As the title suggests, politics in Game of Thrones is treated like a game. And whether you’re talking about sports or the struggle to control shipping routes in the Riverlands, there are always winners and losers. As each episode plays out, we’ll be ranking the players from best to worst. So who takes the crown, and who gets fed to the wolves in Game of Thrones season 7, episode 2? Follow below to find out.
There is a moment some basketball fans know too well, when their team is playing the Warriors, and somehow holding the lead; then Steph Curry saunters up the court and, with a casual flick, nails a three-pointer, and that lead dissipates like rain on the ruins of Castamere. That must be how the Lannisters’ foes feel after The Queen’s Justice. By the end of the episode, Cersei has humiliated the remaining Sands, and Jaime has conquered the Tyrells in a battle so effortless they didn’t feel the need to show it. They even turned Tyrion’s plan to their advantage, luring the Unsullied to Casterly Rock where the Greyjoy fleet burns their ships, leaving them stranded. Daenerys may have dragons, but for the time being, it’s Cersei’s world.
At this point, viewers must find Euron’s heavy metal Jack Sparrow act to be either a betrayal of the show’s former, stately self, or a shot in the arm for a series trying to work off some flab. However one feels about Euron, they can’t deny he steals every scene he is in. After parading his captives through the streets, he delivers them to a grateful Cersei, and even asks Jaime for tips on what she likes in bed (and somehow walks away from the encounter without a gold fist down his throat). Euron’s victories are piling up a bit too quickly, but maybe the show needed a wild card to shake things up.
Many a conqueror has set out with the goal of using overwhelming force, only to see their superior armies crumble as strategic mistakes pile up. Three episodes into Daenerys’ campaign to conquer Westeros, and the continent has served her a string of defeats. Her main allies in Westeros — Dorne, the Tyrells, and the rebel Greyjoys — have all fallen before the Lannisters, and her Unsullied forces, having lost their ships, must now trek across the continent to return to her. She even tries and fails to get Jon Snow to bend the knee, not realizing his Northern stubbornness and protagonist status won’t allow it. She still has dragons, and hey, that’s pretty cool, but it looks like Jon is her only potential ally left, so she may want to ease up on the threats.
The Queen’s Justice finds Jon Snow in an awkward place. He has sailed, with only a few men, to the fortress of the woman whose father murdered his grandfather, and he didn’t even bring a PowerPoint presentation to bolster his case about the dangers of the walking dead. Embarrassingly, Davos forgot to list Jon’s titles after hearing Daenerys’ résumé, proving that the old sailor may be a trustworthy adviser but a terrible hype man.
Sure, Olenna finished the episode by drinking poison. But there is such a thing as dying gracefully, and Olenna didn’t depart the land of the living without throwing a few verbal Molotovs out the window. Not only does she deliver some of the show’s finest insults to Jaime, she also reveals that she poisoned Joffrey, and even seems to plant some seeds of doubt in him about Cersei. Olenna, and her tweetworthy barbs, will be missed.
In Sam’s favor is the fact that he performed a rare and risky surgery, curing Jorah of greyscale, despite not even being a practicing maester. However, by his own admission, all he did was follow instructions, and his only reward is not being expelled, so the whole experience is a bit of a wash.
Tyrion’s maneuvers as Daenerys’ Hand have so far ended in the abject defeat of all of her allies, and the temporary loss of her elite Unsullied troops. How has Varys not assassinated this man for blowing up the alliance he spent five seasons building off-screen? Tyrion’s only real success in The Queen’s Justice is breaking the ice between Daenerys and Jon, so when the Mother of Dragons fires him, he at least has a career as a motivational speaker to look forward to.
Ellaria should have known better than to mess with Cersei. Then again, this is the woman who decided to avenge her lover by murdering his brother and nephew and plunging his country into war, so her decision-making has always been questionable at best. Ellaria’s grand quest for revenge ends in Cersei’s dungeon, where she is forced to watch her daughter die of a poison kiss. Hopefully the Dorne storyline dies there as well.
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