Macall B. Polay/HBO
August 13, 2017 at 10:58 PM EDT

Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill penned Sunday night’s episode, “Eastwatch,” and below he gives EW some creative insight about some of the fifth episode’s biggest moments…

On Dany executing the Tarlys: “At least Dany offers them a choice. Every conqueror offers the choice of ‘bend the knee or die.’ These lords disobeyed her and disrespected her in rebellion against the rightful queen. Then she gives them a way out and they don’t take it. Her deal wasn’t even ‘I’ll let you live.’ They could have kept all their titles and land. So, yes, in one way, it’s a horrible death. On the other hand, they kind of asked for it. It’s a win-win situation and they somehow managed to find the ‘lose’ in that.”

On Jaime’s battle fallout: “Jaime realizes with Bronn’s help that they’re not going to win — and now he has to convince Cersei. The Lannisters had been going with surprise attacks — the Ironborn surprising Dany’s fleet, the Highgarden surprise, the Casterly Rock [trap]. This was their first time facing Dany in the open field and they were so easily defeated and that’s not something he’s ever seen before. But as hard as it is to deal with Dany and her dragons, it’s much harder to deal with Cersei.”

On Dany letting Jon go on his mission: “Once they know the Army of the Dead is marching, it’s time to put up or shut up. She knows he’s honest — and is honest to a fault. She’s seen the cave. She can’t continue a war and still have Seven Kingdoms to rule after the war is done. Jon is not about to send others on a deadly mission that he wouldn’t shoulder himself. She’s gotten used to the technically-in-rebellion King in the North advising her. They’re both, in a way, cut from the same cloth — they’re both idealists. They both care about the people they govern, which makes them unique in Westeros. And they both feel the same weight of the crown. All that that draws her to him. He’s good hearted and would want to ‘break the wheel’ with her.”

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On that Tyrion and Jaime reunion: “To start a scene from total antagonism and hatred get it to a point of being vaguely the same side … the key is that Jaime knows what Tyrion is saying is true. He may not believe in the Army of the Dead — and, in fact, doesn’t believe it — but Tyrion believes it and is going to dangle the possibility of a truce. That’s worth exploring because the other possibility is death.”

On bringing back Gendry after a three-season absence: “We’ve always expected to bring Gendry back since we saw him rowing out. We almost brought him back in season 6 and it didn’t quite work out. We definitely wanted him here for the big mission, we wanted Robert Baratheon’s bastard son back into the show. It made sense that Davos would want to save this boy who’s like a surrogate son. And Joe is great which is a big positive.” (Read our interview with Gendry actor Joe Dempsie.)

RELATED: Hear the latest from EW’s Game of Thrones Weekly podcast

Bonus: On last week’s “The Spoils of War” sparring scene between Arya and Brienne: “Their height difference serves our purpose in the scene. Brienne thinks it’s going to be such a one-sided fight and Arya quickly proves she’s not a lady at all. It started pouring down rain, and having stunts in the pouring rain while actors are swinging blades at each other is slightly dangerous. It turned out really well and it was exciting to write because it’s two characters we’ve only seen briefly together in season 4. It’s that natural human drive: Who’s better? Who would win in a fight?”

More EW coverage of “Eastwatch” coming:
Joe Dempsie on Gendry’s long-awaited return 
Our deep-dive recap of “Eastwatch”
— The significance of that letter Arya found
— Our GoT podcast (new episode Monday)

Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.

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