Game of Thrones season 7 episode 4: 9 references and callbacks you may have missed in 'The Spoils of War'

From Littlefinger's games to Arya's fighting stance

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 08 August 2017 15:01 BST

Season seven of Game of Throne has already hit the midway point, the latest episode featuring dragons, battles, and cliffhangers.

** Spoilers for The Spoil’s of War ahead **

As always, there were numerous references to past events and the books, ranging from the obvious to completely missable.

Luckily, sleuths across the Internet have broken down many of the episode’s secrets, uncovering everything you may have missed. Plus, the showruners and actors have given various interviews, helping uncover yet more information. Here are nine of the best snippets.

“Chaos is a ladder”

During one ominous moment, Bran and Littlefinger share a rather bizarre conversation. "I imagine you've seen things most men wouldn't believe,” the manipulator says. “To go through all of that and make your way home again only to find such chaos in the world, I can hardly imagine - “

Bran interrupts, saying blankly: "Chaos is a ladder.” That phrase, as many know, comes from an infamous moment in the third season where Baelish, talking to Varys, says: “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 refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

Why would Bran use that particular phrase? Probably primarily because fans of the show know the phrase well. But also because it shows Littlefinger that Bran/Three-Eyed Raven understands his games, presumably knows Baelish was basically responsible for Ned’s death. And if Bran tells Arya, there could be another person added to the infamous list.

Arya fights Brienne

Speaking of the Girl-who-now-has-a-name, Arya’s fight with Brienne featured more callback than Varys has spies in Westeros. First off, there’s the way Arya is dressed; she wears armour almost exactly the same as Ned’s the last time they ever see each other.

Then there’s the way she fights Brienne, her tactics borrowing from the her time with Jaqen and the Waif — the way she bounces off the floor — and with the Hound.

More importantly, though, comes the fight’s end, when the pair point swords at each other, a direct mirror of how Arya and Syrio Forel, her former sword master, conclude their fight.

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All the surviving Stark children are the sum of their parts — Sansa has become an amalgamation of Cersei and Littlefinger, Bran literally the Three Eyed Raven, Jon Snow’s now basically Ned — but none have learnt so much, from such varied people, as Arya. Even Arya's blunt talking seems similar to how Tywin Lannister and The Hound spoke to her.

Sansa and Arya’s reunion

The moment many fans were waiting for; the Stark women finally together once again. For actors Maisie Williams (Arya) and Sophie Turner (Sansa), the moment was very emotional behind the camera as well.

“Our first scene together was our reunion scene and we f**ked up so many times,” Turner said. “We couldn’t keep a straight face! Our relationship is so close, but it’s only that fun side, never the business side. I was nervous. It just terrified me. It’s like performing for your mom. When somebody is watching you don’t do it quite as well.”

Jaime’s fate

We’re pretty sure Game of Thrones would just kill off a major character rather than have a cliffhanger, so chances are Jaime’s still alive.

In a post-episode discussion, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau spoke about the character’s motivation during that possibly fatal moment: “Even though Daenerys is the hero and the Lannisters are the villains, being burned alive is not great. It’s a terrifying thing when this monster flamethrower comes along and incinerates thousands and thousands of men who are just doing their job.

“Jaime is such an idiot that he thinks for a second, ‘If I can do this, I can win the whole thing in a Hail Mary.” Whatever happens, he concludes: “It’s not going to end well for Jaime Lannister, I can’t imagine.”

Robert Baratheon called it

"I do know this: If the Targaryen girl convinces her horselord husband to invade and the Dothraki horde crosses the Narrow Sea, we won't be able to stop them," Robert Baratheon, the former king of Westeros, said during the first season.

"Let's say Viserys Targaryen lands with 40,000 Dothraki screamers at his back. We hole up in our castles. A wise move. Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.”

Unfortunately, Jaime didn’t have much of an option but face the Dothraki, along with a dragon(!), on an open field, losing rather spectacularly.

Khal Drogo

Slightly obscure, and probably nothing, but still notable. Danny’s dragon Drogo was injured by a weapon known as the ‘Scorpion’, suffering a wound to the shoulder. Now, Khal Drogo also suffered a seemingly small injury when fighting Mago: being stabbed in the shoulder. From that would, the Khal died after being infected: could Drogon, the Dothraki’s namesake, suffer the same fate?

Children of the Forrest

Over in Dragonstone, Danny and Jon perused the local caves, seeing numerous carvings made by the Children of the Forrest. Interestingly, many of them represented symbols we’ve seen before on the show.

“One of the things we learn from these cave painting is that the White Walkers didn’t come up with those images, they derived them from their creators, the Children of the Forrest,” says showrunner David Benioff.

“These are patterns that have mystical significance for the Children of the Forrest, but we’re not sure exactly what they signify. Spiral patterns have a lot of significance in our world, and it makes sense that they would in that world as well.”

The dagger

During that awkward encounter between Bran and Littlefinger, a dagger is passed between the two, and eventually to Arya. That dagger was used to start the War of the Seven Kingdoms, having been wielded by the person who tried to kill Bran — an incident that was blamed on the Lannisters.

Chances are, we’re not only going to see the dagger used on Littlefinger, but also on White Walkers. The blade is made of Valerian steal, one of two materials capable of killing the undead.

Next time on Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones - Season 7 Episode 5 Preview

The season five teaser trailer features Jon Snow saying to Davos, Daenerys, Varys and Tyrion: "Bran saw the Night King and his army marching towards Eastwatch.” Could the Starks meet up next episode? Let’s hope so.

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