Louisa Mellor

Aug 14, 2017

If your memory of past Thrones seasons is fuzzier than you’d like, here’s a refresher on key background relevant to this week’s ep…

Warning: contains spoilers for Game Of Thrones 7.5 Eastwatch. 

As it builds towards its endgame, Game Of Thrones is now mining almost seven seasons of eventful intrigue, conspiracy and action. Plot-points disregarded for years are poping up and long-absent characters are returning to the fold. If your recall of what’s happened in seasons past isn’t as sharp as it could be, we’re here to help.

From Gendry, to Sansa’s season one letter to Robb, from Gilly’s unwitting discovery to the mystery reappearance of (hooray!) Kevin Eldon, here are a few questions you may need answering about this week’s Game Of Thrones episode…

What’s that new bit in the opening credits?

That’s Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the easterly most castle on The Wall, currently being guarded by Tormund Giantsbane and the Wildlings. At their height, there were nineteen castles manned by the Night’s Watch along the Wall, but only three remain occupied: Castle Black, The Shadow Tower and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

Was Dickon Tarly the last of his name?

No, technically that would be his older brother Samwell Tarly. Samwell, however, gave up all claim to his family seat, Horn Hill, when he took his vows as a Brother of the Night’s Watch. Not that he had any choice in the matter. Samwell and Dickon’s father Randyll forced Sam to sign up on pain of death, telling his bookish eldest son that if he didn’t take the Black (and thereby free up his more military-minded younger brother to inherit Horn Hill as his father wished), he would ensure that Sam would fall foul of a hunting ‘accident’ – much like the ‘accident’ that befell King Robert, no doubt.

Dickon and Randyll’s deaths-by-dragon give Sam an interesting connection to Ned Stark, whose father and brother were also executed (burned alive and strangled) by a Targaryen, Daenerys’ father, Mad King Aerys. Will Dany come to regret her execution of Samwell’s little brother?

Where else have I heard Dany talking about a wheel?

“I’m not here to murder,” said Dany to the surviving Lannister soldiers in Eastwatch. “All I want to destroy is the wheel that has rolled over the rich and poor.” In season five episode Hardhome, Dany used a similar image, saying “Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell, they’re all just spokes on a wheel.  This one’s on top and that one’s on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. We’re not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.”

Why did Drogon allow Jon Snow to stroke him?

He must have recognised Jon as a Targaryen, don’t you think? Dragons and Targaryens go way back.

Remind me how Dany got her dragons in the first place?

Varys’ old friend Illyrio Mopatis (Roger Allam) gave Dany three petrified dragon eggs from the Shadowlands beyond Asshai as a wedding gift after he brokered her marriage to Khal Drogo. The stone eggs were a symbolic representation of the three-headed dragon on the Targaryen sigil. In exchange for Dany, her brother Viserys was to receive the support of the Dothraki army in his bid to take back the Iron Throne. That didn’t work out, and Viserys was instead murdered by Khal Drogo who had molten gold poured onto his head after Viserys demanded a crown. 

You won’t have forgotten how Dany hatched the dragons – in the season one finale after she emerged from Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre.

Game Of Thrones season 7 episode 5 questions answered


How many farewells have Ser Jorah and Dany had so far?

This would be the third. First up, Dany banished Jorah in season four when she discovered that he had been acting as a spy for Varys and King Robert. He told her he loved her and she told him he was exiled, never to return.

He then returned to her in season five as a pit-fighting slave in Meereen (poetic justice for the slaving he did in his younger years), when his spear saved her life from an assassin sent by the Sons of the Golden Harpy (before she rode off to safety on Drogon’s back).

After he and Daario Naharis tracked her down to Vaes Dothrak in season six, she sent him away again, this time to find a cure for the greyscale he’d contracted in the ruins of Old Valyria while bringing a kidnapped Tyrion Lannister back to her as a gift.

And now, a freshly cured Jorah’s off again, this time following in his father’s footsteps and venturing beyond the Wall with Jon and co.

What sword does Jon carry?

Longclaw, the Valyrian Steel sword of House Mormont. Jeor Mormont, Commander of the Night’s Watch gave it to him after Jon and Ghost saved his life from a Wight, having refashioned its pommel from a Mormont bear to a Stark wolf. The Mormonts have carried Longclaw for five centuries, Jeor tells Jon, “It was meant for my son Jorah. He brought disgrace to our house but he had the grace to leave the sword before he fled from Westeros.”

After meeting Jon, will Ser Jorah want his family steel returned to him?

This is basic but, what’s the difference between a White Walker and a Wight again?

White Walkers are an otherworldly race created from men by the Children of the Forest using magic and dragonglass. They in turn are the creators of Wights – reanimated humans they raise from the dead to form their zombie army. Wights can be torn apart and killed by fire, but it takes dragonglass and Valyrian Steel to kill White Walkers.

Game Of Thrones season 7 episode 5 questions answered

What was The Long Night?

The Long Night discussed by the maesters at the Citadel was a legendary winter, thousands of years before the present time, that lasted for an entire generation. Old Nan told Bran scary stories about it in season one, telling him “In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders big as hounds.” Shudder. So far, the White Walkers we’ve seen have stuck to reanimated horses.

What happened when Sam met Bran in season three?

When Samwell hears the maesters discussing a raven sent from Winterfell about a ‘cripple’ warning of the approaching army of the undead, he recognises it to be referring to Bran Stark, whom he encountered at the Nightfort in the season three finale.

Along with Hodor, Meera, Jojen and Summer, Bran was heading beyond the Wall to the cave of the Three-Eyed-Raven when Sam, Gilly and baby stumbled upon the group as they fled after the mutiny at Craester’s Keep. Sam refused to go North again, but gave Bran’s group some of the dragonglass blades found buried at the First of the First Men and directed their passage through the Wall.

What’s the deal with Bran’s eyes going all white again?

It means he’s warging, which means taking over the mind of another living creature. He did it with his direwolf, with Hodor, and now with ravens he uses to spy on the actions of the Night King (who is able to sense when Bran’s spying in him in a vision). Mackenzie Crook played Orell, a Wildling with the same power who used an eagle to scout for the Wildling army back in season three.

What’s the significance of Gilly asking what ‘annulment’ means?

Sam was too grumpy to realise it and annoyingly batted her away, but Gilly has stumbled on a crucial piece of evidence that proves Jon Snow isn’t only the biological son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, he’s also his rightful heir.

Prince Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell, but secretly fathered a son (Jon) with his captive Lyanna Stark (we don’t yet know whether Rhaegar coerced Lyanna or whether she loved him) at the Tower of Joy in Dorne near the end of Robert’s Rebellion. We know this because of Bran’s season six vision (and it was confirmed by a family tree HBO released last year). What we didn’t know until know was that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia annulled and secretly married Lyanna, making Jon not a bastard but a legitimate Targaryen heir.

Game Of Thrones season 7 episode 5 questions answered

Who is Little Sam’s biological father?

His grandfather, Craester, a Wildling who incestuously fathered children with his daughters and sacrificed the male new-borns to the White Walkers, keeping the female children to raise as yet more wives. Gilly’s male child would have suffered that fate if Sam hadn’t rescued her. Gilly is her son’s half-sister.

Remind me why Tyrion killed his father?

After a lifetime of resentment and cruel treatment at Tywin Lannister’s hands, Tyrion killed him in retaliation for Tywin scheming to have his youngest son executed for a crime he didn’t commit (murdering Joffrey), and for sleeping with Shae, the woman Tyrion loved (yet also murdered).

What’s Gendry’s story?

Season one started with a genetic mystery, one that Hand of the King Jon Arryn was unravelling before his death (caused not, as Lysa Arryn told Cat Stark, by the Lannisters, but by herself acting on the instructions of, and using the poison provided by, Littlefinger). When Ned Stark took over the job, he also took up the investigation. Why was Arryn going all over King’s Landing and questioning dark-haired youths? Because he’d worked out that King Robert Baratheon’s royal children weren’t his, by comparing their appearances to Robert’s many children fathered outside of marriage. In every case, Robert’s illegitimate progeny were dark-haired, even when (like Gendry’s) their mother was fair. Cersei Lannister’s blonde children were obviously the product of her much-rumoured incest with brother Jaime, invalidating their claim to the Iron Throne.

Ned Stark followed Arryn to meet with Gendry at the smithy where he worked, and confirmed him to be Robert’s unacknowledged bastard son. After Robert’s death, Gendry’s master sent him to the Wall for his protection. On his way there, Gendry met Arya (in disguise as boy Arry), Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands. He and Arya were later taken by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who sold Gendry to Melisandre.

At Dragonstone, Melisandre used Gendry’s royal blood in a spell to curse Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy and Joffrey Baratheon, then planned to sacrifice him to the Lord of Light to aid Stannis’ quest for the Iron Throne. Davos saved him from that fate, giving him a rowboat and pointing him towards King’s Landing. He’s been there ever since, working as a blacksmith in Fleabottom, right under Cersei’s nose.

What is the significance of Gendry’s Warhammer?

Decorated with the Baratheon stag, it’s the same weapon his father used in battle, specifically at the Battle of the Trident, at which Robert killed rival Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (Jon’s dad). When Gendry says to Jon in Eastwatch that “all I ever knew is that [our fathers] fought together”, little does he know that they did, but on opposite sides.

Game Of Thrones season 7 episode 5 questions answered

How tall is Jon Snow?

According to Google, Kit Harington is 5ft 7” or thereabouts. Sean Bean’s closer to 5ft 9”.

Cersei’s pregnant again. What did that prophecy say about her children?

The witch prophecy Cersei heard as a teenager told her “The king will have twenty children and you will have three, gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds.” There’s no mention of a fourth child, so make of that what you will.

What was Qyburn offering Cersei?

“I could give you something,” offered Qyburn, when Jaime walked in on them. “That won’t be necessary” replied Cersei. He could have been offering her something to help with morning sickness of course, but it’s more likely he was proffering Moon Tea, used by the women of the Seven Kingdoms to terminate pregnancies.

Cersei’s first pregnancy was by Robert, a dark-haired son who didn’t survive the birth. After that, she somehow managed to only give birth to Jaime’s children.

If Robert Baratheon had twenty children, why is Gendry the only one left?

King Joffrey, hearing rumours of his own incestuous beginnings and Robert’s illegitimate children, ordered Ser Janos Slynt and the City Watch to murder each of Robert’s bastards, even the babies, to protect his claim to the crown in the Massacre of King’s Landing. Janos sent men after Gendry, but they mistakenly killed Lommy Greenhands instead, thinking it was him.

Janos was sent to the Wall by Tyrion as punishment, where he was eventually beheaded by Jon Snow.

(Technically, we only saw four of Robert’s children murdered by the City Watch on screen, so there may be another fifteen heirs to the Iron Throne still out there, if they haven’t been killed off by all the ambient war and violence by now.)

Haven’t I seen Kevin Eldon in Game Of Thrones before?

You have. Comedian and actor Eldon was part of the troupe of mummers Arya had dealings with in Braavos when she was training at the House of Black and White. Eldon played an actor in a farcical retelling of the events of season one who portrayed Ned Stark as a clownish fool with his sights set on the Iron Throne. Eldon reappeared this episode as one of the two Lannister Goldcloaks Davos fed fermented crab to, and who met his fate at the end of Gendry’s hammer. Identical twin, or career change?

Game Of Thrones season 7 episode 5 questions answered

Wasn’t King’s Landing already sent proof that the White Walkers existed?

It was, in season one, but whether it received it we don’t know. Commander Mormont sent Alliser Thorne to King’s Landing with the hand of the Wight that attacked him to alert the Iron Throne to what was happening beyond the Wall. In the TV show, we never learn how that went, though in the books, Thorne was kept waiting for so long that the hand rotted away and he was laughed out of the place.

What was the scroll from Sansa to Robb that Littlefinger planted for Arya to find?

It was the scroll Cersei coerced Sansa into writing to her brother Robb here in season one, episode eight, after their father had been accused of treason. It calls Ned Stark a traitor and begs Robb to bend the knee to King Joffrey. Littlefinger knew it existed because he was standing behind Cersei when she forced Sansa to write it. In fact, it was his suggestion that Cersei’s “little dove” be given a chance to prove her loyalty to the Lannisters in writing it in the first place.

Here’s the full text:

Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert’s brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King’s Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark.

Why did Littlefinger want Arya to discover the scroll? To create more division between the Stark sisters and weaken any potential unity between them. He’s seen Arya fight and knows her to be dangerous. He also knows that Bran/the Three-Eyed Raven, has seen into his scheming and secrets. He’s dividing the Starks to conquer.