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Game of Thrones



Episode 7 - The Dragon and the Wolf

28 August 2017

This felt anti-climactic. A lot of things were teased but few were resolved. If they are resolved satisfactorily next season that will make up for it but its hard to have faith in that. I suspect most climaxes to come will be like the killing of the dragon last week. Or the collapse of the Wall here. They were visually impressive but they were set up in a very paint-by-numbers way.

I always assumed that the levelling of the Wall would generate huge panic across Westeros. However the good guys are all headed to Winterfell to fight the dead anyway. So although this is bad news it doesn't quite have the same impact it might have.

Little Finger's death was another example of this. Yes the sight of him begging was sort-of satisfying. But there was no craft in how we reached that moment. It's not clear how much of Sansa and Arya's bickering was staged. Or when Bran shared the knowledge that he possessed. All of that was made murky in order to facilitate the "surprise" of Baelish being called out when he didn't expect it. I'm afraid it was a twist so telegraphed that even I predicted it two episodes ago. In fact four episodes ago I pointed out that Bran was being kept in the shadows in order to be an "engine of surprise." I don't recall these things to point out my intelligence. On the contrary I am rarely ahead of the mysteries on TV shows. I was surprised by the Red Wedding. I've been shocked by most of the show's twists before the last two seasons. I live in the moment when I watch TV, that's what I love it so much. It takes me out of my self. It's only afterwards that I analyse why I felt what I felt. So if even I can see through a lazy plot to the predictable finish, something must have gone wrong.

Benioff and Weiss are not good storytellers. They think that surprise is the same as drama. It isn't. As Arya and Sansa stand on the walls and reminisce about Ned there was genuine emotion in the air. Emotion generated by the story as it was told before they began adding their own twists. Baelish's death made me feel nothing. As soon as he gave Sansa to the Bolton's he ceased to be the same character as in the books. He became a foolish TV prop and he died as one.  I can't believe GRRM will write such a flat ending for the instigator of the War of the Five Kings.

I enjoyed the various reunions at the Dragonpit and the demonstration of the Wight. But I waited for big character moments to appear and they didn't. We got a Cleganebowl tease. Then we cut away from Tyrion convincing Cersei to see reason. Even Jaime leaving was only goodbye-for-now. We did get consummation from Jon and Dany and I enjoy their chemistry just fine. But the timing of the Sam-Bran chat seemed designed to make us go "Ewww! Incest!" rather than actually contemplate Jon's future.

I liked the essence of the Theon scene even if the execution was a bit much. Kicking a eunuch in the crotch would still hurt him, particularly if he'd already been badly beaten.

Also I'm pretty sure women in the middle ages drank alcohol while pregnant. It's not a question of ignorance, more about the scarcity of purified water. That seemed like an interpolation of a modern storytelling trope where it didn't belong.



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