The following is a slightly edited but mostly unedited copy of the notes I take while watching Game of Thrones. I watch with a laptop and bash out thoughts as they occur to me, then I go back after the show and fill in extra details in brackets. I had ideas of turning these notes into real posts but since I never did it for season 7, and there’s over 4,000 words of stream-of-consciousness commentary down below, at this point you just get what you get.
There are tons and tons and tons of spoilers below, so don’t read it unless you’ve already seen the latest episodes. If you’re one of those people who isn’t watching the show to avoid book spoilers, you also probably shouldn’t read below. (Though personally I think the show is going a vastly different direction from the books.)
If you’re in love with the show and think it can do no wrong, you should also probably also avoid this. I’m in the “I think the show has plummeted in quality since the first three seasons but I still watch it just in case it returns to form” camp of fans. The lack of quality source material is extremely evident to me in the latter seasons. The notes below will reflect that. I am more often disappointed with the creative choices of the show than thrilled.
By the way, I don’t read any fan theories or much of any commentary about the show (or the books). Most of my predictions come out of my own demented brain. They may or may not overlap with popular fan theories.
Episode 1 … the first one [Winterfell]
Watched the last two episode of the last season just before the premiere. First time I’ve seen them since they first aired. Wasn’t that great but one or two good scenes in each episode. [I made notes like this for season 7 as well. The short version: I thought it was one of the worst seasons, pretty much non-stop fan service, and I felt like it was explicitly trying to undo the things that had happened in the books.]
Here we go. Sunday, April 14, 2019. First episode. New opening graphics. Wall broken. WTF underground? Where was that? Wasn’t paying attention heh.
Young Bran? No just a random kid. Maybe? That was Arya. No [not young Bran]. Watching armies march north. Same music as first season when Lannisters arrived in Winterfell. Oh, it’s the unsullied. Danaerys and Jon. [I still do not know how to spell Daenarys by the way.]
What the hell is that outfit that Arya’s wearing. It was in the last season too. Jon didn’t see her. She’s bummed. Uh oh all of the people on Arya’s list walking by. Just like first episode of first season kind of.
Why is Greyworm riding a horse?
Ugh another kid lord … Lord Umber. Ugh this Mormont kid is a one-trick pony. [I loved her in the first episode she appeared, but have been annoyed by every subsequent appearance because she is literally the same every time.]
Uh oh Jon losing the room.
Tension between the ladies. Cliche.
Oh lol I forgot Sansa and Tyrion were married. Awkwarrrrd.
Wait it was snowing at King’s Landing last season. Now it’s sunny and warm.
WTF Cersei and Euron? I blinked and missed a line or two.
Hiring Bronn to kill the Lannister brothers? With the crossbow?
Ouch. [Don’t remember what I was referring to here.]
Theon! Doing something right for a change.
Jon finally riding a dragon. [One of the “three heads of the dragon” from the books we’ve all presumed.]
(Bunch of stuff, was eating chips couldn’t type) (Danaerys tells Sam that she killed her father and brother. Sam tells Jon about how he’s the true heir and all.)
Well I guess they didn’t die at The Wall. [Tormund et al, at the end of the last season.]
Oh well now I feel bad about dissing Lord Umber. [After seeing him spiked on the wall.]
Oh we’re doing jump scares now.
Somebody in a cloak. Big reveal coming up probably. Oh it’s going to be Jaime. Yep, it’s him. Looks different. Hair grown. Ha there’s Bran, staring at him. OH HAHA “Waiting for an old friend,” now I get it.
[A note here: Offhand I can’t remember if Bran can see the future as well as the past. That he was waiting at the gates for Jaime suggests he *can* see the future. Which is interesting. And of course produces a large number of plot holes.]
Typical of a first episode of a Game of Thrones season… not much actually happened, no real story progression. Just placing all the characters on the stage for the rest of the season. Lot of a reunions, continuing the fan service from last season (“oh what will these two say to each other when they see each other again!”) Seems like all roads are leading to WInterfell for the dramatic last stand or whatever.
S8E02 A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
EPISODE 2 “The Second One” [Knight of the Seven Kingdoms]
Prediction: Battle won’t start in this episode. It’ll be the last thing before the credits. They’ll be standing on the walls waiting, then roll credits.
Jaime in Winterfell. Starting right away. Great start. [One of two good scenes in the episode.]
Jaime looks broken.
“I’ll find another hand who can,” Danaerys says, glancing up at … ah… what’s his name [Jorah], and Varys. Greyscale guy. Fook can’t think of his name.
“I know death,” [says Arya]. Eyeroll.
Here we go, the big confrontation. Jaime versus Bran. Well that was short. Felt like just checking off a box. [Thoroughly unsatisfying.]
Now Jaime versus Tyrion. Callback.
Now Jaime versus Brienne. “I’d be honored to serve under your command if you’ll have me.”
Now What’s-His-Name [Jorah] versus Danaerys. [Sticks up for Tyrion.]
Now Danaerys versus Sansa. Aw they bonding. “What about the north.” Oops not bonding now.
Theon? Sansa hugging Theon?? Seemed weird.
That little kid [in the soup line talking to Lord Onion] looks exactly like Gilly. Wonder if it’s the actor’s daughter.
Horns! Is it battle? Nope just riders arriving. [Not-]Grenn I think. Tormund. Berrin. Berrick? Can’t remember.
I feel zero tension for this upcoming battle. I mean of course they’re going to win.
Now Tyrion and Bran.
More delays. Ah Missande and Greyworm now. Short. [Still predicting Missande will be the one of the two to die.]
Sam and Jon. Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia.
Tyrion and Jaime. Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia. It’s a regular party now. [Milk gag.] Is this a comedy show now wtf ha?
Sandor and Arya. And Berrick. Arya leaving. Going to see Gendry of course. Ah practicing archery. Oh Gendry found her. Awwww. [Was kind of weird and forced actually.]
Making Brienne a knight. Cool scene. [Probably best of the show. Brienne’s smiling face. Of course she will fall in the upcoming battle. Although since they are doing all-fan-service-all-the-time the fans desperately want her to live so it suggests she will live by some deus ex machina.]
Sam gave Heartsbane to What’s-His-Name [Jorah].
Ugh the sad song before battle montage. [Super duper cliche. Have seen this like a hundred times, probably many times in this very show. Still feel zero tension for the upcoming battle.]
So the big secret is out. [Jon is a Targaryon and Danaerys’s nephew. Incidentally he accepts it without question, kind of odd.] Just in time for the bad guys to arrive. All to plan. Now the last shot of course. [Bad guys looking at the walls of Winterfell.]
Well that was another kind of wasted episode. No story progression yet again. Just a lot of fan service. Some good scenes but overall still feeling like we’re waiting for the real story to begin. Could have skipped both of these episodes and not missed anything. A lot of time is spent having the characters tell each other things that the audience already knows.
Predictions: Deus Ex Machina will save more than one character in The Big Battle. None of the principal characters will die next episode. The battle will end in a stalemate by the end of the next episode, a siege of Winterfell, the armies of the dead surrounding them. Cersei will end up sending the Golden Company to break the seige and “save” the North, giving her tremendous political leverage. (Perhaps with the aid of some black magic from Qyburn.) Someone will need to tell Cersei how bad it is. Perhaps Bronn will see how bad it is and go back to King’s Landing. (Possibly after assassinating the Lannisters, but I doubt it. I don’t really think Bronn will go through with it. The Lannister brothers will make it worth his while not to.) Jaime will have to have a “real” sword fight to save himself. Jorah will probably die, because Iain Glenn has been getting a “with Iain Glenn” credit, so he doesn’t have much of a role this season. Otherwise, various miscellaneous characters could die. It’ll probably be a random tossup of side character deaths, and none of it will matter.
Pre-Episode 3 revisions:
Safe money death predictions: Brienne, Jorah, Theon. Not Jaime, because he still needs to kill Cersei. Not The Hound, because he still needs to fight The Mountain. Brienne is such an obvious potential death that if they don’t subvert our expectations somehow I’ll be pretty disappointed. But yeah, her character has no more purpose.
Possibilities: Tormund, Berrick, the other guy who’s not Grenn, who have no plot purpose. Sam, who has served his plot purpose. Jaime is a possibility though, because either one of him or Arya can kill Cersei.
Outside guesses: Missande, not Grey Worm. But probably one of the two. Guessing that there will be a “surprise” appearance by someone. Millisandre perhaps? I honestly don’t remember what happened to her. I didn’t think she died. Tyrion is an outside guess because his character hasn’t done much for years. Arya is a very outside guess because her character isn’t needed to kill Cersei or anyone on her list anymore.
But probably none of the Starks.
S8E03 The Long Night
Episode 3 “The Battle of Winterfell” aka. “The Long Night”
Here’s the big one that everyone’s waiting for. Supposed to be a long episode-1 hr 22 min. Heard it was the longest “battle scene” ever filmed, or something like that.
Watched most of the previous episode beforehand, as it aired just before the new episode. Opinion of episode 2 didn’t change much. Only a couple of good scenes, otherwise just a lot of time-killing. I felt like everytime a conversation between two people was getting good, they cut away. Would have loved to see Bran telling Tyrion of his journey.
This almost seems like the whole series is now just an “epilogue” with only Winterfell and King’s Landing in the opening credits.
Ugh this better not be one of those gimmicky “single-shot” things. Starting on Sam in a long shot. Then Tyrion. Yep, it’s a gimmicky long-shot, no question. Oh it stopped hehe. Whew.
Are these horse the Dothraki? Didn’t see them anywhere last episode. Wondered about them.
Ghost really is there. Missed him completely in the last episode. [Read that he re-appeared in somebody’s recap.]
Seems like the undead army could simply go around Winterfell hehe. [In retrospect though, it could be rationalized that the Night King came to Winterfell for the sole purpose of exterminating Bran. One wonders what they would have done after that. Go on to the south to kill everyone else? Still, it seems like tactically it would have been a lot easier for the Night King to simply bypass Winterfell, where the enemy concentrated all of its power, and destroy the rest of the south first. I guess he was a victim of his own hubris.]
Jon’s going to ride a dragon? [In the battle.]
Millisandre!! Totally called it. [First of many random elements in the episode.]
I was gonna say, it’s going to take a long time for her to do that ritual to all of their swords [which aren’t swords actually]. Hope that fire doesn’t spook the horses hehe.
She’s wearing the only color in the show so far. Red. Albeit deep dark red.
Going to see all the torch lights go out from a distance. [Could tell because they showed that long shot of the horseriders as little fireflies from the hill where Dany and Jon stood.]
Wut? Ghost running with the Dothraki horseriders?
Called it. Dothraki gone. Seen only from a distance. Dead silence. Dead Dothraki incoming. [Well not now but later.]
Well Jorah’s still alive. For now. [Somehow he survived when every other Dothraki was killed. In retrospect, I could award that a Deus Ex Machina even though we didn’t see it on screen because it was pretty random.] What about Ghost? MIA Ghost.
Oh damn that’s a lot of undead.
Which dragon will go down against the undead dragon? [Neither it turns out.]
Jon learned to fly that dragon awfully fast. In… one day? [Took Dany years, right?]
Can’t see nuthin of what’s happening. Dark and shaky cam. Yuck. [It would be a theme throughout the episode and many Internet memes would be made over it.]
KIA: Grenn. I mean Not-Grenn. [I still have no idea what that guy’s name is.] [Dolorous Edd, supposedly.]
Gonna reveal the other dragon is undead dragon in the fogginess. Or maybe not. Dany missing. [Still can’t see shit. I thought when Dany and Jon were looking at each other in the fog and verifying it was still them, one of the shots would reveal they were really looking at the undead dragon and the Night King staring back at them. That would have been cool actually.]
How is there possibly enough room inside those walls for everyone?
Are you kidding me they were going to use the dragons to light the trenches?? Backup plans hello??
First Deus Ex Machina… Millisandre lighting the trenches. [Sort of a delayed-action Deus Ex Machina.]
Wait wut. Jon was right there on his dragon when the trenches lit up. Why didn’t he light the trench on fire?
Break for the fire. Undead just waiting for the fires to burn down now.
Some dialog [finally]. “Without the dragon queen you’d all be dead.” Ouch. Missande u mad bro?
Smothering the fires with their own bodies. Well that works too. [Just waiting for the fire to die out would have worked too.]
Oh man. Here comes the Jon versus Night King dragon fight.
Sheesh there’s a lot of firelit smoke in the background.
This ain’t looking good for the wall defenders. Somebody went over the wall but I couldn’t see who it was. Assume it was an extra.
It occurs to me we might not even know who dies in this episode because of all the smoke and darkness. Might not find out until next episode.
Oh man. Probably KIA Little Lady Mormont with a hilarious scream. [I literally laughed out loud when she was bopped aside by the giant club. That little scream she did should become The New Wilhelm Scream.] Oh she’s not dead. Wow she got him [the undead giant, in the eye]. Crowd pleaser there. [Total fan service.] [But she died anyway.]
Now the dragon fight. Um.. dragon fire isn’t a laser beam dudes. Fire has like physics? Flying forward and breathing dragon breath forward at the same time is kinda dumb? Cool dragons-in-moonlight shot though.
Suddenly super quiet inside Winterfell. Dead are all just walking around calmly now in the library. This scene [with Arya sneaking around an empty library full of undead] is weird and out of place in the middle of the previously loud chaotic battle. How is Arya all alone inside all of Winterfell all of a sudden?
Jump scare as Tyrion drinks from his flask.
These people in the crypts are just sitting ducks. They should have left the castle.
WHY IS IT SO QUIET NOW. There were thousands and thousands of undead around just moments ago now they’re all gone [and there is no sound of battle anymore].
Arya saved by Deus Ex Machina. [The Hound and Berric just happened to be there when she needed them.]
KIA Berric with the super obvious Jesus imagery. Oh he’s not dead yet. Well now he is.
I swear the dialog is so quiet I can’t hear no matter how much I turn up the volume. Fookin’ dynamic range is insane these days.
Dragon fight again. Jon’s dragon versus Night King. Night King falls. [Dany saved him out of nowhere, counting as a Deus Ex Machina in retrospect.] Jon down on the field, his dragon hurt I guess. [Yet another physics-doesn’t-apply-in-movies moment, falls, tumbles, not hurt at all.] Couldn’t see much in that fight.
Fire won’t hurt him I bet. [Night King burned by dragon fire, didn’t work.] Yep. Doh. New plan needed.
Jon going after him for single combat. [They are all alone on the battlefield.] Seriously where did those bajillions of undead go.
Ghost is going to save Jon. We think he’s dead but he’s not. [Nope, seems Ghost is indeed KIA or at least MIA. Whatever. They wrote him out of the show. The entire foundation of the story, the event that kicked everything off, and they just got rid of the direwolves except for random fan service.]
Uh oh. Unsullied rising up. Big problem. [Night King raising all the dead around him. Jon in big trouble. Not alone on the battlefield anymore.]
All the dead getting up now. Dothraki. Even Little Lady Mormont.
This is super bad.
Nope not yet.
OMG the dead from the crypt. [Didn’t see that coming, for a change.] OMG IS IT GOING TO BE NED STARK??!? Sean Bean guest?? That would be the final shot of the episode for sure. [Nupe, but would have been super cool. Would have been the only genuine surprise of the episode.]
Deus Ex Machina saves Jon. [Dany with the dragon fire kills all the undead surrounding him.] [5th one so far.]
JESUS GET OFF THE GROUND WTF. [Dany’s dragon just sat there while undead climbed all over him.]
Dany in trouble now.
Deux Ex Machina Jorah saves Dany. [He appeared out of literally nowhere.] [6th one.]
Nice moment with Tyrion and Sansa. [In the crypt. Before going out to fight.]
THE ALL IS LOST MOMENT! [read in Barry from American Dad voice] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-LHqF8asIw
KIA Theon. Oh not dead yet. Gets to watch Bran taken. Oh he’s dead now.
Jorah hurt bad.
SUPER DUPER DEUS EX MACHINA THERE. [Arya just flies in from literally nowhere and kills the Night King, all the undead die at once.] [7th of the episode.]
Aw no Ned Stark.
KIA Mellisandre. [Walks off and dies… for no apparent reason.]
Whoa that was something. Many, many, many story flaws but still, that was something. They’ve turned Game of Thrones into a Marvel superhero story basically.
Well I was wrong about the ending. They concluded the battle against the Night King, supposedly. Certainly seems that way from the previews for next week, where we go back to the alleged real “Game of Thrones.” This seals the complete divergence from the books, which I presume will end with the final battle against the dead, and not this dumb fight for the Iron Throne.
But my death predictions were pretty accurate. Not-Grenn? Check. Theon? Check. Jorah? Check. Right that none of the Starks died. Right about Jaime and The Hound.
Wrong about: Little Lady Mormont died. Technically wrong that Brienne didn’t die, but right in that I hoped they would subvert the expectation, which I’m glad about. (Though she has no particular role going forward.)
Right about surprise guest star Mellisandre.
Right about the number of Deus Ex Machinas. A LOT. It’s official. Game of Thrones is a superhero franchise now. That’s not even counting all the characters who stood and slugged it out against hundreds of undead, separated and alone, surrounded by overwhelming odds, without dying: Brienne, Jaime, Sam (I think), Greyworm, Jon, even Dany, etc. All of those guys should never have survived, should have died from exhaustion and/or getting overwhelmed, but I assume they will be perfectly fine without even any wounds next episode.
Next Day Thoughts
I like how Jaime’s defining characteristic-the loss of his hand that renders him impotent as the best swordsman in the land-does not affect his ability to fight off hundreds of undead.
Reviews are coming out about the episode and everyone is screaming about how great it was. I mean, I just don’t understand this modern jazz, man. This new-fangled rock n’ roll is just weird. Nobody cares if anything makes plot or character sense as long as you disguise it with smoke and mirrors and a spectacular shot of Arya flying through the air.
It could have been literally anyone in that shot and it would have made exactly as much sense. It could have been Jorah Mormont. It could have been Brienne or Gendry. It could have been Ghost for god’s sake. Well maybe not because his teeth aren’t made of dragonglass. Anyway while everyone else is screaming “YEEEEEAAAAAHHHH!” I’m over here thinking “um how the holy hell did she get there? Night King was completely surrounded by bad guys.” As a rationalization, I suppose she could have killed one of the dead and taken their face and snuck in with the Night King’s entourage, but they didn’t show that. Even if she did, why wait until this big dramatic moment instead of just casually stabbing him before entering the Godswood? Just so many plot holes.
It’s one thing to find plot holes when you think about a show in the days and weeks after seeing it. That’s fine. But when there are just huge gaping plot holes that are obvious AS YOU’RE WATCHING it’s pretty irritating. It’s the filmmaker basically saying either a) our audience is so stupid they won’t notice this or b) our audience is so forgiving that they won’t care so we can just phone this in, it’s fine. Neither is very appealing to me, because I don’t fit either category. I love A Song of Ice and Fire but if you leave a gaping plot hole, I’m going to notice it and point it out. Arya flying in out of nowhere was a visually striking moment to see but it made no sense whatsoever in logistical terms. (Annie Wilkes would have had an aneurysm over it.)
Weirdly, the episode was titled “The Battle of Winterfell” before it aired, but now it’s titled “The Long Night.”
CNET’s episode recap just gushed and gushed about it, as if written by a 10-year-old. https://www.cnet.com/news/game-of-thrones-season-8-episode-3-recap-battle-of-winterfell-bran-arya-jon-snow-sansa-daenerys/
B&N’s and Tor.com’s recaps, the ones I typically read most often, gushed a little bit, but surprisingly, sounded a little bit more reserved and disappointed than usual. Perhaps there is hope after all. Perhaps one day, audiences will demand genre stories that hold up under light scrutiny again.
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/the-game-of-thrones-awards-season-8-episode-3-not-today/ “The beauty of this show is the anticipation it creates from from week to week and season to season, the (insane) fan theories, and the almost Super Bowl quality of the major episodes—like this one. Complaints about specific plot turns aside (and I certainly have a few), what else on TV can captivate so many of us this?” Um okay? That’s actually not what I would consider a “great” thing about a show, personally… it would be the greatness of the show itself, or the lack thereof.
Tor.com https://www.tor.com/2019/04/28/game-of-thrones-season-8-episode-3-the-battle-of-winterfell-discussion-thread/ Kind of weird and disjointed, nothing quotable.
New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/28/arts/television/game-of-thrones-battle-of-winterfell-review.html “Sunday’s final clash was a masterpiece of tension and release, goose bumps and heartbreak, grandiosity and intimacy.” Eh. Brainwashed.
Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/04/29/game-thrones-season-episode-review-long-night/ “How did we get to a place where Arya’s assassination of the Night King felt like an intellectual letdown, where a big episode of “Game of Thrones” felt like badly shot and edited fan service rather than a genuine revelation?” Yeah. This is a take I can relate to. This article does a good job of summarizing my general falling out with the show over the years. It’s nowhere near what it used to be, and completely different from the books now.
So that scene between Arya and Mellisandre that was so quiet I couldn’t even hear it… the one where she was talking about the eye colors, which didn’t make any sense to me at the time because I only caught like one word in five… that was when the show tipped its hand that Arya was going to be the one to kill the Night King at the end. Didn’t hear that part. So I guess Arya wasn’t so random after all. But, you know, not my fault. Dynamic range effed that one up for me. (Seriously I had the volume on my soundbar cranked up at least 75%, making the sound effects and battles shake the house with loudness, and I still couldn’t hear that dialog clearly. I rarely ever go above 40% on that soundbar.)
Still, it wasn’t so much that it was Arya that killed the Night King that bothered me, or that they hid the reveal that it would be her. It was the way she did it that made no sense. The physical logistics of it, as it were. I don’t remember any indication that she could, you know, fly hehe. Or teleport from one physical location to another? I mean, she didn’t actually fly or teleport, but still. Where exactly did she jump from? Was she in the Godswood tree on a branch? Was she hiding behind the zombies? Was she standing on a parapet? Did she simply run through a hundred people to get there, as the show implied? Who knows?
I think I’m going to watch the re-run tonight.
The trebuchets are outside the castle walls! [I saw some vague references to the awful battle tactics on display but at this point in the show I just accept that as normal. But yeah, putting the trebuchets outside, and then barely even using them? I mean besides the fact that they they don’t seem like a very good defensive weapon in the first place? Much better suited to sieging a castle than defending one. I don’t know that for a fact one way or another, just something I intuit from the clunky, plodding nature of the weapon and the lack of ability to aim it.]
[Dany and Jon barely ever used the dragonfire against the undead. I would have thought they would be doing that non-stop the entire time. Especially when the undead were waiting outside the burning trenches. But no, they just sat there.]
I’m curious what will happen next, since the entire premise of the show, “winter is coming,” is now over. Winter has been defeated. Winter is not over, but the “threat” from beyond The Wall is certainly over. But there’s three more episodes to fill with tension. Well two, probably. The second-to-last episode is usually the climax of the season, with the final episode being a denouement. I cannot predict how they will make Cersei into a bigger threat to the world than the Night King. (Unless they bring back the Night King in some unexpected way, which is a remote possibility.)
On the compression bruhaha: I only noticed a compression artifact one time in the entire episode. That is to say, there was only one time in the entire episode when I thought, “Sheesh look at that awful compression artifact, I wish that wasn’t there.” I watched the episode Sunday night at 9 PM EST on HBO through Verizon FIOS “cable” service, which is probably the least possible amount of compression outside of a theater or a Blu-ray. It was no more than I expect to be normal for this method of viewing television.
Personally I think they made the episode dark and susceptible to compression errors in a deliberate effort to make it look terrible when pirated. HBO is probably collecting the names of everyone complaining about compression so they can start legal action. :)
The darkness of the episode was annoying, but I never had trouble seeing who was doing what, with the exception of the dragon fighting. But I accepted that they were doing that on purpose to show how foggy the fog was, and just went with it. There were a lot of quick cuts and shaky cam at times, but I also accept that was a deliberate effort to recreate the “fog of war.”
I was far more annoyed by the audio dynamic range, which is something that consistently annoys me in modern shows and movies. Battles and screams and explosions are at full volume, while regular dialog seems roughly half that volume. I almost always turn on my soundbar’s “uni volume” setting which evens out the levels, but for shows I care about, I often turn it off to hear it “as intended.” For this episode, it was particularly annoying.
When I watched the episode the second time, I changed my television to its “vivid” setting and turned off every light around me, and it was much better. I also turned on the “uni volume” setting and was able to hear much better.
The point is, I had a *lot* more problems with the story choices than the technical choices. I counted seven deus ex machina moments. Seven! Those are the moments where someone is shown on screen in a position where they will surely die, but someone or something arrives from out of frame out of nowhere to rescue them. The “cheating death” moments that are the exact antithesis of what makes A Song of Ice and Fire so compelling. And that’s not even counting all the folks who magically survived being surrounded and swarmed by hundreds of undead. Oh and I forgot when Sam was saved by Not-Grenn. That’s eight, then, in one episode.
Anyway. On to predictions for the rest of the season.
Arya: No idea. She has no plot purpose now. I guess retire? At one time she was destined to kill Cersei, being the last name on her list, so it’s possible she could go back to that. Maybe team up with The Hound to return to King’s Landing … for some reason.
Sansa: I feel like there’s an outside chance she might join forces with Tyrion. I wonder sometimes if they are technically still married. Confrontation between Sansa and Dany is inevitable, but Sansa has no interest in the Iron Throne, only Winterfell. Outside chance she will “win” and rule Westeros from Winterfell, not King’s Landing.
Tyrion: Will be helping Dany take the Iron Throne. Probably just a supporting advisory role. His closeness with Sansa could be very important politically.
Jon: Also has no interest in the Iron Throne. I don’t see him going back to King’s Landing. At least he shouldn’t. His role in the overarching plot is also over now. Will undoubtedly break with Dany over it (though he gave his word, so maybe not). He might go back to The Wall to begin repairs and run things. Dany doesn’t trust Jon anymore. If he goes to King’s Landing with her, he’s finished in the North.
Brienne: No idea. Her role is over too. Why would she go back to King’s Landing?
Jaime: Probably going to kill Cersei. Otherwise, has no purpose.
Sam: Has no reason to go to King’s Landing. No reason to be in the rest of the show, his purpose is fulfilled. Might go back to his now-empty home.
Bran: His purpose is over. Maybe he’ll travel back north of The Wall. BUT: There is a chance that he has more to do. There was that odd scene with the ravens. *I* think it was just a transition device to see the Night King on his dragon, but it’s possible he was up to some shennanigans.
Millisande and Greyworm: One of them will surely die. My guess is Millsande.
Bronn: Question mark. Supposed to kill Jaime and Tyrion. Seems unlikely, out of character for him. But you know, they love “surprises.” If it’s going to happen, I suspect it will be at the end of the next episode, 4. Tyrion’s death would not affect the rest of the season. Jaime’s death would mean Arya will definitely be the one to kill Cersei. It would be more dramatic for Jaime to kill Cersei though. Bronn himself will probably not survive the season, no matter what.
The Hound: Since the show is all-fan-service-all-the-time, he’ll go back to King’s Landing and fight The Mountain, even though there’s no story reason for him to do that. Probably in episode 5/6.
Dany: Will lay siege to King’s Landing, obviously. I think there’s an outside chance she’ll get killed, though. Her forces are decimated now. Dothraki are gone. Unsullied are gone. Has no army. Will have to convince the north. Press them into service maybe? *Enslave* them? Ironic. Tyrion could help with that, from his ties to Sansa. Probably going to push Jon away. Maybe kill him, or have him killed. More I think about it, the more it might end badly for her.
Cersei: She’ll probably die or possibly escape. She certainly won’t “win.” I think there’s a lot more to the baby story than has been said. I think Qyburn’s involved. I think Qyburn has been up to some really hinky stuff that has not yet been revealed. He did raise The Mountain from the dead, after all. Allegedly.
Gendry: Who cares. It would be the worst possible ending if he took the Iron Throne. But I wouldn’t put it past them.
Varys: Don’t know. Huge question mark. Has had no real role in a long time. Wants Dany to take the Iron Throne, so will help with that. If Dany dies, don’t know what he’ll do.
Who will win? Don’t know, don’t really care. If I had to guess, I think the safe money will be that they do exactly what every fan expects and has been foreshadowed since the beginning: Cersei will die, Dany will win, Sansa will be Queen of the North (optionally with Tyrion), Jon goes back to The Wall. Outside chances: None of Cersei, Dany, or Jon wins. Varys has been awfully quiet this season (not a single line yet, right?).
Whatever happens, I’m confident the ending will be very unsatisfactory and feel cheap and phoned in. Some fans will love it, some will hate it. Fans of the books will be disappointed (ie. me). There’s no doubt the Internet will explode with outrage whatever happens. Nobody will care if the ending makes dramatic sense, the conversation will focus around who correctly predicted the “winner” or not.
By the way, I would not be surprised if we’re not done with the Army of the Dead shenanigans. I can’t believe they would just toss away the entire focus of the books. Put another way, I’ll be hugely disappointed with the show (yet again) if they simply toss away the entire focus of the books for the final three episodes.