As always, there will be full spoilers for this episode so you have been warned!
The Last of the Starks opened with mourning and celebration after last week’s victory over the Night King and the Army of the Dead. Fallen heroes were given tribute by burning the corpses on pyres. Once again, Ramin Djawadi’s score elevates the scene. After this, the action cuts for an extended portion that features the victors getting drunk and celebrating. All are happy-except Dany, who sees how the soldiers rally around Jon, marvelling at his heroics and praising him while she sat alone, not content in partying. Dany is still an outsider and has yet to win over many allies or admirers in the West. This episode felt like the end of the road for some characters and their respective arcs, such as Tormund Giantsbane and Ghost likely leaving the show for good, while also opening up the door for new avenues for the final two episodes. Chief among those is that Jon’s little secret is no longer a secret, it’s information, as Varys put it.
Daenerys has been preaching that she’s not like those who came before her, that her mission in life is to get rid of all the evil in the world. But she’s prepared to do anything to achieve that goal she says and that includes some pretty tyrannical thinkings of her own. Varys sees this and begins to question the Queen’s mind. Then Jon gets Bran to reveal his secret to Arya and Sansa and you bet that it doesn’t take long for Sansa, who was sworn to secrecy, to spill the beans to Tyrion. The show has not been shy about how much Sansa doesn’t trust Dany and as soon as this news comes into her possession, she immediate uses it for her own political agenda, hoping to set in motion a campaign to usurp Dany from the Iron Thorne.
Tyrion doesn’t want to play on this information, despite believing Jon to be the better ruler with the higher claim, but Varys strongly implies that he’ll kill her in order to put Jon on the throne, a man he believes would be a better monarch than Dany in her current state of mind. Dany’s state of mind is likely going to be even more clouded following the death of yet another one of her dragons. Rhaegal was wounded in the last episode and spent most of the episode recovering. We see him struggling a bit in flight. As soon as things seem on the mend for him, a giant spear of an arrow rips into his chest, followed by one in the wing and capped off by one straight through the skull. It was horrifying, unexpected and brutal. It’s amazing that Rhaegal is a CGI animal with no lines and I felt more sadness when he died than when any of the characters died last week during The Battle of Winterfell. The one responsible for the death of the dragon was the Greyjoy Fleet under the command of Euron, who has solidified himself as doochenozzle numero uno on the show at present. We love to hate and hate to love Cersei, but we just hate Euron for being such an arrogant and vile figure.
Things go from bad to worse as Missandei is captured and formally beheaded by the Mountain in front of Dany, Greyworm and Tyrion on Cersei’s orders, setting up a climactic battle in the following episode, which will be directed by the same man who was behind the helm for The Battle of the Bastards and The Long Night. What happens if there is a battle though? Dany’s army is weakened and using the dragon on the capital, which sees all its citizens housed in the keep, would result in the deaths of everyone she wants to keep. But not attacking would allow Cersei and edge. With Missandei’s last words being “Dracarys”, we can surely expect a battle to come and at a great cost no less. Losing Missandei was another character death that was shocking as it was brutal, and seeing Grey Worm’s reaction only made it more painful.
There are other major bits to take note in this episode, such as Jamie hooking up with Brienne and then abandoning her and Winterfell and leaving to go back to the South, seemingly going back to side with Cersei despite abandoning her in the last season. Will this decision prove fatal for either one of them? Quite possibly. Dany also tries to buy allies in the North by taking away Gendry’s bastard name and pronouncing him Genry Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End. Gendry, whose proposal to Arya was denied, is likely a strong ally to Danerys should she win the Game.
This episode was infinitely calmer and more subdued than last weeks and yet somehow, the stakes were raised and the impact of death felt more real and important. The stakes are now raised thanks to the citizens of King’s Landing being uses as collateral hostages, Dany’s forces being weakened and lacking a solid unification thanks to Jon’s big secret being revealed to Danery’s key council members. With only two episodes left until it’s done forever, you bet things are about to get very interesting.
As for episode five, I will be out of the country and won’t be able to review it on time next week so expect that review to either come at a much later date than usual or from a different writer on the team. But regardless, stay tuned for the review and more content on the site! Until then though, be sure to check out our review of Long Shot and a look back at Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.