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« Beauty Break: Notre Dame | Main | April Foolish Predictions #8: Lead Actor »
Tuesday
Apr162019

Game of Thrones "Winterfell" (S08E01)

Eric & Ben will be covering the television event of the summer for us, the finale of Game of Thrones - Editor

BEN: Alright Eric, first thing's first: who do you watch with? I'm watching with my two brothers. One understands everything, but doesn't watch it religiously, while the other has never seen a minute. I'll also say that we watched while slightly impaired.  

ERIC: I'll watch the whole season with my husband, who is a complete sci-fi/fantasy nerd (he even liked Krull)...and quite frankly, without him, I don't know what I'd do.  I'm always saying "who's that again?" when one of the minor characters comes on.  The premiere seems like it's just an establishing episode?  Not tons of actual drama, but they have a lot of stories to unify, and I think they met that very challenging task smartly, did you...?

BEN: Overall, I was massively disappointed. To use a line from a character, I would borrow Bran's "We don't have time for this!"

We don't have time for this. The Night King has your dragon. The Wall has fallen. 

There are only six episodes left to accomplish everything they want to accomplish, and they essentially wasted one of the six! Besides some welcome reunions, Sam's R + L = J revelation is really the only significant happening in the episode. But, I'd still like to stay positive. Give me your power rankings of all the reunions. 

ERIC: Yeah, it's true that this was a bit of a brick-laying episode, mostly serving to re-orient us to where everyone is.  I enjoyed both of Sansa's reunions:  first with Jon Snow, and then with Tyrion.  Sophie Turner is the actor who's made the biggest advancements since the start of the show:  she had no idea what she was doing in season one, and now she has the confidence to deliver one stony stare that says five things.  And of course Arya's reunion with Jon was moving, because it's always fun to see Maisie Williams do anything.  I'm hoping they don't take Lena Headey TOO far down the villainess lane and turn her into something weirdly Disney...one of the nicest things is how she always stops just short of camp. 

Do you enjoy the show more on a narrative level or an emotional level, in general?  And do you think they'll find a good balance of that in these final five episodes?

Valerian steel. Do you have any for me?

BEN: That's an interesting question, because the most important narrative elements in the show only land because of our emotional connection to the characters. The reason we cared about Ned's execution, The Red Wedding, or The Red Viper vs. The Mountain is because we had the emotional foundation to build upon, and that's why people had such a visceral reaction. The show is obviously serialized, but there are plenty of narrative chess pieces that were being readied without pushing the narrative, but attempting to maintain the emotion. Many penultimate chapters have a tendency to do this. Essentially, the showrunners have a clear idea how they want the show to end, but they to get the characters to that point, so there tends to be some tablesetting. I know these episodes are necessary, but it seems like such a waste with an abbreviated six episode season. I feel they could have added Sam's revelation to last season and let it ruminate for all this time. 

More pressing matters, what do you make of the Night King's "message"?

ERIC: Well, a gory death is always fun on Game of Thrones.  I'm sure there's some hidden insider thing to that, since I think the White Walkers leave patterns to the bodies they leave behind, or something like that?  There is so much plot in the show, and I'm so bad with plot, that I never anticipate a guess on what may come from any given scene.  I just kind of let the show flow over me.  I was more impressed with Cersei's putting the hit out on Jaime.  Their bond seemed unbreakable despite all we've seen go down between them.  I'm also wondering how we get Cersei into the scenes with all the other actors?  It seems a shame to let her play out her big stuff with minor characters in these final episodes?  And I was happy to see The Hound reunited with Arya as well...their scenes in their big season together were smashing.  Do you think both dragons will make it to the end of the show?  Is there any character who you REALLY want to survive?  Like, you'd be upset if they got killed?  

BEN: Samwell Tarly is the only truly pleasant and innocent person on the show and I will be genuinely upset if he dies. A close second would be Brienne of Tarth (no scenes last night), who seems to be the one person who is truly honorable. I just want one person who is enjoyable for being good to survive whatever is coming. As far as the dragons, I dont view them as characters, but more like plot devices. The dragon riding scene was not about the dragons, but actually about Jon and Dany. I had Aladdin flashbacks during that scene, and I can't wait for the inevitable "Whole New World" mashup. The dragons function as either a Deus ex Machina (like the saving of Jon in the north) or as more of a Chekov's Gun (ice dragon). I dont see them as characters, but that is a problem of the show. The animals can feel like characters (Ghost, Nymeria, Ser Pounce), so the show really needs to focus more on trying to like the dragons. 

I'm not talking about the King of the North, I'm talking about the King of the bloody Seven Kingdoms.

 On the flip side, who absolutely needs to die and who will you be disappointed if they survive?

ERIC: Now that Littlefinger is dead, all is right with the world (Aidan Gillian was, in my take, the only bad actor ever on the show).  I suppose I'd love to watch Cersei finally get it in some incredibly grim fashion, but that moment would be sad simultaneously.  I'm with you on Samwell and Brienne of Tarth... they do symbolize goodness in a way that would be shattering to upset.   

Since we'll go our separate ways for a few weeks, reviewing alternate episodes until we reunite for the finale, I wish you good viewing.  Any final thoughts before we wrap up for this week? 

BEN: I like to think that tablesetting is over with and the next 5 episodes are chocked full of chocolatey goodness. That's my best hope. There is a lot of work to do in five episodes and I hope it all comes together. 

Happy viewing!

 

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Reader Comments (16)

Isn't Jon Snow sleeping with his aunt? I think they don't say these things out loud, but that is my understanding.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

bored me to death

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Enjoyed the episode thoroughly.

My only small disappointment was that they did not show Varys learning of Littlefinger's death. Their contentious relationship was one of my favorite running threads. I would've liked a payoff.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

I could give two shits about Game of Thrones, but put on the Blu Ray of KRULL and I'm on board!

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Lots of set up, but those 5 episodes are basically 2 hour movies, so we still have ... 10ish hours left.

Those two mentioned are the only two left who would be sad deaths, like a certain mute but hung Giant. Cersei just needs to DIE DIE DDDIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

It was highly entertaining, though not sure if on its own merits or because of our expectations. I agree with the posters, it added very little and it felt a wasted opportunity.

And the dragon riding scene? The scene that played like the montage of the first date in a rom-com? With both Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington trying to be funny? If this is what the showrunners think people were expecting ... I'm worried about the rest of the season. And when you thought it couldn't be more embarrasing, then comes the dragon angrily staring at their end-of-date kiss. The new boyfriend that takes mom back home after the date, and the angry teenage son looks at them from his window. Yikes.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Aidan Gillen the only bad actor? Kit Harrington is laughably bad. André Emília Clarke is generally one note and weak.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Anon -- i thought that shot juxtaposition was really funny actually in a good way (i've always thought this show needs to lighten up. You can have different moods and still carry gravitas)

Everyone -- i actually watched this whole episode (sorta by accident but...) which i haven't done with this show in years and years. it's as slow as i remembered it! but it does still look great. Love the costumes.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Is Daenerys supposed to be 15 years older than Jon? Because I am not getting how her brother is his father. This is the most well-loved mainstream show with multiple incest storylines.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJane

The book says they are the same age but it's all make believe; these people ride dragons and frequently die so I don't think they care about being related. Incest is common in royal families.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHarry

It was wonderful to have the show back and I thought the time gathering people together at Winterfell was well spent. Those reunions were long awaited and emotionally satisfying.
Building up the tension is everything.

Lena Heady is glorious as Cersei and she's been a terrific actress in the role. Having said that, I do want her to die. Either at the hands of Jamie or Arya. I like poetic justice.
Sam, Gilley, Podrick and Brienne are all good people, and it would be really hard to see them die. But since Samwell Tarly is a hobbit at heart and a stand in for GRRM, I think he will survive. (along with Gilley and little Sam)

I hope Brienne gets together with Jamie Lannister before she dies valiantly.
Finally, I'm going to be a complete mess when we lose Tormund and another dragon.
(I'm pretty sure at least 1 more dragon is going to get killed, and that sucks).
Next week is a 1 hour episode, but the real battle will be episode 3, which is 2 hours of defending Winterfell.

April 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

i love the dragon riding and the women heroes except the annoying aunt. Please God I hope they include a I am your aunt? scene. That redhead Stark actress has so much potential.

April 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Jane - Her brother is much older than she is. My brother is 22 years older than I am. My niece and nephew are older than me by a few years.

April 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Or think of it this way , her mother had her brother @ 18 and had her @38

I’m also not sure people realize that her parents are siblings. She was born of incest.

April 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Sam’s revelation was made last season. It was a big deal with flashbacks to Jon’s real parents and everything. Jon just found out this episode.

I find it so very weird how cold power hungry cruel Daenerys all of a sudden was all smiley and reasonable about everything. Huge change of character so glad the show did not completely forget her past sins but I’ll bang my head against the wall if they try to give her some sort of redemption arc, the actress can’t pull it off (that scene where she “acted” sad and informed Sam she killed his family was a joke; both from a character standpoint (she would never ever apologize for the extreme measures she has taken) and from an acting standpoint.

April 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Daenerys Nasty!

April 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJono

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