Monthly Archives

May 2019

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 5: The Bells

May 19, 2019

haha nah

Legit considered just leaving that as the whole review but as you all know I am never one to shy away from caps lock or emotions so I will of course review this episode.

To the directors’ and cinematographers’ and actors’ credit, this episode was stun-ning. And not in a jokey “thank God it was daytime” way but yes that too. This had to be a Bear and the Maiden Fair to shoot (ya girl got puns for DAYS okay yes I’m sorry) and you made it so good, guys. All the praise from my Long Night review and none of the criticism for the visuals on their own.

I’ll hit my couple high notes here and then I’ll be wrecking the place so don’t you worry. There were high notes, imo, and I’m doing my best here to note things that are going right. This is both for my benefit so I don’t get absolutely despondent after next week and because I don’t want to turn into a person who hates something because it is cool to hate it. However, I will hate things that are bad and there was SO MUCH BAD THINGS, GUYS

FIRSTLY, All The/Small Things

Peter Dinklage

Bro is pushing for that 20th Emmy nom here, and in his scene with Jaime, I think he snagged it. They’ve kinda torched his character over the last few seasons and he seems more like a heist movie’s wisecracking computer hacker than anything substantive, but his scene with Nikolaj was really quite beautiful. I hated 90 percent of the lines in this episode and everything they had Jaime say, but “tens of thousands of innocent lives versus one not-so-innocent dwarf” was a hell of a thing to watch, and his identifying Jaime as the only one in his childhood who didn’t look at him like he was a monster was prime weeping territory. We are incredibly lucky to have this man in this role and I’m genuinely gonna miss him.

Arya and Sandor’s scene

Not going to address the entire “what was the point of Arya coming all this way” thing (the point was to give us a man-on-the-ground that’s literally it) (also how long does it take to get from the North to King’s Landing and where did they learn to tesser) because that’s a part of the larger failure of this episode. But Maisie and Rory made this an absolutely beautiful thing, and I could feel the Hound’s need to protect her when he feels like he failed before. And Arya calling him “Sandor” and saying “thank you” no YOU’RE CRYING. He’s not nice about it, he isn’t going to tell her he loves her, he isn’t going to tell her she is important or valuable, he’s not even going to make sure she gets out safely. But he is going to encourage her to live, and to not be him.

We watched Sandor keep Arya alive so many times in this series: at the Red Wedding, when she murders Freys, when she takes Needle back, and even in a fight against Brienne, which he thought was a threat to her life. He doesn’t value himself much, but he values Arya as a less-damaged possible tiny him. To me, it’s like she found the sweet spot he wishes he could live in: he doesn’t trust people who are too noble or kind or good, but he also doesn’t just kill for felony funsies, and that’s Arya. He can’t fix the world, it’s too damaged and always was, but maybe he can fix this tiny piece of it enough to let her live. He wants Arya to be alive, and that in and of itself is remarkable, because he is not particularly dedicated to anyone being alive, and that includes himself. It’s that ray of hope, that street justice, that tiny island in a sea of apathy and pessimism, and it’s contained in her. I love Sandor, I always have, and if I don’t stop myself, I’ll end up with a dissertation on this scene alone. Sandor was never the stereotypical narrative diamond in the rough. He was fucked up, he’d been fucked up since childhood and never had a chance, and you couldn’t dig deep enough into him and find a heart of gold. But you would find a heart, and that makes the difference.

Cleganebowl

…shoot what did I say about cutting off the dissertation whoops still goin’

This was good, guys. I’ve seen some people not like even this part of the episode, and I genuinely don’t get that dislike. This is what I wanted.

I get that people thought it was a bit too stylized, and I can understand that, especially when we are holding the Mountain and the Viper battle and Sandor v. Brienne in our heads, which had no backing music or even much backing sounds, and were just gristly and disgusting and full of organic noises only, rather than all of those things plus dragon fire and a dramatic staircase.

But I, frankly, loved it. The horror reveal of Zombie Gregor (can someone remind me if he got called Ser Robert Strong in the show? I cannot remember) was a very nice level of disgusting, and thank you to the makeup and costuming department and the Icelandic brick that is Bjornsson. I recently found out he is younger than I am and I am really incredibly bothered by this and I cannot explain why.

And Rory. RORY. You goddamn perfect Sandor, I don’t know how to talk about you without getting worked up and frankly a little bit teary-eyed. In a cast full of incredible actors and perfect casting, you still stood out in every scene, even when you had no lines or movement. You embodied that strength-plus-utter-despair combination that is Sandor Clegane so well. Your lines with Tyrion and Joffrey during the Battle of the Blackwater were incredible (specifically “I lost half my men, the Blackwater is on fire” gave me chills and still does), and he has one line from Season 1, I think, with Sansa, where she calls him awful, and he says “I’m honest. It’s the world that’s awful.” He embodied this 95% hatred 3% let’s kill people 2% hope that is the Hound down to his bones, and to have his last words be “fucking DIE” to his brother were perfect. These two men have no finesse, just the sweaty, gross strength of the biggest and drunkest guy at the bar at 1:45 AM on a Friday, and they will hack at each other until the heat death of the universe. Just…goddamn, I loved this scene.

I’m so sorry, this post is gonna be mostly Sandor Clegane and rage. Anyway, those were the big things, and yeah, visually, this episode was a hellllll of a thing. Hire these people for whatever you’re making next, because even though I was bananas frustrated about the plot, I still got chillingly claustrophobic and nervous at the cinematography.

Aight let’s do this anger thing

Dragons

Okay, ARE THEY POWERFUL, OR ARE THEY NOT. I was happy to see Drogon roast the Black Pearl Jam and his Assorted Merry Boats or whatever the hell they are because yeah, if he’s swooping and flaming they have no chance to get a shot off, and definitely not if he’s at the waterline: can’t fire shooty spears horizontally. And then he goes on to wreck the rest of the shooty spears, and the armies, and everything. I’m not mad about this! This was it, this is what dragons did, this is why the Targaryens were in charge for so long, because when everyone else was messing around with Nerf guns they brought RPGs that can fly. No one had a chance.

I’m angry that we lost Viserion stupidly and Rhaegal even more stupidly and Rhaegal got airstabbed TWICE like that is a likely thing to happen instead of Lake Placid in 1980. In this world, the dragons win. They just do. Anything other than this is wrong and bad

Varys

I made this joke while watching and I’m glad others thought the same thing

I don’t even… sigh. I know he gets to call out “I told you so” from the afterlife or whatever but please, he didn’t know that she was going to go HAM on King’s Landing because there was no character development. Was he trying to poison her? Why didn’t he fight any of his previous monarchs hard at all, including Aerys? Why were we denied one last campy, shady as fuck scene between him and Littlefinger? Both of them are not characters I particularly cared about, but they are both smart, and we knocked them both off with “tried to commit treason sloppily.” I don’t even know what I wanted for Varys, but it wasn’t this.

Jaime and Cersei

Launch this shit directly into the sun, I refuse to have it. I held out hope until the very last second, and I mean the very last second: as the bricks were coming down I was hoping he’d knife her in the ribs.

I know that valonqar was books only; I know that these two genuinely loved each other. I know that the last moments they had were really, really well-acted by Lena and Nikolaj: I wasn’t happy with the scene at all and I still felt (if not actually sad) a bit choked up over people in pain.

Everything else was bad. We’ve worked for 6 or so seasons to watch Jaime slowly chip away at his absence of caring. Much of that work was with Brienne and for Brienne, but certainly not all, and despite the disaster that was Season 5 and the from concentrate disaster that was Jaime’s Season 5 Dorne plotline, he was acting in defense of his child whom he hasn’t spent much time protecting in the past. And I have to, I must, bring up the bath scene from season 3: God, it’s just so perfect, and it is important because it shows this golden shiny fucker cared from a while back: Aerys II was going to burn the city, and Jaime killed him and his pyromancers to stop it. (I had some people try to say that this was pure self-interest because Aerys told Jaime to bring him Tywin’s head, and Jaime was not going to, but then why kill the pyromancers, why slay a king when you know what it will look like to the outside world, and why never tell anyone the good you did because they’ve already chosen to hate you. Not here for this.)

And then, after we’ve watched him sacrifice his hand and fight a bear and make Brienne armor and a sword and try to save his children and try to talk reason into Cersei and abandon her to go fight in a battle against frozen death that he thinks he won’t survive only to return, get captured, and once his brother has spoken of the tens of thousands of innocent people in King’s Landing, tell him with a goddamn straight face, “I never cared about them all that much.” WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?! YES YOU DO! YOUR WHOLE KINGSLAYER IDENTITY AND POSSIBLE REDEMPTION IS BASED ON THIS! This isn’t even “hey, as a bookreader I saw this plot line/character development turn out differently.” This is “your written dialogue says the opposite of what the character canonically has done. He cared so much he killed a king and sacrificed his reputation for it. This was bad and sloppy and stupid. This isn’t me being blind to the actual faults of Jaime Lannister; this is the writers failing to understand what they wrote in their introduction while writing their conclusion. But yeah, “themes are for book reports,” B&W. They’re also sometimes needed to not trip over your own goddamn feet while staring off into the distance at a mirage of glory. Hear me fucking RAGE, goddammit.

Euron

At last, I can rest, I suppose. I enjoyed reading a brief interview with Pilou Asbaek who plays Euron, as he said you can only play a character like his once in a lifetime because he’s “such a fucking idiot,” and I like that a lot. I’ve never really had a problem with the actor, which is true of basically everyone on the show: they are doing what is written really well. And how can I possibly shame an actor for getting a part where you will never, ever, ever be told that you need to rein it in.

Pilou: is that too much, or

Director: yes, but keep it up

Director: in fact even more, do more

But what was the point, what was the goddamn POINT. This doofus collection of seaweed and AXE body spray and outstanding gambling debts and the knowledge that he’s never satisfied a woman just magically manages to not get Boston Market-ed by Drogon, swims a fuckin’ Iron Man swim portion to get to the beach, and strolls up right as Jaime is about to head it? Oh okay, sure. And Jaime is unphased by his information that he slept with Cersei? Sure. And this is a fair fight? One dude who’s walked a little vs another who has swum away from fire? Jaime should destroy him. Also broski you killed Rhaegal and like, Dorne, but go off about Jaime literally no one cares. If you want your last words to sound like you’re a salty War Boy from Fury Road, that is your choice, Mr. Whiny and Chrome. Plus you’re wrong a castle fell on him. I’m so tired, you guys, I’m SO tired.

“and playing in left field tonight, it’s every decision”

As a brief thing, Arya’s plot armor. Her scenes were great, but hearing the showrunners say that we need to be with her as she tries to escape because she’s a person we care about is wrong and says kind of messed up things about the viewers. If you put us with that mother and daughter trying to escape their own violent, horrific deaths, we wouldn’t care? That’s untrue and dudes I hope you don’t feel that way. Again, stunningly shot and acted but whattttt.

Just…just a mess, y’all. An absolute mess. Dany’s entire switch over to Big Mad was handled with all the finesse of a toddler in a bathtub and they are acting like they did something subversive and brilliant rather than just layer a lot of Targaryen madness quotes on top of each other like that makes a fucking plot line somehow. I knew from that second on we were in for some bullshit but I didn’t realize on what scale. Again, I am okay with her eventually becoming the Mad Queen that some seem to think she will be. I’m not okay with 100 minutes of weak setup including “my nephew bae won’t bone me anymore” as valid and complete reasons for her to snap and kill people. Of course she’s burned people alive before, of course she has. But they have been slavers, and the owner of the Unsullied, and traitors, and sworn enemies, and wights, and a whole host of things that are not good things and were in active rebellion against her. She’s not nice, but she’s not a horrorshow. But some bells go off and she’s full-out berserker. Credit to Emilia for acting the hell out of this one on a green screen with no other actors with her because it is her talent alone that let us buy any of this. It’s just so goshdarn bad and we watched her incinerate people for everrrrrr. Including the Golden Company and serious question did Harry Strickland have any lines or was his role to just have good bone structure like

Jon, trying to reason with a bad plot turn

And then there’s this whole thing. They see the dragon start burninating the city for no reason. So, according to the writers, the next logical step for the incredibly loyal Northmen and the iconically well-regulated and obedient unto death Unsullied just lose it and decide to go HAM on Lannister armies. The fucking fuck was this fucking mess.

Why would they do this? Why? You see your leader do a thing that is not good so you are like “yeah let’s keep fighting in the city she’s actively burning against an army that has surrendered. And Jon is telling his forces, who are just joined at the hip according to Varys and a bunch of other characters because Jon and his hemmed pants are the absolute best at everything and they would die for him, to fall back and stop fighting and oh look they don’t. Grey Worm is angry and broken, but he’s not going to kill a surrendered Lannister. But that’s exactly what he did. And the Northmen might now be Unsullied, but they are gonna listen to Jon, and they don’t, and neither do the Unsullied, so we just get a ton of war crimes that are beautifully lit and costumed and directed but holy God it was like half an hour of war crimes that shouldn’t have even been happening!!!! It’s like they’re annoying hipsters and “we thought of war crimes before our audience look at how cool we are” NO

YOU’RE NOT COOL AND I DON’T LIKE YOUR CHOICES

Some additional reactionary stuff because I am extra

Just yesterday I read my favorite thinkpiece on why the last set of seasons and especially this on have felt like such a mess. And I hate to even call it a thinkpiece, because other than its relevance to this current super popular show, it is just really good literary and media analysis. It can be found here, and after you’re done reading this blog, turn on your actual brainpower and go spend some quality time with it, because you’re worth it and so is this story.

I’d also like to address the frustrating arguments I’m seeing all over the internet that are, at heart, logic-poor “u mad bro” over and over. There’s an annoying aspect to this in that over and over people (and women especially but that’s another day) are taught that the person who cares least wins, so if you are like “it’s just a show calm down” you win because you are Jeff Bridges Chill while also being a dismissive dick. Below are the greatest hits.

“you’re mad about realism? the show has dragons lol”

Ah, yes, my apologies. Only shows that take place on Earth with no fantasy elements are subject to any sort of narrative rules. It’s ridiculous for people to expect that characters that are essentially like us just in medieval sort-of-magic land behave with any kind of continuity. Plus, I feel like a large number of people saying this have also frothed at the mouth re: Star Wars at least once. The movies have swords made out of light and you’re worried about realism? lolol yeah see I sound like an asshole too.

If people were getting mad about “no, the White Walkers shouldn’t be able to do whatever magic thing they did” then yeah, you get to use the dragons rule. Complaining about the fantasy elements being fantastic deserves this criticism. Otherwise, you’re missing the entire point deliberately and I am pretty sure you got upset at the finale of Lost. y u mad the show has like monsters and shit lol

“if you hate it so much stop watching it”

Please tell that to Pittsburgh Pirates fans, or like, Detroit. Or most sports teams in history at some point who still managed to attract fans. We watch for the hope, and the fact that good things have happened in the past. There is potential for something really great to happen, and we won’t know until it shows up on TV.

Also just to catch you up on the past like 3 years of life, it is frequently fun to hate things in a jolly way. We are all going to drown in a sea of nonbiodegradeable plastic and tears in like 20 years and I’ll be damned if I don’t make some jokes before that happens.

“it’s Game of Thrones, did you think it would end all happy?”

*gif of Ramsay saying if you think this has a happy ending…*

Oh, my paws and whiskers, shut the fuck up. Yeah, this show is violent and cruel and the good guys don’t win all the time; they frequently don’t. But to act like this is an excuse to let bad storytelling happen means you missed the entire goddamn point.

The main characters, the “good guys,” if there is such a thing, the “heroes,” are at risk. They are not guaranteed to die. You’re afraid for them because they might die, but you don’t know, and anything could happen. It might be something kind of okay, like a character living to see another day. Otherwise we might as well just make The Human Centipede: Medieval Times and call it a day because if you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention fart noise fart noise airhorn blehblehbleh. We aren’t looking for happiness or even satisfaction, we just want a character-driven show to be driven by character. We were sad about the Red Wedding but we weren’t complaining because it worked.

Plus if the happy has violence in it the people saying the above shit are super fine with it

Brienne getting knighted is sentimental un-Thrones-y trash

Arya managing to kill every Frey, somehow, by herself, was super great and fine

“seriously? I totally knew Dany was going Mad Queen, you’re just upset that you missed the signs”

*enormous sigh*

I didn’t miss shit, bruh. I have not spent, at this point, collective weeks of my life analyzing the books and this show to have you step to me like “maybe you missed something” because you can’t get aroused without the presence of an unearned feeling of pride. That’s your issue.

Of course, of COURSE she could go Mad Queen. Targs aren’t born mad, they usually take a bunch of years to get there while hinting at it along the way. And in the books, where she is a POV character, we hear her narration, in which she has both moments of calm and peace where she doesn’t want to be like her mad ancestors and worries that her behavior may be that way, and we have moments of her violence, in which she thinks “just torch the place.” Right now, she’s on the sane side in ADWD, but yeah, I can see the story arc-ing towards her ultimately being mad.

But thus far, there’s been so fucking little to indicate her heelturn that to hear someone smugly type that they’re right, they know they’re right, they guess they knew it all along is NOPE-ITY NOPE NOPE.

Almost done

One more of these, y’all. I’ve still had a blast watching a majority of the show, and I’ve loved interacting with people about it, and I’ve (mostly lol) enjoyed writing these posts. Help me figure out what to watch next, and don’t let me catch you on one of those petitions to redo the last season: there’s frustration, and then there’s “DANCE TO MY WILL, SERVANTS” and that is gross. You are allowed to not like things, but if you’re gonna petition for something make it like, single-payer health care or affordable housing. This is not a real problem. Here’s to tonight; it’s been a hell of a ride.

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 4: The Last of the Starks

May 9, 2019
A Mood

*enormous sigh*

Guys, we started off so well. And then it turned terrible. I am not to the point of “this was the worst episode of the series” because season 5 and season 7 exist and there were genuinely good things here, but it was an overall mess and an abundantly clear declaration of “we don’t talk to women when we write for this show.” I’m obviously in this doofus show till the end, because I would like to see what happens with their last hundred fifty minutes or whatever, but I am tired, y’all. Just real tired.

GRRM is clearly laughing all the way to the bank, and no shade on him selling his story to TV (I’d absolutely do the same), but there’s just no solid skeleton here anymore. It is Harry Potter’s arm after Gilderoy Lockhart tries to treat it. It’s a jellyfish. It’s Hexxus in his original form in Fern Gully. I need a nap.

I did like some stuff so let’s get to that first because there were some genuinely lovely things here.

The opening scene

Yes, good job, yes. I want more shows and movies that show wars to also show the cleanup from wars. It’s horrific, it’s weeping, it’s blood and gore and mud and saying goodbye and trying to keep it together and wanting to keep living in honor of those who didn’t. It’s losing in order to win. Victory itself just means you’re the one who gets to bury the dead. And this clearly took at least an entire day, maybe more than that, since the battle ended before dawn.

The shot of the pyres and the characters we lost was heartbreaking in its symmetry: these are people, with friends and families, and we have to set them on piles of wood in an orderly way so that they can be disposed of properly. And watching the characters who were left light the pyres was hard in and of itself: Grey Worm having to burn the bodies of so many of the men he lead into battle to die. Dany saying goodbye to Jorah even got me a little (although apparently what she whispered is a secret, forever, or something idk idk idc) and Sansa saying goodbye to Theon got me real good.

And Kit was great here. When he’s given non-garbage, he can act, and this was it. His speech was super Ned, super great, and the way he pitched his voice, in the combination of leadership and voice-cracking, was really, really good. And part of me felt like he was remembering Ygritte: he had to burn her, too. I may be giving the show too much credit, but I really liked this scene.

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed”: Gendrya

If you recall in Episode 2, I mentioned one of my favorite character things is “we are all probs gonna die let’s chat” and another one of my favorite character things is “holy shit we lived let’s party.” This scene was not quite spot-on perfect but it was significantly above average and I just wanna give it some praise.

Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Yanker of Chains trolling Gendry by making him think she was gonna maybe execute him but then surprise makes him a lord was Peak Dany and it was stupid and I loved it in its own way. Gendry proposing to Arya immediately after? His dialogue was sloppy, and I don’t think he’d blurt out “I LOVE YOU” like a One Directioner, but I still kind of approve of this scene. If it had happened a day or so later, I’d have liked it more, but this also goes into “holy shit we lived” territory and Gendry might be high off of those feelings and just proposing without tact, just adrenaline. But they absolutely nailed a facet of his character that I believe to be true: his non-noble birth was the big hurdle for him and a relationship with Arya. This could have been done better, but it wasn’t bad?

Oh and Sandor being like “you’re gonna go smash” wasn’t criticism, it was support

The Hound can appreciate a hounddog

Shut up and enjoy my joke

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed”: Davos, Tyrion, Bran

I don’t know when Davos turned into Previously on Game of Thrones Man but I’m here for it. Trying to process the Lord of Light stuff, bless his heart, like it wasn’t just like weirdly dragged around by the scriptwriters to help with some plots when they felt like it. I love him, I love that he thinks about stuff all the time, and I want him to get a cabin in the mountains somewhere where he can fish and smoke cigars and that’s it for like 2 months. Davos needs a vacation.

Tyrion (at this point in the episode, guys, I’m not addressing the later garbage) also needs a vacation just because he talked to Bran for more than a second which is goddamn exhausting. “I don’t really want much, anymore” shut UP you malfunctioning microfiche reader you’re so odd and for what reason? And Tyrion is super correct about Bran being, technically, if we are doing the dudes-inherit thing, the Lord of Winterfell. He has been since Season 3. I don’t know why I liked this scene, since we still don’t know where Wargy McWargface went during the battle (Burning Man?), but I think I liked it because Tyrion is your most gregarious friend at the party trying to talk to the weird dude at the party and not really making headway.

I do also appreciate Tyrion being the only person who seems to care about after the war. It was one of the few high points of season 7 to me (in particular the scene where he asks Dany about her legacy) and here, again, the Imp is noticing that all the big spots on this map have no one in charge and at best a contested lordship. The Iron Islands, the North, the Riverlands, the Reach, the Stormlands no but only as of three days ago thanks Gendry, the Westerlands??? is that Cersei, technically? Dorne has a new Prince???? Who the fuck is Dorne’s new Prince???? Is it a baby Sand Snake oh no wait they aren’t in the show and we killed everyone else WHO THE HELL IS RUNNING DORNE. WHERE IS EDMURE TULLY. DON’T *TOUCH* ME I’M FINE DON’T TOUCH ME okay okay okay I’m alright.

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed”: almost everyone else

Tormund turning the party into rushing Alpha Delta We Didn’t Die is extremely on-brand for him, and I will never, ever be tired of people giving Jon shit for being short, because I am not a nice person. His stupid phallic horn and need to bang at least one person also makes sense, and I am pretty sure he was attempting to pull Podrick which, yeah, you go, guys. I can sail on this ship. You boys go have fun.

Dany being annoyed that everyone is giving Jon props for shit she’s been doing for years is a goddamn MOOD, tho. I don’t really like how it was filmed as “oh no it’s Aerys II Redux” when it’s just every woman in a meeting when her idea gets rephrased by a colleague and suddenly everyone thinks its brilliant. Be annoyed, ma’am. Jon doesn’t ride the dragon so much as he lucks out at not falling off. I’m gonna address this assorted Dany garbage later as well, don’t you worry.

SAN-SAN REUNION. I didn’t know how much I wanted to hear Rory say “little bird” again but apparently I did. I also really, really liked him saying “if you had come with me you would have been safe” since I read it as “I, Sandor, did not do enough to protect you and force you to come with me and I hate myself” because, again, Sandor hates everyone just a little more than he hates himself. Those men did terrible things to Sansa, and he’d gladly kill them, but he also screwed up because he didn’t protect her.

I was… not a fan of the way they decided to write Sansa’s lines. I am not here to police anyone on how they choose to address their recovery from an assault, but at a personal level, I really don’t like the idea that a sexual assault made the person who they are today. I would never, ever tell someone how to heal, or how to survive, but I hella have some stuff I wish hadn’t happened to me and I feel like I’d be just as weird and great if it hadn’t. And I resent the idea that Sansa wasn’t strong before: she was a child with normal child dreams for 8 episodes in Season 1, she grew up super fast and tried to save her father, she then watched her fiance cut his head off in episode 9, and she immediately turned into at least 85% of the smart icequeen she currently is. Sansa told Joffrey in the last episode OF SEASON 1 that maybe her brother Robb would bring her Joffrey’s head. Sansa is strong, Sansa’s *been* strong, and I am really bothered hearing over and over again how annoying she was but nowwwwww she’s great. She was a kid! She was doing just fine as a kid! And everyone stanned for Arya who full-on attacked the prince of the realm like that wasn’t a dumbass move. And I love Arya, I do. But Sansa never had anything wrong with her, unless you consider being 13 and a girl a problem. And a lot of the fandom does, let’s be honest.

This girl gave us the “of course you’ll be in the vanguard; they say my brother always goes where the fighting’s thickest, and he’s only a pretender” speech IN. SEASON. 2. Show some damn respect.

…. dammit every week I’m like “this post can’t possibly be as long” and then I get super in the weeds and the weeds are my feelings and I do a word count check and I’m a thousand higher than I thought I’d be WHOOPS

Anyway, on to a part of this episode that I genuinely liked

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed/let’s smash”: Braime

#QuitPlayingJamesWithMyTarth

FINALLY

bless Chrys Reviews (who hated this ep btw) to the STARS

I’ll get to how the showrunners ruined Christmas later but first let’s open what we got from Santa, shall we? I adored this whole set of interactions. Playing a drinking game might be one of the few ways to get Brienne out of her shell, and she feels somewhat safe with Tyrion and pretty safe with Jaime and Pod, so this is a conceivable way she joins in. Tormund is of course weird, and Brienne of course unknowingly stumbles onto one of Tyrion’s not-great bits of his past. I read this scene as Tyrion wanting to dodge any questions or followup into his first marriage and therefore calls out Brienne for being a virgin. It’s otherwise a prrrrretty dick move for a dude who isn’t a dick for no reason, and girl, I’d get up too. Also 20 points to Jiffindor for looking at his brother like “one, fuck you, two, I thought you were my wingman and that is NOT HELPING”

Then, we got what is my favorite scene from this episode. (And to be clear, as much as I want these two to get married, her knighting was still a better scene, it just was.)

I saw people complaining about Jaime having poorly written dialogue, and how he would not have just continued to tell Brienne that he got the right temperature for shelter you from the storm: he would have been more suave. Ignoring the fact that he’s somewhat drunk completely, I think this scene would have been the same had he been sober. Jaime Lannister has no fucking game. Yeah, he’s handsome and looks like the lobby of a premier hedge fund management company, but he’s only ever been with one more person, total, than Brienne. He has no idea what he’s doing, and he extra has no idea what he’s doing with a person who is both not his sister, and who is fundamentally good. Our guy is in his forties, and is trying to get some on prom night, and it was never not going to be a disaster.

The two things I found most endearing were the entire shirt fiasco, which called to mind Brienne’s frustration in season 3 when Jaime is trying to cut his food with one hand and can’t and she reaches over and stabs it so he can slice. She loves him, she wants to help, but their relationship is always going to be based a little bit on one-upmanship and irritation. I really liked this moment because of it. And Jaime, my guy, I know I said you have no game and you don’t, but you did manage to stumble on the best possible thing you could have said to Brienne and I’m giving you credit even though I think it was 5% strategy 95% panic. “I’ve never slept with a knight before” is just the most awkward and precious thing in the entire world, reminds Brienne that she’s A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, and puts him on a somewhat level playing field with her; this part is new to him, too. I would have preferred a longer scene both because I wanna perv on these two being happy, but also because I would like to let the show demonstrate what was different with Brienne over Cersei, and how Jaime deals with the loss of his hand in intimacy. But it’s okay: this scene was still like 98% perfect and for a moment I swear we were infinite, B&W, and then you fucked it.

I’ll come back to this

One more thing I kinda liked

Bronn’s weird scene

This is probably the first scene of his that I have liked: I generally don’t like his “jokes,” they just seem like misogynistic filler, and he’s got the vocabulary of Sandor with none of the depth, and I don’t like being told to care about him because I bigly don’t. He’s older, unwashed Daario. And then this scene happened.

I….liked it? At first I was like “uh wow okay security team is garbage” but someone pointed out to me that they were in town, not in the castle, so Bronn wandering around would actually have probably been fine. The callback to “I’ll pay you double” is pretty great, especially since he gets to barter with Riverrun, and Tyrion definitely expected like, at most, a small pile of gold.

As much as I don’t really care about him or find him that funny, he is one of the most consistent characters on the show, in that he is literally always out for himself, and that has never changed, and he’s like, quadrupled-down on being the selliest of sellswords. And, because I definitely watch this show with a bit of “inherited rank is idiotic let’s bring out the slicey bois” in my back pocket at all times, I loved watching him school Jaime “Brett Hayworth Kyle Cade Cameron the 5th” Lannister about how people got to be in charge and the nobility isn’t anything but the descendants of monsters. Comrade Bronn, viva la revolucion. Who knows where this is going, but this was spot on for characters, all three of them (Bronn’s amoral Jaime’s a bit of a snob Tyrion negotiates), and while I have no hope for it to matter in a significant way because this season’s been a mess, I will recall it fondly.

Last thing I liked

Cleganebowl put up the event posters

Yessssss Sandor. I don’t know why I’m so desperate to watch a supremely damaged disaster of a person kill his undead brother but it could be really, really impactful and if they let Rory work with it I think it has the potential to be actually great. His little scene with Arya was pretty great as an isolated incident (she shouldn’t be there but I’ll address that in a moment) and they’ve always been a delight to watch. Little Murderpuppy and Murdermastiff roadtrippin’ down to Cleganebowl yesssss

That’s about it. Everything beneath AngryJonFace is my unhappiness.

And since I’m pretty sure most of you show up here to watch me rage, don’t you worry, I was saving it. I hated so many of the choices in the last portion of this episode, and the dumdums who made them are out here like “no let us explain” and I kinda want to be like “just say you’re tired of this show and wanna do your Starry War and your racist weird Civil War show because we know, y’all, we can tell.” So many things, wrong, just, SO many, let me gather my thoughts

Okay let’s start WAIT NO I LIED LEMME ADDRESS THE COFFEE CUP THING

I full-on do not care if there are flaws in a final product: catching a cast member laughing or seeing a random cell phone in a period piece is always good for laughs. However, I really appreciate watching this chuckleheads eat some crow about this since last week they were all “we didn’t make a mistake, it wasn’t too dark, our cinematic masterpiece of a show cannot be contained on your puny tablets, we have never done anything wrong ever” and then next week the Pumpkin Spice Latte Who Was Promised is just chillin’ on the table.

I’m so tired, y’all, I’m so tired. The end of this show is gonna come and it’s just gonna be like “meh.” Good Omens gets released pretty soon after, though.

Okay, for real this time, The Bad Stuff

Sekritssss

Ae-jon is the worst at keeping secrets and the conversation with Dany about “can I just tell my family plz bae” was a disaster. Dany is 6000% correct that the North will try to put him in charge; he’s legitimate, and he’s Lyanna Stark’s son, and he’s a Targ. He’s got it all. If she wants to maintain hold, this has to stay under wraps. And if Jon were smart, he’d also not tell anyone because Jonboy, if you tell people you’re the heir to the throne, they will do the thing where they make you king, and you super just wanna ride off into the distance and chop down firewood for the next 40 years until you blissfully drop dead of exhaustion. You don’t want the responsibility, why would you tell people??? It’s super Ned of him to be like I WILL REVEAL SECRETS WHEN I FEEL IT IS GOOD TO DO SO AND NOT BEFORE and have it fuck up everyone’s lives, but that’s the only joy here.

They cheated us out of seeing the Starks react to his secret, which Bran already knew but he was too busy making a bong out of a weirwood tree or whatever he does with his time, and then Sansa goes and tells Tyrion like immediately, and Varys knows, and this is just so, so dumb. The only way it works is if Jon is hoping the secret gets to Cersei and she has him assassinated so he can finally get some rest.

I just… what is the *goal,* here? And this leads into the weird family reunion (HBO, we get it, the trees are the Starkiest thing to ever Stark, let them have meetings in a place that doesn’t require Bran to power his wooden chair over like a thousand tree roots in the snow) where Sansa and Arya are like *Tevye voice* FAMILY, TRADITION, WE ARE THE LAST OF THE STARKS and Arya proceeds to fuck off and ride south in her next scene. I personally cannot stand the trope of “I can’t tell my loved ones about this thing because they WON’T UNDERSTAND” and that’s what this is and as psyched as I am for Sandrya road trips I just…. what is the *goal,* here, guys? I don’t think they know and we won’t know, and that’s remarkable for this adaptation where GRRM asked B&W at their first meeting “who is Jon Snow’s mother?” as a test question. “Lyanna Stark but who gives a fuck” was not the correct answer.

Everybody Hates Daenerys

Show, wyd. Just an absolute disaster. And this is a thing that COULD HAVE BEEN GREAT. This series is about the grey areas: so, so few people on this show are all good or all bad, and Dany is one who (when she’s written well) can be the perfect example of this. Investigating her possible Targ madness is a really cool plot thing… when it is done *well*. It helps in the books when we get to hear her thoughts in her POV chapters, and we don’t get that here, but even in the most charitable state, I am still Not Fucking Here For this sudden twistyness of “O NO SHE’S GOING MAD” when she’s just being exactly the fucking same as before.

Varys, especially, was driving me up a goddamn wall this episode. You’re doubting her, bro? You’ve served so many monarchs we’ve lost count, and those include Robert the Usurper, and JOFFREY, and Tommen, who was controlled by Cersei. Baby’s First Despot was, in fact, Aerys II, and Varys took advantage of this to the max. But Dany being a little anxious is what makes you worry, homie? And why are you suddenly all over Jon’s dick all of a sudden??? He doesn’t want the job, he doesn’t have control over the dragons, he can’t marry Dany, and to be fair HE IS DEAD. Like, that can’t be good for continuity on the throne; Polly Pocket SadBoi is gonna get the flu and keel over in 12 hours. And when Tyrion suggests marrying them? Varys says no because Dany would control Jon. Super encouraging to hear that the king you want would get bulldozed because the queen is hot and loud. You’re a dumbass and this dialogue is a dumbass.

It seems to all be based around Dany wanting to burn down some or all of King’s Landing to win the war. Which, if we recall, was a thing Aerys II was hella gonna do, just for fun. And I don’t know what Varys’ other options are if Jon doesn’t want the job, because he’s certainly not going to work for Cersei, the posterchild for instability. And I don’t need to have two dudes sitting around a conference table talking about how a woman is going to be less liked in a position she’s more qualified for because she’s a woman: that’s what real life is for! HahahahaSOB

I’m struggling to articulate all of my frustration without doing a PhD dissertation in You’ve Fucked It Up, and this blog entry is already too long, so I’m gonna try to summarize. This could have been done well. The possibility of Dany being a despot could have been done well. The possibility of Dany being mad could have been done well. You had the time. You had 7 other seasons. But you can’t do it now and make it look like anything but lazily-written misogyny. Dany is still solidly in the top 30% of people who have held or could have possibly held the Iron Throne, and to have people acting like she’s going to be a disaster if the brave men don’t stop her or some shit is just bad, bad, bad bad bad.

Defending Dany, that is what this blog has come to, dear God

Euron

I can’t

I don’t

I’m titling this section after this Brillo-pad-faced clamdick because it was all the level of bad that he is and I hated it the most ever.

Michael Livingston over at Tor wrote a wonderful article about how the spearing of Rhaegal was garbage and he’s a full on professor of Medieval Culture so he knows some stuff. (Also this is my unrelated push to get on Tor’s email list: they send you entire free books sometimes, and they cover basically everything you could hope to cover, and just do it, it’s great.) I’m decidedly not a professor of anything except Being Mad Online but it is always reassuring to learn that the thing that seemed super unrealistic is in fact unrealistic.

Euron Everdeen, our saline solution second-shift Spencer’s manager, apparently got super fucking good at skeet shooting in four days and can hit a flying target with a heavy weapon from the deck of a ship but no one is gonna call him a Mary Sue, obvs. Pumice-face McBarnacleBalls with his vape-pen and who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever unless you’re short on costumes for your community production of Rock of Ages was able to knock Rhaegal out of the sky from a quarter of a mile away like he’s a neighbor’s kid’s drone hovering too close to the property line again. This was a plot choice you made and signed off on and shot and stood by. Dragons are incredibly powerful in this world, they are what let the Targaryens conquer the place to begin with, and I appreciate that you’ve written yourself into a corner, but coming up with Ice Truckers: the Camping Trip last season and this golem of plot holes and indifference this season is not a solution. You had two years. This show has magic and wildfire and a maseter who is apparently super chill with making zombies – use something that makes sense to even the playing field. You don’t get to opt out when it’s tough.

Also once again where did you get the spears it’s been like a week and those ships shouldn’t exist yes I’m still on this from three years ago. And why didn’t they have scouts. And why isn’t air superiority, a thing that is a thing militaristically, suddenly not a thing. And why did B&W say that Dany forgot about the Greyjoy fleet in the clip after the episode because what. How did she not see them. Fucking *fuck,* I hate this.

Since you have made it this far I am going to reward you with a few Euron memes I made, enjoy

Missandei

Everything leading up to her execution and the execution itself was horrific. And not in the Red Wedding kind of horrific, but in the “we are way too comfortable decapitating the only woman of color on this show in order to demonstrate that a character we know is Satan is even more Satan-y and let’s just put that same woman of color whose character is a former slave in shackles while we do it.”

This was appalling. This show has a race problem, it’s had a race problem, and it just fridged a woman in the third-to-last episode of a show in order to show a woman who poisoned her husband in the first season is maybe not a good lady. And to have Tyrion walk up and try to reason with Cersei, “for the sake of her unborn child,” was just straight garbage. There’s been no confirmation that she’s even pregnant, and she doesn’t care about ANYONE. No, but please, Tyrion, talk at your sister (from like 100 feet away in a normal tone so she def can’t hear you but that’s yet another flaw in this episode, The Last of My Patience) about how she should embrace her motherly emotions or something SHE BLEW UP THE SEPT OF BAELOR AND KILLED SEVERAL HUNDRED PEOPLE. SHE GIVES ZERO FUCKS.

This ended up making me feel the same kind of uncomfortable that Sansa’s rape scene made me feel. A bad thing, done to a woman, to show that a really bad person is a really bad person. How dumb do you think your audience is, guys? And how willing do you think we are to overlook your willful blindness around race and gender? The collective reaction to your Confederate show should make this clear.

#QuitPlayingJamesWithMyTarth: Christmas is Cancelled

This scene was bad, every part of it. I don’t buy Jaime thinking he’s a bad dude all of a sudden, I don’t buy Brienne storming out into the snow in anything but like full armor, I don’t buy Jaime’s doofus speech, I especially don’t buy Brienne crying. Brienne is tough as fucking nails. Is she a gooey cinnamon roll at heart? Of course she is, but she’s only allowed Jaime to see a tiny portion of that. He hasn’t said he loves her; at this point he is a friend with at least one benefit and an unclear future.

Maybe this is another instance of “I have to go kill a person and I can’t tell my loved ones because they will try to help me or stop me” and I’m hoping it is because that is our best-case scenario here. Otherwise they Nicholas Sparks’ed us for literally no reason and one of the best redemption arcs ever is wrecked. Plus my valonqar bet is tanked and I am not gonna be happy if that happens.

And Brienne? My girl would have gotten dressed, not cried, and hit him. I’m not kidding. All her life she’s been knocking men like this into the dirt. And if she doesn’t hit him, she says “you’re wrong” super calmly and waits to be alone before she cries. This scene was very good acting on the parts of both Nikolaj and Gwendoline, and I don’t have any criticism for them; they’ve been essentially perfect since day 1. But anything good from this scene came from them, not the plot, and I hated this, I hate it, it’s bad, and may I just add if anyone recalls IT WILL TAKE SER DOOFUSHEAD LIKE A MONTH TO GET THERE. I stg this show just A Wrinkle In Time’s the Riverlands more and more each season. This fucking show.

And finally

Ghost

The showrunners gave some garbage explanation about how it was more impactful for Jon to just walk away or something and it just sounded like “Our Show Is Not Lit Poorly You Just Don’t Understand Art: Part 2.” I don’t want to hear about it being difficult or costly: you shot a battle over a month and a half with a giant and three dragons and wights and magic. CGI the goddamn wolf for a goddamn second so Jon can say goodbye correctly.

I want John Wick 4 to just be Keanu and Ghost running around the world tracking down Jon Snow to make him apologize. It was never just a puppy. PET THE GODDAMN DOG, JON.

Kinda getting happy there are only two episodes left. I don’t know how you recover from this epic phoning it in, plus B&W just said they plan to be very drunk and far from the internet when the finale airs, which is some smug-ass horseshit and also everything is gonna be bad. Watch Euron take the Iron Throne and appoint Daario as Hand and change the Greyjoy house words to “Bitches Be Trippin’.”

I’m so sorry I wrote five thousand words about this, I’m so sorry. If you made it I love you.

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 3: “The Long Night”

May 1, 2019

Oh yo since I did a little redesign here, if you want to donate there is a tab up above this; no pressure ever but if you are enjoying this I’m always thankful for dollars

Y’all I got a set of complicated emotions here so strap in for my garbage

This episode was… a lot of things, okay? While watching it, I was absolutely blown away by nearly every aspect of it, and while I’ve since dialed down my uninhibited praise, there was a lot of good stuff that took place. Above all of it is the fact that the writers and directors and actors and stuntcrew and assistants and costumers and makeup artists and everyone clearly put in the hardest and most grueling work possible without actually fighting a battle and I really do want to give them all of the praise in advance of whatever awards they will inevitably win at this year’s Emmys. This was a dissertation on pain, and I almost feel bad criticizing parts of it because if you were on that set, you have done more difficult things than I have. It literally looked like hell, and a thank you to everyone for that.

I’m…. still not sure about how to break down my thoughts, but I landed on hitting the high notes, hitting the lows, and then the stuff I’ve got mixed feelings about. I contain multitudes.

THE GOODEST

Everything Sansa and Tyrion

These scenes were a gift bought from the wedding registry of my heart and I adored them. The first scene, with Tyrion arguing that he should help and Sansa calling him “the best of them” re: her husbands was an absolutely necessary break from the horror movie that was this battle, and the dialogue was flawless. Sansa’s line about being honest and how it is the bravest thing they can do gave me good chills, and I loved that Tyrion got jokingly offended at being called her best husband; it allowed a bit of the sassy jerk Tyrion back in.

where is the lie tho

And the second scene, with them hiding behind the one grave, and Tyrion kissing her hand in a move that clearly says “we are both about to die and you are a good woman” was perfection, especially with Ramin Djawadi’s forever-creepy piano score (I’m still scared of pianos in this show because of the sept explosion, pianos are the JAWS theme of Westeros) and I am glad we have gotten to see the interactions between the two of them. Show Tyrion is not the same to Sansa as Book Tyrion, but these scenes were really good character notes, and they even managed to throw in a little potential plot movement about Tyrion’s dedication to Daenerys being a potential problem in the future. Just… yes, good, more please

The creepiness factor

Episode: thanks, I hate it

I don’t watch horror movies, I don’t watch horror movie trailers, I regularly search for both the plot and the parental guide on imdb if I think there’s anything even slightly scary about to happen so I won’t scream or have nightmares or whatever. This episode was the worstbest for that. The choreography of the wights was horrific and amazing at every single beat, and I don’t know what job title the person who came up with it has (Absolute Super Not Okay Dude) but you are really good at your job and I hope I never meet you because I’ll burst into tears.

There were so many parts that were full-on terrifying (the Night King raising the dead, their pile formation onto the fires to climb over, literally everything about the noises they make no THANK YOU), but for me, the creep factor was maxed out at the wights walking off of the roofs of Winterfell like there was no edge, then landing, and then immediately going into attacks. It just had such a fatalistic tone to it, and I don’t know how to explain that better despite the fact that yes these are already dead people doing a dead thing. I just…. shivers, forever, forever and ever.

That one shot of Brienne and Jaime in silhouette

They are on the ramparts and they are each fighting like 20 wights at once and I don’t know who put that shot together but bless you to the heavens

Also my official name for my dedication to this ship is #QuitPlayinJamesWithMyTarth

You had better be laughing I am goddamn hilarious

If they both lived through this battle and still don’t kiss in the last three episodes I want to speak to the manager

Arya’s library scene

Yessssss good my tiny murderpuppy runnin’ around with the books and being annoyed at her own bleeding because it is making a sound. This was (see above) the worst and the best, I was legitimately creeped out the whole time, and that last little Surprise It’s Death wight at the end that she stabs all gross is my true jump scare of the episode. I like it when Arya is Peak Cat of the Canals, I really do. She’s talented, and she’s fearless, but she’s not stupid: she’s got her dad’s bravery and her mom’s survival instincts and if she can sneak around to make a kill she gon’ do it. Props to Maisie, props to the choreographers, props to the props, just good job all around.

The deaths

My deadpool was actually mostly right, minus Brienne and Grey Worm. I missed Edd, both in that he’d die, and that I miss him and I am genuinely sad that he is gone. He was the voice of my depression and the last of Sam and Jon’s Watch bros (since we decided to kill off Grenn and Pyp for no reason no I’m not still bitter about that why would you say so). And I was only half sure about Lyanna – I thought her being a kid would maybe get her a bit farther, but this is this show, kids are dead. Kids are probably more dead. And her death was perfection: she took out the greatest individual threat in the battle other than the Night King because she is the baddest bitch out here and I love her. Mormont as hell. Here We Stand, Motherfuckers. (also is this house officially dead now or???)

I called Beric, who’s death was a bit heavy-handed with the Christ-imagery, but it was still a bit of a gutpunch, and I’m glad he protected Arya and Sandor while dying. Jorah the Fedora, my guy, I am sorry, but I just don’t care. In practical terms you should be dead of greyscale and you’re still a weird old creep who was inexplicably forgiven by the woman he betrayed. His entire life was the hero of a teen rom-com yelling “BUT THAT WAS BEFORE I KNEW YOU AND KNEW HOW COOL YOU WERE” to defend the backstabbing he does over the first hour of the movie plus the hero is a slave trader and a sad sack who has been learning guitar for 8 years but still only knows one-and-a-half Ed Sheeran songs. Why is Jorah in the good section of this blog post? Because I called his death correctly, and I don’t have to waste eyeball time on him any more.

Watch Daario show up in an ep or two just to piss me off

And Theon. Oof. My guy. Of course you were sent to the godswood to die like a Stark, and Bran telling you that you are a good man was unsubtle, but oooooooof do I have feelings about your character. Thank you a million times to Alfie Allen, who produced some of the most heartbreaking work in this show, and I’m not referring to his storyline with Ramsay. His interactions with other Greyjoys and his execution of Rodrik Cassel back in season 2 are some of the most complicated emotions I’ve had in this series. A boy torn from his family and given to another family and feeling as if he belonged nowhere and then he messes up enormously and then he is punished way, way beyond what is okay and he died for Bran, but he also died for Ned and Robb and Catelyn and Rickon and the North. His story got backburner-ed in the last two or so seasons and was never perfect, but if you wanna do a deepdive into “is this character good” and you have a few weeks, pick Theon Greyjoy. Also if you want to hurt for the rest of your conscious life, pick Theon Greyjoy. Ugh I need to go lie down for a month and think about him I did this to myself WHAT IS DEAD MAY NEVER DIE

THE BAD

Cutting the lighting budget again

rise and shine, creepers

Like, that image above is with some fire to light the set, and it’s still fuzzy at the edges. I spent way too much time (in that I spent any time) trying to figure out if characters were dead or if it was just chaotic darkness. Grey Worm especially, because of his helmet, I absolutely thought was dead like 3 separate times. We had curtains drawn, lights off, the whole deal, and it was still hard to see a lot of this episode. Even well-lit battles can get confusing, and this one was lit with a single four-year-old electric tea candle left over from a Christmas decoration.

The cinematographer for the episode, Damien Wagner, has come out saying that the episode was not too dark and he knows because he shot it. Which, I mean, okay? But like literally any person at any concert with a phone with a camera in it knows, what you see might not be exactly like the finished product. And in that article, he goes and says that this is a TV tuning issue, or (even better) because people are watching the show on their iPads, which is not how it is meant to be enjoyed. “Upgrade your lifestyle for my art” is not a valid argument for an HBO show that is also available on a streaming platform; it’s just not. I shouldn’t have to hope Melisandre shows up so that I can see the fucking battle. The reply also seems kind of ableist, but I’m not getting anywhere with trying to articulate it: if anyone sees where I’m coming from and can help, I’d appreciate it a lot.

Just

I’m a person who will throw subtitles on to every movie I watch alone (and if I can get people to do it in a group, then too). I don’t know if I’m not great at auditory processing, or if it’s basically just a preference, but I know that some moviemakers get super mad about sullying their art with subtitles. And “people want to be able to enjoy your stuff through reasonable accommodations” seems like a thing that is okay. “Your peasant, flawed senses cannot possibly appreciate my genius” seems like a thing that isn’t.

This reminded me of when people were like “we couldn’t understand Bane” in The Dark Knight Rises and people were like “well duh he wears a mask so he’s going to be hard to understand and he’s got an odd accent” and it’s like THAT’S NOT THE POINT, THE POINT IS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONSUME ART THAT IS MADE FOR CONSUMPTION

If you showed up at the orchestra and the soloist decided to play their pianissimo parts so that the room couldn’t hear them, that’s no longer an artistic choice, and if you act like it is, that’s a shitty argument.

Melisandre, most of the time

I’m glad she showed up so I could see, and her lighting of the trenches was pretty freaking cool, I’ll give her that, and if I were that old I’d also just walk into the forest and die. But this is a lady who will literally die for aesthetics, and it just ends up looking like bad fantasy writing on a screen. She saunters in and asks Jorah to translate for her so she can do…something. She walks up to light those trenches up like it’s her goddamn wedding day and she’s Maria von Trapp instead of gettin’ to steppin’ like there’s an army of dead about to eat her face off.

I get that her whole thing is to be dramatic as hell about literally every component of her existence, but this episode was just my yelling “NO ONE TALKS/MOVES/ACTS LIKE THAT” at the TV while she was on-screen. And y’all, I hated her stupid eyes speech. I was making “blue eyes, no hearts, can’t die” jokes because that was some Friday Night Lights shit (hey could we have possibly gotten some Sunday Night Lights so I could SEE THE EPISODE). If she was just hovering in that room by chance so she could give Arya a pep talk I’m not really about that. And the speech seemed like, to me, to at least be an attempt of the show to conceal that Arya was going to do the killing. Idk, guys. Idk. Me n Melly have never been besties and the entire Shireen thing was a mess for everyone and then she comes in for this battle at the last second and essentially vogues and gives a March Madness pep talk and then dies. *shrug*

Also, yes, I know, the green eyes thing, Cersei has green eyes, or whatever, I’m still Team Jaime is the Valonqar and it will take the show actually reaching her death to knock me off this hill and not necessarily even then

*whispers* lemme be right about this plz

Dragons

What an absolute flappy-murder-lizard mess.

As you probably know if you’ve spent any time on this blog or with me in person or in a radius around me where you could hear me yell, I hated the stupid episode from stupid season 7 where they stupidly take a stupid camping trip for the stupid reason of grabbing a wight to then stupidly trek down to King’s Landing to show Cersei. It was idiotic, it was plotted terribly, it lost them a whole-ass dragon, and Jon should be dead. The whole stupid point of this stupid series is that people can die really easily, so to let Benjen Stark swoop in at the last second and save our smol sadboi was bad storytelling, and then we did it again, with this stupid episode.

You have two dragons, the Night King has one. I know Jon wasn’t hired to know stuff but he did learn his numbers and the two is an advantage. Yours do the fire thing, maybe do the fire thing at the dead people because the fire thing makes them not fight anymore. Do the fire thing even before the dead people meet with your armies, just roast ’em like a mile back. At least look down for your one assigned responsibility (lighting the trenches) and notice that hey maybe it is time to do the fire thing. And if the dead dragon is helping the Night King do the weather thing, maybe figure out a way to fight the weather thing by fire thing-ing the dead dragon? It was just so useless, and the filming of the dragon scenes was like a rollercoaster crossed with the creepy tunnel scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You couldn’t see anything and Dany and Jon couldn’t see anything and these two incredibly powerful beasts that, y’know, helped the Targaryens conquer the entire dang continent are suddenly useless. Watching them try to fly the things was like “the enemy’s gate is down” if you also couldn’t see clearly. No one signed up for Orson Scott Targ. Fix your shit.

And, as a last thing, fucking stop landing your fucking dragons on the fucking battlefield, Dany. You can fly, they can’t, and landing Drogon on the field is like you landing a Spitfire on the streets of Berlin and being like “pew pew this is a good system.” Wights will climb on him. You will be unable to take off. You are dumb as rocks and learned nothing from Ernest Shackleton-ing two years ago to save your nephewboyfriend. You wanna be that show with dragons, not that stupid show with stupid dragons. They waste so much CGI on these doofus animals when Ghost, who has never done anything wrong in his entire fluffy violent life, is RIGHT THERE.

Okay kids here’s my conflicted feelings part

I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT

Army tactics

Now, to be clear, I am an uninformed dunce. I know nothing about armies or troop movements or strategy or anything. But I do know a little something about racism, aaaaand sending the Dothraki off like that felt kinda racist. The show and the series it is based on have always struggled with this: the non-white characters we see are nearly always sex-crazed and/or violent. The Dothraki haven’t been individuals in a long time, and this felt like a real easy way to not have to write about them anymore. Was the shot of their (curved, of course, foreign swords are always curved) lit-up weapons charging and then winking out visually stunning? It was, it absolutely was. But why was this how they were fighting? And if Melly didn’t show up to light them, were they just gonna charge without being able to see?

And then there’s the Unsullied, which have fared better, but not great. Also an army of mostly POC, and they also ended up weirdly on the front lines. I’m happier with this specific army, because watching them hold their positions in the tight formation to protect the retreat was really something, and I liked seeing them demonstrate their discipline in a real-as-hell battle. Most are dead, because they will die obeying orders. But again, do we put polearms behind a charging cavalry? I don’t know how I feel about this, guys. Some of the shots and all the emotions were present with the troop movements (the retreat as a whole was a hell of a thing), but what was the strategy here? And it definitely wasn’t all for gorgeous cinematography because the battle outside the walls of Winterfell was a rock tumbler with blackout curtains around it.

I am more than happy to hear other ideas on this, or a person who knows strategy explain it a bit better. I’m hashtag notherefor anyone to tell me that the show doesn’t have race issues, because it does, and I’m not fighting on that front. And I don’t think anyone who reads this is a dude who will come in and be like “ugh ladies be not battlin'” and be difficult, but none o’ that either. Sorry for sounding defensive and tired, but I am feeling defensive and tired.

Why didn’t more people die in this world-ending battle

This show has done a number on us, y’all. In season 1, people new to the story were enraged about Ned Stark, and now, here, at the end of all things, we are like *pounds table* BLOOD MAKES THE REALM GROW/ KILL, WIGHTS, KILL and were disappointed with this episode. I’m not better than anyone, I was also weirdly bloodthirsty, but in fairness to all of us, this battle was hyped like the seventy-fourth Hunger Games with the survival rate of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games and that just didn’t happen.

And people are mad, too, about the fact that this is the third episode of six and the Big Bad is done and now they have to go fight…. Cersei? And her sidepiece, CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey if he accidentally got left in the pool overnight? (I have to see Euron on Sunday and I’m so upset, guys, I’m SO UPSET.)

It’s a bit of a mess, and I am of two minds about this. I think the show has historically been stronger when it does the politics thing rather than the magic thing, and I’m not unhappy about the last few episodes focusing on the politics rather than the magic. However, I know that I’m really influenced by the books here, since we’ve seen so little of the magic there.

AND YET, I totally get people being really upset about this not being the last episode. The Night King is the Biggest of Bads, and life vs. death is the most important of the fights. This got a little bit less true for me with some of the choices in the episode, like NK smirking up at Dany after she tried to dracarys him. The Walkers (I want to say “Others” every time even though the show doesn’t use the phrase, gah) seemed more human in the way they approached Bran and with the dragon targeting specific humans and especially that smirk. But he is death, he is Smaug, and going to do anything else after turns this into the Battle of Five Armies and everyone hated that movie.

In conclusion, I have no conclusions. I can see people loving and hating this episode being the third of six. There’s less doom and gloom over the show, but it does allow us to do a lot more rather than having to look over our shoulders once per twenty minutes of screentime because the dead wanna throw a costume party and the theme is dead and you will be at this party forever. Lemme know what you all think and I’ll probably be just as confused later.

Arya With the Kill

This has been an absolute mess in the fandom, with mostly bookreaders hating it and the opposite for show-only, but there’s not even a consensus, and trying to reason it out is like shouting “THE DESIGNATED HITTER IS BULLSHIT” in August at any sports bar in a major city and expecting anything but chaos. And because I am either intelligent or cowardly, here too I can see both arguments.

In terms of the plot, in both most of the show and all of the books, ….yeah, this was Jon’s kill. He cared most, he’s been pushing everyone to believe him, at times he was the only one at all focused on ice zombies to the point where he wanted to shake everyone. If we are looking at storytelling consistency, this is definitely off. And I’m not sure if this is a kill that Jon himself would want; he might! This was his terrorbaby, he might be the one who wants to sweep the leg. However, Jon is doing his best to dodge and/or abdicate every bit of responsibility that he can, so if someone else comes up and says “hey I’ll do the thing for you” he might just be like “I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS BUT GO AHEAD”

In terms of this episode, of this show? Arya’s it. We don’t need a battering ram to take out the Night King; we need an assassin. The contrast between Theon’s final charge and Dany’s attempt to burn and then the actual successful attack from Arya shows that you cannot be exactly honest and straightforward with this dude and win. Arya’s library scene set this up really well, and I’m glad we got to see her do her knife flip because I love those knife flips.

The one thing that I don’t wanna hear from fans that I have heard from fans is calling Arya a Mary Sue. If you’re not familiar with this term, it’s a female character who can do no wrong and is just really good at everything. If this character were male, they’d just be called the protagonist. It’s a sexist term to begin with, because it’s only applied to female characters, and it’s not correct even if you could use it. Arya spent a really, REALLY long time in Braavos, and that was after training with Needle forever, and holy God do you guys remember how long she was with the Faceless Men because it was SO LONG, GUYS. She trained, and she’s good, and you can be frustrated that it wasn’t Jon, but you can’t be mad that it was Arya.

ANYWAY. Y’all. I got feelings. And I had to hug a pillow in fright. And I don’t know how to stop running my mouth. Tune in next week to see me scream about Euron forever.