HBO’s multiple award-winning Game of Thrones returned for it’s seventh season earlier this month. The series is part fantasy, part historical drama and is chock full of twists, turns and daring cliff-hangers. The latest episode, aired Sunday evening, proves that the seventh season is here to up the ante.

The following review reveals plot points, quotes and events from the latest episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones which premiered on Sunday July 16th. If you’d like to know a quick spoiler-free review of this week’s episode, check out my TL;DR review below before the main event below, and come back when you’re all caught up.

TL;DR: Last weekGame of Thrones proved to audiences that they’re not here to play. A HBO premiered its shortest season to date, the minds behind the award-winning series are forced to pack as much action, suspense and drama into only seven episodes. This week proves yet again that the season is truly based on character development and the journey our heroes (and anti-heroes) have embarked on. ‘The Queen’s Justice’ is gritty and suspenseful, bringing to fruition many moments fans have been waiting years to see.

HBO / WE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

Recap: After their invitation from DaenerysJon Snow and Ser Davos are greeted on the beaches of Dragonstone by TyrionMissandei and a group of Dothraki soldiers. As they climb to meet Daenerys (whose title is too long to even try to type out), Melisandre is joined by Varys as she watches the scene unfold. When asked why she didn’t greet the guests she was instrumental in inviting, she tells Varys that she has done wrong in the past and, in a truly unexpected way, seems truly resentful for her past actions before leaving Westeros. As Jon and Davos are received in Dragonstone, Daenerys immediately makes her status and intentions known, asking Jon to bend his knee and pledge his allegiance to her cause. Jon however refuses, telling her about the threat the White Walkers present and that, if she does not confront this issue, she ‘will be ruling over a graveyard.’ He refuses to acknowledge her title as Queen and Daenerys seems all but ready to start a war with the North until Varys informs her that Euron Greyjoy’s forces had pillaged all but three of Yara’s ships on their attack on King’s Landing.

After Theon is saved from the waves by the last remaining Daenerys/Greyjoy ships, Euron is seen parading through King’s Landing on horseback, trailing Yara, Ellaria and Tyene Sand behind him in chains. After presenting the two Dornish women to Cersei, the Queen agrees to wed him when the war is won, a promise he seems too happy to rub in Jaime’s face. Taking Ellaria and Tyene down to the dungeons, Cersei teases Oberyn Martell’s lover before delivering the kiss of death to Tyene, getting revenge on Ellaria by killing her own daughter in the same way Myrcella was taken from her.

Back in Dragonstone, Tyrion and Jon brood together, trying to out-sad each other by bonding over their equally depressing childhood traumas. After the brood session, (#BROodmance), Tyrion informs Jon he believes him in regards to the White Walkers and encourages him to speak to Daenerys. Jon tells Daenerys the true reason he accepted her invitation to Dragonstone and she agrees to let him mine the dragonglass, even offering resources and Dothraki man-power.

In WinterfellSansa seems to be ruling the North with the interests of its people in mind (although Littlefinger‘s trailing behind her makes me very uneasy and queasy and a lot of other creepy synonyms). Just as she’s making the rounds of Winterfell, Bran and Meera show up and the moments is a sweet, albeit slightly uncomfortable, family reunion. The reunion only becomes more strange when, sitting under a tree in the grove, Bran says he’s seen Sansa in a wedding dress, in the Winterfell snow. The announcement shakes Sansa and she storms off, leaving the viewer to wonder what Bran is referring to and why his sister seems so perturbed by it.

In the Citadel however, Sam seems to have managed to cure Jorah Mormont, meaning he can reconcile with Daenerys when she needs him most. While Daenerys worries about the outcome of her war, the Unsullied storm Casterly Rock and take control of the Lannister home. But something seems wrong: there aren’t enough soldiers fighting them off. As the episode comes to a close, we see Jaime lead the rest of the Lannister army to Highgarden where, following Cersei’s wishes, he kills Olenna Tyrell with a poison similar to the one she used to kill Joffrey.

HBO / TWO CENTS TV

Review: Season 7 has yet to fail to surpass my expectations. The few episodes that have been released so far are exciting, dynamic and show off all the aspects fans love about the show. This season is truly shaping to revolve around the characters’ dynamism and how much they’ve evolved over the past few seasons. Both Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey provide some of the best performances in the show’s history, giving audiences to sides of the Queen coin.

In addition to the wonderful performances in ‘The Queen’s Justice,’ the episode brings one of the most anticipated moments the show has ever seen: the meeting between the Mother of Dragons and the King in the North. This moments was revealed to fans last year, when candid photos of Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke on set together where published online. The two characters, although not being very different on paper, are incredibly similar. Both find the desire to rule from a sense of duty to their people and this episode truly pinpoints how dedicated to their moral plane they truly are.

The episode is one of the most emotionally taxing in a way the show hasn’t truly explored yet. The characters all seem to be at the end of the rope, clawing for something in front of them just out of reach. The emotional strain on the protagonists of Game of Thrones is physically embodied by Ellaria and Tyene who, in the dungeons of Castle Rock, fight against their restraints to embrace each other. It seems each character is fighting for their integrity, and as the season approaches its finale, its hard to foreshadow the season’s outcome. This latest episode only helps raise more questions: where do Sansa’s true intentions lie? What are the extent of Bran’s powers and responsibilities as the three-eyed raven? And, now more on ever, who will we see sit on the Iron Throne? Only time will tell.

Game of Thrones airs on HBO on Sundays at 9pm in the US, and on Sky Atlantic in the UK on Mondays at both 2am (live from the US) and 9pm. You can catch up on HBO go (US and other territories) or NOW TV (UK). 

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PREVIOUS GAME OF THRONES RECAP REVIEWS:

EPISODE ONE

EPISODE TWO

Published by Gemma Pecorini Goodall