Holy crap sticks! Did you guys see that?! I mean… did you guys see that?! Game of Thrones delivered what could very well be their best episode of the season and arguably one of their best episodes ever last night and fandom lost their collective faces. Almost as if they just melted off in a spraying of dragon fire. Yet last night’s episode was more than just a dragon coming out party, in fact, it was a very layered episode that may have set up a number of plot lines moving forward for the rest of the season (which is now only three episodes… I’m not ready).
It seemed that last night’s central theme was inner turmoil as there wasn’t one character who was put in a situation where they didn’t have to endure some inner battle. You can start in the cave of Dragonstone with Jon Snow and Daenerys where you could have cut that sexual tension with some dragonglass. Seriously the deeper Jon and Daenerys went into the cave the deeper the tension got, and I couldn’t help but think of the last time Jon was in a cave with a woman (bow chica bow wow… sorry). There was a point where it seemed that Dany was making her move. After discovering the drawings of the Children of the Forrest and hearing about the White Walkers, Daenerys gets all “I’ll fight with you” and everyone I was watching with went “yes!” only to follow it up a collective groan when Dany uttered the Westeros equivalent of a mood killer, “after you bend the knee.” Damn it Dany! Seriously I don’t know what I want here. I get they’re family but a part of me wants this to happen and another part of me is like “ewwww that’s gross.” I can’t wait for Jon to leave Dragonstone so I don’t have to have this inner debate with myself. Clearly, Dany, as well as Jon Snow and all his “heart” checking, are wrestling with some sort of feelings for each other but neither one of them are willing to bend (a knee or otherwise) because it’ll be perceived as some sort of weakness. But you can read their faces. There’s something there.
Yet Dany had some bigger fish to fry here. She has suffered two major defeats and has lost all of her allies at this point. Upon finding out the results of Castelry Rock, Dany wants to hop on the nearest dragon and lay waste to the Lannister army but Tyrion tries to talk her out of it resulting in Dany cutting him and his advice down. If he was giving good advice they wouldn’t be losing so terribly so she turns to the other royalty on the island… Jon Snow. Jon gives a great speech of how she’s promising to be something different and can be something different but if she drops in on Westeros destroying a whole bunch of peoples homes and food supplies then she’ll be no different, and Dany listens… to a degree. This scene was tremendous in its acting and in Daenerys desperation for victory. Plus it further develops whatever relationship is developing between Jon and Dany.
Although we had to have known that there was no way that Daenerys Stormborn was going to sit idly by while her army is dealt defeat after defeat. This is the Breaker of Chains we’re talking about. The Mother of Dragons. The Sultan of Swat…wait, sorry that’s someone else’s name. Dany takes the council of both Tyrion and Jon and throws her own spin on it. “Okay, so the people of Westeros will hate/fear me if I attack their cities directly but what if I attack the army when they’re in the middle of nowhere?” And that’s exactly what happened, Dany finds the Lannister forces transporting food and supplies miles away from any city and she makes her move, and ooooooh is it glorious. If Olenna Tyrell’s lasting legacy was imploring Dany to be a dragon then it’s not a bad one to leave behind. I am starting to wonder if this is necessarily a good thing. She is the daughter of the Mad King, and is it me, or does it seem that she’s slipping further and further off of the scale? Heeding the advice of resident badass, Olenna Tyrell, could be something that costs Dany the throne as this show has taught us it’s damn near impossible to train a dragon. Sorry adorable children’s movie but you spout lies! We’re getting ahead of ourselves though.
Seriously, the attack on the Loot Train was some of the most incredible action sequences to grace a television screen since “The Battle of the Bastards” or “Hardhome”. This was just ten spectacular minutes of television that cashed in on plenty of fan wants and needs. The beauty of this scene though was not just the dragon ass kicking but the conflict that it caused within its characters. We saw as Tyrion wrestled with the fact that he’s backing a Queen who is killing his people. His brother and best friend were on that battle field and he watched these people die thus making his act as Hand real on a different level. There was Bronn who wrestled with being a sellsword or buying into the war. Seeing him leave his gold behind I think signifies that he’s buying in. We can’t forget Jamie who is looking to wipe away his current legacy and be remembered properly. Does that factor into his decision to charge Daenerys? I would bet on it. But in all this turmoil we can’t forget what we were feeling. This is the first time that we were presented a situation where characters we love were actually fighting each other. Let me break it down this way for you. During the attack on the Loot Train I went from cheering on Bronn and hoping that the Dothraki wouldn’t kill him to wanting him out of the way when he started manning that dragon crossbow. That all happened in the span of two minutes. Probably less. “The Spoils of War” was an episode that thrived on inner conflict for its characters and the audience was not exempt. Suddenly rooting for Dany became a lot harder when you saw Drogon breathing fire at Jamie Lannister. The war is real now.
Speaking of Drogon, my god man! First off, is it me or is Daenerys showing some serious dragon favoritism? I’m sure Rhaegal and Viserion are sitting to the side saying, “hey mom we can burn stuff too”, but Drogon has always been the loose cannon and it makes sense that he would be the dragon Dany uses to wreck shop. The ass whooping that she and the Dothraki lay down is tremendous and try to put this in perspective. She only used one dragon! Just one. Could you imagine if she shows up at Kings Landing with all three? Good night. The throne is yours madam Targaryen. After six and a half seasons we actually got to see what a dragon in battle would be like and it lived up to the hype. With that food supply in ruins, Cersei finds herself in quite a pickle. You also have to imagine that word of this victory is going to spread like, umm, wild fire and that won’t do Cersei any favors either.
The battle did leave us with some questions, chiefly, is Jamie Lannister dead? The episode ends with Jamie taking a heroic charge towards Dany as she tries to pull a spear out of Drogon’s shoulder. We all gasped when the dragon was shot so don’t feel like you were alone. I couldn’t help but think this was a terrible tactical decision by the Mother of Dragons as she literally chooses to pull the spear out in the middle of the battle field. I think this goes to highlight some of her inexperience but we could also make the argument that this was Drogon’s decision not hers. A debate for another day because we need to concern ourselves with what happened to Jamie. Right as he drew in on Dany, Drogon noticed him and went into full protect mom mode, breathing fire at her attacker. Granted someone, Bronn is my guess, tackles Jamie off his horse just in time as the two float to the bottom of that lake. I really don’t think Jamie is dead here as him being hostage would make for better story telling. What with Tyrion owing him a prison break and all. A Lannister always pays their debts.
Wait stay with me, I’ve got a little more but I’m going to break it down in bullet points.
- Arya returned home last night and she continues to get my vote for season seven MVP. She steals every scene she’s in as Maisie Williams is showing that last Emmy nom was no fluke. Arya’s reunion with Sansa was a little tense at first, does no one want to hug Sansa, but eventually thawed. I loved the progression here as Sansa kind of laughed off Arya’s Kill List only to have Bran and Arya’s actions confirm it a little later.
- Speaking of Master of Emotions Bran Stark, he had a very interesting conversation with Litlefinger where he was given the dagger that tried to kill him in season one. Makes for a great gift. Here’s my thing about that though, I know that Joffery was the one who gave the order but is anyone else thinking that it was Littlefinger who told him to do it. Thus thrusting the seven kingdoms into chaos and starting the War of the Five Kings. And speaking of chaos, Bran heard it’s a ladder too Peter, and if he knows that then what else does he know? I suspect Littlefinger will want Bran dead again real soon.
- If it wasn’t for the dragon killing just about everything, scene of the night would have belonged to Arya and Brienne. Watching just how far Arya’s combat skills have come along was fascinating and it was almost a little emotional seeing Brienne see a little bit of herself in the youngest Stark daughter. Think about it, Brienne has lived her entire life thinking she’s some sort of anomaly or freak, and before her is a child who not only is like her but almost her equal in combat. I loved the “no one” answer to the who trained you question. I want more of this. Immediately. Also, there were soooooooo many call backs to the training of Syrio. Just watch the way Arya moves. That’s a water dancer if I ever did see one.
- We actually got to see the Dothraki in action and these guys were poets within the chaos they created. The image of these warriors jumping on top of their horses to shoot arrows has stuck with me all day. Dragons are cool but this could be Dany’s secret weapon.
- I love Davos.
- I miss Tormund.
- Everyone hates Theon, yet no one will kill him.
- Seriously, last night just proved why Game of Thrones is above anything else on television right now. Just a gambit of emotions that left your thrilled and emotionally exhausted by its conclusion.
There you have it Geeklings, for the shortest episode of the season there sure was a great deal to unpack. Seriously, this episode had everything. Let’s turn it over to you guys, what did you think? Were you struggling watching Dany fight the Lannisters? Do you think Daenerys has gained some momentum back? Will Arya stay in Winterfell long enough to see Jon? Could it be possible that Littlefinger is afraid of both Arya and Bran? Can Tyrion stomach the war ahead? Sound off in the comments below. As always if you’d like to talk more Thrones with me, you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. See you guys later in the week with my episode preview but remember, the night is dark and full of terrors so believe in the buddy system.
Images from HBO