Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 Recap: “The Last of the Starks”

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  • Brittany Strelluf

This article is dark and full of spoilers.

This episode deals with the aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell. The first ten minutes are a funeral pyre, where we say goodbye to Edd, Lyanna Mormont, Jorah the Andal, Ser Beric, as well as the hundreds of others who died fighting the army of the dead.

As we progress, we are now in a feast in the Great Hall of Winterfell. the episode becomes more celebratory in nature. We are now revisiting relationships between characters. On a personal level, quite a lot happens within these scenes.

Daenerys declares Gendry Rivers to be Gendry Baratheon, the Lord of Storm’s End. Storm’s End being the castle that Stannis held down for most of the series.   Tormund is rejected by Brienne once and for all in favor of Jaime. Tormund is heartbroken at Brienne’s rejection but gets over it pretty fast.

Tyrion speaks to Bran, and Bran reveals that he has no plans to claim the title of Lord of Winterfell.  Sansa speaks with the Hound.  He smiles for the first time in maybe ever. He tells her had she run away with him back in season 2 during the Battle of Blackwater. Sansa insists that she wouldn’t be the person she is now without all that adversary, score one for character development. 

Brienne, Podrick, Jaime and Tyrion are well into their cups with a game Tyrion played with Bronn and Shae way back in the first season. Tormund is singing Jon’s praises and Dany feels left out. She realizes how alone she is here in Westeros.  Jaime goes after Brienne and they sleep together. Gendry finds Arya shooting arrows alone. Gendry asks Arya to marry him and be the Lady of Storm’s End with him. She turns him down.

Dany finds an inebriated Jon and tries to convince him to abdicate the throne entirely and keep his parentage a secret. They don’t really get into the fact that she is Jon’s aunt. That probably doesn’t bother Dany because her family long since married each other.

Back in the war room, we learn that our heroes' forces are cut in half. The plan is that Davos and Jon lead the Northern troops and the remains of Dany’s army on the road. A smaller troop will go by sea with Dany in the air.

Arya, Sansa, Bran and Jon speak in the Godswood.  They speak plainly, and Arya tells Jon that they don’t trust Dany.  Jon tells his sisters his true lineage. Tyrion and Jaime are confronted by Bronn.  He reveals that Cersei has offered him Riverrun to kill her brothers. Tyrion offers Bronn Highgarden in exchange for their lives. Bronn has really bitten off more than he can chew but hasn’t realized it yet.

We see that Rhagael is still injured from the previous battle. Tyrion and Sansa speak candidly.  It is here that Sansa discloses the truth about Jon’s mother and father to Tyrion. Tyrion later relays the information to the Spider. Jon says goodbye to Tormund and to Sam and Gilly. Jon sends his direwolf Ghost off with the wildlings.

Arya and Sandor take off on a pair of gorgeous black horses to take care of some unfinished business in King’s Landing. Neither one is planning on coming back to Winterfell.

Varys and Tyrion are speaking about their queen. It’s worth noting that Varys is one of the men who initially saved Dany’s life by spiriting her away to Essos when she was a child.  Suddenly Rhagael is struck but several scorpion spears and is killed. It is Euron Greyjoy’s fleet armed to the teeth with scorpions. Euron shoots at the ships carrying Tyrion, Varys, Missandei, Grey Worm and the Unsullied. Missandei is taken hostage. 

Dany is ready to attack King’s Landing. Varys begs her not to, Tyrion tries to talk sense into his queen as well. Later, the two speak alone in the throne room at Dragonstone. Jaime learns of his sister’s actions and the Kingslayer mounts his horse back to King’s Landing and leaves Brienne in tears.  The dragon queen and company meet at the gate of Red Keep. Tyrion first tries to reason with Qyburn, then with Cersei directly. Missandei is executed by the Mountain and Daenerys is pissed.

After the incredible and cinematic Long Night episode, this episode was bound to be a completely different tone. Our heroes are now dealing with the aftermath of a huge battle, mourning the dead, regrouping and reassessing before they deal with the enemy to the south. This episode served up a lot of broken hearts and shattered, fleeting hopes and dreams.  This episode also had to set up for the rest of the season, and the final acts of the show.