Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers and speculation.
With secret marriages, planted letters and even a “Bhaiyya, main maa banne waali hoon” moment, this week’s Game of Thrones felt more like the world’s dressiest soap opera than anything else. The lack of major developments, some questionable writing, and the continued and blatant use of unauthorized portkeys combined to make for the weakest episode of Season 7 so far. It was an hour marked by a strong current of silliness, and so I’ve decided to rank each of the characters from this week based on the sheer goofiness of their decisions. I present to you the people of ‘Eastwatch’, ranked from dumbest to smartest:
16) Tyrion “Let’s put the bhoot back in sabhoot” Lannister
The fact that the most wanted man in Westeros chooses to enter the capital and walk around the docks in broad daylight is bad enough, but Tyrion clinches top spot for suggesting Operation White Walker Safari, which has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. It’s an idea barely worthy of Chetan Bhagat, leave alone Tyrion freakin’ Lannister. Do you think you’ll just find the undead lounging around a watering hole like antelopes? And if by some miracle you succeed at this harebrained scheme, the next part of the plan relies on Cersei Lannister reacting rationally?
15) Dickon and Randyll
When the crazy queen who is doomed to lose asks you to betray your liege lord, you do it in a jiffy. When the crazy queen who is almost certain to win gives you a chance to reverse this decision, you wag your finger and lecture her about loyalty.
Tar (noun) – plural tars; adj. tarly: A dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon, obtained from a wide variety of organic materials through destructive distillation.
14) Daenerys Targaryen
Crazy cat lady watches Jon Snow interacting with Drogon, and instead of wondering why her dragon is so receptive to the King in the North, she goes weak in the knees over his parenting skills. Earlier in the episode, she carefully gathers every Lannister soldier on the battlefield, but is totally fine with the commander of the army swimming away to safety. To top it off, she displays some of that Mad Queen blood by roasting the Tarlys to a crisp. I think I’m ready for this girl to be assassinated.
13) Jaime Lannister
Every bro knows that when your girl tells you she’s with child, you ask to see the pregnancy test, closely followed by the paternity test. In fact, you don’t just ask – you incest.
12) Arya Stark
For god’s sake, Arya, you fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book. A girl needs to learn a thing or two about common sense from her older sister. Also, I don’t know about you, but even the most blinding piece of evidence in the world wouldn’t induce me to touch Littlefinger’s mattress.
+50 for successfully completing Task 2 of the Triwizard Tournament, but -100 for liaisoning with Tyrion and making Cersei mad in the process. You can kiss that castle goodbye, sir.
10) Samwell Tarly
Two thumbs up for the executive decision to run away from the Shitadel, but three thumbs down for being a jerk to Gilly and missing the most important revelation in the Seven Kingdoms. Not the smartest week for House Tarly on the whole.
9) Jon Snow
Jon has never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but it’s hilarious how one-track his mind has become – anything and everything is about the Night King in his mind, to the extent that even the news of his siblings’ return to Winterfell barely sways him. I thought Bran was dead. I thought Arya was dead. My brother and sister have come back from the dead. Just like the terrible army that marches through the night, bearing down with silent footfalls on the realm of men…
8) Row, row, row your boat, Gendry down the stream
After 34 episodes of fervently discussed absence, Robert Baratheon’s bastard plot strand is back! We meet discount Christian Bale at the King’s Landing smithy he was escaping from in the first place, which is justified by some absurd logic about the safest place for him being right under the enemy’s nose. Assuming his resemblance to his father would only grow stronger as Gendry grew up, wouldn’t the city be more dangerous for him now? We’ll let it go. It turns out he’s been using his time well by training himself with the hammer – his late dad’s choice of weapon. However, when Davos tells hims where he’s going, Gendry reacts with classic Baratheon rashness and immediately signs up for the trip. I suspect Gendry has only been brought back because they need recognizable faces who can die in the wars to come. He may be the narrative equivalent of the old t-shirt you dig out of the cupboard when Holi is round the corner.
7) Bran Stark
Speaking of plot devices masquerading as people, Winterfell’s Stephen Hawking continues to exist and mumble ominous portents at passers-by. He gets a win for that raven warning of the Night King’s march, and for managing to go a week without traumatizing a sibling
6) Cersei Lannister
I’ve been frothing at the mouth for three years, raving about the world of torture and agony I’ll inflict on my fugitive dwarf brother when I get my hands on him. but when I receive intelligence that he’s wandering unarmed and unaccompanied in the capital…eh whatevs. This may be one of the most out-of-character Cersei moments ever, and it is only redeemed by the most Cersei possibility ever: that she’s faking being pregnant with her brother’s child to manipulate him (the brother, not the child) into fighting for her. Never change, my queen.
5) Petyr Baelish
After a good six episodes exclusively spent leaning against walls and looming over courtyards, Littlefinger finally extends his skillset to peeping around corners.
4) Tormund Giantsbane
“Which queen do you need to convince, the one with the dragons, or the one who fucks her brother?” The greatest clarifying question in the history of team meetings.
3) Jorah Mormont
When you wait for her husband to die, patiently see off her lovers, get your exile pardoned by saving her life, travel halfway around the world at her command to successfully cure your incurable leprosy, and finally come back to find her ogling her nephew – volunteering on a suicide mission to hunt ice zombies is 100% the right life decision.
We now know:
Steps in Citadel = 15,782
Windows in Sept of Baelor = 0
True kings in Westeros = 1
THANK YOU GILLY
1) Davos Seaworth
My love for the Onion Knight continues to know no bounds. He made himself useful this week by smuggling Tyrion into King’s Landing, but instantly won top spot in the intelligence rankings when he refused to go along on the white walker hunting expedition that will go down as the most preposterous idea in GoT history.
He’s also been effortlessly dropping killer one-liners week after week, and this episode was no different. “I thought you might still be rowing,” he tells Gendry, borrowing a favourite fan joke from the Internet. He has words of wisdom too: “Nothing fucks you harder than time,” the wise man says. Dan Weiss and David Benioff would do well to heed good Davos’ words, as they continue to wreak havoc with the show’s Gantt chart. We can’t expect them to have events play out in real time, but covering a Dragonstone to Eastwatch journey in five minutes is taking it too far. I hate to harp on this every week, but it just can’t be ignored at this point. There’s a line between fast-paced and rushed that Game of Thrones is clearly crossing. I don’t know the constraints the showrunners are operating under, but I wish they’d just breathe. It’s the foreplay that makes the climax worthwhile, so go easy on the fermented crab storytelling.