I have so, [i]so[/i] 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.
* Is Euron going to question how Tyrion knew about Cersei's child? Probably not, doubt the writers were bothered connecting those dots as well.
* Cersei sends Bronn to kill Tyrion but won't do the deed when he's right before her (along with her combatant to the throne). Drogon wouldn't be an issue either, since those scorpions are apparently manned by aimbots.
* No one in this show knows what reconnaissance is anymore
* "Let's set up home base on a small island while we plan against a powerful navy. Hang on, that mirage looks suspiciously like a fleet of ships"
* I guess it's too much to ask for the dragons to fly higher, and circle around Euron's fleet. Or how about surprise attack KL's walls at night to take down the scorpions?
* Cersei is herding thousands of civilians around her as protection! If only we had someone who could sneak in there! And someone who could see things from the perspective of an animal to relay information!
And that's just scratching the surface. The soap opera shit we had to endure at the beginning was excruciating. Arya is almost a non-character at this point, as is Bran. Dany begging Jon to go back to how it was before was hilarious. They wanted me to cheer for Brienne and Jaime but I hated every second of it.
What a fucking fall from grace this show has seen. Rhaegal getting torn to shreds out of nowhere is some nice symbolism for these last two seasons. It's sad days when I look back at Season 5 with fondness. [/hide]
Edited May 6th
by Orion Nebula
[hide]I sincerely don't understand the argument for why Jon and Dany can't marry and Jon keep his identity a secret *except* from his sisters. Maybe I just missed something? Yes, Sansa doesn't like Dany, but aren't all of Sansa's problems solved if Jon helps to rule the entire kingdom? Am I really supposed to believe that Sansa would risk her brother's crown and incite a war that the North absolutely could not win just to undermine Dany because she doesn't like her? The woman her brother loves? Sansa hasn't even seen some of Dany's worst qualities, she just seems to not like her because she isn't from the North. I don't buy any of this for a fucking second. If Jon and Dany married and ruled together, Sansa would accept it. Maybe somewhat grudgingly, but she would still accept it. There's really not much reason to think Sansa would reject this plan, even from Dany's point of view. And if Dany thinks this little of your sister Jon, if she really thinks Sansa is THIS fucking petty, you can do better. You're a strong independent manlet who don't need no dragon queen.
OR just fucking reveal his identity. This is less likely to work, but I still think it's plausible. Incest is gross, yes, but 20 something years ago the Northmen would have accepted *brother and sister* wedding each other seemingly without an issue. And these Northmen's fathers and their fathers and their fathers before that all would have accepted it as well. Brothers and sisters wedding is what this kingdom has known for three centuries. Am I really supposed to believe that these Northmen would care *that* much if it meant the person *they* crowned got to rule over the entire kingdom alongside his aunt? Also- I'm not an incest scientist or anything, but I'm pretty certain that aunt/nephew incest isn't nearly as bad as brother/sister incest, and while it's probably not as "good" as cousin/cousin incest (something this society readily accepts without issue), I doubt it's much worse either? Surely that makes it somewhat easier to swallow for them. How is any of this an issue, I don't understand.
I mean, I can buy it, I can accept that the North- a people who have previously been established as being very prideful and stuck in their ways- would vehemently be against all forms of incest no matter what, but the fact that I'm asking questions like this just shows how far the show has fallen for me. When Avengers Endgame has stupid bullshit, I shrug my shoulders and deal with it, because it's succeeding in so many other areas that I can overlook inconsistency. But Game of Thrones isn't even succeeding in their fucking action sequences anymore, so I'm looking for reasons to be mad.
Many people were extremely confused about Rhaegal's fate in The Long Night. It looked like he died multiple times. And dragon on dragon combat would have been a very fitting way to even the odds even more for Cersei... but no, they decide to keep him alive and then kill him off in the next episode. Why? To establish the scorpions can kill dragons? Yeah, we knew that last season, thanks. To establish that Cersei has A LOT of scorpions now? We'll find that out next episode, thanks. Even putting aside how stupid it was to """ambush""" the dragons like that, this was a stupid sequence.
Finally, FUCK how this show handled Ghost. This is honestly worse than the Night King fiasco. Have him disappear for literally an entire season, bring him back, have him do nothing, then make him fuck off and don't even let Jon pet him goodbye. Jon didn't even look sad, he looked annoyed. Is the Ghost CGI really that expensive? I would be shocked if someone doesn't put D&D over Jon's face and turn that sequence into a gif to demonstrate how little they gave a shit about Ghost.
I could go on but what's the point, you all have IQs at least in the double digits, and that's all it takes to see how far this show has fallen.[/hide]
Posted May 6th
by The Bandit
[hide]It didn't inspire a lot of joy for me. They spent way too long in Winterfell. If they had just done the funeral and the war meeting that would have been great. Daenarys is such a power hungry incestuous weirdo. It's obvious that she's no longer going to make a good Queen. Personally I think the writing on the dragon attacks could have been even better. If the scorpion shot went through Drogon and Daenarys' chest, killing her. Then we'd have a true villain power couple of FAZEclan360noscopeEuron and Cersei for Jon and his friends to battle. I personally think that knowing Season 8 is the last one ruins a lot of things. It makes us expect and anticipate more since there are only two episodes left. I'd rather not know.
Cersei seemed genuinely receptive to Tyrion's words about her motherhood, but then decided to be a monster anyway. There aren't really any likable characters left in the show.
It's pretty obvious that Yara Greyjoy is going to fight Euron with her own ships since that's the only way for them to do it now.
The best parts about the episode were the Funeral and the attack on the Dragon.
I would have rather seen Jon burn a dead Ghost at the funeral than have him walk away from Ghost without petting him.[/hide]
Edited May 6th
by I killed Mufasa
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:
The shit with Brienne and Jaime. Feels a bit obvious that it wasn't written by a woman. I get that, like, feelings! The whole thing with her virginity being an actual plot point. That once they sleep together, she is weeping because he is running back to Cersei. Just felt out of character from what I knew of Brienne, and just a bit too melodramatic. Felt more Days of our Lives than Game of Thrones.
Also the whole Missandei. I mean, I called it with a co-worker that she was dead in the next episode or two. I actually thought they would kill her last week in the crypts because everyone expected Grey Worm to die in the front lines. Also: woman, person of color, likeable character - she's got pretty much all the GoT attributes to be killed off. I should have known that they would go out of their way to force a more brutal murder of her. The whole capturing her just so they could torment her psychologically before brutally decapitating her was just par for the course. Is it really a Game of Thrones season if some woman doesn't wind up being tortured?
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 like that they've treated her trauma as if it's something she's just gotten over and now she's strong. Like she couldn't or wouldn't have become strong without the abuse. It's a media trope that needs to die, frankly.
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
[hide] is this the first time the show has become this controversial and decisive? This season has rustled a lot of jimmies it seems [/hide]
everyone gets tortured and murdered, the world sucks
[i]rhaegal takes a bolt to the chest out of fucking nowhere from an impossible distance[/i]
rhaegal: what the heck, that hurt, let me keep on cruising straight ahead to see what that's about
[i]rhaegal gets bodied like a fucking punk[/i]
dany: what the FUCK you guys are dead FULL SPEED AHEAD DIRECTLY INTO THE PATH OF YOUR CLEARLY LETHAL WEAPONS!!
euron, reloading at superhuman speed: lol gg ez
dany: nah fuck it, also it's definitely not worth it to fly around behind them where I could attack for free
gendry: at least the dragon got to DIE after being shot down
Posted May 6th
This episode was kind of a roller coaster, and not really in a good way.
[hide]I thought the first half or so was fine, as it was more dialogue-of-thrones than the last few seasons have been. It was nice for Varys to be a character again, although I'm not sure what he actually brings to the table anymore in terms of capabilities. Is he still supposed to have his extensive spy web?
The writers are hellbent on convincing us that Dany is a crazy tyrant this episode, which makes it kinda painfully obvious that she's going to pull a 180 when it counts. I find this particularly annoying, because it's been clear to me for several seasons that she's a mad-king-in-waiting. But the way they're going about it now just makes her overly sympathetic, even to me. Dany and her armies are obviously the only reason anyone survived Winterfell... but everyone forgets that and gives Jon all the credit for some reason? Jon, who accomplished precisely fuck-all during that entire battle and almost died. Then you kill off another of her dragons, and kill one of her BFFs off for good measure. I'm almost on her side at this point, in the sense that seeing her just roast Cersei & King's Landing almost feels justified.
On the flip side, even before Dany lost another dragon she's still doing that annoying bend-the-knee shit with Sansa about how she's going to be Queen of the [i]SEVEN[/i] Kingdoms.
Ser Bronn of the fucking Blackwater is still the best.
Somehow half the Dothraki are still alive. Or at least that was my takeaway from the "War Room".
Sansa is seemingly still the smartest person in the room, in almost all respects. Immediately marching south after the night of the living dead seems like a great way to have an exhausted, demoralized, worthless army.
Weird that we they didn't bother to show us the reaction of Sansa/Arya to Jon's parentage. Also hilarious that Jon couldn't do it himself and had to have weirdo Bran do it.
I've never gotten the obsession with Ghost. Is it just the kind of thing where he means more to you if you've read the books?
Euron Greyjoy and/or his faceless ironborn didn't deserve a dragon kill. Jesus Christ. Subverted my expectations right into the toilet.
Euron Greyjoy's infinite fleet, with infinite stealth, is probably the most fantastical part of this world right now. He's an actual wizard.
The sequence where the scorpions annihilate a ship is neat, but I feel like they're ludicrously OP. Cannons would probably do less damage to a ship than those things. Also, from a lore perspective, I was under the impression that dragons are basically this unrivaled, unbeatable force that no one has ever withstood or been able to invent a counter-measure against. And now not only has Cersei's crazy Hand invented a countermeasure, they've mass-produced them and mounted them on ships, walls, horses, dogs, etc.
I didn't need to see Brienne of Tarth ugly cry over Jaime. I sort of get what they were going for, but just have her get choked up or something.
The sequence with Dany and 12 unsullied standing in front of Cersei's Death Battlements was really dumb. Cersei has never, ever played by the rules. I don't understand why she didn't just annihilate everyone there. She doesn't care about what people think of her, she's clearly safe from the last dragon (who was definitely within range anyway, if Euron and company managed to land three of them on a distant flying target). She could have ended the entire thing right there.
[w]Perhaps you're wondering why someone would behead a woman before throwing her off the battlements?[/w][/hide]
Edited May 6th
by Count Dooku
> Is Euron going to question how Tyrion knew about Cersei's child? Probably not, doubt the writers were bothered connecting those dots as well.
Yeah, I noticed that plot hole too.
> Cersei sends Bronn to kill Tyrion but won't do the deed when he's right before her (along with her combatant to the throne).
To be fair, it's a lot harder to kill a family member who's standing right in front of you. Cersei couldn't do it with jaime either.
> No one in this show knows what reconnaissance is anymore
>"Let's set up home base on a small island while we plan against a powerful navy. Hang on, that mirage looks suspiciously like a fleet of ships"
[i]Why[/i] isn't Tyrion noticing these things? [i][b]Why[/b][/i] isn't Varys noticing these things? they're supposed to be the clever ones.
> Cersei is herding thousands of civilians around her as protection! If only we had someone who could sneak in there! And someone who could see things from the perspective of an animal to relay information!
> The soap opera shit we had to endure at the beginning was excruciating.
Yeah that's bugging me more than anything. Game of thrones isn't supposed to be that kind of show
> What a fucking fall from grace this show has seen.
It seems like final seasons for shows are always rough. But I can't remember one where the very core of the show changes so fundamentally.
> Am I really supposed to believe that Sansa would risk her brother's crown and incite a war that the North absolutely could not win just to undermine Dany because she doesn't like her?
The plot made her do it!
You're right, this isn't Sansa at all. I get that she's changed since her whole Cersei/Joffrey and Littlefinger/Ramsey experience, but someone show me where along the line she became [i]dumb[/i]. Even Arya points out that sansa is "the smartest person she knows". Sansa mocked Tyrion's cleverness too.
> Is the Ghost CGI really that expensive?
And more than one dragon. And Dothraki. And White walkers. Actually a lot of this season can be explained by budget constraints.
@``I killed Mufasa:
> Daenarys is such a power hungry incestuous weirdo. It's obvious that she's no longer going to make a good Queen.
Yeah I don't understand this at all. The entirety of the first maybe six seasons we were shown a Daenarys who was truly fit to rule -- kind, just, aggressive when she needed to be (in a really badass way too). But now she's clearly gone mad with power -- ignoring her advisors, being willing to attack innocent civilians, burning the Tarlys alive for their dissent, etc. Wtf happened to Dany.
> Then we'd have a true villain power couple of FAZEclan360noscopeEuron and Cersei for Jon and his friends to battle.
I'm hoping Dany dies too -- it would solve a lot of problems. Unfortunately her entire army (except maybe drogon) would have to die too because they're loyal only to [i]her[/i].
> The whole thing with her virginity being an actual plot point.
Oh god I forgot about that. What a terrible show this has become.
> Felt more Days of our Lives than Game of Thrones.
> Like she couldn't or wouldn't have become strong without the abuse. It's a media trope that needs to die, frankly.
Imo, she became strong because of Cersei/Littlefinger's influence, not because of her thoroughly fucked experiences.
> 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?
> 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.
> I thought the first half or so was fine, as it was more dialogue-of-thrones than the last few seasons have been.
Yeah I like that -- except the dialogue is all soap opera these days, as orion pointed out.
> Euron Greyjoy's infinite fleet, with infinite stealth, is probably the most fantastical part of this world right now. He's an actual wizard.
Don't forget his omniscience -- he always exactly knows where every other fleet in the goddamn world is.
> I was under the impression that dragons are basically this unrivaled, unbeatable force that no one has ever withstood or been able to invent a counter-measure against. And now not only has Cersei's crazy Hand invented a countermeasure, they've mass-produced them and mounted them on ships, walls, horses, dogs, etc.
Qyburn is a fucking genius, so I wouldn't put it past him to come up with an anti-dragon defense system. My issue is that it's a giant crossbow -- like how the fuck did no one else ever think about that. Were crossbows only recently invented or something?
> The sequence with Dany and 12 unsullied standing in front of Cersei's Death Battlements was really dumb. Cersei has never, ever played by the rules.
I assumed she couldn't reach them from that distance. But then I remembered the scorpions could hit fucking dragons and boats that were 44584398 miles away, so yeah there's no excuse. The Plot made her hesitate!
- The sequence with Dany and 12 unsullied standing in front of Cersei's Death Battlements was really dumb. Cersei has never, ever played by the rules.
- - I assumed she couldn't reach them from that distance. But then I remembered the scorpions could hit fucking dragons and boats that were 44584398 miles away, so yeah there's no excuse. The Plot made her hesitate!
[b]Maybe Cersei already knows that Jon is Aegon through espionage and knows that killing Daenarys outright will make her a martyr. Because it would have been easy to kill her forces right there outside the walls even without arrows and scorpions. All Cersei had to do was send her men outside and outnumber them.[/b][/hide]
Edited May 6th
by I killed Mufasa
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
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.
[hide]I really want to see Grey Worm and The Hound team up on The Mountain in an epic Obi and Qui-Gon vs Maul style battle.[/hide]
Edited May 6th
by I killed Mufasa
will be beyond annoyed if Grey worms his way into Cleganebowl just because Missandei got dunked on
that brotherly rivalry is some sacred shit that mentally and physically scarred Sandor for life, and has been building for a long, long time
"this guy i've seen maybe once before was the one who physically carried out the execution order against my girlfriend just now" doesn't stack up
imo Grey Worm can face off with Euron, the guy who captured her in the first place
[quote]I've never gotten the obsession with Ghost. Is it just the kind of thing where he means more to you if you've read the books?[/quote]
that's part of it, yeah. Each Stark kid is supposed to be extremely close to their direwolf, in a way that goes beyond friendship and symbolism and straight into supernatural bond territory. I think two of them have had incidences of extremely vivid "wolf dreams" that are effectively "while I was asleep, my mind went into my direwolf and I lived through them, running through the woods and hunting and shit all night."
and then there are just "omg doggo!!!" people
[quote]Euron Greyjoy's infinite fleet, with infinite stealth, is probably the most fantastical part of this world right now. He's an actual wizard.[/quote]
show Euron is a mess, but ironically his book counterpart actually does deal with dark magical shit that could've helped make his feats go down smoother. I wouldn't question his projectile aim (from the deck of a moving ship (against a moving target (over an enormous distance))) quite so much if he used some human-sacrifice rituals to magically guide the bolts or something like that. Hell, without diving into [i]book[/i] spoiler territory, book Euron has an apparent anti-dragon weapon of his own and likely wouldn't need that kind of stunt.
Posted May 6th
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).
[hide]Have to agree with most of the criticisms here. I will say that it could have made sense that they don't use Bran to scout, just because it would make sense that he's not all that invested in who sits the Iron Throne....but if they wanted to go that route, I'm not sure why the writers made him so insistent that Sam tell Jon about his heritage. Speaking of...is that it? For Sam and Gilly on the show? Did they even explain where they were going? If so, I missed it. I guess probably Horn Hill, and maybe we'll check in on them in an epilogue?
Sansa's hatred of Daenerys has always seemed overblown for me this season. She doesn't really have a great reason, just hated her right from the start despite Dany coming in literally to save her lives and those of her subjects. Arya's makes even less sense, though apparently she's just in lockstep with Sansa now. Really, most of the internal intrigue seems forced at this point, much like the Arya/Sansa drama felt forced last season. At least that was revealed to be a ruse (a nonsensical one, but still).
Euron's dragon slaying just goes back to the contrivances of Season 7 to even the scales. It should be basic strategy to scout ahead, particularly when you know there's a madman with magical ship-building capabilities. Even if she didn't have supposedly some of the smartest advisors in Westeros, Dany should have been able to figure that one out herself. I have to think there was a way to make for a fairer fight without making previously intelligent characters idiots, but they didn't manage that last season and it looks like they haven't now.
[quote]Hell, without diving into book spoiler territory, book Euron has an apparent anti-dragon weapon of his own and likely wouldn't need that kind of stunt.[/quote]
I was just thinking about this today. They easily could have made Cersei/Euron a much bigger threat if he had that weapon of his--combine the weapon with the forces Dany loses fighting the Night King, and the scales are much more even without all of the hoops they jumped through. Of course, that would require making Euron an actually unique character rather than the generic bad guy we've got.
I'm torn on Dany's plotline now. Like, taken in isolation over the last couple of seasons, it's not a bad arc. She arguably has more nuance now than any other character in the cast, most of whom are just coasting on their previous development at this point. And there were definitely demonstrations of her capacity for brutality earlier on in the show, so I could see this turn working really well if handled properly. Just...at the end of Season 6, less than two seasons ago, she had come to terms with the fact that her father was a terrible person and rejected his legacy. Now she's acting all pissy every time she comes into contact with someone who "wronged" her father. Two seasons ago, she offered autonomy to Yara and the Iron Islands in exchange for their help, while extracting a promise from them to cease their reaving and raping ways. Now she doesn't even contemplate a similar deal with the North, despite them being by far her most important allies (both this area and the Sansa one would be a lot more understandable if we had a better sense of just what the North was losing by being part of the Kingdoms--the North seems to have been de facto autonomous anyway given that no rulers wanted to deal with the frigid North and its people anyway). Two seasons ago, she vowed to break the wheel of tyranny that grinds common people underfoot and includes the Targaryens as a perpetuator of that wheel, but now she seems to be solely focused on taking the throne for herself, effectively occupying the top of that wheel. And two seasons ago, she easily forgave Tyrion's mismanagement of the situation in Meereen, made him her Hand, and even listened to his strategy for dealing with the Wise Masters of Slaver's Bay...and was rewarded for it! But now she doesn't even seem to contemplate her advisors' plans. It's like the writers decided between Seasons 6 and 7 that they wanted to go for the Mad Queen storyline with her, so they fast-forwarded past the development that would have made it a smooth transition and a satisfying character arc. Seems very likely that Varys will be dying in dragonfire next episode, which I'm not thrilled about...but these are the choices they've made for this character.
Also not sure where this manipulative side of Dany came from this season. She's always been far more straightforward with her strategies and more or less unwilling to engage in courtly intrigue--that's Cersei's deal. They definitely could have used Tyrion to advise her in this role, since he's demonstrated political savvy in the past while Daenerys really hasn't. Sigh. At this point I'm mostly just rooting for any outcome that doesn't involve Jon on the Iron Throne.
Guess I gave them too much credit for not going the obvious route of killing one of Grey Worm/Missandei last episode. At least this was better than one of them just dying randomly in battle last week. And they still get points for keeping Brienne alive after her "I'm gonna die soon" moment of triumph, though I'm docking some of those points for her characterization this episode. Tyrion definitely should have died this episode, though--I can buy Cersei hesitating to kill Jaime, but she's literally hated Tyrion since he was born. And she obviously wasn't afraid to piss Daenerys off. I'm kinda glad he's alive because I hope he can redeem himself after a few seasons of stupidity, but the way he framed it there's no way he should have lived.
I did like the conversation between Sansa and Sandor. Glad they acknowledged that little connection, at the very least, and it was nice to see Sansa do [i]something[/i] other than just all politics all the time.
[quote]that's part of it, yeah. Each Stark kid is supposed to be extremely close to their direwolf, in a way that goes beyond friendship and symbolism and straight into supernatural bond territory. I think two of them have had incidences of extremely vivid "wolf dreams" that are effectively "while I was asleep, my mind went into my direwolf and I lived through them, running through the woods and hunting and shit all night."[/quote]
I'm gonna get into book spoilers here, in case anyone cares...in the books, all of the Stark children are wargs like Bran (confirmed by GRRM), though not as powerful. Sansa never experiences it because Lady dies so early, but Rickon clearly has a special connection with Shaggydog, there are indications that Robb (while not a POV character) experiences wolf dreams, and Jon and Arya definitely do. Arya's constantly dreaming about Nymeria running free as the leader of a pack in the Riverlands, and she even sees through the eyes of cats while she's blinded by the Faceless Men (I think she's the only one besides Bran who has used an animal other than her wolf thus far). And there are theories and hints that Jon's resurrection will have something to do with him warging into Ghost when he gets murdered (a most prophetic name if that winds up being the case). The wolves have a lot more significance and prominence in the books as a whole and they feel very thematically important, whereas you could be forgiven for forgetting they exist on the show.
That said, I didn't really expect much more from Ghost, especially since they so callously disposed of Summer in Season 6. I kinda understand it, too--you have to make certain concessions when adapting a book to a TV series, and it makes sense that expensive CGI wolves would be one of those concessions. It's sort of like how I don't blame the writers for cutting out certain battle sequences, because the budget is a real constraint even in a show as well-funded as this one.[/hide]
[quote]is this the first time the show has become this controversial and decisive? This season has rustled a lot of jimmies it seems[/quote]
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 7th
by white lancer
[quote]Imo, she became strong because of Cersei/Littlefinger's influence, not because of her thoroughly fucked experiences. [/quote]
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)
That's interesting to know that in the books the Starks are Wargs because in S1 of the show they seemed to imply that Rickon had similar abilities to Bran.
I only watched the show for the first time very recently and when I mentioned this part to people who had watched it as it aired they were all sceptical of my claims. As I got further into the show I realised why, the show just completely drops the plot threads after S1. Which is a shame because Rickon could've really used something to make his character more interesting (and I swear he just disappeared for episodes at a time when he was supposed to be with Bran).
Edited May 8th
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
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
@Moonray (book spoilers continue):
[hide]It's pretty telling that Rickon didn't have any lines in the season in which he died. The show dropped whatever plotline he had and wound up using him as cannon fodder. He's not exactly a major character in the books, either--he's not a POV character and of course eventually leaves Bran's POV--but he's part of one of my favorite plot points in the last book. In A Dance With Dragons, "The North Remembers" is a plotline in which multiple Northern lords are conspiring behind the Boltons' backs to get revenge for the Red Wedding and place Rickon as the Stark in Winterfell. He's just as relevant as you would expect the son of a beloved lord would be and a legitimate threat to the Boltons, whereas he really isn't in the show.
It's a classic case of "tell, don't show," where we're constantly [i]told[/i] about how loyal the North is and how beloved the Starks are, but that never actually bears out in the action. Whereas the Northern conspiracy against the Boltons/Freys in the books includes even houses that didn't like the Starks, for the very understandable reason that they, too, had family members and men butchered at the Red Wedding.[/hide]
Edited May 9th
by white 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
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 [w]someone threw shit at him, get owned bitch[/w]. 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
For those of you who have read the books -- how are they?
>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 [i]A Feast for Crows[/i] was split into [i]A Feast for Crows[/i] and [i]A Dance with Dragons[/i] - and then several foreign translations of [i]A Dance with Dragons[/i] were split into [i]Dreams and Dust[/i] and [i]After the Feast[/i]. The latest book follows [i]sixteen fucking main characters[/i] 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
> 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.
[quote]Game of thrones isn't the real world. Our real world politics and SJW bullshit doesn't apply to it.[/quote]
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 10th
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.
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 10th
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 10th
by Count Dooku
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 [i]A Storm of Swords[/i] 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 [i]A Feast For Crows[/i] 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 [i]A Dance With Dragons[/i] (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 [i]The Winds of Winter[/i], 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 [i]The Wire[/i], 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 [i]The Wire[/i], 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 10th
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 [i]huge[/i] 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.
[quote]Arya is not Tywin's cup bearer in the books but instead is the cup bearer for Roose Bolton.[/quote]
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!
[quote]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 10th
by white lancer