Where do we even begin with this week’s episode? Neither the slow burn of episodes one and two, or the frankly-ridiculous-how-has-so-much-time-passed-in-the-last-50-minutes-or-does-everyone-have-a-high-speed-train-now romp of episode three, in “The Spoils of War”, the fourth episode, we got plot, fun dialogue, character development, and a fucking intense battle sequence full of surprises and dragon fire.
We begin just outside Highgarden, where Jaime and Bronn are loading wagon upon wagon with gold upon gold. “Sure is great to have all this gold!” they yell, proudly. “Finally, the Lannisters can pay their debts – as soon as this gold gets to the Iron Bank. Yep, it was a great day for the Lannisters when we got all this gold! It would be terrible if anything were to – you know – happen to it! Haha.” In between shouting loudly about how important all this vulnerable gold is to the Lannister cause, Jaime finds time this week to insult the one man who has always been loyal to him. He’s really off to a great start. Bronn, meanwhile, finds time to make a dick joke and rant about shit.
We then cut to Cersei and Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank. “Boy, you sure did great getting us all that delicious gold! It seems like the Lannister cause is really back on track!” Nestoris says, cheerfully. “You can count on the Iron Bank’s support… uh, as soon as the gold arrives.” (That one is a genuine quote, my friends!) I believe it was at this point that Betfair stopped trading on the fate of the Highgarden gold.
Meanwhile, Littlefinger is concern trolling Bran and giving him that Valyrian steel dagger – you know, the one we haven’t seen since season one. The one that belonged to a mysterious assassin who, in attempting to kill Bran, used it to cut up the hands of Catelyn Stark, who gave it to Ned Stark, who got his head chopped off, at which point it apparently made its way into the hands of Littlefinger, who gave it to Bran who five minutes later gives it to Arya. You know, that one.
Yes, Arya – who has finally made it back to Winterfell. Despite the clunky dialogue about “our stories”, Sansa and Arya’s reunion brought a triumphant tear to my eye, because they have both changed so much since they were little childish dicks to one another in season one. Now, here they are, two normal young women giggling girlishly about all the hideous grown men they have killed, wish they had killed, or will kill in the future. More of this please.
Equally satisfying was Arya’s sword-fighting practice with Brienne – two women who are comically mismatched in height and tremendous equals in their absolute fucking love of dicking around with swords. This was one of the most fun fight scenes the show’s ever had. And we got a great glimpse of Littlefinger’s future when he and Arya locked eyes, and Arya’s face seemed to silently say, “Winter is coming for House Baelish.” The North remembers that you, Lord Baelish, are an insufferable cunt, and as soon as you touch a hair on Sansa’s head, her little sister will bury you.
Jon Snow took his auntie Dany on a romantic caving excursion to look at an enormous pile of dragonglass and some very nice parietal art. He even lightly touched her elbow and whispered about the importance of people coming together. I think I might ship it?! Is this really where the writers are going with this?
The Jon/Dany relationship becomes even more rom com-esque when five minutes later, Davos goes full wingman and asks Jon, “What do you think of her?” Jon is all like “Who? I don’t fancy her! What? Who are you even talking about, lol.” Davos rolls his eyes and says, “I believe you know of whom I speak,” because he’s learning how to talk fancy. “I think she has a good heart,” Jon replies, to which Davos comes back with the following sick burn: “I noticed you staring at her good heart.” “There’s no time for that,” Jon says. (Why Jon??? What could you possibly be busy with??) “I saw the Night King, Davos! I looked into his eyes!” (Oh, THAT. It’s not like you go on about it all the fucking time or anything!) I am genuinely surprised Davos doesn’t spontaneously expire from boredom in these conversations.
After chastening Tyrion for his inability to predict his own family’s moves, Dany turns to Jon for advice, and he persuades her not to attack civilians with her firebreathing monsters. Which means, instead, Dany opts to surprise the Lannister forces as they are, yes, en route with all their precious, vulnerable gold.
We get an insane, 11-minute-long battle scene as thousands of Dothraki, plus Daenerys and Drogon, descend on the Lannister army. It’s the first time we’ve really seen the dragons used a strategic battle weapon and Drogon’s impact is devastating.
The only Lannister supporters we really care about (Jaime, Bronn and, at a stretch, Dickon, purely because he’s fit and the brother of Sam) all nearly die in the attack, and Tyrion watches his own brother run towards Dany, spear in hand. When Jaime narrowly misses being burnt alive to sink into a nearby body of water, we are given our first heart-in-mouth cliff-hanger of the series. And what of the gold? Well, while I thought it was lost in the battle: a brief aside from Randyll Tarly tells us that it made its way to King’s Landing safely, after all. It just goes to show that Game of Thrones never goes in the direction you expect.
But now for the real question. Who WAS the baddest bitch of this week’s Game of Thrones?
Bad bitch points are awarded as follows:
- Bronn trolling Jaime with the line “Yes, I’m sure Queen Cersei’s reign will be quiet and peaceable.” +11.
- Sansa and Arya laughing about the corpses of men. +21 apiece.
- Arya to Brienne, “I won’t cut you. Don’t worry.” +5.
- Brienne and Arya gasping with joy at their own fun swordplay. +11 apiece.
- Bran discarding with the conventions of social decency and just being a prick at every possible opportunity. +19.
- Jon, subtly flirting with his own auntie like an absolute pro. +11.
- Jon: How many men do we have in North to fight? Ten thousand? Less?” Davos: “Fewer.” DAVOS HAS LEARNED HOW TO READ AND HE’S NOT GONNA LET YOU FORGET IT. +19.
- Davos: “King Snow. Isn’t it? No, that doesn’t sound right. King Jon?” +11.
- Davos’s ridiculous and persistent attempts to flirt with Missandei by using phrases like “Speaking of good hearts” and “If I may” and calling the “customs” of Naath “liberating”. +14.
- Jon getting a man in a chokehold after they mention Sansa for the second time in as many episodes. I know it’s patriarchal but I am digging protective Jon. +12.
- Bronn laughing at the name Dickon. +16
- Bronn gunning for the crossbow like a brave fool. +17.
- Tyrion, so often the voice of the audience, standing in for all of us by looking at Jaime and repeatedly muttering, “You fucking idiot.” +11.
That means that this week it’s a tie between Davos and Bronn, everyone’s favourite sidekicks in Game of Thrones’s incest rom com plotlines. Long live Davos and Bronn. Long live Game of Thrones: the Rom Com. Long live A Song of Rom and Com.