You can tell we’re getting to the end of the show, because now everybody’s finally meeting up after years of somehow wandering about Westros and beyond, mostly separately. Also, the powers that be are bringing people back, which is nice considering many fans have been asking for years what the hell ever happened to Gendry.
We start in the immediate aftermath of the battle. Jaime and Bronn wash up somewhere, gasping, ‘Shit! Dragons! And that’s only a third of her literal firepower!’ Bronn informs Jaime that their contract ends where multiple dragons begin and Jaime’s like,
Back at the battleground, Tyrion picks through the wreckage of people and horses with a, ‘what hath I wrought?’ look on his face. Meanwhile, Dany, standing on the actual smoking remains of human beings, announces to the few survivors that she didn’t come here to kill people. K.
Instead, she wants to bring peace. And she wants everyone to bend the damn knee. About 75% of the men gathered before her do just that, in a heartbeat, because hello! Dragon! And when that dragon bellows (my Dragonese is rusty, but I believe he says, ‘Bow before my mother or I will bake you all!), all but about three guys join the others on the ground. Tarley father and son remain standing, and Dany calls them forward.
Dany gives Tarley the elder a chance to accept her, but Randyll says he already has a queen. Tyrion points out that his loyalty tends to be somewhat fluid, yes? So maybe he can make another exception here? Nope, Randyll’s got some kind of a death wish. But he does not want Dickon to die at his side. He orders the boy to just kneel already, and Tyrion pleads with him not to be the end of his own house (I guess everyone’s just forgotten that Sam exists. Or, Tyrion thinks he’s still up at Castle Black and therefore of no use to his family, dynasty-wise). Tyrion adds that this war has already ended one great house (presumably he means the Tyrells, but hasn’t it also brought an end to House Martel also?) and they should end this, here. Dickon remains resolute, so Dany has him and his father burned alive by her dragon. Tyrion flinches, watching. I continue to be amazed by this show’s sickening glee in showing us the agony of people burning to death.
Dany flies back to Dragonstone, where she lands on a clifftop near Jon. Jon tries not to look terrified of the dragon, and finally musters up the courage to pet it. Woah, meeting the kids! Big step, Jon! Dany seems pleased that he’s getting along with her favourite baby, and they chat a bit. She admits she has fewer enemies now than she did about half an hour ago, and to her credit, she doesn’t revel in the fact but seems resigned to the notion it was a necessary evil. They have A Moment, and then Jorah shows up to spoil the mood with his Friendzoniness. Dany’s delighted to see him. Jon seems less delighted to see her embracing another man.
Up in Winterfell, things are getting a tad creepy. There’s Bran, Warg-ing into a flock of ravens and sending them beyond the Wall so he can get some reconnaissance on the zombie army. He spots it, at last, and tells their Maester they need to start sending out some important messages about this.
And the Lords (nudged on by Littlefinger) are getting a little antsy about Jon’s prolonged absence. They tell Sansa they really maybe should have named her ruler. She hesitates a moment before reminding them that Jon is their king and she’s just regent-ing here.
After the meeting, Arya follows her sister out of the great hall and basically tells her she should be running things for realz, and maybe she should prepare herself for the possibility of Jon not coming back. Sansa’s a little put off by Arya’s completely calm discussion of their brother’s demise, as well as Arya’s suggestion she take care of any dissent with a little beheading. I think Arya’s gone a little dead inside, guys.
Arya also has an eye on Petyr. She spies on him giving coins to some pretty blonde, and talking to some lords, and finally getting a tiny scroll from the maester and confirming this is the only copy at Winterfell. He locks it in his room and leaves, so of course Arya breaks in and finds the scroll hidden in his mattress.
The camera flashes over it too fast for me to see what it says, but the internet is a wonderful place and other people identified it as the letter Sansa was forced to write back in season 1, in which she called her father a traitor and called on Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey. Arya has no idea that Sansa was forced by Cersei to write this, and we very soon learn that this was purposely planted by Littlefinger, who’s apparently trying to sow discord amongst the remaining Stark siblings.
Bran sends his ravens out, and one of them goes to the Citadel, where the Grand Maesters sit around discussing the matter. Sure, an army of the undead could be bearing down on them, ready to kill everyone and everything in Westros. Or it could be Dany playing a trick. Whatevs. Sam stops tidying up long enough to try and tell them they really should listen to Bran, who seems to know what the hell he’s talking about. The Maesters (hey! One of them is the actor who played Brother Jerome in Cadfael!) are like, yeah, sure, we’ll consider it.
Sam’s getting super frustrated (and he hasn’t even heard about his father and brother yet). He tears through books, looking for something useful, but it turns out it’s Gillie who finds the only useful tidbit. She notices something about Rhaegar Targaryen having had his marriage annulled so he could marry someone else. Both she and Sam completely miss that this means Jon Snow is legitimate and probably has a stronger claim to the throne than Dany!
But that was so obvious even I noticed.
Sam decides he’s just wasting his time here, packs up Gillie and little Sam, and heads out.
Another raven goes to Dragonstone, where Dany gathers her advisors (now including Jon) to have a discussion of this matter. She’s willing to consider putting the war with Cersei on hold to deal with the White Walker situation, but Cersei has to agree to that too. In order to convince her, Jon suggests they go and capture a Wight. Sure, how hard could it be? Jorah offers to be the one to go, and Jon’s like, ‘yes, your help will be useful, but I’ll be leading this expedition.’ Dany’s all,
So, that’s their plan. But they have to kind of sound out Cersei on the matter. Tyrion offers to do so through Jaime, if Davos can smuggle him into King’s Landing. Davos is like, ‘Sure, why not? Also: you all realise this is a stupid suicide mission, right? Yeah, I thought so.’
Off to King’s Landing go Tyrion and Davos. Once Tyrion’s off, Davos runs an errand of his own, and that errand is: fetching Gendry! Gendry! Have you seriously been blacksmithing in Flea Bottom all this time? Also: doesn’t going back to Flea Bottom seem like a poor idea, considering you had to, uh, flee for your life because people were coming to kill you? I guess he figures that after four years they stopped looking. And it seems he’s right, but his life is sufficiently boring that, once Davos shows up, Gendry just grabs the Thor Hammer he’s already got waiting for him and rushes to the beach. Man, life in Flea Bottom must really suck for him to be so eager to rush back to Dragonstone, considering what happened the last time he was there.
Tyrion meets with his brother, and it’s a bit tense because of the whole ‘you killed our dad‘ thing. But at least it’s not ‘you killed our dad AND my son,’ so it’s not as bad as it could be. Tyrion lays out their plan, and then returns to the beach where his presence tips off a couple of guards and we get to see just how good Gendry is with that hammer.
Jaime reports back to Cersei, who already knows all about the meeting, because Bronn tattled. She doesn’t seem all that upset by the whole thing, since she believes a temporary truce could be turned to her advantage, if she uses it to rebuild their army with mercenaries and launch another attack. Also, she’s probably trying not to stress out too much because she’s pregnant again, and stress is bad for the baby. Greeeeeaaaaat. Because this is a family line that should definitely continue. Jaime’s quite happy with the news, although you’d think he’d be a bit wary, by now, of having more kids with an obvious psycho. She’s even going to tell everyone Jaime’s the father, which seems like a terrible idea. But then, if Cersei is known for anything, it’s her terrible ideas. It seems like, in this case, the apple fell very far indeed from the tree.
Gendry is delivered to Dragonstone and immediately fanboys all over Jon. Jon collects him and Davos and heads up to Eastwatch, where Tormund is holding the fort. Tormund has also taken Beric, the Hound, and Thoros prisoner. Gendry, who’s had some experience with this crew, insists Jon can’t trust them. But Jon’s getting up a posse and he can’t be picky. This crew’s going to need a name, right? Jon tells Gendry that they may have had their differences in the past, but they’re all on the same side purely because they’re breathing. Band of Breathers it is. Thanks, Jon!
Draped in furs, the Band of Breathers heads out into the snow. Godspeed, boys!