the telethon runner

I watch TV and write about it. Sometimes I watch movies too.


Game of Thrones

GoT: Eastwatch

I must admit, I’m torn. 

Is Game of Thrones really building on its continuing momentum this season or is it more of a rush-job? Are we just being constantly asked to stretch our suspension of disbelief almost to the breaking point? Are certain events being skipped in order to bring everything together and hit major plot points by the season finale?

On a lesser show, the plot holes would be gaping right about now, and we’d be up in arms about how little care the showrunners are taking to at least provide some semblance of consistency. But this isn’t a lesser show; and even though we’ve come to expect nothing but the best when it comes to GoT, we’ve also been subjected to the excrucuatingly slow passage of time in Westeros over the past 6 seasons.

So as much as I’d love to – once again – nitpick, bitch and moan about everything David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been getting wrong this season, I’d much rather enjoy all the things they’re getting right. Besides, let’s not forget that they’re not only flying solo for the past 15 episodes, they’re doing so while having to contend with our collective, exceedingly high, expectations. And a lot of them are being met brilliantly.

Let’s take how wonderfully blunt and perfectly perceptive Arya is being with her big sister. It took all but a few interactions for our pint-sized assassin to figure out that Sansa is well on her way to be blinded by her own ambition. It also took zero time for Arya to realize that slippery, sleazy Littlefinger is up to no good at Winterfell. And as much as I want to see her use her considerable skills to take him out once and for all, I can’t help but be pleased that, while he’s not exactly front and center this season, he hasn’t let his guard down either, and is one step ahead of her and well on his way to pitching the two sisters against each other. With our main characters coming together in this penultimate season, I’m not-so-secretly hoping that, if they don’t give Petyr a spectacularly satisfying send-off, the least the writers can do is extend his life long enough to grant us one of those much-missed repartes between Littlefinger and Varys. What I won’t be happy about is the possibility of Arya allowing Littlefinger’s ploy to work. Not only is she so much better than that, I’d hate to see the two Stark sisters continue to regress to their younger selves, like the beginning scenes seemed to suggest.

And while we’re on the subject of Winterfell, the writers did a great job of handling Bran this week, too: by giving him just a few moments of screen time and a single line of dialogue. That’s really as much Bran as I can take these days – so long as he keeps sitting on big secrets and only focusing his energy on the White Walker threat, that is.

Tyrion hasn’t failed us this week, either. He may have failed Dany in previous episodes, and he certainly failed the Tarlys, but who’s really sad to see Randyll go, really? (I will miss Dickon though). This week he came up with yet another dubious plan (possibly the worst yet), and once again his sister was one step ahead of him. Those little birds Qyburn inherited from the Spider seem to be doing a splendid job, aren’t they?

Tyrion’s plan this time is much more straight-forward, if not exactly brilliant. Setting aside the sheer idiocy of capturing a Wight and bringing it south of the wall, I struggly to see how it would persuade Cersei to call a truce and fight the ice zombies alongside Dany. If anything, she’d obviously rather let her enemies fight it out and emerge as the winner. 

Moreover, as convinced as Tyrion may be that Jaime would see reason even if Cersei doesn’t, once again he underestimates the hold Cersei has on their brother. Add a TBD Lannister heir to the mix, and I doubt Jaime will be able to do squat about the White Walkers when the time comes. (I’d comment on how Cersei supposedly has been well past child-bearing age for a while now, but I’m not going anywhere near that can of worms). 

Luckily, Dany didn’t exactly fail us either. She finally saw reason and let Jon go – I’m guessing seeing Jorah again softened her up a little bit, but it was obviously mostly Drogon taking a shine to Jon that actually sealed the deal for her, right? However, she did very little in the way of convincing the remaining Tarly and Lannister army to join her cause. How is roasting Randyll and Dickon alive prove that she’s any different than her father? It doesn’t take a maester to figure out that the choice she gave them, while a huge dragon loomed over their heads, really wasn’t a choice at all. Still, I don’t see the Tarly BBQ as anywhere near the kind of blunder Tyrion and Varys perceived it. 

Speaking of maesters, if the writers’ intentions were to showcase those robe-clad old men at the Citadel as a group of idiots, then it was a job well done. You’d think they’d have more substantial matters to consider as they gather for their meetings, but apparently put a few robed men together in a room and they’re no different than gossiping school girls. Poor Sam didn’t have a chance, but I’m more upset over the fact that the show just decided to drop a huge bomb on us – one that’s been floating around the ASOIAF universe for years, granted, but it was still incredible to see it confirmed, even in such a throwaway manner – and just leave it unexplored. For the time being, that’s a huge piece of the puzzle that just fell off the table and it looks like no one’s there to pick it up. Was the revelation about Raeghar’s secret marriage to Lyanna just a wink to the audience? How long before someone puts two and two together? Was this precious bit of info simply intended as corroboration to the story Bran’s been sitting on all this time, assuming Sam and Gilly are headed to Winterfell next? Ugh this is so frustrating. 
Also frustrating: Cersei’s throwaway line about the Golden Company last week, then again her statement about hiring mercenaries this week. If the show is gearing towards a Cersei-Dany meeting before the season is over, was the Golden Company mention just another red herring?
Even if it’s not, it’s nowhere near as exciting as the tremendous tease we got in just about every Jon and Dany scene: Jon’s defiant stance as the Drogon bared his teeth at him was chilling, and I loved the tension that’s still building between the two Targaryens. If I’m honest, I half expected Dany to offer Jon a ride on one of her dragons, but I guess that’s a bit too premature. Instead, she offered the willing services of Jorah, who was barely back on Dragonstone long enough to tell his tale, but surely he’ll have had time to tell Jon about his acquaintance with Sam at the Citadel – hopefully before a White Walker tears him to pieces, which seems to be the fate he’s heading towards.

Not frustrating at all, however, was the unlikely reunion of just about every non-Stark character this week: not only does Tyrion give a brilliant performance with Jaime as he starts to rant about their father, but we got to see Tormund, The Hound, Thoros of Myrr, Beric Dondarionn AND Gendry, and we even got the whole ‘stll rowing’ joke thrown in for good measure. And really, how badass did the little group of warriors look as they headed north of the wall? 

Still, both reunions felt terribly rushed. We get the first Jaime and Tyrion scene since season 4, and hardly any dialogue to adequately explain how we went from Tyrion lamenting his father’s mistreatment and Jaime indulging his silly plan. The entire Kings Landing scene does get a thumbs up, however, mostly due to Davos’ excellent handling of the Gold Cloaks, and Gendry’s expert swinging of his warhammer, in true Baratheon style, rivaling the Mountain is his skull-crashing abilities.

Which brings me to my biggest gripe about the episode, which spoiled most of the Jaime and Bronn scenes for me. Someone needs to explain the logistics of this scene in a way that doesn’t make it seem completely ludicrous. Last week, Bronn jumps off his horse, knocks Jaime into that shallow pond that miraculously turns into a bottomless pit as he’s “drowning”; Dany is standing right next to the pond, as is Drogon. End credits. 

And then, this week, Bronn somehow drags Jaime out to shore and they’re basically alone across the battlefield while Dany, Drogon, the Dothraki and the Lannister & Tarly army are gathered far enough from Jaime and Bronn to be oblivious to them? How does that happen? How does Dany not send every Dothraki screamer at her disposal to fish Jaime out of that pond and keep him as prisoner? How do they move so far apart in the few dozen it took for Bronn to drag Jaime out of the water and emerge on shore? If someone can offer a plausible explanation other than plot convenience, I’d love to hear it, but until then I’m just bummed they took the cheap way out. 

Perhaps even more confusing were the Eastwatch scenes, not least because, when that’s the title of the episode, you expect SOME kind of phrenetic sequence at the far east end of the Wall. Even putting that aside, this felt like yet another rush-job to get the piece to not just fall, but actually get slammed into place this season. Not only is this a case of more jet-packing (both Jaime and Jon seem to be traveling at the speed of light this week), we get zero explanation for the Brotherhood. Add to that the (very) rushed Jon-Gendry meeting, who apparently bonded over being bastards and are well on their way to having their fathers’ bromance rub off on them, and we have just glossed over a plotline that would have normally taken ages to unfold, and gained back a character who conveniently went from zero to hero overnight and is apparently poised to play a pivotal role in the wars to come. 

Still, I can’t complain too much about Eastwatch: the pieces are not just falling, they’re being slammed into place this season, and despite approaching the end of the line, the show still manages to find ways to surprise (and delight!) us. With only two episodes left, I’m very curious to see how the show will leave things this year, but I’m even more excited to see what next week brings; if, in true GoT fashion, the penultimate episode of the season is to be the spectacular hour of television we’ve come to expect, then I’m guessing we’re in for a thrilling ride next week!

Lannister BBQ, anyone?

You know, I could start listing everything Game of Thrones got wrong this week, nit-picking at the plot holes and gaps in logic in excruciating detail: the inexplicable “jet-packing” we’ve been scoffing at all season, the awkward Stark reunion, Bran’s general creepiness, matched only by Littlefinger’s own, the epic battle that resulted in major casualties but zero main character deaths…

But I won’t, because this episode was so damn amazing. We finally got the dragon attack we’d been waiting for, and in true GoT fashion, we weren’t even really sure who to root for. It was spectacular, it was emotional, it was the biggest thing we’ve ever seen on television – such a far cry from the bad CGI Drogon Dany climbed onto in the pits of Meereen a couple of seasons ago. And to think it was all directed by someone whose resume consists mainly of a few dozen episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia! It just goes to show what a phenomenal job Benioff and Weiss have been doing ever since they realized they’d be flying solo for the show’s last two seasons, writing material that’s essentially fan fiction of the highest level, and what a stellar crew they’ve assembled to work on this juggernaut of a show.

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GoT: The Spoils of War

Naturally the biggest episode of the season airs right as I’m traveling to my wifi-less island home and I can’t delve into my usual ramblings as I’m wont to do.

Fear not though – long post coming soon!

Let’s kill off some GoT characters, shall we?

Game of Thrones wouldn’t be the delightful melange of sex, intrigue and violence we’ve all come to love over the past seven years if it didn’t feature plenty of gruesome and unexpected death scenes. As wonderful as this penultimate season of the show has been so far, it feels like something is missing: we haven’t had a huge shocking death since Jon was stabbed – and that doesn’t really count, because he came back to life two episodes later. Where’s the jaw-dropping head-chopping of Ned Stark, or the horrible massacre that was the Red Wedding? Where’s Oberyn’s skull-crushing final scene?

It’s well known that ‘no one is safe‘ when it comes to Game of Thrones, often to the point where the show feels downright sadistic in crushing our expectations. With the end of the series only 10 episodes away, and given how much fan service we’ve been getting in these past couple of seasons, it’s only natural to expect big twists and impactful deaths coming our way, no?

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GoT: The Queen’s Justice

What an amazing episode. Even without leaning too heavily on action (the narrated battle was almost like an afterthought), it packed such a tremendous punch that it actually rivaled the show’s best episodes to date. We not only got a few of the scenes we’ve been anticipating for years (Dany and Jon!), but the dialogue was so spot-on, that I doubt George RR Martin could have done it better had he written it himself.

In fact, I submit to you what might be a controversial (sacrilegious, even!) opinion: ever since the show moved past the written material it is based on last season, it has become so much more concise and well structured. Gone are the days of the one- or two-character-centric episodes of season 5 which dragged on forever; we no longer have to wonder about characters that have been absent all season long (*ahem* Bran); there’s more action, the plot has picked up the pace, there’s little (if any) filler.

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GoT: Stormborn

Okay, right off the bat: this is shaping up to be a fantastic season!

After a premiere that reintroduced us to the plentiful drama that is life in Westeros and set the pieces for the season to come, it doesn’t look like GoT is about to let up on the tension or the drama, and we already got a preview of the action that we’re all expecting in the following episodes.

More importantly, it has significantly picked up the pace. With very few exceptions, we don’t get filler scenes or long meaningless conversations. Everything has a purpose, things are finally moving along, and unlike the unsuccessful motif the show employed in its lackluster 5th season, we visit every important location and follow each of our favorite characters each week.

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GoT: Dragonstone

Game of Thrones is back, with a promise that each and every one of its season 7 episodes will be as intense and spectacular as Hardhome.

First things first: was this a shocker of an episode? No, but it was an excellent way to ease us back into the world of Ice and Fire after a painfully long hiatus, and it actually set up plenty of storylines for the weeks to come. This wasn’t exactly unexpected, given that there’s only a a dozen more episodes left before the show comes to its grand finale, but still a very pleasant surprise.

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10 questions we need answered in GoT Season 7

We might be in the middle of a heatwave but Winter Is Here, and everyone and their mothers have opinions about the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. Just a few days away from what is the beginning of the end for the Ice & Fire saga and with no book release in sight (damn you, GRRM!), speculation is obviously at an all-time high about what Season 7 will bring. And I wouldn’t be a true blogging fan if I didn’t add my own babble to the mix now, would I?

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#GoT #CantWait

I know I’m not the only one buzzing with anticipation for the new Game of Thrones season… July 16 can’t get here soon enough, and, as bummed as I am for the shorter season run, I have to assume that this means less filler, solid episodes and amazing action leading up to the grand finale that will be the (even shorter) last season of the show.

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