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The biggest questions after Cersei and Dany’s Game of Thrones standoff

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The ‘good’ guys aren’t looking so good right now

tyrion in season 8 episode 4 game of thrones HBO

After last week’s epic battle, the fourth episode of the final season of Game of Thrones features a lot of characters talking, and it feels a bit heavy on the fan service. But all this talking, and watching characters interact, is still more interesting than a single huge battle.

Game of Thrones is always better at communicating its goals through words and not violence or action scenes, so this was a much more satisfying episode of the show compared to the dimly lit Battle of Winterfell.

All these juicy conversations have left us with many questions, such as ...

For real, though, who is in charge?

After the dead are burned, the living hold a feast and shoot uncomfortable looks at each other. It’s mostly due to no one knowing who is on top of the food chain. Daenerys turns Gendry into Lord Gendry Baratheon of Storm’s End, which is a very queenly thing to do, but Tormund makes her uneasy by stressing that Jon’s actions are those of a king. Who else can climb onto the back of a dragon and ride it?

Well, a Targaryen, but that’s neither here nor there (and it’s still a secret, for now).

The Night King is dead, after all. The only thing left to wonder about is who is going to survive the last few battles, and who will sit on the Iron Throne. But things are likely to remain tense until then.

Where is Sansa headed?

We’re all a product of our damage; without that damage, we wouldn’t be the person we are today, for good or for ill. Sansa understands that, and she tells the Hound as much. We know where she was, and we know the power of what she’s become. But where’s she going?

Sansa’s arc is one of the most tragic of the major characters of the show, especially considering she’s still alive and kicking. Everyone else has a decent idea of what they want and what they still have left to do, but Sansa doesn’t have many stated goals left, even though she’s been in charge of Winterfell for some time.

The end of Sansa’s story will go a long way in showing whether Game of Thrones knows what it’s doing dramatically, or whether the last seven seasons were spinning their wheels. I can’t wait to find out, but for now it’s a large, unanswered question.

Sansa is still giving good practical advice when she tells Daenerys that the men need to rest for a bit — but it doesn’t go over well with the queen. The show significant legwork to portray Daenerys as a bit of a loose cannon, while demonstrating that Sansa knows how to rule.

As Tyrion points out, Sansa stands to be the power in the North, but that’s only if Daenerys successfully takes King’s Landing. If not ... what then? How high can Sansa climb, and how high does she want to go?

Is Daenerys ever going to address the whole incest thing?

I think we’ve all been wondering when Daenerys was going to address the fact that she’s related to Jon, and how she would do so. And now we have the answer: She’s going to try to get into his pants again and then say that they can’t tell anyone else. It will be their little secret, which seems a tad creepy, all things considered.

Her attraction is based on many things, but a large part of it has to be the idea that she can control his power and maintain her throne. She’s right that Jon’s life would be much more complicated if people knew about his real lineage, but also ...

Doesn’t she care about the incest thing at least a little bit?

Are we saying goodbye to all these characters?

Tormund, Sam, Gilly, Sam and Gilly’s unborn child, and Ghost. It sure seems like the show is saying goodbye to them all for good. Some of them may turn back up in the last few episodes, but I wouldn’t count on it.

What is the worst betrayal in the history of Game of Thrones?

Wait, no. This isn’t an unanswered question, and I don’t have to speculate: The worst betrayal of this entire series is Jon sending Ghost away after they were reunited at Winterfell, and Ghost took on the entirety of the undead army with the Dothraki and only lost an ear.

Jon, how dare you?

What’s the new plan for taking King’s Landing?

One of the two remaining dragons is killed, Dany’s ships are torn apart by those giant crossbows, and Cersei has packed King’s Landing with peasants to make sure Daenerys will have to kill a large number of people if she wants a crack at the Iron Throne.

There is no good way to take King’s Landing anymore, and Varys tries desperately to get Daenerys to see this reality. But Dany seems so sure that everything will be fine as long as she continues on her quixotic quest for the throne. So what’s the new plan? Is there any way Daenerys actually takes the throne without becoming a tyrant first?

Varys gets it, and he makes it explicit: This is how bad rulers think. The way Daenerys takes King’s Landing — if she does — will show Westeros her true character. That’s a dangerous position for them all, and Missandei’s last word being “dracarys” basically gives Daenerys emotional permission to burn the city down.

This is not going to end well, in my opinion.

How many soldiers are still left in Daenerys’s service?

The army of the dead wiped out about half their forces, according to the dialogue during the planning session, and they’re not operating at maximum capacity because they’re exhausted and injured. But in this episode Euron Greyjoy’s fleet wiped out even more, including the dragon Rhaegal. Daenerys’ fighting force looks mighty thin, and as Qyburn points out to Tyrion, how much of an actual threat does she pose to King’s Landing?

Who would kill Daenerys if Varys gets serious about wanting her gone?

There are already a lot of fan theories shaping our answers here, but even with all that meta-context going on ... it’s gotta be Jon Snow, right? No one else makes sense. I don’t think Daenerys is going to die in battle, and assassinating her would give Jon yet another way to prove that he deserves the throne. The throne that he doesn’t want. (And the throne I think Sansa should sit on, if I haven’t made that clear already.)

But still, Game of Thrones’ writers are certainly setting up Daenerys being backed into a corner and making horrible choices. Those choices will force the hand of those who don’t want to see the fallout from her bad decisions ... and the hand on the sword may well be Jon’s.

It’s like Ned Stark said way back in the first episode: The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.

Shouldn’t it be called Queen’s Landing at this point?

I’m just asking questions.