Game of Thrones: 705 “Eastwatch” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
Eastwatch was one of the more interesting episode of Game of Thrones which is saying something given the bar that was set by the wonderful The Spoils of War. There’s a lot of fall out of the epic battle scene that naturally is resolved here in a way that shows characters in an entirely new light. There’s character reunions, returning characters and bold plans which signal a change in the pace and direction of the show.
The character who best served by the narrative this week is Jaime Lannister, something which is very welcome indeed given how poor he has been this season defaulting back to Cersei’s lover who does exactly what she wants. Given how Season Six ended with his apparent disgust at her, to see that dropped was disappointing, so it’s fortunate here that Jaime finally gets a bit of substance to his character again. Jaime’s reaction to the battle is portrayed as very human and he uses his head to realise that with three Dragons Dany poses a threat too big for the Lannisters to overcome. His reunion with Tyrion allows him to confront his past, and accept the circumstances that led to his father’s death and the role he played in it by freeing Tyrion. It also for the first time forces him to challenge his loyalty to Cersei who would have wanted Tyrion killed, a sentiment echoed by Jaime here. Interesting however is that he actually does carry out the request and delivers the message to Cersei. Even more surprising is her reaction in that she actually agrees to Dany’s request, that said given Cersei’s track record she probably has something up her sleeve. Another interesting development is the revelation that Cersei is pregnant, which is interesting when viewed in the context of the prophecy of her death. Could it be that perhaps it is Jaime who kills her, but only on the technicality of her dying while giving birth to their child?
This week was big for Dany too having to confront the survivors of the Lannister army. Naturally she offers them the choice of bending the knee or dying. As pointed out by Tyrion this was not the wisest action to take as it forces her into taking an action she may later regret, or risk appearing weak by not following through on her threat. The ultimate result is that she has to burn Lord Tarly and his son Dickon alive for their refusal to support her. This will inevitably lead to comparisons against with the Mad King and is probably something Cersei will use as propaganda against her. Later on her return to Dragonstone she discusses the threat of the undead and helps Jon to hatch his plan to capture one of them to present to Cersei.
There’s a lot of hints around Jon’s true lineage this week with not one but two clear moments. One comes on Dany’s return to Dragonstone where Jon is able to develop enough of a relationship with Drogon for the dragon to allow Jon to him much to Dany’s surprise. Neither character knows the significance of this moment though as the only person who knows the truth is Bran. The second important hint is a blink and you’ll miss it line from Gilly in Oldtown which whilst not directly related to Jon, actually for the first time confirms that he is not a bastard which means he has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. This is surely something that will create an interesting dynamic with Dany when it is revealed.
Elsewhere in Westeros, the atmosphere at Winterfell becomes increasingly toxic as Arya begins to question Sansa. Littlefinger is quick to pick up on this and true to his character tries to create the chaos necessary for him to climb the metaphorical ladder as seen with his antic surrounding Sansa’s raven message from the early days of the show. Gendry returns and joins with Jon and Dany, it is yet to be seen whether this is just fan service or if he does indeed play a larger part later in the show. It’s certainly an interesting addition having some with the Baratheon bloodline back in the show. The episode ends at Eastwatch where Jon details his expedition. There’s reunions here too as Tormund reveals the Hound and the brotherhood without banners in his cells. The conflict from this reveal is short lived however setting up the next episode.
All in all a very impressive episode packed full of shocks, comedy moments and long awaited reunions. It appears the show has reached the point where every week is a big event and as a result the narratives do much better for it. It’s the first episode in a while not to feature a battle scene but I’m sure that’s something next week will make up for.