Art Game of Thrones 8: Analysis of the fourth episode “The Last of the Starks”
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Game of Thrones 8: Analysis of the fourth episode “The Last of the Starks”

Giulia Guido
the last of the starks | 9c

We are getting closer to the latest episode of Game of Thrones, but before finding out who will sit on the Iron Throne let’s dwell a moment on the episode aired on Sunday night, entitled The Last of the Starks.

Opening credits

As always, the opening credits remind us at what point in the story we are (even if after the third episode it is difficult to forget it). We can see, in fact, about ten funerary pyres outside the walls of Winterfell, ready to be burned, while the interior of the Castle of House Stark is devastated by the war just fought and won.

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Jon’s speech

The episode opens outside the walls of Winterfell, where the survivors are honoring the dead in battle. Although the Queen is Daenerys, it is Jon who speaks to celebrate their deeds before setting fire to the bodies.

His words resonate vaguely familiar, “It is our duty and our honor to keep them alive in memory, for those who come after us and those who come after them, for as long as men draw breath. They were the shields that guarded the realms of men, and we shall never see their like again.

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They recall in fact the speech that Master Aemon made to the Wall in the final episode of the fourth season, “They died protecting men, women, and children who will never know their names. It is for us to remember them, our own brothers. We shall never see their like again.

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David Benioff and Daniel Brett Weiss (and Starbucks)

We return to the warm halls of Winterfell where, finally, everyone is celebrating the victory, but really everyone. Between Jon, Tormund, Sansa and the others there are two very, but very well known faces, those of David Benioff and D.B.Weiss, the two showrunners who took the novel by George R.R. Martin and turned it into the television phenomenon of the last ten years.

david and daniel the last of the starks |
the last of the starks | 9c

This little cameo of theirs has been appreciated by the public until, the most careful fans have not noticed that within the same scene, at a certain point, between horns full of wine and jugs full of beer, on the table in front of Daenerys there is exactly a Starbucks cup. Maybe someone in Westeros wanted a coffee? The fact is that this little (but not too much) oversight has not gone unnoticed at all. 

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Arya, That’s not me

Far from the festivities, Gendry reaches Arya where, in a scene too fast to be romantic, Robert Baratheon’s rightful son declares his love to the little girl from House Stark, asking her to become his Lady. The words she answers him with, “I’m not a lady, I never have been. That’s not me” immediately reminds us of the little girl who in the first season tried to convince her father that she would never become a Lady. When Nedd Stark told her that sooner or later she would marry a Lord and her children would become Lord or Lady, she replied in the same way, “No. That’s not me“. 

This scene is also connected to the one in which Arya finds Nymeria, when she tries to convince her direwolf to return to Winterfell, but this one, with her pack, doesn’t follow her and heads north. Here too Arya, watching her Nymeria leave, with a veil of sadness whispers “That’s not you“, referring to the fact that direwolves usually live in places much further north, much colder and that those lands do not belong to her.

The Last of the Stark

The title of this fourth episode recalls Arya’s words during a conversation between her, Sansa, Bran and Jon in which she says:

“We are family.
The four of us.
The last of the Starks.” 

What the two sisters don’t know (but just for a few seconds more) is that Jon, yes he’s a Stark on his mother’s side, but he’s effectively a Targaryen. 

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Tyrion and Varys

When, finally, Bronn arrives in Winterfell he has a brief exchange of jokes with the two Lannister brothers. It is here that Tyrion repeats the same identical words that Varys had pronounced in the second season, “power resides where men believe it resides“. 

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Now there are two episodes left at the end, only 2 hours and 38 minutes, the theories are many and, given the latest twists, as the death of the second dragon of Daenerys and Missandei, the many more uncertainties. One thing, however, seems to be sure, the next episode will be even more shocking than the third, or at least that’s what Emilia Clarke said at the Jimmy Kimmel Live, advising all fans to find the largest possible TV to see it.

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Written by Giulia Guido
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