Game of Thrones gets twisted in episode 4 of this final season

Editor’s note: Spoilers to follow.

The ebb and flow of Game of Thrones; one minute your cheering and savoring the victory, the next you’re … cursing George R.R. Martin and the show runners for twisting this tale of fantasy — whose fantasy is it anyways? — into what can only be described as … horribly wrong. It could probably be described in other ways: disturbing, dreadful; charitably it can be described as askew.

Emilia Clarke, as Daenerys Targaryen, and the now infamous Starbucks cup (YouTube)

The big question — and I mean this is big — the big question is: Was that really a Starbucks cup on the table between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in the party scene? Yeah, those show runners and director, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and David Nutter, they know how to twist a plot, and screw with the collective mind of the GoT fan base.

Was it a mistake leaving the cup there? I mean, Starbucks cups are so ubiquitous these days, we take them for granted. And I’m sure Northern Ireland is as lousy with Starbucks as we are here in the states (there are at least three within 1.5 miles of where I sit, one of which has a drive-thru). So it’s believable that no one noticed, especially in the low light of the scene, that there was a Starbucks cup on the table when the camera started recording the scene.

On the other hand, it’s not so far off base to suggest, believe, the creators of this awesome and deeply beloved series are just fucking with their fan base. I mean, these people have been meticulous in creating Westeros for eight seasons. Would they be so careless as to leave a Starbucks cup on a table?

Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, The Hound, riding with Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

It’s more than possible that before this is published online a fully fleshed out conspiracy theory will have circulated the globe, via the internet, complete with sub theories on whose idea it was to put the cup there and why. I’m betting it’s the director. He’s worked on this show for ten years, eight seasons and by god, just once he wants to be a rebel.

Like Arya Stark, who finishes the episode riding with Sandor Clegane (The Hound) once again, on their way to King’s Landing so they each can finish their unfinished business. Those two are lovers, that’s the only way to describe their connection. They would kill each other in a heartbeat — or at least Arya would kill him — but they also know they actually have each other’s back, despite the fitting conversation. They know and understand each other in that intimate way married couples know each other.

As far as we know they haven’t done the deed yet, but my guess is that is not far off. There are only two episodes left. Arya and The Hound have bonded and that is a relationship only death can tear asunder.

Emilia Clarke , as Daenerys Targaryen, mourning the loss of her trusted and beloved advisor, Jorah Mormont, played by Iain Glen

But I digress.

The episode opens with the survivors of the Battle of Winterfell paying respects and honoring those that died during the battle. Even though many had arisen as part of the White King’s legion. Then it’s to the party and the Starbucks scene, the D.B. Weiss and David Benioff cameos, and the Queen of Dragons begging Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen to keep secret his true identity as the real heir to the Iron Throne.

That is not to be when Arya tells her brother Jon they need to have a family meeting: those two with Sansa and Bran. They go out to Bran’s magic tree and Jon asks Bran if he should tell them. The Three-Eyed Raven replies, “It’s your choice.” So Jon has Bran explain it to the two Stark women and the one, Sansa, tells her former husband Tyrion Lannister (the best of them) who then passes it on to Lord Varys who tells the imp it is no longer a secret, it is information with the implication that it can be sold or traded.

That’s a nice thought for plot twisting theories.

And what of the two remaining dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal, who are flying south with their mother, above the fleet that is carrying the remaining unsullied and Dothrakis? That’s the biggest shock of all. How could Daenerys, when she is so far above the ocean’s surface, not see the Iron Fleet of Euron Greyjoy, wonderfully played by Pilou Asbæk, lurking behind some high out croppings off the coast of Dragonstone?

Daenerys Targaryen’s fleet before it is ambushed

The ships in Euron’s fleet are all equipped with ballistas, those giant-sized crossbows designed specifically to kill full grown dragons. As it turns out they’re good for sinking ships too.

As we have noticed in the latest seasons, the Mother of Dragons has become arrogant, to a point where it is now clouding her judgement. Sansa suggests that after losing about half of their forces fighting the White Walkers, Daenerys ought to consider resting the warriors they have left, especially the dragon Rhaegal, who was grievously injured in the battle. Daenerys is incensed thinking Sansa is trying to undermine her authority and demands they attack King’s Landing at once. Jon Snow, being the weakling he is, sides with his lover/aunt. And so begins “The Last of the Starks.”

The last of the Starks, this is their story now

In that Stark Family side panel out in the Godswood, the Stark women let Jon know they do not trust Daenerys. And then Jon, with Bran telling the details, lays his little secret on them.

Once Cersei’s crushing victory over one of the Stormborn’s dragons and entire fleet, the battle of King’s Landing is set … except for one little detail. Our favorite former slave was captured by Euron and presented to Cersei as a bargaining chip. What the sickest queen in all of fantasy or history wants with Missandei is to send a message to the other queen, who is becoming more like her father every day.

There will be no retreats, no surrenders, from either side and a wanton slaughter will take place.

And we forgot to mention the arrival of Bronn, the knight who has been shoveling Lannister shit for years. In a total position of dominance, he lets Tyrion and Jaime know their sister is offering him great reward for killing them. Only he knows Cersei is not going to survive to make good on her promise — as if she could be trusted anyway. So Tyrion does the only logical thing and doubles Cersei’s offer, which Bronn accepts, telling them not to die until he receives his reward.

Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm and Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei share a tender moment before it all goes wrong

GoT fans are rightly upset Missandei was sacrificed. She and Grey Worm had lovingly made plans for when the wars were over: A life on the beaches of Noth. Grey Worm had to watch, well he didn’t, couldn’t watch as his one true love fell to her end. But he was there, with his queen, who did watch.

So we wait for next Sunday, when Daenarys Stormborn brings the storm. And is Jaime Lannister riding south to side with his sister/lover once again, or to kill the treacherous queen? He tells Brienne, who he has had sex with in this episode. “She’s hateful and so am I.” Sir Brienne, is in tears, begging him to stay in Winterfell.

His sister put a price on his head after all, and as long as she is alive his life is in jeopardy. Just about everyone is heading south for the final battle, the one that could determine who sits on the Iron Throne. At this point it’s anyone’s guess, accept for the cast and crew.

There are a few other surprises in this episode, but I’ll leave them unwritten here. All the fan sites are giving away all the juicy details, and believe me, there are many.

But we’re all still wondering: how and why did they leave a Starbucks cup on the party scene table? C’mon man!

Photos courtesy of HBO unless otherwise noted