Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones Season 7, “Stormborn”

Hello, hello, hello. We won’t bore you with a lengthy introduction. We know what you came for: that sweet, sweet Thrones talk.
So no teasing; straight to the goods!

But as always: SPOILER ALERT!

Lord MWB: Greetings, fellow Thronesians, and welcome back to Recap the Realm! The 431st most popular Game of Thrones recap on the internet! With your help, lovely readers, I truly believe we can become the 428th most popular. So let’s begin!

Episode 2 was a very slow episode; one of those patented Game of Thrones positioning episodes we’re all used to, where characters talk a lot about doing things without really getting around to doing them. BUT unlike a lot of those episodes, it was still a very consequential episode. Pieces were positioned and moved, ever so slightly, in a way that means the momentum is going to pick up next week and I think it’ll continue to build right on through the end of the entire series. This episode is it; this is the episode we will look back on after the show has ended and say “that’s when the end game started.”

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We begin on Dragonstone with Dany and Tyrion gazing out at a violent storm and Tyrion remarking “You were born on a day like today,” as if Dany doesn’t already know. Way to MANSPLAIN her own birth, TYRION. It’s like you’re providing useful, if stilted, exposition to the audience or something.

I’m leavin most of Dany’s stuff to Nikkie this week, but I just have to say Varys and Dany’s conversation was maybe one of my favorite things ever. This was one of the first times we’ve ever seen Varys get truly angry and the fact that he was directing it at Dany was really something special. Varys is really compelling. In the show at least, it seems like he really does care about the smallfolk above all and he’s willing to call Dany on some of her sanctimonious shit over it, even if it means getting roasted alive. In the books, he may or may not be a wily snake instigating the sixth Blackfyre rebellion, but in the show it seems like he’s just lookin out for us commoners. Though Dany did throw some masterful shade at Varys just a few minutes later when they met with Mel.

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In King’s Landing, fake news and fear mongering hold sway, Jaime continues to disappoint me while maaaaaaybe showing signs that he’ll stop soon (that girl is poooooooiiiiisoooon, Jaime!), and Qyburn builds a big-ass crossbow and desecrates a priceless historical artifact. It’s interesting to note that in the history of Westeros, one of the first dragons ever to be killed was done in by a similar device. So Qyburn might be on to something here. Basically all signs point to unhappy times for at least one of Dany’s children.

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But guys, SHUT UP AGAIN. Arya had two reunions this week!!

We finally caught up with Hot Pie, and his life is goin right. All that boy wants to do is bake, and he is fucking fantastic at it! He found his passion and he’s living his dreams. We could all take a lesson from him and learn to be a little more chill. Hot Pie, you beautiful bastard, you’re too good for this world. Arya, meanwhile, shows basically no emotion from seeing her old friend, just steals some food from him. I know she offered to pay, but that was only after he told her about Jon. She’s just so dead inside, guys, I can’t! At least hearing about Jon  got her excited for the first time in…like 4 seasons. And she’s finally headed back North! Where she will juuuuuuuuust miss Jon cus he’s headed to Dragonstone. Friggin Starks, man—always coming so close to meeting each other.

And what’s that? Do you hear…howling? Do you feel your hackles rising? The sudden feeling of being watched, being stalked? You’re surrounded. You don’t hear the snarling until they’re already upon you. NYMERIA’S HERE, BABY, AND SHE’S BROUGHT HER WHOLE PACK. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
I’m so happy, guys. She saw Nymeria. I had a sneaking feeling the reunion wouldn’t last, but I don’t care. They saw each other, and that’s what matters. Now it’s interesting because this scene could be read in a few different ways. A lot of those wolves with Nym sure were dead ringers for the other direwolves, just smaller. Nymeria has found her own family, she’s rollin with a bunch of wolf-os that look like her old family. Is this a hint to Arya that she needs to get her ass back to Winterfell and be with hers because dammit girl they’re alive and family is important! Or is she going to take Nym’s rejection as a sign to forget her family because she doesn’t fit in anymore? I don’t know, but I sure hope Nym comes back to help fight the army of the dead. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion Arya will die but Nymeria will live. One of the last shots of the series might be Nymeria howling at the walls of Winterfell before running off with her pack, Sansa looking down and saying a tearful goodbye to her sister. (Ed note: In the books, wargs live on in their animals, at least for a while.)

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And lastly we had our first big action piece of the season and the first battle in the final war for the Iron Throne. Not to mention some grade A creepiness on Ellaria’s part. Was she tryin to get a brother/sister threeway going? Or was she just being super cruel to Theon cus she knows he doesn’t have a dick no more? Also “A foreign invasion is underway” is the worst line the show has ever produced. Worse even than Tyene’s “bad pouijschee” thing from a few seasons back. Why does the show insist on making the Sand Snakes so terrible? Why does it insist on making Ellaria so terrible? Why does it hate Dorne so much?!

Anyway! Euron saves us all from that by attacking. The battle is tense and claustrophobic and not particularly exciting, mostly because Euron wins so easily. Like, we really only see the Sand Snakes putting up any manner of a fight. I like that they were able to go out with one last little bit of badassery and wound Euron, but they won’t be missed. They deserved better, but what we got was shit. Bye Dorne!

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Game of Thrones usually gets really clever with its episode titles; there’s usually a double or triple meaning in them. This week, the obvious meaning is Dany, but I think “Stormborn” is also referring to Euron. He became king by killing Balon in a storm, and his ship came upon Dany’s fleet during a storm. Which—was that magical? He was talking to Balon about how he brings the storm and shiet, and this is twice that he’s done something during a storm that’s very convenient to him. Is he a magic pirate? I hope so! It would at least make him interesting, which is something all of the Ironborn really need. They suck just…so bad. Speaking of sucking, I’ll let Nikkie talk about Theon! He had no choice really but…damn dude.

Take it away, Nikkie! Sorry I talked so much.

Lady MWB: I’m not gonna start with Theon because that is not where my heart lies in this particular episode. Honestly, my heart is pulled in so many places, I’m not even sure where to begin! I guess I’ll go top down!

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Oh my God. I’m so excited. You may or may not recall from our in-depth recapping of season 6 that I really, really wanted Sansa to be crowned instead of Jon. Not because I don’t think Jon can handle it—y’all know he (but in reality Kit Harington) is my boo thang—but because I’m DESPERATE for people to see that Sansa can handle it. While it is concerning that she’s rocking some Cersei realness in her hairstyle and seeming to undermine Jon at every turn, I believe that she can do some real good. She’s got Brienne at her side and my little love bug Lyanna Mormont. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot of things, obviously. But I’m holding out hope that she’ll actually do a decent job. And hopefully murder the shit out of Littlefinger because fuck his creepy, lingering, “It’s totally normal to tell this dude that I wanna bang his sister just because I wanted to bang her mom” ass. While I really wanted to urge Jon to choke the ever-loving life out of him, I was also like “But don’t take that away from Sansa. It’s really her right to kill this fake fuck.” But maybe all the remaining Starks could be there, glaring at him. And then they pee on his dead body. I don’t know. SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT, YOU GUYS. It’s warranted.

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Beyond that, I’m . . . lukewarm about Jon and Dany meeting??? Like, I’m excited because I’m buzzing off that THE LAST TARGARYENS GATHERING high, which is similar to a Stark reunion high. But I’m really not part of the camp that ships them as a couple. JON’S LOVE FOR YGRITTE IS ETERNAL AND HE WILL NOT SULLY IT BY LYING WITH ANOTHER, OKAY?!?!?!

But it’s still pretty cool that they’re going to be meeting up and getting this show on the road. Dany, hand over that dragonglass. Jon, get the same deal Yara was gonna get before she got her ass captured. Tyrion, be everyone’s best friend!
Seriously though, how amazing was it when Tyrion was like “Yo, this Jon kid is pretty dope. I should know; I’m the grandmaester of judging dopeness”? I thought it was a little weird that they wrote the line exactly that way verbatim—don’t double check it; don’t @ me—but the point stands either way.
Will these be our three dragon riders?! I honestly don’t know. I feel like Jon doesn’t need a dragon because he’s got Ghost (arguably; Ghost, where you at, fam?), so it’d actually be kind of fun if it was someone entirely outside the fandom’s expectations. Like, Dany, Tyrion, and . . . Gendry! But I guess it *does* make sense in a symmetry kind of way to have a Targaryen, a Lannister, and a Stark (because for all intents and purposes, Jon is a Stark, despite his actual lineage).

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Speaking of Dany, can we pleeeeeeeeeease talk about Missandei and Grey Worm’s spectacular scene? MAH GAWD. The intimacy levels were off the freakin’ charts. I swooned. It was so sweet and intense. Too bad Grey Worm is obviously going to die now. Because we can’t hold on to anything good when it comes to this show.

As for the rest of the Dragonstone bits, I was a little disheartened by how quickly Dany turned to “I’ma roast your ass if you cross me” during her real talk with Varys. While it was definitely necessary for her to question the allegiances of someone she’d never met before and make sure he was behind her for the right reasons (homegirl ain’t got time for a fair-weather friend when she’s got seven kingdoms to win), I feel like she didn’t need to pull out the dragon card to underline her point. I’m just not a fan of how this fuels the fire (pun intended) for people who are like “See! She’s just becoming an embodiment of the idea that when a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin, and she got the crazy side.” I don’t want her to be crazy. Determined? Sure. Hard-headed? What ruler isn’t in this world? Slightly blinded by both her lust for the Seven Kingdoms and her flawed idea of how ruling works? That’s, like, the point of her arc. But she doesn’t need to become another psychotic Targaryen, letting her nails grow all long and threatening all her enemies with death by (wild)fire. Leave that shit to Cersei. Let Dany just be another young ruler struggling to understand her position.

Then we got Melisandre up in here, on that prophecy shizz once again. I was literally baffled that, when asked how she knew the Red God was raising up Jon for an important purpose, she wasn’t immediately like “BECAUSE I BROUGHT THAT MOTHERFUCKER BACK FROM THE DEAD.” Literally. What. Just based on the history of the majority of the people in the room, I think they’d believe her. And while I guess she wouldn’t necessarily know that, why wouldn’t she just take the shot of putting it out there? Or is there some reason for Jon’s temporary death to be a secret?
Whatever the case, a voice was given to a widely held fan theory that the so-called Prince that was Promised might not need to be a dude when Missandei corrected the translation to mean Prince or Princess. So, thanks for helping bring that to light, I guess, Meli. But other than that, I really have no idea how useful she will be in the future. Will there be some additional Varys vs. Red Priestesses drama? Obviously there’s the question of what will happen when Davos and Jon roll up and see her (technically they just told ride south, so I don’t think she’s breaking the rules by being with Dany), but beyond that, what is her purpose?! Questionable eye candy (now that everyone knows she doesn’t actually look like that)? I don’t even know!

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Down in Oldtown, shout out to Sam! Sam the Rebel! I love it. I’m here for it. Slughorn is being straight-up bullshit with his constant assumptions that nothing can change—if a maester wrote it down, then that’s the end of the discussion, as if evolution and new ideas aren’t a thing. I actively can’t with him. And thankfully, neither can Sam! While he didn’t go with “Hey Jorah, let’s go get you some dragonglass to nom,” the way we’d all been thinking this problem would be solved based on those swift nerds who screenshot the restricted book Sam was reading in the first episode, he still took it upon himself to try a crazy, last-ditch procedure that might save Jorah’s life.

To me, this felt like a nice nod to the Sam we get in the books—the one who pulled strings to get Jon elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. I know what you’re thinking: “Nikkie, Sam was the one who nominated Jon in the show!” Yeah. But it’s even cooler in the books. Behind the scenes, he convinces two of the other candidates to back out and cede their votes to Jon (and at some point, Jeor Mormont’s crow bursts out of a chimney or something and says “Snow” like a sign from the gods). So Sam has this super bad-ass moment that the show glosses over, and I think having him say “Fuck it! We’ll do it live!” and decide to try and cure Jorah is a way to get that back a little bit. Much appresh.

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And I think this brings us back to Theon and the Greyjoy boat battle.

Obviously, Theon’s cowardice is disappointing. But is it really unexpected? When he looked into his uncle’s two functioning eyes (Ed. note: WHY DOES EURON STILL HAVE BOTH EYES?! This battle was the perfect opportunity to rid him of one, thus putting him a bit more in line with his characterization in the books.), it’s likely that he saw the same kind of madness and lust for chaos that fueled Ramsay, the dude who robbed him of his entire soul and identity. And he knew that if he took a step forward, if he rose to Euron’s challenge to try and save Yara, her life would be forfeit. Euron would’ve killed her on the spot. So that very real fear for his own life (completely warranted) as well as the near-certainty that putting up a fight wouldn’t end well, he really couldn’t have done anything but bail.
BUT. It was still super shitty. He could’ve at least said something to Yara or done a better job of communicating with his eyes that he would return once he’d come up with a plan.

What Euron intends to do with Yara . . . Beats me. She might be dead when we enter episode 3, or he’ll have kept her alive for some nefarious reason. I don’t know.
The plan for Ellaria and our last remaining Sand Snake, Tyene, seems pretty crystal clear to me, though. Cersei will murder Tyene in front of Ellaria as retribution for Myrcella’s death at the latter’s hands. Then it’s bye-bye Ellaria because where old Cersei might have seen fit to take a single life for a life (see: having Ned kill Lady in place of Nymeria), current Cersei is about burning it all down to the ground and leaving no one in her wake.

Incidentally, this is why she’s stuck scraping the bottom of the barrel for allies. Randyll Tarly CLEARLY didn’t want much to do with her or her impending war against Dany, Olenna, and the people of Dorne without Jaime throwing in some hella bribes, so I really can’t see Cersei’s way of ruling working out at all in the long run.

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I feel like a lot happened in this episode, keeping with the promise that things are going to be moving fast this season. We only have five episodes left *sobs* so the pieces that have to be moved need to do so quickly, and things that will be resolved this season have to do so in a very short time frame. Even when those things are just everyone standing around and talking about what actual actions they’re going to take, they have to happen at a much faster pace, one after another, so that the end game is firmly in sight.

What is the end game? Lord (and GRRM) only knows.

Phew! Where did we go just now, you guys? That was a long journey we took you on, and hopefully you were entertained the whole time!

We . . . did not remember to do the fantasy football thing . . . Whoops! But, given the current word count, we’re sure you’ll forgive us for that.
See you soon!

May “The Queen’s Justice” provide the answers we seek,
Lord and Lady MWB






Photo Credit: Collider

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