Another week has come and gone and with it another insane episode of Game of Thrones. Hope your heartstrings are still intact after this one. The Last of the Starks was the antepenultimate episode. Meaning only two episodes left before the series as a whole has finished. And what we witnessed tonight goes to show that anything can happen. No one is safe.
If you thought this story was gonna have a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
The episode begins at Winterfell after the Long Night. The mountain of bodies set up on the pyres outside the courtyard goes to show how decimated their armies were during the battle. Nearly all of the Dothraki are extinct. House Mormont? Extinct. The allies of those left? Murdered. Sansa and Daenerys are seen over the bodies of the late Theon and Ser Jorah [R.I.P], sobbing. Everyone has lost someone close in one way or another. This sentiment is reiterated as Jon gives a rousing speech in memoriam. The camera focuses on him as he speaks to the crowd with Sansa just out of focus at his back. The speech is very much so an ode to the oath he, as well as the rest of the black brotherhood, took when taking their vows of allegiance to the Night’s Watch.
“They were the shields that guarded the realms of men.”
The sobering moment is cooled when the scene switches to the Starks in the great hall. They and the northern army et al. celebrate a sort of pyrrhic victory. Jon is sat between Sansa and Daenerys, and the tension is still as thick as ever. Gendry is on the lookout for his lady love– so he goes to find her, but not before Dany calls his attention. It looks like it’s about to be all bad for Mr. Blacksmith. His father, Robert Baratheon was the one who usurped the throne from Dany’s father, after all. The minute she begins speaking to him, the body language from the rest of the crowd screams “oh sh*t.” Davos and Jon share a look of discomfort/fear and it’s clear they understand this may not go well. However, a 360 happens. After what seems to be an interrogation, Dany flips the script and decides to legitimize old boy, making him a lord of his ancestral house, Storms End.
The mood changes in the hall completely as they toast, and Tyrion gives Daenerys her kudos for deciding to play chess, not checkers.
They take in what joy they can, getting steadily drunker by the goblet. It’s a full-on kegger at his point. Tormund comes into view and forces Jon to throw a few back. Sansa cheers him on while Tormund rationalizes that vomiting is celebrating [I mean, being Cinco de Mayo, the man’s not wrong.] Filled to the brim, he salutes Daenerys for her role in aiding their fight against the dead. She follows suit and salutes the GOAT, Arya, for single-handedly ending the Long Night herself.
All seems well and good as Tormund continues on his wildling tirade. This time, showing his undying love for his ride or die (quite literally) Jon Snow. He boasts about all the licks Jon’s taken. How he keeps on fighting. How, though he be but little, he be fierce and all that. He gratuitously mentions that Jon’s so dope, he can even ride dragons. Whaaattt?? Yeah, FACTS, Dragons. Casually mentioning only a mad man or a King would do such a thing– gaining a roar of applause from the bros at the back. Yes, thank you, writers, for this shameless plug on Mr. Snow’s paternity.
It should be a happy scene, shouldn’t it? Not so fast, because the camera turns to Daenerys at the far end of the table. There’s an obscene amount of negative space between her and the rest of the party while she’s listening to Mr. Giantsbane’s ovation. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s meant to be this way. We’re meant to feel unnerved even though Tormund is spitting nothing but facts.
Because this love and praise is going to the very man who has a better claim over everything she holds dear. The very thing she’s fought tooth an nail for since she walked out of the fires that burned her first husband in Essos. She’s watching Jon be practically worshipped in front of her while the north has shown zero interest in welcoming her or her claim. They don’t want to be conquered again. She feels alone. She feels jealous. Something Varys, AKA the spider takes notice of.
Enter the tables across the way and Tyrion, Pod, Brienne, and Jaime are celebrating Cinco as well. Their drinking is all fun and games until truth or dare gets a little awkward. Tyrion calls Brienne out on her maidenhead and she promptly exits stage left. Not before Tormund tries a last-ditch attempt at courting his newly knighted babe. Like clockwork, its no dice for our redhead. He gets the curve of the century when she walks away and JAIME, in a very territorial manner gets up and follows her; leaving Tormund to get his cup filled by a matter-of-fact Tyrion. Expressing without words that he just took the biggest L of the night.
He’s comforted soon after blubbering to a bah-humbug Sandor Clegane. Two pretty ladies relieve him of his miseries so at least we walks away with a dub for the night.
Sansa and the Hound chop it up, reminiscing on their miserable times in the South and how she delivered Sandor’s namesake to psycho Ramsay. [We don’t care if he rests in peace.] Yeah, they breed them tough in the north, the Starks are made of something else, something the Hound notices about the little bird—what he used to call Sansa when she was just a bratty princess, who never learned. Lots of mutual respect in this shot, something I’m glad came full circle.
Gendry finally finds what he was looking for and tells the GOAT, Arya the good news of his new position. She’s happy for him like any good girlfriend would be. He’s elated, however, so elated he tells her that the lordship would be much better if he had a lady to make it complete.
Yes, you heard me right—he proposes to our girl.
Ohhh but he just doesn’t know the Starks are different, especially lady Starks.
“That’s not me” she replies, echoing the sentiments she expressed to her father back in season one. Arya’s never been the bowing and scraping type, and no matter how much she cares about someone she’s not going to choose a life that goes against her nature. The girl is hard. Let’s all aspire to be like Arya yo.
So the second biggest L goes to Gendry of House Baratheon as he gets the biggest curve of the century. Sorry brah.
Someone who’s not getting curved? One Jaime Lannister. He hobbles to Brienne’s room, well drunk and proposes they finish their game. They have a little banter about Tormund and Brienne correctly deciphers that Jaime is jealous.
Yes, you heard me right.
She’s not wrong, because next thing you know, Braime becomes canon. Jaime not only Knight’s her but takes her V-card as well. It’s all very 16 candles and I’m here for it. Brienne deserves the world and after what both of them have been through a little roll in the hay is welcome. You go, girl!
Not everyone was enjoying the night quite as much. We enter Jon in his chambers and AGAIN it’s Daenerys who has to seek him out (let this be a lesson, girls—never ever chase the guy.) She knocks on the door, enters and asks him if he’s drunk. He is, but that doesn’t stop a conversation from starting. He mentions Ser Jorah and she concedes he loved her but she couldn’t reciprocate. Odd that she mentions this right before she admits her love for Jon Snow to his face. He holds her close but doesn’t return the sentiment. Call me cray but I don’t think that’s a good sign. And I don’t think I’m reading into this fam, not once has Jon said that he loves Daenerys back. It’s been her advisors and a few others who have mentioned to us as an audience but strangely, never from the horse’s mouth.
They start to kiss—Ew. And without words, it’s clear Jon remembers himself and his family ties. To Daenerys in particular. Oh, that’s right I’m making out with my f*cking Aunt. 50% of my DNA matches hers. I should probably chill.
She’s disappointed and it leads to a heated exchange. Bottom line, she admits she sees how people revere him and it bothers her that they don’t worship her in the same way. Especially since she’s queen an all. Her insecurities are screaming now. So much so that she demands that he keep his heritage a secret. Never tell a soul and make Sam and little bro Bran keep their mouths shut as well. The entitlement is crazy and Jon can tell she’s going off the rails. He tries to placate her by telling her the blunt fact that he doesn’t want the throne. Never did, never will. It’s not good enough for her. Her paranoia is over 9000. She presses the matter because she needs to win. She wants him to keep quiet, forever.
That’s when Jon makes it clear that he cannot keep a secret like this from his family. Jon is not the type that can lie easily. It’s what we love about him. His desire to be honorable. He tells her he has to tell Sansa, and that’s when the darkness creeps into the room. You see Daenerys’ face fall and that loathing she has for Jon’s sister is painted all over her face. She says that Sansa will try to undermine her position in favor of Jon. Jon assures her Sansa would never.
I’ll be honest, Jon’s naivete goes both ways between the two women. I’m not a fan of Daenerys’ [mad] behavior lately but a broken clock is right twice a day, eh? Sansa has no love for the queen and she sees exactly what we’ve been seeing for the past 4 episodes. Daenerys’ power hunger. But is it fair to ask Jon to lie about something as important as this? He tries to console her again about Sansa but she won’t have it. She says Sansa is not the same girl Jon knew— she’s more tactical, much smarter, more ruthless especially in regard to her family. She’s obstinate, and the scene ends uncomfortably.
Next, we enter the war council. Daenerys and the Starks mull over their plans against Cersei. The atmosphere of the room is a bit grim as they and the audience realize just how depleted their resources, manpower, and morale are. Half the Unsullied are gone and the same for the Northmen. The Golden Company, however, are fully loaded waiting to unleash hell on Cersei’s enemies. It’s decided then, they need the capital, Dany says. Jon chimes in with support (trying hard to quell Daenerys’ worries no doubt after their last conversation). Not everyone cosigns on Khaleesi’s ideas though, Tyrion tries to spit some logic, telling her to be practical as opposed to emotional about this. Keep King’s landing intact he reminds her. Of course, he gets the death stare. Someone else who’s on the receiving end of Dany’s the glare?
Particularly when she reminds Dany of what the armies have just been through. They’re tired after fighting the wights. They’re human, they need rest. Sansa suggests that they wait a bit to let the men recuperate before going off to fight another war. Oh no! Logic! Something Danerys doesn’t like! So who becomes public enemy No. 1? Our fire-haired Lady of the North. Khaleesi thinks Sansa’s just trying to block her shine but in reality, Sansa is spitting nothing but facts. You’d think everyone would be on board right? NOPE.
Jon of house coochie-whipped chimes in and shuts down Sansa’s logic in favor of Daenerys’ ill-formed strategy. Reminding his sister that Khaleesi is queen and we’re all to do what she requests, however, ludicrous her demands are.
My mouth dropped when I saw this. I felt like I’d just gotten slapped. I don’t know what’s happened to Jon, but I feel like we left him back in season 6. He’s done some stupid stuff in the past but this takes the cake. I’ve never seen him as blinded as he is this season. Even when he was with Ygritte back in S3, a girl he reciprocated love to, he still moved tactically. Now… I just don’t know.
Arya decides she’s not going to stay as confused as I or the rest of the audience so once the meeting breaks, she demands a word with her brother. Next, we open to the Godswood. Jon and Sansa are going at it about what just transpired and he stresses that without [Dany] they’d be dead. Sansa rebuttals with the fact that it was actually Arya that did all the work. That’s when the latter agrees that yes, Daenerys was helpful and Jon did good by rallying her to their cause, but it doesn’t change the fact that Daenerys can’t be trusted. BOOM.
She stresses to Jon that they’re family and they need to stick together. They’re the Last of the Starks. The last. WHY Jon, WHY can’t you understand that?? Of course, because this is Game of Thrones we need some angst, right? So Jon decides this is the opportune moment to divulge the fact that he’s actually a Secret Targ. He swears the girls to secrecy, telling them they can never tell a soul about his true parentage and while he’s at it, uses Bran as the loophole to the promise he kinda made Dany.
Yeah, this isn’t coming back to haunt us later or anything. Clearly, Jon has never learned that the only way people can keep a secret is if all of them are dead.
Yes, I said that adage right. [I come from a different neighborhood.]
Cut to Tyrion and Jaime who share some brotherly love and a few wisecracks at Jaime’s new paramour. Tyrion’s happy for his brother. Even more happy that Jaime “finally has to climb for it”. That’s when they’re interrupted by Bronn who seems to be utilizing Varys’ time machine from season 7. He shows up, doesn’t kill them like he was contracted to do by Cersei, but acts just like cutthroats do and bargains for a better deal. Can’t knock the hustle, at least he’s consistent.
We cut to the outskirts of Winterfell and The Hound and Arya are on horseback headed out towards Kingslanding. Both have unfinished business [HINT: Cleganebowl is real and so is Arya’s list–still]. We learn that Sandor has no intention of returning to the north but even sadder, we learn neither does Arya.
Again, writers. WTF. Why even give us happiness if you’re hellbent on taking it away?
Up above, the dragons screech and Sansa looks on with what can only be perceived as disdain. She observes the still-wounded Rhaegal teetering as he flies when Tyrion shows up. She asks “Why her?” something that sounds a lot like jealousy. Tyrion echoes our thoughts when he notices that Sanas seems “determined to dislike her.” But we know Sana better than that. This isn’t a petty high-school girl squabble. Dany is volatile this season. Dany is paranoid this season. Dany is uncompromising this season and Sansa now knows this. She also knows Jon isn’t actually her brother, but her cousin and heir to the iron throne. Looks like Khaleesi isn’t the only one with nukes.
What Sansa realizes is that this information is incendiary, you can see her stressing with it while Tyrion goes on and on about not provoking Daenerys since she’s so given to caprice. Sansa, intelligent protege of Little Finger that she is, realizes that Tyrion’s loyalty is not out of love but fear. Let’s face it, Stevie Wonder could see that. Sansa, however, is filled with fear as well. Not for Dany but for Jon. She knows what happens every time a Stark man goes South. Things do not end well. Sansa doesn’t want to lose another person she loves, especially not for a cause she thinks is doomed and selfish. Especially not to a woman she doesn’t care for. All this stress brings her to the decision that she must spill the beans. So she does.
“What if there was someone else? Someone better?”
Did she betray Jon? Yes. Was it for the greater good? Does he smell Daenerys’ selfish motives? Was this done for the safety of their home? The safety of their family? Absolutely.
Enter the Winterfell courtyard and Jon gives his farewells to Sam and Gilly, who is pregnant and wants to name the baby Jon (awwwww). Tormund, who remains chipper despite his heartbreak from the night before. He reminds Jon that he has “the north in him”. Perhaps Jon will make it back north after all? Fuck, the foreshadowing my god.
Last but not least, The unceremonious goodbye, or lack thereof with Ghost. He bequeaths him to Tormund like an unwanted child and splits. **Sigh**, the Dire Wolves deserve better, man. So much better.
Over at White Habor, the ships set sail and Spider and Tyrion are in talks. Varys has peeped game by now. He’s worried about Daenerys’ state of mind. Targaryens are notorious for going nuts and Dany’s been in a high-stress environment since she’s set foot in Westeros. Varys makes the point that Dany isn’t likely to share her throne so the question of a marriage between the North and south is out. Jon also isn’t the type to cosign on incest no matter what his loins are screaming. The problem is, Jon’s a war hero and a man. Something that unfortunately gives him more clout than Dany, a female in their world.
Is it fair? Hell no. Is it tradition? Sadly. The conversation they’re having is, of course, treasonous but why stop now because plot, right?
All seems fine and dandy but happiness is not allowed because GAME OF THRONES. They’re about a mile out from Dragonstone, Rhaegal’s just getting his footing before
Who’s the culprit? None other than Euron.
I can’t even lie. I wasn’t surprised. Quite the contrary, I cackled. Cackled at Daenerys’ monumental stupidity. Now before you call me a Dany hater, hear me out. The girl was JUST in the north, with master smiths. ONE master smith in particular whom she just crowned lord of Storms End. She did Gendry a solid, you’d think after what she’s seen and been through (i.e field of fire/Night King) that she’d smarten up. Maybe say: “Hey! Gendry! You’re good at making swords and axes. Since I just gave you the biggest glow up you’ll ever get in your life, would you mind suiting up my boys??” You’d think she’d realize some ARMOR for those dragons would be useful.
But what’s clear is that logic isn’t something very high on the girl’s priority list. If it was, she would’ve listened to Sansa’s advice. She would have stuck around the north to get her babies some dragonglass gear, get them suited up. Let them rest. Get some rest herself. No logic. She’s never had to use it since she had others doing it for her. And when all else failed?
Pew, pew, Dacarys.
Of course, we see the consequences of this when Rhaegal [R.I.P] takes a deep dive into the bay and Euron relentlessly assaults the remaining Targaryen fleet with Qyburns Scorpions. Dany has no choice but to retreat. The armada washes up on shore and Grey worm searches desperately for Missandei.
Cue the foreboding music. She’s not there.
Which only means she’s somewhere she’s not supposed to be. We get confirmation moments later when a view of King’s landing opens up and Missandei’s hands come into view. And it’s heartbreaking. She’s back in chains, but not by the good masters of Astapor, instead, it’s Cersei’s savage ass that has her bogged down. Daenerys is pissed at this point. So is Grey Worm. Her BF and his GF has been captured and they know it’s all bad. So many L’s served this episode I can’t keep count. Dany is thick with anger/grief. She ignored Varys’ council and decides the sky is going to rain on Cersei. No more mercy. It’s gotten her nowhere.
Another treasonous conversation happens after the loss between Spider and the Imp. Varys’ is ready to jump ship. Tyrion’s still holding out hope. Gotta love the little guy for being such an idealist. It’ll get him killed, you heard it here first. Varys is trying to stay loyal to the only thing that’s ever mattered: The Realm. he realizes Dany isn’t the great white hope, but living long enough to see herself become the villain. And he won’t have another mad regent rule while he’s alive. A true humanist.
Back up north, Jaime gets word of Cersei’s machinations and Sansa gives him a boss line “I’ve always wanted to see them execute your sister, looks like I won’t get the chance.”
Me too boo.
Unfortunately, for Jaime this doesn’t seem to give him the same satisfaction. He’s triggered actually. And this sick sort of addiction creeps back into him. He just can’t let her go. Co-dependancy at its finest. Low self-esteem at its finest. Character development assassination at its finest. Thank you, writers. (Sarcasm) After all that work. After all that redemption, you just blow it all to hell because you can’t give up your twin sister’s toxic vagina. He’s all “yup, I’m a scumbag. I’m going to sabotage this. Stop liking me. Cersei all day.” Like they haven’t been in the trenches together. *kisses teeth* Jaime jumps ship on the would-be romance and happy life he could’ve had with Brienne, leaving the north and breaking her heart in the process.
Bro, Bran shoulda let them kill you. How dare you make Brienne cry.
At this point, I don’t even know why I’m still watching but I’m a masochist so I don’t exit my HBO now screen. I’ve put 6 years into this, I’m sinking with this ship I guess.
Finally, we enter the gates of King’s Landing. Tyrion Daenerys Greyworm and The Unsullied look from below at the battlements while Cersei, The Mountain, Euron and a chained Missandei watch from above. Cersei’s got that smug, lizard-like smirk on her face so you know immediately nothing good is coming. Qyburn comes out to declare the terms of surrender, not theirs– Dany’s. Of course, neither side is willing to budge so Tyrion takes it upon himself to try, AGAIN to appeal to Cersei’s non-existent conscience.
The woman is literally using the citizens of the city as a shield for when the battle starts. A buffer if you will. Is that someone with a soul? Someone who will concede to your request? She left you hanging with the fake promise she made to send reinforcements north. She will never be good. She’s the final boss. They’re never redeemable. But for some reason, Tyrion stupidly thinks she is.
He learns the hard way, just like everyone else.
Cersei turns to Missandei and tells her to utter her last words.
Our polyglot takes a look at the life she could’ve had when staring down at Grey Worm. Realizing no beaches are in her future. No happiness either. Prediction: Grey worm isn’t going to let this slide. Boy gets BUSY. Heads are gonna roll and even though Cleganebowl is imminent, my money is on him to take out the Mountain after what just went down. They took his boo. It’s war. All is fair.
“Dracarys” She rasps, as she turns her gaze to Dany.
It’s a plea to her queen more than anything else. A plea that’s laced with rage. And it’s plain as day that the subtext of Missandei’s final words are one thing and one thing only.
Light them up.
The heartbreaking thing about all of this? Samwell was right. Because of Daenerys’ obstinance on keeping her position and her claim to the throne, Missandei died. Freed from slavery just to end up back in chains.
“You gave up your crown to save your people, would she do the same?”
Is she feeling the weight of the world right now? Absolutely. What else she’s feeling? Rage. Fury. Murderous intent. All of her allies are being cut down one by one in the most gruesome ways at that. And the look on her face when the scene cuts out promises carnage for the second to last episode. I won’t lie, if I was her I’d probably go ham as well. Episode 5, Daenerys is going full weapons of mass destruction with Drogon. The Unsullied, led by the newly-single Grey Worm will most likely follow suit.
All hell is about to break loose. And with Miguel Sapochnik at the helm of this next installment’s directorial chair, we’re in for a bloody, fiery, and stressful hour and a half. I got five on it. Here’s hoping, through all that stress we’ll get a bit of redemption from this episode.
It’s almost the end, team! Check out what the penultimate episode has in store for us below.