Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 1 (“Winterfell”)

WARNING: This post is dark and full of spoilers!

1.Winterfell is yours, Your Grace. -Sansa says to Daenerys

Sansa is cold (& unimpressed) by Dany and her crew, incl. the 2 dragons. As the Lady of Winterfell, she’s worried about the management of her household (incl. these new allies). Of course, we know that the Starks and Targayens have a difficult history- Aerys (The Mad King) killed Brandon (Ned’s older brother) and their father more than 20 yrs ago. Did you notice the little moment between Grey Worm and Missendei? They shared a look as the common people of the North stared coldly at them; these are probably the first POC they’ve ever seen. Been there, honey!

2. We don’t have time for this! -Bran to all (re: niceties) 

This moment was funny, yet also very real! As the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran knows what’s up (as well as what has been). Even when Jon kissed Bran’s forehead upon arrival to Winterfell (call-back to S1 again), Bran showed no emotion. He ain’t got time for that!

3. I’m standing up for our family. -Arya to Jon (when he’s surprised by her standing up for Sansa)

This was a fine (& touching) moment; Arya and Jon hugged and compared swords. They last saw each other in S1 (when he gave her Needle, her little sword). Jon and Arya both felt like outsiders in the Stark family; they were very close as kids. Arya and Sansa now have a mutual respect for each other (unlike in S1); recall the moment in S7 E7 when they talk re: supporting each other (as Ned taught them growing up).

4. You want a whore, buy one. You want a queen, earn her. -Cersei declares to Euron (when he asks for some affection)

I know this will probably be the most popular line of the ep! However, Cersei (now queen) does get together w/ Euron in the next scene; I was expecting her to keep him at a distance. Now that Jaime is gone (to fight w/ the Northerners), perhaps she is a bit lonely. Or this is her way of thanking him for bringing The Golden Company to Kings Landing.

5. Respect is how the young keep us at a distance, so we don’t remind them of the truth. Nothing lasts. -Varys explains to Tyrion & Davos

This was a nice little scene where the three men talk matchmaking (rather unexpected, but I liked it). They all think that Jon and Dany would make “a handsome couple” and also “just” and “honorable” rulers. Awww, why cant I find anyone to fix me up?

6. You’ve completely ruined horses for me! -Jon to Dany (after riding the dragon)

I liked this (funny) line after the (cool) dragon riding scene. These actors have “playful chemistry” (as Joanna Robinson commented on A Cast of Kings podcast). The dialogue was rather cheesy though- yikes! It reminded some viewers of A Whole New World (Aladdin); others were missing Ygritte (Jon’s first love).

7. As you wish, m’lady. -Gendry says to Arya (when she tells him not to call her Lady Stark).

Arya and Gendry are older now, so they’re a bit awkward around each other, yet still cute. These two actors have great chemistry- hope there is more to their story! Arya presents him w/ a drawing of a weapon she has designed; Gendry can forge it from dragonglass. Joanna Robinson really liked this part of their “courtship.”

8. I’m waiting for an old friend. -Bran tells Sam (the night before Jaime arrives at Winterfell)

In the last scene, we realize that the “old friend” is Jaime (who pushed Bran out of the tower in S1 E1)! This time, Jamie is dressed in dark, simple clothes, and under his black hood has short/dark hair. When he was last in Winterfell, he was wearing the ornate gold armor of the Kingsguard w/ blonde hair.

9. You’ve never been a bastard. You’re the true heir to the Iron Throne. -Sam explains to Jon 

Finally, Jon learns the truth of his parentage (thanks to the book Sam read, as well as Bran’s knowledge)! Jon didn’t believe it at first, b/c Ned was the kind of man who never lied. He has more of a claim to the throne than Dany (who is his aunt). Sam is no fan of Dany (after learning about what she did to his father and younger brother, Dickon); he thinks Jon will be a better ruler. Who hasn’t has a pal who didn’t like their significant other?

10. I’ve always had blue eyes! -Tormund yells at Ed & Rangers (running into them in the dark).

This is a funny moment before the creepy scene (w/ the young Lord Umber at the Last Hearth). Recall (also creepy little girl) in S1 E1; she scared the Night’s Watch guys who ran into her in the woods. One of these men escaped alive, but was executed by Ned.

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Game of Thrones: Season 7 – Thoughts & Questions

SPOILERS: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen, or don’t want to know, details from Season 7 of Game of Thrones.

My initial thought was that Arya and Sansa were plotting this eventuality all along, which is why they went along with Littlefinger’s scheme just long enough to put him in a position where they could kill him. But if that’s the case, why were there so many scenes featuring just the two sisters, scenes that Littlefinger couldn’t plausibly know about? And if going along with Littlefinger wasn’t an act, then the storytelling is even stranger, because Sansa and Arya spent a lot of time fighting about things that seemed largely out of character, as opposed to all of the things they really did have to fight about. Todd VanDerWorff (Vox)

Of course, while it was Arya who actually did the executing, and it was Bran who provided some key intel, the bulk of the credit for Littlefinger’s death can go to Sansa. She was the one smart enough to see through Littlefinger’s machinations, and also the only one with enough sparkle to make him crawl on the ground while weeping and begging for mercy. -Joanna Robinson (Vanity Fair)

MANY viewers polled (on Amazon) considered Sansa the MVP of the finale. She had such a crazy journey over the the oast 7 yrs, BUT survived to become Lady of Winterfell, and FINALLY defeat Littlefinger (YAY)! We get a rundown of the “chaos” that Lord Petyr Baelish caused over the years; w/o him, there would be no story. It was he who had Catelyn Stark’s younger sister, Lysa (crazy in love w/ him) poison her husband, Jon Arryn (Hand to King Robert Baratheon). Robert needed a man who knew, as well as someone he could trust, so he trekked North w/ most of his family.

King Robert convinced his oldest/closest friend, Ned Stark, to move to King’s Landing and take over the role of Hand. (Robert had loved Ned’s long-dead sister, Lyanna, BUT that’s another part of the tale.) To sweeten the job offer, Robert betrothed his son/heir, Joffrey, to Ned’s eldest daughter, Sansa (who had dreamed of living in the big city and being married to a handsome prince). In time, Ned discovered that Joffrey (and all Robert’s supposed children w/ his wife, Cersei Lannister) were fathered by her twin brother, Jaime. The common people of realm thought that their king was killed by a boar during a hunt; he was actually poisoned by his cupbearer, Lancel, a young cousin/lover to Cersei. The plot to kill Robert was Cersei’s plan (and Littlefinger was allied w/ her); they had never loved (or even liked) each other. After Ned (kind/honorable/artless) revealed what he knew re: Prince Joffrey’s illegitimacy to (clever/power-hungry/ruthless) Cersei, it ALL went downhill for the Stark clan! 

This obsessive analysis of every line of dialogue and scene scene was possible because the series established and followed a distinct set of rules that kept the chaos in check. 

The patterned logic made it possible to hypothesize outcomes, for any viewer to wax poetically on Twitter about the theoretical fate of their favorite characters. It made a close reading worth it… 

…Season 7 shed these rules in order to sprint towards the story’s conclusion. And in doing so it became a very different series, one that has left the old Game of Thrones in the dust. -Kelly Lawler (USA Today)

“We” (English majors) analyze nearly everything (things we read, listen to, and see in media). That’s why GoT is such a treat; I haven’t been a “superfan” of any other show before (though I have followed MANY TV series in the past). There is SO much going on w/ the action, costumes, sets/locations, music, and (most importantly, IMO) characters and dialogue! This series has some of the MOST complicated characters and quotable lines we’ve encountered in recent years on TV. No wonder we get disappointed when the show doesn’t live up to its potential!  

Let’s not mince words: The Loot Train Battle was a masterpiece. Director Matt Shakman’s first Thrones episode [“The Spoils of War”] featured one of the single greatest battle sequences in the show’s entire history… The pacing and choreography involved in the imaginative battle, not to mention the sheer sight of dragon fire scorching the soil of the Seven Kingdoms, launch this episode into elite status. -Josh Wigler (The Hollywood Reporter)

There were some great moments in S7; the best action scenes happened in E4 (check out the behind-the-scenes segment from HBO, if you haven’t done so yet). This was the first time that Jaime (commander of the Lannister forces) saw a dragon- whoa! He lived (thanks Bronn) to tell Cersei, BUT she didn’t realize the gravity of their situation (until the finale).  As Jaime was riding away from the city, Winter (snow) came to King’s Landing for the first time in the series. 

QUESTIONS: (I hope these get addressed in Season 8!)

  • Why was Tyrion creeping around outside Dany’s cabin on the boat? 
    • I think he feels that these two rulers hooking up  (or “personal alliance” as Peter Segal called it) before the end of the war is a bad idea. 
    • Some YouTube reviewers think that Tyrion MAY have betrayed Dany, so is feeling guilty about it (a la Jorah w/ the poisoned wine murder plot). 
    • I don’t think this is the case, BUT wanted to share this theory also: Most likely, Tyrion goofed up and secretly fell in love with his queen. Game of Thrones has pretty much set this scenario up as an inevitability. Tyrion pretty much told her as much, right before they shipped out from Meereen: “He wasn’t the first to love you,” he said, referring to Daario, “and he won’t be the last.” -Vinnie Mancuso (Collider)
    • Will the fact that Jon—not Daenerys—is technically the rightful heir to the Targaryen throne put a damper on their burgeoning romance? -Joanna Robinson (Vanity Fair)
  • Is Tormund alive? If so, then will he ever be able to win over Brienne (hmmm). 
  • Is Beric alive? (He’s on his 7th life, having been killed and revived 6 times, as The Hound explains in E6.) I just LOVE this actor’s voice, and he has that cool flaming sword. Maybe Melisandre can revive him? 
  • Is Cersei actually pregnant? This has turned out to be one of the MOST discussed issue by fans online! Some even think that the baby could be Euron’s (after all, he is still loyal to Cersei).
  • What’s next for Jaime? Finally, he has escaped Cersei’s power (YAY)! I’m sure he will ally himself w/ Dany, BUT it may take him some time. Will he reconnect w/ Brienne? They has great chemistry together.
  • Will Theon be able to rescue Yaara from Euron?
  • What’s next for Euron? Related issue: Can The Golden Company (sellswords) stand up to Dany’s army?
  • Who will end up on the Iron Throne?
    • One could assume someone has to end the series on The Iron Throne, but there’s an equal possibility there won’t even be an Iron Throne. Or any people left alive, for that matter. -Vinnie Mancuso (Collider)

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 (“The Dragon and The Wolf”) – Top 10 Lines

SPOILERS: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen, or don’t want to know, details from the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones.

10) You don’t need to choose. You’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark. -Jon says to Theon.

9) This is the only thing I’ve ever seen that terrifies me. -Euron admits before sailing away to the Iron Islands (or perhaps not?)

8) You stand accused of murder, you stand accused of treason. How do you answer these charges… Lord Baelish? -Sansa asks. / My sister asked you a question. -Arya adds (seeing Littlefinger’s shocked face and silence).

7) Thank you for all your many lessons, Lord Baelish. I will never forget them. -Sansa says to Littlefinger (before Arya cuts his throat w/ the Cat’s Paw dagger).

6) I never could have survived what you survived. -Arya says. / You could have. You’re the strongest person I know. -Sansa replies w/ a (rare) compliment.

5) Have you ever considered learning how to lie, just a bit? -Tyrion asks Jon. / When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. There’s no answers, only better and better lies. -Jon (channeling Ned Stark?) explains.

4) Your capital will be safe until the Northern threat is dealt with. You have my word. -Dany says to (a rather skeptical) Cersei

3) I cannot serve two queens, and I’ve already pledged myself to Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen. -Jon reveals to Cersei (and others assembled in the dragon pit).

2) The crown accepts your truce. Until the dead are defeated, they are the true enemy. -Cersei decides (finally).

1) Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie. Rhaegar didn’t kidnap my aunt, or rape her. He loved her, and she loved him. -Bran (AKA The Three-Eyed Rave) reveals. / He’s never been a bastard. He’s the heir to the Iron Throne. He needs to know. We need to tell him. -Sam adds (re: Jon’s legitimacy).

 

 

 

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 6 (“Beyond the Wall”): Fans & Critics Hit Back

SPOILERS: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

In order to fully invest in a conflict, it’s necessary to understand and believe in what’s at stake for both sides. That’s what made “The Spoils of War” such remarkable television: not the spectacle of the fighting itself, per se, but our sympathy for the combatants and comprehension of the circumstances that put them at odds. “Beyond the Wall” goes the opposite direction: I don’t believe that bringing a wight to Cersei would persuade her to lend Jon her support; I don’t believe Dany would be so casual about her prospective ally and love interest turning to her direct competition for help; and, most importantly, I don’t believe so many people would uncritically accept this convoluted scheme as a good idea. -Alison Herman (The Ringer)

…one deus ex machina after another: first a pond, then a dragon, and finally Coldhands, aka Uncle Benjen, who comes out swinging an incense burner and sacrifices his life for Jon because apparently two people can’t ride on a horse. -Laura Hudson (Wired)

“Where did you… get them?” she [Sansa] asks, a line which served as a little island of expert comedic timing amid a vast ocean of ridiculous dialogue by David Benioff and Dan Weiss. While Arya could have used this as an opportunity to fill Sansa in on her formative experiences, then listen to Sansa explain some of her own, then come to a place of mutual understanding and respect, she instead threatens to cut Sansa’s face off. Whatever. -Kaitlyn Tiffany (The Verge)

Another question that this sibling rivalry brings to the fore: Are two powerful women not allowed to exist in the same place without one of them trying to sabotage the other? Outside of the Sand Snakes—we barely knew ye—it’s hard to think of two women who have been allowed to have the kind of relationship so many men on this show have been afforded, the camaraderie and “brotherhood” that has defined so many of their characters. Instead, they always seem to be at each other’s throats. -Laura Hudson (Wired)

This week Tyrion’s plan to capture a wight and bring it to Cersei proves that it’s as dumb as it sounds. While Tyrion is thinking about the future, he’s not doing a very good job getting his queen to listen to him, which is a problem since he is Hand of the Queen. ‘The Hound loves cursing and throwing rocks, apparently. His foolish throwing of rocks at a dumb wight makes them realize that the lake has frozen over, allowing them to attack. -Carrie Witmer (Business Insider)

…only Thoros of Myr is lost among our main heroes, despite overwhelming odds and at least a couple of near death experiences. At the same time, given how silly this whole plan was, I’m not sure I want any of our heroes to die executing it. Thoros’s death feels cheap in some ways. -Erik Kain (Forbes)

There is an argument to be made that season 7’s episode 6 was the worst GoT episode EVER – ridiculous dialogs, nonsensical plot line, plot holes and worst of all – a huge anti-climax to a much expected, important scene. What do you think? (See video below from GoT Academy.)

Listen to David Chen and Joanna Robinson’s podcast review of the ep here:

http://www.slashfilm.com/a-cast-of-kings-s7e06-beyond-the-wall

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 5 (“Eastwatch”) – Top 10 Lines

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you haven’t seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

10) Dragons are where our partnership ends. -Bronn explains to Jaime after rescuing him from drowning in a river.

Yasss, Jaime is OK (as MOST of the fans and GoT YouTubers guessed)! I wasn’t worried TOO long- maybe for a few mins after last week’s ep. Jaime is still an important character in this story, or game (as some like to say). Some viewers want Bronn to ally himself (yet again) w/ Tyron; I think that could happen (given this line re: dragons). I was a big fan of the Tyrion-Bronn friendship! 

9) Sometimes strength is terrible. -Dany explains to Jon upon returning to Dragonstone. 

Drogon let Jon touch him- WOW! This is a VERY crucial scene, as we get another hint into Jon’s true heritage, and see more of Dany’s interest in him. Dany knows that Jon doesn’t approve of how she went about defeating the Lannisters in battle, so she says this line (rather casually, I thought). Dany is comfortable in her role as queen; Jon is uncertain as King of the North (being more of a warrior than politician). Jon may NOT be Ned’s bastard son, BUT he was raised by him to be an honest, just, and peaceful kind of man.

8) Everyone in Westeros trusts and believes you. If you tell people the threat is real, they’ll believe it. -Sam tries to convince the council of Archmaesters. 

Poor Sam! His father (Randyll) and younger brother (Dickon) were burned to death by Drogon after the battle in The Reach, so he is now the head of his (old/respected/wealthy) house. Archmaester Ebrose doesn’t reveal this news to Sam though, feeling bad for him. Sam brings a bunch of books and scrolls into a room where the archmaesters happen to be having a meeting. They are debating the merits of a particular scroll which relates what Bran Stark/The Three-Eyed Raven has  seen beyond The Wall. Sam overhears and interrupts; he knows Bran and says the news is true. 

7) I haven’t given you permission to leave. -Dany says. / With all due respect, Your Grace, I don’t need your permission. I am a king. -Jon replies.

There is more Dany-Jon (burgeoning) romance stuff here; some viewers said that she was looking at him TOO much this ep. Come on showrunners, you don’t have to be SO obvious! Anyways, Tyrion’s idea of capturing a Wight to present at Cersei’s court is a clever idea. 

6) Daenerys is not her father. She is even willing to suspend the hostilities if Cersei agrees to certain terms. Tyrion explains to Jaime when they are reunited in the dungeons beneath The Red Keep.

This was an emotional scene where BOTH actors did well. Though Tyrion has allied w/ Dany (“a foreign invader”), he can still reach out to his older brother, Jaime. As Ben Mankiewicz commented in the latest What the Flick? review: “Tyrion is friends w/ all the good guys: Bronn, Davos, Jorah, and Varys.”

5) Do you remember what father used to say about people? -Cersei asks. / The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep. -Jaime replies before embracing and kissing her. / Never betray me again. -Cersei commands, softly.

Hmmm… what do YOU think? MANY viewers are writing that Cersei is NOT pregnant; she is lying to get Jaime’s to follow her plans (no matter how bad). We know that Jaime is hopelessly in love w/ his twin (as Lady Olenna pointed out in E3, before dying like a boss). Cersei goes as far as to say that she’s NOT afraid of what people’s reactions; she will say that the baby is Jaime’s. 

4) Our fathers trusted each other. Why shouldn’t we? -Gendry asks Davos and Jon after he introduces himself to The King of the North.

Joe Dempsie was listed as part of the cast for S7, so observant viewers knew he was (finally) back! His hair is  quite short now and he looks taller and more mature. Gendry was hiding in plain sight, working as a blacksmith in “the street of steel” in King’s Landing. He is quick to leave (LOL), deadly w/ that big hammer (yikes), and eager to fight for Jon. Their fathers were best friends who fought together during the time of Mad King Aerys (Robert’s Rebellion). Gendry will be VERY useful in forging weapons out of dragonglass, some YouTubers commented. Some people were excited for he and Arya to be reunited; we will have to wait for that.  

3) Nobody mind me. All I’ve ever done is live to a ripe old age. -Davos comments to Gendry and Jon.

Davos has some of the BEST lines in this ep; that stuff w/ the “fermented crab” (or should we call it Westerosi Viagra?) was quite funny! Liam Cunningham has been doing a fine job in his role. I esp. enjoy seeing the father-son dynamic between Davos and Gendry.

2) What does “annulment” mean? -Gilly asks tentatively, reading from a book by High Septon Maynard. / It’s when a man sets aside his lawful wife. -Sam replies, not paying much attention. / Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince Rhaegar and remarried him to someone else, at the same time, in a secret ceremony in Dorne. -Gilly reads on.

Whoa, who would’ve imagined that Gilly would get to reveal such crucial info!? As pointed out on GoT Academy, the book she was reading was by a religious/priest-like figure (High Septon), NOT written my a maester. Septons can perform marriages and funerals (as we have seen in previous seasons); it turns out that annulment are ALSO permitted in Westeros. Rhaegar left his wife (Elia Martell), then legally married Lyanna Stark before Jon was born. Jon is BOTH a Targaryen and a Stark, and (most importantly) NOT a bastard! He is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne before Dany (his aunt) since he is male.

1) He’s [Beric] right, we’re all on the same side. -Jon says. / How can we be? -Gendry asks. / We’re all breathing. -Jon concludes. 

At Eastwatch (the castle closest to The Wall) we see Tormund again; he is STILL thinking of Brienne (LOL). Jon, Davos, Jorah, and Gendry go down to the dungeon where Wildling men locked up some strangers about a month ago. It turns out that these are the Brotherhood w/o Banners: Beric Dondarrion (brought back to life- like Jon), Thoros of Myr (who knows Jorah), and The Hound (who Jon saw once at Winterfell). Westeros (like DC) is SUCH a small world sometimes!