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TV Review: Game Of Thrones 7.2 “Stormborn”
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Game Of Thrones Season 7 Jon Snow Petyr Baelish

Game of Thrones
Episode 7.2 “Stormborn”
Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Bryan Cogman
Starring Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen
HBO
Air date: July 23, 2017

WARNING: Spoilers for HBO’s Game Of Thrones….

Last week’s Season 7 premiere of HBO’s Game Of Thrones opened with the mass yet justified murdering of the men of House Frey at the vengeful hands of Arya Stark. It was a long-awaited, satisfying moment for the series, but it didn’t set the stage for the rest of the episode, which was calm in comparison. We saw Bran and Meera finally make it to The Wall, while nearby the White Walkers were marching south. At Winterfell, the new King in the North Jon Snow pardoned the treasonous bannermen that had fought with the Boltons — he needs as many men — and women — as he can for the coming battle against the dead. Because as we learned right away from this season, Winter Is Here. Sansa Stark has learned over the years to be more ruthless and less trusting from her wicked captors — Cersei Lannister and Ramsay Bolton — and sly mentor Petyr Baelish, and wants Jon to be so as well, but he’s not willing to go that route. Meanwhile, Cersei, now the self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, demanded that House Stark come to King’s Landing to bend the knee to her (which they won’t). In King’s Landing, there was tension between Cersei and her twin/lover Jaime Lannister, which only increased after the arrival of Euron Greyjoy, who wants a marriage alliance with the new Queen. In Old Town, Samwell Tarly was close to discovering how to defeat the White Walkers; we also saw that Jorah Mormont is there as well, alive but still infected with Greyscale. Finally, Daenerys Targaryen and her allies — and dragons — made it Westeros to her ancestral home of Dragonstone, where she is ready to begin planning her takeover.

Episode 7.2 “Dragonstone” opens at the title location on a stormy night, much like the one when Daenerys Targaryen was born, hence one of her titles “Stormborn.” There, Daenerys is gathered with her advisors, including her Hand Tyrion Lannister, and Lord Varys, the latter of whom she questions in regards to his loyalty. The eunuch had served her father, the Mad King, before he was usurped by Robert Baratheon, who Varys then went on to serve, so why should she trust him? He tells her that he does not follow the crown blindly and that his loyalty is to no king or queen, but rather to the people. And he points out that it’s to these people that Daenerys claims to serve, and he feels that she is the best person to do that, which is why he “chose” her. She asks that if ever he feels that she is not doing right by the people that he tell her instead of conspiring to dethrone her. She punctuates this by telling him, “If you ever betray me, I’ll burn you alive,” to which he replies, “I would expect nothing less from the Mother of Dragons.”

Word comes that Melisandre the red priestess, former counsel to Dragonstone’s previous resident Stannis Baratheon, has arrived to see Daenerys. It was the Red Priests who helped keep the peace in Meereen, so she welcomes the priestess. “What does your Lord of Light expect of me?” Daenerys asks her. Melisandre thinks that she might be the “prince” who was promised who will bring the dawn. But I’m not a “prince,” Daenerys points out. But the words of the prophecy are in High Valyrian, which does not have a gender designation, master translator Missandei points out. Melisandre thinks that Daenerys has a role to play in what will happen next, as does Jon Snow, who is now the King in the North. They talk about how Jon Snow had united the Wildlings to his cause to fight the oncoming White Walkers, and Tyrion vouches for him, saying he’s a good man who can be trusted. “He sounds like quite a man,” Daenerys says of Jon Snow — is this some foreshadowing? We’ve all been waiting for them to meet and form an alliance, perhaps through marriage, even though we know now that Jon’s father was Daenerys’ brother (but the Targaryens used to wed siblings, so it’s possible!!!). Ooh!!! Time to summon Jon Snow to Dragonstone to “bend the knee” to the rightful Queen. But will he go?

At Winterfell, Jon Snow reads the letter from Tyrion inviting him to meet Daenerys at Dragonstone. Sansa wonders if the note is really from Tyrion, and Jon confirms it is because it ends with “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes,” which is what he told Jon when they first met. Sansa states that Tyrion was always kind to her, and that he’s not like the other Lannisters, but he’s still a Lannister. Ser Davos is also apprehensive about Jon going, but he thinks that Daenerys’ dragons could provide the fire to kill the wights, plus they need the men.

Over in King’s Landing, Cersei addresses her court, some of whom are Tyrell bannermen who she is trying to convince to go against their lord, who is now in “open rebellion” against her. Olenna Tyrell is allied now with Daenerys, who she says is like her Mad King father and she will bring Unsullied and Dothraki soldiers to take over their lands, not to mention the three grown dragons who will bring destruction. She even mentions how Daenerys had the Lords in Esso crucified, conveniently leaving out the reason why. Samwell Tarly’s father, Randyll Tarly, is one of the Tyrell bannermen there and he asks how Cersei plans to stop Daenerys’s dragons. Disgraced Maester Qyburn, now the Hand of the Queen, says they’re currently working on a solution. Hmm… what could this mean? We saw how the experimental Qyburn brought the Mountain somewhat back to life, so he’s got skills and a twisted sense of what constitutes a “solution.”

Afterwards, Jaime speaks with Randyll Tarly thanking him for coming and for his influence in getting the other lords of the Reach to come, too. “When my Queen summons me, I answer the call,” Tarly says, adding, “And I heard what she does to those who defy her.” Jaime urges him to swear allegiance to Cersei, but the lord is not so easily swayed. He’s loyal to House Tyrell and has no plans to go against them. He says the Tarlys are not oathbreakers and backstabbers. He even makes a dig at the Lannisters by saying his house doesn’t slit people’s throats at weddings (a callback to the Red Wedding, where the Freys killed their invited guests — the Starks — at the behest of the Lannisters). Jaime says that when their war is won, Tarly can be their Warden of the South. Who will Tarly side with? I’m guessing that even with all his talk about loyalty, he’s going to go with Cersei.

Over at Old Town, the Archmaester, with Sam’s help, is examining Jorah Mormont’s Greyscale — it’s far too advanced now. Jorah maybe has six months before the disease starts to affect his mind. Because Jorah is a sworn knight, he’s going to give him a day to think about what he wants to do. It seems here like the archmaester is giving Jorah a chance to end his own life, instead of being sent away.

Below the Red Keep in King’s Landing, Qyborn shows Cersei his proposed solution to the dragon problem – it’s a massive arrow launcher device that he demonstrates for her on a stone dragon. Because one of the dragon’s was wounded in Meereen, Qyborn knows now that they do have vulnerabilities. Think Smaug in The Hobbit.

When we return to Dragonstone, we find Daenerys’s new allies have come for a meeting – Olenna Tyrell, Yara Greyjoy, and Ellaria Sand. They all want Daenerys to attack King’s Landing now, but she says she does not want to be the Queen of Ashes (this is what Tyrion had told her before, meaning, bringing destruction to the land). Instead, the armies of the Tyrells, Greyjoys, and Dorne will attack the surrounding areas, starving out Cersei, while Daenerys’s forces take on Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister (the real power). The allies give their support. After, Daenerys talks to alone to Olenna, who warns her against listening to “clever men” like Tyrion. Olenna says she outlived all the clever men by ignoring them. She urges Daenerys not to be a sheep, but a dragon.

Now here comes a very interesting scene: Missandai comes to Grey Worm’s quarters to say good-bye, as he will be leading the Unsullied army to Casterly Rock the next day. He confesses to her that she is his “weakness” – before her he didn’t have one, he was always brave, but now he has fear. She says she’s afraid too, and they kiss. Then she disrobes and undresses him, and considering he’s a eunuch, this is about to get very interesting. They make their way fully naked to the bed, where he’s last seen heading south if you know what I mean. I know it’s commonly believed that eunuchs cannot get erections or have intercourse, but I learned a few decades from Anne Rice’s Cry To Heaven that they can!

And then it’s back to the stuffy Old Town library where Sam tells talks to the Archmaester about Greyscale. How’s that for a segue from eunuch sex? Anyhow, Sam talks about a possible cure, but the party-pooping Archmaester shoots him down, saying the method is too dangerous… and forbidden (so, we know where this is going). I don’t get this part because we know people with Greyscale will eventually die, so who cares if the procedure to possible CURE it is dangerous?!?!? Later, Sam secretly shows up to Jorah’s room with his medicinal cart and a huge tome on how to do the procedure and oh man is this painful and gross.

Speaking of segues, they did a good one from Jorah’s gooy yellow pus-filled skin right into the bowl of yellowish food that a patron sitting behind Arya is eating in a tavern. She’s at the pub where her old friend Hot Pie works. He’s amazed to see her again, and looking like a girl (and “pretty”), since when they were friends she was posing as a boy. He asks if the “lady in armor” found her, referencing Brienne, who had been looking to help the Stark girls. “She found me,” Arya reveals, as she continues stuffing her face. Last week when Arya told the Lannister soldiers that she was going to King’s Landing to “kill the Queen,” they laughed it off, but here we are and Arya is still planning to go to King’s Landing, which confuses Hot Pie. Why isn’t she going home to Winterfell? Turns out, she was under the impression that the Boltons still held her old home. Nope! Hot Pie reveals that the Boltons are all dead and that her brother Jon Snow is there now as the King of the North. Now we know why Arya wasn’t going back to Winterfell!!!!! Now it all makes sense. She says good-bye telling her friend not to get killed (he tells her he’s a survivor like her), and she heads out on her horse. But which way to go? In the end, she turns around and heads towards Winterfell. YES!!!!! Another Stark reunion is on the way.

And speaking of reunions, one of the best reunions ever happened tonight. FINALLY, Arya was reunited, albeit briefly, with her direwolf Nymeria, who she had to send away to save her from Joffrey’s executioner way back in Season 1. We see Arya setting up camp in the Riverlands when she becomes surrounded by wolves. One of them is a massive direwolf, who she recognizes as her long-lost companion. She puts down her sword and extends her hand to the animal, beseeching her old friend to join her. “It’s me, Arya. I’m heading North, girl. Back to Winterfell. I’m finally going home. Come with me. Come with me,” but the direwolf just turns and walks away, with the other animals following. Heartbroken, Arya says, “That’s not you.” It’s obvious that it really was Nymeria, or else those wolves would have attacked. Instead, it’s likely that Nymeria found her place in the world, clearly as a leader, and though she knows that’s Arya, she likely doesn’t desire going back to being a sidekick who gets put in a kennel. Smart direwolf, although I think we would have all loved it if Nymeria had gone off with Arya or at least showed some signs of affection. But, she is a wild animal after all. And Arya is not that little girl with a pet direwolf anymore; there’s no way she could go back to her old life either, which is going to be a shock to her siblings once they reunite.

Back at Winterfell, Jon receives a letter from Sam at the Citadel — there’s a fuck ton of Dragonglass under Dragonstone. What a coincidence — Jon just got an invitation to Dragonstone! Guess who’s going to Dragonstone? We see Jon in the Great Hall with his bannermen bringing them up to speed. They all don’t want him to go because they think it might be a trap, and also that his place is there with them as King. But he says they need the allies, the armies, and most importantly that Dragonglass if they are going to defeat the armies of the dead. Jon swears that he will never stop fighting for the North, which is why he must go in person to Dragonstone. While he’s gone, guess who he’s leaving in charge? There must always be a Stark in Winterfell — Sansa will lead in her brother’s absence. Flash to Petyr Baelish thinking this is his in as ruler…

… and because Littlefinger is such an arrogant prick, he goes alone to see Jon in the Stark family crypt and confesses that he loved Caitlan Stark and now too her daughter Sansa. This infuriates Jon, who starts choking him. “Touch my sister and I’ll kill you myself,” he warns before walking outside to meet Ser Davos for their ride to Dragonstone. Sansa is on the balcony, waving off her brother, as Littlefinger looks on. It’s clear he still thinks he has a shot with Sansa and the crown.

The episode ends with Yara’s fleet of ships on the water at night traveling with Ellaria Sand and her daughters, the Sand Snakes, back to Dorne to gather their armies for the attack near King’s Landing. As Ellaria flirts with Yara, she taunts Theon, treating him like a servant boy. Yara defends her little brother, saying that he is her advisor and protector. What happens next really makes that a laughable statement. The ship is attacked by none other than crazy Uncle Euron Greyjoy. Explosions rock Yara’s fleet and her men are slaughtered, as are two of the Sand Snakes. Below deck, the remaining Sand Snake tries to protect her mother, but they are taken hostage. I’m guessing that Ellaria is the “gift” Euron promised to bring back to Cersei to get her agree to marry him, since Ellaria is the one who killed Cersei’s daughter Myrcella. I think his plan is going to work! By the way, remember what Cersei did to the “Shame!” septa? Ok, well now just imagine what she’s going to do when she gets her hands on the woman who murdered her sweet, innocent daughter. With her forces bested by the attackers, Yara loses in direct combat with her Uncle, who calls to his nephew Theon to come get his sister. Theon runs over, but when he looks around and sees his men getting their ears and tongues cut out, his PTSD kicks in. He begins to twitch as his uncle taunts him some more, “Come get her.” First off, I think we know there’s no way Theon would win this fight, so there’s that — he and Yara are both dead, so what he does next actually makes sense from a self-preservation standpoint, but holy crap was it a shocker. Theon — or should I say Reek? — runs away and jumps into the water!!!! Uncle Euron, still grabbing on to Yara, laughs at his cowardly nephew. The last thing we see is Theon-Reek floating on some flotsam in the water, looking at all the destruction.

HOLY SHIT! Did you see that attack coming? I did not see that coming. Euron has his “gift” and he’s going to get his bride for sure now. Theon? Where the fuck is he going now? He’s floating out in the ocean, his people all dead. Is he going to swim back to Dragonstone flayed tail between his legs? Oh, and there goes Daenerys’ plan to have the Greyjoy and Dorne armies attack the area around King’s Landing. Looks like it’s going to be Queen of Ashes after all.

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