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Here’s What These New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Images Tell Us About Episode 4 – Forbes

Credit: HBO

Daenerys and friends.

Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones marks the halfway point for Season 7.

My guess is that ‘The Spoils Of War’ will bridge the two halves of the season, moving us away from the slower set-up episodes of the past three weeks into a quickly escalating conflict between Daenerys and Cersei.

There’s no denying that the first half of this season has been largely about moving chess pieces around the board. We’ve rapidly gone from Daenerys commanding a huge force with powerful allies, to a leveling of the playing field thanks to Cersei’s devious plotting. The Tyrells have been hobbled once and for all; the Sand Snakes are all dead. Highgarden and Dorne are effectively leaderless and incapable of lending spears to the Targaryen queen, at least any time soon.

Meanwhile, Euron has proved a powerful and effective ally as the Lion and the Kraken assert their dominance over Westeros.

That may all be about to change. In the preview for episode 4 Dany says “Enough with the clever plans” and then presumably goes on to talk about how she’s going to burn her enemies in dragon fire.

‘The Spoils Of War’ has already leaked online, but I’m not going to watch the leaked version. I prefer to save it for Sunday and watch my Game of Thrones in proper HD alongside the rest of the fandom. So for now we’ll take a look at some of this week’s images and play the predictions game.

We’ll start with…

Jaime and Bronn

Credit: HBO

Jaime and Bronn

The spoils of war is a term that describes what the winner of a given conflict gains at its conclusion. So you take Highgarden, you get its wealth and its lands, which are described as the “bread basket” of Westeros. That’s an important victory in any war, but with winter coming it’s more important still.

Of course, while the episode is titled ‘The Spoils Of War’ we can reasonably assume that the war is far from over by the time it’s over. We have four more episodes (including this one) in Season 7, and while the war against Cersei may end by the end of this season, it could easily stretch into Season 8 as well.

What I do think we can gather from the above image and a couple others below is that we’ll see more battles Sunday night, after fairly abbreviated battle scenes last weekend.

Credit: HBO

Lannister troops prepare for battle.

Credit: HBO

Jaime rides across a burnt field.

Credit: HBO

Daenerys rides a dragon into battle—perhaps causing the flames in the previous picture.

Certainly the above image suggests that Dany goes to war, bringing the full power of her dragons to bear against the Lannister forces.

This would be a really big deal. Dany going to battle against the Lannisters is almost as momentous as her meeting with Jon Snow—and a great deal more dramatic.

Finally, we see an image of Jaime with a whole carriage-full of gold:

Credit: HBO

Jaime counting out his money.

Wars are won with gold, they say. Then again, how effective will gold be when three full-sized dragons are burning your armies to a crisp?

The gold is almost certainly Tyrell gold, which the Lannisters will send to the Iron Bank of Braavos, whose representative appears to still be carousing with Queen Cersei. In the preview she tells him that her first order of business is bringing the entire continent of Westeros to heel, and every soul who lives there under her boot. No one can say Cersei Lannister isn’t ambitious or fierce. What she lacks in empathy and compassion she makes up for in cruelty and ruthlessness.

Credit: HBO

Cersei talks with her banker.


Meanwhile, in the North we see Arya finally returning home:

Credit: HBO

Arya goes to Winterfell.

In Winterfell she’ll be reunited with Sansa and Bran, and she’ll also run into Brienne and Podrick.

Credit: HBO

Podrick Payne and Brienne

With both Arya and Sansa safely squared away at Winterfell, Brienne’s quest will be over. Will she go to Jaime now and tell him that she’s fulfilled her oath?

SPOILER WARNING: In a clip shared on the UK’s Sky network we see Arya dueling with Brienne of Tarth. It’s likely just a friendly duel, but there might also be more to it. Is Podrick unlucky enough to get in the way during the fight?

Credit: HBO

Podrick Payne

In this shot he certainly appears to have been knocked to the ground.

Also in Winterfell we have Sansa and Littlefinger looking…well, like Sansa and Littlefinger often look. The former largely expressionless and intense; the latter smug, some scheme or another dancing behind his eyes.

Credit: HBO

Sansa in the Godswood.

I do hope that Sansa will have another conversation with Bran and get some actual information out of him—rather than just creepy reminiscing over her horrific wedding night with Ramsay Bolton. I’m not sure I like where the show has taken Bran, but it might have just been a weird scene.

Credit: HBO

Littlefinger plotting something.

I’ve been rewatching Season 1 of Game of Thrones and paying especially close attention to Littlefinger. That’s because I honestly have no idea what he’s scheming now. For a while it seemed like he had a pretty good plan. Let’s break that plan out in brief:

  • Before the show even begins, Littlefinger gets Lysa Arynn to poison her husband, Jon—the Warden of the East, Lord of the Vale and Hand of the King.
  • While we don’t know the exact reasons behind this, we can presume it was an act designed to sew chaos throughout the realms. Baelish also instructed Lysa to tell Catelyn that it was the Lannisters who ordered the killing.
  • Littlefinger almost certainly knew that Robert would make Ned Hand of the King, which would bring Ned (and possibly other Starks) to King’s Landing.
  • While he didn’t know what would happen once they were there, he’s incredibly talented at improvising, and Joffrey’s attempted assassination of Bran Stark proves a perfect opportunity for him to lie and claim the dagger was Tyrion’s.
  • This sets many things into motion (with a little bad luck) and ultimately gives Littlefinger an opening to double-cross Ned. The realms descend further into chaos.
  • At this point, Littlefinger is in the good graces of the Lannisters, but decides to double-cross them as well. He conspires with Olenna Tyrell to poison Joffrey and pin the murder on Tyrion.
  • He takes Sansa to the Eyrie where he marries Lysa Arryn before…well, you know the drill. He murders her and becomes Lord of the Vale, Warden of the East, and so forth.

All of this makes sense. He’s sowing chaos, causing the great Houses to turn on one another, sparking wars and lopping off the heads of powerful lords. We can place the deaths of Jon Arryn, Ned Stark and Joffrey Baratheon at his feet, though if you really peel it all back you can attribute many, many more deaths to Littlefinger’s machinations.

Where it stops making sense is when Littlefinger takes Sansa and delivers her to Roose Bolton and his psychopathic bastard, Ramsay. This is where I can no longer understand his plans. But what does he gain by handing Sansa over to Ramsay?

  • He loses his powerful alliance with the Lannisters and gains…nothing in return.
  • He makes new allies with the Boltons who are at once less powerful and wealthy than the Lannisters, further removed from the Iron Throne, and even less trustworthy.
  • The alliance isn’t even based on blood as he isn’t a relation of Sansa’s.

And the list goes on. There’s literally nothing in his scheming up North that makes any sense, and as he hangs around Winterfell doing nothing, it’s almost impossible to figure out what he intends and why. Surely there’s no way he could actually turn Sansa against her family or use her against Jon Snow. It’s not so much mysterious as it is…baffling. Incomprehensible.

Thus, I cannot really speculate much about what this picture of Baelish means for episode 4. He’s scheming something but nothing he’s schemed in the last two seasons makes a lick of sense. Partly that’s because it’s such a massive departure from the books—Sansa never marries Ramsay, and she and Littlefinger don’t travel north (at least not yet) so the show is kind of taking this story and running with it. I’m not sure what to expect.

Okay, enough Baelish. Let’s go to…


Credit: HBO

Jon Snow delves deep.

Here we see Jon, with Dany in the background, probably going down to look at the mountain of dragonglass beneath the keep. I’m not sure why else he’d have a torch and be in a cave.

More interestingly is the arrival of Theon Greyjoy, who returns to Dragonstone in disgrace, and is probably not going to be very happy to see Jon Snow there. Of course, Jon Snow will probably be even less happy to see Theon given just how monstrous was his betrayal.

Credit: HBO

Theon returns to Dragonstone.

Credit: HBO

Theon Greyjoy.

On the one hand, Theon didn’t actually kill Bran and Rickon, and Jon will know that now since he watched Ramsay kill Rickon before the Battle of the Bastards. Also, Theon helped Sansa escape, something that she surely mentioned when the two were reunited.

On the other hand, Theon was supposed to be their friend. He swore an oath of fealty to Robb Stark and then broke it, and helped facilitate all the terrible things that came after with the Boltons. It’s going to be a tense reunion to say the least.

Last, but not least…

Credit: HBO

The Valyrian steel dagger.

We saw an image of this dagger in a book Sam was reading in the Citadel earlier this season. This is the dagger mentioned above that Littlefinger said was Tyrion’s, and that the catspaw used to try to kill Bran Stark.

I wonder what role it plays in Sunday’s episode? Who has the dagger now? Littlefinger? Varys? Arya? What do you think?

And that’s where I’ll leave you, dear readers. Until Sunday night, of course, and ‘The Spoils Of War.’ This one looks like it’s going to be pretty intense. I’m excited.

Read my review of last week’s episode here (and find a link to all my past reviews here.) Also check out my latest article about the show, in which I dissect some of the reasons why Game of Thrones has gone downhill.

I’d love it if you followed me on Twitter and Facebook and subscribed to my channel on YouTube. Also feel free to subscribe to my posts by email. Thanks for reading.

Here’s What These New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Images Tell Us About Episode 4 – Forbes

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