Game of Thrones Review: Season 8, Episode 4- All of the Spoilers

Episode 4: “The Last of the Starks”

Score: 9?/10

Does it pass the Bechdel? I don't believe so, unless we're counting Dracarys.

Sexy-lamp test? Definitely.

TBH? I really enjoyed this episode. I thought it was my favorite of the season when it first premiered but finals were happening, so I waited to write this review until my thoughts could develop, like a fine wine. 

The funeral into party scene was a weird tone shift and most of this episode is difficult to remember. Jaime and Brienne just felt really weird and I didn't like it, even though I wanted to. I felt bad for Gendry but I would've been really pissed if they Arya had said yes. I'm not buying teh Dany as Mad Queen story line. I feel like she hasn't done anything to merit that label. She's done some questionable things, but nothing all that different from what other leaders were doing. 

I will debate you on the Tarly thing until I die. It is not any worse than when Jon cut off the head of the dude who refused to leave Castle Black and used to be in charge of the City Watch. He hadn't really done anything worse than refuse an order by someone he didn't recognize as in charge, just like the Sam's dad. I could look up both of those names but I've never been less motivated. 

Now, to the big point, I wish I had seen Tyrion really commit to Dany in a more meaningful way before this scene. As one of my favorite YouTube channels argued, Dany is trying to change the world and upend the system of cruelty that has existed in this world for so long, so she has to act more drastic and has a right to be pissed off that Jon, who has needed to be rescued in every fight he's ever been in (Stannis, Sansa, and Arya) and quite literally failed the only time he had t rule, is getting all of this adoration. 

I agree with Varys that she shouldn't burn down the Red Keep with innocents inside but I honestly think that Dany's plan to overturn the system would mean that the common people are better off than Jon, maintain the status quo unless there's an imminent threat of death, Snow. 

In regards to Missandei, I honestly thought the death scene was really well done. The way that they got there was kind of stupid but i think it was appropriate that she died, considering the "Mad Queen" arc they are pursuing. Again, I don't like that arc, but considering that's the direction they're going, I felt like this was a good choice to push Dany farther. 

From my positionality as a white woman, I am of course, not the most qualified to discuss the racialized image of Missandei in chains. Those opinions are out there and you should absolutely read them.

My take is this: Game of Thrones started with some incredibly racist stereotypes. The first people of color introduced were "savages," then, there was the merchant in Qarth who turned out to be a fake, then there was slaves, then there was the "noble savages" (I'd argue that the Unsullied fit this trope, as unthreatening but brutal men of color. Disturbingly, the fact that so much of their description on the show includes the fact that they have been castrated, the fact that the only men of color who don't pose a threat to Dany have been stripped of this symbol of masculinity is a problem), then there was the poor people waiting to be rescued, and then we had the hypersexualized men and women of "passion." Essentially, the root of this argument is that Game of Thrones regularly works off of racist premises, so when they take steps to subvert those premises, it usually doesn't feel sincere. I really loved Grey Worm and Missandei's sweet, wholesome relationship and I think there was interesting things to say about gender there and how it really doesn't matter but they spent so much time snickering about "the pillar and the stones," that the audience was conditioned to laugh. 

So now, here's my generous take, showing Missandei in chains was problematic but also what would realistically happen to a captured prisoner of war. Mainly, I wish that they had given her more agency in her death. I kind of wish that she had jumped and not let them kill her. Some one else said that and I can't find it, but no that is not my original idea. The fact that she was a former slave, returned to chains, her biggest fear, was really meaningful and I think it was intended to have that reaction. It wouldn't have been such a problem if race wasn't already an issue with Game of Thrones.  

This is probably my last review for the season, so this "Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms,Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons" apologist is signing off.