Our 12 Biggest Questions About This Week’s Game of Thrones

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Photo: HBO

This week’s Game of Thrones had a little bit of everything: Jon Snow met Daenerys Targaryen (it didn’t go well), Bran Stark made it back to Winterfell and reunited with Sansa (it really didn’t go well), and Olenna Tyrell revealed the truth about Joffrey’s assassination moments before her own poisoning (R.I.P.). With all that in mind, here are the 12 questions we’re asking about “The Queen’s Justice.”

Did Varys get a tan on Dragonstone?
Either the Spider finally rested up after his successive sea voyages or he knew he didn’t have to go to Hollywood to get a Hollywood tan.

Does Melisandre know how Varys will die?
Not all of Melisandre’s visions in the flames come true (see: Shireen’s Joan of Arc–ing, Stannis as the Prince That Was Promised, etc.), but not all of them have been struck down as false either. And she did bring a dude back from the dead. So when Varys pushes Melisandre on why she hasn’t greeted her old friends Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth, and then she explains that she’s headed to Volantis but will return to Westeros “one last time” because she “has to die in this strange country,” it’s pretty clear that her words aren’t just conjecture. When she adds, “The same as you,” and shoots Varys a knowing look, it appears that Melisandre either sees his future or that she really knows how to screw with people.

Will it all come down to two women battling for the Iron Throne?
Well, would you look at that. War of the Five Kings? Not no more. It’s all about queens now, bitches! (Yes, Jon Snow, too, but don’t rain on our lady parade after everything this show has put its women through.)

Will Theon ever redeem himself?
After last’s week leap of shame, GOT fans battled over whether Theon is the biggest coward who ever lived, or a PTSD victim triggered by the threat of another smiling maniac. Either way, it seems fitting that Theon literally washed up this episode, and that every other Ironborn knows just how yellow his belly is. Save rescuing all of Westeros from the Army of the Dead, there’s really nothing he can do to redeem his reputation.

What fate awaits Yara?
If Euron follows Pyke convention, Yara will be laid on an Iron Islands beach at low tide, arms and legs chained, so that she can await her death by drowning. Then again, this is Euron. Maybe he’ll just force her to wear his godawful leather jacket for all eternity so that she might die slowly of humiliation.

Which city is a worse place to live: Gotham or King’s Landing?
It was while watching the not-quite-a-classic Batman Forever this week that I wondered why anyone would choose to live in Gotham. Riddled with crime (yep, that was a pun), subject to poorly managed psychological experiments, covered in soot, perpetually dark, and utterly lacking in upward mobility, Gothamites surely must have considered fleeing. In this episode, as the crowds jeered and tossed bib lettuce at Ellaria Sand’s head, it dawned on me that the quality of life in King’s Landing is equally terrible. They’ve been subject to random slaughter, famine, the whims of multiple tyrannical rulers, various battles, and the implosion by wildfire of their theological home. Just in the time we’ve borne witness to their plight, King’s Landingers have suffered under three monstrous dictators and one sweet little blonde boy who couldn’t govern his way out of a brown paper bag. Why the hell haven’t people fled to the Arbor or the Riverlands or virtually anywhere else in Westeros that isn’t currently under a heavy blanket of snow?

Will Cersei really marry Euron? And is Euron actually the best thing to ever happen to Jaime?
Hear me out on this one. Clearly, Euron revolts and horrifies Jaime — and this is a man who stabbed his own king in the back, pushed a small child out a window, and spawned not one, not two, but three children with his own twin sister. The idea of this wobbly pirate marrying and bedding said sister must make Jaime murderous. But as Olenna accurately explains at the end of this episode, Cersei is a monster and she will most likely be his downfall. And with every episode, Jaime inches a little bit closer to understanding just how depraved she really is.

Couldn’t Euron be the final straw that breaks this particular camel’s back? Cersei has promised to marry him after the war is won, which is either a brilliant lie or a desperate pact. (Never forget that not choosing a husband was one of the wisest strategies Elizabeth I deployed during her reign.) If Jaime realizes that he’s expendable to Cersei — and her marriage to a goth sea captain could certainly do the trick — perhaps he’ll finally turn on her. Plus, the prophecy that told Cersei her three children would die also predicted that her little brother “shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Tyrion has always been the obvious front-runner, but it seems much more fitting that Jaime — her younger twin and her closest friend and confidante in the world — might put his golden hand around her neck and take her life. The killing of yet another mad monarch just might be the redemption Jaime has sought ever since he stabbed Aerys II in the back.

How has Cersei not yet grown out that pixie cut?
The time warps have gotten a bit out of control, what with Varys racking up enough miles at sea to earn himself a premier cabin on his next Disney cruise, and Euron’s magically manufactured fleet of wooden ships built in record time on an island that doesn’t have any trees. But what about Cersei’s hair? Trust me, I’m growing out a pixie now and I know that time physically slows to a crawl when you’re in the midst of a grow-out, but we’re ready for a lob. We’d even settle for a bob! Mostly, we just want this show to get its act together when it comes to the passage of time in Westeros.

Why is Littlefinger quoting True Detective to Sansa?
“One of two things will happen. Either the dead will defeat the living, in which case all our troubles come to an end. Or life will win out. And what then? […] Don’t fight in the North, or the South. Fight every battle, everywhere, always. In your mind. Everyone is your enemy. Everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening, all at once. Live that way, and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.”

We know, Baelish, time is a flat circle. #HBOcrossover

When will Jon find out about his parentage?
Jon is still (kinda) captive on Dragonstone, but with Bran back at Winterfell, it’s only a matter of time before he learns about R+L=J and therefore discovers that he is the rightful Targaryen heir. That might change things a wee bit, especially after the genealogy lesson Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, “Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne, Rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains,” so smugly offered him this week. Of course, it isn’t in Jon’s character to lean on something as slippery and intangible as a monarchical succession. But such a revelation will surely shake him just the same. “I am the last Targaryen, Jon Snow,” Dany assured him in their meeting. How will Jon feel when he learns that isn’t true?

Will Jorah and Sam forge the alliance between Jon and Dany?
Last week, I wondered why Jorah’s visit to the Citadel sanitarium garnered so much screen time (and how Sam suddenly grew balls the size of Wun Wun’s to defy his maester and administer a treatment for an infamously fatal disease). After all, these are two beloved but still relatively minor characters. The answer became clear tonight when Jorah pledged to Sam that the knight owes him his life in repayment for the treatment. As the right hand men of Daenerys and Jon Snow, respectively, Jorah and Sam will play what is sure to be some monumental role in the crux of the two rulers’ alliance or lack thereof. Now we just have to watch and wait.

Was that seriously all we get to see of Casterly Rock?
A shoddy CGI scene of some ladders thrown up against its walls. Grey Worm running through a sewer. Another damn armada on fire. Is that it? We’ve waited years to see Casterly Rock and all we got were some crenellated walls and what looks like the exact same keep the set designers used for Riverrun? In seasons past, the battle for Casterly Rock and the Lannister army’s siege of Highgarden would have lasted an entire episode, if not more. As the sacred home of the Lannisters, Casterly Rock at least deserved a role in the opening credits. And the complete reversal of fortune for Daenerys’s invading forces deserved a little more than a stab-and-grab montage. But with the final two seasons shortened, GOT is speeding up where it ought to slow down and rushing to answer questions it just posed.

Yes, Dany has been preparing to invade Westeros for six seasons now, but that doesn’t mean we should shortchange the narrative. So please, GOT, don’t go chasing after loose ends yet.

Our 12 Biggest GOT Questions About ‘The Queen’s Justice’