Oh this season, it had really been so glorious for all fans. Episodes seem to be getting better and better. We’ve officially arrived at the middle of the season and with an episode ominously named ‘The Spoils of War’, I was expecting a lot. And oh did it deliver, did it ever indeed.
We began with the North, seeing the slimy Littlefinger trying to stir some drama between the Stark kids by talking to Bran, but was promptly shut the hell up by him. “Chaos is a ladder”. I didn’t catch it initially, and while it sounded familiar, I am apparently not a big enough fan cos I don’t remember exactly where that was from. Judging from Littlefinger’s dire reaction to Bran’s utterance, it’s not something he wanted to hear. So the Internet is here to help again and after a quick googling, ‘chaos is a ladder’ is from season three from a very intriguing and private conversation between Littlefinger and the Spider Varys. “Chaos isn’t a pit, chaos is a ladder.” Bran quoted Littlefinger’s own words to him, unnerving him to no end. It’s definitely refreshing to see two of Westeros’s cleverest men having the rug pulled from under their feet, first Varys was taken aback by Melisandre’s words last episode and now Littlefinger by Bran in one simple quote. You could practically see Littlefinger’s miniature panic and wondering what else Bran might know. And we the audience know that Bran knows everything and he has all the chips in the world to scare the shit out of everyone. It remains to be seen how much and how often Bran would choose to share his knowledge and with whom. The little exchange between Meera and Bran right after broke my heart. Like Meera said, Brandon Stark died in the cave along with Summer and Hodor.
Then we see Arya, first far away on a cliff looking down at her home Winterfell. It was truly a beautiful shot, and heavy with meaning. Arya’s homecoming is perhaps the one I’m most excited about, just because in my opinion she went through most shit, and most of them all alone and also being one of the youngest and a girl too. I definitely loved the scene where she was left sitting alone in the courtyard waiting and she looked around her home which she left when she was just a little girl all the way back in season one, the second episode. She had changed a lot, and so is the world around her. Arya and Sansa’s reunion was a little awkward in the beginning, both of them grown to be something they both wanted when they were little girls: Sansa to be a Lady and Arya to be a fighter. But the road to their dream was definitely not smooth for either of them and after they both acknowledged that and recognized the survivor inside each other, their second embrace was much warmer and more sincere.
While Arya and Bran’s reunion was almost as mild as the one between Bran and Sansa, I think Arya is more capable of possibly understanding Bran, cos she had seen some weird shit herself and she can do some weird shit herself too. The dagger Littlefinger gave to Bran, the dagger that a cutthroat attempted to kill Bran with, he gave it to Arya, and who knows what big things Arya might do with that dagger. The scene where all three Stark children walked across the courtyard was an emotional one, last time there were so many Starks in one scene was in the pilot episode seven years ago.
Then later, a little sparring session between Arya and Brienne was so entertaining to watch. You can actually see everything that Arya has picked up all through season one to this day in a matter of minutes. First the water dance lessons she learned from everyone’s favorite master sword fighter Syrio Forel, then it’s the brutal fighting lessons from the Hound (albeit unintentional) about striking the weak spots while fighting someone in armor, and finally, all the skills she acquired from the Faceless Men. After Brienne kicked Arya down and she got up fast, you could see a hint of her learned killing and survival instinct coming to life, and after that there was no stopping her, even when she had Needle knocked out of her grip. It was easy to miss, how she drew her dagger with the other hand and then ‘dropped’ the dagger into her other hand to strike for Brienne’s throat. It was a beautifully choreographed fighting sequence and of course it was witnessed by both Sansa and Littlefinger. They both seemed surprised. Sansa also seemed a little worried. I just hope they would share what they have done. While someone like Jon Snow would be too honorable to approve, I think in the end Sansa and Arya are more the same than they realize: ruthless without being burdened by too much honor cos they knew what they had to do to survive, my kind of gals.
Then briefly to King’s Landing, we witness Cersei further discussing business with the rep from the Iron Bank who was very impressed by her. Cersei then quickly mentioned hiring sellswords to strengthen her army and the name ‘The Golden Company”. They were briefly mentioned in previous seasons, and more in the books but they are a highly trained private army 10 000 men strong. They would not be fun to fight.
At Dragonstone we saw Jon showing Dany the cave of dragon glass and the painting on the cave walls, attempting to convince Dany to help fight the whitewalkers. I might be just imagining it, but is there sexual tension between them in the cave? We all know that Jony boy likes caves. 😛 Anyways, Dany was still hellbent on the whole bending the knee thing. She then went a little crazy after Tyrion and Varys brought her some very bad news about the Casterly Rock ‘conquest’. Jon Snow tried to convince Dany not to just fly over to the Red Keep and burn it to the ground, but did you see the anger in Dany’s eyes? Mama’s gotta do what mama’s gotta do.
Ah, then the final scene. We got to see the whole glorious hell from point of view of Jaime, who was almost home, managing to deliver the gold to Kingslanding, and now left to deliver were just grains. I got many theories as to why the Dorthrakis made so much sound from so far away. I think they are probably trying to strike fear into the enemy’s heart by appearing fearless. Or they try to gather the enemy in a bunch to set the stage for the grand entrance of mama and Drogon and at the same time make a more compact package for Drogon to burn. All of those big battles that had happened throughout Game of Thrones, I think I like this one the most. Just because I haven’t really seen Dorthrakis in a battle, not on this scale. They are a truly fearsome army, utterly unstoppable when they are on their horses. And the dragon! Sorry Nymster (Nymeria), all the money went here, so no budget for your appearances. The dragon fire, the crazy Dorthraki army fighting in such unorthodox ways, the Lannister army is no match for all this craziness. We saw Bronn tried to stop Dany with the scorpion, and we saw Dany slightly unhinged and not thinking clearly. Cos she obviously saw the big ass first arrow flew past her, so why she would choose to fly straight towards the scorpion? The final scene of the battle, with Jaime horrified at all the destruction around her, decided on a very stupid move, picking up a spear and charging towards a little busy Dany who was trying to pull out the arrow from Drogon’s shoulder. If there was any doubt before that Dany and her dragons having a mental link, this is a moment of truth. Dany turning like she had heard Jaime coming, but no way she could have amongst all that chaos. But she turned nonetheless, and Drogon, of course, protected his mama. It remained a mystery who saved Jaime in the last second, it might be Bronn which is most likely, or that young boy with the funny name Dickon, or even Tyrion. Maybe not Tyrion, the saver looked taller. But damn that pond is deep. 😀 All in all, a fucking fantastic episode. Can’t wait for the next one!