Stormborn

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"Stormborn"
Game of Thrones episode
Game-of-Thrones-S07-E02-Stormborn.jpg
Euron Greyjoy, with his niece Yara as prisoner
Episode no. Season 7
Episode 2
Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Bryan Cogman
Featured music Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography by P. J. Dillon
Editing by Tim Porter
Original air date July 23, 2017 (2017-07-23)
Running time 59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Dragonstone"
Next →
"The Queen's Justice"
Game of Thrones (season 7)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"Stormborn" is the second episode of the seventh season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 62nd overall. The episode was written by Bryan Cogman, and directed by Mark Mylod. The title of the episode refers to both Daenerys Targaryen, who was born during a terrible storm, and Euron Greyjoy, who declares himself to be "the storm".

The episode's main plot focuses on Daenerys planning her conquest of Westeros; at the behest of Melisandre, she orders Tyrion to summon Jon Snow, who agrees to meet with her despite the objections of Sansa and several other supporters. In King's Landing, Cersei Lannister warns her bannermen about Daenerys's impending invasion. Meanwhile, in the Narrow Sea, the Greyjoys and Sand Snakes are attacked by Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet, with Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand being taken as hostages.

"Stormborn" received praise from critics, who considered Euron Greyjoy's raid on Yara's Iron Fleet, the assembly of Daenerys' allies at Dragonstone, and Arya's reunion with her direwolf Nymeria as highlights of the episode. In the United States, it achieved a viewership of 9.27 million in its initial broadcast.

This episode marks the final appearance of Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jessica Henwick.

Plot[edit]

On Dragonstone[edit]

Daenerys Targaryen confronts Varys over his previously shifting allegiances. Varys declares his loyalty is to the people; Daenerys secures his oath to tell her directly if she fails the people, and promises his death if he betrays her. Daenerys grants an audience to Melisandre, who urges her to meet Jon Snow as they both "have roles to play." Tyrion Lannister vouches for Snow and recommends the Starks as allies. Daenerys instructs Tyrion to summon Jon to bend the knee. Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand support an overwhelming offensive on King's Landing, but Daenerys doesn't wish to destroy the territory she plans to rule; she adopts Tyrion's plan: her Westerosi armies will besiege King's Landing, while the Unsullied will take Casterly Rock. Olenna Tyrell advises Daenerys to ignore advice from "clever men."

Before departing to lead his army, Grey Worm reveals to Missandei that she is his weakness, because he never feared before loving her. Missandei is moved by his words and they have sex.

In Oldtown[edit]

Archmaester Ebrose tells Samwell Tarly that Jorah Mormont's greyscale is untreatably advanced; Jorah has about six months of sanity left, and suicide is his only alternative to exile among the Stone Men of Valyria. Samwell discovers a treatment; Ebrose tells him it is forbidden because it risks transmission, but Samwell performs the agonizing procedure in secret.

At Winterfell[edit]

Jon Snow receives Daenerys' message, which Tyrion has worded diplomatically as an invitation. Sansa Stark and Davos Seaworth advocate refusal, but the latter notes the efficacy of dragonfire against the undead. After receiving Samwell's information about dragonglass on Dragonstone, Jon decides to go, despite uniform opposition from his loyalists; he will not dishonor his equal Daenerys by sending an emissary. Jon names Sansa as regent, surprising her, and threatens Littlefinger to stop pursuing Sansa.

In the Riverlands[edit]

Hot Pie tells Arya Stark that Jon Snow has retaken Winterfell; she turns north. Beset by a wolfpack, she recognizes the alpha as her direwolf Nymeria, having driven her off years earlier ("The Kingsroad"), and invites her north; Nymeria instead leaves her in peace.

In King's Landing[edit]

Cersei Lannister appeals to lords, including House Tyrell's bannermen, for support against Daenerys, portraying her as a dangerous foreign invader. Jaime Lannister offers Randyll Tarly Lordship of the South if he becomes Jaime's second-in-command. Qyburn demonstrates a scorpion, a projectile weapon, for Cersei; its bolt pierces the skull of Balerion, Aegon the Conqueror's largest dragon.

In the Narrow Sea[edit]

Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet attacks Yara's navy. Euron kills Obara and Nymeria Sand; his men abduct Ellaria and Tyene Sand, while he takes Yara prisoner. Theon Greyjoy, triggered by the violence, jumps overboard, abandoning Yara and surviving the battle.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

Bryan Cogman wrote the episode.

"Stormborn" was written by Bryan Cogman. Cogman has been a writer for the series since its beginning, previously writing nine other episodes. The title of the episode, "Stormborn", is a reference to Daenerys Targaryen, who was born in the midst of a great storm, earning her that nickname. In the "Inside the Episode" segment published by HBO following the initial airing of the episode, co-creators and executive producers of the series David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were interviewed, saying "We last saw Nymeria when Arya made her run away because she wanted to save Nymeria's life, - She knew Cersei was going to kill her if she found her, and when she finally finds Nymeria again — or Nymeria finds her — she of course wants Nymeria to come back home with her and be her loyal companion again. But Nymeria's found her own life." They continued noting that the line "That's not you" was a direct reference to what she said to Ned Stark back in the first season, when he was telling her that she will be a "lady of a castle and marrying some lord and wearing a nice frilly dress", which Arya responded by saying "That's not me". Weiss continued, "Arya's not domesticated. It makes total sense the wolf wouldn't be either. Once the wolf walks away, at first she's heartbroken to have come this close, but then she realizes the wolf is doing exactly what she would do if she was that wolf."[1]

Casting[edit]

The episode featured the return of Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie, who was last seen in season 4's "Mockingbird". Hawkey spoke about his return to Entertainment Weekly, saying that he did not expect to ever come back. Prior to getting the script and to avoid the return of character to be leaked, the producers gave Hawkey a code name when communicating by email. He continued by saying that the scene was "really nice" and was a "perfect little Hot Pie scene".[2] "Stormborn" was also the last episode for Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jessica Henwick, as Obara and Nymeria Sand were killed. The episode introduced new recurring cast member Tom Hopper as Dickon Tarly, replacing Freddie Stroma, who briefly portrayed the character in Season 6.[3]

Filming[edit]

"Stormborn" was directed by Mark Mylod, his first of two episodes for this season. He joined the series as a director in the fifth season, his first episode being "High Sparrow", which was followed by "Sons of the Harpy". John Bradley spoke about what went into shooting the Jorah Mormont greyscale scene with actor Iain Glen. Before filming Iain had to sit on the prosthetics trailer for around five hours while the make up department "applied these really detailed and intricate greyscale prosthetics, piece by piece." He continued "I was basically peeling the plastic latex prosthetic off of Iain's actual body. He was kind of in a suit - It was the same as pulling away a prosthetic. It was a very, very big technical job for the prosthetics department. There were about five or six guys on set that day that you can't see but were just out of the camera line, there with pumps and buckets of pus."[4]

Nathalie Emmanuel discussed her character's love scene with Grey Worm, saying that the characters have shown "interest in each other", we have seen them "express it for each other, but not really say it - This point is the climax and they physically act upon it", much due to them facing "the prospect of never seeing each other again". Emmanuel went on to praise the relationship that has developed between these two characters, stating that it's "something sweet and pure and beautiful".[5]

Gemma Whelan said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the kissing scene by Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand before the battle sequence at the end was improvised. She stated that "It wasn’t directed that we would kiss, - It just seemed like something we should do".[6] The scenes with the Sand Snakes was originally planned to be a more "drawn out storyline", but due to Jessica Henwick's schedule filming her scenes as Colleen Wing in Iron Fist and The Defenders, she would have had to go back and forth to shoot both shows.[clarification needed] Speaking about the battle sequence, Henwick said "normally there’s a lot of CG and you watch it on screen and you see a massive epic battle, but when you’re filming it’s all quite tame by comparison. For this, the audience can’t feel the heat on their face from the pyrotechnics going off or feel the wave machine trying to knock us off our feet, or the sweat dripping off our faces."[7]

Mylod also discussed his direction for the battle sequence, saying that "We agreed that the violence should be brutal and feel un-choreographed, that it shouldn't feel structured". Stunt coordinator Rowley Irlam also stated that they were inspired by riots when it was being choreographed. Mylod decided to put much more of the focus to Theon, Yara and Euron Greyjoy, rather than people around them.[8]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"Stormborn" was viewed by 9.27 million total viewers on its initial viewing on HBO. The episode also acquired a 4.33 rating in the 18–49 demographic, making it the highest rated show on cable television of the night.[9] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.770 million viewers on Sky Atlantic during its Simulcast, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

"Stormborn" has received high praise from critics. It has a 100% rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes from 38 reviews with an average score of 8.2 out of 10.[11] The site's consensus reads "While necessarily setting up the events for the season, "Stormborn" features compelling strategic discussion, and a cracking action sequence to end the episode with a bang."[11]

Ed Power of The Daily Telegraph said "It's been a cautious start to 'Game of Thrones' season seven. But, following further, patience-testing re-arranging of the chess pieces, episode two went out in a literal blaze of glory."[12] Matt Fowler of IGN described the episode as "amazing", saying "With Daenerys now in Westeros, war is imminent and worlds were colliding in this week's big episode." He gave the episode a 9 out of 10.[13] Ben Philippe of New York Observer also gave a positive review, saying "'Stormborn,' proves that the table setting always pays off in Game of Thrones by giving us a sample platter of everything that the show does best."[14]

Nina Shen Rastogi of New York Magazine similarly gave praise to the episode, writing "All of this prologue is what made the final scene land so hard, and so well. The shipboard battle between the Greyjoys was very good GOT, in my mind: dramatic, unexpected, and authentic on a character level."[15] Sean T. Collins of Rolling Stone praised the battle sequence at the end, writing "It ends with a naval battle as grandiose as any we've seen in the series. But the strong second chapter of Game of Thrones' seventh season - 'Stormborn' - navigates even more treacherous waters."[16]

Erik Kain of Forbes gave a mixed review, writing that he enjoyed Arya's scenes but criticizing the Dragonstone scenes.[17] Kain also criticized the plot hole of Ellaria Sand being in control of Dorne.[17]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2017 Hollywood Post Alliance Outstanding Editing Tim Porter Nominated [18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wigler, Josh (July 24, 2017). "'Game of Thrones' Creators Explain Arya Stark's Bittersweet Reunion". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  2. ^ Hibberd, James (July 25, 2017). "Game of Thrones actor on his surprise return: 'It was a big shock'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 24, 2017. 
  3. ^ Hooton, Christopher (November 18, 2016). "Game of Thrones season 7 spoilers: Tom Hopper lands recast role". The Independent. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  4. ^ Wigler, Josh (July 25, 2017). "'Game of Thrones': John Bradley on Sam's Second Sickening Season 7 Scene". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ Hibberd, James (July 23, 2017). "Game of Thrones: Nathalie Emmanuel on that 'vulnerable' nude scene". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ Hibberd, James (July 24, 2017). "Game of Thrones actresses say 'Stormborn' kiss was improvised". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  7. ^ Hibberd, James (July 23, 2017). "Game of Thrones: Sand Snake actress on that brutal episode ending". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ Alexander, Julia (July 28, 2017). "Game of Thrones' most recent battle scene was inspired by the violence of riots". Polygon. Retrieved July 29, 2017. 
  9. ^ Porter, Rick (July 25, 2017). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Phelps vs. Shark' strong, 'Game of Thrones' boosts 'Ballers,' 'Insecure'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (17 - 23 July 2017)". BARB. Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "Stormborn - Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 2, 2017. 
  12. ^ Power, Ed (July 24, 2017). "Game of Thrones, season 7 episode 2, Stormborn recap: Daenerys's avengers assemble". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 24, 2017. 
  13. ^ Fowler, Matt (July 23, 2017). "Game of Thrones: "Stormborn" Review". IGN. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  14. ^ Philippe, Ben (July 24, 2017). "The Best and Worst of 'Game of Thrones' 7×02: 'Stormborn'". New York Observer. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  15. ^ Rastogi, Nina Shen (July 24, 2017). "Game of Thrones Recap: The Fullness of Time". New York Magazine. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  16. ^ T. Collins, Sean (July 24, 2017). "'Game of Thrones' Recap: 50 Shades of Greyjoy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Kaine, Erik (July 23, 2017). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 7, Episode 2 Review: 'Stormborn' [Updated]". Forbes. Retrieved September 5, 2017. 
  18. ^ "HPA Awards: 'Dunkirk' Wins Best Editing in a Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. November 16, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 

External links[edit]