Game of Thrones Episode 704 Recap: The Spoils of War
As Jaime’s army leaves Highgarden with their carts loaded with gold, he pays off Bronn, who wants a castle instead. Jaime promises that when Cersei rules the Seven Kingdoms, he can have his pick of castles. Bronn asks what the chances are of Cersei ruling quietly and reasonably, and Jaime answers: “Stranger things have happened.”
Cersei meets with Tycho, who is impressed that she is repaying the bank all in one shot. Of course, it doesn’t quite count until the gold is in the Iron Bank, but Cersei assures him Jaime is escorting it personally to the bank. Tycho is already worrying about the loss of Cersei’s interest payments and suggests they look for another venture together. Cersei has to focus on her war first.
In Winterfell, Littlefinger gives Bran the dagger that was supposed to kill him, the one that launched the War of the Five Kings. Littlefinger doesn’t know who the Valyrian dagger belonged to, but he promises that he will protect the Stark children as a way to make up for not being there for their mother. Littlefinger starts talking about chaos, and Bran pointedly says, “Chaos is a ladder.” Meera comes in to say goodbye, so Littlefinger leaves. Meera needs to be with her family now that Bran is safe. Plus, he has a wheelchair now, she theorizes, so he doesn’t need her. “No, I don’t.” Meera becomes incensed. “Is that all you’ve got to say?” Bran thanks her, but Meera is not placated. Her brother died for him; she nearly died for him. Bran points out that he is no longer Brandon Stark. “I remember what it’s like to be him, but I’m not him.” Meera realizes that the Bran Stark she knew died in the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave.
Arya shows up at the gates of Winterfell and announces her arrival. The guards don’t believe she is Arya Stark and try to send her away. The king of the castle is away, and the lady is too busy to see her. Arya promises that she will get in one way or the other, and they finally escort her inside, then argue over who will watch her and who will alert Sansa to her arrival. When they look back, Arya is gone. The guards go to Sansa, apologizing profusely and promising to find her. Sansa tells them not to worry; she knows where she is.
Sansa finds Arya in the catacombs, looking at Ned’s statue. The sisters embrace, and Arya says she didn’t run from the guards; she just needs better guards. They consider their father’s statue, and notice that it doesn’t look like him. “Everyone who knew his face is dead,” Sansa says. “We aren’t,” Arya points out. She changes the subject, and brings up Joffrey’s murder. She heard Sansa killed him. “I wish,” Sansa says. Arya admits she is disappointed that she didn’t get to, either. He was at the top of her kill list. Sansa laughs lightly at this – I don’t think she believes that Arya had a kill list. It doesn’t matter; Arya gives her another hug.
The Stark Family Reunion continues when Sansa takes Arya to see Bran, who is sitting by his tree. Bran is unsurprised to see Arya, and shows no excitement as Arya throws her arms around her brother. Bran saw her at the crossroads and is surprised that Arya didn’t go kill Cersei. He knows she is at the top of Arya’s list. This seems to cement for Sansa that her little sister wasn’t exaggerating about her list. The girls turn their attention to Bran’s newly-acquired dagger. Sansa worries that Littlefinger will want something in return for the dagger, but Bran doesn’t want it anyway, and he gives it to Arya.
Later, Arya finds Brienne training Podrick and asks her to train. Brienne offers to find a master at arms, but, as Arya points out, none of them beat the Hound. She then points out that Brienne swore to protect both of Catelyn’s daughters, so the two start sparring. Brienne is surprised and impressed by Arya’s fighting prowess. When asked who taught her, Arya responds with, “no one.” Littlefinger watches from above, and seems almost concerned.
In Dragonstone, Missandei is worried about Grey Worm. She and Daenerys subtly gossip about what happened between the two when Jon calls for Daenerys. He wants to show her the dragonglass before they start excavating it. The pair go into the cave and it is loaded with dragonglass, but there is something else Jon wanted to show her. Etchings on the walls, made by the children of the forest, long ago. Further drawings show that the children of the forest and humans were there at the same time, and didn’t fight each other. They joined forces against a common enemy. Another drawing shows whitewalkers, proving to Daenerys that they are real, and have always been real. Jon doesn’t think he can defeat them without Daenerys’ army and dragons. Daenerys agrees that she will fight with Jon – when he bends the knee. Jon insists that his people won’t accept a southern ruler, but Daenerys points out they will if their king does. “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?”
We don’t get an answer, and the pair return to the beach. Varys and Tyrion are waiting for them, and their expressions are grave. They took Casterly Rock. “That’s good… isn’t it?” Daenerys asks. They give her the details and Daenerys is furious. She accuses Tyrion of helping his siblings, but that seems to be a threat made out of frustration more than anything. Daenerys is tired of “clever plans;” she wants to ride her dragons into King’s Landing and just take out the Red Keep. Tyrion and Missandei are both against this plan, so she turns the question to Jon. Jon says that she made the impossible happen when she brought back dragons to the world, so her people must think she can make the impossible happen again: taking the Iron Throne. Of course, if she uses her dragons to melt castles, she is no different.
Alone, Davos asks Jon what he thinks of Daenerys. Jon thinks she has a good heart, and Davos teases him that he isn’t just looking at her “heart.” Jon says there is no time for that. They find Missandei staring at the sea, waiting for word from Grey Worm. Missandei asks about his name, and Jon unashamedly admits he is a bastard. This concept confuses Missandei, as her people don’t have marriage, so the idea of “bastards” just doesn’t exist. Jon’s turn to ask Missandei a personal question, and she says that Daenerys bought her from her master and set her free. “I serve Daenerys because I want to,” she insists, stating that those who stand by her do so because she is the queen they chose. “I want to switch sides!” Davos jokes.
Jon sees a Greyjoy ship in the distance. Theon and a group of Ironborn come ashore. Jon approaches; Theon’s steps are more timid and asks after Sansa. Jon grabs him and says that what he did for her is the only reason he isn’t killing him. Theon is there because his uncle has Yara and he needs Daenerys’ help in getting her back. Jon is the one who tells him that she is gone.
Jaime and Bronn watch as the Lannister army sets up camp for the night. Bronn hears something. They listen – it sounds like hooves. An army approaches. Jaime rushes to ready his troops: line them up, arm them, have them hide behind their shields. They wait. And wait. Over the hill comes the massive Dothraki army on horseback. Whereas the Lannister army waits patiently, in formation, for their orderly version of war, the Dothraki are wild, undisciplined, and come at the Lannister army with ferocity. Bronn suggests they flee, but Jaime will not abandon his army. Not even when Daenerys flies in on her dragon. He breathes fire on the army, incinerating a column of soldiers, allowing the Dothraki to run into their ranks and create havoc.
The battle, like all the battles on GoT, is intense, with lots of unbelievable violence. The dragon sets the supply line on fire, lighting up the countryside like some beautiful disaster movie. Jaime directs his archers to take aim at the dragon. Their arrows bounce off the dragon, without leaving a mark. Then they are set on fire. Jaime sends Bronn to use the Scorpion, the giant crossbow Qyburn created. Bronn races across the field, a Dothraki hot on his tail. The warrior chops off one of Bronn’s horse’s legs (in a truly horrifying scene), sending Bronn tumbling to the ground. Bronn continues towards the Scorpion, and the Dothraki warrior thinks he has found Bronn, and he has – but he didn’t anticipate a massive spear shooting him and nailing him backwards 20 yards, impaling him on the side of a cart. Bronn rushes to reload the Scorpion and takes aim at the dragon.
From a hilltop, Tyrion watches the slaughter. One of the Dothraki commanders with Tyrion comments that the Lannisters can’t fight. It is true: they run around, terrified, like toddlers in the middle of a tantrum. Jaime is at a loss, watching his army destroyed.
Daenerys brings her dragon around again for another flaming lap. Jaime yells for his troops to take cover. They do, beneath their shields, but the intense dragon fire turns them to ash anyway. Bronn fires – and misses. He reloads and the dragon comes towards him. This time the Scorpion hits the dragon square in the shoulder, and he drops from the sky, Daenerys clinging onto him. He stops himself from hitting the ground and lets out another breath of flames before landing, injured but not mortally so. He does swat the Scorpion with his tail, an act of defiance as Daenerys struggles to pull the spear out of her dragon’s side.
Jaime sees this as a chance, and rushes her. Tyrion watches from his safe distance, muttering for his brother to flee. Jaime approaches, determination in his eyes, and he doesn’t slow down when the dragon turns to face him, or opens his mouth, or when his mouth glows with fire. Just as the dragon lets loose, Bronn tackles Jaime out of the way. The two men escape the fire and fall into the river, but they are far from safe. Their armor is very, very heavy, and we see Jaime sinking farther and farther down…