The latest episode of Game of Thrones has rightly been described as one of the best in the series history. But, for all of its brutal battle scenes, there was another underlying theme to the episode: the relationship between economics and power.
Throughout the series the Lannister’s have been presented as the most influential family, owing to their wealth and their financial management – a Lannister, after all, ‘always pays their debts’. But recent conversations between Cersei and Iron Banker Tycho Nestoris have shown that the Lannister and royal finances are not what they once were.
The maneuvering of royal forces against the Tyrrells was motivated as much by Cersei’s need to repay her debt to the Iron Bank, as it was to quash their rebellion. And although Daenerys was able to crush the Lannister army with her dragon at the end of the episode, just before that scene Jaime confirmed that all of the gold plundered from the campaign in High Garden had been delivered back to Kings Landing.
This means that Cersei is able to repay her current debts. And that in turn she will have credit to make a few more purchase, including – as you will have noticed if you paid close attention – reinforcing her armies with additions from Esso’s ‘Golden Company’.
If you’re wondering who they are, the ‘Golden Company’ are a group of elite sellswords that the queen will be hoping can help her to overcome her adversaries. However, there could be a catch.
Robert’s last surviving bastard son, Gendry, was last seen rowing off in a boat, after Davos saved him from Melisandre’s blood sacrifice, in season three. Photos of Joe Dempsie on-set have already proven that he will be retuning this season and a fan theory posted to Reddit believes he could now be part of the Golden Company, altering Westeros as we know it.
Reddit user double0million has even suggested that Gendry will be the leader of the Golden Company and obviously that would have big implications for the rest of the show.
They write: “In season three we see Gendry leave on a rowing boat from Dragonstone headed possibly towards Essos. During this time between season 3 and season 7 Gendry has spent a lot of time in Essos possibly practicing his craft.
“My theory is that he has fallen in with the sellswords of The Golden Company and has risen to the top to lead these men. This may seem incredibly out there, but here me out. The Stark children alone have shown how far it is possible to rise (i.e. Jon) and how much they can develop, so its not entirely impossible that the son of Robert Baratheon can ascend to a leadership role. It’d certainly fit the narrative of ascending to greatness in spite of enormous odds.
“In the books, the Golden Company represent the Targaryen bastard Bittersteel & co’s conquest during the Blackfyre rebellions. With the omission of Aegon and Jon Connington from the TV show, the role of royal bastard-exile seems to rest with Gendry. If he hasn’t become the leader already, then he must at least be sheltered by them.
“To top it off, Tycho Nesters briefly mentions to Cersie the potential use of The Golden Company once the debts have been paid off, so they certainly could have some potential plot line in the show.
“If the Golden company do come in to play this season, in my opinion Gendry is the only person who seems to fit as the potential leader without the need to introduce a brand new character. The only other person who could lead them is Jorah after being cured of greyscale, he did fight for them after all, however I think his time is done with them.”
Considering that Gendry comes from the same lineage as the last man to defeat a Targaryen king, this could all spell bad news for Daenerys if true.
Whilst we wait to see what happens in the next episode there’s the trailer: