Spoiler Alert: The following discusses plot points from this week's Game of Thrones Season 7 episode, "The Queen's Justice," written by executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by Mark Mylod.
In short: Jon "Knows Plenty Now" Snow arrives at Dragonstone to meet with self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Daenerys Targaryen. It's a seminal moment in the making since George R.R. Martin created the world in his books and the TV series started way back in 2011. Meanwhile, Euron arrives at Kings Landing bearing three precious (still-breathing) gifts for his intended Queen, Cersei. Jorah is on the road to recovery, thanks to Samwell. And the war between the Targaryen allies and the Lannisters begins with an unexpected twist.
Talky episodes can be deadly when it comes to entertainment value, and "The Queen's Justice" was plenty expositiony at points, but those moments were also chock full of delicious verbal sparring between unexpected characters like Tyrion and Jon, Melisandre and Varys, Ellaria Sand and Cersei, and Jamie and Olenna Tyrell. There's a clear sense in this episode that after seven years, showrunners Benioff and Weiss are delighting in writing for their massively talented cast, who all know exactly how to articulate their characters' strengths and flaws via the dialogue to perfection now. Despite the action kicking in during the last 10 minutes, it wasn't missed with so much story-moving going on, leading up to the first battle in the war for Westeros.
As nasty and ruthless as Cersei can be, there was something exceptionally poetic in her revenge plot that forced Ellaria Sand and her last surviving Sand Snake daughter to experience the exact same outcome that Ellaria inflicted on Cersei's Myrcella: poisoned by a vengeful mother's kiss. There's no doubt Cersei suffered mightily from the loss of her innocent daughter, and she made sure her tormentor got it as good as she gave it. The Dorne story, or performances, have never been my favorite, but at least it came to an ending that felt clever and darkly satisfying.
Jon's reaction to seeing Dany's dragons for the first time = priceless. Only to be bested by the chilly throne-room crown measuring between the Queen and Lord of the North. Before that moment, the two were just rumors and stories to one another. Facing off against one another with their passionate ambitions laid out their unique (and shall we say freakishly parallel) paths to ruling was needed, and was paid off later when the two spoke again with less airs and more understanding as they gazed upon her flying dragons. Jon knew his story was nuts, but her dragons are also nuts, so they at least have some middle ground. Now he's going to make some dragonglass weapons and observe how she handles the crushing blow of Jaime Lannister's strategic mic drop.
Also, Dany's fierce saying, "Faith. In myself" is the next great T-shirt meme that needs to be made.
How great was it to see Bran and Sansa Stark reunite? It's moments like that where we are reminded this whole story started with this family and how far they've all changed in such a relatively short time. Will Arya be home next? And then will Jon be back to lead his men and family against the Army of the Dead (with some dragons in tow)?
But the real emotional gut punch this week was the death blow to Lady Olenna via Jaime Lannister. If I were Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, I'd just retire after Game of Thrones now. Can it get any better as an actor than sharing a scene filled with the power and wit of Dame Diana Rigg? I think not. And if you're going to get killed off this show, then there's no doing it better than calling Joffrey a c-word, AND admitting you murdered him after you've drunk the poison that will kill you, like a boss. Hail Rigg! The show will never be the same without you, but damn did you make it 100% more wicked, wise, and fun every time you graced the screen. You went out like a dragon!
Euron is the worst. Parading Yara Greyjoy, Ellaria and her daughter through King's Landing like Cersei imitations was lowdown, dirty. Then he totally went for Jaime's vulnerable bits by sex-trashing Cersei right in the throne room, a mere few feet away. He's got brass ones. Let's see how long she lets him strut them around before she snips him.
And SHAME on the citizens of King's Landing, right? Those bloodthirsty residents are some hardcore bandwagon beraters. I'm starting to feel like I won't feel so bad if Dany's dragons roast the whole town.
Jaime, Jaime, Jaime. You better hope Cersei's antidote really cleared out that poison. And getting back into bed with the devil has sealed your fate. She will be the end of you. You're going to break Brienne's heart.
Greyworm and Tyrion got punked by Jamie. We forget gold hand is a master strategist, and he proved it again tonight by decimating a lot of Dany's forces. House Tyrell is felled, Casterly Rock is cornered, and the Iron Islands Armada of Doom is having its way with the rest of their sea fleet. Dragon is up, Dany! It's looking bad out there.
Theon got fished out of the drink. The human jellyfish rises once more. Can we even enjoy a redemption story for him at this point? Tragic.
Things to Ponder ...
Melisandre dropped the scariest fortune ever on Varys by admitting she's coming back to Dragonstone eventually to meet her death ... as he will. The secret keeper went all shades of white with that little nugget. Now we have to wonder, will that be sooner or later?
The Sansa and Bran reunion was lovely for 30 seconds until he admitted to "seeing" her assault on her wedding night and then things got all kinds of awkward. I'd walk away too, but what else is Bran going to share with her that she needs to know? Perhaps Jon's true heritage, which would firmly cement Sansa as the rightful Lady of Winterfell? She certainly walked around like she was ready for the job.
Lord Petyr Baelish is still very much the creeper but his advice on how to rule was sound advice, something akin to what Lady Olenna might have shared. Does he truly care for her, or as much as his dark little heart can?
What did you think of "The Queen's Justice"?