‘Game of Thrones’ Episode 4 Recap: Cersei Battles Dany for Iron Throne

A dramatic ambush at sea by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) and his fleet upon Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and hers as they sailed toward Kings Landing was the climax of Season 8, Episode 4 of “Game of Thrones.”

It’s obvious now from the conversation among the characters and the closeups of Clarke, Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, and Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister, that the battle for the Iron Throne will come down to these three women.

In her most vulnerable move yet, Daenerys begged Jon to swear his sisters to secrecy about his true parentage. Having seen the love the people of the north have for him, she feels isolated and unsure of herself. As for the romance between these two, she wants things to be the way they were, but no can do. Winter has truly fallen on this super couple.

The episode was marked by funerals, a promotion, a marriage proposal, a long overdue deflowering and a decapitation. First, the funerals. With the fallen from the Battle of Winterfell placed on pallets in front of the castle, the survivors bid a teary farewell to Jorah, Lyanna, Beric and Theon Greyjoy. Then Dany, Jon, Arya, Sam and Tormund stepped up with lit torches to set the dead on fire.

A series of celebrations followed inside the castle walls. Daenerys promoted Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to Lord of Storm’s End for his crafting of the Dragon glass swords. Gendry, looking all over the place for Arya (Maisie Williams), who was proclaimed a war hero, found her practicing archery outside away from everyone. He proposed marriage to young Arya, asking her to be the Lady of Storm’s End. Surprisingly (because he is kind of a catch, esp. for the North), she declined, declaring that she is no lady. What she is though is a killer and having defeated the Night King, she is ready for more.

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Scenes from Episode 4 of “Game of Thrones” Season 8/HBO/Helen Sloan

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) played a truth or dare style drinking game, where they revealed things about each other that they only intuited. Tyrion suspected that Brienne was a virgin. She neither confirmed nor denied this and left the table to use the loo. An inquisitive Jaime followed her to her chambers where she admitted the truth: that she had never slept with anyone. “I’ve never slept with a knight before,” Jaime said. So it was a night of firsts for both of them.

Once the celebrations had concluded, it was time to strategize for the campaign against Cersei, leaving Kings Landing intact. Dany and her army — or what was left of it — embarked on the journey first, with Jon set to follow. Dany flew on her dragon with Rhaegar by her side. Then an arrow suddenly pierced Rhaegal’s side. A horrified Dany looked on as the dragon took another hit and went crashing into the sea. Euron Greyjoy and his fleet went into full attack mode, destroying ships, kidnapping Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and sending many of the men running for their lives.

A weakened Daenerys has made even her most loyal advisers reevaluate her fitness for ruling the Seven Kingdoms. While Tyrion remains unwavering, imagining a rosy future where Jon and Dany are married and can rule together, Varys (Conleth Hill) voices his objections, citing the queen’s unbending will while praising Jon’s ability to rule men of all regions.

Inside Kings Landing, Cersei and Euron plot their next moves, with the Lannister loon intimating that the child she’s carrying is his (she’s already told Jaime something else, but can anyone keep track of her lies?). She serenely awaits Daenerys’ arrival, standing on the ramparts with her army ready to send arrows flying into the air. With Missandei standing in chains for Dany and her army to see, Cersei sends her Hand, Qyburn (Anton Lesser), to demand Daenerys’ surrender. Tyrion demands Cersei’s surrender. These girls will battle each other for every grisly inch of footage, it seems. When Tyrion doesn’t deliver a surrender, Cersei whispers in Missandei’s ear, “If you have any final words, now’s the time.” Moments later, the Mountain has sliced her head off like a wedge of lettuce.

The fury on Daenerys’ face promises that next week’s battle will leave one woman standing.

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Author: Robert Rorke