***Spoiler Warning: This post discusses Game of Thrones events through Season 7, Episode 3, and A Song of Ice and Fire book events and theories. Spoilers***
In George R.R. Martin’s world of ice and fire, dragons, and Grumkins and Snarks, queens would rule the world, if only the world would submit. There’s the Stormborn self-starter, Daenerys Targaryen, ‘I am queen and you shall bend the knee’; the angry daughter, Cersei Lannister, who in the wake of losing her children one by one, has claimed her throne, and then there is the undefeated (until now) Queen of Thorns … who still wins with her final crippling move. In her last moments, Lady Olenna quietly exerts her dominance in such a way that may have finally pushed a Lannister from where he teetered; leaves Jaime careening over his freshly fellated mental edge. The one-two shove of Olenna Tyrell’s revelation, and discovering his sisterlover‘s latest act of (madness) cruelty, may soon prove too much for a broken valonqar.
To the sound of waves crashing against Dragonstone’s shores, the bastard of Winterfell and the dwarf of Casterly Rock reunite, play catch-up — “Sansa, I hear she’s alive and well … she’s much smarter than she lets on.” “She’s starting to let on.” — as Ser Davos, calmly and without malice, faces his son’s murderer again. A spider bares his fangs to little effect; Melisandre intriguingly reveals she and Varys both must die in Westeros, while Dany and Jon trade Tyrion-mediated posturing, (not-so-)pleasantries, and stories of their predecessors (including Aerys Targaryen and Torrhen Stark; we know Jon is a descendent of both). While Jon continues his brooding perfection — “I came down here to brood over my failure to predict the Greyjoy attack. You’re making it difficult. You look a lot better brooding than I do. You make me feel like I’m failing at brooding over failure.” — Tyrion offers his queen sage advice, “Give him something that means nothing” (*everything), which she takes, and quite possibly saves her world.
A vulgarian’s delivery spells a predicted gift’s return, one dead daughter for another. Cersei one-ups Ellaria by sentencing her counterpart to watch the last of the Snakes — daughter, Tyene — fade before her eyes, similarly to the Mad King Aerys, who forced Brandon Stark to watch his father, Rickard die. Where Daenerys heeds warnings of repeating the past’s mistakes, Cersei dives deep; “I am the queen of the seven kingdoms, I’ll do as I please“, setting up her inevitable throat squeeze.
Sansa’s reunion with another brother is far less emotional than her first — at least, on a raven’s part. Just as a prescient Littlefinger speaks to his would-be (NEVER) Lady of fighting every battle everywhere — “Every possible series of events is happening all at once.” — Three-Eyed Bran shows up to tell Sansa that he can see everything that’s ever happened (though “all in fragments, pieces”). Instead of using his sight for good, he (thanks, B & W) reminds his sister of her wedding night rape, but like Daenerys, this Stark sister is a survivor. Ditto for a rescued Jorah who, thanks to Sam’s flagrant disobedience (“You were expecting a reward?”), is no longer Greyscale infected.
As Grey Worm leads the Unsullied attack on Casterly Rock, successful after they enter through Tyrion’s secret passage, a terrible realization plays across the leader’s face; the majority of the Lannister forces are missing. Led by Jaime and Randall Tarly (and Bronn!) to Highgarden, the combined forces easily take Castle Tyrell. The Queen of Thorns gamely taunts her foolish foe — “He really was a cunt, wasn’t he?” — about a Lannister son’s untimely death. After Jaime assures Olenna her own will be quite painless she, in turn, ensures his life will not. Gulping down the poisoned wine Jaime offered, the best Tyrell gleefully reveals her role in Joffrey’s horrific death, and bids Jaime adieu with these glorious last words: “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”
All hail Dame Diana Rigg, who stole every single scene she’s ever been in … and oh my gods, did she go out with a beautiful bang — to Jaime and Cersei’s twisted hearts (and ours). This hour’s finale is one of the best in memory. Rigg’s bravado performance paired with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s crushed reaction, as Jaime’s brain registered exactly what Olenna was telling him … it’s a scene we want to play on repeat, though even after just one viewing, it was instantly unforgettable.
Bronn sighting! Hmm… very interesting, since he’ll likely head back to King’s Landing with Jaime, and also discover what Cersei’s done with Ellaria and Tyene. Tyene saved Bronn’s life (“The Gift”) by giving him the antidote to poison he’d been exposed to (albeit, on her knife); will Bronn feel obligated to (try to) return the favor?
Jon finally saw Dany’s dragons, which begs the question — would/will Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal recognize his Targaryen-ness in any way? Will he be able to command or fly a dragon?
Sansa’s Lady of the North strength keeps shining through, in her stance, her self-assuredness, her wonderful Baelish-mocking. It was difficult seeing Bran so stoic (his becoming) against her emotions, made the reunion awkward (twice, what with that comment about how beautiful she was in her wedding dress). And when he tried to explain who he now is to Sansa, it played a little like Abbot and Costello.
Very curious about Melisandre’s comment that both she and Varys must die in Westeros. As much as Varys despises magic, could that be what connects them? As a child, Varys was sold to a sorcerer who made a Spider the eunuch he is today — and something strange happened when the sorcerer threw Varys’ genitals in the fire (which glowed blue, and the sorcerer heard a voice) .
That lovely scene between Jorah and Sam — so heartfelt and sweet — was perfectly done. It was so nice to see the Archmaester give Sam his due, but I fear now Tarly’s going back to boring.
For the amount of ongoing conflicts and leaders who appear to be aware of at least some of their enemies’ statuses, it is strange that all armies are not on high alert. Regardless of what another might do, should these surprise attacks (Euron, last week, the Lannisters, this) really be happening?
Loved the moment when, extolling Jon’s virtues, Davos stops himself: “He took a knife in the heart for those people, he gave his own l … ” And clearly, Dany picked up on it, later mentioning the comment to Tyrion.
While it makes sense that Iron Banker, Tycho Nestoris would drop by to offer Cersei another warning/chance, Mark Gatiss needs to stop with his goofy smiled cameos. Of course, he did give Cersei another chance to foreshadow what we saw in the Season 7 trailer, mentioned enough now — “Dragons might not be as invulnerable as people think. ” — that it’s surely a certainty.
And, speaking of goofy, Euron Greyjoy is officially less than comic relief. The book character is a fearsome villain, but TV Euron is rather an embarrassment to the Greyjoy family, and that’s saying something.
Oh, Theon … I shudder to think what will happen to you next — and Yara, too. Euron took Yara with him when he walked out.
There’s still a bit too much narration for my liking; expository background so the non-readers can hear some of the history they’ve missed. In a way, this seventh season feels like a different show we’re watching, and it remains to be seen whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Tyrion to Jon: “Stark men don’t fare well when they travel south.”
Jon: “True, but I’m not a Stark.”
Melisandre to Varys: “I’ve done my part. I’ve brought Ice and Fire together.
I will return dear Spider, one last time. I have to die in this country, just like you.”
Dany to Jon: “Did you see three dragons flying around? And did you see the Dothraki?”
“So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember their names. I have been sold like a brood mare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith, not in any gods, not in myths and legends, in myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries, until my children were born. The Dothraki hasn’t crossed a sea, any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will.”
Jon to Dany: “You’ll be ruling over a graveyard if we don’t defeat the Night King.”
Euron to Jaime: “Does she like it gentle or rough? A finger in the bum? Not now, we’ll talk later.”
Cersei to Ellaria: “No one moved like him. No one was so good with a spear. If only he hadn’t taunted him.”
Jon to Tyrion: “I’m not playing word games with you. The dead are coming for us all.”
Tyrion: “Why don’t you figure out what to do about my missing fleet and murdered allies and I’ll figure out what to do about your Walking Dead men.”
“I’d very much like to believe that Jon Snow is wrong, but a wise man once said that you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it.”
Dany: “Which wise man said this?”
Tyrion: “I don’t remember.”
Dany: “Are you trying to present your own statements as ancient wisdom?”
Tyrion: “I would never do that to you.”
Dany to Jon: “You’d better get to work, Jon Snow.”
Missandei to Jon and Davos: “You stand in the presence of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen. Rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Rightful Queen to the Andals and First Men. Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. The Mother of Dragons. The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. The Unburnt. The Breaker of Chains.”
Davos: “This is Jon Snow. He’s … King in the North.”
Tyrion explaining his secret passage that allows for the Unsullied to enter from under Casterly Rock: “Give me ten good men and I’ll impregnate the bitch.”