Game of Thrones Season Eight: “The Last of the Starks”

By Bob Case Posted Monday May 6, 2019

Filed under: Game of Thrones 129 comments

This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

George R.R. Martin has, in the past, claimed that A Song of Ice and Fire will end with something resembling the “scouring the shire” chapter from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s the second-to-last chapter in the series, and in it the hobbits (minus Frodo) return to the shire and clear out a gang of ruffians, which turns out to be led by none other than a much-diminished Saruman. Martin admits that when he was younger, he didn’t understand why the chapter was there; it seemed like a pointless side-story, an anticlimax after the events that preceded it. But as the years as have gone by he’s come to understand the chapter as important, as a reminder that the world still exists after the villain has been defeated, and that the effects of war linger long after the war is over.

After last week’s episode, I had thought that this show’s best hope at a satisfying conclusion was to do something similar. Rather than trying to play Cersei up as the final antagonist, change the writing’s focus to the effects, and aftermath, of years of fighting. Watch as characters try to build a new world out of what remains of the old. New relationships, like Jaime/Brienne, Arya/Gendry, and the reunited Stark siblings, offer good avenues to do this. Perhaps Sansa’s perfectly sensible concerns about what everyone is going to eat will finally be taken seriously.

Of course Cersei has to be mopped up at some point, but is she really much of a threat? As we learn early on in the episode, pretty much all of Westeros is now backing Team Dany. All Cersei has left is King’s Landing and her regrets. Instead of making the focus on Cersei, make it on those she still rules, and Dany and Jon’s duty towards them. We could, perhaps, finally see the human consequences of Cersei’s misrule, and the way a responsible monarch would try to provide justice to her people. It would give the characters a chance to re-ground themselves in the world.

I think that could have been a nice way to end the show. But Benioff and Weiss have decided to do something completely different.

Winterfell has finally tapped its strategic candle reserve.
Winterfell has finally tapped its strategic candle reserve.

I’ll give this episode one thing: it started off well. There’s a mass funeral for those who died in last episode’s battle. Jon gives a nice speech about the importance of remembering the lost. Generally speaking, his leadership ability has been very much an informed attribute, but we do see glimpses of it from time to time. Sansa pins a wolf pin on Theon’s clothing, a nice touch for one of the characters on the show who can be said to have completed an identifiable arc. It’s followed up by some fun moments of comraderie, and practically everyone hooking up with each other. The actors playing Tormund and Bronn in particular seem to have remembered that TV can be fun.

The writing starts to creak and groan the farther it moves away from the post-battle celebration, but there is one other nice thing about this episode: we now know, definitively, why Ned never told Jon the truth about his parentage. Jon can’t keep a secret to save his life. He tells Sansa and Arya, Sansa tells Tyrion, Tyrion tells Varys, and Varys will probably get it tattooed across his forehead or something.

Dany feels threatened by Jon’s claim to the throne and the fact that he holds more of the affection of his would-be subjects than she does. The obvious solution, the one that the fans came up with years ago, is for the two of them to marry, but Tyrion and Varys kibosh this idea for flimsy reasons. Yes, incest, we know, but Targaryens have been marrying their relatives for centuries and the realm put up with it. Tyrion also suggests that Dany is too strong-headed for Jon, but doesn’t elaborate on what that’s supposed to mean. I personally expect that Dany and Jon will marry at some point, but that they want to save that for the last episode, so in the meantime they have to contrive reasons for them not to.

They also once again have to contrive reasons why Dany can’t just attack King’s Landing. She still has two dragons and an army, after all. But Cersei has now gathered a bunch of human shields around her, and Tyrion warns that attacking could cause the deaths of thousands. Didn’t we already do this bit last season? Tyrion’s suggestion then was to weaken Cersei by isolating her, defeating her allies one by one. Now, she has no allies, but Cersei’s power has rarely followed any kind of intuitive rules. Long story short, Dany still can’t attack. Tyrion has his own plan, of course, but Tyrion’s plans have a terrible track record and typically “solve” problems that aren’t satisfactorily explained to the audience. I wouldn’t trust this guy to park my car at this point.

There's still some nice cinematography in this show, like this shot of Arya and the Hound traveling towards King's Landing. From over the horizon, distant airhorns can be heard, or that might have just been my imagination.
There's still some nice cinematography in this show, like this shot of Arya and the Hound traveling towards King's Landing. From over the horizon, distant airhorns can be heard, or that might have just been my imagination.

There are so many ways they could deal with Cersei. They could just wait, for example. She’s paying the wages of an expensive mercenary company, and the Iron Bank’s credit is not going to last forever. They could incite the people against her, perhaps reminding them of that one time she blew up a sept full of nobles, clergy, and innocent people, or the several seasons she spent doing one villainous thing after another. Hell, if all else fails they could just use Arya. Have her make a Qyburn and Euron casserole, teleport behind Cersei, stab her, take her face, and poison the wine of the entire Red Keep at once. Problem solved, smallfolk still alive, roll credits.

Instead, Dany divides her army for some reason and sends half of them to Dragonstone – by ship. You’d think she’d have learned her lesson about that by now. You can smell the hilariously impossible Euron ambush from a mile away, and it comes in the form of a volley of ballista bolts that kills one of the dragons (as usual, it’s the one Dany’s not riding). These things are absurdly powerful. They shoot through entire ships like they’re made of balsawood. It’s a good thing no one ever thought of this “let’s try a crossbow but bigger” idea during Aegon Targaryen’s initial conquest of Westeros, or it never would have gotten off the ground. Now Cersei has ballistae for days, and dragons appear to be officially obsolete.

Her ship reduced to splinters, Dany and company wash up on a nearby beach, and Missandei is captured somehow. Dany takes, like, fifty Unsullied and her last remaining dragon and stands outside the gates of King’s Landing, which now seems to be in the middle of a desert. For some reason, Cersei doesn’t attack this tiny force, or order her archers to shoot Tyrion when he’s in range. She does, however, kill Missandei and now Dany is very angry. She’ll probably be in “mad queen” mode for at least one episode.

At the start of this season, I set myself the goal of being less negative about the show. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to pull it off. It’s fallen back into many of the worst habits of season seven – teleporting fleets, excuses to not have Ghost around, armies that operate under shifting and unexplained constraints, Euron, and repetitive character beats. That last one expecially, to the point of deja vu. Jaime gets over Cersei, Jaime un-gets over Cersei. Cersei seems for a moment like she might not do evil thing, then she does evil thing. Varys and Tyrion think Dany is a good queen, Dany gets mad enough to forget how to make facial expressions, Varys and Tyrion fret about Dany going all Aerys on them. The main difference is that this time we’re close enough to the end of the show that the clock might run out before these patterns can reset themselves again.

It's even the same set where they had this conversation last time. The generous way to describe this is that it's a 'callback.' The other way is that the writers are out of ideas.
It's even the same set where they had this conversation last time. The generous way to describe this is that it's a 'callback.' The other way is that the writers are out of ideas.

Not that Game of Thrones can’t surprise me at all anymore, but the surprises get emptier each time. A bunch of people will probably die in the next two episodes, and it’s possible that really main main characters (Jon, Dany, or Tyrion for example) will die. But none of it will seem real to me at this point. Honestly, I’m more worried about what’s going to happen to Star Wars with this pair at the helm.

Most likely next week will be another Big Honking Battle Scene. I just hope Dany attacks during daytime.

 


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129 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season Eight: “The Last of the Starks”

  1. KillerAngel says:

    I’ve got a prediction: Daenarys is going to blow up King’s Landing by accident in the next episode.

    I’m pretty sure this will happen in the books, because there’s been a lot of talk about the Chekov’s Wildfire that Aerys hid, it’s a huge part of Jaime’s character and characterization and it fits with the struggles Daenarys has had about maybe turning a little into her father. I think first Cersei will try to blow it up, Jaime will stop her, and kill her (fulfilling the valonqar prophecy in a neat way) and then Daenarys will blow it up by accident anyway. This is a neat way to accomplish several character, plot, and prophecy goals at once.

    On the other hand, I think the show is going to do it because they want a shocking conclusion (I think you’re right about chasing the high of the Red Wedding) and they’ve run out of other tools. Obviously this gets the themes totally backwards again. In the books this lets Daenarys come to the same conclusion as Stannis: you need to save the realm to win the throne, not win the throne to save the realm. Then she goes up and beats up the Others. By doing it backwards you take what should be a grounding character moment that lets her commit her all to the War for the Dawn and turn it into just another thing to shock people with. Seems about par for the course.

    Now it’s possible they care so much about the Iron Throne that the writers can’t stomach its destruction, but I still lay the odds on her blowing it up at 5 to 1 at least.

    1. Guest says:

      Yeah, it completely ruins that moral, instead of doing something bad and learning from it, like is foreshadowed in the books “Fire and Blood” and “Dragons plant no trees” in her quest to destroy slavery and take the throne, she… does something good, fighting the War For Dawn, without it being the conclusion of a character arc, and it relegates the main theme to the background.

      But hey, it’s good, instead of the final war being against the shallow, undeveloped archetype of an enemy they wrote as bad fanfiction, the NK, it’s against this other shallow, archetype of a villain, that they’ve been torn between adding character development to, and then scooping it back out. Yay!

    2. Bri_G says:

      Hi,

      Looking at your programming threads when I noticed your GOT thread. Having read the books, which are now rapidly fading into my aged memory (dig at GRRM). I remember the resurrection of Kat Stark. It could have been the booze but I think the finding of Kat was added to the tv series wolves/beach etc etc. Is that real or my addled brain? Thought they added it to possibly re-introduce Kat later/or not – who knows. Brienne certainly gave her the slip in the tv series.

      Thought she may have had an input in the final body count!!

    3. Bri_G says:

      You could be right about that, certainly a head on attack by Drogon and Dany against a wall full of ballista is suicidal. A vertical attack at the centre makes more sense. The preview suggested that the attack by dragon comes from the sea with sun at its back with Euron at the head of the ship defence – I sense a hot revenge against him.

      A more sensible approach would be to have Dany distracting the troops on the wall with Jon riding Drogon with an attack from the rear – but I doubt whether Drogon would accept him as rider. He could also drop in a small SAS type force (SDS). Looks like Tyrion is approaching via the Labyrinth.

      Just over 72 hours and part of the mystery will unfold. Oh, forgot about Arya !!!

  2. BlueHorus says:

    we now know, definitively, why Ned never told Jon the truth about his parentage. Jon can’t keep a secret to save his life. He tells Sansa and Arya, Sansa tells Tyrion, Tyrion tells Varys, and Varys will probably get it tattooed across his forehead or something.

    Out of curiosity, what is the show’s reason for this? Because the books had a very straightforward reason for keeping the secret as secret as possible: Robert Baratheon was a drunkard who wasn’t over his (actually-kind-of unrequited) love for Lyanna Stark and would have killed Jon, Ned, whoever broke the news of R+L=J to him, anyone who tried to reason with him, and then probably rampaged up to Winterfell to smash Lyanna’s tomb apart with a hammer.
    Hopefully that’s what the show says?

    You can smell the hilariously impossible Euron ambush from a mile away, and it comes in the form of a volley of ballista bolts that kills one of the dragons

    Ha-HAH! I think I just won a two-year-old bet. Was it Euron himself who fired the fatal bolt?
    Also, I can imagine this kind of plot twist does get pretty damn tiresome by now. It’s just dragging everything out with contrivances.

    1. Sarfa says:

      >Out of curiosity, what is the show’s reason for this?

      Same as the books, but I think I disagree with you with what the books say here. The logic I read was that Robert Baratheon, like all monarchs who took their throne from another house, wants that other house stamped out of existence. That’s why he sent assassins to kill Dany when she was far from a threat to him- her being Targaryan was enough. Were Robert Baratheon to find out what Jon Snow was a Targaryan, he would have Jon Snow murdered alongside anyone involved in harbouring him (i.e. the Starks)

      1. Boobah says:

        Six of one, half dozen of the other. Although I’d argue that Robert hated the Targaryen family more because of Lyanna’s death than because of the threat they posed to his throne.

        With Jon’s birth being how Lyanna died, plus his Targaryen blood, plus how much Robert hated Jon’s father… well, it’s no wonder Ned told nobody.

    2. Paulo Marques says:

      > Was it Euron himself who fired the fatal bolt?

      Three, actually, without missing. The ones shot against Dany weren’t enchanted, though.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        Did he twirl around a few times before pulling the trigger?
        Maybe rip off the scope first because he’s just-that-good?

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Well he does need the odds to be exactly one in a million, because if the odds for a thing are exactly one in a million it happens nine out of ten times.

    3. trevalyan says:

      What’s the worst thing Robert has done, anyways? He beats Cersei, hates the Targs, neglects his bastards and mismanages the kingdom. But all of that is light years ahead of the depravity and massacres conducted by most every other leader to survive past season 2. Given that he doesn’t divorce Cersei then stanp out the Lannisters, and at least part of killing Dany is his fear of Dothraki invasion, I don’t for a second think he would murder his best friend and an entire friendly greathouse over Lyanna.

      Of course, losing the King’s favor and breaking his heart is something Ned would rather avoid, so I understand the secret being hidden at all.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        What’s the worst thing Robert has done, anyways?

        Cheated constantly on his wife, creating dozens of bastards that were a threat to the throne and offending House Lannister. Had a massive drinking problem. Ran the Seven Kingdoms into debt and ignored warnings about doing so. Had a hand (however far removed) in raising/creating Joffrey. Handled criticism by shouting and threatening.
        It’s different in the show and the books, but his marriage to Cersei was a political alliance only: in the books they loath one another (show it’s merely dislike); he would have loved to divorce her, but even he knew it would end in war if that happened.
        (Incidentally, the way Robert – though, mostly Tywin – treated Cersei is a direct cause of the disaster she became.)

        Sure, none of this is as bad as Joffrey, Cersei or Aerys, but it’s not a good King.

        Anyway.
        It may just be my take, but given the drinking, the whoring and the spending, Robert always struck me as deeply insecure, aware of how inept a king he was but unable admit it or do much about it (other than appoint Ned his Hand).
        He’d also built up Lyanna Stark into something of an idol (even saying her name during sex with Cersei) and his hatred of Rheagar for having taken/stolen her was his reason for joining the rebellion.
        Having that illusion smashed – even the hint that she wasn’t as ‘in love’ with Robert as he thought*, or worse: preferred Rheagar – would almost certainly led to a violent overreaction, IMO.

        *Which she probably wasn’t; given the way he behaved: sleeping around and carousing.

        1. KillerAngel says:

          I think this passage shows us Robert’s character pretty clearly. For context, Cersei taunts him and then he hits her.

          Robert reached for the flagon and refilled his cup. “You see what she does to me, Ned.” The king seated himself, cradling his wine cup. “My loving wife. The mother of my children.” The rage was gone from him now; in his eyes Ned saw something sad and scared. “I should not have hit her. That was not … that was not kingly.” He stared down at his hands, as if he did not quite know what they were. “I was always strong … no one could stand before me, no one. How do you fight someone if you can’t hit them?” Confused, the king shook his head. “Rhaegar … Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet. They made up songs about it. Yet somehow he still won. He has Lyanna now, and I have her.” The king drained his cup.

          It’s the combination of insecurity and rashness that makes him so volatile.

        2. Guest says:

          And they make it pretty clear that Robert views Rhaegar’s children as not being worthy of humanity, they’re “Dragonspawn”.

          I don’t know he’d condemn Ned for harbouring Jon, but he would try to kill Jon, and there is no way that Ned is not going to put himself in between Robert and Jon, and the best Jon can hope to get out of that would be exile, on the run from Robert’s assassins, like Dany.

      2. Guest says:

        He also rapes Cersei repeatedly, and his mismanagement is a key reason that the realm can dissolve into war. He alienates his brothers, one of whom becomes distant, the other plots treason.

        It’s a comment on how one can have a good cause, and still be a bad ruler. Robert was a great leader for the rebellion, charismatic, forgiving, a great warrior, and he turned his defeated foes into friends. His cause was utterly morally just, he was the perfect picture of a fantasy king. Doesn’t make him a good ruler, because that fighting spirit turns easily into belligerance and anger, his partying that befriended his foes turns to drunkenness and an unwillingness to govern. He allowed Littlefinger to set up the WOFK and bankrupt the crown, he allowed Cersei to stack the court with Lannister croneys, the only thing he did for the smallfolk, was to not literally burn them alive, he’s got no problem letting his wife kill their children.

        Better rulers in the series? Ned, Stannis, Dany, Robb, Jon, even some of the so-so ones, like Hoster Tully, though there it’s not kings but lords. It’s not enough to win the throne for yourself, you win the throne out of responsibility. As KillerAngel put above, and as Stannis acknowledges Davos’ counsel “you need to save the realm to win the throne, not win the throne to save the realm”. It’s not enough to win the throne and then let the realm decay afterwards.

        He’s got no cause to divorce Cersei, so he can’t. It’s a strategic marriage, and if he did, the Westerlands, one of the richest and most populous kingdoms, would rise up against him, and the faith might condemn him, and he needs these alliances, especially as it’s well known that Dorne bears a grudge. Ned doesn’t have the king’s favor, they’ve had little contact since the end of the war, barring Balon’s rebellion, because Robert pardoned Tywin’s murder of Elia and her children, and Ned named it murder. Jon Arryn brought them back together after Lyanna’s death, but Ned has spent most of his time in Winterfell-the king’s favor means little up there. Ned cares for Robert, but has no issue being blunt with him when he’s wrong, they fell out over Robert’s pardoning of killing children, and Ned once again insults Robert to his face when he sends assassins after Dany, calling him a coward, and telling him he’s not the man he once was.

        Robert absolutely would kill Jon, and Ned will not allow that to happen. That’s the point of the books showing him dehumanising kids with crushed skulls as “dragonspawn”, and having him try to assassinate an impoverished teenage girl in exile. Ned is traumatised by the deaths of Elia’s children, and has a hard line against killing children, as he tells Cersei when she tries the “You and I are not so different” bit, and he’s traumatised again by Lyanna’s death, which is why he fosters Jon himself, despite the trouble it causes him. Robert would view Jon as a product of Rhaegar’s rape, and also as “dragonspawn”, and worse perhaps if he came to understand that Lyanna didn’t want to marry Robert.

    4. Sannom says:

      Hopefully that’s what the show says?

      The show can’t even say that Robert’s Rebellion is a misnomer (because Jon Arryn is the one who rebelled first) and that it happened because Aerys murdered without trial a Lord Paramount, his heir, the heir of another Lord Paramount and a bunch of other Lords. They still say that it happened because Robert was angry that Rhaegar stole his betrothed!

      1. trevalyan says:

        Exactly. BlueHorus, I think Robert lacks the malice to kill all the Starks off over perceived betrayals. You clearly feel otherwise. But Robert wouldn’t have a choice: Aerys demanded Jon Arryn hand over Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark to finish purging the “conspirators.” Even if Robert wasn’t into Lyanna, no way could he ignore countless grievances of an allied great house, the mortal threat to his best friend, and a demand for his personal execution.

        1. Sannom says:

          I think Robert would definitely be enraged enough, both by the survival of a spawn of Rhaegar and the betrayal of his best friend, to have Ned tried and killed. His hatred of the Targaryens is one of his life’s great passions that still burns very hot in his heart.

          1. trevalyan says:

            See, Robert’s hate for the Targs is not in dispute. Yes, he calls the kids dragonspawn. But there is a way to determine how far he’s willing to go. Killing baby Aegon and Rhaenys is something that a dude who relentlessly dehumanizes them would happily do with his own hands. But Robert can’t do it. I don’t think he’d even kill Ned, depending on when he found out. Unlike the Lannisters, the Starks are the foundation of the Arryn alliance. Robert’s not disposing of them easily.

            But hurting friends is something Ned hates to do, and he’s clearly a much better deceiver than some people think he is.

      2. Guest says:

        Yeah, the show massively screwed that up. Aerys committed tyranny, and ordered Jon Arryn to break guest right and give up two boys he’d fostered, been a father to, to be murdered, like Ned’s father and brother, and Arryn’s own heir. Robert’s rebellion was entirely just, even if Rhaegar married Lyanna.

        Season 7 going “Oh, fighting a war to bring down king “Burn them all” who cooks men in their armour was actually illegitimate” is the single worst piece of writing in a show that thinks jokes about cocks are the high bar of humour.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Season 7 didn’t say that. Dany has always thought that because she was raised believing it and it would be INTENSELY difficult to say “people were right to murder your father and steal the kingdom you were set to inherit”. The world has, until she got to Westeros, encouraged her beliefs that her kingdom was stolen from her. Only now is that core belief being questioned.

  3. junglecrackers says:

    I wouldn’t trust this guy to park my car at this point.

    That’s awfully insensitive of you. He can’t help that his feet can’t reach the petals! /s

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to see just about anything for miles if you’re on a dragon flying over the open ocean. Not sure how Euron “finger in the bum” Greyjoy’s fleet was able to hide behind that patch of land and hit that dragon multiple times from an absurd distance. Probably the most frustrating scene for me this week.

    I did enjoy the Tyrion/Varys scenes though. They have good chemistry when it’s not just (no)dick jokes.

    1. Lanthanide says:

      But Tyrion did make no-dick jokes.

  4. BlueHorus says:

    if all else fails they could just use Arya [to kill Cersei].

    Like they could have done…
    about a season ago!

    Seriously. You have a face-stealing assassin. You have a crazy queen in the way. What’s the most obvious thing to do?
    Send in your troops and dragons to be slaughtered, clearly, while laying siege to an entire city.

    Though maybe it’ll still happen. The Arya Stab has it’s own knowyourmeme.com page, now.
    (And a…‘dance’, apparently.)

    Honestly, I’m more worried about what’s going to happen to Star Wars with this pair at the helm.

    Wait what?!
    …holy shit. Well that’s…something…

  5. JDMM says:

    Honestly, I’m more worried about what’s going to happen to Star Wars with this pair at the helm.

    My understanding of the problems that have occurred is that they are largely a factor of character focused, actor biased writers attempting to adapt a story where half of the point is that character does not matter* so that when they went for adaptation choices they always went for ones that played to the strengths of the actors. Cersei got to be the final boss because Lena Headey is their best actor, Stannis got a shaggy dog story that had to be repeated by Jon the next season because Stephen Dillane is a good actor at conveying despair

    In scripting out a movie half of that problem disappears, they won’t write out a story beat they themselves wouldn’t have written, on the other hand the problem of character focusing remains, what if they get to cast DiCaprio or Joaquin Phoenix? It seems likely they would rewrite the plot to focus on the characters they play irrespective of whether it was originally a bit piece

    *Maybe not the right words but GRRM has been pretty clear that the carryover between personal qualities of valor and heroism and what we might want in a ruler is much less than is wanted, Ned Stark may have been valiant and brave but that didn’t mean he ruled well as Hand of the King.

    1. Sannom says:

      Ned Stark may have been valiant and brave but that didn’t mean he ruled well as Hand of the King.

      His style of “personal rule” made him absolutely unfit as the Hand to a king who didn’t want to rule, but I think he could have made a good Hand for Stannis. The later’s main weakness as a leader is that he needs someone close to him that represents all his good qualities exteriorized as a councilor, and Ned is one of the most moral people in that kingdom.

      1. Guest says:

        He was actually a pretty good Hand, and I think he’d be a pretty good king. His style of rule was to consult with everyone, from the high to the low, and he was always generous with those he ruled. He was a capable soldier, leading Robert’s vanguard, and ruled the North without uprising, and it doesn’t seem like any major famines, for years.

        As Hand, he did pretty well too. For instance, his handling of Gregor was great. Instead of being lured out to defend his good-father’s lands, which is what Tywin wants, he uses the power of the Hand to send out a warband under the king’s banner, to execute Gregor, and summon’s Tywin to court to answer for his bannerman’s actions, or be declared an enemy of the crown. He wants to reign in crown spendings, since they’re spiralling in debt, and he opposes murdering kids, which we should be able to agree are good things

        If that boar hadn’t gotten Robert, which is a real wildcard, Cersei’s plans are baaaad, then there’s a good chance that Tywin’s head would have ended up on that wall instead of Ned’s.

        I think he made only two mistakes in KL, trusting LF (and tbh, he was in a pretty bad spot there anyway, thanks to Renly’s treason), and warning Cersei. And he warns Cersei because he knows Robert has no issue with killing kids, which still wouldn’t have been a problem had the boar not gotten Robert. Littlefinger’s an opportunist here too, he couldn’t have had his crony Janos Slynt help him out in the throne room had Robert lived.

        Ned’s death is more “The plot happens” than misrule.

        1. Sannom says:

          He was actually a pretty good Hand

          I’ve read a lot of respectable pieces about Ned as a Hand that says that Ned didn’t take full advantage of his powers as Hand. Like he respectfully asked for Jon Arryn’s former squire to come to an audience, and the guy responded “If the Hand wants to see me, he ought to come himself”, whereas Ned definitely had the authority to summon him, no discussion allowed. And it sometimes feels like Ned’s first priority is to make Robert do the right thing and it makes him forget about all the things that he has the authority to do.

          For instance, his handling of Gregor was great. Instead of being lured out to defend his good-father’s lands, which is what Tywin wants, he uses the power of the Hand to send out a warband under the king’s banner, to execute Gregor, and summon’s Tywin to court to answer for his bannerman’s actions, or be declared an enemy of the crown.

          Oh I don’t think anyone protest that! That was actually one of Ned’s finest moment. And the funniest thing ? That bit about summoning Tywin isn’t in the books, it’s something they added for the show. Yes, Ned is even harder and decisive in this moment in the show than he is in the books.

  6. isaac says:

    wouldn’t worry about the upcoming benioff & weiss star wars trilogy. its set in the old republic era so even if they screw up then at least that screw-up won’t affect the other trilogies.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      But…I actually really like the old republic era. Oh dear.

      1. Kavonde says:

        A story-first, details-way-way-way-later spectacle is just about the only kind of story I’d trust D&D to tell, so honestly, I think Star Wars is the perfect toy box for them to play around with. It’ll be fine.

        1. RCN says:

          Except the Old Republic is about the only Star Wars setting where details kind of matter.

          1. Sannom says:

            Except the Old Republic is about the only Star Wars setting where details kind of matter.

            I’m not sure I would agree with that ? Especially now that it’s an entirely new toy box with none of the baggage.

            1. RCN says:

              Oh, right. The Great Mouse Reckoning.

              Almost forgot about that.

              But the OLD Old Republic went to great lengths to explain Jedi Philosophy, Lightsabers, Droid programming, social structures, etc… Heck, even the SITH are explained better than “we are evil because dark side” that the movies are locked in since the inception. It didn’t exactly make it hard sci-fi, but it did make the setting more cohesive to the point of actually following “magic A is magic A”.

  7. Retsam says:

    Well, I feel pretty confident saying that the “mass souring” prediction has borne fruit. I don’t actually just watch the show, I just follow the internet reactions, and it seems that last weeks episode was debatable, – it had its detractors and its defenders (including a surprising amount of “it was fine on my television, so I don’t see the problem”).

    But this week I don’t think I’ve seen a positive reaction to this episode at all. I’m sure they’re there (and the more critical sort are probably disproportionately drawn to places like reddit and imgur), I’d be a bit surprised if your average viewer really cared.

    1. Lanthanide says:

      The IMDB episode ratings for this season so far are 8.4, 8.7, 8.5 and 7.2.

      Yesterday when I looked they were 8.5, 8.8, 8.5 and 7.7.

      So clearly dropping pretty quickly. On the night after it first aired (do streaming shows ‘air’ now?) it was at 9.7, so it’s clearly dropped a lot. For it to be about on par with the 1st episode and below the 2nd, despite having the largest budget for the whole season, isn’t a great sign.

      1. Lanthanide says:

        Episode 3 was 9.7 after it first aired*

  8. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

    A minor correction to Bob: Frodo was very much there for the Scouring; he just didn’t play a leading role.

    Regarding the episode… is there anything left to say? All the chickens are coming home to roost. The cult of the badass, the glorification of empty spectacle, the sheer contempt that the showrunners seem to have for their audience a lot of the time… I try not to be elitist about the show because you’d damn well better believe I’d rather talk about it than sports, but I have never been more morbidly fascinated by a show that I find to be so badly, badly written. It’s a cultural juggernaut, sure, and maybe it will open the door to more cultural openness towards fantasy fiction, but I just wish so badly that it could have been handled better.

    1. Ivan says:

      Ya, frodo at that point is really all about himself, and his suffering (mopiness really). He’s not super motivated to do anything very much but go sail on a boat with the hot elven babes he was promised (probly not actually promised that, but my headcanon says that’s what he really was in it all for). Certainly, the suffering of other people who grew up with him can’t be considered a valid reason for The ringbearer to lift a finger.

      Sry bout that, but I personally dislike Frodo in the latter books. The One Ring sought to inspire selfishness in him and it failed, but it got second place with a healthy dose of self absorbtion.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        To give a bit more of an excuse to Frodo: his part of the journey really didn’t prepare him for something like this.
        At every point he was either with one close friend and pretty much defenseless, or led and protected by far more knowledgable and powerful people than him. And his whole role was to basically resist the temptation and bear the suffering from the Ring, and it clearly took quite a bit out of him.

        None of that really prepares him for a guerrilla war, or direct violence and activism of any kind. Merry and Pippin were far better prepared with their actual fighting experience.

      2. ThricebornPhoenix says:

        Between the way Frodo talks after the One Ring is destroyed, and the various symptoms he demonstrates, he almost certainly suffered PTSD. Frodo endured hardships unknown to any other character in the story except Gollum. Even Sam, who was beside him nearly the whole time, got off pretty easy in comparison.

        1. trevalyan says:

          Being exposed to supernatural evil that inevitably corrupts even the most powerful immortals is not exactly easy. I’m kind of floored that anyone could be so callous towards Frodo.

          1. Shamus says:

            In Tolkien’s letters, he reveals that once a woman wrote to him, angrily insisting that Frodo should have been hanged as a traitor for deciding to keep the ring at Mt. Doom.

            I don’t know who she was and I’m sure she’s been dead for decades, but after all these years I’m still mad at her.

        2. Guest says:

          Just being around the ring causes noble, proud Boromir to go mad, and try to rob someone he swore to protect. It turns Gollum into what it is, mad, obsessed, and physically twisted from his contact with it. It breaks Isildur, of the same line as Aragorn, in a short span of time. Galadriel says she’d be like the Dark Lord if she took it, and Gandalf begs Frodo not to ask that he bear it.

          Dude obviously is depressed, likely has PTSD, and he’s got a missing finger and a chunk of a Morgul blade in his chest. I like the jokes about Sam carrying Frodo to Mordor, but he didn’t want Sam to take his burden because he cared for Sam, and felt the burden was his. He lasted longer, and did better, with the Ring, than any other character in the series.

          People miss the point by a mile, smdh.

          1. top6 says:

            Well except maybe Bilbo right? He lasted longer than Frodo with the Ring and, at the end of the day, was the only character able to voluntarily give it up after possessing it for more than a few hours. And while it’s true that the Ring was more powerful when Frodo possessed it, and that Frodo was given an essentially impossible task, it’s also true that Bilbo didn’t even know the true nature of the Ring when he possessed it nor did he have advice/support from Gandalf. Yet he was still largely able to resist its effects.

            But overall I agree with you and agree that people miss the point.

      3. Guest says:

        Dude’s soul is literally damaged, he was almost a skeleton, beaten and tortured, after all of the anguish of carrying the constant burden and temptation of the Ring.

        He doesn’t leave because of babes, jesus. It’s because most often, the journey changes you, and the home you return to might not be your home anymore, because it’s changed, and because you’ve changed.

        After the emotional high, and being “on” for so long, no wonder he’s depressed afterwards.

        Not suprising that Sam, a gardener who’s place has always been the Shire, who did far more fighting than Frodo, and Merry and Pippin, who served with Gondor and Rohan, are the better, more eager soldiers. They’re also not carrying a lifelong disfigurement and mental disability as a result of their sacrifices. Jeez.

  9. camycamera says:

    Frodo was at the scouring.

    Also:

    Jaime gets over Cersei, Jaime un-gets over Cersei.

    I thought it was clear that he was going to KL to kill her? He should’ve gotten over Cersei wayyy before S7, and that has screwed with his character arc being repetitive, but I don’t think he’s “un-over” Cersei, I think the show is obviously setting up the “Cersei and Jamie die together” theory which will probably happen in the books too. Heck, it will probably be the only thing the show would have in common with the books at this point.

    But at this point… I’m still angry that “Winter is coming” now means nothing. Thank you DnD, very cool!

    Who knows what that SW series is gonna be like from them.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      They’re going to set up a mysterious new Sith Lord, build him up, garner a load of speculation about who he is…then kill him off in the next movie without answering any of it! What a twist! Well, that’s that interesting plot thread shut dow-

      …wait a minute…

      Actually, they might do it anyway. The only difference will be that the Sith Lord will die to a surprise attack from [CHARACTER] OUT OF NOWHERE!!!!

      1. trevalyan says:

        I laughed way too hard at this. Good job!

      2. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        AND HIS NAME IS!!!
        *TU-TUDU DUUUUU*

      3. RichardW says:

        Soo.. several years worth of The Last Jedi…
        God I hope not.

  10. Fabrimuch says:

    I will be so disappointed if the show rolls with Mad Queen Dany in the end. I never understood that theory and it looks extremely out of character to me, but the unsublety with which they’re pushing her in that direction is filling me with dread.

    Her entire arc has been about upending slavery, about reinstating and defending the inherent value of all human life and the basic right of freedom. While in Meereen, she bends over backwards to accommodate and respect this foreign culture to the extent that it is possible while also furthering her own goals of ending slavery. She tried to end the fighting pits to keep men from giving their life away until the gladiators begged her to reopen them because the fight gave their lives meaning and they participated of their own volition; even then, she still forbid the feeding of dwarves to lions because they had not signed up for that and she recognized that as a brutality. When the plague broke out she personally went to visit the ill and comfort them putting her own life at risk. She chained her dragons because they put the lives of innocents in danger.

    These are not the actions of a madwoman with a lust for power, these are the actions of a deeply empathic person trying to do her best in a hard situation. As for the people she has executed, she’s not any different than any other Westerosi lord. The first time we meet Ned it’s him beheading a turncloak, and noone judges him mad for it. But Dany burning Mirri Maz Duur for betraying her is madness? One might argue that burning people is a cruel way of killing them, but keep in mind her dragons are her single most powerful weapon, she’d be stupid not to use them as a show of power: she’s dealing with slavers who castrate little boys and have them kill babies from their mother’s arms as a form of training, she needs to use all the power and intimidation she can against these people or they won’t be fazed. We saw what happened when she tried playing nice: the Sons of the Harpy attacked her in the pits.

    Stannis burns people regularly but noone calls him mad. Robb executed Lord Karstark and 5 or 6 of his men for killing two Lannister boys, but Dany crucifying 163 slavers as punishment for them having crucified 163 children is madness?

    I don’t believe in Mad Queen Dany and think it’s a very flimsy theory standing on shaky ground that fundamentally misunderstands her character and applies harsher double standards on her than on any other character in a similar position. And I will go mad myself if they do go with it in the end.

    1. SkySC says:

      The problem with Dany, at least how she’s portrayed in the show, is that whatever else she tries, murdering everyone is the only thing that ever works for her. And it generally works really well. All her attempts at compromise in Meereen failed, so she murdered everyone who opposed her, and cleanly sorted out a quagmire that had consumed her for months. When she was kidnapped by the Dothraki, she murdered everyone, and won herself a huge army. This even applies to when she acquired the Unsullied. She wanted to buy a slave army, but she couldn’t afford it, so she murdered their masters, liberated them, and got her army for free. The magicians of Qarth were trying to do evil things to her, but she just murdered them and got away safely. I’m not saying she’s evil, much of that murder was in self-defense. But when violence is clearly so effective at resolving opposition, is always justified, and has essentially no consequences, you have some problems with consistency of presentation. Often other characters act like she’s crossing the line and all her advisers beg her to reconsider, but then she goes ahead and does it anyways and it turns out she was right. When she listens to her advisers and does the “prudent” thing, everything goes to shit (often in really contrived ways). Sacking King’s Landing because she’s pissed off sounds like a bad idea, but it’ll probably just magically work out really well for no reason. Or more likely, she’ll change her mind, listen to Tyrion’s supposedly reasonable plan, and it’ll magically fail for reasons that have nothing to do with the plan’s actual flaws.

      1. trevalyan says:

        The thing about stealing the Unsullied army is that it makes her word of honor worthless. After hearing about it, and hearing about her dead husband, Cersei would be super dumb to ever trust Dany.

        1. RCN says:

          At this point in the show “Disproportional-Retribution-Cersei” would disembowel a baby and feed it to a bunch of wild dogs in front of its mother if she tripped close to her and dirtied the tip of her dress a bit with wine.

          As for Dany’s word being worthless, so far it only seems to be so to slavers who badmouth her to her face.

    2. Sannom says:

      These are not the actions of a madwoman with a lust for power, these are the actions of a deeply empathic person trying to do her best in a hard situation.

      I think Mad Queen Danaerys is the one that has decided to live up to the “Fire and Blood” legacy of the Targaryens at the end of the ADWD and will soon march upon Westeros, defeating and liberating slaver cities along the way in a much less conciliatory way than before, land on Dragonstone, explode King’s Landing accidentally during the second Dance of Dragons against Aegon the Pretender and enter an identity crisis that Eldricht sorcerer Euron will try to exploit to bring her to his side.

      1. Guest says:

        I see someone else is a person of culture as well.

        PoorQuentyn fan?

        1. Sannom says:

          And Good Queen Alysanne, and Race for the Iron Throne, and Wars of Ice and Fire, and turtle-paced. Which gets kind of confusing when I don’t remember which of the various theories and analysis they agree or disagree on.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      Stannis burns people regularly but noone calls him mad. Robb executed Lord Karstark and 5 or 6 of his men for killing two Lannister boys, but Dany crucifying 163 slavers as punishment for them having crucified 163 children is madness?

      …are you kidding?
      Stannis Baratheon:
      Converted to new, fire-worshipping religion because Red Priestess told him it would make him King; wanted to impose it on the rest of the kingdom.
      Burned his friends, allies – even his own daughter! – alive, for power.
      Killed his own brother with blood magic (or something similar).

      The guy was nuts! The show thought so, Davos Seaworth thought so (he helped Gendry go on his two-season rowing expedition, after all) and then he died a nice cliched death at the hands of Brienne, like a Bad Guy.

      Robb Stark executed two of his loyal troopers for a) killing prisoners of war b) killing children only tangentially related to the crime they were being ‘punished’ for and c) disobeying his decree. It wasn’t a smart move, but it was the honorable one.
      And not at all mad in the same way as Aerys or Stannis.

      Also, I’m kind in intrigued that you seem to put justice in terms of ‘the numbers of people killed’ rather than ‘why’ or ‘how’ they were killed.

      1. Syal says:

        Yeah, even if nobody specifically called Stannis mad, everyone in Westeros feared what would happen if he became king. Guy was a merciless dark wizard. His only good quality was being the alternative to Joffrey.

    4. Guest says:

      I think the 163 crucifictions thing was a mistake. So does Dany. She punished innocent with guilty, as was pointed out. Similarly, her love for her dragons has a human cost, sometimes paid by children.

      She was sorely pressed and angered, which is why she made that decision. She’s a good person, and slavery, and the murder of children upset her. I think she’s going to do some really bad things in the books, but for good reasons, and I think she’ll turn it around before the end. She’s not “mad”, but she has a tendency to lash out violently at injustice. I don’t know why you’d compare it to Robb executing Karstark. Karstark and his men were guilty of murder and treason both, and he executed the guilty. I’m not trying to demonise Dany, I’m saying that this is the tight line she walks, between just burning down the entire system and letting god sort them out, and trying to be more delicate and build a better one, despite those who benefitted from the old system trying to bring it back constantly.

      Stannis, bugger Show!Stannis, burns cannibals, and traitors. He doesn’t burn prisoners of war (Which I don’t think book!Dany will do either, that’s the cult of the badass), and his big concern is utilitarianism, is it acceptable to sacrifice one innocent to save many others?

      I don’t think Dany’s mad, but I think that Martin will keep teasing it, until, sometime during “Fire and Blood”, she has to confront the legacy of Aerys, who she’s avoided getting the truth about for a while now, and I think in doing so, she’ll set herself back on the right path.

  11. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Man, usually BTongue’s problem is that the show is bad by the book’s standard, but this was just bad period! So now Euron, the writers’ pet villain who can do no wrong, has railguns with an aimbot and an invisible fleet that can’t be spotted even from the air until they attack!
    Brienne cries like a debutante instead of just pounding Jamie’s face until it’s just paste (or realizing that he’ll probably try to stop his sister and leave the forced drama behind), Sansa is mostly useless or counter-productive, her only good suggestion (to rest and heal) is ignored and she doesn’t even try to defend it.
    I was really looking forward to the end credit. The memes online were funny at least.

    1. RCN says:

      “So I come to you at your time of need and you won’t come for me at my time of need?”

      “I am coming you queen-bitch! My time of need was a matter of urgency, your’s isn’t. There’s not a single reason why you need the throne two weeks from now instead of three months or even three years from now and everything points towards the other queen-bitch losing strength with time, not gaining it, while the opposite is true for us.”

  12. Cubic says:

    Cersei is a good example of a small problem that inexplicably becomes a big problem.

    In the comments for last episode, I suggested Cersei should win just to maximize annoyance, ending with her beheading Sansa and Dany as the final survivors. But now I have realized we should instead pull back to see Cersei smugly sitting down on the Iron Throne when … smashing through the stained glass window … a huge ballista bolt transfixes her to the throne. Pull camera through hole in the window to the bay, where we can see Euron’s siege machinery snipers high-fiving. Then roll credits.

    1. trevalyan says:

      This ending would make the show for me. The hand pressing firmly for Lannisters to survive, much less win, is also a huge theme of the books.

    2. Distec says:

      My brother and I really just want the show to go MAX EURON from here on out.

      Just have him gradually morph into a pirate from now until the end. With the hat, eyepatch, and parrot to boot. Have him constantly and maniacally YAARRRing while he makes perverse, shitty smiles at the other characters and the camera.
      Have him literally surf his fucking ship from the bow of the boat while he dual wields cutlasses, even deep into dry land.

      At one point he will pop an ollie with the boat.

      Every scene will be interrupted by Euron crashing through a courtyard, or stone castle wall, or in one of Bran’s memories and fucking shit up and putting fingers in peoples’ bums. I’d like him to transform into some Shiva-like whirling dervish of death by the end of it ala DBZ.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Gotta say that does sound good, in a way. Maybe he could burst into one of Bran’s flashbacks through a wall, Kool-Aid Man-style.

        I mean, the Fookin’ Legend of Gin Alley was an atrocious character by the standards of a ‘clever’ fantasy show that wants to be taken seriously. But taken as a preposterous B-movie bad guy he was actually quite a lot of fun.

        A hammed-up Euron could be… well, maybe not great, but better than he is at the moment.

      2. Guest says:

        I need this so bad.

        It came close, when he rode that gangplank down and crushed someone, that is peak show!Euron to me.

        I want him to invent power metal on a damn mandolin or a lute while surfing that boat.

      3. Gautsu says:

        I do a podcast and blog every week while this show is on the air. Your above comment made me laugh so hard that I read it on our podcast this week, credited to Distec. It took me about 5 minutes since even beimg the third time I had read it outloud, I couldn’t stop laughing. You had me crying with this. Thank you, it was cathartic

    3. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      This show is sufficiently ruined that the only possible solution seems to be to just run with it.

  13. zoarian says:

    It’s pretty clear to me the show is trying to follow up on the beats GRRM gave them. Unfortunately, without the necessary foundation they land like wet farts.

    In the books, Euron taking over or killing one of the dragons is perfectly reasonable (even expected) but in the show it comes off cartoonish because he’s just a normal dude. Cersei maintaining power or being a threat doesn’t make sense considering the political climate but you could see how fAegon would be able to establish himself. A lot of character beats fall short too: book Jon would indeed make a great king but in the show he’s a fool and hasn’t shown any ability to rule – I don’t understand why Varys or Tyrion would consider him as a viable alternative.

    Personally, the biggest misstep is the show failing to convince me of the central conflict. For one, I don’t understand why Sansa or Arya dislike Dany so much. What exactly has she done to provoke such deluge of mistrust and resentment? She’s sacrificed her army and her dragon to save the realm and she’s asking the North to bend the knee in return. Does she want to establish draconian (heh) tax laws or maybe abolish northern customs? Doesn’t seem like it. Looks like she just wants them to acknowledge her claim which seems like a small price all things considered. Frankly, I don’t understand where this desire for independence comes from. Where is the scene where Sansa, Dany and Jon discuss the future of the north? Oh right, instead of behaving like real people trying to solve real problems the show wants to maintain fake conflict.

    Second, marriage is such an obvious and painless answer that there’s no reason why it hasn’t occurred already. First, they’re in love so it’s appealing on a personal level. Second, it would be politically convenient. It would settle most of Sansa’s worries since the North would be properly represented and she would have a lever to move Dany with. Third, the excuse the showrunners use makes no sense. She would bend him to her will? What? Jon Snow as portrayed in the show is the most straightforward, honourable dude there is. Frankly, he’s the only one I would trust to keep Dany straight, not that she’s particularly mad.

    They’re setting up a Jon vs Dany conflict but it’s clearly manufactured and it makes for a shallow viewing experience. I think the story beats could work if they had an extra season to put some meat on the bones and if they ironed out the continuity/believability problems.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      For one, I don’t understand why Sansa or Arya dislike Dany so much…Oh right, instead of behaving like real people trying to solve real problems the show wants to maintain fake conflict.

      Welp, they’ve got 6 episodes to fill, gotta put SOMETHING in them, right?
      It’s a shame, really.

      If only there had been some kind of looming threat this whole time, something that made the infighting and squabbling seem short-sighted. Something impersonal, coming for all of them, that would force people to work together and find other, less costly solutions to their disagreements.
      Maybe this threat could have stood in as a metaphor for climate change, giving the show more of the POLITIKALL KOMMENTRY that made it popular a few seasons ago; it’d be cliched, sure, but it would also have had a message: that violence, conflict and disunity distract from other threats.
      And it could have created a sense of real, non-contrived drama for the show.

      Yeah. Shame there wasn’t anything like that in the plot.

      They’re setting up a Jon vs Dany conflict but it’s clearly manufactured and it makes for a shallow viewing experience. I think the story beats could work if they had an extra season to put some meat on the bones and if they ironed out the continuity/believability problems.

      Counter-argument: do you really want to see D&D’s efforts to try and make this trash believable?

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        They were trying to make this stuff believable?

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      You have a short memory. The North was wronged by Dany’s dad, who burned several scions of the House Stark. The Starks participated in Robert’s Rebellion and stayed a part of the kingdom mostly out of the personal loyalty that Ned had to Robert. The INSTANT Robert died, the head of House Stark is captured and then executed. The Lannisters then state that they have Sansa and Arya captive (they are lying about Arya as it turns out). As soon as the North hears of this, they go to war and declare Robb Stark the King in the North and swear to (this is the important part) NEVER swear fealty to the South again. A seemingly competent ruler showing up doesn’t resolve things because the North was betrayed and wounded ONE generation after the last time they stayed loyal to the South. As a region, they just aren’t going to accept Southern rule any longer. It’s especially an iffy choice to suggest they sign up under the daughter of one of the previous people to screw them over!

      1. zoarian says:

        The North was fine with Roose Bolton being in charge and he was named the Warden of the North by the Lannisters as well as one of the perpetrators of the Red Wedding. I would agree with your points if the North rallied around Jon and Sansa when they were fighting the Boltons but the opposite happened: we saw the biggest houses ally with Ramsey instead. The evidence that they care about independence isn’t very compelling to my eye.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          They weren’t “fine” with Roose being in charge, his bastard burned Winterfell! The countryside was pillaged by both Ironborn and Wildlings! At that point, the families of the North were scrambling for survival and refused to take anything they felt would be a risk. This is actually more evidence that the South is trouble, as Roose was installed by Southern leadership, which led directly to a series of large battles and MORE loss of massive life.

          1. Vivi says:

            Except they were fine with it. Where are the scenes where we see the northern lords being reluctant about following Boltons? Where we see Boltons take political hostages? Where the north is shown to be discontent with the rule of a southern puppet? You project a ton of politics on the show where none of it exists.

  14. Delachruz says:

    I distinctly remember that when Dany got her 3 Dragons, I said to one of my mates who still watches the show:
    “Oh good, they gave her just enough that you can kill at least 2 for dramatic effect later.”

    The whole Arya thing has weirded me out greatly as well. I get why the Dragons are not constantly used to solve all of Danys problems. I can sort of believe that no matter the size, enough fire will kill even those. And thus throwing Dragon at every one of your enemies is not always the best way to go. And that’s of course not mentioning that it would probably cost a metric ton of money for all the overblown CGI you’d need to do.
    But Arya can literally be thrown at every bad guy still left in the show, with a near guaranteed chance at success. Why did they not make the White Walkers the final antagonist anyway? Cersei is a mild irritation at best, compared to now defunct Zombie army. And I’m frankly long tired of the endless Revenge porn she constantly brings to the screen.

    I was way more excited back when it sounded like that the final fight might be a threeway fight between Team Dany, the Zombies and Cersei.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I’m surprised a second dragon died. (though happy, I did win my bet about Euron Greyjoy). I was certain Jon was going to get one at the end.

      Maybe they’ll all die, and Dany will have to rule without them?

      1. Syal says:

        Other way around; Dany will die and the dragon will become king.

        1. trevalyan says:

          Guards! Guards!

          1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

            No one even asked them if they wanted to.

            1. Retsam says:

              This book is dedicated to those fine men.

  15. Sannom says:

    Yes, incest, we know, but Targaryens have been marrying their relatives for centuries and the realm put up with it.

    That argument is even weaker if we take into account the books, apparently. An ASOIAF scholar on another site actually pointed out that an uncle/niece marriage not only happened outside of the Targaryen family but inside the Stark family at one point.

    1. Syal says:

      And bookside I think the implication is they have to inbreed because it’s the only way to keep the magic in their blood strong.

      1. RCN says:

        I won’t be surprised if the books eventually tell that the Targaryens tried political marriages at first, but when the babies didn’t get recognized as Targaryen and got gobbled by the dragons they decided to keep it in the family.

        1. Sannom says:

          I’m not sure that works ? The Targaryen dynasty is rather young and we know a lot about its history, and there is a number of non-incestuous weddings inside the main line, the offsprings of which often had dragons.

  16. Carlos García says:

    Please, please, tell me these two aren’t yet officially confirmed for the kotor film and that was a rumour.

  17. Grudgeal says:

    They brought up Tysha again. As a joke.

    A joke.

    Granted, this is one of my personal hang-ups about the show and I don’t expect anyone else to have the same (over)reaction, but still, just… WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!? It feels like the writers are flipping me off for daring to feel annoyed that one of Tyrion’s biggest turning points in the book was entirely dropped. And turned into a joke.

    1. Matthew Collins says:

      That was the show’s first serious misfire, and no surprise it came at the end of season four — that is, just as the “good half” of the show was finishing. It confuses me why they dropped such an important character revelation, when they had referenced it in previous seasons and given it all the necessary set-up.

  18. Matthew Downie says:

    Alternative to marriage: Have Dany adopt Jon as her heir.

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      Which would be an even worse option according to the flimsy logic the show presents. Now they’re not even on an equal power level anymore.

  19. Jenkins says:

    I don’t like to “pile on” the criticism when a story is being regularly lambasted on the Twitter/Reddit/Blogosphere, as after a point the criticism generally becomes hyperbolic beyond all reason and everything, from the writers to the person who catered their food, becomes a subject of criticism. I really didn’t like the ending to Mass Effect 3, but even I thought the criticism of what were fundamentally artistic choices went too far, with the “Retake Mass Effect” movement being a particularly nauseating lowlight. I didn’t participate in any online debate on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, partially because I thought it was an just an okay film, but mostly because the conversation quickly grew absurdly vitriolic. Now it appears the online fandom has been split over this season of Game of Thrones . A good number defend the show still, claiming that whatever inconsistencies are present in the plot, cinematography, or the actions of characters are mostly a result of having to end a sprawling and epic narrative within a few episodes of television. But there is an increasingly large number of people of whom have become dissatisifed with the show, and the criticism – of the writers in particular – is becoming much more scathing.

    I say all this, then, with the hope that I don’t come across as hyperbolic when I say that this episode of Game of Thrones is the worst episode in the entirety of the show’s eight season span. I honestly find it difficult to recall a single redeemable scene in the entire episode. I think you’re right, Mr. Case, that the episode started off well – well enough at least. The funeral was touching, particularly Daenerys’s (I’ll get to her later) mourning of Ser Jorah, although I must’ve missed where all the barricades and trenches went after the battle. That was pretty much as good as the episode was going to get however. The celebration feast was exceedingly awkward, with Tormund doing… Tormund things, the Lannister brothers pressuring Ser Brienne to drink more and more alcohol, and the Hound’s terribly inappropriate comment to Sansa about being “broken in rough“, and Sansa’s no less terrible insinuation that her rape, along with all the other mistreatment she receieved from Ramsey and Littlefinger, was somehow a positive thing because she was “no longer a little bird” (seriously, go watch that scene back and see if the subtext of that scene isn’t disconcerting). I could go on and on but then this comment will threaten to become its own essay, so I’ll summarise some of my other criticisms of the episode:

    The Bronn scene was bewildering in the extreme and exemplifies one of the biggest problems with the writing of the show in its later seasons: many characters have ceased to be characters and are now simply caricatures. Bronn is that guy who is good at fighting, loves gold, and likes saying cock a lot. Sandor Clegane is that guy who is also good at fighting, that loves to fight and say the word cunt, and cares for nothing more than to kill his brother. Tormund is that guy who also likes to fight, who loves milk and has an obession with the mammary glands of large women. Euron is a pirate who also enjoys fighting, loves to say the word cock, and has an obession with bedding a queen. Tyrion doesn’t love to fight so much, but he’s exceedingly clever, likes to drink wine, and says many clever things about thrones and kings and ruling. That’s all these characters are, and every scene they’re in is contorted so their characters can hit the same notes.

    The Bronn scene was utter nonsense. Sure, it seemed as if it was just Bronn doing Bronn things when he’d ask to be richly rewarded for a service, while skewering some “noble cunts” and saying the word “cock” a lot. But when you think about the scene for more than a second the whole thing falls apart. First is the small matter of how Bronn managed to sneak into Winterfell at a time when the entire hold would’ve been on edge. You’d think the person who attempted to shoot Drogo and Daenerys with a scorpion might be recognisable, but lets assume no one saw him. Lets also assume he had no issue finding the right room where the Lannisters are to begin with – Bronn’s obviously quite competent so we can assume he’s capable of a bit of tracking – so far so good. But how on earth does Bronn expect to be given Highgarden, one of the most bountiful fiefdoms in all the Seven Kingdoms, and more importantly why would Bronn ever believe Tirion or Jaime would be capable of giving him it? A tyrannical Cersei might have the power to give Bronn the Riverlands, and the Riverlands has been tumultous enough with the death of most of the Tullys and Freys that I suppose one might be capable of believing that Cersei could wield that kind of power. Speaking of Cersei – she obviously went to great lengths to persuade Bronn to assassinate Tyrion and Jaime by promising a cutthroat the Riverlands, so it was rather odd she didn’t take the chance to off Tyrion when he was standing helpless outside the gates of King’s Landing at the end of the episode, but I digress. I was hoping Jaime or Tyrion would say Bronn needed to be executed before he could leave Winterfell, but unfortunately they seemed merely as befuddled as I did.

    The show is beginning to lose all sense of time and place, and it hurts. There’s an implicit understanding with all stories that time has to be compressed somewhat so that the action and narrative can flow. But now that we’re entering the show’s climax we are being increasingly ferried from set piece to set piece. The show used to have these lovely moments, like Ned and Robert’s conversation along the Kingsroad and Daenerys’s conversation with Jorah on the way to Vaes Dothrak which gave the world a sense of scale and colour. Now everything happens so fast it’s often hard to make sense of what’s happening and when. I thought Daenerys was flying close to King’s Landing when her and her fleet was ambushed by Euron (the less said about that particular moment the better), but apparently she was ambushed at Dragonstone. Tirion is at one moment knocked out by debris, and the next he’s washed ashore, meanwhile Missandei is also at Dragonstone with Tirion, and then in the very next scene she’s in the Red Palace in King’s Landing. Later on Tirion, Varys, and Daenerys are seen in the throne room of Dragonstone, and in the next scene they’re (seemingly) outside the gates of King’s Landing. This scenewas particularly befuddling, because it doesn’t look like any part of King’s Landing we’ve seen before (this and this is closer to what we’ve come to expect). Sure, one might be able reason after the fact why King’s Landing looks as it does, but it doesn’t help with the visual discontinuity one experiences in the moment.

    I fear Daenerys is destined for the chopping block, and the internet is not going to like it one bit. I’ll write more about her arc if the show does indeed go in the direction of Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen who must be put down, but for now all I’ll say is her “heel turn” is very frustrating to watch because of the contrivances (Tyrion’s terrible idea to go beyond the Wall to catch a Wight to win Cersei’s support, Euron finding a thousand ships out of thin air which he then used to raze Daenerys’s fleets, as well as his marksman-like aim to shoot ballista bolts at a dragon hundreds of feet in the air with lethal accuracy behind a friggen’ mountain, and Cersei somehow becoming Queen of King’s Landing and wielding power despite having no significant claim to the throne, after murdering thousands of innocents – including the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, the High Sept, the head of one of Westeros’s most powerful families, countless nobles and other important religious leaders – and destroying the city’s most important religious landmark.) which have led Daenerys to her “madness.” Oh, Cersei is using the citizens of King’s Landing as human shields (a tactic of which is considered a war crime by the Geneva Convention), but Daenerys is the terrible and mad one who will be responsible for the slaughter of thousands of innocents.

    There’s been a few bad episodes here and there, as one would expect from a show which has been running for eight seasons now, but there has never been an episode so bad that I found it unpleasurable to watch. For the first time in all my time watching the show, I couldn’t wait for it to be over and I was regularly checking to see how long was left. If if wasn’t for the fact we only have two episodes left, I’d probably have given up on watching the show altogether.

    1. Distec says:

      Episode 3 is where I used up all my irritation and despair. Episode 4 was even worse, but by that point my whole approach to the show had changed and I ended up having to pause it several times from laughing so hard. I find this to be a healthy relationship with the series at this point.

  20. tremor3258 says:

    Also – why push for a king who didn’t want it? They had that, it was terrible, it started off the whole plot in the first place.

    I think Varys just likes playing Musical Iron Throne.

    1. RCN says:

      Eh… there’s a HUGE difference between a leader that doesn’t want to lead but tries his best and a leader who doesn’t want to lead and just ends up abusing his power out of spite because he doesn’t really care what happens to those under him.

      Robert and Jon might be warriors first. But Robert was a brute who led through feats of strength and brutality. Jon is the exact opposite of it, as a warrior who leads through example and uncompromising devotion to doing the right thing even when he really, really shouldn’t.

      While Robert’s character led him to actively sabotaging his kingdom Jon at worse will be too nice to make tough choices.

  21. Jenkins says:

    Are some comments pre-moderated? I wrote a rather lengthy comment which I subsequently reposted, both of which have disappeared into the ether. I assume it was because of the presence of a number of cuss words (none of which were directed to other people of course, I was quoting common cuss words used by certain characters in the show). My apologies if I have given offense.

    1. Shamus says:

      I have approved the comment, so you’re good. In this case, you had a few links, which I think made the spam detector anxious.

      For the record, NOBODY knows how the moderation tools work. Sometimes blazingly obvious spam will make it through. Other times people with thousands of approved comments will end up in moderation for no reason. I do my best to clean up when the mod tools make a mess of things, but sometimes comments get stuck in limbo for a few hours until I can fix it.

      1. Jenkins says:

        Thanks a lot for the swift reply Shamus! I’m sorry to have troubled you. I’ve had no trouble posting comments in the past, everything is usually a-okay.

        I hope you have a very pleasant day.

        1. guy says:

          I think four links is the magic number; I’ve never seen a comment with four links get through the filter.

  22. Karma The Alligator says:

    Apparently, there was also a little bit of a whoopsie left in, and some people did not miss it: https://imgur.com/gallery/zc4UQ8c

    1. Asdasd says:

      I don’t see the problem. This is a dark and gritty fantasy universe, right? I can’t imagine anything dirtier and grittier than having to drink Starbucks coffee.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Explains the writing quality, as well. If D&D had been drinking a REAL brew…

        #CoffeeSnob

    2. The Wind King says:

      Let us just head down to Ye Olde Westeros Starbuckes before our sacking of King’s Landing, the dragons need their Tall Grand Vente Lamb’s Blood Half-Caf, Soy Milk Lattes…

  23. We are in the “after the war” now. I hope the very last episode is a calm long wrap up and epilogue’ish episode, possible with a far jump ahead in time near the end to see what the fate of most characters are.

    Cersei’s child (Jaime is the father) was probably miscarried (Cersei is drinking), now that she has lost the child and been abandoned by Jaime and betrayed by Tyrion she just wants to see the world burn.

    Dany has lost her child (dragon), her two best friends, and she feels like she is alone far away from home.

    Next episode will be focused around them (the largest skirmish/small battle vying for power after the undead was defeated).
    The Hound will face his brother, Arya plans to kill Cercei but I’m gonna take a wild guess that Arya will end up fighting (and killing) Jaime as he still loves his sister.

    As to whom will sit on the throne, I have three candidates. John, Sansa, or Tyrion (I’m not entirely sure if Vary’s spoke only of Jon when he said a king that does not want to be king and may have meant either Jon or Tyrion).
    There is also the newly lorded Baratheon though (both he and Tyrion and Jon would be candidates in Vary’s eyes).

    What would be best for Jon and Dany is if they left for the south continent, leaving Sansa as the Queen of the North, possibly joining houses of Stark and Lanister with Sansa remarrying Tyrion.

    The people fleeing into the city, I have little compassion for them, they either believe all lies told by the queen that hates them and which they hate, or their fear (racism?) against the King in the North and the dragon queen are so high they’d rather side with basically evil itself, I’d argue the Night King was less evil than Cersei.

    Not sure about Dany, I’d hate to see Jon kill her, if I’m to guess (unless Dany dies along with her dragon against Euron’s arbalests) it will be Arya that’ll kill Dany, unless in a twist Dany sacrifices herself to save Jon (dying in his arms), leaving Jon with the dragon. In that case I don’t think Jon would want to be king of the 7 kingdoms but would take off with the dragon, guarding the realm (a dragon knight?).
    Dany is too unstable now, she’s going to psycho out but not sure in which way.

    Greyworm I predict will die at The Mountain’s hands (but helping whomever (the hound?) will end up killing the mountain).

    “Jon can’t keep a secret to save his life” not only him. Also a weird thing is how none of the characters are actually tactical.
    I’m not sure if it’s the show or the books (never read the books). But at the end the scene with Missandei (and I’m not the only one that said this), why the heck did she not grab Cersei and pull her over the edge. Sure she was shaking and scared but she’d toughened up over the years.

    I’m kinda wondering if people in the 7 realms are just really bad at warring and fighting (is that a thing in the books?).
    And it’s not just in GoT, I see the same shit in Marvel movies. You’d think at some point the “heroes” would learn?
    I’m reminded of a line from Spaceballs The Movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7XVcqZodAM
    “Dark Helmet: Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.”
    And the top comment from 4 years ago on that video happens to be “Game of Thrones in a nutshell.?” haha.

    I really hope The Witcher series fares better, Geralt is more grounded he’s neither a good nor evil character, more grey, like Kreia in KoTOR2), and good people doing dumb shit is not really his concern.

    “teleport behind Cersei,”
    A note on Arya and her “teleport”, having seen the scene again (a little brighter) she ran in superspeed (when did she get that ability) but she did not teleport, I’m assuming she ran under camera height (again the show doesn’t exactly show what happens), but I can see that she jumps up from the ground behind the Night King (a little too jumpy, a trampoline maybe?), she did not come flying through the air or from a roof/tree as many said (and I thought) previously.

    I agree that Euron shooting the dragon Dany is not on was stupid, though Jon lampshaded that due to the wounds his extra weight was not a good idea, but they could have excluded that and had her ride that dragon anyway, it would have made for more dramatics if she fell into the sea with the dragon, and the remaining dragon charges at Euron but turns at the last moment as if he heard something.

    Why Euron did not target Dany I have no idea, I guess it could have been that the other dragon obscured her, but still it felt like a shooting gallery on rails thing.

    Those arbalest’s are insane though, I’m not sure if they are that strong in real life. Could someone poke Shadiversity on youtube and see if he can shed some light on this?

    “Her ship reduced to splinters, Dany and company wash up on a nearby beach”
    Actually it’s Greyworm and Tyrion that wash up, I can’t recall what happen to Dany at all, did she fly away, did she land to help survivors? This was also several minutes (or half an hour later) these time skips are really confusing.

    “King’s Landing, which now seems to be in the middle of a desert” I didn’t notice that. Did all the grass die or something? I seem to recall a long road with greens along the sides, I wish we’d have more aerial (map) shots, the GoT intro map would have been perfect as a interlude between time skips, zoom out to the intro map, pan, then zoom in again, maybe even a time piece/clock turning to help show passage of time.

    While I love Tyrion, I was surprised that Cersei did not kill her brother. And then have Greyworm’s love killed. Hmm, now that I think about it, Greyworm and Jaime may actually end up fighting, Greyworm might want revenge and want to kill the one Cersei loves (no idea if he knows about Cersei and Jamie though).

    “excuses to not have Ghost around”
    I’m fine with this, they underutilized him for seasons now and should have been written out of the show along with the other wolfs. Arya’s wolf got a nice sendoff I think (and is still out there).
    While I liked them, they became a waste of screen time (and budget too I guess), so getting them out of the show or embracing the warging into a dire wolf thing would be the two best ways to handle this, and they obviously did not do anyhting with the warging thing.
    Why they showed Bran warg into the ravens I have still no idea.

    “Dany gets mad enough to forget how to make facial expressions” I think my ability to read faces is wrong then, to me at the end of thew ep she looked like she was barely able to hold back a yell of pure rage and anger there.
    The only reason she didn’t was she did not want Cersei to gloat at her.

    “I just hope Dany attacks during daytime” I do too, the dragon(s) looks amazing and the CG guys’n’gals did an amazing job.

    It would be interesting if Dani dies (along with the dragon) and Jon survives and then later finds a dragon egg at Winterhold, the theme seems to be that children are conceived and the next generation will see peace (but not the current one).

  24. Nessrox says:

    I couldn’t even fathom the legitimizing of Gendry. Dany asks who the lord of Storms End was. Which is A) unimportant to the narrative now and B) something a prospective queen ought to know. Just because the Baratheons got wiped doesn’t mean the castle and the Stormlands just went without a lord. There would have been someone in line or a civil war or both. I also question giving a blacksmith who didn’t do anything worthy and has no political experience the lordship of the Stormlands. Finally doesn’t he have the strongest claim to the throne now? He was a son of King Robert and she stupidly legitimized him. Heck, he has a stronger claim than any of the two previous kings.

    1. SkySC says:

      That was one of the few things that actually made sense this episode. It was a public gesture of goodwill: Dany’s way of saying that she won’t hold the sins of the fathers against the sons, and also that she rewards those who are loyal to her. Plus, it was an easy promise to make since it’s not like she can fulfill it at the moment, and there are really no downsides for making it. Presumably someone’s in charge of Storm’s End currently. But whoever he is, he definitely has a worse claim than Gendry, so replacing him won’t be seen as usurpation. And best of all, no matter the legitimacy of Gendry’s claim to he Iron Throne, no one will ever support his claim. He’s never lead anyone before. He’s a bastard and grew up a commoner. He will be fiercely loyal to the woman who granted him his title. The other lords will never see him as a viable king.

      Basically, this scene just shows how stupid Dany’s concerns over Jon are.

      1. RCN says:

        Agree with everything except that anyone in charge of Storm’s End has a worse claim than Gendry. Gendry is a bastard. For all intents and purposes, he is a commoner to any noble. The cousin in the third degree of the niece twice removed from Robert would have a better claim from the sole fact of being a noble with a name.

        1. SkySC says:

          He’s been legitimized by the crown. That essentially makes him Robert’s true-born son, as far as the law is concerned. Maybe it’d be an issue for him if there were close competitors, but Robert, Stannis, and Renly left no children. So Gendry is not only the sole man living whose father was the lord of Storm’s End, he’s also the sole man living whose grandfather was lord of Storm’s End, and apparently the only man whose great-grandfather was lord of Storm’s End (I’m not completely sure how many children Ormund Baratheon had, but I think it was only Steffon).

          You’d really have to scrape the barrel to find anyone who has any claim at all to the place, and the closest direct male-line descendant would be very far indeed.

          1. RCN says:

            He’s been legitimized by someone whose own claim will be heavily disputed.

            And even then, nobles are nobles. They won’t accept a bastard regardless of who legitimized it until they are forced to. And still, they’ll probably rather try and assassinate the bastard, especially in Westeros.

            Especially because of the fact that Gendry is far from the only bastard Robert left. He is only the only surviving known bastard. Other nobles in the family could claim any of them is also a bastard of Robert and instantly get a stronger claim.

            1. SkySC says:

              Well, obviously all this is predicated on Dany winning and taking the throne. If she can’t do that, then Gendry will never be lord of Storm’s End, so it doesn’t matter. But if she does take control, and she says Gendry is lord of Storm’s End, then that’s that. Sure people could complain, maybe other lords in the realm will have trouble accepting him, but that doesn’t matter.

              She’s the queen, and half the realm warred against her. Once she takes over, she could slaughter or banish them all and appoint Unsullied or Dothraki or other supporters in their places, and no one would be able to stop her. Gendry would obviously be much more appealing to Westerosi than that option.

    2. Guest says:

      His claim would be less strong than Jon’s, as apparently he’s not a bastard (Stupid show), and Dany’s, who’s claims go back to the Targaryen monarchy, and Robert’s claim to the throne was based on Targaryen blood descent too-just that Aerys and his branch sucked because of the whole burning people alive, breaking guest right, and tyranny.

      The last person to hold Storm’s end iirc was a Castellan, so whoever is holding it is certainly holding it in someone else’s name.

  25. RCN says:

    I’m surprised Mr Btongue didn’t bring up how Grey Worm’s “two days from retirement” curse was actually fulfilled, except in reverse.

    Instead of him dying, Missande died in his place, which to him is just the same.

  26. Preciousgollum says:

    I’m now convinced it will be Euron Greyjoy who will kill Cersi, and end up as some sort of ‘Pirate King’ for the very last episode. At least, that’s what I read as a rumour a couple of years ago…

    .. but it makes sense given that Euron’s whole thing is about putting a bun in Cersi’s oven, which she had agreed to, but Euron now found out through Tyrion that Cersi’s oven is full. There’s Euron’s motivation.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I see your point, but submit instead that Jamie will kill Cersei, just like he had to kill Aerys. She’ll be consumed by spite (no surprise there) and be preparing to destroy the city with wildfire, and there’s only one way to stop her.
      There’ll be a sight snag when she says ‘I’m carrying your baby!’, but he’ll go through with it anyway (cue dramatic music), then kill himself afterwards, with a final shot of their two bodies draped artfully over the Iron Throne together.

      Meanwhile Euron will get a proper Bad Guy death, either killed by Jon, Brienne or Arya* in a boss fight – or captured and then fed to the final surviving dragon by Dany.

      *Bonus points if Jon’s on the floor, Euron standing above him with sword raised…then BAM! OUT OF NOWHERE ARYA!!!!!

      1. Preciousgollum says:

        The whole thing about being killed by ‘little brothers’ is that there are a lot of them. Euron Greyjoy is a younger brother to Balon…

        … and when it comes to how Euron dies, it would be suicide by Wildfire, and Jon dies with him….

        However, I also read from presumed leaks that The Night King would be killed in The Vale in episode 4… and that didn’t happen. There was no Vale in EP4.

        … and THEN there are the rumours that Dany was pregnant with Jon’s child, and would then be captured in Dragon Stone to be executed in Kings Landing and hung up on the walls (after the baby has been safely smuggled away) which would then inform the final episode aka what I said above.

        Hmmm… it is as if the rumoured leaked scripts were better than what we are currently getting…

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          And there is the issue of Bran. It is a shame that he didn’t die/become a White Walker in EP3, since now his entire characterisation is channeling Richmond The Goth from The I.T Crowd, as played by Noel Fielding.

        2. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

          I read that supposed leak! I thought the battle in the Vale made a lot of military sense, but I was more than a little put off by the author’s raging hateboner for Daenerys. Also, I thought it was insanely stupid that Euron Greyjoy was the final boss. And now… here we are. Hmmm.

          1. Preciousgollum says:

            I only skimmed through some snippets of the leak. To be honest, I’d have thought that Dany dying in that way would be the last great shock that the series needed before it closes. Aunty Dany had sort of become redundant by the time the focus was on Jon.

            I’m not sure about hate-boners for Dany, but I do hate both Dany & Jon, so to see themselves both die in service to drama, and then you get your legitimate female child monarch, with Tyrion as Regent, seemed like the best possible outcome for everybody. Bittersweet. Somebody gotta die though to get that outcome. And therefore the death should be properly shocking and in poor taste. Death is gross. Both Jon Snow and Jorah Mormont would have voided their bowels when they died (because that is what happens).. but only Jon came back to remember it. Poor Beric… that must have been a lot of mess for Thoros of Myr to clean up. Nineteen times.

            I would have loved a big Dragon fight over the Tower in The Vale, though. The above the clouds shot in EP3 turned out to be one of the best bits of that episode.

  27. GoStu says:

    Euron’s implausible anti-dragon ballista sniping got a very large eyeroll out of me in the moment. A fleet of ships stays unnoticed from the air to a pair of dragons and the woman riding them, and manages three hits before they even know what’s up?

    On the surface it looks like the dragon was killed by a giant bolt, but its actual cause of death was Plot Inconvenience. The Writers are trying to make the Cersei vs. Everyone fight closer to even with a two-episode head start. Dragons sniped, pointless animosity between people who should be able to get along, and a big fat Idiot Ball handed to a few decision-making characters.

    There’s some urgency to not wait around too long before moving on Cersei, armies are expensive… but she has that problem too, so there’s no real reason to force-march exhausted troops into battle.

    The whole “Golden Company” mercenaries thing seems stupid too. Cersei can hire them but nobody else thought to do so, for the biggest apocalyptic “save us all from the Night King” battle? Nobody could out-bid Cersei? Nobody considered the offer of “we’ll give you that much money to fuck off and stay home?”. These armies and the like are exactly as big as the writers want them to be at any time.

    1. RCN says:

      The whole “Golden Company” stuff is stupid for other reasons.

      They’re mercenaries. Scratch that, they’re the most expensive mercenaries of the known world. Mercenaries are the kind who say “pay us first then we fight for you” and Cersei has no money whatsoever and a very known huge debt with the iron bank, who’s proven to be the most toothless bank in fiction or reality.

      The Golden Company is basically doing charity for Cersei because the plot demands it.

      1. Preciousgollum says:

        … but The Iron Bank wants its money back. So they’re willing to double down on their investment, because they’re worried that Danaerys breaker of chains and tearer-up of debt would have no need of honouring any past agreements, because Dragons. Dany would be getting free stuff, much to the ire of the Iron Bank.

        Cersei, however, (and everyone else) would be more compelled to pay up what is historically owed, for as long as it takes.

        1. RCN says:

          Asset seizure.

          They could hire mercenaries to pillage king’s landing and every other place under Cersei rule to literally, and I mean literally, take everything not nailed down as collateral.

          Banks do that all the time (well, they usually hire outsourced seizure companies instead of actual armed mercenaries, but the result is the same).

          1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

            That’s an excellent point! And as has been said before, if only the show had gone to the same trouble that you did and actually made that point…

            Seriously, how hard would it be? A quick scene with the leader of the golden company and the bankers before they leave Essos! That sort of devious politicking is EXACTLY what this show was supposed to be about! Before, you know, season 4…

            Actually, in keeping with HBO’s theme, they shouldn’t show us that scene but the Golden Company commander should brag about this backroom deal while banging a bunch of prostitutes in King’s Landing.

            1. Preciousgollum says:

              … But The Iron Bank’s plan would not be to seize assets… yet. If Dany conquered Westeros, then what is to say that Bravos isn’t next?

              With Cersei, there is a chance on being able to wring out some value, but with Dany on The Throne, the Bank would be facing the threat of annihilation. They HAVE to back Cersei… initially. This the Bank that funded all the enemies of the Targaryans, and kept those enemies on The Throne for many years.

              The Bank wants to take back what it is owed, but it needs a petty tyrant like Cersei in charge to collect those taxes which will then be forced to go to… The Iron Bank. You get none of that with Dany.

              The likelihood is that The Golden Company will probably betray Cersei anyway. But that’s only at the point when they realise that Cersei is probably going to lose.

              1. RCN says:

                Except the Iron Bank was created by freed slaves, a demographic that should have nothing but contempt for Cersei and nothing but love for Dany.

                Except… you know… this fact was never brought up, ignored, or maybe even changed in the series proper.

                1. Preciousgollum says:

                  The point is sort of made that Dany frees slaves, to essentially end up re-enslaving them, since her recruitment strategy is “You’re free – now you work for me.”

                  But, if we take a modern day example like the European Union, what sorcery allows an authority to judge what a slave is, and turn them into a free person? How does this happen? Alchemy. What were once perhaps trafficked goods in the form of people, gets turned into a different type of commodity.

                  How does this work? Because an authority has the power to own you and/or incarcerate, before letting you go. In this case, it basically says that any trafficked person is immediately owned by the EU for setting foot on soil, and then subject to a catch and release policy. This has a chance of benefitting the EU and the freed person, at the expense of the trafficking business. It also has the effect of making the movement of people less profitable for outsiders seeking to move within the market. Hence, freedom of movement.

                  … however, with Danaerys, she has a catch and hold policy, and fosters the conditions by which people are always reliant upon her. Those freed slaves in the Iron Bank wouldn’t be able to go about whatever their business was, if Danaerys thought it was wrong somehow. Dany would also seek to wipe away the debt incurred by the Iron Bank, because it is the only way she could promise prosperity to Westeros. You can’t free Westerosi, because they already see themselves as free. You can, however, free them from outside debt.

                  Hence, those ‘freed’ Westerosi would only end up with the power to move within Westeros, which would also be conveniently owned by Dany, since Westerosi credit ratings would be abysmal, which then also invites invasions and plundering later along the line from other factions who want what is owed to them. The Iron Bank are just responsible for doing now, what they’re going to end up doing later on. Anybody who borrows from them is going to want to raise mercenaries in this climate. Does the Iron Bank say no to every transaction in case it is inadvertently used by the borrower to procure armed men? No, because they would presumably believe in freedom of credit, and would be out of business if they believed otherwise.

                  Basically, Westeros’ people are screwed regardless, and the fight is about which privileged noble will advance their station enough to get a reprieve from those troubles.

                  Maybe… the defeat of White Walkers and the possible ending of unusually long winters might help fix the economy, but that also invites those invasions from outside Westeros, since the weather is now good enough for it.

                  1. Preciousgollum says:

                    And after Episode 5, we have our answers. *facepalm*.

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