- Game of Thrones season 7 is available on Hotstar
- The fifth episode, ‘Eastwatch’, aired August 13
- A character returned after multiple seasons
Note: Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5, ‘Eastwatch’.
As Game of Thrones sprints towards its end, the writers have shown interest in referencing moments from seasons long gone, and tying up any loose ends. This week, in the episode “Eastwatch”, it took the form of a character we haven’t seen since the end of season 3: Gendry (Joe Dempsie).
If you’ve forgotten, he’s the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, who first appeared back in season one. Back then he was just a blacksmith’s apprentice, who had spent his entire life in Flea Bottom without ever knowing about his true parentage. Ned Stark figured it out while investigating Jon Arryn’s death though.
After Robert’s death and Joffrey’s ascension to the throne, Gendry left King’s Landing, and joined up with a band headed for the Night’s Watch, which happened to include Arya Stark, hiding from the people trying to find her. They never made it to the Wall though, getting captured by the Lannister guards and taken to Harrenhal in season two.
Arya arranged their escape, with help from Jaqen H’ghar, but they soon ran into the Brotherhood Without Banners. The two were separated soon after, with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane taking Arya after he beat Beric Dondarrion in a duel, while Gendry was sold to Melisandre, who knew of his true parentage.
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Melisandre took him to Dragonstone (which was then held by Stannis Baratheon), where she planned to kill him as part of a ritual sacrifice, saying there’s power in a king’s blood. Davos Seaworth managed to convince Stannis to keep him alive long enough to smuggle him in a rowboat in season 3, which was the last time we saw Gendry.
Four years later, Gendry is back on our screens, which suggests he has more of a role to play in the end-game. “Gendry played an important part in the lives of more than one main character in the show,” co-showrunner DB Weiss said in the post-episode segment. “It wasn’t so much a question of whether to bring him back, as it was, how to bring him back.”
Weiss added that in designing Tyrion’s incognito entry into King’s Landing, they could’ve had Davos waiting by the boat, or go into Flea Bottom to look for the man who ended up “being almost like a surrogate son to him”. When Davos does find him, the writers cleverly sneak in a running joke that’s turned into a meme, thanks to Dempsie’s tweet about “still rowing”. Gendry is more than willing to give up his smithing life, and he’s chomping on doing more, as he abandons the pretense Davos designed for him.
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Gendry reveals his half-Baratheon parentage to Jon, seeing how their fathers were friends, and hoping to connect one bastard to another (though Jon isn’t a bastard, as we find later). While other rulers might chastise him, Jon’s past provides a different perspective, and he takes Gendry up on the offer.
At the Wall, he comes across his old tormentors, the Brotherhood Without Banners. There’s animosity between them all owing to past events, but the two leaders – Beric and Jon – manage to rally them towards a common cause. Gendry is now headed North of the Wall on an impossible mission, which involves capturing one of the undead.
For what it’s worth, he has already shown himself capable with a hammer. Interestingly, it was also his father’s weapon of choice, which Robert used to slain Rhaegar Targaryen – alluded to be Jon Snow’s real father – at the Trident. The two work together for now, but it’ll be an interesting day if/ when that information is made public.
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