GAME OF THRONES - Season 7 key art | ©2017 HBO

GAME OF THRONES – Season 7 key art | ©2017 HBO

Stars: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Aiden Gillen, Liam Cunningham, Carice Van Houten, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ellie Kendrick, Indira Varma, John Bradley, Gwendoline Christine, Conleth Hill, Jerome Flynn, Iain Glen, Diana Rigg, Mark Gatiss, Jim Broadbent, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jacob Anderson, Gemma Whelan, Alfie Allen, Bella Ramsey, Anton Lesser, Pilou Asbaek, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Hafpor Julius Bjornsson
Writers: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, series created by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”
Director: Mark Mylod
Network: HBO, Sundays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: July 30, 2017

In the GAME OF THRONES Season 7 episode “The Queen’s Justice,” Cersei (Lena Headey) gets revenge on several different enemies. However, the headline news is that Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Queen of Dragons, finally meets Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the King in the North. Naturally – hey, it’s GAME OF THRONES, what do you want? – this doesn’t go smoothly. When Jon and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) arrive at Dragonstone Castle, Jon and Daenerys are civil but untrusting. Jon won’t bend the knee and Daenerys contemplates charging Jon with treason – he is after all claiming to be king of one of the territories she claims as queen.

Luckily for everyone, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is on hand as Hand of the Queen to smooth things over. Tyrion trusts Jon and is inclined to believe the Northerner’s stories of the walking dead (and yes, they use that phrase; it’s kind of hard not to when discussing the White Walkers). Daenerys thinks this is a fairy tale, but Tyrion is able to persuade her to let Jon have the dragonglass that sits beneath the castle. Dragonglass is the one weapon that works against White Walkers. Détente is brewing. Davos makes an impassioned plea on Jon’s behalf and catches himself as he’s going to far by mentioning that Jon took a knife to the heart. Later, Daenerys wonders what he meant by that. Tyrion says that it must be a metaphor, but we can tell he thinks that perhaps it was a literal statement.

It’s cool to see Daenerys and Jon finally sizing each other up, but the more dramatically exciting scene is the one where Tyrion and Jon confer. It has humor (Tyrion claiming that Jon is ruining Tyrion’s attempts at brooding, since Jon looks so much better doing it), wit and heart, as well as furthering the plot.

Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) wonders why Melisandre (Carice Van Houten), who suggested sending for Jon in the first place, doesn’t want to meet with him. Melisandre gives a vague response about “terrible mistakes.” Since Varys knows practically everything, he probably really is aware of the specifics – that Melisandre caused the death of young Princess Shireen Baratheon and believes that Davos will make good on his threat to kill her when next they meet – but just wants to hear what the Red Priestess is willing to confess. Melisandre says she is leaving for Volantis. Varys urges her not to return, but Melisandre says she must return to Westeros to die, and that Varys will die here, too. This is meant to be ominous, but since Melisandre doesn’t say when, how or why, and since everyone (except maybe Beric Dondarrion) has got to die at some point, this falls under the heading of things nobody needs to worry about right now.

Varys brings Daenerys the bad news about Yara’s fleet being taken out by Euron. How are things going with the Unsullied attack on the Lannister stronghold of Caesterly Rock? Well, the Rock is impregnable from outside. Luckily for Daenerys and Unsullied commander Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Tyrion’s late unlamented father made Tyrion design the Rock’s sewer system. So the Unsullied get in through Tyrion’s passageways and take the Rock, though the rest of the Lannister forces there burn the Unsullied fleet. Daenerys now lacks a navy.

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) gets fished out of the sea by his own men, who know that he ran away, because if he’d actually confronted his uncle Euron (Pilou Asbaek), he’d be dead.

Euron rides through the streets of King’s Landing in triumph, leading bound and leashed niece Yara (Gemma Whelan), Dorne leader Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and Ellaria’s remaining daughter Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) behind him. Cersei is well pleased, though when Euron again asks for her hand, she tells him to wait until the war is won. Hard to know if she means it or not, though Euron taunts Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) about Cersei’s sexual needs to the extent that Jaime almost goes for his sword. Too bad he doesn’t – Euron is detestable.

Cersei has a right to be angry with Ellaria. Ellaria killed Cersei’s only daughter Myrcella, whose only crime was being a Lannister. This was in vengeance for the death of Ellaria’s lover, the heroic Oberyn Martell. Oberyn wouldn’t have approved of that action, and he certainly wouldn’t have been pleased about Ellaria murdering Oberyn’s brother, the former ruler of Dorne, nor the young prince. Even so, Cersei poisoning Tyene and keeping Ellaria chained up in the cell with her so she can watch her daughter die and decay slowly seems on the extreme side.

Cersei also has a meeting with the representative (Mark Gatiss) from the Bank of Braavos, during which she convinces him that the Lannisters represent a better investment than the Targaryens. We get to see Cersei being strategic instead of vengeful for once, and of course we get the marvelous Gatiss back.

At the Citadel, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) is cured of his greyscale. He lies to Archmaester Ebrose (Jim Broadbent) about this overnight miracle, actually wrought by Sam (John Bradley). Alone with Sam, Jorah thanks him and says he’s going back to Daenerys. After that, Ebrose is alone with Sam. He points out that Sam disobeyed Ebrose’s order not to try to cure Jorah, as it could have failed and contaminated many people with greyscale. However, since it worked, Sam should feel proud of himself. He saved a life. He is also now to get back to his regular duties.

At Winterfell, Baelish (Aiden Gillen) counsels Sansa (Sophie Turner) to imagine every possibility, so that she can never be surprised. Even so, one possibility that Baelish clearly didn’t imagine is the arrival of Sansa’s long-lost younger brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his companion Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick). The reunion between Sansa and Bran is emotional. Sansa at first thinks she’s going to have to give up her position as head of House Stark (while Jon’s away) to Bran, but Bran says he’ll never be lord of anything. He is now the Three-Eyed Raven. Sansa doesn’t understand. Why the hell Bran can’t just say, “I’m a seer now” we don’t know. He does prove his ability to read the past by talking to Sansa about her horrendous wedding day. Bran doesn’t get to the really horrible parts before Sansa needs some alone time. Of all the things Bran could have said to get Sansa to believe him, why did he choose that? Is he a No-Hearted Raven, was afraid he couldn’t get her to heed him if she wasn’t traumatized by what he said, or was that the only bit of non-shared past he could see?

At Highgarden, the Lannister troops led by Jaime, with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) at his side, easily conquer the Tyrell forces. Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) waits for Jaime in her rooms. Olenna tells Jaime, not to save her own skin but because she really believes it, that Cersei is a monster. When Olenna sees that Jaime really does love Cersei, she adds that Cersei will probably be the end of him. Jaime seems not to mind. The conversation is cordial and respectful, and Jaime allows Olenna to end her life with dignity via painless poison. After Olenna gulps down the poison in her wine, she tells Jaime that she is the one who killed his and Cersei’s eldest son Joffrey, who was also a monster. Olenna wants Jaime to tell Cersei who really did it. Jaime leaves the room in shock.

At this point, finding out that Tyrion didn’t kill Joffrey after all won’t make a dent in Cersei, but learning it was Olenna definitely throws Jaime for a loop. Poor guy just gets bad and worse news at every turn, but if you’re sticking with Cersei, that seems like the natural result.

“The Queen’s Justice” has a lot of great one on one scenes – besides Tyrion and Jon, there are Sam’s sequences, Varys and Melisandre, Cersei and Ellaria, Cersei and the banker and that last one with Jaime and Olenna. It looks great, but the brief Caesterly Rock sequences aside, it’s odd to see a GAME OF THRONES episode that could easily be adapted for the stage.

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 7 – “Stormborn”
Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 7 – “Dragonstone” – SEASON PREMIERE

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Article: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 7 – “The Queen’s Justice”

 

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