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BethR

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My friend Andrew Johnson said on FB awhile back that the way GoT "should" end is

with the White Walkers winning.

 

The more I think about it, the more I like that, and I agree that it would be truly counter-cultural n its meta-message.  That said, I doubt it would ever happen.

 

And here's someone saying the same thing:

 

This might be how it ends; tragedy might become fantasy again. I hope not. I hope the White Walkers destroy the Seven Kingdoms and also that the peasants string up all the aristocrats and collectivize agriculture and establish a socialist utopia. That’s my fantasy, different than the one the crypto-royalists seem to cherish. But in the meantime, it’s spectacle without a purpose other than the pleasure of watching it. The show must go on because that’s what television does.

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My take on Melisandre resurrecting Jon Snow is much the same as Myles at the AV Club. It would be a huge narrative red herring if it didn't happen.

 

One other point (spoilers for the books):

 

Is Stannis dead? Note that the episode leaves off showing the actual killing blow with a match cut to Ramsay [boo! hiss!] In a show where they haven't been shy on showing the on screen deaths of many characters, this stuck out to me. His fate is equally ambiguous where ADWD leaves off, with Ramsay claiming that Stannis was killed in a battle. But the excerpts so far from THE WINDS OF WINTER have Stannis still alive and plotting.

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My take on Melisandre resurrecting Jon Snow is much the same as Myles at the AV Club. It would be a huge narrative red herring if it didn't happen.

 

The more I think about it, the more I agree. Of course, as someone pointed out on my FB wall, that doesn't mean that the payoff will come next year--it could be another season before it happens. The question, then, will be whether Jon comes back as the same person. I don't really see any magicking away of the situation here that doesn't involve a pretty radical change in the character--which would, in a way, be even worse than if he stayed dead.

 

 
One other point (spoilers for the books):
 

Is Stannis dead? Note that the episode leaves off showing the actual killing blow with a match cut to Ramsay [boo! hiss!] In a show where they haven't been shy on showing the on screen deaths of many characters, this stuck out to me. His fate is equally ambiguous where ADWD leaves off, with Ramsay claiming that Stannis was killed in a battle. But the excerpts so far from THE WINDS OF WINTER have Stannis still alive and plotting.

 

Golly, I hope he's dead. Unlike Jon Snow's death--which, yes, was built up to but which also felt abrupt and unsatisfactory--Stannis had at got enough of a tragic arc to allow him to be written painlessly out of the show. Honestly, Stannis wasn't a particularly interesting character before this season, and with all the interesting stuff about his story dead in various ways I don't know where they could go with him.

Edited by NBooth

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Guys, you can read reviews and recaps of season 6 all over the net. What I will say is that in the first few episode, this season has given me more reasons to jump up (sometimes literally) and shout "Yes!" than ever before. In fact, in previous seasons I've mostly shouted "No!" (Fortunately, I'm the only one in the room, so nobody worries about my sanity.) I admit there was one major "NO!" moment at the end of episode 3 which reinforces my conviction that Ramsey Bolton must die an even more gruesome and painful death than Joffrey. But on the whole, it may be that writing beyond the published novels is the best thing to happen to this series.

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On 5/18/2016 at 1:39 PM, BethR said:

Guys, you can read reviews and recaps of season 6 all over the net. What I will say is that in the first few episode, this season has given me more reasons to jump up (sometimes literally) and shout "Yes!" than ever before. In fact, in previous seasons I've mostly shouted "No!" (Fortunately, I'm the only one in the room, so nobody worries about my sanity.) I admit there was one major "NO!" moment at the end of episode 3 which reinforces my conviction that Ramsey Bolton must die an even more gruesome and painful death than Joffrey. But on the whole, it may be that writing beyond the published novels is the best thing to happen to this series.

I've been watching--and enjoying--the show, but it's not particularly done much for me beyond "yeah, that was fun"--except for the end of "The Door," which I think took everyone by surprise. I'm finding the Kings Landing stuff to be pretty unengaging (actually, there's lots of unengaging stuff going on this season), though I maintain that the only character I desperately don't want to see die is the one who must, thanks to Cersei's prophecy. I mean Tommen. I could handle anyone else dying and brush it off as the cost of doing business, but Tommen is a sacrificial lamb here. I think it's almost inevitable that he gets snuffed this season.

EDIT: I think that this last episode's

sudden conversion arc--which is 

wildly misread by the AV Club--has some potential, particularly if Margaery is doing what I think she's doing and consolidating her own power. But that whole narrative strand hasn't really worked for me this season, so we'll see. I did a little looking around and apparently the actor who plays Tommen has promised a bloodbath in episode eight...or nine...or ten (he's vague on it), so it could be that there's going to be some major fallout coming soon.

Edited by NBooth

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I don't read many episode recaps, but I always read Philip Sandifer's and the two published at The AV Club, and one thing that folks in both places have mentioned is the way this last episode, "No One," withholds so many scenes you'd expect them to show. Mostly, this withholding seems to be seen as a flaw, though the "newbie" review at AVC makes an excellent case for why one scene, at least, was truncated. I'm not sure it's a flaw, though--one of the commenters there links Tyrion's unfinished joke with the other scenes where Big Scenes are elided and climactic moments deliberately unplayed rather than underplayed. And that comment has gotten me thinking about whether that might be the point--like, a structural principle not only of this episode (though it certainly is that) but of the season. As good as much of the season has been, it's definitely shown a pronounced tendency for the cryptic as well as a habit of cutting off or abandoning storylines (Dorne, way back at the start of the season; lots of stuff surrounding Arya--heck, even the Three Eyed Raven turned out to be kind of a damp squib, considering who they got to play him). Which means either that the showrunners have forgotten how to plot satisfying narrative arcs (or never knew and coasted on GRRM's storytelling) or they're doing something deliberate here. The first is possible but so boring. So I'm going to stick with the second for now.

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It may just be me, but I think tonight's episode was the best-looking the show's been in a long time. And it had more humor, albeit of the pitch-black variety (mostly centering around how incredibly useless Jon Snow is at...well, pretty much everything. There's a sequence at the start of the Battle of the Bastards that made me laugh out loud).

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It's not just you, NBooth. And although some critics were ho-hum, calling it "predictable," I found it quite effective. And

Spoiler

I got my wish: Ramsey Bolton died a horrible gruesome death of doom that he brought on himself. Sansa saying "Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear," was perfect.

Interesting discussion about GoT and violence from LA Review of Books (!) "Dear Television," Aaron Bady & Sarah Mesle consider whether this episode--and the series as a whole is an "incoherent text."

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Ok, yes. What a finale that was. The first fifteen or twenty minutes were brutally efficient, possibly my favorite thing the show has ever done, and the rest of the episode--while never quite reaching that level--was equally good at clearing the board a bit and setting up an end-game. I'm genuinely excited about the possibilities for next season, which I don't recall being about last year's, though that might be my mind playing tricks on me.

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Best season so far, IMHO. Excellent finale.

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3 minutes ago, BethR said:

Best season so far, IMHO. 

Y'know, I might not have been inclined to agree with you a week ago, but looking back there have been some very remarkable episodes this season. And with this finale, which may be the best GoT finale ever, I'm almost certain that I do agree with you at this point.

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FWIW (not much, but still!) season 6 finale "The Battle of the Bastards" and its director won Emmys last night, and GOT received the best drama award, so there's that.

I would have been just as pleased to see The Americans win best drama, though.

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Roy Dotrice (Hallyne the Pyromancer) has died. He also narrated the ASoIaF audiobooks. Really, given his career on stage (emphasized in the linked obituary), screen, and TV, I could have posted this anywhere.

The role I first remember him in, though, is not mentioned here: "Father" in George R.R.Martin's 1980s fantasy series Beauty and the Beast. The series had a significant fandom (Henry Jenkins used it for a case study in his study of fan culture, Textual Poachers), and now seems quite weird, but it was a hit at the time. Here's a clip:

 

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I found the final season finale a bit clunkishly written. I guess that happens sometimes when serials decide to end. It always feels like they speed up. Here's a dragon ride advertisement for the new theme park! Lot of verbalizing things that feel really obvious. Still, there was power in bringing face to face those who have hurt each other and seeing their various reactions.

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Jessica and I felt the same way - the dialogue seemed largely functional, lacking the wit and spark from that in previous seasons.  I hope it improves for the final five episodes, now that the exposition is done and the characters are in their places.

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Some might say that episode 8.2 was overdone with fan-service, but I, and many others, loved it. Goodness knows, there will be more than enough darkness and death ahead. Alan Sepinwall's review is excellent, as far as I'm concerned. Full of spoilers, though, if you're not watching. And at least one event may have further repercussions...who knows?

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Jessica and I loved this episode as well - a satisfying focus on characters before the grand battle sequence to come.

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The last two weeks after GoT, I've run across persistent complaints of the racial insensitivity of this season in that:

--the Dothraki army is sent to the slaughter -- while the whole episode marks individuals marked for heroism, the Dothraki are a nameless, faceless, "other"

--the one female of color with a major role is captured, put in chains, and executed. (the latter was a prominent point of discussion at Ava DuVernay's feed.

I don't know that I thought of this during either episode, so I don't know if I'm blind to such things or people are going to find things to complain about. I suspect that a number of people dislike the idea of the Confederacy show that the GoT team either pitched or is trying to develop and thus becomes a filter for looking at race in this episode. 

Was anybody here bothered by the perceived marginalization of race or racial characters in this season? Is that now officially a thing?

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The execution of that particular character could certainly be perceived as racially insensitive and part of a pattern of privileging white characters in the show that goes back to season 1, and may be read as a problem of the stereotype of the Middle Ages, especially the European Middle Ages, as purely caucasian. So that's a discussion that's been going on for a while with regard to the show (not to mention medieval studies generally).

I suspect the character's death is setting up another character (maybe two) to go off the deep end for revenge. It's a frequent, maybe even stereotypical, plot trope, that got at least two other show-runners in trouble for killing off a minority character (in both cases, not a racial minority, but a lesbian) to send the other partner off on an emotional tear in Buffy and The 100. The writers viewed it as character-driven writing. Many viewers saw it as insensitive at best, at worst, an attack. Bury Your Gays

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Episode 5 proved even more polarizing than episode 4.

Speaking of controversial character treatment in G.R.R.M. series, back in the 80s, he killed off the female lead of Beauty and the Beast in s2, and fans were outraged. She was "replaced" in season three by an equally if not more interesting female character, but fans never accepted her. I knew nothing about this at the time, because I wasn't on the internet. Henry Jenkins writes about it in Textual Poachers.

Also, this Twitter thread on writing the series is pretty good (no spoilers).

Edited by BethR
better URL

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It was hard to watch, and painful as this character's descent has been, I found it psychologically convincing:  bloodlust in response to the killing of your buddies is as timeless as the Iliad, on top of a genetic predisposition to madness, and a moral conviction that one cannot do wrong in grasping what is rightfully yours.  Heartbreaking, but plausible.

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On 5/6/2019 at 10:47 AM, kenmorefield said:

Was anybody here bothered by the perceived marginalization of race or racial characters in this season? Is that now officially a thing?

It's been more or less a thing from the beginning according to a recent essay on problems with GoT's representation of race and medieval history/culture from The Public Medievalist. The author has written a book on the series and is a fan, yet argues that it is

Quote

 important for audiences and readers, as well as the showrunners and producers of Game of Thrones and its upcoming spinoffs, to stop making assumptions about the “accuracy” of Martin’s Middle Ages. His sources were steeped in outdated misogynist and colonialist perspectives, and while that isn’t necessarily his fault—he was working with what was readily available—it is vital to amplify the voices of those who have a better understanding of the real history and culture being exaggerated in Game of Thrones. We should perhaps be thinking more about what our fascination with this “grimdark Middle Ages” tells us about ourselves and our relationship to our own histories.

Good point.

Edited by BethR

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So I finally saw "The Bells" (can't say how). I understand why those who were disappointed were, but it seemed the logical (if rushed) end of many of the character arcs. I get that we all love and want a good redemption story and are, hence, saddened by Jaime or Dany, but Arya's turn away from vengeance to survival (juxtaposed against another little girl in King's Landing who is having an Arya moment) kinda got swept under the rug in chatter, no? (Or is it just that I'm limited in the chatter I hear?)

Also, I don't think enough/much at all has been made of Melesandre's comment in S8 that the Lord of Light follower kept getting resurrected because he had not yet fulfilled his purpose (to save Arya so that she could kill the Night King). I know some people may howl when I say this, but that's a very Gandalf thing to say, and it broadens the questions of religion/cosmology within the series overall as well as forcing us (or me) anyway to re-examine Melesandraes character in light of Jon Snow's (and the series') "this is the only war that matters" mantra. I will be immensely surprised (but also immensely pleased) if the series returns to this claim in the finale in reference to Jon Snow's resurrection. The series has been indifferent on this point, maybe, but "The Bells"certainly seems to be breaking in the direction of a central division between those who fight for self or self or personal reasons (Circe, Jaime, Sandor, Tywin, Joffrey,   CatelynLittlefinger, Bron, Renly, Stannis, Euron, hell, even Drago) and those who fight for some sort of perception of the broader good (Jon, Varys--lately, though not completely, I think, Tyrion, lately, Hodor, Jorah--eventually, Brienne, Eddard). This doesn't bode well for Sansa or Dany in the finale, but I'm dubious that the series would conclude in or with some sort of implied moral framework that implies that, you know, the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. It's been a little too inconsistent in that regard. I could, perhaps, even be argued that I'm projecting my own value system onto the character's actions rather than reading the show's presentation of them in it.)

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On 5/18/2019 at 8:52 AM, kenmorefield said:

The series has been indifferent on this point, maybe, but "The Bells"certainly seems to be breaking in the direction of a central division between those who fight for self or self or personal reasons (Circe, Jaime, Sandor, Tywin, Joffrey,   CatelynLittlefinger, Bron, Renly, Stannis, Euron, hell, even Drago) and those who fight for some sort of perception of the broader good (Jon, Varys--lately, though not completely, I think, Tyrion, lately, Hodor, Jorah--eventually, Brienne, Eddard). This doesn't bode well for Sansa or Dany in the finale, but I'm dubious that the series would conclude in or with some sort of implied moral framework that implies that, you know, the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. ...

Once you have (mysteriously, somehow) seen the finale, you may find that Cathleen Falsani and Fr. James Martin generally agree with you, based on their Twitter posts.

Are there plotholes? Yes. Was I happy overall? Yes.

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