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GAME OF THRONES Recap: The Spoils of Speed (and Dragons)

GAME OF THRONES Recap: The Spoils of Speed (and Dragons)

Hello, fair citizens of the Realm! It’s that time of year again—the most wonderful of them all—Game of Thrones season. And, in addition to winter: spoilers are coming! (And maybe a few swears, too. Woops!) As this is a recap, it goes over everything in crazy detail, so proceed at your own risk and don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire, y’all: the Stark kids are all nearly reunited and Dany has gone full-dragonlord (and not in a good way). With the fate of Jaime Lannister unknown (lol jk of course he’s still alive—because he is almost definitely/certainly the Prince That Was Promised, a.k.a. Azor Ahai), Game of Thrones has given us its most bonkers episode to date this season and we are WAY TOO HYPED TO FUNCTION. Wow, what a crazy two weeks of episodes, eh? Thank you, “The Spoils of War,” for making this ultra-speedy pace sorta worth it.

But before we get to the Stark reunion, let’s get some little tediums out of the way: the Tyrell gold is safely (for now) in King’s Landing, but Dany’s burned the entire crop (and a heck of a lot of Lannister-allied soldiers) to the ground on their way back from Highgarden (not exactly your best move if you want the people you intend to rule to survive the winter, girl). With gold in hand, no doubt the Iron Bank of Braavos will be more than happy to supplement Cersei’s reign of terror because ooh, do banks love them some loan repayment profits. However, Tycho Nestoris certainly made it clear that the Iron Bank’s support is deeply fickle and financially dependent, so don’t think that’ll be all that guaranteed for long. (Also: anyone else thinking it’s decidedly NOT a coincidence that it’s called the Iron Throne right now? In the real world or otherwise, banks are truly the worst. Ugh.)

Now. Let’s talk about the Stark kids.

BECAUSE LOOK AT THIS IMAGE Y’ALL:

OH MY GOODNESS THE STARK SIBLINGS ARE ALL NEARLY REUNITED AND I SERIOUSLY CANNOT BREATHE I AM JUST SO HAPPY. Y’all!!!! I knew it was coming BUT STILL: I screamed. (A lot.) It was just so joyful! The moment Sansa walked into the crypt and found Arya? Near-tears. And all that sisterly “we’re not dead yet” bonding? SO SWEET, SO STRONG, SO CAPABLE, SO BADASS. (Arya and Sansa used to HAAAAATE each other, y’all! I love it when sisters come together.)

Even when they went over to Three-Eyed Bran who is apparently not really Bran Stark anymore (lol ok Bran we get it you’re a cool teen now, jeez), the warm-fuzzies were all over that icy heap o’ stone better known as Winterfell. But that’s because, more than anything, it was such a relief (despite how good our own Scott Begg’s theory was) to see that Arya had decided to head home instead of King’s Landing. Because Arya, unlike Nymeria, is not a wild animal: she’s just really, really, really, really good at fighting and killing. Which: let’s talk about that fight scene with Brienne.

IT WAS THE BEST FULL STOP THE END THESE TWO WOMEN NEED TO BE BEST FRIENDS.

Gosh. Is it normal to cry at other people’s catharsis? The Starks just deserve happiness, y’all: they’re the best House on the series by a miracle mile, they’ve been to hell and back, and all they want to do is sit up in the castle in the North, praying to their blood-crying tears, remembering. At least we got to see Sansa, Bran, AND Arya (!!!) get, at least, a few minutes respite from living the worst lives imaginable.

As for the nitty-gritty of what went down in Winterfell, there are still a few things to break down, like Meera Reed leaving Winterfell and the return of that pesky Valyrian dagger that was used to try and kill Bran back in season one. It had been Littlefinger’s (and Bran surely knew that, what with his creepy-ass Raven powers), but we’re fairly certain that his question about who the blade belonged to goes MUCH farther back than Littlefinger itself. And now that Bran has given it to Arya, don’t think for a SECOND she isn’t going to murder the fuck out of Littlefinger with it (at least, a girl can hope).

Also — Bran’s line (“I’m not really him anymore. I remember what it was like to be Brandon Stark, but I remember so much more now.”) gives SO MUCH MORE CREDENCE TO OUR THEORY ABOUT HIM BEING ALL THE BRANS, Y’ALL:

And then there was Dany.

Oh, Daenerys Targaryen. Oh how it hurts to see you result to the crazy, maniacal, ruthless ways of your father and the more angry dragonlords that came before you.

It is very hard to reconcile how well-intentioned and earnest everyone around Dany is when she is so arrogant and stubborn and angry. (Not saying we blame her, but: there are better ways, girl.) After getting mighty pissed at Ty-ty for his clever but ultimately ineffective plans, Dany took matters into her own wings and descended upon Jaime and Bronn and the Tarly boys and their armies with Drogon and a couple thousand Dothraki who did not die at Casterly Rock. And ooh, what a dirty, nasty, unfair fight it was. Dany, in that moment, was every bit the queen of the ashes — she had no care for saving the crops or the Lannister-loyal soldiers which, in our opinion, is a huge mistake. It would’ve been much more effective, frankly, to fly across Westeros on her dragon, showing the people of the Seven Kingdoms that dragons and magic and the Targaryens have returned to help, and let all those she’s helped do the talking.

We knew Olenna Tyrell’s words would be poison in Dany’s ear — seems she’s still got a monarch to take down, even in death. If only she’d listened to Eeyore Jon Snow, who told her that, “if you use [the dragons], you’re not different, you’re just more of the same.”

Speaking of more of the same: the telegraphed romance-to-be between Jon and Dany. We see you, Ser Davos and Missandei, with your hints and nods at Jon Snow and Daenerys needing to bone. We understand why it makes sense for the story (what if they were BOTH the Prince That Was Promised, combined?), but we’re not so sure we’re with you, since we’ll never really be on board with an aunt and her nephew falling in love.

Not more of the same, however, was the scene in the dragonglass caves, where we learned that the Children of the Forest and The First Men were at Dragonstone a long, long, looooong time ago, carving White Walkers into the stone so the world remembers what happened during The Long Night. Two groups of beings, so very different from one another, teamed up to fight the army of the dead and won. However, their cyclical markings certainly had us wondering: will the winds of change and repetition of history always lead the Realm to this sort of story, time and time again? Here’s hoping there’s more information regarding that in the rotting scrolls Samwell has been tasked with transcribing over at the Citadel.

OTHER ODDS AND ENDS:

  • BRIENNE AND ARYA ARE THE NEW BEST.
  • Like, THEY HAVE TO BECOME BEST FRIENDS—THEY HAVE TO. That fight! That fight was SO GOOD.
  • “Who taught you to do that?” “No one.” OMFGGISHUTGDJNIPFWHUEGO No One SURE DIIIID, Arya!
  • What do we think Cersei means when she says she needs to expand the armies and navies because she “would like them to recover some things that belong to me.” What are these things? It feels ominous but we can’t put our finger on it.
  • Also: Jaime needs to stop. (Don’t question it, he just does.)
    • That said: don’t think for a SECOND Jaime drowning/etc isn’t going to be some sort of “Azor Ahai reborn amid salt and smoke” moment whenever we see him next, because what bigger baptism could he have than that?
  • Anyone else shocked that Bronn survived? Raise your hand, it’s OK.
  • But also: BRONN! BRONN! BRONN! BRONN!
  • Bran’s throwback “Chaos is a ladder” line was NO THROWAWAY:

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: HBO

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor, creator/co-host of Fangirling, and resident Khaleesi of House Nerdist. Find her on Twitter but only if you really want because, like—I’m not your boss.

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