If the previous episode of Game Of Thrones made us all jump up and down with excitement, screaming and egging on our favourite characters, the latest episode–titled The Last of The Starks–was all about taking stock of the aftermath of a great battle.
The episode, directed by David Nutter, was a sombre affair, with many highs and lows. Here’s our spoiler-free review of the episode:
“For those who come after us”
The Long Night might be over, but those who are left have to account for the immense losses and move on. Both Daenerys and Sansa have lost men they love, and others like Sam and Jon have lost old friends and supporters.
While the dead will remain dead, now that the Night King is gone, there are too many lives lost. It looks like half of Dany and Jon’s forces are gone for good, and so this episode soon becomes rife with possibilities about the future.
If Ghost looks as wounded as Arya and Jon do, it’s because he too has been through the ringer. It is unclear just how he survived the onslaught of the dead after the initial Dothraki charge, but hardcore fans would be happy that he did.
However, the same fans might not like what follows. You might not like the way Ghost has been treated this season, but at least he’s there as a part of the greater fan service that the makers of the show are clearly indulging in.
A sombre feast for new lords
The good news is–and Sansa would be relieved with this–that those who survived might now have enough food to see the winter through. A celebratory feast is a must, but it seems rather sombre and silent, and eventful at the same time.
Dany confronts Gendry about his lineage, but what she does with it could again be called nothing but fan service. Drinking games, awkward conversations, that’s what this episode is about, and you might begin to lose patience with it all.
“That’s not me”
In all that misery and orchestrated awkwardness, the little reunion of Sansa and The Hound stands out. The Stark sisters and Jon have been through a lot, but unlike some other characters on the show (read, the two Queens) they stay true to who they are.
Sansa, Arya, Bran and Jon are the last Starks, and they seem to be coping as a wolfpack with an unbreakable bond. It is, however, very frustrating that the makers of Game Of Thrones decided to not to show us just how a certain big reveal for the Starks happened.
The Dragon Queen’s losses
There’s possibly nobody who has seen more defeat over the last two seasons than Daenerys Targaryen. If she lost most of her Westerosi allies in Season 7, she loses a better part of her armed forces in this one.
Dany’s loneliness and desperation are quite evident. There is a betrayal there that many fans have expected to see, and looks like more fan theories are going to come true. However, Dany’s insistence on nothing but her own terms–which is all really tiring and irritating after all that’s happened in this world–might make fans believe that she deserves more loss.
It’s all about the South
With most of the major characters now going South to fight Cersei, the show has made her the bigger villain–even bigger than the Night King. She does prove that she’s an adequate stragetist, in both war and the bedroom.
But unlike the first half of this season, the fourth episode seems underwhelming. The heartbreaks, the betrayals, even the few battle scenes, all hint that this show is not what it once was.
If you believe that fan servicing is cool, then you might enjoy this episode–even the bits with Bronn, Brienne, Tormund, Tyrion and Jaime. But if you are one of those who are loyal to the brilliant narrative power of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, you will be disappointed by this episode.
With just two more episodes to go before this epic TV series comes to an end, the makers might not be able make a comeback, especially if they continue with the fan service. They have now made it all quite predictable, almost leaving their reference to “a bittersweet end” not something you’d want to look forward to for anything but the epic visuals.