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We are officially in full swing for #Season 7 after last week’s premiere essentially setup most of the major plot points for this season. After experiencing an episode of “#Game of Thrones” with virtually no violence, we certainly got our fill this week with an absolutely brutal battle scene.

It’s fair to say that #Euron Greyjoy has definitely earned some brownie points for killing off most of the Sand Snakes while also capturing Yara, Ellaria Sand, and Tyene Sand. But let’s be honest, the biggest highlight was the setup for the highly anticipated meeting between Jon and Dany next week.

Recap

The episode opens up with Dany and her council beginning to discuss their strategy to defeat Cersei.

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During which, Dany begins to questions Varys’s loyalty knowing full well his history of scheming behind people’s backs, namely the last two kings he served. While she demands his blind loyalty, Varys tells her that because of his background, his real allegiance resides with the common people. Dany respects his answer and tells him to just be up front with her if she’s doing something wrong instead of conspiring behind her back.

Their meeting is interrupted by Greyworm who tells them that a red priestess has come to see Dany. It turns out it is none other than Melisandre, who tells Dany that she should meet with Jon, hinting that they must unite to fight off the White Walkers. We then immediately cut to Jon receiving a letter from Dany telling him to come to Dragonstone. He debates with Sansa as to whether or not it would be shrewd of him to accept her invitation.

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Davos intervenes mentioning that although it may not be the smart move, the fact of the matter is that she has three dragons. Something that could prove to be invaluable in the upcoming war against the army of the dead.

Cersei tries to convince the Tyrell bannerman to join sides with her due to the fact that Olenna Tyrell has sided with Dany. She does so by trying to exploit their xenophobia, mentioning how Dany has brought an army of foreign eunuchs and savages to rape and pillage their lands. While most of them remain unsure, especially because of Dany’s dragons, Jamie privately discusses with Randyll Tarly why he should join their side. In addition to reiterating the same points as Cersei, Jamie tells him that the Lannisters will make him the new Warden of the South if he betrays Olenna.

Jorah is seen being examined by the archmaester Sam is shadowing who tells him that there is nothing him or the rest of the Citadel can do for him. Despite Sam’s insistence that they at least try, the archmaester still says no.

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We then cut back to King’s Landing where Qyburn, Cersei’s hand of the queen and personal mad scientist, discusses with Cersei about how powerful and dangerous dragons are. He goes on to say that while they are certainly a force to be reckoned with, they aren’t invincible. He then unveils a massive ballista (giant crossbow) he has been working on which he plans to use as a counter to Dany’s dragons.

Dany continues to discuss strategy with her council along with Ellaria and Olenna. While they all argue that they should use all of their resources to take King’s Landing as quickly as possible, Tyrion comes up with a far more prudent move. Due to the unfavorable image it would create if Dany just laid waste to King’s Landing with a Dothraki horde along with her dragons, Tyrion advises that the Dornish and Tyrell army lay siege to King’s Landing while the Unsullied take Casterly Rock. While everyone agrees on his plan, Dany has a private discussion with Olenna in which she advises her not to be afraid to use her dragons.

As Greyworm prepares for the invasion of Casterly Rock, Missandei talks with him. Greyworm reveals to her that she is his “weakness” which leads to them having “sex”. We then cut back to the Citadel where Sam performs secret surgery on Jorah due to the fact that he’s the son of Jeor Mormont who Sam followed and idolized while he was still with the Night’s Watch. This scene then transitions to Arya at a tavern where she reunites with Hot Pie. After catching up, Hot Pie reveals to Arya that Jon is now King in the North which causes Arya to abandon her plan to kill Cersei, for the time being, so that she can reunite with her family.

Jon receives Sam’s letter about the mountain of dragaon glass sitting under Dragonstone which leads to his decision to accept Dany’s invitation. Despite the rest of the Northern Lords disagreeing with his decision, Jon tells them that it must be done and that Sansa will be in charge of the North while he’s gone. As Jon looks over Ned’s grave in the Crypts of Winterfell, Littlefinger appears in order to talk to him. However, Jon is less than pleased to talk to him and threatens to kill him if he tries to make a move on Sansa. We then cut back to Arya huddling over a fire in the middle of woods. All of a sudden, Arya’s direwolf Nymeria appears, along with an entire wolf pack that she seems to be leading. While Arya insists that she come with her, Nymeria decides not to.

Finally, we see Yara Greyjoy, along with Theon, escort Ellaria and the Sand Snakes back to Dorne so they can bring the Dornish army to King’s Landing. As Yara and Ellaria become “friendly”, Euron seemingly appears out of nowhere and attacks their ships. While the fight rages, Euron kills two of the three Sand Snakes while the rest of his fleet completely demolishes Yara’s own fleet. As Euron captures her along with Ellaria and Tyene, Theon looks over the lost battle and jumps overboard as opposed to being captured once again.

Review

Of all the scenes throughout the episode, the two I found myself enjoying the most was the opening scene and the final scene. Although my reasons for liking these scenes are quite different.

Varys revealing to Dany his true motives and allegiance was remarkably cathartic. Since the start of the show, Varys and Littlefinger have been by far the two most enigmatic characters in “Game of Thrones”. While Littlefinger finally reveled his true motives during the season finale last season, Varys’s intentions still had some mystery behind it. We knew that Varys wanted to restore the Targaryen Dynasty, but we were never given a clear answer as to why until now. It’s not that Varys favored the Targaryens, or any house for that matter, he simply just favored the person he believed was best for the people. Varys has and always will be on the side of the common people.

On the other hand, my reasons for enjoying the final scene was a tad more simplistic. As much as I love excellent storytelling and characterization, I also have a love for spectacle which is something “Game of Thrones” has perfected. The naval battle was very entertaining to watch, not to mention we got further evidence as to why Euron will be a true difference maker this season. However, two things peaked my interest during this scene. The first thing being how Euron appeared, it seemed as though Euron materialized behind some mysterious thunderous looking mist which looked completely unnatural. In the books, it is mentioned that Euron utilizes dark magic to his advantage, something we very well might’ve just seen in this episode. If Euron in the show is anything like he is in the books, than I can’t wait to see what else he does this season.

The second thing that peaked my interest was Theon’s reaction. While most people are probably mad at Theon for being such a coward, I actually found it to be very realistic. Theon has been through more than anyone else in the show by a mile. To think that all of that trauma would just simply go away just because he escaped Ramsay is absolutely ridiculous. Personally, I’ve always found Theon’s storyline to be one of the most compelling in the entire show. After this episode, I’m even more interested to see how Theon’s arc plays out.

Watching Cersei and Jamie convince the houses of the Reach to betray Olenna Tyrell and join their side was also intriguing. Even with Euron on her side, Dany’s army still vastly outnumbers Cersei’s army. However, if the Lannisters can organize another Red Wedding-esque betrayal with the Tyrell bannerman, this will pay major dividends. Randyll Tarly is regarded as the greatest general in Westeros and is the head of arguably the most powerful of the lesser houses. If they succeed, not only will the Lannisters even the playing field, but Dany will also lose one of her most powerful allies. Not to mention that Qyburn’s ballista will definitely be something to watch out for as well.

Now that Jon is off to Dragonstone for the highly anticipated meeting between him and Dany, it will be interesting to see how Sansa fares as the Wardeness of the North. While I'm sure most people are focused on the meeting between two of the most popular characters in the show, seeing how Sansa will deal with her new position of power while simultaneously dealing with Littlefinger could prove to be pretty substantial. We already know Littlefinger has some sort of plot set to remove Jon one way or another, and we also know that it involves creating distrust between him and Sansa. Seeing how Littlefinger will go about his plan and whether or not Sansa will take the bait could ultimately mean that one of these three characters will end up dead by the end of the season.

Seeing Arya reunite with Hot Pie and Nymeria in one episode was pretty great to watch. But best of all, she’s now finally heading back to Winterfell in order to have the big Stark family reunion we’ve been dying to see since season 1. Sam’s secret emergency surgery on Jorah was positively disgusting, but as hard as it was to watch, it was good to see Sam show some humanity in a show where a commodity like that is pretty hard to come by.

The one criticism I had was the “sex” scene between Greyworm and Missandei. While I’m sure there are some who care about their love story, personally I couldn’t care less. Not to mention that in a show that has so very little precious time to spare as it rapidly approaches its final conclusion, they wasted way too much screen time on this scene.

Overall, I give this episode an 8.5/10.