Warning: The night is dark and full of spoilers!
So far, the Mother of Dragons has lost the Dornish, the Ironborn and, as of last week’s episode, Lady Olenna and House Tyrell. As you can imagine, she isn’t too thrilled about that, and this week’s episode touches on the consequences for the Lannisters’ actions.
The Lannister army is apparently leaving Highgarden, transporting an enormous amount of gold back to Cersei to pay her family’s debts with the Iron Bank. Jaime Lannister leads while Bronn follows close behind, hoping to get more compensation than he’s already been given for his participation against Highgarden. After dismissing Bronn’s request, Jaime sends Bronn to assist the Tarleys in ‘convincing farmers to hand over their crops.’
And back in the Red Keep, Cersei seems to have pleased the Iron Bank, who have never had such a large amount of money paid back in a single day. Of course, the gold is still being transported by Jaime, so the Iron Bank assures her that she has their support and loyalty when the gold does arrive. What could go wrong with transporting the entire shipment of gold the Lannisters owe across the country?
In Winterfell, Petyr Baelish speaks with Bran privately and offers him a gift: the dagger used by the mercenary who was sent to kill Bran all those years ago. Bran takes the gift, but Lord Baelish leaves when Meera interrupts them by entering the room. She has come to say her goodbyes, and as fond of her as I’ve grown, I’m glad she’s leaving, so that we won’t get to see her inevitable death if she had indeed stayed.
Meera wants to be with her family if, and when, the White Walkers breach the wall. Bran doesn’t seem to care much, and if he does, he doesn’t show it. Meera is obviously hurt, stating that her brother Hodor and others already died for Bran, and that she almost died for Bran, too. Before she leaves, Bran informs her that he isn’t the same Bran she first met. He’s different now.
And finally, after years of being away, Arya Stark returns to Winterfell! Though she has some trouble with the guards not believing who she was, she manages to get past the walls fairly easily. Sansa finds her standing before a statue of their father. Both of them mention how the statue doesn’t resemble him at all, but Sansa says that everyone who truly knew his face is dead. Arya replies simply: We’re not. They speak of the troubles they had on their journey to Winterfell, but Arya offers a piece of wisdom:
Our stories aren’t over yet.
Their reunion is a happy one, and the two embrace after not seeing one another for so long. After speaking for a bit, Sansa takes Arya to see Bran at the Heart Tree. He mentions watching Arya before Sansa explains about his visions. He asks about Arya’s list, which she had just mentioned to Sansa moments before. It seemed to be enough to convince Arya his visions were real and to make Sansa believe it just a bit more. Arya admires the dagger Bran was given, and he is quick to give it to her, stating that a cripple has no use for it anyway. Poor Bran.
At Dragonstone, Queen Daenerys and Missandei gossip like teenage girls about Missandei’s relationship with Grey Worm before Jon Snow interrupts with something he’d like to show the Queen. He takes her into a cavern in the mountains of Dragonstone, showing her the surplus of dragonglass he intends to mine.
When the two enter another part of the cave, Daenerys examines cave paintings drawn long ago. In the drawings, the children and the First Men banded together to defeat a common enemy: skeletal creatures that resemble the stories of the White Walkers that Jon told Daenerys about. He desperately needs her help, and she says he’ll have all the help he needs on one condition:
Bend the knee.
After leaving the cave, Daenerys is greeted with good news and bad news. The good: the Unsullied have taken Casterly Rock. The bad: Lady Olenna and her army are dead. The Queen is furious and very interested in storming off to the Red Keep with her dragons and burning it all to the ground. Tyrion advises against it, but she doesn’t seem to take that advice seriously until Jon pleads with her. He says the people are looking for something new, and that if she slaughters hundreds with her dragons and melts their cities, they’ll view her as just the same as the previous monarchs.
Back in Winterfell, Podrick deals with getting his ass handed to him yet again by the knight he serves, Brienne of Tarth. Arya sees them training and approaches, interested in sparring with the giantess herself. At first Brienne is hesitant until Arya mentions the promise that was made to her mother.
When the sparring begins, Arya shows off the skills she’s been learning since the beginning, and how far she’s come in her training. With her agility, Arya makes it a game of masterfully dodging Brienne’s brute strikes and landing quick pokes with her sword, named Needle. Once it seems like Arya has the upper hand on Brienne, she gets disarmed by a strong kick that Brienne lands and is pushed to the ground.
The young Stark girl quickly pushes herself up and regains her footing, rushing right back into the fight. Brienne’s slow but powerful strikes are once again more easily countered by Arya’s quick movements…until Arya’s sword is knocked out of her hand. She still manages to dodge Brienne’s strikes and quickly draws her dagger, pointing it at Brienne’s neck to end the fight. Brienne is very impressed, as are Petyr Baelish and Sansa. She’s curious who taught Arya to fight like that, to which Arya replies: no one. An obvious nod to the Many Faced God’s followers.
Theon comes to Dragonstone hoping to get the Queen’s help with saving his sister who, if you remember correctly, he abandoned to escape from his uncle two episodes ago. He reunites with Jon Snow, who explains that the only reason he hasn’t killed him on sight is because of what Theon did for Sansa. Jon also explains that the Queen isn’t there at the moment. Where is she, you might ask? The scene quickly shifts back to the Lannister army, so you might be able to guess.
Jaimie and Bronn talk to Dickon Tarley about his first battle, which was at Highgarden. As the trio socialize, they hear what they believe to be a large group approaching from the distance. As their soldiers form a line, a massive army of Dothraki storm forward ready to crush their defenses. Jaime is confident they can hold them off, until the unexpected happens.
Daenerys flies downward on her dragon, spitting fire and exterminating an entire line of defense that had been erected. The Dothraki charge through the flames, and the battle ensues. It’s clear that the Lannister army is outnumbered and outclassed, as the dragon barbecues a majority of their forces. Bronn manages to get to the secret dragon killing weapon that Cersei recently had made, and when the beast gets close enough, Bronn tries to shoot it down.
Unfortunately for him, he only slightly injured it. Daenerys and her dragon land for a moment while she pulls the spear from it’s breastbone, and it quickly destroys the weapon responsible for its injury. Jaime thinks he’s going to take advantage of the Queen and her dragon being on the ground. Rather than running, he grabs a spear and charges forward to kill her.
Her dragon doesn’t take very lightly to that, though. The dragon points it’s mouth at Jaime and spits flames. Jaime is saved, but barely, by Bronn who plunges the both of them into the lake just before the flames hit. The last thing we see is Jaime sinking to the bottom of the lake, weighed down by his armor before the episode ends.
Daenerys is furious, and it seems her vengeance for her allies is working out in her favor. Of course, what happened to the gold Jaime needed to transport? It’s probably scattered or even melted if the dragon’s flames burnt hot enough!
Tune in next week for a recap of Season 7, Episode 5!