Warning: This review contains spoilers for the most recent episode and past seasons of Game of Thrones.
This past Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Queen’s Justice”, finally reunites Stark siblings and begins the acquaintance of fire and ice. With characters finally reaching their destinations, there is a lot of excitement to be found here.
Most notably, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are together at last. Jon Snow has finally reached Dragonstone to meet the Mother of Dragons. Daenerys, stubborn as always, demands that Jon bend the knee, which he refuses to do. Jon warns Daenerys of the Ice King and his army of White Walkers, asserting that petty wars amongst kings are meaningless. Jon petitions for dragonglass and is initially denied. With the help of Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys softens and allows Jon to mine dragonstone without swearing loyalty. While their first encounter may not have been the most intimate, the two are beginning to feel one another out.
Jon and Daenerys’ meeting is essentially a battle of wits in which the two are testing each other's past triumphs and failures. This scene addresses the troubled history between the Starks and Targaryens while simultaneously allowing for some small reconciliation between the two houses. The combined force of Jon and Daenerys has been long awaited by fans, so it is almost certain that some viewers have found their interactions to be underwhelming. However, given that these two characters have had no prior relationship to one another, have negative family history, and each claim to be a ruler the other denounces, the tension and distrust is completely understandable. There seems to be a desire for Jon and Daenerys to enter a romantic relationship amongst the fanbase. While this is possible (even considering their familial relations), the allusions to Daenerys’ straying from the path of goodness will most likely put a dent in that theory, but only time will tell.
“The Queen’s Justice” not only allows for the joining of ice and fire but the reuniting of Starks. Bran has finally returned to Winterfell and has been rejoined with his sister Sansa. When reminded that Bran is not the only male heir in Winterfell, Bran tells Sansa he is the Three Eyed Raven. This is a concept still largely unexplored in the television series. Bran’s role has been left relatively ambiguous, but here it is reaffirmed that his role is different than anyone else in Westeros. Hopefully his arc won’t be breezed over.
Sansa is also given some interesting development. As the only Stark in Winterfell, Sansa is given the opportunity to lead, and she finds she’s good at it. The show makes great efforts to demonstrate Sansa’s capabilities as a leader, yet it is difficult to forget all of the poor decisions of the past that contradict these developments. While it’s nice to see this character finally portrayed in a positive light, it’s more than likely she will become a nuisance for Jon in the future. The show definitely foreshadows a shift in Sansa’s intentions during her interactions with Petyr Baelish.
Another exciting moment from “The Queen’s Justice” is view into Cersei’s torturous dungeon. Having been gifted Ellaria Sand and her daughter, Tyene, Cersei poisons Ellaria’s daughter in the same manner Ellaria killed her own. Considering the Sand Snakes are some of the most unlikable characters (in the television series), it’s a bit poetic to see this family being simultaneously destroyed. Cersei, while unquestionably evil, is a delight to watch. Lena Headey gives a chilling performance during the build up to Cersei’s revenge.
While Jon and Daenerys’ interactions consumed the majority of the episode, the shining moment was the fall of the Tyrells. Olenna Tyrell has been captured by Cersei and sentenced to death. Due to Jaime Lannister's merciful nature, Olenna has been spared Cersei’s flavor of tortuous deaths and given a painless poison. Olenna has always been favored for her bluntness and strength, characteristics both evident even when faced with death. After a brief heart-to-heart, Olenna confesses that she killed Joffrey. This is no surprise for the audience, but to finally hear the secret revealed to Jamie, the monstrous child’s father, is extremely satisfying. The decision to not actually show Olenna’s death was a great decision; she gets the last word and maintains her dignity as she dies.
“The Queen’s Justice” has created an interesting set-up for the remainder of the series. Daenerys is losing the war; Cersei has killed off most of her enemies; Bran has returned to Winterfell; Arya is on the road to Winterfell; and Sam has cured Jorah Mormont who is returning to Daenerys. With so much happening at once, it is really a testament to the writer’s abilities that each character seems to be getting the screen time and development that they deserve. Additionally, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ writing style seamlessly changes between emotional and comedic without feeling awkward or forced, helping to make “The Queen’s Justice” the best episode in the season thus far.
All images from Giant Bomb
For more entertainment related content, visit us at Byte Bsu!