Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2 'Stormborn': Review

#FakeNews, sex and the (sort of) return of Joffrey

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You better believe there be spoilers ahead.

More political maneuvering, more loyalties being tested, more Littlefinger being put in his place (last week: Sansa's acerbic asides, this week: Jon's Angry Man Threat), 'Stormborn' was very much a continuation of season opener 'Dragonstone' with no major twists to speak of (except at the very end) but plenty of those lovely, subtle moments the show rarely gets enough credit for.

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Onwards, then, with the major talking points from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 2, which I'm awarding a perfectly respectable:

3.5 1
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The #FakeNews war begins

While the pieces are still being lined up on the board and the competing Throne-warmers assemble their allies, Cersei took some moves straight out of the Trump election playbook as she attempted to rally Tyrell bannermen to her side by trash talking her opponent, Daenerys.

First off, undermine your opponent:

"If the Mad King's daughter takes the Iron Throne she'll destroy the realm as we know it."

Next, invoke fear of immigrants:

"She has ferried an army of savages to our shores. Mindless unsullied soldiers who will destroy your castles and your holdfasts. Dotharki heathens who will burn your villages to the ground, rape and enslave your women and butcher your children."

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Then, tell some lies:

"In Essos her brutality is already legendary. She crucified hundreds of noblemen in Slaver's Bay, and when she grew bored of that she fed them to her dragons."

Finally, big up yourself:

"Listen I'm gonna be the best Queen. Such a good Queen. It's gonna be beautiful. You kidding me? You've never seen a Queen like it."

(OK we made the last one up)

King Joffery is back! (Sort of)

Not in the resurrected-by-the-Lord-of-Light sense – even the Gods aren't that cruel – but as bloody big clunking metaphor in the bowels of King's Landing.

During the aforementioned #fakenews drive, one nobleman raised the pretty valid question of how exactly Cersei was planning to protect them from three giant dragons. "We're working on a solution," says creepy pseudo-maseter Qyburn.

Imagining all manor of wonderment – a Mountain with wings?! - it was a bit of anticlimax when this 'solution' turned out to be just a fairly large crossbow being assembled beneath the Red Keep.

Little Joff, you may remember, had a fondness for terrorising Sansa (and executing prostitutes - #RIPRos #neverforget) with his little crossbow. Now his Mother, a proper despot rather than just a little shit with a crown, has got a crossbow of her own with which she hopes to shoot Drogon and the boys out of the sky. The boy King was a terror, but we're in a whole other world of shit now.

Side note: it may seem a little crude as a solution, but crossbows have a pretty solid record in Game of Thrones history. They helped Jon defend the wall from Wildlings, and one helped Tyrion during Tywin's 'difficult poo'. So who knows.

Woke-teros Moment of the Week

"I've known a great many clever men in my time. You know how I outlived them all? I ignored them."

Lady Olenna, in the Dragonstone strategy room, advising Dani not to pay too much attention to 'clever man' Tyrion. She's the dragon, after all.

Arya's reunions

So far season 7 has been at pains to show the youngest Stark is a needle no more, but rather a grown up, badass assassin. She murdered the Freys in cold blood. She fearlessly endured Ed Sheeran's campfire cameo. She's drinking beer and survivin' out in the cold, where last time around she needed the Hound to protect her. That weird Faceless man training sequence we endured last season has really paid off.

Like the Hound last week, Arya was visiting figures from her past
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In a relatively quiet episode for Arya, she learned (via Hot Pie, who has certainly… grown) that her brother has reclaimed Winterfell and took the heartening decision to head for home rather than continue on her quest to murder Cersei in King's Landing. Maybe there's still time for her to be a happy child again! Great! Then, in the middle of the woods, she is suddenly surrounded by a pack of wolves led by none other than her childhood direwolf buddy Nymeria. It's a rather sweet scene: the wolf doesn't obey Arya's plea to 'go home' with her, but it does spare her life by wandering back off into the woods. Cue a lovely little bit of A-C-T-I-N-G from Maisie Williams who says, softly, "that's not you." She means herself. She's not that little girl anymore. As so one of the great, on-going mysteries of Game of Thrones that I like to call 'Just How Fucked Up Is Arya Really?' continues for now. Cool she's heading back to Winterfell, though - how will the bickering sisters behave towards each other now they're grown up, jaded adults?

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The least surprising shag ever

There hasn't been any gratuitous nudity in Game of Thrones for, oh, minutes now so tonight's episode remedied that by finally showing the least-surprising-shag in Westeros history – Grey Worm and Missandei. And if you're thinking - wait a minute! How can that work! He hasn't got a penis! Then be suitably ashamed of yourself. Grey Worm did what all noble men should, and it appears to all go swimmingly.

Fit as a fiddle, focused at work, selfless in the sack… this eunuch lark is looking like it has more to recommend it than first thought.

The 'You Weren't There, Man!' White Walker Reference of the Week

"None of you have seen the army of the undead!" Jon tells his sceptical bannerman, again, as he tries, again, to sell them a stinker of a proposition - this time letting him take a work trip on expenses to see the Mother of Dragons while they shiver about preparing for the great war. It's all good though: Sansa's being left in charge, and they like her better anyway.

Reek is still Reek

'Stormborn's great shock moment came at the very end when Euron arrived to attack Yara and Theon's fleet in the night, just as Yara and Ellaria Sand were about to get the boat well and truly rocking. Cue a massive fight in the night between the competing Greyjoy armies – an amuse-bouche of killing before the season's big battles to come, no doubt - in which two Sand Sisters were killed (thank the Gods!) and one, along with her mother, got captured.

The key moment came when Theon, after fighting off a fairly impressive amount of his countrymen, came across New Romantic Pirate Uncle Euron who had his Yara by the throat. Would Theon race into battle to save her? Would nephew slay uncle to save the day? Would he heck. Suddenly the sniffling, pitiful Reek took over and Theon leapt over the side of the boat to save himself. The look of contempt and betrayal on Yara's face was heartbreaking. The episode then ended with Theon/Reek floating in the flaming waters, looking up at the slain sand sisters. What next for Yara and Ellaria? A trip to King's Landing to be presented as Euron's 'gift' to Cersei seems most likely. As for Theon, he's more broken now than ever.