After an explosive ending to the previous episode, Game of Thrones fans couldn’t wait to see what would unfold in Season 7’s third episode – The Queen’s Justice.
However, we didn’t expect the episode to be as quite impressive as it was – with every scene packed with development and high quality dialogue.
Some critics say it’s the best episode of the season so far. So what did it do to attract that title?
Rather than making us wait any longer to see Jon Snow and Daenerys meet, the show kicks off with the momentous occasion.
Forget about Dany and Varys’ back-and-forth in the last episode, the dialogue between the Mother of Dragons and Jon is the pinnacle of great writing.
We also finally see the delivery of Ellaria Sand to Cersei. The malicious queen then describes in excruciating detail what she has planned as revenge.
While she is still glowing from her victory and sex with her brother, an Iron Bank representative visits Cersei to remind her of The Crown’s debt.
Tyrion is able to help Dany and Jon bridge the divide slightly through an agreement over the mining of dragon glass.
The episode is all about women in power. Not only does the episode look at the power of Daenerys and Cersei, but also Sansa .She proves that she is more than competent in leading Winterfell – and she holds the knowledge of someone far older and more experienced.
While she is going over preparations for the winter, Bran arrives at Winterfell. Sansa greets her brother with tearful joy, while he…well, he’s a bit weird and detached. It looks like Bran has fully adopted his role as the Three Eyed Raven – resulting in a disconnect from his identity, his sister and even basic polite conversation.
Other noteworthy developments from the episode include:
- Ser Jorah’s greyscale has healed
- The Unsullied take Casterly Rock, but find that the Lannister army has left
- The Lannisters take Highgarden
- Lady Olenna proves she’s a badass one more time before her death
Fire Meets Ice
The episode handled the meeting between Dany and Jon with finesse. Rather than making them fast friends, there is tension between the two stubborn leaders.
Jon doesn’t want to bend the knee, and Dany doesn’t want to be defied. But rather becoming petulant and angry like the Mad King (or Cersei), Daenerys keeps her calm.
Meanwhile Jon’s humility and the nobility of his cause are only emphasised by his cautious distrust of the Mad King’s daughter, while focusing on the real threat.
The best thing about the interaction is that both bring up valid points – resulting in a stalemate. Dany asks not to be judged on her father’s deeds, while Jon asks not to be beholden to the promises of a long-dead ancestor.
Their repartee also reminds viewers that while they have many common goals, their families’ histories come with a lot of baggage.
Fans are also left wanting more, as their conversation ends prematurely due to the news of the destruction of the Greyjoy fleet.
While the two leaders come to a small compromise later in the episode, there is still so much that must be discussed – like Jon’s resurrection.
The Queen’s Justice
We waited with bated breath to find out what Cersei would do to her daughter’s murderer, Ellaria Sand.
I knew it would involve Ellaria having to watch her daughter die, possibly at the hands of The Mountain. But the fate that Cersei has in store for both Ellaria and her daughter is far more drawn out than any of us could have imagined.
We see Cersei’s hurt regarding the death of Myrcella – who was one of the few innocents in the series. But we also see how her malice and warped sense of justice combine into inhumane cruelty.
Indira Varma, who portrays Ellaria, delivers some of the most emotive and gut-wrenching acting seen in the series. She doesn’t utter a word, but her eyes speak volumes.
First, the heartbreak as Cersei goes over the death of Oberon. The anger that lead her to killing Myrcella. Her attempt to portray courage despite the tremble of her lip and brow revealing her terror. Her courage turns to desperation as she realises that Cersei plans to hurt her daughter. The realization which dawns on her face as Cersei delivers the same poisonous kiss that Ellaria used on Myrcella.
But rather than the quick death that Myrcella had, Ellaria will watch her daughter die slowly – and then be forced to watch as her body rots.
Two Steps Ahead
For every genius move that Tyrion and Daenerys make, it seems that the Lannisters are a few steps ahead.
Tyrion’s plan to take Casterly Rock plays out amazingly – first with a scene on what would happen if they tried to take the castle by approaching the walls, versus what they actually do.
But just before we get the champagne to celebrate, Grey Worm looks sullenly at the castle from inside its walls and notes that there should have been many more soldiers. So where are they?
The artful twist dawns on viewers as the Lannister army takes Highgarden with very little effort, solving their debt to the Iron Bank immediately.
Meanwhile, the ships of The Unsullied are destroyed by Euron’s fleet.
Ser Davos’ introductory skills
The show’s creators are showing a lot of self-awareness lately – including the grandiose titles which their protaganists love to recite.
This is dealt with tongue firmly in cheek when Missandei rattling off Dany’s many titles is met with Ser Davos’ introduction of: “This is Jon Snow…He’s King of the North”.
Dany’s power play
Daenerys reminds everyone just how far she’s come – from an orphaned child, to a glorified broodmare raped by the husband she was sold to. The delivery of the statement “raped and defiled” sends chills down your spine – with the Queen addressing the violence at the beginning of her marriage for the first time. Jon Snow’s reaction is also perfection – a gulp at the realization of the violence that Dany has endured; and how hard-hitting it is in light of his sister’s own abuse at the hands of men.
Olenna drops a truth bomb
The reveal to Jaime that Lady Olenna orchestrated Joffrey’s death, just after she drinks her poison wine, is absolute genius from the Queen of Thorns.
So much was packed into this episode in terms of development, but compelling acting and the Highgarden twist are what make it one of the best episodes of the series – and the best episode of the season so far.
There were no epic battles or the death of a beloved hero, but this episode’s strength lies in the sheer quality of the story. If the rest of the season keeps this pace, it will the best that Game of Thrones has had.