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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Game of Thrones 6x10: The Winds of Winter


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> The Twins -> Winterfell ->The Wall -> Meereen -> Dorne

Winterfell
Jon Snow is Jon Snowing (aka brooding) about his childhood in the same dining room he is now master of. Melisandre reminds Jon Snow that he may think he had it bad but this is the world of Game of Thrones so 99% of people had it worse. Then Davos comes in demanding answers about that burnt horse figurine he found.

Melisandre comes clean about burning Sheereen at the stake. Davos notes that not only was that monstrous but, considering how things ended for Stannis, it was pointless too. Jon Snow wants to know why he shouldn't just straight up execute Melisandre but she reminds Jon Snow that magical fire witches could be useful against ice zombies. Jon Snow decides to exile her to the south.

Jon Snow and Sansa talk on the walls of Winterfell. Sansa apologizes for not telling Jon Snow about the Vale army but never elaborates as to why she didn't tell him. Seemed like important information. Also important information? The fact that winter is no longer coming, it is here. But Sansa does tell Jon Snow that.

In the tree grove of Winterfell Littlefinger tells Sansa of his dream to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa as his queen because, you know, Catelyn is dead and all so her daughter is the next best thing. As tempting as it is for Sansa to be fucked by a power hungry liar who will pretend that she is her mother mid-coitus, Sansa plays it coy. But she does give Petyr a smile and I have no idea if she's trying to play him or actually is considering joining him. It can't be the latter, right?

Jon Snow gathers the families of the North, along with the Knights of the Vale and Wildlings and discusses the great ice zombie battle that they're on a collision course for. The houses are hesitant but Lady Mormont shouts them all down. She reminds them that they were pansies when it came to dealing with Ramsay and that they shouldn't be pansies now. They agree and start chanting that Jon Snow is King of North. I remember when a similar thing happened with Robb Stark. It...didn't end well.

Meanwhile, while the chanting is going on, Sansa makes eyes with Little Finger. I really hope she's not planning on getting into bed, figuratively and/or literally, with Little Finger. But I'm still very unsure what's going through her head.

North of the Wall
Frozen Benjen Stark leads Bran and Meera to the wall but no further. There's magic in the wall that doesn't allow ice zombies or near-ice zombies to pass through. So...problem solved! Everyone can go home now. Jon Snow, you've got nothing to fear.

After Frozen Benjen leaves Bran has another vision. In what is one of the least surprising reveals to anyone who has Googled Game of Thrones, Jon snow turns out to actually be Lyanna Stark's and Rhaegar Targaryen's son. Shocking!

Dorne
Remember Dorne? Yeah, they're still around. But they're cooler now because Olenna is there! She's pissed about events I'll describe later (Spoiler: things aren't going well for house Tyrell) so she and Varys propose an alliance between the Tyrells, Sand Snakes and Daenerys.

Oldtown
Sam finally makes it to Oldtown where the Citadel is. Sam shows up but the..secretary?...is unimpressed. He doesn't know who Sam is and still thinks Jeor Mormont is Lord Commander. For a group solely dedicated to knowledge, they're way behind the times. That was, like, three Lord Commanders ago!

Anyway, Sam does gain access and enters the library filled with book. He's a regular Bell in Beast's castle. Meanwhile, Gilly and young Sam in the lobby...waiting...with nowhere to go.

Meereen
Daenerys is finally going to set sail, but she wants Daario to stay behind and rule Meereen. Darrio is not happy about it. He'd rather continue to have sex with Daenerys. Who can blame him? But, Daenerys has the final word.

Daenerys then talks with Tyrion who basically says his heart was once ice but she has melted it. He was a cynic who is now a believer. You get the idea. Danerys thanks Tyrion and makes him hand of the Queen (he can't seem to escape that job!). Tyrion kneels before his queen.

Then they are off! There are a bunch of ships. Dragons are flying. Principal cast members are posed and stare off into the distance contemplating the monumental battle before them as they head for Westeros.

The Twins
Walder Frey is pretty happy to have Riverrun back. He tries to yuck it up with fellow war veteran Jaime Lannister but Jaime won't have any of it. Jaime questions what Walder even knows about war but Walder basically says he's as survivor. He knows how to win battles without even fighting them. Jaime reminds Walder that the Frey's are nothing without the Lannisters and then leaves.

Later Walder Frey is alone and is served a meal by someone he has never seen before. He seems OK with this. He starts to eat but wonders where his sons are. The servant informs him that they're here. Walder Frey is confused so the servant clarifies that they're in the pie Walder Frey is eating.

The server rips off her mask and it's Arya! She tells Walder that she wants the last thing he sees to be a Stark and then slits his throat. I think this is supposed to be a “Hell yeah!” moment and it kind of is, but it also made me very concerned for the path Arya is on.

King's Landing
Move over The People vs OJ Simpson, a new trial of the century is set to start! It's Cersei's turn to be judged. She is getting ready but first we have an opening act.

Loras Tyrell comes before the High Sparrow and confesses his sins. You know, that terrible crime of loving someone is who is your own gender? Anyway, his punishment is to give up all worldly possessions and then to get the Sparrow's symbol carved into his head. Maergary is not happy about the latter punishment but there's not much to be done. Next up to be tried is Cersei, but she's nowhere to be found.

Cersei is still hanging out in the Red Keep. Tommen is making way towards the trial but Franken-Mountain shows up and won't let him through. Also, a bunch of kids stab the shit out of Maester Pycelle.

Lansel is tasked with retrieving the Queen so he's off but then he sees a kid doing stuff! Lansel can't let such a thing like a kid walking around occur so he chases after the kid. The chase leads Lansel underground where he sees a strange green glow. Then he gets stabbed by the kid.

Now, this kid is an expert stabber because he stabs Lansel in just the right way so Lansel doesn't die but his legs are immobilized meaning Lansel can only crawl. Lansel crawls towards the glow but this trap was set up to know Lansel's exact crawl speed. So, by the time he gets to see a candle burning over a crap-ton of wildfire, he's just barely out of time. Also, whoever set this up knew that Lansel was going to try to futilely blow out the candle instead of us his finger to snuff it out.

So we're back at the Great Sept and Maergary sees that there's no Cersei and no Tommen and starts to put two and two together. Maergary declares that they all need to leave now but intelligence and an ability to adapt on the fly are not the High Sparrow's strong suits so he just orders everyone to stay in the Great Sept.

Boom.

There goes half of King's Landing. Tommen sees this from his room and figures out his mother was behind it. He seems momentarily resolute to try and fix this problem but decides to fuck it all and jump out the window.

Jaime returns to King's Landing to see that Cersei had put the Mad King's last wishes into practice. He enters the Red Keep just in time to see his dear sister crowned Queen of Westeros.

Other Thoughts
Remember that big reveal at the beginning of the season that Melisandre was an old woman? That really went places...

Seriously, I'd really like to know what Sansa is thinking.

Is it possible to look at Mace Tyrell and not think he's a part of the Lollipop Guild?

I thought Franken-Mountain was going to kill Tommen. Cersei apparently still cared enough about him not have him die by her own direct doing. Although, she sure didn't seem broken up about his death.

I haven't mentioned the fate of Septa Unella because I didn't want to mention it. It's the kind of stuff Game of Thrones rightly gets pillaged for. To make things worse, I think we were supposed to enjoy her fate.

What was the point of killing Maester Pycell? Was it just to give Qyburn a promotion?

It's apparently really easy to convince packs of kids to brutally murder people.

Why wasn't Tommen already by his queen's side when her brother was on trial?

So Edmure got locked up again? Way to go, Edmure. I wonder if Arya will save him?

Arya is now a magic assassin and I have to just accept that, right? Like, I shouldn't question the logistics of her sneaking into the Twins, murdering two prominent men, carving the meat off their bones and then baking a delicious looking pie without anybody noticing anything, right?

I think, long ago, Bran once told a story about someone who ended up being fed their own child because they betrayed the trust of welcoming someone into your home as a guest. Was that foreshadowing or did I imagine that?

Of the many, many deaths I think the only one I really cared about was Maergary. I know she had “outlived her usefulness” to the story but I felt like she deserved a better end. I wasn't sad to see Loras go, per se, but I will say I initially liked him and feel like he was an underutilized character.

What exactly did Lyanna Stark say to Ned? I mean, obviously, something to the affect of take in Jon Snow and don't tell anyone about his true parentage but was that all? If so, why hide what she said from the audience?

In a bit of a prophetic moment, as this episode of Game of Thrones started the first note I made was “Ever think about how inconsequential King's Landing feels as of late?” with Cersei completely cannibalizing the city that's more true than ever. Who cares about King's Landing? What power does the Iron Throne have any more?

I'm not even looking forward to Daenerys sailing to Westeros, as far as King's Landing is concerned. One of two things will happen, either Daenerys will be frustratingly stupid in battle (very out of character for her) and struggle to take King's Landing or it will be a battle that's over before it started.

In the end, Game of Thrones is at its best when it's about political machinations and back stabbing as people attempt to gain power. And I'm a guy who, in a vacuum, would take dragons and ice zombies over political maneuvering any day. But not this time. (Not that the more fantasy elements are bad.) Anyway, the ice zombie threat is so great now that back dealings and power grabs are going to have to take a back seat. What's the point of sitting on the Iron Throne if the land is covered by hordes of ice zombies?

Of course, this show could go the route of still focusing on the politics because, lords knows, even today many politicians are more concerned about what furthers their own personal agendas than focusing on the true problems that face the world. However, dedicating a lot of time to these King's Landing political machinations would be difficult because the audience knowing the imminent greater threat is out their makes it pointless and thus we just won't care about who ends up on the Iron Throne beyond knowing how pointless their crown is.

I suppose what my ramblings are meant to convey is that it's tough not to expect the next (two?) seasons to shift focus from politics to a giant war between humans and ice zombies. That could certainly be fun and interesting but I'm not convinced the show will be better for it.

Olenna: What is your name again? Barbaro?
Obara: Obara.
Olenna: Obara. You look like an angry little boy. Don't presume to tell me what I need.

Walder Frey: Fear is a marvelous thing.
Jaime: They don't fear the Freys, though. They fear the Lannisters. We gave you the Riverlands to hold the Riverlands. If we have to ride north and take them back for you every time you lose them, why do we need you?

Sansa: Jon, a raven came from the Citadel. A white raven. Winter is here.
Jon Snow: Well father always promised, didn't he?

Season 5 Totals
Boob Count: 20 (A brief scene at the beginning.)
Full Frontal Count: 4
Butt Count: 6
Coitus Count: 0 (Yara was close, but it was off screen.)
Main Character Death Count: 20 (For this episode...Margaery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, the High Sparrow, Lancel Lannister, Mace Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, Tommen Lannister, Maester Pycell, Walder Frey)
Hodor Count: 30

3 comments:

  1. But she does give Petyr a smile and I have no idea if she's trying to play him or actually is considering joining him.

    Ditto (to this and the later shared look between them), though in the show's defense, I believe they want us questioning Sansa's thoughts/intentions, so this is a thing we're supposed to be wondering about at this point.

    I remember when a similar thing happened with Robb Stark. It...didn't end well.

    I'd say there's no way this could end worse than that, but, well, this is GAME OF THRONES.

    For a group solely dedicated to knowledge, they're way behind the times. That was, like, three Lord Commanders ago!

    That dude's going to pitch a fit when he finds out about Jon, and tries to figure out how to record that.

    Meanwhile, Gilly and young Sam in the lobby...waiting...with nowhere to go.

    As someone who's lost of track of time in bookstores and libraries to the detriment of other family members, I sure hope Sam remembers they're out there before he starts tucking in to all those scrolls.

    Principal cast members are posed and stare off into the distance contemplating the monumental battle before them as they head for Westeros.

    I hope they spent the entire voyage in that pose, just in case anyone happened to look upon them at any given minute.

    think this is supposed to be a “Hell yeah!” moment and it kind of is, but it also made me very concerned for the path Arya is on.

    Yeah, I'm becoming more and more convinced that while Arya's story may turn out to be personally successful (ie she kills most of the people on her list), it's ultimately going to end badly for her and be a storyline about the emptiness of vengeance and the way killing destroys a person. Like, I'm not really seeing a reunion w/Jon & Sansa (at least not long term) where they're all happy together or something. I think it's going to be her murdering her way through Westeros, then realizing she's kind of empty inside when there's no one left to kill and she's unrecognizable to her loved ones.

    But maybe they'll swerve out of that at some point. Or maybe it's already too late for that.

    Now, this kid is an expert stabber because he stabs Lansel in just the right way so Lansel doesn't die but his legs are immobilized meaning Lansel can only crawl. Lansel crawls towards the glow but this trap was set up to know Lansel's exact crawl speed. So, by the time he gets to see a candle burning over a crap-ton of wildfire, he's just barely out of time. Also, whoever set this up knew that Lansel was going to try to futilely blow out the candle instead of us his finger to snuff it out.

    When you watch a magician perform, you just spend the whole show thinking about how he does his tricks, don't you? :)

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  2. What was the point of killing Maester Pycell? Was it just to give Qyburn a promotion?

    Technically, Qyburn is an ex-Maester, so his power all comes from his relationship with Cersei. She could appoint him Grand Maester or whatever even if Pycelle is alive and it would be as legitimate in the eyes of the Citadel as if she did it after Pycelle was dead (ie not legitimate at all). So I think it was mostly about Cersei cleaning up family business, so to speak. In that, Pycelle had vocally opposed Cersei, so she knew she had to get rid of him to consolidate her power post-sept explosion. And her whole plan was about getting vengeance on everyone who'd pissed her off and stood in her way, and that included Pycelle. Since he wasn't going to the trial, he had to be disposed of another way.

    Like, I shouldn't question the logistics of her sneaking into the Twins, murdering two prominent men, carving the meat off their bones and then baking a delicious looking pie without anybody noticing anything, right?

    Correct.

    Bran once told a story about someone who ended up being fed their own child because they betrayed the trust of welcoming someone into your home as a guest. Was that foreshadowing or did I imagine that?

    You didn't imagine it, and it is foreshadowing. In the books, he tells that story right before the Red Wedding (he may have in the show, too; I forget when it happened there), and it's meant to illustrate the importance of respecting guest rights, just so everyone knows what a big deal it is when the Freys violate it.

    Then, later in the books, it comes up again when one of the secretly-allied-with-the-Starks Houses pulls a similar pie trick on the visiting Boltons, something to which Arya's Frey pie in this episode was clearly a nod.

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  3. I wasn't sad to see Loras go, per se, but I will say I initially liked him and feel like he was an underutilized character.

    Agreed on both him and Margaery. It's a shame because they're really not significant in the books either, so everything we got on the show was an improvement, but then that also tied the show's hands, in that, ultimately, they couldn't do much of significance without drastically altering the main narrative of the books. So it ends up being a kind of "damned if you do/damned if you don't" situation. But I definitely would have liked more from both Tyrells.

    If so, why hide what she said from the audience?

    I wondered about this too - some are speculating that, given the obviousness of R+L=J, there may be an added twist to the story, like Jon is actually the product of Aerys raping Lyanna. Or maybe the show was just being dramatic?

    It's also unclear whether or not we were supposed to hear what she said. Because I've also seen some people online saying they could hear what she said if they cranked up the volume, but no one seems able to say what it is she said...

    either Daenerys will be frustratingly stupid in battle (very out of character for her) and struggle to take King's Landing or it will be a battle that's over before it started.

    At this point, the only possible complications to Dany's eventual conquest that I can see are either Dorne slowing her down via politics (since, presumably, Dorne is the most likely disembarkation point of her armada), because what else does Dorne do on the show other than drag down compelling plots at this point, or Euron showing up w/his new fleet of ships and allying with Cersei, to at least present some kind of naval challenge to Dany and thus slow her down that way.

    However, dedicating a lot of time to these King's Landing political machinations would be difficult because the audience knowing the imminent greater threat is out their makes it pointless and thus we just won't care about who ends up on the Iron Throne beyond knowing how pointless their crown is.

    Further to your point about the story shifting away (at least to some extent) from political machinations, there's really nobody left in King's Landing with which Cersei can engage in political machinations. She arguably has the most legitimate claim to the throne at this point, plus she has the might to shout down anyone who would argue that. The only person left to challenge her is Jamie, and while he may not be happy about things, they're confrontation will be a lot different than the usual political games.

    So any challenge to Cersei has to come from outside King's Landing (ie Dany and/or ice zombies), which is a pretty big change for the show right there. And clearly an intentional one, whether, as you speculate it, it's for the better or not.

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