So that’s where all the budgets for the past few episodes went to.
Tonight, Game of Thrones served as a reunion for characters who haven’t been with each other season 1, while giving us an epic “Battle of The Bastards” sized throw-down that served as a great injection of adrenaline to what was an otherwise slow first half.
Let’s break it down:
The remaining Stark kids are finally reunited with Arya’s arrival, albeit only physically, as Sansa painfully realizes that these aren’t the same siblings she left with for King’s Landing. While Emo Bran continues to spout Jaden Smith inspired proverbs, the youngest daughter reveals her darker side to her family, while demonstrating her vastly improved sword fighting skills to a flabbergasted Brienne.
It was quite amusing to see that Syrio Forel’s Water Dance in Season 1 was used to great effect against the much stronger and hard hitting Brienne. I always thought that the style was a bit of a joke, considering that “the greatest swordsman who ever lived” was (supposedly) killed by Meryn “fookin” Trant. Seeing it in action, however, made me think twice about that.
Brienne: “Who taught you that?”
Arya: “No One” (wink wink)
At Dragonstone (And Somewhere In The Reach)
Forget about Jon showing Dany the Dragonglass mine under her palace while broodingly negotiating (again) for her help (spoiler: she’s still asking him to bend the knee)
Forget about Jon begrudgingly reuniting with Theon, who still reigns as the most pitiful character ever put on television. The guy’s practically exiled from two families, and he doesn’t even have his pork sword to keep him company.
None of those are as important as the glorious free-for-all that took place during the latter half of the episode.
I can’t tell you how therapeutic it is to see the Mother of Dragons finally do something right for once this season. Those mounting losses were becoming harder to swallow with each passing episode. Seeing the Dothraki and Drogon outright obliterate the Lannister army was a nice change of pace for the visiting team.
Fiery explosions, Bronn’s character centric trudge through the ensuing chaos (similar to Jon in Battle of The Bastards) and white-knuckled, jaw-clenching moments, it’s everything we love from GOT’s climactic action sequences. Lest we forget, this is all made for TV, which is pretty mind blowing.
But what I adore most is that it’s not just mind-numbing violence, one after another. There’s an emotional weight to it, highlighted with Tyrion’s empathy for his own family who he’s helping to destroy, and concern for a brother who just happens to be on the other side of the war.
Peter Dinklage continues to be the best actor in the show, conveying the emotion and gravity of a man torn between doing what he believes is right, and his love for his house, without even uttering a single word.
Finally, it speaks to how great this series has been in making us so involved, when you’re rooting for one team to win, and yet you find yourself hoping that characters from the other group would manage to pull through, in-spite of the insurmountable odds.
God I love this show.
A touching reunion topped off with amazing set-pieces, intense scenes and unflinchingly brutal carnage, “Spoils of War” combines the best of both worlds to make for one hell of an episode.
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