‘Game of Thrones’ Guide, Week 3: Every Question We Have Before Episode 4
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.
If you saw “The Queen’s Justice,” you know that the war effort of Daenerys Targaryen—despite three dragons, an army of eunuch assassins, and a horde of horse warriors—is going terribly. But now it’s time to stop being polite, and start being Valyrian steel. So, next up in Episode 4: A field turns to fire, the lone wolf rejoins her pack, and an unhappy reunion for Theon Greyjoy.
Is Daenerys Finally Done Playing Around?
“Enough with the clever plans” the Mother of Dragons says in the episode preview, and if you zoom in hard enough on that photo up there, you can see her backing up those words. There’s nothing “clever” about descending from the sky on the back of your monstrous fire-breathing son, but so far “clever” has won Daenerys Targaryen a heaping helping of bollocks with a side of diddly-squat. Just two episodes ago, she a massive, dual-edged army and armada to bolster a fortified alliance of Houses spread throughout Westeros. Now she has like twelve ships, an empty Casterly Rock, and a scruffy dude from the north crashing at her house who won’t stop talking about The Walking Dead.
So, it’s dragon time. When sneaking around in sewers and sailing through the dead of night gets you nowhere, you break out the monstrous mythological beasts and turn your enemies into little individual ash piles. That’s warfare 101. Sun Tzu said that. But where is Drogon headed? Smart money says Daenerys and her scaly offspring are headed to Casterly Rock. Grey Worm and Co. technically won the Lannister household on a fluke, but the last image we saw was Euron Greyjoy’s Black Pearl-ass crew of pirates smashing the Unsullied’s ships to pieces. Euron’s fleet is deadly but his boats are still made of wood, and Drogon breathes fire. Several hours of exhaustive research has shown me that fire is “bad” for wooden boats.
But there is also the possibility that Dany simply plans to roast three-quarters of Cersei’s forces in the open field and call it a day. It’s a long march for Jaime Lannister, Bronn, and the rest of the Lannister army from Highgarden back to King’s Landing, with large stretches of open field with little defense against getting firebombed by a two-ton flying dinosaur. Not only that, but they are also transporting an enormous quantity of Tyrell gold, key to Cersei’s plan to repay the Iron Bank of Braavos.
In a wonderful bit of symmetry, this is almost exactly how Aegon Targaryen I conquered Westeros once upon a time. In the middle of Aegon’s invasion, King Mern IX of The Reach and King Loren Lannister of Casterly Rock realized they were both rich as shit and powerful enough to properly defend themselves and decided to meet the vastly outnumbered Lannister invader in an open field. In response, Aegon decided to stop being “clever” and unleash all three of his dragons—him on Balerion the Black Dread, his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys aboard Vhagar and Meraxes, respectively—at the same time. The resulting mess of flames, screaming, and soiled pants came to be known as The Field of Fire, and the Targaryen family sat on the Iron Throne roughly a week after it ended.
How Awkward Is Arya’s Return to Winterfell Going to Be?
Very, very awkward, for a whole host of reasons. So far, the reunions between the Stark siblings have been sweet but ultimately hollow, because truth be told they all barely interacted for the entire time Game of Thrones has been on the air. Sansa and Jon never even spoke a word to each other before reuniting last season, and before Bran showed up at Winterfell with a B.A. in Philosophy and a Reddit, him and his oldest sister had shared, maybe, a glance or two. Arya is the one Stark child who not only bounced around from contact to contact but shared at least one meaningful moment with every member of her family.
But she’s also an enormously different person; she left Winterfell en route to King’s Landing as the precocious black sheep of the Stark family, and returning as a trained assassin who bakes dudes into pies. Sansa has believed her sister dead for so long she’s had enough time to mourn her twice, and now she is practically going to come face-to-face with a stranger. That might also literally happen; Arya wears stranger’s faces now.
But it’s not just the Starks who offer up prime side-eye possibility. Brienne of Tarth is still at Winterfell, presumably spending her every moment beating the shit out of Pod. Arya spurned Brienne’s help in season four’s finale, “The Children,” which led to a mutual ass-kicking between Brienne and Sandor Clegane. Littlefinger is also creeping around, as Littlefinger does, and though Arya doesn’t know it (yet) he straight up conspired to have her father lose his head. That’s prime “Kill List” material right there.
What's the Big Deal with This Knife?
That nasty little Valyrian steel blade has been hovering in the background of Game of Thrones since the second episode, when a hired killer tried to use it to murder Bran Stark. Since then, it’s been in the possession of Littlefinger, who has been using it to cut the eyes out of Teen Vogue covers and/or something equally as weird. Petyr Baelish is a strange man, is what I’m saying, but he does have one of the only legit pieces of Valyrian steel left in the land.
For now, that is. You see, Entertainment Weekly caused quite the hullabaloo before season 7 with a photo that depicted that same knife around Arya’s waist. So, either A) the prop master on that photo shoot doesn’t give a damn about continuity, or B) sometime between Arya’s arrival home and the end of this season, she’s going to take that knife for herself, which doesn’t spell pleasant things for Petyr Baelish.
Is Jon Going to Punch Theon Greyjoy in the Face?
Oh, yeah. Big time. Right in the kisser. Assuming, of course, that it’s Dragonstone that Theon and the remaining Greyjoys are slinking back to after the on-sea asskicking delivered by Euron in “Stormborn.” If so, Theon is walking into super hostile territory. It’s easy to forget in a post-Reek world, but Theon spent a large part of early Game of Thrones completely, utterly fucking over the Stark family. He betrayed Robb and took Winterfell for himself through the sleaziest means possible. In the process, he beheaded Rodrik Cassel—who trained Jon as a little boy—and broadcast to the world that he flayed and burned Rickon and Bran alive. He didn’t, and Jon knows this, but in this case, it’s really more the principle of the thing. Eventually, Theon’s incompetence basically handed Winterfell over to a maniacal goblin bastard named Ramsay Bolton. You may remember the time Jon literally had to swim through a sea of mud and corpses to win it back.
So, yeah. The homie Theon Greyjoy is getting straight whacked in the face, posthaste.
What Are the Odds There Isn’t Actually Any Dragonglass beneath Dragonstone?
Honestly? Pretty high. Jon’s only evidence of its existence is a faded picture in an old book, which somehow, in the centuries since it was written, no one noticed and said “huh, could be useful.” Also, to the best of my knowledge, Jon and Dany debated for hours and brokered a deal before sending anyone into the basement to, you know, check to see if anything is there. All I’m saying is, it would be a very Game of Thrones thing to have Jon go beneath Dragonstone to find an empty cavern and a note that says “gone to find more dragonglass” signed by Aegon Targaryen.
Then again, Sam did use a dusty scroll to successfully pick the greyscale off Jorah Mormont’s body, so maybe the Maesters at The Citadel know what they’re talking about.