Monthly Archives: June 2016

Game of Thrones: Season 6: Episode 10: Winds of Winter

I gave this episode a 92 out of 100.

Overall I loved the episode. This one was packed with story lines.
It was visually stunning and a few character story lines were finished spectacularly. There were others satisfying in a hollow way because I felt they were set up to shock us with reveals rather than give us natural story telling with the detail and character development they

The Good:

  • Miguel Sapochnik once again displayed some wonderful angles with photography and images; I loved the one of Drogon dipping his wings in the water as he flies towards the front of Dany’s fleet. I put the past two episodes along with Hardhome as the most visually arresting of the series; all done by this man. Well done!

 

  • Confirmation that Jon Snow is Leanna and Rhaegar’s son was exciting. We know he’s Rhaegar’s son because he is being guarded by the best swords in the Targaryen forces because he’s the legacy. I suppose it’s impactful to know about Jon’s true lineage as he’s being declared King by his own merits, however that impact they were striving for was quickly clobbered for me when the Manderlies, Mormonts, Glovers and other Houses swore fealty to Jon as King of the North and said they would follow him regardless of his lineage. They don’t know he’s half Targaryen and it wouldn’t appear it would matter if they did. When will it really matter? Why didn’t they reveal it next season?  It certainly would have had more impact on the story line then it does here.

 

  • There was some nice callbacks with Naming the King of the North; Shame with Cersei; Walder Frey getting his throat cut just like Caitlin; Freys and the Lannisters sending their regards.

 

  • Wow, so many lives extinguished in such a short time so spectacularly not far into the episode! I was expecting Loras, Margaery, High Sparrow, Mace, Kevan to all buy it at the same time to avoid Cersei facing her trial. Lancel, Tommen and Pycelle all had unexpected ways of dying for me. (I suppose Tommen has been dying of a broken heart for a while; the Sept explosion just sealed the deal.) It reminded me of Michael Corleone sequence having his enemies executed at the end of God Father II or Heisenberg in Breaking Bad in the last season executing his enemies.

 

  • This totally establishes for me how evil, vindictive and sadistic Cersei has become. She was so cold about dealing with Tommen’s remains and her reaction to his suicide. Her speech to Septa Unella was the polar opposite to that of Loras. Did part of Ramsay’s soul drift into her mind after he died? Especially the way Jaime has been looking at her.  It’s pretty clear they are done as a couple and are far apart with the way they look at things. (See the Unknown.)

 

  • Walder Frey and his sons meeting their end was satisfying (however it was a bit hollow in some ways – See the Bad.)

 

  • I love how Cersei thinks she beat the Witches Prophecy by killing Margaery and the irony we feel from knowing Dany is on the way with Tyrion!

 

  • The Queen of Thorns lines to the Sand Snakes had me erupting with laughter.

 

  • Old Town and the Citadel were wonderful nods to the Lighthouse and Library of Alexandria in our own history.

 

  • Ser Davos’s scene with Mel and Jon had a great message of those who get away with ending human lives in the name of their religion.

 

  •  Dany making Tyrion the Hand of the Queen was touching.

 

The Bad:

  • Ser Davos’ scene with Mel and Jon was emotional however, letting Mel go without paying a price for killing Shireen was weak sauce for me.
  • Once again I felt like what matters to the writers is the shocking of the audience with surprises; story and characterization come second, so the story and details come out sketchy and things are not as impactful as they should be because I am distracted.  Arya avenging Caitlin by killing Walder Frey is the important thing here and the sense of how we get there is secondary or not as important. I had a hard time believing Arya can use faces since the last time she did that she lost her sight. Perhaps it’s okay now that she is technically ‘No one’. I am still having issues understanding what powers she gleaned from the Faceless men. Can she also shape shift and move around as swiftly as Jaqen? I have to really forcibly suspend my disbelief and I wouldn’t have had to if they had spent more time developing Arya’s mystique in Braavos. I wrote a piece about that here. Perhaps when she put the Waif’s face in the House of Black and White she exchanged it for the face of the serving wench and took it with her for later use? Either Walder Frey eats very late in the evening (when everyone’s asleep) or Arya used Harry Potter’s Cloak of invisibility to murder everyone in the Hall and the Kitchen as well in order to be able to drag the bodies of the Frey brothers into the kitchen undetected; cut them up into small pieces and bake them into pies.

 

  • Heavy use of the Little Finger’s Teleporter by Varys and Arya. BTW: How did Olenna hear so quickly that her son, grandson and granddaughter are all dead? The only way I can make it work in my head is that the scenes between Ellaria and Olenna occurred some time after Cersei became Queen of King’s Landing. So we are fast forwarding through time.

 

  • Qyburn told Cersei there was more Wildfire then they expected. I was surprised all of King’s Landing didn’t go up. Perhaps the Sept had a lot of real estate where enough stone kept other wildfire caches from igniting? (See the Unknown).

 

  • I believe they are implying Septa Unella is going to be raped and assaulted (possibly tortured) until she dies very slowly and Cersei wants her to see her face as she’s dying, which if true is a bit much for me.  However, I didn’t see any torture weapons in her chamber. When the Mountain was at Harrenhall he had someone else doing the torturing.  He has always come across to me as someone who will crush your skull or rip out your spine rather than inflict small amounts of assault although I could be wrong.

 

  • Not much from Dorne; just par for the course. See Unknown.

 

  •  Samwell leaves Gilly and Little Sam standing there in the Lobby of the Citadel while he uses his stack privileges at the Citadel Library which apparently has hundreds of stacks!  That was silly.  Why isn’t he getting her situated in Old Town first? I think they wanted to awe us with images of the Library rather than make story sense again.  Samwell already knew ladies and babies were not welcome there.  He told Gilly that in the coach on the way to Hornhill. Come on writers!

 

  • Sansa’s character and the situation at Winterfell is a little muddy.  Is she really smart enough to allow Jon to become the Lord of Winterfell so Little Finger can’t marry her and become Lord of Winterfell (once he creates a baby with her and then murders her like her Aunt Lysa)?  Or is she not contesting the King of the North proclamations because she doesn’t want folks to know she was behind bringing Little Finger there to save Jon’s Army (undermining Jon’s victory and making Jon look as bad as he was at commanding his troops in battle)?

 

The Unknown:

  • Does Jon have the unburnt quality that Dany has? How will Dany learn that Jon is a Targaryen as well as a Stark?

 

  •  How does Sansa feel about Jon being declared the King of the North?  Why didn’t they proclaim her Queen of North over him?  He’s a bastard and they don’t usually have privileges for titles. Will she support him or scheme to become Queen of the North?  Cersei told Little Finger he would be Ward of the North if he got rid of the Boltons (S5E9).  Now they are gone and the Starks are in power how will he claim his prize from Cersei?  Will he? What are is plans now> What are Sansa’s?

 

  • Who is Cersei’s Hand?

 

  •  There is definitely  a rift now between Cersei and Jaime.  Will he confront Cersei about what she has done or will he just leave  King’s Landing? Will the Lannisters side with Dany?

 

  • If wildfire was in caches under the entire city why did just the Sept blow up? Wouldn’t that fire set off a chain reaction all over King’s Landing?

 

  • Is Mel headed to meet the Brothers without Banners? Mel did say to Arya she would meet here again. Will Mel meet Arya in the Riverlands?

 

  • Will Arya hook back up with Hot pie and perhaps Gendry? Is Arya likely to meet the Hound again?

 

  • Are there other Tyrells that can run The Reach if something happens to Lady Olenna? Perhaps she has relatives that were relatives of perhaps her own brothers or sisters? Or is House Tyrell on it’s last legs?

 

  • Since the Vale helped the Starks defeat the Boltons how is Little Finger going to explain that to Cersei since she still believes Sansa is responsible for Joffrey’s death? He already made a deal with Cersei to get rid of the Boltons to achieve the title of Warden of the North. The King of The North is going to put a dent in his plans for sure.

 

  • Will Dany first take over Dragonstone before heading to the Red Keep? That makes the most sense since that  was originally the Targaryen stronghold on Westeros.

 

  • Are the Tyrell’s and the Dornish have their boats and troop support mixed in with Dany’s fleet or will they join her once she makes it over the Narrow Sea?

 

  • Is Bran headed to Winterfell? How is Meera going to get Bran to the other side of the Wall? Benjen didn’t provide them a sled or anything. Is he going through the secret tunnel through the Night Fort? Can the White Walkers go through the Tunnel to the Night Fort?

 

  • What did Dorne and the Reach provide to Varys? Ships? Men? Supplies? Who supplied what? Did both Dorne and the Reach send things to Dany or will Dany just get there and they will help her conquer and provide things once she gets to Westeros?

 

  • Isn’t Samwell concerned about his father seeking him out at the Citadel to get back Heartsbane?  He knows Sam is going there to study to be a Maester.

 

  • It appears Daario and Dany are done. Who will end up in Cersei’s bed in Westeros? Will she end up marrying Jon? Targaryen’s do intermarry. It makes the most sense.

Game of Thrones: Season 6: Episode 9: Battle of the Bastards

Superb episode! 96 out of 100.

The Good:

• The Battle of Meereen with the Slave Masters had a lot of punch in 15 minutes. I loved the scenes with the Dragons making an example of some of the boats and the quick verbal reversal of the situation.

• Miguel Sapochnik did an absolutely amazing job with directing this episode. It went beyond watching a movie. There was a fantastic use of POV in the war. I felt like I was there totally immersed in medieval battle; especially as a foot soldier on the ground although we got commander perspective and overhead views as well. I could feel the body pile smothering; trampling; crowding, skewering; especially from Jon’s perspective. The shuddering of his breath as he was being trampled and body pile induced by his own desperate bloodied men. You could feel the violent smashing of horses and clashing of swords on armor as the lines hit each other and gore of medieval/ Ancient Greek warfare. The action was fast, fierce and relentless at every turn.

• The whole strategy the Bolton’s applied to the Starks was surprising and riveting. Jon bought the bait with Rickon which put a dent in his plans. The longbow men creating a body pile wall and then the surrounding of the Starks by the Bolton Phalanx closing in with pikes ratched up the tension nicely. Nice irony that Jon spoke about surrounding the Bolton’s on three sides when they were the ones being surrounded by the same move due to Jon’s impulsiveness.

• I loved the use of the battle to better define the characterization of Sansa, Jon and Ramsay. Sansa warned Jon that Ramsay would play him like a fiddle if you let him and to try and do the opposite of what you are feeling or where you think your actions should be going. She displayed how to read Ramsay (or enemies) better in battle than Jon. Jon is highly reactive and impulsive, however he’s a fierce fighter with a load of stamina. I can see why Sansa didn’t want to tell Jon about the troops from the Vale; until they were there. If the Vale Troops were there ahead of time the battle may have still turned out in Ramsay’s favor; due to the way Jon impulsively played into Ramsay’s trap with Rickon. Ramsay proved to be a much more dangerous strategist then Jon may have anticipated. Jon bought his bait and Ramsay used the same move Jon was going to use on him with surrounding him on three sides. (Jon never got to use his trenches.)

• I honestly felt relief when the troops of the Vale showed up so they did a great job of making me feel like the Stark’s situation was dire.

• Tyrion and Theon reunion was interesting. Theon appears to becoming back a little from Reek.

• The ladies of Game of Thrones are ruling better than the men. Ellaria in Dorne, Dany in Meereen, Sansa in The North and now possibly Yara in the Iron Isles. I love how Yara put herself up for Marriage with Dany as a possibility to match Euron’s offer.

• One slight smile on Sansa’s face as she was leaving Ramsay being mauled by his own hounds…Priceless!

The Bad:

• Sansa took off before Ramsay told Jon he was going to feed them all to his dogs which hadn’t eaten in seven days. So how did she know about his dogs? The only think I could think of is that it was Jon’s idea to feed Ramsay to his dogs because that’s where he put Ramsay which Sansa asked him ‘Where is he?’

• Mel and Jon’s pep talk was weak on dialog ‘Don’t lose’. ‘Maybe he brought you here to die again’. I guess in spite of her ability to resurrect Jon she is still rattled by her experiences with Stannis on the battlefield.

The Unknown:

• I honestly thought Varys was going to seek out Yara, so where is he off to in Westeros? My money is on Dorne. The person that makes the most sense would be Ellaria Sands. I don’t see Varys going to King’s Landing.

• Why didn’t Jon want Mel to resurrect Rickon? Is he is too bad of shape? Is it because he isn’t of royal blood?  No one in the show recommended that Rickon be resurrected. That’s something I am pointing out right now. Mel has the power to resurrect folks. So why not have Jon or Sansa resurrect Rickon? I am only pointing out that maybe his body is too far dead or damaged from the battle to be worth doing that. They could have also resurrected Wun Wun. Then again, like I mentioned maybe Mel can only resurrect those she sees in her prophesies and if they are of Royal Blood and perhaps Rickon doesn’t have Royal Blood.

• Speaking of Mel, how long is she for this world? I bet Ser Davos will try to kill her.

• Where was Ghost during the Battle of Bastards? It would have been really cool of Ghost was let loose on Ramsay, however it was fitting to see Ramsay mauled and devoured by his own dogs.

• Will Yara keep her promise to not reave to Dany? What will the Iron born do if they cannot reave? I suppose they could be fisherman and shipbuilders for Westeros.

• What will Dany do if Euron approaches her? Will she wait for him? I suppose she could just take his ships with her Dragons.

• We hear again about the caches of Wildfire in King’s Landing (this time from Tyrion) so no doubt Cersei was told about these too by Jaime. Who will set those off in King’s Landing? Will it be Dany or Cersei?

• How did Dany get all three Dragons to coordinate an attack on the Slavers? Did they just follow Drogon’s lead? Is it telepathy?

• Will the North get behind the Sansa and the Starks? Who is left to bend the knee?

• What will Sansa do if she finds out Little Finger is to be appointed Ward of the North once he helps defeat the Boltons? Will he try to turn Sansa over to Tommen (if she stays at Winterfell and Jon heads back up North or leaves for another place)?

I am really curious what you guys think of Little Finger’s plans. Cersei told him she would make him Warden of the North if he defeated the Boltons.

Is he going to hand Sansa over to her on a Silver Platter or will the whole situation take care of itself because Cersei is going to burn down King’s Landing due to her Trial results?

I think Lady Sansa Stark of Winterfell wins this week’s Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: Season 6: Episode 8: No One

Overall I gave this episode a 62 out of a 100.

I thought the show was very uneven with the treatment of certain storylines and characters.

Best Line: ‘I killed you once before, Dondarrion. Happy to do it again.’

The Good:

  • Ha! Tyrion did a callback to his story about the Honeycomb and the Ass (he unleashed at the Vale to Lysa Arryn.) Loved it! In a past ‘A Pod of Casts’ Season 4 review I mentioned it would be funny if Tyrion ended up in Dorn running his own Vineyard and it appears that’s exactly what’s on his mind!
  • Edmure in front of Riverrun held by knife point; yielded no surrender. Edmure free of his own accord as Lord of Riverrun (with the threat of a catapulted son forced into his mind); requesting entry to his castle; yielded surrender. If anything, this shows how Jaime has the shrewdness of his father Tywin and determination to get back to Cersei asap.
  • Lovely intersections of desperation at Riverrun for Blackfish, the Freys, Brienne, Jaime and Edmure.
  • Jaime’s talk with Brienne was wonderful at showing their love and loyalty to the folks on their sides and themselves. Why do I get the impression that one of them will end up killing the other or that it may be the last time either of them see each other?
  • Lady Brienne’s attempts at persuading the Blackfish were powerfully honest and to the point.
  • Cersei has lost her ability to use Trial by Combat (See the Unknown.)
  • The Hound pulling the boots of the yellow cloak’s legs as he was being hung was cold blooded, dark and humorous.
  • Arya’s action scenes were exciting (very Terminator 2 like with the actions and looks of the Waif). (See the Bad).

 

The Bad:

  • Good action and suspense for me demands some type of plausibility of the performers being able to carry it out in order for me to remain focused on it. I can buy that Arya has had extensive training and she has become a great fighter.  However, what I have seen the past two episodes with Arya were beyond what I believed she was capable of enduring and performing; especially in the damaged state the waif left her in the prior episode.  This distracted me from the goal the writers were trying to achieve with her.  Sorry folks.  If she didn’t have the wounds I would have totally bought it.  The showrunners felt it was more important to shock us with her fierce stabbing last episode and now they have to make that work with this heavy action sequence and it just doesn’t work for me.
  • Blackfish’s off screen death was just weak sauce.
  • Mace Tyrell was in the medium shots among the small council surrounding Tommen when he made the announcement about Cersei’s Trial. I still don’t understand why his mother is a target of the High Sparrow yet he isn’t.  Is it because he is Master of Coin?

 

The Unknown:

  • Why did the High Sparrow renege on his promise for Cersei to be able to stay in the Red Keep until her Trial?
  • Where is Arya off to in Westeros? Where did she get all that money to give the Westerosi sailors? Was that the money that Bianca gave her in order to murder Lady Crane?
  • Is Varys going to seek out Yara in Volantis to bargain for ships? Or is he actually going to Westeros?
  • What does Cersei have up her sleeve now that Trial by Combat has been eliminated as a trial method for her? Does Tommen know who his real father is?  If he doesn’t is that a way for Cersei to stop the Trial or punishment after trial? Is Tommen smart enough to know that would be a threat to his legitimacy as a King and also the Faith Militant? (His decree through Cersei is what created them.)
  • If the Slavers are boat bound with their attacks on Meereen, how will the Dothraki Calvary ride in and save the day? It has to be the Dragons that lead the charge.  Who will end up riding all three besides Dany?
  • With the changes at King’s Landing, will the Iron Bank of Bravos call in to collect on the debts owed to them? Money has to be a problem for the realm now that Brothels have been destroyed in King’s Landing. Does King’s Landing owe the Tyrells money as well as the Lannisters and the Iron Bank? Perhaps that’s why Mace is still in the Small Council?
  • Do any of you think it is possible for the Tyrells to end up fighting on the Stark’s side?
  • What was the old rumor Cersei told Kyburn about that he had his birds investigate? Could it be something on the High Sparrow? Could it be the Wildfire we saw in Bran’s visions?

 

I think Jaime Lannister wins this week’s Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: Season 6: Episode 7: The Broken Man

Overall I gave this episode a 70 out of a 100. Not the strongest of episodes. I felt there was a lot of setup, however some great reveals.

The Good:

• I loved the cold opening revealing the Hound is back! Ian McShane did a great job as Ray the Septon, however I felt there was a bit of bad with his part of this episode (the Bad.)

• It’s hysterical how Tommen is using the High Sparrow to get sex from Queen Margaery. She seemed a bit uneasy perhaps with the thought of being pregnant with one of Tommen’s heirs.

• Cersei is in big trouble and Tywin’s lines to her from past seasons about her thinking she is a lot smarter than she actually is keeps ringing in my head. I found the scenes between her and the Queen of Thorns humorously tragic for her. Lady Olenna gave her both barrels.

• I love how Queen Margaery’s loyalty message to the Queen of Thorns was half out loud and half in writing to get out of there as fast as possible. No doubt she has a plan and she doesn’t want her grandmother to die in King’s Landing.

• Lyanna Mormont was fantastically precociously cagey. I love those scenes when she pledged 62 men.

The Bad:

• We got basically a bottle episode for Ian McShane’s character and his flock, which includes the Hound.

• It was good back story for the Hound and showed how the inner conflict between his new found faith is clashing with all he knows from his past. However, I thought killing off the flock so soon gave his choice to go back to his old life less emotional in pack then I thought I should have felt inside of him. They could have very easily had the Hound talk to a character about what happened to him and we would have gotten the same impact. The story itself of a killer being reformed and then returning back to his old ways due to violent outsiders has been told in so many tv shows and movies; so many times that it’s become a story framework trope. The most recent one I can remember is the movie John Wick.

• If Lady Olenna is being charged with going up against the King and the Faith Militant why is it that Mace Tyrell wasn’t charged as well? He led the forces to get back Queen Margaery. I think something else is going on here. Does the Sparrow know she’s behind Joffrey’s death? What do you think?

• I thought Yara and Theon’s scenes were more sexposition than toughening of Theon’s resolve.

The Unknown:

• Who is Lady Olenna writing to? Why do I feel like she’s writing Baelish?

• Who is Lady Sansa ravening a message to? I bet it’s Little Finger to get the assistance from the troops at the Vale.

• Is Arya having a bad dream or is she is danger of dying from the Waif’s wounds? Who is in Braavos who could help her? I tend to think this is all a dream because we last saw her in a darkened room blowing out a light; holding needle; waiting for the Waif to come after her.

• No doubt the Hound is out for revenge. What’s his move after that? No doubt he will look for those men who approached the camp earlier. Abe and Roberto do you see him battling the Mountain in Cersei’s Trial by Combat?

• Why didn’t Jon and Sansa use Ser Davos and the White Walker threat to convince the other Northern houses to join them?

• If Ser Jaime meets Lady Brienne next episode will she tell him she found Sansa? If so will he use that to be able to talk to Black Fish again and get him to give up Riverrun?

• Does Yara have 1,000 ships to help Dany?