It was years — and approximately one million rowing jokes — in the making, but Gendry (Joe Dempsie) has finally returned to Game of Thrones. His appearance in Sunday's "Eastwatch," his first since the Season 3 finale, was full of surprises, starting with the fact he's been hiding out in plain sight as the hunkiest blacksmith in Fleabottom.

It's kind of genius when you think about it — honestly, who would go looking for him there? — but the pleasant surprises surrounding the return of Robert Baratheon's last remaining bastard didn't stop there. No, from the minute Davos (Liam Cunningham) walked into his forge, Gendry proved that he is the hero Westeros needs.

Move over, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) — if that is your real name! Step aside, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), Mother of Dragons (Who Doesn't Like Being Told No). This show is all about Gendry now. And do you know why?

Because he has been waiting for this moment.

As Justified's Constable Bob will tell you, it's important to have a "go bag," which is literally a bag full of life's important stuff in case you need to haul ass really quickly. Gendry knows this and understands this. He didn't need to pack when Davos arrived, because he'd been waiting.

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Because he is tired of everyone's sh--.


Gendry has been through enough by this point that he no longer cares to wait around and hope the worst doesn't come to pass. Instead, he takes matters into his own hands, like when he smashed in the heads of the foolish guards hassling Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), whom they recognized because of his facial scar, as Gendry, Davos and Tyrion made their escape from King's Landing.

Because he doesn't care if you know who he is.


Davos, who sees himself as a bit of a surrogate father to Gendry, was worried about protecting Gendry's identity when introducing him to Jon. But Gendry had other ideas, marching right up to the King in the North and introducing himself as Gendry, the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. And it was great that he did, because the two, who are very clearly now the show's new versions of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon, hit it right off.

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Because he wants to fight.


Jon and his army are going to need all the help they can get in the fight against the White Walkers and their army of wights. That Gendry is so gung-ho about fighting the good fight — and is pretty great with his hammer — makes him a good person to have by Jon's side when the going gets tough.

Because he makes Jon less broody.


Having Gendry around makes Jon a little more bearable; the contrast between the two young men is sharp and distinct. And after years of solemn brooding, it's nice to see a hero as fiery as Gendry put a smile on Jon's face.

Because he doesn't have to deal with the politics of it all.


Yes, Gendry is Robert Baratheon's last remaining bastard son, but Game of Thrones is so far removed from the Baratheon of it all that we have to wonder: does that even matter anymore? We're willing to bet that a few people in King's Landing might still care and prefer a Baratheon on the Iron Throne, but Gendry doesn't appear to be all that concerned about the possibility of ruling. He cares very little about the politics of the Seven Kingdoms — just fighting against the White Walkers to save the world — and my god, that's refreshing.

Because he has a badass hammer.


Robert had a hammer. Thor had a hammer. Gendry has a hammer.

Because he can make more badass weapons.

While some may argue Game of Thrones brought Gendry back into the fold because he is a Baratheon bastard — the parallels between Jon and Ned, and Gendry and Robert are an easy enough argument to glom onto as well — the truth is, Gendry is an expert blacksmith. He learned everything he knows from Tobho Mott, who could rework Valyrian steel. It's far more likely that Gendry too knows how to do this and is back to forge the weapons that Jon and the living will need to defeat the White Walkers and the army of the dead. After all, before he joined Jon's ragtag team on the trip beyond the Wall, Davos wanted to send him to the forges of Winterfell.

Because he is still pretty hot.


Maybe we're being sort of shallow on this point, but we know at least one Stark who would agree with us.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.