Much like last week’s premiere, the second episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season mostly involved a lot of plotting and setup work for later episodes, but it did deliver a pretty significant naval battle that struck a blow against Daenerys Targaryen’s plans for conquering Westeros. Additionally, we saw quite a few storylines begin to converge, an unconventional sex scene, and a reunion we’ve been waiting for since the first season. Here are my 10 biggest questions after watching “Stormborn.”
10. Can Varys Be Trusted?
One of the best scenes in this week’s episode was the speech Varys gave to Daenerys about why he supports her claim for the Iron Throne/why she should spare his life despite him helping plot an assassination plot against her while serving King Robert. We got a fascinating dive into why people might be distrustful of another Targaryen ruling the Seven Kingdoms (they don’t call Dany’s father the “Mad King” for nothing) and how Varys is at heart a champion of the people and is only loyal to rulers he believes are loyal to the people.
While Tyrion vouches for Varys and helps convince Dany not to feed the eunuch to her dragons, the whole scene does draw attention to the fact that Varys would be a hard man for any potential king or queen to trust. Though Varys swears that he will be straight with Daenerys if he ever takes issue with the way she is ruling, it’s hard not to get the sense that the Master of Whispers may be up to something.
9. Will Sam’s Procedure Work?
Samwell Tarly wins the award for most disgusting scene for the second week in a row, as the maester-in-training takes it upon himself to cure Ser Jorah Mormont’s greyscale affliction. I’m somewhat conflicted with how this whole sequence played out because while I’m happy to see Sam taking charge and rebelling against the Citadel’s wishes at pretty much every turn, I kind of wish the “cure” for greyscale had been something a bit more creative than just cutting away pieces of infected skin and applying ointment.
Assuming Sam’s procedure works, what then becomes of Jorah? He’s always been a likable character but considering he hasn’t really done anything significant in the last few seasons, does anyone really care if he lives or dies at this point. I can only assume that he has a major role to play in the war ahead (Oldtown is pretty close to Casterly Rock, so perhaps Jorah will help take the Lannister stronghold for his Khaleesi?). Otherwise, I don’t know why the show would be devoting this much time to him. Get well soon, Jorah! We need you to do something cool for a change.
8. What Happens To Theon Now?
Theon Greyjoy’s sad, pathetic life had actually taken a turn for the better for a while there, as he got to display a bit of heroism in helping Sansa escape Ramsay’s clutches and found a place by his sister Yara’s side as her trusted adviser and “protector.” Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for that to all come crashing down, as Theon took the coward’s way out rather than risk his life to save his sister from their murderous pirate uncle, Euron. To be honest, I’m not sure if this scene really worked for me, as I think the reemergence of Reek would have landed much better if it hadn’t occurred right after we just witnessed him successfully kill a whole bunch of Euron’s soldier’s in combat, but I digress.
What’s the next chapter in the miserable story of Theon Greyjoy’s life have in store? Assuming that the Greyjoy/Sand armada was still relatively close to Dragonstone when Euron’s attack occurred, my best guess is that Theon ends up back at Dragonstone so that he can let everyone know what happened (while leaving out the part about how he left his sister for dead). I really do hope Theon gets another shot at redemption but it’s hard to say if he’ll even get his chance, depending on whether Euron decides to execute Yara or not.
7. What Path Will Arya Take?
Thanks to an informative meeting with her old friend Hot Pie — who honestly looks like he has the best gig going in Westeros — Arya learns that her family is still alive in Winterfell and decides to head north instead of south to kill Queen Cersei. She then encounters her long lost direwolf Nymeria in a touching reunion that ends with her wolf deciding to stick with her pack rather than head “home” with Arya, prompting Arya to say “That’s not you.” Arya’s response is loaded with potential meanings, but according to showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, it’s a callback to Season 1 when Ned tells Arya that she will be a lady one day and she responds, “That’s not me.”
Nymeria is no longer a domesticated wolf and Arya is similar in that regard, to the point where this encounter could potentially signal another shift in Arya’s path. As much as she wants to see her family again, Arya’s time as a Stark is practically a lifetime ago at this point and it arguably makes more sense for her to see her ultimate goal of revenge against Cersei and anyone else who wronged her and her family through to its conclusion.
That being said, I’m still pulling for a full Stark reunion at some point!
6. Is Grey Worm Being Set Up to Die?
Grey Worm and Missandei, aka Game of Thrones’ most uninteresting couple, finally acted on their feelings for each other with a sensual scene that saw the pair strip down and start making love, eunuch-style. As as it is to see these two former slaves find happiness and pleasure in one another’s company, the scene kind of takes a dark twist when you consider that it seems to hinting hard that Grey Worm’s days are numbered.
Assuming Daenerys is still on board with the plan to send her Unsullied and Dothraki west to take Casterly Rock, Grey Worm will soon be off to war. Normally, this wouldn’t be anything to write home about since Grey Worm is a seasoned warrior who’s seen many battles but as he tells Missandei, he now feels fear for the first time in his life since he’s afraid of losing her. Sure, this is a pretty romantic pick-up line but it could also point to Grey Worm being off his game for the battle ahead, which doesn’t bode well for his survival chances.
5. Will Sansa Succeed as Warden of the North?
With Jon departing for Dragonstone, Sansa finally gets her wish(?) and is now in full control of the North while her brother is away. While it’s great to finally see Sansa elevated to a position of power, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time. The North is still rebuilding after the Bolton occupation, there’s war to the south, and an army of the undead is getting ever closer to the Wall. Oh and if that wasn’t bad enough, Sansa also has to contend with Littlefinger, who will surely redouble his efforts to manipulate Sansa now that Jon is out of the picture.
Judging by Sansa’s very vocal protests to pretty much every one of Jon’s decisions so far, it’s clear that she has her own ideas for how to rule the North, but will she succeed? I want to hope for the best for Sansa, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that things are going to go bad very quickly for her as Warden of the North unless she disposes of Littlefinger quickly.
4. How Will Jon React to Seeing Melissandre Again?
Jon’s journey to Dragonstone will see him reunite with at least one familiar face in Tyrion Lannister and judging by the high opinion both characters have of one another, it’s likely to be an all-around pleasant reunion. However, the King in the North’s travels could also result in a face-to-face meeting that isn’t very friendly, as this week’s episode revealed that Red Priestess Melisandre has found her way to Daenerys Targaryen’s throne room. As you may remember, Jon previously banished Melisandre after discovering what she did to Shiren Baratheon and promised to kill her if she ever set foot in the North again. Of course, Dragonstone isn’t in the northern part of Westeros, so Melisandre is technically free to travel there, but that still doesn’t mean Jon will be happy to see her.
Assuming Melissandre stays put at Dragonstone long enough for Jon to arrive and the two do meet, the Red Lady will probably be able to diffuse the tension by bringing up the whole Prince Who Was Promised prophecy again. In fact, I’d wager that Melisandre will play an integral role in convincing Jon and Daenerys to join forces, as she seems to believe that the two of them are the only hope Westeros has of defeating the White Walkers.
3. What Will Happen to Euron’s “Gifts?”
It really didn’t take long to find out what the “gifts’ Euron promised Cersei were, as the would-be Lord of the Iron Islands not only captured Ellaria Sand and Yara Greyjoy, but their fleet as well. It’s pretty obvious what Euron will do with the latter (add it to his 1000-strong fleet, of course!) but what about Ellaria and Yara, who were just about to hook up before Euron rudely started raining fire down on them. Cersei has a very personal score to settle with Ellaria, considering she poisoned her daughter Myrcella, so I would think that there will be considerable amounts of torture in store for her, but it’s a bit more difficult to say what will come of Yara.
I don’t actually think Euron is going to kill his niece like he promised he would last season but torture could very well be in the cards. That being said, the show has been rapidly trying to depict Euron as a craftier villain than he initially appeared to be and it could be in his best interest to try and turn Yara to his side rather than just kill her outright. Whatever happens, the future isn’t looking bright for either of these two ladies …
2. Will Jon and Daenerys Forge an Alliance?
The meeting everyone has been waiting for is finally about to take place, with Jon Snow headed for Dragonstone to meet with Daenerys Targaryen for the very first time. While it’s exciting to just to have these characters in the same room for the first time, it will be interesting to see how their first conversation plays out. To be honest, I don’t think Jon and Dany are going to become fast friends like some Game of Thrones fans are hoping, as they’re both coming into this from positions of wanting something from the other.
Jon has his work cut out for him as he not only has to convince Daenerys that there is an even bigger threat than Cersei that needs to be stopped, but also try and barter for Dragonstone’s stores of Dragonglass. Dany, on the other hand, is looking for allies to fight the Lannisters and while Jon has plenty of reason to want to see that entire family (Tyrion exempted, of course) destroyed, I don’t think he’s going to be open to the idea of bringing his army south with the White Walkers knocking on their door. Dany will also likely demand that Jon bend the knee and relinquish his title as King in the North, which is also sure to cause some tension. But hey — I’m sure they’ll be friends and/or lovers eventually!
1. Could Cersei Actually Win?
There’s no way Cersei Lannister is going to defeat Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons but if there are any lessons to be learned from the events of”Stormborn,” it’s that the current Queen sitting on the Iron Throne is not going to go down easily. We see Daenerys meet with her war council and draft up all these plans for taking not only King’s Landing but Casterly Rock, the Lannister seat of power, and everyone is very overconfident.
Of course, no one counted on Euron Greyjoy and his fleet turning up in the middle of the night and pretty much eliminating Dorne and Yara Greyjoy’s forces off the table in one fell swoop and now we’re left with a war that is very much going in Cersei’s favor. If the rapid pace of this season’s first two episodes is any indication, it likely won’t be long before Daenerys retaliates and strikes a decisive blow against the Lannisters but with how things stand right now, Cersei’s chances are looking much better than they did at the outset.