“The Queen’s Justice,” the third episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season, could just as easily be called “A Song of Ice and Fire,” given that its central development is the long-awaited first meeting of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Right now, the King in the North and the (hopeful) Queen of the Seven Kingdoms are uneasy allies but while they bickered about who should bend the knee and whether White Walkers really exist or not, a whole lot of other stuff happened outside of Dragonstone that will make Jon and Dany’s lives much more difficult from here on out.
Cersei is making quick work of Dany’s forces and Euron Greyjoy is a force of nature that seemingly can’t be stopped. Will the rest of the season see the Lannister/Greyjoy coalition continue to repel the “foreign invaders” or are Dany and Jon’s fortunes about to change? Here are the biggest questions raised by “The Queen’s Justice.’
11. What Was Melisandre Referring to in Her Speech to Varys?
We didn’t get a reunion between Melisandre and Jon/Davos — the Red Lady wisely kept her distance — but we did see her have an interesting conversation with Varys! Ever the inquisitive fellow, Varys is quick to note how peculiar it is that Melisandre was so enthusiastic about getting Jon Snow to come to Dragonstone, yet is doing her best to avoid any interaction with him. Melisandre replies that she’s played her part: “I’ve brought ice and fire together,” and that she’ll be sailing for Volantis in the near future. This is where things really start to get weird.
Varys tells Melisandre that she would be wise to never return to Westeros (a possible threat?) but she assures him that she will return, stating,”I have to die in this strange country, just like you.” Whether or not he knows what Melisandre is talking about, Varys looks suitably freaked out by this statement and it’s unclear what the Red Priestess is referring to. Did she see Varys’ death in the flames? Or is there something else going on here? As we know, Varys detests magic, having been castrated by a cruel sorcerer as a young boy, so could Melisandre’s death omen be related to this event somehow? Or is Melisandre simply a nihilist who realizes that the Night’s King will be victorious and everyone in Westeros, herself and Varys included, will be killed in the coming storm? Whatever the case, Varys would probably do best not to take Melisandre’s words lightly.
10. Jorah’s Cured! What Now?
As expected, Sam’s disgusting greyscale remedy worked and Jorah Mormont is ready to step into the world again and spread the good word about his beloved Khaleesi. It seems that Game of Thrones is setting Jorah up to play a significant role in Dany’s conquest of Westeros (which is definitely not going well at this stage) but where exactly is Jorah going to end up now that he’s no longer turning into a stone man? My best guess is that he will make his way to Dragonstone, where he could be instrumental in helping to make Jon and Daenerys stronger allies.
After all, Jorah is the son of Jon’s mentor Jeor Mormont, so he’s likely to take anything he has to say quite seriously and if Jorah helps vouch for the Mother of Dragons, perhaps the King in the North will relent on his stance of not bending the knee to the would-be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Or hey, maybe he’ll head north and hang out with his badass young cousin Lady Lyanna Mormont (we definitely haven’t seen enough of her yet this season!).
9. Will Brienne and Pod Ever Get to be Useful Again?
The first three episodes of this season have done a pretty good job of giving most major characters something to do (hell, it already feels like we’ve seen more of Sam than we did all of last season) but two characters who have been left out in the cold (pun intended) are Brienne and her squire Podrick. Since returning to Sansa’s side, Brienne and Pod really haven’t had much to do besides train in the Winterfell courtyard and (in Brienne’s case) dodge the advances of one Tormund Giantsbane. To be fair, nothing much has really been happening at Winterfell yet but unlike Sansa and Littlefinger, Brienne and Pod don’t get to walk around discussing politics and making plans for how to deal with the threats on the horizon. They’ll only get to do something when the need for fighting begins.
Fortunately, we may not have to wait long to see this pair have a meaningful scene, as Arya will be arriving at Winterfell as early as next episode, which should lead to an interesting interaction given that the last time they saw each other, Brienne and the Hound nearly killed one another (and speaking of the Hound, he must be in the North by now, right?).
8. What About Yara?
Euron Greyjoy made his triumphant return to King’s Landing this week trailing a few gifts for Queen Cersei behind him as he blew kisses to the crowd (is it just me or is Euron becoming a delightful villain this season?). We don’t have to wait long to see what cruel torture Cersei has lined up for Ellaria Sand and her daughter Tyene, but what of Yara? Cersei has no personal quarrel with Euron’s niece, so she lets him drag Yara out of the throne room and it’s the last we see of her. It’s actually not clear whether or not Euron goes along with his fleet to Casterly Rock but if he did, I think it’s safe to say that Yara is with him. It’s hard to say what Euron has in store for her but if Pilou Ashæk’s claims of his character making Ramsay Bolton “look like a little kid,” are to be believed, I don’t think I want to find out.
7. Are We Going To See Other Dragon Riders?
Just prior to learning that Euron’s fleet had somehow sailed around Westeros to attack the remainder of her fleet mere moments after the Unsulled capture Casterly Rock, Dany proposes to her war council that she go find it herself. When Tyrion and her other advisers protest, Daenerys says something to the effect of “I won’t be alone, I’ll have three dragons with me.” Clearly, Daenerys is of the mind that she is the only person who can ride a dragon right now but so far, she has only ever ridden Drogon. What about Viserion and Rhaegal?
Could Dany’s dialog here be foreshadowing other dragon riders other than herself? One popular theory is that Tyrion is also a Targaryen and as we saw last season, Dany’s dragons seem to like him. We also already know that Jon has the blood of the dragon (even if he doesn’t yet), so it would seem that Dany would not have to look far to find her fellow dragon riders if the need were to arise.
6. Will Dany’s Military Losses Bring Her Closer To Jon?
Although some viewers may have been hoping for it, Jon and Daenerys were never going to hit it off right away, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that their first meeting concluded with neither character really much liking the other. Still, they seemed to have made some progress by episode’s end, with Dany agreeing to allow Jon to mine Dragonstone’s stores of dragonglass. What’s interesting is how the episode ends, with Dany suffering even more decisive defeats at the hands of the Lannisters, making Jon Snow one of the only viable potential allies left on the board.
Yes, Dany still has yet to use her dragons or Dothraki, but the truth is that she is in grave danger of losing the war and could use all the friends she can get right now. And although Jon is still preoccupied with the threat to the north, even someone as stubborn as him could realize that the future of Westeros hinges on Dany winning the Iron Throne, as Cersei would never send help to deal with the White Walkers. At least with Dany, Jon has someone who may end up believing him; plus, three dragons probably wouldn’t hurt to have in a battle against the Undead.
5. Did Westeros Shrink or Something?
Game of Thrones has always played fast and loose with its timeline of events, but that temporal dissonance has become more pronounced than ever in Season 7. While it makes sense from a narrative perspective to streamline certain stories and events — after all, no one wants to see scenes of characters simply travelling to their destinations — trying to keep up with where characters are and how specific events line up with one another is becoming a headache. “The Queen’s Justice” in particular is all over the place with its timeline. It feels like Jon’s visit to Dragonstone amounts to about a day’s length but judging by other events that happen in the episode, it’s probably more like weeks.
The Unsullied successfully take Casterly Rock, only to immediately see their navy destroyed by Euron Greyjoy’s fleet, which somehow arrives just after them, even though it just docked in King’s Landing — a city on the other side of the continent — earlier in the episode. Jaime also manages to mobilize an entire Lannister army and march on Highgarden in a ridiculously short amount of time. Of course, the real answer here is that it’s best not to look too deeply into Game of Thrones and its sketchy timeline. Episodes are arranged in such a way where it looks like some scenes are taking place at the same time, but they’re actually days or even weeks apart chronologically. That being said, at this point the show’s writers could reveal that Westeros has a series of teleporters to help ferry characters across the continent and it would probably make more narrative sense than Euron’s ships being able to speed jet around the Narrow Sea at 100 mph.
4. What’s Going On With Bran?
Daenerys and Jon’s meeting may have been the central event of”The Queen’s Judgement” but this was also an episode that featured quite a few reunions, as Sansa Stark was finally reunited with her only remaining biological brother Bran. Unfortunately, this reunion did not stay happy for long, as it quickly became clear that the siblings have become estranged over their long time apart. More accurately, it’s Bran who has become strange, as the young Stark is aloof and distant throughout his entire conversation with his sister. Sansa is just happy to have her brother back, but that happiness soon turns to puzzlement as Bran starts to creep her out with his talk of being the Three Eye Raven.
Bran has obviously been changed significantly by what he’s seen in his visions, but did he really have to bring up Sansa’s wedding day, aka one of the worst days of his sister’s life? One hopes that Bran will do a better job of explaining himself when he next speaks with his sister, but between this and the tension between Sansa and Jon, these Stark reunions aren’t quite as joyous as I would have expected them to be. Hopefully Sansa has better luck with Arya, who looks to be arriving at Winterfell in next week’s episode.
3. Will Jaime Reach His Breaking Point With Cersei?
As this season began, Jaime Lannister’s loyalty to his sister/lover/queen seemed very much up in the air, as it did not seem like the Kingslayer was on board with Cersei’s plans. However, now that the Lannisters have had some military success against Daenerys Targaryen — and now that Jaime is back in Cersei’s bed — Jaime seems to be much more in favor of his sister’s rule. In perhaps the episode’s strongest scene, we see Jaime have a heart-to-heart with Lady Olenna Tyrell, who realizes that she is about to die and holds nothing back (so many Joffrey digs). She hits Jaime with some hard truths, telling him that Cersei is like a disease on Westeros and that’s he’s a fool for supporting her heinous actions.
Whether it’s foolish or simply pragmatic, Jaime’s response indicates that he is very much on Cersei’s side, as he tells Olenna that once the queen brings peace and prosperity back to Westeros, no one is going to care how she achieved those things. However, blindly following leaders has never been Jaime’s way and with both Euron and Olenna insinuating that Jaime is simply Cersei’s pawn in all of this, perhaps the time will come when Jaime realizes that the realm would be better off if his sister were no longer in it.
Also, how much does it suck to have to say goodbye to Diana Rigg?
2. Should Dany Fire Tyrion?
Seriously, what happened to Tyrion’s flair for military strategy? Remember, this is the same man who successfully organized the defense of King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater Bay (an accomplishment he makes sure to remind Ser Davos Seaworth of during their throne room meeting), yet he didn’t anticipate two colossal losses at the hands of his sister’s armies? One could forgive him for not seeing Euron’s surprise attack on the Sand/Greyjoy fleet coming, but thinking that Casterly Rock would be a strategic target when it’s not located near anything important? Come on, Tyrion!
As it turns out, Highgarden was the important foothold Dany should have been helping to defend — you know, since it’s geographically close to King’s Landing and Olenna Tyrell was her last remaining Westerosi ally — but now it’s in the hands of the Lannisters and Dany’s best soldier’s are stuck pointlessly defending a castle of little strategic value. Tyrion clearly underestimated Cersei’s skills as a tactician and hopefully it’s not too late for him to start living up to his Hand of the Queen title by winning some battles for Daenerys before she has no army left to do it with.
1. Will Daenerys Attack King’s Landing Now?
It’s no secret that Dany’s best-laid plans have gone awry and it’s starting to look like she could lose the war before it even really begins, but what will her next move be now that the Lannisters have landed some decisive blows against her. Not very long ago, Dany was banking on not doing anything too drastic but in light of the fact that Tyrion’s council really hasn’t gotten her anywhere when it comes to warfare, might the Mother of Dragons heed the late Olenna Tyrell’s parting words to her and show Westeros that she has teeth?
Daenerys is in the position where she may be ready to throw caution to the wind and press the attack, and if she does, it’s almost guaranteed that she’ll head straight for the source of her misfortunes: King’s Landing. With the White Walker threat still looming and her forces quickly dwindling, Daenerys simply doesn’t have the time to win a strategic victory against Cersei; she needs to make her enemies fear her and what better way than swooping in on her dragons and laying waste to those same enemies? Cersei may think she has Daenerys on the rope but this war is just heating up!