Game of Thrones season 7 is all done and dusted, but Gendry is nowhere to be found.
For crying out loud.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones was pretty amazing. The finale brought together all of the major fighting factions, that Arya-Sansa mess got neatly cleared up (thank the gods), Jaime was freed from his own bad judgement, Jon and Dany got together and almost definitely made a new little Targaryen baby, Theon got smacked down and got back up again in an uncanny imitation of Octavia Blake on The 100, and — oh, right — the Ice Dragon brought the Wall tumbling down. The biggest of deals.
We ride into the hiatus — which will probably last until 2019 by the way, try not to panic — feeling pretty damn satisfied, all things considered. Yes, Winter is Here and yes, most of our heroes are probably going to die, but for right now, almost everyone is (or is on their way to) where they’re supposed to be.
Remember this guy?
I mean, how could you forget?
When the only living Baratheon bastard, Arya’s BFF, He Who Rows etc returned earlier in season 7 after a four-year absence, we were all super excited. Joe Dempsie, back on our screens; Gendry, back in our hearts, clearly here for an important reason.
But as it turns out, in season 7 at least, the closest thing we got to a reason was, “oh yeah and he can run pretty fast.” (Totally incongruous with knowing that he skipped leg day for all those years of rowing and hammering, but okay.)
Last week, Gendry joined Jon Snow and his merry band of half-dead men on a heist mission across the Wall, only to be promptly sent back to Eastwatch — out of harm’s way, which was a relief, but also basically out of the action. There was no Daenerys Ex Machina reprieve for Gendry, he didn’t get to ride a dragon, and his Flash-like superpowers didn’t even take him anywhere useful (like, say, Winterfell).
He just ran…
And… gracefully took a little break.
For all we know, Gendry is still at Eastwatch, recovering from his brisk jog. And Eastwatch just got destroyed by an undead dragon.
So if he’s still at Eastwatch, recovering, he is — in the word of Jon Snow, I mean Sand, I mean Targaryen, I mean, forget it — fucked.
The final scene of the season 7 finale saw Beric Dondarrion and Tormund Giantsbane witnessing the destruction of the Wall, and since we didn’t see them die, we have to assume that they are still alive when season 8 begins.
Presumably, Gendry is too, but we don’t know because we didn’t see him! In fact, I’ll go so far as to say he’s definitely alive, but then that’s what we reassured ourselves with in season 3, and look where that got us. For Gendry Waters, ‘alive’ doesn’t mean ‘present,’ so excuse me for being skeptical.
But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say there just wasn’t budget in the finale for Joe Dempsie’s paycheck (Gendry and Ghost seem to have that in common), and that Gendry will return in season 8. Where is he?
We don’t have to assume he’s at Eastwatch. After all, in a shocking twist, Gendry has proven himself to be the person who travels the fastest in Westeros, so there’s really no reason to think he’d stay in the same place for more than three minutes at a time.
In the few days that have passed since Dany and Jon brought the dead man to King’s Landing, he really could be anywhere. Essos, maybe. Dorne? Could he be showing up at Winterfell in season 8, since that’s apparently the place to be?
This brings up another, even more interesting question: What is Gendry’s purpose on Game of Thrones? Surely — surely — he’s not just here to complete an Ironman triathlon (though maybe that’s his way of staking a claim on the Iron Throne).
As we speculated upon his return in episode 5, Gendry’s heritage could prove more important than we assume, either if he becomes legitimized as a Baratheon or if he’s revealed to be the trueborn son of Robert and Cersei.
He also remains a blacksmith at a time when the side of the living desperately needs competent people to work dragonglass into White Walker-killing blades. Gendry could be back at Dragonstone already, hammering away.
He also has yet to reunite with Arya; theirs is one of the only emotionally significant reunions we’ve yet to witness, along with Jon/Arya, Jaime/Bran, and (maybe) Sansa/Cersei, and Winterfell would seem like a logical place to go following the destruction of the Wall.
I have to admit it feels like something of an anticlimax to exit Game of Thrones season 7 having no idea where Gendry is — again! — and with no real guarantee that we’ll see him again.
However, the Game of Thrones producers said they were looking to bring him back for a while, and finally had a reason to do it. We have to assume that reason extends beyond his running prowess.