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Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Game of Thrones: rounding the curve

With the end of season six, A Game of Thrones is now approaching the final stretch, and indeed, it does appear to be increasing its pace now that the finish line is in sight. Since those who haven't seen the most recent season will probably prefer we avoid any spoilers at the top, I shall begin by linking to a self-described demographics nerd's article on the intrinsic absurdity of Westeros:
Westeros is an interesting setting for lots of reasons: characters, plot, writing, the fact that there’s a high-production-value HBO series, take your pick. There are lots of reasons for it to be popular or to capture interest. But what bothers me, as a really picky nerd, is when people think that it’s a particularly well-crafted setting. It is not. Westeros is shoddily assembled as far as political, cultural, or demographic realism goes. There is too much dynastic stability, too little cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity, the basic size of the world seems to change to fit the immediate exigencies of the plot, the cities and armies are implausibly large in many cases, and even careful analysis makes it hard to determine even a wide ballpark for population. None of these criticisms matter in a setting not trading on its claims to a kind of “realism.” But for a setting whose market value in some sense depends on its “realism,” yeah, it’s an issue.
Don't continue past the jump if you don't wish to encounter spoilers.


The interesting thing about the most recent season, of course, is the fact that it had to venture completely beyond the territory of the published books in Martin's epic series. This was both good and bad, in that at times the producers seemed to have freed themselves from some of Martin's idiosyncracies, while at others, they did so only to resort to clumsy Hollywood cliches that were even worse.

For example, the second-to-last episode was a painful exercise in grrl power combined with multiple stupidities so epic that I almost concluded the only reasonable way to bring the series to a just end was to go full SJW and full meta, have Danerys marry Yara under canopy of rainbow banners, then have Tyrion mount the stage and break the fourth wall to declare "love wins!" If nothing else, it would have made me laugh to see the show end with a bang by not merely jumping the shark, but going into orbit over it.

And then, somehow, the season was salvaged by the last episode, with Cersei wreaking astonishing havoc on her domestic enemies, only to fail in her goals yet again due to her total failure to understand anything about other people, even the people she loves most. Cersei is a truly great character, a genuinely great villainess, whose ruthlessness is consistently undermined by her pride and her narcissism.

(Sure, the unnecessary drama was ridiculous, with the Sparrow being stabbed, but left to live, so that he could crawl close to the candles, but not soon enough to extinguish them. One thing I increasingly dislike about the producers is their addiction to cheap and unconvincing drama. Trust the story, gentlemen, trust the story!)

King Tomlin's suicide was even more shocking than the wildfire bombing, but it was entirely in character, as his despair at losing his wife was magnified by his knowledge that he would never escape the control of his ruthless mother, and by his guilt at the murder of the High Sparrow and the religious hierarchy. It will be interesting to see if the people will revolt; I doubt it, but historically, that would be the most probable outcome. The analogy is flawed, but it reminded me a little of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, which was, at least traditionally, also believed to have been instigated by a queen.

Only the scene between Danerys and her lover, Daario Naharis, was on the lame side; let's face it, he's coming out of it rather well for a mercenary captain, seeing as Mereen is being turned over to him for an indefinite period. Whether he loves her or not, the man is a mercenary, and frankly, it would have been more in character for him to fake dismay at being left behind, then cheerfully return to a chamber full of Mereen beauties. Regardless, the invasion fleet with the dragons flying over them was an awesome sight.

It was also interesting to note that Sansa came out and admitted what had only been conjectured after last week's lunacy; she had known all along that the Knights of the Vale were on their way. Yes, Sansa, you really should have told your brother and his commanders that while they were planning their little battle. It was, to put it mildly, pertinent. The entire setup was, as I and many others correctly surmised, an idiot plot to set up some artificial drama to cap off the equally idiotic battle between Stark and Bolton.

The Arya plot, too, was overwrought, but at least its excessive drama was a nod to classical mythology, specifically, King Tantalus of Phrygia being served his son Pelops in a pie.

Now it looks as if everything is being set up for Danerys to defeat Cersei, join Jon in fighting the White Walkers, and just when defeat appears imminent, the Three-Eyed Raven figures out how to break the spell and magically destroy them all in the nick of time. If the story was left up to the producers, that would be a safe assumption, which would presumably end with the marriage of Jon to Daneyris. But given Rape Rape's continued involvement, I wouldn't entirely count out the possibility that winter triumphs over all.

That, I have to say, would make for a much more interesting end to the saga.

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116 Comments:

Blogger Eric I. Gatera. June 30, 2016 8:21 AM  

Episode 10 was awesome! The sparrows got what they deserved, but who will give Cersei what she deserves?

Blogger Cinco June 30, 2016 8:27 AM  

the Three-Eyed Raven figures out how to break the spell and magically destroy them all in the nick of time.

I suspect Bran will take control of the Dragons and burn them all?

Anonymous Real Human Being June 30, 2016 8:29 AM  

The High Sparrow did nothing wrong

Blogger Tom June 30, 2016 8:36 AM  

I personally would vastly prefer that "winter" swept down and wiped out Rape Rape's fever dreams.

That said, I don't watch the show and haven't read the books, but I've gathered a fair bit about the series from other people writing about it, read a few summaries and started reading a graphic novel version of the first book.

Rape Rape's creation gives me the same feel that I get when I accidentally see part of a modern "music video" that one of my students might happen to be watching. That feeling is a surge of visceral desire for a cleansing inferno to blast everything clean. Unfortunately, lately I feel like a fair bit of me is chaff that needs to go up in flames like the rest of the world.

Blogger VD June 30, 2016 8:36 AM  

The High Sparrow did nothing wrong

He threatened the Crown's power. His actions were, at the very least, unwise.

He also betrayed a powerful ally when he arrested Cersei and ordered her public humiliation. Remember, Cersei was the one who recognized the Sparrow movement. That was foolish.

Blogger Eric I. Gatera. June 30, 2016 8:37 AM  

'The High Sparrow did nothing wrong'

No moral wrong maybe, but he played a little bit too close to fire. And let's admit it, he sealed his fate with the walk of shame - he should have seen it coming.

Anonymous Leonidas June 30, 2016 8:43 AM  

But given Rape Rape's continued involvement, I wouldn't entirely count out the possibility that winter triumphs over all.

Having read his other works, I have a strong suspicion that this is how he originally intended it to end. I also don't think he ever expected the series to become this popular, and now that it has, I think he's afraid to actually follow through on this ending. And for good reason. There's a strong possibility that it would get him killed.

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau June 30, 2016 8:48 AM  

I have always thought the book if ever finished ends with Bran's Death and the Others triumphant.

Blogger Fred June 30, 2016 8:51 AM  

'The High Sparrow did nothing wrong'

Have you been drinking? Of course the High Sparrow was wrong to punish those around the crown because retribution always follows. Even in modern politics.

OpenID denektenorsk June 30, 2016 9:03 AM  

The wife and I are on Episode 8. We've both been disappointed by the quality of writing this season. Hollywood tropes indeed :(

The Arya thread is particularly irritating... but it's still better than the books.

Blogger CM June 30, 2016 9:05 AM  

Having read his other works, I have a strong suspicion that this is how he originally intended it to end.

I should have stopped reading when he killed off Lady. The first two books made me think there was an underlying theme of what makes a True King. Of course that was before I knew anything of the author.

Blogger CarpeOro June 30, 2016 9:07 AM  

Some what tangential, but can anyone comment on "The Last Kingdom" BBC series? Just finished reading the first book and found it more enjoyable than the first book of ASOIAF (read that and wasn't interested enough to spend money to read the second book). Amazon bills it as being "the Game of Thrones, but real". My tie in of the two is that the author of TLK wrote the Sharpe's series, which BBC also made into a number of mini-series staring Sean Bean (who is the main reason I'd bother to watch Game of Thrones).

Anonymous Broken Arrow June 30, 2016 9:09 AM  

It's interesting to see that as soon as Hollywood takes over, just a little, the show starts to drive full speed towards stupid Hollywood cliches and idiot plots.

Hollywood is extremely tribal.

Anonymous BGKB June 30, 2016 9:14 AM  

If anyone on Snows side in the battle of bastards had 1/2 a brain they would have build a tower shield for the giant. He could carry a shield large enough to give cover to dozens of men.

And for good reason. There's a strong possibility that it would get him killed.

Somewhere in these 10 pallets of Doritos is one poisoned bag.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 30, 2016 9:16 AM  

@7 Leonidas

Having read his other works, I have a strong suspicion that this is how he originally intended it to end.

Actually, no.

This is from Martin's original outline, that he sent out to his publisher. You can find the ground work for the following subplot in the first book.

"Arya and her half brother Jon fall in love, and "their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy..."

Which is a serious deviation in that the thought of people actually hesitating to commit incest in Westeros is shocking.

Anonymous trk June 30, 2016 9:21 AM  

Jon and Danerys are related. Not much chance of them marrying but then again it would make sense for the plot.

Blogger Jim June 30, 2016 9:22 AM  

Where is the girl power that people are talking about? I think it’s been shown over and over that the women on the show are stupid and powerless on their own. Dany without her dragons is a nothing. That burning the Khals thing was so contrived as to be laughable. Qyburn setup that whole blowing up the Sept thing; you know it wasn’t Cersei’s idea or that she organized anything. The Sandsnakes and Oberin’s girlfriend got captured 10 seconds after they tried to foment their little revolution and it was only the Prince’s own stupidity and weakness that allowed them to gain control in Dorne. Sansa wrote a letter begging for help. Wow. Arya is the only one who actually gets shit done on her own. Maybe Brienne a little, but she’s not really acting to fulfill her own goals.
The dragons burning he ships was cool, but I was hoping their fire would actually explode the boats Independence Day style rather than just burning them.

Blogger Jim June 30, 2016 9:26 AM  

@ 16.

The Targaryens were marrying bother and sister for multiple generations.

Blogger CM June 30, 2016 9:28 AM  

Which is a serious deviation in that the thought of people actually hesitating to commit incest in Westeros is shocking

Not really. The Tagaryens are the Czars of Russia and Danaerys, the long lost Princess Anastasia. They are the only ones incest is "allowed" because they had dragons. Who challenges the morals of people with dragons?

Cersei and Jaimie is viewed with disgust and mockery by those who suspect but cannot prove. I actually think Jaimie is mildly disgusted but sffers from stockholm syndrom. The descriptions of them in childhood covince me she sexually abused him from a young age (like Lena D).

Cersei is just so narcississtic she views Jaimie as her male self and sex w him is really just sex with herself. She doesn't really consider her children Jamie's. They are HERS by asexual reproduction.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 30, 2016 9:32 AM  

I was laughing recently when I saw someone online actually say, "well now that we know that Jon and Dany are Aunt and Nephew, they can't get married."

No, he wasn't being sarcastic.

Of course Jon's claim to being the King of the North is bit more shaky now, (or rather it will be when that plot point is OFFICIALLY revealed to everyone).

Marrying Sansa would shore that up and since they are now only first cousins, well that's practically unrelated at all by Westeros standards.

But we all know he's fated to wed Dany. Who will die in childbirth, then Jon and Tyrion will kill each other in a duel and then the Ice-Zombies are going to win because it's written by George R. R. Martin.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 30, 2016 9:34 AM  

@19 CM

Dude, that was (*Cataline holds up a small sign*) "A Joke."

Anonymous Erwin Rommeow June 30, 2016 9:40 AM  

What's the deal with the dragon's 3 heads?
In the books there was another, secret, Targaryen that the show completely left out.

What upsets me more than the Hollywood tropes HBO will undoubtedly shove in to finish the series off, is that Martin (this is rape rape, yes?) is a fatass nerd that will have a heart attack before even getting started on book 7. So everything built up in the books is going to be left up to HBO to finish off with Grrl Power and gay sex.

Blogger Josh June 30, 2016 9:43 AM  

Yes of course the battle of the bastards was a complete farce, but Ramsey getting eaten by his own hounds was completely awesome.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan June 30, 2016 9:44 AM  

Maybe a person could apply Spenglarian generalizations to Westeros, but that would give them too much credit and what a disappointment since it the series to me barely rises above soap opera.

The best dramatic ending would be the Ice zombies ruling over the dead Westeros.

Anonymous Erwin Rommeow June 30, 2016 9:48 AM  

To HBO's credit, at least they didn't try to shoe-horn in a bunch of protagonists from the summer isles shucking and jiving around to the dismay and embarrassment of the uptight northerners. Keeping it real while showing dem white walkers how dey do and all that.

I guarantee there's going to be one in the Citadel that Sam needs to point out some obvious fact about the Others that he just can't seem to grasp next season though.

Blogger darrenl June 30, 2016 9:51 AM  

Meh. I stopped watch GoT in the second season when I realised it was more a porn flick with a fantasy theme. Had the same reaction to Spartacus.

I hear good things about the series, especially lately. Not sure if it's worth watching again(?).

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 30, 2016 9:53 AM  

What's the deal with the dragon's 3 heads?

Well good question. If this was being plotted by someone who had an outline instead of a vague notion, it would be foreshadowing.

Since this is Martin we are talking about it's more likely another Checkov's Gun. Like the wolves. They were supposed to mean...something but plainly don't at this point.

I suspect it was orginally supposed to signify that there were three living Targaryen claimants.

Dany, her nephew Jon and her half brother(*dun, dun, dun*) Tyrion.

Anonymous Sheiko29 June 30, 2016 9:58 AM  

Very much hoping the Kingslayer is forced to become a Queenslayer. Seems the obvious route.

Sad we never got to me Lyle Crakehall. Seemed the frattiest of all knights.

Ramsey getting eaten by hounds = good. Septa getting zombie-raped = better.

Anonymous Sheiko29 June 30, 2016 10:01 AM  

Then again, given the accuracy of Maggy's prophecy to date, probably can't be a Jamie. Unless Cersei was technically the firstborn...and I don't remember that detail.

Blogger Atomic Agent 13 June 30, 2016 10:04 AM  

The action in Game of Thrones is less interesting than the intrigue. The first riveting 20 minutes of the season finale was much more interesting than the previous week's epic battle.

Blogger Atomic Agent 13 June 30, 2016 10:10 AM  

Why is everyone saying Jon Snow is a Targaryen? Did I miss something?

Blogger CM June 30, 2016 10:14 AM  

Dude, that was (*Cataline holds up a small sign*) "A Joke."

Well then, carry on.

Meh. I stopped watch GoT in the second season when I realised it was more a porn flick with a fantasy theme. Had the same reaction to Spartacus.

That's all the HBO, Starz, and Showtime shows. Black Flag, Spartacus, The Tudors. I think only one show I watched from any of those was without nudity and sex and that was the Titanic miniseries.

Anonymous bluto June 30, 2016 10:15 AM  

Cersei was the firstborn.

I was always partial to the idea that it would either be the Hound (winning a trial by combat) or Ayra (the word used in the prophecy isn't gender specific)

Blogger Josh June 30, 2016 10:20 AM  

Why is everyone saying Jon Snow is a Targaryen? Did I miss something?

R + L = J

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 30, 2016 10:22 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 30, 2016 10:28 AM  

Why is everyone saying Jon Snow is a Targaryen? Did I miss something?


Whoops sorry for the last post. Missed the Keywords Jon Snow.

Lyanna Stark ran off with Crown Prince Rheagar Targaryen. She was known to have died in Ned's arms in a bed the smelled of blood and roses. There she made Ned promise, "something." Now it's confirmed that the, "something" involved a new born baby.

Ned Stark came home from that war with an infant bastard son, "Jon Snow".

Anonymous Satan's Hamster June 30, 2016 10:32 AM  

"Some what tangential, but can anyone comment on "The Last Kingdom" BBC series?"

It's not bad, and probably far more realistic than GoT. My only real issue is that, intentionally or not, it effectively makes a Viking responsible for some of the important events of English history. Maybe they were in real life, but I don't remember reading anything about that character in history books so I presume they're made up for the show.

Blogger Achilles June 30, 2016 10:43 AM  

@12 The Last Kingdom is actually good. It does a fairly decent job sticking to the books. Most of the the actors have some talent. It was enjoyable. Not perfect by any stretch but worth checking out if you enjoy the book series.

Anonymous Big Bill June 30, 2016 10:44 AM  

How long has this series been going? I always thought I would catch an episode, but early on they had some wedding/cute babe/doggy style rape thing. I figured it was a chick's wish-fulfillment fantasy series. Rosemary Rogers meets the 21st Century.

Blogger Brian S June 30, 2016 10:47 AM  

The lack of continuity with the time line (both in the books and the show) is the most irritating thing to me

https://i.imgflip.com/16jejj.jpg

Anonymous Type 5 June 30, 2016 10:51 AM  

Watching the final scene as the invasion fleet sailed, it dawned on me that next season has been setup as a grrlpower fest.

We see Dragongirl with her not-quite-Men advisors, the dwarf and the eunuch. Then her ally, the Iron Island lesbian with her no-longer-a-Man brother. Her new allies are Diana Rigg and the all-female cartoon ninjas from Dorn.

The remaining possible claimants to the throne are Cersei and Sansa, with bastard Jon Snow as a dark horse.

All the patriarchs have been killed off. Bow to the inevitability of Matriarchy.

Anonymous Gecko June 30, 2016 10:56 AM  

If this is indeed all that happens in Winds (with differences, of course), the last book is going to be a mess. Remember, we were expecting all this stuff to be wrapped up in Dance.

Why is everyone saying Jon Snow is a Targaryen?

Also, Mance is Jon's dad. Sorry; can't resist: 10 Reasons Rhaegar is Not Dead

Blogger Anchorman June 30, 2016 11:06 AM  

Final season will be grrl powa and impotent men.

Dragon girls arrives, knocks off Cersai. Twin brother dies at the hands of the giant woman. Dwarf kill steals Cersai.

Island of Lesbo given their freedom in exchange for their fleet.

White Walkers attack. Dragon queen mops the floor with them, but not before the symbolic wall is destroyed (ermagad!)

Jon takes his spot as leader of the Wildlings. For good measure, let's also say he becomes half-white walker. Why? How? Because this last season, the new writers show a tendency to tie things neatly together, however implausible.

Sansa becomes Queen of the North, once it's revealed Jon has no claim. I'd prefer if she bites it, but she's too insufferably "on cue" because of the writing. I've really grown to dislike her when she appears on screen. Might also be because she's looks a lot like my niece and my niece is a bitch.

Arya kills the Mountain after he kills the Hound (whom she befriends again and takes off her list).

Hey, at least there's no Lady Stoneheart or whatever her name was.

Blogger Achilles June 30, 2016 11:06 AM  

Despite the sloppiness I prefer the television writers finish GoT. That way it's over with. Rape Rape Martin will still be staring at a blank screen years after everyone moved on.

Anonymous Wyrd June 30, 2016 11:19 AM  

@Brian S

Obviously Varys travels by raven.

Anonymous Sam the Man June 30, 2016 11:20 AM  

The comment that occurs to me was George Martin's world was medieval England across from a combination of Morocco/Anatolia , in a world where Christianity and Islam never happened.

Which I suppose accounts for all the savagery.

Anonymous Type 5 June 30, 2016 11:23 AM  

I've really grown to dislike her when she appears on screen. Might also be because she's looks a lot like my niece and my niece is a bitch.

We appear to share the same niece.

Blogger justaguy June 30, 2016 11:38 AM  

I heartily agree with #43. At least the GOT TV writers will bring a conclusion to the complicated and now very girl centric series. It seems to me that GRRM (do the Rs stand for rape rape?)created a complicated world and plot but lost the thread quickly and couldn't find it to finish the series. The trite, keep the girls happy solution will at least put a fitting end to his namesake series. Quite a step down from Sandkings.

Anonymous artaud June 30, 2016 11:39 AM  

"too little cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity"

Which is exactly why it's a hit, you bleedin' idjit. It's a much-needed vacation from the stupors and irritations of all-singing, all-dancing, Mandatory Diversity, everywhere, always. Why do you think people love Downton Abbey so much? Then of course we got the predictable mewlings about "b-b-but no diverrrrrsity!!" -- what? in aristocratic Edwardian England, no diversity? The horror! Sob, march, make Black Power fist. So they cooked up the ludicrous jazz musician, who, of course, had to bed a white woman, then give a Noble Lecture About Raaaaacism. Except for that irritating pirate, Game of Thrones has been a little island of sanity.

If Westeros were a demographic Star Trek crew, I would have hit 'Off' a looooong time ago.

There should always be a show on TV featuring White people riding around on horses, wearing armor and fighting with swords, and swearing grandiose oaths by the Gods. The other 9 times out of 10 we can get tiresome lectures about Selma and gay rights.

Blogger jaericho June 30, 2016 11:44 AM  

All I want is Ice Zombies vs Dragons. I'm afraid HBO is going to screw it up.

Blogger B.J. June 30, 2016 11:47 AM  

What is interesting to me is that, freed from the snail's pace of Martin's prose, the show was free to actually advance the plot. But in order to do that they had to teleport people--even entire armies--all over the place. Before Littlefinger saved the day at Winterfell, he travelled all the way through the entire north to the Wall AND BACK, and then brought the whole army north PAST THE LANNISTERS AND FREYS AT RIVERRUN AND THE TWINS. Look at the map; there is no way the Vale knights could get north without Jaime noticing.

Arya teleported to the Twins, infiltrated the castle, murdered two people we saw alive days earlier at Riverrun, all in one episode, when she was last seen across the sea in Bravos, not to mention gravely injured and dying.

Theon and his sister teleport all the way to Danaerys in the same time it takes Varys to teleport to Dorne AND BACK TO MEREEN with a magic Dornish fleet that poofed out of nowhere.

Realize that Martin doesn't do this with his writing. This means in the book each of these journeys will be laid out in painstaking detail, replete with morose self-reflection and endless descriptions of food.

Blogger Jim June 30, 2016 11:56 AM  

@42 Why do you say Jon has no claim? He's still a Stark (King of the North) by Lyanna and also in line for King of Westeros as Rhaegar's (Crown Prince) son.

@41 Rhaegar is dead, killed by Robert Baratheon on the Trident. The rubies from his breastplate fell into the water after Robert's warhammer caved Rhaegar's chest in.

Anonymous RJ June 30, 2016 11:57 AM  

"In the books there was another, secret, Targaryen that the show completely left out."

Tyrion is the 'secret' Targaryen. Explains why his father was so cruel to him.

"The best dramatic ending would be the Ice zombies ruling over the dead Westeros."

Martin has hinted that this will be the final outcome.

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 12:04 PM  

I gave up on the show after last season because of its painful pacing and vast stretches of pointless scenes and characters, until a friend of mine convinced me this season was better. It was, but not that much, and the best parts have massive logical holes.

I feel like the show wasted enormous amounts of my time with the subplots regarding Arya, Sansa, Brienne, Jamie, Tyrion, and what's-his-name the turning to a Stoneman guy. Most of their subplots after about season 2 had little to nothing to do with anything, particularly during the last couple of seasons when those characters had almost no significance.

I kept thinking, is this "Game of Thrones" or "The Stark Show"? Why do we keep following Starks when they don't have any political significance? Aren't we supposed to be following "the game"? What relevance did Sansa have during her travels and marriage to Ramsay and escape? That could've happened in a couple of lines of dialogue off-screen. What we saw just made her stupid and annoying -- she and Ramsay were both using each other for their connections, but when she does it it's okay. And she knew going in that he was a sadistic bastard, or she would have if she had asked anyone in Westeros (including Ramsay), so she either did it knowing that and has no right to complain about it, or she's the dumbest person in the world.

And Arya had no relevance either. What, is she going to get the throne? We saw endless, repetitive scenes of her with the Hound then again with her training. We could easily have skipped the middle parts of both of those. We should've seen her heading off to train, and then not seen her again until she killed Frey. That way it would've been surprising and cool for her to show again, and it wouldn't have created a hundred plot holes and wasted hours of our time on character development that barely even happened.

I don't even feel like the show does a good job of portraying Cersei. She's well written but the performance feels flat a lot of the time, and the show doesn't portray her as the villain the way it ought to. They did it right with Ramsay and he was a great villain. I feel like Cersei taking over didn't feel like the big villain win it should've been.

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 12:12 PM  

I did enjoy Jamie's "I can't leave you alone for five minutes without you driving our son to suicide and usurping the throne" look at the end, though.

Blogger VD June 30, 2016 12:15 PM  

But in order to do that they had to teleport people--even entire armies--all over the place.

I'm still wondering how Varys was simultaneously in Dorne and then with Danerys at her departure from Mereen.

Anonymous DavidKathome June 30, 2016 12:20 PM  

I haven't watched the show and have only read up to book 4, so I am avoiding reading the rest of this post and the comments. But one easy way to tell GRapeRapeM didn't want to put in the effort of grounding Westeros in more realism was his avoidance of putting any kind of scale on his map of the continent.

Knowing how many miles it is between various cities requires him to track distance and travel times, and know approximate population sizes based on approximate population density. He obviously didn't want to put in that effort, so starting with the first novel I knew such matters were going to be ignored.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus June 30, 2016 12:33 PM  

So what they sayin' be dat GRR Martin be racisss?

Anonymous SaltHarvest June 30, 2016 12:36 PM  

I'm half-expecting a plot arc about white walker society to get included in the next season just so some writer somewhere can claim credit for putting an end to Westerosi "awfulness."

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction June 30, 2016 12:43 PM  

@53

My biggest issue is how they handled Jon. You'd think that after getting stabbed to death Caesar style by his fellow night watchmen that he would learn to actually take the time to fucking read people and pay attention to things around him. Yet there he is just prattling about "Winter is coming" without actually adding any fucking context. He has seen the dead rise, he has seen the white walkers, and for whatever reason he is incapable of articulating that to those who have not seen this those who have not. For example, right before he is crowned king one of the Lords talks about how this will be the coldest winter in a 1000 years and that they should all ride to their keeps to ride it out? All he fucking responds with is that the enemy brings the winter with him. He needs to give fucking context. He should have said that he saw thousands, who were camping out behind barricades of wildlings get overrun and then subsequently added to the army of the night king.

Then we have his idiotic charge AFTER HE WAS FUCKING WARNED BY SANSA.

Then there was Tyrion swaying how Daenarys has inspired loyalty in him and he believes in her blah...blah...blah the episode or too after he chastises her for acting too much like the Mad King.

All I know is this, that the two most likely individuals to sit on the Iron Throne by shows end have shown themselves incapable of actually ruling effectively. I really hope Tyrion is a Targaryn and that he sits on the Iron Throne because so far he seems like the only competent potential contender left.

Blogger jaericho June 30, 2016 12:49 PM  

...what's-his-name the turning to a Stoneman guy

That's Jorah the Explorer!

Anonymous a_peraspera June 30, 2016 12:49 PM  

If you want to talk "real world" standards, everyone in the Riverlands and the North is already effectively dead.

The Riverlands have been thoroughly wrecked by the clashing Lannister/Tully/Stark armies. Every scrap of food has been grabbed up and eaten by the soldiers and bandits. Fortresses in the North such as Winterfell, Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square have been sacked by the Ironborn, then retaken by the Boltons.

The Lannister Westerlands and the Arryns' lands around the Eyrie have been mostly shielded, but other than that I'd wager most of the peasantry north of King's Landing have either been killed off, conscripted to fight (and thus aren't doing any farming), or are barely scraping by, hiding in the woods every time they hear approaching hoofbeats. Everyone who could have been growing food is dead or doing other things, and now it's too late for another harvest.

Winter has now arrived (as per the last book). GRRM has told us that the seasons in this world last for decades. The maesters have said in the books that because this last summer lasted so long, the coming winter will most likely be of record-breaking length.

So, you have a kingdom that will soon be buried under several feet of snow - and nobody has any food stored up except possibly in the Reach (Tyrell lands), the Eyrie, Casterly Rock and Dorne. The royals are too busy getting punished by the Faith to even think about any of this, not that Cersei would care to feed peasants - plus the Crown is ALREADY deeply in debt to the Bank of Braavos for war funding.

As I said, Westeros will soon be a slaughterhouse due to starvation alone, even without the White Walkers and zombies coming (that's IF this was real-world with real consequences). I imagine food won't even be discussed on the show, and GRRM will do some bullshit hand-waving to fix the issue in the books.

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 1:00 PM  

@58

As a GoT non-book reader, I found a couple of things odd/sort of interesting about Jon. Yes, he doesn't seem to learn anything, which is unfortunate. It seems like they've kind of dropped the idea of character arcs for anyone except Cersei and Arya. But that's not what I noticed specifically.

Maybe a book reader can help me out on this. Jon's death and resurrection (why can't they do that for anyone who dies?) seemed like a really elaborate and clever way out of a problem that never existed in the show, that is Jon escaping his oath to be at the wall. I can totally imagine a scenario where that oath was sacred, and no one who broke it could ever be a leader of men. But that wasn't established in the show -- rather, the opposite. Jon broke his oath already by sleeping with the redhead, so he doesn't seem that concerned about keeping it.

What's funny is, why did he keep the name Snow? Why didn't he come back saying "Jon Snow pledged to fight at the wall until his death, and he did. I am Jon Stark." Who's going to deny it? Why would Stannis be able to grant him Stark-hood but Sansa can't? Isn't she (as far as anyone knows) the last Stark? And isn't he as much a Stark by blood as she is (as far as anyone knows)?

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 1:04 PM  

I was also deeply irritated that Littlefinger just stopped trying to get the crown this whole season. After the Lannisters were disgraced at the end of season 5, and the Tyrells hated them, and they had no major allies left, and their money is low, and the actual competent guy is dead, that was the perfect time for him to ingratiate himself, become indispensable, and eventually off the Lannisters and take over.

After their wackiness you'd think people would be happy with anyone, as long as the wagons ran on time and things were stable again. Being as good at running things as King Robert seems pretty doable, and everyone seemed satisfied enough with him.

Blogger The Gray Man June 30, 2016 1:04 PM  

Vox wrote: "I'm still wondering how Varys was simultaneously in Dorne and then with Danerys at her departure from Mereen."

Since the ships at the end had Tyrell and Martell flags, I assumed a long passage of time went between those.

Varys went to Dorne, got them to agree, and they sailed to Mireen to meet up with Danerys. So probably a couple of months time.

Blogger Anchorman June 30, 2016 1:06 PM  

VD,
Unless that was a colossal f-up, it could hint at Varys being one of the Faceless Men. Of course, having two masks of the same guy...

There's a decent theory about Varys and the Faceless Men pushing for a world-wipe. I haven't read the books, so I can only go by what's on screen.

Anonymous a_peraspera June 30, 2016 1:30 PM  

Well, Varys is 100% Targaryen loyalist and always has been. Varys, Prince Doran of Dorne and Magister Illyrio cooked up a plan to wed Doran's daughter Arianne to Viserys (Daenerys' brother who got molten gold poured on his head). Thus they would have had a Targ/Dornish alliance to retake Westeros.

Once Viserys got whacked the plan changed - then they wanted to marry Doran's son Quentyn to Daenerys. But Dany only likes badboy alphas so she's in love with Daario the merc captain and has no time for Quentyn.

SO...it turns out that the entire time there's been ANOTHER Targ loyalist nobleman named Connington "The Griffin" who was hiding a hidden Targaryen heir (Dany's nephew who supposedly was killed by Gregor Clegane when Robert's army took King's Landing). So Varys and Illyrio send Tyrion to meet and advise this other Targ boy. Targ boy and The Griffin are also getting ready to invade Westeros with an army of mercs from Braavos. Oh and the Targ boy might just be an imposter as well.

Varys's role in all this is to keep Westeros in chaos and unable to unite, so they won't be able to effectively oppose Daenerys when she arrives. Cersei takes over after Tywin dies and completely screws up everything. Once Cersei is humiliated by her walk of shame, her uncle Kevan and Grand Maester Pycelle take over and rule in much more sane fashion. Kevan is almost as competent as Tywin, but less cold and ruthless. Things start to settle down and people just go back to living their lives. Then Varys assassinates Kevan and Pycelle, knowing that Cersei will take over again and wreck everything AGAIN...

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 1:31 PM  

Also, does it seem plausible to anyone that they keep saying things like "our house has followed the Starks for a thousand years" when people get slaughtered so quickly? If I'm not mistaken we've pretty much seen the end of houses Bolton, Frey and potentially Lannister in the span of two episodes (unless Jamie or Tyrion have some late-life kids, and Jamie takes a non-incestuous woman).

Is this particular "game" that much crazier than all the others, or is that all just BS flavor text to make this world seem like it has history even though it doesn't make much sense given what we've seen?

Blogger VD June 30, 2016 1:53 PM  

Is this particular "game" that much crazier than all the others, or is that all just BS flavor text to make this world seem like it has history even though it doesn't make much sense given what we've seen?

The latter.

Anonymous tublecane June 30, 2016 1:53 PM  

@17-The women are stupid, yes. But the men are stupider. I don't know what you mean by "powerless on their own." That they have to get men and dragons to do things for them doesn't make them any less grrl powerful. Powerful men have men do things for them, too. The series doesn't even manage to avoid the buttkicking woman warrior cliche, as it shows girls physically overpowering men.

Whether or not it's on their personal merit, Circe rules in King's Landing. Those damn Vipers rule in Dorn. The Dragon Queen rules the East and is sailing over. The Queen of Thorns or whatever they call her rules Highgarden. I am shocked that Sansa isn't in charge of Winterfell, considering that would give them a veritable clean sweep. You can't deny women ruling almost all known territory is suggestive of Grrl Power!

More than that, women are always right. Notice who it was that caught on to Circe's terror plot moments before it was too late. Not the stupid men. Sansa was right about Jon falling into Ramsey's trap, even though she couldn't be very specific. She also was right that they needed to recruit more men, and she was smarter than Jon to know where to get it. Momma Stark was right about Ned going to King's Landing, she was right about Theon and the Grayjoys, she was right to trust Jamie when she freed him, she was right about Robb getting married and she was right about the Freys. Meanwhile, all the men in her family were drooling morons. Circe is generally smarter than Jamie. Sam is smart, but he's constantly getting bettered by his Wildling sweetheart on scene after scene. Jon Snow knows nothing, as his smarter Wildling girlfriend told us.

Tyrion is exceptional, as he's smarter than most people. But we had to watch him intellectually tangle with that impudent whore, and now he serves grrl dragon power. Poppa Lannister got to be smarter than women because he was the main villain for a while. Varys gets to be smart, but he's not a man. Little Finger gets to be smart, but he's a villain and women--Circe, Kat, Sansa--always get to humiliate him.

I can't be the only one seeing this.

Blogger CM June 30, 2016 1:54 PM  

Is this particular "game" that much crazier than all the others, or is that all just BS flavor text to make this world seem like it has history even though it doesn't make much sense given what we've seen?

I was under the impression things were pretty stable up until Robert's Rebellion and then the rise of the too many kings.

Anonymous a_peraspera June 30, 2016 1:54 PM  

The show departs from the books in this respect as in so many others.

The Boltons probably ARE getting wiped out since Roose seems to have no heirs except crazy-ass Ramsay.

There are tons and tons of Freys left - even if old Walder and half his sons die there will still be like 12 more.

As for the Lannisters, Lancel (Kevan's son) is still around in the books. I think Tywin and Kevan had a younger brother (named Steffon maybe?) who also had children. But again this is in line with real-world medieval norms - you had to have lots of kids because many died young or in battle.

Anonymous Sam the Man June 30, 2016 1:56 PM  

From what I have read, all season they went in for lots of detail with all sorts of topics that had no real relevance, then in the last episode they closed out a lot of these story arcs (blowing up the main cathedral in the capital of Westroes) and taking what should have been multi month/year effort to pull together a invasion force after the defeat of the salvers into a 5 minute story arc. Poor writing or they simply ran out of time and had to congeal everything into one episode.

Anonymous Hosswire June 30, 2016 2:00 PM  

Color me disgusted.

The show that started off with an exhibition of manly patriarchal honor (Ned Stark grimly executing a Black Knight deserter out of duty) is wrapping up as a celebration of you-go-girl female supremacy. The message is pretty blatant: Men ran things & made a mess. So now the women are going to take over.

Does EVERYTHING that Hollywood touches have to turn into an overthrow of masculinity? Rhetorical. Of course it does.

Anonymous tublecane June 30, 2016 2:04 PM  

In fairness I should mention the Red Queen, whom the show allows to be wrong. She's still Grrl Powerful, with all her grrl magic. But Davos, a man, was right about her. She was consistently wrong about the future she supposedly saw, and the show allowed her to be humiliated, and she's not a villain like Circe, exactly. She's exceptional on the show for being a realistically powerful woman, not counting the magic.

Blogger Rob June 30, 2016 2:11 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 2:11 PM  

@69

I got the opposite impression. What about the Mad King thing? Wasn't there a huge battle after that? I never got the impression that things were stable before. The current situation is crazy, sure, but what about when zombies attacked last? It hasn't been 1000 years since the last winter, right? Didn't that kind of stuff destabilize the reigns of various kings in the past and make them ripe to be picked off? I don't see any reason for this time to be different, or at least they haven't established that it is.

@70

Fair enough, they haven't necessarily killed every single person, but the Starks and their allies are going to be pretty ticked at those houses and they no longer have anyone to watch out for them (at least that I can remember). I would think the Boltons and the Freys are done. I guess there are a bunch more Lannisters, so they're probably alright. It just seems very implausible that any of these houses have lasted so long when they get killed off so quickly.

Anonymous tublecane June 30, 2016 2:18 PM  

@30-It was more intriguing than the Big, Dumb Battle, yes. But it was a Big, Dumb Explosion, so not by much. When last we saw Circe her buddy was telling her that her web of spies had found some secret. I thought it might be something to blackmail the Sparrow with, but turns out it was convenient wildfire. Which the show set up a long time ago, but like I said was convenient. And it didn't seem to be very well hidden.

Circe was backed into a corner, had one or two allies at most, we knew she'd probably prevail but not how, and the show insisted upon giving her the longest odds possible. Then, poof! Suddenly she's on top of the world. Like I said, convenient. She didn't even have to lure anyone in. Her plot was simple enough for it to be carried out by street urchins. No craft or guile required, really. Just candles and not showing up. You can tell it was kinda cheap by the way they kept it hidden from us for as long as possible. Because as soon as we know the plan the drama is over. The Red Wedding, on the other hand, was good storytelling because we could see it coming a mile away.

At least the show made her trade in her son for victory, and probably her brother. So it wasn't all "Well, that's that, then. Whaddya want for dinner, kids?"

Blogger CM June 30, 2016 2:21 PM  

Gnossos,

While bad Targs had existed, rule was still stable and so much war.

The last time zombies were around was thousands of years prior, before Tagaryens, in the days of the "first men". That is when the wall was built.

When targs arrived, the dragons inspired the kings to swear fealty to them without bloodshed.

Winters had existed, but they were small and short and had no zombies.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction June 30, 2016 2:23 PM  

@61

Well Maestar Aemon made it known that it wasn't unusual for young nights watchmen to break the oath and lay with women and that if they punished everyone who had done it that only ghosts would guard the wall. Keep in mind that Ser Thorne was pretty willing to string Jon up. As for why he doesn't say he is Jon Stark now? I'd say he is like his "Father" need when it comes to honor. Honor dictates that only legitimate sons get the last name...though now that he has been named King that may change.
@65

Some theorize that Varys himself is a Targ or maybe a blackfire...hence the shaved head.

Blogger Michael Thompson June 30, 2016 2:28 PM  

"I was under the impression things were pretty stable up until Robert's Rebellion and then the rise of the too many kings."

Sort of, I suppose. About 5 years prior to the beginning of Robert's Rebellion, one of the vassals of the king rose in revolt and Aerys went himself to put the revolt down and was captured. He was eventually freed, but that is cited as the beginning of his mental descent. About 17 years prior to that, the War of the Ninepenny Kings began and lasted a short period of time before Maelys Blackfyre, the last of the Blackfyre bastards was slain by Barristan Selmy. This was the last of a long series of Blackfyre rebellions precipitated by one of the worst of the Targaryen rulers legitimizing all of his bastard children as one of his last acts. Also around this time, Tywin Lannister obliterated the houses of Reyne and Tarbeck in vengeance for their manipulation and exploitation of the Lannisters. The total annihilation he visited upon them was the inspiration for the song 'The Rains of Castamere,' which was the song the queued the beginning of the Red Wedding.

There were very few periods of real stability during the Targaryen Dynasty, but prior to Robert's Rebellion was, I suppose, about as stable as it ever got.

Anonymous a_peraspera June 30, 2016 2:30 PM  

They do tell stories about The Long Night or some such thing (when the white walkers attacked last), but I don't recall how long ago it was. Long enough that everyone thinks it's a myth. I assume that the Wall and the Night's Watch were stronger for a long time - it's only now that they're down to 100 guys or so that the white walkers can attack freely.

As to the kingdom's usual stability, well...before the Targaryens there were seven independent kingdoms, and if you attacked your neighbor you were leaving your flanks/rear unguarded plus two others might ally to fight you off. So there was less warring back then.

Once the Targs took over, you were fried and eaten by dragons if you caused trouble. I think it's only after the dragons died off that people started getting all ambitious and quarrelsome again.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 30, 2016 2:31 PM  

More than that, women are always right.

The books were already pretty Grrl Power heavy by the time I bailed out of #4. If the show has ramped it up (I haven't watched it, but hear people talking about it all the time), maybe that has to do with keeping the women on-screen. From the conversations I hear among non-reading viewers, the main draw for men is the naked chicks, and a big draw for women is the costumes and sex/romance (i.e. the naked chicks). Long battles between men or too much focus on the fantasy plot elements would drive them away.

Tyrion is exceptional, as he's smarter than most people.

He's also a stand-in for the gamma troll author, right? Naturally he would be exceptional.

Blogger CM June 30, 2016 2:32 PM  

Thompson,

Interestng. I guess most of that comes from the Dunk and Egg stories?

Anonymous tublecane June 30, 2016 2:33 PM  

@75-The Mad King Thing was Robert's Rebellion. The White Walkers exist only in legend, not recorded history, and history goes back a long time. They don't pop up just because it's winter, so far as I know. We're supposed to think those south of the Wall haven't had knowledge of them since before the Wall went up, I think.

Blogger Michael Thompson June 30, 2016 2:37 PM  

And the 'A World of Ice and Fire' source book. Usually I just glance at one of the wikis if I want to know something, though. The information there is usually more organized and easier to digest quickly than trying to find it in one of the books.

Anonymous tublecane June 30, 2016 2:59 PM  

@51-Jon is not a Stark, nor is he a Targaryen. He's a bastard, a "Snow" or whatever they call bastards in the Targaryen homelands, either way. His mother and father couldn't have been married, since the father was already married. Therefore, he's illegitimate and can claim neither Winterfell nor the Iron Throne. Winterfell belongs to his cousin Bran and the throne belongs to the Dragon Queen.

He can be King of the North, however, since there hasn't been one since before dragons and his claim to it is based not on being a Stark but upon noble acclamation and the fact that he has an army, for now.

Anonymous Undercover Cuck June 30, 2016 3:08 PM  

Who is 'Rape Rape'?

Blogger Michael Thompson June 30, 2016 3:09 PM  

"His mother and father couldn't have been married, since the father was already married."

Not necessarily the case. There were notable exceptions of Targaryens having multiple wives, but usually at the beginning of their dynasty and shortly thereafter, and it had fallen out of favor, even among them. It was a case of the practice being a considered a sin by the predominant religion of the the realm they conquered, but not necessarily frowned upon by the ruling monarchy, and with, I think, no laws having been written about it one way or the other.

Anonymous Alexander June 30, 2016 3:29 PM  

@81

The biggest tell that Tyrion is Rape Rape's avatar is his metabolism.

Blogger Horn of the Mark June 30, 2016 3:36 PM  

I had an even more obnoxious premonition that's been partially, but not entirely, allayed:

First, Dany's boring story has been fraught with finding some way to reshape the slave-holding world. No matter what she does, she can't seem to fix the problem of historical momentum. How does she keep the slave--her "children"--safe from slavery?

Now, she's also heading to Westeros with a gaggle of Dothraki, various slaves, and Unsullied. Assuming she wins, what then?

I predict that all these people will settle in Westeros, and somehow diversity will prove to be the solution--the bright rainbow future--to a dysfunctional land of white people.

Granted, the slavery angle seems at least temporarily settled as of this season, but the possibility is still in play.

Anonymous Undercover Cuck June 30, 2016 3:41 PM  

OK, I figured out Rape Rape is GRRM. Link to origin of name? I'm sure it will be amusing.

Blogger Anchorman June 30, 2016 3:44 PM  

Importing the Dothraki Horde to fight the Lannisters is like bringing in a pack of wolves to take care of a rat problem.

What could go wrong?

Only bad writing could make that situation end peacefully. Or a “divine wind.”

Anonymous Daedalus Mugged June 30, 2016 4:02 PM  

The occasional powerful woman is historical, I was willing to suspend disbelief for being heavy on it, but it has gotten absurd. Virtually every faction is de-facto led by a woman at this point.

Cersei, obviously. Dany, OK, a little heavy to have two at once, but OK.

But now Dorne is the cabal of chicks, Highgarden is the old lady, Sansa has the true claim on the North, and it was her secret army that mattered. Arya is the super ninja assassin.

Jon is only there to be pretty for the girls. Tyrion is an advisor, not a player. There aren't even any important men left.

OpenID gnossoss June 30, 2016 4:17 PM  

Where does this "Tyrion is good at politics" idea come from? Was he good at it in the books?

In the show, he sucked. He was way too overt with everything he did. The people he needed to work with, primarily Tywin, Cersei, and Joffrey, were very predictable, yet he failed to work with them successfully. After Cersei hung Joffrey's death on him, which he had nothing to do with, he was totally unable to get anyone on his side since he had made no real allies. He killed the only person making things work in the kingdom because he insulted a woman who had already betrayed him, rather than blackmailing him or something. He only survived and escaped because someone competent at playing the game swooped in at the last moment and saved him.

Now, as Dany's adviser his advice has been mixed, some working but mostly not. Where does he get this rep? He's a likable character, sure (or was at some point), but good at politics? What makes anyone think that?

Blogger JaimeInTexas June 30, 2016 4:20 PM  

Tyrion will ride a dragon. Sansa will take Tyrion back as hubby. Littlefinger most likely die.

So says my crystal ball.

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau June 30, 2016 4:46 PM  

Aegon Targaryen and Jon Connington's invasion of Westeros in the books is probably based on the Yorkist invasion of England with a young man named Perkin Warbeck claiming to be one of the Princes in the Tower killed by Richard III. Aegon is a fake Targaryen.

I think Jon is the legitimate heir. Targayens practiced polygamy in the past (usually with their sisters) so it's not a stretch that Rhaegar married Lyanna.

My theory was in the books that Lyanna is the knight of the laughing tree who defends Howland Reed. Her bed of blood was not from childbirth but from fighting alongside the Kingsgaurd to defend her baby in the Tower of Joy.

I can see Rape Rape adding this for ultimate Grrl Power.

Blogger Alexandros June 30, 2016 5:57 PM  

I tuned out of this show midway through the first season. I was consistently reminded why television tries to ram drama and meaning into every little pointless scene. Every now and then I watch a random episode of this show with my family just so that we can see how much more ridiculous it has become; it does not disappoint. It blows my mind that people think this series is good.

Blogger Desillusionerad June 30, 2016 7:02 PM  

The worst thing about the final episode?
Teleporting varys - because all the other fucking plotholes served a purpose - this one is just stupid, and makes it so we have to have a flashback of their first meeting and the scene served no purpose - Because why are they sailing away with ships and men to then turn the fuck around?
Also - anyone else think that it would be a good story if Sansa actually slept with LF ? <I dunno migth be the book person in me but i would love if sansa ever did something interesting or remotely smart.

Blogger Kona Commuter June 30, 2016 7:08 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Shnookums June 30, 2016 7:57 PM  

"The Arya plot, too, was overwrought, but at least its excessive drama was a nod to classical mythology, specifically, King Tantalus of Phrygia being served his son Pelops in a pie."

Wrong: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Frey_Pies/Theories

They do a lot of these winks to book fans. I wish they'd spend more time fixing plot holes instead.

Also: did Cersei actually fail in her goals? She's queen now. (Somehow.) She didn't actually seem bothered that her son topped himself, which was supposed to be her tragedy.

A bigger problem: the books are anti-war, anti-violence, certainly anti-revenge. It's all baked into the story, but doesn't come across in the show at all. Now, if the TV producers want to reject those ideas and put forth some different ones, that's totally fine; they're free to change the story to that end. But they haven't actually changed the story all that much. It seems more like they haven't understood the story, or perhaps that they just don't care, and view it merely as a way to present some Big Moments.

Hence, Arya's killing of Walder Frey is presented as a triumph, with no hint of the personal tragedy of this little girl becoming a murderer. Or, last week, our heroes prevailed against a sadistic villain and then fed him alive to hungry dogs - and there's no hint that our heroes are now morally compromised.

Say what you like about the books, but they aren't quite so mindless.

Blogger CashBailey June 30, 2016 10:18 PM  

I knew the writing would dip a bit once it was in the hands of TV writers.

I was amazed that they didn't make Sansa Queen in the North so it could be all women vying for the throne.

The SJW agenda has made its presence felt this season. I expect more of it next year.

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis June 30, 2016 10:50 PM  

@84

It's cannon that Targs took multiple wives and it has never been established that the predominant religion in the region is against it so it is entirely possible that Jon Snow is a legitimate Targ in so far as the rules of the society he lives in.

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis June 30, 2016 10:56 PM  

@91
Most of these individuals are only in the position they are in due to the crazy body count that has been accrued. Not to mention that Cersei has been shown as a petty, tyrannical, short sighted individual so her queen ship shall be a disaster. Daenarys, despite the puppy dog love of Ser Jorah, has only won trust legitamtely once, with the unsullied, the other time was due to magic, and it has also established that she herself is not a great ruler. The lady of thorns is the grand matriarch of a great line and I don't see how it would be hard for someone like her to be able to call on her sons bannermen to avenge his murder; honor would pretty much dictate that they respond.

The dornish girls...well yeah I'll give that one to you.

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis June 30, 2016 11:14 PM  

@93

Where does this "Tyrion is good at politics" idea come from? Was he good at it in the books?

In the show, he sucked. He was way too overt with everything he did. The people he needed to work with, primarily Tywin, Cersei, and Joffrey, were very predictable, yet he failed to work with them successfully.

Tywin is his father, and it was established that he himself was just as savvy as Tyrion and even more ruthless. Also there is the salient fact that his father despises him so there is no working with him...there is doing what he says or not. As for Cersei, he utterly schooled her and found out who on the small council he couldn't trust. Joffrey was a sociopath and no one of any real power and influence, such as Tywin, actually worked with him.

After Cersei hung Joffrey's death on him, which he had nothing to do with, he was totally unable to get anyone on his side since he had made no real allies. He killed the only person making things work in the kingdom because he insulted a woman who had already betrayed him, rather than blackmailing him or something. He only survived and escaped because someone competent at playing the game swooped in at the last moment and saved him.

I think your missing the larger point of that whole arc. No matter how good you are, and think about it for second every one hated Tyrion yet he managed to get people to do what he wanted them to do anyways, you cannot plan for every contingency. Do you honestly think Tyrion would have made his monster threat to Joffrey if he had thought that someone would try to pin Joffrey's murder on him and that his family would abandon him? Keep that in mind, his father and sister hate him and wouldn't mind seeing him dead...well his father would only care in so far as it affected the prestige of the Lannister's.

He was given a city with an psychopathic king, a stupid short sighted controlling queen regent, a corrupt court and city watch and he managed to hold the city together despite having never holding a position of any real authority before in his life. And you assume that Tyrion didn't kill his father knowing full well what would happen to the 7 kingdoms, whereas I think it was pretty clear after his trial speech that he would liked to see the kingdoms burn.

Blogger eharmonica July 01, 2016 1:58 AM  

@whomever recommended "The Last Kingdom".

I've watched 2 eps.

Without a map, it's just as incomprehensible at ASOIAF. Or a Ken Burns Civil War doc.

A map would be helpful, is all I'm saying.

Blogger eharmonica July 01, 2016 2:05 AM  

Forgot to mention that the fish-eye lens makes it unwatchable. Like "The Revenant".

Blogger CM July 01, 2016 9:00 AM  

I'm not calling Complete SJW-fest until all these women prove competent at ruling peaceful kingdoms.

So far, Cersei, our Hillary stand in, is finally where no man can hold down her genius. If she suddenly becomes competent, they have ruined their story.

An old matriarch who is the last of her family isn't entirely an odd occurrence in a world at war, is it?

And Danaerys... she was supposed to be the feminist wet dream, but even she is weak if not for Dragons. And if all the Jon myth is true, he is the rightful heir, not Dany.

And Dorne... they aren't so ridiculous in the book... meaning trumped up, powerful, and full of contrived competence. They are foolish and disobey their prince w disastrous results and Ariaane is rightfully chastened.

GRRM is great at character creation and has done an excellent job in that department. However, the story he keeps trying to tell of powerful, competent, strong women is backfiring because of his honest portrayal of women. It could be why there are so many characters and very little story.

Even his unbested girl knight is big and ugly who looks funny in a dress. The other girl knight is dead.

Blogger Tom Wanks July 01, 2016 10:39 AM  

Love the commentary here, and especially fond of some of the more satirical analyses of Martin's/HBO's narrative, especially gnossoss' (#92).

Though not a book reader, and though I'm as cognizant as anyone of the HBO series' many pitfalls since season 2, I find myself reserving faith for GRRM's capacity as a storyteller, and for HBO's competency in simplifying text enough for the screen while preserving its thematic and dramatic power.

The Ned Stark story ark remains one of my all-time favorite pieces of drama, and perhaps is why I somewhat expect Game of Thrones' ending to be unexpected (yet not contrived) and that it will deliver in emotional potency scarcely achieved since its earliest seasons. It seems to follow that GRRM would have conceived of an exceptional first act, and equally engaging conclusion, before trudging forward into the maze-like middle that he and HBO have both seemed to struggle with so much.

My assumption is that such a conclusion will not be so clichéd as "The two obvious heroes marry and rule the world justly", and yet not so obviously subversive as "The ice zombies win and humanity suffers indefinitely". Either the groundwork has been laid right in front of our noses for a very unexpected outcome— some character or set of characters we've overlooked will rule the day— or the entire narrative and all our expectations thus far will be subverted. I could imagine the feudal empires crumble under the weight of nature, ice zombies, and dynastic infighting, leaving only marginal tribes the opportunity to rebuild the world. Or perhaps Bran accesses an unheard of power, the ability to erase history and usher in a new genesis. Or perhaps Thrones' preferred heroes and most repellant villains will all be destroyed, leaving secondary characters the infrastructure to rule the iron throne. I have no idea. But as mentioned, for some reason I'm intent on restraining cynicism and reserving hope for a truly riotous final act.

Anonymous tublecane July 01, 2016 7:46 PM  

@86, @99-I didn't know that, as I don't read the books. You'd think that if they were going to have Jon win the Game of Thrones that they'd at least have laid the groundwork for his being the legitimate heir to the Mad King, instead of acting as if it were the Dragon Queen, and her creepy brother before her, all along. Or maybe they did, and I missed it.

Anonymous tublecane July 02, 2016 1:14 AM  

I have a question, who is the actual heir to the Iron Throne, assuming Robert was the legitimate king? Circe took it because she was there, and for all I know was the only person of nobility left in the city. But aren't there any other Baratheons? Or was it Robert, Stannis, Renly, and that's it? If the throne belongs to House Lannister, aren't there any males left in line? Who inherited Casterly Rock? Are Jamie, who can't inherit anything, and Tyrion, who has been sentenced to death, the last male Lannisters?

This show has a serious problem with extended families. I suppose it's hard enough keeping track of the characters we see.

Anonymous Wyrd July 02, 2016 2:19 AM  

@tublecane

The Hound obviously is the rightful heir. And he would take the throne too as long as he had his chicken and boots.

Blogger CM July 02, 2016 4:17 AM  

But aren't there any other Baratheons? Or was it Robert, Stannis, Renly, and that's it? If the throne belongs to House Lannister, aren't there any males left in line? Who inherited Casterly Rock? Are Jamie, who can't inherit anything, and Tyrion, who has been sentenced to death, the last male Lannisters?

Gendry is the last Baratheon bastard seen alive after Cersei's assassinations on Robert-look-alikes to prevent gainsaying her children's right to the throne. Stannis was too just for bastards and Renly didn't swing to reproduction (hey! Look! Two houses destroyed by homosexual men putting pleasure above responsibility! Goodbye Tyrell and Baratheon).

Tywin has a sister with a son who is still alive.

Anonymous Guzifer July 02, 2016 5:38 PM  

Lancel was the sparrow dragging himself to the candle, wasn't he?

Anonymous Guzifer July 02, 2016 6:10 PM  

Actually, the Arya drama wasn't a direct nod to mythology. It referred to the legend of the Rat Cook of the Night Watch, which is important bc the Rat Cook was punished for violating the rule of harming guests ala the Red Wedding. Karma, I guess.

Blogger flyingtiger July 04, 2016 12:58 AM  

I have seen the series the Last kingdom. It is relatively good. I read the books so i understood what was going on. I am not sure if someone who has not read the books would understand. Bernard Cornwall is very good at explaining the conflicts and problems of the time. Today, people would not understand how someone like Alfred could be a devout Christian and an effective leader. The only problem is that Ultred looks more like a samurai than a Viking or Saxon. Also, they never explain why Alfred never used dragons.

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