The following are a few notes from Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4. Warning: mild spoilers may be included, though I’ve tried to stay away from anything too glaring. Either way, consider yourself warned.
In Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4, the honored dead are put to rest in the aftermath of last week’s Battle of Winterfell. In the wake of the costly victory, Jon and Daenerys look to the south. Meanwhile, Tyrion eyes a compromise that could save countless lives.
Frankly, there was a lot going on in tonight’s episode, but they managed to keep it compelling throughout. In the end, it was quite obviously one of those installments meant to move all the pieces into place. In that vein, it definitely accomplished it’s job, since the endgame for the series is now becoming more and more clear. Excuse me while I clear the lump of emotion that formed in my throat typing those words, and we’ll continue. I’m going to be grieving the end of this show for a while, guys. Seriously.
Arya stays true to character, further proving the writers get it and aren’t just out for fan service.
Let’s talk about that impulsive proposal. Let’s be real: even the most jaded among us probably hoped a little these two would get together eventually. Saying that in the beginning would’ve been quite creepy, because of the age difference. Maisie Williams, portraying Arya, has grown up right before our eyes, however. As a result, what was almost a sibling-like or – at best – crush type of relationship has evolved recently. This entire season, things have been very flirtatious, culminating in them actually sleeping together last week before the big battle.
I realize the scene made some people uncomfortable, but I thought it was perfectly in character. Both of them were facing the probability of death, and Arya was a virgin. Certainly, there were scores of couples seeking comfort in one another in that situation. Why shouldn’t she want to at least make sure she has the experience before she dies?
That being said, I think her choice to turn down Gendry’s crazy, impulsive proposal was perfectly within character as well. As for him, he was riding an emotional high after a pretty rough life. Doing what he did in Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 makes a certain amount of sweet sense, but so too did her reaction. Arya has been telling people since the first season she wasn’t going to be a typical Lady. That might be Sansa, but it’s not her path. Her excepting his proposal would have been pure fan service. We would all like for Arya to get a happy ending somehow. At this point, however, it would have been a betrayal of her entire character arc, so I’m glad the writers stayed true.
Finally, the stage is set for The Last War
Next week begins the struggle for who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne. For its part, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 did a great job ratcheting up the tension. While we’ve been concentrating on the narrative in the North, the enemies to the South have been preparing. This was made evident tonight to disastrous affect as far as Daenerys’ forces are concerned.
Still, even with these losses, she still commands a strong force. As a result, Tyrion seeks a compromise where Cersei’s life might be spared in return for giving up the Iron Throne. Needless to say, however, that was never going to happen. She’s been telling people since the first season that “when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.” That’s her attitude, and it creates a situation where there’s no escape from bloodshed. All that’s left to wonder is how many have to die?
At this point, Tyrion and Varys simply want to limit the damage to the people of Kings Landing. They know what it’s going to look like when dragonfire is loosed on the city, and their Queen is in the worst possible headspace to care about such things. After the deep, personal losses she suffered in Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4, is it even possible to do as Tyrion stated and “stymie her worst impulses?” We will find out next week, I suppose. Personally, I don’t think it’s very likely.
Odds and ends from Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4
Sansa crying over Theon’s body was heartbreaking. I also found it very poignant that she gave him her direwolf pin, attaching it to his armor before his body was burned. He had a crazy character arc, and he was deeply flawed, but in the end he died a Stark. Between Bran granting him absolution last week and this, I think it was a very fitting end for him.
Highgarden is much too rich a prize for Bronn. They should have agreed to give him both Riverrun and The Twins. Anyone familiar with the source material the show branches from knows it’s not unusual for a noble House to control more than one castle. The Twins, in particular, would be a great fit for someone with his level of greed. Highgarden, on the other hand, is the former seat of the Kings of the Reach. Even after all the carnage, there’s going to be plenty of noble Houses remaining, virtually all of them more powerful than an upjumped sellsword like Bronn. Whomever takes power at the end is going to need Highgarden as a bargaining chip to attract support. Tyrion should know better.
Gotta say I wasn’t happy with the way Jon ghosted Ghost. It felt very cold and out of character for them not to have a proper goodbye. I was literally angry. I mean it. The more I think about it, however, I’m thinking it was probably about CGI and budget. It’s one thing to show Ghost with some background for reference. It’s much more involved to have him interacting directly with cast. For the same reason the direwolves have consistently been under-used in the show, I’m assuming this was the best they could do.
Still, here at the end of it all, I would have spent the money for a brief shot. It would’ve been much more heartwarming. Then again, I don’t think that scene was supposed to be heartwarming. I have a great fear it was meant to foreshadow that Jon will never return to the North. I hope I’m wrong.