What happens in Game of Thrones when ice and fire finally come together?

Thank God for Tyrion, who smooths over this touching Pride & Prejudice re-enactment with many tactful asides

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The latest episode of Game of Thrones was full of scenes we’ve waited a long, long time to see – Daenerys’s troops capturing Westeros castles, shots of the often-gushingly-described Highgarden, the bastard and the dwarf together again, another Stark sibling reunion. And, of course, Jon and Daenerys meeting for the very first time.

Jon, in his Northern clothes, on the south coast of Westeros is a vaguely risible sight – and the show really plays it up with hammy physical comedy: we see the short-statured Kit Harington towered over by Dothraki and tumbling to the ground as dragons swoop overhead. Both he and Ser Davos seem out of their depth in throne room negotiations, while Tyrion stands on like an anxious parent watching their child fluff their lines at a school play. It’s somehow equally as cute.

Thank God for Tyrion, who smooths over this touching Pride & Prejudice re-enactment with many tactful asides, successfully encouraging Dany to allow Jon to mine his much-needed dragonglass. Tyrion and Jon have long been audience favourites, and though their dialogue veers from fan-baity (multiple references to earlier “the bastard and the dwarf” dialogue, Tyrion joking about always being drunk, Jon teasing Tyrion for pissing over the edge of the wall, Tyrion telling Jon he looks good while brooding) to straight-up corny (“I see you’ve picked up some scars along the road,” “It’s been a long road,”) it is genuinely satisfying to see them interact again. Jon is becoming increasingly caricatured with his constant pronouncements of THE DEAD CARE NOT FOR OUR CHILDISH SQUABBLES, but also, the guy has a point.

The return of Euron’s I’m craaaaaaaaaaaazy, man! pirate mode sees him dragging his own niece through the streets on a collar and informing her about his erection, aggressively hitting on Cersei  and insulting her brother-lover with increasing recklessness. He presents her with Ellaria Sand, the woman who murdered Cersei’s only daughter. Cersei responds by lecturing and taunting Ellaria at length about the maternal grief in a questionable bright pink lipstick that suddenly makes sense when she appears to kill Ellaria’s daughter in the exact same way Ellaria killed hers – with a kiss from poisoned lips. Can’t fault her on theatrics, I guess.

We then cut to Cersei snogging the face of Jaime, before getting a full shot of Jaime’s bum. Throughout this encounter, Cersei is painted as the sexual aggressor, who cares less and less about their discovery, while Jaime reluctantly acquiesces to her demands.

Sansa, meanwhile, is Doing Some Leading, which we know because she walks around whilst pointing at things and telling people what to do, like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Littlefinger interrupts her briefly in order to provide some narration for the season trailer – until hark! There is someone at the gate! We’re all expecting Arya, but it’s Bran who arrives at Winterfell. While Sansa gets emotional, Bran responds by stiffly ignoring her tearful hug, dismissing her emotional desire to see her family reunited with purely practical concerns and brutally taunting her by reminding her of the most traumatic moment of her life. We get it – Bran has no brainspace left for emotions now he’s a future-seeing triple-eyed bird or whatever.

We briefly stop by Sam and Jorah to check that Sam didn’t murder him by painful pus extraction (all is well!) before plunging into two battle scenes at the opposite ends of Westeros inexplicably quickly. Dany takes the Lannister’s Casterly Rock a little too easily – that’s because the Lannister army have strategically chosen to take the Tyrell’s Highgarden instead, intending to come back for Casterly Rock once Dany’s forces are weakened. That means it’s the end of the road for one of Thrones’s most iconic characters of all time – last week’s baddest bitch, Olenna Tyrell.

It hurts my heart to see her go – but she does get a great death scene, gleefully revealing to Jaime that she was the one to poison Joffrey. But she is inexplicably nice to Jaime as he comes to kill her – apparently seeing him as far less bad than his sister. We are meant to feel this way, too, I think, as Jaime tells Olenna he dissuaded Cersei from choosing a more gruesome death for her.

In fact, it feels more and more like we’re meant to see Cersei as the Sept-destroying ruthless murderer, and Jaime as a fairly moral guy who has been led astray. Never mind that the first thing we ever saw him do was push a child to his death without blinking an eyelid, before relishing murdering Ned Stark’s men and raping his sister in front of his son’s corpse. I know we’ve supposedly been on a journey of remorse with Jaime, and that he hasn’t yet committed a terrorist bombing, but the generosity extended to his character’s wrongdoings compared to his sister’s increasingly reminds me of a Happy Valley quote: “If he looked like, I don't know, Ian Brady, or Peter Sutcliffe or Jimmy Savile or some other sad, twisted fuck, would you believe a single word he said?” No? “It’s you who’s deluded about this dangerous man because he’s pretty.”

But now for the real question. Who WAS the baddest bitch of this week’s Game of Thrones?

Bad bitch points are awarded as follows:

  • Is Davos trying to flirt with Missandei or is he just othering her? You decide! -5.
  • Drogon being an absolute troll and knocking Jon and Davos to the ground. +15.
  • Ser Davos: “This is Jon Snow… He’s King in the North.” +3
  • Ser Davos correcting Daenerys on calling Jon “Lord”. +12.
  • Ser Davos sticking up for Jon throughout his negotiations like a true hero. +9.
  • Ser Davos doing a Hagrid with a very hammy stopping-mid-sentence-before-I-spill-the-beans moment. Inches away from “Shouldn’ta said tha. I should not have said tha’.” -7.
  • Euron saying of Theon “What a twat”. Begrudgingly, +5.
  • Euron making some grim comment about fingers in bums. -12.
  • Tyrion: “I came down here to brood over my failure to predict the Greyjoy attack. You’re making it difficult. You look a lot better brooding than I do. You make me feel like I’m failing at brooding over failing.” A+ flirting. +19.
  • Jon: “I’m not playing word games with you! The dead are coming for us all!” This is the most Jon comment of all time. +7 for sheer ridiculousness.
  • Daenerys: “Are you trying to present your own statements as ancient wisdom?” +8.
  • Olenna on Joffrey: “He really was a cunt, wasn’t he?” +25.
  • Jaime: “There are always lessons in failures.” Olenna “You must be very wise by now.” +16.
  • Olenna’s Joffrey-murdering reveal. +23. Child-murderers rarely get points in my book – but Joffrey was not just a child, he was King, and, as mentioned, a cunt.

So Olenna wins again, and for the final time. RIP Olenna Tyrell, Queen of Thorns and our hearts.

Anna Leszkiewicz is culture editor of the New Statesman.