Game Of Thrones: 7.03 The Queen's Justice
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"This is Jon Snow...he's...er...King of the North..."
If there's one thing to take from The Queen's Justice, it's the long awaited meeting between Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea,Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons and Jon Snow. It was a collision of worlds, the first mention of the White Walkers in her presence and setting up of the final stages of Game of Throne's end game. Because as much as the war for the Seven Kingdoms is skyrocketing full force - a War of the Five Kings II so to speak - this is all just a prelude to the moment the army of the dead came marching over the ruins of the Wall.
Every moment of the scenes on Dragonstone were expertly played. From Davos and Jon's first encounter with the dragons while Missandei cooly led them up the steps to Daenerys' throne room to Davos and Jon's attempts to go tête-à-tête with Tyrion Lannister and the queen. Not surprisingly, Daenerys came across as arrogant and unwilling to listen to him, demanding fealty purely on her name alone. Jon continued to remain the voice of reason, calling them all children and making them aware of the true threat approaching and it was great to see it didn't fully full on deaf ears.
Tyrion was a delight this episode, putting his faith in Jon to bring Daenerys to reason, listening to his talk of the walking dead he once dismissed as fairy tales. "I Trust the eyes of an honest man more than I trust what everyone knows" he told Jon who questioned why Tyrion would suddenly believe him. Hi 'wisdom' forced his queen to give Jon the dragon glass he so desperately needed without resolving the question of him being open rebellious to her demands. That final cliff top scene between the Queen of the Andals and King of the North spoke volumes too; they didn't leave as allies yet, but her attempts to help him firmly cemented the need for fire and ice to work together.
The meeting of Jon and Daenerys was the moment we might have all been waiting for, but there was so much more to this episode than that. Season seven is seeing events play out each episode that might have otherwise taken half a season to occur. Like dominos, the houses are falling as the squabbles of children are resolved before the dead come knocking. And at the centre, Cersei is now well and truly the chief villain of the season, Lena Headey truly deserving of an Emmy win next year for her work on Game of Thrones this season.
We saw her at her worst here, fuelled by revenge as poisoned Ellaria Sand's last surviving daughter with a kiss and ordered her to watch her child die in agony while she spent the rest of her days in chains. While Yara Greyjoy's fate remains open, it seems her uncle Euron has gotten his promise to wed the evil queen - once the war is won. Pilou Asbæk does a great job of becoming the latest in a long line of despicable villains, asking Jamie how his sister liked it while waving to the cheering masses. I hope his death is a long and painful one.
Cersei's hopes of redemption are certainly lost; for the second week in a row, she dealt another stunning blow to Daenerys's plans. Remember just last week where Elleria Sand, Olenna Tyrell, Theon and Yara Greyjoy sought counsel with Daenerys, uniting three houses to her cause? Well thanks to Cersei and Euron, those alliances seem lost already - that's how fast paced this season is.
It seems the big battles that were usually reserved for the 'ninth episode' are now the episode cap on a weekly basis. Grey Worm and the Unsullied's victorious siege of the long unseen Casterly Rock was quick and brutal but the appearance of Euron's Ironborn fleet soon laid waste to the rest of Daenerys's fleet. The fate of her most powerful and loyal warriors now hangs in the fate. Meanwhile Jamie's surprise attack on the heart of the Tyrells with the bulk of the Lannister forces saw another major house wiped out. Assuming the Lannister soldiers are subsequently defeated, we might have just witnessed the end of two major houses in the space of ten minutes.
There were many great character moments this week, aside from Jon and Daenerys and Jon and Tyrion. We got another surprise Stark reunion in the return of Bran to Winterfell. Quickly proving herself to be a strong leader, Sansa urged her brother to take up the mantle of Lord of Winterfell, all too eager to supplant Jon for her own gains. The chat on the clifftops between Varys and Melisandre offered plenty of intrigue too; while it seems her role in the show's events has been reduced following the defeat of Stannis, her mention of returning to Westeros to die suggests there is more to come as part of the show's endgame. Sam curing Jorah of his grayscale offered hope too; not only that Sam is developing the skills and knowledge for the fight ahead but also a redemption for Jorah that can bring him back to Daenerys's side once more.
But it was in the episode's final moments that The Queen's Justice played its greatest hand as Jamie Lannister confronted a defeated Olenna Tyrell in her chamber following the swift defeat of the Tyrells. Diana Rigg was magnificent to the end, her sharp wit cutting Jamie down to size even when the sword of death hung over her.
"There are always lessons in failures."
"Yes. You must be very wise by now."
Jamie of course is not the man once knew; he might have bedded Cersei at her insistence this episode but it was more the actions of a man hopelessly lost than embracing passion. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau continues to deliver a much more nuanced performance in Jamie; gone is the cocksure arrogance, now he is a man that would offer poison to end Olenna's life quickly rather than see this old woman succumb to the malicious tortures his sister would devise.
Which is why her final twist of the knife even as she waited for the poison to work was so powerful, revealing that she was behind Joffrey's death and hungered for Cersei to know. It's something we've all known for a while, and for a moment I suspected Jamie to succumb to rage and cut her down with Joffrey's sword. But he left, giving Olenna the dignity she deserved in death.
The Queen's Justice got better and better, another very strong episode in what has been a superb seventh season. The dominos are falling and change is happening quickly and I suspect the war between Daenerys and Cersei will be swift and bloody. But for now I mourn the magnificent Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns. Diana Rigg, your time on Game of Thrones has been magnificent.