Episode 8 Review – Hardlyhome

Posted: June 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

CGaD6vtW8AAaXeqEpisode 8 Review – Hardlyhome

or, the Talking to Talk about More Talking

By Ser Nigel Overstreet

For a show that felt the need to bulldoze a thousand plot lines last episode, this week’s installment of the television program Game of Thrones slammed on the breaks pretty hard. It’s going to be a slow, introspective ride folks, so buckle up! In case we hit a cow or something.

DanyTyrion

As I understand it, it’s like the WSJ editorial page with less whining

Meereen

We begin in the Meereenese throne room and it’s awkward silence. Weren’t Dany and the gang out in the provinces or something? Did they just have the whole ride back in awkward silence? That had to have sucked.

Emilia Clarke’s wigs are playing the only note they know how to play; stoic anger. She asks Tyrion why he’s there and he says it’s to advise her, but he hasn’t decided if he wants to yet. Dany says she hasn’t decided if she wants to kill him yet.

To test his super advising skills, she asks what he should do with Ser Jorah.

Dany points out that the last time she saw Jorah, she threatened to kill him and what will the people think of a Queen who doesn’t keep her promise?

I don’t know Dany, what did happen last time you did that? Think back. It was like 3 episodes ago.

They hissed and threw rocks at you. Perhaps a dispassionate, iron handed tyrant with bloodlust against personal slights isn’t what the smallfolks had in mind when you crowd surfed them?

Tyrion says Mormont should be exiled again, so he is.

Their Strong Female™ character is portrayed as needing to take advice from a man.

Nothing. Makes. Sense!

jorah

Husband to a gold digger wife…

The Jorah Mormont plot has now been run over, put into reverse, run over again, had a penis drawn on it to draw city council attention and paved over. You now never knew anything was ever there.

In the books, the Danaerys/Mormont relationship is one of the more interesting dangling threads in Dany’s arc. They are the Bear and the Maiden Fair, much like Brienne and Jamie.

When book Dany exiles him the first time, she almost immediately regrets it. She is torn between her anger at being betrayed and the fact she genuinely cares for this man. But really, she’s mad at the fact that he kissed her; that he wanted more than she could give him. She tries to think about being with him, but it’s just not to be. He’s an ugly old man and it doesn’t matter how much he loves her and how much she cares for him, she can’t bring herself to love him as he loves her. And he should have known that. That is Mormont’s real betrayal. He broke an unspoken rule that he shouldn’t act on his feelings because it puts her in the awkward positon of rejecting someone she cares about. He sees her as a woman, and not a queen.

Ultimately, Dany exiles one of her best advisors for very personal reasons.

It’s a plot we can all understand. We’ve all had a crush on a friend who didn’t feel that way about us and we’ve all been crushed on by someone we like, but aren’t attracted to. It’s a universal experience. And it’s made all the more poignant when Dany is with Daario and she wonders if anyone will ever love her as a woman and not as a queen. She rejected the only person who ever could.

jorah2

The most unrealistic part of this show about dragons is that anyone on earth could not be in love with Iain Glen.

In the show this story is over. Dany isn’t torn about rejecting Ser Jorah, she’s pleased to do it. She only has one note when reacting to him – anger. Jorah doesn’t show genuine affection for Dany as a person, he “worships her” as a queen.

Most importantly, all of this has been covered before. Dany has exiled Ser Jorah before. This is re-hashing last year’s scene. Exactly. Literally and actually. Nothing has been learned by anyone. No arc is present. What, precisely, was the point of bringing Jorah back to meet Dany if we’re getting the exact same scene from the two of them we had last year?

But the show never lets a good story get in the way of plot beats. Show Jorah needs to get to the fighting pit, so off he goes with no thoughts of motivation, characterization or tone.

Jorah runs off to fight into the great pits of Meereen because he’s got the Greyscale and his life is forfeit! …or something

But there is no drama for the audience, because what do we care if he lives or dies?

If he dies, that’s just one more Game of Thrones death. We’ve seen a million of them. We’re desensitized to it at this point.

If he lives, Dany is just going to exile him again. We’ve seen what will happen when he gets to her. She clearly has no more feelings for him, or she’d have shown them. There. Is. No. Tension.

Instead, we’re only treated to Dany and Tyrion talking at each other. It’s annoying because Dinklage is a master craftsman at his art and Clarke clearly doesn’t want to be doing this anymore. It started after her criticism in Season 2, and at this point, she is ready for Game of Thrones to be over (and may be one of the reasons D&D are rushing through the plot and demanding only 7 seasons).

This episode does a whole lot of talking and not a whole lot of plot-moving. You’d think this would be a perfect time to slow down and show the personal relationship we have seen between Dany & Jorah which has been cultivated over 4 years. A relationship the audience has seen bloom and evolve.

Theon Ramsay

The show cares more about this relationship than Jorah & Dany’s

And why not give us this? To tell us, once again, that Dany is infallible. Unbreakable. A perfect Strong Female™ to save us all. She wouldn’t stoop to having more than one feeling about a thing. She’s The Decider!

For all the grief people give a Dance of Dragons about harping on the Meereen plot, at least it made sense and made us more emotionally invested in Daenerys.

Here it’s just more Khaleesi is Jesus!; a boring one note hit so often, the key is played out.

Braavos

This scene wasn’t bad. It was fine.

Arya is given a new persona, and meets an insurance salesman. Not-Pate tells Arya she’s supposed to just watch this thin salesman and not kill him. He’s a little curt about the idea of Arya dying, which seems out of tone, but I can live with that. It’s setting up cheap drama without payout, but that’s TV. You have to end the scene on a beat, else it falls flat.

But frankly, this scene is shocking to me. It sticks pretty closely with the books. Arya does sell clams and just observes those around her. She does meet an insurance salesman she’s supposed to kill.

And the fact that this scene stick to the books might explain why it’s so good. It hits all the character beats and tells a consistent story.

Krusty

This goes to show that all the “we can’t stick to the books because boring talking” talking points are full of crap. This episode was nothing but talking for the first half.

And if one of the best scenes involves a synopsis of 14th century, Mediterranean insurance sales, then I think a Kingsmoot wouldn’t be out of the question.

That said, don’t get me started on calling her Lanna. Complete trolling of the many fans who think the character Lanna from the books is @#$%#%.

Winterfell

Sansa is angry! Not frightened or snide like last time. These out of the blue mood changes and inconsistent character beats must be just great for Sophie Turner’s audition reel. Just, not so great for conveying to the audience who Sansa is. Remember how everyone said they wouldn’t show Sansa as a victim of abuse?

I tried to type “Sansa Bolton” just now and I can’t. I just can’t.

Anyway, Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen are great in a poorly written scene.

Theon spills that he didn’t really kill Bran and Rickon. Do you hear that? This show still remembers Rickon!

Print

I wouldn’t do well on Skagos. I’m not really a people person.

That is so very out of character for Theon, but what else is new. In the books, he doesn’t even tell Stannis about the boys while being strung up and threatened with immolation. He doesn’t even tell the Washer Women about Jeyne Poole. His arc is about the nature of internalized identity and concealing authenticity. It’s also another example of Theon making no active choices to do a thing, but passive choices to not do a thing because he’s been tortured to the point he’s afraid to take any action he wasn’t told to take.

Except to try to kill himself. Which he fails at.

But I guess having Theon tell everyone is as good as some kid who saw the whole thing from a tree tell the Manderlys. Well, it’s not, but it will serve.

manderly

But nothing beats those delicious Manderly pies!

Also, Ramsay wants to go fight Stannis in the snow, but Roose says no because he’s got provisions for 6 months.

6 lousy months! Winter. Is. COMING!

Its eyes are getting glossy and its breathing heavy. Its legs are shaking and back is arching.

No one thought any of this through.

King’s Landing

Cercei is being told to confess. When she doesn’t, she’s beaten by a septa.

septa

We’ve all been there

Well done on making it a woman hitting her, HBO. At this point, it’s the little things.

She’s also being denied water for not confessing, but Cersei remains defiant offering both threats and rewards to an indifferent septa. Granni Gummi wasn’t even this bad (obligatory Gummi Bears reference).

It’s the same tone, but a significant difference from the books, where Cersei is physiologically tortured by being awoken every hour to confess. She’s given food and clothes, which at first rejects. She then acquiesces and submits to her imprisonment. It’s a powerful image that is somewhat mirrored in the show by Cersei sipping spilled water from the filthy floor.

It’s just not the same, though. Cersei’s imprisonment hasn’t changed her. She’s made no concessions.

It is little changes like this which make no sense. Do they exist primarily to make the Faith seems all the more horrible and Cersei stronger for enduring and never giving in?

Why would you need to do that?

Qyburn shows up to tell Cersei that Tommen has stopped eating. What? Is he Baelor the Blessed or something?

tommen

Yeah, we’re going to need to lock the she-cats in the Maiden Vault. Don’t ask why.

Oh, now I get it. Now Cersei must escape…to save her son! When she confesses, it won’t be a cunning ploy to escape punishment; it will be a noble sacrifice for the good of her children.

The Walk will not be comeuppance for threatening to do the same to Sansa or a humiliating experience to humble a once proud tyrant. It will be an unjust tool of the patriarchy she will endure for the good of the realm!

Something to look forward to next week. I’m sure it will be handled in the best of taste. Won’t that be fun?

The Wall

Enough with Olly already. I don’t care. Did we need to loose Satin for your whiny bum?

Why must we be subjected to D&D original characters? It’s like your friend in high school who wouldn’t shut up about his Buffy the Vampire slayer OC, who was like Spike, but better. But instead of being in 2nd period English it’s on television every week.

I can’t think of anyone who likes this kid.

pounce

Even Ser Pounce hates you, Olly

Meereen Again

Tyrion talks to Dany. Peter Dinklage is an amazing actor. Emelia Clarke’s wigs are also there.

This episode was written by D&D themselves and it shows. Show-only watchers and bookburners take an inordinate amount of joy in telling us how boring the last two books are and how it’s not plot, but just a lot of talking. While the show is, supposedly, all about the action and fasted paced excitement and #EPIC and whatever else the kids are into these days with their music television and what-not.

For them, I’ll leave this episode here. It’s almost nothing but talking, and they are gaga over it.

David & Dan have no problem with lots of talking, as long as it’s their talking. If Martin wrote it, it’s slow and boring. If they wrote it, it’s the necessary for the scene.

GoodAtYour job

It’s all just indicative of two bros who are so enamored with their own work, they forgot it isn’t their work which captivated the audience. If ever two people were born on third base and convinced themselves they hit a home run, it’s David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

Dany decides not to kill Tyrion and Tyrion decides to advise Dany. He points out that she needs the great houses to conquer Westeros, because just killing everyone who disagrees with you does not work. As demonstrated by the fact that all Meereen hates Dany.

She responds by saying that all the great houses are just spokes on a wheel, with some being up and others being down and coming back around again.

But she’s going to…BREAK THE WHEEL!

It’s a great line.

Until you think about it for 5 minutes. Then it makes no sense.

She’s going to dissolve all the great houses? And replace them with what? Is she going to literally kill all the nobles in the land? Is she going to do away with feudalism?

simpsons

As good a reason as any

I guess an argument could be made for issuing writs to do away with the noble houses possessing retinues and de facto standing armies ala Henry VII. That would be a good idea and a first step towards unification and budding, Renaissance-era mercantilism.

But, that’s stopping the wheel, like Tyrion said.

Is she going to break all the great houses and promote new ones, like the Blackfyres, the Boltons, and the Freys? Because that’s just building a new wheel and you’ve got all the same problems again in a generation.

She’s going to break the wheel. I don’t know what that means.

Firstly, it’s just a terrible idea. Even Aegon the Conqueror & his dragons couldn’t conquer the Seven Kingdoms without the great houses. And he only conquered 6 of them, lest we forget Dorne.

break wheel

Secondly, Dany does not have a good track record of building anything. Perhaps she should get an idea of what people actually do before going ahead and breaking more things

Lastly, which form of government is she proposing replaces feudalism? So far, I’ve only seen heavy handed Absolutism from her. Is she going to be like Cardinal Richelieu and insist upon only one Queen and everyone beneath her? That’s not an idea anyone can get behind. The smallfolk need some degree of social mobility. The idea that there are only The Queen and peasants erases even the small hope of any social advancement. This does not a happy populace make. Ask Oliver Cromwell.

To paraphrase another great leader who cheated on his spouse, it’s not called the wheel. It’s called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.

madmen

And they put a circle in the frame. Subtle.

Feudalism in Westeros is based around the family; an institution so fundamental, it transcends species. You serve a family loyally and you are loyally rewarded. That great family will be there for your children and their children. You won’t be assaulted on the road by bandits, because that family will stop them. They will track them down and keep you safe. They will not allow dishonest people to work for them and will not ask you to perform dishonest deeds. In the winter, this family will keep you fed. And you’re a part of that family. A part of a greater whole. You contribute, through crops or blacksmithing or horse training. In war, you wear their sigil on your chest. You are proud of them and you hope they will be proud of you. And if you work hard, your children can become greater than you in this family’s service. If you don’t, there will still always be a place for you. If you are crippled, broken or sick, they will care for you and your family. This is the way it’s been for thousands of years, and this is the way it will always be.

At least this is how it’s supposed to be.

If feudalism is done right, it’s an appealing prospect. When it’s broken, it is chaos and tyranny.

But the people of Westeros aren’t asking for freedom from feudalism, they’re asking for a restoration of order. They were perfectly happy under Robert. Most of them were happy under Aerys (thanks to Tywin).

worse king

When you’re a worse King than this guy…

If Dany wants to lead them, she’s going to need to offer some actual form of governance and make a case for throwing out a thousand years of tradition that most people were perfectly happy with before the war.

But, of course, what it really is, is populist allegory for a 21st century audience, which I find asinine. Depending on your political bent, she’s advocating either Communism or Objectivism. Whichever you prefer. She’s going to overthrow the patriarchy, whatever that means. She’s going to bring down big government, whatever that means.

She’s not a politician, she’s a queen. (What happened to khaleesi?) She’s going to break the wheel. I before E except after C.

It’s the fortune cookie regency.

josh lyman

In this, as in most things, I am Josh Lyman

She’s sound and fury, signifying nothing. Because Dany is not a complete person, she’s a symbol. She’s an idea. And this is what happens when you make a character one dimensional. Nothing she wants to do has any substance. It’s why House of Cards fell so flat. They spent so much time making Frank to be only a conniving schemer; he never had any motivation in terms of actual policy.

And so it is with Daenerys. Why does she want the Iron Throne? What’s she doing to get it? Why would she be a good ruler? It’s easy to say she wants to help the smallfolk, but why? Why would her rule be better for the average peasant than it was under Robert? Or Aerys II?

Eventually, if you want to actually rule, you have to say the name of the thing you’re going to do!

But Dany just shouts platitudes.

911 freedom

A noun, a verb and Freedom. That’s the Daenerys Targaryen way.

Two seasons ago, when Dany crowd surfed the freed slaves, people freaked out because they thought it was promoting colonialism or something. Those who felt the need to defend the ethics of art said it was her “Mission Accomplished” moment and that her failures in Meereen would reflect such hubris.

And that was touched on this season with the hissing and the execution.

It was then immediately thrown away.

Missandei walked in and told Dany “Don’t listen to stupid men! Do what you want, girlfriend.”

She then opened the fighting pits and married Hizdar, so everything is fine. It was all her idea and not at all a plot by the great masters to undermine her authority, like in the books.

Even her dragons are still on her side. She still uses them. The symbol of her power and motherhood wasn’t muzzled up and locked in chains. The chains make them more useful!

Rather than showing the problems inherit with massive tools of destruction in peace time, her dragons can just be locked up with no repercussions. They are still used as a symbol of her power and as a literal instrument of the state.

dragon probs

No problems here

Instead of showing the troubles Dany, a fully formed person, has with ruling an unknown culture and the dangers which come from authoritarianism, we are simply shown that Khalessi is flawless.

Nothing is allowed to make sense because any flaws in Dany’s character might alienate her personality cult.

So I guess the show WAS promoting colonialism?

colonialism

We’re back. I knew we’d be back!

This would be fine, if that’s what they wanted to do. But they just stumbled backwards onto an inconstant message which makes no sense. And they did it because, once again, all must be sacrificed on the altar of Khaleesi Is BAE!

How many T-shirts do they have to sell before I get to see an actual character?

Hardhome

HBO LOGIC

Jon’s in a boat! Tormund Giantsbane and Dolorous Edd are there. Those are two of the funniest guys form the books.

I wonder what penis joke and sardonic anecdote we’re going to get this scene?

Oh. Nothing. Everyone is dour and grim.

Hey, did you know Kristofer Hivju is in a bunch of commercials for Wyndham Hotels? He’s pretty funny in those. Maybe bring some of that to the show.

Or penis jokes. Either way.

tormund hotel

Booking through Wyndham Hotels is so easy, I can do it with me member

Anyone else think it’s weird that there are these enormous long boats, but only 2 oars? Seems like they’d have more oars.

The Lord of Bones is there to talk smack to Jon & Tormund. Hey, Lord of Bones. Glad to see you aren’t burned to death! I wonder what role you’ll play this season?

Oh. Dead. You’ll play dead. Well, that was a waste. Tormund just killed him for implying he falated Jon Snow. Which isn’t that bad, really. Gingers clearly have a thing for Jon. You could do a lot worse than Jon Snow, Tormund-Doesn’t-Joke-About-His-Member!

I’d like to mention here how the Free Folk are not the Dothraki. They don’t just kill people for no reason, especially at a parlay. They are descended from the First Men and observe the same traditions as folks in The North. Killing folks for insulting you isn’t their bag.

But I guess the show just wants to show the noble savage trope or something.

They go into the hut and discuss peace terms.

boring

Jon Snow is, in fact, their supervisor

If any bookburners want to bring up how wordy and boring A Feast for Crows is, now’s the time.

They all argue and holler and mention dragonglass (which the maesters call obsidian.) Jon notes that one of his men killed a White Walker with Dragonglass (WTMCO). We know this because show Sam won’t shut up about it.

Most of the free folk will go with Jon, but the Thenns won’t.

Thenn go already!

But because of one of this show’s many coincidences…ZOMBIE FIGHT!

exciting

Except Dolorous Edd. If you lay a finger on his head, I will burn this show to the ground

Not bad. I don’t know why the Wights are stopped by arrows or why their decapitated hands aren’t still moving like in Season 1. But, you take what you can get.

We also get to see Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, or Wun Wun, if you’re nasty. That’s pretty cool, I guess.

I don’t know how he’s going to get on one of those carracks.

Jon fights an Other with Longclaw while trying to get to the dragonglass (WTMCO.) A White Walker walks through fire which is so irritating I want to eat glass. Which the maesters just call glass.

The Others are ice. They do not walk through fire. There was no reason for this other than to have a dynamic shot. It’s the Michael Bay School of Cinematography and Explosioness.

Jon kills an Other with Longclaw, which the children of the forest call Dragonsteel, confirming that Valyrian Steel will, indeed, kill a White Walker. A minor book spoiler, but there it is. Most of us suspected it anyway.

I guess all of this confirmed that Jon is Azor Ahai and the Night’s King is leading the Walkers, but I don’t think so. The rest of this show is so very off base, if Martin told them that Jon wasn’t Azor and The Night’s King is dead, they’d have filmed this anyway. It just looks #EPIC. (Note – D&D confirm in their Inside the Episode that Jon Snow is AA and that is Night’s King).

And I can’t really complain about a scene that just sort of looks cool. It’s not offensive like so many other changes. I like sword fights and this was one. They didn’t give me any sword fight on The Newsroom, so I take what I can get. A cool fight scene for the sake of a cool fight scene is kind of juvenile, but I’ll take what I can get.

marine

Sam Waterston asked for one, but Sorkin said no.

I might say that there are too many quick cuts. Some of them half a second long. Would a long, longer kill them? The fight choreography on this was pretty good. I would have liked to have seen it. Your fight choreographer probably worked really hard on this and the director should have trusted him and worked with him to create a great fight scene to tell a story. Instead, I mostly just saw a swirl of images racing at me so I couldn’t tell what was going on.

Or they could have taken a horror movie direction with it and shown that you can’t really fight a Wight. You can plop all the arrows you want into them, but they’ll just keep coming. You have to fight them with fire and discipline.

But for the most part, it was fine.

Best of all, there was no sexual assault this episode! That’s exciting.

lowered expectations

On a side note, I will be on holiday in the old country for the next two weeks, so someone else will be writing ANGRYGOTFAN.com recaps.

But the Old Country in question is Ireland, so I will be seeing a number of Game of Thrones locations while in the north and bringing the good word of the books to the people of Ulster.

I’ll be back with my usual sense of dour sarcasm and irascible wit for the finale.

Until then, keep reading!

– Ser Nigel Overstreet

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Comments
  1. bingbongsingalong says:

    * “Dany points out that the last time she saw Jorah, she threatened to kill him and what will the people think of a Queen who doesn’t keep her promise?
    I don’t know Dany, what did happen last time you did that? Think back. It was like 3 episodes ago.

    They hissed and threw rocks at you. Perhaps a dispassionate, iron handed tyrant with bloodlust against personal slights isn’t what the smallfolks had in mind when you crowd surfed them?”

    And after that, she 1) saw one of her closest advisors killed by citizens who reject her authority, and in return murdered one of them to assert her power and her promises of reformation, and 2) resigned to compromise for the sake of peace by marrying Hizdahr. Jorah’s return and prospective pardon represents everything Dany feared about cooperating with the Wise Masters and the reopening of the pits: that it would not be a single compromise, but a backslide that would begin the undoing of all her rulings.

    * “It’s just not the same, though. Cersei’s imprisonment hasn’t changed her. She’s made no concessions.”

    Why is her drinking the water not a concession? First she’s threatening to kill her captors. Then she’s howling in anguish and frustration. Then she’s going through her options looking for any way out that doesn’t involve surrender. (And while I agree that the show’s Cersei is not as pathologically narcissistic as in the books and likely does not view them entirely as extensions of herself and her power, does her references to her son as “the king” not represent at least some complicated feelings in this regard? Some shades of her imagining him as his weapon? I don’t see your reading of the scene as “a mother heroically suffering so that she can return to her beloved son” – her immediate reply to Tommen’s state is, “I can’t stay here.”) Her options run out, and faced with dehydration she finally gives in to debase herself to survive (I say debase because of the significance of her first refusing to confess to “some barefooted commoner” and next slurping drops off the floor the septa just walked on.) How is this not the story of her gradual submission?

    * “A White Walker walks through fire which is so irritating I want to eat glass. Which the maesters just call glass.”

    Actually you can see the WW exudes some sort of ice energy that makes the fire go out before his path. There’s a steam sound effect.

    * “(Note – D&D confirm in their Inside the Episode that Jon Snow is AA”

    No they don’t.

    Very much agree about the unintelligibility of Jorah’s storyline and the flattening of Dany’s character. The latter is especially annoying, given how much space she takes up.

    • Nigel Overstreet says:

      “Jorah’s return and prospective pardon represents everything Dany feared about cooperating with the Wise Masters”
      This was not demonstrated to the audience in this scene. The only thing which was shown was Dany is angry at Jorah. The only thing which was said was “What will they think…”, which is the exact same reasoning which lead to the execution of the last guy.
      But those are good ideas, even if I don’t agree with them. Someone should have put them on TV. They had plenty of time for dialogue this episode. Why not include some dialogue demonstrating your character’s motivation?

      “Why is her drinking the water not a concession?”
      A very good question!
      The Septa doesn’t see it. It’s a personal concession and not a public one. She doesn’t acquiesce to anyone or submit to anyone else’s authority. She doesn’t submit to her own imprisonment, like in the books.
      Book Cersei says her pleases and thank you’s. Show Cersei is defiant to the last.
      And the show has set it up in a way that Cersei is being physically tortured for not confessing. Confessing is, now, not an act of manipulation, but a necessary act for of survival. If her confession if false, we can all empathize because we’d all give out under torture.

      And there is no reason to put Tommen in danger by having him not eat. There is no other reason to do that but to give Cersei a selfless motivation to escape captivity. Now, when she does the walk, she’s able to say she did it for her son. There is no way to demonstrate to the audience that it was a selfish act.
      It’s an active choice made by the show runners to make Cersei more sympathetic.
      It makes no sense and it kills the tone of the scene.

  2. apocryphon says:

    Okay, this article is good, because unlike the previous ones, it doesn’t snark and insult the audience by going “you’re just dumb plebes who love special effects and abhor a ~*plot*~.”

    There comes a time where fandom, or rather anti-fandom- fans really passionate about hating something, usually an adaptation or incarnation of a beloved franchise- gets in over its head and just goes out of the way to nitpick critiques of that thing. See for instance No Mutants Allowed, or Zombie Simpsons. There gets to a point (why do all of these blogs invoke the undead, anyway?) where anti-fandom goes from amusing analysis about why something is overrated or otherwise sucks, to where it’s reaching for criticisms, to the expense of honest recognition of actual good content.

    “She’s going to dissolve all the great houses? And replace them with what? Is she going to literally kill all the nobles in the land? Is she going to do away with feudalism?”

    That’s a conceivable future. If anything, the entire series clearly illustrates why feudalism is awful. If the Sparrows don’t lead a religious smallfolk peasant revolt, then why not her? The People’s Queen. Revolution, bitches.

    Plus, Dany has always been short-sighted with no clear understanding of the people she conquers and with no exit strategy. Mostly because she’s, ya know, a kid.

    I dig how detailed you get about feudalism as it exists in Westeros and so forth, but that’s playing with chairs on the deck of the Titanic when you gotta lead it sink. Why *couldn’t* someone create an anarcho-syndicalist commune out of Westeros? Composed of, you know, autonomous agricultural collectives, with rotating executive officers who pay homage to the dragon throne? See, screw the royal houses. What you need to do is do something similar to the Sparrows and get the smallfolk thinking in ways beyond all that aristo feuding and legitimacy of blood. Cozy up to the Faith of the Seven for support. Work with non-noble paramilitary organizations like the Brotherhood without Banners or the Holy Hundred. Get the support of the maesters and get them cracking on a way to invent wildfirearm weapons, so that any backwoods peasant can take down a ser in one shot.

    ” the people of Westeros aren’t asking for freedom from feudalism, they’re asking for a restoration of order. They were perfectly happy under Robert. Most of them were happy under Aerys (thanks to Tywin).”

    But if they aren’t, why is the High Sparrow such a big hit?

    “The Others are ice. They do not walk through fire.”

    Well, what if among their magical powers, they can project a field of absolute zero that negates the heat? I mean, wouldn’t it make sense for ice elementals to you know, project ice?

    • Nigel Overstreet says:

      “Why *couldn’t* someone create an anarcho-syndicalist commune out of Westeros? Composed of, you know, autonomous agricultural collectives, with rotating executive officers who pay homage to the dragon throne?
      why is the High Sparrow such a big hit?”

      Here’s why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabaptists

    • Nigel Overstreet says:

      “Actually you can see the WW exudes some sort of ice energy that makes the fire go out before his path. There’s a steam sound effect.”

      I rewatched the scene and I don’t see it or hear the effect. I think you’re projecting.
      If it happened, it should have been made more clear. It should have been a longer and more profound beat.

      “Well, what if among their magical powers, they can project a field of absolute zero that negates the heat? I mean, wouldn’t it make sense for ice elementals to you know, project ice?”

      That would make sense. Perhaps the television program could find some way to demonstrate this to the audience. Through some kind of special effect.
      I have no problem with the Others being able to put out a fire with magic. A demonstration of White Walker magic before the fight with Jon would have been a cool set-up; like the ninja cracking his knuckles before the big fight.
      I have a problem with it being glossed over as an after thought and expecting the audience to No Prize it for you.

  3. bingbongsingalong says:

    * “I rewatched the scene and I don’t see it or hear the effect. I think you’re projecting.
    If it happened, it should have been made more clear. It should have been a longer and more profound beat.”

    I am absolutely not projecting. Go back and rewatch it. There’s fire covering the entire entrance before he comes in. As he steps in, you clearly see the fire over the threshold completely and rapidly disappear, followed by the fire on the floor immediately in front of and next to him. There’s a blatant steam sound effect, and you can even see the smoke billowing outwards from the White Walker the entire time. I find it extremely petty that you would try to say I’m making it up, and then insist that even if I weren’t, even if the show didn’t make the mistake you claimed it did, they still did something wrong. It makes it difficult for me to take your complaints seriously, as they seem to come from a place of insisting that the show is always bad, no matter what, regardless of whether you understand what the show is presenting.

    And they have previously demonstrated that the WWs generate cold/use magic, providing new information each time: the sudden snowstorm in the season 2 finale (they are preceded by wind and snow, unclear cause/effect relationship), freezing Sam’s sword in S3 (confirms that they have direct ice powers and freeze objects on contact), freezing the baby in S4 (they freeze people on contact, and likely the process of making a White Walker), the freezing of the water at Rast’s feet when they come to collect at Craster’s Keep in S4 (freezing things is part of the environmental change), and now in S5 they reveal that they can put out fire in their immediate vicinity (possibly confirming that they are the cause of the cold, although the effect on the fire might be magical rather than based on temperature).

  4. bingbongsingalong says:

    Also,

    * “A demonstration of White Walker magic before the fight with Jon would have been a cool set-up; like the ninja cracking his knuckles before the big fight.”

    This is exactly what happened. That’s what putting out the fire in his path was. A small visual detail that hints at his powers before the fight begins. What’s the first thing that happens in the fight? He turns the wildling’s axe to ice and destroys it.

    • Nigel Overstreet says:

      I didn’t see it and, from what I’ve heard, most of the audience didn’t either. If I have to watch a scene 3 times to find a moment, it’s a beat that didn’t land.
      I’m glad you saw it, but it would have been nice if it had been shown clearly, in a defined beat, for the rest of the audience.
      As it it, it just looks like the Other walked through fire.

  5. bingbongsingalong says:

    Oh yeah? Because I just went door to door to five hundred people and asked if they saw it. And guess what? 499/500. I guess your house is pretty close to mine.

    • Nigel Overstreet says:

      That’s not necessary. You can disagree with me, most people do, without resorting to hyperbole.
      Based on what I saw on Twitter in the tag, most people didn’t get what you got. They just saw the Other walking through fire.
      I believe that you saw it, and I believe that’s an authentic reaction, but it wasn’t clear enough to the rest of the audience. The Night’s King magic resurrecting the dead? Clear as crystal. Establishing shot. Principle movement. Action shot. Reaction shot. Perfect. This therefore that.
      They could have done that with the Other fighting Jon. It would have taken 5 seconds and built tension.
      Instead there is a mild dolby effect buried in din of the score and background noise to convey the same thing? And why didn’t they do that? Because it would have ruined the #EPIC dynamic shot of the Other surrounded by fire.
      It’s style over substance and I don’t feel it worked.

      • IVE WATCHED THE ENTIRE BATTLE SCENE 15 TIMES AND GONE THROUGH ALL IF IT FRAME BY FRAME

        AMONG MANY INCONSISTENCIES, THERE IS NO EFFECT FOR THE OTHER WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE HE JUST WALKS THROUGH IT

        ADDITIONALLY I MEAN IF I WENT ROUND SAYIN I WAS A KHALEESI JUST BECAUSE SOME MOISTENED CHEESE BINT LOBBED A FOSSILIZED EGGSHELL AT ME THEYD PUT ME AWAY!

        STRANGE FUGUS-MONGERS LYING IN PENTOS DISTRIBUTING MYTHICAL GAMETES IS NO BASIS FOR A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT! SUPREME EXECUTIVE POWER DERIVES FROM A MANDATE FROM THE MASSES NOT SOME FARCICAL AMBIOGENETIC CEREMONY!

  6. leaveit says:

    Nowhere in the text is mentioned that Others are weak against fire. Wights are weak to fire. The Others are not ice, it is not your regular ice, it is something unnatural. As George puts it:

    “Ice. But not like regular old ice. The Others can do things with ice that we can’t imagine and make substances of it.”

    If fire would stop the Others, as you wrongly say, then, I ask you to consider this:

    1) Why would Azor Ahai need a magical sword to stop them if only a simple fire could?
    2) Why build a massive wall of ice and fill it with spells to stop them if only a simple fire could?
    3) Why would the wildlings and everyone else would run from them if you could simply shoot a fire arrow to an Other and that’s it?
    4) How did they devastated Westeros during the Long Night if fire can stop them?

    I’ll tell you why. Because fire does nothing to them. As they are made of unnatural and magical ice, unnatural and magical fire is needed to stop them. Such as:

    1) Lightbringer – Forged in the heart of Nissa Nissa.
    2) Dragonglass – known as frozen fire.
    3) Dragon fire – hotter than anything in existence.

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