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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Game of Thrones 8x04: The Last of the Starks


Opening Credits Map

Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

Winterfell
The battle against the Night King and his army of the undead is over. Winterfell still stands, barely. Daenerys still has two dragons and an army (diminished but still strong) behind her. All she needs to do is march down to King's Landing and take out Cersei. Should be smooth sailing, right? Well...if you think that then you haven't been watching Game of Thrones very long.

We start at a mass funeral pyre. We see rows of bodies waiting to be burned. I believe they're sectioned off by army. Jon Snow makes a pretty good speech about the sacrifice they made and the gratitude the entire world owes them. Then the fires are lit.

At first I thought the respective leaders of each army/family was doing the lighting. Like, Daenerys lit Jorah and, I believe, the Dothraki. Tormund lit the wildlings. Sansa burned Theon and presumably Winterfell. Jon Snow was burning the Mormonts but since that line is over it kind of made sense he did it. But then Sam and Arya are out there and I know they had personal connections to Edd and Beric respectively but I'm not sure who they're burning with those people and if they're the best ones to do it.

But let's move on because that's what Winterfell is doing as they celebrate their victory with a night of drinking. However, Gendry is only concerned with finding Arya. The Hound chides him for thinking of sex when the bodies were just freshly buried...er...burnt. When Gendry objects saying it's not about sex the Hound then chides him for not trying to get some since the dead are dead and Gendry isn't. Geeze, this Hound guy, you can't win against him!

Gendry tries to leave to find Arya but is interrupted by Daenerys. She, of course, brings up that his father lead a revolt and took the throne from her father. Gendry is a bit nervous but Daenerys is cool with it and grateful for his help in preparing for and participating in the battle. Gendry is rewarded with being named Gendry Baratheon and becoming Lord of Storm's End. Gendry is psyched and everyone in the hall cheers him. Tyrion quietly notes that Daenerys has now gained a loyal ally.

Later, Davos talks with Tyrion about the Lord of Light bemoaning the fact that they fought and won his war and now he fucks off. I mean, was it his war? Or was the Night King waging war on humans and the Lord of Light was helping? Either way, Tyrion tries to move on from the subject of religion and normally that would track for me except, it's kind of weird to have literal proof of a god and see their power and influence but not really want to discuss that god's motives or whether you should dedicate your life to them or something.

Speaking of higher beings and confusing motives, Tyrion then talks with Bran about being Lord of Winterfell. Shocking nobody, Bran dismisses the idea. He doesn't want to be Lord of Winterfell. He doesn't want anything. Tyrion is jealous but Bran says he shouldn't be.

Next Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, and the Clit Commander are playing a drinking game where you guess something about a person and if you're right then they have to drink. Brienne has a weird look on her face but I think it's just because she's drunk? Or maybe she's nervous around Jaime, who's doing the questioning. Everything is going well until Tyrion asks if Brienne is a virgin. Things get awkward from there and Brienne storms off (because she totally is, tee hee!).

Tormund is drunk and talking in amazement about Jon Snow's dragon riding. Daenerys is sad, however. She's thinking of kings and succession and doesn't want to be caught unaware.

Sansa finds the Hound and talks with him. Hell, I forgot about the time when he was her bodyguard. The Hound says he could've protected her from Little Finger and Ramsey. Sansa says if it weren't for them she wouldn't be who she is today. That feels...really...problematic.

Gendry finds Arya practicing her archery which is her way celebrating, apparently. I mean, I think even Tom Brady has a few drinks after winning the Super Bowl before going back to throwing footballs through tires the next day. But to each their own, I guess.

Gendry tells her the news of him becoming a lord and Arya is excited for him. He says he'll need a Lady of Storm's End and wants Arya to be it. Arya is less excited. Gendry proposes and Arya gives him the "oh, honey, bless your heart!" look. She lets him down as easy as she can. She doesn't want to be a lady. She has bigger fish to fry.

Brienne is getting ready for bed when Jaime busts in with wine demanding that she drinks. Brienne is confused but Jaime said she was supposed to drink because of the drinking game. Obviously, this is really about Jaime just wanting to knock boots with Brienne, which he accomplishes.

Speaking of knocking boots, Jon Snow and Daenerys are about to follow Brienne and Jaime's lead. Daenerys becomes hesitant, though. I assumed it's because she remembered they're aunt and nephew but, no, it's because she's concerned about people liking Jon Snow and that he's the rightful heir to the throne. Jon Snow says it doesn't matter and, eventually, promises to never tell anyone about it.

Daenerys holds a war council. Daenerys wants to sack King's Landing and get Cersei. Tyrion notes that the idea is not to murder innocents on the way to overthrowing Cersei. They decide upon creating a blockade to starve the citizens (which I'm sure will result in no civilian deaths) until the citizens revolt and overthrow Cersei themselves. Daenerys agrees despite her obvious blood lust.

Sansa says the Winterfell army is tired and they need to rest. Daenerys wants to know for how long but Sansa is non-committal. Jon Snow says Winterfell is loyal to Queen Daenerys and they'll march to King's Landing. Sansa and Arya are visibly unimpressed with Jon Snow.

At the creepy tree Sansa and Arya confront Jon Snow (with Bran spectating). They understood him kneeling to Daenerys in order to help against the White Walkers. Now they think he should turn his back on her. They don't trust her. I'm not sure why they don't trust her. Do they think she'll betray Winterfell? Why would she do that? She needs all the allies she can get! Or do they think she's a bad leader? Or that she'll go mad like her father? Well if that's the case, then double crossing her probably isn't the best idea, especially when she still has two dragons at her disposal.

Anyway, Jon Snow says they're loyal to Daenerys and that's that. Sansa and Arya tell Jon Snow that they all are the last of the Starks and they have to stick together like their father would've wanted. Saying the magic words Jon Snow must now confess that Ned Stark isn't really his father. Jon Snow couldn't even make it a day without breaking his promise to Daenerys.

Tyrion and Jaime gossip about their sex life when Bronn comes storming in with a crossbow. Winterfell security must be pretty lax since the battle. Bronn says he's being offered the Riverrun in exchange for killing them. Tyrion counters with Highgarden. Jaime is skeptical of Bronn being Lord of Highgarden but Tyrion thinks it's their only choice. Bronn accepts Highgarden and apparently just trusts that they're going to keep their word and not sick guards on him immediately after he leaves.

Sansa watches Daenerys' dragons when Tyrion comes to talk with her. Sansa's skepticism of Daenerys is palpable. Tyrion attempts to calm Sansa down saying Daenerys will be a good queen and, since Jon Snow will be busy shagging her in King's Landing, Sansa will be the true power in the North. Sansa is still skeptical at how well this will work out, especially after realizing that Tyrion fears Daenerys as much as he respects her. Naturally this all culminates with Sansa telling Tyrion about Jon Snow's heritage. Can no Stark keep a secret?

It's time for some good byes. Tormund and the Wildlings are heading back North. They're taking that budget sink Ghost with them. It's too expensive for Jon Snow to even give Ghost goodbye pets.

Jon Snow then says good bye to Sam and Gilly who are headed to, presumably, Horn Hill. It turns out Gilly is pregnant. You get it, Sam! They vow to name the child Jon if it's a boy. Jon Snow is happy for them and gives Sam one last(?) tearful hug.

Later, Jaime gets updates on Cersei and Daenerys. He gets deep in thought and, while he seemed genuinely happy with Brienne, he decides to go to Cersei. Brienne tries to stop him but Jaime goes over how much he loves Cersei and all the things he did for her. Brienne, instead of saying "Wait, you through a freakin' child out the window!?" weeps as Jaime leaves Winterfell.

On The Road
The Hound is riding towards King's Landing when his alone time is interrupted by Arya. They're both headed to King's Landing to settle some unfinished business and neither expects to come back. They start riding together in what I can only assume will be mutually gruff silence. Well, aside from the part I'm sure happens where Arya tells the Hound about Jon Snow because that's what Starks do.

On The Sea
Daenerys is flying over her fleet as they head to Dragonstone. Aboard the boat Missandei and Greyworm hold hands, clearly in love and clearly not seeing the jinx they're putting upon themselves. Sure enough, as Daenerys is riding Drogon, her other dragon, Rhaegal gets killed by a couple scorpion bolts.

So, somehow Euron managed to hide an entire fleet of ships behind some tall rocks to the point that not even Daenerys on her dragon could see them. Whatever. Daenerys is pissed and flies at the boats but the reload times for a scorpion is ridiculous because they're already ready to fire more at her.

Daenerys decides to retreat instead of, I dunno, maneuvering around the boats and burning them from behind. But, the scorpions are more than just anti-aircraft weapons. Euron and the rest of the boats point their super, ultra weapons at Daenerys' fleet and open fire, utterly destroying the boats. Apparently Daenerys and company had no clue that anyone may try to attack them at any point.

The crew and most principals swim to shore. Grey Worm yells for Missandei but Missandei is nowhere to be found. Never flaunt your happiness in Westeros.

Dragonstone
Daenerys is pissed. She wants to take her remaining dragon and her army and rip King's Landing to shreds. Varys advises against this. Daenerys says she's come to Westeros to rid it of tyrants and she doesn't care who she has to kill in the process to do so. I guess self-awareness isn't a Targaryen trait. At least Tyrion convinces Daenerys to give Cersei a chance at surrender.

In private, Tyrion and Varys discuss Daenerys. Varys fears she's going mad. Tyrion thinks they must be loyal to Daenerys. Varys says Jon Snow is "temperate and measured" and all the people love Jon Snow and he's a child of the North and the South. Varys thinks he'd be the perfect ruler. Tyrion isn't comfortable with treason.

King's Landing
Euron and his stupid face brag about killing the dragon. Cersei then tells Euron of the baby "they're" pregnant with. We also learn that they took Missandei captive. How or why they knew she was important enough to be taken captive, I don't know. Heck, I know there's a personal relationship, but objectively I don't know why Daenerys is so concerned about Missandei. As far as this battle is concerned, Missandei seems expendable.

At the walls of King's Landing Daenerys and her army stand, with many scorpions and archers pointed at them. Qyburn comes out to meet with Tyrion. Tyrion demands Cersei's unconditional surrender and Missandei's (who is currently tied up in front of Cersei atop the castle wall) release. Qyburn says Cersei demands Daenerys' surrender or Missandei dies.

Tyrion decides to cut out the middleman and walks straight to the wall to talk to Cersei. Cersei has her archers summarily execute Tyrion. I'm kidding...even though it's out of character for her not to. No, Tyrion is allowed to speak.

Tyrion pleads with Cersei saying there's no way she can win. He asks her to surrender in order to spare her life and the life of her unborn child. Euron does not question how Tyrion already knows about this unborn child.

Cersei, to the surprise of no one, doesn't surrender. Instead Missandei is decapitated by zombie Mountain. But what's REALLY important is that Grey Worm is super sad about this!

Other Thoughts
So Daenerys is going crazy, right? The signs are all over this episode. Whether this has been set up in earlier seasons (beyond just knowing her dad went crazy) is debatable in my opinion. But the larger problem is that there are three front runners for ruling Westeros. Two are women and one is a man and the women are being portrayed as too emotional and overly vindictive while the man is being described as "temperate and measured" by two of the most credible characters in the series. That's a bad look. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this show boiling itself down to "bitches be crazy, yo!"

Speaking of problematic elements, Sansa nearly endorsing the rape and assault she had to endured because it made her stronger doesn't look good either. There's a way to script the dialogue to say that she hates what happened to her and wishes it didn't but she won't let it define her or bring her down and move forward from it stronger. Or something. Anything would've better than what they had gone with.

Speaking of problematic elements...again...Game of Thrones unceremoniously offed their only prominent woman of color. I chided the character for not being all that important (overall to the war) but that doesn't mean, in a meta text, she isn't important to the show. To make matters worse, her death was mostly used as a vehicle for Grey Worm's emotions.

Arya and Sansa seemed to be making a big deal out of them being the last of the Starks. Frankly, with four of them still alive (if you count Jon Snow) they're doing a lot better than most other noble houses!

Brienne is a virgin when she's been around Podrick the human amusement park for how long? How could she not take a ride on Space Mountain!

I assume the Hound wants to take on zombie Mountain but I’m not sure what Arya is up to. I’d assume killing Cersei but I have trouble believing, narratively speaking, that Arya will kill both the Night King and Cersei.

Also, why is Arya not coming back? Does she expect to die or is she going to head to Braavos after she does whatever it is she does?

I wonder how well the people in the back heard Jon Snow's speech.

I really wish we could see some of the characters this episode react to hearing the news of Jon Snow's parentage.

I feel like Missandei had a chance at grabbing Cersei and throwing her over the wall. It probably wouldn't work but after she knew she was going to be executed why not go for the hail Mary?

Yes, I missed the coffee cup. It's silly, sure, but not really a big deal. Am I the type of person to point out that however much HBO spent editing this cup out could have be used on countless other charitable causes? Yes, yes I am.

Yeah, I'm calling BS on the scorpions. I question their reload time, accuracy, the aerodynamics of the bolts, the force needed to propel these bolts with standard strings, almost everything. But I'm no scientition but plot-wise I don't mind them being good dragon defense but making them into a super weapon seems a bit too much.

Apparently in the South marrying your aunt is cool but in the North it's frowned upon...no comment.

So is this the last we'll see of Tormund, Sam, Gilly, Podrick, Gendry, Brienne, and/or Bronn?

So something weird happened and my post for the last episode (The Long Night) is now in the ether. I don't need to go over my entire writing process but I have a lot of it still saved but some of it isn't. I'm not sure how many people care but that's why if you look for that review you won't find it. At some point I hope to try and recreate the post as best as possible but it won't be the same (unless somebody miraculously saved the post as an e-mail or something like that).

Tyrion: May I speak?
Bronn: Why not? Only death will shut you up.

Varys:I worry about her state of mind.
Tyrion: We are advisers to the queen. Worrying about her state of mind is our job. We still have to take King's Landing. Maybe Cersei will win and kill us all.

Season 8 Totals
Boob Count: 7
Full Frontal Count: 0
Butt Count: 4
Coitus Count: 3
Main Character Death Count: 8 (Edd, Beric, Lady Mormont, Theon, Jorah, Melisandre, Missandei (now I don't have to confuse the two names anymore!), Rhaegal)

4 comments:

  1. Doctor, I haven't had much to say, but I've been enjoying your takes on this (overly rushed and mostly unsatisfying) season as always. I just watched episode 5 last night and I look forward to seeing what you have to say!

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  2. Shocking nobody, Bran dismisses the idea. He doesn't want to be Lord of Winterfell. He doesn't want anything. Tyrion is jealous but Bran says he shouldn't be.

    I remain curious as to whether all this "Bran doesn't care about anything" stuff is going somewhere...or even if Bran as a character is going anywhere at this point. Once upon a time, I'd think this was setting something up, but in today's accelerated GoT world, who knows?

    Next Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, and the Clit Commander are playing a drinking game where you guess something about a person and if you're right then they have to drink.

    Which is the same drinking game Tyrion played with Bronn & Shae before the Battle of the Green Fork in Season 1.

    Tormund is drunk and talking in amazement about Jon Snow's dragon riding.

    While Dany, who also rode a dragon repeatedly, including one time when she rode a dragon to save Tormund's ass, is standing right there. Not a good look for the usually gender-positive Tormund.

    Jon Snow says it doesn't matter and, eventually, promises to never tell anyone about it.

    I may be misremembering, but I feel like Jon did that think where you cover your mouth to obscure what you're saying, like he neither confirmed nor denied he would ultimately tell anyone.

    They decide upon creating a blockade to starve the citizens (which I'm sure will result in no civilian deaths)

    I think Tyrion's goal isn't so much to prevent all civilian casualties as it is to limit them. Also, if those King's Landing people don't want to die, maybe they shouldn't have been born into a backwards society in which institutional forces beyond their control put them down into a position of limited power, huh?

    Can no Stark keep a secret?

    Ned did, for like 17 years. Didn't even tell his wife, even though it would have stopped her from hating on Jon. Sansa spilled it in like 17 minutes. That was definitely Sansa using her Littlefinger upbringing, not her Stark background.

    It's too expensive for Jon Snow to even give Ghost goodbye pets.

    YOU MONSTERS! GHOST IS THE BEST BOY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a good look for the usually gender-positive Tormund.

      Not to mention that Tormund is of the freefolk! He and his people have never been about rulership: hereditary nor consolidated. Even Mance was recognized as first among equals.

      I haven't commented on the GOT recaps much as I've been both livid by Daenerys' heel turn and the in-show and IRL repercussions.

      But I will say that I'm utterly relieved my favorite comic reviewer has been able to succinctly recognize all that's been awful about this season. Entertainment Weekly has been kissing DnDs behind by co-signing this mess.

      Delete
  3. Jon Snow then says good bye to Sam and Gilly who are headed to, presumably, Horn Hill.

    Maybe? Or are they just going to chill at Winterfell? I was kind of waiting for a similar elevation of Sam to Lord of Horn Hill & Warden of the South as Dany did for Gendry.

    Well, aside from the part I'm sure happens where Arya tells the Hound about Jon Snow because that's what Starks do.

    Now I kind of want to see her tell him, just to hear him say something like "Fuck do I care?".

    Frankly, with four of them still alive (if you count Jon Snow) they're doing a lot better than most other noble houses!

    True, though Jon is technically a Targ, any kids Sansa or Arya may have wouldn't be Starks, and we know Bran has no interest in sex because if he did, he'd be using his powers A LOT more.

    Brienne is a virgin when she's been around Podrick the human amusement park for how long?

    The last shot of Pod in this episode is him smiling at Sansa as he walks off with a woman on each arm, and if we never see Pod again, I feel like that's a great ending for him.

    Does she expect to die or is she going to head to Braavos after she does whatever it is she does?

    Probably the former, but I like the idea of Arya peacing out on Westeros once the dust settles.

    I wonder how well the people in the back heard Jon Snow's speech.

    Maybe it's the theater background, but I wonder this all the time anytime a character in a pre-microphone world is giving a speech to a bunch of people.

    I really wish we could see some of the characters this episode react to hearing the news of Jon Snow's parentage.

    Particularly, you know, the titular Starks.

    Am I the type of person to point out that however much HBO spent editing this cup out could have be used on countless other charitable causes? Yes, yes I am.

    OR ON GHOST PETS!

    So is this the last we'll see of Tormund, Sam, Gilly, Podrick, Gendry, Brienne, and/or Bronn?

    Hmm...Maybe, Probably, Probably, Likely, Maybe, Maybe, Likely.

    ReplyDelete

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