The Atlantic

Game of Thrones: A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

Three Atlantic staffers discuss “Stormborn,” the second episode of the seventh season.
Source: HBO

Every week for the seventh season of Game of Thrones, three Atlantic staffers will discuss new episodes of the HBO drama. Because no screeners were made available to critics in advance this year, we'll be posting our thoughts in installments.

Spencer Kornhaber: Game of Thrones ended its latest episode with a good-old-fashion pirate ambush, eliminating two out of three of the Sand Snakes and subjecting Theon to a humiliating self-directed walk of the plank. As far as late-episode twists go, Euron Greyjoy’s at-sea ambush was a solid one, injecting real suspense and unsettling violence into what had seemed like a straightforward sail. Yet, in the end, it was also a typical Thrones-ian calamity: You’d best bet against the side you want to win.

Not all is lost for Daenerys’s fleet, though. The Sand Snakes are just one reptile now—but, to be the most frank, weren’t three sassy warriors a bit difficult to keep track of anyway? Theon may still doggy paddle to safety, and Ellaria and Yara, so rudely interrupted before they consummated friends-with-benefit status, aren’t yet confirmed fish food. Bonus expectation fulfillment: Euron got to make like all great Thrones villains and giggle maniacally while covered in blood.

The episode-ending battle at sea also highlighted a larger issue with this episode and perhaps with all of going forward. We’re in turbo mode: Game pieces are flying across the tables of various Westerosi war rooms, and certain details need to be yada-yada’d. So you might ask, wouldn’t a fleet primarily composed of rebels against Euron Greyjoy proceed with heightened concern that Euron Greyjoy might try to attack them?

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