Title: Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4: “The Spoils of War”
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Drama
Platform: TV – HBO
Director: Matt Shakman
Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Release: August 6, 2017
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington
Feature image: Source
Queen of Thorns gives you one last prick in the balls before saying goodbye?” Bronn – Game of Thrones
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) looks at the gold that the Lannister army took from Highgarden. He throws Bronn’s (Jerome Flynn) payment to him. Bronn: “You’ve just won the biggest prize in the world. What could you possibly have to be upset about? Come on, you can tell me. Queen of Thorns give you one last prick in the balls before saying goodbye?” Bronn wants more, a castle; Highgarden would do. Jaime can’t believe it. Jaime advises him against it, Daenerys could retake it. Having many possessions can weigh you down. Bronn: “All your new riches weighing you down?” Jaime looks at the gold and informs Bronn, “It all belongs to the Iron Bank.” Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) and his son Dickon (Tom Hopper) ride up. Jaime sends Bronn with them to force the farmers to hand over their crops.
“I am neither kind nor a lord, Your Grace. I am merely an instrument of the institution I represent.” Tycho Nestoris – Game of Thrones
Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) congratulates Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) for paying her debt so quickly; even her father wouldn’t have done it so quickly. Cersei: “You’re too kind My Lord.” Tycho: “I am neither kind nor a lord, Your Grace. I am merely an instrument of the institution I represent.” He wants to know when the gold arrives. She tells him that Jaime is bringing it. Tycho: “Some at the Iron Bank will be disappointed. They’ve grown rather fond of your interest payments.” Cersei: “We must devise a way to raise their spirits.” Tycho wants to know if she has another venture they can help her attain. Cersei wants to regain control of the continent and its people. Her hand, Qyburn is making overtures to the Golden Company. Tycho approves, the Iron Bank has used their services to collect from delinquent borrowers. He assures Cersei she can depend on the Iron Bank, as soon as they get their gold.
“Chaos is a ladder.” Bran Stark – Game of Thrones
Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen) presents a dagger to Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) aka The Three-Eyed-Raven. “This is for you,” he whispers. “The last man who wielded it meant to cut your throat, but your mother fought him off.” “Do you know who this belonged to?” Bran asks Littlefinger. “That very question was what started the War of the Five Kings,” Littlefinger whispers. Littlefinger continues, “I imagine you’ve seen things most men wouldn’t believe. To go through all of that, make your way home again only to find such chaos…” Bran interrupts Littlefinger’s spiel, “Chaos is a ladder.” Littlefinger’s customary smirk changes to a look of confusion and panic. He is relieved when Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) enters the room. He leaves quickly. She asks Bran about his wheelchair. They build it for him so he can get around easier. Meera tells him she is going to leave to rejoin her family before the White Walkers arrive. Bran gives her a nonchalant “Thank you.” She asks if that is all. Her brother, Hordo, and his direwolf Summer died for him. She almost died for him, is that all he has to say. “I’m not Bran, not really anymore; I remember what it felt like to be Brandon Stark. But I remember so much else now,” he mechanically responds. “You died in that cave,” Meera heartbrokenly responds.
“But our stories aren’t over yet.” Arya Stark – Game of Thrones
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is on her horse on a hill looking down at Winterfell. When she arrives at the gate, the two guards on duty won’t let her enter. She tells them she is Arya Stark, but they don’t believe her since everyone thinks Arya is dead. After naming some people who used to be at Winterfell, and namechecking Jon, she asks who is in charge while Jon is at Dragonstone; they tell her the Lady of Winterfell. Arya: “Tell Sansa her sister’s home.” Guard 1: “Lady Sansa is too busy to waste her breath on you. Just like us, so for the last time, fuck off.” Arya: “I’m getting into this castle one way or another. If I’m not who I say I am, I won’t last long. If I am and Sansa finds out you turned me away…” To be on the safe side they let Arya in and tell her to sit. While they argue who should tell Sansa about Arya, Arya looks around the old courtyard; it looks both different and familiar to her. When the guards get through arguing and turn around; Arya has disappeared. They go to Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) to tell her an imposter showed up claiming to be Arya and she is missing. As they name the people Arya named, Sansa realizes it is Arya, and she knows where to find her. She goes to the family crypt. Arya is looking at Ned Stark’s stature. Arya spots Sansa, “Do I have to call you Lady Stark?” Sansa, “Yes.” Sansa gives Arya a warm hug, but Arya holds back a little. Sansa: “You shouldn’t have run from the guards.” Arya replies, “I didn’t run. You need better guards.” “It doesn’t look like him,” Arya comments on Ned’s statue. She thinks they should have had someone who knew him do the statue. Sansa responds, “Everyone who knew his face is dead.” Arya: “We’re not.” Arya initiates the hug this time, and really hugs her sister this time. She tells Sansa she heard Sansa killed Joffrey and asks if it is true. Sansa tells her she didn’t kill him but wishes she had. Arya mentions her kill list, there is a moment of uncomfortable silence, and then Sansa laughs, she thinks Arya is joking, and Arya goes along with the ‘joke’. Sansa: “How did you get back to Winterfell?” Arya: “It’s a long story; I imagine yours is too” … Sansa: “Not a very pleasant one” …Arya: “Mine neither … But our stories aren’t over yet.” Sansa tells Arya that Bran is home, but her expression gives Arya a hint that all isn’t well.
Bran is at the heart tree looking into space. Arya and Sansa walk over to him. “I saw you at the crossroads,” he says to Arya. She looks confused, Sansa helpfully explains, “Bran has . . . visions.” “I thought you’d go back to King’s Landing,” Bran says. “Cersei’s on her list of names.” Sansa looks concerned; she realizes the kill list wasn’t a joke. Bran shows his new dagger to his sisters. Arya asks where he got it. He tells them Littlefinger gave it to him. Arya is surprised Littlefinger is there. Sansa tells her he pledged his allegiance to Jon. Arya points out this is Valyrian Steel. Sansa wants to know why he gave it to Bran; Littlefield isn’t a generous man. They discuss how this was the weapon the assassin tried to use to kill Bran. Arya wonders how a lowlife could have such an expensive weapon. Bran says that someone wealthy sent him. Bran announces he doesn’t want it and gives the dagger to Arya. After this unpleasant discussion, the sisters wheel their brother back to the courtyard. For once, the three of them appear happy. Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) see them. It moves Brienne to see the siblings reunited. Podrick: “Catelyn Stark would be proud. You kept your vow.” Brienne doesn’t see it that way, “I did next to nothing.” Podrick: “You’re too hard on yourself My Lady.” “I’m not a lady,” Brienne catches herself, “Thank you Podrick.”
“Who taught you how to do that?” “No one.” Brienne of Tarth and Arya Stark – Game of Thrones
Later that day, Brienne and Podrick are sparing, or to be accurate, Brienne is kicking his arse. Brienne is explaining what he is doing wrong and Arya chimes in, “And don’t fight someone like her in the first place.” Arya would like Brienne to train her. Brienne doesn’t want to but Arya reminds her that she pledged to serve both Stark daughters. Littlefield and Sansa are discussing Winterfell business when they see Arya and Brienne preparing to spar. Brienne tells Arya her sword is too small, Arya playfully promises not to cut her. They begin to spar. Brienne is holding back, but she soon learns that Arya is quite skillful. Brienne gets tired of this and kicks her. Now they will spar for real. It is fun watching these two warriors go all out against each other. The fight ends in a draw. Both women look pleased with the competition. Brienne: “Who taught you how to do that?” Arya: “No one.” Arya looks up to see what Sansa thought, but Sansa had hurried away after the bout. She didn’t look happy watching them. Littlefinger gives his customary smirk and a subtle nod.
“Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?” Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) are enjoying some girl talk about Grey Worm and Missandei, when Jon ‘Buzzkill’ Snow (Kit Harington) interrupts them. He takes them to a cave where Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is waiting for them. They look at all of the dragonglass surrounding the cave; it looks pretty. Jon: “There is something else I want to show you My Grace.” They go deeper into the cave alone. They see primitive pictures made by the Children of the Forest. Daenerys assumes they made these before humans showed up. “They were here together, the Children and the First Men,” he says. He takes her arm quietly. “They fought together against a common enemy, despite their differences, despite their suspicions, together,” he whispers. She asks Jon does he need her armies and dragons to defeat the Night Walkers, he confirms he does. She asks can he defeat them without her help, he confirms he can’t do it without her. “I will fight for you. I will fight for the North,” she tells him. “When you bend the knee,” she says. Jon tries to explain that his people won’t accept a southern ruler after what they have been through with other southern rulers. Daenerys counters that they chose him to be King because they trust him, and they will do it if he does. Daenerys: “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?”
“If you use dragons to melt castles and burn cities, you’re not different; you’re just more of the same.” Jon Snow – Game of Thrones
When they leave the cave, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) greet them. She can tell something is wrong. Tyrion begins with the good news; they took Casterly Rock, then the bad news, everything else. Daenerys is furious, she has lost part of her fleet, key allies, the unsullied are stuck in Casterly Rock and Cersei snatched the Reach along with its food supply, so she can’t feed her army. Tyrion tries to calm her down; he underestimated their enemies. She turns on him angrily and says, “Perhaps you don’t want to hurt them after all.” She is tired of his clever plans, she has three dragons and she plans to use them, she plans to head to the Red Keep to burn it down. Tyrion tries to talk her out of it. Daenerys turns to Jon to ask him what he thinks. He doesn’t want to get involved. She pleads to him, “I’m at war, I’m losing.” Jon thinks for a moment and tells her that he never thought that dragons would comeback but she brought them back. Because of that, people think she can do the impossible and be a different leader and improve their lives. He warns her, “If you use dragons to melt castles and burn cities, you’re not different; you’re just more of the same.” Daenerys thinks about what he said.
“Yes, I see you were staring at her good heart.” Davos Seaworth – Game of Thrones
Later that day, Jon and Davos are walking along the castle, alone. Davos: “What did you think?” Jon: “Of who?” Davos: “I think you know of whom I speak.” Jon: “She has a good heart.” Davos: “Yes, I see you were staring at her good heart.” Jon says he doesn’t have time for that. He starts droning that he has looked into the eyes of the Night King. He asks Davos, “How many men do we have in the North to fight? 10,000? Less?” Davos corrects him, “Fewer.” Jon doesn’t get the grammar joke. They run into Missandei. She asks Jon why his last name is different from his father, Ned Stark. They explain he is a bastard. In her homeland, they don’t have marriages, so there is no concept of bastards. Davos thinks that is liberating. Jon asks why she left home. She answers slavers. Davos asks her how a slave girl could end up advising Daenerys. Missandei explains their relationship. She and the rest of the crew from Essos believes in her. Missandei: “She’s not our queen because she’s the daughter of some king we never knew. She’s the queen we chose.” Davos is impressed and jokes with Jon, “Will you forgive me if I switched sides?” A bell rings, a ship is approaching, and it is a single remaining ship from the Greyjoy fleet. A small boat lands on shore with Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) aboard it. He sees Jon and grows worried. He shakily greets Jon and asks, “Sansa—is she all right?” Jon grabs him roughly and says, “What you did for her is the only reason I’m not killing you.” Theon tells them he has come back to ask Daenerys help in getting back Yara. Jon: “She’s gone.” Theon: “Where did she go?”
“Didn’t they teach you that at fancy lad school?” Bronn – Game of Thrones
The Reach: “The Loot Train Attack”
Randyll rides up to Jaime and tells him that the gold has made it to King’s Landing. They have some stragglers along the ranks and he’d like to flog them to get them back in the formation. Jaime: “Let’s give them fair warning first. These men fought well at Highgarden.” Randyll looks disappointed; he was looking forward to a good flogging. Jaime and Bronn ride upon Dickon. Dickon: “Ser Jaime” Jaime: “Rickon” Dickon: “Dickon” Bronn laughs. They ask Dickon about the action at Highgarden. It turns out it was his first battle. He tells them it was glorious. They tell him his father isn’t around and he can tell them what he really feels. Dickon knew some of the Tyrell soldiers; they used to go hunting together. Jaime says they were good men who shouldn’t have died, but Lady Olenna betrayed her Queen to side with Daenerys. The smell surprised Dickon. Bronn explains to him that when men die, they ‘shit’ on themselves. Bronn: “Didn’t they teach you that at fancy lad school?” He learned that when he was five. Bronn hears trouble, the distant rumbling of hoof beats. Jaime and Randyll order their troops to get in formation and form a line. Soon they can hear the shrieking of the Dothraki soldiers. Bronn tells Jaime to get back to King’s Landing. Jaime won’t abandon his army. Bronn: “Those fuckers are about to swamp us.”
“Flee, you idiot…you idiot, you fucking idiot.” Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones
They hear and then see Drogon. Daenerys is riding him into combat and she screams, “Dracarys!” Drogon hits the Lannister army with a blast of dragon fire. The Dothraki ride through the flames to attack. The Dothraki hop on top of their horses to shoot arrows. The Lannister army tries to shoot down Drogon with their arrows, it has no effect on him, and he answers them with more dragon fire. Jaime sends Bronn to try to shoot down Drogon with the scorpion. Jaime is nearly killed by a Dothraki soldier but Dickon saves him (I bet he’ll remember his name now). A Dothraki horseman cuts Bronn’s horse leg off, forcing Bronn to hit the ground. He keeps heading towards the scorpion with the Dothraki in hot pursuit. Chaos surrounds Bronn, and he has several near escapes. Bronn gets to the scorpion and shoots his pursuing Dothraki with it. He now aims the giant crossbow at Drogon. Tyrion is on a hill with several Dothraki bodyguards looking at the carnage down below. One of the Dothraki soldiers says to him, “Your people can’t fight.” Tyrion looks at the Lannister army he once commanded at Blackwater, running around in flames. Jaime helplessly looks at his army destroyed by Drogon and the Dothraki troops. Bronn gets two shoots off, one whizzes by Daenerys, but the second one hits Drogon in his wing. He screams in pain and they start falling to the earth. Before Bronn can celebrate too much, Drogon stops falling and destroys the scorpion. Bronn jumps off it just before Drogon torches it. He lands and Daenerys gets off him and tries to remove the arrow. Jaime sees her next to her dragon, and he spots a lance. Tyrion is watching him and knows what his is going to do. Tyrion: “Flee, you idiot…you idiot, you fucking idiot.” Jaime grabs the lance and charges. Before he can get to Daenerys, Drogon turns around and shoots a stream of fire at Jaime. Bronn comes to the rescue and knocks Jaime off his horse before the flames reach them. They fall into the river, and with his heavy armor, Jaime starts sinking to the bottom.
It all finally went down. The Mother of Dragons and her Dothraki army properly introduced themselves to Westeros. They were able to destroy the Lannister army in an afternoon. This was the first time we’ve seen The Dothraki horsemen in a major battle, and they were as good as advertised. I especially loved when they jumped up on their horses to shoot an arrow. Drogon was awesome and terrifying. This happened because of the excellent stunt work, special effects, and editing the Games of Thrones crew did. Nikolaj Coster –Waldau, Jerome Flynn and the rest of the actors in the battle scene did not allow the grand splendor of the action around them drown out their splendid performances. The big cliffhanger was whether Jaime is dead. Hell No! Jaime is too important to other storylines to let him die like this, even before this season is over. Jaime for now has plot armor to keep him alive. Here is an interesting video from HBO explaining how they did the Loot Train Attack.
In Winterfell we witnessed our most touching reunion, Arya and Sansa. It was tentative and complicated but easily pulled our heartstrings. It helps that Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner are good friends on and off the set. Their warm feelings for each other carried over into the scene. What was also heartwarming was seeing Arya and Brienne spar. What a fun and exciting scene. We along with Podrick, Sansa, and Baelish got to see how impressive Arya’s fighting skills are. Many online have wondered why Sansa looked upset during the bout and walked out immediately after the fight. I don’t think she was jealous of her sister’s skills, I think she was concerned. She knows that Arya has a kill list and now knows Arya has the skills to implement it. Sansa doesn’t actually know half the skills Arya possesses. No big sister would feel comfortable seeing her younger sibling take such a dark path. It is one more thing the Stark sisters will have to work through together.
Jon and Dany are tentatively trying to work out an alliance with each other. They both have valid perspectives. Jon needs her assistance to defeat the army of the dead. He knows that it would be hard for the people of the north to accept Targaryen rule again. Though Dany is a good person, her Targaryen side peaks out, she seemed completely happy torching the Lannister army. Dany is trying to take what she rightfully believes is her kingdom. She wants everyone in Westeros to bend the knee to her. She’ll help Jon defeat the Night King and his army, but she’ll only defend the north if it is her north to defend. This is their tension, along with being two young, very attractive people, who might like to be making love, not war now. I would be all for them hooking up except for the small matter that they are aunt and nephew. Maybe once Dany really gets how big the threat is, she will help Jon and the north, and maybe helping them will make the north be willing to have her as their Queen. We will see.
Great episode, the best of the season, and in my top 5 for the series. A little extra bonus, here’s a clip of Leslie Jones and Seth Meyers discussing this episode, with a surprise guest appearance.