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Monday, May 18, 2015

Second-best ending ever

I have never watched Mad Men, never had any interest in it, but after reading about the final episode, that has to be the second-best ending of a television show ever, only surpassed by the epic end of Newhart. Third, in my opinion, would be the end of The Sopranos.

I love the fact that the show's creator absolutely must have had the ending in mind from the beginning. That's a first-rate lesson in doing storytelling right.

Somehow, I tend to doubt that A Game of Thrones will end anywhere nearly as well. While Benioff and Weiss have generally shown themselves to have much better storytelling instincts than George Martin, I'm still trying to figure out what on Earth is going on with Danerys inexplicably deciding to marry a member of the Mereen aristocracy. Fails as drama, fails as logic, and fails as being interesting.

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89 Comments:

Blogger HickoryHammer #0211 May 18, 2015 6:44 AM  

Fails as drama, fails as logic, and fails as being interesting.

Fails at being interesting is the biggest part of it. I have to skim through the Bran parts and the Daenerys parts on any read through, especially after she makes it to the slaver cities.

I think the author wanted to have all his characters at a certain place at a certain time in the story, but getting some of the secondary characters where they needed to be took longer than he thought. Thus we have some pretty boring chapters mixed in throughout. Looking forward to seeing Victarion Greyjoy though, hope they don't screw that character up.

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 6:49 AM  

The ending of Breaking Bad was pretty damn perfect.

Anonymous PA May 18, 2015 7:11 AM  

I disagree on the ending of Breaking Bad being good. It was awful -- except for that scene in the New Hampshire bar, which was inspired. But the overall ending defied suspension of disbelief. The M-60 massacre, the financial arrangement scene with his former partner, all relied on everything happening without fail.

Anonymous Anonymous May 18, 2015 7:19 AM  

fnd:
OT Not the Mad Men, but Mad Max(Spoilers): Just saw it yesterday, and i got to say it is a really good piece of anti-white entertainment(once in a blue moon leftists can manage to make a good message movie) despite the feminist themes. Seriously, they could have ripped off Homer, ditched the dykes and make a way better movie in the process, what a shame.
The disturbing part is that on an intellectual level they know that feminism is a reckless destructive force, but they still see it as a good thing, lol. The Patriarch was the villain but he still provided a more stable society.
The ending didn't make any sense, They kill the patriarch(who also happens to be a loved cult leader), show the body to his people and suddenly everyone turns friendly towards Max and starts ripping apart the villain body, and the only guy faithful to the villain in the city is a crippled midget. And then, everyone in the city turns socialist and lives happy forever. Talk about a really dumb ending plot wise.
It is also disturbing how marketeers sees SJW's as a market worth catering. They now have to market their movies as feminist. Aniway, worth pirating despite the feminism and the ending.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 May 18, 2015 7:31 AM  

Vox, by an large they don't write endings full stop. They write by lines for sequels and even run a single promotional clip during the credits.
A story line reaching a resolution and something to think about for days afterwards just isn't there.
Distractions have to be perpetual, or amnesia might wear off. Characters must never ever grow up.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 18, 2015 7:42 AM  

The disturbing part is that on an intellectual level they know that feminism is a reckless destructive force, but they still see it as a good thing

They know feminism is a reckless destructive force, and therefore they see it as a good thing. That's what it's for: destroying marriage, family, masculinity, femininity, all the socio-sexual aspects of Christendom.

Anonymous Goodnight May 18, 2015 7:44 AM  

I love the fact that the show's creator absolutely must have had the ending in mind from the beginning.

Yes, exactly. They mentioned McCann Erickson even back in season one and they were the creators of the Coke ad, probably their most famous work from the era.

Anonymous SumDood May 18, 2015 7:56 AM  

"I have not seen one second of The Sopranos..."

Having seen the entirety of The Sopranos, I disagree that it was a great ending.

Yes, Tony needed to die. Yes, I can understand how some people can claim that what actually aired makes that clear, but that is a stretch.

The choice to use that Journey song was what ruined the finale. It had no clear connection to the footage it was played over. Dumb. And the producers' lame justifications show that they know they screwed up.

All they had to do was slowly zoom in on Tony's face, and cut in scenes of other patrons walking in and Tony's reaction to them. Fade to black when his face filled the screen with his paranoid eyes. The producers could even have had the journey song playing on a table-side jukebox, tinny and weak.

Try watching that last scene with the sound off. Much better, with more tension.

Blogger buzzardist May 18, 2015 7:59 AM  

If Game of Thrones' producers and writers have half a brain, Danerys won't marry Mereen aristocracy. She will, like Elizabeth I, string along rival suitors as a way to tamp down rebellion and bolster her authority. When necessary, she'll execute a suitor here and there, and she'll do this all to cement her power in pursuit of the Iron Throne. Showing apparent genuine concern for all this other stuff will be revealed as Danerys, a master of the Machiavellian arts, using and abusing people around her in a long-game bid to win back what is rightfully hers.

If the show actually marries her off in Mereen, the only reasonable outcome of that is that her prodigal dragon shows up at the wedding, torches and chomps down the unfortunate groom, and jolts Danerys back on course to Westeros.

Blogger Joshua_D May 18, 2015 8:15 AM  

Josh May 18, 2015 6:49 AM

The ending of Breaking Bad was pretty damn perfect.


Yep. Breaking Bad was a very good show with an excellent and very satisfying ending.

Blogger Chris Mallory May 18, 2015 8:22 AM  

"The M-60 massacre, the financial arrangement scene with his former partner, all relied on everything happening without fail."

These were just Apollo appearing on stage to set everything in order. They were comic bookish, but the most of the action in the show was comic bookish.

Two things made the Breaking Bad ending. The song El Paso fit perfectly. Walt's speech to Skyler about why he did it was masterful.

Anonymous Roundtine May 18, 2015 8:27 AM  

But the overall ending defied suspension of disbelief.

The ending was good because Walt admits why he did what he did and he died with the one he loved.

Blogger Daniel May 18, 2015 8:37 AM  

"Don't Stop Believin'," a real Jersey song if there ever was one, to coincide with the brutal end of faith in the Family, was brilliant. A show about cynical faithless con artists inventing the religious icon ad of the Worst Generation is even more brilliant. Never saw an episode. Too funny.

Blogger Dr. J May 18, 2015 8:37 AM  

that has to be the second-best ending of a television show ever

What did you read to lead you to that conclusion? They wasted the main character with some groovy hippy road trip to nowhere, then out of left field he achieves "nirvana" and goes back to write the Coke ad. Some of the supporting folks had nice send-offs, but Draper needed more.

Anonymous Sam the Man May 18, 2015 8:38 AM  

What was so great about the mad men ending? I read the synopsis and...I do not see what was so "powerful".

I understand a certain experience lead to the famous 1971 ad.

Can someone explain?

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 18, 2015 8:41 AM  

Sailer's threads on MM are great, in part illustrating on how Anglo-Saxons are being "othered" thru entertainment and other propaganda vehicles.

As a full bore Sigma of the Anglo-Saxon variety I for one welcome my "Othering" with much joy.

Anonymous PA May 18, 2015 8:43 AM  

"These were just Apollo appearing on stage to set everything in order."

I didn't see that. I saw writers and producers at a meeting and someone saying "All right gang, we have tons of loose ends to tie up and one episode to do it in. Let's get to work."

That's not to say the finale had no inspired moments. It did. Jesse's hallucination about his high school woodworking project was one of them. But the action itself was cheap comic book.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit May 18, 2015 8:44 AM  

GoT spoilers

Well the latest episode of Game of Hoes should be titled Attack of the Go-Grrl Warriors. Two slight, teenage girls held off two of the best fighters on the continent while a third kidnapped a fourth one from a boy who had been floored with just one punch. Thank the faceless god the hundred vibrant guards arrived to save Jamie and Bronn or they would have been girl powered to death. Is there a book on The Physics of Westeros to put these fight scenes in context?

Then the Twitters were screeching about Sansa being raped - she didn't seem to be enjoying it but I didn't hear her say, "No!" or try to fight her husband off. Seemed like a noble woman doing her duty as she saw it. I guess the next storyline will see Ramsay Bolton seeking redemption so we can all sympathize with the poor dear before he gets killed off in turn. GoT: All villains, all the time.

Apart from the characters and locations, does the TV series have anything left in common with the books? I can't tell anymore.

Blogger Bobo #117 May 18, 2015 8:56 AM  

Nothing comes close to the Newhart ending. I have my doubts that anything ever will.
Perfection.

Blogger buzzardist May 18, 2015 9:02 AM  

Can someone explain?

I'm not sure it was the second-best ending ever, but it was fitting. There was ambiguity about whether Don Draper made the Coke ad or not. The show was setting him up to be in position to make that ad, so was this just another phony experience that Draper commodifies, using a feeling that anyone can get for free to sell something that costs money? Or is Madison Avenue plunging forward in that project without him? Hard to say.

But the show had to end with that ad. Mad Men was about the 1960s. Whatever the '60s were, they've now been tidily summed up in a cheap, catchy jingle that's aimed at getting us all to buy something. The wealth creation of that decade, the hippy experiment...it was all just crass commercialism, a few clever marketers with something to sell, cajoling and twisting the masses to do their bidding.

A lot of the rest of the episode felt fairly contrived and overwrought, but that final "Ommmmm" fading into the Coke commercial worked, I thought.

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 9:04 AM  

Well the latest episode of Game of Hoes should be titled Attack of the Go-Grrl Warriors. Two slight, teenage girls held off two of the best fighters on the continent while a third kidnapped a fourth one from a boy who had been floored with just one punch. Thank the faceless god the hundred vibrant guards arrived to save Jamie and Bronn or they would have been girl powered to death. Is there a book on The Physics of Westeros to put these fight scenes in context?

Jamie hasn't been one of the best fighters since losing his hand.

Anonymous Roundtine May 18, 2015 9:05 AM  

What was so great about the mad men ending?

It was a great ending from the angle of properly ending a story. The other characters in the show have some form of a sappy happy ending, but there's the main character stuck in a hippy dippy commune chanting Om, when he gets a smile on his face. I thought at that moment, he's gone full hippy, quit his job and that's it. And then it fades to black and the Coke ad comes on.

Blogger paradox May 18, 2015 9:05 AM  

The ending to Breaking Bad was okay. Worst ending ever... Dexter. The ending to Lost is muddled. The ending to season 3 of Lost gives the series a much better ending.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 18, 2015 9:10 AM  

Never forget the muddling of Battle Star Gallactica

Blogger AmyJ May 18, 2015 9:20 AM  

@PA

About the Breaking Bad ending, I had read a theory that Walt actually dies in the car at the beginning of the episode, and the rest is simply his dying mind fulfilling his unmet desires. It would explain some of the inexplicable moments (like that cop car passing him by without seeing his footprints in the snow...leading right to the car).

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 9:20 AM  

"Apart from the characters and locations, does the TV series have anything left in common with the books? I can't tell anymore."

Yes. Its gotten boring as hell and its abundantly clear that no one has any idea what do to... so they keep doing the same shit...

Just like Lost... they have no idea where they are going so they have a bag of tricks and pull one out at random and go with it. Danny's marriage is a step backward... not forward. We're not moving toward anything at all... just more idiotic chaos of stupid people in power doing stupid things.

its one thing to sit and watch your worldview be assaulted by a broken man incapable of conceptualizing religion and decency... its another to be bored as hell during it.

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 9:24 AM  

"Yes, Tony needed to die. Yes, I can understand how some people can claim that what actually aired makes that clear, but that is a stretch."

Dude get over it. Tony died. Claiming it wasn't clear that Tony died is overtly stupid.

Anonymous paradox May 18, 2015 9:24 AM  

Battlestar Gallactica has a good B ending. It could have been great. Like they turned out to be Atlanteans and a ship was made into the island of Atlantis.

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 9:30 AM  

"Jamie hasn't been one of the best fighters since losing his hand."

Which is also profoundly stupid. the notion that the best fighters in westeros would be instantly average by the loss of a hand, even his dominant hand, is retarded.

But hey... look at George Martin. The dude has never been in a fight.. so the concept of fighting is so foreign to him he comes up with stupid shit like this.

Anonymous trev006 May 18, 2015 9:35 AM  

https://bryndenbfish.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/the-dragons-mercy-the-violent-future-path-of-daenerys-targaryen-part-1-children-and-prophecy/

Before people suggest that Daenerys getting married and settling in Mereen is pointless, try reading this essay. It shows how her settling and marrying in Mereen are part of a deliberate- and failed- attempt to repress her Mother of Dragons personality. Of course, given the show's even more intensely feminist angle, I imagine parts of this plot will either be cut short or generally mishandled.

OpenID genericviews May 18, 2015 9:40 AM  

The best endings are the ones where the writers don't know there are ending and leave the series in an end of season cliff hanger. Then don't get renewed.

Best end of series: Firefly. Needed a whole full length movie to fit it all in.

Anonymous Gecko May 18, 2015 9:43 AM  

Vox, I agree with your opinions about ASOIAF with very few exceptions. Martin's prose is great but he's gotten way too wordy (Dance was so bad it actually made me want to SKIM instead of read!), he sadistic instead of realistic, Daenerys is ridiculous, etc. However, I have to disagree with you on this one specific point: the belief that Martin has not had the ending in mind from the beginning.

I have come to have a new appreciation for ASOIAF as a kind of mystery series. This is not to say its many failings are redeemed; merely that there's more here than originally meets the eye and that credit is due on this front.

The tale contains several hidden conspiracies, most of which are not readily apparent upon the first read. (One could argue that this is a shortcoming, but I digress.) Perhaps the biggest of these conspiracies is a plot by Eddard Stark, Rhaegar Targaryen, Howland Reed, and (probably) the Daynes that has yet to unfold, and it directly addresses the threat of the Others that has otherwise been strangely ignored up until this point. It has become clear that this conspiracy is working toward a deliberate endgame, and that Martin has indeed laid a framework for bringing it together. I didn't think there was any chance he could pull it off until I discovered this, though I am still dubious.

I have actually enjoyed going back through the books and other documentation to look for clues. Yes, I feel a little dirty for admitting that because the work is so full of bile, which is a shame.

Anonymous JAW May 18, 2015 9:43 AM  

Dexter was a bad ending.

Anonymous t.c. May 18, 2015 9:44 AM  

Never watched Mad Men, but I've heard good things about the ending from a few places. Did have to laugh though that a compliment to one thing needed to include a dig at George, lol. But then again, I'm a huge ASOIAF fan, long before the show. There are some things that Game of Thrones is doing this season that concerns me compared to the books, but there are other things that I find for the better. For example, having Sansa replace to the fake "Arya" in the north, I find to be a much better use of the character and adds more tension.

Blogger maniacprovost May 18, 2015 9:45 AM  

By the cliffhanger metric, Stargate Universe was the greatest show of all time.

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 9:49 AM  

"However, I have to disagree with you on this one specific point: the belief that Martin has not had the ending in mind from the beginning."

I think he started out knowing what his ending would be... but during the course of the writing fell into a cycle of nihilism that effectively neutered that ending... and now he's simply spinning his wheels.

OpenID genericviews May 18, 2015 9:52 AM  

When the writers plan for an ending too far in advance, they start doing all sorts to stupid plot shit. Like leting the actors each direct one episode so they have something on their resume. And like pushing the homo envelope in ways that the fans would never have tolerated in the first season, like making one episode a musical, like making an episode a dream sequence alternate reality, Like being the one white guy in 1950 who struck a blow against institutional racism, and other such fruity non-sense (See Star Trek next gen for more examples). When the writers know the series is ending and there is no tomorrow, they are free of the market forces that made them do their best work and keep the plot lines pure.

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 9:52 AM  

How I met your mother is high on the list of worst endings. The entire last season was just horrible.

The ending for parks and rec was great.

Anonymous CJ May 18, 2015 9:55 AM  

Dany is marrying the noble becaus she sucks at counter-insurgency. Slavers Bay needs Castalia House.

Battlestar Galactica had the same problem as Lost. They came up with lots of "cool" mysteries and foreshadowing and had no clue how to pay it off. So you end up with a lame, half-added resolution and the showrunner hand waving it away by saying the plot doesn't matter and it's really about characters. Look to Babylon 5 to see it done right.

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 18, 2015 9:57 AM  

ASOIAF

The title says a lot. John Snow and Daenerys are siblings and will unite all.

Sansa consummated the marriage and will regain Winterfell ... and will be remarried to Tyrion.

Why not? It is all a guess.

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 9:58 AM  

The Friday Night Lights finale was perfect. Texas forever. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

Anonymous Porky May 18, 2015 10:02 AM  

Somehow, I tend to doubt that A Game of Thrones will end anywhere nearly as well.

One things for sure...there will be wieners.

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 10:06 AM  

Best ending: Battle of the Planets. Bad guy turns out to be a psychopathic hermaphrodite who blamed the whole world for his own freakishness. The good guys killed it.

Anonymous Trimegistus May 18, 2015 10:15 AM  

The end of Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of history: Henry Tudor comes in out of nowhere and takes over, with a patently bogus claim to the throne and an army of mercenaries.

In this case, it's going to be that otherwise obscure character "Gendry" (note the name).

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 10:18 AM  

The end of Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of history: Henry Tudor comes in out of nowhere and takes over, with a patently bogus claim to the throne and an army of mercenaries.

Jon Snow marries Stannis' daughter?

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 10:22 AM  

"The end of Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of history: Henry Tudor comes in out of nowhere and takes over, with a patently bogus claim to the throne and an army of mercenaries. "

***chuckle***

That's the end we all know GRRM had in mind in the begining. But at this point.. that ending is stupid and pointless and isn't an ending at all. Its just more churning in the kiln of stupid.

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 10:23 AM  

Yeah, I think the wars of the roses were really just a jumping off point.

Blogger VD May 18, 2015 10:24 AM  

The end of Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of history: Henry Tudor comes in out of nowhere and takes over, with a patently bogus claim to the throne and an army of mercenaries.

That would certainly be in line with Martin's ethic. "And all of this time, effort, blood, and money went for nothing."

Anonymous FP May 18, 2015 10:38 AM  

BSG muddled through for at least the last season and a half. The irony being that the producer/head writer had been big in DS9 and then fired from Voyager when he clashed with Brannon/Braga over storyline vs episodic star trek for Voyager.

Anonymous Peter Pan May 18, 2015 10:47 AM  

Somehow, I tend to doubt that A Game of Thrones will end anywhere nearly as well. While Benioff and Weiss have generally shown themselves to have much better storytelling instincts than George Martin, I'm still trying to figure out what on Earth is going on with Danerys inexplicably deciding to marry a member of the Mereen aristocracy. Fails as drama, fails as logic, and fails as being interesting.

Fair warning: Spoilers below.

If I remember correctly, Daenerys marries the guy to show solidarity with the Mereenese or something like that, in hopes of stopping the Sons of the Harpy from killing more people. It's really a dumb story line in the book (and the show) because it serves no real purpose. In the books, the guy ends up being imprisoned by Barristan Selmy after Daenerys flies off on one of her dragons. There's three options after that: 1) Daenerys returns and executes her Mereenese husband; 2) Daenerys returns and does not execute him; 3) Daenerys does not return and her supporters join her elsewhere.

You can cross off options 2 and 3. They're not going to happen. Which leaves us with absolutely nothing changed: The Sons of the Harpy are still killing people, and Daenerys has no husband.

Result: Uninteresting.

As for the ending of Game of Thrones, I think Nate got that one right:
I think he started out knowing what his ending would be... but during the course of the writing fell into a cycle of nihilism that effectively neutered that ending... and now he's simply spinning his wheels.

The murder of Jon Snow illustrates this. He was obviously important to the plot ending. Unless he somehow survives his knifing (outside of his direwolf warg), and which was a result of George Martin's overdone nihilism, his utility to that ending is seriously diminished.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 18, 2015 10:49 AM  

BSG was muddled in my opinion simply because the creators were SJW who ended the show in the clouds of metaphysics. They actually allowed some good debate on their message boards so the Socinjust was not pure, and it seemed very few people were happy. Myself I was pleasantly surprised, but I understood it just to be a stunt to end the show somehow using ghosts in the machine way.

From the peanut gallery I would have added a fire breathing character, most likely from the Marine contingent. This character of course would have been charismatic and highly religious to the point of dogmatic in his beliefs. He would have been from a scrub planet of outcasts and along with many of his co-Marines have only basically been allowed to be grunts thru systemic discrimination borne of prudence and part bigotry.

This cult would have played polar opposite to Shitlord Baltar and his femtwits and the characters in the middle would debate the merits and liabilities of each as one or another is drawn to one or the other at various times.

But the creators were SJW pussies, and hence we got what we got. Put Kratman in charge next time. Crucifixtion of Cylons is not only allowed it is encouraged.

Blogger Alexander May 18, 2015 10:51 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Alexander May 18, 2015 10:52 AM  

At this point the most sympathetic characters in ASOIAF are the Others. So good luck to them.

I think it's very telling that Mr. Kratman can write a tank with more empathy and character than Mr. Martin can with people. It's also very telling that so many of our enemies would froth at the mouth at the very notion.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 18, 2015 10:53 AM  

No Jon Snow no me watching that show. I'm a casual viewer anyway so no big deal. I think they even replaced one of the hot red heads with a less attractive girl this year so that is already one strike against them.

Anonymous Donn #0114 May 18, 2015 10:53 AM  

BSG had the stupidest ending ever. They doom the human race to extinction and for what? Nothing. Literally nothing. They intimate that the aliens from umpteen lightyears away interbred with the human race but only one! left surviving descendents.

They all chose to die of starvation rather than keep their ships. Couldn't have gotten dumber if they had all stayed on their ships to fly into a sun.

Blogger Nate May 18, 2015 10:56 AM  

"That would certainly be in line with Martin's ethic. "And all of this time, effort, blood, and money went for nothing." "

and... just to put a point on my assertion that this is a pointless unsat ending...

WHAT ABOUT THE ICE ZOMBIES???

You forgot about them.

Of course... so has Martin.

Blogger Josh May 18, 2015 10:59 AM  

WHAT ABOUT THE ICE ZOMBIES???

You forgot about them.

Of course... so has Martin.


No no no...

They're coming...really, they are...

And when they show up, it's gonna be awesome!

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 18, 2015 11:02 AM  

Kratman has my vote this year for sure. First vibe you get with him is that he is the perfect unthinking machine of death dealing ferocity. Sounds good in practice but obviously you do not want to be lead by such character. What a surprise that he gave the tank such believable thoughts.

Back to BSG you would think it obvious that the creators would hire such a person as Kratman to flesh out the above mention character as I describe. Nope, not a chance the SJW cult would rather wallow in shit than pursue artistic excellence.

What a show BSG would have been with a believable chest thumping warrior aristocrat leading his group, inspiring them to live well, fight hard, love harder and die with glory. Nope, we get Shitlord Baltar a perfect exemplar of the Gamma as god.

Anonymous Gecko May 18, 2015 11:36 AM  

Nate, the nihilism actually started out as a plot device. "Valar Morghulis" doesn't actually mean "death is inevitable" but rather "humanity must be exterminated." The suffering, chaos, etc plays into this desire of the Others to wipe everything out and bring "peace." Rhaegar is actively working against this end.

Here's the problem, though: Martin got way too carried away with the filth. When Elessar unfurled the standard of Elendil in that unforgettable moment, every reader rejoiced. When Rhaegar saves the planet, many readers are going to shrug and say, "Eh, I was actually hoping for this crap to get flushed." Eucatastrophe only works if there's a reason to shed tears of joy.

At this point the most sympathetic characters in ASOIAF are the Others. So good luck to them.

Nailed it.

In this case, it's going to be that otherwise obscure character "Gendry"

Actually, it's Prince Rhaegar/Mance Rayder with his army of wildlings and an undeniably not bogus claim to the throne.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 18, 2015 11:59 AM  

Here's the problem, though: Martin got way too carried away with the filth.

I think one problem with the Internet and the way it gives creators constant, immediate feedback, is that it encourages the creators of series to pursue the characters and story lines that produce the most buzz, not necessarily those that are the best. I've seen it with TV shows: a show that's been on for a few years starts focusing on side characters because there are rabid fan clubs online who keep clamoring for them, and a character that was funny in 15-second chunks is now on screen so much he's annoying. This probably happened in the past with magazines and fan letters, but now it's accelerated.

The buzz after the first book of ASoIaF was that Martin was willing to kill off anyone. That's what everyone talked about -- that and the "grittiness." So, having years between books to read his own press, it's not too surprising if he ramped up those attributes over time in response.

Blogger anne May 18, 2015 11:59 AM  

What kept me watching Mad Men, even though it tended to oscillate from boomer nostalgia-porn to smug "look at how badly gays/blacks/women" were treated, good thing we're not like that anymore" enlightenment, was the storytelling. Nothing was wasted (dialogue, costume, tiny little setups that paid off seasons later), to the point where I catch new threads on a 2nd or 3rd viewing. The finale was not quite what I was hoping for but it was a very, very fitting end.

Blogger David-093 May 18, 2015 12:18 PM  

I hope the ice zombies in GoT come to Westeros and kill literally everyone. It would be the most awesome ending to a tv show ever.

Blogger Joshua_D May 18, 2015 12:37 PM  

My only familiarity with BSG came from watching the 2004 series. I really enjoyed season 1 and 2, but the show pretty much fell apart after that. I just finished the series a week or two ago.

The ending was so-so, but I was shaking my head. Starkbuck just fracking vanishes? They send all their tech flying into the sun? Bill Adama just goes off by himself to build a cabin?

But, like I said, the show sarted falling apart in season 3 and 4. I mean a human/cylon truce? Come on. The whole idea that the cyclons murdered billions of people because he didn't feel special enough?

I did like that they sorta of wrapped up the Six/Baltar hallucinations as being angels.

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 18, 2015 1:16 PM  

"Unless he somehow survives his knifing ..."

You think Snow will still be knifed in the HBO series? If he is, he'll come back ... somehow.

The Mereen guy will get killed by his own people. Will he get at least one night with the queen?

Blogger MrNiceguy May 18, 2015 1:19 PM  

Hated the BSG ending myself, although that show had been on a downward spiral for a while. For me, the start of that spiral was when they brought in the "Final Five", the legendary mystery Cylons whose identities were unknown even to other Cylons.

And for the last couple seasons of Lost, they should have just renamed the show Lost the Plot.

Anonymous Donn #0114 May 18, 2015 1:29 PM  

Queen D had Conan the Barbarian. I doubt any other guy will measure up in the alpha department after that.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 18, 2015 1:35 PM  

"Justified" did a very good job with its finale. Ava got off too easily, but Raylan has always had a weakness for women and his actions involving her were in character. The final scene between Raylan and Boyd was perfect.

Also perfect: The shootout with Boon. Ava driving off in the car was an inspired moment.

Anonymous Donn #0114 May 18, 2015 1:42 PM  

Malcolm you got that right. Justified did it right.

Anonymous dh May 18, 2015 1:42 PM  

I hope the ice zombies in GoT come to Westeros and kill literally everyone. It would be the most awesome ending to a tv show ever.

Everyone watching the show should be asking:

Why do we care about Westeros when Essos is nearby, and way more interesting. The Iron Bank? Dorn? Merene? Dothraki? This is 10x more interesting than Westeros, with it's inbred families and petty politics. Why haven't the Dornish and Dothraki been at war for 500 years? Why do we care which virtually identical House gets the throne, when much more interesting clashes are going on across the narrow sea?

As far as Ice Zombies goes, when the series is still not written yet, and Martin is either dead or fully senile, and a proficent writer takes it over, I am sure that's the real ending. Winter comes, the Zombies feast, end of story.

Anonymous Gecko May 18, 2015 1:48 PM  

Anyone who thinks Jon can't survive a knifing hasn't been paying attention to Tyrion. (And I don't blame them for that.) Same for anyone who still buys the line that nobody is safe.

Blogger Marissa May 18, 2015 1:58 PM  

dh, isn't Dorne in Southern Westeros? I didn't think it was in Essos.

Anonymous RJ May 18, 2015 3:36 PM  

In this case, it's going to be that otherwise obscure character "Gendry"

Actually, it's Prince Rhaegar/Mance Rayder with his army of wildlings and an undeniably not bogus claim to the throne.


Mance Rayder is dead, Jim...

Anonymous Gecko May 18, 2015 3:48 PM  

Mance Rayder just incited a wildling host to come take Winterfell by writing the pink letter in Ramsay's name. In the game of thrones, he's only warming up.

Blogger GK Chesterton May 18, 2015 4:09 PM  

I'm not going to attempt to keep the posters straight in this one just respond to some comments

The end of Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of history: Henry Tudor comes in out of nowhere and takes over, with a patently bogus claim to the throne and an army of mercenaries.

I actually think the best match is likely Little Finger. He comes from the right background (minor noble family that works as state functionaries). Bright and well liked on the surface and willing to kill a few people to keep the money flowing smoothly.

The murder of Jon Snow illustrates this. He was obviously important to the plot ending.

Right. John had everything that his "half-brother" lacked plus a good sense of his place in the world. He was a quintessential conservative hero who Martin originally kept because it would be great to have a nothing bastard rise in power. But he was a conservative hero...in GoT...so he had to die. As much as people think he's coming back the only way he will is as a zombie of some sort. See: Cait (the good wife).

I think it's very telling that Mr. Kratman can write a tank with more empathy and character than Mr. Martin can with people.

That's not fair. The reason he is so vile is he can create empathetic characters who he then routinely kills with malice aforethought.

Anonymous dh May 18, 2015 4:40 PM  

Maybe you are right. Dorne is wherever. It's ten times more interesting than Kings Landing, that's for sure.

Blogger CM May 18, 2015 4:55 PM  

Right. John had everything that his "half-brother" lacked plus a good sense of his place in the world. He was a quintessential conservative hero who Martin originally kept because it would be great to have a nothing bastard rise in power. But he was a conservative hero...in GoT...so he had to die. As much as people think he's coming back the only way he will is as a zombie of some sort. See: Cait (the good wife).

See... if the reigning theory of Jon being Leana's son is true (Eddard's nephew), then Rhaegar believing he was the "prophesied" one wasn't too far off (Jon would be rightful king, daenaerys his aunt).

So... he COULD come back as the prophesied one ( who melissandra is trying to play Stannis off as... but jon keeps getting in the way of her "visions")

It works with the original theme of the first 3 books - that the winner of the GoT is the one who gets his power from those he leads. That is Jon.

Dany's only contribution is the dragons. They are the fire. She has no knowledge of them. I alnost feel like Tyrion's popularity got in the way of his need to be with Daenarys. I was thrilled the show writers sent Jaimie to Dorn... wth was GRRM thinking in sending Tyrion out there? He's the only one who knows ANYTHING about dragons and Dany needs his expertise to move her plot to Westeros.

I can see there was a solid story line... but yeah, GRRM either didn't like his own characters or he lost his mind.

Ok... I'm starting to like Cersei's psyche for a villain so much more. She is the ultimate narcissist. I mean the only man she let diddle her and giveher babies she sees as the male equivalent of HER. How much more delusional self-love can you get? If Jaimie doesn't kill her and Tyrion does, I'll curse the show writers for caving to popularity.

Blogger CM May 18, 2015 5:03 PM  

Actually... you know, i think GRRM tanked his novels not only cuz his heros were conservative but because his storyline may have been "predictable".

Something I'm noticing about the Pink SF crowd is that doing stuff to shock their readers (whether with disgust or complete bafflement to the story) is preferable to "predictable"... to the point it actually becomes predictable.

Its pathetic. You almost want to keep your theories to yourself so the author doesn't say "welp! There goes that! Now I have to kill him off!"

Anonymous DavidKathome May 18, 2015 6:14 PM  

"Justified" did a very good job with its finale. Ava got off too easily, but Raylan has always had a weakness for women and his actions involving her were in character. The final scene between Raylan and Boyd was perfect.

Also perfect: The shootout with Boon. Ava driving off in the car was an inspired moment.


That was a great show from start to finish.

Blogger Iowahine May 18, 2015 6:18 PM  

Re: the comment that some of the episode felt contrived, but end just right - agreed. I almost wonder if the contrived feeling was on purpose, commentary on other media products of the era, cause they really didn't feel like MM and even the acting seemed forced. I could see foreshadowed what transpired between Stan and Peggy, but it did not feel organic - almost like the actors couldn't believe they had to pull it off; same with Don learning about Betty's situation. But compared to several other finales, I thought it was one of the better. Breaking Bad had good elements; the whole final season of Justified seemed like a parody of all that had been good about it. Sons of Anarchy - Sutter had the end in mind from the beginning, and since it was already so horrific, seemed he had to continue to insert other more shocking and disgusting things along the way. Sutter was a fan of GOT, so maybe that was his intent - to outdo Martin - and is a problem with no world view; what is there but to escalate the ugly?

On a better note speaking of nihilism, let's recall these classic lines from The Big Lewbowski:

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.

Anonymous hausfrau May 18, 2015 7:26 PM  

It's funny to see the fans writing allover the GoT Fb page how HBO has gone to far with Sansa's rape, cause Theon getting his manhood removed was ok but marital rape.....gasp!
Petyr Barrish talked Cercie into letting go North with an army to retrieve Sansa's head. I have a theory that he will join with Stannis to destroy the Boltons and then marry Sansa himself to become warden of the North.

Anonymous Boomer "bafoon"[sic] "validictorian"[sic] May 18, 2015 11:58 PM  

"Which is also profoundly stupid. the notion that the best fighters in westeros would be instantly average by the loss of a hand, even his dominant hand, is retarded.:

Hurr-durr, it makes no sense that losing one's dominant hand would impact one's fighting ability? Jesus, put down the Jim Beam, maybe someday you'll grok how swordfighting is a little more involved than shooting squirrels on the shitter. I'm sure your wife can explain it to you.

Anonymous Tar Heel May 19, 2015 12:15 AM  

Alas, no, Boomer. I fenced for several years, and was capable of swordfighting with my off hand. My instructor was rather impressed, in fact.

Feel free to disqualify, or at least attempt to troll better.

Anonymous Das Fenster May 19, 2015 12:26 AM  

I would say the ending to The Shield was excellent, as well.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit May 19, 2015 3:01 AM  

it makes no sense that losing one's dominant hand would impact one's fighting ability?

Nobody said it wouldn't impact his ability. What doesn't make sense is that he went from being the best fighter in the known world to less than average.

A good fighter has instinct and many other skills and attributes that would stick with him even after he lost his hand (and he would have been darn good with his offhand in the first place.) I understand he got a bit mopey after the incident but now he's motivated and been retrained - he should still be able to kick the ass of all but other trained nobles/ veteran soldiers/mercs.

Oh I see. I bet you thought all his fighting prowess was due to his certificate of "Best Swordfighterness" awarded to him by the small council? When that was taken from him so were all his abilities.

PS Why the hell hasn't he had a Valyrian steel blade attachment made to replace his missing hand?

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 19, 2015 7:49 AM  

Years of training and use of the right arm, muscle strength, memory and fine control instantly transfers to the left arm? Ir will take a lot of work and time to develop. A right handed swordsman would have to devote same amount of time, probably more, to develop the left arm. So, yes, Jamie has a long way to go. The nonsense is that he discovered a defensive use of his metal hand by serendipity. That is dumb writing.

Anonymous H May 22, 2015 2:03 AM  

Peter Pan:

...Daenerys marries the guy to show solidarity with the Mereenese or something like that, in hopes of stopping the Sons of the Harpy from killing more people. It's really a dumb story line in the book (and the show) because it serves no real purpose. In the books, the guy ends up being imprisoned by Barristan Selmy...

That story's better than it looks on first reading. There's a great set of essays - https://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/essays/ - that elucidate that point, and a quote from one sums up the Dany storyline nicely:

"...motivated by fear of her own violent side and what it could mean for innocent life, Dany devoted herself to making peace in Meereen... And once she does, she becomes utterly miserable, and concludes it was a failure and a mistake."

Presumably we'll see the effects of this in later books when Dany becomes a fire-breathing dragon queen leaving death and destruction in her wake.

But I will concede it's not ideal when a storyline only becomes interesting once somebody explains "what's really going on".

As for the coup against Hizdahr, that's about setting up Tyrion's entrance into Dany's organisation. Barristan's not a good politician, and is unwittingly manipulated by the Shavepate. This provides Tyrion with an opportunity to make himself useful once the Second Sons change sides again.

I do think it's important to remember this is a work-in-progress, of uncertain length; we don't know where we are in the set-up/payoff cycle. Maybe I'm too optimistic but I think future readers, with the whole series available to them from the get go, won't be nearly so grouchy concerning books 4 & 5.

Gecko:

The tale contains several hidden conspiracies, most of which are not readily apparent upon the first read. [...] Perhaps the biggest of these conspiracies is a plot by Eddard Stark, Rhaegar Targaryen, Howland Reed, and (probably) the Daynes that has yet to unfold, and it directly addresses the threat of the Others that has otherwise been strangely ignored up until this point.

Fascinating. Any more on this?

Mance Rayder just incited a wildling host to come take Winterfell by writing the pink letter in Ramsay's name.

Nonsense! Stannis is just a lot more crafty than you think ;)

And whoever said Jaime Lannister should have a blade attachment for his fake hand - that is brilliant! Why the hell haven't they done that?

Blogger Cail Corishev May 22, 2015 6:41 AM  

I doubt that a sword affixed to your arm stump would work very well. When you hold a sword in your hand, it can pivot at the wrist and turn and pivot within your hand. You can shift it to your other hand, drop it if it gets stuck in some guy's collarbone, etc. A blade as an extension to your arm would be very different, and maybe just get in your way.

A small shield might be useful, though, as long as it could be released quickly if necessary.

Anonymous H May 22, 2015 8:33 AM  

"I doubt that a sword affixed to your arm stump would work very well."

True, but it'd work better than just a stump.

Anonymous VoK June 07, 2015 10:57 AM  

I didn't think the ending of Mad Men was that great. I'm a big fan of the series, and I'm okay with the ending, but let's not get carried away. I don't see how it warrants being in the list of top endings.

I didn't get the sense that they worked toward that ending from Season 1. Why suggest that they did? Sure, McCann Erickson existed as an agency in the show from early on, and sure, they had the Coca Cola account, but...well, what about all of Don's hallucinations throughout the show? What about the strange waitress he met? I always imagined that this stuff was somehow leading up to an ending, but it ultimately played no part in the finale. It was just a part of the big picture of who Don was, part of the experience that led him to "Ommmm", I suppose. One could argue that Don always wanted to the Coca Cola account and that the series planned to end on that last ad. I guess one could argue that. But one could also argue that Don wanted his own company, so if they had figured out how to escape being swallowed by McCann Erickson... would that have been a great ending also? Would that have looked like something that was planned from the start?

Anyway, I love the show. I'm happy with the ending. But I don't think it was a brilliant ending that was clearly in the creator's mind from the beginning.

I did enjoy that Don found Peggy's version of the future. When Peggy asked Don to give her a review, Don responded by asking Peggy what she wanted to see in the future, where she wanted to be. She talked about landing a major account, getting awards, and creating lasting art through advertisment. At the time, considering Don's reaction, she thought he was shitting on her dreams. But, as it turns out, he was living them.

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