Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Game of Thrones: The Children

After an exceptional downer of a season where the bad guys just seemed to be steamrolling everyone else, the season finale of Game of Thrones, The Children offered a glimmer of hope in that the good guys may be down, but they are definitely not out. Let's go over what happened, and what's in store for next season.

Note: I haven't read the books so any commentary I make is completely based on the show.

A Late Cavalry is Better Than No Cavalry

"Your father was an honorable man." -Stannis of Ned Stark

Good news everybody! Jon Snow is not dead! In fact he's gone from being the odds on favorite to die these past 2 weeks to one of the safest guys in the realm. Safe is a relative term of course. I just mean no one's actively trying to kill him anymore. After he wandered into the Wildling camp to assassinate Mance Rayder under the guise of negotiating with him, backup finally arrived. Like the Riders of Rohan being led by Gandalf the morning after the Battle at Helm's Deep, Stannis and his army made short work of the Wildlings. That's right Crows, you are not alone. And I never thought I would be so happy to see Stannis.

After the battle and Mance's surrender, the dead were burned in funeral pyres to prevent them from becoming White Walkers. And over the pyre, Jon Snow and Melisandre shared a long gaze. Easy now Jon. How about you stay away from redheads for a while?

What does this mean for next season? I think the most important thing is these three storylines have converged into one. The Wildling army has been effectively neutralized, Castle Black is relatively safe aside from the impending White Walkers, and Stannis' storyline finally has relevance again. Will this come down to the Lord of Light vs the White Walkers?

Maester Frankenstein

"It's Alive!!!"

Seriously? The Mountain's not dead? Well it looked like he was as good as dead on that table with festering wounds and suffering from manticore venom courtesy of the Red Viper. Former Maester Qyburn has all the makings of a mad scientist here. And at the request of Cersei, the Mountain is going to be his monster. Whatever process he has in store which involves drawing out blood and the biggest syringe I've ever seen, it'll change the giant, but it definitely won't make him any weaker.

What does this mean for next season? Can you imagine the strongest man in the realm being any stronger? And any more psychotic? I'd love to see him square off against Brienne. She could complete the set!

How To Chain Your Dragon

It's 10pm. Do you know where your dragons are?

Once again, Dany's names seem to span the Spaceballs ship. If she reads them all, the show will be over! And is this all she does with her time? Listen to people's requests? It's like all the time spent in Meereen is one giant episode of Shark Tank. Well one of those requests came from a slave she freed asking to be sold back into slavery because life was better that way. Politics... But then came someone who wasn't asking for anything. He came to tell her that a dragon killed his 3 year old daughter. And Dany realized her dragons were out of control. It must be those awkward, rebellious teenage years. So the Breaker of Chains had to do the unthinkable, and chain up two of her dragons, in the catacombs, and in the dark. And there's absolutely, positively no possible way this can backfire on her. But the third dragon, the biggest dragon is still at large. Seriously Dany? Earlier in the season they snapped at you. Later on they took out a flock of goats. And you still just let them roam around freely? Oh, the mistakes of being a first time mother.

What does this mean for next season? It really seems like Dany has taken a step back this season. She's firmly entrenched in Slaver's Bay determined to make everything all nicey-nice for everyone. Well job one should have been to rename "Slaver's Bay" to something else but that's just my opinion. But she's not even doing a good job of ruling there! And now, not only has she potentially lost her best means of attack, they might end up turning on her and being a liability. I'm afraid it might be a while before Dany returns to any form of relevance in Westeros.

When Did Game Of Thrones Become Diablo?


If you thought White Walkers and dragons ventured too far into fantasy, this sequence definitely wasn't for you. But for me? It made me want to dive into Diablo and obliterate some skeletons. But even I'll admit, the little kid with the fireballs was a little too much.

So after the kid from Love Actually got stopped by the Skeleton TSA, the rest of the Scooby gang made it inside the cave and learned about The Children of the Forest, the original inhabitants of Westeros before the First Men came along.

And then we got to meet the three-eyed raven, and he's really an old man who's part of a tree! So he's kind of like Gandalf meets Treebeard? He told Bran he'd never walk again, but he would fly. But thanks to events at the Eyrie, flying has such a negative connotation now.

What does this mean for next season? I'm seeing this as a Luke in Dagobah kind of thing where Bran gets trained in the art of warging. He can already do animals like his direwolf, and simpletons like Hodor. But maybe next year, bigger things are in store. Maybe he'll be able to warg into White Walkers, or maybe even a dragon?

Kramer vs. Kramer 2.0

"I'm not a knight!"

Custody battles can get pretty ugly, but the one between Brienne and the Hound reached epic proportions because it was an actual battle! You kind of knew the pleasantries exchanged between Brienne and Arya weren't going to last once the Hound finished taking his crap. And the Hound actually pulled a Sherlock here calling out Brienne for working for the Lannisters. While she still believed she was working for Lady Catelyn Stark, Brienne did in fact get her gear from Jaime, and that made Arya super suspicious.

Brienne is good and noble and everything this realm needs so she's easy to root for. The Hound on the other hand is a vicious psychopath. But he keeps it real, and he has the means to keep it real. So I watched this fight with a pit in my stomach because two great characters were fighting, I couldn't figure out who to root for, and one of them was probably going to die. I thought the Hound was pulling a Lurtz when he grabbed the sword, but after that the fight became even more vicious. For a second there, I thought another Clegane would be crushing someone's head, but Brienne fought back and even pulled a Tyson and bit off the Hound's ear! The end of the fight left the Hound plummeting off the side of a cliff, and I realized Gwendoline Christie has the potential for a great lightsaber battle in the new Star Wars movie.

Pod showing again just how "useful" he was lost sight of Arya because he thought Brienne might need help? Help for what? Pouring wine? And how the hell long did Brienne and Pod look for Arya? She was hiding close enough to go to the Hound afterwards so it seems like they gave up pretty quickly. Anyway, it seems Arya's path to the dark side is now complete. The Hound begged for a quick death, but Arya wouldn't give it.

"We do not train to be merciful here. Mercy is for the weak." -John Kreese, The Karate Kid

And just like that, Arya was off with the Hound's money. She tried to find passage to the Wall I'm assuming to meet up with Jon Snow. But imagine her luck when she came upon a ship on its way to Braavos. And with the coin that Jaqen H'ghar gave her and the code word, "Valar Morghulis," Arya is set to begin new adventures on her own in Braavos.

What does this mean for next season? While Bran is doing his Jedi training north of the Wall, Arya should have some of her own Sith training in Braavos. The Stark kids along with newly made over Sansa are hopefully in for a big comeback season next year.

Happy Father's Day!

"I am your son. I've always been your son."

Good news everybody! Tyrion's not dead! And he actually had more friends than he thought. Seriously, why couldn't these guys have done this a couple of weeks ago? Then Oberyn would still be around and still be in the revenge business.

Anyway, worst... Father's Day... ever... for Tywin Lannister. First Cersei admitted to his legacy being a lie since all his grandchildren are Jaime's kids and not actually in line for the Iron Throne. And then he was murdered by Tyrion while on the crapper, which calls to mind this scene from Pulp Fiction.

Once again, karma's a bitch. Last week, Olly's arrow found its way into Ygritte's heart, karmic payback for killing his father. And now Tyrion loosed two bolts into his father for basically being an asshole to him his entire life, and for sleeping with Shae and calling her a whore. Wow, what a heel turn by Shae. Her testimony was the knife in the back, and sleeping with his father was pouring salt and lemon juice in the wound. Her betrayal was now complete, and it was the last straw for Tyrion. After Shae drew a knife, he strangled her with her own gold necklace arguably in self defense. In any case thanks to his brother Jaime and Varys, he's on a ship being smuggled to parts unknown on the run for a crime he didn't commit. But I'm pretty sure he'll be blamed for the two he did.

What does this mean for next season? Varys has had enough of King's Landing, and with his sudden disappearance, he'll probably get some suspicion for Tywin's death and Tyrion's escape. But I'm all in for the Varys and Tyrion show. They're two of the smartest characters on the show, and with Tywin gone, King's Landing may be up for grabs. And if you're keeping track, this makes 3 dead Hands of the King in 4 seasons.

It has been an awesome season of Game of Thrones, and I've had great fun giving you my nerdy views on the episodes. But now it's time for a 10 month sabbatical to dwell on what happened, and speculate on what will happen next year. I'll pop in from time to time when something Game of Thrones related comes up, and I might even try to go back and recap the first three seasons, but until next year, thanks for reading!

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