Game Over of Thrones (Open Thread)

The usual disclaimer — if you’re trying to avoid spoilers, do not click through. Also, for non-fans, maybe don’t bother to comment if you only plan to announce that you didn’t watch the show and don’t care what happened? No one cares that you don’t care! Besides, this is an open thread for all topics, not just GoT, so maybe bring up another subject that you do care about instead? Otherwise, please proceed…

First up, let’s acknowledge that valued commenter Lee pretty much nailed it yesterday afternoon in the GoT finale speculation thread:

lee says:
May 19, 2019 at 4:25 pm

My Predictions (updated from a week or so ago):

Jon kills Dany

Jon splits (ala Master Aemon). Heads…north to Tormund?

Arya splits. Heads…to parts unknown?

Sansa Warden of the North and Lady of Winterfell (that she detested at the beginning of the story).

Brann mmmmm Iron Throne (why not).

Whoa! Well done, lee! Are you sure you’re not a cast or production crew member?

Now, onto the episode itself. Here’s a clip from the finale that illustrates how the cinematography outpaced the writing so often in Game of Thrones — particularly in the final season:

That said, I was okay with the finale. I was hoping they wouldn’t kill off Arya, and they didn’t! (George RR Martin wants to remain married.)

I figured Jon would return to the Northiest North to be reunited with Ghost and Tormund, and he did. I don’t think the writers sold Dany’s arc all that successfully, despite Emilia Clarke’s heroic efforts, but if you accept their premise, an Old Yeller ending was the best you could hope for, and that’s what the Mother of Dragons got.

And poor Drogon! He’s the true hero, IMO. First he nudges poor dead Dany like orphaned Bambi, then he thinks about roasting Jon (would Jon have roasted, being a Targaryen and all?), then Drogon sacks up and destroys that damned ugly-ass throne! Yay, Drogon! Let the throne room redecoration begin!

And Jon exiled to the Night’s Watch…again. I’m unclear on why the Night’s Watch order is still necessary now that the Night King and his lieutenants have been reduced to cocktail ice. Maybe Jon is unclear on that too, and that’s why the episode ended with him headed away from Castle Black with the Free Folk? So, he’s Mance Rayder 2.0 now? That’s an okay outcome in my book.

Grey Worm is bound for Naath, just as I predicted in yesterday’s thread, to become the protector of his lost Missandei’s beaches, presumably. I’m not sure how the Dothraki will be repatriated since they’d been promised pillaging rights, but okay, whatever.

I’d hoped for a larger role for Yara of the Iron Islands in the finale, but the show only had 80 minutes to work with, so we were left with Arya dumping an entire bag of STFU on Yara’s head and then Yara agreeing to ferry the Unsullied out of King’s Landing (I think?). Okay then.

It was fitting enough that Ser Brienne filled out Ser Jaime’s entry in the Book of Brothers. Of course she was too honorable to go full slam book and include cutting remarks about Cersei.

Bran as the king? I guess that’ll work. He’ll just lounge around and trip out on his visions and fly with the ravens while the Small Council runs shit. That’ll be an improvement on Robert Baratheon’s drunken boar hunts or the last Targaryen king’s murder-by-arson spree, one supposes.

Sansa as Queen in the North makes sense; she’s one of the few characters who thought about practical stuff like food for the peasants. I loved the way she shut down Uncle Edmure’s puffed-up speech nominating himself as king, and I laughed when he pivoted indignantly on his heel and whacked his sword on the tent pole before returning to his seat. (If Hillary Clinton had pulled off a moment like that with Bernie in the 2016 primary, we might be living in a very different kingdom today, friends.)

Speaking of laughter, it was hilarious when Samwell invented direct democracy on the spot and got laughed out of the tent. “I might as well ask my horse who HE wants to rule,” scoffed that old fart from the Vale when contemplating votes from the common folk. A prototypical Republican, obviously.

Anyhoo, my quick trip through relevant Twitter hashtags and media hot takes indicates that the consensus is the final season was so bad that it irretrievably damaged the series. I disagree. The pacing was problematic, there were plot holes, there were troublesome stereotypes, there were implausible coincidences, there were character arc issues, etc. But it was a TV show, and a darned good one in my book. What say you?






232 replies
  1. 1
    Lavocat says:

    8 seasons demanded 80 episodes, not 73. Whoever made the call to cut last season to 7 episodes, & this one to 6, deserves to have someone yelling “Dracarys!” @ them, @ inopportune moments, for the rest of their lives.

  2. 2

    I don’t get HBO, so I haven’t seen it, but I read the books and I read the recaps. I’m sorry to see it end. Whatever your quarrels with it, it was a much more substantial story than most of what we see. It merited the attention and talk people gave it.

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    “I might as well ask my horse who HE wants to rule,” scoffed that old fart from the Vale when contemplating votes from the common folk.

    Let’s be fair. If Horses had been the deciding vote in 2016, we’d still have been in a better place then we are now.

  4. 4

    So if you didn’t watch GoT and need an alternate topic, what finales most affected you, good or bad? There are only a few for me, MASH (good) Quantum Leap (WTF), How I Met Your Mother (ruined reruns for me forever), and I really enjoyed the Big Bang finale. Felt Seinfeld got that ending it deserved…and off the top of my head, that’s about it. h/t Cole because he started me thinking about it last night on twitter.

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    Backed up and rewatched that Queen of Dragons gets her wings shot half a dozen times before proceeding. Would have been cheesy shot by 90% of cinematographers.

    As a public service, the backstory and punchline to Tyrion’s honeycomb and jackass joke.

  6. 6

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: I also don’t have HBO, but I feel people’s pain. I hate when a series ending is unsatisfying. I remember when my favorite book series went off the rails, even going back to re-read the ones I liked were kind of tainted by it.

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    Favorite finales are probably “St Elsewhere”, “Six Feet Under”, “Parks and Rec.” ETA “The Americans” was near perfect and “Breaking Bad” may not be topped.

    “Veep” was excellent and may make my list and I’m still conflicted with “BSG” because it was slightly too gadgety, but nevertheless a satisfying closure for the story arc. None of that “where to next?” stuff.

  8. 8
    Rk says:

    The hijack ads on mobile are popping up all the time.
    10x in past 30 mins.
    Can anything be done?

  9. 9
    Yutsano says:

    @TaMara (HFG): There will always be the real WTF ending to Dt Elsewhere.

  10. 10
  11. 11

    @Yutsano: Oh, right forgot that one. And on the flipside, the Newhart crazy ending was great.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I mentioned this in yesterday’s thread, but for my money, the last 10 minutes or so of “Six Feet Under” was the best series finale ever. It needed to be because it had to rescue a series that had seriously lost the plot in the last couple of seasons. That ending wouldn’t have worked for any other show, but for its subject matter and character development to that point, it was perfect, beautiful and redemptive.

  13. 13
    Jeffery says:

    Never got into it either the books or the TV show. Gave it a try. Not for me.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @TaMara (HFG): “Newhart” was a direct takeoff from the “St Elsewhere” ending. Bob admitted as much later.

  15. 15
    satby says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Veronica Mars (bad, glad they did the movie); MASH 💔; In Plain Sight (ended well); Moonlight (wish it got more than 1 season); Firefly (ditto)

  16. 16
    dlwchico says:

    Something somebody else pointed out is the the previous Three Eyed Raven lived a very long time. By choosing Bran did they end up picking an immortal emperor?

    And him being able to see the future and seeming to imply that everything is pre-determined bugs me.

  17. 17
    BeautifulPlumage says:

    OT: WTF twitter. When I click on Cole’s twitter I get a caution about “potentially sensitive content”. New as of today.

    Edit: the artwork on General Mood smh

  18. 18
    SFAW says:

    @trollhattan:

    and “Breaking Bad” may not be topped.

    That’s an interesting way to spell “Newhart,” I guess.

  19. 19

    @TaMara (HFG): MASH was good. And I too really like The Big Bang finale. I can’t think of another long running series I watched to the end. Usually they kind of run out of steam before they leave the air, and I stop watching.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    My memory banks are a nearly impenetrable fortress, but I needed to add “Newhart.” The gadgetiest of gadgets (“Rosebud”) and it worked because the cast and writing were just that good.

    Hoping the “Deadwood” movie (May 31, mark your calendars!) manages to wrap up that amazing series. Tall order, that.

  21. 21
    ninedragonspot says:

    Random, unimportant thoughts:
    I felt the series ended as well as it could have under the constraints:
    1) It would have been nice for the final season to have a couple more episodes to more fully explore Danaerys’ thoughts and the worldview of her non-Westeros advisors. I assume there were budget constraints. Silver lining: the rushed plot lines do pack something of a whallop, giving the characters little time to reflect.
    2) Danaerys’ storyline had the most pathos of the final episode. Bran, Sansa, Arya, Tyrion, et. al. were just tying up loose ends. Satisfying, but not very involving.
    2b) Snow’s assassination of Danaerys still disturbing and hard to watch.
    3) Snow’s the new regicide. Gives us a “background” view on Jaime Lannister’s act of regicide. Snow is haunted by doubts – for that ambiguity, his ending is second-most pathetic (though clumsily fleshed-out).

  22. 22
    RandomMonster says:

    I expected Brienne to write in that book that Ser Jamie was a father to a child by Ser Brienne etc. I was sad it didn’t happen.

  23. 23
    donnah says:

    I loved the series as a whole, but agree that the last two episodes tried to cram a lot into too short a time. Was it budget that made them condense it? I needed more development for Dany going full ballistic at the end, and while I believed Jon would take her life, it was too soon. And Tyrion was against his character in the final episodes, making some really questionable choices. I think Arya should have been able to use her amazing, hard-earned skills from previous seasons, and she didn’t.

    Overall, a well done show, beautifully told, cinematography unmatched, the acting incredible, and always emotional. But they dropped the ball at the end.

  24. 24
    MazeDancer says:

    My $30 a year HBO subscription will be coming to a close. Only pay for 2 months to watch GoT.

    Of course, the last two episodes were half-baked, despite being fully fried. Jon’s true parentage guessing game practically ruled the books, and certainly seemed to matter on TV until it was, eh, shrug.

    How, as was suggested all over Twitter, Jon wasn’t blasted by Drogon, didn’t burn, because Targaryen, and then dragon and all who witnessed bow down. King Jon! You want story, Tyrion, there’s a tale.

    Still, been great fun sharing around the world. And at least 4 spin-offs possible:

    “Bran the Broken”
    “West of Westeros”
    “Queen of the North”
    “Beyond the Wall”

  25. 25
    Chyron HR says:

    Maybe the real Iron Throne was the friends they made along the way.

  26. 26
    Dan Almont says:

    Newhart may have been great, but it was a gimmick. Series finales should be judged on the way they treated the characters, wrapped up story arcs and stayed true to the overarching themes of the series. A la Breaking Bad.

  27. 27
    trollhattan says:

    @Chyron HR:
    At some point they will fix up the old barn as a theater and put on a musical. That’s how GRRM rolls.

  28. 28
    Stan says:

    My friend has taken to saying “dracarys” whenever she farts. Now you can too.

    FWIW, I find the ending satisfactory but rushed.

    To complain that something is implausible in GoT is, well, weird. Still, having Tyrion make a beeline to his brother and sister’s bodies was kinda hard to swallow. But it was necessary to (1) establish that they were truly dead and (2) fully steel Tyrion for what he already knew he had to do.

    The scene with Jon in Tyrion’s cell was funny. Tyrion: Think, Jon, think! Jon: ??? (cocks head like confused puppy). Tyrion: Think! Jon: ??? and so on. Funny, but perfect: it leaves us uncertain what Jon will do until the crucial moment and fully established that Jon is just too dim-witted to be king if there were still any doubt of it.

    At the council, Grey Worm was all, “Whatever, Tyrion must die.” Then he _apparently_ reconsiders and accepts the forgone verdict of the king who was just selected by the council when he would not accept it from the council itself. I’ll have to watch again; maybe I missed it.

    I expected Arya to have a greater role but Danny can’t be killed twice, so.

  29. 29
    Fair Economist says:

    The big twist of the ending, with Jon killing Dany, could have worked if they had set up for it for a season or two. As it is they just added another ridiculous character twist, because besides the inadequate motivation for what he did since she’s only been acting off for about 45 minutes of story, he’s been a “good guy” and stabbing a lover/friend/ally like that does not fit him at all. I could have seen this succeeding in the books if Martin were ever going to finish.

    Other than that, most of the outcome are just lolwut? Bran elected King? Arya sailing off into nowhere where undoubtedly many with actual sailing and captaining skills have gone before? Drogon sees his mother dead and the killer next to the body and torches – a piece of furniture with no significance to him? Jon more or less wandering off after kinslaying AND kingslaying? I know one Star Wars series I’m going to skip.

  30. 30
    different-church-lady says:

    I’ve never watched it. Did winter finally come?

  31. 31
    Gravenstone says:

    @TaMara (HFG): The St. Elsewhere ending always annoyed me. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was moving at the time. Although I’ve found MASH in general hasn’t aged that well for me. Perhaps I’ve simply seen it too many times.

  32. 32
    Hoodie says:

    @ninedragonspot: Season 8 was infused with “budget constraints.” A lot of boring yakking, a first climactic battle that occurs entirely in the dark and a second one that was mostly an airstrike. Some of the conclusions in the last episode were consistent with previously established themes, such as Snow killing Danerys and returning to the far North to hang out with the wildings. However, it mostly seemed very arbitrary and abbreviated. Bran spent most of the preceding episodes as a detached stoner, but now he’s the king. How did that happen? Why did Tyrion turn to him, when they didn’t seem to have much of a connection? Why was anybody listening to Tyrion, particularly characters from Dorne and other realms that just show up in the last episode? Somehow, the Unsullied figure out that Jon killed Danerys even though the only witness is a dragon. What did Drogon do with the body? Did Jon confess? Why did Drogon torch the throne and leave Jon untouched? Was there some type of consciousness that we didn’t know about? Why is Arya heading to the edge of the earth instead of heading home? There could have been a lot more interesting development on these themes, but it seemed like they just didn’t have time to do so.

  33. 33
    The Moar You Know says:

    My wife was really into this so I got dragged along.

    GoT was a shit series with no redeeming value in the first place. I feel the same way about the books. Mindless slaughter, torture and rapefests with no rhyme or reason save for shocking the reader/viewer. Simulated sensation for deprived experience junkies who haven’t ever lived real lives. Like those lameass DC/Marvel movies; just another soap opera with superheroes.

    What the showrunners turned it into in the last two seasons was a travesty, last night’s finale being one of the worst-written things I have ever seen on television. And I’ve watched a lot of really bad television. I actually feel bad for the fans, the network and especially the actors, which was not something I thought possible.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    @Stan:
    Basically love your entire post.

    Tyrion is gonna dance his way out of trouble YET AGAIN because Tyrion.
    “You know nothing, Jon Snow” could have been the series subtitle.
    Grey Worm just can’t catch a break, yo. Sure hope he finds a new girlfriend, as fraught as that may be.
    Gotta say it would have been too much for Arya to have saved everybody twice, but I was coin-flipping my 3-sided coin among she, Jon and Grey Worm as to who had to suck it up and do the deed. Only Jon could do the deed and not be incinerated. Arya’s done with humans, thus exploring the end of the world where “there be dragons.”
    And wasn’t it instructive how we only learn at the very end that dragons are so fucking smart. Where Drogon at? He’s done with humans, to be sure. West of Westeros? Say hi to Arya for us.

    I will miss the Stark sisters foremost, among the survivors.

  35. 35
    eclare says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I also thought Big Bang ended things the right way, along with Friends. And, the Season Two finale of Barry came on after GoT last night, and it was a virtuoso episode. Season Two was better than Season One, which is incredible. Disappointed with the Dexter ending, and although the plot meandered for The Wire Season Five, it ended well.

  36. 36

    @Betty Cracker: Agreed on that one. Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s finale I thought saved a rather dark and not-so-great final season.

    @BeautifulPlumage: Breasts scare them…

  37. 37
    Nicole says:

    FWIW, Reddit had spoilers for the final episode (the whole season, in fact) up for quite some time. It wasn’t hard to find them. Not hard to avoid, if you didn’t want to know, but not hard to find.

    I spoiled for myself because after episode 3 I wasn’t hopeful and I do better when I’m prepared. Eh. But, it was a lot of fun for a lot of years, and overall, I regret nothing.

    And the tweets today have been HILARIOUS. My favorite: “So who had ‘Arya invents colonialism’ in their office pool?”

  38. 38
    MuckJagger says:

    @MazeDancer:

    Think they missed a real opportunity for a spin-off with “Arya and The Hound.”

    I did like the ending with the Small Council, however — whether or not Bran makes a good king, he picked (mostly) the *best* people he could have for the Small Council.

  39. 39
    Brachiator says:

    8 seasons demanded 80 episodes, not 73

    Possibly. I kinda agree.

    Spoilers, obviously.

    I mostly enjoyed the finale and although I enjoyed seeing how the fates of the characters played out, I think more development would have been helpful and better drama. Martin has his work cut out for him if he continues the series.

    Instead of a Deus ex Machina, we got a Rex ex Machina in Bran Stark. I was both surprised and pleased and liked that he knew and maybe partly engineered this outcome, but since the character in the tv series had practically no inner life or psychological depth, this still felt like a bit of a cheat.

    In a different way, it made total sense that Arya would leave her life behind, it felt as though she shrugged off her life as a amoral killing machine too easily.

    I also enjoyed Jon’s final fate. And I cheered for Sansa. Even in an abbreviated season, her tenacity in protecting the North was set up and well dramatized. Still could have used a bit more strategy and intrigue.

    However, Jon’s parentage turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. I hope Martin can do better than this.

    I liked that Grey Worm lived. But what happened to the Dothraki?

    It is also a bit…odd… interesting…sad, that in the end magic seems to have been drained out of this world.

    But Dany, Dany, Dany.

    There was a marvelous Japanese historical tv series called Strategist Kanbei about the wars to unify Japan in the late 16th century. The characterization of one of the key figures, Oda Nobunaga was fantastic. He was charismatic and cruel, a mad man with a vision to unify Japan and to stop the incessant warring between samurai Lords over local territories. Nobunaga was capable of inspiring fierce loyalty and knew how to pick the best followers, but he was also incredibly cruel and capricious, and murdered thousands of Innocents to shatter the confidence of his opponents. All of this was depicted early on in the series and conveyed wonderfully by the actor who portrayed the character. His vassals wanted to please him, but at the same time were afraid of him. And his vision of a unified country frightened some of them as well. They were used to the old ways and old rules.

    The way that Dany was portrayed needed some of this level of characterization. The actress was up for it. I think her performance in the last episodes was great, but that she was not given enough to work with. And I don’t just blame the show runners. The novel should give her more.

    Also, I didn’t believe for a second that she would let Jon approach her with weapons and no guards.

    And yet her death, and her dragon’s reaction was sad, and cool.

    So, again, a mixed bag. But I will miss the show and the characters. It was really something to watch the characters and actors grow and mature.

  40. 40

    I don’t know if anyone here watched it, but remembering Saving Grace (with Holly Hunter) had a fabulous ending. And for me at least, unexpected.

  41. 41
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Stan:

    My friend has taken to saying “dracarys” whenever she farts. Now you can too.

    Hahaha! Thank the old gods and the new that my husband doesn’t read this (or any other) blog, or I’d be hearing “dracarys” to announce farts forevermore! I’d steal it myself, but I am too ladylike to fart in front of other people, and the witticism would be lost on the dogs…

  42. 42
    TenguPhule says:


    Fifth migrant child dies after being detained by US border patrol

    The US government says a 16-year-old Guatemalan died on Monday at a border patrol station in south Texas, the fifth death of a migrant child since December.

    US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that the border patrol apprehended the teenager in south Texas’s Rio Grande valley on 13 May. The agency said the teenager was found unresponsive on Monday morning during a welfare check at the agency’s Weslaco, Texas, station. The teenager’s cause of death is unknown.

    The agency did not say why the teenager had been detained for a week, but said he was “due for placement” in a facility for youth operated by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    Aint nobody seen a WTF finale until they seen the ending of The Prisoner.

  44. 44
    zhena gogolia says:

    What’s so stunning about that clip? It looks like a cartoon grafted onto realism.

  45. 45
    Phylllis says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I thought Frazier’s ending was just right, as well as Six Feet Under (which totally wrecked me, and I’m still fearsome of watching it again).

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Aint nobody seen a WTF finale until they seen the ending of The Prisoner

    That’s the truth!

  47. 47
    Heidi Mom says:

    When the gates of Castle Black opened and I saw that Tormund and the free folk were there, I cheered — Jon going with them was the ending I wanted.

  48. 48
    cope says:

    Maybe it’s a function of decreased viewers by the end that nobody has mentioned it but the “Lost” finale was abominable.

    “Barney MIller” anyone? That final episode had it all and I found it very satisfying. The series is being rerun on one of our obscure cable stations and we had the joy of watching the “Hash” episode a couple of weeks ago. It’s always the writing, isn’t it.

  49. 49
    JR says:

    Claiming that the last few seasons ruined the whole series is akin to claiming that the shitty Dune sequels ruined the original. They did not (then and now).

  50. 50
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @different-church-lady: Anybody remember Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope column? He had a wonderfully snarky description of The Prisoner and its bizarre final episode. Apparently written and directed by McGoohan himself.

    OK, I’d say that Endgame qualifies as a final episode so its sort of on topic. I have a complaint (non-spoiler) about something. It’s a hell of a ride and very enjoyable, and I’ve said here before that the character development on these Marvel things is perhaps my favorite part. BUT…

    It’s no spoiler to say there’s an epic Good vs Evil battle. Fine, that’s mandatory. But it consists of two giant armies rushing at each other screaming battle cries, waving spears and swords and then clashing in a big hand-to-hand combat. Really? Warfare in the Marvel Universe is exactly the same as in Troy or Lord of the Rings? Or (probably, but no I have not seen it) Game of Thrones?

    Someone told me this would make more sense to me if I saw Thor: Ragnarok.

  51. 51
    Fair Economist says:

    @Brachiator:

    The way that Dany was portrayed needed some of this level of characterization. The actress was up for it. I think her performance in the last episodes was great, but that she was not given enough to work with. And I don’t just blame the show runners. The novel should give her more.

    I read an interview with her after the fact where she said she was shellshocked when she first read the outcome. She said earlier in the series the showrunners had sometimes told her to dial it back when she acted heroic and decisive and then she understood why. That was two inexcusable mistakes by the showrunners, because first they wrote her much more heroic than in the books (where she is usually indecisive when not making a mistake, although she does have heroic times), and by not making clear to her that she’s supposed to be kind of unhinged, which she undoubtedly could have done.

    In the novels this outcome would be believable, given another million or two words of her getting increasingly out of kilter.

  52. 52
    David Fud says:

    @dlwchico: The weirwood trees were feeding the previous three eyed raven. They were poking through his body, even his eye. He was damn near half corpse, and never moved from the spot.

    Speaking of which, we never found out anything about Quaithe, either. What a pile of rubbish once they ran out of source material.

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Cheers when it became obvious that Sam’s one true love was his bar.

  54. 54
    PJ says:

    @Brachiator: @different-church-lady: The Prisoner was as much about existential issues as political ones, and the ending addressed head on the question of what it means to be free (pun intended, I’ll show myself out).

  55. 55
    Kristine says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I was pretty happy with the finale of Twelve Monkeys. After all the hell those characters were put through, it was good to allow them happy endings.

    Overall, I was okay with the GoT ending. I watched the show, but there was a little too much Awful and Dammit for me to risk loving it. Glad the the remaining Stark kids ended up as well as could be hoped–the pack survived. In a way, that brought the series full circle given all they went through from S1 on. Especially Sansa. I was hoping she’d wind up on the Iron Throne, even though the path was pretty much non-existent. Queen in the North suits her well.

  56. 56
    Gravenstone says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: I would recommend seeing Ragnarok just for the use of Immigrant Song. But that’s just me. Snark, Waititi has it by the barrelful.

  57. 57
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    OK, GoT fans, I have only one question. I’ve been a Peter Dinklage fan for a long time, so what happens to his character (Tyrion, I think?). Happy ending or eaten by grues?

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Brings back an old joke:

    “Sir, I must protest your farting before my wife!”
    “Sorry old bean, I didn’t know it was her turn.”

  59. 59
    trollhattan says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:
    Squeaks through yet another looming execution to become hand to the new king, who challenges him to fix all the Really Bad Advice he’s been giving all these years.

    Like reappointing Dick Cheney but a Cheney with a sense of humour and large wine habit.

  60. 60
    Kristine says:

    @Nicole:

    My favorite: “So who had ‘Arya invents colonialism’ in their office pool?”

    I will say that this assumption bugged me because there’s no indication I’ve seen that Arya would act that way. She’s a blender-in-crowds, not a ruler or agent of one. I could see her sending Sis a raven with a note that “Hey, these people still make Valyrian steel–want to buy swords from them?” Establishing trade routes, but not colonizing.

  61. 61
    Keith P. says:

    Jon Snow, marching north with his lieutenant and the Army of the Living.
    But yeah, none of the finale made sense except for where the pieces ended up. But even then, Jon Snow was the rightful king and should be able to kill Dany without repercussion….I didn’t get how he gets sentenced to the Night’s Watch (and be grateful for not getting executed), which doesn’t even have a function any more.

  62. 62
    Emerald says:

    @Hoodie:

    Season 8 was infused with “budget constraints.”

    No it wasn’t. HBO offered to fund two full ten-episode seasons. The GoT team chose to cut it short and rush everything.

    The reason some folks are satisfied with the ending is that virtually every one of the surviving characters got what they wanted. Sansa wanted to free the north and be queen there, and she did and she is. I thought she’d end up as the big queen, but really, she only ever cared about the north, so I’m OK with that. And that Dany with wings cinematography indeed was epic. The only thing in the finale episode worthy of the series.

    Jon got to pet his doggie again, finally, so I’m OK with that too. He’s going off with people he likes, and who will ever know if he fathers children? Probably can’t. He’s already dead anyway.

    Tyrion got to be Hand again. He likes to think, so that’s his job. Samwise will wind up as archmagister. Yara got her kingdom back (and Theon died the most heroic of deaths). Grey Worm gets to go be a general in a climate that suits him.

    And Arya gets to sail away and spin off another series, most likely. All that steal-the-face training went to no use after all? Her big finale was just to stare at stuff and give one speech?

    Bran as king makes no sense whatever. The kid never freaking does anything. If he was supposed to be super wise they needed to build that into a character arc for him, but they didn’t. And frankly, Jon didn’t do much either until he dispatched Dany, which no doubt is why the God of Light brought him back from the dead.

    Ser Brienne really needed more given to her. I think she should have gone north to be Sansa’s general. She was pledged to Sansa after all. Did the writers forget? But yeah, at least writing that Ser Jamie fathered her child would have been almost fitting ending for her.

    A happy ending? Really? After all that mayhem? In a series that featured the Red Wedding?

    Slackers.

    BTW, yeah, Breaking Bad had a perfect ending, as did The Americans. I also liked the ending to Mad Men. But this one will go down as ruining the series. Did they think they were going to get better DVD and digital sales by making everybody happy? Bet they did.

  63. 63
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    As shitty as Quantum Leap’s ending was, it was really starting to get weird with all of the supernatural elements (vampires were a thing, even if it was a Halloween episode). Apparently, if QL had been renewed for a new 6th season, Sam would’ve leaped into an animated character. How they would’ve pulled that off, I have no idea

  64. 64
    Mary G says:

    I must be honest and admit that despite the plot holes big enough to swallow blue whales, I got sucked in emotionally almost immediately after the beginning and loved the finale.

    A lot of it was due to Peter Dinklage’s acting. He sold that exhaustion, sorrow, and regret so well.

    Danaerys not so much. Never been a fan of the character and I think D and D really fucked up her arc this season. The whole run of the show they seemed to decide to downplay the flaws and doubts Martin put in the books in favor of the benevolent beautiful white savior, so her going mad in the space of two episodes just didn’t ring true. Loved Drogon deciding to melt the throne instead of Jon and when he picked up the body so gently with the giant talon I burst into tears.

    Agree with the many people who say that the number of episodes in the last two seasons caused a lot of the problems.

    The best thing for me has always been the art direction – such detailed and beautiful sets, costumes, and music. That was true to the end. I got weepy again when I saw the red weirwood leaves on Sansa’s coronation dress.

  65. 65
    Emmak says:

    @different-church-lady: YES! (wonders to herself if Amazon Prime Video carries the series)

  66. 66
    PJ says:

    Like many, I think Game of Thrones could have used several more hours of character development over the past two seasons (particularly with Dany and Jon, who had zero chemistry onscreen), as well as fewer bone-headed strategic and tactical decisions by characters in order to put them in certain places or for cool visual effects, but the endings in the last episode felt true to who these characters were. Dany was always a tyrant, conqueror, and terrible ruler. Jon was always well-meaning, slow on the uptake, but ultimately willing to do something terrible (like shanking his Nightwatch brother Qhorin) if the other outcome would be worse.

    Overall, the show had great scenes and terrible ones, but the good far outnumbered the bad, for sure, and as a series, the direction and acting were usually very good (Emilia Clarke got better over the years, Sophie Turner, not so much). The compelling thing for me were the characters, and, of course, dragons and ice zombies and the politicians busy fighting over power when doom was breathing down their necks.

  67. 67

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    But it consists of two giant armies rushing at each other screaming battle cries, waving spears and swords and then clashing in a big hand-to-hand combat. Really? Warfare in the Marvel Universe is exactly the same as in Troy or Lord of the Rings? Or (probably, but no I have not seen it) Game of Thrones?

    There’s a little bit more to it than spears and swords. For one, thing, a lot of those apparently primitive weapons are capable of launching energy blasts, unleashing lightning, etc. There are also magicians who have various spell powers and people (and monsters) with guns and energy weapons, Not to mention a big spaceship that plays an important role in the battle. But probably more important is that the core of the battle is everyone chasing after the McGuffin, which would most likely get blown to pieces or buried under rubble if everyone started breaking out their most powerful blasters.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dlwchico:

    And him being able to see the future and seeming to imply that everything is pre-determined bugs me.

    It also makes me wonder what Emperor Bran would do if he foresees, like, a deadly hurricane or earthquake. Would he warn people, or just let it kill hundreds or thousands of his subjects because the future is pre-determined anyway?

    And if, as some people have argued, GRRM’s point is that power corrupts everyone regardless of their intentions, is it really a great idea to appoint an emperor who can read people’s minds and foresee any plots against him? It’s like putting the kid from the Twilight Zone on the throne. How long will it be before Bran starts wishing people into the cornfield since power will inevitably corrupt him in GRRM’s universe?

    And, yes, I can’t help but notice that, once again, power is handed to a white dude who doesn’t even want it instead of the woman who worked her ass off to get it. Has Trump’s reign worked out so well that we now need to glamorize that in our fiction? Really?

  69. 69
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    GoT was a shit series with no redeeming value in the first place. I feel the same way about the books. Mindless slaughter, torture and rapefests with no rhyme or reason save for shocking the reader/viewer.

    Word is that’s was Martin’s point – GOT crapsack mess that what most modern fantasy worlds would be really be like with all these supermen and woman doing what they want. Sort of the fantasy version of Dune.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I knew from watching the rest of the season that we were going to get the Cliff Notes version, so that isn’t something I feel like bitching about. As far as the rest goes, we got the happiest ending possible. The character who lived ended up in places and positions that fit them.

    For people saying that Jon was the rightful king so banishing him to the Night Watch again did not make sense, Jon had sworn fealty to Dany. He never withdrew it and pursued his claim. As he killed her, he told she was his queen. What happened to him fits with in that context.

    Brown and Browne bickering over the relative importance of shipbuilding and brothel reconstruction provided a small laugh.

    Overall, I was okay with the way they wrapped it up.

  71. 71
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: There’s no indication on the show that Bran can read minds. That he can foresee things doesn’t mean it’s what’s going to happen, because we see how he can change the past, which indicates he can change the future, too (and if he can do it, why not others?)

    The woman who worked her ass off to conquer Westeros was going to use it to conquer the rest of the world, killing hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people in the process. Is that the world you wanted to see?

  72. 72
    Archon says:

    These are my friend texts from last night.

    “There’s a Dragon heading east. I don’t know. Anyways…Bron is now an accountant”

    The Dorne Prince was there like “What did I miss”.

    “Let the heads of the families choose the king. This will ensure peace! Kinda like Central Africa”.

    “Grey Worm got a new passport, changed his name and is on a plane to Isle of Man”

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    Series endings have got to be difficult at best. To make the show interesting and captivating in the first place is not easy. Then to have to come up with an end that isn’t nuclear war and stays realistic to the characters and the show? Yeah that’s tough. Mash had history on it’s side, the war actually stopped, the story had an ending just because it was part of the entire concept, even if the show had many elements that were fiction, the premise had an ending when it started. It seems to me that the ending of any fictional work is the toughest part to get right.

  74. 74
    rikyrah says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    So if you didn’t watch GoT and need an alternate topic, what finales most affected you, good or bad?

    I still love The Sopranos finale.
    And, Newhart is still among the bestest ever :)
    Thought Orphan Black’s finale was great too.

  75. 75
    Archon says:

    @PJ:

    Seeing how they literally picked a worse system then hereditary Monarchy, a system which would absolutely lead to a future succession crisis and war I’d almost prefer an Autocrat with a Dragon if I lived in that world.

  76. 76
    different-church-lady says:

    @zhena gogolia: It’s a bit grating to see “cinematography” used as a synonym for CGI, no?

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Bronn and Brienne. FYWP

  78. 78
    janesays says:

    @Lavocat: This original call was for Season 7 to have ten episodes, and for it to be the final season. Benioff & Weiss went to the honchos at HBO and begged for another season, and the compromise was two truncated seasons with a total of 13 (mostly) longer episodes.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PJ:

    The woman who worked her ass off to conquer Westeros was going to use it to conquer the rest of the world, killing hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people in the process. Is that the world you wanted to see?

    Why, yes, I did vote for Hillary the warmongerer, because I thought she would do a better job than the guy with zero experience.

    That’s my point. It’s very pernicious to declare that women who want power and work to get it are always going to turn into monsters, so it’s better to let men hold onto all of the power rather than risk that happening. Sansa getting thrown a bone at the very end doesn’t change that overall message.

    I know people keep saying, “Well, she’s the daughter of the Mad King, of course she went crazy!” but that just points up that they never actually gave a motivation for her actions and expected viewers to fill it in on their own. When you do that, what you end up with is Bitches be crazy.

  80. 80
    tam1MI says:

    @Nicole:
    Reddit had spoilers for the final episode

    That pile of letters on Arys’s desk! It all makes sense now! ;)

  81. 81
    PJ says:

    @Roger Moore: @Ceci n est pas mon nym: If you’ve ever read a super-hero comic (or seen a Marvel movie), it typically ends with super-folks beating the crap out of other super-folks, mano a mano. Wondering why it’s happening is like watching a boxing movie and wondering why there’s a boxing match at the end. For me, in a movie, it’s terribly unsatisfying, because it’s all CGI and I don’t get the sense that a character is prevailing out of actual cleverness, strength, or force of will, but lots of people seem to dig it.

  82. 82
    trollhattan says:

    @Archon:
    Funny!

    “Drogon becomes main ride attraction at amusement park for rich Targaryen kids.”

  83. 83
    RobertB says:

    @Emerald: I’ve read that the show was planned by HBO for 10 series’x 10 episodes. That the producers said they were done, and thought they could finish it in S7 and S8.

    The more I think about S8 (and S7), the less I like it. Except for the big scenes, it was all “tell, don’t show.” “Daenerys is crazy and eevil! Sansa is Littlefinger 2.0! Arya’s always wanted to sail off into the sunset!” In 10 seasons they could have shown us those stories, but now we get some cool scenes and a lot of boring exposition.

    Speaking of that ending, they couldn’t have pared 15 minutes or so of bullshit at the end to make room to show us exactly how Jon didn’t get chopped into hamburger meat by all those Unsullied and Dothraki that loved her.

  84. 84
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne: Bran as Trump? That’s…a bit of a stretch. I’m not wild about the Bran as king outcome either, but the logic behind it was set up in the story as well as anything else in the series was (admittedly, that’s not always such a high bar).

    For instance, someone above asked why Tyrion would advocate for Bran despite not knowing him very well. Earlier in this season, there was a scene where Tyrion joined Bran by the fire at Winterfell and said something like, “You’ve had an interesting life. Why don’t you tell me about it?” Then the camera cuts away — presumably, Tyrion learns about Bran’s journey at that point, and that’s when he begins to formulate the idea that Bran would make a just ruler.

    Another theme that is at least as strong as “power corrupts” is that “ambition is fatal” — Bran not only doesn’t want to be king, he doesn’t really want anything. So maybe he is uniquely qualified to avoid the corruptions of power? Also, we kept hearing that Bran knows the past better than anyone, so presumably he’d be in a good position to avoid making the same mistakes?

    For these reasons, Bran as king makes a kind of sense. It’s not the outcome I was rooting for, but I sure can’t see it as an affirmation of Trumpism.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Archon:

    That was my other thought, too: all they did was kick the can down the road and not worry about the horrible repercussions for their children and grandchildren. Which, you have to admit, is a very 2019 ending.

  86. 86
    Eric K says:

    I think they did about as well as they could given two fundamental problems.

    1) they wanted to stick to the ending GRRM gave them, but the changes they made over the course of he show (cutting the majority of the Dorne sub plots, etc) meant that getting there was clunky and forced.

    2) they crammed about 30 episodes worth of plot into 13 episodes the last 2 years.

  87. 87

    @Omnes Omnibus: LOL. I wondered about that.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @Gravenstone:
    I think MASH was so good and topical that we were glad to see it repeated and repeated and…… And that finally killed it. I have it on DVD and have just about worn out the discs. But It’s so familiar and that is what kills it. The jokes don’t fall flat but they don’t make you really laugh like they did when new, because you know the punchline. The show was an insight into at least one little part of one branch of the military, what it could be like, even if it never was.

  89. 89
    bluefoot says:

    @cope: I think Barney Miller had one of the best finales on television. It was very much in keeping with the rest of the series – no artificial drama or sentiment, and with humor – and that it evolved naturally from the time they found out the precinct would close to when the lights were turned off. I loved the various exchanges about Harris going to Flushing Meadows.

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    The point would have had more poignancy had last week’s citywide immolation not occurred.

    Admit to thinking specifically about this during Tyrion’s talk with the council.

  91. 91
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: The show never portrayed her as “mad”, or clinically insane; it’s that since her husband killed her brother, she has demanded that everyone treat her as the queen and do as she says, or else. She’s been burning and torturing people left and right, but because they were “bad guys” in the eyes of the audience, it was alright – when it comes to burning common people, however, the audience is taken aback, but it’s the same m.o. Either you submit to her, or die.

    Before King’s Landing, she had advisors holding her back from this course of action, but at the end, they are all gone (except for Tyrion, whom she no longer trusts), and if a few hundred thousand people who didn’t overthrow their queen prior to the arrival of the new queen get roasted in the process, tant pis – il faut encourager les autres.

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Another theme that is at least as strong as “power corrupts” is that “ambition is fatal” — Bran not only doesn’t want to be king, he doesn’t really want anything. So maybe he is uniquely qualified to avoid the corruptions of power?

    To be clear, I’m not saying that Bran is similar to Trump in personality, but that those are exactly the kinds of arguments Trump was making on his own behalf. He and his followers claimed that he wasn’t really interested in being president, but he felt like he needed to run to save the world from that evil Corrupt Hillary and her Democratic minions. He was doing us all a favor by running because he wasn’t a politician.

    Add in all of the claims that Trump was too rich to be corrupted by power and … 🤔

  93. 93
    Served says:

    The thing about wanting the 10×10 is that that is a LOT of television. That’s two more full seasons of story for every character, which realistically, everyone on Westeros had reached a standstill point until Daenerys made her way across the sea. She had a lot of story left to tell, but they can’t do whole seasons without most of the cast, so we’d end up with boring slogs for 3/4s of the characters.

    There was a big hiccup in the long-game planning here, and throwing Dany’s character into hyperdrive was the better option than putting the rest of the show in a holding pattern while she progressed. The audience got asked to do way too much fill in on how things were supposed to be playing out in her head. Not ideal, but I think everyone got to a satisfactory resolution.

    I also love that they didn’t tie every loose end in a nice bow. This was the story of this crisis for the throne and now it is done. The larger world still exists and moves on, just this story for these characters is over. Some fantasy franchises try to close shop at the end of their stories, but this left a lot of room for the audience to imagine what’s next.

  94. 94
    janesays says:

    @Fair Economist: “Only been acting off for 45 minutes of story”? In that 45 minutes, she literally massacred more innocent people than her father and Cersei killed in their entire lifetimes. As Tyrion astutely pointed out.

    She was beyond redemption after last week.

  95. 95
    Doug R says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    So if you didn’t watch GoT and need an alternate topic, what finales most affected you, good or bad? There are only a few for me, MASH (good) Quantum Leap (WTF), How I Met Your Mother (ruined reruns for me forever), and I really enjoyed the Big Bang finale. Felt Seinfeld got that ending it deserved…and off the top of my head, that’s about it. h/t Cole because he started me thinking about it last night on twitter.

    Did you ever catch the Seinfeld reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm?

  96. 96
    Kent says:

    I liked the general arc of the ending but they definitely needed more time to develop it properly.

    The needed more time to really develop Dany’s conflicted character at the end. She went from being a sympathetic character to essentially calling for the distruction of all of westeros in her final speech.

    Would have liked to see more about what happened to the unsullied and the dothraki. They are getting on boats to sail off. But to what? They could have spent some time figuring out that they needed to go home and rebuild their own homelands according to their own visions…or whatever. Would have liked to see some converations and deliberations by them discovering they didn’t really have a place in westeros and needed to go home to rebuild their own societies.

    John Snow ended up back where he belonged. That was the most satisfying character wrap. I guess the fresh shoots of green tell is that winter is ending and spring is finally coming.

    Would love to have a “West of Westeros” sequel following Arya. She’s the only one I’m actually curious about.

    What ever happened to Meera who traveled so far dragging Bran Stark along. Would liked to have seen her reappear and play some future role in Westeros.

    I thought ending back where we started with a king and his council muddling through was very apropos. This is humanity. We are flawed. There never is any paradise on earth. Best we can hope for is decent people doing their best.

  97. 97
    The Moar You Know says:

    Word is that’s was Martin’s point – GOT crapsack mess that what most modern fantasy worlds would be really be like with all these supermen and woman doing what they want. Sort of the fantasy version of Dune.

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I’ll buy that but he did an awful job of it. If he wanted that, he damn sure should have read the best example of that genre I’ve ever read, Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian”. He would have learned a thing or two about how to write a book where “supermen and women go mad and destroy innocent lives”. And how to write a decent ending for the same.

    Or he could have just rewritten “Dune”, that would have worked too.

    But shit, I can’t even blame him for the catastrophe that the TV series turned into. His story outline would have worked fine given time, some writers, and development. That is squarely on Weiss and Benioff, who couldn’t get their scripts to the euthanasia clinic fast enough so they could start on their next big payday, wrecking Star Wars.

  98. 98
    Sean Farley says:

    @eclare: Before The Wire, David Simon did a show called Homicide: Life on the Streets. There were seven seasons. The last season was meh, but the ending was great. I think they cancelled the show but let them make a TV movie to wrap things up.

  99. 99
    JoyceH says:

    (Scrolls quickly to the bottom of the thread) How about an open thread for those of us who are avoiding spoilers?

  100. 100
    patroclus says:

    The finale was actually pretty good if you ignore the Dany going Mad Queen, Bran ending up King and Jon being banished plot holes. (Personally, I’m betting Yara and the IronBorn haven’t exactly given up the pillaging and thieving quite yet). Everyone else ended up where they were supposed to – Tyrion as Hand, Samwell as Archmaester, Davos on the Small Council, Brienne as Kingsguard, Bronn getting what he wanted, Sansa as Queen of the North, Arya as Dora the Explorer, the Hound killing his brother etc… What should have happened with Jon and Dany is that they should have been Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York – the whole frickin premise of the show was that it was the Wars of the Roses and that should have been the ending (with Tyrion figuring out some clever way to make it happen), but D&D didn’t want that, so the ending was botched. Oh well – you can’t always get what you want. If Bran can’t be Lord of Winterfell because he’s the 3-Eyed Raven, how can he be King???!!!

    It was still a great show and the best ever TV show until the ending.

  101. 101
    rikyrah says:

    @Emerald:

    I, too, loved the ending to Mad Men. Thought it absolutely nailed it. And, that was after losing its way for 2 seasons

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @trollhattan:

    The point would have had more poignancy had last week’s citywide immolation not occurred.

    The writers didn’t mean for it to be poignant, though. They thought they were writing truth: chicks can’t handle power. And they retconned it using Tyrion’s big speech.

    @PJ:

    See above: I think the writer should retconned her actions at King’s Landing with Tyrion’s speech rather than doing the hard work of actually showing her descent into despotism. Peter Dinklage is one of my favorite actors and he was able to sell the speech, but it was written to paper over the fact that the writers didn’t actually do the work to show her arc.

    Really, it’s the lazy writing that offends me. Lazy writing means that you pick the first idea or theme that comes into your head and don’t think through the greater implications of cramming those characters into those arcs willy-nilly.

  103. 103
    trollhattan says:

    @patroclus:

    Arya as Dora the Explorer

    I larfed.

    “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map.”
    “Shut the hell up before I stab you with Needle!”

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: She did not go crazy. She always believed that she was entitled to the throne and that anyone who disputed her right to absolute power should be put to death. Because she was pretty and most of her victims were awful people, people overlooked the tyrant tendencies. Pretty much up until the Tarly roast.

    Also, the writer of the article you linked to last night got a lot of facts wrong – oddly enough in ways that tended to support her point. I am on my phone so I won’t go detail by detail, but her retelling of Tyrion’s history has a lot of things backwards.

  105. 105

    @TaMara (HFG): For me The Sopranos takes the cake. Ten years and I’m still wondering what happens after Tony returns from the bathroom.

  106. 106
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    How would closing out the series with Dany on the throne, Drogon at her knee, have comprised a satisfying end?

  107. 107

    @Ruckus:

    Then to have to come up with an end that isn’t nuclear war and stays realistic to the characters and the show?

    I think this depends a lot on the conception of the show. It’s always easiest if the show was intended from the beginning to be limited, with a specific ending made as part of the basic conception. GOT should have fallen into that category, though I don’t know for sure how well GRRM has the ending planned. It’s more difficult with a traditional episodic show that wasn’t written with a specific ending in mind. And naturally it’s worst when the show is cancelled with little warning, so the writers don’t have a chance to tie everything up nicely.

  108. 108
    jl says:

    I saw some clips that were gross, and that scared me away from watching it a long time ago. And then saw a few more random clips as the years went by.
    So, don’t know much of anything except that watching the dragons was kind of cool.
    So, the wrap up, whatever it is, sounds great to me. I am completely satisfied and have no complaints.

  109. 109
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: Why do you think the message of the show was “chicks can’t handle power”, when we saw that almost every man who was King of Westeros (Aerys, Robert, Joffrey) was a terrible leader and/or person, and the one who might have been ok as king, Tommen, had a cold-blooded viper, Tywin, as the power behind the throne? Martin’s point is about the danger of giving absolute power to anyone.

  110. 110
    PJ says:

    @trollhattan: With the Starks bound and readied to be barbecued by Drogon.

    I actually kind of want to see that ending. That would give the fans something to talk about.

  111. 111
    trollhattan says:

    @PJ:
    Plus, the sole ruler most agree will serve well and fairly is Sansa. (Who was my Iron Throne Winnah pick but smarter folks were correct she wants no part of the rest of Westeros.)

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @trollhattan:

    My argument is more that the immolation of King’s Landing came out of nowhere and had to be retconned by Tyrion’s speech to make any sense to the audience.

    Once that happened, I agree that Dany could not be queen, but the writers wrote themselves into a corner with that and had to scramble to free themselves, with unsatisfying results.

    G and I were talking about the King’s Landing scene as part of the problem with screenwriters always trying to come up with a “twist” — sometimes the twist that seems great in the heat of the story room ends up ruining the overall story because then all of the set-up no longer makes sense.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    With the notation that this is deep, deep snark on my part: it’s like she expected a coronation! 🤣

  113. 113
    zhena gogolia says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Exactly — you said it better!

  114. 114
    lurker dean says:

    i liked the ending well enough. i think part of that was due to forgetting a lot of the story because the show had so many long delays between seasons. if you can’t remember the story, you can’t remember the loose ends they didn’t tie up, or how poorly the ending fit with the character development.

    i thought this was funny:

    https://twitter.com/awoo_/status/1130301323113639937

    TYRION: Who has a better story than…BranSANSA: I survived every single homicidal character in this damn show ARYA: I can kill anyone & literally steal their facesBRAN: I got pushed out a window & spent 8 years tripping in the woodsEVERYONE: Bran it is!#GoT— Amy Woolard (@awoo_) May 20, 2019

  115. 115
    different-church-lady says:

    @JOHN MANCHESTER: HE GETS WHACKED. WHY IS THIS HARD?

  116. 116
    trollhattan says:

    @PJ:
    Heh.

    “Before we proceed, are there any more Starks around? Has anybody checked the dungeons and brothels? Do not fail your queen.”

  117. 117
    eclare says:

    @Mnemosyne: What does retcon mean?

  118. 118
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne: Good points about the parallels in the abstract arguments for both! But IMO, the realities of who those people are does the opposite of glamorizing Trumpism since Trump was already a corrupt, toxic, narcissistic fraud. A major component of the “WTF of 2016” is that everyone knew that about him, but it didn’t matter — not because they actually believed he didn’t want the job or they thought he wasn’t going to profit from the office — he hated the same people they did and wanted to see the same groups oppressed, and that was enough. If Euron Greyjoy won the Iron Throne, that would have glamorized Trumpism (though this is perhaps unfair to Greyjoy…).

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @PJ: The one person who seemed like a potential good ruler is Sansa – one the few who ever seemed to deal with the practical side of rule until the small council did at very end (even there Brienne is leading the way).

  120. 120
    janesays says:

    @Emerald: I stand completely corrected. I had been under the impression that Benioff & Weiss wanted more time, and that HBO cut them off. I got it completely backwards. Thanks for the clarification.

  121. 121
    PJ says:

    @different-church-lady: My take was different: you (the audience) got whacked.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PJ:

    Martin’s point is about the danger of giving absolute power to anyone.

    And yet they ended the show by giving absolute power to a guy who has supernatural powers to see the past, present, and future. I’m sure he’ll never combine those powers with those of being king to control everyone. 🙄

    My problem with your argument is that if the theme is that everyone goes mad with power once they have it, Bran was the worst possible choice available. It’s only a matter of time before he pops off and they’re back in the middle of another civil war trying to depose him.

    And if the point is that only a guy who doesn’t want to be king is worthy of being king, then that’s what I have a problem with. Way too many people currently believe that expertise and experience is a bad thing.

  123. 123
    different-church-lady says:

    @jl:

    I saw some clips that were gross, and that scared me away from watching it a long time ago.

    I was managing a video wall at a cable TV convention for Starz. The cast of Sparticus was making an appearance, and they asked me to freeze the teaser loop running on the video wall so they could do some photos in front of it.

    So I’m scrolling through the loop, trying to find a safe frame I can freeze on that doesn’t have any blatant gore or nudity or droplets of CGI blood flying through the air in slow motion. I finally find one of Sparticus striding heroically down the road with a sword with his troops behind him, and I freeze on that. A few minutes later I notice there’s dead solders all over the sides of the road. A few moments after that I think, “Wait… down in the corner of the frame… those are entrails, aren’t they?” I’m pretty sure I was the only one who noticed.

  124. 124
    geg6 says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    “Mad Men” has a great ending. Don Draper is totally that guy.

    “Sopranos,” even if I wasn’t wild about the last few seasons, was a great ending, too. Made up for some of the stuff I didn’t like. The show was never the same after Nancy Marchand died, IMHO. But the ending was worthy.

    I, too, liked the “Big Bang” ending. Though Penny getting preggers would not have been my choice. I really liked that represented people like me who don’t haveand didn’t want kids.

    Anybody watch any of “The Red Line” on CBS? Ava DuVernay was attached to it and it was a short run series starring Noah Wiley and a lot of great African American actors with whom I was not familiar until this. I really liked it. Last night was it’s end and I really thought it hit the right notes.

  125. 125
    Keith P. says:

    BTW: If anyone felt dissatisfied with GoT, I suggest giving The Expanse a look. It’s space opera and hyper-realistic (no faster-than-light travel, no artificial gravity), but it’s got a similar multi-book epic span, doesn’t mind killing people off, and the best part, the authors put an entry out every 2 years, with the finale coming up next.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    Betty Cracker says:

    @zhena gogolia & @different-church-lady: I was under the impression that “cinematography” includes artistic choices not only related to cameras, composition, lighting, filters, etc., but also post-shot image processing, which might include insertion of CGI. Perhaps one or both of you would be so kind as to momentarily rally from your irritation and dispel my ignorance with a link that explains why that is wrong before collapsing into stinging heaps of grated raw meat again? Thanks in advance!

  128. 128

    @PJ:
    I tend not to like the big army vs. army scenes in comic book movies. The individual fights can be exciting, especially when, as you say, they show one side winning through strength, guts, skill, etc. But the big battles tend to get overwhelming. There are just too many things happening at once for any of them to get more than passing attention, and passing attention isn’t enough to make me care about them. The inability to make those massive set pieces work is one of the things that I see as really holding back the genre.

  129. 129
    Ellenr says:

    I can’t believe no one sees it that Tyrion is the actual king but will never get any credit for it. He’s saved the city at least twice. They made the joke pretty clear in that last scene, with the mighty tome having no mention of Tyrion in it. The final council scene was great.

  130. 130
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My problem with your argument is that if the theme is that everyone goes mad with power once they have it, Bran was the worst possible choice available.

    I’ve read someone elsewhere say that Bran is uncorruptible because he is part magical. He is also a kind of George Washington because he doesn’t have any children. But Bran is under developed, so he can be whatever we want him to be.

    And if the point is that only a guy who doesn’t want to be king is worthy of being king, then that’s what I have a problem with.

    The obvious interjection of a greeting card level contemporary sentiment was especially grating.

    But this was better than Sam, the nerd book reader, becoming king.

  131. 131
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: First, there’s no happily ever after in Westeros or our world. Good and bad things are going to happen long after our story ends.

    Second, with regard to experience (and, more importantly, wisdom), that’s why Bran chose Tyrion to be his Hand. But the fact is, as presented in the show (and the books), Dany was a shit ruler, in part due to bad decision making but also because she had no interest in ruling. Her entitlement and brutality aside, if you are basing your decision on expertise and experience, that should disqualify her.

    I also don’t understand your desire to shoehorn Game of Thrones into a narrative about Clinton and Trump. Game of Thrones is set in a medieval-like world of hereditary monarchy, not a representative democracy (the notion of which gets laughed at by the nobles.) Moreover, the books were written, and the ending was set, long before 2016.

  132. 132
    rikyrah says:

    @geg6:

    Anybody watch any of “The Red Line” on CBS? Ava DuVernay was attached to it and it was a short run series starring Noah Wiley and a lot of great African American actors with whom I was not familiar until this. I really liked it. Last night was it’s end and I really thought it hit the right notes

    I did. I liked it too.

  133. 133
    eclare says:

    @different-church-lady: Thank you! I gathered the meaning from context, but was curious about what words were smushed together.

  134. 134
    different-church-lady says:

    @Betty Cracker: I guess that’s a modern interpretation. I’m kind of old school in believing that cinematography should stick to the old definition of “photography for cinema” — the stuff that actually involves sending light through a lens.

  135. 135

    @Roger Moore: In the extended DVDs of The Two Towers, Peter Jackson talks about how at Helm’s Deep, he never cut away from his main characters for more than a few seconds at a time. For me, that’s why that battle worked. Big battle scenes deteriorate into spectacle, which bores me

  136. 136
    oldgold says:

    I enjoyed the first half of the final episode. I especially liked the visuals.

    The second half, the part following the assassination of Dany, was insulting drivel and worse.

    Two scenes, in particular, were as fouled-up as a stack of coat hangers.

    First, when the leaders of Westros allow the chowder-headed Tyrion to talk them into naming Bran as King with a 4 minute oration. What!?! What leadership skills had Bran demonstrated in this long saga? NONE. Rolling your eyes back into the back of your head for hours at a time is not leadership. Moreover, 6 leaders anoint a Stark KIng and then, without objection or comment, let the Starks out of the Realm. The leader of say Dorne would not have said, “How about us?” Plus, no one mentions Jon as a possible King? All he had done in the last 6 months was save the world from both ice and fire. And, he was the rightful heir to the Throne! But, Jon is sent into permanent sexless exile because of Grey Worm fee fees. A foreign mercenary scheduled to leave on the next boat. Also, it defies credulity to believe Grey Worm would not have had Jon’s head cut off immediately upon learning of Jon’s having assassinated Dany. Now, this is just not any scene. It is the ultimate scene of the entire saga. It names the winner of the damn Game. Yet, the scene plays out like it was written in crayola. After 72 episodes, we deserved much better.

    Second, the scene where the Council meets to discus the Realms rebuilding struck me as a SNL parody of GOT. Pressed for time, the writers waste it on this insipid nonsense, while denying us any reaction the news of Dany’s assassination?

    The ride was great, but the destination sucked.

  137. 137
    PJ says:

    @Roger Moore: Even the one on one battles can be tedious, like the one at the very end of Black Panther on the monorail (the earlier hand to hand scenes were much better), where it is clearly two CGI cartoon characters going at it. I feel like there’s nothing at stake – ok, good guy is going to win (yawn). I mean, I know the good guy is going to win, but give me the suspense that maybe he won’t, you know?

  138. 138
    geg6 says:

    @rikyrah:

    That young woman who played the daughter was just a spectacular actress, I thought.

  139. 139
    David Hunt says:

    Arya sails west of Westeros. Lands in Westworld.

  140. 140
    Aleta says:

    ery NPR @NPR
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection says a 16-year-old from Guatemala died today at a Border Patrol station in South Texas.

    The teenager is the fifth migrant child since December to die after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

    NPR
‏


    Immigration authorities say the Guatemalan teenager was apprehended near Hidalgo, Texas –– in the Rio Grande Valley –– a week ago.

    He was found unresponsive during a routine welfare check this morning at a Border Patrol station.

    Anti-life, anti-child, anti- their supposed authority jesus, and anti- their own bible

  141. 141
    PJ says:

    @oldgold: Here’s the reaction to the news of Dany’s death: And there was much rejoicing (except among the Unsullied, who are sad, and the Dothraki, who go on a rampage).

  142. 142
    JimV says:

    What I liked about the books was the sense of a more realistic fantasy. In a typical fantasy, Ned Stark gets to join the Black Watch and returns later to save the day. Joffrey deciding to kill him instead for fun was jarring, but, yeah, that’s what a Joffrey or a Trump would do. Same thing with the Red Wedding. You’re going to have to be a lot smarter and harder working to beat the bad guys in this fantasy, which is a message the world needs. Then the script-writers take it and apply their how-to-write-screen-plays-for-a-general-audience modus operandi and it goes downhill–for those of us who have seen the script-writers versions a few thousand times. Oh, they can still pull our strings, but we can see them doing it and it annoys us. Your turns will come, if you live long enough. You’ll want happy endings to be earned, not scripted. (The way Tom Hardy’s Mad Max did in “Fury Road”.) (Ranked by many critics as the best film of 2015–Wikipedia.)

    For real drama, see the NBA playoffs. Match that, script-writers.

  143. 143
    Brachiator says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    That is squarely on Weiss and Benioff, who couldn’t get their scripts to the euthanasia clinic fast enough so they could start on their next big payday, wrecking Star Wars.

    Rian Johnson already wrecked it.

  144. 144
    hueyplong says:

    @Aleta: All the contradictions melt away when you consider the current administration to be little more than a white supremacy outfit running a personality cult.

    As for GoT, Dinklage was something like the narrator throughout so of course he was going to explain all and essentially make the call at the end.

    The ending wasn’t high art but that’s on people who expected such a thing from a wildly popular HBO series. I reserve my intense anger for Trump elections and horrific sports ball reverses.

  145. 145
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Ellenr: You’re right!

  146. 146
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The writers didn’t mean for it to be poignant, though. They thought they were writing truth: chicks can’t handle power.

    I disagree with you big time on this, and it brings to mind some women critics of the show and some idiot men.

    Some of the worst rulers depicted have been men. On the other side, Sansa has been a solid leader and Lyanna Mormont has been absolutely inspiring.

    Yara Greyjoy has also been depicted as a solid leader and obviously survives at the end. And though we don’t see it, the prior objections to female rulers has been overcome.

    And Ser Brienne apparently is acknowledged by all to be a knight.

  147. 147
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Okay, I’m going to back up a step, because I realize it sounds like I’m accusing the GoT writers of having some kind of nefarious Trump-loving agenda, but that’s not actually what I mean. What I think is that the writers got themselves stuck in a story hole and that the need to get out of it as quickly as possible led them to (probably subconsciously/unconsciously) fall back onto some common societal beliefs that we all have because it let them shorthand the story.

    They knew that, as someone said above, the most logical resolution to the story was the Tudor solution: Henry VII, the last Plantagenet heir, married Elizabeth, the last Yorkist heir, and the active phase War of the Roses ended. Having the Baratheon heir and the Targaryen heiress marry and share the throne is something people predicted ages ago, which is probably why the writers decided not to do it.

    They also probably decided that they needed a big Plot Twist to close off that possibility, and the most logical one was, yes, that Dany would go mad with power as her father did. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave themselves enough time to make that an organic, plausible development within her character arc, so they had to cram it into the last two episodes of the series.

    When you get into a panic as a writer because you have a looming deadline, it’s very, very easy to fall into stereotypes and ideas that “everyone knows.” One of the reasons Trump was so successful in 2016 was that he was able to weaponize one of those things that “everyone knows,” namely that people (especially women) who become career politicians are somehow suspect and only the people who ignore or avoid politics are really qualified to run things. This is, of course, ridiculous on the level of deciding that you’d rather have your car mechanic perform your open heart surgery than a heart surgeon, but it’s a pretty deep-seated cultural belief for Americans.

    I think that the writers’ need to wrap up the story in two 80-minute episodes led them to fall back on some of these easy cultural beliefs since viewers could fill in the blanks with their own knowledge of those memes: women can’t be trusted with power, and only someone who doesn’t know how to be king (president) should be king (president). Sansa was thrown in because she was shown to be safely domestic, unlike the terrifyingly ambitious Danaerys: Sansa is more concerned about the welfare of her peasants than in claiming the throne, so she’ll be a “safe” (unambitious) ruler who won’t go beyond her cultural bounds. She’s a Queen Victoria, not a Queen Elizabeth.

    So it’s not that I’m saying the GoT writers deliberately fed into these stereotypes. I’m saying that they panicked trying to find a “surprise” ending and fell back on those stereotypes because they’re easy. I’m accusing them of laziness and bad writing, not conscious Trumpism.

  148. 148
    Archon says:

    @Brachiator:

    Sansa was the best of a bad bunch but her decisions weren’t exactly inspiring either. Letting the North get butchered in the Battle of the Bastards without letting Jon know reinforcements were on the way. Treating Dany and here army as usurpers when they were literally the only thing standing between them and zombie oblivion.

    I’ll take Sansa over Jon as King though, that’s for sure.

  149. 149
    patroclus says:

    @oldgold: Indeed. That scene, the culminating political scene of the entire show, should have been preceded by several episodes of preparation and character development. The viewers didn’t even know the identity of some of the participants! Where did each of them stand on the issue of possible successors? Surely, there would be some discussion and disagreements; and possible compromises and horsetrading. Why were Grey Worm’s views about Jon so important? How did he even know Jon murdered Dany? Drogon had already carried her away! Why does only the North get independence? Why Bran??!! Jon was just as “reluctant!” Ugh!

    The Small Council scene I liked. It was a brief return to the humor of Bronn/Tyrion of the earlier seasons.

  150. 150
    Fair Economist says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    They also probably decided that they needed a big Plot Twist to close off that possibility, and the most logical one was, yes, that Dany would go mad with power as her father did. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave themselves enough time to make that an organic, plausible development within her character arc, so they had to cram it into the last two episodes of the series.

    That’s all on them, though. Most likely Martin told them about the end result for Dany before they even started filming (they had to know the outcome in case he got into a car wreck). Certainly they knew by Season 5 or 6 when they started moving past the books. They had plenty of runway to do a convincing Mad Queen take; they just didn’t do it.

  151. 151
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: The ending – where the main characters ended up – is not on the writers, and was set by GRR Martin way back when (Jon killing Dany is foreshadowed in the story of Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa). You can blame the writers for how they reverse engineered everything up to the end, but the reveal that your plucky heroine, the White Savior of Slavers’ Bay, was the bad guy all along is Martin’s.

  152. 152
    Sab says:

    The Small Council scene was entertaining, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for good governance.

  153. 153
    NotMax says:

    @TaMara (HFG)

    When it comes to tying up a long running series, surprised no one (near as I can tell) has yet mentioned The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

    @Emmak

    Yes, yes it’s available there.

  154. 154
    Fair Economist says:

    @Archon:

    Sansa was the best of a bad bunch but her decisions weren’t exactly inspiring either. Letting the North get butchered in the Battle of the Bastards without letting Jon know reinforcements were on the way.

    A frequent problem on the series is to have characters act foolishly or irresponsibly so they can spring some event on the viewers as a surprise. To the very end.

  155. 155
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is a big part of why I couldn’t watch Got: the violence in general and violence against women in particular. For example, the greatest cause of death for pregnant women in America is murder, usually by an intimate partner or family member. Violence against women is a horrific constant in our country and I simply can’t watch a show that presents it as a good or necessary plot point.

  156. 156
    Nicole says:

    Also, super accommodating of all the Westerosi nobles to be totally cool with letting Gendry keep the title and lands that Daenerys gave him.

  157. 157
    Itinerantpedant says:

    My hot take is that the only people who REALLY think this season “ruined the series” are the ones who thought Dany was a hero instead of a self-proclaimed messiah with delusions of grandeur and a hair trigger for violent punitive actions.

    And they’re only embarrassed because they refuse to see the evidence.

  158. 158
    Emma says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ve never watched the show, but my “informant” pointed out she unleashed dragons on anyone she felt lacked the proper subservience. She wanted to be an absolute ruler. She announced she wanted to conquer the world. Just because she was good to her friends and loved her dragons does not mean she would make a good queen.

    And one of the things I’ve learned in a life misspent reading history is that “saviors” turn into “rulers” really, really fast. And that the “saved” do not appreciate outsiders coming in and taking over.

  159. 159
    eclare says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: I watched the first four episodes of the first season, and I came to the same conclusion and stopped. Based on what I’ve read about later seasons, I made the right decision.

  160. 160
    PJ says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: The show, like medieval history (and human history), features lots of violence against men and women (FWIW, more violence against men than women, but I don’t know why that would be better).

  161. 161
    Betty Cracker says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    I simply can’t watch a show that presents it as a good or necessary plot point.

    I know a guy — a film buff! — who refuses to watch “The Godfather” movies because he thinks it glorifies the mob. He’s wrong too, IMO.

  162. 162
    Brachiator says:

    @Archon:

    Sansa was the best of a bad bunch but her decisions weren’t exactly inspiring either. Letting the North get butchered in the Battle of the Bastards without letting Jon know reinforcements were on the way.

    This was bad writing to preserve a twist. But again, my point is that the show was not saying that chicks can’t rule.

    Treating Dany and here army as usurpers when they were literally the only thing standing between them and zombie oblivion.

    They were usurpers to Sansa. Her primary concern was preserving the North. And she succeeded.

  163. 163

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    In the extended DVDs of The Two Towers, Peter Jackson talks about how at Helm’s Deep, he never cut away from his main characters for more than a few seconds at a time. For me, that’s why that battle worked. Big battle scenes deteriorate into spectacle, which bores me

    The thing that made Helm’s Deep work well isn’t just that it focused on the major characters. At least one of those major characters was always well positioned to participate in the crucial events of the battle, so Jackson was never tempted to pull the camera away from them to tell the audience about something important happening elsewhere. That made it possible to tell the story through the actions of the major characters neatly.

    The problem with Marvel’s battles is twofold. The first problem is that they simply have too many major characters around. They can’t all be close to the center of the action, and some of them never get terribly close to it, but the directors feel the need to provide fan service by showing the characters who are away from the action. The second, and bigger, problem is that in a lot of cases they don’t provide a center for the action, just a lot of scenes of characters slugging it out for no obvious reason. That makes it easy for the director to scurry all over the battlefield showing all the characters doing their thing, but without the bigger picture it just gets boring. Once they introduce a center to the action they can do some good stuff, but until then it’s just fan service fighting.

    A great example of this is the Battle of Wakanda in Infinity War. There’s lots of back and forth slugging it out. First the good guys are winning. Then the bad guys are. Then the good guys start winning again. But it all seems like pointless violence because there’s no real center to the action. It isn’t until Thanos shows up to provide a center for the action that things get engaging again.

  164. 164
    LuciaMia says:

    Like so many I was a little pulverized by episode 5 so went into the finale with low spirits. But gotta say, I did find it fairly satisfying.
    There were two scenes where I teared up. When Drogon lifted Dany’s body up. The second, Jon Snow reunited with Ghost.
    *********
    Two last observations.
    So They elect Bran as King. The guy who nobody can figure out what the hell he’s talking about 80% of the time.

    Will Queen Sansa start a new fashion trend? Decidedly UN-braided hair.

  165. 165

    @different-church-lady:

    I’ve never watched it.

    Nobody cares

  166. 166
    Stan says:

    So, in RE Jon being exiled and “required” not to have heirs… I was surprised not to see him walking a bit funny afterwards. I thought the implication was strong but not entirely clear. Again, maybe I missed it and will look out for it on a second viewing.

  167. 167
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PJ:

    Since GRRM famously hasn’t actually finished writing the series yet, I don’t think that he’s primarily to blame here. If he did, in fact, give the writers these particular characters in this specific configuration as the end point, then what you have is a “How I Met Your Mother” problem, which is when writers try to cram 10 years of story development back into its original box, because that box never fits right.

    And to be clear, I’m not annoyed that Dany didn’t get to be the White Savior. I’m annoyed that they rushed the ending, didn’t develop her character arc properly, and then retconned that conclusion into a speech by Tyrion. A heel turn like that should be something that the audience is secretly dreading on some level, not a surprise plot twist that gets explained away by the writers as, “Hey, what did you rubes expect, anyway?”

  168. 168
    MazeDancer says:

    @trollhattan:

    Mr. Martin owns a movie theater in Santa Fe. The Cocteau in the heart of the Guadeloupe district.

    You can win a sit down with GRRM there as part of a promo for his attraction Meow Wolf. Sorry, I don’t have details, but no doubt Google can provide.

  169. 169
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @PJ: @Betty Cracker: I am aware of violence throughout history and have experienced it firsthand. It’s one thing to know it exists and another thing to immerse oneself in graphic violence for entertainment. Especially the manifold rapes and murders of women in this series. Because it happens way too much in real life. I just can’t. YMMV.

  170. 170
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Fair Economist:

    They had plenty of runway to do a convincing Mad Queen take; they just didn’t do it.

    Yep. And the writers knew that they would need to explain that sudden twist, which is why they turned Tyrion into Basil Exposition.

    If you have to have a character explain to the audience why another character just did something instead of making that action the inevitable consequence of their character arc that is obvious in the moment, you screwed up as a writer.

  171. 171

    @Mnemosyne: the ending of the show was very much a How I Met Your Mother-style issue. Which comes down to GRRM’s road-map not being compatible with GRRM’s characters. Obviously the TV writers didn’t do a good job with it either, but it’s not exactly a secret in SFF-Writer-twitter that he hasn’t gotten around to starting to finish the books because he wrote himself into a corner and would prefer to work on other things.

  172. 172
    oldgold says:

    @LuciaMia:

    80%? Too low.

    Bran’s character was underdeveloped. His story line would make Swiss cheese look like Velveeta. Could he see the future? What the hell was he doing during the battle with the Night King? Why is his story deemed more compelling the Sansa’s or Arya’s?

    Communication was not his long suit. “Tyrion, why do you think i came all this way?” Well, perhaps to give us some counsel as to what to do, given your complete knowledge of the past? Or, to help out your heroic “brother”? “John, you were where you were supposed to be?” What, playing peek-a-boo with a fire breathing ice dragon?

    I think the reason Bran was so underdeveloped is that the actor playing him was easily the poorest actor of the major characters. He was a true Johnny One Note.

  173. 173
    RobertB says:

    @Stan: The Night’s Watch wasn’t allowed to marry. The brothel outside Castle Black managed to stay in business, though. Aegon pointed out in one episode that if they busted every member of the Watch that visited, there wouldn’t be a Night’s Watch.

    In a rare ‘smart’ move in Episode 6, it stops Jon from claiming the throne as Aegon Targaryen. Not that he wanted it, but it was going to be a bone of contention.

  174. 174
    wvng says:

    No one has mentioned that “winter was coming everyone freaking out” for years and years and then either just ends or its no big deal. And I seem to remember watching the Dothraki army getting utterly destroyed by the wraiths, all those lights winking out in one of the most stunning scenes I have ever seen, then suddenly there are still lots and lots of them to attack Kings Labding? Same for the Unsullied. How could there still be so many?

  175. 175
    different-church-lady says:

    @Major Major Major Major: WAIT FOR THE PUNCHLINE, CRANKYPANTS!

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    On the other side, Sansa has been a solid leader and Lyanna Mormont has been absolutely inspiring.

    See above where I point out that Sansa’s rulership was neutered by giving her the “proper” feminine motive of caring for her peasants. And Lyanna is a child, and therefore nonthreatening. She’ll learn her place soon enough.

    Yara Greyjoy has also been depicted as a solid leader and obviously survives at the end.

    She was shown early on to be her father’s substitute son for the disappointing Theon. And she has no ambitions outside of her father’s lands and her father’s people.

    And though we don’t see it, the prior objections to female rulers has been overcome.

    Things we don’t see didn’t happen for the audience. It’s a very convenient out for the writers: We support a woman ruler, just not THAT one. Or that one. Or that one, either. But we totally support it in the abstract!

  177. 177
    trollhattan says:

    @MazeDancer:
    That’s a very cool detail. Sounds like something Stephen King would do.

  178. 178
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s not a “retcon” if that was the plan all along, as it was. (You can look it up. They had a long conversation with Martin after the 3rd or 54th season where he laid out the endgame, but not how to get there, since he hadn’t, and still hasn’t, figured that out. In a recent New Yorker interview, Emilia Clarke talks about how she would get notes in the first season about, for instance, how to react at the death of Viserys, telling her to be more satisfied at the result. These reactions from her character puzzled her until she figured out where the character was going.) You can certainly argue it was poorly done, but it was the plan from the beginning.

    FWIW, while I thought almost of all of the characters could have used more development in the last two seasons, this particular plot point was laid out pretty clearly from when Dany met Jon.

  179. 179
    The Moar You Know says:

    Obviously the TV writers didn’t do a good job with it either, but it’s not exactly a secret in SFF-Writer-twitter that he hasn’t gotten around to starting to finish the books because he wrote himself into a corner and would prefer to work on other things.

    @Major Major Major Major: He’ll never publish another one of that series. I’ve said that from the beginning and I’m happy to say it at the end.

  180. 180
    RobertB says:

    @wvng: They had a scene in Episode 4, where they showed us what was left by taking about half of the tokens representing their strength off the board. You’re right though, in that at the end of E3 it looked like there was about 10 people left alive in Winterfell, all main characters protected by plot armor.

  181. 181
    RobertB says:

    @The Moar You Know: The authors of The Expanse series are GRRM’s assistants. I bet we get the rest of the books at some point or the other.

  182. 182
    Sab says:

    George Martin wrote some great little girls, but his adult women are awful, shallow and boring. Cersei was a daytime soap opera villainess. Caitlyn Stark was a stepmother out of German fairy tales. Sansa was vapid. Daennarys never left early adolescence.

    It says a lot about the quality of the actresses that we actually cared so much about their characters rather than hissing everytime they came on screen.

  183. 183
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PJ:

    They had a long conversation with Martin after the 3rd or 4th season where he laid out the endgame, but not how to get there, since he hadn’t, and still hasn’t, figured that out.

    Exactly: the ending doesn’t make any sense based on what had been shown of the characters up until the last two episodes. That’s what I’m complaining about.

    And that’s also why I’m calling it a “How I Met Your Mother” problem. Your audience is not going to be satisfied with a rushed, illogical ending just because you say that’s how you meant to end it.

    And I do still think that both GRRM and the show’s writers were influenced by our cultural belief that women are too dangerous to be leaders. That belief reared its ugly head in spectacular fashion in 2016, but it existed long before then. The events of 2016 are highlighting how pernicious those themes are in GoT, but I didn’t necessarily mean that 2016 inserted those themes into a story where they had not existed before.

  184. 184
    VeniceRiley says:

    The thing that ticked me off the most is the Bronn and brothels at the end. He gets Olenna’s beautiful Highgarden and shits and farts, wang out, all over it. Poor Brienne at the Council of BRO! it made me shiver with revulsion. Completely unnecessary, and now I absolutely hate the creators for it. They’re going to seriously wreck Star Wars beyond recognition.

  185. 185
    Sab says:

    @VeniceRiley: Yes. See my comment at about#152

  186. 186
    different-church-lady says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I know a guy — a film buff! — who refuses to watch “The Godfather” movies because he thinks it glorifies the mob. He’s wrong too, IMO.

    There’s two components to this phenomenon:

    1) A lot of people don’t understand the distinction between a hero and a protagonist, and just automatically assume the latter must be the former.

    2) Filmmakers such as Coppola take advantage of that confusion.

  187. 187
    emma says:

    @Mnemosyne: Lyanna was the absolute ruler of her own clan at 11 and took no crap from anyone, including Jon Snow. She schooled all the clan leaders more than once. And she died killing the biggest of the monsters that came with the Night King. What are you talking about? What was she going to learn soon enough?

  188. 188
    Mnemosyne says:

    As my final comment, see this scene of Michael in season 2 of “The Good Place” as a heartfelt lament by every writer who discovers that their characters refuse to do what the writer wants:

    https://youtu.be/p4dqFiL3hIY

    You gotta follow the characters where they want to go, or you risk pissing off the audience by showing them where you put the puppet strings.

  189. 189
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You gotta follow the characters where they want to go…

    As an amateur writer, I think that’s horseshit. You’re God. If the character you brought into existence doesn’t have a plausible reason to do what you want her/him to do, then create one.

  190. 190
    Mnemosyne says:

    @emma:

    Heroic female children are far less psychologically threatening to men than adult women. See also the works of C.S. Lewis, who has some great heroic characters who are girls, but who cannot handle the idea of an adult woman holding and wielding power, whether that power is magic or just wearing lipstick and stockings.

    Ser Brienne is safe because she’s (a) oathbound to obey the orders of her superior office or lord and (b) “ugly” (not conventionally attractive), so there’s no sexual threat, either.

  191. 191
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne & @Sab: I disagree with both of y’all about the quality of the women leaders depicted in the show. Sansa was good at practical aspects of leadership like feeding armies and peasants. I suppose you could classify that as “women’s work” if you ignore the fact that every leader of more than a one-person enterprise in human history has to figure out FOOD. But she was also involved in war strategy. She sucked at it, but so did everyone else, including the alleged military geniuses like the Golden Company!

    Yara commands the respect of the Iron Island fleet even though she’s a woman. Her father is an absolute shit, but he clearly recognizes Yara has earned her leadership role and puts Theon in his place when he shows up wagging his dick as his sole qualification for taking over the family business. Arya is an absolute bad-ass, and she takes control of her own sexuality and destiny at the end without shame and without punishment. Lady Mormont was a bad-ass too. Brienne of Tarth is the most honorable Knight in the Seven Six Kingdoms because she earned it.

    GoT is surprisingly feminist for a pop-culture product, IMO. There’s plenty to criticize about the series, but I’m surprised that it’s taking flak for that.

  192. 192
    Sab says:

    @Mnemosyne: I loved the Narnia books as a child. Rereading them as an adult I do not think I would have let a daughter of mine read them as a child.

  193. 193
    Hilfy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Sam’s bar? Is that beer and wine? Or Sam has an exercise routine requiring use of a horizontal bar? My mind draws a blank here, please explain.

  194. 194
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: Martin (and Benioff and Weiss) consistently show that men can be terrible leaders, too, and how hard it is to be a good leader generally. Dany’s only more dangerous because she has dragons.

  195. 195
    Sab says:

    @Betty Cracker: Sansa hadn’t devoloped to any of that in the books. I totally agree with you about Yara in the books and on screen. Exception to my generality. She was awesome as written and awesome as acted.

  196. 196
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Sort of? I think the blog post below has a good explanation of why it happens. He thinks it’s usually because the author is trying to get “unstuck” from their plot by having a character do something they wouldn’t normally do. You CAN have your characters do uncharacteristic things, but you need to go back and lay the groundwork to start showing that transformation much earlier in the story, or else it’s as clunky as Dany destroying a whole city out of pique.

    https://ryanlanz.com/2014/09/20/when-your-characters-wont-behave/

  197. 197
    Zelma says:

    I think I am addicted to Balloon Juice. I just read all the comments on this thread even though I never watched a second of Game of Thrones. Oh well.

  198. 198
    Sab says:

    @Sab: Martin is a good screenwriter and writer of dialogs. So good actors can really bring his characters to life and into depth in a way that doesn’t necessarily occur to his non-actor readers.

  199. 199
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Hilfy: Cheers the TV series set in a bar in Boston?

  200. 200
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sab: I haven’t read the books, so I’m just going by how they were depicted in the show. Are the books worthwhile, in your opinion?

  201. 201
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: Matter of semantics, really. It helps the creativity to flow if one imagines the character has free will, and it may indeed help the writer “discover” things about the character if instead of deciding right off the bat, they instead question how such a person might behave.

    But those are the tools of the creative process, not the end result. The writer has bottom line responsibility. If the character refuses to “behave” it means you’re not working hard enough. If the character does something that leaves the audience mystified or frustrated, it means you didn’t create sufficient justification. People who let their characters wander around with free will are just using different words to describe the challenges of being a narrative god.

    Or, as my father told me when teaching me how to drive: “You control the car, the car does not control you.”

    P.S. I guess what I’m saying is that if suspending your own disbelief helps you create, go right ahead, but recognize that trick for the helpful self-delusion that it is.

    P.P.S. Maybe I ought to have a policy of actually reading the references people link to, because then I would have seen we’re pretty much saying the same thing.

  202. 202
    Sab says:

    @Betty Cracker: I actually loved book Sansa. She was such a little lady. The more messed up her situation became, the more she hung on to her traditional ladyship values, however much the real world disproved them.

    That’s why the Hound loved her. He didn’t buy into the knightly virtue bullshit because he knew it was bullshit, but he knew that Sansa did, against all evidence. She was true to her values, and he knew and respected that .

    She was a smaller female Ned Stark. Eventually she came to her senses in a way that didn’t betray all her values.

    ETA I think Sophie Turner did her justice.

  203. 203

    With the caveat that I haven’t actually seen the last two seasons due to currently lacking an HBO subscription, and have instead simply been keeping up with the story via recaps, I nonetheless feel fairly confident in saying that the series has suffered from what I am going to term X-Men: The Last Stand Syndrome. The problem is that the production’s dominant narrative voice has changed midstream from one that was heavily focused on character development to one that was… not.

    Unlike The Last Stand, Game of Thrones hasn’t actually undergone any changes in personnel; instead, the problem came from the fact that the first six seasons were effectively coasting on Martin’s books, and once they got in front of the source material, the character development dried up. (To be clear, there are only five books right now, but I’m including season six in the “based on Martin’s source material” category because The Winds of Winter is evidently already partially written. It remains to be seen whether Martin will ever complete it, but I’m fairly certain that Benioff & Weiss had a lot more in the way of source material to draw from when they were producing season six than they have had for the last two seasons.)

    Benioff & Weiss seem to have viewed the characters as pieces on a chessboard to be moved around at will, not as living, breathing human beings. And that seems to have resulted in a… less than ideal ending.

    There was a good Twitter thread I saw awhile back (it might have even been featured here) that divided writers into “pantsers” versus “plotters”. Martin himself uses the terminology of “gardeners” versus “architects”, which is what I’m going to use for the rest of this message. Gardeners are writers who develop characters, throw them into situations, and see how those situations develop organically, based on what the characters would do. They may have a destination in mind, as Martin seems to have had, but the journey to that destination is not set in stone. Martin is, by his own admission, a gardener. This approach typically results in very richly detailed and realistic characters, but the plot can suffer. And as we have seen in Martin’s case, this can result in massive delays if the characters aren’t behaving the way the writer expects them to.

    Architects, by contrast, have to have everything set in stone, if you will, before they begin writing. This isn’t necessarily an inferior storytelling technique; it means that the plot will be very skilfully constructed, but characterisation can suffer. The characters have a preordained set of actions that they have to undertake, and if writers don’t devote enough time to character development, their characters can feel as though they’re simply running through preordained actions mandated by a plot outline rather than living, breathing people.

    This sounds like I’m bashing architects in comparison to gardeners, and I’m really not. The gardener approach can not merely lead to infamous delays like Martin’s, but it can also result in terrible endings. Hardly anyone likes most of Stephen King’s endings; almost everyone agrees that he has great characters and that his settings are superb, but it’s almost universally agreed that the man can’t write a good ending to save his life. This is no doubt a result of his seat-of-the-pants approach to writing; he doesn’t begin with endings in mind, by his own admission. My own philosophy is that you need a balanced combination of the two approaches to have a great story: you need an idea of where the plot is going, but you also need believable characters, which means that you can’t treat your outline as a rigid set of boxes that have to be ticked off. To mix the gardening and architect metaphors, if a plant grows in a manner that threatens the foundation, then rather than cutting off the branches of the plant, you rebuild the foundation in a way that accommodates the plant. The plant is… well, OK, it’s not a plant, actually. It’s a person. People are more important than buildings. You can rebuild a building. A person’s life is irreplaceable.

    You have to have a coherent plot. But your plot can’t come at the expense of your characters; if your audience doesn’t believe your characters’ actions, then you’ve failed as a storyteller. By telling a fictional story with dragons and priests that raise the dead, you’re asking your viewers to suspend their disbelief. When you break that suspension of disbelief, you’ve disserviced your audience.

    Essentially, Game of Thrones switched from the gardening approach to storytelling over the first six seasons to the architect approach over the last two. And this is a failure on Benioff & Weiss’ part in stripping their characters of their development – and thus their moral agency. Daenerys seems to have been the most notable failure on their part. Her descent into madness is heavily foreshadowed in the books, where she is much more impulsive and arrogant; although some of this comes across in the show, many of her flaws are whitewashed, and thus the writers failed to sell her ultimate heel turn. This is demonstrative of their mistake in declining HBO’s offer to extend the show. They ultimately violated one of the principal rules of storytelling: “Show, don’t tell”. By ultimately relying on Peter Dinklage’s performance to explain away her villainous turn, they’ve deprived the audience of actually seeing her character arc develop. I suspect they expected this to be some sort of shocking last-minute twist, but it’s unsatisfying. It’s like having the main character in a romance end up with a cardboard cutout introduced in the last five minutes (I have repeatedly criticised La La Land for this), or having the murderer in a murder mystery be introduced in the last scene. You don’t do it if you want to satisfy your audience.

    As for TV endings I enjoyed (spoilers for many of these shows, obviously):

    Mad Men – the last couple of seasons were mostly fairly boring, but the final episode was some of the best crafted television I’ve ever seen.
    Person of Interest – one of the best network shows of the past decade or so that seemingly no one watched, and it completely stuck the landing. I do wonder how it would hold up in the Individual-1 era, though. I might take Samaritan over the current administration, if given a choice.
    The West Wing – Another show that probably wouldn’t hold up in the Individual-1 era, but I felt almost all the character arcs were satisfyingly resolved.
    Star Trek: The Next Generation: “All Good Things” is a perfect hour of television that completely resolves all the arcs from the opening episode in a skilful, satisfying way. As for the movies, let’s just pretend the last two don’t exist.

    An ending I will still defend, even though I can see why it annoyed others, is Lost. I feel a lot of the problem viewers had is that this show was, in essence, a Netflix show before most people had Netflix. The show essentially demanded that viewers retain a lot of background information from episode to episode, and if you were viewing the show when each episode aired, you’d forget a lot of that info. I started watching during season four – I watched the first three seasons on DVD, and then I watched the last three as they aired, so I remembered a lot more of the background information by the time the finale rolled around. Most of the plot developments in the last season were actually foreshadowed pretty heavily in the first couple of seasons, but if you didn’t remember the subtle details, a lot of it wouldn’t make sense. (Another thing that helped was that I kept reading Lostpedia throughout the show to look up things I’d forgotten.)

    Another problem, though, is that the ending also requires knowledge of fairly obscure religious beliefs like Gnosticism to be fully comprehensible, and if you aren’t familiar with them, a lot of the ending might seem nonsensical. This, I will acknowledge, is a failure on the part of the storytellers. A lot of these concepts should have been explained in the show.

    Regardless, I personally found it to be an immensely satisfying ending. There were a few small lingering questions that didn’t get properly answered (for instance, what was Libby’s deal?), but the majority of the character arcs were wrapped up nicely, and all but one of the major questions surrounding the show were answered. (The remaining question, “What is the Island?”, was never going to be answered – Lindelof and Cuse consistently said answering that question would be like answering “What is the Force?” and that they wouldn’t do it.) I loved the ending; the episode I had a bigger problem with was “Across the Sea”, which was a shame, because Alison Janney is amazing. I did, however, feel sorry for Smokey; the narrative certainly demanded that he be stopped, but his situation sucked, and you can’t entirely blame him for chafing against it. But that was fairly typical of the show – things that initially seemed to be black and white almost always ultimately resolved into shades of grey.

    An ending that I ultimately found unsatisfying, though I did like aspects of it, was Battlestar Galactica. All the character arcs were wrapped up in a sensible way, but the ending ultimately resolved into “Goddidit.” Which, y’know, was foreshadowed pretty heavily throughout the show, so it didn’t feel like it came out of nowhere, but it was still a literal deus ex machina, and it felt like a pretty major cop-out. Also, I just can’t entirely buy the humans and Cylons completely giving up technology. It had caused them problems, but condemning themselves to living as hunter-gatherers with ridiculously limited lifespans seems like an even bigger problem, since it would require skill sets most of them almost certainly don’t possess. I did, at least, like the final scene, returning once again to “All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.” A pretty ominous warning that it seems far too many people in power are just ignoring right now.

  204. 204
    NeenerNeener says:

    @donnah: Nope, from what I’ve read HBO was willing to shovel money at it for quite a few more full-10-episode seasons, but the writers were burned out and in a hurry to move on to writing Star Wars movies , so they were the ones that decided it was only going to be 13 episodes total for the last two seasons. Once they ran out Martin’s material to adapt they may have been overwhelmed.

    Or, what CassandraLeo said above.

  205. 205
    Sab says:

    @Betty Cracker: I love the books. Weird. Complicated. All this religious divergence ( new gods and the old.) What are the underlying motives, political and religious. How does it tie in with the Eastern continents. Winter threat from the North. Underlying economic issues.Brainwashed little ladies trying to be ladies (I grew up in central Florida a generation before you and that was all we heard about, being ladies.)

    Everything was more fleshed out. TV seasons are short. Martin wrote these books to escape the limitations (time and budget) of television. The books didn’t have those limits.

    But he is great on dialog and male character development, but week on description and female character development.

    Having seen and liked the show, I think you might really like the books. They certainly aren’t working at cross purposes.

  206. 206
    PJ says:

    @Betty Cracker: You didn’t ask for my opinion, but because this is Balloon-Juice, you’re gonna get it:

    Martin is a good, sometimes great, storyteller. As you know from the series, he can create compelling characters and intricate plotting. (But be advised that certain characters, like Cersei and Robb, are much more fully drawn in the series than in the books.) But he is not a particularly good writer. He has no beautiful sentences. He tends to have characters repeat certain catchphrases (“Words are wind”, “Where do whores go?”) so much that it is maddening. He goes into lengthy descriptions of food and heraldry and other aspects of medieval life that I find tedious. But the first three books are page-turners.

    The fourth and fifth books, not so much. He literally loses the plot. He adds many new characters (many of whom never made it to the series) who, in the course of those two books, do not change much of anything with regard to the stories of the characters that we already care about. They may have some impact down the line, but it’s hard to tell – for instance: {SPOILER}
    chapters are devoted to one character, Quentyn Martell, who sails to Westeros to marry Dany, misses her (she’s off with Drogon), then conspires to free the other two dragons and gets himself burnt to a crisp. As far as I can tell, the only impact on the story is freeing the dragons. His whole story could have been summed up in a page or two at most (or somebody from Meereen could have tried to capture the dragons and failed), but we have to slog through chapters about him (he’s also uninteresting as a character.) We also don’t get that much about the characters we do care about – I think Sansa has maybe two chapters, and Bran gets a few more. By the end of the fifth book, Tyrion still hasn’t met Dany, Jon Snow is still dead, Stannis is still outside Winterfell, etc. There is also a lot of business with certain characters pretending to be other characters which was cut entirely from the show and was not missed.

    Moving forward, his editor is going to have even less power over him than she did on the last two books, so l have a feeling they will be even more bloated. He’s also going to need at least three more books to tie up all the loose plot threads he’s already introduced (a more disciplined writer could do it in two, but not George.) So you will have a long wait until the books are completed, if ever.

    TL;DR: On the whole, the show is better. It cuts down on subplots and give us character interactions that are missing from the books, as well as depth of character that the actors bring. You will not get the world-building that Martin loves (there’s a lot of history and lore in the books), but it’s a fair trade-off.

  207. 207
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): God only knows how much you would have written if you had watched the past two seasons.

  208. 208
    Sab says:

    @PJ: Agreed, but I had forgotten how much I loved all the Dorne characters, who hardly featured on the TV. All those Sandsnake women.

    And aDany in the books bored me a lot. Always wringing her hands about morality while she slaughtered whole cities. Season 8 Dany wasn’t a surprise to bookreaders.

  209. 209
    NeenerNeener says:

    @PJ: I don’t expect Martin to ever finish the 6th book. He’s on record as saying he’s written himself into a corner by killing off a character in the 1st book that he decided he needs now. Also, he’s said he gets bored easily and loses interest when he knows how the story will end. He must be an editor’s nightmare.

  210. 210
    PJ says:

    @PJ: Also, the Stark children and Dany are much younger in the books (e.g., Jon Snow is 14, Dany is 13, Bran is 7), and George has no idea how children at their ages think, speak or behave.

  211. 211

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    Benioff & Weiss seem to have viewed the characters as pieces on a chessboard to be moved around at will, not as living, breathing human beings. And that seems to have resulted in a… less than ideal ending.

    In contrast, GRRM’s gardening approach has so far failed to produce an ending, satisfactory or not, and there’s a serious risk that he’ll die of old age before he ever gets around to writing one. As a reader or viewer, I’d rather get the whole thing over with, even if the ending is unsatisfactory, rather than wait forever for an ending that never arrives.

  212. 212
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Heroic female children are far less psychologically threatening to men than adult women. See also the works of C.S. Lewis.

    Horse shit. Also, never read any Lewis, and have no interest in doing so.

    Ser Brienne is safe because she’s (a) oathbound to obey the orders of her superior office or lord and (b) “ugly” (not conventionally attractive), so there’s no sexual threat, either.

    Double horse shit. Brienne is the Westerosi equivalent of Sir Galahad, a perfect knight. I have no idea why you try to diminish her.

  213. 213
    PJ says:

    @NeenerNeener: I’m optimistic that The Winds of Winter will come out sometime in the next 1-3 years. I wouldn’t bet on the other books, though. I’m hoping the last few seasons of the show have made him angry enough that he will apply pants to seat just to show the world how it was really supposed to be.

  214. 214
    Sab says:

    Also, GRRMartin is good at dialog but bad at description. That’s where remembering the TV will be immensely helpful.

    Dialog was was great. Descriptions of surroundings (not edible or decorative) were pretty much absent. He has no sense of natural history or nature, like what plants grow when. No real urgency about getting crops in the ground, although he was concerned about the consequences. Real farmer subjects would have been freaking out about three months earlier. They slaughtered a pig at sunset and expected ham for breakfast ( three months too early?). Stuff like that.

    ETA also sea cows swimming in the artic north of the wall. Huh? It’s really frigging cold up there. Sea cows get pneumonia anywhere near freezing.

  215. 215
    Mnemosyne says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    I will take issue with one thing you said: there is no firm distinction between Gardeners and Architects (or Pantsers and Plotters). I think it’s actually harmful to the writing process to declare that you can’t be “truly” creative if you know what the ending is, or that you have to stick rigidly to your outline at all times. There are lots of “Plantsers” out there who combine both approaches.

    That said, I do agree that Gardeners can get themselves in trouble by either impulsively introducing characters who go nowhere or by killing off characters who would have been the perfect solution to the overall plot arc, except that you killed them off in book 2 and you’re writing book 4.

    And Architects do tend to be more prone to trying to force characters into plot actions that no longer make sense once the character has been fleshed out.

  216. 216
    Tony Jay says:

    Well… That happened.

    It really, really really looked like they were going to go the whole dissolution of the Kingdom route once Drogon (for reasons of impenetrable Draconian feng-shui) decided that That Bloody Big Seat Thing murdered his mother and wreaked his terrible vengeance. All of the Lords of the various realms sitting around, laughing at the very idea that anyone but them should have any power whatsoever, Sansa already primed to declare a Free North, so of course the disgraced former Hand and mysteriously still breathing Tyrion declared Bran fucking Stark the obvious choice for King?

    Huh?

    And they all not only say “Sure. Whatevers”, which is hilarious enough, but then they sit there while Sansa demands Northern independence as her little brother’s first royal act, and not one of them, not the apparently furious-with-Starks Iron Islands, not even the notoriously autonomous Dorne, responds to this by saying “We’re off too, then. Enjoy your Kingdom of Smouldering Brick, King Weirdo.”

    I think we have to face facts. The whole story has been about Bran Stark’s descent into megalomaniacal evil and the fruition of his long plot to seize Absolute Pow-Wah!

    Dany only started going OOC loopy when she came within range of Bran’s warging influence, as he manipulated her via the dragons. Causing her not to see Euron’s huge fleet until he’d reduced her firepower by half (couldn’t risk having two dragons around during the endgame) then drove her to lay waste to Kings Landing to shatter her relationships with everyone but her foreign troops. Why else would Drogon melt the Iron Throne instead of Jon unless Bran was in control and ensuring space in the podium for his Iron Wheelchair!! What he planned to do with Dany’s body after he-as-Drogon flew off with it is something best left unpondered, but it’s probably to do with some weird ancient ritual to empower him further.

    Little creep even flat out states he knew what was going to happen in advance (way to stop that massacre, your Grace… Oh, whoopsie) and that he planned to get his hands on the surviving Dragon, much to the concern of his mind-controlled Council.

    Palpatine had nothing on this kid. I guess the writers just couldn’t resist cramming in yet another Star Wars homage before pissing off to that universe.

    Not (entirely) serious.

  217. 217
    NeenerNeener says:

    @Tony Jay: I like the way you think.

  218. 218

    @Omnes Omnibus: LOL, IKR?

    @Mnemosyne: I actually agree; I wasn’t trying to say that all writers are exclusively one or the other. That’s what I get for not revising enough, I suppose; I had to get to dinner and didn’t want to leave that wall of text sitting on my computer that long.

    But yes, I agree that most writers have elements of both approaches in their processes. In fact, I think sticking rigidly to either the Gardener or Architect model is likely to cause problems. My philosophy is that you should have a good idea of where your characters are going, but if they deviate from the plot too much, you should bend the plot outline rather than forcing the characters into holes they don’t fit. (Mixed metaphor, sorry.)

    @Roger Moore: Yeah, I thought I kind of got to that a bit later – “And as we have seen in Martin’s case, this can result in massive delays if the characters aren’t behaving the way the writer expects them to.” There are potential flaws with both approaches if taken to extremes.

    In response to another discussion I didn’t really address before (I think it may have come up while I was writing that wall of text), I do agree the books are worth reading, even though there’s a good chance he’ll never finish it. Maybe if he dies, Ty Franck (his assistant and one half of James S. A. Corey, the pen name for the authors of The Expanse) will finish it, or his estate will hand it off to Brandon Sanderson, who evidently did a good job finishing off The Wheel of Time. I’ve heard that if he dies before the series is finished, he’s left instructions that it’s to remain unfinished, but I don’t believe for a second that’ll happen.

    And The Expanse is very much worth watching, BTW. Amazon has picked it up for the remainder of its lifespan, and as Jeff Bezos is a massive fan, it’s probably going to get finished one way or the other, even if ratings are just OK. It helps to have a billionaire with his own production studio as a major fan of your work. But still, you should watch it. It’s one of the best sci-fi shows on television.

    …ETA: @PJ: GRRM has said that if he had a do-over, he’d age all the characters, or at least all the child characters, up five years. He’d originally planned a five-year time skip when he began writing the series, before realising that it wouldn’t work – it’s why A Feast for Crows took him so damn long to write. (A Dance with Dragons had the “Meereenese knot” as the major hold-up.)

  219. 219
    Sab says:

    @Mnemosyne: I know this is anathema on this blog, but do you have an opinion about Outlander. Gabaldon seems to be the ultimate pantser writer, but she controlled herself by writing within an (“a” for steve a youngster somewhere in ga) historical context, so she has to fit her guys into a pre-existing factual framework.

    Her Jamie actually tried to kill one of my most illustrious ancestors at Moores Creek Bridge. And I didn’t know my ancestor had been there. Kind of a shock reading the books.

  220. 220
    Mnemosyne says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    I just wanted to point that out for the fledgling writers among us. I’ve seen way too many people (myself included!) let themselves get tied up into knots over whether or not they were doing things the “right” way. It was very freeing to realize that my process is my process and no one else’s. 😄

    (My process, in short: beat sheet-style outline, write out of order until all the scenes are written, new synopsis-style outline based on the zero draft, next rewrite … which is where I am right now.)

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if GRRM was sitting back and hoping that the GoT writing staff would solve the problem he couldn’t, or at least give him a good idea for how to fix his dilemma. 😂🤣

  221. 221
    Tony Jay says:

    @NeenerNeener:

    That outdoor summit thing really just summed up for me how the writers lost the plot and failed to stick the ending. In the Game of Thrones you win or you die, or you just, y’know, say fuck that noise and all bend the knee to the supernatural omniscient Stare-in-a-Chair and go grab a show or something?

  222. 222
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    See above where I point out that Sansa’s rulership was neutered by giving her the “proper” feminine motive of caring for her peasants. And Lyanna is a child, and therefore nonthreatening. She’ll learn her place soon enough.

    A strange misreading of the show. Sansa has mastered logistics. She is a superb quartermaster, an essential function essential to the success of any military campaign.

    Fuck, an essential anecdote about Alfred the Great’s legitimacy involves him showing concern about peasants. That you try to diminish this by reducing it to the realm of the feminine has nothing to do with how it appears in the actual drama.

    Lyanna Mormont dies, so she ain’t learning anything soon enough. But she was shown as being consistently heard headed and focused. We also saw how she used her old, male advisors as any strong leader would, getting information that she would use to make her own decisions. We saw her dismiss Jorah, and still be wise and compassionate enough to wish him good luck in the coming battle. Her approval is essential in Jon Snow being acknowledged as King of the North. She was almost an ideal ruler, but there was never, never, anything to suggest that she was being humored because she was a little girl.

    And she died in battle, for fuck’s sake. She wasn’t playing with dolls.

    She was shown early on to be her father’s substitute son for the disappointing Theon. And she has no ambitions outside of her father’s lands and her father’s people.

    Ah, now we get to the nub of it. You seem to be suggesting that a character has value only if they covet the Iron Throne. I’ve read and heard a lot of this lately, but usually from people who insist that Jon Snow should have become the rightful ruler. Sorry, I reject this reading, as do the show’s creators.

    Also, it is odd that you insist on limiting Yara based on her father’s disappointment, not what she herself actually does. But a big part of the show deals with how characters deal with the burden of parental expectations.

    Things we don’t see didn’t happen for the audience.

    You’re a writer. You know better than this.

    It’s a very convenient out for the writers: We support a woman ruler, just not THAT one. Or that one. Or that one, either. But we totally support it in the abstract!

    No, they support it in the ones they show. Again, you seem to be saying that no female ruler matters because they do not take the Iron Throne, even though the freaking show destroyed the Iron Throne.

  223. 223

    @Mnemosyne:

    I just wanted to point that out for the fledgling writers among us. I’ve seen way too many people (myself included!) let themselves get tied up into knots over whether or not they were doing things the “right” way. It was very freeing to realize that my process is my process and no one else’s. 😄

    (My process, in short: beat sheet-style outline, write out of order until all the scenes are written, new synopsis-style outline based on the zero draft, next rewrite … which is where I am right now.)

    Yeah, fair point; I should’ve made that part more explicit.

    I need to work more on my own process. Part of the issue is that one of the stories I want to tell is tied up with a game development project, and since I want to complete it as a tribute to a friend who ended his life last year (who named the project and created part of the opening level), the storytelling is particularly dependent upon the construction of additional game levels, so… it’s progressing slowly. I have a couple of other ideas marinating in my head that don’t require a game to tell, though, and perhaps I’ll devote more attention to those in the forthcoming months.

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if GRRM was sitting back and hoping that the GoT writing staff would solve the problem he couldn’t, or at least give him a good idea for how to fix his dilemma. 😂🤣

    Y’know, I wouldn’t be surprised. If nothing else, the fan reactions to the last three seasons can also give him a good indication of what not to do in his books. Now that you’ve said it, I completely believe that’s what he was doing.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tony Jay:

    You just watched 8 seasons of WarGames. 😂

    Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

  225. 225
    Tony Jay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I swear, by the end scene of all the Stark kids doing their thing I was half expecting Darth Bran to break the 4th Wall , wink at the camera and lift his blanket so you can see he’s wearing hot-pants and doing a little can-can.

    “I don’t really ‘want’ anything…….. I don’t have to, people just ‘give’ me things.”

    Creepy SOB

  226. 226
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    Dude, if you’re unwilling to understand cultural misogyny even when I break it down for you into the component parts, then I don’t know what to tell you. No wonder you hated The Last Jedi.

    Again, you seem to be saying that no female ruler matters because they do not take the Iron Throne, even though the freaking show destroyed the Iron Throne.

    The symbol is destroyed, but the office remains. When the White House was burned down by the British in 1814, did the presidency cease to exist?

    You could also read that action by the dragon as Dany actually having been the only legitimate heir, so the throne must be destroyed since no one else has the right to sit on it. Now the council kicked the can down the road and installed an infertile false king to pretend everything is normal while they hollow out the kingdom from inside until it collapses entirely.

  227. 227
    Sab says:

    I actually cried when Drogan didn’t fry Jon and did pick up Dany in his talon and fly away with her. Drogan probably understood what went on more than Jon (my hamster could have done the same.)

  228. 228
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mnemosyne: You’re wrong, of course.

  229. 229
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    I have no idea why you try to diminish her.

    Because she’s very bad at admitting she’s lost the argument.

  230. 230
    sab says:

    @TenguPhule: @Sab: I always thought these dragons were sort of telepathic. Read too many Pern novels in my yoot.

  231. 231
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sab: & @PJ: Thanks to you both for the book reviews. I have a towering stack of “to-reads” and will probably never get around to GRRM’s output, but who knows?

    Meanwhile, if HBO ever does an Arya GoT spin-off (like “Dora the Explorer” — only with pointy ends), I am so there for that! 🙂

  232. 232
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Dude, if you’re unwilling to understand cultural misogyny even when I break it down for you into the component parts, then I don’t know what to tell you. No wonder you hated The Last Jedi.

    You have not broken down cultural misogyny for me, nor can you defend your deliberate misreadings and distortions by trying to wrap a cloak of what, feminist understanding, around yourself.

    I love, love love the characters in The Last Jedi, especially all the women characters. I cannot begin to describe how my heart lept when watching Rey in the first film. I just thought that Rian Johnson did a shitty job. But I don’t begrudge those who liked the movie and understand how they were engaged by things that did nothing for me.

    Again, you invest the Iron Throne with a significance that is explicitly rejected by the episode itself. It is important that it is Drogon who obliterates the throne instead of an enemy or an aspirant to the throne, just as it is significant that the dragon doesn’t fry Jon Snow despite his act of killing Dany.

    You could also read that action by the dragon as Dany actually having been the only legitimate heir

    The show makes it clear that Jon has a stronger claim based on the old rules. But Drogon had seen The Last Jedi and realized that just as anyone could have the Force, anyone could be ruler of King’s Landing.

    This last bit is snark.

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