Game of Thrones
With the war between the living and the dead behind them, the survivors in Winterfell pick up the pieces. The dead are mourned and soon, the thrill of living takes over the survivors revel in their victory. Not all enjoy these revels, however, as Daenerys begins to notice the powerful charm of her nephew Aegon and begins to succumb to paranoia, prompting her to demand (and then beg) that he keep his lineage a secret from everybody.
Instead choosing the path of honor and family, Aegon reveals his secret to Arya and Sansa and sets forth a chain of events that drastically alters the trajectory of the show's final season. Sansa's reveal to Tyrion, a moment of broken trust that seems inevitable, begins to justify Daenerys' paranoia as new schemes and plots begin to take root. But before any such plots can manifest, the armies of the Dragon Queen are ambushed en route to King's Landing by the Iron Fleet.
Qyburn's scorpions fell Rhaegal from the sky and decimate the ships escorting Daenerys and her advanced party. The aftermath of the ambush reveals that Euron Greyjoy has captured Missandei prompting Tyrion to suggest one final attempt to settle the feud with diplomacy before massive bloodshed begins. As the episode closes, Tyrion's words fall on deaf ears as Cersei executes Missandei in front of those who loved her-- her final words a harbinger of the chaos to come. Dracarys.
This episode was interesting in a number of ways. Many fans were quite upset at a great number of the details, from Aegon sending Ghost to live up North without really saying goodbye to his longtime partner to the narrative arc of Jaime and Brienne’s short-lived relationship. In some ways, this felt like an episode in which not much of consequence occurred and what did seemed designed to inflame fans. After all, we have seen a solid season and a half in which the creative team has seemed intent on delivering on every bit of fan service imaginable only to have the rug pulled out from under our feet, granting only blood and awkward moments with this episode.
We wanted Brienne to finally notice the advances of Tormund and embrace big love. Instead, she, like so many others, fell victim to the charms of the Kingslayer, a man who is nothing more than addict. His return South for another fix is everything we dreaded happening. Of course we were angry at him for making Brienne sob. But in that sequence, I would argue, is a metaphor for the entire course of this story. There were many moments along the way that the tale would tease things we desperately wanted to happen only to tear those things away to reveal other paths we never dreamed of. That, dear reader, is the Game. With only two episodes left, I would wager that this narrative is going to rip our hearts several more times.
You see, the problem with a Game of Thrones is the objective. Daeny’s focus on the throne hides behind her facade of wanting to “break the wheel” and reign prosperously for the people. But when Sansa calls for a rest for their forces, time to recover, Daeny refuses. The throne, the actual chair itself, is symbolic of the illusion of power. It is a combination of windmills and golden chalices. Seizing it solves nothing but the question of how to seize it. In the end, the victor of the game accomplishes nothing but entering into a new game. With the heavy inundation of destiny themes littered throughout the series, I expect the true victors of the game, when all is said and done, will be the ones that discover how to sidestep destiny for autonomy.
"The Last of the Starks" delivers perhaps the most genuine-feeling episode in over two years as expectations are dashed and fear is allowed to permeate the scene.
Game of Thrones Ep804: Leaving on a Southern Train…
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 10/1010/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 9/109/10