TV Review: Game of Thrones (Season 7, Episode 4)
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The opening shot of The Spoils of War - a convoy of Lannister wagons holding gold and grain - is a disappointingly literal embodiment of the episode’s title. Thankfully for the Game of Thrones audience (and impoverished student reviewers), the rest of The Spoils of War is a lot more compelling than that. The attack on Highgarden leaves Cersei Lannister with plenty of rewards, and Jaime (soured only slightly by the discovery that Olenna Tyrell killed his son) escorts the bounty back to King’s Landing with Bronn. In the capital, Cersei assures Tycho Nestoris that a Lannister always pays their debts, and in return Tycho promises the support of the Iron Bank in the war against Daenerys Targaryen. Meanwhile, Arya Stark returns to Winterfell and is reunited with her sister Sansa. It’s a scene so touching that it had to take place in a crypt, so the viewers remembered this is still Game of Thrones. The sisters take a moment to assess who they’ve become since they were separated, what’s been lost and what’s been gained. Arya takes Sansa’s position as de facto leader of the North in her stride, but Arya’s true capabilities are only hinted to her older sister. There seems to be an unwritten rule that only two young noblewomen can be at Winterfell simultaneously, and so Meera Reed makes an unceremonious exit this week, after a less than fond farewell from Bran. Meera is understandably upset that the guy she lugged through a frozen wasteland for years is so blasé about her departure. Boys will be emotionless, all-seeing tree spirits, I guess. Hopefully the Westerosi feminist movement will tackle this issue once the war’s over. Speaking of men misreading the mood, Daenerys and Missandei’s gleeful discussion of Grey Worm’s, er, abilities is interrupted by Jon Snow, who wants to show Daenerys a deposit of dragonglass. Jon, who seems to feel he can only woo women if he lures them into a cave first, reveals paintings by the Children of the Forest that depict their joint attack on the White Walkers with the First Men. The cave paintings are a partial history of the Long Night, as only Bran Stark knows that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers in the first place. Likewise, Sansa and Arya lament that a statue of their father Ned fails to capture his true likeness. What history chooses to record and what it does not is crucial to the Game of Thrones mythos; when all else is dust, only history remains. Daenerys resolves to help Jon if he swears his loyalty to her, and echoes Jon’s warning to Mance Rayder when she urges him to put his people’s survival above his pride. With the amount of sexual tension and flattering torchlight in that cavern, a royal wedding seems likely if Jon and Daenerys both survive the series.
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