The Spoilers of War

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 7 Episode 4, “The Spoils of War”

Welcome to SEASON 7 of HBO’s prestige snuff series, GAME OF THRONES. This is a SPOILER-RICH scene-by-scene recap of episode four, “The Spoils of War.” If you’re looking for a spoiler-free recap, sit back and consider what the word “recap” means.

Game of Thrones 64

(For some reason, “Game of Thrones 64” is how the title for this episode appeared on HBO GO – either some kind of error, or Nintendo’s disruptive idea for how to finally tease the highly-anticipated sequel to Wave Race 64.)

Gold Road to the Danger Zone

Jaime Lannister carts all of the Reach’s gold out of Highgarden, minus a pretty substantial pouch that goes to Bronn for services rendered. They fall into their old patter from their misadventures in Dorne, with Bronn tossing bon mots (Bronn mots?) about Jaime’s balls. God it’s good to have Bronn back.

Bronn and the Tarlys head off to collect the harvest from the farms in the Reach, while Jaime accompanies the Lannister army back towards King’s Landing, to deliver the Iron Bank’s gold.

Bank Shot

With the relief of somebody finally paying off their student loans — I assume — Cersei tells Tycho from the Iron Bank that their debt will be settled as soon as the gold arrives in King’s Landing.

Tycho gets mighty thirsty as soon as the Iron Throne is no longer indebted to the Iron Bank, following Cersei around and asking if she’ll still think of him when she needs to kill thousands of Dothraki. She walks over to the giant opening credits sequence she had commissioned for her floor and dangles the idea that she might hire the Golden Company, shiny mercenaries from across the sea, if the terms of the loan are right.

Sister, Sister

In Winterfell, Littlefinger embarks on a campaign to be Bran’s cool stepdad. Instead of letting Bran have a beer if he doesn’t tell mom, Petyr slips him the knife that a catspaw tried to kill him with in season one. Then he describes Catelyn getting killed at the Red Wedding, and Bran becoming a cripple and fleeing beyond the wall. It’s one of those conversations you always wish you could have with a guy you only met a couple times and was instrumental in your getting your father executed.

Meera Reed arrives and gives a tearful speech about how she’s leaving because the writers don’t know what to do with her anymore. Bran is distant to her, because he’s no longer his sweet old self. He’s the Three-Eyed Raven now, and he’s just too cool to do much besides sit in front of a fire in his wheelchair and be a dick to people. He’s like a younger more spaced-out Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.

Outside, Arya returns to Winterfell for the first time since episode two of the series. She’s met by two of those bouncers who refuse to let you into a bar just because your ID is expired, even though it’s clearly you in the photo. She talks her way in, then sneaks off to the crypts below the castle, which are the hot place to hang out in Winterfell this season.

Sansa realizes that her guards are morons almost as quickly as Arya got away from them, and she joins her sister in the crypt.

The Stark women embrace and chat about the small things you talk about when you see family members — gossip, exes, the lists of people you’re going to kill.

“Our stories aren’t over yet,” says Arya. “Not for nine more episodes,” she says, in my mind. And then she winks directly into the camera.

They join The Artist Formerly Known as Bran in the godswood, where he’s sitting in front of the heart tree, continuing to be weird.

Bran gives his cool Valyrian steel dagger to Arya, and they roll back into the courtyard three Starks deep. Podrick points out to Brienne that she kept the vow she made to Catelyn: to get her daughters back to Winterfell. She didn’t exactly “get” them there, but whatevs — the results speak for themselves.

Meanwhile, Petyr Baelish watches. The Ominous Crow of Foreshadowing caws.

Dragonglass Houses

Missandei and Dany walk down Dragonstone’s stairs together. From what I can put together, Dragonstone is mostly stairs. It’s like the Targaryens came across the Narrow Sea hundreds of years ago, saw Dragonstone, and said, “This could be a really great place to sit out the Doom of Valyria — but something is missing.” And Aenar Targaryen stood up and said, “How do you feel about, say, a bajillion stairs?” And his whole family was like “Oh hells yes I could get down with some of that.”

Missandei tells Dany that she and Grey Worm hooked up, and Dany gives her that same look that most people gave me when I told them about the episode where there was a sex scene with a eunuch.

Meanwhile, Jon and Ser Davos had a fun nature walk together and found the cave containing Dragonstone’s mountain of dragonglass. Jon leads Dany inside, because he kind of has a thing about being in caves with young women. Beyond the mountain of dragonglass, he shows her where the Children of the Forest and the First Men — those folks who were on Westeros before the Andals and the Rhoynar — left sweet tags over the cave walls.

The graffiti shows that the Children and the First Men were super into circles, and also that they joined forces to fight the White Walkers thousands of years ago. This is the “in” that Jon has been looking for — the perfect argument that we’re not so different, we can all get along, at least when it comes to killing snow zombies.

Dany seems to be moved. She agrees to join forces and fight for Westeros and the North…as soon as Jon bends the knee. BOOM! Sick burn from the dragon lady.

On the beach, Tyrion is having a bad day. He tells Dany that the Unsullied are trapped at Casterley Rock and the Tyrells were slaughtered by the Lannister army. She is out of allies.

And pissed. She is once again ready to put all her dragon eggs in the “burn down King’s Landing” basket. Luckily, she asks Jon for his advice, and he advises against burning all her new subjects to death. An unorthodox plan, but not without its merits.

A Hard Day’s Knight

Brienne is training Pod, teaching him how to get up close and personal with the ground in Winterfell’s courtyard. Arya strolls in with Needle and says she wants to train under Brienne, too. She was there when Brienne beat the Hound in single combat, before shipping off to Essos for a couple seasons of fun times getting hit with a stick.

They duel. Arya pulls out some incredibly dope Faceless-Men-Water-Dancer shit, tagging Brienne a few times before fighting her to a draw.

Sansa and Littlefinger watch the whole thing. Sansa seems impressed, thinking about what she could have done over the last few years if she knew how to fight like that. Littlefinger seems threatened, because Arya and Bran are now two of the only people in the realm who seem able to surprise him.

Podrick sizes her up for a wedding proposal. I’m calling it now: series finale, Pod, Hot Pie and Gendry fight to the death for the chance to ultimately get rejected by Arya.

Welcome Back Koward

On the Middle Stairs in Dragonstone’s Stair District, Jon and Davos work on their cardio. Missandei is standing on a landing, looking out over the water — a favorite pastime here on Dragonstone. They all trade stories about their home traditions, like this is their semester off backpacking across the Narrow Sea before buckling down on the serious business of war. They see a single Greyjoy ship approaching.

Theon and Jon have a not-so-tearful reunion, because since Jon left for the Wall, Theon essentially turned Winterfell over to the Boltons. (Not that free room and board with Ramsay Bolton was a walk in the park for Theon.)

Theon has returned to ask Dany to use her armies to rescue Yara from Uncle Euron, but they tell him he’ll have to leave a message because Dany isn’t home. She’s taken off for… somewhere…

Light My (Field of) Fire

On the Gold Road, outside of King’s Landing, Jaime and Bronn supervise the convoy of grain heading into the city. Fun fact: this is the exact spot where, hundreds of years before, Aegon Targaryen rode his dragon into battle against the Lannister army, and roasted them all in the Field of Fire. I mention this for no reason.

Randyll Tarly asks Jaime’s permission to flog the slackers at the rear of the line, which he refuses. With a charmer like that for a Dad, it’s no wonder Sam felt more comfortable in Castle Black than he did in Horn Hill.

Over the sounds of Tarly’s flogless grumbling, Bronn and Jaime hear something else: hoofbeats. Thousands of them. The Dothraki army has arrived on Westeros.

Jaime and Randyll form up their front lines in time to see the Dothraki come over the hills, and they aren’t alone. Dany flies in on Drogon’s back, bringing fire, blood and her theme music.

I lied when I said I was mentioning the Field of Fire for no reason.

In their first wave, the Dothraki smash through the Lannister front lines. From above, Dany sets an entire winter’s worth of grain ablaze. The horse lords are unafraid, the dragon is immune to the archers’ arrows; it’s a slaughter. More sick burns from the dragon lady.

Bronn rides for Qyburn’s “Scorpion” — read, giant dragon crossbow — but his horse gets kneecapped by a Dothraki rider. He stumbles through the flames, fighting for his life, dodging Dothraki and ducking Dany’s dragon. In the nick of time he finds the right cart and aims his sights towards Drogon.

On the hills above the field of battle, Tyrion is here! He watches Lannisters get slaughtered. He seems conflicted. It’s not great.

After missing with his first shot, Bronn lands a bolt in Drogon’s shoulder, taking him out of the sky but not out for good. Drogon broils the scorpion and lands, and Dany dismounts to perform a little field surgery.

Jaime sees it all go down — and he sees his chance to take out the last Targaryen and end this war quickly. He picks up a lance and charges across the field.

It’s heroic, as plans go, but not that smart. It’s like the old saying: “You can knock a dragon out of the sky, but if it’s not dead, it can still breathe fire at you.” I think that’s a Winston Churchill.

Just as he’s about to paint a second Targaryen Monarch head on the side of his horse, Drogon turns and unleashes a stream of fire straight at him. Luckily for Jaime, Bronn is there to tackle him off his horse and into the conveniently placed (and improbably deep) pond next to them.

They sink into the water, and the screen fades out, leaving us to wonder about the Kingslayer’s fate until next week.

Or at least until there’s another HBO leak.

NEXT WEEK: Eastwatch Bound and Down


All images: HBO