“The Last Of The Starks” has a lot of ground to cover this close to the end of Game of Thrones, which explains its nearly 80-minute runtime. Not only do the characters (and viewers) need to decompress after the Battle of Winterfell, but the series also needs to set up the ultimate conflict and resolution of the series. The time we spent in Winterfell provided plenty of additions to the best Tormund Giantsbane quotes, but probably more importantly, it set events in motion leading to Daenerys’s ultimate fate.
The end of Game of Thrones is close, so every moment left is essential to finishing this story. That means there are plenty of subtle details in this episode that either call back to the show’s rich history or point towards the characters’ ultimate ends.
Tyrion Exposes Cersei’s Lies
Most fans agree that Tyrion has had a rough few seasons from a strategic standpoint. He never should have trusted Cersei to stay true to her word, and every piece of advice he’s shared in Westeros seems to have blown up in his face. Daenerys takes his advice for possibly the final time by giving Cersei a chance to surrender peacefully. When Tyrion passes Qyburn and makes his plea directly to his sister, it looks like another failure since Cersei signals for the Mountain to execute Missandei as a morbid message to Daenerys and her forces.
But, it could also be Tyrion’s final gambit to destroy Cersei’s allegiances from within. Tyrion asks Cersei to consider surrender for the sake of her child while Euron Greyjoy is standing right behind her. Euron believes the child is his and had just found out about it. By revealing that he knows about the child, Tyrion might be driving a wedge between Cersei and Euron that will destroy their alliance and clear Dany’s path to the Iron Throne.
Euron’s Crossbow Is Personalized
After an episode full of charged conversations and much-deserved partying in Winterfell, Euron Greyjoy brings a burst of action and gore when he shoots Rhaegal out of the sky and ambushes Daenerys’s forces on their way to Dragonstone. Euron does what Bronn failed to do in Season 7 by taking out one of Dany’s children, and he does it with a collection of weapons customized for his share of the Iron Fleet. The crossbows stationed around King’s Landing only have two limbs for generating force, but the weapons affixed on Euron’s ships have six limbs patterened like tentacles in honor of the Greyjoy family sigil.
Daenerys Echoes Her Brother Viserys
When Daenerys visits Jon in his room, she says that the people in Westeros don’t love her or look at her in the same way the people loved and admired Jon in the Great Hall. In the moment, it sounds more like a vulnerable confession between two lovers, but fans have heard that before from a different Targaryen. Back in Season 1, Viserys said basically the same thing when Jorah stopped him from stealing Dany’s dragon eggs. It’s another clue that Daenerys is falling into the same destructive mindset that eventually doomed her father and brother.
The Legend Of Podrick Payne Continues
Podrick Payne is a low-key Game of Thrones all-star. He’s loyal, noble, skilled with a sword, and one of the best singers in Westeros (non-Ed Sheeran division). The unassuming squire is also one of the most prolific ladies men in all of the Seven Kingdoms. Pod reinforces his reputation after the Battle of Winterfell by leaving the Great Hall with a pair of Northern women in the background of the scene where the Hound and Sansa talk about their past.
Tyrion Has A Go-To Drinking Game
During the post-battle rager in Winterfell’s Great Hall, Tyrion plays a drinking game with Brienne, Jaime, and Podrick in a callback to Season 1 when Tyrion plays the same game with Shae and Bronn. Tyrion set out the rules back in Season 1, which is why this episode jumps right into things with Jaime making observations abotu Brienne’s family and time serving Renly Baratheon.
Starbucks Expanded To Westeros
One detail even slipped past the editors who made the episode. When Tormund toasts Jon, there’s a coffee cup in the middle of the table. This is most likely the fault of someone not striking the set before filming, but it’s also not the first time a coffee cup has appeared in the backgound on Game of Thrones. If a third to-go cup shows up, it’s officially a pattern.
The Winter Town Inn Hosts Another Memorable Scene
If the scene where Bronn holds Tyrion and Jaime at arrowpoint is the last time we get to see Bronn, it’s a fitting final moment with the character. Bronn stays true to his ways, drops some great lines, and gets the Lannisters to give him Highgarden in return for letting them live. That scene also revisits another Game of Thrones fixture that dates back to the first season: the Winter Town Inn.
An establishing shot makes it clear that Tyrion and Jaime are drinking in Winter Town, the settlement just outside Winterfell, and that very inn was the same place Jaime found Tyrion in the first episode of the series. Brienne and Pod stopped by the inn back in Season 5 when they were trying to rescue Sansa from the Boltons.
Missandei’s Life Sadly Comes Full Circle
The episode ends with Daenerys possibly completing her transformation into the Mad King’s daughter, enraged after the death of her closest ally and friend Missandei. When they first met, Missandei was a translator owned by Kraznys mo Nakloz in Astapor. Dany freed Missandei after acquiring the Unsullied army. Cersei, however, makes a point of putting Missandei back in chains after Euron captures her. Cersei dismissively refers to Dany as the “breaker of chains” when it’s revealed that Missandei is under her control. Her execution while once again in chains is a charged act that sadly points to a common theme in Game of Thrones: good intentions rarely change things in the long run.
Arya Continues The Tradition Of Stark Women Turning Down Baratheon Men
Instead of uniting the Stark and Baratheon houses like her father had hoped for, Arya takes after her aunt Lyanna and turns down the new Lord of Storm’s End. She continues the tradition of Stark women rejecting proposals from Baratheon men when she chooses her quest for vengeance over Gendry’s hand in marriage.