The last of the starks

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The trò chơi of Thrones endgame is revealed in this overstuffed but compelling hour-plus of television...

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Before we transition into that though, the Winterfell half of the episode featured one other major, momentous development. Brienne & Jaime, the two most perfect knights on Game of Thrones, actually consummated their five-season courtship. I never actually thought they would find this happiness given where I always have expected Jaime’s fate to lớn lay, which this episode ultimately does nothing lớn dispel. But in a more perfect world, like the brief one teased during a unified alliance against the white Walkers, they should be happy. Their opposites make a whole, & not just because of Jaime’s conventional attractiveness and Brienne’s supposed lack of it (really, it’s just a bad haircut). The truth is his multitude of flaws và imperfections are an absolute complement to lớn her unshakeable idealism and earnestness.

Even more so than Ned Stark, Ser Brienne of Tarth is the most honorable person, man or woman, who’s ever appeared on Game of Thrones. Always picking the harder, righteous path, it was her steadfastness even in the face of Vargo Hoat’s evil that won a self-loathing Jaime khổng lồ the light and made him as much a true knight by season 8 as she became when he knighted her. So to lớn see them actually enjoy a drinking trò chơi with Tyrion during the earlier feast was worth more than a thousand lords & ladies kneeling before a hobbit. Even Tyrion joins in with a delightful callback to season 1’s gaiety.

Aye, how unexpected & infectiously fun was it seeing the Imp emerge from Tyrion’s weary disposition? With wine on his breath and a smile on his face, this is likely the happiest we’ve ever seen Tyrion since he was accused of Joffrey’s murder four seasons back. Allowed to be a know-it-all smartass, however, brought back unusual facets in Tyrion’s persona. Having long buried his poking-and-prodding cruelty, it was somewhat out of left field that he’d knowingly make Brienne uncomfortable by bringing up her virginity. He presumably did this lớn perhaps push her closer lớn his brother Jaime, but it was a strange reminder that back in the day, and apparently still with enough wine, Tyrion can be a full-fledged asshole.

At least it leads lớn Brienne và Jaime finally sharing an intimacy that fans have longed for ever since he confided in a blur of bathtub suds and fevered wounds his sorrows and inadequacies. Now he has a full chance at redemption & the life he forfeited khổng lồ Cersei decades ago. This is why he and Brienne have the giddiest (and most appropriately demure) love scene in Game of Thrones history.

… So of course it’s doomed to lớn not last. By the over of the episode, Jaime & Brienne receive news that feels like it should’ve come weeks or months later: Cersei has miraculously bloodied Daenerys’ nose và practically taunted the Mother of Dragons lớn burn King’s Landing to the ground. With information in hand that his twin sister, lover, & lifelong torment is almost certain to die in a matter of days, Jaime throws away his happiness by stealing off in the night and attempting khổng lồ leave Brienne to her slumber.

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Their actual goodbye—because of course Brienne notices Jaime’s departure—is frankly a disappointing scene of awkward, soapy writing. I am convinced that Jaime is not going back to love Cersei, but khổng lồ kill her. He heard from Sansa that Daenerys is sure khổng lồ be on the warpath for King’s Landing, and his decision, even if he hasn’t admitted khổng lồ himself, is lớn be there for Cersei when she dies… & maybe vì chưng it himself if she threatens khổng lồ go out nastily. As we’ll get lớn in a minute, Cersei has almost the entire population of King’s Landing inside the Red Keep’s walls. When the chips are down and all hope is lost, I suspect Cersei will try to take everyone with her and replicate the Mad King’s plan of blowing up King’s Landing (or at least the Red Keep) in a green plume of smoke and disintegrated flesh.

Jaime will be the one khổng lồ stop it again, which is fine, but to have him not even articulate some hint of this is simply the showrunners attempting lớn mask the surprise by having Jaime be needlessly cruel khổng lồ Brienne. He claims Cersei is the love he deserves & wants. The former is probably true but the latter needlessly reduces Brienne khổng lồ be the clichéd woman who weeps because her man has seemingly left her for another woman. It is pointlessly reductive lớn Brienne & feels unnaturally shoehorned into the same episode their romance was consummated.

This is actually a lot of the trouble with the second half of the episode. What could’ve been the climax of the night, or the beginning of a new one, instead is bizarre action sequence in which Euron Greyjoy, the biggest douche nozzle in all of the Seven Kingdoms & probably Essos too, “ambushes” Dany’s fleet & kills poor Rhaegal. I understand why it had to lớn be Cersei’s much more efficiently used and upgraded scorpions that unexpectedly killed a rồng instead of the Night King last week, but Rhaegal deserved better than khổng lồ be haphazardly killed off by the Westerosi version of a pop punk drummer in guyliner.

It was a horrible fate for one of the most majestic creatures in television history, but it did at least feel like a gut-punch when we saw blood spew from the green dragon’s mouth before he vanished beneath the waves. Exactly how Euron was able to lớn get this jump on Daenerys is as inexplicable as his precision, but its effect is unmistakable: It led to the further destruction of Dany’s already diminished Unsullied forces và the capture of Missandei who was perhaps unwisely sent out on a separate row boat.

The sequence is narratively sound; I just really hate Euron, guys. Truly. Và not in the way the writers intend. In any sense, it forces Daenerys into an uncomfortable box. She has just seen another one of her children murdered—one of her last children. All that remains is her favorite, Drogon, but the two who never left her side lượt thích that willful beast are now both gone, the latter stolen by Billie Joe Dragonstone over here. The consequences are severe. When Viserion died, she had Jon Snow to comfort her. When she discovered the Northmen distrusted her, she had Jorah Mormont khổng lồ steady her và keep her true. Now she finds herself increasingly isolated & alienated.

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While she was greeted as a liberator all across Slaver’s cất cánh during the first six seasons of Game of Thrones, and even earned the eventual love of the notoriously misogynistic Dothraki, she finds herself friendless in Westeros. Worse her actual friends are dying on her. Jorah is the most prominent, but the culture và people of her first marriage, the Dothraki, were almost entirely eradicated during the Battle of Winterfell last week. Granted, it was partially due khổng lồ lousy tactical writing by the showrunners, but the Dothraki were likely doomed no matter how it was written given they are a people who fight across mở cửa plains, and no matter what that is a terrible way lớn battle hordes of zombies. The point is she is losing those who love her và is increasingly finding only disdain and fear from all these strange faces around her.