Did the Bells Sound the Death Knell for Game of Thrones?

 

Oh dracarays! Things are gonna get a little heated cos I have MIXED FEELINGS. So, so many mixed feelings. And rather ominously I’m coming very late to this discussion cos I needed some time to get my thoughts ironed out.

spoilers game of thrones

Visually amazing, epic in direction, terrifying at times… it somehow still didn’t quite stick the landing and has left fans fired up. The biggest #shame for me is that yet another fandom has been left divided- which seems to be an unfortunate consequence of modern writing strategies.

Because it is obviously an active decision to wantonly betray what fans think will/should/might happen in order to subvert expectations. Yes, that old chestnut again. And no, I’m not simply theorising about the showrunner’s intent- they have openly said:

D and D we hope to avoid the expected.png

This is in direction opposition to GRRM’s view:

george r r martin plan.png

I think this episode is telling of those two different philosophies- though perhaps not for the reason you think. Cos I still believe Dany is gonna go Mad Queen. Yeah, I said it, I don’t think this is a complete surprise. There is plenty of evidence that she always had it in her:

dany quote mad queen.jpg

HOWEVER, I think there is an excellent case to be made that this doesn’t fit with her character arc (look at me being difficult and taking the middle ground 😉). Namely, this is because they set it up to surprise the audience, rather than following a logical progression of the character. If Dany had spent ages at sea, if she’d lost loads of her loyal followers in an achingly long battle with the Southern Lords, if she’d not gone up North to effectively save the world- then there is a good possibility her freaking out and, ya know, murdering everyone in King’s Landing to win an unwinnable war could have made sense. But that’s a lot of ifs.

Partly this storyline fell victim of the rush to the finish line- yet mostly this came about because the writers didn’t want to tip us off that this could happen. So, they did the opposite of setting up a logical conclusion and put forward an alternate view of the character as a straight up hero- only so that they could then go “haha didn’t see that one coming did you?” Problem is THAT’S NOT HOW YOU TELL A STORY). That’s how you wind up a fanbase (see above for GRRM’s point). You should have proper set up and payoff- not begin the set up, veer off course and then go back to the original payoff (that’s some HIMYM ending shit).

And that’s to say nothing of Jaime’s character arc. To say I was crushed by it would be an understatement. Sure, I like the parallels of Jaime Lannister being freed (though it made me think he’s going to be captured much sooner ie in the episode where he miraculously dove into a river to escape dragon fire). Largely, I was PEEVED by his last scenes. It was endlessly aggravating to see him rush back to save Cersei- not the city- concluding “I never cared for the people, innocent or otherwise”. Erm wasn’t that why he killed the Mad King? What happened to his growth? And ugh it sucked that Euron was the one to take down Jaime- although it could be worse… it could have been a pile of bricks- oh wait…

All that said, the episode wasn’t a total bust. One aspect I particularly liked was how there were a trail of betrayals “for love”. From Sansa and her love of North to Varys and his love of the common people to Tyrion’s love for his brother- all suspects were implicated in some way. One slight problem is that there weren’t any real consequences for Tyrion’s betrayal here… I guess we’ll see on Sunday if he’s for the chopping block too.

The cinematography for the actual battle was astonishing- with callbacks to Lannisters vs Starks in the streets of King’s Landing, cries of “ring the bells” rising above the reeking bloodlust, and the sheer horror of it all (even by Game of Thrones standards). It was poignant to see Poor Jon caught up in it; it added a tragic touch every time Raines of Castamere was struck up in the background. In the end, we were left with images reminiscent of Pompeii and one sole survivor riding out #mypoorheart

It was just a pity none of the tactics made sense (why do they keep putting armies *outside* the gates?!) AND that it was all too easily resolved (cos dragons are basically nukes- so what was the point in pretending otherwise for a few episodes?) I wouldn’t even say this ruined the tension- I just think it showed how this was the wrong villain to conclude on and proved my point about NOT KILLING DRAGONS UNNECESSARILY.

Still, I can safely say King’s Landing going up in smoke was the perfect location for Cleganebowl. For everything that didn’t work in this episode it. made. so. much. sense. that no one won in this fight. It’s pretty much how I thought it would go and I thought the similarities to Mountain/Viper worked well.

I did really like how this tied in with Arya’s arc and her decision to walk away from her revenge- though I’m not sure it’ll go that way in the books. Sometimes I do feel like her character is used in all the wrong ways. We (obviously) missed all the Arya/Hound stuff on the road (begging the question of why have them on the road together anyway). And (obviously) she’s unharmed by the falling rocks, fire and soldiers. Regardless of how much I personally like her, that doesn’t add up.

Ultimately, this whole episode left me feeling kind of hollow. It wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it could have been; It didn’t ring true in the way it should. At this point I’m holding onto the hope that GRRM means it when he says the show and the books are very different entities. For the love of the old gods and the new, I wish that it hadn’t happened this way. Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome, the thing we can all agree on is that the execution is flawed. And that just about sums up my perspective. I. am. so. frustrated that what I thought would happen, happened, but it wasn’t done well enough to justify my opinion- and that is as big of a pain as being blasted with dragon fire.

So, what did you think of this episode? Happy, displeased or FIRE-BREATHING MAD?? Let’s discuss in the comments!

56 thoughts on “Did the Bells Sound the Death Knell for Game of Thrones?

  1. I don’t watch this series and have only read the first book, but I’m interested in the idea of “surprising” the reader/viewer vs. writing a story that makes sense or feels complete.

    My sense of Game of Thrones is that, of course, Martin would want to avoid an ending that feels too pat, but that’s different from inserting totally wild things just because you don’t want fans to have “figured out the ending.” I think if you write a well-structured book, often parts of it seem “predictable.” Except that it’s not *actually* predictable but, rather, logical. I annoy my friends sometimes because I seem (apparently) unnaturally good at predicting the ends of books/shows/movies, but Martin has a point that if you have SET UP the story in a certain way, then how it all resolves might be clear to readers/viewers, particularly to ones who are big fans of your work or who are voracious readers in general or have a background in studying literature, etc.. That’s fine. That’s *good.* It means the story is cohesive, you had a nice amount of foreshadowing, etc. The ultimate test of whether a story is good simply is not whether you have surprised the largest amount of fans possible by inserting “twists” that have no real context.

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    1. Yeah I do think the ending will have surprises- but I also think that GRRM has a track record of shocks that also make the reader go “ahh that makes sense”. Like you said, it doesn’t mean it’s predictable, it just means it’s logical. I love how you put that! And I can relate about annoying people by predicting endings 😉 so yeah I get what you mean about voracious readers picking up on clues- but that doesn’t mean that the ending was bad and it’s too bad that a lot of modern writers (particularly for TV and film) seem to think that fans guessing an ending is a problem. To me, the problem here is not that the ending was impossible- I actually think they just put in too many red herrings and reconfigured the middle of the story to make it more surprising (which is why fans are divided on whether this ending is possible).

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  2. This was a big muddle of contradictions for me, too. While I can kind of see Arya surviving – partly because we know after her defeat of the Night King, she NEVER GIVES UP – though the circumstances were extreme, I do like that she’s still with us. And I really approve of Jon trying to get the Kingsguard to surrender…and I am very disappointed that it didn’t take.

    Jamie either really threw us for a loop…or his growth was never real. AND YET, I have a VERY tough time believing that. Mostly because everything that happened in the books – and through season 7 and most of 8 of the show – after book 1 indicated Martin was taking Jamie on a redemption arc. I genuinely thought that Jamie would go to King’s Landing and get Cersei out – but mostly because of their history (I mean, they did have children together – eew, the incest, I know) – and I wouldn’t have been one bit surprised if: A) Jamie told Cersei to run away and go into exile, or B) He handed her over to Jon or Dany. For it to be a straight up, “Let’s get out of here together with our unborn child, to hell with the whole city and everyone we know!” was SO crappy a twist.

    And Dany…well, to say that it DIDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE is still not a good explanation. I do think Dany will go Mad Queen as well – but purely, as you said, for the shock factor. Not because it actually WORKS. I agree, if there had been other factors – like if she started to go a bit batty after losing her husband and baby, or if she suffered a horrible defeat of her armies, or if Jon didn’t just announce he was the lost heir but that he was TAKING the throne from her…any of these things would have pointed her going in the direction of her father much more concretely. But after ALL the hardships she’s survived, and she still hasn’t lost her marbles (quite honestly, the case of madness could be argued a hell of a lot more for Cersei), then for it to change suddenly, I’m not buying it.

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    1. I do like that Arya is still with us too- I just think they’ve done that rather typical Hollywood thing of making her survival nigh on impossible, but giving her plot armour so she survives it. As nice as it was to look at, it was a bit hard for me to suspend my disbelief there. I do hear you about Jon for sure.

      I COULDN’T AGREE MORE ABOUT JAIME! That twist sucked and it so easily could’ve been done better- I especially don’t know why he had to go “to hell with them all”- that was the worst line.

      Yeah the flipflop for Dany was a bad call. Personally, I think she was always ruthless- so I think it would be less an “insane” action and more of a poor tactical decision… although I’m not a hundred percent sure. Whatever the outcome in the books, her story arc here didn’t add up

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  3. Personally I’m mad that Cersei didn’t die a more prolonged and painful death, I mean that woman is satan! 😂

    I’m reading the first book now and in it it says that the Targareyns marry brother to sister so I’m not too surprised to see Dani going full mad queen…..but I was shocked!

    We have a bet going on in work and my shiny English pound is on Bran to take the throne….I mean he is the most unexpected choice!

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  4. I haven’t read the books, watched the show nor do I ever intend to do either. So I’ve just been sitting back with a bowl of popcorn enjoying everyone else’s reactions. It does go to show how seriously a large body of fandom takes things. As they should, in my opinion (Lost is the show I went on about back in the day)

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  5. I think if it was even more subtle here it could have worked better for me. Like if she had found out Tyrion had let Jaime go before her attack (because he had already given her a ton of reasons not to trust him in concern with his family especially) or if they had her say screw the meat shield and start with the Red Keep to get to Cersei and accidentally set off the wildfire and then just out of control times…

    Instead it was the systematically mowing down citizens street by street nearly giving Cersei time to get away and we never so much as saw her face again after the bells rung that ruined it for me.

    I’m starting to think that subverting expectations is code for we want to do this but not the character work to get to that point. I mean the Red Wedding, Ned and Oberyn were all perfect examples of shocking things that the roadwork to get there was still done when you looked back. I do hope you enjoy the finale! I cannot wait to see the reactions 🙂

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    1. That makes a lot of sense! And those are really good ideas- I especially like the idea about her finding out about Jaime before the attack, but both of those would’ve worked.

      Oh that’s such a good point!!

      Ahh yes I completely agree with you at this point. It’s just lazy writing- not the “genius” trick that people want to convince us it is. I don’t think it’s a well thought out ploy- I just think it’s a surefire way to disappoint people. And I couldn’t agree more about those being good examples of how to shock people, but build it up- GRRM is really the master of that- which is why I think he’ll do a far better job with this. Thanks- I hope you enjoy it too!! 🙂

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  6. I totally agree with you, I could have been on board with the mad queen plot had we even had just a few more episodes in between for her spiral into madness to be more believable. It was just hard to grasp that after vowing to not be a tyrant and to save people she turned around and killed them all. I could have seen her killing Cersei in cold blood or burning down the red keep, but not all the innocent people and children. It is also kind of frustrating that they are setting Jon up to kill or overthrow her (not that I don’t like him or anything) because this show has had some amazing female characters and to have to one man end up on the throne in the end with the women cast aside or killed is a little annoying. I was mainly upset about Jaime’s death because I loved his character development in the last three or four seasons and now that all feels like it was for nothing.

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    1. YES!! I so agree!! I have no idea why they didn’t bother to set it up properly. My personal view is that the whole vowing not to be a tyrant (which doesn’t happen in the books) is all a misdirect for her going in this direction- they preferred to shock viewers, so they didn’t set it up properly. That or the popular view that it’s not set up cos it was a random decision. Either way- it wasn’t done well. Yeah I can understand that- but I’d be absolutely amazed if Jon ends up on the throne too- I think that’s all a misdirect as well (I don’t think anyone is getting the throne at the end of this). I was so upset about Jaime’s death and ending too- I really thought he was going to have a meaningful death/end- where his redemption arc was finally fulfilled- but no, they couldn’t do that. Like you said, it feels like it was all for nothing.

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  7. I truly adore this review.

    I love Daenerys, always have, both the book and show version BUT George RR Martin said that the ending of his series (and the fate of Westeros) was going to either going to conclude in ice or fire. He’s just kept us guessing as to which one it will be. It feels like ASOIAF is just one extended Robert Frost poem really with two parties out for control.

    My issue is the same as yours except yours is so much more wonderfully put than I could write. I don’t have any issue with Daenerys becoming the ‘mad queen’ because I think the guessing game GRRM put out is that we’re looking at two possibilities. The Night King destroys all of Westeros or Daenerys does. She is a character who, as I mentioned, I love but I love her because she’s quite complicated and you’re never (or were never) entirely too sure where she was headed. The seeds that she’s a bit of a megalomaniac had been planted, it was always about whether she would grow them.

    I agree with you 100% – GOT didn’t do it right narratively speaking. This final season has felt so painfully rushed and any nuance to characters has been stamped to the ground. I think I was left feeling so let down when the NK was easily defeated by Arya, it was almost – ‘is that it?’ The first scene in the series and the first page of the books is the dead wildings being discovered by members of the Night’s Watch. That sets a precedent – the precedent that this is the final threat. Ok, I get that it’s now been subverted but still… I can’t help but feel ‘meh’ about how quickly that was resolved.

    Ordinarily I would be joyous at the Dany subversion but I can’t be because it wasn’t written properly for the tv show (the books are obviously still TBC and I have faith). I’m unsure as to whether we’re supposed to be scared that she’s snapped or if we’re supposed to feel pity. I have a feeling I know how things are going to go in the next episode and my guess is that Jon *is* Azor Ahai but I don’t feel like I truly support it.

    As to Jamie and Cersei… VALONQAR!!! I have waited *years* for that to be fulfilled and just…… bleugh. That’s all I can say on that.

    Arya is wearing some heavy plot army and I miss Ghost.

    I’ve had a few gins as I’m watching Eurovision so I’m not at all saying this in a remotely articulate way that I wish I was. I feel I’m just at asdfsahfdjkdhfdsgsjdgfsdgfdjh and ARGH with this series.

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    1. Gosh thank you so much!!

      I hear you- I really loved book Dany- though I’ve got to admit I’ve not been as impressed by the show version for a while now. I absolutely love your point about GRRM ending the series in ice or fire and how this is an extended version of the Robert Frost poem- that’s a brilliant interpretation!

      I really agree that the seeds are definitely being sown for whether she could go in this direction. And as the series/books always points out: the gods flip a coin when a Targaryen is born. It was always on the cards for her and she’s had her moments in the past. (incidentally the reason I went off her in the show was the fact that they stopped making her seem complex for a while, making her out to be flawless, but this was never her character- she was always a complicated heroine, with the possibility of going dark, and I loved her for it).

      I’m glad you agree as well. It definitely does feel rushed. The NK being defeated, while entertaining, definitely left me wondering where the show was going and a bit deflated. I really, really get what you mean about how it should’ve been the last threat. I withheld my judgement on that until episode 4, cos I wanted to give the show a chance to show me why that was a good narrative decision… but they completely failed to do so. It doesn’t make sense to spend the last part of the story about this (and I think a lot of the issues with it could’ve been resolved if Dany had never gone north and spent all the time she did up there developing into this character- who someone from the north would inevitably have to put down after battling the night king).

      I really, really agree about enjoying the subversion *if* it had been done well. I would guess Jon is, but like you, I’m not totally behind it.

      That ending for Jaime sucked :/ Worst part of the episode- and that’s saying something.

      Really agree about Arya and it SUCKS that Ghost has been written out of the story!

      hahaha no worries! Hope you’re enjoying Eurovision! 😀

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      1. I too like the concept of the ‘god flipping a coin’ with the T’s and it does seem in the books at least that we’re not sure where that’s landing. She has her moments but then seems to recognise that she’s spiralling and tries to claw it back. It’s just whether she can continue to do so.

        I do think the loss of her advisors has tipped her over the edge from the perspective of personal loss and grief but also because they were a cooling force to her nature. I think D&D have fallen victim to a bit of a narrative flaw – they’ve gone the whole ‘she’s the saviour’ in order to try and subvert it with a ‘what a twist’ moment but you’ve said it exactly with the GRRM quote – If you want people to be satisfied with what you’re giving them then can you can’t pull it out of nowhere. It’s not a twist it’s poor storytelling!

        I just feel it’s a shame that after years this is how they’re going out. I get that expectations are high for last seasons and often the audience expectations are never fully met and people are left disappointed but this seems like a massive clanger.

        Let’s see how the last episode plays out. Sigh.

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        1. Yeah I really agree that in the book it’s more ambiguous (and it was also more ambiguous in the first four seasons- which is why I think they were either lost in how to write her character the last few years OR they were deliberately misdirecting us- maybe the latter is too generous 😉 )

          I completely agree that they’ve made the mistake of calling her a saviour (and making a whole point since they veered off the books to have her say she wants to end tyranny- which incidentally was when I stopped liking her- cos in the books she didn’t make such claims and was more honest with herself about who she was). YES!!

          I really feel it’s a massive shame too and so disappointing.

          Yeah- let’s wait and see (though I think my optimism has finally been dashed)

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  8. I think there is an annoying trend of characters doing unexpected things for the shock value, but that is poor writing. I really admire Charles Dickens, for instance, because his books all make sense. He has scenes you think or extraneous or bits of dialogue, but then it is all tied together in the end. And, yes, you will be able to predict some of the ending because it’s so well-structured, but that is not a bad thing. Indeed, I think there is some pleasure in reading the ending you expected. Surprise isn’t the only satisfactory way to end a story.

    I haven’t been following the show, as I’ve said before. But it is my understanding that the show writers are just doing their own thing? They’re not following what GRRM told them the ending of the books will be? So maybe at least there’s still hope from GRRM as you say!

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    1. I really agree with you and I definitely think it’s poor writing. I really get what you mean about authors like Dickens doing a great job of setting things up and then fulfilling the promises he’s been laying the groundwork for. And I agree- I don’t think there’s such a bad thing about being able to predict the ending (also logically speaking, someone has guessed the end for GOT, since it’s a book series that’s been going since 1996- so of course people have figured out the ending). And yes, really agree- surprise isn’t the only way to make an ending work. I’m actually the kind of reader that’s perfectly happy not being surprised.

      I think they’re sort of doing their own thing. It was my understanding that they had some notes on the end from GRRM- but either they’ve decided to do their own thing entirely or they’ve been piecing it together differently. I have a feeling it’s a bit of both (especially since some things have happened that will definitely be in the books, but other things that definitely won’t be have happened too). I do have high hopes for GRRM regardless- I think he’ll make different decisions AND he’ll have a more effective execution! He has an excellent track record of set ups and payoffs at least!

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  9. Great review! This episode really irritated and angered me. While I thought it was shot beautifully and it was easy to follow (not like the confusing Night King battle), they completely butchered characters and plotlines just for the sake of spectacle and getting things over quickly. Dany’s about-face didn’t bother me as much as it should have, had I just been a show watcher and not one who has also read the books. I can see this trend towards Mad Queen happening in the books, but I agree with you that they didn’t show any reason for her turn towards evil. She has won – there was no reason to all of a sudden decide to burn all of the innocents and Kings Landing – which now she has to rebuild the city, spending valuable time and resources, so just why? It doesn’t make any sense. I could totally see her at that moment deciding to fly towards Cersei and roast her – that would’ve felt in character, and would’ve been a fitting end to Cersei. I think in the books, if Dany’s turn towards the Mad Queen ends up happening (I can see it with a “If I look back I am lost” moment before she roasts everyone), there will be far more complex reasons for this (ie, I think she’ll feel it is her only choice) and it won’t feel like it comes from nowhere.
    What really upset me was Jaime and Cersei’s ending. I don’t understand why the show decided that twincest was something to be portrayed as romantic, other than they just thought it would garner attention… Their ending made me sick to my stomach. While I liked Lena Headey’s acting as Cersei breaks down, and adored her side-step past Qyburn’s body, I just cannot with that ending. It destroyed Jaime’s character growth, making so many of his scenes throughout pointless, and Cersei didn’t get the comeuppance that she deserved. It felt like a cowardly way to end the characters.
    But, the good things about the episode were the fact that it was beautiful, and the acting was excellent, as usual. I loved all the dragon shots and even though the show irritates me, I’ll miss it and will re-watch. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! Ah I totally agree. It was really beautifully shot, but man they made a mess of the plot.
      I *completely* get what you mean about the Mad Queen thing because I’ve read the books, I totally see this as possible. My biggest issue is they stopped following the direction of the books and decided to hide that part of her for the last couple of seasons in order to surprise us (my biggest frustration is actually that this is a great possible twist, but they haven’t executed it well enough to justify it). I definitely think we’ll get more when it’s from her perspective in the books (if this does indeed happen) and like you said it won’t come from nowhere.
      I *hated* the Jaime/Cersei ending. I agree it’s gross and it destroys the redemption arc for Jaime. I agree that the acting is amazing, but it didn’t deliver any justice or fulfilment of the story arcs. Couldn’t agree more!
      And that’s true! I’ll definitely rewatch it too!

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  10. I agree. I’m not mad that Dany went mad, but I am pissed at HOW they made her go mad! It did not make any sense! The series became plot driven series rather than character driven, and they missed up all the interesting characters arcs! Jaime deserved better!! 7 seasons to set his character arc then they ruin it like THAT! They wanted to shock the fans so bad that everything ended up to be a whole mess! The characters in this season were all weak, and a lot of the things that happened had no logic to them whatsoever. I was disappointed that really the last episode will not make any difference to me 💔. Good thing though that George is still alive and there are two more books in the series.

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    1. So agree with you!! And that’s a great way to put it- completely agree! Jaime really did deserve better! I can’t believe they did that! That was the worst part of the episode for me! I wish they hadn’t gone for shock value alone (sure, shocks are a part of GOT, but they were always for a purpose and made sense). I really agree that the characterisation this season (and for a while) has been weak and not made a whole lot of sense. I’m so disappointed too. Yes! I’m relieved that one day we can hope to get the final two books that will hopefully clear up this mess!

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  11. LOL, the irony is that I don’t think GRRM actually practices what he preaches. I’ve always thought him to be the prime example of an author who spends an an inordinate amount of time setting up elaborate scenarios full of well developed plots and characters, only to turn around at the drop of a hat and tear it all down in the name of doing something “unexpected”. Part of me thinks this is why the book series has turned into such an unmanageable mess. I mean, at some point you just gotta start tying things together so they make sense, right? Instead though, he’s let all the storylines diverge too much, to the point where I think he’s lost control.

    But with regards to the show and episode 5 – I’m one of those in the disappointed camp. Thing is though, I kinda got where the show creators were coming from. “Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land”, so presumably now we know Dany is like her dad, the Mad King…which I can totally buy! I actually don’t think that having Dany snap is in itself all that unexpected. The problem, however, is that they’ve compressed that process into a such a short period of time so we lose a lot of the nuance, so the end result just looks slipshod and BAD.

    And I’m with you on the ending for Cersei and Jamie. Hated it. Cersei deserved much worse, and Jamie lost years of character development in a span of five minutes by pretty much admitting he never moved past her. Brienne was used badly, and I was so pissed on her behalf.

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    1. hehe well I think that’s true to an extent. I do think he has a tendency to go off the tracks. But I think he has a tendency to go off the tracks. I still think some of his biggest twists were massively foreshadowed and made a lot of sense though (eg the Red Wedding). That said, I think the way he’s planted so many plot points all over the place (plenty of which haven’t made it into the show) have made it so hard for the writers to wrap things up (and I want to be fair to the writers, so I will say I haven’t seen a single theory on how it could/should end that elegantly ties everything together in an entirely satisfying way).

      I completely get where the show is coming from too. I definitely think it’s on the cards for Dany and I so agree that it was done way too fast! I actually thought this was gonna happen- it’s just been so disappointing to me how poorly executed it was.

      And yeah I *hated* Jaime’s ending too. It was the absolute worst.

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  12. I think i’m the worst kind of series watcher… the character arc thing didn’t bother me all that much, cuz i’d pretty much forgotten what happened in previous series and in s8 i started disliking Denny from the first episode. My first thought when she went on the rampage was “omg, this woman needs therapy” 😀
    I expected something a bit more spectacular, so now i’m like “meh, all right, can we get over with this now?” 😀

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  13. I’ve been so disappointed with this season! After years of expert story telling and super slow, fleshed out story lines there was a really high bar set and I think the show runners are falling way below it. Everything this season’s felt rushed and unexplained. Like Arya killing the night king (and that whole battle in general)…. several seasons ago when Jon fought the general it was a massive deal and there was a huge fight but Arya comes in and takes him out in one fell swoop? And then that’s pretty much that everyone moves straight on to Kings Landing strategy? And then there’s the dragon being killed by a single shot when the one Danerys is riding manages to dodge literally hundreds of shots. Ugh! Inconsistencies! I’m interested to see how they end it tonight and I hope they don’t cheap out on the story for the shock value.

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    1. I completely hear you! I really agree unfortunately. It’s been way too rushed- like they just want to get over the finish line. I totally agree- it just isn’t satisfying as it could’ve been. And how they just move on so quickly. It’s incredibly frustrating. Ugh yes!! Me too!

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  14. Dany was always going to turn into the Mad Queen. The problem I had was that they turned it into a rush job. Yes, there were scenes in prior episodes and seasons that hinted at her eventual heel turn, but they didn’t let those moments develop at a natural progression. At this point it feels like they’re just going through a check list.

    I am forever mad about how Jamie’s arc came to an end. His entire redemption journey was so beautifully developed and it all got thrown away for incest. It was the most frustrating end.

    It even felt like Cersei has done nothing but drink wine and stare out a window for the entire season. There was no satisfaction to her end at all.

    I do think that Tyrion, Sansa, and Jon will be the targets of our mad queen in the last episode, but I just hope they can deliver something moving and memorable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really agree with that! I’ve honestly thought they’d go in that direction for a while- but I thought they’d actually build up to it, not misdirect us for two seasons and then go there! I really agree it feels like a check list of where they knew/wanted the series to go all along and they’re just ticking it off :/

      I am so frustrated with Jaime’s arc as well0 it was the worst part of the show for me. Years of redemption taken down in an hour of tv- WHY?!

      And yeah I agree with you :/ What a pathetic end for two fantastic characters.

      And I agree- hopefully they’ll deliver there… not long to wait and see!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It was a poor episode, even amongst a generally poor season. I think the problem with this season has been two fold. First, they have had to cram everything into 6 episodes, and secondly, and more importantly, they have had to get the characters to roughly the same ending as GRRM. The big problem with this is that the characters in the show have undergone some major character changes to make them more likeable – Dany, Tyrion and Jamie being the biggest ones here. Their actions don’t make sense for who they are in the show, but they are forced to make these choices. Book Dany, for example, is already very paranoid and more bloodthirsty than show Dany at the same point (ruling Mereen). She is obsessed with treachery due to Mirri Maz Dur’s prophecy in book/season 1, but in the show it has hardly been mentioned since about season 2 or maybe 3. So yeah, that is my opinion. The writers haven’t done great, but they are constricted a bit. Though, they made those changes, so it is a rod for their own backs.

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    1. Really agree! I definitely agree there’s been a massive problem with pacing (in this season and the last one too). And I really agree with you about how they’re trying to fit it with GRRM’s ending (although I don’t think Arya will defeat the walkers in the books). And yes, they have made concerted efforts to make characters more likeable. I completely agree with you about Dany in particular. When it comes to Tyrion, I think he’s been thrust into Barriston Selmy’s role, which is why he’s acting nothing like Tyrion. And you’re right about Jaime too. I do get what you mean about the writers being constricted- I definitely think they’ve been cornered into an impossible ending- which is why most theories on the ending are so imperfect anyway. And I do agree that they’ve made a rod for their own backs by making so many changes (especially painting Dany as a saviour and forgetting who she was in the books/where she was supposed to end up- though I think they could have set that up in order to misdirect us- which if they did that was a big mistake).

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      1. I don’t think Danny’s saviour line was done to misdirect… I reckon they just got carried away with her saviour arc before going, “Oh shit, we need to make her a bit mad.” Hence why they only started doing that in season 8. And I hadn’t thought of Tyrion being Barriston Selmy’s story line. Good theory.

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  16. I feel like I might be the only fan out there who actually really liked this episode 🙂 I certainly won’t deny it had its flaws – the largest being the too-quick descent of Dany (though as you said, with what we’ve seen of her before and the loss of her friends, it didn’t come totally out of the blue) – but I guess I kind of just accepted now that the show is moving at a lightning pace compared to early seasons, and while I’d have liked extra episodes to flesh it all out and make it more believable, I’m not surprised or heartbroken I didn’t get them.

    For me though this episode was just so emotionally hard-hitting and amazing to watch that that feeling overrode any disappointment at flaws (I guess I felt similarly to you that I liked some things and not others, but for me the things I liked won out). I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like those scenes in the city before – that contrast of the removed eagle-eye view of the dragon with the reality was what was going on on the ground was chilling, and seeing Jon, Arya and Tyrion witness it all up close was heart-breaking. As you said – the cinematography was astonishing. Also after the defeat of the Night King, which had me wondering how they were going to top it, I was impressed they managed to hit a similarly epic note, and go to unpleasant places and kill off characters in a way that echoed the darkness of earlier seasons. I even liked that Cersei didn’t end up executed at the end, and that her blind determination to win left her trapped and frightened in a city that was crumbling and burning around her (though I admit the lines in that last scene, especially where Jamie was concerned, weren’t very good).

    Anyway I won’t go into detail to avoid writing a novel… but on the whole, the episode had me enthralled, and while I don’t think it was perfect and not all the characters got the most appropriate endings, I do think a lot of them got fitting endings, and I don’t think the show writers were ever going to please everyone. And if one day we want a different, slower, and more “perfect” ending, my feeling is we’ll just have to read the book (if it’s ever finished! 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well I’m glad you got more out of it at least! 🙂 I do agree that it doesn’t come completely out of the blue- but like you said, it was too fast! That’s the kind of thing in a previous season would’ve taken about 9 episodes to develop- and here it happened in ten minutes! I do get what you mean about them speeding up the timeline though.

      I do think it was powerful in some regards- especially cos of the visuals and the devastation. That’s totally fair enough. And yeah it was really well shot and cleverly done in that regard. And that’s a good point- I think it was amazing that they managed to top the previous episode and make it feel just as important. Yeah I think that’s fair about Cersei- but I was surprised that was her actual ending! Jaime’s ending disappointed me the most though.

      haha no worries! I’m enjoying your comment! 😀 I think that’s totally fair- I actually think a lot of this will end up in the GOT books- just with more space and development (and without Dany having gone on a detour north). haha yeah I seriously hope it does get finished- now more than ever!

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  17. I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and kind of cool down about it, and what I’ve come away with is that this season sucked big time, but also not. The writing was awful, the character arcs/development were completely dismissed and destroyed, and I’m pretty upset I wasted time on it. However, the plot? I’m highly suspicious it’s going to be pretty similar to how the books will play out, but obviously, we still have two 1000 page books where everything that happens in the show will be given the time to develop and actually make sense. Daenerys going mad? Yeah, I believe that. Just not in the show. Most of the things that happened, I believe, but like you said, the execution was flawed. (Well, complete shit in my own words.)

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  18. To keep it short, I had hella problems with the way character arcs were totally abandoned here. Like…..wtf. I am all for surprises and twists and turns but they still have to make sense when you look back on them. That being said, it was visually stunning and I really thought Dany would go mad all along as well, they just did a crappy job of writing it imo. Oh well. 🙂

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  19. Haaa…yes, this episode (and the finale, omg) were incredibly disappointing imo. Beautifully shot, but Dany going berserk was so forced and out of left field that I was legitimately gaping at the screen when it happened. 😂 Yes, there were seeds of madness planted throughout the series (hence why I never truly loved Dany; she scared me lol), but I never felt those seeds were watered to grow. I can’t claim to be a better writer myself, but I feel for a fact that the “Dany going nuts” storyline was sped up by at least 4x lol.

    To be fair though, I actually liked Jaime going back to Cersei. Yes, I’m in the painful minority here, but as I’ve always considered Cersei to be a toxic drug to Jaime, and to a certain extent, Tyrion, I was not at all surprised by Jaime “relapsing” by going back to Cersei (I think it was also his self-hatred that made him think he deserved no one else other than Cersei) or Tyrion appealing to Cersei’s better nature. I think toxic family members are harder to escape than toxic romantic relationships (first-hand experience), so I actually was totally on board with this.

    But of course, I get how people might be so unbelieving that Jaime would make that decision. I think it’s hard to understand when you haven’t experienced that first-hand (also, the writers didn’t really help their viewers understand lol), so I feel your pain. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was beautifully shot. But yes, completely left of field- it could have worked- had there been more build up and logic to her going beserk. I think it was definitely sped up. My main thought is that it would have been possible to have made her do it because she felt backed into a corner BUT have everyone else label her as mad after the fact.

      haha yes you are in the minority. I can understand that to an extent and I do like how you put that about toxic relationships- I think that aspect made a lot of sense- and I think I could have been on board with it if not for the things he said like “I never cared about the people anyway” (?!)
      I think that it could have been an okay scene/direction- after all, he’s mostly just offering comfort to her in her final moments and trying to save their baby- it was the execution for me that was way off. Like you said, the writers didn’t even try to help the viewers understand. They just flipflopped on Jaime’s redemption arc, which is why everyone hated it.

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  20. There is nothing I don’t agree with you on.
    I appreciate the effort but it left me unsatisfied. Like you said, it felt like they were doing everything to escape the expectations. And I think that never yields great results. It’s like shock for the sake of shock, an unhappy ending just because a happy ending is what a reader/viewer expects. I think it’s always best to follow the story and if someone figures it out, well it just means they’re really immersed into it and passionate about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahh I completely agree! I feel so dissatisfied with this ending. I very much agree that it’s shocking for the sake of it. Yes for sure!! There’s nothing wrong, as I’ve seen GRRM say, with 1 in a 1000 readers getting the right answer!

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  21. I have a confession. The last episode I watched was the big battle where Arya finished off the Night King, it was rather satisfying, and I have not seen any subsequent episodes. With all the upset super fans is it bad to leave it on a high note?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can understand that- I was satisfied with that episode (my one issue being I had a lot of foreboding about how they’d round it off after that) It’s really hard to say- I don’t know if I could leave it there if you ask me- but that was definitely the last good episode in my opinion

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  22. I was not a fan of the last two episodes at all. :/ I know this is just your review for the fifth episode but after waiting years for the finale and sitting through eight seasons I can’t believe it ended there?!
    I’m not really a fan of where Dany’s character has gone this season, and I hated what happened to Cersei and Jamie as well (how is that how things ended for those characters, especially after where Jamie’s character arc was going!). I feel like this season has just been (like you said) a race to the ending and it really shows. It could have been so much better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nor was I unfortunately.
      Yes!! I can’t believe it ended like that either- such a disappointment!
      I think that’s totally fair and I’m not a fan either, but I think it is possible to take her character there, just not like that!! I hated what happened to them too. I really agree- it’s such a terrible shame they decided to go out like this :/

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I think it’ll be fake Aegon who’ll be on the throne when Dany burns King’s Landing – he’ll have the birthright (though false) and be more loved, and I think that’ll be the breaking point for Dany. If this isn’t it, I’ll be confused because that’d make much more sense. But I think that in the books she’ll end up looking a lot worse.

    The Hound V Mountain was perfect. There were no winners. Arya’s arc I was completely happy with, and I think I prefer the shows arc to the books because it looks pretty grim for Arya in the books.

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