Although ‘The Last of the Starks’ aired to a fairly negative reception from its audience, with the focal point being a certain controversial coffee cup, is Game of Thrones at least keeping up with its really important aspects – sex, death, and dragons? Well, more or less.
Two named characters this week, putting it at an appreciable fraction of last week’s big battle – Rhaegal and Missandei. Rhaegal racks up a deadeye bonus as he goes, because no matter how much or how little sense it made, fair play to Euron for hitting a flying target, several times in about five seconds, using a construction of wood and string.
Missandei, meanwhile, earns the unthinkingly politically charged bonus (previously, in less PC times, the ‘black dude dies first’ bonus) for bringing the remaining cast of black named characters down to exactly one – poor old Grey Worm, who was planning to retire with her after this one last job. A lot of works of fiction have a nasty tendency to kill off women for seemingly no other purpose than inflicting emotional pain on the men who love them, a dynamic so common it’s referred to as ‘fridging‘. The term comes from a particularly moustache-twirling issue of DC’s Green Lantern, where the hero found his girlfriend had been, yes, killed and stuffed in a refrigerator.
After the sour mood left by last week’s battle clears up, the atmosphere round Winterfell turns into something more resembling a club 18-30 holiday. Most everyone’s either getting some or trying to get some – most notably Jaime and Brienne, her first time and his first time with anyone other than his own sister. Then he runs off on her because deep down he’s a cad. Boo, hiss. It horribly undermines him knighting her in ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms‘ – though he’s very likely off to redeem himself properly by trying to do in Cersei.
Elsewhere there’s two wooden spoons to be handed out. Jon and Daenerys catch up with the memes – they’re alone together and in a good mood, but then their being nephew and aunt irrevocably spoils the moment. Similarly, Gendry, now installed as the legitimised lord of Storm’s End by a presumably drunk Daenerys, proposes to Arya and gets shot down hard, shocked to discover that in a dramatic reversal of their original relationship, she’s now become his bit of rough.
Despite all the buildup, all the hype, and being the medieval equivalent of the A-bomb, the dragons are dropping like flies. With zombie Viserion biting it last week (after a jolly episode of being easily the MVP on the Night’s King’s side), now poor old Rhaegal gets knackered – and not even by anything magical, like it took, twice, to finally cook Viserion’s goose. No, as specified in the ‘killings’ category, Rhaegal succumbs to nothing more than ordinary ballista bolts, and it’s not like they catch him in a weak point like Smaug, they just knock him out of the sky. Compounding the insult, his one surviving brother doesn’t take immediate fiery revenge.
So, the show’s score in the dragons category is hovering as precisely one. I should specify that I’m not awarding the points in this category based purely on number of dragons, but also on the number of pathetic, squishy humans they flambé.