Season 7 Episode 3 – The Queen's Justice
After an action packed finale to the episode last week, Game of Thrones settled back into a dialogue heavy episode that didnt fail to deliver.
On the surface, the Queen's Justice referred to Cersei finally getting the opportunity to punish Ellaria Sand for her poisioning of Cersei's daughter, Myrcella back in season 5. Euron marches them into the throne room of Kings Landing where they are thrown at Cersei's feet. When Ellaria spat at Cersei, I wondered if the Martell motto of 'Unbent Unbowed Unbroken' would apply and the Dornish would go out in a blaze of glory.
However, we later see that Cersei has had a long time to plan her revenge, and chooses to poison Ellaria's daughter, Tyene with the same poison that killed Myrcella. In the ultimate reversal of power, Ellaria realises she cant reach Tyene or do anything to help her. The horror slowly sinks in as she sinks to her knees and realises she will have to watch her daughter waste away just meters away.
This scene was heart- wrenching, the dialogue was outstanding and the acting of the main players was first class. Lena Headey played Cersei's range of emotions, from reminisent mother through to revengeful killer, without missing a beat. Ellaria Varma has been amazing since her debut in season four, but this was her finest hour, visual acting at its finest without needing to say a word.
Someone who did get a few words out was Olenna Tyrell. When the Lannister army takes highgarden, we see Olenna alone with no help in sight. In yet more 'Justice', Jaime adds poision to her drink. Olenna, with a complete lack of outward fear, drinks it straight away before laying the verbal smackdown on Jamie with a revelation of her involvement in his son's untimely death.
Olenna is steadfast in her final moments, calm, collected and with full belief in her convictions. Here, we see that justice is a concept that varies from person to person. What Olenna Tyrell would call justice would be Cersei Lannister's idea of a crime, and here is where perspective and emotion come into play.
There's not much to add to the platitudes that have been sent towards Diana Rigg since her character left the show. One of the show's most Stellar actors, she joins an alumni that includes fellow iconic actors Charles Dance, Peter Vaughan, Stephen Dillane, Jonathan Pryce and Max Von Sydow. Looking at that list of experienced actors, its surely a credit to the younger generation of actors and the very talented casting crew that the show manages to go on without skipping a beat.
Outside of this, the major talking point from the episode was the meeting of Jon Snow and Daenaerys Targaryen at Dragonstone. Fans of both books and the show have waited years for this moment, and it certainly was iconic. With the stakes being so high for both sides, there's a real range of emotions here. While both Jon and Dany wholehearted believe what they are saying, there's also a huge element of pride there because of their family lineage's and histories and this stubbornness comes across. Initially, I found myself get frustrated at this standoff. As the episode goes on, you can feel both stances soften as they start to gauge the nature of the other, with Dany allowing Jon to mine for Dragonglass .
At Winterfell, we got another Stark reunion between Bran and Sansa. Like the Jon and Sansa reunion last year, this one was a bit emotional for the viewers. However, it soon became clear Bran is less Stark and more Three Eyed Raven at this point. He's lost a lot of emotional intelligence, and in some ways seems very flat, perhaps not surpising considering he has potentially seen the future of Westeros. Perhaps he know's he's going to lose Sansa or more family members soon?
Other notable parts of the episode: Melisandre scaring the living daylights out of Varys with her predictions was a personal highlight. I just love both of these actors, and when you add in Vary's Hatred of all things magic, there is a real dynamic here!
Speaking of dynamic, Pilou Asbeck as Euron Greyjoy once again showed some fantastic comedy skills, particularly his exchange with Jaime. Euron is my new favourite character, a perfect blend of psychopath and comedian, and I'm sure there is much more to come from the 'greatest captain on the 14 seas'
Overall, it was great to see Casterly Rock and Highgarden. On the surface, the brief battlescenes perhaps seemed slightly anti-climatic, but the stellar dialogue throughout the episode more than made up for the lack of action. On a personal note, I felt this was one of Thrones strongest episodes of recent years, and probably one of my favourites ever. It centered on some of the shows strongest characters, gave us great first time meetings, and more importantly, every scene seemed to advance the story.
With only 10 episodes left to go, I doubt there will be too many more episodes like this. I for one, intend to savor it.