It’s not even the last season of the show (let alone the last episode of the penultimate season) and Game of Thrones keeps getting better and better. Last week we saw the long-awaited meeting of Daenerys and Jon Snow. Unfortunately, things did not go as well as Jon had planned in their first awkward encounter. Daenerys did allow Jon to mine for dragon glass in her ancestral home in the hopes of the two forming an alliance. Sansa and Bran reunited in Winterfell. Unfortunately, Bran is now not really Bran and with his Three Eyed Raven powers have become someone else and not really able to know how to relate to his sister (evidenced by the fact that he tells her how beautiful she was on the night she was raped). It looks like it’s the last time we will see the San Snakes of Dorne as Cersei gave Ellaria’s daughter a poison kiss and forced her to watch her die. Lastly, Daenerys’ Unsullied army took Casterly Rock, but the Lannister army wasn’t really there as they took over Highgarden where Jamie came face to face with Olenna Tyrell who gave him the ultimate shade with her dying breath. As we are not almost halfway through the seventh season (why is there only 7 episodes?!?), how did this week of Game of Thrones end up?
The episode opens up at Highgarden where Jamie and the Lannister army are getting ready to clear out after defeating the Tyrells. Jamie now has all the Tyrell gold (hence the title “Spoils of War”), which is good for the Lannisters as they really were in debt to the Iron Bank. As Jamie always says, “a Lannister pays his debts,” except to Bronn. The former Sellsword (Jamie’s bodyguard) has been promised his castle and damn it, he still wants it. He has been in service to the Lannisters pretty much the entire show and although is probably paid handsomely, he was promised a castle and a woman to marry, and that still hasn’t happened yet.
Don’t be surprised if he finally reaches his wit’s end and jumps ship sooner or later. Jamie promises that his debt will be paid, but he first has to settle the score with the Iron Bank. He then tasks Bronn with helping the Tarly’s secure grain from all the local farmers, which he reluctantly does.
At Winterfell, Littlefinger comes to Bran’s quarters and presents him with the same Valyrian Steel dagger that was used by (a presumably Lannister hired sellsword) to kill him seasons ago. Of course, Littlefinger probably has his own sinister reasons for doing so. As he is trying to schmooze up to Bran, he mentions that Bran has been through a lot, especially north of the wall. As Littlefinger mentions the possible “chaos” that Bran has experienced, Bran’s Three Eyed Raven powers kick in and he says “Chaos is a ladder,” which startles Littlefinger.
Luckily for him, Meera comes through the door to talk with Bran. She tells him that she has to leave to protect her family who still lives north of the Wall, and near t he upcoming White Walker army. Bran just gives her a less than casual “thank you.” This doesn’t sit well with Meera and she, her brother, and Hodor have sacrificed much to get Bran in contact with the original Three Eyed Raven. As the two talk, she realizes that he is no longer Bran Stark. The real Bran died in the cave when he met the original Three Eyed Raven.
Arya finds her way to Winterfell for a much-anticipated reunion with her brother Jon. The guards at the gate don’t believe that she is Arya and probably just some normal northern girl seeking refuge. After finding out that Jon’s not there and Sansa is in charge, she demands an audience with her sister. The guard let her in on the condition she stay within their sight, and of course, she quickly escapes. After the guards tell Sansa that someone “claiming” to be her sister is loose, Sansa knows where to find her.
The two reunite for a much-needed hug in the crypt where their father’s buried. The two talk of the long journeys they each have had to make it back home. Sansa doesn’t really believe that Arya is now a badass assassin and laughs off her “list” as a joke. However, when Sansa brings her to Bran, and he confirms Arya’s lists, she knows the truth. The three of them under one roof is sweet. The only sibling missing is Jon (and he’s really a Targaryen), and they will all be whole.
As the three walk through the main area of Winterfell, they are observed by Littlefinger. They are also observed by Brianne and Podrick. Podrick comments that Brianne succeeded her vow to Catelyn Stark. While Brianne doesn’t agree that she succeeded (and she did nothing to get them together). Later on, Brianne and Podrick are doing some sword training when Arya buts in and wants Brianne to train her.
This time we get to see the two face off together. Arya is no joke with her sword fighting. Her fighting is very reminiscent of Syrio from when he was her “dance instructor” way back in season one. Brianne asks Arya who taught her how to fight and she correctly and ironically tells her “no one.” Sansa looks on impressed with her sister.
At Dragonstone, Daenerys is waiting for word back from the Unsullied conquest of Casterly Rock. As she and Missandei are walking when Jon Snow interrupts them to show her something. There Jon takes her into the caves at Dragonstone where not only does she see the dragon glass cache, but then he shows her something else. Deep in the cave, Jon shows her drawing made by the Children of the Forest.
The ancient drawings show a world where they worked alongside the First Men to fight the White Walkers. Jon uses the example of two opposing forces untrusting of each other, uniting to face off against an unstoppable foe. Daenerys knows that the White Walkers are a real thing, but she still wants Jon to bend the knee. Jon reiterates that the people of the North will not accept a Southern ruler after all the pain they endured. Dany tells him they will if he does as he is their leader.
Outside the cave, Tyrion tells them that the Unsullied took over Casterly Rock, but of course, that’s the silver lining as the Tyrell’s are gone. Daenerys accuses Tyrion of being soft on the Lannister’s because it’s his family. Danny is done sitting on the sidelines and wants to use her dragons to storm King’s Landing. Tyrion reiterates his opposition to this plan. Daenerys instead asks Jon what should she do. He agrees with Tyrion and tells her that whatever good will she has earned will be lost the second she becomes a conqueror.
As Jon and Davos later talk with Missandei about Daenerys and how she came to be in her service, Missandei tells of how she was freed from slavery by Daenerys. Davos then tells her that she’s now in service to Daenerys, so is she really free? Missandei thinks so. Before they can go into further philosophical debate about slavery and service, Theon arrives. This is the first time Jon has seen Theon since they were both outcasts at Winterfell.
Since then Theon has betrayed the Stark family and gone on his own adventures. Jon grabs him by the throat and tells him the only reason he isn’t killing him is because he helped Sansa in her time of need from Ramsey. Theon needs their help. Yara is still a prisoner at Kings Landing and he needs Daenerys to help launch a rescue. Jon then tells Theon that Daenerys is not there.
The Lannister army is on their way back to King’s Landing from Highgarden. Jamie and Bronn are at the front talking with Dickon (who Jamie keeps B), when all of a sudden Bronn hears a rumble. As the rumble grows louder, Jamie knows they are being approached. On the horizon, a massive Dothraki army approaches. Jamie tries to wrestle his army up to prepare for the fight, but they are outnumbered by a larger army, a larger army that is rushing towards them on horseback. Bronn even tells him to flee, but Jamie is no coward. Just then, the large roar of a dragon is heard and Jamie for the first time on the show has genuine fear in his eyes.
Daenerys rides Drogon where the dragon immediately roasts the front of the Lannister army and the Dothrakis come to slaughter them. While Bronn and Jamie do their best to fight, they are hopelessly outmatched. Drogon burns their supply lines and continues to turn their soldiers into ash. Little does Daenerys that Jamie did bring the necessary tools to face a dragon just in case. Unable to use the giant crossbow because of his hand, he has Bronn use the weapon against Drogon.
The first spear misses the dragon, but the second lands and severely injures the beast. Tyrion hopeless looks on watching people loyal to his family be slaughtered and for the first time has a concern about their campaign. His concern grows when he sees Jamie charging the dragon head on to try to kill Daenerys as she is trying to pull the spear out. At the last moment, the dragon turns its head and prepares to roast Jamie and he is quickly pushed out-of-the-way and launched into a river. He’ll probably survive.
As stated before, Daenerys had been “winning” too much on Game of Thrones and was due for a loss. The last two episodes, she was getting her comeuppance by the Lannisters and then started to feel like she needs to get her groove back. Boy did she get it back! The last 20 minutes of the episode were beyond epic. This was probably the best episode of this season and might possibly rival the Battle of the Bastards in regard to excitement and scale. If this is the tone that the show is setting going forward, then every episode is going to be excellent. Hopefully, Jon and Daenerys will come to an agreement because seeing those Dragons in action against the White Walker army will be beyond awesome!