Warning: This contains spoilers. Not seen Episode 4? Click here to see how to catch up.
Game of Admin, this one looked like for a while. Repayment of loans, counting of grain. It was all the stuff you have to do in these RPG phone app games before you can build your cities and conquer the world. Except just when you think you’re about to rule the world, you have to spend a whole afternoon on hold to the Iron Bank customer service helpline to see if they’ll extend your overdraft. Their recorded message is just Mark Gatiss repeating “The gold?” over and over. Is Cersei really going to be defeated by financial mismanagement? If it’s good enough for Al Capone…
And then, without ceremony, there she was. Arya was home. Again though, this programme would be nothing without its twisted need to tease the moment and we endured a nerve-shredding wait to see whether the reunion would be snatched away from us at the last minute. And even though a girl spent a moment looking around and remembering her surroundings, there was no room for sentiment here. As she sat taking it all in, another show would have given us a nostalgic flashback to happier times at Winterfell, with long-dead family members milling around whistling a happy tune. Fittingly, the reunion came in the crypt.
It also opens up the next level of the Stark story, because simply getting home alive was far from the end game for these children. As touched on in these pages last episode, you wouldn’t want to go on a night out with them, but the Starks really are the good guys here. And we did get some joyous moments that bordered on fun, as Arya and Brienne trained and a girl showed just how skilled she has become. In truth, her adventures have taken place more or less completely independently from the rest of Game of Thrones for a while now, so now that Sansa knows what her sister has become, it’s going to be intriguing to see how she integrates back into the plot.
At some point there has to come a reunion with her other “brother”, but still the King in the North will not bend the knee. Is there acrimony brewing between the title favourites? It’s getting to that point now where it’s the semifinal of the cup and three of your four favourite teams are still in it. Someone will have to lose on penalties. We really have to start making peace with the fact that some of our most beloved characters are going to die soon.
Currently, it’s not looking good for Jaime, as he sinks to the bottom of a lake, following a major dragon assault from Daenerys. In terms of the storm after the calm, this episode well and truly outdid itself, as we passed the halfway point of the season with a thunderous battle.
A few dragon bursts in seasons past have shown us what they can do in the toasting stakes, but we’ve never seen anything like this. As a spectacle this may well have been even more impressive than the Battle of the Bastards, which was already the greatest action sequence ever devised for television.
We like Jaime, even if he was responsible for starting this whole mess in the first place. We like Bronn, who hasn’t really taken sides – unless there’s a big bag of gold involved. But we like the people and the giant flying lizards who have come to incinerate them, to the point where the destination of Bronn’s dragon-sized arrows presented a real quandary for the viewer. Has ever a show delivered such a range and depth of characters where you wanted both sides to win at the same time? It could well be that only Harry Hill will be able to resolve this.
Game of Thrones Season 1 to 7 is available to watch on-demand through Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on-demand on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription. A 14-day free trial is available for new subscribers.
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