Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 3: The Queen's Justice


It’s the moment many have been waiting for - Jon Snow meets with Daenerys’ Targaryen at the Dragonstone


There’s also the excellent reunion between Jon and Tyrion as they both acknowledge their respect and knowledge for each other with extra acknowledgement that Sansa is smart and one to watch. Jon also gets to see the shiny dragons.

He is introduced to Daenerys with Tyrion reciting all her titles. While Davos just says “Jon Snow, king in the north” which I have to applaud. That was powerful

Actual negotiations are fraught. Jon wants help to kill the King of the Night and he’s really dramatic about that - but ultimately there’s not much reason for Daenerys to believe this and take her army north when she’s already in the middle of a war. Similarly while Daenerys demands Jon bend the knee he’s very clear that that’s really not going to happen for both the sake of the lords of the north and also simple reason: why? Why should he kneel?

The whole debate back and forther is good though because there is definite resect between them even though they’re in clear disagreement. Daenerys acknowledges that her father did evil, terrible things and she apologises for them. He acknowledges he shouldn’t judge her based on his record - but that doesn’t mean he actually has a reason to follow her.

It comes with lots of epic speeches - including one from Daenerys about all she has managed to endure and still keep going because of her great faith in herself. And another where Davos almost goes too far, both excellent describing why she should respect Jon Snow because of how, with no heritage, he has managed to unite the wildlings and the lords of the north. Of course he also mentions how he was stabbed in the heart and got up again

Though they do know about Mellisandre - who isn’t there because she knows Jon isn’t a fan and also because Varys is dropping not-too-subtle I’ll totally kill you hints.

When Tyrion and Jon have mutual moping session Tyrion does what he does best - point out that what Jon’s asking IS unreasonable. Sure he believes Jon, but he can’t expect other people who don’t know him to do so. So what DOES Jon want which is reasonable and achievable?

He also goes to Daenerys and points out why he believes Jon - because Jon has come to Dragonstone. And this is silly - Tyrion wouldn’t have done it, all of his advisors would have said no, but Jon came anyway. It must be because he truly wants something.

When Jon and Daenerys meet again, with Tyrion greasing the wheels, Daenerys offers Jon he resources and people to mine dragonglass. After all, it’s something he wants, something she really doesn’t care about and is a really easy way to build a relationship

This is reasonable diplomacy. Going from complete strangers to “Allies/serve me/let’s get married and have incest babies!” is a long path.

Which will be needed because everything is going wrong - to such an extent that Daenerys just wants to get on her dragons and go flying to burn everything.

Everything Going Wrong

Last week the Dornish and Greyjoys were pretty much destroyed and Ellaria Sand, her last daughter and Yara are all captured and delivered to Cersei. Euron taunts Jamie about all the people loving him and how he will totally marry Cersei. Jaime, so very conflicted, reminds Euron that this very same crowd was spitting on Cersei not so long ago

After lots and lots and lots of how totally-evil-am-I speeches from Cersei she kills Ellaria’s last daughter who has been so little developed in this story I neither remember her name nor am I going to bother to look it up because really that would imply she isn’t an extra.

Further badness - the Unsullied, thanks to Tyrion’s inside knowledge, easily take Castlery rock which is all well and good. But it only has a skeleton garrison and as Jaime taunts, all the food and stores have been stripped from the place and Euron Greyjoy has just destroyed their ships. So the Unsullied will have to march across half of the 7 Kingdoms to get back into the fight

And who was Jaime taunting? Olenna - because the Lannister armies have just invaded the pretty much completely abandoned High Garden, taking the city and apparently taking the Tyrells out of the fight. Jaime, clearly torn by all this, gives Olenna a relatively painless death by poison while trying to justify his monstrous sister’s monstrousness - so Olenna gets her last hit in by telling him he totally murdered his brother/nephew Joffrey

I will never ever ever be ok with Olenna dying. Ever.

Cersei’s also seems to be getting more confident - she is both happy to be open about having sex with her brother and she stares down the Iron Bank extremely well. They drop in to say “hey you owe us a lot of money” but Cersei’s answer is good - do they really trust Daenerys to care about the debts of her predecessors. She’s also hit their profits pretty badly when she banned slavery, which the Iron Bank was pretty invested in. So the Iron Bank is team Cersei, especially since she promises to pay her debts within the week

And Some Good

Sam has successfully healed Jorah so he’s heading back to Daenerys. The archmeister, who is kind of awesome, both chides Sam for disobeying him, punishes him with a rather dull task and reminds him of the severe risk he took that could have ended up killing the Citadel. And praises him for achieving something very very few Maesters could. I like the balance of the man. And I’d like it more if this was relevant to any plot

Up in the North Sansa is just being awesome, her advice and leadership is truly excellent. And she’s reunited with her little brother Bran which is big and emotional. She also points out he’s technically Lord of Winterfel but Bran has taken a double dose of cryptic, he is the Three Eyed Crow that sees all and is super super spooky. I think Sansa is more than a little freaked out by her little brother

I’m actually getting increasingly annoyed by this season - because it’s throwing out a lot of reality,  lot of canon that has been long established in order to tell a story. In order to tell a story where Cersei is a match for Daenerys and Daenerys can suffer defeats and make her more tempted to just attack Kings Landing

But it’s still bad world building and bad writing - and Game of Thrones has been many things but this bad world building and bad writing? No.

Fighting is not the Tyrell forte? Really? Because the Knight of flowers was one of the most feared knights in the realm and it wasn’t by chance - it was a martial tradition. House Tyrell and the Gardeners before them fielded the largest armies of all the seven kingdoms: there fertile fields weren’t just “hey we grow food” but “hey we feed LARGE ARMIES”. No martial tradition in High Garden

Add to this Euron’s miraculous fleet built in impossible time and impossible numbers - the very core of Cersei’s victory is an impossibility.

And they stripped the larder of Castlery Rock? This is a regional capital. You’re telling me there isn’t a city, a sizeable town around it? No farmland around? When did they decide the denude this vast place of all its resources? When Daenerys invaded - why? By all accounts Daenerys could have won this war quickly by just invading Kings Landing - she herself had to be convinced not to launch an all out attack. Why would you build a tactic around assuming she’d attack Castlery rock?

Of course I know why the writers have done this - they’ve written themselves into a corner with the forces arrayed against Cersei; but that in itself is poor writing for a series that is planned so far in advance.