With episode #64, the seventh season of Game of Thrones finally feels like a thing that is happening, instead of just being an event that its showrunners and its audience have to react to. There’s a few moments wherein this episode feels like it fully embraces the “bittersweet” nature of its main narratives; wherein characters act in ways that feel like natural extensions of who they’ve been built up, or been broken down, to be, and where character interactions feel like they make sense (for good or for bad), rather than just being what the script demands next. If the previous three episodes were “setting up” episodes, this is the “strike them down” episode, which is one of the reasons why reviewers deemed it as a strong episode.

(I assume any audience reading about Game of Thrones has read a lot about A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones and I will not be responsible for any information you may gain as a consequence of reading this. That said, I attempt to ignore directly talking about leaked information.)

Hope you’re in the mood for some treasure

There’s a road connecting Highgarden to King’s Landing; the Roseroad. The presence of this road makes it really easy for someone (say: the Lannister army) to transport goods (say: the riches of Highgarden) from the former to the latter. This episode opens on this road; Lannister troops (identified by their fine lion-featuring shields and flags) are transporting wagons. Jaime screams “Hold that wagon!” and he opens it up and it is full of gold bars it is like a Ferengi was handing notes to the showrunners for this episode and they said “show moar latinum.” Jaime reaches inside the wagon and, with effort, lifts up a bag of gold coins, and hands it to Bronn. Bronn is confused on why Jaime is upset; Jaime did just, in one day, destroy the strongest House rebelling against his own (I’ll make this edit to parenthetically state that maybe the combined forces of the North are stronger, but that Highgarden was closer and therefore easier to march troops to) and fix the Crown’s massive debt problem. Bronn guesses, correctly, that Olenna told Jaime something upsetting. Jaime says he would rather confess to the High Septon, “There is no more High Septon,” No, there isn’t, is there?” This reminded me that in the books Jaime is using his traveling companion, Ilyn Payne, as a bit of a confessor: because Ilyn has no tongue, Jaime can tell him any secret and Jaime has nothing to fear. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why BookJaime and ShowJaime act so different, because ShowJaime has no one to talk to. :-(

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Bronn would still like to get paid what he is owed. Bronn reminds Jaime, for the second time (after Game of Thrones #57) that, in Jaime’s own words (GoT #42), he is owed a castle. Jaime somehow seems incredulous that Bronn wants what he was told he would get paid in exchange for helping Jaime? Bronn looks at Highgarden, Jaime says “You don’t want Highgarden.” Quick question: who gets Highgarden? Does House Tarly get it in exchange for betraying House Tyrell? Will the Lannisters just burn it to the ground after the next Winter is over? Jaime says it’s a bad castle because Daenerys could just take it over (Jaime is aware that Daenerys is a threat, I am glad the writers have given him awareness.) Their light argument ends with Jaime still giving Bronn grief for wanting to be paid what he was promised, but also giving Bronn an assurance that when the war is won that Bronn can have his pick of castle; that when House Lannister wins, no one will get in their way. Bronn, astutely, points out that it makes no sense that Westeros will suddenly become peaceful after Cersei crushes all her challengers.

Randyll and Dickon Tarly ride up and tell Jaime and Bronn that they are getting all the grain from the Reach including the current crops. Jaime tells Bronn to go help with taking away the hard work of farmers, Bronn, Randyll, and Dickon ride off to go be villains. Jaime smirks or whatever villains do.

Tycho and Cersei chat again

Tycho congratulates Cersei on paying back the Crown’s debt. … except that she hasn’t paid back the debt, he’s needling her to pay what she owes; he eventually asks where the gold is, she says it’s on its way, it’s being transported right now, Tycho, calm down. CALM DOWN. Since Tycho is a banker, he asks if Cersei is interested in (once she has paid off her loan) … making another loan? Cersei mentions that she wants to “reestablish control over this continent and every person on it,” as she and Tycho look over the giant map of Westeros that she has had painted on the floor in the Red Keep. There’s some geographical silliness here: the geographical landmass that is the continent of Westeros contains all of the land south of the Wall (this is what Cersei, as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, is concerned about ruling) and also an unknown and unmapped amount of land north of the Wall where Free Folk, Children of the Forest (however many of them still exist, if any), and Others live. But Cersei probably (?) doesn’t think of them as living in Westeros, if she even bothers thinking about them at all. The furthest north she has ever traveled is Winterfell so the Wall and the people living north of it are not really worth her consideration and no that is not a metaphor for how a lot of people in the US think about walls and people living south of walls what are you talking about.

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Tycho mentions, and Cersei acknowledges, that House Lannister needs to make some external-to-Westeros investments in order to assure its victory in retaking Westeros. Hopefully everybody in the audience finds it ironic for Cersei to use “she uses foreign troops” as a propaganda point against Daenerys while she is willing to use foreign troops herself. Her Hand, Qyburn, has been making overtures to the Golden Company in Essos, who Tycho has heard of. The audience has also heard of them; back in GoT #33, Davos suggested them as a possible mercenary group for Stannis to hire, although Stannis ended up not hiring them, and in #37 Daenerys remarked to Jorah (when he tried to say that mercenaries are not trustworthy) that he was once in the Golden Company.

Tycho assures Cersei that she can count on the Iron Bank’s support! … as soon as they are paid.

Bran’s has two chats that both end off-puttingly

Petyr gives Bran the catspaw dagger: waaaaaay back in GoT #2, an unnamed catspaw attempted to kill Bran with a seriously overpowered weapon, a dagger made of Valyrian steel. In GoT #3, Petyr told Catelyn that the dagger belonged to Tyrion, and things between the Starks and Lannisters quickly escalated from there. Petyr, here, mentions that he would have died to keep Catelyn alive; he is continuing to try to worm his way into the good graces of the younger generation of House Stark by arguing that he couldn’t be there for her then but he wants to be there for her now.

Bran asks if Petyr knows who the catspaw dagger belonged to, Petyr says “No.” … he probably knows, but is being sneaky. He knows that Bran has seen some stuff north of the Wall and since he knows that information is a powerful thing, he wants to get into Bran’s good graces and get some of that secret information. But Bran isn’t being forthcoming, and Petyr is still talking, and he says the word chaos and Bran quotes one of Petyr’s catchphrases back at him because Bran’s new superpower of “being the Kwisatz Haderach” means you can’t mess with Bran. Petyr’s like what the frak just happened

And Meera opens the door at just the right time to make the scene less awkward and allow Petyr to leave. Petyr tries to put the title of “Lord Stark” onto Bran and he won’t have it; this can be read a few ways but my reading is that Petyr just tried to see if Bran wants to assert his (by inheritance rights) power and Bran just casually shrugged it off. Petyr, I assume, continues to believe that Jon will get himself killed via some fool-hardy endeavor and he now knows that Bran doesn’t want to usurp Sansa’s claim to Winterfell, so as long as Petyr keeps in Sansa’s good graces (… he seems to think he is in her good graces?), he’s aligned himself with the true heir of Winterfell.

There’s still ways in which the show has half-sabotaged the character of Petyr Baelish but this episode wrote him in a way wherein he feels more “accurate” than at other times (e.g.: almost all of Season 5 wherein he intentionally threw away the largest weapon he had in his arsenal.)

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Anyway Meera, the true all-star of going north of the Wall, shows up and makes some small talk with Bran (Maester Wolkan made him a wheelchair!) and uh she’s actually there to say she’s leaving. She doesn’t want to leave Bran but she wants to be with her family when the Others show up. He’s safe (safe-ish) and (here’s another character testing Bran’s limits!)

Meera: You don’t need me anymore.
Bran: No. I don’t.
Meera, incredulous: ... That’s all you’ve got to say?
Bran: ... Thank you.

The Bran-Meera (proto-romantic?) relationship has been on the edges of implied-explicit for a while. The most accurate thing to say about it is that Meera and her brother both believed that a power greater than themselves was telling them to help this Bran person, and they did, and they both paid heavily for this help, and Bran has done nothing to show any form of appreciation. Meera just goes all out on laying out the enormous costs that House Reed (and Hodor and Summer) paid for Bran and Bran is…

::Bran is just kinda staring there::

The power of becoming the Kwisatz Haderach has drained Bran of his Bran identity; it has consumed what was left of his persona. Meera is forced by the script to make this super explicit for that one person in the audience who hasn’t already got the point.

And he doesn’t respond so … she leaves, and he goes back to sitting in his room.

The third Stark enters Winterfell

Some unknown amount of time after Meera leaves, Arya is seen on horseback, close enough to Winterfell to finally see the castle above the Northern hills. She goes to the doorway and tells the door guards that … hello, she is Arya. Arya Stark has not been heard from for ~5.5 years, so the guards do not believe her. She tries to use the names she remembers from her time at Winterfell, but those people are dead or not there. Arya tries to request a message be sent to Sansa, the helmeted guard says nope and tries to punch her, and she dodges it very very easily. Arya plays the “listen I’m either who I say I am and you’re in major trouble or I’m not and I’ll be told off by Sansa” card, and they finally let her in.

The guards argue about which of them will disturb Sansa, while Arya sits and drinks in the memories of being back in her home as the … House Stark musical theme plays? I might be misidentifying the musical theme here. Anyway the guards argue so hard that they miss Arya wandering away from the spot they told her to sit in, and the next scene is of them apologizing to Sansa for letting someone loose in Winterfell. She’s dismissive at first (why should she care about one girl who snuck into the castle?) but they namedrop who Arya namedropped and Sansa realizes that … yep, that is Arya, and she will go see to Arya.

Arya and Sansa Reunion 2017

The world’s worst Sean Bean statue is in the crypts of Winterfell and Arya is staring at it in disgust because it is a terrible statue. Sansa chides Arya for running, Arya says she didn’t run and that Sansa needs better guards, Sansa laughs because those guards are pretty bad. Arya brings up the terrible statue, Sansa says that everyone who knew his face is dead, and Arya remarks that they’re not. Arya wants to know if Sansa killed Joffrey and Sansa says that no she hadn’t and Arya makes mention of Her List… “Your list?” “Of people I’m going to kill.” And Sansa takes it as a joke and Arya plays along because that’s part of Arya’s assassin skills is that people don’t count on her assassin skills. They mention that their paths back to Winterfell were not pleasant and that their stories are not over yet and they hug it out again. Sansa brings up the Bran situation.

Arya, Sansa, and Bran Reunion 2017

Bran’s in his wheelchair, sitting by the heart tree in the godswood, and Arya and Sansa go to see him. Bran seems to react slightly better to Arya’s return than to other events, he seems to slightly let some emotion into his reaction.

Oh right the second sentence out of his mouth is some Kwisatz Haderach thing.

Bran knows about Arya’s List and of course he doesn’t react poorly to it, it’s just … a fact, right? Like “obviously Arya wants to kill Cersei.” Sansa finally takes The List seriously, asking who else is on the list and Arya gives the reassuring answer

And Bran whips out the catspaw dagger and Arya asks where he got it and he mentions Littlefinger and Arya is like who let him here and Sansa is like it’s complicated … he’s declared for our House, he’s not great but he’s not a pest either. Sansa and Arya refer to the catspaw as a cutthroat and I don’t know if that’s a continuity error or if the show has now decided that’s what they’re going to call that character. Arya, Sansa, and Bran realize that whoever wanted Bran dead would have been wealthy, which narrows the list of suspects down to every noble person in Westeros.

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Bran doesn’t want the dagger anyway, he hands it to Arya and now Bran and Jon have the common bond of that they have both given Arya a weapon. The three of them move back into the main open area of Winterfell, where they are observed by three non-Starks. Podrick and Brienne are watching from the ground floor. Podrick tells Brienne that Catelyn Stark would be proud that Brienne had protected her daughters, keeping her vow. Brienne takes a few sentences to take the compliment. Petyr watches from the second floor: he does not want Sansa to be aligning herself with anyone but him, and the wheels in his head are turning to figure out how to fragment this Stark Reunion.

Jon has something to show his aunt ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Missandei, Daenerys, and some Dothraki are walking around the many many many staircases on Dragonstone. Missandei wants to know if there’s any word from the Unsullied, Daenerys reassures her that he will come back to her, Missandei says “he’d better,” Daenerys wants to know the deets, “Many things” happened, says Missandei in a half-brag, Daenerys is like “MANY THINGS???????!”

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Jon shows up lower down the stairs to interrupt, he wants to show Dany something. The Dothraki at first are like “you need us we’re guards” and Daenerys is like “It’s cool he’s my nephew” and Missandei and Daenerys follow Jon to a mine entrance where Davos is standing there with a torch and Jon leads them on an expedition into this mine and they get into a more open area and he lights a brazier and it’s like hey check it out it’s a room full of obsidian and the music swells and all the hard rock geologists in the audience just sit in awe while everyone else is like “those are rocks.”

For this part of the sequence, Daenerys and Jon go off alone, deeper into the mine. This is the cave art; as a fan of pre-civilization art I just want to sit and look at these for hours but uh right so Jon mentions that these were made by the Children of the Forest. Daenerys is shook by how old these are, and by how she is standing in the same spot as a semi-mythical species of humanoids, “before there were Targaryens, or Starks, or Lannisters. Maybe even before there were Men.” “No,” Jon assures her, and he leads her to some art on the cave walls showing images that the Children created of both themselves and of the First Men. “Doing what? Fighting each other?” “They fought together, against their common enemy.”

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And okay okay I laugh here because the artistic style of the Others here is really different than the artistic style of almost everything else here in the cave; in other parts of the cave there’s geometric symbols and humanoid-shaped-but-not-very-defined images of people but then the drawings of the Others are very well-defined and one of the Others even has a slight crown

The cave art has a picture of the Night’s King

And I find this funnier than I should because it’s a great television sequence, I really like how Jon found this evidence of a thousands-of-years-ago conflict and he shows it to Daenerys to make his point as clear as possible. The art shifting dramatically from very abstract to very specific is just an odd design choice, whatever. Daenerys seems convinced that Jon is literally talking about a real threat, and she commits to fighting for Jon and for the North

And Jon mentions, again, that the North will not accept a Southern ruler, and Daenerys implores him to just put this really really stubborn insistence of his behind him

And it looks like Daenerys finally gets through to Jon (!!!!) possibly because he has good memories about caves (sorry not sorry) so the four of them (Missandei and Davos maybe just hung around talking to each other off-camera for a few minutes) leave the mine and find Tyrion and Varys standing around outside, waiting for Daenerys to deliver some good news, bad news. Good news: they took Casterly Rock. Bad news: this is not directly stated, but it’s apparently something along the lines of “the Lannisters pwned Highgarden”

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All six of them are walking back to the castle on Dragonstone and Davos is like hey we should … go, this is a Team Daenerys discussion, we will… and Daenerys tells them no you will stay, I have no allies left, all my allies have been stolen, there’s no food left in the Reach so my armies are going to starve (ps what are they eating now? Hopefully they can eat obsidian, Jon found a lot of that), Tyrion’s like hey let’s just get the Unsullied back (does he want them to cross over Westeros?), we can transport the Dothraki onto the mainland, commit to the blockade of King’s Landing (why were they not doing this earlier?), Daenerys is fed up with Tyrion’s plan, she is not a happy Queen at the moment.

Daenerys proposes flying three large dragons to the Red Keep and just burning it down, Tyrion does not like that idea. Daenerys asks for advice from the King in the North, and he reassures her that being a bloody conqueror will not help her image: that she can make impossible things happen, and “killing everyone in Westeros to take it over” would not help that perception of her. If she does not want to be known to history as Daenerys the Conqueror, she cannot use those dragons to melt castles and burn cities.

And being told this by her nephew calms her down because that is what family is for, they are there to tell you that war crimes are not a good idea.

Brienne and Arya Reunion 2017

Back in Winterfell, Brienne is training Podrick by which I mean Brienne is easily defeating Podrick in melee combat. Arya arrives in her new mid-to-late Season 7 wardrobe to watch some of this sparring and Brienne is like “Nice sword.” ::looks her over again:: “Very nice dagger.” And Arya hands over the dagger to Brienne’s inspection but she doesn’t just hand over the dagger first she has to flip the dagger around 20 times or something because Arya is a Level 12 (at least) rogue and she rolled really well on her Show Off skill roll.

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Sansa is talking to Petyr about grain (grain!) and she looks down and sees Arya and Brienne having a moment and she stops talking. Arya and Brienne continue their scene together, Arya wants to train. Brienne misunderstands, Arya means with her, because she beat the Hound, and Arya is still really impressed by that, and she brings up Brienne’s oath to Catelyn to serve both of her daughters. Sansa, watching from upstairs, looks a bit taken aback by this: Sansa is realizing right there that her own powerbase in Winterfell might be under threat from Arya, who is her sister but is also someone she hasn’t known for ~5.5 years. Petyr, standing near Sansa, can almost be heard cackling.

Everything about this sparring session between Arya and Brienne is amazing. This show’s fight choreography can sometimes be a bit … (remembers back to the Sand Snakes fighting Bronn in Season 5) a bit very bad, so I am glad that for this sequence they were given the opportunity to allow the actresses to train. Especially since Brienne and Arya use their swords in very different ways, that this sparring session looks so good reflects strongly on the fight-acting of the actresses, their trainers, and any stunt people who were used. Watching this again it doesn’t look like many shots use a stunt double for either Brienne or Arya this might be Gwendoline and Maisie for most of it? But this show uses so much CGI that I can’t be sure.

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Petyr and Sansa just watch from above and they’re both trying to figure out how “Arya is now really good at fighting” changes the odds. Sansa seems more than a little unnerved. Petyr seems more calculating: he has just been watching Arya wielding that Valyrian steel dagger he gave to Bran, so he knows
1) that Bran gave away an incredibly powerful weapon
2) that was a gift (Bran is a regifter!)
3) that Bran gave it to Arya, so he must trust Arya in some way
4) and, of course, that Arya herself is very proficient with that blade.
Arya gives him a bit of a stare, because Arya is smart and she does not trust that man.

Jon and Davos talk about Jon’s aunt

Davos and Jon are walking on Dragonstone because, once again, that place has an insane number of staircases. Davos wants to know what Jon thinks of her. “I’ve noticed you staring at her good heart.”

Jon there is always time for making out with your aunt. Also, dangit show why did you make me write that. Jon is trying to be all business, there’s no time, Davos, we have to get her troops, we only have … 10,000? Less?

“Speaking of good hearts, Missandei of Naath!” Missandei, Jon, and Davos have a conversation about a few things. Somehow this the first time that the three of them just have a scene alone? Missandei has never met someone from Westeros with the bastard naming convention, so Jon lets her know that his parents weren’t married. Davos asks about naming conventions in Naath, Missandei says that marriage doesn’t exist in Naath so it’s not a concern.

Davos says as the only married person among these three characters ?!?!?! Jon and Davos get a bit of Missandei’s history; they want to know if Daenerys is on the level, and this is their first (shown) instance of asking one of Daenerys’s employees for a performance review of Daenerys. This scene … feels like it would have made more sense in the previous episode, when Davos and Jon were fresher to landing on Dragonstone. Davos and Jon want to be sure that Missandei serves Daenerys out of her own free will and Missandei is like, yeah.

Oh hi Theon

Thankfully because this is Season 7 the show has to cram as much activity into as little time as possible so Missandei, Davos, and Jon’s conversation is literally interrupted by a ship showing up and it’s a Greyjoy ship.

(somewhere near Dragonstone is a Stark ship, I hope it’s safe)

And Theon and six unnamed Ironborn walk a boat ashore and Jon, Davos, Missandei, and five Dothraki choose to meet with Theon on the shore. This is the first time since Jon left Winterfell (back in GoT #2) that Jon and Theon have been in the same place, and over that time Theon has … backstabbed (not literally) Robb by capturing Winterfell, directly killed Rodrik Cassel, and been rumoured to have killed Bran and Rickon. Theon and Jon have made parallel pathways in life; neither was a Stark but they were both raised in Winterfell, and both have felt ties and conflicts with the Starks. But whereas Jon has felt that his half-connection to House Stark means he owes them a lot, Theon has ... had a much more complicated point of view.

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Neither of them expected to run into the other. Theon wants to know if Sansa’s alright (since he did help Sansa get out of Winterfell…) and Jon assures Theon that that act is the only thing keeping Jon from killing Theon. Theon… accepts this. Davos wants to talk business; he heard that Euron attacked Yara’s fleet. Theon fills Davos in: Yara has been taken by Euron, and Theon wants Daenerys’s help in saving Yara. But Daenerys is gone!

Here’s a few million dollars of CGI

Bronn and Jaime are looking over some of the Lannister troops in a … I don’t entirely understand where in Westeros they are? It’s this area with these large rock cliffs and I’m looking at a map (this speculative map) at the Roseroad leading from Highgarden northeast towards King’s Landing and there are some rockier areas just west of the Kingswood so maybe that’s where they are? But then again there’s a river there so are they near a river? Are they just south of King’s Landing?

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Randyll Tarly rides up and delivers some exposition “All the gold’s safely through the gates of King’s Landing.” “We need to get the last of these wagons over the Blackwater Rush before nightfall. If the head of the line is ambushed, the tail will never be able to reinforce it in time.” This wording doesn’t help me figure out the geography, because everywhere south of King’s Landing along the Roseroad is south of Blackwater Rush. But Randyll’s got a good point here and I’m glad that he is concerned about military tactics; the show took a while to add him to the cast and it’s to the show’s credit that in Seasons 6 and 7 he gets to show up. I’m still not 100% convinced that his book self would turn on the Tyrells so quickly (particularly because BookRandyll and BookCersei do not get along) but for the most part I think the show captures his character.

Randyll wants the army to pick up the slack and he suggests floggings and Jaime doesn’t like the idea of floggings “because these men fought well at Highgarden” and I’m glad Jaime thinks so because none of us in the audience got to see anyone fight at Highgarden, let alone fight well. Randyll rides away and Jaime and Bronn share a “why is he such a jerk” glance because ironic lack of self-awareness is a trait that all Lannisters have and which Bronn is picking up on. Jaime and Bronn ride up to Dickon and Jaime makes fun of his name again and Bronn laughs at his name and honestly Dickon should just tell them both to go sod off. But Jaime is here to tell Dickon that he fought bravely at Highgarden, off camera. It was Dickon’s first battle, and Jaime and Bronn want his honest opinion of the fight. Dickon’s not too keen on battle against people that he knew. Jaime assures him that they were enemies because Olenna chose to rebel against Cersei.

Bronn hears something. Jaime and Dickon also hear it. Jaime looks over his shoulder at the hills and realizes that it sounds like a lot of horses are coming their way and the three of them break to go get the army into a defensive position for an oncoming cavalry attack.

It’s a good idea. It’s tough for a person on foot to stop a person on a horse, so the point of a shield wall is to build a defensive breaker that will make the horses into a liability: if the horse runs into the wall, it has a high chance of hurting itself and/or its rider either on the spears or on the shields. Then place archers behind that shield wall so they can rain arrows down on the attacking mounted units. Also this sequence shows a few flags of the Tarly troops: a green field with a red archer on it. Jaime and Randyll are thinking. But they’re not thinking about dragons.

True story: this season has seven episodes and their reported lengths in minutes (59, 59, 63, 50, 59, 71, 81) add up to 442, which means that the midpoint of the season is around minute 221, and ... that’s this minute right here, this is the middle of the season, when Daenerys and Drogon show up, literally and metaphorically turning the tide of the season from a Team Daenerys rout to a Team Cersei rout. Good symmetrical editing everyone.

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So dragonfire continues to be extremely hot and extremely good at destroying people, and the next ~7 minutes of this episode are mostly watching Drogon (commanded by Daenerys) and the Dothraki obliterate the Lannister army. Helmets are falling to the ground because people’s heads melt off. Horses trample ashen bodies. Dickon is just watching this like “okay I had a bad war story before but this is literally hell.” The Lannister shield wall breaks because they are all going to die if they stay there.

Jaime come on dude you lost get out of there. Drogon sets a lot of wagons on fire; this is probably all of the grain (the grain!) that the Lannister army just got out of the Reach, so maybe Westeros now has very little food. Jaime is like hey I am gonna take down that dragon I know how to do this I will have the archers fire on Drogon this will work (it doesn’t work) I think he’s trying to get Daenerys hit by an arrow but Drogon just takes those arrows like a champ and they bounce off.

Jaime, I appreciate that the script finally named the weapon that Qyburn built, and that the script used the word scorpion, just like what was used to put a bolt into Meraxes. But that thing that Qyburn built is not a scorpion, it seems much too large to be a scorpion. Anyway Jaime tells Bronn to use Qyburn’s ballista (?) to shoot Drogon while Jaime fights off some Dothraki (the point has been made earlier that Jaime, having lost his sword hand, is not good at fighting? But okay whatever I guess he’s been practicing with offhand fighting) until he gets into a fight with a Dothraki who is going to win the fight until Dickon saves Jaime.

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Bronn is racing towards the “scorpion” and a Dothraki starts charging at him and Bronn throws a knife and the knife is glanced off by the Dothraki so Bronn is going to use his sword to hack at the guy and then the Dothraki chops one of Bronn’s horse’s hands off and one-handed horses don’t run very well so Bronn, the horse, and Bronn’s bag of gold all spill to the ground. Bronn realizes that he is gonna die if he spends time getting those coins, so he leaves the money and runs (this feels a bit unlike Bronn) into the hellscape that is this battlefield. People are randomly on fire, wagons are burning, Dothraki and Lannisters are taking cheap shots at one another, that Dothraki is still chasing after Bronn, and Bronn makes his way into one of the few remaining wagons (Drogon missed this one, randomly). The Dothraki opens the canvas opening to the wagon, looks down, the “scorpion” is now aimed at his chest, and Bronn fires a 3 meter bolt into the guy, pinning his (very quickly dead) body against a wagon. Bronn pulls a cord which opens up the wagon, unveiling the “scorpion.”

Now I hate on Qyburn because he’s evil but he built a really great artillery unit here. It’s on a rotating and tilting platform so actuallllly it is a very well-engineered piece of weaponry.

Also Tyrion shows up to watch the battle. I got confused earlier because I thought he had just been seen on Dragonstone but that was me doing a bad job of watching this episode so my apologies for getting that wrong. Tyrion is watching the battle with some Dothraki (maybe his personal guards or something) and one of them says

Tyrion is a bit taken aback at watching House Lannister’s troops getting destroyed. There is the possibility that he has fought with some of those men (GoT #9 and #19) and even if he hasn’t they have sworn allegiance to his family; just because Cersei is bad (and Tywin was bad) doesn’t mean all Lannister troops are, especially because Tyrion and Jaime parted on good terms so Tyrion does believe that Jaime can be saved(?). A very slow and funereal version of “The Rains of Castamere” plays over the footage of the Lannister army in full disarray. Also Drogon and Daenerys are flying above a fair-sized river (e.g. big enough for Drogon’s wingspan to barely be larger than the width of the river) so once again I continue to not know where this is happening. Upon a few more hours of pondering I guess “just south of King’s Landing” makes the most sense.

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Bronn fires one very large projectile at Drogon but it misses so Daenerys tells Drogon to take down that target and Bronn fires again and he hits and Bronn now has the high score in Skyrim. Drogon looks like Drogon is going to crash but then Drogon is like wait let me, instead, let me hover majestically and then torch that ballista. Bronn jumps away far enough to not die, he sees a horse nearby. Drogon then lands and uses a tail attack to demolish a burning wagon. Daenerys dismounts Drogon to pull the large bolt out of Drogon’s right shoulder and Jaime is watching. Jaime sees a spear.

::Jaime does some calculations in his head::
::Jaime decides charging Daenerys while she’s distracted with fixing a dragon’s medical problem is a good idea::
::Jaime does not want Bronn to have the high score in Skyrim::
::Drogon decides no one charges the Mother of Dragons and lives::
::Bronn jumps off his horse to shove Jaime into the nearby river because Jaime will otherwise either die or break his high score in Skyrim::
::somehow the river is really deep?????::

Coda

Game of Thrones has a corner on the market of fantasy television right now; it is the high prestige fantasy show with the massive budget that everyone else has to cower in respect to. It’s episodes like this, the spectacle episodes, that are what it does very well. To go in the wayback machine, this moment:

Was something that I don’t think a television series had really captured before. That same feeling of innovation as CGI spectacle is the feeling that “The Spoils of War”’s last ~15 minutes comes with; that this is something that the audience has never seen on television before.

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It oddly feels right that Bronn shows up in this episode, to fire a projectile again. If you see that guy watch out for CGI explosions happening nearby.