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Game of Thrones: Has Daenerys Already Been Defeated?

And can Jon help?

Kaitlin Thomas

What a difference a week makes.

In the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, it was all fun and memes and ridiculing Euron Greyjoy's (Pilou Asbæk) eyeliner game and new Jack Sparrow-inspired makeover as he promised to bring Cersei (Lena Headey) a gift that could win her head if not her heart. This week, the violent and maniacal King of the Iron Islands destroyed half of Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke) navy in a quick and fiery battle that will no doubt call into question the feasibility of Tyrion's (Peter Dinklage) two-pronged approach to defeat Cersei and put Dany's butt on the Iron Throne.

As Yara (Gemma Whelan) and the Iron Fleet sailed for Sunspear to assemble the Dornish army for a Westerosi-led assault on King's Landing -- the rest of Dany's ships were to carry the Unsullied to Casterly Rock -- Euron ambushed his niece with the incredible war ship Silence. During the intense battle that closed out the episode, Euron -- armed with an ax -- killed Obara Sand (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Nymeria Sand (Jessica Henwick) with their own distinguishable weapons and then took the remaining Sand Snake, Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers), and Ellaria (Indira Varma) hostage.

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Also taken hostage was Yara, who courageously faced off against her psychotic uncle and found herself in the position of having to rely on Theon (Alfie Allen) to save her. Unfortunately, Theon hesitated to act before jumping into the waters below to save himself, thus proving how powerful the PTSD from his days of being tortured by Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) is, still.

So what does all of this mean for Daenerys and her conflict with Cersei moving forward?

Well, most fans assumed Euron's gift to Cersei would be the corpse of one of her perceived enemies, with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), Robert's remaining bastard son, and Ellaria, who killed Cersei's only daughter, topping the list of potential victims. But with Dany's resources having been cut in half following yet another one of the show's spectacular naval battles, Euron has essentially already delivered on his promise.


Pilou Asboek, Game of Thrones

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

While carrying out Ellaria's death -- or even the death of Ellaria's only daughter -- may be personally satisfying for Cersei, this blow to Daenerys' forces has much larger and more impressive implications going forward. Euron's actions have effectively weakened Daenerys and called into question Tyrion's strategy for defeating his older sister. This means that perhaps there's more than one reason for Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to be currently on his way to Dragonstone.

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The King of the North was summoned following a visit from Melisandre (Carice van Houten), who revealed he will play a role in the upcoming battle, but it's possible that Jon may have some suggestions for his Aunt Dany. After all, he has the military background and in-the-field experience that Tyrion lacks, so even though Jon has also made his fair share of mistakes on (and off) the battlefield, he may have insight to offer. Even if he does not, he is not a bad resource to have on hand, especially if Melisandre is correct and he too has a role to play regarding the prophecy of Azor Ahai.

Of course, there's another way forward that doesn't involve Jon at all. There exists a possible timeline in which Daenerys realizes it is now time to stop listening to the "clever men" who surround her and start listening to Olenna Tyrell's (Diana Rigg) prudent advice. This would mean that it's time for the Mother of Dragons to be a dragon. Daenerys has already proven herself to be a capable leader, and at this point she likely knows that if you want something done, you need to do it yourself. Now is as good a time as any to break free and figure that out.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.