Although not as hyped as the Battle of the Bastards, Game of Thrones' Field of Fire 2.0 in this week's episode, "Spoils of War," featured one of the best battle sequences in modern television ever. The Field of Fire was a battle that happened during Aegon's conquest of Westeros, when Aegon and his two sisters flew their dragons into battle against the Lannisters and the Gardeners. This week, Game of Thrones did a new version of that battle, and after being on the down-low ever since she came to Westeros, Daenerys finally got her first win, while the Lannisters lost a truckload of supplies, many soldiers and their only allies, the Tarlys.
From Dothraki bloodriders stamping on Lannister soldiers to Drogon spitting dragonfire at will, "Spoils of War" delivered over 12 minutes of tension and edge-of-seat anticipation. But while book readers might have anticipated the outcome of that battle, many viewers had no idea what to expect — since the original Field of Fire hasn't featured in the show. However, I can hear the shame bells ringing for all of us, as we should've seen it coming, since we had a warning about it way back in Season 1:
As far as Game of Thrones callbacks go, this one was right on the money, showing that Robert Baratheon was truly a better soldier than he ever was king. His words to Cersei might be the reason why she sought to find allies in the Reach — where Westerosi crops are grown. More to the point, Robert's perception of just how powerful a Dothraki horde was couldn't be more accurate:
"Only a fool would meet the Dothraki on an open field."
Well, according to Tyrion, a fool is exactly what Jaime Lannister is by the end of the battle in "Spoils of War." Granted, Jaime and his forces were ambushed in that field, leaving them with no other option than engaging Daenerys' army, but Jaime himself did have the choice to flee and he opted not to — not only once, but twice, mind you.
Despite all his whoring and drinking, Robert Baratheon seemed to have an amazing knowledge of the Dothraki tactics, and of what Viserys — or, in this case, Daenerys — would do once the sailing to Westeros was over. The late king predicted a lot of pillaging and stealing of crops would preface the siege to King's Landing, and how the people would swiftly change their support once starvation and rape reached the cities. We're yet to see Dany acquire new supporters, but in the Field of Fire 2.0 she destroyed some of the grain that was being transported to King's Landing — even though the gold had safely reached Cersei.
In "Spoilers of War," King Robert's greatest fear came to life, and Daenerys and her khalasar got the best of Jaime and his Lannister forces on an open field. But in his conversation with Cersei, Robert also explained that one is a bigger number than five, if there's one strong leader to rally all the armies at once.
"One army, a real army, united behind one leader, with one purpose."
It's interesting to note that Robert used the word leader, not King or Queen; while Cersei and Dany are keen on winning the battle for the Iron Throne, their armies will never fight side-by-side in such a battle. However, once they both realize that the enemy is the Night King and his army, then they will join forces with Jon Snow and the North in the battle against the Long Night. Strangely enough, Robert also predicted that while everyone has their own purpose, there can be no union.
"We've got as many armies as there are men with gold in their purse, and everybody wants something different."
As Jon spends much of his time and energy South, trying to convince Daenerys to fight for him and the North without him bending the knee, Cersei is thinking about world domination and hiring mercenaries to kill her enemies for her. Meanwhile, up North, the Night King slowly — but surely — creeps up to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, bringing his army of dead with him.
King Robert fought the Mad King, defeated and exiled the Targaryens, and ruled in relative peace for a time. While he wasn't the best king Westeros could have, in hindsight his advice on the Dothraki and the Targaryen children could actually come in handy against the Night King. After all, he predicted the stealing of the crops and the foolishness of trying to beat the Dothraki at their own game; he also understood the importance of having not only a kingdom to rule, but a purpose to drive the kingdoms forward and together. Remember: one army, one leader, one purpose is the only way to save Westeros from its enemies — be them fiery or icy.
Do you think Robert Baratheon's prediction will help Westeros fight off the Night King and his army in Game of Thrones? Write your thoughts in the comment section below.