Valar morghulis. All men must die, but especially those men who choose death via dragonfire over life and bending the knee to a new queen. “Eastwatch” gave viewers our first coldly calculated deaths by the hottest of means. Here’s your guide to the recently deceased.
Who died? Randyll Tarly, head of House Tarly, a noble house of The Reach. Tarly was formerly a bannerman for House Tyrell, but Randyll switched sides to fight for the Lannisters after Jaime poisoned Lady Olenna and Cersei threatened/reminded Randyll that Daenerys was bringing foreign invaders to Westeros.
How did they die? He chose to be burned alive via dragonfire rather than bend the knee to Daenerys.
How shocking was it? We’ve seen similar deaths—Jon Snow executing the mutineers at Castle Black, for example—of those who plot for their own ends or put pride over life. But there’s been nothing quite so visceral as this death sentence meted out with dragonfire instead of sword or hanging, making the death shocking for how it was carried out, if not in its inevitability.
What does it mean for the show? Tyrion pleaded with Randyll and his son Dickon not to let another noble house be extinguished, either forgetting that Samwell Tarly would be left heir or considering his claim to the house title moot, as Sam took the black and was training to be a maester. Regardless, their deaths do not mean House Tarly is finished, but rather puts Sam in the very interesting position of heir apparent to a noble house, complicated by the fact that he doesn’t know his father and brother were killed. Conveniently for the plot, the maesters knew but withheld the information from Sam, who departed Oldtown to pay a more active role in the fight against the White Walkers.
Who died? Dickon Tarly, second and favorite son of Randyll Tarly and heir to House Tarly after his older brother, Samwell, was disinherited and forced to join the Night’s Watch by their father. Unlike Samwell, Dickon was a skilled swordsman and hunter who excelled on the battlefield; he was also quite arrogant about it, particularly toward his bookish older brother.
How did they die? In a cleansing burst of dragon fire alongside his father.
How shocking was it? Dickon’s stubborn pride would never have allowed him to bend the knee to Daenerys Targaryen. But him disobeying his father’s orders and choosing to be burned alive rather than submit was surprising, given that being the future of House Tarly was kind of Dickon’s thing, and he knowingly threw that away rather than suffer a bruised ego.
What does it mean for the show? House Tarly’s alliance with the Lannisters is no more—as is the male bloodline of House Tarly unless Samwell finds some way to circumvent his disinheritance. The house itself is now under the care of Samwell and Dickon’s younger sister, Talla Tarly, continuing the show’s trend toward female rule in Westeros.
Who died? Two members of the Lannister-controlled police force, The City Watch, colloquially known as the Gold Cloaks, who stumbled upon Davos, Tyrion, and Gendry as they prepared to make their escape from King’s Landing.
How did they die? Their own greed did them in. After being offered—and accepting—a bribe from Davos Seaworth, the Gold Cloaks decided that they also wanted a cut of whatever these presumed smugglers were taking out of the city in their boat. That’s when they recognized Tyrion Lannister and remembered that Cersei had offered a large gold reward for Tyrion’s capture. That’s when (bang bang) Gendry’s silver hammer came down upon their heads.
How shocking was it? Not shocking at all. Given the choice between a peaceful encounter and a bloody display of medieval badassery, Game Of Thrones will always pick the latter.
What does it mean for the show? Gendry got to display his skill with that gnarly hammer. Other than that, absolutely nothing.