The Night’s Cast Episode 12: ‘The Spoils of War,’ featuring Joanna Robinson and Sue the Fury!

This scene never, ever gets old.

This scene never, ever gets old.

There’s a lot about Season 7 to raise an eyebrow over, but chances are the epic episode “The Spoils of War” isn’t one of them. And if it is, The Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall, is here to change your mind.

Join Petra, Vanessa, Samantha and very special guests Joanna Robinson and Watchers’ very own fearless leader Sue the Fury this week to talk about the high-octane (sorry…bad fire pun) fourth episode of Seven 7!

The Night’s Cast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

20 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Jack Bauer 24,

      Yeah, me too! “Spoils of War” has one of my (our?) favorite ASNAWP scenes: sparring with Brienne, punctuated by the cool dagger twirl at the beginning and the awesome hand-to-hand dagger flip at the end.

      And Field of Fire 2.0 wasn’t too shabby either.

        Quote  Reply

    2. The hilarity that is the Arya/Brienne sparring. So funny. One is a knight who has been training with swords for probably at least 2 decades or more. The other had a few sessions with a sword master years ago and spend the last few years sweeping floors and hitting with sticks (stick fighting is different from sword fighting) and no training with swords. And they fight to a draw. I was giggling all the way through.

      Dany (beginning of episode): I don’t know how to continue to feed my troops.
      Dany (end of the episode): Oh look at all that food. Lets burn it down.

      Hilarious.

        Quote  Reply

    3. JR:
      I was giggling all the way through.

      In my experience, 99% of the time people say this it isn’t true. Balling your fists in nerd rage more like

        Quote  Reply

    4. JR,
      Just a note… Since the show aged her up seemingly quite a bit it doesn’t mean much regarding the topic, but book!Brienne is roughly only 20 years old at the end of ADwD. She was born around 280 AC so that means she is just slightly older than Robb, Jon and Daenerys and a year or two younger than Theon. Just as her show version she’s long-limbed and rather lumbering. She trained to fight and scrap with a longsword in armor and probably never faced many using an alternate fighting method. (ref. the Mountain vs Viper)

      On you viewpoint of Arya’s training it is true that her abilities seem greater than what they should be ON THE SHOW. That falls back on the conversations regarding the skimming over and abbreviating her time in Braavos. All I can really say about that is that they want the viewers to believe that she has been fully trained and has continued to train herself at all times. Having said that, she really didn’t do anything fantastical during her sparring with Brienne that was all that unbelievable. She dodged, parried and used her quickness – all of which was part of her training with staffs.

        Quote  Reply

    5. JR,

      For me it was surprising because I though Arya was primarily an assasin not a combat specailist – although these are not mutually exclusive.

      It made me wonder if we were to assume that Arya would be a challenge to two-handed Jaime or to the Hound. Brienne fought then both (albeit when they were weakened) and won.

      It made Brienne’s whole story of training since she was a young with a maester look a bit shady. Anyway, the event was not very flattering to Brienne. Good to establish Arya though.

        Quote  Reply

    6. I didn’t have a problem with the sparring fight with Brienne/Arya.

      It’s not hard for me to believe that Arya had more training than the handful of scenes we got to see. Does everything need to be spoon fed to us all the time? Common sense should tell us that more happened during her training sessions than what we saw. We never saw Jon Snow learning how to sword fight in the show, but we were told he was a great fighter because of his training with Ser Rodrick. Are we supposed to scoff every time he fights now too?

      However, I will say that Arya couldn’t beat the Waif in combat until she relied on her experience with being blind to help give her an advantage in the dark. If Arya is such a great fighter than she probably should’ve been able to beat the Waif easily, unless, of course, the Waif happened to be the best fighter in Essos. I think there was some inconsistency there, but nothing that was hard to get past. of course, YMMV.

        Quote  Reply

    7. Mango:
      JR,

      For me it was surprising because I though Arya was primarily an assasin not a combat specailist – although these are not mutually exclusive.

      It made me wonder if we were to assume that Arya would be a challenge to two-handed Jaime or to the Hound. Brienne fought then both (albeit when they were weakened) and won.

      It made Brienne’s whole story of training since she was a young with a maester look a bit shady.Anyway, the event was not very flattering to Brienne. Good to establish Arya though.

      Well said, Mango. Brienne is still great. She was holding back a bit, using a blunt training blade, and taken by surprise. They had a delightful draw when Littlefinger showed up and set them off. And Arya is pretty good by now.

      JR, since we’ve seen countless (maybe 30?) scenes of Arya practicing weapons since 1.01 and with a sword since 1.02, we knows she’s fiercely dedicated to practice. And learns quickly. Her mantra is Syrio’s: “Every hurt is a lesson and every lesson makes you better.” When Ned said they should leave KL, Arya protested because she was finally getting good. Arya also has closely watched every master swordfight she saw; Gendry even had to pull her back during Beric v. Hound. Nothing stops her–remember her telling Sansa about the tedious process of secretly teaching herself to hit the bullseye? Moreover, even in 7.04 she wanted even MORE practice, which is why she asked Brienne, the best swordsman she knew, to train with her. It is entirely realistic that she could hold her own for two minutes with Brienne. FWIW, Maisie took combat training before S8 filming. That may sound ludicrous, but at Con of Thrones Tommy Dunne, GoT weapons master, said the two most talented fighters were Nikolaj and Maisie

      IMO it’s likely she’ll kill the Mountain, probably finishing him off after Sandor is badly wounded. Her brief spar against Brienne has made that more believable to viewers. With her accurate thrust, she’ll easily strike through those enormous eyeholes in his helmet. I’m far from alone in thinking this. Recently, YouTuber Bridge4 did a well-documented video on the Mountain’s fate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62exG9Th2qw&t=31s

        Quote  Reply

    8. Stark Raven' Rad: IMO it’s likely she’ll kill the Mountain, probably finishing him off after Sandor is badly wounded.

      I’m going to continue to hope for my scenario all the way up to when it’s not possible anymore. That scenario being that Sandor simply steps aside for ASNAWP (not wanting to be one to get in Arya’s way) rather than fight himself at what would be a Cleganebowl. (I have no big desires for a Cleganebowl in the first place so I’d rather make it more interesting if something HAS to happen.)

        Quote  Reply

    9. Just saying it’s finally under 60 days to go!! 59 and counting…
      Faceless men and women are experts in poison (poison darts, etc).. Arya very well might defeat the mountain. She doesn’t have to use brute force. She could blow one (or maybe 5 or 6) of those poison dart things like Jaqen used. But I’m guessing it’s very likely she will come to Sandor’s aid and use sword work with needle and possibly her dagger. A needle shot to the mountain’s eye and then cutting his throat with the dagger could do the trick. That would help complete her arc from wanting Sandor dead to actually helping him stay alive. And the mountain is on her list after all.

      The Spoils of War has to rank up there with one of my favorite episodes. So many great scenes. Jaime’s charge, Arya’s duel. It was a complete surprise to me that Matt Shakman ended up being one of my favorite directors.

        Quote  Reply

    10. Clob,

      Yes. Oberon vs. Gregor was a good example of how quickness and skill can overcome brawn and brute strength.
      Similar to Bronn vs. that armored Ser WhateverHisNameWas at Tyrion’s trial in the Vale.

      Also, a few things that Arya learned from her mentors along the way:
      • “You are skinny. That is good! The target is smaller.” – Syrio F.
      • (not verbatim): “It [Needle] may not hack a man’s head off, but it can poke him full of holes if you’re quick enough.” – Jon Snow
      “I can be quick.” – Arya S1e2
      “You sure f*cking can.” – TB
      • The Hound taught her that even with her twirling and “water dancing” getting her close enough to strike, thrusting a sword into an opponent’s torso (covered with leather or metal armor) is rarely effective. The Hound’s smack across the face made sure she remembered that lesson. (“Every hurt is a lesson, and every lesson makes you better”, right?)

      That’s why ASNAWP learned to strike opponents’ exposed areas like the neck, throat, hands, kneecaps and other joints, as demonstrated during her sparring with Brienne.

      By the way, as for Arya vs. The Waif, most if not all of those bouts were while Arya was blind. So those aren’t comparable.

      In any event, adversaries who underestimated ASNAWP because of her sex and size lived to regret it – or should I say, didn’t live long enough to regret it, e.g., the Frey doofus at the campfire in S3e10 [punctured neck]; Meryn F*cking Trant [gouged eyeballs and filleted upper chest]; Polliver [pierced throat]; Rorge [impaled heart]; and Walder Frey [Pez Dispenser throat slice]. Not to mention those she had at Needle-point or sword-point and could’ve easily killed like Hot Pie (in S1e10), Joffrey in S1e2?, and Jaqen 2.0 at the end of S6. (I’m not including Littlefinger because slicing that whimpering jackass’ jugular vein was way too easy.)

      There’s been nothing “laughable” about Arya’s skill and progress. She takes martial arts seriously. The very first time we saw her (in S1e1), she zinged an arrow into the bullseye from far away after Bran kept missing from closer up. That dagger twirl and dagger flip in S7e4 (which really was Maisie) showed that Arya takes the time to practice and become proficient with weapons at her disposal, while taking advantage of her own quickness as well as her opponents’ underestimation of her abilities due to her diminutive stature.

      There are demonstrable, canonical justifications for Arya’s entitlement to be known as the Super Ninja Assassin Warrior Princess. (Sorry talvikorppi.)

      👸🏻

        Quote  Reply

    11. Stark Raven' Rad,

      The possibilities are limitless.

      I’m proceeding under a few assumptions, though I haven’t the slightest idea what they’ll lead to:

      • You don’t hang a Chekhov’s Valyrian Steel dagger on the hip of a skilled combatant unless she’s going to use it for something huge in the final act.

      I don’t believe for one minute that killing LF was the reason Arya wound up with that knife. She could’ve killed LF with a chicken bone. (*”I’d pay good money to see that”, says voice of Sandor in my head*). Or with Needle. Or with her pinky. I’m not sure if FrankenGregor is a synthetic wight such that Valyrian Steel or dragonglass would turn him into pixie dust. (Though I have been wondering if NK can hack into Gregor and reprogram him to join the AotD.)
      On the other hand, it’s conceivable that the threat Arya once made to Sandor, “Someday I’m going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull” will be transferred to Gregor.

      • As an uneducated non-book reader (who’s only read a few classic snippets from the published books, e.g., the “Broken Man” speech and Arya’s “Needle was Jon Snow’s smile” internal monologue, and the pre-released TWOW “Mercy” chapter posted on GRRM’s blog), I’m speculating that while GRRM had Arya’s end game mapped out and conveyed the details to the showrunners, he had not yet developed any of her story line between flunking out of FM Murder School in Braavos, and her actions in the end game. It seemed to me that to give Arya something to do, the showrunners modified and transferred to Arya the books’ Lady Stoneheart vs. House Frey extermination, as well as Lord Manderly’s hinted-at “Frey Pies” Then, Arya effectively disappeared and the showrunners inserted her as a supporting character in the Sansa vs. LF story line, along with the underwhelming purloined letter/sisterly squabble detour.

      • This is NOT a Sansa bashing; I just felt that the showrunners decided on their own to make Sansa a “major player” in the North in S6 and S7, instead of having her hanging out in the Vale and doing whatever it was GRRM had her doing there. (Somebody mentioned something about “tummy flutters”…)

      • However, I’m surmising that Arya is at least positioned where she’s supposed to be to play a central role in the denouement of the series. I’d be shocked if she’s not a central, active character in S8, while Sansa “rides the pine” (sorry about the baseball terminology) and takes a back seat in S8, doing her administrative stuff as Lady of WF and maybe getting pulled into some sideshow with Cersei. I’m presuming that Sansa got more then her expected share of screen time in S6-S7 to fill the void left by GRRM, but now its Arya’s time to shine – or as they say in the vernacular, ASNAWP time!

      • Seriously, Arya’s got too many loose threads that need to be tied up, including reunification with Jon; reconciling her conflicting emotions about Sandor; putting all of her skills she’s learned to work in the battles to come; possibly meeting up with Gendry, Melisandre and Nymeria; and (at least from my perspective), serving as the audience’s moral compass for the resolution of the quandaries Dany, Jon & Co. will likely face in S8.

      It’s time for the Wolf Girl to take center stage again.

        Quote  Reply

    12. We get it ladies you like Dany but come on some of those comments for those of us don’t are a tad inflammatory. By all means have an opinion and I respect that but felt at times some of the commentary today would just lead to flame wars.

      Ps I still love and appreciate the podcast:)

        Quote  Reply

    13. Clob:

      Just a note… Since the show aged her up seemingly quite a bit it doesn’t mean much regarding the topic, but book!Brienne is roughly only 20 years old at the end of ADwD.

      On you viewpoint of Arya’s training it is true that her abilities seem greater than what they should be ON THE SHOW.

      The books don’t matter. This is an episode of the show that has nothing to do with the books. So the only thing that matters is what’s in the show. Brienne is easily in her 30’s and Arya hasn’t been practicing with a sword for years. That’s all that matters to me in regards to judging their skill. If Brienne was holding back, a lot, then maybe. But this scene was clearly meant to be a ‘badass Arya’ montage therefor Brienne wouldn’t be holding back. Otherwise Arya isn’t a badass.

      Stark Raven' Rad:

      JR, since we’ve seen countless (maybe 30?)scenes of Arya practicing weapons since 1.01 and with a sword since 1.02, we knows she’s fiercely dedicated to practice. And learns quickly.

      Nothing stops her–remember her telling Sansa about the tedious process of secretly teaching herself to hit the bullseye?

      Arya had a few lessons with Syrio and what she learned there she practiced. We haven’t seen her learn anything more than that in regard to sword fighting. Moreover she spend the last two years stick hitting, not sword fighting. If Arya was actually up against a knight in a real fight, she would lose. Her little Needle is useless unless she can hit where there is no armor. Speed is nice and all but she lacks height and strength. Besides she is supposed to be an assassin…they don’t do direct fighting like this.

      And Arya’s little story was complete revisionist history. Considering that D&D and their writers clearly watched S1 again (considering all the callbacks) and still got most things wrong, I guess it’s no surprise. The very first scene of the Starks showed us that Arya was already proficient with a bow while Bran just seemed to be starting out. Yet in S7 we are told that Bran was apparently being taught and Arya decided to teach herself at the same time. That’s not what we were shown back in S1. Bran didn’t even know how to hold the bow so I guess Arya became an expert bow woman in a week.

        Quote  Reply

    14. Brienne: “Who taught you how to do that?”

      Arya: “No one”

      You quoted a lot from this episode, but this one was missed. My favorite one-liner from the entire season. Awesome episode. Thanks for constantly getting me through my work morning.

        Quote  Reply

    15. Sue the Fury,

      OK Sue, like I say I generally love the content and respect your opinions (and the right to have them) I was just fearful of the consequences and in fairness there doesn’t appear to have been any blow back.

        Quote  Reply

    16. I would be interested in an episode about Daenerys! The discussion surrounding her character is so polarized at the moment that constructive debate is no longer possible. It seems that you either have to hate her or love her, there is no middle ground and this frustrates me.

      It would be a refreshing change if you invited a speaker from ‘the other side’ (who believes that she might do something unforgivable/become an antagonist) and have a rational, well-argued discussion about Daenerys character in the show, her story-arch, the actions she takes and how both speakers have come to such different conclusions about Daenerys Targaryen.

      I think that many of those who root for her will admit that her actions can be problematic (you mentioned the white savior imagery) while those who are not a fan should acknowledge that there is good in her (she really wants to do the right thing).

      It’s just…people are so defensive on both sides (It was very noticeable on the podcast when you were talking about the battle scene) that this common ground is often obscured as are the nuances of her character and this is a pity.

      So yes!!! Such a Dany episode would be very cool. 

        Quote  Reply

    17. When you talked about the battle scene, for a moment you stopped analyzing or commenting and started just defending Daenerys.

      With regard to the burning of the food I agree that, given the overall quality of the season, you might be right: they wanted the ‘cool’ visuals. However in earlier seasons or in the books something like burning food when there are shortages would have been significant, we are taught by the show to look at the details! So it is not unreasonable for people to attach significance to this event and try to interpret it on the basis of the information we are given.

      Far from all of these interpretations are negative: I’ve seen people argue that she wished to incite fear in the enemy soldiers without killing them, others see this as an illustration of the difference between Daenerys and Sansa. But even then the negativity varies, ranging from Dany is foremost a conqueror, has problems planning ahead, takes impulsive decisions to she is a horrible person.

      It is a pity when the debate is reduced to the extremes, certainly with regard to a character that as complex as Daenerys.

      I think it is a different matter when you address the fact that people change their opinion about the Fire and Blood rhetoric. You are correct that she was perfectly in her right to use dragons during the battle. However I believe the show deliberately invites the viewers to question the Fire and Blood approach in a way it did not before. It is easy to be all for Fire and Blood in a fight against slavers it is a different matter when you are invested in characters on both sides of the battle.

      The majority of the scene is filmed from the perspective of Jaime looking around him seeing his men being slaughtered in a brutal manner. They force us to see the consequences of combat/fire and blood from up close through the eyes of Jaime. It is the impact on him (and the distress of Tyrion) that highlights the horrors of war and causes (some) people to question the use of extreme violence. I think this was the intended response.

      Moreover it is precisely this kind of questioning/ambiguity which attracts me to the show.

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *