Tag Archives: Sansa Stark

The Last of the Starks Review

Now THAT was more like it!

Warning: Spoilers!!

The opening three episodes of thrones were pretty one-sided in terms of style. Two were entirely character driven, one was an all-action epic. Thrones tends to work best when it finds a balance between the two, and that’s exactly what episode 4 does. I know this season is getting some blowback from fans, but then again, fans not being able to cope when something subverts their expectations is rarely a reliable indicator that something is actually wrong. I’m not exactly happy with how the White Walker arc was resolved, but i’m still willing to give the last episodes a chance to justify that decision. Judging by episode 4, the show may still stick the landing.

Varys and Tyrion scheming was a highlight of Season 2, and it was nice to see them actually debating about the future of the realm again, rather than just throwing cheap jibes at each other. Both have been somewhat sidelined for the last 3 and a bit seasons, so getting them to have a hand in who finally sits on the Iron Throne would be more than welcome. The tension between the Starks and Daenerys is producing some of the most compelling stuff right now, and bringing in conflicted loyalties among Tyrion and Varys has really set up an interesting conflict for the last two episodes.

While the action is what this episode will be remembered for, it contains some key character beats as well. Bronn’s confrontation with the Lannister brothers felt long overdue, and Jerome Flynn reminds us that for all the good Bronn has done over the years, he is at the end, a mercenary – one who hasn’t been paid his dues. The realisation that Bronn probably would kill the pair of them if he thought Daenerys would lose helped make this a great scene. Arya and Brienne also had some key moments with their respective love interests, neither of which ultimately seem likely to end well – although should Arya and Jaime survive the last two episodes, who knows. Nikolas Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Joe Dempsie and Gwendoline Christie all do great work here, and really capture the raw emotion of these rejections. Another standout moment was Jon’s funeral speech, which coupled with yet another haunting track from Ramin Djawadi, brought home the losses from the Long Night in arguably a more effective way than episode 3 itself managed.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW. LAST CHANCE TO TURN BACK!

I criticised the last episode for not being shocking enough. Not so this time. Rhaegal’s death came out of nowhere and was all the more devastating for it. The show has clearly been doing a bait-and-switch with the Missandei-Grey Worm romance. Everyone expected Grey Worm to die in the Battle of Winterfell, but I doubt anyone expected Missandei to get executed by Cersei instead! Those two deaths seem to be the final straw that makes a bloody final two episodes inevitable – as well as the moment that completely pushes Daenerys over the edge. She really has lost virtually everything now – most of her allies are gone, two of her dragons and most of her closest advisers are dead, and to top it all off it’s clear to her that her ‘destiny’ of taking the Iron Throne has a serious obstacle, willing or not, in Jon Snow and his supporters. Jon’s protestations were all well and good, but let’s face it, with now more than half the surviving cast loyal to Jon, Sansa or Arya rather than Dany, its clear her paranoia isn’t entirely unjustified.

The show has done a very good job setting Daenerys up as a potential last villain once Cersei and Euron are dealt with. Her horrific executions of nobles in Meereen (whether they deserved it or not), her arrogant belief in her own right to rule, her insistence on everyone bending the knee and burning the Tarly’s alive for refusing to do so… there’s always been shades of Cersei in her, as well as similarities to Stannis. Her statement that civilian casualties were a price she was willing to pay for taking King’s Landing was chilling. Her recent losses coupled with her increasing paranoia could easily turn her into someone as cold as Stannis, as arrogant as Joffrey and as ruthless as Cersei. She’s only a few steps away from being her father’s daughter. And I think Varys was right – it seems doubtful even Jon can bring her back from the brink now, especially after seeing Missandei coldly butchered right in front of her. With Varys plotting against her, Sansa hostile and Tyrion wavering, things are looking bleak for Dany right now.

Overall episode 4 is classic thrones. Humour, action, shocks and a hell of a final gut punch combine to ease some of the doubts people may have had about this final season. The stage is set for one more epic battle – and quite possibly a few final surprises…

Rating: 5 out of 5!

Next Time: The Mad Queen(s) face off in the Battle of King’s Landing as Jaime and Tyrion both must decide where their loyalties truly lie…

 

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions

One week to go. We’re nearly there. So here’s my predictions on who will live, who will die and who will end up on the Iron Throne.

Minor spoilers for Season 7.

Who Will Die:

1.  Cersei Lannister, Euron Greyjoy and the Mountain: Thrones is unusual in that it kills off far more of its heroes than nearly any other show on television (well, except maybe Spartacus). But it is somewhat less predictable in the fate of the villains. They might endure far longer than you want them to and cause more misery and cruelty than the audience thinks it can take, but they always get what’s coming to them. Think about it: Joffrey, Tywin, the Freys and the Boltons all met particularly sticky ends. I’d be very surprised if the remaining villains did not join them.

2. Grey Worm or Jorah: While I doubt the show would kill both of them, it seems very likely that someone close to Daenerys will die in the battle of Winterfell. Given the trailer shows both having a significant role in events, I feel like one of them is doomed. Grey Worm may be more at risk, given he is technically only a supporting character and his romance with Missandei wouldn’t be the first one on the show to come to a tragic end…

3. Beric Dondarrion: He is the only show character left who is already dead in the books, but that isn’t the only reason I think Beric won’t make it. The show’s deliberately kept Beric around long after his character’s expiration date. He survived the whole ‘Beyond the Wall’ episode while every other Brotherhood without Banners member died. He survived the destruction of the Wall at Eastwatch. There has to be a reason he’s still alive – my guess is he’s going to have a key role in Season 8 – maybe the Lord of Light has been resurrecting him for a specific reason. Either way, I feel like he’s likely to die in some heroic or meaningful way at some point in the season.

4. Jaime Lannister: Jaime’s cheated death so many times that I can’t help but feel his luck has to finally run out this season. Chances are it will be in a very heroic way – either fighting the White Walkers or killing Cersei – but I’d still except his redemption to come at a heavy price. Rather like the next character…

5. Theon Greyjoy: Given that a happy ending for Theon seems somewhat unlikely, I can also see him dying whilst redeeming himself in some way (either saving Yara, killing Euron or both). Either way, he’s one of the main cast I’m not expecting to make it till the end of the season.

Who Will Live:

1. Hot Pie: I’ve got no clue even if he’s in the season, but even if the White Walkers Win, Hot Pie isn’t going to die. That’d be cruel even for Game of Thrones.

2. Lyanna Mormont: I don’t think even these showrunners want to deal with the fan backlash that would ensue if she was killed off. And I can’t see any plot reason for it to happen anyway.

3. Missandei: If Missandei dies, things must have gone VERY wrong in the war, given that she’s a non-combatant and will probably be well out of the way of the Walkers. Also, I doubt they’ll kill off all of Daenerys’ close allies, and Grey Worm and Jorah are far more likely to die.

4. Tyrion Lannister: Aside from the fact he’s George R. R. Martin’s favourite character, Tyrion is quite unlikely to die. If he did, I’d bet it would be in the final episode, but I can’t see it. Death isn’t a great way to end his story arc. Chances are he’ll end up being Hand of the King to whoever is left standing once the Wars are over.

5. Samwell Tarly: Aside from the fact that Sam isn’t likely to be a warrior on the front lines, fans have long had a theory that Sam is writing Game of Thrones in the show’s context – probably at the Citadel, given that the chandeliers there are the ones in the main title sequence. Even if that theory is wrong, I can’t really see them killing Sam.

Who will end up on the Iron Throne:

1.  Jon Snow: Jon technically has the best claim to the Throne after what Sam and Bran have discovered. Whether he actually sits their is down to two things: whether he actually wants to and whether he survives the season. Personally I couldn’t see him wanting to do it if there was another candidate – I think he’d opt to stay in charge of the North instead if he could. I think he’ll survive the season barring some kind of last minute heroic sacrifice. Mind you that would be a very Jon thing to do…

2. Daenerys Targaryen: Well, Daenerys is the most obvious candidate… which in Thrones means it probably won’t be her. I don’t rate her survival chances this season anyway. But if she survives, there isn’t a good reason for her not to be crowned, so she’s definitely still a possibility.

3. Sansa Stark: Sansa showed in season 6 and 7 that she’s actually pretty good at being in charge. After all her lessons from Cersei and Littlefinger, chances are her arc ends with her either being Queen in the North or maybe even ending up on the Iron Throne. She’s one of the few characters who might actually succeed in it (maybe with Tyrion as her hand?). My money would be on her, if I had to pick one.

4. Gendry: If something were to happen to Daenerys and Jon, Gendry is the ONLY character left with even a tenuous claim to the Throne. Sure, he’s a bastard, but as Jon proved, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Gendry is technically Robert Baratheon’s last surviving heir, so he might be a dark horse option for the crown.

5. Littlefinger: Yes, he’s almost certainly dead. But if THAT theory I mentioned in my last article is accurate, all bets are off. If the theory is true and Littlefinger is alive and working with the faceless men, he may yet rule over the ashes of Westeros (okay, I don’t believe this for one second, but it would be one hell of a twist wouldn’t it?).

6. The Night’s King: This IS Game of Thrones. What if the last shot of the series is of the Night’s King walking through a shattered Red Keep before sitting on the Iron Throne? I doubt the White Walkers will win… but you never know with George R. R. Martin…

As you’ve guessed, some of these predictions are more tongue in cheek than others. But it’s going to be very fun seeing if any of the more likely ones pan out.

Or everything could be bollocks and we’ll end up with Hot Pie on the Iron Throne. F*ck knows. Whatever happens, I would like to be surprised…

Next up: My take on the best episodes, scenes and season Game of Thrones has given us so far.