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‘Game of Thrones’: Everything you need to know about ‘The Queen’s Justice’

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

‘Game of Thrones’ season 7, episode 3 is titled “The Queen’s Justice” and we have everything you need to know about what that means.

Game of Thrones has always chosen its episode titles with extreme care. Sometimes episodes are named after book titles, like season six’s finale “The Winds of Winter,” sometimes they’re named after songs we’ve heard, such as season three’s “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” and sometimes they’re named after places and people, like in season five’s “Hardhome” or the season seven premiere “Dragonstone.” In almost every instance, the episode title has a sort of double meaning.

Last week, we saw ‘Stormborn’ (S7E2) draw on the origins of Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) nickname, her Targaryen lineage, and how it has shaped her past and what that all might mean for her future. There was also Cersei’s intent to literally kill a dragon, and finally Melisandre’s belief in her role in the prophecy of The Long Night. We could even add Euron (Pilou Asbæk) attacking his niece and nephew to the title considering the Greyjoy penchant for stormy seas and what the potential loss of Dorne (it should be House Martell but they’re all dead but I’m a purist) means to Dany’s cause.

This week’s Game of Thrones episode title “The Queen’s Justice” is a bit more straightforward, but as vague as ever. It can easily be concluded that the title references Cersei (Lena Headey). And that makes perfect sense. Euron clearly intends to offer Ellaria (Indira Varma) and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) as his gift. Except there are a few wrenches in this as the basic view of the episode. For one thing according to the three sentence official episode synopsis:

“Daenerys holds court. Cersei returns a gift. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.

Written for television by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Mark Mylod.”

So Cersei returns her gift. Is it a mercy as a means to earn Dorne’s support? A way to keep pushing Euron to do more (there’s still that dragon horn)? Or perhaps Cersei cannot bear to do what Ellaria has done to her? Does Cersei get her justice some other way? It’s certainly worth looking into all of these things because Cersei is a complicated person and her actions are never as irrational as they seem (as opposed to Dany who listens to the person who spoke last, which in this case was Lady Olenna).

There’s also the additional fact that there are three queen’s currently, all with varying degrees of justice needed. Though, if we count Lady Olenna’s (Diana Rigg) title as “Queen of Thorns” then that’s four. However, since Olenna’s justice is intimately tied to Cersei’s death – no doubt – it seems fair that we can exclude her from the particular intent here (however, I believe she does want to teach Dany a lesson despite her sage advice), though she is certainly entitled to whatever justice befits the loss of her entire family should the opportunity arrive. In which case the three queens the title is likely referencing are: Cersei, Dany, and Sansa (Sophie Turner).

Cersei

As previously stated above, Cersei seems the most likely candidate for the subject of this week’s episode. But Game of Thrones is sneaky (I mean, did anyone think Arya (Maisie Williams) didn’t know that Winterfell was home again? Because we sure didn’t!). And by using these vague synopses to tell us that she refuses the gift, we continue to know nothing and yet have a better idea of…something. Still, perhaps there is justice in being able to pardon Ellaria and her daughter. She needs allies now more than ever and everyone has been in agreement that Cersei gets what she wants through fear. And her achievements in doing so are nothing short of admirable.

There’s also the strong possibility that the attack on Casterly Rock is almost certainly some kind of trap. Let’s assume for a moment this is some kind of revision of the moment in GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire series when Cersei sends Loras to secure Dragonstone. He ends up fatally wounded but he is alive when we last hear of him. Depending on what’s waiting at Casterly Rock, Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) could find himself in a similar situation – they could secure the castle, but it will cost Dany greatly. This isn’t exactly justice, but considering Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) involvement it changes the narrative a bit. As Dany’s Hand it is unlikely he’ll travel to his ancestral home to watch it be destroyed but just the fact that Tyrion’s information is potentially wrong is the start of Cersei getting back at her brother. And we do hear him in the trailer say something about them knowing they’re coming.

Then, of course there’s the addition of Jaime in the episode synopsis. What mistakes is he learning from? There are so many! I so hope and pray that this lesson finally pushes him away from his sister once and for all. We deserve the Jaime in the books now more than ever! What makes this particular inclusion interesting is the larger focus on siblings lately. Just in terms of the tense dynamic between Jaime and Cersei, Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa and recently Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Theon (Alfie Allen). The brothers have been helping their sisters each to varying degrees of success. Theon was the first to literally abandon ship (and there’s plenty of ways to speculate what that means for his redemption he can be a coward and still do the right thing) but Jaime has every reason to do the same.

Which brings us to Dany’s plausible stance as the queen in the title.

Daenerys

There was quite a bit of focus on the long-awaited Dany/Jon meeting in the promo for this Game of Thrones episode. So much so, that it has dominated every conversation lately. In episode 2, we saw Dany agree with Tyrion’s assessment of Jon and have him summoned to Dragonstone. Her one stipulation was that he would do so to bend the knee.

She was in rare form in that episode and as petty as ever. Tyrion did summon him, but if you’ll notice, he knows Jon better than to need to make a demand like that and subsequently left it out of his official letter.

Dany and Jon need each other but I sincerely do not see Jon bowing before Dany and swearing himself to her. For all intents and purposes she is a foreign adversary and for another the North would literally have Jon’s head. What’s exciting about this meeting is that all three potential “dragons”/Targaryens will finally be in the same room at once – Dany, Jon and possibly Tyrion.

Except the only one of them who knows they’re a Targaryen is Dany. This is where things start to get a little complicated. Last week, we saw Tyrion try to dispel the tension between Dany and Varys (Conleth Hill). He didn’t like her antagonizing him. What’s more in the very next scene Tyrion used the fact that he is an excellent judge of character (i:e believing in Dany’s cause) to convince Dany that Jon was trustworthy. The thing is, Tyrion very likely misjudged this one. Everyone expects Varys to betray her and face a fiery death. But what if it’s Tyrion who finds cause to  withdraw his counsel? Olenna essentially told Dany not to listen to him later in the episode and Tyrion most definitely won’t like being railroaded when Dany changes her mind on their plans. He already seems to be having misgivings. Jon’s entrance as a player in the game could certainly shift the board. But you’re probably wondering what would make Tyrion abandon Dany?

Well that’s tied to the justice she is very likely after. If Jon will not bend the knee then the two are just going to have to broker some kind of deal so Jon can have the dragonglass and Dany can be assured of his loyalty. And what kind of gift would be suitable for The Mother of Dragons?

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Conleth Hill as Varys – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

It stands to reason that Dany wants justice for her father’s death. She knows he was a poor ruler but that doesn’t change the fact that he was murdered by none other than Jaime Lannister aka the Kingslayer. This offers a really interesting plot point because without the inclusion of Lady Stoneheart Jaime and – not so surpassingly – Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) have a been a bit off-kilter. In the books Lady Stoneheart pardons Brienne under the stipulation that she bring Jaime to her to suffer his fate for failing to return Sansa and Arya. Of course that’s not exactly what happened but Lady Stoneheart isn’t exactly interested in semantics. This is problematic on every level because of the feelings Jaime and Brienne so clearly have for each other (They do! You can fight me…No wait, actually you can fight Nikolaj and Gwendoline too!).

It’s a reasonable request from Dany to want proof of loyalty from Jon, and one he technically would have no trouble finagling. Jon could return to the North and announce the next steps. He’ll see nothing wrong with exchanging Jaime for the dragonglass, because the world depends on it. And honor would compel Brienne to accept the task because of all the trust and mutual respect and love the two share, though it will devastate her to do so – my heart hurts thinking about it! Also, it makes sense for Jaime to end up at Winterfell because his redemption would be incomplete without acknowledging what he did to Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). Things get complicated though because should Jaime be successfully brought before Dany, Tyrion also owes Jaime for saving his life and the two brother have always been close. Jaime is the rock and a hard place for so many characters and if his allegiances change it stands to reason several others’ will as well.

There’s also great opportunity for a juxtaposition of queens here in that Cersei may not be as merciless as she seems whereas Dany definitely has like two mercies left and Varys already used one. And as an added bonus, Dany getting Jaime would help destabilize Cersei’s rule.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister – Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO via HBO Media Relations

But addressing my question above about what would make Tyrion abandon Dany, he joined Dany’s fight because he wants to kill Cersei first, and because he believes in Dany second. But it’s hard not to see Jon’s cause as the more noble of the two. Jon isn’t after a Throne and he made that clear when he said he accepted being named King in the North, but he never wanted it. Tyrion also brought up that Dany doesn’t want to be “Queen of the ashes” which means the realm needs to be around for the ruler of it to matter. Even if he was angry with the people of King’s Landing for turning on him during his trial after he saved all their lives in the Battle of the Blackwater. He might resent them but he’s still a man of the people (albeit not quite on Varys level since there was a bit more privilege in Tyrion’s life) and he’ll want to set his sights on fighting the Night’s King.

Sansa

I’d like to believe Sansa finally finds a way to get rid of Littlefinger (Aidan Gillan). She has asked for so little but that makes her the biggest mystery of this episode. Perhaps her justice is simply the validation of being acknowledged as a Stark and a worthy leader to remain in charge of the North.

Whatever it is judgments will clearly be passed that continue to change the course of everything!

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