Tyrion’s head. These Gold Cloaks recognize his scarred face and immediately start thinking about the riches and rewards they’ll get if they can capture and present him to the Queen.
But that’s when Gendry comes in with his war hammer.
He very quickly demonstrates to Davos and Tyrion that he does indeed know how to handle himself on the field of battle with that hammer in hand.
It’s A Trap!
Jaime enters Cersei’s chamber in the Red Keep, seemingly interrupting a conversation between her and Qyburn.
As he enters we hear Qyburn whisper to Cersei: “I could give you something…” to which Cersei responds: “That won’t be necessary.”
Jaime proceeds to tell Cersei that he met with Tyrion and explains the offer from Daenerys. She wants to meet with Cersei to “discuss an armistice” or in other words, a pause in the war. Cersei is shockingly calm about the whole thing, the reason being that she knew all about Tyrion being in the city and meeting with Jaime. As she says “do you think anything of importance happens in this city without me knowing?”
Cersei let this meeting happen because she seems to have some sort of plan that involves coercing Tyrion and Dany. Making them feel like they’re getting what they want, but in doing so really making sure she gets what she wants. As she says, the Lannister army is in a bad position right now. She and Jaime need to start thinking more like Tywin to win this war because they don’t have the pure numbers on the battlefield necessary to win it with sheer force. They have to use their brains.
She then reveals to Jaime that she’s pregnant with his child. He asks her who she’ll say the father is to everyone, to which she responds “you.”
As we know from Cersei’s prophecy, which she attained from a wood’s witch in a flashback that opened season five of the show, Cersei knows that she is destined to only have three children: Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, so whether or not she actually is pregnant, she’s using that pregnancy to manipulate Jaime. She is either entirely faking the pregnancy to regain his blind loyalty, or she knows that she won’t actually give birth to the child inside her and is using it as a pawn to regain his blind loyalty.
It becomes clear that this is what she’s discussing with Qyburn when Jaime enters her chamber earlier in the scene. She’s looking for something either for the pregnancy or to help her feign the pregnancy and Jaime buys it hook, line and sinker.
There’s a clear-cut connection between the ploy Cersei’s attempting to pull on Daenerys and the ploy she’s attempting to pull on Jaime. She’s using her brain to fight this war, but she’s also using her body. As she once told Sansa, “a woman’s best weapon is between her legs.” She ends the scene by cryptically shifting from her lovey dovey eyes to eyes of pure hate and vitriol.
She cryptically mutters to Jaime as he’s fawning over her, “Never betray me again.” And it becomes clear that this is all an act.
“Our Father’s Fought Together”
Davos brings Gendry to meet Jon Snow, the plan being for Gendry to hide his true parentage, pay his respects and then head North to Winterfell to work as a blacksmith. But Gendry has a different plan, he immediately tells Jon the truth of who he is. “I’m Robert Baratheon’s son. Bastard son.”
Jon and Gendry tell one another about how they each met the other’s father once, and we then see an interaction that should feel familiar to you. Jon tells Gendry that he’s “a lot leaner” than his father, to which Gendry immediately comes right back at him with “and you’re a lot shorter” than yours.
For a second it seems as if Jon is angry. He stares at Gendry and both Gendry and Davos look intimidated. But then, Jon laughs.
It’s completely reminiscent of the pilot episode when Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell and sees Ned Stark for the first time. The first thing Ned says to Robert is that he “got fat.” Everyone is shocked to hear someone saying that to the King, and even Robert feigns anger for a second, before bursting out laughing.
There’s also significance to what Jon says next: “I grew up on stories about [our fathers].” Jon is talking about stories of Ned and Robert growing up together at the Vale and fighting together in multiple wars, but what he doesn’t realize is that Ned isn’t actually his father, Rhaegar is. But, that sentence still remains true. All his life Jon would have grown up hearing stories about how Robert Baratheon killed Rhaegar Targaryen at the Trident, so even though he doesn’t realize it, Jon did grow up hearing stories about his and Gendry’s father.
“I Wish You Good Fortune in the Wars to Come”
After a couple teary goodbyes between Jorah and both Tyrion and Dany, Jon arrives to bid farewell to Queen D. He says to her, “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come” which I recognized as soon as I heard it. I couldn’t remember where or when, but after digging a little I realized it is the exact same verbatim line that Arthur Dayne says to Ned Stark in the flashback at the Tower of Joy, when Ned and Howland Reed kill Ser Arthur. Before the battle ensues he says that same thing to Ned as he puts his helm on his head.
He says it at essentially the exact moment Jon Snow was being born in that tower behind him. Remember that Arthur Dayne’s sword, “Dawn” is said to be made of metal forged by a fallen star, so as Jon is being born in this moment when he utters that line, Jon is literally being born next to a bleeding star as the prince that was promised prophecy states.
So this line has a bit of symbolic significance to it. It is either a coincidental callback to Jon’s birth, or an omen. If we’re going with the latter, it could be the last thing Jon says before he dies fighting for something greater than him, just like Ser Arthur Dayne did.
Jon Ain’t No Bastard
While transcribing the scrolls and books Archmaester Ebrose gave him, Gilly, who can now read quite well asks Sam what an “annulment” is. She then reads that the High Septon wrote down a record of an annulment of Prince Rhaegar’s marriage and in the same ceremony officiated a marriage between him and another woman in Dorne.
THIS IS IT. IT’S HAPPENING!!!!!
The Tower of Joy, which is where Rhaegar took Lyanna Stark and where Jon Snow was born, is in Dorne. For a long time we’ve known that Jon was Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son. Some wondered however if Lyanna was actually kidnapped by Rhaegar and Jon was a child of rape, or if this was a torrid extramarital affair then Jon would be Rhaegar’s bastard. But as we now learn definitively, there is record of Rhaegar and his first wife Elia Martell getting an annulment and also record of Rhaegar’s marriage to Lyanna, proving once and for all that Lyanna wasn’t kidnapped by Rhaegar. She was in love with him, and Jon Snow is actually the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen, and therefore technically the real King of the Seven Kingdoms.
It’s not a coincidence that earlier in this episode we heard Jon say for the first time: “I am a King.” He IS a King, in more ways than even he knows. Sam doesn’t pick up on the significance of what Gilly revealed to us and is instead sent into a tailspin where he raids the library, steals tons of scrolls and decides to bounce from the Citadel.
After they pack up their carriage, Gilly asks Sam if he’s sure he wants to leave because he’s always wanted to be a Maester. Sam responds by saying: “I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men.” As I mentioned earlier, this is the exact insult Sam’s father Randyll said to him last season when Sam told him that he was heading to the Citadel to become a Maester.
Randyll always wanted Sam to be the better man, and it seems that now, in the same episode his father and brother were killed, Sam is fulfilling his father’s wish (similar to Jorah fulfilling his father’s last wish). The last living man of House Tarly is going north to fight.
The last shot we get of the Citadel is a slow pan up from Sam’s carriage trotting away to the burning tower of Oldtown (the city that the Citadel is in).
I believe there is significance to this shot. I think Sam is leaving Oldtown right before something terrible is about to happen there. This tower looks awfully similar to the Lighthouse at Alexandria which was also home to the greatest library in the world. As we know, Caesar set fire to the library, destroying almost all the information we as a society had up until that point about the past. The Great Library of Alexandria burned. Could it be that the great library of Westeros is destined for the same fate, with the only surviving scrolls being the ones Sam just made off with?
Littlefinger’s Up To Something
Let’s start by just objectively chronicling the events that take place:
- Littlefinger hands this blonde lowborn woman of Winterfell something.
- Littlefinger goes and talks to Yohn Royce and Robett Glover, the two men who earlier were very vocally proclaiming that Sansa should be the Queen in the North instead of Jon.
- Whatever Littlefinger says to these two men seems to be somewhat disturbing. Littlefinger walks away with a smile on his face while both men look like they want to kill him.
- Maester Wolkan tells Littlefinger that he “found it, m’lord” and hands Littlefinger a scroll, claiming it’s the only copy in Winterfell.
- Littlefinger tells Wolkan that Sansa “thanks you for your service.”
- Littlefinger hides the note in his room.
- Arya breaks in, finds the note and reads it. It’s a note Sansa wrote to Robb back in the first season that reads: “Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert’s brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King’s Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark. Your faithful sister, Sansa.”
- Arya leaves the room and we see Littlefinger watching her in the shadows, just like she was watching him, earlier.
So, what was really going on? I think the surface level thinking the show wants us to have as viewers is that Littlefinger is conspiring to pit the Stark sisters against each other. He found a note that Sansa sent to her brother calling her father a treasonous traitor, pledging her loyalty to the Lannisters and essentially threatening Robb into either bending the knee or watching their father get his head cut off. She loaded the figurative gun that would lead to Ned and Robb’s deaths with that letter and now Arya knows it.
Sansa cared more about marrying Joffrey and becoming Queen than she did about protecting her family.
This is what the surface level interpretation of this is. Littlefinger’s plan is to create fighting amongst the Stark siblings. But upon closer look, I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. Littlefinger probably gave that girl in the beginning of this scene a scroll and told her to plant it in his room in the mattress. The scroll Littlefinger gave her was probably the scroll that Arya found, whereas the scroll Maester Wolkan gave Littlefinger was a scroll that Littlefinger wants to hide because it implicates him in (could be that it’s the record of Lysa Arryn’s raven to Catelyn from the pilot saying the Lannister’s killed Jon Arryn).
Having said that, I think there is a greater conspiracy at play. I believe that Littlefinger thinks he’s playing the Lords of the North and the Stark siblings, but he is, in fact, being out-schemed by Sansa. She is making Littlefinger think that he’s the one in control, but really Sansa, Robett Glover and Yohn Royce are setting Littlefinger up to dig his own grave.
I think that the scene earlier where Glover and Royce proclaimed Sansa their Queen and said they should have named her Queen in the North instead of Jon was all an act. An act orchestrated by Sansa to make Littlefinger think there’s infighting and chaos going on. She’s laying the cheese into the mousetrap and waiting for Littlefinger to set that trap off.
Remember that last season Littlefinger threatened Yohn Royce’s life in the Vale. These Lords have no love for Littlefinger and Sansa said in an earlier episode that she “knows exactly what Littlefinger wants.” The scheming student is slowly becoming the teacher, and I think that in the next two episodes we’ll see Littlefinger over-reach and set off that mousetrap that’s been set by Sansa.
The Seven Soldiers
The most epic accumulation of fighting talent is happening right here, before our very eyes: Jon Snow, Tormund Giantsbane, Jorah Mormont, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and Gendry Storm. That’s a fearsome group of seven men, going forth to defend the Seven Kingdoms; going north to fight and capture a wight.
First, let’s get this out of the way: Who knows who and how?
Jon knows the Hound from the first episode of the series when the Hound accompanied Robert Baratheon to Winterfell.
Gendry knows Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr from when he was briefly with the Brotherhood Without Banners. He doesn’t trust them because they sold him off to Melisandre.
Jorah Mormont knows Thoros of Myr because the two of them fought side by side during the Greyjoy Rebellion. Jorah tells a story in an earlier season of Thoros fighting with a flaming sword.
This group doesn’t necessarily all trust one another, but as Jon says, they’re all on the same side “because [they’re] all breathing.”
It’s worth noting that literally all of these people are characters who we’ve heard utter a version of this idea: “I don’t know why I’m here, alive, but I am and I’ll continue to try and find out what my purpose is in this world.” It’s a bit of a ‘why me’ idea. Jon says it after he’s resurrected, Thoros, the Hound and Beric discuss it in the cabin earlier in the season, Jorah says it after he’s healed of greyscale, Gendry says it earlier in this episode, and Tormund says it after Jon first takes him captive and chooses not to execute him at Castle Black.
I believe that one of their purposes is going to prove itself to us in the next episode. One of these men will die and likely be resurrected as the wight that they take captive and bring south of the wall. I don’t think it’ll be The Hound, Tormund, Thoros or Gendry because it just wouldn’t really fit with any of their story arcs all that well.
Which leaves Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont, and Beric Dondarrion. And I don’t think they’d use Jon to serve this purpose even though it would make sense of his “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come line” as a bad omen for the person who says it. My money is on either Jorah Mormont or Beric Dondarrion.
Jorah wants to “serve” Daenerys, and one could argue that being the proof of the threat beyond the wall would be of more “service” than anything Jorah could otherwise do for her. If Jorah does get killed and resurrected as a wight it will more importantly end the theoretical love triangle between him, Dany and Jon.
Beric has been resurrected many many times now by the Lord of Light and as he said in the pilot, he asks himself “why me” every hour of every day. He doesn’t know why the Lord of Light is keeping him alive, but it’d be quite poetic if the reason he was being resurrected by fire time and time again was so that he could die and be resurrected by ice.