Game of Thrones: The Spoils of War Review

Well that was suitably epic, and left us with the biggest cliff-hanger since Jon got killed…

This week’s “Game of Thrones” started where The Queens Justice left us, at Highgarden, with the Lannister army marching off with wagon-loads of gold taken from the Tyrells. Bronn reminds Jamie that he still owes him a castle for his service to the Lannister family. But Jamie says that the gold is meant to pay back the Iron Bank for the Seven Kingdoms’ massive debts. Jamie then tasks Bronn with getting all the farmers in the surrounding lands to surrender their grain.

In King’s Landing, Cersei meets with Tycho Nestoris from the Iron Bank, who offers to back her financially now that the kingdom’s debts have been repaid with Tyrell gold, once the money has been handed over of course.

In Winterfell, Littlefinger presents Bran with the dagger that was almost used to kill him years earlier, but Catelyn saved him. (Here’s everything we know about this dagger, for those who want to know; First an unnamed assassin used it to nearly kill Bran. We later learn Joffrey might have hired the assassin. Then Catelyn brought the dagger to King’s Landing, where Littlefinger said he once owned it. Yet Littlefinger claimed he lost it to Tyrion in a bet, something that apparently wasn’t true. Littlefinger reclaimed the dagger after Ned was arrested and has held it until now. The dagger is Valyrian steel, which, of course, is the other substance — along with dragon fire and dragonglass — that can kill White Walkers. A very similar-looking dagger was in the book Samwell was reading earlier this season. So basically, if you’re still confused about the dagger’s importance, that’s perfectly okay — this scene suggests there might be more to learn…). Then Bran just shuts down Littlefinger’s salesmanship by saying, “Chaos is a ladder” — one of Littlefinger’s motivational speech declarations to Varys back in season 3. This worries Littlefinger, as well it should. It’s like Bran just started reciting Lord Baelish’s browser history. If Bran knows that about Littlefinger, what else does he know? You got to feel that Littlefinger can’t be comfortable with a male Stark in Winterfell, though making a move on Bran could finally lead to his downfall.

Meera Reed interrupts, and Baelish leaves. Meera tells Bran that she must leave in order to protect her family from the White Walkers. Bran gives her a simple “Thank you,” which does not sit well with Meera, given the sacrifices she and her brother made to keep Bran safe. But Bran says he is no longer Brandon Stark, but rather the Three-Eyed Raven.

On a hilltop overlooking Winterfell, Arya approaches by horse. She walks through the castle’s gates and is stopped by two guards. They refuse to believe she is Arya Stark, but she will not be denied. They eventually escort her inside out of fear for what will happen if she is who she says she is. Arya sits in the courtyard, drinking in her home for the first time in years. She slips past the guards and goes to wait in the crypts beneath Winterfell for Sansa. They’ve never been the closest family members, but they are both genuinely happy to see each other. It’s downright heartwarming to have Arya look a bit like her old self after her homicidal spree. They have a neat exchange: “It’s a long story; I imagine yours is too” … “Not a very pleasant one” … “Mine neither” … “But our stories aren’t over yet.” Arya mentions her death list to Sansa, who at first thinks she’s joking. Sansa then tells Arya that Bran has also returned.

In the godswood, Arya and Sansa find Bran sitting alone in a newly constructed wheel chair. He knows all about her list of names of people she plans to kill, proving to her that he has developed psychic powers. He then draws the dagger that Baelish gave him and offers it to Arya. All three Stark siblings then return to the castle, where Brienne, Pod, and Baelish observe them.

At Dragonstone, Daernerys still has no word back from the Unsullied who stormed Casterly Rock. Jon Snow asks for a word with her on the beach. She, Jon, and Missandei walk beneath a nearby mountain, where Jon shows them the massive amount of dragon glass within. He then takes Daenerys deeper into the mountain, showing her ancient runes carved into the rock. He says the Children of the Forest made the markings “a very long time ago.” The carvings show the Children and the First Men working together to fight the White Walkers. Jon reminds her that they will need to fight together if they hope to survive. She says she will fight with Jon, but only when he bends the knee. Jon says the North will not accept a Southern ruler, but Daenerys says that they will accept her if he does.

Outside, Tyrion tells Daenerys that although they took Casterly Rock, the victory was hollow after Cersei and Jamie’s deception. Daenerys is furious and questions Tyrion’s strategy against his family. She insists that she will fly her dragons to King’s Landing and burn Cersei out. Tyrion protests, and she instead asks Jon Snow for advice. He tells her that she will lose the love of the people of she uses her dragons to kill innocent people.

In Winterfell, Pod’s training with Brienne continues. Arya watches on and asks Brienne to train with her given her victory over The Hound. Sansa and Baelish look on as Arya and Brienne begin to spar. Arya proves more than a match for Brienne, demonstrating the vast amount of training she has undergone since her days in King’s Landing under Syrio Forel. Afterwards, Arya sees Baelish has been watching all along. He quickly nods to her and moves on.

Back at Dragonstone, Davos and Jon encounter Missandei. She asks him why he bears the surname Snow instead of Stark and he explains that he is a bastard. She then tells them that Daenerys set her free from a life of slavery and that all who came across the sea with Daenerys serve her now out of loyalty and gratitude. They witness a Greyjoy ship approaching, with Theon coming ashore. Jon grabs Theon and tells him the only reason he won’t kill him is the good he did for Sansa with the Boltons. He tells them that Euron has captured Yara and needs help getting her back. They tell him that Daenerys has left.

The Lannister army is back near King’s Landing, with Jamie and Bronn at its head. While speaking with Dickon Tarly, they hear a noise. The army assembles as the noise grows louder. Suddenly, a massive army of Dothraki appear on the horizon. As they draw closer to the front line, Daenerys appears on the back of oDrogon. She burns the Lannister soldiers en masse, leaving the rest for the Dothraki to cut through. Finally, seven seasons in, we really see what a fully grown dragon can do. It’s like dropping napalm on men who are merely carrying large knives. Many productions use computer effects to depict people on fire and rarely looks convincing. Doing it for real is time consuming, costly, and dangerous. Thrones set more stunt people on fire than any Hollywood production in history for this sequence.

In the melee, Bronn is thrown from his horse. He fights his way through the carnage but is cornered by a Dothraki soldier. He uses the massive crossbow Qyburn designed to kill him before prepping it to kill Danerys’ dragon. Tyrion observes the carnage from afar, stunned at the bloody scene before him. Jamie, on horseback, watches as his soldiers burn alive. Bronn takes aim, but misses. Daenerys spots him below and circles around. She and her dragon come in for the kill, but Bronn hits his second shot, wounding the dragon. Nevertheless, Drogon is still strong enough to destroy the crossbow.

The dragon is forced to land due to the injury. Jamie watches as Daenerys pulls the massive crossbow bolt from its hide. He then grabs a nearby lance and rides forward to kill Danereys and her dragon. Someone who appears to be Bronn barely manages to knock Jamie off his horse before the dragon spits fire his way. It looks like Bronn had saved Jaime’s ass once again. Except Jaime is wearing probably 100 pounds of armor plus his fancy Louis Vuitton metal hand. That’s gonna sink. dude!

As for next week…. “Bad things are coming”


  1. Don’t get me wrong I liked it and still recovering from watching it! But it feels like the show has changed. Along with the timeframes speeding up (people and armies moving around the continent at lightning speed) there seems to be a reduction of risk around the main characters. I wasn’t scared that Dany or Jamie would die. I feared for Bronn (and that remains to be seen). In earlier seasons Jamie may well have died at this battle, but now the main characters seem almost too invulnerable because we know the story is not done with them.

    It’s not a new problem for TV shows in general, but it wasn’t quite like this at the start of GoT. Is this a symptom of going beyond the books perhaps?


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