Last week's episode Game of Thrones opened with a clear directive: a whole 80-some-minute battle sequence, lots of action. This week finds everyone dealing with the fallout, with fewer fights and more political maneuvering: Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, and Sansa Stark bid farewell to some of their closest companions, consigning them to a massive, sprawling funeral pyre. War’s not all that fun, huh? (As showrunner David Benioff explained in the “Inside the Episode” segment at the end of Sunday night's episode 4, they wanted to show just how many people died in the battle for Winterfell. Spoiler alert, it was actually a lot.)
After the funeral, though, comes a debaucherous night of drinking and hookups. No one on this show knows how to flirt; instead, they just binge drink and play never-have-I-ever like the high-school-aged kids they really are. The next morning, everyone’s scattering across the Seven Kingdoms—Daenerys, Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and the rest of the army south to King’s Landing; Jaime Lannister following hot on their heels; Sansa and Brienne of Tarth back in the north—to deal with the next most existential threat after the zombie army: the reign of Cersei Lannister.
The episode closes with yet another violent death: the execution of one-half of a couple we kind of figured were too good to last. (It was not a great week for the show’s women characters more broadly, with an overwhelming social media reaction questioning Sansa’s declaration that a series of abusive relationships made her stronger; Brienne’s tearful farewell to Jaime Lannister; and Missandei’s sudden death.) So here’s where everyone stands—politically, romantically, and, plainly, who’s alive—at the end of the (kind of messy, really) fourth episode.
Thanks to last week’s ninja move that took down the Night King, Arya is everyone’s favorite. “The hero of Winterfell” sounds so, so sweet. And killing the Night King and having your dude profess his love to you in one night and still managing to keep your head about it? The true winner of season 8 so far.
There’s good reason to be suspicious of anyone who wants to be in power as badly as Daenerys wants to be in power, and Sansa knows it. Plus, she’s got a new sci-fi leather look, indicating sartorially and politically that her mall goth days are well behind her. (She says as much, telling the Hound that were it not for Ramsay, Littlefinger, and Joffrey, she wouldn’t be who she is today. A way to address her prior traumas, sure, but this show cannot really expect us to give credence to the idea that it took years of abuse for Sansa to develop from “little bird” to Lady of Winterfell.)
Didn’t kill the Night King; still gets to eulogize everyone who the Night King (and his baby zombies) killed. Jon Snow loves a big speech moment. Behind the scenes, Varys, Sansa, and maybe, reluctantly, Tyrion are scheming to put him on the throne; don’t tell Jon Snow, because he doesn’t even want it anyways, and don’t tell Daenerys, because she’ll blow a fuse.
Brienne of Tarth
Not very good at playing never-have-I-ever. Still got laid. Keep Game of Thrones horny. (It does, however, seem inconsistent with her character thus far to leave her sobbing over Jaime Lannister’s sudden departure…)
Samwell Tarly and Gilly
Going to be parents! If it’s a boy, they’re going to name him Jon; given that Gilly’s last kid, with Craster, is named Little Sam, we’re thinking they need to get a little more creative with the names.
Cocks, as he declares, are not a political qualification. Which apparently needs to be said, here and also in Westeros, this week above all.
Wights did what greyscale couldn’t to Jorah Mormont, and Daenerys is now short an advisor—one who she realized a little too late maybe didn’t suck as much as we thought in previous seasons. (Remember how mopey he was about not being able to get in her pants?) In the last two weeks, Daenerys has lost two advisors (as we bid farewell to Missandei) and a second dragon; this is getting careless.
Plus, now that Jon Snow’s true parentage has emerged, Daenerys is little by little losing her firm grip on her genetic claim to the throne, so she’s instead resting on a political one. “I’m here to free the world from tyrants,” she declares, a destiny she will fulfill “no matter the costs,” which sounds… pretty tyrannical.
Captured, chained up by an eight-foot-tall undead strong man, and then decapitated by said strong man, by the order of Cersei Lannister, in front of an audience that included her closest friend and her dude. One of the very few people of color left on the show—and women of color, at that—now written out.
Has a new velvet look and a new fake baby daddy; still a total monster.
He was so, so close to escaping the firm grasp of incest. At the last minute, after hooking up with Brienne a couple times, he decided to hurry back to the south to his sister-lover, which is probably going to go poorly for both him and Euron Greyjoy. At least the show didn’t deign to redeem him so easily.
… How did he even get here? Ser Bronn had a solid chance at making his hit on the Lannister brothers and thereby securing his castle/wife promise; he opted to delay his loyalty.
Gives off extreme creepy uncle vibes (and what is that cowl-neck?), which probably means he’s got a bit longer to live. It’s always the heinous ones.
After being jilted by Brienne, Tormund has decided to turn tail and head back to the north. (The real north.) And he's taking Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost with him.