Game of Thrones Review: No Time to Celebrate “Spoils of War”

Game of Thrones

So far, the seventh season of Game of Thrones has had an inordinate amount of characters meeting for the first time, characters reuniting after a long time apart, and battles. “The Spoils of War” was almost entirely in keeping with that theme. There were long awaited reunions, meet ups you didn’t know you needed, and of course: a battle with dragons. Since this episode had all that, you could barely tell that it was the shortest Game of Thrones episode in history.

I’ve been writing these reviews for a few weeks and they’ve been lengthy, which I’m fine with, but I wanted to review the episode while still talking about long-anticipated moments as they come to fruition and their significance, and leave some space for fan theories without boring everyone. So, you can look for that to be my format from here forward. I would really like to get a discussion going that stems from this article, so tell your friends.

First of all, the episode was everything I wanted. When Arya, Sansa, and Bran all reunited it nearly brought me to tears just because it was so happy. Sure, Bran made it weird after that (although LESS weird than he made it with Sansa) but I was thrilled to see the Starks piling back into Winterfell. It made my nostalgic, first season loving heart happy. But of course, those weren’t the only reunions in the episode. The Arya/Brienne reunion and subsequent sparring session was a fantastic moment. Not only did it show that Arya was still a top-tier fighter even up against Brienne, but that Arya has every intention of fulfilling her list. Arya Stark, “Queenslayer”. That has a nice ring to it, does it not? Finally, Jon Snow reunited with Theon Greyjoy and it went about how you’d expect. It didn’t last long, but Jon leaving Theon alive for saving Sansa feels appropriate. Especially with the signature Jon Snow snarl.

The way Game of Thrones has been going lately,  I expected Daenerys to pull back and listen to Tyrion and Jon. What I did not expect was for her to take the Dothraki and her dragon and order extra crispy. On the one hand, it makes sense. Daenerys has been successful in the past without listening to Tyrion or even having him on board, and his idea was the invasion of Casterly Rock, which did not go well. So following her own instincts instead of listening to her advisors stands to reason, and it worked. She won the battle. Of course, what Tyrion and Jon are trying to get at (at least in my own interpretation) is that they know the people of Westeros better than she does. Her current armies do not follow her out of fear, but the people of Westeros will ONLY follow her out of fear if she dominates them with her dragons. Her frustration is felt and subsequently taken out on Jaime’s army. And it. was. AWESOME!

Forget the advisors. That battle was so much fun to watch. It was immensely satisfying to watch everything catch fire, even the dragon “killing” weapon that Bronn was firing. Game of Thrones has had several exciting battles in its history but this was my favorite, even though it was ridiculously one sided. I guess I’m just not tired of the good guys winning yet.

Reviewing the episode and talking about long awaited moments (like the Stark reunion and the Snow/Greyjoy one) pretty much went hand in hand this time, so I’m going to skip straight to fan theories this time. My major one is the role of Jon Snow in the future of Westeros. Until Daenerys ignored everyone’s advice and rode into battle on a dragon, I wasn’t sure of Jon’s function in the new world order. But now I’m wondering if he won’t be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Mostly, I say this because Daenerys proved her stubbornness in this week’s episode, and it’s a virtual certainty that she won’t be ruling alone. Now I’m not convinced she’ll rule at all. Could she go full “Mad King” and Jon Snow (who we all know is a trueborn Targaryen by now, right?) could have to step in to that reluctant leader role he has always hated. “A Song of Ice and Fire” implies that both characters have equal significance, so I’m just spitballing of course. But hey, it could just be about White Walkers and dragons.

A few other thoughts:

  • Anyone else think “Arya is SOOO still planning to kill the Hound” while she was fighting with Brienne?
  • Lots of great moments in this episode but Bronn giggling at Dickon’s name was tops.
  • I’m sure that Jaime’s “up in the air” fate at the end of this episode will inspire thousands of clickbait articles, but there’s no way that’s the end for him. You heard it here first. But, will Cersei get word that he died and dive further into madness? A virtual certainty.

Overall this was another visually stunning, top notch episode. Plenty of action took place, and you still get the sense that something is building, which is exactly what you want from a mid-season episode.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know!! Let’s start a discussion!

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO

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