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Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4 recap: The battle is over but the war is ON – CNET

“Your mouth is moving, but I still haven't heard anything about MY ELEPHANTS.”


It took ..

"Your mouth is moving, but I still haven't heard anything about MY ELEPHANTS."


It took eight seasons of preparation, but the battle of Winterfell is finally over (and who knew a battle against the very forces of the dead would be done and dusted in just one night!) That's right, Game of Thrones is back for episode 4 and we're ready for the fallout from last week's bloodbath.

And it's time for the more pressing threat: negotiating the byzantine machinations of patrilineal monarchy in a region where everyone wants to just kill the crap out of each other!


If the start of season 8 got off to a slow start for you, then episode 3 delivered on the carnage. (If you still haven't watched that ep, then now's the time to stop reading and go and catch up on the action). We lost old favorites — you were a good man, Theon — and it all culminated in the most explosive ending since the Red Wedding. Arya taking her dagger (the very dagger that was dispatched to kill Bran all those years ago — TWIST!) and stabbing Ol' Man Winter right in his frosty zone. Ice, Ice Bye-Bye.

So, what's next? Like, we've literally been building to this moment for years and now the dead are buried — how do we build the stakes from here?

All that's left to do is cue up the episode, switch your TV to moody dark mode and get ready for a good old-fashioned game of "Who gets the knife chair?!" It's episode four and it's on.

???Sound the spoiler klaxon — and abandon all hope, ye who enter here???

Recovery breakfast

The battle of Winterfell is done and it's time to bury the dead. Some poor sod has been up all night chopping wood for the funeral pyres so we can farewell our fallen heroes, like Theon, Ser Jorah and Berric (though I'm putting money on Berric getting torched and waking up like he was taking a cheeky nap. Fire is like a warm bath for him).

But once those bodies start burning, the general consensus seems to be "Hey guys, are we hungry?" Thankfully someone had the forethought to cook up a load of bacon and eggs (hopefully on a different fire) so everyone retires to have a much needed brekky.

In the halls of Winterfell, everyone is trading stories and returning to the general busywork of trying to hook up with each other. Except for Jon and Dany, who have gotten over the inconvenient disruption of wight-slaying to get back on their bullshit. Who should rule the Seven Kingdoms? Are we, like, related related? Their silent stares at each other say it all.

Having finished her breakfast (she loves eggs cooked over a fire), Dany decides to play her next hand, anointing Gendry as Lord Gendry of Storm's End — ensuring she will forever have the allegiance of the folks at Storm's End and giving Gendry a good excuse to get new business cards.

Meanwhile, Jon is getting some solid backslaps for his dragon-riding skills. "What kind of man climbs on a fucking dragon? A mad man, or a king!" cries Tormund. Dany, just like every woman who's watched a male colleague get credit for their projects in the team all-hands meeting, rolls her eyes. But not for long, because let's not lie, she also wants to tap that.

Meanwhile at Make Out Point…

Gendry has big hopes for a future with Arya, but Arya's got things to do.

Helen Sloan/HBO

Gendry has a sweet new last name and he wants to share it with the woman he loves. He bails up Arya, who's steered clear of all the drinking in her honor and is off working through her PTSD with a bow and arrow. After one night of pre-battle passion, Gendry declares his undying love for Arya and proposes marriage (we've all definitely been on that Tinder date). But Arya is super-chill now, and pulls the classic Danny Zuko Grease move on Gendry and is all "sorry that hook up didn't mean we'd be together forever." Classic Arya.

"Any lady will be lucky to have you," she says. "But I'm not a lady, I never have been. That's not me."

Gendry is left to cry it out, quietly sobbing "What happened to the Arya Stark I met at the beach?"

But tonight isn't just about relationships ending!

After admitting her armor still very much has its V-plates intact, Brienne leaves the party in the hall of Winterfell. But not before Jaime follows her out, ready to put on some of those sweet moves he's learned down south. (How someone can have so much game when they've only made out with their sister, I'll never know). In Brienne's quarters, Jaime is ready to try his fake hand at wooing someone he didn't share a womb with. Crazy.

"I hate the North," he says, by way of a confused pick-up line (see: picked up my last date at Family Games Night).

"It grows on you," Brienne replies, proving once and for all that the North is a grower, not a shower.

Speaking of… let's leave those two for now.

Daenerys has come by Jon's room for a booty call (booty raven?) and while they try to make out, Jon can't get that aunty taste out of his mouth. Dany isn't feeling it either ("I try to forget" she says, speaking the words that all of us Jon-and-Dany shippers constantly say to ourselves as we watch this show). Also, she's sad because power gets her motor running and no one in the North is bowing down to her like she wants. Except Jon, but… y'know. She tells Jon they can be together, but only if he swears to keep their Family Ties a secret.

"I owe them the truth," Jon says of his sisters.

"Even if it destroys us?" Dany replies.

As far as Daenerys sees it, Jon needs to bring his family in line behind Dany as the one true queen. Meanwhile Jon is no doubt yearning for the days when loving someone meant being shackled to them in a Wildling camp before having sex in a cave spa. Simpler times.

A very awkward secret

"You were a Targaryen all this time and you didn't tell us? You. BASTARD."

Helen Sloan/HBO

It's time for a reccy in the war room for actual post-battle talk and Grey Worm doesn't have good news. Standing over the big battlefield Mahjong table, we learn that half their armies are dead (let's remove those tiles from the game board) and Cersei's armies have been bolstered by mercenaries.

Jon pledges the Northern armies to Daenerys, and they will join the Dothraki and the bulk of the Unsullied to march on King's Landing (let's move those tiles on the game board, just so we all follow along and to give some visuals to this very talky scene). The rest of the crew will sail to Dragonstone (because the VFX team have already made the CGI renders of that castle and it would be a pity to waste them).

"We have won the great war," Daenerys says. "Now we will win the last war."

Despite this Churchillian call to arms, Arya and Sansa are still powerfully suss on Jon's new girlfriend. It's time for an intervention in the godswood.

Out by the weirwood tree, Jon reveals to his sisters that he has a big family secret. And in classic gutless fashion, he makes Bran tell it. But then we cut away and don't actually get to hear stone-faced Bran drop this mad gossip?! I was living for that!

Chekhov's crossbow

Remember when Cersei gave Bronn of the Blackwater a crossbow and a price on her brothers' heads and Bronn was all, "That's convenient because I like money and killing people"? Well, it's pay day!

Jaime and Tyrion are having a brotherly chat about conquests (Tyrion is so freaking thankful that he can finally do that without hearing about his naked sister) and Ser Bronn busts in. He's been paid to kill the brothers, but savvy Tyrion offers to double the offer, promising High Garden to Ser Bronn if he lets them live.

Having dodged that arrow, Tyrion meets Sansa on the battlements (fresh from her debrief on Jon's family tree). Tyrion tries to convince Sansa that Daenerys is the horse/dragon to back in this race and that she, Jon and the rest of the Starkgaryens should pledge to her.

"What if there's someone else? Someone better," she asks. Thanks, Sansa, you kept that secret for, like 12 minutes.

But don't worry, Tyrion already knew.

While Jon goes on his extended farewell tour of old friends in the courtyard of Winterfell ("See ya, Tormund! Take my beloved direwolf with you and I won't even PAT HIM GOODBYE!") Tyrion and Varys plot.

They both know Jon's secret (so that's eight people all up who know) and as Varys puts it, "It's not a secret anymore. It's information."

There are a few options on the table and, like the puppetmasters they are, these two are going to nut it out. Varys reminds us that Jon has a better claim, and people are drawn to him as a war hero. Tyrion suggests they could marry Jon and Dany and have them rule together. "She's his AUNT!" as Varys rightly points out ("I try to forget"). And then there's the fact that Daenerys is not exactly good at sharing. But before we even get up to all that, we still need to take King's Landing. Speaking of…


Darnerys' dragons are truly her children, as we see again in episode 4 when tragedy strikes.


Daenerys' small fleet is sailing on Dragonstone when Euron Greyjoy emerges from behind some rocks (you're riding a dragon and you didn't see that, Dany?) — with one quick strike, Euron dispatches his dragon-killing mega crossbow and shoots Rhaegal out of the sky.

That's it, folks! We're down to one dragon! (Considering it was the dragon Jon rode, the symbolism is powerful). And worse news, Euron is about to ignore the instructions on his Dragon Crossbow warranty and use it to smash some ships. Daenerys' fleet is obliterated, Missandei goes missing in the hubbub and the rest of the crew are washed up on the shores of Dragonstone, defeatedRead More – Source