Low Strategy In Highgarden: Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3: The Queen’s Justice (HBO)

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 "The Queen's Justice" (HBO)

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Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 “The Queen's Justice” signals that the forces of King’s Landing might, in fact, have the upper hand in Westeros.

Cersei receives her prize from Euron, Jon Snow gets his prize from Daenerys, Sansa takes charge (and ‘enjoys’ a reunion), and Team Dragon compound strategic errors.

Remember, if you haven't watched Season 7 Episode 2 of Game of Thrones *Spoiler Alert*

Clever Plans?

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For three seasons now my biggest complaint about Game of Thrones has been the same (not surprisingly the three seasons the show has moved increasingly off book).

Showrunners Benioff and Weiss, in order to get to the end using the quickest route possible, have done and continue to do real damage to the internal logic of the series and to the character arcs.

This week, the chickens come home to roost for Tyrion’s plan (which Tyrion would never have come up with and yes, I quietly mocked the easy acceptance of this plan in my recap two weeks ago and again last week).

But the important thing to remember is that Tyrion would have known Casterly Rock was nearly worthless to his Brother and Sister because he was once Master of Coin in King's Landing (just like he was once minister of Sewers in Casterly Rock).

So, Tyrion’s master plan was to have the Tyrell’s and the forces of Dorne surround King's Landing while the Unsullied attack Casterly Rock (a seat of power so important that the Lannister’s have never ONCE been shown visiting in the six plus seasons of the show).

Even more bizarre, now the Lannister’s (who don’t even have a relative left alive to govern the Rock) apparently garrison ten thousand troops at Casterly Rock's even though they apparently could easily be encircled and starved out of King's Landing?

And, Tyrion risks his best military force (The Unsullied) on an assault on Casterly Rock, despite his feeling that they will face superior forces and for what?

Oh, last but not least, Tyrion explains in a long section of exposition, that he knew Cersei would expect the Casterly Rock attack (which is the opposite of his original claim that it would be easy to take because the majority of the Lannister forces would be at King’s Landing).

Sorry guys, you can’t just continue to make stuff up as you roll along and not have anyone call BS.

Okay, so the Unsullied “win” the battle for Casterly Rock but at great cost. But they sacrifice the unsullied only to find the majority of the Lannister forces are gone.

The majority of the Lannister forces have left, it appears, for The Reach where they will be taking out the Tyrell’s and ensuring Cersei can use the Tyrell lands to pay off the massive debt the Lannisters owe to the Iron Bank of Braavos.

Before I complain more, I did want to say that it was good to see Bron again (he was riding next to Jaime).

Why in the HELL are the Tyrell forces just hanging out inside the Tyrell castle in the Reach? Are we supposed to believe that they were massing to meet the forces of Dorne near King's Landing, turned around, got all the way home, totally relaxed readiness, and had literally zero idea that the Lannister forces were invading their lands?

WHAT?

And let’s not forget, Olenna is one of the most Machiavellian schemers in the history of Westeros, yet she was taken entirely unaware Lannister forces are invading Tyrell lands?

No offense, I still enjoy the show, but they really need to stop being insulting. The only explanation the show gave us for any of this was Olenna suggesting that the Tyrell’s have always been bad at fighting? Seriously?

We have loved the show for so long and enjoy its cinematic nature and scope so much that we have come to almost ignore the plot logic entirely.

I feel, sometimes, like Benioff and Weiss assume we will fall for anything because they assume we believe in the fallacy of sunk costs.

Or maybe they just think people don’t pay attention or only care about the spectacle?

I don’t know, whatever it is, I find it insulting.

Anyway, Euron somehow takes his miraculously constructed 1000 European style ships (the Kraken’s were coastal raiders who utilized longboats) and captures prizes for Cersei, insults Jamie again, and somehow gets his fleet totally mustered and all the way to Casterly Rock in time to cut off escape for the Unsullied.

In other words, Euron took out the entire second Iron Islands fleet and the combined forces of Dorne, gave Cersei prisoners, and made it to Casterly Rock before the Unsullied could even complete the attack that was supposed to be simultaneous with the attack on King's Landing.

I guess in the battle with all the forces of Dorn and seasoned Iron Island sailors his fleet sustained no damage and was left entirely unscathed (and that he can really get around fast)?

Right.

And, Olenna, who has now been reduced to not even knowing what was happening in her own lands, doesn’t know of Lord Tarly's betrayal, and doesn’t even get a message off to King's Landing to tell Cersei she poisoned Joffrey herself?

She would absolutely have known that there was no way Jaime would tell Cersei and she would want Cersei to know.

Okay, one last thing here, it will be sad that we no longer have Diana Rigg’s Olenna Tyrell to provide dry wit and counsel anymore. On the other hand, since B & W were reducing her to a helpless idiot, I suppose that it may have been a kindness.

So, the Tyrell’s have been eliminated, Dorne has been eliminated, Daenerys has lost her fleet, and the Unsullied have been mostly wasted. Unless I am missing something (and I probably am) that leaves Daenerys with three Dragons, Tyrion, and the Dothraki hordes.

Okay, great stuff.

Welcome Home Bran (Kind Of)?

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Bran returns to Winterfell and he and Sansa reunite (I could have sworn Bran said he needed to be at the wall, but whatever).

The reunion was pretty touching but lasted for about five seconds before, in order to prove to Sansa that he has “seeing” powers, Bran decides to provide her with the details of her wedding night with Ramsay Bolton.

Awesome.

So, Bran Couldn’t have found any other factoid that nobody else would have known?

I know the Starks have all been through a lot, but couldn’t Bran and Jon just be 10% less Emo.

Not surprisingly, Sansa leaves Bran on the double quick and gets back to leading the North.

On the good side, in terms of dry and sarcastic wit, Sansa is becoming the next Olenna. Her line thanking Littlefinger for his “wise counsel” was classic.

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Sansa is clearly a good leader and is whipping the North into shape. Like I said a few weeks ago, I suspect she will end up being one of the better leaders left on the board. Good on her.

By the way Bran, it isn’t hard to explain that the old three-eyed Raven died and you were his apprentice and therefore are now the new three-eyed Raven (see, I just did it in one sentence).

My suggestion is meant with love, if you explained it that way, maybe recounting Sansa’s abuse might not have been necessary? Just saying.

Cersei Is Still Really Mean

Have you noticed that B&W want to make sure that we really know who the baddies are on Game of Thrones?

We had to see all of Joffrey’s depravities, we had to see all of Ramsay’s depravities, and now we have to see all of Cersei’s depravities.

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Believe it or not, I know that Cersei is mean and vindictive without having to be fed the torture porn.

Obviously, I didn’t like this episode much, but I will admit (as I did at the end of last season) that it doesn’t bother me as much with Cersei because it is really true to her character. She really is totally motivated by her vindictiveness and anger and she really is that brutal.

Sam Winning

Sam was nice enough to cure Ser Friend Zone (Jorah Mormont) of greyscale so that he can return to support Daenerys.

The Grand Maester takes note of Sam’s good work, congratulates him, and then puts him back to work transcribing scrolls.

I find the Grand Maester entertaining (especially how he encourages Sam’s breaking of the rules at the same time he remains officially disapproving).

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Okay, so now Daenerys has 3 Dragons, Tyrion, the Dothraki, and Jorah.

In addition, she has Jon Snow mining dragonglass at Dragonstone, but for some reason agrees to let him do this (and she provides as much manpower as he needs to accomplish the mining) without requiring anything from him in return.

Okay?

Maybe Jon Snow will end up on team Daenerys too? Or maybe they will just cede the battle for King's Landing and go fight white walkers?

They sure seem to have been entirely outfoxed in the South of Westeros.

I agree with Daenerys comment in the teaser for next week’s episode, “enough with clever plans.”

Although I might change it to “enough with clever plans that are, in fact, not very clever.”

See you next week.