A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×09 (There is no great Northern conspiracy, only folk who want to be free)

GOT 6x09

 

SUMMARY

Daenerys flies with her dragons and scorches the masters fleet as Tyrion and Greyworm force the masters to surrender. Afterwards, Yara and Theon arrive and convince Dany to join their support to her return to Westeros. At Winterfell, Jon and Ramsay meet on the field declaring the other side will be defeated. At night, Sansa beckons for Jon not to fall for Ramsay’s traps and Jon requests that Melisandre not bring him back should he die again. Davos discovers Shireen’s horse carving among the pyre that she died in. In the morning, both armies meet. Ramsay releases Rickon to play a game as the young Stark runs to Jon, but suffers an arrow through his chest and dies. Enraged, Jon charges the cavalry while Tormund and his men charge behind him. Arrows and blades engulf the battlefield as Ramsay sends the Umbers to surround Jon and his men. Nearly suffocating, Jon sees Littlefinger and his army of the Vale arrive with Sansa by Littlefinger’s side. They disperse Umber’s men as Tormund kills Smalljon. Ramsay retreats back to Winterfell but with the giant’s help, Jon and his men storm through and Jon captures Ramsay, nearly beating him to death. Later, Sansa declares to a wounded Ramsay that his name and legacy will disappear and be forgotten. She then watches as Ramsay’s dogs feast on his body. She leaves with a satisfied look on her face.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It was a cold and dirty path to victory, but Jon managed to come out on top as we essentially knew he would. We hoped Rickon would survive, but sadly he didn’t and Sansa’s path is growing darker in a way that may be a future tale we won’t see coming. I understand the plight and helplessness Jon had to be put through, but watching the Vale come to his aid the way they did almost seemed like it’s setting up the biggest “You owe me” conversation that Littlefinger intends to have with Jon. Now Jon doesn’t know quite the relationship Sansa had with him, but there’s plenty of tells that will cause some possible dissention between the Starks in the near future. The dramatic nature of combat has been dressed a number of times on this show, and it was just as apparent tonight with dirt and muck and guts littering the ground for all to see. As Ramsay’s chapter came to a close a new alliance is formed, one that wasn’t so much predictable as it was too easy to push onto us because the ladies fancy their way of rule, it’s like they’re sisters already. Now that we have Winterfell’s return to glory checked on the list, all that’s missing for the finale is Cersei’s trial. Not looking as promising as it could be, unless King’s Landing bursts into flames by the end.

 

THE GOOD

The battle itself was very well choreographed with enough tight shots to brutally showcase what it feels like to suffocate while surrounded by panicking men. Honor and strength be damned when the spears and shields come closing in. Jon did what he could but fell into anger by not truly listening to Sansa’s advice when it came to Ramsay, that meant he had to physically lose the battle with who he had. That was never in question, because disparity is a necessity in these times of battle. Jon and Sansa both got their vengeance in against Ramsay and for what it’s worth, they gave him the end he deserved. He never thought he’d be overrun by more men and suffered the cost of it by retreating. Now, as the pieces begin to fill, Jon will probably have little time to recoup as he buries a brother and prepares the North for the true winter.

 

THE BAD

If Dany can undo an entire fleet with three dragons, what will Westeros throw at her that would even make a dent? The start and finish of the failed siege of Meereen was there to close the gap between the battle of the bastards, an event that probably could have been saved for the finale. Instead, Dany snatched some of the glory for herself and made new friends which came entirely too easily considering the placement of the storyline in the penultimate episode. Tyrion, as always is cautious and to the point, but I’d think this alliance would have been held under more scrutiny considering the Greyjoy’s don’t have a long history of trustworthiness, but since Yara and Dany got along just fine, all is well. At this in the interim. But does this mean she’ll finally set sail to Westeros this time? Winter really is taking forever.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Hands down, Jon’s clash into the extreme of battle with the single shot showing each slash, stab, and punch from him against his enemies. Filming extensive battle scenes of that magnitude couldn’t have been easy, and it sold his ferocity and willingness to go all out in the effort. I applaud the direction they went and hope it’s not the last time we see something as defined and wild as that moment.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Even though Jon fell for Ramsay’s game, he still gave it all he had. Even when he was overrun and drowning in the fear and onslaught of his own men, he pulled through and persevered to defeat Ramsay, due in no small part by Littlefinger’s timely aid. And with only a shield, he overcame Ramsay’s arrows and beat him to a bloody mess, giving back all Ramsay had taken. How he manages Winterfell from here is where it gets interesting.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’ll probably start with Sansa and Littlefinger. No doubt, Sansa will forgive most of his offenses now that Ramsay is dead, and Littlefinger will be in no short supply of favors and machinations to guarantee the North will be under his tutelage and safety. I can already see him pulling stunts with Sansa needing to marry Robin to join the Vale and Winterfell officially. Whether Sansa will see past this or not remains to be seen because she was simply too eager to get him back as a saving throw. If Littlefinger pushes further to distance Jon from the throne as a bastard and she goes along with it, well then we’ll know she hasn’t grown at all.

 

Davos has all but put the pieces together regarding Shireen’s death at the instruction of Melisandre who as such as been little more than a passive caricature on this season outside of bringing Jon back from the dead. He’ll confront her no doubt, but I’m not certain as to the finality of situation. She’s been so unsure of everything that given an option to flat out be murdered, she’ll probably accept it as a reprieve from her long standing servitude to the lord of light. She hasn’t quite fingered Jon as the Azor Ahai, but if she doesn’t declare that soon, she won’t have much of a purpose outside of being forgiven by Davos, and that may not be very easy for him if at all.

 

I think one of the more disappointing theories that were killed tonight was that the Umber’s only allied with Ramsay under false pretenses and in the end didn’t actually switch sides as fans noted. That would have been a little too Braveheart had they done that, so I understand it was best to keep them allied with evil and keep Jon’s forces gasping for air. There was very little in the way of surprise accept perhaps the actual manner in which Rickon was killed. Many speculated the prince would suffer and suffer he did just as Jon was about to catch him. And that’s how this show works, put people on the verge of meeting and then take it away, mercilessly. I’m starting to wonder which Northerners actually remember anything up in the North.

 

It’s too early to ascertain season 7’s seasonal plot but one can expect a lot of confusing alliances as Westeros deals with Dany’s arrival. If it’s anything but that, then it better be infused with the rise of the WhiteWalkers who could be overtaking the wall as we speak. Imagine this finale emcompassing both the fiery destruction of King’s Landing and the snowy collapse of the wall at the same time. It would be the best finale in existence, short of Bran warging into a dragon and controlling it.

 

Two plot holes that I feel were left tonight were the following:

  1. Why didn’t Sansa reveal to Jon that she sent for help from Littlefinger’s army of the Vale? Did it really matter how she knew of them or who Littlefinger represented? Imagine if they waited just 12 more hours they could have had a proper battle with no edge of defeat. Jon heard what Sansa had to say and none of it was “wait for the army I asked to show up” Granted, Sansa didn’t know if Littlefinger would return but it would have been worth investigating at the least. That’s what ravens are for.

 

  1. I’m actually surprised that Melisandre didn’t offer up any “blood magic” techniques to help Jon win the war. She was entirely too resourceful in that department, but because Jon is more pure and kind-hearted, she never even attempted to tell him what she could actually do, like birth a shadow to kill Ramsay would have been a nice ace up the sleeve. If she didn’t have those abilities anymore then maybe some lines on that would have been sufficient.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. As far as penultimate episodes go for GOT it still ranks below “Watchers on the Wall” and “Blackwater”, but it was still a phenomenal episode for the carnage it conveyed. Another Stark fell in the 9th episode of the season but vengeance was secured as well as the old kingdom. Dany’s mythical presence and dragon riding is as always an unstoppable force that continues to dominant all the lands she crosses. Her travels back to Westeros need more fancy adversaries and if Euron isn’t going to be that force, then someone else has to be because the WhiteWalkers are too far away at the moment to matter. The finale will be lengthy and hopefully worthy of remembrance as Jon has returned Winterfell to it’s proper banner. Let’s hope it lasts long enough for him to embrace the Stark name and be who he was born to be. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×05 (Hold the door a little longer, old friend)

GOT 6x05

 

SUMMARY

Bran and the Raven witness a period long ago when the leaf creatures turned a human male into the first white-walker, the Night King to battle against mankind who had been destroying their lands. At the wall, Sansa receives a letter and meets with Littlefinger but threatens him after what she went through with Ramsey. Before he leaves, Littlefinger tells her to find the Blackfish, her Tully uncle to gain his men for her army. Sansa later sends Brienne to find the Blackfish while she and Jon leave the wall to begin finding smaller families to join their army. Across the sea, Arya is given another chance to attempt an assassination as she infiltrates a traveling theater, but begins asking questions which the faceless man doesn’t approve of. Further east, Jorah shows Daenerys his grey skin and tries to leave but Dany orders him to find a cure and return to him when she takes Westeros. In Meereen, Tyrion enlists the aid of another red woman from the red temple to help support Daenerys but Varys voices his own concern when they momentarily spar in verbal debate. In the Iron Islands, Theon shows support for Yara’s claim of the crown, but Euron arrives and admits he killed Balon and offers to bring Daenerys with his large fleet to help take Westeros. He gains the people’s support and is crowned king as Yara, Theon, and her men flee in their ships. In the deep north, Bran visits the same location from earlier but is consumed by the dead and the Night King who marks him. The Raven realizes the White-Walkers are coming and warns Bran. While they peruse another memory at Winterfell, the Night King arrives and storms the cave, killing the Raven while he’s still in the flashback. His white-walkers kill Summer and the leaf creatures as Bran wargs into Hodor and pulls Bran’s body with Meera. They escape through a backway and Hodor keeps the door closed allowing for Meera to escape. Bran, still in the flashback somehow supplants Meera’s command to “Hold the door” into Hodor when he was still a child. Past-Hodor collapses and repeatedly yells “Hold the door” until his mind reverts to simply saying “Hodor.” In the present, Hodor is seen being clawed and torn by the White-walkers, presumably to death.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Our mid-season climb has resulted in a multitude of character deaths, all of which will be whole-heartedly felt by the fan-base including myself. Some answers to the White-Walker origin are given, the rest we can infer as the fan-theories are about to explode like never before. The cost came in the lives of Summer, one of the last direwolves, Leaf, the Raven, and unless a miracle happens, Hodor himself, who we now know got the name from a time-traveling paradox that will undoubtedly leave some interesting questions for many to try and answer from here on out. The sense of urgency is growing in the north, but how this will connect everyone left in this game remains to be seen. Definitely a favorable episode if not a sullen and costly one.

 

THE GOOD

To start, I didn’t think they’d topple the subject of Sansa confronting Littlefinger so soon. She threw out all her emotional rage in the guide of subtle but harsh personality. There’s a pure aspect to her nature where she’s performing with strength but still lacking the in the knowledge that she could have used Littlefinger’s army and still had him imprisoned or worse. Whether pride or anger induced, she did away with Littlefinger as she tried his best to apologize for what happened to her. Where he draws the line on the truth of it is anyone’s guess but suffice it to say, she owned him in that scene and rightly so.

 

The final segment brought back the swarm of frozen dead along with the white-walkers and the Night’s King who reigned in on the chaos and death it inevitably brings. Such a dreadful and stinging moment to witness as so many sacrificed themselves to allow Bran and Meera to escape. They’re more alone now than ever and the only conceivable direction they can is south of the wall, to return to Jon. If that isn’t in the plan books, then Bran is eternally screwed. We have no idea if or how he will manifest his powers now that he’s no longer in the cave with the raven. His presence was necessary originally for him to flashback, but he was still in the flashback when he left, which is odd and worthy to note moving forward. Hodor’s origin was finally revealed, a sincere and tragic message bottled through time signaling the end of a very loyal and simple friend. May the book be kinder when the scene arises.

 

THE BAD

Our descriptions and stories of the leaf creatures has been very minimal and at most we got one line about how mankind was destroying them and they felt they had to act by turning a human against them. But as weapons go, these became self-serving in their own way and broke out of whatever control they might have been under. There’s a lot we can infer but the issue I draw here is how little we got to know these creatures beforehand, at least from the show’s perspective. Maybe what came before isn’t that much of a deal, but it helps us understand how turbulent the world was back then. We don’t even get a sliver of information about the raven, who he was and why he was able to draw on the power of nature to flashback, warg, and communicate with his allies. I feel we’re missing some key pieces of the plot that’s been replaced by things like the High Sparrow having dull conversations and a theatrical retelling of the first two seasons that went on far longer than it should have.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Hodor’s last stand. When that realization hits and the words just echo from time to time and you see that Hodor has been of one made purpose and having it fulfill at that moment is devastating to watch but epic to witness. Hodor never recovered from that moment, but he did his best to see that Bran and Meera survived. If only somehow Hodor could make it through that a changed man, one who could finally decide for himself what to say. He’ll be missed greatly, a powerful anchor and valued friend to Bran Stark.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Hodor gets his own title tonight, through the cold and fury of frozen death itself. His entire life was built around this temporal moment where he had to do his best to keep the white-walkers at bay. Just when you thought enough sacrifice had occurred with Summer and Leaf, one more had to make a stand. Again, he did his best and only Bran is to blame for the mistake he made in traveling back to that tree. He knows truly what’s at stake now and must grow more powerful if he is to survive.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

So now we left with the gigantic hole of temporal paradox where one can simply effect the natural state of the past, yet when dealing with circular time, all things are meant to be. Which means, if Bran makes any more changes in the past, it was because that was what was supposed to happen. Hodor always ended up the way he did because Bran was meant to effect him like that in the past. Bran may come to realize this, but then again, he may also come to realize that truly affecting the past can have disastrous results, as shown tonight.

 

It’s been long rumored that the man who became the Night’s King (Night King) is in fact a Stark, which paints a grave picture of the family knowing how Bran can be marked by such ways. It might not be familial, but it’d be interesting to know if that’s who he was. The function of the White-walkers seems to crush and destroy all life not just mankind as they were originally designed. If there is a mindful presence within those deep blue eyes, I’d like to see that form before the final season begins. They represent the darkest forces magic has to offer, yet are they the end all be all of the force of evil? For a moment you could feel that the story from ages ago involved so much more crazy elements then what’s carried over through the centuries.

 

Only two direwolves remain. This is incredibly sad as Nymeria and Ghost are all that remain of the original six. I’m hoping that if Arya becomes “No one” and is back in Westeros in her many faces that Nymeria will find her and somehow recognize her, giving her reason to return to who she was. It’s a thought, even Melisandre said they’d one day meet again. She could also recognize her too. In any case, stop killing the direwolves!

 

Will Littlefinger sit this one out, or commit the Vale army to the Starks or Boltons? He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty personally, he manipulates until chaos unfolds which means his telling Sansa of Blackfish could be a red herring, leading Sansa and Jon into another trap with the Bolton’s surrounding them. I suppose Brienne will find this out first and foremost and it’s unfortunate that already she’s parting from Sansa after just submitting her new cause. I do think she’ll be alright, but I can’t settle on Littlefinger’s motivation at this point. He knows he’s royally screwed and won’t easily gain Sansa’s trust again, if at all. He won’t act malicious but he won’t sit idly by either without some plan in motion. That army is going somewhere, just don’t know where yet.

 

Kinvara and Varys’s dialogue had an interesting glaze of animosity, something that usually isn’t presented so thoughtlessly before. Nevermind how or why Tyrion thought of getting a red woman to aid them, but Varys confronting her the way he did only proved to show how knowledgeable she was and how mistakes are indeed made from mankind even when presented with undoubting proof of their powerful natures. I think it was more or less a way to prove Stannis’s death reached Meereen and that Kinvara is every bit as mysterious and capable as Melisandre is. But how many more are there, and do they really serve the lord of light as they claim? And more importantly, is Kinvara just as crone-like without her fancy necklace?

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. With the exception of the bland theatrical performance of season one and two’s recap, tonight’s episode started and ended with immensely great scenes. Sansa’s focus of hate came out directly at Littlefinger which may prove less tactical as Jon isn’t currently aware of that meeting. Tyron bringing a red woman into the service of Daenerys may have interesting consequences after the fact, and Bran and Meera are once more fighting for their lives, this time without the armor of Hodor, who we last saw giving his life to keep the White-Walkers behind that crumbling door. With 5 episodes remaining, the north is fitting to be the next great battlefield with Yara and Theon very much the bigger wildcards of the bunch. They have ships, but where will they go and who will they ally against? Winterfell isn’t exactly on the beach. Probably the most enjoyable episode of the season thus far with a bigger sense of understanding and the most tragic which means, more is likely to come and at some steep prices. Just when you think your gut is tough enough, the next punch leaves you gasping yet again. If Hodor is truly gone, may he hold that door forever.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×04 (Waited over 5 years for that hug, worth it)

GOT 6x04

 

SUMMARY

As Jon prepares to leave the wall, Brienne and Sansa arrive as Jon reunites with his half-sister. She urges Jon to take back Winterfell but he’s tired of fighting. Later a letter appears from Ramsey dictating the return of Sansa or he’ll murder Rickon and storm the wall. Sansa convinces Jon to take back Winterfell. In Winterfell, Ramsey has Osha brought to him and though she tries to seduce him he murders her. Theon arrives at the Iron Islands and tells his sister Yara he wants to help her become the ruler. In the Vale, Littlefinger convinces young Robin to help Sansa take back Winterfell with his men. In King’s landing, the High Sparrow allows Margaery to see Loras but his brother is broken and wants the punishment to end. Jaime and Cersei convince Olenna Tyrell and Kevan Lannister to bring their armies and end the High Sparrow’s jurisdiction in the city. In Meereen, Tyrion attempts to broker a deal with the slave masters by giving them time to end slavery within 7 years. Missandei and Grey Worm are against it but follow Tyrion’s plan. In Vaes Dothrak, Jorah and Daario find Daenerys but she has a plan to take the city. When brought to the Khal for judgment, she declares she’ll rule and sets fire using the torch bowls within, killing everyone as she’s unaffected. As she emerges, the dothraki people once again kneel in awe of her presence amidst the inferno.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Whether George intends for it to happen or not the writers saw fit to being Jon and Sansa back together. Ironically, they never shared a scene together until now (show-wise) but considering his loss of purpose and her rise in conviction, this will make for a very stellar pairing as already she’s instilling a calm but focused demeanor on getting Winterfell back from Ramsey. Tonight’s episode was a singular improvement over many rough and borish topics covered as of late. With the exception of Dany’s repeat performance in redefining her role within the Dothraki, many aspects of this arc are beginning to solidify the show’s progress and foundation as the armies have begun to move. Are they moving in the right locations though? For now, it’s getting momentum going and that alone will guarantee epic turnouts.

 

THE GOOD

Critiquing a show like Game of Thrones with an objective view is one thing but I have to say, watching Jon and Sansa finally see each other again was one hell of a sight for a fan well back in the book days. I honestly thought they’d postpone the reunion all throughout the season and put us out to dry like they did when Bran saw Jon beyond the wall but said nothing for the worst reasons. It didn’t take long for business to set in though but by the end of it Jon and Sansa were on the same page. He has a clear purpose now and that’s to save Rickon and return Winterfell to its proper heritage. The Starks will fight on and if any storyline has it’s short conclusion, Ramsey will be removed from his position by this season’s end.

 

Tyrion is now doing what he’s good at and that’s engaging with those that have self-interests at heart. The trust is very shaky with Grey Worm and Missandei and it very well should be, but Tyrion is nothing if not resourceful in his own ways and manages to start negotiations on a rough bit interesting start. No doubt things will turn worse later, but for now we’re seeing him perform as he’s intended. There will be some undermining before Dany returns, but rest assured Tyrion will do what he can until the real civil war starts.

 

THE BAD

Cersei and Jaime are moving things in the right direction, but the problem with King’s Landing is it doesn’t know what to do with itself. The political and religious separation is so far removed that whether things get settled by trial of combat or by two raging armies obliterating the High Sparrow and his forces it won’t matter. The only real surprise is if the Lannisters are completely dethroned. It’s a not between the Tyrell’s and Lannisters as it should have been, but here in the midst of armies being placed in King’s Landing to we forget that Dorne is probably going to try some invasion angle. They’re in this season for a reason and we shouldn’t forget it. Armies are merging after all.

 

Daenerys once again shows she’s a critical thinker and will get her hands dirty if need be. I’m certain there’s a bit of poetry with the way she emerges to the entire city of Dothraki but we’re also given the same impression that she’s so ungodly important that of course she’s going to come back to Meereen with the Dothraki in hand, of course she’s going to lead the larges army back to Westeros, of course she’s going to do all this by next season or the season after. It’s just getting there has become uncomfortably dull, but at least she’s progressing this easy-to-figure-out arc forward.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Jon and Sansa hugged. Years and years fans have been waiting for someone to find someone else and the first two are Jon and Sansa. It could have been any Stark pairing and it would have been the same result, but here you can see that they’ve really been through some experiences, but are both grown for it. You can only torture an audience so much before you give them real heartfelt moments and it only took them 5-ish seasons to churn this one out. Thanks though, it’ll go a long way.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This could be a bias choice, but if you really listen to how Sansa inflects her need to take back Winterfell, you can tell they’re trying to assert her role in the smallest of steps as someone who gets it and needs to make some hard choices. Jon will always take the lead if need be, but here he’s given some directive and a lot of incentive considering their brother is being held by a psychopath. Sansa is very through with being anyone’s victim and hopefully by this season’s end, she’ll be in a position to show she’s ready to rule, just hopefully not married to Robin the Vale, that’d be horrific.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

A very tense moment between Brienne, Davos and Melisandre. Two concurrent issues meeting at the head. Davos doesn’t know yet that Melisandre has Stannis sacrifice his daughter and now Davos knows that Brienne killed Stannis, at least that’s what she said and at this point, I hope she’s not lying. There’s no reason for her to, but now you have three very different ideologies converging here and while both Davos and Brienne are very loyal and honorable characters to a fault, they are very much on opposite ends of the spectrum and far be it for Melisandre to hold it together as she’s now following Jon to the ends of the earth. Not to mention, Brienne could do something crazy if she decides to mess with Melisandre. This event isn’t over yet.

 

Osha’s death was the surprise of the night, but the moment she eyeballed that knife, you knew just how things were going to play out. Ramsey isn’t about torture anymore, he’s about setting examples and acting purely on impulse. It’s a shame, but the truth is her part has been played. She was written out of the plot long ago and her one appearance showed she was still capable of doing risky things but it didn’t work out for her this time. I do wonder if this will lead to Ramsey and Rickon sharing any scenes. We still don’t know if Rickon is in any way similar to Bran or becoming his own character until we get more screen time with him.

 

Littlefinger’s return is interesting. He’s playing right into the hands of the Starks and they don’t even know it yet, which means his devious schemes involves them. This is both good and bad because he manipulates on several layers. His servitude to Sansa was very shallow in hindsight given he’s fully aware of what happened to her and where she’s at right now leaving him to lend that helping hand which will no doubt earn him some proper place in the north when all is said and done. Somehow I just hope Sansa can see past his facade and give him what he deserves by some story’s end.

 

Margaery to showing she’s still tough as nails but with her broken brother fallen to the Septa’s punishment it’s hard to say whether she’ll give up for her brother or whether she’ll push on because clearly the High Sparrow’s story did no convincing of any sort. And truth be told I tuned him out, not because his past isn’t interesting but because it really doesn’t matter. He’s doing a lot with very little and soon he’ll either need to do a lot more or succumb to the sheer ferocity the Lannisters and Tyrells can muster. Whether this leads to a full on city revolt remains to be seen, but that would be one heck of an ace in the hole if the High Sparrow plays it.

 

It was good to see Theon back home with his sister and now that the two have a mutual understanding, it does beg the question, what will Yara do if she becomes ruler? What will happen if she doesn’t? And more importantly, what do the Greyjoy’s do in this world? Do they lay claim to the North? Do they join a side when the Whitewalkers come or do they set their sights for King’s Landing?

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Momentum is shifting every so slightly, but all the groundwork for this season has been put down and now all we need to do is see it through. Jon and Sansa have a purpose in reclaiming Winterfell and saving Rickon, Cersei and Jaime are finally shifting their resources where they need to to stay ahead of the High Sparrow’s game, and Dany once more has the Dothraki allied to her which means whatever happens in Meereen should hopefully conclude by the end of this season giving her the original plan to sail to Westeros and start that whale of tale. You know things are progressing when armies are being told to move from place to place but it seems a little too easy to believe that all the “good” guys are going to win out here in the end. Ramsey thinks he’s in control, but is he really or will he get desperate enough to ruin the Starks as Joffrey and others have done in the past. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Stark banner rise, but hopefully it will soon. Very enjoyable episode whether fan or casual, please keep this up.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×03 (Only three direwolves remain)

GOT 6x03

 

SUMMARY

Davos helps Jon deal with his return as plans are made to deal with Alliser and those who murdered Jon. Bran views another flashback and watches a youthful Ned Stark and company face off against Sir Arthur Dayne who guarded the tower that kept Lyanna Stark. Jaime and Cersei with the help of Qyburn begin to make plans to face the High Sparrow through trial by combat when the charges are officially made. King Tommen receives counsel from the High Sparrow regarding the gods and love of his mother. Daenerys is taken to the places where the wives of dead Khals go and discovers she may yet be judged for having left for so long. Varys convinces a woman to tell him who has been supporting the Sons of the Haarpi and Tyrion is faced with a conundrum over facing multiple enemies outside the city.  Arya trains while blind and is eventually given her sight back. Sam and Gilly continue to sail toward his old home while Ramsey is greeted by Smalljon Umber who offers him two captures for an alliance. The two are Osha and Rickon Stark. In the north, Jon executes Olly and Alliser and gives his cloak to Tollett saying his watch is over.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Just when you thought we were going to get more insight as to what Ned found in that tower with his sister, we’re denied such knowledge for another episode. That’s okay, every fan knows the code and has already settled on how the scene will go down, we’re simply going through formalities. And that’s somewhat of a troublesome game we have to play as season six pushes into it’s blurry horizon. Everyone talks about the snow, but winter has barely been a thing as of late. With the exception of Jon and Ramsey’s scenes, tonight’s episode was a bit of a bust. Young Bran seeing the truth of Ned’s fight against Arthur does shed an interesting light on his father as he commented that the story he remembered was quite different, but that goes to show how early Ned’s righteous rescue of Lyanna had already changed to keep the darkest secrets the Stark’s would ever know. The television writing is bleeding through more and more as instead of being captivated by speeches, stories, and just raw performances, we’re shuffling through scenes, re-hashing old dialogue and hitting routine beats that attempt to remind us why certain characters are where they are. It’s not necessarily lazy, it’s just they’ve been writing themselves into a corner and aren’t taking any new risks except in very specific situations.

 

THE GOOD

The north continues to be the only spot in Westeros where plot is evolving. Here, we discover Ramsey now has Rickon in his possession, which is an interesting new development and puts 3 Starks within close proximity namely Sansa, Rickon, and Jon. We might actually get a small family reunion yet and quite frankly, that’s all I want this season is for these siblings to see each other again. Ramsey needs his vices and Osha and Rickon will fulfill those needs as he’ll likely torture, subdue and ravage until he gets who he truly wants, Sansa. But now that Jon is done with the north, rightly so, he can finally center on Winterfell, assuming that’s his first target. It’s a solid state of mind to put the fans in and I for one will look forward to see this particular part of the map develop.

The flashback with Ned and Arthur marks the only real fight scene in the episode, but what a great one it was. Arthur, who’s legendary swordsmanship took out every soldier and had Ned defeated before he was stabbed in the back Reed. Bran looked frustrated to see how it went down, but that goes to show that stories need epic endings and Ned was never going to make it seem like he was desperate to get to his sister. After all, how else would he want his children remembering him. I wasn’t expecting Ned to appear so young, but images in our minds play tricks on age sometime. It was a great scene that further brought us Bran’s abilities which includes his calling out with Ned looking back in wonder. Great moment.

 

THE BAD

Certain plot arcs have to continue going through the motions and Dany is one of the lowest that we have to put up with. She’s plainly in defiance over where she’s at and no amount of titles is going to win her any favors. While it’ll be interesting to see just how Jorah and Daario get her out of that mess, it’s not something I’m clamoring to see right now. If she somehow turns the tides and gets the entire dothraki horde to follow her back to Meereen that will be something to behold, but I’m not holding my breath on that happening quite yet.

 

At King’s landing, we discover much of what we already know, that Gregor is indeed the knight as that Cersei wants to start her process of taking out those who have wronged her, yet we also see the High Sparrow give council to Tommen which may begin to divert his ability to rule squarely through his mother’s vision. It really doesn’t matter where this thread goes, it’s so far removed from the north that it has no stock on what’s to come. I want to see Margaery get out of this alive, but she’s hardly been in any scenes which makes me think this won’t be relevant until past the halfway point in the season. This trial by combat is what we’re leading up to, but odds are something will happen and Gregor won’t come out ontop. What’s that? Clegane-bowl, get hype? Yeah yeah, moving on.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The fight scene was fun to watch. Two-handed fighters mean they’re going to rock a group of people and Arthur showed that handiwork in epic fashion. The goal was to instill in us that Rheager put his strongest soldier as a guard for the tower that held Lyanna. Why do that? Of course it’s to protect her and their child of course, little Jon Snow. And unless there’s a darker more cruel twist in the works, that’s what we’re waiting for. What? Lyanna had twins and Meera Reed is Jon’s sister? Now that’s just silly. Good fight scenes and I’ll always gravitate toward them more if they’re done with care.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I think it was important for Jon to return with nearly the same demeanor. He shouldn’t be changed so dramatically that he becomes a different character, consciously he’s done with the night’s watch and what they represent as what he needs to do requires him to lead elsewhere. And once more, he swung the sword and passed the sentence on those who killed him. He and Olly shared no words but looks that told him forgiveness is pointless, and we’re fine sailing right past this turn of events. Jon is ready to leave and so are we. He’s going to be moving this plot forward with insane momentum, and I can’t wait to see what he does next with Davos and Melisandre by his side.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Bran is witnessing moment after moment of Ned’s early life which means, by the next turn we should be seeing Sean Bean reprise his role. It makes sense and it would be a welcome reward for putting up with so much death in this show that to see Ned in his prime would be a great olive branch for us. The raven keeping Bran from going in the tower was a slap to our face as we know Bran is ready to see what happened, but apparently we’re not yet. Sour writers keeping us waiting a bit longer I see.

 

With Arya gaining her sight back, we’re likely to see her go through more rigorous training but this time, she’ll be more confident and able. One scene that has yet to transpire from book 5 is Sam crossing paths with Arya. While Jon is never mentioned it’s still a cool moment to witness and I hope they keep it in for the sake of continuity and fun moments where characters actually cross paths on a show like this.

 

In case anyone forgot, that was Shaggydog’s head that Umber brought in to convince Ramsey that Rickon is a Stark. Ghost, Nymeria, and Summer remain, but what does this mean that another direwolf is dead in the eyes of prophecy and signs? It shouldn’t mean much in terms of literal translations but if Sansa was married twice losing her Stark name to a point, Rickon could be put in a dangerous game, one that I’m hoping involves Jon. We’ll see.

 

Qyburn attempting to buy off Varys’s “little birds” with sweets will play out later in the season, whether they go to kill Qyburn himself or Pycelle is up in the air, but they will come back and murder someone in King’s landing of note. In the book it was Pycelle on the orders of Varys but I can see it playing out differently on the show.

 

Tyrion played bored rather well. He doesn’t have anyone to bounce his traits with and save for Varys even their dialogue is getting stale on their own. These guys aren’t being utilized correctly. They’re not military strategists, they can’t rule Meereen effectively in Dany’s absence which leaves the question of what’s going to happen to them if they don’t solve this problem of the Haarpi? Maybe it’s time Tyrion learned to ride a dragon after all.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Jon’s return came and the first thing he did was take out Alliser and his men for what they did and now he’s ready to move on. Beyond his scenes and Bran’s flashback of Ned, GOT presented nothing crazily new or risk-worthy that will get us talking for the entire week. The excitement is wearing off and will stay that way until some truly monumental shifts are seen. New character interactions need to occur, battles need to be waged and the white-walker invasion needs to happen. It doesn’t have to be the final season, they can storm wall and bring with them the hell of winter now, that would certainly uplift this slow pace we’ve seen. It’s still early in season 6 but the truth is that’s no excuse anymore. They have us all guessing and playing on old theories that have yet to be refuted, it’s time to start paying them off. Let Jon wield that blade of fire, that’ll be a start. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 5×10 (To be fair, I threw the book when I read what transpired in the final scene back then)

GOT 5x10

I never thought the writers would try and cram two books into one season since it took two seasons just to cover book 3 (A Storm of Swords). Yet, here we are on the eve of A Dance with Dragons and the final act was like onto the end of Caesar’s reign, only instead of “Et tu Brute?” it was simply “Olly?” And like a band of self preserving troglodytes, they turn greek tragedy into the next sad moment in Westeros. Except Caesar didn’t have a witch like Melisandre to bring him back from the dead like the red priest has done with Beric Dondarrion. After 3 seasons, you’d let us simply forget that people can be brought back from the dead? Yeah, we’re onto you writers.

Like all GOT finales, everyone who had a speaking role needed either closure or events setting up the next stage in their lives and for the next season. Is everyone where they should be? The truth can be very subjective considering the hot tempers that will flair from events taking place tonight. I for one was as prepared as I could be, but that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t have the omniscience we once did anymore on who will live and who will die. Most of what transpired was not fun in the slightest, but more masochism and cringe-worthy moments that did little to answer but more speculative than anything. When the one moment where things seemed decent was when a dwarf and a bald guy reminisce and one says he missed the other, there needs to be a new bar on dismal and sullen finale’s. In any case, It’s done and now as a whole fanbase we can move on as one group, not just the two groups where one laughs on the outside but cries on the inside because they have to relive through this tragedy twice.

Melisandre leaves Stannis once he finds out half his army deserted him over Shireen’s death. Stannis trudges onward to Winterfell and meets the Bolton army. He is defeated and found by Brienne who seemingly executes him for the murder of his brother Renly. Theon helps Sansa escape Winterfell (That or they just committed suicide by jumping off a wall) Arya murders Trant and is later punished when her eyesight is removed. Cersei confesses to only sleeping with Lancel and is allowed to return to the red keep by walking from the church naked and scorned by the townsfolk. Jaime and Bronn leave Dorne with Myrcella and on the moment Jaime and Myrcella come to terms on him being her father she suffers fatally from a poisonous kiss given by Ellaria. In the North, Sam requests to leave with Gilly and the baby to learn to become a maester. After he leaves, Davos attempts to enlist Jon’s help when Melisandre arrives with little to say on Stannis’s fate. That night, Jon is led into a trap where several members of the watch stab Jon including Olly. Jon Snow is left for dead.

I’ve read the theories for years and I’m not truly an expert, but I can give my perspective on the events as they’ve been printed on film for us since season one. Whether Martin and the show writers truly intend for Jon’s swan song to be this moment, I am in denial because of certain pieces of evidence. Unfortunately none of that evidence is present in the finale save for Melisandre herself. She abandoned Stannis after supporting him for so long and as a red priestess, she has the ability to resurrect people, assuming of course if they deserve it. For now, it’s hard to say whether she will or won’t but it’s the best shot we have to saving Jon’s life and for those who think being resurrected completely ruins the character in question. Dondarrion is the only proof that you can be normal if you are properly resurrected pretty much at the moment of death. Otherwise you end up with a Lady Stoneheart in the making and the show just won’t do that to Jon. Is it a done deal that Jon will return? Of course not, but if they don’t they run the risk turning the north into a laughing stock of the whole series. If Jon isn’t there to help at least fend off the whitewalkers then Westeros is completely screwed until Dany comes and even then, there’s no telling what will happen. I’m confident Jon will be back. If they really wanted to kill him, they should have cut his head off like Ned. You don’t come back from that.

By not showing us what happened to Theon and Sansa I’m left laughing at the sheer incredulous cliffhanger that made me wonder just how much snow must they fall into to survive a drop like that. Clearly they didn’t die, but Sansa didn’t end up with Brienne either which was a very interesting way to go. So now, you have Theon, who actually helped Sansa and escaped which is unheard of. I have no doubt Ramsey will be searching for them in no time. Does this mean that Sansa will now be looking for her two little brothers in season 6? If so, she’ll only find Rickon if she gets to find him at all. This show has a way of saying “Noooooope, you don’t get to be happy for 1 second, back to Ramsey with you”. But we’ll see. And a fine farewell to Myranda, she got what she deserved.

I have no love loss for Stannis either. Was it fitting that Brienne took his life? Eh, it doesn’t matter to me. He was the lesser of two evils, but it wasn’t enough to take out the Boltons. What’s done is done. Brienne is very noble and continues to find ways to stay true to her convictions. Now that Sansa escaped it would be nice if the two ran into eachother because it’s highly unlikely that She’ll run into Littlefinger. Brienne’s purpose does seem a bit floundered at this point, but at least she’s still alive.

Arya’s revenge was very quick and to the point. She’s crossed over into a new brutal nature and used what she learned to get the job done. And now it’s at least for the time being cost her a bit of sight, or rather, all of it. This is mostly a book to show translation and for a while she’ll deal with the consequences. I’m not that worried about her because she has more story to fulfill. I liked that she was able to use a face and I absolutely loved that the character who everyone thought was Jaqen wasn’t and that any assassin could look like him. This leads to the possibility that the original Jaqen is on his mission still which in the books leads him on a path around Sam.

Jaime and Myrcella shared a nice moment where he finally felt some small measure of comfort in revealing his truth even though his daughter basically knew. And then she died. That’s what this show is known for doing and it was easy to realize that Ellaria would have the last word in this struggle. What’s important is understanding the calamity that will ensue including Trystane’s fate as well as backlash against all of Dorne. Will Jaime keep this from Cersei? Probably at first, but odds are this will strain their relationship and match it more with how Jaime sees Cersei in the books. Then again, they don’t have to do that if they don’t want to.

Now onto Cersei. That was brutal scene to watch. I read about how the creator’s had to get special permission to film a scene of that magnitude and all the points in the world to Lena Heady for taking the plunge and knocking that awkward scene out. Even as a villain, she had things coming to her, but this was vastly different than a poisoning or any physically hurtful thing she could have gone through. But she swallowed her pride and managed to get back home in the arms of an undead Mountain, who will be her next champion should she need one to fight for her in trial by combat. They could have cut that scene down at any point, but the resonance was so thick that it’s hard to believe she deserved anything remotely pertaining to that walk of shame. Even I thought the mother needed some comuppance because of it. Cersei is no doubt planning it and I’m glad she is, if she is.

Dany’s scenes were relatively unchanged except for it not being in a desert and her not suffering from hunger and, well other issues at hand. But she found more Dothraki and that was the point. She can’t get back to Meereen and now she’s surrounded by people that seemed to have dropped off the map since season two. One notable moment is when she dropped her ring which I assume means she doesn’t want them to know she was married because she in fact was already married to Khal Drogo and I’m certain these dothraki are aware of it. Will they follow her back to Meereen or will she be in for the fight of her life? I’m certain she’ll weave their loyalty while Darrio and Jorah seek her out.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Arya’s scene after the murder of Trant. It was more for her to understand she couldn’t just use her talents to do with what she pleased and further more confusing her on who and what the faceless men really are. They don’t just control faces, but body types as well. They can appear smaller when they are generally bigger and a true face is lost in the myriad of others. Does this mean Arya will eventually lose her true face? I hope not, but it’s certainly a possibility.

CHARACTER MVP

Cersei, hands down. She lost her hair and walked through an entire city naked with bloody feet and the muck of the populace coating her skin. No matter what she would not confess to sleeping with Jaime and stuck to her guns on the matter. Now she’s in full planning mode which she will no doubt act when the time is right. Does she have to play through the High Sparrow’s trial though, or can she just leave the city whenever she wants? She endured a lot to get back to her son and she deserves the credit for it.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Bran will be in season 6 and somehow he has to know what happened to his brother, Jon. If anyone else could help in this problem, it should be him along with Melisandre.

Davos is now free to murder Melisandre after everything she’s done. Even so, he’s without a king now, assuming Brienne murdered Stannis. If she didn’t, then keeping him alive would only mean she has other plans we’re not aware of.

Maybe now that they mentioned Benjen we’ll get a look at Coldhands next season. Then again, we didn’t get Lady Stoneheart, why would we get Coldhands? It’s a conspiracy to remove mostly dead resurrected characters. Only fully resurrected characters are allowed to be on this show…and the whitewalkers.

I’m very glad Tyrion and Varys are once more together. This show suffers a lot on great characters that don’t get to interact with other great characters, but for once they put Tyrion in a great position, that is until Dany left, but now Varys is back and soon those two will get to share scenes together and I can’t wait for that.

Where oh where is Littlefinger at this stage? Does he regret having left Sansa to deal with Ramsey? Will he have a plan should he find her again, or will he betray her as Cersei wanted him to? I highly doubt Peter will betray Sansa but even for that to have a sliver of a chance, he has to find her first, and I really don’t want him finding her.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Not the strongest finale from the franchise and the end was entirely bittersweet because book readers knew what was coming. But for consistency of shots, beautiful landscapes and luscious atmosphere, GOT still manages to remain epic and large on a scale to well known after five years. Everyone is out of their element now, and some are dead for the effort. Every season it’s safe to say nothing is the same for anyone. And that’s the great thing about this type of storytelling. Nobody is expected to do what they must and as a result, so many different things can happen. This isn’t the story where the good guys win and the bad guys win, it’s people going through the motions and dealing with choices and consequences regardless of karma or a god’s will. The whitewalkers are that much closer and for now, the commander of the watch is dead. But dead isn’t forever in GOT and I do believe Jon will be brought back with Melisandre’s help. For now, it looks like the show watchers will find out before the book reader’s do and that has to sting knowing how loyal the book fanbase has been since day one. It’s an exciting time even though it’s equally frustrating. Will L + R = J even matter if Jon is dead at this point? That’s why he can’t be dead, because we have to know, and Jon has to know. But really, we need to know. Until next season, thank you for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 5×09 (The Dance of Dragons, A Dance with Dragons, same diff)

GOT 5x09

While some roads lead to circumstantial sacrifice, another takes to the skies as the mother of dragons dawns her title and sees her city of Meereen from a dragon’s point of view. Tonight’s penultimate episode places each front running player into an uneasy position where choices become harder and vengeance is but an eyelash away. The only moments left are the one’s that almost guarantee lives will be lost. Who’s lives will it be this season? Only those who have read A Dance With Dragons know for sure.

For the last few episodes, they’ve managed to truly capture some spectacular storytelling moments in the last twenty minutes of their broadcast. Last week it was Jon Snow and the whitewalker horde. This time it was both the lasting battle of Jorah Mormont and the ambush from the Sons of the Harpy. Each creative in their own way yet, this venture had the flair for the fantasy and managed to ease the tension with a dragon’s roar. Aside from a desperate decision made by a cold-hearted king and a gladiatorial climax, this episode carried with it a calm not usually expected during such a critical point in a season. Now a girl must decide if her training will be used outside of the orders given to her.

Jon Snow returns to the wall with a sense of defeat only having saved a few hundred wildlings. Stannis sends Davos back to the wall for reinforcements after Ramsey’s men lay siege to Stannis’s supplies. He later gives in and has his daughter Shireen put to sacrifice by flame to help Melisandre call on her godlike forces for aid against the Boltons. Doran Martell releases Jaime and Bronn and sends Myrcella and Tristane with them in the hopes of maintaining their alliance with King’s Landing. Arya is on her way to assassinate the thin man when she spots Mace Tyrell and more importantly, Meryn Trant who she remembers killed Syrio. She follows him to a brothel and spies on him. In Meereen, Daenerys watches the games take place in a grand arena. In the second match, she watches Jorah fight and eventually win the round. He stops a Harpy from striking the queen as the Sons of Harpy ambush everyone. Jorah, Tyrion, Daario, Missendei, and Dany flee to the center of the arena where Drogon arrives and helps kill many of the Harpies. She then climbs Drogon and rides to the sky as the others watch in awe.

King’s who whisper “forgive me” are often put to the most harshest of trials in claiming what they seek. Stannis fought against Melisandre’s simple solutions to win the oncoming battle. To her, sacrifice is simple and necessary, yet in the end, Stannis relented and watched as his daughter burned to death. Will this in fact help Stannis beat the Bolton’s in the finale? The truth is, she hasn’t been proven wrong yet and that’s a scary track record considering how magic, dark or otherwise is used. Obviously sending Davos was just so he wouldn’t try and stop Melisandre because he would have. It will be interesting to see if Davos is the kind of character who will stay subservient after finding out or actually go after Melisandre yet again regardless on the outcome of the war.

Arya’s tale is very basic and after nearly five seasons later she finally has a chance to exact another piece of her revenge, this time on the vile Meryn. It’s not so much a matter of if, but rather how Arya will take his life. Will she have the ability to change her face, or will it be just a few stabbings or poisoning when he eats next? I’d say it’s too early for her to be establishing any abilities, but rest assured, she’s cunning and smart enough to find ways to get those she wants killed. In fact, my money is her using needle to get the job done. Just use the pointy end. Odds are she’ll get caught in the attempt or execution and possibly punished.

Jaime and Bronn got off easy, but it’s more about how Doran handled the situation. He’s a king who has his people and lands to worry about and knows the point of having an alliance. Whether Ellaria is truly swayed by the act of a second chance or whether she’ll try once more to exact revenge remains to be seen. The sand sisters have barely any screen time this season, so there’s hope they have more to offer in the next season. There isn’t any danger of them expiring, but then there is one more episode left.

For a seasonal show, a lot of effort went into the effects of tonight’s episode which I think was absolutely flawless. The fighting itself was decent considering the movements of people in armor, and the gore was rather limited, but the point was to showcase Jorah’s absolute devotion which paid off in the end as he defended her from the creepy Sons of the Harpy. They came out droves but Drogon’s appearance was abundantly telegraphed especially when they were surrounded in the arena. Rather than end the dragon’s life which could have been any other writer’s prerogative, they instead followed suit from the book and had Dany take flight. There’s no guarantee she’ll land near Tyrion and the gang, but for now, she’s safe. Tyrion’s moments were few but each line was delivered with the usual care and gusto as only he can deliver. Overall, the scenes in Meereen have been better considering most of Dany’s adventures as of late keep her walled up and bored. At least Tyrion’s around to make light of the queen’s stony demeanor.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I think it’s safe to say that the final arc of the episode had the most to offer in terms of action, suspense and of course a fire-breathing dragon. Everything from the start to the finish was a very well articulated segment. The sheer volume of the Harpies was a good choice because we’d only seen them in small skirmishes, and clearly the games did not sway them from trying to take back their city. And Drogon’s thrashings were a grand sight in both CGI and backing soundtrack. Well performed all around.

CHARACTER MVP

As a send off, I’d like to give the MVP to Shireen Baratheon. Her stories to both Davos and Stannis showed her innocent nature at recounting the massive history of Westeros and both cared for her in their own way. She was essentially the last bit of light in Stannis and now she’s gone. But even from her affliction, she remained a courageous character and tried her best to be a good daughter to Stannis. What happened to her was a despicable act, and hopefully Davos doesn’t let her lie in ashes as just a bitter memory.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Who is really going to mess with that giant at the wall? I hope he’s a mainstay, because he’s survived some wicked battle scars and should be a clean ally for Jon.

Judging by how the books went down, I’m not expecting Jaime to return to King’s Landing quite yet. His relationship to Cersei is very different in the written world and this Jaime is still very much in care of his sister, which makes anything he does from here on out very interesting and possibly questionable.

Will Dany discover Jorah’s greyscale and how will she react after trusting him again so soon? Or will she even find out at all. His days could be numbered, but that’s for the seasons to decide. Shireen survived it after all and it’s just an arm.

How exactly will sacrificing Shireen help Stannis? Will men and supplies suddenly appear or will the snows do the Bolton’s more harm than good? Maybe the snows will cease just enough for Stannis and his army to make it to Winterfell. Since Stannis is still the lesser of two evils, he has to be the one to be victorious, for Sansa’s sake if nothing else.

Speaking of Melisandre, what would a character like her say to Daenerys if the two ever met? Considering who she’s serving with such loyalty, has she really considered what a Targaryen would do when she lands in Westeros? Is she like Varys, actually biding her time with the safest enemy because she knows what’s really going to happen, of does she know even more dangers than just the whitewalkers, if she even cares about them at all.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out 10. It was in the realm of being a lower number but the last act stayed the course and kept it in the high eight range. We understand everyone’s final storylines for this season with the exception of Sansa, Jon, and Dany. Sansa could be rescued, or she could be taken away by Ramsey if he’s been defeated. Jon is on thin ice with his own men still and keeping the peace with an even larger wilding group could prove to be most difficult in the finale. And where will Dany land? In the books we know exactly where she lands, but enough things have changed, she could be dining in Meereen just as easily, except that her city is being overrun yet again by her enemies. She has to save it or leave it, and she’s not the kind to leave anything abandoned. Very good episode at the end, and I look forward to seeing yet another finale rip the hearts or freeze the eyes of it’s fiercely loyal audience.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 5×08 (Zombie hordes and breaking the wheel)

GOT 5x08

A legitimate threat long whispered and seldom scene has made its presence viscerally known on the eve of GOT’s 8th winter episode. The bitter frost and army of blue eyes ravaged and cleaned wildling house as the whitewalkers took it straight to Jon Snow and his men while he rallied those who would return to the wall. It was a cavalcade of sheer mayhem while far below the south, a queen and a Lannister traded formidable words and may strike an alliance yet.

There wasn’t a better time to give us the most awe-striking hellish winter of evil than now. Payoffs had been mentioned earlier and many of those came true tonight, from the simple exchange between favorable characters to the simplest truths that finally met the ears of Sansa Stark. Here lies the comeuppance of a queen so used to having her way, and a girl begins her first mission of assassination. Everything worked hands down and I couldn’t find a single moment that wasn’t a fabulously well done scene. Even Sam’s speech to Ollie spoke volumes of trust and necessity of survival. Even in Westeros to the folk know how to battle the zombie invasion.

In Meereen, Tyrion convinces Daenerys to spare Jorah but still has him banished. Later, Tyrion and Dany converse about her plans to take the iron throne while Jorah returns to the master he fought for, this time as a willing participant wanting to fight for Dany in the pits. Theon reveals to Sansa that he never killed Bran and Rickon but flees when Sansa tries to push for information on their whereabouts. Arya begins spying on a local businessman as her first test of subterfuge. In King’s Landing, Cersei continues to defy her captors while in captivity. In the North, Jon and Tormund reach the wildling camp and convince most of the people to join them, but the whitewalkers invade, slaughtering many of the people there. Jon and his men narrowly escape as a whitewalker commander raises all the newly dead as zombies in his army.

To begin, it was simply a surreal moment finally seeing the witty Tyrion square off with the tempered Daenerys as they conversed over history and intent to rule. While much of Dany’s words felt a bit reserved and cautious, Tyrion chose his own carefully and tactfully ultimately resulting in her statement to make him her advisor. It’s what everyone wanted and we’ve witnessed the first step in that direction. Dany intends to not only lay claim to Westeros but forge her legacy and the Targaryens forever. Tyrion may be in it for the ride of his life, but he focused and driven and whether truly loyal or not, he’ll do what he can to ensure not only his safety but perhaps the safety of all common folk in Westeros.

Sansa now knows that her younger brothers are essentially still alive. I don’t think it will take any more convincing since Theon’s hesitancy to even speak on the matter was basic proof enough. Now Sansa has just enough of a reason to hold out hope that her family it larger than just herself. Now, as we all know, Bran is beyond the wall and well out of her reach, but that doesn’t mean Rickon is lost. In fact, I’d wager if Sansa does make it out of Winterfell intact, there’s a strong possibility that she can be reunited with Rickon and maybe, just maybe Brienne will be in charge of finding yet another Stark in service to the family. I can see Sansa trusting Brienne with such a task if Brienne in fact saves her from the Bolton’s regardless of the battle with Stannis and his men.

Arya’s training has now reached the next level that involves the studying and spying of someone who the faceless men were hired to essentially take out. There’s little doubt that Arya will be up for the task and she’ll most likely pass with flying colors. Her character is bound for this lifestyle and it’s unlikely she’ll mess anything up unless the truth of her blade, needle comes into play. I suspect it won’t be an issue at this point in the plot and I genuinely look forward to her first kill. Does this mean she’ll get to change faces this season? Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

There wasn’t much on the Cersei front save for her conversation with Qyburn. His comment before he left could have been rushed for the sake of the religious woman being in their presence, but more so it’s likely that he’s referencing his experiment laying on his table. I was surprised he didn’t mention a trial by combat, but we’re not quite there yet as it would appear Cersei is still in defiance mode and won’t let down so easily for the sake of pride. In any case, her battle is far from over just because she’s extremely thirsty.

The meat and bones of this episode was surprisingly Jon’s venture into the deep north to acquire the remaining wildlings. The speeches circling the chieftains, Jon, and Tormund were all well spoken moments, but truthfully once the horde came crashing through the snowy blizzard, it was delightful carnage. Skeletons, half bodies, full corpses, and whitewalkers themselves brought the chaos as the wildlings fought for their lives. For the first time, Jon understands that his valyrian steel blade can not only deflect a whitewalker’s blade, but disintegrate them as well. Perhaps dragon glass isn’t the only weapon in their arsenal. Everything was intense and brutal and the best qualities didn’t even need the extra gallons of blood and teeth mashing that we usually are accustomed to on other zombie shows. It was cold and callous and unbelievably fast in some segments that created a fantastic rush while watching and hoping Jon got through unscathed. His look after the dead wildlings risen was priceless as he only understands all that more what Westeros is up against. An undying army that can only grow with each dead person they claim. At least they have a giant making it back with them.

FAVORITE MOMENT

As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the last twenty minutes of the episode I still have to give Tyrion and Dany the credit for giving us a scene five years in the making. Good acting means letting characters handle their personas and deliver in their unique ways while the camera eagerly catches their mannerisms and inflections from moment to moment. Once more, Tyrion proves how invaluable he is and Dany easily perceives this and so far is encouraging their alliance. These are two “good-natured” characters that are trying to survive and thrive the only ways they know how. It was about time they hooked up as allies and only more great scenes can come from this. Whether Tyrion fouls up because of his lust for wine or something he might say under heated breath remains to be seen, but for now it was just an amazing scene to watch.

CHARACTER MVP

Jon Snow led the charge and battled bloody and beaten against a whitewalker and survived. He’s no joke and if the wildlings aren’t convinced of his stature and demeanor, than nothing more can be asked. He’s taking on as much responsibility as he can knowing just how much is truly at stake. He just met the cold jaws of evil death and he’s still alive to fight them again. Let’s just hope Ollie didn’t take Sam’s advice and do something stupid like betray Jon for the greater good according to him.

ENDING THOUGHTS

It remains to be seen but I wonder if the whitewalkers can in fact talk. Doing so could deflate the majesty that they portray every second they’re on screen. With simple gestures alone, they command new troops freshly made for their devices.

With Bran out of this entire season and the dead army on the foot-heels of the wall, what part will he play aside from becoming the master of wargs(wards)? Will he in fact be forever embedded to his new home by the tree?

The formula usually calls for a huge battle during the 9th episode, but will they have the Bolton’s and Stannis fight so soon after we witnessed the undead massacre? Is this fight one we have any stock in? Surely Stannis is the lesser of two evil’s but even Ramsey has a plan that he thinks needs only 20 men. This will be interesting.

I guess the Lord of Bones won’t be soul-swapping with Mance Raydar anytime soon. Ah those lovely book moments that never reach the tv show’s script lines.

Clearly Littlefinger won’t be able to return to Winterfell before Stannis reaches it. It’s interesting that Sansa may never see him again and in many ways I hope that’s the case. Although, I doubt Sansa will be taken from Winterfell as her situation is more politically driven and having her run around with Brienne looking for Rickon just doesn’t seem like it’s the nature of her character. Still, if she does encounter Littlefinger again, they either one be the same?

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Almost a perfect episode. It has grand moments finally fulfilled and a rip-roaring ride with the real evil of the series. There wasn’t much in the way of complaints and they wisely kept on Jon for the entirety of his segment instead of chasing back and forth. Those who were sandwiched between Tyrion and Dany and the whitewalker battle played to their strengths but were more filler than anything because not much was accomplished accept for Arya’s new task to undertake. Other than that, it was a highly enjoyable episode that promised more big things are coming. If only Ned was around to witness this turn of events. Oh, and when the whitewalker raised his arms, even though I knew the newly dead were going to rise all I really wanted to see were undead frost dragons emerging from the blizzard snow and wind. Food for thought.

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