After spending six seasons as the two characters on the fringes of the story, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally met in “The Queen’s Justice.” The third episode of season 7 picks up the pace with many long-awaited meetings: Sansa and Bran Stark reunite for the first time since Season 1, the Iron Bank’s Tycho Nestoris returns after a two-season absence to collect his debts, and Jaime Lannister and Olenna Tyrell confront their past sins face to face — with lethal results.
The North Remembers
It’s hard to explain “by the way, I’m a time-wizard” to your family, and Game of Thrones does not shy away from this weirdness. When Bran Stark returns to Winterfell, it’s not exactly the heart-warming Stark reunion that Sansa had with Jon in Season 6.
She hugs him emotionally but he remains cool, distant, and sage-like. Later in the Godswood, he freaks her out with his knowledge of her wedding night. Ironically Bran’s struggle to describe his Three-eyed Raven powers happen right after Petyr Baelish tells Sansa that “every possible series of events is happening at once.” Apparently that phrase is easier to digest as political-double speak than as a mystical phenomenon. Just like Jon and Daenerys, Sansa and Bran are not on the same page with how they regard their realities.
The Lannisters Send Their Regards
In King’s Landing, Cersei promises Euron Greyjoy she’ll grant his wish of marriage after they win the war, and she gets revenge for her daughter’s death by forcing Ellaria Sand to watch her own daughter die after being poisoned the same way Myrcella was. She also meets with Iron Bank rep Tycho Nestoris — mostly to remind the audience that the Crown still owes the Iron Bank a giant debt.
Aside from her promise to Euron, Cersei’s action with the biggest potential for future ramifications is flaunting her relationship with Jaime. Although he gives into her sexual overtures, Jaime is clearly disturbed at the thought of being less discrete. Cersei takes on the “I’m queen and I do what I want” outlook — and the way “The Queen’s Justice” lingers on this detail, the twincest taboo likely hasn’t vanished from relevance just because Cersei is the queen.
As unsure as he is about his personal life, Jaime reveals his tactical battlefield skills in “The Queen’s Justice.” The Unsullied do win Casterly Rock thanks to Tyrion — but Jaime reveals that he gave it up on purpose for the time being, since Highgarden has a more immediate advantage. The rock has no more gold, you see, and the Lannisters need to pay off that debt to Tycho and the Iron Bank somehow.
All men must die
Now that Lady Olenna Tyrell, aka The Queen of Thorns is dead, Game of Thrones has a gaping hole in the “razor sharp sass” department. Nevertheless, her exit is as perfect as Ramsay’s or Joffrey’s. She gets to reflect on her life in a nice speech to Jaime, she gives a shout-out to her best frenemy Tywin Lannister, she calls Joffrey a cunt one last time, and tells Jaime that Cersei will be his end. Jaime poisoned her, yes, but given his earlier uneasiness with Cersei’s actions, perhaps Olenna was poisoning brother against sister.
Best of all, though, is how Olenna gets the last laugh. When Jaime reveals that he’ll execute her not with his sword but with poisoned wine, it’s deliciously ironic, because he didn’t know she killed Joffrey — and neither did the late king’s mother. “Tell Cersei,” Olenna tells a shocked Jaime. “I want her to know that it was me.” RIP Queen of Sass, Game of Thrones won’t be the same.
This week in Sam Tarly and the Half-Blood Prince, Sam’s efforts to cure Jorah last episode have paid off. Jorah’s skin is no longer rocky and he’s off to reunite with Daenerys. Unfortunately for Sam, he doesn’t exactly get pat on the back for this, but the Archmaester points out that he could have kicked him out of the Citadel. So, like, let’s call it a B+.
I will take what’s mine with fire and blood
Daenerys and Jon’s highly anticipated meeting is tense. They get off on the wrong foot right away when Missandei announces Daenerys’s lofty titles and Davos then introduces Jon with all the gravitas of a casual tavern gathering. It’s not a good look for either — Daenerys comes across as lofty and petulant, Jon as a common Joe Schmoe bastard the world thinks he is. Neither attitude works to back up their positions.
Daenerys is all pomp and circumstance; talking about the past and her claim to the throne. Jon has his customary utter disregard for pomp and circumstance — he’s more concerned with the Night King and looking to the future. Both aunt and nephew are frustrated from their initial interaction.
As different as they are, “The Queen’s Justice” emphasizes how Daenerys and Jon share a similar single-minded leadership style. Both have accomplished great things thanks to their ability to focus on their goals — but both are also impatient to see other perspectives when they’re pursuing said goals.
Luckily, Tyrion saves the day. When Jon and Tyrion share a moment on the cliff with call-backs to their Season 1 meeting, Jon bemoans, “How do I convince people who don’t know me to believe a monster they don’t believe in is coming for us all?”
It’s a valid question he must answer, since he absolutely sucks at PR. In response, Tyrion convinces Daenerys to let Jon mine her dragonglass, since it doesn’t hurt to make a potentially valuable ally happy. Danerys and Jon part from their second interaction on considerably better terms. They even give their family ties an accidental shout-out, when Daenerys mentions how she named her dragons after her brothers.
Curiously, Jon has Davos hold back from fully discussing Jon’s resurrection. Perhaps he thinks they should tackle one magical-mumbo-jumbo event at a time.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing at 9 p.m. Eastern on Sunday nights on HBO.