The Queen's Justice

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"The Queen's Justice"
Game of Thrones episode
Game-of-Thrones-S07-E03-The-Queen's-Justice.jpg
Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen meet for the first time
Episode no.Season 7
Episode 3
Directed byMark Mylod
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byP. J. Dillon
Editing byJesse Parker
Original air dateJuly 30, 2017 (2017-07-30)
Running time63 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Stormborn"
Next →
"The Spoils of War"
Game of Thrones (season 7)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"The Queen's Justice" is the third episode of the seventh season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 63rd overall. The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Mark Mylod.

At Dragonstone, Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth meet with Daenerys Targaryen, whom Jon asks for aid in defeating the White Walkers, but Daenerys iterates her desire to take the Iron Throne instead. In King's Landing, Euron Greyjoy returns bearing gifts to Cersei Lannister, in the form of Ellaria Sand and Tyene Sand. At the Citadel, Samwell Tarly and Archmaester Ebrose examine a now healed Jorah Mormont. In Winterfell, Sansa Stark is reunited with her brother Bran Stark. At Casterly Rock, the Unsullied infiltrate and capture the castle, but Euron's Iron Fleet arrives, and begins destroying their ships, leaving them stranded. Meanwhile, Jaime Lannister leads the Lannister army to take Highgarden.

The title of the episode refers to Cersei Lannister exacting vengeance, her own way of justice, on both the Sand Snakes and Olenna Tyrell. "The Queen's Justice" received positive reviews from critics, who considered the long-awaited meeting between Daenerys and Jon, the agonizing fates of Ellaria and Tyene Sand, Sansa and Bran's reunion, the bait-and-switch scene concerning Casterly Rock and Highgarden, and the final performances of Diana Rigg and Indira Varma as highlights of the episode. In the United States, it achieved a viewership of 9.25 million in its initial broadcast. It was also Diana Rigg's pick to support her nomination at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress.

"The Queen's Justice" marked the final appearances of Diana Rigg, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Indira Varma.

Plot[edit]

On Dragonstone[edit]

Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth arrive at Dragonstone with their soldiers. Tyrion Lannister and Missandei meet them and take their weapons and boat. Daenerys Targaryen offers to make Jon Warden of the North if he bends the knee, but he refuses. They agree Daenerys is not responsible for her father's crimes, but Daenerys denies Jon's assertion he should not be held by his ancestors' oath to hers. Jon explains the threat of the White Walkers and wights, but Daenerys wants to claim the Iron Throne before considering other threats. Jon barely stops Davos from revealing Jon's resurrection while endorsing him. Daenerys cuts the meeting short to receive news from Varys that Euron has defeated Yara. Jon is forced to remain at Dragonstone, a prisoner in all but name. Tyrion discourages Daenerys's desire to burn Euron's ships with her dragons, which would require her to accompany them.

Varys asks Melisandre why she hides from Jon; she admits they parted on bad terms due to her mistakes. She plans to return to Volantis, and Varys urges her to stay overseas forever, but she predicts that both of them will die in Westeros.

Speaking with Jon in private, Tyrion concedes that Jon's willingness to meet with Daenerys has convinced him that the White Walkers are real. Tyrion explains that Daenerys' followers are loyal because Daenerys dedicates herself to protecting others from threats she understands, and asks if Jon has any request for assistance that Daenerys would find reasonable. Tyrion relays Jon's request to mine obsidian on Dragonstone; Daenerys accepts Tyrion's recommendation to agree as a gesture of goodwill, although she also wonders aloud what Davos almost divulged. Daenerys later meets with Jon privately and informs him of her decision.

In the Narrow Sea[edit]

One of the few remaining ships of Yara Greyjoy's fleet fish Theon Greyjoy aboard. The Ironborn disbelieve his claim that he tried to rescue Yara from Euron.

In King's Landing[edit]

Euron Greyjoy parades his captives Ellaria Sand, Tyene Sand, and Yara Greyjoy through abusive crowds in the streets of King's Landing. He presents the Sands as his gift to Cersei Lannister, who accepts his military alliance and promises marriage when the war is won. Ellaria and Tyene are bound and gagged in the dungeon. Cersei kisses Tyene with the same poison Ellaria used to kill Myrcella, and tells Ellaria she will be kept alive to watch her daughter die and decompose. Cersei has sex with Jaime and, reveling in her authority, flaunts their intimacy in view of the servants. Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank comes to collect repayment of the Lannisters' loans. Cersei denigrates Daenerys as a possible investment, and secures a fortnight to pay the debt.

At Winterfell[edit]

Sansa Stark competently manages Winterfell, preparing it as an emergency refuge for all Northerners. Littlefinger counsels Sansa to "fight every battle" mentally, and thus never be unprepared. Bran Stark and Meera Reed arrive, and Sansa is reunited with her brother. In the Godswood, Sansa is confused by Bran's revelation that he is the Three-Eyed Raven, and troubled by his specific knowledge of her suffering ("Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken").

In Oldtown[edit]

Archmaester Ebrose proclaims that Jorah Mormont is healed of greyscale and releases him. Jorah plans to return to Daenerys. Samwell Tarly admits that he administered the forbidden treatment; Ebrose praises his skill, but punishes his disobedience with an assignment to copy a large number of old documents.

At Casterly Rock[edit]

The Unsullied infiltrate Casterly Rock via its sewers, which Tyrion designed. They capture the castle, finding far fewer defenders than expected. The Iron Fleet arrives and destroys Daenerys' ships, stranding Grey Worm and his army.

At Highgarden[edit]

Jaime Lannister, Randyll Tarly, and their armies take Highgarden, having abandoned Casterly Rock to trick Daenerys into committing her Unsullied forces to a strategically useless position. Jaime grants Olenna Tyrell the mercy of a quick and painless death by poison, over Cersei's original plans to execute her. After drinking poisoned wine, Olenna confesses to murdering Joffrey and asks Jaime to tell Cersei. Incensed, Jaime leaves Olenna to die alone.

Production[edit]

Series' creators D. B. Weiss and David Benioff
The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

"The Queen's Justice" was written by the series' creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Mark Mylod, his second of two episodes for this season. Mylod joined the series as a director in the fifth season, working on "High Sparrow" and "Sons of the Harpy".

Indira Varma
Indira Varma made her final appearance as Ellaria Sand.

"The Queen's Justice" was the final episode for actress Indira Varma, who had played Ellaria Sand since the fourth season. "The Queen's Justice" was also the last episode for recurring cast members Diana Rigg and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, as Olenna Tyrell and Tyene Sand were killed. The episode featured the return of Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris, who was last seen in season 5's "The Dance of Dragons".

Kit Harington spoke about the scene he shot with Peter Dinklage in Spain, saying "It was a beautiful location with 50 mph winds and I was wearing a cape next to a cliff—There was a danger of me being blown off! I'm not sure it's the way I would have wanted to go."[1]

Indira Varma and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers's last scene was technically difficult for the actresses, because they were shackled. The shackles were felt-lined but tight, and Varma and Sellers ended up "bruised and battered" due to the physical intensity of their acting. Varma had to be cut from the shackles at the end of the day.[2]

Analysis[edit]

D. B. Weiss talked about the return of Bran to Winterfell, saying "One of the things we loved about Game of Thrones from the very first book is it's not a world where magic is the primary driver of the story, it's a world where human psychology and behavior and desire are drivers of the story. We try very hard to make sure it stays that way because that's a lot more relatable to the vast majority of the audience than magic powers—as much fun as those are. So with Bran, ideally you want to use him in a way that adds to the story and enriches the story and not in a way that's a magic bullet to conveniently deal with things that you haven't come up with a better way to deal with. So it was a balancing act to account for who Bran is now without letting that overtake the story."[3]

Isaac Hempstead Wright explained how the magical conversion has altered the characters personality, saying "It's like imagining you have all of space and time in your head—Bran is existing in thousands of planes of existence at any one time. So it's quite difficult for Bran to have any kind of semblance of personality anymore because he's really like a giant computer". He went on to add that "Bran really at this stage is not the Three-Eyed Raven. He's got the title but hasn't had thousands of years of sitting in a cave looking through time. Somebody put in front of him a massive encyclopedia of all of time and he's only opened page one. He can look stuff up but doesn't have this all-knowing all-seeing capability just yet."[3]

Indira Varma expected the seventh season would be her character's last, reasoning that a "less important character" like Ellaria would have to be phased out to make room for the story's climax. She expected audiences to be "more invested in Cersei," who had more screen time than Ellaria, but she hoped positive fan reception for Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell would carry over to sympathy for Ellaria.[2] Varma had hoped for her character to die on screen, but found the fate Weiss and Benioff crafted for Ellaria to be "really clever" and beyond "every parent's worst nightmare."[2]

Weiss praised Diana Rigg's performance in her final scene as Olenna Tyrell, for contributing to the character uniquely "winning her own death scene."[4]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"The Queen's Justice" was viewed by 9.25 million total viewers on its initial viewing on HBO, which was slightly less than the previous week's rating of 9.27 million viewers for the episode "Stormborn".[5][6] The episode also acquired a 4.3 rating in the 18–49 demographic, making it the highest rated show on cable television of the night.[5] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 3.272 million viewers on Sky Atlantic during its Simulcast, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

"The Queen's Justice" received positive reactions from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 40 reviews of the episode and judged 90% of them to be positive, with an average rating of 7.9 out of 10.[8] The website's consensus for the episode stated "'The Queens Justice' saw the much-anticipated meeting between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen -- but had much larger surprises in store before its shocking end."[8]

Matt Fowler of IGN described the episode as "amazing", saying ""The Queen's Justice" did justice to the long-awaited coming together of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. With a devilishly good script and some pointed action (along with a few twists and turns), this episode contained a ton of long scenes, but no fat. - This was prime Thrones." He gave the episode a 9.5 out of 10.[9] Shane Ryan of Paste Magazine wrote "It was, by far, the best episode of the season. I've always contended that the show does best when it pushes the drama and the narrative ahead by means of two-person scenes, and the examples in "The Queen's Justice" were phenomenal".[10] Glen Weldon of NPR also praised the episode and Diana Rigg's performance, writing "It's a hell of a way to go out, but a character like Olenna -- and an actress like Rigg, who always let you see the danger flashing behind those eyes – deserves nothing less."[11]

Bennett Madison of Vanity Fair wrote, "Game of Thrones has spent so much time building up tension and drawing out plots that many of its ongoing story lines have literally been brewing for years ... With this episode, 'The Queen's Justice', we're finally starting to see some real payoff."[12][dubious ] Andy Hartup of GamesRadar similarly gave praise to the episode for granting victories to antagonists like Cersei and Euron, while criticizing the character dynamics in scenes taking place at Winterfell and Dragonstone.[13] Sean T. Collins of Rolling Stone wrote of the episode, "As befits its title, this week's installment asks us to consider what it means to be a ruler ... and what it means to seek justice."[14] Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant praised the final scene of Olenna Tyrell, writing "As much as a momentous encounter between two major characters grabbed the spotlight, Game of Thrones proved that a character's last words could be just as important as their first."[15] Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post praised the performances of Rigg, Coster-Waldau and Dinklage, but was critical of Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington's scenes together, writing that "in the Dragonstone scenes, Clarke and Harington mostly served to bring out each other's most wooden line readings". She also addressed the way the episode approached themes of female empowerment, writing that "if any show has been a cautionary tale about the difference between female empowerment and true social change, Game of Thrones has been it".[16]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2017 Hollywood Post Alliance Outstanding Editing Jesse Parker Nominated [17]
2018 Art Directors Guild Awards One-Hour Single Camera Period Or Fantasy Television Series Deborah Riley Won [18]
2018 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell Nominated [19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hibberd, James (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones stars discuss their first on-screen meeting". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Hibberd, James (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones actress on her 'worst nightmare' Cersei scene". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Hibberd, James (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones actor on that surprise 'Queen's Justice' reunion". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  4. ^ Hibberd, James (July 31, 2017). "Game of Thrones showrunners on losing that fan favorite". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Porter, Rick (August 1, 2017). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Rick & Morty' returns strong, more highs for 'Insecure' and 'Ballers'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (24 - 30 July 2017)". BARB. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "The Queen's Justice". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  9. ^ Fowler, Matt (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones: "The Queen's Justice" Review". IGN. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  10. ^ Ryan, Shane (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones Review: "The Queen's Justice" (Episode 7.03)". Paste. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  11. ^ Weldon, Glen (July 31, 2017). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 7, Episode 3: 'I've Brought Ice And Fire Together'". NPR. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  12. ^ Madison, Bennett (July 31, 2017). "Game of Thrones Episode 703 Recap: The Queen's Revenge". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  13. ^ Hartup, Andy (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones S7.03 review: "A smart episode that makes us question our assumptions"". SFX Magazine. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  14. ^ T. Collins, Sean (July 30, 2017). "'Game of Thrones' Recap: Queen Slates". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  15. ^ T. Collins, Sean (July 30, 2017). "Game of Thrones Brings Fire and Ice Together in 'The Queen's Justice'". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  16. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa (July 30, 2017). "'Game of Thrones' Season 7, Episode 3 review: "The Queen's Justice"". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  17. ^ "HPA Awards: 'Dunkirk' Wins Best Editing in a Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. November 16, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave. "'Star Wars: The Last Jedi,' 'Dunkirk,' 'Lady Bird' Nab Art Directors Guild Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Game of Thrones". Emmys.com. Retrieved September 9, 2018.

External links[edit]