S7E4 – “The Spoils of War” – an instant classic

S7E4 – “The Spoils of War” – an instant classic

(By J.Huang / Yellow)
It is now Thursday evening. I am still physically shaking from the rush of watching this instant fan favorite of an episode 96 hours later. I have rediscovered Coldplay’s 2000 album Parachutes. It’s hypnotic melodies have helped me re-center and calm my hands enough to write this episode’s recap. Breathe in, breathe out.
As our shows protagonists begin to reunite, our story lines converge resulting in more effective and concise TV. Now we cookin’!

Winterfell

Arya is back in Winterfell. She is blocked at the gates by extremely incompetent guards who do not recognize her and won’t let her in. A call-back to season 1 when she is stopped at the gates of the Red Keep. Regardless she slips by them and when the guards inform Sansa she knows exactly where her sister can be found. In the catacombs, the two Stark sisters embrace in front of Ned’s statue. Arya notes that the statue does not resemble Ned and that it should have been done by someone who knew his face. Sansa replies that everyone who knew their face is dead. But not the two of them. They both acknowledged that they’ve had long roads back home but their stories aren’t finished yet. Sansa tells Arya that Bran is home, and he’s weird.
Bran reveals that he saw Arya at the crossroads, thought she was going to King’s Landing because Cersei was on her list. Arya realizes that Bran is for real. Sansa realizes that Bran is a freak and Arya is a psychopath. Littlefinger meets with Bran alone and gives him the Catspaw dagger that was used on his attempted murder. A dagger made out of valyrian steel, dragon bone and dragon glass, wayyyy too rich for anyone’s blood. Bran asks Littlefinger about its origin and the creep is unsure of it. In the books, the theory is that Joffrey was the one to hire the assassin and given him the dagger. Bran let’s Littlefinger know that he is onto him with one chilling sentence: “Chaos is a ladder”. Which is a direct call-back to a signature line from Littlefinger back in season 1.

“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” -Petyr Baelish

The exchange is interrupted by, ‘Mother of Drag-ins’, Meera Reed. (Get it?) She tells Bran that she’s leaving and needs to be with her family once the zombie apocalypse hits. Bran calmly replies: Thank You. Which is today’s texting equivalent of: ‘k’. Meera is understandably furious and notes that Jojen, Summer and Hodor died for him! She almost died for him!
Bran reveals that he remembers so much more than just the life that Bran Stark lived. His identity has been diluted. His humanity has been stripped. He is the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran gives Arya the Catspaw dagger as he states that it would be wasted on a cripple.
Arya shows off her acquired fighting skills sparring against Brienne of Tarth. Her style of water dancing and agility acquired from the faceless assassins allows her to counter the technical precise moves of one of the greatest fighters in the land. Were reminded that Brienne beat the Hound in combat. Pound per pound rankings of Westeros has Brienne, Jon and the Mountain ranked in the top 3. After the virtual tie from this training session I’m willing to rank Arya in my top 5.
These Stark children have not been together since season 1 episode 1. They’ve all changed so much but they’re seemingly taking stock of each other’s abilities. It’s clear that their strengths combined allow them to be a formidable force to reckon with. As long as we’ve watched the show the Starks have been on the receiving end of a lot of hardship. It finally looks like their turn to deliver some sweet justice.

Dragonstone

If the incestuous relations between Dany and Jon were just wishful products of our sick imagination, this is no longer the case. Show runners have confirmed that indeed, there is chemistry and romance brewing between aunt and nephew. In this funny sequence, almost resembling a middle school hallway scene we have Ser Davos with his dad jokes, making it clear that Jon was starring at her good heart a bit too long. Missandei dishing out the deets to Dany know about the 7-minutes in heaven with Grey Worm. Jon pulls out one of his great moves, take that girl to the cave!! We all remember what Jon did with his tongue, down there, with Yggrite. He shows Dany the mountain of Dragonglass confirming Sam’s report. But that’s not all, they dig a little bit deeper and find sketches on the wall. The children of the forest and the first men, fighting the white walkers together. This discovery (along with Jon’s devastating good looks) seem to stir something inside Dany and compels her to commit to fight for Jon and fight for the North! One caveat, y’all know them three words: bend the knee. Jon replies that his people would not follow a southern ruler, Dany replies that they will if their chosen leader does. What is more important? Your people’s survival or your pride? This is the very same discussion Jon had with Mance Rayder, North of the wall.
Out of the cave and strolling through the beach, Dany receives news that Highgarden belongs to the Lannisters. She rips into Tyrion who has been fucking it up time after time. She openly asks Jon for his advise, confirming that Jon is now in her circle. Jon talks her out of flying to the Red Keep and burning down Kings Landing. Theon makes his way back to Dragonstone greeted by Jon Snow. The first thing Theon asks about is Sansa. Jon grabs him by the collar and tells him that the only reason he doesn’t kill him is because of what he did for Sansa. These guys haven’t seen each other since season 1 episode 1, back when Theon was a dick and had one.

King’s Landing

Cersei is still chilling with the Iron Banks representative, Tycho Nestoris. He notes that no such large amount has been repaid to the Iron Bank in a single installment. We get confirmation from Randal Tarly that the last of the gold made it safely to King’s Landing. Tycho compliments Cersei on surpassing her father Tywin in his tactics which I’m sure made her orgasm on the spot. Cersei reveals her plan to take over control of the seven kingdoms and retrieve something of hers using outside help. This outside help will come in the form of the infamous Golden Company, a mercenary army known for keeping their contracts. The Loot Train Attack Certainly the worst name for a battle in this show. All begins with Jaime and Bronn talking about the castle that is still owed to him as they navigate the Lannister army through the Reach. More jokes at the Tarly’s heir expense. Rickon is it? Dickon. Not to be confused with Varys, Grey Worm and Theon who are Dickoff.
We’re gifted with two call-backs of wisdom from the late Robert Baratheon. 1. “They never tell you how they all shit themselves. They never put that part in the songs.” Dickon’s first action took place at the Reach and when asked about it by Jaime he replied that he didn’t expect it to smell that way. Bronn quickly adds that direct quote from Robert himself. 2. “Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.” Fuck me! Here come the Dothraki riding on their horses like a mixture of native american tribes and Mongols. Bronn, immediately says let’s get the fuck out and run towards King’s Landing. Jaime ignores Bronn’s and Robert’s wisdom and says we can hold them. Things couldn’t look worst for Jaime when lo and behold, Dany riding Drogon over the Dothraki opens fire on the Lannisters.
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Drogon instantly turns hundreds of men into ashes. The Dothraki are cutting down men like it’s Little Bighorn. Dracarys, bitches!!! In the middle of the carnage Jaime is saved by Dickon. In the face of what can only be explained as Field of Fire 2.0 (Aegon the Conqueror History), Jaime tells Bronn to get on the Scorpion. The Scorpion is the secret weapon that Qyburn had engineered for the dragons; basically a massive cross bow. Bronn almost gets killed by a Dotrhaki just to get to the Scorpion. Once he reveals the massive weapon, he misses the first shot taken at Drogon. Dany goes right at him and I’m screaming: “Drogon, don’t kill Bronn!!”. The second shot hits and we hear this horrible screech as Drogon begins to lose control. “Bronn, don’t kill Drogon!!”
Drogon lands safely, and Dany begins to remove the giant arrow from his shoulder. Was the arrow poisoned? It is called the Scorpion. Not a stretch to believe that Qyburn has engineered a poison for Dragons.
As the camera zooms in on Jaime’s face, we can only imagine what the King Slayer is feeling and thinking. This is taking him back to the fateful event that completely changed his life and the perception everyone has of him. Mad King Aery’s obsessed with burning the whole kingdom to ashes before he stuck a sword on his back. Here is his daughter burning his men with no mercy and there she is on the ground, with her back to him. Jaime is many things, but a coward isn’t one. He charges at Dany and Drogon, spear in hand, riding full speed.
Tyrion has been watching the whole battle from a hill and wistfully orders his brother to run.

“Flee you idiot. You idiot. You fucking idiot.” -Tyrion Lannister

Jon and Dany are both great. But I love Jaime Lannister! And that speaks to the genius of the show. Comedian Bruce Quincey captured my feelings perfectly in one single tweet. “I hope the guy who tried to murder a 10yr old & raped his sis next to their dead son doesn’t die, I like him.”
As Drogon is about to incinerate Jaime out of existence, Bronn flies out of left field and tackles him off the horse into the deepest fucking body of water we have ever seen as the King Slayer sinks weighed down by his armor. Bronn is the most underpaid man in the Westeros. Get that man 10 castles!! Aside from the horrific name, this battle had everything we could ever hope for. A full grown dragon, the size of a boeing 747, unleashed on the field of battle. Two of our main characters who we never believed would cross paths risking their lives head to head. Uncharacteristically, everyone that matters survived!! From this point on, I believe that every character that survives obvious life threatening situations has a specific purpose to fulfill. Three more episodes.

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