Game of Thrones: Family Matters

Game of Thrones | Season 8 | Episode 4 : “The Last of the Starks”
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  For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.

KBear Recap [Read  time: 5-7 min]

“They were the shields that guarded the realm of men.” Jon Snow

The survivors of the Great War gather together to burn and honor their fallen comrades. There are rows and rows of stacked bodies. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) cries over Jorah Mormont’s body. She whispers something to him. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) cries over Theon Greyjoy’s body. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) steps forward to speak, “We’re here to say goodbye to our brothers and sisters, to our fathers and mothers, to our friends, our fellow men and women who set aside their differences to fight together and die together so that others might live. Everyone in this world owes them a debt that can never be repaid. It is our duty and our honor to keep them alive in memory for those who come after us, and those who come after them, for as long as men draw breath. They were the shields that guarded the realm of men. And we shall never see their like again.” Then different members of the cast grab a torch and stand over a deceased member, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) stands over Beric Dondarrion, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) stands over Edd Tollett, and Jon stands over Lyanna Mormont. They set their piles on fire as the survivors solemnly watch their fallen comrades and friends burn.

Everyone gathers in the Great Hall, and as expected it is a somber affair. Gendry (Joe Dempsie) asks Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane (Rory McCann) if he’s seen Arya. The Hound grumpily tells him he hasn’t gotten the smell of the burning bodies out of his nose yet and he’s already looking to sex up Arya. Gendry looks ashamed but the Hound points out, “The Dead are dead. You’re not.” When Gendry leaves the table to keep looking for Arya, Daenerys calls him out. She knows he is the son of Robert Baratheon, who took the kingdom from her family. Gendry admits he is. Everyone in the room is a little nervous. Daenerys asks the room who has Robert’s old home, Strom’s End. No one knows, so Daenerys tells Gendry it should be his. Gendry tells her he’s a bastard, Daenerys tells him as the queen, she is declaring him the legitimate son of Robert Baratheon, and the owner of Storm’s End. Ser Davos Seaworth stands and shouts, “To Lord Gendry Baratheon of Storm’s End.” Everyone applauds and shouts their approval. The mood in the Great Hall brightens up. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) appreciates the political move. Tyrion: “A fitting reward for a hero.” Daenerys: “See, you’re not the only one who’s clever.”

“We may have defeated them, but we still have us to contend with.” Tyrion Lannister

Everyone begins drinking and talking. Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) offers Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) a drink, “We fought dead things and lived to talk about it, if this isn’t the time to drink, when is?” Davos complains to Tyrion about the Lord of Light. Davos: “We fight his war and win, and then he fucks off.” Tyrion points out things are still complicated, “We may have defeated them, but we still have us to contend with.” That makes Davos feel better. Tyrion finds Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) sitting in the corner alone. He tells Bran he’ll be the Lord of Winterfell. Bran tells him he won’t. Tyrion points out he is the only legitimate living son of Ned Stark. Bran: “I don’t really want anymore.” Tyrion: “I envy you.” Bran: “You shouldn’t envy me. Mostly I live in the past.” Tyrion looks sadly at him. Tormund is with Jon and Sansa challenging Jon to keep up with him drinking. Daenerys is watching them so to join in the fun she toasts Arya, “To Arya Stark, the true hero of Winterfell.” Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, and Podrick (Daniel Portman) are enjoying their own drinking game. Tormund is drunk and praising Jon to the hilt, “He climbed on a fucking dragon and fought. What kind of man does that? A madman or a king!” The men around him cheer, and Daenerys looks freaked out on how much everyone loves Jon. Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) watches her closely. Daenerys gets up and leaves. During the drinking game, Tyrion correctly deduces  that Brienne is a virgin. She is embarrassed, Tormund doesn’t make her feel better when he comes by to say something crude. Brienne leaves and Jaime follows her. We next see Tormund crying about losing Brienne to Jaime to the Hound. Of course the Hound could care less. Two northern beauties come by the table ready for some action. Tormund takes one of them up on it, but the Hound sends his girl away. Sansa sees this and joins the Hound. She tells him the girl could have made him feel better, but the Hound wants to be left alone. They discuss some of the stuff that had happened to Sansa since he last saw her in King;s Landing. He smiles when he finds out what she did to Ramsey. [Fed him to his own dogs.] He tells her she could have avoided all the bad things that Littlefinger and Ramsey did to her if she had left with him all those years ago. Sansa: “Without Ramsay, Littlefinger, and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life.”

Gendry finally finds Arya practicing archery. He gives her the good news about Daenerys making him Lord Baratheon of Storm’s End. She is happy for him. Gendry wants Arya to become Lady Baratheon so he gets on his knees to propose. Arya gently turns him down, “But I’m not a lady. I never have been. That’s not me.” Brienne is in her room and Jaime joins her. He teases her about Tormund liking her. Brienne tells him he sounds like he’s jealous. Jaime admits he might be. He complains it’s too hot in the room and removes his jacket. Soon Brienne helps him get his shirt off and she takes off her top. Jaime: “I’ve never slept with a knight before.” Brienne: “I’ve never slept with anyone before.” Jaime: “Then you have to drink. Those are the rules.” They start making out.

Daenerys goes to Jon’s room. He offers his condolences over Jorah, he tells her that defending her would be the way Jorah would have wanted to go out. Daenerys tells Jon that Jorah loved her but that she didn’t love him like she loves Jon. They start kissing but then Jon remembers she’s his aunt and pulls away. Daenerys starts talking about how everyone loves Jon and how they’d like him to be king. Jon assures her that he doesn’t want it. She says people will demand he become king, and asks him to never tell anyone his true parentage.  Daenerys asks he get Bran and Sam to swear not to tell anyone. Jon pulls away and tells her he needs to tell Sansa and Arya, “I owe them the truth.” Daenerys: “Even if the truth destroys us?” Jon: “You are my queen. Nothing will change that. And they are my family. We can live together.” Daenerys: “We can. I’ve just told you how.” While Brienne sleeps, Jaime stares at the ceiling.

This is probably the next day in the War Room. They have a map with pieces on it. Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) removes some of his pieces and says they lost half the Unsullied. Jon says they lost half of the north men in the battle. Varys uses some pieces to show that Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has the Golden Company and the Greyjoy fleet. Varys: “The balance has grown distressingly even.” Daenerys wants to hit Cersei hard right now. Tyrion wants to avoid destroying King’s Landing and its inhabitants. Tyrion and Jon are able to convince her not to launch a full assault. Sansa tells her the troops need time to rest and recuperate. Daenerys wants to fight now and thinks the north is trying to renege on fighting for her. Sansa says Daenerys’ soldiers need to rest and recuperate too. Jon assures Daenerys that the north will follow her orders. Arya and Sansa give Jon a strange look. After the meeting ends, Arya tells Jon they need a word with him.

The Stark kids meet in the Godswood. Jon defends Daenerys, Sansa doesn’t want to follow her. Arya has to agree with Jon that they needed her army and dragons to defeat the Night King and his army. She agrees with Sansa though that they can’t trust Daenerys, she isn’t one of them. Jon tells Arya they’ll never have allies with that attitude, Arya doesn’t care. They are family, the four of them are the last of the Starks. Jon has a funny look on his face and tells them he’s never been a Stark. Arya and Sansa think he’s talking about being a bastard, but Jon cuts them off and tells them there is something he needs to tell them but they have to swear not to tell anyone else. Arya agrees, but Sansa can’t make that promise if she doesn’t know what she is swearing to. Jon finally convinces her to swear not to tell anyone. Jon asks Bran to tell them what the secret is. [They don’t show Bran telling them whose Jon’s real parents are or their reactions.]

Jaime tells Tyrion about him and Brienne. “I’m happy that you’re happy,” Tyrion says to his brother. “I’m happy that you finally have to climb for it.” Tyrion is glad to be able to tell tall people jokes now. He’d like for Jaime to tell him how Brienne looks down there, Jaime refuses. Tyrion hasn’t had any in a while and is curious. While the brothers are laughing, Bronn (Jerome Flynn) bursts through the door holding the crossbow Cersei gave him to kill her brothers. He isn’t there to kill them though, but he wants to get paid not to. They remind him of all the things they have done for him, but most of it is useless, or he did it himself. Tyrion reminds him of their old deal, whatever someone offers to kill him, he’ll double it. Bronn: “What’s double Riverrun?” Tyrion: “Highgarden.” Jaime is against it until Bronn shoots an arrow near his head. They come to an agreement and Bronn promises if they try to renege he’ll be looking for them. He also tells them try not to get themselves killed.

“The men in my family don’t do well in the capital.” Sansa Stark

The Hound is riding off to King’s Landing. Arya joins him. Both of them have unfinished business in King’s Landing. Neither of them plans on coming back. Hound asks if she’ll leave him to die again, she says she probably will. The Hound chuckles at that. Daenerys goes out to check on Drogon and Rhaegal. Tyrion tries to talk to Sansa but her mind is preoccupied. He tries to convince her that Daenerys will be a good queen, Sansa doesn’t agree. Tyrion tries a different angle with her, with Jon at King’s Landing with Daenerys, it will allow her to run the north. Sansa thinks Tyrion is scared of the Dragon Queen, he doesn’t deny it. Sansa doesn’t want Jon to go to the capital, “The men in my family don’t do well in the capital.” Tyrion tells Sansa how Daenerys’ people love her and, “She wants to make the world a better place. I believe in her.” Sansa thinks about it for a minute and asks Tyrion what if there was a better choice.

Jon says goodbye to Tormund. Since the Night King and his minions are gone, he and his people are going back beyond the wall, the ‘real’ north. Jon gives Tormund Ghost, he thinks Ghost will like it better there. Tormund tells Jon he’s got the north in him, the ‘real’ north. The two hug. Next it’s time for Jon to say goodbye to Sam and Gilly. When he hugs her, he guesses she is pregnant. Sam bashfully tries to explain how it happened. Gilly: “I’m sure he knows how it happens, Sam.”  Gilly: “If it’s a boy, we want to name him Jon.”  Jon: “I hope it’s a girl.” They hug again. Sam: “You’re the best friend I ever had.” Jon: “You too Sam.” You wonder if this is there last goodbyes.

We finally leave Winterfell. We’re with Daenerys’ fleet. Tyrion has told Varys the secret about Jon’s parentage. They figure out that eight people know so far. Varys: “If a handful of people know now, then a hundred people will know soon.” Varys continues that if people find out, Daenerys loses the north, she loses the Vale; Jon is a war hero, people like him. Tyrion says that Jon loves Daenerys, she loves him maybe they can marry and share the crown. Varys wonders if she wants to share the crown; also let’s not forget, she’s his aunt. Tyrion points out that the Targaryens customarily marry within the family. Varys counters that Jon was raised in Winterfell. Marrying his aunt won’t fly in the north. Tyrion: “We still have to take King’s Landing. Maybe Cersei will win and kill us all. That would solve our problems.”

Daenerys is on board Drogon with Rhaegal flying beside them. The three look like they don’t have a care in the world. Suddenly an arrow hits Rhaegal, and then another. They look down and see the Greyjoy fleet. Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) looks at the dragons with a sinister smile. His ships are equipped with an updated version of the Scorpions. They shoot another arrow through Rhaegal’s neck and he falls into the ocean and sinks. {RIP Rhaegal} Daenerys is heartbroken, and then furious, she directs Drogon to attack the fleet head on. The ships begin shooting arrows at them, Daenerys thinks the better of it and ceases her attack. Her fleet sees Daenerys fly away. Now they are in front of Greyjoy’s fleet. Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) orders Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) to get in a skiff. Greyjoy’s fleet uses the Scorpions to sink Daenerys’ fleet. Tyrion just barely jumps off the damaged ship. He and the rest of the crew make it ashore. Grey Worm starts calling for Missandei, she’s missing.

Cersei has invited thousands to stay in the red keep to keep them ‘safe’ from Daenerys. She tells Euron that ‘their’ baby will rule one day. Qyburn (Anton Lesser) nods at him. The poor sap is so happy. Cersei looks at her citizens and tells Qyburn to keep the gate open, Daenerys will have to kill all of them to capture the castle. The camera pans to a handcuffed Missandei. This isn’t going to end well.

“I have served tyrants most of my life — they all talk about destiny.” Lord Varys

Daenerys is back in her war room. Grey Worm is ready to wipe out King’s Landing. Varys tries to persuade her not to. She is furious about Rhaegal’s death and Missandei’s capture. Varys tells her about the thousands of people in the red keep and that Cersei is trying to goad her into killing them. He begs her not to. Daenerys says that it’s her destiny to upend tyrants. She’ll do whatever she has to do to accomplish that goal. Tyrion says that Jon’s army is a fortnight away, they should negotiate for Cersei’s surrender to avoid bloodshed. Daenerys thinks there is going to be bloodshed anyway. She tells them to negotiate, “They should know whom to blame when the sky falls upon them.” Daenerys strolls out of the room. Varys: “I have served tyrants most of my life — they all talk about destiny.” Tyrion and Varys begin discussing who would make a better ruler, Daenerys or Jon. Tyrion says even discussing this is treason. Varys says that he knows Tyrion has been thinking it, but Tyrion replies that thinking about it isn’t treason, discussing it is. Varys adds up Jon’s positives, he’s temperate, the Lords in the kingdom would rather deal with a man. Joffrey was a man,” Tyrion returns. “I don’t think a cock is a true qualification.”  “Because he’s a man, yes, cocks are important, I’m afraid,” Varys counters. Tyrion brings up marriage again, Varys thinks that Daenerys will bend Jon to her will if they tried to rule together. Varys believes that because Jon is Targaryen and Stark, he is the only person who could keep the north in the Seven Kingdoms. Tyrion still believes in Daenerys, Varys doesn’t. Varys is loyal to the realm and he will act in the best interest of the people. Tyrion asks what happens to Daenerys. Varys remains silent but it appears he might have something in motion.

Jaime sees Sansa and Brienne talking, he asks them what happened. Brienne tells him about the ambush which destroyed the fleet, killed Rhaegal, and captured Missandei. Sansa: “I always wanted to be there when they executed your sister. Seems like I won’t get the chance.”  The next morning Jaime is thinking something over, he looks at a sleeping Brienne and slips out. Brienne wakes up and notices Jaime is gone. She runs outside to try to talk him out of going back to King’s Landing. Brienne: “You’re a good man and you can’t save her.” She begs him to stay with her. Jaime lists all the bad things he has done for Cersei. Jaime: “She’s hateful and so am I.” Jaime rides off leaving Brienne in tears.

The Unsullied are outside the city. Daenerys, Tyrion, and Varys is with them. Cersei stands on of the wall with her archers, Euron, Qyburn, and Missandei as her hostage. Scorpions line the wall. Qyburn walks out to talk to Tyrion. Tyrion demands Cersei’s unconditional surrender and for her to free Missandei. Qyburn demands Daenerys unconditional surrender, and if she doesn’t, they will execute Missandei. Tyrion tries to talk honestly to Qyburn and tells him he wants to prevent destroying the city and hearing the screams of children. Qyburn isn’t moved, he says Cersei has the upper hand with Daenerys only having one dragon, destroying her fleet, her troops are tired, and they have the Golden Company. Tyrion walks past him and heads towards the wall to talk to Cersei directly. Her archers aim at him but she calls them off. Tyrion: “I know you don’t care about your people. Why should you? They hate you, and you hate them. You’ve always loved your children more than yourself, more than Jaime, more than anything. Your reign is over. It doesn’t mean your life has to end. It doesn’t mean your baby has to die.” Cersei thinks about what he said for a minute and then goes over to Missandei. Cersei: “If you have any last words, now is the time.” Missandei thinks for a moment and then screams, “Dracarys!” Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane (Hafpór Július Björnsson) takes his sword and cuts Missandei’s head off. {RIP Missandei} Grey Worm painfully turns his head. Daenerys looks in horror, and then the anger in her lights her eyes. Tyrion knows that all is lost.

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

The Great War has been fought and won with heavy casualties suffered on the winning side. The victors hold a touching service for their fallen comrades. After the service they dine in the Great Hall. [I don’t remember seeing Grey Worm, Missandei or the Unsullied there. They must have been in the other part of town throwing a real party.] It’s somber but Dany picks it up when she names Gendry, Lord Baratheon of Storm’s End. That picks up everyone’s mood and soon the drinking games begin. Tormund is praising his boy Jon Snow and saying he should be king. Everyone is in their own cliques having a good time except Dany, who is all alone. [She should have invited Missandei and Grey Worm is all I’m saying.] She gets paranoid because she realizes no matter what she does for these people, she’s an outsider and they love their homeboy, Jon Snow. Gendry proposes to the ‘true hero of Winterfell’ Arya, but she shoots him down. Dude should have known Arya is not the domestic type. Roll in the hay, yes, setting up house, no. Speaking of rolling in the hay, Ser Jaime and Ser Brienne do it. I’m sure they’ll live happily ever after. I’ll get back to them later. Dany begs Jon not to tell anyone he’s a Targaryen too, but of course he has to tell his sisters, and Sansa immediately told Tyrion, [though she swore to keep the secret] and he told Varys. Sansa wants this information out so Jon can be king. With Jon a valid option to Dany being the ruler, it really complicates things. Before they can hash this out, they have to get the job from the present job holder, one Cersei Lannister. She doesn’t plan on handing it over. Her baby-daddy [allegedly] Euron uses the new and improved Scorpions to kill Rhaegal and destroy Dany’s fleet. He captures Missandei. Dany is not pleased, she is ready to torch Cersei and King’s Landing. Jaime hears the news and decides to head back to King’s Landing, leaving Brienne heartbroken. [Not cool Jaime.] The Hound and Arya are heading to King’s Landing too, so maybe they can all share a drink when they get there. [Or take straws on who kills Cersei.] Varys and Tyrion talk her out of it for the moment. It appears that moment is over when Cersei has the Mountain chop off Missandei’s head in front of Daenerys. They killed her ‘child’ and best friend. I think Cersei is going to find out what Dracarys means.

After two great episodes like “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” and “The Long Night”, it isn’t surprising this episode wasn’t as good. It’s mostly here to finish up the Battle of Winterfell storyline and set us up for the final two episodes of the season. It did a good job doing both. The service for the fallen was touching. The party scene was fun and further set up the conflict between Jon and Daenerys. It helps establish how even more desperate Dany is to capture King’s Landing and get the crown. She feels like she has to do it before everyone finds out Jon has a legitimate claim to the throne, one that might be stronger than hers. Even though she saved the north’s ass, they aren’t appreciative, they would support Jon for king in a heartbeat. Jon is family to them, Daenerys isn’t. The rest of Westeros probably would too since he is a combination of Targaryen and Stark. The episode also illustrated Cersei’s cruelty. She’s willing to allow Daenerys to kill thousands in the red keep just to make her look like the evil Dragon Queen. Since she lost her children, she doesn’t care about anyone but herself. She doesn’t know what she’s unleased making Daenerys this mad. With the damage I imagine happening next week, will there even be an Iron Throne to sit on.

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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