Game of Thrones season 7 episode 4 'The Spoils of War' review: A spectacle like none before it

Minor irks with this week's episode were forgotten thanks to a truly incendiary final third

Christopher Hooton
Monday 07 August 2017 01:54
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Game of Thrones - Season 7 Episode 5 Preview

There's something gloriously maddening about watching specifically Game of Thrones at 2am on a Sunday night (the requirement for viewers in the UK), the show being one that tends to blow out your senses and leave your eyes sizzling in your skull as you climb into bed at I-don't-wanna-know o'clock.

This sensation is heightened in season 7, the series now having a budget that would make the Iron Bank rub their hands with insidious glee.

Tonight (episode 4, 'The Spoils of War') was essentially an explainer on the drop from the usual 10 episodes a season to seven, witnessing not the biggest battle we've ever seen in Game of Thrones, but certainly the most ravishingly executed.

The VFX and practical effects teams joined forces like never before (apparently a record for number of stuntmen on fire at one time was broken) as Daenerys and her beloved Drogon flambéd the Lannister troops on their way back from Highgarden, creating vistas that instantly demanded a screenshot.

I've never seen a giant dragon tear through an army with a small blonde woman on its back, but I imagine it would look like this.

The battle was the centrepiece of the episode, a jaw-dropper, and oh boy did I love that succinct Tyrion "You fucking idiot" line - but 'The Spoils of War' was not without its faults.

​Daenerys taking five to try and yank a spear out of Drogon's neck was annoyingly short-sighted, leaving her clearly vulnerable, while the decision to end the episode with a cliffhanger that isn't really a cliffhanger (Jaime will almost certainly survive) seemed like a missed opportunity, the 'is he dead or alive?' narrative overshadowing the 'Jesus, Daenerys is pretty capricious and short-tempered huh' one that should have been at the fore.

I was also irked by Dany being immediately swung re: White Walkers by cave drawings Jon definitely could have knocked up with some chalk during a quiet moment, Davos' attempt at lad banter which Jon shot down with an unintentionally hilarious reminder of the threat of the Night King (classic Jon) and Missandei's delivery of "many things", which is now seared into my hippocampus for eternity.

Still, the duelling scene involving Arya and Brienne was very nice indeed, I'm continually fascinated by exactly what the point of Littlefinger is and lastly, seriously, did you see that battle?!

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