With only two more episodes left in Game of Thrones, the series is already starting to deliver teary goodbyes between its beloved characters, indicating that this may be the last we’ll see of some fan favorites. As much as we we’re all looking forward to important reunions this season, it’s the final goodbyes that may prove the most emotional.
Episode 4, titled “The Last of the Starks,” killed off two key characters and presumably ended the story for several more. Episode 5 might focus exclusively on the Battle of King’s Landing, but we’re bound to encounter Winterfell-based characters like Sansa Stark and Ser Brienne of Tarth again before the very end. It’s also very unclear if Gendry is marching south with Jon Snow or staying back in Winterfell. If the latter is true, then we might never see the new Lord of Storm’s End again.
Here are the seven characters we (probably) said goodbye to for good during Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4.
7. Podrick Payne
The last we saw of Podrick Payne, he was wooing two Northern girls at the celebratory feast. Other than an excellent rendition of “Jenny’s Song” in Episode 2, Pod has barely had any speaking lines this season, so it’s reasonable to assume that Game of Thrones might half-heartedly just forget about Pod in the remaining two episodes.
If Brienne does leave Winterfell for whatever reason, then Pod might follow. He’s still technically her squire, right?
6. Yara Greyjoy
Theon Greyjoy successfully rescued his sister, Yara, from their uncle, Euron, in the Season 8 premiere, and in Episode 4 we learned via a throwaway line of dialogue at the war council that she successfully reclaimed the Iron Islands in Daenerys’ name. This ties up one small narrative loose end, but it also kind of ensures that we’ll probably never see Yara again.
The Iron Islands are rather far from King’s Landing. So unless Yara swoops in at the end of the upcoming battle with ships she magically built offscreen, her role in Game of Thrones is finished. With only two episodes left and one of them the huge battle at King’s Landing, that doesn’t leave much room for everyone’s favorite Ironborn.
5. Samwell Tarly
Just before Jon leaves Winterfell in Episode 4, he gives Samwell Tarly a heartfelt goodbye that comes with some finality. We get confirmation that Gilly is pregnant with Sam’s baby, and they promise to name it Jon if it’s a boy. Sam and Jon even profess their brotherly love, officially naming each other “best friend.”
Jon’s goodbye to Sam suggests it’s the last we’ll ever see of this quaint, unconventional family. Either that, or Jon will die a second time and never come back.
Assuming that with the eradication of the Night’s Watch, Sam is a legitimate Tarly again, that would make him Lord of Horn Hill. When the dust settles in the war against Cersei, he’ll then become one of the more powerful figures in Westerosi politics. Alternatively, he could make good on his Citadel training and become the Maester of Winterfell or even King’s Landing.
Despite all that, Game of Thrones seems poised to forget all about poor Sam.
4. Tormund Giantsbane
Despite becoming a fan favorite in Seasons 7 and 8 for his zealous flirtation towards Brienne, Tormund has seemingly said goodbye for good.
“We’ve had enough of the south,” Tormund tells Jon. “We need room to wander. I’ll take them back through Castle Black as soon as the winter storms pass.”
This was probably the last we’ll ever see of Tormund.
With the Night King dead, those winter storms will probably peter out rather quickly. So it seems totally possible that during Episode 5, Tormund and Ghost will quietly leave Winterfell offscreen never to be seen again. As great as it would be for the Free Folk to help out at the Battle of King’s Landing, it does make some amount of sense that they’d return home now that the Great War is over.
Jon Snow’s pet direwolf, Ghost, has barely had a role in the most recent seasons, and everybody always cites the Game of Thrones CGI budget as the reason why. In “The Last of the Starks,” he was seemingly written out of the show when Jon told Tormund to take Ghost with him North of the Wall “where he belongs.”
Episode 4 reminded us that bad things happen when Stark men ride south for King’s Landing, and Jon leaving Ghost behind also echoes Ned, Sansa, and Arya Stark leaving Winterfell in Season 1 with two direwolves and arriving in King’s Landing with zero. Is this symbolic of Jon rejecting his Stark blood to more fully embrace being a Targaryen? If so, what does it mean for Jon when Rhaegal, the dragon named after his father, dies?
Daenerys Targaryen is now just the “Mother of Dragon” (singular) after Euron Greyjoy successfully killed Rhaegal with a few anti-dragon Scorpion spears to the abdomen and neck. Euron seemed pretty sure that Rhaegal was dead, and based on the huge spurt of blood and how quickly the poor dragon crashed into the ocean, we’re inclined to agree.
We’ve now had to watch a dragon die three separate times on this show (Viserion died twice!), so the odds of Drogon making it to the end of the series have dwindled to almost nothing. How many members of the Golden Company will Drogon and Daenerys roast before the last dragon also dies?
Plot-wise, Episode 4 put a lot of emotional and political pressure on Daenerys, enough so that she might become a full-on Mad Queen by the end of the series. The final straw may have been Missandei’s beheading at the hands of Cersei and the Mountain right in front of everyone from atop the gates of King’s Landing.
“Dracarys,” Missandei said as her last word. It’s the High Valyrian word for “dragonfire” and what Dany uses to command her dragons to breathe fire.
“‘Dracarys’ is clearly meant for Dany,” co-showrunner David Benioff said of this scene in a “Inside the Episode” clip. “Missandei knows that her life is over, and she’s saying, ‘Light them up!’”
If Missandei shows up again on Thrones, it’ll be with her head on a spike on the walls of King’s Landing. Otherwise, she’s undeniably gone.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.