Gendry returned to Game of Thrones and he and Jon became besties, restoring the Baratheon and Stark alliance.
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Last season the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones gave us the much anticipated Bastard Bowl. Jon (Kit Harington) and Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) faced-off in a battle for Winterfell. It was a hard fought fight that nearly cost Jon his life and the lives of the men fighting with him. Just when it seemed like the Bolton army was going to overwhelm Team Stark the Knights of the Vale rushed in to save the day. The victory felt real when the Stark banners were once again adorning the castle walls. And Sansa (Sophie Turner) had her revenge on Ramsay.
In season 7 Game of Thrones is heading into a much different fight. There is no doubt that there will be casualties (Side note: my bets are on Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Jorah (Iain Glen), Thoros (Paul Kaye) and Beric (Richard Dormer) making the big sacrifices next week because the rest have some unfinished business) but the ragtag group of saviors fighting for the realm are significant not just because they’re clearly the bravest we’ve got. It’s because this time two bastards are essentially leading the charge.
Okay well maybe that’s not exactly the case. Jon (Kit Harington) is actually probably a true-born Targaryen, which is pretty fan-freaking-tastic but until his legitimacy is revealed he’s a bastard. And then we have the return of Gendry (Joe Dempsie)!
He takes the cake for sure in terms of longest wait for confirmation that he’s alive. Okay sure there was that whole year where everyone lied about Jon and no one ever really lied about Gendry. But he’s been MIA for so long his return was long overdue.
Davos is still protective over him and insists that he lie to Jon about his own lineage but Gendry doesn’t listen and instead introduces himself to Jon with all the information the King in the North definitely didn’t ask for. Gendry’s eagerness was incredibly relatable. The two were clearly measuring each other up but when Gendry explains why he didn’t want to hide who he is things really get interesting.
Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark were incredibly close friends. They fought alongside each other in Robert’s Rebellion and attempted to ally their houses with Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Obviously we know how that all worked out – not that it matters much since Joffrey wasn’t really a Baratheon anyway – but the Gendry and Jon meeting serves an incredibly important purpose.
Ned was so close to Robert that he named his eldest son after him. The two met as teenagers when they were fostered by Jon Arryn – the then Lord of the Vale and subsequent Hand of King Robert (Jon is also probably named for him though that’s debatable since Jon probably isn’t even his real name). Of course it’s Jon Arryn’s death that’s the catalyst for the entire series – beginning with a letter from Lysa Arryn to her sister Catlyn all of which turned out to be orchestrated by the ceaselessly conspiring Littlefinger.
In what was expected to be a peaceful time, Robert’s reign didn’t last very long and Ned’s demise followed shortly thereafter. The next generation was forced to grow up fast in order to fight in the War of the Seven Kings. Gendry in particular was thrust into the fray when Cersei (Lena Headey) decreed the death of all of Robert’s bastards. And his “King’s blood” very nearly ended his life again when Melisandre (Carice van Houten) used him. She revealed the truth about his father but likely would have killed him had Davos (Liam Cunningham) not intervened.
Davos sent Gendry from Dragonstone in a boat and it took him something like four seasons to get back to King’s Landing, which is crazy since everyone basically teleports everywhere now (I know I know they’re time jumping too but it’s hard to believe when it should take a lot longer to get to Eastwatch from Dragonstone). As it turns out Gendry wasn’t actually rowing that whole time but I appreciated the winkwink nudgenudge joke from Davos, anyway. Who knew Gendry was right in Flea Bottom all along?! Just being a blacksmith. Though he was thrilled at the chance to leave and didn’t even care what Davos was asking him to do.
And while the episode made it a point to highlight a bit more about the mystery behind Jon’s lineage in that cave meeting with Gendry he was every bit Ned’s son. Both had the opportunity to meet the other’s father and the two became instant friends. The moment was more than just reminiscent of the bond that Ned and Robert shared. It was a direct callback to the first interaction we ever saw. Even more so when you remember that Robert was also known for wielding a hammer.
Though not technically a reunion since Gendry and Jon had never met before, this was a more subtle kind of reunion in terms of House Baratheon and House Stark once again aligning themselves against the biggest threat to the realm. Back in Robert and Ned’s day it was the Mad King. These days the royal threat is several shades darker.
Sadly, Gendry doesn’t bring up knowing Arya. That surely would have bonded them even more but perhaps Gendry is too worried to discover her fate? We’ll just have to wait for their reunion. Hey, if they escape the Night’s King and his army of White Walkers and survive this thing it’s a story Gendry and Jon can tell their own children!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Be sure to tune in!
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