Title: Game of Thrones: “The Last of the Starks” Review
Release Date: May 5th, 2019
(This review will contain spoilers. So, if you have not seen the latest episode, I cannot recommend you read any further. Also, Game of Thrones is a show with a ton of characters and developments throughout. Although I will talk about most of these major developments, this will not be a scene for scene review)
Apparently, “The Long Night“ was a controversial episode. Some loved the idea of the White Walker threat being destroyed 3 episodes before we wrapped up Game of Thrones and some people absolutely despised this idea. Personally, I’m in the camp that enjoyed this shocking moment and felt that Cersei was a formidable final villain for a series that, while has had this big looming undead threat, has still always been about who will sit on the Iron Throne when those final credits roll. At least that’s how I’ve thought of it.
This week certainly cemented Cersei’s villain status one last time. Not only did she viciously kill Missandei but her army (Euron specifically) took out Rhaegal in a stunning scene. All of this is to set up for Dany’s eventual snap over all of her losses over this season. She lost Jorah, her relationship with Jon, her best friend, Rhaegal (who she looked at as her son), and possibly her claim to the Iron Throne in the span of 2 episodes. That’s huge. So far, I’m finding her arc to be annoying yet riveting at the same time.
Annoying in the sense that Dany is constantly being antagonistic towards Jon and the North in general. Yes, Sansa and those in the North haven’t been the kindest of hosts but Dany hasn’t really put her best foot forward either. I think this is more of a problem I have with the storyline as a whole, including Sansa and her lack of ability when it comes to keeping world-changing secrets.
However, I’m enthralled by the idea of Dany going over the edge and being the show’s real final boss. The setup for it is all there and shown above. It’s been subtlely and not subtly teased for the past 2 seasons. I can see this ending one of 2 ways. Either Dany finally decides to squash her blood-filled desire for the Iron Throne or she turns to the dark side. We only have 2 episodes left so if it’s going to happen, it’ll probably have to be next week.
A lot happened this week for Game of Thrones. Tormund had his heart broken. Sam, Tormund, and even Ghost had their seemingly final goodbyes to Jon. Pod once again proved that he is the best ladies man in Game of Thrones history. Jaime and Brienne finally got together which, if I’m being honest, was a little awkward (I like the 2 together, I just thought their scenes this week were weirdly executed). And Varys is most definitely about to commit treason in aligning himself with Jon Snow. That’s a lot to unpack.
Tormund had me cracking up almost at every opportunity and if this is the last we’ll see of him, it’ll be a bittersweet ending because of how amazing this character is. The same can be said for Sam and Ghost too. It was awesome to see Jon and Sam have an official goodbye, with Gilly announcing she’s pregnant and saying that they’ll name him Jon if it’s a boy. Ghost’s goodbye was a little lackluster and I think it’s become clear that Game of Thrones couldn’t afford to have Ghost appear in the series anymore. These Direwolves have played a major part for the Stark family over the past 8 seasons. So to have him be unceremoniously be written out felt like a missed opportunity. But, as I said, it seems that the show just couldn’t afford the CGI for Ghost on top of everything else. I think it would have been much better to have Ghost heroically die in “The Long Night” protecting Jon or something like that. Yeah, it would have been incredibly sad but it would have been a much better sendoff.
Everything I just wrote was enough for this episode but just like any good infomercial, there’s more. In the few bright spots for Dany this week, she crowned Gendry as a true Baratheon and the Lord of Storm’s End. It’s just a great move for Gendry and acted as this character’s reward for all of the terrible stuff he’s endured over the show’s run. It was a victory cut short since his proposal to Arya was a brutal trainwreck.
Arya’s story going forward is interesting. She’s pretty much the hero of Westeros who seemingly has no desire to make it out alive in King’s Landing. Arya’s arc has always been fueled by revenge and that’ll probably be her downfall. Like she told Gendry, she isn’t a “lady” and never will be. She’s an assassin with a list that is nearing its completion. I don’t think she’ll be alive long enough to finish it but I’m hyped to see how much of an impact she’ll have in the battle for King’s Landing. Also, it looks like we’re getting another Arya/Hound team up. That’s always a “Pro” in my book.
To wrap up this week’s review, we’re going to end on a huge negative for me. Bronn. I am not on board with this storyline at all. So, for the past 8 seasons, Bronn has been a likable sell-sword with a flimsy moral code. If you take that first part away, Bronn is just another antagonist. To make matters worse, Bronn’s extreme hostility towards the Lannister brothers was just plain dumb. In a single scene, the character has kinda been ruined for me. At this point, I’m content with him meeting a violent death by Dragonfire and I can’t see that changing in these next 2 weeks.
(Since a lot happened this week, there’s going to be a few things down in the pros and cons section that weren’t included in this review)
Verdict: “The Last of the Starks” was a slower episode that moved just about every storyline along towards taking King’s Landing. Dany is down to one dragon and an unprepared army, making this upcoming battle next week crucial to her character going forward. Will she be the person to save Westeros and break the wheel? Or is she just like her father?
- While sometimes a little annoying, Dany's character arc is one of the best things going on in GoT's final season
- The slower character moments post-The Great War and some bittersweet goodbyes
- Jon revealing his secret
- The scenes between Tyrion and Varys
- Shocking moments that worked
- Arya and Hound team up?
- Tyrion's final plea to Cersei
- Ghost's uneventful goodbye to Jon
- The scenes between Brienne and Jaime were a little off to me. I don't know if it was the dialogue or what