First I got to blame having to review Game of Thrones on SDCC; now I’m blaming it on GISHWHES. Regardless, here I am, back again, only strangely enough I have very few complaints about “The Spoils of War”.
Yes, you heard that right – while I had a lot of complaints about the second episode of this season, and went on quite a twitter rant about the last week’s “The Queen’s Justice”, I actually – dare I say it? – mostly enjoyed “The Spoils of War”.
First of all, Everything’s Coming Up House Stark, because while I wasn’t fond of Bran’s return – mostly due to his reminding Sansa of the night she was forced to marry Ramsay – but now Arya is back, too!
I mean, no, I didn’t love the fact that Sansa and Arya are clearly being set up to be at odds with each other yet again, but hey, as long as that nonsense doesn’t last long I can deal with it for now. I literally got chills when they greeted and hugged each other for the first time, and watching Arya and Brienne fight was pretty darn awesome. (Also, I’m with Pod – Brienne is too hard on herself.)
Dragonstone still feels mostly awkward, though, if you ask me. I know that “Jonerys” (the ship name for Jon and Daenerys) is a thing that a lot of people want/expect to happen, but even outside of the fact that Dany is Jon’s aunt I personally don’t see any chemistry between Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. Watching them butt heads is awkward enough; despite Davos claiming that he caught Jon eying Dany, for the most part I just want their scenes together to end sooner rather than later. In fact, I feel about the same way about Jon and Dany’s ‘discussions’ as I did about Jon and Sansa’s arguments – they both have good points but the constant back-and-forth is mostly just annoying.
However, I can forgive awkward Jon/Dany scenes (and even the pseudo-fanservice of the cave drawings featuring the Children of the Forest and the First Men fighting the White Walkers) when we get *real* battles like the one that took place in the last fifteen minutes or so of “The Spoils of War”. Don’t get me wrong, Jaime insisting on standing up to even just the huge Dothraki army was stupid enough, and the fact that he commanded his men to keep fighting even when Dany showed up with Drogon was beyond ridiculous. (Are there still people out there who don’t think Jaime is a Gryffindor?!)
And by the way, no, I can’t understand why Daenerys burned the wagon train when she was just talking about needing all of that food.
But after the disappointing ending to last week’s episode (when we only got a montage of the Unsullied taking Casterly Rock and didn’t see any part of the battle for Highgarden), it’s much easier to ignore the silly parts of this Field-of-Fire style battle. I mean, that Drogon CGI was top notch, and yeah, for a minute there I was actually a bit worried about whether or not Bronn would survive.
Overall, this was one of the shortest episodes of Game of Thrones in a while – and from what I’ve heard, it’s the shortest one this season, as well. Perhaps that’s part of why I was able to enjoy it (for the most part) – while certain scenes perhaps dragged a little bit, it wasn’t stuffed with filler, and hey, we actually got some *real* action! That’s why I don’t hesitate to say that “The Spoils of War” was the best episode so far this season.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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