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Game of Thrones Season 7 Review : The Spoils of War”

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 clichΓ©. 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.

β€œEastwatch” teaser :

All images courtesy : HBO.

Thanks for reading. 

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15 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season 7 Review : The Spoils of War”

  1. Excellent post! πŸ™‚ thanks for the shoutout πŸ™‚
    Wow – this was a jaw dropping episode – one that I had to watch again the same evening it aired. The tension was so high in those last 10 minutes or so. First I was screaming that they better not kill Drogon, then I was screaming because they better not kill Jaime like that! (I think he will not survive the show, but he’s got too much unfinished business with Cersei and Tyrion to be killed off like that… I hope…).
    And oooh Littlefinger’s days are so numbered!!
    I’m confused about Sansa’s reactions to Arya’s fighting Brienne. Was she just bothered that Brienne was so easily beaten? Was she jealous that Brienne is sworn to protect both of them and not just her? I couldn’t figure it out. Hopefully we’ll get more interaction between the sisters soon!
    And I cannot wait for the inevitable ice battle with Dany and the dragons. Will Dany immediately head to King’s Landing now that Cersei has no army, or will she head north with Jon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You deserved that shoutout. πŸ™‚
      Yes, this was a wonderful episode, whetting our appetite even more.
      I didn’t think that they’d kill Drogon but yes, there was a sense of dread when Bronn fired those spears.
      Jaime…yes, it does look unlikely that he’ll survive the show. But he’s a major character and they don’t die in battles like that, not even on Thrones.
      I think Sansa couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Arya beating Brienne. I don’t think she ever thought Brienne could lose to someone, let alone her kid sister. There could be a sense of Jealousy there too. Expect Littlefinger to use his machinations even more with Sansa. He recognises the danger he is facing.
      I think that inevitable battle will come next season. The snow battle scheduled for this season would only have Jon and company, and I expect some major names to join the army of the dead after it, sad as that may sound.
      Dany should fight in the south this season. The problem is, they can’t base a whole season only on the fight between the living and the dead. Expect Cersei and party to be alive and kicking after season 7 ends.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think we may see an ice dragon at some point – not sure if this is just my own desire to see an ice dragon (cause that would be awesome), or if it really makes sense for the plot – but in order for an ice dragon to come, that means one of Dany’s dragons has to die – so I was honestly afraid for Drogon (even if yeah, it didn’t make any sense cause Dany doesn’t ride the other dragons, and the white walkers aren’t this far south yet). Maybe one of Dany’s dragons will fall in the upcoming ice battle.
        I saw a video that said that it makes sense for Dany to attack King’s Landing now since they have no army and would fall easily. (Did they even have more than one scorpion?) All Cersei has now is the Greyjoy ships and the Tyrell gold (and one presumes at least some of the Lannister army made it safely into the gates of King’s Landing, since the gold made it there).
        I agree with you about not being able to base an entire season on living vs dead battle. Seems like that battle will come at the very end of the show – or we’ll get a few mini battles here & there before then.
        I’m still torn on who I want to rule at the end of the show/book. Dany’s made some very poor decisions, but I still like her. But I also like Jon, and have always been a fan of the reluctant ruler story line rather than the one who desires the crown.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I saw a meme on Facebook that told of the difference between ice dragons and ice wights. By that yardstick, Dany’s dragons, if they die and are resurrected by the Night King, would be wights, and not ice dragons. Ice dragons are in the wall, according to another theory. Who knows what is right?
          As far as one of the dragons falling is concerned, it’d then sort of disprove the theory that Jon and Tyrion will ride the other two. Or maybe they ride and then the dragon(s) dies.
          Yes, it does make sense for Dany to attack King’s Landing now. But I think she’ll be occupied by something or the other in the immediate future, at least until the final episode of the season.

          Cersei doesn’t have the Tyrell gold, yet. Jaime and party were doing just that, transporting the gold. But that ambush means Cersei’s plans have been scuppered, except if Jaime sent some of the Lannister men and gold with the Greyjoy ships.
          We will have mini battles, yes, including the Eastwatch-by-the-sea battle this season. And I guess the living are going to suffer heavy losses in these mini-battles.

          Jon and Dany have to be ruling side-by-side, maybe with Jon as the head of the army. Or even her consort, now that the show has hinted at the chemistry between them. There is no other man in the realm who can stand up to her anyway. Although I must add, I find that eventuality discomforting. Or maybe, at the end, Jon will go the Jesus-after-resurrection way, dying again. πŸ˜₯

          Liked by 1 person

          1. In the episode the Tarly guy (can’t remember his name – Sam’s father) said that the Tyrell gold was safely within the walls of Kings Landing – the army that Dany hit was the stragglers. Which, if you think about it, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Jaime and Bronn to be bringing in the stragglers and not the gold itself. Hopefully it will be made clear in the next episode, because it wasn’t clear the first time I saw it, but on the second and third watch I picked up on Tarly’s line about the gold. But I guess she then will give it right away to the Iron Bank, so she doesn’t really have it. Who knows… !!
            All the dragon vs wights vs walkers technicality just makes my head hurt, and I never get it right. I only get it right when reading the books or right after. Either way, ice dragon or ice wight would be pretty darn cool!
            Yeah, not sure who the three riders are. Dany is one for sure, and then Jon would be another since he’s a Targ as well, but unless Tyrion is revealed to be a Targ too, it seems a bit unlikely. (which I know the theory is out there, but I don’t really see that one being true). Plus, Tyrion has been with the dragons for 2 seasons now (?) and shown no inclination to ride one.
            Can’t wait for tonight’s episode! πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, you were right about the gold safely being in King’s Landing, and then going on to the Iron Bank, as yesterday’s episode clarified.
              Yes, any dragon fighting against the living would be cool, inserting an element of danger to the living dragons and empowering the Army of The Dead even more.
              I feel we’ll get the riders for the three dragons next season, with all three being ridden in an awesome landscape shot.
              Bring it on!πŸ˜€

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoa! WHAT A REVIEW! You nailed at every point. The fight, the renuion of the Stark children, Jamie’s possible comeback, Jon and Dani’s possible romance… Kudos to you. I’ve finally started watching the show and this, by far is the best of the episodes. The war sequence had me playing it on a loop, four times! And the reunion between the Stark sisters, even though muted in the show, left me teary-eyed. Finally the children are together again. What I’d like to know is, even though Drogon is a bad ass dragon, will he survive that wound from the Scorpion dart? I hope so, coz I’ve always been Team Targaryen and I want her to take the Iron throne (with Jon as King Consort, if possible). I even have a tee shirt to prove my loyalty! Ha ha… Loved this review. Looking forward to the others as the series proceeds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this was the best episode of the season, yet!
      The Starks have always been the family with which we have sympathised the most. That scene with the three of them walking into the fort was surreal, almost.
      I think Drogon should survive. The reason is that the spear wasn’t tipped with scorpion poison, far as I think. It’s a wound, and like us mere humans, some R & R should get him back to his Dracarys ways.
      I don’t think Dany will get the Throne, at least the form in which it is presently. I suspect the show will end in a different way. Remember those visions with Dany in the throne room, the roof gone and snow falling? Doesn’t look very bright.
      King Consort for Jon would be difficult at the moment. Although Targaryens had relations amongst their own blood fir generations, in this modern period, that might be a bit too much. But then again, what do I know?

      Thanks a ton for the appreciation. Glad you find it nice.
      Maybe you can now go back and “read” the reviews of the first two episodes. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right about Dany’s visions… But if all is to come to an end because of the war with the Night King, then I’d be sorely disappointed in the series. A leader must emerge at the end, and I can’t see anyone better than her. So I really hope that she wins the throne. It doesn’t matter where she sits as long as she’s queen. Even a rocking chair will do πŸ˜€

        Yeah, since Targaryen brothers and sisters have traditionally married each other their union may be possible, and these two are Aunt and Nephew (hee hee).

        Yeah I too think Drogon will be alive. I don’t want him to die. He’s Khal Drogo’s namesake and I liked him very much.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A leader will emerge, and it’ll most likely be Dany. But I think we’ll not have Westeros the way it is currently. Ruling styles will change. And Dany being the liberator etc etc, we might see a medieval version of democracy at work there, when all is said and done.

          Aunt and nephew marrying! Eww.

          Drogo’s namesake and the most furious of the three. He’ll live, yes.

          Liked by 1 person

              1. Many will die, yes. But I hope Jon doesn’t die a second time. There’s a theory that compares him to Jesus and Dany to Moses. So Dany liberated all these people and took them to the liberated land. Jon died for the sins of the other people and got resurrected to do his unfinished work. The point is, is he going to go to heaven now, again?

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