Game of Thrones S07E03 “The Queen’s Justice” REVIEW

Game of Thrones S07E03 “The Queen’s Justice” REVIEW

0 comments 📅31 July 2017, 13:33

Airing in the UK at 2am and 9pm Mondays on Sky Atlantic
Writers: David Benioff and D B Weiss
Director: Mark Mylod

Essential Plot Points:

  • Jon Snow arrives at Dragonstone, and Tyrion and he greet each other as “the bastard of Winterfell” and “the dwarf of Casterly Rock”. They’re pleased to see each other. But Daenerys’ men take Jon’s weapons and his boat.
  • The red priestess is leaving for Volantis. Varys tells her she shouldn’t return, or her safety can’t be guaranteed. She says she will return one more time because she will die in this strange country – as will he.
  • Missandei rattles off Daenerys Stormborn’s titles as Jon Snow enters the throne room. It’s quite the list. Jon’s is a little shorter.
  • Daenerys raises a previous Targaryen and Stark pact, sworn in perpetuity, and asks if Jon has come to bend the knee. He has not.
  • He tells her they need each other’s help, and explains the White Walker threat. It all gets a bit heated after that, until Varys enters with hushed news of Euron’s attack.

  • Theon Greyjoy is hauled ashore a ship from the barrel he’s floating on. His men know his sister has been taken and that he did nothing to stop it – or he wouldn’t be here.
  • Euron returns to a hero’s welcome and the people of King’s Landing pelt the prisoners with garbage as they walk through the streets. Ellaria Sand clocks the Mountain, the man who killed Oberyn, as they are led before Cersei.
  • Despite the gift, Cersei tells Euron he will have his heart’s desire when the war is won. She also names him head of her naval fleet, with Jaime leading the ground forces.
  • Cersei visits Ellaria in the dungeons. Her cruel but poetic judgement is made.
  • A visitor from Braavos arrives to see Cersei, passing on condolences and congratulations – the Iron Bank is happy to see order restored. She counters that they just want their gold back, they want to back the winner of the coming war. She strikes a bargain.
  • Tyrion advises Daenerys to let Jon Snow mine the dragonglass at Dragonstone as a show of good faith. If it’s not true that the White Walkers are coming, it’s worthless anyway.
  • Sansa prepares Winterfell for the coming war, as her brother Bran finally returns home.
  • Jorah Mormont is cured. For once, archmaester Ebrose isn’t a dick about the chain of command being broken. And then he is.

  • Daenerys wants to fly with her dragons and destroy Euron’s fleet. But discussion turns to the coming battle between the Unsullied and the defenders at Casterly Rock, which no-one has ever taken. But that was before they had Tyrion’s help.
  • The Lannisters have given up Casterly Rock, taking Highgarden instead. It’s the end for Olenna Tyrell, but not before she admits she poisoned Joffrey.


This episode’s key meeting – ice and fire brought together, as the red priestess describes it – is fascinating. This is two characters fans have longed to see on screen together sharing that space at last. The history lesson it brings concerning the Targaryen and Stark families shows the rich world building that’s always hidden just beneath the surface in Thrones. Even if the joining of ice and fire, as Jon and Daenerys spar with words, can’t quite live up to expectations.

What does live up to expectations is the continued joy at the part Euron Greyjoy is playing this season. Euron isn’t just bad, he’s really enjoying being bad, the sort of character you’d expect this brutal survival-of-the-fittest environment to produce more of. His obvious appreciation of the people’s adoration as he winds his way through the streets of King’s Landing (the crowds cheering for a Greyjoy in a way that must seem alien to his prisoner, Yara, pulled along by the rope around her throat), is brilliantly played by Pilou Asbæk.

And Euron isn’t done there. His cheeky chat with Jaime in front of the whole room, albeit it out of their earshot, goes well beyond lad bants to rile Cersei’s brother. His talk of Cersei’s sexual desires, and Jaime’s knowledge of them, shows there’s no line he won’t cross and no person so powerful they can escape his playful disdain. We’ll be truly sorry if/when his head ends up on that wall on a pike.

Still, Cersei isn’t about to give up the spotlight in this episode. She’s as gloating as you’d imagine, throwing Oberyn’s death in the face of her Dornish prisoner and pointing out that Sir Gregor – who has taken so much from Dorn – is still standing. And then her judgement, that of the episode title, is passed down to the woman who killed her daughter. It’s as cruel and clever as Cersei herself.

And it affects Cersei how you might imagine – absolute power corrupting absolutely. The victory makes her horny, so she seeks out Jaime and won’t take no for an answer. She doesn’t even hide her relationship with the servants, flaunting her new power as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and taking that air of superiority with her into the meeting with the Iron Bank.

Jon Snow and Tyrion get some time together and it’s almost more of a fan-favourite meeting than seeing the first encounter between Jon and Daenerys. And it’s through Tyrion’s skill that both those meetings aren’t failed endeavours.

Overall, this is a solid episode. We’re no longer simply catching up with characters, we’re seeing their fates decided before our eyes. Every meeting, every move on that chessboard of war, feels more vital and has greater consequences.

It’s particularly interesting to see Littlefinger share his mental state this episode, as true insights into his scheming character are (given his nature) few and far between. While Lord Baelish’s mantra for life sounds like a terrifying way to live, it pairs so well with Olenna Tyrell’s admission of a “failure of imagination” that it sounds like a great guide – perhaps the only true guide – for surviving Westeros. And such a thing would be a bestseller among the ruling families of the seven kingdoms.

The good

  • Mark Gatiss gets to shine here in a way he didn’t when we first met his character at the Iron Bank. It’s not easy to quip with Cersei onscreen and come off as an equal, but their exchange is a high point among this episode’s chatter.
  • Tyrion and Jon Snow’s brood-off. No contest: 1-0 to Winterfell.
  • Sam and Jorah’s handshake. It’s a powerful moment that’s enough to bring a tear to the eye.
  • Tyrion’s time as a builder at Casterly Rock – priceless. As they’d say on Archer, “Classic Tyrion.”

The bad

  • Sophie Turner’s scripts must mostly begin with the phrase, “Lady Sansa looks out from the internal balcony at Winterfell,” which is becoming a bit of a visual cliché. At least her actions at readying Winterfell push that to one side.
  • The reaction to Bran’s return to Winterfell is incredibly muted. Which is not a surprise if Sansa already understood his creepy new nature as the Three-Eyed Raven, but at that point, she doesn’t.
  • We wanted Jorah Mormont to retain some cool dragon scale-like scars, as Stannis Baratheon’s daughter did, to make him look scary and even harder.
  • A couple of fairly major battles are practically throwaway occurrences in this episode. We can only hope Thrones is trying to spare us from battle fatigue, so we really appreciate what’s coming.
  • No more Diana Rigg. Sad face. Especially given her excellent use of the C-word this episode.

Best Quotes:

Sir Davos, in response to Daenerys’ lengthy introduction including numerous titles: “This is Jon Snow. He’s king of the North.”

Jaime Lannister: “There are always lessons in failures.”
Olenna Tyrell: “Yes. You must be very wise by now.”

Review by Matt Chapman

Read all of our Game of Thrones reviews

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