Game of Thrones season 7, you old minx, you almost had us there! After 3+ hours of meticulous set-up and heartfelt storyline blending, you reward our patience with nothing less than A Genuine F*&%ing Dragon Battle®? How did we get so lucky?! Do you want a backrub? Does Drogon have a date to prom yet? Please let us know what we can do in return for this tremendous gift. “The Spoils of War” deserves whatever it wants in return for the joy it has brought us today. I haven’t felt this good since Dany and her dragons firebombed the Sons of the Harpy in Slaver’s Bay. What a time to be alive!
Daenerys riding her dragon into battle, while 100% satisfactory, isn’t the only gambit in the episode. Here are the top 17 choicest power moves from S7E4 “The Spoils of War”:
1. Iron Bank? More Like Bye Bye-ron Bank
After storming Highgarden and claiming its treasury, the Lannisters are finally solvent enough to repay their outstanding loans at the Iron Bank. The war’s nowhere near finished, and Cersei tells her friendly Iron Bank representative that they’re going to be spending money on The Golden Company of Essos. At first I thought The Golden Company was a rival bank, so I wrote this caption:
But now I see that The Golden Company is actually a mercenary company known for never breaking contract, and our old friend Jorah Mormont used to work for them. So it looks like Cersei will need more funding from the Iron Bank, and everyone’s planning to get rich together with the help of a Bizarro Unsullied Army.
2. Littlefinger’s Big Dagger
You’d think Littlefinger has witnessed enough by now to recognize that something’s up with Bran. Magic might not be his MO, but there’s no way Petyr Baelish could be this willfully ignorant of Bran’s new status as the Three-Eyed Raven (Who Knows Literally Every Single Thing). He tries to score points by telling Bran about the dagger that nearly killed him once, but it’s hard to see the benefit of lying to a Living Lie Detector Test about the weapon’s history. If memory serves, Littlefinger was the likely owner of the dagger right around the time the child-assassination was ordered (he claimed Tyrion won it from him, but Tyrion denied ever owning it). Bran shuts him down soon enough, reminding him of the “chaos is a ladder” speech he gave to Varys several seasons ago. Very reasonably, Littlefinger is SHOOK. I like the looks of this prize fight: the man who thinks he knows everything vs. the man who actually knows everything.
3. How Meera Got Her Groove Back
Poor Meera. She lost her brother and her friends trying to protect Bran from danger, and now she realizes she’s lost the Bran she used to know. The only thing left to do is cut ties and go back home to regroup with Mom and Dad. Solid move, girl. You deserve some substantial Me Time.
4. Uh, Guys? Arya Got Hot
You know how gate sentries are, always trying to punch women for lying to them:
It’s lucky for them that Arya’s in a good mood - otherwise she could easily karate chop their guts out within three seconds. She’s back home for the first time since setting out on The Kingsroad with Sansa and Ned years ago, and she can’t wait to show everyone the tricks she’s picked up in the meantime. The last time Arya was in Winterfell, she was sneaking into archery lessons and sparring with wooden swords - and now she’s killing actual people! Our little girl is growing up so fast!!
Sansa is overjoyed to welcome Arya home, but at the same time she must be wondering if any of her siblings are capable of acting even remotely normal anymore. Jon’s obsessed with frozen zombies, Bran’s trying out a new non-personality, and after a tender reunion in the family crypt, Arya casually tells her sister about her Kill List. Later that afternoon, she spars with Brienne using the deadly skills she learned at the House of Black & White For Wayward Girls. Thank gods Arya isn’t interested in ruling Winterfell. If she wanted to, she could kill everyone before even Bran found out about it.
5. The Gift of the Three-Eyed Brother
It’s a smart move on Bran’s part to give his new invaluable weapon to someone who knows how to wield it. Maybe he gives Arya the dagger because of her incredible skill, or maybe it’s because a vision tells him to. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see a Stark doing something smart. No shade intended - it truly is a relief to have reason to think the Starks might make it after all. Ok. Some shade intended.
6. Daenerys WANTS the Goss
“‘Boundaries?’ What are those?” asks Daenerys, as she burrows ever further into her employee’s personal life. Unsure if the person asking the question is her queen or her friend, Missandei smirks suggestively and answers vaguely. Her sexcapades with Greyworm must stay private for as long as possible. Sexuality is sacred on the Isle of Naath.
7. Jon Snow & the Mystery of the Cave Paintings
At the time Jon Snow shows Daenerys the cave paintings left by the Children of the Forest inside Dragonstone’s obsidian mine, she’s already offered to help. So while it’s great that he’s found circumstantial proof of White Walkers, he’s beating a dead horse. Dany still expects him to “bend the knee” before she deploys any of her armies for him. This is a power move with no steam behind it, Jon. But how ‘bout those cave paintings? They sort of remind me of Lost.
8. Dany’s Dilemma
Daenerys flips out when Tyrion tells her the bad news about the Casterly Rock mission, going so far as to question his loyalty to her cause. She’s sick of waiting around to do pursue the least bloody course of action, and she’s literally one second away from riding Drogon to King’s Landing - but first, before she does, she’d like Jon Snow’s opinion. Looks like Jon gained some power inside those caves after all…and that looks very sexual now that I see it written out like that.
9. My Theon, the Hero
Jon Snow and Theon have a special relationship: Jon wants to kill Theon and Theon wants to die. But before that happens, he’d like to save his sister from their Uncle Euron if possible. This mission might be Theon’s first attempt at a power move since he tried to take Winterfell back in the pre-Bolton era, but unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. Daenerys is busy with something else right now…
10. Ready, Aim, Fire-Breathing Dragons
Neither Jaime nor Bronn nor the Tarlys saw this one coming:
Taking Jon’s advice, Dany forgoes King’s Landing and focuses her attention on the Lannister army and their Highgarden loot instead. With the Dothraki on the ground and Drogon in the air, there’s no doubt Dany will win the skirmish. But wait! The Lannisters preemptively brought the Scorpion with them, and Bronn knows which wagon it’s in, and apparently Qyburn taught him how to use it. It’s good to get the dragon-killing device out of the way now. Because even though it does wound Drogon (and could have easily killed Dany), now it’s just a harmless pile of woodchips.
Meanwhile here are 6 more images of Daenerys & Co absolutely tap dancing all over the Lannisters’ surprised faces:
11. Drogon Incinerating Several Lannisters
12. Dothraki Standing on Horseback
13. A Cool Rock Formation (Palate Cleanser)
14. Drogon Spraying Even More Fire at People
15. Drogon Being Scary
16. Drogon Cruising Over a Lake
17. The Kingslayer Who Can Slay Queens, Too
Noticing that Daenerys’s back is turned while she tends Drogon’s spear-wound, Jaime makes a game-time decision to take her out. He charges at her from 100 yards away, probably realizing that he only has a 0.001% chance of success, but going for it anyway. Drogon looks over and burps out a giant fireball like it’s nothing, and if not for a very observant and quick-moving friend, Jaime would be burnt to a crisp. Instead, he’s knocked into the water, where he might choose to stay for the rest of his life. Dragons can’t swim, right?
Here we are. The Stark children are reunited, a Valyrian dagger is in play, and the hills are alive with the sound of gigantic live flame throwers. It’s a beautiful day in Westeros. I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope next week is sixty more minutes of Drogon & Friends setting Westeros on fire. Until then, I’ll be staring at these gifs until my eyeballs dry out.