In the ‘Game of Thrones’ recap, Daenerys plots her attack to take the Iron Throne, Jon receives an invitation and Cersei prepares to defend her crown…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
On the day Daenerys Targaryen arrived in Westeros she brought with her a Dothraki horde numbering over 100,000, an Unsullied army bred from birth to fight and kill on the battlefield, a fleet of ships provided to her by the Greyjoy family and three fully grown dragons with enough fire to burn the Seven Kingdoms to ashes.
With all that might, Daenerys certainly appeared to be the prohibitive favorite to rule by the end of ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 but if there’s one thing we should have learned over the past 60 plus episodes is that Cersei Lannister will never go down without a fight.
In the latest episode, Cersei drew first blood in the oncoming war with Daenerys when her venomous right hand Euron Greyjoy delivered on his promise to bring her a prize so valuable that she would have no other choice but to marry him as he attacked his niece and nephew as they were bound for Dorne in an attempt to launch an offensive of their own.
Instead, Yara’s ships were burned and destroyed thanks to Euron’s impromptu attack, which proved two things — Cersei isn’t going down without a fight and the usurper who stole his brother’s throne might be the most dangerous man left alive in Westeros.
This week also saw Arya reconnect with an old friend while catching up the latest news in the North, which resulted in a change of direction. Samwell Tarly decided to take matters into his own hands when he found an opportunity to help the son of a man he revered and called Lord Commander.
And of course, Jon Snow received a pair of messages in the latest episode that could change the direction of “Game of Thrones” forever as a union that’s been teased since the inception of this series will finally come to fruition next week.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” titled “Stormborn”….
Plan of Attack
On a stormy night at Dragonstone, Queen Daenerys Targaryen gathers her most loyal allies in a war council to begin plotting the war that will win her the Iron Throne. Among the people at this meeting are Ellaria Sand, who is now the ruler of Dorne, and Lady Olenna Tyrell, who is the last remaining family member from that great monarchy.
Together, they are all attempting to come up with a plan to defeat Cersei Lannister and take the Iron Throne.
While Yara and Ellaria both believe that an immediate attack on King’s Landing would be the easiest path to victory, the Queen has a different idea about not only taking the Iron Throne but making sure the people in the Seven Kingdoms will follow her when the war is over thanks to some advice received from the Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister.
Daenerys decides that her strategy will be to lay siege to the outlying areas around King’s Landing using the armies provided to her by Dorne and the Tyrell’s — that way the people will see two of the great noble houses have turned against Cersei. The siege will cut off food and supplies to the capitol, which is a method to starve Cersei out of her castle.
Meanwhile, Grey Worm and the Unsullied will strike a blow at the heart of Cersei’s queendom by taking Casterly Rock — the ancestral home and seat of the Lannister family.
The first strike will be dealt as Daenerys sends Yara Greyjoy and the fleet to escort Ellaria Sand home where they will gather the Dornish army before traveling north to begin the siege on King’s Landing. Of course the plan is met with some resistance as Lady Olenna offers up her own advice after reminding Daenerys that no queen may have been more beloved by the people than her granddaughter Margaery but she was still burned to the ground just the same.
Lady Olenna believes that ruling with a healthy dose of fear works just as well as appealing to the masses with hopes of blind loyalty. Add to that, Lady Olenna reminds Daenerys that while Tyrion is a clever fellow, she’s survived this long by ignoring the advice of men just like him. Instead, Lady Olenna appeals to Daenerys by reminding her to never forget her true nature and that of the Targaryen dynasty — to take what is hers by fire and blood.
“The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No, you’re a dragon. Be a dragon”
~ Lady Olenna
Wise words from a woman who has seen numerous kings attempt to rule during their day yet all of them are now dead and Westeros is no closer to peace than it was under any of them.
As Daenerys’ forces prepare to leave Dragonstone, Grey Worm is visited by Missandei as they share a moment before he goes to conquer Casterly Rock for the queen.
Missandei is slightly upset that Grey Worm was about to leave without even saying goodbye and he explains that when the Unsullied are raised, the masters would force them to face their fears at an early age. If a child was scared of drowning, the masters would toss them into the water and they would either learn to swim or die.
Grey Worm never had any such fears until he met Missandei because the thought of harm coming to her is his greatest vulnerability. His attempt to push her away doesn’t work as Missandei forces him to face his fears as the two of them have a very passionate night together before he goes off to war.
The Prince or Princess Who Was Promised
To win the Seven Kingdoms, Daenerys will not be able to do it alone so she’s going to need all the allies she can rally.
Perhaps one of her most powerful allies is Lord Varys — the Master of Whisperers — who commands a loyal network of spies all over the known world who share with him secrets of lords and ladies, peasants and noblemen. Unfortunately, Varys has pledged his allegiance to numerous kings over the years including Daenerys’ father “The Mad King” Aerys II Targaryen as well as Robert Baratheon and the two monarchs that followed in his name. Now Varys serves Daenerys, but she’s curious why he should be trusted when he’s already proven that he will overthrow a king at a moment’s notice if that’s what he deems necessary.
To answer those claims, Varys explains that his loyalty lies with the people not the kings or queens he serves. He came from nothing and now his sole purpose is to serve those same people who are crushed under the weight of the kingdom that is supposed to take care of them.
Daenerys agrees that the people are what’s most important but she makes Varys swear that if she’s ever veering off course or not serving the Seven Kingdoms in a way that best benefits the people that he will tell her to her face rather than begin a secret war to take her off the Iron Throne. Varys agrees and swears his loyalty. In return, Daenerys keeps him in her counsel while warning Varys that if he ever betrays her, she will burn him alive with dragon fire.
On the heels of that intense conversation, Daenerys receives a visit from a red priestess from Asshai — and her name is Melisandre.
She’s come to join Daenerys in her efforts to overthrow Cersei Lannister and take back the Iron Throne. Of course, Melisandre also comes with a warning about a much greater war brewing to the North and how the “prince who was promised” will be needed to stop the oncoming Long Night when the White Walkers and the army of the dead finally invade Westeros.
Now the prophecy about the prince who was promised goes back thousands of years about a savior who will deliver the light in a world filled with darkness. The prince who was promised is said to use a song of ice and fire to save the world when the sun fades and eternal night threatens to destroy all of mankind. The prophecy has obviously never been realized but Melisandre certainly believes that Daenerys will play a part in the war to come and of course she notes that she’s not a prince.
Thankfully, Missandei is there to correct a crude translation of the High Valyrian language that makes up the prophecy about the prince who was promised. According to Missandei, there is no gender specific noun in that phrase so really it could be the prince or the princess who was promised will bring the dawn — a theory that has long swirled in circles discussing the original books by George R.R. Martin.
Whether the prophecy tells of a prince, a princess or perhaps both — Melisandre cautions that there will be another who Daenerys will need to battle the Long Night — and his name is Jon Snow.
Tyrion speaks up in support of Jon Snow after they rode to the Wall together all the way back in season one and he was very impressed by Ned Stark’s bastard. Tyrion also informs Daenerys that not only is Jon Snow trustworthy but he has even more reason to want Cersei Lannister dead because she stood by while Ned was beheaded and then conspired to kill his brother Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. Add to that, Jon Snow commands the North, which means he would be a rather powerful ally to have in Daenerys’ attempt to conquer the Iron Throne.
“Send a raven North — tell Jon Snow that his queen invites him to come to Dragonstone and bend the knee”
~ Daenerys Targaryen
Ice and Fire
In the North, Jon Snow receives the letter from Tyrion inviting him to meet with Daenerys at Dragonstone along with a message at the end that verifies that it actually came from him. Tyrion included words he spoke to Jon Snow when they first met on the Wall, which lets him know that this offer is legitimate and not a trap set by anyone looking to betray him.
Davos also notes that if Daenerys really does have three fully grown dragons that their fire power could be a very valuable weapon if the White Walkers make it past the Wall. Fire kills them and dragons breathe it — seems like a natural fit.
While Sansa speaks in favor of Tyrion, who was always kind to her when she was trapped in King’s Landing under the torture of Joffrey Baratheon, she still can’t trust that this isn’t a trap set for Jon in Dragonstone.
Still, Jon gathers all the lords from the Northern houses and tells them about Daenerys’ offer along with a message he just received from his friend and brother Samwell Tarly at the Citadel. According to Sam, Dragonstone sits on a mountain of dragonglass, which is exactly what they need to kill the White Walkers and the army of the dead.
Of course, many of the lords from the North object to Jon traveling south to meet with Daenerys but he notes that ne never asked to be King yet they offered him the crown because he was trusted to lead them following the Battle of the Bastards.
Jon declares that he will ride south to meet with Daenerys Targaryen to see if a partnership can be forged to not only overthrow Cersei Lannister but then prepare for the war to come against the dead.
In his absence, Jon puts Sansa in charge and he believes she will lead the North as well as he could while he’s gone to meet with the dragon queen.
Before leaving Winterfell alongside Davos and a garrison of men, Jon visits his father’s crypt where he encounters Lord Petyr Baelish.
“Littlefinger” tells Jon how he delivered Ned’s bones to Catelyn after he was beheaded and while they had a different opinion on some things, he always respected the deceased King in the North — despite the fact that he actually betrayed him. Baelish then explains in great detail how much he loved Catelyn and how his devotion has now passed onto her daughter, Sansa. Baelish then offers a not so subtle reminder that without him, Jon would have been defeated in battle by Ramsay Bolton.
Jon’s heard enough of Baelish’s mouth so he slams him against a wall, chokes the breath out of him and offers a very strong threat — if he touches Sansa, he will die by the hands of the King in the North.
The Mad Queen
With a war about to begin any day, Cersei is gathering any and all those who are loyal to the crown because there’s no way to defeat Daenerys without at least some of the lords of Westeros supporting her claim to the throne.
Among those summoned to King’s Landing are Randyll Tarly — the Lord of Horn Hill — and his son Dickon, who is now second in command after his elder brother Samwell was told to join the Night’s Watch or die because he wasn’t fit to rule.
Because so many are against Cersei already, Jamie Lannister knows that she will need people just like Randyll Tarly on her side if she hopes to maintain control over the Seven Kingdoms. Jamie notes during his conversation with Randyll that he was the only general during Robert Baratheon’s rebellion who defeated him in battle — not even the great Rhaegar Targaryen could make that claim.
Jamie then mentions how Randyll Tarly would make an excellent Warden of the South after this war is finished.
Meanwhile, Cersei has other problems to deal with when it comes to Daenerys’ army that could invade any day — namely the three dragons who are under her command.
Thankfully, Cersei has at least one very loyal ally named Qyburn, who is the Hand of the Queen, and he’s been devising a plan that would negate Daenerys’ dragons when the war finally begins. He notes that her dragon named Drogon was injured by spears when he entered the fighting pits in Meereen so Qyburn has taken that information and put the blacksmiths to work on a weapon powerful enough to bring down the scaled beasts.
Qyburn unveils a giant crossbow with a bolt large enough to kill a dragon.
Cersei now has loyal lords ready to fight for her along with a weapon that could destroy Daenerys’ precious dragons. In other words, this war is far from finished.
Down with the Sickness
At the Citadel, Jorah Mormont is running out of time as the Greyscale that infected his body has begun to spread at a rapid rate and his days are officially numbered.
Sadly, the archmaester tells him that his Greyscale is far too advanced to treat and that he can only stay there one day longer before he will be forced to leave. Jorah also learns that while he may live for another 20 or 30 years, his mind will be gone in six months or less and then he will start to transform into one of the Stone Men, who still haunt the dreaded and ruined city of Valyria.
When Samwell learns of Jorah’s heritage —being Jeor Mormont’s only son — he decides to take matters into his own hands.
Against the wishes of the archmaester, Samwell begins an experimental treatment that has worked to cure advanced Greyscale in the past. Samwell served Jorah’s father and he knows the former Lord Commander didn’t deserve to die by the hands of his own men while ranging north of the Wall. So Samwell refuses to let another Mormont die and he’s going to do everything possible to save Jorah.
It looks like a rather brutal and painstaking treatment but Jorah will try anything to stave off this deadly Greyscale so he can finally return to the service of his queen, Daenerys Targaryen.
Pack of Wolves
On her way to King’s Landing to kill the queen, Arya stopped by an inn to have some pigeon pie where she ran into an old friend. Yes, it was the return of Hot Pie, who is still cooking up culinary delights for all those who visit his inn.
Hot Pie mentions running into Brienne a couple of seasons back and how he informed her that Arya was alive. The result was Brienne’s battle with the Hound, who she ultimately kicked off the side of a cliff before Arya escaped.
In between bites of Hot Pie’s delectable dish, Arya informs him that she’s bound for the south to get her revenge on Cersei Lannister. Hot Pie has some information of his own for her because he just assumed that her stop was en route to the north where she would reunite with her brother.
As Arya’s eyes glaze over with wonder, perhaps for the first time in years, Hot Pie tells her that Jon Snow is the new King in the North after wiping out the Bolton army and reclaiming Winterfell in his family’s name. That puts Arya on a whole new path — one that will reunite her with Jon, who was the only person in her family growing up that encouraged her to follow what she wanted to do rather than trying to conform to what she was supposed to do.
Arya gets back on the trail to ride north but along the way after making camp she runs into a very large problem. A pack of ravenous wolves surround her camp site and it appears that she’s about to become dinner for the animals when a strange thing happens. A gigantic direwolf stands atop a ledge looking down at Arya and that’s when she realizes that this is Nymeria.
Back in season one, Nymeria bit Joffrey when he attempted to humiliate the butcher’s son, who was sparring with Arya with wooden swords. Knowing that Joffrey would kill her for biting him, Arya sent Nymeria away and that’s the last we’ve ever seen of her until now.
Arya wants to reunite with her direwolf as well and bring her back to Winterfell but a look at Nymeria lets her know that this animal can no longer be caged. She’s gone wild and that’s where she belongs now. Arya smiles as Nymeria leads her pack away but something tells me this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this direwolf.
The Devil You Know
As Yara Greyjoy leads her fleet to Dorne alongside Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes to begin plotting the attack to lay siege on King’s Landing, Theon is put in the uncomfortable position to watch his sister about to score with another woman when a loud explosion is heard outside.
Yara rushes up to the deck where she sees an ominous sight in the dark waters near the ships — it’s the “Silence” — Euron Greyjoy’s vessel and he’s arrived to take vengeance on his niece and nephew in the name of Cersei Lannister.
A great battle ensues with Euron’s forces bombarding the lead ship belonging to Yara.
Tyene Sand is sent to protect her mother Ellaria while her sisters join the fight on the ship as they try to stave off Euron’s attack. Unfortunately, Euron’s surprise works to his advantage as he begins slaughtering Yara’s forces before slowly but surely working his way towards facing his niece in battle.
Along the way, Euron ultimately kills both Obara and Nymeria Sand, who attempted to stop him on his path to get to Yara. Below deck, Tyene attempts to fight off the storming soldiers coming into the galley but to no avail. Ellaria asks them to just finish the job but Euron clearly has plans for these two ladies.
Above deck, Euron finally engages in a fight with Yara but he gains the upper hand before putting a knife to her throat. At that moment, Euron comes face to face with his nephew Theon, who has been fighting his soldiers while trying to save the fleet.
Euron offers Theon the opportunity to save his sister but something strange happens instead. Theon looks at his uncle with that maniacal look in his eye and it’s the same glare he received from Ramsay Bolton while he was being tortured by him for years. That sort of psychological damage doesn’t just go away and rather than fight to save his sister, Theon jumps overboard into the water as Euron cackles while celebrating his victory.
Euron promised Cersei that he wouldn’t return without a prize that she would covet more than anything else in the world. Many believed that would be Tyrion, the man she was convinced killed her son Joffrey. But instead, Euron will soon deliver the woman we know is responsible for poisoning and murdering her daughter Myrcella two seasons ago.
If there’s any question why Ellaria was left alive, it’s likely because she’s now going to have to stand tall before the queen when Euron delivers her to Cersei next week.
As Euron sails away victorious from his attack on Daenerys’ fleet, Theon sits in the water looking up at the ruins of the ships he stole alongside his sister. Fire burns into the night and he sees Obara Sand impaled on the front of one ship with her sister Nymeria dangling from her whip after she was hanged. Theon is still traumatized by what has happened and where he goes from here remains a myster.
What we know for certain is Euron Greyjoy has just struck the first blow against the Targaryen revolt and there’s little doubt that this will please the queen very much.
‘Game of Thrones’ returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET with a brand new episode on HBO.