Last week’s “The Spoils of War” ended on a rather soggy note for Jamie Lannister. The interwebs was a buzz about whether he was dead or alive (Read my future Jamie theory here). As it turned out, I was right as far as how Jamie would be saved. “Eastwatch” continued right after the end of the last episode. Which is a nice change because time is running out.
“The Spoils of War” may have set the bar high for the rest of season seven. How do you top burning armies into ash? By demonstrating that you, Daenerys, control that source of the fire. Despots and dictators have often said they would improve the lives of the “lower classes” while tearing down the rich and elite. More often than not, these promises are often unfulfilled. Daenerys, like so many despots and tyrannical leaders before her, think they are doing a kindness for the people. She thinks she’s giving them a choice. Her choices are an offer extended in a hand of a steel ready to crush at a moments notice or a steel hand in a velvet glove ready to crush at a moments notice.
Lord Randyll Tarly and his son, Dickon (I’m so sad I’ll never get to type those words again) learned what it meant when you refuse to take the knee. She got the desired result. However, allegiances forged by threat are the weakest. It won’t take long for allegiances to break. Burning those who would not bend at the knee is one more step Daenerys took on her path of becoming the Mad Queen. We’ve been reminded a time or two what happened to her father, the Mad King.
The big question is what will happen to Jon Snow when he still refuses to take the knee? Snow demonstrated in “Eastwatch” he could and would defy Daenerys. She says he didn’t have her permission to leave and he said he didn’t need her permission. She didn’t react as she might have if it was anyone else. There may have been a cute exchange between the two of them, but will things still be cute after their pact to fight the dead has ended?
And what was the allegiance based on? The promise Jon would capture a wight and deliver it to Cersei. In whatever reality Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys live in Cersei will listen to reason and join forces against the White Walkers. The plan is something right out of a comic book. So many things can go wrong we’re just waiting for them to happen. But as bad as that sounds a Cersei baby bump sounds even worse.
The television landscape is filled with the husks of shows ruined by the introduction of babies. From Family Ties to Dexter, very few shows benefited from babies being introduced into a series. It’s the last ditch effort of a failing series to spark something in the series. Game of Thrones is far from failing and could never be accused of not being creative. Yet we learned Cersei is having a baby. It’s a shark jumping trope of the worst kind.
Props to Cersei for keeping the baby. There’s even a little respect for her stepping up to name Jamie as the father. Their relationship is the worst kept secret in Westeros. However, shoving the little bundle of incest joy into the faces of Westeros may be counter productive for the Lannisters. Cersei doesn’t care though. Time and time again she has demonstrated that only she knows best.
Game of Thrones has a lot of strong female characters. The third wave of feminism has always been strong in the series. That’s not a bad thing nor should it ever be a bad thing. Except none of the central female characters, with the exception of Sansa, take any advice from the men who surround them. Daenerys uses her dragons to burn against the advice of both Tyrion and Jon Snow. Cersei refuses to listen to Jamie about talks with Daenerys even after Jamie, a veteran of more battles than Cersei, says they are fighting a war they can not win. All she offers in return, other than another plot to betray, is a warning for him never to betray her again. The implied threat being she will kill him if ever does. Cersei, being a manipulator and schemer, can’t see the difference between diplomacy and betrayal.
Making your female characters seem mad may not have been the writers intention, however, this is exactly how it comes across. Perhaps this is the limitations of male writers trying to write female characters. Even Arya is going against sage advice and plotting to kill Littlefinger. What will happen to his troops, the troops used to help win Winterfell, if Littlefinger meets an unnatural end?
Time is precious in Game of Thrones. Showeunners have added more minutes to each episode. In past seasons it would have taken an episode or more for viewers to learn the fate of Jamie. Instead, “Eastwatch” jumps right into it. In fact, “Eastwatch” did some magic moving more than once. At least three more times by my count.
The last teleportation was Jon, Devos, Gendry, and Jorah Mormont arriving at Eastwatch quicker than the raven can fly. It’s hard to criticize what in seasons past would take many episodes to occur happened in minutes. The pay off was the gang teaming up with Tormund Giantsbane, the Hound, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr.
As interesting and awesome the previews for next episode are it’s the clash between these personalities that may offer something a lot more fun. Tormund doesn’t like Jorah because his father tracked down and killed many Free Folk. Gendry is at odd with the Brotherhood because they sold him to Melisandre who was going to sacrifice him to their god. The Hound? We’ll have to wait and see what happens when, and if, the Hound sees Arya again.