The Night King was the existential threat to end all existential threats, and now he’s gone — so what is the point of “The Last of the Starks”? To help us parse this week’s hour plus in Westeros, we’re joined by guest Dr. AJ Ajetunmobi, a Game of Thrones reader/watcher, Stark Contrast listener and newly-minted podcaster. Yet while we’d hoped having a PhD on the show would demystify the minds of the Davids* (Benioff and Weiss), I think we left our discussion even more confused than before. At least we had fun!
One of the most egregious choices in “The Last of the Starks” (or indeed Season 8 altogether) is the Flanderization of key characters. This is particularly evident as Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) shifts from a stalwart Knight of the Seven Kingdoms to a trembling jilted lover. Even Ghost the dire wolf, inseparable companion to Jon Snow (Kit Harington), isn’t spared. After disappearing for almost the entirety of “The Long Night,” Jon sends him off with Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) beyond the Wall with little more than a wave goodbye.
This attitude toward the characters is indicative of a lack of care the showrunners seem to exude on Game of Thrones. Instead of noticing an obvious Starbucks cup from a scene featuring the show’s most important characters (a fantasy story tradition), Benioff and Weiss have instead focused their efforts on excusing their atrocious treatment of the show’s female characters. Perhaps this has something to do with the show entirely boxing out female writers and directors in its final seasons?
A real quote from Dave Hill, writer of the Season 8 premiere:
Sansa sees her as the foreign interloper. She trusts her family and no one else. You can see from Sansa’s view that Jon went to meet with this southern queen who burned her grandfather and uncle alive and suddenly Jon bent the knee to her. She’s also very pretty, and how much does that factor in? Sansa starts off this season very suspicious and not at all friendly with Dany.Dave Hill via Time
As for the drama of the show, perhaps we’re languishing in post-battle limbo because we haven’t realized there’s still one more antagonist to defeat. No, not Cersei — not even Daenerys. It’s the Davids, folks.
The real White Walkers. The true Night’s Kings.
And I fear this is a battle our heroes won’t win.
* And yes, we are aware D.B. Weiss is Daniel Weiss, not David. That’s not as funny.
We had a blast speaking with AJ this week. Next time, we’ll dive in to Season 8 Episode 5 of Game of Thrones, “The Bells.” Be sure to stop by and leave your thoughts!