After last week's epic battle, anything this episode did was potentially going to feel slightly underwhelming compared to Jaime riding straight at Daenaerys.
If this episode lacked anything on the action front it more than made up for it with the relevations, returns and easter egg hints scattered throughout the episode.
From Gendry's return to Cersei's pregnancy to Gilly's book observations, this episode had something for everyone.
The show is now moving at an epic pace, and this episode showed it with the movement of characters,timelines and stories happening at a much faster pace than in previous seasons.
In terms of heading towards the end game, it was great to get there more hints about Jon's ancestral heritage. The show has done well in spreading the hints out, and it appears that it is a only a matter of time before the full story is revealed ( perhaps by Bran) and Jon finds out the true story about his parents.
This week, we got Jon touching Drogon on the face, and Drogon, the fiercest of all the dragons, uncharateristically accepting Jon's approach. It was very interesting to see Drogon's eye change colour ( Did I see a bit of Ice in Drogon's firey eye- it certainly changed colour!).....Obviously Drogon is Dany's Dragon, but I'm sure it wont be long before we see Jon riding one of the other dragons.
Perhaps more importantly to the future's of Dany and Jon, we found out from Gilly's readings that Prince Rhaegar had married Lyanna Stark in a secret ceremony in Dorne, annuling his marriage to his first wife, Elia Martell. This would in turn make Jon the rightful heir to the Tararyen dynasty, ' the prince that was promised' so to speak. I loved this scene, with Sam not listening to Gilly while ironically chattering on about no one listening to people divluding important information...The show has very much painted Rhaegar in a very positive light, and I was certainly expecting a revelation like this but not in the way it was presented as a throw-away line by Gilly. I for one always liked the idea of a Rhaegar- Lyanna love story and I'm delighted that it appears that is the confirmation we are getting.
Speaking of Dany and Jon, the chemistry between the two just continue to sizzle this week...as I've said before I'm now fully onboard this ship and thats solely based on the fantastic acting on both sides. It was great to see Jorah back again, even if it is once again in the friendzone!
This episode also saw a long awaited return of Gendry, Robert Baratheon's bastard son. I didnt realise how much I missed him until I saw him back on screen, but damn does Joe Dempsey have some charisma....his return scene was perfect, with Davo's playing the joker while at the same time Gendry shows the same impulsiveness as his father in heading off to war...Particular mention should go to his meeting with Jon, which was a funny comedic encounter paying homage to the the Season 1Episode 1 scene between Ned and Robert. On a more intriguing note, if Jon's father does end up being Rhaegar, then Gendry's father actually killed Jon's father on the trident all those years ago. That certainly changes the dynamic......
In Lannister land, I thought the long-awaited meet up between Tyrion and Jaime was brilliantly acted between two amazing cast members, although I would loved it to have been longer. Cersei being pregnant certainly changes the dynamic and the stakes for the Lannister Dynasty, and just brings Jamie even deeper into his sister's grasp.
I enjoyed the eclectic group of characters coming together for their march beyond the wall. For whatever reason, they're all in that place at that time with a common goal and a common enemy. I hope we get some interaction between Tormond, and The Hound, and perhaps some more interaction between Gendry and Jon, or even better, Gendry and the brotherhood!
I thought that the Arya- Sansa Winterfell storyline was perhaps the weakest of the episode. I really enjoyed their reuniting but this just felt like conflict for the sake of conflict. It almost feels like the show doesnt know which direction to take Arya now.
Overall, I really enjoyed the set up here, some great revelations and returns leading into next week's potentially epic trip beyond the wall.