While last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, Eastwatch, didn’t have dragons frying entire armies (just two people), it was still a hugely important sixty minutes.
Eastwatch was unique in that it hid its most important information in moments that were almost throwaways. Game of Thrones superfans may have caught everything that was said (or read) in these scenes, but for the more casual viewer, I would not blame you if a lot of this stuff went over your head.
If you caught all of these and fully understand their implications, I applaud you. But if you didn’t, here’s what you missed and some context about why each is such a big deal. There were three pretty huge moments that seem worth highlighting this morning:
The Gilly Nuclear Bomb
This was the exact topic I wrote about yesterday ahead of the episode, but I did not expect it to be made so explicitly clear so quickly. Here’s Gilly, randomly reading a passage in some old book:
“Says here [the High Septom] annulled a marriage from Rhaegar, and married him in secret to another women, in Dorne.”
This is arguably the most significant reveal in the show’s history, short of the original unveiling of Jon’s parents, and Gilly just drops it while Sam isn’t even paying attention.
To sum up what this means, Jon’s parents are not Ned Stark and some random prostitute, they’re Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, which was revealed last season. The story was always that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped her which got her pregnant, but what Gilly is reading here proves a long-running fan theory that Lyanna was willingly with Rhaegar, that the two were actually in love. But not only in love, but married, meaning Jon isn’t a bastard after all. He is literally Jon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar, who was the eldest son of the Mad King. That means Jon is technically heir to the Targaryen throne, not Daenerys (she’s also his aunt, which makes her longing looks at him a bit weird).
What this means for the future of the show is unclear. It should be a huge deal. We should be approaching a Bran flashback where we actually see this wedding, and I assume this passage will be found and read again by someone actually paying attention (I believe this book was brought with them when Sam left). Like I said last night, in an age when Robert, Joffrey, Tommen and Cersei have all sat on the throne in the span of a few years, I’m not sure “claim to the throne” means all that much these days, but the fact that Jon Snow is literally Jon Targaryen is a pretty big deal in many, many ways.
Cersei Dooming Herself
Speaking of Targaryens, Cersei and Jaime are ready to go full Targaryen, announcing they’re the parents of a new child who will be their heir to the Iron Throne. But by getting pregnant, Cersei may have very well screwed herself over, thanks to a little prophecy that’s been haunting her for years. Here are the relevant parts:
“The king will have 20 children and you will have three. Gold will be their crowns … gold their shrouds….And when your tears have drowned you, the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
In short, Cersei will never have this child. Perhaps it will die in the womb, but more pressingly, Cersei herself might die before it’s born. That seems likely, given that this prophecy also predicts her death at the hands of her Valonqar, her “little brother.” The immediate idea is that it’s Tyrion, who is an expert at strangling women, but fans believe that somehow Jaime will end up turning on his beloved sister. Though what she could do at this point to make him hate her that she hasn’t done yet, I have no idea. You would think blowing up the sept and causing her son’s suicide might have done it, but instead Jaime’s more loyal than ever lately (even if Cersei is classifying his meeting with Tyrion as “betrayal”).
I’m convinced that Cersei will not live to see the end of the series, but I hope she isn’t killed off too soon, as she’s the only relevant villain the show has left outside of the Night King, and lord knows she’s more interesting than him. And honestly, half the time I feel like I’m still rooting for her to win.
I know you paused the show to try to read it, but let me save you the trouble:
“Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert’s brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King’s Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark.”
This is in fact the letter than Sansa wrote to Robb when Ned was arrested for treason in season one when he was trying to claim Joffrey was Jaime’s son and Robert had no trueborn heir. Sansa wrote it under duress to a certain extent, though probably genuinely thinking it would help keep her father and the rest of her family safe. It was implied Ned would take the black and avoid execution if the Starks could be brought in line, and this was part of that plan before Joffrey decided to scrap it and just behead him.
Of course…Arya doesn’t know any of that, and this does look somewhat weird out of context.
This is Littlefinger’s plan. I’m not sure it’s a good plan (show Littlefinger is so much less clever than book Littlefinger), but it’s a plan. The idea is that by saying “Lady Stark thanks you” when he knew Arya was watching is to imply Sansa wanted this note hidden from everyone. That plus the content of the note will make Arya distrust her further, after she was already accusing her of grabbing power.
I don’t really like this whole “the corruption of Sansa” storyline. Arya accusing her out of nowhere of trying to seize power was really random, and Sansa and Littlefinger are still in such a weird place, I don’t get what he’s trying to do with her in power, because she hates him. Maybe with her in charge he proposes a marriage between their houses? I don’t know. I feel like Arya is one smug glance away from just cutting his throat outright and I have a hunch Littlefinger won’t leave Winterfell alive. But Sansa going full evil and Arya falling for this hook, line and sinker? I really don’t like that. We’ll see where it goes, I suppose.
So yeah…that was a lot. This may have seemed like a slow episode, but it was actually a hugely significant one. And much of the biggest moments were almost entirely hidden or glossed over, which is unusual. You may have caught all these yourself, so bravo, but if you missed them I would not blame you. Only two episodes left. See you next week.