‘Game of Thrones’ Guide, Week 2: Every Question We Have Before ‘The Queen’s Justice’
Like a cheap, drunken night at a Braavosi brothel, Game of Thrones usually leaves us with far more questions than answers. Each week, we’re going to take a deeper look into every single Q HBO’s fantasy mega-hit needs to A.
After finally getting over the Captain-Jack-Sparrow-meets-cocaine ending to “Stormborn,” we’ve recovered enough to realize that Jon Snow is about to meet Daenerys Targaryen in the flesh. So, next up: a pirate’s welcome, Casterly Rock beats scissors, and the two nicest heads of hair in Westeros finally meet in the promo for “The Queen’s Justice.” Here’s a breakdown:
What Could Happen when Daenerys Meets Jon?
Besides instant, incestuous sexual tension, nothing is guaranteed from an interaction this volatile and game-changing meet-up, but the possibilities are endless. For one, just from a technical standpoint, we’re getting Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Liam Cunningham, and Carice van Houten in the same room. The last time that many capital A-list Game of Thrones cast members were under the same roof, they were winning an Emmy. Here’s to hoping this reignites the silver-tongued charisma machine that was the Tyrion Lannister of old, as opposed to the severely depressed homeless man in a leather jerkin he’s been since Season 5.
Story-wise, my goodness: Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are at the center of roughly every single Game of Thrones fan theory and prediction not involving Sandor Clegane fighting his zombie brother. “The dragon has three heads”? Dany and Jon are almost assuredly two of them. “The Prince who was Promised,” occasionally called Azor Ahai, who will deliver us from The Long Night by bringing the dawn? Probably Jon, maybe Dany, honestly could be both thanks to last episode’s High Valyrian linguistics lesson. Jon is secretly half-Targaryen? Confirmed. Jon is also the blue winter rose that Dany sees growing from a wall of ice in her vision inside the House of Undying? Well, not confirmed, but come on.
The universe has been pushing these two characters together since around 1994, is what I’m saying.
The real intrigue, though, comes from how much goes unspoken. Like I said last week, these two beautiful humans don’t even know they’re related, a revelation that would change quite literally everything happening on this show. That said, their agendas couldn’t be more different. Dany sees this meeting as a chance to convince Jon she is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and also has the best hair. Jon, on the other hand, came to Dragonstone to convince Dany that “dear lord there is an army of zombies and ancient ice warriors coming to kill us all, please let me borrow, like, one dragon.” But also that he has the best hair.
And, if all that wasn’t enough, there’s still one major question that somehow tops the rest….
How Long, Exactly, Did it Take Jon to get from Winterfell to Dragonstone?
Pull up any map of Westeros and you may notice that the Stark’s northern stronghold is several hundred miles away from the Targaryen house o’ dragons, with seemingly no convenient route in between. Jon could have taken the straight route, down the King’s Road, across the Barrowlands and The Neck, then through The Twins at the River Trident. That’s the same way his brother Robb went once upon a time, and you may remember it turned into such a hullabaloo it eventually wiped three-quarters of the Starks from the planet. Or, he either scaled the thousand-foot peaks of The Vale or go by water, which after “Stormborn” probably involve bumping into Theon floating on a piece of driftwood. Hey, maybe he’ll find Gendry while he’s out there.
Basically, “The Queen’s Justice” is going to begin with a seven month time jump, or the revelation that Jon Snow can fly.
And you know what? That’s amazing. Game of Thrones is officially in no-time-for-nonsense mode. Remember when people used to say “send a raven” and that raven would show up like six episodes later? No more. To quote Mel Brooks in 1987s Spaceballs: “The ship is too big. If I walk, the movie would be over.”
Why Do the People of King’s Landing Suddenly Love Euron Greyjoy?
I mean, I know why Cersei Lannister would welcome Westeros’ most bloodthirsty pirate back to the Red Keep with open arms. That insane pirate bastard promised her a gift, then casually sailed into the open ocean to destroy Yara Greyjoy’s entire fleet and put an end to Daenerys’ invasion plan before it even started. But how to explain why Flea Bottom commoners are lining up to cheer on this literal sea monster like he is LeBron James returning to Cleveland?
Simply put, this means that Cersei’s smear campaign against Daenerys is working. The residents of King’s Landing are simple, fickle people. When you spend your entire existence living under history’s most corrupt political structure, you learn to react solely with emotion. You see a queen doing a Walk of Shame, you don’t think, you just throw your poop. But if that same queen tells you that this Targaryen invader is the second coming of her insane father and plans to swoop down with her three monstrous dragons any day now, you buy it. You don’t see a pirate parading his own niece and a Dornish noblewoman through the streets, you see a guy who is going to keep your favorite brothel firmly un-burnt.
What is key to remember is that Cersei originally offered Euron the hint of a marriage pact, depending on how stellar his choice of gift is. In my admittedly limited experience, the two people most prominently guilty in the poisoning death of your only daughter is a pretty on-brand gift. Which might explain…
Where is Jaime?
Simple answer: He’s at Lannister home base, Casterly Rock, because there happens to be a horde of eunuch mercenaries and horse warriors headed that way now. What’s important is whether he headed that way by choice, or in an angry huff over the dude who definitely has fleas that’s about to marry his sister/lover.
I know at this point it’s futile to look to “the books” to guess what happens, but showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss do occasionally like to merge storylines together from the source material to create something new, and this all has a whiff of the familiar. By Feast for Crows, Jaime Lannister similarly has had it up to here with his sibling’s shenanigans. While orchestrating a siege at Riverrun, Jaime receives a letter from Cersei, pleading for help in an upcoming trial by combat. Jaime burns that nonsense, and in fact, he doesn’t it even do it himself — the man asks an underling to put the letter to flame because he is just so, so over it. Not to say this will play out identically in the show, but this does seem like the most opportune time for Cersei to get way over her head, and for Jaime to respond, “you know what? Nah.”
What’s the Big Deal with Casterly Rock?
King’s Landing might be where the Lannisters sit on a pointy chair and give orders, but Casterly Rock provides the bankroll. It’s a fortress above an actual goldmine. It is the most financially unstoppable Rock since Dwayne Johnson. Take down Casterly, and Cersei becomes a self-serious liberal arts senior at NYU who just got cut off from her trust fund.
If the episode preview is any indication, the invasion goes pretty well for the Unsullied, which you would think doesn’t bode well for Jaime. But I wouldn’t rule out a tragic end for Grey Worm. In “Stormborn,” Grey Worm and Missandei had passionate farewell sex on the eve of battle. Game of Thrones law dictates that “Consensual Sex” + “Meaningful Goodbye” = “Guaranteed Death.”