GoT 7.3, The Queen’s Justice: A Review

Spoilers the size of Balerion the Dread lie ahead. Proceed with caution.

It’s safe to say The Queen’s Justice is the best episode so far of Season 7. Game of Thrones has increased the pace in recent weeks, and not entirely because Euron seems to have stolen Littlefinger’s quantum teleporter. Even as a dialogue driven episode, reminiscent of early seasons, the extended episode length allowed for the sieges of both Casterly Rock and Highgarden. What’s more, the increased budget gave us a shot of Drogon flying over Jon, screeching “you’re a Targ, Jon Snow.”

The episode opens with a family reunion, Jon Snow finally gets to meet his Aunt Dany. And it’s sweet, she asks him to be a good boy and bend the knee. But Jon’s been listening to Tormund—”you can never be a kneeler again”—and refuses Daenerys’ demands to come under her rule. After a fair amount of dick-measuring Jon comes away as the initial victor, granted leave to mine dragonglass.

Two events in particular on Dragonstone stood out:

  • While joining the ranks of clifftop brooders, Melisandre informs Varys she must return to Westeros one more time and “die in this strange country, just like you.” In the past I’ve advised the questioning her predictions, but this is stated so blatantly I believe it deserves an exception.
  • Jon’s resurrection was mentioned twice. Davos almost spills the beans before Jon has even spoken a word to Daenerys & Co. This strange remark did not go unnoticed; Daenerys later questions Tyrion about the “knife to the heart”. As a general rule of thumb if something is mentioned twice, explicitly, in one episode it will be a big deal going forward. My go-for-broke theory: Daenerys and Jon will get it on. Dany will see the stab wounds and this will lend credence to his concerns about the Night King and army of the dead.

Speaking of potential revelations concerning Jon, Bran has returned to Winterfell! Or, well, part of him has. Plugging into weirwood.net has messed him up. Witnessing all of the past and the horrors that come along with it would do a number on anyone, let alone a child. Luckily he’s home after years on the run and around his family. If anything can bring him out of his Seer Funk it’s that. I desperately hope Bran is strong enough to retain some of his humanity. As my favorite character I’d rather not watch him descend into despondence and madness after fulfilling what appears to be his main purpose— revealing Jon’s heritage.

In Oldtown, Sam’s treatment of Ser Jorah was successful. Jorah no longer looks like the dried out bottom of a lake. Imagine that, all the maesters had to do to cure greyscale was follow the instructions. Archmaester Ebrose recognizes Sam’s achievement for the miracle it is and rewards him by not booting him from the Citadel and then tasks Sam to transcribe old, falling apart books. Could some of these books have come from the restricted section Sam so desperately wants access to? What goodies and secrets lie in those ancient pages?

I think Sam will discover that Valyrian steel, like dragonglass, can kill the Others. Jon found this out in Season 5 with Longclaw, but he’s the only one who knows, and very well may have thought it was a fluke. He clearly hasn’t mentioned it since, only calling for the mining of dragonglass. This could be the plot reason behind Sam’s theft of Heartsbane, the Tarly’s Valyrian Steel sword. After uncovering the truth he will send word to Jon. It will then be up to Jon to convince the Lords to put their most prized possessions to use.

Across the continent, Euron, who is still the worst, delivers the remaining Dornish women to Cersei and then throws some more sex jokes at Jaime. What a douche. Cersei takes his gifts and reminds us all why she is a force to be reckoned with. No one deserves Ellaria’s fate. If Cersei could eat the souls of her enemies she would.

After getting off on torture Cersei makes an outlandish promise to Tycho Nestoris, emissary of the Iron Bank, promising to pay off all crown debts in a fortnight. I audibly scoffed at the television when she proposed this. The Iron Bank is not an entity you make false promises too. I thought that, for sure, in a few weeks this would result in the death of Cersei. And here lies the main takeaway of this week. Never, ever, ever underestimate the Lannisters. When your back is turned they’ll pull an old switcheroo, trash the remainder of your fleet, and leave you with a defensible, but worthless castle.

As one of the last strongholds to be unveiled I was super excited to see the show’s rendering of Casterly Rock. I anticipated something on the scale of the Eyrie. Casterly Rock is unbeatable, placed atop a small mountain, with a limited approach, and backed up against the sea. It appears budget concerns may have been to blame. I recently obtained this highly classified transcript from a source, planted deep in the Game of Thrones empire. 

“Ser, Dan. Ser Dan,” said the accountant, acknowledging the Lords Paramount of GoT.

“Ah, Bertrand.” Benioff looked up from his Euron action figure. The figure had a drawstring and preprogrammed innuendos and strangely, lacked a shirt.  “Listen, we need more money. It’s been brought to our attention that we forgot about the direwolves. We’ll have to add them in post. Oh, and it turns out we will need to use Casterly Rock and Highgarden after all. “

“More? Sers. I’m afraid that won’t be, er, I don’t think that’s possible.” He did the calculation. “You’ll have to lose at least one dragon shot per episode.”

“Lose dragons. That doesn’t sound right. Not worth it, is it Ser Dan?”

“It is not Ser Dan.”

And so ended the Great Direwolf Debate of 2017. What should Casterly Rock have looked like? Here’s a painting that perfectly encapsulates every description of the Rock by Ted Nesmith. Now that looks impregnable.

In the final minutes of the episode we see the switcheroo play out. When Highgarden is revealed as the true prize we realize Cersei is not always as dumb as she looks. I find it hard to believe the Tyrell’s have amassed enough wealth to pay off an entire continent’s debt over the last twenty years yet not have enough to pay a standing army to protect their home, but I’ll try and not dwell on it.

Olenna Tyrell proved  you don’t have to go out in with your head crushed, or surprised in the loo by your son to have a memorable death. You can just throw back some poison wine, confess your hatred for Joffrey (who as she says, was truly a cunt), and die watching the realization of your wickedness dawn on the face of your enemy. RIP Olenna.

Week Long Daydream Material 

The next episode is called The Spoils of War . Here’s the trailer.

  • Cersei has been winning too much. Something will finally go against her. It looks like the Tyrell gold will be stolen. What ever will she do then, when faced with the wrath of the Iron Bank.
  • My eyes may deceive me but I’m pretty sure in the last shot I can see the stark silver white of Dany’s hair.
  • We see Arya on a hill, looking at Winterfell. Will she arrive this episode?
  • Littlefinger has his Valyrian dagger. Is he planning to ruin everything? God dammit Littlefinger, just die already and leave me alone.
  • Theon looks to be back, pulling his boat to shore with some Iron Islanders. Has he landed on the mainland or back on Dragonstone?
  • Brienne swings her sword in what appears to be an execution. She is probably just practicing with Pod and its a misdirection. I choose to dream, however, that someone finally gives Littlefinger what he deserves.
  • Sansa looks upset. Papers, or letters, are spread before her. Has Maester Wolkan discovered something in Maester Luwin’s records. Perhaps regarding Littlefinger’s meddling with Jon and Lysa Arryn?
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