Game of Thrones 7.2: “Stormborn”

Game of Thrones 7.2: “Stormborn”

A Binge Guide for Season 7, Episode 2: "Stormborn"

by Greg Enslen

Details

  • Episode Number: S07E02

  • Original Air Date: July 23, 2017

  • Time: 59 minutes

  • Synopsis: Daenerys receives an unexpected visitor. Jon faces resistance. Tyrion plans the conquest of Westeros. Cersei gathers her allies. Arya has a reunion with old friends. Sam risks his career and life.

Opening Credits

The animated map during the credits shows several important locations: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, Pyke, Winterfell, the Wall, and far to the south, Oldtown.

  • Notes: This is the first time Pyke has been included in the opening credits since S06E05.

A Raging Storm

As a storm rages around Dragonstone, Daenerys Targaryen and her advisers plan for the invasion of Westeros. Daenerys wants to begin the invasion immediately, but Tyrion Lannister counsels against a wholesale slaughter. She grills Varys about his allegiances, and he confesses he only serves one master—the people, and he thinks she would make a better queen than most. Daenerys insists he swear to always tell her the truth—and vows to execute him if he betrays her.

The Red Priestess Melisandre arrives and seeks an audience with Daenerys. She tells her about the “prince that was promised” prophecy and says Daenerys has a role to play, as does Jon Snow, the King in the North. Tyrion, remembering his time at the Wall, says nice things about Jon Snow and suggests he would make a powerful and loyal ally. Daenerys asks Tyrion to invite Jon Snow to Dragonstone and pledge his loyalty to her.

  • Quotes: Tyrion Lannister: “If we turn the dragons loose, tens of thousands will die in the firestorms.” Ellaria Sand: “It's called war. If you don't have the stomach for it, scurry back into hiding.” Tyrion: “I know how you wage war. We DON'T poison little girls here. Myrcella was innocent.” Ellaria: “She was a Lannister. There are no innocent Lannisters. My greatest regret is that Oberyn died fighting for you.” Daenerys Targaryen: “That's enough! Lord Tyrion is Hand of the Queen, you will treat him with respect. I am not here to be Queen of the Ashes.” Olenna Tyrell: “That's very nice to hear. Of course, I can't remember a queen who was better loved than my granddaughter. The common people loved her, the Nobles loved her, and what is left of her now? Ashes. Commoners, Nobles, they're all just children, really. They won't obey you unless they fear you.” Daenerys: “I'm grateful to you, Lady Olenna, for your counsel. I'm grateful to all of you, but you have chosen to follow me. I will not attack King's Landing. WE will not attack King's Landing.”

An Interesting Invitation

At Winterfell, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark discuss the raven they have just received from Tyrion. Sansa wonders if it a trick of some sort, but the last line echoes something Tyrion said once personally to Jon, so he believes the invitation to Dragonstone is legitimate. Davos Seaworth mentions that having allies with dragons, who breath fire, might be helpful against beings like the walkers that can be killed by flames.

Later, Jon receives word from Samwell Tarly at the Citadel that the fortress of Dragonstone contains a “mountain” of dragonglass. Before his assembled lords, he informs them that he will travel south to meet with the Targaryen queen and seek her assistance in their war against the dead. While he is gone, he leaves Sansa Stark in charge of the North.

In the crypts beneath Winterfell, Jon Snow looks upon the grave of his father, Eddard Stark. Peter Baelish says that he “delivered his bones himself,” a gesture of goodwill from Tyrion Lannister. Baelish promises Jon that he is a loyal supporter and reminds him that, without Baelish and the Lords of the Vale, Jon Snow would have lost at the Battle of the Bastards. But when he professes his love for Sansa, Jon isn’t having it—and threatens his life. Outside, Jon and Davos set off of Dragonstone.

  • Notes: This is the first time we are shown Jon Snow and Peter Baelish speaking to each other. We finally find out what happened to the chest containing the bones and ashes of Ned Stark. We last saw them in S02E04, when Baelish presented the chest to Catelyn Stark. After that, the chest was not mentioned or addressed when Catelyn left the Baratheon encampment after Renly Baratheon’s assassination. Baelish says to Jon that his “father and brothers are gone,” as he and the rest of the world still assume that Bran is dead.

  • Quotes: Jon Snow: “You don't belong down here.” Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish: “Forgive me. We haven't ever talked properly. I wanted to remedy that.” Jon: “I have nothing to say to you.” Petyr: “Not even "thank you"? If it weren't for me you'd have been slaughtered on that battlefield. You have many enemies, my king, but I swear to you, I'm not one of them. I love Sansa... as I loved her mother.” Jon: “Touch my sister and I'll kill you myself.”

A Shaky Alliance

In the throne room in King’s Landing, Queen Cersei Lannister reminds the bannermen of House Tyrell that their loyalty should lie with the crown and not Olenna, the rebellious Tyrell matriarch. Cersei describes the horrible armies that Daenerys Targaryen leads and demands the bannermen fight for her. Randyll Tarly, head of House Tarly and father of Samwell, wonders aloud how she plans to fight three grown dragons, but Qyburn, Cersei’s maester, says that they are indeed working on a solution to that problem. After the meeting, Jaime Lannister speaks with Tarly and his son Dickon. Jaime offers Randyll the title of Warden of the South if he agrees to forsake House Tyrell and fight for the crown.

In the catacombs below the Red Keep, Qyburn shows Cersei his latest invention—a powerful ballista that could be used to shoot down a flying dragon. She is pleased with the device.

  • Notes: Cersei reminds the bannermen of the “horrors” inflicted on the people by the Mad King, father of Daenerys Targaryen. Yet it was she that chose to hide a massive cache of wildfire beneath the Sept of Baelor and then detonate it, killing hundreds. Randyll says the Tarly name “means something” and says they don’t break oaths, stab people in the backs, or cut throats at weddings, three things that House Lannister has done in the past. The room with the dragon skulls is shown for the first time since Arya visited in S01E05, chasing cats.

  • Quotes: Cersei Lannister: “If the Mad King's daughter takes the Iron Throne, she'll destroy the Realm as we know it. Some of you are bannermen of House Tyrell, but House Tyrell is in open rebellion against the crown. With their help, the Mad King's daughter has ferried an army of savages to our shores: mindless Unsullied soldiers who will destroy your castles and your holdfasts; Dothraki heathens, who will burn your villages to the ground, rape and enslave your women and butcher your children without a second thought. This is how Olenna Tyrell rewards centuries of service and loyalty. You will remember the Mad King. You remember the horrors he inflicted upon his people. His daughter is no different. In Essos, her brutality is already legendary. She crucified hundreds of noble men in Slaver's Bay, and when she grew bored of that, she fed them to her dragons. It is my solemn duty to protect the people and I will, but I need your help, my lords. We must stand together. All of us, if we hope to stop her.”

A Delicate Operation

At the Citadel, Archmaester Ebrose examine Ser Jorah Mormont’s advanced case of Greyscale and says it is past treatment, giving him a prognosis of six months before Jorah turns mad. Samwell Tarly, watching the examination, suggests that Stannis Baratheon’s daughter Shireen was successfully cured, but Ebrose dismisses it—the disease has progressed too far.

As he leaves, Sam offers to contact Jorah’s family and is surprised to learn that Jorah is the son of the late Lord Commander Jeor Mormont of the Night’s Watch. Samwell asks permission to treat Jorah, but Ebrose forbids it. Later, Samwell returns to Jorah’s cell and uses tools to remove the Greyscale from Jorah’s skin. He also explains that he served under Lord Commander Mormont at the Wall and shares how the commander died.

An Important Debate

Back in the map room at Dragonstone, Yara Greyjoy insists that Daenerys Targaryen begin her invasion of Westeros. Ellaria Sand also pushes for invasion, and Olenna Tyrell agrees, but Tyrion has a bold plan—he will use the use the Unsullied to attack Casterly Rock, the Lannister home. His knowledge of the underground sewer system should guarantee victory. The Greyjoys will take Ellaria to Dorne, and her forces will join the Tyrell army and surround King’s Landing. They all agree to support the plan, but Olenna has some advice for the Dragon Queen—she needs to follow her heart and embrace her true nature.

Before he can leave with the rest of the Unsullied, Missandei meets with Gray Worm in his chambers. She is sad to see him leave, and he confesses that it is difficult for him to say goodbye to her. She is his “weakness.” They embrace and she disrobes.

A Timely Update

Arya Stark, having survived her travels alone, stops at the Inn at the Crossroads for food. Her friend Hot Pie still works there and sits, catching her up on the news. He asks her if she met “the big lady,” Brienne. Arya is stunned to learn that the Starks have retaken Winterfell from the Boltons. Hot Pie tells her that “Jon Snow came down from Castle Black with a wildling army” and took it back. She can’t believe Jon is the King in the North now, and hurries to leave. Outside, she turns north toward Winterfell. Later, she encounters her missing direwolf Nymeria, but the animal, leading a pack of her own, doesn’t recognize Arya.

  • Notes: This is the first time we’ve seen Hot Pie since S04E07, when he chose to stay and work at the Inn of the Crossroads. She mentions that she didn’t brown the butter before she made her pies. He asks if she’s been making pies, and she answers “one or two.” She’s talking about killing the senior Frey boys in S06E10 and cooking them up in a pie to serve to their father, Walder Frey, before she cut his throat. Hot Pie mentions the “Battle of the Bastards,” the first time it’s called that on the show. We finally find out what happened to Nymeria: she’s just fine and has gathered her own pack. We last saw her in S01E02, when Arya sent her off into the woods rather than let her be killed by Joffrey and the Lannisters. She has grown considerably in size.

A Fatal Attack

At sea, the Greyjoy ships are set upon by the Iron Fleet. Euron’s flagship, the Silence, crashes into Yara’s lead ship, and Euron boards, killing two of the Sand Snakes and capturing Yara, Ellaria Sand and her daughter Tyrene. Rather than be captured by his uncle, Theon jumps over the railing and escapes.


Critique:

The episode began strong, with Daenerys and her advisers arguing about their options. It was interesting to hear Tyrion’s plans, but I’ not sure they’ll work out. As the great Chinese general Sun Tzu said, an army’s plans rarely survive “contact with the enemy.” But taking the fight directly to the Lannisters by attacking Casterly Rock instead of King’s Landing is a bold play. We’ll see if it pays off.

I like that Daenerys is getting conflicting advice from different people—it’s on her to take it all in and make a decision. That’s what leaders do, although I have to say I like Lady Olenna’s advice the best. Dany is a dragon and should remain a dragon, even if a few people have to get burned along the way. I wondered why she was grilling Varys, but I think it is part of her plan to root out any traitors in her midst.

Jon’s transformation is nearly complete—he’s so comfortable in his role as the King in the North that he can leave Winterfell in Sansa’s hand, confident it will be there when he gets back. But he’s right to seek out powerful allies. With the real war coming from north of the Wall, Jon and the Starks are going to need great numbers of soldiers if they hope to stop the Army of the Dead. Learning about the “mountain of dragonglass” only cements the decision he’d already made to travel south and meet with this dragon queen in search of help.

I like that Cersei and Jaime are picking off House Tyrell’s bannermen. It shows that few people are really and truly loyal to anyone if they can be easily persuaded to change sides or bought off with titles. We got the impression early on in his dealings with Samwell that Randyll Tarly was a serious jerk, and now we learn it’s the truth—he sells out House Tyrell for the title of Warden of the South. Good luck with that.

I like that Samwell is learning, but I find it difficult to believe that he’s SO GOOD he can perform a delicate surgery that no other maester in the world would even attempt. And didn’t we just learn that dragonglass can cure diseases like greyscale? Why didn’t he try that first instead of the disgusting and highly contagious method he used? Oh, and by the way, thanks for the gross transition between Sam picking off wet pieces of Jorah’s greyscale and someone digging into a pie at the Inn at the Crossroads. That’s two episodes in a row with scenes at the Citadel that will be sending viewers to the bathroom.

There is a lot of stuff going on here, and I can see that in their rush to cram more stuff into fewer episodes, a few things get lost along the way. For one, Arya’s elimination of an entire House of the North is barely mentioned again—Jaime said something about it last episode, and the Lannister soldiers said only that there was “trouble.” I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about an “assassin that can change faces” or whatever Walder Frey’s young widow has been telling people.

And I guess Tyrion’s plan isn’t so great after all. Without the Dornish and Tyrell armies, how is Daenerys going to lay siege to King’s Landing? And what will happen with the Greyjoys, Ellaria Sand, and the Sand Snakes? I’m no expert, but I’m thinking it’s going to be gross and take place in the dungeons below the Red Keep. Didn’t Euron Greyjoy promise Cersei a gift?

Episode Notes:

The title refers to one of Daenerys’ titles, Stormborn, as she was born during a storm. At the beginning of the episode, another storm is raging around Dragonstone.

Nudity and Violence:

  • Stripped—Missandei takes her clothes off on Gray Worm’s last night at Dragonstone and we see her boobs and butt (28:40). She insists he disrobe as well but we’re not shown what she sees other than his butt. We see them get onto his bed and Gray Worm gets busy. I’m not sure what else they get up to considering he’s supposed to be a eunuch, right?

  • Skewered—Samwell uses tools to pull the greyscale from Jorah Mormont’s skin (34:15). It’s gross, particularly when they cut immediately to someone stabbing a moist pie—and eating it.

References:

Notes: All sites accessed November 26, 2017.

This article, “Stormborn, A Binge Guide for Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 2 by Greg Enslen” is copyrighted by the author and displayed here for informational purposes only. Do not share or distribute without the written permission of the author.

Greg Enslen is an Ohio author and columnist. He's written and published eight books, including four fiction titles and four collections of essays and columns. Several are available through Gypsy Publications of Troy, Ohio. To receive updates on upcoming titles, sneak previews and appearances, subscribe to Email Goodies. For more information, please see his Amazon Author Page or visit his Facebook fan page.