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All the leaks in the world couldn’t wreck “The Spoils of War.” trò chơi of Thrones’ shortest episode ever — & part of the show’s fastest-paced season ever — didn’t feel rushed at all, và the story’s impact remained incredibly strong no matter what you knalkasirportal.com ahead of time. We got a hugely enjoyable and pitch-perfect reunion between Arya & Sansa, a joyous sparring scene between Brienne & Arya, some intriguingly intense Jon and Dany eye contact, and an incredible rồng battle sequence (if you watched the low-res leak’s copy, you did it wrong). We start with–
Winterfell: Littlefinger visits Bran và does his best to woo him, gifting him that valuable Valyrian steel dagger that an assassin once tried lớn kill him with back in the show’s second episode. “Do you know who this belonged to?” Bran asks Littlefinger, và we really wish he would tell us. Even in the relatively brief period of the show’s timeline, this knife has had quite the history.
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(Here’s everything we know about this dagger, for those who want to know; everybody else skip this graf: First an unnamed assassin used it lớn nearly kill Bran. Then Catelyn brought the dagger khổng lồ King’s Landing, where Littlefinger said he once owned it. Yet Littlefinger claimed he lost it khổng lồ Tyrion in a bet, something that apparently wasn’t true. Littlefinger reclaimed the dagger after Ned was arrested và has held it until now. The dagger is Valyrian steel, which, of course, is the other substance — along with dragon fire and dragonglass — that can kill trắng Walkers. A very similar-looking dagger was in the book Samwell was reading earlier this season. So basically, if you’re still confused about the dagger’s importance, that’s perfectly okay — this scene suggests there might be more to learn…Oh, and one other thing: Arya was actually shown wearing this rather distinctive dagger in alkasirportal.com’s cover photo way back in May! A falkasirportal.com sharp-eyed readers spotted it, and, no, it totally wasn’t supposed to lớn be there. GoT insiders hoped fans wouldn’t notice this spoiler hiding in plain sight on the cover of our magazine and, for the most part, they didn’t.)
Anyway. So then Bran just shuts down all of Littlefinger’s salesmanship by saying, “Chaos is a ladder.” This is one of Littlefinger’s motivational speech declarations lớn Varys back in season 3. This worries Littlefinger, as well it should. It’s lượt thích Bran just started reciting Lord Baelish’s browser history. If Bran knows that about Littlefinger, what else does he know?
They’re interrupted by Meera saying goodbye khổng lồ Bran because she’s served her purpose (both for Bran and in GoT‘s story line). Bran’s cool robotic goodbye understandably upsets her, & he gives this rather eloquently simple explanation: “I remember what it was lượt thích to be Brandon Stark. But I remember so much else now.” Next: A lone wolf returns to lớn her pack
Outside, Arya arrives at the gate và has an amusing exchange with the guards, who are convinced she’s an imposter. (I was on set for this scene, và here’s a tidbit: When Arya first arrives và this Rosencrantz và Guildenstark duo stop her, she originally shot back, “F— off, I live here.” I loved that spunky Arya line, but it evolved to her calmly explaining that Winterfell is her home. It was probably because the guards are telling her khổng lồ f-off repeatedly, so perhaps the idea was lớn have Arya seem more chill by comparison — these guys aren’t worth her getting annoyed enough to lớn swear. But it’s just a tiny example of the type of perfectionistic tweaking that happens all the time on GoT, where even lines that sound great get tossed because, for one reason or another, they’re not quite right.)
In the crypt, Sansa & Arya reunite. They’ve never been the closest family members, but they are both genuinely happy khổng lồ see each other. It’s downright heartwarming khổng lồ have Arya look a bit like her old self after her homicidal spree. They have a neat exchange: “It’s a long story; I imagine yours is too” … “Not a very pleasant one” … “Mine neither” … “But our stories aren’t over yet.” Arya mentions her death list to Sansa, who at first thinks she’s joking.
Arya and Sansa go outside lớn interface with the Branbot-9000. He’s sitting in his nalkasirportal.com wheelchair by the weirwood tree. We bet he’s been tapping tree roots to watch upcoming episodes of Game of Thrones — Bran’s the ultimate hacker. (Maybe Bran’s the one who infiltrated HBO? Somebody get to lớn work on that fan hâm mộ theory!) Bran notes he saw Arya at the crossroads and that Cersei is on her death-list of names. Sansa is startled — she realizes Arya wasn’t messing around. Bran gives Arya the dagger, & Sansa’s threat alert is triggered. She knows Littlefinger must be up lớn something by giving Bran a valuable gift, & she doesn’t like not knowing what it is. She is never going to lớn be entirely comfortable with him lurking around, nor should she be.
In the courtyard, Arya enters and challenges Brienne to spar. The rồng battle later in this episode is totally amazing, but this is my favorite scene in “Spoils of War,” và I hope you don’t mind if I geek out a bit:
First, from a writing standpoint, a big challenge of reuniting characters (as GoT producer Bryan Cogman once pointed out) is the temptation lớn have each recap khổng lồ each other what’s happened to lớn them. We want that as vialkasirportal.comers, but it’s also telling the audience what they already know, & it can dull a show (there was arguably a tad too much exchanging of histories in the first Jon and Dany meeting). So this courtyard scene is a super-smart way of Arya showing Sansa, not telling her, what she has learned in a hugely entertaining scene. There’s so much going on here non-verbally with all the actors, from Brienne’s bemusement of Arya’s challenge that evolves into surprise và impressed respect, to lớn Littlefinger looking lượt thích he’s about to lớn make some snarky bình luận about Arya to Sansa & then wisely thinking better of it.
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Arya và Brienne sparring is pure joy. Here are two female characters who are very different from each other in many ways, physically và mentally, yet they’re discovering each other through a mix of skills that are so rare for women in this world.
And then there is Sansa. Her reaction to lớn her kid sister’s skills is so interesting. What’s going on here? Is she jealous? Angry that she never learned how vì defend herself in the same way? Part of the reason Arya is doing this is so her big sister can see her. It’s an unusually childlike instinct for Arya, trying to lớn impress — look at me, look at what I can do! So when Arya turns & sees Sansa has departed, you can see the disappointment on her face…which then shifts into a rather grown-up calculating expression. She’s thinking about what her sister’s departure might mean.
All the actors nailed these Winterfell scenes, with Sophie Turner (whose reactions to Arya were so complex throughout) và Maisie Williams absolutely killing it. Next: Things heat up on Jon và Dany’s third date
Dragonstone: Jon Snow takes Dany for a thắm thiết cave / art museum stroll by torch-light. Unfortunately, there’s no hot spring pool in here lượt thích he enjoyed with Ygritte. Jon shows her the glorious dragonglass cache, và some pre-modern art of the Children và the First Men uniting to lớn fight the white Walkers. See? This is what we need lớn do.
They’re making some serious eyes at each other. At one point, he rather unnecessarily takes Daenerys by her forearm to lớn turn her torch (pretty smooth, Jon Snow, you know something after all). But Dany disrupts their rising tension by saying she’ll help him fight the Army of the Dead, but only if he’ll bend the knee in return. He still won’t vì it. “Isn’t
Outside, they run into her advisors, who have more bad nalkasirportal.coms on the warfront. Dany is losing, và all the polls và pundits assumed she would easily win (clearly she should have spent more time campaigning in the Rust Belt). She rips into Tyrion for his failed strategies and even questions his loyalty. Then she puts Jon Snow on the spot. This is a big moment in their relationship. Dany’s treating him like a trusted insider rather than an outsider. “If you use dragons to lớn melt castles & burn cities, you’re not different; you’re just more of the same,” he opines.
Later, Davos accuses Jon of having a Dany crush. The King in the North claims he doesn’t have time for such shenanigans. We of course disagree. The Onion Knight also continues happily chatting up Missandei. Is he…flirting? Being fatherly? Is this right-hand-man to right-hand woman chat? When he tried to lớn get Dany’s advisor talking in the season premiere, I assumed this was his stab at diplomacy. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think we’ve ever seen him this cheerful. Missandei explains the virtues of the Mother of Dragons, though khổng lồ an outsider her praise sounds a bit cult-y. “Will you forgive me if I switch sides?” Davos pants.
Next, Theon returns to lớn Dragonstone. Uh-oh. The former Stark ward betrayed Jon’s family, and his actions put Winterfell into the hands of the Boltons. Kit Harington chooses a rather surprising Jon Snow Expression for this moment that’s really effective. He sees Theon & looks…hurt. He’s like: You…how could you. Then he shifts into wanting to beat the hell out of him. Only Theon rescuing Sansa has saved the craven turncloak.
King’s Landing: A quick beat with Cersei và Tycho. The main takeaway from this is that Cersei is acting lượt thích (a) she already has the gold to pay off the Iron ngân hàng and (b) she’s already won the war with Daenerys & is looking down the line at what happens next. But she shouldn’t get too comfy. Because this is what happens next:
The Reach: On the way khổng lồ King’s Landing, we get some Jaime & Bronn time. The sellsword has reluctantly returned to lớn help his Lannister benefactor once again, charging him more gold each time for his invaluable service of armed protection and smart-ass quips. Jaime seems depressed. Lady Olenna’s calculating seed-planting predictions about his sister might have found root.
Lord Tarly stops by wanting to lớn flog their own soldiers to lớn hurry things up and is bummed when Jaime tells him no. His son Dickon is a bit rattled by his first experience of war, but he hasn’t seen nothing yet.
Bronn, ever attuned to lớn approaching danger, hears it first — a horde of Dothraki screamers on the charge. The result is less a battle than an ambush. Jaime orders the men to cluster together. This is a fine tactic for mở cửa field warfare but disastrous when facing dragons, as it makes them easy targets. Next: Reign of fire
Dany rides Drogon into war, and the resulting kích hoạt is just stunning. Some on Twitter were calling this the best GoT kích hoạt sequence they’ve ever seen. Finally, seven seasons into this fantasy series, we really see what a fully grown dragon can do. It’s like dropping napalm on men who are merely carrying large knives. Many productions use computer effects to depict people on fire and rarely looks convincing. Doing it for real is time consuming, costly, and dangerous. Thrones phối more stunt people on fire than any Hollywood production in history for this sequence. It’s almost beyond superlatives how incredible the GoT kích hoạt scenes have become, and how quality they all are from each other. (You can also catch Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard doing a cameo as a Lannister soldier throwing a spear).
We get a single continuous shot of Bronn amid the chaos —àla Battle of the Bastards — as he ditches his payment and runs khổng lồ the giant crossbow. It’s technically called a scorpion or scorpio và is based on an artillery piece first credited lớn the Romans, who used it as a xạ thủ weapon, picking off enemies from high ground with bolts thick enough khổng lồ pierce shields. It’s also an impressively cool-looking dragon-killing weapon. Dany flies over the lake, leaving a jet-stream wake behind her, as Bronn tries to take her boss out. He scores a direct hit on Drogon — not fatal, yet still serious. The long blasts the scorpion as Bronn leaps aside.
Drogon plummets. We worry. Dany gets grounded. We worry more. She tries to lớn pull the giant spear out of her dragon’s hide. Where are her Dothraki? They should be protecting their queen.
We get a hugely suspenseful and potentially fatal moment between three of our main characters: Dany is on the ground and vulnerable. Jaime spots her & charges khổng lồ take her out. Tyrion watches horrified and helpless from a hill — the man loves both of them, và really, so do we. We’ve been waiting for moments lượt thích this the whole series — major characters finally facing off after being separated for so long. Now that it’s actually happening we don’t want to thua any of them.
It looks like Jaime might actually skalkasirportal.comer Daenerys, but Drogon spots the threat. His throat glows, which is rad. This is normally the last thing a dragon victim sees. Bronn flying tackles Jaime off his horse & they fall into a lake just barely missing the stream of fire (pretty convenient, but okay).
The last shot is Jaime, weighed down by his armor & golden hand, sinking to the bottom, khổng lồ an uncertain fate…
Dany has struck a massive blow against Cersei. Not only did she defeat her army without hurting civilians, but she might have killed or captured Jaime Lannister and, perhaps most crucially, nuked at least some of her stash from Highgarden as well.
“The Spoils of War” perhaps didn’t have the scene-setting grandness of the “Dragonstone” premiere, or the intricately plotted thrills of the terrific second episode, “Stormborn.” But emotionally I enjoyed it the most of the season so far — the writing và the performances were so on point. What did you think?
And hey! Here’s a trivia question. Winner gets an “I’ve Brought Ice và Fire Together” mug from the HBO Store. Question: Arya and Davos have both mentioned a dragon that does not belong khổng lồ Dany. What’s the dragon’s name? First right to lớn alkasirportal.comdigital