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Game Of Thrones Recap: Season 7, Episode 2 - Stormborn

With only seven episodes coming this season on Game of Thrones, the action is picking up as all of the major players get ready to deploy their first salvos in the looming war. Find out what happened in the second episode, "Stormborn," but only if you've already seen it.

Warning: Contains spoilers for season 7, episode 2 of Game of Thrones

What happened last time
In the first episode of the season, Arya (Maisie Williams) continued her big Westeros adventure by holding a masquerade ball for the Freys, but she was the only one wearing a costume. Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) butted heads about the North, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) gave Cersei (Lena Headey) very concerned glances as she played cat-and-mouse with Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) made it back home to Dragonstone, which Sam (John Bradley-West) learned is built upon a mountain of dragonglass. 

We open on a stormy night on Dragonstone, much like the night Daenerys was born. Dany's mood is stormy as well, and she calls out Varys (Conleth Hill) for his duplicity and previous changes in allegiance. Varys doesn't back down, telling her that "incompetence should not be rewarded with loyalty." They're interrupted by the arrival of none other than Melisandre (Carice van Houten), who tells Daenerys about the prophecy of the Long Night.

Book-readers everywhere rejoiced when Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) confirmed that the noun meaning "Prince" in Valyrian is genderless, implying that a man or a woman could be the chosen one. Melisandre urges Dany to summon Jon Snow, and she agrees—so long as Jon bends the knee.

Jon's child-soldier training program has obviously begun, and he and Sansa discuss the letter from Daenerys. Wisely, Jon asks Sansa's opinion about her former husband. She agrees that Tyrion (Peter Dinkage) is not like the other Lannisters, but believes that it's too dangerous for Jon to go to Dragonstone. The ever-practical Davos (Liam Cunningham) points out that the North does not have enough strength to fight the Night King, and Dany does. "Fire kills wights," he says. "What breathes fire?"

King's Landing
Cersei holds court with the Tyrell bannermen to try and turn them against Olenna (Diana Rigg) and Daenerys. She's quite good at stirring up their fears of Dothraki savages raping their women and burning their homes to the ground. Cersei goes full propagandist when she tells them that Dany crucified "hundreds of noblemen in Slaver's Bay." Of course, we all know that while the slave masters were undoubtedly rich, they were no nobles. Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) asks how they propose to deal with Dany's three dragons, and Qyburn (Anton Lesser) replies, "We are currently at work on a solution." Afterwards, Jaime pulls Tarly and his son aside and asks Randyll to become his second-in-command, to swear allegiance to Cersei, and abandon the Tyrell cause. Randyll is dubious, and doesn't give a straight answer.

Archmaester Ebrose (Jim Broadbent) and Sam tend to Ser Jorah (Iain Glen), who is covered in a horrifying amount of Greyscale. Ebrose confirms what we all suspect: the disease is far too advanced for any hope of stopping it. He gives Jorah six months before it reaches his mind, although he may survive another 10 or 20 years as one of the insane stone men in Valyria. Ebrose drops a strong hint about suicide being a better alternative. Sam doesn't seem happy about this prognosis, especially after he learns who his patient really is: the exiled son of the former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

King's Landing
Down in the cavernous dungeons below the Red Keep, we finally learn Qyburn's "solution" to Dany's dragons: a gigantic ballista loaded with one of the nastiest-looking barbed spears we've ever seen. As a demonstration, he asks Cersei to pull the lever on the weapon. When she does, the projectile flies across the dungeon, easily piercing the skull of Balerion the Black Dread—the largest of the dragons of Aegon the Conqueror. Given that dragonbone is supposed to be as hard as iron, this development is definitely troubling if you're rooting for Dany.

At the famous Painted Table, Dany meets with her advisors and current allies. While Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Ellaria (Indira Varma) call for an immediate attack on King's Landing, Daenerys tells them she doesn't plan to be "queen of the ashes." Olenna points out that her daughter was a queen beloved by many, but that's all she is now—ashes. "They won't obey you unless they fear you," she claims.

Despite the arguments, Daenerys has Tyrion lay out her preferred battle plan: the Greyjoy fleet will go south to Dorne, bringing up the Dornish army to King's Landing. There, they and the Tyrells will lay siege to the city and (hopefully) starve out Cersei. Meanwhile, the Unsullied will have another target: Casterly Rock. Afterwards, Dany and Olenna speak privately, and the Queen of Thorns offers the Mother of Dragons a bit of advice: "The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You're a dragon. Be a dragon."  

Later, Missandei visits Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) to say goodbye, and the awkward farewell quickly turns into something more. Grey Worm reveals that "I was the bravest, always—until I met Missandei. Now I have fear." After a long look between them, they embrace and kiss passionately. Within moments, the pair are both undressed and jumping into bed. Thankfully, the showrunners decided not to let us know what it really looks like to be cut "root and stem."

As Sam follows Archmaester Ebrose around the library, he asks about an allegedly successful treatment of Greyscale by a Maester named Pylos. Book readers will remember this name as the young Maester who was sent to replace Cressen after Melisandre murdered him, but there's no way this could be the same man—just a name the writers decided to repurpose for the show. At any rate, Ebrose shoots down Sam's idea. Pylos contracted Greyscale from one of his patients, so his experimental procedure is now forbidden.

In his cell that night, Jorah pens a letter to Daenerys, but is interrupted when Sam shows up with a cart full of implements and instructions to drink a huge skin of rum. He explains who he is and how he knew Jorah's father: "I was with him when he died. But you're not going to die today, Jorah Mormont."

As Sam sets to work on Jorah with a scalpel, it's amazing to realize this is the same character who was so terrified of everything (even the sight of blood) when he first came to the Night's Watch. Also, it's difficult to watch Sam (wearing gloves) peel off pus-filled layers of skin from Jorah without wearing any sort of facial protection. It's no wonder Pylos caught Greyscale. The transition from this scene into the next (featuring a cheesy pie) is nausea-inducing, so fast-forward if you have a sensitive stomach.

The Crossroads Inn
Arya has a reunion with her old friend Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) from her days masquerading as a boy, and he gives her some bread and ale. A hilarious moment with trademark Arya humor happens when he tells her the secret to his crust is browning the butter first. "Ah, I didn't do that," Arya remarks. "You've been making pies?" Hot Pie asks incredulously. "Mmm, one or two," she replies.

Hot Pie gives her new information in addition to food: he tells her that Jon killed Ramsay Bolton and is now the King in the North. Arya quickly bids Hot Pie farewell and leaves. Outside, she gives one last longing glance at the road south to King's Landing (and Cersei's death by her hand), then wheels her horse around and heads north to Winterfell.

In the Great Hall, Jon informs his lords of Sam's letter about dragonglass, and also about Daenerys' command that he travel to Dragonstone. When Jon says he plans to go, it's not just Sansa who rebels against his decision: all of the bannermen (and women) are not happy with this choice. Jon manages to quell them by pointing out that they're currently too weak to defeat the Night King. He even gets Sansa to drop her argument, shocking her to silence when he names her the protector of the North in his absence.

Later in the crypts, Jon visits Ned's statue and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) shows up, trying to weasel his way into Jon's confidences. Of course, Jon has none of it. Littlefinger doesn't know when to give up, trying to play a different angle when he mentions, "I love Sansa, as I loved your mother." Way to turn the icky factor up to 10, Baelish. This was the wrong tactic to try with Jon, who crosses to Littlefinger in a flash, choking him against the wall. "Touch my sister and I'll kill you myself," he warns.

In the woods
Arya builds a fire for her camp when her horse starts to get nervous. Soon we see the reason why: a large pack of wolves has surrounded them. No doubt fans everywhere were squealing in delight at this sight, because it heralded a long-awaited reunion. The snow crunches under paws, and Arya turns to behold a gigantic wolf leading the pack—none other than her long-lost pet direwolf, Nymeria. Arya soon learns that this is no puppy come back to her owner, though. She begs Nymeria to come with her back to Winterfell, but the direwolf proves that the pet reflects its owner when she turns around and pads away from Arya silently. Just like her owner, Nymeria is independent and will make her own way in the world, not following anyone else.

At sea
While the Sand Snake sisters argue and drink ale in their bunks, Yara and Ellaria flirt shamelessly below deck while an uncomfortable Theon (Alfie Allen) prepares to make his exit. Just as the two exchange a kiss, an explosion rocks the ship. The Greyjoys rush out into a pitched battle, and they stare in shock as the sails of Euron's ship approaches in the darkness. It shatters the side of Yara's ship, and a huge gangplank comes crashing down with Euron himself leading the charge. Within moments, Yara's fleet is in chaos as the battle rages around them and her boats are set on fire.

While Theon and Yara fight the other Ironborn above deck, the Sand Snakes fight their own battles. Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Nymeria (Jessica Henwick) fight against Euron together, while Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) protects her mother Ellaria below deck. Eventually, the Dornish are overwhelmed; Euron impales Obara on her own spear and strangles Nymeria with her bullwhip. Tyene fares better and is captured, along with her mother. Next, Euron and Yara come face-to-face. They battle fiercely and, although Yara manages to injure Euron, she too is taken captive when he gets the best of her.

Although Theon had fought fiercely throughout the battle thus far, things change when he sees his uncle holding his sister hostage with a blade to her throat. Euron mocks Theon, challenging him to come and take Yara from him, and you can see all the strength go out of poor Theon. His will broken, Theon drops his sword and jumps overboard.   

Final thoughts
This was an amazing episode. There was a lot to be excited about and enjoy in this one, from the verbal sparring of Daenerys and Varys to the very real battle between the Greyjoys. The reunions of Arya with both Hot Pie and Nymeria were moments worth cheering for, although seeing the direwolf go her own way was bittersweet. Seeing Sam's bravery in deciding to treat Jorah was a real standout moment as well, although we wish the showrunners wouldn't keep using gross-out closeups every time we visit Oldtown.

The development of Qyburn's new weapon is definitely troubling, and the blow that Euron deals to Dany cannot be understated. She had a fleet, which is now in tatters. Hopefully, the ships carrying the Unsullied (and Lady Olenna, wherever she is) make it to their destinations safely. Speaking of Unsullied, that scene between Grey Worm and Missandei was a little awkward, but it's kind of nice to see them find love in unexpected places. However, if you're a book reader, it also is kind of icky when you remember that Missandei is only a child in the novels and this romance is completely invented by the showrunners.

All in all, the action is definitely heating up all over Westeros and it's only going to get quicker-paced from here. With only five episodes left in this season, it's going to be crazy soon. We can't wait.