Halt! This here post is dark and full of spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Queen's Justice.” If you haven't watched it, turn away and head back to the Citadel to complete your homework.
“The Queen's Justice” pushed the wheel of war forward on a couple of fronts in Westeros, because woo boy, season seven of Game of Thrones isn't kidding around. Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Cersei Lannister, and Ser Davos Seaworth—they all had their moments. Samwell Tarly scored again too because as he put it, he read the book and followed the instructions to successfully navigate a dangerous and infectious surgery. The guy cured freaking greyscale!
But even with that triumph, Sam didn't manage to nab the MVP for the episode. The honor belongs to Lady Olenna Tyrell.
Lady Olenna, may she rest in the kind of peace that only comes from knowing your enemies understand the hell you've wrought upon them, appeared in “The Queen's Justice” for maybe around five minutes. In that brief time, she completely and utterly owned the episode.
She faced Jaime Lannister after he led his army (alongside Bronn and Randyll Tarly) to Highgarden to attack the Tyrells. House Tyrell has wealth in money and land, but they don't possess the best standing army. Highgarden fell, and Jaime was tasked with taking down Olenna. The Tyrells are among the many enemies of the Lannisters, after all, and Cersei is crossing names off a list. "I am Cersei Lannister. You betrayed my family. Prepare to die."
Though Lady Olenna knew her fate was sealed as soon as she saw the army approaching Highgarden, she was the one who had the upper hand and used it to drive a knife into the Lannister golden boy—the figurative kind, of course, but that was worse in this case. She's the MVP because she fooled Jaime, ensured he planned a painless death for her, and then spilled the secret about orchestrating the death of Joffrey.
The audience has known about who was responsible for the purple part of season four's Purple Wedding for a while: Olenna worked with Littlefinger to bring about the end of Joffrey. She played innocent, covering her involvement with statements such as: "War is war, but killing a man at a wedding? Horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing?"
Oh, we know who would, Olenna.
Olenna admitted to Jaime she'd done whatever was necessary to protect her family and house. She didn't try to paint her past actions in any sort of noble light. In some ways, maybe she wasn't better than Cersei. She wanted to keep Margaery safe from the demented Joffrey and keep her in the queen position with a kinder, gentler Tommen; Cersei would have done the same in Olenna's shoes. But Cersei would have gloated about her involvement. Power is power, sure, but secrets and knowledge have weight.
Did you see the look on Jaime's face as he realized the truth? Olenna wielded her final words like weapons. While looking down a wine glass of death, Olenna didn't fall apart with despair or anger. She didn't beg for her life. She continued to play the game. She toyed with Jaime until her final moments, dropping the ultimate bombshell. Olenna passed with a wicked kind of grace.
May I mention a runner-up? Let's say yes. The runner-up for MVP is Cersei's wardrobe. I've never been so intimated by spiky shoulders.
Do you agree with my pick for the MVP of "The Queen's Justice?" If not, who would you choose? Hop on your dragon to fly to the comments to let me know.
Images: HBO, Tumblr/Kim