Major spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones episode "The Last of the Starks". You've been warned.
The latest episode of Game of Thrones season 8 opens with the settling of the dust after the Battle of Winterfell. With the Night King and the army of the dead destroyed, Jon Snow, Daenerys, and the rest of the characters left at Winterfell are left to mourn the fallen, and boy did the battle incur heavy losses.
Theon Greyjoy. Jorah Mormont. Lyanna Mormont. Edd Tollett. Beric Dondarrion. Milisendre. All gone, along with many thousand other Unsullied, Dothraki, Wildlings, Knights of the Vale and more.
The opening scene shows the surviving characters holding the funeral for the fallen. Daenerys is seen crying over Jorah's body, as does Sansa Stark, crying over Theon's body. It is to this backdrop that Jon Snow delivers a tour de force speech about remembering the dead, because that's the only way their memory can live on. It's one of the most memorable speeches in the history of the show.
"It is our duty, and our honor to keep them alive in memory," delivers Jon. "For those who come after us, and those who come after them, for as long as men draw breath. They were the shield that guarded the realms of men, and we shall never see their like again."
It is a mournful scene that sets the tone for the rest of the episode, which did not fail to deliver its own surprises. There's a lot to unpack here—it was nearly 80 minutes long—so let's start with what takes place after the funeral: the victory meal.
With the meal raging on in the Winterfell great hall, the mood is rather somber and sad with many of the characters seemingly distracted when Daenerys attempts to lighten the mood by calling on Gendry and asking about his father, Robert Baratheon, who usurped her father and tried to have her killed. But the tone quickly changes as she forgives his fathers transgressions and anoints him Gendry Baratheon, lawful son of Robert Baratheon and Lord of Storm's End. It also doesn't hurt that another kingdom which is now safely in Daenerys' pocket, which she points out to Tyrion.
As the wine flows, this is where we start to see the fractured nature of Jon and Daenerys' relationship after the bombshell he dropped on her in episode 2. She knows he has a claim to the Iron Throne, but no matter what she does, she can never earn the respect and love he gets from the North men.
Not matter what she does, she can never earn the respect and love he gets from the North men.
In one scene in particular, our favorite wilding, Tormund is smattering on about all the heroic deeds Jon Snow has accomplished including riding a dragon, concluding that he is a real king. That, of course, strikes a nerve with Daenerys, who knows that if he wanted to, he could lay a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than hers, completely erasing everything she's worked so hard for. All the men at Winterfell will follow him if he asks them to.
We also see other characters interact. Gendry goes looking for after Arya after their brief encounter in the last episode, delivering the good news that he is now the Lord of the Stormlands leading right into a marriage proposal, saying none of it matters if she is not with him. But Arya has never seen herself as a lady and declines his heartfelt gesture, leaving him completely devastated. This continues Arya's storyline that leaves her separated from normal people. After all she's seen and done, she does not believe she'll live a normal life ever again.
Elsewhere Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Podrick Payne and Brienne of Tarth are playing a drinking game. Naturally, as drinking games go, this one ends on a bad note when Tyrion asks if Brienne is a virgin. (She is.) She walks off and says she has to pee. Not too far behind, Jamie also goes after her – much to the chagrin of Tormund – and they finally consummate the relationship they have shared since their days on the road, back in early seasons of the series. It is the next step in Jaime's final separation from Cersei.
All throughout the lead up to season 8, we've known Jon's parentage was going to really throw a fork if his relationship with Daenerys, but in this episode, she offers the only solution: keep quiet about it. Nothing will happen if nobody finds out about it. They can go on living like they were before they found out of the news. But if he tells Sansa and Arya, like he wants to, it will get out and once it does, it'll change everything and possibly destroy their relationship.
The next morning, Daenerys and her advisors come up with a new tactic to take King's Landing. Jon Snow will lead the North men through the King's Road while Daenery's and her fleet will first stop off at Dragonstone before making their way to King's Landing.
This episode brings Jon Snow's parentage front and center, possibly destroying his relationship with Daenerys.
Before he heads off, Jon has one last conversation with Bran, Sansa and Arya where he does exactly what Daenerys told him not to, he reveals his true parentage. With the cat out of the bag, word begins to spread when Sansa reveals the news to Tyrion in an effort to present a better alternative as ruler of the Iron Throne.
At the same time, Sandor "The Hound" Clegane also sets off for King's Landing for "unfinished business," which is the long-anticipated battle with his brother, Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. When he runs into Aryan, who too is on her way to King's Landing for unfinished business. It is a nice nod to their road trip adventures throughout season 3 and 4.
Up until this point the episode was seen as set-up to episode 5, which is supposed to be the next battle episode of Game of Thrones, but we are treated to some unexpected action that left us shocked.
Right as Daenerys and her fleet are arriving at Dragonstone, they are ambushed by Euron and the Iron Fleet. Out of nowhere, Euron uses new retrofitted scorpions and shoots Rhaegal multiple times, killing him instantly as he crash lands in the ocean similar to how Viserion went down beyond the wall. After seeing one of her children die before her eyes, Daenerys and Drogon charge Euron but must fall back or risk getting her last remaining dragon killed. Besides killing Rhaegal, Euron also destroys the entire fleet and kidnaps Missandei.
After this, we quickly visit King's Landing to see Cersei letting in the people of city into the Red Keep to protect them from the incoming war, or as collateral protection for herself lest Daenerys dare kill thousands of innocent people alive to take the Throne. When Euron delivers the news, she thanks him, revealing that she is pregnant with his child.
Fuming with rage, Daenerys begrudgingly accepts Tyrion's proposal to offer Cersei to surrender. It was either that or burn King's Landing to the ground. It will also show people that she tried to reason with Cersei before she brings down the sky upon them.
Back in Winterfell Sansa reveals to Jaime of what happen to Daenerys, essentially confirming that she will now go for the Iron Throne, no matter the price, and more importantly, kill Cersei in the process. Jaime is clearly troubled by the news. Cersei is heartless and callous, but he can't help but still love her. At night, he sneaks away but Brienne catches him and asks him to stay with her.
It is here that he then reveals all of his horrible things he has done for Cersei in his life, including crippling Bran, concluding that he is "hateful" just like her and sets off for King's Landing leaving Brienne heartbroken. It is a sad turn of events for one of the most celebrated character arcs, but it goes to show it is hard to quit family.
With Daenerys and her army near the gates of King's Landing, Tyrion walks out to negotiate Qyburn and eventually bypasses him and pleads with Cersei, standing atop the wall, to surrender at least for her child's sake. She, expectedly, declines and orders The Mountain to execute Missandei, which he obliges, leaving Daenerys and Greyworm completely devastated.
With her last words, Missandei tells Daenerys only one word: "Dracarys."
We leave the episode with one thing very clear: an epic battle for the Iron Throne is about to begin. Many will die, but who will ultimately end up on the Throne?
Questions we want answered
- What will happen when people find out about Jon Snow's parentage?
- Will Jamie join Cersei even when he sees her with Euron?
- Is Arya going to kill another major villain?
- The episode doesn't touch upon it, but is the Night King really gone for good?
Who died in this episode?
- Jon Snow sends Ghost to the North with Tormund, who is going back beyond the wall
- Tormund is again turned away by Brienne, he deserves better
- Sansa and Brienne are the only two major characters that stay behind in Winterfell
- Bronn makes an appearance, extorting the Lannister brothers for a bigger castle
- The walls of King's Landing have been retrofitted with scorpions to take down dragons
Trailer for Episode 5
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