‘Game of Thrones’ Guide, Week 4: Every Question We Have Before “Eastwatch”
Like a cheap, drunken night at a Braavosi brothel, Game of Thrones usually leaves us with far more questions than answers. Each week, we’re going to take a deeper look into every single Q HBO’s fantasy mega-hit needs to A.
After coming down from the dragon-fueled adrenaline trip that was “The Spoils of War,” we look forward to “Eastwatch,” which is the name of the castle where Tormund is currently writing erotic fan mail to Brienne of Tarth. So, next up: Daenerys the Mad Queen, some “bad things” North of the Wall, and the official start to Jaime Lannister Death Watch 2017.
Is Jamie Lannister Dead?
No. Come on. As Daenerys herself would say, I was born in Dragonstone, but I wasn’t born in Dragonstone yesterday. Jaime Lannister is top tier, day one golden boy of a Game of Thrones character, up there with any of his fellow main cast-members in terms of fan following and storyline significance. Hell, depending on which forum you’re partial toward, the dude still has between 12 to 50 prophecies to fulfill before he dies for good. Jaime Lannister is not bowing out by sinking to the bottom of a lake like Richard Madden’s post-Game of Thrones career. He’s simply too important. Sure, George RR Martin is infamously unsentimental, and I could easily see him casually mentioning Jaime’s off-screen death while describing various meat pies in the books. But showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss? Not a chance. The only main character they’ve ever done that dirty is Stannis Baratheon, and he was such a walking womp-womp trombone noise at that point that an off-screen afterthought of a death was practically inevitable.
And I think we’re supposed to understand this, based on the last image of “The Spoils of War.” The shot of Jaime being dragged down by the literal—and metaphorical—weight of his Lannister armor is nearly identical to the shot of Tyrion almost drowning in Valyria back in Season 5 because his hands were literally—and metaphorically—tied together by Jorah Mormont’s ropes. As we all know, Tyrion survived that experience, and I am willing to bet my weight in plundered Tyrell gold that Jaime did as well.
Will Jon Snow Bend the Knee to Daenerys Targaryen?
All signs and conveniently helpful cave drawings point to yes, actually. For one, go back to “The Spoils of War” and note the buh-whaaa look of recognition on Jon’s face when Daenerys asks of the northern people, “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?”
That is—give or take a word or two—the exact same question Jon asked Mance Rayder when giving the Wildling leader the chance to acknowledge Stannis Baratheon as king. “Fuck my pride. This isn’t about that,” Mance responded, and then refused to bend the knee. Of course, this decision ended with Mance tied to a post and burning alive. Jon knows this, and he also knows Daenerys Targaryen is the most proficient human on the planet at burning people alive.
Also telling: In the preview for Episode 5, we see Jon explaining the Night King’s movements and Daenerys, in turn, listening patiently. Dany made it pretty clear that she would hear Jon’s sad sack sales pitch if—and only if—he called her Queen.
Will the Lannister and Tarly Survivors of the Loot Train Attack Bend the Knee?
I mean, wouldn’t you? I know things like “honor” and “loyalty” and “not soiling your pants” mean a lot in Westeros, but the choice here is between the violently insane alcoholic currently sitting on the Iron Throne hundreds of miles away or the woman who just swooped down from the sky and turned all your coworkers into piles of ash. Daenerys is obviously borrowing from the Tyrant 101 Textbook, doing that thing where she says all the comforting words you want to hear—”I’m not here to murder”—but does so with a ten-ton fire-breathing monster sitting behind her back.
It’ll be a while before Daenerys goes full “burn them all” Mad Queen, but she is clearly noticing that ruling by holy-shit-that’s-a-dragon fear is easier than ruling by cleverness. And that is going to rub the cleverer members of her counsel the wrong way…
How Loyal Is Tyrion Lannister?
Somewhere around Season 5, the once-quick master of quips Tyrion Lannister started communicating primarily through sullen heavy glances and, occasionally, by vomiting on his shoes. This reached a tipping point in “The Spoils of War,” which saw Tyrion realizing that aligning himself against his brother with a dragon queen might actually result in his brother being roasted by a dragon. This, after Daenerys verbally tore through Tyrion’s “clever plans” in front of her entire counsel, then turned instead to Jon Snow for advice.
Tyrion’s not pumped with his career choices at the moment, is what I’m saying, and it’s only going to get worse. “You need to find a way to make her listen,” Varys tells him. But as we’ve seen, it’s incredibly difficult to make someone listen over the sounds of dragon-screech and your enemy’s cries for you to please stop melting them.
What’s Going to Happen at Eastwatch?
“Bad things are coming,” explains Davos, who has a way of cutting to the core of the matter. According to visions from both Bran Stark and Sandor Clegane, the Night King and his army of the undead are currently lumbering toward Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Eastwatch is situated all the way at the eastern end of The Wall, at which point it drops into a Shivering Sea inlet called the Bay of Seals.
Not only are Clegane and the Brotherhood Without Banners in the neighborhood, but Jon also sent Tormund and a host of Wildlings to man the castle at Eastwatch because it’s the closest structure to Hardhome. You may remember Hardhome from the time the Night King swiftly and soundly kicked Jon’s ass, then gloated about it like a battle rapper. With the forces of the White Walkers consistently growing (it literally now includes a giant) the clash at Eastwatch seems set to make Hardhome look like a courtyard sparring session.
Really, the fate of the entire Game of Thrones universe comes down to Eastwatch. On one side you have an unfeeling, merciless army of the dead looking to bring forever-winter to the world of the living. Most likely standing in its way will be the combined forces of the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings, the Hound, Beric Dondarrion and his baller-ass flaming sword, and—if Jon can swallow his pride—Daenerys Targaryen and her three full-grown dragons.
So, yeah; it sucks that Jaime fell into that puddle, truly, but there is a very important struggle about to go down up North.