There is a phrase, a meme, if you will, that is spelled “hnnnnng.” It’s the noise that is often paired with an image of an old man clutching his chest as if he’s had a heart attack. Usually it implies that you’ve seen something attractive or cute, but in this case I would like to offer it as the noise that came out of most viewers’ mouths because this episode threw everyone in to straight up, fatal cardiac arrest.
In what is one of the most awaited moments of the season, nay! the series, Jon Snow finally arrives at Dragonstone to meet Daenerys. The first exchange is an uncomfortable display-of-power struggle, mainly from the Queen’s side. Jon Snow stands a strong, but humble man hoping to find an ally for the great war against the dead army, but Dany would much prefer to conquer Westeros before turning her attention to threats she isn’t fully sure exist. One of the many steps in said plan involves Jon Snow being revoked of his kingship and bending the knee, something that isn’t on his to-do list at the moment.
You have to give it to Jon Snow here. He stands in front of someone who not only has three dragons, but two armies filled with men who know no other purpose than fighting and killing, and yet he stands his ground. He recognizes not only what issues need to be prioritized, but also what kind of figure he has become for his people. Time and time again, this blog points out the moral fiber of the King in the North, but here it’s truly on point.
Before Daenerys can do anything drastic, Varys arrives with news of Yara Greyjoy’s defeat and capture and is whisked away to business. Jon is to stay on the island a prisoner, though Dragonstone to him is more like Martha Stewart-style house arrest than a damp cell in the Red Keep. Feeling both sorry for his former companion and fearful of the news he brings, Tyrion levels with Daenerys to at least offer him the chance to mine the dragon glass to which she agrees.
Elsewhere on the island, Melisandre prepares to leave again, which would be greatly appreciated. She does her best to keep out of Jon’s eyesight after what terms they left on, but before going divulges to Varys that though she ought to return to Volantis, they will both meet their makers in Westeros. It seems Melisandre may still have a part to play, but worse, that Varys, the true queen of this show, may perish before the end.
Back in the Red Keep, Euron Greyjoy proudly parades his gifts to Cersei through Flea Bottom. Cersei is most pleased with his offering, though more likely just happy that she didn’t have to make the effort, and accepts his proposal for once the war is over. In the meantime, she finds joy in locking Ellaria and her daughter Tyene in the dungeons forever, but not before poisoning Tyene the same way Myrcella was with her mother just outside arms reach to watch her suffer and die.
It’s hard to tell at this point whether each passing day makes Cersei more unhinged or more clever. And speaking of clever, after a visit from the Iron Bank, she’s promised to repay her debts within the fortnight. She’s very sure of this fact, which means something heinous and awful is undoubtedly coming.
At Winterfell, Sansa is doing fairly well as the regent, showing she has more knowledge of how to run a castle than anyone might have thought, even Littlefinger. And in what is supposed to be a beautiful moment that just turns out a little awkward, Bran and Meera arrive home, finally reunited with the Stark clan.
Sansa is surprised to find that her brother now prefers only the company of their Weirwood tree, as that is the best place to have visions it seems. She’s less than happy to also find that he was able to recount the horrible things that have happened to her since they parted, but unable to offer any help or genuine solace. This is not shocking because Bran has not done one good thing since ever.
We end with a shitstorm. That’s what it is. An actual shitstorm. Daenerys’ plan to invade and conquer Westeros finally begins with Greyworm and the Unsullied entering Casterly Rock through a sewer that Tyrion used to use for whores. They take the castle with general ease, but are left to find their fleet being burnt by Euron and themselves stranded.
At Highgarden, Jaime, Randall Tarly and their men (those who Greyworm expected to be at Highgarden) surround the castle. Jaime, inside, offers a mourning Olenna a painless death by poison. She accepts, downing it quickly and then admitting to murdering Joffrey in her last few moments with one of the series’ best lines, “I want Cersei to know it was me.”
RIP to the baddest bitch in the game.
With serious moves being made, next semester will be do or die for Daenerys. Whether or not she’ll follow her advisors or trust her gut remains to be seen.