The sun hangs low in the sky of Game of Thrones’ seventh season. After last week’s thrilling end, ‘Eastwatch’ allows us a moment to catch our breath before starting the final sprint to the season’s finish line.
Daenerys’ victory in the Field of Fire was her first since arriving in Westeros, and with it came an interesting bit of character development on her part. Throughout the previous seasons we’ve seen her as a girl, a queen, and a liberator, but for the first time we now see her as a conqueror. We are also treated to an insight into what may possibly be the cause of her self-deposition: her Targaryen blood. Daenerys has displayed a lack of mercy in the face of her enemies before, but never against the counsel of her advisors. With each rung of the political ladder that she climbs, Daenerys falls farther from grace. Her actions become increasingly difficult for us to justify.
“We may think we know which way they’re headed, but Game of Thrones is not known for its dearth of twists.”
The episode was riddled with remarkable character work that didn’t stop with Daenerys. Davos assuredly stole the show as one of the main focuses of the episode. We see him acting the part of the smuggler once again and Liam Cunningham’s portrayal provided the episode with countless moments of levity and humour. Tormund also made a reappearance and while brief, it was certainly memorable. The pair stood as a reminder that not everyone in Westeros is sulking, skulking, and scheming.
Eastwatch packed in plenty of details that were absolutely crucial to the plot’s development, not least of which came in a brief scene between Sam and Gilly. It was so short that it was nearly missed, but it served to confirm a lot of theories about another character while also changing the proper line of ascension to the Iron Throne. Other plot devices were set in place that began to draw some arcs to a close, attempting to cloud them in ambiguity. The northern storyline was chief amongst those, however some of the conflicts were incredibly contrived, making people act out of character. We may think we know which way they’re headed, but Game of Thrones is not known for its dearth of twists.
Not everything is coming to an end just yet though. The Euron/Unsullied battle from episode three has been totally ignored. It’s not unreasonable to assume that it’s being saved for some big finale, but its omission is as glaring as Jon’s direwolf Ghost. Other long-forgotten plot lines were brought back in this episode as well, as a formerly semi-major character was reintroduced to the show. This addition seems completely arbitrary with seemingly no relevance other than to tie a loose end.
The episode ends by leaving us on the proverbial ledge, yearning for next week. It was far from the most action-packed of the season. ‘Eastwatch’ was slow pacing done exquisitely, setting up for something big to come; it is the eerily beautiful silence between a flash of lightning and the roar of thunder. Wonderful writing and direction from Dave Hill and Matt Shakman respectively make ‘Eastwatch’ possibly the best episode of Game of Thrones so far.