‘Game of Thrones’ 8×04 Roundtable: “The Last of the Starks”

We’re just two episodes away from the end of Game of Thrones, and after what had been a superb season 8 so far, “The Last of the Starks” was just a disappointing episode all around, one that seems to be setting up an ending we’re going to be complaining about for years to come.

The episode failed, particularly, when it came to, shocker of all shocks, it’s female characters, so it’s fitting that we have an all female panel of women to discuss the show. Joining me this week are Gillian, Naomi, McKenzie, Jasmine, Ashley and Raquel.

So, join us as we rage a bit, and see what hope, if any, we’re holding onto as the end nears.

Daenerys
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Daenerys seems destined to follow in her father’s footsteps and become the “Mad Queen.” What do you think about this decision? Do you feel like Game of Thrones is telegraphing the ending?

Lizzie: It’s just so laaaaazy, and I don’t think properly set up. Like, the only thing they did to set it up was tell us that her father went mad and then that all Targaryens were prone to it, but that’s it. Like, come on, we’ve been with this character for 8 years, if you wanted this to make sense you had to do a little more. And I want to hope – and I have tried to, since it became obvious this was the end, which for me was last season – to hang onto the idea of a final twist, but I just don’t think these writers are actually that clever.

Gillian: This was one of my predictions from the beginning of the season. What they are doing differently is that it’s not just Dany going into madness. Cersei has been there a long time. I always felt like Dany would not make it to the end of the season and now she has lost two of her tethers, Jorah and Missandrei, so it seems pretty inevitable that there will be something. I was extremely worried for Gendry when she called him out at the victory celebration.

Naomi: I was so against the writers doing the whole “Mad Queen” thing with Daenerys, but at this point I’m like to hell with it. She’s been taking some pretty devastating hits and to have her girl give the okay to unleash hell as a final wish, well, there is no better reason to leave it all on the field.

McKenzie: I’m not happy at all. I feel like they are just taking the easy way out if they continue down this Mad Queen path. It’s so obvious that it would be disappointing. On top of that, it would be out of character for Dany. She has put so much work into showing how she is different from her father. Why just slide so easily into something plot wise? No. Not here for it.

Jasmine: I agree with both McKenzie and Naomi. I don’t like that they are making Dany the Mad Queen. She did so much good in the beginning, so to make her turn out like her father is shitting on all the hard work she’s done in past seasons. I will say this though, people keep testing her and if she has to Dracarys the shit out of Cersei and her cronies, so be it!. As far as the ending goes, I do feel like we may end up being surprised. The writers could be playing us all because they don’t want us to be able to figure out exactly what will happen. Having us all think Dany is turning into the Mad Queen, is the perfect way to throw us all off.

Ashley: It’s so apparent right now that Dany is going to go Aerys 2.0, that I honestly would not be surprised if she did OR if D&D decided to pull the rug out from under us and subvert the expectation here. I tend to lean a little more Mad Queen myself, at least in show canon, than otherwise.

Raquel: I feel mad. I’m fucking mad. They have spent 8 years making it clear that Dany is not like her father. Yes, she carries Targeryen blood and that means she can be relentless – and even cruel – but she is not her father. Her father killed and tortured for pleasure. He simply liked to see the world burn, knowing that it was he who had provoked it. But Dany was different. She went to the slave cities and released them, ending their oppressors, for God’s sake, there’s nothing more meaningful to show the difference with her father.

In addition, while her father only instilled fear, Dany knew how to gain the respect of her people. As Missandei once said, they didn’t follow Dany because she was her father’s daughter, but because she had let them freely decide their fate, something no one had done so far, and she had earned herself a queen. Now, suddenly, they have thrown all that development, the very foundations of the character overboard and for what? Simply for a man to be the one who keeps the throne.  They have taken Dany to a limit that has made her seem crazy simply by reacting to a challenge. They have made Dany so thirsty for the throne that she puts it above her own people. Dany, the breaker of chains.

And I say this because Dany doesn’t listen to the advice of those who are at her side, she wants to attack King’s Landing immediately, without even waiting for her hosts to recover from the fight against the dead and I also say this because she is willing to burn the entire city to take it (even before Missandei). But this is not Dany, it’s Cersei. Dany at first never wanted the Throne, saw it as a duty, as an inevitable destiny.  Later, she began to accept that destiny and to desire it, believing that she was the ideal queen for Westeros because she would be fair, honorable and honest. And now I have to believe that wants the Throne in a Cersei-like way? Sure, Jan.

Again, we return to the question, why have they forgotten the previous development of Dany? We have the same answer again: so that it is a man who sits on the throne.  They have made Dany who she is just to paint Jon as the best option.

Moreover, we have not even seen Jon or Dany consider reigning together, especially loving each other as they love each other. It’s an open war between the two of them, and they even have reduced Jon to a mere Dany cheerleader and then they have the excuse about the impossibility of reigning together.  Again, for Jon to be the only option. In fact, it is recognized in the series that his penis has everything to do with it. Varys says: it’s a man. As if that empowered something, as if that were better. Yes, they try to defend their macho posture through Tyrion, but it is a weak and meaningless defense. You can tell that this series is made by men. And it’s fucking horrible.

Braime
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Braime is finally canon! Talk about your feelings as these two finally came together only for Jaime to leave at the end of the episode. What’s your take on Jaime leaving? And is there still a chance at a happy ending here?

Lizzie: This wasn’t only the highlight of the episode, it was basically the only good thing in the episode, because it was about the culmination of a journey for these two, one of deep respect and love, a love they never thought they’d get to express, to share, but one that was apparent to everyone. So to have that one perfect moment with the two of them together, to have that glimpse of what they could be together, was beautiful.

As for Jaime leaving, I think it unlikely (though not impossible) that in a show written by a bunch of men they’d be willing to ruin Jaime’s character arc by making him leave for King’s Landing to in any way, shape or form save Cersei. I think it’s likely he thinks she’s got to die by HIS hand. I just wish he’d communicated better with Brienne, because if he thinks she’s not gonna follow him anyway, he’s got another thing coming.

Gillian: Highlight of the episode! While Tyrion was wrong for bringing up her virginity, I’m so happy Jaime went to her and they got it on! I’m disappointed in Jaime leaving and especially what he said but he really doesn’t have much experience in any kind of healthy relationship so it’s not entirely out of character. If he winds up killing Cersei, I’ll definitely forgive him but I don’t feel like anyone is really getting a happy ending here.

Naomi: I totally agree that this was hands down the best part of the episode. From the drinking game to coy “It’s bloody hot in here” just to get his shirt off, to the sad recognition that Jamie’s self-loathing couldn’t allow him to believe he deserved to be happy with Brienne after all he had done for Cersi-all of it was wonderfully complex character development. While I don’t think Jamie even really knows why he’s going back to King’s Landing, he must thinks he belongs there. That could be as a brother to stand by his sister/lover in death, as the father of an unborn child, or an ally in a war he helped start; he might end up killing Cersi or Euron. Whatever happens, it is my hope that he dies honorably and in the arms of Brienne who somehow ends up at his side.

McKenzie:  It happened! Then Jamie has to go fuck it up. Don’t be self sacrificing. Stay with Brienne. You love her. You deserve her.

Jasmine: This was a looooooong time coming! As soon as Jamie went to Brienne and I saw how comfy cozy and loose her clothes were, I was like “this is it, it’s finally happening!” Those two are so good together. It really pissed me off when he left her to go back to Kings Landing. I mean her tears guys!! Ugh! Anyway, yeah I feel sorta bad for Jamie because Cersei’s got a hold on him. It’s that loyalty to family thing that he can’t let go of. Plus the fact she’s his lover (eww) so he’s always gonna be drawn to her even when she’s always making threats on his life. I see no happy ending here, I just feel like Jamie might not make it out of this but I’d be surprised if he does.

Ashley: I have been waiting for Jaime and Brienne to FINALLY become Jaime AND Brienne for literal YEARS. They are my OTP to end all OTPs. I somehow managed to avoid the episode leaks and spoilers so when I finally saw the culmination of their love completely “unsullied”, I was so overcome with how beautiful and realistic it was for both their characters. It wasn’t at all what I expected to happen, but it was also perfectly in character for both of them. According to my friends at our watch party, it was almost as entertaining to watch me watch them as it was for their love to finally become canon. It was such a wonderful, euphoric feeling for me. After the scene ended, my friend said to my husband, “I think that just broke your wife.” Basically yes it did, but not like that departure scene.

I was completely and utterly shattered by Jaime’s departure. It was completely unexpected. I was shocked into speechlessness. When the credits started rolling, I just couldn’t believe D&D could potentially have just thrown 6.5 seasons worth of character development, redemption arc, and inverted Beauty and the Beast arc out the window like so many Bran Starks! And truthfully, I don’t think they have. It took me a minute to shake the shock of that scene off my bones, but I 100% believe that scene, plus D&D’s commentary in the “After the Episode” segment is narrative misdirection. Jaime didn’t leave to save Cersei. He left to protect Brienne. He knows that there’s no way Brienne won’t come to harm once Cersei finds out about them, especially now that Jaime knows Daenerys has been dealt a serious blow with the loss of her dragon and Missandei. If Cersei gains the upper hand, he and Brienne will never be safe. He has to leave to try to stop Cersei. He has to leave to protect Brienne. He has to, to use the words of Olenna Tyrell, stop the disease that is Cersei Lannister. Do I think this means Brienne will sit idly by waiting for Jaime to (never) return? Absolutely not. One of her defining lines is “There’s nothing more hateful than failing to protect the one you love.” Brienne’s character arc is not served by letting the man she loves die in her arms a second time. She’s going to go fight by his side. And I believe they will come through on the other side together, never to be parted again.

Raquel: I was so happy to see them together at last! They both love each other but they were so afraid … Brienne was afraid of rejection, she knew that would destroy her. And Jamie saw her so pure, so good, so noble and honest … that he didn’t feel worthy of her. But, for one night, both decide to forget all their fears and reservations.  For one night, they decide to give themselves over to what they feel and make mutual confessions that, in some way, are even more intimate than what has come after them. For one night, they don’t resist that connection and that love that unites them. For one night … they are two soulmates who meet.

But the night ends and, although the dream lasts a little longer, reality prevails. Jamie comes down from the cloud as soon as he hears from Sansa what Cersei has done.  Then remember who he is (or who he was, rather), everything he has done for that monster … and again feel that feeling of unworthiness. Not to deserve someone as pure as Brienne and not to deserve either the love that gives him or the bright future that could have by her side.

Now Jamie sees Cersei as what she is: a monster but he also looks the same as her and believes that it is where he must be by her side, in darkness, in hell. So he decides to leave. He decides to leave because he is not able to believe in himself and who is someone different, someone better, who has changed and is a good person.  And that leaves Brienne and me with a broken heart. Brienne is only able to see that he has chosen Cersei over her because he loves her more, here her insecurities act and she is not able to see what Jamie shows her below the surface, only what is seen with the naked eye (and I don’t blame her).

I understand Jamie but it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want and deserves a good slap for what he has done. I hope and I still hope that this couple has a happy ending … but the hopes are less than before.

Gendrya
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Gendry was officially recognized by Daenerys, only to turn around and ask Arya to marry him. Arya’s response? She isn’t a lady. Were you surprised by this? Do you think these two still have a chance?

Lizzie: It was totally in character, like Gendry, what are you thinking, she ain’t gonna marry you. At least not to rule a castle together. I do think the writers are going to try some happy endings our way so we don’t revolt, and these two have a higher chance than most people, because all they need is an actual conversation. I don’t think Gendry cares about being a Lord as much as he cares about Arya.

Gillian: I wasn’t surprised by Arya’s answer. She has never wanted that kind of life and it’s why I really liked her at the beginning. I think she and Gendry would have to have a longer conversation about what they both want out of this relationship before moving forward. I think Gendry will probably live but Arya’s chances aren’t as solid. I’d love it if they got to be together but as I stated above, happy endings don’t seem to be the endgame here.

Naomi: I saw her response coming a mile away. I felt bad for Gendry though. He somehow thought she was still the young girl who had fallen for him a long time ago, but she isn’t.

McKenzie: I wasn’t surprised at all. We’ve all known she would never be a lady. Just because she said no though doesn’t mean they won’t ever be together otherwise. She doesn’t have to marry him to be herself.

Jasmine: Nope definitely not surprised at all. Arya has always said she doesn’t want to be a lady. I do still think they have a chance though because I just don’t see Gendry giving up on her so easily.

Ashley: Not at all. Poor Gendry doesn’t know how to use a fork or to read his lady. There’s the possibility for the two of them, I think. I think Arya’s “unfinished business” will have to be resolved first, then I think she’ll have to choose then what she truly wants from life, once she has a life free of unresolved justice.

Raquel: I’m not surprised because it’s true that she is not a lady. The truth is that I admire the fact that Arya, although she loves him, has not renounced herself and who she is to live a life with the man who loves, but really unhappy and empty. Arya has been faithful to herself until the end, even though it will cost her to lose a love and that is admirable.

What is certain is that I don’t see Gendry going to Storm’s End and taking possession of her title without Arya and more after telling her that none of that makes sense without her, so in theory, the logical thing would be for Gendry to follow her and if that happens, they could have their happy ending.

Euron
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Euron Greyjoy seems to be getting a lot of unearned wins. What’s your take on him? Is he a Gary Stu? Why is it that male characters never get called out for being too good at something?

Lizzie: I abhor the character, and it isn’t even because he’s a good character. Book Euron is much better, but I try very hard to separate book vs show as they’re not even the same thing anymore, and the truth is the show has failed at giving him any gravitas, even with the wonderful performance, so everything he does feels unearned, In the show, he is absolutely a Gary Stu, in the way no women is and yet all at one point have been accused of being.

Gillian: To be honest, I kind of ignore a majority of the Greyjoy storylines. There are more important people to this story than him, ha. I can’t wait for Cersei’s inevitable betrayal of him and that he dies horribly.

Naomi: I completely loathe his character so to see him getting anything irritates me. Him killing Dany’s second dragon only made my hatred grow! I do believe he is being played so that makes me happy.

McKenzie: He is just there. I don’t expect him to last long either way between Cersei or Dany.

Jasmine: Hate him. Want him dead. Can’t wait to see his reaction when he hears “Euron…you are not the father”

Ashley: In the interest of fairness, Book Euron has quite the reputation for being a skilled and ruthless pirate, having lost few or no battles. That part I don’t think is out of line with canon. However, it seems odd that he could just “hide” behind some rocks and Dany wouldn’t see or notice him. It’s not difficult to see that sort of thing from the air, so for that reason I didn’t feel like his take down of Rhaegal in that scene was truly earned. That’s definitely Gary Stu-ish. I think Pilou Asbæk is a FANTASTIC Euron, really capturing how unhinged and unpredictable he is, so I always enjoy his scenes, even if he freaks me out with his crazy. I’m more than ready to see him taken down a few notches. He’s already gotten a metaphorical kick in the balls, when he hears that Tyrion already knows about Cersei’s pregnancy. The one he that he only just found out about. The one that Tyrion should have no way of knowing about when he approaches to treat with them. Things are about to go badly between him and Cersei and I’m quite ready to see both of them go down in literal and metaphorical flames.

Raquel: I don’t think Euron is a Gary Stu. Personally, I never liked those terms, they seem like words to mask the ineptitude of some producers. It is true that Euron and his weapon against dragons comes out of nowhere but I think that simply obeys the fact that they have prioritized the surprise of the spectator to a development of events with meaning. That seems to be, unfortunately, the hallmark of this season: to prioritize a possible surprise of the spectator over continuing with the logical development of everything we have seen previously.

That said, it is true that there is a double standard. If women are too good at something, they are immediately cataloged by Mary Sue but if they are men … they are wonderful and heroic.  Unfortunately, it is a reflection of society and I hate that. In the world of the series we also live that recalcitrant machismo, that thought that women can’t be as wonderful and heroic as men, progress has been made but there is still much to be conquered in that sense.

gameofthrones game of thrones hbo got jon snow GIF

Jon seems to be metaphorically moving away from the Starks, leaving Ghost behind and heading to KL. Where do you think this leads? Will the Stark in him win out? Does he end up on the Iron Throne?

Lizzie: Jon is a Stark, deep down, and that’s why I expect him to have to be the one to kill Daenerys and THEN be all like I don’t deserve the Throne, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m not longer sure he’ll die, but he might just retire to live out in the North without ruling anything because that’s who he is, deep down. What bugs me is they gave Theon this whole speech and storyline about how he could be BOTH a Greyjoy and a Stark, but Jon doesn’t get to be both?

Gah, this season needed more episodes, and last season too. That’s it.

Gillian: I really don’t think he’ll end up on the Iron Throne. In some ways, I wish he had learned his true heritage like last season so we could have seen him deal with it differently. Everything is so rushed with the limited amount of episodes and even though I’m not a Jon fan at all, at least some breathing room for this development would have been nice. So I don’t really understand why he is giving up on his Stark side. It’s all he knows! And it’s not like Dany is welcoming him on the Targaryen side. This would have been handled much better with more time.

Naomi: I’m not so sure he is. He seems more and more like Ned with the passing seasons. He is naive and believes that goodness and truth will always win the day. What would make him think that Sansa would keep his secret? She hates the idea of Daenerys on the Iron Throne. I’m not sure he’ll end up on the Iron Throne because he is too much like his uncle, but then again maybe he will have Tyrion on his side.

McKenzie: He is torn between family members while trying to uphold an oath. While Sansa and Arya think all they need is their family they need to realize he has other family as well. Jon just can’t leave her and pretend she never existed.  Also, Ghost deserves better. So out of character for Jon. He would never just leave and not say goodbye to Ghost or give him up at all.

Jasmine: Totally agree that they put that Jon Snow is a Targaryen storyline out way too late. There is basically no time left to develop this and have him really think about it. It feels extremely rushed. As for him leaving his Stark roots behind, I don’t know where his heads at right now so I’m not even going to try and guess. All I can say is, I don’t see how he could just walk away from them because they were the only family he ever knew. I was mad as hell when he just left Ghost like that. When Ghost walked to the gate to watch Jon go, I was like “Really Jon, you’re just going to leave Ghost?”

Ashley: I absolutely HATED the way he left Ghost. Not only did he leave his faithful companion without so much as a pet and a “Good boy,” but I also have problems with the fact that the show seems to disregard some of the more mystical and mythological plots from the books, namely the deep connection the Starks have with their direwolves–particularly Jon’s warging into Ghost. I know that was never explored in the show, but even so, Jon has a very deep bond with Ghost that everyone noticed, whether they were book readers or not. While on some level, I think this represents Jon leaving his Stark identity and embracing his Targaryen identity, I also don’t know that I trust the writing in this episode enough for that to even be something they considered. As for Jon sitting on the Iron Throne? I doubt seriously that will happen. I think Jon’s future has already been foretold by Tormund–”You’ve got the north in you. The true north.” I see Jon giving up the throne to go back beyond the wall.

Raquel: The first thing I want to say is that what Jon has done with Ghost is completely OOC. Our Jon would never have let go of his eternal friend and companion, who has always been by his side in both the worst and the best moments, saving his life in many of them. And much less would have done without giving him a touch. Seriously, that look of disappointment and pain of Ghost will haunt me forever, and I hope that happen with Jon too. Having said that, I think Jon is wrong to get rid of his Stark part. Yes, he is a Targeryen but it is also a Stark and the North, the wolves and his brothers are also part of him and they have done it all his lives, it doesn’t seem right to me that suddenly he detaches himself from what unites half of his family and what he has known and loved all his life.

The truth is that I think Jon will finally end up on the throne. After all, that’s why they’ve worked so hard to destroy Dany’s character.

Sansa
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Sansa told the Hound she was only strong because she’d suffered. What do you think about this comment and what it implies? Do you agree with her assessment?

Lizzie: Understanding what they meant with the comment – and I do – doesn’t mean they did it well, and part of the problem, and I already ranted about this so I’m not going to go onto another long rant, is that there are NO WOMEN BEHIND THE SCENES IN THIS SHOW, no writers, no producers, no directors, so of course they don’t understand this kind of trauma and of course they don’t understand, well, women.

Gillian: While I agree it could have been phrased/written differently, I think I understand where she’s coming from. And I even read a female psychologist’s views on the subject too. What I took from it was that there’s no reason to continue to dwell on what could have been, she has to move forward and she’s been doing it well. She doesn’t view herself as a victim which is pretty strong in my opinion. But there was no reason the Ramsay Bolton storyline had to happen to her in the first place!

Naomi: I didn’t see her saying being a victim made her stronger. I guess I took it as her saying that she was once a child with a fairy tale view of things- she once simply wanted to be a queen with a king by her side. Meeting people with evil agendas and confronting them helped her learn to be more conscious of everything and family became a priority.

Jasmine: I agree with you ladies, Sansa had fairytale dreams in her mind as a child. She got whatever she wanted and was a spoiled brat. She was ultimately forced to grow up and learn about the harsh reality that all of our decisions have consequences be it good or bad. I don’t think she was referencing Ramsay raping her. I took it more as a general statement to talk about everything she went through because boy did she go through alot. She could have chosen to curl up and let all of that destroy her but instead she chose to fight and look at her now.

Ashley: I struggled with this scene. While I understand what was trying to be said, that Sansa suffered through horrific trauma and abuse and didn’t let those things stop her from persevering, I can also see how easily that could be interpreted differently. It can be interpreted that Sansa is effectively saying that she was glad she suffered those atrocities because they made her stronger. That is a truly terrible thing to say. I know no victims of abuse and/or trauma that would ever say that they are glad they suffered those things. They’d never wish those things on their worst enemy. I believe that’s a scene where the writers should have been more careful. It’s one thing for Sansa to say that she suffered, survived, and became stronger. It’s another to imply that she’s glad she suffered to achieve that strength.

Raquel: I hate that comment. With all my heart. That comment implies that a woman to be strong needs to be a victim. It is horrible, both the content and what it means. I don’t agree with something so false and frightening.

I think Jessica Chastain said high and clear things: “Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger, a woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The littlebird was always a phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.” Bravo, girl!

I agree with that statement. Rape is a real problem that, unfortunately, is still very common in our society. Women who surpass something like that are extremely strong and courageous, they are survivors. But they are not so because they suffered a violation.  THEY ALREADY WERE THAT. They were already strong, they were already brave, they were already survivors. That strength and that value was already inside them, it already existed, it was already part of them, that’s how they were. They were already Phoenixes. It was not something that happened because of a violation, it was something that already existed and that THANKS TO THAT could overcome what a miserable wretch did to them.

The same applies to Sansa. She was innocent and gullible, like a little bird but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have the cunning, the courage and the strength she shows now. When she was a little bird, Sansa was also a phoenix, only she was a little girl and had not yet grown enough to let out her inner phoenix. But it was not something Ramsay or Littlefinger gave her, it’s something she was before all of that. Again, it is clear that this show is written only by men.

Missandei
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Missandei’s death has been strongly criticized. What did you think about her journey in general, and about that scene? How do you feel about the way the show treats female characters in general?

Lizzie: I don’t even think Missandei got as much of a journey as she should have and could have, but I think the main issue isn’t that she died, this IS Game of Thrones, after all, but how she died, and how very little regard the writers seem to have for any other perspective than the white male one. They don’t understand women, they’ve never written them well, or with nuance, and they don’t understand POC, not that they have that many to understand. And all shows make mistakes, yes, but the only way to write a truly inclusive show that does it’s best in this regard is to add diversity, everywhere, and Game of Thrones has never wanted to do that, so Game of Thrones is and will forever remain a relic, a monument to what white men think women and POC are like. And that’s extremely disappointing of what’s, essentially, the biggest show on TV.

Gillian: I never really connected to her but it’s still terrible that one of the two PoC left on the show was killed. And that she died in chains when Dany freed her and her people. It was mostly unnecessary and I feel only to fully push Dany toward madness. I definitely wish there were more female and diverse voices in the writer’s room.

Naomi: Honestly, the outrage about this is over the top. Yes, she is only one of two characters of color, but just about EVERYONE is gonna die and EVERYONE has known that from jump. Why is this even an issue? She was put in chains? So was Jamie for most of the season when he lost his hand. This is social media outrage at its worst, and as a black woman, I can’t understand why so much stock is being put in being upset by an outcome that we’ve known would come at some point. There is much in media to criticize in terms of treatment of on screen POC and black characters not to mention our non existence behind the scene-this aint the look.

I think the female characters are written okay for the most part. Could they be written better?I am sure with a female perspective in the room, it could only enhance their stories.

McKenzie: She has had a character arc and it came to an end. I think I’m the only person who hasn’t seen any criticism other than just her being killed off. I haven’t read anything about people being outraged that she was put back in chains. That said, I certainly can understand why they would feel that way. Their opinion and feelings are valid. Who am I to tell them differently? Essentially being put back into slavery and chains after being freed does a disservice to her and all she has accomplished. I feel the writers this season are throwing common sense out the window and writing the easy way out.

Jasmine: I too was unaware that people took issue with Missandei being placed back in chains. I was also unaware they took issue with her being one of 2 POC killed off. I don’t get the upset over it in that regard because it’s GOT and people die. Also, the Dothraki are technically POC so It’s interesting that people only view Missandei and Greyworm as one but I digress. Was I upset Missandei died? Absolutely! I love her, she was one of Dany’s most trusted advisors. More importantly though, she was a friend. Personally I do feel GOT does tend to treat the females a bit differently, I mean do I have to go back to how long Cersei’s shame walk was? I guess for the time period of the series to work, they feel women have to go through the roughest and most degrading things. (Insert eye rolling emoji here)

Ashley: Again, this is a scene that was a struggle for me. First of all, I was shocked that Missandei died in the first place, but especially as an executed prisoner of war. Never saw that coming. However, it really bothered me that she’s one of two main characters of color in the show and they chose to off her in a manner that seemed senseless. Yes, she is Dany’s closest friend and advisor so that creates some serious dramatic tension, but I really feel like it was unnecessary for her to die in that manner. Once someone pointed out on Tumblr that Missandei died in chains, it was a complete game changer for me. While I’ve not had nearly as much interest in Dany and her crew as I have other characters in the series, recognizing that particular detail was gutting for me. It made her execution so much more horrific and evil.

I go back and forth on the show’s treatment of women. On one hand, I don’t think that the horrors that many of the women in GoT suffer are unrealistic. Does that mean I like to see those things or that I think it’s always necessary for those things to happen? Absolutely not. However, I’ve never seen another show on television offer up so many portrayals of different kinds of women. There are women who embody all different kinds of strength and power. The only thing I can think of that matches the many different kinds of female strength is the film, Black Panther. I’m so grateful that these works showcase more than one kind of woman, especially one with whom I identify so strongly, Brienne of Tarth. I have never seen someone like me in any work of fiction prior to Brienne. It sounds silly to say a fictional character changed my life, but she did. She means that much to me. I’ll always be grateful for that.

Raquel: I feel tremendously proud of her, of who she is. She was always loyal and faithful to Dany, she really believed in Dany. Missandei was also incredibly strong. She went through so many things that I can’t even list them but she always got up, always kept going. I love her! And that’s precisely why she didn’t deserve to die like that. We met Missandei in chains and she died the same, not doing justice to the character or the trip she has made. It is as if nothing has changed when everything has changed.

Game of Thrones has never been a feminist series. You only have to see the first episodes to realize that. Women were always subordinated to men, being little more than their servants. We have even seen scenes of explicit sex in which women pleased men because it was their job, but not one backwards. Not to mention all the situations of abuse against women that we have witnessed these years.

Over the years, the feminist movement grew and the writers/producers realized that they could not continue on that path. So they masked that latent misogyny in the series with characters like Arya, Dany, Brienne, Sansa or Cersei. Empowering them and showing how strong they were. As much to carry a throne or to kick ass as the boys.

And, It’s true, they did well in almost all the characters so far, there was still that machismo … in little things like the increasingly minor sex scenes or the fact that Eli was the one who discovered the newspaper of the Septon that led to the truth about Jon but that it was Sam who claimed all the credit. And that misogyny has only been there, waiting, dancing on the surface … until this episode in which with things like the change of Dany, the death of Missandei or Sansa’s phrase, the producers/writers have allowed us to once again see their real cards, those the same ones they showed at the beginning of the game.

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What are your expectations for the end of this tale?

Lizzie: I expect to be disappointed all around! That’s the only way I’ll make it.

Gillian: I am not expecting much of anything right now. I’ve been disappointed in this show since possibly season 5? Sometimes, I wonder why I’m even bothering with it anymore. If Sansa doesn’t wind up on the throne, I’ll be mad but I’m expecting more death and no real happy endings.

Naomi: That’s one of the things I love about this show. With the streaming culture in full effect, I don’t have any idea what to expect; it kinda feels good to still feel anticipation for something each week.

McKenzie: This season has turned out different then I expected so I’ll just sit back and be surprised. I just hope that all the crappy writing will stay to episode four and the last two will be better. I would hate to end the series like this.

Jasmine: I have no clue! None. But to quote the great Tyrion Lannister “It’s easy to confuse ‘what is’ with ‘what ought to be,’ especially when ‘what is’ has worked out in your favor.”

Ashley: Expectations and wants are two different things. However, I am going to choose to remain positive. To be perfectly frank, the only endgame I care about is one where Jaime and Brienne are happily married and repopulating Westeros with beautiful, tall, blond warrior children. I’m going to be optimistic until I am proven otherwise.

Raquel: Unfortunately, I have little faith that they fix what they themselves have ruined. So I think Dany will end up dying at the hands of Jon, because she will resemble her father and he will not see another option. Jon will be King. Tyrion if he doesn’t die, will be his hand. As with Varys, I think Dany will execute him for treason, but if she doesn’t, he will be there, as always, in the shadows.

Cersei will die at the hands of Jamie or Arya … although I still think that at the hands of Jamie. And I pray that it doesn’t kill him too. Arya will still be a warrior (although I hope that next to Gendry), just like Brienne, who I hope has Jamie by her side. And Sansa will be the Lady of Winterfell.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.

Lissete Lanuza Sáenz

Co-Executive Editor

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.