Game of Thrones 7.02: Stormborn
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After last week's opener - rather sedate in comparison to this - one thing has been made quite clear: Game of Thrones would be screwed without the women and most of them rock up in this episode, and not all human ones either.
Beware, some spoilers ahead...
Daenerys (she stormborn) needs to ensure that those she holds in closest council will, in fact, remain loyal. Lord Varys, she's mostly talking about you and your history of backing the wrong horse. It's a rousing impassioned speech the eunuch gives as he swears his allegiance to the mad King's daughter. Melisandre's arrival interrupts proceedings as she comes bearing news of the King in the North and heavily suggests that Dany may not be the only promised prophet who will bring the dawn. The Red Woman is most insistent that Jon Snow be summoned, backed implicitly by Tyrion as he recollects his time spent with Ned Stark's bastard, and whose company he rather enjoyed.
Queen of spin, Cersei (with the help of brother-lover Jaime) is attempting to gain the trust of all those who swear to House Tyrell, including Randyll Tarly, horror-bag father of Sam. Speaking of Samwell, Jorah's (yes, that was his flaky arm) prognosis is rather grim - he'll be blind within six months but the Greyscale won't kill him for another 10-20 years. Sam's determined to push for a cure based on his bookish findings but Archmaester Broadbent, sorry Ebrose, is having none of it and hints at suicide by way of a knowing glance to Jorah's weapon propped up against the cell wall. Once Sam discovers Ser Jorah's family name, well, there's no question what the plucky Tarly will do.
Back in Dragonstone, Daenerys is explaining, courtesy of a large table-top map and beautiful sculpted tokens representing each house (much more elaborate than Cersei's painted floor), to her current group of Allies: Ellaria Sand, Olenna Tyrell and Yara Greyjoy; what will happen, how and when. Their misgivings seem to stem from their personal quests for the Iron Throne but mostly to see Cersei Lannister's head on a spike. Line of the episode comes from Dame Diana, "I've know clever men. I've outlived them all... are you a sheep? No, you're a dragon. Be a dragon." Being a dragon means disregarding a handy golden lion which could prove fruitful and destructive. Goody.
While the two women discuss strategy Grey Worm and Missandei decide to embrace their respective fear, drop trou/gown and give into their desire and feelings for one another. We still don't know if his 'pillar and stones' were all taken but she's sated nonetheless.
Jon gets word from Tyrion that his presence is required and once again Sansa objects, with reason given the danger and her deep mistrust of EVERYONE but even she has to admit that Tyrion is unlike any Lannister and suggests Jon sends an emissary in his place. She's very much the head of the outfit while Jon tends to lead with his heart, they both need the other, however, that much is evident. The King knows that a Queen will not parle with anyone other than him and this he must do, with good old Davos at his side. Once he receives word from Sam detailing the Dragonglass and its location, Snow has little option but to kill two birds with one Dragonstone (sorry) and he and Davos head off but not before he declares the North to be in Sansa's hands until he returns, cue smirk from Brienne, and threatening Little Finger who remains the fungus that grows on the wall of Winterfell and whose accent continues to be inexplicable.
Sam's quest to cure Jorah is admirable and oh-so-painful, be prepared to grit your teeth on the patient's behalf as Sam preps for surgery. While the suggested future of GoT seems to be female, Sam is the unsung hero we need while the Stormborns and Starks are sorting the monarchy, Tarly who has never received the rightful praise from anybody, aside from maybe his buddy bastard Snow will be vindicated and integral to this season and (hopefully) the last. People are dispatched from this show so suddenly, and brutally, I don't want to count chickens. The transition shot from Jorah's scaly, pus-riddled skin flakes to Arya breaking into a pie (thankfully not one she has made) is a joy. This, coupled with Sam's chamber pot montage last week gives the impression that there'll be a some humour however small as we draw nearer to a close. Arya bumps into an old friend (not Gendry - where the bloody hell is he?!) who recounts the Battle of the Bastards and the new King of the North. She immediately heads for home but not before she meets Nymeria, her old Dire Wolf, the animal which we and she hasn't seen since season one after after driving her pal away.
Then, just when you think you've got it sussed. There'll be more Winterfell, it'll head back to Dany or there's bound to be more talk of allegiances and large maps (there are a lot of them in this episode). Ha ha, nope. Nothing will prepare you. Fire, water, iron, and sand collide in a bloody ferocious and violently climactic sequence.
Well, he did promise a gift...