(Photo Courtesy of HBO/Vulture)
Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.
Zac: Marci, Rusty, as you both suggested last week during our recap of the Season 7 premiere, the pace in Westeros was destined to pick up due to the fact that the end of show was in sight. That certainly proved true this week.
As Game of Thrones so often does, we received a heart-pounding climax in the closing minutes of “Stormborn.” While we all speculated as to what our newfound villain/pirate/makeover-beneficiary Euron Greyjoy meant when he promised Cersei Lannister a “gift” to prove his value, we received our answer very swiftly. Just as the Greyjoys and the Dornish contingent were about to carryout the initial stages of Tyrion’s battle plan, and mere seconds before Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand were seemingly set to engage in some steamy lady-love, Euron and his fleet of massive ships arrived. Needless to say, it did not go so well for those aligned with the Mother of Dragons. Following a chaotic combat scene that culminated in a panicked cannonball from Theon, it appears that Euron has a collection of gifts (being Yara, Ellaria, and what’s left of the Sand Snakes) in his possession as he makes his way back to King’s Landing.
As far as my personal reactions to our first big battle in Season 7, first, Euron certainly seems to be a maniac. Unlike Ramsay Bolton, who preferred to build his character through dismembering and harming defenseless men, women, and children, Euron was certainly at the forefront of the attack last night, and he has kept his word to date. Though I think Euron will meet his demise alongside Cersei before Season 7 is out, he’s proven a worthy adversary thus far. Second, poor poor poor Theon. Moments after his sister proclaimed him her “protector,” Theon’s PTSD kicked in and he abandoned his sister. While his decision may prove a good one (attacking his uncle likely would’ve resulted in his and Yara’s death) in the weeks to come, it’s hard to bet on Theon’s behalf from here on out. Third, I can’t say I’m too sad to see the Sand Snakes and Ellaria meet their likely demise. Though I can understand wanting to exact revenge after their father’s (Prince Oberyn) death, he did volunteer on Tyrion’s behalf. Plus, killing an innocent little girl (Myrcella Baratheon) with secret poison didn’t really feel like “heroic retaliation.” Lastly, did either of you assume (like I did) that Yara was dead? Because it appears that’s not the case…
In addition to witnessing what is technically our first battle in the War of the Queens, I think the planned meet-up between Jon Snow and Daenerys was certainly a noteworthy moment. Despite the objections from those serving him in the North, Jon stuck to his guns and insisted that his journey to Dragonstone was a necessity. Seeing as the White Walkers would surely make quick work of the current forces in the North, credit Jon for playing the long game unlike his short-sighted peers. I also enjoyed his threatening of Littlefinger and his decision to have Ser Davos (who I think is one of the more underrated characters on the show) accompany him South. Although Sansa remains (justifiably) concerned about her half-brother, Jon seems to have a far better grasp of what is of paramount importance in Westeros, and that’s the looming war against the White Walkers.
Those that await Jon in Dragonstone certainly had an interesting week as well. Following her dismissal from the Wall, Melisandre popped up to encourage Daenerys to seek an alliance with the man she resurrected. Although she deserved the shade that Varys lobbed her way in regards to her belief in Stannis, the Red Witch seems to be at the center of some of the show’s most important happenings recently. Her arrival also signaled the discussion of one of the more widely-speculated GOT theories, which is the identification of Azor Ahai, or the “Prince Who Was Promised.” Having never read the books, my understanding of Azor Ahai is limited. However, after a brief exploration, it seems that Azor Ahai will be a reborn hero that is destined to save the world from darkness, which would be the White Walkers I presume. Based on the brief interaction between Melisandre and Daenerys’ council, a corrected misinterpretation has revealed that the Prince Who Was Promised has no specified gender. Again, while I may not know the intricacies of this theory, it seems to be a prominent plot line in the books, and it’ll certainly be something to keep in mind moving forward.
Lastly, before I turn things over to you both, I loved this week for Arya. Between her reunion with Hot Pie (I know you both love Hot Pie!), her discovery that her half-brother is alive and has reclaimed her familial land, and a reunion with her long-lost direwolf Nymeria, I’m happy that Arya is back to being a feature player in Game of Thrones. While I was initially sad that Nymeria walked away from Arya, I quickly realized how fitting that moment was. As Arya uttered “that’s not you,” she seemed to recognize that her direwolf was just like her. Nymeria, like Arya, isn’t wired to take orders. With that said, I’m certain that we’ll see Nymeria again, and I’m hopeful that it’ll be a triumphant moment where she (and her pack of fellow wolves) come to the aid of her owner.
Marci, what did you make of this week’s episode? Were you surprised to see Euron so quickly make good on his declaration in the premiere? And what else stood out for you?
It certainly was an eventful week for the eunuchs in Westeros…
Marci: Zac, it sure was an eventful week for the eunuchs – you got that right! Between Varys’ sassy but truthful speech to Dany, and Grey Worm’s sexy time with Missandei, it’s safe to say that this week in Westeros, eunuchs were having the best week ever! I will say that my inner perv was really hoping for some full frontal male nudity so we could fully see what Grey Worm was workin’ with, but it’s probably better left to our imagination. I hope they had an amazing night of scissoring, mouth play and all that jazz. Am I getting too graphic here? Sorry. But bringing it back to the story, my (sad, pessimistic) guess is that Grey Worm is going to meet his demise sometime soon now that he’s got something to “be afraid of.’ However, I’m not sure if it will be during their siege of Casterly Rock—because…who is at Casterly Rock right now anyways? Since Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion are all off chasing their own truth, I’m guessing that the Unsullied will have no problem taking this castle from a hodgepodge of people who aren’t central to our story, and thus fairly easy to kill off, plot wise.
But will the taking of Casterly Rock really even matter, now that Euron and his army has overtaken the troops meant to sail for King’s Landing? Zac, I agree with you that Euron is a total and complete maniac, and the moment where he slammed down onto the ship to start battle, crushing a dude who was standing on deck was an insane, over the top moment that actually made me LOL.
Although the battle proved to be a giant setback for Dany’s plan, I’m glad that Euron’s gift to Cersei is going to be Yara, Ellaria and the Sand Snake survivors instead of one of our beloved dragons. BUT, it seems the dragons aren’t quite safe yet – Cersei’s main R&D guy, who basically is like the Westeros equivalent of the guys from “Mythbusters,” unveiled a giant slingshot/bow/catapult contraption that he believes will be able to kill the dragons. While it did certainly sink into that dead dragon skull in his demonstration, it seems unlikely to me that such a contraption would actually work against a real-life dragon, unless it was already wounded enough to have it’s head literally sitting on the ground in front of the weapon. But, I guess we’ll see how they try to use it. LONG LIVE THE DRAGONS!
As the sole lady contributor of this recap, I’d also like to point out a scene that I was loving from a feminist perspective. Although it was not riveting and packed with action, the scene where we had a group of female leaders around a table planning an attack was pretty powerful for me. Watching Dany, Yara, Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand strategize and plot their attack on Cersei was a fun scene for me. I especially liked Dany and Olenna’s one-on-one time at the end, where Olenna gives Dany some sage advice from an old broad. This sequence made me happy, although some wind was taken out of my sails when half of their plan was immediately squashed by Euron, and two of the women around the table were taken hostage. Let’s hope Yara & Ellaria have some privacy in their hostage quarters so they can finish what they started before they came under attack!
And before I turn it over to Rusty, I just want to give a shout out to my man Samwell, who has literally taken matters (and a scalpel) into his own hands to cure Jorah Mormont. I was quite impressed with Samwell’s bravery to attempt such a dangerous procedure, and to carry it out secretly behind his Maester’s back. But in all honestly, at this point, I understand why Samwell has no fucks to give, really. Dude’s been cleaning up so much poop, he’s doing things on his terms now, no matter what! But the scene where he was administering the gruesome treatment to Jorah was hard to watch – I can’t believe the dude didn’t scream! What a manly man, that Jorah! Do you guys think the treatment will be successful? I certainly hope so.
I also want to give a shout out to the editors of this episode, for the supremely disgusting match cut between Samwell cutting into Jorah’s diseased flesh, and Arya cutting into…A HOT PIE! Speaking of, Hot Pie is back, baby!! I was so happy to see his chubby, friendly face and watch Arya learn that her family has retaken Winterfell and that Jon is alive.
Rusty, you must have been so happy to see yo’boy HP (Hot Pie)! What did you make of last night’s episode?
Rusty: Hot diggity, my man HP is back! I think the years have been kind to Hot Pie. He’s grown more confident, has perfected his recipes (dude is definitely on to something with the brown butter), and most of all, he appreciates the female form Arya was serving up over a pint. In all seriousness, hats off to Maisie Williams, who really did some heavy lifting this episode to convey a lot of emotions over little dialogue. I think she gave her best performance in years, after being effectively benched to keep acting ‘being a Faceless man is hard!’ over and over again for two seasons. Williams was able to illustrate how far Arya has come since she last saw Hot Pie, and made me (finally) excited to follow her North, to a Stark reunion. My big question is, who will be there when she finally reaches Winterfell? Sansa is keeping an eye over things, but will Bran make it back? Will Jon have returned from Dragonstone by then?
I’m a little disheartened that Sansa will now be left to her own devices. This only means that there’s a reason to keep Littlefinger around on the show. He is a zero value-add for me. I wish Jon had shivved him in the catacombs this episode rather than storm off in a huff. Although, it was one more time to showcase that Harrington Pout©. Don’t take my word for its power, just listen to the actor who plays Sam wax poetic on the power of that fantasy Blue Steel.
I also love the pace, but it’s almost a little jarring how quickly things are moving now. Tyrion shoots off a letter to post by raven, and literally the next SCENE is Jon opening said letter. Westeros is getting a big upgrade, from 14.4 kpbs to broadband Fios. The episode on a whole made me breathless. Even the pacing of the first 20 minutes, which was literal table setting of where and how these large families are approaching battle was super engaging. Marci, I agree with you that the girl power strategy session was fun to watch. I also enjoyed Jamie’s follow-up hallway conversation with Sam’s father, implicitly promising him Casterly Rock for his allegiance. To answer your earlier question about the taking of Casterly Rock – I feel that if Dany is successful, it would be a serious blow to the Lannisters. That is their family’s ancestral home, and if anything their egos would be damaged by the loss. I also think Jamie’s main bro Bronn may be in charge of Casterly Rock at the moment, which puts him in danger!
Another connection I forgot about when watching Sunday’s episode is that Jorah is a Mormont, which makes him related to our ride-or-die girl Lyanna Mormont! If Jorah survives, will the two ever reunite? I don’t care now if Jorah ever gets back together with Dany. I want him to squire young Lyanna into the future KWEEN OF THE NORTH. It’s unfortunate that HBO has already announced that any planned spinoffs wouldn’t be within the current GoT timeframe, because I would have totally wanted Lyanna Knows Best. Can you picture it? A 30-minute, single-cam comedy, following a teenage Lyanna in the ups and downs of life. Maybe she’s able to tame Nymeria, or go to Dorne on spring break, who knows!!! The possibilities are endless.
Zac, would you watch? I’d be down to recap if it’s green-lit, so let’s try to make this happen.
Zac: Marci, while it was it heartwarming to see Missandei and Grey Worm consummate their long-simmering affection for one another, I can’t say I’m too bummed that we didn’t see whatever’s left of the Unsullied Commander’s nether regions. Maybe next week! Or not! I did really like Varys’ speech in the early moments of the episode. Varys has long been one of the more eloquent and captivating speakers on this show, and anytime he’s allowed to trade barbs and quips with some of the more prominent figures in Westeros (Tyrion immediately comes to mind), it’s always enjoyable. While the agreement that Varys and the M.O.D. reached was a sensible one, I’m hopeful that Daenerys doesn’t become a cruel ruler to her people, and that Varys isn’t burned alive by one of the dragons.
As far as Casterly Rock, I too think the Unsullied are destined for a fairly easy victory on that front. However, Rusty, is Bronn really there? If he is, that’s likely going to spell the end of one of the more likable characters on the show. If Daenerys’ capture of the Lannisters ancestral home also signals the death of Bronn, that will be a bittersweet moment.
Cersei’s continued assistance from Qyburn is troublesome for the opposition, and specifically for the dragons. The guy has helped Cersei scheme her way to the throne (primarily through the reconstruction of The Mountain and the massive wildfire explosion), and his gigantic dragon-designed crossbow makes me sad. While my prediction that Euron would slay one of the dragons as his gift to the current Queen seems unlikely now, I still believe that one of Daenerys’ children is going down this season. Though it’s entirely possible that Qyburn and Cersei’s stroll around dragon skeletons could be a bit of misdirection, I think it’s a firmly planted piece of storyline foreshadowing. I hope I’m wrong.
Marci, your feminist enthusiasm is understandable! Oddly enough, it’s not something I really noticed until you brought it up. The amount of powerful women on this show (Cersei, Daenerys, Arya, Yara, Ellaria, Olenna, Sansa) likely outnumbers the men, and that doesn’t even include badass ladies that occupy supporting roles (Brienne, Missandei, Melisandre, Little Lyanna). Hell, even the direwolf that returned this week (WHICH YOU GUYS SEEM TO NEVER WANT TO TALK ABOUT WITH ME) was a lady wolf!
Rusty, I think your spinoff idea is one that any network would be stupid not to consider. I think it’s possible that television executives might shy away from Jorah commanding significant time at Lyanna’s side (considering his likely unkempt post-surgery appearance), but a coming-of-age story that is heavily dependent on Lyanna sassily insulting those around her… that sounds like a show that is plenty worthy of a primetime slot.
Lastly, I think the pace of this season has helped make Sam more interesting than he has been the six previous seasons combined. In consecutive weeks, he’s pushed Jon toward a meeting with Daenerys, and he’s helped Jorah when no one else would. There is little doubt in my mind that Jorah is going to be cured, and there is even littler doubt in my mind that Jorah is going to do something awesomely heroic on Daenerys’ behalf before the end of the season. And I can’t wait to see that.
Based on the brief trailer for next week…
It seems that we’re in for another battle (possibly at Casterly Rock), a victory parade at King’s Landing, and our first meeting between Daenerys and Jon.
With that in mind Marci, what do you hope to see in episode three?
And before we turn the page on this episode, are there any other new hopes and predictions that you’d like to share for the final 12 episodes?
Marci: I agree that so far Sam is playing a larger role than usual – go get ‘em, Sammy boy! I’m curious to see if this bigger role keeps up – and if he somehow becomes a hero and makes his daddy proud (spoiler alert: probz not).
Zac, I WOULD LOVE to talk about direwolves with you. I was very excited to see Nymeria this week, especially because when Arya first started breathing out cold breath and looking around all nervous, I thought for a split second that she was gonna get killed by some White Walkers and that would have been really heartbreaking – to see one of our most beloved characters killed off out of the blue, right when she’s so close to reuniting with her family? What show would do that?? …Probably this one! But in all honesty, I was kind of sad that Nymeria ran off, but I do hope that we get to see her again, and I’m guessing it might be in a moment when Arya needs her most.
And as long as we’re talking about animals, I thought this little video about how Game of Thrones saved a farm in Northern Ireland was nicely done. Worth a watch for all the animal lovers out there!
I don’t really have much more to say about this episode, it was a decent showing from our GoT friends, but to me it seemed to spend the first half showing a lot of strategizing and plotting. I’m hoping that next week brings us a little more action. I’m definitely looking forward to Jon Snow’s meeting with Dany, I’m glad he “swiped right” on Tyrion’s invitation and I hope it goes well for them.
One thing’s for certain though, after reading about the rise of Game of Thrones gambling opportunities, I do want to place a wager on who is going to kill Cersei (my money’s on Jaime).
Rusty, what would YOU bet will happen next week? Any other predictions for the coming episodes?
Rusty: If we are putting a little money on the table, I want to GO BIG OR GO HOME. My big prediction for next week: Cersei accepts Euron’s marriage proposal, over a glass of wine, while watching Ellaria get her head bashed in by Zombie Mountain. Yara will live to see another episode, but it’s not going to be fun for her. Where does this leave Theon? The episode ended with him chilling in the middle of an ocean. I’m interested in seeing how the writers tie up this loose end.
I’ve also been thinking about the next step for Qyburn and his ‘Katniss Everdeen on steroids’ contraption. Who will be operating the device when the time comes? You know it can’t just be Medieval Extra #17. Someone appropriately evil needs to be throwing the switch that will best one of Dany’s dragons. Could it be Euron? Zac, your prediction may end up working out in the long run.
My final prediction for next week… we all know that Jon Snow is rolling in to Dragonstone. But, he’s bringing Ser Davos with him. The Onion Knight hasn’t forgotten about finding the doll he made for Shireen in the pile of ashes at the end of last season. I bet that he publicly confronts Melisandre about Shireen’s killing, and Melisandre meets a swift end. But not without turning into a weird old witch lady again!! Remember how WILD that was? Seriously though, the show has to keep offing secondary characters in order to wrap things up. Unless the Red Witch has another shadow baby in utero, she is toast.
Until next week!