Previously on recapping Game of Thrones… I can’t quit this. Also, an episode of a television show happened. This week…
Season 7, Episode 2- Stormborn
In exactly two episodes, Daenerys Targaryen has done more to make her story more interesting than she has in the previous 60 episodes combined. Is that a gross over-exaggeration? No, no it is not.
This whole Daenerys story has been quite the slowwwww…..wwwwwwwwwwwww burn. Heh, burn. Get it? Like dragons do! Folks!
So anyway, yeah, Daenerys is finally doing things, which, wouldn’t you know it, starts setting a whole bunch of interesting stuff in motion. Unbelievable! First off, she straight up tells Varys, “bring up any concerns you have to my face, because if you conspire behind my back, you’re dead.” Varys appears to fall into line, as anyone threatened with being burned alive probably would. But, is he really invested in Daenerys’ success, or does he have something else up his extremely wide sleeves? Something to think about!
Meanwhile, Melisandre shows up, fresh off her exile from Winterfell, and is graciously welcomed to Dragonstone. Shouldn’t be that hard for her to ingratiate herself with the island’s population, seeing as there appear to be like 12 total people on it. Does Melisandre’s necklace that makes her appear as a young woman also give her stronger bones so as to withstand a long trip via horseback? Something to think about!
Naturally, Melisandre immediately brings up one of her prophecies, stating that, “The prince who was promised will bring the dawn.” Daenerys is wary of that prophecy at first, as “prince” denotes that a man will be the savior, and she is no man. Thankfully, Missandei is around to do the one thing it is that she does: clear up confusion over translations! She tells Daenerys that the prophecy as translated to “modern” language actually has no gender (so “prince or princess,” etc.) As a result Daenerys is much more receptive to the next thing Melisandre brings up: Jon Snow! Melisandre talks Jon up as having a crucial role to play, along with Daenerys, while Tyrion, good judge of character that he is, co-signs Melisandre’s endorsement. After that, it’s all ravens and invitations to bend the knee being sent off to Winterfell. Damn, just look at all these pieces falling into place, it’s magical!
Somehow though, there’s still more! Daenerys and Tyrion unveil their war strategy to all of their allies. Tyrion doesn’t want to kill civilians and lay waste to cities, leaving Daenerys as nothing more than the “Queen of Ashes.” They plan to have Dorne, and the Iron Islands, and Highgarden, and Scott Pelley, Steve Kroft, and Leslie Stahl (all this and Andy Rooney tonight on 60 Minutes) lay siege King’s Landing from all sides. Doing this will starve the city out until it’s people turn on Cersei. At the same time, the Dothraki and the Unsullied will head to the true seat of power in Westeros: Casterly Rock, the Lannister homeland. Everyone gets fully on board, but Olenna Tyrell remains skeptical. In a private side-conversation, she urges Daenerys to be the dragon that she is. Peace never lasts anyway, and while Tyrion may be a clever man, there have been many clever men before him, all of whom Olenna has outlived. Don’t be a sheep, be a dragon. Sound advice; we’ve seen what dragons can do to farm animals.
Another reason that Olenna’s advice is sound advice: the Dorne/Iron Islands portion of the plan gets literally blown up. Too on the nose? Hmm, what about this: the Dorne/Iron Islands portion of the plan is literally dead in the water. No?! *Sigh* The Dorne/Iron Islands portion of the plan immediately fails because Euron Greyjoy got out early from his community theater rehearsal of The Pirates of Penzance. He laid waste to the entire Iron Fleet, which contained all the “good” Ironborn as well as the four total people who live in Dorne. Yes, never before has there been such a ferocious and intense battle on Game of Thrones between characters we really do not care about. Euron’s only character trait thus far is that he’s genuinely crazy, while the Sand Snakes’ only trait is that they’re useless. All of the Sand Snakes, none of whose names I know, are dead, save for maybe the one that tried to tempt Bronn with “the bad pussy” that one time, and given her status at the end of this episode, it’s so fucked up that that’s her most “memorable moment.” Ellaria Sand is also captured and awaits another grim, uncertain fate.
The real kick in the heart comes in the final moments of the sequence, when, unable to rise up to the occasion even a little bit, Theon abandons Yara and escapes overboard. Maybe he’ll bump into Gendry and we can finally tie up that loose end. Would be nice for Theon to be involved in something that doesn’t make viewers hang their heads in solemn sadness for a change. (Unless of course he stumbles upon Gendry’s boat and there’s just a skeleton in there. God dammit, Theon.)
At The Citadel, we get a glimpse of Jorah Mormont beyond his gross arm, and boy is he ever not having a fun time. The greyscale has spread up his chest and back, looks positively ga-ross, and has reached a point beyond what The Citadel can fix. He’ll live for another 10 years, but his mind will be gone in six weeks. Either way, it’s off to life with the Stone Men for Jorah! That is, until Samwell Tarly, certified professional at finding very relevant information in books, finds some very relevant information in a book: a potential cure for greyscale. Yay! And because Sam is still technically a member of the Night’s Watch, and Jorah is the son of former Lord Commander Mormont, he’s going to try to save him. Yay! But, Sam has never done this sort of thing before. Hmmmm. Also it involves cutting off the infected tissue before applying ointment and Jorah needs to get drunk beforehand because it’s really going to hurt, but he has to be careful not to make any sounds, or else they’re done for. Uhhhh…
Before Jorah can change his mind, Sam gets to scraping, and WOOF, is it ever graphic and unsettling. For all of our sakes, I sure hope this cockamamie plan works; can’t have being exposed to the visual of Sam cutting off diseased flesh be for naught. Man, The Citadel is way less elegant than I anticipated.
Eventually, the raven sent to Jon from several paragraphs ago arrives at Winterfell, as does a raven from Sam about the mountain of dragonglass under Dragonestone. Sansa thinks it’s a big risk for Jon to head to Dragonstone, whereas Davos concludes it might be a good idea after revealing the shocking insight that fire kills wights, and dragons breathe fire. Davos’ point is enough to convince Jon; he’s going! This upsets Sansa who, after again being notified of Jon’s intentions in a meeting in front of all the Northern Houses, airs her grievances in front of all the Northern Houses. Do they… do they realize this isn’t a good look for them? She remains skeptical, having to remind Jon that their grandpa was invited to King’s Landing by the Mad King, only to be roasted by a dragon. (This family is seriously cursed.) Her objections end however, when Jon notifies her that while he’s gone, she’s in charge. Don’t burn the place down or have your mind manipulated by Littlefinger while he’s gone, Sansa!
Especially because, Arya is on her way back to Winterfell! After a re-reunion (I think this is the second time they’ve met up post-Harenhall) with all-time series hero Hot Pie, Arya learns that the Boltons are all dead, and that the Starks have reclaimed their home. This is enough to convince her to return to Winterfell, rather than embark on her fun, 100% going to work plan of heading to King’s Landing to kill Cersei. Out in the wilderness though, Arya is ambushed… by wolves! Wolves led by a direwolf! Arya’s direwolf! NYMERIA BACK! We haven’t seen Nymeria since way back in season one, episode two when Arya threw a rock at her face, making her flee, making all of us feel like there was a loose end hanging there when Nymeria never showed up again. But there she is, enormous and positively terrifying.
Nymeria was one of the last things connecting Arya to the young girl she used to be. Much like her former human, Nymeria too has been warped into a ferocious killing machine by way of having to make it on her own out in this crazy world. They have lived parallel lives (with Nymeria seemingly doing much better for herself seeing as she’s the leader of a pack, whereas Arya was blind and receiving regular beatings until recently.) Arya desperately tries to convince Nymeria to stay with her, to go home with her, to return everything back to the way it was. Nymeria however, heads back into the woods with all of her cool new friends. The Starks may again hold Winterfell, but the time Arya longs for is gone, and her returning home isn’t going to bring it back…
DAMN, THAT’S DEEP. I hope you truly appreciated that paragraph because that was GOLD.
-Also happening in this episode: Cersei fearmongers the people of King’s Landing by running down all the badass stuff Daenerys has done (like killing a bunch of slave owners) and skirting around the real issues (like that it took her an extremely long time to get to Westeros in the first place, and that that has been quite irksome to some people.) She also explores one of King’s Landings’ seemingly endless number of underground tunnels with Qyburn, who shows her a giant crossbow that can kill dragons! Elsewhere, Jaime tries to convince curmudgeonly Randyll (ugh, spell your name normally, I hate having to look this shit up) Tarly to turn on the Tyrells and ally himself with the Lannisters. In exchange, Randyll would become Warden of the South, which is something he seems to consider despite being a #honorableman. I hope Sam gets to stick it to his dad in some fashion before the series ends. Randyll Tarly retire bitch.
-Jon and Littlefinger have a bit of a tussle, resulting in Jon choking the Mayor of The Vale, something which surely won’t come back to bite Jon in the ass in the near future.
-If you watch the opening of this episode, it should become immediately clear to you that we’re looking at Dragonstone. Why? Because of all the dragon-shaped stones lying around! Genius screenwriting.
-In the longest scenes to date for both of them, Grey Worm and Missandei make sweet, sweet eunuch love. I hope those crazy kids make it work!
-While part of me hopes that Jorah can at least get a new shirt once his surgery is done, it would be nice to see Jorah’s one shirt make it to the end of the series.
-Let it be known that I am still all-in on Hot Pie any time Game of Thrones wants to bring him back.
(To find every single edition of Sansa Snark, click right here.)