Game of Thrones S7E3: The Queen’s Justice
Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Nathalie Emmanuel, Conleth Hill, Diana Rigg, Indira Varma, Pilou Asbæk
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…a solid episode, marred slightly by an underwhelming battle sequence.
[SPOILER WARNING: Please don’t read unless you’ve seen the episode. I mean, come on, you know how this works]
The latest episode of Game of Thrones is titled “The Queen’s Justice”, which is loaded with potential meaning. After all, Westeros currently has two queens – Cersei (Lena Headey) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) – not to mention Sansa (Sophie Turner) who is acting Queen of the North. All three ladies are very different people, with vastly opposing views on what justice can and should be.
The hour’s first queen is Dany. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) arrive at Dragonstone to be greeted by Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel). At first things proceed well with Jon and Tyrion talking about old times, and Davos admiring the changes to Dragonstone. Although the change he seems to admire most is Missandei, with whom he awkwardly flirts. The trip down memory lane is sullied somewhat by Jon’s first up close experience with a dragon hooning through the sky.
Watching from a safe distance, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) pats herself on the back for “[bringing] fire and ice together” and tells Varys (Conleth Hill) that it’s time for her to go. Varys suggests that she should stay gone, but the red woman tells him she’ll be back one more time, to die, just like Varys. Ominous, portentous music plays, suggesting at least one of this pair won’t be making it to season eight.
In the throne room Jon finally has a little chat with Dany. It does not go well. The pair are simply mismatched in how they view the world. Dany is here to take back her birthright and Jon wants to save the world from ice zombies. They’re like ebony and ivory, or perhaps obsidian and dragon bone. Point is, Jon won’t bend the knee and Dany doesn’t really believe in monsters – which is an odd philosophical position for a fireproof lady with three dragons.
“I was born to rule the seven kingdoms, and I will.” Dany tells Jon with imperious fury.
“You’ll be ruling over a graveyard if we don’t defeat the Night King.” Jon replies.
The meeting is over and Jon goes to his room to sulk.
Dany has more immediate problems, however, as Varys reveals the defeat of the Greyjoys by Euron (Pilou Asbæk). We cut quickly to Theon (Alfie Allen) who is rescued from the water, looking like a wet, whipped dog. The men of the Iron Fleet are disgusted by his pathetic presence.
Euron, on the other hand, gets a very different reception at King’s Landing. The swarthy pirate drags a chained Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and Tyene Sand (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) through the streets and jeering crowds. Tell you what, it must be great to be a peasant in King’s Landing – naked queens, exploding Septs and now beaten enemies! Euron delivers the bested foes to the episode’s second queen, Cersei, who claims she will indeed marry Euron “after the war is won”. So Euron will command the ships and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) will lead the army. However it’s hard to imagine Euron (who quietly asks Jaime if Cersei likes “a finger in the bum”) will remain disciplined and obedient for long.
Later in Cersei’s torture palace, Lena Headey gets to chew on a truly delicious monologue to Ellaria. Cersei laments her lost daughter, Myrcella (Aimee Richardson), who was poisoned by Ellaria. Cersei kisses Tyene, Ellaria’s daughter, using the same poisoned lipstick. Ellaria will be forced to watch Tyene slowly die and then stay in the cell with the body. “You will live to watch your daughter rot.” Jesus fucking Christ, Cersei. We’re not sure if this will be the last time we see Ellaria, but that’s probably a wrap for Tyene. RIP Sand Snakes.
Briefly, Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) comes debt collecting for the Iron Bank, but Cersei reminds him that a Lannister always pays their debts and gets a two week extension. Tyrion manages to play diplomat and helps forge an uneasy alliance between Jon and Dany – with the latter providing access to dragonglass. Oh, and Queen #3 Sansa gets a surprise visit from Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), who manages to creep everyone out by claiming to see all, and adopting the Three Eyed Raven moniker. No one likes a goth who takes themselves too seriously, Bran, come on, mate.
In lighter news Samwell (John Bradley-West) appears to have cured Jorah (Iain Glen), and even manages to earn the grudging respect of Archmaester Marwyn (Jim Broadbent) who nevertheless sets the lad to some heavy duty photocopying. Not much of a reward for such good work, but Jorah thanks him profusely and is off to track down Dany and hey, this will probably lead Sam to an eventual promotion.
This all leads, in classic GoT style, to the final moments when all the action-related business occurs. Narrated from the war room by Tyrion, we see the Unsullied attack Casterly Rock. Lead by Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) the army makes use of Tyrion’s secret prostitute entrance and manages to beat the Lannisters… but something’s wrong. There are two few soldiers and the victory was too easy. As Grey Worm looks out at his ships being attacked by Euron, we know something has gone terribly wrong.
The Lannister army are, in fact, taking out the Tyrells. This will take another enemy off the board and give them enough gold to pay the Iron Bank. It’s a cunning plan and another dispiriting defeat for the “good guys”.
In the episode’s best scene, Jaime and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) have a civilised drink. Olenna is beaten and she knows it, but she’s curious as to what happens next. After reminiscing about Joffrey (“He really was a cunt, wasn’t he?”) and advising Jaime about Cersei (“She’ll be the end of you”), the grand dame is ready to meet the reaper. Jaime tells her Cersei wanted it to be bloody and painful, however Jaime talked her down to a poisoning. Jaime spikes her wine and, like a champ, Olenna downs it in one. As the poison kicks in, Olenna reveals – rather proudly – that is was she who killed Joffrey. “Tell Cersei,” Olenna says with the hint of a smile, “I want her to know it was me.”
Honestly Olenna, you’re the real queen of the episode and you shall be missed.
Overall “The Queen’s Justice” is a solid episode, marred slightly by an underwhelming battle sequence. Dany has suffered another loss and Cersei’s forces are growing ever stronger. Jon may have access to dragonglass but unless he can convince everyone the army of the dead is real it will all be for nothing. Dark times ahead and, hopefully, occasional moments of light.