Game of Thrones: Daggers and dragons steal the show in 'The Spoils of War'
Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion have come so far since hatching from their eggs in Season 1.
The fourth episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones started out with icy calm reunions of the remaining Stark children and ended with the full, fiery force of a dragon against a helpless army.
Oh, and we need to talk about that perilous cliffhanger.
A girl comes home
Arya isn't a little girl anymore. She's a fierce fighter who's seen and done some great and terrible things.
This week, it was her turn to come home to Winterfell. And after a brief holdup at the front gate with a couple of idiotic guards, she reunites with Sansa - ahem, Lady Stark - in the crypts.
Their reunion is less stiff than Sansa and Bran's, but Sansa can definitely tell Ayra is changed. Well, Arya is technically a skilled assassin with an unfinished kill list. So, yeah, she's changed.
Next is meeting up with Bran, who's still on his absent existentialism kick but just got a medieval wheelchair to help him get around. I really didn't expect Bran to turn into Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen, but here we are.
Earlier, Bran met with both Littlefinger and Meera. Littlefinger gifted him the dagger that was meant to kill him in Season 1 after her saw Cersei and Jaime doing the dirty in a tower.
It's a strange gift from Littlefinger, who is the least trustworthy person in all of Westeros. He tells Bran it must be hard for him to be gone for so long and seen so many things, yet comes home to chaos.
"Chaos is a ladder," Bran says, mimicking Littlefinger's catchphrase. Ugh, Bran, you're really annoying this season.
He was simply cold to Meera, whose brother died for him and who risked her life countless times to help him become the Three-Eyed Raven. He simply says "thank you" as she leaves Winterfell.
Arya and Sansa meet him at the weirwood tree, where Bran spends much of his time staring creepily. Bran ends up giving the dagger to Arya, who quickly puts it to use during training Brienne.
In the yard, Littlefinger and Sansa watch Arya show off the combat skills she's learned over her years away from home. It's a joyous scene, with Arya and Brienne smiling while clicking swords and dancing around one another.
One of the five planned Game of Thrones spinoffs should be Brienne and Arya's Training Camp.
Lion vs. Dragon
We've seen what dragons are capable of back in Meereen when Drogon saved Daenerys' life then incinerated all the ships in Slaver's Bay.
But Dany's impromptu attack on the Lannister army astride her black dragon Drogon was unprecedented and epic. It is the most impressive Game of Thrones battle yet.
Dany made this decision to march her dragons and Dothraki army back on Dragonstone after having a couple heart-to-hearts with Jon Snow.
Jon's pleas for help to fight the Night King and White Walkers finally win Dany over. Before hacking into the mountain of dragon glass, Jon brings Dany inside the cave to show her the ancient drawings of White Walkers and men made by the Children of the Forest.
These kiddish hieroglyphics are apparently enough evidence for Dany to decide to lend her support to the North -- when Jon bends the knee.
Outside the steamy cave, Tyrion delivers some good and bad news -- Dany's unsullied army took Casterly Rock, but they lost Highgarden.
She's lost her essential allies -- Highgarden, Dorne and the Iron Islands -- and is sick of just sitting on this island.
This decision brings us to watching Dany ride Drogon over an army of Lannisters while her Dothraki army begins the slaughter. Just one command - Dracarys - and Drogon blankets the field in flames.
Chaos ensues, charred bodies fall and Lannister men run and scream in fiery agony. Bronn and Jaime, two extremely skilled fighters, panic when they realize they're losing.Bronn breaks out Qyburn's giant bow and arrow to take on Drogon. The first shot misses, but the second finds its mark, piercing Drogon near his neck.
Dany holds on tight while Drogon flails to the ground in pain. Once they land, Dany jumps off and tries to pull out the heavy iron arrow. Jaime sees this as his moment to, literally, take a stab at Dany. At the last second, Drogon turns his head to incinerate Jaime. But, again, at the last second it seems that Bronn tackles Jaime out of the way and into a nearby lake.
The last thing we see in the episode is Jaime floating ominously into the bottom of the lake. That golden hand of his has got to be pretty heavy. Was that Bronn who saved him? And did Game of Thrones really just kill off the Kingslayer?
Both the Battle of the Blackwater and the Battle of the Bastards were chilling visual feasts. But the the Battle of the Loot Train (yes, that's what it's called) took the epic fantasy's standards to another level.
And if you don't want a dragon after this episode, you're wrong.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.