So far, Game of Thrones' final season has been a topsy-turvy experience, to say the least.
The premiere, "Winterfell," was basically a fanservice-y reunion-fest that finally brought Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to the North, where her showboating wasn't as well received as she might have liked. It wasn't the greatest hour of television ever, but it had its moments. After that, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" arrived as one of the series' all-time best episodes, allowing the show's heroes — and even a few of its less honorable folks — to engage with one another with both wit and self-reflection in what they perceived to be their final hours. The third episode, "The Long Night," finally brought the Night King's invasion to fruition, and while some of us thought the episode had enough carnage and enjoyed the payoff with Arya Stark's (Maisie Williams) sneak attack on the Ice Zombie in Chief, others were dissatisfied with the plot armor that protected some key characters, or, in some cases, didn't like Arya being the one to take down the Night King.
Despite the bickering over that last bit, though, the show still seemed to be on track to please at least part of its audience. However, Episode 4 of Season 8, "The Last of the Starks," threw a lot of character conventions to the wind, and now fans seem almost universally worried about what's ahead in the final two episodes. Whether or not you're on board with the way the show looks to be heating up that "Daenerys Is the Mad Queen" plotline, you have to admit everyone was acting very strangely in this week's installment.
Here's a look at some of the most out-of-character moments from Game of Thrones Episode 4.
The bent knee
There's been a lot of talk about a proposal this season, but we weren't expecting it to be Gendry (Joe Dempsie) who dropped to one knee to ask Arya to be the Lady of Storm's End. Based on their previous interactions, we thought Gendry had developed a healthier respect for who Arya really is and what she wants to accomplish, but what do we know.
That Mean Girls moment
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) hasn't had much love for Daenerys since meeting her, but this week, her show of contempt was arguably cartoonish. Even such a simple thing as Daenerys rewarding Gendry with legitimization and a lordship had Sansa shooting eye daggers at the dragon queen's face. Ordinarily, Sansa is a bit more tempered and careful with the visibility of her disdain for people, and surely she knew better than to say with any shred of seriousness that the Night King could've been defeated without Dany's army and dragons. Worse than Sansa's one-dimensional histrionics was the moment when Arya went full-on Mean Girls and said of Dany, "She's not one of us." We must have missed the scene when Arya registered for high school and starting gossiping about people she's never even spoken to before.
The tree talk
When it came to handling the matter of Jon Snow's (Kit Harington) heritage, Daenerys gave him an easy out. He didn't want the throne anyway, so why not keep his Targaryen lineage between them, swear Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Sam (John Bradley) to secrecy, and live happily ever after with her? It seemed reasonable enough, but for some inexplicable reason Jon felt that his sisters/cousins just had to know right then and there... because it would accomplish what exactly? Where's the logic here? Maybe Jon really does want the throne.
Her broken heart
It was bad enough for Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to do an immediate about-face when it came to returning to Cersei's (Lena Headey) side — the actor has credited the season's abbreviated episode count for how abrupt that felt — but seeing Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) reduced to begging and crying for him to stay with her felt like straight-up character assassination.
Giving up the Ghost
Look, we know Ghost the Very Good Boy has been a casualty of the production budget quite often throughout Game of Thrones, but we never thought we'd see the day when Jon Snow would casually give away his prized direwolf to the Wildlings instead of letting him defend his own home in Winterfell. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING. HERE.
All the misogyny
There were at least two moments in "The Last of the Starks" that threw feminism right out the window. The first came when Sansa told the Hound (Rory McCann) that all the misery and abuse she suffered at the hands of Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) needed to happen to her so she wouldn't be a "little bird" anymore. The idea that surviving trauma makes a girl a woman is an irresponsible and dangerous notion, and beyond that, it's a sentiment Bran would be more likely to parrot than Sansa would.
The second moment came when Varys (Conleth Hill) let his sneaky spider side out to play again by refusing to imagine a world where Daenerys fulfills her "destiny." Even when Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) floated the idea of a joint rule between Dany and Jon, Varys dismissed it because he thought Dany was "too strong" for Jon. Well, Seven forbid and all, but who is this new person who can't stomach the idea of a female leader all of a sudden? Where did he come from?
The last word
We've got a lot of respect for Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) standing tall in the moments before she faced a cruel death, but it was more than a bit surprising to hear such a peace-loving character use her final words to encourage Daenerys to dracarys King's Landing.
Let's hope Game of Thrones' characters are a bit more recognizable next week.
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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