With so many storylines to wrap up and character arcs to complete, the final season of Game of Thrones was bound to make bold moves that not everyone agreed with. Such was the case on the latest episode of the fantasy drama, “The Last of the Starks,” which has fans sulking, stamping their feet, and setting the internet ablaze with criticism. Major spoilers ahead! The fourth episode of season 8 started out strong, picking up after the jaw-dropping victory over the Night King and his White Walker army at the Battle of Winterfell to show the survivors laughing, carousing, and commending one another for their bravery and strength.
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Daenerys made Gendry Lord of Storm’s End, Tormund guzzled down wine like it was going out of style, and the Lannister brothers goofed off playing a drinking game with Brienne of Tarth that eventually led to a steamy romance scene. Sadly, the merriment fizzled out as quickly as it came and “The Last of the Starks” ended up disappointing tons of die-hard Game of Thrones fans. “My heart is broken!” “Don’t touch me.” For starters, many kicked up a fuss over the increasingly strained dynamic between Daenerys and Jon Snow, who recently revealed to his lady love that he’s really her nephew and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne useful information.
Some felt that the tension between the two — Daenerys wants the Iron Throne more than anything and firmly requests Jon not tell anyone about his true parentage, while Jon doesn’t have any interest in ruling the Seven Kingdoms and tells Dany that he’ll always bend the knee to her — has become unbearable. One fan took to Twitter to write that it’s “annoying” that Jon is letting his love for Daenerys influence his decisions, while others said that the Dany-Jon conflict is “frustrating” because it seems a marriage between the two would resolve problems and allow them both to get what they desire.
Dany’s “recklessness” and Jon’s “naïveté” were also sore spots for some fans. Of course, that’s just the tip of the dragon’s wing of problems fans had. Viewers were heartbroken to see another one of Daenerys’ dragons plummet to his death — this time Rhaegal, shot down by Euron Greyjoy as Dany and her allied forces stormed King’s Landing. One fan wrote on Twitter that Rhaegal’s death was a “lazy” surprise, tweeting, “Like nobody saw the massive fleet of ships that everybody then saw immediately?
Nobody thought to scout when you know they have a massive fleet of ships?” Another said in response, “They’ve written themselves into a corner, and have gotten incredibly lazy/sloppy with the story. They could have easily killed Rhaegal [because] Dany saw the ships, and in her hubris went in charging not knowing about all the arrows. Simple change, much more plausible.”
Rhaegal’s gnarly demise wasn’t the only shocking death in the episode. As punishment for Daenerys not giving up her crusade for the Iron Throne, and to send her a message about what she’ll do if she doesn’t surrender, Cersei Lannister had the Mountain behead Dany’s loyal adviser Missandei, who had been taken prisoner when Euron and his Iron Fleet ambushed Dany’s ships. Unsurprisingly, Missandei’s murder sent shockwaves through social media, with many stating that she “deserved so much better” and others expressing distress over the fact that her lover Grey Worm is now living his worst nightmare.
The indignation didn’t stop there — more Thrones fans let it be known that they were disappointed over Jon sending his direwolf Ghost north of the Wall without even patting his head to say goodbye, Tyrion and Varys contemplating committing treason and considering withdrawing their support for Dany in favor of Jon after they learn who Jon truly is, and Jaime abandoning Brienne and heading for Cersei in King’s Landing shortly after the two knights shared several intimate evenings together.
All this anger and sadness over Season 8, Episode 4 of Game of Thrones has resulted in a grim consequence: the episode is currently the second-lowest-rated Thrones installment in history based on Rotten Tomatoes reviews. The episode stands at a 61 percent approval rating on the aggregator site, coming in only a few percentage points above the disturbing season 5 episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” which earned a score of 54 percent more information.
Game of Thrones has only two episodes remaining in its entire run, and it’s anyone’s guess how the show is going to bounce back from this perceived low point — especially now that Daenerys is on the brink, Team Targaryen is down two important members, Dany’s trusted advisers could turn their backs on her at any moment, and Jaime is plotting something big. For the sake of viewers’ wellbeing and in hopes that Thrones will go out on a high note, we have our fingers crossed that the upcoming episode doesn’t ruffle quite as many feathers as this one did.