After decimating the Tyrell forces, Jaime is on his way to King’s Landing with all of Highgarden’s gold. On the other hand, Dany is reeling from the spate of unexpected defeats she’s faced, battle after battle. Welcome to the review of GOT S7E4, “The Spoils of War.”
After six seasons of creating the basis for the final clashes, it’d have been understandable if showrunners Messrs. Benioff and Weiss had moved directly to the fights. Heck, after “Winds Of Winter,” we were wondering how, in the name of the Old Gods and the New, Cersei was going to stop Dany’s march to the Iron Throne. But as anyone watching this show knows, the showrunners are not to be second guessed (more on that in a while). True to form, we saw the cunning of Cersei and her allies in the first three episodes. And then, when Dany saw the water rising above her head, she did what freshly-departed Lady Olenna asked her to. She became a Dragon. The battle was every bit as riveting as we’ve come to expect of Thrones.
And yet, the expressions of Jaime and Bronn on seeing Drogon were priceless, to use a cliché. As the showrunners said in this video, it was akin to soemone bringing an F-16 in a medieval war. And every bit as devastating. And the best thing was saved for the last. Jaime’s charge with the spear did look impulsive but it made complete sense. If he could’ve killed Dany, he’d have finished the war.
He couldn’t, though. And Tyrion being Tyrion knew that Drogon would burn anyone who tried to kill his mother in his presence. Jaime sinking in the water in his armour was a great cliffhanger ending.
Elsewhere, it was certified and attested that “chaos is a ladder.” Littlefinger, always wanting the last word, was left speechless as Bran showed he — and Catelyn Styark’s kids by extension — wasn’t to be messed with. The cutthroat dagger from the first season was back again. There’s no doubt that, at this advanced stage, it would be of key use. Valyrian steel, after all.
I don’t think I realised it last week but it was heartbreaking to see that Bran Stark is essentially dead. That body now belongs to The Cult of The Three-Eyed Raven. My guess is that when this all ends, Bran will leave Winterfell for the wild. There’s the small issue of the Night King’s mark on his arm though.
P.S. – Goodbye, Meera Reed. I wanted to be sad at your departure but I don’t know you well enough, despite your heroics over four seasons.
Arya Stark came home! For the first time since she left with her father in season 1, Arya is back at Winterfell. Credit to the showrunners (again!) for maximising the dramatic potential of this homecoming too. Winterfell now isn’t the home of Arya’s memories. There’s a new Lady Stark too. The tension between the two sisters is palpable, the dialogue neve under- or overplaying the situation. And all ends well, ultimately, as the two embrace, recognising the difficult paths both have been through in their respective lives. This has so far been a season of Stark reunions and all the living Stark kids are now back at Winterfell, although Jon is away at the moment and hasn’t met either Bran or Arya. And then there’s the meeting of the two boys who never got their mother’s love at Winterfell, Jon and Theon. I’d like to see that explored next episode.
Bran’s knowledge of past and present is a unique tool, of course. And he gets to spook almost everyone. Last week it was Sansa. This week it is the turn of Arya (and Littlefinger before her). I am wondering whether (or when) he will tell them about Baelish’s betrayal of their father. He gives that cutthroat dagger to Arya. I think she is going to slice Baelish’s throat open with it. Credit to luvtoread for this theory.
Arya and Sansa’s divergent paths have led them to their desired destinations. Lady Sansa is ruling Winterfell in Jon’s absence. Arya has become the warrior she always wanted to be. If someone can beat Brienne of Tarth, conqueror of the Hound and Badass par excellence, she has to be bloody good. What I am confused about, though, is how are her skills going to be useful in The Great War?
It is brilliant writing to use gold as a plot device, the reason for last week’s seize of Highgarden and this week’s ambush of the Lannister army. Not only does it advance the story, it also grounds it in the reality of the economics of war. Marvellous work, indeed!
Marvellous also is the not-so-subtle nod to Prehistoric Man in the cave at Dragonstone. Last week we saw how Dany and Jon didn’t hit it right off the bat. This week, though, the drawings in the cave proved to Dany that “the enemy is real, it’s always been real.” We saw last season in episode 5 that the children of the forest had a penchant for making spiral shapes, which brought to mind scenes from the series opener and the season 2 finale at the Fist Of The First Men. Dany still puts forth the condition of bending the knee, but we know now that the two of them have reconciled their differences. This isn’t Mance Rayder and Stannis Baratheon.
There’s tension of a different kind too when they’re in the cave. Two striking young rulers in that claustrophobic place, Jon Snow can be forgiven for “looking at her beautiful heart.” Although, knowing what we do about Jon’s ancestry, that does look unlikely. But you never know with Thrones.
Warging time :
- Heartfelt apologies for not doing last week’s review. Inexcusable.
- Drowning in an armour is horrible. But I don’t believe Jaime is gone.
- The Lannister soldiers who’ve survived this ambush can’t really refuse bending the knee before Dany now, can they?
- Four seasons, and Podrick hasn’t learnt how to swordfight. He’s the sidekick who won’t kick.
- Say what you will of Bronn but the man knows how to never give up. And how to make decisive interventions.
- One “Scorpion” is insufficient. Maybe the Lannisters will bring 10 of them next time?
- Man, how does Thrones outdo itself with every episode and every battle?
Do share your thoughts about this episode, the review and the series in general. I love hearing from you.
“Eastwatch” teaser :
All images courtesy : HBO.
Thanks for reading.