Now that we’re well past book territory, Game of Thrones is showing no signs of slowing down. While the first episode was dedicated to setting up the events to come this season, the second episode was more concerned with moving pieces into place — although some movements were outmanoeuvred.
Let’s break down what happened with our main characters this week.
Warning: Spoilers are coming.
Dany takes the main stage this episode: We spend a lot of time with her and her war council, and the majority of the other characters this week spend their time reacting to her sudden appearance in Westeros.
Although Westeros is Daenerys’s birthplace, it’s not where she’s spent the majority of her time, so she’s struggling with settling in — and she’s not used to the intricacies of Westerosi politics. Her war council is sending conflicting messages and she’s questioning loyalties, particularly from Varys, the Master of Whispers who’s served many kings and claims to be a voice for the people. He promises her honesty, and Dany promises to burn him alive if he betrays her.
Despite the differing viewpoints she’s getting, Dany seems to settle upon following Tyrion’s advice: He recommends sending the dragons and her foreign army (the Dothraki and Unsullied) to take Casterly Rock (home of the Lannisters), then taking King’s Landing by cutting them off in a siege rather than an all-out battle, thus ensuring she’s not seen as a violent invader. Dany gives the okay to this plan, and the Greyjoy siblings, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes sail off to Dorne.
After agreeing to this plan, however, Dany has a private meeting with Olenna Tyrell, who’s outlived her share of smart men and tells Daenerys to ignore Tyrion because peace doesn’t last. “Men are sheep,” she says, “You are a dragon.”
Still, even dragons need allies, and Dany’s are growing in number: Melisandre shows up in Dragonstone to meet with Daenerys, and she recommends that she form an alliance with the King in the North…
Jon Snow and Sansa Stark
After receiving a letter from Tyrion inviting Jon to come to Dragonstone and bend the knee to Daenerys, the Stark siblings end up at odds once again. Jon wants to go to Dragonstone to get dragonglass and actual dragons, but Sansa thinks it’s too dangerous — as do the other Northern houses.
Although we as viewers know that this is probably going to turn out okay (Game of Thrones has some pretty unpredictable deaths, but Jon staying alive is a pretty safe bet, let’s be honest), the Stark men don’t have a good track record of making it back North once they head south, the Lannisters and the Starks aren’t exactly friends, and the Targaryens and Starks have a very complicated history as well, what with the Mad King burning their grandfather alive.
In the end, it’s a letter from Sam (who cures Jorah of greyscale in this episode, but the less said about that gruesome scene, the better) that convinces Jon to head to Dragonstone with Davos, which should make for a very interesting reunion with Melisandre. In his absence, Jon appoints Sansa Queen in the North, and if the scene between Jon and Littlefinger is anything to go by, this may be setting up some potential upsets within the ranks and adding more tension between Jon and Sansa.
It’s also setting up another very interesting reunion between Sansa and…
The younger Stark sister stops to visit her friend Hot Pie on her way to King’s Landing. She’s still on a mission to kill Cersei — until she gets news from Hot Pie that the Boltons no longer control Winterfell.
Once she learns that Jon is back in Winterfell, she changes course and decides to head home to meet up with her brother. Along the way, she runs into her direwolf, Nymeria, who she’d set free to protect her back in the first series. She realises Nymeria isn’t cut out to be a pet anymore (and HBO doesn’t have the CGI budget for her either), which doesn’t necessarily bode well for her reunion with Sansa. Things have always been tense between the Stark sisters, and after her training to become an assassin, Arya isn’t exactly domesticated these days either.
Still, Arya heading North again is exciting for us as viewers, and it should be a relief for…
With Dany heading straight for King’s Landing, Cersei knows she needs allies. To be fair, her criticisms of Daenerys are accurate: Daenerys is the Mad King’s daughter, she has burnt numerous people alive, she did crucify her enemies, and she has fed people to her dragons. And, again, she just promised to do the same to Varys in this episode, should he betray her.
As Randyll Tarly (Sam’s dad) points out, however, the Lannisters don’t have a clean track record either: They ‘won’ the throne through orchestrating the Red Wedding with the Freys and by blowing up their enemies in the Sept of Baelor, both of which were cruel, underhanded attacks that also killed plenty of innocent bystanders.
But Randyll Tarly also doesn’t support Dany’s army of “savages and eunuchs,” plus Jaime’s promising him the title of Warden of the South if he fights with them, so House Tarly seems a likely ally for the Lannisters, who currently only have one powerful ally…
Euron’s making good on his promise of bringing Cersei a “priceless gift” — but it’s not Tyrion. His massive fleet gets the jump on Dany’s ships heading to Dorne. He and his crew handily destroy Yara and Theon’s fleet, effectively cutting off half of Dany’s army.
He also kills two of the Sand Snakes, then takes Ellaria and one other Sand Snake captive, presumably to bring them to Cersei since these are the women who poisoned her daughter, Myrcella. Also taken captive is Yara Greyjoy after Theon literally jumps ship when confronted with the horrors of the fight going on around him.