WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS from Season 7 of Game of Thrones.
After seven years, Game of Thrones gave us the first-ever meeting between two of the show’s main characters—Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. “The Queen’s Justice” was filled with firsts, reunions, and deaths as the chess pieces continued to move on the board. This review will be longer than most because of the very important and long-awaited meeting between Jon and Daenerys.
The episode starts with the King in the North, along with Ser Davos and a few soldiers, arriving on the shores of Dragonstone met by Tyrion, Missandei, and some Dothraki soldiers. It was cool to see the catch-up discussion between Jon (“Bastard of Winterfell”) and Tyrion (“Dwarf of Casterly Rock”), who took the journey to the Wall together back in Season 1. We even got a slight smile from Jon, which doesn’t happen to often and shows he was fond of Tyrion from years ago. Jon also acknowledged Tyrion “picked up some scars along the road,” to which Tyrion replied, “been a long road, but we’re both still here.” It’s really something to think about the bastard and dwarf both being alive years later, while we’ve seen the deaths of Ned, Robb, Catelyn, Joffery, Tywin, Stannis, and so many others throughout that time.
When Missandei asked if they wouldn’t mind handing over their weapons, it must have not been too comforting for Jon, especially after he was warned by most of the Northerners not to go see Daenerys—but Tyrion’s calming presence as a familiar face probably made things easier for him, though taking the boat and the only escape route was less than ideal.
The continuation of the catch-up between Jon and Tyrion on their walk up the long path to Daenerys in the castle was also interesting. Tyrion ensured Jon he did not want to marry Sansa and the marriage wasn’t consummated, while adding the Lady of Winterfell is smarter than she lets on—to which Jon, who’s had to deal with Sansa recently, humorously replies, “she’s letting on.” Tyrion and Jon also each want to hear how the other got to where they are now, as King in the North and Hand to Daenerys Targaryen, but there’s not nearly enough time to tell those stories before they reach the castle.
The trust is clearly there between the Stark bastard and Lannister dwarf, as Jon tells Tyrion his bannermen think he’s a fool for leaving the North. Tyrion agrees and says he would have advised against it were he his hand, noting a general rule of thumb: Stark men don’t fare well when they travel south. Ironically, Jon tells Tyrion he’s not a Stark (because he’s a bastard) just as a dragon flies over them. The look of shock on the faces of Jon and Davos is pretty much the look everyone has when they first see one of Dany’s dragons.
The concurrent conversation between Melisandre and Varys was interesting and odd. The Red Woman can’t stay because of the way she left the North, with Davos wanting to kill her and Jon basically telling her he does not want to see her again. Varys told her he thinks it’s a good idea she’s leaving for Volantis, and warns her not to return. But Melisandre says she needs to die in Westeros, as will Varys. It’s not common to see Varys spooked, but he was, and you’d have to think something comes of this discussion.
When the doors to Daenerys’ throne room open, they walk in and Jon almost looks starstruck when he sees The Mother of Dragons. After Missandei introduced her queen by her several impressive titles, the King in the North gives a perplexed look to Davos, who says, “this is Jon Snow” before pausing and rather reluctantly saying “…he’s the King in the North.” Priceless.
Then started the back and forth between Daenerys (with Tyrion) and Jon (with Davos). Dany has three dragons and never even heard of Jon Snow, so that basically sums up her thoughts on the manner and request for Jon to pledge to House Targaryen. However, Jon refused to bend the knee, citing what Daenerys’ father (“the Mad King”) did to his grandfather and uncle. And Daenerys genuinely asked forgiveness for the past crimes of her family against Jon’s. The similarities between Jon and Daenerys are striking—before he left for Dragonstone, Jon said the same exact thing to the Northerners about the Umbers and the Karstarks, vowing not to hold them responsible for the crimes of their fathers. When Daenerys said the same thing, it must have registered with Jon that Daenerys is a fair and just leader.
Still, even with that and with Daenerys speaking of the centuries of bond between the Starks and Targaryens, Jon does not want to bend the knee. Dany wants him to honor the pledge of his ancestors while promising to name him Warden of the North, but Jon can’t do that because 1) the Northerners would be strongly against it, and 2) he needs to fight the Night King, the White Walkers, and the army of the dead.
Daenerys simply doesn’t believe the army of the dead is a more important battle than the one against Cersei—and it’s hard to blame her, because she hasn’t seen the Night King like Jon has and it’s probably just an old legend to her (“as far as I can see, you are the enemy to the North”). Daenerys rose from her throne and walked towards Jon while giving a heck of a speech, explaining all she’s been through and where she stands now, accomplishing things no one has done (bringing back three dragons, bringing the Dothraki across the Narrow Sea).
I think Jon might be ready to bend the knee to her if she was fighting the same battle as him, against the White Walkers instead of against Cersei, but he tells her “you’ll be ruling over a graveyard, if we don’t defeat the Night King.”
Davos then tells of the things Jon has done, continuing the similarities between the King in the North and Daenerys Stormborn—he is the first to bring Wildlings and Northerners together, he was named Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and King in the North as a bastard, he fought the White Walkers, he “took a knife in the heart for his people.” Jon glared at Davos and cut him just short of saying he died for his people before coming back to life.
Tyrion suggests Jon simply bends the knee to Daenerys, so they can go defeat Cersei then together defend the North, but Jon says there’s not time for any of that—it must be awfully frustrating as someone that’s fought the White Walkers and seen what the Night King is capable of to have people not close to as urgent as he is. The King in the North doesn’t mean any disrespect to Daenerys, but his father fought to overthrow her father, and he’s loyal to his Northerners. Daenerys respects Jon’s position, calling it “fair”, but then warns Jon it’s also fair to point out he is in open rebellion against the crown, as she is the rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
The debate probably would have gone on, but Varys came and broke the news to Daenerys about the attack by Euron. Daenerys dismissed them to their rooms after their long journey, and Jon asked if he was her prisoner. “Not yet,” Daenerys said. Overall, the meeting was, I think, without question the longest of any non-battle scene in Game of Thrones, and rightfully so.
Dany and Jon basically went from nothing to something. Just think back to Season 1. Daenerys was being sold by her own brother to Khal Drogo and she had no power. And Jon was on his way to the Wall—basically where dreams go to die, despite it being a necessary and honorable duty. Now, they are Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Rightful heir to the Iron Throne, Rightful Queen to the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, The Mother of Dragons, The Khaeleesi of the Great Grass Sea, The Unburnt, The Breaker of Chains; and Jon Snow…The King in the North. You can even throw Tyrion in there too, as a dwarf that was never treated by his father, or sister, like a true Lannister but is now Hand of the Queen for a Targaryen. The acting by the three actors playing those parts (Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, and Peter Dinklage), along with the writing and dialogue for the episode, was outstanding.
Now to the rest of the “The Queen’s Justice”: In King’s Landing, Euron delivered the gift he promised to Cersei, bringing Ellaria Sand along with her daughter, Tyene. After Ellaria murdered her only daughter, there might not be anyone Cersei is happier to see as a prisoner than her. Euron doesn’t get the marriage he wants, though, as Cersei says that won’t happen until the war is won. Cersei announced Euron will control the Naval forces while Jaime commands the armies—it’s a formidable combination to combat Daenerys and the other enemies.
Now sitting on the Iron Throne, Cersei is turning out to be perhaps the cruelest of all Game of Thrones characters—which obviously says something. She unabashedly admitted of thinking about different ways to kill Ellaria, including considering having Ser Gregor smash her head in like he did Oberyn’s. Instead, the ruthless Lannister decided to use the same type of poison Ellaria used on Myrcella and kissed Tyene, poisoning her to die. Poetic justice, you could say. But Cersei is now going to make Ellaria sit and watch her daughter die and rot, while making sure she stays alive to do so, “all the while contemplating the choices you’ve made.”
Unable to leave Dragonstone, Jon was “brooding” by the sea before Tyrion arrived. The discussions between the two are among the best in the entire series. Tyrion came to also brood over the attack by Euron Greyjoy, but amusingly admitted to Jon, “you’re making it difficult. You look a lot better brooding than I do.” They again reflected back on their previous meeting in Season 1, with Jon reminding Tyrion he called the White Walkers “grumkins and snarks.” But Tyrion might be starting to believe, as he dropped a new great Tyrion Lannister quote, saying “I trust the eyes of an honest man more than I trust what everybody knows.”
The King in the North conceded—like Ned and Robb were—he is a “Northern fool” for coming to meet Daenerys. Then Tyrion let Jon know: Daenerys has saved people from monsters, just like Jon (the similarities)—but she isn’t going to travel North and fight something she hasn’t seen based on the word of someone she doesn’t know after one meeting; it just isn’t a reasonable thing to ask. Tyrion asked Jon if there is anything reasonable he can do to help—Dragonglass is the answer; it’s the big reason Jon agreed to meet Daenerys in the first place.
Tyrion brought the request to Dany, who agreed to allow Jon—a potential ally—to mine the dragonglass. The Targaryen Queen must see something in Jon. She was respectful enough towards him, despite his refusal to bend the knee and his being in open rebellion. Ser Davos saying Jon was stabbed in the heart also clearly stuck with Dany as something intriguing about the King in the North, but Tyrion said “you must allow them the flight of fancy. It’s dreary in the North.”
Daenerys didn’t ask about this when Jon came down to talk to her, though. But again, she was very amicable towards someone refusing to help her fight against Cersei, letting Jon know he can mine the dragonglass while she provides any men or resources he needs. The King in the North thanked Dany, who then turned away and faced the sea before Jon asked if she believes him about the White Walkers then. Daenerys made no eye contact and simply said, “you better get started, Jon Snow”, then not looking his way until gazing at him as he walked away. There is obviously something there, and the Dany/Jon relationship—the coming together of fire and ice—is the most important relationship to watch in the coming episodes.
In the North at Winterfell, two Starks were finally reunited, as Bran returned home where Sansa was commanding the Northerners and preparing for the long winter as the Lady of Winterfell. The embrace sent chills, as all big Stark moments do, and it was the first time we saw Bran and Sansa together since the first episode of the entire series. The youngest remaining Stark, who told Sansa he can’t be the Lord of Winterfell because he is the Three Eyed Raven, is now more emotionally cold than ever. Sansa basically couldn’t talk to him anymore when Bran started to talk about her wedding night (to Ramsay). Before she left, Bran told Sansa he needs to tell Jon something (his true parentage), but he elected not to tell his sister of the news.
Following Tyrion’s plans, the Unsullied take Casterly Rock rather easily—it’s because Jaime deceived them. He followed the same exact plan Robb Stark used against him when he took him prisoner at Whispering Wood. Jaime left some of the Lannister forces at Casterly Rock, knowing Tyrion would have Daenerys try to take it. Meanwhile, he took most of the Lannister forces to Highgarden, easily taking the Tyrell stronghold. It was a huge power move by Jaime and Cersei, who now had control of a richer home, with Casterly Rock out of gold.
Lady Olenna had a power move of her own though, even in death. Jaime, who has become quite respectable over the last few seasons, ensured she had a painless and quick death by poison. But after Lady Olenna drank the wine, she told Jaime it was her that killed Joffrey with the awful poison that turned his skin purple and caused blood to run out of his face. The look on Jaime’s face shows that he knows it to be true, and there’s nothing he can do about it, even for revenge, as Lady Olenna already drank the poison. Of course, we knew it was Lady Olenna was the one that conspired to poison Joffrey, but it was still quite the twist at the end of the episode, and a total boss move before she died. “Tell Cersei. I want her to know that I did it”, were the final words of the Matriarch of House Tyrell, and the final words of another truly awesome episode.