Dracarys! Holy flames of hell was this past episode of Game of Thrones on fire or what? I mean literally, it was on fire, but it was also the best episode of this season, and it is easily in the conversation for one of the show’s best episode of all-time. It was also the shortest episode of this season, but thanks to its climax, it felt like it took ages off of my life. Now that is what I like to call a strong finish. I think my legs are still shaking back and forth as if I injected Red Bull straight into them. What a battle! What an episode! All hail Game of Thrones!
Ok, now that I got that out of my system it’s time to get down to the top eight moments featured in “The Spoils of War”. There probably could have been more depending on what you may deem plot important, but as always I threw other scenes or exchanges of note into the Assorted Musings section, which you can scan through once you get through the eight key moments highlighted below.
Top 8 Moments From The Spoils of War
(Listed in chronological order)
1. Chaos is a Ladder Exchange
This moment came during the scene between Bran and Petyr, in which the latter gives Bran the same Valyrian steel dagger that was supposed to be the blade that killed him after he saw Cersei and Jaimie doing the nasty. Bran in his new creepy Three-Eyed-Raven style more or less dismissed Littlefinger’s overtures, but not before he left the powerful game player with some food for thought. He accomplishes this by repeating one of Petyr’s favorite lines about chaos being a ladder, which he has only spoken to a few people in his life. Once again this is Bran’s way of relating to others his new powers, but I also thinks he gives these words of wisdom as cautionary tales for what is to come. He clearly can see all, and this surly is concerning for Littlefinger, so I would assume that they will cross paths at least once more this season. If I were a betting man I think the next meeting between them may cause Littlefinger even more distressed, which may force him to play the hand we all know he is hiding. What that hand is remains to be seen, but this dude is milling around the North and cozying up to the Stark kids for a reason, and that reason will definitely shock us all when we eventually find out what it truly is.
I do wonder what Petyr was angling for with the gift though. I guess he may still think that Bran is going to be the true Lord of Winterfell and he’s trying to wiggle his way in, but I feel this gift was given for a more sinister long form type of plan. I wouldn’t say that he meant for Bran to give it away, which I’ll cover in a bit, but Littlefinger is a calculated man, so he didn’t just give this special dagger to him for shits and giggles.
2. Bran Stark Truly Is Dead
As if we didn’t know this already from his odd reunion with Sansa, but the Bran Stark who left Winterfell all those years ago is no longer with us. Meera — in a very sad scene — revealed this to us all when she proclaims that the Bran she knew really did die in the cave of the Three-Eyed-Raven. While this may have been obvious to most die hard fans I still found the scene to be a key moment, mostly because it makes Bran’s transformation official for him to start doing the real work he is meant to do, which is protecting the land of the living from the Night King and his army of the dead. Don’t expect Bran to ever feel human again, he is forever gone and transformed into one of the most powerful beings in Westeros, albeit a very creepy and monotone one.
3. Arya’s Return
How could Arya’s return to Winterfell not be on this list? I mean I did waver on my stance that she was indeed heading North versus continuing South after running into Nymeria, but my Thrones Time Show co-host Keith made a compelling argument against it, so I bought in. Never again, though, as I’m clearly our Three-Eyed-Raven weirdo.
Anyway, this scene was heart warming to say the least, but also insightful in terms of how the Stark girls have changed in each other’s eyes, while also remaining the same. Sansa has become the powerful Lady she’s always wanted to be, while Arya has become the warrior that she always wanted to be. At first it’s clear that neither of them is completely comfortable around the other, but after a good hearted exchange in the Stark family crypt, these two are starting to realize who their sister has become and a level of respect is achieved. I still don’t think their bond is as tight as it used to be due to how much each sister has changed thanks to their horrific ordeals, so I think someone like Littlefinger will start to exploit this for his benefit. I know Sansa appears to be fully aware of his shady side, but I’m still holding out that he’ll say the right combination of words to get her to turn on her family in favor of power. Could be a reach, but there’s a reason this dude is lurking at Winterfell and trying to work each of the living Stark kids over.
4. The Dagger Changes Hands
After another emotionless reunion between Bran and one of his former sisters (yes former, this kid clearly has no ties to his past) he gives Arya the Valyrian steel blade that Littlefinger gave him earlier in the episode. While their exchange was another chance to show how far gone Bran is in terms of being his former self, it was also staged to show the hand off of the blade to a budding assassin. Arya got this blade for a reason, one of which still isn’t clear, but that fact that this episode showcased this blade prominently in two different scenes leads me to believe that it has far more significance than being the blade that was meant to kill Bran. In the end, it is the blade that started the whole game of thrones, so it would be fitting if it somehow works into the ultimate conclusion of this franchise’s many long winding and twisty tales.
Will this be the blade that takes out another major player? Will it somehow come into play in the war against the Night King (Valyrian Steel can kill him and his kind)?
5. Jon and Dany’s Cave Date
Thanks to a dark dank cave full of dragon glass Jon finally found a way to convince those who haven’t seen the Night King’s army that they are indeed real. This is a result of a series of cave paintings he found and then showed off to Dany, and she did appear to finally believe his tales, although she still wants him to bend the knee for her support. I think ultimately she’ll get over that, either out of necessity to make a last stand, or after she realizes who Jon truly is, but I just don’t think Jon will ever bend the knee to his Auntie. Although, I do think he’s starting to take a liking to her, and she appears to be reciprocating those feelings. I think most fans have thought these two would end up together as partners — either romantically or strategically — so it looks like the narrative is starting to head in either of those directions.
The other items of note in this scene are the cave drawings themselves. They definitely proved that the Children of the Forest and Men worked together to take on the Night King, but they also showcased more spiral shaped drawings, which were similar to what we saw the Walkers do with the bodies of the dead Black Brothers beyond the wall. You know, the time they organized them into a pinwheel? Either way the show runners confirmed the ties between this imagery in an inside look at the episode, so these spiral patterns do have meaning outside of giving Jon proof that the Night King and his army exists. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they must represent some sort of weapon, or potentially a being or spirit.
6. Arya’s Training and Sansa’s Reaction
This scene kicked ass, literally, thanks to the fact that we got to see just how efficient Arya has become as a warrior. Of course Sansa and everyone else in Westeros had no clue what to expect, but we as the audience had an idea based on watching her train, but I don’t think any of us thought Arya would be as skilled and deadly as she showed Brienne.
Although, I think the purpose of this scene was more to show Sansa and Littlefinger that she’s not to be taken lightly these days, and that she is as deadly with a blade as any fabled warrior of Westeros has even been. Both of them, especially Littlefinger, looked a little uneasy watching Arya’s skills, so she’s definitely on his radar at this point. The fact that he also saw her with the blade he had just given Bran may cause him a bit of stress too, so it’ll be interesting to see how things play out between Arya, Sansa, and Littlefinger. I’m going with Arya kills Petyr over his last big move, which will probably cost another Stark life, or a Stark/Targaryan’s life.
7. Theon and Jon
I only included this brief scene in this list because of the fact that it featured two characters seeing each other for the first time since the first season and all of the bad blood that has sprung up between them. I loved watching Jon soak in Theon’s arrival, and I could see his urge to bash his face in way before he shook Theon around a bit. How can you blame Jon though? Theon royally fucked over the Starks — maybe even more so than the Lannisters — so there is no love lost between Jon and Theon.
As Jon said he would’ve killed him immediately if it weren’t for his heroic act in freeing Sansa, but it’s clear that even with his turn around Theon is as good as dead to most of the living Starks. He’s become such a tragic character that it’s hard to pile on him at this point, but if I were Jon I would’ve reacted to seeing him in the exact same way, so Theon is still clearly laying in the bed he made for himself all those seasons ago.
8. The Battle of Fire
Dany’s ambush of the Lannister loot train will go down in history as one of the most exciting and extremely nerve wracking battles to ever be featured on the show, and for good reason. It was stunning to behold, and very dramatic to watch play out. I mean we had hero characters on both sides of the battlefield trying to kill each other, and while they’re opposing forces on the show, we as audience members may feel differently about each participant, which made the battle so damn stressful. All I could wonder is if any of the leads would get wiped out. Even though Jaime started off this series as an evil dick, he has become a more sympathetic character, and one fans could get behind without feeling too dirty, so it’s not like most of us were cheering for his demise. On the other hand, Dany has always been somewhat of a good hearted character and someone fans could champion, so it’s not like any of us wanted to see her scathed either. Then you throw in the fact that Bronn was involved in the battle and manning a Scorpion to try and take out Drogon, which just makes the perfect recipe for high levels of anxiety for fans who have watched all of these character grow over time. I clearly think the Lannister are evil, but in the same light I also think Jaime is a tragic hero who is meant to redeem himself, so while most would probably want Dany to take him out, I was on edge thinking about that potential fate.
We almost got it too thanks to his heroic/moronic charge, and there’s no way you’re telling me that he drowned in his armor. This dude will be back, but how remains to be seen. Will he get fished out and captured, or will he and Bronn somehow find a way to escape? I for one think he will be captured, which will setup a tough choice for Tyrion. He clearly still loves his brother, and if you remember, Jaime freed him from his bonds many moons ago, so this could be a moment where Tyrion’s loyalty to Jaime leads him to go against the wishes of his Queen. Either way there’s no way Jaime or Bronn are dead yet, so I expect to see them on the run, or being captured in next week’s episode.
I’m also interested in seeing how the rest of Westeros reacts to Dany’s first victory, as well as her first use of her Dragons against her Westerosi enemies. Hell, she also unleashed the Dothraki horde for the first time, so this battle will clearly send ripples throughout the seven kingdoms. I just want to see how Cersei reacts, because you know she’ll handle it like a boss. A sadistic boss, but a boss none the less.
Finally, by taking the loot from the Lannisters it appears that Dany will now be able to feed her forces, so this battle will definitely have an affect on what went down at Casterly Rock last week. It may be the key to getting the Unsullied out of their situation, so this was a huge win for Dany, and one that she came about herself, without the help of men. Go figure.
- Bran has a kick ass wheelchair now, which removes the need for him to be carried around like a sack of potatoes, while also costing Meera Reed her day job.
- Pod reminded us all that Brienne technically paid off on her vow to Catelyn Stark, because while she didn’t have a direct hand in it both of the Stark girls are now home safe.
- Dany’s surprise attack was sort of tipped off early on when it is revealed that she still has enough ships to ferry the Dothraki horde to the mainland.
- Jon gave Dany some rather good advice about war and how she should not become a murderous leader like the rest of the game players.
- Davos continues to be a fantastic adviser to Jon and a witty one at that thanks to his line to Missendei about switching sides. He also knows that Snow is starting to fall for Dany.
- Jaime continues to show he’s not the tyrant he used to be when he tells Lord Tarly to not proceed with floggings to make his men march faster.
- Thanks to a bit of dialogue we do know that while Jaime’s loot train was ravaged by Dany, the gold made it to King’s Landing, so Cersei will pay off her debt to the Iron Bank after all.
- Bronn’s reaction to Dickon’s name was priceless, and he remains to be one of the best secondary characters to date.
- For good measure, Jaime ain’t dead folks, armor or not he’s getting out of that very deep river.
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