Warning, Spoilers ahead…
Game of Thrones is always able to build certain expectations and subvert them, and that was well and truly achieved in this episode. Long awaited reunions and meetings were done in unexpected and surprising ways, and whilst this episode didn’t pack the punch it could have, it was certainly an iconic episode in terms of reunions and revelations.
The episode kicks straight in with one of the most anticipated moments in GoT history, the subject of so many fan fictions and theories – Jon and Daenerys finally meeting. I think many would have expected these characters to click immediately, both having rather similar moral qualities such as their sense of justice and desire to help others (and of course, we know they are actually related now), however their first meeting was a rather frosty one. Dany is rather proud and a little frustrating to watch, she has built herself up as being almost untouchable and wondrous, with Missandei announcing each one of her many titles. This might have been one of the funniest parts of the episode, with Jon being so contrastingly humble upon entering – ‘this is Jon Snow… he’s King in the North…’. Daenerys remains fairly far away from Jon, and positions herself as above him, pushing her importance upon him and becoming obviously angry when Jon does not immediately fall for her and hail her Queen. She also asks him not to judge her by her fathers deeds, but then spites Jon’s ‘father’ Ned, for knowing about the assassins that were sent to kill her. However, Daenerys is kicked rather hard off of her high horse after hearing that the majority of her navy has been destroyed at sea, and that she has lost her Dornish and Greyjoy allies. By the end of the episode you are wondering how the hell she has got it all so wrong. It was almost satisfying to see the field being so levelled out, and you have to admire Cersei, not many people could have seen her doing so well. Later in the episode, a slightly defeated Daenerys and Jon talk again, this time alone, and appearing to get along far better.
Cersei’s scenes were all once again fantastic to watch, her facial expressions always capture her feelings well. You can see the mixture of joy and rage on her face when she is reunited with Ellaria Sand. Her relationship with Euron has suddenly turned into this animal magnetism, where you almost think that they are going to do it there and then on the iron throne. It seems that capturing and hurting people that Cersei hates is her biggest turn on right now… I mean there’s probably weirder fetishes in Westeros. Of course, she may well try to get rid of him, as she tends to do to people who are no longer convenient before anything happens. Yet considering she did the do with the likes of Lancel Lannister, I think there will be some more Cersei/Euron sexual chemistry this season. Speaking of, her relationship with Jaime is clearly being strained now, with him clearly rejecting her advances but still being apparently in love with her.
Cersei is channelling the masculine power/domination that she has always admired, in previous seasons she had told Robert how she wanted to wear the armour and him the gown, as well as how she’d rather be out fighting than stuck inside. She also has chosen to keep her hair short and practical, as opposed to her old and more traditionally feminine style. I loved the additional touch of Cersei’s servant also channeling a similar outfit and hairstyle. The change in the people of Kingslanding is rather surprising, but I think Euron put it best – ‘they just like severed heads really’. I think this was pretty reflective of a lot of the Game of Thrones audience, as I found myself disappointing that we didn’t get more action in this episode.
I thought Cersei showed some major restraint on her behalf, whilst Tyene and Ellaria’s demise is really devastating, in comparison to the truly grim treatment of Septon Unella (the “shame” woman from season 6 episode 10), it almost felt like she was being let off lightly. However it was still truly dark and probably my favourite scene from the whole episode. Ellaria spoke through her eyes wonderfully and watching her suffer was still painful, in spite of the fact I never particularly liked her as a character. It was full of suspense and drama, and as it was (according to the actress) Ellaria’s final scene on Game of Thrones, quite a way to go out.
After waiting for so long, the reunion between Sansa and Bran was a little… odd. Of course, this is one of, if not the only time they have interacted on screen, but Bran looked as though a stranger had jumped upon him. It wasn’t the warm and fuzzy reunion you hoped for, like Jon and Sansa’s was. Instead Bran was at best weird and spaced out, and at worst a bit of a creep. Sansa tries her absolute best to bond with the brother she hasn’t seen for years, but instead Bran seems somewhere else, lost in the world of the three eyed raven, only coming out of his trance to talk to Sansa about how nice she looked the night she was brutally raped. Hopefully Arya will return next week and make things feel a little warmer in Winterfell.
— Elliot Brown (@Elliot_M_Brown) July 31, 2017
The final 10 minutes of the episode felt very rushed, three major events happen in such a small frame. Daenerys takes Casterly Rock, at the cost of her fleet and many men, Jaime takes High Garden, and Olenna confesses to Jaime that she murdered Joffrey as she dies. As I mentioned earlier, the bloodthirsty Game of Thrones fan in me wished we had a more detailed battle sequence, we never even saw the taking of high garden, just the aftermath, and the taking of the Rock lasted about three minutes. I suppose they are saving their money for the big moments of the season that will come up in episodes 5 and 6. Daenerys is really f*cked now. Olenna’s outing was fantastic, truly earning her name of the Queen of Thorns, she downs her poison like she’s chugging at a freshers party, and boldly tells Jaime that it was her who murdered King Joffrey (his son), and that she wants Cersei to know it. Now that Jaime knows for sure it was not Tyrion, perhaps he will start to lean towards the better half of his sibling pair, only time will tell.