Game of Thrones (Season 7), Episode 4: 'The Spoils of War' Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

I just finished watching 'The Spoils of War', the Episode #4 of Game of Thrones, Season 7 and before I share my views I must flash the mandatory SPOILER ALERT!

Read: my review of Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 3

I would like to begin by saying that 'The Spoils of War' is the most explosive GoT episode since Season 5's 'Hardhome'. There are many reasons why I say this and I will come to them one by one. Remember this season is going to have just seven episodes as opposed to the usual ten and so the fourth episode is the one that's expected to be the middle episode. Now the first three episodes were a mere setup for the mini-climax of sorts that the fourth episode provides. Dany has been waiting in Dragonstone for too long even as Euron Greyjoy's fleet as well as the Lannister army continues to  wreak havoc on her allies. Even the Unsullied's conquest of Casterly Rock has been nullified thanks some smart maneuvering by Jamie and Cersei. Daenerys' restlessness has been growing and the Mother of Dragons finally decides to up the ante. The Spoils of War, among other things, is about Dany finally announcing her arrival in Westeros. And it’s the path of belligerence that she is forced to choose.

The Lannisters it appears seem to be underestimating Daenerys Stormborn’s might all this time and so when she finally goes on the charge they are completely caught off guard. One of the reasons why the episode is so great is because of the 3Ds: Dothraki, Dany and Drogon. More on that later.

Another triumph of The Spoils of War is Arya’s return to Winterfell. To watch her take on Brienne with her Needle is nothing short of breathtaking. Remember, it was Brienne who had beaten up the Hound and so it’s just remarkable to think how powerful Arya has really become. Not to mention her skills as a faceless assassin. The Stark siblings are all united at Winterfell (except Jon… that is if we still count him as a Stark) finally but alas Bran is now the omniscient Three Eyed Raven. Littlefinger learns it the hard way when he tries to win over Bran’s trust. “Chaos is a ladder,” Bran tells him. Littlefinger is obviously stunned to hear his own words from Bran’s mouth. But Littlefinger is not the only one whom he startles.

Read: my review of Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 2

The Spoils of War begins with the return of a lovable character, Bronn. He is more like the crippled Jamie’s good hand now. Jamie knows this fully well and so he pays him handsomely well just as one would expect from a Lannister. The good thing about Bronn and Jamie is the banter and I have been dearly missing it. More on Jamie and Bronn later.

In Dragonstone, Jon Snow has discovered the reserves of dragonglass and he is already feeling so obliged (and possibly smitten) to Dany that he might as well bend his knee before leaving for Winterfell. Jon, however, has been behaving a bit strangely of late. Earlier he had attacked a helpless Petyr Baelish and now he intimidates an already intimidated Theon Greyjoy. Varys too looks pretty intimidated these days. Just like Grey Worm had looked before leaving for Castery Rock. No Country for D***less Men!  
Early on in the first season King Robert had expressed his fears of facing the Dothraki in an open field. Ned Stark had told him that the Dothraki can never cross the Narrow Sea. But all that has changed with the Khaleesi leading the Dothraki instead of the Khals. The Spoils of War is all about what King Robert had feared. Dothraki finally proved that no Westerosi Knight can actually hold them for too long. Jamie and Lord Tarly and their men just had no answer to the Dothraki ambush. The ambush was further bolstered by an aerial attack launched by Dany herself, riding on the back of the mighty Drogon. What a sight it was to see her command Drogon as the opponent army kept running for cover. But Jamie who is ever so courageous just doesn’t know when to quit and so he asks Bronn to slay Drogon using the special crossbow designed by Qyburn. After a couple of near misses, Bronn finally hits his target as Drogon and Khalessi both come down flying. In the meantime, Tyrion Lannister is watching all this from a distance. He seems more worried about Jamie then he ever does about Dany. As they say, blood runs thicker than water. “Flee, you idiot!” he murmurs with a worried look when he sees Jamie charge towards Dany with a spear while riding his horse. Dany meanwhile is busy attending to the injured Drogon as Jamie charges in her direction. But just as Jamie is about to hit her, the mighty Drogon temporarily overcomes its pain to shield the Mother of Dragons, unleashing its fury on the poor Jamie. And just when it seems that Jamie is going to be roasted alive by the dragon fire, Bronn pulls him out of danger (yet again proving his worth and also proving that he is much more than just a Sellsword). Both of them fall into the nearby river with their heavy armor pulling them downwards as the end credits begin to roll.

The manner in which the episode ends has left Jamie’s fate undecided. Given the weight of his armor he seems to have a very little chance of surviving. But surely a character like Jamie cannot die like this. Perhaps, Jamie will somehow manage to get rid of his heavy armor and swim upwards. Maybe, Tyrion will convince Danny to spare his dear brother’s life. This is going to be a great test of Tyrion’s loyality. If Jamie comes out of this alive we can surely say that he would never ever underestimate Daenerys’ might again. He may even want to convince Cersei to hand over the Iron Throne to its rightful heir if that’s the case. Also, one wonders how Sansa and Littlefinger, who were watching her fight Brienne, would react to Arya’s deft skills with the Needle which would certainly have alarmed them both. Speaking of Littlefinger, he is really lucky to be not on Arya’s list. It remains to be seen what kind of a role he is left to play in the GoT saga. Also, one wonders if Jon would choose to bend his knee to Dany or not?

The Spoils of War has answered so many questions but in turned has posed many more. Hopefully we will have the answers before the season ends. For now, here’s the Episode 5 preview:

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

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