TV Review: Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 4 "The Spoils of War"

EPISODE 1: The Spoils of War

PLOT: The Lannisters make a move to pay their debt, Daenerys makes a decision to act, a family is reunited


We pick from the Lannister toppling of Highgarden from last episode, the Lannister Army marching out with all the gold they can carry. Bron gives Jaimie shit about him paying his debt to him by giving him a castle and lands, but Jamie assures him he'll have all he wants once the war is won. I never get tired of Bron giving Jaimie (or anyone) shit and I've missed his presence. Like many of the recurring characters on this show, Bron is a personality that helps make the show so great. The distinct characteristics, the attitude, the motives, etc. are ever-present even when he's missing for episodes on end. We see the Lannister Army cracking open cache's of gold and it becomes apparent how the Lannister's intend to pay their debt.

Next we see Cersei meeting with the Iron Bank representative, who is shocked that she wishes to pay off her debt in one payment, losing the interest payments from her. Cersei tells him that her goal is to rule over the entire kingdom and the Iron Bank rep says that she can count on their help...once the gold arrives. But, that contingency alone is enough to let us know it will never be that simple.

We then see Littlefinger sitting with Bran stark at Winterfell. He hands over the assassin's blade that was originally meant to kill Bran stark back in season one. Bran takes it, asking who it originally belonged to. Littlefinger doesn't know (or says he doesn't) while he confesses (again) how much love he had for Catelyn. It's obvious that he is trying to weasel his way into Bran's favor, but Bran is beyond such things. He insists on not being a Lord and that his role is very different now as the Three-Eyed Raven. Then, Meera Reed comes to Bran as Littlefinger exits. He knows she is leaving and is somewhat cold about it. She is hurt, bringing up how her brother and Hodor died for him. Again, he is adament about not being who he was, almost apologetic for it.

"I remember what if felt like to be Brandon Stark. But, I remember so much else now," he tells her. "You died in that cave,"  she says. Perhaps she's right.

At last, we see Arya Stark arive back home to Winterfell. After briefly being hassled about who she is (I mean, she has been believed dead for a long time) by two guards, she is let in and told to wait while they go alert Sansa. She sits and looks around, a calm washing over her. She's finally home. Then, she's gone. The guards tell Sansa, who knows exactly where she is. We next see Arya standing by Ned Stark's tomb in the catacombs where they are finally reunited.
"Do I have to call you Lady Stark?" Arya says aloud without looking. "Yes," says Sansa as she comes out of the shadows, smiling.

They embrace. It's been a long time coming and even I felt like I was seeing a genuine family reunion. This is seven seasons in the making and it's nice to see Winterfell rise from the ashes after all the shit it's been through and with proper Starks in charge again. "They say you killed Joffrey. Did you?" Arya asks Sansa. "I wish I had," she replies. Arya then tells Sansa about her "kill list" and they both have a laugh. They both know it's been a long road to get here and appreciate that it was a long and hard one.

"But, our stories aren't over yet..." says Arya. Sansa agrees. "No, they're not." Damn right, girls. Damn right.

Sansa tells Arya that Bran is also back and they go to visit him at the Weirwood tree. Bran has a wheelchair apparatus now, which makes it a lot easier for him to get around. "I saw you at the crossroads..." he tells Arya. Sansa informs Arya that Bran has "visions". Bran proves this as he already knows about Arya's kill list, which she could never have told him about. Bran pulls out the dagger that Littlefinger gave him and Sansa questions why he gave it to her. Bran offers it to Arya, who doesn't understand why he wouldn't want it. "It's Valerian steel" she says, before accepting it. If anything, this will give Arya a tool to deal some death to the White Walkers when they arrive. She has no idea how much she'll need it.

"Catelyn Stark would be proud. You kept your vow." says Podrick to Brienne as the three Stark children re-enter the castle, a small bit of the family reunited at last. She reluctantly accepts his praise. It's what she really needed to hear, even if she won't ever admit it.

Back at Dragonstone, Jon Snow leads Daenerys to a cave that has a massive amount of dragonglass inside of it. He wants her to see it before he starts mining it. She is amazed at what she's seeing as she's never even given it a second thought. However, it resonates with her deeply. Jon takes her deeper into the cave where there are drawings made by the Children of the Forest. It's a historically significant moment, one that shows how the Children of the Forest and Man fought against the White Walkers, who are also drawn on the walls. "The enemy is real. it's always been real." he says to her. It's Jon's move to help convince her to join his cause and it's a strong one.

"And you say you can't defeat them without my armies and my dragons?" says Daenerys. "No, I don't think I can," he replies.

"I will fight for you. I will fight for the North. When you bend the knee."

"My people won't accept a Southern ruler," he says. But, Daenerys makes a valid point; they will accept it if he does. She calls into question his pride being in his way and maybe it is, but I think it's more than that. I think it's more about Jon's unflinching integrity to his people, something he's always had. Something that's been both his defining strength and frustrating downfall. He is a man of true righteousness. Can this world keep him that way? Can he even exist in a world like this to be a ripe old age?

Next, we see Tyrion and Varys deliver the news about the capture of Casterly Rock, which isn't quite the victory they counted on. Things have gotten dire for Daenerys and quickly. Greyjoy army captured and defeated, her Unsullied trapped at Casterly Rock and now unsure of what to do next. She gives Tyrion a lashing for his bad council, calling into questions his ties to the Lannisters. She turns to Jon and asks what to do, both desperate for help and seeing an opportunity to utilize his unflinching honesty.

"My enemies are in the Red Keep," she says. Why shouldn't she just go and attack them now? She turns to Jon Snow. "I'm at war. I'm losing. What do you think I should do?" Jon reluctantly advises her and you can't deny what he has to say. "The people that follow you believe you can make the impossible happen," he says, building to the case that if she doesn't stay true to that, then she quickly becomes the thing she hates the most. "But, if you use them to melt cities and burn castles, you're no different. You're just more of the same."

Next, we see Brienne training Podrick at Winterfell, advising him as she beats he ass. Arya enters the court, as sly smile on her face. She's intrigued. "It's been a while since I trained," she tells Brienne. Brienne offers to get the master of arms to work with her, but Arya wants to train with the woman who beat The Hound. Makes perfect sense as Arya was there to witness it. They begin to spar, Brienne using a training sword and Arya using Needle. Arya is lithe and spritely, while Brienne is all brute force and power. Arya seems to best her, but Brienne gets her licks in two, before they end on a stalemate. It's an impressive show of two different fighting styles, both equally deadly.

"Who taught you how to do that?" Brienne asks, impressed. "No one," replies Arya. Ha! Fucking perfect. Sansa and Littlefinger look on, not sure what to make of the new Arya and her skills. Who have the Starks become in their absence from home? Sansa now a reliable ruler, Jon Snow the King in the North, Bran the Three-Eyed Raven and Arya a formidable assassin. These aren't the same children we met in season one. What a long, bloody road they've all traveled to get here. They certainly won't be bested again in the way they were before.

Back at Dragonstone, Jon and Sir Davos walk the steps, talking about Daenerys, Davos even suggesting that there's some attraction there. They run into Missandre, who asks about Jon's lineage, namely his surname of Snow. Jon is always quick to reply that he's "just a bastard". Man, it'll be nice to see that revea of who he really is. They ask how Missandre become an advisor to Daenerys, who says that she believes in her. "She's not our queen because she's the daughter of some king we didn't know. She's the queen we chose." This serves to butter Jon up some more to Daenerys side of things.

They are interrupted by an incoming boat. One that carries Theon Greyjoy and a few men. Jon approaches, angrily. Theon, the ultimate betrayer of his family. Jon grabs Theon as he asks if Sansa is all right. "What you did for her is the only reason I'm not killing you," he says. Theon has made no shortage of enemies, even out of his allies and the list just keeps on growing. Will he ever find redemption? Should he?

Next up, we see the Lannister Army rallying in a field, preparing to take their Highgarden gold and crops back to King's Landing. However, in the midst of perparations they hear something; hooves. They quickly form a line and ready for battle. But, they aren't ready for this one. Not by a longshot. It's Daenerys with her army of Dothraki...and a dragon, surrounding the Army and charging to fight. The first real battle between Daenerys' army and the Lannister's has begun. Bron tells Jaimie to return to King's Landing, just as the dragon flames set in. Nice try. Jamie is a lot of things, but a coward isn't one of them. The Dothraki charge in and these boys are obviously hungry for a fight, slicing and dicing through the Lannister army as Drogon burns through them like dusting crops. Man, what a sight! Definitely something we've been waiting to see for a long time, ever since Danerys stepped out of the fire nude and alive with three little baby dragons on her shoulders in season one.

Jamie orders Bron to find the shooting spear mechanism to take out the dragon and he rushes into the flames of the battlefield to do so, dothraki soldiers chasing him down. He eventually drops his gold, leaving him again with nothing (a symbolic gesture of how Bron really doesn't give a shit about the money he pretends to do this all for). However, he makes his way to the mechanism and, after testing it's might on a Dothraki, readies another spear to take aim at the dragon. Meanwhile, Tyrion stands with a Dothraki commander, watching the battle go down, Lannisters burning and dying. Jamie stands helpless, watching them die, burning to dust.

Bron takes a shot at the dragon, but misses. However, his second shot hits, wounding the dragon, but only slightly so, before he burns the device down. Daenerys dismounts and pulls the spear out of Drogon, struggling to do so. Jamie sees this and decides it's his chance. He grabs a spear and charges at Daenerys, her back to him. Tyrion watches as it happens. "Flee you fool," he says under his breath. Jamie is almost to her and almost has her, but Drogon enters the frame just in time. It's over for Jamie, until...Bron tackles him, knocking him into the water as Drogon burns his horse. The last thing we see is Jaimie, underwater, floating slowly downwards.

Wow, what an episode! While there weren't any "big" deaths (that are confirmed anyway), it's a significant step forward in Daenerys war, as well as her plight in finding the right approach to winning it. The relationship between her and Jon is slowly growing and developing, yet still hinging on a balance. They are both so damn strongheaded that it will take a lot to get one or the other to give in. Perhaps neither ever will? Another standout moment from this episode was Arya's sparring with Brienne, showing that she's not the same girl she was when last they met and her acquiring that Valerian steel dagger is no minor thing. We'll see that come into play very soon, I have no doubt.

Another aspect that I dug about this episode was that it gave some crisis to both Tyrion and Jaimie, respectively. Tyrion's advisements to Daenerys have been a bit of a disaster and she calls him out, suggesting that maybe he's doing it purposely. Watching his countrymen burn on the battlefield, Tyrion again is confronted with the realities of his own lineage and it's the first time that we see some confliction in his heart. Seeing Jaimie charge on the battlefield was another big moment for Tyrion, again seeing the stakes of his new role. For Jaimie, we see that he is still and forever a courageous soldier, regardless of both his personal choices and afflictions. It's both heroic and tragic at once, but I have a suspicion we haven't seen the last of him just yet. We'll surely find out next week. With three episodes to go for this season, I'm already getting those pangs of the hourglass running out and anxious that there won't be enough time to fully tell this season's tale. It's what I love and hate about the show, but it's also a testament to it overall; I simply cannot wait to see what happens next.


VIOLENCE: Dothraki army decimating the Lannisters with bloody slicing and dicing; Lannister army getting charcoaled by Drogon and literally turned to dust.

BEST SCENE: Some great moves on the chess board again this week, but it's hard to see anything but that final sequence as the best. So much going on amidst the destruction and a good cliffhanger that has us all guessing the actual outcome.



Source: JoBlo.com



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