Warning: Spoilers ahead for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, season 8.
Although "The Last of the Starks," the fourth episode in Game of Thrones's final season, was more of a slow burn than the nonstop action we saw in “The Long Night,” it's clear that the show is about to pick up the pace again in episode 5. In addition to seeing Missandei beheaded on the orders of Cersei Lannister (a move that enraged Daenerys), the people of Westeros are also starting to find out about Jon Snow’s true identity. That Jon, not Daenerys, is the true heir to the Iron Throne will clearly prove to be problematic for the Mother of Dragons.
We can’t tell much about what’s going to happen from the episode 5 teaser, but we know at least five things that need to happen to make the final push to the end.
1. An Actual Battle for the Iron Throne Must Begin.
After the Night King was defeated in “The Long Night,” we knew the next battle would be between Daenerys and Cersei for the Iron Throne. However, up until the final moments of episode 4, Dany was trying (albeit begrudgingly) to make the process as peaceful as possible, at the suggestion of her advisors. But just before her most loyal friend Missandei was beheaded, she offered a final word to Dany: Dracarys, clearly signaling her Khaleesi to burn King’s Landing down.
The preview for next week’s episode does not show anything up in flames, but there’s no shot Dany will be holding anything back now. The war has begun.
2. Jaime and Cersei Lannister Must Reunite.
One of the more upsetting moments in “The Last of the Starks” saw Jaime Lannister abandoning Ser Brienne of Tarth (whom he recently started sleeping with) to go back to King’s Landing for his sister, Cersei. Beyond the disgust and disappointment of seeing Jaime retreat back to Cersei after watching his impressive character development in the last few seasons, it hurt all the more knowing how heartbroken Brienne was by his departure. Although we don’t know what his intentions are in going back to the capital, we do know that a reunion between the twins must occur. Whether Jaime wants to kill Cersei or join her fight, a tense—and likely final—scene between the two is necessary.
3. Yara Greyjoy Must Return.
While we seemingly said our final goodbyes to characters such as Tormund Giantsbane and Samwell Tarly, we don't believe we’ve seen the last of Yara Greyjoy. As Daenerys’s army has been seriously damaged, she needs all the help she can get, and Yara has been off fighting for her.
As Theon Greyjoy explained in the second episode of season 8, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Yara went to take back the Iron Islands in Daenerys’s name. It would be wise for Dany to recruit the remaining Greyjoy troops, and would be epic to see Yara and her uncle, Euron Greyjoy, fighting against each other.
4. Cleganebowl Must Happen.
One of the most-anticipated fights in Game of Thrones history is more than likely about to go down, as the Hound is on his way to King’s Landing. The fan-named “Cleganebowl” is a predicted showdown between brothers Sandor (the Hound) and Gregor Clegane (the Mountain), which will likely end in one of their deaths.
In "The Last of the Starks," Arya caught up with the Hound as he was leaving Winterfell on horseback, and questioned him about why he was leaving for King’s Landing ahead of everyone else. He told her he has unfinished business there, and we know exactly what he's talking about. As the Hound and Arya are making their way to King's Landing ahead of everyone else, we have to assume they'll arrive at their destination by the next episode. And we can only imagine what will happen when they do.
5. Daenerys Must Be Confronted.
If the latest episode told us anything, it’s that Daenerys is not in a great place, psychologically-speaking. She knows Jon has a truer claim to the Iron Throne than she does, and is clearly threatened by how well-liked and respected he is by all those he encounters. Once people find out that Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, they’re going to start turning against Dany and push for Jon to become their king, and the only thing she can really do about it is prevent anyone from discovering the truth. But that ship has obviously sailed now that Jon told Arya and Sansa, who told Tyrion, who told Varys, and ... you get the point. News travels fast.
In next week’s episode, Dany's advisors must confront her about what should be done. It’s clear Jon doesn’t want the Iron Throne, but if Varys is a barometer of how the people will feel, whether Jon wants to be ruler or not won't matter much.