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In the weeks before season seven, Game of Thrones fans were already anticipating a new potential romance: Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) and Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), seen in previews locking lips. It says a lot about the latest episode that their tragically timed kiss barely registers on the list of seismic events.
Yara and Ellaria’s anticipated encounter was cut short thanks to Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) and his great war ship, Silence, sailing in at the worst possible moment. The result: two dead Sand Snakes, tons of dead Iron Islanders, a slew of hostages including Yara and Ellaria, and a cowardly Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) off on his own in the middle of the ocean, simultaneously channeling both Leonardo DiCaprio and Billy Zane circa Titanic.
Of course, it’s also a huge win for Euron and the newest object of his affections: Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). As promised, Euron sailed out and retrieved a glorious gift for his queen. How that translates in regards to his marriage proposal? That’s a matter for the next episode. For now, the Pirate King of the Iron Islands gets to enjoy the spoils of war.
Here are six other major moments from “Stormborn.”
At Dragonstone, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) makes a new friend: Melisandre (Carice van Houten). The Red Woman arrives with an eye toward uniting Dany and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), both of whom she believes will play instrumental roles in the great war to come. When Melisandre speaks of “the prince who was promised,” Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) points out that the High Valyrian word for “prince” is gender-neutral, leaving the door wide open for Dany to fulfill this prophesied promise. It’s another point in the column of those who believe the title for the George R.R. Martin novels on which Thrones is based, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” refers to both Jon and Daenerys. Expect more elaboration on that point when the two figures finally meet next week.
The Spider’s Web
It’s not the flashiest moment of the episode, perhaps, but it’s one that deserves its share of praise: the first full conversation between Dany and Varys (Conleth Hill). Really, the episode is filled with moments where characters call each other out on past grievances, such as when Ellaria and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) clash over how the Sand Snakes killed his niece in season five. For her part, Dany still nurses a grudge against Varys for his service to the Baratheon regime, so much so that it almost seemed as if she was going to cast the Master of Whispers out right then and there, if not worse. True to form, Varys masterfully articulates his position, promising that he serves “the people,” and will never blindly follow a cruel ruler. “If you ever betray me, I’ll burn you alive,” she promises. His smiling reply — “I would expect nothing less from the Mother of Dragons” — tells us that neither one of them will have to worry about Varys meeting a fiery end at Dany’s command.
Casterly Rock and Roll
In the cold light of day, Daenerys‘ robust roster of advisors meet together and discuss next steps. After some initial disagreements, Tyrion presents a plan everyone agrees on: Yara and Ellaria will round up troops from Dorne to surround and hold King’s Landing (so much for that), while Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) will lead the Unsullied and the Dothraki on a mission to conquer Casterly Rock, House Lannister’s ancestral home. For the first time, the show is promising an upcoming excursion to the place where Tyrion and his siblings grew up — a location still unseen in the books, by the way. Time to place the upcoming Casterly Rock seige on the growing list of season seven’s extensive battle scenes.
Take a Bow
Even as Tyrion plots to win his home back from his sweet sister, Cersei puts some wheels of her own in motion. Beyond the great victory against the Greyjoy fleet, Cersei and Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser) discuss another possible strike against House Targaryen. Qyburn demonstrates the effectiveness of a massive crossbow against an ancient dragon skull, giving us our first indication yet that the Lannisters might have options if the Breaker of Chains brings her three fire-breathing children to bear upon the greater Seven Kingdoms.
A Time For Wolves
Nymeria is dead. Long live Nymeria! What we lost in Nymeria Sand (Jessica Henwick), we gained in the return of Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) oldest friend: Hot Pie. Err, scratch that, though it was great to see Arya’s baker buddy again. (And he’s into Survivor, too! Who would’ve thought!) It was even better to check in on Nymeria the direwolf, absent from Thrones ever since Arya sent her into exile back in the second episode of the series. It’s a brief interaction between the two old compatriots, and could potentially even serve as their final interaction, if the scene was only meant to further reinforce just how far away from her roots Arya has strayed. Even if she returns to Winterfell, will she ever be truly recognizable to the others in her pack?
For the second week in a row, the Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) storyline came equipped with the grossest moment of the evening. No bedpans were used in the making of this episode, but bodily fluids were flowing nonetheless, thanks to Sam performing surgery on Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). Apparently, all it takes to cure greyscale is a scalpel, some ointment, something to bite down on for the pain and to stifle the screaming, and a huge vat of rum. At least, that’s how it should work according to Sam’s text. Whether or not it actually cures Jorah is another matter entirely. We’re good either way, just as long as we never see that yellow puss oozing from Ser Mormont again.
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