It just keeps getting better.
Jon Snow and Ser Davos arrive at Dragonstone, and this awesome exchanges ensues:
Tyrion: The Bastard of Winterfell
Jon: The Dwarf of Casterly Rock
And then Jon Snow almost cracks a smile. This episode is already epic. And that’s before the dragons swoop overhead as Jon and Ser Davos are being escorted to the castle, causing them to duck for cover.
The Red Woman is watching their arrival from a cliff when Varys approaches her. She admits that she did not part on good terms with Jon and Ser Davos because of terrible mistakes she made. Varys warns her that she shouldn’t return to Westeros again, but she calmly tells him that she will return, one last time, because she has to die “in this strange land. Just like you.” Varys, like me, is unsettled.
Jon and Ser Davos enter the throne room and Missandei introduces them to Dany, rattling off her many titles. In response Davos says, “This is Jon Snow. He’s King in the North.” Brevity is the soul of wit, Ser Davos. Dany embarks on a typical power play in an attempt to get Jon Snow to bend the knee. When he refuses, she reminds him that she is the last Targaryen (she’s not!) and that the Starks and the Targaryens were allies for centuries–centuries during which Westeros enjoyed its most peaceful and prosperous era. Jon reminds her of her family’s crimes against the Starks, and although she apologizes, he is not there to bend the knee. He is there to tell her they need each other’s help in the coming war against the Night King. She is skeptical and launches into a monologue about how she was forced to flee Dragonstone as an infant to escape Robert’s assassins. She points out that Ned Stark was Robert’s best friend. I wish she knew how vehemently Ned counseled against assassinating her, and at what risk to himself.
Jon listens to her speech and her declaration that she will rule the Seven Kingdoms–it’s a stirring speech, that’s for sure–but Jon is unmoved. He stands his ground and tells her she’ll be ruling over a graveyard if they don’t defeat the Night King. Jon Snow just keeps getting hotter and hotter.
And now it’s time for Ser Davos to pull out the big oratorical guns and explain that if Dany is an instrument of destiny, so is Jon Snow. Jon stops him when he’s about to say that Jon Snow died for the Night’s Watch, but Dany and Tyrion catch it. Tyrion implores Jon to bend the knee and fight alongside Dany to defeat Cersei. Jon Snow refuses once again and calls Dany’s claim to the Iron Throne into question. Jon Snow is now approaching Kingslayer hotness.
Varys enters and Dany abruptly ends the conversation by offering Jon and Ser Davos baths and supper. Jon asks if he’s her prisoner and she says, “not yet.” They leave and Varys breaks the bad news: Dany’s fleet, sunk or captured. The Greyjoys, dead or captured. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes, dead or captured.
Everyone except Theon, who is being pulled out of the sea. He lies and says he tried to save Yara from Euron, but the salty Ironborn who asked about her knows that if he had really tried, he wouldn’t be alive. Why does Theon try to pass himself off as having courage? It just reveals his cowardice that much more.
Euron Greyjoy is being lauded by the huddled masses of King’s Landing. It is a mystery to me why the denizens of King’s Landing are loyal to Cersei. She inflicted the odious Joffrey on them, then blew them up along with the Sept of Baelor. But for some reason they are, and are cheering for Euron as he yanks a captive Yara along behind his horse through the streets of the capitol. He’s eating it up. Defiant Ellaria spits in the faces of the crowd as they boo her.
Euron presents Ellaria to Cersei–he’s given her justice for her murdered daughter. Ellaria spits on the floor in front of the Iron Throne–she’s got balls, that one! No wonder Oberyn loved her. Cersei promises Euron that he will have what his heart desires when the war is won. She proclaims that with Euron as the head of her navy and Jaime as commander of her armed forces, the Lannisters will prevail. The assembled sheep cheer–seriously, what is wrong with these people? Euron asks Jaime a gross question about Cersei’s sexual preferences, and we’re done with the Greyjoy psycho for now.
Cersei has Ellaria and the surviving Sand Snake chained to the walls in her dungeon. She taunts Ellaria about Oberyn’s death and delivers a bone-chilling monologue explaining her fantasies about destroying the woman who took her only daughter from her. I hate Cersei, but Lena Headey is awesome. Cersei kisses the Sand Snake and wipes her lips. It’s the Long Farewell, of course. Ellaria will remain chained to the wall as she watches her daughter die, then rot in that cell. If she refuses to eat they will force-feed her. She will spend all her remaining days there, with her daughter’s corpse. Cersei is a monster.
Perpetrating such horror obviously turns Cersei on, because she bursts into her chamber and lays a passionate kiss on Jaime. In a throwback to the Joffrey’s coffin scene in Season 4, Jaime half-heartedly tells her no, but succumbs to her sexual advances almost immediately. I wish Jaime would channel the honorable man Brienne brought out in him, but, like any man, all it takes is a simple blow job and all morality goes out the window. Oh, well.
The next morning, a brazen Cersei allows her chambermaid a glimpse into the room, where Jaime is lying naked in her bed. Jaime warns against it, but Cersei is the Queen and she’ll do as she pleases. I can only hope this bit of hubris signals the beginning of the end for her.
Now Cersei is meeting with a representative of the Iron Bank. The crown is deeply in debt and its coffers are empty. The Iron Bank wants to be paid and Cersei assures her visitor that the Lannisters always pay their debts. God only knows the havoc she’ll wreak to accomplish this.
Jon Snow is brooding on the cliffs at Dragonstone. Tyrion points out that Jon Snow’s brooding puts his own brooding to shame. That is does, Tyrion, that it does. It is a testament to the bond Tyrion and Jon Snow formed way back in Season One when Tyrion tells Jon he believes him about the White Walkers. Then regretfully tells him that it’s unreasonable to ask for Dany’s help against the Night King. When Jon Snow begins to walk away, Tyrion asks him if he has anything reasonable to ask. God, Tyrion’s the best! Of course Jon Snow has a reasonable request–he needs the dragonglass that lies beneath Dragonstone.
Tyrion is convincing Dany to allow Jon Snow to mine the dragonglass when she brings up Ser Davos’ aborted statement about Jon giving his life to the Night’s Watch. Tyrion brushes it off by saying she must allow certain flights of fancy because it’s dreary in the North. Tyrion is witty as always, but the fact that it’s been brought up again means that Jon Snow’s death and subsequent resurrection must have a significant part to play as the season unfolds. What could it be?!
Dany and Jon Snow share an intimate moment–let it be the first of many!–on the parapets of Dragonstone. She dodges his question about whether she believes him about the White Walkers, but she will allow him to mine the dragonglass. What a power couple these two could be!!
Sansa is discussing the (lack of) stores for the winter and other administrative issues regarding the operation of Winterfell. Baelish creepily tells her that command suits her then offers the cynical advice we saw in the Season Seven trailer–fight every battle, everywhere, etc. She appears to be taking this in, but it’s hard to tell with Sansa. I feel like she’s listening, but at the same time trying to determine Baelish’s angle in telling her these things. They are interrupted with the news that someone is at the gate. It’s Bran! Another Stark reunion! The Stark theme begins to play as Sansa tears up and runs to embrace Bran…who just sits there. I get that Bran is now the Three-Eyed Raven, but he feels zero emotion at being reunited with his sister? What a letdown!
In the Godswood, Bran tries to explain to Sansa what it means to be the Three-Eyed Raven. His explanation echoes Baelish’s counsel. Baelish told Sansa to fight every battle, all the time–to consider every move that people could possibly make because everything that is possible is happening all the time, everywhere. Bran tells her that he can see everything that’s ever happened and everything that’s happening now, everywhere. Hmmm. Bran says he’s sorry for everything that’s happened to Sansa and tells her how beautiful she was on her wedding night. Why does he bring this up? He knows what happened to her that night–what is he trying to convey to her? That he understands the magnitude of what she’s been through? Even though he appears to be devoid of emotion, is he trying to let her know that if he could feel, his heart would ache for her? I just don’t know. Sansa appears to be shaken as she walks away. Who can blame her? Not only is her little brother the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven, he’s just told her that he saw Ramsay brutalize her. That would unnerve anyone.
Ser Jorah is cured of greyscale! He is free to leave the Citadel and Sam shakes his hand before he goes. Aww! Jorah hasn’t shaken anyone’s hand since he was touched by the Stone Men in Old Valyria! Archmaester Marwyn lectures Sam about how dangerous it was for him to treat Jorah before congratulating him on a job well done. Sam may have cured Jorah’s greyscale, but he’s still expected to perform the menial tasks of a maester-in-training. At least copying ancient scrolls is better than changing bedpans!
Dany’s war council (what’s left of it) is meeting in the map room at Dragonstone. She wants to use the dragons to destroy Euron’s fleet but Varys and Tyrion tell her it’s too dangerous. What about Casterly Rock, then? The Unsullied should be there soon. Tyrion’s explanation of what’s in store for them is brilliantly cut with the action at the Rock. Tywin Lannister built Casterly Rock to be impregnable–and its walls are–but he couldn’t be bothered with building the sewers. He gave that job to the lowest creature he could think of–Tyrion. Since Tywin wouldn’t let Tyrion have his whores there, Tyrion built a secret passageway so he could smuggle them in. Cut to Grey Worm and a small contingent of Unsullied approaching an opening in the sea. They use Tyrion’s secret passageway to enter Casterly Rock and open the gates for the rest of the Unsullied to flood in and take the castle.
Tyrion warns that Cersei will be ready for them, and that the Unsullied will be outnumbered by the bulk of the Lannister forces. But people fight for Cersei out of fear; the Unsullied fight for Dany out of love–which is why the Unsullied will triumph.
But something is wrong. The Unsullied aren’t outnumbered and handily defeat the sparsity of Lannister soldiers stationed at Casterly Rock. Grey Worm wonders where the rest of them are, and looks out to sea to see Euron’s fleet setting the Unsullied’s ships on fire. He grabs a not-quite-dead Lannister soldier and asks him where the rest of the Lannisters are.
Strings play the Rains of Castamere as we get a sweeping shot of Jaime leading the Lannister army to Highgarden. Lady Olenna watches them approach from the castle tower, and Jaime strides through the courtyard, which is littered with dead Tyrells. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is so beautiful. Sigh. Lady Olenna is waiting for him in the tower, knowing the Tyrells have been defeated and that her time is nigh.
She and Jaime engage in some discourse about strategy, and she warns him that Cersei is a monster and will be the end of him. Jaime concedes that this is possible, but he’s done with the conversation. Lady Olenna gets down to business and asks how he’s going to kill her. Cersei of course wanted to drag her through the streets of King’s Landing and inflict all sorts of horrible things on her, but Jaime talked her out of it. It will be poison, and Jaime has made sure that it won’t be painful. Every once in awhile Jaime’s better nature surfaces–he’s going to do what he has to do, but he’s going to do it in the most respectful way he can think of. Imagine how amazing he would be if he could get out from under Cersei’s spell!
Jaime pours the poison into Lady Olenna’s wine glass and she drinks it. She’s not done though–she still has a major ace up her sleeve and she’s going to fuck Jaime with it. She recounts Joffrey’s gruesome death and how she didn’t intend for it to be that way. It dawns on Jaime that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey, but just in case he doesn’t fully understand, Lady Olenna says, “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”