Game of Thrones Season 7 is shaping up to be the best season ever of George R. R. Martin's TV adaptation, not only because it's been straight up fan-service, but also because the fast pace of this season makes everything seem even more exhilarating. "Eastwatch" brought back the fan-favorite Gendry — who'd been away since Season 3 — and Tormund, and his neverending unrequitted love for the "big woman."
Add to that Jon Snow bonding with a dragon and having his legitimacy confirmed, and you've got an episode for the ages. The icing on the cake are, as always, the wonderful callbacks that Game of Thrones uses so masterfully to offer either closure or understanding to a storyline.
Note: This article contains heavy spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5, "Eastwatch."
The Wheel Is Beginning to Bend
It may have taken Daenerys six seasons to sail to Westeros — and she has definitely tried some "clever plans" before becoming the dragon — but she's finally making good on her promise to break the wheel of Westerosi power. In a conversation with Tyrion, back in Season 5, Dany calmly explained that she wasn't interested in maintaining the government structure as it's always been once she took over the Iron Throne. Instead, she had plans not only to stop the wheel from turning — and in turn stop the Westerosi families from fighting for power — but also to break it entirely. In "Eastwatch," by eliminating another powerful family in the Tarlys, Daenerys has started to break that wheel.
There's also a nice not so in-your-face #callback in this opening scene between Daenerys, Tyrion and the Tarlys, when Tyrion tried his best to persuade Dany from murdering Randyll Tarly, and she simply refused to listen and decided to set the example. If you remember, there was another young and inexperienced King early on who, against all advice and pleas, ended up beheading Eddark Stark to set an example for those who challenged his claim. Jon Snow may be far from Joffrey Baratheon, but #Daenerys is developing a freakishly similarity to the late king.
Queen Cersei: The Soldier Queen
It's pretty clear — from her wardrobe to her decisions, and all the way to Iron Bank's Tycho Nestoris' comparisons — that Cersei has been following more and more into her father's steps now that's she's on charge. Tywin Lannister's memory was evoked a lot in "Eastwatch" by the three remaining Lannisters: Tyrion had to face Jaime and justify his murdering their father; Jaime remembered his father's advice that "the lion does not concern himself with the opinion of the sheep"; and Cersei referenced her upbringing as a lady instead of the soldier she'd wanted to be.
Truth is, Cersei has always envied Jaime for being a soldier and, in this episode, she made sure he understood just how disappointing he was at his job. Just like Tywin did in Season 1, Cersei belittled Jaime's indecision — which she, like her father, took as cowardice — and she made it plain she's become a better soldier than he is. Echoing her last season's best line, Cersei once more "chose violence" to surrendering, stating she'd made her choice and that "a soldier should know his."
'You Will Fly'
Ever since Bran ventured into the weirwood visions without the Three-Eyed Raven, he's been magically linked to the #NightKing. At that moment, the Night King touched Bran's arm and, because of that connection, the #WhiteWalkers were able to enter the Raven's cave and kill him and the Children of the Forest. Now, maybe because of that same connection, Bran's warging of the ravens flying over the Night King's army was cut off so abruptly. Most importantly, the Three-Eyed Raven was right when he told Bran "you'll never walk again, but you will fly," back in Season 4. Down in the Citadel, Sam also referenced that season when he mentioned how he met Brandon Stark ,as he helped the crippled boy travel North through the Wall.
The Northern Memories
In Winterfell, Sansa fulfilled her duties as Lady Stark by listening to the Northern Lords complaints about Jon having gone South. Bran once had the same responsibilities when he became Lord of Winterfell, after most of his family traveled to King's Landing for one reason or another. The stark difference between them is that Bran actually stood up for Robb when a Lord badmouthed the King in the North, while Sansa sat by and let the Lords speak their minds about Jon. And, let's not forget the reuse of Lyanna Mormont's plea to Jon before he left for Dragonstone, when Lord Glover claimed that "the King in the North should stay in the North".
The Stag And The Wolf
After wondering where Gendry had been for four seasons, Game of Thrones finally reintroduced the smith back this season. Upon meeting Gendry in Flea Bottom, Davos gifted viewers with a brilliant meta-moment, when he said "I thought you might still be rowing" — echoing the sentiment of millions of fans out there. But, perhaps one of the most gratifying scenes in "Eastwatch" was the meeting between Gendry — Robert Baratheon's bastard — and Jon Snow.
While Jon isn't technically Eddard Stark's son, he was still raised by Ned and — maybe because his bastard condition — he sympathized with Gendry on the spot. The duo shared their memories of Robert and Eddard, each choosing their fathers's weapons as their own (Jon with the Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw; and Gendry with a warhammer that looks very similar to Robert Baratheon's hammer from the books). And it's Robert and Eddard's friendship the sealed the deal between the two bastards:
"Our fathers trusted each other; why shouldn't we?"
Since last season, we have known for a fact that R+L=J, but Jon has no idea of his lineage or of what transpired at the Tower of Joy. However, in "Eastwatch," Jon traveled North to capture a wight, and in his goodbye to Daenerys he wished her the same that Ser Arthur Dayne wished his father before their battle at the Tower:
"I wish you good fortune in the wars to come."
In that same farewell on the beach, Tyrion shared a nice moment with Jorah Mormont, when he remembered when and how their friendship was forged. Back in Season 5, both Tyrion and Jorah were prisoners to a slave merchant, and were later sold to fight in the slave pits in Meereen. When Tyrion suggested the slave owner freed and paid them, he received a coin but remained a slave. It was that coin, from that other bonding moment between Daenerys' Hand and Knight, that Tyrion entrusted to Ser Jorah, telling him to bring it back upon his return from the North.
Winter Has Come For The Tarlys
Well, not winter per se (actually, the exact opposite), but you get the point. This episode saw the death of the Tarlys, as Sam's brother and father were torched by Drogon after refusing to bend the knee to Daenerys. Although there's no love lost for Randyll Tarly, Dickon didn't seem half-bad, and the thought of Sam being the sole provider for his mother and sister is a bit unnerving. Even more problematic is the fact that, upon his leaving the Citadel, Sam might not even know about his father and brother. Sam did remember, however, his father's ironic words to him when he expressed his goal of becoming a maester, as Sam said to Gilly he was done "reading about the achievements of better men."
With only two more episodes to go, this season of Game of Thrones has already delivered many moments fans had been dying to see for ages, but there is still some great excitement to come. Jon and his six companions have traveled North and crossed the Wall into Night King territory and, if Bran's vision proves to be accurate, they're bound to find a lot of trouble in their way.
Did you catch any other memorable moments and callbacks in Game of Thrones "Eastwatch"? Share it below.