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Game of Thrones Review: Season 8, Episode 4 - The Last of the Starks

7 May 19 words: Adam Ridgely

There is little room for the snow to settle as Game of Thrones storms forth to an unpredictable conclusion...

Appropriate for the Bank Holiday weekend, this week we begin with a strong hangover feeling from the Battle of Winterfell, before quickly descending into a full half an hour of drunken antics. The funeral scene was touching, brilliantly hammered home by Sophie Turner and Emilia Clarke, although it really highlighted the lack of casualties for characters of consequence from last week.

Things take an unintentionally funny turn as Kit Harrington attempts to give a rousing speech in his Jon Snow accent and ends up sounding more akin to a 16-year-old deepening his voice in an attempt to buy beer. Regardless, the speech was well scripted, with this week being a welcome return to form in dialogue.

Perhaps the highlight of the episode is the first act drinking scene which flows quickly, but naturally, from mournful to gleeful, to uneasy. It truly feels George RR Martin-esque as in-between all the celebratory joy, we see a tension grow in Daenerys as she watches Jon receive the hero’s response she once received, but now envies.

The dynamic of Daenerys and the rest of the remaining heroes is worrying, but tantalising material going forward as we see her slowly decline into madness as many have thought she might. As more and more are taken away from her, as Missande and Rheghal join her Deadpool, partnered with her growing fears and conspiracies from the threat posed by the heritage of Jon Snow; the slow decline of Daenerys makes for unpredictable viewing going forward.

Another highlight must come from the increasingly imposing threat of the Lannisters, as the death of Daenerys dragon at the hands of Euron was extremely uneasy, the Lannister’s truly feel like a bigger threat than the Night King ever did.

This week oddly mirrors reality TV at times. I’m sure there is a spin off somewhere in there, Keeping up with the Lannisters or the Real Housewives of Highgarden anyone? Between Sansa and Arya’s sassy 'Jon, girl, we need to talk about Daenerys,' or Varys and Tyrion’s treasonous gossip, it felt very reminiscent of early Thrones betrayal walks through the gardens of Kings Landing.

Talk of conspiracy to place Jon Snow on the throne is vintage Game of Thrones and between his speech at the start of the episode to the student of Little Finger Sansa leading a conspiracy on his behalf, this is perhaps the most engaging Jon has been since his resurrection. Jon Snow is truly the Forest Gump of Game of Thrones, despite making one stupid mistake after another, he somehow stumbles onto success he never asked for.

Whilst this week is welcome return to form in writing some leaps in logic are irritating, as despite last week’s visuals, we are expected to believe that any form of army is still alive, with allegedly half of Daenerys army making it out of the battle. However, overall Benioff and Weiss write the episode well as even potentially fan servicey moments such as Jamie and Brienne are handled well.

Episode 4 serves as somewhat of a bridge episode between the two major story arcs of Season 8. The aftermath of the battle with the undead is the episodes highpoint, whilst the latter half of the episode gives a solid precursor to the events going forward.