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‘Spoils of War’ Delivers One of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Greatest Episodes To Date

HBO’s Emmy®-winning Game of Thrones sat out the 2017 season but aired one of its greatest episodes last night in “The Spoils of War.”

It’s difficult to have an Emmy conversation without talking about Game of Thrones. Sitting out the 2017 season helped make room for more new contenders than we’ve likely ever seen. This year’s Drama Series race saw five new series sneak into the top seven, and GOT‘s absence paved the way for several actresses to finally received long-deserved recognition in the Supporting Actress race. Particularly the criminally ignored Ann Dowd. Yet, as we enter Emmy Phase 2 on August 14, GOT releases its best episode of the season – and definitely top three of all time – in “The Spoils of War.”

While the episode closed with heavily buzzed dragon-fire-breathing porn, it had several nice touches along the way. Initially feared to be a bridge season before shit got real in Season 8, Season 7 actually turns up the heat (ahem) intensely. This season starts the march to the end by giving long-term (long suffering?) fans exactly what they want.

One of the emotional highlights of the episode was the reunion of the surviving Stark children: Arya, Sansa, and Bran. Granted, it wasn’t exactly the happy moment many wanted, but it excelled because it showed how damaged and changed these kids really are. Like Winterfell itself, they will never be the same, and they indeed have many stories left to tell. My personal favorite moment came when Sansa seemed to smile at the news that many members of Arya’s list are indeed dead. Does this indicate a bloodthirsty turn for Sansa? And just how long is she going to let Littlefinger sulk around?

I also loved the swordfight between Brienne of Tarth and Arya. I have nothing else to say about it, really, other than it was amazing.

The season also famously brings together Daenerys and Jon Snow. Here, they take a romantic stroll in a cave full of dragonglass and drawings from the Children of the Forest. I’m sure there are Reddit sites dedicated to analyzing the drawings, but this mind focuses on the question of “Will they or won’t they?” Admittedly, it’s not particularly important in the grand scheme of the series, but it puts those two characters (the arguable heroes of the show) in the negative incestuous light of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. I can’t see Dany and Jon falling to their clear attraction and then later finding out that they’re actually aunt and nephew in a vaguely Three’s Company comedic plot twist. Something will keep them apart. Right?

spoils of war
(Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

Finally, the moment everybody lived for happened when Dany and her Dothraki hoard attacked the Lannister army on their way from pillaging High Garden. The sheer spectacle of the 20-minute battle was astounding. It had everything from the greatest battles of the series plus a dragon. A dragon who unleashed fire on the trembling army. The shots of men literally rendered to cinders were fantastically creepy, and the cinematography of Bronn running through the chaotic battlefield emerges as an early 2018 Emmy contender.

Speaking of Bronn, he’s now on my list for maiming poor Drogon.

It’s astounding that, after all that bloodshed, the only injuries I viscerally reacted to were the dragon harpooning and the chopping of Bronn’s horse’s leg. And as Jaime Lannister sinks to the bottom of the nearby lake, I mourn not his potential death but the giant spear sticking out of Drogon’s armpit.

That, my friends, was classic Game of Thrones.