It’s the third episode of the Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” and there’s been enough chess piece positioning—it’s time to just start making huge, sweeping moves across the board. This episode, written by Benioff and Weiss, directed by Mark Mylod, centers around the Queens of Westeros, their allies, their downfalls, the justice they enact and the wars they fight—big, small, individual and epic. The episode is titled “The Queen’s Justice,” and while it most literally refers to an interaction between Cersei and Ellaria Sand, it could also be the justice that Daenarys Targaryen seeks for her many followers, the justice for her family that Sansa fights for, and the scraps of personal justice that Olenna Tyrell clings to in her darkest moments.
We open, surprisingly, on Jon Snow (Kit Harington) landing on the beach at Dragonstone with Davos (Liam Cunningham). That was fast! He and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) greet each other after long last by their derogatory nicknames: “bastard,” “dwarf.” They smile at their own continued, incongruous survival.
After handing over their weapons to the magnificently maned Dothraki, Davos does a little getting to know you with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), while Jon updates Tyrion on his estranged wife Sansa, who is “starting to let on” just how cunning she is. The two are curious as to how a bastard and a dwarf became King of the North and the Hand of the Queen and Tyrion says, “it’s a long and bloody tale, to be honest, I was drunk for most of it.” Tyrion, SAME.
Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) and Varys (Conleth Hill) have a spat on a cliff overlooking Jon’s arrival. While Varys bitchily accuses her of being uncharacteristically bashful around a king, Melisandre’s just glad she’s brought fire and ice together. But she doesn’t want to see Jon because they didn’t part on good terms due to mistakes she made (like burning a young girl at the stake for no reason). She’s heading to Volantis, but she’ll come back, because she says, she has “to die in this country,” and adds a creepy, “just like you.” Varys is unnerved.
Benioff and Weiss know that we’ve waited a good long time for Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon to meet, and they don’t skimp on the goods. The opening scene in Dragonstone is nearly twenty minutes long, as the King of the North and the Queen Of the Seven Kingdoms, etc, etc…Breaker of Chains go tête-a-tête for the first time. The difference in the length of their titles is pretty hilarious.
The two spend a bit of time sparring over whether or not Jon will bend the knee and their complicated family history—who was an ally, who bent the knee, who set who’s relative on fire, etc.
Tyrion mentions that Jon’s out of his depth here: “Stark men don’t fare well when they travel South.” Jon retorts, “True, but I’m not a Stark.” He’s a Snow… and a Targaryen, and he gets his first glimpse of those famous family dragons when one of them buzzes the walkway to the fortress.
Jon doesn’t make the best first impression. He just awkwardly sputters about an army of the dead, making not one lick of sense. Get this guy some public speaking lessons! Dany is like, “This dude cray,” so she starts to preach at him about how assassins were sent to her house when she was born to kill her as a baby, that though she has been sold, raped, and defiled the one thing that kept her standing was her faith in herself, that she was born to rule.
It’s a great speech and reminds us why she’s such an inspiring character and leader. But Jon just responds that she’ll be ruling a graveyard if she ignores the Climate Change White Walkers.
Davos offers a too-little-too-late recitation of Jon’s resume, but when he gets to the part about Jon taking a knife in the heart, Jon shoots him a look and cuts him off. Jon and Dany are still arguing about pledging swords, father scuttlebutt, and who is in rebellion, when Varys scurries in with the news that the Ironborn fleet of Theon and Yara has been decimated by Euron. Jon’s negotiation is moved to the backburner.
Later, post bath, Jon is pouting over a cliff in Dragonstone, looking like an ad for Dragonstone tourism board. Tyrion even gripes that Jon looks better brooding than he does. Bro, Jon Snow invented brooding. Jon whines that going to Dragonstone was a mistake everyone warned him about and complains that Tyrion doesn’t believe him. Tyrion assures him that if Jon says it, he’ll believe there are “walking dead men.” He’s like, dude, what can I actually help you with? The dragonglass, stupid!
Dany and Tyrion grant Jon’s request to mine dragonglass, because they didn’t even know it was there in the first place, they don’t care or need it, and they probably still deny that the Climate Change White Walkers exist. Dany just wants to know what it means that Jon took a knife in the heart. Girl, you need to catch up on Season 5.
And just like that, “you better get to work, Jon Snow” becomes the new “you know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is presiding over her new kingdom from her typical perch. She’s concerned about the winter prep and instructs her men to get more grain stores, winterize the army, etc. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) whispers some Machiavellian advice at her about always being prepared and never being surprised by constantly being a war with everyone… in your mind. Thankfully, his war-mongering paranoia is interrupted by a call to go the gate. So help me god, if this is not a Stark sibling…
Thankfully it is, unfortunately it’s Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and not Arya, though Sansa is happy to see him—that is until he starts spouting off his mystical nonsense about being the three-eyed raven, and Sansa’s all, “the three-eyed what now”? Bran’s like “I see everything that’s ever happened!!!!!” and instead of saying anything useful like “Arya’s alive,” he just reminds Sansa of her horrible wedding day to horrible Ramsey. Damn little brothers.
Guess what, guys?? NEOSPORIN WORKS! Jorah Morman (Iain Glen) is all healed up, thanks to Sam (John Bradley) painstakingly peeling all the Greyscale off his body. Guys, why haven’t we tried just peeling it off before?!?!?!?! Dr. Jim Broadbent gives him a clean bill of health and sends him on his way, off to his Khaleesi, of course. As for Sam? He gets manuscript transcription duty for undertaking the dangerous procedure without permission. Sad trombone.
Euron (Pilou Asbæk) is parading his “priceless gift”/wedding dowry of Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and his own niece Yara (Gemma Whelan) through the streets of Kings’ Landing, in front of all the citizens, who never met a Shame Parade they didn’t love. He delivers the bounty to his intended bride, Cersei (Lena Headey), along with some truly gross fratty bon mots about sex stuff that he delivers to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Finger in the bum!
Cersei finally gets her revenge for Myrcella’s assassination at the hands (mouth) of Ellaria, and repays her by laying a wet, poisonous kiss on Ellaria’s daughter, a Sand Snake. Ellaria will be chained up in the dungeon and forced to watch her daughter die a poison death then rot away. Cersei, unleashing the true sadist that’s always been inside her.
Post-murder, Cersei and Jaime enjoy a sexy romp, and now that she’s the self-declared Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, she doesn’t even care who knows she’s fucking her brother. She takes a meeting with her lender from Braavos, and promises him that Lannisters always pay their debts, slaves and dragons can’t pay debts! She pledges to get him the money in a week.
When we finally see Casterly Rock, the ancestral home of House Lannister, it’s with the Unsullied laying waste to the few Lannister soldiers who have been left behind, because the rest of the Lannister army is at…
… Where they are plundering the Tyrell fortress with the help of the traitorous Tarlies (and probably taking all their gold to pay back the Braavosi bankers). Lady Olenna, Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg), dresses herself in her mourning blacks and waits for Jaime to come and seal her fate. The two share a respectful conversation. She asks him how he will do it while he pours her a glass a wine. She asks about Joffrey’s sword, now hanging at Jaime’s side and sighs, “he really was a cunt wasn’t he?” She seems to concede that Cersei outdid her in terms of “unspeakable but necessary” things and that ultimately, her own downfall was her “failure of imagination.”
Jaime gives a conciliatory “the ends justify the means” argument, still sort of thinking that Cersei will rule over a peaceful kingdom at the end of this all. Olenna just says about the woman he loves, “she’s a disease, and I regret my role in spreading it.”
Don’t ever count out Olenna for a final burn, however. As Jaime adds poison to her wine, promising no pain, she chugs it down with a, “that’s good, I’d hate to die like your son.” She describes Joffrey’s death in sickening detail, saying it was “not at all what I intended.” Her last words? “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me.”
I hope everyone poured one out for the Queen of Thorns tonight, who died like she lived, delivering devastatingly sick burns always.
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