Stormborn: Game of Thrones Thoughts, Review, and Analysis

Game of Thrones’ producers made another masterpiece. Last Sunday’s Stormborn- episode 2 of season 7- featured an intense ship battle, steamy love- making scenes, fascinating character development, and surprising plot twists. Furthermore, many scenes in this episode are more than they seem. Some viewers may miss the deeper meanings within.

Let me go ahead and say that Samwell Tarly is one of my favorite characters.

He proves that not every hero has to be a fighter in the physical sense. Sam fights with his mind. He’s now found a way to kill the White Walkers and likely saved Jorah Mormont. Sam’s a hero not though his physical strength but through his intelligence, selflessness, and compassion. Many males in the series treat women terribly: impregnating them and then running away. Sam cares for his lover and her baby- one that’s not even of his blood.

He helped free her from Craster’s grasp and find safe passage to The Citadel. Sam is also a hero through his willingness to rebel against the system when the need arises. He takes his family’s Valyrian steel sword without his grumpy father’s permission. He begins the operation to save Jorah: one that was forbidden because it’s so dangerous. Sam transformed from a fat, useless, craven to an intelligent, courageous, and rebellious hero.

One reason I love Game of Thrones is that it offers both suspenseful battle sequences and deeper, more thought- provoking scenes.

Stormborn exemplifies this concept. We see the battle sequence first. Yara, Theon, Ellaria, Obara, and Nym sail to King’s Landing. Yara and Ellaria hook up. It’s a calm night. Everything’s going according to plan. Right? Not! Euron’s ship suddenly smashes into theirs. Like a mad man, he leaps onto their ship and starts cutting people down left and right. Two of the “sand snakes” named Obara and Nym- some of the least developed and most hated characters in Game of Thrones- are killed.

Then, we see the deeper aspect of the scene: Theon reverting to “Reek”. It was disappointing and saddening to see Theon leap off the boat rather than fight to protect his sister. The old Theon Greyjoy was overconfident and rash but also brave and gallant. Theon/Reek is Game of Throne’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Gollum/Smeagle. Ramsay tortured Theon for so long that “Reek” is now a part of him. While Theon fought him off for a while, this scene shows that “Reek” is not so easy to shake off. However, I believe there is hope for Theon. We’ll see the old Theon Greyjoy again and when we do, he’ll be a humbled and better version of his past self.

Arya’s reunion with Nymeria is also deeper than it appears.

Many viewers likely took her line: “That’s not you” to mean that the direwolf was not really Nymeria. But they are missing the real meaning here. This line is a flashback to Eddard telling Arya about her future. He describes dresses, elegant noblemen/women, and lavish meals. He talks about the many princes that will be her potential suitors. She will spend her days wined and dined. She’ll have the fantasy life of a princess. Arya responds, “That’s not me.”

Additionally, Arya learns that each Faceless man/woman is “no one”. She finds that she has too strong of an identity to fit in with them. Her scene with Nymeria conveys a frequent theme in Game of Thrones: self- actualization/identity. Just as Arya is not a girly girl or a Faceless man/woman, Nymeria is not the loyal, loving pet Arya wants her to be (at least not anymore). Arya’s quotation: “That’s not you” means that Nymeria was never meant to be domesticated. The wild is where she’s meant to be. It’s part of her, and it’s the natural way of life for a direwolf.

We see the identity theme again with Daenerys Targaryen.

Tyrion concocted a plan to take King’s Landing and Casterly Rock whilst minimizing fatalities. His plan saves face: it keeps them from looking like an enemy to the locals. Tyrion’s plan also avoids using Daenerys’ dragons because he knows many innocents would be killed in their firestorm. Olenna Tyrell gives Daenerys advice once they’re alone. She says, “Tyrion is a clever man. I’ve known clever men my whole life, and I’ve outlived them all. Do you know why? I ignored them.”

She implores to Daenerys, “The men over there (in King’s Landing and Casterly Rock) are sheep. Are you a sheep? No, you’re a dragon. Be a dragon.” These lines speak the truth. Daenerys has a better chance of winning her war and surviving it if she uses all the forces at her disposal. But it’s not that simple if morality is considered. Should Daenerys risk the lives of more innocents for a more ensured victory? Or, should she take Tyrion’s more compassionate route that ensures her public image is protected? Will Daenerys Targaryen prove to be as ruthless and deadly as her ancestors? Or, will she be a more caring, more thoughtful version of them?

I for one don’t think Daenerys is meant to rule the seven kingdoms.

A quotation from her old bodyguard/lover Daario comes to mind: “You’re not meant to sit on a throne. You’re a conqueror Daenerys Targaryen.” Her destiny is not to sit on a throne and give orders. Her destiny is to conquer the white walkers and save the world (with the help of John and others of course).

Now, don’t mistake me for a fan boy.

I do have some criticisms. For one, why was there no one on look out when Euron’s ship literally crashed into Yara’s? Fans may make excuses for the weather, but this scene was pretty ridiculous. I have another criticism with this scene. The producers put all these powerful women together- igniting my feminist spirits. I was thinking to myself, “I love how they celebrate the strong, female character.” And then Euron butchered them…

My last criticism with Stormborn is not getting to see Arya in any real combat. This applies to the series as a whole. Arya was trained by the great Syrio Forel in the ways of the water dancer.

 

 

She was trained by the most reputable assassin organization in the seven kingdoms: The Faceless Men. She’s supposed to be this great warrior, but we haven’t really gotten to see her skills. Sure, we’ve seen her stab a few people and slice bitter, old Walder’s throat, but I want to see her in some real combat. When the wolves appeared on screen, I thought for sure the time had come. I was excited to see her leaping, rolling, and stabbing as she fought off the ravenous beasts with her amazing, agile abilities. I couldn’t help but feel let down when that didn’t happen.

Overall, Stormborn is exceptional.

It proves again why Game of Thrones is one of the best shows on television. The episode is exciting and at times thrilling. Every second captivates the audience. I’m the kind of person who likes to keep moving. I may even be a bit hyperactive. There’s not many shows on television that hold my interest for an entire hour, but one of my only complaints about Game of Thrones is that every episode feels so short. You just don’t want it to end!

As the last season unfolds, let us, the Game of Thrones fans, relish every second of every episode. Let us laugh at every joke, cry at every death, and smile at every victory. And let us hope the ending is as fantastic and satisfying as every other bit of the series.

Check out my other Game of Thrones articles here: http://www.luxelifeatl.com/game-of-thrones-season-7-opener-review/

Check out an article about the upcoming episode here: http://www.nerdcoremovement.com/game-of-thrones-season-7-episode-3-the-queens-justice-photos-tease-epic-meeting/

 

 

 

 

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