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We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Overall I think it sucked.



Some things I liked:



My god though, this season is getting worse and worse over time. Thank god there's only two episodes left.

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I have so, so many grievances with this episode, however strangely enough I found Sansa to be about the only tolerable person in the whole damn thing (apart from Tormund). She's acting out of the North's best interest, and even if it doesn't seem so to Jon, his as well. Dany is a demanding, insufferable person with a mean streak who has lost any semblance of sound leadership, and is actively stringing Jon's weak ass along for a ride. Sansa is the byproduct of both Littlefinger and Cersei; of course she's going to sow discord when she's the opportunity. Fucking good on her in this instance, I reckon.



Edited May 6th by Orion Nebula



Posted May 6th by The Bandit





Edited May 6th by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king

I mean, I thought Jon looked sad when he was looking at Ghost. But still. I guess he's the King of the North because he's so cold...

There was a lot about this episode that irked me, beyond basic plot stuff (which matters a little less to me given I haven't really watched the last few seasons and am jumping back on for the finale since this is probably the last time we have a show like this that is consumed weekly and widely, so I kinda want to enjoy that aspect of the weekly format in our pop culture.)

The three things that really stood out for me:




It's funny having not watched a full season since season 4, but I can totally see what everyone has been talking about with the poor writing has gotten. I was having a hard time with the show by season 4 for just my own reasons, but it's pretty glaring how much better the writing was then.

Posted May 6th by Jet Presto



Posted May 6th by S.O.H.
S.O.H.
 

everyone gets tortured and murdered, the world sucks



Posted May 6th by Pirate_Ninja

This episode was kind of a roller coaster, and not really in a good way.



Edited May 6th by Count Dooku

@Orion Nebula:




Posted May 6th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful

@The Bandit:



@I killed Mufasa:



@Jet Presto:



I was having a hard time with the show by season 4 for just my own reasons


What were your issues with the show at that point?




Posted May 6th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful

@S.O.H.

is this the first time the show has become this controversial and decisive? This season has rustled a lot of jimmies it seems


I wouldn't call it controversial, it's become almost universally panned by critis and fans alike. I think there was some controversy around alterations to the source material and deviations from its plot once the show outstripped the books, but it was nothing like this.

@Count Dooku:






Posted May 6th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful



Edited May 6th by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king

The one sort of interesting thing I find about Dany is that she continues to lose the people who supported her, or they have taken a back seat to other players. It kind of does make some sense to me that she would start to lose it as she is being forced to share power while losing her most supportive cast. Granted, I don't know how long this has been going on for, but Dany had always made poor choices or impulsive ones for a while in the show, even if coming from a morally righteous place. And now that she is losing her closest allies, she is increasingly isolated. That will do a lot to someone.

My issues with Game of Thrones were more that I just was fatigued. It was something like, between Dexter and Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, just like, all the television that everyone was talking about that was centered on a loss of humanity and a lot of brutality. It's not so much that my problems were that I felt the show were bad or poorly written. It just felt like they specifically didn't want to give me anyone to get invested in because they would inevitably die in some brutal, horrifying, or disturbing fashion. I just really needed a break from all the episodic torture. (And I'm glad I missed all the Ramsay stuff, from what I have heard of it. I'd almost certainly turn off the television and go do something else.)

Posted May 6th by Jet Presto

@xhin

it has been a wild ride for me as I dont even watch the show. Seeing my friends frustration over the show cracks me up a bit.




Posted May 6th by S.O.H.
S.O.H.
 



Edited May 6th by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king



@Dooku


@Xhin


Posted May 6th by Pirate_Ninja

It's amazing how quickly my excitement level for this show dropped from the high I had from "A Knight of the Realm." Last week's episode brought me enormous disappointment, but this one I met with a shrug. Like, what did I expect, a return to form now? Really, this episode buckled down on the things that I've had issues with over this season so far (or, in some cases, over the previous season as well).



is this the first time the show has become this controversial and decisive? This season has rustled a lot of jimmies it seems


This is definitely not the first time it's been this controversial. Season 5 was universally panned due to the terrible Dorne arc, the Sansa arc that pretty much reversed both her development and that of Littlefinger, and the arcs of several characters (Arya, Brienne) that really plodded along. The episode "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" was particularly controversial for a number of different reasons and led to a number of reviewers renouncing the show entirely (it has one of the few scenes of the series that I outright skip on rewatches)--look up just about any episode ranking list, and this one's probably at the very bottom. Season 6 was definitely more divisive in that some people really liked it and might even put it at the pinnacle of the show, while others (like myself) see it as an improved but still deeply flawed season with a few standout moments. And Season 7 was probably similarly disliked, especially the "Beyond the Wall" storyline. It might seem like it's attracting more criticism than before, but that's probably due to a) the show ending, and people not wanting it to end on a down note, and b) this so far being arguably the second down season in a row. Season 5 was the first bad season and could have been a blip on the radar, as could Season 7 if you thought 6 was really good, but now the poor writing is looking more like a trend. It's hard to trust these writers to stick the landing at this point.

Posted May 6th by white lancer

Imo, she became strong because of Cersei/Littlefinger's influence, not because of her thoroughly fucked experiences.


Well, clearly the writers think it was the abuse and trauma that made her strong. That's *literally* what they have her explain to the Hound in that episode (and why it seems pretty evident they don't have many women on the creative staff, nor had many conversations with trauma victims).

Posted May 8th by Jet Presto

@white lancer (RE: book spoilies)


Edited May 8th by Moonray
Moonray
 

And yea the Sansa stuff. The show really wants you to believe that she only became "strong" because of the abuse she received in the last couple of seasons. While I'm sure that was the final straw it's a bit annoying that they gloss over her time in King's Landing... Cersei even spent a bit of time grooming her in the political game.

Posted May 8th by Moonray
Moonray
 

Game of thrones isn't the real world. Our real world politics and SJW bullshit doesn't apply to it. Sansa lives in a world where rape and violence are a frequent occurrence so she has to use her surroundings to grow and become more complete. Also I'm pretty sure female ninjas and spies get chased down and raped in training in some countries so that they'll know what it's like when they're out in the field. Which means women actually can learn from such trauma and get stronger as a result. Similar to how a guy can get stronger after having the shit kicked out of him like in Karate Kid.

Edited May 8th by Renzokuken

@Moonray (book spoilers continue):



Edited May 8th by white lancer

@Lancer

Looks like I just need to read the books because that version of events is more interesting than what the TV show did.

Edited May 9th by Moonray
Moonray
 

as a general rule, yes. You're just stuck hoping for the remaining books to come out afterward to see how things resolve.

I started at some random point in the show (walked in the room while dad/brother were watching it, stuck around and found it interesting enough to come back next week). It was the episode where there was some kind of procession in King's Landing with Joffrey and IIRC someone threw shit at him, get owned bitch. Once the season ended, I watched the earlier episodes I'd missed and then decided to open up my brother's copies of the books to see how they were.

Posted May 9th by Pirate_Ninja

For those of you who have read the books -- how are they?

Posted May 9th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful

For those of you who have read the books -- how are they?


Very enjoyable for the first two or three. Martin's prose is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done - gritty and utilitarian, like the content itself. However, Martin winds up taking it all too seriously.

ASoIaF seems to pride itself on making even minor side characters feel like real people with backgrounds, stories, etc. That serves the verisimilitude of the world very well, but this divests the story of the ability to just drop characters without making a dramatic turn of events out of it, lest it seem merely ironic. So he develops all of these plot threads that he can't easily kill off, which builds up into a huge sheaf of characters that we wind up following. This is why A Feast for Crows was split into A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons - and then several foreign translations of A Dance with Dragons were split into Dreams and Dust and After the Feast. The latest book follows sixteen fucking main characters and takes place simultaneously with the previous book. Jesus.

ASoIaF also seems to snarkily subvert plot armor and the established dramatic appropriateness of stereotypical fantasy. The early books do this quite well, but by the current point in the series, it becomes more apparent that it's more like it just follows Martin's idea of dramatic appropriateness instead of some sort of honestly altruistic reasoning. Some of the characters (cough Arya cough) fall down a rabbithole of such unbelievable plot armor that it becomes ridiculous to how my sensibilities were trained by the previous books.

I would recommend it to a general reader of fantasy, but not someone interested in great literature.

Posted May 9th by Cruinn-Annuin

ASoIaF also seems to snarkily subvert plot armor and the established dramatic appropriateness of stereotypical fantasy.


That's what got me hooked on the show to begin with. Which it no longer has.



Posted May 9th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful

Game of thrones isn't the real world. Our real world politics and SJW bullshit doesn't apply to it.


The issue is not that rape or violence against women happens in the show. The issue is how the writers use those things within the fiction. Being that it is fiction and "not the real world" doesn't exclude it from film/literary/television criticism that literally applies to every piece of fiction, being as the fiction exists in the real world.

Posted May 9th by Jet Presto

I think his point is that PTSD is going to manifest itself differently in a world where random acts of rape and violence are the norm. Where your own father and brothers are killers.

Posted May 9th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful

No, I got that. Being able to come up with explanations within the fiction does not suddenly mean that the fiction - from the real world of real people who are consuming it - is above criticism for including that explanation.

Posted May 9th by Jet Presto

And on that front, I'm a little tired of media telling us that trauma and abuse makes us stronger. Like, I can't help but wonder if any of the writers ever actually talked to victims of abuse. While yes, hardship can make people strong, the trauma that Sansa had endured (from what I saw and what I understand with Ramsay) was so intense that there is no way Sansa isn't having nightmares.

I don't want to misconstrue your argument, but it would seem to me that if trauma and abuse can't make you stronger, it either has no effect (very unlikely) or can only make you weaker. And if you're arguing that it only makes you weaker, I think that's a fairly ridiculous take.



Posted May 9th by Count Dooku

@Moonray

Yeah, I think that goes for a lot of the plot arcs in later seasons. The Dorne storyline and the Sand Snakes, for instance, are like night and day between the books and the show. Though I'm not going to say that everything is up to that standard, especially in the last two books. Part of the show's problem in Season 5 and parts of 6 is that it messed up or omitted the best aspects of the later books while also leaving the most mediocre plotlines intact.

As far as the books as a whole, I'd say that the first three, particularly A Storm of Swords are great. They're long books, but I was pretty much hooked. I mean, that was also without the knowledge of certain plot points that the show would have spoiled for you, so maybe it'd be different going through it with that knowledge. Like Cruinn said, GRRM is really good at making it feel like an actual, semi-realistic world. On a re-read, I started to notice just how often minor characters were mentioned or popped up in the background of some scene or another, just because it made sense that they'd be there given their position. There are some nicely fleshed-out civilizations and locations, and the POV characters especially are really well-developed.

I think his commitment to realism is both his strength and his downfall. The fourth and fifth books are a slog at some points, partially because GRRM can't seem to help himself when it comes to expanding his world with plot complications, locations, and characters, only some of which are all that interesting. A large part of A Feast For Crows is dedicated to detailing the effects of war on the normal people of Westeros, which sounds like a great idea--certainly it's not a realm that high fantasy usually explores. But it turns out it's not all that interesting to read about. Some of the storylines are far more compelling than others, and I found myself rather impatient when certain characters' POVs turned up. Part of this, I suspect, has to do with the fact that GRRM originally planned to skip forward several years between books, but ultimately abandoned the idea...and this works better for certain characters, like Cersei, and worse for others, like Arya and Bran. I didn't actually finish my last reread because I got bogged down in A Dance With Dragons (and got caught up in the Malazan books). The setup for the next book is actually really exciting, though, and I have faith that GRRM will pay off the storylines better than the show. Though as much as I complain about the wait for The Winds of Winter, it's gotta be better than the wait between AFFC and ADWD, given that a lot of the major characters barely appeared in AFFC, if at all!

One thing that I think GRRM consistently does better than the showrunners is that things tend to happen because they make sense that they happen. I've beaten the "consequences" drum about the show a number of times, and part of the reason is that GRRM doesn't typically let his characters off the hook. At their best, the books are similar to TV shows like The Wire, where bad things manage to surprise you, but somehow also feel inevitable based off of the choices the characters made. And the choices that they make, even the poor ones, make sense based off of who those characters are (rather than defying all logic as sometimes happens in the show). I hesitate to compare anything to The Wire, though, because that one's really in a class of its own as far as that goes, but GRRM does hit similar beats sometimes.

Posted May 9th by white lancer

For those of you who have read the books -- how are they?


I think they're really, really fun to read. It's a completely different product from the show, especially once you get past Book 1 (which the show was really faithful in adapting in Season 1). For some quick examples of differences: Sansa never encounters Ramsay in the books. Arya is not Tywin's cup bearer in the books but instead is the cup bearer for Roose Bolton. As mentioned earlier, all of the Stark children have warging abilities, but Bran is still the more prominent one. There are many more but these are just examples. I could give you huge spoilers of book content, which seems strange since the show is so much farther ahead at this point.

There is much more setup and buildup in the books that make the big moments feel worth it and make sense. "The North Remembers," which is mentioned in passing in the show, is a movement likely building up to a big payoff in the coming books. A lot of events occur in the background, though, which I think is really cool. Like you'll have characters overhear of things occurring, or rumors of events, or reports at council meetings, but you don't see them actually happen.

Martin is also really good with setting moods and building atmosphere. Book 3 (A Storm of Swords) has such an eerie and tragic feel to it from the very beginning even though things don't really go down until much later in the book.

I highly recommend anyone interested in the story or fantasy in general to read the books. I'm not a book reader at all and I read them all and loved it. I started a re-read but stopped due to school. But I definitely plan to read through the series a few more times. You catch so many things going back through.

Posted May 9th by Vandy

Arya is not Tywin's cup bearer in the books but instead is the cup bearer for Roose Bolton.


FWIW, this is one of the best changes the show made to the books. Those Arya/Tywin scenes are awesome. But the Sansa change you mentioned is one of the worst!

A lot of events occur in the background, though, which I think is really cool. Like you'll have characters overhear of things occurring, or rumors of events, or reports at council meetings, but you don't see them actually happen.[/quote

Yes! This is another of the things I adore about the books and contributes to it feeling like a real world. The supposed background characters clearly have their own goals in mind and act accordingly, often behind the scenes. And those things don't just stay in the background--they eventually tend to come back to factor into the storyline in a big way.


Posted May 9th by white lancer
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