‘Game of Thrones’: Dracarys

Season 8, Episode 4 of 'Game of Thrones' saw Daenerys set her sights on King's Landing.
Season 8, Episode 4 of 'Game of Thrones' saw Daenerys set her sights on King's Landing. Helen Sloan/HBO via AP

When Season 8 of Game of Thrones started three weeks ago, we knew there would be deaths. We knew characters we loved would perish and we would mourn the loss of some of our favourites.

There are tons of spoilers below so if you’re not caught up with Game of Thrones, stop reading now…you’ve been warned.

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As dawn breaks on Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks,” the survivors of the Long Night bid a final farewell to the fallen from the Battle of Winterfell. Daenerys Targaryen shares a final moment with Ser Jorah Mormont, and we see Sansa Stark grieve over Theon Greyjoy, giving him her Stark direwolf pendant before saying a final goodbye. Before lighting the funeral pyres, Jon Snow gives a touching and inspiring speech, thanking the dead as well as the survivors for their service in battle and reminding them to never forget what they saw and did.

The mourning is mixed with celebration over the defeat of the Night King, and the episode lulls us into a pleasant feast with good food, fun and copious amounts of wine. However, the festivities are marred as a very cold-looking Daenerys sits at the head table with the Stark family and her advisers, Varys and Tyrion Lannister.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ — The Battle of Winterfell

Gendry Baratheon is called over by Dany and, in a very clever power move, she officially makes him a lord and gives him Storm’s End, which was once ruled by his father’s family. He is now in her debt, and Tyrion recognizes this, calling her on it. Power move or not, the moment is touching and the joy it brings Gendry is heartwarming as he rushes to find Arya Stark and tell her. He asks her to marry him and live in Storm’s End, and though she loves him, Arya admits she cannot be a lady of a castle. That’s not who she is.

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Tyrion talks with Bran Stark, reminding him that he is technically entitled to be the Lord of Winterfell now, but Bran turns this down, saying he isn’t Bran anymore and has no desire to rule or own anything. He is simply the Three-Eyed Raven.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ mistakenly leaves disposable coffee cup on table in Episode 4 of final season

As the drinking continues, a saddened Tormund Giantsbane realizes that he has no chance with Brienne of Tarth when she and Jaime leave the party and eventually sleep with each other. It’s a moment that fans have been demanding for several seasons and it cements the changes in Jaime’s character, further redeeming him as one of the good guys.

In a room full of people celebrating, the camera pans to Daenerys, who seems surprisingly isolated. She is all alone at the celebration. As groups form around her, she’s left sitting with her coffee cup overlooking the hall (that’s correct, in a filming/editing error, a disposable coffee cup was left in the show). Jon Snow is being heralded as a hero — worthy of being a king. She corners him alone and begs him to never tell a soul about his true Targaryen lineage. He continues to pledge his allegiance to her, swearing that he has no interest in the throne or the crown, but she is concerned less with what he wants and more with what his people will want if they find out. In a humbling moment, she pleads with him to not tell anyone and take her crown away.

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The next morning, battle plans are laid out as our team takes stock of what they have left. Rhaegal is wounded and needs to recover before being ridden, and half of the northerners and the Unsullied were lost in the Battle of Winterfell. Sansa points out that the soldiers are injured and need time to heal, but Daenerys doesn’t want to wait. She did her part in the Battle of Winterfell, and now it’s time to repay the favour for her fight. She’s hungry for power, and it is palpable.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ fans upset about how dark — literally — the Battle of Winterfell was

Tyrion manages to talk her out of storming King’s Landing and burning the city down, instead making a plan to isolate Cersei Lannister in the Red Keep until her city starves and turns on her, blocking roads in and out. Half the team will sail over, including Daenerys and the dragons, and the other half will travel down the King’s Road. Jaime Lannister decides to stay behind at Winterfell, where Sansa will be head of the house.

Shortly after the meeting, however, Bran, Sansa and Arya isolate Jon in the Godswood and express concern in Daenerys as a leader. Jon stands his ground, saying she is their queen and he has already pledged his allegiance to her. When they refer to him as a Stark, he breaks her confidence and forces Bran to tell them that he is actually a Targaryen and not their sibling but, rather, their cousin. He makes them swear to keep the secret.

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While the troops prepare to head out, we see that The Hound has made his own plan and is riding down to King’s Landing on his own on a mission we can only assume involves his brother, The Mountain. Arya catches up with him and rides alongside. She has her own mission, too, and we’re pretty sure it involves Cersei. Neither of them plans to return to Winterfell.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ — A chance to say goodbye

Tyrion tries to convince Sansa to side with Daenerys and accept her as the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. She doesn’t have to like her, Tyrion explains, just respect her and accept her authority. There will not be a better fit for the throne, he assures her. It is with this comment that Sansa questions him: what if there is a better option? She breaks Jon’s confidence and tells Tyrion about Jon’s true lineage and his claim to the Iron Throne.

Before heading the King’s Landing, Jon says goodbye to Tormund, who is heading back further north with the Free Folk to take them home. In a sad moment, Jon tells him to take his direwolf, Ghost. Jon believes he belongs in the north. He also bids farewell to Samwell Tarly and his girlfriend Gilly, who we find out is expecting a child. If it’s a boy, they will name him Jon.

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Tyrion and Jaime have a brotherly conversation, discussing Jaime’s night with Brienne, but are interrupted when Bronn strolls into Winterfell with a crossbow aimed at both of them. He admits that he’s been promised Riverrun by Cersei if he kills them both — but admits that he’s not sure she’ll even end up winning the throne. They counter-offer Highgarden if they win and he lets them live. In classic Bronn fashion, he’s ensuring that no matter what happens, he gets his castle.

Jon and his team set off by horse down to King’s Landing while Daenerys and her fleet sail off, and she rides Drogon alongside a healing Rhaegal. On the boat, Tyrion tells Varys about Jon’s lineage and claim to the throne, and they question what to do with Daenerys. The consider a marriage between the two but worry about incest. They are also concerned with her current state of mind and how the people of Westeros will react to Jon’s claim to the throne, whether he wants it or not.

READ MORE: Avengers take on ‘Game of Thrones’ characters in ‘SNL’ ‘Family Feud’ spoof

Suddenly, a massive arrow strikes down Rhaegal, piercing him several times, including through the throat. Daenerys watches as blood spills from her child, and he falls dead in the water in a matter of seconds. Euron Greyjoy has cut the team off with a flight of boats, and many giant scorpion weapons like the one we saw in Season 7 that injured Drogon. She attempts to take them down with Drogon’s fire, but when they eye him up with the scorpions, Daenerys quickly flies off in the opposite direction as Euron proceeds to destroy all of their boats and kidnap Missandei of Narth.

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Euron returns to King’s Landing and Cersei with the good news that he not only kidnapped one of Daenerys‘ advisers but also took her down to one dragon. They flood the Red Keep with innocent citizens, knowing that that will deter Daenerys from burning it down, and Cersei lies to Euron, claiming that the baby she’s carrying is his.

As news of Euron’s attack arrives at Winterfell, Sansa takes joy in telling Jaime that she hopes to watch his sister Cersei die. It is with this news that Jaime seems to have a change of heart. At night, he loads up a horse and heads to King’s Landing to aid Cersei as a crying Brienne begs him to stay. He is who he is … and he’s not a good person, Jaime claims.

At this point, Daenerys is beyond furious, wanting to storm King’s Landing and burn it to the ground. Instead, she is talked into approaching Cersei with an offer: surrender the throne and keep your life. They approach the Red Keep with this offer, and Tyrion meets with Qyburn as Cersei stands above with several loaded scorpions and a chained-up Missandei. Cersei has her own offer: Daenerys surrenders or they kill Missandei right then and there in front of her. Tyrion tries to plead with Qyburn, but he says he is merely a mouthpiece for the queen. Tyrion approaches Cersei and pleads with her: don’t do this or Daenerys will destroy everything around her, including her unborn child. Surrender now and let her child live. It almost appears to have left a mark on Cersei when she approaches Missandei and asks if she has any last words.

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In a shockingly cold ending, we see The Mountain execute Missandei by beheading her as Daenerys walks away, engulfed in rage and unravelling. There is no stopping her now from burning down everything around her to get her throne and her revenge. Is this the beginning of the Mad Queen’s reign? Dracarys!

On the latest podcast, hosts Jeremy Baker and Meredith Geddes also chat about some of their favourite theories and hopes for the next few weeks and the final season of Game of Thrones.

If you enjoy Merbear and the Maiden Jer, please take a minute to rate and review it on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to tell a friend about the show.


Jeremy Baker

@Jeremy_Baker on Twitter

Meredith Geddes

@MeredithGeddes on Twitter


Thank you, Joanna Robinson, senior writer for Vanity Fair and member of the Cast of Kings podcast, and also Dr. Robert Rouse from UBC for joining us this week!

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