‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Episode 4 Recap: The Spoils of War

Game of Thrones season 7 episode 4 cast
Conleth Hill, Peter Dinklage, Nathalie Emmanuel, Emilia Clarke, Liam Cunningham, and Kit Harington in ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 episode 4 (Photo by Macall B. Polay / Courtesy of HBO)

The gold stolen from Lady Olenna Tyrell during the sacking of Highgarden is being transported yet Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is in a horrible mood due to the Queen of Thorns’ final confession as season seven episode four of Game of Thrones begins. Bronn (Jerome Flynn) asks if he can have Highgarden, but Jaime denies his request. Jaime assures Bronn after the war’s over he can have his pick of castles, but for now he’s tasked with helping the Tarlys accelerate the collection of wheat and other food supplies while Jaime accompanies the gold.

Over at King’s Landing, Tycho Nestoris is happy to learn the Iron Bank’s loan to the Lannisters will soon be repaid. He compliments Cersei (Lena Headey) on fulfilling her pledge to repay the loan with the gold that’s currently on the road. He’d even like to loan the Lannisters more, and Cersei admits she needs to expand her armies and navies. Tycho pledges the Iron Bank’s support as soon as Jaime delivers the gold.

Meanwhile at Winterfell, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) gives Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) the dagger that someone was going to use to end his life after he was pushed from the tower as a child. Littlefinger confesses he would have stopped the dagger that took Catelyn Stark’s life and taken the blow himself if he could have. Now, he’s pledging to protect her children. Bran asks Littlefinger if he knows who the knife belonged to, and Littlefinger says that’s the key question since it did start the War of the Five Kings. Littlefinger says he can’t imagine the chaos Bran has seen, and Bran replies, “Chaos is a ladder,” a line Littlefinger often utters. As Littlefinger leaves he calls Bran “Lord Stark,” and Bran once again says he’s no lord.

Littlefinger leaves just as Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) arrives to say goodbye to Bran. She needs to be with her family, and Bran is emotionally detached as he thanks her for helping him. Meera reminds him of all who’ve died to keep him safe, including her brother, Jojen. When she’s frustrated he doesn’t react the way he should, Bran advises her he’s not Brandon Stark anymore but does remember what it was like to be Bran. He adds that he’s so much more now. Before leaving, Meera confesses she believes the real Bran Stark died in the cave.

Arya (Maisie Williams) pauses to take in her first view of Winterfell in years. She finally approaches the gate but is laughed at by the guards. After she requests to see her brother, they inform her Jon Snow’s not there right now, adding that Sansa is in charge. When she asks them to let Sansa know her sister’s home, they respond with a “f*ck off” and tell her to go on her way. Arya says she’s entering Winterfell one way or another and they finally let her in, but make her sit on a snowy bench. She looks around at the current inhabitants of Winterfell and then her eyes rest on a Stark banner.

The guards argue over who’s going to tell Sansa her sister’s home and while they argue, Arya disappears. Alarmed, the guards inform Sansa (Sophie Turner) of the stranger’s appearance, dropping the names Arya asked about. Sansa realizes it’s Arya and knows where to find her, down in the crypts.

The Stark sisters finally reunite, but their first hug seems superficial. Sansa admits she hopes Jon comes back soon because he’ll be overjoyed to see Arya. They speak of their dead family members and Arya asks if she murdered Joffrey, revealing he was always first on her list of who she was going to kill. Sansa laughs and finally the sisters reconnect; there’s a spark of love in both Arya and Sansa’s eyes. They admit neither of their stories about their journeys to Winterfell are pleasant, then they hug once again and this time it’s clear they mean it. Sansa then tells Arya Bran’s arrived home, too.

Arya and Sansa visit him at the weirwood tree and Arya gives him a big hug. Bran reveals he saw her at the crossroads, and Sansa explains that Bran has visions. “Cersei’s on her list of names,” says Bran in answer to why she was on her way to King’s Landing. Sansa wants to know who else is on her list, but Arya only tells her they’re mostly all dead.

Bran shows his sisters the dagger and says Littlefinger gave it to him. Arya wants to know why someone who wanted to kill Bran would have a Valryian steel dagger. Sansa informs them Littlefinger wouldn’t have given the dagger to Bran unless he was getting something in return, but Bran admits he doesn’t want the dagger. He offers it to Arya and she accepts.

The three Stark children return to the castle as Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman) watch. Pod tells Brienne Catelyn Stark would be proud she kept her vow to protect the Stark girls.

Over at Dragonstone, there hasn’t been any word from the Unsullied. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) leads Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) to a cave covered in dragonglass. As Jon uses a torch to light up the wall, the glass is revealed and it glistens. He says this is all they’ll ever need, but that’s not all he wants to show Daenerys. The torch reveals ancient drawings by the Children of the Forest on the cave walls. She’s shocked they were there before there were Targaryens or Starks, but Jon Snow shows her the First Men and the Children were there at the same time. The drawings indicate they fought together against the White Walkers. “We need to do the same if we’re going to survive. The enemy is real. It’s always been real,” says Jon Snow, looking at the drawings. He admits he can’t win without Daenerys’ armies and her dragons. “I will fight for you. I will fight for the North when you bend the knee,” says Daenerys.

Jon Snow believes his people won’t accept a Southern ruler, but Daenerys thinks they will if he does. “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?” she asks. As they leave the cave, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) inform Daenerys they took Casterly Rock but their faces indicate bad news.

Daenerys is furious she’s lost her allies and no one is left to feed her armies since Cersei cut off the food supply. She thinks Dorne, the Iron Island, and the Reach were all lost because of Tyrion’s strategies, and now she’s even more determined to risk her life and fly with her dragons to burn the Red Keep. Turning to Jon Snow, Daenerys asks, “I’m at war. I’m losing. What do you think I should do?” Jon Snow says no one thought dragons would ever exist again and since she made everyone believe they do, she can make them believe she can build a better world. But, if she uses the dragons to melt castles and burn cities, she’s just like the others.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jerome Flynn in ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 episode 4 (Photo by Macall B. Polay / Courtesy of HBO)

Back at Winterfell, Pod and Brienne practice fighting in the courtyard. Arya watches as Pod loses, and then she suggests he should not fight someone like Brienne in the first place if he wants to win.

Sansa and Littlefinger watch from above as Arya requests a training session with Brienne who’s initially reluctant but finally agrees. Brienne tells her not to use Needle because it’s too small, and Arya quickly replies, “I won’t cut you. Don’t worry.” They begin and Arya quickly bests Brienne, taking her by surprise by anticipating every move. Brienne is finally able to knock her down, but Arya recovers quickly. Sansa watches in disbelief as they end up in a virtual tie. Arya won’t say who taught her to fight, but it’s obvious Brienne is impressed. Littlefinger gives a small bow after the training session which Arya greets with an icy stare.

Once more to Dragonstone where Sir Davos (Liam Cunningham) and Jon Snow are having a chat about Daenerys, and Davos admits he thinks Jon’s infatuated with the Queen of Dragons. Jon blows off that suggestion, saying there’s no time for that. They come upon Missandei and she asks about Jon Snow’s last name, explaining that in Naath they don’t have marriage so there are no bastards. Davos wants to know how a slave girl came to advise Daenerys and Missandei tells her story, explaining she’s free but stays with Daenerys because she believes in her. “She’s the queen we chose,” says Missandei. Davos jokes about switching sides as they turn to watch a Greyjoy ship approach.

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) should be happy Jon Snow didn’t stab him the minute he arrived and instead settled for grabbing him roughly, warning him the only reason he’s not killing him is because of what he did for Sansa. They ask about Euron’s attack on the fleet and Theon reveals Yara was taken. When Theon asks about Daenerys, Jon Snow says she’s gone.

Catching up once again with Jaime and Bronn, they’re told the gold has made it safety through the King’s Landing gates. Lord Tarly is concerned the army is stretched out and wants all the wagons through the gates, suggesting they flog any stragglers. Jaime vetoes that idea, reminding him they fought well at Highgarden.

Jaime commends Dickon Tarly (Tom Hopper) for fighting bravely at Highgarden and he admits the House Tyrell men were people he knew. It was his first battle and Dickon didn’t expect to be so affected by it. As they talk, they hear rumbling in the distance. Jaime commands his men to get in line. “Spears and shields!” he yells as the rumbling draws closer.

Archers are ready as the Dothraki advance, shrieking as they ride toward the Lannister army. Jaime refuses to leave when Bronn tells him to get to King’s Landing, firm in his belief they can hold off the charging men. But then Jaime, Bronn, and the Lannister army spot a dragon flying toward their line.

Drogon flies over the Dothrakis with Daenerys on his back. She screams, “Dracarys!” commanding him to light the army on fire. Men fall to the ground in flames, screaming as the Dothraki army arrive through the cleared path. Jaime instructs his men to hold the line as close combat begins. Men on both sides are chopped down while Jaime watches. Another line of Dothraki soldiers arrive and plow down more of the Lannister army. Drogon breathes fire down the Lannister line again and Jaime calls the archers to his side in response. They take aim at Drogon, but the arrows don’t slow his attack. Drogon sets more men ablaze as Jaime tells Bronn to get the cannon.

Jaime’s in the thick of the action fighting the Dothraki when Dickon saves him from one Dothraki who almost knocked him from his horse. Bronn isn’t so fortunate and is taken down from his mount, gold spilling over the battlefield as he tumbles to the ground. He stumbles through burning soldiers, picking up a sword and fighting his way through to the cannon and using it to take down a Dothraki in close pursuit. Bronn sets it up again and tries to target Drogon.

Tyrion observes the battle from a nearby hill. A Dothraki tells him the Lannisters don’t know how to fight as Tyrion is obviously conflicted watching the Lannister army in flames.

Daenerys goes in for one last strafing run and Bronn lines Drogon up. The arrow misses and Daenerys keys in the cannon’s location. Drogon circles back, targeting the cannon as Bronn reloads. This time the shot hits its mark, but Drogon is still able to light the cannon on fire. Drogon lands on the battlefield and Daenerys climbs off his back. She attempts to pull the arrow out as Jaime watches.

Tyrion, still out of harm’s way on a hill, says, “Flee, you idiot!” but Jaime doesn’t. He picks up a spear and races toward Daenerys. Drogon sees his mother about to be attacked and lets loose with flames. Jaime’s pulled out of the way and into the lake as fire lights the ground. His armor is so heavy Jaime sinks as the episode ends.

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