The NOC’s Watch: The Last of the Starks

Without spoilers, what I’ll say is: Despite its many problems, I had hope that Game of Thrones would finish strong. That hope pretty much dissipated after I saw the last episode.

Spoilers below.

Others have pointed out this pattern: the showrunners do not like the fantasy elements of George R.R. Martin’s books. They excel at the intrigue, politics, backstabbing, and banter. And give them props — usually they are good at it, and in some ways (particularly in the fleshing out of side characters) better than the source material.

This season, they got most of the fantasy shit they have no patience for out of the way in episode 3. Farewell, Night King, we hardly knew ye.

I wasn’t as disappointed as many people were with that episode. A lot of it was frustrating, to be sure. But the death of main characters — which so many people were expecting and which for the most part didn’t happen — wasn’t something I looked forward to. A Song of Ice and Fire already killed off so many main characters that doing more wouldn’t exactly be shocking. In my opinion, it’s tiresome (looking at you, Walking Dead).

“The Last of the Starks” had them returning to what they do best — shifting allegiances, character beats, etc. The problem is, it was mostly bad. Poorly written — not just the logistics, but also the dialogue, and so many things out of character. The women characters, as has rightly been pointed out, were horribly written. Tyrion was uncharacteristically mean towards Brienne.

The acting was dependably great, and I think the scene with Bronn was a standout — consistent with his character, tense but funny, it reminded me most of what I like about the show. And I liked how Arya reminded Gendry that she’s all about that stab life. But the rest of it was just so poorly written.

Euron Greyjoy getting a hand up on them AGAIN? It was stupid enough of a plot point placed solely to even out Dany’s advantages the first time. And when they killed Missandei — I mean, I’ve been mad at GoT before, but at this point all I could manage was an exasperated “really, motherfuckers?”

I tend to veer away from predictions, as I like to just go along for the ride. But a couple of predictions:

  • It would be very Game of Thrones-y for Jon to die in the upcoming battle, and Dany wins, but she’s pregnant with Jon’s child.
  • Or, Cersei wins, and Dany, Jon, etc. all die. Cersei and Sansa then negotiate a truce between King’s Landing and the North. Time is a flat circle.
  • In an epilogue, Arya wears Jaime’s face and kills Cersei.