The following review is part three in the series of seven episode reviews from the Season 7 of popular TV series Game of Thrones. Each episode will be reviewed from a feminist lens by SMIW readers. Read the previous episode reviews before you begin with episode 3. If you already have, move right ahead to the review of the latest edition:
If there were ever a GoT episode that spotlighted the badassery of the women of Westeros, Season 7, Episode 3 had to make the list. Kudos on the name, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – ‘Queen’s Justice’ has quite the ring to it – sorry Tyrion, you may not think so, but Dany prefers it, and so do we.
Remember when Daenerys Targaryen was a sweet teenager who obediently followed her gross brother Viserys’s injunction to show Khal Drogo that she had “a woman’s body now?” Me neither. I’m kidding – hold off on the beheading – but Dany’s come such a long way (quite literally, from across the Narrow Sea to Westeros) since then that it’s hard to imagine how we first saw her.
First order of business, Dany meets Jon-The Man Who Knows Nothing-Snow (oh please, someone fix that sorry man bun), and interestingly, it doesn’t go well.
This season of GoT has been filled with delicious comedic digs at the show’s own penchant for gore and heavy posturing, and the trend continued. Danaerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons (phew, that lasted longer than the longest winter) met Jon, who, pitifully had nothing but King in the North to his name. Snigger, snigger.
Oh, and let’s not forget he also had his weapons and ship taken away by Dany as soon as he landed. Burn – or should we say, Bun?
Anyhoo, after much bluster and brooding between the two, the slick Tyrion Lannister, Hand of the Queen, gets Dany to give Jon permission to mine for Dragonglass. Thank you Tyrion, for drinking wine and knowing things. Does she believe his story about the Night King? Will aunt and nephew (tell them R+ L = J already) eventually reconcile? Will they ride off into the sunset on dragons? Will they braid each other’s hair (oh come on, you were thinking it too)?
Maybe Melisandre could look into the flames and tell us, but instead, she leaves, after mysteriously foreshadowing her own and Varys’ death in Westeros.
But overall, as far as woman power goes, this sequence did quite well. Dany for president, yes?
Not so fast. Cersei, who has made a habit of turning misfortune into victory took her wiles to John Cena level this episode. First, she gave Ellaria Sand her comeuppance, imprisoning her and forcing her to watch as she poisoned her daughter in a poetic turnaround to the way Ellaria murdered Myrcella – kissing her with poisoned lips.
The deliberate construction of the scene and Lena Headley’s curious mix of fire and ice (pun intended) make it painful and yet, irresistible to watch.
Cersei’s a monster, everyone will tell you, and they’re right. And yet, why is she so hard to hate fully?
Fresh off her kill, she sleeps with Jamie – who says no, but can’t resist. This is a woman getting off on power; doing what kings do; having sex as cake after the conquest. Even better, she no longer cares if people know about her and Jamie, asking the help to bring them fresh sheets even as he lies, just a tad bashfully, in their bed.
This was a nice little counterpoint to the slime and macho insolence of Euron Greyjoy, who brought Cersei ‘gifts’ – the Sands and Yara Greyjoy – dragging them through the streets of King’s Landing, and “getting hard” on the punchdrunkenness of Machiavellian power. So when he taunts Jamie, asking him for advice on how Cersei likes it in bed (“rough?”) and she tells him he will have what his heart desires after the war is won (umm, sure, we believe you), a chill runs down your spine.
These two are more alike than two Imtiaz Ali films – they just don’t know it yet.
Ohaaaiii Mycroft Holmes! Wait, what do you mean that’s Tycho Nestoris, a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos? Oh! Anyway, Cersei convinces him that notwithstanding the considerable Lannister debt, her House was a better one for him to bet on than the ragtag coalition of Dothraki, dragons and freed slaves led by Dany.
In an argument that will warm the cockles of every fascist’s heart, she also tells him that the Targaryen girl is more a revolutionary than a ruler, who, by freeing the slaves of Slaver’s Bay, has caused considerable losses to the Bank of Braavos. People behind the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, Cersei was way ahead of you, knowing that the 1 per cent need the 99 per cent to suffer for their gains.
Perhaps that is how the Lannisters always pay their debts.
Well, it looks like Cersei will pay hers by engineering a tactical masterstroke. When The Unsullied take Casterly Rock far too easily, you know something’s up. And sure enough, it is. Jaime Lannister and his best men are in Highgarden to take their gold and supplies as well as to send the delightful Olenna Tyrell to her death. Olenna has been one of the show’s strongest characters, and seeing her go was difficult. But this is no garbling geriatric.
Olenna goes out with a bang, drinking Jamie’s poison and dropping a major truth-bomb on him about she being the one who killed Joffrey.
“Tell Cersei. I want her to know.” Mic drop.
Then there’s Sansa, who’s travelled from North to South and back and fashioned quite the character arc along the way. Wait, that sounds like Ranbir Kapoor in every movie ever! Oh, nevermind.
Showing herself to be a capable administrator, Sansa sets afoot her plan to stock the granaries for the winter. Even better – she knows her breastplates, and won’t settle for any less than the leather they are meant to be covered with.
Sansa 2.0 is no domesticated damsel – just a friendly reminder, dear mansplaining Littlefinger.
There’s little sunshine and never any rainbows in GOT, except when the Starks meet.
So when Bran made it to Winterfell, I’ll admit I shed a tear from my poor, Ned Stark-mourning-trampled-upon-heart. Except, Sansa tells him that he’s the last surviving Stark boy, which makes him Lord of Winterfell. Wait, what?
After scoring major fem-points for besting Ramsay Bolton and masterminding Jon’s victory at the Battle of the Bastards, you’re suddenly going to meekly surrender to the gender card? Come on, Weiss and co, that’s about as authentic as Dhinchak Pooja’s sense of melody!
Then, an infuriatingly emotionless Bran then tells her that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven, doing a terrible job of explaining what that actually means. Bro, you’re home and reconciled with your sister after – oh I don’t know – you were paralysed, your father and mother were beheaded, your brother was murdered at a wedding party and your other brother and sister are still at large.
So why are you acting like you just took a profound Art of Living course in douchebaggery, and raking up Sansa’s horrific wedding night?
Actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran had this explanation for Entertainment Weekly:
“She’s lost her brother once before when he fell out of that tower, and now Bran’s back but she loses him all over again. All the Starks have changed so much…It’s like imagining you have all of space and time in your head. Bran is existing in thousands of planes of existence at any one time. So it’s quite difficult for Bran to have any kind of semblance of personality anymore because he’s really like a giant computer.”
Whatever dude, that was #AwkwardAF.
Oh and by the way, you looked really pretty the day you were pushed out of the tower by Jamie. Hold the door, please!
Somewhere along the way, Sam’s path breaking (insert eye roll) cure for Greyscale – scraping it off and applying disinfectant – worked.
Lovelorn Ser Jorah is now fully cured and on his way back to gaze into Dany’s non-reciprocating eyes and fight by her side.
Well, that was easy. Nicely timed too. Because after the last two episodes, the mother of dragons will need all the allies she can gather.
Episode Rating: Four trucks-full of dragonglass.
Episode Winners: Sansa Stark, Jorah Mormont, Cersei Lannister, Euron Greyjoy, Samwell Tarly, poison makers of Westeros.
Episode Losers: Yara Greyjoy, Team Dany, Olenna Tyrell, Bran Stark, Jaime Lannister, Ellaria Sand.
Updated Season Leaderboard: Sansa Stark (1st), Euron Greyjon (2nd), Jorah Mormont, Lyanna Mormont, #Sheerya, Nymeriah (joint 3rd).
Updated Season Loserboard: Littlefinger and Jamie Lannister (joint 1st), Team Dany (2nd), The Hound, Theon Greyjoy (joint 3rd).
About the Author:
Sowmya Rajaram is a journalist with Bangalore Mirror, a feminist and an incurable dilettante.