A Post of Fire and Ice: The Spoils of War

7 Aug

“The Spoils of War”, the fourth episode in this abbreviated seventh season of Game of Thrones, was the first episode yet where I felt that my expectations and the show I watched didn’t quite match up. My friends and I heard that the episode would be epic, one of the best ever, and while it showed us some things we had never seen before, like the Dothraki in battle, I didn’t feel that it lived up to the hype. The Dothraki and Dany’s dragon roared into battle to ambush the Lannister army as they were heading back to King’s Landing. Sure, the element of surprise was the point. Jon Snow told Daenerys earlier on that she needs to show the people why she is unlike every other ruler they’ve known. Perhaps Daenerys flew in to attack the Lannisters knowing full well that, while the display she put on had little strategic importance, this was largely for public relations. The common people will talk and rally to her side. And word will get back to Queen Cersei.

But let’s rewind and revisit the second reunion of Stark siblings in two weeks: last week it was Bran and Sansa, this week it was Arya and Sansa. The sisters talked to each other with stilted language, and it’s good to remember that this may not just be the awkwardness of separating as girls and reuniting as women. Back in season 1, when they were last together, they were as different as night and day. The princess who wanted to marry a prince and the tomboy who wanted to learn to fight. In their own ways, they’ve matured- Sansa is a jaded survivor, wise to the manipulations of others, while Arya has taken her fierce independence and desire to be controlled by no one to an extreme. They both, along with their brother Bran/The Three-Eyed Raven, must learn to band together and be a family again. There is a reason the Stark family sigil is a wolf. They only succeed as a pack, not alone. There is a reason they are under the same roof again as winter closes in.

Sibling loyalty is also on display as Tyrion catches sight of Jaime for the first time since fleeing Westeros in late season 4. Tyrion’s loyalties may be tested soon, since I predict that the ambush in The Reach ends not with Jaime drowning in a surprisingly deep lake alongside Bronn, but will result in his being taken captive by Daenerys (not the first time Jaime has been taken hostage after a battle. He spent nearly all of season 2 as a Stark bargaining chip). The final moments of this episode, when Jaime charges at Daenerys with an improvised spear, prompt dread in his brother Tyrion, who still feels some affection for the older brother who freed him so long ago, to whom he owes so much. We also see, in that final, panicked charge towards the enemy, a glimpse into what makes Jaime tick: an instinct to kill an enemy, to defend the realm, with no regard to his own likely injury or death, if it is for the greater good. It may be noble or it may be foolish (Tyrion certainly thinks the latter), but Jaime is a warrior at heart choosing to fight rather than observe from the sidelines as Bronn urged him to do. I doubt that Game of Thrones is done with him yet. I believe that Jaime, along with Bran, Arya, Samwell, the Hound and others will all play an important role in the war to come. Soon.

Also, it must be noted that every time poor Dickon Tarly’s name is mentioned, I laugh. I was glad to know that, in the universe of the show, it is considered a pretty ridiculous name (Bronn sure thinks so). I wrote about the show’s approach to humor more when writing about “The Queen’s Justice”.

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One Response to “A Post of Fire and Ice: The Spoils of War”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Post of Ice and Fire: Eastwatch | The Lebanexican - August 16, 2017

    […] of Thrones episodes advance the plot and are filled with action (like last week’s thrilling “The Spoils of War”). This was what I call a “putting the pieces in place” episode, moving the characters […]

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