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.

 

 

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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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