Warning: This article contains spoilers for the latest Game of Thrones episode, “The Spoils of War.”
We’ve seen all kinds of warfare throughout seven seasons of Game of Thrones, from the battles between men to fights against the dead. And although we’ve seen Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons unleashed before, the episode “The Spoils of War” brings us an entirely new kind of warfare that hasn’t been seen in Westeros in more than 100 years: dragon warfare.
After the Lannister and Greyjoy armies took Dorne and the Reach, Dany needed to take action. Though Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow ultimately talked her out of torching the Red Keep at King’s Landing, she and Drogon led a Dothraki horde to overtake the Lannister men on their way back to King’s Landing. We might’ve seen Drogon swoop in countless times throughout Game of Thrones, but now that he’s fully grown, his presence can still make quite the entrance.
It finally gives Dany a much-needed victory, but it’s not one she won easily. She may have had the aid of Drogon and the Dothraki, but she now knows that her enemies have spent time trying to figure out how to kill her dragons—and even built a weapon that could be capable of it. The sequence, which ended the episode, had plenty of action throughout, but plenty of smaller victories took place with both armies.
Lannister army vs Dothraki
If the Lannister army only faced Dany’s Dothraki, it would have been a much closer fight—but the Dothraki would’ve won.
Robert Baratheon foresaw how the clash between a Westerosi army and the Dothraki would end all the way back in season 1. Not only do the Dothraki and their horses have the upper hand on an open field, they would be united under the command of Daenerys Targaryen. Some of the men under the command of Jaime Lannister and Randyll Tarly—Dickon at the very least—might be conflicted at best about facing a terrifying Dothraki horde.
Drogon vs the Reach’s food reserve
All Drogon needed was a “Dracarys” and all of the food Jaime, Bronn, Randyll, and Dickon took with them from Highgarden was toast. Thankfully for Cersei Lannister, Jaime had the foresight to send all of the Tyrell gold ahead to pay the Iron Bank. Could you imagine how pissed Cersei would be if the gold burned right outside her doorstep?
Dany and Drogon might have the victory now, but she might have some trouble convincing Lannister men to switch sides after she burned all of the food they would’ve needed to survive the upcoming winter—along with dozens, if not hundreds, of men.
Jaime Lannister vs the Dothraki
Winner: Jaime with an assist from Dickon Tarly
Jaime might not be able to get Dickon’s name right, but now he owes the second Tarly son his life.
In a fight against a Dothraki horse rider, it looked as though the Dothraki was about to claim victory: He had two weapons (and two good hands) against Jaime’s Valyrian steel sword. But at the last minute, Dickon Tarly, taking part in his second-ever battle, came in from behind to stab that particular rider in the back.
Luckily for us, Jaime gets away.
Bronn vs a Dothraki horse rider
Winner: Bronn courtesy of a scorpion, but at the expense of his gold
On Jamie’s orders, Bronn rides toward the Lannister army’s secret weapon to try and take Drogon down: the scorpion (aka giant crossbow) that Qyburn revealed to Cersei in the episode “Stormborn.” It wasn’t an easy ride, but Bronn made it there eventually. But first he got to try out the scorpion on a particularly pesky Dothraki fighter.
Bronn vs Drogon
Winner: Bronn with an assist from whoever had the bright idea to pack the scorpion ahead of time
Having reached the scorpion, Bronn gets to take his shot. The first arrow Bronn fires misses; it would’ve been too easy a fight if it hadn’t. But the second Bronn fires is as good as he’s gonna get. It hits Drogon, and although it’s not an instant kill it does hit the dragon, causing him to falter in the sky.
It’s not often someone tries to kill a dragon and lives.
Drogon vs the scorpion
It’s not often that a weapon will actually be effective enough to pierce the skin of a dragon, but when it does there’s almost no way it’s going to survive long enough to be used a second time.
Jaime vs Daenerys
Winner: Daenerys with a major assist from Drogon
Like in the episode “The Dance of Dragons,” Dany attempts to remove a weapon that’s pierced Drogon’s thick hide. Only this time, Jaime sees it as his one chance to take out Dany himself.
He already watched countless men roasted alive in their armor, so it’s possible he saw hints of Dany’s father in her. He took a spear and went for it, even though Tyrion—from a distance—called him an idiot for it.
Before he could get his shot, Drogon was ready to protect his mother. Bronn, having already leapt to avoid Drogon’s flames, grabbed Jaime as he plunged into the water to avoid being burned to a crisp. The episodes ends with a shot of them sinking into the murk, but there’s almost no way we’re not going to see them again soon. Jamie’s come too far to unceremoniously drown in his armor.
If Bronn saw his earlier payment as unacceptable, we can only imagine just how much he’ll want to be paid now that he saved the Kingslayer’s life from a dragon.