Hold your horses! Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 doesn’t have a battle! But yes, people do die. And animals too! GOT is heading to a close and with two episodes left, the makers decided to show politics and give us a history lesson on Westeros. Titled ‘The Last of the Starks,’ episode four piques your interest for the rest of the series.
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The fourth episode begins with a funeral for the dead. The makers seem to have carried on the formula of the first and second episodes, reveling in idle chit-chat and building up the story. A good portion is used to show how the soldiers and lords are unwinding after their victory. Arya is not shown in the merriment. We get another look at how Sansa has matured over the years. She accepted her past misadventures – those of being tortured and raped by Ramsay – and believes it has made her better. It’s a noble sentiment and makes you feel proud of the girl whom many had no sympathy for in the earlier seasons.
Despite the slow-paced nature of the narrative, moments of shock and tension keep you glued to the screen. Jon and Daenerys share a moment, but their relationship hit a setback. The hiccup is linked to the larger picture of who becomes the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Is it Jon, the one who doesn’t want to lead, and is secretly a Targaryen and has a strong claim to the throne? Or is it Dany, who is power hungry, and is slowly losing her mind? Or is it Sansa, who’s the most rational of the lot?
Building up a lot of anticipation is a strong suit for the directors of Game of Thrones. Every time you feel accustomed to something, they remove it from the scene, piquing your interest. Episode five doesn’t disappoint that way, killing off a few very important characters. Rhaeghal’s death was particularly beautiful (depending on how you look at it). From a VFX perspective, it was a 10/10. The graphics looked spot on, the blood spurts were natural, and the big splash on the water was a sight to behold. On the contrary, Missandei’s last moments were brutal, but the directors chose to keep the gruesomeness to a minimum.
Episode four’s teasers looked like the war is upon Cersei. The episode itself has only a faceoff and a skirmish. Politics and heightening of tensions dominate. It was not about a battle. Instead, it was about how the characters deal with what is about to engulf them. Does family mean one should always trust them? Just because someone now has a secret history, do they become a ruler? Is your belief in someone enough to justify all of their actions, even the terrible ones? These are tricky questions, and none of them have a straight answer. Episode four was about raising those doubts before the remaining episodes clear them. Missadei’s death felt like it was just to tie up loose ends – she had served her purpose and has nothing to do in the coming war apart from providing moral support. Rhaegal, of course, was an exception. His death turns the battlefield in Cersei’s favour, slightly. It will be interesting to find out how the attackers respond to their double blows.
With Missandei out of the picture, Dany now has no one to hold her back. Jorah is dead and she’s down to one dragon. She’s furious. And her bae, Jon, has a greater claim to the throne than her. So she doesn’t really have anyone to keep her in check since most of her advisors are too afraid. The burning down of King’s Landing is now a question of will she, or won’t she?
We now have two episodes left before Game of Thrones concludes. From the look of things, it seems like we’ll have the deciding battle in the next episode where Cersei is presumably killed. The final episode will be on who finally decides to rule the kingdom. If that indeed happens, it’ll indeed be boring but we can trust HBO to pull off a shocker somewhere.