Game of Thrones offered us the most fulfilling and thrilling scene of this little seventh season so far on Sunday night: The armies of Daenerys Targaryen and Jaime Lannister come face to face in a scorching battle at the end of “The Spoils of War.”. The air was filled with the screams of giant arrows. Scythes of the Dothraki were transformed into grins flowing with the blood of the Lannisters’ allies. Backs were broken by Spears. Dany’s Boeing-sized dragon ripped through the skies and burnt the ground, destroying everything in its path. The battle was stunning, gory, and chaotic — a magnificent production success that felt like it was straight out of an action film. (Seeing the sequence in an IMAX cinema would certainly cost me money.) The combat, on the other hand, was a triumph in terms of storytelling.
Cersei Lannister’s methodical march on Highgarden, which saw her achieve a significant victory against Dany just last week, has abruptly turned into a failure. Jaime now has a better understanding of the full extent of Targaryen rage. Dany has confronted her foes and wreaked havoc on them — but not without injuring one of her dragons. Her dragon was wounded by one of the Lannister army’s scorpions at the end of the episode (those giant dragon-killing crossbows). Game of Thrones has really turned up the volume on the Targaryen-Lannister battle as we near the end of this short season (there are just three episodes remaining! ), making a huge conclusion feel imminent.
Dany was fed up with holding her dragons back as her allies were defeated
Dany and her crew have been trying to play a strategic game since they first arrived at Dragonstone, but they’ve been shamefully poor at it. Tyrion Lannister, who has provided Dany with a wealth of wise counsel in her quest for the Iron Throne, has unwittingly led her astray with his war techniques, which have resulted in her allies being slaughtered one by one: Yara Greyjoy was captured and her fleet destroyed; the savage Olenna Tyrell was caught off guard during an attack on Highgarden (Tyrion advised Dany’s forces to take what turned out to be mostly abandoned Casterly Rock) and died; and Ellaria Sand is watching her last living daughter die and rot in Cersei’s basement.
Following these defeats, Dany was frustrated by the fact that she could have done something to help her allies — particularly, by riding in with her dragons to save the day — and she asked Tyrion if his blunders are the result of him going up against his own family. And in answer, he told her that it is his method, as well as the necessity of restraint, that will make her a “wise” queen.Tyrion gave Dany two rules to follow. The first is to keep battle losses to a minimum and to avoid spilling innocent people’s blood. The second is to keep herself secure and delegate her battles to her warriors. He doesn’t want her to fight with her army and endanger her life. Dany’s dilemma is highlighted in this scene: whether to be an honorable queen who inspires — the kind of queen Dany aspires to be and has been — or a “wise” queen who maintains power.
It’s fascinating that Game of Thrones makes this distinction, because we associate Cersei with the latter. She’s grown into a major villain, but she’s also astute, and she’s had a lot of experience gaining and maintaining power. That Tyrion and Cersei share the same mindset — that it’s better to be brilliant and dominate than to be loved and heroic — is understandable, given the Lannister way of life.
Dany gets bored up with Tyrion’s advise in the episode’s second act, and she doesn’t appear again until she’s descending upon the Lannister forces. We don’t see any debate between Dany learning that her allies had been killed and unleashing an attack on Jaime Lannister’s forces. We don’t even know if such a discussion had place. After all, Tyrion had earlier urged her to remain at Dragonstone, claiming that riding her dragons into battle would make her an easy target. Every arrow that passes over Dany’s head during the major battle sequence in “The Spoils of War” implies that Tyrion was correct about the risk she takes every time she goes into battle alongside her troops. As a result, while it was satisfying to witness Dany (finally) encourage her troops and annihilate some foes, the result was her dragon’s wounds.
The ramifications of this encounter will shape the rest of the season
The fact that Dany and the Lannisters don’t know each other on a personal level has been overlooked this season, which has included a lot of talk about war and the nuances of combat. They’ve mostly only heard negative things about each other from other people. That only added to the power of the scene in which Jaime and Bronn tremble in their boots at the sight of Dany on her dragon. Meanwhile, we got to see the massive crossbows that Qyburn has been developing in action. Dany was taken aback by the Lannisters’ ability to create a weapon capable of injuring one of her dragons.
This could have an impact on how Dany and the Lannisters fight in the future. Dany has no idea how many Lannister dragon crossbows they have or how quickly they’re making them. She’ll definitely think twice about charging in again now that she realizes the Lannisters aren’t as defenseless as she once believed. The Lannisters’ crossbows were capable of injuring but not killing a dragon. Furthermore, we’ve seen how easy the devices can be damaged. We may presume that if there is a next time, Dany’s war council will look for a way to disable the crossbows before Dany flies in. There’s also the matter of Jaime’s reaction to the battle. This is a man who witnessed his army disintegrate in seconds. How will he be able to recover from this? What exactly does he say to Cersei? Dany’s dragons and the Dothraki army, in especially, seemed to unsettle Bronn, who had spent much of the episode talking about how death doesn’t bother him. Ironically, the significant character most affected by “The Spoils of War’s” climactic battle may be the one who wasn’t even present on the battlefield.