Game of Thrones, season 7 episode 2, Stormborn recap: Daenerys’s avengers assemble


Ed Power
Explosions! Great groaning battle-ships! A lunatic in guy-liner! And that was just the closing five minutes. It’s been a cautious start to Game of Thrones season seven. But, following further, patience-testing re-arranging of the chess pieces, episode two went out in a literal blaze of glory.
Euron Greyjoy –  Captain Jack Sparrow, if Johnny Depp was slim, Scandinavian and twice as over the top – was staging a smash and grab raid on close family/ sworn enemies Theon and Yara. Galleons piled into one another, Sand Snakes perished (was it wrong to cheer?), the thrill factor blew through the roof.
Euron’s appearance was one of those Game of Throne moments you’ll always remember seeing for the first time. One minute Yara “I’ll snog anything that moves” Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) was cuddling with Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), the next Euron had invited himself on board via a giant spiky battering ram straight from a Medieval retelling of Mad Max. Whatever else the sociopathic seadog (Pilou Asbæk) gets up to this year he can already claim the prize for best Game of Thrones entrance ever.
With the action came a devastating catharsis. Theon (Alfie Allen) regressed into former-person Reek and legged it overboard, leaving Yara and Ellaria to their unpleasant fate (presumably involving being presented to Cersei with big shiny bow on top). Our minds had been blown, emotions reduced to a smoking pyre.
This is the rest of what we learned.
Is Euron Game of Thrones’s silliest villain yet?
Joffrey was a loathsome wimp, Ramsay a psychopath with a bad haircut. But Euron is something far more familiar – a bonkers villain of the old school. There are no hidden depths to the new ruler of the Iron Islands, unless you count the layers of emo make-up he’s mysteriously acquired this season. He just wants to kill, maim and burn –  if he can achieve all three at once, so much the merrier.
Yet, with his latest antics, he has more than earned his place in the show’s rogues’s gallery. Armed with a post-apocalyptic battering ram, he ransacked Theon and Yara’s fleet – as a bonus cutting down the (still annoying) Sand Snakes.
“Give your uncle a kiss,” Euron proceeded to leer at Yara as he charged into action – an aside sure to go down as one of the season’s outstanding one-liners. It was all too much for Theon, still clearly working through his time as Ramsay’s crippled man-servant. Over the side the Prince of the Pyke jumped – a leap with echoes of his vault over the Winterfell battlements with Sansa. That had been the moment Reek was reborn as Theon once again. But who was he now? Also – is Yara Euron’s prisoner or has he merely slit her throat?
All is far from sunny in Dragonstone.
Daenerys’s return to the family seat and place of her birth, was not quite the jubilee she had anticipated. In a draughty castle, she gravely surveyed a raging storm.
Where were the approving crowds, the Targaryen loyalists ready to sweep her back to power?
That the Mother of Dragons (Emilia Clarke) was determined to bring the people onside rather than burn Westeros to the ground with her dragons was testament to her sense of right and wrong (a moral compass that hasn’t always pointed in the correct direction) But that isn’t to suggest she has gone soft and Varys (Conleth Hill), aka most Machiavellian soul in Westeros, bore the brunt of her suspicions.
He was a Robert supporter who’d turned on the Baratheons – what was to stop him similarly deserting Daenerys in the event of a more desirable candidate present themselves?
“You wish to know where my loyalties lie…with the people,” said the former Master of Whisperers – who hadn’t sounded this single-minded since bunging Tyrion into that wine crate at the start of season five. This was enough to keep Daenerys onside – but was the show laying groundwork for violent disagreements to come?
After Ed Sheeran, it was time for a surprise cameo from the Lady in Red
Sensitive souls are still haunted by the ginger halfling’s shock appearance last week. Now came another divisive figure with a reputation for making children scream in terror. Exiled by Jon Snow, the Red Woman (Carice van Houten) had fetched up on Daenerys’s doorstep.

She was here at the behest of the Great God of Plot Devices. “I believe you have a role to play…as does the King in the North, Jon Snow,” said Melisandre, a spectacularly unsubtle hint that the Mother of Dragons and the lord of Winterfell might find common cause.
“If he does rule the north, he’ll make an excellent ally,” chimed Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), with equal lack of artfulness.  A Daenerys–Jon alliance has admittedly long been on the cards – but did Game of Thrones have to spell it out so clunkily? Let’s hope the series rediscovers its flair of understatement as the season continues.
Will Jon Snow bend the knee to the Mother of Dragons?
Daenerys is very much up for an alliance with Jon Snow – albeit on her terms. In Winterfell, Sansa –  in her new position as Jon’s neurotic frenemy – warned of a possible Targaryen trap. An alternative perspective was offered by Ser Davos.
Dragons breath fire – and fire destroys Walkers. The logic appealed to Snow – but is he risking all by agreeing to a face-to-face meeting with the Mother of Dragons?
One thing he definitely isn’t sitting on the fence about is Littlefinger’s baleful influence on Sansa (Sophie Turner). The King in the North understandably lost his cool after Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen) confessed to pervy uncle feelings for Sansa.
Eeeugh. What big brother wouldn’t have lashed out as precisely as Jon had?
Is Game of Thrones trying to make us lose our dinner?
After last week’s bed-pan rhapsody, it was back to Oldtown for further gross-out visual humour. As Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) chomped on a leather strap, Sam (John Bradley-West) merrily hacked at his Greyscale infection – an excuse for Game of Thrones to delight our senses with the crunch of splintering skin and the wet pop of diseased flesh. The final hilarious flourish came with a cut to a chap chomping a pie. Cheers Game of Thrones – it’s going be years before we can even think about Cornish Pasty for lunch.
The episode felt like the Game of Thrones version of the Avengers
Enemies of Cersei… assemble! Under the same roof were gathered Daenerys, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), Ellaria Sand (pre-Euron Greyjoy run-in), Yara and Theon and Tyrion Lannister. Opinions differed as to the smartest way of conquering the Seven Kingdoms. Olenna and Ellaria were of the “torch first, ask questions later” school – but Daenerys and Tyrion had a more subtle plan. The Lannisters would be neutralised via a smash and grab raid by the Unsullied on the House’s seat at Casterly Rock. Cunning! But the machinations were in truth an afterthought. The thrill was seeing all of these great players gathered around a table together, nattering as if they’d been best mates forever.
It’s been an understated season for Cersei (Lena Hea
dey) thus far. Mostly the show has asked her to prance around in black robes and look quietly gaga.  However, this week we had a glimpse of what she’s planning by way of encore after destroying the Sept of Balor last year. In the bowels of the Red Keep Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and the boys in r ’n d had worked up a prototype giant crossbow – perfect for shooting pesky dragons from the sky.  Surrounded by enemies, with even Jaime doubting her, you wanted to applaud Cersei for always having a trick up her sleeve – “trick” in this case being the largest projectile weapon the Seven Kingdoms have yet witnessed. Is it wrong to root for her?
Will Arya stop trying to kill everyone now?
“Jon Snow came down from Castle Black with a Wildling army and won the Battle of the Bastards – he’s King in the North now.” Hot Pie’s newsflash was just the excuse Arya (Maisie Williams) needed to abandon Operation Kill Everyone (next on the list was Cersei Lannister) and instead set course for Winterfell.

The first of what will presumably be many tearful reunions followed as she reconnected with beloved Direwolf Nymeria. Alas, the primordial pooch wasn’t interested in a long-term get together. But she at least persuaded her fellow peckish predators to forbear from ripping Arya to pieces. By Game of Thrones standards, this constituted a properly heart-warming moment.
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