If viewers have learned one thing from “Game of Thrones” these last few years, it’s that the show’s happiest scenes are often preludes to its saddest. Oberyn proudly declares that he’ll serve as Tyrion’s champion in his trial by combat against the Mountain? Brutally killed in the most disturbing scene of the entire series. Stannis finally tells his daughter how much he loves her? Burns her at the stake as a blood sacrifice a few episodes later. All of which is a long way of saying: Don’t get too excited about all the awesome stuff that happened on Sunday night.
Seriously, have the writers ever thrown fans more bones in a single episode than they did in “Eastwatch”? Not only did audiences see Gendry for the first time since the end of season three, but Davos greeted him by subtly acknowledging the meme that Robert Baratheon’s bastard son has become: “I thought you’d still be rowing.” (As if that weren’t enough, the dude even takes after his battle-tested father and prefers a warhammer over a sword, as two unlucky guards found out the hard way.)
Then there was the tease of all teases: Gilly offhandedly mentioning that a guy named “Ragger” simultaneously had one marriage annulled and began another. For “Thrones” obsessives, this was confirmation that Jon Snow isn’t just the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen — he’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, with an even stronger claim than Daenerys.
Speaking of Jon and Dany, check out how the Mother of Dragons looked at the King in the North as he petted Drogon. Husband material for sure.
Bad news, though: There are only two episodes left in the season and no beloved characters have died yet. Two of the Sand Snakes and a couple Tarlys have met their violent ends, sure, but only Olenna Tyrell’s passing has left much of a mark. With that in mind, be especially worried about Grey Worm and any one of the seven dudes who just went north of the Wall in search of a wight to prove that the army of the dead is very much real. Grey Worm finally shared his unsullied feelings for Missandei, a happy moment that may well spell his doom; an unlikely team just set aside their differences to fight a common enemy.
With just eight episodes left in the entire series(!), all nonessential personnel are being eliminated. It’s certainly possible that the likes of Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and Grey Worm have a bigger role to play in the endgame than dying so that other, more central characters may fulfill their destinies, but “Game of Thrones” has repeatedly built up our hopes just to violently dash them. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us 47 times…