It's so easy to wish the Lannisters to be wiped out, as the show wants you to, but tonight was a reminder that Game of Thrones would be nothing without them.
Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion dominated season 7 episode 3, 'The Queen's Justice', the richest characters in the show and the best acted (props to Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and particularly Lena Headey tonight).
Cersei's malevolence reached new lows as she sentenced Ellaria Sand to watch her daughter slowly rot away in front of her, the increasingly Mad Queen doing the whole 'cold-hearted bitch' thing much more convincingly than Daenerys right now.
Jaime, meanwhile, was given some home truths by Olenna as he mercifully poisoned her, and confessed to being so deep into Cersei's web there is little hope for him. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out and I'm certain he will have to make a decision to go with his heart/head and save Tyrion or go with his head/penis and save Cersei before the season is out.
After a shockingly quiet season 6, Tyrion got properly back into the frame tonight, proving a skilled diplomat as he talked both Daenerys and Jon down from their unyielding positions. As Daenerys continues on her despot arc, Tyrion seems destined to end up Jon's Hand at some point; certainly a duo to look forward to.
Episode 3 being much better than episode 2 probably had as much to do with what it didn't show as what it did, viewers being spared more one-dimensional scenes of Arya on the road having realisations. The only scene that did feel like a clinical transferal of plot points tonight was Jorah in the Citadel, who had such a miraculous recovery following Sam's operation it could have been packaged with a slapstick '3 hours later...' title card.
The battle element was also more skilfully handled tonight. Something was off about the Greyjoy fleet encounter, it feeling too choreographed and stylised, whereas the storming of Casterly Rock was effective in how it was told in planning by Tyrion as it happened before our eyes.
The pacing and direction this episode was spot on, the dialogue felt a lot smarter than it has been in recent weeks, and the tighter number of sub-plots allowed each of them to shine (plus what a send-off for Olenna).
Here's hoping they keep it up as Daenerys is forced into a major strategy re-think next week.
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