Game of Thrones: Game of Throne Episode 8.6   Show Only 
May 19, 2019 7:19 PM - Season 8, Episode 6 - Subscribe

 
HE PAT THE DOGGO
posted by poffin boffin at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [86 favorites]


Boooooo
posted by codacorolla at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


That was fine.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


And now our watch has ended.
posted by rewil at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [75 favorites]


I'm not sure about a lot of things....

But she closed the book on his ass. Fuck yeah.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


“No one is happy.” —Tyrion
posted by oulipian at 7:22 PM on May 19, 2019 [35 favorites]


anyway didn't care for it much but:

- council meeting was worth the entire godawful season
- queen in da norf!
- i am not ashamed to admit i wept openly when arya fucking sailed the hell AWAY from this mess

MESSTEROS
posted by poffin boffin at 7:22 PM on May 19, 2019 [31 favorites]


I called it last week. Bran DID end up being king. Also, Sansa has 100% been my favorite character from day one. So glad to see she got the ending she deserved.
posted by all about eevee at 7:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Ink truther.
posted by tilde at 7:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [30 favorites]


Some real cringe moments but solid enough overall. I so needed a shot of Ser Brienne writing her own name as the next Commander of the Kingsguard though, rather than just serving Jaime’s legacy.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [58 favorites]


Do you know who saw that ending coming?

Bran
posted by McSly at 7:25 PM on May 19, 2019 [76 favorites]


Loved it. Was not expecting to.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:25 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Let me guess - we hated it.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:25 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


The six kingdoms need a steady hand. Bran will keep them regular.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [68 favorites]


Didn't love it. I think I've had a better dramatic arc in my last decade. And that's saying something.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Do you know who saw that ending coming? Bran

That's going to start getting obnoxious after awhile. Bran, I mean.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


All that matters
posted by The Whelk at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


Jesus, they really had Samwell present A Song of Fire and Ice at the meeting? Even M. Night Shyamalan would have said that was awful.

I hope Bran masterminded this entire awful plot so he could become king. It makes much more sense that way.
posted by gladly at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [58 favorites]


The council scene was great. Would totally watch a spinoff with all of them.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm baffled what anyone thought The Wall would even be at this point. There is a big hole, no White Walkers, and we like Wildlings now. It doesn't take a Three Eyed Raven to see that Jon would just skip out and go be with his pals and live his best life.
posted by gatorae at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [43 favorites]


1. Dany's death was very anime, and I mean that in a good way: dramatic music, sad dragon roaring for his mother, feathers ash floating through the air, genuine tears in my eyes.

2. "We don't have a king or queen." And I cheered because democracy comes to Westeros would be part of my dream ending. And then I was like, okay, they're voting for Bran? Maybe democracy isn't the best system. I'm glad that Sansa is not having any of this King Bran nonsense.

3. I'm going to miss this show! Goodbye brooding Jon, stoic Brienne, and [horses neighing]. We'll meet again if the books are ever finished.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


The pacing of the episode and this final season leaves a lot to be desired, it was really odd and rough at times, from moving quickly to glacial paces. Overall the ending felt anti-climatic, but not terrible. Not great either. Mostly, there's pleasue that the series over and wasn't a complete shit show.

Bran is a odd choice for a king though. And what the hell does the Night's Watch do now that the Night King is dead? Fuck off to the North I guess.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I demand no fewer than three why dragons are anarchists think pieces on my desk by tomorrow
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [20 favorites]


Some nice touches, but it felt overall like a mashup of parody sketches and the first drafts of novice fanfic.

Also: SMEARED INK! I despair.
posted by maudlin at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [26 favorites]


Well, as Tyrion said "No one's happy so it's the perfect compromise."

Bran did you NEED to go off and warg in the middle of the council meeting? And did we need to end the scene before Brienne was casually named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard? Sheesh.
posted by urbanlenny at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think it was great if you accept the developments of the previous couple episodes. But if you hated those and reject them obviously all the events that follow on them are not going to be satisfying.

I have a lot of thoughts about Tyrion's monologue to Jon about Dany's actions in Essos, how everyone cheered when she crucified hundreds etc "because they were evil", and how that relates to the metanarrative of the show and people's reactions to Dany... but NO FIRST I HAVE TO SAY:

Sansa sitting Edmure the fuck down justified the entire 8 season run of this show.
posted by Justinian at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [74 favorites]


Well that was weird and dumb. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [23 favorites]


Ah so the problem with Daenerys is that she believed her way was right, but fortunately Bran will never be so convinced of his own infallibility -- argh ok whatever. Emilia Clarke was amazing this episode, and might've made me a bit of a dragon tankie. The first 30 minutes were a hell of a lot more compelling than the last hour, and that was all Daenerys.

Ghost got snuggles this episode! So...uh, I guess they figured out how to do that in the last month, huh? TBH, I was so pleased with Sansa's happy ending that I can live with everything else. Why did the guy on death row get to choose the next King? Hey, why not! Why didn't any of the other regions press for their independence after the North did? Ehh...who knows! That new prince of Dorne is a real joiner! Was it a politic thing for Sansa to do, bodying her own uncle when she might yet need his support? Maybe not, but it was very funny! Are the Dothraki leaving with the Unsullied to go to Naath? I...guess. maybe they're all just friends now!

I kinda wish they'd given us an alt universe episode, too, where Daenerys ended up the dark queen, beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth!

But...ah, it's not the kind of series that ends with a message about how the smallest person can change the world, huh.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [26 favorites]


Arya's adventures in Evenwesteros seems fun but also I hope that's not a follow up show for Maisie Williams' sake, those kids have been stuck in this series long enough.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


That was way less horrid than I was expecting. Still not, you know, good, but easily the best episode this season, and probably about the best ending we could've gotten, given the setup. Still a lot rushed but some fun stuff (the council meeting; Jon and the wildlings being like 'oh, fuck it' and marching north, etc). Definitely got a bit misty at Arya heading off to the west too. My comment on the last shot: "Man, children of the forest gonna be pissed."
posted by Alterscape at 7:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


It was fine. Adequate. Kind of a Lord of the Rings retread. (Sam has the book, the hero sails West).

I did like the shot with Sansa at the end.
posted by rewil at 7:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


That was so whelming.
posted by srboisvert at 7:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [27 favorites]


liked the shout it to the actual historical John Snow with the mention of clean water and the council not having a master of war or whispers cause


Why would Bran need them?
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


I vote for spinoff: Arya, Explorer of the (unknown number of) Seas.
posted by pangolin party at 7:30 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Sansa sitting Edmure the fuck down justified the entire 8 season run of this show.

I didn't even remember who he was AT ALL

that guy: *speechifying*
me: oh my god he's going to stab caesar
posted by poffin boffin at 7:30 PM on May 19, 2019 [35 favorites]


FINALE SUMMARY: emotionless tall chair boy seems to have orchestrated a massacre and his resultant coronation; nobody seems to mind much; meanwhile, girl goes sailing in the one cardinal direction no one has ever previously considered: more west
posted by Kybard at 7:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [56 favorites]


I guess my preferred ending, at this point, would be Jon and Tyrion teaming up to take down Dany, Jon refusing the throne as he has always said he would, the kingdoms going back to being self-governed (what Sansa calls independence which, obviously barring democracy which won’t happen, is the closest to chosen leaders as Westeros can get), Arya riding off to see the world, Jon living in “exile” beyond the wall with his giant puppy and Ghost, Bran says some “this was the way to break the wheel” shit and melts into a tree.

Well, I wasn’t too far off, I guess.

I hate that Jon was a puddle of doubt and regret, it really ruins it for me. Not about the killing, but about the necessity of it. Also I will never accept the premise that the Unsullied captured and held him because of what, some bunch of randos styled themselves as lords and ladies and might want him alive? What? WHAT?
posted by lydhre at 7:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


I totally believed in the half second before Jon stabbed Dany that he was genuinely like “ok, I guess you’re right.” He is just not very smart.
posted by something something at 7:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


Sansa and Ser Davos came out ok, so whatever.

Edmure Tully turning up just to get shut down trying to give a pompous speech was a highlight.

Could have done with like 90% less mopey Tyrion and Jon Snow.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:32 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I had no idea the unsullied could teleport. One second Greyworm is busy slitting Lannister throats as Jon walks by to go see Dany and the next he is at the Red Keep ahead of Jon looking like he has been there all along.
posted by srboisvert at 7:32 PM on May 19, 2019 [59 favorites]


Eh. I don't see this ending any differently. Overall I'm OK with it. It was true to its themes of the stupidity of belecing in heroes and happy endings. Nobody got what they want and everyone leaves kind of mad. That seems about right.

I honestly liked the song of ice and fire gag. It was stupid, but so what? If a show that becomes this much of a cultural phenomenon can't flip a bird on it's way out who among us can?
posted by East14thTaco at 7:32 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I vote for spinoff: Arya, Explorer of the (unknown number of) Seas.

Are we voting for spinoffs now? Jon and Tormund solving Wildling crimes, written from Ghost's pov.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [50 favorites]


It's real weird that magic and prophecy are demonstrably real in this world but it doesn't matter and nobody cares.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [59 favorites]


That was way less horrid than I was expecting.

Not worse, exactly, just...less.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 7:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I was really hoping we'd see a blue-eyed Danerys-corpse suddenly snap awake on an island somewhere, becoming the new Night King....

Alas.
posted by Thistledown at 7:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [25 favorites]


And someone needs to explain how the ceiling can simultaneously have fallen on Jamie and Cersei but then still be there holding the vaults up when Tyrion finds them.
posted by lydhre at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [81 favorites]


Like, I liked many of the ideas, but found the execution to be just pretty stilted and poorly written.

I especially loved Drogon being like, you know what? No gods, no masters, motherfuckers, and graffiti-ing an anarchy symbol on the wall before flying tf back to Valyria. If the episode would have just ended there, I'd have gone away thoroughly satisfied.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [27 favorites]


So Jon Snow is pulling a Dexter?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I am putting down a marker right now that Tyrion's "ask me in ten years" line is 100% there to be replayed in a sequel miniseries ten years from now.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I laughed SO HARD at Edmure Tully and Robyn Arryn brought back for a goof.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [23 favorites]


One second Greyworm is busy slitting Lannister throats as Jon walks by to go see Dany and the next he is at the Red Keep ahead of Jon looking like he has been there all along.

he sailed there on one of the magic squiddy ships
posted by poffin boffin at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Before the show, I posted this on Facebook:

I’m just going to make it official by copy pasting my recent comment on other’s posts.
—————
I posted my theory elsewhere, as someone who doesn’t watch but reads recaps and has read the books. King Whoever Bran Is These Days. He doesn’t want it, the viewers don’t want it, so it’ll happen.
—————-
Good luck tonight, GoT fans!


I... I was joking. I didn’t mean for it to come true. I’m sorry.
posted by Ruki at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


Are we voting for spinoffs now? Jon and Tormund solving Wildling crimes, written from Ghost's pov.

Please send this to HBO, I understand they're doing GRRMverse spinoffs by the dozen and this sounds good as hell.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


the most emotionally stirring moment for me was Drogon nudging Dany and going all "mommy?"

which was then somewhat deflated by the large dragon getting very angry at a sharp chair and then flying off to Not-Relevant-To-The-Plot-Anymore-Land
posted by Kybard at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [34 favorites]


Drogon is fine so I'm fine with this.
posted by Pyry at 7:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


Just want to say that these GoT threads have been way more entertaining than the actual show this season. Thanks, all. You’re the best.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [34 favorites]


The real 'Song of Ice and Fire' were the friends we slaughtered along the way.
posted by Fizz at 7:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [92 favorites]


I thought I was looking forward to this final post mortem but I just find myself...depressed. I hung in despite the crappiness of the season FOR THAT??

I should have dropped out when I started seeing comparisons to Lost.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


which was then somewhat deflated by the large dragon getting very angry at a sharp chair and then flying off to Not-Relevant-To-The-Plot-Anymore-Land
posted by Kybard at 10:35 PM on May 19 [+] [!]


Again, why I was hoping that Danerys would end up the new Night King....er.....Queen.

Because the Wheel.
posted by Thistledown at 7:37 PM on May 19, 2019


Also: Drogon did his best to break the wheel by melting the throne but then they made Bran king anyway.
posted by Pyry at 7:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


I love how everyone laughed at the idea of an actual democracy, even Sansa.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [54 favorites]


INT. SMALL COUNCIL CHAMBER — DAY
Grand Maester Sam presents a large, ponderous time called A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE to the council.

SAM
(looking at the camera)
It's not quite finished yet.
posted by guiseroom at 7:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [55 favorites]


So, uh, what was up with the Lord of Light?

Is Jon going to drop dead like ten seconds after walking into the woods? hahahaha
posted by rue72 at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


The Danaerys death scene was amazing, and a dragon melting the iron throne was the best possible ending.

Then it just got... bad.
posted by rainydayfilms at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ngl, I started to tear up a little when Dany was talking about her image of the Iron Throne when she was a little girl. I am so easy when it comes to this show.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


In my headcanon, the Hound crawls out from under the rubble, finds out that Arya went more west, hies off after her, and they have many fine adventures. The end.
posted by skye.dancer at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


Okay, uh...great gowns, beautiful gowns.
posted by sallybrown at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


I've spent this season living in terror of Unexpected Pregnancy, actual real kudos to this show for not doing that.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [34 favorites]


something something, I thought so too. And then after it happened, I figured “well, he’s has so much practice delivering that very same line about how she is his queen, that he could probably fool anyone by now.”
posted by Liesl at 7:40 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I give it a week before Bran starts executing every last asshole who still calls him "the Broken" because seriously wtf
posted by jason_steakums at 7:40 PM on May 19, 2019 [52 favorites]


I had a moment of clarity and self-awareness when the small council settled in to discuss the budget and whether sewage treatment was the most pressing public health concern and I was like YES THIS IS WHAT I CAME FOR!

And then we went back to stirring music and heroes looking blankly off into the middle distance and I was like, UUUUUGH WHY it was finally getting interesting again!
posted by rue72 at 7:40 PM on May 19, 2019 [44 favorites]



I've spent this season living in terror of Unexpected Pregnancy, actual real kudos to this show for not doing that.


maybe drogon flew off to lay an egg
posted by poffin boffin at 7:41 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


At some point I missed that the finale should just literally be A Chorus Line and I got a few sample lines in before I stated to cross the irony/sincerity therhold and had to stop.

“What are we plotting anyway? Am I getting stabbed today? There’s a faceless man waiting for me out there I just know ...I really need this ...throne!”

“We were siblings.” “I was tortured.” “We were screwing.” “..at Casterly Rock.”

“Bran, 10, 3 Eyed Raven.”
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


And someone needs to explain how the ceiling can simultaneously have fallen on Jamie and Cersei but then still be there holding the vaults up when Tyrion finds them.

#ceilingtruther
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 PM on May 19, 2019 [20 favorites]


Arya riding the pale mare was just a random white horse transportation I guess.
posted by gatorae at 7:41 PM on May 19, 2019 [63 favorites]


Well, that was unsatisfying. I read all the spoilers and somehow it was still disappointing. My general overall read of the episode was basically: this is visually impressive, and makes zero sense. So many things make no sense! That’s not how masonry buildings collapse! (sorry, this is my new personal "jet fuel can’t melt steel beams", carried over from various scenes of the destruction last episode). How did Grey Worm & Co finish murdering POWs in time to beat Jon back to the gates of the Red Keep? Where did Arya’s white horse go? How does Dany get stabbed once and expire immediately while Jaime was turned into a pincushion last week and made it all the way through the keep?

The actors are all selling it hard (Peter Dinklage and Gwendoline Christie in particular) but so much of the dialogue just fell flat. Tyrion and Jon’s whole prison cell conversation is possibly the worst example of telling, not showing in the whole series—the writers really felt they had to spell it all out, I guess, probably because they didn’t do the narrative work to get there organically. (Also 100% ugh to Tyrion’s “I loved her..not as successfully as you.” Just ugh). So many wooden, faux-profound statements like “love is more powerful than reason” and “sometimes duty is the death of love”—even the weak dialogue used to be better than that. Tyrion listing his crimes and sins reminds me of Jaime’s goodbye speech to Brienne, but seems like another instance of wasting script/screentime on reiterating things we already know. Even the comic callbacks were mostly disappointing; eight years and you’re going to go with “piss off the edge of the world” and “jackass and a honeycomb in a brothel”?

The kingsmoot scene was especially senseless (although the return of Ser Dadvos was sweet). I mean, Tyrion saying “I’ve had nothing to do but think these past few weeks”—honey, that’s not exactly a selling point given the track record of your thinking over the past few seasons. And I straight up loled at Sam being “idk maybe we invent….democracy?” Seeing how he’s the GRRM stand-in, suddenly GRRM’s apparent political boner for Joe Biden makes powerful sense.

I’m glad the throne got melted, which was one of the major endgame things I’d hoped for, but it felt pretty meaningless, especially since there's still a king. I liked Arya's decision to take to the sea, clearly the best option available at this point. Brienne completing Jaime’s entry in the white book was predictable but kind of sweet? (Gwendoline Christie did some incredible face acting there; bless her). I’m still furious about how that storyline played out, but at least she ends up with a good job in a warm climate (which reminds me, why is the capital still at King's Landing if it's now a near-total ruin?) and she’s not pregnant. And Jon finally pet his damn dog.

Since basically the only thing I can find to wholeheartedly praise here (aside from the performances) is the visuals, a few examples of the latter that that I found particularly striking: Drogon shaking off the ash and rubble, Dany walking through the ashfall to the throne, the gate of the Wall going down—I wish that had been the final frame, actually, with the screen going black (like my heart, upon watching this episode).
posted by karayel at 7:42 PM on May 19, 2019 [25 favorites]


ALSO: Jamie and Cersei were covered with like three bricks. If they had just sheltered under that completely intact brick arch they would have survived.
posted by Pyry at 7:42 PM on May 19, 2019 [56 favorites]


So, uh, what was up with the Lord of Light?

Some old bullshit religion that managed to get some things right while also convincing people to burn children alive. You know, fantasy.
posted by East14thTaco at 7:43 PM on May 19, 2019 [20 favorites]


"Not mentioned in the book?"

"My lord, don't take offense, I'm assured it's not finished yet!"
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:43 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm so sad for Drogon and his Bambi moment. ....mom?.....Mooom?????
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 7:44 PM on May 19, 2019 [18 favorites]


I really didn't like the connections the showrunners were suggesting between PoC (violent foreigners, speaking in non-English, needing subtitles*, etc) and terrorism.

*and this includes connecting Daenerys with the PoC to allude to her as now "evil" and "mad" and "fundamentalist" - like when she gave her speech in Valyrian.

This was an earlier part of the episode, and I know everyone's focused on discussing the big picture ending and the later part of the episode - but I just wanted to say I thought it was pretty gross, and a shame that the showrunners did that. (and yes, I know that brand of racism has existed throughout the show since season 1, but it leaves a particularly bad aftertaste when underscored so emphatically in the last episode.)
posted by aielen at 7:44 PM on May 19, 2019 [70 favorites]


The Arya thing settles a Fairly Big Book fan theory but my first thought was “so she’s gonna go ..enslave the residents of Amerrioss?”

I mean that’s not her character but it still occurred to me
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


The tyrant is dead, finally.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:45 PM on May 19, 2019


Maybe I am a crazy person but hear me out maybe just maybe they coulda gone with something other than "...and then all the weirdo foreigners and angry black people sailed away and nobody ever had to give a shit about what they thought ever again."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [111 favorites]


I so needed a shot of Ser Brienne writing her own name as the next Commander of the Kingsguard though, rather than just serving Jaime’s legacy.

YES THIS.

Also my heart did leap up happily at "Ser Podrick", although if we're going to get fanservice I kind of wish we could have seen his knighting, too.
posted by karayel at 7:46 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I just really think that the new king renamed King’s Landing “Bran Francisco” and none of you can ever prove me wrong
posted by Automocar at 7:46 PM on May 19, 2019 [113 favorites]


Where did Arya’s white horse go?

seriously man what the fuck did she just sort of ride it for a second and then jump off in order to be a little closer to eye level with everyone during her many, many, many scenes of Serious Staring
posted by Kybard at 7:46 PM on May 19, 2019 [30 favorites]


ALSO: Jamie and Cersei were covered with like three bricks. If they had just sheltered under that completely intact brick arch they would have survived.

I like Peter Dinklage and his weird-ass accent but he was terrible at brick acting in that scene. Those were the most painted styrofoam seeming bricks I've ever seen.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:47 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


Also my heart did leap up happily at "Ser Podrick", although if we're going to get fanservice I kind of wish we could have seen his knighting, too.

He has to form the civil service and bring quality administrative reform the King Spooky’s Kingdom
posted by The Whelk at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I feel like Bronn is the real winner of the game here, if we go off of variance from starting point.
posted by jeoc at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [62 favorites]


I told my wife "if the last shot isn't of Arya encountering an elf or a hobbit I'm done here."
posted by komara at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


That was totally satisfactory. There were a lot of things to like about it. And I feel like, ten years from now, if young people ask me if Game of Thrones is worth watching, I won't have to equivocate and tell them to only watch the first six seasons.

All told, after the past few episodes, the paragraph above is far more positive than I was expecting to feel.
posted by 256 at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


Somebody needs to do a supercut of just GoT characters wordlessly staring at stuff. Bet there's like an hour's worth in this season alone.
posted by arto at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I loved (“loved”) that they just skipped over the entire part where Jon breaks the news that Dany is dead, because no way in hell would he have survived the next ten minutes.
posted by sallybrown at 7:50 PM on May 19, 2019 [70 favorites]


One of the reasons this episode pissed me off so much was what they did to Greyworm. Making him into such a blood hungry revenge driven character, but then hey oh Off to Naath to die of butterfly fever!

I also wish Brienne had put her name in the book after writing Jaime's biography sans "he died for his queen."

One of the things I can't forgive GoT is their romanticization of toxic relationships.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:50 PM on May 19, 2019 [37 favorites]


Okay if I'm honest with myself the highlight is Jon petting his Good Boi but my *second* highlight of the show was the trailer for Westworld 3.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:51 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


Ghost is a confirmed Good Boy but he also appears to be about the size of a golden retriever now.
posted by Justinian at 7:52 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


Oh, I appreciated that Yara still fully supported Dany and thought Jon Snow needed executing. But yeah, there is no way he wasn't killed immediately, surrounded as he was by Dany's army.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:52 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


So, I didn’t really want Jon to get the throne, but weren’t they setting up some tension that he might be the rightful king that suddenly just... went away?

Good parts to the ending: Sansa, Queen in the North! Arya on a ship going to adventure. Ghost petting.
posted by rainydayfilms at 7:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I loved (“loved”) that they just skipped over the entire part where Jon breaks the news that Dany is dead, because no way in hell would he have survived the next ten minutes.

It's a testament to Jon's idiocy that there wasn't a scene of Jon running out all "oh my god Grey Worm that dragon just flipped out and took her!" because seriously, everyone would have found that plausible.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [42 favorites]


Don't know if anyone has pointed out yet that, in the end, Jon Snow IS King. King Beyond the Wall. Mance Rayder's chosen heir.
posted by 256 at 7:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [48 favorites]


How did they foresee the current election so well?
JUNIOR ALDERMAN FROM ARRYN: I would like to declare my candidacy, twenty-second of its kind, for...
SANSA: Sit the FUCK down.
posted by uosuaq at 7:54 PM on May 19, 2019 [35 favorites]


Yeah like the only way Jon could end up in prison is basically by confessing (which to be fair is completely in character, it just probably should have happened on screen).
posted by Pyry at 7:54 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Nothing says breaking the wheel like keeping the same system, except robbing it of any stability by putting a person onto the throne who's totally disconnected from humantiy who's death will almost certain trigger a secession struggle and who can't secure alliances through marriage. I'm sure that Dorne and The Iron Islands, who both had to be subjugated by a brutal dictator, will absolutely play nice with The King's sister getting an independent realm while they remain vassal states. Another wise, judicious move by Tyrion Lannister.
posted by codacorolla at 7:55 PM on May 19, 2019 [127 favorites]


I assumed Jon escaped execution by saying "Oh Dany is off on her dragon to get a pack of smokes. She'll be right back but until then you're supposed to obey me."
posted by miss-lapin at 7:55 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


Anyone else totally brainfart on the fact that Jon and Arya had no idea what Dany was saying to her troops? I didn't realize until he said to Tyrion "but the war is over" and I was like, no you idiot, she just said.... OH. Heh.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


They stole that ending from The Outsiders.
posted by bondcliff at 7:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I did love the lords laughing away Sam inventing democracy cause yeah power is not and has not been historically , given. It is taken.
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 PM on May 19, 2019 [24 favorites]


I liked it. Best part Brienne writing. Also sansa’s dress as her ‘weapon’ ... 1 million chef’s kisses.
This was a great show but I’m glad it’s ended.
I enjoyed them laughing at democracy.
posted by French Fry at 7:57 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


ALSO: Jamie and Cersei were covered with like three bricks. If they had just sheltered under that completely intact brick arch they would have survived.

Hail fellow building-collapse truther, well met. I am deeply bewildered at which parts of the Red Keep are and are not intact. Apparently if they'd just stayed in the map courtyard the Lannisters would have made it out fine? The white book survived unscathed, also the council rooms, yet somehow the throne room and the staircase where Cleganebowl happened are mostly destroyed, and the underlying infrastructure all fell down in 8x05 yet now is intact enough for Tyrion to show up and find J&C under three bricks? The council meeting is talking about sewer infrastructure (yay!) and sex work regulation (boo!) and not, like, the presumably decade-long task of rebuilding the city? Why is this even bothering me so much? idk.
posted by karayel at 7:58 PM on May 19, 2019 [27 favorites]


I woulda been totally cool with them not bothering to make sure to get a little brothel talk in before we left the small council meeting.
posted by lauranesson at 7:58 PM on May 19, 2019 [37 favorites]


So glad I had been spoiled for weeks about what was coming. Because that was, uh, something.
posted by asteria at 7:58 PM on May 19, 2019


On reflection I am just relieved this didn't end with them all bouncing up and down and giggling at and elven B&B.
posted by srboisvert at 8:00 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Okay, that council scene was charming. Maybe it was just some necessary lightness because everything else was sooooo slow, but...I'll take what I can get. And yes, ships and clean water before brothels!

I'll also take that entire throne room scene with Dany and the melting of the throne. That was entirely awesome. As was Queen of the North Sansa.

With Brienne finishing Jamie's chapter for him... in retrospect I'm really liking it. It goes along with Tyrion's theme of the importance of the stories we tell ourselves. There was something very fitting in ending the Kingslayer's story with "he died for his queen", in all of the awfulness and twisted loyalty that implies (given who the queen was). And I think it was good closure for Brienne. She knew who he really was and put it into words for everyone to see.

Brienne, Sansa and Arya ended their stories as happily as they could, and for that I'm grateful.
posted by Salieri at 8:00 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


EDMURE TULLY!
posted by thivaia at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


They made the point this episode (over and over and over) that the Dothraki and Unsullied were in thrall to Dany and willing to slaughter for her even after the battle. Jon could have confessed on his hands and knees and Grey Worm would have killed him without a second thought.

I second the discomfort with the way Dany’s forced were portrayed here, as if the Northerners were correct to distrust them because they were foreigners. It felt like they were playing that up to contrast it with “Westerosi people like us.”

On reflection it was as if the humor and familiar faces in the second act were a way to distract us from the fact that they pushed the Evil Gals so conveniently out of our (male) heroes’ way. (Geez Cersei, even if Jaime is the dumbest Lannister, you guys couldn’t have stayed in the other untouched parts of the building?)
posted by sallybrown at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


I’m glad that Sansa doesn’t have to wear black forever.

What happened to Gilly, though?
posted by ocherdraco at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Imagine how badly those pages were smudged after Brienne closed the book before letting the ink dry.
posted by bondcliff at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [64 favorites]


Nothing says breaking the wheel like keeping the same system, except robbing it of any stability by putting a person onto the throne who's totally disconnected from humantiy who's death will almost certain trigger a secession struggle and who can't secure alliances through marriage.

But Bran can pass on the Three Eyed Raven thing by subsuming someone else's mind under the 3ER mind like what happened to him, so really Westeros actually has an immortal magical overmind disconnected from humanity as king. The end, they all lived happily ever after!
posted by jason_steakums at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [34 favorites]


Also, I was frustrated when Tyrion was saying that Tywin and Cersei hadn't killed as many people even put together as Dany did when she sacked King's Landing. TYWIN LITERALLY SACKED KINGS LANDING. That's how Robert got seated on the throne in the first place. And Cersei literally burned the vast majority of the ruling class alive when she exploded the sept, just like Dany did all the masters.

The whole first half of the episode, through the Kingsmoot, I missed Book!Tyrion so much. No spoilers or anything, he just has so much anger and is so calculating in the books, for pretty understandable reasons, and I feel like how THAT character would have handled the Kingsmoot especially would have been much more interesting. The characterization altogether felt really flat.

I cannot with Gray Worm, he seemed like the flattest character of all, just no perspective of his own at all. Like how he tells Tyrion to shut up, and then Tyrion keeps talking and Gray Worm just stands there -- who would do that? And Tyrion then immediately goes on this long thing about how it's apparently up to everyone other than Gray Worm who will be ruling from King's Landing, and Gray Worm again is just cool with that? Was Gray Worm already checked out because he was planning to leave? But then he also didn't take anything at all with him, when he had literally JUST said he wanted justice, aka reparations, aka, "to be made whole." Which I would think would mean taking SOMETHING and not just randomly fucking off to wherever with nothing but what they'd brought with them. Are the Dothraki cool with that? They aren't the type to want boats, you'd think they'd want to roam around doing the Iron Islands kind of thing.

Whatever, in general, I thought the characterization was lacking in this episode. BUT I will say that the broad strokes resolutions for the characters weren't bad. Well, I would have preferred something other than death for Dany, like if Jon had killed Drogon instead of her. What would she have done then? Death is a little boring in her case. But really, I always like it when a character is inconveniently alive way past their "expiration date" or inconveniently dead at just the wrong time, so eh.
posted by rue72 at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


So many slow boring moments, but it could've been so much worse. Why was the dragon pissed at a chair? So many cinematic shots that made no sense at all but really looked good. Really curious if they rushed the petting scene due to complaints.
posted by sammyo at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Look, I have some fucking comments on how quickly Brienne turned the page after writing on what appears to be vellum with wet ink from a fucking feather pen without using a blotter.

Nothing else in the episode, mind you. Just the lack of drying time/blotter.

#inktruther.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2019 [28 favorites]


Robyn Arryn brought back for a goof.

Was that....the same actor? Of the Robyn Arryn we remember?
posted by triggerfinger at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Jesus, they really had Samwell present A Song of Fire and Ice at the meeting? Even M. Night Shyamalan would have said that was awful.

Give 'em credit for not having GRRM standing in the background, looking sheepish, and someone making a crack about "at least it's finished. Finally."

And, honestly, I don't need to see the Westeros Constitutional Convention. I'm pretty sure that you can die from getting clobbered on the noggin by like three bricks. I'm also pretty sure that the only person who gets to write in the Big Book of the Kingsguard is the captain of the Kingsguard, so it's assumed that Ser Brienne is that person. Jon got to hug Ghost, Sansa is the Queen of the Fucking North, Arya is doing something healthier than skulking around, and Bran's gonna warg a dragon. Good enough.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


ARYA: It's like, how much more west could we be? And the answer is none. None more west.
posted by Kybard at 8:03 PM on May 19, 2019 [26 favorites]


Sorry, does Bran have any political experience? Any?

Hope the smallfolk enjoy starving to death.
posted by praemunire at 8:03 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


I did love the lords laughing away Sam inventing democracy cause yeah power is not and has not been historically , given. It is taken.

Starbucks truthers: They’re laughing because they all studied the ancient historical story of the rise and fall of the United States.
posted by sallybrown at 8:03 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Lesson I learned from the show :offsprings causes all the problems and don't make great rulers. John snow couldn't be king. I tried to think which family had good offsprings and can only think of the Starks seem to have strong character foundation. Good parenting. They are strong and was able to overcome.

Not sure why the north had to be independent, since the king is a Stark, but seems a way for the show to make Sansa to have something, to justify her the north reasoning
posted by metafus at 8:04 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


"Hey King Bran, you can see all of time and space and have access to all knowledge in the universe. What should we do about the kingdom's many, many problems?"

"I dunno, you guys handle it, I'm gonna go stare at a tree or something."
posted by Sangermaine at 8:04 PM on May 19, 2019 [31 favorites]


Sooooo, Sansa manipulating people to get what she wanted was fine, never mind the deaths.

Bran doing the same was totally fine too, 'cause he's anointed one.

But Dany's the bad person? Uh huh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


#inktruther.

Relax, everyone. It was valyrian ink.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:04 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


Robyn Arryn brought back for a goof.

oh my god that was creepy breastmilk boy
posted by poffin boffin at 8:05 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Sorry, does Bran have any political experience? Any?

Hope the smallfolk enjoy starving to death.


Honestly, I was more worried about making Bronn master of coin. Watch him use that money to fund a coup. That man is very ambitious and very crafty. I would be keeping his hand out of the till, just saying.
posted by rue72 at 8:05 PM on May 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


Also, Tyrion has invented the system practiced by the Holy Roman Empire which...did not exactly ensure endless peace and wise, just rulers.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:05 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


Sorry, does Bran have any political experience? Any?

he knows every single thing every single king has ever done in the past 10,000 years but idk if that counts tbh
posted by poffin boffin at 8:06 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


lol "todos somos drogon" is trending and it made me bray like drunk donkey
posted by poffin boffin at 8:08 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


The bar is so low he can roll over it
posted by French Fry at 8:08 PM on May 19, 2019


But Dany's the bad person? Uh huh.

Sorry, how many cities did the Starks burn down, again?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:09 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Sorry, does Bran have any political experience? Any?

he knows every single thing every single king has ever done in the past 10,000 years but idk if that counts tbh


I'm sure the benevolent AI dictatorship will work out great.
posted by karayel at 8:09 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


There were a couple faces I didn’t recognize at the Kingsmoot: the man between Samwell and Edmure, and the man to the right of Bronze Yohn Royce.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:09 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


With Brienne finishing Jamie's chapter for him... in retrospect I'm really liking it. It goes along with Tyrion's theme of the importance of the stories we tell ourselves. There was something very fitting in ending the Kingslayer's story with "he died for his queen", in all of the awfulness and twisted loyalty that implies (given who the queen was). And I think it was good closure for Brienne. She knew who he really was and put it into words for everyone to see.

Ha! That's funny. I read it in completely the opposite way. Brienne knows privately the truth, but values knightly ideals, and so writes down his story in a way that makes him sound extremely noble right up until the end.

Anyway, the dragon burning down the throne was stupid and bad but it was all worth it for the brave pirate arya and doggo petting and sansa being the glorious queen in da norf.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:09 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


The Throne as described by Dani, "a mountain of swords" is more how the book actually describes it and how the author says he envisions it. There are a couple artist renditions online.
posted by xammerboy at 8:10 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Sorry, does Bran have any political experience? Any?

he knows every single thing every single king has ever done in the past 10,000 years but idk if that counts tbh

I'm sure the benevolent AI dictatorship will work out great.


Don’t you see? Bran is a disruptor.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:10 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


he knows every single thing every single king has ever done in the past 10,000 years but idk if that counts tbh

Well, nice to know Westeros is on the Golden Path, I guess...
posted by praemunire at 8:12 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


The "break the wheel" shit was always ridiculous. Danny freed a bunch of slaves so that...they could join the millions of people in Westeros as her eternal serfs who she rules over as an absolute monarch. Hurray, glorious freedom.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:12 PM on May 19, 2019 [28 favorites]


The question of what happened to the leaderless and pissed off khalasar just hanging around Westeros with every reason to avenge their Khaleesi is kinda bugging me.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:12 PM on May 19, 2019 [47 favorites]


Nothing says breaking the wheel like keeping the same system, except robbing it of any stability by putting a person onto the throne who's totally disconnected from humantiy who's death will almost certain trigger a secession struggle and who can't secure alliances through marriage.

It’s dumber than that. The new king is a literal embodiment of the wheel.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:12 PM on May 19, 2019 [25 favorites]


Sooooo, Sansa manipulating people to get what she wanted was fine, never mind the deaths.

Sansa didn't force Dany to burn King's Landing. The best part of season 8 was watching Sansa haters get told repeatedly they're wrong and get paid dust.

Bran doing the same was totally fine too, 'cause he's anointed one.

Oh was Bran running around for 8 seasons talking about how he's owed a chair he's never seen because his inbred rapist murderer daddy sat on it?

I don't know how alleged book fans spend years, decades almost, hearing GRRM compare Dany's actions to American imperialist wars like Vietnam and Iraq, compare her to Dubya, tell people his original title for the last book was A Time for Wolves and folks are still surprised the Starks come out on top and Dany doesn't.
posted by asteria at 8:13 PM on May 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


if this is a show only thread then we can't talk about what might happen after the ending of the show bc that's a spoiler

sorry i don't make the rules
posted by poffin boffin at 8:15 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Well, they've never had an immortal demigod as king before, so I suppose it's worth a shot.

All hail the Branperor of Mankind.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:17 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Something something something HERESY!
posted by Alterscape at 8:18 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Anyway, the dragon burning down the throne was stupid and bad

This was the highlight of the episode and I will defend it to the death.
posted by Pyry at 8:19 PM on May 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


my bff: did you cry when the little murder girl sailed away on an adventure
me, still crying about boat adventures: you don't even GO HERE
posted by poffin boffin at 8:19 PM on May 19, 2019 [28 favorites]


This was the highlight of the episode and I will defend it to the death.

It was so dumb! Why would a dragon do that? What did the chair have to do with her dying, and don't tell me the dragon knew her lust for it led to her death, it's an animal?

But I also hated the hodor twist and thought both plot beats were roughly on the same level, writingwise. Corny corny corny.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Drogon was adorable this episode, hiding in the snow, later reenacting the Simba and Mufasa death scene with Dany.
posted by asteria at 8:22 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


It was so dumb! Why would a dragon do that? What did the chair have to do with her dying, and don't tell me the dragon knew her lust for it led to her death, it's an animal?

A maester at some point said the dragons were probably smarter than people. I rest my case. Please don't make me actually look it up.
posted by Pyry at 8:23 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


Well it wasn't as much fun as the previous episode but it most did what it had to do.
posted by octothorpe at 8:24 PM on May 19, 2019


Bran's story simply makes him the obvious choice for king. You see, he fell out of a window and survived. Also, it's rumored he sees the past and future, though not in any way that's ever demonstrably helped anyone. Perhaps he's wise too? Who knows? But still! What a story!!!
posted by xammerboy at 8:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [54 favorites]


It's still corny as hell. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


But Bran can pass on the Three Eyed Raven thing by subsuming someone else's mind under the 3ER mind like what happened to him, so really Westeros actually has an immortal magical overmind disconnected from humanity as king.

So, basically, Dune.
posted by tclark at 8:25 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


I guess I understand why they had Dany go out quietly to a stab in the gut, but really? Just keeled over? How many times was Jaime run through, again?
posted by BungaDunga at 8:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


A maester at some point said the dragons were probably smarter than people.

that was me but i was right and you should say it
posted by poffin boffin at 8:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


Bran's story simply makes him the obvious choice for king. You see, he fell out of a window and survived. Also, it's rumored he sees the past and future, though not in any way that's ever demonstrably helped anyone. Perhaps he's wise too? Who knows? But still! What a story!!!

What're they going to do with the laws of succession? Can he have a kid? All of his relatives have fucked off to elsewhere. I feel like Mr 3 eyed raven hasn't thought this through.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I feel like Bronn is the real winner of the game here, if we go off of variance from starting point.

The Most Improved Trophy goes to Bronn of the Blackwater
posted by dis_integration at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


But I also hated the hodor twist and thought both plot beats were roughly on the same level, writingwise. Corny corny corny.

The Hodor twist that they introduced TIMEWARGING for, never to bring it up again.

Yep I'm still salty about that. Shit Bran, go timewarg Craster and make him jump off a cliff before he starts producing White Walker babies for the Night King or something.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


hearing GRRM compare Dany's actions to American imperialist wars

Well right, I was half expecting an unstoppable Pax Daenerys as the ending because of that stuff (though they obviously had her burn Kings Landing last ep so they could kill her off in this one, so maybe only a quarter expecting).
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


and don't tell me the dragon knew her lust for it led to her death

I'm 100% sure that's it, although I was confused by it during the episode. I thought he was going to burn Jon and he wouldn't die because magic / genetics. Alt Shift X (pretty good youtube channel) said more or less in his post episode live show that "Drogon probably understood in his own animal way" and I thought yeah, D&D would do that.
posted by MillMan at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I did like Arya sailing off to adventure and Sansa becoming the Queen of the North. Even if the rest of the show is a mangled mess, both of those things feel like satisfying endings to stories.
posted by codacorolla at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


It wasn’t perfect, but I’m going to bed satisfied and dreaming of Bronn. Good enough for me.
posted by MountainDaisy at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am grateful for the scene of Drogo in the snow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


Ha! That's funny. I read it in completely the opposite way. Brienne knows privately the truth, but values knightly ideals, and so writes down his story in a way that makes him sound extremely noble right up until the end.

I actually agree with you on this, because it can be read in so many ways! It just seems so perfect for Brienne to write the literal truth - a truth that can be read as a sanitized knightly death or as a sad reminder of a man who failed to be better (for those who knew his whole story).

The way I see it, she told the truth, and in the end it will all depend on the people who read the story later.
posted by Salieri at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


What're they going to do with the laws of succession? Can he have a kid?

Kingsmoot II: Selection Boogaloo
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Bran's story simply makes him the obvious choice for king. You see, he fell out of a window and survived

I couldn’t stop laughing between that and Bran’s corny line about how he wouldn’t have come if he didn’t plan to accept (thanks Miss Cleo). Bran has the best story, sitting there with Ser Davos and Ser Brienne? I dun think so!
posted by sallybrown at 8:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


*stares pensively*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


This was my first time ever watching a Game of Thrones episode. Haven't read the books, either.

My favorite part was when Peter Dinklage very sloooowly straightened the chairs at an empty table, then stared at them for a while, and then in unison my spouse and I said "No, I think I liked them better the other way" in gravelly Dinklage voices.
posted by Syllepsis at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [27 favorites]


On the plus side, Bran will usher in a renaissance of wheelchair craftsmanship after he turns the Citadel into a ramp-accessible library devoted to the researching and cataloging of wheelchair lore.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


I second the discomfort with the way Dany’s forced were portrayed here

I see what GRRM (and by extension D&D) were going for here and it would have worked great if, you know, they weren't the only two big groups of non-white folks in the show. ASoIaF is obviously the story of a Dark Queen coming to power except for a long time the reader/viewer is made to sympathize/empathize with her. And the Dark Queen having forces consisting of either an undisciplined horde of ferocious warriors like the Dothraki and/or an elite group of faceless (behind helmets which function as masks), implacable, killing machines is a cliche. Having both is even a thing! See, eg, "Tyranny" by Obsidian Entertainment with the Scarlet Chorus as the Dothraki and the Disfavored as the Unsullied.

The scene of the Dothraki and Unsullied before the ruins of the Red Keep and the giant black&red Targaryen banner was about as Dark Queen as you get in fantasy. Glen Cook probably saw that and recognized Lady at the Tower of Charm immediately.

But, yeah... rather unfortunate that they were all the non white characters.
posted by Justinian at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [28 favorites]


Sansa said he can't have children. How does she know? Ew.

He can just pick someone to be the new three eyed raven when he dies, and hope the lords at the time go along with it. After all, pissing off a demigod might be seen as a bad idea.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


*stares pensively*

LISTEN he said on colbert that his creepy stare is bc he can't wear his glasses in westeros okay
posted by poffin boffin at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I'm interested in the people who don't buy how Grey Worm ended up. You don't buy his unquestioning loyalty to the woman who freed him from slavery and made him a general, combined with a willingness to, on her orders, slaughter the people who beheaded his life partner?

I mean, it wasn't that nuanced, but it wasn't that hard for me to buy, either.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


But, yeah... rather unfortunate that they were all the non white characters.

Surely just a coincidence.
posted by codacorolla at 8:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


I love how everyone laughed at the idea of an actual democracy, even Sansa.

Not Yara, though! She just kinda smirked. Queensmoot!

I loved that bit, though. Wise Sam coming up with an idea centuries before its time, and then the beat before everyone burst out laughing.

Took a bit for me to reconcile myself to the idea of Jon's being banished to the North; but then I appreciated the full circle. And the parallel to Aemon Targaryen, another rightful heir (if you go in for that sort of thing) to the throne who also didn't want it.
posted by torticat at 8:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


i 100% buy that the showrunners couldn't conceive of any possible other way to write a nonwhite man we first see speaking a language foreign to the white main characters, yes.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:32 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


*stares pensively*

LISTEN he said on colbert that his creepy stare is bc he can't wear his glasses in westeros okay


What do you expect? They put the weird little brother who just wants to stay home and watch the History Channel in charge.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Surely just a coincidence.

Of course it isn't. Martin was writing in a tradition of that sort of inherent racism which traces back all the way to Tolkien and the swarthy Easterners. I'm not trying to excuse it, just pointing out it's one of the original sins of the genre.
posted by Justinian at 8:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Bran's story simply makes him the obvious choice for king. You see, he fell out of a window and survived. Also, it's rumored he sees the past and future, though not in any way that's ever demonstrably helped anyone. Perhaps he's wise too? Who knows? But still! What a story!!!

To be fair, he's maybe least likely to burn down a city? If that's the criteria they're using now? He also seems totally uninterested, so I guess this way, Tyrion basically gets to be the Dick Chaney of the story. Which is nice for him, he's totally following in his father's footsteps.

Although, I hate to say it, but I think the best ruler we saw on the show was Tywin Lannister. Very rational, minimally bloodthirsty, and took the long view. Also a total asshole, but so's everybody else, apparently.

Also, I wish Theon had been alive when everyone was getting on Dany's case for sacking the city because yes, she needed to slow her roll when she decided that she was going for Endless War, but trying to hold a kingdom with a skeleton crew and only a handful of symbolic deaths wouldn't have worked either, and he sure could have told them all so.
posted by rue72 at 8:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


It was so dumb! Why would a dragon do that?

Dragons have an excellent sense of symbolism.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [41 favorites]


At least one of the things the Lord of Light is (pardon if others have trod this ground - I'm not on the GOT scene) is a reference to GRRM friend Roger Zelazny's book of the same name:

His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be a god.

That particular Sam was not a fan of burning children, but I can imagine him being thoroughly unsurprised by it.
posted by wotsac at 8:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


"but the racism/rape/sexism/etc is traditional to the genre" is hereby no longer a valid argument in 2019. i have spoken. good day.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [50 favorites]


all I care about is whether arya and gendry end up together

how far into the episode do I need to watch to get my answer please
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Although, I hate to say it, but I think the best ruler we saw on the show was Tywin Lannister.

Lady Olenna? Doran Martell?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


how far into the episode do I need to watch to get my answer please

i can tell you right now if you want
posted by poffin boffin at 8:36 PM on May 19, 2019


It's just like the end of the Watchmen, where Dr. Manhattan atomizes Ozymandius, uppercuts Nixon into the moon, and then takes over the American presidency.
posted by codacorolla at 8:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


I have to say that was better than I expected! (Ha but my expectations were low, low, low.) The first 45 minutes were actually quite grim and gripping, with the exception of a few wtf-but-i’ll-ignore-them moments like Greyworm teleporting ahead of Jon, and there somehow being a gajilion Unsullied and Dothraki still left alive. The second 45 minutes were way more uneven (that Council of Elrond scene where they almost invent democracy was sooo cringey, for a whole variety of reasons).

I really enjoyed the visual of Drogon waking and shuddering the ash off himself, like a statue come to life, then sniffing Jon and deciding to let him pass. Emilia Clarke did better work here than I think I’d seen from her so far—her vulnerable, sweet/wistful recollection of her girlhood thoughts about the Iron Throne contrasted with her absolute surety about the righteousness of her cause was pretty powerful. Drogon melting the throne was dumb (oh, sure; he’a definitely self-aware enough not to blame Jon for her death but instead her obsession with ruling) but also a cool visual. I’ll take it!

Contrary to someone above, I thought Peter Dinklage’s acting was really affecting in the scene where he finds Jaime and Cersei. I got a little teary-eyed. He’s a pro and did great work throughout the series, even with the EXTREMELY CLUNKY dialogue they keep saddling him with (ugh, the speech nominating Bran was just excruciating).

I HATED what they did to Greyworm, the Unsullied, and the Dothraki, though. Every time any of them were onscreen I was preemptively cringing, just waiting for the showrunners to once! Again! Shove their “otherness” and “foreignness” and “savagery” into our faces. That sucked and Greyworm deserved way better than to turn into just a background obstacle at that damn council, stripped of agency or power.

I did feel bad for Jon when they sent him back to the Watch (this poor f*cker), though I wondered if the whole last two weeks D&D have been bititng their tongues while the entire internet bitched about him not getting to pet Ghost. It was nice to see Tormund’s face again although I didn’t fully understand what was happening in his & Jon’s final foray (were they leading wilidngs out to ... rebuild?)

The less said about Bran as the best choice for king, the better. FFS. ¯\(°_O)/¯
posted by alleycat01 at 8:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


i can tell you right now if you want

am i gonna be sad
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


yes
posted by poffin boffin at 8:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


ok ensadden me please
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:38 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Also is it just me or did the Unsullied multiply again for her victory rally? They didn't seem to have that many lined up to sack King's Landing (and certainly not twice as many faced down the Night King).

Anyway, a series where the Dothraki have to get along with their new neighbors in the Reach or wherever would be great fun as long as literally nobody involved in writing this series gets involved.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:38 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I mean OK, now that I've had a moment to process this episode, the more I hate nearly every decision made by D+D.

This is when the put-upon geeks come out on top and all of a sudden everyone is Mister Wish-Fulfillment. Bronn isn't just getting his payoff, he's on the Small Council! Brienne is Lady Commander of the Kingsguard, with Ser Podrick the Sidekick as a sidekick!

Wish Fulfillment for the plucky locals, and the grubby foreigners get to conveniently disappear.

Brought to you, dear readers, by the two men who want to bring you a "What if the Confederacy OFFICIALLY won instead of slowly spending a century winning by the back door?" series.
posted by tclark at 8:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [50 favorites]


This show plays reeeaaal fast and loose with depicting time passing, but even keeping that in mind, did they somehow rebuild the Red Keep before that council meeting?
posted by jason_steakums at 8:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's just like the end of the Watchmen, where Dr. Manhattan atomizes Ozymandius, uppercuts Nixon into the moon, and then takes over the American presidency.

So... does this mean you won't be tuning in to HBO's Watchmen series?
posted by Justinian at 8:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


That was so anticlimactic. It's like the writers were just all, "we are so tired. Fuck it, everyone's riding off into a sunset. Plus if we get greenlit for all 65 spinoffs we've got some leads."

That said, I'm in the camp that loved:
-GHOST PETTING
-Emure being told to sit down--one of Sansa's best moments
-Arya going adventuring, I guess
-Bronn and Davos surviving! Yay. I hope Davos also opens his school for Little Badass Ladies and People Who Need Help Reading.

-I also kind of liked Bran on the throne in the sense that he will be terrible since he doesn't give a shit about it or the present, so I kind of like the cynicism in that they didn't break the wheel nearly as much as they want to believe they did.

Things that were super annoying:
-The bad plot inconsistency with Arya losing her horse and Grey Worm teleporting
-That Drogon didn't try to set Jon on fire and then we'd get to see Jon emerge from the flames while the Iron Throne melts down behind him--that would have been so much more satisfying
-Arya 1000% should have been the one to kill Dany wearing someone else's face. (In other words, why'd we spend so long learning about this skill for it to go so unused?)
-Dorne never mattered
-The gross way the Unsullied and the Dothraki were handled and, apparently, are just sailing away? I bet the Dothraki might like the Riverlands!
posted by TwoStride at 8:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [25 favorites]


arya sails off for Boat Adventures and gendry, who as you may recall was in a rowboat for 4 seasons, does not join her
posted by poffin boffin at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2019 [33 favorites]


I didn’t fully understand what was happening in his & Jon’s final foray

Jon gets to the wall looks around at Castle Black and is just like: "Fuck it. I'm King Beyond the Wall now."
posted by 256 at 8:41 PM on May 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


The Dothraki would want Dorne, which would make for some interesting problems.

I'm just really frustrated with all the magic and prophecy and etc being left unresolved. Guess it was all disposable plot extruded fantasy product hand-wavery.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:42 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Arya's early line "I know a killer when I see one" was so hacky. This is not something you say after you have literally seen a killer kill thousands of people, because it's no longer an insight
posted by sylvanshine at 8:42 PM on May 19, 2019 [45 favorites]


Also is it just me or did the Unsullied multiply again for her victory rally? They didn't seem to have that many lined up to sack King's Landing (and certainly not twice as many faced down the Night King).

Apparently only like 10 of them died in that minor skirmish where the literal Apocalypse was averted that was so unremarkable that everyone involved forgot about it a few hours after it happened and no one not actually present at the battle even heard about it.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:43 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Yeah, it's also frustrating that apparently Jon being a Targaeryan doesn't actually matter, nor does it matter that Gendry is a Baratheon.

I did kind of like Jon deciding to fuck off North of the wall with his best buddy Tormund, though. Given how improbable it was that he'd survive both the immediate aftermath of killing Dany much less the trip back to the Wall, why not just keep going?
posted by TwoStride at 8:43 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Why was Tormund just sitting at Castle Black for what must have been weeks before Jon arrives?
posted by birdheist at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


who as you may recall was in a rowboat for 4 seasons, does not join her

i am CACKLING ty poffin boffin
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Iron Islands and Dorne should have peeled off. At least then the wheel would've felt more broken, Westeros would've become a confederation of four major nations.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


This episode must have been a pain for Kit Harrington to act, though. His face must be, like, frozen permanently in a morose grimace now.
posted by alleycat01 at 8:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


What're they going to do with the laws of succession? Can he have a kid?

I anticipate some kind of benevolent oligarchy that chooses Bran's successor, kind of the way Bran himself was chosen. The laws of succession are dead. The king or queen is chosen by acclamation by the heads of the houses. Given how well the houses have cooperated in the past, doesn't seem like a particularly sustainable system; but given the world of GoT, it is maybe at least a step forward.
posted by torticat at 8:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why was Tormund just sitting at Castle Black for what must have been weeks before Jon arrives?

because they are BEST FRANDS that is why
posted by poffin boffin at 8:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [23 favorites]


Arya's early line "I know a killer when I see one" was so hacky. This is not something you say after you have literally seen a killer kill thousands of people, because it's no longer an insight

Yes! I said the same thing! Then my husband pointed out that Jon Snow is dumb as bricks and so he might have needed the reminder.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [23 favorites]


Arya 1000% should have been the one to kill Dany wearing someone else's face. (In other words, why'd we spend so long learning about this skill for it to go so unused?)

And yet we never saw her learning sea navigation and ship's captain skills, but now that's her thing.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


Dani's insistence that the army would go on fighting to break chains until the end of time made no sense for a ruler that previously decided she needed spend a few years getting experience ruling before she took the throne.

The show spent seasons mulling over the idea of what it would mean to break the wheel, and then at the last minute concluded there is no breaking the wheel. It's all wheels all the way down. There's something bitterly disappointing about that.
posted by xammerboy at 8:47 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]




That's going to start getting obnoxious after awhile. Bran, I mean.

As a family of precogs from another narrative discovered, perfect prophesy is a trap.
posted by scalefree at 8:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I anticipate some kind of benevolent oligarchy that chooses Bran's successor, kind of the way Bran himself was chosen.

They put that in Tyrion's speech in so many words. After Sansa announces that Bran is impotent.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:49 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Why was Tormund just sitting at Castle Black for what must have been weeks before Jon arrives?

just hangin out bro
posted by sallybrown at 8:49 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


btw and jsyk jon and tormund are the dragon bros
posted by poffin boffin at 8:49 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Sam got the title of Archmaester after spending a week at maester school and skipping town with a wagonload of their rarest books.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:50 PM on May 19, 2019 [52 favorites]


Apparently only like 10 of them died in that minor skirmish where the literal Apocalypse was averted that was so unremarkable that everyone involved forgot about it a few hours after it happened and no one not actually present at the battle even heard about it.

Well yes but even at their little war council in Winterfell it's said out loud that half of the Unsullied died. But even granting that implausibility they just rustled up some more Unsullied for the occasion to give us a second implausibility. We didn't even see that many of them sack King's Landing.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:50 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Clairvoyant Who Can Conveniently Also See Through The Eyes Of Any Living Being: So guys, who should be Master of Whisperers
posted by oulipian at 8:50 PM on May 19, 2019 [46 favorites]


Why was Tormund just sitting at Castle Black for what must have been weeks before Jon arrives?

Just figure Bran warged into whoever was conveniently near Tormund and had him swing by.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:51 PM on May 19, 2019


Does the shoot of green peeking through the snow north of The Wall indicate that the NK was the cause of the supernatural winters? Or, more likely, is it just cheap symbolism like a Dragon burning a throne?
posted by codacorolla at 8:51 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


Well I'm glad Sansa freed Scotland.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:52 PM on May 19, 2019 [63 favorites]


We didn't even see that many of them sack King's Landing.

This is almost always a budget issue like with Ghost being shown twice in the season. Whether people find that a satisfying answer or not is left as an exercise for the viewer.
posted by Justinian at 8:52 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I thought Bran had to do *something* major with all his powers this ep but all it took to win the throne was a nomination from the guy known for making terrible choices.
posted by crone islander at 8:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Or, more likely, is it just cheap symbolism like a Dragon burning a throne?

it was a starbucks cup
posted by poffin boffin at 8:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Why was Tormund just sitting at Castle Black for what must have been weeks before Jon arrives?

Because Jon/Tormund are endgame, obviously. Or maybe Ghost sensed Jon coming back, and dragged Tormund along back to the wall. Either way, at least it was less depressing than having Jon show up to Castle Black being completely empty.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:54 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


It was pretty shocking when Dany fired up Starkiller Base and destroyed the Hosnian system.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:55 PM on May 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


How did Grey Worm & Co finish murdering POWs in time to beat Jon back to the gates of the Red Keep?

He got to use the service entrance, Jon had to go around front.
posted by fleacircus at 8:55 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


They put that in Tyrion's speech in so many words. After Sansa announces that Bran is impotent.

Ah! I missed that because, no joke, a storm warning for the next county over played through Tyrion's entire speech from start to finish.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:55 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


In the behind the scenes they show the shot where Jon is just standing there holding a coaster until it lights up and vibrates.
posted by fleacircus at 8:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


If tonight you feel the need to hear Gwendoline Christie's delightful laugh many times in a row, let me recommend this supercut of her and Coster-Waldau cracking one another up while doing press for the show over the years. Someone please cast this woman in a comedy!
posted by karayel at 8:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [23 favorites]


This is almost always a budget issue like with Ghost being shown twice in the season.

i mean they couldn't even afford to light half the season
posted by poffin boffin at 8:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


I really didn't like the connections the showrunners were suggesting between PoC (violent foreigners, speaking in non-English, needing subtitles*, etc) and terrorism.

aielen I noticed that too. Thought it jarring and completely unnecessary. What exactly was said? It was quick enough that I can't remember when it was in the episode.
posted by torticat at 8:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi-Think we can get HBO to put that warning on all subsequent viewings o this episode?
posted by miss-lapin at 8:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ah! I missed that because, no joke, a storm warning for the next county over played through Tyrion's entire speech from start to finish.

Just imagine Tyrion doing bad Shakespeare while everyone else does bad Homer.

(The Greek one.)

Actually, that's most of the last few seasons.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:57 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


But since this is my last opportunity to complain about logical inconsitencies in a GoT episode, can I just say:
- Where do all these Unsullied, Dothraki, and Freefolk come from? Like, there should be almost no free folk left in the show aside from Tormund. Between Hardhome, battle of the bastards, the Army of the Dead at the wall and then the Battle of Winterfell, there should be like 10 freefolk left at this point.

And where do all these Dothraki and Unsullied come from? There were like 20 unsullied left by the end of Episode 8.04.

But for the Dothraki and Unsullied, at least we could have had a throw away line about how Dany left forces garrisoned at Dragonstone or something.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:57 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


i mean they couldn't even afford to light half the season

I figure it's like in plays when the entire Scottish army is two dudes with cheap handmade spears.
posted by Justinian at 8:57 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


What exactly was said?

Do you mean what Greyworm was saying or Dany's whole "Let's 'liberate' the whole world" speech?
posted by miss-lapin at 8:58 PM on May 19, 2019


Also, how could the arch maester write a histories of these wars and not include Tyrion? If he's that poorly informed, he still must have known that most people think Tyrion killed Joffrey. Even that actors troupe in Braavos knew about that.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:58 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


This episode must have been a pain for Kit Harrington to act, though. His face must be, like, frozen permanently in a morose grimace now.

Just like the audience!

[Statler and Waldorf laugh]
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:59 PM on May 19, 2019 [40 favorites]


And if you are telling the history of this war, Tywin went to war in the first place supposedly because Catelyn captured Tyrion. And then Tyrion becomes Hand of the King.

I mean, maybe this is supposed to be commentary on how much is left out of history books, or maybe it's just a dumb punch line, but I still thought it was weird.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:59 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


I think Jon didn't go to talk to Dany right away after his confrontation with Grey Worm, and it may even be on separate days, but this show is gaaaaarbage at depiction the passage of time, often actively confusing things with edits.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:00 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Tyrion is us, the viewer, the reader. Of course he's not in the book.
posted by 256 at 9:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Well, they sure did choose the weirdest possible King.
posted by Nelson at 9:01 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


So it the moral of the story that the dream of breaking the wheel is just a con? It's wheels and always will be all the way down?
posted by xammerboy at 9:02 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I mean, maybe this is supposed to be commentary on how much is left out of history books, or maybe it's just a dumb punch line, but I still thought it was weird.

Don't worry about it. James Hurley pet his computer dog.
posted by codacorolla at 9:02 PM on May 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


I figure it's like in plays when the entire Scottish army is two dudes with cheap handmade spears.

Records from that era are spotty at best.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:02 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Do you mean what Greyworm was saying or Dany's whole "Let's 'liberate' the whole world" speech?

Neither... I mean the comment that suggested that non-Westerosis might have terrorist tendencies (or extremist... I can't even remember who said it!)
posted by torticat at 9:03 PM on May 19, 2019


So it the moral of the story that the dream of breaking the wheel is just a con?

Realistically, we don't know what the moral of the story is and maybe GRRM isn't sure at this point either, and meanwhile HBO needed the show to end so we got a bunch of hastily cobbled together narrative conventions and enough fan service to go away with a sense of finality, if not much satisfaction.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:05 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Final scene of A Dream of Spring: Sam brings a large book to the council meeting, reveals the title "Game of Thrones", sheepishly tells Jon Connington that he isn't in it.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:05 PM on May 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


I thought for a hot second they where going to do some “look all of us heads of various factions are SUPER PISSED about this and we’re only going to vote for Bran if we get some say or check on monarchal power or we’re all claiming independence like Sansa here. If you want to save the Seven Kingdoms as a political entity we can’t allow a single tyrant like Cersei or Dany to get that much power again. “ they could call it a council of Kings or whatever , and it would mimic the move away from absolute monarchy in Europe. (The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, or an empire but it did have powerful, quasi independent small states inside it that kept it in check, plus the whole Magna Carts thing)

Cause then they could still laugh at Sam but agree to this sharing of power by elites and then I could use it as an object lesson in discussions.
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on May 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


This was an earlier part of the episode, and I know everyone's focused on discussing the big picture ending and the later part of the episode - but I just wanted to say I thought it was pretty gross, and a shame that the showrunners did that.

Yeah I haven't felt so nauseated by fantasy in cultural context since watching Two Towers in 2002.
posted by fleacircus at 9:06 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


let me recommend this supercut yt of her and Coster-Waldau cracking one another up while doing press for the show over the years

oh my god this is better than the entire series from start to finish and i am only at minute 5
posted by poffin boffin at 9:07 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Bran? That just makes no sense (as Ser Davos said).
posted by kokaku at 9:08 PM on May 19, 2019


MY GIANTKILLING GINGER BOYFRIEND SURVIVED THE SERIES!

Plus I got to #shiptruther in the last episode so I'm happy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:09 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


Game of Thrones: Creation of a Feudal Electoral College, which in turn Created the Starkerosi Empire, where White Men Fail Up

I guess that's what this entire show was about? To give Tyrion all these experiences so that after 2 weeks in a cell, he thinks up a Feudal Electoral College that - surprise - Bran has always known would happen so Tyrion wasted all the time he spent thinking/living?
posted by facehugger at 9:10 PM on May 19, 2019 [18 favorites]


I was so happy when we saw a bunch of black sails, Eyebrows McGee.
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


and meanwhile HBO needed the show to end so we got a bunch of hastily cobbled together narrative conventions and enough fan service to go away with a sense of finality, if not much satisfaction.

Apparently, HBO didn't want it to end so fast. They were trying to talk the showrunners into more seasons, or at least more episodes. But D+D wanted that Star Wars prestige. Forget 1 Million signatures on a petition to have HBO redo season 8, where's my petition to keep Benioff and Weiss out of the Star Wars franchise?
posted by tclark at 9:12 PM on May 19, 2019 [25 favorites]


For myself, the only actually moving moment in the entire episode was the doors opening on Tormund waiting for Jon. If season 8 was just an extended bit of (extremely misguided) fan service, then watching them ride off together into the anarchic north was a better bit of slash than I had any right to hope for.
posted by chortly at 9:14 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I want to thank all of you shiptruthers here because after hanging out on Fanfare for the last two seasons, as soon as they cut to the ships loading up in the harbor I was all, "fuck those black sails!"
posted by TwoStride at 9:15 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Sorry, does Bran have any political experience? Any?

The Three Eyed Raven is the Kwisatz Haderach of Westeros. What more does he need?
posted by scalefree at 9:18 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


my *second* highlight of the show was the trailer for Westworld 3

I squealed like a small child when Evan Rachel Wood looked up at Jesse Pinkman.
posted by Justinian at 9:19 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


But also, when you think of it, Kristofer Hivju won the true Game of Thrones

All by his lonesome, probably without any writer/director prodding, he created two of the strongest and most passionate ships in the fandom, Tormund/Jon and Tormund/Brienne, because these ships do not exist in the books at all

Kristofer Hivju played the true long game of adding nuance and spark to his interactions with Jon and Brienne, and he won by getting Tormund to endgame and by getting Tormund to be one of the most beloved characters/ship partners in the whole fandom

ALL HAIL KRISTOFER HIVJU
posted by facehugger at 9:20 PM on May 19, 2019 [73 favorites]


oh i'm actually super excited for them to do horrible things to star wars so i can enjoy the unholy and unimaginable contortions the furious fanboys will twist themselves into in order to defend it

cirque du soleil costs money but this shit will be free
posted by poffin boffin at 9:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [30 favorites]


So the 3 Eyed Raven was like 500 years old, but he was also a tree. Is Bran going to be a tree? Is he going to live to be 500? The idea of a malevolent tree playing out a long-con to rule an empire for the sake of some unknowable cosmic destiny is both very cosmic horror, and also very anime.
posted by codacorolla at 9:23 PM on May 19, 2019 [50 favorites]


Sam showing up in Archmasters’ robes at the small council made me wonder if any of the people involved in writing this season are familiar with how academia grants degrees. We may have a world with dragons and magick, but universities are the same throughout time and space: no one gets a degree until they pay their library fines, damnit.
posted by culfinglin at 9:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [69 favorites]


Also, why is Bronn at the table?
posted by kokaku at 9:24 PM on May 19, 2019


I got angry at the theory of money at the counsel... even in a world starting anew apparently the only way to accomplish anything is with someone handing out metal in exchange for a debt claim. If there was anything left of the "fantasy subversion" it was this. They appear to have all the power and yet they're at the mercy of "debt". From. The. Start.
posted by sylvanshine at 9:25 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


He's Lord of Highgarden and Master of Coin, one of the 5 most powerful people in the Kingdom. Possibly one of the 3 most powerful.
posted by Justinian at 9:25 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Bronn is the new master of coin.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:25 PM on May 19, 2019


I liked how they all pretended the Nights Watch still existed for a quick second. Who the heck were the guys Jon went up to the Wall with? Are they Wildlings now? Was the plan to restaff the wall with Jon and his two new best friends? Tyrion saying, well, we need some place to exile people to, so we're going to have a Nights Watch as a... public works project for rejects, at best, and a forced labor camp for dissenters, at worst?
posted by BungaDunga at 9:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


All by his lonesome, probably without any writer/director prodding, he created two of the strongest and most passionate ships in the fandom, Tormund/Jon and Tormund/Brienne, because these ships do not exist in the books at all


The black freighter Podmund lies just under the horizon. Watching. Waiting.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


For all you Jonmund shippers out there - this is one example of how Kristofer Hivju won Game of Thrones
posted by facehugger at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


The laws of succession are dead. The king or queen is chosen by acclamation by the heads of the houses.

Except that the heads of the houses are chosen by succession?

Anyhow, they have really opened themselves up to a coup and/or massive rebellion. Ten people can't really just install someone on the throne and be like EVERYBODY STOP FIGHTING NOW AND JUST BE HAPPY ABOUT THIS.

Last time the Lannisters put some loser on the throne without enough buy-in from the other nobles and without bothering to earn the populace's implicit consent, they had the War of the Five Kings, which is arguably still going on. The "smallfolk" are probably in even worse straits now after years and years of war. How is Bran going to fare any better than Joffrey did? He's a weak king for different reasons, but he's still a very weak king, and inheriting a kingdom in terrible shape. Sansa literally just right there and to Bran's face was like, "I'm claiming independence now," and then went and did it! What's to stop some random lords from doing the same, let alone quasi-independent states like the Iron Islands or Dorne? The Kingsmoot just created a power vacuum.

Lady Olenna? Doran Martell?

I think they're in the running for best overall ruler! Doran Martell was basically a political nonentity, though, and that wasn't great for Dorne. It's apparently a wealthy and stable country (even still!), but nobody seems to take it seriously at all in King's Landing and it is meanwhile still a vassel state? Something weird going on there. Did they even have representation at the Kingsmoot? And while I think Olenna was a very good leader, she seemed kind of myopically focused on realpolitic and just on politics in general, to the expense of the operations side of things. Although, Highgarden did manage to constantly have a food surplus, so maybe she was very good at the more "back office" parts of leadership and that just was never really on screen (very possible).

Anyhow, none of the current leadership rise anywhere near that level. I enjoy watching Tyrion, Davos, Bronn, Brienne and Pod, but come on. They are not Tywin or Olenna or a Martell.

The show spent seasons mulling over the idea of what it would mean to break the wheel, and then at the last minute concluded there is no breaking the wheel. It's all wheels all the way down. There's something bitterly disappointing about that.

I think that was always the point of Dany's arc, though. Dany was a conqueror just like all the other conquerors, and got herself the throne just like all the previous kings and queens got themselves the throne. She could be a unique person with her own unique rhetoric but in the end, she's reduced to her role -- conqueror, queen -- and that role is what dictates her behavior and how it's perceived and what its results are. I think that's very true to both the show and the books, there's always been this weird mismatch between the characters' internal humanity and uniqueness and the roles that they're assigned based on their bodies and their role in the outside world.

But then... I guess we have this Kingsmoot and a bunch of misfits with ~noble blood~ (of course) choose a different sort of king using a different sort of process. Which I think was probably meant to be hopeful and a sign of the wheel being broken. It rang hollow for me for a lot of reasons, but your mileage may vary.

I think that having Bran be made king was actually a pretty terrible idea, thematically. It totally undercuts Dany's story. Like, nobody can safely rule because ruling itself is the imposition of a cruel and destructive power dynamic. Oh, nobody EXCEPT BRAN. Dany was bad because she was magic (but in a bad way!) and Bran is good because he's magic (but in a good way!). The end.

I also literally cannot think of a worse king in a practical sense, because he is this font of knowledge that NEVER COMMUNICATES his knowledge or seems interested in people in the least. Like honestly, in my mind, this swerve would make more sense to me as some weird ploy on Tyrion's part to take control of the kingdoms without setting himself up to be killed by openly seizing power. I know that's not what they were going for at all, though, because this whole episode was super cheesy. That's what I mean by the characterization feeling flat to me -- it was like nobody had an inner life and also nobody wondered about anybody else's inner life. They said what they were thinking and what other people were thinking and that was it. The Dick and Jane version of Westeros.

Honestly, the character that showed the most credible inner life the whole episode was poor Drogon. And even he randomly torched a chair and then abandoned his mother's corpse with her murderer instead of staying true to character.
posted by rue72 at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [22 favorites]


Just about the only thing Bran has done all season is make sure Jon knows he's a Targaryen. This leads to Jon telling Dani and his family, which leads to Varys plotting a coup, which arguably leads to Dani burning King's Landing.

So.... Did Bran burn king's landing so he could become king?
posted by xammerboy at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [25 favorites]


Did we actually spend more time on Bronn & Jaime's Dornish Adventure than we did building Jon and Dany's relationship or does it just feel that way? One of my problems this season is that I feel like those two met like a week ago.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Does the shoot of green peeking through the snow north of The Wall indicate that the NK was the cause of the supernatural winters? Or, more likely, is it just cheap symbolism like a Dragon burning a throne?

If we're talking about cheap symbolism we need to include:
  • Tyrion walking past the bell
  • Tyrion walking over the world map, same one that was already too symbolic when Cersei did it last ep
  • Dani & Drogon's way-too-on-the-nose synchronized move as they hove into view together.

posted by scalefree at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


public works project for rejects,

But it also seems like you could have a public works project for rejects that actually did something useful? I mean, I'm glad Jon and his boyfriend Tormund get to live out their days together North of the Wall with their child, Ghost, but if you want to find something for bastards and convicts to do, maybe have it be useful? Like rebuilding all the places in Westeros that were devastated by war?
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Sam showing up in Archmasters’ robes at the small council made me wonder if any of the people involved in writing this season are familiar with how academia grants degrees. We may have a world with dragons and magick, but universities are the same throughout time and space: no one gets a degree until they pay their library fines, damnit.

He did submit his dissertation, though his committee chair seemed uninterested in staging a formal defense.
posted by clockzero at 9:32 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Did they even have representation at the Kingsmoot?

I assumed the previously mentioned but never named current Prince of Dorne was one of the dudes there, yeah.
posted by rewil at 9:35 PM on May 19, 2019


then abandoned his mother's corpse with her murderer instead of staying true to character.

No, he flew off with Dany in his claw. I'm guessing there's all kinds of Westerosi truthers about that.
posted by TwoStride at 9:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


At least Jon ended up with someone he's had decent on-screen chemistry with
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [36 favorites]


I assumed the previously mentioned but never named current Prince of Dorne was one of the dudes there, yeah.

I'm guessing the guy in golden clothing to the left of Robin Arryn (who seemed a lot more with it?)
posted by TwoStride at 9:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Facehugger, thank you so much for the jonmund links. I am now laughing myself silly at these wonderful memes.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:37 PM on May 19, 2019


So.... Did Bran burn king's landing so he could become king?

It's way more credit than the show deserves, but this is literally the only interesting reading of it. Bran also now has access to a dragon that is grieving and masterless and presumably vulnerable to being controlled as a warg-vessel, and has the mildly competent and incredibly gullible Tyrion consolidating his power. If you go back to the text of the show, then Bran isn't even really Bran any more (weird that nobody thought to mention this despite the fact he's literally said it to multiple people at that council), but rather an inhuman supernatural force that's wearing Bran as a suit.
posted by codacorolla at 9:38 PM on May 19, 2019 [83 favorites]


I'll take it. My girl Brienne is in charge of the kingsguard with Pod serving alongside, my girl Sansa is Queen in the North, no one is actually literally sitting on the iron throne ever again, Jon gets to go brood in the North or whatever and Ghost got the pets that were promised.

It was really rocky getting there, but the series has been a significant part of my adulthood so far and I'll miss it. I watched season 1 and devoured all 5 books before season 2, reading fan theories and analyses and a few pieces of fanfiction and obsessively watching every episode as soon as I could. I'm not sure if I'll ever follow anything else again that's so much a part of the cultural zeitgeist, so it's bittersweet that it's over. Well, guess I'mma go back to waiting for book 6 but you know.
posted by j.r at 9:41 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


then Bran isn't even really Bran any more [...], but rather an inhuman supernatural force that's wearing Bran as a suit.

So we've gone from Dune to The Laundry Files.
posted by tclark at 9:42 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


At least Jon ended up with someone he's had decent on-screen chemistry with

ChrysWatchesGoT is going to have a whole lot of fun recapping this finale, for certain values of fun, but I think this is the part I'm most looking forward to, since she's been on team jonmund for years.
posted by karayel at 9:42 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Tormund will be Jon's 'and o the king
posted by clockzero at 9:45 PM on May 19, 2019


maudlin Some nice touches, but it felt overall like a mashup of parody sketches and the first drafts of novice fanfic.

In the Social Dynamics of Fantasy Dragons thread on the blue, adamrice wrote that D&D "drank from the font of genius" but it ran dry. My reply was that GRRM's font ran dry, which was D&D's path to genius, to cut down an existing work. So naturally when they ran out of George's own work to use, they're scrambling to end this thing.

Fer cryin' out loud, Dany said "I was a girl who couldn't count to 20!" twice in her final scene. I physically cringed the second time, I felt so bad for Emilia Clarke.

And then there's the time in this episode. We start out in the grim aftermath of the fiery end of King's Landing, where ash falls like snow. Then it's really snowing. A few weeks pass, and both Tyrion and John look like they had just survived a few months of winter, with unruly beards ... AND IT'S SPRING!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:46 PM on May 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


And even he randomly torched a chair and then abandoned his mother's corpse with her murderer instead of staying true to character.

no, he flew off with her body clutched in his talons
posted by poffin boffin at 9:47 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


As much as the writers made missteps this season, this whole "They wanted out of GOT so they could write Star Wars" is just nonsense. Their deal with Lucasfilm came last year. They've obviously been planning to wrap up GOT for nearly three years now - or even longer, realistically.
posted by crossoverman at 9:49 PM on May 19, 2019


One of the few things I liked was Jon cutting off Dany's "My brother used to tell me" stories to be like uh "Uh pardon your childhood memory but YOU MELTED AN ENTIRE DAMN CITY!"
posted by miss-lapin at 9:51 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


And for anyone who wants a Jon/Tormund primer with less meta and more gifs, there's also this.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:51 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Wait that was supposed to be real snow? I thought it was ash the whole time, with the understanding that it settled enough by the committee meeting that you could tell it was actually spring.
posted by alleycat01 at 9:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


No, he flew off with Dany in his claw. I'm guessing there's all kinds of Westerosi truthers about that.

no, he flew off with her body clutched in his talons

Oh! Sorry, I missed that. When Drogon started torching the chair, I was like, "how corny!" and kind of zoned out for the rest of the scene. And maybe all the following scenes involving Jon because frankly, who cares. To be fair to the show, I skip his book chapters, too.
posted by rue72 at 9:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I do like how the Jon and Tormund ending like, through the lena of Jonmund retroactively explains away Jon'a atrocious chemistry with anyone who wasn't Tormund.

Like thats 100% an accident but they've just given fic writers a big enough prompt for a million words.
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


“And who has a better story than Bran?” is still cracking me up.

ANYONE ELSE ON THIS DANG SHOW
posted by sallybrown at 9:59 PM on May 19, 2019 [36 favorites]


How funny would it be for Tyrion Lannister to, for a third fucking time, serve as the hand of a ruler who's using his mediocre managerial skills to commit attrocities?
posted by codacorolla at 9:59 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


The idea of a malevolent tree playing out a long-con to rule an empire for the sake of some unknowable cosmic destiny is both very cosmic horror, and also very anime.

It is basically Final Fantasy 5.
posted by fleacircus at 10:00 PM on May 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


In Tyrion's defense, he was by all accounts a first-rate builder of sewers.
posted by Justinian at 10:00 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


karayel: this is visually impressive, and makes zero sense.

My favorite bit of pretty nonsense: the skeleton shop, where there is a building full of skeletons, including one resting on some sort of wooden frame. I think the idea is that they're the burnt remains of people in a building, but if they were burnt, why one be on a wooden frame?

And then there's the hot nonsense of John Snow walking away from Grey Worm to go see Dany, only to walk up to Dany's domain ... where Grey Worm is already by her side.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:00 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


There were a couple faces I didn’t recognize at the Kingsmoot: the man between Samwell and Edmure, and the man to the right of Bronze Yohn Royce.

If you watch that climactic scene with subtitles, the characters are literally credited as "Man" when they say their ayes.
posted by mediareport at 10:04 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


And then there's the hot nonsense of John Snow walking away from Grey Worm to go see Dany, only to walk up to Dany's domain ... where Grey Worm is already by her side.

Yes, that was a real wtf moment. Like, did Grey Worm apparate from the other side of King's Landing? Did Jon and Davos get lost on there way to see Dany?
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:06 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


it was one in one out, Jon had to wait like 47 minutes which you'd know if you checked your texts jeez
posted by fleacircus at 10:09 PM on May 19, 2019


The Three Eyed Raven is the Kwisatz Haderach of Westeros. What more does he need?

I spent six-plus years studying a civil war but I assure you no one should appoint me queen.

How is Bran going to fare any better than Joffrey did? He's a weak king for different reasons, but he's still a very weak king, and inheriting a kingdom in terrible shape. Sansa literally just right there and to Bran's face was like, "I'm claiming independence now," and then went and did it! What's to stop some random lords from doing the same, let alone quasi-independent states like the Iron Islands or Dorne? The Kingsmoot just created a power vacuum.

Yes. What does his kingship depend on? Obviously not ability to command an army. There's not even much of an army left to command. Not wealth. Not any meaningful hereditary claim. Not even particular interest. And, compellingly, by definition not any ability to create a settled power structure by siring legitimate heirs. People will walk when they see the opportunity. In ~25 years, Sansa's oldest son will be coming south for the throne.
posted by praemunire at 10:11 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: What're they going to do with the laws of succession? Can he have a kid?

snuffleupagus: Kingsmoot II: Selection Boogaloo

Wait, so Yara's there, and she doesn't stand up and show "hey, this is great now, but it's gonna suck when there's a charismatic leader who fools you all! Ask me how I know!"? I am disappoint.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


dephlogisticated: On the plus side, Bran will usher in a renaissance of wheelchair craftsmanship after he turns the Citadel into a ramp-accessible library devoted to the researching and cataloging of wheelchair lore.

We may not get democracy, but at least we'll get the Americans Westerosi with Disabilities Act, ensuring that there is improved access for all.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


as soon as they cut to the ships loading up in the harbor I was all, "fuck those black sails!"

I kinda wish that FanFare threads closed to comments eventually. Then, just before the final GoT thread closed forever, I could sneak in at the last second and whisper: tanbark.
posted by fleacircus at 10:19 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if we were still going to end up with a King, instead of going with Bran, who has stated so many times that he doesn't really care about any human concerns now that he's an all knowing Tree god or whatever, I can't believe not one person there was like, "Well, gendry's a legitimate Baratheon now, and he doesn't seem to be crazy, so..."

I mean, not that Gendry is a good choice necessarily, but I think just about anyone would have been better than Bran, especially the way Bran has been portrayed in the show up until this point. And it would have been sort of thematically appropriate. Like, after all this, the lords of westeros go back to what they know, basically.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:20 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Even if they didn't select Gendry, it's still just weird to me that no one would even bring it up as an option. It also would have been ironic, since Dany legitimized him in the first place without seeming to consider the possible repercussion of having a legitimized son of Robert Baratheon to contend with.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


So winter is over in King's Landing at the end of the episode? Quick winter in the end for one that was coming for years.
posted by crazy with stars at 10:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Dany/Jon conversation felt to me verrry much like a centrist/individualist fantasy, where they stake out an anti-SJW position with something like, "Why do you get to decide what's ethically good!? political correctness is just another religion!!". For the morally disqualifying incident, substitute free speech outrage bait du jour for the needless mass murder of thousands of innocents.
posted by fleacircus at 10:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I really thought that was ash falling the whole episode. I'm so confused.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Maybe the Night King was just trying to do us a favor all along. The Night King, like all the rest of us, just didn't want Bran to end up on the iron throne. If only Arya hadn't ninja'd her way to the weirwood, this all could have been avoided.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:34 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Yes. What does his kingship depend on? Obviously not ability to command an army. There's not even much of an army left to command. Not wealth. Not any meaningful hereditary claim. Not even particular interest. And, compellingly, by definition not any ability to create a settled power structure by siring legitimate heirs. People will walk when they see the opportunity. In ~25 years, Sansa's oldest son will be coming south for the throne.

I agree with everything you wrote except that it would take twenty-five years. Bran's entire power base is like five people. Every opportunist in the world would make a power grab! And honestly, why wouldn't they?

That's why I look at Bronn and think, you want to give HIM access to the treasury? He's got the ability to command soldiers, he's more or less a sociopath, and as master of coin, he's now got de facto unlimited access to money (it's technically the crown's money, but who cares?). How is this guy not going to claim the throne within a few months? Why would he sit there satisfied with Highgarden when this power vacuum is staring him in the face? And I don't think Bronn's a terrible person per se, just an ambitious opportunist.

Lol it's just Shae all over again. Tyrion is REALLY BAD at this game of thrones stuff. hahahaha
posted by rue72 at 10:35 PM on May 19, 2019 [23 favorites]


And honestly, why wouldn't they?

bc he can control a dragon with his mind while sitting on the toilet or taking a nap or eating a sandwich in bed
posted by poffin boffin at 10:38 PM on May 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


i mean i assume that was the whole and entire purpose of his "maybe i can find him myself" line
posted by poffin boffin at 10:39 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Misc. thoughts:

- Liberty Bell sighted, Game of Thrones actually takes place in far-future Philly, you maniacs, you blew it up, etc.

- That shot of Drogon's wings spreading behind Dany as she approached the waiting armies: that was such a good few seconds visually that I don't care if it was hammy as fuck, and also it made me miss Hannibal

- more like God Emperor of Dorne amirite

- J O R M U N D

- let's be honest, Grey Worm is in a lot better shape than Jon, he could easily have double-timed it back to the keep even before you factor in how slow Jon's emo mope lope probably was

- seriously though where the fuck did Arya's horse go
posted by cortex at 10:49 PM on May 19, 2019 [35 favorites]


Why do you get to decide what's ethically good!?

In order to sell this argument they had to first make her go crazy and burn King's Landing after it surrenders, and then have her give a speech about subjugating the rest of Westeros. This came out of nowhere from a character that talked about ending slavery and breaking the wheel and so on. Up until that point the worst she'd done was kill some nobles who refused to bend the knee. They spend 7 seasons with her learning lessons, etc. and then turned her into a power mad tyrant killer in two episodes.
posted by xammerboy at 10:53 PM on May 19, 2019 [26 favorites]


bc he can control a dragon with his mind while sitting on the toilet or taking a nap or eating a sandwich in bed

True. I guess I just don't get that kid. Why did he even consent to being on the throne? What's his goal? It seems like it would be pretty irrelevant to him. But I guess this is how he wanted things to play out, seeing as he didn't warg into the dragon to stop Dany from sacking King's Landing in the first place?

Bran is confusing, I don't even understand the mechanics of his abilities. When they say he knows and can see everything, does that mean he's basically omnipotent? Is he god? Maybe they already answered these questions in earlier seasons and it went over my head.

I do think it's kind of interesting if he's some Old God sitting on the throne, maybe even playing his own version of the Gods' Game of Thrones (against the Lord of Light and whoever else). But it didn't seem like the show was trying to be that trippy -- in this particular episode anyway, they've certainly been trippy with Bran's story before.
posted by rue72 at 10:54 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Ugh yeah there were some things here that were really off in terms of the current real-life moment. Like the having-it-both-ways of "nazism, but make it foreign people of color!!" Bro one of your main anglo protagonists is literally named "Aryan Strong" so maybe glass houses.

Also Tyrion's appalling "first they came for the slavemasters, and I did not speak out because I was not a slavemaster. Then they came for the other slavemasters, and I did not speak out because I was not uhhhhhh one of those slavemasters either..."
posted by dusty potato at 10:58 PM on May 19, 2019 [28 favorites]


Well I'm glad Sansa freed Scotland.

"Are ye Sansa, Queen of Scots?"

"I am."

[SOUNDS OF MURDER]
posted by maxwelton at 11:07 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


Arya did nothing to justify receiving redemption for the horrible things she has done, but the fans love her mouth-breathing-eyebrow-arching adventures, so I guess that is to be expected. I shouldn't be but I'm amazed that this society is still intact when extra-judicial execution is the go-to reaction to any crime you wish to name.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:09 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


It was fine plot wise. Drama wise it was pretty low energy, much like the multiple Lord of the Rings fade outs.

I think Dany neutralizing Jon (via murder or marriage) and then ruling well & wisely would have been more interesting and more in line with the early themes than what we got. Curious if Martin would have ended up here if he kept writing but I don't expect to find out. This was satisfactory though; I can head canon some of the motivations and feel satisfied.
posted by mark k at 11:13 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is shallow, but I just want to say how gorgeous Dany looked in this episode--terrible, fearsome and beautiful. She absolutely could inspire an army to go forth and brutally "free" the rest of Westerous just as she freed King's Landing.

I mean, everyone who was living in KL no longer has any worries at all, and that's by definition the most free you can be!
posted by maxwelton at 11:20 PM on May 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


ok, I give, this was a silly show after all
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


The final AVClub (noobs) review is up here:
This hasn’t been Game Of Thrones’ finest season by any metric, yet it’s far from the disaster some make it out to be. It’s fascinating to see a show wrap up in a manner wherein many of the flaws so clearly occur offscreen rather than on; the plague of season eight hasn’t been lackluster episodes, for the most part (though “The Last Of The Starks” was a definite low point). It’s been what takes place between episodes, even between scenes: a dearth of cogently defined pacing and structure that’s been cast aside in the race to the finish.
AV Club, both versions, has consistently been a good read on the series and this one is no exception. Some interesting ruminations on the Jon/Dany relationship and the Jon/Tyrion conversation I referenced in my first comment.

FWIW I agree with the above. This hasn't been GoT best season. Nor it's 5th best season. But it's not anything like the utter travesty you'd think it was if all you did was read internet comments.
posted by Justinian at 11:21 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


So one character was unable to resist the lure of power at the one yard line and had to be killed by their closest companion and champion, leading to the titular object being destroyed in the fires in which it was forged, followed by time-lapses, hopeful coronations, someone sitting down to tell the tale, the title book being presented, folks returning home and the hero sailing off into the unknown.

So this was, yes, basically cribbing from Return of the King pretty much throughout.

I liked Jon petting the good good boy Ghost. I liked Sansa's "Queen in the North" moment (seriously for me this season was worth it for that. That was all I wanted.) I loved Edmure getting dunked on and the fact that they didn't feel the need to pair off anyone.

Small mercies. This was all ridiculous and silly and most of this season was pretty bad, but we're building a world where the small mercies matter. So that's what I'll remember.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


(originally accidentally linked the as-yet incomplete EXPERTS review, fixed.)
posted by Justinian at 11:24 PM on May 19, 2019


Shout out to the walking dead BBQ'ed dude at the beginning who everyone rushed to help.*

* For entitled noblemen values of rushing to help.
posted by maxwelton at 11:24 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Bran is confusing, I don't even understand the mechanics of his abilities. When they say he knows and can see everything, does that mean he's basically omnipotent? Is he god? Maybe they already answered these questions in earlier seasons and it went over my head.

honestly same and i've decided that bran is the tom bombadil of westeros
posted by poffin boffin at 11:26 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Oh, also, it mattered that Dany's story wasn't "Targeryen Madness" nor "Bitches be crazy" but rather "She's been killing folks since she's been able to kill folks and every time it's been cheered as righteousness including by all of us, so it's not surprising that's she's high on her own branding supply now."
posted by Navelgazer at 11:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [36 favorites]


ALSO the fact that Dany's trustworthiness in a given episode is directly proportional to how ululatey the Dothraki are feeling
posted by dusty potato at 11:27 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Is there a vet in the north? Way more than enough time passed between Ghostie having his ear lopped off for it to scar over, and yet is still looks like a fresh wound when his emo master shows up. Surely someone has some sort of unguent or something.
posted by maxwelton at 11:29 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Yeah Dany pays the ultimate price for her bloody crimes, and Arya gets a shiny new boat.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:31 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I mean, if we're going down the thematic rabbit hole, that's because Arya abandoned her quest for blood and revenge last episode while Dany ramped up hers.
posted by Justinian at 11:33 PM on May 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


No, she turns up after Dany's speech at the Red Keep still saying "I came here to kill Cersei, but I guess your queen got to her first."
posted by casarkos at 11:36 PM on May 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I never thought I would say this, but I would have been happier if Tyrion had been killed. That he makes such patently bad choices and Bran knows this and still chooses him?

Seriously? Sigh.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:37 PM on May 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Yeah Dany pays the ultimate price for her bloody crimes, and Arya gets a shiny new boat.

yeah, "She's been killing folks since she's been able to kill folks and every time it's been cheered as righteousness including by all of us" could apply to Arya as well.

(but danaerys is associated with scary violent brown people that don't speak english/"the common tongue", and aryan stark is from the (very white) north plus she's katniss 2.0 being set up for a spin-off series so....)
posted by aielen at 11:38 PM on May 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Aaaaand the AVClub (experts) review is now up as well. (B+)
But as much as Game Of Thrones became known for sound and fury, I would contend that was never its best mode even when it was its most impressive, and “The Iron Throne” understands that as it plays out. It delivers a clear climax to the story it was telling, but an intimate one, which comes far sooner than you’d expect. And after it ends the story it’s been telling, it asserts that the story will keep going, contorting itself to create a new set of journeys, informed by those that came before.

I said going into this finale that my test for a final season of a television series is whether it enriches what came before, but this finale succeeds—more or less, at least—by doing the opposite, putting most of its energy into constructing a vision of the future rather than relitigating the past. And the result is a finale that by its conclusion felt more like Game Of Thrones at its best than the season that preceded it, albeit in the process reinforcing how much the show struggled with how to integrate its final act into its larger story arc.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


No, she turns up after Dany's speech at the Red Keep still saying "I came here to kill Cersei, but I guess your queen got to her first."

People say a lot of shit. Jaime said he didn't care about anyone but himself right up until the end and we know that wasn't true. (As did Brienne in the end.) We directly saw Arya abandon her quest right there on the screen a week ago in a scene with the Hound. She literally thanked him for it.
posted by Justinian at 11:40 PM on May 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh was Bran running around for 8 seasons talking about how he's owed a chair he's never seen because his inbred rapist murderer daddy sat on it?

Oh, but that makes Bran just less honest than Dany, because either he's a mastermind who let it all happen and sacrificed all these people to end up on the throne himself or he's completely useless.

He might have all this knowledge but we have never seen him apply in a way that benefits anyone other than himself. (And no, giving Arya the dagger counts for shit - for all we know any Valyrian steel would have done the job, and they knew to use Valyrian steel without Bran).
posted by sohalt at 11:44 PM on May 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


(but danaerys is associated with scary violent brown people that don't speak english/"the common tongue", and aryan stark is from the (very white) north plus she's katniss 2.0 being set up for a spin-off series so....)

I'd argue that there are at least some differences in that Arya's story involved her refusing to kill someone and fighting her way out of the faceless men for it and Dany laying waste to thousands after they had surrendered though.

I agree the racial dynamics on this show are fucking horrible though.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:47 PM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Robin Arryn subverted my expectations.
posted by jurymast at 11:48 PM on May 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


Man, he really Neville Longbottomed the shit out of puberty.
posted by jurymast at 11:49 PM on May 19, 2019 [43 favorites]


I know, right? If I was Sansa, I'd be like "DAYUM I missed out!"
posted by miss-lapin at 11:57 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dany's speech summed up a couple hundred years of American exceptionalism in a few minutes, where the white savior ultimately manifest-destinies her corporate mission across the GoT world, accompanied by fascist, militaristic applause, shadowed against the post-Hiroshima backdrop of nuclear ash and rubble. A bit on the nose, but maybe global warming isn't the real threat, after all.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:58 PM on May 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


I was thinking of writing a piece on the story as defense of pragmatic incrementalism (Tyrion's ruler-as-chosen-by-"enlightened"-council) vs radical change (Dany's break-the-wheel) but then I got better and just drank some shots instead.
posted by Justinian at 12:01 AM on May 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


how he's owed a chair he's never seen because his inbred rapist murderer daddy sat on it?

This is a very silly criticism to make of Dany in a world where everybody believes in some variety of hereditary monarchy. The show did not end in democracy. It didn't even end with one of the smallfolk ruling. Just another nobleman, who, if he manages to hold onto power til (if?) he dies, will have a bunch of relatives claiming the right to succeed him by virtue of their blood relationship.

(If you think Bran will be able to hold the throne without becoming a murderer, I don't know what to tell you.)
posted by praemunire at 12:01 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]



I was thinking of writing a piece on the story as defense of pragmatic incrementalism (Tyrion's ruler-as-chosen-by-"enlightened"-council) vs radical change (Dany's break-the-wheel) but then I got better and just drank some shots instead.


With Sam's actual democracy as the idea that's a little ahead of it's time? I dunno, I think it could work.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:02 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Arya's Log, Starkdate 682.10.2
Ate the last of the last crewman today...just how big is this damn ocean? Maybe pretty dresses might not have been so bad? Worried my fantasies about Gendry have taken a dark turn--last night, I was giving him a massage, using BBQ sauce and a spiced rub instead of oil. SO hungry.
posted by maxwelton at 12:03 AM on May 20, 2019 [55 favorites]


I watched this episode with a friend, and we mostly spent it shouting, "SYMBOLISM!!!!" every time there was an incredibly on-the-nose shot (napalm survivor guy, Dany with dragon wings, and so on).

There were... a lot.
posted by jurymast at 12:05 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Robyn Arryn brought back for a goof.

Between this and Endgame, this month has seen two decade-long franchises end with an inexplicable twentyish white dude present at Gatherings of Import, who in each case turned out to be a child actor who grew up offscreen. I guess Robyn Arryn is the Harley Keener of Westeros.

For those who found fault with the “three bricks” atop the twincest pair, you should have seen the first cut of the episode where Tyrion spends a full forty minutes unearthing them. It was glorious.

The funniest line of the season goes to Ser Davos, with his uncertain, “Torgo Nudho — am I saying that properly?” only to be met with a silent stare.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:05 AM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


It didn't even end with one of the smallfolk ruling

Gendry rules Storm's End. He lived most of his formative years as one of the smallfolk so...one of them ended up ruling.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:06 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I also thought it was hilarious how the show seemed to be pushing the "Jon Snow is really dumb" angle.

An alternate version of the scene with him and Tyrion:

J: "'Love is the death of duty.'"
T: "Did you really come up with that? You? I mean, that actually sounded profound..."
J: "No, I pronounced it with quotes, didn't you hear?"
T: "Oh. Well what if duty is the death of love?"
J: stares blankly
T: "Wink wink? Nudge nudge?
J: confused smolder
T: I'm saying it's your duty to cause the death of the woman you LOVE.
J: ...
J: ...
J: "But...Ygritte's already dead?"
T: (muttering) "Seven hells..."
T: "Stab the fucking queen you idiot!"
posted by j.r at 12:07 AM on May 20, 2019 [37 favorites]


He did submit his dissertation, though his committee chair seemed uninterested in staging a formal defense.

I gotta say that faced with Drogon, the very important iron chair didn’t put up much of a defense either.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:08 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I made a comment with my predictions in the last thread, and I did pretty good! I was imagining more of the kingdoms would claim their independence though: definitely the North and Dorne, and probably the Iron Islands and the Vale as well.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:09 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


There were a couple faces I didn’t recognize at the Kingsmoot: the man between Samwell and Edmure

My wife suggested that might have been Howland Reed.
posted by The Tensor at 12:13 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Dany's speech summed up a couple hundred years of American exceptionalism in a few minutes, where the white savior ultimately manifest-destinies her corporate mission across the GoT world, accompanied by fascist, militaristic applause, shadowed against the post-Hiroshima backdrop of nuclear ash and rubble. A bit on the nose, but maybe global warming isn't the real threat, after all.

This is exactly my read on the speech.
posted by xammerboy at 12:19 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Wild how the whole eight seasons were actually a prequel for Lost #thanksarya.
posted by Erberus at 12:36 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I loved that bit, though. Wise Sam coming up with an idea centuries before its time, and then the beat before everyone burst out laughing.

Sam was in the Night’s Watch, they’ve been electing the Lord Commander for a thousand years.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:43 AM on May 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


Pour one out for the real slayer of tyrants and protector of innocents: Mirri Maz Duur.
posted by jurymast at 12:50 AM on May 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


emotionless tall chair boy seems to have orchestrated a massacre and his resultant coronation; nobody seems to mind much;

Yep, I’m going with “Bran is secretly evil and this is how he knows he can end up on the throne and subjugate Westeros for the Children of the Forest” because that’s the only way this makes sense to me.
posted by corb at 12:53 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


I was thinking of writing a piece on the story as defense of pragmatic incrementalism (Tyrion's ruler-as-chosen-by-"enlightened"-council) vs radical change (Dany's break-the-wheel) but then I got better and just drank some shots instead.

totally wasn't joking when I said the Biden endorsement ought to have made it clear where this was heading
posted by karayel at 12:53 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Funny how the total eradication of an entire city became moot in every way, plot, consequence and continuity, once Dany was out of the way.
posted by northtwilight at 12:54 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


On second thought, what Kybard said.
posted by northtwilight at 12:57 AM on May 20, 2019


I was imagining more of the kingdoms would claim their independence though: definitely the North and Dorne, and probably the Iron Islands and the Vale as well.

The North and where?

(I thought it was funny that all councils seem to be made up of some permutation of the recognizable surviving characters, with representatives of Dorne nowhere in sight even though they're theoretically still part of the whole deal.)
posted by atoxyl at 1:44 AM on May 20, 2019


> "The six kingdoms need a steady hand. Bran will keep them regular."

A Song of Rice and Fiber
posted by kyrademon at 2:22 AM on May 20, 2019 [47 favorites]


with representatives of Dorne nowhere in sight even though they're theoretically still part of the whole deal.)

I'm pretty sure this happy looking guy is the representative of Dorne
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:32 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Hey, it's my old buddy Steve! Steve Martell, the new prince of Dorne!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 2:37 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


For those who found fault with the “three bricks” atop the twincest pair, you should have seen the first cut of the episode where Tyrion spends a full forty minutes unearthing them. It was glorious.


I saw that. It was filmed by David Lynch with entirely different actors, a different setting and script, and inexplicably stuck in the middle of the last season of Twin Peaks. And it was glorious.


This cut, unfortunately was terrible.

Other random thoughts:
I thought Brienne had sworn her service to Sansa. Why was she at Kings Landing, and not in the North?

Also, Arya gave up a life of revenge and off-hand dueling to take up a career as a sailor? Huh. I guess she really did get the Inigo Montoya ending.
posted by surlyben at 2:51 AM on May 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


I was pretty... whelmed by Dany's death, though on reflection I think I'm fine with it. I'd read a leak beforehand that claimed her death would be Real Bad - drawn out, begging to go home, etc. etc., and just basically full of cruel and gratuitous suffering - and I thought, "Yeah, that sounds like something D&D would do," so I'm extremely relieved that we got something different.

I've been vocally on team 'Dany was sending up red flags for megalomania for years', the last few weeks, but I'm still glad that she got what was, under the circumstances, probably the best death she could have hoped for. She got to go out having won the throne she dreamed of, her eyes still full of visions of liberation, and feeling loved and accepted.

For as much as D&D bungled a lot of things over the last few seasons, they had a fine line to walk in terms of communicating that Dany's means and methods were pretty fucked up, and that she could never hope to break the wheel of violent oppression by becoming a violent oppressor herself, while still being kind to a character that millions of women and girls have loved and been inspired by.

It wasn't the best. But it wasn't the worst, either.
posted by jurymast at 2:55 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Can I say as a disabled person how offensive I find Bran? I mean he gets to be king because inspiration porn?!
posted by miss-lapin at 3:13 AM on May 20, 2019 [39 favorites]


I think the main issue with Dany's storyline was that they sold it as a twist. "All the signs were there, but you didn't expect it!" Instead, it should have been sold as a struggle. We should have been with her more as she tried and failed to be better, and as she justified her actions to herself. We should have seen that bell ringing surrender with hope that she would do the right thing and certain dread that she would not. If it was done really well, we should have argued at the end whether she was right or not.

Arya, likewise, needed better handling. Is the takeaway that any of the faceless men could have offed the night king at any time? Seems like a waste of a lot of effort building a huge wall and stuff. Was it a lucky shot? Was it the lord of light manipulating the pawns into the right places?

Speaking of which, I guess we are all on the side of a god who burns kids, huh? And that's cool? But not a queen who burns kids. Check.

It's just all kind of a mess.
posted by Nothing at 3:17 AM on May 20, 2019 [33 favorites]


I liked that Jon went back to join Tormund and the night's watch, he never wanted to hold any land or title, and though the oath says he can take no wife, it says nothing about taking a husband.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:35 AM on May 20, 2019 [47 favorites]


well i am cheating, i cannot read through all the comments above, it is just too late tonight. li am ooking forward to exploring 'em over the next few days. i am also simply copy-pasta-ing what i wrote to friends elsewhere, because i wanna share! it looks like, from the comments i did read - about the first 100 - i am in agreement with many of you.

i didn't hate it, but i sure as hell am gonna make fun and poke some holes innit!

Dany actually DID break the wheel. posthumously, unfortunately. too bad there were more wheels on that cart and it kept wobbling on down the road -

'cuz even with the hat-tip to some vague form of constitutional monarchy, the white male patriarchy is safe, and lives to see another reign!

sure, Sansa gets a crown, but it's still a KINGdom.

wow, Brienne writes really fast! how much do you wish she had just flipped past Ser Jaime and started in writing Her story, instead? but, no.

and even though she is the only woman at the table, she just gets one line of dialogue before the white males talk over her, making sexist comments.

HIStory is still written by the Malesters.

Sam was right, though. and yes, dogs should totally get to vote.

that wolf shoulda bit Jon Snow right in the balls for not petting him in episode 4.

black folk don't care about reparations, they just wanna go back to Africa. i mean Naath. Naathrica.

Drogon is the real hero -- damn right, melt that fucking evil throne!

that dragon just should have added some Bran to its diet, cuz that twerpy little white dude is all smug sayin' that he's gonna mess with mindcontrol. the incel mastermind trope is so tired. don't you be tellin' dragons what to do with their own bodies!

so yeah that astrology meme was spot on: Sagittarius, and i'm totally Team Dragon. i hope they are like salamanders and reproduce via parthenogenesis. off to Valeryia to bury mom and lay a clutch! maybe do some burninating!

Arya's going out west, were the days are short and the nights are long, and she's totally gonna learn how to surf. hang ten!
posted by lapolla at 3:47 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Many things about the Night’s Watch just don’t compute anymore. “We need a place for bastards” is fucking bullshit, Tyrion, be better. Rapers and thieves you should just punish the usual way soooo.

I’m also not clear if we’re supposed to assume Jon straight up deserted and went North for good? I mean, I hope he did but he’s too “honorable” for that and would technicallllly put Sansa in the position of having to chop off his head if he ever came South (though she very reasonably doesn’t seem to give two fucks).
posted by lydhre at 3:47 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Somehow there's been 384 comments and no one's mentioned Napoleon yet? A better historical analog for Daenerys than the Nazis, surely, and even the United States (not led by a single autocrat, and not leading a war to liberate and transform the entire world in one fell swoop).
posted by skoosh at 4:00 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I found this episode, and the last episode, to be so disturbing in the political context of 2019 it made me physically sick.

-- Daenerys as a foreign tyrant, speaking in a language that originates in this world's version of the Near East, commanding an army of sinister black and brown invaders

-- Grey Worm, the only black man in the show, not only being made to suffer the indignity of actually recreating the "Mookie throws the trash can" scene from Do The Right Thing, but being shown as a frightening, violent man murdering white innocents and white POWs

-- A global slave insurrection/revolution being portrayed as a nightmare straight out of Cold War propaganda or paranoid crypto-right-wing US race war fantasies

-- The black and brown people finally leave Europe and Go Back To Their Own Countries, Thank God!!!

-- Brexit is a happy ending on this show, incredible

-- The reasonable, mediocre white guy Jon Snow heading off into the masculine, honorable, racially pure, Yankee-Candle-scented True North, away from the fucked up global south and its revolutions and problems, suspicious people who don't speak English, destructive black people, and hysterical women

-- democracy is a joke

-- I don't think I will ever, ever be over Benioff & Weiss clarifying, in 2019, that the razing of King's Landing was not supposed to mirror Hiroshima/Nagasaki, but was SPECIFICALLY modeled after the firebombing of Dresden. No disrespect intended to the civilians who really did die there, but insisting that the city of white civilians destroyed by an army of black and brown soldiers and intended to cast the people who destroyed it as unequivocal monsters was, specifically, a Nazi city, in a show that was written and made during 2016-19, is beyond the pale for me. I'm sorry, I just cannot accept a story that is, in 2019, trying to make a moral point by getting me to shed a tear over the deaths of those fine people on both sides in King's Landing, and asking an audience to do that is an act of open propaganda. I feel like this goes beyond being a dragon tankie, I'd really like to know more about the political support and donations D&D have made this past election cycle, because that's about on the level of the unknown DHS personnel who keeps including 1488 in press releases. I find it very difficult to believe that this is just a bad show, or just a lazy show, although it's those things too. The cast and audience deserved so much better than this Nazi shit show.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:02 AM on May 20, 2019 [63 favorites]


It delivers a clear climax to the story it was telling, but an intimate one, which comes far sooner than you’d expect. 

Haven't yet read the A/V Club review this comes from, but my take on the "intimacy" of the climax is closer to Zeynep Tufecki's smart piece about the show in Scientific American last week, The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones. Unable to match the writing of the rich, broad sociological storytelling of the first 4 seasons, with character motivations deeply affected by social and political forces, D&D instead moved to standard Hollywood: a shallow psychological approach that leads to extended dullness like the "OMG WILL JON SNOW DO THE RIGHT THING??!!1!!" mess we got last night. It's a great analysis, linked by Nelson in the last thread, and gets to the heart of what feels so off about this season.
posted by mediareport at 4:06 AM on May 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


Brexit isn’t the happy ending. Scottish secession is the happy ending for the North.
posted by joyceanmachine at 4:23 AM on May 20, 2019 [25 favorites]



I feel like Bronn is the real winner of the game here, if we go off of variance from starting point.

The Most Improved Trophy goes to Bronn of the Blackwater


Bronn without his lofty titles and yes he did less work to get where he is.
My vote is for the Onion Knight, Sir Davos. He was from Fleebottom.
He started from the stinkin bottom and now he is the master of ships.
He could have easily given up with how much he has lost.
posted by metafus at 4:33 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


Last time the Lannisters put some loser on the throne without enough buy-in from the other nobles and without bothering to earn the populace's implicit consent, they had the War of the Five Kings, which is arguably still going on.

Listen, I TOLD them I wasn't interested but they INSISTED!!
posted by some loser at 4:37 AM on May 20, 2019 [36 favorites]


Daenerys deserved so much better and all I can think of is her waking up on a smoking rock pile in Essos, in a clutch of dragon grandchild eggs, quoting Virginia Woolf's Orlando: "[send to Norway for two elkhounds,] for I have done with men."
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:40 AM on May 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


Also, thanks to everyone who is covering this thread with Jon x Tormund content, I didn't think Kit Harrington was capable of onscreen physical chemistry with anyone, including his own IRL wife, but I looked at those gifs and by god I was WRONG. And like the tumblrs are saying, this is somehow the only ship to survive the end of the show? This is the good version of "Balon Greyjoy wins the War of Five Kings because uhhh we kinda forgot."
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:42 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]




Having slept on it, that was a fairly satisfying ending. Yes, the last season would have really benefited from a few more episodes, but the ending fits. The Iron Throne was melted into slag, as it needed to be, and while a transition from absolute monarchy to direct democracy was far too much to ask, the wheel has been well and truly broken, and the establishment of a parliament (or at least a House of Lords) was a good first step. We end with the government still bickering and arguing, but at least (and at last) trying to make life better for the common folk.
That said, it would have really been improved by seeing Brienne literally turn the page on Jaime, write her own name on a blank page, and take a quietly satisfied look at it before heading off the the council.
Also, this is the best take I’ve seen on Dany’s heel turn: she was Frodo, if he’d been able to wield the ring and Gollum hadn’t gotten there in time.
posted by Zonker at 4:49 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


- That shot of Drogon's wings spreading behind Dany as she approached the waiting armies

I snorted at the fact that the first reply is, 'come on man', because that's exactly how I feel about it. I literally said, "SYMBOLISM," out loud when I saw it, and my friend followed up with, "im14andthisisdeep."
posted by jurymast at 4:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


Forget Starbucks. Samwell invented Plastic #GameOfThrones
posted by scalefree at 5:09 AM on May 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


I was thinking about the Khal and the Unsullied settling in Westeros and having a holding. The Unsullied and the Khalasar people can't reproduce. The Unsullied were produced by slavery and vicious child abuse which is now gone (and takes at least 12 years to produce a brand new soldier) and the Khalasar people's leadership is burnt to a crisp and their people scattered - new Khal warriors are being trained and raised from where? So the core of her army's shock troops have slowly been cut down by battle without a replacement coming in. When she looks over the destroyed KL and talks of a worldwide war, who is going to fight it for her? She and Greyworm are planning to slaughter all the opposing forces like the Lannisters rather than bring them in, her dragons aren't laying eggs so - where do her new armies come from?

The Khalasar are closest to the Free Folk - they would be happiest up north of the wall IMO, and adapt well - but the Unsullied will be gone in a generation. The idea of Grey Worm sailing to the island of Naath to defend it as he once promised her - well, that made me choke up hard.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:18 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


moonlight in vermont: Let's set things straight – Daenerys' ambition is what set the Unsullied to conquest and war crimes. After her death, Grey Worm doesn't just summarily execute Jon, even though he'd like to, because he understands the consequences and no longer has total air superiority on his side. Ser Davos offers the Unsullied The Reach, and Grey Worm refuses it, because he is personally uninterested in lands, riches, or power. Instead, he takes the Unsullied to Naath, because he explicitly promised Missandei that they would protect her homeland from slave raids. In other words, the Unsullied are continuing the war of liberation, but as protectors, not conquerors. They were never painted as naturally savage, but highly disciplined and capable, with noble ends in mind. Even the last shots of Dothraki show them calmly chatting as they walk past completely unconcerned Westerosi to their ships. They are no longer threatening, because the person who set them to war is out of the picture.

The mediocre white guy did not take the throne. His brother in the wings, who manipulated him to assassinate a nascent tyrant and take the fall for it, did instead. How much of that Bran could actually foresee is debatable, but surely quite a lot.

Daenerys' speeches to the Dothraki and the Unsullied in the finale were not the first in their languages, and no one freaked out about it then – except for conlang geeks, in a happy way. Why should their non-Englishness be read as sinister now?

Let's maybe keep the motivations of the actual characters in mind before reading the meta-messages of the creators in the worst possible light.

Regarding the secession of The North: joyceanmachine beat me to it, but yes, that reads much more as Scottish independence than Brexit to me.
posted by skoosh at 5:18 AM on May 20, 2019 [31 favorites]


Bro one of your main anglo protagonists is literally named "Aryan Strong" so maybe glass houses.
Um. No.
posted by all about eevee at 5:28 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Let's maybe keep the motivations of the actual characters in mind before reading the meta-messages of the creators in the worst possible light. This wasn't a cute or realistic sentiment when people were arguing that "300" wasn't a big part of what led people at GOP presidential rallies to sing, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" in 2006 and 2008, and it isn't realistic or defensible in 2019, either. I'm also on Grey Worm's side when it comes to his behavior in-universe, but I don't understand the mentality of trying to claim that placing an entirely black and brown army into the iconic Leni Reifenstahl Triumph of the Will Nuremberg long shot, during a global neo-fascist movement that vilifies black and brown populations as monstrous invaders, is somehow not a relevant point of criticism. Grey Worm deserved an arc that respected his motivations, his character, and his war of liberation, and instead he was painted as a monster straight out of a Tucker Carlson segment. I hate that it happened, but I'm not going to pretend it wasn't there. Mass media entertainment does not exist in a political vacuum.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 5:29 AM on May 20, 2019 [23 favorites]


HOWLAND. REED.

and I haven't seen anything past Season 2 or even read the books
posted by hototogisu at 5:31 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Daenerys' speeches to the Dothraki and the Unsullied in the finale were not the first in their languages, and no one freaked out about it then – except for conlang geeks, in a happy way. Why should their non-Englishness be read as sinister now?

If Dany's speech had been in the common tongue and Jon had been able to understand her, they couldn't have had 20 minutes of talking him into overthrowing her. No ambiguity, at all.

As for the thing about Dresden - it was the first thing I thought about when watching the episode. Not Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It was a sustained bombing of a civilian area and it specifically has been called out as an excessive military action by the good guys. The comparison makes sense, and you don't have to sympathize with Nazis to sympathize with the civilian population of Dresden - nor do you have to sympathize with Cersei to sympathize with the families killed by Dany & her dragon.

I'm still processing the episode, but the best I can do right now - I didn't hate the finale, but that's mainly because I wanted to see Davos and Sam and Tyrion and Arya and others make it to the end and have a "happy" ending. So, props on fan service. But in substance and tone, I think this season failed to stay true to the beginning of the show - despite all the callbacks and grimness of mass slaughter by the Night King and Dany.

Also, Davos should have gone to sea with Arya, and I would be totally down for an "adventures of Arya and Davos" spin-off. He's no Hound, but I think they'd be a good pairing.
posted by jzb at 5:37 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


The Verge, All The Questions Game Of Thrones Never Answered. It's a long list, y'all. I'd forgotten about some of them, like the wizards of Quarth.
posted by TwoStride at 5:46 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


I have to say that after this season I dread the spinoffs. The horse is thoroughly dead.
posted by srboisvert at 5:47 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Did they ever make it explicitly clear Bran could or was controlling Drogon? Without that none of it seems like it makes any sense. Killing Dany with her dragon sitting there able to destroy pretty much everything lacking any guidance seems awfully rash, to say the least, absent Drogon control Grey Worm and his crew just leaving is risible and offensive and even were it made clear the end seems more fan service than sense in any reading.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:53 AM on May 20, 2019


The Night King totally warged into Bran at the moment of his death. I was actually shocked that we didn't get to see Bran's eyes flash to blue at some point.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:02 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


moonlight on vermont democracy is a joke

... to the ruling nobles, except the one guy who went up to fight with the bastards and criminals on the wall. Because of course everyone else would laugh. (And Sam saw a bit of democracy first hand, where Jon was voted to lead the Night's Watch, then there was a coup. Even after that, Sam is still advocating for democracy, because it's not perfect, but it's better than Kingsmoot.)


scalefree Forget Starbucks. Samwell invented Plastic #GameOfThrones

He is a maester after all. But really, it feels like D&D just wanted to end this show. "OK, looks like a good take! And if we botched something, we'll fix it in post!" Next day, in post: "Looks good! If we missed anything, we can fix it in post-post!"


TwoStride: The Verge, All The Questions Game Of Thrones Never Answered. It's a long list, y'all. I'd forgotten about some of them, like the wizards of Quarth.

An unanswered question is just an opening for a new spinoff! Or two. Maybe 10. Who knows. As long as the fans still watch and keep that "dragon money" rolling into HBO, we're headed into Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe territory.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:18 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


The way it was the editing/visual/music cues that made Dany’s final speech seem sinister rather than her actual language (which sounded pretty close to what we’ve heard from her before) reminded me of The Office episode where Dwight gives his Stalin-esque paper convention speech.

Having Jon kill her just felt so convenient and easy (like Cersei being crushed in just the right spot, like Drogon deciding not to burn Jon, etc). Everything complicated seemed to work out so smoothly. They can debate whether he made a moral choice or not but either way the power struggle ends. The “good guys” are in control.
posted by sallybrown at 6:18 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I have to say that after this season I dread the spinoffs. The horse is thoroughly dead.

Not to be too much of a dick about this, but if D&D are off doing Star Wars and other people are in charge of the shows, I'll probably check them out...
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:20 AM on May 20, 2019


Having Jon kill her just felt so convenient and easy (like Cersei being crushed in just the right spot, like Drogon deciding not to burn Jon, etc).

Drogon had to sense Jon was a true Targaryan with blood of the dragon & thus immune to his fire.
posted by scalefree at 6:28 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I found the framing of Sansa’s coronation quite sinister. The whole king Queen In Da Norf declaration has not traditionally ended well. And without an external buttress of power The North is in a very shaky position powerwise. Just not seeing that bit as an unambiguous happy ending.
posted by arha at 6:28 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


No one gets coded as black and brown in-universe, because race doesn't work the same way there, if at all.

That argument doesn't hold water precisely because race is inescapably coded for the viewers and it's gross and lazy (yet utterly predictable) that (formerly) enslaved people "just happen" to be the most melanated in a given cast. I mean, there's no reason everyone playing a Stark couldn't have been Black, yet somehow that didn't occur to the producers... I can't put my finger on why.
posted by TwoStride at 6:28 AM on May 20, 2019 [35 favorites]


I also loved that Drogon turned out to be the smartest character in the entire show. Did not see that coming. A+ good boy.
posted by arha at 6:30 AM on May 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


Having Jon kill her just felt so convenient and easy (like Cersei being crushed in just the right spot, like Drogon deciding not to burn Jon, etc).

Drogon had to sense Jon was a true Targaryan with blood of the dragon & thus immune to his fire.


But why not show us this by having drogon try and burn him out of dragon-anger? You could even have a weird parallel to the scene where the night king survived burning.
posted by dis_integration at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


And without an external buttress of power The North is in a very shaky position powerwise.

What do they need the buttress against? The North's threats from the other side of the wall are gone, in that the Night King is dead, and the Wildlings are not only a shadow of their former selves, but led by Jon.

From the south, the rest of the Kingdoms are nominally ruled by her brother, and actually ruled by a Small Council led by her ex-husband who has a healthy respect for her abilities and is explicitly focused on re-building the Seven Kingdoms. Everybody else at the Kingsmoot or wtfever is either not interested in wars of expansion (Samwell and Brienne), likely focused on consolidating their own power since they're newcomers (Yara and Gendry), or a total non-competitor (Edmure and Robyn and Dorne-dude).
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


I mean, the infamous Mhysa scene is absolutely trying to play on the visible difference between Dany and those she liberated, and this random grouping of extras is notably swarthier than anyone we see outside of Dorne, maybe.
posted by TwoStride at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


A couple of additional thoughts after browsing the comments above:

Bran didn’t become King because he had the best story (despite what Tyrion said), he’s King because he has all the stories, because he is the personified memory of all Westeros. And seeing him take no real interest in governing — a King who reigns, but doesn’t rule — shows that he’s the best available choice.

Davos trying to say “Grey Worm” in Valyrian was funny, but also a perfectly observed little character moment. It was Davos to the core.

And I think it’s significant that the last words spoken in the entire run of the show were “the Queen in the North”. I take the points above about the ending’s uncomfortable whiff of patriarchy, but this goes at least some way to counteract that.
posted by Zonker at 6:55 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


joyceanmachine - Her brother explicitly doesn’t give a personal shit about her or anyone else human, and the north has been shown, brutally, to be vulnerable to conquest by sea. I just didn’t read that sequence as being as thoroughly optimistic as was presented.
posted by arha at 7:00 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


[Whoa whoa whoa, we are not getting into World War 2 bickering here, let's rerail.]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:04 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Stong, experienced female leader who is considered uncontrollable vs inexperienced man-child with manipulative relatives. The choice is super clear.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 7:12 AM on May 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


The whole king Queen In Da Norf declaration has not traditionally ended well. And without an external buttress of power The North is in a very shaky position powerwise. Just not seeing that bit as an unambiguous happy ending.

I think the North is the one area in good shape. They have a ruler with legitimacy embrace by the traditional elites who will be exercising power through existing means.

The whole "end of history" vibe--heck, even "end of the war" vibe--everywhere else is off. No army, no money, a king with no claim to the throne and not even his own lands to draw upon for a power base. The council is stacked with ex-commoners who won't command authority. The second someone is unhappy they can say they are serving the true king, who Bran exiled. Probably the kingdom will merely fall apart but you could see Bran deposed by some ambitious lord (possibly Bronn. ;) )

the north has been shown, brutally, to be vulnerable to conquest by sea.

Their capital was looted in a surprise attack by sea, but it wasn't conquest. Roose Bolton was able to retake it relatively quickly with local forces. Theon was pegged as stupid to try and hold it.

But sure, long term I imagine some future king in the south will try to cover himself in glory be reconquering the North, if they recover.
posted by mark k at 7:15 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Her brother explicitly doesn’t give a personal shit about her or anyone else human

The point is more that her brother isn't going to lead a war of conquest to reclaim the North because, for example, he no longer needs Sansa's political support to be acclaimed onto his throne. Dude doesn't care. And his Hand won't. And the Small Council won't. And the Great Houses are pretty much wiped out.

Who, exactly, is it that's coming over the sea? Yara? When her fleet was destroyed by Euron and his thousand ships, and then they got dragon-toasted in turn? Nobody is left.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:15 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.
posted by all about eevee at 7:16 AM on May 20, 2019


joyceanmachine remember it only takes a few weeks to build a thousand ships
posted by sixswitch at 7:17 AM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


and the north has been shown, brutally, to be vulnerable to conquest by sea

Not really.

The Ironborn only really took 2 or 3 locations in the north.

And only managed that because they thought Theon was on their side and most of their people who could fight had gone south.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:19 AM on May 20, 2019


Sansa is in a very strong position. I think the only things that could cause problems for her are normal human ambition and frailty getting the best of her or leaving her open to manipulation sometime in the future. That's not really an issue now, but in ten years, I can see her thinking it's time for her to expand her power, especially if the North is doing well while everything else rots. And she could overextend herself and wind up suffering for it, like lots of other characters have (probably including Dany).
posted by rue72 at 7:21 AM on May 20, 2019


Any ending in which the White Walkers weren't rendered completely irrelevant in the end after building them up as the real threat for 7.5 seasons would been fine by me. But the showrunners cared about the game of thrones and had no idea what to do with the inhuman characters.
posted by bookman117 at 7:25 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Jon did end up as Azor Ahai with Dany as Nissa Nissa, didn’t he? ~hand wavy Drogon flaming iron throne = flaming sword hand wavy~
posted by ocherdraco at 7:26 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I was in the middle of laughing to myself about how I'm not even mad about this weird fanfic ending, because my soul left my body as soon as Jaime Lannister was like, "Psh, I never cared for the common folk," and then I remembered that WAIT JUST A GODDAMN MINUTE

THEY NEVER EVEN PAID OFF ALL THOSE LETTERS VARYS SENT TO PEOPLE REVEALING JON AS THE HEIR TO THE THRONE???

Not a single fucking person showed up to be like, "Hey, I hear there's a trueborn heir of Rhaegar Targaryen kicking around."

Not even when they were all sitting around discussing Jon for an eternity at the Kingsmoot.

Who did Varys even send them to anyway, there's literally nobody left in Westeros except our main cast, Steve Dorne, and like two other guys.

lmao I can't believe how little D&D cared about their own show even from episode to episode jesus christ
posted by jurymast at 7:27 AM on May 20, 2019 [74 favorites]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

I didn't hate this ending but I would have preferred Dany ruling. And not as a mad queen. Having a "good" monarch who levels a rebellious city now and then seems completely consistent with the earlier books.
posted by mark k at 7:27 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


THEY NEVER EVEN PAID OFF ALL THOSE LETTERS VARYS SENT TO PEOPLE REVEALING JON AS THE HEIR TO THE THRONE???

My assumption is they had something more explicitly referring to it that got cut for time but the Kingsmoot itself was the result of Varys's ravens.
posted by scalefree at 7:32 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I don't know what ending I would have liked better. But for once I want one of these goddamn epic story arc shows to have a satisfying ending and tell it. Battlestar Galactica, Lost, .. they set up this grand and promising thing and then literally do not know how to deliver. Given it was going to fail anyway, I think this was just as fine a workman-like ending as any. I think it's fine they rushed this through six episodes because they literally didn't have anything else to say. I'd have greatly preferred if there was some amazing set of final twists and turns (maybe involving the Sorcerers of Qarth) and all the worldbuilding felt like it meant something. But I'll take what we got, at least it wasn't Space Angels or God's Waiting Room.

(Contrast Breaking Bad, which ended beautifully. But it's an entirely different kind of narrative and much easier to bring to a conclusion.)
posted by Nelson at 7:34 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

I would have preferred a more realistic take on Bran’s rule (that it puts the six kingdoms in a weak position and is a disaster waiting to happen), more of an emphasis on the fact that Jon’s choice to lead a coup was morally gray, and some acknowledgement of the fact that Tyrion’s strategies have been really bad in the past and his judgment isn’t exactly great.
posted by sallybrown at 7:35 AM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling

God, going back into gchat memories of the past... ten years? My asoiaf friends and I were always worried about how dangerous Dany's unchecked power would be, and we always wanted her to be able to have something like what Jon gets in the series: the opportunity to be made human again, instead of some supernatural bringer of miracles and monsters-- what she's always wanted, the opportunity to walk away, to be a person. The global revolution she sets into place (including in places Tyrion visits in the books which we didn't see on the show, sadly) happens, but stops being dependent on her. She finally comes to real terms with what her brother groomed her to be, what Drogo really was and what he did to her, what it means to be the Stallion Who Mounts The World, and turns away from that path.

I wanted them to actually treat the imbalanced seasons, the White Walkers, the Children/Greenseers, and whatever the hell turns out to be going on with Fire magic, like a serious problem humanity has to deal with, to really dig deep into that ecological fantasy instead of a cursory zombie throwdown and done.

Honestly with regards to GOT, I've been thinking a lot about Miyazaki's work, which GRRM took a lot of inspiration from, and specifically Mononoke Hime, where both protagonists end up *almost* giving in to rage and vengeance, but pull each other back from that ledge, and it ends with them in a field of wildflowers that's grown up around the clear-cut forest, holding a balance of grief and hope and responsibility to make a better world. “Life is suffering. It is hard. The world is cursed. But still you find reasons to keep living.” Not a world where Ashitaka stabs San because she's the Princess of the Demons and always has been, didn't you fools see her so ready to kill peasants from Iron Town, and the tagline is written by the cynical monk saying something like, "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention" like people have been gloating all over twitter. I wanted an ending that gave any of its characters (except Jon and Tormund, lol) responsibility, mercy, and human connection, and while it's been clear for a long time that those are not the narrative priorities of the showrunners, it felt like it might have been for GRRM at some point, and it's sad to see something so cruel instead.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:35 AM on May 20, 2019 [36 favorites]


in ten years, I can see her thinking it's time for her to expand her power, especially if the North is doing well while everything else rots.

Yeah, when Jon is shown leading the Wildlings north, there's a quick shot of greenery poking its way through the snow, which I read as spring finally coming north of the wall now that the Night King is gone. I don't know if it's part of an overall greening of the northerly-bits, but it's fun to speculate about 10, 20, 30 years down the line, when the North has reaped the rewards of steady, consistent, competent, peaceful leadership under Sansa -- what if there is a population boom? What if the greened north-of-the-wall turning out to be substantially more fertile than the traditional North, maybe because it hasn't been exhausted by thousands of years of subsistence farming? What if the Reach gets fully occupied?

What if people just get greedy for more, and why shouldn't they start having land to the north of the wall if the Night King is dead and it's arable?

There's an interesting story about Sansa and Jon (or their successors in power) eventually coming into conflict over settlements north of the Wall. :D
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:36 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

Not sure hate is the right word for me, and I’m fine with Dany dying and not ruling, I just didn’t really end up caring about it. I might've disagreed some with how the earlier episodes were plotted, paced and executed, especially regarding characterization, but at least the episodes were interesting and yes enjoyable despite my issues. Last night... was just boring. After a couple decent scenes/shots in the first part, it became a cliche combo of the "real game was the friends we made along the way" and "they all lived happily ever after." Way too neat and tidy and jokey for a season that involved the battle for the future of all humanity and the war for the throne with a very recent genocide of a city. And for a series that shocked and subverted with Red Wedding, etc.

I mean after 8 years of fire and ice, death and destruction, it basically all gets resolved at a city council meeting.
posted by chris24 at 7:37 AM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


Something interesting in this series in general is that for these characters, success is often as dangerous as failure. Success encourages people to overreach and also puts a target on their backs. I think Sansa is and will be very successful reigning in the North, but who knows, that success could end up being the death of her.

I'm also very interested in how she and Tyrion could negotiate the relationship between the "Six Kingdoms" and the North going forward, because as his characterization is now, I can see her manipulating the hell out of him. If she ends up having designs on expansion or just on playing "the game of thrones" in general, she could make a lot of use out of having the Hand of the (Indifferent) King on a string.

Oh well! I'm sad that there will be no more game playing and plotting, I loved trying to see how all the moving parts of the kingdoms and the characters would play off each other and fit together.
posted by rue72 at 7:38 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


So.... Did Bran burn king's landing so he could become king?

My headcanon ended the kingsmoot with a super-cut showing Bran going full Walter White and warging into everything from the boar that killed Robert Baratheon to Drogon torching King's Landing, to some of the softer-minded members of the kingsmoot who find themselves voting for Bran before shaking their head with a slightly bewildered look on their face. Toss in Arya's white horse and Drogon sparing Jon if you want to play up the idea that he not only played the super-long game to get to the throne but had a secondary goal of protecting his siblings and ushering them into power as well. I just can't figure out what his version of "I'm the one who knocks" would be so I assume that difficulty is why it was cut from the show as well.
posted by jermsplan at 7:39 AM on May 20, 2019 [22 favorites]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

I don't care about this show enough to hate the ending, but you know what I would have vastly preferred? An ending that said something interesting about, like, anything.

I was talking to my husband the other day about how we seem to be the only people who have watched this damn show religiously for a decade but aren't invested in any particular ending. And I said I'm usually like that with shows because what I'm primarily interested in is what the creators have to say. I'm not really that interested in predicting or "If X doesn't happen, I'm out!" because I want to hear the creators out and see what their artistic vision is. Beyond just the movement of plot pieces, what's your statement on the human condition? Tell me, I'm all ears!

But I think it's pretty clear in this case that once they ran out of book, D&D really just... didn't have one. They had nothing interesting to say, ultimately. Pieces got moved around on a board, everyone left alive got a thing to do that happily parks them in place, and absolutely no interesting statements were made about the world of the show, or the real actual world. It was boring. I played around on my phone a bunch during the episode because yaaaaaawn.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:39 AM on May 20, 2019 [66 favorites]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

What if Dany actually learned from her burning of Kings Landing, and decided burning innocents wasn't the way to go?

Maybe Jon or Tyrion or, I don't know, Grey Worm, brings up the smell of burning flesh in the air and muses about how some of them are innocent, asks Dany if she really wants to go through all this again, eh? Then Dany ponders that for a few days as she holds court and listens to common folk and their tales.

Then she reaches out to Sansa, and Dorne and everywhere else and asks them for peace?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 AM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Please have no fear: Confederate is never ever getting off the ground.

The racial/cultural analogues and coding have been pretty messed up on the show since the beginning, basically making Westeros the British Isles, France and Iberia and tacitly implying that anywhere other than that is very much Other and that psst hey the Iberian part of Westeros is pretty Other as well. So everyone in Westeros is Northern European-white (except for the Mediterranean Dornish who we don't meet until Season 3) while Essos encapsulates Italy, Greece, Mongol/Hunnish nomadic raider cultures, China (evidenced entirely through the background presence of a single Red Priestess) Russia, North Africa, etc. From a particular white American POV that's so natural as to not even be noticeable: Britain + maybe France = Us and everything else = Them. And with that baggage can come a lot of unfortunate associations and issues.

And while the books set up a lot of that, they are also a lot clearer on a sort of broad Cosmopolitanism in Westeros that the show dimply doesn't give us. There's a reason that the Royal Titles are "King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men..." because there are a number of different peoples in Westeros who were to some degree united under Targaryen rule. They could have done this better.

But instead they just dropped the "Rhoynar" out of the royal titles on the show because Dorne is just a caricature when we can remember it exists at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:41 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


I HATED what they did to Greyworm, the Unsullied, and the Dothraki, though. Every time any of them were onscreen I was preemptively cringing, just waiting for the showrunners to once! Again! Shove their “otherness” and “foreignness” and “savagery” into our faces.

/ullulates in agreement
posted by exogenous at 7:41 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I can't believe they brought back my boy Edmure just to get roasted harder than King's Landing
posted by jurymast at 7:44 AM on May 20, 2019 [21 favorites]


Forget Starbucks. Samwell invented Plastic

Dasani Targaryen, Thirst of Her Name
posted by oulipian at 7:49 AM on May 20, 2019 [34 favorites]


Apologies if this has already been mentioned above. I don't understand how in the Kingsmoot vote, after Bran grants Sansa's request for the North to be independent, that the Dornish Prince (and hell, all the other kingdom reps, particularly Yara Greyjoy) didn't chime in with "Um, based on this new information, I'd like to change my vote."
posted by zakur at 7:50 AM on May 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


I don't understand how in the Kingsmoot vote, after Bran grants Sansa's request for the North to be independent, that the Dornish Prince (and hell, all the other kingdom reps, particularly Yara Greyjoy) didn't chime in with "Um, based on this new information, I'd like to change my vote."

Yara would have been the first one to say "Oh fuck that, if the North is free, the Iron Islands are too" then everyone would have followed and boom, new war!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling

additionally:

Jaime ends up as Brienne's house husband on Tarth. Teenage bastard Myrcella lives with them and their kids and writes a bunch of diary entries that read like "Catherine Called Birdy" or other teen girl medievalist slice of life books.

Cersei ends up the recalcitrant Lady of Casterly Rock, not a serious threat to the kingdoms but storming into meetings like Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest, "DON'T FUCK WITH ME, FELLAS, IT'S NOT MY FIRST TIME AT THE RODEO"

Jon Snow either dies, or leaves for the Far North in obscurity, but either way, his death and resurrection, surrounded by all the Tom Barleycorn/Corn King/Prince of Pentos stuff, get told and retold incorrectly, and in the five years later epilogue, he's a Christ figure being worshipped by people who don't know the real story and never will
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


I believe I read somewhere that Maise Williams filmed Arya's final scenes in tennis shoes, which is very fitting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


I've resigned myself to just considering The Battle of Winterfell as the last episode of the show. Leaving non-NK-magicky interests to be resolved by the books, and to satisfy with a big finish imagery wise. It seemed to be the only episode and filming of that D&D cared about after seeing the episodes that were pinched off in the last two weeks.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:01 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


lmao I can't believe how little D&D cared about their own show even from episode to episode jesus christ

My already-pretty-low expectations for this episode sank when they didn't create a new title animation for this episode, a sure sign that D&D and HBO just didn't give a shit.

for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

It's less "here are the plot bullet-points I hate" and more "they didn't earn or justify it." Everyone turning to Bran because Tyrion gave a good Breakfast-Club speech makes little sense; maybe set that up beforehand with at least other people acknowledging that good decisions happen when Bran is in the mix. Maybe just maybe set up Arya as someone who has an interest in exploration and discovery before sending her off on a boat so she has something to do and her facelessness doesn't matter anymore. As always, set up Daenerys better so when she's giving her speeches about breaking the wheel everywhere in the world the audience is at least intended to be less "crazy woman lol" and more "I mean she's not wrong but..."

Also lots of tonal problems, like people jovially joking instead of acting like they're governing from jury-rigged facilities in the middle of bombed-out ruins inhabited by shell-shocked survivors busily intent on their next meal. Nope, crazy lady gone, everything back to normalish.

One thing I might have done is end ep 8.5 with the bells ringing and Daenerys on Drogon getting that anguished look and cut to black, so this episode is the burning of KL and the aftermath instead of a reprise of the last hour of RotK.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:03 AM on May 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


Drogon had to sense Jon was a true Targaryan with blood of the dragon & thus immune to his fire.

I'm not sure his Targaryen blood makes him immune to teeth.

Or claws.

Or just being sat on for a good few minutes.
posted by edd at 8:04 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?
Any ending as long it was well told, and well executed with some semblance of care.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


oh and also:

Dany lets her dragons go back to Valyria and vanishes into the ranks of her global movement, finds her house with the red door

Dany and Tyrion have a long, deep heart to heart about the impact their horrible fathers and abusive siblings had on them and come out of it healed and with a different relationship to chasing power than they came in with

Missandei the scribe and poet writes a manifesto of the anti-slavery movement and becomes a non-patriarchal, non-theocratic cross between Marx and Augustine of Hippo
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:06 AM on May 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

20 years later, the cult of the Silver Queen and the cult of the Prince Who Was Promised are syncretizing into each other, but Daenerys, who is running a DV shelter in Braavos or whatever when she isn't on the road or in Naath, I am just so fucked up over them opening the show with her being sold into sex slavery and closing it with her being killed in a domestic homicide, gets to smile knowingly and keep living her life.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:10 AM on May 20, 2019 [34 favorites]


I think I’m done with television shows. I know we’re in a golden age of tv or whatever but man these things are not worth the time it takes to watch ‘em.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:14 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


Now that we're in the post-mortem, one of the things that's been bothering me is that nobody seems to do any winter prep.

If my society were prone to multi-year winters, I'd put equal weight into researching crossbows and food preservation. There'd be entire districts of town given over to granaries. There's be folk sayings about killing two beasts in a hunt: one for tonight, and one for the long winter.

Instead, apart from a little grousing from the northerly lords about wanting to go home and hunker down, everyone keeps using their labour force as fertilizer.
posted by The Outsider at 8:15 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Now that we're in the post-mortem, one of the things that's been bothering me is that nobody seems to do any winter prep.

One of the things that's really great about the Broken Earth book series is that there's entire systems/movements/trains of thought designed to help people get through brutal seasons. It's fucking brilliant, and neatly sticks the landing in only 3 books.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on May 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


Also lots of tonal problems

Boy howdy. Basically from the kingsmoot onward it was like the show morphed into this show instead. Cringe cringe cringe.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:21 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


coacorolla: The idea of a malevolent tree playing out a long-con to rule an empire...

So, a malevol-Ent, would you call it?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2019 [23 favorites]


Cersei's shoulder pads detach, and scurry around the Red Keep having little Le Ballon Rouge adventures. They blunder into the kingsmoot and Bronn stomps them to death, brutally, in front of everyone. Sansa's shoulder pads watch, horrorstruck. The wheel turns.
posted by fleacircus at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure his Targaryen blood makes him immune to teeth.

Or claws.

Or just being sat on for a good few minutes.


It's not that he was immune. It's that their sense that he was a targaryen meant he was the only one (well, maybe Tyrion too but he was in prison) who could have gotten past Drogon to stab her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Remember how TNG always told us how tough Worf was and then only showed us alien beings kicking his ass? That was Tyrion's intelligence these last several seasons.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:33 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


I loved...the fact that they didn't feel the need to pair off anyone.

Well, except Sam and Gilly (the author stand-in gets the girl), although at least that's a relationship built over many seasons rather than a last-minute pair-off.

And while I'm glad they didn't match up everybody to all live happily ever after, it occurs to me that aside from Sam and Gilly, pretty much every single romantic pairing in the entire series, major or minor, ends badly, most of them via the tragic death of one or both lovers--which is actually rather lopsided as a collective narrative choice. Catelyn/Ned, Daenerys/Drogo, Robb/Talisa, Renly/Loras, Ellaria/Oberyn, Jon/Ygritte, Tyrion/Shae, Jaime/Cersei, Jaime/Brienne, Jon/Daenerys, Daenerys/Daario, Myrcella/Trystane...I mean, Arya and Gendry got off lucky, here. And the tragic ending that's framed most romantically is that of the abusive incest relationship, sigh. I guess we'll always have the prospect of Jonmund flourishing beyond the wall.

Even the strategic political marriages (Sansa/Tyrion, Margaery/Renly, Margaery/Tommen) are all sundered. When you think about it, this is actually really odd, especially in light of Zeynep Tüfekçi's piece about sociological storytelling--if this is a society where bloodlines and marriage alliances are crucial, what does it mean that everyone (except Sam and I guess Edmure) ends up without a partner or heir, or an apparent prospect for one? Bran's not the only one with a succession problem. Whatever happened to (social) reproduction? It's especially striking given how much of the early seasons are governed by marriage plots and family loyalty and succession issues. But like the destruction of a million-person capital city, the finale doesn't even bother to frame it as an ongoing concern.
posted by karayel at 8:33 AM on May 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

They just plain needed more time. There was a whole season's subplot leading up to Olly sticking a dagger into Jon Snow. The Long Night by any reasonable stretch could have, and should have taken most of a season to play through.

Winterfell falls to the army of the dead, but by luck the Night King is killed. Rather than all of the White Walkers and Wights going all Trade Federation Droid Army from The Phantom Menace, there are still a million undead but fortunately, there isn't a Night King to make more. So the living flee to the south, and then there's a whole plot about showing that this deadly danger to all of humanity is for real, and still there's intrigue and backstabbing because the various Top Bosses can't get along.

This could make a good 7-10 episode arc on its own. All during this time, we see Dany start to get more insular and more irrational. More paranoid. Show her ACTUALLY slowly going kind of insane and power mad.

Then, once the army of the dead is defeated, outside the walls of Kings Landing, perhaps, Dany a character who has spent an entire season slowly getting a bit creepy, goes all Walter White on Tuco, but it's Kings Landing, for being, in her mind, unappreciative of she and her dragons saving the city and everyone else. She burns Kings Landing, and then gets even MORE paranoid and unpredictable, straight up scaring everyone, and even her dragons start randomly killing important and even loyal folks because they're under her psychic influence. A random lucky shot kills Rhaegal, and Dany straight up just goes nuts, killing people.

There's another several-episode arc.

On the face of it, seasons 7 and 8 weren't even the Cliffs Notes version of the story, they were the bullet points with minimal connective tissue. Keep most of the main plot points the same but have them actually play out, and heavens forbid, develop? Benioff and Weiss ain't got time for that, and HBO unfortunately didn't have enough of a contractual leg to stand on to force them to do it or find someone else who would.
posted by tclark at 8:36 AM on May 20, 2019 [36 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

The show Cersei pregnancy never happened. Meanwhile, Jaime on Tarth grows out the long, femme hair he had in the books and carries around his and Brienne's kid in a baby sling. Every couple of months, someone will get a 10 minute voicemail from a screened number that teen Myrcella knows is going to be an Alec Baldwin to Ireland Baldwin rant, and she asks, "So, it looks like Mom called the other day... should I just..." "Delete it."
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:41 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?


ARYA GETS REUNITED WITH NYMERIA INSTEAD OF JUST HAVING THE WOLF SIGIL ON HER BOAT AND SAILS
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:46 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


GoT spinoffs, by grumpybear69:

West Of Westeros: The Arya Stark Story

Told from the POV of a young boy who Arya took under her wing after finding him abandoned as a baby on an uncharted island, it follows Arya's fortunes and misfortunes as she explores the unexplored and meets famous people from history like Socrates, Genghis Khan, Vlad The Impaler and the original Col. Sanders. After her death by natural causes on the grounds of her Napa winery, Cryptic Vineyards, the boy reveals himself to have been Jaquen H'ghar all along. "The student," he says in the series finale after turning to face the camera (now played by James Earl Jones), "has become the teacher."

Podrick's

It's peacetime in King's Landing and even knights get bored. Fulfilling a childhood dream, Podrick Payne opens a pub which becomes the hit of the city: a place where the ale flows freely and everyone knows your name but isn't allowed to kill you.

S1E1: "Hot Pie, Hot Water": It has been almost 3 years since Bran the Broken ascended to the throne and the annual Wargfest is right around the corner. Podrick, or "Pod" as the locals fondly call him, may run a popular pub but is a so-so brewmaster. He has failed to get the coveted Wargfest ale contract two years in a row but thinks this year he has a chance. Things are looking up until someone keels over and dies during the weekly pie night and the patrons dub Pod's new brew "Joffrey Juice." But was it the beer, or was it the pie? The camera zooms in on a cheeky-faced Hot Pie, who says "¯\_(ツ)_/¯."

True North

Giant's mlik-guzzling Tormund Giantsbane and goodie-two-shoes dog-lover Jon Snow star in this buddy-cop dramedy about the goings-on north of The Wall. Keeping the peace among the wildlings is no picnic, but Tormund's eyebrow suggests something far more sinister is afoot. Featuring fan favorite and occasional immolator Drogon, The Wisecracking Dragon, voiced by David Cross.

Winterfellas

With a queen at the helm and patriarchy a thing of the past, the now emasculated men of Winterfell need to find a new direction. Luckily for them, a grumpy tree is more than happy to dispense wisdom - and crack jokes!
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:46 AM on May 20, 2019 [36 favorites]


> "Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?"

I dunno, there's a bunch of possibilities. Maybe:

1) The Battle of Winterfell is fought without Cersei's forces, so the humans lose. Some important characters die, but some of the smarter characters organize a brilliant tactical retreat which keeps most of their forces intact.

2) They descend on King's Landing, warning of the coming apocalypse, but Cersei remains obdurate. A battle begins that everyone but Cersei knows is stupid. Cleganebowl happens, but in a way that matters. Jaime finds Cersei, and they appear to reconcile. Then "Jaime", who is actually Arya, kills her. Maybe Jaime died heroically at Winterfell.

3) Dany is frustrated that, as the zombies bear down on King's Landing, the fractious forces of humanity refuse to bend the knee to her. Sansa insists on the North's independence in exchange for their help, forces recently at war are having difficulty fighting side by side. Dany blames the nobles and starts executing them. Rather than rallying the common people to her side, it turns them increasingly against her. Tyrion and Jon begin to think they've been backing the wrong horse ...

4) Jon and Tyrion confront her, and she has them imprisoned. Varys is executed by dragon for collaborating with them. As she plans the execution of Sansa (and Sansa marshalls her allies for a coup), Bran shows Dany a vision of what she will become if she continues on this route -- a tyrant far worse than Cersei. She cannot break the wheel by becoming the wheel.

5) Jon and Tyrion are brought to the throne room where a dragon waits. They expect to be executed. Instead, Dany has the dragon melt the Iron Throne. She asks to face the zombie threat with a council of equals. The others are still leery about working with her after everything, but without her troops and dragons they're all dead anyway, so. It is decided that the forces still need a general to plan the strategy, so taking Sam's suggestion they use the Night Watch tradition and "elect" one. To no one's surprise except her own after her heroics at the battle of Winterfell, the choice falls upon Brienne.

6) The zombies attack King's Landing. It is a spectacular battle in which both sides display brilliant tactics. Every character plays to their strengths, whether that be clever tricks, dashing heroics, mystic visions, stealthy assassination, or the ability to be immolated by dragonflame and survive. People die. Dragons die. The humans are ultimately victorious when Jon, Dany, and Arya work together to kill the Night King with help from Bran's warging and Tyrion's planning.

7) The dust is settled, and the final question comes as to who will rule Westeros. The human forces have been stretched to their limit, no one knows who would have the advantage, there are several legitimate claimants to the throne, and everyone is sick of fighting anyway. They decide that a council will "elect" a high king the same way they "elected" their general, and with strict constraints -- no more tyrants. Gendry is elected. Arya becomes his Hand, and Brienne leads the Kingsguard. The North is granted independence under Sansa. Tyrion becomes her Hand. Jon, if he survived the battle, goes north of the Wall. Dany, if she survived the battle, goes over the sea to rule the lands where she is loved as a liberator, and can continue to fight for the powerless.

Honestly, there's a lot I changed that I don't actually mind -- Arya turning away from the path of vengeance, Jaime going back to Cersei, Dany becoming a tyrant and getting killed all were (or could have been) fine choices. If you liked what happened to Dany, in this scenario it could have been set up before the final battle with the zombies and played out afterwards. The important thing for me is the order in which things occur (the army of zombies should not just ... become an irrelevance) and that there is sufficient motivation for them.
posted by kyrademon at 8:50 AM on May 20, 2019 [46 favorites]


grumpybear69, those are all literally better ideas than the spinoffs we will get.

A great "Bran as Villain and Maybe God?" take [that includes some book-knowledge] is sketched out here by Twitter great Jennifer Harrison.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:51 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


every single romantic pairing in the entire series, major or minor, ends badly,

Ooof and of course Missandei/Grey Worm, whom I meant to include on that list. I wonder if GoT's adamant refusal to give anyone (except Sam) a loving, or even just affectionate and functional, relationship that lasts is part of a broader grimdark rejection of romance narratives as being insufficiently hardcore.
posted by karayel at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


so did the prophesies come true or what?

I think they all did by technicalities.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:00 AM on May 20, 2019


Honestly, the character that showed the most credible inner life the whole episode was poor Drogon. And even he randomly torched a chair and then abandoned his mother's corpse with her murderer instead of staying true to character.

There was nothing random about Drogon torching the throne: He knew pursuit of that throne, and not Jon Snow, is what killed Dany.

Honestly, that was the most satisfying part of the episode for me.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:08 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


I didn't hate the episode, I just... have questions.

Why would Dany not just execute Tyrion then and there? I don't buy that she would have imprisoned him and I especially don't buy that she would have been cool with Jon Snow dropping in for that treasonous little chat. This was probably the biggest thing that took me out of the episode.

Why was Dany just wandering around alone to visit the Iron Throne? I guess Drogon was keeping watch, but we're really supposed to think she wouldn't have a couple Unsullied bodyguards, at least?

How did anyone know Jon Snow killed her? I mean, I guess he is honourable and/or stupid enough to confess, but it's pretty jarring that we didn't see it.

Magical teleporting Gray Worm who for some reason is basically totally chill with his prisoner delivering grand speeches to a bunch of people whose opinions he doesn't really care about so that they can pick a new monarch to decide the fate of the dude who murdered his queen.

Yara would totally have demanded independence once Sansa did. No question.

I'm disappointed we didn't get more answers on what's really going on with Bran but I guess at least it means fans can continue theorycrafting.

There were good bits though. Edmure Tully getting told by Sansa was great. The council meeting was a lot of fun, and Ghost got his pats!!! Drogon was A+ in this episode too.
posted by lwb at 9:10 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

Cleganebowl never happens. Gregor is the only character for whom "rocks fall, everyone dies" is an acceptable ending. Sandor becomes a Hedge Knight like his ancestor Dunk, and ends up helping rebuild the Riverlands. No more "go back and die in your abuse house with the person who hurt you" endings.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 9:10 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


I liked the dragon-wings shot -- cheesy but effective -- but otherwise damn, D&D are pretty hacky directors:
  • Jaimie's golden hand as a convenient"here's the bodies" flag.
  • The obviously-styrofoam bricks; don't worry, Peter, we'll add audio in post.
  • The "some time later..." beards; South Park did it.
  • Lingering on the White Book so we can read every word Brienne wrote; you don't need to show us what she wrote, and it would have been a better scene if you hadn't.
  • The and-here's-the-book-of-the-film moment and its terrible cheap-looking prop; we've seen a lot of other books on the show and none of them looked like that...
Sam's a maester now, even though he dropped out of school after like two semesters? That means he now has two oaths making him not the Lord of House Tarly. So in what capacity other than getting-the-gang-back-together-again is he at the moot's gathering of lords-of-the-realm? (Handwave: maybe he's there representing the Citadel?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:11 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


Lingering on the White Book so we can read every word Brienne wrote; you don't need to show us what she wrote, and it would have been a better scene if you hadn't.

Wow, you read a lot faster than I do.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:13 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Good tweet thread from Jordan Rudner:
Something that struck me about the Game of Thrones finale: the complete absence of intimate relationships of any kind for nearly all the main characters as the series ends. It made the episode feel almost sterile – and lonely.

We don't see a single familiar face in the crowd at Sansa's coronation. Her siblings have left for distant lands. Theon is dead; Brienne is in King's Landing. Are there any other main characters left in all of Winterfell? Who is there who knows her? Who can grieve with her?

Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Brienne, Davos, Bran – I could go on and on. Not one of these characters have any family living in close quarters when the show ends. The *only* romantic relationship is...Sam and Gilly? I guess Brienne has Pod, but that's respect, not intimacy.

I'm not saying GOT should've paired everybody off, but there's something really sad to me about a show that emphasized that "the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives" ending in such a lonely way. Do any of them have someone they can reach for in the night? Or even hug? At all?

Not to push the point, but that's why I do think it would have been really unexpected, and wonderful, to let Jaime, for example, live – a decent, good little life. He would have made Tyrion laugh; he would have made Brienne smile.

Let Davos finally reunite with his wife! Show Sansa eating a meal with a Winterfell servant she knew in childhood, slowly remembering the joy of community. Give us one scene of Sam and Gilly with their baby, safe in the world they are building. After all, isn't that the point?
posted by sallybrown at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2019 [45 favorites]


A great "Bran as Villain and Maybe God?" take [that includes some book-knowledge] is sketched out here by Twitter great Jennifer Harrison.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:51 on May 20 [+] [!]


I enjoyed this.

I like to think one of Bran's first actions on becoming ruler is hunting down and torturing everyone who didn't make their best effort to make Bran King, a la Roko's Basilisk
posted by Erberus at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


As long as Tyrion is making decisions and offering advice Bran is hosed. The past season has been him showing that he is not actully smart when it comes to giving advice. I figure that is why Sansa has him there.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:17 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Sallybrown, thank you for that. When I said upthread I wanted an ending that gave anyone but Jon/Tormund "responsibility, mercy, and human connection" it was because, honestly, without that last one, that most critical thing, not money or prophecy or power, the story isn't bittersweet, it's an unequivocal tragedy.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 9:23 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Drogon not burning Jon makes perfect sense, and for the same reason that he was able to ride Rhaegal. Jon is a Targaryen.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:25 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

Just looking at this episode (b/c if we're talking the whole season, this comment would be too long), the Bran being king is what bothers me the most. Not because I wanted it to be Dany or Jon, but just because it's so problematic from a story perspective.

I've been thinking more about the possibility of them choosing Gendry. One aspect that would have been really positive with Gendry being king is that Gendry was raised as an unacknowledged bastard. Unlike Jon who was still raised around the nobility, Gendry spent his life living with the rest of the masses. Sure, he got to be an apprentice at the armory, but at least with Gendry you get someone who has some chance of genuinely wanting to look out for the small folk, because that's how he'll always see himself.

And then you can have Davos be his hand. First of all, because Tyrion has made nothing but bad decisions for like the last 4 seasons. Tyrion seemed smart at one point, but that was a long time ago. And we know that Davos is that he's willing to stand up to his king no matter what. He wasn't completely able to save Stannis from his worst impulses, but he tried. Plus, Davos is the best.

This also works well because Davos is another one of the characters who came from nothing, and then was raised up later in life, but he still sees himself in the small folk. All those years ago, we got to see Gendry and Davos bond over that, right before Davos saved Gendry's life. Wouldn't it be neat if the series ended with Gendry ruling with Davos as his most trusted advisor? Just imagine them reminiscing as they walk through the ruins of flea bottom.

Plus, for anyone who still cares about legitimacy (which is all of like 1 person but whatever), Gendry is a legitimized son of Robert Baratheon, who was the last legitimate ruler (assuming you are accepting that the Targ line of succession has been broken). So there's that.

You also could have some nice symmetry with Sansa Stark ruling in the North and Gendry Baratheon ruling in King's Landing.

I'm not saying it's the perfect choice, but I think it would have been way better than what we got.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:39 AM on May 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


I really enjoyed this season and this finale! But I’m also not super attached to the show at all because when I started watching it around season 4 people told me “don’t get too attached to any character”, and so here I am! The TV series event of the decade and I’m completely detached from it 🙄 Ugh this always happens to me I swear. Maybe I’m just not made for TV series where you are suppose to have a modicum of emotional investment.

I’m stoked that Tyrion made it out alright, as well as Davos. Those two were basically my fav characters and I kept expecting them to die at any moment this season, so I continued to keep them at arm’s length. Ditto for Brienne and...basically everybody that made it out alive, so I made good calls on my choices of fav characters.

I was under the impression that seasons 7 & 8 were meant to be considered one large season instead of two separate ones, is that not the case? Because maybe watching them together as one unit is better. I haven’t done that yet so idk.

Otherwise, this season was extremely rushed. This show should have been 14 seasons at least. They totally mucked up character arcs, made certain characters pointless, made the stakes really low, and had weird tonal shifts.

I mean really, what was the point of the Night King? He was suppose to be this real existential threat and then the Battle of Winterfell...did not feel apocalyptic and foreboding whatsoever. I was just waiting to see how the Night King dies/whether he was going to die. I knew most everybody was going to make it out. They hyped up character deaths and then only killed off one major character (I refuse to believe Dolorous Edd and Lyanna Mormont were anything other than fan favorites, which is fine, but they weren’t main characters. I didn’t even remember who Dolorous Edd was until he died, but that’s me).

Where are y’all seeing this Bran theory of him staging a coup and warging into Drogon? Because I’m 100% into that sign me tf up plz. I looked through the thread but couldn’t find the exact post that mentioned it!

My main love for this is the fact that Game of Thrones was the biggest TV event of the decade...and then its final season failed everybody on so many levels. I don’t like this because it’s hurting the fans, I like it because it just goes to show how stupid some “creators” are. Did D&D get to season 5/6 and say “okay we’re over this fucking job, let’s wrap this thing up!” How much of this was in GRRM’s crib notes he gave them? Because this show should have been much, much longer, and maybe D&D should have handed it off to somebody else. I know these “epic” TV series are all about that 6-8 season sweet spot, but it’s fucking Game of Thrones, this is basically it’s own miniature universe of characters and subplots and world building and myths, unlike shows such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad. These guys are suppose to do a new Star Wars trilogy? It’s gonna be two movies of major world building with characters we’ll come to love and then a third movie where the plot is unceremoniously wrapped up and those characters flung out to the far reaches of the galaxy, never to return.

Lmao I honestly can’t get over how much of a critical failure this is. This was such an American cultural event and they totally fucked it up! This is like Seinfeld ending with its characters in a jail cell, far away from Jerry’s apartment! And look, I LOVE this season and this finale! Mostly because it’s so hamfisted and weird!

Somebody earlier said Dany’s death scene was very “anime” WHOEVER SAID THAT I COMMEND YOU BECAUSE THAT WAS SERIOUSLY SOME FINAL FANTASY 7 AERITH’S DEATH TYPE OF SHIT FOR REAL!!!! And then Drogon burning the throne out of anger/sadness? That was so cheesy!!!!!! I love it! I love the whole thing!

What is the story behind this season?! Even the actors on the show were upset about all of it! Wtf happened behind the scenes?!

It is just so mind blowing to me that this super serious show then turned into a cheese fest! But my tastes are very bizarre so I love things like this, where a show goes from super serious to very cheesy. I also like the opposite effect: where a cheesy show turns brutal. This is why I love the original Star Wars trilogy, because you go from Obi Wan dismembering an alien, to some funny scenes in the Death Star, then he dies, then they blow up the Death Star, everything feels good happy ending, then Empire Strikes Back starts off super dark and ends super dark, just for Return of the Jedi to come back with some cheesy fluff! GoT had some cheesy moments but it was predominantly a serious show with a serious tone, even the more “bizarre” moments like when Jon Arryn was a kid. This all would have made sense if GoT’s tonal shifts were more regular throughout the series, but no, this show went from very serious to very corny in no time at all. I doubt that was their intention but I think the fact that they just threw the script out for all this shit is amazing.
posted by gucci mane at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


And then in that scenario, you could have Bran as the master of whispers, which would make a lot of sense.

Plus, if D&D were set on having Bronn be on the small council*, then it would have made more sense thematically if they had gone with King Gendry and Davos as hand to the king. Because then Bronn would fit in with the theme of people coming from nothing.

And even if you are going to give Bronn Highgarden, do you really want to let him be in charge of the whole Reach? You could have given that role to the Tarly's, so at least Bronn wouldn't be capable of starving out the whole kingdom.

*I still think if Tyrion had any intelligence left, he would have made sure Bronn got killed rather than making him one of the most powerful lords in the kingdom.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you?

I honestly would have preferred that after Drogon flies away with Dany, we cut to a black screen with the words Dr. John Snow never returned home. (reference: Quantum Leap series finale)

I have seen a tiresome trend in all manner of speculative fiction -- comics, video games, cartoons, shows, movies -- where a female character proposes some radical change to a political or societal order, and her proposal is met with eye-rolling and derision at best or outright hostility at worst, with only a cishet dude who's in a romantic relationship with her or who very much would like to be in one going along with it -- and even he never seems to totally buy into it or actually do some thinking about why she's proposing the change.

You see it everywhere from Hermione and Ron with her campaign to free the house elves to Wendy and Cartman in South Park in her quest to get the racist SP flag changed to...well, to Dany and her goals, with Jorah and Jon going along without really investing in them beyond their desires for her.

It's tired. I mean, you occasionally get a peripheral, semi-comic relief male proposing similar world-changing ideas (eg Sam) and getting ridiculed, but for the most part it's women proposing the changes and facing the most derision and strongest opposition.

Ugh.

I didn't hate this ending, but if you're going to close your narrative with pieces that ignore so much in-world logic and spit upon the craft of creating a meaningful narrative, why not go all in on edgy twists? For example, have the Dothraki stay and repopulate the decimated KL area, flipping the script on what happened in the Americas in our history. Split up the kingdoms; if you don't need 7, you don't need 6. Lots of people in this thread have hit upon a bunch of other things they could have done that even if they'd come out of left field, would have been awesome: Drogon laying a clutch of eggs, Dany becoming the Night Queen, Bran revealing himself as having been influencing so many critical events, etc.

Additionally, there should have been so. many. more. women in every scene here at the end. How are all of these battles such slaughters and yet there are still tens of thousands of male soldiers left on every side? It sometimes seems like raising the dead was the only way the Night King could come up with enough troops to keep pace with the humans' ability to produce new ones.

It really feels like they chose the conclusion that felt safest for the kinds of dudes who like Tolkien and insist that the rest of us aren't to find anything problematic about those works. So much wasted time and potential in this series.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


Some random thoughts I had:
a) I 100% thought Brienne was going to end Jaime's book entry with "....and father of SurpriseBaby with Ser Brienne"
b) In general I am very pleased none of the women storylines were wrapped up with marriage and babies
c) thank you forever for not wasting any final-episode minutes on Sam's baby (did you guys know he has sex???!)
c) I hope/expect that Sansa will change the inheritance rules in the north, and will someday tell her paramour that any of her children are goddamn Starks
d) I cackled out loud when Edmure showed up still alive
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:47 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


sallybrown, that's a great thread--Rudner gets why "everybody ends up alone" is unsatisfying on an emotional/psychological/character level, as well as the sociological/pragmatic one I was trying to suggest above. How much more interesting would it be to have thrown in a political marriage of convenience, and let us wonder if it might flower into genuine love (like Ned/Catelyn) or deteriorate into intimate loathing (like Robert/Cersei) twenty years down the road? Remember that terrific Robert/Cersei scene from season one?

I am kind of amused that Bronn gets the castle but not the wife, in the end, although presumably he'll find one offscreen. I sure hope Yara finds herself a nice woman to settle down with once she's finished with the Iron Islands independence revolt.
posted by karayel at 9:48 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


How much more interesting would it be to have thrown in a political marriage of convenience, and let us wonder if it might flower into genuine love

I sure hope Yara finds herself a nice woman to settle down with once she's finished with the Iron Islands independence revolt.

*cough*Sansa*cough*
posted by jurymast at 9:53 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


What is the story behind this season?! Even the actors on the show were upset about all of it! Wtf happened behind the scenes?!

I don't think I've ever seen the cast of a major show react SO unhappily and SO PUBLICLY about how much they hated the way the series went down. There's a three minute compilation of the GOT cast being upset and disappointed on Youtube. After that was made, we have all these totally wild Instagram takes-- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau making videos of himself looking traumatized, Kit Harrington and Gwen Christie posting photos of themselves looking sick. Emilia Clarke is going the strongest and is (justifiably) the most upset-- she's giving show interviews and mimicking throwing up when asked "how do you think about the way it ended," making instagram posts about it tagged with the puke emoji, giving magazine interviews saying she got the final script and walked around London for hours in a traumatized daze... I think about how it took almost a decade for some of eg Joss Whedon's actresses to come clean about their bad experiences with what his shows did to their characters (not them personally, even) and this massive cast revolt just seems totally unprecedented. I feel awful for all of them though-- yeah they're all rolling in money, but this has been ten years of their lives, their entire adult lives for actors like Emilia and the Stark kids; they've poured their bodies and souls into it. But I really don't think I've ever seen a cast this outspoken about their anger at the writers/showrunners of their show. It's surreal.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 9:57 AM on May 20, 2019 [28 favorites]


this ending is fine, really good even, as long as we get a season nine where King's Landing becomes this dark fucked-up unseelie court with weirwoods growing out of every crevice and Children of the Forest lurking everywhere and the small council is trying to pull it together and rule the kingdoms and just survive basically while Bran sinks further and further into omniscient science wizard esoterica eventually leading to Sansa and Yara and Steve of Dorne joining forces to counterbalance his political power

meanwhile over in Essos the followers of the Red God are emboldened by their apparent victory over the Long Winter and they make pilgrimages to Old Valyria where the dragon-god Drogon is rumored to dwell, but there are schismatics who believe that the PwwP is one Aegon Targaryen who vanished somewhere north of the Wall

Arya returns to Westeros after discovering that there are already people living in the lands across the western sea and it would be fucked up to colonize them

well that ran out of steam fast

I guess now that I can look back on the show in its entirety, it felt like something really shifted when they (D&D, not Cersei) blew up the Great Sept. It's like that's when they were like hokay we are done with expanding the story and narrative possibilities and meeting new characters, let's shrink this down and wrap it up and after that everything was tight-focus on the Fan Favorites and I guess this is what the guy who wrote the article that's posted on the blue was talking about vis a vis personal vs sociological stories or whatever but I remember when they announced the show thinking well this should be fun but it's kinda gonna ruin asoiaf innit and I guess all prophecies come true in the fullness of time.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


Bring on the "oral history" longform media pieces! Bring on the unauthorized drunk DVD cast commentaries!
posted by Hypatia at 10:03 AM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


also between "BEHOLD SHADOWFAX wait never mind" and having her fuck off on a boat for no explicable reason I really feel like the writer in charge of Arya fell down a manhole and nobody noticed until like fifteen minutes before shooting started
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:07 AM on May 20, 2019 [21 favorites]


I actually agree with you on this, because it can be read in so many ways! It just seems so perfect for Brienne to write the literal truth - a truth that can be read as a sanitized knightly death or as a sad reminder of a man who failed to be better (for those who knew his whole story).

The way I see it, she told the truth, and in the end it will all depend on the people who read the story later.


It was somewhat telling that they repeatedly showed the falsehood of Tyrion murdering Joffrey in the book being allowed to stand as well (even though he was one of only two of the rulers that Tyrion didn't have a hand in killing!)
posted by srboisvert at 10:19 AM on May 20, 2019


the guy who wrote the article that's posted on the blue was talking about vis a vis personal vs sociological stories

NBD, but Prof. Zeynep Tufekci is not a guy.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:21 AM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Okay after sleeping on it I am irrationally angry that Bronn is on the Small Council and Brienne and Davos have to put up with him making stupid jokes about brothels and being all smug about controlling all the money. All we need is Sandor popping up out of the flames to call everyone cunts and all the dudebro fans will be thrilled.
posted by j.r at 10:22 AM on May 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


My already-pretty-low expectations for this episode sank when they didn't create a new title animation for this episode, a sure sign that D&D and HBO just didn't give a shit.

I'd been complaining about this almost every episode this season ("Oh, fuck you, Last Hearth is not going to be in this episode!"), but my wife pointed out they they did change one thing in the last opening: the stained glass (?) sigil over the Iron Throne, which had previously been a Lannister lion, was empty.
posted by The Tensor at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


King's Landing becomes this dark fucked-up unseelie court with weirwoods growing out of every crevice and Children of the Forest lurking everywhere and the small council is trying to pull it together and rule the kingdoms and just survive basically while Bran sinks further and further into omniscient science wizard esoterica ....no i have work to do you can't make me
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 AM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


I'd have liked it to end with a big energetic musical dance number, with all the cast, including people who had died earlier on. Something like Takeshi's Zatoichi, or the end of Waititi's Boy. That's the best way to end any grimdark show.
posted by surlyben at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


That book Sam had at the end was *way* too small to be the real ASoIaF.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:44 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


NBD, but Prof. Zeynep Tufekci is not a guy.

crap my bad!

A great "Bran as Villain and Maybe God?" take [that includes some book-knowledge] is sketched out here by Twitter great Jennifer Harrison.

had the show devoted but a single thrust of sexposition toward this (well-supported!) theory in season 8 it would have improved things immeasurably, instead they had Arya stab all of the show's mystery and wonder right in the night king

but hey things gonna be lit when King Bran remembers he invented time travel
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh btw, the Northern Independence thing felt like a "yay Brexit" plot to me rather than anything about Scotland pulling away from the UK because of the way the writers made Arya and Sansa super xenophobic this season, and because they made the very specific, deliberate choice to show Northern children and mean old ladies being racist to Missandei and Grey Worm. It felt wildly OOC to me, especially for Arya, but she did indeed say something like "We'll never know her, she isn't one of us" about Dany and her ~foreign army to Jon. That's show canon. Those kids who were making faces at Missandei and then ran away when she smiled at them were way too young to have that kind of reaction on their own; that's something somebody taught them. The show went out of its way to make the North racist and xenophobic. Scotland's push for independence has been a deliberate stance against the racist and anti-immigrant Brexit, and it's also being discussed with the intent that they will leave the UK and remain in the EU. That is manifestly not what's happening with the North in GOT. Yeah, it sucks, but again, those scenes got filmed and made it to the final cut.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


That book Sam had at the end was *way* too small to be the real ASoIaF.

Apparently it's the super-expurgated micro-Cliff Notes version, though, since Tyrion isn't mentioned.
posted by The Tensor at 10:53 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


In terms of what could have been a more interesting ending or aspect to the ending:

One thing that I would have liked would have been if history had been brought in more and used to contextualize things -- "history" meaning military history, family and personal histories, the history of Westeros and Targaryan rule, the history of the different peoples of Westeros and the East, all of that. All the characters would have had very different concepts of history and what they should have been learning from it, and what it would mean to be a good person and/or a good ruler within a broader (historical) context. There's also the weirdness of Bran's relationship with temporality -- did he literally make or at least manipulate a lot of what the characters think of as history? Yet the only times history is mentioned in this episode, it's in a very off-the-cuff way, like Dany saying she thought the Iron Throne would be bigger when she was a kid or Tyrion randomly listing some of his crimes. Or the gag of Sam bringing in the history of the recent wars, which I thought was pretty cringworthy. The coolest thing about the world of this show, I think, is that it's old and big and complicated, and now it's just reduced to a Kings Moot that they have to fill out with random people credited as "man" and zero use of research materials or the lessons of the past to guide the characters' course.

Also, I am very unhappy with Tyrion's characterization and his status within the story. In this episode he was pretty explicitly used as the show's moral center and everything about that irritates me, not least that everyone else within the show apparently accepts him as the moral center (even though he's supposedly the regicidal, patricidal, traitorous and hideous Imp) and takes his words on faith. I mean, come on. Even the characters who know him well should be having some trepidation, because they have no way of knowing his true intentions (like nobody can know anybody's) and he has a singularly terrible reputation/history. Best case, he's known as some wine-soaked, whore-mongering exile who's returned to King's Landing to help his Queen engulf it in fire, because murdering his father and lover there was apparently not enough, and worst case he's simply a monster who clawed up from hell and is playing an elaborate trick on them all. He keeps convincing people to do things (and even doing things himself) that result in pretty disastrous and tragic death/destruction, and you'd think that everyone would start wondering if that's malicious, right? Just in the past couple episodes -- he's plotting to overthrow his own sister, he lures his brother to a fairly certain death, he betrays his queen just at what should have been her moment of greatest triumph, and then he follows that up by convincing her lover to murder her, escapes his own execution, and installs a wizard king with mysterious motives and total control over a dragon. Tyrion has been under a cloud of suspicion since birth, this should all be worrying. But no, all the characters trust him implicitly.

It doesn't even seem to occur to them to wonder if this is malicious or if Tyrion is laying traps. I don't think the audience is meant to wonder, either, unfortunately. In a more interesting story, even Tyrion himself wouldn't be sure how much he's orchestrating and how pure his motives are, whether he's being manipulated (by Bran, say), and would be unsure about how much of a monster he might actually be. The other characters would have a range of opinions on that, and on what angle they should play in order to pursue their own ends, too. I mean, Brienne of all people would sure have an opinion on Tyrion encouraging Jaime's return to Cersei, betraying his queen, advocating for her assassination at the hands of her lover, escaping justice, and then installing a spooky wizard on the throne, right? But no, she just goes along with it.

We're talking about Bran as a god, but if Tyrion the Imp is his hand, doesn't that make him the devil?

I guess overall, I liked where the characters ended up, but I really didn't like the cheesy/hack-y tone of it all. To me, the endings of individual characters didn't feel contrived (although Grey Worm's is pretty arguable) -- I can believe Sansa is a hardened Queen of the North, Jon is roaming the wilds North of the Wall, Tyrion is Hand of yet another strange king, Arya is the eternal Stranger in a strange land, Bran is installed as the new spider at the center of the web, etc. Those actually do feel like GRRM endings to me, in a good way. The problem is that the show hasn't felt like GRRM's series for a while, so it's like...I don't mind where they went, but how they got there seemed really corny and flat.
posted by rue72 at 10:55 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

Well, if the Wars of the Roses are the main inspiration, that's more or less how they ended, only with less dragons. Henry VII was about as authoritarian as he could manage given existing technology and institutions, and we all know about his son. (Also I find much criticism's equation of "authoritarian, even brutal, leader" with "mad" to be really dumb and lazy. You don't have to be insane to burn an entire city in a war. Unfortunately.)

Also, those of you who think the unmarried, childless Sansa is in for a nice stable reign...I know we don't teach British history in American schools like we used to, but geez. There aren't that many red-headed queens to know about!

There just seems to be a huge amount of wishful thinking about the functioning of hereditary monarchy embedded in the end of a show that used to aspire to at least a TV form of political realism.
posted by praemunire at 11:09 AM on May 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


lmao I can't believe how little D&D cared about their own show even from episode to episode jesus christ

As was mentioned in a prior show thread, this is offensive to Showrunner-Americans, please desist from this sort of language

Anyway, this was all unsurprisingly a pile of garbage, but I'd honestly have come away feeling like the entire eight seasons was an artistic masterpiece if they'd ended it with either (and right here the opening drum groove of "Fortunate Son" kicks in): Arya walking up to the stern of her boat, looking over her crew, then resting her hands on a balustrade and running her hands along it in an authoritative fashion before grinning slightly, then CUT TO CREDITS when the chunky guitar chords of the first verse cut in; or Jon Snow looking morose on horseback next to to Tormund, we see them make eye contact and Tormund flashes a wide-eyed grin, Jon's melancholy melts off his face and he breaks into a sly smile, then CUT TO CREDITS etc.; or a drone shot from above of Drogon soaring over smoking Valyria, the camera simultaneously pans up as it rotates down to be horizontally in front of Drogon, and now it turns out that the music isn't acousmatic, it's coming from a boombox strapped to Drogon's side next to now undead and wild-haired Dany's hip, and then the camera zooms in on her partially rotted face as she looks straight at us and winks and then CUT TO CREDITS! Someday someone's going to have the chutzpah to make the most expensive and long-running shaggy dog joke ever told and what better candidate than a show whose narrative wasn't really much on its own?
posted by invitapriore at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


me: The laws of succession are dead. The king or queen is chosen by acclamation by the heads of the houses.

rue27: Except that the heads of the houses are chosen by succession?

You're right, it's a hybrid. But I suppose it represents progress of a sort (for a couple reasons, at least, which I mentioned a couple weeks ago), which is the best ending we could have hoped for. Other options being annihilation of humanity; another tyrant on the throne; or the birth of democracy--none of which is appealing and/or realistic.
posted by torticat at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2019


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

Personally, I hated the battle of Winterfell, but really enjoyed last week's ep. I also enjoyed the moment yesterday when Dany spoke to her (very large, very intimidating) army. It was scary.

What should have happened? Two seasons ago should have been the lead up to and the Battle of Winterfell. Last season should have been the fallout from that battle, as well as the lead up to and the Battle of King's Landing. And then this season should have been an entire season dealing with the fallout from the fact that everyone's favorite wheel-breaker was just as much a tyrant as every other tyrant before her.

I know that would mean they had to shorten some storylines but I swear to god I don't even remember what happened in seasons 5-7. Dorne? Ramsey? A bunch of shit that could have been compressed basically. Instead they compressed all the interesting story beats in the last half-season, the stuff that could have felt thematically in-line w/ the first four seasons.
posted by nushustu at 11:13 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


oh my god
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:13 AM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

Not sure why you would assume that? I'm not saying nobody wanted "Dany ruling" as the ending, but the consensus from people I know who watch (and this includes me) is basically: Mad Queen is fine, but the pacing makes it unsatisfying. As you say, had they cut out the enormous amounts of cruft in S5-S7 so that we could have had a season (or even 3-5 episodes) of characters grappling with the aftermath of the destruction of King's Landing, I think it could have worked. In the incredibly tightly compressed timeline we got, though, it's so rushed that it's more comical and frustrating than dramatic or tragic.
posted by tocts at 11:23 AM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


(Contrast Breaking Bad, which ended beautifully. But it's an entirely different kind of narrative and much easier to bring to a conclusion.)


I've said this a lot: the reason Breaking Bad was able to end so well (SPOILERS) was because it was SO obvious that Walt was going to die. There was just no other way to make a satisfactory ending. And once you know that to be the case, it's not really about what happens, it's about how it happens, and that is SO much more interesting.

If I was D&D, I would have started telling people the plot of the next ep a week early, so that it wasn't WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN but instead why is this happening? It still would have been fun to watch. Yes sure maybe you wouldn't get the visceral reaction everybody had from Arya materializing out of nowhere to kill the Night King but meh. It'd be more satisfying in the long run.
posted by nushustu at 11:24 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


SUCH DUM
posted by supermedusa at 11:26 AM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Jon Snow looking morose on horseback next to to Tormund, we see them make eye contact and Tormund flashes a wide-eyed grin, Jon's melancholy melts off his face and he breaks into a sly smile, then CUT TO CREDITS etc.

Just imagining them pulling a Law & Order and having the last five seconds be:

Jon: “Kissed by fire?”
Tormund: “When do I get that lord’s kiss, Lord Snow?”
*smooch*
posted by sallybrown at 11:30 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think I’m done with television shows. I know we’re in a golden age of tv or whatever but man these things are not worth the time it takes to watch ‘em.

You know what I've really dug lately? Shows where there's a central theme but are completely different casts/stories from season to season: Fargo, The Terror, Black Mirror, True Detective. I've given up on watching shows until they're finished but I don't have to really with these shows. I can just skip shit seasons and not really miss out.
posted by nushustu at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Alright, my hotfix: move Sam's belated invention of democracy back to Season 7 and actually take it seriously.

-While studying ancient history at the Citadel, Samwell discovers a theory that the First Men practiced democracy and had no kings. Even the first "Starks" were no more than administrators appointed by popular acclaim at the beginning of each Winter to supervise grain allotments—'sdarcce means "judge for a set term" in the old Northern tongue. When the Andals arrived, they imposed hereditary kingship throughout the continent. Some of the old customs still persist at the very northern fringe of the land: elective leadership in the Night Watch, anarcho-communism among the Free Folk.

-It occurs to Sam that this "democracy" thing would be one way of ending the eternal depredations and squabbles of kings. He brings it up to the maesters at table, which is where you get the "everybody laughs at Sam's naivete" scene. Stung, Sam starts working up a theory of representative democracy with Gilly, who despises paternalistic authority, has no preconceptions of what a government ought to look like, and wasn't too impressed by what she saw of the ruling class at Horn Hill.

-The two find some intriguing allusions to a John Locke-esque treatise authored by the late Prince Rhaegar in reaction to his father's tyranny. They fail to find the treatise in the stacks, but Gilly does discover a sheaf of old documents proving Jon Snow's true paternity and legitimacy.

-Sam realizes this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring their theories into reality. If Jon can be maneuvered into the throne, he could peacefully transfer power and representation to the smallfolk before abdicating. Gilly is highly skeptical about the "peacefully" part, but she agrees it's worth a try. So they pack a shitload of pamphlets into a cart and head north again...

-Season 8, then, is about the working out of this dangerous idea. How does Jon Snow react when he's given a chance to end the cycle of violence at the cost of his lover's dreams and his family's interests? How does Dany react when someone preempts her liberator shtick with a more ambitious and coherent program? How do her people react to her reaction? And how hard does everyone hang onto their ideological commitments with the Night King bearing down?
posted by Iridic at 11:38 AM on May 20, 2019 [24 favorites]


A great "Bran as Villain and Maybe God?" take [that includes some book-knowledge] is sketched out here by Twitter great Jennifer Harrison.

Is Bran willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him Bran?
— The Epicurean paradox, ~300 BCE
posted by ourobouros at 11:39 AM on May 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


I am satisfied in that Arya is now undoubtedly the best character to role play in Elder Scrolls games. What's west of Westeros? Skyrim! Cyrodil! Hammerfell!

Just put all your points into sneak and one armed and you are GOOD TO GO.
posted by avalonian at 11:43 AM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Suddenly I need some "so much for the tolerant left!!!" Dark Dany memes real, real bad
posted by moonlight on vermont at 12:01 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Very much enjoying Lindsay Ellis' various twitter threads on GoT's denouement, and looking forward to her YouTube videos.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:06 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


What's west of Westeros? Skyrim! Cyrodil! Hammerfell!

No. Nossir. I won't have it. Westeros is NOT AKAVIR.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:08 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Above, someone said that spring was coming. But wasn't the whole point that winter could last years? Is that not a thing anymore?
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 12:12 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Tyrion’s love vs. duty paradigm still has me confused about the characters’ motivations. He seems to see Jaime riding South as choosing love of Cersei over duty to Dany/the North/Brienne, but you could also say Jaime chose his duty as a queensguard and a Lannister brother over his love of Brienne. (Especially given the way Brienne frames this in the White Book.) He tells Jon to choose duty to the world over his love of Dany, but his parting shot at Jon is asking him to choose love of his sisters over his duty to Dany via the pledge he made to her (“she’s mah Queen!”). So what’s love and what’s duty? Watching the scene at first it felt like they just wanted some wise-seeming inversion of Maester Aegon’s “love is the death of duty.” I don’t know that Tyrion’s version makes much sense.
posted by sallybrown at 12:13 PM on May 20, 2019


I heard that "duty is the death of love" as almost a stupidly literal description of what Tyrion wanted Jon to do -- in other words, "Jon, your duty is to ensure the death of your love, Danaerys."
posted by ourobouros at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yes, it was stupidly literal...and Jon still almost didn't get it.
posted by The Tensor at 12:28 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


when Jon was all "YOU'RE MY QUEEN FOREVER" and then you heard the stabby knife sfx I wanted so, so badly for it to be Arya, so that Jon could have stayed true to his character: dumb and pretty to the bitter end, justifying the slaughter of innocents because of a perfect cocktail of learned Stark cluelessness and inborn Targaryen GSA.

ah well
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:33 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Okay after sleeping on it I am irrationally angry that Bronn is on the Small Council and Brienne and Davos have to put up with him making stupid jokes about brothels and being all smug about controlling all the money. All we need is Sandor popping up out of the flames to call everyone cunts and all the dudebro fans will be thrilled.

I consider myself maybe more dudebro-y than most here, and I totally agree that it was annoying to see Bronn there. Others have already discussed how ridiculous the scene with him, Jaime, and Tyrion was wherein the Lannisters promised Highgarden while under threat of violence. Didn't seem believable at all that Tyrion would actually follow through with that promise the minute Bronn left the room. What leverage does Bronn actually have once all the fighting ended? I don't buy that Tyrion would continue to be buddy-buddy with him after the earlier exchange, even with their shared history. And all we got out of it were a couple lame brothel jokes.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 12:34 PM on May 20, 2019 [12 favorites]



when Jon was all "YOU'RE MY QUEEN FOREVER" and then you heard the stabby knife sfx I wanted so, so badly for it to be Arya, so that Jon could have stayed true to his character: dumb and pretty to the bitter end, justifying the slaughter of innocents because of a perfect cocktail of learned Stark cluelessness and inborn Targaryen GSA.


Jon grabs aggro, Arya goes in for the flanking bonus and sneak attack damage. Fuck your game of thrones, try playing an RPG once in a while, Starks.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:37 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Didn't seem believable at all that Tyrion would actually follow through with that promise the minute Bronn left the room

Yeah Bronn extorted the hand of the queen through violence. As soon as he left the room I would've had him arrested and executed. But I think the idea was that Bronn had to pose as though he were a cutthroat sell sword, but really he loved Tyrion and Jaime, his only friends or whatever. So he keeps up the front but in fact would never have killed either of them.
posted by dis_integration at 12:37 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Ah, that read makes sense, dis_integration. Wasn't my initial read on the threatening scene, but definitely lends more consistency to that whole arc.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 12:40 PM on May 20, 2019


Tyrion: Let's all vote for Bran!
Everyone: Aye!
Yara (begrudgingly because the Iron Islands are notoriously rebellious): *sigh* ...aye...
Sansa: Except for us, we'll stay independent
Yara: Yo, what the fuck!
posted by PenDevil at 12:40 PM on May 20, 2019 [20 favorites]


the real question is 10 years from now who is going to try to have gendry murdered outside a tavern on the appian way by a pair of gladiators attached to their retinue
posted by poffin boffin at 12:41 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Probably Drogo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:45 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Who's returned after 10 years to get revenge.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:46 PM on May 20, 2019


Unfortunately, Drogon neglects to reward the Kingsguard with a suitable donative. Eight months after he takes power, he's drowned in the bath by his mathematics tutor as the sentries look on with mild interest. Thus begins the Year of the Six Dragons.
posted by Iridic at 1:04 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, as Tyrion said "No one's happy so it's the perfect compromise."

"A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied" - Larry David
posted by cazoo at 1:07 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I liked how Tyrion looked directly into the camera and shrugged when he said that line
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:09 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Glen Cook probably saw that and recognized Lady at the Tower of Charm immediately.

OK, I'm going to be That Guy: when she was ruling from the Tower of Charm, she was The Lady, not, as she later became, just Lady.
posted by The Tensor at 1:22 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I have to clear this up wherever I see it: Targaryens are not immune to fire! Danerys surviving the fire that birthed her dragons was a one-time miracle; GRRM has said as much.

Other evidence:
- Dany climbing on to the funeral pyre was an act of suicide
- Viserys died to something that was basically fire
- Jon suffered a burn from a normal fire early at The Wall, and (in the books) this burn is described as severe with long-lasting consequences to his hand mobility
- "The Unburnt" would be a dumb title to bestow a Targaryen ruler if they were all uniformly fireproof

Moderate heat resistance seems to be common among Targaryens, but by no means can they stand in a true fire and survive unscathed, except by magic.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:28 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Honest to god, every time I think about the kingsmoot I start laughing again.

Game of Thrones - the show that killed Ned Stark, GAME OF THRONES - really brought back a Neville'd up Robin Arryn and put him in a tunic with boob cutouts.

GAME OF THRONES, during the resolution of one of the driving questions of the series, really brought back Edmure Tully for one last dunk.

i can't believe you've done this
posted by jurymast at 1:30 PM on May 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


GRRM has said that Dany surviving the funeral pyre was a miracle; D&D, however, have definitely decided that Dany is fireproof.

See: scalding bathwater, burning the khals, "He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon."
posted by jurymast at 1:33 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


we could've dropped our croissants
posted by poffin boffin at 1:33 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I have to clear this up wherever I see it: Targaryens are not immune to fire! Danerys surviving the fire that birthed her dragons was a one-time miracle;

That was in the books, the show was clearly different, so that really doesn't matter.

No mention was made of Targs being immune to fire, so I'm guessing Dany's power was unique to her, but really, who the hell even knows with the show. I'm surprised it was consistent as it was about Dany being immune.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:37 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


...Am I the only one who was kind of hoping that Yara was sailing off with Arya? I mean, since she's not interested in Iron Islands independence maybe she's happy to turn over the running of things to some non-Sea-Ramsay and live her best life... And I'll put Aryara up against Jonmund or whatever for best portmanteau.
posted by TwoStride at 1:43 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


On the subway today “The Court of the raven king would be a good title - no stop, stop this at once.”
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Bringing back Edmure Tully and dunking on him was awesome and i will brook no dissent.
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


...Neville'd up Robin Arryn and put him in a tunic with boob cutouts.

They also gave him Jaime's Season 1 haircut. I don't know how to read that.
posted by Iridic at 1:45 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have always felt sorry for him, because Tobias Menzies could play a rock and imbue it with a wry, soulful pathos. But it was funny.

Farewell, Edmure Tully. He finished as he started: being mercilessly dunked on by D&D.
posted by jurymast at 1:50 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I desperately just want a mid-credits scene of the Small Council looking shell-shocked at each other like, "Bronn... Bronn took all our money and sailed away. Why did we make him Master of Coin? Why did we do that?"
posted by jurymast at 1:55 PM on May 20, 2019 [37 favorites]


Bringing back Edmure Tully and dunking on him was awesome and i will brook no dissent.

I will dissent, brook or no!

It felt needlessly petty. The guy was a schmuck, then locked up for years for simply wanting to keep his wife and kid alive, then schmucked again by Jamie Lannister.

Not a big deal, but didn't really seem necessary. But one could that a lot of about this episode and season.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:57 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


OK, I'm going to be That Guy: when she was ruling from the Tower of Charm, she was The Lady, not, as she later became, just Lady.

thanks stannis
posted by Justinian at 1:57 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


/grindteeth
posted by The Tensor at 2:08 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


So, uh, what are we all gonna watch now?
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


How many comments? Jeeze. I will go back and read them, but I just write down, before I get depressed reading the haters, that I thought it was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It is mind blowing to me that they took a story as sprawling as this, translated it brilliantly to the small screen, and after being left adrift by the original author, buckled down and steered it home towards a just and satisfying conclusion for its characters. D&D are masters of the form. They really are. I think the hate towards them is nuts.
I mean, the show was fucking dumb at times, I'm not insane. I still can't believe the whole "capture a zombie" plot in season 7 made it to screen, for example. And there were of course flaws much deeper and are more troubling than mere mis-steps in storying telling, that I will leave for the more erudite to dissect.
But, 75 hours of story telling, which I've consumed in its entirety in the last two and a half months, and I leave it *wanting more*, yet satisfied with the closed book. I think it was a remarkable finale.
posted by chill at 2:11 PM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven been paying attention"

You were right there, Ramsey... but I wasn't expecting being not happy because the show slowly slid into terribleness
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:12 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Best take I've seen 'Robyn Arryn glowing up is a great recommendation for breast feeding"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:13 PM on May 20, 2019 [13 favorites]




Chernobyl, Gentleman Jack, and What We Do in the Shadows are all on my weekly to-watch list at the moment. Handmaid's Tale comes back next month, so I suppose that'll be my next 'tentpole' show (depending on how excessive they get with the misery porn).

But you're right, I do find myself in need of a show about which to tinfoil for the next eight to ten years. Get on that, entertainment industry.
posted by jurymast at 2:18 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


75 hours of story telling, which I've consumed in its entirety in the last two and a half months

I'm gonna say that your experience is ... not the norm, and probably leads to atypical results. If you haven't been in it from the start, waiting for the new seasons, thinking about and re-watching the old episodes, theorizing what might be, etc, well, then: yeah, you might not find how this ended so frustrating. But, to have had to go through the real slog sections of the show in release-realtime, to have to finish multiple later seasons feeling like "aww shit, they wasted so much time, huh?" but hope that they'd turn it around, and then in the end the part that really needed time more or less happened offscreen or in the course of 2.5 episodes?

Yeah, uh. That's ... not great.

I mean if for nothing else: Jon kills Dany and how has to somehow face the Unsullied. That's some real tension! I wonder how it will go? That is to say, I wonder how it went, since they literally gapped over it in a fade to black ...

If the original LotR trilogy were made this way they'd have put in a fade to black as Frodo and Sam walk into Mordor and then come back to a scene where they're discussing why Frodo is going into the west with the elves. Guess that ring thing all worked out sometime between, but don't worry we don't need to see it ...
posted by tocts at 2:22 PM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


Skipping all the comments ( seriously , 500+ comments in 18 hours ? you people are crazy) to say this episode was a lot better than I was expecting. I actually got tears in my eyes when Drogon burned the throne and carried Danny's body away.
posted by Pendragon at 2:26 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


You're right, it's a hybrid. But I suppose it represents progress of a sort (for a couple reasons, at least, which I mentioned a couple weeks ago)

It really doesn't, though? You had elected emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from the 13th century. You didn't get democracy in some of those lands until after WWI! (And indeed the Habsburgs monopolized the throne for its last three centuries, making "elections" merely formal.)

(Poland had an elective monarchy for about four centuries, too.)
posted by praemunire at 2:36 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


P.S. Am sad about sad fire-doggo.
posted by praemunire at 2:36 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Seriously folks, Meera Reed, spends upteen seasons looking after Bran north of the wall and she didn't even get a seat of the Lords council. WTF?!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:45 PM on May 20, 2019 [22 favorites]


He tells Jon to choose duty to the world over his love of Dany, but his parting shot at Jon is asking him to choose love of his sisters over his duty to Dany via the pledge he made to her

Yeah I don't know how to sort all the duty/love stuff, but I did enjoy that callback to a key scene with Ned in season 1. No one could get him to budge on making a false confession, until Varys (was it Varys?) persuaded him to do it for his daughters' sake (Jon's sisters, obvs).
posted by torticat at 2:51 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


> a good job in a warm climate

Is it warm? It's hard to tell. The lighting says warm, the architecture says warm, but people who are acclimated to the North are still walking around in fur capes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:53 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Seriously folks, Meera Reed, spends upteen seasons looking after Bran north of the wall and she didn't even get a seat of the Lords council. WTF?!

All hail the new king!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:53 PM on May 20, 2019


Sansa said he can't have children. How does she know? Ew.


SANSA: Bran can't be king! His junk doesn't work anymore!
BRAN: Um...
TYRION: Perfect! We should be so lucky as to have a sexually incapable king!
BRAN: Um...
posted by Navelgazer at 2:54 PM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


Meera Reed, Master of Staying the Fuck Out of Bran Stark's Bullshit.
posted by jurymast at 2:56 PM on May 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


in fairness it's pretty awkward hanging out with people who knew you before you attained mastery of all knowledge and time
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:06 PM on May 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


Um, is this satire??

Further tweets:
Like if you are a woman and a homicide victim, the person most likely to murder you is a current or former intimate partner. “Someone they would normally expect to trust.” But narratives like Game of Thrones paint the murderer as the sympathetic one.

The trope of a man tragically killing the woman he loves, with the murderer as the sympathetic party, does not exist in a vacuum. When people are violent against their partners, they see themselves as Jon Snow. They HAD to do it. Look what you made him do, Dany.

I kind of think the tropes involving the murder of a romantic partner goes out the window once the partner has committed genocide. "Look what you made him do, Dany"?! ...Uh yeah in this situation I'd say she pretty much made him do it.

With regard to real-life domestic violence, this commentary basically makes a mockery of it.
posted by torticat at 3:08 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Here's my take on a more satisfying ending, even with the way these past 2 seasons have gone down:

First, i disagree with those who think that the NK story was rushed and wrapped up too quickly. almost all of season 7 was the inexorable march of the NK's army south. He won big at Hardhome, won again when he iced a Dragon, won a third time when he breached the last best defense of Man, the Wall.

Winterfell then was the last stand of humanity against the coming existential threat. Winterfell with Bran as bait in the Godswood. Episode 4 was the climax of the show, and Arya its hero(ine).

As I mentioned in the thread after ep 4, the show's mistake was to deny the North it's victory.

The denouement in King's Landing would have been for Cersei, with starving dissatisfied crowds in the street calling for her head, sitting alone on the Iron Throne. No Jamie, no Tyrion, no horde of invaders to distract from her crumbling reign.

Dany, bereft of soldiers and no longer the sole rightful heir to anything, is forced to face the fact that even with a Dragon she has no kingdom to claim, and can only find satisfaction if she turns to other lands to liberate other peoples.

The Stark children then send the wildlings forth to repopulate the north, and rule as a wise council, perhaps with Davos, Tyrion and Brienne on board.

Fin

Only 2 episodes would have had to be changed, really.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:12 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


If the original LotR trilogy were made this way they'd have put in a fade to black as Frodo and Sam walk into Mordor and then come back to a scene where they're discussing why Frodo is going into the west with the elves. Guess that ring thing all worked out sometime between, but don't worry we don't need to see it ...

Just after the climax of The Return of the King, Frodo and Sam stumble out of the Cracks of Doom into a volcanic eruption and make peace with their impending deaths, then Frodo passes out...only to wake up some days later, safe in bed in Minas Tirith. And this is the second time Tolkien pulls this trick, the previous time being at the Fords of Bruinen.
posted by The Tensor at 3:22 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Jon walked out of there with his Mr Sad Mopey Boy Face and blubbered to Grey Worm "woe, woe, I have killed my lady love, I had to do it," and Grey Worm threw him in a dungeon because Grey Worm is not inherently a violent hothead

we all know that's exactly what happened, this was a perfectly valid transition scene to not bother with
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:26 PM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]




Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

I'm actually super fine with this ending, though I still have some complaints about how they got there over the last two seasons.
posted by 256 at 3:31 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I just realized that all they would have had to do to make me roll in here this morning shrieking BEST FINALE OF ALL TIIIIIIIIIME would have been one super cheesy shot of Bran's eyes turning blue at the very end
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:41 PM on May 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


Honestly, I don’t see the poignance of Brienne writing Jaime’s deeds in the book and agree it makes her characterization inconsistent as hell. She swore an oath to Sansa! And kept to it when the North was for all intents and purposes an independent kingdom!

What /would/ have made sense though was, had they not killed him off senselessly, Ser Barristan Selmy, returned to the Kingsguard, having witnessed Jon’s killing of Dany after the burning of King’s Landing, acknowledging that sometimes kingslaying can be morally right, and writing in Jaime’s deeds and death.
posted by corb at 3:42 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


The Reeds are a northern family, I think, so Meera would now be loyal to Sansa anyway. But I would have liked to see how/why Brienne ended up on the king's council after she swore fealty to Sansa - it's not like now that she's queen she doesn't need protection anymore...
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:44 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


like seriously if they had just blatantly ripped off the Thriller video I would have felt as vindicated as I've ever felt about anything in my entire life
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:44 PM on May 20, 2019


Would have been funnier if it had been Jon's eyes that turned blue at the end.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:46 PM on May 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


And then that precious sprig of green growing up through the snow ices over and wilts as they pass.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:48 PM on May 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


I'm totally fascinated by Jon/Tormund getting a canon, sweet, Due South ending. Mostly because of what it says about the writers that this one, single example of human love and connection, that I am honestly revenge shipping because I know they would hate hate hate to know that Jon Snow and his big redhead bear boyfriend got married with a dog in Canada, was allowed to sneak through their otherwise total destruction of any intimate relationships in this series (thanks sallybrown for laying it out).

Y'all they literally no homo'd themselves into an actual canon Jon/Tormund ending because the writers a.) feel like displays of human connection and emotion need to be either shown to be lies or crushed as brutally as possible, b.) are such racists and misogynists that they didn't know who to Hulk Smash out of a bond composed of two white men, like Lars the human being invisible to Gem surveillance technology in Steven Universe, and c.) are so steeped in bro culture that they don't think affection between two men counts as "human connection"

And so these assholes, whose only queer representation was a bunch of awful gay jokes and then horrific hate crimes, both at Loras Tyrell's expense, loopholed themselves into making this bizarre crackship their endgame??? I can't stop looking at gifs of Jon Snow blushing and burying his face into Tormund Giantsbane's chest while Tormund is actually sitting in his lap, this is like the Starbucks cup that made it past everyone, only it's a whole ass loving committed relationship. There it is, folks, that's the bittersweet ending.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:50 PM on May 20, 2019 [31 favorites]


And then Arya, sailing off to West parts unknown stares into the distance... and her eyes turn blue.

And then Sansa is crowned queen... and her eyes turn blue. Basically, everyone except Bran.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:50 PM on May 20, 2019 [10 favorites]




...Am I the only one who was kind of hoping that Yara was sailing off with Arya? I mean, since she's not interested in Iron Islands independence maybe she's happy to turn over the running of things to some non-Sea-Ramsay and live her best life... And I'll put Aryara up against Jonmund or whatever for best portmanteau.

My personal vote would be for Yarya.

And yes, I kind of like that possibility. Anyway, Yara needs something fun and exciting to take her mind off her recent losses (her brother Theon and especially her one true love, Dany). I feel like Yara and Arya would make a good team.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:56 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Jon Snow blushing and burying his face into Tormund Giantsbane's chest while Tormund is actually sitting in his lap

Or when Tormund just tackles Jon aka his "little crow". (Also, Edd's face at the end of this gif is perfect. RIP Edd. You were too good for this world.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:03 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


So the ending is THE ending right? In the main details. Like who was going to on the thrown at the end? Am I remembering it right that the two D's were told GRRM's ending and they wrote up to it (badly).

I do remember GRRM saying the ending was 'bitter-sweet' which seems a bit light compared to the trading the show ended up with
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:11 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Bran plays the Dr. Strange Endgame, except it's shit
posted by northtwilight at 4:14 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: I expect the fates of all the major characters are directly from GRRM. I don't know about Bronn, Sam, Brienne, and Podrick but certainly all the Stark kids, Dany, Tyrion and his siblings, etc.
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I seem to have implied that Brienne and Sam were not major characters. Apologies I will now strip down naked and do the walk of shame.

No, no, it's fine I've already started.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Night King shoulda won
posted by bookman117 at 4:29 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


At least this is a lot funnier than Lost was. It helps that there's/r/freefolk.
posted by bookman117 at 4:30 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I do remember GRRM saying the ending was 'bitter-sweet' which seems a bit light compared to the trading the show ended up with

Trading = Tragedy

(I'm drunk and tired)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Tyrion’s love vs. duty paradigm still has me confused about the characters’ motivations. He seems to see Jaime riding South as choosing love of Cersei over duty to Dany/the North/Brienne, but you could also say Jaime chose his duty as a queensguard and a Lannister brother over his love of Brienne. (Especially given the way Brienne frames this in the White Book.) He tells Jon to choose duty to the world over his love of Dany, but his parting shot at Jon is asking him to choose love of his sisters over his duty to Dany via the pledge he made to her (“she’s mah Queen!”). So what’s love and what’s duty?

I think that when Tyrion was talking to Jon, he was using "duty" as shorthand for "doing the right thing." His initial argument was that Jon had a moral duty to kill Dany -- because if he didn't, she would go on to kill a lot more innocents. But then when Jon wouldn't listen, Tyrion changed tactics and tried to humanize Dany's hypothetical future victims for him by saying that Sansa and Arya would probably be some of the first people Dany would go after. And then I guess Jon thought, "but I care about those two potential victims!" and then went off and murdered Dany to protect them lol.

I don't think Jon killed Dany out of [moral] duty, I think he killed her out of love [for his sisters]. So in the end, Maester Aemon was right about love being the death of duty (in that case), because Jon broke his vow to Dany to protect his siblings.

I think Jaime's situation was more complicated, or at least more abstract, because Jaime seemed to have this idea that his faithfulness to Cersei was his one redeeming characteristic, which showed that he still had honor despite all appearances to the contrary. Jaime alluded to that more than once -- off the top of my head, an example is that way back when Catelyn had Jaime penned up as a captive, and she was saying he was a disgrace because he was a kingslayer, Jaime shot back that he'd never been with anyone but Cersei so apparently he had more honor than even Catelyn's precious Ned, who had brought home a bastard. I think that Tyrion trying to help Jaime back to Cersei was basically Tyrion trying to give Jaime hope that he could find his honor again, he could still be a good and honorable man. For Jaime himself, I don't think it was about feeling romantic love or even necessarily sibling love, I think it was about commitment. He'd made a pledge to Cersei and he meant to keep it, because a good/honorable man wouldn't be faithless, and Jaime wanted to be a good/honorable man.

Also, I think you have to keep in mind that the Lannisters are SUPER fucked up, especially when it comes to love and sex. I mean even compared to the already pretty fucked up Westerosi baseline.

Something that stood out to me when Tyrion was talking about Jon murdering the woman he loved is that this was coming from a man who had already done just that. And Tyrion even mentioned strangling Shae earlier in that same conversation (and Jon was completely unfazed by it!) so I guess we were supposed to draw a parallel between Tyrion and Shae and Jon and Dany? But Tyrion murdered Shae for revenge or something stupid like that, not for the good of anybody at all, which makes it even more horrible.
posted by rue72 at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Very much enjoying Lindsay Ellis' various twitter threads on GoT's denouement, and looking forward to her YouTube videos.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:06 PM on May 20 [+] [!]


Awesome, is there a way for those of us without twitter to read these?
posted by eustatic at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2019


And so these assholes, whose only queer representation was a bunch of awful gay jokes and then horrific hate crimes

I won’t wade into the broader issue of the authors’ prejudices, but FWIW, Oberyn, Ellaria, and Yara were depicted as bisexual.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:39 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


> "Bran plays the Dr. Strange Endgame, except it's shit"

"I looked through fourteen million futures ..."

"And this was the one where we won?"

"No, this is the one where I become king."

"Wait ... what?"

"Oh, yeah. There are hundreds where the Night King never got past the Wall, a whole bunch where Danaerys is a benevolent monarch, a bunch more where she becomes a tyrannical dictator ... There's ones where Sansa rules, Tyrion rules, Lyanna rules, Gendry rules, Cersei rules, and one weird one where Sam is just about the only person of note left and he gets chosen to be something called a 'president'. There's anarchies and oligarchies and republics and city states. There's even a few where you end up king one way or another, Jon, although they're pretty crappy ones. But for me to end up king, yeah, this is pretty much the only way it could have gone down. It was a weird-ass longshot one, I've got to tell you."

"But ... all those people who died ..."

"Look, one step below this reality are all the ones where either the Night King or Danaerys kills literally everyone, so, like, count your blessings, Jon."
posted by kyrademon at 4:39 PM on May 20, 2019 [35 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: I expect the fates of all the major characters are directly from GRRM.

yeah, though I love the fan/booktruther conspiracy that says GRRM deliberately gave them a duff ending so he can Shock The World when he comes storming back with the amazing Real Ending in the books... any day now... any day... come of George....
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:40 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm still... god just the body language and chemistry Jon has with poor Dany or even Ygritte vs the physicality he has or is allowed to have with Kristofer Hivju is just like... I feel like they directed Kit Harrington out of some sense of "fellas, is it gay to be too physically into your girlfriend? Better snuggle with this big manly viking instead. Oh he calls you pretty and has a long list of flirtatious pet names? Even better! What's more manly than no homo jokes!" Just incredible.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:46 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Sorry for all this surreal content y'all, I think I first started drawing Daenerys into the margins of my 11th grade math class notes ::checks:: 19 years ago, watching it all go down so dirty has been A LOT

all the plotting balled up like a used wad of gum in the wrapper... misogynist insult upon injury... all the deep james fraser/joseph campbell lore... abandoned... all the character arcs just thrown in the trash... alt-right propaganda in the final episodes... the only decent thing to come out of this garbage heap is a slash crackship that snuck past the writers because they were too homophobic and vile to notice it, I'm just...
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:54 PM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


So, uh, what are we all gonna watch now?

HANNIBAL

AGAIN

and then spartacus bc i love to suffer
posted by poffin boffin at 4:56 PM on May 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


YOU TWISTED MY ARM OKAY
posted by The Whelk at 4:58 PM on May 20, 2019 [32 favorites]


Y'all when I was 15 I made an ANGELFIRE SITE for my asoiaf fan content. I called it the People's Republic of Qarth as a riff on my local radio station and in ironic teen support of Daenerys' revolutionary politics, I guess being a dragon tankie started real early. I joined a webring with the 50x200 pixel banners because the fandom was so small and so monopolized by asoiaf.westeros.org that we were going to use any kind of connection we could get. When webrings became totally obsolete, there was livejournal, where the guy who runs westeros.org got summarily banned from every community and community member's lj because he would constantly show up in the comments to come snitch on us for writing fanfiction, which GRRM had expressly forbidden, and which he considered it to be his personal mission to enforce. The Whelk, I am so glad you're here writing and posting transformative, protected fanfiction that you got the idea for this morning and posted this afternoon. It's been a long, strange trip and I love everyone who's been part of it. Sorry friends, I am EMOTIONAL.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 5:07 PM on May 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


I'm gonna say that your experience is ... not the norm, and probably leads to atypical results. If you haven't been in it from the start, waiting for the new seasons, thinking about and re-watching the old episodes, theorizing what might be, etc, well, then: yeah, you might not find how this ended so frustrating.

I would say that things like "thinking about and re-watching the old episodes" are not the norm. Shows are not made only for obsessive fans, and the vast majority of viewers are more casual, are not particularly invested in this or that theory/shipping/etc., don't read or write fan fiction. They are able to appreciate things for what they are, instead of checking that every bit shown on screen conforms to their headcanon (or worldview). If being a fan makes a lot of people unhappy, what's the point? The main problem of the show is that, like many others these days, it invites a lot of speculation - which is great to do and to read, there's no denying that, I've been there -, and there's absolutely no way it could end well enough for many fans. In this very thread we have for instance:
1. Give us one scene of Sam and Gilly with their baby, safe in the world they are building.
2. Thank you forever for not wasting any final-episode minutes on Sam's baby.
And that's just an tiny, tiny bit of plot!
I'm absolutely certain that if the show had used more episodes in its latter seasons, people would be breathlessly complaining about filler episodes, useless side plots, and the slow-as-molasses pace (We're in the endgame now, why the fuck do I need to watch people talking and walking around Westeros instead of dragons and zombies!). There would be a entire walls of rage-filled texts on the internet claiming that the show is "100% crap", that it had "lost its way", calling the showrunners "complete hacks" and GRRM an "idiot who cannot plot his way out of a bag".
Frankly, I just watched the last episode of one of the greatest TV shows ever made, if not the greatest. Of course I wish that this or that side plot, event, character, dialogue etc. would have been handled differently, but never to the point where it became problematic, possibly because I don't have a headcanon, and that I favour authorial intent over my own (and unfilmable) musings. Hey, I wanted Romeo and Juliette to live, but that idiot Shakespeare killed them, I can't believe he was paid for that, why do people still read this trash anyway.
posted by elgilito at 5:18 PM on May 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I am assuming it is Dany ruling, but would you be okay with that if she went Mad Queen all over Westeros? Just wondering.

Chalk me up as not having a major issue with that turn in itself, but either:

- they should have depicted her unraveling in a way that showed her interiority and also didn't require blantantly pulling strings left and right to get every supporting character in position, or

- if the show is pseudo-history, and you like WWII analogies as people have bandied about, what if they had presented the destruction of Kings Landing as a rational but morally ambiguous choice? And then Jon Snow or Tyrion or Grey Worm decides she's violated the norms of war in Westeros and has to die, but the audience is left to debate at the end who was in the right? Or something like - this isn't off the top of my head - what if she went in with dragons against advice, intending terror and a calculated degree of destruction and triggered Cersei's fail-deadly wildfire cache, causing far more massive destruction? And then from there she loses her Weaterosi allies and it plays out similarly but with more complicated moral questions?

That way you also get to keep Jaime trying in earnest to stop Cersei. I think it's a fine twist to have him fail to save the city in the end, actually- it's just about showing his evolution into a character who would be able to make a stand on principle and move on from that toxic relationship, regardless of whether he can possibly ever truly be redeemed for his past.

And the Starks don't end up such dull and unambiguous good guys.
posted by atoxyl at 5:20 PM on May 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


If they hadn't spent three seasons making Bran as robotically blank and disengaged as possible--made even a glimmer of ambition or strategy or plain old INTEREST in current Westeros visible--then Bran on the throne would have felt more earned and/or satisfying. But the world's most boring character who's spent two seasons denying that he's even that character ("I'm the Three-Eyed Raven now"; "Bran is... Whatever he is") it is really hard to feel invested in him as a ruler at all. Fans have put a ton of work into theorizing whether he warg'd this or not, but...good tv shouldn't actually be 100% up to the fans to make the plots work, IMHO.
posted by TwoStride at 5:28 PM on May 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


The final two seasons of Game of Thrones works better if you realize it was filmed using Microsoft Powerpoint.
posted by srboisvert at 5:30 PM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: I expect the fates of all the major characters are directly from GRRM.

I bet some of them are especially e.g. the Mad Queen "twist" but I bet he had no idea how to get there because I mean duh clearly he has no idea how to get anywhere at this point.

As much as he's not really that good a writer he's not in the habit of writing things that don't make sense in context of his own world, and lots of things about this ending didn't.
posted by atoxyl at 5:30 PM on May 20, 2019


Jon Snow didn’t have to go to the wall if he would have just waited five minutes for Grey Worm’s boat to leave.

It was also really unfair that we didn’t get the scene of him saying “Anyone seen Dany? I just went by to see her and she wasn’t there. Throne? Yeah, it was already melty like that when I got there.”
posted by snofoam at 5:46 PM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


The second half of this whole series was so badly written and plotted that the only way I could remain interested was by satirizing it in recaps. Through these past four seasons, I've only wanted one thing, and one thing only, from this show. One thing is all the show runners needed to provide to me, and I could walk away from the series, well, if not entirely satisfied, then at least mollified. The rest of the series could burn to ash if I could only get that one shot I wanted.

And I got it!

So thank you, show runners, for that at least, and probably at most. "Sansa Enthroned" is my new wallpaper. And now my watch is ended, indeed.

I just hope to all the gods that the remaining books, if/when finally published – and my skepticism about that is a matter of MeFi record – that they'll be a hell of a lot better than this show.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:48 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


So, uh, what are we all gonna watch now?

There's lots in the meantime but I tells ya I am ready for the moral clarity of Westworld 3 and my sweet murderbot's plans for KILL ALL HUMANS even while the dastardly Bernard attempts to foil her justice.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


If we accept the late medieval setting of the story and the source material, however remote, of the Wars of the Roses (Lannister/Lancaster vs. Stark/York) then the political problem of Westeros should have been the independence of the aristocracy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:16 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


didn't hate it. but, what would have been better?

if Dany had simultaneously stabbed Jon to death and they had died in one-another's arms. it would have mirrored Cersei and Jaime, buried beneath them in the rubble. would have shown just how dumb Jon really is while still letting him be the hero-service to the show, without the misogyny. i mean, basically, he got rewarded for murdering his girlfriend. the domestic violence aspect IS there, and is horrific, regardless of whether she was a dangerous tyrant. Jon got to kill his woman, desert his post, ride north with his BF, forgiven by his doggo, and start over. they should have died in each other's stabby arms, which would have given Dany at least some agency in her own death. it makes sense that she would want to have removed any threat to her throne and would have proved she had truly gone beyond any restraint. Jon would die a martyr, having fulfilled his use to the God of Light.

that would have also satisfied all of you watchers who don't see Drogon as a sentient being who destroyed the very thing that killed its mother, and was simply acting out in grief and melting everything in sight.
posted by lapolla at 6:33 PM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


oh and, it's a few seasons in, but The Expanse - while a different genre - is doing some wonderful storytelling, and looks to have at least a few years more it can roll.
posted by lapolla at 6:34 PM on May 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


I love the fan/booktruther conspiracy that says GRRM deliberately gave them a duff ending so he can Shock The World when he comes storming back with the amazing Real Ending in the books...

I think it’s more that the stories don’t make any sense when you remove the other viewpoints, thus justifying him adding all the characters he does. If anything, the GRRM ending will include the fate of LITERALLY EVERYONE.
posted by corb at 6:46 PM on May 20, 2019


And now Chrys's watch has ended.

I screamed at "is this communism?" and the shot of the arakhs; maybe I'm a dragon tankie now.
posted by karayel at 6:49 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Ugh so also, when Arya was like "I'm gonna go see what's west of Westeros!!" I thought that was kind of cool, until it was clear she was taking, like, a well-staffed fancy boat to go do a colonialism. I guess I had imagined Arya was planning to Kon-Tiki it and just see what happens, which feels a lot more true to her character.
posted by dusty potato at 6:56 PM on May 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


Jon, Arya, and Tyrion did nothing to justify redemption, and they were ultimately rewarded with bullshit fan service Disney endings. That will always be a shitty way to bring hero's journey story arcs to a close. Heroes make sacrifices, but the stakes and the consequences were completely voided by unearned walks into the sunset. At the very least, all three characters should have received some type of equivilant punishment for the extra-judicial executions they performed. They sacrificed nothing, and it renders their hero status hollow.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:00 PM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I read through the thread before posting. Watched ~3 hours post realtime.

Agree strongly; this last season would have benefited from being written as 2 full seasons.

I don't mind the bullet-point plot, it's that the bullet-pointing that felt really cheap. A major draw for this show was the nuance and sub-arcs - and the producers threw that all away just to _have an ending_.

GRRM and his unwritten/ unpublished conclusions to the story was a major contributor to the fiasco, and I fervently hope that there aren't any (TV/ HBO) spin-offs. This final season should kill any and all potential for those.

Also, there're a lot of really gross throwback/ unthinking/ non-introspective stuff wrt: domestic/ spousal abuse/ homicide, and shortcuts that are straightlined from current ethnophobias in the USA.

There's also zero indication that the current political regime is in any way stable - I guess the thesis of 'Game of Thrones' is that "Nothing changes, everything reverts to mean, just with different warm bodies."

Tyrion mentioning how he's seen a correlation between "good sewers" and "population health" is a start, but is undermined by how Samwell dismisses brothels as "non-salutatory." Fuck Sam, talk about prophylaxis and disease transmission! Fuck Bronn, too - the character is the drop-in that locks in that "nothing changes" - he's changed (for the more fortunate), but the institutions haven't.

Bran has been trying to tell anyone who'd listen that "He's no longer Brandon Stark!!!" - and no one listens!

I stand fully behind a non-human tree-god-thing using Brandon Stark as a semi-mobile suit, but good grief.

The question is, why does weird-tree-god want to influence humans and to what ends?
posted by porpoise at 7:03 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


I kind of think the tropes involving the murder of a romantic partner goes out the window once the partner has committed genocide. "Look what you made him do, Dany"?! ...Uh yeah in this situation I'd say she pretty much made him do it.

What you're missing here is that you're taking it at face value that he "had" to do it as if this was real life. A story isn't real life. A story has an author. If characters in a story reach a point here they "must"do something, it's because the writer chose to put them in that situation.

So yeah, I think it's pretty on point to say that the writers seem to have chosen "honorable dude forced to murder a lady he loves and who loves him for like, honor" as the end point, and justified their way to it. That's not to say that Dany shouldn't have died (morally) based on where things are, just to whom she lost her life and the way it happened were all choices by the writer(s), and they chose a trope that's got some serious baggage.

(Also, if you're not aware, Lindsay Ellis [the tweet author] is a prolific youtuber who does a lot of really deep, insightful analysis of film, so, her having thoughts on how the writers chose to write this character into this corner and the problematic aspects of that choice are not really out of left field).
posted by tocts at 7:05 PM on May 20, 2019 [32 favorites]


They sacrificed nothing, and it renders their hero status hollow.

Yeah. Here’s what you could have done instead with those endings:

1) Jon remains at the wall. He does not venture north of it. He does not venture south of it. He is not allowed to command. He is a trainer or teacher. Every day he wakes up is a fresh hell. As the dragons depart, his wound starts opening. It never kills him. It also never closes. His loss and his grief and self hatred are what drives everyone away. He is alone forever.

2) They ask: what punishment for Tyrion? Bran says, “You wanted to know where whores go. Let me tell you what happened to your wife. I will not tell you what happened to your son. You may not go after them, or even look for them. Your job is repentance and fixing what you erred. You will be the Master of Coin. Forever.

3) Arya is a terrifying weapon loose. The House of Black and White sends agents, who offer her a choice: to come back to them and kill who they tell her to kill, forever, or to go where no one has heard of their name. Then she sails to find what she can. She takes with her an assortment of people who have nothing left in Westeros.
posted by corb at 7:08 PM on May 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


I was sad that Drogon was sad. The saddest thing is a pet companion dying, but the second saddest thing is a pet companion being abandoned/losing their bud. I wanted Nymeria to come back. I liked that Good Doggo Ghost finally got the pets he deserved. Most of my emotional investment in GoT was in the animals from the beginning, and by the end of the show D&D made it real easy to keep it there.
posted by schroedinger at 8:19 PM on May 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


like - this isn't off the top of my head -

I meant that it was off the top of my head.
posted by atoxyl at 8:31 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I fervently hope that there aren't any (TV/ HBO) spin-offs.

Just fyi, they're already filming the pilot of a prequel spin-off.
posted by dis_integration at 8:33 PM on May 20, 2019


“Fathered two kings with his sister & pushed the boy who would become a third out a tower window.” #ThingsBrienneLeftOut
posted by scalefree at 8:39 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Frankly I think the Starks should be banned from ever owning pets. Nymeria got lucky and was able to escape with her head still attached to her body. If Ghost knew what had happened to his siblings when they were under Stark protection, he would never approach a human ever again. The moment Jon encounters the dragons is the moment two of them were doomed.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:51 PM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


If being a fan makes a lot of people unhappy, what's the point?

I mean, when I started watching the show, it didn't make me unhappy. I became a fan because it made me happy. Then, it got really bad. People aren't unhappy about how bad the ending was because they want to be. I really *wanted* it to be good, obviously. It just don't think it was. It's that simple. I can't will myself into liking it.

I would say that things like "thinking about and re-watching the old episodes" are not the norm. Shows are not made only for obsessive fans, and the vast majority of viewers are more casual, are not particularly invested in this or that theory/shipping/etc., don't read or write fan fiction.

It's certainly not a tiny, niche, obsessive part of the fanbase that's unhappy about this past season. Almost everything I've seen about it in the media is negative, the last two episodes have the worst Rotten Tomatoes ratings of any episodes the show has ever aired, the actors have openly criticized it, that petition to HBO to remake it got like a million signature and just anecdotally, I've heard a lot of bafflement from the casual fans I know in real life at how strange the ending was.
posted by armadillo1224 at 9:17 PM on May 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


Here's the scene from the 10th/final episode of season 2 where Daenerys has a vision of the ruin of King's Landing and her unopposed physical ascension to the throne.

It's really interesting, to me, that in the finale she walks up the steps to the throne as ash rains down amidst the destruction and reaches out to grasp a handle from the swords, rendering the imagery of the monarchy itself as a weapon very clear, a weapon with a thousand blades. In season two, she reaches for the throne in the same way, but something stops her from grasping that awful power fully: the cries of her children, being held by the warlocks of Qarth. Someone needs her protection, her help, more than she needs power. That's what stops her the first time, and what cannot the second.
posted by clockzero at 9:19 PM on May 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


I began reading all the analyses and hot takes and so on, but Zeynep Tufekci's article sums it all up perfectly. Not just what's wrong with this last season, but also what I loved about the books and early seasons, and why they featured so many problematic events. Sociology vs psychology covers nearly every example I can think of.

Well, except for the stuff caused by this being the brain-product of 3 privileged straight white men. But that's common to 90% of all entertainment so I'm used to that at least.

In case you missed the link earlier: The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones.
posted by harriet vane at 9:51 PM on May 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I stand fully behind a non-human tree-god-thing using Brandon Stark as a semi-mobile suit, but good grief.

I edited for clarity after I posted the link upthread but I took prize bull octorok’s idea of Bran’s Unseelie Court and ran with it
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 PM on May 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


There are icicles in Dany's vision of the Iron Throne, but I'm OK with that retcon.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:45 PM on May 20, 2019


Okay, so I am just wondering, for people who hated this ending, what ending would have been preferable to you? I

Riker: "Holodeck, end simulation."

You've got to admit, it would fix all the problems.
posted by happyroach at 11:34 PM on May 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


that's pretty cool, the whelk!
posted by lapolla at 11:54 PM on May 20, 2019


iker: "Holodeck, end simulation."

You've got to admit, it would fix all the problems.


How would popular culture even continue to exist after something like that? What else would be left to say?

Anyway, that's my preferred ending as well
posted by clockzero at 12:02 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't really have any strong feelings on who should have become the ruler of Westeros in the end. I just feel that the journey towards that goal was a really important part of the story. I could have seen Dany, Jon, Cersei, or maybe even Varys or Gendry on the throne. They at least had stories to lead them there. Bran has been a noneity for pretty much the whole series. He has shown no desire and no leadership that would make his story logically lead to the Iron Throne. I think that if the end was going to be Bran, they could have spent a little bit more time on the character.
posted by Quonab at 12:35 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm usually pretty on board with whatever Lindsay Ellis is serving, but I'm not sure I see it this time. Maybe it's just a case of me not being able to see the forest for the trees; being invested long enough and having followed along long enough with Jon and Daenerys' respective characters and arcs that it's less easy to step back and see the bigger picture of, "What does it mean when we show a man doing this to a woman?"

I dunno.

To me it felt natural enough and grounded enough in their respective characterisations - Dany as she who becomes the dragon, beautiful and terrible and operating according to a moral code wholly her own; Jon as sad dude who is consistently obliged to sacrifice/lose that which he loves in order to Do The Right Thing - that it doesn't feel quite as tiresome and hacky as, say, Wolverine killing Jean.

(Also, as I mentioned up above, I was more or less okay with the death scene we got in large part because I was expecting something way worse and more gratuitous. It definitely felt like the lesser of two evils at the time, and I was glad that they managed to give Dany about as tender a farewell as could be written in those specific circumstances. It felt like they cared enough about all the people who cared about Dany not to use her final onscreen moments to shit on her or have her undergo something awful and cruel.)

THAT SAID, I'd still have preferred it be Arya who killed her. Let Jon & Co. (OR THEON) dispatch the Night King, and then do a narrative switcheroo where Arya comes south to kill one queen, but ends up killing another. Though... ugh, I guess then that would reinforce the terrible point of, "Nobody ever gets to walk away; everybody is always consumed by revenge and/or the toxic cycle of abuse," and would absolve Noble Jon of having to make the real hard decision. Bleh. I suppose there really is no perfect solution.
posted by jurymast at 1:01 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


So was just thinking about Tyrion in the last few episodes.

Sansa tells Tyrion about Jon's true lineage, he tells Varys. When Varys thinks that perhaps Jon would be the better leader he rats out Varys to Dany who summarily has him burnt.

Then he lets Jaime free, which for some reason doesn't get his head chopped off right there and then. Had Jamie remained locked up he probably would've survived.

Then when Varys is proved right about Dany he convinces Jon to kill Dany before she puts him to the stake as well.

Then he keeps shtum that the plan was his idea and convinces everyone to elect a non-entity as King (btw the Stark family - Sansa + Bran - now rule the entirety of Westeros, except their ancestral lands are exempt from being ruled by anyone else, pretty sweet deal) and as punishment for all this deceit, which Bran technically knows about because Treegod, he gets made hand of the King and gets to hyuck it up with his pals on the small council.
posted by PenDevil at 1:02 AM on May 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


...Wow, I guess in the end, this really was a story about a prince who killed a dragon.
posted by jurymast at 1:03 AM on May 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think I’m done with television shows. I know we’re in a golden age of tv or whatever but man these things are not worth the time it takes to watch ‘em.`

I'm really behind in comments, and don't know if in the past couple of hours someone had mentioned this, but there's incredible value in rewatching the shows that DID manage to not let you down. FOR ME, that list includes things like "Person of Interest", and Babylon 5, ( with the caveat that the fifth season is tacked on , because of the well-known production issues, they wrapped up the 5 season storyline in season 4, discarding the filler episodes, and just doing the main arc. ).

A lot of hours to invest, but IMNSHO, worth it.
posted by mikelieman at 2:21 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


As I look back on the series, I think it was great while it covered the first three books, and it went downhill after that. I began caring less about what was happening when Dorne and the Iron Islands became new focuses. I was never interested in those characters or subplots. The show never got back to its original level of quality.
posted by heatvision at 3:38 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Unseelie Court

!!

That evoked a lot of Michael Moorcock psychedelic fantasy for me (and got me on a Hawkwind/ Blue Oyster Cult kick), thanks!

Sansa's a little bit too rapid assertion that Bran isn't able to sire is a little suspicious given spinal cord injuries aren't an absolute barrier.

But tree-god don't care about his host's genetic prerogatives, so a wash either way.

This all really calls to mind Frank Herbert's 'Dune' series, especially the later novels re: perfect precience being a trap and the subsumation of a human into something else, more.

"For he IS the Kwisatz Haderach!" (just for fun, irrelevant to my previous point)

Another point that Bran -isn't-Bran; your hot older sister insists that you can't have sex anymore? No response? In the GoT universe?

/team Bran-Stark-Bodysuit remains animate for at least a thousand years until another sucker comes along, maybe a descendant of Sam and Gilly
posted by porpoise at 3:44 AM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


> "I began caring less about what was happening when Dorne and the Iron Islands became new focuses."

To be honest, this was my reaction to the books as well.
posted by kyrademon at 4:22 AM on May 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


...Wow, I guess in the end, this really was a story about a prince who killed a dragon.

. . . if anyone wants to read a book that subverts this, you should pick up Damsel by Elana K Arnold. It's YA, but brutal, and a really good readalike for GoT.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:35 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I screamed at "is this communism?" and the shot of the arakhs; maybe I'm a dragon tankie now.

karayel, I am so far gone that when I saw that shot in the trailer I was PISSED, like, oh my god, is THAT why they had the Dothraki wielding sickles as their cultural signature weapon??? This WHOLE time that piece of worldbuilding was all a long setup like Theon’s “you have to know your name” in Book 1 so we could have an image of Dany as Stalin??? Bury me in a three headed dragon/three antifa arrow shirt, I’ve passed the event horizon.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 5:16 AM on May 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Liked:
-Doggo
-Tormund
-Queen Sansa
-Arya the Explorer

Not too keen:
-Dothraki and Unsullied just... leaving.

The Unsullied I kind of get, as they're going to Naath which Grey Worm promised Missandei he'd defend. (Too bad they'll all die of butterfly fever within a year). I think if they had explained that in show it would have been more satisfactory - we don't want to fight any more for anyone, we're finally going home. I even see that they may have decided not to immediately kill JS for strategic reasons, Grey Worm is a smart guy (though for some reason the show has forgotten that) and the unsullied will follow his commands.

The Dothraki though? Their loyalty was personally to Daenarys. They're also notorious takers of slaves which might make their relationship with the unsullied slightly tricky in the absence of a unifying loyalty. I'm not sure if they would have killed JS in a rage but we previously see Dothraki being quite unconcerned about the death of their leaders and choosing a new one right away.

I either case, I find it hard to imagine how you convince the Dothraki to get back onboard the ships and just go home!

Anyone else totally brainfart on the fact that Jon and Arya had no idea what Dany was saying to her troops? I didn't realize until he said to Tyrion "but the war is over" and I was like, no you idiot, she just said.... OH. Heh.

I'd be surprised if Arya never learned any Valyrian in Braavos.

I did love the lords laughing away Sam inventing democracy cause yeah power is not and has not been historically , given. It is taken.

Also, you can't have that kind of mass democracy before you have some kind of a-political civil service / state, mass communications, etc. How would it work logistically? Many democracies have historically developed through a broadening of political power in times of crisis, it wouldn't surprise me if minor lords demand a voice in the Kingsmoot at a time when their support is necessary.


I'm kind of neutral on Bran as a king, the others might see his apparent weakness, lack of ability to produce an heir, etc. as a bonus. Sort of a neutral choice.

I was surprised that both Dorne and the Iron Islands were ok with the North and only the North gaining their independence. Dorne is a sort of mirror image of the North in that's it's still ruled by it's pre-Targaryen family, surrendered late in the game, and maintains a genuinely distinct culture. Dornishmen are ethnically distinct from other Westerosi, some of them worship R'hllor, the Children of the Greenblood speak Rhoynish.

Like the North and Iron Islands, it has geographic barriers which have protected it from dominance by central authority. Lords of Dorne are Princes which none of the other lords are.

All that and they're ok with being ruled by a king? Maybe they're going to go along with it for now but just ignore central authority? Again, acceptable outcome but could have been explored more.

The other areas are less likely to rebel for the same reason they were less independent before, relatively few geographic barriers between the Reach, Stormlands, and the Riverlands. The Vale has more of a barrier but it's smaller than the others.
posted by atrazine at 5:58 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


tuesday:

me: Bran is king that's the dumbest goddamn fucking thing ahaha
posted by fleacircus at 6:14 AM on May 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


so we could have an image of Dany as Stalin?

My twitter timeline has been full of Dragon Tankie jokes for 48 hours sooo

Since all the European historians have come out of the woodwork for this episode there was one who suggested the ideal time to introduce democracy or more representative ideas would be during the Brothers without banners/Frey lands being in dispute and they hold the Twins hostage until a the North concedes to their demands alongside a thread of Sam realizing (from history!) the Andels, First Men, and Iron Island have always had a representativish form of government and that absolute monarchy is a Targ import and having Gilly (who is not s huge fan of patriarchal authority) running as some kind of John Locke/Leveller duo - that way you make the point that power is not given it is taken and these kinds of big changes in government come from chaos and crisis and unusually not intentional.
posted by The Whelk at 6:58 AM on May 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Maybe they're going to go along with it for now but just ignore central authority? Again, acceptable outcome but could have been explored more.

That was my take. "These ding-dongs couldn't even find the Dornish Marches, much less cross them. If I leave now I can catch the late ferry to Tarth and be home for the weekend..."

Also, what's a Dragon Tankie?

A big lizard that breathes fire, you're welcome.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:05 AM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm usually pretty on board with whatever Lindsay Ellis is serving, but I'm not sure I see it this time. Maybe it's just a case of me not being able to see the forest for the trees; being invested long enough and having followed along long enough with Jon and Daenerys' respective characters and arcs that it's less easy to step back and see the bigger picture of, "What does it mean when we show a man doing this to a woman?"

As much as I respect Ellis' takes on other things--a lot, really--I've decided to unfollow her until she's done with GoT, because she's coming off as a Dany stan who insists that Dany's the victim because she won't acknowledge that Dany is the abuser here--the one who murdered hundreds of thousands of people, rationalized it as part of "liberation", and promised to do it again to the entire world? And let's not forget her coming on physically to Jon, despite his already having indicated that he wasn't into it. (And, before people point out the obvious, yes, Dany has been abused before, and yes, women are overwhelmingly the victims of abuse from men, not the other way around. This is not that story.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:16 AM on May 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


It bothers me that Dany probably died thinking that Jon killed her for the throne after all. No learning there. I also thought she'd use her last breath to issue one final command: Dracarys! Then we'd find out if Jon was flammable or maybe [Chernobyl influence here] he would be somewhat protected but also badly hurt, ultimately bearing scars much worse than the Hound's.
posted by carmicha at 7:18 AM on May 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Maybe they're going to go along with it for now but just ignore central authority? Again, acceptable outcome but could have been explored more.

Ignoring the central authority is fine until it's time for the crown to collect taxes. That's really why whether you're a vassal state or a free one matters -- whether you owe taxes to the crown. And if you don't pay up, that's when people (Gregor Clegane II, the Ironborn, whoever) come to rape/pillage/burn/"collect," and ignoring the crown becomes impossible.

The North have the freedom to form their own independent kingdom because there's nothing up there, their taxes must be super low (and they're a pain in the ass). There are practically no people, even subsistence farming seems tough, and they don't seem to have any other resources. They don't even seem to do a lot of trade, they're pretty isolated. But a place with lots of resources and trade contacts/routes, like Dorne, is going to have a harder time declaring independence, because they're much more valuable. That's another reason why it was dumb as hell for the Lannisters not to be more respectful of the Martells, and why Dany would probably have been better off trying harder to ally with the Dornish, but that's another digression.

The Iron Islands in particular probably wouldn't want independence, because they would actually have less impunity to loot and pillage if they had it (and looting and pillaging seems to be the central way they survive). As it stands, I would assume that they loot and then pay up a portion of their spoils to the crown, and both the Iron Islands and the crown benefit. It would also be likely that they sometimes loot/pillage/etc even on behalf of the crown (although publicly, the crown would probably just be "turning a blind eye" and not outright declaring that the Iron Born are acting on its behalf) -- basically as the crown's enforcer if a vassal state is getting out of line. Unless the Iron Islands themselves get the crown, there's really no upside to them to being independent. If they were independent, the crown would have to put a stop to their reeving out of obligation to the vassal states that the Iron Islands are looting, and obviously then both the Ironborn and the crown would lose out on the spoils, benefiting neither.

*This is not the logic used during the Kingsmoot, I know. That Kingsmoot was such a fucking joke.
posted by rue72 at 7:27 AM on May 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I also still feel miffed that we did not get a scene of naked Jon behind strategic bits of rubble post-dragon fire, given we had Dany wreathed in flame previously (and what seems like several hundred other naked women for no real plot purpose). This was a perfectly good plot point to have Drogon breathe fire on Jon Snow and serve up something more memorable than depression-beard!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:41 AM on May 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well, that was awful. I especially liked the part where after Daenerys holds her Nuremburg rally (with both types of threatening foreigners: the ululating savage marauders, and the calculating inscrutable drones) Jon kills her, the leftover people decide they still need to break the wheel themselves, but all the oligarchs laugh at the idea of popular rule and compare the common people to dogs and horses. That's when I said "See? Daenerys was right!" Her methods left a lot to be desired, but short of complete structural rupture of the feudal system, it's always going to go right back to grinding along. Tyrion didn't break the wheel so much as slap a few new treads on it.

Bran knew everything that would happen and he did nothing to stop it. He saw the people of KL as objects to an end just as we're shown Daenerys did. How does this make him a good king? None of his supposed insight and wisdom has counted for shit so far. Bronn's going to rob the kingdom blind. Tyrion, a repeat murderer, failed upward once again. Davos and Brienne are both too good for this shit. As for the others, sure, Robyn Arynn is hot, but isn't he still a sociopath? Edmure Tully remains an ineffectual posh bumbler. The rest have open contempt for the people. Honestly, it was sad AF watching Westeros come up with neoliberalism. I watched this show to escape from this timeline, not to watch it get reconstituted in Lord Beto O'Rourke, King Random Bush Failson, and Lord Cheney of the Blackwater.

It's an incredibly grim ending to see Daenerys go from child sex slave to genocidal maniac despite the many times we've seen her turn away from that kind of totalizing violence. I don't feel her conclusion was earned, but she was right that the wheel would keep on turning faced with anything short of drastic change. Her progression just reproduced the right-wing tropes about populist leaders using liberatory rhetoric as cover for bloodthirsty ambition and megalomania.

What I would have loved to see was Daenerys attacking the structures of the system. Bring in the disenfranchised, the bastards, the peasants. Land reform. Put it out there that women and children who leave their abusive husbands/fathers will have protection and shelter in exchange for helping her armies. Strike at the social reproduction that feeds, clothes, and enriches the lords by siphoning off the labor base to her side.

But no, two episodes after she says "I don't want to be Queen of the ashes" she torches everyone because madness. I guess she saved the people of Westeros from the Night King because she was planning to have a barbecue later. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

#DragonTankieForever
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:41 AM on May 21, 2019 [19 favorites]


What we really need to know is whether Sansa had to agree to remain within a customs union.
posted by Segundus at 7:45 AM on May 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


What we really need to know is whether Sansa had to agree to remain within a customs union.

Just wait until her descendant, Padme has a dispute with the Trade Federation about the taxation of shipping routes. I understand it gets preeeeety wizard at times.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:48 AM on May 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


as punishment for all this deceit, which Bran technically knows about because Treegod, he gets made hand of the King and gets to hyuck it up with his pals on the small council.

What I found frustrating about Tyrion's characterization in this episode, and really going back for quite a while now, is that not only was nobody else suspicious of him -- which is ridiculous, but OK -- but Tyrion himself also wasn't nervous about whether people would believe him or be suspicious of him, either.

Tyrion being unselfconscious and just blithely assuming that other people will assume the best of him (even as he's telling them the opposite of what they want to hear, and the stakes are life and death!) is...just weird. I can't get used to it. It's so antithetical to his characterization earlier in the series and in the books and it kind of makes the character nonsensical to me.

What we really need to know is whether Sansa had to agree to remain within a customs union.

Dude, you have no idea how much I live for that shit. And you know that in the books, there would be a whole subplot with some shady customs official who isn't who they seem, but who can maybe be used for interesting ends regardless. Hahaha
posted by rue72 at 7:48 AM on May 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


So if Bran (=3-eyed raven) is a direct continuation of previous Max Von Sydow 3-eyed raven does that mean that Westeros was actually conquered by Ming the Merciless?
posted by biffa at 7:54 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh, yes, actual grimmest part of the ending: that brothel conversation. What could possibly be more important than re-establishing the ability to profit off sex workers? None. None more important.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:57 AM on May 21, 2019 [19 favorites]


This is not the logic used during the Kingsmoot, I know. That Kingsmoot was such a fucking joke.

Yeah that’s my other problem with this ending. Could the threads of it be made good? Sure. But the way it was portrayed was terrible.

Show me a Kingsmoot that shows the results of the internal politicking we’ve seen all over - which pays off those stories. It matters who rules in Dorne, or the Iron Islands, or Highgarden, if that person is going to be deciding the king. And it matters what relationships those people have with each other. Show me subtle politicking, as everyone is slowly convinced this is the least bad path.

And show me someone saying something about those ravens from Varys, because I can’t believe that wouldn’t get brought up. It matters if Jon is a Targ, and it matters why people said they were swearing loyalty to Dany and why they actually were. Was it “because she’s the true queen”? In that case, Jon, as the true Targaryen king, would be justified in killing Dany, the pretender, a fact that would definitely come up when discussing his fate.

What would be much more interesting is it getting brought up and people pointing out that given the ruins of Kings Landing, maybe we are done with Targaryens forever. And that’s why he goes to the wall, not even because he wasn’t justified, but because otherwise his sons would threaten the crown.
posted by corb at 8:03 AM on May 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


The Dothraki though? Their loyalty was personally to Daenarys.

In her role as Khalisi, backed up by her performance as the Unburnt. When Jon kills her doesn't he break that loyalty? Isn't that the Dothraki way? All this Westerosi killing is outside their experience & law. Jon probably could have taken over as their new dragonriding Khal if he'd tried to enforce it; failing that I think they might go back to rule-by-combat from an internal candidate base.
posted by scalefree at 8:06 AM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


In her role as Khalisi, backed up by her performance as the Unburnt. When Jon kills her doesn't he break that loyalty? Isn't that the Dothraki way? All this Westerosi killing is outside their experience & law. Jon probably could have taken over as their new dragonriding Khal if he'd tried to enforce it; failing that I think they might go back to rule-by-combat from an internal candidate base.

Sadly, we've seen so little of the Dothraki as actual people for the last few series that it is now very unclear whether "her" Dothraki have moved away from Dothraki traditions in any particular way. Their Khals have all been men in the past, so certainly following her is a break from tradition, but on the other hand she's also an immensely powerful and charismatic warlord who wins battles so I'm not sure that following her was really that much of a break from their tradition.

Were the Dothraki as interested in her "breaker of chains" narrative as the Unsullied and other former slave followers? How could they be? Their culture seemed to celebrate individualism, combat victory, and personal strength. We know that the Dothraki frequently raided to take slaves so it would be odd if they shared the hatred for slavers and oppression and the interest in "breaking the wheel" of cyclical violence the way the Unsullied did.

We know that the Westerosi don't seem that interested in the "breaker of chains" thing because there are no chattel slaves in Westeros.

Honestly, it was sad AF watching Westeros come up with neoliberalism.

Feudalism is a pre-capitalist mode of production. I didn't see anyone banging on about the importance of unrestricted trade or reducing regulations although if anything would have made that small council scene at the end more insufferable it would be that.
posted by atrazine at 8:25 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


It bothers me that Dany probably died thinking that Jon killed her for the throne after all. No learning there.

I mean, he literally says that wasn't the case.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:29 AM on May 21, 2019


Just wait until her descendant, Padme has a dispute with the Trade Federation about the taxation of shipping routes. I understand it gets preeeeety wizard at times.

I like this. If I were to imagine a society crafted by Sansa, it would value sartorial excellence and result in a bunch of leaders everyone underestimated. And Naboo humans are all colonizers, so just figure Arya's descendants come back with space tech and there's a Northern Exodus to space once they realize that Bran has been overshadowed by an ancient Sith Lord...
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:33 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I keep thinking about all the prophesies and how they come true on technicalities. Jaime's hands are around Cersei's neck when she dies, for example. Jon is a prince (not a king--did we ever have reason to think TPTWP would be a king?) who first tries to stop encroaching "darkness" by killing the Night King (ice/water) and the Lannisters (lions--I haven't though Tyrion was a Lannister since the dragon stuff with him) before killing his gf and then turning Drogon into a weapon that destroys the iron throne.

I can't decide if I think it's good writing or not to have this all come true in such oblique ways. Probably not.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:35 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


So here's my take on the final placement of the pieces in the Game of Thrones & why I'm mostly satisfied.

The early narrative pitted the ruthless Lannisters against the honorable Starks for the Iron Throne with a few minor claimants along the fringes. House Lannister delivered three crippling blows early on: literally crippling Bran, executing Eddard & the slaughter at the Red Wedding.

Then along came Dany & subsumed some each of Houses Stark & Lannister, wrapping up the War with the Night King along the way. She achieves victory against Cersei but is promptly taken off the board by Jon. The Kingsmoot gets the final say, installing Bran the Broken/3ER to rule the Six Kingdoms but leaving the North to Sansa & banishing Jon.

So this leaves all 4 remaining Starks roughly in charge of different quadrants of the Map of Westeros:
  • Bran the Broken/3ER: King of 6 Kingdoms
  • Sansa: Queen of the North
  • Jon/Aegon: effectively in charge, more or less of the Free Folk in the Really North beyond what's left of the Wall
  • Arya: explorer/discoverer of the Far West
There's a symmetry to that, I think. It satisfies me.
posted by scalefree at 8:51 AM on May 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


But that leaves aside that the 3ER isn't a Stark anymore except in terms of bodyshell and the majority of the country is thus dominated by a non-human entity of unknown motivation.

At least that was not really predictable back in series 1.
posted by biffa at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


But that leaves aside that the 3ER isn't a Stark anymore except in terms of bodyshell and the majority of the country is thus dominated by a non-human entity of unknown motivation.

you know, he keeps saying that but I'm not entirely convinced it's true. He could very well just be a power hungry human with the ability to see the future and manipulate past events.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


It seemed convenient that their vote for Bran was unanimous. Like, through the whole series, these noblepersons were always pledging their troops for one contender of the throne or the other. The idea that they would vote for king as a proxy of that isn't really much of a stretch. But it kept resulting in battles and so on precisely because they never arrived at unanimous agreement, not because it never occurred to them to skip the fighting part.
posted by RobotHero at 9:29 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


In case you were wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to get Too High and watch a 30-second clip of Sansa’s coronation for 30 minutes while weeping, the answer is yes.
posted by a hat out of hell at 9:45 AM on May 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


praemunire: 'P.S. Am sad about sad fire-doggo.'

This is the entirety of my emotional reaction to this episode. The pain and trauma inflicted on the dragons throughout the series was always weirdly upsetting to me. I guess there's no one left besides Jon who can pat Drogon without becoming a bacon bit but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE PET DROGON OR FISTBUMP HIM OR SOMETHING MY HEART CAN'T TAKE THIS
posted by peakes at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


It felt like quite a lot of this season that should have been showing us character development, instead skipped that and had Tyrion persuade people of stuff through the medium of not-very-well-written speeches. Like, we've kinda sorta been shown that Bran manipulated things to get Dany offed, but weren't given anything of him manipulating the kingsmoot. I guess having an actor of Dinklage's caliber in your cast can tempt writers into shortcuts.

I just remembered that we saw Tyrion take Bran aside for a chat a few episodes back. Did we ever find out what that was about?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:52 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the whole "grand council" scene, but I think there are a couple considerations that may have contributed to the decision made there: (1) a general war weariness among the nobility, sitting as they were in the smoking ruins of their once-teeming capital, (2) the inexperience of a few of these new leaders, and (3) a sense that Bran is a neutral, non-offensive consensus candidate. That scene could have been pivotal and even climactic, from a more skilled pen, if the narrative and emotional groundwork had been laid in previous episodes and seasons.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 9:55 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Regarding the Kingsmoot, it makes no sense to me that the Starks get three votes; they should've gotten one.
posted by carmicha at 10:10 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


It seemed convenient that their vote for Bran was unanimous.

Yeah, nothing people with power like more than having someone over them who literally knows everything they do. Seems completely reasonable they'd vote that guy, who they barely know, have no idea of his desires and motivations and who's done virtually nothing in regards to the dispute for the kingdom. That's definitely a winning hand.

Given how little attention was paid to the Unsullied, Dothraki, and the flying weapon of mass destruction Drogon in making the plan to snuff Dany, as if those wouldn't be necessary bases to cover before even thinking of making an attempt on her life given they shouldn't have any idea of how any of them would react and perhaps cause the very destruction they hoped to prevent, it becomes almost unavoidable to note that the writers simply didn't see the Unsullied and Dothraki as actual people so they didn't feel any need to consider them for the resolution, save in how they'd ship them off. They found enough interest to show they didn't forget breastmilk boy, but couldn't find time over multiple seasons to give any sense of individuality to Dany's hordes other than Grey Worm and Missandei so they could use them as props for showing Dany's "madness". It's completely inexcusable on any level.

Having not read a word of the books, I nonetheless wouldn't be entirely surprised in Martin was trying to make some sort of religious analogy to go along with his societal reordering. The quasi-Nordic suggestions of a World Tree and ravens turning to a prophetic figure from the south promising to free the poor and enslaved from their bondage, only to have that idea co-opted by those in power to fit their own ends, but if so, the show only hints at it and by leaving the purity and ascendancy of the Starks unquestioned and Bran's role vague and his thoughts and plans unexplored, any efforts to make sense of the world and subtexts goes for naught as the show abandoned character rationale to just move through the plot points and focus on the Starks suffering and eventual revenge. That seems to work against the themes and suggestions of the story, but it made for a lot of nice spectacle and got them to an end.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:15 AM on May 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


Oh, and another thing about Tyrion's characterization: Would it really be Tyrion of all people who would advocate for Bran to be on the throne? Tyrion is maybe the thirstiest person who has ever lived, and is constantly trying to play puppet master (even in this episode!) because of his own trust issues or control issues or whatever else, so I don't think that Bran's relentless passivity would be especially appealing or even comprehensible to Tyrion. Not even in the sense that it would leave more room for Tyrion himself to seize power, because it seems like what Tyrion has valued more than passivity in his bosses/captors/whoever is predictability. He really doesn't like being blindsided, so I don't think he would feel especially comfortable working under a king who sits there silently (thinking god knows what!) except when he's blindsiding people.

Also, I have a hard time believing that Tyrion in particular would argue that Bran's disability is an asset. When in Tyrion's entire lifetime has his own disability been considered an asset by him or anyone else? I mean, Tyrion has apparently made peace with being "a dwarf," but that whole line of argument still seems weird to me in a somewhat similar way as it seemed weird to me when Sansa was telling the Hound or whoever that she was fine with having been tortured and raped because it somehow made her grow out of her little bird phase. I can even see other people arguing that XYZ (having a disability, being subjected to rape and torture, being sold off into marriage/sexual slavery, being castrated, etc) is "for the best" for some reason, but the people who actually had to deal with any of those things in their own lives? I can't really see them advocating for it as "for the best" or having such a naive view of its consequences (including/especially its social and emotional consequences).

I think that if anybody was going to argue for Bran to be on the throne, it really should have been Sansa. Sansa is coming from having had to live under brutes like Ramsey and Joffrey, so having a relatively nonviolent, unambitious, passive king seems like it would be appealing and a relief to her. Also, obviously it's a good thing to be the sister of the man on the throne, and to have their family rule over all of Westeros. But also, it's to Sansa's benefit for Bran to take the Iron Throne while officially giving the North independence, because he's the only other person who has a better claim to Winterfell than she does. This knocks him out of the running to be lord there. Sansa also seemed to have the most gravitas out of anyone in that Kingsmoot, so it would have been interesting to see her take leadership of the council. She felt like the de facto leader (at least to me), so why not have her actually lead the decision making?

I would also have liked for her to take leadership of the decision, and then once Bran has been "elected" king, argue for Bran to pardon Tyrion. I think it would have been a nice bookend to the first few seasons, in that Sansa would be arguing for a pardon and would actually get it this time (unlike with Ned), she would be arguing on behalf of a Lannister (which is kind of crazy and shows how much things have changed), and Tyrion treated her kindly when she was at his mercy (back when they were married), so it would have felt somewhat earned. I also think it would have been better for Tyrion to have to throw himself on other people's mercy like that but this time actually have them treat him with compassion. I think it would have been a nice reversal of what happened during/after his trial and death sentence for Joffrey's murder.

Personally, if I were writing this, I would have had Sansa approach Tyrion before the Kingsmoot to ask him to argue on behalf of Bran being king, in return for Sansa then advocating for Tyrion to be pardoned. I can see Sansa not wanting to argue on Bran's behalf herself, because it would look so self-interested and therefore easily dismissed, but figuring that she has enough leverage on Tyrion to do it for her, and trusting that he's articulate enough to do a pretty convincing job. But then at the actual Kingsmoot, I think it would have been better if nobody listens to Tyrion (because why would they?) and Sansa ends up taking the leadership role regardless. Then Bran becomes king (I guess. I'm still not sure why everyone should vote for him or stay unified as a confederation of states at all, but fine) and Sansa advocates for Tyrion to be pardoned, as agreed.

I don't know about the whole thing of Bran making Tyrion his Hand. I think it's fine in theory, but I also think that there needed to be more setup for it in previous episodes so that we would know why Bran would pick him. Bran doesn't really need advisors or confidantes, so it's kind of confusing what he even wants out of a Hand, let alone why he would think that Tyrion is the best person for the job. Also, things haven't turned out so well for people who have helped Bran in the past (Hodor!), so while I assume that Tyrion would say yes, seeing as he likes the job and he's between a rock and a hard place anyway, I would think he'd be a little wary/suspicious about what Bran wanted from him and not just accept it as a straightforward honor. Plus, I hope that the old chambers for the Hand were destroyed, because if Tyrion is supposed to live in the same apartment where he murdered Shae and Tywin, that's a whole other issue. He has a lot of personal/family history with this particular office and it's weird to me that none of it really comes up as something that's even occurring to him (or anyone else), but *shrug.* In my mind, both Shae and Tywin cast a long shadow over Tyrion's storyline, so when Tyrion is telling Jon to betray and murder his queen and lover, of course I think about Shae, and when Tyrion is doing all these king-making machinations and sitting down as Hand of a new "boy king" that he maneuvered onto the throne, of course I think of Tywin. But even though I personally am reminded of them and all the betrayals between each of them and Tyrion, it seems like the show assumes they're irrelevant to the current story, so eh.

Anyhow, I'm kind of agnostic about how "happy" I want Tyrion's ending to be in general, because on the one hand, I'm a huge softy, but on the other hand, murdering Shae was so cruel and I have never been able to really forgive the character for it. Regardless, though, his whole story arc has been about searching for love, so I wish that in our "goodbye" to him as a character, there had been more focus on whether he ever found it or if he's even still searching. I actually like that in the end, he's Hand of the King but utterly alone -- no wife, girlfriend, children, siblings, parents, family, even his best friend is a mercenary and he's talking again about whorehouses. But how the script was written, all the focus was on his job and not on his personal/emotional life at all, which I found unsatisfying and kind of irrelevant.
posted by rue72 at 10:23 AM on May 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


-- I don't think I will ever, ever be over Benioff & Weiss clarifying, in 2019, that the razing of King's Landing was not supposed to mirror Hiroshima/Nagasaki, but was SPECIFICALLY modeled after the firebombing of Dresden. No disrespect intended to the civilians who really did die there, but insisting that the city of white civilians destroyed by an army of black and brown soldiers and intended to cast the people who destroyed it as unequivocal monsters was, specifically, a Nazi city, in a show that was written and made during 2016-19, is beyond the pale for me.

you do realize that both David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are Jewish?
posted by philip-random at 10:24 AM on May 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


and when Tyrion is doing all these king-making machinations and sitting down as Hand of a new "boy king" that he maneuvered onto the throne, of course I think of Tywin.

So, is Tyrion, like, the Jordan Peterson of Westeros now?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Regarding the Kingsmoot, it makes no sense to me that the Starks get three votes; they should've gotten one.

Only Sansa actually voted that I saw. Arya was in the semicircle but the only thing she said was to threaten Yara. And Jon was still locked up. Bran doesn't vote per se but as the chosen king gets to have a veto over their choice.
posted by scalefree at 10:51 AM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, I meant to add that using fascist imagery to give the audience reason to accept the turn against Dany is a little cheap as Fascism contrasted to democracy as we live it is far different than its contrast to tyrannical monarchy, which was evidently common in Westeros before Dany showed up. That they didn't bother to think through the difference between Dany's rise and that of fascism, save I guess for some sense of trying to connect different kinds of populist appeal is annoying, but then they never bothered to show why the Starks should lead anyone or what kind of rulers they would be as they used Dany as a way to avoid having the Stark's wield power in that way. That they suffer and are charismatic, I guess, is enough to say they should lead. But then again you know who else was charismatic and used claims of unjust suffering to achieve power..
posted by gusottertrout at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


Bran is a nonentity. He effectively no longer represents a house, now that Sansa has become de facto leader of the north, which means he holds no lands and has no bannermen. He's fought in no wars. He has zero charisma. He has never functioned as a leader in any real capacity. He's--what, like seventeen? No one outside of the lead cast has any reason to believe he has any special abilities. The audience knows because we've seen his journey, but for everyone else, he's just a creepy kid who stares a lot and says weird things. In fact, it's unlikely anyone outside of the north and the noble families even knows he exists, or has any reason to care.

Is the plan to just wheel Bran out to a crowd of King's Landing peasants and noblemen and be like: hey, this weird crippled kid from the north is your new king. No wait, listen--he's a treewizard and he's got a good story!
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:54 AM on May 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: Best take I've seen 'Robyn Arryn glowing up is a great recommendation for breast feeding"

He really filled out once he switched to solids.
posted by hanov3r at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


To be honest, this was my reaction to the books as well.

i skip those chapters every time and lol it turns out i was right to do so bc they were meaningless and stupid
posted by poffin boffin at 11:29 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]




People arguing that women or POC being treated badly probably shouldn't be countered with diegetic explanations. Because there is only one reason anything happens in a story, because the author decides it should. I think it's perfectly valid for someone to say "I'd rather the author didn't do that" even if it "makes sense" in the story or in a historical context. Because that's not why those things end up in a story, stories don't write themselves.

People mad about intimate violence against women aren't "Dany Stans" they're mad about the nature of a story authors are choosing to write. Same with "all the brown people disappear" doesn't matter why it happens in the story if that's not the story you want to see.

Again, I don't necessarily agree with these authorial arguments, but countering them with plot points.. kinda misses the idea of the original criticism. Just my opinion.
posted by French Fry at 11:57 AM on May 21, 2019 [21 favorites]


People arguing that women or POC being treated badly probably shouldn't be countered with diegetic explanations. Because there is only one reason anything happens in a story, because the author decides it should. I think it's perfectly valid for someone to say "I'd rather the author didn't do that" even if it "makes sense" in the story or in a historical context.

Thank you. For me, it just goes back to those arguments a few seasons ago that sexual assault was a feature of life on Planetos because it was "historically accurate." In a show with magical seasons, dragons, and ice zombies. If the "realism" of the world can bend for those things, it can bend to depict women and POC as something other than objects, villains, or incidental plot devices to motivate the white male characters.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:08 PM on May 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Okay one nice thing I noticed that hasn't been too or marked on is it the end at Sansa's coronation her crown is wolves she's got fish scale Tully armor and weirwood leaves on her dress - it's been established over and over she's really good at this kind of political messaging and is basically The North.
posted by The Whelk at 12:08 PM on May 21, 2019 [21 favorites]


[One deleted, please just make your points without making it into some kind of throwdown with other members. And pre-emptively, please let's keep it focused on this TV show rather than real-world politics.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


People arguing that women or POC being treated badly probably shouldn't be countered with diegetic explanations. Because there is only one reason anything happens in a story, because the author decides it should.

c.f. The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


okay ha on my first trip through Chrys's recap I missed the "Mission Accomplished" banner on the Red Keep; well-played. A thing I've appreciated from her recent recaps is the framing of Daenerys as a metaphor for American empire (presumably closer to Martin's original post-Vietnam and GWOT intentions; see also the point in "The Bells" recap with the pre-warcrimes "U.S.A." chant) despite all the heavy-handed visual elements in this episode signaling mid-20thC totalitarianism instead. I would have been more impressed if the show had made a deliberate effort to go there too, instead of giving us the Unsullied-as-Nuremburg shots, which are not just gross and racist as discussed extensively above, but also kind of lazy, since Star Wars and many other franchises have been doing it for decades. It's interesting to compare these kind of visual cliches to the equally impressive but more subtle political work the costuming is doing, as the Whelk notes above. Sansa's dress (and the Elizabeth I hairstyle) was a literal crowning moment for a costume department that has been one of the MVPs of this show since the beginning.
posted by karayel at 1:01 PM on May 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


I think they kind of tried to go there with all the "they'll welcome us as liberators" rhetoric. It immediately made me think of the Iraq war and all those little American flags that we printed, for the Iraqi people to wave as they welcomed their "liberators" in parades that never happened.

But if they were going to stick with that idea, then they would have had to keep Dany's forces in Westeros indefinitely, as an occupying force. Which would have been more interesting, especially if Dany herself was forced to flee from the warzone and try to "rule" (and extract resources) from afar. This is why I think it would have been better if Drogon had been killed instead of Dany.

The fascism thing was lazy and stale and also just totally out of place considering what Westeros is like. I mean, it's a HORRIBLE and cruel place, characters literally say it's hell at some points -- and they're maybe right! So I'm really not that pressed about anybody "saving" Westeros from Dany. Dany sacking King's Landing and making a grab for the crown based on a hereditary claim and "might makes right" attitude is the very definition of "same shit different day" for Westeros. If they needed to save it from her, there are a ton of other people they could have been saving it from for like, centuries now.

I think it was interesting that her rhetoric was different from other kings and queens in the story, but in the end, her methods and goals and affect on her subjects and the whole power dynamic was the same as any of the other rulers. I thought the point was just that rhetoric and self-justification is bullshit and it's always "same shit different day." The wheel keeps turning, churning through people, and the words you're using to justify yourself as you coast at the top of the wheel or get crushed on the bottom are meaningless. But I guess the point was meant to be that Dany's rhetoric was especially fucked up, so she had to die? Yeah, whatever.

Yet another reason why the Kingsmoot was dumb as hell. A handful of people can't just stand there and declare some random "king" and expect that to mean he's actually the king. It's like Varys's riddle a million years ago, about the rich man and the priest and the king and the sellsword and who has the power? Nobody thinks it resides in Bran, so it doesn't.
posted by rue72 at 1:22 PM on May 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


The hints are definitely there in the text, yes--they'll welcome us as liberators, we had to bomb the city to save it, etc--but they're contradicted and kind of overwhelmed by the visual language. Since the finale was both written and directed by D&D, I can't help but see this as yet another instance of choosing to prioritize spectacle over narrative.
posted by karayel at 1:29 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


the Free Folk in the Really North beyond what's left of the Wall

I think of the area beyond the wall as the True North. (Strong and free!)

help me out I'm trying to make "True North" happen
posted by The Tensor at 1:42 PM on May 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Da Norf was a short-lived political entity, some trace its collapse to the treason of the Queenslayer Jon Snow, but others believe it died with Lyanna Mormont
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Mostly I don't min the various endings, just the gracelessness with which they were executed.

Although I am always annoyed when guns visible in first act do not go off by third act.

I figured out what makes me most grouchy about Dany the Homicidal Maniac Who Must Be Stabbed.

This show was violent and explicitly so. Literally onscreen rapes, murders, and baby-killing. And the justification for this was always 'this is a violent world, and the show is portraying it realistically'. The cast of characters is full of characters who raped and/or murdered lots and lots of innocent people. None of them were portrayed as maniacs who must be removed from power. They were just ambitious and ruthless.

It wasn't until it was a woman slaughtering indiscriminately that the POV of the show turns from approval to disapproval. And that's bullshit.
posted by bq at 2:15 PM on May 21, 2019 [23 favorites]


Okay, so, what’s gonna go on our dragon tankie swag? What does the logo look like? I’m thinking the House Targaryen sigil but with the dragon necks straightened out to make the three antifa arrows. Who wants to make this happen with me?
posted by moonlight on vermont at 2:20 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


the dragon said nothing (but roared for an hour)
& gave me a sad, sad backward glower
as he lifted danerys like the fragilest flower.
& i’ll never forget the grim look on his face
when he heisted the corpse & took leave of this place
through a hole in the smog w/o leaving a trace.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:50 PM on May 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


Ok so after two days of reflection here are my slightly more coherent thoughts on why I found the finale anticlimatic:

So while the idea that Drogon melted the throne because it recognized that it was the quest for the Iron Throne is lovely and all but he seemed fine with raining fire down on all of KL. In addition, he hangs out by her side while she gives her "liberate the world" speech. As such when exactly does Drogon realize that Dany is veering off into tyranny? Conveniently right after Jon stabs her.

I think Drogon flying off after burninating KL would have been interesting. He is ashamed of what he has done for Dany and flies off to ruminate. Then Dany has to deal with everything ON HER OWN. She wouldn't be able to just say "hey let's conquer everyone" because she doesn't have enough dothraki and unsullied. And Drogon's abandonment of her might be something to put her in check and make her, finally, develop skills to maintain KL at least.

As it is both Drogon and Dany's troops just remove themselves after her death. This seems very unlike the Dothraki. They conquered KL, they EARNED IT in their minds. Having Dany actually sit on the throne would have driven home to her the exact problem of bringing the Dothraki to Westeros. I can see them after living unhappily ever after in the ruins of KL for a bit being like "Yeah, we gotta thing back across the narrow sea. Kthanxbye."

The Unsullied would probably stay, but they would, again, be tasked with rebuilding KL as there is not enough of them left to conquer anything else just yet. And since they can't reproduce...well.

So then Dany is left having achieved her empty victory. Essentially Dany's reign would be short and unstable. Although perhaps a bit more stable than blinkered Bran who is "ruling" by small council. This is exactly what Robert Baratheon did and look how that turned out. A monarch needs to have SOME interest in the wellbeing of their people.

Not to mention if we're going to talk about the power of stories, wouldn't Jon's be up there? I mean don't get me wrong, he annoys me to no end, but if we're talking about the power of stories his is pretty fantastic (sans the whiny emo crap). The true Targaryen heir, raised with no clue about his own nature, saving the wildlings, coming back to life after his own men conspire to kill him, helping to defeat the NK, all of this to become THE DRAGON KING. His story also supports the idea of those FATED to lead, which would support the other hereditary monarchies at play here. I mean, I don't think he'd make a good ruler, but if we're talking good stories I think you can sell that one to the little people. Plus it would be a pay off for Varys's letters. And he at least does have some concern for the people, which is far more than I can say for Bran.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:10 PM on May 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


And to be fair, he could probably claim he killed the Night King. He is the one lauded as a hero after the defeat, not Arya or Dany, so I'm pretty sure it would be easy to transform him into the one who truly killed the NK.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:13 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've heard about this, it's called the "three Is method" (three eyes) for wrapping up a series:

Incoherent Inconsistent and Infuriating. Apply in equal parts.

All of this makes me wonder if this isn't some money making gambit like in The Producers. Like they had to make it bad for the scam to succeed type thing.
posted by some loser at 5:28 PM on May 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is... It ain't no Springtime for Hitler
posted by some loser at 5:31 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Last night I remembered that Tyrion cheered up before the Long Night battle by talking to Bran. He and Varys and Davos were already having doubts about Dany. My guess is that he asked Bran about Jon and anyone else he thought of as a catalyst. I think he started to play the game of thrones again in order to get de facto rule and protect Bran.

He started by buttering up Sansa. He then prompted her by saying Jon wasn't a Stark. Maybe that's just stirring up trouble, but maybe it was a prod to get her to tell him something he already knew.

He then told Varys, who immediately favoured the highest ranking Targaryen (why he's always thought Targs were so great, I dunno, but it has book support with fAegon). He then ratted Varys out to Dany with predictable results. Varys is really his main competition, and I think this is the worst thing he does in this sequence. But he can't control Jon as a ruler and he doesn't really care about inheritance so Varys has to go.

He tried to parley with Cersei but no-one, including him, thought it would work. So off he hops to get her out of the way via Jamie. If that hadn't worked Dany would have sorted it out, so she wasn't a difficult obstacle to overcome.

He persuaded Jon to kill Dany. Jon may have come to that point himself eventually, but he'd just seen genocide without losing loyalty so I dunno. It's that Stark upbringing of honour above all. Plus Tyrion was now on a tight deadline. So he pushes every one of Jon's buttons.

Now he just has to get a word in before a bunch of decision-makers, which is his specialty. Deny wanting the throne, because he's right that no-one will let him have it anyway. Give some bullshit about stories - Jon and Sansa have good stories too. Put Bran in charge and wait for Bran to make him Hand. Maybe this was an explicit deal back in Winterfell, like "if we get out of here alive I'm going to try Plan X, it'll be good because you'll be better protected with all the resources of the kingdom at your disposal". Or maybe it was a calculated risk hoping that Bran would realise what he was up to.

So now Bran is safe and Tyrion's in charge of actually ruling the realm because as Bran kept telling us he didn't really care about that stuff. He negotiates a happy ending for Jon cos he's always liked the guy. Plus Aegon's less of a flashpoint if he's disappeared beyond the wall anyway. He gets on well with the Queen in the North, and will probably let Dorne and the Iron Islands have a lot of independence.

The problem is that Brans off to warg into a dragon and Tyrion still has a soft spot for Bronn even though Bronn hasn't done much to deserve it. That'll end up like Shae all over again, because he mistakes transactions for affection. But hey, clean water is nice too and he doesn't care much for hereditary jobs so more small folk will get a say in things.

I prefer this theory for Bran saying why else did he come this far. Otherwise Bran/three eyed raven can see the future (for real, not just as an educated guess based on knowing the past and present) which makes him not merely uncaring but selfish and evil for not even trying to stop genocide.

Points against this theory: D & D are idiots with no idea about storytelling, so there's no positive evidence either for or against this. It's unprovable. But I think it makes a good fit for "bittersweet" and explains some of the surface-level stupidity without contradicting what we know of everyone's character.
posted by harriet vane at 6:30 PM on May 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


miss-lapin The true Targaryen heir

Oh! Thanks for reminding me why Jon going back up to the wall didn't bug me all that much; there's precedence in Aemon Targaryen turning down the throne in favour of a younger sibling and sequestered himself with the Night's Watch to protect said.

But Jon's more protecting Sansa than protecting Bran.

So there's some symmetry here, and throw in some Benjen/ Coldhands in there too.

Speaking of, Benjen wasn't connected to the NK so theoretically he could still be bumming around north of the Wall?

But what did bug me was why the wildlings/ Jon are going back up to the True North again when there's a ton of already decent lands in 'The Gift' they'd just spent a bunch of effort settling in (?). Unless it's a "return to traditional lands" thing but it isn't much fun eking out survival beyond the Wall. There aren't any particular resources there and I'd imagine that after helping save humanity against the NK (and also being not-brown) that there wouldn't be a huge amount of residual prejudice against them - not that they'd be competing for resources: Westeros just went through a massive depopulation event.

otoh, I could - if I squint just right - sort of see a symmetry of Grey Worm taking the Unsullied to Naath because he vowed to his true love that he'd try to protect her people, and Jon returning beyond the Wall to honour the lifestyle of his true love (Ygritte).
posted by porpoise at 6:57 PM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Arya heading West bugged me a lot; there are zero indications that there's anything West of West - zero discussion on the topography of Planetos or any reason to think that there are lands to the West of the West.

Christopher Columbus knew that the world was round (or at least, some of his contemporaries did and also roughly the circumference) but was still taking a huge chance - and fatally flawed math. Lucky for him, there was a continent Westward of Europe and before Asia. Lucky for him, too - the American continent is moving away from the European continent through plate tectonics; if Columbus tried that same shit today, he'd have run out of rations/ water a week or two before sighting land.

So, if Planetos was a ring-world with regular/ routine surface details... that's still a bold move by Arya. But there's no book cannon astrological evidence that it is - and being on most ringworlds, it'd be obvious that they were on one.

There's speculation that Zheng He's 14th century circumnavigation of the globe relied on bean sprouts as a source of vitamin C (and a chicken-based protein cycle) - but that involved an armada of support ships and not just a single ... 80 person (if that) ship?
posted by porpoise at 7:10 PM on May 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


But what did bug me was why the wildlings/ Jon are going back up to the True North again when there's a ton of already decent lands in 'The Gift' they'd just spent a bunch of effort settling in (?). Unless it's a "return to traditional lands" thing but it isn't much fun eking out survival beyond the Wall.

The reason they went south in the first place wasn't for productive land, it was to escape the Night King & live somewhere protected by the Wall. With the NK gone & apparently Spring (symbolized by the blades of grass sprouting through the snow) coming after all, it's time they got away from all these southern people & their fancy rules.
posted by scalefree at 7:42 PM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


From Entertainment Weekly's incomparable Darren Franich's review of the finale, some choice phrases:

Sansa (Sophie Turner) followed Dany into forced marriage — a miserable wound the series would try healing by promoting her into a Very Important Administrative Role that also pushed her to the narrative sidelines. ...

You could play the game of thrones along at home, rooting for certain characters and families, preferring one ongoing story arc over another. The source material was literary and the drama’s intentions were epic, but its success reflected the instincts of reality TV, a competition culture that inspires engagement toward an endgame: the final Rose Ceremony, the Head of Household competition, whoever will finally sit upon the Iron Throne. (This is why Game of Thrones was especially beloved by people who think art should be enjoyed like sports.) ...

This was some heretofore unimagined nexus point for people who loved Dark Souls and people who loved Gossip Girl, and the contrast had a purpose. ...

A few years ago, every halfway powerful lord of Westeros used a tiny rumor of succession fraud as an opportunity to declare revolution. In this finale, the Dany-allied Iron Islands and the grinning new Prince of Dorne nodded along while an imprisoned Lannister suggested making the least famous Stark the new King of Westeros. It’s because, Tyrion explained, Brandon the Broken has the best story. Didn’t Arya just become famous for killing the walking personification of death? You’re telling me that tracks lower for the average illiterate Westerosi than some kid who survived a bad fall before swallowing Ancestry.com? ...

I couldn’t muster much emotion for the Battle of Winterfell, and its mere existence felt like the last gasp of Hardcore Gritty fantasy, a muddy brand of poorly lit “realism” that looks a bit lame and played-out in the ecstatic age of Thor: Ragnarok.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:53 PM on May 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


This is the entirety of my emotional reaction to this episode. The pain and trauma inflicted on the dragons throughout the series was always weirdly upsetting to me. I guess there's no one left besides Jon who can pat Drogon without becoming a bacon bit but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE PET DROGON OR FISTBUMP HIM OR SOMETHING MY HEART CAN'T TAKE THIS

Unless I'm forgetting something, I believe Drogon is also the only character who actually had to face off in combat against the zombie version of a loved one. That seemed really sad to me!! (The way this series loves to emotionally torture characters, I was extremely surprised they didn't milk this potential across the board.)
posted by dusty potato at 8:03 PM on May 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


if Columbus tried that same shit today he'd have run out of rations/ water a week or two before sighting land.

Yeeeah, when I first saw Arya's ship my first thought was of all the famous explorers whose crew mutinied when it was clear that they were in strange, unending waters with no hope of riches and dwindling hope of returning home. But then I thought...eh, Arya is very deadly and farcically hard to kill (gut wound from the waif, army of the dead, dragons destroying a city, etc). If I can believe anything else that happened in the last few years of the series, I can believe that Arya makes it.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:46 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]




if Columbus tried that same shit today, he'd have run out of rations/ water a week or two before sighting land.

What? It's considerably less than a kilometer wider now than in 1492, this would not be an issue. It's only a noticeable movement in geological timespans.
posted by tavella at 9:03 PM on May 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Lindsay Ellis [the tweet author] is a prolific youtuber who does a lot of really deep, insightful analysis of film, so, her having thoughts on how the writers chose to write this character into this corner and the problematic aspects of that choice are not really out of left field

So I gathered, and no, I had not been familiar with her writing/youtubing. That appeal to authority notwithstanding, I still think her analysis here is facile if not offensive, with regard to domestic violence.

the writers seem to have chosen "honorable dude forced to murder a lady he loves and who loves him for like, honor" as the end point, and justified their way to it.

Okay, "dude forced to murder a lady he loves and who loves him for like, honor" leaves out ... a few details.

If the relationship between Daenerys and Jon was toxic/abusive, Daenerys was the abuser. She was the one determined to dominate, both personally and politically. You could point to her joining her armies with those of the North as a type of "compromise," I suppose; but then, the threat posed by the NK, Walkers, etc was to one of "her" kingdoms, not just to Jon's people. So her choice was hardly even a choice, and the price she extracted from Jon was that he surrender Northern independence (at the cost of his breaking his word to the Northerners, a genuine compromise on his part).

Once Daenerys knew of Jon's prior claim to the Iron Throne, she was never able to see it as anything other than a threat to her, no matter how many times Jon renounced any interest in ruling. Every time you saw her face harden (and just as a sidenote Clarke was SO GOOD at this--scary) in response to pushback from Jon, or Sansa, or any of her advisers, it was reinforced how completely entitled she felt to the Seven Kingdoms... even after any claim she had, except by right of military power, had evaporated.

What could have happened if Daenerys had negotiated with Sansa when Sansa asked her about the future of the North? If she had done so, would she have needed to fear Jon's telling his family about his parentage? But she didn't; she refused to negotiate, alienating Sansa and arguably triggering Sansa's reveal to Tyrion. And she tried to get Jon to keep her secret, and when he didn't, accused him of betraying her. Called him a traitor--for telling the truth about himself to his own family, because it put the lie to her claim to the throne. Not, "Thanks, you know & I know that technically I'm a usurper at this point, but I appreciate your continuing support!" --but rather "You betrayed me, your queen"?? Seriously that is some world-class gaslighting! :-)

Furthermore, Daenerys's expectations of physical love from Jon exceeded what he was willing to give. He gave her sexual love until he discovered that they were related to each other, and obviously wanted to continue even after that, but didn't. (Personally I don't have much of a problem with the incest in-world, but apparently we were supposed to see this through a modern lens.) Daenerys could have responded to that choice with respect, or even just understanding; but instead... "Fine, then. Let it be fear."

Jon's loyalty and submissiveness to Daenerys lasted far too long. Certainly it shouldn't have outlasted her razing of Kings Landing, and yet it did. Arya and Tyrion talked sense to him, and he argued back. In his final exchange with Daenerys, he was begging her to help create "a merciful world," while she was claiming an inherent knowledge of what is good (for all!), and saying that as for everyone else--they didn't get to choose. I mean really... who is the abuser here?

In any case, someone needed neutralize Daenerys before she took her idea of "good" global, and Jon was probably the only one who could get close enough to do it, because yes, she trusted him. But he genuinely loved her to the end, and he killed her quickly and mercifully (at least I think we were supposed to view it this way, as she showed no signs of suffering). Certainly he killed her in a kinder way than she had executed Varys--and for FAR greater crimes. This was no more a "look what you made me do" moment than Jaime's king slaying, or Brienne's execution of Stannis.

What Jon did to Daenerys wasn't even murder in the regular sense of the word. It was a killing of course--an execution maybe, or a wartime assassination. An act of self-defense, according to Arya and Tyrion; defense also of family and of the world, according to Tyrion.

If characters in a story reach a point here they "must"do something, it's because the writer chose to put them in that situation.

Right, so if the writer creates a tyrannical leader who is a woman, then it is simply out of bounds for her lover to be the one to kill her? I mean jesus, I expected (hoped!) Jaime would take Cersei out, in an effort to save the city from her murderous plans! You cannot problematize a person's actions in a situation like this ONLY because he is a man acting against a woman, or make him out to be an abuser on that basis when ALL the evidence points the other direction.

D&D are worse than tone-deaf, they are grossly offensive at times, when it comes to writing about women, men's view of women, and relationships between men and women. This just isn't a good example of that. And it does trivialize the experiences of women in real life who are abused--much less murdered--to twist a fantasy story beyond recognition in order to suggest it's a trope that parallels those experiences... Like, a woman IRL is supposed to recognize something of herself in the role of a fictional war criminal??
posted by torticat at 10:23 PM on May 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


Hmm.... I started that comment this morning, was away from my computer all day, and then went on to write a whole screed tonight without catching up on the thread first. So, apologies if any or all of that was already hashed out above. Going back to catch up.
posted by torticat at 10:26 PM on May 21, 2019


I'm kinda worried about the sailors on Arya's boat. She's a homicidal maniac.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:03 AM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Points against this theory: D & D are idiots with no idea about storytelling

So, I read this whole thread - for some reason, and the above recurring sentiment just blows my mind. Like, sure, this season was rushed - and I had problems with earlier seasons, but dismissing D&D as "idiots with no idea about storytelling" is ridiculous, considering the amazing work they did translating the books into the series for most of its run.

Even if you consider it went off the rails once they "ran out of books" that doesn't mean the earlier seasons were easier to make - adapting books told from multiple viewpoints into a coherent TV show is a big, complicated job. And I happen to think season six is one of the strongest seasons - and that's post-books!

So, for me, given all the amazing things they got so right over so many years, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Specifically this theory of Tyrion thinking of this Bran plan for several episodes - because I saw discussions of it prior to the finale. That Tyrion could see something in Bran has been laid out before he proposed it at the Council Meeting. Because he had weeks to refine his ideas while in prison, so it doesn't come out of nowhere.

I guess, in the end, if people disliked where the show ended up, you gotta lash out at someone. They are the showrunners. But as if one (or two) bad seasons suddenly undoes all their previous work; that's just nuts.
posted by crossoverman at 12:06 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think they're good at adapting existing works. But their decision-making around what events to show and what to leave off-screen is really weird. They think people want surprises when what we want is suspense and emotional engagement. Their pacing is way off - so many scenes of men walking from one scene to the next but important scenes, especially ones featuring clothed women, are over with as quickly as possible. They push characters into the shape of the plot they want.

I reckon some of this was evident in the early seasons, too. It's forgivable in small doses. Or if you're making a show which is more focused on plot than character (something like Star Trek TNG maybe). Also most of the best bits in the early seasons were in scripts from other writers on the team. The better parts of this season were also from other writers like Brian Cogman. I don't really believe in auteur theory, at least not for TV. The cast and crew shape so much of the experience. But no-ones in here complaining about acting or costumes or sound effects.

And I at least am not complaining about the ending. I've thought Dany would become a tyrant since I read the first book, and Bran is one of my faves whether he's a wizard or a douchebag or just guy making the best of a raw deal. But if large parts of your audience are going "WTF just happened, I don't understand", as the show is airing, then there's a problem with the execution of the ideas.
posted by harriet vane at 1:09 AM on May 22, 2019 [15 favorites]


> crossoverman: So, I read this whole thread - for some reason, and the above recurring sentiment just blows my mind. Like, sure, this season was rushed - and I had problems with earlier seasons, but dismissing D&D as "idiots with no idea about storytelling" is ridiculous, considering the amazing work they did translating the books into the series for most of its run.

Speaking as someone who generally liked the show, I will stand by the assertion that Benioff and Weiss are not good storytellers. Even looking at the critically acclaimed first few seasons, and without getting into too much booktalk, there were a lot of changes that seemed questionable. I know I wrote it off to them having information from GRRM that justified the changes, but now I am not so sure. I also mentioned above that I believe, based on the differences between the early seasons and the last two, that they never really understood what was great about the ASIOF story. It was never sex and dragons and swordfights, it was seeing real characters - not just fairy tale stereotypes - in a fascinating fantasy world. I don't know that I will like whatever ending GRRM comes up with in the books (if he ever does) any better than the ending of the series (I probably won't, as I am a "happy ending" kind of guy and GRRM... is not), but I do know that it will be a better story.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:58 AM on May 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Specifically this theory of Tyrion thinking of this Bran plan for several episodes - because I saw discussions of it prior to the finale. That Tyrion could see something in Bran has been laid out before he proposed it at the Council Meeting. Because he had weeks to refine his ideas while in prison, so it doesn't come out of nowhere.

Sure, but it's shame we never saw anything like what you described. If only there been a few minutes here and there that they could have shown this, but alas, it was a short season
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 AM on May 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Responding to a couple comments earlier in the thread...

GCU Sweet and Full of Grace
Everyone turning to Bran because Tyrion gave a good Breakfast-Club speech makes little sense

Yeah, and they did the same hand-wavey kind of thing while setting up the strategy for the Battle of Winterfell, only with Sam in the speech-making role. After Bran said the NK would come for him, Sam went into his little reverie about story, and memory, and no memory = death, and everyone just kinda went "okay, yeah... Battleplan!!"

So those are two huge plot points that turned on speeches that were nearly unintelligible, or at least didn't hit the mark of influencing the actions of other characters in a convincing way. I strongly suspect that Bran's holding of the memories of the world is/was something much more significant/complex in GRRM's head, something that might better justify these choices. In the show Bran is a complete cypher; in the books, there are many chapters from his POV. This has to be one example of GRRM's giving the showrunners the rough outline of the endgame, and their simply failing to translate to screen whatever he had in mind.
posted by torticat at 6:33 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


karayel, I completely agree with this!
And while I'm glad they didn't match up everybody to all live happily ever after, it occurs to me that aside from Sam and Gilly, pretty much every single romantic pairing in the entire series, major or minor, ends badly, most of them via the tragic death of one or both lovers--which is actually rather lopsided as a collective narrative choice.

...so much so that I wrote a comment on the subject a couple of weeks ago, in which I said "I kind of doubt that the show will end with Sam and Gilly being the only pairing remaining to pick up the pieces/offer hope for the future," and speculated about which other couple(s) might survive. Oops, wrong on that one! It IS an odd narrative decision, though, and a pretty bleak outcome.
posted by torticat at 6:50 AM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Okay, "dude forced to murder a lady he loves and who loves him for like, honor" leaves out ... a few details.

Again, it only leaves out details that the writers put there to justify it. That's literally the point being made: that adding details in-story to justify why the noble sad man who is super in love totally had to justifiably kill his love while embracing her tenderly and then have a sad about it and be portrayed as the one who was the real victim does not make that the authors did it less problematic.
posted by tocts at 7:05 AM on May 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


I would be interested to see someone tally up the ratio of minutes of dialogue : total runtime for each season. One of the things that has struck me about this season is that it has felt like there is much less dialogue than usual.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:15 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


adding details in-story to justify why the noble sad man who is super in love totally had to justifiably kill his love

I find it a ridiculous proposition that the author(s) started with this very brief encapsulation of a problematic trope and then built up many seasons' worth of history and character development in order to "justify it."

And my point is that there is no trope here that requires justification; Jon Snow is not an abuser, not in any sense; the story told is literally the opposite of that.

To put a finer point on it: say that in the Daenerys death scene, there had been a big reveal in which Arya had pulled off a Jon Snow mask! Lindsay Ellis's analysis would hold up as well (as badly) in this scenario--it is that superficial. All that is required is the appearance of a man killing a women in an intimate scene--nothing matters about who each of the characters actually is or what they have done leading up to this moment.
posted by torticat at 7:29 AM on May 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


I agree with torticat that this actually seems to be a story of escaping a charismatic abuser. I find Jaime's story more upsetting from a domestic abuse standpoint, suggesting that survivors will continue to be enmeshed in their abuse and will never escape it. Also Daenerys' arc was patterned on Lawrence of Arabia, right? I don't know, man. I'm just continuously shocked that people didn't see this coming, between that (which the creators have publicly spoken of for awhile) and the whole Nissa Nissa thing. I also can't see this as a problem with D&D so much as with GRRM's writing. If Jon doesn't stab Daenerys in the books I'll eat my hat.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:37 AM on May 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think the theory that Bran was orchestrating a plan using Tyrion as his patsy is pretty reasonable as a way to explain away some of the characters' recent stupidity, although I don't think the writers planned for that to be the explanation (since they could have tipped their hands a LITTLE more if they did).

But that still leaves the question of: why would Bran plot with Tyrion of all people? Out of the remaining characters, Tyrion was closest to Varys and Jaime, both of whom he sends to their deaths pretty early on. Tyrion isn't in the battle at all, and then afterwards, he is shortly sentenced to death, too. Then he makes a lousy argument to the Kingsmoot, and even if it had somehow been a good one, there's no reason that the majority of the people with a vote really should have been convinced, since there was an over-representation of people who previously sentenced him to die or have deep family feuds against him (like the Prince of Dorne). And I mean, he's standing there in shackles for betraying someone ELSE, after a long personal history and reputation for betrayal, it's not like he's the most trustworthy guy in general.

If Bran was orchestrating things, why would he orchestrate them like THAT? He really didn't need anybody to kill Dany for him, he could have just warged into Drogon at any time and done it himself. And if he wanted to convince everyone to vote for him at the Kingsmoot, then why didn't he convince each one of them individually at other times, using individualized arguments for each of them? Isn't that how politicing is usually done anyway? I don't really think any grand speech coming from anyone would have been convincing, which was kind of the whole point of the Blackfish being told to sit down and shut his mouth, right?

And then the other question is: how would Tyrion feel about being Bran's patsy? On the one hand, his options are limited, so I can see him feeling like he's got to do it. But on the other hand, this character has a whole long history of being a patsy, chump, and scapegoat, and it's been really horrible for him. I mean, Tywin making him his patsy during the run-up to the Battle of Blackwater, when Tyrion was having to do a lot of Tywin's dirty work (very unpopular with everyone) as Hand, so that none of the other Lannisters would get the stink of that work on them, and then got tossed aside immediately after -- that was rough. The people of King's Landing and the nobles scapegoating him for basically anything bad that happened because of or to the royal family, including Joffrey's death, was rough on him. That's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are many other (and more recent) examples. Tyrion's a schemer and I think he would be able and willing to get in on Bran's scheme, but I think it would also be really difficult for him to be that trusting and to give up that much control, and deciding to do so anyway would be a big character moment. So it's weird that that dilemma and decision were never even hinted at?
posted by rue72 at 7:39 AM on May 22, 2019


"I kind of doubt that the show will end with Sam and Gilly being the only pairing remaining to pick up the pieces/offer hope for the future," and speculated about which other couple(s) might survive. Oops, wrong on that one! It IS an odd narrative decision, though, and a pretty bleak outcome.

I think it had some possibilities to it, in theory anyway, since the world shown is one where couples are made for strategic alliances and at a time of upset when alliances are constantly shifting, coupling becomes political as well. Romantic love is a hindrance, in that kind of world, the Red Wedding would have made that even more clear had the Freys not been made to look like drooling monsters in comparison to the upright Starks. The decision to upend the alliance for the sake of love carried consequences for the Freys and, obviously, the Starks. Most of the rest of the major pairings also matched political consequence to personal desire, or lack thereof, reflecting different levels of power that couldn't hold as the landscape shifted.

The show didn't really do a great job in drawing out the full implications of this, but there was enough there to at least make the idea interesting.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:42 AM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ah, PhoBWanKenobi, I was just returning to ask your opinion, as a self-described pantser, and there you are! Specifically (and this is only tangential to my arguments about J+D), how do you feel about tocts's comment that
A story isn't real life. A story has an author. If characters in a story reach a point here they "must"do something, it's because the writer chose to put them in that situation.
?

I'm not arguing with the statement, just asking about the process. Have you, for example, ever written a character that you found wandering into territory you thought problematic? And if so, did you let them go there, or try to wrastle them back into line?
posted by torticat at 8:03 AM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


What's up with Yara actually backing down from Arya's threat at the Kingsmoot? That was wildly out of character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 AM on May 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


I mean, this series has a ton of domestic abuse, a TON. Even when it comes to Jon in particular -- personally, I don't think that Dany was abusive toward him, but I think Catelyn was. The way she treated him was despicable. And in general, the abuse between "romantic" couples is constant. Cersei refers to Robert raping her how many times? Her freakout over Marcella being sent off to marry sure backed up everything she said, too. And nobody other than Cersei seems to consider that a problem, not even Jaime. Tysha's gang rape was one of the most horrific stories of sexual violence in the series, at least in my opinion (thank god we never had to see it onscreen), but the cherry on top for me was that Tywin was literally and explicitly teaching his men the "lesson" that they need to rape women, that that's the proper and only way to treat them. And raping those men in the process as well, arguably, because I think of how horrible it would be to be ordered to rape this poor kid and blehhhhh. The whole thing is just sickening.

I think that the bigger problem with Jon killing Dany is that I just am not convinced that Dany was a bigger threat than any of the other monsters that have been on this show. Remember when the Hound got in Sansa's face and was talking about how killing is the best thing there is, and that she'd better learn to think so, too, because her father was a killer and her brothers are killers and her sons will be killers, because all men are killers. And I mean, talk about domestic violence, the Hound was clearly pretty scarred. Who knows who he would have been in a gentler family and world?

I especially think that about Cersei. I don't know if it's emphasized as much in the show as in the books, but Cersei is SO hungry for agency, and she explicitly says that she wishes she'd been born a man because she hates that when they grew out of childhood, Jaime was handed a sword and Cersei was auctioned off to a man to be raped and beaten however he pleased. (The conversation I'm thinking of was when she was talking to Sansa during the Battle of Blackwater). Think of who Cersei might have been if she'd had Brienne's father, you know? Brienne gets a lot of crap, but her father got her training and armor, not only let her choose her own life and be independent, but even gave her the resources and support to do it properly, and then she also had the luck to grow big and strong. And the characters on the show dismiss Cersei, because she should be happy, right? She's the beautiful queen, that should be enough for her. But she feels like livestock, and that's how she's been treated. It clearly bothers Cersei how the other characters dismiss her. What bothers me as a viewer is more how the SHOW dismisses that desire for agency and strength and freedom as ravings of an "evil" woman.

To bring it back to another conversation that was going on earlier, I don't have a problem with the world of the show being misogynistic and racist and cruel, but I have a problem with the show ITSELF being misogynistic and racist and cruel.
posted by rue72 at 8:07 AM on May 22, 2019 [32 favorites]


I'm not arguing with the statement, just asking about the process. Have you, for example, ever written a character that you found wandering into territory you thought problematic? And if so, did you let them go there, or try to wrastle them back into line?

I consider it my job to write characters that accurately reflect human motivations given their contexts, so I sometimes write characters doing problematic things, because humans are problematic. However, a constant in my work has been that I'm often writing POV characters who are working to escape abuse, so that impacts the actions we're asked to sympathize with.

Not every writer works the same way or agrees with me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:30 AM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Two good reviews that helped me clarify for myself why I found the execution of Daenerys' turn so unsatisfying:

How Game of Thrones Lost its Perspective. "Even Daenerys sacking Kings Landing and descending into madness had the potential to act as a function of her interior if worked in gradually, giving the audience reason to believe that this sort of hellfire and brimstone could be a part of her inner conflict. . . But instead of more thoroughly developing that character arc over the years, Game of Thrones relied on one scene of Daenerys sulking in her quarters (sans makeup), a wig with undone braids, and Emilia Clarke’s impressive facial contortions to carry this violent outburst."

The Game of Thrones Finale Missed its Chance to Show Daenerys' Perspective. "Game of Thrones' men spoke for Dany when her voice was needed most. . . . As the season progressed, however, those much needed personal moments [where Daenerys makes decisions] were increasingly replaced with men deducing her intentions and her mental state in private. Before the destruction of King’s Landing, Tyrion and Varys discussed at length what they deduced Daenerys believed of herself. They were, of course, almost entirely correct, but it’s equally important to see Daenerys’ point of view as one of the show’s long-standing protagonists."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:33 AM on May 22, 2019 [13 favorites]


Think of who Cersei might have been if she'd had Brienne's father, you know? Brienne gets a lot of crap, but her father got her training and armor, not only let her choose her own life and be independent, but even gave her the resources and support to do it properly, and then she also had the luck to grow big and strong. And the characters on the show dismiss Cersei, because she should be happy, right? She's the beautiful queen, that should be enough for her. But she feels like livestock, and that's how she's been treated. It clearly bothers Cersei how the other characters dismiss her. What bothers me as a viewer is more how the SHOW dismisses that desire for agency and strength and freedom as ravings of an "evil" woman.

I thought this was pretty well shown as a cycle of abuse. Tywin was the First Monster, but his actions also turned Cersei into a monster who hurt others.

The show does offer counterpoints to this: Arya and the Hound, for example, showing how a loving, supportive relationship can help someone breakaway from the process of causing harm because you were harmed. It's interesting because there are quite a few gender-non-conforming characters on the show who are explicitly or implicitly trying to break free of gendered programming. Arya, Brienne, Cersei. I don't think the show's framing is saying any of them are wrong in wanting to break free of it, for wanting agency or power. But it might be showing us situations where it is or isn't possible.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:38 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


Lucky for him, too - the American continent is moving away from the European continent through plate tectonics; if Columbus tried that same shit today, he'd have run out of rations/ water a week or two before sighting land.

Wait, what? The continents are separating at the rate of about an inch a year. Since 1492, Europe and the Americas have moved about 530 inches farther from each other - about 44 feet.
posted by hanov3r at 8:44 AM on May 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


What's up with Yara actually backing down from Arya's threat at the Kingsmoot? That was wildly out of character.

They wanted to cut to the chase and wrap neatly wrap up everything? I think the history of this show has demonstrated that the majority of paradoxes (at least in the past couple of seasons) can safely be attributed to shitty writing. The whole Kingsmoot scene was riddled with them: from Tyrion getting shut down but then allowed to speak at length for no particular reason, Bran getting elected because of his "story," Grey Worm's puzzling acceptance of the deal, etc. etc. The more I think about the events in the last episode the more ridiculous they seem.
posted by exogenous at 8:45 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


I actually found that one moment (Yara backing down) to be the most believable, because it's one of the few that acknowledge that Arya, killer of the NK, is the baddest badass in the 7K. Yara would have nothing to gain, and no one to back her if she tried to face down the hero(ine) of Winterfell.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:50 AM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


rue72, I think that Tyrion deals directly with this
I think that the bigger problem with Jon killing Dany is that I just am not convinced that Dany was a bigger threat than any of the other monsters that have been on this show.

[Tyrion speaking to Jon]
"My father was an evil man. My sister was an evil woman. Pile up all the bodies of all the people they ever killed, there still won't be half as many as our beautiful queen slaughtered in a single day."

Certainly Dany hadn't always been such a big threat (in her capabilities or intentions). But she developed into the largest threat the show had ever portrayed, second to the NK.
posted by torticat at 8:51 AM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Okay, "dude forced to murder a lady he loves and who loves him for like, honor" leaves out ... a few details.

Again, it only leaves out details that the writers put there to justify it. That's literally the point being made: that adding details in-story to justify why


am I reading this wrong? Is the annihilation of pretty much an entire city's population (and then the rather passionate promise to do it again if required) being dismissed as a mere "detail"? Seriously?
posted by philip-random at 9:37 AM on May 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


There's a reason we as a society don't let each other murder away our problems. Jon murdered Dany, and she deserved it, is the general consensus. Yet for all anyone knew at the time, Bran could've been warged into Drogon during the battle. But Jon is part of an aristocracy that is allowed to blindly judge, sentence, and execute their enemies. We're OK with that because murder is what we want and murder is what this show is all about, so we kneecap our morality and effortlessly justify the horrible things our heroes do, and name our babies after them.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:44 AM on May 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


It *is* appalling how many babies have been named Jon over the past ten years.
posted by kyrademon at 9:50 AM on May 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


I have to admit that I am glad Jon "Know-Nothing" Snow didn't ultimately fail upward into the position of King of the Seven Six Kingdoms because that dude is dense.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:10 AM on May 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Even though I think the Dark Dany twist was foreshadowed well enough in the show and certainly in the books, I do think it was incredibly stupid how her death was handled.

They showed Jon learning how to ride Rhaegal.

They talked about the Dance with Dragons which dealt with a succession crisis and had a male Targaryen on a green dragon versus a female Targaryen on a black dragon.

And they decided to have Jon stab Dany in a scene that sounds like it was written for Jaime and Cersei originally? Instead of having them fight with dragons which would have justified all the money they dumped into the How To Train Your Dragon sequence and been more exciting as Dany has the bigger dragon and is the more experienced rider?

It's honestly impressive how stupid D&D are.

but I think Catelyn was. The way she treated him was despicable.

By the rules of her society, Catelyn didn't owe him anything. Also, the show had him prove her worst fears right as he usurps her children then bumps them down further by giving the North away to his non-Stark relative.

On the other hand, Dany held him prisoner in s7. And if you don't think that was the case, imagine Sansa in his place and Viserys instead of Dany. Does that relationship still look consensual?
posted by asteria at 10:34 AM on May 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Is the annihilation of pretty much an entire city's population (and then the rather passionate promise to do it again if required) being dismissed as a mere "detail"?
When the only reason she did that was so we'd think it was ok for Jon to kill her in the finale, then yeah.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:35 AM on May 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Think of who Cersei might have been if she'd had Brienne's father, you know?

Sure, a self-entitled, power hungry manipulator who knows how to swing an sword. The show dismisses the Cersei's desire for agency because she wanted to use that agency to literally lord over others. This the person partly responsible for Geoffrey's sadistic side, and Tommen's suicide. She would have burned who cities to the ground just satisfy her own desires, so I see no reason to laud her desire for agency.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on May 22, 2019


Ah but what people forget is that the Great Sept of Baelor was surrounded on all sides by orphanges, and when Cersei blew it up, all the orphanages blew up too, and so approximately 753 children's toys landed on the ground in tragic positions. Those orphanages were not rebuilt, so Dany could not re-destroy them, therefore Dany actually did 35.3 fewer atrocity points than Cersei.
posted by fleacircus at 10:45 AM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


so we kneecap our morality and effortlessly justify the horrible things our heroes do, and name our babies after them

Stick with the Faceless Men strategy: a baby has no name.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:50 AM on May 22, 2019


[One deleted; hi, please don't invent offensive racist scenarios to make a point about how they would be offensive.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:56 AM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think it is amusing that the story of the previous episode was SO overcooked for moral clarity that it reads basically like propaganda or a conspiracy theory.

"Dany destroyed ALL the scorpions, with NO problems at all this time, and so she was NEVER under any threat, and she leveled the ENTIRE city, and killed EVERYONE, and there was a plan to ring bells if they surrendered and it worked and happened JUST in time and the city had COMPLETELY surrendered before she did any burnination, so you see it was the biggest completist moral wrong that ever existed in the entire world."
posted by fleacircus at 10:56 AM on May 22, 2019 [22 favorites]


am I reading this wrong

Yes, you are reading it wrong in that you're ignoring the actual argument being made. I'd give an example but clearly that's hard without (reasonably) some poeple not liking parallels being drawn.

I'll simply drop it by saying: the point is not that Dany wasn't bad (she was) or even that she shouldn't have been killed (given the evidence, probably yes?). The point is that just because the writers did the homework to lay a path to justify it in-universe, that doesn't mean the specific depiction of violence towards a woman by a lover who is embracing her (and the pretty clear intent from the producers that we're supposed to side with Jon Snow unambiguously and feel bad for him) is therefore free and clear of criticism relative to how it parallels real-world violence.

Media doesn't exist in a vacuum. You can 100% believe that Dany had to go and still 100% believe that the way the producers led to it and the way they chose to do it is at best problematic.
posted by tocts at 10:58 AM on May 22, 2019 [17 favorites]


at this point I wish the episode had started with a title card that read, "And King's Landing was no more. Daenerys Targaryen, Drogon, and Jon Snow were never seen again" and then we just got an hour and a half of Sansa ruling The North
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:05 AM on May 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


"The Gang Does War Crimes"
posted by poffin boffin at 11:16 AM on May 22, 2019 [14 favorites]


You can 100% believe that Dany had to go and still 100% believe that the way the producers led to it and the way they chose to do it is at best problematic.

Yeah. See, here’s the thing - they did it for the shock value. They wanted you to be shocked, and so they did it in the most shocking way possible. Remember, these are people that fell in love with the Red Wedding, and added the killing of a pregnant woman that wasn’t in the books because they didn’t think it was violent and shocking enough.

You want to have Jon kill Dany and not take the throne? Have him give them both poison, because he realizes it must be done and also realizes he is so morally tainted that he can’t exist in the world anymore, having been the cause of death for both of the two women he loved. Don’t do it in a romantic way that makes him look like a hero.
posted by corb at 11:47 AM on May 22, 2019 [14 favorites]


The series really needed Bronn to propose financing the reconstruction of Kings Landing using an immutable ledger made of blocks and chains and an artificial decentralized source of scarcity perhaps based on crypts, togas and fees.
posted by srboisvert at 12:00 PM on May 22, 2019 [18 favorites]


Is the annihilation of pretty much an entire city's population (and then the rather passionate promise to do it again if required) being dismissed as a mere "detail"?

Well, if they are anything like Dany's army half of them will just respawn as if nothing happened.

[or maybe they were decimated instead of devastated and now the pendants can say that Dany only killed one tenth]
posted by srboisvert at 12:03 PM on May 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


The point is that just because the writers did the homework to lay a path to justify it in-universe, that doesn't mean the specific depiction of violence towards a woman by a lover who is embracing her (and the pretty clear intent from the producers that we're supposed to side with Jon Snow unambiguously and feel bad for him) is therefore free and clear of criticism relative to how it parallels real-world violence.

I don't disagree with this at all.

But it feels outside the notion that the annihilation of Kings Landing (with further atrocities promised) was somehow just a "detail" dreamed up by the creators (GRRM possibly among them) in order to justify it. You say it yourself:

the point is not that Dany wasn't bad (she was) or even that she shouldn't have been killed (given the evidence, probably yes?)

How she was killed -- yeah, I found it problematic.
posted by philip-random at 12:04 PM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]




It really messed with my suspension of disbelief that a) Jon Snow wasn't immediately killed and b) The Dothraki didn't spend the next three months pillaging and sacking the surrounding countryside.
posted by bq at 1:07 PM on May 22, 2019 [17 favorites]


Here's my theory. (Alternatively, here is my S8 (and S7?) fanfic.)

Basically, D&D followed all of the specific plot points that GRR Martin gave them, except for one thing:

The White Walkers were supposed to come last

So:

Jon sails South to Dragonstone, to try to get Cersei to join him against the White Walkers. She refuses, she remains an implacable enemy.

Dany lands on Dragonstone, where Jon is basically the first person she meets, and all that storyline happens (hopefully not in exactly the same way), including the caves showing the history. Dany believes him, and they have the perfect weapons -- they don't need Cersei at all. They prepare to go North together for the big heroic battle.

Now Cersei finds out about all this -- a huge army with dragons has shown up on her doorstep, and allied itself with her enemies. But she's prepared for dragons, so surprise attack and she kills two of the dragons.

Dany (with Drogon) explodes with rage, and just plows a path toward Cersei, who sensibly doesn't stick around in the open. So Dany blows up the castle but of course she doesn't actually see Cersei die so she just keeps going until the city is basically leveled.

Later she tells Jon that she has to instill fear because obviously she can't rely on love, and really Westeros needs to be "unified" if they're going to face the WW. (No, Jon, I do believe your story about these fantastic things I've never seen, I just want to make sure we're ready.)

So now he has to decide whether to kill her knowing that they'd lose the remaining dragon, their one superweapon. Oh, but he's a Targaryan, and he rode one of the other dragons, so maybe not?

And he does kill her, and Drogon carries her away. Oops.

So they all muster for the battle of Winterfell, which occurs in exactly the same way because Dany and her forces were completely meaningless there. (Also, Dothraki aren't stupid, and the Night King isn't fire-proof.)

The key is Bran, who knows what's going on, and he has a plan but nobody knows how he knows things, and he seems like an inscrutable oracle a lot of the time, so it's up to the people to make this suicidal-looking stand trusting this guy.

But of course he's right, and the world is saved!

So they decide to do away with kings, and use this oracle. It might seem harder to trust in than the Seven, or the Lord of Light, but as Tyrion points out, it's really all in the stories you tell about things.

And that is how GRR Martin told a story about global warming and how people beat it by believing in science.
posted by bjrubble at 2:15 PM on May 22, 2019 [15 favorites]


Except the NK has a dragon
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2019


OHenryPacey bjrubble is proposing an alternative version of the last season, one in which the NK doesn't get a dragon. Personally, I think it works quite nicely.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:48 PM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


ahhhhhhh, I see. there is never an expedition north to try to convince Cersei, thus no lost dragon. Interesting then how the NK will breach the wall.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:36 PM on May 22, 2019


There are some additional shenanigans to break the Wall in the book, but sticking with show stuff? I'd say 'NK marking Bran gives him and his forces license to cross the Wall.'
posted by mordax at 7:00 PM on May 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


"I haven't been paying attention to any of the details and don't intend to, and don't even really want to be king, but I do agree that I'd obviously be the best at it." On behalf of myself, Sansa, and every goddamn woman in any leadershippy business role, I am fucking triggered.

Anyhoo, I found most of this storytelling dumb even by Season 8 standards. The D&D small council meeting (by which I mean the role-playing game, not the show honchos) was cringey meta fanservice. Tyrion being written out of the "epic" was a very weird unfunny cheap shot. Sansa getting to tell Edmuire to sit down was satisfying for a second, but the result made it feel like pandering from the writers. Jon's resurrection from the dead and Targaryen lineage are...irrelevant? I could go on. So dumb.
posted by desuetude at 10:55 PM on May 22, 2019 [13 favorites]


"I haven't been paying attention to any of the details and don't intend to, and don't even really want to be king, but I do agree that I'd obviously be the best at it."

Lol Bran has literally been paying attention to all the details. He knows all the Westerosi history. And he doesn't want to be King, another point in his favor as everyone who wants to be King inevitably lets the ambition trump judgement.

Finally, I thought it was great that a person with a disability got the seat at the head of the table, at the end of it all.
posted by dazed_one at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2019


I meant the details of actually governing, not just Epic Moments in Stark History Past Present Future.
posted by desuetude at 6:47 AM on May 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


And he doesn't want to be King
Wait, what? Why do we think he came all this way, then?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:48 AM on May 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


Bran certainly does not appear to be interested in important details like oh, preventing a million people from being burned to death in Kings Landing.
posted by tavella at 7:12 AM on May 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about this stupid show—but, reflecting on why the end of this story felt like a miss to me, part of it is that the show seemed to commit to a different version of morality for its characters up until the end, but now seems to be asking us to impose real-world morality on Dany. Was I supposed to have been judging the characters according to my actual morality all along? Like “capital punishment is horrific, so I don’t care that Ned imposes it personally. Incest is terrible, so I don’t care that Cersei and Jaime have some kind of connection. Murder is wrong, so I don’t care that Arya is killing people I think are nasty.” Those are just a handful of examples, but every single character on this show has done something that my actual morality would consider not just bad but abhorrent. Are Dany’s actions supposed to be so over-the-top-bad that they are wrong by any moral standard, of any time in history, in any world whether fictional or not? It’s a weird assertion for a fantasy/fictional series set in a world that has never existed.

You might say, by what right does the wolf judge the lion???
posted by sallybrown at 7:17 AM on May 23, 2019 [22 favorites]


I think the same, sallybrown. I don't think it's necessarily more monstrous to kill people from on top of a dragon than to slit their throats one by one with a sword or to do like Tyrion and hack them to pieces with an ax.

It's certainly not more bloodthirsty. Stannis was stabbing people with his sword trying to get into this same city to sack it, Tyrion was burning people alive trying to stop him, and all the while, Stannis was offering up human sacrifices to his god, including his own daughter, in the hopes that he'd win. Dany's thought processes fit right in with all these people. This is what war is, and what conquering is. It's inherently horrific.

I think what was maybe uniquely frightening about Dany's way of sacking the city is that the scale of her weapon was so outsized and inhuman compared to the scale of her enemies. Human v. Human is one sort of conflict, Human v. Act of God is another, and Dany fighting with the dragon is more the latter kind of opponent.

The issue is that then the show swerved to say that not only was using the dragon as a weapon in a human conflict wrong, but that Dany in particular was too crazy to wield it? But it's OK to have Bran wield it because...he's less crazy? (Doesn't really seem like it). Less inhuman? (Doesn't really seem like it). Less magic or "touched by god"? (Doesn't really seem like it).
posted by rue72 at 7:34 AM on May 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


Sallybrown, I agree that one of the gross things here is that Dany had to deal with being morally judged in a way no other character really has in this series— not only are they judging her in a way they don’t judge other characters, they judge her for things GRRM had other characters actually do. One of the things that bothered me the most about 8x05 was the way they had Tyrion moralizing about how Dany had killed more people than Tywin and Cersei combined, not only as if Tywin hadn’t personally sacked and burned the same city, but after relocating some of Tywin’s war crime scenes from earlier in the books to Dany in 8x05. The show has always seriously whitewashed Tywin’s atrocities, and the chains of consequences they had— in the books, he hires a company of overseas mercenaries famous for cutting off people’s hands and feet to sack the Riverlands because nobody in Westeros is up to the standard of brutality he wants, thinks he can control them because he’s blinded by his own ego, and, surprise! They defect, set themselves up as local warlords, and cut off Jaime’s sword hand when he and Brienne try to make it through their territory. The show contorted itself to make this as far from Tywin’s fault as possible, inventing a character who was never on Tywin’s payroll for dismemberment services to do the deed, because they liked the idea of Tywin as a cold, rational, brilliant ruler better than they did an arrogant war criminal responsible for his own son’s maiming and at least two of the religious militias that were successfully waging asymmetrical warfare against his family as per the last books.

One of the big horror moments in 8x05 also belonged to Tywin. All those scenes of Arya, traumatized and terrified, protecting a doomed peasant mother and her young daughter in a chaotic war zone didn’t come from nowhere, they came from ACOK, when Arya is part of a group of refugees in the Riverlands. She tries desperately to keep a mother and daughter safe from the Lannister forces (who have been ordered by Tywin to commit war crimes as an intimidation tactic), and she can’t save them, and it’s one of many moments that breaks her. But in the show's logic, Arya is impressed and even mentored by Tywin the rational, brilliant male tactician, and horrified by Daenerys’ hysterical, emotional, unacceptable slaughter, because why would they show Tywin doing those things, because Men Arent Like That, but women are. Stuff like this is why I agree with Lindsey Ellis that Dany’s heel turn feels fabricated— the show is literally laying the sins of other people at Daenerys’ feet to rationalize why she needed to be judged as Hitler (or whoever) and executed.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:46 AM on May 23, 2019 [20 favorites]


My current little brain cloud:

Point 1

I think the story, both Martin's and D&D has a problem with tropes and expectation. The original subversion is that a character's role in the story won't protect them from reality. And this is very surprising, Ned is the protagonist and a POV character and a hero and a just and good and honorable man. He then makes just tons of dumb mistakes and puts himself in mortal danger again and again and eventually dies because he does things that make you die. But it's surprising because characters like that don't die.

So we contextualize his death as an Obi-Wan/mentor/father death and the protagonist and POV characters become the kids. We move on. Rob stark especially (this is a smart move in the show making him a main character) becomes our avenging hero that's his role and he does a thing that seems like it will 100% get him killed and then it does. Even tho characters like him don't generally die at dinner.

So seasons 3 , book 3 we've had these big surprises but they are born out of the logical/terrible thing happening to people who usually get bailed out in some way. But we as the audience can SEE that now... now we're looking for it. We're looking for surprising reality in our heroic fantasy. Once you see that people don't have special protection due to their roles in the story it becomes predictable. So the crossroads both Martin and D&D faced is do we keep it surprising or keep it grounded in this horrible reality.

Both I feel went hard yes on surprises.

So characters miraculously not dying, Jon Snow's 1 million rescues by women and men who will later die for it (except Sansa), stop being as surprising. Central Characters surviving miraculous odds to live through battles or imprisonment are indeed surprising in the context of this story, but not in the broader context of all stories where these people generally survive. Arya stabbed a bunch and lives.. well yeah, of course she does.

Likewise out of no-where surprises like big turns in character or sudden reversals of perspective, like little finger's death and the Stark girls fake out to camera betrayal plot are not satisfying because they don't follow the logic of what we've been shown or what we've been told. They are manufactured surprises. When these surprise deaths, turns or survivals happen they don't make us feel like "Oh I should have seen that coming, that changes those earlier scenes" they make us say "really?"

Point 2

The show people are bad at writing and are bad or bad since the books ended etc (strawman paraphrasing)

I think sometimes, sure. But many of my favorite things in the show are whole cloth inventions.

Arya and the Hound
Arya and Tywin
Sansa being smart and badass
Rob Stark being on Screen
Brienne being even a tiny bit good at things she tries to do
Cersei being interesting and smart
Tyrion not turning into a kind of a red-pill weirdo
Every single scene with Varys and Littlefinger because we never would see them speak to each other in a POV book where neither are POV characters.

Do these things excuse terrible choices? the deep fascination with ramsay and later sea ramsay? ... no. But they wrote these things and I loved them then and I love them still.
posted by French Fry at 8:01 AM on May 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Tyrion not turning into a kind of a red-pill weirdo

Sorry to jump on this, but I was way, way more creeped out by Tyrion murdering his girlfriend and having that have NO effect on his mental health, or be in any way indicative of the way he views women, than by the more realistic downward spiral we got in the books. “Dudes who date sex workers because they have trust issues and issues with women, and then murder them, are fucked the fuck up” is a big step up from “You can kill disposable prostitutes and still be a good guy, a normal dude, the moral center of the story,” imo.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:12 AM on May 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


Neither is great. Seemed under-impactful in both. Maybe I just like Peter Dinklage to much.
posted by French Fry at 8:16 AM on May 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


French Fry, sorry, I didn’t mean to jump down your throat, that’s an issue that’s been bugging me for a long time. I agree that Dinklage is incredible, and I shudder to think what it would have looked like if the Ramsay sausage sadist writers had given him that material to work with, I think choosing to take on something similar in Hervé, at least wrt substance abuse, was at least a choice, not something he had to do because of contract.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:21 AM on May 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


One of the things that bothered me the most about 8x05 was the way they had Tyrion moralizing about how Dany had killed more people than Tywin and Cersei combined, not only as if Tywin hadn’t personally sacked and burned the same city, but after relocating some of Tywin’s war crime scenes from earlier in the books to Dany in 8x05

Honestly, I think a lot of the changes to the show - on my read at least - boil down to a fundamental lack of understanding of where GRRM was coming from and the kind of fiction he was trying to write, but also of the moral complexities of the series because of relative life experience.

GRRM not only lived through Vietnam but was a conscientious objector. The futility and ugliness of war has been one of the major consistencies throughout the books. No one's war is good. He makes sure to tell how the smallfolk are ruined by it all over, regardless of which army is the one in ascendance. It's one of the important lessons repeated over and over - that people willing to embrace war crimes are worse, sure, but that even the 'good' make bad decisions and innocents die. And people are ruined by it even when they win.

One of the many changes they made to Tyrion was simply that he didn't face many consequences from the war or the morally dark or grey things the did in the broader war. They worked hard to make him a "good guy". As moonlight in Vermont notes, in the books he is basically ruined by what he did to Shae, and what he learns he did to Tysha. He participates in her rape as well, instead of just standing by, and you don't have any hedges where Shae looks like maybe she will fight back. He kills her simply for betraying him, regardless of economic or other reasons she might have done so. And he proceeds on a long bender of being a shitty human being and embracing being a shitty human being before even starting to rise again.

I think that D&D really strike me as kind of a very specific protype of 'geek dudes', where they are into fantasy/science fiction, but in a very bro-y way. They don't really like examining how they interact with women, they assume that men are heroes and don't want to read stories about moral complexities because they don't want to think about moral complexities.

And so you simply don't have them. Robb Stark doesn't have sex with a woman in heartbroken reaction to his father's death and then feel honor compels him to marry her, instead he falls in love and makes a decision about it and suffers zero guilt pangs whatsoever because that's way more the way D&D want to think of themselves and by extension the people they want to identify with.

And so when we come to Dany 'just being evil now and definitely needs to go', D&D give her zero complexity. They make her thing about 'liberation' sound absolutely crazy, when they could have easily made it more sympathetic, because they want us to identify with Jon when he kills her and not dislike him. And honestly - that's not the story I eagerly waited for each new book to read, and that's not the story I wanted to watch, and that's really why I'm disappointed.
posted by corb at 8:26 AM on May 23, 2019 [38 favorites]


I meant the details of actually governing, not just Epic Moments in Stark History Past Present Future.

Bran Stark as Lord of Winterfell
posted by philip-random at 8:32 AM on May 23, 2019


they assume that men are heroes and don't want to read stories about moral complexities because they don't want to think about moral complexities.

And so you simply don't have them.


Yeah. And yeah, D&D didn't have Tyrion particpate in Tysha's gang rape, which I always saw less as him being a perpetrator than another victim-- they're both 13-- and basically an act of monstrous sexual abuse of two children by one child's father, the nonconsensual incest going on in the Lannister family. Related to this, and to all the talk upthread about domestic abuse, a friend and I did a head count of major POV characters in the books a few years ago, and realized that while there's more sexual violence against women in the books in general, there are more male than female POV characters who are survivors of sexual abuse or assault, not even including characters where it's been hinted but not confirmed, like Jaime earnestly giving Brienne tips on how to dissociate when you're being raped in ASOS. I think the only character who didn't get that part of their history erased was Theon, and the writers treated it like a series of horrible jokes, like the sausage scene. That says a lot to me about their abilities to really grasp the material-- that kind of life altering abuse, and how it affects people, just isn't, like you said, the way this show wants to think about men, it isn't "the way D&D want to think of themselves and by extension the people they want to identify with." And so it just isn't there. There's a lot going on in the books when it comes to abuse cycles and the ways they're perpetuated in families, in ruling systems, in war, and when it comes down to it, the showrunners just didn't have the range.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


Bran certainly does not appear to be interested in important details like oh, preventing a million people from being burned to death in Kings Landing.

Though pushing Dany to snap earlier and get herself stabbed supposedly stopped that happening to other cities.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:56 AM on May 23, 2019


> I think what was maybe uniquely frightening about Dany's way of sacking the city is that the scale of her weapon was so outsized and inhuman compared to the scale of her enemies. Human v. Human is one sort of conflict, Human v. Act of God is another, and Dany fighting with the dragon is more the latter kind of opponent.

So one of the things that occurs in like half the battles we see is at the last minute a surprise group of cavalry (Stannis's knights, the knights of the vale, a dothraki khalasar) ride in and cut through the other side's infantry like a knife through hot butter. It's played for dramatic effect, something like "look, when all hope is lost for Our Heroes, suddenly the Riders of [x] come in and save the day!" But there's another message underlying it: in the quasi-medieval environment of this story, the side with more mounted soldiers just straight up wins, because only the most elite infantry (i.e. the Unsullied) can survive a cavalry charge, even if the side with the mounted soldiers is badly outnumbered.

If you're a Westerosi peasant or an Essosi shepherd or whatever, you are totes fucked if men on horses show up. At that point, it might as well not be a human v. human conflict anymore. The cyborg entity of a horse and a sword and a man who knows how to use the sword while riding the horse is that much more powerful than anyone on foot.

If we acknowledge that the rulers of Westeros rule because of their control over a particularly powerful (outsized and inhuman?) military technology — mounted knights — we see that the dragonriding Targaryens aren't doing anything particularly new, they're just doing to the knights of Westeros what the knights of Westeros do to everyone who doesn't sit on a horse. The noble Westerosi rule because they have exclusive control over mounted knights, a military technology that obsoletes most extant military technologies. The Targaryens beat them because they have exclusive control over a military technology that obsoletes mounted knights.

In the earlier seasons, all of the noble families we've followed — even the sadsack Starks and the benevolent-seeming Tyrells — are at best morally dark grey. They feast while others starve, they rule while others must obey, they wear years worth of other peoples' labor on their backs, etc. etc. etc. They don't rule because they're good, they rule because they've got the swords and the armor and the horses. The last season attempts to absolve them of their moral greyness by scapegoating Daenerys, by presenting things that every powerful character has done as being bad specifically and exclusively when Daenerys does them. The message we're made to swallow is that when Daenerys kills, she's Targaryen crazy, but when Starks and Lannisters kill, they're good.

The more the showrunners want me to see her as a villain, the more I like her. I wish she could have pillaged her way across Westeros then brought back the wealth of the entire continent to Meereen — no, wait, to Vaes Dothrak, that's her real capital — and then pillaged her way all the way to Asshai.

Needless to say, in my headcanon she executes the traitors Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister alongside the traitor Varys.

Fire and blood, y'all.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


I think that D&D really strike me as kind of a very specific protype of 'geek dudes', where they are into fantasy/science fiction, but in a very bro-y way.

I still remember this little gem of a comment from Dave Hill, who wrote the season premiere:
Sansa meeting Dany: “Sansa sees her as the foreign interloper. She trusts her family and no one else. You can see from Sansa’s view that Jon went to meet with this southern queen who burned her grandfather and uncle alive and suddenly Jon bent the knee to her. She’s also very pretty, and how much does that factor in? Sansa starts off this season very suspicious and not at all friendly with Dany.”
source
posted by sallybrown at 9:35 AM on May 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Another thing worth noting on D&D’s choices is they specifically changed the source material to make it more patriarchal and in some cases more racist. The show wiki notes:
In stray mentions throughout Season 4, when the TV series could have introduced that women have an equal chance of inheriting lordships in Dorne, they avoided it. A "Lord Blackmont" appeared in the Season 4 premiere, when in the books House Blackmont is ruled by a woman. When Oberyn recounts to Tyrion how he traveled to Casterly Rock when Tyrion was a baby, he says that his father took him on the trip - while in the books, it was his mother, theRuling Princess of Dorne
In this context, it’s noteworthy that the only characters from Dorne that remain in the show are the “hot-blooded passionate” ones. Arianne Martell, the thinking, plotting, princess of Dorne, is omitted, for more time with whip-cracking Sand Snakes who are super different and look very different in the books. But now: more “stereotypically Latin”. More sexy!

I really feel at this point the show runners have not earned my benefit of the doubt on these matters.
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on May 23, 2019 [27 favorites]


You can see from Sansa’s view that Jon went to meet with this southern queen who burned her grandfather and uncle alive'

Wow, I can't believe I'm about to be That Person, but even as a very casual fan I know that it was Daenerys's *father* who burned Lord Rickard and Brandon, not her. That a dude specifically writing for the show, specifically about the dynamic between the Stark clan and Dany, would get this wrong says...a lot.

Or maybe he was just exhausted and misspoke, or they quoted him incorrectly, but as corb said I'm not really sure I should give these folks the benefit of the doubt at this point. Eep.
posted by peakes at 10:07 AM on May 23, 2019 [8 favorites]




Oh and PS fuck that guy forever for suggesting that Sansa, who is
a) a cold hard badass by this point
b) extremely familiar with what it means to be a Beautiful Girl in this crapsack world (spoiler: USUALLY NOTHING GOOD)
c) one of the most famously beautiful women in Westeros
would risk the safety of her family and the North by beefing with a WMD-toting queen *because the latter is cute and blonde*.

Just throw in the Jell-O wrestling scene and be done with it. What garbage writing.

Uh I may have had a...long day. Ranting over.
WTF I DON'T EVEN STAN SANSA AND I'M MAD

posted by peakes at 10:17 AM on May 23, 2019 [13 favorites]


Game of Thrones’ fiasco: Shareholders would have a good case to sue in court

This case would be laughed out of court, but not before the judge and a bunch of clerks had the best week ever writing an opinion filled with GoT puns.
posted by sallybrown at 10:26 AM on May 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


my favorite little microcosm-represents-macrocosm detail in all this is that back in the sixth season we got all those scenes in Braavos where Arya watched the players try to redeem worthless writing, and partially succeed in redeeming worthless writing, by just acting the hell out of it.

And like apparently that's what all of Game of Thrones was all along — actors who understand the characters they're playing, reading words from writers who don't understand the characters they're writing.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2019 [45 favorites]


Damn, that might be my favorite summary of this entire show.
posted by heatvision at 10:53 AM on May 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


French Fry, your point about surprises reminds me of this slate piece by Sam Adams (written after 8x05, so not about the finale) which had a nice way of summing up what I think is one of the more broadly shared diagnoses about how things went off the rails in the last season or two:
But it’s also because Benioff and Weiss have opted to value the element of surprise above all else, forcing themselves to deliver as many holy shit moments as possible but too afraid of being outguessed to visibly progress toward them. The result, as the show ekes out its last hours on our screens, has been a series of plot turns that somehow feel both overdetermined and underdeveloped, obvious and arbitrary.
"Obvious and arbitrary" really fits; I think: as if there were a grab-bag of endpoints they got from GRRM (many of which fans had somewhat predicted) but then they sort of mix'n'matched them together without much regard for how well they had laid the groundwork for the resulting outcome, either in terms of character development or unfolding plot--which is what makes them feel so different from the other "holy shit" moments like the Red Wedding. Or as Adams puts it, " the emphasis on surprise has crippled the show’s ability to build toward its most shocking developments, so that even when they fit into its larger themes, they still feel as if they were pulled out of a hat." If they'd done a better job of it I might still be critical of what some of those larger themes apparently turn out to be (love is always doomed! so is revolution, especially when ladies do it!) but I'd feel less cheated by the whiplash of how we got there.
posted by karayel at 10:56 AM on May 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


I think that D&D really strike me as kind of a very specific protype of 'geek dudes', where they are into fantasy/science fiction, but in a very bro-y way. They don't really like examining how they interact with women, they assume that men are heroes and don't want to read stories about moral complexities because they don't want to think about moral complexities.

Yes, precisely. I've been trying to think of how to explain why all of this pissed me off so much, but you got it. The bare bones of these events are mostly okay, but the way they are portrayed absolutely ruined the whole thing for me, and this captures why beautifully.

Additionally:

And like apparently that's what all of Game of Thrones was all along — actors who understand the characters they're playing, reading words from writers who don't understand the characters they're writing.

Also agreed completely. Looking back at the show, pretty much everything I've actually liked for years now was down to how hard those actors and actresses sold it.
posted by mordax at 11:00 AM on May 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


also speaking of the Braavos players, there have been some very funny memes in which Lady Crane & Arya explain to D&D that "the writing's no good", but now I can't find any. They thought their big meta statement was Tyrion's speech about stories in the finale, but nope, it was actually that whole subplot.
posted by karayel at 11:06 AM on May 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


And like apparently that's what all of Game of Thrones was all along — actors who understand the characters they're playing, reading words from writers who don't understand the characters they're writing.

I can’t wait for the oral history 20 years from now when Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau tells us about being given the line “I never cared for them, innocent or otherwise” in Jaime’s death episode.
posted by sallybrown at 11:14 AM on May 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I promise I won't thread-sit promoting my theory, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea that this is what GRR Martin planned.

Mainly, I feel like this really fixes the sociological vs psychological story issue described by Zeynep Tufekci, and it makes the idea of the story as a global warming parable work thematically.

The White Walkers represent global warming, obviously.

The dragons represent a technological fix, with nuclear power being the obvious analogy. They have the potential to fix the problem without requiring great sacrifice, but they can also be used as weapons of unimaginable destruction, and both human nature and the Westerosi political system ensure that their actual role will be much more of the latter than the former. (Here GRRM illustrates the idea that "we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them" -- it's even underlined by the fact that the WW were themselves a technological fix in the same vein!) So Jon killing Dany is a rejection of the quick fix, and an acknowledgement that the problem can only be fixed "the hard way" with a lot of dedication and sacrifice.

Bran (or the Three-Eyed Raven) represents science. GRRM is constantly picking at the question of "how is authority established?" and this is where that question becomes the pivot point for the whole story. In a world where authority is typically established through violence or a compelling narrative (kings and gods use both in varying amounts) Bran represents something totally different. He doesn't necessarily tell you what you want to know, in fact a lot of what he says seems kind of irrelevant and counter-intuitive. He's not inspiring or charismatic, in fact he doesn't even really have opinions or concrete goals as a person would understand them. And yet, he holds the key to winning the war.

So I'm thinking the endpoint that GRRM gave to D&D was "Bran leads Westeros" but he didn't mean Bran was "king," just that Bran ends up as the acknowledged voice of authority. But the political structure surrounding that is very different from a kingship, and in fact the basic question of what exactly is Bran's political position is something GRRM is still struggling to flesh out in a believable way, and part of the reason he hasn't been able to wrap up the books.
posted by bjrubble at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


So let's take up Stupid Show Tyrion's suggestion of checking in 10 years later. Drogon has flown Daenerys's body to whatshername, that Red Priestess we saw back in Volantis, and the Lord of Light has brought her back to life, and now she rules the east as the fearsome zombie dragon queen. She's beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love her and despair!

We see her pillaging the crap out of Asshai, Yi-Ti, and everywhere else she can reach with her dragons (dragons plural, cause she picked up some extra dragon eggs in her travels). She's the terror of the whole east, everywhere from Ib to Qarth.

Meanwhile, Westeros gets weird in precisely the way that The Whelk documents in "The Court of the Raven King." After [n] seasons of watching zombie Daenerys rule the east and watching the Children of the Forest weird-rule the west, we come to realize that the Three Eyed Raven is in fact the genuine big bad, and that zombie tyrant Daenerys is the only thing that can stop him. Daenerys was right all along! what a tweest!

That might be a way to salvage the universe of Game of Thrones.

Alternately: we can stop watching TV and go read N.K. Jemisin instead, because she's a way better writer than anyone involved in ASoIaF/GoT.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:35 PM on May 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


read N.K. Jemisin instead, because she's a way better writer than anyone involved in ASoIaF/GoT.

pls direct me to the prayer circle where we channel our energies to manifest an adaptation of the Broken Earth trilogy that lives up to the source material (I'm worried because it's going to be a difficult one to do well, but I'm hoping Jemisin has enough creative control to keep televisionland from fucking it up).
posted by karayel at 3:54 PM on May 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


(it would be sweet if they could get Nina Gold for the casting and Ramin Djawadi for the score, though)
posted by karayel at 3:58 PM on May 23, 2019


I think the only character who didn't get that part of their history erased was Theon, and the writers treated it like a series of horrible jokes, like the sausage scene. That says a lot to me about their abilities to really grasp the material

Oh yes, poor grasp of the material. Remember a few episodes ago, when Sansa told the Hound that being abused was for the best? THE HOUND. Told THE HOUND. Bwhahahaha what the fuck, man? And that is how the show decided to bookend the fairly long and emotionally compelling storyline of the Hound having to witness Sansa's abuse and degradation at Joffrey's hands, clearly being affected by it, trying to save her over and over, and finally leaving her behind to be destroyed by a violent psychopath just like he was. Yup, but it was all for the best, no worries! And "Little Bird" Sansa's fear of leaving her captor's cage wasn't anything like Theon doing the same exact thing later in the dog kennel, or the Lannisters being apparently unable to leave the Red Keep once their father had installed them there -- who needs call backs or thematic connections? What, are the characters supposed to be trapped in some kind of cycle, one that's revolving like a wheel, say? Honestly, in retrospect, I wonder if the producers assumed that Sandor was always trying to maneuver Sansa out of Joffrey's way and protect her because she was pretty and he had the hots for her or something stupid like that. I assumed he identified with her, silly me. I also thought that he might have had a revelation about his own behavior and obedience to a boy as bloodthirsty as his brother but smaller and weaker. Never really came to much, though. Just #CleganeBowl.

I'll take my thoughts on the Lannisters and their constant sexualizing of everything to the books included thread, because I think the show doesn't entirely overlap with the books in that regard, especially when it comes to Tyrion. And I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on Tyrion going "red pill" in the books? I think I know what you guys are talking about, but maybe not, I hadn't thought of it that way before. Anyhow, here's a link to that thread, in case you're on mobile and/or it's a pain to search.
posted by rue72 at 5:21 PM on May 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


Now I want to try re-visiting the story from Bran's point of view. I made a joke on Twitter about Hodor being Bran's first victim on his monstrous rise to power. But that's not really true, is it? He has many more unwitting victims. Pour one out for Osha. And the Reeds suffer greatly helping Bran along too, unwitting pawns. I think that reading doesn't really hold together just because Bran is off-stage through so many of the books (and TV, like all of puberty). But still.

(Really it's Rickon who gets the worst of it though. 4 Starks come through the Game of Thrones just fine. No one remembers l'il Rickon.)

A tasty meme for you: Ghost and Drogo: The Adventures of the Goodest Boys. I'm imagining one of those "dog's incredible journey home" movies. Only with a direwolf and a dragon. And lots of peasant snacks.
posted by Nelson at 7:18 PM on May 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


Everyone seems to be interpreting Drogon as going "pursuit of this throne is what has lead her to this sorry fate," but what if it's more, "if you won't let her have the pointy chair, then nobody gets the pointy chair."
posted by RobotHero at 9:00 PM on May 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


I prefer the notion I've seen riffed on in a couple different places on twitter and mastodon that Drogon was like "a pointy thing? but where would...[stares at chair made of pointy things]"
posted by cortex at 9:20 PM on May 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


No one remembers l'il Rickon.

Jon Snow probably remembers. He got to watch Rickon die.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:45 PM on May 23, 2019


Haven't read any of the thread but did a ctrl+f for "pitch" so hopefully that suffices. This video is excellent. It encapsulates everything that bugged people about the final season and does it in a way that that made me laugh.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Pitch Meeting (Same URL as first link.)

I assume someone has said this upthread, but I'm really looking forward to the ASoIaF remake in a few years. 10 years from now? Is there a betting market on this?
posted by Telf at 3:09 AM on May 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


No one remembers l'il Rickon.

Jon Snow probably remembers. He got to watch Rickon die.


as one reviewer put it at the time, "Poor Rickon, doomed to be just a plot point after all."
posted by philip-random at 7:16 AM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


> Telf: Haven't read any of the thread but did a ctrl+f for "pitch" so hopefully that suffices. This video is excellent. It encapsulates everything that bugged people about the final season and does it in a way that that made me laugh.

That's really much better than I expected.

"I thought Tyrion was the smart one?"
"He used to be, but now we need stuff to happen really fast, so that's all over."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:22 AM on May 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


better in concept than execution ...

Bran didn't win the Game of Thrones -- the Three-Eyed Raven did ...
posted by philip-random at 8:38 AM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I just feel that the show doesn't deserve anymore deep theories or explanations. There was never any there there. We got Lindelofed. There is no reason that anything happened. D&D were up all night working on their thesis the day before it was due. They were like, 'We got this... We got this... Aww fuck it, just try to hit the word limit and write a florid but vague conclusion."
posted by Telf at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


but when I listen to that analysis, I get a sense of what may have been going on in GRRM's notes -- a logical (and fantastic) resolution to the complex game at hand. And earned.

I personally gave up on the TV show having it all remotely nuanced by the second last episode of Season 7. Which actually made Season 8 not as bad as I feared.
posted by philip-random at 12:20 PM on May 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


My beef isn't necessarily that Dany shouldn't have been killed, it's the fact that Jon was rewarded for it. I hate it when my heroes face no consequences for the terrible things they do.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:02 PM on May 25, 2019 [4 favorites]




Brienne and Jon are also kingslayers (and all three had Valyrian weapons), so conceivably they all could have chipped away at the Night King, which would have been a very cool battle, as they are conceivably the greatest warriors in Westeros. Jaime could earn his redemption with the final blow. And Azor Ahai facing off one-on-one with Viserion would have been epic. It's a letdown that Azor Ahai didn't manifest after all that build-up, starting with the comet in S1. But, I think Jaime would have to be the one to drive the sword into Brienne, like Azor Ahai did to Nissa Nissa to create Lightbringer. I was never a big Arya fan to begin with, and she was so completely disconnected from the Night King events that her efforts feel a bit hollow.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:40 PM on May 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, no. If there's anything that the trashfire of an ending did right, it was in *not* making Jon killing Dany an Azor Ahai moment. Fuck the idea of reducing a woman to just a vessel to make a man powerful. Seriously, fuck that.
posted by tavella at 9:02 PM on May 25, 2019 [10 favorites]


Are you referring to Deph's link? Dany isn't mentioned.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2019


The same applies to Brienne and Jaime. Or any other character. Not just on Game of Thrones. The idea of killing off a woman to make a man powerful is really pretty sick, when you think of it.
posted by happyroach at 1:42 PM on May 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


Exactly. The show revealed itself in the end to be downright retrogressive, rather than the "challenging the narrative" pretenses, but at least it didn't go that particular shitty step. Why anyone would think going there would make it *better*, ick.
posted by tavella at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Azor Ahai is never mentioned. Never mentioned. How can something be built up if it's never mentioned? And every-single-thing with "the prince that was promised" that is in there shows us that the red priests have no idea who it's supposed to be or how it's supposed to come about. They burnt a kid alive to prove this point.
posted by French Fry at 3:15 PM on May 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


The only prophesy that Melisandre makes in the show about TPTWP that is Azor Ahai ish is that the Prince would draw a sword from the flame.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:25 PM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Exactly and in that scene Stannis pulls a normal sword out of a normal fire and Mel declares him the "warrior of light". And that whole scene is framed as BAD and DARK. The text is that this is Heresy the subtext is that this is flim flam and stupidity. Literally quoted "fools and fanatics"
posted by French Fry at 3:34 PM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


So a couple weeks ago, I linked to some pretty interesting commentary predicting how the series would end, based on what would be most narratively satisfying conclusion to tie up all the loose ends and Chekhov's Guns and stuff. It was also predicated on the notion that the show was well written, and that the showrunners knew what they were doing.

As we now know, it did not pan out that way.

So here's a rather cogent and well-written follow-up to that original prediction that kind of goes down the list, point by point, to clarify, in a sense, just why the ending felt so flat and unsatisfying, even if most of the Cliff's Notes-style "here is the event that happens in the plot" actually made sense and would have worked in a good and satisfying ending, too.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:29 PM on May 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Two red priestesses in the show mention "the prince who would be promised". One thinks it is Stannis, another Dany (the prophecy does mention fire and dragons, and many think that the comet = dragons). Melisandre enjoyed having power over a king, and the access to king's blood, but as we know she was blinded by hubris. Stannis' barbaric fall is right in line with GRRM character development. GRRM never specified that Nissa Nissa died, but I guess we can assume she did. And you're absolutely right, Brienne would make an excellent Azor Ahai candidate, but tying it in somehow with Jaime, after all their history, would have been interesting IMO. Jaime might not deserve redemption, but he becomes sympathetic enough by the end that we hope he actively pursues it.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:09 PM on May 26, 2019


Two red priestesses in the show mention "the prince who would be promised". One thinks it is Stannis, another Dany (the prophecy does mention fire and dragons, and many think that the comet = dragons).

I think this is getting onto the weakness of the use of prophecy in fantasy. Both writers and the audience not only expect but demand that prophecies come true, either literally or symbolically or ironically. In short prophecy is regarded as the writer telling the audience where they story is going to go, and the audience will go to huge lengths to match events to tell prophecy.

And this annoys the hell out of me. I honestly think prophecies in fiction serve to suck drama out of character's actions by removing the illusion that the results of their actions are anything but what the writer wants to have happen.

I really want more fiction where prophecy turns out to be flat out wrong or obviously made up. The only one I can think of is the obscure "Star Prince Charlie" where a travelling Earthman accidentally meets one of the foretold qualities of "The Prince of the Prophecy", and the rest of the novel is political manipulators making him jump through hoops to meet the rest of the Prophecy and start a revolution. (The fact that the factions are likened to Scotland and England says where it goes) .

But people want their prophecies in fiction, and they want the certainty they'll be correct. At least GoT made the prophecies ambiguous in their correctness
posted by happyroach at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Mistborn books did something interesting with prophesy. At least, something different and unexpected to me at the time.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:39 PM on May 27, 2019


Just popping in to say that if you're into behind the scenes-y kinds of things, The Last Watch is quite good, even if you hated everything about season 8. It focuses mostly on people like the location manager (who is an amazing badass potty mouth), a makeup artist who is away from home and her daughter doing the shoots, and the guy who's in charge of the fake snow. There's very very little of the principle actors and D&D are only seen from afar a couple times. I really enjoyed watching it. And it's definitely apparent that part of the, er, hasty end of the show is because these people are very tired.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:48 PM on May 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


I did like how that super fan extra basically got to live out all his fantasies and then got a job being a Super fan

Also how all the extras even in minor bits invented a whole backstory and motivation for thier deals
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on May 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yes the making of doc was really good. Some lovely people working on the show.
posted by chill at 1:31 AM on May 30, 2019 [2 favorites]




that's an excellent piece, though I think it overlooks one key concern, which is that, as solid as Game of Thrones may be conceptually, the actual handling of the material (particularly over the last couple or more seasons) has to amount to somewhat of a dropped ball. Or as I put it above (talking about a different link) ...

when I listen to that analysis, I get a sense of what may have been going on in GRRM's notes -- a logical (and fantastic) resolution to the complex game at hand. And earned..

In other words, I'm guessing that GRRM's notes (and intentions) were pretty damned solid as regards a satisfactory culmination to the massive and complex story in question. Unfortunately (and for whatever reason), D+D's handling of it wasn't all that might've been hoped for.

I don't think Season 8 was horrible at all. In fact, in included some of the most intense and epic stuff that I've ever experienced from any motion picture medium. But overall, I'd rate it as more of a C+/B than the A-level stuff of earlier seasons. And I suspect that this decline is directly attributable to the difference between having GRRM's finished books to adapt as opposed to just his notes. There is a huge difference.

I suppose in a more perfect universe, the series would've taken a few years hiatus after the completion of Season 4 giving GRRM time to finish his books ... and so on.
posted by philip-random at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


The problem with a hiatus is the concern that child actors would age out of their roles. GoT was fortunate and so I think only 3 child roles had replacement actors (Rickon, Tommen, and Myrcella). Otherwise this might not have been the case. So they had to weight waiting against GRRM (who does not seem to be moving very quickly towards concluding this series) against losing the actors with the possibility of waiting for him, him still not finishing, AND losing the actors being a very real risk.

As such, the decision not to wait seems to me the least risky of them all. Even with the bad writing, the acting was still great. And fans were particularly attached to the actors.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:20 PM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


So it's been two weeks, and after a lot of thinking, I have come to my personal conclusion that a lot of messed up things happened in the final season, and I didn't like most of them. But Tormund and Ser Davos survived to the end and beyond, and that makes everything else just about even out for me.
posted by seasparrow at 8:53 PM on June 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Y all. Do the math. I don t want to be a downer, but the odds on GRRM living long enough to finish two books while writing four other series....well I'm sure the publisher will get a ghost writer if his will or estate allows it...
posted by eustatic at 3:07 AM on June 10, 2019


I somewhat cynically suspect also they just didn't want to renew the actors' contracts, who would have been able to command very large sums for agreeing to do it.
posted by corb at 3:14 PM on June 11, 2019


I’m still not over some of the more abrupt plot turns (Jaime!!) but have really enjoyed reading the books the past few months. Highly recommend to any other show-only folks mourning the end!
posted by sallybrown at 3:33 PM on June 11, 2019


It's been a few weeks and my opinion hasn't changed much. If anything, it's even more eye-rolling, combined with a confused sneer and repetition of "how could you do that" and "why would you do that".

Thoroughly disillusioned with television and even the idea of a series that lasts more than 3 or 4 seasons.

But on the up-side, I'm reading more books, so ya!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Do the math. I don t want to be a downer, but the odds on GRRM living long enough to finish two books while writing four other series"

This has been a concern for quite a while and yeah more writing projects just means we're unlikely to ever get a conclusion to this series. I will say my favorite GoT conspiracy theory is that the books are done, but HBO had a deal with Martin not to release the books until after the show concluded. Any day now those books will be released....any day....
posted by miss-lapin at 1:04 PM on June 16, 2019


Oh, GOT, I thought I got over you. I thought you didn't have the power to break my heart any more. And then you go and do this:

Even the composer wishes Brienne and Jaime could have had a different ending and slipped a musical Easter egg into the final episode.
posted by seasparrow at 2:42 PM on June 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


At least we can remember with fondness that time we got to watch a dragon watch his ostensible mother and some tagaryan dude make unconvincing sex with each other.

right?
posted by some loser at 6:43 PM on June 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


If Dany was the mom and Jon her nephew, that makes Jon and the dragons what? Cousins?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 PM on June 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Lindsay Ellis put together a video of GoT whingeing, though it's just a part one. W/r/t the eternal question of why the show turned into shit, she lays some blame on how the characters had diverged from the books, yet Benioff and Weiss rammed them into book character endings anyway.
posted by fleacircus at 11:08 AM on June 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


More whinging from honest trailers.

Bonus to them for figuring out that we need more men, we don t have the numbers! 8:30
posted by eustatic at 7:24 AM on July 11, 2019


I swear, it's like PTSD with this show. Every new reminder is like a punch in the face about how good it could have been, yet the showrunners just gave up or didn't get it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 AM on July 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


MeFi fave Lindsay Ellis just put part two of her GoT video review/deconstruction/thing up. It's over an hour long...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 11:26 AM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


and it's totally totally worth watching. she really gets into how the last season is not just aesthetically bad but also morally bad.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:33 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I’m still so angsty about this season >__<
posted by sallybrown at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2019


I swear, it's like a bad dream with this show. Every new remark about it knife to the heart.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:01 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Dragon Glass knife to the heart. Hand forged Dragon Glass. Because that's a thing.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:05 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


a couple of weeks ago, I ran into my friend who was working high up in the camera dept on GOT for the past about five seasons. A smart guy who very much knows his movie making (or TV, or whatever we call it these days). Inevitably we got to talking about Season 8 and I mentioned my basic impression ...

I don't think Season 8 was horrible at all. In fact, in included some of the most intense and epic stuff that I've ever experienced from any motion picture medium. But overall, I'd rate it as more of a C+/B than the A-level stuff of earlier seasons. And I suspect that this decline is directly attributable to the difference between having GRRM's finished books to adapt as opposed to just his notes. There is a huge difference.

I suppose in a more perfect universe, the series would've taken a few years hiatus after the completion of Season 4 giving GRRM time to finish his books ... and so on.


He agreed basically, though he said that there's no way there could have been a hiatus. It just wouldn't have fit with the financial reality of things. And then he finished with something like, "Bottom line is the show caught up to George RR Martin and, sadly, when it comes to telling his story, he's way better at it than they proved. Welcome to the golden age of television, it almost always disappoints in the end, and money's probably to blame." And then he got to talking about his current job, Watchmen, which he spoke very highly of in every regard ... except story. "Man, I'm really confused, to be honest."
posted by philip-random at 2:40 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Welcome to the golden age of television, it almost always disappoints in the end

I mean - to do them credit, I have to point out, as a book fan, that GRRM said decades ago that he wrote these books because they were a story he knew he couldn't write for television. And he knew this not just as a regular writer, but as a writer who routinely turned in television scripts. He knew how to write for television, and he knew this would be unmanageable on a television screen.

Because GRRM's books - as the video posted alludes to - were about the impact of hundreds of people and how society and other people are changed by it. You have to follow all the threads to see the tapestry. Lindsay talks -among a number of other things - about two very big problems - that the people of Kings Landing should have been glad to see a liberator, and that the war should have been bigger than "Winterfell + foreign allies" - and how it was deeply impacted by the cut of Faegon. Because if Faegon - a rival Targaryen claimant - exists, then it makes sense that people wouldn't exactly be rallying to Dany's cause, and wouldn't want to pick a Targ to jump for.

But Lindsay's analysis goes deeper. Sure, the show was always doomed - but the showrunners also doomed it in a different way by male self-insert characters. She points out specifically how the characters of Jaime, Bronn, Jon, and Tyrion suffer deeply by being "sympathetic" characters that weren't allowed, after their popularity, to have nuance besides the popular affect of them. Tyrion isn't allowed to be a bit of a monster - it's noble Nice Guy all the way. Jaime is tragic, thus must always be tragic in the way people expect. Jon can't do something morally wrong - so thus Dany must be more evil than evil so that we don't see a man murdering his lover on television and think 'maybe there is something wrong about this'. Bronn starts to develop nuance in his role as a minor lordling - but hey, he's popular, so let's give him the Reach and make him a comic character!

I also, along with Lindsay, see some concerning moments in the 'this isn't liberation theology I back', especially with the idea that the showrunners wanted to go on to make Confederate, tbh.
posted by corb at 3:00 PM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


yeah in the end benioff and weiss, two boy children who grew up super rich, wrote as the message of the series something roughly like "anyone who tries to make the world more just or good in any way is literally hitler. ps lol stop caring about things lololol." ellis observes that this is a really, really, um... awkward... message to present here in the grim year 2019.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:19 PM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


how i've decided game of thrones ends and so should you:

okay so we get up to that scene where daenerys hears the bells and makes that "me mad!" face, but then instead of burning king's landing down she burns off benioff and weiss's faces for 45 minutes. just shot after shot after shot of daenerys and drogon cruising into clips of the behind the episodes segments and making them burn. showrunners all "but i guess dany forgot about--" and then daenerys goes "dracarys!" and the showrunners go "aaaaaaugghhh it burns oh god it burns so much make it stop."

then episode 6 is just daenerys throwing a party. sansa shows up and is like "sorry about that dumb trash they made me say and do" and daenerys is all "oh em gee no problem also i can't believe they made you say that getting raped by a monster made you strong. that is some dumb misogynist shit" and sansa is like "gods i know, i'm so glad you killed those guys with fire over and over again thank you."

also missandei is alive and at the party. i'm not sure how that works, but she's alive. maybe at one point in s08e05 weiss or benioff was like "oh god please if you stop burning us we'll bring missandei back to life" and daenerys was all "sure okay bring her back to life and i'll stop burning you" and weiss-or-benioff does it and then daenerys is like "thanks ps dracarys" and weiss-or-benioff is like "oh god why why i did what you asked for it burns why does it burn so much" and missandei gives daenerys a high-five as she flies off to the next behind the episode clip to kill benioff and weiss all over again.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:31 PM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


oh also at some point in the s08e06 party daenerys clinks on a glass and stands on the iron throne and says "quiet down everyone, i want to make an announcement!" and then once everyone is paying attention to her she shouts best season evah!!! and everyone laughs and parties some more.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:40 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I liked her analysis and it makes pretty clear just how deeply misogynist the show was, ultimately, especially after they left the GRRM books bits.

Think how much better if they did a "Sopranos" and ended the show after S8E2, before the stupid battle-of-Winterfell-as-filmed, just to pick an arbitrary point in S8 to end it. I mean, honestly, 6 episodes centered at Winterfell, building up to the battle...it would basically be Das Boot.

Just to see our favorite smart characters being smart would be lovely.
posted by maxwelton at 3:49 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


it's really staggering how they managed to be so much more misogynist than george the-first-r-stands-for-rape the-second-r-also-stands-for-rape martin.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:50 PM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


omg the night king could have been killed literally by anyone with a valyrian arrowhead. like at literally any time.

snow could have yeeted longclaw at him back at hardhome and ended the long night before it started.

the ending made this show so bad. why did i let myself think of the bad show with the bad ending again.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:07 PM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Don't mention the war
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:23 PM on August 14, 2019


I think I said it up-thread, but the analysis confirms it: I'm actually kind of excited and not defeatist about the books any more. There's such an incredibly rich story to tell if you wanted given where things last left off. I even like the slower books a lot better now, because knowing the eventual trajectory I also understand how those slow pieces fit together. The Iron Bank, the goals of The Faceless Men, an actual resolution to The Sparrows, Cersei finagling some baseline of stability, the goals and aspirations of The Others, Arya's complex path to vengence, a tragic fall for Daeny that isn't completely asinine, Jon balancing duty and desire, Sansa being an actually smart tactician, Bran being a mystic inhuman monster. All of these things are actually kind of newly interesting having seen them done so poorly.
posted by codacorolla at 8:34 PM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


I suppose in a more perfect universe, the series would've taken a few years hiatus after the completion of Season 4 giving GRRM time to finish his books ... and so on.

He agreed basically, though he said that there's no way there could have been a hiatus. It just wouldn't have fit with the financial reality of things.


Hah. Good luck with getting Martin to finish the next book, much less the series.

But y'know, they could have gone on hiatus, and while waiting for Martin to finish, they could do a cheap in-between series. It would just be a couple of the actors walking around the empty sets, and talking as they wait for the next novel to arrive. And they wait, and they wait, and they wait...
posted by happyroach at 10:00 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


i look forward to the animated version that will be made like fifteen years from now. i bet the ending will be excellent.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:15 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


missandei is alive and at the party. i'm not sure how that works, but she's alive

R'hllor resurrected her after magically reattaching her head. I mean it's no more out there than a lot of other things D and D wanted me to accept.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:47 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Hot damn! Just finished watching Lindsay Ellis's take on the show and last season and my god was that a beautiful and deep look at where things went wrong. She landed so many great points, but the last one is the best. Namely, how these last few seasons have pretty much ruined the show for me.

The wife and I would re watch previous seasons as a new season started. Or even just 'cause it was so good. Hell, we still do that with Shameless, just having it running in the background, because it's so good.

But the utterly disappointing ending of Game of Thrones has ruined the entire series for me. Not in the sense that those earlier seasons now appear awful, but there's just no reason to revisit them at all. We know how badly the story ends so re watching those early season,s with hints of so much more, is pointless. The cast was great, I wish them well in their future projects and will, at the very least, be interested in a movie or show that has them, based solely on their performances in GoT. There's just no reason to see them again in GoT, not when there's so many other choices.

The width and breadth of my disgust with the show's ending is incredible but tame. I'll rant about it here and with friends, but otherwise, whatever. Yet, I'm now wary of Netflix, where D&D will be writing and producing some shows. I'm wary of HBO and feel no need to sign up again, since they let this shitshow happen. I'm incredibly wary of the Star Wars head honchos for signing up D&D for that franchise. Sure, I didn't enjoy The Last Jedi and Rian Johnson's take on the series, but it least it went somewhere a bit different that I expected, props for that. Definitely still curious to see what he does next in the Star Wars universe.

But any creators and networks that contributed to GoT going down in flames? Got no use for ya, later.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 AM on August 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


i look forward to the animated version that will be made like fifteen years from now. i bet the ending will be excellent.

Hideaki Anno's "A Song of Ice and Fire. "Get on the goddamn dragon, Shinji!"
posted by happyroach at 11:19 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I listened to Lindsay Ellis's take on GoT again, while falling asleep, it was so soothing to hear the creators called on their bullshit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 AM on August 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


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