The most egregious workplace discrimination I’ve ever experienced involved a male usurper systemically trying to take my job despite being wildly under-qualified to do it and and, one by one, turning the other men around us, formerly allies, against me. The rage, despair, and isolation I felt was visceral; if I had a fucking dragon at my disposal at the time, Lord of Light knows there might be one less building in Midtown Manhattan right now. When you’re that alone, you get desperate, and might be inclined to do some rash shit. (Alas, I just fuckin’ quit, man.)
Daenerys Targaryen is not, perhaps, the most popular person in Westeros—aside from being an outsider with strange armies and a dad nicknamed “The Mad King,” she’s letting her emotion and desire for revenge seep into her decision-making, which renders all the stupid Clever Men around her uneasy. But shit, who can blame her? “The Last of the Starks,” the fourth episode of the final season of Game of Thrones
—set the stage for Daenerys to be utterly alone for the first time since her dumbass brother sold her into marriage with Khal Drogo. And if you’ve ever been in junior high, you should be able to relate to her glancing longingly at the various cliques at the tables in the Winterfell Feast + Party Zone and wondering where she fits into this scenario, having spent the last ten years breaking chains and taking names.
But the whole squad is dead, starting with Ser Jorah, in a way-too-long funeral pyre situation at the beginning (why was that so long, like four recognizable people died); the second of her three children, Rhagal, because no one (!!!) thought that maybe Cersei would have people waiting for her at Dragonstone??? I wouldn’t trust my war strategists, either, that shit was dumb as hell. Plus now that she knows Jon/Aegon is her blood relation and he feels gross about making out with her, she’s seeing the writing on the wall: Even if a man doesn’t want the job, a man’s gonna get the job because, as Tyrion and Varys note, the lords of Westeros are stuck in the dark ages (and also cis-centric) and want their leader to be a freaking MAN! Before Missandei, her most trusted homegirl, gets the literal chop rather unceremoniously at the hands of the Mountain, she basically gives Daenerys the go-ahead to go buckwild on King’s Landing and all the people in it by croaking “DRACARYS”—High Valyrian for “dragonfire.” I feel like I can predict the outcome of the next two episodes, but my imagination is not funded by an HBO budget, so I guess I gotta watch the rest of this shit!
Related: It’s so foul that Jon is sending Ghost away with Tormund just because it’s too expensive to put direwolves onscreen.
As transparently as Benioff and Weiss are trying—after seasons of utterly abusing the show’s woman characters—they are really doing too damn much right now. On one hand, there’s not enough development of the women characters’ motivations—sure, we innately get why Sansa’s distrustful of her brother’s power-hungry jump-off, but the whole thing is pretty reductive. On the other hand, did we really need Brienne of Tarth to lose her virginity to a man who last had sex with his tyrannical sister, who then bounced as she begged and bawled in the snow? Honestly, the least believable aspect of this story is that Ser Brienne would be so wide open after having sex like, two times. This is a woman who has killed thousands of Westerosi men with integrity and purpose, so if we’re to believe that the dick is so magickal that she’d be too blind to notice that Jamie is CLEARLY going back to King’s Landing to KILL Cersei, then I guess... Benioff and Weiss should have been employing more women writers this whole time. (LOL!!)
At least Arya came correct. There were a lot of broken hearts this episode—Tormund Giantsbane, Brienne, Grey Worm—but none was as sad as Gendry’s, who should have known, but still. It’s such a relief that Arya, whose willful loss of her virginity caused many coronaries on the internet, is still the same ol’ killer we’ve grown to love and respect, rebuking Gendry’s marriage proposal with a statement of purpose: “I’m not a lady. I never have been. That’s not me.” Same, mami! Her character continuity almost made up for the fact that we didn’t get to see her and Sansa’s reactions after Jon told them his real name is Aegon Targaryen, but I guess they couldn’t fit that in as well as THE LONGEST, MOST BORING FUNERAL. I swear. The moral of this story, aside from never try to wrap up an elaborately plotted show in six episodes, is never hook up with anyone with an outsized power differential because your shit is destined to be stomped on. I include Benioff and Weiss in this.
Boners: Brienne of Tarth and Jaime “Toot It and Boot It” Lannister, unfortunately. Aunt Dany and her nephew Aegon, unfortunately. Lord Gendry Baratheon of Storm’s End for Arya “Toot It and Boot It” Stark, unfortunately. Samwell Tarly and Gilly, who at least got a baby out of it, I guess, because the Citadel is fucking boring.
Deaths: Rhaegal, the prettiest dragon, very unceremoniously and in a wack fashion. Missandei and her excellent beauty routine, guess we’ll never know. Finally: Ser Davos’s belief in any god!