The big complaint that every fanboy with a Twitter account had after the Game of Thrones season premiere boils down to: “But nothing happened! It was all set up!” It seemed like the second episode was going to fall into the same category: We saw little more than different groups of characters making incremental steps forward as they were positioned on the giant chess board, like the Monopoly pieces that Dany and Tyrion play with on their giant map.
And then the last 10 minutes happened. Yes, in one of the epic evening battles on Game of Thrones, Euron Greyjoy came to get Cersei Lannister her prize so that she’ll marry him, and managed to dispatch both his niece and nephew at the same time. A lot sure did happen in that final stretch, and it isn’t looking good for all of our favorite heroes.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers for the week.
Euron Greyjoy: Obviously the king of the Iron Islands is the big winner when he showed up with his big scary ship with the giant skull plank that plunked down right on the vessel, which was not only carrying the two people he hates most in the world, but the other queen he was searching for. Sure, he might dress like Captain Hook if he were dressed as a reject from a Rick Owens show, but he sure knows how to fight and lead an army to victory.
Cersei Lannister: It looked hopeless when the Mother of Dragons showed up with her various armies, her giant fleet, and a few dragons, but things seem to be turning around for her. She’s using the nationalistic sensibilities of the lords of Westeros and their inherent racism against outsiders to work her way toward victory. (Hmm, what other insane blonde leader does that remind you of?) She even has Lord Tarley (aka Sam’s asshole father we met at Hornhill last season) to forget his oath to Lady Olenna Tyrell and come fight for her. Things are looking up to Make Westeros Great Again.
Varys: Everyone’s favorite eunuch was on the hot seat at Dragonstone when Dany pressed him about his allegiance to so many different kings before her, but the man who has harnessed the power of his songbirds for so many years finally sang a song of his own and saved himself. He told his queen that his allegiance was never to a monarch but to the people and whoever would treat them best and save they from tyranny. That seemed to win him over. It was also good for Mellisandre, who returned to Dragonstone to revisit the birthplace of the Great Smoke Queef of season two. Varys got Dany in a pardoning mood and she opened the palace to the Red Priestess. Let’s just wait until Jon Snow and Ser Davos Arrive.
Missandei and Grey Worm: Finally the world's most beautiful translator and the most handsome soldier finally got a chance to get it on. Grey Worm’s speech about how he had no fear until he fell in love with her is enough to make anyone tear up like they just watched a day-long marathon of Sarah MacLaughlin ASPCA ads. These two genetically perfect specimens would have the most attractive, bad-ass children imaginable. Oh wait. Never mind.
Jorah Mormont: It first it seemed like all was lost for the Khaleesi’s number one stan, as the greyscale devoured most of his torso. Then hope came thanks to Samwell Tarly and his super-powered studying skills who decided that he could singlehandedly save him with some crazy old recipe from a book that he’s never tried before. That’s sort of like trying to fix your garbage disposal after only watching a YouTube tutorial. Anyway, this is the most hope he’s had since contracting the disease. Let’s just hope, for everyone’s sake, that the greyscale didn’t go very far, ahem, south of the border.
Sansa Stark: Finally, her brother Jon Snow asked for her counsel when dealing with her former husband Tyrion Lannister and, well, he actually listened to her. Even though she called him out in front of all the lords and ladies in the world’s saddest looking conference room, he still left her in charge of the North while he goes south to visit with Dany and try to rob her of her precious dragonglass. Things are looking up for Hot Topic’s number one customer.
Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes: Sure she got to get one last flirt on with Yara Greyjoy before Euron Greyjoy took her captive, but things are not looking hopeful for Westeros’ most sexually liberated beauty. Not only did she lose two of her female protectors during the siege, it seems like she and her daughter will be taken to King’s Landing so that they can meet their final doom in front of Cersei Lannister.
The Greyjoy Siblings: Just moments after saying that he will always be his sister’s protector, Theon Greyjoy proved once again that he is the show’s greatest coward. His uncle held his sister and told him to come and get her, and instead of attacking he dropped his sword and jumped overboard to try his luck in the ocean rather than face a fight. It was like Dunkirk except not in IMAX and no one in the world wanted to see it. Yara is either going to be killed or tortured by her uncle, so it looks like the pair’s ship is finally sunk.
Daenerys Targaryen: The mother of dragons started the episode off in a fierce and forgiving mood, firing off one-liners like she’s Katniss Everdeen at target practice. She gathered her great council of women, including Olenna Tyrell, Ellaria Sand, and Yara Greyjoy to go over Tyrion’s great plan for battle. She was going to use Yara to bring the Dornish army to King’s Landing where they would lay siege to the city with the Tyrell troops. Meanwhile, the Dothraki and Unsullied would take Casterly Rock, the seat of the Lannisters. That sounded like a winning formula until Euron Greyjoy intercepted and screwed it all up.
It wasn’t all bad for Dany, though. Thanks to some vagaries of translation we learned that she might actually be the Prince (or Princess) That Was Promised from the prophesy that Mellisandre is always crowing about. She also convinced Jon Snow to come and bend his knee to her, which is impressive. Maybe Mellisandre just did that so that Jon could convince her to join the war against the Night King. Just like everyone else, she has her own agenda to advance.
Jon Snow: Yes, he’s headed south to get the dragonglass, but it is not a popular decision at all. Once again Jon Snow seems to know absolutely nothing.
Littlefinger: Why did he seem to think that talking to Jon Snow in the crypt was a good idea? He didn’t even learn any information, other than the fact that Jon hates him and will kill him if he goes after Sansa. Actually threatening Littlefinger might be the dumbest thing that Jon did. He may be down, but never back someone like Littlefinger into a corner.
Arya Stark: She is our favorite spitfire and if Hollywood were to make a movie of the Stark kid’s life she would definitely be played by Kristen Stewart (which is the greatest compliment I could bestow on any living human). But, man, Arya had a rough week. She was first reunited with her old friend Hot Pie but she couldn’t even ask him one single question about how he was doing or what his life was like. She may have survived, but she’s a shell of the kind, spirited girl who escaped King’s Landing with Gendry back in season two. Hot Pie did tell her that Jon Snow had retaken the North and she decided to head back to Winterfell to meet her family.
Then something awful happened. On the road, her old direwolf Nymeria, who she released into the wild in season one so that the Lannisters wouldn’t kill it, came and found her with her pack of wolves. It appears that while Arya was out roaming around the wild Nymeria was doing the same. They both learned how to kill and lead other but, in the process became completely feral. She tries to convince Nymeria to return home with her, but she turns away, because that is not the dog she is anymore, just like Arya isn’t the girl she used to be. She tries to convince herself otherwise, but it seems foolhardy at this point. She may like the killer that she’s become, but she fails to recognize the price that she’s paid for it.
Kit Harington auditioned for Game of Thrones with a black eye: