Re: GoT

1

I thought of putting up a thread about this because I felt so surprisingly angry and so hungry for opportunities to process this and *I never liked the show* or felt particularly emotionally invested. Both my roommate and I stayed up late on Sunday just drinking in internet rage. Both of us dreamt about it.

It's hard to understand why it affected it me so much.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:43 AM
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You'd like the show, Heebie! It's very relaxed and soothing!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:44 AM
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Was somebody mean to a ghost dog again?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:46 AM
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Spoilers, obviously.

I think it's mostly fine, if rushed. Some of the plotlines made sense if you squint but needed just a little bit more development: say, Jaime, Jon's changing feelings for his queen, or even Arya and the Hound. If the show had another season or two, it could have fleshed those out satisfactorily.

Dany, though? This was going to happen. It's been foreshadowed in almost every episode she's in. People who are surprised that the Mother of Dragons who's obsessed with bending the knee and sitting on the Iron Throne doesn't care about innocents dying are, to be charitable, reading their own preferences into the character.

I thought this article was great. Dany is learning (hence the "lol why are dragons invincible now" nonsense--she thought about what didn't work and changed it!), and she has one goal. She's not a reformer, despite what she says, she's a legitimist. The next city will bend the knee faster.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:49 AM
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It's wild that #GOTS8E5 brazenly pulled out all the most traumatic images from the electronic sensorium--Hiroshima, 9/11 dust, bodies falling from the WTC--to rivet us to their little fairy tale. It's so fascinatingly amoral and exploitative. A true Late Capitalist masterpiece.

https://twitter.com/rickperlstein/status/1128133686178787328

Is that accurate? Sounds amusing!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:51 AM
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Dany, though? This was going to happen. It's been foreshadowed in almost every episode she's in.

Yeah but someone on Twitter said, "Foreshadowing is not character development."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:52 AM
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Cold baths are character development.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:53 AM
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5: Sorta accurate. Definitely 9/11 dust--but I think that might just reflect that because of 9/11 we now better know what ruined cities look like. Or would ancient cities not do that? As always with cinema, we have certain expectations of how things should work regardless of whether or not they're true. (We expect swords to make a "schwing" noise when pulled out of their scabbards...) I don't remember anything that specifically called out Hiroshima--no mushroom cloud, no shadows burned into walls--but it was a long episode. There were bodies falling from a tall building, but they weren't shot like the pictures from 9/11, it was two dudes fighting each other in a death embrace. You could see 9/11 there, but I think it's occurred in a bunch of action movies before and after.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:56 AM
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My prediction for the end was Bob Newhart and Patrick Duffy wake up in bed together, and Bob wakes up and says to Patrick, "Wow! That was all a dream!? I'm never ordering the extra spicy chicken at Popeye's again!"

THE END


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:56 AM
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6: She's repeatedly said she wanted to do stuff like this for seasons because when she didn't stuff got complex and she lost face. She's fallen out of love with the idea of being loved, and her advisors have had to constantly had to push her back away from total war. It's been a gradual thing, but at some point the transition from not committing genocide to committing genocide is going to be binary.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:59 AM
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(We expect swords to make a "schwing" noise when pulled out of their scabbards...)

Party on, Wayne.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:59 AM
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9: Except it was a baby, not chicken.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:00 AM
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I enjoyed it! It was 100% the logical culmination of the Daenerys of the books, though much less so of the show, which has been much kinder to her. An idiot with a messiah complex and dragons. What else could have happened?
For the rest, I'd say not just rushed but sloppy.
I'm curious why people are so invested in Daenerys.* Even though the show mostly skates over her incompetence, she still visibly and literally burns everything she touches.
*And why, beyond spelling issues, so many retain the infantilizing "Dany".


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:00 AM
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OMG Heebie beat me to the joke.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:02 AM
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10: You're wrong! Also I have no idea how to pronounce "Daenery" or even "Dany".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:03 AM
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As many have pointed out, sucks for all the people who named their kids Khaleesi over the last several years (and vindication a couple weeks ago for the Aryas).


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:04 AM
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I guess maybe regardless of your level of fandom, ten years, or however long it has been, is a long time, and even if there were big signs of this deterioration back in Season 5 there was still mostly cohesive character and narrative development even through episode 2 of this season, so there's something that really feels violating about a story you have spent a decade with just crumbling. It's like watching a toddler smash someone else's painstaking tower of blocks, maybe, except you've watched the tower of blocks for a long time?

It's also the case that Brienne and Dany are getting resolutions that make it seem like the writers are enjoying breaking down powerful women, but it honestly feels like the sexism is ancillary and the violation comes from betrayal of narrative logic.

Man, on preview. Yes to foreshadowing is not character development. Also, there is nothing that even adequately foreshadows gleefully killing civilians and her own soldiers for sport. Even the plot developments that were meant to push her over the brink, or whatevs, were absurdly forced and poorly written. Like, Varys is such a poor conspirator he just says to everyone, out loud, "hey do you want to betray the queen?" But there's no point in typing all of this. It has been written so many times all over the internet. It is just writing so bad that it is stunning and I feel insulted and betrayed by it.

I don't have strong emotional attachment to Dany! To the extent that I feel like a character I liked and cared about was being betrayed, it is Tyrion so constantly being written as stupid, so bafflingly interested in believing Cersei could be persuaded of anything when nothing that he ever did or said in Seasons 1-4 could have ever indicated that he was so in thrall to his childhood abuser. He killed his dad! He is not sentimental about his family!


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:04 AM
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11/14: Amazingly, that's exactly where that cinematic convention started.

13: I have no idea what you're talking about, Moscha. (It's mostly the spelling but secondarily that's what fandom does. At least I'm not using shipping names.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:04 AM
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the transition from not committing genocide to committing genocide is going to be binary

What does that mean? "There are 2 choices in life. 1)Don't commit genocide or 2)Commit genocide. I tried 1, and now it's time to try 2."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:05 AM
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I'm just enjoying having something to talk about with my teenagers. Tatsu is so invested that he's waking up at 2 a.m. to watch in real time. He has his first A level exam next Monday morning, but is still planning to get up and watch the finale first.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:09 AM
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My main problem with the heel turn was that it wasn't logical in the moment even if it made sense in the character arc. If you're going to destroy innocents, why wait until the city surrendered? She's super careful to only target military pieces for 30 minutes, then says ah fuck it. She could control her rage while being shot at with giant crossbows but the sound of bells drives her over the edge? And the fact that there's a huge target towering (literally) over the city with the focus of her rage right there but instead of going for that right away she decides to roast a few thousand peasants first for sport?
There was a rewrite of the plot by some Deadspin writers that made the whole thing much more reasonable- don't kill Jon's dragon last week which resolves the "Dragons are invincible, no they're super vulnerable to this weapon which is also apparently invisible sometimes, never mind can't kill dragons" hole. Hide some of the superbows in civilian areas. Cersei fakes a surrender then Euron picks off Jon's dragon so Dany goes apeshit on the city. And these guys came up with something better in 30 minutes than the vaunted D&D did in four years.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:10 AM
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To be clear, I think the show turned almost totally to shit the moment it overtook the books. Their were some great setpieces (the battle against the Boltons, the fall of Highgarden, Cersei blowing up the the Sept) but none of them made a lick of sense politically or militarily.
To me, this was the first episode in the last three seasons that felt like the books, precisely because it consists essentially of a toddler breaking intricately built stuff: this is what dynastic rule does to people. Insofar as Martin has a point, I think that's clearly it.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:11 AM
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17: Varys did two things to betray her--one, feel out the better claimant, and two, send out letters to the lords describing Jon's parentage. I agree that the former was rushed, and if they had more time it could have been subtler. They could have had Jon give off more ambivalent feelings about her, and show Varys gradually thinking that he had a shot with Jon. Oh well. Regardless, it's the letters that matter. If Jon or Arya don't knife her, she has a hell of a political fight now--the lords already didn't like this foreign woman, and now she's toasted an entire city and doesn't have the best claim to the throne.

Tyrion isn't stupid, or at least his stupid actions are an effect, not a cause. He's tired and sentimental. He's probably come to a conclusion much like Varys has, but after his years in the desert he's ready to give up and just pin his hope on somebody. Dany seems like the best he's got, and he's ready to pretend that swearing loyalty to someone means something. He doesn't have anything else left but hope, so he's riding that as much as he can and it just isn't working because why would it?

19: I just meant that either you've committed an awful and cruel massacre, or you haven't. There is no halfway. (Okay, I guess this is the sorites paradox but let's not go there.)

21: Because they were ringing the bells. Oh, begging for mercy now? These fuckers, they weren't good enough to bend the knee beforehand and overthrow their illegitimate "queen", and now, after fighting, after Dany proved that she is the True Queen, they want to pretend they're loyal? Fuck 'em. Maybe Oldtown will think better of it.

But your scenario is good.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:16 AM
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The Hold the Door resolution was awesome but it was obviously set up by the books even if the books hadn't gotten to the resolution yet.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:16 AM
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6 is right. 8 and 10 are wrong. Perhaps heebie's interlocutors here are hampered by having actually watched the series. Heebie gets it.

The showrunners went to some considerable trouble to make Dani's transition to the Mad Queen as unbelievable as possible - even though, as 4, 8 and 10 note, it was a well-foreshadowed outcome.

Every step Dani took - right up until the moment she went nuts - was consistent with going either way -- in the long run -- but she was clearly still well on the side of sanity at the start of the last episode, and nothing happened in the episode to suggest that she was losing it. Killing Varys was such a well-established sane move that even Tyrion endorsed it. Hell, even Varys didn't deny the logic of it.

Dani wasn't teetering on a knife's edge and pushed over into insanity. Right up until the exact moment that she decided to burn the city, her character had turned clearly against burning the city. Tyrion made arrangements, with her consent, to accept the surrender of the city. Her failure to follow through on that was completely unmotivated by anything in the series that preceded it.

They actually felt the need to do character development in the previews to try to justify it. Did you notice that one of the previews wasn't actually in the prior episodes? I'm talking about the bit where the voiceover says it's a coin-flip whether a Targaryen will go nuts. That's a pretty weak bit of exposition, made necessary by the fact that the writers hadn't done anything else to establish that she was on the edge of insanity.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:17 AM
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I'm pretty sure the coin-flip thing is in both book and show (though many seasons ago).


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:23 AM
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Hiroshima imagery: many burn victims, and there is one clear shot of a black mushroom cloud (though really one could see the same in footage from Syria or Yemen) seen from Cersei's lookout, though not held for long. The episode I though actually referencing Vietnam as much as 9/11.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:26 AM
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There seems to be 3 schools of criticism. Ranked from most to least convincing:

- She is suddenly crazy and was never crazy before.
- She never killed innocent people before, only bad people.
- The writers hate women. It's the 2016 election all over again.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:30 AM
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Dany barely consented to Tyrion. She was like "fine ugh whatever if that's what you want I guess I won't slaughter them." She didn't really sound into it, and, unsurprisingly, the queen gets to change her mind.

When it happened, I thought: wow, she's actually did that? Well, no surprise. It was going to happen sooner or later.

I was doing food prep or something and missed the "previously on." But I thought Varys said something like that when he was talking to Jon, and it's been a consistent theme since literally the first season.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:32 AM
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Tyrion also threw in with Dany because that was his best chance to get his revenge on his sister.

This episode was at least directed well and had some memorable shots, last weeks was garbage on the directing front.

Agree that when the show overtook the books it began to get really crappy.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:32 AM
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Maybe the lack of elephants was enraging.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:33 AM
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28.last That's what motivated me to troll-tweet this

I'll go on record on thinking it will be Arya who uses her mad assassin skills to kill Dany.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:36 AM
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I was sure the hound was gonna knife his brother with a dragon glass dagger- how else do you kill zombies?
Some of the imagery struck me as burning of Norte Dame, but of course the show was already shot by the time that happened.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:41 AM
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Obviously it's not nearly as good as it was when they had the books, and D&D are chickening out by trying to wrap it up as quickly as possible. It's a golden goose that's guaranteed to be profitable for a few more years; with good writers and GRRM's notes they could've done so much more. I just think the theatrics over how awful it is (or even worse, "wow look how much people hate it, I'm so superior because I never watched the dragon-rape show!") are a bit overdone.

32: I would be happy with that. I'd also be happy with Jon getting the crew together and betraying her in a scene much like the one in which he was murdered. Or just Dany ruling as the evil queen, the events of a story just being a weird interregnum in the great Targaryen dynasty's eternal rule. And the wheel still turns.

Anyway, still pulling for Bronn winning it all.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:44 AM
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The dragon inconsistency that bugged me wasn't with the crossbows, it was with the sheer power of the dragon. If one of them can level a city, why did two barely dent the zombie army two episodes ago?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:46 AM
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Cersei's shitty whimpering death is also totally consistent with the book but not the show.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:48 AM
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It's very rushed and there have been many missteps in the last two seasons. The first few seasons were all character driven, people made the stupid decisions they did and suffered the consequences because of who they were. Now there is the need to wrap up a tangled mess of plot (and without GRRM to really guide D&D) and it's become the needs of the plot which is driving the action so a lot of it seems false and forced.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:50 AM
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35: It was dark and stormy, she couldn't tell what the heck she was doing and didn't have time to be systemic. And the zombie army had, what, nine thousand years of corpses with no logistical need? Even if you assume that Beyond the Wall is hardly populated at all--say, a total population of a few thousands--you're talking minimum half a million corpses. Still, as a whole that episode had much worse fridge-logic problems than this week's.

The most satisfying part of this last episode is that Dany was finally not stupid with her air power.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:51 AM
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38: Half a million people in ranks take up a lot less space than a million people living in a city. Which we see one dragon leveling a large proportion of in apparently little more time than the two dragons had outside Winterfell.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:55 AM
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Rob Farley has a good piece on Slate on the strategic sense of Dany reducing Kings Landing to a burning crisp.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:55 AM
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Jon Snow is going to win, right? I saw a picture of a young Martin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:56 AM
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Winter is here! So many useless mouths to feed. Pity about the economy. But you don't need one of those when you have a dragon queen, just ask the Meereenese.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:57 AM
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I'm pretty sure the coin-flip thing is in both book and show (though many seasons ago).

The words were. But the accompanying visual was from the prior episode. They melded the two together - rather than actually showing the prior scene as it actually appeared - because they wanted to warn you that they were going to skip all of that bothersome character development and just flip the crazy switch instead. And even then, they could have done something within the first part of the episode to transition her into the crazy. (SP in 21, among others, gets this.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:09 AM
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43: Ok. Like I say, the show has been a mess for a long time now. My reaction is driven mostly by the books at this point.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:15 AM
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45

So, is she magically fire-proof? If so, is her nephew/lover?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:18 AM
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I think we all agree that the central problem is that the conclusion is being rushed. If they'd taken another season or two to get to this conclusion, it could have worked. Or if they started seriously working toward this end a season or two ago. Heebie's twitter friend really did sum it up perfectly.

Is Jon Snow going to fail upward to the point of actually becoming King? I don't have a problem with that, except that if it comes to that, the series will portray it as Snow assuming his rightful role.

34.2 contains good thoughts, and probably better than what the writers came up with.

Me, I want them all to die. Dalriata wants Bronn to win; I'm okay with that, but I want Gendry.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:23 AM
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Yes. No. He burned his hand with permanent damage, way back.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:24 AM
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44: I'm actually a dissenter from the common view that the show has been a mess. I mean, yeah, it's gone downhill, but I didn't think until the current episode that the show had really jumped the shark.

But hey, even I have to admit that visually, the destruction of King's Landing was awesome.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:27 AM
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I don't think it's just rushing. I think plot and motivation has been a shitshow for three seasons.
Also, the zombies in the show hitherto burned like paper. One dragosneeze should have torched the lot.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:28 AM
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32.1: Omigod, that is magnificent.

As for ned:
- The writers hate women. It's the 2016 election all over again.

To be clear, that is the correct critique of the 2016 election, where the writers really did hate women, but yes, it doesn't ring true for the show.

I have read a fair amount of feminist critique of the show, and agree with a fair portion of it. But that critique, as it applies to Dani, seems really misguided to me. Her character is being abused in the same way that male characters get screwed over by bad writing. As Tia said, within GoT, a lot of characters are being separated from any kind of cognizable motivation.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:38 AM
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Agree with 35. The dragon fire now suddenly makes walls explode? (In the same vein, the "Scorpion" super-crossbows destroying ships in the previous episode also seemed pretty hokey).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:43 AM
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39: That's fair. Half a million is my lower bound. I think a million for King's Landing is high; that puts it in Rome or Constantinople territory, and I subscribe to the view that from the Essosian perspective Westeros is a poor backwater. But I wouldn't be surprised if there's canon that agrees with you.

However, at King's Landing, it was daytime, Dany had air superiority, and she had a long time to systemically destroy the city. Winterfell was the opposite in all regards. And there was a magical anti-fire storm that would prevent the fire from spreading.

46: Some fans are still stanning for Arya/Gendry. I suppose that's actually still possible, if Dany dies. Then Gendry won't be a lord.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:45 AM
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Is there any chance that Ned Stark is still alive and hiding? I bet he'd make a good king.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:50 AM
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53: Yes, he goes by the name "Jon Snow."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:50 AM
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50.1 *blushes* thank you. I don't think it's gotten nearly the love, or the hate, that it deserves.

52.last Why? Doesn't Bronn still have a title?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:55 AM
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Bronny?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 9:57 AM
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56: Assuming you meant Gendry, he got his title from a whim of Dany's. He hasn't even ever been to Storm's End, as far as I recall. I don't see any reason to assume it'd be respected by her assassins. And that would change the dynamics between them--he wouldn't be playing at being a lord, something he has no idea how to do, and so wouldn't try to put Arya in the lady box. When he asked her to be his lady, I don't think he has an inherently essentialist view of women, he was just trying to figure out how to deal with being promoted about eight social classes at once. And doing so understandably poorly. So they could totally take it in a direction where Arya wanders around having adventures (and killing people? or maybe...not killing people, because character development?) and Gendry is her puppy-dog-eyed lover/assistant.

But that's just an argument that that direction is possible, not probable. I don't think it's very likely but shippers shouldn't give up hope yet.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:07 AM
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I was making a My Little Pony joke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:11 AM
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57 to 55, sorry.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:14 AM
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57 Please don't talk about Arya's lady box, she was like 12 when the show began.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:14 AM
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I will be disappointed if anyone other than Brienne or Bronn end up on the Iron Throne.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:17 AM
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To be clear, that is the correct critique of the 2016 election, where the writers really did hate women...

That is at most half true; but half is enough for history. Similarly, even if we grant that absolutely no one intended a cautionary tale about female leadership per se (in this show that I have never watched/books I have never read), the timing -- gearing up for election 2020 -- is what it is. But whatever.

The thought of being willingly manipulated by any work of art like this turns me entirely to bristling spines. Yeah, I'm next-level no fun.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:21 AM
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I will totally vote for anybody who can be "unburnt" unless they're a Republican.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:25 AM
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64

I think it's a cautionary tale of aristocratic leadership and excessive romanticization of the past. No leader comes out looking good. It's not like Ned or Robert or Joffrey or Jon or Robb or Theon or Stannis or Drogo or Viserys or Tywin or The High Sparrow or Euron or The Night King or Aerys or the various male leaders of Slavers' Bay did a good job.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:38 AM
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52: A million in King's Landing is show canon, stated at least twice. IIRC book canon agrees with your view. Obviously the real reason is they didn't have budget for two battles so they just shot one with no lights.
64 is correct. And the show actually makes Daenerys and Cersei drastically less incompetent and more relatable than the books do. One might take that as a knock against GRRM, but I think it's consistent: aristocracy is a crapshoot, you mostly get bad rulers. There are a handful of competent male rulers in the book, at least two competent females, Oleanna Tyrell and Catelyn Stark.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:47 AM
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64:

Part of the lesson of history: every President has lied to us about something. "Top Secret!" or "Confidential" is almost always bs.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:48 AM
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67

Almost. Sigh.


Posted by: Opinionated Varys | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:49 AM
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68

Gendry is the bastard son of the last legitimate king! He's got an entirely reasonable claim to the throne.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:52 AM
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There has to be a collateral relative somewhere with a better claim. Someone with a castle and an army.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:56 AM
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But is he having sex with a close relative?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:57 AM
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Or is that not actually required.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 10:58 AM
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68: That's what the Duke of Monmouth said.

And yeah, he'd be fine, as a figurehead. Needs a bit of polishing.

Jon would be an excellent figurehead or constitutional monarch; he's awful at the whole thinking part of leading, but he gives good speeches and has nice hair.

If there must be an absolute monarch, Dany and Jon ruling together--mostly her with him reigning in her worse impulses--might have been tolerable. More tolerable than the alternatives, anyway. I wish they would have explored that for a season before having it break down.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:00 AM
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"reasonable claim to the throne" argh. That drives me nuts. You are either on the throne, with power, through some kind of power play, or you are not. Nobody gives a rat's ass about "legitimacy", and anyone who does is on the wrong end of the power-stick.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:04 AM
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It's clear that things are a bit rushed and I'm kind of curious why. Why not two more seasons? Is the show not bringing in enough money? Is interest fading? Are too many actors going to decide to get roles somewhere else?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:07 AM
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74 I've wondered the same. I have a feeling HBO is going to get a lot of cancellations after this Sunday.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:09 AM
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23.2: I wasn't saying anything about Tyrion being stupid because he picked a horse and rode it. I was saying he was stupid, as have many other internet commenters, because every piece of advice he gives Dany is bad, and inexplicably, many of the pieces of advice he gives her are bad because they depend on him vastly overestimating Cersei's trustworthiness. This was, to put his mildly, not in character in Seasons 1-4. This character was interesting and sympathetic because he was smart and strategic. D&D seem to understand they have made him stupid; they have *Sansa* tell him "you used to be the cleverest person I knew."

As for "Varys makes sense but is just rushed": viewers are responding to what is onscreen. You keep writing about a theoretical show that could have made sense. But it did not as written. It forces every single character to make nonsensical decisions to move in some preordained plot direction. People get mad about this. The fact that you can imagine a show with these plot points that led to them naturally does not mean that's what the viewers got.

I guess my anger about this most reminds me of my old roommate's novel and how little sense it made. There's just something about violating basic principles of human motivation that feel insulting from narrative. It suppose it also feels galling that these two obvious incompetents have been given this power and money, that all of their ability to make any of this property came from the source material, when there are so many talented writers in the world. Thank goodness that Civil War alternate history got spiked.

Anyway, I know how the show ends because I read the leaks that thus far have been very accurate in advance of aired episodes (after the last one my roommate and I stopped caring about being spoiled anymore and just decided we'd rather know), and I'm confident that the ending is a) incredibly stupid and unsatisfying and b) sexist. As pf says every character is being similarly destroyed -- it's just that there are some unpleasant patterns in what they're doing to female characters.

If I had to name the first character who got really destroyed it was Littlefinger. It was never explicable why he gave Sansa to the Ramsay Bolton, at least if we were to believe he was clever. But speaking of, that piece of dialogue from Sansa that what happened with Ramsay made her strong and it was good because were it not for that she would be a silly girl? No.

Maybe I'll find the version of this compilation I was looking for, the one with the actress who plays Missandei looking into the camera and deadpanning "Best. Season. Ever" in a way that sounds entirely unconvincing, but I think it's pretty clear that the actors aren't happy with what happened and are having trouble performing their obligations to be upbeat.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:11 AM
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They're clearly out of story; Benioff and Weiss certainly want to do other things; HBO has finite resources and probably wants to diversify; as is they have multiple GoT spinoffs in development and IIRC have ordered one to pilot; and they've already found their replacement marquee show in Westworld.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:11 AM
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That's what the Duke of Monmouth said.

And if he'd won the Battle of Sedgemoor, he have suddenly found that everybody agreed with him. I've never watched GoT or read the books, but in any late mediaeval/early modern kingdom legitimacy was a little bit negotiable.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:11 AM
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64,65 I'm sure; my point was that, given the timing, it's going to hit some people hard no matter what the actual content is. My sole personal opinion about GoT, as an observer, is that it seems to demand more uncompensated emotional labor than a hundred difficult spouses and mothers-in-law combined. I am definitely deadly serious about this statement and also genuinely angry.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:20 AM
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Probably overthinking, but the title, "The Bells" is interesting. It recalls the Battle of the Bells in Robert's Rebellion, where the Hand of the day failed because he lost time searching a town for Baratheon. He reflects that Tywin Lannister would have done it right, killed Baratheon, and nipped the rebellion in the bud -- by burning the whole town. Which if we're trying to find sense in the burning of King's Landing (1) makes Daenerys another Tywin and (2) makes her an incompetent Tywin whose atrocities aren't even efficient; since the prize was the city, not Cersei, Daenerys' atrocity is the inversion of Tywin's logical one.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:22 AM
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79: Do you consume fiction at all? (For me, I'm not at all invested in the show (or any show) in the whole livetweeting fansite thing, and I arrived very late to the party. My interest is parallel to that I have in history, but it's all fun and trivial.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:27 AM
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76.last Indeed, I've seen a couple of clips just like this.They look very unhappy with how the show ended.


80.last As Farley points out the prize is not the city but the Seven Kingdoms.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:43 AM
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Do you consume fiction at all?

Yes, but it's stressful.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:44 AM
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81 You know i love you man, and I've had more than a few drinks, but did you seriously just ask lk if she 'consumes' fiction?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:45 AM
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76.last Indeed, I've seen a couple of clips just like this.They look very unhappy with how the show ended.

That is really funny (and I don't watch the show).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:47 AM
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76.2 wins the thread.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:48 AM
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82: The city had surrendered. The Red Keep garrison would have surrendered too, as would have all the other castles, after their first dragon display. The military-targets-only phase of the dragon attack had more than enough demonstration effect (not to mention the torching of a Lannister army on the Blackwater, a season or so ago). She can have the city and the kingdom.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:48 AM
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84: I was assuming she's a dragon.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:51 AM
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Did Ed Sheeran get burned up?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 11:53 AM
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Also the theoretical version that makes sense is, well, the books that GRR Martin is still working on. If he ever finishes them it's going to be weird to read them knowing roughly what major things will happen, but then seeing them come together in a way that makes sense.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:11 PM
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I don't think he'll ever finish them, and I don't believe he's even been working on them for some time, but if anything induces him to finish the books it will be these last two seasons of GoT.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:15 PM
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88: Very safe assumption and very on-point question. It's hard to answer.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:16 PM
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I think at this point the "right" ending is roughly Arya kills Dany, Drogon kills Arya, everyone else somehow kills Drogon. Jon Snow refuses to take the Iron Throne (which is possibly destroyed by Drogon anyway) and instead of a new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, each Kingdom goes back to ruling itself. Sansa is Queen in the North, Tyrion is Lord of the Rock, etc. Jon Snow goes back north of the wall and lives happily ever after with Ghost, Tormund, and the Free Folk. The End.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:18 PM
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I don't even own an HBO.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:20 PM
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76: When I saw that they could have done it better, I am criticizing it. When I mention a way to do it that I think would be better that is agreeing with you that they did not do a good job. I literally said "it's mostly fine," which is not a stunning recommendation. But I also think that what they actually showed is, mostly, consistent with my mental models of the characters. That has been most of my argument, and I think it's unfair to me to argue that I'm just talking about some fantasy of my own. (I guess it'd be a fantasy of a fantasy. A meta-fantasy.) I understand different people have different mental models of the characters, equally informed by the show as mine--that's where the disagreement, and interesting conversation, comes in! I have been trying to find evidence in the show for my beliefs, mostly about Dany because that's the one case where I think the show did handle it well but many people disagree with me on.

One interesting thing about this is that the medium informs how much screen time for a character change to be believable. In a movie, we'd be much more likely to accept a single scene like the conversation between Tyrion and Varys a week ago as sufficient to explain a change in a character's behavior. In a 30 minute TV show, we'd expect even less. But the "Golden Age of Television" has changed our standards, for the better.

The things you say Tyrion is stupid over are consistent with my "Tyrion is tired and sentimental" theory. Yes, he's sentimental about his family now. Why did that happen? Well, he murdered his father then spent a lot of time in exile brooding over it. This was present in both the shows and the books, if I remember correctly (it has been eight years).

My point in that paragraph about Varys, with respect to Varys, was mostly that his scheming was not ineffective.

91: Agreed. I don't think he's enjoyed them for a long time, and he's had other projects--the TV show, restoring an old movie theater, other stories that he finds more fun.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:25 PM
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93: That's one possible "right" ending. Although in another unfortunate feels-like-the-zeitgeist parallel, seems rather Brexity. Or IndyRef2ish.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:27 PM
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But speaking of, that piece of dialogue from Sansa that what happened with Ramsay made her strong and it was good because were it not for that she would be a silly girl? No.

I want to break this down, because it's a feminist-inspired critique that I disagree with. The first question is: Was that bit of dialogue misguided, and I think we agree that it was. But to whom do we attribute the error: to Sansa, or Sansa's writers?

I think that's a perfectly ordinary thing for survivors (of pretty much any kind of trauma) to say. And therefore, I find it reasonable that Sansa would say it -- and completely in character, given how justly proud she is of her own strength.

At the same time, it is a grotesque thing to say about someone else. And I think the criticism comes from people who have been taken out of the story - who regard everything said by a character as being said, in actuality, by the writers.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:38 PM
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97 is correct. It's exactly the sort of thing people say about themselves and it's completely in character.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:40 PM
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In a movie, we'd be much more likely to accept a single scene like the conversation between Tyrion and Varys a week ago as sufficient to explain a change in a character's behavior.

My problem is that there was no motivating factor for the mass killing - none whatsoever. The scene between Tyrion and Varys (plus Varys's subsequent betrayal) made his execution more-or-less necessary. But there was no precipitating factor for the destruction of King's Landing. They could have written it so that the deaths of Dracarys and Missandei - or her nephew's lack of romantic interest in her - together pushed Dani over the edge - but they explicitly avoided that. Dani had resolved to take a step toward madness -- deciding to take King's Landing regardless of the cost. And that choice would have been in character. But the decision to burn the city after its surrender was insane - and the writers hadn't given us any reason to suppose she was on the verge of a psychotic break.

The Farley piece mentioned in 40 goes to heroic contrarian lengths to present the move as militarily justifiable, but it isn't the sort of justification that would be in character for the Breaker of Chains.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 12:49 PM
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I have been trying to find evidence in the show for my beliefs, mostly about Dany because that's the one case where I think the show did handle it well but many people disagree with me on

Count me on your side. Dany's just seen her two most genuinely faithful companions killed: Jorah, her main moderating influence, and Missandei, who shouted the dragonfire command at her execution. She's also lost one of her remaining two dragons, who she regards as her children. At the start of the episode we hear she hasn't eaten or seen anyone for two days; she tries and fails to seduce Jon back into bed, and knows that it's only a matter of time before everyone knows he has a better claim to the throne than her; Varys is actively betraying her, and she can no longer trust Tyrion's advice. She's isolated, emotionally wrung out, stretched beyond her limit. At least burning down the fucking city might bring her some relief. But then the bells ring, and even that's taken from her. So she snaps.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:09 PM
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97/98: Maybe. But why show it? If the characters were real people, they'd be doing and saying all kinds of things that aren't actually depicted on the screen. Sansa has had about a paragraph and half of dialogue this entire season. Why is that exchange something that the show's creators want us to know about?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:10 PM
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The plotting and character development has been off for at least 2 seasons. Something about the rhythm is awry. They spend ages on relatively inconsequential plot developments, which are also not major character development, either. Then they rush some major events. There was a logic to the first four seasons, even if there were (always) some longueurs, or elements that didn't quite hang together. The dialogue has dropped in quality dramatically, too.

The thing about the coin flip _was_ in this episode, though. Varys, iirc, said it.

With Tyrion, I think it makes some kind sense, in terms of the way they've outlined his character over the past three seasons. He has two basic weak points. His siblings, and his desire to avoid mass bloodshed. And he consistently makes stupid mistakes, or miscalculations, whenever either are involved. That said, Peter Dinklage has been doing a lot with some pretty poor material, by the standards of the material that was given to him in early seasons, and for someone supposedly so smart, Tyrion hasn't really learned (which isn't plausible given his character in earlier seasons).

With Daenerys, too, although clumsily handled. But she's always been imperious and high handed, and inclined to accept pretty terrible bloodshed if it gets what she wants.

The main problem for me isn't that some loved characters have started behaving uncharacteristically. It's just that the quality of the last two seasons (with a few set piece episodes excepted) has been poor.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:14 PM
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Why isn't Jon being seduced? I know it's incestuous and that he didn't know it was when they had sex before, but he also didn't know he was from a family that was more accepting of incest than the Starks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:14 PM
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I found the failed seduction scene a little puzzling, in that when they stopped I couldn't really figure out why, or who had pulled back. It wasn't hard to figure out what had happened, later, but it didn't scan for me in the moment.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:22 PM
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100: Exactly. She even said, multiple times, that she intended to burn them down, and only half-heartedly promised to Tyrion she wouldn't. She said that people who don't bend the knee immediately by overthrowing their rulers are traitors, unlike the people in Mereen. She even argues that she's saving future generations because of (some self-serving nonsense). She's had so many reasons to be a bit off-kilter, and be prone to cruel, self-serving decisions. And then, as I said before, those fuckers are suddenly ready to give in now, after she's shown her wrath, and not before, out of love? No one loves her, when she's done so much to put herself on the throne for the people of Westeros! The bells taunt her.

101: I'm conflicted because I agree with 97/98, but it still felt kinda gross--and it's not really my place to judge its appropriateness. My guess is that they wanted to draw a contrast with how trauma affected Sansa and Dany. It made Sansa stronger, but Dany weaker.

I'll admit, if Sansa doesn't end the series at least in charge of The North, I'll be disappointed. There would be nothing interesting about doing something else horrible to her.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:24 PM
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Why is that exchange something that the show's creators want us to know about?

I think the writers correctly thought it was useful to affirm that Sansa felt good about where she was. They just made a pretty shallow choice about how to do it. They might as well have put a cat poster on her wall saying, "Hang in there!"


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:29 PM
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Above the Starbucks cup.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:30 PM
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60- Do I really need to find all the Hermione links in the archives?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:34 PM
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She should have never married that asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:41 PM
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I'm experimentally reading 100 with male pronouns. Everything works (sexual rejection would be de rigueur for lazy writers) as motivation for a male character's breakdown as well, although I can't see it as easily framed by phrases like "emotionally wrung out, stretched beyond [his] limit." I'm sincerely curious, not meaning to judge anyone.

Anyway this episode should put Daenerys over the top.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:49 PM
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I think some of Rowling's later tweets should be Canon. Just shitting wherever and then vanishing it sounds like a great idea, especially if you're wearing robes instead of pants.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 1:53 PM
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110: .... starting that off (good concept) by declaring that raising the dead into your army is slavery might not have been the strongest position to take.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 2:07 PM
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There's precedent. (No endorsement; I just remember reading this years ago.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 2:10 PM
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I have heard people say "this made me stronger". I have never heard anyone say "it was for the best because it made me stronger."


Posted by: Tia I have | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 3:05 PM
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I don't think this season is more misogynist than earlier seasons, but the sexism was easier to overlook when the show was otherwise pretty fun to watch. Now that the show a pile of flaming garbage, it's hard to remember why I ever put up with its bad politics.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 3:15 PM
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Maybe I'll make a mental note to finish The Office before I start GoT.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:01 PM
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99/100: I've just bought the first two seasons, and haven't finished the first quite yet, but since I don't believe in spoilers, I'm commenting. So, anyhow, I haven't seen all the various influences that DT has encountered in the fullness of the show, but wouldn't carpet-dragoning the city be just the sort of thing that the Dothraki would approve of? If she's been speaking their lingo all this time, maybe it's seeped into her ideology. But I don't really know what I'm talking about.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:22 PM
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Who is the Robert Schuman of the Dothraki?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:35 PM
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77- Benioff and Weiss certainly want to do other things
Apparently one of those things is to go fuck up another beloved fantasy franchise.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:39 PM
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Dora the Explorer?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:41 PM
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Thank goodness that Civil War alternate history got spiked.

Unfortunately it wasn't, they just went quiet.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:46 PM
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"Father, there is still good in you, I can feel it"
"Nope, sorry kid."
Cuts off Luke's head.
Fin


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:50 PM
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Best Dukes of Hazzard ever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:53 PM
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121. Oh yuck. Do we really need an antebellum slavery fantasy from the minds behind that hideous Mhysa storyline?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 4:58 PM
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I wonder if some of the really upset people don't have kids named "Daenerys."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:03 PM
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Nedward is a safer bet because he died in the first season.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:05 PM
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I think that may be why Jewish people have a rule about not naming children after living characters in on-going series.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:16 PM
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It's not the main reason, but it doesn't hurt.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:29 PM
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I haven't read the whole first part of the Bible. It turns out that it is much, much longer than the new part.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:32 PM
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Probably shorter than GoT books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:37 PM
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Both have city walls being breached by mysterious forces wielded by people widely considered good and everybody getting all massacred anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:40 PM
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I actually recently decided to read the whole thing straight through. So far I'm about halfway through Genesis, and there is some wild stuff in there that no one ever seems to talk about.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:45 PM
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The naming thing is purely an Ashkenazic custom with no biblical basis, however.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:45 PM
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132: Drunk Noah and Not-Masturbating Onan are strange.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:47 PM
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Strange in a G-o-T-adjacent way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:47 PM
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And Abraham keeps telling people his wife is his sister for some reason.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:48 PM
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Again pretty GoT-friendly in concept.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:49 PM
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Also, the woman whose name I can remember who got her father-in-law to hire her as a prostitute so she could have his baby for reasons. And he didn't notice who she was but he was completely open that it was him that got her pregnant because she had his ring.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:49 PM
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Frankly, Purim would fit right in GoT with hardly any editing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:51 PM
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132: Isn't there! In general there's a lot of fun stuff in the Torah (except Deuteronomy, bit of a snooze) and the historical books.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:52 PM
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Also, Bathsheba.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 5:53 PM
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Looked it up. Tamar was her name. And it looks like they called the wrong Judah "Judah the Hammer."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 6:00 PM
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I was just saying the other day that someone should make a really fucked up psychosexual drama about Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. That shit is messed up. The more you think about it the worse it is.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 6:10 PM
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115: it occurs to me that David Bordwell may be correct -- http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2010/09/09/take-it-from-a-boomer-tv-will-break-your-heart/


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 6:20 PM
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114: The exact line was: "Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life." I read that as "This made me stronger." Not "this was for the best" -- unless saying "this made me stronger" inherently implies that it was for the best.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 6:47 PM
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Me, of course.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 6:49 PM
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The bad writing that bugs me the most is the military stupidity. The battle between the Lannister army and the Dothraki and Danerys at the end of last season - apparently the Lannisters just didn't use scouts. Same for lookouts when Aegon ambushed Danerys' and Jon's navy later. In The Long Night, they had nice big castle walls to stay behind, and then they lined up their cavalry outside it. The whole Beyond the Wall storyline was dumb from the start.

It probably reveals something about me that this is what bugs me, and it's probably bad, but I'm not sure exactly what.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:12 PM
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147: Your namesake would be proud.
117: Yes. And we are deliberately shown Daenerys' few surviving Dothraki riding around war-criming in King's Landing.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:20 PM
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Billie Ray or Millie?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:25 PM
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Quite honestly, I stopped giving a fuck when they ran out of books. I'll just wait for Winds of Winter in... 2030 or whatever.

Also, hello everyone.


Posted by: Rod Scatlock | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:27 PM
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147: That does bug me, too, and I suspect you aren't alone. Nothing about the Battle of Winterfell made sense, even under its own rules. But I have a suspicion that, to first approximation, no one cares about battles making sense.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:40 PM
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Scatlock!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:43 PM
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Hey, teo! Hope you're well, buddy.


Posted by: Rod Scatlock | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 7:47 PM
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The books have some interesting stuff in them but are wildly undisciplined and should have been edited down by about 75%. To the extent the show was good, it was because the writers served as GRRM's missing editor. But once they outran the books, they were up against the same problem that stopped him: there were just too many characters running around in too many loosely related stories to ever bring it together into an ending that would make sense. And world-building run amok is still more fun than CGI run amok, so the latter part of the show suffers in comparison to the books, flawed though they are.


Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:02 PM
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144 That link is excellent, I love David Bordwell.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-19 8:03 PM
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I gave up on (psychological) realism towards the end of the last season, with the journey beyond the wall. There was one shot of a group of men striding, undeterred into the wilderness, looking heroic, that was just pure buddy movie in furs and I realised that this was now a show built around scenes, or frames, not stories. It has become an animated cartoon.

But there was one touch of returning realism in the last, horrible episode and this was that the trigger for the massacre was a surrender. It was only when the enemy was completely vulnerable and defeated that the urge to kill them all became irresistible. This disinhibition in the face of weakness fits with other accounts of human cruelty I have read -- and indeed with my experience of bullying. Much of the horror of the show is just titillation but this was a glimpse of the real darker angels of our nature.

It was horribly Trumpian.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 12:14 AM
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The books have some interesting stuff in them but are wildly undisciplined and should have been edited down by about 75%

I never understand this line of criticism. There are only five books (eight in paperback form), and none of them are unreadably long for anyone who's a habitual and comfortable reader. They're between 500 and 900 pages of paperback each. Thick paperbacks, but still. No literate adult who reads, say, 15 or 20 normal-sied novels a year should have any trouble with that. They're accessibly written, they're easy to follow (they have helpful notes and character lists!).

The idea that you could cut 75% of that - so, basically, condense the entire story into two of those eight volumes - is not practical, if you want to end up with anything resembling the current series.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 1:18 AM
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To put it another way: one page a minute. Sixty pages an hour. Ten hours is six hundred pages, or more or less one volume of "A Song of Ice and Fire". It is also one season of "Game of Thrones!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 1:57 AM
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118: It is known.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 2:41 AM
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It's not that they're insanely long, but they are awfully scattered. I read the first three and got bored and quit -- I remember what happened in the first one. By the third there were so many characters following so many only loosely connected plot threads that I had no idea what was going on or why I cared.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 2:59 AM
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160: Yes, and the later books are increasingly unpleasant to read. Euron's voyage to find the dragon horn in particular is one long string of gratuitous abuse, which in any case turns out to be completely irrelevant to the plot. I finished all six the first time round because I'm a completist, and have just reread 1-3, but have got stuck in the middle of 4 and probably won't carry on.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 3:08 AM
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154, 157-58: I wouldn't cut the books by 75%, but the first few seasons are better (to my mind) than the corresponding books because the storytelling is tighter.

I found that I enjoyed the books much better once I gave myself permission to skim, which in numerous instances meant glancing at the top of the page, at the bottom of the page, going "yeah, yeah, we're still in the same scene" and then turning until a recognizable change happened. At a sentence-by-sentence level, I thought A Dance with Dragons was noticeably better than its predecessors, but I still skimmed a lot.

The Armageddon Rag is the GRRM book that I have to be careful about picking up because I won't want to do much of anything else at all until I have finished reading it.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 3:38 AM
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157/161: Five books? Six? Eight? I just checked and my box set of paperbacks has seven. I finished all of those, in any case.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 3:50 AM
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163: yes, sorry, it's seven. They broke books 3 and 5 into two volumes each; total 7. I thought they'd split book 4 as well.

Euron's voyage to find the dragon horn in particular is one long string of gratuitous abuse, which in any case turns out to be completely irrelevant to the plot.

Eh? It happens entirely offstage. The first time we see Euron, he's already got it. (He gets one of his crew to blow it to shut everyone up at the kingsmoot before he makes his stump speech.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:13 AM
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163: Five title in English, although I have seen some of them split into two volumes, presumably for production reasons.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:15 AM
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160: I had the same issue with Russian novels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:17 AM
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164: Sorry, it must be Victarion's voyage to find Danaerys that I'm misremembering. I've conflated him with Euron because he's been cut out of the TV series altogether.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:27 AM
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Same as 160. GRRM kept adding characters and splitting up parties, and I just foresaw exponential growth in complexity without enough bloodshed to keep numbers (and subplots) manageable. I assume that bestselling authors generally become harder to edit the farther they get in a popular series (or in their career). Late Stephen King is my go-to example of this.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:40 AM
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(whistles)


Posted by: Opinionated Camping Trip with Harry | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:48 AM
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167: ah, right, sorry.

You didn't think that was funny? I thought it was hilarious. This gormless lump, convinced he's the greatest pirate king who ever lived, completely oblivious to the way that everyone is using him as convenient transport or cannon fodder, sailing halfway round the world on a ship infested by monkeys that keep shitting on his head.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:51 AM
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Also like Russian novels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:53 AM
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170: The gratuitous nastiness of that particular subplot affected me more strongly than any of the others for some reason. Cruelty and violence for absolutely no reason other than to show once again what a horrible man this is, without furthering either the story or characterization. It meant the humour bypassed me entirely.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:02 AM
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What if the monkeys had nothing to eat but refried beans, asparagus, and prunes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:13 AM
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If you don't count re-reading something I've read a dozen times before (which I usually do before I sleep), I think I've only read one fiction book this year (The Hog Murders, which I read to avoid having The Elements of Surprise spoil the ending). Last year was a little better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:20 AM
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But only because I read the Inspector Barnaby books while flying.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:38 AM
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I've read embarrassingly little fiction this year. Three books, maybe, plus a bit of Water Margin? I ended up stalling out on one of the Hugo nominated novels--the most recent Wayfarers book is fine, but it's so slow and the chapters are so short, so that by the time I think I'm getting to know a character she's moved on to someone else. Presumably at some point a switch with flip in my head and I'll devour it, but I'm not there yet.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:43 AM
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Second 157. I think they could be shorter, especially books 5 and 6, but not by a huge margin. Maybe 15% off the whole series.
Also second 170.
171 excels.
176: Which Water Margin edition? Recommended? I've read a couple of stories, but should do the whole thing at some point.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:47 AM
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My son is reading Enders Game, but he has to for a school assignment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:54 AM
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177: I'm listening to the podcast covering it, so I got the translation he's using, which I think is Sidney Shapiro's. It's readable and witty, sacrificing accuracy to make it intelligible for English speakers (e.g. he rewrites poems). I'm using a cheap ebook version (of the sort that all public domain things attract), and it unsurprisingly isn't very good, so if there are footnotes I'm missing them.

It's a lot breezier than Romance of the Three Kingdoms; I don't feel any compulsion to treat it as a great work of literature. It's just a bunch of fun little adventures held together by wacky coincidences.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 6:04 AM
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Aaron Bady makes a great pro-Danaerys case. It's shame the show's writers/showrunners aren't as smart as Bady.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 6:17 AM
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Haven't tried Three Kingdoms and frankly it sounds like a slog. Started Journey to the West and quit after AIHPMHB the 15th time the monkey beat the shit out of something in the exact same words.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 6:18 AM
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180: Agreed. See 4.last.

181: the first half is pretty good. But then all the heroes die out and the subsequent generations are boring.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 6:51 AM
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So basically the Chinese GoT will be a lot like GoT.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 7:01 AM
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180:

That's good.

I don't know, also, why Jon is the hero. He's an idiot, and Kit Harrington is terrible.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 7:57 AM
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He's a Gary Stu.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:01 AM
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I don't think Snow is an idiot in the books, he's been especially ill-served by the show. Agree on Harrington.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:05 AM
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I haven't seen the show or read the books, but the internet memes aren't helping him look smart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:12 AM
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Snow is a bit of an idiot in the books, and, interestingly, he's an idiot in the same way as Dany: "Fuck your culture and history, everyone must do what I say because I'm just obviously right and I'm in charge" is the attitude that ends up with him being stabbed to death by several of his subordinates.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:16 AM
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180 is good, have also seen this go around and while understandable in itself, I'm not sure Daenerys precisely maps that role.


Posted by: chris s | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:17 AM
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188: I disagree. He loses most of his rigidity fairly quickly in the face of reality, figures out inventive solutions to some very thorny problems, works hard and consciously to secure his authority (recall excellent interior monologue setpiece where he executes the first to defy him) to which after all he was solidly elected. And then ditches his security detail.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:34 AM
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More military stupidity: at the Battle of the Bastards, Jon's side's only plan was "don't let our guys get encircled," they knew from the start that the Boltons would try to lure them into a trap and their only chance of success was not taking it, and Jon immediately took the bait anyway. (I'll give Bolton a pass for the stupidity of shooting his own men, because pointless cruelty is totally in character for him.) It's not just the humans who are stupid. The Night King had no logical reason for putting himself within a mile of Winterfell, let alone within arm's reach of an armed human. If his initial assault had failed, he could have besieged them, for a year or for two years if necessary because winter lasts magically long in Westeros, and starved them out. I know, Bran said the Night King was eager to get at the Three Eyed Raven, but the Three Eyed Raven is stuck in a wheelchair, he's really not hard to find.

156
There was one shot of a group of men striding, undeterred into the wilderness, looking heroic, that was just pure buddy movie in furs and I realised that this was now a show built around scenes, or frames, not stories.

Exactly. It all looks awesome. The cavalry charge at the Battle of Winterfell was clearly put in the script so they could have a field of flaming swords, and then a minute later, all the flaming swords going out. The battle between the Dothraki and the Lannisters looked awesome, and for what it's worth the lack of scouts and Jaime's and Bronn's survival were the only parts that didn't make sense.

184-186: Agreed. This ties in to one of the problems with Varys' character. If it seems a little inconsistent on the show, where he claims to care about the good of the people and keeps on causing more chaos by betraying one monarch after the other, that's the show's writer's fault. In the books, Aegon Targaryen is a separate character from Jon Snow, and he's Varys' preferred candidate for the throne.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:35 AM
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Sounds like a letter of recommendation for a management job until the last sentence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:38 AM
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To 190.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:39 AM
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He loses most of his rigidity fairly quickly in the face of reality

Ladeez.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:46 AM
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Sorry, "laedeeyz".


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:50 AM
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I fucked in a literal ice cave.


Posted by: Opinionated John Snow | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:51 AM
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She's not going to like you saying that and she's got a dragon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:00 AM
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Come on people, there's an obvious Gary Stu in these books but it's not John Snow, it's Samwell Tarly.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:04 AM
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Good Christ do I detest Samwell Tarly.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:07 AM
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80. This comment (which referenced a "historical" example of same) suggested an explanation for why Danaerys decided to burn King's Landing to the ground. Dany's goal is to get Cersei, the "usurper" sitting on her throne.

Once she has wiped out all the scorpions, thereby removing any chance of a shot getting Drogon, she can go after Cersei, who is probably in the Red Keep, right? As was pointed out, once they ring the bells, the Lannister armies and their allies start to shut down. Cersei, though a fool, has Qyburn to tell her "time to beat feet outa here."

Dany is no fool either, and realizes that Cersei is probably no longer a sitting duck target in the Red Keep: she's escaping. This is in fact the truth. Where is she escaping too? Best bet is somewhere in the city, but where? No one knows, so Dany realizes that she has to figuratively nuke the place to get her for sure. As it is, if Jaime had been faster, or hadn't been delayed by Urine the Pirate, he'd have probably gotten her safely out the escape tunnel, so Dany is not necessarily wrong about this, from a cold-blooded, realpolitik point of view.

I think that in combination with other "why Dany did it" arguments, this adds yet another plausible reason for her decision: can't let Cersei get away.

95.last. I don't recall how explicitly he said this, but he has writer's block brought on by the complexity of the story, and his desire to do justice to all the characters and plot threads he's spawned. Funny in a sad way, as he used to be happy to kill off characters at the drop of a hat, the way the TV show is now emulating.

Martin has been pretty explicit that the a major point of the series was to show how totally awful the real world actually was in "high fantasy" times. (There don't seem to be any plagues, though, except that mega-leprosy whose name escapes me.) The series' description of governance is more realistic than most if not all fantasy novels. The books also directly show more violence against the non-%1-er inhabitants of Westeros (and Essos) than the show does. "Dance", IIRC, also has characters worrying/predicting that because everyone is wasting their time fighting endless wars, a lot of people are going to starve once Winter gets going in earnest. Burning King's Landing probably helps everyone else survive, in a Thanos-like way.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:11 AM
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200 goes well with 80. Alternate plot: city surrenders, they go to the Red keep, Cersei isn't there, Daenerys demands the people give up Cersei, whoever knows where she is doesn't give it up, she finds evidence of some people who are involved (including Tyrion due to the Jaime connection)and has Drogon burn them alive in front of the population, then says she's going to keep killing people until someone gives them up, starts by burning the neighborhood where Cersei was last seen, etc. There's a million ways that one can make this work, the show didn't do any of them because the show runners are lazy sexist assholes who should be burned alive in the city square as an example.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:16 AM
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Oops, now I see 200 was intentionally with 80. I'm a dumbass and should be burned alive in the city square an example for other commenters to keep the quality up here.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:17 AM
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202: Hurray! A volunteer! I'll go collect kindling.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:21 AM
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188, 190: I'd say that Jon Snow's problems more resemble Ned Stark's than Daenerys's. Convinced of his own rightness and righteousness, bad at playing politics or maybe able to do it but uninterested. In the books he died the same way as Ned, stabbed by someone he should have known better than to trust. (IIRC he was widely expected to get better from death, but in a different way from what happened in the show, so who knows.)

189: It's well written. I can't say for sure that it's wrong. If there's any defense of GRRM worth making, or excuse necessary for enjoying such sexist fiction up until the last few episodes, it's that everyone is a horrible person, not just the women. All the men are selfish, cold-blooded psychos except for a few self-righteous, honorbound idiots sprinkled in. We might call it misogynist to have two personality types available to male leaders and only one available to female leaders, but absolutely no one with political power actually turns out to be suited to it.

200: Grayscale.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:24 AM
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145: What comes immediately before that is the Hound saying something like "I heard you got broken in rough. If you had come with me that wouldn't have happened."

I cannot read her response to that as anything other than rejecting the alternate reality in which it never happened. Since what the Hound said was weird and awkward enough it is possible to argue that Sansa is just fronting because she has no idea what to say to that. But that is just situation number 1 gazillion where you the viewer have to construct a narrative not clearly offered to excuse away something that feels wrong, broken, or in this case, gross. Why any part of that scene? If the point is to communicate she is at peace where she is, she could just say something like, "No one has broken me in. I am Lady of Winterfell and I have learned that I can survive any tyrant." (I am not claiming that line is successfully in Westerosi voice, but then, neither is much of the dialogue of the last few seasons. Just that she could say something of that sort.) Also, I disagree that it is particularly in character for her to say "Oh, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger." As I recall, her previous narratives about this have been satisfaction that she won in the end, not that there was some great utility to the experience.

There is also a larger context in which every part of the show is torture porn and none of the three writers really have any credibility in how they handle any part of it. (I haven't read the books, so I am just gleaning this about GRRM from people who have.) This isn't some sensitive exploration of the diversity of people's trauma narratives.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:28 AM
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200: The cases aren't parallel: Robert Baratheon was the charismatic leader of an overdue rebellion, the nucleus around which growing resistance was crystallizing; had he been killed the rebellion (we are told) would have unraveled.
Cersei is the nucleus of an already unraveling ancien regime; she has been reduced to defending her capital, largely with mercenaries. When the bells ring the unraveling is complete, her power gone; should she escape it would be as another beggar queen, to Essos, not as a rising leader to an approaching army of allies.
Cersei's power at this point is institutional, not personal, and that makes the prize the capital, not the monarch; the opposite applied to Robert.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:30 AM
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I've seen a few people--sorta the article in 189, and definitely Wired's article--imply that violence after romantic rejection is gendered as feminine in our society. In these days of mass shootings, do people really think that?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:31 AM
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200.1-4 None of that is a plausible read of what was actually shown. She burned down the city in a rage and in retaliation for Missandei's murder. She didn't exactly proceed in a way that looked like she was hunting Cersei down.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:35 AM
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205 last: I don't think that's fair to GRRM; for one, the violence in the books is far less graphic than in the show, and I don't think intended to be exploitative. IMO the show is a very pale shadow of the books.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:38 AM
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200. I didn't say it was the only reason. In any case, 180 makes a much better case than I do for Dany's firestorm being (mostly) realpolitik. 189 is right but forgets that everyone in the show is victim of violence, men and women. It's not that "women shouldn't be given power," it's "nobody should have that kind of power."

Look at the survivors who go on to Episode 6: Jon Snow is a (supposedly charismatic) fool. Tyrion is a wise man who is actually stupid. Arya is a psychopathic killer. Bran is a google archive. Even the secondary characters who survive are damaged: Davos, Brienne, Gendry, Gray Worm -- who also "snapped" but hasn't gotten quite as much negative reaction as Danaerys.

So, Danaerys actually (a la 180) is making intelligent if ruthless decisions, in spite of what her life gave her. If you don't mind absolute monarchy, she'd be a better ruler than Jon.

Nerd-technical comment: Danaerys is unharmed by fire. Viserys can be harmed by fire. Not all Targaryens are fire-proof, and their brother-sister marriages are intended to make sure the (obviously recessive) genes for fire-proofing aren't scattered. D & V's parents were brother and sister. Dany is surprised (early in Book 1) that Viserys wants to marry her to Drogo because she expected V would marry her.

143. It's been done, sort of: King Jesus, by Robert Graves.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:01 AM
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My 210 meant to reference Barry's 208, not my own 200.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:02 AM
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From 189: The complex, interesting, rich discussion about women and power that women attributed to Game of Thrones was all our own doing; the showrunners and writers were never interested in it. That's a good thing. That means we can take it with us when we leave.

I can easily imagine a 300-comment discussion about how much, exactly, Doyle and the women included in that "we" are entitled to take with them when they leave. I'm going to start for the door with the following two things:

- in the first clip she links, of Brienne and Sansa, Sansa's companion persuades her to cross a half-frozen river with her heavy cloak and all her winter clothes on, then they keep going in their completely sodden heavy winter clothes and, when they get cold, gently embrace. OMMFG, THIS IS A NUDITY-FRIENDLY SHOW. TAKE ALL THAT SHIT OFF. You can give the guy 90 seconds to reverse-portage Sansa's outerwear and cut it from the fight scene.

- The dragon... is named... "Drogon"? By Hasbro?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:13 AM
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210.last Which I should read soon, being a fan of the Claudius books and recently devouring Count Belisarius.

No nudity in this season. Another letdown.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:18 AM
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213.last: have you already forgot your own comment 60?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:22 AM
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So, Danaerys actually (a la 180) is making intelligent if ruthless decisions, in spite of what her life gave her.
I'll reiterate, this is really not supported at all. The show absolutely presents the decision as rage, not calculation, and even if it were calculated, the calculation is wrong. The city surrendered immediately. Every non-magical army that Daenerys has ever set a dragon on has surrendered immediately. If the rest of the continent doesn't submit fast enough she can burn the castle of the first recalcitrant, and it's done. Instead she burned the capital, the center of the entire realm's economy, a city stated in the show to have as many people as the entire North. This in winter, with much of the continent already devastated. Come spring there won't even be a realm left.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:37 AM
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Martin has been pretty explicit that the a major point of the series was to show how totally awful the real world actually was in "high fantasy" times.... because everyone is wasting their time fighting endless wars, a lot of people are going to starve once Winter gets going in earnest.

It drives me crazy how the show totally ignores logistics and everyday hardship. For the first several seasons, everyone kept freaking out that winter is coming, but now winter is here and why was anyone ever worried? No one has to worry about provisions, no one ever has to eat. Jon Snow and his pals spent weeks beyond the Wall looking for a white walker, and didn't bother to bring any food or supplies to make shelter. Bran lived for most of his childhood on a sled up there, eating snow or dreams or something, and he was totally fine. (I mean -- is the North even all that cold? They all must have slept out in the open, right? Everyone always has their faces exposed. And sometimes people step into water and then just walk it off. As far as I can tell the North is cold, but only in the sense that San Francisco is cold.)

The refusal to consider normal hardship is so total that the few times that someone on the show contemplated logistics, it was surprising. Sansa complained in the first or second episode of this season that she didn't have enough provisions to feed Daenarys' armies, and it was so jarring. These armies marched all over Essos and to Westeros without considering supplies, and now all of a sudden they need to eat? I mean sure, it would be a drag to watch seven seasons of armies slowly marching from one battlefield to another and then dying of cholera, but the show's total disconnection from reality is so unsatisfying.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:39 AM
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Year 0.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:40 AM
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212.3. Excellent point. I recall an episode of one of the "Guy wanders around in the wild" shows where he had to strip down, cross an icy river, then get his clothes back on before he froze to death. I think he was in Iceland, and he they assured us he'd die if it took longer than 90 seconds. Tension!

212.last. Blame Khal Drogo's mom and dad, who named him that.

Which reminds me: Danaerys fell in love with Drogo in spite of the circumstances of their meeting, and he was murdered and her child was murdered. I forget whether the murders were totally free-lance or sponsored by Robert Baratheon. Another grievance (and grief...) for her.

213. Huh? No fully shown b**bies (except the prostitutes Bronn was lounging around with), but Arya and Brienne got almost there, amid much gnashing of teeth on the internet.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:42 AM
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216: Whereas the books consider logistics constantly.
218: They were murdered by a witch who had been raped and enslaved by Drogo, then asked by Daenerys to heal him. Which was a totally reasonable idea, see, because Daenerys had "saved" her after the fourth gang rapist. Daenerys has destroyed everything she has touched, ever, always with the very best of intentions. There are no excuses to be made for her.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:50 AM
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215. As I said earlier, I think she should win, so I'm preparing the case for her: look for it in the Westeros edition of the NYT (or maybe the WaPo, since they are more sycophantic to power).


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 10:51 AM
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If the point is to communicate she is at peace where she is, she could just say something like, "No one has broken me in. I am Lady of Winterfell and I have learned that I can survive any tyrant."

It's interesting to me how things sound different to different ears. Your suggested line strikes me as really defensive. Her actual response to Clegane put her floating a million miles above his crude, insulting comment. Sophie Turner's line reading reinforced that: complete serenity. (Which, I guess to you, seems like she was expressing some kind of satisfaction about the abuse she experienced.)

Meanwhile, I heard Clegane as pained and defensive, sorry that he didn't/couldn't rescue her, but unwilling or unable to express that kind of sentiment.

I'm not arguing -- not suggesting that my reading of this is more perceptive than yours. But that's the way I saw it. It's interesting to me where you locate the offense. Not in the "My experiences made me who I am, and I am glad of who I am," but in the implied addition "and so I am grateful for the abuse I received." I didn't hear that last bit at all.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 11:50 AM
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@219 - yes, and that episode of the godswife being killed does tend foreshadow current behaviour.


Posted by: chris s | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 11:51 AM
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So I guess what you(and the rest of the Internet)'re all saying is it's a good thing Deadwood got canceled before HBO could ruin it.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 12:32 PM
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At least it didn't get as bad as The Simpsons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 12:38 PM
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Oh man, I haven't read all of that LARB piece, but I have to cry out in frustration.

And when Tyrion literally engineers the escape of his brother so that he can engineer the escape of Cersei, the Queen's main enemy, we somehow don't see this as a betrayal. In both cases, this is just an honest and a clever man doing what's necessary because their Queen won't.

WHO IS THIS WE??? Certainly my roommate and I said: this is incredibly stupid and won't work, how does he expect to even live through this clear betrayal (which won't work), why does the show even expect us to accept the absurd logistics of this situation wherein the brother of a high value prisoner tells all his guards to skedaddle and all of them mindlessly obey without thinking of maybe telling the queen, and how does this high value prisoner expect to walk even twenty feet through this camp and not be recognized and put back in his tent? I have not, obviously, sat through the last seasons of Tyrion being so relentlessly stupid with no explanation for the character change (and none could be satisfying! Characters are interesting when they have some virtues!) quiescently thinking, ah, that's just him though; it's fine.

Anyway, for the probable reason AB himself points out in this piece, this behavior isn't going to win any realpolitik wars for Dany, so in fact it was slaughter for no reason. Even if we accept the fiction that it could be read as calculating given what we see on screen, it can't work because it will not actually improve her ability to command loyalty from people she needs it from. If she were intelligent and calculating she would have stayed in Essos. This whole project is about obsession. (That doesn't mean I think her behavior in ep 5 was built to in any sort of satisfying way.)


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 12:59 PM
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I think the problem is basically that D&D are shit writers or hire shit writers or ask their writers to do shitty work. Where shit basically means 'be like a typical TV/Movie superhero flick' with big dumb set piece scenes and 'badass' characters who have big moments. Instead of clever diaglogue and characters who have personal history-based reasons and motivations that congeal into themes, like good books do. The rest of what happens is great, the costumes, music, acting, etc.

""reasonable claim to the throne" argh. That drives me nuts. You are either on the throne, with power, through some kind of power play, or you are not. Nobody gives a rat's ass about "legitimacy", and anyone who does is on the wrong end of the power-stick.
"
This is just not how it works in a feudal system. Legitimacy is (one way) of figuring out who all the other relevant powerholder will back. You don't want to be on the wrong side, so going with the IBM of succession claimants is very popular. Not that someone who was a blacksmith until 5 minutes ago has a very good chance of pushing a claim to anything.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 1:44 PM
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Do you know what would make Danerys' turn work as storytelling? If it works in the story -- if the show ends with Danerys on the Iron Throne. She professed high-minded ideals, but in the end was just another Aegon the Conqueror. It would make Danerys a high fantasy Napoleon. It would be relatively novel.

Instead, I assume that Our Hero Jon kills her, because it will turn out the show is not really a commentary on how violence is bad. Instead, the answer is, as always, the good guy killing the bad guy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 3:44 PM
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He kills her with a gun as a banner is lowered with the NRA logo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 3:59 PM
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Paying for that is why the NRA is broke, not the stuff in the paper about lawyers and renting an apartment for an intern.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:02 PM
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I'm trying to imagine the worst, most poorly written ending. I'm thinking something like Dany is about to toast Arya and as Drogon inhales she throws a knife in his mouth and he explodes along with Dany, like how they kill the spaceships in Independence Day.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:05 PM
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Where is Randy Quaid lately?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:08 PM
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230: I've been noodling on Jon Snow somehow co-opts Drogon, with the power of his extra Targaryen-ness. And his lovely shiny hair.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:12 PM
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230, 232. The most poorly written banal ending is ...

Danaerys has Tyrion toasted for treason. Sansa is out of reach. Arya kills Danaerys while wearing someone else's face, then disappears into the wilderness. Jon is forced to be king; Davos is his Hand; Gray Worm his general, Brienne is on the Small Council. Sansa becomes warden of the north. Jon makes friends with depressed, lonely Drogon and they have new adventures in the sequel series, but he never marries and the Targaryen line is extinguished. Sam Tarley writes a five book history of the war, but never finishes it. Bran sits in his chair. And sits.

It's what I would expect if it were on a lesser, cheaper network.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 4:47 PM
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Has no one besides Tia in 76.4 read the leaks?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:04 PM
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I leave that to professionals in the DC area.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:14 PM
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You think the finale is going to feature the pee tape?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:26 PM
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No. Transaction history from the Iron Bank.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:28 PM
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I may be consumed with rage that terrible hacks are highly paid to insult their audience, but I for real just found five dollars.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:43 PM
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Exactly five dollars?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 5:49 PM
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226.1 Benioff wrote Spike Lee's 25th Hour.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 7:56 PM
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What's been embarrassing is watching a few TV critics I generally like, and one in particular, who after every GoT episode insist that it is a masterpiece.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:02 PM
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227: I like this. If you throw in Jon and the rests of the Starks fleeing into exile beyond the wall, and Dany rewriting history to make her the heroic savior who rescued the people from the evil queen who destroyed her own capital--and you know Dany would totally do that--you get an ending isomorphic to that of one of my favorite video games, Final Fantasy Tactics.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 8:36 PM
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I solemnly swear this will be my final ill-informed comment. I can only imagine that Dany has become an extra beloved alt-right idol this week, for the combo of Nordic/Valkyrie chic, crimes against humanity, and triggering the SJWs etc etc. I'm not going to go looking for confirmation. The overdetermined telos of a character like that is suicide, but who knows?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 9:36 PM
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234 I just looked at some of the leaks and they're contradictory. I'm just certain that the ending will be shit and I'll enjoy all the kvetching over it on social media far more than I'll enjoy watching it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-15-19 11:49 PM
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OT, but one of the less serious problems with Mel Gibson's plan to direct and star in a film about a huge, powerful and sinister Jewish family called "Rothchild" is that it perpetuates the etymological misunderstanding that Rothschild literally is, as we pronounce it to be, Roth's child. Like Stevenson is Steven's son or Pugh is ap Hugh.
It isn't; it's Roth-schild, "Red Shield".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 3:56 AM
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245 Did you see the statement from Gibson's PR flack? Incredibly Trumpian.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:00 AM
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Yeah, saw it...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:15 AM
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239: a five dollar bill on a subway bench.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:38 AM
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Just checking. We have standards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:47 AM
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I think we are flagging in the race to hit 300, unless people come back after Sunday night to gloat, complain, praise (hey, it could happen!), condemn, etc.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:48 AM
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This is almost as bad as the guy who thought that Leonardo's surname was actually "Da Vinci" because he didn't know what the word "Da" meant in Italian.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:48 AM
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In fairness the da and cognates have been absorbed into lots of modern surnames.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:00 AM
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I think the problem there is they didn't realize last names weren't yet a thing Italy. Plenty of people around here have last names starting with "da" or "di" or, as in the case of my grandparents, "la". Everybody knows what the prefix means, but it's still just the name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:02 AM
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Pwned, but I added the family connection.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:03 AM
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That's fine if you're just a normal person, but if you are writing a novel about Leonardo I feel you should be held to the slightly higher standard of "knowing what his actual name was".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:11 AM
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I missed the context.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:13 AM
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253: Some people did have last names in Italy back then - Michelangelo, for example. It's just that not everyone did.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:13 AM
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I should find somebody and shout at them for not preserving the proper capitalization when they record my mother's maiden name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:15 AM
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We're here for you, Mobes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:34 AM
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245: How do English-speaking members of the family pronounce it?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 5:54 AM
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260: Roths-child, I think. I'm not going to start looking on YouTube with the search term "Rothschild" though.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:08 AM
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Like Mobes, I'm named here for a fish. My grandmother's maiden name was St. Amant -- which is not only pronounced several different ways in the US, but also spelled differently: period, space, hyphen, no space, all of the above ending with a d. And it's not even her "real" name -- she's descended from a Breton soldier who came to Canada to participate in the 17th century genocide listed in the records as Mathurin Robert dit St-Amand. Isn't this more or less the equivalent of having your grandchildren adopt your Unfogged pseud as their surname?

One of my grandmother's great aunts married a fellow listed as Joseph DesTroisMaisons dit Picard. I bet most American relatives just go with PICK-erd.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:17 AM
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My history is all more recent. Just illiteracy and Ellis Island.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:21 AM
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French nicknames were weird. How do you get from "Mathurin Robert" to "St-Amand"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:25 AM
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Those of us who grew up rhyming St. Amant with Panama can't really talk about illiteracy.

Looking it up on nosorigines, I see that Joseph DesTroisMaisons dit Picard's great great great grandfather, who was in Quebec in time to get married in 1669, was indeed from a small town in the far north, the same place where the fictional Fantine lived and died. Anyway, 2 centuries is a long time to carry a name like that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:30 AM
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264 It could be literally anything. A joke about a saint, a quote from the poet, maybe he, like Justice Kavanaugh, liked beer so much they called him the patron saint of brewers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:33 AM
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262.last First of his name?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:37 AM
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(Whether we would, by contemporary standards, say that this was the poet's name, is another question. Shakespeare would have.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:41 AM
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267 -- I haven't run it all the way back, but I'm pretty sure that the dit name was used for the first immigrant, not the fellow born 180 years later.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:47 AM
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240 has well and truly blown my mind. I assumed at first it must be a joke.

This is maybe even more surprising than when I realized Jessica Chastain appeared on Veronica Mars in one of my favorite episodes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: “Pause endlessly, then go in” (9) | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:55 AM
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But he also wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: “Pause endlessly, then go in” (9) | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 6:58 AM
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Not sure how it worked in France, but in England people occasionally adopted the name of a powerful sponsor or protector without changing it by deed poll because I don't suppose deed poll had been invented yet. Several of Oliver Cromwell's antecedents are listed in official documents as "Williams alias Cromwell", because one Richard Williams had got a leg up from Thomas Cromwell (as in Henry VIII).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 7:18 AM
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What is the function of "dit" in that time/place? Does it indicate somewhere midway in the process of nickname becoming formalized into surname?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:09 AM
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273: I also wondered this. Wikipedia has an article on it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:14 AM
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Joseph DesTroisMaisons dit Picard is the French-Canadian equivalent of Arthur 'Two Sheds' Jackson.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:17 AM
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Best dit name I have seen was in a late 18th century ecclesiastical record from the St Regis mission in Quebec: François Menard dit Vive L'amour, baptismal sponsor.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:27 AM
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Magdaleine Robin was "dite Roxanne" in Cyrano.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:48 AM
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I probably won't get a better audience to say, Tywin was the best man in Westeros#slatepitch.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:50 AM
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Didn't the two GoT dudes also direct an episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", or was it someone else equally surprising?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 12:17 PM
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I think we are flagging in the race to hit 300, unless people come back after Sunday night to gloat, complain, praise (hey, it could happen!), condemn, etc.

1. Only books 1-3 were good, but those were really, really good. Books 4 and 5 were terrible, mainly because GRRM seemed to have forgotten how to skip what wasn't needed.

2. The show was never particularly good. The early seasons' porn-exposition was part of this, as was (relatedly) making Littlefinger incredibly lame.

3. That said, the complete abandonment of any sort of time/distance constraints in the last couple seasons took it to another level. FWIW that was one of my big problems with the new Star Wars movies, too.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:11 PM
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Trap!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:12 PM
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||
If we're trying to get this to 300...

As of last weekend, I'm a father. The new Princesa de Beira had to be born 5 weeks early, and will be staying in the hospital awhile longer, but mother and baby are otherwise fine.

It's really awesome, although I'm not sure if it's even fully sunk in yet. Maybe it won't till we take her home.
|>


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:15 PM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:18 PM
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Woohoo! Congrats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:19 PM
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Congrats and tip: Don't name her Daenarys or Khaleesi and wait until Monday before risking Arya or Sansa.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:23 PM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:35 PM
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Congrats!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:55 PM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 1:59 PM
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Well done, X! Also, don't name her after a local empress, except maybe Maria Theresa, who did all right.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 2:00 PM
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Congratulations! May you raise her in the Trapnel family speed-skating tradition.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 2:06 PM
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Congratulations, so much of them!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 2:09 PM
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Congrats Trapnel!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 2:27 PM
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Yay X! Pay no attention to Werdna; Sissi is inevitable, at least as a pseud here. Congratulations and best wishes to all the female people involved.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 2:41 PM
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Congrats!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 2:50 PM
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That's great, Trap!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 3:15 PM
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290: But no pressure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 3:22 PM
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Well done, you guys!


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 3:50 PM
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Thanks. We're very good at acknowledging other peoples' good news.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 3:52 PM
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Congrats Fury and Trapnel!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 4:20 PM
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Tonight we dine in Hell!


Posted by: Leonadis | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 7:49 PM
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Did Trump try to use The Button as a suppository?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 7:53 PM
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300 is triumph and tragedy all in one.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 8:22 PM
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Thanks everyone!


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-16-19 9:26 PM
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Zeynep Tufecki with an insightful take on GoT.

"The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones
It's not just bad storytelling--it's because the storytelling style changed from sociological to psychological."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 3:54 AM
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Woo, trapnel baby! I'm just going to assume her genetic variations were decided by random lot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 5:07 AM
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304 is good.
Has the trapnel any commentary on the Austrian resignation?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 7:12 AM
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304 is very good, the comparison with The Wire is really on point.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 8:13 AM
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I have now become that "Actually I prefer reading GoT criticism" guy, just in time for Metropolitan superfan trapnel to resurface. I really do think there's a story about the massive critical output around this show, much of it by ex-grad students of my personal acquaintance, and the sociological narrative around the university system.


Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 8:46 AM
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I'm not sure Tufekci reconciled fully "sociological narratives are a challenge for people to grasp" and "this show is wildly popular in part because of them." Not that I necessarily disagree, but I want to see the argument.


Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:02 AM
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Graduate school is the punishment that keeps on giving.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:17 AM
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309: As I read it, she said not that sociology was hard for people to grasp, but that it's hard for Hollywood people to grasp, which I think is plausible and avoids the contradiction you see.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:28 AM
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Has the trapnel any commentary on the Austrian resignation?

The NYTimes article about it covers the basics. What's really unclear right now is how it will effect boy-chancellor Kurz and his conservative party. There's a real possibility that it would only strengthen him -- that he calls new elections, pulls embarrassed FPÖ voters to him (especially since the two parties are almost identical on most areas of policy these days), and reforms a government either with a reduced FPÖ in a more junior role (this is what happened in 2002, when the FPÖ under Haider split) or, who knows, maybe the liberal NEOS, who will probably swallow anything if promised a tax cut and given some pro-European window dressing.

Anyway, on left-wing-of-the-social-democrats (SPÖ) Facebook, the reactions seem to be: jubilation that Strache's gone down, and that this clearly weakens the FPÖ; concern about whether this will actually hurt the right, or merely strengthen Kurz; despairing certainty that the SPÖ will fail to take advantage of the situation, because its leadership has been a clusterfuck for awhile now.

One bright spot re: the "will this just help Kurz" question is that, after the media's been camped out in front of the chancellery building all day, he announced that he wouldn't give a statement until almost 8pm. Austro-journo-twitter seems to think this makes him look weak and indecisive. We'll see.

Another unambiguous plus is that this has to really demobilize FPÖ voters in next Sunday's EU elections, and hopefully mobilize the left.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:29 AM
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Thanks.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:47 AM
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Yep, new elections "as soon as possible". Some polisci guy on twitter was saying that would be late August, which would mean peak vacation time, so maybe it will be a bit later (or maybe Kurz would want to minimize turnout).

Another upside: right now the Greens aren't even in Parliament, because a high-ranking old white dude got pissed that he wasn't listed as high as he wanted and formed a splinter party (plus various other circular-firing-squad stuff); the splinter group just barely made it passed the minimum threshold, and the Greens just barely missed it. The old white dude was then revealed as a sexual harasser, took a time-out from parliament, then came back (indeed, demanded a woman step aside so he could have "his" mandate back) -- in any case, his party is now polling quite low, and the Greens look to be back above the threshold.

But voters have shown themselves to be particularly volatile lately.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 11:12 AM
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304 link is excellent. The books are even more sociological, but the chapters are told (third-person with a single PoV character) in a way that is actually full of the character's "psychological" view of what is happening. Recommending it to my little coterie of GoT fans.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 11:20 AM
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314 -- There'll all human systems.

I thought the link in 304 was wrong about baby Hitler. Whether the forces would have congealed in any particular way is an interesting question -- but at the human level, the safe answer is always no. You can say that pretty much any leader of post-WWI Germany would have thrown over the restrictions in Versailles, but the notion that pretty much any leader would have ordered the invasion of Russia without having reached a settlement with the UK, or, especially, that pretty much any leader would have had Auschwitz, that's just crazy talk.

Crazy talk of the exact kind we saw with respect to the Gore Administration's invasion of Iraq. As in the link, what we have are individual human beings acting in a context. It still ends up mattering how they individually react to external forces. We all know this from our own lives. Why do we act like it isn't so when we're looking at the various individuals that have decision-making power?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 12:36 PM
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311: Oh good, my NEH grant to comment here has been renewed, so I'll go ahead and explain. She says (just imagine the ellipses between paragraphs here, as I string them together and add emphasis):

the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don't really know how to tell sociological stories. . . . Our inability to understand and tell sociological stories is one of the key reasons we're struggling with how to respond to the historic technological transition we're currently experiencing with digital technology and machine intelligence . . .
Why did so many love Game of Thrones in the first place? . . . The appeal of a show that routinely kills major characters signals a different kind of storytelling, where a single charismatic and/or powerful individual, along with his or her internal dynamics, doesn't carry the whole narrative and explanatory burden. Given the dearth of such narratives in fiction and in TV, this approach clearly resonated with a large fan base that latched on to the show.
That tension between internal stories and desires, psychology and external pressures, institutions, norms and events was exactly what Game of Thrones showed us for many of its characters, creating rich tapestries of psychology but also behavior that was neither saintly nor fully evil at any one point. It was something more than that: you could understand why even the characters undertaking evil acts were doing what they did, how their good intentions got subverted, and how incentives structured behavior. The complexity made it much richer than a simplistic morality tale, where unadulterated good fights with evil.
But if we can better understand how and why characters make their choices, we can also think about how to structure our world [in a way] that encourages better choices for everyone. The alternative is an often futile appeal to the better angels of our nature.
Arguably, the dominance of the psychological and hero/antihero narrative is also the reason we are having such a difficult time dealing with the current historic technology transition. So this essay is more than about one TV show with dragons.
The preference for the individual and psychological narrative is understandable: the story is easier to tell as we gravitate toward identifying with the hero or hating the antihero, at the personal level. We are, after all, also persons!

So we have an "inability to understand and tell" sociological stories, but they also "resonate with a large fan base;" there is a widespread "preference for the individual and psychological narrative" significant enough to be "the reason we are having such a difficult time dealing with the current historic technology transition," but people are, I guess, eager to find and consume better stories that do justice to the complexity of human motives and the present moment. Ironically I think this claim relies on too many weird attribution errors and incoherent psychologizing of its own for me to find it satisfying. There is clearly no unanimity about what is going wrong. This poor fangirl is not frustrated by the psychological turn. (My reaction to that is 98% deep, shuddering cringe and 2% wanting to hug my 7-year-old daughter, who is already too sophisticated to post something like that. But a few years ago she exclaimed: "I love Hermione! I wish I was Ron..." What an adorable little individual psyche, I can't even, I mean, I get it.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 1:23 PM
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If people were never horrible on twitter, it would be hard to remember hug kids.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 1:55 PM
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Every time I comment on this thread, a little cartoon pops out of the browser navigation bar and says "It looks like you're chronicling a descent into madness! Would you like some help?"


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 2:17 PM
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If that's my fault, sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 2:29 PM
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Congratulations X. Trap & lF. Welcome to the Princesa de Beira.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 4:54 PM
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Dang. Assume I got those pseudonyms right. I blame Moby's phone.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 4:56 PM
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317: Ok, she's isn't coherent! But I think 311 would have been, had she said it.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 5:13 PM
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317. What they did is something different, but in many ways more fundamental: Benioff and Weiss steer the narrative lane away from the sociological and shifted to the psychological. That's the main, and often only, way Hollywood and most television writers tell stories.

That seems clear enough to me, and coherent.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 5:44 PM
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325

There are really only three stories in Hollywood: the hero's journey, boy meet girl, and five lions merge to become one big robot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 5:48 PM
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I did two-for-one.


Posted by: Opinionated Ahmad Shah Massoud | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 6:14 PM
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The only three-fer is Reality Bites.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 6:21 PM
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Too obscure for me.


Posted by: Opinionated Ahmad Shah Massoud | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 6:24 PM
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329

I guess in some cultures, staring for hours at pictures of Winona Ryder is seen as unhealthy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 6:25 PM
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woooo hooo trapnel! a gazillion congrats to all!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 6:52 PM
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Having never watched an episode of the show or read any of the books, the appeal of GOT is perfectly obvious to me. It's a soap opera. It's completely unpredictable, because there isn't a hero, and the writers are figuring out what's going to happen as they go along.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 7:15 PM
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Having never watched an episode of the show or read any of the books, the appeal of GOT is perfectly obvious to me. It's a soap opera. It's completely unpredictable, because there isn't a hero, and the writers are figuring out what's going to happen as they go along.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 7:15 PM
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If I posted it 3 times then it would be true.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 7:16 PM
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320: ha! No, not in the least.


Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 8:06 PM
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My mom used to tell me I should check things like that from time to time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 8:22 PM
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Oh shit is it me?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:27 PM
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335: In full honesty, I had meant to directly reply to my own comment (five blockquotes = florid psychosis) and didn't preview, but thank you for the subsequent hilarity.

336: just a flip of the coin.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 9:53 PM
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And to 324: sure, that claim seems straightforward enough. (I'm just assuming everyone in this thread is right about the basic project of the books.) But I think she wants to say both that the sociological narrative approach is deeply compelling to people, and that it's deeply challenging to them, and I think there has to be some conciliatory claim like "people are smarter than they give themselves credit for and are drawn to this more complete picture of human behavior, which they clearly miss now that it has been betrayed by the usual empty-entertainment-calories approach." I might even believe this if it weren't for Joe Biden.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 10:09 PM
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The finale is totally going to be Biden randomly showing up and somehow winning the throne.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 10:45 PM
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Those who liked the Aaron Bady piece upthread can have another.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-18-19 11:22 PM
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Someone is enjoying GoT more than most:

TL;DR : I cheated on my ex during our relationship and she found out shortly after we broke up. She's blocked me on everything, but briefly unblocks me every Monday to send me Game Of Thrones spoilers before I can watch it. How can I get her to stop?

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:29 AM
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82.1 Here's another one that's even more expressive in disgust.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 9:31 AM
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I broke down and looked up the spoilers Tia mentioned. OMG, they can't be real. They are so dumb. The "Dany ushers in an era of peace and light" ending that some fans wanted would be 80 times better of an ending. They make the ending I proposed in 227.1 look like Shakespeare. At least my ending fits the themes of the show.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:38 AM
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I get this confused with the end of Big Bang Theory. They should have tried to end them in separate weeks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:38 AM
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I heard "form Voltron" on the TV in the other room in the exact second I read 325.

I just watched the first few episodes yesterday just to find out what the fuck they are talking about. Though it sounds like Shiro has a more compelling "back from the dead" arc than Jon Snow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:48 AM
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If you have a pre-teen boy in the house, there is always "form Voltron" coming from the TV in the other room. 325 just called it into your conscious mind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:51 AM
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The pre-teen boy is interested in Voltron because his teen sister is so obsessed with it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 11:08 AM
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I never had one of those.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 11:09 AM
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The best ending of both shows would be for Arya and Danyaeris to team up with the dragons and slaughter the entire cast of BBT.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 11:40 AM
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|| That E Warren / Ashley Nicole Black she has a plan tweet couplet is pretty good play, I think.

Black: Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life?

EW: DM me and let's figure this out. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 12:03 PM
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I don't even have an HBO, but I rented "John Wick." I figure if it was good enough to make a sequel to the sequel, it's probably good enough to watch. Plus gswift and a couple of other people here recommended it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 4:52 PM
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What the fuck did I just watch


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:17 PM
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Apparently, you can have a dog delivered after you die?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:18 PM
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D&D are probably like, "Nailed it, all those people complaining that he didn't pet Ghost in episode 4 love us now!"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:20 PM
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I bet you have to pay for it before you die, otherwise everyone who died with send like 600 dogs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:21 PM
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He has New Jersey plates but he's pumping his own gas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:22 PM
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I like to imagine Mobes and I are posting about the same show.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:25 PM
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Poor dog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:27 PM
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The liquor product placement is kind of obvious.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:33 PM
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I think the dog was a metaphor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:38 PM
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I feel like that looking officer wasn't doing his job, but I don't really blame him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:44 PM
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Looking s/b police


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 7:45 PM
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This is a really well staffed mafia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:04 PM
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He has New Jersey plates but he's pumping his own gas.

Ha! Have I mentioned lately how much I hate that New Jersey thing where you can't even pump your own gas? They call it "full-service," but do they even run a sponge over your front windshield? They do not. There's no service, other than pumping your gas, which, you know, you could easily do yourself, if only they would let you...


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:12 PM
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Poor Harry. He seemed like a nice guy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:16 PM
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Really, if they had much sense, they'd just kill Wick now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:19 PM
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Poor Marcus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:34 PM
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These guns are really quiet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:34 PM
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He could just steal a new dog. There's a bunch right there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:45 PM
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I guess he has had the same idea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 8:46 PM
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Was the finale as shit as it sounds on Twitter? I'll watch it later tonight.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 9:11 PM
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He just stapled himself and then stole a dog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 9:14 PM
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It wasn't as nice as the first dog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 9:16 PM
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Global War on Thrones


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:36 PM
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Also, congrats to X. Trapnel and family, lots going on in this thread that I only glanced at because I don't watch the show it purports to be about.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:37 PM
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I don't have HBO either, but happened to be in a motel tonight, for an out-of-town thing in the morning. So, I watched it. I haven't seen any of GOT since season 5 -- why was everything visually so dark? Could they not have done this episode in like 45 minutes? On the other hand, if they're going to have a whole episode, could they really not think of any better dialogue than this?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 10:44 PM
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|| AHP brings the heat. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-19 11:10 PM
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I was listening to someone on NPR mention a show called Fleabag which intrigues me. I seem to have BBC America on my xfinity cable but I can't find the show. It appears to be available on Amazon, but I try to avoid spending money there, if possible.

Is there anywhere else I can get it. Not opposed to paying, I just prefer to avoid Amazon.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 3:57 AM
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378 Fleabag may be my next watch, I hear it's excellent. Either that or I'll start in on season 2 of Derry Girls which is great.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:09 AM
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377: My theory is that in a rare episode of self-awareness the Three Morons From Hell (Dowd, Friedman, and Brooks) conspired to get Stephens his gig at the Times in hopes that their own banal gibberings would seem less insufferable in comparison.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:10 AM
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379: If you do, let me know how you access it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:14 AM
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381 A fairly lo-res and very buggy pirate stream aggregator that I run a bunch plug-ins to block various trackers, pop-ups, scripts, and other nasty shit to access. It's almost barely worth it but if you can't find an alternative give me a shout.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:24 AM
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I've also heard Russian Doll is great.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:27 AM
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The ending of GoT was even more banal than my 233. I guess that's why I'm not a screenwriter.

378. I've heard good things about Fleabag. If I watch all the series that I've got on my list, it will take up all my life's remaining down-time hours and still not finish them.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:38 AM
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383. I liked Russian Doll a lot. Small number of total episodes, so not a huge time sink to binge it, unlike (e.g.) GoT.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:40 AM
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Russian Doll is good, but arty. (So Barry would love it, but it's probably not for everyone.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:42 AM
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348: Voltron is super-angsty, which is perfect for my daughter. My son's speed is more "She-Ra".

By the way, She-Ra has the greatest mad scientist character in the history of all media, Entrapta. Most evil scientists want revenge or power. Entrapta is what a real scientist who went bad would be like -- she literally has no sense of right and wrong, and just wants to find out what happens when she tries stuff. In one episode her experiment almost destroyed the entire planet. She pronounced the experiment a complete success because she collected really terrific data.

Plus, she had a line of dialogue that heebie could probably use every day of her working life. "Wait, do I have to explain 'math' to you?"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 4:52 AM
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Like Sherlock the elder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 5:06 AM
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Or, Holmes the elder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 5:07 AM
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Sherlock, not Elizabeth.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 5:15 AM
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Join three Holmes together to fight and commit crime.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 5:21 AM
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I was thinking Sherlock, Mycroft and Oliver Wendell vs the villainous Rogue Holmes, Elizabeth. With, of course, loyal support from their sidekicks, John, James, Thomas J. and Emily Watson.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 5:34 AM
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The first and second series of Fleabag are quite different in feel. At the beginning of the the first Fleabag seems like a horrible person and I started binge-watching it despite myself, but you end up sympathizing and rooting for her to find some sort of resolution. By the second she's much more likeable, and the writing is brilliant throughout.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 5:55 AM
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We're a couple of episodes in to Fleabag season 1 -- I think that's all they have on Amazon right now? -- and considering whether to go on. The switch-over described in 393 hasn't happened for me yet.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 6:06 AM
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394: The episode in which she goes on a weekend silent retreat with her sister was the turning point. I can't remember now whether that's episode 4 or 5.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 6:16 AM
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By the way, She-Ra has the greatest mad scientist character in the history of all media, Entrapta. Most evil scientists want revenge or power. Entrapta is what a real scientist who went bad would be like

I thought the recent animated "Into the Spider-Verse" (which was awesome in all other respects, too; strongly recommended!) had a pretty great mad scientist character, too, for similar reasons.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 6:18 AM
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I didn't see that, but my son liked it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 6:28 AM
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317, 338: It looks like you're complaining about self-contradiction or something in the article, but I don't see it. Sociological narratives, such as GoT S1-6 or so, are rare because they're harder to write and consume. The rare time someone writes one, and sets it in a fantasy world with the production values of modern HBO, is exceptional. Anyone who might ever like a sociological narrative would have loved GoT. And then it stopped being sociological (and gained some other problems too).

Another problem is that while the story was still advancing, it had something for everyone. Multiple plot threads with three-dimensional characters meant that different fans could empathize with different factions. Danaerys was an idealistic princess and committed war crimes in the same season. Jon was the son of a noble family and succeeding in the Night's Watch, the closest thing in the world to a meritocracy. Cersei and Jaime were incestuous psychos and just trying to survive in a world where they could only count on each other. Tyrion was smart. The show had Schrödinger's royalty. Fans could appreciate the sociological narrative of the world they lived in, and also the psychological narrative of rooting for one faction or character to succeed or get redeemed or whatever. But tying up the plot threads neatly required opening the box and, in many cases, finding a dead cat.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 6:46 AM
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376: If you thought that was dark, then I envy you being blissfully behind trends in prestige TV cinematography.

380: It's the only explanation.

391: The Adventure Zone, the McElroy brothers' D&D podcast, did a very silly bonus episode where they played a one-page RPG called "Four Sherlock Holmes and a Vampire, Who is One of the Aforementioned Sherlock Holmes."

Back to GoT: I thought this episode was fine. Given what we've had so far I don't think we could expect better from them. It was a bit pat, overly optimistic, and revolved too much around one Big Speech Where A Smart Character Explains The Themes, but I found it mostly satisfying. My first line notwithstanding, the cinematography and music were both stunning. I liked that [spoiler]* finally made a proactive decision and they're not at all rewarded for it.

* While watching the scene where they're convinced to think a bit harder about the situation, I told my wife that they're "the world's prettiest C student."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 6:49 AM
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What they did is something different, but in many ways more fundamental: Benioff and Weiss steer the narrative lane away from the sociological and shifted to the psychological. That's the main, and often only, way Hollywood and most television writers tell stories.

Absolutely. Hollywood writers now go to the extent of believing that non-psychological motivations are inherently suspect. How many times have we seen Character A, whose motivations already make perfect sense, then be revealed as having a secret backstory where he is related to Character B, or has a grudge against Character B, or irrationally loves Character B because they have some random thing in common, in order to "explain" why he is doing some action that will help or hurt Character B?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:08 AM
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Four?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:12 AM
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400: What is a non-psychological motivation?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:12 AM
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Yes to 402. What you're describing in 400 is not psychological motivations, but hidden motivations - and it isn't hard to work out why those are a very tempting trope to bring in to the second half of a story.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:19 AM
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I haven't watched it yet, but it sounds like it gets meta in the exact way that writers get when they are trying to be deep. Tyrion apparently has a long speech about what really matters is stories. It's the most anti-sociological idea imaginable.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:21 AM
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I'm describing psychological motivations driven by relationships. Characters can't just want to do something, they have to want to do something because of some other person.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:24 AM
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Tyrion apparently has a long speech about what really matters is stories. It's the most anti-sociological idea imaginable.

Maybe you haven't spent a lot of time with qualitiative sociologists.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:25 AM
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405: ah, OK. You're right about that. You mean the thing where you can't just want to fight the evil empire because it's evil; you have to want to fight them because the evil empire killed a family member of yours or something.
Probably related to "I am a father of two daughters and therefore I think rape is awful"/ "I decided to favour equal rights when my brother came out as gay".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:48 AM
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398: yeah, fuck it, I don't care enough to keep arguing. It would only be an interesting argument if I had a different, better theory.

374: I keep reading it as "Gang of Thrones." I really can't pick out the best Go4 song for a montage. Barry?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:52 AM
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Oh has there been another episode of this show?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 8:13 AM
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Did everyone see the plastic water bottle they left on the set? This is after the other episode's Starbucks coffee cup. They really couldn't give a shit.

408 "Not Great Men"? to a montage of Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark, Joffrey, Cersei, Dany, etc. getting killed off.

Ok, time to actually watch this shit.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 8:14 AM
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Then season 2 of Derry Girls I think.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 8:15 AM
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1. Russian Doll is recommended. I'm not sure it's terribly original or anything, but it's clever and fun, and Natasha Lyonne is entertaining to watch. Plus, it leans heavily on this old Nilsson tune, which I find weirdly hypnotic.

2. GoT Season 8 lowered expectations to the point that the finale didn't seem that bad.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 8:40 AM
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People were talking about Sherlock Holmes stuff upthread - if anyone is looking for book recommendations, the last novel I read was The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter. It was fun, in the 19th-century literature crossover genre. To summarize, Mary Jekyll, her long-lost half-sister Diana Hyde, Justine Frankenstein, Catherine Moreau, and some friends of theirs help Sherlock Holmes investigate strange murders.

399
Given what we've had so far I don't think we could expect better from them.

True, but that's damning with faint praise. As of the end of The Bells, 227.1 would have made a better episode, and been a better finale of the series. The way things stood at the start of the season, this finale could have been pretty good if they had taken the time to get the characters and plots to where they wanted with some semblance of logic.

To pick out one problem out of several, the new monarch. It's a twist very few people predicted, so I guess the writers must have been proud of that. The only problem is, they have never actually done anything in-universe to justify being crowned. There are lots of ways this character could have been influential in the conflict for King's Landing, or cleaning up the mess afterwards, but it never actually happened. Maybe this would have made more sense if we had got 4-8 more episodes between Danaerys getting to Westeros and the finale, but we didn't.

Personally I've said often enough by now that I found this last season or maybe even last two seasons very rushed. The best thing about the show since season 6 has been the cinematography, or whatever you call it when things look really cool on screen. But the plot tying it together has been mediocre if not horrible.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 8:52 AM
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The cinematography has actually been patchy as hell. Virtually everything in the north has been underlit to invisibility. Also it's great how winter apparently lasts about six weeks after six years of autumn.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 8:56 AM
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Mary Jekyll, her long-lost half-sister Diana Hyde, Justine Frankenstein, Catherine Moreau, and some friends of theirs

Great, it's that Red Dwarf episode where they visit the parallel universe. "First on the moon? Nellie Armstrong!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:00 AM
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And an entire kingdom secedes from the new constitution before it's even been written down. And the crown has no army and no fleet. And there will be no successor when raven boy dies. Yes, everything's just peachy.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:00 AM
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It's a twist very few people predicted,

Although, come to think (saying this as someone who read the first couple of books and never watched the show), it's what you'd expect from the very beginning. If Martin was retelling the Wars of the Roses, and you start mapping characters out to real world equivalents, there's a fair argument that the character who ends up as king maps to a real world king, even if the real world king didn't stay king for long.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:01 AM
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There's a family of *fan* narratives about [spoilers, but the OP already said this was a spoliery thread] Bran that might have been satisfying if that's what D&D had written and filmed: that Bran/3ER is a villain who both had foreknowledge and took crucial action to put these events in motion. I even offered my friend a motivation for this in a conversation this morning: Bran thinks the former 3ER was too passive, too unwilling to use his knowledge to guide the affairs of men, and he is just like Dany in his believe in the salutary effect of his absolute power, so he decides to manipulate everyone with the appearance of being uninvolved. You could even imagine some creepy coda where he's warging into Drogon and quashing far off rebellions. As it is they've effectively written a villain while appearing to believe they've told some story about a conclusion with at least some marginal increase in enlightened, disinterested rule.

I think what happened is that the writers increasingly believed their own hype and became super paranoid about leaks, so vomited up a first draft of a season that could have been successfully reworked with a ton of feedback. They just believed they didn't need that feedback and were too nervous to get it.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:09 AM
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If it had been lit properly who knows how many more coffee cups or water bottles would have been spotted on screen.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:09 AM
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So was there any summation of how well set Westeros was for the coming winter as the series ended?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:10 AM
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Hold the fuck up, per 414, they showed or presaged winter was ending? Cop-out!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:11 AM
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Bran the Broken became Bran the Home Insulation Expert.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:12 AM
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And an entire kingdom secedes from the new constitution before it's even been written down.

A restive, ethnically different, and economically useless province has seceded, allowing the kingdom to obtain its natural borders.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:13 AM
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So, in the final episode they discover the importance of fiber to a health diet?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:16 AM
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Oh, if we're saying names, then what I meant in 417 was that Bran, the youngest, injured, Stark boy maps onto Richard III, the youngest, 'hunchbacked' York boy. I mean, obvious, but it does qualify as foreshadowing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:17 AM
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420: In the council scenes, there are noticeably green trees. It's hard to say that winter was ending precisely because they were so lazy and inconsistent in what they chose to depict. I think there was just no concern for temporal logic whatsoever, not some considered intention to depict winter ending.

I joked to my roommate, I guess it makes sense that KL is just like DC: they lose their shit about one snowfall.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:18 AM
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418.first: So Westeros goes through God-Emperor of Dune directly to The Culture.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:18 AM
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Winter is definitely ending. When the wildlings are walking north out of The Wall at the end, they show a green shoot sprouting up through the snow.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:19 AM
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I had really low expectations going in to the final episode, but it was still significantly more terrible than I had anticipated.

D+D aren't actually stupid, so I can't understand it. Was it a calculated act of hostility to their fans and GRRM?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:23 AM
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Wait, wasn't it frozen north of the Wall even during summer? That makes no sense at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:23 AM
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Second 423.


Posted by: Opinionated House Martell | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:26 AM
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430: Just north of The Wall supports trees (and it's mentioned in the books that the Night's Watch has to prune back the trees for defensive reasons). Parts of beyond the wall are boreal forest, although even further north parts are tundra. If there's trees, they had to grow sometime.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:26 AM
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The best thing GRRM could do for the world is write a final book where they literally all starve because they weren't prepared for the winter.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:26 AM
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434

She pronounced the experiment a complete success because she collected really terrific data.

So, a tech company experiment.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:27 AM
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435

We resent your characterization of our economy.


Posted by: Opinionated House Greyjoy | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:27 AM
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Tell us more about these "natural borders".


Posted by: Opinionated House Arryn | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:28 AM
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We're curious too.


Posted by: Opinionated House Redwyne | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:31 AM
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Maybe all the Night King wanted was a bunch of small trees for transplanting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:32 AM
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D+D aren't actually stupid, so I can't understand it. Was it a calculated act of hostility to their fans and GRRM?

I tried to offer a theory in 418, although cutting against my theory is the evidence that they are actually stupid. I mean, in a setting in which he had total control over what he communicated about his work, Benhioff said, "Dany kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet" and birthed a thousand memes. The absolute simplest explanation is that he is stupid.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:35 AM
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I don't buy the sociological/psychological explanation. It's true that at the beginning, the show was interested in institutions rather than individual psychologies, and that was cool. But while the show eventually abandoned sociological storytelling, it never moved satisfactorily into psychological stories. What exactly is the psychological story that was told about Euron Greyjoy? He was a major character, but he had literally no personality at all -- no fear, no anxiety, no love, no hate, no memories. He was a bot with two inputs -- wants to fuck the queen, wants to kill the guy who killed the king. The problem isn't psychological stories, it's that the show moved away from telling sociological stories to telling barely any stories at all. Instead, it threw up nonsensical plots that served as a bare framework for visual effects and CGI dragons.



Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:37 AM
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As some of you may recall, we were also less than satisfied with the Targaryen-Baratheon border delimitation.


Posted by: Opinionated Riverlands Survivors Support Group | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:38 AM
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Seriously, The Neck is a really good border.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:38 AM
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443

The road to our place is called, literally, The Boneway. Big T, big B.


Posted by: Opinionated House Martell | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:43 AM
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Easily breached.


Posted by: Opinionated Double Chin | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:44 AM
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I have only been following Twitter chatter, not the show itself, but doesn't "being rushed and writing the ending on the fly" account for a lot of failures? Incompetence, but not malice.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:45 AM
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Bleach-blond assholes came at us with dragons, plural. Bleached their bones.


Posted by: Opinionated House Martell | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:50 AM
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They had to trade the bones for a boner, IYTWIMAIKYD.


Posted by: Opinionated House Martell | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 9:51 AM
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What I loved the most about the first season of GoT was how fully imagined the world seemed. (I had read the first book, none of the others.) There's a scene where Catelyn Stark is at some inn on the road between KL and the North, and she sees Tyrion and calls on the other patrons of the inn to take him prisoner. She's alone, and a woman, so she can't do it alone -- she needs the men in the inn to do it. Catelyn calls out all these men by name or by house, and demands that they do this favor for her, by reminding them of their obligations to her family, her husband, or her husband's family. These obligations stem from feudal institutions, ancient family ties, and old personal history, almost none of which we had previously heard about or saw depicted.

The scene is great because it makes the viewer aware that although we see only a few characters and events on screen, there's actually a vast, interconnected network of people and institutions that exists under the surface, and which constantly affect each character's actions.

Contrast this with this last episode. The scene where representatives of all the great houses are sitting on a dais to decide the fate of Tyrion and Westeros is so sparse and hermetic that it seems like a theater piece. There are about a dozen people there, which makes no sense at all.* If the ruling houses were asked to sit in this council, you would have seven people -- a Stark, a Martell, a Greyjoy, etc. No Brienne, no Samwell. No extra Starks. If it was supposed to be representatives of all the noble houses of Westeros, you could include Brienne and Sam, but then you'd also have a hundred other people we've never seen before -- surviving members of the Karstarks and Cleganes and all the zillion other houses (D+D could have just looked at the ASOIAF wiki, it would have taken them five minutes). Instead, D+D brought back every named character from every noble family who we didn't see die onscreen. In other words, there exist no other noble houses, and no other no noble family members, except the ones we have seen on screen; and despite the wars that have ravaged Westeros for years, no noble family members have died other than the deaths we saw on screen. It's as if D+D refused to imagine a world that extended one inch beyond the confines of the television screen. They did exactly as much imaginative work as they absolutely had to do in order to deliver the episode, and not one jot more.

*Obviously, there are a lot of more reasons why this scene made no sense.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:07 AM
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And sure, yes, the Neck is a good border. But the Scottish Borders are also a good border, and yet Scotland was a chronic strategic liability for England, until the Stuart succession. The books say repeatedly a Northern alliance was crucial for overall stability, and Britain is clearly the model. Apart from everything else, you just have to look at the map to see that.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:13 AM
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414 I noticed that the episodes directed by Miguel Sapochnik (The Long Night, The Bells) were directed very well with many interesting visuals whereas the episodes directed by David Nutter (Winterfell, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, Last of the Starks) were uniformly dull and uninteresting.

Kings Landing was certainly rebuilt quickly, I didn't notice any damage after the Kings Moot or whatever the hell that was, also the Wall was rebuilt, wasn't it burned down at Castle Black? And what's with that bit of green shoots coming up through the snow? Is winter not coming after all.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:16 AM
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450.last before seeing 428

448.1&2 That is one of the best scenes in the books and in the series.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:21 AM
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452

More comments like 448 pls.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:25 AM
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450.last Lhude sing goddamn!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:39 AM
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452 Yes, that's a really great comment.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:39 AM
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Apparently the winter of their discontent is now made glorious summer, per 425*?

And yes, Barry, of course "Not Great Men" is perfect. Now I just need to find someone with a lot of time on their hands.

* Don't fucking quibble with me about the plot of Richard III. I AM MAKING A CHEAP JOKE and the expensive version of the joke is not any funnier.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:39 AM
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440: show!Euron was truly the beginning of the end, right? He shows up, immediately commits regicide to more-or-less resounding shrugs from the remaining power-structure, and actions never regain the weight or motivation of believeable, established, in-world consequence again. Things devolve into the Yahtzee of Thrones we've been left with.


Posted by: Scott | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:47 AM
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449: While the North is in some sense supposed to be Scotland, in some senses there are better analogies. Westeros's geography is modeled more directly on Britain plus an inverted Ireland for the south. The Scottish Borders correspond to The Wall, not to The Neck, which itself doesn't correspond to any real life geography. The Wall is literally where Hadrian's Wall would be. The Neck is much narrower and can be held by a single pair of castles, which was never true of the Scottish Borders or even the Firth/Clyde isthmus during the era of the Antonine Wall.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:48 AM
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Both are good comments but 440.1 belies 448. It's because the book/show is underpinned by that sociological understanding that the scene works as well as it does, and it serves really well to uncover that world for the reader/viewer.

Sorry if I misunderstood. Had a few...


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 10:59 AM
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448.last: Having a small delegation from each kingdom's ruling family doesn't seem weird to me. And really only two of them violate the one-person-per-kingdom rule: Starks gonna Stark together--and honestly one of them is The Hero of Winterfell and another sees all history, so they seem reasonable to include--and Robin Arryn is still young enough to need That Old Dude to tell him what to do. Beyond them, each kingdom plus the Iron Islands minus The Reach (no one left, hasn't been given to Bronn yet) got a single representative.

The inclusion of Sam, Brienne, and Davos was harder to explain. I can justify Sam as being the last sensible representative of the Night's Watch, one of the few pan-Westerosi non-royal civic institutions. And he's approximately a maester, so he's a bit of a two-fer. The other two are less justifiable: in hindsight Brienne's the only remaining candidate for the Kingsguard, and Davos...well, he's just smart.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:18 AM
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457: Topographically of course the Neck doesn't correspond to anything. Politically though it has to correspond to the Borders. GoT presented a consistently medieval society. In the middle ages there was no wall, with empire to the south and barbarians to the north; there was one feudal polity south of the Borders, another to the north. The GoT Wall is an aberrant import from a different, higher-tech (/magic) era.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:24 AM
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https://twitter.com/BrentSirota/status/1130422049724354560


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:28 AM
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Davos even jokes about it- Not sure I get a vote! At least they didn't have him say Who am I, Why am I here?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:29 AM
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458: There was a point where the show was -- while fucked up in a lot of ways -- really good.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:30 AM
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459: With the small problem that the Stormlands are represented by Gendry Waters, whose sole claim is a possibly never-formalized legitimation by a never-crowned now-dead invader.
Also, there are good vacant lands in the Reach, available for settlement by the Unsullied? What now? This is the end of a long summer, the Reach was mostly untouched by the wars.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:31 AM
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The Starks are based on the house of York. In the show Ned Stark has a Yorkshire accent not a Scottish one. Of course the wall is roughly Hadrian's wall.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:32 AM
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461 is good. I think the episode was ok to good until Dany dies. Then it goes to absolute risible shit.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:33 AM
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465 Sean Bean is a Yorkshire man.

But why did Liam Cunningham who is Irish use a Geordie accent?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:35 AM
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448 is fantastic.

Another thing about that scene that I miss is the sense that travel is dangerous. That trip happened before civil war started, and yet travel even on the King's Road was incredibly dangerous. Yet somehow after six years of civil war suddenly Jaime Lannister, arguably the most famous man in the Kingdom and who is recognizable even to strangers on account of having a fucking gold hand and who can't defend himself, can just take a horse and go solo from King's Landing all the way to Winterfell without anyone knowing he was coming and without getting murdered or held hostage for money or any number of other things.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:38 AM
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460: this is a dumb point, but I'm enjoying arguing it. There are other important ways that the North/South differ from Scotland/England. In that time period there was some degreee of culture continuity between the Men of Lothian and the Northumbrians. In the past they had even been in a united Northumbrian kingdom. The Northmen see themselves as different and still sometimes worship different gods. There's no reason they'd want to capture Westerosi Berwick (which I guess is the southern Twin); too much treasure and effort for something they have no attachment to.

464: yeah, Gendry's obviously there because the viewers know him, but I think you can make a realpolitik argument that to remove him would be insulting the memory of Dany and unnecessarily piss off the Unsullied. And nobody really minds him--he's a nice guy in over his head--and it lets them pretend there's more continuity with the old system than there really is.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:39 AM
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467: I have no fucking clue why he's the only Geordie speaker in the world (no other character from Flea Bottom has that accent) but Irishman doing Geordie might be my new favorite accent. Are there any other examples?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:42 AM
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465: Accents were wildly inconsistent to my ear. In any case, if the North is Yorkshire, where is Scotland? Mance Rayder's host is a one-off assemblage of clans, not an established polity, however chaotic. The wildlings are only intermittently organized, and their incursions can be contained by the North alone; medieval Scotland was a much bigger problem for England - Auld Alliance. The Wall is inconsistent with the rest of the setting. Note there are also wildlings in the Mountains of the Moon, chronic bandit problems in the Dornish Marches and the Kingswood, chronic pirate problems everywhere. Were it not for the magical Wall, the northern wildlings would be just another frontier where feudalism bleeds out into wilderness.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:44 AM
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The sole defect in the 'sociological vs. psychological' essay is that it implies that post-GRRM, D&D had a discernible plan. It's reasonable to suppose that D&D failed at presenting the psychological underpinning for events, but since they failed so badly, it's hard to really be sure what they were trying to do. Maybe they continued the sociological approach, but just were really bad at it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:48 AM
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469.1: The Northmen have strong ties with crannogmen (Celts!) of the swamps, which extend below the Neck; similarly the petty lords of the hills in the western North on the face of it have as much in common with the wildlings as with the high lords on the lowlands.
I'd be willing to split the difference as north of the Neck being an expanded Scottish Lowlands, north of the Wall an expanded Highlands.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:52 AM
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472: I don't think that's implied; as I read it, without source material they defaulted to Hollywood instincts, which lean psychological. That only requires discernible plans for one scene at a time - see NW's insightful comment about the show collapsing to striking images.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 11:55 AM
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472 Why did they decide to do two short seasons instead of the usual ten? I don't recall seeing any stories about this but I've seen a bunch of tweets saying HBO wanted them to do ten for each. Did they get cold feet after they got so far ahead of GRRM?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:02 PM
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They were bored and wanted to move on to other projects, and they're assholes who don't care about screwing something up that a lot of people worked really hard on and a lot of people cared about.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:06 PM
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Beniof and Weiss very definitely want to be done with the thing. I recall mention of exhaustion with basing in Europe, among other things. And with less story they presumably had to bottle budget for the FX to compensate.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:07 PM
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Idiots, this is very likely the highlight of their careers. And oh to be sick and tired of being based in Ireland or Croatia, the hardship.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:10 PM
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473: Ah, true, but there's no economic reason to bother conquering the crannogmen, or conquering for them. And Greywater Watch is still north of The Twins. I'll buy the Lowlands/Highlands distinction, though. (Overfitting the metaphor, the crannogmen are from Galloway.)

475: I thought that this might be because of the cast being paid by the episode, but every indication just seems to be that D&D wanted to wrap it up as quickly as possible so that they could move on to other things. As for cold feet, yes, that's probably a factor, but the one slowed down, character-focused episode this season (the one before The Battle of Winterfell) was actually pretty well done. I think they could've done more like that if they'd tried.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:11 PM
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478: They're supposedly getting three Star Wars movies.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:13 PM
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But Greywater Watch moves!
I'm confused, what is the attempted Northern conquest you're referring to (in fiction)?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:17 PM
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Having to sit through episodes 1, 2, and 3 is a really cruel punishment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:17 PM
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480: And this week's shameless Nazi imagery proves their worthiness. (Though, as for the Bells, I thnk it was well-executed and totally consistent with the books. Apart from Daenerys' sudden taste for black leather.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:19 PM
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458: I don't think so. I agree that the show was more interested in institutions at the beginning, and that was one of the things that made it great. But I disagree that the loss of sociological plotting was a major driver for the loss of quality. Had the sociological storylines been replaced with competent psychological storylines, that would have been okay with me. But instead, they were replaced by senseless CGI explosions.

The main problem with the show in the post-GRRM seasons wasn't the shift from sociology to psychology, it was the fact that the writers stopped imagining a world beyond what was depicted on the screen. This is manifested by the nonsensically-constituted council of noble houses, but also lots of other examples, like how Westeros seems so tiny now, or how winter didn't have any impact on the population. Or when Jaime is telling Brienne that he's returning to Cersei because a bad man. His lists each of the terrible things he's done starting with season 1, episode 1, when he pushed Bran out the window, and continuing through all the shitty things he's done that were depicted onscreen in each episode. Jaime was the scion of a legendarily ruthless ruling house, he's fathered multiple kings with his own sister, killed countless people, and he can't remember a bad thing he did before the first episode of this television show?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:20 PM
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Further to 484, I meant "I don't think so" to the contention that "440.1 belies 448."


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:22 PM
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481: Enh, there's a river in the way. It can't move that far.

I meant that the instability of the English/Scottish frontier was due to leaders on both sides trying to conquer adjoining bits of the other country. I'm trying to make an argument that the situation between the Six Kingdoms and the North is sufficiently different from the British case, so that any conquest and possibly even tit-for-tat raids don't make much sense. Thus making The Neck--particularly at whatever river The Twins span--a reasonable border and the least of the new Westerosi political system's problems. (And of course, this won't be a problem at all until there stop being Starks on both thrones.)

I haven't spent enough time on AWoIaF to find out how the in-fiction history makes this contention incorrect, admittedly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:25 PM
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468. Also, there are good vacant lands in the Reach, available for settlement by the Unsullied?

So Gray Worm turns down the Reach, and when last seen is sailing away to Naarth (sp?). Are the other Unsullied going with him? If the Unsullied are leaving Westeros, why does anyone care that the Unsullied are mad at Jon for killing Dany? Are some Unsullied going to stay? Are the Dothraki going to stay or go? If significant numbers of either group stay in Westeros, and retain their anger at Dany's death, it is not a good omen for a peaceful Westeros. Wait a little while and they could have Jon as King (if they were stupid enough to want him).

Similarly, Dorne and the Iron Islands were the last two kingdoms added to the seven. Why should the Starks get their own country (described as "half the kingdom") and not those two?

Where was it said or implied in the books or show that killing the Night King would end the Winter? Possibly even all Winters. The Wall, made of magical ice but nonetheless, meltable ice, was built over 8000 years ago, we are told. There was no Night King then, was there?

Finally, this: The Tragedy of Daenerys Targaryen was excellent. Written before the finale was aired, too.

Rather, with the Dragon Queen's sacking of the city, Game of Thrones gave us something more powerful than a plot twist: a tragedy. And for all that Dany's actions represent a shocking break from the hopes and expectations she generated with many of her words and deeds, this tragedy has been hiding in plain sight for years.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:30 PM
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This may be totally coincidental, but this "everything feels so tiny now" is a common issue with video game progression. When you start out, your party is weak and every journey--even to the second town just down the way--is a big adventure. In the beginning of the classic Final Fantasy VI, you're fighting rabbits. on the road. As you progress through the game, you both earn ways to move faster and the level of detail is lower. There's no need to worry about the road between towns when the Dread Lord's High Tech Magic Fortress is out there. So while the player is supposed to assume that the world is still huge, it'll tend to feel small by the end. Eliding the days of horseback riding and highwaymen attacks is GoT's equivalent. This parallel might not be intentional, but it's worth noting that D.B. Weiss is a video game dude, having written Lucky Wander Boy.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:33 PM
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486: I wasn't working off the history, more the pure geostrategy. The North, by virtue of geography, is almost an offshore power. Excepting the Iron Islands, post-Targaryen very minor power, the North has peer enemies on only one front, and that easily defensible; it leaves the North uniquely* free to intervene in the South without risking a multi-front war. Given the poverty of the North that was also the only reading that to me made sense of the oftten-stated importance of the North.
Though of course not entirely unique: the Vale has its mountains, Dorne mountains and sea. Interestingly, those are also the powers GRRM has so far left on the sidelines, with their respective rulers waiting their best moments to strike. Also interestingly, Littlefinger chose to start his war between Lannister and Stark, thus involving and exhausting from the outset the most isolated of those three "offshore" powers, and the only one that can threaten the Vale's flank when it eventually intervenes in the heartlands; and he tells Sansa his first move will be in fact to liberate the North from the Boltons and so bring it onside.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:41 PM
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488 I've read a number of really smart pieces lamenting the influence of video games on TV writing. I wish I could remember one now...


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:44 PM
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489: So you're trying to answer the question as to why The North is important enough to unify with the South, right? Which gets us to: why did the Targaryens conquer the North? Probably because it was there, and it wasn't so poor that it wouldn't add to their glory. Maybe the better middle ages northwestern Europe analogy is not Scotland but Ireland. The Targaryens are acting like Hiberno-né-Cambro-Normans. Admittedly, there's no evidence they developed the North further. The founding of the only real Northern city, White Harbor, was done by the Manderlys, Southern immigrants, before the Targaryen era. Which I suppose makes them like the Scottish proto-Scots-speaking burghers.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 12:57 PM
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450.2 I don't think enough is being made of this, I mean they build faster than Dubai in the Seven Kingdoms.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 1:00 PM
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Because you can say "kingdom" faster than "emirate".


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 1:02 PM
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487 last fails entirely to reckon the argument it purports to be rebutting. Again: "Foreshadowing is not character development."

The essay highlights its own error by comparing GoT with LotR. Literally every time Frodo interacted with the ring, its potential for mischief was emphasized. Sure, there was concern that Danaerys would go nuts, but up until the moment of her psychotic break -- including earlier in the episode -- all of her brutality was done for reasons that were carefully elucidated. There was no explanation, even in retrospect, for her sudden decision to immolate the city dwellers after their surrender.

D&D's explanation in the after-show bit is even worse than no explanation. They said (I have read) that Dany viewing the Red Keep was a reminder of everything that had been taken from her. The problem with that explanation is that she didn't go nuts until the moment she clinched the victory that would return her birthright to her.

The essay argues persuasively that the writers had no obligation to end Danearys's story arc with her still being sane. The problem is, that's a rebuttal to an argument nobody is making.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 1:08 PM
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War and Peace has similar problems with the world narrowing down over time, tbh. Who is the Tolstoy of, uh, Westeros?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 1:14 PM
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We don't have to make the geostrategy out of air, it's explicitly demonstrated in the books: when the Lannisters take the offensive to hold onto the throne, a Northern army is able to pin them down in the Riverlands while other pretenders mobilize in the Stormlands and the Reach. Tywin is able to win through skill and central position, but only by a very thin margin: it's blind luck that the Baratheons fall out among themselves and give him enough time to maneuver and prepare the defense of King's Landing; and had opportunities not emerged to destroy the Northern-Riverland alliance he might even then have been stuck in a protracted war to the north with restive recently-defeated enemies to the south.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 1:46 PM
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The only way I can make sense of this season is that D+D hated the show so much by the end that they wanted to sabotage it or demonstrate their absolute contempt for the viewer. The entire show has revolved around the idea that the ruling classes are so mad for power that moment the king dies, the nobility drag the world into ceaseless warfare until his seat is filled. But now Tyrion is like, "I've been thinking a lot, what if instead of fighting over the crown we just agreed to vote?" And everyone just immediately agrees. If only Tyrion had done his thinking a decade earlier! Stannis, Renly, Joffrey, Daenarys and Robb could have just voted and saved everyone from the past eight seasons!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 2:10 PM
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Anyway, I'm probably not going to pick up the books and on my viewing list I'll put it well behind Arrested Development, The Office, The Wire, and Parks and Recreation but ahead of Fuller House.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:30 PM
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I'd certainly put it well behind The Wire which I'd like to watch again.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-20-19 7:58 PM
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The Wire is better on rewatching because you understand more about it from the start (including the dialogue). First time I watched it I think I missed a lot of the plot of the first couple of episodes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 1:44 AM
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The entire show has revolved around the idea that the ruling classes are so mad for power that moment the king dies, the nobility drag the world into ceaseless warfare until his seat is filled. But now Tyrion is like, "I've been thinking a lot, what if instead of fighting over the crown we just agreed to vote?"

Historically, though, people who've just been through massive and destructive wars do tend to do things aimed at resolving the flaws in the system that led to the war in the first place. The Restoration Settlement, the Treaty of Westphalia, the Congress of Vienna, the League of Nations, the UN.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 2:22 AM
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The man who can come up with that joke about footpaths is not to be trifled with, but I don't think that either Westphalia or the Congress of Vienna really fit the pattern. Westphalia, perhaps, but I don't think that the problem it fixed -- that there was nothing left fighting over in Germany any more -- was the flaw in the system that had led to the war.
The Congress of Vienna, on reflection, did try to fix the problems that had led to the Napoleonic Wars. These were (1) Napoleon and (2) the ideals of the French Revolution. Both were kept down successfully and in Napoleon's case permanently.

Parenthetically, the absolutely shittiest speech in a very strong field in that last episode was Sam Tarly's "Who will think of the common people?"


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 3:26 AM
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the absolutely shittiest speech in a very strong field in that last episode was Sam Tarly's "Who will think of the common people?"

You would have preferred him to simply quote Rainborough?

Really I think that the poorest he that is in England has a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that government that he has not had a voice to put himself under.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 4:05 AM
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Drogon's Hundred Days would be a good show.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 4:05 AM
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502: Tarly was trolling viewer's expectations, allowing us to move beyond that unlikely possibility.

Comparing to other long running dramas, I'd put it well ahead of both Lost and Battlestar Galactica.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:05 AM
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Neighbors is still the best.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:09 AM
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To my very limited understanding the major problem of the Thirty Years' War was that the non-Habsburg powers didn't want the Empire unified, and this was precisely addressed by Westphalia.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:10 AM
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Well, I'm not saying that any of those succeeded except maybe the UN, but my point is that it's not ridiculous to have your characters reach the end of a long war and say to each other "the pre-war system was one of the big causes of this war, I think we should try changing it".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:17 AM
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the problems that had led to the Napoleonic Wars. These were (1) Napoleon

"The Zulu War. Cause: The Zulus. Zulus exterminated. Peace with Zulus."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:24 AM
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500: I wonder if this is a matter of cultural distance. I didn't notice that the first time I watched the Wire, but I grew up in a city almost identical to Baltimore.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:39 AM
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510: more that I literally couldn't understand what quite a few of the characters were saying. Once I got my ear in, I was fine.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:50 AM
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Totes not exterminated. Temporary setback.


Posted by: Opinionated Mangosuthu Buthelezi | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:50 AM
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502: But D&D were at least conscious of the awfulness of it, and intended it as a joke -- and it was a decent joke! I know my reaction was "Oh no, are they actually going to invent democracy?" It was a huge relief when everybody laughed, and totally in character for them. Sure, you'd like to have a series finale that didn't mock itself, but on the other hand, you'd rather have a series finale that wasn't so mockable.

They probably would have been better off if they just had Peter Dinklage in front of a camera reading the script. Heck, that's how they did half the episode anyway.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:59 AM
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I'm guessing this had to have been better than the Dallas finale. It was an It's a Wonderful Life ripoff with J.R. Ewing taking the place of George Bailey.

SPOILER WARNING

Mostly people were happier in the alternate reality in which JR didn't exist.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:04 AM
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In the new Fire and Blood book GRRM actually recounts a great council under the Targaryens held to settle a looming succession question. It had hundreds of delegates, took months, and IIRC its resolution wasn't honored, leading to catastrophic civil war.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:21 AM
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I dropped out of the books after three, and never watched the show, but something occurred to me about the current discussion: one of the exciting things about ASOIF in the beginning was that no one had plot armor, and anyone, even the characters you cared about, could die for no reason. That didn't seem to last in the last half of the series; that is, from the current discussion, every character whose name I could remember from the first three books made it all the way to the end.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:42 AM
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Speaking of democracy, if anyone knows anything relevant about the school board election today, let me know who I should vote for.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:50 AM
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Do any of the candidates control dragons?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:58 AM
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511: The Wire didn't give me that problem, but it's certainly happened in other media for me. Trainspotting, for example. If I ever watch that again, I think the right way is to watch it for about half an hour and then start over at the beginning.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:17 AM
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494. The problem with the comparison to LotR is that we get to read about Frodo's inner conflict with and about the ring, and to see and hear it in the movie versions. In the LotR movies, we see Frodo's anguish and worry writ large on his face and behavior. Frodo is a 20th century express-your-feelings hobbit.

My recollection is that we don't get to see or hear Daenerys' inner conflicts about "should I burn this witch?" or "should I burn the khals?" or "should I burn the Meerenese nobles" or "should I burn the Tarlys?" This is assuming she even had any. (Some of those events weren't in the books, but I don't recall much anguish over the ones that were.) In the GoT TV series, we see very little of evidence of internal conflict from Daenerys, because she can't express her doubts, if any, aloud. She is the proud, strong Queen, she is the Mother of Dragons, etc.

I blame D&D (and Martin, if this is the way the books are going to go) for not revealing these conflicts, if they existed. I'm not even all that sure they did exist. We see her as an abused child, as an abused teenager, then we see her as the Mother of Dragons with a twitchy "dracarys" finger, then finally she perpetrates a major war crime. That was all a result of her character, upbringing, life experiences, etc., which we do see or read about. It should actually be unsurprising that she burned Kings Landing.

Call it "foreshadowing," if you like, but "we should've seen it coming."


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:17 AM
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511. I sympathize. We turn on CC for "Peaky Blinders." (Part of that is British Sound Editing/Mixing practices, whose motto is "Who wants to actually listen to these morons?")


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:23 AM
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520: It is unsurprising! The show has done a lot of work building the insanity, as dalriata said way upthread. The books haven't worked so hard on the insanity, but worked much harder on the stupidity and incompetence. Should the books ever be written, I would expect an extension of the series of self-righteous atrocities, leading logically enough to KL. Unless Varys and Tyrion whack her before then, which would be more consistent with their characters.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:26 AM
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516: the funny thing is that, with very few exceptions--Ned and a few of the minor ones--viewpoint characters all have plot armor. And I don't think any of those minor ones even show up as characters in the show. (Might be wrong about that.)

517: I voted for Harbin. She's the pro-good public schools candidate, while Batista is the charter schools candidate. Approximately. Not my most informed vote. Somebody--ajay?--was talking about how in the British system, he only ever has four levels of government to think about. MEP, MP, local council, and one other I forgot (mayor? ScotParl?). I'm envious. today's vote is a primary (so just picking dem candidates) with like ten uncontested elections; most of the contested ones were judges (three different non-federa courts!) or school district supervisors.

Back to GoT: This may contradict what I said upthread but i don't think it does: I think a lot of Dany's behavior is less insanity than an intense feeling that she's right about everything, goddammit, and fuck all'y'all who disagree even the slightest. She's always had problems with her advisors. That headstrongedness might lead to behavior that's isomorphic to insanity, but I think there's a limited but real rationality to it. It's more than just foreshadowing.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:48 AM
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Voting for the fedora courts must be so exciting. I'm picturing a catwalk, trenchcoats, jazz.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:51 AM
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Thanks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:52 AM
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|| Coca Cola is bringing back New Coke. This may be the closest thing on the Weird Index to Trump being elected President. ||


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:52 AM
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I bought lime Coke on promotion the other day! It didn't taste of lime at all! Fuck you, Warren Buffet.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 7:59 AM
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524: it's a fundamental part of our trilby democracy. (Stupid spell correct. )


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:01 AM
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"the funny thing is that, with very few exceptions--Ned and a few of the minor ones--viewpoint characters all have plot armor"

Ned and Catelyn were both viewpoint characters - and I would not like to bet on the survival of the others. Arianne, Davos, Jaime, Cersei, Brienne, Areo and Aeron are not all going to make it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:27 AM
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Nor Tyrion, nor Varys, nor Jorah, nor Daenerys herself.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:30 AM
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529: Caitlin's still around. For values of around.

I thought Areo was already dead. I don't count him or Aeron as important. He's not a Stark-level character.

Like the TV show, plot armor will fail in the eleventh hour.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:32 AM
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I don't even remember who those people are.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:33 AM
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Varys and Jorah aren't viewpoint characters. But Quentyn Martell was, and he's dead too.
And you could definitely add Barristan, Theon, Victarion, Melisandre, and Jon Connington to the list of "probably not going to make it". Connington we already know has a fatal disease, Victarion is too stupid to live.
Of course, most of those didn't make it to the TV adaptation, but still.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:34 AM
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My recollection is that we don't get to see or hear Daenerys' inner conflicts about "should I burn this witch?" or "should I burn the khals?" or "should I burn the Meerenese nobles" or "should I burn the Tarlys?" This is assuming she even had any.

We saw no inner conflicts because she had none. Likewise, we saw no conflicts about King's Landing because she had none. The problem is, King's Landing was discontinuous with her prior behavior. Her previous acts of brutality were all done for roughly the same reason: The victims had it coming. The torching of King's Landing had no rationale beyond a sudden fit of unmotivated insanity.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:35 AM
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I think a lot of Dany's behavior is less insanity than an intense feeling that she's right about everything, goddammit, and fuck all'y'all who disagree even the slightest.

How do you explain King's Landing, where she didn't turn on the civilians until after their surrender?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:38 AM
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I sincerely hope Victarion doesn't make it. Having finished rereading the books, I realized that my visceral reaction to the violence in his chapters the first time round was because he's the only viewpoint character who acts like that. Elsewhere, we're distanced from all the gratuitous nastiness by seeing it through the eyes of people with whom we can empathize to at least some extent. That's even true for Cersei's chapters: she's vain, self-centered, and incompetent, but doesn't rape, beat, or burn innocent people to death herself (though she's happy for others to do so on her behalf). I suppose the closest is Tyrion with the crossbow, but he was provoked.


Posted by: Ime | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:44 AM
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It would help if I could spell my own pseid.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:44 AM
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535: Between KL and the books there's an enormous amount of plot GRRM hasn't covered (in public, AFAIK). Last we saw Daenerys in the books she was wandering the steppe with her dragon. When she returns to Mereen she'll find an unutterable clusterfuck (of her own making), quite reasonably conclude that her error was in too much kindness and patience, and proceed by indiscriminately burning and dothraking the besieging camps and fleets, civilians and all. One can easily fill in a logical progression from there to burning an open city at KL.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:45 AM
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534/535: "had it coming" is in the eye of the beholder (did Mirri Maz Duur have it coming? Yes and no). There's no reason she should be bound to our or the show's sense of morality. Dany said exactly why she thought the people of King's Landing had it coming the episode before. And it's consistent with her general theory that you gotta bend the knee when the queen--the queen who knows better than anyone, who is the embodiment of destiny--says it's time to bend the knee. You can add to that that she might be feeling less merciful (and in her top-down perspective, there is no justice but mercy) for all the various psychological reasons mentioned previously.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 8:50 AM
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Her previous acts of brutality were all done for roughly the same reason: The victims had it coming.

Depends whether you mean "she thought they had it coming" or "they, according to any reasonable conception of justice, had it coming".
If the first, then, well, she thought the inhabitants of Kings Landing had it coming too.
If the second: many of her previous victims did not have it coming either. She ordered her soldiers to kill every adult male in Astapor who wasn't a slave. She took civilian hostages at random from the ruling class of Meereen and executed them by crucifixion, virtually as her first action on taking the city, as a form of collective punishment. She ordered the torture of suspects in the Sons of the Harpy killings.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 9:03 AM
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She's probably angling for a pardon from Trump.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 9:06 AM
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516- The most infuriating was Sam's in the zombie battle. He is a worse fighter than every single Dothraki and every single Unsullied and he can't even lift a greatsword and we see him in a pile of undead being mauled but somehow he survives? If he's important for the plot at least have him survive in a believable way, guarding Gilly in the crypts or something. Tyrion is a better fighter and they sent him to the crypts.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 9:34 AM
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And, how the fuck does Sam Tarly make maester, much less archmaester in the small council? He broke their vows, broke their discipline, stole their books, deserted the Citadel. And he has only a possibly never-formalized etc pardon to answer with.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 9:52 AM
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540. Yes. She was a conqueror appropriate to her time and background.

542. I thought Jaime and Brienne were gonna be dead because they were also up to their necks in zombies. But they all survived the battle. Plot armor.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 9:56 AM
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Jaime I felt was especially ill-served by this season, even if his end is well-supported canonically.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 10:05 AM
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And Brienne's entries in the Kingsguard book was fitting, and in keeping with the books.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 10:18 AM
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entry


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 10:21 AM
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528: that doesn't sound weird when you consider that executive power over here lies with the Crown.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 2:03 PM
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There needs to be a heist movie where an American is convinced he can obtain complete sovereignty over Britain by stealing the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 3:07 PM
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On it.


Posted by: Opinionated Nic Cage | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 3:31 PM
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551

There needs to be a heist movie where an American is convinced he can obtain complete sovereignty over Britain by stealing the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 3:52 PM
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apparently I'm very impressed with that joke.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 3:53 PM
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553

There was no school board on my ballot. Sorry for the trouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 3:54 PM
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On topic: Did Stabby Stark finish her kill list before sailing on?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 4:05 PM
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553: huh, guess the district doesn't go that far in your direction. It's by far the most contentious race in the area around Colfax. Even more so than the DA race between the pro-cop incumbent and the anti-racist policing anti-cash bail challenger who said a very homophobic thing early in the campaign.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 4:49 PM
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You go to the election with the party you have.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 4:50 PM
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I think the only one left was the mute executioner, Ilyn Payne. It's never said what happens to him. Presumably he's related to Podrick somehow but I forget the connection or if anyone cares.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 4:50 PM
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That wasn't on my ballot at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:11 PM
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He's not a great campaigner, doesn't give a very good speech.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 5:57 PM
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I guess I'm happier with the ending if she got to stab everybody on the list.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:00 PM
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557, 560. Cosmopolitan agrees. Arya only killed four of them herself. As a side note, apparently the actor (actual name, Wilko Johnson) who played Ilyn Payne got cancer and had to drop off the show, but he's in remission now.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:09 PM
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Is that on HBO also?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 6:12 PM
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561: he's an interesting fellow - R&B musician, formerly played with Ian Dury and the Blockheads, never acted before. And it's not just remission - they got it with surgery and he's cancer-free now. (I am glad to hear that - last I heard was the cancer news. Pancreatic, the same thing that killed poor Iain Banks. But apparently it was a less vicious form.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-19 11:14 PM
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re: 561

He's most famous for being in Dr Feelgood (sort of proto-punk loud RnB). He is/was a striking stage presence. I assume they gave him a non-speaking part because he has a very strong Essex/Thames Estuary accent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQjVMr9M7hk

(Morning TV interview, but they start with some good clips of him in his prime with his band. He is a charming guy.)

When he got the cancer diagnosis he was notably at peace with it (talks about it in that interview). Went out on tour, and started making prep for the end, and then a surgeon told him he needed to think again, as he thought there was a way they might be able to operate.

Laying down the funk with the Blockheads:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8nEIiLgETw

As an aside, that image of Ian Dury in gloves, looking sinister, is a proper Proustian childhood memory, as "Hit me ... " was a huge hit when I was 8.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 1:37 AM
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Nerdy (but true) fact, at work, I write quite a lot of "microservices", and I went through a phase of naming lots of them after members of Dr Feelgood, or members of the Blockheads.

So, there is a Git repo (private), somewhere, called Watt-Roy, one called Wilko, one called Brilleaux, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 1:53 AM
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Since this is the Pittsburgh election thread, let me just note than I'm reasonably cheered that Harris lost even though Zappala did also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 8:17 AM
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That is, Zappala did not also lose. Stupid phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 8:30 AM
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You go to blog with the phone you've got.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 8:42 AM
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Since this is the IR thread, has anyone read anything good on the Congress of Vienna/ Holy Alliance?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 8:51 AM
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566: I didn't think Jenkins had a chance. He was fighting against SWPA's racism--good black progressive candidates can do well in some sectors of Allegheny County (e.g. Summer Lee), but county-wide is much harder--and the incredibly homophobic thing he said early on really tamped down progressive excitement. Totally unnecessary own goal.

Then again, I didn't think Hallam had a chance either, but she unseated the long-lasting Democratic at-large member.* Hallam's in her 20s and made her struggles with addiction part of her campaign. Things are really changing.

* Allegheny County Council is arranged in a bad way with N district seats and 2 at-large seats. Voters only get one vote each for the at-large seats, so essentially the Democrats and Republicans are both guaranteed a seat.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 9:28 AM
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I never heard of Hallam before yesterday, but I voted for her just because I'm tired of old people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 9:34 AM
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Holy shit, Wilko Johnson a) was on Game of Thrones, b) had cancer? You just never know.

I like this clip an awful lot. Treating his Tele like the 2x4 that it is. Who needs upstrokes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHNZUop7OK0


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 9:39 AM
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Jenkins was on so many Facebook ads I figured he must have some money behind him. Hopefully, 59 percent is enough to scare Zappala, but I was hoping for closer. I agree I didn't expect Jenkins to win.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 9:41 AM
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572: His GoT character also focused on downstrokes.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 9:46 AM
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re: 572

That's also one of the clips in the interview that was linked. It's great.

I notice how much The Hives ripped off from them (and Wilko specifically). I mean, the playing AND the look, and the body language is right there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz1Jwyxd4tE


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 10:26 AM
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574: Right, and "axe." Too good.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 10:31 AM
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||

This has nothing to do with GoT, but this was thrown up in Youtube (as I watched it again recently), when I was checking the Hives:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_sJVazqw58

Best Radiohead cover? It's great, either way. I love what she does with the vocal line and the guitar part.

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 10:32 AM
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Washington State has legalized human composting, but there's probably some kind of catch about having to tell some official about how the person died and that you have permission to compost them in a particular spot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 11:10 AM
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577: damn!


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 11:10 AM
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That clip being from 1975 is blowing my mind a bit. Just how fast the song is. I know the Yardbirds were around a decade before that, but still I thought 1975 was a dead zone, to which punk was a reaction. I thought the most punk thing available was Ian Dury and his whimsical meanderings, or Graham Parker who strikes me as the British Bruce Springsteen.

Also every girl in the audience looks about 12 and every boy looks like Terence Stamp.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 11:17 AM
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579 to 578. I definitely know some people who need to be composted, but the bureaucrats ruin everything with their forms and red tape and whatnot. I've got a little list ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 11:25 AM
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572.last: glorious. I was going to standpipe that 2x4 comment but now I can't find it...

577: That is the best Radiohead song (in my always-indefensible minority opinion), and the cover test is what happens four minutes in, which here is pretty good. I think my favorite is still the Punch Brothers cover of "Packt Like Sardines," in part because they had the good taste to try it at all. But you should probably wait 24 hours after watching the video in 577 or it will be all orange-juice-toothpaste.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 12:05 PM
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572 is some amazing guitar playing.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 12:11 PM
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Okay, one last on-topic thing. From my comment 308: I really do think there's a story about the massive critical output around this show, much of it by ex-grad students of my personal acquaintance, and the sociological narrative around the university system.

Sarah Masle says as much in LARB:

That the narrative event of Game of Thrones, riven with flaws though it was, straddled a ten-year period when many of the other institutions that supported critical writing -- universities, publications -- crumbled like the Red Keep has made Game of Thrones that much more precious an infrastructure to me.

I saw another piece somewhere about what a bonanza it's been for digital media, who can rely on GoT content for clicks, just as heebie is doing here. Here we go. I need a shower.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 1:30 PM
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There needs to be a heist movie where an American is convinced he can obtain complete sovereignty over Britain by stealing the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

An ancestor of mine genuinely believed he could bend the King of Korea to his will by stealing his father's remains from a tomb.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 4:12 PM
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I would like to subscribe to his newsletter.


Posted by: Opinionated Trump | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 4:15 PM
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I mean, he didn't succeed, so technically he was never disproven.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 4:16 PM
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For fuck's sake, Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-19 5:03 PM
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Yeah, that didn't work.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-23-19 4:52 AM
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re: 582.last

That's great.

re: 582.first

It's not my favourite song of theirs, but it's unquestionably my favourite album of theirs. Which is, in itself, an achievement, for a band to be doing some of their best work on their 7th album, more than 20 years after they started.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-23-19 5:21 AM
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564: I am just listening to that version of Hit Me... and it's one of those songs I think I never heard in decent quality. now grinning like an arse.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-23-19 8:58 AM
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Kind of on topic: Somebody is on my Nextdoor asking to borrow a small gun to put down a bunny that her cat mauled but did not kill.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-23-19 10:00 AM
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