Warning: spoilers ahead!
It’s that time again for another recap of Game of Thrones and oh god, this episode was actually on fire.
In the aftermath of Highgarden, Jaime and his Lannister forces cart away the gold needed for the Iron Bank because Lannisters always pay their debts. The spoils of war indeed. Bronn is rather frustrated at the bag of gold he receives as payment; he’d been expecting a castle. Jaime reminds him that they’re still at war, and after they win he can simply choose any castle he wants under Queen Cersei’s reign. Whether her reign is peaceable is an entirely different story, but stranger things have happened.
Back in King’s Landing, the Iron Bank representative is astonished at how swiftly Cersei has been able to acquired the funds to pay back her debt. Considering she plans on taking over the entire continent of Westeros, having the Iron Bank on her side would be greatly beneficial.
As for Winterfell, Baelish is obviously trying to get his hooks into Bran, handing him the dagger that was used by the cutthroat sent to kill him, the very one that started the War of the Five Kings. However, Catelyn Stark was able to stop the assailant from completing his task. It’s a true testament to Catelyn’s love for her children, but Bran doesn’t seem entirely moved by the whole conversation. Baelish reminds Bran he is devoted to Catelyn’s children, but at what price? The tone of the conversation changes once Bran quotes a signature statement of Baelish – one he said to Varys.
‘Chaos is a ladder,’ Bran says.
While Bran is not in control of Winterfell, he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. With Meera turning up in his chamber to announce she is leaving to stay with her family, it’s clear that Bran’s indifference is simply because the Three-Eyed raven aspect of him has taken over the better part of Brandon Stark. He sees and remembers so much.
‘You died in that cave,’ Meera says before leaving in tears.
While Bran is full of magic, the badass Arya has successfully made her way back into Winterfell. She could have easily torn those two guards at the entrance apart, but it was rather enjoyable to see them fumbling about and bickering among themselves. Maisie Williams was brilliant in the scene when Arya takes in her old home after being away for so long. With a steady gaze at the Stark banner, she makes her way to the crypts.
The Stark sisters are united and damn, is it so hard to return Sansa’s hugs? The two have been through a lot of awful experiences, and as they acknowledge their stories haven’t been pleasant, they are far from over. For now, they’re two sisters who are capable of so much but are able to enjoy a moment together, joking about wishing they’d been the ones to kill Joffrey.
At the godswood, Bran reveals Arya’s list of names and Sansa is suddenly cautious of her sister’s capability. “Who else is on your list?” she asks. “Most of them are dead already,” Arya replies. That single statement makes it clear: Arya has killed and she is far from done. And to top it off, Bran hands her the dagger since it’d be ‘wasted on a cripple.’ He has magic, he doesn’t need a weapon.
Speaking of weapons, I love a good sword fight. Watching Podrick get wrecked by Brienne is almost a bit tragic, but when Arya makes her way to the stage, things got a whole lot more interesting. As Sansa watches from above with Baelish, the battle of Arya vs Brienne is captivating considering it was totally unexpected. It was such a satisfying scene and the look on Sansa’s face simply confirms that she’s underestimated what her sister has been up to.
‘Who taught you how to do that?’ Brienne asks.
‘No one.’ Arya says with a smile.
Meanwhile at Dragonstone, Jon takes Daenerys on a little adventure underground where they’ve found enough dragonglass to wipe out the Night King’s army. But what he shows her next is even more incredible: physical etchings and drawings by the Children of the Forest. It’s the first piece of lore we’ve been given in a while, and it reveals that the Children of the Forest and the First Men banded together to fight their common enemy: the White Walkers. If this isn’t proof that the White Walkers need to be a priority, I don’t know what is. This isn’t about the Iron Throne; this is about surviving long enough to even have a Westeros left.
But hey, Daenerys will only help out Jon if he bends the knee. Girl, are we back at this again? We’re at square one with the alliance between Jon and Daenerys. And once Tyrion reveals that while they’ve taken Casterly Rock, but Cersei has the food supplies and all the money in the world, Daenerys is ready to take the kingdom by force.
But dragons are tools of fear and war, and Jon argues that by using them to simply burn and melt away the cities of Westeros, she’d be no better than the other tyrants that have ruled before her. But what she decides to do will determine the course of her reign, if she lives long enough to rule.
And if we didn’t have enough reunions, Theon washes up with the crew that saved his ass and Jon has to restrain himself from killing the poor guy. “What you did for [Sansa] is the only reason I’m not killing you,” he tells Theon and my god, it is incredibly awkward. But the tension is broken when we realise that Daenerys is gone.
And her disappearance has been leading up to this very moment. This is the shit that
we’ve been waiting for. Daenerys has taken her dragons to battle before, but never against those in Westeros. But what’s the purpose of it? To win a forced battle or send a message, one that says she can do things that people once believed to be impossible. Basically, mess with Daenerys, she’ll destroy you and everything you love.
The sound of galloping hooves and the war cries of the Dothraki confirm it before we even see it. Jaime and his forces scrabble to get into formation, but Drogon simply burns a path through his men for the Dothraki. You go, Khalessi!
It’s a total carnage with a thick veil of smoke and ash. The gold is probably nothing but liquid now. There is no cover to take. Everything is on fire as Tyrion watches from the distance with some Dothraki men, watching Jaime trying to fight. It’s a melancholic moment as he doesn’t want his brother to die, but he can’t stop what’s happening. Bronn knew the battle was lost as soon as Drogon appeared, but that doesn’t stop him from attempting to use Qyburn’s weapon.
It confirms our fear: it does work. It’s a reminder that Daenerys’ head-on approach may not always work, and she needs to play it smart if she wants to protect her babies. But while it manages to hurt Drogon, it doesn’t stop him from protecting his mother as Jaime comes charging with a spear to end the Targaryen line.
At the last second, Jaime is flung into the water and slowly sinks into the dark as Daenerys tries to free the bolt from Drogon’s hide. The battle revealed something: you don’t know who to root for because things can go one way or another in a heartbeat.
And on that note, stay tuned for more recaps!