Game of Thrones Season 8 has been getting some really mixed reactions from the audiences. The last episode, The Long Night, was criticized for being ‘too dark’ and cinematographer Fabian Wagner blamed the audiences saying, ‘it’s not me, it’s your TV settings’. We wonder who we have to blame this time for the OTT melodrama in Episode 4, The Last of the Starks. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister gave a fantastic performance as the Hand of the Queen trying to keep peace between King’s Landing and the small yet formidable army (dragons and all) headed by Daenerys Stormborn. But all the King in the North’s men and all the Dragon Queen’s passionate pleas couldn’t save this episode from being a dud.
Then there was the well-known cameo of the Starbucks cup that shocked many fans. In a report in the Verge, Bernie Caulfield, an executive producer on the show, said that they were ‘sorry’ about the mistake and also said in an interview with WNYC radio that “Westeros was the first place to actually, you know, have Starbucks.”
Has the last season already become a failure? There are only two more episodes to go and the battle is almost too close to call. The rifts between Jon and Dany may eventually lead to the death of either one of them. Maybe the showrunners intend to end the episode on a higher note with such a significant death – but the runup to it just isn’t cutting it. The conflicts between the Starks and Daenerys isn’t consistent with the characters. Sansa and Arya are too weather-beaten to give loyalty and familial bonds precedence over being killed by the Night King. The fact that they do not welcome Daenerys well seems strange, considering her dragons helped defeat the Night King and the Army of the Dead just as much as little Arya did. Sansa was wise enough to trust Tyrion, despite him being a Lannister and Arya even began trusting Clegane, given their complicated history. The Starks have also never really been power-hungry and knew that Jon never cared about the Iron Throne or who deserved to be on it. Historically, Starks have also been happy with their North and would have acquiesced to the situation had they seen Jon happy with Dany. Perhaps if there was more focus on Jon’s own conflict with Dany, the kind of pressure Jon received from not his family, but the people who were under him, the wedge could have been stronger. At this point in time, it seems a flimsy reason to prolong the internal war between allies.
The over the top melodrama in this episode was a consistent feature. Whether it was Jon and Dany or Sansa and Dany or Jaime or Brienne, it was overdone and overcooked. It was completely out of character for Brienne to break down and cry hysterically at Jaime’s departure to go back to Cersei. There was more to Jaime’s conflict of wanting to go back to Cersei – and when human beings take decisions such as these, moments where they have to run away from could really bring them happiness, says more about them than it says about their relationship. For Brienne to break down as a teenager after Jaime’s decision to leave was just as inconsistent as Sansa freaking out about Dany.
The saving grace was Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister who carried a difficult but profound scene. As he made a passionate plea (had a lot of those in this episode) to Cersei to make peace with Dany, asking her to consider her child instead of other people’s children, the speech hit all the right notes. However, most people could see Missandei’s death a mile away. The only interesting question it left was if Daenerys would follow the footsteps of her father, the Mad King.