“The Queen’s Justice” Review

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this episode. There’s a lot to love, but I can’t ignore the parts that stick out like a sore thumb. I’m clearly in the minority here (some people online have named “The Queen’s Justice” as one of their favorite episodes EVER), but Season 7 has gotten off to a slightly rocky start. As usual, I’ll run through the positives followed by the negatives.

Well, we finally witnessed the meeting of ice and fire. Just seeing Jon Snow and Daenerys clash over ideology was something fans wanted for a long time (and now that we know Jon’s true parentage, the anticipation never stops building). The writing, for the most part, makes excellent use of both characters as well as Tyrion and Davos. Hopefully, we will continue to see their chemistry develop in future episodes.

Strangely, I have not mentioned one of the most important players in Westeros through two posts: Queen Cersei. But she sure made her mark on Sunday, huh? For some reason, I still don’t think Lena Headey gets enough credit for her menacing performance; her tactical takedown of Ellaria and subsequent revenge was morbidly fascinating. As a villain, you definitely don’t want her to succeed, but after seeing Daenerys’ plans go south, maybe Cersei does deserve to be on the Iron Throne. That’s where Game of Thrones ensnares you; they make you root for the bad guys because they often act smarter or are more motivated to win than the good guys.

Lastly, I really want to focus on that ending with Jaime and Olenna Tyrell. From the moment we’re introduced to the Queen of Thorns way back in Season 3, we were all blown away by Diana Rigg’s biting dialogue and straightforward nature. While it’s sad to see a legend depart the show, she could not have left in a more heroic fashion. Just straight up revealing to Jaime the true circumstances behind Joffrey’s death (after she drank the poison, protecting herself from further torture) places the scene in the upper echelon of recent memory. Everything about it screams perfection from the writing to the performances to the score to the cinematography; can you tell I’m satisfied?

However, while the Jon and Daenerys storyline was well-deserved, I did think it ran a little long. I understand that it takes some time for these two rivals to get acquainted, but in their initial conversation, it didn’t seem like Daenerys cared about anything Jon had to say. For example, after Jon first brings up the White Walkers, Daenerys transitions to a speech about having faith in herself and no one else. What? Can you stop being self-righteous for one second and listen to people who have been in Westeros longer than you? Jon’s right, Daenerys would probably make a better ruler than Cersei, but if she continues going down this path…who knows?

We also get another Stark reunion and…it’s not as tear-jerking as the first. I know that Bran has seen some dark and disturbing things in a short amount of time, but could he have been any more dead-eyed in that scene? And did you have to bring up Sansa’s wedding night to prove you’re really the Three-Eyed Raven? You couldn’t have said anything else? She would’ve had the same reaction regardless, but maybe that will carry some significance down the road.

It seems like I play the same game every week, but it’s time for “What Tiny Details Should Be Cut?” I’ll work on the title, but the brief Theon scene can easily be cut because it doesn’t do anything except check in on the aftermath of Euron’s invasion. The Cersei/Jaime incest is completely unnecessary; do we need to be periodically reminded of their creepy relationship? Sure, it shows that Cersei doesn’t care one bit about anyone finding out, but couldn’t that be implied from, I don’t know, all of her other actions?

In the end, the good still outweighs the bad in “The Queen’s Justice.” The Casterly Rock battle was creatively executed with Tyrion’s voiceover acting as an unconventional framing device. The (implied) deaths of Ellaria and Olenna particularly stood out as superior examples of great writing. The ice and fire meeting could’ve been better, but it was paid off well enough. There are tiny nitpicks that hold it back, but they’re more forgivable than, say, the premiere. I’m more curious to see the next episode now that it clearly looks like Daenerys is fighting for the losing side. Again, I’m sorry if I’m not in the same boat as everyone else, but a wise man once said that “you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it.”

P.S. Seriously though, why haven’t we seen the Hound again? Or Gendry? Is he still rowing?

Starting this week, I’m going to make some minor changes to the writing schedule to allow for more time. So I will be posting every Tuesday and Friday now (instead of Thursday). Hope you continue reading!

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