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Sidney’s Game Guide: The Last of the Starks

Last week I knew some epic battle was coming and that, along with it, death, both personified and literal, would come with it. This week I had no idea what what was coming and that made this week more stressful.

We start with the burning of the dead and the subsequent feast in their honor as celebrated by the survivors. The scene is layered, it starts somber and builds to a place of happiness, but emotionally ends back where it started, if not worse. Ultimately the feast serves two functions: One is to tie up loose ends and two to turn the story back to Cersei.

We finally get Jamie and Brienne. We’ve wanted this, they gave it to us, and, in typical “Thrones” fashion, took it all away. Jamie’s story will always be linked to Cersei’s. His fate is, and always has been, tied to hers. I believe him leaving is their co-dependency hard at work or to give her a merciful death, so much like the Mad King, so she won’t have to burn. Jamie’s fate was sealed when he left the safety of Winterfell’s walls and a chance at happiness along with it.

Arya let Gendry down. I think we knew it was coming. I love that she said to him what she said to Ned about being a lady. At the time she told this to her dad, we had no reason to believe her but her saying it now, we have seen why she isn’t. When she leaves Winterfell saying she won’t be back, we believe her.

I loved the scene with Sansa and the Hound more than any scene he’s had with Arya. I loved it because one of my favorite scenes is Sansa looking at her father’s head looking at the ground and then back and Joffrey, in that moment she was willing to die to save him. I view that as the true start to her journey. The Hound saved her life and in doing so allowed her to live on to become who she was supposed to be. We got the closure tonight.

The way this scene turned the story back to King’s Landing was when Dany saw how beloved Jon was. She realized she doesn’t have what he has and that could present a problem to what she wants. Her fear of death is gone, replaced with her fear of the living. She tried to convince Jon to keep this between them but while Jon is actually a Targaryen, he’s got that dumb sense of honor like Ned. Dany wasn’t wrong in her thinking, she was right in how people would take it. The show def kept going in pointing out that Jon would have it easier as a man. Jon is praised while Dany, who sacrificed the most to end the dead, was an afterthought. I couldn’t help but notice her style this episode. A sublte nod to Cersei in the pilot: Dany was wearing Lannister red and her hair styled like Cersei’s. This episode was some of Emilia Clarke’s best work on the show, period. This season she has given her character a greater range of depth as she tip toes around madness with such ease. Showing her best acting in her face. Every character has been on edge since the season started but not like her. Every moment she was on screen she gave so many different emotions and transitioned brilliantly and seamlessly between them.

Following the feast we see a plan of action and then its attempts to be implemented. Notice I said attempts. Not sure what to make of the Bronn scene, I kinda hated it. Didn’t make sense and not sure it landed the way they wanted. Why would he want them to win but not help them too make sure it happens? I kinda hope they team up and kill him.

As many ride South on the way to Kings landing we are saying goodbye to others, most notably Ghost, who will head North to roam. Ghost deserves peace and happiness, he’s been good boy. It was weird that Jon didn’t say goodbye. This leads me to believe (hope) that in the end, if he lives, Jon will head North of the Wall to live out his days, and be reunited with Ghost. The shot of Sam, Gilly, Tormund, Ghost, Jon’s support system behind him. Jon is now alone.

Sansa Stark is the smartest person on this show. She has an agenda and she knows how to carry it out. She knew that by telling Tyrion, it would get to Varys, more on him in a bit. But Sansa doesn’t want Dany in the position, she betrayed Jon’s trust but she’s not looking out for Jon, she still cares for the North, not a queen she won’t kneel before.

Rhaegal….our second dragon….gone. They went right into the fight we left off on. The death of Rhaegal was brutal. Watching a dragon die has never been easy. This scene annoyed me though. It really was a plot hole. First off why would they NOT think Cersei has a trap. They’ve been ambushed on the water TWICE now by Euron. They also made the scorpion weapon seem like an automatic weapon, Dany could move faster and didn’t turn around to burn the ships from behind. Much like why Jon and Dany didn’t just fly down last week or constantly burn the dead, while they just stood around not moving. Yes I know that there would be no conflict this way and I am more than fine suspending disbelief but you need to at least give a reason WHY what logically could have happened, didn’t happen. Yes we only have six episodes. Last season we got the notion they had to speed things up but they also have forgotten they have told us implicitly that it takes one month on the king’s road from King’s Landing to Winterfell. If Arya and Jamie left around the same time, but the battle is already at the gates of King’s Landing, the battle will be long done by the time they arrive. I understand they have to move quick, but they are sacrificing some story continuity/integrity to get to it.

The show ends with a stand off between Dany and Cersei. Both hands of the queen meet to trade terms. Watching that I wanted to say how interesting I think the character of Qyburn is. I think the actor, Anton Lesser, makes his short screen time captivating cause you never know what is going on with him. In the end Tyrion tried to appeal, one final time, to what he feels is left of Cersei’s humanity. She responds by killing an innocent like Missandei, thus showing what was left of her humanity died with Tommen. Her new child most likely doesn’t exist and now she is playing like she has nothing left to lose. I wonder if Euron noticed that somehow Tyrion knows she’s preggers or if that was a writing issue. On the other hand, it could have been Tyrion sowing seeds of discontent with her naval ally. I’ll give it an episode to let it play out. Missandei’s death was truly sad as she has always been one of the pure ones, which made her final word all the more interesting cause she was essentially telling Dany to “Burn them all.” And don’t think I didn’t catch how they did a similar beheading of her and Ned.

The last piece I wanna discuss is Varys: For years, starting in season 1, Varys showed his true loyalty: to the realm. He has shown that he will go to great lengths to protect it. Varys has always had shifting loyalties but his motivation has always remained the same. Varys speaks for the lowest person in the world in a means to make it a better place. The people who always oppose him are high born or aspire to be greater than their station. Varys always remembers where he comes from and that remains his greatest strength. He will always care more about the ground the ladder stands on, no matter how high he himself climbs.

The Last of the Starks, in Summation. 

“Jon Snow now comes with bass in his voice. Emilia Clarke is NOT letting the Television Academy forget her this year. No one understands Bran is gone and, at this point, I don’t think they’re gonna figure it out. Dany is a double chai kinda queen. Vomiting is not winning…apparently. Pod still has more game than anyone else. Arya can kill death itself and let a snack like Gendry down gently…we have no choice but to stan. This show wants us to just be cool with incest. Sansa thinks and sees so far ahead that Bran’s chair is shaking. Jon can’t be bothered to say bye to Ghost. This show never planned to giver Grey Worm and Missandei a happy ending and we shoulda known (though I said it two Game Guides ago *sips tea*). Drogon can’t fly around. Varys is the moral center fo the show. Brienne just learned what a fuckboy is. Cersei is oh so fucked.”

Two episodes left. Next week is the battle to end all battles. It’s the battle for the end. I wasn’t ready for last week, this week, and next week. Just keep popping that xanex everyone, we have so much more to go. 

Keep geek.

Sidney

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