“Game of Thrones” always delivers surprises, tears, and tension. But the battle in “The Spoils of War” rivaled the Battle of the Bastards, because we were seriously conflicted who to root for. Jaime, Bronn, and the Lannister/Tully army? Or Daenerys, Drogon, and the Dothraki?
Going into the battle, we wanted Daenerys to win. But seeing how brutal Drogon’s fire breath is, and seeing Jaime watch his army turn to ash, and blow away, changed things a bit.
The battle, which the “Game of Thrones” showrunners have named The Loot Train Attack, is reminiscent of another battle in Westerosi history, called The Field of Fire. The Field of Fire took place during Aegon I Targaryen’s Conquest of Westeros, and the similarities are uncanny.
Here’s everything you should know about The Field of Fire, and its similarities to The Loot Train Attack:
Centuries before the events of 'Game of Thrones,' Aegon I Targaryen started a campaign to invade Westeros. He wanted to take control over all Seven Kingdoms as the one and only king. The campaign lasted two years, and he won, becoming the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and king on the Iron Throne.
Before the Conquest, Westeros was divided into separate kingdoms, each ruled by a local king:
- Kingdom of the North, ruled by House Stark of Winterfell
- Kingdom of the Mountain and the Vale, ruled by House Arryn of the Eyrie
- Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers, ruled by House Hoare of castle Harrenhal
- Kingdom of the Rock, ruled by House Lannister of Casterly Rock
- Kingdom of the Stormlands, ruled by the House Durrendon of Storm's End
- Kingdom of the Reach, ruled by House Gardener of Highgarden
- Dorne, ruled by House Martell of Sunspear
Some of these names might sound familiar, and some may not.
The Field of Fire was a major battle that occurred during Aegon's Conquest. It was a definitive battle that won the war for the Targaryens.
King Mern Gardener of the Reach and King Loren Lannister of the Rock combined their armies to try and defeat Aegon. They had 60,000 men. Aegon's army was outnumbered with only 10,000. But Aegon won the battle because he brought three dragons: he rode one, and his sisters rode the others.
4,000 men were burned alive by dragons alone, and 10,000 men were so badly burned that they were unable to fight. After the battle, Aegon used the swords of the defeated to make the most uncomfortable chair: the Iron Throne.
The Field of Fire doesn't have an exact location, but it did take place somewhere in the plains south of the Blackwater. In other words: near King's Landing and a body of water, coming from Highgarden.
In the show, Jaime and the Lannister forces start the march back to King's Landing from Highgarden. Although we don't know exactly where the Loot Train Attack took place geographically, either, we know the battle happened within eyesight of mountains and a body of water. And we know that Randyll Tarly said the gold from Highgarden already made it into King's Landing. Our guess: The Loot Train Attack takes place near or in range of where The Field of Fire did.
Targaryen and allies vs. The Rock and The Reach:
In The Field of Fire, Aegon, his sisters, their dragons, and their allies attacked an army of Lannisters and Garderners. By the end of battle, House Garderener was completely destroyed, and The Reach was given to House Tyrell.
In 'The Spoils of War,' Daenerys, Drogon, and the Dothraki ambush an army of Lannisters (The Rock/Westerlands) and Tarlys (The Reach). The Tarlys help the Lannisters take Highgarden in 'The Queen's Justice,' and now represent The Reach since all the Tyrells are dead.
So like The Field of Fire, The Loot Train Attack was a battle between of Lannisters and The Reach versus Targaryen allies/dragon(s).
Aegon's much smaller army of allies consisted of only 10,000 men, and included the ironborn and men from the Riverlands who surrendered to him earlier in the conquest. Daenerys has the Dothraki army at her side, having lost most of her Westerosi allies (Dornish, Tyrells, Greyjoys) to Cersei.
The Field of Fire gets its name from the insane and brutal amount of fire coming from the three Targaryen dragons. 4,000 men were burned to death by the dragons, and 10,000 more were burned so badly that they couldn't fight anymore. On the Targaryen side, less than 100 died.
We don't have numbers for The Loot Train Attack, but it was brutal. Dozens of Lannister men turn to ash and blow away. We're guessing that since Dany only brings one dragon to this fight, it's only a preview of the violence that could come if she throws Rhaegal and Viserion into the mix.
After hearing about The Field of Fire (and the burning of Harrenhal) Torrhen Stark, King in the North, knelt in submission to Aegon rather than fight a battle he couldn't win. In surrendering, Torrhen Stark became Aegon's Warden of the North.
In 'The Spoils of War,' Daenerys Targaryen tells Jon Snow that she will help him fight the White Walkers if he bends the knee, and accepts her as Queen of Westeros. While we don't see that happen on camera, it's sort of implied that it might. In the next scene, Daenerys asks Jon's advice when it comes to her next move in the war with Cersei.
While the similarities aren't exact, the parallels are interesting since they reflect Dany's Targaryen ancestors, who came from the east to Westeros, just like she has. It's also poignant that Jon Snow, representing House Stark, allies with a Targaryen in the same episode.
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