Game of Thrones Review by John Keegan

Game of Thrones 7.02: Stormborn

Game of Thrones 7.02: Stormborn

Written By:
Bryan Cogman
Directed By:
Mark Mylod

Game of Thrones may have fewer episodes this season, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop taking its time on character moments while prepping for the big moments.  This installment is a good example of that: much of the episode is talking about what will happen, and then fortunes change in a major engagement in the final scenes.  Still, it can be frustrating, because the audience already knows so much more than the individual characters, even those trying to see the big picture.


The King in the North: Jon knows more about the big picture than most at this point, and he mirrors the frustration of the audience as he argues with his lords and bannermen who know so much less about the stakes.  He gives them a ton of reasons for his meeting with Daenerys, but they don’t feel the urgency.  What they want is a ruler that represents and stands with them.  Meanwhile, he’s trying not to be the last King in the North, never mind the last king or queen to survive in Westeros.

Littlefinger sees advantage in Jon and Sansa being separated and a bit at odds, but he might want to be careful when it comes to the object of his perverted affections.  Sansa is quite a bit stronger than he might think (and a far cry from who she was at the beginning of the saga), and frankly, Jon’s decision to entrust her with the North is exactly the kind of move that gives her the excuse to put Littlefinger in his place.  But he’s managed to maneuver out of worse situations, and with time running out, he’s likely to make whatever move he has been waiting to spring on his “allies”.

Dany Makes Friends: If Littlefinger continues to be the one sowing chaos to rise up the ladder, as he once put it, then Varys states his intentions outright in this episode.  As dangerous as it was to do so, Varys probably gained Dany’s respect by putting his true allegiance on the table.  Varys has always been working to minimize the damage to the people of Westeros, that much is clear.  And as we’ve seen, Varys and Tyrion make for a very strong support system for Dany.

That said, Olenna Tyrell is absolutely right, as the end of the episode aptly demonstrates.  They won’t win by predicting the moves that the lords of Westeros will make, because that is the game those same lords also know.  Instead, Dany needs to think differently.  It’s a match to what Jon tried to explain to the lords of the North.  Both Jon and Dany need to break away from the familiar and predictable if they are going to succeed and stop the threats to the realm, internal and external.  That is why so many predict they must work together for the story to end properly.

Arya Sets Out for Home: Many felt that Arya had lost her soul in recent seasons, and the meeting with the Lannister soldiers in the previous episode gave hope that there was something of the old Arya still inside.  News that Jon rules in the North from Winterfell woke her up a bit, and it was wonderful to see her decide to go home.  She’s still going to have to reconcile her experiences and figure out who she has become as a result of them, but she is still a Stark, and she is finally back on the road that she set out upon in the second season.  The meeting with Nymeria, however sad, also underscored the nuances of Arya’s current mindset.

The Lannisters Plot: Cersei makes her best pitch to convince her remaining potential allies to rally to her cause, but it’s interesting to see how much of an uphill climb it is.  Jon and Dany’s allies are eager for the fight and loyal to their common cause.  Those following Cersei seem to be a lot less motivated, and even Jamie seems to recognize that they are scrambling to give allies like Randyll Tarly a compelling reason to stay loyal to the crown.  If it wasn’t for Euron Greyjoy, it wouldn’t even be close to a fair fight.  

Sam and Jorah Become Friends: It seems mildly convenient to have Sam find a cure for dragonscale at just the right time for him to be in a position to help Jorah, but that might be more a function of trying to drive to the series’ conclusion than narrative cheating, per se.  I have a feeling this is the most logical way that the pieces would fit together, in terms of the various plot and character threads, and in the novels it might have been a longer and more comprehensive road to the same point.  But it still has the potential to leave Jorah with borrowed time, yet also the chance to sacrifice himself (as he seems intent on doing) to serve Dany’s interests.

Euron Strikes: Just like that, Cersei’s one meaningful ally wipes out a huge part of Dany’s alliance.  Yara and Ellaria are taken hostage, at least two of the Sand Snakes are dead (not that we care too much about them at this point), and Theon once again demonstrates his cowardice.  Oddly enough, while Yara’s fleet is destroyed, taking Ellaria hostage might serve to rally Dorne even more behind Daenerys.  After all, Dorne is pretty damn tired of Lannisters killing their leaders, and Ellaria was never a legitimate ruler of that kingdom in the first place.  Dany would represent a more fitting successor to the rule of Dorne, given the historical connections between the Martells and Targaryens.  And one has to wonder if Theon’s betrayal here will lead him into a situation that will lead to redemption before the end.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The action at the end of the episode highlights how quickly the story is moving now
  • Character moments remain a priority, which keeps the show from losing its core
The Bad:
  • Did we really need such a long scene between Greyworm and Missandei?

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Game of Thrones by - 7/24/2017 8:39 AM157 views

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