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Here are three things you can’t believe happened in the third episode of the seventh season of ‘Game of Thrones.’
USA TODAY

Spoiler alert! The following contains spoilers from Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3, “The Queen’s Justice.” Read our recap of Episode 2 here

When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. But it’s hard to tell what winning looks like anymore. 

The third episode of Season 7 was a reminder that no one on Game of Thrones is infallible, not even the great Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, and all the other titles that are increasingly meaningless. All of Dany’s great names won’t win her battles. Tyrion’s smarts won’t work against a brother who actually knows him. Three dragons aren’t that much use if you can’t fly them.

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Jon Snow accused Dany (and in absentia, Cersei) of being children playing games, and, when you think about it, petty lords who treat the lives of their subjects as pawns in a “game of thrones” aren’t really that much better. He and Davos see the series from the audience’s vantage point, understanding that the true threat comes from without, not within. 

“The Queen’s Justice” was a surprising and surprisingly humorous episode that gave fans the long-awaited meeting between Jon Snow and Daenerys, “ice” and “fire” as Melisandre so unsubtly pointed out. The significance of those two characters in the same room, and of Bran’s return to Winterfell with the knowledge of Jon’s birth, the White Walkers’ origin and so much more, undercuts the seemingly large chess moves that Cersei made in her war with Dany. A much bigger game is being played. It may still be a game, but the stakes are a lot higher. And losing is a lot colder. 

At this late hour, in Westeros and in the show, winning doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on the Iron Throne. It doesn’t even mean survival, for some. Olenna was never after survival, not after Cersei…