“I’m fuming about how Daenerys is being treated,” I declare to Riley Chow and Luca Giliberti in our 30-minute recap of “The Last of the Starks,” the fourth “Game of Thrones” episode in season 8, which aired on Sunday, May 5. Watch our exclusive video slugfest above.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THIS EPISODE:
After years of rising from exile, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is showing how hard it is for a woman to earn respect in the seven kingdoms of Westeros, and it’s a commentary that cuts unfortunately close to the real world. I explain that “you have all these people in the North praising Jon Snow, saying he should be King because he rode a dragon. How many battles does a woman need to ride a dragon in to get the same treatment? Daenerys has done it for seasons!”
The celebration of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who has failed to meet strategic and military expectations, is endemic of a culture where accomplished women are often overlooked or dismissed. I say that “Jon Snow’s been coasting for a while. Arya Stark was the true hero of the battle last week. In the famous ‘Battle of the Bastards,’ Sansa Stark saved the day. Jon still got praised as the hero. The way these Northerners view women is really bad. It seems like he gets all the credit for these battles in the North.”
In “The Last of the Starks” news is spread that Jon has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne and key advisers start to question Daenerys’ sanity. Things look pretty bleak for the Mother of Dragons as we enter the series’ endgame. But Luca points out her impressive resume, saying, “She’s conquered cities and freed slaves. She’s done much more than Jon Snow. I’m disappointed the melodrama between them is taking up time.”
In the episode it was up to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) to advocate for Daenerys. I think he did a sub-par job because “when talking to Sansa he just says ‘people love her.’ I would have led with the fact she had abolished slavery in another continent. She also lost her closest friend protecting Winterfell and lost a dragon saving Jon from a failed plan.” Riley adds that “I don’t really think she’s that much of a Mad Queen but I think the show wants us to think that.”
Regardless of her character’s future, Luca was impressed with the actress saying, “This is Emilia Clarke’s episode submission if she does gets nominated for an Emmy. She was very good. I don’t think I’ve ever been as impressed with her as I was in this episode. She displayed an incredible range.” Riley agrees but adds that “she could get more to do in the next couple of episodes. But this could be the episode that wins Peter Dinklage an Emmy. This three time champ made a big speech at the end. That might be enough.”
There is no question this episode has pushed Daenerys Targaryen to the brink and she will have some difficult decisions to make in the final two episodes. My advice is that “torching King’s Landing to the ground would be a mistake. It’s off brand. Ending tyranny by becoming a tyrant seems misguided. Cersei is trying to push Dany to her level. It is her path to winning the people; framing this as a battle between the lesser of two evils. This is not the way to break the wheel.”
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