It hasn’t been the most exciting of starts to Game of Thrones seventh season. Lots of character building sure, but nothing much in the way of wider changes to the way things were left at the backend of Season 6. Like a band tuning up, there’s a sense that things need to pick up steam quickly if this Season is to really stick the landing. This week managed to stuff in a lot of exciting reunions and first meetings; chief among them – first meeting of Daenerys and Jon Snow/ Where these pieces able to make the whole better? Was The Queen’s Justice a solid episode of the show – or did these promises fall flat?
The major headline grabber from The Queens’s Justice was the initial meeting of Daneryes and Jon Snow; although those hoping for greatness off the bat may be left wanting. Jon Snow may have faced a warmer reception facing down the Night King than Daenerys. The first meeting of the pair went about as unwell as one can imagine, with Dany effectively calling Jon out for going into open rebellion. She didn’t take too kindly to his continued insistence on being called “The King in the North”, and he didn’t fancy getting down on one knee to impress her.
As the episode passed though, and Tyrion whispered sweet words in the pairs ears, they began to see common ground. Daneryes opting to let Jon Snow mine the Dragon Glass he came to get – the pair hinting that they’d sort out their bigger issues down the line. It may also have played into her favour that Dany got word that her huge navy was buried at the bottom of Kings Landing Bay. I kind of wish the show had given more time for Dany to shift her opinion on Jon, if only because it felt hugely convenient for them to part on such good terms. She clearly didn’t believe the threat from the Whitewalkers – so why indulge it?
The Queen’s Justice also saw Daenerys forces finally make landfall in their conquest of Westeros. Her decision to send the Unsullied west to Casterly Rock seemed like an enormous capture for the Dragon Queen – right up until it was revealed just how hollow that victory was. For all of Tyrion’s grandstanding – his lack of foresight led to the Unsullied effectively capturing a ruined fortress. With no food in the stores and little of value left behind – the victory only served to underline just how many steps the youngest Lannister child is when it comes to warfare. It was cleverly edited; with their victory juxtaposing the Lannisters destroying the Tyrell army (More on that in a bit). Certainly, there were a lot of highs and lows on both sides this week.
I just kind of wish Dany wasn’t just standing around, regurgitating whatever Tyrion says. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tyrion – there’s a fear that Danereyes is being made to look like an idiot when all these people around her can make her do things without much argument. During The Queen’s Justice, it all kind of began to wear down the mystique of her character. Whether it be bad writing, or the show handicapping her to make the big end-of-season battle more exciting – it’s harming her entire story.
Back down in Kings Landing, Cersei Lannister got to enjoy her first real success as the ruler of Westeros – as the Sand Snakes were presented to her. The spoils of victory weren’t sweet for everyone, as Euron’s rise to grace left a bitter taste in the mouth of Jaimie. “How does she like it?” Euron asked a horrified Jaimie when he found out his sister was offering her hand in marriage. Cersei’s new found cockiness also led to one of the cruellest situations on the show – as Ellaria’s daughter was condemned to a slow, painful poisoning. Forcing Ellaria to watch is an act of pure revenge, and makes me suspect that Cersai’s inevitable demise will be brutally poetic.
Perhaps most annoyingly, the show seemingly went out of its way this week to paint Sansa as a level headed commander in chief for the Northerners. Identifying missing leather on armour and telling those around her how to move grain – you could see Littlefinger’s smile ever widening. It felt incredibly forced and, given the bigger events going on elsewhere, somewhat out of place. Sansa certainly has a role to play in the show – but I’m kind of over this whole “Will she/ won’t she betray Jon Snow”?
Yet all this was thrown for something of a loop as Bran’s made his big return to Winterfell. The quick embrace gave way to a sad realisation for Sansa – the little brother she once loved is long gone. Now Bran is more interested in spending time in his visions and expanding his reach. It was sad to watch her walk away from him but somewhat anticlimactic. Let’s just hope that Arya’s return sparks more impressive returns – whenever that occurs.
The death of the week though fell to Lady Olenna. Watching on as her army crumbled under the weight of the Lannister advance, Olenna was able to grab one more moment of shade in the company of Jaimie Lannister. After coaxing a pleasant death out of Jaimie, she finally confessed to the murder of Joffrey all those Seasons ago. The look on Jamie’s face was priceless, as he realised he’d been had for one final time. There was no better way for Lady Olenna to exit the show and easily helped to cap off the best outing of this season thus far.
Overall The Queen’s Justice was an exciting episode. It offered up a huge variety of emotional moments while managing to keep things exciting at the same time. Some might decry the loss of so many characters – but the reality is that Cersei is at the peak of her powers right now. The reveal at the end by Lady Olenna will likely have longer consequences – while Daneryes losses continue to stack. I personally could do without the Sansa sections when they’re so awkwardly lacking in any real drama – but I guess the show needs to build her as a strong opposition to Jon’s rule.
The Queen’s Justice is a fine episode no doubt, but the season still feels like we’re waiting for the massive moments to come.