1. The very literal meaning of the episode title
We’re starting with one of the more obvious ones, but as always the episode title carried a lot of meaning this week. ‘The Queen’s Justice’ applied mostly to Cersei getting her revenge on both Ellaria Sand and Lady Olenna – she killed Ellaria’s daughter Tyene in the exact same way Ellaria killed Myrcella, and then she killed Olenna in the same way Olenna killed Joffrey back in Season 4 – not that she actually knew this, of course.
But Cersei also had a bit of justice served on herself. Olenna dropping the bombshell on Jaime that it was she, not Tyrion, who murdered Joffrey, leaving Diana Rigg’s character feeling like the victor in her final ever scene.
2. Jon taking after his true father, part I
As we all know by now (well, as of us except Jon Snow himself), Jon is not Ned Stark’s bastard, but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned’s sister, Lyanna. Ned raised him as his own after Lyanna’s death because of a promise he made to her to protect him from King Robert, who would have had the child killed if he’d known he was of Targaryen blood.
After his hilarious introduction of Jon in the Throne Room at Dragonstone, Davos tells Dany: “All those hard sons of bitches chose him as their leader because they believe in him,” referring to the northmen and Wildlings who have chosen Jon to be their King in the North.
This echoes something Ser Barristan Selmy (remember him?) said to Daenerys about Rhaegar back in Season 3. “When your brother Rhaegar led his army into battle at the Trident, men died for him because they believed in him, because they loved him,” he tells her.
3. Jon taking after his true father, part II
And that’s not the only time Jon and Rhaegar are sneakily compared in this episode. Later, Jon and Daenerys are alone, having a bit of a chin wag about Tyrion, and how he loves to talk. “We all enjoy what we’re good at,” Dany tells Jon, who replies, “I don’t”.
We all know Jon is very good at killing, but it’s not something he takes any joy in – he does it out of necessity. He’s no Joffrey or Euron.
Jon’s words echo something else that Ser Barristan once said to Daenerys – she mentions that her brother Viserys told her that Rhaegar was excellent at killing people, and Ser Barristan replies: “Rhaegar never liked killing.”
So there we go, Jon and Rhaegar are/were both great leaders who people can find faith in, but who resent that they have to kill, despite having a talent for it. Two clearly noble men who long for peace rather than conflict.
4. Olenna borrowing a phrase from a surprise source – The Hound
We never thought we’d see Lady Olenna quoting The Hound, but here we are. If you remember, Sandor was very unimpressed that Arya named her sword. “Lots of people name their swords,” Arya protests. “Lots of cunts,” the show’s #1 swearer retorts.
This week, during her spitfire roasting of Jaime, Olenna makes reference to Jaime’s sword, and how it used to belong to Joffrey. She asks what it was called, and Jaime tells her, “Widow’s Wail”. “He really was a cunt, wasn’t he?” Olenna quips. Olenna and The Hound, two brilliant swearers after a man’s (my) heart.
5. Tyrion playing his ‘wise man’ card again
In one of the funniest moments of the episode, Tyrion tries to pull his old “A wise man once said...” schtick on Daenerys, and she is absolutely having none of it. If you remember, in ‘Battle of the Bastards’, Tyrion said to Missandei and Grey Worm: “A wise man once said, the true history of the world is a history of great conversations in elegant rooms.” Missandei asks him who said that, and he replies: “Me… just now.”
In ‘The Queen’s Justice’, Tyrion says to Daenerys (in reference to Jon and his White Walker tales): “A wise man once said that you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it.” Dany sees straight through him, and asks if he’s trying to pass off his own words as ancient wisdom.
“I would never do that…” Tyrion replies, “...to you.”
6. Daenerys unknowingly echoing Jon’s words back to him
Jon must’ve been a little creeped out by this – it’s almost like Dany was listening to him in the season premiere when he told his assembly at Winterfell: “I will not punish a son for his father’s sins,” – something which was particularly pertinent to him, as Catelyn punished him his whole life because she thought he was Ned’s bastard.
In this episode, Jon is speaking to Daenerys about her father, the Mad King, and how he had his grandfather, Rickard Stark, killed. Daenerys says to Jon: “I ask you not to judge a daughter by the sins of her father.” Her words are eerily similar, but seem to be a theme of this season so far. Tyrion also mentions to Jon in this episode that children are not their fathers – thankfully for us all, he adds.
7. Jon proving an old Tormund prediction right
Jon refused to bend the knee to Daenerys, creating a bit of friction between the pair. Hey, I’d much rather that than have them get together, I’m really not on board with this Jon x Dany shipping.
Anyway, his refusal to bend the knee proved Tormund right about a prediction he made back in Season 4. “You’ve spent too much time with us, Jon Snow, you can never be a kneeler again,” he told him. Clearly Tormund is smarter than he sometimes lets on, and clearly a little bit of Wildling has rubbed off on the King in the North.
8. Jon’s “Am I your prisoner?” line as possible foreshadowing
“Am I your prisoner,” Jon asks as he and Davos are escorted from the Throne Room after his tense first exchange with Daenerys. “Not yet,” she replies, ominously. Some fans think this is a piece of foreshadowing, but not about Dany taking Jon prisoner, and instead about a future marriage between the two. How much marriage is like prison we’ll leave up to you to decide, but there are some legs in this one, I guess?
9. The significance of Theon being dragged from the sea
As we know, Greyjoys have a weird obsession with drowning. They semi-drown their kings before crowning them, and believe it the only true way to die – beneath the sea. Those who are dragged from the seas and survive are believed to be almost reborn, and come back stronger. This is exactly what happens to Theon in this episode. Will his emergence from the salty waters turn him into a new man, or will it just serve to show that nothing can save Theon now – that he is broken and beyond saving?
10. Tyrion quoting his good friend Bronn
The show did a cool thing this week where it sped through what’s bound to be one of many battles this season by having Tyrion narrate it. He spoke over the top as the Unsullied stormed and took Casterly Rock from the Lannisters, and one sentence was particularly memorable. Referring to the castle, he says: “As a good friend once said, give me ten good men and I’ll impregnate the bitch.” He’s directly quoting Bronn here, who told Tyrion himself just that when Tyrion was bragging to him about how Casterly Rock had never been taken.
Indeed, all it took to seize the castle was Grey Worm and a few others to sneak in through the sewers and let the rest of the army in. Bronn knows best.
11. The soldier who just won’t die
This extra has been very busy. He’s appeared in Stannis’ army at the Battle of Winterfell, then in Jon Snow’s at the Battle of the Bastards, and now he’s showed up in Winterfell amongst the Starks. Is this one extra being used for multiple roles, or is he just one damn hard soldier. It is feasible that he was captured and joined Stark forces after the Battle of Winterfell, and the beard makes him stand out a lot, so maybe the showrunners wanted us to notice him. Put this dude on the Iron Throne imo, he’s the toughest man in Westeros.
12. What could be in those scrolls Sam has to copy out
So are we going to talk about how easily Sam managed to save Jorah? He’s been a maester for like three weeks and was already able to pull off a procedure that has only worked a handful of times in history – and how did he do it? “I read the book, and I followed the instructions.” Good lad, Sam. I’m a big fan of you. There will be no Sam slander on my watch.
His ‘prize’ for healing Jorah? Getting to copy out a load of decaying scrolls onto new parchment. Oh. However, this may well be much more of a prize than Sam realises – who else reckons he’s going to come across a bunch of helpful information in these ancient scrolls that can help Jon and co. defeat the White Walkers? There’s a decent chance Archmaester Ebrose knows exactly what he’s handing to Sam, too. He’s clearly impressed with his newest recruit, and wants to at least give him something to work with.
13. What does Melisandre know?
In the second creepiest scene of the episode (obviously the creepiest was an emotionally void Bran recounting Sansa’s wedding night to Ramsay), Melisandre tells Varys that she’s leaving Westeros for Volantis, but will return one more time. Varys tells her not to come back, as she’s not really welcome in these parts, but Mel says she must, as she has to die here. Oh, and one more thing – you, Varys, are going to die here too.
This begs the question: has Melisandre already seen Varys’ death in the flames? What’s going to happen to him? She’s clearly already seen her own, and it could well be at the hands of Arya. The last time she and Arya met, she told the youngest Stark girl that they would see each other again. Maybe the Red Woman knows that Arya is destined strike another name off her list – hers.
14. More nods to the theory that Cersei could become the Mad Queen
There were two moments in this episode which lend themselves to the theory that Cersei may turn out to be the Mad Queen – a theory that is becoming more and more convincing by the minute. Firstly, when she returns to her chamber and jumps on Jaime after handing out her punishment to Ellaria – it was said that the only time the Mad King felt aroused was after killing his enemies, and Cersei clearly gets a similar sexual kick from such actions.
Secondly, the next morning when there’s a knock on the door, Jaime tells her not to answer, as no one can see them in bed together like this. However, she replies: "I'm the Queen, I'll do as I please." Reddit user Chutzvah points out: “It reminded me of what Tyrion told Joffrey in the second season as Ser Meryn was beating Sansa. ‘The Mad King did as he pleased. Did your uncle tell you what happened to him?’”
Cersei is the Mad Queen confirmed?
15. And yet more ‘Jon Snow is a Targaryen’ moments
Two big nods to this one, too. Firstly, as Jon and Tyrion are walking up to the castle and Jon says the words “I’m not a Stark”, a huge dragon immediately swoops right over his head. HINT HINT. Then, later on, while speaking to Jon, Daenerys says, "People thought that dragons where gone forever but here there are." And who’s in shot but Dany and Jon – the two last remaining ‘dragons’ in the Seven Kingdoms. OK GUYS, WE GET IT.
16. The Lannisters wasting no time at Highgarden
This week saw the return of Mycroft Holmes’ Iron Bank – they want their gold back, and Cersei’s the one who’s got to get it. Conveniently, the Queen already had a plan up her sleeve to fix this problem. In taking Highgarden, not only did the Lannisters rid themselves of a powerful enemy, they also seized all of Westeros’ richest family’s gold.
If you look carefully in the scene where Jaime is strolling through the grounds, you can see Lannister men boxing up and counting gold bars ready to take back to King’s Landing. Problem solved.
17. Why Jaime can’t be too mad at Lady Olenna
What a brilliant final scene this was. Lady Olenna proved she was as badass in death as she was in life by stomping all over Jaime in her final moments, revealing to him that she murdered Joffrey and didn’t regret it for one second. Jaime looked ready to burst, but he surely has to understand where Olenna’s coming from. After all, she’s not exactly the first person to bump off a dangerous king for the good of the realm, is she, Kingslayer?