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  1. And many of the other Great Houses had been obliterated. I agree that it felt... "rushed" if I am being charitable. Dany kept listening to her advisors. She kept losing. A Show backed the character into a corner, so attacking KL was really the only option. I have written a lot more about her burning of KL in a new topic. Exactly! We didn't even see the character for an entire season. He never felt like part of the main narrative, the one that the ENTIRE SHOW WAS NAMED FOR. Or at least in two different seasons! A lot of this season felt like the first draft of the final 2 seasons that got compressed into one due to budget constraints. So frustrating.
  2. Exactly! Broken wheel my @ss... (grumble grumble) BINGO! Spot on. So dragons are smart enough to understand symbolism. Hmmm. Or Drogon could have come into the room, seen Dany stabbed, and assumed it was the stabby thing made of swords that done the deed! Devastating critique. Well done. That is magic. Great connection. Varys: (to Tyrion, as he was recovering from the Battle of Blackwater Bay) There are many who know that without you this city faced certain defeat. The King won't give you any honors, the histories won't mention you, but we will not forget. Ha! Nice interpretation. Even Tyrion has heard that Jon knows nothing. Up until this season, I don't see much evidence within the show for those things. She has never previously been ruthless towards the innocent (that I can recall). It didn't make sense for 6 kingdoms to choose to be ruled over in the future by a king or queen, when they have all been characterized as being fiercely independent up until S8E6. I call shenanigans. Great question. That is a really nice interpretation. Royce. But he has spent all his time since the Battle of the Bastards in Winterfell, not with young Robin. But what difference did Jon being a Targ make in the end? What did it change? Why did Bran tell Jon you are the rightful king if Bran could see that BRAN was going to be the king, not Jon? Was it all some devious 3ER plot to drive Dany mad so that Jon would have to kill her so that Bran would have to step in as king? Surprised that their family name will die out in a few decades, certainly. 😞 We have never seen Bran warg into a dragon, though.
  3. Sorry, but this will go on for a while. The world that A Show has explored has been an invitation to wrestle with some weighty issues - might versus right (and the dance between them), the idea that noble deeds are not always rewarded (and are just as likely to be punished), the confounding idea that “noble” deeds might have terrible consequences, and an exploration of how ideas and expectations can follow from station of birth and family. I think it is an abdication of this invitation to not make it clear why Dany did what she did to Kings Landing - was it premeditated and tactical, a show of force that would cow the other kingdoms in Westeros to yield to her reign? Was it a fit of pique since her bestie Missendei was killed, or that her nephew no longer wanted to be her lover? Was it from “madness” (the TV version, not the DSM-V version)? I don’t think Season 8 answered that fundamental question. Dany was right about one thing: It isn't easy to imagine a world that's never been before and, as Tyrion would say later in the episode, almost impossible to create that world without a good narrative. This begs the question of why Dany didn’t try to tell her story to someone, to help them see her vision of what that world could look like. Dany’s definition of victory, of a broken wheel, is so poorly defined that I have no idea what it would entail: No more Cersei Lannister? No more aristocracy? Equitable redistribution of wealth? Is there a scenario where Dany deeply regretted her actions, but that KL needed to be made example of in order to avoid future bloodshed? Not that any of the above would be a legitimate reason for a war crime IMO, but we don’t get to have that moral debate because A Show doesn’t have the time for people to ask or for Dany to explain. In fact, A Show is in such a hurry to get to the end that Jon isn’t given an opportunity to talk with Dany and find out what was in her mind before he shrugs and kills her. Dany says “it was necessary” to execute prisoners, and Jon doesn’t ask why. Dany says that Cersei “used their innocence as a weapon against me. She thought it would cripple me”, but Jon doesn’t say ‘no, she was using your conscience against you - do you no longer have one’? What if Dany had said “do you think I like this? I feel sick about it. I don’t want power for myself, I want X”, and then she explicitly tells us what X is, what her vision is, what story she wants to bring into reality. Littlefinger: Every time I'm faced with a decision, I close my eyes and see the same picture. Whenever I consider an action, I ask myself: will this action help to make this picture a reality? Pull it out of my mind and into the world? The narrative doesn’t have time for Dany to articulate what it is that Dany has as her mental picture when she says “break the wheel”, so her actions (and by extension, Jon’s actions) have no narrative clarity and no moral meaning. This is an unforgivable error. What we here at the Spitball Wall have sought to do, what this grand experiment has been (to me), has been a quest to see if A Show could tell the story it wanted to tell without external resources - cast interviews, the creators putting their gloss on this scene or that, or websites that tell the backstory or fill in the blanks. If A Show was unable to sufficiently lay out what the stakes were and what each actor’s motivations were for something as momentous as Dany’s story this season, then it failed. The pacing has been a problem all season, and especially this episode. I think that at least most of this problem is the abbreviated seasons. If S7 felt like it was in too much of a hurry, S8 has felt like a series of boxes to be checked as quickly as possible. A fundamental problem with the last two seasons was that A Show had become addicted to unexpected plot twists, but now lacked the time to properly set up the motivations of the characters on both sides of those plot twists. This meant that much of the last two seasons felt random and forced, a shock-for-the-sake-of-shocking narrative that prized surprise and spectacle over the slow build and earned pay off. I suppose some might see Dany's flip to evil as a satisfying upending of expectations, but to me it felt like an unearned "shock" that undid the story of who Danaerys is that she has built up over these 8 seasons. I now turn specifically to the choice that Dany made to torch KL, and the reasons I think it is out of character for her. I think it makes no sense that the person who a few years ago (in the show timeline) locked away two of her dragons because of the death of Zala, the daughter of one poor man, would be OK with the death of thousands of innocents. Let’s walk thru that history… In S1, Dany risked her status as khaleesi and the wrath of Khal Drogo's Dothraki army in order to protect a group of women from being raped. Where did that person go? In S3… Jorah: If you want to sit on the throne your ancestors built, you must win it. That will mean blood on your hands before the thing is done. Dany: The blood of my enemies, not the blood of innocents. Where did that person go? In S5… Daario: On the day of the great games, gather all the Great Masters and Wise Masters and Worthy Masters you can find and slaughter them all. Dany: I am a queen, not a butcher. Where did that person go? For a minute, Dany decides to follow Daario’s advice, but Jorah changes her mind… Jorah: Herding the masters into pens and slaughtering them by the thousands is also treating men like beasts. The slaves you freed, brutality is all they've ever known. If you want them to know something else, you'll have to show it to them. Dany: And repay the slavers with what? Kindness? A fine? A stern warning? Jorah: It's tempting to see your enemies as evil, all of them, but there's good and evil on both sides in every war ever fought. Dany: Let the priests argue over good and evil. Slavery is real. I can end it. I will end it. And I will end those behind it. So has Dany come to see being a peasant in Westeros as being a form of slavery? Are we supposed to believe that her way of “ending” that form of slavery is by killing all the peasants? In this episode… Tyrion: She liberated the people of Slavers Bay. She liberated people of Kings Landing. She’ll go on liberating until the people of the world are free and she rules them all. Sorry, Tyrion, but that is BS. After Dany defeated the armada of Good, Wise, and Benevolent Masters in Slavers Bay, she didn’t kill all of the former slavers who were defeated. Instead, she executed 2 of the 3 leaders, who were the people standing in front of her. I would argue instead that Dany had been moving towards more and more strategic decapitation of her defeated enemies. She has moved from crucifying 100 Masters in S4, to a dozen khals in S6, to two out of the three slave masters in S6E9, to the single head of House Tarley in S7. If Dany was becoming more and more “mad”, wouldn’t she be moving more and more towards the wholesale slaughter of her enemies and those that follow her enemies, even after their defeat? Dany’s most recent victory (over a human enemy) was within about the last year of the show timeline and it was the victory over the Lannister forces at the wagon train. After the battle was won, Dany didn’t annihilate all the former lords and the defeated Lannister army. Instead, they are given a choice: Dany: I know what Cersei has told you. That I've come to destroy your cities, burn down your homes, murder you, and orphan your children. That's Cersei Lannister, not me. I'm not here to murder, and all I want to destroy is the wheel that has rolled over rich and poor to the benefit of no one but the Cersei Lannisters of the world. I offer you a choice-- bend the knee and join me. Together, we will leave the world a better place than we found it. Or refuse, and die. All except Randall Tarley (and Dickon, because he is Dickon) bend the knee and live. In The Bells, the residents of KL and the army defending it also explicitly made their choice known by ringing the bells (like at the end of a fight) and also by putting down their weapons. They are saying that they want to live in Dany’s world. Her response is to turn the city and people of KL to ash. I don’t get it. Because her choice is not explained, then Jon’s choice is incomprehensible, since we don’t know what he is choosing between. They wrecked Stannis Baratheon. I think there is a big difference between the sacrifice of one child for some promised benefit and the burning of an entire city for no explicit benefit. When I re-watched S5 I could see a few breadcrumbs that might, with a great deal of supposition and filling in of the blanks, indicate how desperate Stannis had become, how the idea of himself as the only one capable of saving Westeros, had made the unthinkable necessary. Perhaps I will re-watch S8 and figure out that Dany wasn’t actually wrecked, that there was sufficient motivation for her turn towards being a mass murderer. I don’t know if I will bother. And that makes me sad.
  4. To paraphrase Jon... I'm here to say goodbye to my brothers and sisters, to my friends. Our fellow men and women who set aside their differences to fight together and snark together so that others might be entertained or gain a different perspective on A Show. I am also here to say goodbye to our heroic Whitecloaks. Everyone who posted in this forum owes them a debt that can never be repaid. It is our duty and our honor to thank them for their tireless service in guarding this forum, and they should be honored for as long as men draw breath. They were the shields that guarded the realms of men. And we shall never see their like again.
  5. I am back from my trip abroad and successfully avoided any spoilers about the final episode, other than a screenshot of Sansa wearing a crown, which had me thinking that she would be on the Iron Throne at the end of the episode. Glad I was wrong about the one thing I thought was going to happen - Unsullied until the end! Here are the comments and questions (LOTS of questions) I wrote while watching… Nice visual of Tyrion walking past a bell lying in the streets of the ruined KL - a call back to their importance within the last episode and also to the image of the bell smashing down when Cersi blew up the sept of Baelor. BS on Tyrion finding Jamie’s golden hand in that huge pile of rubble, but Peter Dinklage was amazing there. I have to give the show credit for using a war crime as the means of ending Cersi, who has been one of the prime human antagonist since S1E1. Where did all those Dothraki come from? Where did all those Unsullied come from? I thought most of their forces were killed in the defense of Winterfell. Why doesn’t Dany list “defeating an army of the dead” from her list of the Unsullied and Dothraki accomplishments? A captive Tyrion, knowing that family is one of Jon’s pressure points, showed more cunning at the tail end of one scene then he has shown in the last two seasons. The conflict between Sansa and Dany felt contrived. Why wouldn’t Dany let go of The North - back in S6 she said… Dany: (Yara’s) not demanding, she's asking (for the freedom for the Iron Islands). The others are free to ask as well. Before it was revealed to be Drogon, did anyone else see the pile of rubble start to shift and think “Uh oh, is Jon about the fight Mountainstein”? I don’t understand why Jon was shown emphatically handing over his entire sword belt when entering the cell of a prisoner if he can then casually stroll down a hallway of Unsullied and into the presence of the Queen wearing Longclaw and a dagger - WTF?!? Why didn’t the Unsullied and/or the Dothraki kill Jon immediately when they found out Jon killed Dany? How did the Unsullied even find out Dany was dead and not off flying around on Drogon? Did Jon confess? If he did confess, was that the most Jon-like thing he had ever done? Did Dany ever actually sit on the Iron Throne, or was the scene with Jon her first time touching it? If it was her first time in the throne room, what was Dany doing while Tyrion was talking Jon into regicide? “What unites people? Stories.” Says the mouthpiece of professional storytellers. Tyrion asked who has a better story than Bran, and I thought "really? He’s like the least interesting Stark.” Who else there really knows whom they are electing? Why would any Houses besides Stark/Tully follow some checked-out, unemotional cypher who speaks in riddles? Nice to see Edmure and Robin sitting around, so they weren’t completely dropped from the narrative, but weird that everyone goes along with the suggestions of The Imp from the hated Lannister family. Bran the Broken seems sort of a cruel nickname, especially coming from Tyrion. Would he like it if he were called Shorty McScarface? What is the Nights Watch mandate now that the Free Folk are accepted as part of the realms of men and the White Walkers are extinct? Will they call Jon “Queenslayer“? How tragic is Jon, whose arc takes him from (once again) being willing to sacrifice his own life for the good of the realm to being exiled at the place where his fellow brothers literally killed him the last time he was there. Also, why did the Lord of Light bring Jon back at all? To kill Dany, the person that the followers of the Lord of Light thought was their chosen savior, the (gender neutral royal pronoun) Who Was Promised? Nice of Brienne to fill in the accomplishments of Jaime, the man who broke her heart. Pod gets knighted and made Kingsguard - cool! Brandon goes to "find Drogon” with his 3ER powers, and shows that he is just like every king before him that we have seen - more interested in something other than Small Council meetings. Robert was more interested in hunting boars and f@cking whores, “King“ Joffrey was more interested in torturing others, and Tommen was more interested in Margaery. Ironically, the ruler we saw actually involved in ruling the most was Cersi. I love that the lining on the sleeves of Sansa’s dress were of red weirwood tree leaves on a gray fabric. Nice touch. I also love the wolf figurehead on Arya‘s boat and the Stark sigil on her sails. Up until the end, A Show looked amazing. With the Starks scattering, will there even be a House Stark after Bran is dead? Questions Never Answered… Why do seasons last years? If winter is somehow associated with the Night King, will winter ever come again? Will the Starks then need new words? Who/what was the voice Varys heard from the flames? What does happen when you bring a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel? Hard to believe that the series would fade to black for the last time and I wouldn’t have a hint of a tear in my eye. Now I will turn towards what you, my loyal brethren on this journey, thought.
  6. The only way imo Dany’s idiotic heel turn into Westerosi war criminal makes narrative sense is if it is part of a larger plan. Break the wheel. Destroy Kings Landing. Destroy the Red Keep. Destroy the Iron Throne. I don’t know what she does about her dragon, army, and cavalry though.
  7. I think Arya was riding towards the Red Keep (or what remains of it), and I think there is a new star in her play I’m Going to Kings Landing and Kill the Queen. I don’t think Arya will need one of her faces to kill Dany - she didn’t need one to kill the NK. Interesting spec about Drogon not surviving Dany’s death - since she “gave birth” to the dragons, he can’t survive after she is gone?
  8. Whelp, I get to say that I was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Again. It is inexplicable to me that the person who locked her dragons away over the death of one child could burn KL down.
  9. Depressing episode. Rushed and nonsensical. Why have air superiority if it can't allow you to see the ENTIRE GREYJOY FLEET lurking near your home base? Dany gained the trust of the Unsullied by freeing them and asking (rather than compelling) them to fight for her and making them proud of themselves. Grey Worm told Dany “'Grey Worm' gives me pride. It is a lucky name. The name this one was born with was cursed. That was the name he had when he was taken as a slave. But Grey Worm is the name this one had the day Daenerys Stormborn set him free." She got the Dothraki to ride the wooden horses across the poison water because she showed them strength and leadership. I am honestly bewildered at where the "Dany is going fully Mad King" "Dany is a bad leader" stuff comes from. I just haven't seen that in A Show. What I have seen is A Show back Dany into a corner and strip away all her power piece by piece so that it appears the only option she has is to go Mad King on KL and "burn them all". Since the end of S6 she has lost two dragons, over half her armies, all the Dornish, and the Yara Greyjoy fleet. I think that Missendei's final word, "dracarys", was less a call to "burn them all" than a call to see a solution that only Dany can see. As she told Dany back in S5... "I can only tell you what I have seen, Your Grace. I have seen you listen to your counselors. I have seen you lean on their experience when your own was lacking and weigh the choices they put before you. And I have seen you ignore your counselors because there was a better choice. One that only you could see." She was advised to put all the Wise Masters and the Good Masters in a stadium and kill them all. She didn't. She has held off on burning KL to the ground since the start of S7. She keeps trusting her advisers even though the are loosing the war for her. I am betting she won't. I think a Queen Sacrifice is in the future.
  10. Three things really struck me on rewatch - the MUSIC is extraordinary. GoT music is usually pretty high level, but this was just superb. The waves upon waves of the Army of the Dead that were still coming at Winterfel when Arya stabbed the NK was horrifying. There is not a chance anyone would have survived if the NK hadn't been killed. The zombonidragon's throat got bitten bad by either Jon's dragon or by Drogon. For the rest of the episode he was like a broken gaspipe with a leak, spewing blue flame out of the side of his throat. Also, I loved how many different genres were in this episode: horror, thriller, monster movie, war flick, Great episode, one for the ages! ETA: I mentioned earlier how Jorah's death would have been the one he would have chosen of all possible deaths in the 7K, but I hadn't caught how he collapses just after the AotD collapsed all around him and Dany - like the only thing keeping him upright was his mission of protecting his beloved khaleesi. Wow.
  11. I am convinced - what is the old saying? "those who have been attacked by an army of the dead fear an inert corpse lying in a field", or something like that? This sounds like a job for dragon fire. I like the idea of The Wall coming down (or what is left of it), but wonder if there are even any Wildlings left other than Thormund and a couple of random Wildling redshirts we glimpsed in The Long Night?
  12. I found it fascinating that Robb and Talisa were the ones to find Qyburn in the shattered remains of Harenhal, half dead. Then he saved Jaime's arm ("stop the corruption" with boiling wine, I think), then he accompanied Jaime back to KL and somehow fell in with Cersei and became ReplacementVarys. He then enabled her plan to destroy her enemies at the Sept Bombing and seemed utterly OK with that, even going so far as to be the one who crowned "Cersei of the House Lannister First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Long may she reign." So I'm not sure if his loyalty to Cersei is waning. My guess would be that Qyburn remains loyal. If I was guessing who kills her, my gold dragons would have been on Arya prior to last Sunday, but I think it is unlikely that Arya kills 2/2 of the Big Bads in the story, so I'm not sure who is going to take her out (and I am pretty sure someone will). Maybe Jaime has finally realized the toxic nature of their relationship? No need to without the Night King to resurrect them, I don't think. A simple burial should suffice. I think Bran, Dany, and the dragon(s) are the only magical creatures left that I can think of. No idea if any of them are capable of repairing The Wall, but it doesn't seem likely.
  13. It would be wrong to respond with anything except "I'm no Ser." 😉
  14. A Show has been relentless about killing off noble houses. It is symptomatic of how costly the wars have been on The North that, at the start of S8 three of the named houses in The North were led by children (Umber, Karstark, and Mormont) and the preeminent house, Stark, was led by a teenager (Sansa). Also extinguished are House Bolton (good riddance), and the Tullys of Riverrun are questionable (no intel on what happened to Edmure, his wife, and his baby in the dungeons of The Twins after Arya slaughtered the Freys). House Baratheon is guttering, but it isn't entirely extinguished - Dany could make Gendry a legitimate Baratheon, as Ramsay was made a legitimate Bolton and as Stannis offered to make Jon Snow into Jon Stark. There is just one (weak) Arryn left alive. And grumpkins and snarks. That was badass. And it is a very good point. I just wish Sam had been given a job that was more in line with his strengths by someone who knew him. Like, maybe his best friend, Jon. I will miss Edd, and always remember this from Crasters (after the defeat at the Fist of the First Men)... Grenn: When people talk about the Night's Watch, they never mention the shoveling. Edd: Or the shit. Grenn: They tell you about honor, pardoning crimes, and protecting the realm, but shoveling really is most of it. Edd: And getting attacked or killed or worse. Grenn: And that. But when you're not getting attacked or killed, usually you're shoveling. Edd: Oh, look. More shit. I was starting to wonder what to do with the rest of me day. I think I assumed that there was one dragon left, and that Jon would discover dead Ghost surrounded by dead zombonis in the next episode - but now I have hope!
  15. I have been out of town on a business trip. I had to watch this in a hotel room on a meh TV and no ability to pause or rewind (which SUCKED), but I wanted to swing by when I had a non-working moment to say how much I thought this episode ROCKED. It was horrifying and thrilling and emotional in all the best ways. All of the time Arya spent in Braavos, all of the time she spent erasing her Stark identity and then finding her way back to it, all of those interminable "training" sessions at the House of B&W, all of it was all worth it because Arya SAVED the WORLD! WITH KNIFEY!! I still can't believe that episode. I am just itching to re-watch it, and stoked to see what happens next. I thought the Doomed Charge of the Dothraki was visually wonderful and the first of many gut punches. I thought it was very much in-character for them to charge into the storm, since they had swept aside every other obstacle in Westeros since arriving and had no fear of death. The flaming scythes flickering out in clumps was my first notion that this might all go horribly wrong (and a nice way to avoid the added complication of using horses in a battle scene that looked mostly shot at night). I loved the beats between Sansa and Tyrion in the crypt. Their children would be the smartest damn people in Westeros. I loved the fact that Jorah got the death that would have been his FIRST choice out of all the possible deaths in the world. I love that we know now why Berrick kept being brought back - to save Arya. Mel's job was to remind Arya of her fortune telling from all those years ago - "eyes you will close forever: brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes". And then Mel went even further into Arya's past and somehow knew to ask Arya "what do we say to the god of death?", when the God of Death was knocking at the gates. Theon became Theon again, and the last bit of penance owed for all he did to the Starks was paid. The littlest fighter, Lyanna, stabbed a zomboni giant in the eye! Just amazing scene after amazing scene. I do find myself questioning some of the strategic decisions, like having the non-warriors hiding in a place full of dead folks that it totally going to be safe when a creature whose entire power comes from his ability to raise the dead shows up - what could go wrong?!? I had a hard time tracking what was going on there, but I trust that Headless Zombie Ned was not one of the creatures crawling out of their grave. Can't wait to see how they resolve the battle against Cersei - after dealing with with the Night King, it seems hard to care about who sits upon the Iron Throne, but there it is in the title of A Show.
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