Smoke fills the air in the distance as Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) emerge gasping from the river in the opening moments of HBO’s Game of Thrones season seven episode five. Neither are injured but both are exhausted. Jaime admits he was aiming to kill Daenerys and didn’t consider the dragon. He’s definitely considering the dragon now, and the two other dragons she hasn’t yet used in battle. Bronn confesses he won’t stick around to watch the dragons spit fire on King’s Landing while Jaime says he has to inform Cersei of this development.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) walks the battlefield, looking at the dead. It’s apparent he’s distressed about the loss of life on both sides.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her army gather the captured Lannister army with Drogon watching over his mother as she speaks. Daenerys tells the men she’s not there to murder or pillage and only wants to destroy the wheel that rolls over the rich and poor to benefit the Cerseis of the world. She tells them to bend the knee and join her or refuse and die.
Drogon snarls and most of the men who remain standing, kneel. Dickon Tarly (Tom Hopper) and Lord Tarly (James Faulkner) however do not, and Daenerys summons Lord Tarly to come before her. Tyrion reminds Lord Tarly he keeps changing alliances, but Lord Tarly insists he backs Cersei now since she was born in this land. Daenerys respects his decision, but Tyrion suggests they send him to the Wall as punishment rather than kill him. Lord Tarly refuses that option as Dickon joins his father and declares he will die alongside his dad. Tyrion nearly begs Dickon not to let House Tarly be wiped out and instead should bend the knee. Dickon refuses and Tyrion again asks Daenerys to place Dickon in chains and give him time to reconsider. Daenerys won’t be swayed and is firm in her decision.
Daenerys nods to her Dothraki soldiers who take Lord Tarly and Dickon to stand before Drogon. She sentences them to die and then calmly says, “Dracarys.” Drogon breathes fire and Dickon and Lord Tarly burn to death. The remainder of the men who failed to do so before now bend the knee.
Jaime makes it back to King’s Landing and informs Cersei (Lena Headey) about the loss of many of the men. She responds by saying she has money to buy mercenaries, but Jaime says the Dothraki will kill all their men. They’re better fighters, plus Daenerys has three dragons that can burn thousands of their fighters. Jaime’s certain they can’t win this war. Cersei reminds Jaime she sits on Daenerys’ father’s throne, a throne he helped take by murdering the Mad King, and then suggests maybe Tyrion can speak up for them. It’s at this point Jaime admits Olenna Tyrell was the one who killed Joffrey. Cersei doesn’t want to believe that, but Jaime patiently explains Margaery would have had a better shot at controlling Tommen than Joffrey. Undeterred, Cersei believes they should fight and die.
Back at Dragonstone, Drogon returns and lands right in front of Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Drogon snarls and then gets within feet of Jon. Drogon sniffs this stranger as Daenerys sits on his back. Jon Snow reaches out his ungloved hand and touches Drogon’s snout. Drogon and Jon Snow have a revealing moment while looking into each other’s eyes. Both are clearly moved while Daenerys looks on in wonder. The episode’s first huge reveal is that there’s an obvious connection between Jon Snow and Drogon. Daenerys cautions Jon Snow when he calls her dragons beasts. “They are my children.”
Daenerys tells Jon Snow she has fewer enemies today than yesterday, equating it to how many men his army killed taking back Winterfell. She asks about the knife in his heart that Sir Davos mentioned, but their talk is interrupted by the return of Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). She’s pleased to see her old friend and introduces him to Jon Snow, who tells the now-healed Jorah that he served with his father who was an honorable man. Jorah informs his Queen he’s returned to serve her, and she says it’s her honor to have him back at her side.
Ravens soar into the sky as Bran Stark wargs into one of them and sees the approaching White Walkers. There are thousands and thousands of them following the Night King. Bran realizes he must send out ravens to alert Jon Snow.
Over at the Citadel, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) listens as the Archmaester and the other maesters discuss the raven’s message regarding the White Walkers. Sam says he knows Bran Stark and actually led him through the Wall years ago, which means this boy survived out there on his own for years. They should listen to Bran, says Sam. He wants the Archmaester to confirm to everyone this threat is real and to look through all the books for details on the Long Night and how to defeat the armies of the dead.
Unfortunately, the Archmaester thinks this might be a trick engineered by Daenerys. Sam insists it’s real, but the Archmaester is only willing to send for more information from Winterfell. After Sam leaves the room, the Archmaester admits he hasn’t had the heart to tell Sam his brother and father were just burned alive.
Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) and Tyrion discuss the death of the Tarlys, and it’s not sitting well with Varys. He feels guilty about everyone he’s helped send to death over the years and believes Tyrion needs to make Daenerys listen to reason. Varys is holding a sealed scroll meant for Jon Snow, which, of course, he’s read.
Jon Snow reads the scroll and learns Arya and Bran are both alive. But, the news of the Night King marching toward Eastwatch is devastating. Jon Snow needs Daenerys’ help to fight, but she can’t leave any openings for Cersei to attack. Tyrion suggests Jon Snow bring the dead to Cersei to show the White Walkers are a real threat. Just one soldier is all they need for proof, says Tyrion. Bring one to King’s Landing and show her the truth. Varys wonders how they’ll do this without being killed, and Tyrion thinks he can get into King’s Landing with Davos’ help and talk to Jaime who will in turn talk to Cersei. But, they need to find a White Walker first. Jorah volunteers to find one and Jon Snow says the Free Folk will help them, but of course they won’t follow Jorah.
Davos (Liam Cunningham) reminds Jon Snow he can’t return to the Wall and fight with the Night’s Watch. But, Jon knows he’s the one who must lead this battle. Daenerys speaks up and says she hasn’t given him permission to leave. “With respect, Your Grace, I don’t need your permission. I am a King. I came here knowing that you could have your men behead me or your dragons burn me alive. I put my trust in you, a stranger, because I knew it was the best chance for my people – for all our people. Now I’m asking you to trust in a stranger because it’s our best chance,” says Jon Snow. Daenerys looks at Tyrion and then nods yes.
Back at Winterfell, the lords are discussing the King in the North remaining in the North. They seem to want Sansa (Sophie Turner) to remain in charge, but she says Jon’s doing what he believes is best.
Sansa and Arya (Maisie Williams) discuss the Northern lords and wind up in their mother and father’s chambers. Arya is a little taken aback Sansa is using the room. “You always liked nice things. It made you feel better than everyone,” chides Arya. Arya is also concerned because Sansa just listened and didn’t defend Jon Snow from the insults hurled toward him in his absence. Sansa reminds her all the Houses need to work together in the North, but then Arya indicates she knows Sansa is thinking about how she’ll need the men’s support to continue to rule if Jon doesn’t return. It’s as if Arya’s reading her mind but all Sansa says is, “I have work to do,” dismissing her sister.
Sir Davos delivers Tyrion to King’s Landing, showing him the secret path he needs to follow. Davos heads off to Flea Bottom, telling Tyrion to hurry back.
Bronn and Jaime train in the dungeons, and Jaime’s confused why they’re training down there. It’s quickly revealed Bronn set up Jaime’s training as a ruse so Tyrion could meet with his brother. It’s not a happy reunion and Tyrion reminds his brother their father was going to execute him even while knowing he was innocent. Jaime doesn’t soften and demands to know what he wants. Tyrion assures his brother Daenerys will win the war, but adds that she’s not her father. She’ll suspend hostilities if Cersei agrees to stop. Tyrion adds that Daenerys doesn’t want her to bend the knee; she has a more important request.
Davos walks through Flea Bottom until he finds Gendry. (Welcome back, Gendry!) He’s busy arming Lannisters in the Street of Steel and has been keeping safe right under the Queen’s nose. He barely needs to be asked if he wants to leave and he’s more than happy to stop making weapons for the family who killed his family. Gendry grabs a special hammer he’s made for himself and is ready to leave.
They make it back to the small boat just as two soldiers walk up. Davos offers them money to let them go on their way and they accept, but then they ask what’s in the boat. Davos invites them to check it out and shows them pots of fermented crab. He claims it’s for a brothel and is used as an aphrodisiac. Davos gives the gold cloaks a taste and tells them to hurry to a brothel since they’ll be getting hard soon.
Unfortunately, Tyrion arrives at exactly the wrong time. They ask where he got the scar and Gendry quickly kills them both so they can escape.
Jaime interrupts Qyburn’s meeting with Cersei, and then admits to his own meeting with Tyrion. Daenerys wants to discuss an armistice because of the dead men marching on the Seven Kingdoms. Tyrion claims to have proof, and Cersei wants to know if Jaime will punish Bronn. She knew about the meeting and allowed it to happen. Cersei thinks they can only beat Daenerys by being smart, so they’ll have to accommodate her before ultimately defeating the Mother of Dragons.
And now we learn the second of the episode’s big reveals: Cersei’s pregnant and she’s going to tell everyone Jaime is the father. She doesn’t care what people say because the lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of the sheep. They hug while Cersei warns Jaime to never betray her again.
Sir Davos and his small group return to Dragonstone and he warns Gendry to hide his identity and say his name is Clovis and that he’s a simple smith – not the son of a dead king. Gendry immediately ignores Davos’ order and introduces himself to Jon Snow as Gendry, Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. They reveal they’ve met each other’s fathers, and Jon Snow actually smiles when he says he grew up on stories about their fathers. Gendry asks if he can please go with Jon Snow on whatever mission he’s about to undertake, adding that he prefers fighting with a hammer. Jon Snow agrees and although Davos doesn’t want him to go, Gendry says he can’t just sit out this war. “Nobody mind me. All I’ve ever done is live to a ripe old age,” says Davos.
As Jorah packs his boat to leave, Tyrion admits he missed him. He gives Jorah the coin the slaver gave them when they were freed, telling him to bring it back with him because Daenerys needs him. Daenerys is next up to say goodbye. Jorah kisses her hands as Jon Snow approaches. Jon sort of jokes that if he doesn’t return, at least she won’t have to deal with the King in the North anymore. He wishes her good fortune in the wars to come and then he, Jorah, Gendry, and the men set out.
Gilly (Hannah Murray) and Sam are at home and Sam’s working while Gilly discusses what she’s been reading. She’s reading High Septon Maynard’s journal and asks Sam what annulment means. She then adds that she read Maynard issued an annulment to Rhaegar and immediately married him to someone at the same time! (The episode’s third huge reveal and one that Sam doesn’t listen to/understand the importance of.) Sam’s not paying any attention because he’s so furious about the task he’s been given. Frustrated, Sam takes off and heads back to the library. He returns and packs up Gilly and little Sam, declaring he’s done with the Citadel. “I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men,” says Sam. (He’s still unaware that he’s now Lord Tarly following the death of his father and brother.)
Once more we go to Winterfell where Arya watches as Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) speaks to a woman and then hands her a coin. She keeps watching as he continues to meet with people, always whispering. She follows him to his chamber and listens as a man turns over the only copy of a message. He thanks the man for his service on behalf of Lady Stark. After the man leaves, Littlefinger leaves his room and locks the door behind him. Arya picks the lock and enters. She searches through his belongings and finds the note inside his mattress.
The note is old and from Sansa asking the Starks to swear loyalty to King Joffrey. As Arya leaves his room, Littlefinger watches from a darkened doorway nearby.
Jon Snow and the men arrive at Eastwatch and meet with Tormund (Kristofer Hivju). He asks how many Queens there are and if Jon Snow needs to convince the one with the dragons or the one who f*cks her brother. Jon Snow answers, “Both,” and then admits he only brought a few men. They want to know if Tormund’s men can help, and Tormund can’t believe Jon Snow wants to go out there again. And then Tormund surprises Jon Snow by adding, “You’re not the only ones.”
Tormund brings them to the dungeon where the Hound is locked up. Jon Snow recognizes him, and the Hound and the Brotherhood claim their lord told them to go to the Wall and fight the army of the dead. Gendry also recognizes them and is angry they sold him to the Red Witch to be killed. The Brotherhood recognize Jorah Mormont, and now it’s Tormund’s turn to be shocked he’s standing next to a Mormont, the son of the man who hunted the Free Folk like animals. However, it appears they’re all meant to fight the White Walkers together. Jon Snow agrees they’re on the same side because they’re all breathing. He opens the cells and this new motley crew head out through the gate and past the Wall with Jon Snow as their leader.
More on Game of Thrones:
- Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 ‘Dragonstone’ Recap
- Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2 ‘Stormborn’ Recap
- Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 ‘The Queen’s Justice’ Recap
- Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 ‘The Spoils of War’ Recap
- Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6 ‘Beyond the Wall’ Recap