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Game of Thrones 8.04 Review – ‘The Last of the Starks’

May 6, 2019 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
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Game of Thrones 8.04 Review – ‘The Last of the Starks’  

It’s worth taking another moment to recall all that’s been lost to the world of Game of Thrones in recent years. Since the season six finale, we’ve lost many major houses: The Tyrells, Boltons, Freys, Glovers, Umbers, Martells. More recently, we’ve lost the Sand Snakes (pause for no crying at all) and most of the Night’s Watch including Lord Commander Edd. We’ve lost more than half of the Unsullied and nearly all the Dothraki men. Could the Dothraki be yet another culture that completely changes direction once led by women? We’ve also lost the sole purpose of the Lord of Light. Now that we know that Arya is Azor Ahai and that storyline is behind us, what becomes of the rest of the followers? Surely some nights are still dark and full of terrors, right?

There’s lots of joy for the shippers in the first part of episode seventy-one. There’s good news and bad news for Gendry. The only other person who might have had a claim to Storm’s End would be Davos, since it was promised to him by Stannis. His joy at Gendry’s new title tells us Davos is cool with it. His proposal is not surprising, nor was Arya’s reaction. It’s adorable all the same. Tormund’s thirty seconds of heartbreak was hilarious, and it was cool to see him bounce back so quickly — so as not to dampen our joy at what comes next. Yup, it’s the Jaime/Brienne giggity we’ve been wanting since the end of season two. We know that Brienne was a virgin and that Jaime has never been with anyone but Cersei. Adorable. We had to know it would end badly, but it’s been a delightful ride with those two.

If you’ve been shipping Jon and Dany though, you’re not going to be happy. Everything has changed between them now that she knows about his parentage. She’s vaguely suspicious of him. How she ever thought he’d keep something that important as secret is beyond me. Dany craves the love of the people, and is happy to earn it — hence the scene with Gendry. She’d have done well to give holdfasts to Davos, Tormund, Greyworm, and even Varys. But she didn’t.

Notice that in all the drunken revelry at Winterfell, Dany again hears the tale of Jon dying for his people, literally. She listens slyly, and then later tries to seduce a very drunk Jon without mentioning it. Sounds pretty sneaky. Her fears are valid. The North doesn’t love her. She got most of the people who loved her, um ..killed by ice zombies. The North is beginning to rally around him even without knowing of his claim. Jon does have a better claim, and he’s a dude, which until recently was the kind of ruler most people had. We also get a glimpse of the seditious talk that might end up getting Varys killed. Varys kept his word to his Queen, telling her when she’s making a mistake. That’s not going to save him in the end. It probably won’t save either of them.

Bronn was a bit of a surprise. He shows up angry and ready to kill one or both of the Lannister brothers. I honestly didn’t think he would. That’s the guy he pretends to be, not who he really is. Per Tyrion and Bronn’s season one arrangement, Bronn is offered Highgarden in the event that Cersei loses. We’ll just have to see how that loose end winds itself up — though I imagine Bronn will die. In other loose end news, Sam and pregnant Gilly seem to be headed back to Horn Hill. He’ll be the Lord there now, so that’s fun. Tormund is taking Ghost north of what used to be the Wall.

The Hound isn’t interested in lands or titles, or even women. He’s just about wine and resting…so he can trot off to what can only be the Cleganebowl we’ve all been waiting for. We can presume Arya is going along to kill Cersei. But what are the odds that even the Princess who was Promised can kill that many enemies? Then again, while Dany and Jon are about as strategic as Supergirl (who just runs in and punches), Cersei and Arya are both excellent at planning and zeroing in on weaknesses.

As expected, Cersei has told Euron that her baby with Jaime is actually his. She must figure she can get away with that easily by now. Euron didn’t appear to react when Tyrion knew about her pregnancy, which is odd. Cersei has a plan for Daenerys, and I know I don’t want to know what it is. I wouldn’t be surprised to know that Septa Unella and/or Ellaria Sand are still alive somewhere around there. Cersei’s most brilliant maneuver was keeping her army back while Dany let hers get destroyed by the wights. Euron’s attack at sea taking out Rhaegal was a nice bonus for Cersei, though it clearly adds Greyworm to the list of people who want Cersei dead for personal reasons. The sadism and glee in killing that Cersei and Euron show make them ripe for a horrible death before the end of this thing.

Missandei’s death was a tragedy, no question. Her life was short and difficult, and she was so close to actually being able to live a life of her choosing — on her own terms. I didn’t really think she and Greyworm would get their happy ending, but I thought he’s the one who would die. Well played, Game of Thrones, for surprising me yet again. With Rhaegal and Missandei gone, Greyworm may become a less valuable leader. Jorah is gone, as are most of Dany’s allies, and most of her army. Now Jon Snow has a better claim to the throne than she does. Yara Greyjoy took back the Iron Islands, which is cool, but not exactly helpful. Dany’s position is increasingly desperate, and she knows it. Being a terrible strategist with fewer and fewer advisors will no doubt lead to more brutality and errors next week. Not giving her soldiers and dragons time to recoup was a stupid mistake.

Not only do I not think Dany will gain the throne, I don’t think I want her there. Obviously, Cersei shouldn’t be there either. Euron is another big no. So who is alive who would actually be a decent King or Queen?
* Jon, obviously
* Sansa, but she’d never want it or to leave the north
* Arya, same
* Gendry, would need convincing, but a good choice
* Podrick, depending on his parentage

Aside from the question of who will reign, I want to know where Bran went during the Battle of Winterfell. We’ve got to be due for that flashback next week, since I can’t imagine they’d leave it for the finale. I’m trying to guess the ending based on theme. Is the overarching message of the story that women are better rulers than men? Is it that we’re all destined to repeat our mistakes until we learn? Is desire the root of all suffering? Is it ‘don’t’ sweat the small stuff?’ Or that the lone wolf dies but the pack survives? We won’t know the message until we know the ending.

See you’s next week!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
One could argue that none of the deaths in the Battle of Winterfell were surprising. The same cannot be said this week. We watch the living count their blessings, blow off steam, and satisfy all the shippers. Just as we begin to catch our breath, the war and killing pick up where they left off. The thing to notice moving forward is that every last coward is dead.