Ned Stark’s beheading by Ser Ilyn Payne at the end of Game of Thrones’ first season heralded the beginning of Westeros’s civil war. And now in “The Last of the Starks” — the fourth episode of the show’s final season — the knight who was Ser Gregor Clegane has announced the beginning of the end of this war in similar fashion. With a single swing of his sword, the Mountain sliced through the neck of Daenerys Targaryen’s beloved adviser, Missandei of Naath, ensuring that the winner in the game of thrones will only be decided through one Last Battle: a royal rumble between Dany and Cersei. Even though the Mad King’s daughter has won every major battle she’s faced so far, Missandei’s death caps a series of personal losses that sends her into battle with some deep emotional scars that could prove fatal.
At the beginning of “The Last of the Starks,” Daenerys says goodbye to Ser Jorah Mormont, who died protecting her during the dark-and-terror filled Battle of Winterfell. And midway through the episode, she lost her second dragon child ... for real this time. Rhaegal survived the long night only to be brought down by Euron Greyjoy’s oversized arrows, which send the poor dragon plunging to Earth in one of the most upsetting deaths we’ve seen on the show.
God damn you Game Of Thrones,— Golden Maharaja ™ (@KingNj90) May 6, 2019
Rhaegal ‘s death affected me more than anyone we lost last week and Missandei tonight.
Cersei and Euron better get cooked by the Mad Queen. #GameofThrones #GoT
Quick sidebar while we’re on the subject of bad things happening to our favorite animal characters: consider Jon officially out of the running for king until he goes back and pets Ghost behind his missing ear instead of abandoning him to the Free Folk.
Back to Missandei: Her death obviously provides important motivation for Daenerys and to bring Cersei down. Actress Nathalie Emmanuel saluted her alter ego immediately after the episode by quoting her brave final word, receiving an outpouring of grief in response.
“Dracarys”— Nathalie Emmanuel (@missnemmanuel) May 6, 2019
At the same time, some questioned the choice to kill off the show’s only actress of color — while she was in chains no less — on the heels of the entire Dothraki army perishing last week. That leaves her lover Grey Worm as the sole remaining significant black character on the show and since he’ll likely be leading the charge on King’s Landing’s giant walls next week, it’s probably wise not to put stock in him surviving for much longer.
Missandei. They killing all the Black people. I just canna. pic.twitter.com/maSYGFxMGq— Sha (@__shambam) May 6, 2019
Missandei was taken from her family and restrained in chains all her life and d&d let her die in chains away from her family.— nie (@beysdany) May 6, 2019
Sansa: attributes her character growth to being raped and abused— Brianna Linden (@bnlinden) May 6, 2019
Brienne: is now a desperate rom-com character
Missandei: the show’s only Black woman character and is *checks notes* murdered while in chains pic.twitter.com/2YrVZSoZNs
All in all, it’s a bitter end to what had been the show’s sweetest love story. Here’s how things are faring for the show’s other couples on an episode where affairs of the heart were particularly pronounced.
Jon & Daenerys
Learning that they’re related in a family way has strangely made these two even hotter for each other. But there’s an Iron Throne-shaped obstacle now standing between them, as Daenerys increasingly sees her nephew as the hardest rival to overcome because of his popularity amongst the citizens and soldiers of the North. For his part, Jon would be perfectly happy to let Aunt Dany sit on the throne, but he may not have a choice as Sansa has taken point on sharing the secret of his heritage with just enough key players — most notably Tyrion and Varys — who could tip the scales in his direction. Sure, there’s a chance these two could find happiness, but as the Spider sagely points out: “Is marrying your aunt common in the North?”
So basically, the men in Game of Thrones think Jon Snow is more electable and they wish Daenerys Targaryen would smile more. Things never change. #GameOfThrones— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) May 6, 2019
Daenerys and Jon Snow looking at each other knowing they can’t smash anymore pic.twitter.com/IfMmXrR0n5— Cassius Clay (@___ayanda) May 6, 2019
I would love if after setting up this whole subversion of fantasy tropes Game of Thrones just ended with a wholecloth ripoff of Lord of the Rings, Jon gives Sam a diary and sails away with Daenerys, all the dialogue is the same, they license the music— Jenny Nicholson (@JennyENicholson) May 3, 2019
Jaime & Brienne
#Torienne ’shippers, you can show yourselves out. Fed up with watching Tormund make eyes at newly knighted Ser Brienne — and finally realizing he’s capable of loving a woman who isn’t his sister — Jaime makes his move and his affections are reciprocated. Fans loved seeing this duo take the next step after watching their initial animosity flower into mutual respect, camaraderie, friendship and finally love. What they didn’t love was seeing the strong-willed Brienne break down in tears when Jaime broke his promise to stay with her at Winterfell and instead ride south to face Cersei once again.
in summary, i’m over the moon. yes, the scene at the end was hard to watch, but if you can’t see that jaime is pushing brienne away because he loves her, then that’s on you, not me. #gots8 pic.twitter.com/UJpo5Y7vTR— erin - JAIME AND BRIENNE ARE CANON! (@SerJaimeOfTarth) May 6, 2019
Brienne is crying and begging Jaime to stay? Did someone who’s never seen the show write this episode? pic.twitter.com/OqX2YoOQCv— pug mom (@itskepes) May 6, 2019
Samwell & Gilly
Amidst the long journey to Winterfell and then the long night of zombie vs. human warfare, Sam and Gilly somehow found the time (and the privacy) to get pregnant. On the one hand, this development seems to mark one or both of them for death, since Game of Thrones hates happy endings. But then again, someone’s gotta repopulate Westeros so the next person who sits on the Iron Throne has someone to rule.
gilly and samwell having a baby? i’m CRYING 😭💗— jon snow PLEASE fuck me (@_wwmhd_) May 6, 2019
Gilly pregnant? Samwell finna die smh— MT (@pastormelech) May 6, 2019
Samwell Tarley and Gilly: If it’s a boy we are going to name him Jon.— Trillgaryen (@RELL_757_ALLEN) May 6, 2019
Cersei & Euron
Speaking of pregnancies, Cersei has Euron believing that he’s the father of the child growing in her womb, which is why he’s so eager to shoot dragons out of the sky. (Well, that and the fact that he enjoys being cruel for kicks.) We’ll see how much of his fighting spirit remains when he learns that he hasn’t achieved “proud papa” status.
Arya & Gendry
When the history of this period of Westeros is written (by Samwell Tarly, of course — he’s gonna survive, people!), Arya Stark will be immortalized as the Hero of Winterfell ... but not the Lady of Storm’s End. She gently, but firmly rejects that title when Gendry gets down on one knee and proposes a union between House Stark and House Baratheon. “You’ll be a wonderful lord and any lady would be lucky to have you,” Arya says. “But I’m not a lady. I never have been. That’s not me.” Sorry Gendry, but you should have been paying closer attention in Season 1.
Arya, rejecting Gendry’s proposal: “You’ll be a wonderful lord. And any lady would be lucky to have you. But I’m not a lady. I never have been. That’s not me.”— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) May 6, 2019
Arya, Season 1 to her dad:#GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/sd4xiAiATY
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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