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“The Queen’s Justice” was an episode where things happened. Granted, they were things we could see coming from miles away, but that didn’t dampen my joy at seeing Bran back home, or hearing Olenna Tyrell give one last mic drop speech, or watching Cersei match wits with Tycho from the Iron Bank. The episode certainly continued the season’s feeling of tying off various loose ends before getting to the real meat of the story, but you’ll find no complaints from me.
The long-awaited meeting between Dany and Jon lived up to the hype. From the hilarious difference in their intros (I’ve found Dany’s title to be beyond ridiculous for some time now, but when it is put up against Jon’s rather . . . unimpressive name, it really drives home the idea that power comes from how others see you and understand you and not necessarily from who you are as a person) to Dany rightly shooting down Jon’s idea, the scenes made complete sense and were well acted (particularly from Kit Harrington, who remains one of the show’s weakest actors). Why in the world would Dany trust a bastard who is ruling one of the kingdoms she seeks to conquer, particularly when they have absolutely nothing linking them (besides, you know, both being Targaryens)? And why would Jon bend the knee to someone he knows nothing about, especially when he has the fate of the North on his shoulders? It was nice to see Tyrion smooth things over with his plan to let Jon have the Dragonglass, creating a debt that Dany can call in later. Especially since he’s been doing a horrific job advising her so far.
So, Dorne and the Iron Islands are off the board (and I worry about poor Yara). Now Highgarden has been captured, giving Cersei her gold (and placating the Iron Bank), and Lord Tarley a chance to rule. Oh, and the Unsullied are trapped at Casterly Rock without ships. It’s looking more and more like Dany should have opted to become queen of the ashes rather than attempt to save those fickle folk in King’s Landing. Three dragons might be nice to have, but without allies, all you have are three dragons. Although, without anyone to support her claim, this might mean Dany will need Jon even more than she thought.
While the show’s “heroes” were floundering on Dragonstone, the show’s “villains” were having a hell of a good time. I’m incredibly impressed with Cersei’s tactical brilliance. Yes, she’s showing more than a few signs that she’s heading into the realm of a mad queen, but she’s also showing she has the ability to rule in the brash and violent way necessary to win a war and keep a kingdom. She has the cunning and lack of moral fortitude that has held both Jon and Dany back from succeeding (which, of course, means she’s an awful leader compared to the duo, but she’s also the kind of leader that burns bright before an epic flame out). I certainly don’t see her surviving long-term (and I am even more convinced that Jamie will be the one to kill her in the end, especially after Olenna’s speech), but she’s a much more formidable player in the game of thrones than I ever thought she would be. And man, Lena Headey is having a ball playing the various nefarious beats with gusto this season.
Speaking of gusto, I want to take a moment to give a round of internet applause to Dame Diana Rigg for her superb work as Lady Olenna Tyrell. I’m thrilled the writers crafted that masterful speech for her to go out on- culminating in her confessing her hand in Joffrey’s death (but, curiously, not Littlefinger’s). Olenna became a fan favorite almost entirely through her performance, brilliantly delivering some of the show’s best dialogue and never failing to add in a perfectly timed eye-roll to go along with it. I haven’t been sad to see many characters go on this show, but I will miss her dearly. I’m just glad she got to go out dispensing wisdom and verbally slicing at Cersei one last time.
Finally, whilst Dany and Jon have been squandering their power, Sansa has been stepping up in a major way. Littlefinger whispering in her ear is a bit troubling, even if he was offering (for once) some very sound advice. Littlefinger has lasted this long because, like Varys, he has thought of all possible outcomes. He has played several sides and managed to jump to the winning one just in the nick of time. Further, his advice mirrors exactly what Cersei has been doing down in King’s Landing. If Sansa really understands her as well as she claims, she has to see that in order to be a player in the game of thrones, she needs to emulate Cersei, at least to a degree. I can’t see Sansa fully abandoning her people in the North, but I can absolutely see her taking pains to make sure she is protected in the event Jon falls. She’s such an intriguing character, which is something I never saw myself saying at the beginning of the series. I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her.
— That reunion between Bran and Sansa was lovely. Although, Bran is so incredibly creepy now (which, since Isaac Hempstead Wright is the show’s other remaining bad actor, I can’t quite find too much fault with it). At least he knows he needs to tell Jon some things. Like who his real parents are.
— I had a feeling Cersei was going to force Ellaria to watch her daughter die. But I don’t like Cersei leaving her alive. I have a feeling that decision might come back to haunt her.
— Melissandre is off for Volantis, but her ominous prediction leads me to believe she’ll be back before the end of the series, likely to die at the hands of Ser Daavos. And Varys will die in Westeros as well? That’s an interesting statement to remember.
— Loved Jon’s “I’m not a Stark” comment. How right you are, sir. How right you are.
— Curing Jorah’s greyscale was waaaaaay too simple. But, I get it. We need Jorah elsewhere for the battle to come.