Last week’s premiere,”Dragonstone,” broke HBO viewing records. It’ not a surprise an underwhelming premiere of Game of Thrones would break records. It’s been trending that way for several seasons. Season eight premiere will shatter this record by a stretch (You read that prediction here first, folks). That was last week, this is this week. What did Stormborn bring to move the game along?
For once an episode begins where the last one left off. It’s an interesting scene.There’s been talk of a Jon Snow-Daenerys Targaryen alliance. For a moment it seemed Melisandre’s prophecy may come true until we see Jon being counselled against a meeting. The advice makes sense. Why would the King of the North bow before someone else? It would destroy any legitimacy he had to the title. But there’s the matter of the dragon glass and where does one find dragon glass? That’s right. On Dragonstone.
This is where things may get more interesting. Jon is leaving the North. If the previews for episode three are any indication he will finally meet Daenerys. If, and that is a big if, they agree on something a pact could prove a formidable force against Cersei. Although Tyrion had advised against using the Unsullied and the Dothraki against Cersei, history is filled with kings filling their ranks with mercenaries from other countries. But this is Game of Thrones and try as they might to be “historical” sometimes they just don’t get it right. Maybe they don’t care because this is fiction after all. A pact would allow more “natives” to take Westeros and with more troops the odds of Daenerys being “Queen of the Ashes” goes down.
If the writers are doing their jobs a treaty between the North and Daenerys shouldn’t be easy. Daenerys has taken to being a queen with an attitude and all before she is even sits on the Iron Throne. Yes, she thanked Lord Varys for his candid speech to her, but she did say he would be burned alive if he betrayed her. The last person who betrayed her, Jorah Mormont, was banished. All bets are off how she will react to a strong willed Jon Snow. As the name implies she’s “Stormborn.” The last piece of advice Tyrell gave her was “be a dragon.” Odds are not in Jon’s favor.
Another interesting note in Stormborn is when Tyrion tells the Greyjoys and Olenna Tyrell the real objective is Casterly Rock. Armies usually went for the seat of power not a castle far from it. Except Casterly Rock is home to the Lannisters. Cersei, who is not military leader nor does she have a military mind, will lose control if Daenerys is successful in taking or even laying a siege to Casterly Rock. Jamie could be the cooler head in the duo and keep things on track, but Cersei hasn’t listened to Jamie in the past. It would be a cheap out if the writers had her listen to him now.
Cersei, sitting on the Iron Throne, greets her “subjects” with disinformation-some of it true, but most of it was not true. Despots often feed the public lies with just enough truth to make it believable. It would seem the nobles before her bought into what she was telling them. Stormborn didn’t offer any new information as to what Cersei’s plan are except to secure loyalty of the nobles she already has in her pocket.
However, things may have shifted to the Lannisters favor before anything has started. Euron Greyjoy smashed what few ships Yara and Theon Greyjoy had provided to Daenerys. Some will say Daenerys fleet is gone. Let’s not forget the ships she used to bring her army across the Narrow Sea. She still has a lot ships at her disposal. Euron, on the other hand, has a lot more. King’s Landing sits at the back of Backwater Bay. A siege would be easier if, another big if, Danery’s can set up a blockade. First, she has to stop Euron’s fleet. In the American Civil War, the Union blocked Southern ports and cut off valuable resources. However, the Union had a lot more ships.
There have been a lot of missteps over the seasons for a Stark reunion. We forget while Arya was traveling with the Hound, training with the Faceless Men, and checking off names from her “hit list” she wasn’t getting information regarding world events.
After a brief reunion with Hot Pie (Why would she tell him not to die?) she learns Jon is back in the North. He’ll be gone by the time she reaches the North, but the news diverts her from checking off Cersei’s name from her list. An attempted assassination would have been a very interesting plot line to follow.
Finally, Arya was reunited with Nymeria. Sort of. She was definitely surrounded by wolves and one of them was definitly huge. As in H-U-G-E. It was a direwolf, but was it Arya’s direwolf?Arya says, “That’s not you.” We’re told way back in season one that direwolves aren’ t seen a lot anymore. Either this wasn’t Nymeria and the direwolf let her live or it was and it had no interest in Arya. Can Nymeria see the change in Arya?
To say the least, Stormborn was an interesting episode. It moved the story ever so slowly to the right direction. Again, the pace needs to pick up. After next week we will be half way through the season. If Yara Greyjoy is going to be saved, if Jorah Mormont is going to be cured, and if winter is really going to come it has to happen quick.
(No, we didn’t forget Missandei and Grey Worm getting busy. Yes, every one will be taking about it tomorrow. However, it’s scenes like this that are killing precious time. It’s like the showrunners felt that there hadn’t been a sex scene in awhile so they threw one with a dash of cunnilingus in for good measure. Unless at some point in time the relationship between the two proves to be vital to the story then it’s wasted time.)