We gave it a B+
The war of the two queens is now fully underway in another surprise-packed episode of Game of Thrones, which included the long-awaited meeting of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen — among many other developments. There was a major Stark reunion (but not the one you expected), the loss of a fan favorite, a totally disturbing torture scene, and more in the aptly titled “The Queen’s Justice,” an episode that showed Cersei and Daenerys dealing with threats and challenges in rather different ways. But we start with…
Dragonstone: Jon and Davos reach the beach to find Jon’s season 1 travel companion Tyrion waiting to escort him. Davos maintains his composure quite professionally for a man who lost his son when Tyrion blew up his fleet in the Battle of the Blackwater. A dragon dive-bombs Jon, and he throws himself to the ground in shock. Watching GoT characters get freaked out by dragons never gets old; if Westeros had YouTube, it would be full of prank clips showing people getting surprised by dragons (or, as Tyrion puts it, “I’d say you get used to them, but you never really do”).
Jon and Tyrion have an exchange about Sansa where he reassures he never consummated his marriage. Jon makes it sound like he doesn’t care but we suspect he secretly does. “She’s smarter than she lets on,” Tyrion says, to which Jon humorously shoots back: “She’s starting to let on.”
Nearby, Melisandre and Varys have a chat by the cliff. Melisandre doesn’t tempt fate by revealing her presence to Davos, who swore he’d kill her if he sees her again. We’re reminded that Varys really dislikes sorcerers after that mysterious wizard mutilated him as a child.
Varys threatens her not to return to Westeros, to which mind-freak Melisandre replies: “I will return dear Spider, one last time. I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”
Varys isn’t easily rattled, but this psychic foreshadowing visibly throws him. Does this mean neither of these characters will survive the final season? Not necessarily, but it certainly doesn’t bode well. I would love it if Melsandre actually had no clue how Varys was going to die and was just f—ing with him.
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Jon reaches the throne room, and we finally get a moment that we’ve been waiting seven seasons to witness: Daenerys meeting Jon, who momentarily openly gawks at her. Why, blind dates in Westeros never turn out this well! But they quickly get down to business. Jon says he’s not at Dragonstone to “bend the knee,” a phrase that’s not supposed to be sexual, but we can’t help but have Certain Thoughts in this context. In fact, Jon challenges the very notion that a Stark should be under a Targaryen, and the duo attempt to top each others’ lineage claims. This is like Seven Kingdoms royalty foreplay — no, my claim is dominant and yours is submissive!
Dany surprises Jon — and us too, a little — by admitting her father was an “evil man” and apologizes for his crimes against the Starks. She rather impassionately lets him know all the hell she’s gone through to get here, and that she’s survived by having faith in herself.
Jon tries to explain the whole White Walker situation. But his crazy-sounding threats about dead people are a total turn-off, and Dany has zero interest in the subject. If this were an actual date, she would suddenly have to leave because, oh, she actually forgot all about that one thing she had to do. Dany’s stance is basically: I can’t be bothered with your zombie story line; I’m trying to play Game of Thrones and you’re talking about The Walking Dead. Her reaction is admittedly a tad close-minded for somebody who can walk through fire and rides dragons — she’s way closer to living in an Anne McCaffrey paperback than he is.
Overall its a scene that is not the instant romantic chemistry fans might have expected — they’re both kind of annoyed by the other and trying to figure out how to come to some kind of productive agreement. They are highly impressive leaders who just happen to have wildly different priorities right now. In fact, there’s so much happening in this scene we could spend the whole recap on the Jon and Dany meeting alone (“I am the last Targaryen!” she declares at one point and we’re all, Umm, don’t be so sure about that).
Eventually, Dany orders Jon to go to his room like he’s a mopey teenager. He asks if he’s a prisoner and Dany suggests he might be, but one who’s being treated super nicely until she figures out what to do with him (many Jon Snow fans, I’m sure, have suggestions). NEXT: A Lannister pays her debt, with interest