Expectation is a tricky thing and it often leads to great disappointment. When it comes to book adaptations, expectations are inevitable as are the resulting disappointments. For avid readers of A Song of Ice and Fire, one of the things we were looking forward to for this season of Game of Thrones is finally seeing Casterly Rock and Highgarden. In the books we have never ‘seen’ the Lannister and Tyrell strongholds yet, but they are described in the books. I was also one of the people who couldn’t wait to see these two great castles and in The Queen’s Justice we finally did. And it was… underwhelming.
The powers that be have had the need to change several things when adapting the brilliant books written by George R.R. Martin and the architecture has been one of them. That’s understandable because Martin could afford to be less realistic than Dan and David had to be. I can forgive that. But, the portrayal of Casterly Rock and Highgarden was disappointing because of more than just aesthetics. Yes, especially Casterly Rock looked nothing like described in the books, but what made it underwhelming is that the scenes felt so unimportant. Jaime even explains the the rock isn’t worth much to them anymore and despite the sack of Highgarden being of strategic importance, we don’t see anything of the battle and the Tyrell army didn’t put up much of a fight.
Thankfully the showrunners have managed to have more hits than misses and Dragonstone is simply stunning. The Queen’s Justice felt like the end of a 3 episode arc and while neither of the episodes was perfect, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Jon arrives at Dragonstone where Dany wants him to bend the knee. He refuses and in turn tells Dany that they need to help each other because of the threat in the North. Dany doesn’t believe Jon’s stories of the Night King and his army, but in the end she does agree to let him mine the obsidian underneath Dragonstone. Dany also receives word of the destruction of part of her fleet by the hands of Euron.
Sam has successfully cured Jorah of greyscale and after inspection by Archmaester Ebrose Jorah is allowed to leave the Citadel. Sansa is running things quite well in the North. Bran arrives and he explains why he can never be the Lord of Winterfell. Euron arrives in Kings Landing with his gift to Cersei. Cersei names Euron head of her naval forces and promises to marry him when the war is over. Cersei then uses the same poison on Tyene that Ellaria used on Myrcella and forces Ellaria to watch her daughter die while powerless to do anything.
The Unsullied take Casterly Rock but there is minimal resistance. The Lannister army is elsewhere and Euron’s fleet burns the ships of the Unsullied. Meanwhile Jamie sacks Highgarden. He has an interesting talk with Olenna and after she drinks the poison provided by Jaimie she confesses to killing Joffrey and tells him to tell Cersei.
What I liked
Talk about expectations. Dany and Jon finally meet. I thought it was well handled. They have a lot in common and it’s clear that they will work together eventually, but it makes sense that they don’t see eye to eye from the get go. The highpoint of the episode was Cersei’s punishment of Ellaria and Tyene. There was so much going on in those scenes. From Ellaria’s look when she sees the Mountain to Cersei’s monologue in the dungeon. It was a perfect punishment.
I liked how Sansa is running things in the North, even though her reunion with Bran was a little cold to say the least. The ending was another high point with a great conversation between Jaime and great acting by both actors.
What I didn’t like
As already mentioned, I didn’t care much for the depiction of Casterly Rock and Highgarden. And Littlefinger is getting boring and inconsequential.
What I’m looking forward to
The ball is clearly in Dany’s court now. I can’t wait to see what she is gonna do next. I also can’t wait for Bran to somehow get the news to Jon that he is a Targaryen. And I still can’t wait for Arya to also arrive at Winterfell.
I’m conflicted when it comes to Ellaria. She really didn’t have to kill Myrcella and she is far from innocent, but I sort of feel that I have to hate anything Cersei does. Ellaria deserved every bit of what she is getting though. Great acting by Indira Varma, btw.
I know Bran has been through a lot and has changed a lit since seeing Sansa for the last time, but it was still a cold reunion.
Cersei has done a lot of dumb shit, but she has learned a thing or two of her father after all. She is winning big!
I wonder what Jaime is going to do with Olenna’s confession. I hope he does tell his sweet sister.
I was hoping it was Arya at the gates of Winterfell, although it makes sense that Bran arrived before her.