With only three episodes left in this shortened seventh season, Game of Thrones had to step it up with the fourth episode, The Spoils of War. While Season 7 has been fantastic so far, it was time for an ambitious battle sequence. One of Game of Thrones’ defining aspects is its ability to deliver big-budget, well-choreographed action spectacles time and time again, ones that rival even some of the best big studio blockbuster films.
And boy, did The Spoils of War deliver.
Called The Loot Train Attack, this set piece featuring a large dragon, wild Dothraki warriors, and a frightened Lannister army was heart pounding, exceptionally directed, and quite emotional. As of right now, it’s still way too early to compare The Loot Train Attack with some of the best battle sequences in Game of Thrones, like Season 2’s Blackwater, Season 5’s unforgettable White Walker attack Hardhome, and last season’s Battle of the Bastards.
But, one aspect of The Loot Train Attack that will forever remain true is just how different and refreshing the whole sequence is, which is a huge accomplishment in itself, considering the series has been around for over six whole seasons now. Daenerys Targaryen’s surprise attack on a mostly clueless Lannister army led by Jaime and Bronn finally shows on-screen how powerful Danny’s dragon Drogon can be.
For the first time in the show, viewers got a great sense of just how unstoppable a fully-grown dragon really is. From Drogon destroying the Lannister’s armies defensive lines to burning nearly every soldier to a crisp, you can’t help but wonder how these mythical creatures can ever be stopped? All of this was displayed wonderfully throughout, even up to the point where Bronn injured Drogon.
The other big reason why The Loot Train Attack is such a standout spectacle is that there’s really no one single character a person can root for in this battle, which hasn’t occurred before on Game of Thrones. Whether it’s Hardhome or the Battle of the Bastards, it’s always been made clear who the good guys are—not this time around, and it resulted in plenty of tension.
Do you side with Daenerys and her vicious Dothraki army as they completely destroy thousands of soldiers? Do you root for Bronn during his attempts to bring down Drogon? Are you scared for Jaime’s life, even though he wants to kill Daenerys with that spear of his? Seeing Bronn severely wound Drogon was a sight to behold, as the show established that these dragons aren’t immortal. While The Loot Train Attack still might not top Hardhome’s incredible zombie sequence, featuring a stunning scene with Jon Snow taking out a White Walker, it’s still up there as some of the best work Game of Thrones’ cast and crew has ever done.
Stepping away from The Spoils of War, the ramifications that will inevitably come from the outcome of this battle will affect the story moving forward in dramatic fashion. Not only is Tyrion now questioning his decision to support Daenerys—with the fates of Jaime and Bronn unknown—but it now seems Daenerys might be inching towards becoming the Mad Queen.
Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have been cleverly hinting at this outcome for quite some time. There have plenty of subtle clues in Season 7, like Daenerys threatening to burn Varys alive if he betrays her. Something’s not quite right with this Targaryen, but she does come from a family known for their tendency to go completely insane, after all.
Though her violent actions in The Loot Train Attack are acceptable, since it is a war, it’s her newfound lust for power following her victory that’s going to be quite worrying now. She came out the big winner here, and no one can really question her decision to keep using her dragons to burn all of her enemies. Who or what would be stopping her from becoming yet another crazy monarch, just like her father? Some theories have been floating around for over a year now that the last season of Game of Thrones won’t be a straightforward story about the good guys battling the White Walkers.
Given just how unpredictable George R.R. Martin’s beloved series has been so far, and how much he hates conventional storytelling, fans of Game of Thrones might be in store for a few surprises they might not be ready for. Remember, Martin has said the ending to this epic series will be bittersweet. And what would be more bittersweet than finding out that the Night’s King isn’t the only big baddie Jon Snow and company will have stop?