TV Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Episode 3: ‘The Queen’s Justice’
WARNING! BELOW THERE BE:
Synopsis: Jon and Davos arrive at Dragonstone. Euron presents his “gift” to Cersei. Cersei enacts revenge for her daughter’s death. Melisandre decides to leave for Volantis. The Iron Bank of Bravos pays a visit to King’s Landing. Bran returns to Winterfell with Meera Reed while Sansa prepares the North for Winter. Ser Jorah’s recovery from Greyscale is complete and Sam faces the consequences. Grey Worm and the Unsullied attack Casterly Rock.
Review: Last year the great Ian McShane (who played the doomed Septon Ray in season six) took some criticism for calling Game of Thrones merely a show about “tits and dragons.” While the statement is somewhat reductive, there’s a modicum of truth there. (There tends to be more of the former than the latter). However, “The Queen’s Justice” proves that there doesn’t need to be an exorbitant amount of either to produce a compelling episode, and this week’s episode was all of that and more.
One of the great things about this season is that characters we’ve grown to love are meeting for the first time. Aside from a too lengthy exposition by Dany on her rights to the Iron Throne, the initial confrontation between the King in the North and the lawful Queen of Westeros was as good as promised. Despite Dany’s proclamations, Jon refuses to bend the knee, stating he can’t speak for his ancestors promises to House Targaryen. Jon I believe is somewhat bitter for the death of his grandfather at the hands of the Mad King. Dany apologizes for her father’s actions and Jon appreciates this because God knows he understands sons are not responsible for the sins of the father. Despite her frustration with Jon, I believe Dany respects him standing firm. He’s one of only a few people to openly defy her. It’s probably why Tyrion convinces Dany to allow Jon to mine dragonglass.
Yet it’s frustrating to watch Jon try to convince Dany of the threat of White Walkers. In fact it kind of defies logic. The woman possesses three full grown dragons. Is it so hard to believe in an army of the undead? That line, “You’ll be ruling over a graveyard if we don’t defeat the Night King,” is as accurate as it is chilling.
At least Tyrion believes Jon. Their exchange was great. Truly mind-boggling to think how far both of them have come and where they are. My favorite was that very meta moment on the cliffs where Tyrion comes to brood and claims that Jon is much better at it then he is. Regardless, let’s not kid ourselves, Davos and Jon are both prisoners on Dragonstone until Dany says otherwise.
Melisandre however is not. She tells Varys that she plans to leave for Volantis for an unknown reason. Her purpose is really niggling at me. What purpose does she have there? However, I think part of her departure is due to not wanting to see Davos again. Though this is a small scene, I believe it has significant import especially for Varys. Melisandre predicts his death and her own. When that will occur is anyone’s guess though.
Meanwhile at King’s Landing, Euron Greyjoy arrives to much fanfare having crushed most of Dany’s fleet. Quite the “gift” Euron lays at Cersei’s feet; Ellaria sand and her daughter Tyene. Cersei promises Euron the two will be wed when the war is won. If you believe that I’ve got some quality Trump Steaks I’d like to sell you.
Cersei doesn’t take long to play with her gift. She chains both Ellaria and Tyene in the dungeons and toys with them. Eventually, Cersei kisses Tyene with a slow poison and declares Ellaria shall watch her die slowly and spend the rest of her days in a prison. This isn’t only vicious but straight up Evil. Although would you expect anything less from a person who blew up the Sept of Baelor? Cersei is officially at the top of the list of people I want to see die. This wasn’t justice. It was vengeance. Apparently you celebrate that by banging your brother and giving zero fucks about who sees you in bed together.
Not only did we have a first time meeting between Jon and Dany this episode, we also had a reunion. After much time away from his home, Bran returns to Winterfell and reunites with Sansa. However, their reunion is a little…odd. During the scene at the Heart Tree, Bran comes off more than a little creepy. In fact it borders on Giovanni Ribisi in Ted kind of creepy. He’s so cold and distant, almost robotic, when he proclaims he will not be Lord of Winterfell, that he is the three-eyed raven. It goes even one step beyond when he describes in vivid detail the night of Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay Bolton, something he couldn’t possibly know about. Sansa was out of there quicker than a Trump White House staff member. On a good note, it appears that Sansa is doing an admirable job ruling the North. Littlefinger’s influence seems to have dried up completely, although I’ve no doubt the worm has a trick or two up his sleeve.
Good to see that Ser Jorah has fully recovered from his Greyscale and that Sam was successful. I assume at this point he’ll be heading for Dragonstone to reunite with Dany. However, no good deed goes unpunished and it looks like Sam’s going to be copying old books for a while. By the way, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jon will find something of significance in those books. Nothing in Game of Thrones is an accident.
As much as I hate Cersei, you have to respect, even admire, her political maneuvers. She truly is her father’s daughter. At the beginning of the season most people thought Dany was going to walk in and scoop up Westeros. I mean everything was in her favor: a fleet of ships, an army of Unsullied, a 100,000 Dothraki, and oh yeah three dragons. Yet somehow Cersei manages to smash Dany’s fleet with false promises to Euron Greyjoy, essentially nullifying Dorne’s support of Dany. Then even though Tyrion’s plan works and Casterly Rock falls, it’s a damn ghost town because Jamie has taken his forces to Highgarden. Meanwhile again Euron takes out the Unsullied’s ships cutting them off from Dany. They are now separated by a full continent with no incoming supplies. Furthermore, Cersei is able to solve the Iron Bank problem by seizing Highgarden and taking their gold, resolving two problems at once. It’s no coincidence that we keep seeing the Painted Table. This whole season (and show) is one giant cevasse (or chess if you prefer) match and right now, Cersei looks like fucking Bobby Fischer.
Tell you what, I’m going to miss Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell. I can’t think of ANYONE else in that role other than her. And what an amazing final scene for her to go out on! The exchange between Jamie and Olenna was epic. She rightly points out that Cersei is a monster and will be Jamie’s end. Yet he doesn’t seem to care and that’s disturbing considering Jamie’s experience with the Mad King. Also Olenna is the second victim of poison in the episode. However, even as she’s dying, Olenna is able to steal Jamie’s victory at Highgarden by telling him she poisoned Joffrey. The look on Jamie’s face was-if you’ll pardon the pun-pure gold. And for her to say to make sure Jamie tells Cersei because she wants her to know–what a punch to the gut.
While, “The Queen’s Justice” may not be rife with “tits and dragons,” this episode was high in excellent writing and acting. With only four episodes to go things are starting to speed up and it looks like Dany is about to unleash fire and blood next week.
Season 7 Episode 3 “The Queen’s Justice” rates: 9/10 Severed Ned Heads
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