Yes, I’m still playing Sekiro, so nothing else to talk about. I will publish a massive, massive post when I’m done (I’m on what I think might be the final boss as I’m typing this, then I have some backtracking to do).
I’m aware that there’s a new episode of GW2 but I couldn’t care less. I’m aware that WoW Classic is in beta but I couldn’t care less. I’m aware that there’s a new thing coming for ESO but I couldn’t care less. I’m aware that City of Heroes is ironically the most exciting and popular new MMORPG out now but I couldn’t care less.
On to the blog-filling notes from the last Game of Thrones!
[Post-show comments in brackets.]
Pre-show predictions: The battle for King’s Landing will be decided in this second-to-last episode. [Yep.] Cersei will either be dead or captured by the end. [Yep.] My money is on Jaime landing the killing blow. [Nope.] Arya would be the fan favorite but I just can’t believe the show would sink that far. [Thankfully it didn’t.] Or: There will be a cliff-hanger with Cersei seemingly pulling a surprise rabbit out of the hat, turning the tide at the last second to the gasps of the audience. [Nope.]
There’s a decent chance Jon could die tonight. [Nope, though he certainly could have.] I don’t see him surviving. Dany will kill him pre-emptively (or more likely have him killed).
The Hound and The Mountain will not fight until the final episode. [Nope.] It will take a lot of screen time. [Some, but not really.] We think we’ll know who will win the Iron Throne at the end of tonight’s episode, but there will be some extra special treachery in the final episode to change things to the ultimate winner. [Maybe? Dany definitely “won” militarily, so yes, but it’s hardly clear she will survive the next episode, so nope.]
Started pouring rain and my cat is outside somewhere. Just as “previously on” starts. Well there’s no doubt they’re painting Dany as the Targaryan Mad Queen here. Okay my cat’s back inside only a little wet. :)
Nice ink. Varys writing. To? Cersei? “She won’t eat.” Dany? [Who he was writing to seems important somehow.]
Varys tips his hand to Jon.
Dany and Tyrion. Good scene. Internet won’t like how they made Dany look insane though.
Varys.. pinky ring? Arrested, doh. Err this looks bad. No trial for him hehe. “It was me.” Nice. Varys seemed relieved. Whoa. Well that was unexpected. Not many words. What’s Tyrion’s game? Had to do it to regain Dany’s trust.
Collar burns in fire. Imagery. [Greyworm burned Missande’s collar in the fire. I’m pretty sure I’ve misspelled Missande’s name for the entire run of the show.]
Dany and Jon. “Let it be fear.” [Yeah Jon’s not going to survive.]
Filming Dany in lonely locations. On a throne in a huge empty, echoing room. Oh, Jaime captured by Dany’s troops trying to get into King’s Landing. Really him? Not shown yet. [It was him. Kind of pointless. Just a way to get a last scene between Jaime and Tyrion.]
Tyrion wants to be smuggled in the city. Ugh. [Nope.]
Hound and Arya going in.
Oh.. Tyrion wants to smuggle Jaime out. Jaime captured just like season 2. Weird camera angles. Sideways instead of front-on. Tyrion pleading a lot this episode. Not buying this. Jaime escaping with Cersei? Not buying it. Aw poor Tyrion. Lot of good scenes in this episode. Actually liking it.
Here goes. Ready for battle. The standard pulsing tension-building music. Hound, Arya, Jaime inside the city walls. Hey is that Dany’s ex leading the mercenaries? A lot riding on these bells. Pretty sure it isn’t going to go to plan. :) [It didn’t hehe.]
Jaime’s gonna get killed by the mob at this rate. Or just walk over to a side entrance.
Would be really dumb to attack with just one dragon right? Gotta be a feint. Distraction. Oh I see. Last episode, dragon’s easy prey to scorpions. This time, no problem at all, dodging every missile. Makes perfect sense. I mean that one dragon could wipe out that whole mercenary company outside the walls. [Burned the walls inside instead for a spectacular visual shot instead. Dragon should have just flown over the mercenaries and burned them to ashes.] [Unsullied proceed to attack.] Um? I mean? You have a dragon? Just burn all the dudes with it? Why expose yourself? Riders inside the city. Again… you know… dragon? I guess all the dragon needed was the power of positive thinking to evade all the scorpions this time. [Was completely unopposed, every scorpion missed, very convenient.]
[Stand-off between Jon/Greyworm and Kingsguard.] Surrender? They should. Tyrion going to ring the bell himself. Looking like Tyrion not going to live through this episode. [He did.] Jaime and Cersei escape? Leaving Jon and Dany to fight it out in the last episode? [Yes, but Jaime and Cersei didn’t escape.]
Dany going to burn them anyway, even after surrendering. [Yep.] “Ring the bells,” shouting, pleading from the people. Dern. [Was a nice tense moment hearing everyone shouting about the bells.]
Cersei counting on it. [Dany burning the city, that is. Her expression clearly said “go on, do it.”] Oh bells ringing. It’s Jaime probably. [We never saw who rang the bells.] Dany going to do it anyway? She sure wants to. She doesn’t want Cersei to live. [Yep, she did.] Going after the Red Keep. [Actually, nope, it looked that way, but Dany methodically burned everything from wall to wall.] Going to get shot down. [Nope. I was still thinking Cersei had a secret ace up her sleeve, but it turned out, she didn’t. She had nothing whatsoever. She folded like a cheap house of cards. Cersei’s entire plan was “boy I hope Dany doesn’t actually attack.”]
Oh damn. That was not according to plan. Dany just burning the crap out of everyone. [Good, bad, or indifferent. Interestingly, we never saw her face after that point.] [Greyworm attacks the Kingsguard.] Slaughter to ensue.
Heh now what Cersei? She wanted this to happen. No way she wasn’t planning on Dany burning the whole city. [Turns out nope, she just didn’t have a plan at all. Nothing, zip, zilch. I was giving her way too much credit.]
Jon might be wanting that Iron Throne now. [After seeing Dany’s potential for destruction.]
Oh Euron survived. [After the dragon single-handedly burned the whole fleet. Strange how easy it was this week, when it was impossible last week.] How fortuitous he meets Jaime right there. OMG really. Jaime and Euron fighting?? Where the hell did this come from? WTF? Jaime gonna get killed by some rando? [Nope, but was a pointless fight with no consequences. Who wanted to see that fight? Nobody, that’s who.]
Arya going to have taken Qyburn’s face I bet. Leads Cersei away. [Nope. Would have been cooler than what happened, though.]
Oh Jaime left him bleeding out. [Euron, that is.] He’ll come back. Maybe. [Euron didn’t, at least in this episode.] [Jaime mortally wounded, but still fine. Eyeroll.]
Oh nevermind there’s Arya and The Hound. Ugh here comes Cleganebowl. Arya suddenly wants to live. Feel like she made a long trip for nothing. :)
Oops no more Qyburn. Well this has turned back into a Marvel movie now. [ie. Cleganebowl.]
Wow Jaime found her. [Cersei.] Definitely going to be the one to kill her. [Nope.] Or they’ll die together I guess since he’s mortally wounded. [Yep.] Actually Arya could show up any time and kill Cersei. [Nope. I thought this because Arya went offscreen to parts unknown for a while, thought she might be heading to the underground caves too.]
Oops Mountain is undead. Gonna throw him in fire. Gonna pick him up and jump together into fire I bet. [Ha! I called this so far ahead of time. It was clear because fire is the only way to kill those undead and The Hound knew it. Of course, he didn’t actually know he was throwing him into a fire. He just busted through a wall and “accidentally” fell into a fire, which was silly.]
Hrm Arya a wildcard here. Escape via. dragon cave? She knows where it is. Or maybe not.
Aw shit. Maybe cut your losses? [The Hound getting pummelled, can’t kill The Mountain.] OMG. I mean I literally called that.
Damn Dany friendly fire.
Sheesh a lot of these actors running while things blow up behind them in this episode. Oh Arya going to lead the refugees to the caves. [Nope. Arya is the sole survior, impossibly miraculously, standard television mechanics at work here, high-paid actors are invulnerable no matter what.] Lot of long one-take steadicam shots too with Arya.
Oh wow they made it. Jaime and Cersei. Gonna be a surprise waiting. Oh. Well, or maybe a blocked passage. Guess they’ll die together after all. [Roof collapses.] Whoopsie daisy. Well that settles that.
Why is Arya even here. A witness I guess. Witness for all of the death. Ha one white horse? Really? That must be a callback to something. A pale horse? Well we’ll chalk that up as a deus ex machina then. [I read a theory that Bran sent the horse. Didn’t think of that. Probably true. Can Bran see the future? Is that established? He can see the present and the past for sure.]
Credits. Yikes. Well a lot more people died tonight than fighting the Night King. Varys. Jaime and Cersei (probably). Euron (probably). The Hound and The Mountain (probably). Qyburn. Well maybe not more. [Still, it really narrows down the field for the Iron Throne.]
Back hurts. Going to bed.
Next Morning Thoughts
I thought it was a good episode … until the battle started. The early part of the episode reminded me a lot of “classic” Game of Thrones, when the show was best. The latter half of the episode turned back into a dumb Marvel movie, where spectacle is more important than story.
Checking my predictions: I was right that Cersei would be dead, but wrong about most everything else. Cleganebowl did happen, with less fanfare than expected. I thought The Hound would win that because fan service but they actually did a bold move in having them both die. Unfortunately they did it in a super predictable cheesy way. The whole thing seemed pointless. The entire rivalry seemed pointless.
Arya’s arc seemed wasted. She went all the way down to King’s Landing for nothing, except to witness all the death. I saw one Twitter comment that she would probably now be adding Dany to her list. I mean she might have done that before, but yeah, probably. It’s certainly the only chance that Jon has of surviving.
So in the final episode we’ll have Dany and Greyworm versus The Starks. Greyworm saw Jon acting “cowardly” and will report it back to Dany, so his head will be on the chopping block. Tyrion will probably be the deciding factor.
With the revised information from this episode, it seems there’s an off chance that Jon and Dany will kill each other, leaving Tyrion for the Iron Throne. The show clearly wants the audience to root for Jon to usurp the throne from Dany, who has clearly gone crazy. That’s what the show wants us to believe, with a gigantic sledgehammer of narrative. There aren’t any political forces left to oppose Jon, except the aforementioned Greyworm. Greyworm and Tyrion are the only people left in Dany’s council, and Tyrion wants Jon to rule. There’s also a chance that Dany will die, Jon will refuse the throne and name Tyrion the king, or something like that. Point being, I’m now leaning toward Jon “winning” and Dany dying, with a chance of Jon ceding the throne to Tyrion. That is the expectation that the show is setting up, at least, in giant neon letters.
Now since they’re being so blatant in this setup, it makes me think they will try to pull a “surprise” maneuver in the end. So I’m still going to put my money on Dany “winning” in the end. Jon will probably die. Arya might try to kill Dany in retaliation (and fail? Greyworm kills her instead?). That will leave Sansa versus Dany. (Sansa and what army?) Sansa will have to make peace with her (in a realistic world, at least).
Then again, since the show is so focused on fan service right now, will the fans be serviced with Dany winning after so explicitly burning King’s Landing and all its innocent victims to the ground? They are setting her up as a huge tyrant, and nobody wants a tyrant to win, especially in the frightening tumultuous real-life political times that we live in. But fans want Dany to win, I’m sure.
Gah. It’s hard to balance. Trying to separate out the ideals of the show from the ideals of the books is hard to do. In the books, it would be easy to imagine Dany becoming a tyrant because the books are bold and risky and take no prisoners, but also logical and thoughtful. The show … isn’t. The show plays it safe and caters to the cheering fans who are used to superhero movie spectacles.
Maybe I should just stick with what the show is giving us. The show is clearly spelling out and telegraphing that Jon and Tyrion will turn on Dany and remove her. Greyworm will report back to Dany about Jon’s “cowardice.” Maybe they are setting up an epic duel between Greyworm and Arya, the only two super-fighters left.
And what about Brienne? I was totally wrong about her. They left her pining in Winterfell, a travesty for her character. I assume we’ll see her in the final episode, undoubtedly as Sansa’s best knight, and that’s where we’ll leave her. Oh except I’m sure she’ll hook up with Tormund now because fan service.
I was totally wrong about anyone killing Cersei. Turns out the building killed her. ‘Twas a fitting end for Cersei and Jaime, I thought. I was not unhappy with it. I was glad they did something I didn’t expect. I mean, at least until the moment when we saw the way out blocked (somehow). Then it was obvious they were both going to die there together. I feel like Cersei didn’t have very many scenes or lines in this entire season. Just a whole lot of shots of her smirking face looking out over the city.
You know, I have literally no idea why The Hound was mad at The Mountain and needed revenge. I mean, I know a little from the books. But from the show, I know almost nothing. They never had a scene together the entire show, start to finish, as far as I know. Did they? So why was it so damn important that they fight at the end? Fan service, that’s why. Memes, that’s why.
As for Dany going mad, I’m still not convinced they’re going to stick to the gender trope path (“women are crazy yo!”). She had plenty of reasons for what she did. It wasn’t madness. Her subordinates were and are legitimately plotting against her. She has to defend her reign by whatever means necessary, and her best weapon is, as she rightfully pointed out, fear. The point is, as a white dude, I’m not looking at Dany’s character and thinking, “oh typical crazy woman.” I’m thinking this is her best option to regain and maintain control over Westeros. Her next move, at the very beginning of the next episode, should be to immediately execute Jon and Tyrion, her most immediate threats. (That will of course cause Arya to try to assasinate Dany in revenge, if it wasn’t already in the cards, leaving Sansa the eventual “winner.”)
It’s down to four possibilities now: Dany, Jon, Tyrion, or Sansa. They are the last ones standing. I’d like to think it will be Dany, but I think my experience of the books is coloring my opinion here. The show is painting a very different story. The show is telegraphing to us it will be Jon. Dany would be a subversion of those expectations. But if they want to make a splash the two “surprise” possibilities would be Tyrion and/or Sansa.
Bronn is a wildcard here, too. He could pop up in the last episode to assassinate Tyrion. Maybe if Dany and Jon both die, the show will set us up to think Tyrion will take over as a benevolent ruler. Then Bronn arrives and bam, no more Tyrion. That leaves Sansa as the surprise winner.
Lots of possibilities. :)
Tuesday Night Thoughts
It occurs to me that Sansa and Tyrion have no actual claim to the throne of Westeros. Dany and Jon do, as Targaryan heirs (by the patriarchal rules, technically only Jon does). I also discounted Gendry, since they wrapped up his arc with a neat bow last time (the actor isn’t one of the stars anyway). Gendry also does, as a Baratheon. So technically the only two possible winners now are Jon or Gendry. Meaning that Dany will have to kill them both to retain a legitimate legal claim to the throne. I’m assuming here that nobody in Westeros is going to question how Jon Snow suddenly pops up as the Targaryan heir, with scant evidence to support it. (“Hey my weird brother says so!”)
Now if Dany, Jon, and Gendry all die, then we have the possibility for Sansa and/or Tyrion to jump in and claim the throne, as the two highest paid actors left.
In any case the throne is Dany’s to lose right now. Jon (and presumably Arya) will have to proactively take it from her.
Still wondering who Varys was writing to. Did he burn that letter? He burned a letter but was it the letter? Anyway there’s no major characters left to write to. Maybe Yara on the Iron Islands? Long shot there. Wouldn’t that be funny if she swooped in and took the throne in the end. I thought she was already pledged to Dany though, so not likely. Dorne? No characters left there. Who rules Dorne now anyway, come to think of it? Was he writing to someone across the sea? Nobody left there either, except side characters from long ago. Ravens don’t fly there anyway, right?
Oh here’s one more permutation that could work: Jon (or someone) kills Dany. Tyrion dies via. Bronn or Greyworm or whatever. Jon doesn’t want the throne, names Sansa the queen. That’s a distinct possibility.
There is a bit of a problem with the Unsullied and the Dothraki all rioting if Dany dies. That’s a loose end the show probably won’t address.
There is also the minor, insignificant problem of Dany’s dragon. If Dany is killed, what happens to her dragon? That would be … bad. If someone is going to kill Dany, someone also has to kill that dragon. I’m assuming if that’s necessary for the plot, they will hand-wave it away somehow. Sneak up and kill it in its sleep or something dumb like that. Or even better, Bronn or Tyrion or someone will find one miraculously working scorpion left and make a miraculous one-in-a-million shot through it’s eye as it flies by. Maybe it will somehow end up in the basement with the other dragon skulls.