Tag: George R.R. Martin

Queen Daenerys in front of her armies

‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale Recap *Spoilers Ahead*

With last night’s series finale there is only one thing for certain: we are all waiting with bated breath for George R.R. Martin to release the last two books so we are not left with…whatever that was. While the last two episodes didn’t seem to be pushing the show in the direction we had expected on any level, I most certainly wasn’t expecting a major character to be killed half way through and never mentioned again. I wasn’t expecting every major plot twist and storyline introduced to be ultimately completely ignored. What even happened last night? I know I normally say beware of these articles so filled with spoilers, but I genuinely feel jealous of you, if you missed last night’s episode.

 

Tyrion surveys the aftermath of the Battle of King's Landing
IMAGE VIA HBO

 

The episode opens with Tyrion, Jon, Davos, and others surveying the damage that was done to King’s Landing. Jon comes across Grey Worm ready to execute the last five Lannister soldiers and tries to stop him, but the Unsullied make it clear to Jon he is not to interfere with the Queen’s orders. Yes, Daenerys is Queen. This is the moment I had been waiting for since Kahl Drogo poured melted gold onto Vaserys’s head, and it finally happened. She’s been saying it all along that all of her enemies must be destroyed. I had zero issues with these last five men being executed, but Jon is definitely taken aback by the destruction he finds. Innocent men, women, and children are found burnt alive in the streets. He knows this isn’t what he was fighting for, but lucky for him he does have a claim to that super fancy throne he has the option to exercise.

 

Lannister Soldiers about to be executed
IMAGE VIA HBO

Tyrion immediately takes off to go into the castle on the pretence of finding Daenerys, which isn’t wise considering he committed treason by setting Jaime free last episode. Jon and Davos both warn him not to, but Tyrion has no intention of going to see Daenerys right away. He heads to the dungeons to learn if his brother and sister were able to make it out alive. After crawling through the rubble that blocks it off from the rest of the castle, he finds amongst the debris Jaime’s gold hand. No matter your feelings about Jaime, Tyrion, or Cersei the moment Tyrion moves the bricks to find his slain siblings is absolutely heartbreaking. Keep in mind: these are all Tyrion’s people. As much as he was away from King’s Landing after the whole clan turned on him, he is still a Lannister that watched his whole city burn.

 

Jaime and Cersei dead beneath rubble
IMAGE VIA ROTTEN TOMATOES

This moves us into the most iconic shot in the whole season, probably the whole series. After Daenerys flies in on Drogon, there is the shot of her walking towards the edge of the platform as his wings rise behind her. In this moment she is a dragon, not just the Dragon Queen. Her speech to the Dothraki calls back to one she gave many seasons ago before having them cross the sea to fight for her. Based off of this speech alone, I thought we would see a turnaround in her character. I was really hoping the madness was fleeting and now that her enemies had been destroyed, she could rebuild. Then she speaks to the Unsullied and there is a clear world domination theme. It is in this moment it becomes apparent she must be stopped. “The war is not over” she tells her Unsullied after making Grey Worm Master of War. It isn’t enough that she has what she wants, now she must free all of the slaves in all the world. If this had actually built up to anything of value, it would be a remarkable moment.

 

Daenerys the Dragon
IMAGE VIA TWITTER

Jon stands by with Tyrion watching this exchange, unable to understand a word of Valyrian or Dothraki, believing it is all over. Tyrion seems to have finally regained his sanity and intelligence, and he knows exactly what is happening. He takes his Hand of the Queen pin and tosses it down the steps. This immediately silences the fleet of Unsullied and Dothraki. At first Daenerys seems to be willing to forgive him for releasing Jaime from her imprisonment. After all, he’s dead anyway along with everyone else from King’s Landing due to Dany’s absolute disregard for humanity. Throwing the pin sealed the lock on his prion cell.

 

Hand of the Queen pin laying in the ashes
IMAGE VIA HBO

 

Jon, who has lost all ability to think for himself, decides on his next move based on his conversations with Arya and Tyrion. Arya approaches him after Dany’s big show, and she makes it quite clear that Daenerys is nothing but a killer. Arya should know, she only took out an entire house and the Night King. Jon, on the other hand, isn’t quite ready to admit that his Queen has gone absolutely wild. Tyrion makes him face this head on when Jon visits him in his prison cell. Tyrion casually reminds Jon that he is the only one who can stop her. What follows this encounter is a result of lazy writing and lack of enthusiasm to continue the story on the writers’ part. There is a great moment here for another war. Aegon vs. Daenerys, Targaryen vs. Targaryen. Instead, Jon faces Queen Daenerys head on. She makes it clear in this exchange that she isn’t ready to tame her fiery ways, and Jon has no choice but to put his dagger right through her.

 

Jon and Daenerys
IMAGES VIA HBO

Drogon, who isn’t present, seems to notice right away something is amiss. He immediately comes soaring in, and we are left with another heartbreaking moment. Drogon is screeching, looking from Jon to Dany’s lifeless body. He gently nudges her with his nose, but when she doesn’t rise he takes his revenge. This would have been another profound moment. Imagine Drogon burning Jon Snow, but Jon is still standing because Targaryen blood? Then we would know we have a true King! No, instead Drogon knows what really killed his mother and completely melts the Iron Throne. Folks, we are only about a third of the way through the episode entitled ‘The Iron Throne’, and the titular seat no longer exists. The Queen is dead, and Jon Snow is immediately thrown in a prison cell.

 

Drogon nudges Dany's lifeless body
IMAGE VIA JUST JARED

I’m sure you’re left wondering, like I was, what could possibly happen next? After all, this isn’t the worst middle we could expect. That is to say it wouldn’t be so bad if any of the plot points that lead us to here had any relevance after this moment in time. A council is called, in which someone from each surviving house of the Seven Kingdoms is called to decide on the fate of these kingdoms and select a ruler. Houses Tully, Stark, Baratheon, Tarley, and Aryn are all present in addition to some others. This leads us to my favorite moment in the show. Tyrion asks the council who they believe should be the next ruler, and Edmure Tully takes a stand. He starts rambling about how he is one of the wisest there, and Sansa not-so-kindly tells him to take a seat. He was a prisoner of House Frey for years, which is the only reason he’s still standing. Samwell Tarley, the beautiful soul he is, comes up with the idea of a democracy. Everyone is going to be ruled, so everyone should have a say. It is the most logical, and yet everyone finds it to be a joke.

 

The Council to select the new King
IMAGES VIA HBO

Enter Tyrion. He clearly already has an idea of who should rule, someone with a good story. His whole speech I was getting ready for him to say Jon Snow, formerly thought to be a bastard who is really Aegon Targaryen and true heir to the throne that doesn’t exist. But when you don’t have a throne, you should probably give it to someone who already has their own, like Bran Stark. From the way the books are written the choice of Bran makes sense for who should rule. The books place a much heavier emphasis on magic, but the show skirted that in favor of bloodshed and fire. It is quickly agreed that Bran would be King, and in preparation of his death the council would meet again to choose the next ruler. Sansa, instead of voting, appoints the North as an independent Kingdom where she will be Queen. Absolutely fabulous ending for Sansa, she deserves nothing less than to be Queen.

 

Bran the Broken as the new king
IMAGE VIA VULTURE

The rest of this episode calls back to the history of West Eros and even first clips from the pilot episode. Brienne comes across a book of all those who served as members of the King’s Guard, and she finishes Jaime’s entry. She had the biggest opportunity here to be petty, but even she understood he died protecting his Queen. When the show transitions into the first meeting of the King’s Council, it has more comedy than I expected. Sam presents Tyrion with the history of Westeros beginning with Robert’s Rebellion in a book cleverly titled A Song of Ice and Fire, in which Tyrion does not appear at all. He served as Hand to two kings and one Queen, he stood trial for killing one of those Kings, and was the mastermind behind the Battle of Blackwater. Why would Tyrion be in it?

 

Tyrion's A Song of Ice and Fire
IMAGE VIA HBO

Bronn shows up, Lord of High Garden and Master of Coin. Ser Davos is of course Master of Ships, Brienne is head of the King’s Guard, and Sam got his Maester chains. I feel like this is a scene I would want to be left with even if the rest didn’t completely let me down. Watching Bronn try to prioritize the rebuilding of brothels over a fleet of ships is the exact Bronn I want to see. The only threat they really face is if Drogon ever decides to come back, but have no fear Bran is already looking for him.

 

The King's Council
IMAGE VIA HBO

Jon has been banished to the Night’s Watch yet again. After all, bastards and criminals will always need somewhere to go. This is definitely a call back to Maester Aemon, a Targaryen and heir to the Iron Throne who was instead forced to join the Night’s Watch. Sansa is Queen of Winterfell, where the Starks should have been all along. Arya goes off traveling to find whatever lies West of Westeros, just like Uncle Benjen. Grey Worm and the Unsullied are off to the Isle of Naath, just like MIssandei wanted when everything was over. More importantly, we get to meet Tormund and Ghost once again. That pet we didn’t see after the Battle of Winterfell we finally got last night, when Jon greets his best friend knowing they will never be separated again.  It’s important to note here that Jon never had any intention of staying at the Night’s Watch. Instead, he is joining the Wildlings, North of the Wall where there are no Kings or bastards, only people. The last shot of Jon Snow leaving the wall to go North mimics the very opening scene of the show where two Night’s Watch members leave the wall to head out North. Everything has come full circle, which is the most poetic thing this series could have ever pulled off.

 

Ghost finally gets pet by Jon
IMAGE  VIA ENTERTAINMENT.IE
featured image via vox

Why Ned Stark Would Hate What Has Happened To ‘GoT’

*MAJOR GoT Spoilers Follow*

 

 

 

“The straw on the floor stank of urine. There was no window, no bed, not even a slop bucket…” those two lines are taken directly from the beginning of Eddard Stark’s last POV chapter in George R.R. Martin’s A Game Of Thrones. Before he lost his head, our protagonist found himself in a less-than-accommodating cell—jaded, disillusioned and dissatisfied. At first, he cursed all those he believed played a part in putting him there: Littlefinger, Janos Slynt, Cersei, Jaime, Varys and so on. The last name he ends up cursing is his own:

‘Fool,’ he cried to the darkness, ‘thrice-damned blind fool.’

The five stages of grief, in order, are listed as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In his solitude, Ned Stark seems to experience these stages, all but one—bargaining. After an undefined amount of time, he is visited by Varys, who reaffirms his current circumstances. He’s fucked. Ned, in between the stages of denial and anger, wonders why the eunuch did not intervene when his men were being slaughtered. Varys, rationalizing their situation says:

I was unarmed, unarmored, and surrounded by Lannister swords…When I was a young boy, before I was cut, I traveled with a troupe of mummers through the Free Cities. They taught me that each man has a role to play.

 

Image Via Express.co.uk

 

Now, Lord Eddard Stark’s predicament may serve as a quasi-metaphor for the way one feels when their narrative expectations are not met, and it is indeed why I mention it; however, I also bring this particular moment to your attention because of one very important fact: the show did it better. The foundation of the scene in the show may be the same, the water, rock, and cement stirred similarly but solidified in a slightly different manner. The writers of HBO’s adaptation of A Song of Ice and FireGame Of Thrones added a stellar addition to Ned’s series of retorts:

You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honour for a few more years of…of what?! You grew up with actors; you learned their craft and you learnt it well. But I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago (addition in bold).

The showrunners built upon an already fantastic exchange with a fist-pump-worthy display of Eddard Stark’s Ned Starkness. As viewers, we all of a sudden became okay with our hero’s death; if Ned Stark were to die, at least he would die with honor. Dignity. The end would feel a little less discombobulating. He will not have died for nothing. We could make peace with the fact that his character would always be viewed as an honorable man, but then it happened—Ned Stark accepted the reality of his circumstances. He admits to the treason he did not commit in order to save his family. Ok. Fine. At least he’ll get to live now and redeem his honor in some other fashion down the road. Nope.

“Ser Iiyn, bring me his head!”

 

Image Via Inverse.com

 

Ned Stark’s execution was made even more powerful due to a worthy bunch of words written by HBO’s finest. In the seasons that followed, GoT seemed to follow this formula; adding things to and subtracting things from George R.R. Martin’s hard work in ways that seemed reasonable. Cinematic. Writers gave Robb Stark more focus, made Catelyn Stark more sympathetic via prayer wheel weaving monologues, and had Arya bring Tywin Lannister cups. The show wisely even cut some of the novels more graphic scenes, because, well—chill, George.

 

Image Via Winteriscoming.net

 

For a while, the show was brilliant, trustworthy—we expected to be awed. It did not compromise. It was surprising to find a fantasy series so relatable and grounded while at the same time obviously immense. A boatload of prophecies and foreshadowing on top of layers upon layers of SEEMINGLY well-rounded character arcs. This all began with the death of Ned Stark, as did the most important thing we learned from Westeros: narrative decisions have consequences.

In K.M. Weiland’s book, Creating Character Arcs (an often referenced book by narrative nerds with too much time on their hands), she defines a character arc as revolving around the lie that a character believes. Over the course of the narrative the character will have to come face to face with this lie and either overcome it or succumb to it—positive and negative character arcs accordingly.

The lie that Ned Stark believes is that his honor is all that matters. What makes Ned’s death so tragic is the fact that he overcomes the lie he believes when he does what is best for his daughters but dies anyway. Although the audience could see this as a negative arc, I choose to see it as a positive character arc, albeit a less victorious one.

 

Image Via Amazon.com

 

Given Joffrey’s character and subsequent reaction, Ned’s fate still makes sense. Seven seasons later, the show itself does not… and the internet is on fire. It is ablaze with the type of heat that can only come from incomprehensible madness or one very pissed off fan base—and the latter is an understatement. A lot of people hate the latest season of Game of Thrones. It feels rushed, contrived, inconclusive, and chaotic. Scorpions are being fired while Tyrion’s demonstrably gigantic brain suffers through a severe case of constipation simply to move the plot along.

 

Image result for tyrion crossbow
Image Via Gamespot.com

 

Get off the privy!

 

The consequences of this unsatisfactory season: fans with a proclivity for overreacting. Reddit ninjas have bombed Google so that Dan Weiss and David Benioff (sorry guys) are the first faces one sees when they google “bad writing.” A petition has already been made begging HBO to fix this season (yesterday it had something like 16,000 signatures, now, 300,000+). Hell, I wrote an article about lowering my expectations for this season, and I’m still pissed off. All this hate stems from a handful of disjointed character arcs mixed in with broken promises.

When a story plants a seed of ominous information or foreshadows something, it essentially bargains with its audience. For all the “prince that was promised” prophecies and not-so-long-night allusions, winter came and went without so much as a single case of frostbite.  And the character arcs. Oh, the arcs. Jon believes the same lie as Ned and apparently hasn’t learned shit from dying as his already questionable intelligence seems to fade. Jaime believes all that matters in the world is him and his sister—if the past few seasons were any indication, he grows to learn that this is not the case. So why the fuck would he regress? And of course, Dany’s lie is that she is the fateful ruler (no matter what). All that genocide might even make sense for her if we could have actually witnessed the decline of her sanity in an earned way.

 

Image Via Gameofthronesseason.com

 

And the clever-ish white to black wardrobe progression doesn’t make it any more convincing…

 

Am I writing this article to appeal to the vast army of dissatisfied customers? Absolutely. It’s a popular idea at the moment and the audience matters. Sure there’s been fan service—quirky love triangles, warm and fuzzy reunions. No one can deny that the series’ writing has gone downhill since its departure from George R.R. Martin’s source material; rock without water and cement is just rock. We were actually fine with the rock, but why the rush? The compromising gravel? If the true Warden of the North refused to compromise until right at the very end, then neither should any writer.

Put your heart and soul into that text—type until the keys break, write until the ink bleeds. The whole world is watching—a worthy cast and crew is at your disposal; a disappointing ending is forgivable, but a disappointing season? If writers don’t pay attention to their audience, then an honorable man who once sat in the dark pondering the future of his world really did die for nothing.

 

Image Via Aminoapps.com

 

Woah, you’re going to ruin your sword, bro…

 

And now, the majority of us story-obsessed free folk are jaded, disillusioned and dissatisfied—cursing the showrunners and all those believed to have played a part in putting us in said position. Episodes one and two found us in a state of denial: ” they’re just setting up all the pieces.” Episode three brought the anger: “Why can’t I see anything? That’s it for the Night King?” After episodes four and five, we became depressed, on the verge of bargaining with the ways in which book adaptations should be accepted right before we lose our heads.

In the darkness of disappointment, we curse our own expectations.

“Fool, thrice-damned blind fool.”

At least there’s no straw on the floor stinking of urine.

 

 

 

Side note: 

I went into work this past Monday and one of my coworkers mentioned how all he saw on his phone when he awoke that morning was GoT backlash. “If people are this upset by a television show they shouldn’t be watching it,” he said.

Maybe he’s right… at the end of the day, Eddard lowered his head, said a prayer and made his peace with the end…

Nah. 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Popculture.com

George R.R. Martin Dismisses Claims That Final ‘Game of Thrones’ Books Finished

So that speculation was fun while it lasted.

 

Ian McElhinney in a scene from the HBO television series "Game of Thrones."

Image Via USA Today

Previously, it was reported that actor Ian McElhinney, the actor who played Barristan Selmy before the Sons of Harpy got to him, stated that George R.R. Martin “struck an agreement with David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss]…that he would not publish the final two books until the series completed.”

 

Benioff and Weiss

Image Via The Verge

Before the actor even said anything, Benioff and Weiss were Google-bombed by angry Redditors who were able to manipulate Google’s algorithms so now their faces appear when you search “bad writers” after the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 aired.

Needless to say, these comments couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Naturally, George R.R. Martin was quick to deny that he’s done with Winds of Winter on his website Not a Blog:

It boggles me that anyone would believe this story, even for an instant. It makes not a whit of sense. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers — not just here in the US, but all around the world — ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice and Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense. Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books.

In case you didn’t get the point, this entry on Martin’s blog was titled “Idiocy on the Internet”.

He brings up a good point. Why would delaying the books help the show? Considering that even if Winds of Winter was published after, say Season 7 was aired, fans would binge the season and rip through the book, creating thousands of think-pieces and millions of comments and videos about the differences.

As George says, “books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the book”. It’s a symbiotic relationship, even if it can sometimes be parasitical.

OR MAYBE Martin had to say this because if he didn’t the conspiracy would be out?

Maybe the only reason the book publishers don’t know Winds of Winter and Dreams of Spring have been written is because of this agreement with Benioff and Weiss?

Maybe the plan is to end of Game of Thrones and continually generate interest by releasing book in between seasons of the Game of Thrones prequel show.

Maybe the plan is for George Martin to expand the series into fifty books so HBO can continually generate money?

Maybe the plan is for George Martin to reanimate the dead so he can continue writing fantasy novels until the end of time?

Who knows at this point?

 

Featured Image Via WinterIsComing.net

‘Game of Thrones’ Vendetta Against Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are holidays intended for us to celebrate our parents, but in the spirit of breaking our hearts and stepping on the little pieces, Game of Thrones has taken one of its few parents and destroyed him and his legacy bit by bit.

 

Tywin Lannister

Image Via CinemaBlend

This is Tywin Lannister. Yes, he’s imposing and his face might not be the kindest, but he’s was a good man. A great man in fact.

With a father who frittered away his fortune and spent his days drinking and tarnishing the family name, Tywin had to build himself from the ground up. And he did just that. He was Hand to the King and, given that the King was a little off his rocker, Tywin spent much of his time actually running the kingdom with none of the credit.

You’d think he’d be busy, and he was, but still he managed to teach his dyslexic son to read. Sadly, The Mad King decided to step up and earn his name, and Tywin had to step down.

In the aftermath of Robert’s Rebellion, Tywin managed to secure power for his family. Yes, he had to marry off his daughter, but at least he didn’t marry her to some psycho like Ramsay Bolton. Plus, Cersei was still able to see her brother quite often, so we know that King Robert wasn’t exactly the demanding type.

Let me ask you this: If Tywin wasn’t such a loving father, why wouldn’t he have taken his third son, a man as ugly as his heart,and thrown that bad apple to the waves?

He didn’t kill his third son, who shall not be named here out of respect for the dead, because of the goodness in his heart.

Jaime, Joffrey, Myrcella , Tommen, Cersei

Image Via Otakukart

Not only a father to a wonderful son and a lovely daughter, Tywin was also a grandfather to three cute blond-haired grandchildren. Despite the pressure, he didn’t retire. He continued serving the realm the best he could. After the death of his lovely grandson, Joffrey, Tywin taught his other grandson, Tommen, how to rule a kingdom.

He was a good father, and you know what Game of Thrones decided to do?

Dead Tywin

Image Via Game of Thrones Wiki – Fandom

George took Tywin’s third son, the black sheep who shall not be named, and had him slaughter Tywin.

As if that weren’t enough whoever was in charge decided to air the episode on Fathers’ Day. Talk about adding insult to injury.

King's Landing

Image Via Bustle

With that Sunday’s episode, the penultimate of the series, having just aired, we see that kind mothers aren’t spared from the show’s mighty axe.

 

Cersei Lannister

Image Via Slash Film

Enter Cersei Lannister: Mother to three children, all of whom were taken from her at a young age. Ever the strong character, she ventured forwards, and was blessed with another pregnancy.

But thanks to a certain psychopath…

 

Daenerys

Image Via The Daily Dot

…Cersei was attacked after her city surrendered. On the run, this mother of three and one unborn was soon buried alive.

On Mothers’ Day, of all days.

Happy Mother's Day

Image Via CBC.ca

 

Thank you, Game of Thrones, for ruining both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

What did those holidays ever do to you? Huh?

 

Featured Image Via HBO

Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy

Is George R.R. Martin Already Finished With Final Books?

There has been endless speculation about when fans will get the final two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. When will George R.R. Martin finally announce he’s finished The Winds of Winter? More importantly the question has been will he ever finish the books? According to actor Ian McElhinney, Barristan Selmy, Martin has already finished the last two books of the series.

 

George R.R. Martin at Game of Thrones Premiere

image via nme.com

 

We are taking this information with a grain of salt. Wasn’t it only last month Martin had said in an interview that the writing was going well? It wouldn’t be unheard of for Martin to have finished these books while the show was wowing audiences. After all, it has been eight years since A Dance of Dragons was released. But if the books really are finished, what’s the holdup?

 

Ian McElhinney at Epic Con

image via youtube

In an interview at Epic Con in April, McElhinney stated “[Martin] struck an agreement with David and Dan…that he would not publish the final two books until the series completed.” Seeing how this season has been going, it’s no wonder that Dan Weiss and David Benioff, the showrunners, didn’t want the books out just yet. It keeps book readers and show-only people hooked to their TV’s even when things go off course. With the way this final season has been going in terms of controversial arcs, I hope this information is more accurate than not.

There have been no hints from George R.R. Martin that these books are complete, but maybe that is part of a deal struck. But would the actors even know if he did finish the books? This raises more questions than it answers. What do you think? Should we be getting our hopes up?

Featured Image Via IMDB