All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
7.4 The Spoils of War
This is… not a great episode. It has good moments in it, but it’s nothing all too spectacular. Pieces are just moving closer to where they need to be. We open the episode as the Lannister army is leaving High Garden, having ransacked its gold and harvest. Jamie hands over a sack of gold to Bronn with plans to hand the rest over to the Iron Bank to pay off the Lannister Debt. The bank praises Cersei for her lump sum payment. Cersei lets it slip that she’s working with the Golden Company, another group of mercenaries from Essos, to gather even more money to fund her war and recover some lost belongings of hers.
At Winterfell, Littlefinger tries to bond with Bran by gifting him the Valyrian steel dagger that was used in his assassination attempt from Season 1 and pledging himself to the protection of Cat’s children. Indifferent, Bran asks him the history of Littlefinger and he shrugs this off to say where it came from doesn’t matter so much as what it’s presence has done- started the War of the Five Kings, made Bran into a robot, caused all the chaos- and Bran catches onto this, repeating one of Littlefinger’s most famous lines back to him: “Chaos is a ladder.” Before Littlefinger can ask him any more questions about his knowledge of events that he was nowhere near present for, Meera interrupts. Now that Bran has a wheelchair, he doesn’t really need her and she at first uses the excuse that she needs to see her family again. She breaks down when Bran simply says thanks without really caring if she stays or goes. Meera accuses Bran of dying in the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave and he doesn’t deny it.
As the Winterfell theme starts up, Arya finally arrives home. She hasn’t see it in almost seven years and no one recognizes her because you know, puberty. Sansa finds Arya waiting for her in the crypts and they share a sisterly hug- after everything they each been through, they’ve each grown up and matured and all those little spats they had don’t really matter. Arya more than makes up for everything when she acknowledges the abuse Sansa endured from the Lannisters, saying that she was the one who deserved to kill Joff and Sansa hasn’t really caught onto the idea of Arya’s list- yet.
When Arya comes face to face with Bran for the first time since the very first episode, she has the same reaction as Sansa first did- overcome with emotion and then unsettled by what Bran knows about. He knows all about her list and hands over the Valyrian steel dagger. Sansa is immediately suspicious of what Littlefinger’s endgame with the gift is all about.
The three Starks make their way into the keep as everyone stops to take note of them. Brienne gets a tad choked up in an un-Brienne-like moment when Pod tells her that Cat would have been proud.
At Dragonstone, Missandei is all poopy that the Unsullied haven’t sent any news from Casterly Rock because you know, her fascinating backstory of languages and translating doesn’t mean anything next to her feelings for a guy who went down on her. Jon gives Dany a tour of the dragonglass under the castle, including a cave carving from the Children of the Forest- thos spirals we’ve seen North of the Wall, as well as a group of White Walkers and I am pretty sure this is just a deus ex machina for Dany to believe a little bit more of Job’s story and to get the two of them in a cave together. Dany says she’ll fight for the North…
… IF HE BENDS THE KNEE. STOP. HANG ON, I NEED TO RAGE QUIT FOR FIVE.
Dany says it shouldn’t be an issue for the North if the person they elected with their best interests at heart makes the decision for them. She poses the same question that Jon had asked Mance Rayder- isn’t survival more important than pride? It’s a good moment that makes Jon realize that he’s seen people in this position before and he’s seen them fail. You know. I wouldn’t mind this scene so much if she didn’t beat the phrase into the ground so much this season.
Aside from all the BEND THE KNEE bullshit- the theme for Jon and Dany is really spectacular. Let’s continue. Tyrion breaks the news that Casterly Rock has been taken but it’s not with good news- she tells Tyrion that she’s not going to sit around while she has three dragons and watch all of his plans fail as Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the Reach get snatched from her hands. Tyrion insists that she needs to continue against King’s Landing and Dany accuses him of not wanting to hurt his family. I think… this is false. I don’t think they’ve done a good job at all of making Tyrion appear that he has his own agenda. They just make it appear that he’s not in the league of strategizing. Dany letting him lead the plans of attack was a little dim too- he’s a Hand. He knows how people work, not battles. At the end of her rope, Dany asks Jon for advice and he tells her to use the stories about her to inspire and show her in a positive light- to make things happen, rather than for death.
In Winterfell, Brienne is still training Pod when she’s approached by Arya, who asks her to spar as Littlefinger and Sansa observe from above. Arya and Brienne match each other stroke for stroke and finally end in a Mexican Standoff. Sansa’s not quite sure of what to make of this all (let’s be honest, neither do we) and she sulks off as Brienne and Arya eye Littlefinger suspiciously. Like… was the goal of this just to make Sansa realize that her sister was a killer? If they had already begun plotting against Littlefinger, what was she trying to convey to him in this moment? It just doesn’t make sense other than a Brienne and Arya fan service (which I’m fine with).
Davos points out that he’s noticed Jon checking Dany’s “heart” out and Missandei says that similar to how Jon was elected King in the North, Dany’s followers chose to her as their leader and to follow her across the sea to Westeros- but like, that doesn’t speak for the cities she conquered and abandoned. She’s good at taking over, which is what the Dothraki and Unsullied are trained to do. They don’t expect her to excel at the upkeep. Davos and Jon are… kind of pleased to hear this or at least it reaffirms that she’s a good leader (spoiler alert- she’s not), when Jon is distracted by some Greyjoy banners.
Theon has made his way back to Dragonstone and it’s their first meeting since Season 1. If you don’t remember, Theon and Jon never got along and Theon used Jon as a punching bag to make himself feel better about his own father giving him up. Jon puts all of that aside since Theon saved Sansa and it’s possible that she informed him of what Theon’s been through. Theon asks to see Dany, but Dany’s already left to attack the Lannisters.
Jaime has already sent the gold ahead to King’s Landing, but his army is stretched thin from the Blackwater Rush to the city. Randyll Tarly offers to flog the stragglers (how ROOSE of you!) but Jaime refrains because he’s not an asshole. Bronn pauses the casual conversation as something seems off- in the distance, it’s the sound of hooves. The Lannister army sets themselves up and forms lines, only to see a Dothraki horse riding at them across the fields.
Jaime’s not worried and he’s still under the impression that they can hold off the Dothraki- until Drogon flies over the hill and sets some of his men on fire. It’s actually kind of hilarious how everyone has the “Oh shit” dawn across their faces and it got pretty fistpumpy because you do want to see Drogon slap everyone around a bit at this point. It’s something that we’ve all been waiting for to happen. Chaos breaks out and as Bronn rides for the giant scorpion crossbow, Jaime’s XP kicks in as he’s able to fend off several Dothraki on horseback and Dickon Tarly finally joins the party and shows that he’s somewhat capable of being at least a linebacker.
Bronn shoots a Dothraki with the scorpion, which seems like a waste because that thing takes a while to reload and Tyrion watches the carnage from a hilltop as his family’s bannermen are mercilessly scattered and slayed. Drogon makes one final pass at the remaining men, when Bronn’s scorpion bolt hits his shoulder. Dany dismounts and Jaime sees an opportunity where she is on the ground- but just as he gets to her, Drogon turns to torch Jaime’s horse as Jaime is knocked off by (presumably) Bronn. Man, if it didn’t end this way, I would have been so pumped. We finally got a dragon battle in Westeros and it ends in a non-threatening way with no stakes. We know Jaime is not dying any time soon.
On deck, 7.5 Eastwatch!