The most recent episode of Game of Thrones brought the heat. While Daenerys Targaryen and Drogon's attack on Lannister forces en route to King's Landing was equal parts exhilarating and devastating — depending on whose side you're on — it was the episode's quieter moments that really made "The Spoils of War" one of the all-time greats.
It gave us a heart-melting family reunion that some thought would never happen, a shady exchange, and a full-scale dragon attack that ended with Jaime Lannister's fate unknown. What more could anyone ask for?! Oh, I know. How about a few answers to some very important burning questions? Enough with the lollygagging. Let's get to it.
Does Jaime Lannister survive?HBO
The last time we saw the Kingslayer he was sinking to the bottom of a river in heavy armor after nearly being scorched to death by Drogon, but that doesn’t mean he's permanently out of the game. Of course not. Long gone are the days when major characters would actually die on this show. (R.I.P. Robb Stark.) That doesn’t mean Jaime is going to make it to the end of Game of Thrones' final season — he’s 100 percent going to die before then — but his story isn’t over yet. He has more to do. He’s the most complex character in Westeros (just ask the theoretical High Septon), and there’s just no way Benioff and Weiss would kill him off without giving him one final scene with his brother, Tyrion. (OK, and Cersei, who he's definitely maybe going to kill.)
That being said, Jaime going out after attempting to kill Daenerys Targaryen — the daughter of the Mad King, who he did kill to save the people of King’s Landing from a fiery death — does seem like something George R.R. Martin would do.
More importantly, did Bronn survive?HBO
It’s assumed that Bronn saved Jaime from Drogon's fatal blast, which in and of itself speaks to Bronn’s loyalty to the Lannisters (and, you know, his gold), but did Bronn survive? I have no idea. We saw another body floating in the water, but that doesn’t mean Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, after his heroic moment at the helm of Qyburn's Dragon-killing crossbow, made it out alive. At least give the man his castle before killing him off!!!
Will Tyrion betray his queen to pay his debt to Jaime?HBO
A Lannister always pays his debts, and last I checked, Tyrion is still a Lannister. Remember that it was Jaime who helped Tyrion escape the dungeons of the Red Keep, which means Tyrion is indebted to his older brother. If Jaime survives nearly being drowned, then chances are he's going to be held prisoner by Daenerys. This is going to put Tyrion in a very precarious position. Does he help his brother, knowing that he's already on Daenerys's shit list? Or does he remain loyal to his queen and thereby betray his brother — and his family name? Tyrion may have taken a few Ls recently, but he's still an expert strategist. Maybe he can find a way to serve both sides of the coin. If nothing else, this perhaps sets up a long-awaited conversation between Jaime and Jon, two characters who haven't seen one another since the second episode of the first season. This time, Jon can tell Jaime all about swinging a sword through human — and non-human — flesh.
Was Sansa and Arya’s reunion a bit chilly?HBO
To be fair, they did hug — twice. But don’t conflate Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner's best-friendship with Arya and Sansa's relationship. The Stark girls have never been close, not like Jon and Arya. Even Sansa acknowledges Arya's deep connection with Jon by telling her how happy Jon will be to see his favorite sibling. But that doesn't mean Arya and Sansa weren't happy to see each other after all these years. They've both been through a lot of patriarchal bullshit since their halcyon days in Winterfell. They can now relate to each other in a way they haven't been able to before.
That is, until Sansa sees Arya nearly defeat Brienne of Tarth in a sparring match. It’s not that Sansa is threatened by her little sister, but for the first time Sansa is realizing that she doesn’t really know this Arya at all. All of the Stark siblings are strangers at this point, tied together by blood and a shared desire for vengeance and survival.
Is Daenerys a dangerous queen?HBO
After a pep talk from Jon, Daenerys decides not to take the Red Keep with fire and blood but to instead completely obliterate the Lannister forces as they make their way back hime from the Reach. She's finally listening to Lady Olenna; she's being a dragon. She's taking control instead of listening to the men around her. But did Dany do the right thing in setting thousands of men on fire? Sure. This is war, after all. Does she take a little too much pleasure in it? Yep. "Bend the knee and join me," she says in the promo for next week's episode, "or refuse and die." OK. That sounds a bit extreme. It's not like she killed Jon Snow for refusing to bend the knee. But it surely has Tyrion and Varys concerned about Dany's future as queen. Can they rely on her not to burn those who disagree with her to the ground? We'll have to wait and see.
Why did Littlefinger give Bran the Valyrian steel dagger?HBO
It's time for Littlefinger to die. I am so sick of his senseless games, and with Arya back in Winterfell his days are numbered. Arya has seen the depths of Littlefinger's schemes firsthand. Way back in Season 2, she overheard a damning conversation between Baelish and Tywin Lannister, and it was clear that Littlefinger did not have the Starks' best interests at heart. Littlefinger is not to be trusted. Arya knows it. Sansa knows it. Even Bran knows it. So what game is Littlefinger playing? Is he trying to get Bran on his side, so he can get even closer to Sansa? Is he trying to pit the two Stark girls against each other? Duh. Littlefinger loves chaos. It's why he most likely ordered the attack on young Bran in the first place.
He seemed pretty shaken up by the fact Bran knew his favorite catchphrase — "chaos is a ladder" — so maybe he knows not to fuck with Bran anymore. Either way, Littlefinger just set up a major endgame plot point, because Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, gave the dagger to Arya. Clearly, Bran knows Arya will be instrumental in taking down the White Walkers. Why else would he give her Valyrian steel?
Why should we care about this Golden Company in Essos?HBO
Before Drogon set everyone on fire during the loot train attack, Cersei told Tycho Nestoris from the Iron Bank that she wanted to make "overtures" to the Golden Company, a sellsword group of tens of thousands of mercenaries in Essos. If this sounds familiar, then good. You've been paying attention. Ser Jorah Mormont, the former Lord of Bear Island, fought with them following his exile from Westeros. Cersei wants the Golden Company to boost her forces against Daenerys's army of Dothraki and Unsullied. However, being mercenaries, these guys from the East are only in it for the money, a stark contrast to the loyalty Dany's forces have for their queen. Think of the conversation Missandei has with Davos and Jon at Dragonstone. Dany's army doesn't fight for her because they have to; they do so because they want to.
So hiring the Golden Company is a risky move, but it may be Cersei's only option after losing so many men on the field to Daenerys's devastating aerial attack. If anything, at least humanity has 10,000 more men on their side against the fast-approaching war with the White Walkers. Or, you know, the Night's King has 10,000 more wights to make.