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Game Of Thrones' Final Season Episode 4 Ending Explained

After the Battle of Winterfell took up the entire third episode of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season, many viewers wondered where the show could possibly go from there. Thanks to the destruction of the Night King and his entire Army of the Dead, the stakes seemed to have lowered once the long-awaited battle between the living and the dead came to a close, but in classic Thrones style, that wasn't the case at all.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell, beyond the thousands of men left dead and injured, allegiances have shifted, alliances have changed, and, of course, there's still another war to fight — Cersei is still waiting, and her army is ready to attack Daenerys, Jon, and their allied forces. With just a handful of episodes remaining in the final season, there's plenty left to accomplish, between the quest for the throne as well as another war, so here's everything you need to know about "The Last of the Starks," the fourth episode of the last season of Game of Thrones.

Funerals, celebrations, & proposals

As one might expect after the carnage of the Battle of Winterfell, "The Last of the Starks" opens with a slow and emotional funeral sequence. Characters like Daenerys and Sansa are given the chance to mourn loved ones, including Jorah Mormont and Theon Greyjoy, who gave their lives during the battle. After a moving speech by Jon, the entire crew retires to the great hall of Winterfell to celebrate their victory, giving the characters as well as the audience a brief respite from the violence and sadness.

During the celebration, Daenerys takes a moment to win some more brownie points with the Northerners by naming Gendry, Robert Baratheon's sole remaining bastard, as the Lord of Storm's End; encouraged by his new title and still stuck on his one night with Arya, Gendry rushes off to propose to his lady love, only to be gently yet firmly rebuffed. Arya definitely isn't looking to get wifed up any time soon, and being the lady of a grand castle probably isn't quite as appealing as stealing faces and killing her enemies, so unfortunately for Gendry, he'll probably have to find a different lady to help run his castle — and at this point, it's looking like Robert's dream of joining the Baratheon and Stark houses may not come true.   

Brienne of Tarth loves and loses

Tormund might be taking it all pretty badly, but as far as Brienne of Tarth is concerned for most of this episode, all of her dreams have much come true. Ever since she traveled with the Kingslayer several seasons ago and saw his fall from celebrated knight to one-handed enemy of Queen Cersei, Brienne has clearly had feelings for Jaime, and it's certainly seemed as if he returned those feelings — from the time he saved her from a bear pit to the moment he deemed her the first female Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. After Tyrion shrewdly reveals that Brienne is a virgin during a drinking game, the formidable fighter is uncharacteristically embarrassed, but once Jaime comes to comfort her, she gets over that embarrassment pretty quickly.

Jaime, however, has to choose where his allegiances lie, and despite his seemingly close relationships with both Tyrion and Brienne, he ends up heading right back to Cersei. As he leaves in the middle of the night, Brienne rushes to bring him back to the Northern side (as well as her bed), but he insists he's really just as "hateful" as his sister and leaves her heartbroken. A Lannister always pays his debts — but which scores will Jaime be hoping to settle when he gets back to King's Landing?

News travels fast

The news that Jon Snow isn't Ned Stark's bastard at all, but the legitimate son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna, has been out in the open for viewers since season 7, when Bran and Sam discovered the truth about his secret royal lineage. As the person with the strongest claim to the Iron Throne, Jon has unwittingly made himself an enemy of just about everyone on the show, especially his new girlfriend Daenerys (who is also his aunt, in case all of this needed to get weirder and worse).

Even though Daenerys, now aware of the situation, begs Jon not to tell his sisters about his real parentage, Jon can't help himself, swearing both Arya and Sansa to secrecy as he spills the beans about his royal blood. Despite her vow, Sansa quickly tells her short-lived spouse Tyrion about who Jon really is — and naturally, he immediately spills the beans to Varys. With information this important, it was always impossible that characters wouldn't find out, but this is bad news for both Jon and Daenerys, who both stand to lose a lot the minute the truth of his lineage really goes public.

A Lannister always repays Bronn

Since the opening episode of season 8, fans have been waiting to see when and how Bronn might reappear. When audiences last saw him, he was tasked with taking down both Lannister brothers using the crossbow Tyrion used to kill their father Tywin — their sister, Cersei, is nothing if not a fan of poetic justice. Finally, in the aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell, Bronn makes his triumphant reappearance to let both brothers know there's a pretty high price on their heads, and that while he's happy to give them a chance to escape this fate, he won't hesitate to pull the trigger as soon as it's in his best interest to do so.

Tyrion reminds Bronn of a deal they once made — that if anyone put a price on Tyrion's head, he would happily double it — and offers the sellsword the high-ranking castle of Highgarden, but Bronn remains fairly impassive, taking the deal with a caveat. As long as the Lannister brothers are still alive after they face down Cersei, he'll take what's his, but this much is clear: Bronn's loyalty still lies in his wallet, and his relationships with Tyrion and Jaime aren't exceptions to his usual rule.

Daenerys is pushed to her breaking point

Despite the recent victory against the Army of the Dead, Daenerys is more on edge than ever — even during the post-battle celebrations at Winterfell, where she finds herself isolated from the crowd and left to wander off alone, seemingly angry at her failure to make friends among the Northerners. By the end of the episode, Daenerys has faced two massive losses, both pushing her to her absolute breaking point — not only does she lose ships and cavalry during a surprise attack on her fleet courtesy of Euron Greyjoy and Cersei Lannister's army, she loses her Rhaegal, who becomes the first of her dragons to be killed by humans with the aid of massive spearguns known as scorpions. In the aftermath, her best friend and confidante Missandei ends up captured by the enemy, and when Daenerys and her team offer Cersei her life in exchange for her surrender, Cersei has Missandei beheaded in front of them, another cruel show of power from a monarch who knows how to prove a brutal point.

After losing Jorah Mormont, Rhaegal, and Missandei in quick succession, Daenerys might be on the brink of succumbing to the madness that runs in her family. Even though Daenerys constantly says she wants to avoid becoming her father, the "Mad King," these tragedies all point to her reaching a breaking point before long, especially as this war continues to push her to her limit.

Cersei is in it to win it

Cersei was absent from the third episode of the season, which took place at Winterfell, but she's back with a vengeance in episode 4, and she's clearly ready to fight back against her enemies now that the Army of the Dead has been dealt with. With Euron Greyjoy firmly in her corner (especially now that she's promised him an heir that could potentially unite the Seven Kingdoms and the Iron Islands), she's ready to wage war — and wage she does, orchestrating a surprise ocean attack on Daenerys' forces that ends with a dead dragon and a hostage for Cersei to play with.

Missandei ends up in Cersei's clutches, and true to Cersei's nature, she uses Daenerys' best friend to prove a gruesome point, beheading her in front of the Dragon Queen and Missandei's lover Grey Worm just because she can. Cersei has long been one of the most brutal characters on the show, and she's not changing anytime soon — for the moment, it appears that her ruthless streak is still serving her well against her more nobly intentioned enemies.