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Game of Thrones (spoilers)

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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #705 on: April 29, 2019, 06:13:33 PM
The episode was too dark, for sure. But the culprit (mostly) turns out to be HBO. That streaming muddiness is just not compatible with so much black. It looks a bit better in a downloaded HD format. I'm looking at some torrent screenshots, which look noticeably better, and I'll watch one of these to see how it improves. Either way, they should have tested it, so this was clearly a significant mistake.

The darkness made a lot of battle scenes really confusing and overwhelming in a way I think was intentional, especially when the storm comes in and (for example) Dany and Jon can barely see anything. Daenerys not being able to see the battlefield for long stretches is a pivotal plot point in the episode. Many of the soldiers being in the dark is also important and makes the episode more terrifying.

a wight can't break out of a wooden box but they can suddenly break through their tombs despite being nothing but bones?"

The wight they captured in Season 7 had its hands and feet bound and a hood put over its head. Once put in that box, it was mostly calm unless provoked. When it was revealed in King's Landing, though, it was in fact unbound. I'm going to assume Clegane sang it a lullaby beforehand.

I don't see that big a difference between her jumping out of nowhere and stealing a White Walker's face with her surnatural powers

Seriously? One is set up in the show, and the other is not. The show has done absolutely all the work to describe Arya's powers of stealth and agility, but it has never even hinted that it's possible to take a white walker's face. As I laid out, you'd have to kill a white walker first, and then skin its icy face, which is impossible both because they shatter when killed and because you surely wouldn't be able to skin off one of their icy faces. At that point you're just making an ice sculpture. How is that equally silly as running fast?

I might not remember the space correctly, but the nearest wall around that tree is very far away, no? Or she was hiding in the tree? The AV Club writer said: Did she jump on a trampoline? It's not a lack of faith in her physical ability, but knowing what space they're in

Okay, let's look at the scene and figure this out. First, it's worth remembering that this whole sequence happens in slow motion. And Arya is FAST. The first indication we get is Arya whooshing past the white walkers on their right side. Judging by that white walker's reaction, she's already a bit past him when he notices, heading straight for the Night King. She is running on the ground at this point. When we first see her behind the Night King, she is clearly still running ON THE GROUND. She then leaps from the ground. (Not from the roof or a tree or a trampoline—let's stop being ridiculous, people.) She doesn't even leap that high!—barely above the Night King's head. How have people convinced themselves that this leap is an olympic achievement? What's more impressive is her stealth and speed, which has been established over and over again including within this very episode, and is enough to get past the white walkers but is actually NOT enough (by itself) to get the Night King.
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Fuzzy Dunlop

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Reply #706 on: April 29, 2019, 06:22:51 PM
I don't see that big a difference between her jumping out of nowhere and stealing a White Walker's face with her surnatural powers

That's why it would have been better seeing her getting there even if we know she's capable.

The difference is that Arya flying in out of nowhere is a jaw-dropping shocker climax that will go down in TV history, while the other thing would have been just watching someone get from point A to point B by wearing a mask.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #707 on: April 29, 2019, 06:37:09 PM
Just downloaded a torrent (TGx), and the black levels look just fine to my eye. But it's so delicately close. Close enough that streaming mud can wreck it.

Here's a good article at Vanity Fair about this issue:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/04/game-of-thrones-too-dark-hard-to-see-battle-of-winterfell-long-night
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wilberfan

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Reply #708 on: April 29, 2019, 08:27:24 PM
Man, thanks for the link to that article.   This made me LOL: 

Quote
Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin once asked Lesnie “where is the light coming from?” when they were shooting in what should have been a darkened tower. Lesnie replied, “Same place as the music.”

Even Consumer Reports weighed in:

https://www.consumerreports.org/tvs/game-of-thrones-tv-settings-dark-episodes/
"Trying to fit in since 2017."


Fernando

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Reply #709 on: April 30, 2019, 12:27:05 AM
Ghost has to be alive right? We saw him running with the Dothraki and most of them died but my hope is that they wouldn't kill him off screen.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #710 on: April 30, 2019, 12:37:04 AM
That Consumer Reports article is fantastic. So it comes down to compression. HBO's response is funny, too.

Ghost has to be alive right? We saw him running with the Dothraki and most of them died but my hope is that they wouldn't kill him off screen.

Right. I think the only actual offscreen deaths on this show are made clear to us, like the Blackfish.

Plus, fans would storm HBO headquarters if Ghost died off-screen.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #711 on: April 30, 2019, 01:19:39 AM
Listened to a bit of the Vanity Fair podcast, and Joanna Robinson complained about a particular moment being confusing, even after a second watch, and I'll say I was confused by it as well: When Jon lands his dragon on the ramparts and kind of parks there, at 23:18.

But on second watch it's pretty clear. With the soldiers falling back in large numbers now (the "protect the retreat" sequence is JUST before this), Jon is very understandably concerned for Bran. He tries to get Dany's attention, but fails because of the crazy weather and the fact that she's kinda far away. So Jon flies directly to the godswood and parks on the ramparts, overlooking Bran. He probably intends to defend Bran if the wights break through in the immediate future.

Fast forward 12 minutes (35:33), and Jon is still guarding or observing, perched on the ramparts, although now he's moved to the front line. He should really be scorching some ghouls here—but maybe the dragon doesn't obey the "dracarys" command from him. Then, the Night King arrives in dramatic fashion.
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Robyn

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Reply #712 on: April 30, 2019, 05:37:24 AM
People all over internet acting like this was the last episode and D&D threw every character arc out the window or something.


Drenk

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Reply #713 on: April 30, 2019, 06:32:20 AM
I don't see that big a difference between her jumping out of nowhere and stealing a White Walker's face with her surnatural powers

That's why it would have been better seeing her getting there even if we know she's capable.

The difference is that Arya flying in out of nowhere is a jaw-dropping shocker climax that will go down in TV history, while the other thing would have been just watching someone get from point A to point B by wearing a mask.

Jaw dropping shocker might be a bit much. The episode tells you that she's the One twenty minutes before. Also, you don't need to follow her with the mask. And "just a mask" and "just dropping your knive" can be transformed in similar realities by the power of words. I would have prefered a "reveal" with a faceless walker instead of a weirdly slow Night King. I would not have been shocked either way. The episode tells you twenty minutes before that Arya is the One and I've seen enough bad guys quietly waiting for someone to off them while they're two seconds away from victory not to be shocked. Actually, I saw the exact same thing happen in a movie theater a few hours after The Long Night—but the move was less cool than Arya's, so GoT wins.

(That movie also had a lot of "Let's say that line from season 1 that everyone knows, because it's cool", something that even Twin Peaks: The Return did, it's getting more and more recurrent now that all our narratives are getting precious about their own history. Melissandre knows *things*. But she also has seen Game of Thrones.)

But that Arya moment is only the result of previous choices leading up to it, so my issues concern more the episode in general. I would have preferred an entirely different situation for Arya.

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Sleepless

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Reply #714 on: April 30, 2019, 10:31:15 AM
Having had 24+ hours to process this now, the thing that keeps coming back and really bugging me was how easy the defeat of the Night King and the white walkers was. Sure, not as easy as *insert witticism here*, but the level of threat they were built up to be over the proceeding seven seasons doesn't feel on a level with the conclusion here. Spectacular episode as it was. The white walkers also served as a metaphor for climate change, and I can think of no more fitting end for that parallel that despite all the human wars, politics, etc. in the end it's all for naught as the white walkers are a force of nature that's going to wipe everyone out in the end anyway. I think that would have ultimately been a far more powerful ending to the show and said so much more, especially given this show is now a global phenomenon. So yes, I think the resolution to this whole story was way too simple. As has been pointed out elsewhere, we've three episodes left for a whole host of heroes to conquer a pregnant woman and a pirate. Ho hum.

Of course, all that said, I'm really hoping that GRRM and D&D have a lot of surprises up their sleeves that none of us saw coming.

Also that there's a point to Bran.
He held on. The dolphin and all the rest of its pod turned and swam out to sea, and still he held on. This is it, he thought. Then he remembered that they were air-breathers too. It was going to be all right.


Drenk

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Reply #715 on: April 30, 2019, 11:56:15 AM
Cersei has to die next week, right? The real battle must be Sansa & Friends vS Dany & Friends (who, though? the Dothrakis pointlessly died). Arya, all alone, can poison Cersei's countless bottles of wines. Dragons can burn the boats, I don't see how they can kill them if the Night King and his magical spears can't. And Cersei is at the end of her rope, it should be a formality since The Night King was not that difficult to defeat (and he was the huge threat that absolutely needed Cersei's army, making Jon risk his life last season in order to show her that the dead were real, so either they suck at evaluating the stakes or Cersei is way less dangerous).

I can even imagine Cersei being killed halfway through the next one, giving time for the last conflict.

Of course, it won't happen. But my fanfiction has some fifteen minutes legendary scene à la Winds of Winter with Arya infiltrating King's Landing and the Dragons easilly destroying the fleat. *That* part should be easy. But the sequence should show that Cersei, weirdly, is at peace—she has no one and went as far as she could...
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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #716 on: April 30, 2019, 02:22:38 PM
Having had 24+ hours to process this now, the thing that keeps coming back and really bugging me was how easy the defeat of the Night King and the white walkers was.

I have the complete opposite view and had the opposite experience. The next day, the emotional weight of this episode really hit me hard, centering on Arya and how well she earned this. The same way we eventually realized "oh, it's kind of all about Jon," Arya's monumental importance to the series is very clear now. I just think about everything she's been through—it was all worth it for this moment. We are in the last few episodes, and I think we need to be okay with payoffs. We deserve payoffs. And this is a big one. The way she dispatched the Night King was true to her skills, her style, and her character as well. Completely satisfying.

When you say it was easy to defeat the Night King, are you conceptualizing that as defeating him within the space of this episode? Because the way I see it, defeating the Night King has been a long journey filled with death and suffering. The first large-scale battle against the Night King happened 3 seasons ago. They've done a lot of work figuring him out and finding ways they might defeat him. Think of all the work Jon has done organizing forces and convincing people to actually do this. He brought the full might of Daenerys's armies to this battle, and they would have lost instantly without it. Embedded within that is all the work Daenerys has done gathering her armies. All so we could get here. So was it easy to defeat the Night King? Absolutely not.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, we've three episodes left for a whole host of heroes to conquer a pregnant woman and a pirate. Ho hum.

I think (and hope) you're underestimating the show.

This also speaks to something else I've been seeing—people conflating the allied forces with the main cast. We may have a surprising amount of the main cast left ("a whole host of heroes")—that's true. But the Northern forces have kind of been decimated. The Dothraki are simply gone. So many Northerners died. The Unsullied have taken a deep loss—not even sure how many are left. Cersei has two fresh armies. (I think a dragon sort of trumps all, but still.)

Moreover, I think it was wise to deal with the dead in the first half of this season. You want the season, and the series, to finish with emotional character payoffs—which you don't get fighting a mysterious force of nature.

Of course, all that said, I'm really hoping that GRRM and D&D have a lot of surprises up their sleeves that none of us saw coming.

Also that there's a point to Bran.

I'm 100% with you here. I will be disappointed if there's nothing crazy in store for us. And yes, Bran absolutely needs to do something. I have faith.

And they must be building up to a big moment of Tyrion genius. Hope they come up with something clever.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #717 on: April 30, 2019, 03:00:58 PM
Some more thoughts on the battle itself. It has become abundantly clear that our protagonists are bad at military strategy. Daenerys's attack on the caravan was smart, but otherwise it's kind of been one tactical failure after another, including the Battle of the Bastards. Tyrion must have been so insecure that he didn't contribute much to the war plan here.

It seems like they were surprised by how absolutely terrifying and relentless the dead were. Moreso, they seemed blindsided by the lack of visibility. The storm crippled their ability to even see where the enemy was or how many there were. As did the unexpected lack of fire light. Things were so chaotic and overwhelming that there was virtually no battlefield command or communication. This was not their proudest day as an organized army.

Maybe that's what has a lot of people down.

Personally I think it works for the episode. It's sad, but it works. And hopefully it sets them up to be smarter in the next battle. On the plus side, they'll have fewer troops to organize.
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Sleepless

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Reply #718 on: April 30, 2019, 03:58:26 PM
As has been pointed out elsewhere, we've three episodes left for a whole host of heroes to conquer a pregnant woman and a pirate. Ho hum.

I think (and hope) you're underestimating the show.

This also speaks to something else I've been seeing—people conflating the allied forces with the main cast. We may have a surprising amount of the main cast left ("a whole host of heroes")—that's true. But the Northern forces have kind of been decimated. The Dothraki are simply gone. So many Northerners died. The Unsullied have taken a deep loss—not even sure how many are left. Cersei has two fresh armies. (I think a dragon sort of trumps all, but still.)

Yeah, I was being a bit facetious recycling that comment ;) Good point on the allied forces vs main cast point though. But I think we can all agree even one dragon should be a safe bet against an armada of wooden boats. (Maybe that's a surprise Cersei has been working on since we last saw her... We know she's capable of explosive surprises to overcome her enemies after all. Imagine she succeeds in wiping out all dragons with two episodes remaining?)

He held on. The dolphin and all the rest of its pod turned and swam out to sea, and still he held on. This is it, he thought. Then he remembered that they were air-breathers too. It was going to be all right.


Drenk

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Reply #719 on: April 30, 2019, 04:11:50 PM
There's probably more wildfire.
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