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  1. paramitch

    Watership Down

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's such a unique and beautiful story, and the animated version really was worth watching.
  2. paramitch

    S08.E05: The Bells

    Oh my GOD what happened, GoT? Who hurt you? Sigh. I thought this wasn't... good. And not because of Dany's Targaryen craziness -- I've always thought Dany was over-praised (potentially) as a heroine when she has always had moments of "Mad Queen in 3... 2... 1..." to me. She loves being HAILED as a savior but has constantly screwed up actually BEING a savior (see also Quarth, Mereen, etc.). However, like many, I would also argue in counterpoint that the characters' motivations have seemed super rushed and not always trackable this season in general (especially, for me, after 8.3, which I felt was magnificent, even worse for me given that these last two have felt tired and obligatory, like point A to point B to point C. For instance -- here -- I feel like it would have been far more believable if the battle had been hard to track and Dany even thought she might be losing, then saw Cersei and it seemed like she was going to lose, for instance. And then lost her shit and nuked the city. I could totally see that happening. I just felt that her heel turn here was poorly executed by the writers (but I felt that way about most of the episode). And some of the character arcs here made zero sense to me at all. I mean, I have spent how many years and books invested in Jaime's redemption and... this? Seriously? I agree with those who feel D&D have zero understanding of Jaime's character at all -- his translation from page to screen has been insulting and badly damaged his redemption path, while meanwhile Cersei still inexplicably glows with empathetic golden light and aghghghhg. And Tyrion just seems to have lost his damn mind a year ago (still harping on saving Cersei and her stupid baby—the woman for the Nth time JUST TRIED TO KILL HIM AND JAIME LAST EPISODE. AGAIN. SOME MORE.). And having Cersei go out by while whimpering about her stupid tumor baby in the arms of the man she just tried to kill again last episode (AND HE KNEW IT) -- the showrunners actually said "in the end she's just a girl afraid to die" and I about rolled my eyes out of my head, like, "OH MY GOD THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE MAKING A ROM-COM." I mean, honestly, I would've preferred the Mountain just shoving Cersei off the steps on his way to the Hound -- for extra fun, everyone pausing to listen for the splat. That would at least have been poetic and entertaining. I'm definitely having trouble with how this is shaking out. It just feels rushed to me and a little half-assed. And I hate the contrasts between how Jon is being presented vs how Dany is. It does feel sexist to me, and unfortunately it's been a given that these guys just aren't always aware of sexism or privilege in the story they're putting onscreen. It shows -- yet again -- here. I even felt similarly about Arya being dropped in basically via parachute to just be an audience stand-in -- an Arya who's suddenly warm and kind and empathetic to everyone she encounters. I appreciated her final moment with Sandor, but... yet again, there's an undertone to it that I find distasteful as well. Although hey -- Drogon lived! I'll take it. And I know he nuked Kings Landing, but let's face it, he was just being a good boy for Mom. (KIDDING! Too soon?)
  3. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    She definitely stabs him in the heart. Here's a screenshot I took (darn it, it keeps copying too many tweets!): I agree! It's exactly why I and some others thought she screamed -- to get him to turn around and give her access to his heart. That's amazing! I really love how hard Maisie worked in the role -- it really showed. She was always so fluid and fast in the fight scenes, and her evolution was very believable to me for that reason. I didn't remember that Arya was left-handed, so it's interesting that you note that she initially attacked with her "strong" hand -- unless, as you point out, she is so ambidextrous at this point that she has no "weak" hand and either one worked. I hope that too, although it will be interesting if THIS Night King even shows up (I do think he might still) or some similar kind of sentient leader of the Others/White Walkers. Like you, I have so many remaining questions -- what did the spirals mean, and what did the NK actually want beyond killing the Three-Eyed Raven? I found show NK fascinating and really did want to know more about his motives and thoughts. For instance, that final confrontation with Bran is so fascinating and well-acted. I feel like I know what Bran is thinking, to some degree, but with the NK, beyond sheer triumph and enjoyment of the moment, I'm utterly mystified. And I really want to know! On a side note, Vladimir Furdik did a great job as the Night King. He was always surprisingly expressive (considering how much makeup he had to deal with). There was menace there, but also cruelty and even humor.
  4. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    Fair enough. To me, it seems pretty obvious that, whether or not the NK exists in his telling, GRRM is still talking about Arya. But I get that YMMV. We'll find out... if he ever publishes the end of the story!
  5. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    Sorry, I was referring to the implication of a longtime plan for Arya to be the savior based on this VANITY FAIR piece quoting GRRM, not that the literal Night King would exist in the books. Here's the piece, which quotes an older interview with GRRM (who was, please note, talking about an approach involving a much younger Arya than show-Arya, since his books involve younger characters across the board): This is beautifully described, and I felt the same way. My favorite thing is that I have hated Mel so many times, yet I also always felt that she was on the side of good. She proved that in this episode, and her ending was incredibly haunting. It communicated... more than anything for me... tiredness. That she has lived for so long that there was not even the driest bit of pleasure left for her in the world; she was simply existing to see the battle won. I was surprised at how moved I was by her final walk and her death. (Also -- THANK YOU to the poster who noted that Djawadi's theme during Mel's walk echoes back to Shireen's theme on the way to the pyre -- that is AMAZING. Horrible but so appropriate!) And THEON! I'm so glad you brought this up. I really thought Theon's arc here was so satisfying. I tried to count and we literally see him take out over a dozen wights or more, and with the implication that he's taken out many times that amount over the night. And I love that final moment when Bran tells him he's a good man. It's everything Theon wanted and needed. I agree with this. Everyone there looks at her face and knows what they're up against. I had no problem with her not trying to cheerlead them there. While I'm sorry we didn't see more of the fight in the crypts, I don't think Sansa requires redemption. She's been through hell for 7 seasons now. She made mistakes in S1, but she was a trusting, naive (literal) child. I feel like what you describe would have been a massive failure dramatically. For me, if the show has done its job in presenting Arya's life and backstory, then her moments here aren't OP but believable. For me, I think it's easy and believable to put together Arya's actions. I went back and rewatched the sequence several times and to me it works (note -- for those seeking screengrabs in sequence, I tweeted it in this thread😞 At about minute 55, Mel reminds Arya of what we say to Death. Arya immediately realizes where she needs to be and leaves. At about 1:12, Theon is fighting the last of the attacking wights. At the NW Corner, the NK enters and Theon faces him. Bran is almost directly East of Theon. Arcing around NW-North-NE is the circle of trees (with some wights in front but tons of gaps in front of deep forest). Please note that the godswood borders are VERY close to the north, from the path entrance to the Weirdwood tree. As the NK approaches (he takes the main path through the godswood), there are huge old-growth trees on either side. Arya at this point has had almost 20 minutes to get into those trees (which she has known since birth). Her stealth and agility have been established. The nearby wights and White Walkers are repeatedly shown to be in passive mode at this point, seemingly to allow the NK's passage to his victory. They're not deactivated, but they make no move even when Theon attacks the NK. To me, this is VITAL -- the NK isn't afraid of a single person attacking him. He's ancient and bored by it. This is why nobody reacts when Arya leaps out shortly after -- everyone (it's openly implied) would expect the NK to deal with the puny interloper. Expectedly, the NK dispatches Theon at about 1:14. The NK then walks calmly over to Bran (even though Theon isn't fully dead yet -- again, arrogance). He is facing Bran (East) and the Weirwood tree behind Bran pretty directly. If you replay it, this is a good time to note the huge number of gaps between the wights in the rough circle surrounding the godswood. The NK stands before Bran at about 1:16:45. He thinks nothing can beat him so he's savoring the moment. (I love the little detail that Bran is angled slightly away from the entrance to the godswood. As if he is so removed from the action, so far away in some ways, that he couldn't even bother to face the entrance.) He is entirely alone with Bran now at the weirwood, so the stage is set for Arya. Note: There's been some speculation that Jon yells "Go!" next at an unseen Arya around this point. He does not. He simply turns to face Viserion, willing to die to take him out, and screams. He does not scream "Go!" (And not that Arya remotely needs a man to assist her here (GAH), but the timing's all off as well.) At 1:17:31, a breeze whispers past the cheek of a White Walker on the path. Arya begins to run from cover for the NK. (We don't see her full approach but we've already seen why, predictably, nobody moves (see also: Theon.) 1:17:35: If you pause it, you can see Arya running into frame. THEN leaping screaming for the NK (with the scream presumably to get him to face her). It's high but not supernaturally high. She's a few feet in the air (nothing we haven't seen her do in her previous Faceless man training). The NK grabs her by the throat and left forearm. Her eyes never leaving his face, still pinned, she shifts her left hand to the right, drops the dagger, and then stabs the NK in the heart with her right hand (Note: I've seen people say it's his gut, but it is clearly his heart). Boom. Arya saves Westeros. To me this is believable, beautifully staged, and was one of the best moments of TV I can remember. There is nothing Arya does here -- stealthing, running, leaping, attacking, the knife switch -- that we have not seen her do before. So for me it works. Just in case it helps? It's cool if our MMV -- it was fun to go through the sequence regardless. Great observation. I felt the same, and felt like it was the NK's arrogance. The wights and white walkers have all paused when he enters the godswood, as if to allow him the chance to savor his moment. Nobody moves even when Theon attacks him. I have come around on this and think Bran was more help than we know. I think there is a certain amount of courage not just in the fact that he positioned himself as helpless bait, but he further incapacitates himself by warging (leaving his shell there), and further, by (I suspect) calling to the NK, which is why the first thing we see after the flight of ravens is the NK on Viserion -- Bran is actively (I think) sending out a signal here, calling the NK to him. And of course he gave Arya the dagger, put himself where he needed to be (and where the Weirwood tree would witness it), and hoped he would be saved. I didn't see shame, so much as his care for Arya overriding his visceral fear. I also think it's beautiful symmetry -- she saved his life not long earlier, and now she's in danger, and I think he simply reacts, and moves to save her, and it breaks him out of his trauma and fear and allows him to act again. He and Arya may snipe at each other but they are now family. Which was why I loved it when she left him and Beric and teasingly called them "miserable old shits" after sharing a drink with them. I will always love that because she saved the Hound, the Hound saved Arya... and Arya lived to save the world. NOTE: I took screenshots of the entire sequence but now I can't seem to embed them.
  6. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    I'm pretty sure he's primarily using celli for the big sweeping string stuff at the end, although he's probably got some bowed double bass in the ensemble mix for a little extra depth. He's definitely using a solo cello for some of the big melodic moments in the last 2 minutes, though. To me his Westworld stuff is sparser and colder -- Djawadi's GoT stuff always strikes me as being so sweeping and romantic. There's something cynical about the Westworld stuff, right down to the subtle use of modern rock in the player/piano stuff. For me, the tragedy of LS is that all she has is hate and vengeance, so I honestly don't think she'd do anything to try to save anyone. I guess she'd try to kill anyone she recognized as being Lannister, Bolton or Frey though, not realizing that ship had already sailed). So for instance she'd probably just try to kill Jaime again. Some more. It was implied in the last book that LS had either killed Pod or nearly killed him (and Brienne), and had set up Jaime, so who knows what would have happened there. (I'm so glad D&D abandoned LS -- I cannot stand her as a plot device.) According to Martin, Arya was always going to take out the NK, it's just that in his universe everyone is 4-5 years younger, so she's basically 12 doing so in his mind, not 18 as here. I think Viserion would still be dead/undead because that was how the Wall had to come down. But it's hard for me to answer here because honestly, I think the show is better than the books. I hated so many things about the last two books (Tyrion in the books is incredibly creepy and increasingly irredeemable -- not at all the noble, well-meaning rake he is in the show). I think GRRM is amazing on aspects like plot and character, but he can also be incredibly tone-deaf too. I really thought she was going to kill herself too -- either way, that moment was really moving to me, and very well acted by ST and PD -- she's almost hyperventilating, she's so terrified, and to me both are aware they are about to die. And again -- his kiss to her hand as they look at each other, about to turn and face the wights, was just lovely. I also loved that next edit -- it goes seamlessly from Tyrion rounding the crypt corner to Jon rounding the corner on the run from the dragon. The tree (and Bran) were in front of the NK. What it looked like to me was that the NK and his retinue enter through the silent wights into the godswood, walking in a straight line to Bran (who wants them to do this and may have been purposely drawing them to him by warging). From behind, we see the little breeze pass the White Walker (which in retrospect is Arya sneaking past). I went back and looked, and you can see trees on both sides, behind the silent wights along the path, and within the entire circle surrounding Bran. There are wights lined up there but raggedly (there are several visible empty spaces in the ranks). For me, this makes it pretty believable that Arya could have sneaked around through the trees, then raced forward into the clearing and leaped at the NK, especially since every single focus in the scene is on Bran and the NK, nothing else. It actually convinces me further that it was what Bran wanted all along, which is brilliant. The NK walks across that entire clearing alone and over to Bran, giving Arya the perfect space in which to kill the NK while he is so sure of his triumph that he's totally isolated for the first time since Dany tried blasting him with dragonfire.
  7. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    That's a good point. Viserion does sort of shatter, though. He doesn't just fall dead, he sort of falls apart like puzzle pieces. I took that to be his "Dragon Walker" status -- that he was partly ice but also he wasn't ALL ice because he hasn't been a Walker (or undead) all that long, comparatively?
  8. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    I was delighted Arya took out the Night King. She's spent years visibly training, sweating and sacrificing at almost inhuman levels. Jon doing so would have been okay with me, but honestly? Predictable and unutterably boring. Besides, I've seen that story. A million million times. As a woman, it's so much more satisfying to me that it wasn't the warrior, the prince, the man, who saved the world, but the small, fierce, superbly trained young girl. The one the Night King didn't see coming. That nobody saw coming. For precisely that reason. I did, and it was amazing! She doesn't always get credit for how beautifully she moves, but Maisie is such a gifted physical actress. I've always loved Arya's fight scenes for that reason. How have they deemphasized Jon's importance? I'd argue that he's pretty front and center constantly. I can't imagine anyone thinking Jon is not one of the most important characters in the show. But luckily, he's not the only one. He's certainly gotten his share of moments including rising from the dead, discovering he's the rightful king, etc. He just didn't get the killing blow here. And I was so, so thrilled. Yay! I love that you brought up the music -- I'm a music theory nut (and bad cellist) and I loved the music here. As always, Djawadi really knocked it out of the park. "The Night King" is basically an 8-minute requiem -- I agree with you that it's a meditative companion to "Light of the Seven" (both of which are slowed, minor variations on the main title theme with heavy use of piano). I also agree that it's emotionally similar for a lot of the reasons you mention -- the sheer hugeness of the canvas, the stakes, etc. I also think there's a lot of delicacy and variation to "The Night King" though, especially across all eight minutes -- there's a lot of back and forth. It's so evocative of "Light of the Seven" for the first few minutes, but around the 3 minute mark it starts this subtle pulse and growing intensity that will ebb and flow for the next 5 minutes into the more drumbeat, driven feel of the original title (just still in this minor key), while the strings and other instruments don't even come in until the 4-minute mark. I especially love the instrumentation choice because piano is percussive, and it can be both warm and cold. Here, I feel like Djawadi used it to evoke both ice and magic (and suffering), especially in those little moments with Jon, Sansa & Tyrion, and (most of all) Theon, who gets the melody's literal high point as he watches the Night King arrive and gets absolution from Bran. And tellingly, once Arya leaps and the Night King dies, there is no more piano for most of the rest of the time -- it's all strings and mournful cellos even as Jorah dies, Drogon curls around Dany, and Melisandre walks out into the snow. Only in those final seconds as Melisandre begins to die and fall into the snow does the piano come back -- ice and magic again, and then the swelling strings. It's insanely gorgeous.
  9. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    No. Because it took more than that -- Valyrian steel precisely where the dragonglass "created him" (the heart) all those centuries ago. Also, if you go to the Wiki, such daggers are described as having a dragonbone hilt, Valyrian steel blade, and (it's implied, in the sketch Sam finds) with dragonglass in the blade itself. So it was a triple threat. I agree. I was very moved by those we lost (especially Theon and Jorah), and overjoyed at those who lived. This is eloquently expressed and I think absolutely in-character. For Sansa to be flitting around the crypt trying to raise spirits here would have been ridiculous. This wasn't Blackwater, where she was actually facing potential rescue by a political opponent who would have treated her honorably. She and everyone there is facing almost certain death (and the loss of everyone they love before it happens). I thought it was appropriate that she was able to take a few moments with Tyrion, because he is not a Northerner (and allowed her to show a little fear and regret). This, this, this. I applaud GRRM as the creator of this universe, but I honestly don't care what he thinks of the show. After so many years waiting for him to finish the story, I'm grateful to the show, because it came through for me where the author let me down. That's my take as well. I agree with this as well -- she needs the NK to think he's stopped her without effort. It was a gorgeous piece of distraction -- she got him to look left, while she stabbed him in the heart right. My favorite part of that entire scene is also how you can see her shift her left hand slightly over to the right so that the blade drops where it needs to (without her ever looking away from him).
  10. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    Beautifully said! And I agree. I was just hoping for Bran to use his superpowers a bit more in the battle itself. But I was so proud of all the women, and was seriously impressed when Dany stepped up and fought the good fight right alongside Jorah. Although I was also screaming "The white coat! Don't get blood on that gorgeous white coat, Dany!" (Sorry. I really, really love that coat.)
  11. paramitch

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    I thought this was a gorgeous episode, and I was really happy with pretty much all of it. Those we lost went bravely and with redemption, and those who survived (far more than I expected) were courageous and loyal beyond measure (well almost all, *cough*Sam*cough). I loved the outcome we got here, and thought Arya as destroyer of the NK was both absolutely telegraphed for years now (in the best way), and shone a spotlight on all the women in the episode, who were pretty much amazing. From Dany fighting dragonback with Jon (and then even more bravely on foot with Jorah) to Brienne (WHO LIVES! YES!), to little Lyanna (RIP), to Sansa quietly preparing for death in a lovely moment with Tyrion... the women were amazing here. One thing I haven't seen mentioned, and that I loved here, was the way it showed how little human moments can lead to mythical greatness. Each step in the chain contributed to the victory and everyone mattered in some way: Bran gives Arya the dagger The dragons, Melisandre, Grey Worm, Dothraki, and ground troops held off several waves and enabled a surprising number to get into position for the endgame (and to survive the night at all) Jon distracts the NK (to the extent that by the time NK enters the clearing, he's assumed victory is his because Jon is elsewhere) Arya saves the Hound The Hound saves Arya Beric saves Arya and the Hound Theon delays the NK Arya kills the NK with Bran's dagger So the Hound saved the world. Melisandre saved the world (although I still will not forgive her for Shireen). Theon saved the world. Jon saved the world; Beric saved the world. And Arya saved the world. But she wouldn't have without them. And Jorah may have saved Westeros (by saving Dany), etc. I loved that. And it was intriguing that Melisandre's "fire" may have drawn from all the literal fires she lit through all these years -- so maybe those deaths meant something at last. Meanwhile, for those complaining that Sansa wasn't brave enough or awesome enough in the crypts, her situation here was completely different than Blackwater, where she was a child prisoner awaiting a likely political outcome in a human conflict. The stress level was utterly different, as were the stakes. Sansa didn't want to leave her people and openly resisted going to safety until Arya ordered her to do so several times, and she then had to sit in the crypts waiting for the end of the world. Unlike Blackwater, this was basically an "Everybody dies" scenario. So I cut her and everyone else there some slack. I loved all her conversations with Tyrion, especially that they had evolved enough that she even addressed their marriage and his real kindness -- as well as his situation now. I didn't think she was being "mean" to bring up Tyrion's divided loyalties to Dany. Like everyone else, she can see that Tyrion adores Dany on multiple levels, and Sansa is always going to be 100% for the North. And I don't blame her for her loyalty to her home and her people—she's gone through hell for both. So I thought Sansa did the best she could, and she showed bravery in the end with Tyrion. And to echo others, I have never shipped them (especially not when she was a literal child), but that final look between them here, and Tyrion's kiss to her hand was pretty swoonworthy. I loved every moment of the dragon battles, and especially appreciated the way you could see here -- more than ever -- how physical and exhausting riding a dragon would be. You could really feel the effort for both Dany and Jon here, as well as for Drogon and Rhaegal (so glad they lived!!). The moments of the dragons high above the clouds in the moonlight were breathtaking. I wish Bran had done more, and was disappointed that he didn't use his warging skills more strategically. I kept expecting him to warg into Viserion and crash him, or that he'd warg into Ghost -- anything that helped turn the tide of the battle. I find Bran fascinating but was a little disappointed in him here. I guess he helped set the chessboard for that final moment, but he did so little. Still, I thought overall this was a pretty fantastic episode, and I was falling to pieces constantly because there were so many characters I cared about and I didn't want to lose them. And I really liked that sometimes fear simply got the better of them -- real courage isn't the absence of fear, but to strive even in the face of it. I know it wasn't noble but Sam's terror was understandable, as was the Hound's. And for him to find his courage in order to save Arya one more time was so rewarding and moving. And seeing Arya scared -- ARYA -- was terrific because I was really worried for a few moments that they might actually do it, and kill her off. And finally... Drogon curling around Dany as she cried over Jorah broke my heart. Iain Glen was so fantastic here, and I'm glad that if he had to die, he did so in his Khaleesi's arms, after defending her one last time.
  12. paramitch

    S04.E13: The Seam

    First off, thank you so much, everyone who responded so thoughtfully to my massive Muppet-level flailings over the S4 finale! You were all so kind, and in this world right now, that is a great and powerful thing. And since I only have a few friends who watch the show, you guys were definitely a welcome and wonderful circle in which to share feelings about all this. Here's my thing: The Magicians is one of those shows that -- I'm a pop culture writer and blogger, so I usually watch all this stuff with my critic's hat on -- which I know a lot of folks here do, too. But while I do that with the Magicians, there's also a part of me that watches from this almost innocent place. I love the books, but honestly, thanks to the show's ingenuity, writing and casting, I love the show even more. And I've loved it even when I felt like it wasn't always firing on all cylinders -- I remember telling a friend about Season 2 -- "It's fantastic, it's terrible, it's hilarious, and you're gonna see some cringe-level awkward shit now and then too where you simply go WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING?" But that's what I love about this show. It's willing to take chances. And the cast has me so invested. The cast also surprised me into different takes and reactions on characters. I was NOT a huge Quentin fan as a first-time bookreader, but Jason Ralph has been AMAZING in the role here and had this beautiful vulnerability and openness. I was also absolutely knocked out by Hale Appleman's choices; the moment he appeared lounging on that Brakebills sign, I was all in. I loved everyone however, and especially loved Esme Bianco as Eliza and Rick Worthy as Dean Fogg. So basically, the show is one of those that I love from this really emotional, vulnerable place. I love tons of great TV, but a lot of it I can watch with a level of detachment. But this show I love BOTH as great TV but also like... I just love these people, and this universe. It really hits me hard when bad things happen to them. Thank you, MissL! You really made me feel better with this (I was honestly a little sheepish at how upset I was). And I definitely get what you're saying about not shipping or having to ship to be upset or affected by the decisions here, etc. I DEFINITELY have ships but I'm here for our entire gang. I went back and watched it again too. I still love it (and still love 4.5 as the companion piece). That was so nice of you, and seriously made me feel better. And I'm so with you Festivus, although I've armored my heart a little when it comes to Game of Thrones (I detached myself a little after a few things two seasons back that I just could not handle)... although I admit that this season is already completely killing me with how much I still love so many characters AGHGHGHG. (ME: silently moves hands in precise Magicians-spellcast to give everyone a virtual hug) Right now I'm still angry enough that I have decided not to watch S5. It's NOT about killing Quentin. I could have applauded that for so many reasons. But the actuality (and subsequent interviews) just feel tired and tone-deaf on the issue and I'm furious enough that... noooo. But I'll see how it goes. I am also aware that I am fricking weak and LOVE this show so I'll probably watch with my arms crossed, waiting for them to fuck up. Which isn't fun but... well, we'll see. I wish them well, but... am not okay. As far as the greater arc, see, for me Alice's was too obvious. I liked it, but for me the ones that were most meaningful were Eliot's, Margo's, Josh's, Fen's, and (surprisingly for me) Kady's. I liked both her evolution on the loss of Penny, as well as her surprise role with the Hedge Witches. I also love Pete (I've always felt that while deeply greyscale, he's not a bad guy, and I liked what we saw of him here). In terms of throughlines, I was disappointed in ZERO follow-up on the Fairy Queen and her sacrifice, as well as on the lack of exploration into Marina -- there were welcome signs in S1 and S2 that she wasn't just a stone-cold bitch, but this season seemed to backtrack back into tropes for her. I enjoyed the lack of focus on Julia (who deserved a break), but I don't think she has any chemistry with Penny at all. Alice had tons but for some reason (despite canon) the show just won't go there. THANK YOU, Tennisgurl, and I hope you know how grateful I am for your posts and thoughts. I know it's dumb but you guys were awesome this past week end, because I was basically breaking up with my favorite show (and very upset that the producers would be THIS tone-deaf). I think you make great points -- this season COULD have been about QUENTIN's search for meaning (not just Eliot's). About, even, his growth and understanding that sometimes love is about (1) letting go positively, and (2) that love can surprise us (Eliot). My takes on this season's arcs: Poppy is still a sociopath. Funny but thankfully not present too often. I loved Fen's path here, showing real grief but also learning real rulership. She is the ruler Fillory has waited for. Eliot gives us the most profound revelations even if only in a few episodes We learn little about how Q feels or what he wants. He expresses a kind but understandable judgment toward Alice, but this is obliterated for a hasty final hookup. We only learn about Q's huge moment of revelation with Eliot via ELIOT. Q never expresses any of it this season at all. Not even at the end. The revelation that he may have killed himself destroys me, because it wasn't part of his visible arc. And for me there was a better story right in front of them: ABOUT TAKING CHANCES. His father died. He had lived 50 years in another dimension. He had battled depression. How much more brave for Q to take a chance on love with Eliot -- for good or ill? Margo is pretty tirelessly working to save Eliot and I love that, because that is who she is. And I love her falling for Josh. I really loved her arc this season and especially how it opened us up to her real courage, insecurity, loyalty and affection for those she cares about. Josh learns that he is truly loved for who he is beyond the bitter nerd persona. Penny23 navigates his dual personas, although I feel we got far less arc for Penny40 than we needed -- he's suddenly all zen and awesome and it's too swift for me. THIS. (cries!) Everything you just said. EVERYTHING! Thank you for pointing this out, and I feel so much the same, as well. The outcome was not required. It was not admirable. It was just... sad. Little and sad. And unfortunately came along with a singularly bleak, grey, dark, lonely vision of Quentin's afterlife (where he got the depressed person's sendoff "they'll miss me someday!"), then he literally disappears in a depressing empty subway. No sense at all that he is moving to a happier world. So upsetting. I'm still so freaking sad. And I think that -- as smart as they can be -- the producers utterly screwed the pooch here. The constant self-congratulation after this episode has driven me absolutely nuts (I posted a lot of links in the media thread if it helps). l just do not agree with them at all. I posted upthread here but -- Quentin had PLENTY OF STORIES still worth telling. The subtext that he simply "ran out of stories" while being both depressed and bisexual AND the heart of this show -- upsets me enormously. I hated this finale but I admit 100% I was invested. This show has always invested me. And the actors too -- sniffle.
  13. paramitch

    S08.E02: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

    This episode was so beautiful, and this thread was so much fun. Kudos to everyone for giving me so much to think about! As I wait in terror for next week because AGHGHGHGH, I don't want any of these people to die. Just a few thoughts and observations to add: To echo a few others here, can someone help me understand why it's a given that Dany has a traitor in her party? I know most are assuming (1) a traitor and (2) that it's Varys, I just don't understand what Varys's motivation would be. He above all people is working for the people of Westeros; he wants the Iron Throne to be a place of justice. So I don't see why on earth he'd be reporting to Cersei...? I'm so excited for Arya to use her weapon! And loved the little moments of grace she got with the Hound and Beric too (and loved that the Hound reminded her that he had fought and basically died for her). I also loved everything Arya and Gendry here, especially Arya's agency and maturity in choosing to sleep with Gendry (and I thought the scene was handled tastefully and that Maisie looked lovely). Tomorrow the world may end and everyone may die, so... It's what people do. I was surprised to feel a bit sorry for Dany here. I find her moral relativism generally tiresome, so I hated the way she began here (her coldly reciting her father's assassination like he was some kindly king brutally killed by a villain had me facepalming). But as the story progressed here, I did feel pity for her. She was so isolated, and every attempt to connect went badly. (I loved her scene with Sansa, as well as the final scene with Jon. I think she's going to realize Jon does not want her throne, and that she misjudged him in that moment.) Sansa's moments with Theon were so beautiful and real. And I was so touched not just by the embrace, but by the revelation that they were spending that last evening simply being together and sharing a meal. Theon's redemption arc has been one of the most moving aspects of the show for me, and beautifully acted by Alfie Allen (who I've always felt is one of the best unsung actors on GoT). Speaking of Theon: Why do the vast majority assume Theon's feelings for Sansa cannot be romantic? I'm not saying they are, but there is definitely deep feeling there. And regardless of what he's missing, he would still absolutely be able to please a lover if he wanted to. It's just odd to me that his feelings are assumed to be platonic because of, er, mechanics. Meanwhile, Brienne's shining moment here had me in tears (that beautiful, tearful final smile! GC is fantastic), but then she always affects me really powerfully. I agree with those who do think she and Jaime are romantic, but in that ancient, idealized and "courtly love" manner. I think it's essential for Jaime, in fact, that it be this kind of idealized thing, precisely because his relationship with Cersei was so toxic, this kind of very base sexual narcissism. So of course Jaime's face killed me this episode because he was basically giving Brienne heart-eyes every single time he looked at her and she was either oblivious or too wounded by her own experiences to believe he could actually care for her (which makes it all even sadder). But the arc of it here was beautiful -- it begins with her wondering why he's not insulting her, and ends with her having zero doubts about his regard for her. To me, this entire episode was a full circle for Brienne/Jaime, which is why I'm devastated for next week already because there is no way they are both surviving. It began with Brienne declaring unspoken love for Jaime (in vouching for him before the nobles), and with Jaime replying to Brienne, in every possible way, that he loves her in return: By pledging to fight beside her, at her command (unspoken: to die there, as well). And by giving her the one thing she wants more than anything in the world—equality, service, and acknowledgment of her courage and honor. Because he doesn't just love her, that's easy for Jaime. And we were even reminded that love isn't necessary holy to Jaime when Tyrion noted that he had once loved Cersei even knowing her capacity for evil. But Brienne is the flip side of that coin for Jaime, a love that is based in admiration and respect. In knighting her before that lovely group of cheering men, and doing so with all the formal elements of the ritual, he gave her, once and for all, the knowledge of how much she means to him, and he did it publicly. The big, shy girl who was once shamed by a group of men for being ugly is now cheered by a group of men (knights, princes and squires!) for her courage, honor and ability. I love Tormund to death, but he has no chance next to this. Brienne has always loved princely types (if men of honor) and courtly romance; it's why she loved Renly then, and why she loves Jaime now. Rough, dirty, ale-drenched Tormund, as adorable as he is, just perplexes and repels her. And yeah: I'm expecting poor Brienne to die next week, I just hope she gets a kiss from Jaime before she does so. (sheepish, sorry/notsorry) As far as the Death Pool goes, in addition to Brienne being toast next week, my money's also on Beric, Edd, Gilly, Gendry, and Lyanna (because seeing her zombified would be such a gut punch). And poor Theon, defending Bran and getting his redemption. I kind of think Jorah will live, and that it'll be poor little Lyanna who dies (and whom he possibly frees from undeath by using his sword on her). I also agree with those worried about the Vault as a place of Certain Death, not safety. If that's the case, then poor Gilly, Tyrion and Sam (and the little girl Davos comforted!) are all likely toast -- as are, potentially, Sansa, Varys and the other nobles. Wouldn't Missandei be down there as well? In which case, it may be a surprise situation where Grey Worm lives and she doesn't. What if Arya has to kill not just an undead Gendry but an undead Sansa? (AGHGHGHG I WANT THEM ALL TO BE OKAY!) Anyway. This is easily my favorite episode of GoT ever. It was basically a full hour of some of the show's best characters simply enjoying each other's company, and telling their companions they loved them. The fact that I feel so deeply for many of them (and dread losing them) speaks, for me, to how good the episode really was.
  14. paramitch

    S04.E13: The Seam

    Thank you! And what a kind and generous response -- I so appreciate it. I've been in a funk over this, and you just cheered me up simply because you wanted to keep me from watching the depressingness we know as S413. Which I realize comes off weird. Just go with it. You're awesome. And thank you. Meanwhile, I hope to return from RAGEFLAMES MODE soon and will again be a kinder poster. 🙂
  15. paramitch

    The Magicians In The Media

    @toolazy, me too. I've been absolutely heartbroken, livid, etc. So you're not alone. Meanwhile: there's been some complimentary press about the Magicians S4 "daring" finale but I am not sharing it because f#ck that noise. I can't remember the last time I felt this angry and betrayed over a television show finale. I hated it. I am not going to share happy thoughts about it. However, this brilliant person Anna Menta at DECIDER absolutely got my betrayal and outrage and sadness, and set it forth beautifully (she has even stopped watching the show, which is where I'm at right now): ‘The Magicians’ Finale Broke My Heart, and I’m Not Sure I Can Go Back https://decider.com/2019/04/18/the-magicians-season-4-finale-reaction/ ETA: Adding this as another superb and worthwhile take on the show's decision: Tragedy Isn't Beautiful https://medium.com/@emmacmillan/tragedy-isnt-beautiful-a-reaction-to-4x13-of-the-magicians-98c9cd34ed0d And hey! The SYFY bloggers hated it too! (yay!) The Magicians: The Season 4 Finale Changes the Show Forever https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/the-magicians-discussion-the-season-4-finale-changes-the-show-forever Meanwhile, back to the thread: I appreciate Grossman being willing to take one for the PR team here (and yes, I feel betrayed), but why should I assume the show will treat grief for Quentin with any richness or consistency when it could not treat his presence across the final 3 episodes that way when he was still alive? Much less honoring or acknowledging his actual relationships? Everyone but Alice was shortchanged. The person just 3 episodes before he had realized was toxic and not someone he could forgive, much less romance? I don't mind that he forgave her. I do mind that he suddenly took a retcon pill and proceeded to return to their "True Love" storyline of years before when mere days before that, he had eloquently expressed (and to her face) how and why he was done with them on that level. And she accepted. Anyway. I wish I had your POV here, and envy that. Because I'm not remotely close. I'm furious at everyone involved who thought dissolving the show's glue and removing one of its best actors was a good idea (much less tossing an openly cruel ship they incessantly, mercilessly teased in S4 into a last-minute dumpster fire of "no worries, folks, he still likes girls!"). Oh, I am definitely where you are. The producers f*cked over everyone here. The cast, the viewers, the books, everyone. I'm so upset over this finale, not least because it wasn't earned. It's cheap. The producers can speechify til the cows come home that blahdy blahdy blah "life isn't safe," "people die," but THEY had the choice. THEY chose what they did. They chose to write, push and promote (heavily) a storyline with a potential bisexual romance for Q and Eliot and then pulled the football Lucy-style. "Just kidding." And now I have quit my favorite show. I may change my mind and probably will, but I'll hate myself too. I'm angry enough and feel morally righteous enough that going back will be a betrayal.