Spoils of War, An Episode About the Lannisters
I feel like there’s so much to talk about, but I’ll try to be as compact as possible.
Overall, it was a great episode. Maybe not as impactful as Hardhome, Winds of Winter or Baelor, but it’s definitely in my top10 list of episodes. The battle in the end wasn’t as claustrophobic as Battle of the Bastards, but it was just as chaotic. Technically, there were some brilliant moments, from Arya and Brienne’s choreography to actors acting without speaking (Alfie Allen is the best underrated actor in GoT. Hands down) to Ramin Djawadi’s score permeating everything (this man deserves all the awards) to the special effects in the battle scene (I still get goosebumps seeing Drogon in all its majesty). A lot happened, like you said in the Instacast, not only during the battle scene.
To my view, and despite Dany’s victory, this entire episode was about the Lannisters. The scenes in King’s Landing and on the Roseroad feature Cersei and Jaime, so the Lannister presence is quite obvious, but let’s take a stroll through the episode. We start off with Jaime literally paying a debt, the fulfilment of the unofficial words of his House. Then see Littlefinger and Bran with the dagger, which, like Creepy Baelish says, raised the question that started the big south-of-the-Wall wheel we’ve been rolling on ever since (a question to which Littlefinger pointed Tyrion Lannister as the answer, hence creating his ladder); right after that we see Meera saying she’ll go back home, and, let’s not forget that her home is where Howland Reed is, and he’s one of the very few people who left the Tower of Joy alive (as we saw in a Bran vision in Season 6), and as such, can confirm Jon Snow’s parentage, which can help dethrone the Lannisters. Then, we see Arya in the crypts of Winterfell, in front of Ned’s statue, and as we all know, he was beheaded by Joffrey as a consequence of a (really poor) attempt of outing the Lannister secret; right after we are reminded that some Lannisters (Joffrey and Cersei) were always at the top of her list of names; then she trains with Brienne and her moves are so reminiscent of Syrio Forel, which was killed preventing Arya to fall in Lannister hands, that my eyes teared up. After the sparring/dance, Arya stares at Littefinger, and we must remember that the last time she saw him was in Season 2 at Harrenhall, where he had gone to meet Tywin Lannister to discuss the alliance with the Tyrells in order to defeat Stannis and overthrow Robb (https://youtu.be/f9jac7Qg9w4?t=107). Cersei talking with Tycho is pure Lannisterism, with her paying the crown debt in a single installment, followed by a talk about hiring a mercenary company named, of all names, The Golden Company (gold always attached to Lannisters).
In Dragonstone, we see the drawings of the Children of the Forest. The drawings show men and Children fighting together, which has to have happened after the Pact (the treaty that ended the millenia-long wars between the two species (http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/The_Pact). The Pact marked the beginning of the Age of Heroes, which encompassed the Long Night (hence the drawings of the White Walkers), and in which the most famous ancestor of House Lannister, Lann the Clever, managed to trick the Casterlys into getting out of Casterly Rock, beginning the Lannister dynasty in the Westerlands. I know this part is a bit of a stretch, as far as being about the Lannisters, but I’m a sucker for westerosi history. The next scene is when we find out about the Lannisters victories in the west coast and the Reach. Later, still in Dragonstone, we have all the talks about Dany, and Missandei pretty much says that, like Jon, so far Dany has also been a ruler because she was chosen by her people, which is the opposite of how Cersei got her ultimate position of power.
And, to finalize the episode, we have the battle. Even though most of us probably want to see the Lannisters out of power, and Dany prevailing somehow, almost the entire battle is shot from the Lannister perspective; even the scene where we follow one single character amidst the chaos has Bronn as this character, and he’s in the Lannister army (although his loyalties most likely lie with the money). To my eyes, despite the dragon roaring the loudest in the end, the episode revolves around the lions, both dead and alive.
One other interesting take about Jaime is that we begin the episode with him mulling over the things Cersei did to take power (the exchange with Bronn about there not being a High Septon anymore is a clear reminder), and we end with him facing what Daenerys is doing to take power. He’s trapped between two likely Mad Queens who like to burn people, the very thing he sacrificed his reputation (therefore his entire life) to prevent. Poor Jaime.
Some other quick thoughts. Jon Snow must really enjoy taking good hearted women into caves, and his talk about bending the knee was a mirror of a talk he’d had with Mance Raider back in Season 5 episode 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO_IxtixRi0). Bronn was always clear about his friendship being attached to a payroll; back in season 2 he tells Tyrion that the fact the Imp payed for his services enhanced their friendship (https://vlipsy.com/vlip/bronn-and-tyrion-money-enhances-friendship-sOVjbPxE).
Well, that’s it, this is long enough for a pre-Deep Dive. =)
Cheers, keep rocking!
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