Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x06: Beyond the Wall



Opening Credits Map

King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Eastwatch -> Old Town

Dragonstone
Daenerys bemoans Jon Snow's decision to go capture a White Walker. She tells Tyrion that she's glad he isn't a hero. Heroes are hot, hunky men who make your loins cry out for satisfaction but, instead of quenching you're deep, desperate thirst, heroes go off on stupid, ill-advised quests that will probably get them killed.

Tyrion is less concerned about Daenerys's carnal desires and more interested in her death. More specifically, he's worried about who will succeed her and how the succession will take place. Daenerys, however, isn't keen on thinking about her own mortality.

Not much is decided here accept some acknowledgement that a benevolent dictatorship is only a good form of government for one generation. Daenerys is focused on simply becoming a benevolent dictator before worrying about anything else. Tyrion is still concerned about the long game.

Winterfell
I was trying to figure out a pun involving “the daughters of CATelyn Stark” and a CAT fight but I couldn't quite stick the landing. And that's before I even considered if the joke would be sexist or not. My main point is, though, Arya and Sansa are feuding.

Sansa is scared that Arya is going to show the note of her asking the Starks to submit to Joffrey's rule to the people of Winterfell (who probably have already seen the note when it was first sent?). Arya is mad that Sansa wrote the letter and mixes in some victim blaming as well. This leads to Arya catching Sansa searching for the note in Arya's room. So Arya uses her creepy assassin speak and a knife to the throat to scare Sansa.

Sansa goes to Littlefinger, of all people, for advice and he suggests talking to Brienne. That advice doesn't sound half bad. So, of course, Sansa sends off Brienne to King's Landing for reasons I'm not fully sure about. I think Sansa is just panicking...even though she probably has nothing to worry about.

North of the Wall
The Fellowship of the White Walkers is headed out into the great snowy unknown. There's banter about having sex to keep warm and whinging. Jon Snow tried to give Jorah the Mormont family sword, Longclaw, but Jorah has none of it. It's officially Jon Snow's now. (Screw you Lyanna Mormont.) Then the Fellowship is attacked by a zombie ice bear.

The zombie ice bear kills a few non-plot-essential characters. The Brotherhood without Banner's flaming swords start the zombie ice bear on fire, which is sweet, but it also serves to scare the Hound. This all ends up with the Brotherhood without Banner's priest, Thoros (whose name I totally knew and didn't have to look up) getting badly bit.

After the zombie ice bear is taken care of the Brotherhood without Banners use their flaming swords to cauterize Thoros's wounds. But he's still in pretty bad shape. The Fellowship keeps walking until they find themselves face to face with a group of zombies.

They fight the zombies but discover that when they killed the White Walker the rest of the undead who were "turned" by that White Walker die too. This means that if the Night's King is killed, all the White Walkers and undead go too!

Also, conveniently, an undead straggler that was apparently turned by another White Walker was with the group. The Fellowship capture this zombie but not before a horde of other undead are alerted to their presence. And this giant army of White Walkers and zombies start to chase the Fellowship.

Gendry runs back to Eastwatch to get help, since he's the fastest. The rest of the Fellowship run from the horde and eventually make it to a rock in the middle of a frozen lake whose ice broke just in time to keep the White Walkers away. Of course the Fellowship is now trapped and it's only a matter of time before the lake freezes again. The Night's King can be seen patiently waiting things out, since it's not like he has any projectiles to throw at them or anything.

After Thoros dies and the Brotherhood burn his body with their flame swords, the group gets a little bored. The Hound takes this as an opportunity to throw rocks at zombies. It's kind of funny but the rock hitting the newly frozen ice signals to the undead that they can proceed. Smooth move, the Hound.

So, the battle is on and our Fellowship is pretty much screwed. A few nobodies die and there are other close calls but not one of plot importance dies. They're surrounded and things look hopeless right up until Daenerys comes flying in and her three dragons start frying zombies.

It's pretty sweet. Daenerys swoops down to have everyone ride on Drogon but Jon Snow seemingly decides against it and just starts fighting the zombie horde. While Daenerys is waiting for Jon Snow the Night's King grabs an ice lance and throws it at her. I'm just kidding, he throws it at one of the moving dragons with no humans on them. He does hit one though and it's an insta-kill.

Viserion the non-Drogon dragon goes crashing into the lake. It's kind of sad but that sadness is mitigated by how expected it was the Daenerys would lose a dragon eventually. Jon Snow falls into the lake so Daenerys can't wait for him any longer and is forced to leave...never even bothering to try and send some dragon fire the Night's King way.

Anyway, Jon Snow survived the ice cold water, of course, but he's still surrounded by zombies. He seems done for but we get this episode's second savior arriving at the last possible moment. This time it's Benjen on horse who has a flaming whip thingy. Jon Snow is surprised to see Benjen but Benjen is all “I don't have time to explain to you why I don't have time to explain to you.” He then gets Jon Snow onto his horse and sends him back to Eastwatch. Benjen remains to fight the zombies because horses can't carry two people.

Jon Snow awakens all shirtless, sexy, and scarred on a boat. Daenerys is there by his side. Jon Snow apologizes about the dragon but Daenerys seems to be handling it well. Then Jon Snow and Daenerys all but declare their love for each other. That was fast.

Back up north, the undead are pulling the corpse of Viserion out of the lake. Then the Night's King turns Viserion. The White Walkers now have a zombie ice dragon, y'all!

Other Thoughts
When they show the "previously on" clips from the first couple seasons the actors look so young.

Again the talk about Jon Snow bending the knee to Daenerys is discussed as a matter of pride. I still feel like he'll simply lose all his followers if he bends the knee, regardless of his personal pride.

Honestly, I had no clue that whinging was a word.

If Arya from 5 seasons ago was yelling at Sansa like this, I'd get it. Present-day Arya should be much older and wiser.

I read Laura Hudson's review of this episode before writing this and was reminded that Arya worked under Tywin Lannister and pretty much did nothing. So for all of Arya's victim blaming of Sansa about not doing anything, what did Arya do to get vengeance on the Lannisters when she had a chance? She even had three death wishes and used none of the them on Joffrey or Sansa!

I will admit the flame swords are pretty sweet.

Why doesn't Sansa suspect Littlefinger at all?

Why does Brienne need to go to King's Landing? It sounds like Jon Snow will be representing the North there. What would her role be?

I figured Gendry giving up his hammer to run faster was going to end up biting him in the butt.

For whatever reason, I just assumed the zombies would have some sort of six sense and just know when the water was completely frozen.

I wonder how Cersei will react when she realizes the Night's King can take could take care of Daenerys's dragons for her?

I feel like they need explain the White Walkers aversion to water and how that works. Because it looked like they could jump out of the water after they fell in. Also, they apparently could jump in and hook a chain up to Visereon's dead body.

I had thought about Visereon becoming an ice dragon and Jon Snow being able to tame and ride him. Visereon is now the perfect dragon for someone with Stark blood.

Regarding Visereon's death and at the risk of writing fan fiction (and, admittedly, not knowing how this will all play out), I feel like what would have been a better way to go was to have Visereon fly over the Night's King and blast him with fire. However, the Night's King could've like, done some defensive magic mojo to "reverse" the flame into cold and have that cold travel back to Visereon killing the dragon like we saw the lance do. Everything else could stay the same but it would explain why, if the Night's King has those lances, he didn't throw it at Jon Snow and company stranded in the middle of the lake or why he chose to throw it at Visereon instead of Daenerys and the stationary Drogon. It would also explain why Daenerys didn't immediately have Drogon or the other dragon blast the Night's King with fire after he killed Visereon. It would also show the audience that Daenerys and the rest of the living's greatest weapon won't work on the Night's King and they'll have to kill him in a different, harder way.

Tormund: You have to keep moving, that's the secret. Walking's good. Fighting's better. Fucking's best.
Jon Snow: There's not a living woman within a hundred miles of here.
Tormund: We have to make do with what we got.

The Hound: Every lord I've ever met's been a cunt. Don't see why the Lord of Light should be any different.

Season 5 Totals
Boob Count: 3
Full Frontal Count: 1
Butt Count: 4
Coitus Count: 2
Main Character Death Count: 6 (The count is low, so why not put Thoros and Visereon on there?)

4 comments:

  1. How did Daenerys find them? She never went to the North before. The North is supposed to be huge, even beyond the Wall. Even if the F-22 crow who delivered the message had an exact location, this isn't Google Maps. How was it possible to... aw, forget it. She is the heroine, Jon is the hero, thus they should end up together, because both are pretty and heroic, and we know they're going to win at the end, eve if the die... heroically.

    BTW, why no one besides Tyrion is worried about tyrant Daenerys, the demagogue? She is going to break the weel and make everyone equal... except for her, who will remain a dictator above all and whom should not be disobeyed. Or else, you'll burn. Why is she the heroine again?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The North is supposed to be huge, even beyond the Wall.

      As I mentioned below, it could be argued that the group wasn't all that far from the wall, since we know the army of the dead has been encroaching on Eastwatch all season. So maybe she didn't have to fly very far north to find them. And maybe the raven said something about flying towards the mountain shaped like an arrow, which would have been pretty visible from the sky.

      But again, it would have been nice if the show more firmly established some of that for us.

      She is going to break the weel and make everyone equal... except for her, who will remain a dictator above all and whom should not be disobeyed. Or else, you'll burn. Why is she the heroine again?

      I do think this is a question the show is planning to explore. At this point, I will be very surprised if the whole thing ends with any one single ruler, however benevolent, on the Iron Throne. I think that's one of the reasons Tyrion brought up the question of succession - as Dr. Bitz said, a benevolent dictatorship is only good for the dictator's life.

      "Break the Wheel" has to mean more than just "be an absolute ruler, but a nice one", and that phrase has been hammered home enough now that I think the show knows that. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we end up with some kind of ruling counsel/rudimentary parliment/democracy in the end, or something where Dany or Jon or Sansa is the nominal ruler but plans to institute a line of succession based on merit or something like that.

      I really feel like, if the idea at the start of the show is "in the game of thrones, you win or you die", by show's end, we're going to see a third option established somehow.

      Delete
  2. who probably have already seen the note when it was first sent?

    Yeah, I mean, Robb read it in the company of Catelyn & Maester Luwin, and it prompted him to call his banners. It seems pretty reasonable he would have at least mentioned it to the other lords as evidence of the Lannister's treachery. Even if the current lords weren't there, it probably would have been common knowledge (I mean, Lyanna Mormont wasn't there when Robb called his banners, but her aunt was).

    This time it's Benjen on horse who has a flaming whip thingy

    I'm pretty sure it's a flail.

    When they show the "previously on" clips from the first couple seasons the actors look so young.

    I love seeing old shots of Tyrion, when the show was still trying to pretend he was blond.

    I still feel like he'll simply lose all his followers if he bends the knee, regardless of his personal pride.

    Yeah, this is where the Northeners fickleness gets bothersome. Like, if he's the king, he's the king, and you gotta go along with it even if he does shit you don't like. If you can boot him anytime you're unhappy, then I guess he's not a king (and yes, I know this tracks with how kings worked historically, where they weren't as absolute a monarch as we usually think and had to worry quite a bit about keeping their lords happy, but it's still annoying).

    Honestly, I had no clue that whinging was a word.

    I tend to think of it as being a British word (not sure if it really is). I'm pretty sure it even made it into some Americanized Harry Potter books.

    She even had three death wishes and used none of the them on Joffrey or Sansa!

    Don't even get me started again on how that plotline got fumbled. Neither the show nor GRRM managed to land it well.

    I feel like they need explain the White Walkers aversion to water and how that works.

    I don't think it's an aversion so much as an inability to swim (and/or float, presumably because they're mostly bones and thus less bouyant, maybe? I dunno, who am I, Bill Nye?). Which doesn't mean they couldn't pop into the lake to attach those chains, if so ordered, and just, you know, not come out ever again.

    Visereon is now the perfect dragon for someone with Stark blood.

    Viserion is the Song of Ice and Fire!

    Seriously though, it would be pretty cool if Jon ends up riding him, but I'm pretty sure we're heading for a "the dragon actually has two heads" scenario with him on Rhaegal and Dany on Drogon vs. the Night's King on Viserion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. if the Night's King has those lances, he didn't throw it at Jon Snow and company stranded in the middle of the lake
    If you had a rocket launcher that could shoot down a helicopter, would you use it to take out some troops who are otherwise not an immediate threat to you, or would you save it for the helicopter?

    or why he chose to throw it at Visereon instead of Daenerys and the stationary Drogon.

    Viserion was the one posing the immediate threat to his troops, ie burning them. To use the helicopter metaphor, do you rocket launch the one rescuing the enemy troops, or do you explode the one mowing down your own forces?

    It would also explain why Daenerys didn't immediately have Drogon or the other dragon blast the Night's King with fire after he killed Visereon.

    Shock and grief make people less capable of thinking strategically in the moment?

    It would also show the audience that Daenerys and the rest of the living's greatest weapon won't work on the Night's King and they'll have to kill him in a different, harder way.

    In all seriousness, I do like the scenario you laid out, and I think there's probably at least a dozen different ways this action scene could have played out that would have worked better/made more sense/been less prone to nitpickery.

    For me, the big drawback is just a lack of context and information. Like, I can handwave away a lot of the nitpicks, but it would have been nice if the show had done some of that work for me. Why didn't they bring horses? Maybe the terrain was too rough, but would a line of dialogue to that effect killed the producers? How did Gendry get back so fast? Maybe they weren't that far from Eastwatch (we know all season the Army of the Dead has been getting closer, but again, some dialogue establishing the relative geography would have been nice). Instead of Benjen saying "no time!", having him say something about how the horse will be faster with just one rider. Not "he'll never make it with two", just "he'll be the faster", the idea being that Benjen is willing to sacrifice himself even just for the chance to improve the odds of Jon's survival. Instead of having just one convienant zombie survive the killing of the white walker, maybe have two or three - it still establishes the premise, but better hides the fact that the sequence is trying to establish a plot point. Show Jon's Fellowship drinking on that rock, so we know they had water with them, or have the Hound grumble about how they've been stuck on that rock for X days so we know how long it's been and how fast ravens/dragons fly, etc.

    I mean, nothing is going to save the fact that the whole "range beyond the wall to capture a zombie" plan was pretty idiotic and poorly setup, and there's always going to be some nits to pick with the ensuing action sequence, but at the end of the day, a few little dialogue additions and tweaks to the events could have greatly limited the nits and made the whole sequence a lot more effective.

    ReplyDelete

Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Am mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!