Tag: Daenyrus

‘Game of Thrones’ Review: ‘The Long Night’

The latest episode of Game of Thrones was hyped beyond belief. “The Battle for Winterfell” was possibly the most anticipated episode of the season, showcasing the war between the united characters of Westeros (sans Cersei) vs. the White Walkers in what was thought to be a bloodbath of epic proportions, on par with the Red Wedding. But when the episode came roaring onto screens last night, it had some noticeable issues that, in this author’s opinion, prevented it from reaching the heights of true greatness. We’ll delve more deeply into SPOILERS in this review of “The Long Night” but before we do, here’s your chance to turn back now in case you haven’t seen the episode.

So, turn back now! Last warning?

 

Spoilers Ahead!


 

 

Alright, still here. Then let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t in last night’s epic battle.

 

Danenyrus and Jon Snow stand on the wall of Winterfell, staring at the army of torches in the distance
IMAGE VIA THE ATLANTIC

The opening moments of the battle start off grinding out the tension. The defenders of Winterfell stand assembled. Grey Worm stands before the gates, standing stalwart with his fellow Unsullied. Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, Tormund Giantsbane, Samwell Tarly, Sandor Clegane, Beric Dondarrion, Jorah Mormont, Davos Seaworth, Ghost, and Lyanna Mormont stand among their ranks. Arya and Sansa Stark stand tall on the walls. Tyrion Lannister and Gilly hide underneath Winterfell in the crypts with the common citizens. The dragons circle overhead. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally stand side by side on the highest point of the keep, staring ahead into the darkness beyond. Its so quiet you can hear a pin drop as the tension is ratcheted up beyond belief, as the characters stare off from the sanctuary of Winterfell, unable to see into the darkness beyond, waiting…waiting…for something to happen.

Melisandre arrives presently (nice to see you again!) and although Davos doesn’t trust her, he allows her inside. Melisandre gifts the soldiers of Winterfell with the blessing of the Lord of Light, making their swords alight with flame similar to Beric’s own. The army then charges off to meet the army of the dead and flaming cannonballs are fired off. They strike something ahead, engulfing the battlefield with pockets of light…showcasing a HUGE tide of wights coming out of the darkness. What follows next is one of the episode’s brilliant moments, as the POV switches back to Winterfell, with the sea of torches visible in the distance. One by one, with no sound, the torches go out. The terror at this situation is boldly felt and captures the horror of the White Walkers without them even being seen. A great artistic choice, well done!

 

 

Arya Stark fights wildly for survival as zombies surround her

Image via Vox

But that’s when the episode takes a sharp left turn towards incomprehensibility. As the wights swarm Winterfell en masse, the defenders rush out to meet them. What should be a great/terrifying action scene is unfortunately marred by one fact: you can’t see what’s happening! Between the very dark lighting, the fast paced editing, and the chaotic style of the melee itself, the action is downright incomprehensible. You can’t see what’s happening onscreen, which is problematic to follow the characters who are in real mortal peril fighting for their lives against the surge of the undead. This is a problem that pervades throughout the entire episode and unfortunately, one that brings it down considerably. Its almost impossible to tell what’s happening onscreen throughout the battle through much of its runtime and considering the sheer scale of the battle itself, this is a huge problem. We want to see what’s happening! We want to see who lives and dies! But whether through design or error, you simply can’t throughout ‘The Long Night’.

Some of these moments were obviously intentional, such as when the Night King arrives and his Walkers conjure an enormous blizzard to blind the dragons as Jon and Daenerys pursue him. This scene captures the frantic pursuit very well, being very hard to see as the dragons race around desperately through the blizzard, getting attacked at points by the Night King atop his zombie dragon and only providing brief moments of relief as the two exit the blizzard. But at other points, you simply can’t tell what’s going on, such as when Grey Worm and the Unsullied defend the gate, Jamie and Brienne fighting desperately on the walls against the endless tide, or when Arya is sneaking around inside Winterfell, trying to avoid lurking wights. The episode is unfortunately undercut by the fact that we can’t see any of it.

 

Bedric wields a flaming sword in the crypt of Winterfell
IMAGE VIA WINTER IS COMING

You could argue it is a stylistic choice in order to capture the chaotic pace of medieval warfare. However, previous episodes such as “Battle of the Bastards” embrace this as well and they weren’t nearly as visually hard to follow. You can blend the chaotic style of medieval warfare with comprehensible cinematography without an issue, as previously shown, but this episode just couldn’t do it for whatever reason.

Still, this episode was full of cool moments when we could see them. Lyanna Mormont’s death scene was a tearjerking highlight, as she faces down an undead giant that smashes its way through the gates. The monster begins butchering soldiers and slaps the little girl aside. But Lyanna gets right back up and with a scream of a warrior, charges back in towards the towering monster. The giant grabs her and begins crushing her but Lyanna, with her last breath, stabs the beast with a dragon glass dagger, killing the giant at the cost of her own life. RIP, Lyanna, you went out like a boss!

 

The Night King stands tall in a towering inferno
IMAGE VIA IGN

Other great moments included Sansa and Tyrion’s heart-to-heart scenes in the crypts as the battle raged overhead, bringing their relationship closer as they spoke of how they were nearly married, the dragon fight as Jon Snow took on the Night King’s undead mount in a midair duel to the death, and Jon Snow attempting to kill the Night King himself only to be stopped by a wall of zombies that the Night King raises from the corpses of the battlefield. The last stand of Theon Greyjoy was also a great moment of the character, as Theon faced down dozens of wights to defend Bran, getting a solemn thank you from Bran as his former brother told him he was a good man. Theon then ran at the Night King himself, only to be gutted and died. A great ending of the character and another badass exit.

Still, despite what viewers thought would be a bloodbath of an episode, there really weren’t that many ‘big’ deaths. Theon Greyjoy, of course, has been a pivotal part of the show but his importance has waned with time and he was much more of a side character in the lead up to his demise. Lyanna Mormont’s death of course was heartbreaking, but she was never a main cast member, just a member of the supporting cast to whom viewers grew attached (for good reason). Beric Dondarrion also perished but his status as a cast member is quite similar to Lyanna. Melisandre walked her last at the episode’s end but she too had been dwindling in importance and the fact that was the first time she showed up in a long while undermined her death scene, as it appeared she appeared out of the blue simply to die. Arguably the ‘biggest’ death was Jorah Mormont, who died defending Daenerys from endless waves of zombies, but even he wasn’t a main cast member either. Everyone who was on the A-list came away relatively scott-free, without even any serious injuries to show for it. Even characters who arguably should have died— i.e: Sansa and Tyrion trapped in the crypts with the undead, Samwell buried in an avalanche of wights, and Jamie and Brienne overrun by wights— survived. Honestly, it’s a little disappointing that not a single main cast member perished, especially considering Game of Thrones’s reputation of killing anyone, everyone, no matter who they are. Perhaps we overhyped ourselves but still…its disappointing nonetheless.

 

IMAGE VIA IGN

Of course, the most controversial moment will be the death of the Night King himself. The big guy perished at the hands of Arya, who shanks him with her dagger, causing the Night King to quite suddenly explode, with his entire army of zombies falling apart with his death. It is a sudden, jarring moment, perhaps somewhat anti-climatic, but one that feels more in line with the show’s desire to subvert audience expectations. One hopes we’ll learn a bit more about the White Walkers now that they’re gone, as the Night King and his troops never showed their motivations nor any real personality traits. They were just evil and while that certainly made them threatening, it would be a disappointment if they didn’t have much else going for them.

It seems now Cersei will become the threat for the reminder of the season. We’ll have to wait to see what happens but it be a bit sour to have the supposedly main threat offed and a smaller, more petty threat take his place. Still, we’re sure the showrunners have something up their sleeves.

The Battle for Winterfell proved to be a rather mixed bag. With the lighting issues, lack of character deaths, and the death of the Night King sorted in with a truly epic scale and great moments this one isn’t bad but perhaps fell short of true greatness. We can only hope Cersei proves herself to be just as a threat as the Night King’s forces but we’ll have to see.

What were your thoughts on the episode?

 

 

Featured Image Via Vox 

Danaerys riding dragon

New ‘GOT’ Teaser Reveals Jon Finally Riding Dragon!

No, this isn’t an April Fools joke! This weekend, specifically March 31st, a new Game of Thrones promo was released. Although it features a lot of footage taken from the main trailer, the new promo also features tantalizing new details that have us salivating for the new season in just two weeks. Some specific new aspects of footage look to finally be confirming fan theories and giving us the season we’ve been waiting for.

The promos were not released online but in true internet fashion, they’ve been posted online anyway through shaky cam footage filmed on TV screens.  Check out the clip below!

 

The promos were not released online but in true internet fashion, they’ve been posted online anyway through shaky cam footage filmed on TV screens. This article from Vanity Fair showcased the footage that was glimpsed by fans and they do not disappoint. Highlights include:

 

Daenyrus sits on the throne in a triumphant pose, looking straight at the viewer
Image Via Daily Mail

 

 

  • The two dragons flying over Winterfell. Arya and Sansa are looking up in wonder at the magnificent beasts, which makes sense since they haven’t the creatures yet. But also looking up in wonder are Davos, Tyrion, and Varys, who have been spending tons of time around dragons. It makes sense then that they’d be astonished since Jon himself would be riding a dragon and with Tyrion on the ground, it has to be Jon up there. While the dragon’s backs appear to be empty, Jon was probably edited out to avoid spoilers. We hope that’s the case, at least!

 

  • In the assembly hall of Winterfell, as Tyrion addresses the crowd, Arya and Sansa are sitting side by side. It looks like the sisters are working together, heading Winterfell side by side in the face of a larger threat.

 

  • Beric Dondarrion is also seen, waving his flaming sword around. While the context is ambiguous, it also is accompanied by a shot of the Hound wincing, suggesting either Beric is threatening his old opponent or Beric draws his sword is close proximity to the Hound, pointing towards them working on the same team. Either way, its exciting!

 

  • Finally, we see Jon walking away from Daenyrus, as Daenyrus looks moodily into a campfire. Perhaps the two have finally figured out they are related and this puts a damper on their admittedly sort of gross relationship. Drama!

 

In any case, the new footage looks great and we can’t wait to see it all, especially our deep hope that Jon finally takes to the air on a dragon’s back! Catch the premier on April 26th, only on HBO!

 

 

Featured Image Via NME

Top 5 Best Dragons in Fantasy Literature

Dragons! Just that name is insanely cool. The name dragon conjures images of huge beasts, filling the air with their mighty roars as they rain fire upon castles, do battle with knights, or kidnapping princesses. Dragons have filled our collective imaginations for a long time and their continued popularity means we’ll see many more iterations of these grand beasts continue to pop up. Below, we count down 5 of the best dragons to grace fantasy literature, from the big to the bigger.

Smaug the dragon towers over Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) atop his hoard of treasure in the Hobbit's film adaptation

Image Via The Verge.

1. Smaug: ‘The Hobbit’

One of the most famous dragons in literature and one who had a profound impact on dragon depictions going forward, Smaug from ‘The Hobbit‘ is a magnificent creation. A wicked creature, Smaug invaded the dwarven kingdom of Erebor, driving the native dwarves out and taking the mountain for himself. He resides in the stronghold for many years, until the events of the novel, where thirteen dwarves, Bilbo Baggins, and Gandalf venture to the mountain to plunder his treasure. Unfortunately, Bilbo’s stealing is noticed and enraged, Smaug emerges from his lair to attack the nearby village of Laketown. While laying siege to it, he is shot down by a man called Bard, who pierces his one weak point: a small patch in his jewel encrusted underbelly. Smaug is slain, allowing the dwarves to claim the treasure, but Smaug’s legacy lives on, both in the further novels of the Middle-Earth universe and in real life. As a fun fact, Smaug’s wealth is estimated to be 62 billion according to Forbes, making him the wealthiest fictional characters of all time.

 

 

 

 

A Hungarian horntail, a dragon, flies against the sky and breathes fire

Image Via Pottermore

2. Hungarian Horntail: ‘harry Potter’

Dragons play a minor but memorable role in the Harry Potter universe. For the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire the chosen students must steal a golden egg from a dragon’s nest. Harry goes up against the Hungarian Horntail, unfortunately for him as the Horntails are incredibly aggressive and ferocious. Harry, however, manages to outmaneuver the beast by calling in his trusty broomstick and snatches the egg from the creature’s nest. The dragon sequence was greatly expanded for the film adaptation, where the Horntail breaks loose and chases Harry across Hogwarts. In either case, the Horntail certainly made its mark as a memorable obstacle and beast.

Beowulf blocks the dragon's fire as he does battle with the beast
Image Via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

3. The Dragon: ‘Beowulf’

The final act of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf chronicles the titular character’s battle with a dragon. The dragon is awakened when a slave steals a jeweled cup from its lair and it begins terrorizing the countryside. Beowulf, now old, takes up arms nonetheless to fight the monster. Scaling to its lair, Beowulf’s men abandon him at the sight of the dragon, leaving only Beowulf’s companion Wiglaf with their master. Beowulf receives a mortal wound during the epic battle, but Wiglaf impales the dragon through the belly, weakening it, and Beowulf finishes it off by slicing off its head. The dragon receives no characterization but is a memorable role both killing Beowulf and being the earliest recorded instance of a dragons layer in English literature.

The three dragons of Game of Thrones sitting with their master, Daenyrus, on an island

Image Via Game Thrones Wiki

 

 

 

 

4. Drogon, Viserion, Rhaegal: ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’

Dragons play a pivotal role in the Song of Ice and Fire universe, being almost akin to weapons of mass destruction. Raised by the Targaryens, dragons possess enough power to raise entire cities to the ground and House Targaryen used them to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. But when the House was overthrown, all the dragons were killed. However, Daenyrus Targaryen receives three petrified dragon eggs as a gift much later on, which she manages to hatch into three living dragons. Naming them Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegel, the dragons could grow into weapons Daenyrus could use to fulfill her destiny: to conquer the Seven Kingdoms as her ancestors once did. But it won’t be easy, as numerous people want the dragons for themselves and as they grow, the dragons are increasingly difficult to control.

Falkor looks upon the viewer as he lies down on the desert sands in the movie adaptation of the Neverending Story

Image Via Syfy.com

 

 

 

 

5. Falkor: ‘The Neverending story’

Falkor is a friendly luck dragon and friend to  The Neverending Story’s protagonists, Atreyu and Bastian. He resembles a Chinese dragon crossed with a dog, being furry and elongated, a contrast to most other depictions of dragons throughout literature. True to his name, Falkor has incredible luck in everything he does, such as when he locates Atreyu in the midst of a raging storm against all odds. He provides assistance to the protagonists in the book, carrying them across the vast landscapes of Fantasia and offering them wisdom where he can. Falkor is lovable, much like a big dog, and becomes a beloved companion to readers and the fictional universe alike.

 

What dragons are some of your favorites? Tell us in the comments!

 

Featured Image Via Variety 

‘GoT’ Update: First 2 Episodes Surprisingly Short

In a devastating reveal, Forbes has reported that the first two episode runtimes of Game of Thrones’ newest season are surprisingly short. Or, at least, shorter than we might expect. This is a bit surprising, considering the season will already be shorter than usual: six episodes instead of ten, the length of all the previous seven seasons. The first two episodes will be a mere fifty four minutes and fifty eight minutes each, not even passing an hour in length. While these runtimes are longer than the average episode for television, with all that season eight has to wrap up, the runtimes are shorter than we perhaps expected… and definitely shorter than what we hoped.

 

The Night King stands triumphant on an icy strait after demolishing a camp in 'GOT'

Image Via Forbes

 

Game of Thrones’ final season should chronicle the final battle between Westeros’ unlikely alliance of heroes and the undead hordes of the Night King. But there are also dozens of subplots that have yet to be properly wrapped up, much less reached any semblance of a conclusion. So, here’s hoping the series doesn’t rush through its final and arguably most important season.

Season seven has already been accused of rushing through several of its plots, which raises some concerns for the final season possibly doing the same. Hopefully, the final four episodes will be ‘movie length’ as HBO has promised, enabling enough time to wrap up its dense plot-lines. We’ll be waiting in anticipation!

 

Featured Image Via Variety.