I guess many of us were stuck to our couches watching Episode 702, “Stormborn.” Some of the things that I liked most are the number of references to the past, not only about the history of Westeros but also to previous seasons (and this season seems to be loaded with plenty of them). The episode opens with a storm at Dragonstone, emphasizing the same weather conditions that were present when Daenerys was born. Furthermore, the storm wrecked the Targaryen fleet at that time. In this episode, viewers see how Yara’s fleet is destroyed by Euron, probably changing the game, and making Daenerys’s military strength less intimidating to some Westerosi lords.
Daenerys questions Varys’s loyalty. According to him, he supports her because she is the best candidate of all the claimants to the throne. He believes she will work for the well-being and prosperity of the commoners. However, his past actions reveal the opposite. He and Illyrio supported Viserys who was as cruel as the Mad King. He also worked on having her poisoned as requested by Robert Baratheon. Daenerys decides to give him a chance.
The inconsistency associated with Varys’s behavior is related to the fact that book Varys is a Blackfyre supporter. House Blackfyre is an offshoot of House Targaryen. They rebelled against the Targaryens, and their members and supporters live in exile in Essos. Since Varys and Illyrio are Essosi, many speculate that they are Blackfyre descendants (a theory which is unconfirmed at this stage in the books). However, the TV adaptation opted to eliminate the Blackfyre plot line resulting in the inconsistencies of Varys’s behavior.
Daenerys is aware that the Sand Snakes and the Olenna are offering their support because they want to avenge the wrongs that House Lannister has done to their families. They agree with Yara’s idea of attacking King’s Landing immediately. Of course, they are not taking into consideration what happened during the Battle of Blackwater. Cersei can use wildfire to decimate their armies in battle. Tyrion proposes to lay siege to King’s Landing by using the armies of Dorne and the Reach. He prefers to use Daenerys’s army to capture Casterly Rock. Tyrion’s plan makes sense, a textbook solution. However, in reality, not everything goes according to what is written in the textbooks. More variables come into play. That is what Olenna was trying to imply while talking to Daenerys about being a dragon. She mentioned she had met many smart men in the past, like Tyrion, and that she has outlived them all. Olenna’s advice applies to what happens to Yara’s fleet at the end of the episode. Euron was not expected to attack them. This defeat means that beating the Mother of Dragons could be possible, and that is why some Westerosi lords may support Cersei (Randyll Tarly?). Furthermore, there is no love between House Martell and House Lannister, as demonstrated in the conversation about Myrcella between Ellaria and Tyrion. Once Ellaria and her daughter are imprisoned, the Dornish lords will not be able to offer their support to Daenerys out of fear. However, Tyrion might want to enroll the second ruling house of Dorne to their cause, but will the Dornish lords support him because of him being a Lannister? Of note is the anti-dragon gigantic crossbow that Qyburn developed for Cersei. So far, it seems that Daenerys has the upper hand because of the dragons, but it is possible to injure or kill them.
Sam decides to apply a dangerous technique to cure Jorah of greyscale. He feels he should do something for the son of the Lord Commander he served. The method consists of removing the necrotic, stone-like tissue from the skin, which is painful. Not very pleasant to the eye is the representation of pus under the dead skin and its association with food in a subsequent cut. Sam decides to do this clandestinely, and he is running the risk of acquiring greyscale himself. The maester who applied this method in the past died of greyscale. Of note is the information that the Archmaester communicates to Sam about writing a history book about the wars following Robert’s death. Of course, at this stage, it is useless to write about them since the conflict is ongoing and has not been resolved.
Arya meets Hot Pie who reveals that Jon is the King in the North. This information convinces Arya to go back to her home and postpone her plans for revenge. Hot Pie notices a difference in Arya and questions her about it, but she prefers to keep everything to herself. He calls her pretty (which is a compliment she hardly hears from people), and he does not charge her for the food. Later, she meets her long lost direwolf, Nymeria, who is currently the “alpha” wolf of a pack. However, Nymeria decides to remain back with her pack instead of going with Arya, a reflection of the rogue nature and wandering lifestyle that Arya has led. This brief encounter symbolizes the Stark reunion. The Starks will get together to fight the common enemy, but they all have gone different paths in their lives that residing at Winterfell will be different than what it was (the bittersweet component).
The Legacy of the Mad King
At King’s Landing, Cersei is trying to convince some of the Westerosi lords to support her claim by establishing similarities, even though not true, between Daenerys and the Mad King. She mentions that Daenerys has brought destruction to Essosi cities and that her army is composed of savages that will pillage and destroy castles and homes. According to Cersei, Daenerys’s actions are equivalent to those of the Mad King. However, not everybody is willing to support Cersei. Many houses are loyal to their ruling house (Martell or Tyrell), and they might not want to be associated with a House that played a role in the Red Wedding (concerns expressed by Lord Tarly).
Similarly, the North and the Lords of the Vale are not pleased to see Jon leave to meet Daenerys. Based on the events that propagated Robert’s Rebellion (the burning of Rickard Stark and the death of his heir and others), they believe that Daenerys cannot be trusted. However, Jon decides to go because he needs to get allies, and Daenerys offers not only an army but also three dragons and a mountain of obsidian at Dragonstone. There are benefits for him to meet her regardless of the negative perception that others have of her. He leaves Sansa in charge (so finally we will be able to see Sansa in action, and she will be getting some help from Bran and Arya).
The Prophecy of the Prince that was Promised
Melisandre reveals to Daenerys the prophecy of the “Prince that was Promised.” Since Stannis is dead, there are only two candidates left: Jon and Daenerys. Missandei emphasizes that fact the Valyrian language is gender neutral and that the prophecy could refer to a “Princess.” Melisandre expresses what she has learned based on her experience with Stannis – prophecies are hard to interpret and advises Daenerys to consider Jon as an ally and everything that he has to tell. Of note is the fact that she does not reveal what lies beyond the Wall.
Not the Best but Still Good
The Interaction Between Littlefinger and Jon
At the crypts, by visiting the tomb of Eddard Stark, Jon is trying to get some insight since he is taking a significant risk in meeting Daenerys. What Littlefinger tells him down there is not pleasant. However, Jon, as opposed to Eddard, is able to read Petyr’s intentions (remember that he was killed at the Wall and brought back, so he knows which ones to trust).
- Baelish emphasizes the fact the Catelyn never liked Jon, a comment that probably reminds Jon the issue that he is a bastard, a usurper of Sansa’s place.
- Littlefinger mentions that he was in love with Catelyn even though, he does not say she never reciprocated it. It is hard to tell how Jon perceives this comment, but he is sure that Catelyn and Eddard loved each other.
- Littlefinger reveals his interest in Sansa, which makes it clear that he is there to rule the North with her, a trueborn Stark.
Of course, Jon grabs Littlefinger by the neck and throws him against the wall in a scene reminiscent of Eddard doing the same thing in Season 1. However, many viewers, including myself, were expecting to have more details about the past revealed. I would have also loved to see Jon giving orders to Brienne to watch Littlefinger’s moves closer even though she is currently doing that.
The Battle at the Sea
The whole battle is chaotic, so it is hard to visualize the fights between different characters. Of interest is Theon’s incapability of fighting and rescuing his sister. It is evidence that there will always be something left of Reek in his mind. He will not recover from it fully. While escaping, he also notices the corpses of Obara and Nymeria on the ship. I guess he will have to go back to Daenerys and notify her of the events. In regards to Theon, the book version is one of those characters who wish to die. However, he remains alive, and it seems that he is one of the few who will survive the series (but who knows).