Every Tuesday this season, a few of us here at The Comeback will gather to reflect on the previous episode of Game of Thrones and predict what might happen next week and beyond.
Last week, we looked back at episode one and questioned if Arya was the biggest badass in the realm. Now it’s time to discuss episode two. Also a warning, if you did not watch the trailer for episode three and don’t plan on it, avoid the last two questions of this discussion.
1. Overall grade on the episode? You can rank it this season, although I’m sure most people will say it’s the best so far.
David Lauterbach: Episode 2 was hands down better than episode 1, but that shouldn’t be surprising. At the end of the day, I’ll give it an A- or 9/10 simply because that battle scene was fantastic.
Sam Blazer: I’d rate it about an 8/10, still too many lulls with such little time left in the series. The end of the episode may have saved it, but overall there were fun parts that should make old and new Game of Thrones fans happy.
Andrew Bucholtz: It’s a B+ for me. A lot of it was setup, but it’s entertaining and significant setup, and I particularly appreciated the many callbacks to people and events we’ve previously seen on the show (Hot Pie, Nymeria, the Winterfell crypt discussion of Ned and Catelyn, Varys’ previous actions, Randyll Tarly’s loyalties, etc). And we got two big moments of action with Sam’s surgery on Jorah and the ending Greyjoy fleet battle.
Alex Putterman: I’m giving it an A. My instinct was an A+, but I’m probably caught in the moment. This was an awesome episode, from the politics at the start to the battle at the end.
Oh let me tune in for this casual Thrones episode two. Can't expect too much will happ—OH MY GOD
— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) July 24, 2017
Matt Clapp: 8.7/10.
Jeff Snyder: B+. There was a bit more going on, especially the battle at sea, but it wasn’t in the top five episodes. It’s a good foundation to build the rest of the season.
Taylor Nigrelli: A-minus. It was well-paced and exhilarating at times, but not a perfect episode.
2. Let’s get right to the ending and work our way backwards. Did you see that ship battle coming? Did you like how quickly it came after Euron left Kings Landing just last week? Also, where does that battle rank in your book?
DL: I had a hunch it was coming because if Euron needed a gift for Cersei, where else would he go? As for how quickly it came, that didn’t bother me at all because this season will have to move at an extremely fast pace. It’s up there in the top 7 or so battle scenes for this show mainly because we haven’t seen many (if any) where both sides were fighting on ships.
SB: I understand that the books are fantasy, but the fact that time doesn’t seem to be a thing in the show is beginning to irk me. Obviously time between episodes can change, but it is frustrating to see the acceleration of it all. Pretty good battle. I wish it could have been fleshed out more. Euron is unhinged and he takes the mantle from Ramsey before him. I am going to be really interested to see how he is used by Cersei in the episodes ahead. Is she going to be thankful for the gift or is there going to be growing tension between the two sides.
AB: I figured we’d get a clash between the two Greyjoy factions, especially after Euron promised Cersei a prize, and it made sense for it to come quickly. I was a little surprised by how it came at night and how unaware Yara’s fleet was, though. I thought the battle was decent, especially the expressions on Euron’s face as he cuts through opponents, but the dark and the similar forces on both sides made it a bit tough to follow. I would have liked to see more of a sense of how both fleets were moving too, not just the focus on Yara’s flagship.
AP: I was all about the surprise early-season battle. I sure as hell didn’t see it coming, and it was awesome.
MC: No, I didn’t expect it. The timing was fine, especially with only six episodes left to work with. It was an entertaining battle, but there have been many better ones. Also, the viewers don’t really care as much about some of these participants, whereas most of the battles had Jon, or Dany, or Tyrion, etc.
JS: I’m proud to say I did see the battle at sea coming! Last week, I figured it was the only way the Euron could hurt Danaerys, thus giving Cersei the gift he promised. Geographically, Kings Landing isn’t that far from Dragonstone, and the shows plays fast and loose with travel anyway. The battle would rank in the top 5, just under the Jon Snow battles from the last few seasons and the Battle of the Blackwater.
TN: I saw the ship battle coming, but I thought it would arrive next week at the earliest. The time crunch of having only a dozen or so episodes left means there’s less time to screw around, which is a good thing. The battle was fun, as brief as it was, but not an all-timer for the show. There was far too much stumbling around in the dark and not nearly enough cool death shots. Extra points for being a surprise, though.
3. Episode MVP?
DL: Normally I’d say Euron, but nearly everyone is saying him so I’m going with a different choice in Jon Snow for two reasons. First off, by bullying Littlefinger, Littlefinger may be inclined to try and manipulate Sansa even more with Jon gone and I think that’ll end poorly for him. Second, Jon knew what he had to do to save his people and that’s go see Dany. Whether the North likes it or not, Jon knows he has to do what his gut tells him and he isn’t afraid of the repercussions.
SB: Arya’s drinking problem. Two straight episodes with her getting her drink on. Maybe it is time to sit her down and have a talk. In all seriousness, Euron is the MVP. The guy got everything he wanted and now he is the most compelling player on the show
AB: I think Sam’s the MVP here. Sam the rogue apprentice is proving very entertaining, and I liked his realization of who Jorah was, his attempt to persuade the archmaester, and his decision to just do it himself. (Also, the rum back-and-forth was great.) And Sam’s previous raven to Jon about the dragonglass also had a big impact on this episode.
AP: Gotta be Euron Greyjoy. First of all, he pretty much could not have asked for that attack to have gone any smoother; he got everything he wanted. Second of all, he was, for the second episode in a row, an all-out badass. He’s come out of nowhere to become maybe the best villain on the show.
JS: Tyrion or Jon would take the cake for me. Both were arguing the benefits of acting wisely to a crowd that just wouldn’t listen. I’m leaning towards Tyrion because he seemed to be one of the few in Dany’s war room that understood that attacking King’s Landing with the Dothraki and Unsullied would be a PR nightmare. You don’t win the kingdom by crushing everyone else. Or, at least, you don’t win it for long.
TN: You’d be hard-pressed not to give Euron the MVP this week. Slamming fools with his axe and killing off two legitimately important characters.
4. Well, the Sand Snakes are basically done for and so is Dorne. How do you think the show handled them overall?
DL: Dorne was mishandled for multiple reasons. For one the writing was poor and two most of the characters just felt awkward in the storyline. Jamie’s trip there was in my opinion a waste of time and it also led to many poorly done scenes. It really is a shame this all happened after how great Oberyn was back in season four.
SB: I don’t think we have heard the last of Dorne. How they are going to handle everything politically will be interesting. A beheading is going to be in order, but how will the Dornish people react to it?
AB: Not very well. The Dorne scenes were some of the least entertaining and interesting on the show, and the Sand Snakes in particular suffered from not being differentiated enough from each other. Ellaria could use some more character development too and maybe some more explanation of why she takes the drastic actions she does.
AP: I think everyone agrees the Dorne storyline always left something to be desired. If that’s truly curtains for Dorne, it was an extremely disappointing arc. But as long as Ellaria and her daughter remain alive, Dorne has a chance to keep advancing the plot.
MC: That whole storyline has been bizarre and felt a bit out of place. It seemed they may serve a bigger purpose after joining Team Dany and then the whole battle with Euron happened. But, it seems that Ellaria and Tyene Sand are still alive, as prisoners. Perhaps there is still more to their story.
JS: Dorne was definitely a casualty of consolidation. It’s just a part of the story we don’t need to see a lot of. There aren’t many named characters, and the writing was rushed and…meh. I’m glad the Sand Snakes are gone, though. I just don’t think the show could devote enough time to make them work, and they were laughably annoying.
TN: There was always something missing with the Dorne plot. The Sand Snakes were compelling early on in their run, but that subplot probably didn’t get enough time.
5. Sansa seems to not care at all about openly rebelling against Jon in front of the other Northern houses. Do you think this will cause any trouble going forward?
DL: I don’t think it will. This is how I think it’ll play out: Littlefinger thinks he has a chance with Sansa because of how she’s acted so far this season, Sansa rejects him, and finally Littlefinger dies.
SB: It has to, right? Littlefinger wouldn’t be around if that weren’t the case. He is going to put a bug in her ear and at some point Bran and Arya will show up adding more intrigue. Once it comes out that Jon has Targaryen ties, there will be more than open revolting.
AB: Sansa openly questioning him isn’t great, but it’s not one of Jon’s bigger problems at this point, and his decision to leave her in charge shows he clearly still trusts her. I think the larger onrushing issue may be Sansa and Littlefinger.
AP: Definitely looks like Littlefinger will attempt to foment rebellion against Jon whenever he can. He’ll be all in Sansa’s ear, now that the King in the North is gone.
MC: Nah, I don’t think so, especially if Littlefinger is eliminated soon.
JS: She may disagree with Jon openly, but she also makes a point to tell him that he’s good at leading. It strikes me as a less open rebellion and more a discussion between near equals. When Jon puts his foot down as King in the North, she understands that it’s his call. I think Littlefinger will misunderstand her disagreements with Jon as rebellion, and try to twist her to take the throne from Jon. He won’t succeed.
TN: The issues between Jon and Sansa seem important now, but a lot hinges on what happens when Bran/Arya show up at Winterfell and what help Dany offers Jon.
6. Nymeria made a comeback! Will we see more of her going forward?
DL: I absolutely think we will. As the writers have suggested publicly, the purpose of this scene was to demonstrate how “wild” Arya is now. At the same time, why bring back such a big character who means so much to Arya if they weren’t going to have Nymeria possibly save Arya down the road.
SB: I don’t really have an opinion here. More direwolves, the better, though.
AB: It was great to see Nymeria again, and I think she may still have a role to play. It’s clear she’s not just going to follow Arya right now, but I could see her and her pack involved again at some point, and they might be crucial to turning the tide of a skirmish or battle.
AP: It seems unlikely they would have reintroduced Nymeria just for that. I feel like she’ll play a role.
MC: I would guess no.
JS: As sad as it makes me, I think that’s Nym’s swansong. When Arya said “that’s not you,” it was her realizing Nymeria is a wild animal now. She’ll stick to causing havoc in the Riverlands in the background.
TN: I don’t think Benioff and Weiss would have wasted screen time on Nymeria if we weren’t going to see her again.
7. With Theon and Yara losing their battle and Dany’s plan thrown into chaos, what do you think they do next? Now she just has the Tyrells, Unsullied, and Dothraki. Oh, and three dragons.
DL: I think this will be interesting going forward. Losing the Greyjoy and Dorne armies in one swoop was a brutal blow to Dany’s plans. However, if Dany is able to take over Casterly Rock with the help of the Unsullied, that’ll be a brutal blow to her enemies. The only question is, does she have enough Westerosi support now to move forward without using the Dothraki and Unsullied to take King’s Landing?
SB: Rather than sit back and pick people off one by one, they are going to need to go on the offensive. The trailer for next week shows as much and who wins that battle doesn’t really inspire confidence for either side. An alliance with the North may be forthcoming as well.
AB: It’s a big loss for Dany, no question. Some of Yara’s fleet was seemingly taking the Unsullied to Casterly Rock, so Dany may still have some ships to work with, but her navy’s definitely lessened, and vulnerable to Euron’s fleet. And she may have lost her Dornish support with Ellaria’s capture, and the Randyll Tarly scene suggests that not all those sworn to House Tyrell are on her side.
That may push Dany to bolder action, though. If her troops are successful at Casterly Rock, there may be more of a case to drive on King’s Landing than try the siege they initially planned. Or perhaps this will combine with Jon’s visit to compel Dany to turn North to The Wall.
AP: Given how the show set up Dany’s conversation with Olenna Tyrell, I think this ends with the type of all-out attack on King’s Landing that Dany and Tyrion were hesitant to launch. Without ample ships to stage a siege and starve out Cersei, Dany and company might have no choice but to call in the Dothraki (and the dragons).
Now here’s a theory for you: What if Olenna, displeased with Dany and Tyrion’s proposed course of action, tipped of Euron about where he could find Ellaria and Yara? How else would he have known Ellaria was on the ship?
MC: That’s a great question, and her meeting with Jon could help give us more clarity here.
JS: The Reach is turning on the Tyrells as well. In the show, the Tarlys are the Tyrell’s strongest banner men. If the Tyrells lose the Tarlys, they’ll be left exposed, and Dany will be without her Westerosi army (again, a PR nightmare). This’ll certainly push Dany to ally with Jon and the North.
TN: I think this attack will make Dany rethink her strategy of non-violence. Now she knows Cersei is at least somewhat more powerful than she thought with Euron and his crew fighting for her.
8. Is Theon one of the worst characters on the show? Would he have died if he went after Euron for Yara? Probably yes. But just jumping off the ship? Also, will we see him again?
DL: Theon is a tough character to critique because he has been through so much. However, after all he has been through, him jumping off the ship was a pretty lousy way to escape. I would’ve liked it better if he went at Euron, got knocked off the ship, and “played dead” in order to escape. And yes, we will most likely see him again.
SB: I don’t think Theon is one of the worst characters. The guy has been through a lot and survived. He has PTSD of some sort and is still heavily traumatized. He would have gotten his ass kicked by Euron so leaving the boat was the savvy move. I think he will get picked up by someone we haven’t seen in a while. Only making the reunion back at Dragonstone all the more interesting.
AB: I think this actually made some sense for Theon. Part of it seemed to be a flashback to his previous torture that made him freeze up, and it’s hard to think he’d win a fight with Euron in that state or any state. Jumping may have saved Theon’s life, and it may also have saved Yara’s life; it seems likely Euron would have just cut her throat if Theon went for him. With him out of the picture, her fate’s a little more uncertain. And I think Theon still may have a role to play. His sister once tried to save him from captivity; if she stays alive, maybe he’ll find a way to return the favor.
AP: I think Theon is an extremely compelling character. He’s full of self-hate, and that’s only going to grow now that he has essentially betrayed his sister, who was so loyal to him.
MC: Theo is a broken man from severe psychological and physical abuse. It was sad to watch it all unfold as he let Euron take Yara, but we have to keep in mind everything he went through. That has to be incredibly difficult to overcome. But we’ll see him again, and I bet he does actually play a hero at some point.
JS: This isn’t Theon’s goodbye. He’s on a redemption arc, and I’m predicting he’ll kill Euron. Remember, Reek is still in there, so Theon’s incredibly fragile. He’s a broken man. Also, what was Theon supposed to do? If he moves toward Euron, Yara’s dead. So he jumped. A coward, yes, but the worst character? Ellaria Sand would like a word.
TN: Theon is the worst character on the show at the moment. He almost certainly would have died if he went after Euron, but god damn dude. Saving your sister from your washed-up, late 90’s, pop punk frontman uncle seems like an OK cause to die for. What are you gonna do in the ocean? The fish don’t like cowards either.
SEMI-SPOILER WARNING – The final two questions discuss the trailer for episode 3, do not read them if you don’t want to be “spoiled.”
9. So we know next week the Unsullied will attack Casterly Rock based on the trailer, how do you think that’ll go and will we see any major characters die?
DL: I would be absolutely shocked if the Unsullied have any issues taking over Casterly Rock, but then again this is a show that made its mark on the world by killing off main characters with ease. As for will any major characters die, maybe Grey Worm? But I doubt it.
SB: The safe money here is that, yes, someone will die. It won’t be someone like Jamie, but Grey Worm or Bronn feel like likely deaths. Grey Worm getting a love scene this week doesn’t bode well for his continued life on the show.
AB: I’m interested to see that fight. It’s a different kind of terrain for the Unsullied, and one the Lannister forces are used to, but the Unsullied are certainly tough fighters. I think the main character in some peril is Grey Worm; I hope the show doesn’t kill him off, as he’s brought interesting perspective to many of the Dany arcs, but I could see it happening.
AP: I think the Unsullied will win a pretty easy victory. I don’t think Grey Worm is long for this world, but he probably makes it through this battle.
MC: Right when the conversation started between Grey Worm and Missandei, my reaction was, “Grey Worm is going to die at Casterly Rock.” There seemed to be some foreshadowing going on. I hope to be wrong on that one though.
JS: It’s mentioned earlier in the show that Tyrion used to run the sewers in Casterly Rock. This has been a theory with the books for years, but they’ll use that to take over the Rock. The only named character that I suspect will be there is Grey Worm, and he had a “goodbye” scene this episode, so…maybe? I don’t know. I think Dany’s lost enough right now.
TN: I like the Unsullied’s chances here. I’m not even sure who would be at Casterly Rock at this point. Is Grey Worm gonna go? He might die, I guess.
10. What will the Jon and Dany meet-up be like? What do you think will happen? Will Jon bend the knee? Will Dany agree and go help him?
DL: I think it’ll be absolutely fantastic. After Tyrion meeting Dany, this is the next major introduction for Dany to Westeros. I honestly think the meeting will play out like this: Jon tells Dany he needs dragon glass, Dany says bend the knee, Jon refuses and says he will only if they are successful against the Night King’s army. After all, Jon knows that bending a knee to Dany would mean nothing if the Night King wins.
SB: Jon is an honorable guy, he will likely do the right thing. What is it, though? He doesn’t like the Lannisters and from what he hears, the Targaryens aren’t much better. I think they are going to team up in someway, but the stipulation is that if he helps with the war in the South, they will then help out with the war in the North. Or possibly vice a versa. It is tough to really feel out what is going to happen there. Either way, they will have to team up
AB: This should be a key moment for the series, and I think it won’t be easy at first between them. Dany wants to be queen of the whole Seven Kingdoms, including the North, while Jon is much more concerned about the Night King and his army. They do need each other’s help, though, and I think Tyrion, Varys, and perhaps even Melisandre may play a role in forging an eventual alliance. At the very least, I think Jon gets his dragonglass, but I could also see Dany (or at least part of her army) turning North with him.
AP: The Jon and Dany meet-up will be tense. These two have very different objectives: Dany is focused on Westeros, while Jon is looking North of The Wall. Knowing Jon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bend the knee (in exchange for dragon glass) and then get yelled at some more by his Northern constituents who have no interest at all in Daenerys.
MC: This moment is going to be awesome and I do actually expect it to go well for both parties, despite many being concerned it goes horribly wrong.
JS: There may be some initial tension, but they need each other so I suspect they’ll get past most of that quickly. They don’t really even want the same things. Jon doesn’t want the throne, Dany does. Jon wants dragon glass and allies, both of which Dany is happy to provide. The only contention will be Jon’s title as King in the North. He doesn’t want it, but he’ll be driven to keep it by the Northerners. For this reason, Jon won’t bend the knee, at least not yet. But I suspect they will become allies.
TN: I don’t think Jon will have an issue kneeling before Dany, but convincing her to help him with the White Walkers might be a tougher task. It’s not clear whether she’d believe him. Or feel the urgency. But they will have to eventually work together for the plot to move forward, so smart money is on them finding some sort of common ground.
Episode 3 “The Queen’s Justice” airs this Sunday on HBO. This is the description for the episode released by HBO: Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) holds court; Cersei (Lena Headey) returns a gift; Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.
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