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GAME OF THRONES “Stormborn” Recap: The Past Came Storming Back

Seven blessings to you dear reader. We’re always glad to bring you under our protection here at House Nerdist, but be warned, this recap of tonight’s Game of Thrones is dark and full of spoilers. So unless you’ve seen the episode and want to avoid them don’t travel the King’s Road past this warning.

In an episode where everyone’s past seemed to catch up with them, it’s Cersei’s future prospects that took everyone by surprise. Especially since she landed the first blow in the war for Westeros.

This episode, “Stormborn,” (which is one of Daenery’s many monikers because she was born during a similar storm on that very island) took its name both from the violent storm that rocked Dragonstone to start the events, as well as the coming storm that everyone still playing the game of thrones faces.

Cersei’s in Better Shape Than We Thought, and Daenerys Is Not

Despite looking like she was doomed before the season started, Cersei reminded us once again why we should never count her out. She skillfully used real facts about Daenerys to make her sound as mad as her father, when she called on the great houses of the Reach. Daenerys really did crucify all those slave masters, and she did feed one of them to her dragons, so slave-owning or not, those men were the Slaver’s Bay equivalents to Westeros’s great lords.


Nobody in the Seven Kingdoms, not even those that hate the Lannisters, want to see a Dothraki horde coming for them. Queen Daenerys and her “horse-riding savages” pose an existential threat to them.Yet here is the M ad King’s daughter, with tales of her viciousness sans any context, showing up on their shores with the largest khalasar the world has ever seen, along with the famed Unsullied.

Cersei has a point. A really good point. She’s evil, but she’s not wrong. And while Randyl Tarly told Jaime his family fights with honor and tries to keep its vows, he’s smart enough to know he might not have a family if he doesn’t oppose Daenerys and her foreign invaders.

Of course, you can have all the support you want, but that doesn’t mean you can beat dragons. But unlike when Aegon the Conqueror caught an ill-prepared Westeros off guard 300 years ago, this time the houses of the Seven Kingdoms know what to expect. Which is why Qyburn has been putting together an awesome dragon-killing crossbow big enough to shoot through a dragon’s skull. (But do we have to destroy priceless artifacts to show that! Use some stones or something guys.)


Cersei’s main weapon is propaganda (well that and the fact Euron just kicked some major ass for her), and Daenerys has dragons. That doesn’t sound like much of fight, but all of Daenerys’s fighting men will not be welcomed in Westeros. Her family’s past, both the power of Aegon and her father’s madness, haunts her the way so many other pasts came back to bite characters this episode.

Speaking of Euron, that sea battle was gorgeous (well, as gorgeous as a murderous raid can be), far superior to even the wildfire spectacle that we saw in “Blackwater.” I don’t know how skilled sailors like Theon and Yara’s men could be caught that unprepared, but they were. And now Cersei has claimed the first victory, and in doing so greatly hindered Tyrion’s plan to use Westerosi soldiers to lay siege to King’s Landing.

We loved how Tyrion knew exactly what his sister would do (he’s usually one step ahead of her), and we can’t wait to see Casterly Rock, but Euron’s giant Iron Fleet just made it a whole lot harder for Daenerys to avoid using her dragons to win the Iron Throne. “Be a dragon,” said Olenna Tyrell, and Daenerys might not have a choice now.

This coming war no longer looks so one-sided, and it’s our fault for ever doubting Cersei in the first place.

(Maybe Daenerys would be in better shape if they did ANY planning on the ride over from Meereen, instead of waiting to arrive on Dragonstone to argue about it.)

Jon Still Sees the Big Picture, But He Might Not Be the Prince That Was Promised

Daenerys wants the Iron Throne, Cersei wants it, but Jon is still solely focused on the real war that matters, the one with the White Walkers.

It would be nice to have a meeting in the North where everyone just says, “You’re right your grace,” but that is clearly never going to happen. Even Lyanna Mormont spoke out against Jon; that’s when you know it is bad. Yet Jon keeps doing the “right” thing, even when it’s unpopular.

Helen Sloan - HBO (Photo 1)

With Sam’s letter reaching him about the dragonglass, and Jon’s relationship with Tyrion back in season one being one of the few instances this episode of someone’s past being a good thing, Jon knows he has no choice but to risk meeting the Mad King’s daughter.

When he does get there he’s going to find another old friend there in Melisandre, who brought one of the most discussed fan theories to the show in a way it never has been before. Book readers know that the Prince That Was Promised prophecy is really gender neutral in High Valyrian, which Missandei pointed out to Daenerys. Jon was resurrected, he has faced down the Night King, and he is the only one worried about stopping him, but Daenerys might very well be the person the prophecy was talking about.

We don’t think Jon is in danger at Dragonstone, but he doesn’t know that. The living need his leadership even if he isn’t the Prince they need too.

Your Past Follows You, Always

Daenerys wasn’t the only one dealing with the fallout from the past, as she made Varys answer for his previous actions. He served her father, then Robert the man who unseated him, then he tried to have her killed, all while trying to put her awful brother Viserys on the throne instead. Varys’s claims of serving the common people did sound hollow when she pointed out her brother was terrible, and it made us wonder if maybe we shouldn’t trust a man known as the Spider nearly as much as we have.

Either way, no one forgets who you were before, no matter how many vows you swear now. It’s what makes the great game so dangerous for everyone who plays it.

Arya Is Lost

Hot Pie! Hot Pie Hot Pie Hot Pie!

Okay, got that out of our system.

Helen Sloan - HBO (Photo 6)

Arya’s dead eyes/disinterest while seeing an old friend was another reminder of her lost humanity, which made it even more heartbreaking when she learned her brother and sister had retaken Winterfell. Suddenly her plan to march south and murder Cersei fell away, and her humanity came back, if just for a moment. That’s Arya, not the coldblooded murderer she has become.

But when lost direwolf, the giant Nymeria, found her, Arya realized she still isn’t herself just yet. Nymeria didn’t attack her, but she didn’t fully recognize the person Arya is now. Despite leaving the Faceless Men, she is still no one in many ways.

Random Thoughts

–Greyscale is going to play a major role going forward. That was a lot of time for the show to dedicate to trying to cure Jorah (a good example of someone’s past being helpful, since Sam cared because he served for Jorah’s father Lord Commander Mormont).

–You go Grey Worm. We have lots of questions though, but we don’t know if we want them answered.

–“You’ve been making pies?”

“One or two.”

Best line of the night.

–“Dun-near-ees.” Jon, please, say her name right.

–No you got teary eyed seeing Ned’s crypt.

–Oh, great, Reek is back. Sorry Yara. Don’t trust Greyjoy men.

–That’s some gift Euron got Cersei. But we’re thankful for being rid of two Sand Snakes. That was the best present of them all.

–Baelish, maybe be careful around Jon when talking about his sister.

So while the past and all its baggage was as big a presence as any character tonight, it’s the future wars, alliances, and answers that stand out.

What did you think of tonight’s Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below and TUNE IN MONDAY at 1 p.m. PST, when we break it all down on our newly All Kings Considered-ified episodes of Nerdist News Talks Back!

Images: HBO

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