We gave it an A
Dany rides Drogon into war, and the resulting action is just stunning. Some on Twitter were calling this the best GoT action sequence they’ve ever seen. Finally, seven seasons into this fantasy series, we really see what a fully grown dragon can do. It’s like dropping napalm on men who are merely carrying large knives. Many productions use computer effects to depict people on fire and rarely looks convincing. Doing it for real is time consuming, costly, and dangerous. Thrones set more stunt people on fire than any Hollywood production in history for this sequence. It’s almost beyond superlatives how incredible the GoT action scenes have become, and how unique they all are from each other. (You can also catch Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard doing a cameo as a Lannister soldier throwing a spear).
We get a single continuous shot of Bronn amid the chaos —à la Battle of the Bastards — as he ditches his payment and runs to the giant crossbow. It’s technically called a scorpion or scorpio and is based on an artillery piece first credited to the Romans, who used it as a sniper weapon, picking off enemies from high ground with bolts thick enough to pierce shields. It’s also an impressively cool-looking dragon-killing weapon. Dany flies over the lake, leaving a jet-stream wake behind her, as Bronn tries to take her monster out. He scores a direct hit on Drogon — not fatal, yet still serious. The dragon blasts the scorpion as Bronn leaps aside.
Drogon plummets. We worry. Dany gets grounded. We worry more. She tries to pull the giant spear out of her dragon’s hide. Where are her Dothraki? They should be protecting their queen.
We get a hugely suspenseful and potentially fatal moment between three of our main characters: Dany is on the ground and vulnerable. Jaime spots her and charges to take her out. Tyrion watches horrified and helpless from a hill — the man loves both of them, and really, so do we. We’ve been waiting for moments like this the whole series — major characters finally facing off after being separated for so long. Now that it’s actually happening we don’t want to lose any of them.
It looks like Jaime might actually skewer Daenerys, but Drogon spots the threat. His throat glows, which is rad. This is normally the last thing a dragon victim sees. Bronn flying tackles Jaime off his horse and they fall into a lake just barely missing the stream of fire (pretty convenient, but okay).
The last shot is Jaime, weighed down by his armor and golden hand, sinking to the bottom, to an uncertain fate…
Dany has struck a massive blow against Cersei. Not only did she defeat her army without hurting civilians, but she might have killed or captured Jaime Lannister and, perhaps most crucially, nuked at least some of her stash from Highgarden as well.
“The Spoils of War” perhaps didn’t have the scene-setting grandness of the “Dragonstone” premiere, or the intricately plotted thrills of the terrific second episode, “Stormborn.” But emotionally I enjoyed it the most of the season so far — the writing and the performances were so on point. What did you think?
Exclusive “The Spoils of War” interviews:
— Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams on their awesome sparring scene
— Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams on their huge reunion: ‘We couldn’t keep a straight face’
— Showrunners, director on that epic dragon battle
— Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on that dragon cliffhanger
— EW’s Game of Thrones Weekly podcast (new episode Monday morning where we’ll talk ‘Spoils of War’ as well as the hack of HBO)
And hey! Here’s a trivia question. Winner gets an “I’ve Brought Ice and Fire Together” mug from the HBO Store. Question: Arya and Davos have both mentioned a dragon that does not belong to Dany. What’s the dragon’s name? First right to email@example.com gets it. We’ll have another trivia question in the podcast tomorrow.