Kris Vieira: So after last week’s frustrations, I was pretty pleased with this episode. There were still some head scratching moments, but definitely a few excellent moments, too. This episode was all about Cersei, but first let’s dish about the much anticipated meeting of Jon and Dany.
At the start of the scene, we see the differences between these two right away. Dany is sitting on her throne high above, with Missandei listing off those billion titles. Dany is all pride at this point, and she comes off as extremely obnoxious. Ser Davos chimes in simply with “This is Jon Snow.” Amazing. I was really happy to see Jon hold his own a bit here, retaining his characteristic humility without kowtowing in the least.
Sarah Webster: This was another episode with an over the top Daenerys. Her desire to force Jon to bend the knee doesn't make sense to me. Perhaps the books could write her leaning towards these tendencies over time. But the show moves too quickly for this behavior to seem believable. I appreciate that she allows Jon to mine for the dragon glass but the writing makes me wonder if she'll make some ridiculous request in return.
KV: I felt annoyed with Dany’s ‘tude at first, but then when she marched down the stairs with her “I believe in Daenerys Targaryan” speech, I was like YAAASS you BE a dragon queen! Davos lists off all of the serious shit Jon has been through (well, not quite all of it) and it felt like a fair match. It makes total sense that these two would not hit it off right away, since they know nothing about one another.
Elizabeth Hargreaves: While it’s nice (in a way) that things are moving along quickly, it’s a little too quick for my taste. I hate to complain though, because it used to take characters whole SEASONS to get anywhere, if at all. Now they make it halfway across Westeros before you can say “Hodor”.
KV: Agreed! It took Dany SO LONG to get to Westeros, and now her armies disappeared faster than Jorah’s grayscale. We also had some battles in this episode that were so fast, you couldn’t even see them. Like the win over Highgarden.
SW: The surprise attack against Highgarden caught me completely off guard. While Jamie is credited with the idea, claiming to have learned from past defeat, I can't help but feel like there's someone smarter than Jaime and Cersei pulling some strings behind the scenes.
KV: Maybe you’re right that there is someone else pulling the strings, or maybe we’ve all underestimated Cersei. Tyrion going after Casterly Rock didn’t make that much sense to me to begin with. There has been a lot of talk about what a brilliant strategist Tyrion will be, and yet he has made miscalculation after miscalculation.
SW: I'm so disappointed in Tyrion. He's my favorite character in the books but I don't feel the writers have done his character justice this season. I loved the scene with his voiceover detailing the invasion of Casterly Rock, but I don't buy that he could be so shortsighted, especially against Jaime and Cersei. It feels like the writers attempt to swiftly eliminate characters and story-lines that aren't crucial to the ending. I understand the necessity to do this but it's equally important to stay true to the characters from the book.
EH: Oh Tyrion. He is also one of my favourites, but that might change to a “was” if he doesn’t snap out of it. I did like his “you look better brooding than I do” to Jon though.
KV: Yes, there were some funny moments in this episode! Loved seeing Tyrion and Jon together again. But definitely the highlight of the show for me was our last moments with Lady Olenna.
Jaime:“There’s always lessons in failure.”
Olenna: “You must be very wise by now.”
I am so upset to see her go, but at least they gave her a brilliant final scene, and one last victory over the Lannisters.
SW: Diana Rigg is a delight in this role, and it was so satisfying watching her get the last word by both planting seeds of doubt about Cersei and confessing to Joffrey's death. Jaime’s reaction to the news was hard to read. I can see Jaime’s role playing out in two possible ways. First, his realization of Tyrion's innocence and an acknowledgment of Cersei's cruelty may be enough to make him rethink his position. Second, Jaime has a lot to lose by winning Cersei's war. She's promised herself to Euron once she takes back the Seven Kingdoms. Could Jamie sabotage their efforts to prevent the marriage? Time will tell.
KV: I’ve been predicting that Jaime is the one to off Cersei for a while now (see my last recap), but yes, time will tell.
SW: Cersei was finally able to avenge Myrcella's death. Her punishment, forcing Ellaria to witness her daughter's death and watch her rot, is particularly cruel. But using the same poison that Ellaria used on Myrcella is about as imaginative as killing dragons with a crossbow. Leaving the shame Septa in the hands of The Mountain last season was a much more chilling scene than the one that played out last night.
KV: I agree that the scene with the Septa was more chilling, if only because it was left to our own imagination as to what The Mountain would do to her. I still think Cersei is an especially terrifying character at the moment. Everyone was talking about Euron as the next great monster this season, but it is a hands-down, no-contest win for Cersei so far. As Olenna says to Jaime, she is a disease. She has been talking through her teeth lately to the point of sounding like a snake; it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Euron is nothing more than an annoyance to me.
EH: Yeah, Euron (pronounced: “Ur-ine” in my head) is creepy and disturbing, but hasn’t achieved the truly cruel level of Ramsay yet. I think the writers will have to get insanely creative if they hope to get him to that same level. Euron feels like a side-show. He’s just not interesting yet.
KV: YES- Euron will be henceforth known as Urine Greyjoy.
Let’s move on to those other brooding mofo’s up North. If Arya makes it to Winterfell, we will have as close a Stark reunion as I think we are going to get, now that Bran has made it home. (Question--why the f did Bran and Meera go all the way to The Wall if they were just going to walk all the way back down to Winterfell again?! He better have done some magic juju on that wall or something!)
The Starks have all changed so dramatically that their reunions will always be bittersweet. Bran brings up the night of Sansa’s rape like he’s talking about what he had for dinner last week, which is not cool. And if Arya makes it home, what will Sansa think of her new life as an assassin? You know what they say (and what Sansa is learning): You can never go home again.
Also, does being able to see the future make you boring? Because….yikes. I keep hoping the Three-eyed Raven storyline is going to go somewhere, and then Bran just sit there like a bump on a log talking about the snow.
SW: What's up with his chilly reception to Sansa? His treatment of Sansa coupled with Petyr Baelish's philosophical "treat every possibility as if it were a reality" speech seems like another device to justify a rash and unbelievable action by Sansa to move the conflict forward. That speech could also be foreshadowing. Could Petyr Baelish be the brains behind the Lannister's military victories? He's definitely been known to play both sides to hedge his bets. And let's not forget, as Varys so eloquently puts it, "He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes." I hope Sansa keeps her wits about her.
KV: Yeah, besides Urine Greyjoy, another disappointment in the Great Villains department is Littlefinger. He used to be one of the most dangerous characters on this show, and lately he’s been (at least on the surface) irritating and ineffectual. I think you’re giving him too much credit for the Lannister victories, Sarah; he’s just waiting to pounce on Sansa. Sansa seems smarter than this, but the writers don't.
I did think his little speech about imagining every possible scenario was important in this episode. Olenna talks about her own “failure of imagination” as a major reason that Cersei beat her; she was incapable of imagining something so terrible. Dany and Jon finally begin to connect when they both acknowledge that the boundaries of their imagination (and belief) need to expand. Tyrion fails with their first battle, because he didn’t imagine Cersei would give up Casterly Rock.
Stray thoughts: There were some great lines in this episode. Loved Samwell’s line “I read the book and followed the instructions.” Praaaaise. Also, when Dany says “We all love doing what we’re good at,” and Jon replies, “I don’t.” Ugh that’s so broody and Jon Snowy of you to say! Any other moments that stood out to you? Hopes for next week?
EH: I loved Lady Olenna’s final line: “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” Ugh, I will miss her. So much class, and so much shade.
SW: This episode was a big step up from last week. I'm still not completely sold on the show versus the books. This is such a character driven series. Maintaining their integrity is crucial to the story. At the pace we're moving I'm interested to see what's next. Do they intend to have Westeros under single rule by the end of this season? Will the final season center around the battle of the Night King? I can't wait to find out!