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Remember back in older seasons of Game of Thrones (Sundays, 9 p.m., HBO) when we’d have to wait until the penultimate (a.k.a. second-to-last) episode to get an epic battle scene? Yeah well it seems as though this current, penultimate season is throwing all bets off the table because last night’s “Stormborn” featured a pretty spectacular battle if we do say so ourselves, even if it was a little confusing to keep track of.

Not only that, but there were several other interesting developments, ones we can’t wait to dig into in the coming weeks. Let’s break it all down, shall we?

Team Daenerys

Something tells us that we weren’t the only ones disappointed when the Mother of Dragons decided to take up residence in Dragonstone rather than blowing up the remaining Lannisters at King’s Landing, but at least this week the show attempted to explain why she was taking her sweet and slow time. She needed to consult with her allies — all women and mutilated men, by the way — and wanted to take Westeros by handshakes and oaths rather than become the Queen of the Ashes. Fair enough. But Yara, Ellaria and Olenna raised the excellent point that Cercei would not be easy to defeat, with Olenna even going so far as to explain to Dany that her Hand is clever and all, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be the dragon she was destined to be. Ouch.

Of course as it turned out Olenna was right in her wise ways. Yara and Theon’s dirty uncle Euron surprise attacked their fleet with his own fire while they were on the way to Dorne, resulting in mass casualties (including two of the three sand snakes). We have to say the moment Euron crashed down onto the boat was a pretty epic one, and maybe now we know what his present to Cersei will be: Ellaria, a.k.a. the woman who killed Cersei’s daughter.

Cersei 1, Dany 0.

Team Cersei

The parallels of Cersei’s “Make Westeros Great Again” campaign to a certain recent election aren’t lost on us; we’re just hoping for an entirely different outcome than we got in real life. Tyrion was correct in assuming that Cersei would play on people’s fear of Unsullied and Dothraki, and it seems to be working. At least in the case of one Lord Tarly, who pretty much stands for the opposite of everything we love about Sam.

Also of note over at the Iron Throne? The fact that Cersei is at least attempting to tackle to problem of the fire-breathing dragons. And while we can sincerely hope that the weaponry being designed won’t actually take down the beasts, we’d all be naive to think that dragons are above being wounded or killed in a war such as this.

Samwell and the Greyscale

'Game of Thrones' is burning up in its new season
HBO Canada

So who’s having cream of mushroom soup for lunch today? Yeah, us neither. Not after the disgusting dermatology scene in which Sam snuck into Jorah Mormont’s room to repay his debt to Mormont’s father (from the Night’s Watch) and basically snipped off the puss-filled scabs. Will that be enough to cure the knight’s Greyscale? We’re not sure, considering that Shireen still had her marks despite her cure… There IS a theory going around that Mormont needs to ingest dragonglass in order to cure himself, and that potentially Shireen (who grew up around all of that potential dragonglass) did exactly that. We are hoping for a Jorah and Dany reunion before too long, so perhaps we could get one semi-happy ending on this series?

Arya’s Mission

The youngest Stark sister experienced a bit of a detour on her mission this week when Hot Pie (Hot Pie!) resurfaced and filled her in on the happenings of the North lately. Namely that her brother had taken over the houses and there was once again a Winterfell to return home to. So she packed up her mission of revenge and high-tailed it home for what is bound to be a huge reunion. After all — Jon and Arya were the closest of the siblings, were they not? But then Arya ran into a little bit of trouble in the woods.

Who else screamed “Nymeria” when Arya’s lost direwolf suddenly reappeared? It’s been so long since we saw her that we almost forgot about her existence. Naturally Arya wanted her wolf to come home with her for a little family reunion, but the wolf declined… “That’s not you,” Arya smiled to herself, getting over her heartbreak rather quickly.

But what did that mean, exactly? Did it mean that Arya is no longer the girl she was and that going home wasn’t actually an option for her? That she should return to King’s Landing and re-embark on her quest for revenge? According to the showrunners, who spoke out about the line afterwards, it was actually a throwback to the first season when Ned was painting a picture of a domesticated life for Arya. “That’s not me,” she told her father.

So why should Arya expect her direwolf to want to live the life of domestic bliss either? That just isn’t her.

Jon versus Littlefinger

'Game of Thrones' is burning up in its new season
HBO Canada

Speaking of the North, it looks like there’s a little conflict going on. Jon received not one but two ravens at this point, one from Tyrion explaining that Dany wants him to bend the knee and another from Sam pointing out that Dragonstone is supposedly filled to with Dragonglass. And so the King of the North put two and two together and decided to go meet this Queen in hopes of convincing her of the greater dangers ahead. Goosebumps, y’all.

(Side note: if Jon got those letters so quickly, what the heck is the holdup on the letter from The Wall revealing that Bran is alive?)

Of course not everyone was in favour of this plan. All of the lords and ladies pretty much thought Jon was out of his head for heading to the descendant of The Mad King to make peace, considering how brutal the Mad King was to his “allies.” But Jon left the place in good hands — Sansa’s, to be sure — leading Littlefinger to give another one of his gross Dirty Uncle smirks. Thankfully Jon tried to knock some sense into Petyr Baelish before leaving, and we all got to see the sneaky sneak get knocked around a little bit. Man, that felt good.

All the callbacks

With so much else going on in the episode it’s easy to overlook the fact that “Stormborn” had a ton of callbacks to earlier seasons of this show. From Baelish recalling how he had returned Ned Stark’s body to the castle and Dany calling out Varys for constantly switching allies, to Nymeria coming back and Lady Tyrell bringing up her granddaughter’s untimely death, this episode was all about the subtle reminders. Add in Hot Pie’s return, Sam bringing up Commander Mormont and everyone in the North trying to convince Jon with history why meeting with Dany was a bad idea, and we’d say this might have been one of our favourite episodes yet.

 

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO Canada.