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Sweatpants & TV | Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 2 – “Stormborn”

By Jessica Grey

Missed last week’s premiere? Click here for my recap of Dragonstone.

Y’all.

This week’s episode was one of those episodes that is doing all the prep work for some serious shit later, but it still had me laughing, gasping, cheering, and yelling profanities. Lots of profanities… I might have been able to make Bronn blush—speaking of, when are we finally going to catch up with that dude?

As always, now is the time to click away if you want to avoid spoilers.

There was not cold open this time—which is nice in that it gave me time to be properly planted on the couch with some wine and ice cream—, it was just the good ol’ fashioned ninety seconds of cello, giving me and my viewing companions a chance to catch this:

The sea to the east is freezing. And if you’ll remember, Jon Snow just sent Tormund and the other Free Folk to fortify and defend Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and Sandor Clegane saw in the flames, “Ice. A wall of ice. The Wall. It’s where the Wall meets the sea. There’s a castle there.” Eastwatch-by-the-Sea is the outpost on the Wall nearest Hardhome. So, yeah. Some shenanigans are definitely going to take place at Eastwatch at some point this season. And, by shenanigans, I mean, “AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!” See, the episode hadn’t even started yet and I was already freaking out… the wine really was a good call.

Moving along. The show opens at Dragonstone in the midst of a storm, with Tyrion telling Dany that she was born on a stormy night like this—hence, of course, the episode’s title. The conversation turns to strategy and we see that Daenerys is becoming increasingly frustrated with what feels to her like inaction. As Tyrion reassures her of the value of having the Tyrell’s and the Dornish aligned with her, she turns to Varys, saying that she never properly thanked him for bringing those allies on board. And then—whooooooboy—does that tone change: she spends a hot minute grilling Lord Varys about his role in conspiring against Robert Baratheon and his role in conspiring to kill her all those years ago in Essos. Awkward. Varys mounted a pretty awesome defense of his actions though (I’ve missed Varys so much!) and he tells her that he will not swear blind loyalty to her—his loyalty is to the common folk—but he will serve her. The two come to an understanding when he promises that he will come to her and tell her if he sees or feels that she is failing the people and, in turn, she swears to him, “if you ever betray me, I will burn you alive.” Glad that’s all cleared up!

yikes!

Oh, but wait! Dany has a visitor—“a red priestess from Asshai.” Well, Melisandre certainly made good time making her way from Winterfell to Dragonstone. When Varys so helpfully informs Dany that Melisandre had previously served Stannis Baratheon, Dany’s response was a thing of beauty:

 

Anyway, Melisandre’s visit is how Dany & Co. find out about Jon Snow, the new King in the North. After Tyrion also goes to bat advocating for an alliance with Jon, Daenerys orders that he be sent a raven inviting him to Dragonstone. …to bend the knee. I’m not gonna lie: I definitely did that sharp-inhale-while-wincing thing that you do when you kick the coffee table.

Dragonstone clearly sent the very fastest raven in the history of Westerosi foreverness, because the show clips away to Winterfell, where Jon Snow has just received a message from Tyrion. The reactions to the invitation are mixed: Jon is quite sure that it is Tyrion and that the invitation is genuine; Sansa admits that Tyrion is not like the other Lannisters, but is still very wary of it being a trap; and Davos is basically like, “Fire kills wights, right? And this queen has dragons. Dragons that breathe fire… I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.”

Then we shuffle on down to King’s Landing where Cersei is proving herself quite adept at spinning propaganda. Dany & Co. better watch out: Cersei may start unleashing programmed agents to manufacture discord among folks that would otherwise cooperate with one another. *ahem* Oh, and Qyburn creepily hints that he is working on something to deal with Dany’s dragons. After a quality session of swallowing the disseminated alternative facts, the summoned lords scatter to talk amongst themselves. Jaime takes the opportunity to approach Lord Tarly and his son-that-is-not-Sam. (Son-that-is-not-Sam is played by Billy Bones from Black Sails and he should not be in Westeros because, banished or not, at least we know he survives in Black Sails.) Jaime asked Lord Tarly to be his ranking general in the wars to come. In the process of trying to win Tarly over, before dangling the role of Warden of the South as a reward, Jaime deploys some pretty gross racist and misogynistic tropes—not okay. Later, Cersei and Qyburn are walking below the Red Keep where Robert had moved all the dragon skulls left in the throne room by the Targaryens, where Qyburn reveals what he has been working on to use against the dragons and Cersei channels her first-born. *shudder*

Meanwhile, in Oldtown, Sam and the Archmaester are examining Jorah, who looks decidedly worse for the wear. The Archmaester insists that the greyscale is far too advanced for treatment and suggests to Jorah—between the lines, of course—that he just go ahead and use his sword to put himself out of misery. Sam asks if they should send word to Jorah’s family, which is when he finds out that Jorah is the son of former Lord Commander Mormont. Later, when Sam approaches the Archmaester about cases of greyscale having been cured, the Archmaester summarily dismisses the whole idea. Sam, ever concerned with what is right rather than what is correct, decides to go on and try to treat Jorah himself. And it was gruesome. Like, it took two hours for my sympathy pain to wear off. (oh, and the transition away from that grisly scene was, itself, pretty damned revolting.)

Back in Dragonstone’s strategy room, Dany & Co., after some more bickering and shade-throwing, are walking through the battle plan thus far: knowing that Cersei will definitely play the jingoistic race card, Tyrion explains that the armies laying siege to King’s Landing must be Westerosi, so Yara Greyjoy will take the Sand Snakes to Dorne to mobilize their army and Olenna Tyrell will be committing troops to the siege as well. While Dorne and Highgarden are destroying Cersei’s supply lines, the Unsullied will be marching on Casterly Rock, the true seat of power in Westeros. Everyone seems to relish that particular part of the plan. Then Dany dismisses everyone except Olenna; after trying to reassure Olenna that Cersei will pay for what she’s done and that the goal is to restore peace, Lady Olenna has her time to shine:

And then… Y’ALL! Missandei and Grey Worm! Finally! And it’s so sweet and vulnerable and really sexy.

When we catch up with Arya, she’s stopped and eating at the same inn where Hot Pie is still making his hot pies! Arya avoids answering a number of his questions, while casually referencing having baked a pie or two herself. Then Hot Pie expresses his surprise that Arya is not heading toward Winterfell. …and this is how she finds out that Jon is still alive and is now the King in the North and that all the Boltons are dead. When she leaves the inn, she turns around and starts heading north. *squeeeeee* And, in a rather tense encounter, Arya is briefly reunited with Nymeria! I was so close to crying happy tears, y’all.

Back up in Winterfell, Jon has just gotten the raven from Sam about the mountain of dragonglass at Dragonstone. That message pretty much made up Jon’s mind about accepting Tyrion’s invitation. Despite the protests of Sansa and his bannermen, Jon and Davos plan to take off for Dragonstone—Jon leaves Winterfell and the North in Sansa’s care (a development Baelish looks way more pleased about than is desirable). Before Jon rides southeast, though, he finally has a satisfying, quality conversation with Baelish. Very satisfying, even if pretty paternalistic.

Satisfying gif is satisfying.

Elsewhere, Yara and her fleet are escorting Ellaria and her Sand Snakes back to Dorne. Below decks, Ellaria is threatening Yara with a “foreign invasion” (*rawr*) when Yara’s fleet comes under the attack of the other Iron Fleet, Euron’s Iron Fleet. And it pretty much all went to shit from there: Ellaria is captured (spoiler, she’s the gift that Euron is planning to give Cersei), the Sand Snakes are dead, Yara’s fleet is toast, Euron has also captured Yara, and … Theon just abandons her to whatever fate their uncle has planned for her. I definitely spent the rest of the night wearing my “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” face. Okay, I was kind of mad. Like, dude, I know you’re struggling with some serious trauma, I do. But… your uncle is elebenty kinds of terrible and you know he wants you and your sister dead.

And that’s where the episode ends, Theon among the smoldering and burning flotsam as Euron sails off into the darkness. *exasperated sigh*

But! We did get one hell of a teaser for next week:

*fangirling intensifies*

So, yeah. That was week two. Aside from the racist crap and the whole the-phallus-is-the-be-all-end-all crap, this one is a winner in my book. I really, really appreciate that scene between Missandei and Grey Worm, particularly in light of all of the demeaning talk about those not sporting penis. That scene was so necessary—my grinchy heart grew three sizes.

Until next week: Valar Dohaeris.

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