[Cross-posted on Agony Booth.com]
After a bit of a slow start, Season 7 picks up the pace considerably in “Stormborn,” its second of seven episodes.
The ultimate battle for the Iron Throne finally seems to be taking place in earnest, as allies are gathered, respective battle plans are revealed, and the writers finally do away with those annoying f*&king Sandsnakes! (Well, at least two of them. I think one of them might still be alive. I’d tell you which one, but I didn’t bother learning any of their names.)
Also this week, a deadly battle at sea deals a crushing blow to Dany’s plan of attack; a surprising bit of news put Arya’s murderous fantasies on hold; and the stage is set for a long-awaited encounter between Dany and Jon, one which is sure to be the Meet Cute of the Century.
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
On Brewing Storms and Fairweather Friends
It’s raining in Dragonstone, which is making Dany super cranky. Varys notes that crappy weather like this preceded Dany’s birth, hence her nickname “Stormborn,” which I guess would make my nickname, “Cloudy with a Chance of C-Section.”
This assertion, not surprisingly, does little to brighten Dany’s mood, especially since, aside from the weather, Varys’ presence at her Monopoly table is part of the reason she’s so pissed off. Dany is understandably wary of The Spider, due to his part in planning her attempted assassination back in Season 1, and his seeming tendency to back new horses in the GOT race every season: first to Dany’s father, the Mad King, then to Robert Baratheon, then to the Lannisters, and now to Dany herself.
Varys takes Dany’s challenge to his loyalty somewhat in stride, assuring her that his true allegiance has always been to the people of Westeros, and that, right now, she is their greatest hope. Dany asks Varys to come to her first, if he ever feels like she is not acting in the best interest of the people. And Varys agrees to do so, or else Dany will personally feed him to her dragons.
Speaking of shifting allegiances, the Red Woman herself has also decided to pay the Breaker of Chains a visit.
Since her first choice for the “Prince that was Promised,” Stannis Baratheon, didn’t work out so well, Melissandre is now hedging her bets on it being either Dany or Jon. Apparently, the word “prince” in whatever language it is that Lord of the Light worshipers speak could refer to either a male or female. (Something tells me that dearly departed Stannis, the King of Grammar, would have some very strong opinions about this.)
Dany seems to be a bit more forgiving of the Red Woman’s past betrayals than she is of Varys’, probably because she never saw the former take off a necklace and subsequently turn into an old woman, or birth a murderous demon shadow baby out of her hoo-hah.
Though Dany is undoubtedly more interested in getting Jon’s allegiance than she is his alliance, after speaking with Melissandre, she does agree to let Tyrion send the King of the North an invitation to Dragonstone. “Come play with us,” the letter says, more or less. “We’ve got Dragons!”
In Which Cersei Tries Her Hand Playing Nice
Meanwhile in Kings Landing, it’s been an entire week, and Cersei apparently hasn’t yet lifted her lazy ass off that Iron Throne. (Maybe there’s a part of it that turns into a toilet?) She’s serving up some major fake news and alternative facts about her enemy Dany to gain the loyalty of Sam Tarly’s dad and his army, who, up to this point, have fought for the Tyrell family, which is now aligned with the Mother of Dragons against Cersei.
Cersei’s arguments don’t initially hold much water with Papa Tarly. But Jamie ultimately reigns him in, by appealing to the older man’s inherent sense of racism. (You may recall this being the same Papa Tarly, who basically disinherited his kid just for shacking up with a Wildling.) You see, Dany’s army includes Dothrakis and eunuchs, while Cersei’s is basically . . .well . . . a bunch of skinny white guys with most of their balls (but none of their dignity) in tact.
Eh, playing nice has never exactly been a Lannister strong suit anyway . . .
Later in the episode, Cersei finally gets up from her uncomfortable chair to check out a new dragon killing toy, which looks, more or less, like a really large slingshot with a massive sword attached to it . . .
Sam Tarley: The New Doctor McDreamy?
In other Tarly news, the non-racist one has just got a promotion at the Hogwarts School for the Old and Unattractive. He’s a doctor now, apparently!
Doctor Sam has read one medical book, and, therefore, decided that he can cure Jorah of his extra bad case of psoriasis, i.e Greyscale. Sam’s “super scientific” idea for a cure? Basically, he’s just going to cut that shit off!
The good news is that this seemingly awful idea is probably going to work, because why bother taking the time to show this on the show if it doesn’t? The bad news is that we have to be subjected to watching Sam chop into Jorah’s scaly body, like he’s a piece of juicy stake, for at least three minutes.
And this makes me wonder: was the whole reason for our being forced to watch the Sam Shovels Poop Music Montage last week, just to establish how exactly he wound up developing such a strong gag reflex?
Hot Pies and Good News for Arya
We segway directly from Sam cutting into Jorah’s flesh to Arya eating meat, because the writers of GOT clearly don’t want me to snack during this show EVER!
While en route to Kings Landing to kill Cersei, Arya pays a visit to her old pal Hot Pie for (1) a quick bite to eat, and (2) a quick recap of everything that has been happening on the show, while she’s been off washing dead guys feet, trying on masks, and being temporarily blind over at the Burgerless White Castle for two seasons.
Hot Pie informs Arya in short order that (1) the Boltons are dead; (2) Jon killed Ramsey in the Battle of the Bastards;
and (3) Jon is now King of the North.
With all the blows that Arya (and really, all the Starks) have been dealt since Episode 1, it’s nice to see her get some good news for a change. And though she hesitates for a brief moment, Arya ultimately decides to put her plans for killing the Queen on hold, and heads North, rather than South, so that she can reunite with Jon, and, though she doesn’t know it yet, Sansa too . . .
Speaking of reunions, while en route to Winterfell, Arya encounters a pack of wolves, one of whom has been REALLY eating her Wheaties . . .
Arya determines that this wolf is her very own direwolf, Nymeria, now leader of her own pack. Arya prevents her own wolf-mauling by revealing her identity to the large she-wolf, and inviting the animal to join her on her trip back to Winterfell. The she-wolf, however, ultimately abandons Arya, leaving her crestfallen.
Arya brightens shortly thereafter, however, upon determining that the wolf who swiped left on her wasn’t Nymeria after all!
So, it was just another abnormally large she-wolf, who just so happens to understand the human language, and appears to know Arya, personally?
Dany’s Plan of Attack
Dany’s social calendar is very full today, as we rejoin her attending yet another meeting, this time, with her new allies Olenna Tyrell, Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand of Boring Dorne. All three women insist that Dany attack the Iron Throne immediately. Dany, however, offers up a more conservative approach, one that she hopes will help minimize casualties, and ensure that there is actually a population left living in Westeros for her to rule over, once the war is over.
Dany’s plan of attack is two-pronged. It involves the Greyjoy fleet and Tyrell armies attacking the outer areas of the capital, cutting the Lannister army off from food and supplies, while the Dothraki and Unsullied armies invade the Lannister home base in Casterly Rock. The three women seem impressed with Dany’s reasoned leadership, undoubtedly viewing it as a welcome change from all the other crazies and dumb-dumbs, who have ruled Westeros, since this show started. Olenna, however, warns Dany not to rely too heavily on the advice of men like Varys and Tyrion, and not to be too “soft.” “Be a Dragon,” Olenna tells Dany sagely.
A Very Steamy Bon Voyage Party of Two
Because we haven’t had a sex scene on GOT in a while, we get one here between Missandei and Greyworm, when the former confronts the Unsullied Leader for not saying goodbye to her, before leaving for battle.
Greyworm admits to Missandei that he never feared anything in battle until he met Missandei. For the first time in his life, he truly has something to lose if he dies while at war. Though Greyworm doesn’t come out and tell Missandei he loves her, it’s fairly heavily implied. Missandei responds to this admission by doing this . . .
And I know what you are thinking! But there are plenty of ways this could still end up being a good time! After all, last I checked the Unsullied still had full use of their tongues . . .
Don’t Touch My Sister, Mister!
Having a decidedly less good time than Missandei and Greyworm is Jon Snow, who is getting some serious push back from his fellow Northerners about his decision to visit Dany, which he decides to do, both to gain the dragon glass his army needs to defeat the White Walkers, and to obtain her vast army’s help in doing so. Even Lyanna Mormont appears a wee bit pissed at Jon for his decision.
Leading the charge against Jon’s decision is Sansa herself, who has developed a real knack for publicly flouting the authority of her bro. Sansa feels that Dany might be setting a trap for him, and that he should send an emissary to Dragonstone in his place. Jon nixes the idea of sending an emissary, but appeases Sansa, by leaving her in charge of babysitting the Northerners while he’s away.
Emboldened by Jon’s seemingly playing right into his devious plan for Sansa to end up Queen of the North, and ultimately rule the Iron Throne (with him as First Lady, naturally) Littlefinger takes it upon himself to follow Jon down to the crypts, and gush lustily and highly inappropriately over both Catelyn Stark, i.e. Jon’s adopted mother, and Sansa herself. Jon responds to this as he should, by throwing Littlefinger up against a wall and strangling him just a little bit.
It’s OK Jon. Sansa’s a tough cookie, who has gotten pretty good at coping with creepers.
In fact, I’m pretty sure this series is going to end with Sansa feeding Littlefinger to the same dogs who ate Ramsey Bolton. It’s been a few episodes since they last fed, and I imagine they are mighty hungry by now.
Give Your Uncle a Kiss!
On the boat home from their Dragonstone meeting, Yara and Ellaria Sand waste no time going to pound town on one another. And they could care less that Yara’s brother Theon is in the room while they are doing it. “A foreign invasion is underway,” puns Ellaria seductively.
That cheesy porno line turns out to be prophetic, unfortunately, as Sassy Gay Best Friend to Cersei Euron Greyjoy and his fleet lay siege to Yara’s fleet of ships, setting them on fire, and murdering virtually all the men on them, in a fairly epic battle sequence.
Euron, for his part, Captain Jack Sparrow’s his way through the experience, taking the occasional break from his various stabbings and joustings to mug for the camera and taunt Yara and Theon. “Give your uncle a kiss,” he jokes to his niece at one point during the proceedings.
During the siege, two of three annoying Sandsnakes meet quick and uneventful deaths, and I still can’t, for the life of me, remember either of their names. (And now I never have to remember them! HOORAY!)
The other annoying Sandsnake goes to protect her mother, and the two of them end up being captured by Euron’s men, which, I think is supposed to be part of Euron’s “Gift” to Cersei. (Personally, I would have preferred a Visa Gift Card, but that’s just me.)
Another potential “Gift” to Cersei? Yara, who Euron ultimately disarms and holds at knifepoint, as he taunts Theon to come rescue her.
Theon responds to this by . . . blubbering and jumping into the sea, where he sits on piece of driftwood, and views the wreckage of his sister’s battle dreams from the water, Rose from Titanic style. A real Westerosi hero, that one!
As for Yara, some might think she died off screen at her uncle’s hand, but I, for one, highly doubt it. After all, on this show, if there isn’t a ten-second close up of you bleeding profusely from your spinal column or face, you are probably still alive and kicking.
And so, thanks to Sassy Euron and his flare for dramatic “gift giving,” Cersei has dealt her first fatal blow to Dany’s battle plan by eliminating a sizable portion of her ships.
But I wouldn’t count the Mother of Dragons out just yet. She still may well be the Prince-ss That Was Promised.
Until next time!