10 questions I have after watching Game of Thrones S7.02

Game of Thrones season 7 episode 2 brings a lovely mix of sex, violence, and plotting. It's a well balanced episode, and a very satisfying one to watch (especially if you're cheering for the bad guys). For once, it feels like there are more answers than fresh queries this time around, although the bloody climax really has left my head swimming with theories and thoughts about what will happen next week. With the return of old show faves like Hotpie and Nymeria, it seems like the door is open for any number of reappearances or cameos, so one of the main questions this week is: who the hell is going to show up next? But that’s not the biggest question on everyone’s lips. No, let’s start with…

1. What’s going to happen to Yara and Ellaria now?

It doesn’t look good for the two ‘almost-lovers’ who were sent to lay siege to King’s Landing. Euron surprised Daenerys’ fleet, sunk it, and took these two (along with Tyene Sand) as captives, presumably as his wedding gift to Cersei. The fact that episode 3 is called ‘Queens Justice’ doesn’t bode well either, as it likely refers a) to Cersei passing judgment on Ellaria for killing Mrycella (her daughter), and b) Ser Ilyn Payne, the royal executioner who is also known as ‘The Queen’s Justice’. The two episodes of this season have been quite literal and descriptive, so expect ep3 to continue in that vein. Will they actually die? Well, I suspect the writing is on the wall for Ellaria, and the Dornish as a whole - the Game of Thrones TV show has largely ignored George RR Martin’s bloated Dorne plots from the books, so it’s likely the whole kingdom will simply be crushed in the next few episodes, starting with the beheading of Ellaria by Ilyn Payne. 

Yara and Tyene Sand are a little different. I think there’s a redemption story still to happen with Theon, and rescuing or helping Yara is the most likely way he’ll come good. Sure, it doesn’t look great for her right now, but I don’t think she’ll die in episode 3. Famous last words. Now, let’s go a little further down the rabbit hole with Tyene. It’s notable that she’s the only surviving Sand Snake. Why? She’s the one who mercilessly flirted with Bronn back in season 5. It would be remiss of the show to kill her off without having the pair meet one last time. Whether or not Bronn decides to try and free her… that’s anyone’s guess, but I suspect she survived for an emotional reunion with everyone’s favourite mercenary.

2. Who is the Prince Who Was Promised?

Ooh, that’s a knotty one. There’s a video above explaining the main candidates and discussing it in detail. Also, here’s a feature on Jon Snow - the most likely candidate - that will help too. My guess is that it’s Jon Snow, because he was reborn ‘amidst smoke and salt’ as it says in the prophecy. The book explains how the Prince is likely a Targaryen (again, both Jon and Dany qualify), and that he’ll wield a flaming sword. We know Beric Dondarrion is heading north with his flaming sword, and that he’ll go north of the wall in a raiding party with Jon… so, unless that’s all a massive Red Herring, it looks likely to be the bastard of Winterfell. The show is likely teasing us with the idea that ‘Prince’ is non-gender specific, letting us believe it could be Dany only to try and surprise us later. The third option is actually Ser Davos, because… well, look, watch the video or we’ll be here all day.

3. Why was Dany so furious with Varys?

Weird one, this. At the start of Stormborn Daenerys gets very defensive during a conversation with Varys, questioning his loyalty after his various plotting and scheming in previous seasons. It seems like a strange time to be questioning Varys, as they’re on the brink of war with the Lannisters - surely this kind of thing should have been sorted out before they left Meereen? Maybe during the long voyage to Westeros where they were on the same boat? No? Best wait until all her allies are in the same room to chide the eunuch. It feels like desperate plot-hole filling to me, throwing accusations at Varys before letting him explain his actions. If you’re conspiracy-minded, you could say that the show is subtly setting the scene for a massive betrayal, where we find out Varys is actually working for Cersei, but that seems a little unlikely. It’s a very long game for him to be playing and… oh, um, he does spend decades hunting down the warlock who cut off his cock, so he’s no stranger to the long game. Uh oh.

4. How is Sam treating Jorah when no-one else can?

Fairly simple question, fairly simple answer. Sam remembers Jorah’s father, Jeor Mormont, who was Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch when he first joined. Out of loyalty to him, and a general sense of goodwill, Sam is attempting to cure Jorah’s Greyscale, because the Arch Maester refuses to do it himself. Why does the Arch Maester refuse? Well, he says it’s because treatment of Greyscale is forbidden, to avoid it spreading, but there’s likely more to it. I’m yet to figure out the Arch Maester’s motivations and allegiances, other than to the recording of history, but he seems to delight in blocking Sam’s attempts to fight the White Walkers and do good. And how is Sam curing Jorah? Interestingly, in Season 7 episode 1 we see Sam leafing through a book about dragonglass. On the page before he finally discovers the horde in Dragonstone, there’s a description of how dragonglass can be used to treat and cure Greyscale, so it’s likely Sam is using it in his (rather painful) remedy.

5. Will Qyburn’s ballista really work against Dany’s dragons?

The disgraced-Maester Qyburn is a master of secret plans. He’s the guy who zombified Gregor Clegane, and who arranged for the Sept of Baelor to be destroyed by Wildfire. So, when he says he’s “working on a solution” to the dragons, I imagined something much more devious than ‘a massive ballista’. Well, fair enough, it’ll probably work just fine, although Dany’s dragons have grown and toughened since Drogon was wounded by spears in season 5. I think we’re going to lose a couple of dragons at the end of season 7, when Daenerys finally attacks King’s Landing, and Qyburn’s trebuchet is the likely reason why.

6. What is in Jorah’s letter to Daenerys?

Before Sam walks in to treat Jorah, he’s writing a letter to Daenerys. We briefly see the word Khaleesi followed by a bunch of other text. What’s in it? Given the fact the Arch Maester was expecting Jorah to kill himself in the cell, because he couldn’t be cured, it was likely a goodbye note, explaining his love for her and his regret for his earlier betrayal. There are few great mysteries for him to reveal, so the contents of the note are likely emotional rather than revelatory. Still, it would be interesting to have a read of Jorah’s final thoughts on the Queen he loved.

7. Who is Arya going to meet next?

Ed Sheeran last week, Hot Pie and Nymeria this week… Arya is a magnet for fan-pleasing mini-appearances in the show. She’s turned around now, and is heading up to Winterfell to reunite with Sansa (and maybe Jon, once he gets back from Dragonstone). Who else could she bump into? Barring any more rogue musicians, it’s possible she’ll meet up with The Hound again, as the pair are both headed in the same direction. Will she also hook up with Gendry, bastard son of Robert Baratheon who was last seen heading out to sea in a small rowing boat? Hot rumours suggest he’s back in season 7 so… maybe. Finally, it’s not a character, but Arya has been photographed with the catspaw blade (which was used to try and assassinate Bran in season 1) for a magazine cover. It’s a sort of returning item, and it’s likely very important to the final couple of seasons of the show, so expect her to find that dagger soon. Question is… who will she retrieve it from? My money is on her killing Littlefinger and claiming the blade from his body.

8. What is Littlefinger going to do in Jon’s absence?

Speaking of Westeros’ principle schemer, he’s liable to cause all manner of mischief in Jon’s absence, especially after Ned Stark’s bastard throws him against the wall of the Stark family crypt (mirroring a scene from season 1 where Ned pushes Littlefinger against a wall in King’s Landing). He’s likely going to be whispering in Sansa’s ear about how she should be the rightful Queen of the North, and about how she has more right to rule than Jon. He’ll probably promise her the Vale and all its knights. The real test here comes with how Sansa deals with him - has she grown enough as a character to beat Littlefinger at his own game? I really, really hope so.

9. Is Nymeria gone for good?

Yes, I know this is one of the normal wolves and not Nymeria

No, don’t be silly. She’ll return when Arya most needs her. In the books it’s suggested that Arya is able to commune with Nymeria in her sleep, like how Bran can warg into the three-eyed raven. There are chapters where she goes hunting as the direwolf, even tasting the blood when Nymeria makes a kill. The show hasn’t really picked up this idea, which is a shame, but that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of the direwolf. Expect her to return when Arya’s need is most (wait for it…) dire, along with a pack of other hungry animals. 

10. What next for Theon?

Poor Theon. He really messed it up this time. After Euron invites him to save his sister during the battle at the end of the episode, Theon suffers an attack of post-traumatic stress disorder, and leaps off the side of his ship. No surprise really, as some of the killing and mutilation of his former crewmates very much mirrors the body horror inflicted on him by Ramsay. The horrified and disappointed look on Yara’s face very much reflects what we were all thinking when Theon went for his cowardly swim, yet it’s wrong to judge him too harshly given how broken he is. What’s next for Theon? To bring this article full-circle, I honestly think he’s heading for some kind of redemption and noble death in season 7, so I can see him getting to King’s Landing and helping or saving Yara in some way. It’d be a nice touch after she failed to save him from Ramsay’s hounds in season 4 - a neat way to tie a knot in his plot thread. How that happens, and whether or not Game of Thrones is that romantically minded… I don’t know. Maybe he just drowns at sea and Yara gets executed in episode 3.