(Note: This post contains spoilers for the Aug. 13 episode of “Game of Thrones.”)
Among the great moments fans have been waiting for on “Game of Thrones” in the fifth episode of Season 7, “Eastwatch,” was the return of long-lost favorite Gendry (Joe Dempsie).
Fans have been waiting for Gendry to make his return for years — ever since Season 3, when he rowed off into the night, after Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) saved him from being sacrificed for blood magic by Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). Now he’s back, and he’s ready to make a big impact.
Specifically, he seems to be ready to make that impact to people’s skulls.
Gendry’s return also included a sly reference to his backstory and to the history of Westeros, but only fans who are steeped in the show’s lore might have picked it up. That reference is the giant war hammer Gendry forged for himself — a callback to his warrior father, Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy).
When Gendry first showed up on the scene, it was because Ned Stark (Sean Bean) discovered him in King’s Landing, working for a blacksmith. Ned was investigating evidence that Robert Baratheon wasn’t the father of Crown Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), and that Joffrey was actually the son of Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), which means he legally wouldn’t be heir to the throne.
Ned immediately realized that Gendry was one of King Robert’s bastard children (the very common physical traits shared by Robert’s bastards proved Joffrey wasn’t his son). But when Robert died, Joffrey rose to the throne and, aware of Ned Stark’s accusations about his parentage, ordered all of Robert’s bastards murdered.
But Gendry escaped with the help of Yoren (Francis Magee), a man of the Night’s Watch, and later found out who his real father was.
Robert might have been a bad king, but he was a fine warrior. During Robert’s Rebellion, in which he fought with Ned against the Mad King and his son, Prince Rhaegar, Robert was a fearsome fighter on the battlefield. He famously beat Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident, bashing the prince and his bejeweled armor with his signature weapon: A big war hammer.
Gendry forging himself a hammer like Robert’s is a pretty good indication that he’s embracing his Baratheon heritage — and the reality is, he’s the last living Baratheon out there. Gendry put his own personal spin on the hammer, too. If you look closely, you’ll see a ram’s head on the hammer’s pommel, referencing the signature helmet Gendry forged back in Season 1.
With Gendry back in the game, House Baratheon might have an heir again. And while he might not end up a lord of a great house, it certainly seems possible Gendry has a chance to do some legendary smashing north of the Wall, just like his old man.