'Game of Thrones': The 7 Biggest Moments from Season 7, Episode 2, 'Stormborn'

Courtesy of HBO
A scene from the season 7 trailer for Game of Thrones.

The second episode of any season of Game of Thrones serves a particular purpose: to catch up with the characters who didn't appear in the season premiere, and to give the viewer details on what's new with the ones who only appeared in flashes. 

GoT has so many characters that giving us the lowdown on everyone all at once would result in expository regurgitation. So it's okay to finish the premiere with some questions—what's new with Lady Olenna? Yara? Theon? Bronn? Melisandre? The two-dimensional Sand Snakes? (Well, maybe not the Sand Snakes.) What's on Tyrion's mind? Will we ever see Howland Reed? How is Kings Landing looking following Cersei's incineration of the Great Sept when she took out the Tyrells and the High Sparrow, a.k.a. Westerosi Bernie Sanders? (It doesn't sound too great based on the remarks from the Lannister soldiers in E. 1, Dragonstone.)

GoT can afford to slaughter major characters due to the vastness of the cast. Execute one main character, and others will rise up to consume their screen time. With that ominous note, here are the seven most striking moments from Season 7, Episode 2: Stormborn.

Arya’s Reunions

Still no reunions between any of the Stark siblings (no Bran at all in Stormborn). At least Arya meets up with Hot Pie again. We can see how disconnected she is from people now, so the expression of hope on her face when she learns that Jon is king in the North is a sign of her progress back to humanity. And then she decides to go north. We know that she’ll miss just miss Jon as he heads south, and find Sansa. Both of the remaining Starks currently bound for Winterfell would probably pick Jon over Sansa, but Sansa’s the one who’s there right now. And Arya’s brief time with fully-grown Nymeria is majestic.

Tyrion’s Master Plan

Attacking Casterly Rock with the Unsullied army is a brilliant piece of work, and wins Dany the use of the Tyrell and Martell armies in the eventual attack on King's Landing, where, according to Tyrion, the siege will be more acceptable if laid by Westerosi forces. Tyrion is at his best when scheming. Too bad that things go awry; Yara’s idea for a blunt attack, fire-and-blood on King’s Landing could have done the job faster.

Dany Finally Gets a Female Role Model

It’s delightful to get more Diana Rigg, and to watch Dany connecting with an older female. She had no mother, no grandmother, only men. So it’s satisfying to watch her take advice from a wiser female.

A Consensual Sex Scene

Grey Worm’s speech to Missendei is a moving prelude to two damaged people stealing a tender moment together before war and an unsure future. Never mind that he’s a eunuch. He seems to know what he’s doing.

Jon Leaves Sansa in Charge

Every lord tells Jon not to go to Dany. But it’s a big step forward for Sansa, being left in charge. And another major moment for Jon when he chokes Littlefinger for presumption. But he denies Sansa in failing to inform her of it directly.

Yara’s Shrug

Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to have any fun with Ellaria, because along comes...

The Silence

The boat battle sequence is an action tour-de-force, especially Euron’s boarding plank. Great battle sequence here. Well, everything couldn’t just go smoothly for Dany upon landing, could it? With this, Tyrion’s plan is destroyed. The Ironborn fleet will not be headed for Casterly Rock with the Dornish and Reach forces. Dammit.

The good news, following the battle scene, is that two out of three Sand Snakes are off the show. The bad news is that we had to watch women die violently, so no cheers for Euron. In a way, Dorne never stood a chance on Game of Thrones. A TV show, by its nature, requires a main focus. It would take a full extra season to do justice to the Dorne subplots in the TV series. The handling of the Dorne subplot perhaps was GoT’s greatest misstep. Dorne added up to less than the sum of it’s reduced parts. But, as with the death of Joffrey in Season 4, a death that we thought we wanted was not joyful in its delivery.

All things considered, Stormborn was a muddy episode. It laid groundwork for the plot twists to come, but the most satisfying moments were balanced with frustration; no resolutions yet on the darkness, and the season is still just getting started.