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Game of Thrones (spoilers)

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Robyn

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Reply #720 on: April 30, 2019, 04:37:22 PM
An ending where everything go to hell despise them saving the world from the WW, could be a very powerful ending as well. Wildfire + Dragonfire isn't a perfect combo. And there will always be human stupidity.

I think there's something more to Bran too. With the powers he possesses, he could've have been manipulating history in ways we don't know about yet. Small things to guide the characters on their paths, but perhaps he has fucked up at some point too, trying to change things that wasn't possible (the burn them all theory for example). Remember that his training with the original Three Eyed Raven was never finished.

There's three episodes left and I'm sure they will wrap everything up nicely. R+L+J will complicate things too. Otherwise there's no point to it.

I have faith.

Me too!


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #721 on: April 30, 2019, 05:23:00 PM
I think I'm finding a crux. Once things get especially chaotic, this battle is overly dark, visually confusing, and overwhelming. Many people are viewing that as a failure of craft. But the characters are experiencing all those things—why shouldn’t we? Your willingness to go along with that may determine how much you like the episode. Poor visibility was a plot point throughout the battle. Things go wrong. People don't know what to do. Daenerys was supposed to light the trench, but she couldn't see Davos's signal.

Many sequences are executed with absolute precision and clarity, like the Unsullied protecting the retreat. Others are chaotic and confusing, like how bad things get when the wights climb over the wall. Here’s another a pair of examples—Arya fighting off a horde of wights in the halls of Winterfell (dark, confusing, overwhelming) vs. Arya sneaking through the library (crystal clear). Am I to believe that Miguel Sapochnik forgot to put enough torches in the hallway?

I think it's fair to critique some of his choices, though. Darkness aside, a lot of the fighting was shot too close-up. We could have used more wide shots. You could argue that would have lightened the horror a bit (there aren't a lot of wide shots in tense horror scenes), but I think it might have improved a lot of scenes.

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?)

Good question. I have no idea what Cersei has up her sleeve. The dragons have to get fairly close to burn boats, which does make them a bit vulnerable. Either way, I can't see more than one dragon surviving the end.

I feel like they've clearly set Tyrion up for redemption. I'm picturing a commando mission through the tunnels below King's Landing, sort of like what was attempted last season. But hopefully it's something I can't even think of.

Personally I want Arya to take Harry Strickland's face and send the Golden Company marching the wrong way.
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Fernando

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Reply #722 on: April 30, 2019, 08:43:12 PM
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.


Couldn't agree more about Arya, her moment was well earned even if Melisandre let us knew minutes ago, I still yelled noooo when the NK grabbed her.


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. More so, 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.

What you say reminded me what Tyrion said in the crypts, something like 'I should be out there, maybe I see something they don't', only to be told by Sansa that they were useless out there.

BTW, I love Sansa but it bothers me that she still doesn't like/trust Dany after everything she has done and all she has lost, maybe she will make piece with that after seeing how everything went in the battle. I loved that Missandei defended her in the crypts.


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

Fixed.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #723 on: May 05, 2019, 01:55:18 AM
I rewatched "The Long Night" and took notes.

First I checked in with Episode 2 to review what the battle plan was:

Jon acknowledges right up front that there are “far too many” dead; they can never actually defeat them in a conventional battle. “Our enemy doesn’t tire,” he says. “Doesn’t stop. Doesn’t feel. You can’t beat them in a straight fight.” So he tells everyone explicitly that their only real chance is slaying the Night King. Bran, then, is the way they get the Night King to expose himself.

Davos then fills us in on the rest of their plan: “We’ll hold off the rest of them for as long as we can.” Yep. That’s it.

So back to E3.

When Melisandre arrives and enters Winterfell, there’s some heavy foreshadowing as she gazes meaningfully at Arya across the way. This immediately follows Melisandre saying she’ll be dead before the dawn, so the air is already thick with prophecy in this moment.

The Charge

It’s still not clear to me what initiates the Dothraki charge. We see it begin from inside Winterfell. Jorah did raise his sword in preparation, but that was several minutes ago, maybe even 10+ minutes in-universe. Dothraki yelping and rowdiness precedes the charge, and it’s kind of a wave effect (they don’t charge in unison), so I think they might have gotten carried away and (clearly) overconfident. We’re not given any indication of a commander initiating this charge, but we don’t get a shot of anyone believing this is a mistake.

The overhead shot of the Dothraki charging is so breathtaking that I did stop caring for a moment.

Jon and Daenerys seem concerned but not alarmed that the Dothraki are charging into the darkness, which should alarm us about their military skills. This strategy seems at odds with using Bran as bait. I just can’t come up with an explanation for it. If I’m stretching a bit, I might say that the dead have all the time in the world, so for the living it’s probably best to get the battle started.

Some insight from a Vox article: “The Dothraki had success charging into adversaries like that in the past because they were charging into living humans who are subject to terror and fear, leading to easier deaths. That wasn’t the case here.”

Either way, it’s clear that even Jon underestimated the dead, which stretches credulity but is possible.

The Unsullied don’t seem concerned by the charge. It appears to be part of the plan. They’re ready with the trebuchets.

I think it’s worth reiterating: characters in this show are allowed to be dumb and have bad plans. This was clearly a bad plan. Catastrophically bad. So bad that it breaks immersion. But I think it was worth it just for that scene where their lights slowly get extinguished as we hear their howls echo across the icy plains. Absolutely beautiful and terrifying. Can’t say I’ve seen anything else like it.

Battle Begins

Jon believes the Night King could appear at any moment, so he wants to stay perched there with Daenerys for the NK’s arrival. She wisely deduces that the front line needs her to scorch some zombies immediately, though. Jon almost looks confused. Why are they still letting him plan battles?? If anything, this should convince the North to embrace Daenerys as their queen. While Jon just sat there like a dummy, Dany instantly joined the fray and saved their butts. Pointedly, btw, Sansa sees this and is overwhelmed by the dragons’ power or Dany’s heroism or both.

(Flash forward, and this will mark yet another battle where Jon can't finish the job, partially because of the tough spot his poor strategizing has put them in. He's not great at this.)

Meanwhile, Jon flies to the back line looking for the Night King. Not a bad idea, I guess. But this is precisely when they’re blasted by the storm, and visibility gets bad.

Then we get one of the most beautiful shots in GoT history (first attachment).

At this point, we’re starting to see a pattern that bothers me in this episode: characters from the main cast are constantly put in peril that seems pretty hopeless (Brienne and Sam so far), to be saved at the last minute by another main character. I’d give them one or two of these in a battle episode, but this trope gets a little worn out in Ep 3.

Sam on the battlefield is quite a silly thing to witness. I have no idea how he survived this episode.

As Sansa enters the crypt, the wordless exchange between her and Tyrion is just perfect. One of the highlights.

At 23:00, I’m seeing the first actual “too dark” moment, but the camera is swooping past our forces into the unknown stormy darkness, then essentially does a whip pan up to Jon in the sky, where the point of this scene is that he can’t see well enough to find Dany. Obviously intentional use of low visibility and done to good effect.

Unable to locate Dany or the Night King, Jon falls back to guard Bran. Pretty reasonable move. However, if I’m being fair, I would say this scene of Jon landing on the ramparts is truly unnecessarily dark. No good reason that we can barely see him here. And this might be one of the key moments that threw people off—not understanding what Jon was doing plus not being able to see him clearly.

It’s hard to overstate how heavily Daenerys and her forces are carrying this fight. The Northerners would have lost instantly without her. To my mind, the North (and the entirety of humanity, really) owes their lives to Daenerys and should consider being profoundly grateful.

Night King Arrives

Sapochnik is doing a lot of spectacular work in this episode. The Night King reveal is really something (second attachment).

Underappreciated detail: a nervous Gendry taking deep breaths as the walkers begin climbing the walls.

Now halfway through the episode, I’ve only been able to identify one moment that was needlessly dark.

When the walkers get over the wall, it’s chaotic, confusing, and shot close (and to good effect—you feel like they’re invading your space). But it is not dark. There’s ample backlighting from torches and the trench fire.

Underappreciated detail: Davos being super impressed with Arya’s fighting.

Major Arya foreshadowing #2: When Melisandre inspires Arya to run off on her mission, we immediately cut to the godswood (where Theon begins the defense).

Jon and the Night King battling on their dragons is clearer on rewatch. Apparently the dragons slashing and taking bites out of each other is straight from book lore. I will fault parts of this scene for being too dark, though. This would be needlessly dark moment #2. The scene does get nice and bright when the blue flame comes out, though. So, arguable.

Battle Ends

I love the shot of the white walkers heading toward Winterfell (attached). There are so many money shots in this episode.

The crypt walls that the dead break through are definitely crumbly, like they’re made of paper mache and sand.

I think when we watch the scenes inside the Winterfell courtyard at this point, we’re looking for all the familiar faces to see how much trouble each character is in. Obviously that’s not an issue on second watch. And on first watch, if one does have trouble making out all the faces, one can take a little comfort that any major character death would happen in a close shot that we can see very clearly.

Nice to see Dany finally pick up a sword and help fend off the dead a bit. Her skills pretty much align with her lack of combat training, too. I like that detail.

The horror that unfolds in the crypt is really one of the craziest parts of the episode. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the civilians down there were slaughtered. Between this and the battle itself, there’s going to be some major mourning in Ep 4.

Another completely wordless exchange between Sansa and Tyrion that conveys more than any conversation could. High-level character work.

The return of the piano score is fraught with meaning. Last time we heard this type of thing, it slowly crescendoed and culminated in death on a massive scale. So it does here.

I can't get over how absolutely perfect Arya is as the Night King slayer. Who better qualified than a supernatural assassin? Which is to say nothing of all the character meaning going into it. When I picture Jon killing the Night King, not only is it boring, I have literally no idea how that could happen. I'm unaware of any skills he has that could directly accomplish such a thing.

Post-Night King slaying, I love the moment in the crypt when everyone takes a moment to try to absorb what just happened, like they’re waking up from a bad nightmare but there are still dead bodies everywhere.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Drenk

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Reply #724 on: May 05, 2019, 05:00:40 PM
The GoT has leaked, so beware.

EDIT: Oh, it's weirder than I thought: it's a cam leak, but not of the whole episode, just of some minutes? Delivered in pieces? Anyway, I've been "spoiled" by seeing a screencap, trying to know what exactly had leaked.
Ascension.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #725 on: May 05, 2019, 05:10:47 PM
Thanks for the heads up.

I think every episode this season has leaked a few hours early.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Fernando

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Reply #726 on: May 05, 2019, 06:08:09 PM
The GoT has leaked, so beware.

You took one for the team, thank you, I'll stay off twitter and tv news.


And great post JB.


Sorry I don't remember who said it but someone here pointed out that the war against Cersei should be easy to win just with Arya and her many faces, she could kill Euron, Cersei and whoever came in her way so I wonder how they are going to handle  everything.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #727 on: May 05, 2019, 06:50:21 PM
Arya should be frozen in amber to be unleashed in a thousand years when the next Long Night is upon us.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #728 on: May 05, 2019, 09:42:07 PM
Well guys, I played the expectations game, and I think I lost. At first I was angry. But I'm only a victim of my own self-delusion—I really believed Daenerys could keep her shit together.

They played fair. They showed us the cracks forming in Episode 1. They foreshadowed this last season, not with her cruel battle tactics (which were no more cruel than Tywin on a mild day), but with something even more foreshadowy—Bran's initiative. It makes complete sense in retrospect. Why was it so important that Bran set that chain of events in motion? Because Daenerys had to be taken down.

It works because Emilia Clarke sold it. She sold it so hard. The writing also did everything possible to set it up in this episode. Her losses have been profound, and they just keep happening. She feels no loyalty from anyone around her. Her most faithful (living) follower has just been beheaded.

I think it's happened. I think Daenerys has actually flipped that switch in her head. It's not madness, exactly. The mad king's rage was based in delusions. Daenerys's rage is based in reality, and I'm not sure there's a way to turn her back. It would surprise me. (But the show is definitely surprising me right now.)

I'm actually somehow open to a rage-filled Daenerys doing what needs to be done, followed by Jon's ascension. One thing's certain—I'm no longer rooting for Dany to take the throne. That saddens me, but it's where we are.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Fernando

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Reply #729 on: May 05, 2019, 11:10:27 PM
It seems they simply don't learn, they are so bad at strategy.

Sansa was actually right, they needed to wait and recover from the battle of Winterfell, they didn't and paid the price.

I'm with you, I used to think that she would take the throne and Jon would pay with his life for it but right now it seems that Dany won't take it back, it even seems impossible, I have never seen her that weak, but...maybe because of that she will deliver, maybe.


Right now Arya is the one with the better chance to off Cersei, she has skills nobody else have, unless they hire another faceless to kill her. BTW I like that she is with the hound again.


WTF Jaime? Just like that he's running with Cersei? Even after learning that she sent Bronn to kill him.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #730 on: May 06, 2019, 12:08:04 AM
It was quite telegraphed in this episode, but it's clear that Jon's judgment (military and political) is crippled by his love and allegiance for Daenerys. They may be a good match romantically, but being together makes them weaker and dumber. It's exactly what Tyrion feared in the boatsex brooding scene.
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Lottery

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Reply #731 on: May 06, 2019, 12:54:01 AM
I guess we are well and truly done with the ice people in all points of discussion. When will I learn? It seems that I am also a victim of my self-delusion.

I'll quickly mention one thing- that parley at the end was silly when considering Cersei. There is no reason that exchange should have occurred and ended the way it did. Cersei has zero sense of honour and she is beyond all reason- in addition to that, her ballistas are now clearly capable of making mincemeat out of dragons. Cersei has zero cause to obey these wartime rules at this point, Dany and co would not have been able to walk out of there at all. Obviously all this torment and uncertainty will lead to Dracary Danys next ep. I think this sort of thing is important to consider and might become more obvious on a rewatch- the writers need to hit certain plot points and character moments but lack the competence to fill in the gaps effectively. Kinda frustrating when everyone else on the team is trying their hardest.

I liked Dinklage's pained doubt during this ep. Everything is very much falling apart for Tyrion.

@Fernando, surely he's actually off to kill Cersei? Even if he redeems himself he'll always be a bad man (e.g him being the despised Kingslayer after his greatest act of good)- so killing Cersei won't ever redeem him overall but it's something he must do? He and her are meant to be together one way or another in life and death?


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #732 on: May 06, 2019, 01:05:51 AM
David Benioff says after the episode that Jaime has made the choice to return to Cersei. But he's surely lying. He better be. Jaime fulfilling the valonqar prophecy would be a pretty explosive way to end the series.

Edit: the actual Benioff quote is: "he makes the choice to go back to Cersei." That is consistent with Jaime the Cersei-slayer. In the context of his interview it does point us in the opposite direction, though. Sneaky? They could string it out until the very end.
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Drenk

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Reply #733 on: May 06, 2019, 06:14:37 AM
Okay. Whatever.

I was excited for this episode even though I didn't like the last one. They had all the pieces to make something thrilling. Instead, they did that.

Oh. If every virgin of the Seven Kingdom has to get some, yes, they can fill all the hours of TV they want.

When Bronn gets in, I'm sorry but that's a SNL sketch.

Jon's dumbness in this episode was too much. Everyone being dumb is just convenient for the writers at this point.

That dragon's death: you blink and you miss it. Okay, I'm just sad at this point, not even angry...Euron's face after the kill: it looked like a Disney Channel villain.

Cersei can kill everyone at the end, what the hell is happening? She killed a dragon in six seconds with these arrows: just kill all of them and then bye-bye Queen Daenerys?

(Brienne is a knight, she should have stopped Jaime. Just...write the interesting scene for God's sake. And then write around it. In what world does Brienne let someone save the enemy of her Queen? Did she not stop him because...he fucked her? Oh God.)



Ascension.


Robyn

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Reply #734 on: May 06, 2019, 07:13:39 AM
Yup, I didn't like this episode at all.

I can get behind some of the core choices the showrunners are making, but at times they are handling them so bad. I hated the way the dragon died. Dany thought it was a good idea to just fly into KL and then be like "opps he's dead now"? Also the way she was smiling at him right before he got shot... ugh.

So I understand their ideas, and why they are making them. I just don't enjoy the way it's playing out. It feels dumb.

It's becoming a bit too sentimental for my taste as well. Everything in this episode seemed off somehow, like they are not even in the same GoT universe anymore. Things are getting silly and melodramatic. They are turning every interaction to a fanfiction idea of Cleganebowl or something...

This whole episode almost made the last episode (which I loved) feel underwhelming in retroperspective. I guess that's that with the NK? No explanations from Brann or anything?

When Bronn gets in, I'm sorry but that's a SNL sketch.

Yeah, what the hell? They couldn't write that scene better?

I haven't read online reactions outside of this thread yet. I am guessing they are bad...