"The Last of the Starks" is the fourth episode of the eighth season of Game of Thrones. It is the seventy-first episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 5, 2019. It was written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by David Nutter.
In King's Landing
- 21 of 21 starring cast members appear in this episode.
- This episode is the final appearance of starring cast members Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), and Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) due to the death of their characters.
- Andrew Burford, Yusuf Chaudhri, Nick Chopping, Rob Hayns, Rowley Irlam, Theo Morton, Jason Oettle, Sam Stefan, Andy Wareham, and Ben Wright were stunt performers in this episode.
- The episode title refers to Arya's statement "We're family. The four of us. The last of the Starks".
- The fates of a few missing characters from the Battle of Ice and Fire is revealed. Ghost and Rhaegal did in fact survive though injured (Ghost bloodied and missing an ear and Rhaegal with holes in his wing). Yohn Royce also survived.
- Dragonstone does not appear in the Title sequence despite being a major setting for the episode.
- Cersei returns in this episode, after being absent for two episodes, as she was last seen in "Winterfell". This is the first and only time her character has been absent for two consecutive episodes.
- All the cast members whose characters died in the preceding episode return to "play" their corpses during the funeral scene at the beginning of this episode: Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Bella Ramsey (Lyanna Mormont), Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion), and Ben Crompton (Eddison Tollett).
- Jaime mentions the horrible things he has done for Cersei, including pushing a boy out of a window and crippling him for life ("Winter Is Coming") and strangling his own cousin ("A Man Without Honor").
- During the feast scene at Winterfell, a modern Starbucks paper coffee cup is clearly and prominently visible in front of Daenerys, for an extended period of time.
- Following his legitimization, Gendry says that he is no longer "Gendry Rivers" - which is wrong on two points. First, he was never an acknowledged bastard, and only acknowledged bastards can even use the special surnames used for bastards of the nobility. Within the TV show, no one ever referred to him as anything other than "Gendry" before. He even points out in dialogue that he didn't even know Robert Baratheon was his father until after Robert died, so Robert could never have legally acknowledged him. Second, "Gendry Rivers" is simply the wrong bastard surname. Bastards from the Riverlands use the surname "Rivers", just as bastards from the North use "Snow". Gendry is from King's Landing, however, and bastards from the Crownlands use the surname "Waters". A simple google search could have revealed this, and the line is apparently in error.
- The line was so clearly in error that several major foreign language dubs simply refused to accept it. The official German language dub, for example, outright changed the line to "Gendry Waters".
- The error was particularly obvious on Game of Thrones Wiki itself, where for the past eight TV seasons the administrative staff have habitually had to stop editors from retitling the "Gendry" article to "Gendry Waters" - not "Gendry Rivers". It's a moot point now given that Gendry has officially been renamed "Gendry Baratheon".
- A possible in-universe explanation is that as a commoner, Gendry himself isn't very familiar with the rules of bastard surnames, and Gendry himself mistakenly told Arya the wrong surname.
- Queen Daenerys Targaryen officially legitimized King Robert Baratheon's bastard son Gendry as "Gendry Baratheon" in this episode, making him the new Lord of Storm's End, and thus the new head of a revived House Baratheon.
- It goes unsaid in the episode that as Robert's son, Gendry actually has some Targaryen blood in him. In the books, Robert's grandmother was a younger Targaryen princess, making him the second cousin of Rhaegar and Daenerys - thus Gendry is Daenerys's second cousin once removed, and Jon Snow's third cousin. The TV continuity might have moved this around a little to make it Robert's mother instead of his grandmother (statements on this have been vague).
- Gendry does not have a "stronger" claim to the Iron Throne as Robert's son, at least not by inheritance law: Robert was a usurper, and while he used his partial Targaryen descent as a token claim to the throne, he was simply from a younger branch of the family. Of course, a weaker claim to the Iron Throne didn't stop Robert from taking it in the first place.
- Daenerys raises the question of the current lordship of Storm's End, an issue that has remained largely unresolved in the show until this point. In the novels, the lordship of Storm's End is a lot more clear: After Stannis seizes the castle, he leaves two hundred men to hold it under the command of Ser Gilbert Farring. After Stannis' defeat at the Battle of Blackwater, the garrison continues to hold Storm's End in Stannis' name. In the fourth novel, Storm's End is besieged by a Tyrell force led by Mace and Lord Mathis Rowan. However, Mace soon abandons the siege to return to King's Landing after the arrest of Margaery by the Faith, leaving a token force with Lord Rowan to continue the siege, but the castle continues to support Stannis's claim to the throne. In "Arianne II" sample chapter from the sixth novel, it is reported (but not confirmed) that the Golden Company has taken Storm's End, and Mace Tyrell's army is currently descending on the castle from King's Landing.
- In the TV show, Storm's End was never depicted on-screen for budgetary reasons in Season 2. It was tacitly assumed that Stannis's forces were holding it "off-screen" since Season 3, and after Stannis died in Season 5, that Tommen was at least the nominal lord of Storm's End through his death at the end of Season 6. After Tommen died, however, it wasn't clear what happened to the title - i.e. if Cersei just claimed it with no right to do so (as she did the Iron Throne) or gave the title to some subordinate.
- The question of who physically controls Storm's End at this point is of course still unanswered. The TV writers haven't made much attempt to keep track of such things: consider that in Season 7, it was stated that Dragonstone was simply left abandoned after Stannis withdrew to the Wall in Season 5 - when it would be ridiculous for Stannis to not at least leave a skeleton defense force in such a strong fortification (as he did in the novels). Thus, like Dragonstone, the TV writers might just have not thought out who has been holding Storm's End since Season 5 (or even Season 3).
- While planning the siege of King's Landing, the Riverlands, the Reach, and the Stormlands aren't mentioned at all. It is especially strange that the Stormlands aren't mentioned, especially since Daenerys had just legitimized Gendry and restored House Baratheon.
- Dialogue states that the Prince of Dorne has declared for Daenerys, indicating either that there are still branches of House Martell alive or that another Dornish house has taken rule of Dorne. At the same time, Daenerys' legitimization and elevation of Gendry indicates that all legitimate branches of House Baratheon are gone.
- Jaime states that he strangled Alton Lannister to death with his own hands. This is false; he beat Alton to death, and strangled Torrhen Karstark. Neither kills were strictly speaking "with his own hands", but with his chains.
- Gilly is revealed to be pregnant with Sam's child, confirming rumors that she was pregnant after fans noted that Gilly appeared to be visibly chubbier in the season premiere compared to the previous season. There are actually unconfirmed rumors that actress Hannah Murray is pregnant in real life, but she hasn't wanted to talk about her private life in recent interviews.
Dragonstone and King's Landing
- Given that the TV show has surpassed the current novels, we don't know if the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei will happen in future books, or are purely an invention of the TV series. Another scenario is that they will die, but in different circumstances. The answer will, of course, await the next book.
- There is no Grey Worm and Missandei romance in the books, because she is only ten years old in the novels. The TV show cast an older actress due to the larger dramatic weight needed for a screen role, then decided to turn her relationship with Grey Worm into a romance.
In the books
[This section will be updated with comparisons when the sixth and seventh novels are released.]
Daenerys: "We'll rip her out root and stem."