HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 Discussion/Review: “The Last of the Starks”

…You mean we still have more Game of Thrones left after the Battle of Winterfell?!

Oh right, the most hated couple in all of Westeros are still alive. Just look at those smug faces, with their fancy velvet clothes and well-rested armies. This aggression will not stand, man.

As this is the very final stretch of the very final season, we’re going to keep the ravens flying with an open discussion thread. Come join us in drinking the Cersei haterade (i.e. wine), and don’t forget to wear your sunglasses because after last week, your eyes might need to adjust to all this daylight.

As always, all spoilers for show episodes that have aired on HBO, as well as the published books, are fair game in the comments, and we ask that you keep our commenting guidelines in mind and keep the conversation constructive and civil—otherwise, go nuts!

Courtesy of HBO

What we’re still talking about a week later:

  • Keep basking in the glow of Arya as Azor Ahai with these reaction videos.
  • Have you taken the Arya Challenge yet? (Protip: start with your toothbrush before working your way up to a dagger.)
  • One last time for the jerks in the back: Arya Stark is not a Mary Sue. (Because a girl has no name. Duh. But also because she’s had seven seasons of training from some of the best murderers in the entire world, and it ain’t like Jon Snow was going to be voted MVP of the North.)

Reactions post-watch:

Oh dragonballs, things are really at a low point for Team Dany.

No Jorah, no Rhaegal, and no Missandei. No loyal advisors. No adoring crowds. No honeymoon phase with her nephew-boyfriend.

It all really bugs me because I’ve been rooting for Dany since the first episode and I’m really thinking they’re just gonna hand Jon Snow the Iron Throne at the eleventh hour and it’s not sitting well with me. What’s he done that’s been so great since getting named King of the North? He worked hard and fair for that; I wouldn’t take that title away, but he hasn’t been making great decisions since.

It feels like the show is determined to make Dany out to be a corrupted tyrant while also nerfing all the power she has attained. A mediocre dude is getting slapped on the back for riding a dragon; meanwhile, Dany did that four seasons ago, with so much less. She was a better tactician and fighter than Jon at the Battle of Winterfell and no one toasts her.

Why did Rhaegal need to die? The chips were down enough for Jon and Dany’s side with their exhausted army. How did Euron grab Missandei in the chaos of a sea assault and how did Cersei know Missandei was Dany’s bestie and her death would enrage her? It just seemed stupid and a lazy way to fridge Missandei so Grey Worm can be even angrier when he fights next week.

I’m glad her last words were “Dracarys,” because seriously? Why wouldn’t Dany be pissed beyond all measure? She’s sacrificed everything to help the North and they still hate her.

Burn them all.

Courtesy of HBO

Other women in the realm also got ignored or stomped on. Why does no one ever listen to Sansa? She is not wearing her best battle armadillo look to sit around doing embroidery. She is the real Warden of the North. While I think she is way too suspicious of Dany, it makes sense she’d still vote for Jon as king. If they listened to Sansa, Missandei would have her head and Dany would still have two dragons.

Sansa sure is lousy at secrets, though. But so is Jon. Ned kept that secret for decades. Maybe it would’ve been smarter to sort that succession out after Cersei was defeated.

So, yeah, this episode left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Like, not feeling a lot of suspense or surprise for the ending at the moment.

Courtesy of HBO

And then to see Brienne reduced to blubbering over Jaime leaving for King’s Landing? It was a nice love scene between them. I’m still of the mind that he’s going to try to kill Cersei, but why wouldn’t he tell Brienne that and assuage some heartbreak? Why do people hide such pertinent info? It’s so forced.

I’m glad Tormund will be safe Beyond the Wall and that Samwell and a pregnant Gilly will also not be in harm’s way. Cersei is a wonderful villain, but Euron is so terrible, it’s not even fun to hate him. Euron feels like such a slap in the face after we’ve had formidable villains like Joffrey, Ramsay, and Tywin.

But it sure is fun to watch his face as he tries to do the math on Cersei’s pregnancy.

Courtesy of HBO

I’m most looking forward to Arya and the Hound picking up their roadtrip one more time. Sandor was great with both Stark sisters tonight. It broke my heart a little to hear Sandor express regret that Sansa never left King’s Landing with him and for her to acknowledge that she wouldn’t be who she is without her tough life lessons. And I wouldn’t have Arya hanging around a castle as some cute dupe’s wife while the biggest remaining name on her list still draws breath.

Between Jon’s army, Jaime’s confusing boner, Arya’s Needle, and Dany’s flaming rage, I’d be floored if Cersei survives the end of the next episode.

Final thoughts:

  • Tormund getting blocked by two Lannisters was hilarious, if also a little disappointing. You know Tormund wouldn’t have left Brienne.
  • I can only imagine the epic awkwardness of Gendry telling the Hound that he slept with his murder-daughter. I didn’t realize they were such great confidantes.
  • Bran geeking out over a wheelchair design was kinda cute and human. Man, what a sad fate he’s resigned himself to.
  • Bronn gonna Bronn. I wouldn’t count on Highgarden just yet.
  • Varys is such a tough character to like. His talk about who is “the Realm” was very touching, and yet he swore that he wouldn’t plot behind Dany’s back. She was technically not wrong to distrust him, but, again, people act like she’s crazy for this.
  • Next week: How much damage can a Mad Queen do in King’s Landing?

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing, Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast and Den of Geek. Send her a raven via Twitter.

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