Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Game of Thrones" Analysis (Not) featuring Drew Galloway

Slight change of plan. Turns out Drew has an actual big boy job where he has to, you know, work and stuff. So his time to answer stupendously long emails is limited.

So, here's my email to him from last week, regarding GoT episode 306 "The Climb."

He gets a pass for last week, and I'm going to be ABSOLUTELY SURE to cut down my questions to the 2 most vital ones, so that we can fire back some email exchanges for your reading pleasure.

Now, I'm off to watch episode 307.


Robbie Vogel <>
May 7 (5 days ago)
to Drew
Hey there,

I figured since we’d be talking about Game of Thrones, I should keep some notes during the show. This could be a fun thing – we can work off these and talk about some stuff this way. Maybe next week you can do the notes and then shoot them over to me, and we can start from there.

Also, for clarity, my questions to you will be at the end.

Let me have the first “I called it” moment of this young feature: I CALLED IT! TRAVELING EPISODE! For God’s sake it was called “The Climb,” and the first three scenes (Sam and Gilly, Bran and Jojen, Arya and the Brotherhood) show a nation on the move – but to what goal? I think people might forget – I kind of do – that Bran is running from Theon and his men towards Jon, whom he was just alerted last night is now north of the Wall and surrounded by enemies. That was a big example of dramatic irony, where the audience knows something the character doesn’t, and it robbed the scene of any impact it could have had.

Moving on, Ygritte is my favorite character. Maybe not in the books, but definitely in the show. “
Don’t ever betray me – cuz I’ll cut your pretty cock right off and wear it around my neck.” This sentence, combined with her statement about the fact that she and Jon have to look after each other, is her in a nutshell. Fiercely loyal to those she cares about, she demands that same level of loyalty, and she’s not afraid to get nasty. In a few different ways.

My next note revolves around the GIANT plot twist that occurred in the next scene.

WAIT WHAT – THOROS OF MYR JUST GOT A RAISE. Why is he all of a sudden the center of a new subplot? Although this is perfect for my discussion from last week, where I asked why everyone doesn’t just adopt the Red God.

In the books it was always a little questionable which deity/ deities were the best: the old Gods, the Seven, or the Lord of Light. Now, from these quotes, it seems pretty obvious: “Our God is the one true God.” This happened in the conversation between Melisandre and Thoros, and I think she said it to him. Seems like a pretty legit statement, especially when coinciding with Thoros’s abilities in the resurrection department.

“You will make kings rise and fall.” This was Melisandre to Gendry, and I was a little confused about this. I researched it a bit, and I’m still not all the way convinced, except I think she means to use Gendry (Robert Baratheon’s bastard son) in some kind of R’hllor-based ritual – maybe more shadowbabymaking?
SIDENOTE: Thrones threw in a “back from the other side” bit from Beric, who’s died a handful of times.

It’s interesting that Melisandre assumed that there is something over there, and Beric said: “There is no other side. Only darkness.” This has to be about the most horrifying answer imaginable for a priestess who’s dedicated her life to serving the Lord of Light.

Another random note I had: “The wall would have to be so much more slanted for it to work. Although it’s magic.” AKA, a structure that’s 700 feet tall and (conservatively) 20 feet wide at its base would be ridiculously topple-prone. But I do remember Martin writing that it was infused with heavy-duty magic, the kind of old school spells that the Hogwarts castle and grounds are working with.

Moving on to Theon, it seems that his game should have ended before it even began. The big “X,” the flaying, it’s all first-grade stuff for someone who allegedly studied at the knee of a Citadel master. He’s at the Dreadfort, being flayed by a Bolton (who we know is Ramsey aka Reek). First-grade stuff, really.

My next note reads: “I don’t get this thing with Jaime Lannister.” And I don’t. So see my questions.

Moving on to probably the best actor in the series, at least for my money, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. The way he asks questions is hilarious, it’s like every time someone tells him something, they’ve just asked for $1,000 and a new passport. He goes: “…whyyy…” with this very ponderous, low-voiced, vaguely threatening purr that almost isn’t a question as much as a scold.

The scene with him and Lady Olenna was gold. Highlights included: “My stomach is quite strong,” (foreshadowing!!), “sword-swallower” and “prize flower” in reference to the Knight of Flowers, and “As an authority on myself I may have to disagree,” as Lady Olenna refuses to be told how to think. However, as usual, Tywin holds the trump card, with the threat to cancel all further lineage of a Tyrell House by conscripting Loras to the Kingsguard. Olenna held her own, but just didn’t have the cards to play in this hand. She lives to fight another day, however.

My next note is a verbatim thought taken straight from my brain to the computer as Jon and Ygritte somehow didn’t splat to the ground from 500 feet up the north face of the Wall:

“LESS THAN NEGATIVE INFINITY PERCENT CHANCE THAT WALL SCENE HAPPENS – rope would fray and snap instantly with that much weight, then Ygritte would pull Jon down without a doubt.”

Moving on, I’ve found another I CALLED IT! moment: the way Tywin uses his children as nothing more than pawns, with no regard for any of them (save maybe Jaime): “Father doesn’t discriminate – we’re all being shipped off to hell together.” That was Cersei, talking to her little brother, who FINALLY finds out once and for all who commissioned his head cleaved in at the Blackwater.

This is a great thing that the show has done well in adapting from the book – the idea that you don’t really know what happened until several weeks (chapters) later – I remember reading the books and having to keep going in order to figure out the whole picture of one subplot, and then once I’d figured it out I would already be on to another one. This scene with Tyrion finding out that Joffrey tried to kill him like 8 episodes ago is the same thing and I love it.

NONSEQUITUR NOTE: I need more Shae!! She was always awesome and now she’s got about 2 lines every 3 episodes.

Now we get to the part of the episode that really made it stand out for me as a solid contender for best episode of the season so far. Namely, Littlefinger.

First of all, his voice is Batmanish – with every scene, it seems to get lower and gravellier.

The maneuvering on his part in this episode was absolutely RUTHLESS, and that voiceover monologue was the best (yet cheesiest) (yet still awesome) way to capture that.

“Chaos is a ladder. Many who get to climb it fail, never to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

My exact words after Sansa’s grief-torn face watches Baelish’s ship sail off with her dreams: “What a fuckin… …… what…… … holy shit.”'

If this is all they kept Ros around for, and they knew it way back when they started her storyline in the show, then good Lord someone deserves a raise.

Moving on.

A couple things about the climax atop the wall:

 1. Looking back at the wildling lands, you look down on the tops of mountains. Either they have 650-foot tall mountains, or the land slopes SHARPLY down and the wall is built on a bigass ridge.
2. Is the wall some sort of meteorological barrier? I suppose it could be, at that height, but it was funny that the North looked like Greenland and the South looked like Toledo, Ohio.
3. Holy shit I would not make out with someone up there. One slip and it’s good night Charlie.

1.       Where is the plot going now that Thoros apparently failed in his mission to convert the King of Westeros to the religion of the Red God? Why was that necessary to bring up at all? Highly confused.

2.       On a similar note, remember the “devil” to the Red God’s “god” in the books? It’s called “The Great Other.” And the “white walkers” in the show are actually called “Others” in the books. AND from what I understand, the realm in the books is totally doomed unless they all somehow band together and fight off the Others – this is why the wildlings moved south of the wall, and it’s basically the huge main conflict that will end the last two books. So my question is, with all this Red God talk lately in the show, why no mention of the connection between the Great Other and the white walkers, since both thrive in cold and darkness and the latter are clearly a physical manifestation of the former?

3.       What is the purpose of showing so much Theon torture? Just to give the audience a glimpse of how awful the Bastard of Bolton is?

4.       What is going on with Jaime? Why does Roose Bolton think that if he just lets Jaime stroll into King’s Landing, and all he gets in return is the “promise” (and we know how good Jaime is at keeping promises) to clear Roose’s name, that that’s a good deal?

5.       I feel like Baelish and Varys are the two most important players in this titular Game. I also think I remember not realizing until much later in the books that Baelish is an absolute MASTERMIND villain. It’s starting now to look like these 2 are the good and evil at the top of the food chain in King’s Landing. Is this how you view it? Was it this obvious to you in the books, and am I just a hopeless optimist who expects everyone to be a combination of Ned Stark and Mr. Rogers?

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