If you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to know what happens, leave now.
I’m exhausted. It’s only been a hot minute since the Battle of Winterfell, and by the end of this week’s Thrones instalment, we’ve had a shock proposal, a brutal rejection, two big deaths and a s**tload of scheming.
But let’s start at the beginning.
The “Long Night” — as it were — is over.
We all squinted through the highly stressful clash between our favourites and the Dead Army last week, and cheered when Arya Stark pulled the ol’ knife switcheroo and killed the Night King.
Seems all the drama might have ended with the saving of humanity, but of course, there’s now the tiny issue of who’s actually going to plonk their keister on the Iron Throne.
And that whole conundrum has gotten a trifle more complex since, moments before the Night King showed up, The Artist Formerly Known As Jon Snow revealed to his main squeeze Daenerys Targaryen that he is, in fact, Aegon Targaryen, her nephew and the true heir of the Seven Kingdoms.
It was not well-received then, and if you thought a brush with death would provide some perspective — well, you’ve not been paying attention.
JOIN OUR DISCUSSION OF THE FULL EPISODE
Before they begin quibbling about their next move, the Winterfell gang throw an elaborate cremation for all those they lost in battle, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we really could have used some of this firelight in last week’s episode, TBH.
Jon makes a stirring speech about the bravery of those who sacrificed their lives, and everyone’s pretty moved — except Dany, who clearly considers it a campaign launch for #Jon2020.
Afterwards, they throw a party to celebrate their victory, and everyone — except Dany and Jon, obviously — is having a good time.
Dany spots Gendry in the crowd and proves she’s about as fun as Bran by pausing everyone’s drinking games to discuss how the father he never knew, the late King Robert Baratheon, really caused some headaches for her family.
It hardly seems the time or the place, but she then switches her tone and promotes him to the Lord of Storm’s End — a hefty step up for a bastard.
Gendry runs off to find Arya to share the news of his big break.
She’s celebrating her win over the Night King the only way she knows how — by shooting arrows at a wall in a lonely corridor.
Gendry tells her about his new-found status and offers up a truly sweet proposal.
“I don’t know how to be a lord, I don’t even know how to use a fork. All I know is that you’re beautiful and I love you and none of it will be worth anything if you’re not with me,” he says earnestly.
“So be with me. Be my wife. Be the Lady of Storm’s End.”
But Arya considers her night of passion with Gendry as a one-time thing, and she’s still got some murders to get to so she just throws him a goodbye kiss.
Back inside the Great Hall, it’s descended into a high school house party.
The guys are singing their Westerosi version of “here’s to Jon, he’s true-blue” and forcing him to skoll beers. Tyrion and Jaime Lannister are playing “Never Have I Ever” with Brienne and Pod. Some extras are sipping Smirnoff Double Blacks in the background.
It’s all fun and games until Tyrion calls out Brienne’s virginity, and rather than take a sip of her drink as per the rules, she gets super awkward and storms off.
Jaime follows her into her bedchamber, and — after years of tension — it’s finally on.
He points out she didn’t take her drink, and then pulls off the ultimate TV jock move.
“It’s bloody hot in here,” he says, unlacing his shirt.
It’s one of the oldest lines in the book, but Brienne — poor, sweet Brienne — is low on experience and falls for it hook, line and sinker.
Meanwhile, in a less cosy chamber, Jon’s drunk and Dany decides now’s the time to hash out their relationship woes.
She tries to make him jealous by pointing out that the late Ser Jorah was into her and then tells Jon she loves him.
They kiss, but Jon suddenly feels sick and he isn’t sure if it’s because of all the Jägerbombs or the Aunty bit.
Dany begs him not to spill to Sansa or Arya about his true parentage because they’d obviously then try and force him to have a run at the throne himself, but Jon goes all Ned Stark and talks about honour and truth, yada yada.
“Sansa will want to see me gone and you on the Iron Throne,” Dany tells him.
“She won’t,” Jon says, because he is — and I cannot stress this enough — kind of stupid.
The next day, nursing some wild hangovers, the group all get together to plan their next move.
Surprisingly, it’s not a “We Saved Humanity” victory tour.
Instead, Dany is all for shooting down to King’s Landing ASAP so she can get the hell out of the frozen wasteland that is the North, but Sansa wants to give their surviving warriors a couple of weeks’ stress leave.
Or even, you know, a day or two.
But this doesn’t wash with Dany, who’s worried that Lady Stark is planning on reneging on their deal to join forces against Queen Cersei.
Jon backs his girlfriend, and she gets her way.
Afterwards, Arya makes like Danny Tanner and calls an emergency family meeting.
For some reason, they invite Bran, even though he no longer identifies as either a Stark or regular human being.
Arya and Sansa keep banging on about how they’re all family and need to stick together and don’t trust Jon’s queen — and despite the fact it is absolutely in no one’s best interests to share the Targaryen bombshell right now, he goes right ahead and does it anyway.
He swears them both to secrecy.
Approximately 45 seconds later, Sansa tells Tyrion.
Tyrion then tells Varys and now we’re all pretty much across the news.
Last we checked on Bronn back in episode one, he’d been commissioned by Cersei to kill Jaime and Tyrion.
But he’d never do that. They’re pals! They’ve shared some real highs and lows!
Anyway, he lets them both know their number is up unless they offer him a really, really big house and they all agree that Highgarden should do the trick.
Bronn adds that he’s only cutting a deal because he thinks that having two dragons is giving their side the winning edge.
This is important because …
ON THE SEAS
… a short time later, Dany’s armies are ambushed by Euron Greyjoy’s fleet en route to Dragonstone and Rhaegal is shot dead out of the sky.
For those keeping score, we are down to one dragon.
We are now very low on dragons.
Just before that happens though, some pretty spicy chat was going on behind the scenes between Dany’s top advisers.
Varys is all about what’s best for the realm, and armed with the knowledge of Jon’s royal claim, it’s clear he no longer thinks Dany’s the one to lead the way.
Tyrion is less sure, loyalty and all that, so keeps suggesting a Royal Wedding to rival Harry and Meghan’s.
But Varys isn’t having it, and tells Tyrion that Dany won’t share the spotlight — it has to be Jon.
When Tyrion points out that Jon doesn’t even want the throne, Varys gets brutally honest.
“It doesn’t matter what he wants. The fact is that people are drawn to him — he’s a war hero,” he says.
It’s a real sign of the pickle they’re in that Tyrion throws this up as an ideal outcome: “Maybe Cersei will win and kill us all. That will solve all our problems.”
Right on cue, Cersei’s current squeeze Euron shows up and decimates most of her fleet.
It’s another blow they really didn’t need so soon after the Night King debacle, and as most of the major players wash up onshore, we notice that Missandei is missing.
Turns out she’s been taken hostage by Cersei via Euron, so she’s about as safe as a Tarly who won’t bend the knee.
ON THE KINGSROAD
The Hound and Arya are kicking it old school and hitting the road together.
They both allude to unfinished business, and we’re pretty sure The Hound is off to sell premium ad space ahead of the inevitable Cleganebowl, but Arya’s much more mysterious.
She tells The Hound that she’s not planning on ever returning to her childhood home.
We can only guess what she’s up to — could it be that she’s closing in on the “green eyes” Melisandre predicted she would kill?
Down in King’s Landing, Cersei and Euron are celebrating their triumph over Dany.
During their banter, Cersei mentions her pregnancy and while Euron clearly is being led to believe the baby is his, we’re not so sure.
Remember — last season, she told Jaime she was pregnant with his child.
There’s only one way to settle this:
DANY’S TEAM REGROUPS
Speaking of dads, Dany’s taking a few too many pages out of Mad King Aerys’ book on governance these days and she’s all for burning King’s Landing to the ground in her quest to weed out Cersei.
Varys and Tyrion point out that slaughtering civilians may not be the best way to win them over, but Dany doesn’t care.
Tyrion throws up one last-ditch plea for a negotiation with Cersei and Dany reluctantly agrees.
Once she’s out of the room, Varys and Tyrion continue gossiping about her behind her back.
Varys is really pushing forward Jon as their Iron Throne candidate, but Tyrion is getting nervous about all this “treason” talk.
“He’s temperate. He’s measured. He’s a man, which makes him more appealing to the Lords of Westeros … and he’s the heir to the throne,” Varys points out.
Tyrion again suggests a Jon-Dany wedding, but Varys is firm, claiming she’d “bend him to her will”.
“Each of us has a choice to make. I pray we choose wisely,” he tells a worried Tyrion.
BACK AT WINTERFELL
Up north, Brienne and Jaime have gone Facebook official and moved in together and this seems like the non-incestuous love story we’ve all been hoping for.
But barely a day into our long-awaited joy, it’s all ruined when Sansa tells Jaime that Cersei has taken her first victory over Dany.
He packs up in the dead of the night and sneaks out of their love shack, but Brienne catches him right before he takes off.
She cries and begs him to stay, and Jaime tells all about the bad stuff he used to do (i.e. throwing Bran out a window) and how it was all for his ex-girlfriend/sister Cersei.
He then delivers a killer blow before taking off for King’s Landing.
“She’s hateful … and so am I.”
Dany and Cersei come head-to-head in an absolutely token bid to negotiate a peaceful ending to their years-long stand-off.
Tyrion tries to chat with her right-hand man Qyburn, which proves to be entirely useless, so he appeals to his sister’s sensitive side.
“I know you don’t care about your people. They hate you, you hate them. But you’re not a monster,” he tells her, despite literally all evidence to the contrary.
“I know because I’ve seen it. You’ve always loved your children, more than yourself. More than Jaime. More than anything. I beg you, if not for yourself then for your child, your reign is over but that doesn’t mean your life has to end — it doesn’t mean your baby has to die.”
As she’s a sociopath, it is 110 per cent unsuccessful and instead everyone is forced to watch Missandei be beheaded by The Mountain.
Rather than ease tension, the brutal death of Dany’s longtime friend and adviser has rather fanned the flames — sorry — of her rage, setting the scene for some fairly extreme revenge.
And next week — we’re all invited to the BBQ.
The fifth episode of Game of Thrones will air next Monday on Foxtel at 11am and 8:30pm. Keep an eye out for news.com.au’s recap and podcast analysing the episode.
In the meantime you can subscribe to our podcast, Winter is Here, on iTunes.