[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.”]
On “Game of Thrones,” Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has suffered a crushing blow to her side after she was all but assured of victory. After getting ambushed by Euron’s fleet, she loses yet another one of her children, Rhaegal, when he’s brutally shot down from the sky by new and improved Scorpions. If that weren’t bad enough, her best female friend, translator, and confidant Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is taken and then summarily executed by Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), which isn’t just demoralizing for the Queen of Dragons, it’s heartbreaking for Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson.)
Of course, part of this is because Daenerys is in a rush to finally take the Iron Throne, not even waiting for the Northmen or even her own partner Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to recover. Yes, this has been her one, single-minded goal her whole life, but that’s all the more reason to actually figure out a military strategy and, you know, not underestimate the enemy. Had she learned nothing from the hundreds who died in the War of Winterfell?
But there could be something else at stake. Jon’s bombshell about his true heritage no doubt shook her. Perhaps she left him behind on purpose thinking she could take King’s Landing with her two dragons and remaining Unsullied. Her last conversation with him shows that she doesn’t trust his true motives, which is pretty sad since he’s more Ned Stark’s son than Rhaegar Targaryen’s in attitude and integrity. Jon would not lie about that, and even if he were to tempted to make a claim, he would have by now. But nope, he’s still a Northerner at heart, and has the direwolves on his armor to prove it. What more does Khaleesi want?
Series creators David Benioff & D. B. Weiss wrote the upcoming Episode 5 with go-to big battle director Miguel Sapochnik directing. The episode will run 1 hour and 20 minutes, which is just two minutes shy of “The Longest Night,” since Arya (Maisie Williams) doesn’t need to kill the Night King again. Where is that assassin, anyway? She has an old score to settle and doesn’t expect to return to Winterfell afterward. Perhaps she’s crossing a name off her list.
Take a look at the sneak peek photos below:
Cersei is feeling smug, and why shouldn’t she? She just pissed off her enemy, and has a baby on the way. Only thing better is to wash it all down with wine. What? Westerosis don’t know about pre-natal health.
The Golden Company has assembled and is ready for battle, led by Harry Strickland (Marc Rissmann), whose name sounds way too modern for this show. They look pretty impressive, but you know what would make them more impressive? Elephants. Just give them some dramamine for the sea voyage next time.
Davos (Liam Cunningham), Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) also check out the Golden Company and find them lacking pachyderms.
Jon and Varys (Conleth Hill) arrive on Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen for a nice, relaxing – oh wait. This is intriguing since Varys did think that Jon was the better prospect for a ruler. Has he fully thrown his allegiance behind the true heir?
Daenerys looks oddly depressed and defeated. This is unlike her. After that grimace after Missandei’s death, the Mother of Dragons should be spitting her own dracarys. Maybe she’s just tired from all the rushing around, but at least light some torches. Can’t wait to hear Ramin Djawadi’s Westerosi version of “All By Myself” in this scene.
Grey Worm is ready to serve even though he’s in greater mourning for his lost love than his queen is. After all, Missandei brought his humanity back from his existence of being a mere killing machine.
Tyrion has been fairly loyal to Daenerys even when Varys wanted him to speak treason. Perhaps he’s reconsidered — but he’s never had the best luck making her listen to him.
Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) sees something on the horizon that gives him cause for concern. Let’s hope that what he spies isn’t just the result of what’s in that flask.
Watch the full preview of Episode 5 below:
”Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.