Every since the finale of season one of Game of Thrones, when three little tiny dragon babies popped up on Danerys’ shoulder, they’ve been part of the show. We’ve got to see them in action, burning up some slavers or rescuing their mother from an arena filled with assassins, but we’ve never got to see them in action like we did tonight, and that was just one of them. It was a stunning display of unbelievable destruction and it was absolutely amazing. Can we get a whole lot more of that please? Like so many episodes this season, this one spent the first 45 minutes devoted to following our pawns around the chess board, and the last quarter devoted to one seriously awesome battle scene. So far the hellscape unleashed by Dany is the coolest sequence we’ve been treated to yet this season. Let's get to the winners and losers.
Dragons: Did you see what this dude can do? Sure, we learned that Qyburn’s The Walking Dead-branded crossbow could hurt one of the fire breathers, but watching him burn a whole line of carts with the world’s most deadly halitosis was one of the greatest pleasures the show has given us yet.
Daenerys Targaryen: It was a decisive victory over Cersei’s army thanks to some fire and a style of fighting that the Westerosi were not ready for at all. The Dothraki are shooting arrows standing up on their horses (that is a warrior pose that would make any yoga instructor say Namaste) and the Lannister army is standing there holding shields waiting to get murdered. And their formation is nothing when a dragon can slice through it like a flaming hot knife through butter. She also got the expert advice of Jon Snow not to burn the Red Keep and be the kind of deadly monarch that all of the people are used to. He needs her to keep inspiring people. But all of these wins are making her a little blood hungry. Is there some of the Mad King in her after all?
Arya Stark: Sure, Jay and Silent Bob standing at the gate at Winterfell had no idea who she was, but once Sansa laid eyes on her in the crypt (why does everything important in Winterfell happen amid the old bones of the dead?) she was warmly welcomed back. Then she got a Valeryan steel dagger, which is sure to help out in the war to come. But, best of all, she finally got a sparring partner who is her equal when she took advantage of Brienne of Tarth’s oath to serve her and enlisted her in the world’s deadliest game of Tae Bo. Are these two going to fall in love and get married? Quite possibly.
Bronn: Things did not go well for him and Jaime in the battle. His horse lost a leg and he lost all of his gold, but he did manage to strike a blow against one of the dragons, proving that Qyburn’s machine works. It was also probably him that jumped up and saved Jaime Lannister from getting his ass melted while rushing Dany in the final moments. If Bronn manages to survive (and he always does) and he manages to help the Lannister’s win, he’s going to be set for life.
Petyr Baelish: Sansa knows that the reason Littlefinger gave Bran the Catspaw blade, the Valeryan steel dagger that an assassin tried to kill him with wasn’t out of his own generosity. Something is afoot, but she has no idea what it is yet. Maybe it has something to do with the enigmatic phrase “Chaos is a ladder,” Bran said to him when he was offered the weapon. That no one has figured out his plan yet means he’s in the lead and everyone else is in for a nasty surprise.
The Iron Bank of Braavos: The grain that Cersei wanted from Highgarden didn’t make it back to King’s Landing, but all of their gold did. The Lannisters did what they always do and repaid their debts, and in such spectacular fashion that the bank is happy to invest once again in Cersei’s leadership. What would Elizabeth Warren think of these predatory lending practices. Too bad she’s already talking to the Golden City of Essos about possible funding, and all of those lucrative interest payments.
Brooches: No matter what else happens, the brooch game this season is incredibly strong, whether it’s Tyrion’s hand of the king, Missandei’s new three-headed dragon, or whatever it is that goth teen Sansa is wearing around her neck. (OK, maybe that’s not a brooch.) But this week the award goes to Dany, who was sporting a three-headed silver dragon of her own with a chain connected to it to keep her cape in place. It reminded me of the nose ring/earring combo Jane Child used to rock in the ‘80s.
Jaime Lannister: He got his ass handed to him at the Battle of Something That Looks Like a Leftover Set from Westworld That HBO Wanted to Reuse to Save Money. He managed to pull off getting the gold back to the palace to pay their debts, but now his army is in tatters, his allegiance with the Tarley’s is being tested, and he was a “fucking idiot” as his brother Tyrion called him and tried to kill Dany with a spear while she was standing next to a dragon. Now he may sink to the bottom of a lake (one of the problems with having a golden hand) and die. We’ll have to wait to next week to see his fate, but I’d bet you seven silver brooches he makes it out of this alive.
Tyrion Lannister: His allegiance had the first big "w" of the year, but Dany blames him for losing Dorne, the Iron Islands, and High Garden. Then, when he was watching what used to be his family’s troops burn under the queen he fought for, he seemed to be having second thoughts. He didn’t do anything to help his brother Jaime, but it was clear that he was rooting for him to survive. Could the queen’s littlest big fan be on his way out?
The Stark Children: The ones that have survived are safe and reunited, but this is like the world’s saddest cast of the Three Stooges. They need to get on Cersei Care so that they can all get some free psychiatric counseling. Bran might be the Three-Eyed Raven, but someone clearly gave him his vaccinations, because he is clearly somewhere on the autism spectrum now that he spent a few years on LSD under a tree in the Arctic. Arya came back and finally has the fighting skills that she wanted back in season one, but she’s a ruthless killer who can mask her emotions just like she can wear the masks of other people. When she was springing up from the ground in her fight against Brienne, she looked just like the evil nameless intern that she fought against for so long.
Sansa may seem like she’s the best adjusted, but I think she’s the actual problem child here. Bran and Arya have both returned with superpowers from their journey and Sansa is clearly angry and jealous, at least that’s how she seemed when she stormed off after Arya and Brienne’s first match in the UFC Winterfell division. What Sansa doesn’t realize is she has powers of her own, thanks to her political education from people like Cersei and Littlefinger. Either she doesn’t know she has them or is too insecure to really harness them. Whatever the case, it seems like she’s about to do something really stupid really soon.
Jon Snow: This guy still knows nothing and hasn’t been able to convince Dany that the threat of the Night King is real and get her on his side. She’s convinced he needs to pledge his fealty and he’s convinced that he needs to continue brooding around her island like he’s in the world’s most expensive emo video. At least he has some cave drawings to stare at now.
Meera Reed: Bran, the kid who she dragged through the wilderness on a rickety toboggan, can’t get any more than a thank you out of him after she watched all of their friends and her brother die so that he could become the world’s worst autistic hippie. That’s a fine how-do-you-do.
Dickon Tarley: Need I say more?
Kit Harington auditioned for Game of Thrones with a black eye: