In the ‘Game of Thrones’ recap, Jon Snow meets Daenerys Targaryen for the first time and Cersei Lannister exacts revenge on several enemies…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
“There’s always lessons in failure”
Wise words from Jamie Lannister this week after he led an army that destroyed the last remaining stronghold for House Tyrell at Highgarden a week after Euron Greyjoy burned the majority of Daenerys Targaryen’s fleet at sea.
It was a classic game of misdirection as Jamie and Cersei sacrificed their familial home at Casterly Rock while the real power was directat Lady Olenna and her remaining forces at Highgarden — a place long talked about on ‘Game of Thrones’ yet never before seen until this week as the Lannister forces overran it.
Jamie suffered this same fate when Robb Stark sent 1,000 men to die for the sake of misdirection while his real army went in a different direction as he captured the eldest Lannister son and struck a blow at the heart of Tywin Lannister’s forces. Sadly, Robb’s victory was short lived because he allowed love to blind him to the real war that needed to be won and ultimately he died because of it.
Perhaps Jamie is also blinded by his love for Cersei but thus far he’s proving to be a very capable opponent as the Lannisters have already taken out the majority of Daenerys Targaryen’s allies in Westeros by capturing Ellaria Sand last week and now destroying the last remaining Tyrell’s in the latest episode.
Meanwhile, history also played a large part in the first ever meeting between Daenerys and the ‘King in the North’ Jon Snow after he arrived at Dragonstone to meet with the self-proclaimed queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Of course, Daenerys wanted Jon Snow to bend the knee and pledge his fealty to her just like his ancestor Torrhen Stark did hundreds of years ago when Aegon I Targaryen conquered Westeros on the back of his three dragons.
During Aegon’s Conquest, he set out to rule the Seven Kingdoms and one by one — through fire and blood — he took them all. When it came time to go to war with the ‘King in the North, Torrhen Stark led 30,000 men ready to do battle with Aegon but after seeing the destruction that laid before him after so many fights had already been fought and so many men had already died, he decided peace was the better option. Torrhen bent the knee and pledged fealty to Aegon and from that moment on he was known as ‘The King Who Knelt’.
Now Daenerys wants Jon Snow to pledge the same loyalty to her reign as queen as his ancestors did for so many years but this partnership is going to take a lot more than the history between two famous houses.
It’s going to take a king and a queen coming together for a common cause and both sides will be forced to bend at least a little.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘The Queen’s Justice’…
Fire and Ice
Following a journey from the North to Dragonstone, Jon Snow arrives to meet with Daenerys Targaryen and he is greeted by his old friend Tyrion Lannister. Right away, Jon feels some sense of relief that this wasn’t some grand trap attempting to snare him but he soon finds out that convincing the Mother of Dragons to believe in White Walkers and the army of the dead is easier said than done.
Of course, Jon is immediately introduced to the real power that Daenerys holds when he sees the Dothraki horde at her command as well as three fully grown dragons flying overhead. Until that moment it’s safe to say Jon still had doubts about those dragons — he doesn’t anymore.
Upon arriving in the queen’s throne room, Jon is immediately asked to bend the knee and pledge fealty to House Targaryen, which he politely declines. Jon didn’t come here to become Daenerys’ servant but instead he wants her help in facing the Night King and the army of the dead that will most certainly get past the Wall and then it’s truly a battle for life and death.
Jon believes every word he’s saying — unfortunately no one else does.
The two sides reach an impasse as Jon isn’t willing to bend the knee and Daenerys isn’t willing to considering him the ‘King in the North’ as she’s trying to rule all Seven Kingdoms and not just five or six of them. She then goes into greater detail about what she’s had to suffer through and endure to return home to Westeros and why that’s made her fit to rule.
Jon may absolutely believe she’s the best queen for the Seven Kingdoms but without preparing to face the true threat that lies beyond the Wall, Daenerys’ reign may be the shortest in history.
Daenerys: “I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled, do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith.
“Not in any gods, not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea, any sea, they did for me. I was born the Seven Kingdoms and I will.”
Jon Snow: “You’ll be ruling over a graveyard if we don’t defeat the Night King.”
While Daenerys is certain that she’s fit to be the queen, Ser Davos Seaworth attempts to educate her on Jon Snow’s resume as king.
Davos followed another man he believed in named Stannis Baratheon but he lost his way after being lured into the flames by the Lord of Light and a priestess who fed him prophecies rather than fact. Davos now follows Jon Snow because he’s seen those same prophecies bring him back to life and win an unwinnable battle. Daenerys has faith in herself — Davos has faith in Jon Snow.
“He is the first to make allies of Wildlings and North men. He was named Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He was named King in the North not because of his birthright, he has no birthright. He’s a damn bastard. All those hard sons of bitches chose him as their leader because they believe in him. All those things you don’t believe in, he faced those things, he fought those things for the good of his people. He risked his life for his people. He took a knife in the heart for his people. He gave his own….if we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die and then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”
~ Davos Seaworth
As much as the Mother of Dragons and the King in the North need each other, neither are willing to bend. Daenerys is curious, however, about Davos’ proclamation that Jon was stabbed in the heart before stopping himself from revealing that he was brought back from the dead.
The frustration over the meeting leaves Jon Snow at a loss because now he’s trapped on Dragonstone, not sure whether or not he’s a prisoner and he’s still no closer to waging a war against the true enemy that lies beyond the Wall. Tyrion meets with him and reminds Jon that there’s more to ruling than always getting your way — a large part of effectively leading involves compromise. He also explains to Jon that his fantastic tales about White Walkers and an army of dead men isn’t exactly easy a reasonable story to believe no matter how true it might be.
Instead, Tyrion offers a compromise — give him a reasonable request and he’ll attempt to get Daenerys to give him a reasonable answer.
And so Jon and Daenerys finally find a middle ground as she grants him permission to mine the dragon glass from underneath Dragonstone so he can turn it into weapons in which to use against the army of the dead. The dragon glass is largely useless to Daenerys — at least for now — but clearly Jon Snow believes it’s worth more than gold in the war to come.
She may not believe him about the dead marching on Westeros but this is a first step in a partnership that may save the Seven Kingdoms when it’s all said and done. Fire and ice have collided and that could be the most powerful force the known world has ever witnessed.
A Prophecy of Death
As Jon Snow arrives at Dragonstone, Melisandre is nowhere to be found.
Instead of greeting the ‘King in the North’, she sits on top of Dragonstone looking down at the partnership she just helped to forge. When Lord Varys arrives he wonders why she hasn’t met Jon Snow and his men at the shore and she explains that their last meeting didn’t end so well — after he discovered that she burned Shireen Baratheon alive and then banished her from the North forever.
Melisandre then declares that her work in Westeros is done for now and she will leave for Volantis but it won’t be the last time that she steps foot on this soil. Instead, Melisandre offers up a rather ominous prophecy about her future — and what lies ahead for the Master of Whisperers himself.
“I will return, dear Spider, one last time. I have to die in this strange country…just like you” ~ Melisandre
It appears Lord Varys has a part to play in the war to come but he may not survive it.
The Long Farewell
Euron Greyjoy arrives back at King’s Landing to receive a hero’s welcome after destroying the majority of Daenerys’ fleet and capturing two of the people attempting to overthrow Queen Cersei. He’s got his niece in two along with Ellaria Sand and her daughter Tyene, who will now stand before the queen to answer for crimes against her family.
Remember, Ellaria Sand is responsible for the death of Myrcella Baratheon and that’s not a crime that Cersei will soon forgive much less forget.
Euron’s victory serves as proof that he can be a trusted ally in this war against the Targaryen threat and he’s ready to collect his prize. Cersei promises that he will get everything he wants — after the war is won. Of course, Euron can’t help himself but to taunt Jamie because he knows the end goal is ending up in Cersei’s bed.
Euron: “If you have any advice, I’d love to hear it. When we have an hour or two to speak as brothers.”
Euron: “Does she like it gentle or rough? A finger in the bum. Not now, we’ll talk later.”
As for Ellaria Sand, Cersei has been dreaming up punishments for her ever since her daughter died en route back to rejoin her mother. Cersei knows that she could have ‘The Mountain’ crush her head just like he did to Oberyn Martell or she could ask him to do the same to Ellaria’s daughter while she sat there and watched.
Instead, Cersei has another more devious plan devised as she kisses Ellaria’s daughter, who is chained to a wall on the opposite side of the room where her mother is also being held captive.
The kiss seals Tyene’s fate because Cersei was wearing the same poison on her lips that Ellaria wore the day she kissed Myrcella Baratheon goodbye when she left Dorne. Qyburn — the rogue maester who is now Hand of the Queen — figured out the poison that was used to kill Cersei’s daughter and he made up a batch of his own. Now Ellaria will stand there and watch her daughter suffer and die but that’s not enough for how Cersei wants to punish her.
“Your daughter will die here in this cell and you’ll be here watching when she does. You’ll be here the rest of your days. If you refuse to eat, we’ll force food down your throat. You will live to watch your daughter rot. To watch that beautiful face collapse into bone and dust. All the while contemplating the choices you’ve made.”
All the enjoyment of revenge gets Cersei rather excited so she takes her brother to bed and then flaunts Jamie being there in the morning when she receives word about a visitor to King’s Landing. A representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos has arrived to discuss with her the rather sizable debt that’s owed from the time when her husband Robert was king and the money that was continuously borrowed when her father Tywin was the de facto ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
Cersei slyly points out how the Iron Bank is ultimately betting on a winner and a loser when they do or don’t pledge their money to one side or another. She promises that this will be the winning side and hopes that the Iron Bank will continue to back her so they can be paid back in full.
How Cersei plans on paying back that money is unknown but thus far she’s had a plan for everything — as witnessed by another maneuver later in the episode that eliminates yet another enemy going against her.
To the North, Sansa is ruling in her brother’s absence and it seems leadership is something she does very well. Sansa is preparing Winterfell for the oncoming war by harvesting grains and other foods from the many lords around the North so if the army of the dead does invade and this is their last stronghold, there will be enough supplies for everyone inside.
Meanwhile, Petyr Baelish is still advising her, although Sansa seems to have outgrown his advice especially when he attempts to offer her insight into Cersei Lannister’s plans for the Seven Kingdoms. Before their conversation can go much deeper, Sansa is called away to a visitor arriving at the gates.
It’s Bran Stark — and he’s come home to Winterfell.
But this isn’t the same little boy who fell from a window and could no longer walk when Sansa last saw him. Bran has transformed into the Three-Eyed Raven — a seer who can peer into the past and then look into the future as well. Bran Stark has no desire to rule the North despite being Ned Stark’s last living full-blooded son. His job is much bigger now and he needs to find his brother Jon because there’s a war coming for both of them.
Bran proves his power while speaking to Sansa as he reveals to her that he watched her wedding to Ramsay Bolton on the night by the Weirwood tree when she was dressed all in white and then he witnessed the atrocities done by her husband. Sansa is clearly shaken by those memories but perhaps even more so because her brother somehow saw it all in a vision.
Bran left to go beyond the Wall but when he returned he was no longer the eldest living son of Ned and Catelyn Stark. He is now fully transformed into the Three-Eyed Raven and his purpose is to stave off the Long Night as the army of the dead attempts to conquer all forms of life across the known world.
Last week saw Samwell Tarly perform a rather brutal technique in an attempt to cure Jorah Mormont from the Greyscale that was attacking his body. The Archmaester of the Citadel wasn’t even willing to attempt such a thing but Samwell owed a debt to Jorah’s father from his time leading the Night’s Watch and he wasn’t about to allow his son to die much less watch him turn into one of those awful Stonemen.
It turns out Samwell’s treatment worked as Jorah’s Greyscale was removed and defeated as his life was saved. Jorah is now covered in scars but he’s still alive and ready to return to serve his queen at Dragonstone.
He shakes hands with Samwell as they both hope to cross paths again at some point in the future. Considering Jorah is bound for Dragonstone to rejoin his queen and she’s currently spending time with Jon Snow — Samwell’s best friend — it’s safe to say they’ll all meet again one day.
As for Samwell — the Archmaester congratulates him on a job well done in saving Jorah’s life and staving off the Greyscale infection. He tells the young maester in training that he’s done a good thing and should celebrate his achievement.
Of course that doesn’t mean he’s not in trouble — but rather that exiling him from the Citadel, the archmaester confines Samwell to transcribing and making copies of scrolls for the records, which will likely take him several months to complete.
Still, Samwell saved a man’s life and he simultaneously paid back a debt owed to Jeor Mormont, who was his Lord Commander at the Night’s Watch.
The Rock and a Hard Place
Following the destruction of her fleet by Euron Greyjoy, Daenerys wants to strike back with the best weapon she has in her arsenal — the three dragons that follow her commands — but Tyrion advises against it because she’s far too valuable and while dragons may be nearly unbeatable, it only takes one arrow to kill her dead.
Instead, Tyrion’s plan involves sacking Casterly Rock and taking the crown jewel from the Lannister kingdom in response to Euron’s attack on the Greyjoy fleet. Oh and speaking of the Greyjoy fleet — one of the surviving boats fishes Theon out of the water after he fled for his life rather than face his uncle to save his own sister.
Meanwhile, Grey Worm and the Unsullied arrive in Casterly Rock where a battle ensues — many men die as Daenerys’ forces attempt to climb over the wall to take on the Lannister army in open combat. Thankfully, Tyrion had another plan in mind to save lives and put an end to the fight before too many people were lost.
Tyrion’s father never trusted him with much but he did give his son a job to rebuild the sewer system beneath Casterly Rock. It’s there where Tyrion built an underground network of shit and piss but also carved out a little spot of his own where he could meet with whores and do all sorts of unspeakable acts that his father would never approve for him to do.
It’s there where Tyrion leads the Unsullied as the gain entrance into Casterly Rock and quickly dispatch the guards inside to take the city. The fight is over quickly but it doesn’t take long for Grey Worm to realize that this all ended far too easily.
The Lannister army was few in number compared to what the Unsullied expected to face and that’s when they hear an explosion in the bay outside Casterly Rock. Euron Greyjoy’s fleet has arrived and they set fire to the remaining ships that Daenerys had left in her fleet, which effectively traps Grey Worm and the Unsullied at Casterly Rock.
Now if they want to leave, Daenerys’ most trusted general and his army would have to march across Westeros and that’s no easy task.
But where was the real Lannister army if they weren’t at Casterly Rock?
They were bound for Highgarden — the ancestral seat and home of House Tyrell.
Jamie Lannister along with his new generals — Randyll and Dickon Tarly as well as Ser Bronn of the Blackwater — lead the Lannister forces into Highgarden where they quickly topple the remaining Tyrell forces while landing another crushing blow to Daenerys’ rebellion.
Daenerys hoped to use the Dornish and Tyrell armies to lay siege to King’s Landing but now those plans have already been thwarted. The woman who leads Dorne has been captured and she’s now a prisoner of Cersei Lannister while Jamie has led his army to topple the last remaining remnants of House Tyrell.
With the battle already over, Jamie finds Lady Olenna alone in her chambers awaiting the executioner to put an end to her.
Cersei had all sorts of ideas about how she would snuff out the ‘Queen of Thorns’ after their various encounters over the years, but Jamie convinced her that Lady Olenna deserved a more dignified death.
First things first, Jamie explains how he learned from his previous fight against Robb Stark to use misdirection to send Daenerys’ forces to Casterly Rock, which he was all too happy to surrender so they could smash two of her most powerful allies in one fell swoop. Now her fleet is in ashes, her army is stranded, and Daenerys has lost both Dorne and Highgarden in a matter of days.
He then offers Lady Olenna a peaceful death thanks to some poison he brought along. As a sign of respect, Jamie offers Lady Olenna a way out that won’t involve choking or spitting up her guts but instead she will just fade into that goodnight once and for all.
Lady Olenna quickly gobbles down the poison but not because she’s excited to go out so quietly. Instead, she wanted to ingest the poison before revealing some information to Jamie Lannister that may make him want to revert back to those previous plans that Cersei had in store for her death.
See Lady Olenna mentions how horrible a poisoning death can be in the wrong circumstances — just like how Jamie’s son Joffrey died at his wedding celebration once upon a time.
“I’d hate to die like your son — clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. It must have been horrible for you as a Kingsguard, as a father, it was horrible enough for me. A shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. You see, I had never seen the poison work before. Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me.”
~ Lady Olenna
Lady Olenna’s parting gift was revealing that she was the culprit behind Joffrey’s assassination — but failed to mention Baelish’s part in the act — as Jamie realized the gravity of the situation. Lady Olenna’s actions not only led to Joffrey’s death but it also resulted in Tyrion being put on trial for a murder he never committed not to mention the end result with Tywin Lannister being killed by his own son as he escaped custody.
Now Jamie will be haunted forever by Lady Olenna’s last revelation as the ‘Queen of Thornes’ pierced someone for a final time before saying goodbye.
‘Game of Thrones’ returns next week with a brand new episode at 9pm ET on HBO.