Another Sunday another Game of Thrones. In which we are reminded that dragons or not, taking the Seven Kingdoms is gonna be hard.
We start off at Dragonstone, the only conquered territory of Daeneyrs Stormborn in her bid to take Westeros and the Iron Throne, fulfilling the conquest of her ancestors. Of course, taking Dragonstone was easy, because no one was there, the place having been vacated by Stannis Baratheon. Plus, given the dreary and raining weather conditions, it’s likely that no one else but dreary Stannis ever wanted it. Dany is pacing about, fretting that they ain’t gotten do nothing yet since we last saw her declare “Shall we begin.” Tyrion, patient and with wine cup ever in hand, tells her not to worry. All in due time. No need to go all dragons roaring into King’s Landing; gather allies and take the Seven Kingdoms without reducing everything to ashes.
Varys chimes about the same, only to have Dany flip on him. In a come to Jesus-Nino-Brown-type-moment, she calls out the Spider–questioning his various alliances and betrayals of past rulers of Westeros. He answers each truthfully, wondering (like teh rest of us) where she’s going. Then she comes to the point, and asks who ordered her death and who carried out the attempts. Varys is cornered, but then is like–F*ck it. He tells Dany, hell yeah I carried out the hit because I didn’t know who you were and your daddy was crazy AF.
When she asks how she can trust his loyalty, Varys hits back that he ain’t loyal to no ruler with blind allegiance. He says that he’s loyal to the people. That he has seen (personally) what happens to the common people in the hands of rulers with blind allegiance. He says he wants to put her on the Iron Throne because he believes she can be a great queen–because he chose her. They come to a grudging truce. Dany asks him to let her know whenever she’s failing the people–and warns she’ll burn him alive if he betrays her. Job security with the Mother of Dragons is precarious.
Speaking of precarious employment, who should show up at Dany’s doorsteps but a certain unemployed red priestess of the God of Light. Melisandre, the younger, fresh from her banishment from the North, has come seeking the Khaleesi. As Dany has worked with the acolytes of the religion before to quell unrest in Meereen, she greets Melisandre cordially. Of course, she doesn’t know nothing bout Melisandre’s predilections for little girl burning. The red priestess at first speaks to Dany in Valyrian, until Varys recognizes her name–pointing out she once served Stannis, another claimant to the Iron Throne, and how badly that went. Dany though points out, eh I just pardoned your ass for backing folk against me. So Varys relents.
Melisandre says she’s there on behalf of the Lord of Light, for the Long Night is coming and they’re seeking the Prince Who Brings the Dawn–Azor Ahai. I know. Lots of titles. Dany points out she’s not a Prince, so can’t be me. Missandei though comes through the linguistic skills to point out the word is actually non-gender binding, and can mean Prince or Princess. You know, just like the word DOCTOR. Given her unsavory experience with prophecies of late, Melisandre downplays if Dany is the ONE. She does believe, however, that Dany is here to play a role in the coming fight against the enemies of the Lord of Light. She mentions that so does someone else: a certain King in the North, Jon Snow. The dice start tumbling in Tyrion’s head, as he puts 2 + 2 together, remembering his meetings with Jon back at Winterfell. He tells Dany she should make an alliance with Jon, at least talk to him. She agrees. She tells Tyrion to send a note to Jon Snow summoning him to stand before his queen, and bend the knee.
Everybody remember, that’s her nephew. Figure it out in your heads.
When we next see Dany, she’s meeting with her council and her new allies. Let’s count ’em: Tyrion,Varys, Missandei, Grey Worm, Yara Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand. Is that everybody? Good.
Being that this team of Avengers was put together pretty hastily, they got some bonding issues. Yara wants to sail her fleet out and attack King’s Landing like yesterday. Ellaria agrees, because she’s just ready to burn everything the f*ck down. Tyrion points out they don’t go around poisoning little girls, in reference to his neice Myrcella. Ellaria is unrepentant, and says she kills goddamn Lannisters. Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Snark as well as Roses, makes quips every now and again, asking when they gonna move. Dany and Tyrion finally explain their plan: the Greyjoys will ferry the Dornish army and the Tyrells to attack outside King’s Landing. In a master stroke, the Unsullied and Dothraki will (wait for it) take Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister THAT, gets everyone on board.
Dany does take time out to meet with Lady Olenna Tyrell, promising her she will bring peace to Westeros. The Queen of Snark and Thorns scoffs, saying that the one thing the lands have never had was peace. She warns Dany not to sit around listening to a bunch of men tell her what to do. She, herself, hasn’t survived so long by listening to men. Dany is a dragon, Lady Tyrell reminds, and she should BE a dragon.
So Missandei and Greyworm have a moment and we finally learn that eunuchs still have other, um, resources at their disposal. It turns out the normally tight-lipped Unsullied is quite the orator. On a show filled with dysfunctional sexual relationships and outright rape, it was a welcome healthy intimate relationship. First eunuch and slave sex we’ve seen on the show. Also, the first Black people sex. So it’s a two-fer.
Out at King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister speaks to the gathered lords of Westeros while atop the Iron Throne with Jaime at her side. She is painting a pretty brutal picture of Dany: as another mad Targaryen who has brought foreign savages to the shores of Westeros and who threatens to destroy, pillage and rape up all the good white people. In other words, it’s like a Trump rally. One of the lords, Randyll Tarly of House Tarly–Samwell Tarly’s screwface Pops who happens to be a bannerman of House Tyrell, which Cersei is painting as in open rebellion. Randyll Tarly points out that speeches are nice, but Dany got three big ass dragons–and that the last Targaryen with three big ass dragons conquered Westeros. The mad scientist ex- maester Qyburn pipes in to say, “we working on that.”
And turns out he is. He takes Cersei down to the cellar where they keep the bones of the great dragons. Because why not. He tells her that as fearsome as the creatures are, they can be killed. He’s heard reports of Drogon being wounded by spears in the fighting pits of Meereen. And he must have read The Hobbit, because he’s constructed a giant Smaug killing arrow that when fired pierces the skull of a dragon. Yes, yes, nerds. I know that in the original Hobbit, Bard the Bowman uses a regular-sized “black arrow” and that Peter Jackson committed gross sacrilege with that giant harpoon arrow in that overly long movie adaptation with Smaug the Garrulous. Geek down already. I’m trying to do a thing here.
Elsewhere in the palace, Jaime works on trying to convince a skeptical Randyll Tarly to come on board, asking him to be their general. Tarly says he ain’t keen on breaking his oath to House Tyrell, and points out that Cersei kinda outta pocket in asking. But Jaime puts that Trump style xenophobia bout “foreign savages and eunuchs” on him, and it seems to work. White folk have got to stop falling for that trick.
Speaking of Tarlys, out at the Citadel we see Samwell with Maester Slughorn. They’re attending to Jorah Mormont who is Greyscaled up. Samwell tries to suggest a cure he’s read about in some old book, but Maester Slughorn shuts him down. He tells Jorah they’ll send him to live among the Greyscale leper colony–or that he can end it early if he wants, hinting at his sword. Samwell though, ain’t having it. He recognizes that Jorah is none other than the son of the former Lord Commander Jeor Mormont of the Night’s Watch who he served under and watched die. He goes to see Jorah secretly that night, with a book, some medieval looking surgical tools and balms and says he plans to try to save his life. After that, is lots of painful, nasty, puss-filled sh*t I don’t need to further describe.
Out at Winterfell, Jon has received Dany’s missive (per Tyrion) and is now contemplating whether to go see her. Sansa–the Sensible–is like, “I dunno man. Every time a Stark male goes out into the world, it don’t end well.” Ser Davos Seaworth, also present, points out this Queen has a horde of Dothraki, an army of Unsullied and three dragons. So she ain’t safe. Then again, the Onion Knight points out, they’re up against an army of dead ice wights and demons. And dragons, breathe fire.
That’s not the only message Jon receives. Another one arrives, from Samwell at the Citadel, informing him that there’s a mountain of dragonglass under Dragonstone. He brings this to the attention of all the other Lords and Ladies and the singular bad-ass ten-year old that is Lyanna Mormont . He informs them he’s going to accept Dany’s offer of a meeting, and is heading to Dragonstone. Nobody takes this well. I mean nobody. Like I was surprised the cooks didn’t come from the kitchens to say, hell naw! Sansa, once again, confronts Jon about it in public, managing to rally most to her side. In the end, he has to put his kingly foot down, and tells Sansa (to her surprise) that he’s leaving her in charge of the North while he’s away. In the corner, Littlefinger is again making little faces.
Littlefinger later goes to see Jon off, who is down in the catacombs of Winterfell looking over the tomb of his “mother” Catelyn Stark. Jon gives Littlefinger that, “You know I don’t like you dude” look and tells him he doesn’t belong down here. But Littlefinger keeps running his mouth, telling Jon he should be grateful for his saving him at the Battle of the Bastards. Then he steps all the way wrong, and alludes to his creepy love for Jon’s dead “mother” and Sansa. That’s the final straw. Jon damn near chokes the sh*t outta him and warns that if he touches Sansa he’ll kill him–then stalks off. Yeah, Littlefinger is gonna be problems. All sorts of problems.
There’s an Arya side story as well. We see her meeting with Hotpie who’s still good at the baking. They talk, she eats pies, is kinda guarded, and states matter-of-factly she’s off to King’s Landing. He asks why, when her brother Jon is in Winterfell and the King of the North. Man, the Westeros grapevine is spectacular! On hearing the latest news, Arya hops on her horse and begins to make the trek back home.
Somewhere along the way, she’s beset by wolves. Not just wolves, a pack of wolves led by a dire wolf. It’s Nymeria–Arya’s old direwolf that disappeared since Season 1. Or maybe it isn’t. Because when Sansa pleads with the direwolf to come home with her, she turns and flees, leaving her alone. There’s probably some deeper philosophical meaning here but I’ll leave it for you to figure out.
Okay, so that’s everything happening on land. But the real holy hell action in this episode happens at the end, and on the sea. Yara Greyjoy’s fleet is heading to Dorne as ordered, carrying both Ellaria Sand and her deadly Sand Snake daughters. We start off mostly with Ellaria and Yara, and what promises to be one heck of a freaky sex fest that an annoyed Theon has to stand around and watch–or not. But just before the freak train can leave the station, something rocks the ship. Hard.
Yara orders Ellaria to stay in the hold and she and Theon race to the deck to find fireballs raining down on her fleet. Oh, there’s also a humongous black sailed ship bearing down that rams right into them. Yara recognizes the kraken sigil on the great sails immediately. It’s Uncle Euron. As soon as she says his name, ol’ dude shows up riding some kinda dragon gang-plank and comes screaming down on their deck like a BOSS! The messenger of the Drowned God is here, and is not to be f*cked with!
After that, all heck breaks loose.
A boarding party follows Euron, and its a man-to-man, axe and sword and eye-gouging, bloody close quarters combat on the deck of a ship. Yara and Theon hold their own, but they are on the losing end of things. All around them, their fleet is wrecked and on fire. And their own ship is rammed, burning and swarming with Euron’s men. It’s a goddamn wrap.
But they fight on. The Sand Snakes take on Euron himself, with whips and daggers. It’s a close fight. But they never stood a chance. And before you know it, two Sand Snakes are treated to a Mortal Kombat “finish them” moment. Dead AF. In the hold, Ellaria Sand and her daughter are both captured and taken away.
The end of the doomed battle comes when Euron finally catches Yara, who takes him on–leaping down to fight. He has a blade’s edge to her throat and the last person who can save her is Theon. Euron taunts him to come on, calling him a coward. But the fire, the death, the killing, is too much. And in that moment, he falters. He’s Reek again. Dropping his sword, he flees in panic, jumping into the waters. Euron laughs in triumph. And we’re like, “aww man Theon.”
When we see him again he’s holding onto a bit of wreckage, watching Euron’s ship sail away amid the fiery ruins of his own fleet. What rhymes with Reek?
Yeah, things don’t always go as planned. Till next week, where Dany’s gonna realize if she wants sh*t done she’ll have to do it herself.