Sunday’s episode, “The Spoils of War,” contained a ton of references and callbacks to earlier scenes. Here’s a rundown of what you might have missed:
‘Chaos is a ladder’
Bran has been taking opportunities to showcase his new omniscient, unfeeling self. And Littlefinger gets a terrifying taste of just how all-knowing Bran is when the master manipulator tries to get on the Stark kid’s good side.
“I imagine you’ve seen things most men wouldn’t believe,” Littlefinger says to Bran. “To go through all of that and make your way home again only to find such chaos in the world, I can hardly imagine—”
“Chaos,” Bran interjects, “is a ladder.”
BOOM. That’s a direct reference to a private conversation Littlefinger had with Varys in the throne room back in Season 3 when he revealed, among other things, how he thwarted Varys’s plan to give Sansa to the Tyrells (which really would have saved her a lot of misery).
At that time, Varys told him chaos is “a gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.” Then Littlefinger launched into his speech that “chaos is a ladder” that allows folks, presumably such as him, to climb out of the confusion to power.
Bran’s callback makes that smug look on Littlefinger’s face finally disappear, leaving an expression of legit fear in its place. And rightfully so — if Bran knows about Littlefinger’s chats from many seasons back, what else could the kid know?
Pride — what is it good for?
Daenerys Targaryen won’t let the bend-the-knee thing go with Jon Snow. On Sunday’s episode, the King in the North showcases some cave paintings (ones that apparently are super old and not ones he hastily drew). Dany agrees to fight with Jon but insists he kneel before her.
Jon: My people won’t accept a Southern ruler, not after everything they’ve suffered.Daenerys: They will if their king does. They chose you to lead them. They chose you to protect them. Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?
Okay, we’re not suggesting or getting hints that the Mother of Dragons has some weird Bran-like powers. But that final plea to Jon directly echoes what he told Mance Rayder back in Season 5 when the latter refused to bend the knee to Stannis Baratheon. The King Beyond the Wall got burned alive (until Jon kindly shot him with an arrow to put him out of his misery).
Will Jon repeat history? We know Daenerys has fire power and isn’t afraid to use it.
Looks like we’re a bunch of fools
Not that Jaime Lannister wanted to face the Dothraki in an open field, but that’s basically what happened in the Loot Train Battle. And it’s an outcome former king Robert Baratheon basically had laid out back in Season 1.
“Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field,” the king warned Cersei as he essentially laid out a possible battle plan that Dothraki-backed Targaryens could launch:
Let’s say Viserys Targaryen lands with 40,000 Dothraki screamers at his back. We hole up in our castles. Wise move. Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.They leave us in our castles. They go from town to town, looting and burning, killing every man who can’t hide behind a stone wall, stealing all our crops and livestock, enslaving all our women and children. How long do the people of the Seven Kingdoms stand behind their absentee king, their cowardly king hiding behind high walls? When do the people decide that Viserys Targaryen is the rightful monarch after all?
Cersei was skeptical, saying, “We still outnumber them.” But Robert told her not to underestimate “one army, a real army united behind one leader with purpose.”
Someone’s suddenly into grammar
This is a minor one, but Davos (who’s shaping up to be this season’s comedic breakout) corrects Jon Snow’s grammar in an exchange about the Night King’s forces:
Jon asks: “How many men do we have in the North to fight him? Ten thousand? Less?”
“Fewer,” Davos corrects him.
That’s a callback to grammar stickler Stannis Baratheon, who made this exact correction in front of Davos twice before. Again, lesson learned!
A dagger? You shouldn’t have.
Littefinger gives Bran the dagger — a fancy number made of Valyrian steel — that an assassin used to try to kill him back in Season 1.
In that scene, an unknown assassin fought off Bran’s mom, Catelyn Stark, but Bran’s direwolf kills the guy. Littlefinger claims the dagger belonged to Tyrion, and the whole thing basically sets off the war between the Starks and Lannisters.
Fast-forward to Season 7, and Bran takes the dagger from Littlefinger. But good luck trying sentimentalism with the Three-Eyed Raven; he regifts the weapon to Arya, saying that unable to use his legs, he has no use for it.
Previous Season 7 “Game of Thrones” recaps: