Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 review: Jon and Dany meet, but Cersei's the one to watch

Rohini Nair

Jul 31, 2017 11:03:46 IST

Between the moment the HBO logo comes on screen, and the familiar music and visuals of the titles begin to roll, there is an anticipation that probably fills every Game of Thrones fan. It's the feeling that anything might happen — that no matter what spoilers you read, or preview scenes you glimpsed, or interviews you read, and fan theories you followed, the story might take a turn that you never expected.

Sometimes, that anticipation is rewarded. Sometimes, it isn't.

Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3 — The Queen's Justice — fell into the former category.

Episode 2, Stormborn, saw Jon Snow setting off for his tete-a-tete with Daenerys Targaryen at Dragonstone. Sansa, meanwhile, had charge of Winterfell. Arya too, post-reunion with Hotpie, was on her way home — and briefly came face to face with her direwolf Nymeria. For all the positive developments, however, the hour ended badly for Dany and Tyrion, whose well-laid battle plans came to nought thanks to a wild card called Euron Greyjoy. Stormborn ended with Dany's allies — Ellaria Sand and her youngest daughter Tyene, and Yara Greyjoy — being taken captive by Euron, half their fleet burned, and Theon taking a cowardly PTSD-induced dunk into the sea.

How did The Queen's Justice pan out for Daenerys?

[Spoilers ahead.]

To the credit of DB Weiss and David Benioff, fans weren't left hanging for that Jon-Dany meeting. And while that went off okay, there was another reunion that proved to be the highlight. Jon and Ser Davos landed on the shores of Dragonstone (is there any place so gloomy in all the Seven Kingdoms? Possibly Castle Black) and were met by Tyrion. Tyrion and Jon's meeting was a wonderful throwback to older times as they joked about when they last saw each other, discussed their brief association as brothers-in-law (a wry bit of dialogue exchange had Tyrion say of Sansa: "She's smarter than she lets on" to which Jon replies, "Oh, she's letting on.") and finally, they walk into the throne room together where Daenerys awaits.

Cue a humorous scene where Missandei rattles off Dany's many titles, to which Ser Davis responds with Jon's introduction: " And this is Jon Snow" adding after a meaningful look from Jon, "King in the North".

 Game of Thrones Season 7  Episode 3 review: Jon and Dany meet, but Cerseis the one to watch

Ser Davos and Jon land on Draonstone

...where Tyrion greets them. Stills from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3, The Queen's Justice. All images via HBO

...where Tyrion greets them. Stills from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3, The Queen's Justice. All images via HBO

The Jon-Dany meeting doesn't go off too well, although there's some nice verbal sparring there that seems to bode well for an epic hook-up their future alliance.

Short recap of their conversation: Dany wants Jon to bend the knee and help fight against Cersei, asks for forgiveness for her father's burning alive of the Stark men. Jon doesn't want to bend the knee, but hopes to prevail on Dany yo join the fight against the White Walkers, and says he won't hold her to the sins of her father — if she won't hold him to the vows of his ancestors.

Bad news arrives with Varys' entry, who informs Dany of her losses at sea.

Jon meets Dany

Jon meets Dany

...and Dany's all queenly

...and Dany's all queenly

...until Varys brings bad news.

...until Varys brings bad news.

The man responsible for the bad news, meanwhile, is riding in to a hero's welcome at King's Landing. The crowd jeers at Ellaria, Tyene and Yara, cheers for Euron, and such is his triumphant entry before Cersei. Now Euron expects that his 'gift' will be rewarded by the Queen's hand in marriage, but all he gets is the position of her naval commander (with a promise of 'after the war' as regards the former proposition). He also gets to needle Jaime a bit before taking along Yara and leaving the capital to get on with his duties as Cersei's minion fiance.

Before we return to Dragonstone and its denizens, we take a quick recce to the North, where Sansa is ruling Winterfell with aplomb. She's also getting a bit of handy advice from Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger, who's been hanging around the North like he doesn't have the Vale to attend to. He tells Sansa, in effect, to be prepared for every eventuality (only he says that a lot more impressively and with many more words) before their moment is interrupted by people who summon Sansa to the gate. Hark, is that an Arya-Sansa reunion that awaits? No, it's Bran. And although it doesn't quite rate up there among Stark reunions (ah, will anything ever match that Jon-Sansa hug at Castle Black?) it's still sweet.

Bran fills Sansa in on what he's been doing — evolving into the Three Eyed Raven — as they sit at the weirwood. He also commiserates with her on her experiences with Ramsay, and cryptically mentions that he has things to say to Jon (such as his being a Targaryen?).

As for said secret-Targaryen-but-currently-just-a-Snow, Jon — thanks to the diplomacy of Tyrion — has reached a sort of compromise with Dany. Dany tells Jon she'll let him mine for dragon glass and give him all the help he needs to do so. What Jon will do in exchange for Dany — for the moment that is unsaid.

For every step Dany takes forward, it seems she must take two-and-a-half back. Having reached better terms with Jon, Dany turns her attention to Casterly Rock. Thanks to Tyrion's intimate knowledge of the sewers of his home, Grey Worm and a few of his men are able to open the gates of the fortress and vanquish the soldiers within. (Isn't this how Daario and the Second Sons laid siege to Mereen as well, for Dany?) Victory, however, is short-lived. Grey Worm realises the fight was too easy, the soldiers too few....so where is the rest of the Lannister army?

They are amassed at the foot of Highgarden, under the command of Jaime, aided by Bron (oh, hello there!), and Randyll Tarly. A swift battle later, Highgarden is conquered and Lady Olenna Tyrell, a captive in her room. Jaime offers her a glass of wine, poisoned of course, and the grand old lady of Westeros drinks it down — but not before telling him that it was she who got Joffrey poisoned.

Back at Casterly Rock, the Unsullied's ships are made short work of by Euron Greyjoy's fleet — so they're pretty much trapped at the Lannister family seat. Dany has lost all her allies, except Jon. Cersei, thanks to her Highgarden campaign, now has all the gold she needs to pay off her debts to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and to wage future battles against Dany. Does she have Dany outsmarted?

At the end of The Queen's Justice, the answer, unfortunately, is yes.

Stray thoughts about Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3:

1. Littlefinger finally had some great dialogue!

2. Where is Arya? We thought she was riding hard for Winterfell, but did that encounter with Nymeria make her change her mind? Is she going to resume her path to King's Landing? If she returns to Winterfell, there will be more Stark children there than have been in recent history. Hurrah for the Starks.

3. Hurrah too for Tyrion. Sure his battle strategies haven't worked too well thus far for Dany, but he was back at his quippiest best in this episode, and boy have we missed this. The Queen's Justice deserves rewatching just for those quotable Tyrion quotes.

4. Are the King's Landing folks possibly the most fickle we've ever seen on the show? They change their loyalties faster than Littlefinger! Not too long ago, they were rioting against the Lannisters, throwing garbage at Cersei and slut-shaming her, and now they're only too happy to give the same treatment to Ellaria, Tyene and Yara while calling them traitors. Maybe they just like having targets to chuck rotten vegetables at.

5. Sex has made a return to Game of Thrones. After all the romping that people got up to in the early seasons, season six had all the GoT folks (mostly) keep their clothes on. So Weiss and Benioff are making up for it big time. Three episodes in, and we've already had the Missandei-Grey Worm interlude, and in The Queen's Justice, we get to see Cersei and Jaime get it on. Maybe it's just us, but the nudity that was once so much a part of the show now seems like it was shoehorned in.

6. Melisandre's prophecy! The Red Priestess makes an all too brief appearance in this episode. As she says to Varys, she's brought ice and fire together (Jon and Dany) and her work now is done. Before she leaves, however, she tells Varys that she will return to Westeros one last time — because she is destined to die here, and so (as she informs him) is Varys.

Melisandre's prophecy doesn't bode well for her, or Varys

Melisandre's prophecy doesn't bode well for her, or Varys

7. Poisonous revenge: The Queen's Justice is all about Cersei wreaking vengeance on those who've crossed her. She kisses Tyene with poisoned lips in front of Ellaria (just as Ellaria did to Myrcella). Then, Jaime presents poison to Lady Olenna Tyrell — who then points out to him the mirroring of the retribution; she too, had killed Joffrey with poison. The play of conflicting emotions on Jaime's face at the time (sorrow, but also the knowledge that Tyrion was innocent despite Cersei's persecution of him) is among the best moments of this episode.

8. Cersei's fobbed him off with promises of 'later' but how long will Euron Greyjoy be content with that and keep up his battles on the Fourteen Seas on her behalf? We're thinking Euron isn't a patient man, and he's going to want some concrete benefits coning his way soon.

9. Is Bran going to get around to telling Jon about his parentage? Is he going to impart some wisdom on how the war will be won?

10. Will Jon ride a dragon? They're swooping around Dragonstone, as is he.

11. Will Tyrion ride a dragon? Jon's Targaryen parentage was established, now will the A+J=T theory also come to pass? And if Tyrion turns out not to be a Lannister, but a Targaryen, then what does that mean for the prophecy that Cersei would be killed by her valonqar? It'd definitely have to be Jaime then.

12. Speaking of which, what's in store for Jaime? Will he never shake off the hold Cersei has on him?

13. When is Dany going to start winning some battles? Did she have it too easy in Essos fighting against essentially a bunch of merchants rather than a monarch such as Cersei?

14. Theon's been fished out of water — not by a patiently rowing Gendry, as some predicted, but by other Ironborn.

15. At Winterfell, there's a stray remark during a conversation between Sansa, Littlefinger and other lords that Maester Luwin kept copies of notes sent out with every raven from the Stark stronghold. It's a tiny mention, but one that could potentially lead up to a big reveal — possibly of Littlefinger's perfidy?

16. Poor Olenna Tyrell. Wasn't she saying just in episode 2 that she's 'outlived' all the clever men she knew? The Starks were once the most misfortune-struck family in all the Seven Kingdowms. Now it's the Tyrells, whose clan has officially come to an end.

17. Speaking of ends, is there no conclusion to Sam's tortures at the Citadel? He cured Jorah Mormont of greyscale but if he expected a reward, Samwell Tarly got none. He's now been tasked with copying out the contents of a bunch of rotting scrolls — which as the Archmaester points out, could have flesh-eating mites on them. Still, we suppose it's a promotion from emptying chamber pots and scrubbing the latrines.

Also read — Game of Thrones Season 7 predictions: From Jon-Dany's hook-up to Lady Stoneheart's appearance

Updated Date: Jul 31, 2017 15:02:53 IST