It’s not like spectacular battles are anything new on Game of Thrones, but it’s safe to say that “The Spoils Of War” left fans truly shook. After a series of defeats, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally let Drogon stretch his wings and truly show off what it means to be the Mother of Dragons. It’s also an episode of many meetings, as the world of Westeros is getting smaller and smaller. The stakes have never been higher, as our favorites are on both sides of the war now, so it’s safe to say that you should probably have a stockpile of paper bags to breathe into for the weeks to come.
Between the Stark reunions and Bronn’s (Jerome Flynn) impression of Bard the Bowman, there was a lot happening this week, so let’s take a look at some of the more memorable moments.
5. Bran Freaks Out Littlefinger
No one was prepared for Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) robotic transformation into the Three-Eyed Raven, but his emotionless behavior towards Sansa (Sophie Tuner) and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) prove that the real Bran died a long time ago in that cave. However, all of his previous creepiness was almost forgiven with one pointed comment to Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen). After Lord Baelish attempts to butter up the apparent Lord of Winterfell, Bran immediately cuts him off by parroting his own words back to him.
Calling back to Littlefinger’s notable speech about the true nature of power, Bran makes it clear that he knows that Littlefinger is a viper in the Stark bosom, one that needs to be removed. He certainly didn’t give Arya (Maisie Williams) that dagger for nothing.
4. Jon And Dany In The Cave
Jon (Kit Harington) and Dany have been circling each other for two episodes now, as the King in the North refuses to bend the knee to the Dragon Queen while also seeking her help with the imminent threat from beyond the wall. As these two contenders size each other up, both raise valid points while never quite agreeing. While it’s hard not to wonder if Jon enlisted Davos (Liam Cunningham) to quick scratch out the cave drawings depicting the First Men and Children of the Forest teaming up to fight the White Walkers, it did help to move Dany a little bit closer to belief.
Whether these two find themselves merely as political allies or as lovers, the scene in the cave does see them move a little closer together and she soon asked him for advice on how to proceed following news of the Greyjoy’s defeat. Dany may have decided to go ahead with her decision to burn it all down, but at least she was curious about Jon’s input.
3. Brienne Finally Gets Her Due
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) has long been a beacon of nobility on a show filled with shady morality and shifting alliances, and it often seems like she’s only ever punished for her goodness. However, all of that pain was worth it when Arya arrived at Winterfell, fulfilling Brienne’s promise to ensure the safety of Catelyn Stark’s (Michelle Fairly) daughters at last. While she may have tried to brush off her role in all of this, the ever-loyal Pod (Daniel Portman) was quick to remind his lady of all that she’s done to get them back.
Additionally, the sparring between Arya and Brienne was easily one of the most delightful scenes in the entire series. Seeing two women who have bucked against traditions that would keep them from their desires and abilities was truly a joy to watch, and Brienne’s impressed surprise at Arya’s skills made even the most cynical viewer’s heart grow three sizes.
2. Another Stark In Winterfell
It’s safe to say that the various Stark reunions have been anything but smooth, but between the perfect season one callback of Arya having to sneak into her own home to the tentative and emotional meeting between her and Sansa down in the crypts, Arya’s return to Winterfell was really the only way for the wildest Stark to return to her ancestral home.
Each of the Stark children has been through their own particular set of horrors, and seeing so many in one place cued up some serious waterworks. While Sansa is clearly disturbed by what her siblings have become, here’s hoping they can take their very specific sets of skills to form an impenetrable family unit.
However, the final battle was the crowning achievement in an episode packed with moments worth reliving. As the Lannister forces make off with the spoils from Highgarden, Dany, Drogon, and a few Dothraki screamers brought the heat, literally. As Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn scramble to keep at least a few of their men alive, Dany finally proves to the people of Westeros that she is a force to be taken seriously. As she and Drogon set the world aflame, it seems much more possible that victory will be hers.
While it’s unlikely that Jaime will find himself in a permanent watery grave after his idiotic attempt to take on a dragon alone, all of the horrific violence did move the fates of many characters in interesting ways. It’s likely that the Lannister brothers will once again come face to face while they stand on opposite sides of the war, and Dany will have to learn to wield her power in a way that befits a good queen. Needless to say, next Sunday can’t get here fast enough.