Most of the time with this show, theories are made to be tested or broken many seasons ahead. Only two episodes in, you can tell that the pace of how stories unfold week to week has compressed in Game of Thrones, even if it doesn’t feel breakneck.

I was never afraid before. You are my weakness.

Our theory from last week about Jon, Danerys and Cersei lining up to meet and clash were confirmed – as Jon goes to the south to see about acquiring dragonglass and the queen’s dragonfire, Danerys is council led about both by the men best placed to know… Tyrion and Varys.

In a move that sees time be a little convoluted, Melisandre arrives at Dragonrock to ally herself with Danerys in service to the Lord of Light‘s nebulous plans. The scene doesn’t add much, and the sheer speed at which she arrived there despite only having left the North a few episodes ago makes this scene episode 2’s weak point.

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Faring better, but certainly not fair for the characters (but what is, this is THRONES, son), is Sam at he citadel. Another fan theory seems to be borne out, as the Meister tells our young friend about histories helping people to avoid past mistakes, but unless some style is given… those histories will stay on the shelves. Sam suggests a poetic title, which his master writes off – but made us do a backflip.

As if the astrolabe-like chandelier hanging above the library wasn’t enough of a massive hint – could this be another breadcrumb toward a theory tearing up the Internet… is Game of Thrones Samwell’s own poetic history? Assisting Jorah with his greyscale against his masters wishes, in a gruesome scene of barbaric but noble medieval surgery, makes Dam come off as even more of a Nerd’s spirit animal this week.

The Dornish and defectors from the Iron Isles parlay and plan with Dany on how best to take on Cersei, who themselves are rallying Mormont’s and Tyrells to bolster thinning Imperial forces. The Mad Queen may be on the iron throne, but has few friends. Westeros has seen how similarly she treats friend and foe alike.

Perhaps this part of why she has had tame meisters cook up a dragon killer crossbow, and the demonstration of smashing the skull of Mad King Targarien‘s pet dragon in the dungeons certainly whets the appetite. Seriously, if you weren’t dribbling at the inevitable ‘Giant siege weapons vs dragons’ battle coming this season, think we’d have to question if you are alive.

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Euron Greyjoy, in his hot kingly leather get-up, promised Cersei a gift and he aims to deliver. Both Dorns and usurping warriors from the Iron Isles were roundly burned and speared in a vicious nighttime battle at sea that was the episodes visual highlight and was exactly what an R-rated Pirates of the Caribbean would look like.

VERDICT
It’s hard to put a finger on it, but pacing issues and one-note support characters marred an otherwise enjoyable ep. But the way we see it Stormborn was just paving the way for a leaner, meaner and more direct show than ever.

RATING: 7 out of 10.

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