Game of Thrones season 7: The ‘Queen of Thorns’ slays, even in death

Olenna Tyrell solidified herself as one of the best characters on Game of Thrones with the final scene from “The Queen’s Justice.”

Sunday night’s ending was the kind of scene that Game of Thrones excels at with some of the finest actors on television. Even with fantastic battle sequences (“Battle of the Bastards”) and grimacing torture scenes (anything Ramsay Bolton, or involving Cersei for that matter), it’s often the quieter scenes between terrific actors that create the biggest blow. And “The Queen’s Justice” was no exception.

We were spared the battle to take Highgarden. Why bother? As Lady Olenna says, “golden rose soldiers.” The episode smartly cuts to the chase and leaves the real bloody exchange of words between Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Olenna Tyrell. It’s a masterful way to end a heartbreaking episode that shows Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) losing in all endeavors, but also allows the character the opportunity to deliver some serious shade at the end.

After Jaime waltzes into her room at the top of her Highgarden castle, he’s dismissive of her soldier’s efforts and of the Tyrell grandmother as well. But she holds her own throughout the intimate scene. Bursting with confidence, Jaime brags about learning from his mistakes, at which point, Olenna quips, “You must be very wise by now.” No one throws shade like the “queen of thorns.”

But we know that with the defeat of Highgarden comes her ultimate death, by Cersei’s decree. After Olenna asks how it will be done, and if there will be any pain, Jaime tells her he talked his sister-lover out of a more tortuous end and got her to agree to a pain-free poison that will allow Olenna to pass easily. After all, why make a doddering old grandmother suffer? It’s clear that Jaime never thought of the “old lady” as much of a threat and finds her death simply expendable or a necessary annoyance.

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But then Olenna illustrates why he hasn’t learned from all his mistakes just yet. She gulps the poison down, Olenna musters all her glorious authority and tells him it was all her when it came to poisoning Joffrey, and only her. In no way was she ever a secondary character in all this. She struck at the Lannisters first. She gets in the last word, saying, “Tell Cersei,” she continues, “I want her to know it was me.”

And that’s how you master your own death!

“She’s one of the best in the world and [Olenna’s final scene] is one of my favorites in the whole season. She really brought it,” show co-creator David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly. Added co-creator D. B. Weiss, “She’s probably the only character to win her own death scene.”

Lady Olenna turns her death scene into a victory and the internet celebrated right with her:

Always a master of wit and strength, Lady Olenna used her words to continuously slay. Dame Diana Rigg will be sorely missed.

Coster-Waldau (Jaime) also sang her praises. “Olenna is like Cersei in so many ways, but just from our point of view she’s been on the ‘good’ side,” the actor said in the EW interview. “And I just love how she goes out. She goes out with bite. She’s never going to beg. She did an amazing job. It was fun to be there and when we wrapped the showrunners came around and said a few words. She’s had a huge impact on the series.”

In the end, grandmother Tyrell continues to always be right. The “soft” approach that Daenerys has been employing to take back King’s Landing isn’t working. Olenna tried to warn her at her war meeting, and told her “be a dragon.” Let’s hope that Dany wakes up and starts listening.