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Game of Thrones



Episode 4 - Sons of the Harpy

14 May 2015

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Stannis affirms his love for Shireen. Melissandre tries to persuade Jon to come to Winterfell. Baelish returns to King's Landing. Cersei arms the Sparrows and they arrest Loras. Tommen is unable to free him. Jaime and Bronn land in Dorne and kill some guards. Ellaria plots to kill Myrcella. Tyrion recognises Ser Jorah and mocks his plans. The Sons of the Harpy coordinate an attack on the Unsullied.

The Good: My favourite moment in the episode was Jaime using his metal hand to stop the killing blow. It really wasn't clear in that moment how he was to escape death and never has a moment felt more Martinian (as in George RR) as someone used their handicap to their advantage.

There were plenty of other good moments. Like Jaime spotting Tarth, Tyrion annoying Jorah into un-gagging him, Jon begging for recruits, Mace Tyrell's attempts at comedy or Hizdahr zo Loraq's eloquent case for the fighting pits. But...

The Bad: I think this episode was the victim of some bad choices. Last week felt packed with incident and story development. This was more repetitious and poorly structured. Tyrion's scene with Jorah was basically a recap of Mormont's story. Melissandre flashed her chest just to ask Jon to come to Winterfell (as Stannis did last week). We got two moments when Bronn didn't say that he knows Jaime and Cersei are together. None of these were terrible moments but the wheels were spinning a little.

My real issue was with the three fight scenes. I imagine the Sparrow and Harpy attacks were deliberately placed in the same episode for contrast but added to Jaime's fight and they lost some of their novelty. The Sparrow story feels too rushed. The High Sparrow has so far come across as genuine in his desire to do good. Yet his followers seem enthusiastic about violence including murder which is surely inconsistent? The fact that some guards turned their back on these attacks, apparently informed about the new policy, but the King's guards were eager to retaliate was odd too. I definitely felt sorry for Tommen but it's difficult to feel fully invested without more information. Again not a huge criticism but it felt like pieces were being deliberatley withheld.

The Harpy-Unsullied showdown had to follow that and expand on it to seem more epic. Yet I was disappointed. I appreciate the effort to finally show us Ser Barristan in action and present the scale of the problem Dany faces. But the actual choreography left me cold. In a small space it would seem logical for the Unsullied to lock shields like a phalanx and use their superior discipline. But instead they dived into hand-to-hand combat like fools. Greyworm and Barristan then rescued one another from certain deaths in the most predictable way possible and both (seemingly) escaped death. I feel a simpler attack could have delivered more emotive results.

In terms of repetition we also had Shireen asking Stannis if he was ashamed of her. He responded by launching into a story. Then later Ellaria asks one of the Sand Snakes for her support and she too responds by beginning a story. I know it's a TV cliche but it felt lazy and frankly unconvincing coming from Obara who seems a woman of action rather than monologues.

The Unknown: An episode late Baelish gives Sansa the plan I asked for last week. I'm glad she asked sensible questions in response. He's definitely consistent. Yet again he outlines his entire scheme in public where he could be overheard.

Jon turns down Melissandre on the grounds that he still loves Ygritte. Has his "father no sons" vow gone out of the window now? Or is he choosing women to sleep with who he thinks exercise birth control? Her prescience of Ygritte's favourite phrase was a clever way to indicate her supernatural gifts.

We got two stories about Rhaegar Targaryen which is interesting. It's kind of amusing because most TV viewers only now, 44 episodes later, get the full story of what Robert and Ned were talking about in the same crypt in the first episode. I always appreciate historical details and this, I guess, is helping set up some revelations about someone (cough* Jon Snow cough*) down the line.

I really like the humanity which sweet Shireen provides Stannis' character. The detail that he passed Greyscale on to her is typically tragic. But I can't help but feel that Shireen is a sacrificial lamb being prepared for our sympathies. Unless the scene was designed to make us like Stannis I can't see any other purpose for it. I'm not looking forward to the horror of the scene when Melissandre asks him to choose between his destiny and his daughter.

Best Moment: Jaime turns the tables.

Conclusion: Because of the way Game of Thrones is constructed with the producers having to pick which scenes fit together best I suppose episodes like this are somewhat inevitable. It's a shame but no big deal in the long run.



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  • My money has always been on Melisandre fighting out Jon's true parentage. While it's more than likely that Bran's "sight" will confirm it, I think she'll be the first person to put forward that theory on the show.

    She clearly senses something in Jon. Her interest in him seems to go beyond the fact that he is related to the "King in the North"? We already saw the Red Priestess in Volantis take about the Chosen One, Melisandre clearly believes that is Stannis. What if it Jon? It's probably much too fairy tale but I always saw the Chosen One as being whoever sits the Iron Throne at the end of the story. It will never be as explicit as that I'm sure but if Jon is Rhaegar and Lyanna's son he has a far better claim to the throne than most. Of course, Melisandre has now left the Wall but could she see something in her "fires" that makes her change sides from Stannis to Jon Snow?

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by Derek, 11/05/2015 7:45pm (4 years ago)

  • That's a great point. Maybe Ser Barristan was involved in Rhaegar's business? Maybe he could put the clues together but of course he may now be dead...

    Posted by The TV Critic, 10/05/2015 12:35pm (4 years ago)

  • ***After podcast comments***

    Great read on Sansa Robin! I never thought of it that way; that perhaps she is using Little Finger's infatuation with her to protect herself.

    I see what you are both saying about Jon potentially being the lovechild of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. After listening to the podcast, this led me to ask myself the burning question 'Who is left alive that can definitively tell Jon Snow he's Rhaegar and Lyanna's son?' Unless Jon develops the sight (like Bran) the only other person I could think of that would be able to tell Jon who his mother was (and true father) is Bran.

    Posted by Fluids, 08/05/2015 6:02pm (4 years ago)

  • I have noticed more direct interlacing going on now with the pre credits earlier show scenes and the content in the show we are watching. Robert puts the bird feather in Lyanna's hand in the first episode and in this episode Sansa picks up the feather from the ground of the crypt and dusts it off. Does that symbolize the Stark's presence as a ruling House over Westeros? Robert wanted to marry Lyanna and the Starks would have genetically affected the bloodline of the King in the Crownlands. Perhaps Sansa will be back in that position to continue that intention?

    Posted by Fluids, 07/05/2015 2:39pm (4 years ago)

  • Brando - nice to hear from you but no I haven't kept score on shows that I are not published. I agree that GofT suffers slightly for only having 10 episodes.

    Beric - I appreciate that you leave comments here and want to be a part of the podcast. But I don't like your condescending remarks toward me. That isn't really the spirit of what we're doing. The review contains my thoughts. I don't claim that they are the definitive take on the show. I also think you are using your book knowledge in making your arguments and they aren't a comparable reflection on a TV only viewer's response to things. I also try to keep my reviews short and to the point. I don't feel the need to argue every single character reaction. You seem keen to have a personal battle with me. So please try to understand things from someone else's perspective and don't tell me what I should or shouldn't be seeing in the show.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 05/05/2015 10:50pm (4 years ago)

  • Finally great to see Barriston Selmy wield some steel. I loved the overacting when he was stabbed and threw his head to one side before seemingly dying. I would be shocked if both he and Grey Worm were both dead. I would guess that Grey Worm might be OK and Selmy done for.

    As for more speculation. Whenever Hizdahr Zo Loraq was talking about the fighting pits and then we cut to the Sons of the Harpy butchering everyone I suddenly had a thought - is Hizdahr something to do with the Sons? Maybe he's even orchestrating the attacks or feeding information to them. After all we know relatively little about him and he was connected to the previous rule at Mereen.

    Not a bad episode, but not a great one either. The bit with Tyrion and Jorah in the boat was a bit clunky. I know he's smart but Tyrion worked out the Jorah situation pretty much spot on very quickly.

    This season has annoyed me a bit as well by how quickly they have hopped from place to place. Makes a huge world seem very small but then again I don't want long, drawn out filler episodes either so can't complain too much. Suppose Littlefinger will be in King's Landing next week.

    Viewer score: 69 / 100

    Posted by peter riegler, 04/05/2015 10:52pm (4 years ago)

  • Since you already wrote your review I will try to clarify some of your points of concern whilst indicating my thoughts on the episode:

    I very much enjoyed this the whole way through because of the complexity of some of the conflicts involved and the fights provided good anchor points for the story.

    I think you overlooked some of the elements in the episode or you might have misread them and if you saw the preview for next week you'll know what I am referring to.

    Let's get the big thing out of the way first: I think there is no doubt that Barristan and Grey Worm are dead nd there was no way to read that scene differently. The last image is of all these men dead on the floor. This is not some kind of happy image meant to give us the idea that the two chracters made it out alive. Both got fatally stabbed and were lying on the floor: that sems pretty definitive to me so how you could read anything else into it is baffling to me but no matter. You are right however about the fact that the fights were deliberately placed in the same episode for parallels: Cersei seemingly gains from the movement of the Sparrows/Faith Militant whereas Dany seems to be at a complete loss as to how to deal with the Sons of the Harpy but I like that Hizdhar makes the point that not all men can die in glory when Barristan and Grey Worm are exactly doing that at the end of the episode. The Sons of the Harpy moving through tunnels with torches is a nice mirror image of Grey Worm in episode 4 of season 4 trying to liberate the slaves by getting them to revolt but obviously the Sons of the Harpy have the opposite intention....or do they? We think we know what they want but I would not make assumptions as to know their thoughts on the matter.

    I might add that the Unsullied are not effective in a small corridor like this one, since they primarily use the spear and the shield but with not enough room to move they fell prey to the seemingly deliberate choice of location made by the Sons of the Harpy. It is moreover ironic that the Second Sons re the first to die, when Daario had bragged about the cultural integration of his men into Meereenese culture. Also, I bet when you're ambushed you don't get the time to organise and fight in formation and I bet one's thoughts don't go there immediately either...they seemed to be fighting like 40 Sons of the Harpy there as well so inhowfar they were at a disadvantage is up for debate for sure.

    I will speculate as to the impact of this event. IF Barristan and Greyworm are dead, which I still cannot believe how you could think anything else, Daenerys has 2 fewer counsels on which to count on in a city that clearly rejects her and her ways of ruling, which means there is hope for Tyrion and Jorah but convincing her to take them in. But it would be a very big hurdle for them to take. It does not spell hope for Dany that's for sure. It might also embolden the Sons of the Harpy even more, depending on how she chooses to react IF it turns out one or both of them died. What it might also do is change Dany's opinion on some of her policy stances in order to sway the revolting population. She will also have lost the only remaining connection to her family's past. All very big implictions that you seemingly did not pick up on by simply declaring it one way without waiting to see the development of that story. If Greyworm dies the implications are less political and more personal and this time they potentially also include Missandei and we do not know what her reaction might be if it turns out that Greyworm is dead.

    I am also slightly amused as to how you would know from one scene what the new character Obara is like as a person. If it is a comfort, she gave that speech in the books too and was still a woman of action. I also enjoyed that Tyene is the indecisive one, whereas Nymeria seems to be the one who is loyal or and expressive of her love for her mother. The Sand Snakes are not all Ellaria's children so I think Obara might need to explain herself somewhat to Ellaria because Ellaria has no direct blood ties that connect her to Tyene or Obara and hence their decision is really up in the air from Ellaria's perspective.

    Jon loves Ygritte. He stays loyal to Ygritte and his only oath is to stay at the Wall, since we know that the men of the Night's Watch go to the Mole's Town brothel all the time. It just means that Jon takes some vows more seriously than others and in his position he would have to do so. He understands the needs of the men at the Night's Watch because he has been on the other side and seen what the temptation of a free life holds. In one sense he got lucky that Ygritte did not get pregnant but even then he had no other choice but to sleep with her to make sure she thought he was sincere when he joined the wildlings. He could not know how that would end because there was possibility that Ygritte might get pregnant but in the end she didn't.

    I also hardly think that the Stark crypts that the Boltons don't give a shit about is 'talking in public'. Or maybe that's what he wants to tell Sansa because we have no idea if he is telling her his true intentions or his true plan.

    As to the story about Lyanna and Rhaegar it might still be possible that Sansa is correct because we know from the show that only very few people are unambiguously good-natured throughout their entire life but then Selmy would have a false image of the man he protected. So who is right? It seems like the information is conflicting but it does not have to be so I guess until we know more we will not be able to assess Rhaegar's personality entirely and I am curious as to what you thought connected Jon Snow to the story? There was, as I recall, no link made between Ned's indiscretion and the two stories about Rhaegar that were given. It might be a good idea at this point to say that Jon Snow's parentage is still not confirmed in the books so we are not 100% sure as to what the details are. It seems likely that the show will give us an nswer before the books do, though.

    I might also disagree with the notion that someone as awkward as Stannis would not tell a story rather than show his true feelings in a direct manner. The episode ws definitely an example of 'this is nt the story you think you are watching and you are missing important details looking ver here, when you should be looking over there'. These people use metaphors to say what they mean because saying this stuff directly is not in Stannis' nature because that would leave him vulnerable. I might also say tht you were the one that asked for more scenes that just allowed the characters to breathe and you made the beetle speech the best moment of episode 8 of season 4 for exactly that reason. So what's different between a scene like that and the very emotional scene with Stnnis nd Shireen here?

    As for the Kingsguard and the City Watch, they are two different fractions, one of them sworn to protect the King at all times and hence under his direct command nd always t his side, the other being mainly responsible for the security of the city and so the chain of command is rather different because it's likely that more people can tell the City Watch what to do as opposed to the King's Guard, which is under the exclusive command of the king. The Kingsguard would not necessarily be aware of the change of policy, since they are asked to be around the king at all times and if the king is not informed as to the decisions his mother makes behind his back and in his name there might be confusion, which is definitely something that might happen. The king might order them City Watch to do something but then again, they might assume that the Queen and the small council speak for the king, which might not actually be the case. I find it interesting that this is all done essentially to get back at Margaery for her jabs last episode. Don't take this the wrong way but Cersei, just like yourself, might not be actually listening to what the High Sparrow is actually saying. He says that sinners ought to be judged justly by the Father. Well, what do we actually know of the man's conception of justice? He says all sinners are equal in the eyes of the Seven, which is why the Sparrows have no qualms about approaching a highborn man like Loras and throwing him in a cell. The man LOOKS or SEEMS sincere and I think that he is sincere but that does not exclude the Sparrows using violence to get to that specific end result. The High Sparrow has radical notions for the society he lives in that I fear you mistook for harmless pece-loving religion-talk. Or it might well be that the man has no influence whatsoever on the more radical elements of the Faith, which could not be unrealistic, given that even in our real world people adhere to different kinds of interpretations of the same religious doctrine. When he says 'justice' how would he be able to guarantee that no violence is being used by the more radical elements of the movement anyway? He is seemingly not a violent man, yet the Sparrows definitely seem protective of him so he might have a more medieval sense of justice than we at first were led to believe. I think that clash is definitely deliberate because we might be asked to reflect on the potential for violence in religious rhetoric where there does on first sight not seem to be any indication of radicalism. I think it's best to go by the facts that we have: we know very little to nothing about the man, yet you assumed him to be benevolent when everyone, including Kevan, has said that the Sparrows are fanatics and I fear neither you nor Cersei realise what kind of person she made a deal with here. If divine authority trumps everything then what are we to expect? Also, can he not desire to do good and condone violence to achieve said goal? He said lancing a boil is never pleasant...does that mean that suffering of some is ok in the name of a greater good?

    Tommen is rather a victim of circumstances here. His King's Guard is meant to protect him and the Sparrows definitely seemed threatening in the moment but violence not being in his nature it was sad to see him turn around. The King's Guard might care about the security of the king and so whether official policy or not, I bet most of them don't know the history of the Faith Militant and would fight the Sparrows anyway in order to protect the king. Tommen only got clarification as to the nature of the movement once he confronted his mother. She has managed to build herself a wall of deniability by using the Sparrows and placed herself at least in the eyes of her son as beyond reproach here. Then there is also the point that the City Watch as this point might not give a damn about poor people....we have seen this before and it certainly adds to the potential conflict between religion and state that Cersei seems to miss entirely but then we have seen her drink wine in almost every episode since season 3 so she might not be paying attention to the powder ceg about to explode....nevertheless, my point was the City Watch, just like the King's Guard, might care about stepping in if the king was a target rather than random poor people. It is essentially because the king was traditionally for the last 200+ years an unchallenged figure of authority but apparently the Sparrows have a problem with that.

    The Jaime moment was definitely wonderful....and entirely an invention by the show because Jaime's story on the show is entirely different from his story in the books but it's a nice reminder of the themes that run through the narrative. It is also ironic that Bronn and many people in King's Landing, seem to believe the rumours about Jaime and Cersei and it might be interesting to stop and ponder: does Cersei want the same thing as Jaime anymore? She does not seem to think about him one bit so my guess would be that the relationship is at an end, as far as Cersei is concerned.

    So who thinks that Mace Tyrell is going overboard on the way to Braavos? Cersei might just be dumb enough to have him killed just to get back at Margaery.

    I think you also missed the point of Tyrion's deduction of Jorah's identity. It indicates that Tyrion is getting back into the game as opposed to doing nothing but feel sorry for himself and talking about the pointlessness of everything, although he did point out how pointless the kidnapping was, since he was going to see Daenerys anyway. That he could deduce Mormont's identity simply by looking at his armour shows that he's getting over his sorry state. I think Jorah also seems to have a different relationship with Tyrion than Varys. I think the punch in the mouth gave that away. The outcome for Tyrion might also not be the same arriving in Meereen with Jorah instead of Varys. One of them knows how to talk to people, the other one does not.

    Melisandre's scene was interesting in that the naked person is clearly the person in charge of the situation and Jon Snow has to assert himself and hence is the first one to actually reject her. If you had paid close attention to the dialogue in the scene you might have heard her talk about light and shadows...which would indicate that the reason she wanted to know the secret passages underneath Winterfell was so that she could birth another demon after engaging in sex with Jon Snow. It was also a contrats between the very prude religion of the Seven and the very sexually open-minded faith of R'hllor.

    I think it is also worthy to note that Jaime wants to kill Tyrion for making him indirectly responsible for his father's murder. He definitely did not free Tyrion so that could happen and Tyrion through his selfishness has put his brother in a very bad situation, given that Jaime has always said that he had wanted to save his father. It necessary to observe here that Tyrion admits to his hate for Cersei as a motivating factor in going to see Dany and Cersei has raged about her two brothers a lot in the past as well as being completely indifferent to their wants and needs as people with feelings. So while the Starks have been through a lot they have not turned on each other even in thoughts like the Lannisters seem to be doing right now, which is subtle nuance that one would not pick up on unless one watched the episode closely with everything in mind that came before it. I like the fact that Brienne and Jaime are essentially two knights trying to rescue a princess in a tower on the opposite sides of the world.

    I think Tommen is the son of Cersei the harpy. Anyone agree? Titles still apply to different characters and scenes within an episode...

    I think the scene with Stannis had multiple interpretations but that's all I will say at this stage.

    I also feel it is my obligation to put this interview of Alfie Allen here so as to allow people to prepare themselves but read at your own peril:

    Viewer score: 85 / 100

    Posted by Beric, 04/05/2015 6:46pm (4 years ago)

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    • No! Grey Worm and Ser Barristan are dead! It looks like a blood bath is brewing in Meereen. (SEE Unknown)
    • Little Finger seems to think Stannis is going to attack Winterfell. Get to Stannis! Stop moping about on the Wall (it’s like the doldrums on Dragonstone Island all over again!)
    • I felt that Stannis’ love for Shireen was the most I will see out of him. It’s clear a good portion of his love for her comes from the fact that she has his Baratheon blood coursing through her veins. (Even with how he searched the land to find a cure for her grayscale affliction) it still felt somewhat hollow to me. (Perhaps it was the way he sort of hugged her at the end of that speech.) He’s such an emotionless man, and perhaps I feel if he had to, he would even sacrifice her (since he was willing to murder his own brother and burn his relatives at the stake.)
    • Why do I think Mace Tyrell isn’t going to live much longer with Ser Meryn Trant guarding him? Was he sent away also so they could arrest Ser Loras? Then again may be he truly is protecting him because the crown really needs the Tyrells.
    • Myrcella doesn’t have long for this world. It would be fitting irony if she was killed just as Jaime and Bronn reached her.
    • Doesn’t Ellaria have more daughters with Prince Oberyn than three? Perhaps the others weren’t born from her and some other woman?

    Good (a lot of tiny little moments no big one in particular):
    • Dany and Ser Barristan talking about how her brother Rhaegar wanted to be amongst the people and pretended to be a minstrel and giving the profits to various people.
    • Everything Bronn said about Dorne women appears to be true. Wow! Ellaria’s daughters are fairly ruthless.
    • Melissandre uttering Ygritte’s phrase ‘You know nothing Jon Snow’. A nice last ditch effort to get Jon to believe in her power to convince him to join Stannis.


    • Even Tyrion knows (like I mentioned last week) if Ser Jorah was going to see Dany it’s his head (not Tyrion’s). I suspect by now Dany knows Tyrion killed Tywin and there is a bounty out on his head. If not, I am sure Varys could vouch for Tyrion so I have never thought he was in any danger (or is). Dany needs people who know who her enemies are intimately to inflict the proper damage.
    • Tyrion certainly put together who Ser Jorah was quick enough and Ser Jorah didn’t react to any of that, which made it all repetitious for us viewers (no reminders necessary; just filler scenes for me.)
    • More Stannis related tantrums about what to do. This time since he doesn’t get his way he has Melissandre flash some flesh to no affect. Please get on with it Stannis!


    • Are Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy both dead? It looks like neither of them made it. What will Dany do to avenge their deaths with the Sons of Harpy? Will this change her methods of ruling?
    • Is Sansa falling for Little Finger? She does mention she will be married by the time he gets back (I took that as an acknowledgement that her virtue will be gone and no longer for him to potentially take?)
    • Will Little Finger send troops from the Eyrie to assist him in overtaking Winterfell and secure the North?
    • Where are the Crownlands going to get the money to pay the Iron bank of Braavos? Will they be able to arrange better terms? I doubt it; not with Tommen as King. Mace already offered a loan to the crown and that is probably what will happen (which is why Cersei put him in that position. Right?) The crown will also owe the Tyrells as well as the Iron bank.
    • Who will keep the Faith Militant in check? Tommen? He better grow a pair; Fast!
    • Why is Bronn pushing Jaime to admit that he’s down there to get Myrcella because she is his daughter? Doesn’t he already know that Myrcella is Jaime’s daughter? Does Bronn sense Jaime helped free Tyrion?
    • Melissandre seems to be drawn to Jon Snow and Stannis made a point to tell his wife that Ned wouldn’t sleep with a tavern wench. So who is Jon Snow’s mother? Is Melissandre drawn to him by the blood by his father Ned Stark or his unknown Mother or both?
    • Since Jaime is the head of the King’s guard and is in Dorne, are half of them doing Tommen’s bidding and the other half Cersei’s? (Meryn Trant)
    • What happened to Ser Arys Oakheart who is supposed to be guarding Myrcella? He was nowhere to be found when Ellaria Sands was spying on her and Prince Trystane Martell in the water gardens a few episodes ago.
    • Does Cersei have her incest covered with the High Sparrow before she outted Ser Loras and helped reinstate the Faith Militant? If not, I can see the fate already of Tommen, Cersei, Myrcella and Ser Jaime.
    • It seems the Sparrows and their flocks already know that Tommen is an illegitimate heir and they don’t respect him. Will Tommen stand up for himself? Does he not have long for this world since he doesn’t have any chutzpah?
    • This is the second time I have seen on the show that Ned’s sister Lyanna has been brought up on the show. This time it’s Sansa lighting her funeral candle in the crypts and some words from Little Finger about her with Rhaegar. What is her significance (other than being Rhaegar’s folly)? Is she meant to tie together the Targaryan’s with the Stark’s somehow?
    • Will Sansa become the Wardeness of the North? Bring on the Battle for Winterfell!
    • If Ser Barristan is gone, Dany may need Ser Jorah, so he may keep is head right?

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 04/05/2015 6:18pm (4 years ago)

  • I agree with you quite a bit on this episode. It felt like a bit of a let down after a pretty strong start for this season.

    The interesting thing about the three main confrontations you reference and how the producers have to pick and choose the best scenes to fit into the TV series, is that all three of them are completely original constructs for the show only. I find it odd that for once, the stories and happenings that stray from the books are the parts that felt rushed and/or disjointed. I would think one of the main purposes of straying from the books would be to create a more streamlined story without the need to stretch too thin or rush 250 pages of book into 55 minutes of television.

    Perhaps the biggest problem for this TV show isn't trying to adapt a sprawling epic so much as it is trying to confine any sort of epic into only 10 episodes per season.

    Is it surprising any longer to look back on something such as, say, The Wire, and see that the most successful seasons had 12-13 episodes, while the season that is almost universally criticized as feeling rushed and making plot leaps (the fifth season) had only 10?

    It seems like something that would be interesting to study. What is the episode threshold necessary to maximize a TV show's narrative impact? What is the average number of episodes needed per "main story character" included into the show? What is the average number of episodes needed to complete one solitary story arc? How does the inclusion of multiple story arcs affect the number of episodes needed?

    Six episodes may be plenty to take on one or two major story arcs. This is evident in successful miniseries. But shows like The Wire and Game of Thrones clearly need more room for their stories and characters to breathe - regardless of what the source material is. 10 is too few. 20 would be too many (think of shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica that were criticized in seasons with 20+ episodes for having too much filler, fluff and throw away episodes).

    It's a shame there are budgetary and time restraints. I love this show, and am truly enjoying the fact that they are veering away from the books (so I can just watch it for what it is and enjoy new material rather than constantly compare it to my reading experience), but the fact that the show still has the same problems is leading me to conclusion that I will never quite reach a satisfaction point with Game of Thrones. It will never meet up with the likes of The Wire and Breaking Bad (and otheres) in the pantheon of All Time Great TV Shows in the Drama category.

    Interesting and related note: Breaking Bad had 13 episodes for seasons 2, 3 & 4 and 16 episodes for it's split Season 5, and it (much like The Wire) always felt like it had momentum and was wasting very little of the precious time it had to tell its story.

    Robin - Do you have overall Series Scores for every show you've watched/tracked? Are there any that are just listed in your own tracking (likely sans written reviews since that is what takes the most time), but not on the website? The numeric value is what I'm referring to. It would be interesting to take your Numeric Rating for all Series you have tracked, and break them into Drama & Comedy, and then see what the average episode count was compared to average overall series score (or even average episode score). I'd be curious to see if there was a measurable correlation between average # of episodes vs. quality/rating of the show. I'll take a look at everything you have posted on the website, but I'd be interested to know if you have more in your own keeping that you haven't published simply because there is no written review to go along with your ratings/metrics.

    Anyway. This is Brando signing off for now! Ever the lurker, and occasional the contributor ;)

    Posted by Brando, 04/05/2015 3:09pm (4 years ago)

  • Although I enjoyed the Jaime and Bronn scenes I can't help but feel scared for Bronns fate as he's been taken away from a potentially peaceful life for a high risk mission with an A-list character, I feel like only one of them is making it out.

    We got what I saw as a Walking Dead moment in Maureen as Ser Barristan was happy telling a story and Dany instructs him to "take the night off"" Once the fight begun and Ser Barristan drew his sword I was already mourning his loss. It does look as if Greyworm survived however which is good to see.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Tiarnan, 04/05/2015 11:57am (4 years ago)

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