This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Warning: contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 4.
We’re all busy people with a lot on our minds. A great deal goes on in Game Of Thrones. Sometimes, a mid-episode comfort break is required and your off-brand digibox plays silly buggers when pause is pressed, so you’re forced to miss a bit.
That’s where we come in. Our spoiler-filled review of The Spoils Of War is here, and below is a handy guide to the odd thing or two you may need a refresher on relevant to this week’s thrilling Thrones episode…
What’s the deal with that Valyrian steel dagger Littlefinger gave to Bran?
When Bran was in a coma after Jaime Lannister pushed him out of that window (for catching Jaime and Cersei in flagrante delicto) in season one, an assassin tried to cut his throat using a curved Valyrian steel dagger. Catelyn Stark attempted to fight off the killer, who told her he was performing “a mercy” as Bran was “dead already”, but Bran’s direwolf Summer came to their rescue and ripped out the assassin’s throat.
Catelyn kept the dagger, taking it to Ned at King’s Landing and making enquiries about its owner. Littlefinger told her that it belonged to Tyrion Lannister (he denies this) which caused her to take Tyrion prisoner, which provoked Tywin Lannister to march against the Tullys at Riverrun and escalated the war massively. Littlefinger must have taken the dagger from Ned after he was executed. Why did he give it to Bran? To curry favour, perhaps?
Viewers may have noticed Sam lingering over an illustration of this exact dagger while researching dragonglass at the Citadel in the season seven opener, though its precise relevance has yet to be revealed.
Why is everyone so impressed with Valyrian steel?
It’s all-round brilliant but can also kill Wights, as Jon Snow discovered when he used Longclaw (the Valyrian steel sword of House Mormont, later gifted to Jon with a refashioned pommel in the shape of a Stark Direwolf) to save Ser Jeor Mormont’s life in season one.
The owners of known Valyrian steel swords at present are: Jon Snow (Longclaw), Samwell Tarly (Heartsbane), Brienne of Tarth (Oathkeeper), Jaime Lannister (Widow’s Wail), and now Arya Stark (the dragonbone hilt dagger Bran gave her in this episode).
Why does Littlefinger tell Bran he wants to protect Catelyn Stark’s children?
He knows Bran is powerful, and the rightful heir to Winterfell, so it’s clearly the expedient thing to say. Littlefinger was also in mad, unrequited love with Catelyn Stark ever since their childhood, a passion he’s inappropriately carried over to her daughter Sansa. Not that it stopped him from trading Sansa to the monstrous Ramsay Bolton.
Why does Littlefinger look spooked when Bran tells him “chaos is a ladder”?
Because it’s a line Littlefinger said to Varys in season three, episode six and thereby proof that there are no longer any secrets from Bran, because he sees all in his visions. Bran is warning Littlefinger that as the Three-Eyed Raven, he knows the extent of his plotting. The line comes from a speech Petyr gives about aspiration (“the climb is all there is”), hinting at his own ambitions to the Iron Throne. It’s also when Petyr tells Varys he discovered Ros was spying for the Spider and had her given to Joffrey as target practice for his new crossbow. Presumably, Bran knows all this too.
When did Sansa and Arya last see each other?
The last time the Stark girls were on screen together was at their father’s execution, though Sansa didn’t see her little sister. Sansa was on the stage smiling, having believed Joffrey’s lie that her father would be treated mercifully if he confessed to treason. Arya was crouching beneath the statue of Baelor in the crowd. (Ned Stark’s final act was to save his youngest daughter, who had escaped the soldiers at King’s Landing thanks to the efforts of her swordmaster Syrio, and whom Ned spotted in the crowd and to whose presence he alerted Night’s Watch brother Yoren by repeating “Baelor! Baelor” as he was led past him. Yoren duly transported Arya away from the dangers at King’s Landing… and into untold other dangers.)
Why does Sansa say Jon will be especially pleased to be reunited with Arya?
She was his favorite of the Stark kids. When she wanted to learn to fight, he was the one who had Needle forged by the blacksmith and gave it to her before he left to join the Night’s Watch with the unforgettable advice “stick them with the pointy end”.
Who is still alive from Arya’s kill-list?
Cersei Lannister, Gregor Clandane (aka The Mountain, aka the resurrected Frankenmountain), executioner Ilyn Payne, Melisandre ‘The Red Woman’, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr.
What’s the history with Brienne and vows?
She first swore to protect Renly Baratheon, whom she loved, as a member of his Kingsguard, but when Melisandre and Stannis’ blood magic killed Renly she was forced to flee his camp with Catelyn Stark as both were witnesses to the attack and initially blamed for it. (She eventually got her revenge on Stannis for Renly’s murder when she killed him.)
Recognising Catelyn’s courage, Brienne next swore an oath to protect her, and was tasked with transporting prisoner Jaime Lannister back to King’s Landing to exchange him for the Stark girls. When the Stark girls weren’t found at King’s Landing, Brienne went off in search of them them to fulfil her vow to their mother. She found both at different times, but they refused to come with her. She allowed Arya to escape the Hound and travel to Braavos by defeating him in combat, and later saved Sansa’s life from Ramsay’s soldiers, thus fulfilling her oath.
How long has Meera served Bran?
All the way since season three when she and her brother Jojen (who first taught Bran about warging and greenseer visions) tracked down Bran so they could offer him their protection, on the instructions of the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran and Rickon were fleeing Theon at Winterfell with Hodor and Osha. Meera stayed with Bran ever since, even after Jojen was killed by Wights at the end of season four.
Why did it sound familiar when Dany asked Jon “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?”
Because those were the exact words he spoke to Mance Rayder in season five episode one, when he asked him to bend the knee to Stannis following Mance’s capture at the Battle of Castle Black. The conversation between Dany and Jon in the cave is almost a reversed repeat of Jon’s plea with Mance to pledge his loyalty to Stannis. Like Jon, Mance refused because he said that his people wouldn’t follow a Southern leader.
Remind me who the Children of the Forest were again?
A non-human race (short, big eyes, fey-looking) with greenseer magic who ruled Westeros long before the First Men. They fought with dragonglass weapons (hence their cave art being all over that dragonglass depository underneath Dragonstone) and carved faces into Weirwood trees as places of worship. When the First Men arrived, they cut down the Children’s forests provoking a war between the two races.
In a vision, Bran learned that to fight their war against Men, the Children created a weapon, the Night King, by inserting a dragonglass blade into a man’s heart. The Night King in turn created a race of undead Wights and White Walkers.
After centuries of fighting, the Children and the Men eventually teamed up against the White Walkers and it’s thought that the Children’s magic is what prevents the Night King from passing beyond the Wall. Leaf, who served the previous Three-Eyed Raven, is supposedly the last of the Children of the Forest. She died in the White Walker attack on the Weirwood tree that also killed her master, Hodor and Summer, while Bran Stark and Meera escaped.
Is Ser Davos a grammar pedant?
Not quite, but he learned a thing or two from his time serving Stannis Baratheon, including the correct usage of ‘less’ and ‘fewer’. In season two, Stannis asked Davos if the knuckle bones he wears around his neck (after Stannis chopped them off as punishment for smuggling) bring him luck and Davos told him “It’s four less fingernails to clean”. “Fewer” said Stannis, ever a stickler for correct grammar. Again, in season five, Stannis corrects the same mistake under his breath at Castle Black. And when Jon incorrectly uses “less troops” in this episode, Davos corrects him with “fewer”, a call-back to the last king he served.
Remind me why Jon Snow is so angry at Theon Greyjoy?
Because of Theon’s betrayal of the Starks. At the age of eight, Theon, the last surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, was forced to leave his home on the Iron Islands and live as a ward/hostage of House Stark as punishment for his father’s attempted revolt against the Iron Throne. Theon was therefore raised by Ned Stark and grew up alongside Robb, Jon and the others at Winterfell.
When Ned was executed, Theon swore fealty to Robb Stark as King in the North, but when Robb sent him back to the Iron Islands to secure his father’s support in the war of the Five Kings, Theon instead sided with Balon, who planned to take the North while Robb’s army was busy fighting the Lannisters. With some Ironborn fighters, Theon had the bright idea of invading Winterfell, executing master-at-arms Ser Rodrik Cassel, and pretending to have had Bran and Rickon murdered (in truth, Osha helped the Stark boys to escape by sleeping with Theon – their corpses belonged to two anonymous farm boys). Knowing that Jon wouldn’t forgive him for the betrayal was why Theon parted ways with Sansa following their escape from Ramsay and Winterfell in season six.
read more: Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions and Theories
How did King’s Landing become so heavily in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos?
It’s more or less Littlefinger’s fault. As Master of Coin under Kings Robert and Joffrey, Petyr Baelish was famed for his clever manipulation of finance. When Ned Stark came to King’s Landing he discovered the Iron Throne to in fact be six million gold dragons in debt, most of it to the Iron Bank of Braavos. In season three, when Tyrion Lannister was appointed Master of Coin, he discovered that Littlefinger had simply been borrowing massive sums from the Iron Bank in order to finance the King’s whims.
What is the Golden Company in Essos?
A company of ten thousand mercenaries, or sellswords in the East. Ser Jorah Mormont fought with them following his exile from Westeros before joining up with Daenerys. Davos also urged Stannis to employ them in his bid for the Iron Throne, but stick-in-the-mud Stannis refused. Cersei wants to hire them to boost her own forces against Dany’s rebel alliance.
The more interesting question is what it is that Cersei tells Tycho Nestoris she has already hired them to return to her. What does Cersei think rightfully belongs to her that she doesn’t have?
How did the Dothraki army get from Dragonstone to the reach so quickly?
They travelled on the plot expedience highway. Well that, or super-fast horses.
What’s the command Dany gives to make Drogon breathe fire?
‘Dracarys’, the High Valyrian term for dragonfire. She first uses it when the dragons are just hatchlings in season two, teaching them to breathe fire to cook chunks of meat. The first time she uses it as a kill-command is against Pyat Pree, the warlock who steals her dragons in the season two finale.
That wasn’t the first projectile Dany’s removed from Drogon’s hide, was it?
By no means, though it was the largest. After a long absence, Drogon appeared at the fighting pits towards the end of season five just when the Sons of the Harpy were attempting their latest coup in Meereen. He was punctured by several spears and arrows then, one of which Dany removed from him before she flew him for the first time back to Dothrak.
Is Jaime dead?
He could well be. How much do you think that gold hand weighs? Add that to the weight of his armor and Jaime Lannister makes one heavy load. Will he be able to swim his way upwards, will he be rescued, or did the Kingslayer die attempting to kill another Targaryen ruler?
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