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There was no way “Eastwatch” was going to live up to the brilliance that was “The Spoils of War,” so I was glad to see that the writers didn’t even bother to try. Instead, we were given a great deal of discussion to bookend last week’s action packed ending, continuing to move the show’s key chess pieces into place for the final two episodes of season seven (don’t look now, but there are only eight more episodes of Game of Thrones left . . . ever).
“Eastwatch” checked us in with the two queens of Westeros, each displaying troubling, yet decidedly different, hints that we might be headed for a battle of two mad queens to close out the series. Dany is remaining true to her promise to burn alive those who refuse to bend the knee (which isn’t exactly keeping to her promise to break the wheel, seeing as her family has a history of doing this), while Cersei remains determined to destroy anyone and everyone who would stand in her way – even if they burn her armies (or mercenaries) alive with dragon fire. Both women are convinced they can get what they deserve simply through sheer force of will. Considering one currently has three dragons while the other simply has enough gold to buy more troops, well, I’m going to come down on Team Dany for the time being. But that doesn’t mean I’m not just as worried about her mental state as Tyrion and Varys appear to be.
That leaves us with good old Jon Snow. Or should that be Jon Targaryen, as the mystery of Jon’s birth deepened even more this week? I suspect many will have caught the fateful puzzle piece falling into place, but for those who might have missed it: it seems Jon might not be a Targaryen bastard after all. As you may recall from Bran’s journey into the past last season, Jon is officially the son of Lyanna Stark (sister of Ned), who had been kidnapped and placed in the Tower of Joy by Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s big brother). Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon at the time, and that kicked off Robert’s Rebellion. Rhaegar was, at the time, presumed to be married to Elia Martell (sister of the late Oberyn, RIP). So, the going theory was that Rhaegar and Lyanna fell for each other, she got pregnant, and gave birth to Jon, a Targaryen bastard. But, Gilly’s reading of the High Septon’s detailed diary may have thrown that whole theory on its head.
Before Sam interrupted her with his little fit, Gilly mentioned that the High Septon annulled Rhaegar’s marriage, and performed a secret marriage in Dorne. The only person Rhaegar could have conceivably married was Lyanna. Seeing as that wedding had to take place prior to Jon’s birth (since Lyanna died shortly after), that means Jon is a legitimate heir. And his claim to the throne is better than Dany’s (the natural son of Aerys’s first born son vs. Aerys’s youngest daughter – think of Prince George vs. Prince Harry in the British line of succession). This is a huge revelation. Not only does that make Jon the person in Westeros with the best claim to the throne, it also directly puts him in Dany’s crosshairs. She will either have to kill him to usurp his claim or marry him to get a piece of the throne for herself. As for the dragons and their power, well, it certainly looks like Drogon is a fan of Jon’s. This particular piece of the story just got way more interesting.
Wrapping things up this week, I’m not thrilled that Littlefinger is opting to play the Stark sisters against each other. Showing Arya Sansa’s letter to Robb, asking him to bend the knee to Joffrey (which she was forced to write by Cersei), was particularly smart, as it plays on Arya’s much discussed hatred of Joffrey and plays into her belief (right as it may be) that Sansa loves being needed by those in power and is buoyed by the feeling to her own detriment. Sansa and Arya have never been particularly close, and Littlefinger knows this. He also knows that Arya is incredibly dangerous to his standing in Winterfell. I only hope that she recognizes he can play this game as well as she can before she does something she will regret.
— I will admit to cheering when I saw Joe Dempsey’s name in the credits, thrilled that Gendry was coming back, and that he wasn’t still out there, as Davos feared, rowing. But he is showing all the hallmarks of cannon fodder in the upcoming quest for a wight: blowing his cover, being far too eager to rush into danger, and a desire to make a name for himself. I’m still holding out hope for a Gendry/Arya reunion, though, should he survive next week.
— Clegane Bowl watchers: If they catch the wight and bring it back to King’s Landing, there’s a chance the Hound will be with them. So, there’s still hope.
— Poor Jorah. Still in the friendzone.
— Love that Tormund asked if Brienne had come with Jon. I’m really worried Tormund isn’t going to make it next week.
— I’m surprised Cersei hasn’t thrown out a line about the Targaryens penchant for incest. After all, if Westeros didn’t mind when they married siblings, aunts, and uncles, why should they care now?
— So we brought back Dickon and Randyll just to kill them? Fine. But that means that Sam could, potentially, become the head of House Tarly (assuming he is reinstated after taking the Black).
— How long until Jaime finally recognizes Cersei for the mad queen she has become? The show certainly seems to be using every chance to hit him over the head with it. Now that Cersei is pregnant with his child (again), it will be even harder for him to do what he will have to: kill his sister and fulfill the prophecy of her death (unless Tyrion does it . . . either way, it has to be one of them). As for the Cersei is lying theories: Qyburn was offering to make something for her to “take care of it.” So, it seems to be legitimate.
— Let’s talk, briefly, about dragons. So far, the only people who have been able to get close to the dragons without getting burnt alive are Dany, Jon, and Tyrion. There’s still a theory out there that Tyrion is a bastard of Aerys. Not sure where I stand on that one, but since getting close to dragons without getting dead seems to be a talent of Targaryens, I think the theory is still in play.