The Internet was abuzz Monday about one thing, and one thing only: Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Episode 4, “Spoils of War”. In the biggest episode this season, HBO’s epic fantasy series Game of Thrones blew critics and fans alike away with its unparalleled scope, thrilling battle scenes, and seamless CGI work.
Critics unleashed a wave of praise onto “Spoils of War” on Monday morning, complimenting the episode’s immensely impressive battle sequence that kept viewers on the edges of their seats. The fire-laden battle, which Game of Thrones creators have dubbed the “Loot Train Attack”, was strongly reminiscent of the infamous Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards episodes in its fight choreography and immersive cinematography. Casual fans of the show were equally as excited about “Spoils of War”: the episode currently sits at a rating of 9.9/10 on IMDB, a score reflected from nearly 25,000 votes by viewers.
Business Insider noted that although “Spoils of War” was the shortest Game of Thrones episode ever, clocking in at a mere 50 minutes, it still managed to prove itself as one of the strongest ones of the series. The episode ended in a massive cliffhanger with Jamie Lannister sinking in a pool of water after being pushed in by somebody (presumably Bronn) who saved him from being scorched by Drogon.
While there is some debate surrounding whether or not Jamie will make it, it’s likely that Jamie survived, considering the writers could have killed him off moments before in a grizzly end by Drogon’s maw. Some speculate that Jamie will end of Daenerys’ prisoner and reunite with Tyrion in the episodes to come.
HBO recounted the extreme lengths everybody involved in the Loot Train Attack scene went through in a behind the scenes video released online. In fact, the episode broke a record for the number of people it set on fire. While it’s speculated that the writers set the most people aflame ever in TV history, it’s a set fact that Game of Thrones had the most stuntmen on fire at once while shooting, with 20 stuntmen on fire at the same time in certain shots.
Though the Loot Train Attack was certainly the most visually impressive moments of the episode, one of the most emotional was the reunion of the Stark children. Jon Snow was absent, but Arya, Sansa, and Bran all had a bittersweet reunion that, while serving as one of the most satisfying plot points of the season, still highlighted how much each of them has changed since the first season and how things can never return to the way they once were.
“Spoils of War” was an episode that no matter where you looked, emotions and risks ran high, from the South’s bloody politics to the North’s fractured House Stark. It begs viewers to ask: with an episode this good, what can possibly be next?
New episodes of Game of Thrones air Sundays, 9pm EST on HBO.