We need to talk about Thrones.
"The Spoils Of War" was not only the best we've seen so far this year, but could ultimately end up on the list of greatest Game Of Thrones episodes ever.
Let's do a quick little recap in case you have forgotten what took place before the amazing battle scene at the end.
At Winterfell, all of the remaining Starks are together again. Arya, the last piece of the puzzle, arrived at the castle gates and after almost being turned away by the Horace and Jasper of the North, she joined her brother and sister for the reunion viewers have been waiting for since 2011. Littlefinger gifts to Bran the Valyrain steel dagger used in a foiled assassination attempt dating back to the early days of the inaugural season. Bran decides to give the blade to Arya who then engages Brienne in a training session where she proves to be quite the match for one of Westros' greatest warriors.
Hands down, one of the season's best moments. I cried.
Jon Snow takes Daenerys down to the cave where he plans to mine the dragonglass. He tells her the stories of the First Men and how they united with the Children of the Forest to defeat a common enemy that exists in the Land Of Always Winter. You could cut the sexual tension between them with a chainsaw. Jon Snow, being the smooth Northern man, that he is, even manages to get a hand on the forearm of the Mother of Dragons, but she soon brings us back to reality and agrees to help him in war versus the Night's King if he bends the knee. You're almost there Jon, we're rooting for you!
Next we go to the beach where Theon and a small group of Iron born return to Dragonstone. Jon's disdain with Theon is known right away as he grabs him and makes it clear he's lucky to be alive. Here Daenerys learns of her losing status in the war for the Throne. She levels Tyrion and his strategy, deciding to take matters into her own hands.
Which takes us to the Lannisters, fresh off their victory of the Tyrells and headed home. Jamie pays Bronn for his service when a loud rumbling can be heard off in the distance. It gets closer and closer revealing the source to be the Dothraki army. Above them, Dany rides Drogon right into the heart of the fight where the fight. In a battle scene that rivals some of best the show has had to offer, Drogon rains down fire on the Lannister forces, obliterating anything in his path. In all of the smoke and bodies, Bronn scrambles to find the Scorpion, a new weapon capable of piercing dragon's skulls with its arrows, and even lands a shot to Drogon's shoulder, but his effort is diminished when the beast makes his impression felt. Jamie, seeing an opportunity, charges at Dany with a spear in his hand. Her dragon can sense the danger and sends a wave of fire in his direction. Bronn pushes Jamie out of the way, saving him from the blast. However the episode ends with Jamie sinking quickly into the lake.
Like I said, a quick recap, go watch the episode. Watch it again if you've already seen it, it's that good!!
What makes this episode a standout amongst the others this season and the series as a whole is it gave us just about everything we could ask for, plus events that we've been waiting for since Game Of Thrones premiered. For me personally, "The Spoils Of War" featured the best use of Dany's dragons to date. We finally got what we were promised, watching a Targaryen, climb aboard one of these medieval Kaiju monsters, descend from the sky, and crush a truck load of the Seven Kingdom's antagonistic forces. We knew it would happen eventually.
And who better to be on the receiving end of a blast of fire than the Lannisters? One thing that was starting to bother me was the Lannisters have gone through seven seasons without experiencing a major loss. Don't get me wrong, there have been deaths in the family but when looking at what the Starks have been through, it's no comparison. Cersi loses her son, Sansa loses most of her family, and so on. Even at the point when the Theon and Yara Greyjoy become relevant to the story again, the Lannisters have their fleet crushed. When the good guys gain an inch, the bad guys gain a mile.
Now, basic storytelling is pretty much; introduce the protagonist, put them through hell, and watch them overcome adversity. With Game Of Thrones, it seems like the "put them through hell" part lasted for five seasons. When episode three, "The Queen's Justice" was over, it felt like this season wasn't breaking any new ground. While watching it I was like, "great, Cersi gets revenge... again, BFD." But "The Soils Of War", not so much. While the credits were running I was more excited for the next week's installment than I had been in a long time.
If you want to know if something is truly great, think back to "The Spoils Of War" and how a television show that has been on for the better part of a decade can make one of its best episodes even after all these years. That is greatness, plain and simple.
Game Of Thrones continues on HBO, Sundays at 9:00pm.
Which episode of GoT has been your favorite this season? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!