For better or worse, Game of Thrones zoomed along in another episode on Sunday night. “The Last of the Starks” was the third-last episode of the entire series, and with the Night King thoroughly (and conveniently) dispatched in the previous episode, the show got back to its normal routine of political maneuvering and shifting alliances. Except it’s no longer doing any of those things with any intelligence, cleverness, or anything that resembles a believable plot.
Before we dive into the summary and analysis of the fourth episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, please be warned that this article WILL CONTAIN FULL SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES! Seriously, if you haven’t watched “The Last of the Starks” yet and don’t want any of it ruined for you, just bookmark this article and read it later this week.
With that out of the way, let’s proceed with breaking down what was good, what was bad, and what was simply wtf.
I want to start out by saying one thing that I feel is important: I don’t hate Game of Thrones. It brings me no pleasure to watch an episode and shake my head thinking “what the hell are the writers doing?” I’m not one of those “it’s cool to hate popular things” kinds of people.
On the contrary, I love this show. I have spent hours and hours of my life consuming this show, discussing this show, writing about this show, researching the history and lore of Westeros, watching extremely details YouTube breakdowns of episodes, fan theories, book prophecies, etc. I have poured through the three most active subreddits dedicated to the show (r/gameofthrones, r/freefolk, and r/asoiaf) to learn every last little tidbit of information I could, because I believe that the show is better when you have a firm understanding of the the character’s family histories and current motivations.
My point is that I don’t tune in every Sunday night, rubbing my hands together and grinning like some sort of cartoonish super villain thinking to myself, “Man, I can’t wait to absolutely trash this episode for Goliath tomorrow.”
No. I don’t want to do that. However, I’m willing to call a spade a spade.
Some parts of this episode were downright insulting to fans. Game of Thrones has built up a lot of goodwill with their fanbase, and for good reason. For most of the show’s existence, it’s been extremely well-written (to the point of winning multiple Emmy Awards) and fans were confident that every mystery or betrayal would eventually end with a legitimate payoff down the road. Clearly, we are well past that being the case anymore. That being said, not all of the episode made me scoff, and some of it was actually very good. That’s right, people, things aren’t always black and white. Shades of grey exist for a reason!Screenshot via HBO