This review is dark and full of spoilers.
BEIRUT: Ever since the series crossed the barriers of the books, Game of Thrones has been playing a game of efficiency in order to reach the endgame, and though this strategy in some cases delivered moments that fans had been waiting for, ie Arya’s return to Westeros, Ramsay’s death, Jon and Sansa reuniting, in some cases, moments felt rushed.
In the early seasons, Game of Thrones was more than spectacle, it was a fantasy series that dealt with politics, war strategy, consequences, and best of all engaging dialogue. It had been quite a while since the show exhibited this, until now.
“The Queen’s Justice,” marking the third episode in the seven-episode season, brings together all the elements, from the narrative to the cinematography, score, and mise-en-scene, that made the series the groundbreaking global phenomenon it is.
The episode opens with a long-awaited moment for all fans, the meeting of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. The tension is high as both the King in the North and the Mother of Dragons, and rightful heir to the Iron Throne, stand before each other and begin their debate.
Snow pleading with Targaryen in regards to the Great War, while the latter wanting Snow to bend the knee.
A heavily dialogue driven scene resting upon the shoulders of Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) and Kit Harrington (Jon), who both deliver, becomes powerfully engaging and pulls the watcher in and once it’s done leaves the watcher begging for more.
With their first meeting ending on a tense note, after both talks to Tyrion in separate scenes, they come closer to an understanding.
Whether the destiny of ice and fire is to unite on more romantic terms, there is an even bigger problem at hand.
Last season, Bran Stark made the revelation that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, making Daenerys Jon Snow’s aunt, leading to the question: does the show need another awkwardly incestuous romance?
However, a uniting to fight for Westeros as relatives and allies, would be a rather exciting development to see, considering at its heart Game of Thrones is about family.
Jon Snow: So, you believe me then, about the Night King and his Army of the Dead?
Daenerys: You’d better get to work, Jon Snow.
A few side moments are worth mentioning, specifically, a rather ominous scene between Varys and Melissandre, where she reveals her fate, as well as Varys', is to die in Westeros.
Melissandre: My time whispering in the ears of kings has come to an end.
Varys: Oh, I doubt that. Give us common folk one taste of power, we’re like the lion who tasted man. Nothing is ever so sweet again.
Euron Greyjoy returns to King’s Landing and delivers Ellaria Sand and her daughter Tyene to Cersei. He is thanked and named a friend to the crown, then promises her hand in marriage when the war is won.
Euron continues to bait Jaime without any fear or shame, even down to asking the Lannister for advice about how Cersei likes her sexual experiences to be.
In a scene that will have fans torn between standing with Cersei and with Ellaria, Cersei acts out her revenge against the Sandsnakes for taking Myrcella, Cersei’s only daughter, by poisoning Tyene and forcing Ellaria to watch her daughter “rot.”
This is a gut-wrenching scene regardless of which side the viewer is loyal to.
Indira Varma, who plays Ellaria, delivers a performance worthy of a standing ovation, and in a recent interview stated that she will not be returning to the show.
Cersei’s behavior continues to become more irrational with every step. She is drunk with power, parading her love affair with Jaime without even a flinch, and her conversation with Tycho Nestoris from the Iron Bank of Braavos.
Though many fear that Daenerys could become a Mad Queen, much like her father, it is Cersei who is spiraling down that path.
Cersei: The Lannisters owe the Iron Bank quite a lot of money, but Lannisters always pay their debts. Do former slaves or Dothraki or dragons?
Tycho: Your father’s daughter, indeed.
Back in Winterfell, Sansa showcases her leadership skills rather well, and it is quite a sight to witness her in this position. She even stands her own against Littlefinger, who continues to try and weasel his way into her mind.
But the standout moment at Winterfell falls to another Stark reunion, as Bran finally returns home, though he is not the same Bran any longer.
He speaks almost robotically, as Sansa experiences the true power of Bran’s current state as the all-knowing Three-Eyed Raven.
In Oldtown, Sam has cured Ser Jorah’s greyscale, making this plot point rather anti-climactic and stake-free. If Ser Jorah’s fate was always to be cured then why have this plot to begin with?
Yet, fans will rejoice and root for the new bond between these two characters.
HIGH GARDEN & CASTERLY ROCK
The episode’s final moments bring two battles: one at Castelry Rock and the other at High Garden.
As the Unsullied take on Castlery Rock thanks to Tyrion’s strategy and a tunnel in the sewers, Grey Worm who leads the charge realizes that the Lannister army is not all there, and then much to his despair witness Euron Greyjoy’s ships taking over the Targaryen fleet.
It seems Jaime Lannister outsmarted his young brother’s moves, and took the entirety of the Lannister army towards a more meaningful target, High Garden.
For those that haven’t realized, High Garden is where most of the country’s grain comes from, not to mention the amount of gold that sits there. With the Lannister’s being in serious debt, this will no doubt aid them in repaying said debt, as Cersei promised.
This battle also marks the end of Olenna Tyrell, a fan-favorite and powerful player in the game. To prove this, she doesn’t go out without a final blow to the Lannisters as she reveals to Jaime that she was the one behind Joffrey Lannister’s death.
Olenna: Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.
With only four episodes left, it is clear that this season is building towards quite a climactic season finale, and one thing is certain, there will be casualties. For as Cersei told Ned Stark back in Season 1, “When you play the game of thrones, you either win, or you die.”
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