Hoooly hell. The 4th episode of Game of Thrones season 7 “The Spoils of War” was an all-timer that legitimately had my heart rate bumping as the credits rolled. What made this episode all the more exciting was the unexpected nature of it. If you watched the preview for this episode after last week’s show, you saw the look of concern from Jaime looking over the hill. So you knew something was coming. But no one expected the hoard of Dothraki AND Khaleesi riding Drogon. A ton of huge stuff went down in what was ironically the shortest episode of Thrones ever. House by House, Lets get it.
- Arya has finally returned to Winterfell for the first time since the Game of Thrones pilot and holy hell can she fight. Arya always looked like a promising water dancer after training with Syrio Forel and of course what she leanred from the Hound. What we see from her in this short fight scene with Brienne though shows just how far Arya has come.
- No longer is she a little girl trying to be a swordsman; she is a certified badass. This fight scene is symbolic too because of all the people Arya has met over the years she definitely holds Brienne in a high regard because of her ability, as a woman, to defeat the Hound in single combat. So to see Arya basically toy with Brienne and showcase her insane fighting talent was incredible.
Arya and Brienne sparring is 92 Dream Team scrimmage footage.
— Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) August 7, 2017
- Another quick little callback that Thrones seems to be peppering this season with came when Brienne asks Arya who taught her to do that and she responds “No one.” No one? Why does she say that? Because a man has no name…
- Sansa for the second episode in a row learns that one of her siblings has been up to some shit. Sansa understandibly thought she had the hardest road of all her siblings after everything she’d been through with Cersei, Joffrey, Ramsay etc. But she’s slowly starting to realize that Bran and Arya have been through the ringer as well. Does Sansa seem a little disheartened after seeing Arya fight? Bran’s got the sight and Arya is a little assassin…what does Sansa really have? Other than a mind for politics?
- Bran also is seemingly about to blow up Littlefinger’s spot, whether he realizes it yet or not. Bran basically knows everything, but having that much information in your head makes most of it white noise. So its like he’s flipping through the channels and seeing little tidbits about the people around him from over the years. So its only a matter of time until he learns how to hone in on specific things. Littlefinnger gives Bran the Valeryian steel dagger (Exposition!) that was used in his attempted murder and mentions how coming home now must be chaos and Bran cuts him off saying “Chaos is a ladder.” Uh oh.
— Matt McGovern (@zombie_ninja50) August 7, 2017
- Littlefinger is shook because he said this exact shit to Varys years ago in the Throne Room.
- Its at this exact moment Littlefinger realizes he is on the hot seat like a coach coming off a 7-9 season and he now knows Bran could be a problem. How long before Bran realizes Littlefinger’s potential role in his attempted murder, what about the time he got Ned Stark killed by turning on him? Or how he kicked Lysa out the goddamn moon door? I’m sure Nestor Royce wouldn’t be too stoked about that.
- Now a few things in play here. He can’t just make another attempt on Bran’s life and get away with it so how does Littlefinger play this one? What happens to the Vale if the Starks just straight up off Littlefinger though? He is the Lord of the Vale after all. Welp, Nestor Royce, who was on Baelish’s trial in the Vale after Lysa’s death has no love for Littlefinger so maybe it won’t be a problem.
- But that little breastfed-for-far-too-long Robert Arryn (who refers to Littlefinger as Uncle Petyr) is probably like 16 now so he’s due for a comeback. Again, GoT does not just send off characters randomly without explaining what happened to them or bringing them back. Last time we saw him he was training with a sword and a bow. I doubt he’s going to suddenly be The Hound, but he’s definitely due for a comeback.
- Also, how about Bran interacting with Meera who says she has to go home and Bran basically just saying “K thanks see ya.” Meera’s been dragging his ass through the woods north of the wall for years, her brother Jojen legit died for Bran. Them and Hodor are the only reason the human backpack is alive. Yet he’s changed so much becoming the Three Eyed Raven he doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to even feign empathy anymore.”I remember being Bran, but I remember so much else,” Bran says to Meera. Kid is dead inside.
- Jon brings Dany into the cave below Dragonstone to show her not just the dragonglass but also the mysterious paintings. Jon explains how they were put there by the Children of the Forest and show how they banded together with the First Men to take on the White Walkers.
- Anybody else notice the shapes of those paintings on the walls? They matched the same shapes the White Walkers routinely left bodies up north over the years, including in the pilot. Is this the White Walkers just mocking them?
- Khaleesi is losing allies by the day so she mentions why not just hop on her dragon, burn the Red Keep to the ground and be done with it? But even Jon says if you do that you wont be any different, you’ll just be another power hungry, violent, usurper.
- Khaleesi has been patiently taking her team’s counsel, but she seems pretty over Tyrion’s advice as its turned out poorly thus far. She actually stops just short of outright accusing him of treason because of all these failures insinuating he doesn’t want to hurt the Lannisters. As I mentioned last week it seems like the failure of strategy and being outsmarted has seemed to rattle Tyrion a bit so this can’t help the old ego.
- Finally we see the Dothraki unleashed on Westeros like we had discussed as a distinct possibility on the 300s Podcast. It seems like Khaleesi is starting to take the late Olenna’s advice, “Be a Dragon. We see the Dothraki hoard taking on the Lannister army after hearing for years how it was suicide to do so, chief among them the late King Robert.
- Behind a castle the Dothraki are much easier to beat, but in an open field they’re unmatched. So this is the first time we get to see that go down and it is WILD. They definitely earned the nickname Dothraki Screamers and it was awesome to see the guys standing up on their galloping horses firing arrows as they charge.
- Not to mention adding insult to injury for the Lannisters Khaleesi flies in on Drogon and starts burning soldiers left and right and roasting their entire supply chain.
The evolution of Drogon 🔥 pic.twitter.com/wVbOl0mv8X
— Daenerys Targaryen (@Daenerys) August 8, 2017
- It’s the first time we’ve truly seen the dragons in play in a battle and it is glorious. Unsurprisingly they just run train, but why is Khaleesi not wearing ANY armor? Sure the dragons can just take out an army no problem, but Khaleesi is still a 120 pound blonde girl up there. Maybe put on a helmet or at least a heavy winter coat?
- BUT the Lannisters suddenly have a trump card in the absolute howitzer of a bow and arrow known as the Scorpion. Bronn snipes Drogon and nearly takes the gigantic beast down with one shot. (Full disclosure: this scene gave me a full on identity crisis. I love Bronn, but I’ll openly weep if this dragon goes down right now. Real tough times so keep me in your thoughts.) This is gonna be ROUGH moving forward with all our fav characters directly trying to kill each other.
- So the real question is now Khaleesi knows that her dragons, who she previously though untouchable, can be hurt or maybe even killed. How does that change her plans? I would think this makes her a little hesitant to ride around Kings Landing just pillaging the place. This was just one Scorpion in a field. Imagine the dozens or hundreds of these things Qyburn has built in Kings Landing? This is a legit defense to a previously thought unmatched weapon in the dragons. And suddenly the playing field is not as lopsided as we thought. Lannisters still don’t have an army though…
- We discussed the battle above so we don’t need to dive into the specifics of that again. One of the shots that stuck out to me was Tyrion on the hill. We see him watching all of the Lannister soldiers burn and it it looks like he’s having a mini existential crisis. He may only now be coming to terms with the fact that he’s not just fighting Cersei’s crazy ass, he’s also turning on his entire House and his beloved brother. How does that affect his mindset as we get closer to the end?
- How about Bronn saving Jaimes ass yet again? If it weren’t for Bronn, House Lannister would have been dust in the wind by now. So back to Jaime, who went all Leeroy Jenkins in a last ditch effort to try and take out a suddenly grounded Khaleesi.
- Pretty dumb plan to be honest, considering there is still a 500 pound dragon sitting next to her. Why not chuck the spear? I guess because he still can’t do shit with his left hand?
- This whole scene is telling because if you remember the conversation way back in Season 1 between Jaime, King Robert and Ser Barriston they’re telling tales from their first kills in battle. Robert basically details this exact moment of how a man tries to end the rebellion himself like a fool.
“Mine was some Tarly boy at the Battle of Summerhall. My horse took an arrow so I was on foot, slogging through the mud. He came running at me, the dumb high-born lad, thinking he could end the rebellion with a single swing of his sword. I knocked him down with the hammer. Gods, I was strong then. Caved in his breastplate. Probably shattered every rib he had.”
Time is a flat circle.
- Euron’s basically out there lurking like a goddamn snake in the water, except now his role is going to be even larger. With the majority of the Lannister army burnt out (I’ll see myself out) Cersei NEEDS him and the Iron Fleet now more than ever. If there’s one person who’s going to take advantage of leverage, its Euron.
- Upon seeing Theon for the first time in years, Jon has to restrain himself from killing him right there on the beach, ironically right after he tells Khaleesi how they must all band together despite their issues with one another. This is the first time they’ve seen each other since Theon betrayed his brother Rob and essentially destroyed Winterfell. Theon himself says he could never take the Black and join the Nights Watch because Jon Snow would literally kill him.
- Jon knows Theon didn’t actually kill Rickon and Bran obviously buttt he did still behead Ser Rodrick and he IS ultimately responsible for Maester Luwin getting killed and the whole place getting torched. So thats a tough one to forgive still. It’s only because of his role in helping Sansa escape Ramsay that he’s alive now. So it will be interesting to see how their relationship progresses. As Ramsay was helping Theon “escape” the Dreadfort a few seasons ago, Theon broke down in tears because he betrayed his brothers and even said “My real father lost his head in Kings Landing.” He truly does consider the Starks his family, but the feeling may not be mutual anymore.
Other notes from around the realm:
- Looks like Jon Snow and them are finally getting some use out of Bran, who I lovingly referred to as “the backpack” for the last 6 seasons. In the preview of Episode 5 Bran seemingly wargs into some ravens over the Wall and sees the White Walkers nearing East Watch by the Sea, which is also where Tormund is. So it could be curtains for your favorite wildling as he’s the first line of defense holding that castle on the Wall. If you’ve been reading this weekly breakdown though, you know how in the GoT opening credits the water that Eastwatch is usually flanked by is now frozen over. So I fully expect the White Walkers to just walk around the Wall. Huge design flaw guys.
- Missandei asking Jon why he is named “Snow” if his father was a Stark was cool to see because they don’t have marriage where she’s from, thus negating the concept of a bastard. Missandei goes on a passionate rant about how Khaleesi is Queen not by birthright, but because her ppl believe in her. Ya know, like Jon.
- Khaleesi says she will fight for the north…if Jon bends the knee but he’s torn because his people will not want a southern ruler after all the shit thats gone down in GoT. After all the simmering sexual tension between the two though, what if he marries Khaleesi? Maybe thats how they ultimately unite the 7 kingdoms. The north won’t bend the knee but if the King in the North marries the Queen to become King of the Realm? Maybe that brings the north back into the fold.
- Cersei refers to Qyburn as her Hand in this episode and unless I’m mistaken its the first time she’s ever mentioned this. So the guy is no longer just a maester operating and experimenting for Cersei, he’s her No. 2, which is even scarier considering all the wild shit he’s done over the years.