This week saw Daenerys meeting Jon Snow, Cersei being as evil as ever, and Jaime learning from his mistakes. And of course, that ending…
For the night is dark and full of spoilers.
We open in Dragonstone, where Jon has gone to meet Daenerys. They don’t get off to the best of starts, with Dany doing her best arrogant queen impression, and Jon being gruff and northern, but Tyrion and Davos manage to talk to them round. The meeting between the Queen of Dragons and the King in the North was one of the longest awaited moment in the show’s history, and it went as well as any over-hyped moment could. They seemed to come to an accord in the end after a bit of a jockeying for postition. Funniest moment of the series so far was Missandei reeling off Daenery’s many (many) titles, while Davos merely says “This is Jon Snow”. But say what you like about Davos, but the man can make a king sound impressive. Just when you thought Jon was going to be on the receiving end of the mother of dragons’ fury, he riddles off a list of Jon’s accomplishments and virtues. He managed the same a few years ago with Stannis at the Iron Bank, and managed to get a sizeable bank loan there, and he manages it again here, if only for a heap of dragonglass. I still want Dany to actually DO something. There’s been a lot of her talking this year, but a lot of the military and diplomatic decisions are being taken by Tyrion (who is still ace). She’s a great character, but she’s being overshadowed by others who are getting things done – and because of that we’re not seeing much development so far this year. Compared to Cersei’s descent into madness, all we’re getting from Daenerys is her getting annoyed at people. I want to see her becoming a proper ruler.
Over in King’s Landing, Euron gets his hero’s welcome after last week’s dramatic sea battle, riding into the throne room much as Tywin did back in Season 2, episode 10. The similarities are obvious – both were returning to claim rewards for fighting off the threats to the realm – Tywin to become the Hand and Euron to claim a Cersei as his bride.
Alas, it seems Cersei has other ideas, and you can’t help but notice the look of frustration on Euron’s face as she says she’ll only marry him when the war is won.
It doubtful she ever intends to marry him, but Euron is happy enough to take the adoration of the crowd, and torment Jaime about his relationship with Cersei.
I love Euron’s deliciously psychopathic character, and it’s going to be an interesting showdown between him and the incestuous Lannister siblings when they finally turn on each other. Can’t wait.
Speaking of incest, Jaime and Cersei fell back into bed together this week -with fans not entirely chuffled about the whole affair.
Interesting to see that Cersei isn’t even trying to hide their relationship anymore, with one of her maids getting an eyeful of them in bed together. I’m enjoying the direction they’re taking Cersei in this year. She’s becoming over-confident, arrogant and power mad. They’re setting her up for a fall, sure, but it’s progressing her character.
Also, wouldn’t that maid make a brilliant cover persona for Arya if she ever came round to kill Cersei?
More of Qyburn’s subtle mad-scientist evil as he figured out the poison used to kill Myrcella, so Cersei can use it again to kill Ellaria’s daughter, Tyene. And a particularly twisted way of dealing with her two prisoners in forcing the mother to watch her stricken daughter die then rot away. Just when you think the George RR Martin and the show writers have found all the cruel ways to inflict misery on their characters, they pull another blinder out of the bag.
I’d love to say we’re going to miss the Sands, but honestly their storyline and characters never really stood out. They’ll be another group of also-rans like Renley, Ros, and most of the people Daenerys met on her travels around Essos. Nice when they were around, but no real loss when they’re gone.
Up at Winterfell, Littlefinger is trying to get his claws into Sansa, and it almost looks like he might have found an in with his “Fight everywhere all the time” speech. Until, that is, Bran finally gets back home on the back of a cart, in a spaced-out Zen state of mind.
He made a lot of talk about being the Three Eyed Raven, and how it was complicated (Is it Bran? You’re basically psychic, and you learnt from another psychic who got killed by a zombie king. Stop being pretentious).
Meanwhile in the Citadel, we learn that if you cut the infected skin off someone with greyscale, they’re just fine the next day. I’ve seen people with sunburn worse than Jorah has now. Sam is rewarded for this somewhat miraculous healing by getting to do more library work. Snore. I kinda hope he caught grayscale shaking Jorah’s hand and we can be done with this storyline.
This episode saw more of the amazing Game Of Thrones speedy travelling around the world.
In the time it took Cersei to have a chat with her bank manager (“you’ll deffo have your gold in a fortnight, honest, promise”), Euron and the navy managed to circumnavigate the whole continent to get to Casterly Rock and destroy another massive chunk of Dany’s fleet – trapping her Unsullied in the castle.
And before the Unsullied did their invasion, Jaime had managed to ride clear across the continent, gather the Lannister army (and empty the city stores), and then march half way back again to invade Highgarden. He tells Olenna that Dany’s army will be trapped in the castle and will have to march back across Westeros to get home. I wouldn’t worry, looks like it will only take a few hours.
Over at Highgarden, Olenna Tyrell sees her forces defeated by the Lannisters in the world’s shortest siege. Even the Unsullied needed to get in to Casterly Rock by the sewers. It seems the Tyrells – with one of Westeros’ largest armies – couldn’t defend a castle for much past the first bow shots.
I know the show probably had to save time and budget for the inevitable upcoming Lannister v Targaryen bloodbath, and last week’s battle at sea probably sucked up a chunk of the budget, but we had two pretty major battles this week that barely got seen at all.
Most heartbreaking death of the season (show?) so far goes to Olenna, who is just as snarky and sassy in defeat as she was throughout her appearance in the show. We’re genuinely going to miss Dame Diana Rigg.
The last few years have seen the show’s acting royalty like Charles Dance and Jonathan Pryce all get bumped off, and now passes everyone’s favourite acid-tongued grandma. She stole every scene she was in, and it’s a shame she won’t appear in the show’s final shake up – I’d have voted her queen any day.
Frankly if Prince Charles decides he doesn’t fancy the top job when the real Queen passes away, I’m all up for Dame Diana taking over.
Olenna managed to tell Jaime a few home truths before she died though – including telling him that she was responsible for Joffrey’s death, and that his sister is a monster. Hopefully our bad-guy-turned-kinda-good-ish takes some of it on board.
Also, glad to see Olenna got a more dignified death than she could have had. The fact that Jaime opted for poisoned wine rather than the many brutal and inventive methods Cersei wanted shows he’s changing.
I mean, he still kills her. But he does it nicely …
So overall another solid episode. Some great moments, and light on the pointless filler (read: Sam). There were stand out performances from Cersei, Euron and Olenna. And what we saw of the battles were good.
But we’re still waiting on a properly memorable episode – one that will make the fans scream when they’re watching and rave about at work the next day. Next week marks the mid-point of this shortened series, so hopefully thing will kick up a gear.
Looking ahead – things are not looking good for Dany anymore. In just three episodes she’s lost most of her navy, the Tyrells and the Dornish are out of the fight, and her foot soldiers are trapped half the world away in a worthless castle.
And Cersei is in the ascendency. Even the dragons might not be safe (although Dany doesn’t know about Qyburn’s ballista superguns yet).
Looks like next week is going to require her to finally step up and take the dragons out for a fight. And about time too.
Quote of the WEEK: “I’ve done my part. I’ve brought Ice and Fire together” – Melisandre