A spoiler-filled review for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4

  • What happened in this episode
  • What are my predictions for the final two episodes
  • This review is FULL of spoilers

The episode starts with tearful goodbyes to the characters lost in the previous episode. As there wasn’t that many, it doesn’t take too long.

With the battle against the dead finished, the living begin to come to terms with what they need to do going forward and the brief unity among peoples that got them fighting the Night King is already showing cracks.

Winterfell Pyre
The funeral pyre for the previous episode’s dead. Photo credit: HBO

Jon and Daenerys talk about the throne and Jon’s true parentage. Jon is happy to let Daenerys take the throne, but wants to tell his siblings he is in fact their cousin. Daenerys fears the secret will be out and her claim will be weakened and wants to pretend nothing has changed, but Jon is clearly uncomfortble sleeping with his aunt.

It results in Jon telling Arya and Sansa a few scenes later, but annoyingly the scene cuts away before we see their reactions, which is a shame as I would have liked to have known what each character would have done or said upon finding out. I imagine Arya would have been distraught, having always been close to Jon and Sansa would have tried persuading him to take power.

But we’ll never know. I realise the filmmakers were attempting to show the secret quickly spreading, but characters reacting to pivotal moments has often been the trademark of the show.

In other scenes, fan fiction writers will have been squealing with delight when Brienne and Jaime finally got together. There will have been another such moment when Gendry, newly legitimised as a Baratheon (making him lord of the Stormlands, one of the Seven Kingdoms) proposed to Arya, but she kindly rejected him, saying she never wanted to be a lady, which was a touching scene and quite fitting for both characters.

Interestingly, this now gives Gendry a claim to the throne, seeing as his father was king, but it’s unlikely he’d want to claim it seeing as he was legitimised by another claimant.

Sansa makes a good point at a later war council that their troops are tired and need rest before honouring their pledge to Daenerys to help retake the Iron Throne, as payment for her sending her troops north to fight the dead.

Cersei and Euron
Daenerys’s enemies, Cersei and Euron. Photo credit: HBO

However, hotheaded Daenerys wants to waste no time and orders all of the troops south immediately. This may be a tongue-in-cheek nod to Lord of the Rings, where the main characters fight at Helm’s Deep, Minas Tirith and the Black Gate of Mordor without much of a rest in between.

Sansa fears Daenerys will be a bad ruler and tells Tyrion the secret of Jon’s parentage. Tyrion later tells Varys while their fleet sails to Dragonstone. Here, Daenerys’s hubris defeats her, as the enemy are waiting for her, and take her by surprise, killing one of her dragons, imprisoning Missandei and destroying their ships.

After this, Varys plots treason with Tyrion and suggests they should install Jon as the rightful king. Peter Dinklage gives a great performance here as you can see him grappling between wanting to stay loyal to Daenerys but realising she may become a tyrant.

Daenerys goes to meet Cersei, both demaning the other surrenders, but neither accept. Tyrion pleads with his sister to step aside to save her unborn child, but Cersei ignores him and has Missandei beheaded in front of Daenerys and Grey Worm. This is where the episode ends, and we don’t know if Grey Worm will try to storm King’s Landing alone in fury, or quite what Daenerys will do at this stage.

Jon Snow
Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen VI is unwittingly becoming a popular choice for leader. Photo credit: HBO

So, what could happen now? I like that we’ve been kept on our toes with which characters might die. Grey Worm and Missandei’s relationship was set up so that the former would die during the Battle of Winterfell, and you might have assumed they were safe when he survived, but instead she was killed in this episode. Anyone and everyone could be next.

Daenerys could burn King’s Landing to the ground with her remaining dragon and become incredibly unpopular, for her allies to usurp her and put Jon on the throne. Almost everyone could die in this final battle, leaving Sansa with the balance of power. Bran could still have a part to play, and there could be some wintry magic involved – I wonder if there needs to be some recreation of the white walkers to defeat Cersei, which is why Jon has to return to the North.

Of course, it’s also possible that Cersei wins. As dissatisfying as that would be, wouldn’t it be just like George R R Martin to have evil win because they are the most ruthless. The next episode is likely to be death-heavy with Jaime, Arya, the Hound, Grey Worm, the Mountain, Cersei, Daenerys and Varys all clearly marked for death.

Matt’s predictions:

  • Next character death: Grey Worm
  • Who ends up on the Iron Throne: Nobody, King’s Landing gets destroyed
  • What happens in the North: With armies depleted, Sansa strikes a truce with southern lords, splitting the Kingdom