A review of The Spoils of War
Holy Dragon fire! That was something else!
In yet another packed episode, we see Starks reunite with Starks, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillan) once again fail to win over a potentially powerful ally and Drogon literally decimate the Lannister army. Ever wondered what would happen when Bronn (Jerome Flynn) finally saw a dragon, or had to fight the Dothraki? Well, we are presented it here. And a hell of a lot of charred bodies.
But the battle closes the episode, so let’s re-wind a little to Winterfell, where we see the return of yet another Stark child – Arya (Maisie Williams). Poor Sansa (Sophie Turner) went through hell following the death of her father, but she seems to be the most mentally stable of the lot! Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is a complete weirdo and Arya – Arya is a bad-ass. She just is obsessed with killing a lot of people.
In a scene that was begging to happen, Arya reunites with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), last seen beating the Hound (Rory McCann) in single combat – albeit a weakened Hound. They spar – and it’s glorious. Arya learned a lot whilst she was faffing about in Braavos, most specifically how to take down someone who is literally three times her size. At first, Brienne humours her, before getting just a little annoyed when Arya gets quite a few good licks in. The two, it seems, are evenly matched. And it’s just a testament to how far Arya has come as a fighter, and how much she was prepared to do to get that good. Wherever the show is going with this, I really hope it’s not a let-down.
But if Arya is doing well, in all honesty I have no idea how Bran is doing. It looks like the R + L = J revelation that he received last year was not the only thing he’s seen. It seems that he saw everything that has ever happened – including all the shady crap that Littlefinger continuously gets up to. There Littlefinger stands, giving Bran the dagger that a cut throat tried to kill him with when he was lying in his bed helpless, way back in Season 1. A weapon that, coincidentally, was Littlefinger’s in the first place (and also made out of dragon glass). I’m not entirely sure what Littlefinger intended by doing this – why would Bran want the weapon that almost killed him? In any case, the gesture falls flat.
Bran simply quotes a little speech Littlefinger made to Varys (Conleth Hill) in Season 3, in which he happily outlined that only the ladder to success mattered, not the people that were on it. In short, Bran knows Littlefinger isn’t trying to help him – he’s purely out for himself. And what’s more – Bran really doesn’t care. Hell, the kid can barely give poor Meera (Ellie Kendrick) a proper goodbye – the girl who’s stuck with him to the Wall and back. Bran knows all about what Arya has been up to, he knows the truth about Jon, and he even admitted he knows what happened to Sansa, and he’s simply sitting in his wheelchair watching the world go by. Bran is really creeping me out. But at least he’s the one person who won’t be swayed by Littlefinger. Or anyone.
Talking of people who won’t be swayed…
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) seems to be warming to Jon (Kit Harrington), allowing him to give her a full history lesson on how the First Men and the Children of the Forest banded together to defeat the White Walkers way back when. However, despite the fact that he keeps banging on about that dratted Night King (Vladimir Furdik), she’s still insistent he bend the knee. Something, it appears, Jon is considering. To be fair to him, he’s in a bit of an impossible situation. He has the North following him, but they won’t bow to a Southern ruler – thanks to the actions of the Lannisters. He needs Daenerys if he’s going to beat the Ice Demons. Maybe bending the knee isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Funny thing about Jon – he never has any confidence in himself, yet always seems to say the right thing. Dany is, understandably, getting a little fed up with all of her allies getting taken from her in the space of 3 episodes. Bad news in regards to the Unsullied unfortunately doesn’t do much in the way of cheering her up. She’s therefore ready to take her dragons and assault King’s Landing, burning Cersei (Lena Headey) out of there. It takes Jon to remind her that people might not take too kindly to being burned alive whilst they sit having their tea. Jon, who is continuously underestimated. These two really are going to have quite the interactions. If they don’t go their separate ways for another Season and a half.
For Dany takes off pretty much straight away. And this is where things get intense.
So, there’s Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn, carting loads of Tyrell gold back to King’s Landing so the Iron Bank of Braavos will continue to support the Lannisters. There’s the ever lovely Randyll Tarley (James Faulkner), banging on about slow soldiers and how flogging them will, somehow, help them to go faster. And then Bronn hears some rather strange noises on the air. And all hell, literally, breaks loose.
Is there any point saying this entire sequence is just sublime? From Drogon literally decimating the supply train, to the Dothraki slicing through the Lannister forces, to Jaime and Bronn’s look of pure horror as they see a dragon for the first time, to Daenerys calmly looking down at the soldiers below and saying her trademark line, “Dracarys…” all of it is just entertaining as hell.
The most fantastic part of the whole thing was the grim realisation that, as the audience, you don’t actually want anyone here to die (with the exception of Randyll – that guy can burn in the Seven Hells). I like Jaime. I like Bronn. I like Drogon and obviously I’m routing for Daenerys. And, unfortunately, it really did look like somebody’s number was up. Frankly, I’m amazed they all survived it. Well, as far as we know anyway.
Both Bronn and Jaime really do show some serious balls here, with Bronn not running from the battle, despite looking like he clearly wanted to several times, and Jaime going after Dany and Drogon armed with nothing but a spear. Bronn instead lets loose the Dragon Slaying crossbow that super creepy Qyburn (Anton Lessor) designed, and actually manages to hit Drogon. In typical Bronn fashion, he even manages to outwit a Dothraki warrior. He’s certainly come a long way since being a cut throat who kills purely for money, despite bitching about the amount of gold he’s been paid up to this point.
In all, we finally saw what we’ve wanted to see since day 1. The Lannisters have had their first taste of dragon fire. And it’s utterly glorious.
How are they going to top this? Well, I do have a sneaky suspicion that things are only getting going. Roll on next week.
- An incredible battle sequence
- Moody Bran