Tyrion has sent a raven to Jon at Winterfell, asking him to meet with Daenerys and bend the knee. Sansa suggests that it could be a trap but Jon believes that the raven is real because Tyrion has ended his note with: “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes,” which is what Tyrion said to Jon on the night they first met. Jon asks Sansa what she thinks, since she knows Tyrion better than any of them, and she tells him that Tyrion was always kind to her and is not like the other Lannisters. Even though Sansa doesn’t believe that Tyrion is plotting against them, she still thinks it too great a risk for Jon to go to Dragonstone. Davos agrees but notes that, if Daenerys has dragons, their dragon fire could be exactly what they need to fight the army of undead.
Later, Jon receives a raven from Sam at the Citadel. He calls a meeting of the lords and ladies of the North and tells them that Sam has discovered that Dragonstone sits on a mountain of dragonglass. He also tells them about the raven he received from Tyrion and that he’s decided to accept the invitation to come to Dragonstone. Sansa is shocked at his decision but Jon believes it’s the only way that they will be able to get the dragon glass they need to fight the undead. He also believes that an alliance with Daenerys will benefit the North, not only because she has dragons but also because she has an army to bolster the northern forces against the White Walkers.
Jon says that he and Davos plan to sail for Dragonstone but Sansa objects, reminding him that the Targaryens have burned the Starks before (quite literally). Sansa believes it’s a trap and the northern lords agree with her—the Targaryens and Lannisters cannot be trusted. Lyanna Mormont stands and tells Jon that they need the King in the North to remain in the north. Jon stands by his decision but he tells the lords and ladies that he’s leaving Sansa in charge of the North while he’s away. Littlefinger is lurking in the corner, as usual, and flashes Sansa one of his classic smirks. Brienne looks up at Sansa with pride that she will be Queen in the North in Jon’s absence.
Jon goes to the crypts to visit Ned’s tomb for a moment of quiet contemplation before leaving for Dragonstone. He’s interrupted by Littlefinger who has come to do some ass kissing. Jon isn’t interested in anything Littlefinger has to say, however complimentary. Littlefinger tells Jon he’s not his enemy, but he pushes Jon a bit to far when he tells him that he loves Sansa at he once loved Cat. Jon grabs Littlefinger by the throat and tells him he’ll kill him if he touches Sansa. Jon storms out of the crypts and leaves for Dragonstone with Davos, waving goodbye to Sansa who is now the Stark in Winterfell.
Off in the Landing that belongs to the King, Queen Cersei ‘Lady Satan’ Lannister has gathered the heads of all her most prominent houses from the Reach — including Sam’s dick-ass dad and brother, Randyll and Dickon Tarly respectively — to convince them to drop their loyalties to the rebellious House Tyrell and swear allegiance to the Crown to thwart Daenerys’ attempts at power. She does this, in true Cersei fashion, with a bit of a half-true white lie; she tells them all that the daughter of the Mad King has brought Dothraki and Unsullied savages to their shores to massacre and butcher the towns, like she did in Slaver’s Bay, and that the Tyrells support this ‘madwoman’. Randyll Tarly questions how they plan to stop her dragons, and Hand of the Queen ex-Maester Qyburn (AKA Igor) pipes up that they are currently exploring solutions to this small hurdle.
After the meeting, Royal Twin of the Queen Jaime approaches the Tarlies (and, just like all of us, can’t keep track of all these names and accidentally calls the recast Dickon ‘Rickon’) and thanks Randyll for arriving from Hornhill, even if it is out of fear of his queen, as his influence and standing is what brought all the other lords here. Sweet-talking him a bit on their stroll, Jaime praises his battle prowess and asks him to be his ranking general in their fight against the Targaryen/Martell/Lannister/Mormont/Tyrell/Unsullied/Dothraki melting-pot of an army. Randyll is not fully down with this idea, as he has sworn an oath to the Tyrells, but Jaime reminds him that his oath to the Crown is stronger and that the Tyrells are in open defiance of that. Playing that political game, he teases that once the war is won and the Queen of Thorns Olenna Tyrell is boosted from her seat, they’re tooootally gonna need a new Warden of the South… and who better to hold the title than House Tarly?
Later, Qyburn leads Cersei down into the cellars of the Red Keep to check out the show’s sick-ass budget in the form of multiple sizes of dragon skulls, which she hasn’t seen since her late husband Robert Baratheon had them removed from the throne room along with the Targaryens. She admits that, while she hadn’t been down here, Robert used to come look at his trophies — and, she assumes, to secretly bed whores in private, as well. They stop at the skull of the largest dragon: Balerion the Black Dread, the huge black creature that Aegon the Conqueror rode across the sea when he pulled the original Dany ‘take over everything’ move 300 years ago — and the same dragon that’s flames forged the Iron Throne. Given that such a powerful beast can die — albeit of old age, according to the books — and, with the knowledge that Drogon was injured in the Meereenese fighting pits with spears, Qyburn unveils his secret weapon: a gigantic catapult-sized crossbow that fires a high-speed spear. He demonstrates this by allowing a very pleased Cersei fire a practice bolt right between Balerion’s eyes, piercing and cracking the huge skull in the process.
Oldtown (The Citadel):
While his father meets with the Lannisters in King’s Landing, Samwell Tarly is helping Archmaester Ebrose examine Ser Jorah Mormont, the knight whose deadly greyscale is currently winning the battle. Ebrose tells Jorah that the infection has spread too far, and he should have cut off his arm the moment he was touched. Jorah asks how long he has, and is told that it could be decades before it kills him, but his mind will go in less than six months. Sam reminds Ebrose that his second cousin Princess Shireen Baratheon (bet you didn’t know that!) had greyscale, and it was cured. Ebrose chastises Sam for his lack of knowledge, and points out that Maester Cressen discovered Shireen’s greyscale as a baby immediately, while Jorah is a grown man with advanced progression. Ebrose allows Jorah one day before shipping him off to Old Valyria to live among the stone men, and alludes that ‘taking matters into his own hands’ may be in his best interests before exiting. Sam asks if they should send word to Jorah’s family, but Jorah tells him that he has been dead to the Mormonts for years. Sam realizes that Jorah is the son of his former Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, before Ebrose calls for him and he leaves as well.
Later, Ebrose is loading Sam up with a large stack of history texts. If he wants to write histories, he needs to do the research (thus further setting up the theory that Sam wrote A Song of Ice and Fire). After all, Ebrose isn’t writing the clunkily-titled A Chronicles of Wars Following the Death of King Robert the First so it can sit on shelves unread. Sam tells Ebrose that there are two cases of advanced greyscale being cured, and he may have found a way to treat Jorah. Ebrose points out that Archmaester Pylos, who wrote of these treatments, died of greyscale, and that the procedure is forbidden because of the inherent dangers involved.
In the middle of the night, Jorah pens a letter to his dear Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen, telling her of his travels to the Citadel and his impending death. Sam arrives with a cart of various supplies and tells Jorah that he is from the Night’s Watch, and he was with his father Jeor when he died. He informs Jorah that he is not dying today. He gives Jorah a skin of rum (after taking a swig himself) and tells him to brace himself, as this is going to hurt. He asks Jorah to disrobe and gives him a strap to bite down on; no one must hear him screaming. Jorah asks if he has done this before, and he admits he hasn’t but no one else will.
You ready for this?
In glorious closeup, Sam begins carving off the infected skin as Jorah tries his hardest not to scream. Yellowed pus leaks out of the wound as Sam saws away, tearing off infected strips of flesh.
In a disgusting cross-reference of the dragon-scale surgery, we transition into a visual of someone eating a bowl of what looks to be a pot-pie-type meal. It honestly made me want to swear off eating for the rest of my life. But the focus isn’t necessarily what is being eaten, but rather who’s eating it. The two men hovering over their food are loudly discussing Queen Satan – I mean Cersei, while at another table, it’s obvious that Arya Stark is listening in on the discussion. While she’s distracted, someone approaches her and calls her by her old nickname “Ary’,” and damn if it isn’t the one person I didn’t think we’d ever see again. Hot-Pie seats himself in front of his long lost companion, and the two discuss the delicious bread he’d made. He asks her if she’s headed toward Winterfell, and she scoffs and asks why she’d go there when the Boltons hold it. Hot-Pie informs her that, much to her surprise, Jon Snow overthrew him during the battle of the Bastards, and with Sansa Stark at his side they’ve taken Arya’s childhood home back. He also comments on how pretty she is, and how he’s a fool for having ever thought her to be a boy. The youngest Stark wishes Hot-Pie all the best, before making a swift exit.
With this new information weighing on her mind, Arya leaves the Crossroads Inn and climbs onto her horse. Torn between going forward to Kings Landing and turning back toward her family, Arya eventually chooses the latter and rides off into the night. After she settles into a decent place to camp for the night, Arya gets tense when she begins hearing twigs snapping around her. Within moments, she’s surrounded by wolves, and when their alpha steps up, she drops her sword. Recognizing her Direwolf from her early days, Arya reaches out to touch Nymeria. She tells her former pet that she’s heading back to Winterfell, and begs her to come along. You can see how the Direwolf hesitates, but in the end she simply retreats with her pack. Arya smiles a little sadly, but it’s obvious she understands that, like herself, the Direwolf has had to adapt and change, and is content with its life.
(Small shoutout to Hot-Pie for being the only person in Westeros with a steady job and a content life. What a little gem.)
While a storm raged outside similar to the one Daenerys Targaryen was born in, inside a storm of strong minds decided how best to invade Westeros. The rest of Dany’s supporters or team members arrived at Dragonstone: Olenna Tyrell, Yara and Theon Greyjoy, and Ellaria Sand, and they all had different ideas of how to take the Iron Throne. The real problem here is that every one of them is fueled by revenge. Tyrion was right in saying that Daenerys shouldn’t be Queen of the Ashes. While it was empowering to hear Olenna say “you’re a dragon…be a dragon”, Daenerys needs to prove she can do more than conquer. Or maybe…that’s all she can do. The mad king’s blood does run through her veins. She needs someone good to even her out. Enter Jon Snow, whom Daenerys has invited to Dragonstone! I know what you’re thinking: EW DO YOU SHIP THEM? They’re related! Well, yes. And I don’t care–Targaryens like to marry each other and these two are so separated it won’t feel icky like Jaime and Cersei. Also, as I said, Jon and Dany could balance each other out, defeat the white walkers, and bring peace to Westeros. But we know nothing ever works out that easy in Game of Thrones.
Speaking of getting it on, Grey Worm is headed to Casterly Rock to take it from the Lannisters -something Tyrion Lannister himself planned out in the Dragonstone war-room, but he couldn’t leave without first saying goodbye to what he deemed the first weakness in his life–Missandei. These two star-crossed lovers finally hooked up last week. It was romantic AND steamy. And Grey Worm didn’t even need, in Daenerys’ words, “the pillar and the stones”.
The Narrow Sea:
A lot happened with very little screen time for the Greyjoys and the Sand Snakes. Yara wanted to go to King’s Landing with the collective armies and dragons and attack Cersei. Tyrion and Daenerys had other plans for the armies and sent the ships south to Dorne with the mission to retrieve the Dornish army and bring them back up to King’s Landing. It, however, turned out to be a huge tactical error as Euron was there to intercept the fleet.
Euron had probably the coolest entry into a battle, with a little “captain in him,” as he lowered a bridge to board Yara’s ship. It was a massacre, considering Euron’s fleet was bigger and better prepared for a battle. Ships were burned down within second. On board the lead ship (which seems to be another critical error, putting all of the important people on one ship instead of spreading them around), Euron single-handedly kills two of the Sand Snakes, which were all involved in the death of Cersei’s daughter. In addition, they capture Ellarie and Tyene of the Sand Snakes, as well as Yara Greyjoy. These prisoners give Euron a lot of leverage with Cersei- offering the remaining Sand Snakes and his niece to the queen will show her that Daenerys’ fleet has been decimated, while he simultaneously took care of his own vendetta against his niece for the Iron Islands.
Theon was face-to-face with his Uncle Euron, who had a blade to Yara’s throat and was taunting his nephew relentlessly. As they stared each other down, you can see Theon start to twitch, as if he had PTSD and was reverting back to Reek. He couldn’t handle the violence around them, and jumped overboard, much to the delight of Euron and the unhappy acceptance of his sister. I think, in the moment, Theon knew he couldn’t save both Yara and himself, and so chose himself. I don’t think he thought forward enough to consider returning to Daenerys with news of the attack, though Theon being free could be something Euron uses as bait to attack the Dragon Queen. All in all, in the battle for Westeros, Cersei has 1 point, while everyone else has a big fat 0.