Beware! The night is dark and full of terrors, and this review will have spoilers. Which could be a scarier prospect.
If you need a briefing for this season, DO NOT READ ON. But go here instead.
This week: They are family. But for how much longer?
After last week’s flame-filled conflict and the cliffhanger with Jaime and Bronn, things are resolved pretty quickly – the latter pair are seemingly able to make good their escape and return to King’s landing without much hassle. But the image of Jaime sitting at the edge of the lake, taking in the carnage from afar is an affecting one. Ditto Tyrion walking through the remnants of the battle, lost in thought, worried what this means for Dany’s headspace. The post-clash scenes of ash-strewn fields and burned soldiers was very Hiroshima in its imagery. Also on display? The moral struggle between Tyrion and his queen, who knew she needed to show no mercy towards those who still challenged her after she offered them a choice. It’s goodbye to (almost) all the Tarlys, then.
Back at King’s Landing, Jaime returns to find that Cersei already knows that things have… not gone well for them in the recent encounter with the Mother Of Dragons. But the Mother Of Incest Babies is prepared to fight and die if need be. Some nice work here between Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who are always good when it comes to their shifting relationship. News of a new Lannister child – if Cersei can actually be believed – is also an intriguing twist.
The most interesting moment at Dragonstone this week came when Dany returned and landed Drogon in front of Jon. Seems our King In The North also has a way with dragons, and that’s just the latest clue to his Targaryen background. It will also just fuel more shipper flames between Dany and Jon.
On the reunion front, we had the touching moment – or should that be touching Mormont – of Jorah returning to Dany’s service, even if he’s only there for a little while before volunteering to head off on what sounds like a suicide mission. Jon and – as we’ll later see – a motley crew of bastards, ex-knights, Wildlings, the Hound and what’s left of the Brotherhood to try to separate and capture one of the Night King’s Wights. Good luck with that, boys!
And then there was Jaime and Tyrion meeting in a slightly convenient fashion thanks to Bronn and some sneaking around by Davos. A fine piece of emotional acting from Peter Dinklage this week as he channels Tyrion’s rage and frustration at his father’s attitude to him, even as he’s trying to persuade Jaime to talk to Cersei about meeting with Dany.
Finally, we had Davos heading to Flea Bottom, where he locates… Gendry! Yes, Joe Dempsie’s scrappy bastard blacksmith made a triumphant return and, as we later saw, short work of two Lannister soldiers. Please hammer, DO hurt ’em. Gendry fans take note: we’ll have an interview with Dempsie about his character’s long-awaited return up after the Monday evening broadcast of the show.
Sam, meanwhile, is still stuck in his routine at Old Town, even as the Maesters receive more word (this time courtesy of a raven from the Three-Eyed Raven) about the coming of the Army of the Dead. It was a pleasant change for John Bradley to channel Samwell’s frustration, and with that pushing him to set out and offer more help. Plus we got some sneaky Thrones lore snuck in there – everyone, we trust, caught the reference to Rhaegar Targaryen and his annulment?
And at Winterfell, we saw the cracks really starting to show between Sansa and Arya, the old sisterly disagreements bubbling up as they argued about Sansa’s role as Regent. And Littlefinger, swine that he is, proved he’s still the sneakiest around, likely looking to sow more division between the women, mostly so he can keep his place at Sansa’s side. Just have someone kill him, already!
Finally, Jon’s gathering of his rag-tag band to be vewwy, vewwy quiet and go hunting Wights. Nice to see the Hound back with people he can really annoy and a wise move to have a group with in-built hatreds rallying to a common cause.
Eastwatch (named for that frozen outpost that popped up in the main credits for the first time) saw the show throttle back and explore both the fallout of the battle last week and the various plot strands that have been forming. A break from the format of tactical talking, reunions and then a big battle, this had just the first two, then some well-used moments to pause the story and let the characters interact. But with two episodes left this season, things are going to have to start moving again quickly…
Highlight: The Tarly family barbecue.
Lowlight: While we enjoy any scene between Tyrion and Varys, this week’s mostly served to have them discuss what both already knew.
Kill of the week: Those two Lannister soldiers. RIP The Actor Kevin Eldon.
Quote of the week: “Nothing fucks you better than time” – Ser Davos, to Gendry.
MVP: Gendry’s return was both well-timed and well-used. Plus: HAMMER.
Random thought: Has Westeros been shrinking geographically? People just reach where they need to be seemingly within minutes.
Is Cersei really pregnant?
Could be, given her recent session with Jaime. But it could also be a sneaky lie to manipulate him.
What has Gendry been doing all that time?
Mostly what we see him doing, if he’s to be believed. Here’s more on that…
Did Littlefinger plant that scroll for Arya to find?
Is the pope a catholic bear who poops in the woods?
—Season 7 Episode Review Guide
Game Of Thrones airs Sunday evenings on HBO in the States, with a simulcast on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the early hours of Monday and a repeat Monday evenings at 9pm.