Tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones was titled “The Queen’s Justice,” and sure enough two characters suffered a tragic fate for their roles in killing Cersei Lannister’s children in past seasons.
Cersei played a direct role in the first death, when she gave Tyene Sand the “kiss of death” in front of Tyene’s mother Ellaria. Cersei wanted revenge on Ellaria for murdering her daughter Myrcella way back in season 5. Ellaria had poisoned Myrcella with a similar kiss moments before Ellaria departed for King’s Landing with her fiancée and father Jamie Lannister.
Tyene was the last of the Sand Snakes, a group of elite warriors and the daughters of Oberyn Martell, who died back in season 4 during a duel with Gregor Clegane that was orchestrated by Cersei after Joffrey’s death. She and her mother Tyene were captured in last week’s episode by Euron Greyjoy during their sneak attack on Daenerys’s fleet. Cersei’s revenge was doubly fitting (at least in her eyes) as she forced Ellaria to watch helplessly as Tyene died similar to how Jamie watched his daughter Myrcella die a few episodes ago.
While she wasn’t present, Cersei also got her revenge on Olenna Tyrell, the mastermind behind the “Purple Wedding” that led to Joffrey’s death. Jamie Lannister led an invasion of the Tyrell castle of Highgarden with the help of Randyll Tarly, Samwell’s father and a former bannerman to the Tyrells. Jamie offered Olenna a “merciful” death by letting her poison herself instead of the public trial and execution that Cersei surely wanted.
Olenna does get one final dig at her Lannister foes before she dies. Olenna admits to Jamie that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey, a fact that none of the Lannisters had known before. “Tell Cersei,” Olenna says to Jaime. “I want her to know it was me.” Olenna went out the way she lived, speaking the truth and not caring about anyone’s feelings.
Olenna’s death is probably the biggest death this season on Game of Thrones. The hidden power behind the Tyrells, Olenna delighted fans with her bluntness and subtle insults. When her son and grandchildren died at the Sept of Baelor last season, Olenna went from hidden power player to an open supporter of Daenerys’s bid to take the Iron Throne from the Lannisters.
While she didn’t last long this season, she did impart a valuable piece of advice to Dany in their sole on-screen meeting.
“Be a dragon,” she told Dany in response to Tyrion’s more diplomatic plan to take Westeros. Given the other events of tonight’s episode, Dany should heed Olenna’s words if she wants to survive the next two seasons.
It seems like Game of Thrones is looking to make up for a lack of a full season by giving fans a particularly bloody set of episodes. We’ll have to see who else dies in the coming weeks.