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Game of Thrones (spoilers)

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Lottery

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Reply #810 on: May 19, 2019, 10:12:17 PM


But really, there were some pretty wonderful moments in this one. Built on a pile of moronic nonsense, yes, but I couldn't help but be swayed by it in a way. The 'finale effect', maybe. Ramin Djawadi may have expended his life force on this episode.

I mean, it wasn't entirely a waste. The show is gonna suffer on a rewatch, but there were 4 legendary seasons and there were some pretty amazing moments that occurred in the following seasons.


Drenk

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Reply #811 on: May 19, 2019, 10:28:35 PM
This show is obviously done by a lot of very talented persons outside of our D&D, that's why it feels like a waste of talent of money in the last stretch to me—but this show is also dense enough to be watch by different people for different reasons so it may just be a waste for me. Like the Dothrakis after my Queen has been murdered I'll just chill and go home.

I've wanted to say all season that Ramin Djawadi is the MVP of the show.

And the people who are animating Drogon are geniuses.
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Lottery

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Reply #812 on: May 19, 2019, 11:57:44 PM
I'm pretty much in agreement there.

I must say that it satiated one burning fan-wish I had. The final ending is pretty much perfect for Jon (and the show). As far as I can see, the NW punishment is mostly meaningless. He's a wildling now, possibly a new King Beyond on the Wall. The way he's gotten there over the last two seasons is questionable but this is more or less the ideal fan-service ending for me.

The Starks got a pretty good deal all things considered. And Tyrion is effectively king in a way. Pretty damn unnerved by Bran though.

EDIT:

I also nominate Arya for the best/worst line in the season 'I know a killer when I see one'. How much of a hack does one need to be to write a line like that. I think her writing has suffered the most over the last few seasons, on par with Tyrion.


polkablues

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Reply #813 on: May 20, 2019, 12:11:56 AM
Above all else, I demand a spinoff series of Arya exploring the Americas.
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wilberfan

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Reply #814 on: May 20, 2019, 01:32:52 AM
IT WAS PERFECT.

(Drenk, you're nuts.)


As a non-rabid fan--who gave up and skipped a couple of seasons after failing to keep track of who was pissed at whom and why--I found this very, very satisfying.  Well worth returning to the fold for this last season.

Spoiler: ShowHide
I LOVED that the throne itself was destroyed, and shouted "bravo!" at that quick shot of Dany's dragon "wings".
 
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Lottery

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Reply #815 on: May 20, 2019, 06:35:39 AM
Bran is such a puzzle even at the end. What are the limits of his powers? How much is he at the mercy of the timeline and how much is he in control? Was he actively plotting or did he just submit to the plotting that was always going to occur in the timeline? Why is destiny so nonsensical?
Also, was this some sort of long con by the COTF to put their leader/god stand-in on the throne of the humans that stole their land? Get the humans to kill off their Frankenstein monster and then subjugate them? Some form of revenge? I'll be displeased if this + NK is explicitly cleared up in the spinoff, there's a line between what to keep explicit and implicit, and this is important enough to be explained in the main series. But this is all just mad theorising. More than ever, I would really like to know what the writers were thinking in regard to Bran.
Looking back on everything, Bran being king is a bit sinister and disconcerting.


Drenk

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Reply #816 on: May 20, 2019, 10:28:04 AM
The weirdest thing is that he seemed to know it would happen? But I can swear he said this season that he can only see the past. Otherwise, he would have been waiting for everything to fuck up in order for him to be king.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #817 on: May 20, 2019, 01:27:12 PM
Bran being able to view all of history and being able to see everything that has just happened surely gives him a godly level of predictive power. He can see the entire chessboard and watches as each piece moves. And he gives a nudge when it's necessary.

I suppose it's possible that Bran can actually see into the future, but that brings up too many questions of free will that I'm not sure this story is interested in dealing with (i.e. the future being already written).

In terms of Bran's motives, I think we're supposed to take for granted that the Three-Eyed Raven has the best interests of the realm in mind.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #818 on: May 20, 2019, 02:09:36 PM
I think this might have been one of the most well-done and satisfying episodes of the whole show, I absolutely loved it, and I'm sure I'll gush about it later. Just want to get my 2 major complaints out of the way first...

Jaime and Cersei were buried under a super shallow pile of rubble! Yikes. This is similar to the fate of the Dothraki; it seems like the previous episode was showing us more devastation than actually occurred. They could have stayed upstairs in the map room and been fine. Heck, they could have stood twenty feet away.

Tyrion is definitely mentioned in the maester's book, right? Was Sam pulling a practical joke on him there? Tyrion was not only hand of the king, he was very publicly accused by Catelyn of attempting to kill Bran, he very publicly stood trial for the murder of Joffrey, and he killed Tywin Lannister. Who, if not Tyrion, is described as doing those things in this very questionable history of Westeros?

Now, to make myself feel better...

I have no idea how Arya plays into this, but it seems unlikely that they'll have her emerge from the shadows again. I suppose she could wear Greyworm's face. Really though, for this finale to have maximum power, I feel like it has to be Jon.

Indeed.

If we're going with the premise that this show prizes spectacle, and if we consider the length of the finale, I would bet on some serious developments including Daenerys being overthrown. It's not going to be a full-blown war episode (no Sapochnik, and 2 in a row are unlikely), so the spectacle needs to be plot-heavy. I'm avoiding spoilers, but I think it's safe to say a few characters in particular are due for payoffs, which would probably not be possible if Daenerys simply reigns.

Yep.

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.

I think this ended up being 100% the case. You always need to save those really powerful character payoffs for the finale. It just works.

If you could think of one character to take the throne who would be both maximally satisfying and maximally surprising, who would it be? Bran, of course.

Let's ignore betting odds and potential leaks (which I haven't read). What is the textual evidence for Bran?

In 604, at 14:30, Tyrion visits Bran for a chat:

Tyrion: You know our history better than anyone. That would be useful as lord of Winterfell.
Bran: I'm not lord of Winterfell.
Tyrion: You're the only surviving true-born son of Ned Stark.
Bran: (silence)
Tyrion: You don't want it...
Bran: I don't really want anymore.

Later, at 1:01:00, Tyrion chats with Varys:

Tyrion: He [Jon] doesn't want the throne. That's why he bent the knee.
Varys: Have you considered the best ruler might be someone who doesn't want to rule?
(...)
Varys: Jon's the one man alive who might be able to keep the North in the seven kingdoms [except Bran!]

Varys also talks about succession and "the rightful heir" being important. Which brings us to this:

How would Bran actually take the throne? My prediction: Dany dies, Jon survives, Jon is about to be crowned as the rightful heir... and he abdicates the throne to Bran.

Besides not wanting to rule and being drawn back to the North (as Tormund helpfully foreshadows), what on earth would give Jon the idea to abdicate the throne to his younger brother? When Jon first joined the Night's Watch, he chatted with Aemon Targaryen, who told Jon that he abdicated the throne to his younger brother.

Aemon said this: "My father was Maekar, the First of his Name. My brother Aegon reigned after him, when I had refused the throne, and he was followed by his son Aerys, whom they called 'the Mad King'."

Two honorable and virtuous Targaryen abdicators. Aegon's abdication did not turn out so well. Jon's very well might.

Imagine having the actual Three-Eyed Raven ruling the seven kingdoms. A supernatural and potentially immortal being with no personal desire, incomprehensibly vast knowledge, and unparalleled powers of observation. Varys thinks he's the ultimate protector of the realm? Let me introduce you to the Three-Eyed freaking Raven, my friend. This is Westeros's best shot at the peace and stability that Aegon the Conqueror promised.

Bran may have declined being lord of Winterfell, but that only tells us he wasn't meant for that job, and that he knows Sansa was born for it.

The fact that Bran has been a bit dormant is only further evidence that he's set for a comeback. The same way Varys has been useless but will probably play a major role in this last stretch.

Bran is not apolitical. He intervenes to do what's best for the realm. Bran does not hesitate to tell people what to do when it's important, and he's perfectly capable of making decisions. He made plenty of them that specifically led to this situation where it's going to be possible for him to land in that unlikely position. He gave Arya the dagger that would kill the Night King. He helped take down Littlefinger. And in his most emphatic and insistent intervention to date, he started a chain of events that might take down Daenerys, setting the stage for Jon's abdication to him.

It's completely plausible that Bran doesn't "want" the throne but knows objectively that the Three-Eyed Raven would be the best ruler. Sure he lacks charisma and would need help interacting with mere mortals, but that's where people like Tyrion come in.

I have to say, this is my most detailed prediction ever, and I'm pretty proud of how close I got. (It's a riff on Joana Robinson's prediction, to be fair, but still!) What I got wrong was Jon actively abdicating. It was a forced abdication resulting from total self-sacrifice—which is actually so much better.

Unfortunately, quote anything I've ever said about Daenerys, and I end up with negative internet points.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


polkablues

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Reply #819 on: May 20, 2019, 02:39:32 PM
I was overall satisfied, but the show's apparent disinterest in exploring the scope of Bran's powers and the implications thereof is perhaps its biggest remaining weakness now that it's all wrapped up. It's HEAVILY implied that he is capable of seeing the future, which means that free will is an illusion and all events are predestined to happen. That's an incredibly heavy and important issue to just shrug off. We've seen him literally affecting past events from the present; are the Tower of Joy and the creation of Hodor the only two times that has ever or will ever happen, or are there countless moments throughout their history that he had a (witting or unwitting) hand in? Does he actually care in any way about doing good, helping people, ruling justly, etc., or is he just seeing to it that events play out the way they're meant to play out? These are earth-shatteringly huge questions in the context of the overarching story, and the show seemed content to just kind of say, "Don't worry about it."
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Drenk

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Reply #820 on: May 20, 2019, 03:28:56 PM
Tyrion is more or less the King now, Bran is just a pretext. Why do he wants a Master of Whispers if he can, literally, know everything that is happening? Because he won't do or say anything: he truly doesn't care even if he promised to Sansa that he will rule. He won't. But Bran will die and they'll have someone else and it will...just be the same. (If he's the raven, he probably will live a thousand years? But even that isn't clear.)

I've also been reminded that he didn't appear for a whole season at some point. (Five, I think?)

It's also complicated to believe in Jon's self-sacrifice knowing that the Night's Watch has no reason to exist. And they know that, they make him wonder if it still exists but he doesn't get any response. It makes sense for him to go there by his own will.
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Lottery

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Reply #821 on: May 20, 2019, 08:06:36 PM
With Bran, the writers knew the implications but didn't have the balls to strongly state this about their potentially immortal, omniscient, 'ends justify the means', mind-controlling, time-warping demon god. Or they simply didn't give this enough thought. Like Martin told them but they didn't really get it and just went with it because this plot point is the answer to series-long 'who gets the throne' question. And that the other leaders so easily accepted him is a bit surprising. Either way, this isn't the sweet part of bittersweet.

It's also complicated to believe in Jon's self-sacrifice knowing that the Night's Watch has no reason to exist. And they know that, they make him wonder if it still exists but he doesn't get any response. It makes sense for him to go there by his own will.

Not to mention, the Unsullied weren't going to stay and he has Sansa and Bran to pardon him. It wasn't a real punishment. I would say he could visit Winterfell whenever he likes but in the end, it seems like he's choosing to leave the NW/the south behind and going to the place where he might find peace, so it's a bit like that lovely ending were a certain hobbit chooses to go to Valinor. He's suffered enough.

I just remembered how hilarious it was when Davos suggested that Unsullied should start a house. There were a few cartoonish moments like that one.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #822 on: May 20, 2019, 09:04:07 PM
I don't know why people think Greyworm was the only one who wanted Jon punished. Daenerys still had loyal allies in Westeros, like the Greyjoys and Dornish, who were upset about her death. Yara tells us that in this episode.
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Lottery

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Reply #823 on: May 20, 2019, 09:41:46 PM
I get that Yara had good reason to be loyal but I couldn't take Yara's impassioned vengeance seriously after she meekly submitted to Stark rule after Tyrion's rambling about stories. She had been granted independence earlier in the series by Dany and now she submits to the Starks instead of angrily walking out and claiming independence like Sansa. Not to mention, she should look around the city and see what freeing the city of from Cersei resulted in. Statements about freeing people from tyrants are a bit silly considering Dany's actions. But this may simply be the result of Ironborn stupidity.
Like Jaime Lannister killed the king, was pardoned and then became bodyguard for the next king (as in there's a precedent for forgiveness- I think Jaime chose to be Kingsguard for Robert). Bran and Sansa could do the same for Jon.
Loyalty to Dany doesn't mean much considering that her Dothraki horde didn't go on a killing spree, hunting down Jon, it's like a cultural thing for them. They listen to no one except Dany and themselves. Dorne is a vague nothing at this stage with their unnamed Prince. And if he's a relative of Doran, he should be pretty happy Ellaria and friends are dead.
Ultimately, I'm just happy that Jon makes the choice to go beyond the wall.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #824 on: May 21, 2019, 11:37:53 AM
I was overall satisfied, but the show's apparent disinterest in exploring the scope of Bran's powers and the implications thereof is perhaps its biggest remaining weakness now that it's all wrapped up. It's HEAVILY implied that he is capable of seeing the future, which means that free will is an illusion and all events are predestined to happen. That's an incredibly heavy and important issue to just shrug off. We've seen him literally affecting past events from the present; are the Tower of Joy and the creation of Hodor the only two times that has ever or will ever happen, or are there countless moments throughout their history that he had a (witting or unwitting) hand in? Does he actually care in any way about doing good, helping people, ruling justly, etc., or is he just seeing to it that events play out the way they're meant to play out? These are earth-shatteringly huge questions in the context of the overarching story, and the show seemed content to just kind of say, "Don't worry about it."

This may be a disappointment, but I think we're supposed to understand that Hodor and Tower of Joy are the only times Bran has influenced the past. He was a novice and being rushed through training. Now as the actual Three-Eyed Raven, I'm sure he's a lot more careful. You're right that it would have been nice to dive deeper into all of that. How would it actually fit into the narrative of Season 8, though, unless Bran is using time travel to ensure that everything plays out correctly? I don't think we want that, because it would rob our characters of agency in the final stretch. We do get a hint about Bran's philosophy of free will when he tells Jon "it's your choice."

Since my last post I learned that Vanity Fair was told by a show source that Bran is in fact able to see the future to some extent. Which is kind of nuts. And if that is true, they would need a whole other season to explore it. I don't think that's something you can just dip your toes into. You either leave it mysterious and unsaid or go fully off the rails.

With Bran, the writers knew the implications but didn't have the balls to strongly state this about their potentially immortal, omniscient, 'ends justify the means', mind-controlling, time-warping demon god. Or they simply didn't give this enough thought. Like Martin told them but they didn't really get it and just went with it because this plot point is the answer to series-long 'who gets the throne' question.

"Demon god" is a bit strong; I think we are really supposed to read him as benevolent. I do hope GRRM has more time to explore Bran's powers, though.

It's funny that the extent of Bran's powers is not interrogated in that meeting; it's probably in the Starks' interest to not say "FYI we might be ruling for a thousand years."

I get that Yara had good reason to be loyal but I couldn't take Yara's impassioned vengeance seriously after she meekly submitted to Stark rule after Tyrion's rambling about stories. She had been granted independence earlier in the series by Dany and now she submits to the Starks instead of angrily walking out and claiming independence like Sansa. Not to mention, she should look around the city and see what freeing the city of from Cersei resulted in. Statements about freeing people from tyrants are a bit silly considering Dany's actions. But this may simply be the result of Ironborn stupidity.

I don't see any reason at all to believe Yara's deal for independence is not being honored by Bran.

I viewed Yara as ambivalent in that scene. On one hand, she is upset about her queen being assassinated, and she wasn't there to see what happened in the battle. On the other hand, she probably understands that Daenerys went too far. That reasonably adds up to ambivalence. I guess ambivalence reads as dispassion, because she's not given much time to express her feelings in the scene.

And that the other leaders so easily accepted him is a bit surprising.

I count 16 people at the meeting, and 10 of them are either Starks or loyal to the Starks. (This is even assuming that all the people we can’t identify or get a read on are NOT loyal to the Starks.) So it seems abundantly clear that a Stark is going to end up on the throne.

Bran is a fantastic choice not just for the reasons Tyrion lays out, but because there just aren't any obvious candidates present (as Edmure demonstrates), and because Bran has a claim to Winterfell that he hasn't exercised, i.e. clearly has some place in the political system if he will accept it.

This is actually a breathtaking power grab by the Starks. They pretty much rule the continent from north to south.
"Hunger is the purest sin"