Yup, gotta love that featured image. Team Targaryen look like they are about the drop the heaviest album in Westeros! Last Sunday’s Episode ‘Spoils of Wars’ was a doozy and a lot happened. The show continues to narrow down the story arcs and ended off with a terrific battle sequence. Overall, this was one of my favourite episodes, easily best of season 7 so far. I loved for a change, I didn’t question the whole time progression of events in this episode. Whether it’s because of execution, or simply because we’ve come to accept the show has to cram in a shit ton of stuff before the season finale, it’s nice not to question silly things that don’t matter. Anyways, without any delay, let’s jump right into it!
Reaping the rewards
We start off just outside of Highgarden. When we were last here, Olenna Tyrell met her end but had revealed to Jaime the truth behind Joffrey’s death. Bronn is talking to Jaime about more rewards for the recent victory, however, Jaime is quick to point out that Bronn has already been given so much by House Lannister and they basically made him into a Lord when he was a nobody before. I agree with Jaime and this was my thoughts exactly, but such are the allies the Lannister’s have chosen. Jaime seems a little off, not just annoyed by Bronn’s requests, but I would imagine the truth Olenna left him off with has him staggered a bit. The two end off basically saying, once the war is done, Bronn can have whatever castle he chooses. Should he be given anything now, Bronn would not have the man power to fend off a likely attack by Daenerys.
The Lannister’s pay their debt
In a very impressive manner, Cersei has fulfilled her promise to the Iron Bank and payed off their outstanding debt in one night. Taking out Highgarden was a great move as they seized the gold that Kings Landing needed, and now have already started talks of future investments and that they see a lot of potential in Cersei ruling all of Westeros. Although the representative of the bank does say that they’ll only go through with those commitments once the gold is actually in Kings Landing. Not sure what the point was to put that condition in their. This implied that their gold was at risk and there was a chance it could be intercepted on the road, at least those were my first thoughts. When we fast forward to Jaime again later in the episode talking to Randyll Tarly, they state right away that the gold is safely in Kings Landing. I found this odd as it still implies there is tension between Kings Landing and the Iron Bank, yet wipe it away like it’s nothing at the end of the episode. More on that later!
Little Fingers gifts a little dagger
This was an interesting scene to have Bran be introduced in this episode. Coming off the awkward reunion with his sister, I thought they may have continued to explore this, however we now see Bran sitting across from Little Finger. Little Finger expresses to Bran his loyalty to him, and that he loved his mother and even though he could not save her, he will protect Bran. He gifts him with the Valyrian steel dagger that was used in his attempted assassination. Of course, being Little Finger, I think it’s easy to not like this. I think it’s an obvious ploy to gain Bran’s trust, and dismantle House Stark and take over in some shape or form. I don’t trust Little Finger, neither do the Stark’s, and neither should you.
What’s great about this scene is it alludes to more than just Little Finger being Little Finger and raising suspicion. Little Finger’s greatest strength’s has always been his secrets. Yet, with our new found Bran, he is the one person Little Finger cannot lie to. This didn’t hit me at first and I saw it at it’s first layer. But upon research, I now know Bran’s line at the end “Chaos is a ladder”, was a call back to season 3, episode 6. This was from the converstation between Little Finger and Varys back in the throne room of Kings Landing, where the two said what their true intentions were. Varys has stated “Chaos is a pit”, and Little Finger responded by saying “Chaos is a ladder”. At first I didn’t understand why Little Finger just left, but after looking into this, it’s clear Bran might be telling Little Finger in a subtle, cryptic way, don’t fuck with the Starks! Anyways, at least Bran got a pretty kick ass dagger. I almost felt like this gear was almost like RPG loot.
This scene concludes with the departure of Meera Reed. She comes by to see Bran, informing him that she is heading back to her family, and seeing as Bran is home, he is safe. Bran simply says “KK Thx Bai” and Meera is taken back by this. Bran doesn’t show any care that she is leaving, and she’s is thrown off by this, considering she gave up everything and her brother, Summer and Hordor (RIP) lost their lives so Bran could make it here. Just more showing how Bran is losing himself and his identity.
Arya is home!
This was easily my favourite moment of the episode, and in recent memory. Arya is finally home at Winterfell. Next to Tyrion, she is easily my favourite character in the entire show, and the books. It’s great to finally see her achieve this milestone. Despite what she has accomplished, nothing can compare to the joy this probably brings her and all her fans. A lot happens upon her arrival and after she gets reacquainted everyone, so let’s jump into it!
Arya arrives home, or so we think. A couple of clueless guards don’t believe she is Arya Stark and think she’s dead. They don’t recognize any of the previous tenants of Winterfell as she throws out names. The tell her to FUCK OFF, but Arya isn’t having any of it. They even try to take a jab at her, but Arya is swift and easily sways aside. Instead of forcing her way in Arya states, if she is not who she says she is, she will not last long inside, but if she is Arya Stark, and her sister gets word of this, then there will be hell to pay. The numb nut guards let her inside and ask her to wait nearby in the courtyard. As Arya takes a seat, the look on her face says it all. There’s no place like home.
Arya gets tired of waiting, and as the guards are squabbling amongst themselves, they turn around to find she’s gone. The guards inform Sansa immediately and claim she’s nobody. As they tell her the names Arya was throwing out, it becomes clear to Sansa this was not random girl, and she knew exactly to find her.
Sansa find her in the crypts as she expected, paying tribute to Ned Stark’s tomb. The two sisters open up with a slight bit of tension, as Arya asks if she should call her Lady Stark now. Sansa replies yes, and then a big smile comes to her face and the two embrace each other. I did not have a doubt that these two would be happy to reunite. Although the two ended off badly when the parted from Kings Landing, I think both have been through absurd amounts of bullshit to reach home, that they can easily put their past differences aside. Little did they know what they were embarking on when they first left Winterfell was the start of a massive war. Also for Sansa, given her awkward talk with Bran, I’m sure seeing yet another Stark return home was more than she could have hoped for.
I loved this scene. I love the sisters understanding that a lot has happened to both of them to come back home, and that their stories are not done yet. It’ll take them both some time to fully catch up on the events over the time they’ve been apart. Arya remarks Ned’s tomb looks nothing like him, and it should have been made by someone who new Ned. Sansa points out most who knew him are dead now. Sansa then tells Arya Bran is back to, but before the scene cuts away, the look on Sansa’s face I think tells Arya all she needs to know, and that Bran is not quite Bran.
Arya then comes face to face with Bran by the weirwood tree. Arya immediately is over joyed that Bran is here, and the two share a hug. I was kind of dreading this moment, given how insensitive Bran was towards Sansa before. But small little details showed me Bran behaved differently here. During their hug, I noted Bran also subtly embraced Arya with his hand as well. I did not note this when Sansa hugged him in the previous episode. I think based on their interactions in the books and season 1, Arya and Bran were much closer, so this could explain that. It’s a small detail, but goes a long way to redeem Bran’s awkward demeanor since he returned home.
Bran seems more human at this point, as his conversation with both Arya and Sansa seems a bit more normal. Bran quickly convinces Arya of his visions as he states he thought Arya was heading to Kings Landing to kill Cersei. The topic shifts to the dagger that Little Finger gave Bran, to which Sansa is surprised Little Finger has spoken with Bran. she warns him that Little Finger is basically to not be trusted, which I think Bran probably knows, considering he sees everything. Arya also is shocked to know Little Finger is in Winterfell.
The scene concludes with Bran giving Arya the Valyrian steel dagger. As he puts, it’s wasted on a cripple, and it seems fitting that Arya gets this dagger. It fits her small, swift fighting build and I’m sure she already has some great ideas on how she can use it. Once again, it feels like this small band of RPG characters have all leveled up with new EXP and loot. VICTORY!
What is a bit frustrating with Bran though, is that he is not sharing key pieces of knowledge. He must know Little Finger betrayed Ned, and hasn’t told Arya or Sansa yet. I don’t understand…
Jon has proof! Well… sorta…
After last episode having the bulk of time spent in Dragonstone, we are finally back to see what’s progressed. We start with some girl talk with Daenerys pin pointing Missandie’s urge to know what happened to the unsullied, more importantly Greyworm. Dany asks what’s happening, adn vaguely learns something happened between them. Quickly moving on from this monotone affair, Jon then interrupts calling for Daenerys to see something in the caves where they are mining the dragon glass.
Jon brings Daenerys to the caves, which I found pretty lackluster. As they move through slowly with the torch in hand, I was expecting the light of the flame to illuminate the beauties of dragon class somehow, but there wasn’t much to see. Jon, leads her to what he really wants her to see, which was a bunch of cave drawings left by the children of the forest. Dany instantly recognize the history of it all, and clearly is convinced of their existence. Then Jon shows her the real meat of the pudding, and that is a scratch up drawing of the white walkers along with the night king it appears.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist with that picture. Okay… so I have some problems with this scene. First, if Dany believes of the children of the forest, then why was the concept of the white walkers so hard to grasp for her? The children of the forest is referred to as something of a myth for most of Westeros, and there wasn’t any actual proof of their existence as far as I perceived. Second, if Dany was initially so opposed to believing the existence of the white walkers, then why does something as simple and absurd as a dinky cave drawing make her suddenly believe they are a threat and now she must side with Jon.
Anyways, I digress, and accept that Dany now sees things from Jon’s point of view. Despite the far fetched circumstances leading them to see eye to eye, there was an interesting moment in this scene. This almost had a romantic vibe almost. Maybe it alluded to Jon in the cave with Ygritte, perhaps that Jon’s place of choice to close the deal? Perhaps, but either way, it seemed things could get hot and heavy and the two seemed to inch closer to each other. However the mood was broken when Daenerys reverted back to her usual stubborn self and said she’ll help Jon, if he bends the knee… not this again.
Jon says that he can’t ask his men to bend the knee for a southerner, after what they have been through in the current war. Dany then says, and and get this straight, that it’s not worth to let his pride get in the way. Really? Isn’t Dany just contradicting herself big time? If anything, she’s showing even more pride than Jon when it comes to this whole, bend the knee affair. I did think however, that this statement would lead, or could lead to a potential union of house Stark and Targaryen in form of a marriage. To me, that’s the only logical way this could happen given their stances.
Tyrion’s in trouble
Word comes to Daenerys while in the caves about the progress of their attack and the fall of highgarden. Dany is not pleased at all, and let’s it loose on Tyrion. She not only expressed her displeasure of his “clever” plans, but calls his loyalty into question, saying he’s being too soft because he still has feelings towards his family. Daenerys now feels the loss of her allies and her army shrinking. She then says she wants to take her dragons and burn her enemies, which Tyrion advises against. She then turns to Jon and asks what he should do. As much as Jon wanted to stay out of this, he’s put on the spot, and advise Dany not to do as she wishes. As he puts, the people of Westeros have been through shit, and don’t deserve to be burned alive.
Can Arya keep up with the big dogs?
After missing Arya from last episode, it seems like she’s suddenly the star of the show again. Brienne is seen training with Podrick, when Arya approaches. Brienne observes the impressive sword and dagger Arya now has. Arya says it’s been a while since she trained. Brienne offers to find someone to train her, but Arya says she wants to learn from the best seeing as Brienne beat the hound. Arya draws Needle, which Brienne remarks is too small, but Arya humourously says not to worry as she won’t cut her, and the two start their bout. Arya uses her agility to her advantage and manages to get out of the way of Brienne’s powerful attacks. She gets a couple of hits in, but then Brienne kicks her down, knocking the wind out of her. Arya loses Needle, but recovers and using her new found Valyrian steel dagger, she manages to get the upper hand and win the bout. Arya has clearly proven herself and impressed Brienne, and looks like this will be the start of a strong friendship between the two. I especially love Arya’s closing line in reponse to Brienne asking her taught her, which she says “no one”.
While this happens, Little Finger and Sansa watched the entire bout. Sansa for whatever reason has a concerned look and seemed uneasy, especially considering how she left after the fight was done. Is she worried for Arya getting hurt? Is she shocked at what Arya has become? Or is there some underlying jealously or hatred from the past towards her sister? I don’t think it goes on as jealously or hatred to be honest, but something was off. Little Finger on the other hand sticks around while Arya stairs him down, and he simply smiles and nods.
Does Jon have a crush?
Jon and Davos are strolling about Dragonstone. Davos asks how Jon likes Daenerys, to which Jon says she has a good heart. Davos however tells him he thinks he’s staring at more than just her heart. Oh Davos… They run into Missandie and Jon asks for himself about how Missandie came into Dany’s service. She tells them the history of how she was a slave, and the Daenerys freed her. Jon questions asks if she doesn’t think she’s at least a servant still serving under Daenerys. Missandie assures them that she is doing this because this is what she chooses to do, and that everyone following Dany truly believes in her and the freedom she is bringing. Maybe some fuel to convince Jon what he needs to do? Who knows. Either way, then this happens.
Theon conveniently returns to Dragonstone, and my first thoughts were “OH SHIT!”. After what Theon pulled with Bran and Rickon, I can’t imagine Jon was too happy to see him. He tells Theon if it weren’t for what he did to Sansa, he’d be dead already. I don’t blame Jon. Even now, despite what Theon has been through, he absolutely does not have my sympathy. Not sure for the reasoning why Theon is still around though, I’m not convinved he can contribute much to this war.
An unexpected battle
It was a regular sunny day where Jaime and Bronn were observing people loading shit onto wagons and making sure they were off to Kings Landing. They even had a chance to chat with Rick… I mean Dickon. Bronn laughed at his name, pretty jokes. They talked about how hard the invasion of high garden was, as Dickon had friends he had hunted with at high garden. This was the reality of war as Bronn put it, and Dickon was expecting it to be the usual glorified fairy tale people always make it out to be. Everything seemed to be going smooth, until horses were heard in the distance.
Quickly Jaime realized they were about to be overrun by a large force. Soon enough, the Dothraki appear in much surprising fashion. Their army stretches across the horizon, and it appears they have the Lannister army greatly outnumbered. Bronn tries to convince Jaime of this, and says they should flee, but Jaime believes they can hold them off. What a brave lad. But then, something appears over the horizon.
It’s none other than Daenerys mounted atop her most fearsome dragon, Drogon. It appears death approaches, and it’s not clear how Jaime will escape this one if he sticks around to fight. Things are quickly made clear that this will be a one sided fight. As Drogon swoops overhead, he lets out his fiery dragon breath, setting many Lannister soldiers and wagons aflame. As epic as this is, it’s a pretty horrifying and gruesome sight to see the soldiers flailing and running about while on fire. As the Dothraki press on, there are incredible shots of them trampling corpses of ash.
As the fight goes on, Drogon continually burns everything below and the Dothraki army are gaining much ground. After a failed attempt to use archers to wound Drogon, Jaime still holds his ground and orders Bronn to man the Dragon Cannon (Sorry, can’t remember what they called it). Jaime would do it himself, but with only one hand, he’s not a good candidate. I am impressed however that Jaime is able to take out as many Dothraki as he did. This I think is his first real battle with his off-hand, really shows how great of a fighter Jaime is.
Bronn starts making his way to the Dragon Cannon. He charges towards a Dothraki horse man, but is taken down as his horses leg is cut off. There’s some incredible cinematography going on here. As he’s knocked to the ground, he glances at his pouch of coins, as if to think he needs that right now. Instead he gets to his feet, and makes his way through the flames on towards the Dragon Canon. While going through, you see Dragon appearing out of smoke overhead letting flames loose. Bronn pulls a sword from a dead corpse, fends off some Dothraki. It’s incredibly intense and I love the low to the ground feel of it, that gives us a sense of what’s happening on the battlefield, and the threat lurking from above.
Bronn eventually makes it to the Dragon Cannon, and it’s unveiled in all it’s glory. Bronn takes aim and attempts a shot to take down Drogon, but misses. As Dany comes back around, he aims another shot and hits the mark. Drogon is hit around his shoulder and start coming down.
As this is happening, Tyrion is nearby watching the whole battle play out. I found this conflicting on his part, as not only is he watching his brother face certain death, he can full well see the Dragon Cannon in use, and does not move a finger to try and take it out. He had Dothraki with him, I don’t see why he couldn’t have ordered for them to take the Dragon Cannon out at least prevent Bronn from reaching it. I’m sure he was taken back by the destruction going on around him. This was unlike any battle he’d ever seen.
Drogon takes out the Dragon Cannon and now is on foot. Dany dismounts and attempts to remove the arrow lodged in his shoulder. At this point, Jaime sees an opportunity. Tyrion utters and hopes to himself Jaime flees, but instead he grabs a spear and charges full speed towards Dany. Drogon cuts him off and is ready to burn him to ash, but then Bronn saves him, moving him out of the way and into the water. The episode ends with Jaime sinking to the bottom.
This battle was incredible for many reasons. Not only was it a visual spectacle, but unlike the Battle of the Bastards, it wasn’t a typical black and white, good versus evil battle. Each side had characters we all cherished, and can’t stand losing. It was very uncertain who would make it out alive. At points I thought Bronn would turn the tide of the battle and take out Drogon, prior to that, I thought Jaime was a goner. There was a great dynamic to the whole battle. Throw in Tyrion to the mix who witnessed his Queen and brother face death, yet did nothing to aid them also throws in quite a bit of doubt on his part.
It’s easy to say at this point, that Daenerys has dealt a pretty big blow to the Lannister’s. She has clearly crippled their army now, and appears to have taken out their food stores. Although they have gotten the gold safely to Kings Landing, without food, what good is gold? This was a smart move by Dany. Although she was advised to stay put, she still went ahead with an attack, but on the army itself for strategic purposes, and not for the sake of laying waste to Kings Landing. I’m sure she knows their time will come and will play things out strategically and patiently at this point.
I hope you enjoyed this read. What did you think of ‘Spoils of War’? Let’s discuss in the comments!