It’s been a long time coming but Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally got together for a bit of a chat and cuppa in this week’s episode of . Actually, that makes it sound A LOT more cosy than it really was, but if you want a full breakdown of , check out our review. If you’ve already read it and you want to talk about the big takeaways from the episode and what they mean for the show, you’re in the right place.
Below are the biggest questions I have after watching the episode and it goes without saying that if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s plenty of spoilers. So go away! Otherwise, read on and let’s talk about where Cersei’s will be getting the gold to pay back the Iron Bank from? What Euron’s going to do with Yara? And what the hell is going on with Varys and the Red Priestesses?
1. Does Varys know what Melisandre has done?
When Jon and Davos arrive at Dragonstone, Melisandre hides on top of a hill, which makes sense given on how the trio left things in . Varys finds this rather suspicious and goes for a chat with the Red Priestess where she confesses that they’d fallen out because of certain choices she made. Saying this is a polite way of putting it is a bit of an understatement and I got the hint that Varys knew as much. It doesn’t take a genius to work out Melisandre wasn’t telling him everything, but at one point during his questioning, he becomes outwardly hostile towards her - something Varys rarely does.
It made me wonder if he knows what she did and, given Varys’ past history with sorcery and the mutilation of children, he would find it particularly repugnant. His warning to her not to return to Westeros certainly implies he’s not a fan, but how would he discover her disgrace as almost everyone who witnessed it is dead, and Jon and Davos sure aren’t telling anyone. Perhaps Varys still has little birds whispering secrets to him from the north, or maybe he simply knows what the Red Priestesses are capable of and assumes it’s nothing good. Either way, she’s not hanging around to find out.
2. What does Melisandre know about Varys?
That’s not the only question I have about Varys and Melisandre’s conversation though. She obviously knows something about him too and it doesn’t sound good. Let’s revisit her final words to him: “I will return, dear Spider. One last time. I have to die in this strange country. Just like you.” This is obviously more than just a simple statement of fact - that one day Varys will die and it will probably be in Westeros where he lives. She tells him he has to die here. Has to. Why? What does she know about Varys that we, and apparently he, doesn’t? Has she seen his death in the fire? That wouldn’t explain it. Is there a prophecy about him?
Varys definitely has some importance to the followers of the Lord of Light because Melisandre isn’t the first Red Priestess to have a strong reaction to him. When Kinvara was summoned to the Great Pyramid of Meereen by Tyrion in season 6, she spoke to Varys about his mutilation as a child at the hands of a "second rate sorcerer," recounting it in such detail as to shock him. She also revealed that he heard a voice in the flame that night: “Do you remember what you heard that night when the sorcerer tossed your parts in the fire? You heard a voice call out from the flames. Do you remember? Should I tell you what the voice said? Should I tell you the name of the one who spoke?” It’s still very unclear what exactly happened and what implications it will have on the show, but something is clearly going on with Varys and the followers of the Lord of Light.
3. Why is she travelling to Volantis?
This is my last question about Melisandre - I promise! - but why is she now travelling to Volantis? When she left Winterfell she had a clear destination in mind - home, Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon's former stronghold. Now she’s barely been there five minutes and she’s taking off again. It could just be to avoid Jon and Davos but that seems unlikely given that they won’t be there long themselves. Perhaps she truly believes she’s done her part in bringing Dany and Jon together and is now no longer needed. She could have even seen that this was her purpose in the fire and was simply stopping off at Dragonstone on her way to Volantis. She also probably knows that if Daenerys finds out what she did to Shireen, she’ll likely have the same reaction as Jon.
The other possibility is that there’s something in Volantis she wants. Volantis is the home of a Red Temple so it’s sort of like the Lord of Light’s stronghold. She could be travelling there to rally her fellow Priestesses to Jon and Dany’s cause which would make for an impressive return when she finally does come back to Westeros. She could also just be returning to the safety of the Red Temple to watch the war play out in quiet retirement. Will her fellow Red Priestesses have anything to say about her past mistakes?
4. What will Euron do with Yara?
When Euron turns up at King’s Landing looking super pleased with himself and handing over Ellaria and Tyene Sand to Cersei, you probably noticed that he kept Yara for himself. This isn’t surprising given that she’s more of a problem for him than Cersei, but what is surprising is that he hasn’t killed her already. She’s directly challenging his right to rule House Greyjoy and has a strong claim to do so despite the Kingsmoot. This is one of the reasons he wanted to kill her (and Theon) as soon as he was crowned, so why is he waiting now? No doubt it’s because he has something gruesome planned to torture her with before killing her in true bad guy-style, and he feels confident enough in his position to not rush it and do away with her asap. That’s fine by me because it means there’s still a chance she could be rescued, right?
5. Will Cersei really marry Euron?
No! Of course not! Did anyone actually believe that? Did Euron? Because if he did, he’s more of an idiot that I thought. Cersei might as well have said, ‘I’m going to promise to marry you after the war is won so you’ll help me win it, but then, when I don’t need you anymore, I’ll kill you’. And I’m betting Euron knows that… because he’s not an idiot. Insane, yes. But not stupid. So why is he playing along? Because he has no choice. He can’t push Cersei to marry him now and frankly, he’s probably already planning on taking her out so why bother? Both the bride and groom-to-be will have to watch their backs. What a wedding night!
6. How will Cersei pay back the Iron Bank of Braavos?
A more minor plot point in this episode saw the return of the Iron Bank of Braavos and Tycho Nestoris, played by Mark Gatiss. Shock, horror, the bank wants its money back and the Lannisters are in rather a lot of debt to them. After establishing that the Iron Bank will support Cersei’s rule because… let’s be honest, none of the other options really work for them, she promises that just like a true Lannister, she will pay her debts. In two weeks in fact! Which is rather impressive given that, as Tycho pointed out, the crown’s vaults are empty and its most wealthy ally House Tyrell is now an enemy. So where is Cersei going to get the money from to pay the bank back? Perhaps Qyburn is going to magic up some gold... Maybe there’s some hidden in under King’s Landing like the Wildfire... Maybe she’s just going to kill Tycho and wants to put it off as long as she can so the Iron Bank don’t send someone else for a while. More than likely, it’s probably going to come from Highgarden which was taken over by the Lannister army at the end of the episode.
7. Will Bran tell Jon about his true parentage?
This episode also saw another Stark reunion - yay! - but not the one everyone was expecting. Instead of Ayra turning up at Winterfell it was Bran who reunits with sister Sansa - although you can’t really tell if he’s happy about it or not. While there’s much to take from their brief conversation under the Weirwood tree - what’s with Bran’s mysterious Jedi impression? - the big flashing alarm bell moment comes when Sansa says she wishes Jon was there, and Bran says, “Oh yes, I need to talk to him.” We all know what that’s about - Bran is one of the few people who knows Jon’s true parentage and there’s been much discussion about how he will find out.
Now that Bran is so close to his ‘brother’ it’s looking likely that he’ll tell him because otherwise, the plot point will have no meaning on the show, but I’m interested to know what Bran’s motivation will be. What does he think he’ll accomplished by telling Jon? He must know by now that it wouldn’t be good for his leadership of the north. Does he simply think Jon deserves to know who his real mum and dad are? Or has he seen that Jon must know to win against the Night’s King? Then there’s the question of who else will find out… because if only Jon and Bran know (and agree to keep it secret as they probably will) the plot point, again, has no meaning. I’m betting Littlefinger will sniff it out and then undoubtedly use it for his own means.