Even for Game of Thrones, the moment in “The Spoils of War” when Daenerys swept onto the battlefield astride a dragon was particularly spectacular. It marked a pivotal moment when the series finally cashed in its chips and — after six-plus seasons of teasing how fearsome dragons are and how ambitious the Dragon Queen is — showed us how one-sided and unrelenting an attack by dragon can be. Daenerys, Drogon, and the Dothraki army unleashing bloody hell beneath them has now decimated Jaime Lannister’s army, to the point where Cersei will almost certainly have to rebuild her forces from scratch.
But for a battle whose entire purpose was to show off the devastating power that Daenerys can tap into if she truly wants to dominate the war for Westeros, it sure avoided killing — or even significantly injuring — any character of actual consequence.
And that was its unforgivable flaw.
Sure, the firefight was cool and technically thrilling. But it fell short of becoming one of Game of Thrones’ most impactful moments because it didn’t commit to one of the hardest, most crucial truths about war: People die.
It was certainly convenient that Daenerys managed to roast an army of nameless men. But the battle would’ve been more devastating, and much more powerful, if it had also claimed the life of a character we’ve come to care about — and in “The Spoils of War,” the most obvious candidate for such a death was Bronn