The episode starts off with one of the most anticipated reunions in the series: Jon Snow greeting Tyrion Lannister at the beach of Dragonstone. Jon is accompanied by a few Stark men and his most trusted advisor Ser Davos Seaworth while Tyrion has by his side a few Dothraki soldiers and Missandei. They exchange a warm handshake and reminisce about when they last met at the Wall.
The Starks are immediately disarmed and their boat is taken away by the Dothraki. Jon Snow does not hesitate at relinquishing their weapons as he realizes that he must do whatever it takes to put aside his differences to gain Daenerys’ trust. Still, Ser Davos cautions Jon Snow on keeping his guard.
Thereafter, on the wall to the castle itself, Jon Snow and Tyrion continue their conversation, this time discussing Sansa. Tyrion mentions Sansa’s intelligence while Jon remarks how “she’s starting to let on.” It’s obvious that Jon has become irritated by Sansa’s attitude but he’s focused on the larger picture.
As they continue along the wall, Jon Snow remarks how his banner men consider him a fool for traveling south. Tyrion acquiesces with the others and mentions how if he were Jon’s hand, he, too, would’ve advised against the move. In particular, he points out that Starks do not fare well in the south where Jon counters with how he’s not officially a Stark. At that point, Drogon swoops down, causing Ser Davos and Jon Snow to duck.
From above, Melisandre watches the approach of Jon Snow and Ser Davos. As she stands in silence, Varys interrupts her thoughts and wonders why she did not greet them in person as well, considering she is the one who initially suggested bringing “Fire and Ice” together. However, she does admit that her parting terms with Jon Snow and Ser Davos were not positive as she “made a few mistakes.” When asked where her next destination will be, Melisandre replies “Volantis.” Varys further insists that she never return but Melisandre believes that she still has work to be done in the land and will die, just as Varys will. That leaves Varys stunned and taken off guard.
Next, we have one of most highly anticipated meetings in the series between Jon Snow and Daenerys. The first exchange has Missandei introducing Daenerys by all of her titles (which goes on for quite a while). When it’s Jon Snow’s turn, he simply turns towards Ser Davos who provides a succinct, “This is Jon Snow.” Then it seems that Jon Snow wants a bit more for which Ser Davos adds, “He’s King of the North.”
That exchange is pretty funny but shows the difference between the two. Where Daenerys is someone who has taken things by force and decorates herself with verbose titles, Jon Snow is a simpler type and has earned his position through gaining the respect of the people around him.
In general, this scene is quite lengthy and basically is the first round of negotiations. Daenerys wants Jon Snow to bend the knee through the law of the land whereas Jon Snow is on a different mission entirely. She uses history to explain her position on how House Stark at one point swore allegiance to the Targaryens indefinitely.
Jon though points out that her father, the Mad King, had murdered his grandfather for which Daenerys asks for forgiveness. She wants him to not judge her by her father’s crimes. In addition, she explains that when both houses were unified, the lands had a long period of peace. Part of rejoining forces with Daenerys would give Jon Snow the title his father had as the true Warden of the North.
Her initial proposal is refused though as Jon wants a different type of alliance. Daenerys does not believe her forces to be insufficient for the purpose of ruling. In addition, Jon Snow notes that Daenerys has not directly assaulted King’s Landing as of yet to avoid slaughtering the innocents, making Daenerys better than Cersei. That vote of confidence seems to impress Daenerys a bit.
From there, Jon gets to petition Daenerys for his reasoning in approaching Daenerys: the army of the dead. He attempts to use Tyrion to demonstrate that Jon Snow is not a mad man. However, Daenerys remains unconvinced. She goes on to explain what her own significance is to the world and her struggles that ultimately made her whom she is and how she ended up believing in herself as a way of remaining strong.
Ser Davos then makes a case for Jon Snow after Daenerys’ speech. He elevates Jon Snow’s own accomplishments mostly those of self-sacrifice in becoming the King of the North. In his case, he was a bastard with no birthright, someone who united the North and gained support of the Wildlings. Jon though halts him just as Ser Davos was about to mention Jon Snow’s resurrection oddly enough. Yet Tyrion and Daenerys catch this detail although they lack context.
In the end, this round is a stalemate. Jon Snow lacks trust in Daenerys due to how her claim rest on her father’s situation and which Eddard had gone to war to prevent catastrophe. Daenerys recognizes that Jon Snow’s viewpoint is a fair one but that his continual defiance of her makes the North in an open rebellion.
The negotiations is interrupted by Varys. In turn, Daenerys provides rooms for the Stark men where Jon Snow questions, “Am I a prisoner?” As of now, he isn’t considered a hostage but it’s obviously something that he does not take kindly to. Varys reports on the failed mission by the Greyjoys and Sand Snakes.
The scene transitions to Theon being recovered. He still behaves like Reek, trembling and cowering in fear. The other Iron Born wonder what happened to Yara for which he replies that he tried to save her but failed. However, the Iron Born note that if he had succeeded, Theon would be dead by now.
Over in King’s Landing, we see Euron with his bounty from the previous episode: Yara Greyjoy, Tyene and Ellaria Sand. The scene is reminiscent of Cersei’s Walk of Shame in that the people of King’s Landing spit at Euron’s captives while vocally cheering him on. He relishes the crowd while parading his captives.
Euron presents the Sands to Cersei and ask that he be rewarded. Cersei replies that she will supposedly honor his request once the war is finished. While Euron celebrates, Jamie sits in silence seeming offended by Euron’s behavior. Euron does get a great line off about getting advice from Jamie regarding how to pleasure Cersei, most notably, “A finger in the bum.”
With the Sands in Cersei’s custody, Cersei has the pair chained in the dungeons. She taunts the pair about making choices, the idea of how she could end the two for retaliating after Oberyn’s death. She also points out that Oberyn could’ve won had he not made the mistake of taunting the Mountain. But really everything boils down to choices and accepting the consequences of those choices.
Cersei goes on to ramble about how she thinks of ways of gaining revenge. She looks at Tyene and finds her beauty, ungagging her briefly to provide a lengthy kiss. Both understand though what Cersei’s intentions are as it was the same act in which Ellaria had done to the innocent Myrcella. Cersei does reveal how long the poison will take to revoke Tyene’s life but she wants Ellaria to watch every moment to understand the pain Cersei had felt when Myrcella’s life was snuffed out.
It’s a truly powerful scene, I have to admit. Many people did not like the Sand Snakes nor the Dornish plot. But this scene shows the deep psychological mess of Cersei and how her existence is for sheer revenge at this point.
Afterwards, Cersei visits Jamie and the two have sex. In the morning, they hear a knock which turns out to be a servant. Jamie warns her not to answer but Cersei mentions how she has unlimited authority as the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. The servant (who ironically looks and dresses like Cersei) informs Cersei the representative from the Iron Bank has arrived.
At first, the talks seem pleasant enough where the representative offers condolences for Tommen’s passing and Cersei’s ascension as the first queen over the Seven Kingdoms. Of course, Cersei sees through the sweet talk and wants him to get to the point, which is collecting the crown’s considerable debt.
Back on Dragonstone, Tyrion and Jon Snow share a brooding moment. Tyrion gets in a “Walking Dead” joke but the gist of their conversation is that both are undergoing a great deal of stress on both sides of their worlds. Tyrion’s plans have come crashing down with the Greyjoy and Sand Snake destruction while Jon Snow sees himself a political prisoner, unable to act while the dead march towards the Wall.
Tyrion makes an incredible amount of sense in telling Jon Snow that after a single meeting his demands may seem ridiculous. Jon Snow’s problem is determining how to convince people who don’t know him that what he claims is true. Also, Tyrion tempers Jon into making him realize that Daenerys might not be a terrible person because of what she had accomplished as a revolutionary (which is what Cersei labeled her as). To help Jon though, Tyrion asks if there’s something he can do on his behalf.
The following scene has Tyrion and Daenerys in the map room. They discuss that Jon Snow desires Dragonglass/obsidian. It’s an odd request to Daenerys who does not understand just yet its potency against the White Walkers. Tyrion tries to convince Daenerys in providing Jon with the Dragonglass, something on Dragonstone that’s aplenty as gesture of good faith in building up trust. Before the conversation ends, Daenerys brings up the earlier point of “taking a knife for their people” with regards to Jon Snow. Neither have a better idea of what Ser Davos meant but you can see a glimmer of concern from Daenerys.
Once again, Jon Snow and Daenerys share a private scene. Jon Snow is still impressed by the sight of Dragons and Daenerys explains naming them after her two brothers that she lost. She tries to create a common ground in connecting her own loss with Jon Snow’s equal loss with Robb and Rickon. Eventually, Daenerys mentions that she’ll grant the Dragonglass to Jon Snwo and provide resources to mine it. Although grateful, Jon Snow wonders if Daenerys believes him but her only reply is “You’d better get to work, Jon Snow.”
Next, Sansa is shown as upper management while Jon Snow is away. Her main focus is on ensuring that for the coming winter that Winterfell is well stocked as it would serve as a bastion of protection if and when the other lords needed to hold up during war. Littlefinger continues to try getting in her head and tells her that she does well as a ruler.
As Sansa starts to ponder over Littlefinger’s words, she is interrupted by a messenger who begs her to the gate. There she sees Bran, whom she has not seen since the first episode. She’s incredibly emotional and recognizes him immediately. Meera is there as well.
Thereafter, Bran and Sansa speak together by the Weirwood tree. It’s clear that Bran has changed quite a bit as he appears in a trance-like state. He mentions how he has now become the Three-Eyed Raven, which confuses Sansa. The explanation is too complex for Bran to provide her and he denies being able to become the Lord of Winterfell as a result. Yet he shows an example of his ability to see everything as he apologizes for the harm that came to Sansa at the hands of Ramsay Bolton on her wedding night. As only a few people would understand that, Sansa understands that Bran is in a massively evolved state.
Back in the Citadel, Ser Jorah effectively gets a clean bill of health from the archmaester. He’s horribly scarred but the Greyscale has been completely removed and halted. Ser Jorah claims the rest and climate have helped mitigate the disease and the archmaester will see Sam in his study later. Sam bravely offers his hands in friendship as Jorah finally is able to use both hands again to touch another human being without being afraid of his disease.
Unfortunately, for Sam he’s given both a compliment and scolding by the archmaester for saving Ser Jorah’s life. For his reward, he’s not expelled and instead given the chore of copying a vast number of aging scrolls.
From there, Daenerys plots with her advisors on getting revenge against Euron. Because Euron has a thousand ships, it would be impossible for her to locate and take him down. Daenerys says that she could use her dragons and would be protected by them, whereas Tyrion argues that her importance and vulnerability would be too risky. It also demonstrates her overconfidence with the power of her dragons.
We get one of the first glimpses of Casterly Rock in the series as Tyrion narrates the upcoming battle. Effectively, Tyrion describes what’s going on with the Unsullied trying to take the castle. Although the Unsullied do find some resistance, the Lannister forces are much smaller than anticipated. Greyworm tries to question one soldier then finds their own fleet being assaulted and burned down.
One interesting piece though was showing Tyrion talking about the sewer passage that he snuck in for his whore companions. He uses “10 good men to impregnate this bitch” in storming the castle. Despite all his cleverness, Tyrion completely underestimates the Lannisters.
The real Lannister forces though march against High Garden and the Tyrells.
Effectively, this is a no-contest for the Lannisters as Lady Ollena Tyrell herself admits that warfare was never their strong point. Jamie personally meets with Ollena, bringing poison to ease her passing. He mentions how he has learned from his own failure, particularly against the battle where he was taken prisoner by Robb Stark. That lesson allows him to pull the trick in leading the Unsullied into a trap while storming their true bounty of High Garden with its riches.
Eventually, Lady Ollena imbibes the wine mixed with the poison and admits to her own necessary assassination of Joffrey. It’s not an easy pill for Jamie to swallow given that it was on his watch where his own son fell victim. But it does change the circumstances quite a bit, especially concerning Tyrion and Sansa’s position in the matter, since up until then everyone have believed were guilty.
This episode had some major moves being made with the Dorne plot effectively erased while the Tyrell name being crossed off the list. Simultaneously, we have begun to the possible fruit of an alliance between the North and Daenerys. Lastly, the latest reunion of the Starks with Bran returning home is another major move.
With two major houses crossed off, the number of players on the board has decreased drastically. The storylines will become more centered around Cersei, Daenerys and the North with the Greyjoys tossed in. Pretty much at this stage the war has been renewed with Cersei seemingly having the upper hand and Tyrion, as advisor, making a lot of key mistakes. But I think a good deal of that is to drive Jon Snow and Daenerys closer as allies (it’s somewhat hinted in the preview).
One of the more heart warming moments though was seeing Ser Jorah having hope in his eyes for the first time in a while and with Sam forming a bond. Even if he’s scarred, Ser Jorah seems reborn not unlike Jon Snow. No doubt he’ll be heading for Dragonstone again with a redoubled purpose.
Either way, we’re almost half way through the season. A lot has happened and steam really has picked up just with the last two episodes. So I’m certain the next one should show some interesting moves being made.