Sansa Snark: Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4

Season 8, Episode 4 of Sansa Snark, a Game of Thrones recap series

Previously, on recapping Game of Thrones… If you had your television’s brightness settings calibrated jussssssst right, you might have seen quite the battle between the living and the dead. This week, Sansa Snark presents:

Season 8, Episode 4: The Last of the Starks

Things pick up not long after where we left off. As you might expect, a lot of people are dead. Jorah: dead. Theon: dead. Edd: you may have forgotten because it takes place so early in the episode but, dead. Someone else who is dead is the Night King, and let’s just get this out of the way before I go on a prolonged rant and burst a blood vessel in my forehead: there’s no further explanation of what the whole deal with him was. The Night King was (at least for now unless they spend the entire series finale delving into it) just an evil guy on a TV show doing evil things because he’s evil and evil guys on TV shows do evil things.

But yes, everyone who died is dead, plus thousands more. It’s harrowing to see them piled up on all those funeral pyres, but at least they won’t be coming back to life to eat brains, or whatever. The gang’s all assembled — even Ghost — to honor the fallen and the ultimate sacrifice they made. Jon Snow delivers what is honestly his most impassioned, inspiring speech yet, talking about how those who died were “the shields guarding the realms of men.” He’s really got some  “secret family heritage” swagger going on. And whether he likes it or not, it’s a speech that comes at a potentially opportune time for him. Yes, with the threat of the extermination of all life resolved, Game of Thrones is back to what it knows best:

Jon Snow: Now, here’s a guy who has on multiple occasions become a leader despite explicitly not really wanting to be one. He didn’t really want to be Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, nor did he want to be King in the North. Obviously, both those things happened due to overwhelming public opinion. Don’t want to make too many predictions, but it seems like things are trending towards him unwittingly sitting on the Iron Throne too. His electability is just off the damn charts. He’s always all, “LET ME BE CLEAR, I do not want to rule over anyone, I am but a humble man, I cannot stress enough how much I do not want this,” but everyone else is like “YES SO HUMBLE AND HOW ABOUT THAT HAIR? RULE OVER US JON SNOW!” Tormund touts his having been murdered but then coming back to life that one time. Side note: Isn’t it weird how Jon coming back from the dead hasn’t been made an issue at all? Almost as if the show has run out of creative ideas and is rushing through this last season while casting several potentially interesting plot points aside…

Anyway, Daenerys can sense this atmosphere of growing support for Jon and, as you can probably guess, is not happy about it. Everyone is having so much fun — it should be explicitly said that everyone is getting proper hammered during all of this — and she is having exactly zero fun. Sure she made Gendry the Lord of Storm’s End, but big whoop, who gives a shit about Storm’s End, no one even knows what’s going on there anyway. Presumably it’s currently being ruled over by a roving pack of deer? All Dany can do is sip on a latte and look worried.

Photo: HBO

After the “we lived” rager subsides, Dany goes to Jon’s room. They start to make out, but now that he knows they’re related, it’s just not the same anymore for Jon. Still, he claims no interest in the crown. But Dany lets him know, if that’s true then he should swear Bran and Sam to secrecy and then never tell anyone else about his heritage, EVER. Jon says he needs to tell his sisters, assures that all of them can live together, and repeats that Daenerys is his Queen. That’s not good enough for Daenerys however, who re-asserts that yes, they can live together, but under the terms she has laid out. Bran and Sam sworn to secrecy, and no one else ever finds out. Which, RED FLAG dude, if she’s giving him an ultimatum to choose between your family and her, this relationship is done for.

So Jon of course tells Arya and Sansa. Sansa is all too eager to undercut Daenerys and tells Tyrion, who then spills the beans to Varys, and then we’ve got a whole dang situation on our hands. Varys has mostly been on the sidelines, dying for a scheme to plot, only for the seeds of one to fall right into his lap. But we’ll get there.

Photo: HBO

Let’s go back in time to the party, where Tyrion isn’t spilling state secrets, but is rather engaged in a drinking game with Jaime, Brienne, and Podrick. The “game” is guessing facts about someone. I’ve run over the data with my team of analysts, and the rules seem to be: If you’re right, they drink, if you’re wrong, you drink and then become subject to questions. Not exactly a “game” but look, everyone is feeling a lot of emotions after almost dying, and they want to drink rather than deal with them, okay? However you would define what they’re doing, Brienne is definitely losing, she has to drink a whole lot. Eventually, and for whatever reason, Tyrion says that Brienne is a virgin. Awkward. Podrick be like:

As Brienne gets up to leave, Tormund — the MVP of this whole shindig — shambles over looking to celebrate their victory, but also solve the mystery of who shit in his pants. That’s our Tormund! Our wise-cracking, giant’s teat suckling friend makes a move to follow after Brienne, but Jaime totally slides in there and steals his moment. Tormund is crestfallen, literally in tears. His heart is broken. Luckily though, some other random girl who’s not afraid of wild things shows up, and then Tormund feels better. Sex!

Meanwhile, Jaime shows up at Brienne’s room to give her the drink she didn’t drink for Tyrion’s correct guess. Then Jaime lets Brienne know that his shirt is chafing him, and wonders if she’d mind if he… took it off. Very presumptuous of him. Only having one hand apparently makes it incredibly difficult to take one of these medieval tunic-shirts off, so Brienne undoes it for him… before undoing her own. Maybe it wasn’t that presumptuous after all. You think Jaime leaves the golden hand on when he has sex?

Photo: HBO

Later, but still before all the secret spilling, all of our heroes get together for a strategy meeting. Seems like the combined forces of the Dothraki, Unsullied, and Northern houses was actually way more than we thought, because they remark on the balance between them and Cersei’s army now being even. Also, the Dothraki didn’t actually get completely wiped out! Racism is over!

In his infinite wisdom that’s been demonstrated time and time again as of late, Tyrion has the plan to remove Cersei without destroying King’s Landing. If Dany and her armies surround and cut off the city, forcing the Lannister’s and Golden Company to fight in the fields, Tyrion has faith the people will cast Cersei aside. Jon will march his men down there, while everyone else will take a nice leisurely cruise to Dragonstone where the skies are clear blue and not filled with giant arrows. Plus, as an added bonus, Yara has re-taken the extremely vital Iron Islands offscreen — they’re so vital it would almost do them a disservice to show what happened — while the new Prince of Dorne has put his support behind Dany. Wow! DORNE!

Before they can take off, Sansa voices her concerns. All the fighting men are wounded and exhausted, in need of rest and recuperation. Daenerys wants to know why Sansa is personally attacking her in front of everyone, especially after she came North to help Sansa’s cause. Jon steps in to assuage things though, saying they will go where they are commanded. (All of this probably has no small role in Sansa’s decision to tell Jon’s secret to Tyrion.) With that, they’re off! Time to win the “last war” and allow men to live without fear and cruelty under their rightful Queen.

Photo: HBO

Oh, but yeah, they seem to have completely forgotten about the existence of Euron Greyjoy’s fleet? Like completely. You would think that if one of your biggest foes was renowned for having a lot of ships, it might be something you accounted for when you’re planning on traveling by sea. Except they didn’t.

There’s no easy way to say this other than to just say it: Euron Greyjoy kills one of Dany’s dragons, Rhaegal to be specific. Equipped with a Qyburn-upgraded version of those giant crossbows specifically used to kill dragons, the Ironborn cloud up the clear blue sky with giant arrows. Aw man, that’s exactly what the sky above Dragonstone wasn’t supposed to be like!

Everything about this sucks, it’s completely unearned because Euron is an under-developed one-dimensional character, and the death hardly comes across as the big #moment it should. Remember when the Night King killed a dragon, and it seemed like a huge deal, an impossible task? It was an insane moment. Turns out though, you don’t actually need to be an elemental force of seemingly unstoppable evil to kill a dragon. In fact, any asshole with a rudimentary understanding of projectile-based weaponry can kill one if their aim is good enough. And Euron’s aim is apparently very very good, even at impossible distances. Not to mention that Qyburn somehow perfected and mass produced a weapon capable of killing dragons (and destroying ships) with unrivaled speed and accuracy from a safe distance in like, three months. Lest we also forget that time Euron rebuilt his entire fleet in approximately a week. Maybe Euron and Qyburn should rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Photo: HBO

When the dust settles, a dragon is dead, Missandei is captured, and Daenerys is reeling. She’s angry and looking to vent that anger by destroying King’s Landing. Varys begs her to not destroy the city that she’s here to save, as it would defeat the whole purpose of coming to save it! Tyrion also steps in to mention that Jon’s section of the army is still a fortnight away, and that a “better” plan would be to offer Cersei her life in exchange for the throne. Avoid bloodshed now, and allow the poor common-folk to reflect on how it’s actually Cersei that’s doing this to them as they get incinerated, decapitated, just generally murdered.

Little does Daenerys know that Tyrion and Varys have been having discussions, maybe even doing a little bit of scheming. Westeros’ favorite political advisors are going in deep on whether or not they should derelict their duty to Daenerys to support Jon instead. After all, Varys now knows that Tyrion knows that Sansa knows that Jon knows that Bran and Sam found out that Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Varys is very worried about Dany’s state of mind, while simultaneously seeing that Jon is a beloved war hero who also has a better claim to the throne. Perhaps the person best fit to sit on the Iron Throne is the person who doesn’t want it.

Also, Jon is a man, which sadly will go over better than Dany with the loosely defined “Lords of Westeros.” Tyrion wants to remain loyal to Daenerys, but Varys is a patriot who will always first remain loyal to “The Realm,” whatever that means. Would be nice if there was, say, a television show about this stuff where they could flesh out these sorts of ideas better for us. Oh well.

Back at Winterfell, Jaime has heard news of what Euron did to Daenerys’ fleet and decides he must go to Cersei. Everything he’s ever done in life is because of her, it’s where he belongs. Brienne pleads with him, stating that he is a good man, not like his sister at all, and doesn’t need to go die with her. That’s untrue though, according to Jaime; Cersei is hateful, and so is he. With that, he rides off and Brienne bursts into tears, as would we all if this didn’t feel like an entire season’s worth of character development crammed into 80 minutes. Are you sensing a theme?

Photo: HBO

FINALLY — my fingers are about to fall off — it’s Dany along with Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and a small batch of Unsullied at the gates of King’s Landing. They’re facing off with Cersei, Euron, The Mountain, and a whole bunch of army dudes with better weapons and the high ground. Missandei is captured and up there too. Qyburn slithers out through the gates, and he meets with Tyrion to discuss terms. Daenerys demands Cersei’s unconditional surrender and the release of Missandei, which is actually really funny, because Cersei demands Daenerys‘ unconditional surrender or else Missandei dies. IT’S A GREAT CONUNDRUM!

So, Tyrion does what any smart, universe-brained person would: he walks right up to the gates where his sister — who has wanted to murder him since forever — has an army waiting to do some murder. He decides to plead… to the human side of Cersei Lannister. Of course, she’s already smirking with her hand raised, ready to order her men to fire. But Tyrion goes on, stating that he knows his sister is not a monster, as she always loved her children, even the one that was a total psychopath. If not for the people of King’s Landing, then surrender for her unborn child. Her reign is over, but her life doesn’t have to be, her baby doesn’t have to die. It’s a fine speech, and Cersei of course responds by giving Missandei a chance to say any last words — she chooses “Dracarys,” what a bad ass — before having The Mountain cut her head off.

AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, Daenerys isn’t pleased. Actually, she’s shaking with rage. You know, Missandei and Grey Worm both survived Winterfell, they were holding hands right before the large arrows started flying, it really felt like they were going to make it. That’s another thing about Game of Thrones proceeding at Ludicrous Speed in its final season: the various turns and deaths used to feel earned because the time was taken to develop things. The show would lead us along for eight episodes — allowing even the smallest sense of hope to form in our brains — only to reveal that where it was leading us was the edge of a cliff. It was manipulative, but compelling television. Now, they’re barely even bothering to do the work, opting instead to just rip our hearts out within one episode and wonder why we’re not entertained.

Spare thoughts that are better thought out than the back half of this episode:

-Continuing my extremely justified rant as someone who is a viewer of this show and is therefore allowed to have opinions: this episode didn’t need to be super-sized. In fact, it makes me think that all of this “wow look at how generous we are, giving you extra-long episodes in the final season of this show you love” stuff is just poorly masking how the show (Benioff and Weiss) simply don’t have enough ideas to flesh out a good story. Much like George R.R. Martin and his next book, THEY DON’T HAVE THE PAGES. They’re just stitching together big moments and hoping to coast by on hashtags and goodwill because hey, those moments make up an episode of Game of Thrones.

-Also happening this episode: So so much. Gendry shoots his shot and proposes to Arya. She says no because of course, she’s no lady, that’s not her. You hate to see it, but it’s probably for the best. Probably hard to just settle down after killing the god damn Night King.

-Also also happening this episode: Arya links up with The Hound who is on his way to King’s Landing to have a hash-taggable moment of his own. Are people really looking that much forward to CleganeBowl? Like who cares anymore, it’s irrelevant, The Mountain isn’t even a human anymore. Blah. But at least it will get us all talking on the internet! Yeah!

-Also also also happening this episode: Almost forgot about Bronn! He’s kind of a dick now? Bronn makes it up to Winterfell to scare Tyrion and Jaime into offering him a better deal than the one Cersei offered to kill the two of them. And it looks like he’s going to get Highgarden out of it! From cutthroat to fancy lad. But we all know what my man really wants: some peace and quiet so he can fuck at his own leisure. #LetBronnFuck.

-Also also also also (jesus) happening this episode: Jon says goodbye to the North — literally and symbolically — and I guess that’s a series wrap on Tormund, Sam, Gilly, and Ghost? It’s mostly sweet. Then Jon gives a perfunctory nod to Ghost before saying goodbye forever and, HOLD UP. Not even a pat on the head for the good boy? He lost half an ear fighting alongside you! BULLSHIT. Worst thing Jon has ever done.

-Bran comments to Tyrion that he mostly lives in the past now. Well, Bran, dude, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TRYING TO LIVE IN THE FUTURE FOR ONCE? IT COULD HELP!

-Much like CleganeBowl, are people really clamoring that much to watch a dramatic re-telling of Chernobyl?

-Sorry if I’m being more flippant than usual, it’s just that I’m exhausted.

Only two more to go! Please, give me your energy. Follow me on Twitter here and on Instagram here. If you want to read more of my work, I write about music for Tiny Mix Tapes and about pro wrestling for Fansided. Check out any and all prior editions of Sansa Snark here. Sorry for any weird ads, I don’t have enough money to pay for a premium WordPress. Until next time!


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