The Lannisters are looting Highgarden. All the Tyrells’ gold is headed to King’s Landing to pay the crown’s debt to the Iron Bank, and the Reach’s stores are being sent there to fortify the capitol since #winterishere. Jaime tosses Bronn a saddlebag full of gold coins while Bronn complains that the Lannisters have not, in fact, paid their debt to him because he still doesn’t have a castle. Jaime points out that the Seven Kingdoms are at war, and while Bronn could have Highgarden today, Daenerys could take it from him tomorrow. Bronn remains disgruntled.
I need to point out that while Jaime, like Tyrion, is linguistically facile and able to engage in witty repartee with Bronn, there is an unpleasant undercurrent to his verbal jousting. Bronn and Tyrion respect each other. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship–each of them has something the other doesn’t have. Tyrion has gold, and Bronn has brawn. Both of them see themselves in the other. Bronn is a hard-nosed sellsword with a hardscrabble upbringing; Tyrion is the despised dwarf of a landed family. Both of them are outcasts in their own way, and the relationship they forged is genuine.
Jaime treats Bronn like a minion–a highly respected and valued minion, but a minion nonetheless. His attitude is that the Lannisters lifted Bronn out of the gutter, gave Bronn riches and a title, and because of that Bronn should do their bidding. Tyrion understood the quid pro quo nature of his and Bronn’s relationship–he wasn’t giving Bronn handouts, he was paying him for extremely valuable services rendered. Jaime doesn’t get it. Doesn’t he remember how Bronn trained with him after he lost his hand?
The Iron Banker is ecstatic that Cersei will be able to pay her debt in one gargantuan payment. He thought Tywin Lannister was an efficient man, but he is even more impressed with Cersei. He eagerly assures Cersei the Iron Bank will be willing to support any and all of her endeavors–that is, as soon as it receives the gold. Hopefully this is foreshadowing, and the Tyrell gold will not reach King’s Landing.
At Winterfell, Littlefinger unsheaths the dagger the cutthroat used to try and kill Bran in Season One. He gives the dagger to Bran, along with his eely spiel about how he would have given his life to protect Catelyn, he wasn’t there when Catelyn needed him most, now he can only be there for her children, etc., etc. It’s all bullshit. It may have worked on Sansa when she was a tween, but Littlefinger doesn’t know what he’s dealing with here. Sure enough, when Littlefinger says the dagger started the War of the Five Kings and brought Bran to the chaos by which he’s now surrounded, Bran cuts him off with his own line: “Chaos is a ladder.” For once, Littlefinger is speechless. And caught off guard. And wary. Littlefinger can navigate the politics of King’s Landing like a champ, but when faced with the mystical Three-Eyed Raven, he’s at a loss. And it’s awesome.
Meera interrupts to tell Bran she’s leaving. She doesn’t want to, but her job is done and when the White Walkers come she needs to be with her family. Bran coldly thanks her. Meera can’t believe that’s his only reaction after all they’ve been through. Bran remembers what it’s like to be Brandon Stark, but he is no longer that person. Meera tearfully tells him he died in the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave and leaves.
A figure on a horse approaches Winterfell. It’s ARYA!!! The guards don’t believe she is Arya Stark and refuse to let her in the gates. She tells them to call for Maester Luwin or Ser Roderick–either one of them can confirm her identity. The guards have never heard of these people and tell Arya to “fuck off.” Arya tells them they turn her away at their own peril, so they let her inside the gates. While they’re arguing about who is going to tell Sansa about her, she slips away.
The guards report the incident to Sansa, who knows it’s Arya as soon as they tell her the visitor mentioned Maester Luwin and Ser Roderick. Sansa knows where to find her. Arya is staring at Ned Stark’s sculpture when Sansa enters the crypts. “Do I have to call you Lady Stark now?” Arya asks. Sansa replies, “Yes.” Sansa goes to her sister and hugs her, but Arya does not return her embrace.
Sansa tells Arya that as happy as Jon was to see her, when he sees Arya his heart will probably stop. Yes, it will. This is how I fantasize the Arya-Jon reunion: Jon returns from Dragonstone and notices Brienne sparring with someone in the courtyard. He recognizes Needle and stops in his tracks. He slowly approaches the duo. Brienne looks up and sees that the King in the North has returned and sheaths her sword. Arya wonders why Brienne has stopped what she’s doing and follows her gaze. She turns around, she and Jon see each other, and all the pain and strife and horror that has made Arya the killer she is today fall away, and she is that little girl at Winterfell again. And there is her brother, who had Needle made for her because he always understood who she was. There are no vestiges of sibling rivalry like with Sansa, there is no question of trustworthiness. Jon Snow and Arya have been allies from the beginning, they have both been on Odyssean journeys. Their reunion might be too profound for a hug, but I hope there will be one, because for just a moment I’d like to see Arya able to let her guard down and just feel safe. That concludes the fanfic portion of this recap.
Sansa and Arya engage in a stilted conversation, but the ice breaks when they bond over their shared hatred of Joffrey. Sansa admits that unfortunately she was not the one who killed him, and Arya shares that he was always at the top of her list. Sansa is puzzled and Arya explains that her list is comprised of people she’s going to kill. This cracks Sansa up, probably because she’s finally able to recognize her pugilistic little sister in this composed stranger. Sansa has no idea what a badass Arya has become. They acknowledge that they’ve both had long, unpleasant journeys then Arya gives Sansa a real hug. *sniff*
Sansa solemnly tells Arya that Bran is home too, and the three remaining Stark children reunite in the Godswood. Somebody tweeted “Not now, Starks are reuniting” during this scene and it is my new go-to phrase. Arya hugs Bran and he just sits there, then tells her that he saw her at the Crossroads. Sansa explains that Bran has visions. Bran thought Arya might go to King’s Landing because Cersei is on her list. Sansa asks who else is on her list and she answers that most of them are already dead.
Bran takes out the dagger Littlefinger gave him. Sansa is alarmed because Littlefinger is not a generous man, and would not have given Bran a Valyrian steel dagger if he didn’t think he would get something in return. This gives me faith in Sansa. Bran gives the dagger to Arya, because it’s “wasted on a cripple.” It won’t be wasted on Arya, I’m sure.
Brienne and Podrick watch the three Starks enter the courtyard at Winterfell. Sweet Podrick tells Brienne that Catelyn would be proud that she kept her vow. Brienne, incapable of accepting a compliment, says she did next to nothing. Pod says, “You’re too hard on yourself, my lady.” Brienne starts to say she’s not a lady, but stops herself and just replies with a simple thank you. Good for you, Brienne!
At Dragonstone, Dany and Missandei have a little girl talk about Grey Worm before Jon beckons Dany into the caves beneath the castle. He wants to show her the dragonglass before he starts mining it. And something else. The Children of the Forest made cave paintings depicting their allegiance with the First Men against the White Walkers. Jon tells Dany that they need to fight together, just like the Children and the First Men. Those cave drawings sure are convenient. Dany tells him she will fight with him, as soon as he bends the knee. The sexual tension between them is riveting.
We don’t know if Jon bent the knee, because the next shot is of him and Dany exiting the caves. It looks like they’re holding hands–what exactly did happen in that cave? Jon Snow is no stranger to cave couplings! They’re not holding hands after all–rats. Tyrion and Varys deliver the bad news about Casterly Rock and Dany throws a little tantrum. All her allies have been taken from her while she sits on Dragonstone. She wants to fly the dragons to the Red Keep, but Tyrion counsels against it–again. Dany’s had enough of Tyrion’s clever plans and asks Jon Snow what he thinks she should do. People follow her because she’s made impossible things happen, and they believe that maybe she can create a better world than the one they’ve always known. But if she uses the dragons to “melt castles and burn cities,” she’ll just be more of the same.
Brienne and Pod are training in the courtyard when Arya approaches. She wants to train with Brienne because she beat the Hound. They spar to a draw, and Brienne is impressed with Arya’s fighting prowess. She wonders who taught her how to do that. “No one,” says Arya. Sansa looks on, seemingly troubled by what she sees. Arya stares at Littlefinger like she’s wondering if she needs to put him on her list. Littlefinger is (hopefully) going to find himself at a disadvantage with Arya and the Three-Eyed Raven.
Now it’s time for Jon Snow and Ser Davos to have some guy talk. Jon thinks Dany has a good heart. Davos has noticed him staring at her “good heart,” but Jon says there’s no time for that. He wonders how many Northmen they have to fight the Night King–ten thousand, less? Davos pulls a Stannis and replies, “fewer.”
They greet Missandei and she asks why Jon is named Snow when his father was a Stark. He explains that he’s a bastard, but Missandei is confused. In Naath, where she’s from, there is no marriage so the concept of a bastard does not exist. Davos finds this liberating. He is smitten. Jon notices a Greyjoy ship approaching Dragonstone–it’s Theon. The only reason Jon doesn’t kill him is because of what he did for Sansa. Theon has come to ask for Dany’s help in rescuing Yara from Euron. Jon tells him that the Queen is gone.
Back to the Reach, where Bronn and Jaime are overseeing the Loot Train. Randyll Tarly rides up to inform Jaime that all of the Tyrell’s gold has arrived safely in King’s Landing. Damn it! Why does Cersei keep getting all the breaks??
Dickon Tarly is a little shaken from his first real-life battle experience. He didn’t realize it would smell so bad. Bronn confirms that men shit when they die and asks Dickon, “Didn’t they teach you that in fancy lad school?” Bronn is awesome.
Bronn hears something in the distance. It’s about to go down, people! It’s the Dothraki! The Lannisters get into formation as the horde rides over the horizon, all war cries and pounding hooves. Bronn tells Jaime to get back to King’s Landing because they’re about to be swamped. Jaime thinks they can hold off the Dothraki. Famous last words, because…who comes swooping in? DROGON!! With Dany on his back! Here we go–DRACARYS! Drogon blows up part of the Lannister line and the Dothraki stampede through it, wreaking havoc as they go. Dany and Drogon blow up the Loot Train, along with a good portion of the Lannister army. It’s AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME! Take that, Cersei!
Jaime looks around, disbelief and panic on his face, but is still able to command effectively. The archers make the mistake of shooting Drogon with their arrows, so he incinerates them. YES! Oh no–Jaime is telling Bronn to get Qyburn’s Scorpion–the dragon killing machine. No way are they going to kill off Drogon. I’ll kill myself if they do.
I have loved Bronn since the first season, but I am actually hoping he dies before he gets to the Scorpion. I never thought I’d see the day. But if it’s between Bronn and Drogon, I am going to take Drogon every time. Shit–he made it to the Scorpion.
Tyrion is watching the scene from a ridge. He looks pained as he watches Jaime at a loss, taking in the utter destruction around him. Drogon barely misses Jaime as he breathes another stream of fire. Bronn is manning the Scorpion. I can’t watch! HE HIT DROGON! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Drogon screams and begins to plummet downward. He doesn’t crash–thank the Seven!–but lands safely and lets off another blast, just missing Bronn. Dany gets off and is trying to pull the bolt out of Drogon when Jaime charges her.
From his vantage point, Tyrion calls Jaime a fucking idiot. Dany turns around just in time to see Jaime riding toward her, spear at the ready. Before he can get to her, Drogon swings his massive head around and opens his mouth. Jaime can see the fire in his throat, about to roast him alive, but a second before Drogon lets loose, Bronn pushes Jaime out of the way and into a lake.
The last shot of the episode is Jaime, in full armor, sinking to the bottom of the lake.
Jaime is NOT going out that way! I hope Cersei thinks he’s dead and cuts her own throat. Of course she won’t, but a girl can dream.