“Game of Thrones” has been bringing the heat for its penultimate season, with the storylines of fan favorites finally converging upon each other. After six years, we’ve reached the meeting of the King of the North, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, etc. Here’s a brief recap (well, okay, an attempt at brevity) of what happened on the eventful second and third episodes of Season 7. If you’re just looking for an Episode 3 recap, go to the second page of this article.
Standoff Between Daenerys and Varys
The show opens where the premiere left off, in Daenerys’ War Room in Dragonstone. She, Tyrion, and Varys are discussing the people of Westeros and Daenerys’ coming campaign in the region. When Varys acts just a little too flattering, the Queen of Dragons calls him out for being self-serving and “loyal” to several rulers before he came to her. Varys does not back down, and insists he will always fight for the people, not a particular ruler, but he believe Daenerys is the ruler Westeros needs. Daenerys, in a show of beautifully finessed leadership, makes Varys promise to bring concerns about how she rules directly to her, instead of scheming behind her back. Varys agrees, to Tyrion’s relief; the Hand of the Queen had been attempting to stop their fight with little success.
Melisandre Pays a Visit
Melisandre appears after Daenerys’ war room meeting, and is greeted warmly by Daenerys. While Varys and Tyrion look on with distrust, Melisandre asks Daenerys to meet with Jon Snow, the King of the North. The Red Woman tells the Queen of Dragons that she and one other “have a role to play” in the upcoming wars. Daenerys agrees, and tells Tyrion to send for Jon Snow…who must “bend the knee” to her. Yeah, that won’t cause massive problems. Not at all.
Jamie Search For Allies, While Cersei Receives a Special Weapon
Meanwhile, Cersei is circling the wagons back in King’s Landing, calling the remaining loyal houses of the kingdom to fight against the “Mad King’s Daughter.” The noble houses are rightfully concerned about joining her cause, as Cersei has killed a hell of a lot of people lately. Still, Cersei scares the noblemen into falling in line. Jamie meets with Samwell’s surly father, Lord Tarly, and persuades him to be a general in the royal army for the coming war, promising the cart before the horse. Cersei also receives a gift from zombie-raiser Qyburn, who has made some sort of huge catapult/crossbow that can pierce dragon bone. Cersei is delighted, because she’s Cersei. It’s all very disturbing.
Jorah Gets Some Unlikely Aid
Listen, Ser Jorah Mormont is having a rough time. His greyscale has rapidly spread, and the Maesters of the Citadel plan to send him off to live with the Stone Men. However, as Ser Jorah is a knight, they give him a chance to end things himself before he becomes a crusty zombie. *long pointed look at Ser Jorah’s sword*
While Ser Jorah writes a final love letter to his Khaleesi, Samwell Tarly can’t stand for this injustice, and asks his Maester if he can use an archaic treatment to remove the greyscale. He is forbidden from performing the treatment. Samwell, as always, does not care about anyone else’s stupid rules, and sneaks into Ser Jorah’s cell to help him. We are then treated to the lovely sight of Ser Jorah trying to stifle his screams as Samwell scrapes his skin off. It’s as pleasant as it sounds. But hey, Hail Marys are Hail Marys for a reason, right?
War Room, and Olenna Shares Some Advice With Daenerys
Daenerys calls a meeting of her group of allies, which include Yara and Theon Greyjoy, matriarch Olenna Tyrell, Ellaria Sand, and Tyrion. The group of female leaders argue about whether or not Daenerys should take King’s Landing immediately, with her allies arguing for a quick takeover. Daenerys proclaims a statement Tyrion had said earlier, “I do not want to be queen of the ashes.” Tyrion looks nervously pleased by her choice of words.
She nods to Tyrion, who quickly divulges a plan to take Westeros without too many casualties. The Unsullied will go and take Casterly Rock, the true stronghold of Westeros, while Olenna and Ellaria will provide Westerosi soldiers to battle Cersei. Ellaria is to return to Sunspear and take her Dornish army to King’s Landing; Yara and the Greyjoy fleet will protect Ellaria on her journey. Olenna will return to Highgarden. The roundtable quickly agrees to the plan, each leader nodding to their chosen queen.
Daenerys dismisses the group by asking to speak to Lady Olenna privately. Their conversation is almost of a mentor-mentee; Olenna basically tells Daenerys to “be a dragon” in the land of men who act like sheep.
Missandei and Grey Worm Are Finally Together
As Daenerys’ allies split up to take Westeros, Missandei realizes she and Grey Worm will be separated, as Grey Worm sails for Casterly Rock and Missandei stays to translate for the Queen. Missandei goes to Grey Worm to say goodbye, who confesses that Missandei is his weakness, a deep confession for an Unsullied soldier. The pair fall into each others’ arms, and Missandei undresses both of them, insisting she wants to see all of Grey Worm, no matter what’s in his pants. The pair finally make love. Hell yeah, happy, healthy, consensual love makes a rare appearance in this bloodsoaked fantasy world.
Arya Sees Two Old Friends
Arya begins the episode on the warpath for Cersei’s head, but even assassins have to eat. She heads over to the inn at the crossroads, where Hot Pie treats her to lunch and regals her of all the Westerosi gossip. When he mentions Jon Snow is still alive, and now King of the North, Arya is stunned, and quickly leaves to journey home.
On her way, she meets her former Direwolf companion Nymeria, who has become the feral queen of her own wolfpack. While she recognizes Arya, she refuses her overtures to come and fight for the North with her, turning tail and sauntering away. Arya watches her leave, realizing that Nymeria has her own life to live, and helping Arya isn’t for her. This should be a throwback for GoT fans to Arya’s early years, in which she says something similar to Eddard as he tries to make her into a lady. “It’s not me,” she told him. Well, being a pet isn’t Nymeria, either. *cue tears*
Jon Decides To Visit Daenerys, Threatens Littlefinger, And No One Is Happy
Listen, Jon Snow is a Stark through and through. Whether or not that’s a good idea remains to be seen. Jon, Sansa, and Ser Davos received Tyrion’s invitation to Dragonstone, which Jon immediately decides to take. Literally everyone else thinks it’s a trap, from the sharp-witted Sansa down to the fierce Lyanna Mormont, who has not disagreed with her King of the North since allying with him. Jon decides to do it anyway, but at least makes Brienne of Tarth smile like a proud auntie again, as he leaves the North in Sansa’s capable hands.
Later on, Littlefinger creeps up on Jon as he stands at Eddard’s grave and talks about his love for Catelyn and Sansa. Jon, in true Stark brother fashion, throws him into a wall and threatens him with death if he lays a hand on her. Kinda too late for that, but it was a nice gesture.
Euron’s a Monster, Theon’s Still Traumatized
Yara and Ellaria grow, uh, “closer” during their time sailing to Dorn; meaning, the pair flirt outrageously and are about to throw down on right in front of Theon. But in a complete blindside, Euron interrupts with a hostile firefight upon Yara’s ships.
While the fighting is fierce, it is shortlived, as Euron and his men viciously rip through Yara’s men in typical GoT fashion: with as many death scenes as possible. Two of Ellaria’s daughters die by Euron’s hand. Ellaria and her sole surviving daughter are taken prisoner, while Euron duels Yara and quickly bests her. He uses Yara to taunt Theon, causing the traumatized man to revert back to his Reek tendencies. Reek literally jumps ship as Yara is forced to watch, while her uncle maniacally laughs in her ear. I mean, technically Theon’s betrayed her, but when the poor guy’s suffering from untreated PTSD, it’s hard to blame him.
A Meeting of Ice and Fire
After years of parallel storylines, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow meet. Jon shows up at Dragonstone with Ser Davos, where they are greeted by Missandei and Tyrion. The Northerners are relieved of their weapons and taken to the Dragonstone throne room, where Daenerys waits on her stone throne. She quickly demands he bend the knee and swear fealty to her, reminding him that the Stark family swore an oath of perpetuity to stand by House Targaryen. Jon reminds Daenerys that her father had committed unforgivable acts upon the Stark family, rendering such allegiances void.
The pair continue to squabble, eventually standing toe to toe, as Jon tries to move the conversation on to the impending undead threat, while Daenerys wants to bring the King of the North to heel. The standoff is paused when Varys rushes in, whispering to his Queen the news of the Greyjoys and the Sands capture. Jon and Ser Davos are quickly waved away to private rooms while Daenerys speaks to her advisors, which Jon sees as imprisonment. Daenerys doesn’t dissuade him of the notion.
Melisandre Leaves Dragonstone
Melisandre watches Jon Snow’s arrival to Dragonstone from atop a high cliff, very, very, very far away from the wrath of Ser Davos. Varys comes to her side to ask what her plans are now, as she’s finally brought fire and ice together (aka, tells her to leave his turf.) The brooding Red Priestess tells him she will be leaving for Volantis; however, she leaves him with a final hint of fate, telling him she will return one more time to die in Westeros…where Varys will also die. Varys is concerned about this revelation, because death prophecies are the worst prophecies.
Theon is Dragged From the Sea
Meanwhile, Theon is rescued from the debris of his sister’s ships. A cousin sympathetic to the siblings hoists him from the sea, though he’s displeased by Theon’s cowardice. When Theon tries to make them believe he fought for Yara, his kin and the ship’s crew are unamused. They leave Theon soaked to the bone on the ship’s deck, forcing Theon to confront his betrayal of Yara.
Euron Returns With Gifts; Cersei Takes Her Revenge on Ellaria
Euron triumphantly brings captives Yara, Ellaria and her last surviving daughter back to King’s Landing, where Cersei is pleased about getting her hands on Myrcella’s killer. Euron continues to goad Jamie and clearly expects marriage from Cersei, who promises him anything he desires…after the war is won.
Then, she whisks the Dornish women down to the dungeons, where she gives an incredibly long villain speech to the increasingly alarmed Ellaria. Cersei ends the speech with a kiss to Ellaria’s daughter’s lips, soon after wiping away the oddly bright lipstick she’d been wearing throughout the scene. Ellaria realizes Cersei has poisoned her daughter in the same way she poisoned Myrcella in a poetic act of revenge. Cersei leaves the mother to watch her daughter die, chained just far enough away that she can’t hold her as she passes. Revenge apparently gets Cersei’s engine running, and she promptly jumps Jamie after taking her pound of flesh. When will this awful woman finally die???
The Lannisters Always Pay Their Debts
The formerly wealthy Lannisters have been neglecting their debts, and the Iron Bank of Braavos isn’t happy about it. The late King Baratheon had squandered the kingdom’s money on booze and women, leaving nothing for Cersei’s coming war. The bankers send a representative to bargain with Cersei, who points out the Bank’s tendency to gamble on prospective rulers and quickly manipulates him into submission. Cersei guarantees that the banker will leave King’s Landing with his debt paid in full. There’s a possible hint to how she might pay back this debt in the final scene of the episode.
Jon and Tyrion Brood By the Sea
Tyrion is seen walking along the Dragonstone sea cliffs, trying to find the perfect place to brood about his problems. He finds Jon on the way, who is also brooding about his problems. The two brood together, because buds who work together, brood together. When the two finish moaning about their problems, Tyrion asks how he can actually help Jon, who finally reveals the reason he’s come to Dragonstone: dragonglass.
Tyrion Works Some Magic; Fire and Ice Strike a Deal
After Jon finally reveals the reason for his visit, Tyrion takes the info to Daenerys, who isn’t impressed by Jon’s supposed delusions. However, Tyrion gently tells the Mother of Dragons that they desperately need allies after the loss of the Greyjoys and the Sands; Daenerys reluctantly goes to brood upon the matter by herself. Half of this episode seems to be brooding.
Jon sees Daenerys watching her children fly along the shoreline, and makes his way over to her. The pair continue to test each other’s resolve, finding their stances on who should bend the knee remain strong on both sides. But Daenerys finally eases up and gives Jon the permission, the equipment, and the men to mine all the dragonglass he wants. Jon thanks her, and the pair seem to–for now–come to a tentative truce. Looks like ice and fire can mix, when given appropriate incentive.
Bran Comes Home to Winterfell
In Jon’s absence, Sansa prepares Winterfell for the coming war with the Night King, shoring up food stores and overseeing the production of winter armor. Littlefinger is impressed by her leadership, and gives her another creepy speech about being prepared for everything. He is interrupted by a commotion at the gates of Winterfell, where Bran has just arrived home. Sansa is shocked by his return, hugging her younger brother and taking him to speak in private.
Soon, she realizes Bran has changed, and is confused by his newfound role as the three-eyed raven. Bran intimates that he needs to speak with Jon–most likely about his parentage, which Bran uncovered in last season’s finale– and proceeds to disturb Sansa by describing her wedding in great detail, though he wasn’t physically there. Sansa leaves, clearly struggling to recognize the man who used to be her little brother.
Jorah Is Cured, Samwell Is “Punished”
After years of heartache, Ser Jorah finally catches a break. The Grand Maester looks Ser Jorah over after Samwell’s *secret treatment*, and declares that the disease has gone dormant. Jorah is free to leave the Citadel and return to his beloved Khaleesi. Before he leaves, Samwell shakes the knight’s bare hand, signaling Ser Jorah’s rejoining the land of the living.
Samwell is discreetly proud of his work, as is the Grand Maester. When asked how he cured Jorah, Samwell sassily tells him he just followed the directions. The Grand Maester isn’t charmed, and gives his errant student a mound of mouldering books to copy down. But perhaps the books hold more secrets to aid the living? I predict something will come of Samwell’s penance, whether it be a cure for white walkers or a secret way to kill the Night King.
Olenna’s Swan Song
The Unsullied reach Casterly Rock, where there are *some* Lannister soldiers waiting for them. Tyrion previously told Grey Worm of a secret way into the castle via the sewers, through which the soldiers can invade the castle. The Unsullied quickly take the holding, but Grey Worm is suspicious of the amount of Lannister soldiers in the castle. Where are the hordes of men loyal to Cersei?
When he looks out to the sea, he realizes Jamie Lannister anticipated the attack on Casterly Rock. He sent Euron to burn the Unsullied’s ships, leaving them in a castle without food and no quick way to travel home. Meanwhile, Jamie has marched his troops to Highgarden, the Tyrell House’s home, which has ample food stores and gold but little protection. Jamie quickly takes the castle and its stores, which Cersei could use to repay their debts to the Iron Bank. Or she could just kill their banker and scare them into submission. It’s hard to tell with Cersei.
After the Lannister troops take Highgarden, Jamie marches through the halls of the castle until he reaches Olenna’s room, where she’s dressed in black, awaiting her execution. Jamie still treats the matriarch with chivalrous respect, pouring her a glass of wine and sitting down for a brief conversation with her. When Olenna asks how she will be executed, Jamie tips a vial of painless poison into her wine. Olenna quickly downs it before having her last word. She reveals she was the one who killed Jeoffrey on his wedding day, gleefully telling the shocked and angry father to tell Cersei who really killed her horrible child. Jamie leaves in a huff and Olenna watches him go; she may be dying, but she’s still winning arguments.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 pm on HBO. Watch the preview for Episode 4 below.