If we don't put aside our enmities and band together, we will die.
Directed by: Mark Mylod
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Game of Thrones got its name from the first novel of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series: A Game of Thrones. The series has a flurry of story lines that would take forever and a day to describe in length, so the easiest way to summarize Game of Thrones' story is that several noble Houses fight for supremacy in the country of Westeros, while an ancient evil awakens and threatens to wipe out everyone in their path. Of course, Game of Thrones is telling the same overarching story that Martin is telling in his book series, and since the novel series as a whole is known as A Song of Ice and Fire, it does make one wonder what exactly is the "Song" of this story, and what exactly does Martin mean by "Ice and Fire". I have no doubt that when Martin started writing his book series back in the 1990's, he had a vision of how this story would come to an end, and time will tell how much Game of Thrones' ending will compare to the ending of Martin's novels. With the show having surpassed the novels, D&D have now more so adapted material that Martin revealed to them about his upcoming novels, and with "The Queen's Justice", I think we get a pretty clear picture of what Martin has meant all along about "Ice and Fire".
From the very beginning, A Song of Ice and Fire and likewise Game of Thrones has been a story about Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, representing ice and fire, respectively. Now, that's not to diminish the importance of other characters like the Starks and the Lannisters, but as we get closer and closer to the end game, it is pretty clear that just about everything that will decide who rules Westeros when all is said and done, rests in the hands of Jon and Daenerys. I hate to sound a bit corny and say something is "destined", but honestly, I think it was always destined for Jon and Daenerys to meet, because, as Melisandre tells us during "Stormborn", Jon and Daenerys each have a role to play when The Long Night arrives. The exact details of this "role" are still a mystery, but for now, ice and fire have finally been brought together. The conversation between Jon and Daenerys to start off the episode is one of the strongest character discussions that Game of Thrones has ever had. It's not just because it's two of the series' main characters finally being in the same room together; it's because the conversation revolves purely around the two things that have been troubling Westeros ever since the series began: the fight for the Iron Throne and the impending threat of the Army of the Dead. Jon and Daenerys have been on similar journeys over the past seven seasons, and both have found a way to persevere. Despite this, their interests have been mutually exclusive: Daenerys has always sought to build up her power and return to Westeros in order to seize the Iron Throne. Jon, on the other hand, has worked tirelessly to prepare for war with the White Walkers. It should not be any sort of surprise that the two disagree with each other, especially because Daenerys has never known of the Army of the Dead's existence. Why would she believe such a claim from a man she just met? Not surprisingly, the conversation ends without either side agreeing to anything, and unfortunately for Jon, he's basically stuck on Dragonstone for the time being.
I'll come back to what happens at Dragonstone later, because I do want to get to the other things that happen in this episode. Holy moly, is "The Queen's Justice" another jam-packed episode. The episode is plot-heavy, but it's the good kind of plot-heavy, featuring a boat-load of surprises and leaving us with a ton to digest before moving on to the next episode. After Euron and his fleet blew a hole in Daernerys' forces in "Stormborn", it only gets tougher for the Dragon Queen, as the Lannisters find another way to outmaneuver her. First, the Unsullied invade Casterly Rock and successfully take the castle. Although the siege lasts all of a few minutes, I disapprove of the decision to have the siege be frequently interrupted by shots of Tyrion back at Dragonstone, because it assures us the Unsullied will prevail, thus depriving the siege of any sort of suspense. However, this is followed up with a clever little surprise: Grey Worm and the Unsullied find that Casterly Rock had far fewer Lannister soldiers than expected, and this is because Jaime took the bulk of the Lannister army to Highgarden, where they wipe out the Tyrell army and seize their gold. If you don't recall, this was a bait-and-switch tactic that Robb Stark used against Jaime and the Lannisters back in season one, so it's pretty cool to now see Jaime use this same tactic. Props to D&D because this strategy is something I think hardly anyone was thinking about before season seven first aired.
Unfortunately, the fall of Highgarden means that everyone's favorite grandmother, Olenna, is a goner. It's bittersweet, though: even during her final scene, D&D ensure that Olenna goes out a winner. She reveals that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey, telling Jaime smugly to let Cersei know it was her who murdered their son. This will be one enemy that Cersei will never be able to deliver justice to. Olenna will go to her grave, happily content that she got away with murdering the boy king. The good news for Cersei is that she is able to deliver justice for the death of one of her other children: Euron returns to King's Landing and offers Ellaria and Tyene Sand as gifts to Cersei. Cersei throws Ellaria and Tyene in a dungeon, where Cersei poisons Tyene with the same poison that Ellaria used to kill Myrcella. Indira Varma confirmed that this was Ellaria' final scene, even though we don't see her die. Not that there's anything wrong with this being the end of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes; I just find it a bit odd that Ellaria and her daughter will be spending the rest of the series rotting in a dungeon while King's Landing is going to be the sight of a lot of special happenings for the rest of season seven, and likely at some point during season eight. It's honestly a disturbing way for Ellaria and her daughter to go out: being left to die a slow and horrible death, with the rest of the world having pretty much given up on you.
So while things are pretty grim right now for Team Daenerys, things only continue to get better for Team Stark, as we get our first legitimate Stark reunion with Sansa reuniting with Bran. Again, things are bittersweet, as these two Stark siblings are no longer who they were the last time they were in Winterfell together. Sansa has grown into a promising ruler, while Bran has developed psychic powers that stripped him of all personality. It's not bad writing nor bad acting that Bran is now about as exciting as a block of wood; when you've acquired as much new knowledge as he has had since season six, it's overwhelming, and doesn't really open any doors to be happy and excited. I would like to talk more about why the Sansa and Bran reunion is bittersweet, but I am going to push it off until next episode, because it'll make more sense when I can include the events in Winterfell from next episode.
For now, and to wrap things up in this review, let's go back to Dragonstone, where Tyrion acts as a middle man between Jon and Daenerys, following their initial conversation. I disagree with people claiming that Tyrion takes a major backseat in season seven. Tyrion has absolutely made his presence felt in these first three episodes, which I say is pretty impressive on the parts of D&D and Bryan Cogman. From his war planning to his counseling of Daenerys, Tyrion is far from an irrelevant figure right now, especially if you throw in the discussion he has with Jon about the White Walkers' existence and the reasons for why Daenerys' followers are loyal to her. I think Tyrion has always thought of Jon as a friend, because he knows Jon has struggled with his status as a bastard in the same way he has struggled with his own status as a dwarf. Though Tyrion is loyal to Daenerys' cause, he trusts that Jon would never lie and try to stab them someone in the back. Even if Jon says something as outrageous as, "The Dead are the enemy", he has to feel that Jon is telling the truth. So to further prove his underlying friendship to Jon, Tyrion is able to convince Daenerys to let Jon mine the dragonglass/obsidian on Dragonstone.
I think that's it then. Boy, does a lot go down in "The Queen's Justice": Cersei getting her revenge on the Sand Snakes, Sansa reuniting with Bran, the Unsullied taking Casterly Rock, and Jaime pulling off the same bait-and-switch tactic he once fell for. All of these are great highlights that deliver a flurry of surprises, and on top of it all, we get the meeting between ice and fire, the coming together of the two characters that will undoubtedly have the biggest role(s) to play when The Long Night arrives. In some ways, Game of Thrones has always been building up to Jon Snow meeting Daenerys Targaryen, and though the two are a bit on edge with each other at the moment, you can just tell that we will be seeing a lot more of these two together in the near future. Who knows what kind of song these two will play? Knowing Game of Thrones, even if it's a lovely song, it's going to hurt us one way or another.
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