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

The battle that served to shock and awe the Lannister forces also had a more strictly strategic purpose, which was to torch Cersei’s grain and supplies. (Tycho the slimy Iron Banker will be happy to know the gold made it back O.K.)

It was also the first clash of the season to approach the standards set by previous sequences like the Battle of the Bastards and Hardhome. Though it wasn’t quite at the scale of those thrilling episodes, it did showcase the same chaotic but coherent visual style, blending close-in flurries of choppy, spurty violence with longer shots to immerse viewers within the combat, and wider ones that keep things contextualized — and thus interesting — throughout. (This is not easy to pull off. Refer to the city-smashing climaxes of many modern superhero films if you don’t believe me.)

Bronn’s dizzying escape from his Dothraki pursuer — which unfurled mostly in one shot or was cleverly edited to seem that way — reminded me of Jon Snow wandering through the bastard clash, as swords, smoke, horses and carnage swirled all around him. Bronn’s scorpion bolts didn’t slay Dany’s dragon but it was the latest volley in this season’s campaign to neutralize, somewhat, the dragon advantage. The battle was a blowout for the Lannisters but in that, at least, they were effective. (The ballista sequence was reminiscent of the climax of “Jaws,” though Bronn obviously was less successful with his prey than Brody was with his.)

Photo

From left: Conleth Hill, Peter Dinklage, Nathalie Emmanuel, Emilia Clarke, Liam Cunningham and Kit Harington in “Game of Thrones.”

Credit
Macall B. Polay/HBO

Things ended with Jaime’s brave but foolhardy charge on Daenerys. Only Bronn’s latest heroic move saved him from incineration.

Jaime sank to perilous depths and an uncertain fate. I doubt he’s gone. But at the very least he’ll probably need to ditch that weighty golden appendage for the swim back up to the surface.

We’ll have more on all of this soon. But first here’s a quick look at what else happened on Sunday:

• That was a nice moment between Arya and Sansa in the crypt, as each confirmed that their lives had been tough but were not over. We were reminded that each got what they dreamed about as little girls — Arya had adventures, and Sansa mingled with kings and queens — and found that the stories were not pleasant ones. Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner have grown up on this show, too, and they nicely captured the tricky blend of melancholy and hope.

• That said, seams appeared as Sansa watched Arya train with Brienne, which Littlefinger will exploit in 3… 2… 1…

• Turns out Dragonstone is also the Lascaux of Westeros. See? Jon told Dany, pointing to some paintings of White Walkers. This is what I’ve been talking about. It was awfully convenient, though perhaps not quite the home run Jon, who’s usually aces in a cave, expected. Looks serious, Dany agreed. Bend the knee and we’ll talk.

• For a “horselord,” that Dothraki warrior showed very little compunction about maiming Bronn’s steed.

• I’m enjoying Mark Gatiss as the banker looking to profit off Cersei’s war. We’re looking into the Golden Company, she said. Ooh they’re good, he replied, as if they were a landscaping company instead of an army of mercenaries who kill people for a living.

• Randyll Tarly really wanted to flog some stragglers, huh? Did you see the look on his face when Jaime told him to at least warn them first?

Please check back for a more in-depth version of this recap.

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