The Spoils of War

Spoilers for the seventh season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Quick update: Noticed I’ve been spelling “Valyrian” as “Valerian.” Damn the Thousand Planets!

Holy shit.

That was one damn good episode.

With only seven episodes left, things are wrapping up really fast. We are being pushed in breakneck speed from one scene to another, giving us just enough screen time to let us know what’s up with this character and the next. In the previous episode, Samwell Tarly has, apparently, cured Jorah Mormont of his greyscale disease. I believe this will be the last we will be seeing them until a much later time, maybe even in the season finale, or as far back as the final season next year. There just doesn’t seem anything for them to do anymore at this point. Unless Sam discovers something important and Jorah reaches Dragonstone, where Dany and her army is currently residing.

The lowest point of “The Spoils of War” is the interaction between Cersei and the Iron Bank. Sure, we now know all about the debt being paid in singe installment, and that, the Iron Bank may back out last minute when things go awry.

At Dragonstone, Jon showed Dany the cavern of dragonglass, and we get to see drawings on obsidian, of the First Men and the Children of the Forest, working together to face the Night’s King and his Army of the Dead. At this point I can’t tell if Dany is convinced of the threat far up north, but instead uses this to tell Jon that he should bend the knee. Of course, Jon reasons why he cannot, and to this, Dany points out that isn’t survival more important than pride? Something if I remember right, was something Jon said to Mance Rayder and we all know how he ended up. Whether Dany believes Jon or not remains to be seen yet. Though, at this point I’m incline to believe that Jon has secretly bent the knee, acknowledging Dany as Queen. Why? Because he needs to damn it and he’ll need to smooth things out later with his compatriots waiting for him at Winterfell. In a lightly humored scene where Davos tried to give Jon a proper title, “King Snow” or “King Jon” and the young dragon-wolf hybrid only says, “It doesn’t matter.” Why doesn’t it? Because he’s already pledged to Daenerys Stormborn! I could be totally overthinking this.

Speaking of Winterfell, Arya is finally back home, with a warm enough welcome from Sansa and an odd enough greetings with Bran. I found it impossible not to grin and laugh out loud at to see three Starks in one scene. Littlefinger handed Bran the Valyrian steel dagger that was meant to split his throat in season one, which he passed onto Arya. Sansa tells Bran that Littlefinger wants something out of this. Bran, being the emotionless bastard he is now, says to her that it doesn’t matter. It’s chewy in way. I like to this of this as, “Whatever Littlefinger wants doesn’t matter because he will die soon.” Arya being in the same castle with Littlefinger makes things interesting. Another name to cross off the list? Maybe not yet. I don’t see it happening soon unless some real shit happens.

Talking about Arya a lot, I bet everyone is eager to see more of her in action. She did open this season by unrolling a carpet of blood. So we see her spar with Brienne of Tarth, and we get one of the show’s top fight scenes. It’s also a point that having a secondary weapon is a huge game changer in how Arya will engage in melee combat. Also, I’m certain Bran handed her this Valyrian steel weapon for a reason far more than what she might have expected: Something to fight the Wights with.

There are a lot of reunions in this episode. Theon Greyjoy spots Jon Snow as he reaches shore with the rest of the survivors of Euron’s surprise attack on Yara’s (Asha) fleet on route to Dorne. Some of us might have expected the worst, considering it was because of Theon that Winterfell collapsed into the hands of Ramsay Bolton, and where a series of unprecedented shit took place one after another. But all seems well, in a way, since Theon did help Sansa escape, and Jon, apparently, knows about it after all. When Theon said that he intends to get Dany’s help to rescue Yara, Jon replies that, to me, sounds like they’re in pretty “okay” terms, that she isn’t around.

Where is she? Theon asked. In an earlier engagement, Dany learns that Casterly Rock has been taken, however, news about what really happened just pissed off the Mother of Dragons. This incident, plus the loss of Dorne and the Greyjoy as allies, drives Dany to consider desperate measures. She intends to take the dragons and burn the Red Keep. Tyrio warns her about this. And Dany, turned to Jon Snow, about what she should do, obviously looking for someone to take her side. Jon, says something about melting cities with the dragons will only make Dany look like the tyrant everyone has seen and feared. And now, we set our sights at Highgarden, and the Lannister army preparing to take their leave. Jaime and Bronn, riding off in a sunny afternoon, engaging in puny banters and all the stuff that happens after a big battle, when their battle instincts kicked in.

We learn that Dany’s response to all of her misfortunes, was a big flip of the table, screaming “Fuck this shit!” The Dothraki horde charges toward the Lannisters as they get into formation. Then fire rains down above them, creating a blackened streak on earth filled nothing but ashes.

The intensity of this episode was grand and filled with dreadful moments. You don’t know who to root for. You know that these Lannister people are just doing what their lord (or Queen) commands, who has families of their own – as made evident by Dickon Tarley, Sam’s brother. Not to mention that Jaime and Bronn are at the heart of chaos. Two characters we’ve been following since the first season are put into the most dire situation yet. I honestly believed this was it for Bronn, as much as I didn’t want it to. He fumbled around the battlefield but still did an admirable job at navigating through all this mess of burning bodies while being hounded by a Dothraki.

When Bronn manages to get into Qyburn’s invention, which is the medieval equivalent of an armor-piercing heavy sniper rifle, I was howling in my thoughts that Drogon – one of Dany’s dragons – could be in danger. And I wasn’t far off there. While Drogon survived the attack, the damage was dealt, but without them destroying the weapon, and Bronn making a swift exit. How hurt Drogon is remains to be seen, but as Dany tried to pull off that massive spear of an arrow, Jaime finally gets to see the daughter, whose father he was sworn to protect, in the flesh. He charged his stead forward, picking up a random. He knew what he was doing. As soon as he impaled Dany, that dragon will fucking tear him apart. But he charged anyway. No doubt he was thinking about Cersei and if he died, so did that secret of who really killed Joffrey. A last minute save from, Bronn, I think, tackling Jaime down to a river as the credits began to roll.

I’m glad Jaime and Bronn are alive, in the meantime. It would also be terrible for Tyrion, who was watching the entire battle from afar, to witness his brother’s death. Though I imagine Jaime to stick a little longer. Maybe he’ll die a romantic death, turning Queenslayer to protect Cersei, or maybe Cersei would kill him behind his back, to spare him of witnessing her own demise. It’s all speculation at this point. But if Jaime and Bronn haven’t been swept by the river, they’ll be taken as hostages at most.

Only three more episodes before the season ends and we’ll have another agonizing wait for an entire year to see how things unfold.

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