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Recap / Game of Thrones S7E4: "The Spoils of War"

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Just outside Highgarden, Jaime, Bronn, and the Tarlys are overseeing the pillage of the Reach, with all the Tyrell's gold and food loaded in wagons and on its way to King's Landing. Jaime pays Bronn what he's owed, though this doesn't stop Bronn from needling Jaime about his sour demeanour in the wake of a relatively easy victory and the death of Olenna Tyrell; Bronn asks him if the Queen of Thorns got in a few barbs before her death (not knowing that Olenna has just revealed to Jaime that she murdered Joffrey), trying to convince the knight to confide in him. Jaime snarks that he'd rather talk to the High Septon; when Bronn points out the High Septon is dead, Jaime dryly notes this to be true, ending their conversation. Undeterred, Bronn points out that even though he now has a big bag o' gold, he still doesn't have a castle, and inquires about getting Highgarden itself for his troubles. Jaime tactfully reminds Bronn that Highgarden is still a high-value target for the Targaryen forces, and also that the money required to keep it up would be more than Bronn has. Bronn isn't satisfied and complains that he's still owed his reward, to which Jaime replies by observing that he hasn't exactly done too shabby up to this point, rising from a poor sellsword to a titled knight, and that when the war is won, Bronn can have any castle he chooses under Cersei's peace. Bronn, not surprisingly, doesn't have much confidence in Cersei's ruling ability, and an irritated Jaime dispatches him with the Tarlys to oversee the confiscation of the current harvest from Reach farm-holds.
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In King's Landing, Tycho Nestoris once again tries to flatter Cersei by comparing her favorably to Tywin, though she doesn't seem to care. He then observes no one has ever before paid off so great a loan to the Iron Bank in one installment, and says that some of his fellows are already lamenting the loss of the interest payments on the Iron Throne's debt. Cersei, now that Nestoris and by extension the Bank is thinking more favourably of her situation, informs him that she will need more gold to win the war, with Nestoris admitting he sees "potential" in such a venture, and phrasing this as an "investment" instead of another loan. Cersei tells him that Qyburn has reached out to the Golden Company, and Nestoris observes that the Iron Bank has employed the mercenaries themselves when debts have grown too large, a veiled threat that Cersei ignores in favour of noting that she intends to use the Company the same way. Nestoris again assures Cersei that the Iron Bank will support her...as soon as their debt is paid, to which Cersei only replies by giving him a calculating gaze.

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At Winterfell, Littlefinger gives Bran the Valyrian steel dagger that was used in the attempt on his life. Bran holds it as Littlefinger prattles on about how the one time Catelyn truly needed him, he failed her, and pledges his support to Bran as a way of honouring her memory. Bran asks if Littlefinger knows who owned the dagger, to which Littlefinger replies in the negative, taking this opportunity to wax poetic about how the war began because of Bran's injury, and that Bran has experienced things that would be hard to understand. Littlefinger seems a bit unsettled by Bran's demeanor, and begins talking about all the chaos in the world, but Bran interrupts him by saying that "Chaos is a ladder", which Littlefinger has said to both Varys and Tywin. Visibly taken aback by this, Littlefinger is rendered speechless for the first time in who knows how long, however, their conversation ends when Meera lets herself into the room. Littlefinger takes his leave, calling Bran "Lord Stark", a title Bran rejects. Meera tells Bran that she's returning to Greywater Watch, but grows upset when Bran isn't affected by their parting or her recitation of what others have suffered to return him to Winterfell. He explains that isn't isn't really Bran any more, now that the memories of the Three-Eyed Raven are within him. She finally admits to herself that Bran is gone, saying "You died in that cave." She leaves out of the room, and as she does, Bran suddenly turns with a puzzling look at the window as if he can see someone in the distance.

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On a nearby hill, Arya has finally made it within sight of Winterfell, but much like when she tried to gain entrance to the Red Keep way back in Season 1, the Winterfell guards refuse to let her in. She tells them that she is Arya Stark, but they refuse to believe her, thinking Arya is dead. She then asks for Ser Rodrik Cassel or Maester Luwin (not knowing they're dead), and the guards take this as further confirmation that she's an impostor since they don't know those names. She then asks for Jon, but he's not there; only Lady Stark is. She figures out from their taunting that they mean Sansa, who they refuse to bother. One of them tries to punch her but she dodges, and coldly tells them that she will get into Winterfell some way, and that if Sansa finds out they refused her entrance...she lets the threat hang and the guards lead her into the courtyard, ordering her to sit on a bench while they argue about who's going to tell Sansa. Arya takes the opportunity to look around at her home, seeing all the people preparing for winter, but not recognizing anyone. The guards finally decide which of them will tell Sansa, but turn to see that Arya's vanished. To their credit, they immediately alert Sansa about her presence, telling her that a girl claiming to be Arya asked for Rodrik and Luwin; Sansa's entire attitude shifts as she realizes what those names mean, and she heads down to the crypts to find Arya standing in front of Ned's statue. Arya asks if she has to call Sansa "Lady Stark"; Sansa says she does, and then smiles and dashes forward to hug her little sister for the first time in years, though Arya seems a bit uncomfortable at this show of emotion. Sansa lightly chastises Arya for running from the guards, to which Arya replies that Sansa just needs better guards. Their conversation is a bit stilted at the beginning, but Arya admits that Sansa makes a good Lady of Winterfell, to which Sansa says she hopes Jon returns soon to see Arya. Arya smiles when Sansa remembers how happy Jon was to see her, going on to tell Arya, "When he sees you, his heart will probably stop.", and then tells Arya that Bran is alive and in Winterfell as well. Arya observes that Ned's statue doesn't look like him and should have been made by someone who knew him; Sansa replies that everyone who actually remembers what he looked like is dead, before Arya points out they aren't. Arya asks if Sansa really killed Joffrey, and upon finding out the truth says that she would have been happy if Sansa had, even though Arya wanted to kill Joffrey herself; he was always at the top of her "list". Sansa finds the idea of her little sister intending to kill multiple people amusing, and the sisters inquire about each others journeys, with both saying they're long, unpleasant stories; but Arya notes that "Our stories aren't over yet," before they embrace again, with Arya much more enthusiastic this time.

The Stark women head to the Heart Tree, and as Sansa looks on, Arya is reunited with Bran, too, though as per usual these days, he doesn't seem to care one way or the other. He manages to creep her out by saying that he saw her at the crossroads; Arya is confused by this before Sansa tells her about Bran's visions. He says that he thought Arya would have continued on to King's Landing and Arya admits that was her original intent; Sansa wonders why her sister would return to that place, but Bran shocks them both by referring to Cersei being on Arya's list. Sansa looks at her little sister in a new light and asks who else she intends to kill, to which Arya replies that most of them are already dead. Bran takes out Littlefinger's dagger, and Arya is concerned to find out he's in Winterfell, with Sansa saying that the only reason Littlefinger would have given Bran that dagger was because he expected something from Bran in return. Bran pretty much shrugs and gives the dagger to Arya, pointing out that he has no use for it. They return to the courtyard as three of the Stark children together again with Arya pushing Bran's wheelchair. Podrick compliments Brienne by saying that she fulfilled her oath to Catelyn since both Sansa and Arya are back home now. Brienne protests that she didn't really do much, then thanks him for his kindness. On one of the walkways, Littlefinger is watching this scene unfold.

Back on Dragonstone, Missandei notes they haven't heard back from the Unsullied; Daenerys tries to reassure her that Grey Worm will return, and just as they're ready to start giggling about what happened between the two, Jon Snow appears, to lead Dany to the dragonglass cave. He says he wants her to see the obsidian in its natural state, but then reveals he has another reason for bringing her there: cave drawings made by the Children of the Forest, which depict their alliance with the First Men and their war against the White Walkers. He again tries to convince her about the threat posed by the Night King and his army, which Dany, confronted by this old evidence, finally seems to be warming to. She gets Jon to admit that without her armies and the dragons, he can't defeat the Walkers, and then tells him that she will aid him...if he bends the knee. Jon still can't bring himself to do it, saying that the North will never again accept a Southern ruler, and Dany tries to reason with him, telling him that as long as he accepts her, the people of the North will as well given their trust in him. They leave the cave with nothing resolved, only to be greeted by Tyrion and Varys, who inform Dany that Casterly Rock has fallen. She's momentarily heartened by the news, but quickly realizes something is wrong, and is not at all happy when she learns that her forces have suffered another setback. She and Tyrion argue about what his "kinder, gentler" approach has cost her in terms of men and materiel, with Dany going so far as to openly ask if Tyrion's "underestimating" of Cersei's forces is due to that or not really wanting to wage war against his family. Dany decides to take the dragons and assault the Red Keep, which Tyrion again cautions against, since she would have to be on the front lines. Dany then asks Jon for his counsel, and he points out that Dany has made people believe in the impossible again and that her army follows her because they believe she will be a better ruler than those in power, but that if she attacks an inhabited city, she will simply prove herself as bad as those currently in charge.

Returning to Winterfell, Podrick is still getting his ass kicked by Brienne — each time he corrects a flaw in his technique, she just exploits a new one and bests him again. Arya shows up and quips that Pod's real mistake is trying to fight someone as talented as Brienne. Brienne compliments Arya's Cool Sword Needle and the catspaw dagger, which Arya lets her hold. Meanwhile, Sansa and Littlefinger, discussing the granaries, are walking above and stop to see what's going on. Brienne returns the dagger and Arya says she hasn't trained in a while; when Brienne offers to find the master of arms, Arya says that it wasn't some Northern soldier who defeated The Hound, but Brienne herself. Brienne seems about to dismiss her, but Arya calmly notes that Brienne vowed to serve Sansa and Arya; overhead Sansa looks on nervously, while Littlefinger seems to be enjoying the show. Brienne acquiesces to Arya's wish, but tells her Needle is too small to use against a longsword, while Arya simply replies that she won't hurt Brienne. The Water Dancer and the Knight of Westeros then face off, with Brienne obviously unused to fighting against that style, Arya's mix of dodging and deflecting allowing her to rap Brienne on the knuckles and end up with her sword inches from Brienne's neck. They square up again, Brienne now respectful of her much smaller opponent, but the second exchange goes much the way of the first, with Arya slapping Needle's blade against Brienne's thigh before Brienne takes it up a notch and kicks Arya to the ground. The younger woman is stunned for a moment but then executes an acrobatic flip back to her feet, a feral grin twisting her face. They engage a third time, Brienne's far superior strength finally allowing her to disarm Arya, but Arya manages to get inside Brienne's guard with her dagger and best the taller woman. Arya seems happy to have once again utilized her skills, but when Brienne asks who her teacher was, Arya replies, "No one." Seeing her little sister fight so well obviously bothers Sansa, who leaves without a word, while Arya and Littlefinger lock eyes for a long moment before he gives her a seemingly respectful nod and leaves as well.

Again on Dragonstone, Davos and Jon Snow discuss Dany, with Jon saying she has "a good heart" and Davos snarking that he's seen Jon looking at her good heart. Jon dismisses the notion out of hand, and they run into Missandei, leading to a bit of back-and-forth about Jon's proper title (Missandei insists on calling him "Lord Snow", Davos tries both "King Snow" and "King Jon", and Jon doesn't care one way or the other). Further, Missandei is a bit confused about why Jon is called "Snow", not a "Stark" like his father, which leads to Jon and Davos learning that Naath doesn't have marriage like Westeros, thus bastardy is literally a foreign concept to them. When Missandei reveals that she was a slave who Dany bought and then freed, Jon and Davos learn more about Dany's motives, asking what Dany would do if Missandei wanted to leave. Missandei responds that Dany would simply give her a ship and send her on her way. She explains that she and the others from Essos don't follow Dany because she's the rightful heir to the Iron Throne or because Dany is the daughter of some king they never knew, they follow Dany because they chose her as their queen. Seeing Missandei's conviction, Davos jokingly asks Jon if he can change his allegiance to Dany. They see a ship with Greyjoy sails approach, and make their way to the beach just as Theon and his crew bring in a landing boat. Theon is understandably hesitant when he sees Jon and Jon understandably angry when he sees Theon. Theon asks Jon if his sister Sansa is alright, prompting Jon to angrily grab Theon by the collar and tell him that Theon saving Sansa is the only reason he's not killing him. Davos says they had heard Theon's uncle Euron attacked their fleet and Theon confirms this, saying their fleet was decimated and Euron has kidnapped his sister Yara. He has returned to ask Dany's assistance in rescuing his sister, but Jon informs him that Dany isn't on Dragonstone anymore. When Theon asks where she is, we go to...

The Blackwater Rush, where, under cloudy skies, the Lannister-Tarly army is escorting the wagon train holding the Reach harvest. Jaime and Bronn overlook the caravan's progress, which has devolved somewhat from the military precision of earlier, much to Randyl Tarly's displeasure, though he does note that the gold wagons have made it to King's Landing. Tarly notes that they really need to speed things up, and advises whipping the stragglers; Jaime doesn't countermand him, but does tell him to try ordering the men beforehand. Jaime approaches Dickon and gets his name wrong again, while Bronn is just amused by finding out the young man's name is "dick on". Jaime complements Dickon on his prowess at the battle of Highgarden, but rightly guesses he is troubled by his first experience of war, which Dickon confirms by again pointing out that House Tarly had been pledged to House Tyrell as long as he can remember, and that he was friends with some of the men who died. Jaime attempts to comfort him, but then Bronn hears the approach of horses, lots of horses, and both he and Jaime realize that it has to be the Dothraki. Jaime and Bronn instantly begin to rally the army, with Lord Tarly joining in once he figures out what's happening. To have been taking it easy, the army readies itself quite well, falling into orderly formations under their commanders orders even as the Dothraki's war cries are heard. The tension ramps up, then Dany's khalasar crests a nearby hill and approaches the Lannister lines at speed. Bronn urges Jaime to head for King's Landing, which Jaime flatly refuses to do, even though Bronn rightly points out that as the army's commander, Jaime is far more important to the war effort than any soldier. Jaime protests that the army can hold the Dothraki off, and he may be right... but no one will ever know, because a strange roar is heard, Jaime and Bronn look like they both need to change their trousers, and Drogon, with Dany on his back, descends from the cloud cover, which she had used to hide their approach.

She flies Drogon ahead of her khalasar to the front of the Lannister lines, literally burning a hole in their formation and killing dozens of soldiers instantly. A horrified Dickon watches the khalasar ride through the flames and the battle is joined as the Dothraki pour in through the breach. Lannister archers, spear-men, and the pike wall do their best, but warfare of this kind is the Dothraki specialty, and their numbers begin to overwhelm the crown's forces. While the khalasar concentrate on the soldiers, Dany and Drogon focus on the wagon train, destroying all the supplies they can and leaving the field a burning waste. Jaime gathers a group of archers as Drogon swings around for another pass, but their arrows all bounce harmlessly off his chest and he destroys another part of the caravan. Jaime then orders Bronn to man the scorpion that Qyburn commissioned, and after the sellsword rides off, proves that their training has paid dividends when he manages to cut down several Dothraki, but one who is dual-wielding arakhs does begin to overpower Jaime's guard, however, Dickon saves the day with a well-timed sword thrust from behind, earning Jaime's respect. On the way to the scorpion, Bronn faces down his first Dothraki Screamer, his go-to tactic of flinging his kukri is soundly countered by the barbarians' arakh but just before their swords clash, his opponent cuts one of the front legs of Bronn's mount from under him, sending the sellsword tumbling heavily to the ground and to lose his big ol' bag of gold.

Undeterred, Bronn gets up and keeps heading toward his destination, saved from his pursuer by a burning wagon that blocks said rider. The screamer dismounts and tracks his prey, leaping up on the foot of the covered wagon and throwing back the canvas... only to get knocked back ten feet and impaled to a wagon by a bolt from the scorpion. Bronn resets and arms the weapon, scanning the sky for the black dragon, while Tyrion and several of Dany's blood riders watch the battle from a nearby rise; Tyrion is clearly disturbed by the carnage, witnessing his countrymen being slaughtered indiscriminately or writhing in agony as flames consume them. Jaime is also horrified, traumatic memories resurfacing as he sees his men try to futilely save themselves in the rush, armour seared to skin. Speaking of the river, Drogon makes a long gliding approach up the waterway and launches yet another blast of red-black-tinged fire from much closer range, obliterating men to ash in the aftermath before pulling up. Bronn sights the scorpion and fires, the shot nearly tearing Dany from Drogon's back; Tyrion's heart is understandably in his mouth. Dany, incensed, pivots Drogon about to try and destroy the installation, but though large and powerful, he isn't exactly a rally car in terms of steering ability, and the time it takes for them to circle and dive-bomb the anti-air weapon is enough for Bronn to reload and recentre the queen and her beast in his cross-hairs.

Dany orders Drogon to blast him just as Bronn pulls the release lever, the bolt whistles forth from its torsion-twine limbs at a range of nearly four hundred meters, it's going to go right down Drogon's gullet! Not today! Though it strikes true, it instead sinks deep into the thinly armoured right wing joint, causing Drogon to shriek in agony. He pitches lopsided into an uncontrollable fall. Dany goes from young conqueror to girl child as she holds on for dear life, helpless. Drogon spins and tumbles through the air, Tyrion and Ko Qhono watch in shock and dismay, unable to help their queen and Bronn is jubilant as the pair plummets, but his triumph is premature.

Drogon recovers quickly and regains control, slowly flapping his wings and pulling up right in front of the scorpion. Bronn wisely vacates the wagon just before Drogon turns it into a bonfire, destroying the only weapon that can counter him. Drogon then lands, bellows his victory, and smashes what remains of the scorpion into splinters with his tail for good measure, while Dany dismounts and tries to pull the huge barbed dart out.

Jaime finally sights Mad Aerys's daughter, there's no mistaking that silver hair. As he witnesses her concern for the monster that just annihilated his troops, the knight loses all perspective and his eyes fall on a Dothraki corpse pinned by a spear between them, Tyrion also sees this from his vantage-point and realizes what his brother is about to do, murmuring "Flee, you idiot." But the golden lion instead decides to dust off his old jousting skills and rides in at full gallop, plucking the impromptu lance from the corpse, twirling it under-arm, and levelling it at Dany as he thunders in. It's a scene straight out of Epic Fantasy as the kingslayer tries to gain the epithet dragonslayer.

Daenerys hears his approach and turns about in surprise at the man brave and foolish enough to bear down on her. Jaime grits his teeth as he prepares to skewer another Targaryen, but he never imagined the love between mother and draconic son went both ways. Drogon's head swings around to face the mounted knight, his long neck wrapping Dany in a protective barrier of scales. His yawning maw glowing with a jet of incoming fiery death. Jaime's war face crumples into terror.

Bronn leaps in from his own mount, tackling Jaime out of the saddle. Their horses are incinerated, but the two of them are clear.

It's straight from the fire into the frying pan, though, as Bronn has inadvertently knocked them into the Blackwater Rush. Thirty or fifty pounds of steel is more than enough to overwhelm the human body's natural buoyancy. In silence, Jaime Lannister sinks into the depths of the river. Cut to black.

Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Brienne and Arya both show off their badass credentials with a friendly sparring match. Arya, who had so far mostly shown off her skills as an assassin, demonstrates some impressive swordsmanship and fights the larger, stronger, and more experienced knight to a standstill. The two women end the fight grinning and walk away with mutual respect for each other's abilities.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Jaime Lannister tasks the soldiers, the Tarlys, and Bronn to rob the rations off the farms of the Reach, depriving the latter of food for the Winter solely to support Cersei's war in the capital. In A Feast for Crows, he conducted a mopping up campaign in the Riverlands solely to restore peace and order in time for a final harvest, and insisted on paying fair wages to commoners for bed, food, and board.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Two examples:
    • When Dany reassures Missandei that Grey Worm will return from battle, Missandei mutters an annoyed, "He'd better."
    • Later, when Tyrion sees Jaime charging at Drogon and Dany, he calls him a "fucking idiot."
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Arya, wielding Needle (a very light and thin-bladed Braavosi fencing sword), duels Brienne, wielding a tourney longsword (not sharp, but still made of iron and thus probably about five times the weight of Needle). This would roughly be like Arya trying to deflect Brienne's sledgehammer with a golf club, and Brienne even lampshades on why this is a bad idea.note 
  • Allohistorical Allusion: When Jon, Davos, and Missandei banter, they briefly discuss Jon's titles, with Davos noting "King Snow, no that doesn't sound right, King Jon?". The joke is that the historical King John was a famously unpopular King in both real history and pop culture, and as such there is only one King John as opposed to the many Henrys, Edwards, Richards, Georges, and the pairs of Elizabeths, Marys, Jameses, and Charlesesnote . So King Jon Snow indeed doesn't sound right.
  • Anti-Air: We get confirmation that Qyburn's Secret Weapon really can take down a dragon, though making it stay down is another matter.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Considering Bran was thought dead by most people until he showed up out of the blue to Winterfell, the guards seem oddly dismissive and skeptical of Arya's claim that she is who she says she is.
  • Automaton Horses: The Dothraki horses seem to have no issue at all with charging straight through flaming grass, compared to the Lannister horses who are appropriately freaked out by the flames and sparks. They're also galloping at full speed for quite some distance prior to reaching the Lannister lines and don't seem any worse for the wear.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Jaime Lannister mocked Euron Greyjoy and the Ironborn at the start of the season because their people steal things they can't grow or make on their own from better people. In this episode, the Lannisters steal food and wealth that they no longer possess from better people, more or less acting like Ironborn raiders. Jaime even has an Ironborn attitude, giving Bronn wealth rather than property, and deprecating the latter, much like Yara mocked Theon for trying to hold Winterfell, by noting that Ironborn raiders can't hold castles.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The entire third act of the episode; the Lannister-Tarly army is ambushed by Daenerys's Dothraki army and Drogon. Of course, it's not so much a battle as it is a massacre, with the Dothraki slaughtering the Lannister spearmen and Drogon roasting everyone else to burnt flesh, bone, and dust.
  • Big Brother Instinct: What saves Theon from Jon's Tranquil Fury is Jon's protectiveness of his sister Sansa, as Theon helped her escape from the Boltons last season.
    Theon: Sansa, is she alright?
    Jon: What you did for her is the only reason I'm not killing you.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jaime managed to survive the worst odds: first, when Dickon Tarly saved him from a Dothraki rider; and then when Bronn, at the last second, pushes him away from Drogon's firing line.
  • Birds of a Feather: Despite their harsh prior meeting, Arya has clearly not forgotten Brienne, and both Action Girls find they enjoy dueling with a kindred spirit.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Bran continues to exhibit this trope.
    • When confronted by an artifact of his life going to hell (i.e. the Valyrian steel dagger used by the assassin sent to kill him), he simply passes it off to Arya and brushes off the entire thing as something that "doesn't matter". Any other fictional character confronted by such a thing might have a traumatic reaction, a thirst for revenge, or forgiveness. To him, it's now irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.
    • When confronted by Meera Reed's protestations of his detachment after everything they went through, he flatly points out that he isn't really "Brandon Stark" anymore.
      Bran: I'm not really. Not anymore. I remember what it felt like to be Brandon Stark. But I remember so much else now.
  • Body Horror: The Lannister soldiers that get burned by Dragon's flames and don't immediately die are shown to be horrifically burned, especially when they dive into the nearby river and desperately shed armor.
  • Braids of Action: Dany's Rapunzel Hair is fittingly tied into the long plaited braid of a Dothraki Khal when she flies into battle. A style she's not adopted since the end of Season 1 during Drogo's funeral.
  • Brass Balls: Jaime. You know the golden hand isn't the heaviest part of his body when he's the only one in the battlefield charging towards the huge dragon that's been burning hundreds of soldiers alive.
  • Call-Back:
    • Littlefinger gives Bran the dagger that was used in an attempt to kill him. In the same conversation, Bran refers to Littlefinger's "chaos is a ladder" speech — much to his surprise.
    • Arya refers to Brienne as "the one who beat the Hound".
    • The enjoyment Arya takes in the sparring session with Brienne is something we haven't seen since she first met Syrio Forel.
    • Arya argues with two gate guards who refuse to believe her identity, just as she did in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    • Jaime still keeps calling Dickon "Rickon".note 
    • In past seasons, Stannis Baratheon makes the correction that it is "fewer" instead of "less," to which Davos asks, "What?" Davos has the same conversation with Jon in reverse:
      Jon: How many men in the North do we have to fight him? 10,000? Less?
      Davos: 'Fewer'.
      Jon: What?
    • Robert, when trading war stories with Ser Barristan and Jaime in Season 1, noted that his first kill was some Tarly boy who had shit himself after dying. Here, Jaime talks to a Tarly boy whose first kill in battle is a kid who shit himself after dying.
    • Dany insists that she cannot lead if she isn't willing to risk her own life for her men rather than sitting on the sidelines. This hearkens back to what Robert told Cersei about how the little people would never support a cowardly king sitting behind his castle walls. Dany vindicates herself by risking her life on Drogon in the battle against the Lannisters.
    • Tyrion witnesses in horror a massive fiery destruction inflicted by his side in the battlefield just like the wildfire explosion in Blackwater. The difference is that his enemies now used to be his own side.
    • Jaime Lannister, the battle already lost, charges the enemy commander in a last-ditch attempt to end the war, much as he did against Robb Stark back in Season 1.
    • As Maester Luwin mentioned in Season 1 to Bran, Dothraki are trained to use bow on horseback from a young age. It shows when we see the Dothraki archers almost standing on their horses as they snipe at the Lannister soldiers.
    • The conversation between Dany and Jon about the latter bending the knee mirrors the one between Jon and Tormund just before sailing for Hardhome, with Dany telling him he's the person his people will listen and follow in order to save them from immense danger, just as Jon told Tormund about the free folk. In both cases, they ask if their pride is so important against the survival of their people, although Dany doesn't accuse Jon of being a coward to provoke him in the way Jon did to Tormund.
    • Way back in Season 1, Robert remarks that only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. This episode shows that it's true. Even skilled warriors such as Bronn had a hard time beating a single warrior.
    • Theon's actions in Season 2 comes into play during his reunion with Jon.
    • The image of Jaime sinking into the Blackwater Rush is framed and blocked to be nearly identical to Bran falling from the tower in Winterfell when Jaime pushed him out of it back in episode 1.
    • In season 6, Jaime and Bronn lecture the Freys for failing to set up a proper perimeter at the Siege of Riverrun. Seems like they should have taken their own advice, as here they're surprised by a huge horde of Dothraki horseman (and a dragon) who rout them in short order.
  • The Cameo: New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (well known for his love of the show and High Fantasy in general) plays a Lannister soldier who throws a spear at the charging Dothraki.
  • Character Development: The last time Arya and Sansa had seen each other, they were bickering children. When they reunite, they hug each other warmly and are more openly affectionate, admitting that the other has changed.
    Sansa: How did you get back to Winterfell?
    Arya: It's a long story, I imagine yours is too.
    Sansa: Yes, and not a very pleasant one.
    Arya: Mine neither. (Pause) But our stories aren't over yet.
    Sansa: (Confidently) No they're not. (Arya hugs her)
  • Cliffhanger: Jaime is in danger of drowning after he's thrown into the water while wearing heavy armour.
  • Combat Breakdown: At the beginning of the battle the Lannister forces are able to form and hold their shield wall pretty well in the face of the oncoming cavalry charge. Then Dani flies in with Drogon and burns a hole clean through it. Jaime makes a valiant effort to keep things together, but the sheer devastation and chaos that a pissed-off Warrior Queen riding a nigh-indestructible fire-breathing monster brings to the party makes things break down very fast. By the end everyone is panicking and running for their lives. Even Jaime eventually stops trying to get his men to fight back and just urges them to take cover...not that it helps them.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Both Bronn and the Dothraki rider he faces off with display a fair amount each. Bronn opens throwing a dagger, the rider responds by cutting the leg of his horse. Bronn one-ups that by leading him directly into the firing line of a ballista and shooting him point blank.
    • Arya and Brienne both practice their respective dirty combat tricks in their sparring session.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Daenerys accuses Tyrion of still being loyal to his family and not wanting to really hurt them. This is half-right; Tyrion wouldn't shed a tear if Cersei died, but Jaime is another matter, since he was one of the very few Lannisters who actually loved him (an opinion Jaime no longer holds after Tyrion's murder of Tywin). When Tyrion watches the battle and notices Jaime, he murmurs "flee, you idiot" just before Jaime charges at Daenerys and Drogon.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Dragon fire is shown to be hot enough to reduce men in armour into ash in seconds on a direct hit.note  With that in mind, everything within several yards of the flames should either burst into flame or shrivel up in the heat, making the lucky dodges that the named characters achieve decidedly impossible. Even hanging around in the aftermath of the strikes should be extremely uncomfortable for anyone clad in armor, like Jaime in that metal can he's wearing. The Dothraki also ride through the flames with no issue.
  • Continuity Nod: Jon's speech to Dany on being a Magnetic Hero after supposedly accomplishing an impossible feat quite obviously comes from his own experience after his resurrection.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The veteran Lannister army vs the Dothraki and a fully grown dragon. The Lannisters fought about as well as they could.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Now that the Crown's debts to the Iron Bank of Braavos are likely to be served properly, Tycho Nestoris is clearly warming up to the idea of backing up Cersei's claim and finances, even if said claim comes from them stealing the property of a vassal state, and giving credit to a patently unworthy, two-faced ruler.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Lannister rearguard versus the bulk of the Dothraki and a fully-grown dragon. Drogon breaks their shield line with fire, and what little remains is quickly overwhelmed by the Dothraki. Jaime, perhaps the most skilled soldier in the Lannister army, can only stare in horror for most of the battle.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: While the battle was one-sided for the most part, the Lannister contingency plan in case of suddenly appearing dragons was skillfully deployed and almost worked. The Lannisters fight about as well as could be managed considering their numbers and position; this trope is best exemplified in one shot where a Lannister soldier finishes off a downed Dothraki with an effortful thrust, moments before he and everyone around him are incinerated with more dragonfire.
  • Dated History: Jon Snow narrating to Dany the story behind the murals he finds in the cave under Dragonstone. Dany interprets the murals as the Children of the Forest fighting the First Men but Jon Snow insists that it states that the Children of the Forest banded with the First Men to fight the White Walkers. Jon Snow is saying what he believes or knows to be true based on Northern legends, but as Bran discovered, the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to fight humans, so the truth is not as uplifting and fuzzy as he's trying to paint it to Daenerys. The latter is in fact accurate. The Children fought the First Men, since first the humans fought the Children, then the Children made the White Walkers as weapons to kill the First Men, but then the White Walkers turned on their creators and started killing all life, so the First Men and Children teamed up to fight them.
  • Daylight Horror: The battle takes place in broad daylight and bright sunshine and glowing green fields and it's still pretty horrifying. One shot of Drogon flying low over a beautiful lake only highlights how incongruous the scenery is, when it then flies over a burnt out battlefield.
  • Death by Materialism: Defied by Bronn. During the battle the bag of gold he received in the beginning of the episode falls and the coins spill out. Bronn, being a Combat Pragmatist, he only gives it one look before getting up and continuing to run for his life.
  • Death from Above: Finally, Daenerys rides Drogon to exterminate the Lannister army, with terrific and terrifying results.
  • Death Glare: Daenerys gives one to Bronn sharp enough to pierce through concrete; this, after he spears Drogon with a scorpion bolt to the shoulder. She then commands the fell Drogon to set fire to the scorpion, almost toasting Bronn.
  • Death by Materialism: Averted; Bronn drops his bagful of gold, but leaves it behind in favour of running for his life.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Jaime, the highest ranking commander in Cersei's army, charges at full speed to a grounded Daenerys and Drogon to try and kill the former. If he succeeds, the war is over; if he fails, Cersei loses the head of her army. Fortunately, Bronn saves Jaime's life just before Drogon kills him, tossing him into the water.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Dany stands frozen in shock for a moment when she notices Jaime charging against her, spear in hand, until Drogon moves between them to shield his mother.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In any modern-day setting, Ship Tease between two people related by blood as closely as Jon and Dany are would be strictly no-no. However, in Westeros, where marriage between first cousins is the norm among the nobility, a romantic relationship between aunt and nephew is toeing the line between acceptable and uncomfortable. If you take into account that both Dany and (unknowingly) Jon have Targaryen blood (with Jon being half-Stark and half-Targaryen while Dany is full-Targaryen) and the Targaryens having a history of incestuous pairings in an attempt to keep their bloodline as pure as possible, this may or may not result in their pairing being more socially acceptable in-universe. From The Books 
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: How the Lannisters regime is run, robbing the smallfolk of a region that hadn't known war of their food rations solely to support their illegal regime during the winter, robbing the wealth of their neighbors to pay debts they owe to the Iron Bank, and as far as Jaime is concerned, this will build a peace where everyone will fall in line, even if Bronn disputes that.
    Cersei: My only venture at this moment is re-establishing control over this continent and every person on it.
  • Determined Expression: Shown by Jaime when he charges against Daenerys intending kill her, that is, until Drogon notices him.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Daenerys is clearly rendered curious and amused by Missandei's more chipper attitude and desire to see Grey Worm return. Of course, we know they had a Relationship Upgrade before Grey Worm departed.
  • Dirty Coward: Theon clearly still sees himself as one, not bothering to defend his running away from the Ironborn slaughter and remaining silent when Jon nearly kicks his ass for his Season 2 betrayal of Jon's family.
  • Diving Save: Bronn saves Jaime from Drogon's flames this way. Unfortunately, it "saves" him right into the river, so Jaime could drown. Still, better than burning to death then and there.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Bran's growing detachment and inability to express any emotion whatsoever (and the emotional baggage it causes to people around him) is eerily similar to symptoms suffered by people afflicted with either Alzheimer's disease or frontotemporal dementia. The only difference is that while sufferers of these diseases lose memory, Bran's problem is that he has too much memories/information/history/visions in his head.
    • Drogon's flame is hot enough to turn the Lannister forces to ash in a matter of seconds. Rather like the immediate effect of a nuclear bomb. Coincidentally, the episode was first aired on August 6th.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir":
    • Littlefinger, likely out of courtesy, addresses Bran as "Lord Stark" (which, as Sansa pointed out last episode, he technically is, being the lone male trueborn Stark heir). Bran continues to brush it off.
    • Brienne is about to tell Pod not to call her Lady, but stops just before finishing the sentence, and thanks him for his compliment.
    • Tycho Nestoris corrects Cersei, he is not a Lord (or kind), merely an 'instrument' of the Iron Bank.
  • Dual Wielding: During the battle, one shot follows a Dothraki wielding two sickles and slicing necks literally left and right.
  • Dull Surprise: Jamie, Bronn and Dickons' reaction to hearing and seeing Drogon is... unenthusiastic to say the least, seeing a dragon in the flesh should of had a much more terrified expression.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Subverted. Jaime is fully committed to killing Daenerys, even if it means sacrificing his own life, to end the war. But Bronn saves his life and he doesn't succeed at decapitating the Targaryen cause.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Trust Bronn, the uncouth sellsword, to point out that Dickon Tarly's name is... well, Dickon.
  • Elite Mook: The unnamed Dothraki that faces Bronn gives the latter a run for his money, even cutting off the leg of his mount. In the end, Bronn has to dispose of him with a ballista bolt.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Although not a man, a person would be hard pressed to describe Drogon as good after the hell-storm he unleashed this episode. Despite this, his protectiveness of Daenerys is seen more than once during the battle. The first when he twists at the last minute to shield his mother from an arrow barrage (allowing the projectiles to bounce off his armoured hide instead) and the second when time when he notices a charging Jaime Lannister coming straight for Daenerys. Although injured, he immediately shoves his face between the charging knight and his mother in order to shield her.
  • Event Title: The title refers to the spoils of the Lannister conquest of Tyrell. The plundered gold gets to King's Landing, but Dany recaptures the supplies.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Zigzagged: Arya mentions several people who can vouch for her identity, only to be told they're long gone. However her siblings Sansa and Bran are still alive.
  • Exact Words:
    • Arya notes that "no one" taught her to fight, meaning the Faceless Men.
    • Jaime invokes this noting that "a Lannister always pays his debts." Maybe not right away, but eventually.
  • Facial Dialogue: When Davos tries to excuse himself and Jon after Dany gets the news of the siege at Casterly Rock, Dany angrily orders them to stay. Jon's blatant eye roll in the background clearly shows how he feels about being dragged into yet another royal's battle.
  • Fantastic Nuke / Game Changer: We finally see what a dragon is capable of doing on the battlefield for the first time... and the results are horrific. A solid defensive line (effective against a traditional army as demonstrated last season) is immediately penetrated with the Dothraki horde flooding through the gaps. Infantrymen are instantly reduced to ash and Drogon alone is enough to completely turn the tide of battle. There are lingering shots of the carnage and flaming bannermen trying desperately to douse the flames in the Blackwater Rush.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two guards of the Winterfell gates whom Arya meets when she arrives.
  • Foreshadowing: When Meera leaves, Bran suddenly turns puzzlingly to the window with the Gilligan Cut showing Arya looking at Winterfell at far-off hill. This brings out that Bran can indeed see far and wide, and had indeed glimpsed Arya at the Crossroads where she hesitated between going South to King's Landing or returning North to Winterfell.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten:
    • Jon makes it clear that he lets Theon live because he helped Sansa survive — but clearly remembers all his faults and betrayal against House Stark.
    • Arya remembers how badly her initial encounter with Brienne went, but she's still willing to spar with the Lady Knight and shows respect for Brienne's prowess.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • Jaime says that the Lannister army can hold the line against the huge horde of Dothraki screamers, although he sounds like he's trying to convince himself, and Bronn, who Jaime said had better battle instincts than anyone in the army, is far more pessimistic about their chances. ("Those fuckers are about to swamp us!") Then Drogon roars and descends from his cover above the clouds, and there's no longer any argument about the fact that they're screwed.
    • Littlefinger's position in the North was already rather tenuous; Jon had practically assaulted him a few episodes back and made his distaste for Littlefinger clear, while Sansa had, in the previous season, shown that she was wise to him and told him that she blamed him for what she experienced at the hands of House Bolton. (Only Littlefinger's arrival with the army of the Vale and his astute political advice has gotten Sansa to grudgingly tolerate him.) Faced with this, Littlefinger tries to strengthen his standing by attempting to cozy up to Bran and win Bran over by giving him the ornate dagger that was used on the attempt on Bran's life in S1, then making a speech about Littlefinger's love of Catelyn and his duty to her kids. Bran throws a huge wrench into Littlefinger's plans by bringing up Littlefinger's words from a private conversation with Varys ("Chaos is a ladder") from S3, meaning that he is aware of the past and can out Littlefinger and his crimes. (Which includes betraying Ned in favor of the Lannisters in S1.) Later, he sees Arya sparring with Brienne and ending up in a tie, with Arya using the very dagger that he had given to Bran. It doesn't look too good for him... From the Books .
  • Frontline General:
    • Dany willingly charges, on top of a dragon, into the Lannister spear formation and burns through them, taking much arrow fire. As she insists to Tyrion and Varys, she has to prove that she's willing to risk her life by fighting alongside her men, on her dragons.
    • Jaime Lannister also insists on staying and fighting beside his men, rather than head back to King's Landing as Bronn insists he do. Which gives Bronn an excellent opportunity to explain why this trope is unrealistic, as a Commander, Jaime's loss is worse than that of common soldiers.
      Bronn: You're the Commander, not a damn Infantryman.
  • General Failure: Tyrion gets chewed out by Daenerys for his repeated failures which have led to all her Westerosi allies being lost, as well as her irreplaceable Unsullied army trapped across the continent. She borderline accuses him of treason by saying he pulled his punches out of concern for his family.
  • Glass Cannon: While Drogon himself is very durable and alongside Daenerys they can make short work of entire armies and fleets of ships, alone she is just as vulnerable as any normal human being, especially one with no other superpowers or special abilities besides invulnerability to fire. The moment she decides to land Drogon and tries to remove the spear from his side, she is extremely vulnerable and Jaime tries to take advantage of that by charging with a spear in her direction.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Inverted. Daenerys has the means and the manpower, but she doesn't have a plan and it's losing her the war. She wants to head for the Red Keep and roast her enemies alive, but that will make her yet another "feared" queen. She turns to Jon for advice, who tells her that she has to do something different, lest she'd lose everything she hopes to accomplish.
  • Gone Horribly Right: It's said that "dragons are fire made flesh" and this is proven true in this episode, as Drogon's fire is hot enough to carbonize soldiers in full plate and reduce them to ashFrom the Books .
  • Got Volunteered:
    • King Jon and Ser Davos are more or less press-ganged by the Dragon Queen to serve as her advisors even if they aren't officially allies. Dany banks on the fact that regardless of issues between her and Jon, both are aware that there's no way he's going to turn to Cersei.
    • Bronn is drafted into serving as enforcer for House Lannister to raid the smallfolk of the Reach, and then drafted to serve as artillery-man by Jaime, neither being his designated role or skill of competence, which he nonetheless does carry out as well as he can.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: When Arya tries to enter Winterfell, she has to deal with two stubborn guards who don't believe she is who she claims to be. When she finally convinces them to check with Sansa, the two end up bickering with each other about who has to watch her, which allows Arya to slip away. Arya invokes this when Sansa confronts her about running from them — she didn't have to run, they were just that terrible.
  • Handicapped Badass: Compared to his battle with the Dornishman in Season 5 where he won by luck, Jaime is now fully able to fight with his left hand and win.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Bronn can't help but laugh when he hears Dickon's phallic name out loud.
  • Held Gaze: Happens during the connection scene between Jon and Dany in the cave.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: As is common for the series now, on account of the need for Marquee Alter Ego, none of the named characters in the Lannister side wear helmets, although infantryman do and archers wear some headgear. The Dothraki likewise battle without helmets or armour, as does Daenerys who rides in her ceremonial queenly robes.From the Books 
  • History Repeats:
    • The source material, The World of Ice & Fire and even the History and Lore DVD extra materials (as early as Season 1) tell the story of how Aegon Targaryen's Conquest involved House Lannister (of the Westerlands) and House Gardener (of the Reach) getting burnt to a crisp in the Field of Fire. Now, Jaime Lannister and Randyll Tarly (now the de facto strongest magnate of the Reach) have their armies face Daenerys, Drogon, and the Dothraki — with near-predictably similar results. Having said that, the Field of Fire was notable as the only occasion in which all three Targaryen dragons (Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar) were ever deployed at once. Daenerys manages to one-up her ancestor by only using Drogon.
    • The scorpion ballista has been known to down dragons effectively. Bronn, an inexperienced user, almost manages to down Daenerys and Drogon — in almost the same fashion as how Queen Rhaenys and Meraxes fell in the First Dornish War.
    • Jaime Lannister attempts regicide to save more people from dying, with King Aerys's daughter, no less.
    • In this very same episode that harkens back the Field of Fire, Jon is faced with the hard option of submitting to Targaryen rule and ending the Northern independence movement. This was the same choice that befell his Stark ancestor Torrhen Stark, when he submitted to his (yet-to-be-known) Targaryen ancestor Aegon I after witnessing the Field of Fire.
    • Back at the start of Season 5, Mance Rayder (the last King-Beyond-the-Wall) was offered a chance to bend the knee to king-presumptive Stannis Baratheon — and be allowed to join the seven kingdoms peacefully. Jon then asked him if his pride was so important as to stop him doing so. Once again, a "Northern" king is told by a fire-associated "Southern" king to bend the knee — only this time, it is Jon that is being told to submit, and once again the matter of pride is brought up. This entire conversation (about Jon's Northern honor and Daenerys's royal command) is happening in torch-light, inside a dark cave. Way back in Season 1, a similar conversation about honor, The Needs of the Many and Protective Tropes happened between Varys and Ned Stark (then chained at the black cells of the Red Keep), when the former offered the latter the (ultimately botched) chance at life by bowing to the Lannisters:
      Ned: You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honor for a few years of... Of what? ... I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago.
      Varys: And what of your daughter's life, my lord? Is that a precious thing to you?
  • Hollywood Tactics:
    • Averted when Randyll Tarly mentions he wants his troops across the water obstacle as soon as possible to keep the front and rear within supporting distance of each other. As any professional soldier or tactics buff can tell you, a bridgehead operation is indeed one of the most complex and dangerous there is due to the danger of defeat in detail.
    • Averted in that the Lannisters face a realistic Morton's Fork against the combined force of a dragon and Dothraki. Air power is best employed against concentrated enemy ground troops; it's wasted against dispersed ones. Light cavalry like the Dothraki, on the other hand, is very good against dispersed or broken infantry, which Drogon creates by burning the Lannister lines and scattering their troops.
    • Any Total War fan or professional historian will tell you that charging an intact infantry formation head-on with light cavalry is generally a very bad ideanote , but in this case it's actually the Lannisters' thin red line that is Hollywood Tactics because until the advent of firearms, battlefield formations always relied on their depth to keep cohesion and repel cavalry, and even with muskets infantry would form denser squares when facing cavalry. Deployed as they were, the Lannisters would probably have realistically crumbled quite quickly in the face of that many light cavalry even without Drogon's assistance. Indeed, the Dothraki are shown to overwhelm their lines even when charging into intact formations, simply by the weight of their numbers. In fairness, the Lannister-Tarly forces had very little time to get into formation, especially considering they were not expecting a battle. They also had to extend their line to anchor the flank to the water obstacle, which they are shown doing. All in all, their formation was about as effective as they could make it in the circumstances. Even so, there are several shots of pikemen and shield-bearers pivoting to try and prevent the Dothraki from flanking them; things don't completely go to pot until Drogon begins targeting the supply train (which is right behind the lines, since they're protecting it), throwing most of the army into a well-founded panic (Dothraki on one side, dragonfire on the other).
    • Daenerys also makes several poor strategic decisions as a result of Hollywood Tactics:
      • Drogon's entrance into the battle surging forward past the charging Dothraki was visually magnificent, but resulted in the initial firebomb attack only punching a single, narrow hole in the Lannister shield wall. Had Dany approached from the side, she could've rolled up the entire line, completely scattering the formation and leaving the Dothraki to simply clean up. (On her second pass, Dany does indeed enfilade the Lannister line, but she only targets the wagons; by that point the Dothraki are within a few yards of the Lannister army, putting them at risk of friendly fire.)
      • After Bronn narrowly misses Drogon with the Scorpion, Dany rightfully makes it her top priority to destroy the weapon, but chooses to attack it head-on, which allows Bronn to line up the perfect shot to injure Drogon. Given the immense size of the weapon, had Dany taken a more evasive path, Bronn would have had an extremely difficult time tracking them and aiming the weapon.
    • The Dothraki cavalry charge takes place over a very long distance and is basically unimpeded by the dragon's flames, which hints at Automaton Horses that don't become vulnerable when they run low on energy and are neither afraid of fire nor vulnerable to things like stepping on sparks. Meanwhile, many Lannister horses are panicked by the flames when it's dramatically appropriate.
    • Forget about stragglers, the people who really need a flogging are the ones in charge of the Lannister army's reconnaissance for allowing an entire Dothraki horde to ride over the horizon without warning. Not only missed an entire enemy army until it is almost on top of their own troops, they missed the transport from Dragonstone, landing on the mainland, and assembly+concentration before movement, each of which any half-decent army would have observed and reported. Especially considering that they already know that Dany and her khalasar are on Dragonstone and presumably planning to land on the mainland, they should have had scouts watching her at all hours. Made even worse by the fact that in earlier episodes the Lannisters seemed to have near perfect knowledge of the location, movements and intentions of Dany's forces, far more than could be reasonably expected.
    • Because The Main Characters Do Everything, it falls entirely to Bronn to get the Scorpion into action, rather than the full-time crew of elite artillerymen any competent military organizer would've had rushing to their post the moment battle was imminent, seeing as the Lannisters had the foresight to cart it all the way to the Reach and back for just such an event. Drogon should've been under fire from the moment he was first in range.
  • Hope Spot: Everything went wrong for Jaime in this episode, but he actually gets not just one but two of these.
    • Bronn manages to hit Drogon with the scorpion, sending him into a tailspin that looks like it's going to end in a crash that might well kill him and Daenerys both - and then the dragon manages regain control of his flight long enough to torch the scorpion and make a controlled landing.
    • However, Drogon's injury forces him to land, and for one moment, it looks as though Jaime is about to take down Daenerys in his charge, as Dany stands there and watches... until Drogon sticks his head in the way, maw open and throat lighting up with a gout of flame ready to be launched. Bronn tackles him into the river just in the nick of time.
  • Horse Archer: We see Dothraki doing this, with a few archers jumping up and standing on their mounts to shoot, while at full gallop.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Somehow the Iron Bank supports a corrupt regime that has not paid its debts to them, that doesn't have the resources to do so, and which openly gloats that it will pay its debts by robbing the fortunes of its neighbors note . So much for sniping at Ser Davos the smuggler about them not rewarding theft.
    • Jaime Lannister tells Dickon who feels guilt about betraying his former supporters that he shouldn't feel guilty about Just Following Orders, when he felt guilty about serving the Mad King, and has previously mocked the concept of oaths and obligations.
    • Tyrion looks very shocked and saddened when he sees the Lannister soldiers burning alive... but what did he do again at the Battle of Blackwater? With wildfire no less? It comes off as a bit of Selective Obliviousness or Moral Myopia. Admittedly, he seemed fairly horrified by the results of his strategy during the the Battle of Blackwater as well.
    • Missandei, of all people. She claims that all the Essosi people who have come with Dany have chosen her as their queen and can leave at any time. This is not a luxury afforded to the Westerosi people, who Daenerys intends to rule as her birthright, regardless if the people there choose her or not.
    • Daenerys upon finding out that the threat of the White Walkers could very well be much more real than she thought, she asks Jon which is truly more important to him: his pride, or survival... while also demanding that he kneel to her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A Dothraki warrior pursues Bronn on foot into a wagon, but finds himself staring at the business end of a ballista designed to kill dragons before Bronn fires it.
  • Informed Flaw: Despite being a fair depiction of him, the Stark sisters claim that Ned's statue doesn't look like him.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Bronn jokes that Jaime's sour mood might come from Olenna Tyrell getting a few barbs against Jaime before she died. Unbeknownst to him, Olenna just revealed to Jaime that she murdered Joffrey, which led to the death of Tywin, exile of Tyrion, and Cersei's slow descent to madness.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: As the Dothraki are charging down the hill towards the Lannister line, Jaime reassures Bronn they can hold them off. Literally right after those words leave his mouth, we hear Drogon roar.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Bran lets it slip that he knows Arya intended to go ahead at King's Landing and assassinate Cersei — which visibly disturbs Sansa and Arya.
    • On a wider scale, it's been a little over six years since Arya's been home to Winterfell, and in that time it was sacked and occupied by the Ironborn, burnt down, and then repaired and occupied by the Boltons before being retaken by Jon and Sansa after the Battle of the Bastards. Naturally, name-dropping Ser Rodrick Cassel (beheaded by Theon) and Maester Luwin (mercy killed by Osha after a mortal wounding while aiding in the escape of Bran and Rickon from Winterfell) to the new guards won't get her very far and she is informed that there is no Ser Rodrick there anymore and that the new Maester's name is Wolkan.
  • Interrupted Catchphrase: Brienne does it to herself, while she and Podrick watch a beautiful scene with three of the Stark children together again. Podrick says she kept her vow to Catelyn Stark of saving the Stark daughters but Brienne brushes it off:
    Pod: You're too hard on yourself, my lady.
    Brienne: I'm not a... [Beat]... thank you, Podrick.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: When Missandei's shows uncharacteristic concern for Grey Worm's safe return, Dany puts two and two together and asks what happened between them. "Many things," says Missandei. Dany stops her and repeats that incredulously, then both smile at the obvious subtext.
  • Irony: Arya, who is probably the best impersonator in Westeros by this point, is accused of badly impersonating herself.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Arya's duel with Brienne features her inviting an offensive via smirks or holding Needle behind her back, and then dodging Brienne's attacks so as to strike back. It irritates Brienne enough for her to kick Arya to the ground in frustration, but that's when the duel really picks up.
  • Kick the Dog: One Dothraki tells Tyrion that the Lannister army can't fight as the men who served his family are being picked off by Dothraki. Generally speaking, one does not factor in the assistance of flying, fire-breathing monsters into discussions about individual warrior strength...
  • Kill It with Fire: Dany makes liberal use of dragon fire to burn down the Lannister army.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • As Pod is training with Brienne, she keeps knocking him down then explaining what he did wrong. On the last one, Arya interjects to tell him he should never pick a fight with someone like her to begin with.
    • Even before Dany's counter-attack fully commences, Bronn sees the writing the wall that they are going to fight a losing battle and advises Jaime that he needs to retreat from the battle.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Randyll and Dickon Tarly are both this. Dickon is of the sympathetic guilty-but-Just Following Orders type, while Randyll — with little remorse or feedback — consents to depriving the people of his own region their winter produce solely to serve the war of a foreign occupying power, willingly overseeing the theft of the treasury and rations of the very region he's supposed to protect and defend.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Brienne and Arya do this in succession. Arya is clearly toying with Brienne at first, since Brienne is holding back under the assumption that Arya can't handle herself. When it's clear she can, Brienne stops holding back and gives Arya a solid kick to the chest. Arya quickly gets up and draws her new dagger, also getting serious. The fight ends with Arya holding a dagger to Brienne's throat while Brienne has her sword to Arya's.
    • Dany, after being a Butt-Monkey for three episodes straight, gives the Lannisters and Westeros a demonstration of just who exactly they have been messing with by unleashing the Dothraki and her largest and strongest dragon on them.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: If there was ever proof needed of how different Randyll was from his son, this episode gives it. Sam is more or less one of the most pivotal men in Westeros, gaining vital intelligence and unearthing lost knowledge to save the world while learning to heal the afflicted, while Randyll is a corrupt feudal lord serving an evil regime who starves his own subjects.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: When Arya arrives at Winterfell, she asks for Ser Rodrik Cassel or Maester Luwin to corroborate her identity, not knowing both were killed during the Ironborn occupation five years ago.
  • Loss of Identity: Bran, not that he lost it, but he gained so many memories by becoming the Three-Eyed Raven that he is indifferent to his former self.
  • Made of Iron: Even with a bolt deep in the wing, Drogon can still land himself and Daenerys safely.
  • Man on Fire: A good chunk of the Lannister army, thanks to Drogon. The ones who are blasted into ash may have gotten off lucky. There's also several shots of men screaming as the fire melts their armour to their bodies, trying to get to the lake to put themselves out.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Jaime, Bronn, the Tarlys, and the entire Lannister army get two in quick succession; the first when they realize the Dothraki are bearing down upon them, and the much larger second when Drogon makes his entrance.
  • Missed Him by That Much:
    • Arya comes home to Winterfell after hearing her brother Jon has become the King in the North but Arya and Jon's paths just miss each other as Arya arrives just after Jon has left for Dragonstone. Sansa goes on to tell Arya that she hopes Jon comes back soon, saying how happy he'll be to see Arya again.
      Sansa: I hope [Jon] comes back soon. I remember how happy he was to see me. When he sees you, his heart will probably stop.
    • The gold that the Lannister-Tarly army robbed from Highgarden manages to reach King's Landing just before they are massacred by Daenerys's forces. However, Dany's forces manage to destroy and/or pillage most of the food carts before they can reach the capital.
  • Mook Horror Show: The entire massacre of the Lannisters by the Dothraki and Daenerys is played this way. Unlike other battles where dragons are used which are treated as a moment of triumph, here it's very much cast in a somber and tragic light since we are seeing the devastation wrought from the Lannisters' point of view, all of them shaking and panicking at having to fight a dragon and a barbarian horde.
    • Even the music once Drogon attacks is not the usual heroic battle fare that accompanies battles in Go T, its more akin to horror movie music, showing that the battle isn't as glorious as it looks.
  • Money Is Not Power: Bronn clearly believes so. He is paid a satchel in gold when what he really wants is a castle. He isn't convinced by Jaime's handwaves that castles don't mean anything, since the latter is only considering the interests of the Iron Throne under siege in a capital, while Bronn is taking his long-term interests into consideration (which he told Jaime in Dorne — a castle with peasants, children, sigil, and the works).
  • Morton's Fork: The battleplan of the Targaryen army. The only hope the Lannister army has against the massed Dothraki cavalry is staying in formation, but that makes them a closely packed and easy target for Drogon and Daenerys to destroy with dragon fire from the air. If they break and scatter to minimize the damage from Drogon, they'll get cut to ribbons by the charging Dothraki screamers. Decisions, decisions.
  • Mundane Solution: The Dothraki charging Bronn wants to get him off his horse. So he cuts off the horse's leg.
  • Mutual Kill: The final stroke of Arya and Brienne's match has Brienne with her sword to Arya's neck but Arya ready to plunge her dagger into Brienne. They aren't actually fighting to kill, of course, but it helps to show how dangerous Arya is if she can tie with an experienced knight. The subtext is also that if Arya can take Brienne, who once bested the Hound, then Arya can best the Hound, too.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tyrion watches aghast as his Queen wreaks fire and devastation on his own family's soldiers, commanded by the brother that he loves and admires.
  • My God, You Are Serious: When Arya and Sansa first reunite, Arya mentions her list of people she intends to kill. Sansa laughs it off as a joke and Arya just rolls with it, but Bran ends up confirming that Arya was serious about the list, which visibly disturbs Sansa. She gets even more perturbed when she sees her and Brienne sparring and realizes that Arya has the skill set of a killer.
  • Mythology Gag: In the books, Bronn is challenged to a duel by Ser Balman and won by intentionally killing Balman's horse and then finished off his helpless enemy afterward. Here, Bronn and a Dothraki warrior fight each other, and it's the Dothraki who tries to take out Bronn by killing Bronn's horse first, and then attempts to finish off Bronn afterwards. Unlike the unfortunate Balman, Bronn was lucky enough to not get pinned beneath a dying horse, which definitely helped.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Jaime comes very close to killing Daenerys, but Drogon notices just before he can attack and foils the attempt.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While Daenerys's strike against the Lannister foot is extremely satisfying, it should be pointed out that much of the cargo they were protecting was the harvest from the Reach, the breadbasket of Westeros. Winter is coming; there may not be another harvest before the Series Finale. Daenerys just took lots of the continent's food and set it on fire.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Dickon didn't realize that dead bodies void their bowels, the smell being one of the most vivid things he remembers from the sacking of Highgarden. Bronn cheerfully barbs the highborn over it, an d notes he learned that lesson when he was five.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Arya does this when the guard goes to cuff her, and later during her She-Fu with Brienne.
  • No-Sell: Jaime has his archers attempt to shoot Dany while she's riding Drogon, but Drogon curves at the last second and the arrows can't penetrate his thick scales. Qyburn's scorpion manages to pierce his hide, but the wound isn't deep enough to keep Drogon from making a controlled landing, and Bronn can't reload fast enough to capitalize on his chance before Drogon roasts the scorpion.
  • Not So Different: Jon and Dany's plot in the cave further drives them closer to each other, starting to realize with their interactions that they are more alike in world view and goals than they initially thought, with Dany echoing Jon's own words to Mance Rayder. Dany is still insistent in Jon bending the knee, though.
  • Not So Stoic: Arya tries to maintain her sociopathic detachment but can't keep it up in the face of the emotions roused by her return to Winterfell. Notice her smile over the prospect of reuniting with Jon, her genuine emotion in hugging Bran as opposed to the distant way she hugs her sister, and the enjoyment she gets out of sparring with Brienne.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Littlefinger gets a relatively quiet one when he hears Bran quote "chaos is a ladder", something he's only ever said to Varys and Tywin, and neither of whom Bran has ever met. He keeps up a good poker face but the fact he stops talking ironically speaks volumes.
    • Theon when he sees Jon standing on the beach at Dragonstone.
    • Jaime, Bronn and Dickon when they hear a rumble in the distance and realise it's not thunder...it's incoming enemy cavalry.
    • Jaime and Bronn when they hear a strange sound and realize that it's a dragon's roar.
    • The Dothraki who was chasing Bronn throughout the battlefield has just enough time to realize how fucked he was before Bronn skewers him with a scorpion bolt at point blank range.
    • The moment the scorpion bolt hits Drogon and begins plummeting down, Daenerys is clearly hanging on for dear life and trying to steer the dragon before it crash-lands. Tyrion also reacts this way after Drogon gets hit with the bolt, getting treated to the spectacle of a young woman in free-fall several hundred feet in the air. Luckily, Drogon manages to use his strength to slow his fall, coming up just above the ground and right in front of the ballista.
    • Bronn when he successfully spears Drogon, only for the not-dead and now very angry dragon to land right in front of him.
    • Tyrion gets another one when he realizes Jaime is preparing to charge Drogon alone in an attempt to kill Dany while she's busy yanking out the spear from Drogon's shoulder.
    • Jaime gets an even bigger one when he realizes he is looking Drogon right in the face, seconds away from being roasted.
  • The Oner: At one point the camera stays on Bronn for over half a minute as he struggles through the aftermath of one of Drogon's attacks; running past burning wreckage, dodging screaming soldiers who've been set alight, finding a weapon left in someone's stomach, and ducking as Drogon comes back for another shot at burning them all to cinders.
  • Only Sane Man: Sansa among the Stark children, as she is the only surviving one who hasn't undergone mystical or otherworldly circumstances. Jon is Back from the Dead and has faced an undead horde; Bran is now the Three-Eyed Raven and his old identity is practically dead; and Arya has become a ruthless assassin who can change faces. When faced with the resulting changes in Arya and Bran, Sansa is unsettled.
  • Plot Armor:
    • Not that the Dothraki didn't suffer any casualties, but it beggars belief that Drogon's dragonfire did not catch any Dothraki during their melee with the Lannister-Tarly army. Somewhat justified in Dany only unleashing fire at the end of a dive for the most accuracy, and only targeting clusters of Lannister-Tarly troops not directly engaged with her Dothraki.
    • On the other side, it's pretty bizarre to see none of the four named characters in the Lannister army be explicitly killed, even the minor Dickon. (True, Jaime's in a tricky spot, and Lord Randyll just kind of disappeared, but their fates are not sealed.)
  • Preasskicking One Liner: Daenerys, true to form, utters the command the moment Drogon makes his entrance:
    Dracarys!
  • Precision F-Strike: Bronn delivers a beautiful one before piercing Drogon's scales with a ballista bolt.
    Bronn: Come on, you fucker.
  • Promotion to Parent: Arya notes this when she asks Sansa if she is to address her as Lady Stark, and the latter says yes. As the eldest surving child of Ned and Catelyn Stark, Sansa is more or less the head of the household, Lady of Winterfell, second-in-command to King Jon, and Arya and Bran's guardian. Up until Bran and Arya returned home, she was the Stark at Winterfell as the proverb goes (There must always be a Stark at Winterfell).
  • Prophecy Twist: Way back in Season 1, Daenerys's husband Khal Drogo made a vow to "take [his] khalasar west" and "kill the men in iron suits". While this obviously never happened, it's surprisingly apropos that the dragon named after him, Drogon, is fighting side-by-side with the unified Dothraki horde to destroy the Lannister-Tarly army, fulfilling Drogo's promise in spirit.
  • Protectorate: Brienne's duty from the late Catelyn gets its culmination here: with Arya and Sansa finally together and safe. She notes, however, that she had nearly no involvement in it, which is why she takes it upon herself to become Arya's sparring-mate (of sorts), in exchange.
    Pod: Catelyn Stark would be proud. You've kept your vow.
    Brienne: I did next to nothing.
  • Put on a Bus: Now that Bran is safe with friends and family, Meera departs to help her father.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: With Arya's fortuitous arrival at Winterfell (just immediately after Bran comes home), there are now three (publicly true-born) Starks present in Winterfell — which visibly raises morale. Only one of their surviving siblings isn't home, Jon, who left on a mission to Dragonstone just before Bran and Arya's arrival but is expected to return.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Dany hits it in this episode. She's tried to be nice, and all it's done is cost her resources that she really can't afford to lose. However, she does compromise with her anger: rather than use the dragons on King's Landing, she uses one on the Lannister army that just raided the Reach.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Arya has been missing for years, and anyone claiming to be her could be an opportunist wanting to claim Winterfell for their own. While the guards are stupid in how they handle her claims, they have a good reason to be skeptical.
    • The practice fight between Brienne and Arya calls back to the fight between Oberyn and the Mountain; the lighter, faster fighter may be able to run rings around the stronger, slower fighter, but a single blow will send them sprawling.
    • Drogon is big, incredibly dangerous, and powerful, but not as maneuverable as Viserion or Rhaegal; when Dany needs to attack from the same direction twice, they have to make a long, looping turn to line the correct angle up again.
    • Daenerys is still a physically unimposing girl and as such very vulnerable when she dismounts Drogon — Jaime immediately tries to capitalize on this.
    • It might look like you can sneak up on a person who is preoccupied by something else. Getting the drop on somebody when in full armor and at a full gallop in the middle of a swamp is next to impossible.
    • Full plate armor is very heavy and all but impossible to swim in, as Jaime finds out when a Diving Save tackles him into the river. Being short one hand isn't doing him any favors, either From the Books .
    • With Qyburn's scorpion ballista being (relatively) newly-introduced and Bronn unlikely to have received practice/training in it, it was highly unlikely for him to have made a true killing blow against Drogon. The fact that he hit him at all, as it were, is lucky enough. The logistical problems also come into play: Bronn is firing the weapon without a support crew for loading and such; and Drogon is a living dragon with a thick hide and strong bones and muscles, not a desiccated skeleton. Though Drogon is injured, he is still able to land safely and can counterattack rather more quickly than poor Bronn.From the Books 
    • While the Lannisters were Crazy-Prepared enough to have a scorpion ready despite thinking the dragons were still in Dragonstone, they didn't practice enough (because dragon attack drill is a bit hard to simulate) to use it right away. Some are even trying to hold a shield wall against dragonfire.
    • Conversely, even if the scorpion bolt was not fatal, it still has enough momentum to disable Drogon's wing, which downed him and made him more of a vulnerable target.
  • Reaction Shot: When Arya points out to Brienne that she swore to serve both Stark daughters, we cut to Sansa's reaction to overhearing this, and Littlefinger giving her a Meaningful Look as he notes her reaction. As they spar, we have Pod showing amusement at Brienne getting bested by a little girl, while Sansa and Littlefinger show incredulity and concern over just how much Arya has Took a Level in Badass.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Sansa once again shows her kindness and reason as the Lady of Winterfell, simply remarking to her guards that she knows where Arya would be (and not punishing them for either letting her past or blocking her in the first place). A guard who behaved like that under Tywin Lannister, Roose Bolton, or Gregor Clegane (as we saw throughout the series) would have been dead/punished severely by that point.
    • For all his flaws, Jaime remains a decent field commander, preferring "fair warning" to prisoners of war to march quickly before "flogging" them (as Randyll Tarly proposed). He also approves that Dickon Tarly feels conflicted about their invasion of Highgarden — pointing that they only did what must be done in battle and not glory over it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Bran manages to stop Littlefinger from his smooth-talking and claiming he is loyal to House Stark (and Catelyn's memory) by throwing his Nietzsche Wannabe maxim at him:
      Bran: Chaos is a ladder.
    • The backfiring of Tyrion's strategies for the past three episodes are beginning to strain Daenerys's trust in him:
      Tyrion: We have a plan! It's still the right plan...
      Daenerys: The right plan?! Your strategy has lost us Dorne, the Iron Islands and the Reach!
      Tyrion: If I have underestimated our enemies...
      Daenerys: Our enemies?! Your family, you mean! Perhaps you don't want to hurt them after all.
    • Jon, however, immediately gives one to her that is part this, part What the Hell, Hero?, and part Dare to Be Badass, which inspires her to Take a Third Option, as above:
      Jon: I never thought that dragons would exist again. No one did. The people who've followed you know that you made something impossible happen. Maybe that helps them believe that you can make other impossible things happen. Build a world that's different from the shit one they've always known. But if you use them to melt castles and burn cities, you're not different. You're just more of the same.
  • The Remnant: It's likely that the ship (and men) that brought Theon back to Dragonstone are all that remains of the Ironborn fleet under Yara Greyjoy's command.
  • Running Gag:
    • Arya joins her siblings in summarizing everything that's happened to her so far as "It's a Long Story."
    • Bronn is once again forced to do something on his own because Jaime can't do it with one hand.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Blackwater Rush on the outskirts of King's Landing was a lush meadow until Drogon and the Dothraki show up, after which it becomes a desiccated, burnt-out wasteland that wouldn't look out of place in a 20th Century warzone.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Dothraki aren't called screamers for nothing. They charge into battle screaming at the top of their lungs and menacingly brandishing their weapons.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the Lannister-Tarly army are suffering badly from the Dothraki and Drogon, several of the soldiers can be seen fleeing from the battle.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Jaime charges against a grounded Daenerys to try to end the war by killing her, fully knowing that Drogon will burn him alive afterwards. Drogon sees him coming and moves between them, ready to roast Jaime. Fortunately, Bronn pushes him aside just before the dragon sets them ablaze.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Bronn still finds himself stuck as bodyguard, servant, and enforcer of the Lannisters when what he wants is to be made a Lord with land and titles of his own. Jaime gloats that Lannisters pay their debts... eventually, which merely kicks the can down the field to an uncertain future before he can ever get his long-desired Rank Up that he was promised in Season 4 by Cersei for leaving Tyrion to die.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Arya's casual wear (as seen in her sparring with Brienne) bears similar cut and fitting to the casual, non-armored outfit Ned Stark wore as Hand of the King in Season 1. Her hair-bun is also tied in the same fashion as her grandfather Rickard, Ned (during the Rebellion), and Jon — clearly showing she's come home as a Stark warrior.
  • Ship Sinking: Bran makes it clear that while he remembers being Bran, he is much more than that now. Meera says he died in that cave and sadly leaves to be with her family.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Meera's tone with Bran suggests she feels that the bond between them should be closer than simply saying thanks for the help.
    • Davos teases Jon for checking out Daenerys, while Missandei smirks at them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cave art made by the Children of the Forest (which Jon and Daenerys conveniently discover in the dragonglass deposits under Dragonstone) is visibly patterned out of the San rock paintings of South Africa and the Chumash rock art of Santa Barbara, California.
    • Tight closeups of Bronn aiming the scorpion launcher intercut with tight closeups of Drogon's toothy grin rushing at him gives impressions of Jaws and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
    • Jaime's charge at Drogon and Daenerys evokes imagery of the legend of St. George and the dragon. The difference is that rather than saving the princess, he wants to kill her, and the dragon is the one saving the princess.
  • Skewed Priorities: Even with the very definite knowledge that Jon is not mistaken or lying about the White Walkers, Dany only agrees to help him fight them if he bends the knee, even though his entire point during that speech was that their petty conflicts matter nothing when compared to the threat the White Walkers pose.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: While they're on the same side, Bronn's frustration at dealing with privileged nobles is starting to show. Particularly when Dickon, despite a lifetime of military training, is appalled to discover that people soil themselves when killed.
    "What, they didn't teach you that in fancy-lad school? I learned that when I was five."
  • Smug Snake: The Dothraki rider escorting Tyrion while they watch the battle from afar dismisses the Lannister soldiers as they are being burned alive and cut down, saying "Your people can't fight." He seems oblivious to the fact that Drogon's presence is scattering their lines, making it easy for the riders to break through their formation. Of course, since the Dothraki consider Dany their Khaleesi and greatest rider, it might be that they don't recognize that distinction, merely mocking the Lannisters for not being able to resist a dragon.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When the guards report to Sansa that Arya slipped away from them, their mention of Ser Rodrik and Maester Luwin (who Arya asked for) convinces Sansa that Arya is the real deal, not an imposter as they believe. The two were beloved members of the Household from the time before Ned left for King's Landing, and as Sansa notes later to Arya, there's nobody in the North alive now who remembers those days, other than them.
  • So Proud of You: Tycho Nestoris is clearly so impressed by Cersei's ploy to repay the Iron Bank that he even suggests she's beginning to surpass her father Tywin on this regard.
    Tycho Nestoris: I must say I don't think the Iron Bank has ever had a debt of this magnitude repaid in a single installment. I always considered your father a very effective and efficient man but you appear to be redefining those terms entirely.
  • Spanner in the Works: Littlefinger's greatest skill is his ability to manipulate those around him. Arya, however, can see through bullshit as well as Jon can, and Bran's powers make him more unpredictable. Littlefinger is alarmed when Bran recites one of Petyr's speeches to him, and he is clearly cautious of Arya after seeing her fight.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Arya to Those Two Guys who where supposed to be guarding the gate.
  • Straight for the Commander: Jaime tries to kill Dany while she is attempting to remove the bolt from Drogon's wing.
  • Take a Third Option: Daenerys, frustrated by her loss of Dorne, Highgarden and her Ironborn allies, is already raring to unleash all of her dragons, in clear violation of Tyrion's advice — his last two attempts at strategy have been miserable failures, after all. Jon argues, however, to modulate her choice of action. This leads to her merely bringing Drogon and the Dothraki (a clear mishmash of Tyrion's initial tactics) to bear down on the Lannister-Tarly army — to great effect. It's fair to point out that even when the attack is brutal, she involved neither civilians nor castles as Jon told her to avoid.
  • Take Up My Sword: After Littlefinger gifts Bran with the Valyrian steel dagger (the same one supposed to have killed him in Season 1), the latter immediately passes it on to Arya, claiming "it is wasted on a cripple". Based on how Arya performs with it during her sparring with Brienne, it seems a good idea.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Jon's "reunion" with Theon is a rather tense one, with Jon telling him the only reason he won't kill him on the spot is because of his role in helping Sansa escape from the Boltons.
    • Bronn clearly doesn't like working for Jaime and especially Cersei. He openly questions the idea of there being any future for Westeros under her, is disappointed that Jaime keeps stiffing him of his true worth, and when Jaime tells him to go to the scorpion ballista after Drogon attacks, Bronn tells him to go to it before Jaime points out that he only has one hand. Nonetheless, he risks his life fighting for Jaime, even saving him from certain death, since no one else is likely to pay him.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Randyll Tarly insists on forcing the stragglers of the rear guard to scamper up because they won't be able to defend the front if they're attacked. Guess who Daenerys shows up to attack? Yes, the rear.
    • Jaime insists on staying with the Lannister forces when Bronn tells him to escape to King's Landing, saying they "can hold [the Dothraki] off". Cue Drogon roaring from on high.
  • That Man Is Dead: Brandon Stark is more the Three Eyed Raven now, with his original identity being a distant memory buried in all the new ones he's gained. When Meera says that Bran died in that cave, he doesn't deny it.
  • Thicker Than Water: Dany accuses Tyrion of this, insinuating that his recent failures come from a desire not to see his family get hurt. Though she's clearly just lashing out, it is shown that Tyrion still has a fondness for Jaime, hoping that he'll run from a losing battle — visibly dismayed when he engages in a suicidal charge against Dany and Drogon after the latter has been grounded by the scorpion ballista.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Jaime, Bronn, and the entire army get this when they see Dothraki charging down the hill. But then Drogon arrives.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: While Arya misses Jon, she does manage to reunite with Bran and Sansa. In the previous encounters where she attempted to reunite with family, she would always arrive too late.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When Tyrion sees Jaime from a distance, in the area of Dany who is currently trying to remove the bolt from Drogon, he tells Jaime he better flee. But when he sees Jaime charging towards Dany with a spear despite Drogon being next to her, he calls Jaime an idiot. Not only did he fail to kill Dany, but he would have been burned to death if Bronn hadn't saved him.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: By the time Tyrion and by extension Dany get word of Highgarden's fall and the Unsullied being stranded, the Lannister-Tarly alliance have had enough time to raid Highgarden of supplies and begin shaking down the neighboring farms for their harvests. In the time it takes the wagons with the gold to reach King's Landing, Dany has moved her Dotrakhi to the mainland in the Reach to intercept the rearguard. While Dany could certainly fly Drogon that far at that speed, and Tyrion and his guard could likely sail there with almost equal haste in a smaller ship, loading the main Dotrakhi force into transport ships, taking them to the mainland, then unloading them again (and all the inherent logistical problems that entails) would take much longer. Admittedly, they were preparing to lay siege to King's Landing since the start of the season, so some of the preparations might have been out of the way, but their ability to move that many men totally unseen in that amount of time is hard to believe.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Despite her happiness at seeing Arya back, Sansa is still understandably unsettled by Arya's battle prowess and (as Bran revealed) her prodigious experience at killing people.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Brienne clearly thinks Arya isn't in her league when asking for a sparring session, but she quickly realizes that Arya is plenty skilled after a few quick moves.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Daenerys is slowly thawing to the idea that she does need to ally with Jon Snow and prioritize the war with the Night King — but is still pretty much insistent that Jon bend the knee to her first. Jon remains uncomfortable the idea, explaining the North won't accept a southern ruler while Daenerys asks him if pride is more important than survival.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Jaime and Bronn both feel this way about each other:
    • Jaime complains about Bronn asking for his specific reward (lordship of a castle) instead of being content with the gold he's already being paid, and his long ago Rank Up to Ser Bronn of the Blackwater which was obviously better than his terrible origins. He dismisses Bronn's complaints, noting that Bronn could never hope to hold any castle they gave him so long as the war is still on. Jaime does promise to honor their agreement once the war is over, but even with their recent string of victories, Bronn seems doubtful that Cersei can pull it off, and with the whole "Lannisters pay their debts eventually" giving no definite timeline on how long he'll be stuck as Jaime's PA.
    • Bronn believes, not unjustly, that his service to House Lannister, which included being Jaime's bodyguard during their excursion into Dorne, overseer of the siege of Riverrun, and now enforcer who steals grain from the farms of the Reach, extends far beyond the satchel of gold that Jaime tosses to him, and he's not being really paid his true worth. He's more or less one of the key figures in the Lannister army and yet he's being treated as mere hired help.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When Davos asks Jon what he thinks about Dany, Jon says she has a good heart to which Davos notes that Jon has been staring at her heart a lot. Davos then mutters that Missandei also has a nice heart.
  • Villainous Underdog: Jaime's actions in this episode are among his most villainous in the entire series, namely robbing the treasury of a vassal state solely to support a tyrannical despot, and this extends to tasking subordinates to rob the rations of poor farmers in the Reach, solely to feed the Lannister war machine during winter rather than innocent people who were kept out of war. Yet it can't be denied that he's a crippled, one-handed knight who uses his non-sword arm to take a spear to charge at the heroine and her giant, fire-breathing dragon.
  • Villainous Valour:
    • The Lannister-Tarly forces get plenty of chances to display this trope.
    • Both Jaime and Bronn are solidly villainous in this episode, what with robbing peasants of food and draining other people's wealth, but both of them risk their lives to fight beside their soldiers.
      • Bronn faces down and attacks a dragon, injuring him. He also saves Jaime's life from the same.
      • When they see the enemy coming, both Jaime and Randyll prepare their troops for battle and are both with the vanguard.
      • The Lannister archers have seen what the Drogon has done to their army and know he is coming for them; they stand and shoot at him anyway.
      • Dickon saves Jaime's life in the melee.
  • Villain Respect: Littlefinger gives Arya a respectful nod when she ties with Brienne.
  • War Is Glorious: Dickon Tarly tries to brush off Jaime and Bronn's questions about their invasion of Highgarden with this curt summation — however, he backs down and admits War Is Hell when it's pointed out his father isn't around to hear it.
  • War Is Hell: Dickon eventually admits that it was distasteful for him to fight his former comrades who were aligned with House Tyrell (noting that he once hunted with them), and also that he didn't know the dead shit themselves. This is immediately followed by the open-field battle between the Lannister forces and Daenerys's forces, where we get to see people burning to ash, getting their throats slit, horses' limbs lopped off, and everyone squabbling and killing at the swamp.
  • Weapon of Choice: Arya now carries two weapons with her, both of which she received from two of her brothers — her Cool Sword 'Needle' given to her by Jon and a Valyrian steel dagger she receives from Bran.
  • Weapon Twirling: Arya twirls both her sword and her dagger in this episode — her dagger when handing it to Brienne and her sword while sparring with Brienne.
  • Wham Shot: Almost all from the Lannister-Dothraki battle at the end of the episode:
    • The ululations of the Dothraki accompany their horses' coming into view from the horizon.
    • Drogon roars from above and accompanies the Dothraki into battle.
    • A literal shot, as Bronn fires the scorpion bolt and it connects with Drogon's wing.
    • The last one of the episode is Jaime sinking underwater due to his heavy armor, in clear danger of drowning.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Lord Randyll Tarly is seen marshaling the troops for the battle with the Dothraki, then vanishes from the plot as soon as they crest the rise.
  • When She Smiles: Arya smiles her happiest on returning to Winterfell, meeting Sansa and Bran, and fighting Brienne. The last time she was as happy was when Ned appointed her with dancing master Syrio Forel.
  • Worthy Opponent: Brienne and Arya clearly have mutual respect for one another's badass credentials, and it shows in their going all out (non-lethally, of course) at each other.
  • You Fool!: Tyrion mutters this twice towards Jaime when the latter decided to do a Death-or-Glory Attack on Daenerys.
    Tyrion: Flee, you idiot.
    (Jaime picks up a spear and charges Dany)
    Tyrion: You idiot. You fucking idiot....

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