(NEW YORK) — (SPOILERS AHEAD) After Arya’s last-minute heroics on last week’s Game of Thrones, the Night King is no more and the White Walker threat is over. However, there’s still matter of Queen Cersei Lannister, who comes back to the forefront of the action in Sunday’s episode, titled “The Last of the Starks.” But before we get to that, our heroes must mourn those they lost in The Long Night.
We open on the dead body of Ser Jorah Mormont, who died defending Daenerys Targaryen against the Army of the Dead. We also see Sansa crying over adopted brother Theon Greyjoy, who also perished in the battle against the Night King. The camera pans across those who are still with us, including Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, whose fate seemed uncertain last week.
Following the lighting of funeral pyres, the survivors enjoy a well-earned feast. Gendry asks about Arya’s whereabouts but before he can find her, Daenerys calls for him. She tells him she knows he’s the bastard son of the former king Robert Baratheon, and appoints him Lord of Storm’s End, the ancestral home of House Baratheon. And there was much rejoicing.
As everyone continues to enjoy the dinner, we check in with a number of characters: Brienne and Jaime drink together, Davos shares his conflicted feelings about the Red Woman, who died in the Battle of Winterfell, and Tyrion tries to speak to Bran, whose social skills as the Three-Eyed Raven haven’t improved since the Night King fell.
Meanwhile, Tormund tries to convince Jon to drink out of his massive horn goblet, and raises toast to Dany, the Dragon Queen. She in turn raises a glass to Arya Stark, the “Hero of Winterfell.” Tyrion then joins Jaime and Brienne to play a Westeros version of the Never Have I Ever drinking game, while Tormund speaks highly and loudly about Jon’s skills as a military leader and dragon-rider while Dany, the original dragon-rider, looks on with concern.
Brienne leaves Tyrion and Jaime after the drinking game turns personal, when Tyrion asserts that Brienne is a virgin. Jaime follows her, which upsets Tormund, who cries over his lost chance with Brienne — but he’s soon comforted by another woman. The Hound, however, seeks no such comfort, but he does have a nice moment with Sansa, who seems to forgive him for his part in taking her to King’s Landing all the way back in the first season.
Gendry finally finds Arya who, of course, is practicing her archery skills. He reveals his new title to Arya, and then proceeds to confess his love for her and proposes that be the Lady to his Lord of Storm’s End. Arya kisses him back, but rejects his proposal. “I’m not a lady,” she says. “I never have been. That’s not me.”
Jaime catches up with Brienne and after some light bantering, the two start to undress. “I’ve never slept with a knight before,” Jaime says. “I’ve never slept with anyone before,” Brienne replies. That soon changes for both of them.
Amidst all that, we finally see Jon and Dany talk for the first time since he revealed his true identity as Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne. They start kissing, then Jon suddenly stops — perhaps remembering that she’s actually his aunt. Dany admits that she wishes Jon never told her about his newly discovered heritage.
Jon isn’t nearly as concerned, because as he doesn’t want the Throne, and assures Dany he’ll stand behind her as Queen. She thinks the best way for him do that is to keep his true identity a secret, but he feels he needs to tell Sansa and Arya, the former of whom Dany is particularly concerned about. Jon believes that he can tell his family and still support Dany’s bid for the Throne, but she doesn’t find that answer to be satisfactory, and leaves.
Now that it’s been established who’s sleeping with whom, it’s time to return to the military matter at hand: Queen Cersei Lannister. Dany seems very ready to destroy anything in her path, while Tyrion reminds her that the goal is to dethrone Cersei without destroying King’s Landing and killing thousands of innocent civilians. Tyrion and Jon suggest surrounding King’s Landing to cut off food supply, and make the people turn against Cersei.
Sansa also suggests waiting a bit before going into action, to let the armies rest after that whole fighting undead ice creatures thing, but Dany takes that as Sansa trying to get the North out of their agreement to fight alongside her, which Jon assures is not the case. That seems to settle everyone, and plans are put into motion. “We have won the great war,” Dany declares. “Now we will win the last war.”
Following the meeting, Arya, Sansa and Bran confront Jon and express their distrust in Dany. “We’re family, the four of us, the last of the Starks,” Arya says, which seems like an opportune time for Jon to drop a little truth bomb. After some hesitation and swearing his sisters to secrecy, Jon turns to Bran and requests that he tell them to truth.
We don’t get to see that, as we cut to Tyrion and Jaime, that latter of whom reveals that he and Brienne will be staying behind in Winterfell. Tyrion’s positively giddy that Jaime and Brienne are hooking up, mostly since he can make tall person jokes. The brotherly bonding is interrupted, however, when Bronn arrives, crossbow in hand, on a mission from Cersei to kill them. Ever the pragmatist, Bronn offers Tyrion the chance to pay him more than what Cersei is offering, and Tyrion suggests making Bronn the Lord of Highgarden. Bronn accepts those terms and leaves with no one killed, though he does punch Tyrion in the nose.
Meanwhile, The Hound starts to ride out of Winterfell and is soon joined by Arya. The two bond over their shared interest in “unfinished business,” and neither have plans to return to Winterfell. We also see Dany go to visit her dragons, who are both alive and well, though Rhaegal is nursing some battle injuries.
A worried Sansa watches as the dragons fly over Winterfell. Tyrion interrupts her, pleading with her to make peace with Dany, but Sansa doesn’t seem to be having it. As Tyrion starts to leave, she asks him what might happen if she knew of someone “better” to rule the Seven Kingdoms — and so another person learns of Jon’s secret.
Speaking of Jon, he bids farewell to Tormund, who’s taking his wildling people back to their home. Jon asks him to take Ghost with him. He also says goodbye to Sam and a pregnant Gilly, the latter of whom says they’ll name their child Jon if it’s a boy. “I hope it’s a girl,” Jon replies.
Dany, Tyrion and Varys, along with Grey Worm, Missandei and the surviving Unsullied and Dothraki soldiers, set sail for Dragonstone. While on the ship, Tyrion reveals to Varys what he learned about Jon’s true lineage. Tyrion suggests that the two could rule together, and Varys brings up the oh-so-sticky subject that they’re related. Besides, he doesn’t think Daenerys is keen on sharing the Iron Throne.
Dany is riding high in the air with her dragons when suddenly a large arrow hits Rhaegal in the stomach. More arrows come, and another bolt pierces the dragon’s neck, and it plunges falls into the water, presumably dead. The arrows are coming from Euron Greyjoy’s fleet, who’s operating the giant crossbow Cersei’s Hand of the King, Qyburn, created to fight the dragons.
As more arrows fly, Dany and Drogon, her last remaining dragon, retreat from the volley. Euron then turns the arrows at our heroes’ fleet, and Tyrion jumps overboard to avoid fire. The survivors wash up on shore at Dragonstone, but Grey Worm can’t find Missandei.
Back in King’s Landing, Euron assures Cersei that Rhaegal is dead. Cersei declares the Lannisters will rule the land, Euron will rule the sea, and their child will rule them all. But is the baby really Euron’s, or is it Jaime’s?
As for Dany’s imminent arrival, Cersei plans to keep the doors of King’s Landing open, forcing the Mother of Dragons to kill innocent civilians if she wants to get to her. “So much for the breaker of chains,” Cersei says, as we see a shackled Missandei.
At Dragonstone, Varys says it’s a mistake to take on King’s Landing head on, which will kill thousands of civilians. “I’m here to free the world from tyrants,” Dany declares. “That is my destiny. And I will serve it no matter the cost.” Tyrion suggests that they offer Cersei the chance to surrender, and Dany agrees that it should seem like she’s made every effort to avoid bloodshed.
Behind closes doors, Varys tells Tyrion he believes Jon Snow would be a better ruler than Daenerys. Tyrion still contends that the two could rule together but Varys doesn’t see that happening. Varys says his only concern is the betterment of Westeros and its people, and he believes Jon is the best person to achieve that. As Varys gets up to leave, Tyrion senses that the Master of Whisperers might be putting his spiders to work and begs Varys not to put a plan into action, but that plea appears to fall on deaf ears.
Back in Winterfell, Jaime spots Sansa speaking to Brienne, and follows them, and they share the news of Dany’s defeat at sea. Later that night, Jaime tries to sneak out before Brienne finds him and begs him to stay. Jaime then describes all the terrible things he’s done for Cersei, including pushing Bran out of a window in the very first episode. “She’s hateful, and so am I,” he says, and rides off as Brienne breaks down in tears.
Dany and her army arrive at King’s Landing. Tyrion and Qyburn meet outside the city gates, and each demands the other’s queen’s unconditional surrender. If Dany doesn’t comply, Missandei will be executed. After a tense back-and-forth, Tyrion walks toward the city gate. Cersei raises her hand as if to order a volley of arrows, but then stops.
Tyrion tries to reason with his sister, begging her to surrender — if not for her, then for her unborn child. Cersei seems moved, for a moment — but this is the ruthless Cersei Lannister we’re talking about. She puts her hand on Missandei and offers the chance to speak her last words.
While gazing at Daenerys, Missandei declares “Dracarys,” the High Valyrian word for dragon fire — a final, defiant message to Daenerys to burn her enemies. As Daenerys and Grey Worm watch, The Mountain cuts off Missandei’s head.
A furious Daenerys Targaryen whirls and returns to her army.
The next-to-last, fifth episode of the final season of Game of Thrones airs Sunday night at 9:00 ET on HBO.
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