Well, â€œWinds of Winterâ€ that was not.
In previous years, hearing that aÂ Game of ThronesÂ season finale would be pushing 90 minutes in length would have left me excited and full of anticipation. After all, lots of excellent episodes of this show are longer than average in duration. Why wouldnâ€™t â€œThe Dragon and the Wolfâ€ be the same? And shouldnâ€™t moreÂ Game of ThronesÂ make a fan, like me, happy? Instead, I felt kind of irritated.
This is what this season ofÂ Games of ThronesÂ as done to me. An extra long run time used to be a treat; in this case it just felt like a ploy, another showy trick to convince us that this episode would be better than the last.
Not that everything in â€œThe Dragon and the Wolfâ€ was bad. With a such a long episode, there were bound to be bright spots. But overall, much like the theme of the entire season, this episode was a bloated, incongruous, mess that managed to check off a number of important plot points without any sort of build up that makes it worthwhile. A constricting universe implies that thereâ€™s more time to devote to charactersâ€”for actual story development. Instead, itâ€™s actually kind of impressive how much story we burned through while simultaneously having the riveting combination of bizarre, stalled character growth and a bunch of filler nonsense no one cares about.
And thatâ€™s what bothers me the most. I donâ€™t have any issues with Sansa and Arya killing Littlefinger, Theon working his way to redemption, or Jon and Daenerysâ€™s consummated romance. But thereâ€™s a failure in storytelling.
Starting with the Sansa/Arya plot: I wrote about my problems with this arc after last weekâ€™s episode, at which point I assumed that the confrontation between them was real. It was lacking character motivation then. Now that we know this wasnâ€™t a real fight, it makes even less sense. Why would Sansa and Arya stage a fight if no one was watching? Otherwise, what are we to expect? That they were able to quickly reconcile after? The writersâ€™ attempt to pull the wool over the audienceâ€™s eyes when it was Littlefinger being charged with treason and murder reeks of self-indulgence. It fails to realize that misdirection like this is the lowest common denominator in terms of tricking the audience; it laughs at them instead of with them.
I was optimistic about Theonâ€™s story early in the season, even though I suspect most people have been over him as a character for a long time (as my boyfriend said â€œNo one cares about this storyline except Lily Allen.â€). My case is simply that Theonâ€™s had a miserable life, and has experienced horrific torture that could make him a deeply sympathetic character. His reunion with Jon is a long time coming, and Theonâ€™s efforts at redemption are honorable. All good, yes? But getting kneed in the groin five times and then beating a guy because itâ€™s apparently the only move the other guy has? And the rest of the Iron Islands crew cheers for him after? Come on. That could have been much better to see if they cut the groin shots from five to one and eliminated the cheering. We get it! A knee to the crotch doesnâ€™t hurt if youâ€™re castrated. But it just drives home this fact: Benioff and Weiss arenâ€™t just spelling things out for usâ€”they are reading it aloud to us. It underestimates the audience to staggering degrees.
The biggest misfire is everything that surrounds Jon Snow and Daenerys. Although I personally think Jon and Daenerys’s connection has been poorly telegraphed, itâ€™s an expected outcome, and Iâ€™ve been ready to give in to the inevitable. But the garishness of having their familial relationship as a voiceover while they have sex is as cheap as it comes, like an obnoxious neon sign pointing at something we should think is tawdry and titillating. And it comes at the tail of a pointless scene where Samwell and Bran share information about Jonâ€™s lineage that everyone has basically known for multiple episodes at this point. Sure, it wasnâ€™t â€œconfirmed,â€ but the only confirmation we need is Jon finding out. Who cares about an entirely separate conversation that happens between Sam and Bran (and also somehow proves Bran isnâ€™t completely omniscient?). Iâ€™ve said it once, and Iâ€™ll say it again: How stupid do the showrunners think we are?
I will say that there were glimpses of greatness in this episode. The little things stand out. The brief scene between Tyrion and Jaime had more warmth than weâ€™ve seen in ages. Cerseiâ€™s threat to kill Jaime had my heart seize in my chest for a moment. The Hound smirking when Brienne tells him how Arya needs no protecting. I also loved Jaime riding north on his own, after finally breaking free of Cersei. It all makes me long for when this show made meÂ feelÂ things. It also means I canâ€™t squash that little bit of hope that things will get better.
For all of my complaints, this season closed with a horrific scene of the sacred Wall being destroyed, the one mystical feature that remained constant, the one thing that all of Westeros relied on, failing at keeping the White Walkers at bay. Itâ€™s a bold set up for the final season, in the kind of all-bets-are-off way that leads me to believe I need to leave all expectations behind come next season.
- What the hell was that thing with Tyrion listening in on Jon and Dany? There has been zeroÂ suggestion that Tyrion has feelings for Daenerys (and frankly, how insulting if thatâ€™s the case).
- I could not care less what Jonâ€™s real name is, except to makeÂ Pete & PeteÂ jokes. Jonâ€™s the worst now, isnâ€™t he?
- Littlefingerâ€™s death was supposed to be triumphant, but was just sort of anticlimactic. Remember when Tyrion strangled Shae and shot an arrow through his fatherâ€™s chest before escaping in a box? Those were the days.
- Finally, thank you all for reading these and watching along with me! Until next year (or the year after at this rate).
The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones premieres in 2018.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…