This season of Game of Thrones is shorter than previous ones. A lot of people have been worried about getting their fix with such, especially as episode 4 “The Spoils of War” is a shorter episode than normal.  However, pacing has been fantastic and this episode continues to deliver.

The episode starts where the last one ends. Jaime and Bronn are riding out from Tyrell castle with all the pillaged gold, collecting the harvest on their way out. The Iron Banks congratulate Cersi on being able to pay back her debt in a single go and promise to back her in future investments. Things are looking good for House Lannister.

It seems like a slow start, but don’t worry, it has the most amazing ending.

Arya comes home

In Winterfell Arya finally comes home. In a wonderful nod to a previous season, she is stopped at the gates by guards who don’t believe she’s who she says she is. She then creeps the to the crypt to stare at the statue of her father, Ned Stark. It’s here that Sansa finds her and they share an awkward hug. Why does it feel the two sisters aren’t that close?

Littlefinger meets Bran and gives him a Valerian steel dagger. He calls him “Lord Stark” and you can almost see the plotting cogs in his head whirl around. Bran, however, manages to creep him out by repeating to him “Chaos is a ladder” which Littlefinger once said to Lord Varys. Bran’s all seeing visions are great at creeping people out.

Sansa and Arya then meet Bran, who’s hug somehow feels less awkward despite him being almost emotionless. At least we know he has a reason for it. He gives Arya the dagger from earlier. It’s clear he knows what Arya has been through and he has no objections to her killing mission.

Later on, we see Brianne of Tarth and Poddrick practising together in the courtyard. Arya joins and asks to spar with Brianne because she once beat The Hound. Littlefinger and Sansa watch from above. Arya proves herself a true opponent, gracefully dodging Brianne’s attacks and finally catching her with a dagger. This spectacle has clearly unnerved Sansa, whilst Littlefinger smiles coyly.

Dragonstone glass caves

On Dragonstone, Daenerys and Jon meet under the castle where the dragon glass is. Inside Jon shows her carvings from the Children of the Forest. On the walls also show the white walkers. Jon once again pleads for Daenerys to join in the fight. She replies to him she will if he will bend at the knee.

She explains to Jon “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?” – which is another throwback to when Jon once told Mancy Ryder almost the exact same thing.

Upon leaving the cave Daenerys is given more bad news, and she fumes over her failing army. She decides she wants to go straight to Kingslanding and take over but is advised against it by Tyrion. Unable to trust his decisions, she asks Jon what he would do. You can tell in this episode that their respect for each other has grown dramatically and a truly strong allegiance is being formed.

The tables are turned… again

In the climax of the episode, we return to Jaime and his Lannister army. They are tired, not in formation and outside of Kingslanding. Bronn hears the thunder of something big, and they quickly assemble everyone into formation.

From the horizon, the thunder grows louder, mixed now with death cries of the Dothraki. An army of them on horseback comes towards them and the Lannister army takes it position. Then, the dragon appears.

With the dothraki and the dragon, ridden by Daenerys, the battle feels completely one sided. Dragon fire burns men to charred corpses. The Dothraki show no fear and enjoy the fight. Tyrion watches from a vantage point.

Bronn runs towards the new weapon made to kill the Dragons and manages to hit one arrow into Drogon’s shoulder. Drogon stumbles in the air, but quickly finds himself back. He promptly destroys the anti-dragon weapon. Daenerys climbs off and attempts to pull out the lance, unaware that Jaime is behind her ready to charge. Drogon sees him and lets’s out a breath of fire, but Jaime is saved when someone knocks him into the pond just in time.

A very climactic ending, a wonderfully filmed battle. One of the best battles in the series yet. We thought everything had changed last episode, and now the tables have turned once again.