In an episode loaded with callbacks to earlier seasons, Game of Thrones finally gave us the spectacle we’d been waiting for since the earliest days of the series. As Daenerys decides to make her presence known, and the Starks once again up the numbers at Winterfell, here’s a look at the telling quotes from “The Spoils Of War” to keep in mind as we head into this week’s episode.
“Chaos is a ladder.” – Bran Stark
With Bran now returned to Winterfell, Littlefinger sits down with him to try and work his manipulative charm, shoring up his influence on the remaining Stark children. After giving him the dagger that was used in an attempt on his life back in the first season, Bran hints that he can see Littlefinger for what he is. This line is word-for-word what Littlefinger told Varys in the throne room back in the third season, which explains his fondness for turning the kingdom’s biggest houses against one another for his own personal gain. Despite trying to hold it together, Littlefinger is clearly shaken by Bran’s words, and seems to imply that Littlefinger’s days are numbered.
“Our stories aren’t over yet.” – Arya Stark
The long-anticipated reunion between the two Stark sisters happens, fittingly, in the crypt of Winterfell, in front of the statue of their late father. While Arya complains that the statue doesn’t capture Ned’s likeness, Sansa laments that everyone who knew what he looked like was dead. In their years apart, Sansa and Arya have experienced the worst that Westeros has to offer. Now, with them together in their childhood home older, wiser, and decidedly more deadly in their own unique ways, Arya’s prescience indicates that they have more to do before the series comes to a close.
“Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?” – Daenerys Targaryan
As he mines the dragonglass in a cave beneath Dragonstone, Jon Snow calls Daenerys in to show her not only what the repository looks like, but a wealth of carvings dating back to the pre-history of Westeros. Finding carvings made by the Children of the Forest, which detailed their fight against the white walkers back during the fabled Long Night, it’s revealed that they allied themselves with the first men to do so. Not only does this throw a wrench in Westeros’ own history, which painted the children of the forest and the first men as enemies, it prompts Daenerys to offer her forces to help Jon Snow fight the coming army of the dead — on one specific condition.
Fittingly, she does so unknowingly using a line that Jon once told Mance Raydar when brokering a truce between the Wildlings and the men of the Night’s Watch. Though Jon hasn’t agreed to bend the knee to her just yet, he understands more than anyone the importance of putting aside petty differences to serve the greater good.
“Dracarys.” – Daenerys Targaryan
After a wordy exchange Bronn has with Jaime about him wanting a castle for his role in the Lannister’s taking of Highgarden, they quiet down once they hear a rumbling off in the distance. In a desperate attempt to ready the troops they were having trouble motivating to cross the river just minutes earlier, they’re now forced to contend with a Dothraki hoard. It was already poised to be one of the show’s great battle moments, but once Drogon flew over the horizon, with Daenerys on her back, it became the singular moment viewers had been anticipating after six-and-a-half years.
The Dothraki could’ve arguably taken the Lannisters on their own, but Daenerys clearly took the advice of Lady Olenna (RIP), and let her formidable presence known. Making short work of the Lannister army, and even facing off against one of Qyburn’s custom-made crossbows designed for taking dragons out of the sky, for 11 glorious minutes the battlefield became remade in blood and ash, and as Drogon burned the Lannister’s supply of stolen grain, Daenerys gets to have her cake and eat it, too. While sparing innocents from the horrors of war, she effectively puts her plan into place to lay siege on King’s Landing in hopes of starving out her enemies instead of reigning destruction down.
It’s also worth noting that Tyrion, standing on the sidelines and observing his new queen making short work of the army bearing his name, was already calling Daenerys’ plan into question. Then, watching his older brother attempt to take out Lady Stormborn, it’s inevitable to wonder if Tyrion’s allegiance (or Jon’s for that matter) will end up tested if she continues her reign of destruction.