Game of Thrones Season Eight: “Winterfell”

By Bob Case Posted Monday Apr 15, 2019

Filed under: Game of Thrones 113 comments

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

It’s Game of Thrones season again!

Some of you may be more excited about this than others. Over the past two seasons, critical opinions of the show have dropped, but that hasn’t made much of a dent in its overall popularity. There’s a threshold at which popularity becomes self-reinforcing: people start watching the show just to see what all the fuss is about. People (like me) who don’t think it’s very good anymore watch because we’ve already invested so much time in it and we want to see how it ends. Just as people who don’t follow football will still watch the Super Bowl, people who ordinarily aren’t interested in fantasy fiction will still watch Game of Thrones.

Because of this dynamic, by now I pay as much attention to people’s reactions to the show as I do to the show itself. In fact, when I first started writing about it back in the olden days of 2017, I operated off the premise that a mass souring of opinion on the series was imminent. That prediction hasn’t been borne out to the extent I thought it would, but there’s still time. In fact, in the days leading up to the premiere, the internet seemed to be bracing itself for disappointment. Instead of linking many examples, I’ll just link one representative one, titled “There’s No Way For Game Of Thrones To Get The Ending It Deserves.”

Its ending got the start it deserves, though. They've almost entirely redone the opening credits. This screengrab doesn't do it justice, it's just there to show one example: the wall now has a hole in it.
Its ending got the start it deserves, though. They've almost entirely redone the opening credits. This screengrab doesn't do it justice, it's just there to show one example: the wall now has a hole in it.

This may have been inevitable. This is the last season – the ending – and the endings of big-ticket “television events” don’t have the greatest track record. The only one I can think of that ended on a real high note was Breaking Bad, and even then there were differences of opinion. And Game of Thrones is going to have an even tougher job of it than usual, because there’s been a set of thorny problems baked into the story they’re adapting from day one. To massively oversimplify, the Song of Ice and Fire books had three main storylines. The “A” story was the Stark/Lannister conflict and its attendant political intrigue. The “B” story was Daenerys’ adventures on the other side of the narrow sea. And the lurking “C” story was the supernatural threat north of the Wall.

It was clear from the start that the C and B stories were going to have to fold into the A one, but how? Don’t look to George R.R. Martin for answers, because he hasn’t written any yet. In the books, Dany is still in Meereen and the “Others” – the books’ name for the show’s “White Walkers” – are still north of the wall. This isn’t a just matter of unifying disparate storylines. It’s bringing multiple genres together. Characters from a story that was primarily about feudal politics are now thrust into a story about magical snow zombies. I’m not just skeptical about whether showrunners Benioff and Weiss can pull this off. I’m skeptical that anyone, including George R.R. Martin, can.

Of course it would be nice to be proven wrong. But this isn’t the first time the show has struggled with a problem like this. Season seven saw Dany’s return to Westeros, and immediately there was a problem: she had the best infantry (Unsullied), the best cavalry (Dothraki), and the best artillery (Dragons). There was no one in exhausted, divided, and dragonless Westeros who could plausibly challenge her. Many of the season’s weaknesses were the offspring of this initial issue. Now, in the final season, they have to do something even harder.

Let’s see if they can pull it off.

The power couple. Inexplicably, the northerners continue to be hostile to Dany even after seeing her outfit. Would you call that vermillion, or is it not dark enough?
The power couple. Inexplicably, the northerners continue to be hostile to Dany even after seeing her outfit. Would you call that vermillion, or is it not dark enough?

Last season I noted that I’d never seen a show so preoccupied with the presence or absence of genitalia as this one. That trend continues as the very first lines of dialogue spoken are another Varys eunuch joke. Pretty much the entire episode is spent setting the scene: Daenerys’ armies have arrived at Winterfell, and no one seems particularly inclined to get along. Sansa and Daenerys don’t like or trust each other, northerners don’t like outsiders in general and Lannisters in particular, and Bran presumably doesn’t like Jaime because Jaime threw him out of a window that one time.

In the midst of all this, there are reunions. This show has enough characters that anytime they move from one place to another there are at least a half-dozen of them who haven’t seen each other in several seasons. The script dutifully goes through each combination: Sansa/Tyrion, Jon/Bran, Jon/Sam, Jon/Arya, Arya/Hound, Arya/Gendry… I think that’s all the major ones. They lean on these reunions quite a bit in this episode. On the one hand, this is suspicious. The scenes are partly trading in on nostalgia value – combined with the relative lack of action this episode, I wonder if that’s due to a lack of ideas. On the other hand, this is the first episode of the season and it makes sense to reintroduce us to the cast and remind us who’s up to what.

What’s more, the scenes were pretty well done for the most part. The characters reuniting usually have some awkward history or significant character changes that happened in the interim. The Jon/Arya scene for instance: it showed both the relationship they used to have way back in season one and the changes that have happened to each since then. It’s a tricky balance to strike, and Dave Hill (the writer) doesn’t ruin it by having Arya mention that she could kill Jon and peel his face off or anything like that.

The Golden Company. A mercenary group imported from a jettisoned book storyline.
The Golden Company. A mercenary group imported from a jettisoned book storyline.

Down in King’s Landing, the first part of Cersei’s scheme is in motion. The Golden Company has arrived, twenty thousand strong but sans elephants (that sound you hear is the CGI budget sighing in relief). If I were the showrunners I would have taken the opportunity to quietly retire Euron Greyjoy between seasons, but I guess Benioff and Weiss see things differently. He’s given three full scenes worth of scenery-chewing, the first of which brings this season’s castration joke counter up to two.

Speaking of Greyjoys, Yara is Euron’s captive, until Theon and his band sneak onto his ship and cut her free. She rewards him with a headbutt followed by a hand up. I guess that’s punishment for him bailing on her last season, but I still don’t get what it was he was supposed to do in that scene. Well, as headbutts go, it was a friendly one, so no harm done. He suggests they head back to the Iron Islands, but she sees that he wants to go north, and understands. These two don’t exactly have clean records, but I still kind of root for them. By this point, they may be the least dysfunctional pair of siblings in Westeros.

Meanwhile, Bronn has moved up enough in the world to able to afford three prostitutes at once. He still doesn’t have his promised castle though, but Qyburn offers him the next best thing: a pile of gold and an ironic crossbow to take out Cersei’s brothers with. And I did rewind to make sure that Qyburn said “brothers,” plural, indicating that she considers Jaime’s heel-face turn a capital offence. I did also notice that Cersei appears to be drinking wine again. Does this mean anything? At the end of last season she was pointedly avoiding it due to her heavily implied pregnancy. Tyrion even alludes to it in his conversation with Sansa. I’m not sure what, if anything, we’re supposed to take from that.

This dragonriding sequence lasted several minutes and probably cost fourteen billion dollars or something.
This dragonriding sequence lasted several minutes and probably cost fourteen billion dollars or something.

This episode didn’t just look backwards, however. Preparations are under way for the arrival of the Army of the Dead. Gendry is melting down obsidian and casting it into weapons. That doesn’t seem like it should be possible, but I don’t know enough about obsidian to dispute it. The issue of what exactly Dany’s armies have been eating this whole time is brought up once again, but I expect it’ll just continue to be ignored. I just wish they would settle on either “this is an actual issue” or “this is something we’re not going to mention.” Right now they seem to be trying to split the difference and it’s a bit disorienting.

Near the end of the run time, Tormund and Beric investigate a castle, and learn that the wights have already reached Last Hearth, the castle of the Umbers, just north of Winterfell. During this sequence they spend rather a long time walking through empty hallways. I take notes while watching the show, and this week’s notes included “scene is very looong” no fewer than three times. Some of them could be charitably described as “deliberately paced.” You’d never guess they had just five episodes left to wrap this whole thing up.

They do wrap one thing up, though: Jon finally learns the truth behind his parentage. I’m inclined to be lenient with this scene, as it’s a bit of an unfilmable moment. I imagine they just told Kit Harrington “I need you to look shocked and confused for 10-15 seconds.” It wasn’t great, but I admit I don’t have any better ideas. Now he’s gonna have to tell someone. I wonder, who will it be? Sansa would be my guess. Then, most likely Tyrion or Varys will learn before Dany does. This game of telephone could last all season. Finally, we end with Jaime arriving at Winterfell incognito and immediately being spotted by Bran, who I guess just sits in the courtyard all day now. Cut to credits.

I honestly didn’t see anything glaringly bad in this episode. A little slow, a little uneventful, but nothing like the worst parts of season seven. There were many skillfully done character moments. It started out a bit iffy – the Starks have still not broken their habit of summoning an audience to witness disagreements that would be better kept private – but improved from there. And the teaser for the next episode seemed to indicate that the wights could be showing up at Winterfell as early as next week. If so, that’ll certainly count as picking up the pace. However, Miguel Sapochnik, who so far has been their go-to “big battle scene” guy, doesn’t direct until the third episode. So we may have to wait until then.

As for the audience reaction to the episode, I haven’t read enough of them yet to get a good picture, and I didn’t want to dawdle posting this. If there’s anything interesting there, I’ll probably have to cover it as a preamble to next week’s entry. See you then.

 


From The Archives:
 

113 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season Eight: “Winterfell”

  1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

    Just as people who don’t follow football will still watch the Super Bowl, people who ordinarily aren’t interested in fantasy fiction will still watch Game of Thrones.

    Right on. I was at a GoT premier party last night, despite not having watched an episode since somewhere in season 4, and about 25% of the people there had no clue what was going on but showed up because it was a fun social event. It’s a real cultural touchstone.

    I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was… fine, I guess? Very much of a setting-the-stage episode. I was hoping to be entertained by it being either terrible or exciting, but received neither. Was it necessary for the first episode to be quiet? Probably. I just would have expected the season to open with a bit more of a bang after the long hiatus.

  2. [snip] Gendry is melting down obsidian and casting it into weapons. That doesn’t seem like it should be possible, but I don’t know enough about obsidian to dispute it.

    Ha! I knew that my random youtube watching would come in handy one day!

    Turns out that you can, it’s just not very good, but when that’s all you can do against the hordes of death you get desperate, I think?

    1. Nessus says:

      Obsidian is volcanic glass. If one is experienced with glasswork*, one could probably do way better way easier than that guy.
      That youtuber is pretending it’s way difficult and esoteric than it is. He acts like it’s some new frontier when in reality its a really common art form he’s just personally completely inexperienced/uneducated at. He got shit results not because obsidian is hard to cast, but because he decided to wing it based on stuff he read online instead of bringing it to someone who actually knew how to cast glass.

      The main issue, as the video shows, is it wouldn’t be obsidian anymore, as the chemistry and internal structure that make it obsidian would be destroyed by re-melting it. If you wanted to make an actual obsidian weapon, it’d have to be like his first attempt: knapped pieces affixed to a wood handle.

      …Which I’d expect to be the case in GoT as well. The stuff in the show isn’t obsidian: it’s “dragon glass”, i.e. glass made from sand or dirt melted by a dragon’s fire breath. Since its special properties come from the way it was vitrified, I’d expect re-melting it would just turn it into regular glass. Also Gendry’s a blacksmith, so I wouldn’t expect him to have the expertise to do this anyway.

      If they want dragon glass weapons, well, they’ve got dragons so they can make all the glass they want, and they’ve got an army of wildling refugees that probably have lots of experience making stone tools and weapons. Having Gendry do it is stupid, but I guess because this is fantasy, having a single named character do it is supposed to make it more dramatic, or something.

      But the show has a track record for handwaving this kind of stuff. Way back in season whatever they showed the Stark’s big executioner sword being melted down and cast into two smaller sword. Which is BS: you make swords by forging not by casting. Cast swords would be shit even if the steel was good.

      1. Fizban says:

        I think one of Lindybiege’s videos says that casting bronze into serviceable weapons en masse should be possible, and a cast bar of harder metal is still a bar of metal, but yeah. Dragon glass is a much more appropriate fantasy material, which my homebrew instinct tells me immediately to stat- but (3.5) DnD dragon breath is completely non-unique (as are their dragons in general really) so first you have to upend the dragon system and that’s too much to bother with for a silly material.

        Naturally the show is having all the “weaponsmithing” work done by the designated “master weaponsmith,” even though that’s not really how the disciplines work.

        1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

          Yeah, bronze age weapons and tools were frequently cast en masse. Forged bronze makes a better weapon (forging a metal makes it more resilient to sudden shocks) but casting is a quick and easy way to get a weapon with a nice handle socket (like an axe), which is really hard to do with stone. Apart from being less brittle than stone, this was why bronze was a huge step forward: the handle socket. You could swing a socketed bronze axe a lot harder (and far more times in a row) than a bound stone axe without the axe head flying off the handle.

          So in GoT, naturally, Gendry casts dragonglass arrowheads and forges a socketed glass axe. Like… Gendry, wat r u doin.

        2. Nessus says:

          Just because they’re both metal, doesn’t mean they work the same.

          Casting and forging produce very different crystalline structures. A cast iron or steel sword would be extremely brittle and wouldn’t hold an edge. Might as well make your sword out of biscotti.

          Even starting from a cast shape and hammering from there wouldn’t help, as for the amount of hot working needed to reform the crystal structure, it wouldn’t matter what shape you started with. So a plain bar or billet would be preferred (and historically that’s how it was done) as it would involve much less wasted effort to produce.

          Copper-based alloys like bronze don’t really heat-forge. They tend to have the opposite dynamic that iron or steel does, in that hot working them anneals them. In order to harden copper, bronze, or brass, you cold-work it. With bronze, you could start with a cast form, then hammer it to harden it selectively without altering the shape hardly at all. This means that casting would be a viable mass-production workflow, and bronze weapons would be much cheaper to mass produce compared to steel, at least with medieval technology. As bladed weapons though, they’d be utterly non-competitive against iron weapons and armor, which is why they basically immediately went extinct in every society that learned to work iron.

          Modern steel metallurgy gets around this via drop-forging (casting under extremely high-pressure), and pressurize sintering (better than drop-forging, as it creates extremely uniform crystal and alloy composition), but those are post-industrial technological processes. Using drop forging or sintering to create a shaped blank, then finishing with grinding and heat treating is a viable modern blade making method (a lot of modern commercial knives are made this way), but it wouldn’t be available to medieval smiths.

          I think they have Gendry do the work because he’s literally the only crafts person of any kind in the cast, and they want it to be done by a named cast member for basically the same reason that away teams in Star Trek always consist of main-cast executive officers. That, plus fantasy has a trope thing about special items always being made by singular special people.

          Though to my mind it’s still a pity and a wilful neglect of potential. Organizing the wildlings to make the weapons would be an opportunity to show Jon actually doing some leading (something I gather is sorely lacking in the show), and having Danny’s dragons make the glass would show the forming partnership between John and Danny. On a meta level, it feels like a microcosm of how the show has been abandoning the pretenses of realism that made it so popular to begin with in favor of exactly the sort of fantasy tropes and shallow shortcuts it was praised for subverting/avoiding.

          1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

            W.r.t. bronzeworking weapons historically, it’s cheaper in labor to mass-produce, but there’s also the materials cost and materials scarcity. Particularly, the incredible scarcity of tin for bronze in the ancient world (or indeed, any pre-industrial society). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the most accepted theory for the impetus to switch from bronze to iron circa the time of the Bronze Age Collapse was the loss of trade routes that were crucial for tin to make its way from the very uncommon mines to the rest of the world.

            Iron at the time was inferior to bronze, but better to outfit 8,000 soldiers with shoddy iron weapons rather than 1,000 with superior bronze. And once forced to switch to iron, we eventually figured out how to work it better.

      2. Tuck says:

        The stuff in the show and books is obsidian (confirmed many times in the books and by GRR Martin), not glass. It has nothing to do with dragons apart from the name.

  3. Syal says:

    It was clear from the start that the C and B stories were going to have to fold into the A one

    Possibly true for the TV version due to lack of White Walker actors, but I’ll say every time A Song of Ice and Fire has Atlas Shrugged pacing. The Lannisters are the starter villains, who create an environment that raises up worse villains which overpower them, then the new Greyjoy/Bolton villains do the same thing and so on until the Walkers roll in. So book-side A and B should get folded into C.

    1. Vinsomer says:

      I kinda feel like the show should really have killed Cersei off by now. The B and C storylines (Daenarys and her dragons and the White Walkers) were always destined to meet, because, if nothing else, from season 1 Dany seemed set to come to Westeros right when winter arrives, and because the dragons are the obvious equal and opposite to the white walkers.

      It’s almost a shame that the B plot got stuck in the quagmire of Meereen for so long, because if they were going to have a storyline about Daenarys having to face the problems of administration in a newly-conquered region, having her do that in a Westeros ruined by years of war and utterly unprepared for the coming winter seems like the more logical, satifying and thematically strong choice, as well as one which leads easily into the C storyline while avoiding white saviour tropes.

      Then we wouldn’t have season 7 with its strange, and somewhat nonsensical ‘capture a wight’ plan. Instead, we’d have the big battle at Winterfell in season 7, then the remainder of the North fleeing south as the White Walkers approach King’s Landing for the final battle in season 8.

      1. Guest says:

        Yeah, it’s a massive problem. They know she’s “iconic” and she’s the main antagonist of the Lannister plot, but it’s been stretched way too thin. She’s entirely in the world of the political story, and the whole point of the series is that these feuding politics get in the way of people really coming together, which they have to, because “Winter is coming”. At the point where Daenerys has landed, with Dragons, and then, just to make things even more unbalanced, allied with the North, even Book!Cersei wouldn’t be stupid enough to keep being antagonistic.

        Then again, odds are good that Book!Cersei dies before the War for Dawn anyway.

    2. tremor3258 says:

      It’s always been a problem for Game of Thrones. Basic plot isn’t too far out for a lot of fantasy – you got this giant apocalypse brewing, a lost heir to the old regime with her ancient power plotting to retake it but everyone’s distracted by a dynastic struggle.

      In universe, almost no one knows, but the reader has since the very start and the drama disconnect has been getting stronger. And so everything’s been about the A plot and the B plot on the show cause the books are, and now it’s very hard to swing things around in terms of narrative space to the larger-scale C plot. So instead the C plot is playing into the A plot.

      I don’t blame Martin for not being sure how to get it out of the quicksand, as it were, but it is his fault for confidently leading everyone into it.

      Dany deciding she needed to learn more on holding rather than taking was a nice piece but it’s thrown a lot off. I half suspect by the time she makes it in the books the holding took so long to learn she’ll effectively be having to start from scratch so it ironically won’t have mattered for years to know how to administer a foreign power structure.

      1. Guest says:

        Nah, it’s the showrunners. In the books, Martin’s been steadily building towards the importance of uniting and fighting the Others in the North. For this to be Martin’s fault, the next two books would have to be wheel-spinning nonsense like the last couple of seasons of GOT.

        1. trevalyan says:

          When is the last time literally any leader in Westeros acted in a purely altruistic fashion? The problem with wallowing in nihilism, which was GRRM’s main problem, is the consequences. His characters would have to be preternaturally idiotic to trust each other (as Jon is to trust Cersei in the show). The land itself is dead and poisoned from years of war. No one, not even the Night’s Watch’s commander, has focused on the real threat as of the end of book 5.

          And the final problem is, he spent so much effort killing off characters his audience organically cared about that he has to resort to gimmicks to rescue the second stringers. If Tolkien resurrected Boromir- or Aragorn, for that matter- he would have a very different series.

  4. BlueHorus says:

    They’ve fully embraced Bran Stark being a Seer/Exposition Dispenser now, right? Maybe he knew Jamie was coming and wanted to see him in person.

    And if they get rid of Euron Greyjoy, who’s going to deliver completely implausible defeats to the good guys so that the season can be dragged out? Don’t you WANT to see Cersei continue to succeed despite being a textbook example of Stupid Evil?

    Finally, I keep imagining a Eunuch Support Group sitting in a circle every time there’s a ‘Ho ho, he has no COCK!’ joke:

    Varys: Hello again, everyone. Now, before we begin tonight’s meeting, we’ve got a new member attending tonight…Theon, why don’t you introduce myself?
    Theon stands up
    Theon: Hi, I’m Theon Greyjoy, and I’ve been castrated.
    Varys, Grey Worm and a group of Unsullied: Hi Theon.
    Varys: Nods Welcome to the group Theon. Now, for our first order of business – getting used to the way no one will ever shut up about our condition…

    1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

      Speaking of Bran, the show has so thoroughly conditioned me to be on the lookout for castration jokes that when Jon said, “You’re a man now” and Bran replied “Almost”, my first thought was to assume it was something about Bran’s waterworks not working, rather than him being crippled.

      1. “Bran replied “Almost”” was not in reference to him being crippled. If you look at Jon you’ll see the confusion too. Bran was referring to not being a “man” i.e. not being really Bran/Human any more, with his sight/powers he has lost some of his humanity.

    2. Chuk says:

      Bran pretty much said he was waiting for Jamie (but not by name) earlier in the episode.

    3. Fabrimuch says:

      The show’s Euron really should be Victarion. They have so little in common

      1. Guest says:

        I’d have loved to see Victarion show up to help Cersei instead of Euron. Adapt him right, you can play it into the Old Way fanatacism, and there’s just so much room for comedy there. I wouldn’t even be mad at the departure.

        Wacky rockstar pirate Euron is only funny in a cringy way. He’s like Deadpool, he seems to know he’s a character.

    4. Joshua says:

      “Don’t you WANT to see Cersei continue to succeed despite being a textbook example of Stupid Evil?”

      I haven’t watched the show since Season 3, but didn’t they give her a decent IQ upgrade from Book Cersei?

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Intelligence was never really her problem, though. She was too vicious, her first impulse always to lash out and hurt whoever opposed her, damn the consequences.
        It was why Margeary Tyrell was (for my money) such a good contrast. She’s not more intelligent that Cersei, she’s just avoided having Tywin Lannister as a father and the resulting emotional damage. Margeary was what Cersei could have been, with better parents.

        But yeah I did call her Stupid Evil….mostly because that’s a meme. I could go into theories about different types of intelligence, and emotion getting in the way of reason. but I’ll spare you.

        Nevertheless, as the show’s worn on, the consequences of her actions are very conveniently failing to catch up with her.

        1. Guest says:

          But that’s like, literally the point of her book plot. Tywin’s a pretty bad person and leader, and he only ruled through force, so everything he did falls apart when he dies.

          Cersei thinks she’s Tywin, but Tywin’s brutality was calculated, cold, and a sinister sort of evil. Cersei just lashes out, and that’s what results in her Walk of Shame, or her losing her whole fleet, Jaime’s loss of faith in her, and the incompetence of her council, or how she literally makes the Iron Bank fund her enemies because she insults them and refuses to pay them, despite also being Lady of Casterly Rock and capable of forgiving the Crown’s debt to the Lannisters as Tyrion asked of Tywin. AFFC is one of my faves, just because of how much of that book is in her head, as she mucks everything up.

          I feel like Show Cersei is about as dumb, but portrayed as more calculating, and the showrunners don’t understand foreshadowing, or having her failings catch up to her, outside of the WOS because it’s a “Big Moment” ugh.

  5. trevalyan says:

    One ridiculous thing: Lyanna Mormont is over-exposed at this point. If a major theme in GoT was that Patriarchy is Bad, how on earth do you expect a plucky 12-year old girl from a minor house to talk down to anyone? Much less her liege lord? Maybe she’s just A Boss, but she’s not exactly an intimidating fighter or skilled assassin.

    1. Vermander says:

      She’s a sort of composite character for all of the Mormont women. The women in that family are all fiercely independent, warrior woman types who can’t be bothered to conform to social norms, but Bear Island is something of isolated backwater, and they’re considered eccentric even by Northern standards.

      I find it pretty unbelievable that the show’s version of Jorah comes from that family though.

      1. Nessus says:

        Well, it could be read as providing added background to his courtly love for Danny. She would fit the mold of a Mormont woman.

        1. Guest says:

          Nah, Mormont women wear mail, and fight Greyjoys. Dany’s cool and all, but she’s not a badass warrior woman. And that’s not Jorah’s type anyway, he brought a Southron woman home to wife, and she hated the place. Jorah is basically chasing his lost loves through Dany, who he becomes interested in while she’s still basically a child.

          Jorah is a super bad dude, and the show still doesn’t realise that “Jorah-buy and sell slaves, and never learn your lesson” the paedophile isn’t meant to be a good guy.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      She’s perfect for the show’s particularly shallow take on inclusivity and progressive values, though.
      ZOMG a 12-year-old girl being Badass and Holding Her Own! Wait a minute, why is anyone paying attention to a child who has exactly two soldiers under her command? Shaddup, that’s why.

      I think she was also a meme at one point, too*. Let it not be said that the show doesn’t know what its fans are talking about.

      *#QUEENINDANORF! Seriously, she makes more sense as a candidate than Jon Snow did…

      1. newplan says:

        My favorite is when the actress called Sansa “Sandra” and they said, “screw it, leave it in”.

    3. Gargamel Le Noir says:

      She’s super charismatic, she was the first house to ally to Jon and was the deciding vote to make him king, all of which give her a political standing far above what she should command.

      1. Guest says:

        Yeah but… she’s not. She’s annoying, and talks big, but has very little. Her loyalty early on is worthy, but she’s a very minor character, and they’ve used her like that because it’s memeable, not because of anything else.

  6. RoboticWater says:

    When it comes to smashing the As, Bs, and Cs together, Martin will definitely have trouble seeing is his plot map is onto somewhere around F29(d), but the show deliberately hamstrings itself because it’s too cowardly to kill off its pet characters. Had the show bothered to throw repercussions at Cersei for bombing the church, the King’s Landing plotline could have come to its violent end, and we wouldn’t have to devote hours of time to watching Cersei’s (or Euron’s) bone-headed machinations.

    As for Jon’s parentage reveal, I feel like it would’ve been better had the brought Bran and the marriage record as evidence. It’s strange how Jon’s like “I don’t believe you, Ned was an honorable man” but was then immediately convinced once Sam said “he lied to protect you.” Backing that up with something other than sentiment would’ve been nice. In terms of actual direction though, having a prop for Jon to interact with (the parchment) might have made his “I need you to look shocked and confused for 10-15 seconds” a bit more compelling than just Kit standing aghast. And having the emotionally distant Bran there to throw out some lines could have better conveyed how overwhelming and strange this revelation is to Jon.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Sam researched for months and Jon trusts him more than any other man. AND Sam said that Bran had the same revelation. Jon would have to be pretty brick headed to ignore his most trusted friend AND his brother AND the fact that his brother is a seer with incredible powers. Also, Sam brought the journal with him, they just didn’t film Jon picking up the book and reading for 20 minutes and then the conversation starting back up because that’s not how TV works.

      1. newplan says:

        The idea of the Septon’s journal is so stupid that it’s funny.

        “Well, I annulled a marriage that already produced offspring and married the prince to another woman in secret (which is the exact opposite of a wedding) – better write it up in my journal and send it to someone – hmm, send it to the church archives? No! They’ll be expecting that – better send it to the Citadel.”

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Wait, really? That’s amazing!

          ‘Septon. This a matter of the utmost secrecy. You understand the importance of changing the marital status of the heir to the Seven Kingdoms? If this got out it would lead to war! You must not tell anyone!’
          ‘Oh, worry not, Your Grace. I won’t tell a soul. It’ll just be between you, me, and my diary which I’ll send to someone else. No problems!’

          I know that the show’s dumb, but seriously.

        2. Guest says:

          I love how ridiculous that is too, like, yeah dude, that marriage is totally valid. Never mind that the Church has to set aside the marriage, and they don’t know, that Dorne would go to war, which is already brewing, they’d likely join the mounting anti-Targaryen coalition if they could stomach fighting alongside Reachmen, and since the point of a political marriage is that the children of that marriage will be the heirs, Jon would still be a bastard

          oh god i’ve gone cross eyed. And then, like you said, best to write up this super secret thing, and send it off to a bunch of gossipy old men who are very much not impartial (And also sort of hate the Dragons).

          YAY!

          1. Olivier FAURE says:

            Also it’s kind of pointless, because has everyone points out, having Jon marry Daenerys and sort of remain King is the best for keeping the alliance strong.

            In fact, it’s so obviously the right course to take that Jon and Daenerys seem incredibly dumb for not considering it even though they had sex.

            Like, seriously, Daenerys was married off to a Dothraki warlord and she’s basically fine with it. Getting into a political marriage with the handsome man who is the only serious contender for the crown, has half the forces of the continent behind him and whom she has a crush on really shouldn’t give her pause.

      2. RoboticWater says:

        I’m not saying Jon should have been obstinate, I’m saying the scene was abrupt and awkward. Having a longer back-and-forth would mitigate that. Hell, I can’t remember Bran being in any emotionally compelling scenes lately; pitting him in with Jon and Sam would probably benefit his character as well.

        “Also, Sam brought the journal with him, they just didn’t film Jon picking up the book and reading for 20 minutes and then the conversation starting back up because that’s not how TV works.”

        Yeah, I clearly meant that there should be a scene of Jon looking at a book for 20 minutes. Don’t be obtuse.

        No, TV works as a visual medium. So rather than having two characters stand around awkwardly for a minute, maybe give them some props to work with. A piece of parchment to drop in confusion or anger, perhaps.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          They set up Bran waiting in the courtyard “waiting for a friend” for that end of episode stinger of Jaime seeing him right at the end of the episode. So Bran wasn’t going to join them for this scene. Plus, he currently has zero charisma (almost to a comical degree), so he would not have added much.

          1. RoboticWater says:

            “They set up Bran waiting in the courtyard “waiting for a friend” for that end of episode stinger of Jaime seeing him right at the end of the episode.”

            He waited there all night to meet Jaime in the morning, but there’s no narrative reason that he had to stay there all night. It only makes him seem strange and supernatural, which we already know he is.

            Why couldn’t he go with Sam to tell Jon, and then leave before the morning?

            “Plus, he currently has zero charisma”

            That’s the point. He’d be the “emotionally dead cop” to Sam’s “passionate cop.” That’s how you get interesting dialog: you play emotionally disparate characters off each other to create tension. Hell, that’s half the problem with the later seasons of Thrones; too many characters are so glib and tonally neutral that the dialog just ends up being boring witticisms or platitudes.

            1. Guest says:

              Alternatively, they could write Bran as a character, because he’s still a person. He’s lost some of his humanity, but he isn’t an object like the show seems to think. He’s a conflicted person who’s done some shitty things to get where he is, he’s been through a lot, and he still wishes he could have the future he’d dreamed of before his fall, and he loves his siblings.

      3. Lanthanide says:

        > Also, Sam brought the journal with him

        Did he? I mean, he probably did, but I don’t think this has been shown or stated anywhere. In his conversation with Jon instead of just saying “I read it in a septon’s diary” he could have said “It’s in this septon’s diary” or “I read it in a septon’s diary, you can read it yourself” or something.

        Even with the diary, how is anyone, particularly Daenerys, going to believe it? Unless Bran can share his visions with other people, this doesn’t seem like enough evidence to convince most people. Unless Jon just decides to marry Daenerys and make it so it “doesn’t matter”, thus carrying on the incest tradition too.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Sam mentions in his conversation with Dany that he took some books from the Citadel. It would make zero sense for him to NOT take the most important book of all if he was already taking some of them.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Had the show bothered to throw repercussions at Cersei for bombing the church, the King’s Landing plotline could have come to its violent end, and we wouldn’t have to devote hours of time to watching Cersei’s (or Euron’s) bone-headed machinations.

      Or ignore their Plot Armor/Assistance!

      Cersei’s story should have been over after her Walk of Shame. That was kind of the point of the character: she’s too bitter, too cruel and too shortsighted to rule competently and – like Tywin before her – unwittingly sowed the seeds of her own destruction while congratulating herself on doing well.
      But instead the show’s bent over backwards to protect her from the consequences of her actions and hand her victory, presumably because Ramsey Bolton and the Fookin’ Legend of Gin Alley are dead and someone’s got to be the writer’s Pet Badguy, right?

      I kinda agree with Shoeboxjeddy on Jon’s reveal. They didn’t include the lengthy research or the drawn-out ‘But how?!’ conversation he’d realistically have because that’s rehashing something the internet has already moved on from.

      Still, he really just stands there looking surprised? That does sound dumb.

      1. GoStu says:

        Re: Cersei, schemes. She really seems to have some triple-layered reactive composite Plot Armor, doesn’t she? She may not be quite Stupid Evil but it seems like other people are plain stupid when dealing with her.

        1. Guest says:

          Oh, she is Stupid Evil. She’s basically the living embodiement of it. She thinks she’s a genius, but she’s an idiot. Her best friend is a spy who’s informing on her, she’s getting fat because she’s a drunk, despite hating Robert for being exactly that (She blames her washerwomen), she thinks screwing Littlefingers spies makes them good agents for her, she keeps antagonising the Tyrells despite needing them to not die, she picks a council full of fools because she doesn’t like being told what to do, she arms the faith, then sets them after Margery, using one of Littlefinger’s spies, who breaks under torture and indicts her.

          Show! Cersei should have died in the Septsplotion. The whole point of Jaime’s reveal is that those stockpiles are under the ENTIRE CITY and Tyrion discovers that they’re still there. She shouldn’t have gotten away with blowing up the Sept, it should have destroyed the city. Would’ve been a fitting end. Instead, guess Aerys couldn’t have destroyed the city, guess that she can pay back the Iron bank apparently, and also now the Iron Islands are full of people and ships she can use to fight Dany, yeah, that seems reasonable. I can’t believe that the showrunners managed to mess up such a simple part of the story.

          And it was sooooo important that they keep her around. Now she has whatever Lannister and Greyjoy troops she had, and the GC, so like, 20000+ whatever, and even Dorne has 20000 men, and Dorne sided against her, along with what seems like the rest of Westeros, bar the parts owned by the Lannisters and Greyjoys, Yeah, they’re a real threat, the smallest army on the continent, led by an alcoholic with a god complex.

          1. Lanthanide says:

            Firstly, they used the wildfire stocks to destroy Stannis’ fleet.

            Secondly, Qyburn arranged for the wildfire under the Sept, so even if there was wildfire still under the city, Qyburn would have made sure that destroying the Sept wouldn’t have set it off as well

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Oh, there’s still wildfire under the city. This is because Cersei’s going to end up like Aerys, threatening to set it off and burn the entire city while rannting – then Jamie will be forced to kill her to save the city, again, and be super angst about it all.

              Seriously, I’d put money on it. That’s going to happen, because it’s exactly the right blend of ‘profound’, obvious’ and ‘contrived’ that this show loves.

          2. shoeboxjeddy says:

            Cersei absolutely CANNOT pay back the loans she owes. And the bank kind of knows this. However, they are still siding with her because they are TERRIFIED of the Dany Dragon army. Because that’s the one force that could say “we reject your concept of material wealth as valid” and get away with it. Like, how are you going to extract loan payments from a force that could fly over the ocean, find your headquarters, and set it on fire, killing everyone inside? They’ve basically decided to write off Lannister debt as lost and get small payments from the Crown so long as Cersei will help them destroy the dragon army. When that whole threat is over… they can have her killed and replaced if they really want to.

    3. “having the emotionally distant Bran there”
      Yeah they could have “silently” rolled him in behind in the dark then made a sound to have Jon suddenly look that way and the camera reveal Bran was there and ended the scene, having a possibly longer conversation happening off screen is not an issue for me.

      I’m assuming Jon and Sam had a longer conversation that we saw though.

    4. Dork angel says:

      Also he might be thinking. Hmmm, so that’s why the dragon let me ride on it’s back and didn’t just eat me…

  7. baud says:

    Is it normal that the post is filed under random and not Game of Thrones, like the previous ones on last season?

  8. Fabrimuch says:

    Ahh, Game of Thrones. The show I hate because it fundamentally misunderstands one of my favorite book series of all time yet watch anyway because its author refuses to publish the next book. Which infuriates me further because I end up feeling like I’m spoiling myself with a vastly inferior version of the story, but the only alternative is to wait until the end of times until George decides he’s done twiddling his thumbs.

    I didn’t have much of an opinion this episode, it was kinda boring and fluff for the most part. Hopefully next week’s will be better/worse so I can bring myself to care

    1. BlueHorus says:

      …I end up feeling like I’m spoiling myself with a vastly inferior version of the story, but the only alternative is to wait until George dies and Brandon Sanderson is drafted in to finish the story based on his notes.

      Fixed That For You.

      …oh god, I hope I’m wrong about that. :s

      1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

        Sanderson has been asked this question quite a few times, and he’s explicitly said that he wouldn’t do it and wouldn’t expect to be asked, as he’s not the right person for the story. Which makes sense, as the Sanderson Cosmere and ASOIAF share virtually nothing apart from the loose genre designation “Sprawling fantasy epic.”

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          In fact I kinda want him to try to do it just to watch epic amounts of RAAAAGE it would cause in the fans :D And to see his take :D
          Also fans by now should probably resign themselves the books are NEVER getting an end.

      2. GloatingSwine says:

        Nah. Given the tone and content of ASoIaF the natural person to take it over is Kentaro Miura.

        Except he’d take even longer to write it.

        1. Gautsu says:

          Better than having Martin finish Berserk

    2. “it fundamentally misunderstands” are you sure about that? Apparently R.r: Martin is fine with it.
      And the show diverging from the books is a good thing as you get two epic and different tales in Westeros instead.

      1. Vinsomer says:

        I’d argue that several key plotlines are fundamentally misunderstood. Such as Arya’s (in the books, it’s about the tragedy of violence: how it’s necessary for survival, but also brutal and dehumanising) which becomes about how badass it is to do cool knife tricks.

      2. Fabrimuch says:

        Yes, it fundamentally misunderstands the story it’s adapting. A Song of Ice and Fire condemns violence by showing it in all its ugliness and portraying how destructive it can be on physical, psychological and societal levels. It doesn’t shy away from showing it, but it very much wants you to be repulsed by it. Game of Thrones revels in its gratuitous violence and tries to make everyone into a badass, and it never gives a second thought to its implications. It has a very surface-level reading of the source material where “dragons burning people” + “sword fights” + “ice zombies” = “AWESOME!!!” that does the books a major disservice and turns them into mindless spectacle without substance. Mr. Btongue explains it best in this video essay.

      3. BlueHorus says:

        Outside of the themes, it’s also much more simplistic, far less clever and not nearly as nuanced as the books, in thousands of tiny ways that would be exhausting and boring to detail.
        Almost every character has had facets and depth removed for the show, events don’t flow into each other with the same inevitability as they did in the books, and a lot of stuff just happens because ‘it’s cool’. It’s like a fanfic.

        1. Fabrimuch says:

          Remember Season 3 when it took Jaime all 10 episodes to travel from the Riverlands to King’s Landing?

          Remember Season 7 when Gendry ran from beyond the Wall to Eastwatch, sent a crow to Dragonstone and Daenerys flew to the frozen lake where Jon was marooned and back in the span of half an episode?

          1. Guest says:

            And then remember that the season that happened in was mostly filler, and they totally had time to pace out their stupid wight capture story, and they just didn’t?

            Or where they jettisoned the Dorne plot, about the complicated morality of revenge and cycles of revenge, and the archetype of the chessmaster, and turned it into a Bronn and Jaime buddycop adventure?

            Or where they turned Brienne, the kindest, most noble person in the books, who’s defining moment is to stand, outnumbered, against bandits to save a group of kids, into a grump who bullies her squire incessantly?

            The showrunners don’t just miss the point, if they got the point of the books, they would actively hate it.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Don’t you get it? Brienne’s so grumpy because she’s sex-starved! And the irony is that she doesn’t know Podrick’s got an ENORMOUS cock!
              Hehe, it’s a good thing that she doesn’t have Theon or Varys as a squire, because guess what? THEY DON’T HAVE COCKS BECAUSE THEY’RE EUNUCHS!

              AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THIS SHOW IS SO CLEVER!

      4. Guest says:

        You haven’t noticed that he’s made it clear the show’s the show and the books are the books? Or that he decided he had better things to do than write an episode.

        Or the shade he’s thrown about dropped plotlines?

        Course he’s not openly badmouthing it, that’s unprofessional, and probably against his contract, but fine with it? Nah.

        1. “You haven’t noticed that”

          No because…

          #1 I don’t follow R.R. Martin nor am I a fan of him. Unless I stumble upon a article mentioning him (in which case I tend to skim it) I’m oblivious to what he does. I have nothing against or for him, though I do wish he’d get the books done soon (he ain’t getting younger nor I am, and I’d love to read the complete book saga with a proper ending to it as I avoid all books or series that has no proper end to it).

          #2 I have not read the books, but I expect the books to be “better” because R.R.Martin can dedicate ten pages describing something that is condensed into 10 seconds on screen.

          #3 The TV show is directly (due to licensing) and indirectly (due to the media/public attention) making R.R.Martin lots of money, I’m sure his books has sold better during the show than prior to it (similar to The Witcher games and the original author of those characters, except R.R.Martin is a much nicer guy IMO).

          #4 The TV show pander to a slightly different (or overlapping) audience, “the books are better” audience is not the target audience, it’s the “I don’t have time/I don’t read books” audience that are the target audience.

          #5 Would I have done things differently than the showrunnes? Hell yeah. Would I have followed the books? No way, you’d want something transformative.

          Now don’t get me wrong, I’m neither defending nor attacking the showrunners here. I understand them and why things are the way they are.

          I’m curious if a director’s cut will be available a few years after the show has ended, I’m assuming a lot of material filmed was cut (with and without special effects), some special effects could be redone or created, some scenes could be moved chronologically (I think sometimes they shoehorned travel into a episode before or after due to the “TV format length”.

          While this first episode seemed a tad slow paced, the pacing seemed consistent, if they are making the episodes “the length they should be” that would make the episodes better IMO, now HBO does not have commercials luckily or the show would be way worse as 1hr shows are not really 1hr due to commercial breaks.

          Another issue the series had was the show outpacing the books as well as budget constraints, Emilia Clarke becoming deathly ill at one point probably also caused issues, as well as issues with winter weather and so on.

          I’m glad they planned a end to the series early on, but I kinda wish they had gone for 10 seasons of 10 episodes of varying (free) length instead as I think that would have improved the storytelling and pacing more and avoided some of the time defying travel speed of some characters and so on.

          Some mentioned the dropping of the Dorne sideplot/story, I do not really miss it and think that they could have dropped that entire thing (including the Mountain fight), sure the poisoning thing did tie into the overall main plots but I don’t really miss the Dorne things at all.

          As to changing Aryas journey, I do wish we’d have seen more of her and the faceless man and such and her being able to Warg and so on. But other than missing seeing her killing off people on her list and I think the shows Arya character is okay as it is.

          I’m sure that when I eventually get to read the books (common R.R. finish them some day please. ;) ) I’ll start to get annoyed by differences etc. Although starting from the TV show and then reading the books could potentially cause me to get irritated in reverse direction of those that read the books first. I highly doubt I’ll do that, but you never know.

  9. SkySC says:

    I almost completely agree with your assessment. However, you don’t mention how damn funny this show can be. I couldn’t stop laughing during the scene where Daenarys tells Sam about his family. It’s like a joke. “Sam, the good news is, your dad that hated you is dead.” “Oh, well, I wouldn’t call that good news, he was still my dad. But I guess I can go home now that my brother is in charge.” “…. About that bad news.” And of course Jorah was standing awkwardly behind her the whole time, obviously wishing he hadn’t though to introduce them.

    It was also sad of course, since Sam actually appeared to react to hearing his family was dead. But it’s moments like these that remind me why I still watch this show.

    On the serious side, this scene makes me wonder if the showrunners have realized that the Daenarys they created is a blood-thirsty tyrant, and maybe they’ll stop treating her as this benevolent queen at some point. But I’m not keeping my hopes up.

    1. “Daenarys tells Sam about his family” I think was to show how set on revenge Daenarys is (to retake the throne of her family name/blood).
      With the path shes treading she could easily fall and became a Ice Queen. Sam even said such to Jon, that she would not be such a kind ruler as Jon would be. So Jon is now starting to get conflicted (and I think he’s seen her darker side before?).

      What I’m curious about is if Daenarys is aware of him she herself is acting.

      The showrunners I’m fairly certain that they are aware how bloodthirsty she is. I would not be surprised if Daenarys sits on the throne and then get stabbed by Arya.

      1. SkySC says:

        Unfortunately, I completely lost faith in these writers long ago. When they show us Daenarys murdering people in cold blood and then immediately afterwards declare that she’s some kind of saint sent down to liberate the people of Westeros from feudalism, I can’t help but get the feeling that they have no idea what this character is supposed to be. I got the impression from this episode that maybe they’re using Sam’s experience to try and show another side to Daenarys, but it’s hard to tell how seriously we should take that.

        After all, in this episode we had two different characters tell Sansa that she’s the smartest person they know, even though she’s an idiot who has repeatedly thrown away the lives of her allies for no reason.

        1. “Daenarys murdering people in cold blood and then immediately afterwards declare that she’s some kind of saint sent down”
          I think she is self-delusive, also note that she is the sister of the mad king (or was she the daughter?) that bloodline is really messed up.
          If Snow has to kill her near the end it would surprise me, but not seem out of place if she got madly power hungry.

          People saying Sansa is clever etc is to boos her confidence. She may be smart enough to realise that is what they are doing though, I guess we’ll also see if she is as smart strategically as Littlefinger was (and if she’ll have a similar fate).

          The Iron Throne is cursed and destroys all that try to gain it IMO.

    2. Guest says:

      Got the same opinion of Show! Dany. Reckon you’re right not to keep those hopes up.

  10. Kamica says:

    Hey Bob, just a little suggestion/request as a foreigner: When mentioning “football” could you perhaps add the “American” prefix before it? =P. It’s not that it’s overly confusing or anything, but it makes your content feel more aware that your audience isn’t only people from the US =P. It’s fine if you don’t, just a little request =).

    1. Fabrimuch says:

      I have to admit it sometimes confuses me too when someone talks about football and then mentions quarterbacks and stuff or something.

      1. SkySC says:

        I think it’s generally pretty easy to tell what kind of football someone’s talking about from context. Hint: if they mention the Super Bowl, that’s a dead giveaway.

        1. Kamica says:

          I know, it’s not for confusion, it’s more just a request, as, at least for me, it make me feel less like I’m eavesdropping on a US conversation =P.

  11. The episode was okayish. Notyhing dramatic and a nice reintroduction.

    What you missed saying Bob was that this was the showrunners setting up the pieces on the chessboard.

    The remaining episodes (5?) will all be varying length (which I think is good as this avoid bad cutting due to runlength constraints so hopefully better narrative?).

    The dragon riding sequences did drag on a bit (pun not intended), and personally I think they could have shortened that and showed more Jon and Daenery’s bonding at that waterfall.

    Speaking of the waterfall location, was this just a setpiece due to a location the crew liked, or will this have some significance later? I’m thinking of the phrase: “hide away a thousand years”).

    Tormund and Beric’s castle crawling was probably an attempt to make us concerned for the characters and then a “fake scare”. The pacing you mention is probably due to no runtime constraints, but I’d rather take too much “dead air” than too tightly cut.

    I also gotta agree with your thoughts on ending this show. I think the showrunners will do a “proper” ending. Will it be the ending the show deserves, or will it be the ending fans want? No clue. And I don’t envy R.R. Martin trying to find a way to end his book series either.

    And who will sit on the iron throne? That thing is cursed. I’m calling it now though:
    Jon and Daenery flee to her “kingdom” (Jon does not want to be king and he’ll persuade her to give up the throne too), Sansa is the Queen of the North. And Cersei sits on the iron throne but gets stabbed in the back by Tyrion whom is mortally wounded and sits on the throne as he slowly bleeds out, roll credits.

    But that’s just me, more likely Jon might end up revealing his heritage to unify not just the north but all forces (“the kings” army is rather large and as the rightful ruler he would be able to command them) but then abdicate the throne (and just remain King of the North, although I suspect he’d want Sansa to be Queen of the North instead). While Tyrion might be a good leader (if not he best) I don’t see the others choosing him.

    It would be interesting to see Sansa sit on the iron throne though, with Arya in the shadows behind, protecting her, Tyrion and the Eunuch (forgot his name) would make good advisers. I’d be pleasantly surprised though with such a ending, but I highly doubt this will happen.

    The ending will be very difficult to do. But I’m glad the show gets a proper ending, to many series get a sloppy ending due to it being cancelled before it had it’s run, or even no ending at all. (Babylon 5 suffered due to such issues)

    I do hope the showrunners manages to surprise us with the ending. Like maybe the white walkers are defeated and due to some reasons Bran Stark ends up sitting on the iron throne, then all other characters leave the room, suddenly he stands up and we zoom in on his eyes that are bright blue while he grins.

    I guess it does not matter what the ending is as long as it’s a good ending, i.e. that it “makes sense” that those who are alive are alive, that the one who sits on the throne sits there, and that most if not possibly all loose threads are tied up or at least clearly implied at what the fate of various characters will be.

    I’m also glad that the TV show diverge so much from the books as I’ll be reading the books once R.R. Martin finishes the series, and it’ll be like a whole new telling of the story with a new/unknown outcome of it all.

    1. Vinsomer says:

      I quite liked the dragon riding sequence. It added levity to an otherwise very serious episode, the gag with Drogon disapproving of Jon was alright, and it’s important to show that, while Jon and Daenarys are committed and motivated rulers, there’s a part of them that would like to just be free of the burden. Riding dragons would be cool as hell, and having characters actually acknowledge how cool and fun it is is something that really should have done sooner in a show with so much dragon-based spectacle.

      I know Daenarys has had control over her dragons for a while, but it’s interesting to see the degree of mastery she now has. Earlier seasons had her afraid of them, and even las season, when she unleashed them on the Lannister army it felt more like letting Drogon sate his bloodlust than actual, total control, to the point of letting others ride. The obedience they showed this episode was something that was a long time in the making.

    2. AndrewCC says:

      Jon revealing his lineage is absolutely not gonna unify anything. It will split him and Daenerys, turn him into her rival, with no gain, since the North already follows him (but might not if they learn he’s a Targaryen), Cersei won’t hear reason in any case, and Danenerys’ army could not give a shit who is the rightfull ruler or the 7 kingdoms, and follow her for reasons unrelated to that.
      The smartest thing Jon could do was tell Sam to never mention the revelation to anyone until the Night King is defeated.

      1. stratigo says:

        nah, just means they want to marry even more to fulfill the targaryan tradition of incest.

        I mean, where would this show be without incest?

    3. Geebs says:

      Since the opening credits make it pretty clear that the show is taking place inside a shell-world with an artificial sun, I personally think that the way it’ll end is that all of the different factions will line up for a climactic battle – and then the Culture will show up and arrest everybody.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Now THAT would be a twist and a half. Watching a sarcastic (and functionally invulnerable) Culture drone explain to the main cast that they have to settle their disputes with words now instead of violence would be hilarious.
        Every time someone raises a sword in anger, it’s instantly teleported away and replaced with a squeaky foam bat. Everytime a dragon tires to breath fire (or ice), the dangerous breath is replaced with a gentle breeze that smells like flowers.

        And Dany & Cersei get the worst punishment of all: taken away to comfy accomodation for the rest of their lives, and every day a patient and patronising voice from the walls attempts to explain in detail why they’re such terrible people.

        1. Guest says:

          That would almost make the last two seasons of crap worthwhile.

          Wouldn’t make up for Season 5 though. You’d have to lock the showrunners in there with them for that.

      2. Syal says:

        Oh man, the White Walkers surrounding King’s Landing, just to deliver the Day The Earth Stood Still speech and immediately turn around and go back north would be the most wonderful ending the show could have.

  12. TLN says:

    Every piece of drama in the series just feels completely manufactured at this point, and it drives me insane.

    Sansa has been built up over most of the show to finally be one of the smartest characters, and for someone like that there should be no reason whatsoever to be upset at Jon for bending the knee in order to save the north (and the world, at large). There’s been no indication that Sansa or the others in the north think that Jon is lying about the undead army, in which case why would they be upset that he decided to put their well-being before his own personal glory? It’s insane! If anything it should make them even more supportive of him, since it shows that he truly cares about the people.

    Similarly, they make a big deal of finally revealing to Jon that he’s a Targaryen, but this revelation means aboslutely nothing! The Targaryens were overtrown, and the same basically goes for the king who replaced him. Jon having a (dubious) rightful claim on the throne should not mean anything to anyone at this point. Anyone who supports him does so because he’s of the north, everyone to the south who matters is already dead or part of Cersei’s army. Nobody on that side is going to go “well I couldn’t possibly support a king in the north, but now that i know he’s related to the crazy incest family who we thought we had killed decades ago, I think I’m ready to stand by him”. Even if they try to push him as the rightful Targaryen heir over Daenerys, well it’s not like her army cares about House Targaryen at all so none of them would want to join him either. It’s a part of the book that they should just have gotten rid of because once they finally got to the payoff, they were already so far gone that none of it matters anymore.

    1. TLN says:

      Oh and also the conversation between Sam & Daenerys about his family played out like a comedy sketch, which I want to believe was not intentional.

      1. I believe it was intentional and I hope we’ll see more to the outcome of this exchange in episode 2.

        I believe the showrunners wanted to show how tone deaf Daenery’s has become.
        And Sam did say to Jon that while Jon was willing to give up the crown for the people would she be willing to do the same? That was Sam warning Jon that Daenery’s might decide to kill Jon if her soul really has turned really dark.

        Daenery’s has always been raised as a “ruler”, while Jon was raised as a “bastard” and regular man and it shows, she is arrogant cold and cruel, maybe a tad crazy, defiantly power hungry.

        It would be really interesting if Daenery’s got so distraught over the undead dragon and having to fight it that she ends up making a mistake and gets killed by the Night King then raised as a undead upon which Jon Snow has to kill her.

        I’m also gonna guess it’s Jaime (the king slayer) that ends up killing the Night King (and dying himself in the process).

    2. Joe Informatico says:

      Jon’s acting like a general. He wants to defeat the enemy as decisively as possible while minimizing casualties. He’s not really thinking beyond that goal. It’s telling he thinks always of strategy, but never really about statecraft.

      Sansa’s trying to act like a ruler and think about what happens the day after the war ends. Do all these thousand-year-old animosities between Northerners and wildlings and rival houses just evaporate because they’ve stood together against a common enemy? Or once that common enemy is vanquished, do the old hatreds start cropping back up? It’s all well and good for Cersei to claim support for the anti-zombie cause, but that’s easy for her to say when her lands, troops, and resources are all far south of the invading forces. Won’t it be easier to just let the Northerners and wildlings and Dany’s forces exhaust themselves against the White Walkers and then she marches in at the last minute and takes over? Sansa seems like the only one considering the possibility. (Well, probably Arya too, but her solutions would be more direct.) And Daenerys: are they just getting a new Targaryen ruler as brutal and oppressive as the one who killed their grandfather and uncle who their father helped overthrow? Why would that be something to look forward to?

      On the other side of the coin: I think we shouldn’t discount the power of the mythologizing of the past. The Targaryens held the Seven Kingdoms together for three centuries. Most of that was done through the threat of dragons, and after the dragons died, the system continued for another century or so out of inertia. But once Robert Baratheon usurps the throne, the “legitimacy” of the old system is shown for the convenient shared fiction it was, but it also sets a dangerous precedent: to become a king, you just need to kill the current king and have enough lords support you. That’s a recipe for constant chaos, so Robert’s reign is a mere 15 or so years of relative peace and stability before the War of Five Kings erupts in the wake of his death. I think it’s easy in such chaotic times for people to view the past with rose-coloured nostalgia: “Yeah, sometimes the Targaryens could be brutal tyrants but for the most part we had peace and stability! And I’m going to conveniently forget events like the Blackfyre Rebellions that don’t fit my narrative!” Someone like Daenerys, who promises to restore the old order, and has a name strongly attached to the old order, can be very attractive to people who’ve struggled with war and chaos and their attendant problems (famine, disease, displacement) for years.

      1. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

        All of that is very true and very insightful. The problem is, none of it seems to have occurred to the scriptwriters.

        Everything you just said could have been worked into the script and made for some fascinating conversations between Jon/Sansa and then Sansa/Tyrion (or Varys). It would have given us some worldbuilding and backstory, it would have fleshed out a lot of character motivations, and most importantly, it would have SHOWN Sansa acting clever, instead of the show beating us over the head TELLING us how clever she is. But no, that wouldn’t leave enough time for castration jokes.

        Your analysis here actually reminds me of Shamus’s writeup about Captain America: Civil War, in that there were some really deep and interesting considerations to a central theme that could have been brought up but were mostly glossed over by the script. In a Marvel movie, that’s fine because we were there to see superheroes fight. But in a show that kinda has its head up its own ass about being serious and grounded, it’s a big letdown.

        I’m not going to let the writers off the hook for this, because if a bunch of randos on the internet can talk about these things, a professional screenwriter sure as heck ought to be able to. And it’s always depressing to see professionals ignoring the cardinal rule of “show, don’t tell” because it leads to so much dissonance in a story. Bob has been pointing this out as it comes up- the show keeps telling us that Sansa is brilliant, but most of her political moves have been boneheaded and only succeed due to her having read the full season script. It keeps telling us that Daenerys is the best option for the little folk, then shows her acting like a power-thirsty autocrat who will ruthlessly crush/incinerate anyone who stands between her and ultimate power. Lately, it’s been telling us that food is suddenly important but so far hasn’t shown anyone suffering due to lack of food or making any important decisions based on food. If you want to look at what I consider the most egregious recent display of show/tell dissonance in popular media, look at The Last Jedi with the Holdo/Poe storyline. The script tells us that Holdo is a brilliant leader and Poe is a disaffected gloryhound, but it shows Holdo displaying unconscionable incompetence and lack of leadership skills, while Poe is shown to be regretfully doing his duty as a soldier devoted to the Resistance’s cause. But I digress.

        When I first saw this episode, I thought it was merely meh. But the more I talk and think about it, the more I’m baffled and brutally disappointed by the script. Like, I know the story really went off the crazy rails some time ago, but there are so many missed opportunities in this episode to actually say things of substance, none of which were taken. It’s a real shame.

        1. Kavonde says:

          To be fair on the food thing, Sansa did state that Winterfell had enough supplies for the winter. Which, in Westeros, means a period of several years on average. So it would make sense that food shortage wouldn’t become an immediate problem, even with the additional forces. The real problems would start cropping up later, and in the meantime, you’ll want to keep your soldiers well-fed for the upcoming battle.

          But, yeah, it’d be nice if they found the time to have characters discuss the bigger-picture ramifications of things. Hell, you’ve got Tyrion, Varys, and Davos hanging out together, and they’re the perfect mouthpieces for that sort of thing. I’m sure the books will go into it if they’re ever written, though. I mean, they basically have to, with the whole fAegon thing.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          For the record I have postponed reading the books until “the whole series is out” (so at this point probably “never”) and I don’t particularly care for the series so almost all my knowledge comes from Bob’s posts but at this point I fully expect the (script)writers are digging ever deeper into fantasy tropes and haven’t thought beyond the “the rightful king is revealed and his rightfulness somehow solves all the problems”.

          1. Syal says:

            If they sound interesting I’d say to read the first three. The first three books tell a complete story; by the end of the third book nearly every major player has either died or turned their attention outside Westeros, and so it feels like the central conflict has been resolved.

            They’re also the best books: 4 and 5 got kind of bloated trying to keep up with ever more characters while also ramping the conflict back up from “you can stop here” level.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Yeah…the best descrition of the most recent 2-3 books I’ve heard was on this site during Bob’s coverage of the last season (I forget who said it): ‘Turgid doorstops crying out for an editor’.

              It’s still as clever, as believable (dragons/magic/etc notwithstanding) and well written as always, but there’s just waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much of it.
              Abruptly introducing new characters*, new plotlines, new themes, new developments, characters dying but not really, plots often set in new countries, chapters very ending on cliffhangers…
              So the pace goes from ‘fast-paced and engaging’ to ‘slower than a glacier’. Added to that the rate of books being released also slowed down in a similar way…

              So yeah, ‘crying out for an editor’ is spot on. Writing a fanon ending to Book 3 is a great idea.

              *All with the same name, interestingly: Mr (or Ms) I Don’t CARE Tell Me About Tyrion Or Dany Or One Of The Other Plots You’ve Abandoned Goddamit!’

            2. Cubic says:

              I gave up someplace inside the fifth book, after foolishly trusting the note in book four that said unlike this one, the fifth book has all the good characters and it’s almost done too since he just has to split his giant manuscript. Well, it took just six more years to publish it and it sucked too. Who the hell is interested in the Meereeeeeeneeeseee knot or Tyrion riding a pig for a dozen chapters? Get on with it. Though at this point I’m no longer in the target market so take your time, George. You’re nobody’s bitch.

              Book three was published in 1999, by the way.

              I think a lot of the problems came from them deciding to stretch what was originally sold as a trilogy into infinity volumes.

        3. “there were some really deep and interesting considerations to a central theme that could have been brought up but were mostly glossed over by the script”

          But does the majority of the audience want that? Remember, you might be in a minority. The showrunner has to make a show that sells, regardless of their motives for telling the story they still need to make money on this, otherwise they won’t get future shows greenlit, like the possibly Star Wars (Old Republic?) show they might be making next.

          No writer/filmmaker intentionally tries to sink their career, and few have the luxury of ignoring “the market”, there have been a few (directors/writers/actors) that have had that luxury, the result is either usually weird experimental stuff that barely becomes even a kult classic, or it becomes a runaway surprise success.

          Writing a book is easier, you just need living expenses while writing, there is no production nor budget or investors and crew etc. Sure you need to worry about attracting publishers but generally speaking if a book is “good” it sells itself to some extent. Sure there is still a popularity thing in play where even crappy books may get popular because it’s trending.

          I think the showrunners of the show has played it a tad too same IMO, tits, castration, the rare schlong and killing off a main character in the first season may seem daring, but what I’ve heard of the books (which I’ve not read) this is pretty common stuff that occurs and the TV show could have shown so much more (but didn’t).

          Nor sure if I’ve said it before, but in case I have not…I wish the books had been completed first, that way the showrunners could have planned out the entire show start to end before shooting a single frame, I think the future/releases of the books being uncertain cause the show to diverge in a way that it would not otherwise.

          The showrunners would still have added/cut characters and remove subplotlines or added new ones for sure, but I believe the entire series would have felt more consistent and character progression more “natural”.

          “The WItcher” TV series will be in interesting as the showrunners there will have completed source material to work from.

          And the showrunnes of Game Of Thrones (forgot their names) if they do the Star Wars series will have blank slates as that won’t be based on any prior book/story, they’ll be making their own AFAIK(!?) which will show their true skills as writers (no prior author’s work to lean on).

      2. Guest says:

        Sansa is acting how the plot requires.

        “What to do after the war ends” includes basic politicking, like say, not having massive arguments in front of court and then calling your ruler a tyrant for saying that the obviously bad political move there is bad. And not doing things like getting hundreds of your own subjects killed because you refused to tell anyone else about the heavy cavalry, untouched by the war, that you have on the way, so that your forces can be outnumbered, flanked, encircled, and killed en masse rather than regrouping with said cavalry, or having a plan for the arrival of the cavalry apart from “Don’t die hopefully”.

        Sansa’s writing is the worst. They took an empathetic person, who understands courtly custom better than anyone, and learns politicking and scheming, and turned her into someone deeply untrustworthy, who’s political instincts are terrible, and they’re still playing with this “Is Sansa against Arya/Is Sansa against Jon” shit which was the single worst part of the last season. Her plots in the last two seasons could have been massively improved by her just having a basic conversation with someone, yet the person with the best interpersonal skills in the series doesn’t think of maybe doing that.

        1. “Her plots in the last two seasons could have been massively improved by her just having a basic conversation with someone”

          This is kinda funny, in the Deadpool “Honest Trailer” (where Ryan Reynhols crashes the narration as Deadpool) I think he admits that if only he (Deadpool) “had talked to her” then the movie could have been over in like a few minutes.

          Most drama/conflicts/wars etc is due to people not talking to each other. I think half the people in GoT are idiots. I haven’t read the books but I surmise the stupidity levels of the characters is just as high. You’d either have to be stupid or evil for things to get as messy as they are in Westeros. If everyone was smart and nice you’d have a utopia instead.

          Vary’s had a nice line/quote in this first episode of the season “Nothing lasts.” While it probably foreshadows the end of the show, it also is insightful. Westeros had Centuries of peace under the Targayans but that did not last either. Something (or someone) always screws something up somehow through malice or stupidity.

          While it would be nice if all characters was “smart” it would be boring, there would not be war as the losses would be s waste, instead we’d have plenty silent or isolated deaths with little to no evidence (which happened a lot among the royal bloodlines or Europe and Asia over the millennia).

          For example a TV series about vampires (think along the lines of Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines) would have to be subtle/subversive as high profile war would almost assure the destruction of one or both sides.

          Daenerys reminds me of Conan The Barbarian in some ways, only he never smiled and tried to be nice or diplomatic. Both have plenty of anger and desire for revenge though (though Id’ argue Conan had a nicer heart).

    3. “Every piece of drama in the series just feels completely manufactured”

      That made me laugh, as if what R.R. Martin is writing in the book’s aren’t manufactured? This is all fiction remember? Not historical records!

      And the fact that we are discussing all this means it’s working. If it was boring and uninteresting nobody would bother saying anything (as it’d feel like a waste of time doing so, unless one likes to write to silence the screaming voices of the netherworld).

      I guess what you mean is that it feels “unrealistic”? If that is the case you’ll have to evaluate what the reality of the world is. Now you can’t directly compare the TV show and book series as generally speaking they take place in alternate realities.

      So if you evaluate the TV show on it’s own, is the behaviour of characters consistent with their previous behaviour? Or if not then does their change in behaviour make sense or feel like it progressed in a way that is natural (magic influence or blackmail influence would also count as “natural” in this case).

  13. Matt says:

    On the other hand, this is the first episode of the season and it makes sense to reintroduce us to the cast and remind us who’s up to what.

    I disagree with this and I think it wastes valuable screen time. Virtually no one is “just getting into the show” at this point, and if they were, every prior season is available on HBO streaming, they ran the entire series at least one HBO channel for the last month or so, and there are hundreds of recap videos available on YouTube. The show itself doesn’t do much with the idea of episodic or season arcs or themes. The episodes simply serve to break up a really, really long narrative into more digestible chunks.

    Every minute of remaining screen time is valuable in a series as dense as this, and the time has come to do away with the archaic conventions of pre-streaming television. My suspicion, like Bob’s, is that they lack meaty ideas to conclude the series with and will instead rely on call backs, soap opera tier non-flict, and CGI set pieces.

    1. “Virtually no one is “just getting into the show” at this point”
      Not true, did not somebody else in this very comment section say that haven’t watched GoT since season 5 ?

      The show has also been off air for more than a full year, and it’s also very common (in the US at least) to recap, sometimes when just returning from a commercial break (attention span issues?).

      Not everyone wants to binge watch the prior season(s) to catch up, and while watching the last two eps of prior season might help for some it might not for others.

      I’m one of those that don’t watch stuff life, just recordings. That way I can skip past recaps, or fastforward/skip past stuff I’m confident I know what characters say or will do (seeing a lot of movies and TVs makes you able to recognise certain narrative things and I can retain the gist of things even when skipping past “boring” things.)

  14. Joshua says:

    “Season seven saw Dany’s return to Westeros, and immediately there was a problem: she had the best infantry (Unsullied), the best cavalry (Dothraki), and the best artillery (Dragons). There was no one in exhausted, divided, and dragonless Westeros who could plausibly challenge her.”

    Someone referenced some of the meta writers the last time Bob did this series, and I’d like to thank them for that. Turtle-Paced is my favorite, and I think she brought up a really compelling argument that this is the natural problem that resulted from removing the Aegon plot from the show. The theory is that by the time Daenerys finally makes it to Westeros with her Dothraki and mercenaries, she’s going to find out that Aegon’s already taken out most of the opposition already and somewhat unified Westeros. “Thanks for showing up, Aunt! Now, I need you to bend the knee and pledge fealty to me. Hand over your dragons too, that would be greeaaat.”

    And after all of her struggles, she’s not going to do it, and we’re going to have a second Dance of the Dragons. Especially when she will likely have been told by Tyrion that Aegon is a fake (and confirmed it for herself by visiting Illyrio in Pentos). So, she’s going to have the big army and Dragons, but she’s going to have all of Westeros against her.

    1. Guest says:

      Turtle paced rocks. Poor Quentyn is good too, they’re really good at the themes.

      Taking out Aegon was a big mistake I reckon. Aegon v Cersei and then Dany v Aegon should have been the resolution of the political plot leaving the space clear for the apocalyptic one. The last two seasons would have made much more sense, and the conflicts are literally already set up, no need to invent them.

      I’m also disappointed we never got the Battle of Ice. I wanted to see that Frey cavalry charge onto cracking ice and just get wrecked by Stannis the Mannis.

    2. stratigo says:

      I mean, the unsullied are terrible infantry (lightly armored spear men verse full armored lannisters? I tell you who logically wins that fight). The dothraki are terrible cavalry (Let’s CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE with our manly bare chests, zero bows and zero lances like no cavalry force has ever done ever in history. Give them some bows and spears for god’s sake)

      All she has is dragons.

      1. Karma The Alligator says:

        “All she has is dragons.”

        As if that wasn’t a big enough advantage.

    3. “There was no one in exhausted, divided, and dragonless Westeros who could plausibly challenge her.”

      I’m gonna guess that Cersei’s army and the Night Kings army merge at some point (she either ally with him or her army falls to his), her baby has dies (notice how she drank wine) and has probably no will to exist among the living any more now that Jaime betrayed/abandoned her.

  15. Joe Informatico says:

    I’ve read a lot of epic fantasy in my life, and I’ve almost never been satisfied by the endings of any of them. Lord of the Rings remains one of the best, in that it caps off the book’s themes very well, and has the heroes succeed in the quest they set out to do, but there’s also a melancholy and a real sense of loss and the world has changed forever. Very few of those following after Tolkien seem to quite pull it off, and even he arguably doesn’t fully stick the landing (that probably depends on how you feel about the Scouring of the Shire).

    But the typical epic fantasy is just so front-loaded (and mid-loaded, and second breakfast, and elevensies) with worldbuilding and cool moments and characters. Like that article Bob links to above says, when the story gets this sprawling and broad, how can you possibly tie all up in a satisfying way? I don’t know why I keep reading epic fantasy when I know it will only disappoint me, and when sword-and-sorcery is right there with its more focused scope and scale and fun stories and characters.

    1. “how can you possibly tie all up in a satisfying way”
      That’s true and a issue R.R. Martin is struggling with right now for his books I assume.

  16. Nimrandir says:

    . . . the endings of big-ticket “television events” don’t have the greatest track record. The only one I can think of that ended on a real high note was Breaking Bad, and even then there were differences of opinion.

    This is obviously dated by comparison, but M*A*S*H had a massively popular ending which was (I think) well received critically.

    Also, I’ll always have a soft spot for the finale of Newhart.

  17. Kavonde says:

    And the teaser for the next episode seemed to indicate that the wights could be showing up at Winterfell as early as next week. If so, that’ll certainly count as picking up the pace. However, Miguel Sapochnik, who so far has been their go-to “big battle scene” guy, doesn’t direct until the third episode. So we may have to wait until then.

    The third episode is also going to be the longest of the season, so I think we can safely assume that’ll be the Battle of Winterfell.

  18. JDMM says:

    Absent any developments I’ll make something of a prediction, Game of Thrones will either have a lengthy epilogue or it will have a disjointed Return of the King-esque super long ending with multiple separate endings
    GRRM has spoke about how he admired the scouring of the shire and how part of what inspired ASoIaF is that the ending was “and then Aragorn was a good king” without details (what does it mean to be a good king, to the vast majority of people reading this post it means to give up all your power to the people because hereditary government is horrifying) so I imagine say by episode 6 of 8 all the main stuff will be wrapped up and there will be something of an epilogue as to how Westeros will be governed or the showrunners will take those notes and make three endings ala Return of the King

    1. I doubt the showrunners will do multiple endings as the tv show itself is alternate telling of the books story.

      As to a epilogue. I hope Tyrion survives and he’ll narrate while the the camera jumps around Westeros and cuts to characters meeting/coming home/leaving with the odd line of dialog etc.

      They may try a little twist with someone sitting down o the throne and then a “War Never Changes” fallout like narration as we cut to the far south (south of Danerys lands) and we see a firebeast crawl out of a vulcano or something.

      I just hope the narration director is better than whomever worked with Peter Dinklage in the game Destiny.

      I truly hope that the latter half of the last episode is dedicated to tying up things. I don’t like rushed things, seen to much anime that wraps up all threads during the end credits scroll in just a couple minutes which feels unsatisfactory. So I hope the showrunners don’t do that with GoT.

    2. “so I imagine say by episode 6 of 8”

      Actually there is only 5 more episodes (6 in total).

      The entirety of season 8 is basically a long ending to the series.

  19. Fiat Lux says:

    Oh please let them not “tie it up”.

    Season 8, Episode 1 should have begun in medias res with a relentless undead onslaught, lasting up to the end of this episode, or maybe even up to the end of Episode 2. At least sowing doubt, hatred and dissent among all the unlikely allies spiced up the events that will follow, but I do hope they will get to it very soon. This show needs at least one full episode of carnage. Then the undead WIN. Many of the characters (I’d put eight as a good number) we know and love die brutally in the process, with nary a minute to mourn one as another meets their fate. Sadly, if the battle on the ice was any indication, the show lacks the balls to pull something like this off.

    Continuing in the same vein, after they undead have won, most everyone remaining now hates everyone else but has to work together as the undead march south. Then Cersei’s armies appear, killing off more of the remaining notherners, and then there’s Big Battle #2 (circa Episode 4) and the undead WIN and then just stop. Everyone who is left takes refuge on the Iron Islands or wherever they can hide. Then years later (epilogue, Episode 6) summer returns and the undead retreat way up north. The wall is perhaps rebuilt, and the show “ends” with the regular amount of backstabbing and political intrigue as men will return to being men and everyone just wants to win at the Game of Thrones. No golden age, no great victory, no unified empire, no Pax Targaryena, just the same old shit cycle going on and on. Nothing is new under the sun after all. What’s important are the sacrifices and moral decisions of the individuals, even though in the grand scheme of things they don’t really matter.

    (Like that’s ever gonna happen. Well, a girl can only hope.)

    Barring that, I hope Dany is a ruthless tyrant in the making. Targaryen blood and all, right? Jon will have to decide – his heritage notwithstanding – whether he allies with her or turns against her. Knowing he has a claim to the throne actually hinders him, as he is extremely reluctant to lead. In true GRRM fashion, whoever is most ruthless shall win – be it Cersei, Sansa, or Dany (have you noticed how most of the powerful characters on the show, both character-wise and politically, are now women?). But if ruthlessness is still the gold standard, then my money is on the Night King. Please let it be so. If the writers want to “wrap it all up” they should at least make it so that the bad guys win.

    (Insert GIF of flying pigs)

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *