Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 4 “The Spoils of War”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Outside Highgarden: The Lannister army sets up a caravan to head back to King’s Landing, escorting a wagon full of gold plundered from Highgarden. Jaime gives Bronn a satchel of gold coins, presumably in payment for his services in the battle. Bronn is however unimpressed, and says he was promised a castle. Jaime says they don’t have a castle, but Bronn says “that one there will do”, pointing at Highgarden. Jaime tells Bronn that he doesn’t want Highgarden – it’s too difficult to defend, but Bronn seems to think he’ll be fine. Jaime changes tack and says that Bronn can have his pick of castles once the war’s won, but for now his service is still required. Bronn sulks but takes his place in the caravan.

Bronn talks to Randyll Tarly’s son, calling him “Rickon”, which the guy has to correct to “Dickon”. This guy must be Sam’s brother then? Anyway, Dickon is barrel-chested but apparently untested in true battle. He confesses to being disturbed by the battle at Highgarden, particularly the awful smells. Bronn says he got used to that at the age of five.

King’s Landing: The banker from the Iron Bank of Braavos is impressed with Cersei’s ability to pay off the Lannister loan in full, saying he will miss the interest payments. At first I think this must be happening later, after the gold has been delivered, but then he says something about feeling more comfortable once the gold has arrived. Anyway, now rather than threatening to fund Daenerys and her armies from the Iron Bank, he makes an offer to fund more armies for Cersei – which will conveniently put her back into debt with the bank. A true banker if ever I saw one.

So, will Cersei go for this? More forces are always useful. And may come in even more useful following events later in this episode.

Winterfell: Bran has had a wheelchair built for him by the new Maester of Winterfell (whose name I didn’t catch). Petyr Baelish visits him a dagger made of Valyrian steel. He says it is the dagger that was used by a Lannister agent to try and kill Bran – an event I barely remember from way back in season 1, when Bran was recovering from the “accident” that crippled his legs. It was an attempt to silence Bran from telling that he saw Cersei and Jaime having sex, and that Jaime pushed him from the tower. My notes from episodes 3 and 4 of season 1 indicate that it used to be Tyrion’s dagger, but that it was likely stolen by Cersei or Jaime and given to the assassin to frame Tyrion, but I don’t seem to have written anything about the assassination attempt itself.

But it’s not clear to me why Petyr has it now. Or why he’s giving it to Bran, for that matter. He’s up to something, and I don’t like the smell of it. He interrogates Bran about what happened to him during the time he was away from Winterfell – he may be curious about the mysticism of the Three-Eyed Raven maybe? But Bran doesn’t talk much, and tells him that “chaos is a ladder”, which has an instant effect on Petyr, causing him to flinch. I’m not sure why – but I guess this is a line he said to someone else at some point, and Bran is echoing it back to him, demonstrating his psychic powers. Petyr slinks away.

Later Meera arrives to say goodbye to Bran – she wants to return home to her family to assist them against the White Walkers. She appears to have grown fond of Bran and is fishing for some emotional attachment from him, but he seems completely detached and merely says “thank you” for looking after him. She reacts poorly to this, as if expecting more. She leaves with a cruel parting shot, that he’s not Bran Stark any more, Bran died back in the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven.

Outside the gates of Winterfell, a figure approaches. Is this the moment we’ve been waiting for for so long? Yes, it’s Arya! Finally! The reunion with Sansa and Bran has to wait though, as we are treated to a comedic delaying scene at the gate. The guards refuse to let her in, not believing that she is who she says she is; they say Arya Stark is dead. Arya merely looks amused. She asks them to talk to Maester Luwin, or Jon Snow to come confirm her identity. They say Luwin is dead, and Jon is not there. Arya asks who is in charge, and they say the Lady of Winterfell. Arya asks which Lady? They say Sansa Stark. Arya perks up and asks them to tell Sansa that she is here. The guards say Sansa is very busy and they’re not going interrupt her, and deny her entry, telling her in no uncertain terms to go away. She tells them that she will enter the castle one way or another, and that if she’s nobody she’ll be dealt with, but that if she is who she says she is, Sansa will be extremely unhappy with the guards for denying her entry. The guards mull this over for a minute, then reluctantly let her in, telling her to sit and wait and don’t move, while one of them goes to get Lady Sansa. The guards then argue amongst themselves over who will go interrupt Sansa and who will guard this girl. When they eventually settle it, they turn back, and Arya is gone!

Now they have to go tell Sansa that a raving mad girl has stolen into the castle, claiming to be Arya. At first Sansa doesn’t believe it, but when they say she ran off, Sansa says she knows where she’ll be. She heads down to the crypts, and finds Arya standing by Ned’s tomb. She says the statue of their father isn’t a very good likeness. Sansa hugs her. They exchange “Where have you been? What’s happened?” and Sansa says her story is very unpleasant. Arya says hers likewise. Then Sansa says, “You’re not the only one who’s come home.”

Sansa takes Arya to meet Bran, who is out by the weirwood tree, doing whatever meditative things he does now. He’s moderately happy to see Arya. He expresses surprise that she didn’t head to King’s Landing, and Arya says she almost did. Sansa asks why, and Arya says to kill Cersei, who is on her list. Bran gives Arya the Valyrian steel dagger, saying she needs it more than him.

Later Podrick is sparring with Brienne in the courtyard, and she is easily pushing him to the ground, telling him not to do the various mistakes he is making. Arya approaches and says she’d like a try against Brienne. Brienne at first declines, saying one of the men-at-arms can spar with her if she wants. But Arya draws her sword and says she’d like a try against the person who defeated The Hound. Brienne tries to go easy on her at first, but Arya quickly gets her sword tip at Brienne’s throat, holding it to indicate that in a real fight Brienne’s neck would have been slit open. They spar, and each time Arya bests Brienne. Brienne asks who taught Sansa to fight like that, and she replies, “No one.” Sansa looks on, wondering at what her little sister has become.

Dragonstone: Daenerys meets Jon on the beach and he says they have located the dragonglass. He takes her deep into a cave to see it. Carved into the glass are petroglyphs, which he says were made by the Children of the Forest. She is amazed, and asks if that means before the first men. Jon says no, with the first men, and leads her to more rock carvings, showing depictions of humans. And, he says, they fought together against their common enemy, and points to carvings of what are obviously White Walkers – the walking dead. Daenerys is obviously impressed, and says she will help Jon fight the White Walkers… if he bends the knee. Jon still refuses to pledge loyalty to her. She asks what’s more important, his pride, or the safety of his people? They don’t resolve this. It seems that both of them are too proud to give in on this point.

Outside on the beach, Tyrian and Varys bring news of their too-easy victory at Casterly Rock, and the fact that their fleet was devastated by the Iron Fleet, so their soldiers are now stranded, while the Lannisters tok most of their army away to Highgarden. Daenerys is angry, and accuses Tyrion of knowing the Lannisters plans and distracting her from simply flying over to King’s Landing and blasting it with dragon fire. Tyrion tries to recover and says that if Daenerys destroys King’s landing, she’s no different from all the other destructive rulers – she needs to win the people over, not destroy them. Daenerys turns in fury to Jon, asking what he thinks. Jon is a bit taken aback, but agrees with Tyrion.

A bit later an Ironborn ship arrives. It’s the one that picked up Theon, who walks up the beach. Jon recognises him and grabs him by the collar, saying the only reason he won’t kill him right now is that he helped Sansa escape from Ramsay. Theon gives him a “well, fair enough” look, and then says that Euron has Yara, and he needs Daenerys’s help to get her back. But Daenerys has gone…

Outside King’s Landing: Jaime’s caravan is approaching King’s Landing, and the wagon with the gold has been sent ahead to the city. Randyll Tarly says they should get the soldiers over some river before nightfall and starts issuing marching orders. But then a low rumbling noise appears and begins growing in loudness. Randyll and Jaime look around, but see nothing. The noise continues. Jaime realises what it means and orders the men to form up into battle formation, with shield lines protected by spears. He and Randyll desperately organise the soldiers as the sound grows.

And then the Dothraki horde fill the grassy horizon and close for battle. Randyll yells at the Lannister army to hold formation, but some of them look a little nervous, and I wonder if they will break and flee. If they just hold the line, hundreds of Dothraki will impale themselves and their horses on the bristling lines of spears. But then, just before the Dothraki close the distance, Drogon appears flying above them, with Daenerys riding on his back. She gives the order and he breathes fire on the Lannisters, ripping through their defensive line like a hot dragon through butter. The Dothraki pierce the line and swarm into the midst of the Lannister army.

And so the battle goes, Drogon immolating Lannister soldiers and wagons, and Dothraki killing what’s left. Jaime and Bronn look aghast at the destruction. Bronn says they have to use the ballista, but Jaime says he can’t fire it with one hand. Bronn sighs and rides through the battle, taking out a few Dothraki, making his way to the ballista mounted on a wagon. Along the way he runs into trouble, and Dickon appears to help him out, and they exchange a nod of heads to indicate that Bronn appreciates the assistance. Bronn reaches the ballista, loads it, and fires a couple of bolts towards Drogon, who evades them. Daenerys spots the danger and orders Drogon to fly down towards it. Bronn loads another bolt and aims it straight at the dragon – it his him in the shoulder and Drogon goes into a dive, barely controlling his landing. Daenerys hops off and tries to pull the bolt out.

Seeing this, Jaime decides to take action, grabs a lance, and charges on his horse towards Daenerys. Overlooking the scene from a nearby hilltop is Tyrion – presumably he must have flown on a dragon too. He sees his brother charging towards Daenerys and Drogon, and yells, “No! Flee, you fool!” in his best Gandalf impersonation. But he knows Jaime can’t hear him. Jaime closes on Daenerys, barrelling towards her with his lance…

Drogon sees him coming and unleashes another blast of fire – just as Bronn appears on another horse from the side and tackles Jaime off his horse and into the water of the river. The fire misses them, but Bronn and Jamie sink through the waters in their heavy armour… and the episode ends.

Wow. That was some serious action. Daenerys suffered a major setback last episode, and now it’s the turn of Cersei and the Lannister army. The army is ripped to pieces, and no doubt any survivors will be telling tales of how the dragon was unstoppable and killed thousands of soldiers. The Dothraki have won a real battle this time. And Jaime… what will be his fate? The cliffhanger ending seems to speak to him somehow being saved, but it’s hard to see how. Armour is heavy and you can’t swim in it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Daenerys has avoided attacking King’s Landing, but showed no compunction here in destroying a military force. Maybe that will be a way to get the people on her side rather than thinking of her as a tyrant. Oh, and will Drogon be able to shake off his wound, or is he going to need a few more weeks of healing? That could take him out of the action for a while, which will hurt Daenerys’s strike potential. I doubt the wound will be fatal – it’s a muscle wound. Unless it gets infected, but then maybe Sam can come along and heal him. That’d be cool, and an interesting way to get him back into the main storyline.

Well, I can’t wait for the next episode. The action is really hotting up!

And in a sideways bit of revelation, I was skimming through my early write ups of episodes from season 1 when I stumbled across this from Episode 7:

During this conversation Cersei admits the charge and says Robert never loved her at all… he was still in love in with Ned’s sister, who died before Robert could marry her. We’ve heard bits of this story a few times before, in conversations between Robert and Ned.

Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute! Ned’s sister was Lyanna, who we just a few episodes ago we discovered had given birth to Jon Snow, meaning Jon isn’t Ned’s bastard son at all, but the bastard of an unknown father with Ned’s sister. And way back in season 1 we were told that Robert Baratheon loved Ned’s sister – a fact now forgotten in the mists of time.

2 + 2 = …

Jon could very well be the son of Robert Baratheon. Making him… a claimant to the Iron Throne! Oh my.

3 Responses to “Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 4 “The Spoils of War””

  1. Javier says:

    “But it’s not clear to me why Petyr has it now” back on season 1, Catelyn Stark gave it to him when she went to King’s Landing to prevent Ned Stark of the attempt against their son. She was met there by Little Finger (not shown on the episode) and he kept her on a brodel, from where he sent for Ned. Ned almost knocked him out because he thought Petyr was making some kind of sick joke, but Catelyn stopped him. Once in there, the dagger came to scene again and Little Finger kept it.

    “but I guess this is a line he said to someone else at some point” – that’s right, he told it to Varys once at Kings Landing (don’t remember season or episode), it’s a famouse quote from the show associated to Little Finger.

  2. Glen says:

    > I guess this is a line he said to someone else at some point

    Yeah, I referred to it here: http://www.dangermouse.net/blog/2019/01/game-of-thrones-season-5-ep-6-unbowed-unbent-unbroken/ when discussing what Petyr’s game was and I was pointing out that Littlefinger told us what it was (or rather he told Varys; indeed I think Varys obliquely makes reference to it much later). That Bran was able to quote his private conversation would have been a huge shock to Littlefinger.

    Bran’s chair was built by Maester Wolkan; he’s been at Winterfell since the Boltons took possession of it.

    > She leaves with a cruel parting shot, that he’s not Bran Stark any more, Bran died back in the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven.

    That didn’t strike me as cruelty but a combination of pity and shocked bereavement; Bran already said he wasn’t really Bran any more — she was just interpreting what that really meant, that when he became the Three Eyed Raven, the Bran she had known had died. She just hadn’t quite fully realized it before Bran pointed it out.

  3. Lauri T. says:

    Adding to the previous comments, Dickon is indeed Sam’s brother, the son Randyll considers actually worthy of inheriting his lordship and everything that goes with it. He had a brief appearance in the previous season when Sam visited Horn Hill with Gilly and little Sam, albeit played by another actor.

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