The third episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season was given a misleading title. ‘The Queen’s Justice’ was, more or less, all about her vengeance.
Cersei already took vengeance on tons of her foes in Season 6, where she used wildfire to blow up the Great Sept, killing the High Sparrow and nearly all of House Tyrell and her own uncle, Kevan Lannister.
In this episode, she’s given Ellaria Sand and her last remaining daughter, who she poisons the same exact way Ellaria poisoned Myrcella, leaving Oberyn’s lover to live out the rest of her days alongside her own daughter’s corpse.
Jaime and his army seize Highgarden, with the help of Sam’s father and Bronn, where he gives Olenna poison as a mercy, before she tells him that it was she who poisoned Joffrey.
Let’s leave the Lannisters and and wade across the sea to Dragonstone.
Shortly after Jon Snow’s “fast-travel” to meet with Danaerys, Tyrion stands in the battle-room of Dragonstone describing how he built a weakness into Casterly Rock. We see Grey Worm and the Unsullied use this exploit to capture the Lannister’s seat of power, overwhelming the Lannister forces. But even as we learn of Tyrion’s clever plan, we discover that most of the Lannister forces are gone. They’ve marched south to Highgarden, where Jaime and his forces take the prosperous, but not terribly well-defended seat of House Tyrell without much resistance.
Why is Olenna back in Highgarden, anyways? She could have raised armies with ravens. Oh well. Mistakes and more mistakes, and now Cersei is in a far stronger position than before.
It doesn’t hurt that she has Euron’s magical fleet.
I’ve actually been complaining about magical fast travel lately, and I think at a thispoint we just have to accept that Game of Thrones has simply abandoned any pretense at “sensible chronology” or “travel time”, “distance” and so forth. Last week Jon Snow was in Winterfell; this week he’s at Dragonstone. And yet, it’s only after he’s at Dragonstone that Daenerys learns of the loss of Yara’s fleet and the fate of Ellaria. A battle that must have taken place only days away from Dragonstone is discovered weeks later? It would take Jon Snow at least a couple weeks to travel all the way from Winterfell to Dragonstone. Maybe longer.
Anyhow, Jon arrives and meets the Queen. Missandei introduces her with all her titles and accomplishments. When she’s done, Davos awkwardly announces Jon as Jon Snow, King of the North.
The first meeting between Jon and Dany is a frosty one. Jon refuses to bend the knee, something that Daenerys is oddly intent on getting him to do. They then trade rude comments. Daenerys talks up all her achievements, her steely resolve and fiery faith in herself. Her struggles. She imagines, I think, that her struggles are unique, and misinterprets Jon’s own lack of boasting as a lack of struggle on his part.
You know nothing, Daenerys Targaryen. I suppose you’ll learn. Soon enough.
Tyrion, naturally, is the savior here. He convinces Jon to ask him what he needs, and then convinces Daenerys to let Jon mine the dragonglass. That’s a step in the right direction, and at least nobody is being burned alive.
It’s intriguing though. Daenerys is warring between two sides. On the one hand, she’s coming across as an icy tyrant who’s become far too arrogant and entitled for her own good. I don’t blame Jon for not trusting her, and I admire his refusal to call her queen.
Heading back up to the North, Sansa is showing off her leadership skills by constantly thinking of things that old men who have lots more experience than her aren’t thinking of. She even knows more about blacksmithing than her smiths.
What she isn’t prepared for is the return of her younger brother, Bran, who arrives for a joyful reunion, just a little too late for the joy. Bran has changed, not just from when Sansa last saw him, but from when we last saw him. In the time it’s taken him to return to Winterfell, he’s become the Three-Eyed Raven entirely. Much of his humanity appears to have drained from him.
When he talks to Sansa and tells her what he’s become, he says he’s sorry for what’s happened to her. He speaks of her wedding night. There’s no malice in his voice, but it’s still a brutal memory to dredge up, and yet he speaks with almost no emotion. Sansa understandably flees. No matter how glad she may be to see her brother again after all this time, he’s no longer the Bran she once knew.
One of the most interesting scenes in the entire episode took place between Varys ‘The Spider’ and the red witch, Melisandre. Varys is curious why she’s hidden herself when Jon and Davos arrive, and won’t accept vague answers like “my days whispering in kings’ ears are over.”
I’m certain he already knows the answer to his questions and is well aware of Stannis’s crimes. He tells Melisandre to leave and not come back, as Westeros won’t be safe for her. Curiously, she tells him she must return one day. She’s destined to die in Westeros, as is Varys. What do you think that means? Perhaps she’s had another vision?
I wonder also if Varys has any knowledge of Jon Snow’s death and resurrection. He’s not present when Davos let’s slip that Jon took a ‘dagger in the heart’ for his people. Jon is quick to shut Davos up, but not before Daenerys takes notice, confronting Tyrion about the odd statement later on. Have Varys’s little birds told him about Jon’s magical return to the land of the living? I’m guessing not, though I’m also curious how such an incredible thing could go unnoticed this long. Surely rumors of his death have preceded him.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that this was a much better episode than last week. Yes, it still drives me crazy how fast and loose Game of Thrones has become with its plotting and travel times. They’re taking far more liberties in this regard than they should.