‘Game of Thrones’ – “A Queen’s Justice”: All Hail Cersei

This week on #GameofThrones: Dany, Jon, and Tyrion have a brood-off, Bran is totally still human, and Cersei gets a new garden.

Spoilers. Naturally. You’ve been warned.

Shenanigans are afoot on Game of Thrones and I, for one, welcome our black hearted Lion Overlord. Cersei has been my favorite character for a long time now, and while I concede she’s a teeeeeeeensy bit too high on the bath salts for my liking, I kind of love watching her succeed. As long as it doesn’t hurt my boo, Sansa. “A Queen’s Justice” saw Cersei succeed in several ways. In fact, the queen of Westeros is probably in the best position she’s been in since the death of Robert Baratheon.

Who Brooded It Best?

Ah, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the coming together of ice and fire. I can’t say I’ve been terribly excited for our two intrepid heroes to meet, but that’s because I’m not Jon Snuh’s biggest fan. He’s white bread compared to most of the other characters and he’s so noble that his goodness makes him kind of boring. And I also have this itching sensation that there’s going to be romance between the two and that really puts a damper on my plans for Sansa and Dany to rule side by side.

On the long road up to Dragonstone, Davos let’s fans know that even though he’s been slumming it with Stannis and Jon, the two mopiest dudes in Westeros, the old Onion Knight still has game. And Missandei responds with a smirk because you just know girlfriend walks that long ass driveway at least twice a week and at the very least it makes her butt look good.

In the Throne room, Missandei shows up Ser Davos with her emcee game and I know Davos is all about loyalty but damn if he wouldn’t fit right in on Dany’s Council. Even the Mother of Dragons seems impressed by his genuine nature.

Of course, the forgotten children of ice and fire don’t get along so swimmingly at first because Jon dives right into his zombie problem without even considering he might have to make concessions in order to get Dany’s help. Honestly, what did Jon Snuh think would happen when he traveled south? “Hey I have absolutely nothing to offer you and I totally don’t plan on bending the knee, but we need to borrow your dragons and obsidian for oh, a few years, to fend off the ice zombies that no one believes are real. K thx bai.” Sansa tried to warn him that his single-minded nature would get him into trouble but he was like, “Nah. I got the cute hair ladies love. I’m fine.”

game of thrones 703 jon dany tyrion

Thankfully, Tyrion sets both adorable puppies straight and tells each of them that parts of their lives have been hell and fantastical and not at all what was intended, but hey, maybe you should just be KIND to one another. Honestly, Tyrion’s ability to get people to trust one another is his greatest quality. I want to see a Tyrion Lannister Love Connection and see what he can do to repair some of the broken relationships in Westeros. “This week I have a man known for his ability to be noble while smelling like a vegetable and a woman who uses fire and sex demons to get what she wants. Let’s welcome Ser Davos and Melisandre! Ahhhhh!”

In the end, Dany agrees to let Jon mine for obsidian, even if she doesn’t truly believe him about the ice zombies. Unfortunately for her, she suffers two heavy losses at the hands of Cersei Lannister, losing the Greyjoy fleet, as well a tentative hold on the useless Casterly Rock. Now, she’ll need Jon more than ever, and UGH that probably means they’ll be making kissy faces soon.

Third Eye Blind

In Winterfell, Sansa continues to make me proud as she prepares for the upcoming war. She knows the dire situation they’re in, especially if both the White Walkers and Cersei decide to strike. She does her best to prepare for a food shortage by asking for vassals to send food stocks to Winterfell since it’s the best place for everyone to take shelter at should the unthinkable occur. Sansa’s ability to try to predict the upcoming tragedies impresses even Littlefinger, but in order to get her really become his apprentice, he tells her she must scheme and plan harder than even before. She must imagine futures and prepare for them, no matter how unlikely. 

And then Bran rolls in like: “Did someone say they needed to see the future?”

I don’t know if it’s his constant connection to the weirwood.net or if he’s seen so many horrible he’s no longer human, but Bran isn’t even close to the same person he was even a year ago. He’s lost all sense of morality and frankly, I think his disconnection from the world’s humanity is going to lead him to becoming a much darker hero. We’ve already seen how his interference ruined Hodor’s life, how he single-handedly wiped out the Children of the Forest AND the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran’s thirst to know more might be his undoing.

It shows greatly in his interaction with Sansa outside Winterfell. When Sansa reunites with her brothers, she’s a happier, lighter person. She may have not been well-liked before, but she’s loves her family and after all she’s suffered, she’s grateful for their reunion, for a chance to make up for lost time.

And then Bran goes all creeper robot on her:

game of thrones 703 bran

Bran’s comments toward Sansa seem so out of place, but I have to wonder if it’s not further proof of his descent. He tries to compliment her but he chooses the absolute worst moment in her life to remind her of her beauty. Maybe because of the dark things he’s seen, not much phases him, so he doesn’t understand Sansa’s sadness with regards to the moment. Or maybe he’s just a prick. It’s hard to tell. I have hated both Book Bran and Show Bran since day one. I’m not exactly cheering his success over here. He needs to tell everyone the truth and then he needs to disappear.

I Want that Samuel Healing

Hooray! The carving of Jorah Mormont was a success and he doesn’t even look like he lost any skin in the process. Actually, Jorah’s skin looks healthier than mine after more than an hour in sunlight and I’m starting to wonder if there’s more to J-Bear than first realized:

game of thrones 703 jorah

Jorah and Sam have a bonding moment and Jorah is all, “Back to pining for Dany! I have months of unrequited love to catch up on!” Sam gets lectured by Maester Slughorn about disobeying orders but he’s secretly pleased at his pupil’s success. Sam says he just read the instructions and Maester Slughorn is like, “OH THE INSTRUCTIONS. Yea, we can’t even build furniture here.” Then Slughorn tasks Sam with transcribing scrolls because “Life isn’t fair, sugar cupcake.” I’ll bet there’s something worthwhile in those scrolls, however. Or at least, that’s what Game of Thrones has taught me to believe since I have to pick apart every tiny detail to sate the obsession.

A Kiss May Be Grand But It Won’t Pay The Rental

Last week’s ending was “meh” at best because while it allowed Cersei to pull even in the war, it wasn’t the best way to have Cersei succeed in a believable manner. It’s irksome to have villains win solely because the plot demands it. The reason why the Red Wedding was so shocking was because there was a build up to the loss and Robb’s demise was because of mistakes he had made as well as the betrayal by trusted allies. Euron’s victories at sea are simply because the heroes of the Game were too far ahead in points. And unfortunately, that need for a villain victory appears again at the end of the episode.

However, Cersei is celebrating because Euron made good on his promise to bring her a gift. Two gifts, in fact. Euron wastes no time in reminding us that we’re supposed to find his frat boy demeanor hilarious or endearing, but mostly I just think he’s gross and exactly like every dude who’s ever hit on me at a bus station. Cersei seems equally disgusted by Euron’s antics, but she knows that politically she can’t just spurn his advances. 

In the dungeons, Cersei torments Ellaria Sand and her daughter, slowly teasing out what she may or may not do to them. Ellaria is proud and tough, as is the Dornish way. She knows that she can dish out whatever torture Cersei has in mind. As long as it’s against her. But Cersei has no plans to harm Ellaria. She wants Ellaria to suffer as she has. She wants to her watch as her daughter’s body rots and changes because it’s an image she’s been left with much of her life:

“All I could think about when she died was what would happen to her now. Every day. Every night. What does Mama look like now? Has she started to bloat? Has her skin turned black? Have her lips peeled back from her teeth? I think about locking Myrcella in a crypt. I think about her beautiful little face starting to collapse.” — Cersei, 6×01

Much has been said about the monstrous nature of Cersei Lannister, and I don’t deny that she isn’t one of the most self-serving leaders in all of Westeros. But everything she has done was to protect her children and she failed. And now, she wants justice in the form of making someone else feel that exact same way. It’s not pretty and it’s not the best way to handle things, but in her mind, it’s justice.

Of course, the thought of torture gets Cersei all hot and bothered so she goes to Jaime and has sex with him. I’m not sure how I feel about her pushing past him telling her “no” in the moment and the blatant disregard for sexual consent on this show. We already know they’re in a messed up relationship. We don’t need to see the two raping each other as well.

It is interesting to me how the tables have turned in their relationship. In earlier seasons, Jaime didn’t care who saw them together. He knew he loved her and he would have killed anyone who dared stand between them. And now, with his redemption arc and the influence of friends like Brienne, Jaime is on a different path. He’s more cautious about who seems them together, who makes jokes at her expense, and Cersei? Cersei doesn’t care what kind of Romulan handmaiden sees that’s in bed with her brother.

The Iron Bank of Braavos makes an appearance at King’s Landing to collect on the crown’s debt. This was a weird scene for me as a book reader because in A Dance with Dragons, the Iron Bank is very much against Cersei’s rule. They are based in a free city that deplores the use of slavery, so backing Dany’s reign would be their best course of action. And yet, in the show, they support slavery and Cersei. I have no doubt that Cersei will be able to form a more lasting bond, what with taking Highgarden at the end of the episode, but I’m curious as to WHY the Iron Bank is okay with supporting her.

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Also, the emissary from the Iron Bank resembles Roose Bolton so I immediately don’t trust his non-alcoholic smirk.

Goodbye, Sweet Flower

Ah, the action sequence we were promised: the storming of Casterly Rock. I don’t expect every battle to be like Blackwater or Hardhome, but something felt hollow about the taking of Casterly Rock. It lacked the gravitas needed for such a moment of sheer loss for Dany. I think because the plot of Game of Thrones is now moving at a breakneck pace, many moments are lost in the shuffle. It’s hard to feel sadness when the scene passes by in blur. And it’s frustrating to acknowledge defeat when it seems like that loss is so implausible. It absolutely baffles me that somehow Euron’s fleet managed to sneak up on Yara, devastate her fleet, sail to King’s Landing, deliver the prisoners, and then head all the way around to Casterly Rock to decimate the other half of the Ironborn ships. When we’ve seen characters take entire seasons to travel north, it’s jarring to think that this kind of time travel is possible. Also, like the Euron attack on Yara, the loss of the Ironborn ships, trapping the Unsullied feels more like a Cersei win just for the sake of plot. It’s a militarily sound tactic, but frustrating given unbelievable timelines.

However, the assault on Highgarden was sheer brilliance. Jaime has learned from his losses and uses Robb Stark’s tactics against his enemies. It pains his inner child to lose the familial home, but in order for Cersei to retain power, he has to make sacrifices and not cling to nostalgia. Also, Highgarden is known for its farmlands and wealth, not for its armies, and with Randyll Tarly, the most sound military commander in The Reach at the Lannisters’ side, they had no hope of victory. I’m not sad that we didn’t see a grand battle. I much prefer the battle between the Queen of Thorns and the Kingslayer to any military skirmish.

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Olenna Tyrell has never been a character who minces her words. Her disdain for the Lannisters has been readily apparent since Day One and she doesn’t care for how they rule. There was a begrudging respect for Tywin Lannister, but mostly, she hates those cats. In her final moments, Olenna stays true to herself and tells Jaime exactly how she feels about Cersei, telling him that she will be his downfall. Jaime brushes off the insult, but you have to wonder when he will finally see his sister for who she really is and stand up to her. Currently, it’s clear that Jaime is still desperately in love with Cersei, a fact even Olenna recognizes. At some point, though, that love will have to fade. He has a prophecy to fulfill.

But Jaime, despite his love for Cersei, is still noble. He gives Olenna a painless death and even after she sends him reeling with the news that she poisoned Joffrey, he lets her die in peace. Cersei would have carved up Olenna’s face and worn it to wine dinner later that evening. It is interesting to think about the domino effect of that one move by Olenna: Joffrey’s death trickled down to effect the losses of so many others it makes you wonder about the amount of blood on every character’s hands.

Random Thoughts

There are a ton of memes out there about the difference between Jon and Dany’s titles and how hilarious the scene was (mostly because of Ser Davos). However, I found the meta comment by Tyrion about Jon’s brooding to be even more hilarious:

game of thrones 703 jon brooding

Theon washed up on the deck of a Greyjoy boat that magically managed to stay in tact throughout the fighting. Since that’s the case, I’m not sure why the boat’s captain would chastise Theon for fleeing when it’s clear those men ALSO didn’t fight their hardest to save Yara. Hypocrites.

The season is moving remarkably fast and I can’t decide yet if it’s a good or a bad thing. Sure, I don’t need a ton of major battles or skirmishes to keep me entertained, but the flying around all the characters are doing is messing with my sense of time.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9pm EST.

Jen Stayrook
Jen Stayrook
Don't let the fancy nerd duds deceive you; Jen’s never been described as “classy.” You can find her on Twitter where she stalks all of her favorite celebrities: @jenstayrook. Or you can find her on Steam or Xbox dying in every game she plays as "Rilna." Email: jen.stayrook@theworkprint.com

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