As the title states, politics in Game of Thrones is treated like a game. And whether you’re talking about sports or the struggle to control shipping routes in the Riverlands, there are always winners and losers. As each episode plays out, we’ll be ranking the players from best to worst. So who takes the crown, and who gets fed to the wolves in Game of Thrones season 7, episode 4? Follow below to find out.
If there is one thing the history of Westeros has taught us, it’s this: When you want to make six of the seven kingdoms bend the knee (it took a political marriage to bring Dorne into the fold), use dragons. It worked for Aegon the Conqueror, and despite the warnings from Tyrion and Jon, Daenerys finally unleashed the beast on an unsuspecting Lannister army. Swooping in on the Lannister forces after they conveniently managed to move all the Tyrell gold into King’s Landing, Daenerys and her Dothraki forces routed Jaime’s army and seemingly destroyed most of the Lannister grain stores. Although Drogon took a ballista bolt to the shoulder, he survived to roast lions another day. It was a much-needed victory for Daenerys after weeks of losing.
Although stars usually rack up the most points, sometimes it’s the role player who nails the clutch shot. Bronn showed why he’s worth every cubic inch of castle the Lannisters promised him, fending off Dothraki, nailing Drogon with a ballista, and saving Jaime from his valiant but suicidal last charge. The Tyrion/Bronn partnership was once one of GoT’s most successful pairings, and this episode shows who was really pulling the weight there.
It may seem odd to rank Cersei so highly given how many red-and-gold uniforms were turned to ash in The Spoils of War, but while the Lannisters lost many men and apparently a lot of grain wagons, Cersei made out with the gold, which allowed her to settle the crown’s debts with the Iron Bank, whose representative offers to lend her aid in the war. And although Bronn didn’t kill Drogon, the ballista still brought the dragon to the ground, a clear sign that the Lannisters should ramp up mass production of the weapon. Cersei may have lost the battle, but she’s still looking good in terms of the war.
After years of being isolated from the rest of the Starks, Arya has returned to Winterfell, and while she doesn’t seem to have entirely given up the dream of brutally murdering everyone who has wronged her, she seems a little happier in the company of Sansa and Bran. Her brother even gives her a Valyrian steel dagger, the same one used by the assassin who tried to kill him back in season 1. Best of all, a nimble Arya, schooled in fencing, manages to duel Brienne to a draw.
Is Jon free to leave Dragonstone? No. Has he convinced Daenerys to let the North retain its independence? No. Is the show moving toward an unwittingly incestuous romance between the two? Yes. However you feel about the Oedipal undertones at work on Dragonstone, Jon’s relationship with his rival monarch (and possibly his aunt) Daenerys could be good for Westeros. A united front is necessary against the White Walkers, as Jon and a conveniently placed cave drawing remind us.
Riding high off his victory over the Tyrells, Jaime trips and falls over a dragon and a Dothraki horde. That’s not really his fault, though; there’s only so much you can do when a giant monster is torching your front lines. Jaime at least rallies the troops and gives the Dothraki a decent fight, and he even survives an attempt to charge Daenerys when Bronn knocks him into the river, out of the path of Drogon’s fire.
Hopefully Tyrion has a large stomach, as he will need to eat a lot of crow. After weeks of his clever ploys failing, Daenerys took matters into her own hands, routing the Lannisters with seemingly minor losses. And while the battle wasn’t a complete victory — Drogon’s injury could be severe — it showed just how vital the dragons are to Daenerys’ campaign. The one thing Tyrion has going for him is that he brought Jon Snow, probably Daenery’s best potential ally at this point, to Dragonstone
If you’re a lecherous political schemer trying to marry your former crush’s daughter, there are few things worse than said daughter’s siblings — one an omniscient druid, the other a shapeshifting assassin — showing up. In The Spoils of War, Littlefinger gives Bran the Valyrian catspaw dagger, an item that ties him to the attempted assassination of Bran all the way back in season 1. It’s a strange object for the show to bring up after all this time; that lends credence to the theory that Littlefinger was involved in the attempt on Bran’s life. If that’s the case, Bran will likely see an incriminating vision, and Arya may soon return the blade to Littlefinger via his throat.