“The last of the Starks” sacrificed a beloved character to further an alarming plot twist. No everyone’s on board.

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Grey Worm and also Missandei top top Game that Thrones season eight, episode four. Helen Sloan/HBO
fixed anyone supposed that episode 4 of Game that Thrones’ final season, “The critical of the Starks,” would certainly have much more twists and also turns 보다 the dramatic episode that came before it. However after the battle of Winterfell, the series’ shift to king’s Landing confirmed to host a number of shocking moments that no one witnessed coming.

One the the best was the gruesome death of a far-reaching character, news of i m sorry leaked online prior to the episode aired. A brief clip the circulated native the episode consisted of the fatality without any context, sparking confusion and also outrage from many Game that Thrones pan in the hours prior to the episode’s release. ~ the illustration aired, it became clear the the death was in service of a larger shift towards a plot advancement for a different beloved character — and also it’s one that numerous fans aren’t too happy with.

There are very valid reasons for fans’ outrage around this specific death — both since it’s a troubling instance of a recurring thematic problem for Game that Thrones, and because of exactly how it could influence the search for the stole Throne.

Naturally, there space spoilers ahead!


“The last of the Starks” presented a whole collection of potential plot developments surrounding a far-reaching character death

There were two stunning deaths in this episode. The very first was the death of among Daenerys’s two remaining dragons, Rhaegal, many thanks to well-placed arrows fired by Euron Greyjoy as Dany’s entourage sailed toward king Landing.

But for as tough as Rhaegal’s fatality was for numerous Game that Thrones fans to take, the other one was much worse, and also it carries dire ramifications for the direction the collection might take in its last two episodes. Throughout Euron’s ambush on Dany’s fleet, her finest friend and also longtime servant Missandei is captured. She becomes Cersei’s prisoner, and in the episode’s final scene, Cersei order the mountain to behead she while Dany and also Grey Worm are forced to watch.

It’s not pretty. Yet even more significantly, right prior to she dies, Missandei shouts words “dracarys” come Dany. Dracarys is the command that Dany supplies when directing her dragons come lay down fire and also torch whatever in sight, and Missandei seemed to be advising Dany to burn Cersei’s royal residence to the soil — and an extremely likely many thousands of innocent King’s Landing civilians in addition to it.

Missandei’s death is clearly meant to propel both Dany and also Grey Worm into terrible grief spirals. It additionally seems come be setting the phase for a grim plot twist in i m sorry Dany essentially turns into her father, the mad king Aerys II Targaryen, and reacts to her losses with a vengeful, unmitigated rage that threatens every one of King’s Landing.

But this is an especially complicated turn the events, provided that Dany has actually consistently been lauded as a feminist icon — albeit one through a heavy emphasis on white feminism. Essentially, even though Missandei’s death should be about Missandei, it’s inevitably also around problems with Dany’s politics and Game the Thrones’ often contradictory presentation that Dany together a white savior queen who wants to be kind but who’s often ruthless and imperialistic.

The reaction come Missandei’s fatality has mainly been negative, for a variety of reasons

Many Game that Thrones viewers have actually expressed anger and disgust over Missandei’s death due to the fact that of what it way for Dany. Namely, after an entire episode devoted to greatly foreshadowing Dany’s transforming into the “Mad Queen,” the fatality seemed prefer a calculated plot maker to push Dany end the edge. Yet these same viewers no buying together a change in Dany’s character; ~ all, she’s to be framed as a noble and also just queen, if a failure one, because that several periods now. Though some civilization have began to inquiry whether the idea the burning everything down is in reality all that bad.

if tyrion and jaime betray her, missandei dies, rhaegal dies, and also the authors take the lazy method out by do daenerys “the foolish queen” ns hope she burns every fucking point to the ground since that is a bullshit finishing to a legendary character

— drogon’s bitch (

Ok therefore Daenerys Targaryen lost her family, she child, she dragons, her protector and also friend (Jorah), her finest FRIEND (missandei) and now y’all telling me she should sit the posesthe down like a submissive and NOT burn castle all? Sis,,,,block me

— foolish dany✌ ‍♀️ (

Me speak out through Dany and Greyworm to burn King Landing and avenge Missandei. #GameofThrones #demthones pic.twitter.com/w7CtWpfXRm

— Quwn ✨ (

Other fans are in mourning because that Missandei — not just due to the fact that she to be a lover character, but due to the fact that her death falls in line with Game the Thrones’ ongoing problematic therapy of race.

missandei to be the sweetest, most loyal and purest human in the known human being she deserved to see the beaches the naath again pic.twitter.com/ZY7NlpiAqu

— daenerys‘ resurrector (

Missandei was one of Game of Thrones’ couple of characters of color, not to cite one that its longest-running characters. ~ the battle of Winterfell, she was among only two named personalities of color left ~ above the display at all (in enhancement to Grey Worm). Her fatality now brings that full to one.

And as much as many fans room concerned, with just two episodes left, Game the Thrones has already used up most of that goodwill ~ above this front, particularly given what seems to be the problematic motivation behind Missandei’s demise.

Daenerys Targaryen is a popular feminist icon — but she’s also a troubling one, and also Missandei’s fatality underlines why

When you think of where we started in Game of Thrones season one — v a terrified, naive Daenerys finding out to respect the methods of the mighty and an effective Dothraki — it’s basic to it is in confused about how we acquired here. ~ all, Dany’s arc began as a compelling and optimistic one, in i m sorry she respectfully engaged with other cultures while building her army and her case to the throne. This technique to alliance-building, along with her sometimes willful management style, is how she at first amassed a comprehensive fandom amongst Game the Thrones viewers that saw her as a feminist character.

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However, after countless seasons that uniting disparate teams beneath she banner (including by freeing slaves and offering castle a chance to sign up with her army), Dany’s commitment to bringing the seven kingdoms together has recently started to seem much less than sincere. These days, her an ideas appears to nearly exclusively revolve about her personal quest to regain her household to the throne, instead of approximately the care and also compassion she has previously presented to her followers, but briefly.

And notably, many of those followers have actually recently died in she name. Most of the Dothraki horde was decimated in the battle of Winterfell, and also the freed Unsullied slaves who developed her military suffered comprehensive losses. They were all essentially rendered totally expendable, both to Dany herself and also to Game the Thrones’ plot together a whole.

The truth that Game of Thrones has had ample time come come up with a much less sloppy way of weaving the societies of its large world an ext thoroughly into its stare — and still fail — there is no earned it lot acclaim indigenous viewers who care about this type of thing. Both the Dothraki and also the Unsullied represented whole culture, however each was offered by the show’s narrative as little much more than a maker to develop Dany’s strength on her path to the throne. Seasons five and also six did attempt to usage the clash in between the Unsullied and also their previous slave-owning masters as a means of reflecting the challenges Dany faced when it came to actually judgment over a land as soon as she’d dominated it. But even that was a narrative totally built around Dany.

Although Game the Thrones make a slight effort to give Missandei and also her lover, the Unsullied commander Grey Worm, a occurred romantic arc of their very own — which caused one of the show’s only tender love scenes — they were never completely autonomous. Ultimately, Missandei’s whole narrative function was to further Dany’s personality arc. And that renders her death a classic situation of fridging.

“Fridging” is a term the originated in comic books. The usually applied to one expendable woman character whose gruesome death is put into a narrative, regularly for shock value, and almost always to cause a man’s emotional spiral into violent, grief-stricken retribution. In other words, a fridged woman’s characterization, and also her death, is at some point nothing much more than a plot allude within a man’s story. The concept of fridging usually applies to ladies being eliminated off to serve a man’s plot, but it can also apply once a decimal character is killed to more the plot that a white or a straight cis character.

This fridging likewise inadvertently discover just how disposable the characters of color on Game of Thrones are: Missandei probably had a whole community of Unsullied who will mourn her loss, however so far, we haven’t gained to know any type of of them other than for Grey Worm — who is, top top the show, simply as isolated together she is. (Relatedly, in ~ the start of “The last of the Starks,” together each major character fatality from the battle of Winterfell was revisited, we experienced nothing of the Unsullied soldiers for whom Grey Worm was in mourning.)

Game of Thrones has made these characters disposable not simply to its bigger narrative yet to Dany personally. She ultimately seems to it is in a classically imperialist ruler: She conquered and also exploited multiple swarms to get power when struggling to develop a stable government in her wake, in component because she didn’t desire to stick around once she’d dominated a region. She has actually consistently showed up to forget around the world she’s conquered beyond their volume to serve and also obey her. And also sure, Missandei is her finest friend, yet she’s basically a token on Game the Thrones, supposed to be a stand-in for the Unsullied as a whole, a relationship that convinces us Dany loves her people. However this doesn’t really align v the means Dany has actually treated all those various other Unsullied.

All of this way that as soon as we view Dany freaking the end while Missandei dies, the rings an ext than a small hollow; Dany’s best friend might be a person of color, but that doesn’t do her much less problematic as a white savior.