This is the third in a series of recaps of the seventh season of Game of Thrones. We assume you have seen the episodes if you are reading this. - editor
Episode three of this season, “The Queen’s Justice,” repeatedly prompts its characters and its viewers to challenge what they know, be it personal histories, the identities of enemies and friends, or simply what can and cannot happen in the natural world.
To begin, Game of Thrones finally gives us the encounter we have all been waiting for: the meeting of ice and fire. Jon Snow and Ser Davos have arrived at Dragonstone, and their meeting with Daenerys does not quite go the way either of them hoped. Dany assumes that Jon has come to swear fealty to her as his queen. Jon has no interest in squabbling over who will sit on the iron throne. For him, there is a more pressing matter, that of the Night King and the White Walkers. He tries to convince Daenerys of that, but for both of them, their pride and their histories stand in the way of an agreement. They don’t trust each other, because they don’t know each other, and they say as much. All they have to go on is what other people have told them and their own family’s histories, which are at odds with one another.
Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Cersei receives her due. Euron returns from the battle against Daenerys’ army with Ellaria Sand, her daughter, and Yara Greyjoy as his prisoners. Cersei defers his offer of proposal once again and imprisons the Dornish women where she finally exacts her revenge. In a cruel bit of irony, Cersei administers poison to Tyene Sand via a kiss, just as Ellaria did to Cersei’s daughter Myrcella. She leaves Ellaria with her now dying daughter, to watch her slowly become bone and dust – “The Queen’s Justice” indeed.
Back at Dragonstone, Jon seeks the counsel of Tyrion. He doesn’t seem to understand why Daenerys refuses to believe in the urgency of fighting the White Walkers. After all, Jon saw them with his own eyes.
Tyrion points out how similar Jon and Daenerys actually are. They are both people who look at the larger picture rather than falling prey to small battles. They both care deeply for the people who have placed their trust in them. But most of the time, big ideas are not what convince people to move forward. We need small, tangible things to hold on to. And so, Jon asks to mine the dragonglass that the castle is sitting on for weapons, and Daenerys agrees. After all, Dany says, “People thought dragons were gone forever, but here they are. Perhaps we should all be examining what we think we know.”
In Winterfell, Sansa is reunited with Bran, whom she thought was dead. In the Citadel, Jorah Mormont is declared infection free and released, while Sam is congratulated on saving Jorah’s life, despite using an extremely dangerous procedure that was known not to work. In Dragonstone, Tyrion lays out for Daenerys what he believes will happen when the Unsullied arrive at Casterly Rock, but we see that he did not foresee all that would happen.
Not all of the Lannisters were at Casterly Rock. Cersei knows that Daenerys is coming for her throne and is slowly killing off her allies. She sends the larger part of the Lannister army to Highgarden, castle of the Tyrells, where Jaime leads them to victory. Lady Olenna is waiting for him, knowing that her time has come to an end. After she drinks the poison that will painlessly kill her, she shares one final piece of knowledge with Jaime: that she knows all of Cersei’s children are also Jaime’s and that she was responsible for Joffrey’s death. It is immediately evident in Jaime’s reaction that he did not know this and is completely stunned and overwhelmed by this information. “Tell Cersei,” Lady Olenna says to him, “I want her to know it was me.” Even as Cersei thinks she is getting the last word by killing Lady Olenna, Olenna delivers the final blow.
When we are confronted with new information, we must decide to either accept or reject it. If we are ever going to advance personally or societally, we must be willing to let what we think we know be challenged. It is just as true for us as it is for the people of Westeros.