Fire at sea! The final battle for Westeros gets spectacularly underway in the dying moments of ‘Stormborn’, episode two of Game of Thrones’ seventh season.
For the moment, the icy forces of the Night King are the least of Daenerys Targaryen’s troubles.
Her first strike for the Iron Throne, charging Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand with retaking King’s Landing, has ended in unmitigated disaster as the rebel Ironborn fleet burns and snakes die on a boat.
No sooner has ever-frisky Ellaria spread a willing Yara’s legs and announced that “a foreign invasion is underway” (super-awkward Theon knows not where to look) than psycho pirate Euron Greyjoy strikes.
Boarding on a giant-toothed battering ram, the low-key guyliner-wearing Ironborn king bids his niece, “give your uncle a kiss”, in peak GoT incest, then sets to slaughtering.
Fans of George R. R. Martin’s books predicted the blowhard was off to secure Dragonbinder, a magical horn that could control Dany’s winged beasts.
While that handy weapon may yet come into play, Qyburn has designed a giant crossbow for Cersei’s pleasure.
Those less than impressed with the Dornish daughters have two less to worry about as Euron throttles Nymeria with her own whip and hangs her from the prow of Yara’s ship, where he also impales Obara.
Yara, Ellaria and Tyene are now prisoners, with cowardly Theon/Reek jumping ship.
As one Nymeria falls, another returns. After a reunion with Hot Pie, a Cersei-bound ninja Arya redirects to Winterfell having learned Jon Snow is King in the North.
That leads to a throwback Thursday with her Nymeria, the direwolf she hasn’t seen since season one. Martin insists they have a major role in the war to come.
As Westeros becomes increasingly female-driven, Dany’s handmaiden Missandei, who finally gets some bedroom action from a cunning-tongued Greyworm, drops a linguistic bombshell.
As the Red Priestess Mellisandre slinks into Dragonstone, she’s just in time to hear Missandei point out that in the High Valyrian prophecy, the “Prince who was promised”, prince is a non-gendered noun, so the saviour predicted to end the Long Night may not be Jon Snow, it could be Dany.
Eager to brush her Stannis slip-up under the carpet, Mellisandre promptly hedges her bets, fudging that (still oblivious relatives) Dany and Jon may both have a role to play. The Mother of Dragons dials him a raven.
Dany’s also withholding her Dothraki forces and sending the Unsullied to retake Casterly Rock, the ancestral home of the Lannisters, rightfully predicting Cersei will foment xenophobic fear of non-Westerosis.
Shame the Dornish and Ironborn forces sent south have already been scuppered.
It should be noted Olenna counselled against Tyrion’s plan, recommending dragon assault on the Red Keep.
“I’ve known a great many clever men. I’ve outlived them all. You know why? I ignore them… Are you a sheep? No. Be a Dragon.”
Elsewhere, Samwell’s pulling a Ramsay to cure Jorah’s greyscale by flaying him alive. Ouch.
As for White Walkers, two theories to ponder. Eagle-eyed viewers linked the Hound’s fire vision of the dead marching past the wall where it meets the sea to a seemingly frosted over stretch in the wind-up credits sequence.
Can they shuffle around? Too easy? What if the Night King-marked Bran brought down the ancient magic defences when he set foot inside, just as his overreach doomed his Three-Eyed Raven predecessor?