Game of Thrones episode 2 ups the ante with the drama and action this week. And despite the episode name, it isn't all about Daenerys. Let's dive in, shall we?
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen episode 2 stop reading now, or you’ll regret it. 'I’ve waited a week for this and I can’t believe you’ve ruined it, you monster' regret. No one likes regret. So, stop thinking about it and just book a Mustang test drive already.
Ship Ship Hurray
We pick up in the same place that the last episode left off: Dragonstone.
It's a violently stormy night. Daenerys and her posse discuss how, as her moniker implies, she came into the world on a similar night.
But the newly arrived queen has no time for romantic tales of old. Despite it taking her a literal lifetime to return home, she isn't keen on staying in her abandoned castle. She has a kingdom to conquer.
The conversation turns towards Cersei and how the majority of the Lords of Westeros hate her. Dany is skeptical of the notion that this means that they would be happy to serve her. Tyrion advises that rather than opting for straight conquest, Westeros would be better won through diplomacy between Dany and the Lords, rather than burning everything to the ground.
Dany also takes this opportunity to have a go at Varys. Her laundry list of gripes includes:
- Turning on every monarch he's served
- Working to help get her sister-groping, crown-loving and all-round sadistic brother Viserys into power
- Helping to arrange her marriage to Khal Drogo
- Helping to arrange her murder
I'm not sure why this chat didn't happen before they sailed for Westeros? That being said, her accusations aren't wrong.
Varys defends his actions, saying that he doesn't reward incompetence with blind loyalty. He recounts growing up in squalor and says that his loyalty lies with the people. He thinks they have a better chance with her.
Dany asks him to tell her if she's ever failing, rather than turning on her. But also, if he betrays her, she will burn him alive. This is why regular WIPs with your manager are important.
Speaking of burnings, Melisandre arrives on Dany's doorstep right on cue. Apparently she'll totally be able to help fulfil the Lord of Light's prophecy. For reals this time, guys.
Varys sasses her out for how things went down with Stannis. But Dany shuts that down pretty quickly with a 'pot calling the kettle black'-style retort.
Conveniently, the prophecy that she has been going on about has been poorly translated all along! Missandei points out that there's no gender attached to it in the original High Valerian. So it actually reads, "The prince or princess who was promised will bring the dawn".
Melisandre feels that both Dany and Jon have a role to play in the prophecy. She waxes rhapsodic about how Snow has united the Northern houses with the Wildlings, and is now the Kind in the North.
Dany responds with a cool, "He sounds like quite a man" and shippers the world over subsequently squeal with excitement.
Summoning Jon to Dragonstone is discussed. After all, Dany needs allies and he hates Cersei even more than she does. Tyrion vouches for how much of a righteous dude he is.
- Dany: "Tell Jon Snow his queen invites him to come to Dragonstone... and bend the knee"
- Shippers: "OH YEAH HE WILL!"
Back in Winterfell, Sansa, Jon and Ser Davos discuss his summoning.
Sansa is cautious. Although she has good things to say about Tyrion, she thinks it's risky. Jon agrees, especially about Tyrion also being a righteous dude. He thinks he should go though.
Davos makes a good point here -- her dragons would be a huge help in fighting the white walkers. And more importantly, he's been waiting seven years for SnowStorm to happen.
Skeletons In The Closet
In King's Landing, Cersei calls on the power of history and racism to unite the Lords of Westeros in her campaign against Daenerys.
She says that Dany is just as brutal as the old Mad King. Didn't they partially blame incest on that at the time? That would be pretty bad, right Cersei? Also, she says that the Dothraki are all rapists and murders who butcher children. Lannisters have definitely never attempted any of that before. No sir.
Lord Tarly asks how they can possibly stand a chance against dragons. Creepy Maester Qyburn materialises to assure everyone that they're working on a solution. Considering his track record with the Sept of Baelor and whatever experiment he did to create FrankenMountain, it's probably going to be hardcore.
After Cersei's speech, Jaime pulls Lord Tarly aside, asking him to become the ranking general in his army.
Tarly goes on a diatribe about how he isn't an oathbreaker, and that he swore allegiance to the Tyrells. He's also super tight with Lady Olenna.
None of Jaime's reasonings seem to help much, until he promises to make Tarly the Warden of the South once the war is over.
Back at the Citadel, Jorah is being checked over by the Archmaester and Sam. Apparently he'll lose his mind in six months or less.
Sam brings up Shireen Baratheon's Greyscale case and how she ended up fine. The Maester isn't convinced, saying she was a baby and was treated quickly.
It's here that Sam finds out who Jorah is, and you just know he's going to take matters into his own hands.
Meanwhile, Cersei is hanging out in the bowels of King's Landing with Qyburn... because that's always a good idea.
There are a lot of dragon skeletons. Cersei takes this moment to reminisce about the good old days when Robert would go down there to visit his trophies, sometimes with his whores. It's a touching moment.
As it turns out, Qyburn has developed a secret weapon to take care of Dany's dragons! Sadly, it's basically just a giant crossbow. We've come to expect more messed up things from you, Qyburn. Up your game.
On the plus side, it does manage to smash through the skull of a dragon that forged the Iron Throne. This seems cool and all, but, I somehow doubt that penetrating an old piece of bone that has been sitting there for years is the most accurate stress test.
You And... Which Army?
Back at Dragonstone, Yara Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell And Ellaria Sand are super keen to attack King's Landing, and are okay with the deaths of innocents. Tyrion has a go at the latter, saying his mates aren't fans of poisoning little girls, like Myrcella. Snap.
Echoing the words of Tyrion, Dany says that she doesn't want to be queen of the ashes.
Instead, she plans cut off the capital's supplies by laying siege to the surrounding area. And in a fun twist, they're not going to use the Dothraki or Unsullied armies they brought with them.
They don't want to prove Cersei's racism right by showing the Lords of Westeros that they're flooding the land with bloodthirsty foreigners. Instead, the Unsullied will be sent to take Casterly Rock. Everyone seems down with this plan.
While speaking alone, Olenna warns Dany that peace never lasts. To be fair, she has lost her entire family and has lived through a bunch of different monarchs, so we can allow her some pessimism.
She also warns Dany about following the advice of clever men -- even Tyrion. She muses that Dany is a dragon, not a sheep, and should act like one.
Downstairs, Grey Worm is sharpening his sword. Not a euphemism. Missandei appears to be passive aggressive about whether he was going to say goodbye.
Grey Worm explains that it's hard for him too, and that until she came into his life he had no weaknesses.
They start getting naked. There's a pause when it comes to Grey Worm revealing his downstairs mix-up, but Missandei wants to see him properly.
They make their way to the bed and long story short, they make it work.
Also, the door is open the entire time and this bothered me.
Back at the Citadel, the Archmaester is trying to teach Sam about historiography. But all he's interested in is treating Jorah, and mentions two successful cases of advanced treatment.
The 'maester reminds Sam that it's dangerous and forbidden, and that the guy who wrote about those two cases also managed to die from greyscale.
Sam is living the thug life though, because we next see him sneaking into Jorah's room under the cover of darkness as the latter is writing a letter to 'Khaleesi'. Sam has read up on the treatment and has decided to do it himself. Spoiler: it involves a lot of graphic skin removal and screaming -- that was not fun to watch. Do not recommend.
Hungry Like The Wolf
In an undisclosed tavern, Arya runs into none other than Hot Pie!
He asks her a lot of questions about her sister, Brienne and what she's been up to, but Arya is more interested in smashing his delicious baked goods. Also not a euphemism.
He's surprised to find that she's heading to King's Landing, rather than Winterfell. Same, Hot Pie.
As it turns out, Arya had no idea that the Boltons had been displaced and that Jon was now the King in the North. Honestly, I find this a bit hard to believe. She seems to spend enough time around taverns and gossiping Ed Sheeran types. But sure, let's roll with this.
Arya promptly leaves, telling Hot Pie to not get killed. He also says she's pretty, and it's cute.
She gets back on her horse and looks pensive. But come on, we all know where she's gonna head next.
Sam's Dragonglass raven from last episode arrives in Winterfell. Jon promptly tells the northern lords, as well as inform them of Tyrions invitation to Dragonstone.
Like everyone in this show, he argues that they needs allies and Dany has both armies and dragons that they can use against the white walkers.
Sansa is still not keen and neither is anyone else in the room. He goes over the same arguments we've heard before, and how it has to be him that goes -- a king talking to a queen.
Sansa j'accuses him of abandoning the North, until he says that he'll leave Winterfell and the North under her command -- which she's totally into.
Before leaving, Jon visits Ned's crypt. Littlefinger rolls up to seemingly make nice. He does this by talking about how he delivered Ned's corpse to Winterfell, how Jon would have failed on the battlefield without him, how Catelyn didn't like Jon and how much he's thirsty for Sansa. It certainly wasn't his best attempt at diplomacy.
Naturally Jon chokes him as a response and warns him to stay away from his sister.
He proceeds to leave Winterfell with Ser Davos, with regally looking on. Littlefinger emerges and creepily stares at her, which is on brand. Should we be concerned that he'll try to manipulate her without Jon around? Or is Sansa beyond his bullshit now? I guess we'll find out.
Meanwhile, we find Arya building a fire in what looks to be Northernish woods.
Her horse starts to freak out and about a dozen wolves appear. Thninkig one is her long lost Direwolf, Nymeria, she asks it to come with her. After a few moments the wolves "bye Felicia" her rather than turn her into a meal. She decides that it can't have been her wolf after all.
(I disagree. In the books there are rumours that a dire wolf is running a pack around Westeros. And it's not like she was ever caught in season 1. It'll be interesting to see if anything comes of this. Perhaps the encounter merely represents Arya finally returning home?)
50 Shades of Greyjoy
Over in the Greyjoy sailing club, the three Sand sisters are drinking and low-key arguing about who gets to kill Cersei and The Mountain with the same tone that teen girls usually reserve for gossiping about boys. It's the best.
Upstairs, Yara, Theon and Ellaria are also drinking. The latter rags on their wine and flirts with the siblings. It's established that Theon will be Yara's protector once she is queen of the Iron Islands, which becomes important later.
But until then, Ellaria uses this conversation thread to start rubbing up on Yara. Theon stands to the side looking uncomfortable as his sister throws him a 'soz' shrug.
The two women make out and talk suggestively about "foreign invasions" until suddenly, a jolt!
The fleet is under attack by none other than Uncle Euron who swings on their deck, looking like the craziest bastard in Westeros. He's just happy to be there.
A bloody battle ensues both above deck. Everyone is getting amongst it. Yara sends Tyene Sand downstairs to protect her mother as the entire fleet gets set ablaze.
Things don't go well though. Obara and Nymeria Sand get personally taken down by Euron, while Tyene and Ellaria get captured by his cronies.
Yara and Euron finally face off against one another. The latter growls at her to give her uncle a kiss, to which she gives him a battle-slap as a reply. In between a few NPC deaths, Euron gets the better of his niece. He calls out for Theon's attention as he holds an axe to her throat. "Come on you cockless coward. I have her, come and get her."
Theon looks around at the obvious defeat around him and in a move that won't surprise anybody, he throws himself overboard.
After being treated to a a couple of hard-to-identify female bodies being strung to the figurehead of the ship, the last thing we see in Theon watching the flaming ships float away while having a cry to himself.
- The preview for next week shows Euron turning up somewhere to applause. If this is King's Landing, to great applause. Considering that Ellaria was taken alive and Tyrion's "little girl killer" comment earlier in the episode, I'm going to assume that she is the gift he plans to give Cersei. Also, what are his plans for Yara?
- In the scene between Jaime and Lord Tarly, they made a big production out of stating that his name is Dickon, as opposed to Rickon. It seemed rather superfluous, so I'm wondering what potential significance that may have later?
- Can Dany really trust Varys to keep his word? I'm hoping so since she asked for him to be honest with her. But who knows.
- Does Arya's return to Winterfell indicate that she will abandon her revenge plans in favour or family? Or are they merely being put on hold?
- Is everyone still keen for Jon and Dany to get down, even though they're absolutely related?
With some of the winter's biggest tournaments behind us, things slowed down this weekend. But blessed with an SC2 tournament and another esports World Cup, as well as a tone of fighting game tournaments, there was still plenty to watch.
That's enough violence, flirting and scheming for one day. It’s time to stop thinking and start driving. Book your Mustang test drive today.