The Spoils of War marks the over halfway point for and like every episode of this season so far, episode 4 didn’t dilly-dally with its story. If you’re looking for a in-depth breakdown of the episode, make sure you read our review, but this feature is all about the big questions it left us with.
It goes without saying, that if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s spoilers to follow.
1. Why did Littlefinger give Bran the catspaw dagger?
This episode saw the question over who had the all this time revealed, but it quickly changed owners numerous times before the end of the episode. Littlefinger gave it to Bran who in turn handed it off to Arya, but what was Littlefinger hoping to achieve by giving Bran the dagger in the first place? Bran’s assertion that he thought he would want the blade which was intended to kill him makes sense, but then so does Sansa when she says Littlefinger does nothing unless he’s expecting to get something in return.
He may simply of been trying to win favour with another Stark, but that seems a little too simplistic for Littlefinger. He must have known that Bran wouldn’t really be able to make use of the dagger, but Arya hadn’t returned at this point yet so she couldn’t have been his intended recipient. More than likely, it’s intended to push the Starks in a certain direction useful to Littlefinger - the same way it was used to start the War of the Five Kings - and as soon as I figure out what that direction is, I’ll let you know. It obviously has some significant importance to the story and let's not forget that it was spotted in one of the books Sam was reading in The Citadel episode 1...
2. Do Dany and Jon really have a thing for each other?
Since the meeting EVERYONE was waiting for took place , fans have been shipping the possibility of Jon and Daenerys getting together (despite the awkward incest undertones) and this episode seemed to give them hope. Both Dany and Jon had possible crush conversations worthy of any high school with their respective BFF advisors, and there’s a distinct moment between the two when they’re alone together in the cave. Nothing like some ancient wall drawings to encourage romance, right?
But do they really have a thing for each other or is it just more of a general acknowledgement of each other’s hotness? I want a Dany/Jon hook up as much as the next fan, but it’s probably a bit to start planning the wedding. No one in Westeros (or anywhere else for that matter) would deny that both Jon and Dany are attractive, so is it any wonder everyone’s giving them the whole ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ treatment? That doesn’t mean they really have a thing for each other… although let’s give them a bit more time before we completely rule it out.
3. How did the Children of the Forest and the First Men defeat the White Walkers the first time around?
No doubt this is a question Jon Snow’s been asking himself a lot lately. After finding the ancient wall drawings on Dragonstone he’s probably hoping they give some sort of clue as to how the Children of the Forest and the First Men won the war against the White Walkers the first time around. He knows he needs more men, which is why Dany’s offer is so tempting, but when your enemies don’t die you either need to outnumber them to the point that it doesn’t matter or have a weapon which puts them down permanently.
So, which is it? Did the alliance between the Children of the Forest and the First Men have the numbers to rival the Night’s King or was Dragonglass just a lot more common in those days? The answers is probably both, but it would be really handy if those wall drawings revealed another way to defeat the White Walkers because right now, it’s not looking so good.
4. Will Drogon be permanently injured?
This episode finally saw Drogon properly stretch his wings and roast some Lannisters, but he didn’t come away from the attack unscathed. Bronn tested out Qyburn’s Ballista during the battle and managed to hit the dragon at least once, which is pretty impressive given the distance and the chaos that was going on around him. It left me feeling pretty concerned for Drogon though. The arrow obviously hurt and while it won’t kill him, it’s in a tricky spot, right at his wing joint. He landed almost immediately so that Dany could try and remove the weapon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggles to fly for a while. How will he return to Dragonstone? Will he need physiotherapy? Is it wrong to feel more for an injured dragon than Lannisters on fire? So many questions...
5. Is Tyrion having second thoughts?
Tyrion had his first taste of what it meant to go up against his own family in this episode and he didn’t like it. Despite Dany’s angry accusations earlier in the episode, I don’t believe Tyrion had any reservations about being on the opposite side as his family in his war, but he may well do after Daenerys’ attack on the Lannisters. Watching from afar, he struggled to see the Lannister soldiers burning alive (who wouldn’t?) and then genuinely panicked when Jaime made the foolhardy and brash decision to attack Dany and Drogon head on. Tyrion might not have any love for his sister Cersei, but he’s always been close to Jaime and I think he’s just realised that it’s unlikely his older brother will survive if his side wins. Given everything Jaime’s always done to protect him, he could be asking himself some serious questions about what he’s willing to do right now.
6. Is Jaime alive/presumed dead/missing (delete as appropriate)?
The short answer to this is yes, Jaime is alive, because there’s just no way the Kingslayer is being killed off in episode 4 by drowning, but we’re going to discuss it anyway because you can’t end an episode with a major player sinking to the bottom of a lake and pretend it’s not an issue. Jamie did well to avoid being burned alive after the hugely stupid decision of charging a dragon head on with nothing but a spear, but when Bronn (presumably?) leaped through the air and tackled him off his horse just in time to miss a roasting, he pushed him into the lake and metal armour doesn’t float so well.
Last we saw of the Lannister, he was sinking deeper and deeper into the water, but no doubt he’ll survive because like I said, that’s not how you kill off the Kingslayer. The real question is, will everyone think he’s dead... at least for a time? The timing of Drogon’s fire-breathing and Jaime’s rescue was so close that it could have looked like he instantly went up in flames, and if he’s not found after the battle the surviving Lannister forces will presumably assume he’s dead. How Cersei will react to this news… well, let’s hope we never have to see that.
7. How much of the Game of Thrones leak was correct?
Finally, now I’ve seen the episode, I want to know if was correct. If you too had enough self control to not read the spoilers beforehand, now is the time you can safely give into your curiosity. From a quick read of some accounts of the leak it looks like it was pretty bang on the money - perhaps not surprisingly given how close the episode was to airing when it was leaked - but some of the interpretations don’t seem to match up.
For example, some versions talk about Arya and Sansa’s reunion being awkward, which I didn’t think it was. Well, at least, as un-awkward as a meeting like that can be. Others suggest that Dany ignores Jon’s council about using the dragons to attack, but in fact, Dany wanted to burn the Red Keep and instead settled for defeating the Lannister forces outside of King’s Landing away from the population. One version said that Arya was upset that Bran hadn’t been using his powers to help his family and that he said House Stark doesn’t matter anymore but I didn’t see anything in this episode to suggest that. Maybe it’s to come, maybe things were changed, either way, it just goes to show it doesn’t pay to read spoilers.