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Episode 10 - The Winds of Winter

2 July 2016

I feel similarly to this finale as I did to Season Five's. Back then the producers chose to lavish attention on Cersei's walk of shame while reducing the rest of the major plots to the bare minimum. The sacrifice of emotion over spectacle continued here.

The destruction of the Sept of Baelor was a beautifully constructed sequence. A wonderful score helped build the tension and the special effects were second to none as you would expect. But was that explosion the most important part of the episode? Surely Cersei's realisation that she was responsible for her only remaining child's suicide was the moment to focus on. Perhaps. Perhaps Cersei had already absorbed the witches' prophecy and was ready for the worst. Perhaps numbness overtook her.

But surely Arya gaining revenge on Walder Frey deserved more time? After the Red Wedding I specifically argued that Roose and Walder ought to become central figures now because their crimes demanded narrative attention. Now I seem to be a lone voice pointing out that their deaths are about as unsatisfying as they could possibly be.

Arya is barely a character in this scene. She is the Angel of Death. Her Mission Impossible face mask and ninja training mean she can murder three grown men without anyone noticing. Why should we care about her anymore? She's in no jeopardy, she can just magic her way through any situation.

Finally Dany makes Tyrion her new Hand in a scene both actors played for emotion. And it would have been a touching scene if it was the slightest bit earned. What has Tyrion done to earn her trust? What has she done to give him faith in humanity again? They met for one episode last season and were reunited for one this year. In the meantime her advisors repeatedly questioned his handling of Meereen and all he would have witnessed was her misrule.

Emotion is what makes good television. Not spectacle. If you don't care, you won't remember it. It won't mean anything to you. It has no purpose. Benioff and Weiss know how to run the best production team the world has ever seen. But they don't understand where the emotions should be in their story. 

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  • Hard to argue with you on all this!

    I actually completely agree with your sentiment that Walder and Roose had unsatisfying deaths (and post Red Wedding arcs).

    Dany and Essos has always been (by far) the weakest part of the show to me, so once again I agree with all that you said.

    I'm not sure what to think from here. I love the books, but I can't honestly say that the show is "great" or one of the best shows of all time. It's treated as such, but I really do wonder what 10 to 20 years of age and separation will do once the show is ended. Will we look back and regard this show as one of the very best? Or will its flaws stand out more glaringly since we've been separated from the hype and the desire for it to be great? Obviously, you can tell which way I'm leaning.

    I think Game of Thrones hit at just the right time and had just enough great characters to carry it into being a phenomenon. Without Lord of the Rings paving the way, would this show have been the same success? I feel like LotR warmed everyone up to the Fantasy genre and made it okay for the general public to enjoy fantasy rather than make fun of it. Those books are clearly timeless and have aged well. I believe George RR Martin's books will have the same longevity.

    Already, though, the LotR movies feel a little labored and overdramatic. The Hobbit movies never really even took off. Where GoT came at just the right time, I think The Hobbit movies came 5 years too late. GoT had upped the stakes by then, and the separation from LotR I think wakened people to Peter Jackson's sometimes heavy hand.

    Anyway, now I'm going off on tangents, but it was an interesting thought that hit me so I figured I'd run with it for a minute :P

    Posted by Brando, 26/09/2016 8:28am (4 months ago)

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