It’s the countdown to the last war.
And everyone’s bringing their unfinished business to battle.
Join your Westerosi correspondents Peter Marsh And Daniel Miller as they dive into the latest episode of Game of Throne.
These recaps are dark and full of spoilers, so only continue reading if you’ve caught up on the latest episode of the show.
We won’t be spoiling anything from any production leaks that may or may not have found their way onto the internet. Some deep book lore may feature.
The last war
PETE: The Night King is dead.
All things considered, the body count wasn’t as high as expected.
Winterfell still stands and its Great Hall is full again with celebrations again.
And everyone is MAD.
Well, almost everyone. Tormund ate a beer (I couldn’t describe what he did as drinking), then bounced back pretty well from his final rejection from Brienne at least.
Good on him for taking no for an answer and riding off to live out a happy life in the *real* north.
I got some emotional whiplash from this opening. I went from happy (Gendry is a Lord! Sam and Gilly are expecting!) to extremely worried (Dany being mad at everyone for not celebrating her. Sansa being mad at Dany. Varys not letting either moment slip by) every 30 seconds.
I particularly liked the groundwork laid here for the turn we see Dany take throughout this episode.
She tries to get in on these celebrations. But she’s lost Jorah and big chunks of her Dothraki, her remaining allies all have other ties and the celebrations seem to be for everyone but the Dragon Queen who saved everyone.
DAN: I loved how they handled these scenes with Dany. Everything she’s feeling and saying is perfectly reasonable given her situation.
She’s trying her best and warning Jon about what’ll happen if he reveals his secret. I’m nodding along to all of this: ‘yep, makes sense’. That’s why Dany’s fall to villain is actually quite human and believable.
PETE: Agreed. She’s dead right about Jon revealing the truth of his identity to Sansa and Arya.
But on the flip side of that iron coin, it makes so much sense that Jon would tell them. The scene in the Godswood showed us how much family meant to Jon. I did feel a little short changed that we cut away from Sansa and Arya’s reaction to the news though.
If you were one of the people asking “well what now?” after last week, you got your answer pretty quickly.
It’s fair to say I’m on board with this final arc. Just like Marie Kondo, I love it when Game of Thrones is messy. And oh boy is there some mess to sort out.
DAN: I’m still bitter we didn’t have the Night King overrunning King’s Landing with the undead.
We did end up learning what the Battle of Winterfell cost though — about half of all the northern armies. There sure didn’t look to be many survivors at all last episode. Maybe they were hiding the in crypts too?
We now know that the northern and southern forces are “about even”. That was weird to me. I came into this episode thinking there were no northern armies left and wondering how on earth they were planning to depose Cersei.
And even after the Night King was defeated, it was still chilly in that battle room as Sansa shot ice at Dany, forcing Jon to intercede.
Pete, I’m really not loving this Sansa/Dany fight. Even if it’s for setting Dany up as a villain, which I appreciate, it’s just not fun to watch.
Sansa was meant to have learnt everything from Littlefinger, but he schemed in the shadows and anticipated problems. Sansa? She’s doesn’t backstab, she frontstabs, out in the open.
There’s nothing clever about it. If Sansa is going to betray Dany (and Jon’s trust), I want it to hit me out of nowhere, at the worst possible moment.
As expected, this episode was a lot of set up for what’s to come next week. Jon had to say his goodbyes to the north as he was leaving with Davos and the main army to travel down the Kingsroad to King’s Landing. This may be the last time we see him with best bud Sam and definitely the final time he hangs with Tormund.
But I don’t think I’ll ever forgive Jon for not giving a whimpering Ghost a hug. Anyone who treats a dog badly is not someone I want as my king. Get the dragonfire ready Dany, Jon’s gotta roast for this.
I somewhat recovered when Arya decided to ride off and resume her Arya and The Hound spin-off series.
It won’t last long though. They’re off to King’s Landing for “unfinished business” — the Hound for a bit Cleganebowl action and Arya to stab another member of royalty after dispatching the Night King.
PETE: MY HYPE FOR CLEGANEBOWL WILL NEVER DIE DAN.
Jaime though? In the bin. Off you pop.
I’ve made no secret of my love for Book Jaime and his character arc. I think the Jaime we see in the show has been at his best when he’s stayed close to that story (remember that little trip to Dorne in season five? I’m sorry for reminding you).
And I thought we were *finally* there this season. But what appears to be a final flip-flop for Jaime is a truly bitter pill for me to swallow. Let alone the fact that he breaks Brienne’s heart to do it.
DAN: Totally agree. Give me book Jaime over this. I get it, he’s conflicted about his sister. He should feel grief and conflict for all the horrible things he’s done. But running away from Brienne after all this because he’s “hateful” like his sister? Please.
I know it’s too much to hope for a happy ending between Brienne and Jaime, but this just feels like a dumb justification to move Jaime across the chess board back to King’s Landing so he can play his final part in the story.
Maybe it’s a bit predictable now, but with both Jaime AND Arya going to King’s Landing, is it possible we’ll see a Jaime-face-wearing Arya getting close to Cersei and killing her?
Loose lips sink ships
PETE: I don’t know about you all but my episode ended here on this perfect shot of Grey Worm and Missandei sailing off the Naath to be happily ever after.
I HATE BEING RIGHT.
Aside from these two not getting a happy ending, I also predicted the Dany would lose another dragon before things ended (it’s all about the visions, which you can read about here).
I still wasn’t prepared for how brutal that was for Rhaegal though.
Last season started with Dany’s triumphant return to Dragonstone, at the very peak of her powers. Just look who was around the table back then:
And compare it to now:
It’s not up for debate that Cersei is the number one threat to Daenerys and Jon right now.
But folks, if you aren’t watching Varys *very* closely, you haven’t been paying attention. He may have been quiet during these battle episodes, but the master of whisperers is back in his element and undoubtedly still has little birds all over the realm to pull whatever strings he wants.
DAN: I loved that treasonous talk between Varys and Tyrion this episode. Every word of it felt dangerous and they covered everything we the audience were thinking about Jon and Dany and how it might or might not work.
Whatever direction Tyrion and Varys go, I’m happy they at least aired all the issues.
Even though this episode had a lot of smart scenes and dialogue, it dropped a MASSIVE CLANGER. Oh boy, I HATED the surrender discussion between Cersei and Dany outside the gates of King’s Landing.
It was so absurdly stupid that they probably should have left it on the cutting room floor.
Catch up on our season 8 recaps:
Dany turns up with a handful of her soldiers and her dragon parked not far behind, against all of Cersei’s archers and massive ballistas (she’s been busy cranking those out!).
Once it was clear that the surrender wasn’t going to happen I’m flabbergasted as to why Cersei didn’t fill Tyrion with 20 arrows and then unleash her forces on Dany and her pitiful guards while the ballistas loosed on her dragon. That’s it. End of the war. Cersei wins.
It made no sense. Cersei gains absolutely nothing by letting them get away. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
PETE: Wonky plot moments like these are the price we’ve been paying since the show went off-book.
I think you either tolerate it for the good bits like me, or it gets in the way of your enjoyment of the show like it does for Dan.
I’ve managed to do enough mental gymnastics to get on board, just. We already know that Cersei’s trying to keep the people on her side by letting them in to the Red Keep. As far as the good people of Westeros are concerned, Cersei is still in the right here.
She’s certainly played a hand here that would make Tywin proud. She’s got the armies, she’s got the throne, she’s got the support of the common folk and with that, the upper hand.
Meanwhile, Dany’s lost armies, boats, dragons and one by one — her closest friends.
The death of Missandei honestly ranks up there with Hodor for the most tragic for me (doubly so given the concerns about fridging one of the only prominent characters of colour left on the show).
Still, her final cry to Dany might be the best indication of what in store for the end of this story.
In this last war, the Dragon Queen certainly has all the justification she needs to follow those words of House Targaryen — Fire and Blood.
“We may have defeated Them (White Walkers) but we still have us to contend with.” – Tyrion
“Joffrey was a man. I don’t think a c*ck is a true qualification, as I’m sure you’d agree” – Tyrion to Varys.
DAN: Arya is not only the stabber of hearts, but the breaker of them too. Our new ice queen quickly shut down Gendry and his marriage proposal. I know why it had to happen, but that still didn’t stop me from feeling bad for our poor blacksmith-turned lord.
PETE: Bronn! Doing exactly what we expected Bronn to do. He laid some hard truths (and *not* a broken nose) on Jaime and Tyrion before reminding us all that he’ll be lurking in the shadows for a little while yet.
The reunion between the Hound and Sansa was a lovely call back to the first time Sandor Clegane protected a Stark daughter.
Way back during the Battle of the Blackwater, the Hound did indeed offer to take a frightened Sansa home to Winterfell and told her she “better get used to looking at killers”.
He tries the same schtick this episode, trying to frighten Sansa by bringing up some of the worst she’s been through. She’s having none of it, leaving the Hound to comment: “You’ve changed little bird.”
He’s not wrong.
And did you know that you can get a great cup of coffee in Westeros?
I hear there’s a Starkbucks on every corner of the Kingsroad…
There weren’t a lot of deaths, but the two that happened had a massive presence.
We said goodbye to: