Most of this Game of Thrones episode took place in the south in either King’s Landing or Dragonstone, which I really enjoyed. It gave the show time to dwell a little more on character moments, and the dialogue in this episode was fantastic. Overall, I thought this episode was amazing!
Spoilers below, so tread carefully!
Most of the heavy lifting in this episode was at Dragonstone where we finally got to see Jon and Dany meet! This was probably the most anticipated meeting in the entire run of the show, as well as the moment where “Ice and Fire” finally came together, so there was a lot riding on this interaction. I think the show nailed it that Kit Harrington and Emilia Clark were the MVPs of the episode.
Once Jon and Davos arrive, they’re greeted by a very bad ass looking welcome committee as their boat was immediately taken away by some Dothraki. The color-coordinating makes Dany’s allies seem so very intimidating, and I really loved seeing Jon and Tyrion together again, and I appreciated the humor in their catch up as they walked from the beach to the throne room. Tyrion asked about Sansa and was quick to assure Jon their marriage was unconsummated while Jon was quick to assure Tyrion that Sansa was starting to let on how smart she was. Their banter is interrupted by the dragons flying overhead and Jon and Davos dive to the ground immediately. I liked this moment a lot, it reminded you that no one has seen the dragons yet this side of the sea. Diving to the ground like that is a ridiculous gesture, it’s over the top and can easily look silly if there isn’t the right emotion behind it, but I thought that it was very believable.
Up on the cliffs watching the entire interaction is Melisandre. Apparently, she has decided to stay away from the meeting as she is not on the best of terms with either Davvos or Jon. Varys confronts her and as she reveals that she has actual regret for the horrible mistakes she’s made, she says that she is returning to Volantes. Varys tells her with a *pointed stare* that it might not be safe for her if she returns to Westeros. Let’s not forget that he is a eunuch thanks to magic such as hers, it makes sense that he would be happy to see her go. But Melisandre says that she must return once more because they are BOTH going to die in Westeros. It was hard for me to tell if Varys was surprised or not. He definitely looked apprehensive and I think a bit longingly towards the ships that could take him away to the safety of Essos.
Back in the throne room, Missande rattles off Dany’s full title and Jon and Davos share a look that had me rolling with laughter. Davos finally responds with “This is Jon Snow… He’s King of the North”. A linguist Davos is not, but he is a stickler and notices that Dany does not address Jon as a king and demands that she do so. This confrontation makes the discussion very tense very quickly. Jon reveals he is not there to bend the knee. He dives deep into the show’s history, making the point that Dany’s father brutally killed both his uncle and grandfather. Dany look truly ashamed and says that her father was evil, asks for forgiveness, and asks Jon not to judge a daughter by the sins of her father. This is basically exactly what Jon said in the first episode of the season, and it’s clear that he remembers.
The argument gets heated quickly. Jon is just there for the dragon glass, and it’s pretty obvious that Dany doesn’t believe his claims of the dead rising. While making a speech highlighting all of the horrible things she has gone through to get to where she was, and all of the amazing acts that have led to her standing in Westeros, Davos jumps in to point out that Jon has done some pretty amazing things as well. Yes, the Dothraki are in Westeros, but Jon made the Wildlings their allies, was voted Lord Commander and King in the North despite being a bastard. he then begins to say how Jon was brought back from the dead but is silenced by a pointed look from Jon.
The argument is interrupted by Lord Varys, who rushes into the throne’s room to whisper in Dany’s ear. After sending Jon and Davos off, Varys breaks the news to Dany about what happened to her fleet in the last episode. As Dany learns of her fleet’s defeat, Theon is pulled from the sea by his sister’s former men. He says he tried to save her, but they point out that he would not be there alive if he had tried. Theon’s look of despair is heart-wrenching, I hope he gets some redemption.
Later Tyrion meets Jon on the most beautiful cliffs I have ever seen. They are both there to brood, Tyrion over his military failure, and Jon over the fact that no one will listen to him. Tyrion reveals that he believes Jon, but that the real problem is that Jon is asking the impossible. He advises Jon to ask the people there about Dany, and also to ask Dany for a reasonable request. Jon decides to focus on getting the dragon glass, which is a smart move. Tyrion doesn’t have the best military advice, but he does navigate politics well. He also had a great line here about how all three of them, Jon, himself and Dany, are lucky that children are not their fathers. I really liked the dialogue in this scene, and I thought that Kit Harrington nailed it this entire episode.
Back in the map room, Tyrion relays Jon’s new request to Dany, who didn’t even know that the dragon glass existed. As they discuss Jon as a person and potential ally, Dany reveals that she very much heard Davos’s earlier remark about Jon taking a knife in the heart. I am looking forward to seeing the confrontation that will ensue once the fact that Jon has been raised from the dead comes to light.
Later again as Dany is watching her children fly (how much time elapses during any one episode is becoming increasingly unclear), John approaches her and the two finally have a moment alone. Given that they have both been confronted with fantastical impossible things, they agree to examine what they think they know. I like how they sort of bond over having a mutual friend in Tyrion. The exchange of “Tyrion enjoys talking” “We all enjoy what we’re good at” “I don’t” was wonderful. I know I’ve said this before, but the dialogue in this episode was so on point. Most of my notes from this episode were quotes.
Dany gives John the dragon glass he came there for, and the resources to mine it, but she doesn’t believe his claims about the White Walkers.
Across the bay in Kings Landing, Euron is back with Yara, Ellaria, and Tyene in chains. After riding his horse into the throne room (which was really an amazing visual) he presents his “gifts” of the two Sands to Cersei. Cersei accepts Euron’s gifts and promises him her hand in marriage… after the war is over. As she announces that Euron will lead her navy while Jamie will lead her army, Euron whispers to Jamie asking for sex advice for when he eventually sleeps with Jamie’s sister.
Cersei takes Ellaria and Tyene to the dungeons, gags them, and chains them on opposite sides of a room. She then launches into a truly horrifying and wonderful monologue about how and why she wants to kill Ellaria’s only daughter. You can see in Ellaria and Tyene’s eyes how scared they are, it was devastating. Cersei then gives her a kiss, revealing that of course, she is wearing the same poison lipstick they used to kill Mycella.
Ellaria’s punishment is to watch her only daughter die in front of her and be helpless to stop it. It was devastating. The Sand Snakes were definitely not my favorite part of the show, but it was heartbreaking to see Ellaria’s story end this way. There were some nice parallels between her journey and that of her lover Oberyn’s. They both got careless once they thought that they had won, and the tides turned horribly.
Cersei is apparently turned on by being a terrible person because she goes to her room and sleeps with Jamie. Afterward, it is clear that Cersei considers herself untouchable because she gets up and answers the door with Jamie still naked in her bed. Considering that all of the conflicts in this story started with Jamie pushing Bran out of a window to keep the secret that Cersei just revealed to her handmaid, I think Jamie was right to be concerned about revealing their relationship.
The handmaid is there to fetch Cersei to meet with the representative from the Iron Bank of Bravvos, to whom the crown is still in massive debt to thanks to Tywin. Cersei promises that the entire debt will be paid in full within two weeks.
Up north in Winterfell Sansa doesn’t have enough food for all of the North to survive there the entire winter. She also notices that the blacksmiths aren’t putting leather on the armor. As far as at least housekeeping goes, she is a good leader.
Littlefinger tries to influence her again, and Sansa does her best to shut him down. His advice is that she must act as though every possibility is happening simultaneously, which unfortunately not a bad idea. They are interrupted from their verbal spar by Bran’s surprise arrival. (Although, I find it very hard to believe that Jon’s brothers at The Wall wouldn’t have immediately sent him a raven) Sansa’s reaction to seeing her brother alive again was very touching, but Bran is not the boy that she remembers. As they talk beneath the weirwood tree, it is clear that his transformation into the three-eyed raven has left him completely void of emotion, tact, and the ability to explain himself clearly. He even brings up Sana’s wedding night as proof of his omnipresence, which is not cool. Sansa leaves her brother under the tree, and we are reminded that although she has taken her home back she is obviously suffering from the mental trauma that she endured there during her ordeal with Ramsey.
Back at the Citadel, Jorah is miraculously cured! Not only is the greyscale gone, that beeswax and olive oil mixture has worked some hasty wonders because his skin is barely scarred. Since the infection appears to be no longer active, he is free to go. After saying goodbye, Sam shakes his hand. This astounded me. Not only was it the first voluntary human contact Jorah has had for a very long time, it was also, in my opinion, very stupid of Sam. The infection is no longer active, yes, but is Jorah actually cured? It hasn’t even been a full day since he was covered in greyscale! Who knows exactly how this disease has spread, up until an episode ago they didn’t know they could cure it with olive oil!
Despite being potentially infected (according to my very non-medical opinion), Sam is luckily not in trouble with the maesters. I’m definitely keeping “I read the book and followed the instructions” on my short list of excuses for future mishaps as it seemed to work out very well for Sam. As a punishment, Sam has to make copies of a bunch of scrolls being eaten by mites that apparently like flesh as well as paper. At least he has graduated from toilet cleaning.
Dany is, understandably, upset upon hearing of the defeat of her allies. She is also apparently hell-bent on flying off with her dragons to burn Euron’s fleet to the ground. Tyrion tells her that she is far too valuable to send off alone, and outlines how the attack on Casterlly Rock will take place as we watch it happen. Tywin made Tyrion in charge of the sewers when he was a teenager, and that is how a few Unsullied will enter the castle and let the rest of the army in. A tense but not terrifying battle ensues, and Greyworm and the Unsullied succeed in taking Casterly Rock. However, Greyworm quickly points out that that was far too easy. Looking out to sea, it is revealed that Euron’s fleet is burning all the Targaryen ships and that the bulk of the Lannister forces are currently attacking High Garden.
The Tyrell forces are easily defeated and Jamie purposefully walks through the aftermath of the battle to where Olenna is waiting. He explains that he learned from when Robb captured him all those seasons ago and sacrificed the worthless Casterlly Rock so that he could take what really mattered, the richest house in Westeros.
Olenna admits defeat and says that her biggest failure was a failure of imagination. Cersei has done things more horrible than she could ever fathom, and she looks at Jamie and says “You really love her… you poor fool”. As they both know he is there to kill her, she asks how things will go down. Apparently, Cersei wanted Olenna’s death to be bloody and brutal (shocker) but Jamie pours poison into Olenna’s wine and informs her that thanks to him her death will be painless. Olenna downs the glass and says that she is grateful her death will be painless because she would “hate to die like your son”. She the vividly recounts Joffrey’s horrible death and reveals that she was the one who killed him.
Jamie leaves her to die alone. Our last view of the fantastic Queen of Thorns is of her sitting alone at the table, having won her last verbal spar.
There was a lot of great dialogue this episode, and a lot of great pairings. The comedic pairs of Jon and Davos and Jon and Tyrion were a wonderful breath of fresh air into a very tense situation, and Jamie and Lady Olenna’s scene was absolutely fantastic.