Recap Season 8, Episode 4: Do you think Dany is a villain yet?


Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) at outside of the city walls at King’s Landing. (c) HBO.

The survivors at Winterfell cremate those their dead: Jorah Mormont, Lyanna Mormont, Beric Dondarrion, Dolorous Edd, and Theon among many others. The survivors light funeral pyres and the scene is supposed to represent the massive causalities.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I almost never criticize HBO. They did me a great kindness having me on the Season 5 DVD. But dare I say it? I kind of feel a tiny bit like HBO squandered an opportunity here.

They should have shown some of the battle’s massive carnage and corpses. This is the whole point of GRRM’s series: the tragedy of war.

I realize the average viewer would pick dragons and FX over corpses but not showing the corpses kind of betrays the show’s spiritual legacy.

After the survivors light the funeral pyres, Jon & co. retreat to the great hall at Winterfell to feast, grieve, and commiserate. Gradually, the mood turns to rejoicing. During the celebration, Dany notices how much Jon’s people love him and becomes insecure again. Never for one moment is the crown out of her mind.

Dany also looks a bit crazy at one point. Weren’t you just bracing for a “Burn them all!” moment?

Feeling left out and perhaps looking for the lime light – in perhaps her stupidest move yet — Dany legitimizes Gendry. Are you really looking for more rivals Daenerys? Really?

Later on, Jaime and Brienne finally get together.

Dany and Jon argue over whether Jon should swear not to reveal his true identity to Sansa and Arya. Dany argues the truth will destroy them. (Translation: If she doesn’t get “what is mine,” it will destroy their romance. Daenerys is giving lessons on putting your partner first after the series is over.)

War Council

It’s business as usual now that the army of the living has defeated the Night King. Dany wants to march down to King’s Landing as soon as possible and attack King’s Landing.

But wait a second — didn’t your men just fight the Army of the Dead yesterday? Like the biggest battle in the history of the world? Don’t cha think your army’s just a wee bit tired?

Sansa urges Daenerys to hold off on leaving so the armies can rest up. Dany won’t hear of it.

Instead, the dragon queen talks of freeing the Westerosi from tyranny and invokes “serving her destiny.” She rejects Jon and Tyrion’s wise and humane alternate plan to create a naval blockade and starve out King’s Landing, which they believe would cause the small folk to revolt and oust Cersei.

Arya and Sansa pull Jon aside for a chat after the war council breaks up: they aren’t buying anything Daenerys is selling.

Jon finally reveals his true identity to Sansa and Arya. He swears them to secrecy first.

The Next Day


Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound leave Winterfell together and head towards King’s Landing to tie up some loose ends. (c) HBO.

Both Arya and the Hound happen to leave Winterfell at the same time the next morning. Both of them need to take care of unfinished business, regardless of the cost. It’s kind of nice to see them together again: the Hound is almost like a surrogate father to Arya in an inky sort of way.

Tyrion says goodbye to Sansa. She fears Jon won’t make it back alive: her family “doesn’t do well in the capital.” (No kidding!) Then Tyrion gives Sansa exactly the excuse she needs to reveal Jon’s identity.

Jon embraces Tormund and wishes him well. He asks Tormund to take Ghost north with him.

Jon says goodbye to Sam and Gilly. They both acknowledge their friendship. It’s sweet. It’s touching. Gilly is pregnant; she will name the baby after Jon if it’s a boy.


Ghost and Tormund are left in the dust. (c) HBO.

Then Jon says goodbye to Ghost and this is where the whole thing falls apart for me. Jon doesn’t pat Ghost. He doesn’t hug him. He doesn’t cry. Nothing. Nada. The white and fuzzy one deserves wa-ay better than this. He lost an ear in the Battle of Winterfell for Pete’s sake. I mean seriously? Who wrote that scene? Ob-v-iou-sly a cat lover…

Or maybe the PITA factor of having to shoot the wolf scenes in Calgary made them think “good riddance.”

More interestingly to those of you who aren’t dog lovers, what happens now that Jon is separated from his spiritual doppelgänger? Will he lose his way? Can he survive without Ghost?

The direwolves have a mystical connection to the Starks. As Jon said way back in Season 1 when they found the pups, they were meant to be with them.

The Armada at Last?

I have been waiting for several seasons to see a Spanish Armada-type fight near King’s Landing. Was this it? Maybe.

Euron Greyjoy surprises Dany’s ships in a cove in the Narrow Sea on the way down to King’s Landing.

Each vessel Euron Greyjoy’s Iron Fleet is now fully equipped with Scorpions – the giant crossbows Qyburn created last season – but this time they work!

Euron shoots one of the giant bolts at the Rhaegal, Dany’s second last dragon. After one of the bolts pierces Rhaegal’s neck, Rhaegal tumbles from the sky.

Cersei tells Euron that the babe in her belly is his. He’s thrilled and rejoicing.


Cersei and Euron rejoice after the dragon dies and Euron learns he is having Cersei’s baby. (c) HBO.

Varys and Tyrion Debate Whether They Should Oust Daenerys

Dany has now clearly lost her way and even her councilors are turning against her.

It’s making me queasy that the only one who consistently serves the realm – Varys – is openly sharing his treasonous thoughts. In Henry VIII’s court, this would cost him his head.

Varys and Tyrion debate Dany and Jon’s merits. Jon is clearly the one they want on the throne, even though Tyrion is loyal enough to feel squeamish about betraying his boss.

It’s pretty clear what Varys will do. He’s going to support the claimant he believes is best for the little people. Somebody’s got to.

Tyrion fears for what will come of Dany if Varys throws his support behind Jon.

Jaime Leaves Brienne to Go to Cersei

His mission isn’t clear, but Brienne assumes he is going to protect the evil queen.

The Parley: Mano a Mano


Missandei’s last moments. (c) HBO.

Daenerys and her tiny sea battered force meet with Cersei’s army outside of the city walls to demand Cersei’s surrender and Missandei’s return. The two hands – Tyrion and Qyburn – meet to talk terms. Neither side is willing to budge.

Daenerys loves Missandei – she’s her best friend – but the dragon queen won’t surrender to Cersei to save Missandei’s life. Dany can’t. If she did, Cersei would kill Dany and her men in a heartbeat.

Cersei has the advantage – she’s behind the city walls – why should she surrender?

Tyrion tries to play on Cersei’s love for her children to get her to surrender. Furious, Cersei responds by ordering the Mountain to slice off Missandei’s head.

Missandei’s last words are for vengeance: “Dracarys!” She tells Dany to make King’s Landing burn. Just what we needed…


  • Sansa broke an oath. Will the consequences for this be as extreme as Game of Thrones karma has dished out to other oathbreakers?
  • What will Euron do if he finds out that Cersei’s baby isn’t really his?
  • How is it that Dany is so arrogant that she legitimized a rival claimant to the throne?
  • Without Missandei and Rhaegal, will Dany turn into her father the Mad King?



Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."


  • Reply May 8, 2019


    At this point, it would feel cliche if she does go mad. They seem to be forcing that idea down everyone’s throat; it feels like a misdirect. In the house of the undying, she got to the throne and didn’t take it and I think that’s what’s going to happen. More people will die and she’s fighting with Jon, for what? To rule people she has no connection with? Jon might just tell her, “let’s go to that waterfall and stay forever just like you said and leave those who want to play this absurd game to rule.” Tormund’s comment about Jon having the North in him felt like foreshadowing and he needs to go back to Ghost. I truly think a democratic proposition might be the final outcome. Breaking the blood wheel with democracy.

    • Reply May 10, 2019

      Jamie Adair

      This is an intriguing theory. Back during the Faith Militant storyline., I almost wondered if that was where it was going.

      I honestly can’t guess what will happen; there are so many possibilities. One thing occurred to me; what if the surprise ending is that Cersei keeps her throne? I hope not but one of the cast members said it was an odd ending but felt right for the story. Eg Cersei stays /futility of war. I don’t think this will happen but I wonder about it.

  • Reply May 9, 2019


    I am not sure that Brienne does think Jamie is going to join Cersei. What I think she realizes is that this is the last time she will ever see him.

    I found the fan criticism of the episode’s end tedious as ever. In particular all comments of the type ‘this is pointless’ merely show that the author hasn’t seen what the point is. And D&D have almost always had a major reason for every one of their shockers.

    Having thought the episode through a few times, I think I now know how GoT ends.


    The book and the show repeatedly return to the same events with different players. Whenever Cersei thinks she has done something clever, it turns out to be stupid. So Cersei congratulating herself on letting so many people in to be her human shields is a tell this is going to backfire. So we are going to see a popular uprising at some point in the next two shows. I think that will come in episode 6 and be the final shove that puts Jon on the iron throne.

    But back to Missandei, Danny had a choice between the iron throne and her best friend. She chose the throne. And that is why she is not the right person to lead Westeros.

    We don’t know whether it is Varys or Tyrion that is going to betray Danny but the Red queen has told us Varys will die. So Tyrion is likely to be a survivor. I rather suspect that the betrayal will be telling everyone that Jon is the rightful heir. Varys will probably spread the word through his remaining network of little birds.

    Methinks that Danny likely incinerates Varys and disappears off in a huff on Drogon. The dragon is useless against the ballistas in any case.

    Arya and the Hound can’t possibly take out Cersei as well as the Night King and so their plot must fail. So we end up with a test for Jon, the Iron throne or Arya. He lost Rickon trying to save him.

    This only makes sense if Jon has a shot at the iron throne. So I think the golden company is defeated in the field. Then Cersei’s last gasp effort to force Jon to bend the knee is to threaten to kill Arya.

    And Jon does.

    And then it all goes wrong for Cersei because she told everyone that Jon was the threat and here he is surrendering when he doesn’t need to.

    Arya is the killer of the NK of course and so Cersei’s perfidy is pretty apparent.

    Jamie strangles Cersei as the red keep burns around them.

  • Reply May 9, 2019


    I posted here yesterday and saw it loaded after finishing and now it’s gone. Was it for some reason or just a glitch?

    • Reply May 10, 2019

      Jamie Adair

      I don’t know. If you’ve never posted before, I have to approve the comment. But WordPress can sometimes be a little flakey. At any rate, I apolgize.

  • Reply May 10, 2019


    I tried to post on the “dog” thread and got a message that I had posted twice but I can’t see either post. I’m fed up of all the hate the show is getting now (though it’s not my place to deny other people their opinions). I’m mindful of Ser Alliser saying something in season 6 after Jon’s resurrection that Jon will be fighting other peoples’ battles all his life. Maybe Jon will go on to be a soldier of fortune. In the (show) House of the Undying Dany touched the iron throne and then walked away so maybe she does renounce the throne after all. Or maybe she will wonder if the struggle was all worthwhile. She is down to one dragon and has lost her best friend. I know show Missandei and book Missandei are different but Missandei’s death brought home how to me at least how the good can be casualties of war as easily as the bad. I don’t know how much it was reported in the USA but there was a young female Irish journalist killed in crossfire just before Easter this year in Northern Ireland and my thought was what a waste. My late mother was alive in World War II – she was a teacher. Young people could leave school at 14 then and my mother said that a girl who had been in her class the year before had been killed either by a bomb or machine gun fire from an enemy aircraft, I forget which.

  • Reply May 10, 2019


    Weird, now my comment appeared again. Maybe it’s Bran playing with the time line! Haha

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