Game of Thrones
Original Air Date: Jul 23, 2017
Vincent Chia – Staff Writer
The ghost of Ramsay Bolton survives. Kind of. While last week’s first episode of the seventh season had it’s action scene concentrated in the first couple of minutes, tonight’s second episode of the season had it’s action concentrated in the last several minutes. Let’s get a roundup of what’s happening with all the players in the Game of Thrones.
We begin the episode close to where we left off last week. Daenerys Stormborn is plotting with her Hand Lord Tyrion and her, I suppose, Advisor Lord Varys. Daenerys is considering launching invasion forces deeper into Westeros. She is sure her forces will be victorious. Tyrion holds her back. It’s no fun being the Queen of ashes. If she can get the other noble lords of Westeros to simply recognize her as their queen and pledge allegiance to Dragonstone, then she can win the Iron Throne without firing a shot, so to speak.
Daenerys questions Varys loyalty to her. Varys once betrayed Daenerys’ father, the “mad king.” Then, Varys later betrayed King Robert. Why should she trust Varys? Varys concedes that she is right, he does not hold loyalty to any one monarch. He is loyal to the people. Daenerys makes Varys swear that if he ever thinks she is failing her people, he will not stab her in the back and try to overthrow her, but speak with her honestly face to face. He promises. Daenerys follows up with a promise of her own, that she will burn him alive if he ever betrays her.
The red witch Melissandre arrives in Dragonstone to speak with Daenerys. Melissandre convinces Daenerys to ally with Jon Snow, the King in the North. Daenerys agrees, but in her raven message to Jon Snow, demands that he meet her at Dragonstone and pledge allegiance to her.
In a new day, Daenerys holds a meeting with her top supporters: Yara Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell, and Ellaria Sand. They are wondering why Daenerys hasn’t attacked King’s Landing yet. Daenerys repeats Tyrion’s line that she isn’t interested in being the queen of ashes. Her plan is to surround King’s Landing and blockade any supplies of food. King’s Landing will have to surrender and Daenerys can win without destroying the city. She will order the armies of Highgarden and Dorne to surround King’s Landing.
Olenna is a little offended. Why did Daenerys bother to bring an army with her? Tyrion explains that for decades, the true power of Westeros was the Lannisters in Casterly Rock. He plans for Daenerys’ troops to capture the Lannister capital. Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand appear to go along with the plan. In private, Olenna sows seeds of doubt in Daenerys. Olenna basically tells Daenerys not to trust Tyrion. To be honest, the whole “capture Casterly Rock” plan does appear to have a bit of self-interest on Tyrion’s part. Though, I have always disliked Olenna, so I hope she dies soon. Ha. Perhaps Daenerys will have her executed for plotting against Tyrion a mere several minutes after Daenerys publicly scolded straight out that nobody should insult him and that he is to be afforded the respect due a Hand of the Queen.
Queen Cersei holds court with dozens of Westerosi lords. She tries to unite them against Daenerys. Cersei claims that Daenerys is just as cruel and homicidal as her father, the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen the Second. She crucified a bunch of people in Essos. Daenerys had fed people to her dragons. Daenerys landed on Westeros with a horde of barbarian Dothraki who rape women and kill children. I suppose in Cersei’s defense, those statements are factually accurate. Though, there is a bit more nuance in the context.
One of the lords speaks up and questions Cersei’s ability to combat Daenerys’ dragons. Cersei says her military advisers are working on a countermeasure.
When the lords break, Jaime approaches Lord Randyll Tarly in private. Jaime Lannister wants Lord Tarly to be be his ranking general in the wars to come. Unfortunately for Jaime, House Tarly is sworn to House Tyrell, and cannot rebel against Olenna Tyrell. However, Jaime reminds Tarly that he is also sworn to the Iron Throne. A tricky situation indeed. Jaime offers to make Tarly the new Warden of the South after Cersei consolidates power.
In the underground catacombs, Qyburn shows Cersei a giant crossbow which he hopes will shoot spears with enough force to penetrate into a dragon. Seems straightforward enough.
Jorah Mormont has at least 10 or 20 years before he dies. However, he will lose his mind in 6 months. Maybe four.
Sam Tarly has researched a possible cure for greyscale from a book of rare disease written by Archmaester Pylos. He sneaks into Jorah’s room and performs the very painful procedure to save Jorah. It appears he is surgically (kind of) removing all of the infected tissue and then applying a medicinal ointment. Seems like a pretty straightforward procedure. Not sure why this wasn’t tried before.
King Jon receives the raven and considers Daenerys’ “request.” Both Sansa and Davos think it is too dangerous. Though, Davos brings up that the dragons can help in the battle against the walkers. Jon puts it on the back burner for the time being.
Arya is travelling south. She runs into her old friend Hot Pie. She is surprised when he informs her that Jon Snow rode down from Castle Black with a wildling army and won the Battle of the Bastards. He is now the King in the North. Arya was under the impression Ramsay Bolton still controlled Winterfell. She rides north. For the time being, she puts her vengeance plans on hold.
After receiving Sam’s raven message, Jon holds another meeting with his northern lords. Don’t these lords ever return to their own castles? They have smallfolk to rule over! Jon reveals the two raven messages he recently received and tells the room that he intends on riding to the coast and then sailing to Dragonstone to meet Daenerys. He wants the dragonglass to defeat the white walkers. He also needs allies.
The lords are upset and up in arms. The Mad King Aerys II once invited Jon Snow’s grandfather to King’s Landing and then roasted him alive. Another northern lord points out that Targaryens are not to be trusted. Neither are Lannisters. (In this case, Tyrion, Daenerys’ Hand). A third lord points out that King Robb, Jon’s brother, rode south and that’s where he got killed. Lady Lyanna Mormont, usually a supporter of Jon’s declarations, says that winter is coming and they need the King in the North to remain in the North.
Jon says he never asked to be King in the North. His goal is to save all of Westeros. He leaves Lady Sansa in charge of Winterfell until he returns. Lord Baelish appears pleased at this development. In a more private setting, Job Snow slams Baelish against a wall and tells him if Baelish touches Sansa, Jon will kill him.
On the “politics” side, I feel leaving Sansa in charge spells possible trouble. The lords, and especially Lady Lyanna, Mormont appear to be more personally loyal to Jon. It will also be a potential issue if and when Bran makes it back to Winterfell, as he would theoretically be next in line to Jon (or maybe even the true northern king since Bran is a “trueborn” Stark). Inheritance rules can be complicated.
Lastly, we get to where the action is. Ellaria Sand is riding on Yara Greyjoy’s ship. The two of them share a kiss. However, this kiss is interrupted by an attack. A very large ship is raining down fire upon Yara’s fleet. It is Euron. The two navies fight, pirate style. Euron’s sailors jump onboard Yara’s ship and there is fun swashbuckling to behold. Euron personally kills two of the Sand Snakes: one with a sword and another by choking her with her own whip. (As an aside, I strongly approve of this, even though I dislike Euron himself. Myrcella Lannister was a completely innocent child and did not deserve to be murdered by the Sands.) Euron’s men take Ellaria hostage, possibly as a gift to be delivered to Queen Cersei.
In the end, Euron is wildly victorious and proves to be quite the fighter. He holds Yara hostage and dares Theon to come rescue her. Poor Theon. Ramsay broke him. Theon will always be… ree…. well, I won’t call him that since I hate Ramsay. But what I will Theon a loser. As Euron laughs in his face, Theon cowardly jumps into the sea and abandons his sister.
And that’s where we end.
A couple of people have asked me where my loyalties lie in this Game of Thrones. I’m not completely sure, but I suppose House Stark. My favorite character is Jaime Lannister, who isn’t really a contender for King. Who are you rooting to be the final claimant of the Iron Throne? Daenerys Stormborn? Jon Snow?