Cersei Wins. My Game of Thrones: S8 E4 recap is not going to come without a lot of hostility, even though I’ve cooled off from last night. I’m going to give a quick overview and go straight into characters, plot points, and the big problem that we’ve created for ourselves going into the final two episodes, and then I will try to sum up my concerns and hopes for the Game of Thrones finale.
The show starts with a funeral. They honor those that gave their lives so that the realm of men could survive. It’s followed up with a well needed celebration of existence. High points involve Dany following Tyrion’s lead and making Gendry a true Baratheon. She gives him “Storms End” while following up with a toast to Arya, the real hero of Winterfell. Tyrion leads his favorite drinking game with Pod, Brienne and Jaime. This ultimately leads to the magnanimous Tormund being tossed aside for Jaime. Jaime and Brienne finally in an equally awkward and genuine scene get their naked on. The warm moments end and we move forward with more terrible decisions.
The plan to move forward with the Wildings heading back north and a battle weary army south. They split, but splitting up is a terrible plan. Moving forward carefree without considering Cersei has been busy creating her murder plans is not something new with the series, but tactically obnoxious. We get it, they aren’t as smart as Cersei.
So. At what point does this become a philistine tool used to turn the “hero’s” into a huge underdog?
Dany lost without Jorah, is on a mission that she believes is her destiny. Jon is being Ned, doing what he thinks is right rather than what is smart. Par for the course but we already have to swallow that they have hardly any army to contend with to siege KL. Even if they had two dragons the odds are not in their favor.
But now we suffer the problem of :
How in 7 hells do we get out of this mess without resorting to inventing yet another deus ex machina to swoop in and save the day? This is bad narrative writing 101. I half expect Drogon to start talking:
“Hey, Muma…while I was out doing my thing when you were in Mereen I rolled through Old Valyria a lot and get this….there’s an entire flock, murder, pod (help) of other dragons that were born out of a volcano. I didn’t ask them for help before because we would have won all these battles and no one on our side would have died. But now it seems prudent to help out, even though clearly you’ve slipped into a state of madness and the world is bleak with no hope.”
I just hope I’m wrong. If we win, we deserve to win because we have the greatest minds and warriors in both Westeros and Essos. We deserve a win where all the good banded together and fought side by side to defeat the army of the dead and one of the greatest villains of all time: Queen Cersei.
That brings me to another point………doesn’t Cersei deserve that end? If we are going to beat her, she deserves a better undoing than a sneaky stabby stab from Arya or a flock of volcano dragons. This should be both sides at their best, not a cliche where the dark horse comes back against all odds to snuff out the overwhelming odds in favor of the big bad. I don’t even care if Cersei wins and kills EVERYONE. That at least pays each side some sort of bloody respect.
The Good and The Bad
I am not without compassion for Sansa, but she has turned into a tool to cause paranoia and conflict within the inner circle for the past two seasons. This behavior may be in tune with her being resentful of those that have tried to help her seasons over, but to what end? We now have the same problem with her we have with Dany. Each are working against the greater good for their own ends.
This episode we watch Sansa betray Jon, along with shooting eye daggers at Arya for not agreeing with her every word. It appears as though she’s going to thank the Hound but blows him off. In an effort to undermine Dany AGAIN does she tells Tyrion about Jon, after also refusing to negotiate anything with him.. When she receives news about the failure of Dany’s army and death of Rhaegal she is smug. Sansa still is thinking mostly about Princess Sansa sitting in her castle. She’s just more duplicitous than she used to be.
Not sure if I’m for or against the unraveling of Dany, but it’s hard to watch her struggle. Since she came to Westeros she continues to lose while she tries desperately to win over it’s people. I’m to the point where I almost feel like she should return to Mereen and Essos. The Targs were Usurpers and the common people fear Cersei, but they know her. Who can blame them for choosing the devil they know?
Varys and Tyrion
I’m thankful for each of their scenes. The only two who are actively trying to do the right thing, but also the wise thing and fighting hard for it. When Varys stood up to Dany for the common people I wanted to stand up and applaud him. When Tyrion echoed my thoughts, “Why don’t they just rule together?” I felt relief even though at this point it’s a pipe dream.
The Hound and Arya
These two heading for big bads. I love them together. But I am VERY concerned about Arya’s place in the finale here.
Jaime, Brienne, and Tormund
Brienne picks the guy who clearly isn’t emotionally available over the man who would worship and love her until the end of days. But as Jaime has pointed out, you can’t choose who you love. I just really hate that they made them consummate their love just to have him ditch her.
Frankly, this is my biggest bone to pick because like Sansa his character is only still being written as importantly into the story because he’s a fan favorite. However, it’s at the detriment to the show. Bronn should have retired seasons ago. This whole “murder mission” is busy work because the writers don’t know what to do with him. And because of his personal life with Lena Headey they can’t even interact in KL. Even so, Bronn would have killed both Jaime and Tyrion. He’d have felt bad about it, but they’d be dead. This whole scenario is an unnecessary distraction. At least Sansa is aiding in the important plan to be smarter than everyone else.
The End Is Coming
I love this show. I still think it’s the greatest contribution to television of all time. It’s right up with the best of fantasy, fictional politics, and character creation ever written. One of the things that I have loved about the series/books is that characters that make stupid mistakes are punished for them. This universe doesn’t care if you are good or bad. You either win the Game of Thrones or you die, something Cersei says in the first season. And Cersei got it, which is why she is still here ready to pound her Iron Fist. The price she’s paid to get into her position has been on another level, but she doesn’t stop and that’s why she IS the most formidable force in the realm.
So here I am wondering how this squabbling group of near vagabonds are going to turn this around without insulting us as viewers. It’s going to be a tall order to fill, because right now bleak doesn’t even begin to describe the state of affairs. At this point….Cersei wins.
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