GAME OF THRONES 7.02 ‘Stormborn’ Review

Jon Snow ponders an alliance with the queen as Arya is reunited with some old friends in the latest episode of 'Game of Thrones.'

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

GAME OF THRONES Season 7 Episode 2

Episode Title: “Stormborn”

Writer: Bryan Cogman

Director: Mark Mylod

Previously on Game of Thrones:

Episode 7.01 “Dragonstone”

There are spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, but don’t pretend that you didn’t know that!

“You can’t go home again.” Thomas Wolfe’s word never seemed more appropriate for the wolves of Winterfell than in this episode. Game of Thrones gave Arya the news we’ve been waiting to see her learn for a long time: her family lives and Jon is the King in the North.

It says everything about Arya that her first impulse was to simply abandon her quest to kill Cersei. And yet, Arya’s encounter with her former direwolf, Nymeria, seems to leave her with the realization that she can’t simply invite her back into her life. Nymeria has moved on with children of her own. “That’s not you,” Arya realizes, and she may even be talking to herself. The episode is unclear about whether Arya still plans to return to Winterfell, but we would never bet against it at this late date.

What it’s impressive about this the theme of this week’s episode is that it also applies to Jon Snow and Theon Greyjoy, both of whom also grew up in Winterfell. Jon grew up, moved away to live at the Wall and become a member of the Night’s Watch only to die and be reborn. But the home he went back to barely resembles the home that he knew, and his forces came close to rioting when he left to meet Daenerys.

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Theon wasn’t so lucky. When faced with the prospect of facing his psycho uncle Euron in battle moments after Euron already defeated Yara and the Greyjoy renegades, Theon essentially became Reek again. Gemma Whelan deserves a lot of praise for her silent performance here, especially for the look of betrayal on her face. Theon abandoned her just a few minutes after she called him her protector.

That was such a rich character moment that it’s easy to forgive the show for glossing over how Euron found at sea, at night, and launched such a precise attack. That seemed very convenient, and it swant the tide of war against Daenerys. If we know Game of Thrones, and we do, there will be no rescue coming for Yara, Ellaria, and her daughter. Nor even redemption for Theon. There aren’t happy endings to be found here. It’s not enough to fully make Euron into the show’s next great villain, but killing off the Sand Snakes and destroying the fleet was a good start.

Also: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 May Have Feature Length Episodes

Even without her ships, the bonds are already drawing characters together for their inevitable meetings. Jon Snow and Daenerys may meet as soon as the next episode, while Cersei has discovered the one thing that may keep her in power: fear of the Mad King’s daughter. What’s impressive about Cersei’s plea is that she’s not wrong. Daenerys wasn’t exactly a great ruler in Essos, and she did order the deaths of the masters in Slaver’s Bay. Her actions were meant to be a form of justice, but now it’s catching up with her.

This episode also had impressive smaller moments, including the long-awaited consummation between Grey Worm and Missandei, as well as Sam’s chance to save Jorah from the greyscale. It also has to be mentioned that the transition from the pus in Jorah’s skin to Hot Pie’s pies was truly disgusting…and yet it was also one of the show’s most effective transitions. Go figure.

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For only the second episode of the season, it felt like a lot was unpacked onscreen. That’s an admirable approach for the show, with so few episodes left in the series. This was a very good episode that may lead to some great episodes. At least that’s the hope.

What did you think about the episode? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credits: HBO