'Game of Thrones': What You Need to Know After the Episode 'The Queen's Justice'
Spoilers for season seven, episode three of Game of Thrones below.
Jon/Dany's Negotiations: Instead of a long buildup to Jon Snow and Dany's first meeting (as the show often likes doing), the story cuts right to the two rulers squabbling with each other. Or, it opens with Jon Snow and his humble wingman Davos Seaworth meeting with Tyrion Lannister, who hasn't seen his old pal Jon since the first season. Tyrion admits it was unwise for them to accept the invitation just before a dragon flies overhead, and Jon's finally introduced to Daenerys Targaryen, Stormborn, Breaker of Chains, etc.
Jon Snow is simply introduced as Jon Snow... King in the North.
Negotiations go south, and it's never good when a Stark goes south. Dany is surprised that Jon Snow didn't sail to Dragonstone to bend the knee and swear loyalty to her, and Jon is less surprised when Dany doesn't believe his wild claims of White Walkers and armies of the dead. Without weapons or a ship, Jon is basically a prisoner on the island even if nobody else will admit it, and it's up to Tyrion to patch things up between the two protagonists.
Which Tyrion does, as he's good at talking - in a series of motivational chats, he convinces Jon Snow to keep negotiating with Dany even if he doesn't bend the knee (although Tyrion keeps suggesting that he should) while pushing Dany to let Jon mine some dragonglass/obsidian from the island, because she really needs allies after the incident with the Greyjoy fleet.
Cersei's Prisoners: After that incident with the Greyjoy fleet, Euron (this season's new psychopath now that Ramsay's gone) has successfully captured Ellaria Sand and her sand snake daughter Tyene as a gift to Queen Cersei. He also captured his niece Yara Greyjoy, but Yara stays with him - since Theon jumped ship instead of helping his sister, he gets a cold shoulder from the Ironborn once they pull him from the water. Euron leaves Cersei's court happily, because he thinks they'll be married after the war (while she did say yes, Cersei likely won't let that happen).
And things are looking up for Cersei. She successfully negotiates with the Iron Bank despite the crushing debt that she owes them, and she now has Ellaria in her dungeon after the Dornish woman killed Cersei's daughter Myrcella. In a long moment where Cersei plays with Ellaria and her daughter while wearing odd lipstick, she finally kisses Tyene and reveals that her odd lipstick is the same poison that Ellaria used to murder Myrcella, leaving Tyene to die slowly while her mother watches in chains.
Without skipping a beat on her power high, Cersei then has sex with her brother Jaime.
Sansa's Brother: While Jon is busy being Dany's prisoner, Sansa Stark does a remarkably smooth job of running Winterfell, as we see during a short scene where she preemptively deals with a food shortage and reminds the blacksmiths that their armor should be warmer during the winter. As usual, Littlefinger receives a cold welcome when he tries to give Sansa some advice, but to be fair, his warnings about how Sansa needs to think about every possible outcome isn't bad advice. He seems to want Sansa to succeed, likely because he still thinks they'll be married after the war.
Meanwhile, Bran Stark finally returns to Winterfell with big news for the absent Jon Snow, news that could possibly get the Bastard of Winterfell killed if the northern lords learn that he's a Targaryen. Sansa has a slightly heartfelt reunion with her brother (Sansa and Jon's reunion was more heartfelt, likely because Jon actually showed emotion), and we're then treated to the episode's most awkward moment as Bran clumsily attempts to explain his new role as the Three-Eyed Raven. When that fails, Bran uses his psychic powers to show Sansa that he knows about her marriage with Ramsay. Since that marriage was extremely traumatic, this also fails.
Samwell's Cure: Over at the Citadel, we learn that Samwell Tarly didn't fail - after a graphic sequence last episode where he politely flayed the greyscale from Jorah Mormont's arm and torso, Jorah ends up making a full recovery. Since that's the first good thing that has ever happened to Jorah, he capitalizes on his newfound luck and sets out to Dragonstone (knowing Jorah, he'll probably end up somewhere else).
Things go well for Sam too, as his head Maester compliments him for not screwing it all up, before sending him back to his normal, menial tasks.
Jaime's Poison: Lastly, we finally see the results of Tyrion's genius plan to send the Unsullied to capture the Lannister stronghold on Casterly Rock. Turns out, his plan wasn't so genius - for the first time, he was completely outwitted by his brother Jaime. Grey Worm and his Unsullied troops easily take over the empty Casterly Rock, but Euron's fleet has now trapped them inside, and Jaime leads the Lannister troops to conquer the Tyrell stronghold of Highgarden instead.
Since Tyrells are notoriously bad at fighting, Jaime wins easily and goes to confront the only Tyrell who's still alive - Olenna, the show's wittiest character. Olenna knows this is her final scene and she makes the most of it, trying to convince Jaime that his love for Cersei is misguided because Cersei is insane.
Jaime allows her to die peacefully with a painless poison, which he regrets once Olenna reveals her final ace in the hole: admitting she killed his son Joffrey, and now that she's dying painlessly, there's nothing Jaime or Cersei can ever do for revenge. Even when she's losing, Olenna always wins.
The next episode of Game of Thrones airs August 6, 2017 on HBO.