his was a very, very good episode. The only thing I really want to complain about is how short it was and the usual "how the hell did they get there so fast?" critique.
Daenerys only half listens to Tyrion and Jon when they tell her not to become just another conqueror, burning the world down in her quest for power and domination. She doesn't fly her dragons to King's Landing, at least. However, she does take one of them and a horde of Dothraki to ambush Jaime and his army as they transport the spoils of Highgarden to King's Landing.
We did learn before the fighting began that Jaime had successfully transported the wagon of gold to King's Landing. This means Cersei will be able to repay the Iron Bank and the Lannisters will get to keep using their unofficial slogan. I could never bring myself to root for Cersei, but I'm having a very hard time rooting for the young Targaryen contender.
As Tyrion looks down at the carnage and we can very nearly read his grim thoughts. Has he made a mistake backing a Targaryen? Daenerys is sick of 'clever plans' and will bathe the world in blood and fire until she sits on the Iron Throne. She may not have brought her dragons to King's Landing, but Tyrion has now witnessed the devastation they can bring to the world firsthand, and it's not a pretty picture. The battle itself was beautifully shot. The Lannisters all in their deep scarlet, lined up for the slaughter. Dragon flame spouting like a fiery geyser, parting the red sea. There were even funny moments. Bronn running from the Dothraki warrior, then killing him with the ballista, was a welcome moment of comic relief.
All told, a pretty great battle scene, even if it wasn't a fair fight. The CGI was spectacular, and we've finally truly witnessed what a dragon can do in a battle. It's humbling, to say the least. If Daenerys decides to actually do the right thing and fight the White Walkers, the dragons will be incredibly formidable foes. Of course, right now she's only willing to do the right thing if Jon bends the knee. It's all about people bending the knee when it comes to Daenerys these days, and frankly it's really irritating.
So let's rewind, fly backwards, put reverse wind in our sails, turn back time, and plop ourselves down in Dragonstone. Here Jon Snow shows Daenerys the mountain of dragon glass and some cave paintings made by the Children of the Forest. He urges her again to work together to fight this ancient evil. Of course, both Daenerys and Jon are incredibly stubborn, and it may be an entirely different kind of knee-bending that ultimately brings them together. When Tyrion and Varys tell Daenerys of the loss of Highgarden, she asks Jon for his advice after implying that Tyrion may have sympathies for his family after all. In any case, Jon is not happy to see the young Greyjoy. He tells him that the only reason he hasn't killed him already is what he did for Sansa. Theon looks Reekish in response.
Speaking of Sansa, let's go see what the Lady of Winterfell is up to, shall we? Let's go to Winterfell. A girl is at the castle gates. A girl tells the guards that she is Arya Stark, but the guards laugh in her face. A girl is unperturbed. She threatens them and they buckle, taking her into the castle, where she promptly vanishes. This is where we all jump up and down with glee, because there are now three Starks in Winterfell.
In fact, all the remaining Starks are back home, except for Jon and he's not really a Stark. Rickon and Robb are dead, as are Eddard and Catelyn, but three Stark children remain, and that's quite a bit better than many other noble families of Westeros Arya tells Sansa of her death list, and Sansa laughs it off like it's a joke until Bran mentions the list later. Later, Sansa watches Arya train with Brienne, and there's almost a look of jealousy on her face. It's odd. I can't tell with Sansa sometimes.
Littlefinger watches the fight as well, and his expression shifts from disbelief to open admiration. Of course, he notices her Valyrian steel dagger. He'd only just given that to Bran, in an absolutely riveting scene between the two. Littlefinger lies and schemes with everyone, but he has no idea that Bran knows. When he asks Littlefinger if he knows who owned the knife, rather than pin it on Tyrion, Baelish says that he doesn't know. The best moment is when Littlefinger tries to play the empathy card, telling Bran that it must be difficult to come back to a world in such chaos. "Chaos is a ladder," Bran replies. Littlefinger pales visibly. That's because these are his own words thrown back in his face. Here's the full quotation:
"Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb; they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is."
All of these moments in Winterfell were wonderful. Even Arya's reunion with Bran, during which time he gives her the Valyrian steel dagger was better than Sansa and Bran's scene last week. Bran talks a bit more, and while he's still very strange, at least he tries. She feels betrayed when he has so little to say to her after she and her brother gave so much. But he tells her that he's not really Bran anymore. It's sad but also exciting. I want to know everything Bran knows. I want people to ask him more questions! Why aren't they asking him more questions?