Game of Thrones Season Eight: “The Bells”

By Bob Case Posted Monday May 13, 2019

Filed under: Game of Thrones 186 comments

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

In the second-to-last episode of the series, we’ve reached what will almost certainly be the show’s final battle. Dany and her forces are preparing to attack King’s Landing, and the Lannister/Ironborn/Golden Company side are set up to defend. Arya and the Hound are on their way to kill Cersei and Gregor, respectively. Tyrion and Varys are worried about Dany’s increasing unhingedness. Cersei is smirking and drinking wine, as usual. Euron’s fleet is out in the bay.

Dany, meanwhile, has lost patience with Tyrion’s reasons not to attack the seat of her only remaining enemy, and wants to assault the city, civilians inside or no. Tyrion persuades her to call off if the city surrenders, which will be signaled by them ringing the sept bells. This was the point at which a feeling of horror started to grow in the pit of my stomach.

You see, I don’t deliberately seek out leaks. However, Game of Thrones isn’t just a show at this point. It’s an entire online ecosystem. Sometimes you pick them up by osmosis. Amongst the leak-adjacent fandom, I had noticed several references to something that had already been nicknamed “bellgate,” and insinuations that Dany hated bells. Because of this, I started bracing myself for something stupid to happen as soon as Tyrion mentioned bells being important. What’s more, he keeps mentioning it – no fewer than four times according to my notes.

The Golden Company, of course, deploys outside the walls. It's clear at this point that Westorosi conventional wisdom holds that you put your soldiers in front of fortifications instead of behind them.
The Golden Company, of course, deploys outside the walls. It's clear at this point that Westorosi conventional wisdom holds that you put your soldiers in front of fortifications instead of behind them.

First Dany and Drogon destroy the Ironborn fleet. Yes, all of it, as near as I can tell. This is the same fleet that saw her off with a volley of fire from what the show calls “scorpions” just last episode. These scorpions are on the ships, on the city walls facing the bay, and on the city walls, and Drogon just… destroys them. All of them, as Qyburn later tells Cersei. Then dragonfire goes right through the city’s gate, reducing it to rubble, and dispatches the entire Golden Company.

So that’s the scorpions, the Iron Fleet, and the Golden Company, all gone in roughly six total minutes of screen time by my count. We finally have a sense of what a dragon can do to stone buildings: completely destroy them. Why didn’t Dany do this at the beginning of season seven, when she first arrived in Westeros? I have no idea. She didn’t want to be “Queen of the Ashes,” we’re told, but despite it being repeatedly established that the city is full of smallfolk, Dany has now cut through its defenses like tissue paper with no civilian casualties that we can see. I don’t personally plan on rewatching the show, but I’d be curious to know how people that do get through the entirety of season seven knowing that Dany could have done this at any time, and would have had three times as many dragons to do it with.

With the enemy inside the walls, the Lannister soldiers throw down their swords, and the inhabitants of King’s Landing, noticing that they’re utterly outmatched, ring the bells to surrender. This angers Dany, so she burns down the entire city. I apologize for the abruptness of that sentence. While writing this, I tried out several different ways of describing her actions and the possible reasoning behind them, but all of them implied the presence of complexity that just isn’t anywhere to be found in the source material. Dany is angry, so she burns down the city.

The episode uses this shot several times as more and more of the city goes up in flames. It takes a long time. Pretty much the entire last half hour of the episode is either Dany burning King's Landing or people running away from Dany burning King's Landing.
The episode uses this shot several times as more and more of the city goes up in flames. It takes a long time. Pretty much the entire last half hour of the episode is either Dany burning King's Landing or people running away from Dany burning King's Landing.

Those that defend the show’s writing sometimes point out that this development or that one has been foreshadowed, or, to use a common term among the fandom, “seeded.” It’s true that the possibility of Dany becoming the “Mad Queen” – just as Aerys was once the “Mad King” – has been referenced going back several seasons. She is a Targaryen, after all. But just because something has been foreshadowed doesn’t excuse bad execution. Dany has lost a dragon before, lost friends before, and been betrayed before, all without committing indiscriminate murder. On the occasions where she did kill lots of people, the show rewarded her for it, as when she somehow gained the loyalty of the Dothraki by killing their khals and burning down an important religious site.

So why Mad Queen Dany now? The most likely reason that I can come up with is that Benioff and Weiss just want the show to be over. If rumors are correct, HBO was willing to do a total of ten seasons of ten episodes each. But I get a palpable sense that the showrunners have lost interest in this story and want to wrap it up as quickly as possible. I know that some that watch this show will buy Dany’s actions in this episode as believable within the context of a consistent character. I’m not one of them. Near as I can tell, the writers wanted us to think that Dany was cool and badass until they wanted us to think she was crazy, and that’s that.

An artist's interpretation of what Dany should have done in S7E2.
An artist's interpretation of what Dany should have done in S7E2.

I know there’s a lot that happened in this episode that I haven’t mentioned yet, and I think the best way to do it is character by character.

Varys: Varys believes Jon would be a better ruler than Dany, so he asks Jon to turn on her in plain sight within earshot of several witnesses, including Tyrion, who he knows is still on Dany’s side as of their last conversation. This is the guy they once called the “Master of Whispers,” remember. His comically inept attempt at a coup ends with Drogon burning him into cinders. RIP Varys. May you join Young Griff in book heaven.

Arya: Arya goes to King’s Landing to kill Cersei, making it as far as the Red Keep before the Hound talks her out of it. On several practical levels, this scene didn’t really make sense, but the actors sold it and it ended up kind of working. Arya survives about six different buildings falling on top of her as she escapes the city. At the end, she finds a white horse. This is presented as though it’s some kind of symbolic, important moment, but I have no idea what it was supposed to mean. This show honestly just mystifies me sometimes. At least she didn’t die.

The Hound: We finally get #Cleganebowl. The Hound ends up tackling his brother out of the Red Keep and several hundred feet down into the burning city. It wasn’t bad as fight scenes go, but it was inserted into the story in a way that made it pointless. The Red Keep was going to collapse anyway, and Cersei’s forces were completely defeated, zombie Gregor or no. RIP Sandor. May you forever eat every fucking chicken in the Quiet Isle in the sky.

Qyburn: Zombie Gregor throws him into a wall and kills him. It was so abrupt that it almost seemed like they were playing it for comedy.

Cersei: She ends her run on the show distraught over the imminent death of her unborn child, then there’s a Rocks Fall Everyone Dies on the Lannister twins. Credit to Lena Headey that it’s somewhat affecting, but I’m not sure this show ever bothered trying to understand Cersei. At least she ended up a more consistent character than her brother.

Jaime: I wondered earlier how season seven would hold up under a rewatch knowing how easy King’s Landing would have fallen this whole time. I wonder the same thing about Jaime Lannister’s entire character arc. His development over the last several seasons, his relationship with Brienne, his rejection of his sister and recognition of what she is, his sister literally hiring someone to kill him – all of it thrown into a wood chipper in the second to last episode of the show. Oh yeah, he killed Euron, so that was nice.

Euron: Euron is finally dead, hopefully. We never actually see him die, which makes me nervous. Fingers crossed.

Jon: Jon didn’t really do anything this episode except say things like “she’s my queen” and “I don’t want to be King.” He did stab a bunch of people during the battle. It occurred to me while watching that Kit Harrington probably has the best action scene chops of any of the main characters.

Tyrion: Tyrion walked around and looked sad a lot. Does anyone know that he freed Jaime? He does it the night before the battle, but no one seems to notice or mention it at any point.

I won't lie, I'm kind of disappointed in Varys' penmanship.
I won't lie, I'm kind of disappointed in Varys' penmanship.

On the critical front, the show is experiencing what has become its usual second half of the season backlash. “The Bells” is the first episode to (currently) have a sub-50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Big chunks of Twitter have shifted into full-on hater mode. Of course, we’ve seen this happen before, but this time there won’t be another season to coax the angry part of the fanbase back with promises of boatsex or oathsex or cleganebowl or whatever is was they still wanted to see.

Either way, there’s one last episode to get through. See you next week.

 


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186 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season Eight: “The Bells”

  1. Preciousgollum says:

    So, up until minute 42, the episode was…OK.

    Strangely, before I continued at around 40 minutes, I had to pause Game Of Thrones, because my online shopping had arrived. After putting this shopping away, I returned to watching what I can only presume to be somebody messing with my streaming service by inserting a phony B track or blooper episode reel with downright silly stuff happening. Straight after unpausing, it went from being meh… to a complete disaster of epic proportions. Mass Effect 3 level problems.

    What I am saying is that minute 42 was the moment where Game of Thrones Jumped the Dragon entirely, by insisting on playing everything so safe, yet so misdirected, with such little time remaining in the series. It somehow ended up worse than I could ever have imagined, and makes some phony scripts look decent by comparison.

  2. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

    I feel like these writeups are getting shorter and shorter as the season goes on and you have less and less to say that isn’t just variations on “I told you so!” :D

    1. Matthew Downie says:

      Bob’s moment of “Story Collapse” (https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=17745) happened some time ago. Mine was this episode.

  3. DecVegFuckFace says:

    I felt the burnout and general apathy with this review.

    I don’t blame you. DnD are clearly feeling the same way.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      The strange thing about this episode’s ‘twist’ (oooh The Bells get it… so clever), is that it was actually ‘seeded’ in early (March) 2016 where the producers of the show were trying to compare Danaerys to that German guy with the moustache around the 1930-40s – ask your grandparents if you still can. The problem is that I don’t think many people were looking for Danaerys to heel-turn into becoming Fantasy Dragon Riding Lady Hitler. Dammit, not everything in fantasy has to remind of or be compared to WWII or 9/11.

      Now the only ending that I think would salvage GoT would be if (Drogon?) The Dragon simply ate Dany (and Jon), and sat on the Iron Throne (squashing it) as Beast Monarch, and Westeros now has no ruler except the Dragon. Maybe that’s what the marketing promos already foretelling by having pictures of The Iron Throne with Dragon eyes. This sentiment is retracted if Jon gets the Dragon to eat Dany… or if the dragon shows any remorse whatsoever. It is a effing Dragon and it does whatever it wants. People in Westeros could then be considered ‘chosen’ if they get eaten by the Dragon. The Dragon just flies around representing absolute, untamed power. Dragon.

      What does a Dragon have to gain from burning Kings Landing under the orders of The Mad Queen?

      1. Fabrimuch says:

        Now I want to see a story about a human kingdom ruled by an actual feral Dragon.

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          I haven’t finished it, but isn’t the game Dragon’s Dogma basically that story (of a realm ruled by dragons)?

          1. The Rocketeer says:

            No. It’s a land ruled by… well, by the Dragon’s dogma. It’s a long story.

        2. Jack says:

          I so dearly want to recommend a book right now, but the dragon-ruling part is a spoiler, so I’m not sure.

          1. Syal says:

            Is it the same one people mentioned in the last episode’s comments? If it is I’d think it’s fine.

            1. trevalyan says:

              There is a statute of limitations among nerds, my friend. If even the slightest exposure to that world shows how a dude ends up happily married with more money than he thought possible, you can talk about him and the book.

              1. Syal says:

                …are you talking about that D&D story about the Salt Dimension?

                1. trevalyan says:

                  The Salt Dimension is where Dany fans are. So no. One word: Pratchett.

          2. Fabrimuch says:

            Oh please do!!

            1. PeteTimesSix says:

              Since nobody else did yet, Ill do the honors:

              Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.

              Which incidentally happens to be an excellent jumping-on point for the Discworld series as a whole.

              1. Fabrimuch says:

                Thanks! I’ll be sure to check it out. Always wanted to get into Discworld

                1. MelfinatheBlue says:

                  And don’t forget to picture Lord Vetinari as Charles Dance. He’s not the only person who’s played him, but he’s my fav.

          3. Chad Miller says:

            I have a strong preference for both naming the book and not spoiler-tagging it (though you can use html strike tags to spoiler tag on this site)

            A spoiler tag or warning is essentially to let the reader decide if they want to know what you’re about to say yet. If you have half a post about Avengers: Endgame and spoiler tag the other half, people will realize you’re saying “You may want to finish the Marvel movies before you read this post”. If you’re talking about a TV show and start spoiler tagging things, people will realize you’re saying “you may want to finish this show or the season I’m talking about first.” If you start talking about the Mass Effect 3 ending and your post degenerates into spoiler tags, then people will realize you’re saying “I understand you may not want to read profanity.”

            By censoring the name of a book, what are you saying? “Sorry I don’t want to ruin this book for you. Go read every book ever and hope you happen across the one I’m talking about?”

            1. Joshua says:

              This gets really bad on TV Tropes, where some people feel the need to Spoiler Tag everything. This makes sense a little bit on pages for the tropes themselves, but less sense on an actual work’s page. I’m pretty sure that if I’m reading the main page for something like Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, I’ve given up the right to be annoyed that someone didn’t Spoiler Tag the description for Heel/Face turn or something.

              1. Chad Miller says:

                TVTropes actually cemented my strong opinions about this. I’ve personally gone so far as to mass-remove literally all spoiler tags from individual pages that got too far out of hand with it (with appropriate top-of-page disclaimers and discussion page threads to explain and get other people on board)

                1. Smith says:

                  So you unilaterally went from one extreme to the other? That…honestly, that makes you sound worse. Almost like – dare I say it? – a Wikipedia editor.

              2. Smith says:

                I feel differently – I know people sometimes stumble across works pages then decide if they want to consume the work – but it does drive me nuts when people on TVTropes describe events, and then spoiler the names only, even though that literally only makes it slightly less of a spoiler.

      2. Sartharina says:

        The dragon clearly gains a LOT of experience from all those mooks. Maybe even enough to level up!

        1. Matthew Downie says:

          I don’t know if that’s how it works with dragons? I think they just get bigger and better with age. A really ancient dragon that’s, like, six years old will be massive and contain infinite fire.

          On the other hand, humans clearly do work that way. This is why Arya has so many hit points.

          1. Sartharina says:

            Maybe Dany needed the XP, then.

    2. Preciousgollum says:

      Heh, burnout.

  4. Preciousgollum says:

    Westeros is full of cruelty and misery, nihilism and power-struggles, but a woman throws ONE city-wide barbecue and suddenly everybody thinks she’s bad news.

    1. Sartharina says:

      Wasn’t this the city that cheered for Ned Stark’s execution?

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        Well, as far as the average commoner was concerned, he was a treasonous liar who tried to murder the rightful heir to the throne in order to increase his own status.

  5. Johan Lundgren says:

    They tried pretty hard to sell Dany as making a machiavellian choice, “better to be feared than to be loved”, so I wonder if the next episode will be about the addendum “so long as you are not also hated”.

    As a broad theme, I think this is a great story to tell. The problem is that they started telling it pretty much in the last three episodes of the show, seemingly as a twist. That’s pretty bad.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      But Dany isn’t better to be feared, and clearly now hated by everyone, since all the characters did really long stares without any words. That means somebody did a bad thing, because Dany isn’t going to tolerate ruling a Mute Kingdom. The United Nations of Westeros documented the atrocity, and it was even watched by White Northern PTSD Jon ‘Jesus’ Snow… who is the true King of Kings, and free of any sin. So, Dany is going to hell. Kings Landing is now her own personal hell because HBO loves its biblical allegory.

      Also, Dany is now The Witch Queen of Magmar – terrorising The Red City on her Fellmount, potentially, no *living* man can kill her. *Cough* Jonsnow *cough*.

      1. Thomas says:

        Well if D&D suddenly found out A Song of Ice and Fire is supposed to be about how escalating violence is a shortcut that destroys everything, I’m sure they’re going to squeeze what should have been Cersei’s 8 season arc into 1 episode for Dany.

    2. Mark says:

      Machiavelli said it was safer to be feared than loved, because the love of the people is fickle.

      Almost everybody misquotes this.

      1. Christopher Wolf says:

        It was also political satire, diametrically opposed to his actual beliefs. Most people are not aware of that.

        1. Matthew Downie says:

          Most historians are aware of that claim and are not convinced.

          (I’m unsure. It seems very un-Machiavellian to publish a book about how to be Machiavellian.)

          1. Sabrdance (Matthew H) says:

            His entire body of work is on Republicanism -so a straight reading of The Prince is hard to square with, for example, Discourses on Livy. On the other hand, “the exact opposite of his beliefs” is probably too strong a statement. He isn’t saying “and this is why you shouldn’t have princes,” so much as he’s saying that “if you can’t make a republic work, you can at least not have an incompetent tyranny.”

            1. Thomas says:

              I originally didn’t see The Prince as something that needed explaining. He’s not describing how the world should be, just how it is. There aren’t many dictators today who don’t have a nasty secret service backing them up, because fear works. That doesn’t mean I want to be ruled by a dictatorship.

              And he even makes some pleas for some sense amongst that world.

              However after hearing about his other work, it does seem more plausible that he was being somewhat ironic.

          2. Grimwear says:

            As far as I’m aware most historians do believe it was satire. At least the professors who made me read it in university were. Taken into context it was written for a man that Machiavelli hated, who tortured and exiled him. Some maintain that Machiavelli was hoping that The Prince would get him a place in office but honestly that seems naive. By all accounts Lorenzo De’Medici got the document, then never once looked at or read it. I find it odd that spark notes seems to believe that it was written in good faith.

            When it comes down to it I ask myself which document do I personally believe represents Machiavellis views more? A short piece written for someone he despised on the off chance of a government appointment or a document that’s 10 times longer that he worked on for a large part of his life, that was published after his death? Personally I choose The Discourses every time.

            1. Hector says:

              It’s much clearer when you consider that Republicanism was only part of Machiavelli’s ideals. It seems very likely that he concluded only a single, unifying leader could bring Italy together (which did, in fact, happen eventually). Second, The Prince is full of genuinely good advice for managing men of questionable loyalty, being flexible with the times, and governing in such a way as to avoid chaos.

              Moreover, it is very clearly advice not for bad men to sieze power, but for good men to thrive amidst the bad ones. This us very critical to understanding The Prince. This is not a work about the ideal government but about pragmatic government in an un-idealistic age, when unrest could leaf to violence or starvation. That’s only satire to comfortable men in soft lives who need not fear war, strife, and chaos.

              But! We’re here to discuss GoT. The great problem with most of its leaders is that they view power as a zero-sum top-down affair. They sieze the symbols of authority and are then destroyed because they did not seize the real power behind it – which always flows up from the land and people behind them – or they take real power but make one enemy too many.

              Tywin basically seizes the throne, but he makes makes himself hated in the process, when only a drop of human kindness might have secured his dynastic hold and saved his life. Cersei takes the throne, but never really has any idea what that means beyond sating her whims. Dany wants a title she doesn’t understand in a culture she barely recalls; she could have been a great Queen somewhere else, but not Westeros. (Don’t get me started on the Boltons.)

              In contrast, we see effective leaders are only undone by treachery, be they good or bad people. Ned Stark, Rob Stark, Beylish, Commander Mormont – they were only beaten through low cunning, and of their killers, only Sansa actually came out of it well. And she, naturally, had prepared her ground and made sure her support was firm before moving.

      2. Preciousgollum says:

        And Machiavelli also wrote The Prince as a form of appeasement for some ruthless people, but it didn’t work out very well. Ruthless people broke his arms and then told him to live in exile because they didn’t like his ideas about Republicanism.

        So, there is an aspect of Machiavelli writing The Prince because it is what he thinks those ruthless people would want to hear. And it also talks about the benefits of arming the populace, which is arguably a big no-no, and potentially a way to trick rulers into enabling their own downfall via popular revolt.

        The point about being feared, if you cannot be loved, is to use that fear sparingly, and to temper it. A frightened animal backed into a corner will no longer fear you, and instead try to defend itself to the death. There is a case of being so reliant on the instrument of fear that it breaks and is no longer an effective tool.

        Dany won’t be feared anymore (she was feared before) but she will now presumably be utterly hated.

        1. trevalyan says:

          What are you basing that on? Cersei murdered lots of VIPs and countless peasants with wildfire, and not only survived, but took the throne! And she didn’t have a dragon.

          1. RCN says:

            Yeah, but Cersei had the Ironclaad PR agency “the script says no-one suspects her”, so even though doing what she did should have awarded her the “Marie Antoniete special”, no-one cared.

            1. trevalyan says:

              I’m thinking more of the Guy Fawkes Holiday Platter, but even then- by simple cui bono, never mind her being the only powerful person left alive after her son’s mysterious death?

              You don’t have to be Alex Jones to start theorizing this stuff, even for illiterate peasants.

              1. RCN says:

                I would loved to see the peasants gathering around the Guillotine (I know the guillotine is modern, but the show went off the rails a long time ago) and Cersei trying to plead with them:

                “Please! I am pregnant. You can’t kill me!”

                1. trevalyan says:

                  I’m a big believer in characters dying as they lived, so Cersei dying with a cowardly appeal to mercy she never once offered would be hilarious.

      3. KillerAngel says:

        Also he goes on to say this:

        “Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated”

        People mistake the fear he mentions for a wholesale terror instead of the low-grade sort of fear of a boss that keeps you on task when they are around.

    3. TLE says:

      >> As a broad theme, I think this is a great story to tell. The problem is that they started telling it pretty much in the last three episodes of the show, seemingly as a twist. That’s pretty bad.

      I agree completely. Such a shame, could’ve been a great ending.

    4. Johan Lundgren says:

      Thank you all for these incredible replies! Now I want to set up a Machiavelli stage play. :-)

  6. ColeusRattus says:

    All the glaring big things aside, it also irks me to no end that they yell “fire” to shoot the scorpions. “lose” would be the proper term, as it is obviously not a firearm.

    1. SomeGuy says:

      Im glad im not the only one annoyed by that!

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        It was particularly aggravation during Helm’s Deep in LOTR, where they would alternate between ‘loose arrows’ and ‘fire’ on a character by character basis. They knew how to do it right, but only on occasion.

    2. Rocketeer says:

      Would it not be “loose,” not “lose?” I like the thought of someone yelling, “Lose!” and then the scorpions all just disappear.

      And anyway they should shout “Sting!”

      1. Syal says:

        It’s actually “Loser!”, and some kind of insulting gesture.

    3. Studoku says:

      “Loose”, actually.

      “Lose” is what they did because of all the fire.

      1. Kavonde says:

        And inexplicable concussive explosions.

    4. Narkis says:

      They got it right in the Battle of the Bastards. Another sign they’re just phoning it in now.

  7. AndrewCC says:

    The ending I want for the show now is for Dany to go “fuck all this” and take her Unsullied and Dothraki and go back to Essos.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      She burns Kings Landing to the ground and slaughters the last remaining claimants to the Iron Throne, then goes ‘meh, bored now’ and flies off to terrorize some other part of the world.

  8. Fabrimuch says:

    I’m not gonna, I kinda liked this episode. Yes, nothing made sense and they completely butchered multiple characters just to get the scenes they wanted to film, but I’d already given up any pretense of the plot following any kind of logic so I just turned my brain off and enjoyed the spectacle. And if nothing else, I think we can all agree the cinematography was on point and Miguel Sapochnik did an excellent job directing this episode.

    What’s funny is that Daenerys has been my favorite character since book 1, so I feel like I should be mad at how they ruined her character with this nonsensical event, but I just can’t bring myself to feel anything. The show’s continued failings of basic logic, character consistency and plot progression have eroded my emotional connection to this world. I wept at the Red Wedding, cheered when the freed slaves embraced their ‘Mhysa’ and sat at the edge of my seat during the explosion of the Sept of Baelor, but now that we’ve reached the endgame I don’t feel anything.

    Valar Morghulis.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      Danaerys died at the end of Season 1 in the fire, but the show pulled a fakeout for another 7 seasons by failing to accurately demonstrate character deaths in a trustworthy fashion.

      Bran watched the event through time, and his weird arousal and glint in his eye, combined with other magical and cosmic phenomenon refracted, reflected and then beamed a version of Dany into reality as ‘The Unburnt’.

      It is quite possible that the cosmic radiation that Bran was redirecting with his stare after continually looking at both the red comets and the Dany’s tits exposed Dany to that radiation, causing a brain tumor and subsequently leading to her lack of judgement and transformation into ‘Mad Queen’ persona.

      All of this would have been avoided if only Bran Stark was called Corn of House Kellog instead, and Jon was a Flake instead of a Snow.

      1. trevalyan says:

        Wait… so when the raven said Corn, Corn…

        We are through the looking glass here, people.

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          ‘I have become the Three Eyed Raven’ sounds like great slang for a person who bears witness to decades of weird porn.

          Nobody ever wonder why Bran no longer seems interested in anything anymore?

          1. trevalyan says:

            … and I’m popping back on the safe side of the looking glass. It is a scary place.

          2. Retsam says:

            I guess getting pushed out a window wasn’t enough to get Bran to reconsider his lifelong hobby of watching people have sex.

            1. Preciousgollum says:

              I guess getting pushed out a window wasn’t enough to get Bran to reconsider his lifelong hobby of watching people have sex.

              If anything, it seems to have made Bran more determined. How else did he confirm R+L = J?

    2. JDMM says:

      I agree with something along these lines, an adaptation should play to the strengths of its medium, in this case actually showing us what happens when a full grown dragon goes on the warpath. If I wanted complex characterization and understandable politics I still have the books covering seasons 1 to 5

      That being said I didn’t like Cleganebowl, John Wick and The Raid were repetitive but they showed actual fights, not simply too guys wacking at one another

      1. Guest says:

        Just because it’s television and a visual medium doesn’t mean themes don’t matter, nor that bad plotting that hurts those themes, and the characters who express them.

        It’s a visual medium, so use the visual medium to convey the themes. We get a great shot of Jaime leaving KL last season as the first snows fall on the south, it’s great. Changing of the season, the dying of one thing, and the birth of another, Jamie finally realising that his relationship with his sister is toxic, and is an excuse he uses to be a worse person, and him leaving that behind to go and be that person. It’s kind of a clumsy version of this really good pair of books, A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons?

        Just going “Well, we’ll make it a spectacle” is how they ended up with the fanbase in active revolt, even the people who stuck with them through the mediocre and cringy season 5, the boring season 6, and the insidiously moronic season 7, are now having their Sherlock “The Last Problem” moment. Yeah, a crossbow shooting a dragon sure is a spectacle. Dumb as hell that it happened. Yeah, the zombie dragon is pretty cool. Pretty dumb plan to go beyond the wall to get that to happen. Yeah, a dragon burning down a city looks cool. Pretty bad characterisation for that to happen, including some foreshadowing that is just absent-The Bells? wtf. Would not be suprised if that’s a Jon Connington thing, which might suggest he burns KL in the books. Varys getting killed by Drogon? Pretty cool, but it’s absolutely mind-meltingly dumb, and makes it hard to follow. Cleganebowl? Not even a good spectacle, and what do we get out of it? A villain who can’t feel pain, or fear, getting killed by a character, who instead of getting development, gets stuck with his book 1 character throughout-they did my boy Sandor so dirty. People who say that DnD have clearly got ends in mind, but no way of getting there are dead on, and a good chunk of those are definitely not book accurate. Cersei? Jaime? Brienne? These are definitely not going down like that in the books.

        Playing to adaptational strengths doesn’t mean skipping out on the things that made the original source interesting, nor does it mean that the impressiveness of visuals is more important than them making sense, or their meaning. John Wick and the Raid are very basic stories, and yet lo and behold, there’s solid emotional storytelling, dramatic stakes, and well-defined characters who undergo character development., even if it is of the most basic sort.

        Loooot of people don’t enjoy GoT on a literal level anymore, or on the level that the writers do, they’re doing it on an ironic level, they’re hate-watching it. It’s like the Room, they’re there to see stupid cool things that losers wore on t-shirts they bought at Hot Topic, and laugh at how dumb it is, the memes, and how nothing makes sense. I shouldn’t get more enjoyment out of wondering whether Sam descaled Jorah’s butthole, and what happens to someone’s dick when they get greyscale, than the emotional climax of the season.

        1. Fabrimuch says:

          Loooot of people don’t enjoy GoT on a literal level anymore, or on the level that the writers do, they’re doing it on an ironic level, they’re hate-watching it. It’s like the Room […]

          You’re tearing me apart D&D!!

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Oh hi Dragon! You’re burning people alive? That’s fun! Let’s go eat, huh?

            …anyway, how is your sex life?

    3. Lanthanide says:

      I found it very cathartic, but also moronic.

    4. Joe Informatico says:

      You’ve encapsulated my feelings as well. As I was watching, I thought what a beautiful sequence of dragon utterly laying waste to a city it was. It was every adolescent dream I had while playing D&D being realized. It was the most metal thing I’ve ever seen. And I felt nothing.

      1. Leonardo Herrera says:

        True this, the visuals are simply spectacular. High quality, but no soul.

        I remember my teenage self being in absolute awe by the dragon of Dragonheart. Yes, that dumb looking dragon with the coolest voice ever, my man Bond The First Of His Name. That stupid movie did more for me that this last GoT season.

  9. Lee says:

    I’ve been predicting Mad Danny for a while, so that part didn’t disappoint. I’m not really sure I understand the people who think it’s out of character for her. As you said, she burnt the khals for refusing to let her rule. Almost every major decision she’s made has been basically unhinged. The only difference is that in the past, she mostly had a bad guy to blame it on.

    I’m more disappointed with the other characters. Why did Jon join in the slaughter of the soldiers who had surrendered? Why did Grey Worm? Why did Jamie go back to Cersei at all, other than to kill her, which she deserved (so much for prophecy). None of these things really make sense in the larger character arcs.

    Oh well, at least it’s over soon. The actor who played Barristan Selmy claims the books will be out soon after (having been finished, but held from publication due to a contract with HBO). I don’t think I believe him, but it would be nice to look forward to them again.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      As you said, she burnt the khals for refusing to let her rule. Almost every major decision she’s made has been basically unhinged. The only difference is that in the past, she mostly had a bad guy to blame it on.

      It’s a matter of framing: when she killed the khals, she was a slave, and they were sneering men with whips who wanted to rape her. The show not only rewarded her for her murder, but went out of its way to make it seem justified and ‘okay’ – similar to the way they treated Arya.

      Also, as Bob said, she could have turned up and done this at the beginning of season 7, but was thwarted by Euron Greyjoy and his magic fleet. This turn feels much more like a ‘the writer decided this happens now’ instead of ‘this is a coherent character action written by someone who gives a shit’.

      1. Preciousgollum says:

        Yes, Dany has been framed as a villain, and that is the problem in a show/story that leads towards amorality.

        It is a trick where someone talks and suddenly you sympathise with them – like ‘Dalek’ when they were reintroduced in Doctor Who (trust me, if you think about it, that Dalek deserves no sympathy). The reason the show didn’t have Dany say anything after ‘The Bells of Maddening’ is because it makes her less sympathetic. By comparison, Cersei wouldn’t shut up before she dies, (presumably…) so she then is seen as more relatable, and no longer the central villain.

        EVERYTHING has been staged for this effect. Even Arya survives and escapes for the sole purpose of being able to act as a witness to Dany’s war crimes (maybe Bran snatched The Geneva Convention from our timeline), despite Arya being a murderer who feeds pies made out of the sons of her enemies, to her enemies.

        Arya should have died. There. Girl kills mythical Frost Lord – later dies in a trample. Jon Snow, despite seeing the horrors of war, and instigating some of his own, can freak out about the horrors of war. The show isolates Dany in order to sell the final act villain reveal.

        Game of Thrones was the series where a powerful man could die on the toilet. Another killed by a boar. Jon Snow should die from the STD he may have contracted from Dany, who got it from Khal Drogo (the STD is causing her to go mad).

        Heck, nobody has even answered the question of if a dead heir to the throne that is reborn can still have a claim – but of course he can… because Jon is Jesus. Dany must turn evil so that Jesus can demonstrate vanquished temptation.

        1. Guest says:

          I agree with you, but you’re reading “Dalek” entirely wrong.

          That episode is about how, evil as the Daleks are, they don’t deserve to be locked up and tortured, because that’s evil too-and it doesn’t serve the purpose of preventing the Dalek’s evil. We see how the people who locked him up think that evil is ok, and then use it on the Doctor. It’s about how even a Dalek can change, and how even a Dalek can show mercy-though, he’s so wracked with genocidal, racist hatred, that at the resulting knowledge he’s now no longer a pure Dalek, he kills himself, and it’s about how the Doctor can’t let moral outrage at the Daleks change him into someone who condones evil, or he’d be like Statten, and maybe down the line, even the Daleks.

          The Dalek doesn’t deserve sympathy, it deserves pity, and it doesn’t deserve torture. It’s one to kill an enemy in a fair fight, that’s another thing, and it’s another again to kill a dying creature who’s just trying to feel the sun.

          It’s like, the entirety of the 9th Doctor’s emotional arc, it runs through the whole season.

          1. Preciousgollum says:

            The Dalek talks as if it has learned a lesson, but it only destroys itself because it is programmed to hate non-Dalek DNA, and therefore hate itself to the point of destruction, believing itself to be a race-traitor. It doesn’t learn any lesson.

            Dalek makes a fuss about being alone and wanting to escape, and Rose naively believes that is just to feel the sun and be happy, but that is her being naive. The Dalek was using what it learned about humans to manipulate them. It also wanted to goad The Doctor because that is all it knows how to do.

            In truth, Dalek escapes because it is looking for other Daleks. It probably even has the technology to clone itself and create other Daleks. It is so dangerous that should never have been allowed to escape in the first place.

            That Dalek died rather that submit to mutation, because it was a loyal subject of totalitarianism and Dalek racial purity.

            Sympathy with Dalek is because looking at it as if it was a human or otherwise similar sentient creature, and imprinting emotions, makes us feel good. It is a trick.

      2. Guest says:

        The other thing, is very little has changed between the actions and the framing, which leads to inconsistent theming. She feeds the heads of great families to her dragons? Badass. She murders prisoners of war? Badass.

        She wants to wage war in Westeros “Oh, think of the casualties”, from the man who stockpiled wildfire and set the fiver on fire, and who bulldozed the homes of the poor of the city, resulting in the people hating him. She burns the city? Oh, see, unlike those other times she murdered innocents, this time it’s baaaaad, see our framing, she’s gone eeevvvviiiilll, she’s gone insaaaanneeee. Framing doesn’t help a lot when it’s clumsily used and contradicts the show’s own messaging, it’s a powerful thing, and it really doesn’t help to be contradictory.

        See also: Why show fans don’t like Stannis. His theme is Melisandre’s theme, which is a dark theme about blood magic, which adds an air of menace to almost all of his scenes-people read a lot into framing.

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          See also: Why show fans don’t like Stannis. His theme is Melisandre’s theme, which is a dark theme about blood magic, which adds an air of menace to almost all of his scenes-people read a lot into framing.

          And the irony is that Melisandre ends up as one of THE ultimate good guys, whereas Stannis is seen as bad, despite him being the way that he is because he followed Melisandre out of devotion to her.

          Men are dumb, but magical sex women get many chances, and point our heroes and heroines in the right directions… eventually.

        2. SStev says:

          Show fans don’t like Stannis b/c the show made him an incompetent asshole with no redeeming qualities who killed the his cool “would’ve-been-a-good-king” lil’bro( who was an incompetent asshole with no redeeming qualities in the books)

    2. Mr Compassionate says:

      Jon was thinking with his wiener. Grey worm was angry that they killed whatshernuts, Jamie suddenly did a weird 180 character arc which didn’t make sense.

      My hot take on this episode is that Dany is the most despicable character in the whole series, she had every single opportunity to become a good person unlike most of the other villains who were born into bad or altering circumstances.

      1. Preciousgollum says:

        My hot take on this episode is that Dany is the most despicable character in the whole series, she had every single opportunity to become a good person unlike most of the other villains who were born into bad or altering circumstances.

        Yes exactly. You see, Game of Thrones teaches us that Sansa developed as a character because she was raped by a villain – she was no longer ‘little bird’. If this hadn’t happened, Sansa would still be trash tier – she says this about herself in Episode 4.

        Khal Drogo did the raping of Danaerys which should have developed her as a character, yet they fell in love, married, and almost had children, and then Khal Drogo died along with the child … and because of this Danaerys ends up as a villain because her father was The Mad King, you see. It runs in the family.

        1. AndrewCC says:

          Sansa is the worst person left, now that Cersei is dead. She is Littlefinger 2.0 and I hate her more than anyone else left alive on the show.

        2. BlueHorus says:

          No, no, it’s not the raping that developed Sansa as a character, but the gruesome revenge she enacted on her rapist. The rape was just a setup.

          Gratuituous murder is what levels you up in this show. That’s why Dany and her dragon were suddenly so effective, and it explains how tough Arya is as well.

          1. Preciousgollum says:

            Sexual assault is sine qua non according to Sansa’s rule.

    3. Matthew Downie says:

      She’s been consistently played as capable of being ruthless in her pursuit of power / vengeance, but never of murdering innocent people for no reason.

      If, for example, the city had refused to surrender, and she decided to burn it down rather than risk her own people dying in the attempt to capture it, that would be, if not “in character”, at least a version of the character we know, turned up to 11.

      But burning it down after she’s won, while her own people are still in it? That’s a whole different category of evil.

      1. Guest says:

        No? She took 3 cities in Slaver’s bay, all for the innocents within them. She freed the Unsullied at Astapor, and took all the slaves who wished to leave with her. She sieged Yunkai, and allowed them to hold their city, so long as they released the slaves. She captured Mereen, because with the way the freemen slowed her procession down, and the lack of available food, they would starve if she hadn’t, and she did so by sending in a force to start a slave rebellion.

        Burning down a city because you can’t be bothered to lay siege to it isn’t justifiable, it’s incredibly lazy. The solution to an encamped enemy is a siege, and if you’re still feeling lazy, but not into warcrimes, then the solution is negotiations, which would involve leaving Cersei in charge of the city, while you divvy up the entire rest of the country, including the far north, which will be a lot more habitable now.

    4. A says:

      To be fair to Jon, he didn’t really ‘participate’ in the Slaughter. A bunch of the Lannister men rearmed themselves when they saw what was going down (fat lot of good it did them mind, I think the only ‘team Dany’ soldier we see die is the wannabe rapist Jon kills), and a couple of then go for Jon while he’s trying to stop the killing. So it’s a pretty solid case of self defence.

    5. Dork Angel says:

      Jon didn’t “join in” though, he only killed soldiers that attacked him and tried to stop his own men from attacking civilians.

    6. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Jon did NOT join in on the slaughter of unarmed soldiers. Something even dumber happens. Soldiers who have picked up their weapons again ignore the frontline where Grey Worm is attacking and rush the part where Jon is standing (not attacking anyone) and try to kill him. He destroys anyone who tries that, while also yelling for both sides to stop attacking.

      Grey Worm is dead inside and completely loyal to Dany. He started killing because he was taking cues from her. When she started killing again, so did he. This actually makes perfect sense to me.

      Jaime… UGH.

  10. BlueHorus says:

    Oh, come on, Mr Case. Be serious. This attempt at trolling is completely unlike y-

    …whut.

    Fucking WHAT?!

    You’re serious? As Preciousgollum said above, that sounds like Mass Effect 3 levels of compound, exponentially bad writing. Holy Shit does that sound dumb.

    What the hell happened?! I mean, the rest of the show practically wrote itself!
    1. Epic battle scene.
    2. Jamie kills Cersei as she threatens to burn the city. Poetic, sad ending for the last two Lannisters.
    3. Cleganebowl.
    4. Boss fight with Euron; he dies in battle with one of the established ‘heroes’: Jon, Brienne, Arya.

    …and then the next episode is mostly taken up with sorting out the non-conflict between Jon and Dany, deciding how to run the kingdom, wrapping up any loose ends.
    Like, I’m not even trying here.

    (Also, the Hound. Talked Arya. Out of killing Cersei. The man famous for saying ‘cunt’ because he can’t think of anything else was the one to talk the assassin who was kicked out of assassin school for being impulsive out of killing the ONE person who it would actually be constructive and useful to kill?
    Just…
    …you know what? Forget it. Fuck this writer.)

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Okay, theory time: D&D have learned from the fame/infamy/notoriety of both Mass Effect 3 and The Last Jedi and they’ve written such a…controversial ending deliberately. Because a good TV show will – in time – be forgotten, but one with a controversial ending?

      Man, that’s going to be generating clicks and arguments for years! Was it good? Was it bad? Do you just not get it because you’re an internet dumb-dumb? Are you overthinking it because you’re a booksnob? It’s good, you just refuse to see it!
      This could go for years.

      (see also: the Star Wars prequels and their defenders)

      1. Preciousgollum says:

        I think it was because turning Dany evil seemed sensible and obvious years ago, and they never budged from this idea.

        It is sort of a Wolfenstein: New Order “I’m doing bad things so good things happen… but I won’t be around to see them” logic… only this doesn’t communicate well in the Game of Thrones screenplay because they bungled it, because it comes across more as Dany being on the receiving end of the “You’re Fired” (heh) moment from RoboCop – I.e one of the main characters becomes a master villain, but their contract expires so they can be taken out by justice.

      2. trevalyan says:

        If I was an exec knowing what shitpile endings did to Mass Effect/ Star Wars as a franchise, and I thought D&D were thinking that way? I would have them -killed-, just to salvage my bottom line, and order massive reshoots for the last episode.

        1. Fabrimuch says:

          “Burn them all!!!”

          -HBO president, referring to the producers and writers of the final season of Game of Thrones, upon reading the final scripts.

        2. Dude says:

          This, GoT is a huge IP franchise now, the merchandise rights are massive now.

          If people turn on the show it means less people will be buying posters mugs and T-shirts.

          It also means less chances to continue to milk the cow with spin-off series.

    2. Preciousgollum says:

      Sandor ‘Hound’ Clegane – Revenge is so bad, so I need it, badly.

      To be honest, this doesn’t work very well because the dialogue didn’t sell the sentiment very well. It is neither cool, like that Samurai guy who is going to hold the line by himself, and die in the process, nor does it really sell the prospect that The Hound really wanted revenge. People who want revenge might hint about the revenge that they want, or be consumed by thoughts of revenge. Sandor basically did what any Universal monster movie might do and decided that he was going to kill the monster in the midst of ruin and collapse because there is suddenly no escape and that is the classic nostalgic way to do things (only usually the main character doesn’t willingly enter an unwinnable situation – or the perception is one based on loss as atonement) then you don’t need to worry about those sequels.

      Seriously, every character in Game of Thrones is dying off because they cannot be arsed to setup a proper epilogue, and want to leave little room for a sequel. And then they all die. Contract terminated.

      1. RCN says:

        Eh. That was one of the only things that made sense in isolation this episode, but it was badly conveyed, since it was mostly the actors selling it through their looks instead of their actual words.

        The Hound, seeing the castle collapsing and that Arya was going to die following the same path as him, finally acknowledges he actually grew fond of the little c-word, and realizes that she can still try to save herself, but he can’t. He is consumed by revenge, and has no other prospect in life, so he doesn’t care if he dies or not. While Arya can still be saved from the grills of revenge and escape. Throwing her life away just to fulfill her bloodlust for revenge would be a waste.

        Of course, the problem is that this contradicts with previous character beats. Arya ALREADY fell to the dark path of revenge. She might have allowed some innocents to live in her path of blood, but likely also killed a lot of people who didn’t deserve to die (unless the entirety of the extremely large Frey family line was rotten, down to the kids, which is unlikely).

        Meanwhile, though the Hound initially shows some hatred towards his brother for what happened in their childhood, later development showed the Hound giving up from being a farcical knight for a shit kingdom he ultimately didn’t give a damn about to try and look for something else in life, tolerating a very antagonistic little brat for pitying her, accepting death, trying to be a force for good, falling down the path of violence again, resisting the calling from what he believed to be a shit god, finally valuing his own life and giving in to cowardice, to then finding a purpose protecting the little brat. In no way, in all this journey, was Sandor even passingly working towards a goal of taking revenge, much less on his brother. Heck, the last time they met, it was an almost courteous affair (“heh, seems like life has shat on top of us both”, the closest Sandor ever came to be courteous).

        So… from a character development standpoint it doesn’t work. But if you take the scene in isolation, at least it kinda works.

        1. Gethsemani says:

          I think it is important to remember that the Hound basically got no real character development. He went along with Berric and Thoros because they/he thought he was chosen by the Lord of Light. But the Hound never changes in his outlook that Knights are violent bastards posing as heroes and that he himself is the second biggest bastard alive, second only to his brother. The Hound has been seeking redemption through death ever since he left King’s Landing (back in Season 3, was it?), except for that brief time he spent as a wood cutter with the religious dudes.

          I think the entire scene is terrible as written (but is saved by the actors selling the shit out of the nonsense) but the Hound is at least in character for what he is: Someone who think of themselves as a terrible person and who’s looking to do something good before he dies. The Hound doesn’t think he’s worthy of surviving or saving, because he’s a bastard who’s killed a lot of people because bad leaders told him. But he can save Arya, who has actually had a few moments of “finding her humanity” this season (such as reconnecting with Sansa and Jon and the terrible sex with Gendry scene), from becoming like him.

          The whole thing is badly executed, but it makes sense from what was established about the Hound in the early seasons and which hasn’t really changed since.

        2. Guest says:

          Exactly!

          And Gregor isn’t even the person he used to be, he’s dead, has no soul, feels no pain, nor fear, Sandor is picking the least pleasurable version of his brother to kill himself getting the smallest fraction of revenge on. Why doesn’t he learn his lesson, it’s basically his entire arc, and it makes no sense having him give the moral to a character when it’s one he can’t learn and because he can’t have sympathy for it because he doesn’t learn it, that’s just not Sandor.

          Arya learning that “Killing is bad and damages your soul, and waiting for revenge is letting someone else live in your head rent free” doesn’t work when she’s already killed the most populous Great House in the 7 kingdoms, including butchering some and putting them in pies-at the point you are dismembering your enemies, to feed them to your other enemies, in an act of mass murder, while wearing the skin of their deceased patriach, you’re already passed the point where your soul is damaged. You’re basically a really ambitious Leatherface or Buffalo Bill, mixed with a mass-killer.

          Also, his treatment of Sansa was so bad. He’s in love with Sansa and calls her his “Little Bird” out of affection, both mocking her for her naivette, and also admiring her empathy, grace, and kindness. He’s the only member of the KG who refuses to beat Sansa, and he offers comfort to her in light of Joffrey’s abuse, and stands up for her when she lies for Dontos. He wouldn’t make light of her rape like that.

          1. Preciousgollum says:

            The Hound was afraid of fire. He could be attacked by enemy, and then stick that enemy’s face in the fire, because he himself is no longer afraid of fire. In doing so, he saves the life of an important character. Or kills his zombie brother by pushing him into fire. Directly – (Not indirectly). The point is he has to know the fire is there and no longer demonstrate irrational fear.

            Or perhaps he could light a beacon, or light a fire to stop people from freezing. Or save people by contending with a dangerous fire.

            There. Character growth.

    3. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Killing Cersei would have been useful BEFORE she lost the war. During the process of her losing the war, the only reason to kill her is personal satisfaction. She isn’t giving useful commands or anything like that. So I have to disagree with you on that point.

  11. trevalyan says:

    Quite a few people are talking about D&D’s inexplicably abrupt pacing, and their supposedly puzzling decision to turn down HBO money for ten episodes instead of six, which to me misses the point entirely. Most of season seven can be properly understood as padding out Dany’s arrival in Westeros, instead of the curb stomp battle it absolutely should have been. D&D are uncomfortable moving far past the adaptation, and it is becoming increasingly overt. One redditor posted the idea of Rhaegal being killed in the surrender instead of by a Eurovision Surprise, provoking Dany to furious mass murder, and it made so much sense I’m certain that a ton of executive meddling must be going on.

    Judging by how a lot of people are receiving this show, I wonder if GRRM is going to disavow the show entirely to keep his book audience. These are people who won’t tolerate abject hackery, but he may be under non-disparagment orders. Hmm.

    1. Fabrimuch says:

      He’s already said he considers the books and the show to be separate so that has already happened

    2. Preciousgollum says:

      There is so much they could have done differently. The Dragon could have been attacked mercilessly, gone berserk in defending itself, and the ensuing rampage of fire detonates the Wildfire in storage under King’s Landing. Danaerys being the ‘Mother of Dragons’ sides with the Dragon, and gets blamed – defends the Dragon to her death. This rampage should have been a tragedy, and not have hinged on Dany’s choice to heel-turn and betray her commitments out of spite or ‘Mad Queening’.

      1. trevalyan says:

        Any of that could have worked, yes. An accidental/ Drogon-caused massacre could have left a shocked Jon demanding they take action to make restitution, only for Dany to snarl that she no longer cares. I’m not too upset with Mad Dany, she’s been through a lot and literally had to force her way to victory through her worthless advisors. I do heartily dislike Jaime not being able to quit Cersei, though, especially at Brienne’s expense.

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          The last half of GoTS8-EP5 happened because the showrunners were annoyed that they struggled to get past Sen’s Fortress after ringing the Bells of Awakening in Dark Souls, attacked the Ancient Dragon before talking to it in Dark Souls II, and couldn’t get past the first phase of the Nameless King optional boss fight in Dark Souls III. And their attempt at Character Creation was to get their Ashen One to resemble Maisie Williams aka Arya Stark as best they could.

          The only way that they could kill The Crestfallen Warrior in Demons’ Souls was leading him all the way up to the top of The Nexus and pushing him off, while also toppling over the side.

  12. Nessrox says:

    I saw that white horse and I laughed. And I laughed, and I laughed, and I kept laughing. That was so hilarious it was almost intentional comedy. The only way it could have been better is if Arya first asked “how am I going to get out of the city now?”

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      And Shadowfax Arya’s Horse shall show her the meaning of haste.” – Gandalf Bran.

      “Get in the Robot, Shinji! Iron Chair, Jon!”

    2. Matthew Downie says:

      Hey, don’t be so literal, it’s only magical realism, like Winter’s Tale.

      Personally I’d have preferred it if her old wolf had shown up and she’d ridden away on that, but I know the budget doesn’t extend to humans interacting with fantasy creatures like dire wolves.

      1. Fabrimuch says:

        They didn’t even have the budget to have Jon Snow pat Ghost in the head. I don’t expect to see Nymeria ever again

    3. Guest says:

      But you have to PlAy tO tHe AdVANtaGeS oF aDapTatIOn, and we all know, tv is a visual medium.

      Literally using a white horse as the escape route.

  13. Joe says:

    Great. Once GOT is over, D&D will be free to trample all over Star Wars. I’ll go see their nonsense anyway, of course.

  14. tremor3258 says:

    I will say for Dany, if mad paranoia, she is usually right. Varys may have been trying to poison her, Tyrion cannot be trusted.

    Also the show, every time Dany takes the easy way that looks badass on TV instead of a learned art of compromising with factions, it works better for her. Every clever scheme with the people the last two seasons weakened her position and didn’t gain allies. I could believe her just deciding the hell with it and heading east instead of trying to rule the madhouse.

  15. Crokus Younghand says:

    This was a good episode if, like me, you were only watching the show to see how the books would end. The story of the show at this point should be taken as indicative, essentially laying down what the overall themes are, without trying to find consistency in it.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      The story of the show at this point should be taken as indicative, essentially laying down what the overall themes are, without trying to find consistency in it.

      … but the problems of ‘Indicative Theming’ in HBO shows is that they explore themes of PTSD, by giving you PTSD, and Depression & Anxiety, by giving you Depression & Anxiety. Some episodes of TV programmes really should come with extra special warnings that go beyond the simple briefing about ‘violence and disturbing scenes’. “Warning – this TV programme might ruin a portion of your day and briefly shatter your esteem”

      GoT S8 Episode 5 is tied with Westworld Season 2 EP 9 for where I think the lines blur and it is tough to tell where Entertainment ends and vile, hateful and distasteful, indulgent garbage begins – the train being throughly derailed from the tracks, and all that is left is a gross mess. Or somebody took a hard left turn in low visibility conditions… and the resulting car crash is strewn all over… just everywhere… bits and pieces in places you wouldn’t believe.

      Depictions of violence is not so much the problem, but when a TV programme tries to traumatise people without much levity, because the makers of TV think they are smart for doing so, then that is where I start to reject it and react negatively.

      In terms of the violence itself, the fact that Game of Thrones alternates between obscured ‘fantasy’ violence and full on gore-porn is what I dislike. For example, we didn’t even see Varys roasted. We just have to take the work of the framing device that he got roasted. So why do we not see a main character die, but then see roasted corpses half-way through? That’s as bad for closure as being haunted by the memory of people that have died, but you are in some denial about it. Closure is important and it is what Christohper Nolan talks about when making movies.

      It is because the GoT programme was so obsessed with trying to shock you with its violence, that it deliberately obscured earlier forms of violence in order to turn the sacking of King’s Landing into hyper-realism violence that borders on ‘we hate Danaerys’ propaganda. Because, although the programme is violent, a good piece of propaganda will obscure the wrongdoings of the side that you support, as much as it demonises the enemy. You make your violence look good, and the enemy look bad. This is why the show presents such a distinction between civilians and soldiers, the latter of which being mostly cannon fodder (unless they happen to also be a guest appearance by Ed Sheeran, in which case they are safe – see earlier series). Jon Snow is a killer, but he is always portrayed as just that little bit pathetic… which sells the illusion of ‘morally jusified violence’.

      Basically, this episode was as manipulative as Haze(PS3).

      1. Jenkins says:

        Thank you so much for writing this comment; I thought I was alone in thinking the violence in this episode went beyond gratuitous. I’m not a squeamish person, but I had to pause the episode after one particular moment where a woman had her throat slit. It felt immensely mean-spirited and cynical, particularly because it was all in the service of the banal point that war is a horrible thing and pain and grief can make people do extreme things.

        It wasn’t helped by all the contrivances which had led the story up to this point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with filming a bloody and violent siege, or showing extreme violence in war, if it felt like there was a natural progression towards it. But there was many, many, instances in the narrative where the sacking of King’s Landing could’ve been avoided.

        1. Crokus Younghand says:

          It wasn’t helped by all the contrivances which had led the story up to this point.

          Poison kills poison. All the contrivance of this episode seem to be to counter all the other BS they put in (and meaningful stuff they cut) from season 5 to now. If only they had stuck closer to the books…

        2. Preciousgollum says:

          Thanks for sharing your view.

          If it makes sense, I’m mostly irritated that the violence is toned down for much of this season, to be heightened immeasurably in EP5, because it is trying to shock more and, as you said, make a trite ‘War is bad’ message in a programme that is otherwise is about the valour, use and justification of armed conflict.

          The ‘stratification’ of Game of Thrones violence.

      2. Crokus Younghand says:

        I think this is the problem. Book readers knew that this is where the story was going (Brienne’s POV in AFFC, for instance). So for me, this is finally the show catching up the the books in terms of tone and themes. But they did glorify war a bit too much in previous few seasons (remeber the Dothraki’s rape of Lamb People in season 1?) and so I can see how this might have caught some people offguard. Maybe the show sold itself (and ASoIaF) as LotR with blood and titties.

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          Maybe the show sold itself (and ASoIaF) as LotR with blood and titties.

          Jorah Mormont’s death in Episode 3 was nearly all Lord of The Rings, and no blood or titties.

          1. Crokus Younghand says:

            Well, they had a foursome in the first episode and Gendry+Arya in second. Titty quota had been fulfilled

        2. Guest says:

          I hate what they did to Brienne. It’s one thing to jettison her story, which is really bad of them to do, it cuts out “No chance, and no choice”, her best single moment in the series so far, but they assassinated her character.

          She’s nice to Pod, she has sympathy for his lacklustre status as a squire who’s bad at his job, and appreciates him trying to be respectful to her with honorifics even though he struggles, because he sees her like a Knight. She trusts him to keep a watch, and to share the same quarters. She trains him in combat, and makes decisions with his safety in mind.

          She doesn’t bully him, belittle him, treat him with at best disdain and dislike, and worst, outright contempt and cruelty. Brienne doesn’t have a bad bone in her body, she’s unfailingly gentle and kind to children, women, and those she meets, her biggest issue is she has major trust issues, resulting from the game that Renly’s knights played with her, betting on taking her virginity, and from being in fear of rape during her captivity with Hoat. Show Brienne is just a bully, just a meathead, and then gets Worfed so they can tell us yet again what a BADASS Arya is with bad choreography, in a scene where we’re meant to believe with a dagger and a rapier, Arya can beat someone in armour, who can just bludgeon through them with both a longsword and their armoured limbs. *teleports behind you* valar morghulis, kid.

  16. Syal says:

    …that horse is Arya’s direwolf, isn’t it. The direwolf went on a journey of discovery, forsaking its violent ways and physically transforming into a hornless unicorn.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      The horse is the spirit of female character fashion in the form of Brie Larson’s Netflix movie attempt, filtering through the membrane of popular culture.

    2. Vermander says:

      Strangely, in the books Rickon’s direwolf kills an actual unicorn.

  17. Jenkins says:

    I’m pretty sure the show’s ending will mimic what we’ll eventually get in the books, though with Euron being a warlock in the books and Cersei likely making way for fake Aegon waaaaaay before Daenerys reaches Westeros, how we get to Mad Queen Daenerys will, one suspects and hopes, be a lot different.

    It’s interesting to me that Tolkien, who experienced the horrors of war first hand in one of mankind’s bloodiest conflicts, who spent time in the hell-on-earth which were the trenches, and who lost almost all of his close friends as a result of the First World War, never ceased to believe in the fundamental decency of human beings. In the The Lord of the Rings, it is the intrinsic gentleness of Hobbits which thwart the immense lure of the One Ring. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire on the other hand is deeply cynical about the lot of humans at times, particularly regarding conduct in war and the exercise of power. Much has been made of the series’ foregone “bittersweet” conclusion, and harrowing events like Eddard Stark’s execution and the Red Wedding have conditioned us to expect that this is a story which is unlikely to end well for many of the characters we have come to adore. Despite much evidence to the contrary, I’ve never believed that our heroes won’t “come good” in the end and that there won’t be a narrative payoff to all the horrors which have been inflicted on the Starks, and other major characters like Tirion, Daenerys, Jaime and Ser Davos.

    I’m much less certain about that now. Thankfully I doubt we’ll get any of the massive contrivances which the show has had. The problem isn’t so much the major story beats – I could believe there is a world in which Jaime forsakes his honour to go back to Cersei, that Daenerys endures so much grief she turns to fire and blood, that Jon gets tied up in knots over his parentage, that Tirion betrays the trust of Daenerys for the sake of his brother while Varys betrays her trust for the “sake of the realm” – it’s how they’ve been developed and portrayed on screen. There is a heck of a lot of inner monologuing that will take place in the novels which will make most of these beats much easier to bear.

    As it stands, the show has descended from the (at times) relentless cyncism of the novels to outright nihilism. I had to take a break midway through the episode because the gratuitous slaughter of countless innocents again in the service of nothing was all too much. The Red Wedding – among the many other horrible events in the show – was painful to endure, but there was always the hope that in the end the characters would reach some form of apotheosis at the end. There is scarcely a redeemable or unblemished character left in the show (Ser Davos is perhaps the only one left in King’s Landing, as well as Jon to a lesser extent but so much pain could’ve been avoided if he kept his parentage a secret). Daenerys has gone mad, Cersei dies with child having never had to face the consequences of her actions, Jaime forsakes Brienne and his honour and the lives of the people he once saved in order to die in Cersei’s arms, Sansa has become another bitter player of the Game of Thrones, Arya’s probably leaving Westeros behind for good to do… assassin things, Sandor Clegane never overcame his desire for revenge, and Jon didn’t pet the damn wolf.

    There’s a lot to be bitter about, but I’m not seeing much sweetness. I guess they didn’t die to the Others? Though seeing the eventual fate of Varys, Daenerys, Missandei, Greyworm, Jaime, Sandor and Rhaegal makes me believe death at the hands of the Others might’ve been a mercy.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      It’s interesting to me that Tolkien, who experienced the horrors of war first hand in one of mankind’s bloodiest conflicts, who spent time in the hell-on-earth which were the trenches, and who lost almost all of his close friends as a result of the First World War, never ceased to believe in the fundamental decency of human beings. In the The Lord of the Rings, it is the intrinsic gentleness of Hobbits which thwart the immense lure of the One Ring. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire on the other hand is deeply cynical about the lot of humans at times, particularly regarding conduct in war and the exercise of power.

       

      Very good points. It is one thing to be a cynical writer and write pessimistic fiction, but it is another thing entirely to have to ask real people to act it out whole injecting the added Bombast and Triumphant Spectacle that is demanded with a TV programme for mass market appeal, celebrity status, brand awareness, merchandise and a degree of social engineering. Particularly, music plays a key role in TVs use of framing the mood you are supposed to be feeling – it isn’t really open to much interpretation. You are usually supposed to be feeling a certain way each time you watch the same material.

      What is written in a book is between you and the author… and the publisher to some extent. However, in TV and film making, there are so many moving parts that it almost seems necessary to have ‘creative vision’ of – which is more PR talk for control and management. So, while you might have an author disagree with readers, you don’t have actors that might hate their job, role or material, but carry on singing its praises while being trained to only give away as much as is needed to generate interest. Those actors would also need to be kept in line so that they don’t criticise the product until at least after their time is up. You also don’t have such a large industry that is sworn to secrecy due to the main value of the product being its time-limited ability to surprise rather than transport. In a book, you also don’t have to see actors struggle to perform something that they might not quite understand or believe in. Different creative inputs can also muddle the process by taking the same property in a direction of their choosing (too many cooks) and then the ‘Creative vision’/showrunner/Auteur will then be responsible for trying to convince the audience that there is coherence (which at times means a safe, bland formula is contstucted to mitigate potential cross-creative disaster).

      It is kind of like going to an art museum and giving overwhelming credit to the museum itself – or to say that a couple of good pieces made the entire exhibition spectacular.

      The business is like how a single political party keeps together despite how some aspects obviously hate and/or firmly disagree with each other or the leader. Those members are usually kept in line by layers of authority and personal gain rather than any strong sense of fellowship & discovery.

      1. Jenkins says:

        Absolutely spot on. The show has become increasingly dependant on music to carry the emotional weight of scenes. It feels like every scene ends with a resounding leitmotif and it feeds into the experience of being ferried from moment to moment, rather than watching a continuous narrative unfurl.

        Rewatching the first few episodes in the first season, I was struck by how sparse the use of music was in the show’s earliest emotional scenes.

    2. SStev says:

      I disagree with Martin’s supposed cynicism, I think its more accurate to call him a romantic. Eddard and Robb Stark’s fates are tragic obviously but the books make it clear that their legacy will outlive their enemy’s.
      Tywin was killed by his own son on the toilet, and its his immoral actions, all of which he took to protect and strengthen his family, that will ultimately destroy it. Meanwhile, Ned’s memory lives on in his kids, who will all in some way contribute to saving the world and helping whats left of it continue after the Long Night and in his former vassals who still work to avenge his and Robb’s death after the Red Wedding and rescue/protect his remaining children.
      As for how Dany goes “Mad Queen” in the books, she won’t. The show actually gave us the clue as to how King’s Landing will blow up in the books, Wildfire. When Aegon takes over KL, Cersei will have all that Wildfire she stocked up and try to use it, causing Jaime to kill her and sacrifice himself, which will ultimately be rendered useless when Dany’s dragons fire at the wrong spot.
      She will be indirectly responsible for it, but not to the absurd point depicted in the show.

  18. Steve C says:

    The worst part about GoT is that it has wrecked the abbreviation of “D&D”. I’m legitimately mad about it. I much rather have people use the last names of these hacks.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      B&W hitches.

      1. Thomas says:

        Now you’ve ruined a classic PC game!

        1. GloatingSwine says:

          It was never that good.

          B&W however are a perfectly good speaker manufacturer that have done nothing to hurt you.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I am guilty of this. I even like playing Dungeons & Dragons!

      So yeah, point taken. Benihoff & Weiss can suck it.

  19. Agamo says:

    At the end, she finds a white horse. This is presented as though it’s some kind of symbolic, important moment, but I have no idea what it was supposed to mean.

    After reading a few comments elsewhere, it seems likely that it’s supposed to be a reference to Death (as in, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse, who rides upon a pale horse). Somewhat appropriate for Arya, I suppose, what with having been a member of a death cult and all. Negative marks for using a biblical reference in a universe that has its own religious imagery, though.

    1. Karma The Alligator says:

      I don’t get it. *Now* she becomes Death, when her most wanted is dead (by someone else’s hand, I might add) and she’s been going around killing people for a good while?

      1. Syal says:

        And after she’s literally killed the Apocalypse.

  20. Kavonde says:

    Am I alone in that Drogon suddenly having kinetic explosion breath was my single biggest annoyance with the entire episode? Like, I hated a lot of it, but the thing I keep coming back to and that keeps making me angriest is: since when does dragonbreath in this universe, book or show, shatter stone and explode gates? Where did this power come from? Why does no one remark on it? Did Tyrion know? Is that why he was so confident that King’s Landing would fall?

    Like, if they wanted to give Drogon this new super power, fine, but at least give it a different visual effect than his normal fire breath that we’ve seen a dozen times. Maybe have him spit a fireball instead of a big stream of flame. It would be weird, but at least it wouldn’t be making me question my memory about whether dragonbreath ever did that before.

    (Yeah, there was force and wind behind it that could send people and small objects flying, but not Big Bad Wolf On Steroids levels of power.)

    1. Matthew Downie says:

      Drogon’s got stronger and stronger, so his breath is now so hot that the rapid expansion of the stone causes it to shatter.

      1. Kavonde says:

        Harrenhall. Balerion the Black Dread was the largest and most powerful dragon we’ve ever heard of in the setting. His skull’s featured prominently in both the opening credits and the episode itself. Yet Harrenhall is melted, not exploded.

        1. Erik says:

          Oh thank God I’m not the only one who remembered this. They made a pretty big deal of it too in season 2

  21. Thomas says:

    So, wait…

    Rocks fall. Everyone dies

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      Rocks fall, Jaime’s character development dies.

  22. cheekibreeki says:

    I got confused as to why the Northmen suddenly became savage degenerates as soon as Daenarys blew up King’s Landing. It was so distracting seeing them relish in slaughtering innocents, raping women, and even turning on their own king

    1. Matthew Downie says:

      It might have worked if they’d built it up better. Historically speaking, it’s quite common for seemingly civilized soldiers to sack cities against the wishes of their commanders, especially after a costly and bitter siege where the enemy refused to surrender (which this wasn’t). E.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Badajoz_(1812)

    2. Preciousgollum says:

      It is because savage northerners that rape women makes Jon Snow more heroic for dispatching one, to heighten that pedestal for the finale. A trope name for it would be Summon The Rapist and/or Better Than Rapist .

      More specifically, the programme knows that its contemporary audience is going to clap like a sea-lion for this happening, or at the very least be on board with seeing Jon Snow flex his moral muscles.

      It is a simple technique where first you present a seemingly difficult problem, and then solve it, so that the recipient is unknowing that you either engineered or at least enabled the problem in the first place. In this case, both Jon Snow AND the script writers had a hand in causing the issue. We are mostly forced to agree with the heroic outcome, despite it being a lazy and almost unplausably stupid scene delivery.

      The episode’s overall subject presentation felt like an Indiana Jones ending crossed with a Haunted House ride with pop-up scares, in a Mad Max movie.

  23. Armstrong says:

    I would like to propose a new term: The Arc-back. It’s when a character had a full arc, and then, right before their development reaches a fulfilling moment of closure, they begin a new arc in the opposite direction.

    I would like to augment my Arc-back Theory with yet another neologism: The Snap-back. It’s when the screentime difference between a character’s arc and their arc-back is so ridiculously lopsided that multiple seasons’ worth of development seem to be completely overturned in a couple of minutes.

    Game of Thrones has an arc-back problem. More importantly, it has a snap-back problem. But Jamie is the most egregious example yet. His character, his entire story over the course of 8 (!!!) seasons, is utterly pointless. From the moment he pushed Bran out the window to his contrived death in this episode he may as well has been sitting in Casterly Rock drinking wine and eating boogers.

    (and what is up with the Bronn subplot? His appearance in the previous episode felt ridiculously contrived and out-of-place. Is all of this just set-up for Tyrion’s inevitably anticlimactic death?)

    Arya had her own snap-back this episode, at least partially. After training for 7 seasons to become a deadly assassin and kill Cerci, she is talked out of it by a couple of cheesy one-liners, when she is literally inside the Red Keep. This cements her as my least favorite character in the show.

    I don’t follow social media minutia, but I hope Bob’s prediction of a mass-souring is coming to pass. This show has completely depleted any last reserves of good faith I still had.

    1. Matthew Downie says:

      I still like Arya (or perhaps I like Maisie Williams) which might explain why I didn’t feel the same. Arya’s snap-back was at least reasonable within the context of the situation. She’s been reunited with her surviving family, and has a chance of rebuilding her life. Why should she throw that life away for the sake of pointless revenge?

      For me, Dany’s burning down of the city made every existing character goal irrelevant. Killing Cersei and the Mountain? Pointless, since they’re both doomed anyway, and Dany is now worse than Cersei ever was.

  24. jurgenaut says:

    At least we got the “destroy” ending – Kings landing burning up in red flames. It’s better than the control ending – where Bran assumes control of the undead horde and burn KL in blue flames.

    Of course, the best ending would be the symbiosis ending – in which Jaime actually fulfills his character arc and tells the starkgaryens of the hidden caches of wildfire Aerys placed all over Kings landing. This leads to green flames consuming KL.
    Sadly, we didn’t get enough war assets for that ending.

    Maybe if they recruited the armies of the Reach, Stormlands and Dorne and done some PVP for that readiness rating but Dany was like ‘eff that shit’.

    1. Studoku says:

      I’m Commander Shepard and this is my favourite post on the internet.

    2. Karma The Alligator says:

      This is amazing.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      The problem with the symbiosis ending is that everyone in the show becomes part White Walker – well, if they’re lucky. Half the cast end up becoming part Wight…

      And yeah, Dorne and Highgarden just dissapeared from the show, didn’t they? Not that I’m sad to see Dorne sidelined (fuck you, Sand Fakes), but Olenna Tyrell was good to watch. And definitely had beef with Cersei.

      1. Erik says:

        Well, highgarden got sacked in a day last season, because apparently having one of the largest armies and strongest castles means nothing anymore

    4. PPX14 says:

      Brilliant, and I don’t even watch the show :D

  25. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Another lame episode where I was mostly on my battery. Daenery’s reaction reminded me of Anakin’s in the third prequel, where a mostly heroic character with some unhealthy impulses suddenly flip a switch and goes into “MURDER ALL THE BABIES” mode.
    At least we got some fun memes out of this as usual. I loved the ones where Dany is compared to those annoying teachers who tell you “The bell doesn’t say when it’s finished, I do!”, or the patch note nerfing scorpions, Eurons, buffing the dragon etc.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      Dany turned Mad (capital M) because she heard what she thought were Wedding Bells, and had a dragon tantrum over unrequited love and loss.

      That’s the only possible explanation. Otherwise, I’d have actually liked to see Dany fly around on the Dragon and notice that The Bells were being rung by… Jaimie Lannister. Dany spots that Golden Hand, and realises how utterly betrayed she has been, and therefore completely abandons Tyrion’s earlier pleas for mercy. As punishment, she forces him to watch Kings Landing burn. That would finalise her Arc with better execution, and doesn’t rely on activation of the Mad gene.

      Are we sure this was not actually a lost scene that they forgot to edit into the episode?

      1. Erik says:

        They should have had her second dragon die, or missandei executed *after* the bells had rung. At least that would’ve been some justification, and it wouldn’t even be a major rewrite

      2. Karma The Alligator says:

        Is there actually some reason why bells triggered her?

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          Is there actually some reason why bells triggered her?

          It is something vaguely to do with her realising that the game uis up. There is also the frustration that she won too easily, and is therefore annoyed. It could also be said that she thinks the bells ringing both reminds Dany of Tyrion’s trechery AND that she believes the surrender to be a farce – or a get out of jail free card. Basically, Dany intuits that The Bells are an example of plotting against her, without her really having much proof. Hence, it could have been visually explained away IF Dany made Visual Contact with Jaimie Lannister, or had at least heard he was around there somewhere.

          And there is probably something in there about bells ringing being symbolic for signals, up to including brainwashing and cults etc etc. Or bells of awakening, or ringing bells causing headaches and breaking psyche up to madness etc etc who knows…

          They sort of did a weird Edgar Allen Poe thing but in this case the story would be called ‘The Telltale Bell’.

          It is more that the bells become object-obsession. Maybe Dany thought that Bells represented the end. Or Bell-end. Maybe that then reminded Dany of what she is no longer getting.

          It is still dumb because it requires a lot of audience-based heavy lifting. Dumb-bells. Get it?

          Maybe it is something really on the nose, and represents that Dany doesn’t agree with The Liberty Bell.

  26. Bruno says:

    Hey Bob,

    First time I write a comment here.
    I agree 100% that the writing of the show is painful. I hate how the rules change all the time so they can finish things faster. Still, Danny’s road to become a tyrant is something I thought it was very apparent from season/book 1.
    Maybe my judgment is clouded by the books, but I never felt her journey was of a hero, and there is a lot of evidence of that (Her tendency to narcissism and violence were always there). I feel that most of the people who are angry now are the ones named their children Daenerys. They elected her as the hero o the show, who was going to kick ass and sit on the throne. That was never going to happen and thats not what the story is about. Jon will end up in the throne because he is not obsessed with it this obsession won’t corrupt/destroy him like it did to everyone else (although he is portrayed like an idiot on the show).

    Sorry if my message is not clear, english is not my first language.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      I mostly dislike or probably even hated Dany a bit, but I also hate what they finally seem to have decided on with the character.

      Perhaps we can compromise and say that Danaerys was more like an anti-hero… that has now transformed into fully unstable villain, because the ‘heroes’ needed somebody new to fight.

  27. Geebs says:

    I thought it was basically fine, apart from the ham-handed handling of Varys. Dany always was a bit burn-y, and they did enough to set up the idea that she had realised that Jon had both the better claim to the throne and the popular support. Letting the city surrender means Jon wins, from her point of view.

    I dunno where else they were actually supposed to take this series. The people who have already undergone plot collapse would be upset with anything; the grim approach is in keeping with the books’ general thesis that being a peasant sucks.

  28. Cubic says:

    Euron, nooooo!

    Now my next hoped-for ending is panning back to a retarded guy looking into a snow globe …

    then reaching out to shake it …

    because …

    WINTER IS COMING!

    Roll credits.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Agreed: MAX EURON would have been so much better.

      And the guy didn’t even get an on-screen death? Maybe Benihoff & Weiss ARE just phoning it in.

      1. Cubic says:

        Too many characters and no overarching plot for killing them off?

    2. Gruhunchously says:

      If all else fails, there’s always this…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRxwBb7ev1Y

      I’ve been joking about this one for years, but at this point it actually might be the best way the show could end.

      1. Cubic says:

        It would, in its way, be redemption.

        1. Preciousgollum says:

          The ending for GoT almost has nowhere to go but follow the plot and themes of Spec-Ops: The Line aka Apocalypse Now aka Heart of Darkness.

          1. Gruhunchously says:

            “Where is Cersei!?”

            “Where she’s always been, upstairs, waiting for you.”

            1. Preciousgollum says:

              GoT critics to fans:

              “It takes a strong reviewer to deny what’s right in front of him – and if the truth is undeniable…you create your own.”

              1. trevalyan says:

                “You needed someone to blame. So you cast it on me. An ex-fan.”

  29. Distec says:

    I’m fairly conflicted with this episode, although I walked away with a better feeling than I did with Ep3. It’s still afflicted with the various issues that have plagued the show for the last few seasons, but I still rather liked it? With some details changed, I don’t have a problem with these “end states” for a lot of the characters. ‘Mad Dany’ was always a theory I was partial to, and I don’t consider Jamie running back into Cersei’s arms – the act itself, that is – as indicative of an abortive arc. I always saw Jamie as somebody who did redeem himself somewhat, but is ultimately aware that he will never be able to quit his sister. He can get better, but he can never be fully healed. I think that’s in keeping with the tone of GRRM’s work, generally.

    The big issue, of course, is that all of this needed a proper season’s worth of development. Without that, the episode feels totally abrupt in really rude way. So on one level I can see why this episode is trash, since nothing makes sense or is clearly explained with the characters. On another level, I think there’s a lot of good stuff here. It’s just a shame it feels totally unearned.

  30. Pylo says:

    We all know what this means right? In the next (and last) episode, Jon and the remaining heroes go back in time for the infinity stones and they use them to defeat Thanerys and fix everything.

  31. CrushU says:

    https://twitter.com/DSilvermint/status/1125856091261136896
    This was an interesting read about how the tone of GoT changed and why…

    1. Cubic says:

      Here is how GRRM originally sold it:
      https://io9.gizmodo.com/grrms-original-game-of-thrones-outline-was-very-very-d-1683950199

      The real problem, as I see it, was that they, writer, editor and publisher, realized they had a hit on their hands and decided to circle the airport for a few more volumes. Too bad, because GRRM ran out of creative juices pretty quickly and the new pilots had to crash land the show.

      How’s that for a perfectly mixed metaphor? Smooth, I know.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        I dunno, I think it kind of crashed at the end there. With a bit more tweaking you could have brought it in for a less bumpy landing… ;)

        Yeah, the editor definitely needed to step in with the books. Questions like ‘What is this plotline for, George? Is it really worth this much space?’ or ‘Is 4 books in REALLY the time to suddenly go to Dorne/The Maester’s Island and have another tangental plotline that goes runs parallel to the rest of the story?’

        Seriously, that’s part of the reason an ‘editor’ exists.

  32. I found the episode serviceable. What else could they do when R.R. Martin screwed over the book and TV fans by not finishing the book series (nor helping out when the show struggled).

    Other than stupid time skips again, what I did not like with this episode was the sudden increase in unsullied troops and the magically appearing dothraki army (didn’t they get wiped out by the Night King?), and Arya running through the city got a tad boring.

    And before anyone asks “Well, what would you have done differently?” I would have waited to make the show until all the source books had been completed. It’s a lesson I hope “D&D” have learned. If they are making a standalone Star Wars series then I don’t think they’ll have any issues, they’ll have new and old Star Wars lore to pull on but they’ll have writers making a story from scratch so plots and character arcs should be very coherent and they’ll be able to plan the ending from day 1 of writing.

    Also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_Thrones#Writing
    “Although Martin is not in the writers’ room, he reads the script outlines and makes comments”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_Thrones#Adaptation_schedule
    “Season 6 Original content and outline from The Winds of Winter, with some late elements from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons
    Season 7 Original content and outline from The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring
    Season 8 Original content and outline from The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring”

    https://io9.gizmodo.com/george-r-r-martin-hits-back-at-rumors-saying-hes-alrea-1834749482

    1. BlueHorus says:

      the sudden increase in unsullied troops and the magically appearing dothraki army (didn’t they get wiped out by the Night King?)

      Dany worked out the console commands that Euron’s been using for his fleet and spawned herself more soldiers. Also, she increased her dragon’s power level.

      Regarding Star Wars, I’m with the people who aren’t as worried because the setting doesn’t have the same ‘believable character actions drive the plot’ that GoT (the books) did. They just can’t/don’t write characters with the consistency and depth of GRRM’s.
      But in Star Wars? The lore’s more flexible and it’s more about set peices, epic battles, and laser-sword fights. Which I think they’d do relatively well.

      Still, my secret hopes is that they re-introduce Jar Jar Binks (or a different gungan) via a CHARACTER OUT OF NOWHERE!!!!! entrance. He’ll jump in from offscreen and stab someone in the back while screaming “MESA STABS YOU DEAD!”

    2. SStev says:

      The bare bones of the story are all laid out, we have the outline from hints and prophecies already written down. We’ve known R+L=J was a thing since the first book, and we know about the three heads of the dragon, Azor Ahai, Euron’s eldritch apocalypse in Oldtown, Dany going to Kings Landing to confront Aegon, then north to confront Stannis and then the Others, etc, etc. We KNOW this because its all been seeded, even the seemingly extraneous plots are folding into the central plots( ex: Arianne Martell agreeing to marry Aegon just as he’s about to take Kings Landing, and just as Dany is setting her sights back on Westeros)
      And even knowing roughly where it all goes, why the hell did the showrunners choose to change the characters and plots to the degree they did well before the wait for TWoW started. Why villainize characters like Stannis, exclude characters like Aegon and gut plotlines involving characters like Littlefinger and Varys that ultimately make them way less competent and interesting?
      And why change the story without regard for the setting that story is based in? They put Cersei on the Iron Throne, despite the fact that she had no legal claim to the throne( remember how the whole story kicked off, the possibility that Robert’s kids weren’t his? Maybe you did, but the showrunners didn’t…)
      And obviously Martin never had any kind of control in the writer’s room or he wouldn’t have let this all happen, or maybe he did and he was too busy enjoying his new fame to bother, either way the showrunners have quite a bit of fault and they’re not terribly competent( one of them cowrote Troy AND Wolverine Origins)

  33. Dude says:

    This is the first episode that I think has the proper undercurrent of GRRM’s actual story. In previous episodes I did not think that rushing was the issue, I thought that witless writing that must deviate heavily from the GRRM outline was.

    This episode has a much more normal plot outline that gets rushed to the point of being almost lost (there is also a lot of random bullshit).

    I don’t agree with you for once Bob. Dany does not burn the city because she just “gets angry”, she truly does go targaryen mad, and the reason works quite well. The following plot points are all in the Ep but imagine them as fully fleshed out in the books.

    >Dany arrives in Westeros and somehow loses a lot of her closest trusted people. She has no love here except for Jon but then she finds out his secret. She begs him not to tell anyone knowing it will destroy her but Jon does so anyways and the news gets out including to her advisors who she no longer really trusts. She becomes paranoid that her advisors are trying to poison her and stops eating. She is alone and feels like the only one she loves betrayed her. With more time we could see her gradually losing it as the siege of King’s landing approaches, when the siege happens and the city capitulates she snaps in her twisted mind she must burn the city because if the people don’t love her the only way for her to rule now is for everyone to fear her. Then Jon kills her forging light-bringer or whatever.

    This feels like GRRM style writing, her downfall is a direct consequence of Jon’s secret which is a pay off for all the seasons of build up.

    1. Guest says:

      Except its not Martin’s actual plotting, or at least its twisted around incomprehensibly. Dany’s first stop after Essos is King’s Landing, not the North.
      And there’s a crap load of wildfire in Kigs Landing Cersei’s been hoarding, wildfire Dany doesn’t know about. So its FAR more likely she attacks Aegon’s forces or castle and accidentally sets off that wildfire to burn the city down.
      When she dies, its going to be sacrificing her life and throne to destroy the Others, so this deliberate villainization of her character is even more awful

  34. Olivier FAURE says:

    The moment the Lannister soldiers surrendered, I thought “Oh shit, now all Daenerys needs to do is not act like a complete idiot for the rest of the day and she’s won, and there’s still 30 minutes left this episode. This is going to get dumb.”

  35. NamingIssues says:

    Others may have written it already, but I didn’t go through all the comments, so I’ll write it as well: The scene with Arya and the horse is a reference to the bible. Specifically, from the John revelation:

    “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

    This of course matches the scene and the title ‘Queen of the Ashes’ and it also opens up speculation about what Arya might do in the final episode. It is only disappointing that the Hound essentially turned her away from that path, only to have Dany turn her right back on it within the same episode.
    In the end, Arya simply succeeds at getting all the really awesome moments. Since I loved the murderbaby for a long time now, I don’t resent this, but for a show/series that has always been strong on having many acting characters, it’s rather disappointing, even at the very end.

  36. Crimson Dragoon says:

    I just can’t get over how bad a decision is was to make Bran the king. Someone who is completely detached from the real world, has shown no capability to lead, and who is pretty much unknown to Westoros. And the one small look into him “leading” that the show did give us just exacerbates those worries. He shows up for two minutes to a small council meeting, talks about figuring out where Drogon is, then fucks off to leave the rest to a mostly inexperienced and understaffed council. I think Robert was more involved.

    Also, this is just nitpicking, but how the hell did Grey Worm beat Jon to the Red Keep? He was still executing prisoners when Jon left him. Did Euron’s teleportation powers find a new host now that he’s dead?

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