Sunday, May 12, 2019

Game of Thrones - S08E04 Recap and Review

SPOILERS follow...

The episode starts with saying goodbye to the fallen heroes of the battle of Winterfell. The mourners hold a wine-filled wake for the lost and party the night away. After sufficient libation, Jamie and Brienne take their relationship to the next step and spend the night together. As a result, Sir Brienne is not a girl anymore... Dany also talks to Jon and asks him not to share his true identity (Aegon Targaryen VI) with anyone, but Jon insists that he cannot lie to his sisters. Later, Jon gathers Sansa, Arya, and Bran under the redwood tree, and after asking them to swear secrecy, he nods to Bran to tell Sansa and Arya how Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen were married and hence, Jon is the true heir to the throne. I get Jon being as honourable as Ned Stark and not being able to lie, but I don't consider this act "not lying". It was basically voluntary disclosure of irrelevant information. Moreover, if the identity of Jon Snow had given him title to a land or position, then I could see how the burden of a lie could become too cumbersome for him. But as a bastard with no entitlement, why did he need to overshare and set a crisis in motion?

The next day, the forces set for Kingslanding: Dany and the unsullied by sea, and Jon's army on foot. Once Jamie hears the news, he decides that he needs to be with Cersei and turns his relationship with Sir Brienne to a one night stand - which breaks Sir Brienne's heart. Another former couple, Sansa and Tyrion, also say goodbye to one another. Sansa's last words to her former husband are Jon's secret (which she had sworn to protect). I don't understand Sansa's angle here. Is she trying to sow the seeds of mistrust between Jon and Dany? Or is she just trying to weaken Dany's claim out of spite? Or maybe she wants these two remaining Targaryens to eliminate each other at the same time? Sansa has become too Machiavellian just for the sake of being Machiavellian and no other logical character or plot-driven reason.

The saddest and most anti-climactic goodbye was between Jon and Ghost, his loyal direwolf. Jon simply nods at Ghost and asks Tormund to take Ghost with him north of the Wall. After all Ghost had done for that ungrateful piece of excrement, couldn't he pet the poor direwolf at least once??

On Dany's ship to Kingslanding, Tyrion leaks Jon's secret to Varys, the self-proclaimed martyr of the realm. While these two are still discussing Dany and Jon's claims to the thrones, Euron Greyjoy attacks the fleet from his hideout. He kills Rhaegal the dragon, drowns most (if not all) of Dany's ships, and takes Missandei hostage.

Once Dany's unsullied army regroups, they walk to the gates of Kingslanding to give Cersei one last chance to surrender. Cersei knows that Dany's dragons are not hard to kill and also that most of her army are dead after the battle of Winterfell. Thinking that the odds are mostly even, she refuses to surrender, and in order to send a message, she orders the Mountain to behead Missandei. Missandei's last words were "Dracarys", which mean fire in High Valeryan. The episode ends with Dany furiously walking towards her camp.

This episode was a return to the earlier format of plotting, scheming, and playing games for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. As I mentioned above, characters' actions and Jon's in particular (insisting on sharing the "secret" and leaving his allies behind) were frustrating, and didn't make much sense. But still, as a form of escapism, the show still manages to hold the viewer's attention and keep them invested in the characters and plot. I'm concerned about how the show is going to end, but I'd like to keep an open mind... This episode was a solid 8/10.

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