Stormborn: Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2 Recap

The Targaryen comeback suffers a setback as Euron Greyjoy proves he’s not all talk

By AT&T Digital Media Productions editorial team 

After a season premiere that saw plenty of deaths (good riddance, House Frey!), but precious little bloodshed, Game of Thrones is finally giving the people what they want. “Stormborn” treated us to battle, blood, and the kick-off of what will become the greatest war Westeros has ever seen.

Befitting the episode title, we open this week with Daenerys Targaryen and company at Dragonstone. An epic storm is brewing outside, both a nod to her birth and a harbinger of another storm to come.

 

First, some of Dany’s advisors have to answer for their past: Ellaria Sand murdered Tyrion Lannister’s niece, while Varys sent assassins after Dany in Essos. The eunuch spymaster reaffirms his loyalty—not to monarchs, but to the people of Westeros. No doubt his honest counsel will be more valuable than blind servitude.

As they plan their assault on King’s Landing, Dany’s team is divided. Yara Greyjoy advises a blitzkrieg of Unsullied and Dothraki, while Tyrion cautions against unleashing a foreign horde on Westeros, and draws up a two-pronged attack. The Unsullied will storm the Lannister stronghold at Casterly Rock, while Yara’s ships ferrying Dornish soldiers will attack the capitol.

Dany, ‘ya shoulda listened to Yara. Remember when Euron Greyjoy showed up last week all nonchalant, even charming? Well, House Targaryen’s words may be “Fire and Blood,” but Euron brought the carnage to the Narrow Sea this episode, with an unexpected Greyjoy family reunion that left every Dany supporter shook.

 

In a surprise attack, Euron’s bloodthirsty Iron Islander crew set Dany’s fleet ablaze, interrupting their mission to Dorne (and Ellaria’s “foreign invasion” of Yara). Two of the Sand Snakes, Obara and Nymeria, met gruesome ends at the hand of Euron himself, while Ellaria and Tyene were taken captive. Looks like they were the prize Euron promised to Cersei last week. We can only imagine what she has planned to avenge her daughter Myrcella’s death at the hands of the Dornish.

For her part, Yara didn’t go down without a fight, taking on her uncle and his fearsome axe in single combat. Euron manages to ensnare Yara, giving Theon a chance to atone for betraying his sister when she tried to rescue him from Ramsay Bolton in Season 4. C’mon Theon, you’re the last surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, rightful Lord of the Iron Islands. Avenge your father and save your sister!

 

But we can almost hear it in Theon’s head: “No Theon. Only Reek.” The scars left on him by Ramsay will never truly heal. The mayhem swirling around Theon triggers his PTSD, and he abandons ship, along with his sister. His face dripping with blood, Euron unleashes a maniacal laugh that has us convinced he’s this season’s new Big Bad.

Back on Dragonstone, the red priestess Melisandre returns in search of someone new to believe in. We get it Mel, you’re desperate. Stannis failed you. Jon rejected you. Any port in a storm, right? Conversing with Daenerys in high Valyrian, the R’hllor devotee declares the Mother of Dragons “the prince that was promised.” That’s all well and good, Dany notes, except for one small gender issue. But as stunning linguist Missandei explains, the Valyrian word for “prince” is gender neutral. “The prince or princess that was promised” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, Tyrion says, but Dany is happy to accept her role, and at Melisandre’s urging, beckons Jon Snow to Dragonstone for him to bend a knee.

Back at Winterfell, the tension between Sansa and Jon continues to build. With the White Walker threat looming, Jon announces he will travel to Dragonstone for both its mother lode of dragonglass and its resident Mother of Dragons, both of which he’ll need in the wars to come.  But the North remembers what the last Targaryen wrought upon Westeros. Sansa publicly disapproves (again), and even Jon’s staunch ally Lyanna Mormont declares the venture foolish and unsafe. Shouldn’t the King in the North stay in... the North?

While Sansa may have a point here—both Robb and Ned Stark were murdered after riding South—Jon goes with his gut, and surprises everyone but Littlefinger by leaving Sansa in charge. Lord Baelish gives his trademark smug smile as the wheels start turning. How can he spin this to his advantage?

 

In King’s Landing, Cersei has assembled the remaining undeclared lords of Westeros to pledge their loyalty. Attendance seems light, which isn’t shocking, given what happened the last time she got a big group together. Cersei’s always been an expert manipulator, and appeals to xenophobia to convince the lords that the invading army will rape, pillage, and murder—which, of course, Dany just decided not to do.

Jaime recognizes that most of Westeros has little love for Cersei in their hearts, and takes a different approach in recruiting Lord Randyll Tarly, a Tyrell bannerman, as his ranking general. With Jaime’s promise of a plum position as Warden of the South, Lord Tarly reluctantly agrees to raise his army. His son Samwell may be no warrior, but Randyll is the finest soldier in all of Westeros. Will the Tarly army deliver Daenerys a second defeat?

 

As for Sam, he’s decided his new mission is to save Jorah Mormont. In another stomach-turning Citadel scene (is Sam just going to do the grossest thing possible every single week?) he defies his Archmaester’s orders and cuts away Jorah’s greyscale-infected flesh piece by piece. Jorah the Explorer can only bite down on a leather strap to avoid tipping off the Citadel to Sam’s first try at surgery. Almost makes you wish expert flayer Ramsay Bolton hadn’t been eaten by his own hounds.

Arya Stark, meanwhile, finds herself in danger of becoming puppy chow. After being brought up to speed on recent Westerosi history by her old friend Hot Pie, she decides to hit pause on her revenge spree and head north to reunite with Jon. Along the way, she’s set upon by a group of wolves. Luckily, the alpha is none other than her direwolf Nymeria, who she last saw on the road to King’s Landing all the way back in Season 1. After a tense standoff, Nymeria recognizes Arya and calls off the pack. For a second, Arya hopes Nymeria will come with her to Winterfell; the Stark girl, joined by her house sigil, triumphantly returning home. But neither wolf nor girl are the same since their last meeting. You may be able to go back home in Game of Thrones, but you can’t go back in time.

Arya’s turn northward fulfills the declaration she made to Jaqen H’ghar at the end of last season: a girl is Arya Stark, and she’s going home. Last week’s Frey extermination made us wonder if there was any humanity left in Arya. But as she heads for the cold, there appears to be a thawing in Arya’s heart. Hey, she might even be nice to Sansa when she reaches Winterfell.

Will we get our long-awaited Stark reunion next week? Will Jon arrive on Dragonstone and bend the knee to Dany? Will Hot Pie give us his recipe for brown butter pie crust? Find out next week on Game of Thrones, exclusively on HBO.