(Photo Courtesy of HBO/The Verge)
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.
Marci: Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones moved the story forward significantly, but did so in a way that still gave us a lot of very subtle, nuanced and emotionally packed one-on-one scenes. The way that this show can deliver both massive, action packed battles as well as less flashy but deep dramatic conversations is one of the most interesting and effective things about it.
One such conversation in last night’s episode was the much-anticipated meeting of Daenerys and Jon Snow, which took place in her throne room and didn’t seem to go very smoothly. The differences between the two were clear from the start. Even in their introductions the Mother of Dragons gives a formal list of accomplishments and titles, while Ser Davos replies with a simple, “This is Jon Snow.” Dany is also not very interested in helping Jon’s cause, and he later realizes that perhaps his story of an epic, night of the living dead iceman army could come across as unbelievable. But I’m thinking that Dany doesn’t care about his cause because she’s been so consumed with her own ascent to the Iron Throne, and that one handsome, brooding man from the North with great hair and a scary story won’t be enough to throw her off track (yet, at least). And so, after long introductions, some small talk, and a refusal to bend his knee to the Mother of Dragons, Jon Snow is essentially taken as a prisoner, although he’s technically not proclaimed as one (yet, at least). He does bargain his way to get access to that dragonglass though, which is a win in his book I’m sure.
Meanwhile, while Dany has taken Jon Snow hostage at Dragonstone, all of her plans (and troops) continue to be thwarted by the Lannisters. After the Unsullied easily take Casterly Rock, Grey Worm realizes that there’s way fewer Lannister troops to kill there than anticipated—there’s a good reason for that. All the missing troops are marching on Highgarden instead, where they easily take the castle and a very memorable scene ensues with Jaime and Olenna Tyrell. While I was sad to see my favorite old broad in Westeros meet her maker, I took solace in the fact that she stayed truly badass until the end, using the moments between drinking her poison and death to reveal to Jaime that she was the one who killed Joffrey. BOOYAH, TAKE THAT JAIME! More importantly though, since she was as good as dead anyways when Jaime entered the room, she could hit him with some hard truths, including the fact that Cersei is an absolute monster who was so evil in so many surprising ways, that Olenna couldn’t even fathom some of the atrocities she’s committed. This was an incredibly important scene for those of us who have bet on Jaime to eventually kill his sister-lover, as it affirms what as a viewer we already think he’s been internally struggling with. By having an outside party have the figurative balls reiterate this to him, it will probably set off some more serious thinking on his end on how he feels about Cersei and the ways she goes about seizing and maintaining power.
Speaking of Cersei’s devious ways, this week she was able to carry out another bout of revenge after Euron arrived in King’s Landing with his gifts in tow. After agreeing to marry Euron “after the war’s been won,” Cersei takes a moment to openly sleep with her brother, and then carries out her creative execution of Ellaria Sand’s daughter, in the same way that Ellaria killed Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella: with a poisoned lipstick kiss. But in this case, Ellaria will have to be in the same cell with her daughter as she dies, and then as she slowly rots away. Cersei sure knows how to raise the stakes on murder, huh?!
What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Was the meeting of Dany and Jon satisfying to y’all? Where do you think Jorah’s headed now that he’s all healed up? And how about that partial Stark family reunion?
Zac: Much like the two episodes prior to this one, I really enjoyed this week’s episode.
As you spoke to Marci, the show continues to rapidly push the pace, but it also manages to afford time to incredible exchanges (Jon and Dany, Jon and Tyrion, Jaime and Olenna) between some of the show’s more talented actors. That balance has to be a tricky one to pull for Benioff and Weiss, especially considering both the number of characters involved in Westeros and the time left (now 10 episodes) to finish their story, but the longtime showrunners made it look easy in episode three.
Although the previews for Season 7 (and specifically for this week’s episode) informed us that we’d be seeing Jon and Daenerys meet for the first time, the lack of surprise didn’t prevent me from loving the fact that they were in the same room. This show has been building to this moment for quite some time, and while it might not have been satisfying from a plot development standpoint, I loved watching the King of the North bicker with the Mother of Dragons. Realistically, the exchange between the two heroes was entirely understandable. From Jon’s point of view, he’s witnessed firsthand the evil that looms in the North, and he’s entirely uninterested in the battle for the Iron Throne. From Daenerys’ point of view, Jon’s belief in the threat of mythical beings, and his appeal for her support in combating those mythical beings, is an absurd request. Especially considering that she’s spent the last six seasons working toward a moment (and a throne) that is now within her grasp. However, despite their differences, I think the writers certainly laid the foundation for an alliance between Jon and Dany. While Tyrion’s abilities as a war strategist leave a bit to be desired thus far, his suggestion that Dany allow Jon access to the dragonglass effectively laid the foundation for a partnership that will likely be crucial to the survival of humanity within Westeros.
In addition to laying the foundation for a partnership between humility (and depression) and the many-titled Queen, this week’s episode also made some not-so-subtle hints at Jon’s parentage. Though there were several moments that seemed to encourage the validity of one of the more prominent GoT theories, the frequent discussion of their respective family trees, and more importantly, Jon’s brief encounter with one of the dragons seemed to all but signal that Jon is indeed composed of both fire and ice.
With that in mind, when and how do you guys think they’ll depict the big reveal? After sharing with Sansa that he needed to have a conversation with Jon, will the newly appointed Three-Eyed Raven break the news to his half-brother? And will we see Jon piloting a dragon before the end of this season?
Marci, while I was also saddened to see the Queen of Thorns succumb to the Lannister forces, she went out like a boss. While other mainstays on this show have changed (for better and for worse) over the years, Olenna remained a badass even after the willing acknowledgment of her own death via poisoned wine. While I felt bad that Jaime had to bare the brunt of her final venomous verbal tear-down, her insulting of Joffrey (also Jaime’s son), followed by her revealing that she was responsible for his death, was something to behold. Despite the fact that she, like the rest of her family, is removed from the picture in Westeros, it’ll be interesting to see if Olenna’s words negatively affect the rekindled romance between the Lannister siblings. Taking into account Jaime’s steady transformation into being one of the more likable characters on the show, and Cersei’s utter destruction of anything and everything in her path, the theory that Jaime will kill his own sister seems to be strengthening with each passing episode. After all, seeing Jaime kill Cersei (to enable a Daenerys ascent to the Iron Throne) would so beautifully mirror his assassination of the Mad King (which removed the Targaryens from power and strengthened the Lannister grip on King’s Landing). That moment would be truly poetic. Also, with it being revealed that Olenna was behind Joffrey’s murder and not Tyrion, where does that leave the relationship between the Lannister siblings?
As far as some of the other happenings on the show…
- The Stark reunion at Winterfell was a really nice moment that quickly became really awkward. Bran seemed really spacey, and his recollection of Sansa’s wedding night (which also saw her raped by Ramsay) was pretty uncomfortable. Bran’s interpersonal skills clearly have suffered a bit, and I can’t help but feel bad for Meera. Not only was she was tasked with lugging Bran around, but she also had to talk to him…
- I’m glad that Jorah did indeed survive. However, I’m pretty certain that he’s going to die this season while bravely fighting on Daenerys’ behalf. With that said, I’m excited to see him return to his Queen’s side very soon.
- Lastly, what is Littlefinger up to? His “everything is everything” speech to Sansa certainly seems to indicate that he’ll be up to something in the weeks to come. I know you both predicted that Lord Baelish was going to die this season (and I agree), but will he manage to create a little chaos before he does?
- Where is Arya???
I’ve talked enough!
Rusty, what did you make of this week’s episode? And how is vacation?
Rusty: Guys, I am coming to you live from the Santa Monica beach in Los Angeles, and am catching some serious Dorne-ish vibes under the sun. Seems like a suitable place to be after watching Ellaria Sand’s untimely end last night. What an episode! I agree with both of your assessments – each scene was epic and intimate, all at the same time. It was SO SATISFYING to see Jon and Dany interact in Dragonstone. I’m also happy to see Tyrion back in the thick of things, adeptly playing into Jon and Danny’s foibles to diplomatically join them together.
I was LIVING for Varys and Melisandre’s epic chat on a cliff. Melisandre basically peaced out for the season, yeah? “brb, going to Volantis until the last few episodes, where I’ll conveniently dip back in to Westeros and…. die?” Also, what do we make of Melisandre’s ominous prediction that Varys will also go out with a bang? He didn’t seem too happy about it! Personally, I’m skeptical of this prophecy; Varys always seems to stay one step ahead of everything. While gorgeously shot, this seemed like another example of the pace sacrificing some meaty character opportunities. We never got a showdown between Melisandre and Ser Davos. Maybe next season.
While some characters are moving across Westeros in the blink of an eye, Sam is still firmly planted in the Citadel. It’s cool to see Sam gain some street cred by successfully curing Jorah, but will Sam ever leave? I like Sam when he’s providing a little comic relief against Jon. His scenes with Jim Broadbent are fine, but I don’t want Sam’s arc to turn into a Boy Meets World Cory/Mr. Feeney type of relationship. Maybe some of the scrolls Sam was tasked to transcribe will contain all the secrets to defeating the White Walkers. Then he can head back North!
Winterfell is pretty crowded with characters now. Bran’s return was emotional, but I felt for Sansa when she tried to have a heart-to-heart with her bro. We’ve all been Sansa – stuck at some house party with the one guy who got a little too stoned. Now she’s stuck in a conversation about how Bran is a Three-Eyed Raven. Can you imagine??
Alright guys, I’m going to hit the Venice boardwalk. Hopefully I’ll find some psychedelics that will get me to Bran’s level.
Marci: Rusty, good luck finding drugs that will get your to Bran’s level – that will be a real intense high fo’sho! I also enjoyed the look on Varys’ face when Melisandre mentioned that he would die in Westeros, but then I was like, “Wait, Varys, where else would you die? You’re gonna die at some point, bruh!”
Zac, as far as Littlefinger and his role in all this, I hate to say it, but I don’t really care (sorry not sorry, Littlefinger!). Sometimes when the dude talks I just shut my brain off because I’m sick of him and his weird accent and creepy ways. I know he’s probably plotting something, but I’m down to just wait and see what it is when it happens.
I’m glad Tyrion is shepherding the relationship between Dany and Jon so they’re getting along a bit more—one thing I’m a bit worried about though is if his standing with the Mother of Dragons will be in trouble since basically all the plans he’s made have been foiled…by his immediate family. I really want to see Tyrion have a victorious turn against his meanie sister, so I’m hoping that he can help Dany lead her troops into victory somehow.
But if my calculations are correct, most of the troops that were fighting for Dany’s side were either killed at sea by Euron’s surprise attack or precariously stuck at Casterly Rock, correct? How will they proceed without an army? Will she call on Jon Snow’s Northern troops, or just hop on one of those dragons and go burn the shit outta Westeros? The latter would be fun to watch, but would cause a lot of civilian deaths, which probably wouldn’t be a good way for the Mother of Dragons to amp up support from her people.
The preview for next week’s episode seems to hint at Dany’s impatience with Tyrion’s “clever plans,” so I’m sure we’ll get the answer soon enough.
Looks like Theon’s weird journey will continue next week as well—but no Arya, again (in the preview, at least). Hopefully she’ll pop up at some point.
Zac, what are you hoping to see next week? Do you think Dany will figure out a way to get back on track with her plan for world domination? Or will Cersei and Jaime continue their victorious ways?
Zac: Rusty, I’ve never actually been to LA, but now that you’ve compared it to Dorne, I really have to make my out there. I’ll be careful to not lock lips with any hot LA/Dornish ladies though, as that really doesn’t seem to be ending well for anybody in Westeros. Also, I’ll fully admit that I was prepared to cover my eyes during Cersei’s interaction with Ellaria and whichever Sand Snake is now doomed to die. Though the current Queen’s decision was arguably far crueler, I’m glad that we didn’t have to watch the FrankenMountain pulverize another Martell skull.
Marci, I have to think that Daenerys takes steps toward regrouping this week. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part, but I still can’t picture Cersei maintaining her grip on the Iron Throne through the end of the season. Although she has outwitted her brother Tyrion through three episodes, and she’ll surely benefit from the backing of Mycroft Holmes the Iron Bank, I just can’t envision Daenerys coming up short in her quest to rule the Seven Kingdoms. While she’s lost a few powerful lady-friends recently (Ellaria, Olenna, Yara), the Mother of Dragons still has her three children, the Dothraki forces, and remains in close proximity to Jon Snow. I still like her chances.
Marci and Rusty, my hopes for this week are simple…
- Bring Arya back into the fold. Have her reunite with Sansa and Bran, and then have her kill Littlefinger.
- Have Dany and Jon continue to work on their friendship. Maybe some ICEbreakers (do you see what I did there?) could help forge some commonalities between them.
- Give us a dragon-fueled victory over the Lannisters, but have all three of the dragons survive!
- Would a glimpse of the White Walkers be too much to ask?
Until next week!