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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7, Episode 3 Recap: ‘The Queen’s Justice’

Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth and Kit Harington as Jon Snow – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

‘Game of Thrones’ did what it’s best at in “The Queen’s Justice”: Arguments, reunions, deaths and more.

Where last week’s Game of Thrones episode asked “what makes a good leader,” this week’s episode tried to answer that question while finding a whole host of new ones to ask in the process.

Game of Thrones wanted us to understand two things after tonight’s episode. The first is that belief is quite possibly the greatest asset known to humans. And the other is that certain types of beliefs are poisonous. The issue is figuring out which is which and weeding it out as quickly as possible.

In “The Queen’s Justice,” (S7E3) we saw just how strong a sense of belief really is. It pushed characters forward. Held characters back. Belief in Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) cause gives those that follow her a reason to keep going. Finding something to believe in – even if is simply yourself – isn’t easy. Which is why when we find that thing we hold onto it for dear life. And learning to change your beliefs comes with all sorts of growing pains.

Considering that the focal point of the episode focused heavily on the first meeting between Dany and Jon (Kit Harington), and how neither was willing to submit to the other. Dany’s belief in herself is so righteous at this point, she can see nothing else but the Iron Throne. While Jon worried that he had failed the North just by believing Dany was worth allying himself with and the disbelief about what he knows about the army of White Walkers that everyone treated the truths he was telling.

I am more preoccupied by my belief that Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is a good man underneath the trash heap Game of Thrones insists on dumping on him. A wise man did once say that you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it. Not quite sure what this means for my choice to believe that something that happened in tonight’s episode was the turning point for Jaime we should have seen in season four. I could probably devote an entire feature to Jaime, but my disappointment in him only skims the surface of the whole host of emotions this week’s Game of Thrones left me feeling.

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

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For the record, I almost completely misjudged this week’s episode because I disregarded one character in particular. I do still think the theory in this week’s speculation has merit and I’m going to keep coming up with potential episode plots and enjoy being surprised! This is the part where I tell you that “Spoilers are coming.” So if that’s something you want to avoid you should probably stop reading now. To protect your potentially unsullied eyes I’ve included a fun video! For everyone else head on down to see if Euron (Pilou Asbæk) remembered to give Cersei a gift receipt with that present of his.

Winterfell

I know the episode ended here, but I waited all episode to find out how Sansa (Sophie Turner) was turning and the payoff was so worth it that I can’t wait to talk about it. And good news, The Queen in the North is actually good at managing a castle. She took her lessons seriously and it’ll pay off if they make it through the winter!

I mean, I always believed in her! So ha ha to everyone who seems to think Sansa has some nefarious agenda. I mean sure she needs to get rid of Littlefinger because his motives are always questionable at best. But for all the talk of undermining and claiming that her smile at the end of “Stormborn” (S7E2) meant something dastardly was afoot instead of seeing it for the pure reaction to being validated for once.

So can we stop hating Sansa, damn it! She knows more than anyone gives her credit for and if that wasn’t a big enough of a win we were rewarded with a reunion! Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) rolled up to Winterfell and it was… Well, actually it was really odd. Sansa couldn’t hold back her tears, but Bran didn’t reciprocate the hug.

Later, when they were sitting next to the Weirwood, Bran was distant. The body language was awesome, with Sansa in the snow with knees up to her chest. She’s not just happy, she’s relaxed and it was magical! Bran tells her that he has something to tell Jon and we all know what that is but that’s just about the only direct thing Bran says for the duration of their conversation. She tells Bran that he’s lord of Winterfell now. He tells her he can’t be because he’s the Three-Eyed Raven, and the only explanation he offers is “it’s difficult to explain,” which has since been discovered to be the perfect response to everything. Then he makes things really awkward by bringing up Sansa’s wedding night.

I think Bran meant it’s difficult to believe because the explanation is pretty simple. But he was so obtuse considering he knew what happened to her. I’m legitimately concerned, but I don’t have much of an explanation to offer. Maybe Meera (Ellie Kendrick) can provide some insight. I’d love for Sansa and Meera to become friends (don’t kill her please!!!).

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Aidan Gillen as Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

The most interesting thing about the whole scene was the little speech Littlefinger (Aidan Gillan) gave Sansa right before Bran’s arrival. His exact words are “Don’t fight in the north or the south. Fight every battle, everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.” It seems like he’s telling the secret of his ways and Sansa is taken aback by the magnitude of all of it.

I feel like this was directly connected to Bran’s return and, in its own way, a possible reasoning for his behavior because that’s exactly how Bran lives. Everything is happening at once. The past and present collide on a constant basis. Perhaps Bran didn’t mean to upset Sansa talking about her wedding to Ramsay. Perhaps he was thinking of another wedding he saw?

The Citadel

Sam (John Bradley-West) is on his way to becoming an amazing Maester! He essentially put Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) in a type of Grayscale remission. Archmaester Ebrose (Jim Broadbent) was ever the mentor in that situation showing only a hint of being impressed amid his displeasure. It was a risky move and he won’t let Sam apologize for it because Jorah is alive (and no longer needs to write that goodbye letter to Dany, but can instead stand by her side) now because of him.

The Blackwater

Theon (Alfie Allen) would normally get a brief mention in the section below because his part in this episode was so quick. There’s not much to make of it. He’s rescued by one of the two ships that escaped Eruon’s attack. The captain approaches a freezing Theon asking about Yara (Gemma Whelan). Theon confirms she’s alive (which we see for ourselves when Yara and her uncle arrive in King’s Landing).

The captain isn’t impressed with Theon’s story that he escaped Euron when his sister couldn’t. He tries to claim that he tried to save her, but these men know Euron. The captain blows on giant hole in Theon’s story saying that if he’d tried he wouldn’t be alive and he’s left to feel shameful for his choices, shivering on the deck of the ship.

Theon’s level of self-preservation is really the hallmark of the whole scene and worth more than a moment’s notice. He reminds me of Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galatica (I feel like I may have mentioned this somewhere last season too) who survived by constantly putting himself first and when he couldn’t do that relying on the will of others believing in his lies. Gaius fairs off considerably well at the end of the show, which seems less likely for Theon whose redemption is likely tied up in giving his life for a Stark. He owes Robb one.

King’s Landing

Euron was my guilty pleasure again this episode for about….hmm…maybe 2 whole minutes. The position of problematic faves 1 and 2 are already filled by Jaime and Cersei, respectively, unless I boot Cersei – which she seriously came close in this episode – there are currently no vacancies. Also, Euron clearly has a death wish in the way he keeps making comments to Jaime.

Yara and Cersei’s gift are chained up and paraded through the streets and Euron makes his way to the Red Keep. It’s all very self-congratulatory. And Euron is even the one to invoke the name of the episode – though if it was truly Cersei’s justice that the title is referring to is debatable – while Cersei looks satisfyingly at Ellaria (Indira Varma) and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers).

Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

Cersei promised that Euron will have what he wants – aka her – after they win the war. Jaime looks at her surprised she accepted so easily or I don’t know, maybe I have no idea what Jaime is thinking anymore. He and Euron share a few barbed remarks back and forth and that’s when I lost in the fun Euron brought to the scene. Can everyone stop antagonizing Jaime?

Jaime shows up in another area later so there’s still plenty to unpack, but I hate what this episode might have meant for his character development. Why can’t Game of Thrones let him be the knight I know is?! The man Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) sees inside? (Fun thing to do, sing that last two sentences to the tune of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King… Because you know he’s holding back, he’s hiding. From what? I can’t decide. But really the joke works because he is a lion…ha ha ha…I am not handling any of this well, someone help).

Granted the whole post-revenge sexy times that Cersei could lead to the books. Jaime did refuse her at first and he was embarrassed about how open she was being about the two of them. Is it too much to hope that this was the start of him pushing her away? Is it too late for that?

Anyway, Cersei gets her revenge while wearing a lovely shade of pink lipstick. I have to be completely honest. This week’s episode synopsis indicated that Cersei returns her gift. As it turned out, that was a bit of a misconception. She really returned Ellaria’s favor. It’s an emotionally wrought scene where Cersei gets to my favorite thing that she does so well. Talk, about motherhood. She becomes this completely other person when she speaks of her children and it’s far more mesmerizing than her more manipulative moments. Cersei championed motherhood, and so while Ellaria made her choices and eventually faced the same consequences, I for some reason expected Cersei to take the high road.

I know, I know that was a bit crazy considering this is also a woman who feels that her youngest son’s suicide was a betrayal. Plus she wouldn’t really be living up to her reputation if she didn’t exact revenge, that doesn’t stop the fact that I was unhappy with this choice.

Now, see what I did there? I acknowledged that I was misled by a belief in a character I tend to think very highly of. Cersei crossed a line and I’m reevaluating my feelings about her being queen. Would Dany fans justify her actions in the same situation?

Dragonstone

This was a tremendous moment in Game of Thrones history. Dany and Jon met for the first time and it went exactly as badly as I anticipated. Wait, did people think this would go well? That the two would run across the beach to each other and embrace like long-lost aunt and nephew and then they’d ride off into the sunset on dragons? Ha! Are we talking about the same Dany? Irrational, quick to anger, possibly mad Dany? Because the Dany I know would definitely threaten to do something as evil as keep Jon Snow as her prisoner when he failed to swear fealty to House Targaryen. If her tantrum-y pettiness wasn’t enough of a turn off last week, this week we got entitled brat too.

Davos (Liam Cunningham) was a total scene stealer and I want more of him doing stuff like that. Jon for his part did not come to be reprimanded (which was funny because Dany was so mad when he called her a child, it was fantastic!) because he refused to do something that’s completely irrelevant to the problems they’ll be facing sooner than later.

Loved the introduction scene! Not just because it was so funny, but because it reminded me of so many things. Still, a bit surprised Davos didn’t launch into the opening lines of Hamilton for Jon’s introduction, but I suppose Lin-Manuel Miranda doesn’t exist in Westeros (he should, it would be a better place if he was there!). But a former smuggler turned Hand introducing a bastard to the Queen with a 1,000 names was the perfect juxtaposition of both how extra Dany is (despite feeling the need to list off everything that happened to her to get her where she is today and make her believe in herself and blah blah blah the rape scene was consensual in the books D&D can suck it!) and how Jon is the total opposite.

It reminded me of scenes in comicbook movies between the hero and the villain (hmmm there’s that v word again). Jon looked like Superman in the scene to me, a simple guy, full of hope and just asking for help from the one person who should understand, because you know she has giant dragon children. Also, she thinks she’s the last Targaryen, which was funnnnnnyyyy and by that I mean like completely wrong. Literally could not be farther from the truth. Whoa Dany, sweetie, are you in a for a shock! After this whole back and forth do people really think she’ll up and marry Jon if his lineage is proven to be true? How would he even prove that besides having Bran’s “difficult to explain” Three-eyed Raven knowledge? See, I think Dany will see Jon as competition, even though he’s a bastard and what not, and try to kill him because she’s awful. I mean evil…Both.

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) does what he does best, he makes some really sassy remarks for like 90% of the episode and then negotiates a deal between Dany and Jon, while she deals with the immediate crisis of the loss of the Greyjoys and Dorne, he gets his dragonglass. Side note: Jon hates doing what he does best, which confused me because I thought he liked brooding. But in all seriousness this was very telling and we should all make about six or seven notes of it for the future.

Conleth Hill as Varys and Carice van Houten as Melisandre – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

In any case, Jon gets to mine for his dragonglass and Dany may or may not get an ally. Also worth noting, that she mentioned Jon’s father aka her brother twice. First in the Throne Room and then later when she spoke about her dragons, which was all tied up nicely with the return of Bran to Winterfell. Suppose Jon is in for a shock too, assuming he makes it back before the dead breach the wall.

Actually, speaking of eerie foreshadowing. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Varys (Conleth Hill) had an interesting moment on the cliffs on Dragonstone. Varys tried to make threats about Melisandre’s choice to head to Volantis, but she stopped him. Informing him that she will return one last time and they’re both to die in this strange country. He was shook.

High Garden

Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and the Unsullied successfully capture Casterly Rock, thanks to Tyrion’s knowledge of the sewers. There isn’t much there, and the Unsullied won’t be able to hold the stronghold long. But Jaime and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and the rest of the Lannister army have set their sights on High Garden.

Cersei owes the Iron Bank a considerable debt. She promises Mark Gatiss she’ll pay it in full. The answer to how comes in the form of seizure of High Garden. Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) is the only Tyrell left. She accepts her fate and she and Jaime have a chat about everything from pleas to leave Cersei (dear gods Jaime listen to her!). Every scene Jaime gets to have without Cersei is winning battle (both literally and figuratively actually). He’s just so much better away from her! He doesn’t, however, acknowledge Olenna’s claim that he loves her. Still, it’s sweet, wonderful Jaime who sees to it that Olenna is allowed to die with dignity.

She drinks her poison and then lays down her own justice in only the way Game of Thrones cana quiet character death scene and an actress like Diana Rigg can do. Confirming once and for all that she killed Joffrey. Farewell Queen of Thorns.

Three-Eyed Raven Observations:

  • Not enough Brienne or Lyanna Mormont or Bronn to earn this episode a full A grade but still fantastic otherwise.
  • Jon ducking from a dragon was absolutely hilarious! Also confidential that it happened moments after he said he wasn’t a Stark.
  • Melisandre said she completed her job by bringing fire and ice together.
  • The Rains of Castamere playing behind Jaime as he walked through High Garden was probably my favorite cinematography moment of the whole episode.
  • Clegane Bowl: No updates this week.
  • Death Scorecard: Tyene and Lady Olenna were poisoned for completely different reasons.
  • Ice Dragon: With Bran in Winterfell it’s possible he already knows how The Wall falls and that’s what has him so despondent. We’re possibly one step closer now that Jon has met Dany.
  • Gendry Watch: Arya is heading home. Maybe the BWB picked him up along the way and there will be a huge reunion at Winterfell where I cry all the tears?

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And be sure to check out all the great GoT content we’ll be rolling out weekly! What did you think of the of the episode? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!