Just when you thought that you were dealing with an episode that wouldn’t deliver on the action, “Game of Thrones” pulled a rabbit out of its hat in the final moments of Season 7, episode 2. As the first pawns are moved in the inevitable war for Westeros, fan favorite characters were taken to task in almost every conceivable way.
The episode opens where the premiere left off, at Dragonstone with Daenerys Targaryen holding court with her new allies. Her first order of business was to both thank Varys for brokering the alliance between the Tyrell family and the Dornish. She then brings up the elephant in the room, that time back in Season 1 when he orchestrated an assassination attempt against her. Varys has always been a figure to play a key role in many of the largest factions in the world, but he has always maintained that he does what’s best for the realm. He insists to his queen that his loyalty is not based on blind devotion to her, but rather an understanding that she’s the best hope the people of Westeros have for a ruler.
“As long as I have eyes, I’m going to use them,” he says.
The speech seems to work, and the queen pardons his past indiscretions on the condition that, if she ever becomes a ruler unfit of his loyalty, he’ll tell her to her face rather than conspire behind her back. Varys agrees, a promise that is immediately tested with the arrival of the red priestess Melisandre. Daenerys used the priests of the Lord of Light to help stabilize things in Mereen, so she was willing to listen. Two key pieces of information were told to her. The first is that the “prince that was promised” in the prophecy to stop coming darkness doesn’t necessarily have to be a “prince.” Second, that she and Jon Snow play a big part in whatever is to come.
Daenerys decides that she’ll send her Westeros armies, The Tyrells and Dornish, to attack King’s Landing so as not to fuel criticism about foreign invaders. The Dornish will go with the Greyjoys south and attack, while the Tyrells attack from the North. As for her foreign army of “savages” that the Lannisters are warning people left and right about, they’ll take the Lannister stronghold of Casterly Rock. With the plan in motion, she makes one more call, to summon Jon Snow, the King in the North, to come to Dragonstone and bend the knee.
Immediately, her raven doesn’t sit well with Jon and Sansa back in Winterfell. Sansa believes it’s a trap, but Ser Davos notes that an ally with fire-breathing dragons is a good friend to have in a war with white walkers. It isn’t until he receives another raven from Samwell Tarly that he finds a motivation to go to the meeting, despite the risks. Dragonstone was built on a mound of dragon glass, one of few substances that can kill a white walker. It takes some convincing of the northerners, though. He didn’t even have the support of the young Lady Mormont, who usually convinces people to follow Jon with ease. It becomes clear that a hatred of Targaryens remains within the Northern ranks after Robert’s’ Rebellion. It isn’t until Jon decrees that he’ll leave Sansa, the last (known) Stark to rule the North in his absence, that the people agree. With that, a meeting between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen is set in stone after years of anticipation.
Meanwhile, back at the Citadel, Sam’s discovery of the dragonstone deposit isn’t his only academic achievement of late. He helps treat Jorah Mormont, who was ordered by the dragon queen to fix his greyscale. He’s posing as another person, but when Sam realizes that he’s the son of his former Lord Commander, Jeor Mormont, he goes above and beyond to help him. He thinks he’s found a cure, but it’s not sanctioned by the archmaester. He’s last seen flaying the rots off the knight’s skin in one of the more painful-looking sequences in the show.
The episode then finds Arya Stark in a familiar location, the tavern where her friend Hot Pie works. She doesn’t seem to be in the mood to reveal too much to him herself, but he ends up helping her by revealing that her brother, Jon, had won the Battle of the Bastards and was now ruling both Winterfell and the north. With that, she rides north and abandons her trek south to kill Cersei. However, she’s later set upon by a pack of wolves, led by none other than the pet direwolf she had to set free years ago, Nymeria. She reaches out her hand and asks the pet she raised to follow her home, but the wolf refuses and leaves her.
“It’s not you,” she says.
Perhaps the young Stark isn’t feeling enough like a wolf to finish her journey home after all.
At this point, if you’re a “Game of Thrones” fan that isn’t all that interested in the politics and world-building, you were probably ready to write this whole episode off. Fortunately, if that is your style, you’d have been wrong to do so too early.
Yara, Theon and the Dornish leader Ellaria Sand are following orders to hit King’s Landing from the south. Things were literally smooth sailing when a sudden attack hit them in the night. The group find themselves on deck facing their uncle, Euron Greyjoy, who is crippling their fleet. He boards their ship and starts cutting down their men left and right. Ellaria’s precious Sand Snakes were no match for the might of Euron, who promised to deliver Cersei Lannister a marriage proposal present. Who better than the woman who killed her daughter?
The fight is brutal, fiery and a huge blow for the good guys as Euron’s forces overtook Yara and her fleet. The soon-to-be queen of the Iron Islands fought bravely, but eventually got taken by her uncle. Theon, who previously swore to be her protector, was given the choice to fight Euron for his sister or flee. He took the latter option. With another seemingly irredeemable act behind him, the episode ends with Theon stranded in the middle of the ocean as his abandoned sister’s fleet burns around him.