Archive for Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 2 Review

Posted in Game of Thrones with tags , , , , on April 28, 2019 by boccobsblog

This week’s Game of Thrones Season 8 review comes from sci-fi author, Rey Clark.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

GoTS8E3

It’s difficult to stomach the fact that there are only four more episodes left of the beloved HBO drama Game of Thrones.  The journey has been full of twists and turns, and the show is known for pulling the rug out from under the viewers.  Viewers have learned that no character is safe in the world of Westeros.  With the ominous tone of season 8’s “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (episode 2), viewers are left wondering which of characters will die and which will survive.  This episode does a fantastic job of setting up the impending doom of the Battle of Winterfell.  Most of the characters in the episode treat it as their last night to be alive and their last efforts to prepare for an epic showdown between the living and the dead.

The episode begins with a pivotal moment in Jamie Lannister’s redemption character arc.  Jamie has been humbled throughout the show and has been on the road of redemption ever since he lost his hand.  Brienne happened to be one to vouch for Jamie at Winterfell.  Jamie also had a moment with Bran where he apologized for pushing him out the window and crippling him as a child.  Bran accepts Jamie’s apology when faced with the logic that Bran would not have become the three-eyed raven if Jamie had not pushed him from the window.  Bran also hints that he isn’t really Bran Stark anymore and that he is someone else entirely.  As a viewer, I would love to know more about the three-eyed raven, and I’m hoping more will be revealed in the final episodes.  One line seemed to jump out at me during this conversation.  Bran asks Jamie, “how do you know there is an afterward?”  I’ve always wondered if the end is simple in the fact that the Night King wins and everyone dies.

Daenerys attempts to ally with Sansa, and I’m impressed with the way Sansa handled herself.  During the conversation, I couldn’t help but see a little of Cersei in Sansa.  Sansa’s time in King’s Landing was tragic, but it seems like Sansa learned a lot about playing the game in her time there.  There was a moment where I though Daenerys might succeed in manipulating Sansa.  When Daenerys argued that Jon manipulated her rather than the other way around; Sansa had a moment of clarity in realizing that almost seemed to be the case.  The conversation took a turn when Sansa asked Daenerys “What about the North.”  The North fought for independence and Sansa isn’t going to give it up without a fight.

The plan to use Bran as bait seems like a terrible idea, and the fact that Theon and the Ironborn will be protecting him isn’t a great comfort.  My question is that if Bran and the Night King have a connection that borders on a physic bond then isn’t it possible the Night King already knows about the plan.  It is fitting that this showdown is planned to take place by the Weirwood.  I wonder if the tree will play any role in this encounter.  The Weirwoods seem to have magical qualities.  Is Bran planning on using this?

There were a few relationships that seemed to spring up this late in the game.  There is speculation that Sansa and Theon might become the next coupling.  I don’t see that happening.  Sansa did have an emotional reaction to seeing Theon, but he is more like a brother to Sansa.  Remember that Theon grew up with the Starks, so he is like a member of the family.  Having him back home to fight for Winterfell and his childhood home was touching.  The fans were rooting for the Arya, and Gendry hook up, and they got it in this episode, but there was some fan backlash.  I felt like it fit Arya’s character.  She’s become a powerful character, and Arya has always done her own thing.  So it makes sense she wanted to experience sex before possibly dying.  Let’s not forget that Arya isn’t an innocent child anymore.  She killed the Frey’s and fed them to their father before killing him as retribution for the Red Wedding.  Last season she executed Littlefinger by slitting his throat.  Bottom line; Arya isn’t a little girl anymore, and if she wants to proposition Gendry, then that’s her prerogative.

I think one of the best scenes from episode 2 was around the fireplace with Tyrion, Jamie, Davos, Brienne, Podrick and Tormund.  My favorite was the chest puffing between Tormund and Jamie over Brienne’s attention.  Tormund’s giant story was hilariously awkward, but then perhaps that’s how you pick up girls north of the wall.  Jamie’s decision to knight Brienne was an emotional moment, and Brienne deserved her moment of recognition.  Podrick’s song was both beautiful and foreboding.  There is speculation that the song foreshadows events to come, but we won’t know for sure until episode 3 airs.  While the song played, the viewer was given what might be the last time we see some of these characters alive.  We also see the last battlement preparations of dragonglass spikes, moats, and weapons distribution.  The dead are upon them and what they have ready now is what they have for the battle.  Time is up, and their enemy has arrived.

Just before the warning bells sound, Daenerys finds Jon in the crypt at the tomb of Lyanna Stark, and she learns of Jon’s Targaryen lineage and his substantial claim to the Iron Throne.  Daenerys didn’t get time to react to the information before they were summoned to the battlements.  She needs to set it aside and focus on the battle at hand first.  But is Daenerys capable of doing that?

Some questions to ponder before episode 3 “Battle of Winterfell”:

Who will live and who will die?  I think it’s safe to assume we will lose more than half of the remaining characters.  Who those characters will be is anyone’s guess

If Winterfell is overrun by the dead will Daenerys go full Mad Queen?  Will Daenerys burn Winterfell with dragon fire if the dead get inside survivors or not.

Are the crypts safe?  The Night King can raise the dead so being surrounded by the dead doesn’t seem like a safe option.

Will we see zombie Hodor?  We might see other characters return as zombies as well which could be interesting.

Will the Night King even show up?  A lot is riding on the idea that the Night King will come for Bran.  What if the Night King doesn’t show up?  What if he shows up and defeating the Night King doesn’t defeat the dead?

Will Melisandre return with help in time?  We know that Melisandre will eventually return to Westeros.  She revealed to Varys last season that she is destined to die in Westeros.  I wonder if she will return with a magical army of Red Wizards.  If so will that be enough to save Winterfell, or is Winterfell destined to fall?

Rey Clark Fantasy and Science Fiction Author, www.reyclark.com, reyclarkauthor@gmail.com, Facebook: @reyclarkauthor, Twitter: @authorreyclark, YouTube: Rey Clark and MurderHobos Inc, Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rey-Clark/e/B06XKGWW5M

Upcoming titles:

  • Path of Ascension Trilogy: Flames of Valor, Fire Forged, Inferno Rising
    (August 2019)
  • Titan Code Series: Dawn of Genesis, Age of Redemption (early 2020), Final Legacy (2021)
  • Legends Chronicles: Legends of the Vale, Legends of the Weirded Ways (2020), Legends of the Phoenix Flame (2022)
  • Runemaster Saga: Dusk (2019)
  • Fortune’s Coast; Void Path Gaming System (2020)
  • Titanholm Adventures for 5th Ed Dungeons and Dragons (2020)
  • Realm of Thraul: short story adventures in a shared world (2020)

 

 

 

 

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 1 Review

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 21, 2019 by boccobsblog

Got

The Wall That Martin Built
A review of Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode One.

By Ben Baer

The man who created the narrative should wield the pen. If you would take a man’s story, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear its final arc. And, if you cannot bear to do that well, then perhaps the story does not deserve to be told.
These are the thoughts that come to mind as we see the final season premiere of Game of Thrones. A television show that has become a phenomenon and, like many creative ventures in the fantasy and science fiction realm, has grown to Balerion sized proportions causing its creator to lose control of the reigns. George R.R. Martin wrote a master work of fantasy, but it has yet to be completed. His intricacies of foreshadowing, the appropriation of historic events into his narrative (such as the Black Dinner), and resonating lines such as Ned Stark’s thoughts on execution made a wonderful tale. Then, like a horde of white walkers, the fandom came for it.  They tore through every plot point and scrutinized every novel; they tore through the wall of foreshadowing and predicted, early on and very accurately, who the true heir to the Targaryen line would be. Perhaps it is these acts that have seemingly placed Martin into a writer’s paralysis. Whatever the reason, the show for the past two years has suffered from the absence of Martin’s source material, and the premiere of the final season exemplifies this absence.

Horn Blast One… Brothers Returning to the Watch

Game of Thrones has a complex cast of characters, which is the most compelling part of Season 8, episode 1. Everyone seems to be drawn to Winterfell, where we anticipate a final climactic battle.  It is also very interesting to see how the opening sequence has involved. A vast map that once spanned continents is now focused on the intricacies inside these locations. All of these characters and their story arcs have been building to fewer and fewer places. No one would have dreamt during season one while riding with the khalasar that someday Dany would find her way to Winterfell.

There is also a striking parallel plot structure between this episode and the very first episode.  The episode begins with Daenerys entering Winterfell like King Robert long ago. It also ends with Jaime Lannister interacting with Bran, but in an obviously inverted dynamic.

There is a strong amount of dread and mystery developed in the scene where the young lord is stapled to the wall in a white walker fire swastika of doom. This symbol has been left before, and leaves a solid enigma for the viewers to contemplate. If you wander into the fandom there are a number of theories regarding this, including some who have said it is a recreation of the Targaryen crest; what this could possibly mean has intriguing implications.

Horn Blast Two…. Enemies Approaching

While there are some enigmas to contemplate, this episode also has various obvious moments of pandering to fans. For example, there was the scene where Dany and Jon recreate How to Train Your Dragon by taking a leisurely ride, despite the fact that there is a horde of enemies approaching. Let us also not forget that the Night King has at his disposal surface-to-dragon zombifying spears!

This episode was also filled with inconsistent and irrelevant characters. Everything which occurs at King Landing now seems insubstantial, especially when it contains the scenery-chewing character of Euron Greyjoy. We are left with Cersei’s line about, “ If you want a whore buy her. If you want a queen…,” apparently wait for about 30 seconds. Their whole relationship development has been painful to watch.

Speaking of Greyjoys, who cares about them whatsoever? Go to Winterfell; don’t; set sail for Asshai; let the Iron Islands sink into the sea- this arc is stale. Another superfluous story line for fan service is the dilemma of Bronn. This sellsword has been impishly fun to watch from the days he kicked a knight out the moon door and was promised a castle, but squeezing him into this premier seems like another simple fan service. It was also a cheap excuse to squeeze in nudity, which HBO has had to seemingly had to leave out lately due to the inconveniences of having to cover actual plot.

Horn Blast Three… The Others

The place where a lack of source material becomes most obvious is in the clumsy dialogue upon which the exposition has become so dependent.  As said before, we had lines in the first season which were literature: “He who passes the sentence should swing the sword…,”  as well as, “A mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone.”  This episode has not one, but TWO different jokes about people’s balls. In fact, the first testicular crack is delivered by Tyrion himself, and it is almost as if the show has become self-aware of its own inadequacies as Sansa says to him, “I used to believe you were the cleverest man alive.” Perhaps he was more clever when the writers were more capable.  Jokes about gonads aside, the entire episode is filled with other groaner lines.  Whether it be a joke about blue eyes, tongue-in-cheek lines about Bran’s powers, or whining about not having elephants, much of the dialogue comes off like the nineties sitcom version of what is actually a rather gritty narrative.

The Wall Comes Down

Criticism of the dialogue aside, one can take heart that this saga is reaching its end.  It will be captivating if the show finds the shock and tragedy which won over its viewers in the past. Westeros has taught us that it is an unsafe world. Knowing that this is the last season, we may say goodbye to a number of characters before the last episode and that can have the potential to be both captivating and heartbreaking.  One can hope that at some point we will see this band of characters fight a desperate last stand at Winterfell versus the Others.  No matter what happens, night gathers and the end of our Watch begins. We are the watchers. We shall pledge to watch the next episode, and all other episodes to come until our Watch has ended.