This review is dark and full of spoilers.
BEIRUT: With three episodes already have aired, and the story propelling forward at high speed, no fans could have expected the events that would unfold in the fourth episode of this season entitled The Spoils of War.
This episode marks the season’s midpoint and has the shortest runtime for an episode of the entire series. With that in mind, the showrunners, GOT cast and crew deliver such an intense, nail-biting narrative that will surely make the episode one of the most memorable of this season.
Not much occurs between Cersei and Tycho, the Iron Bank rep, other than more promises from Cersei regarding the Lannisters always paying their debts. Tycho mirrors the truth of how a country’s economic standing and war go hand in hand, and it does cause chills.
The final point that is worth noticing within this scene would be Cersei’s plan to bring in the Golden Company, a powerful mercenary company of 10,000 well-trained soldiers that never break a contract who was last mentioned in Season 4.
If Cersei is, in fact, going to be bringing them in, then Daenerys is now truly at a disadvantage having lost the majority of her allies and the grandiose army she was with at the end of The Winds of Winter, the Season 6 finale, not to mention what she almost loses towards the end of this episode.
Cersei: My only venture at this moment, is re-establishing control over this continent and every person on it.
In Winterfell, another Stark reunion occurred, but this one carried a lot more weight than its predecessor.The writers took full advantage of this by using the Stark sisters as a call-back device harkening back to Season 1.
Arya’s entrance to Winterfellechoed her trying to get back into King’s Landing back in Season 1 by having her spar with two idiotic guards.
Once past them, she is the first Stark child to actually sit and take in the fact that she is back home, the home that she hasn’t been in since the pilot episode of the series, before wondering off into the crypts to look at her father’s face once more.
Sansa, immediately realizing where Arya may have gone meets her in the crypt.
This reunion is not like any other Stark reunion, for this one carries with it a very difficult relationship between two sisters who never saw eye to eye. While one wanted a prince and to become a queen, the other wanted a suit of armor and a sword.
After reminiscing on the past, joking about Arya’s list, and Sansa reminding the audience about Arya being Jon’s favorite, Sansa and Arya go to see Bran at the Weirwood tree, which might as well be called Bran’s Fortress of Solitude.
There Bran exposes to Arya his Professor-X like powers and gives her a very familiar dagger made from Valyriansteel, that Littlefinger passed on to him earlier in the episode.
Speaking of Littlefinger, he also got a terrifying taste of Bran’s omniscience when Bran direct quoted Littlefinger’s infamous line, “Chaos is a ladder.”
To move forward without mentioning the brilliant duel between Arya and Brienne would be shameful, for not only does it impress the Lady Knight and the audience, it put fear in both Sansa and Littlefinger as it should.
Arya: It doesn’t look like him. Should have been carved by someone who knew his face.
Sansa: Everyone who knew his face is dead.
Arya: We’re not.
At Dragonstone, the Snargaryen (Snow/Targaryen) relationship continues to blossom, as caves seem to be part of Jon Snow’s game.
Jokes aside, the information delivered here does hit home for Dany and Jon as they discover cave paintings that convey the battle between the First Men, the Children of the Forest and the White Walkers.
Meanwhile, Dany has had it with clever plans after learning of her losses at Casterly Rock and High Garden and argues for her taking the Dothraki and her dragons to fight. In a surprising move, she asks Jon for advice in front of all her personal advisors who do advise her to stay put and not risk her life by becoming the very thing she is fighting against.
Later, another a tense reunion occurs between Theon and Jon, and this scene is more proof that Alfie Allen, who plays Theon needs to win an Emmy already.
Jon: My people…won’t accept a Southern ruler, not after everything they’ve suffered.
Dany: They will if their King does. They chose you to lead them. They chose you to protect them. Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?
THE GOLD ROAD, NORTH OF THE REACH
In the episode’s final act, the showrunners deliver a battle that has been six seasons in the making and by doing so place the audience in a very peculiar position.
It has been a long time since audiences have been afraid for both sides of a battle, and this one surely does so in the most severe way.
By placing Jaime and Daenerys on opposing sides, breaths were held as a fire raged and burned through the Lannister legion.
With Game of Thrones’ legacy of killing off leading characters, a legacy that has now become a trend across television series, the battle which is an ode to The Field of Fire, an old battle that occurs in the books, had many fans worried that one of two favorites might fall.
Yet, for now, neither does as both seem to have plot armor, a term used to describe when a story still needs a character to deliver certain beats said a character can’t die until that happens.
The battle’s execution is beyond cinematic.
Seeing the Dothraki in action with such beautiful fight choreography, Drogon’s volcanic rage burning through the fields, Jaime’s jousting power and almost death, and Tyrion’s watchful eye all come together makes for a beyond memorable sequence.
This episode ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger, as Jaime is seen sinking into the depths after having been saved by Bron from an almost barbequed death.
As each episode this season continues to build up towards the finale, one must ponder how much further up the ladder can the narrative climb before all hell breaks loose?
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.