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Top Ten Thursday: Game of Thrones Season 5 Plot Points

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I know, I know, that’s one hella long title. As I mentioned in last week’s TTT post, I wanted to do some lists related to a Song of Ice and Fire in honor of the new season of Game of Thrones which starts this Sunday. Last week featured my favorite book quotes, while this week I’ll be listing things I’m most excited to see in Season 5. This is based on the books and leaked spoilers for the series — while we do not know everything that’s about to go down, we have the synopsis and I’ll be leading myself on those. This means the night will be dark and FULL OF SPOILERS!!

I’m fairly sure I’ve used that gif before, but yes, if you don’t listen to Pedro Pascal then I can’t help you any further. Here we go!

  • #10: Melisandre’s play with Jon and Stannis.

Stannis the Mannis who does nothing but grind his teeth, Jon the sadface who knows nothing, and Melisandre the red priestess of Asshai. Oh and R’hllor, the Lord of Light, let’s not forget him too. These three characters put together could easily make a sitcom, so I’m excited to see how their time together plays out.

  • #9: Sansa is playing the game.

Basically, Sansa has already been learning how to be a player in the Game of Thrones for a while now, and her beginning as one officially started last season. But she has yet to prove herself and this means this season she won’t be the Sansa we knew so far. She’ll be Alayne.

  • #8: Pod and Brienne’s road trouble.

To be completely honest, I have no idea what this is meant to be. It’s ranked this high because of my curiosity. One of the trailers/teasers/promo videos featured Pod and Brienne with some men who flew under the banners of House Arryn, which means the Vale with Sansa and Littlefinger will be included in their story somehow.

  • #7: The adventures of House Bolton.

Winterfell, which did in fact fell when it got burned to the ground, is about to rise again. Sort of. But among the festivities there should be a wedding and we all know weddings in Westeros make for great entertainment.

  • #6: Arrival of the High Sparrow.

The High Sparrow is the newest High Septon of the Faith of the Seven. Let’s just say he’s in town to do some purging of sins… Can you think who’s sinned in King’s Landing?

  • #5: Meeting Doran Martell and the Sand Snakes.

I freaking adored Doran and the Sand Snakes and this should in fact be my favorite part of the upcoming season. But it appears D&D are making a lot of changes for the Dorne plot, which not only disappoints me but it also scares me that they won’t be portrayed as good as they were in the books. I know that changes are a must, they’re two different mediums and there can be no literal adaptation, but Dorne was just so fantastic in the books.

  • #4: Daenerys welcomes Tyrion.

It was pretty clear that Tyrion would eventually meet Dany, but it seems in the show they’re speeding up things and they’re cutting out Tyrion’s journey to her. Or otherwise making it extremely short. Either way, we get to have a Lannister and a Targaryen in the same room this season. Get hyped!

  • #3: Arya and the House of Black and White.

The Many-Faced God can have the rest, she thought, but he can’t have this.

Those are Arya’s thoughts about Needle, her stick-them-with-the-pointy-end sword. She’s training to be an assassin at the guild of the Faceless Men and in order to become one she has to lose her identity, she has to become no one. This means cutting off from her past, but she decides to keep Needle.

  • #2: Cersei’s downfall.

Come at once, she said. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.

Vyman was hovering by the door, waiting, and Jaime sensed that Peck was watching too. “Does my lord wish to answer?” the maester asked, after a long silence.

A snowflake landed on the letter. As it melted, the ink began to blur. Jaime rolled the parchment up again, as tight as one hand would allow, and handed it to Peck. “No,” he said. “Put this in the fire.”

Cersei’s my favorite character for Season 5, as she finally gets to reap all the things she sowed in the past. Not only is crap hitting the fan, but she’ll have no one help her clean it. Can’t freaking wait!!

  • #1: Jon Snow swings a sword.

The smile that Lord Janos Slynt smiled then had all the sweetness of rancid butter. Until Jon said, “Edd, fetch me a block,” and unsheathed Longclaw.

I did a happy dance when I read this part. It’s one of my all-time best scenes, and even though you won’t see the quote on any of my quote lists, it’s definitely among my favorites. I just tend to avoid listing it because without the context it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But basically, Longclaw goes through Slynt’s neck in order to meet the block.

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Review [SPOILERS]

WARNING: I cannot stress this enough, if you are not fully caught up with Game of Thrones’ fourth season, grab Old Nan and follow Samwell Tarly, because this post is dark and full of spoilers, your only hope is staying with Sam the Slayer.

SPOILER ALERT!!

WARNING II: Seriously, if you are not caught up and do not want to be spoiled, locate the magic ‘x’ button. Did I mention the word SPOILERS?

Instead of jumping to that long-awaited finale straight away, let’s first do a quick recap of the notable events that took place during this season. It kicked off with a mesmerizing scene of Tywin melting the Stark’s Valyrian sword, Ice, and having two new swords forged using the steel. A final nod to the Stark’s downfall, a scene with no dialogue but extra powerful even though it’s with a sad note. Jaime gets one of the two swords, as well as a new golden hand to replace his missing one. Meanwhile final preparations are done for the royal wedding of Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister) and Margaery Tyrell, and Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) with his paramour, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) arrive as representatives from the Martell house. Oberyn, also known as the Red Viper, joins the ranks of fan favorites from the beginning, by spending his free time in the brothels of King’s Landing with both women and men, showing Lannisters that he does not fear them, and that he still wants revenge for the vicious murder and rape of Ellia Martell (whose children were killed by the Mountain, who raped and murdered her as well, presumably done under Tywin’s orders).

The wedding starts with a gifting ceremony for the couple, they get a fancy trophy-cup from Mace Tyrell, and a valuable book on the life of Kings of Westeros from Tyrion which unfortunately gets chopped to bits right after with the new Valyrian sword he gets from Tywin. Despite all the efforts and the gold spent on the wedding, no one really has a good time, especially when Joffrey’s entertainment steps on the stage — a play with dwarfs who reenact the war of the five kings, showing everything from Renly’s bedtime manners to Rob’s head being replaced with Grey Wind’s. As if that wasn’t enough, he proceeds to embarrass and belittle Tyrion in front of everyone. A final show of Joffrey’s cruelty, before he starts choking, turns purple and falls down. What comes to be known as the Purple Wedding, gives all watchers the satisfaction of finally removing Joffrey from the game, forever.

Unfortunately, Cersei blames Tyrion for the murder. In case you weren’t paying attention, the Queen of Thorns, Lady Olenna Tyrell, is the one that poisons his wine. Littlefinger has a necklace made which he orders Ser Dontos to give to Sansa, who wears it during the wedding, and Lady Olenna plucks one of the precious stones from it, which is in fact a crystallized poison. Ser Dontos obviously believes he is saving Sansa so he takes her to Littlefinger’s ship, at which point he gets shot with an arrow as a reward and Littlefinger sails away with Sansa to the Vale of Arryn (Lysa Arryn being Sansa’s aunt). Jaime sends Brienne and Podrick to find Sansa, and after an encounter with Hotpie in a tavern they head toward the Vale too.

With Joffrey gone, his younger brother, Tommen, is crowned as the new king — thankfully he’s not crazy like Joffrey. A committee of judges is formed for Tyrion’s trial for the murder of Joffrey, including Tywin, Mace Tyrell, and Oberyn Martell. Cersei wants Tyrion dead so for a moment there we see her being surprisingly kind to her father, the Red Viper, and Margaery Tyrell. All of it being a play, just to get them on her side. Peter Dinklage performs what is one of the best deliveries on-screen that I have seen during the trial, where he basically tells the whole audience how he has saved all their lives but they all see him as a monster so he demands trial by combat. A brave move, but for a moment it doesn’t seem very smart — Jaime told him if he just plays along and asks for mercy his life would be spared and he’ll be sent to the wall. Tyrion throws all that away, but faces a hard time finding a champion when Cersei chooses the Mountain as hers. Luckily for him, the Red Viper is there and the Mountain is one of the reasons why he’s in King’s Landing.

Despite the Moutain’s size, Oberyn shows us how agility and good moves can defeat any rock or mountain. Sadly, he gets carried away with his craving for vengeance, allowing the Mountain to pull him down, give him a hard punch, and then smash his head in with his bare hands. It was a truly gory scene, regardless of how good it was, if you’re not okay with a human’s head being blown up like a watermelon you may want to look away. But worry not, Tyrion is not yet dead, even though he is sentenced to die.

Across the Narrow Sea we have Daenerys with her long list of titles infiltrating Mereen, and deciding to stay there and rule to prove to everyone, including herself, that once she takes Westeros she will be a great Queen. She obviously didn’t foresee that the cities she liberated would immediately go back to slavery once she leaves. To spice things up in her story, she decides to bed (but not wed) Daario Naharis, learns Ser Jorah used to spy on her for the Iron Throne a while back so he’s exiled from Mereen, while Missandei and Grey Worm seem to be starting their own romance.

Yara Greyjoy tries to save Theon from the Dreadfort, but the torture Ramsey put him through has left him scarred, both physically and spiritually, he’s Reek now and won’t go back with her. What’s more twisted is Ramsey sends Reek to “pretend” that he is Theon and have the last Greyjoy men at Moat Cailin surrender to the Boltons. He delivers on his promise, and for the success Ramsey is rewarded with a legitimization by the King, he’s no longer a Snow but a proper Bolton. As Wardens of the North, the Boltons basically have the whole North as their own. There’s just one issue, Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive.

They send a man called Locke to infiltrate the Night’s Watch, get close to Jon and find the boys. He finds Bran during an attack on the surviving turn-cloak brothers of the Night’s Watch at Craster’s Keep, where Jon and Bran literally cross roads. Just as Locke was about to run away with Bran, Bran wargs into Hodor and saves the day by breaking Locke’s neck. Jojen persuades Bran that they need to keep going North and they cannot let Jon stop their journey — so that potential reunion goes in the water.

Another potential reunion that goes in the water is Arya’s with Sansa. The Hound takes Arya to the Vale to ransom her for gold, but at the entrance they’re told Lysa Arryn is dead, and we previously see how Littlefinger pushes her down to fly through the Moon Door after Lysa has a jealous tantrum over Littlefinger kissing Sansa. Confused yet? No worries, we’ve got just the last two episodes to cover. And the ninth episode was basically a full battle at the wall, with the Wildlings attacking Castle Black both from South and North. Here we do get a reunion with Jon and Ygritte, but she gets an arrow through the heart. Sad, but keep in mind that you’re cheering for the Night’s Watch in this battle. And thankfully they win, despite the giants and the attack from two sides. The bad news is, this was basically Mance testing their defenses, the real army has yet to take a move and Jon decides he will visit Mance, pretending he is there to discuss peace terms, and make an attempt on his life.

Up to this point, the season was all around fantastic and brilliant, most of the book-to-tv changes were okay too. But, the internet shows mixed feelings regarding the final episode, despite all the wrap-up it showed. We had a magnificent shot of Stannis’ army striking the Wildings during Mance and Jon’s conversation. Though there was very little of actual Wilding killings displayed, but the arrival scene definitely warranted an applause. This was followed by a touching dialogue between Tormund and Jon, a well as a creepy glare between Jon and Melisandre across a burning funeral pyre for the fallen brothers of the Night’s Watch.

Further North, Bran and the company finally reached the tree from Bran’s visions where the three-eyed raven resides. But, before entering the cave underneath the tree, skeletons started popping up from the ground and one of them took Jojen’s life. Those were supposed to be wights though, why they appeared like the skeletons from Sinbad or the Pirates of the Caribbean is beyond me, they looked truly corny. There to save the day was a single Child of the Forest, who looked like Arya with more clothes, did not look anything like the Children of the Forest from the books, nor had similar skills, as she started throwing fireballs (firebombs?) at the skeletons and even threw one at Jojen, likely to ensure he doesn’t come back as one. I know the book and the show are different mediums, and I appreciate both in their own ways, but this whole scene felt bad to me, like it is out of loop, as if they took it from another fantasy show and put it in Game of Thrones.

But at least Bran, Hodor and Meera made it to the cave beneath the tree, where any skeleton that entered literally shattered around — “the power that moves them has no power here”, the Child explained. A few turns left and right and she brought them to Bloodraven, who looked like Pycelle entangled with roots from the tree above. Again, not complaining that it wasn’t like in the books, but I feel this wasn’t as creepy and mysterious as it could have been. He tells them he has been watching them with a thousand eyes and one (he can see through any weirwood tree), and while Bran will never walk again, he will fly (think warging into birds, or maybe even dragons?).

Speaking of dragons, they aren’t well-behaved these days. Drogon burned a kid, and is nowhere to be found, so Dany decides for the safety of her people it’s best to chain the other two in a dark catacomb. On a lighter note, Brienne meets Arya! Her and the Hound have a badass fight, one of the best fighting scenes Game of Thrones has delivered, but sadly Arya manages to escape from Brienne and Pod. She finds the Hound, who tumbled down a hill at the end of the fight he lost, takes his gold and leaves him to die, refusing to kill him even though he begs her to. She finds a ship nearby that’s sailing to Braavos and uses the coin the faceless man, Jaqen H’ghar, gave to her to ensure a cabin on the ship.

There’s even more good news — Jaime frees Tyrion with the help of Varys, but before getting on his escape ship, he pays a visit to his father’s chambers. There he finds Shae in his bed, seemingly after a rough bed scene, and they quickly get into a fight, until he pulls her by the Hand of the King chain around her neck and stranglers her with it. If Tyrion ever had a breaking point, this was definitely it. He grabbed a crossbow and located his father in the privy, and after a short chat put an arrow in his bowels. And then put another one in his heart, before going back to Varys who gets him on a ship. After hearing the warning bells at the Red Keep, Varys gets on the ship as well.

The season started out rather light, with many hopeful and satisfying events, but it took dark turns after Joffrey’s death. Lysa’s death was somewhat hopeful, because she was downright insane, but there was the Viper’s death, Ygritte’s death, the loss of hope for Tyrion, the Stark children who kept parting ways, etc. The finale made up for all of it by giving hope everywhere around Westeros, though not so much Across the Narrow Sea, and not so much for Tywin, Shae, and the Hound. Heck, even the Mountain got his “hopeful” end, with Qyburn saying he can save him from the deadly poison, though noting the Mountain might not be the same after he completes his “saving him” procedure.

The view ratings themselves show that Game of Thrones had another amazingly strong season. I was worried that after the events from season 3 they would not be able to produce anything that good, but they keep going stronger and stronger, which should not be surprising if we look at the cast. I think this season was the best acting-wise, everyone delivered their best performances to date. My only complaint is about the final episode, which was hyped up as their “best episode to date” and is the only episode from this season sent for an Emmy consideration, but I did not find it that good. It was decent, had both good and bad scenes, but I do not believe it was their best episode this season, let alone for the whole series.

Granted, I am a book reader so maybe know what was coming and having established a vision of those events in my head, but seeing completely different scenes, could be the reason why I felt this finale was a letdown. But I did not miss events from the book, I simply found several scenes to be bad, one way or another, with too much room for improvement. Hopefully after I re-watch it a few times I’ll feel better about it. It was a fantastic season and I’m never okay with a single episode ruining the pleasure that was building up through all the other episodes. And here’s me wishing Pedro Pascal gets showered with awards for his guest role because I felt like he carried most of this season on his shoulders. An absolutely brilliant actor in a fantastic role.

TV Finales & Endings

Okay okay, I promise I’ll move beyond the TV show posts, just have to get down these thoughts that have been haunting my mind lately.

Note — This post/article/rant/younameit contains spoilers for the following TV shows: The Walking Dead, Hannibal, How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, Lost, Parks and Recreation, Suits, and Breaking Bad. If you’re not caught with them and you do not want spoilers, please locate the shiny red ‘x’ button and fly away somewhere safe.

It is my opinion that a TV show’s strongest potential lies within the finale episodes. Assuming that the first few, or even just the premiere episode of a season captures your interest, you’re likely to stick with the season hoping what you saw at the beginning will get even better. Taking Hannibal as an example, the season 2 premiere starts with a showdown between Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford, it can’t get better than that! Of course you soon realize this is just a glimpse of the future, we move back to previous events right after that scene. But the point is, you’re shown what you can expect by the end of the season, and you’re practically hooked for the rest of it. Not that I needed any more reasons to watch Hannibal, but it definitely works in their advantage.

However, whether or not I’m satisfied with the season would depend on that actual finale that features said scene I’ve been waiting for all that time. You’re showing me the candy you have in store, and I’ll gladly pay the price, but if that candy ain’t no good, you might not see me back for more. Hannibal’s season 2 finale takes place tomorrow, on the 23rd, so I can’t comment yet on whether or not it will be as fantastic as we all hope it will be, though the whole season has been great. But, again, if the end goal is not good, it would lower the value of the whole walk to said goal. The Walking Dead‘s finales, for example, are simply mind-blowing, and are probably the main reason I still watch the show. I find quite a few of the episodes to be rather boring with no progress whatsoever (and no, they’re not character development episodes, they’re simply filler material since those specific episodes do not contribute to the story or the characters at all — I still strongly believe the show could have less but stronger episodes if they just cut off some of the watching-grass-grow elements), but they keep doing these finales that ensure I come back next year for another season.

The finale of finales, the ending episode of a show, has that same impact multiplied by 10. I can still feel the disappointed some great shows have left me with their ending whenever I think of them. A rather recent example would be How I Met Your Mother‘s final episode. You know, where in the first half we got everything that the show was working toward through all their seasons, and then in the second half we see it all crumble down and we get the complete opposite. I keep seeing “it was logical” in defense of the ending, which makes no sense really. HIMYM was never logical, no episode was fully logical, it is a comedy and it had only one goal — to show how Ted met the mom. Somewhere along the way, they realized they’re making big bucks so they decided to have a full season leading to Robin and Barney’s wedding, in addition to showing the kids’ mom and having the fans become closer with her. And all that was undone in several minutes when the mom dies, the kids show absolutely no emotion regarding that, and they push Ted to go to Robin who divorced Barney (who went back to his old slutty ways but got a girl pregnant and he “fell in love” with his daughter) because her work was too important to make any sacrifice.

I’m well aware that they had this ending filmed back when the show started. However, that is no excuse for going along with it. The show went longer than planned, had a lot more content that initially planned, obviously, so that “old ending” no longer fit there. Ted and Robin kept going back and forth that them being together in the end is absolutely the last thing I wanted to see.

A similar case, but on a smaller level, took place with Dexter‘s finale. After realizing that he cannot change who he is and that those around him would always be in danger, he has Hannah and Harrison leave the country while he disappears with his boat. That would have been an average ending, leaving up to our imagination on what actually happens afterward. But they decided to show him working as a lumberjack, apparently living with the consequences his actions left him. The issue with this? Well, if he managed to become a peaceful Buddha lumberjack, that means he can go back to Hannah and Harrison. If he still posed danger to those around him, then why wasn’t he shown doing the oh so lovely deaths he used to do? Shake my head in disbelief.

A complete opposite of the Lost ending, which added more questions than resolving the plethora of mysteries we already had going. Yet I cannot decide which one was worse. It’s not about closure, giving us something that says “well, this show is over”, but rather about finalizing the story you told, the story the fans have so faithfully followed for years. You owe the audience at least that, a proper ending. It doesn’t have to be anything Disney-like (heck, I’m all for the harsh, cruel endings), but something that will truly complete the tale.

I feel like Parks and Recreation just schooled every other show on that front with their season 6 finale. Yes, it wasn’t even the actual last episode of the show, but I can guarantee you if that was in fact the last episode, 99% of the fans would have been satisfied. Leslie met Michelle Obama, the Mouse Rats reunited for the Unity Concert which also featured a Lil Sebastian hologram, Tom finally has a good business going thanks to all his friends, Leslie accepted the National Parks job but managed to find a way to work in Pawnee thanks to Ron who was fixing the third floor throughout the season, and we fast-forward in time to actually see this. If that wasn’t enough, we see Leslie’s triplets, and a cameo from Jon Hamm (Mad Men) being fired by Leslie because he was apparently worse than Garry, Jerry, Larry, Terry. Seriously, the episode had everything (with the exception of Ann and Chris) that a fan would want from the actual ending, it was that good!

They might yet screw up the actual ending, but the writing is so brilliant I doubt that’s possible. Let’s move to something that’s already over though — Breaking Bad. It kept going better and better and I was rather worried that moving up the ladder all the time would lead to an inevitable downfall with the ending. Oh boy, was I wrong. And I’ve never been that glad to be wrong. The highlight, and likely the best episode on TV ever was definitely S5E14 – Ozymandias, but the two following afterward, Granite State and Felina, provided a rather bittersweet yet satisfying ending. I kept imagining possible scenarios for the end and I didn’t like any of them, so thank you Vince Gilligan for providing that unique one that felt just right. Heisenberg manages to pull a final mastermind act to save Jesse, while losing his own life. But obviously ensures that the money he worked so hard to obtain will eventually be given to his family. There’s a reason why everyone was, is, and likely will still be talking about Breaking Bad for a while.

Last, but not least, I’d like to give some credit to Suits. I feel like it’s this baby show that no many are aware of but it will eventually have its BOOM because they deserves it with the outstanding writing and acting. Its finales never disappoint, are full of twists and misleading plots, and they make the impossible quite possible — I don’t believe I can ever sit down and watch full seasons of any other lawyer show. Might be because it is not your typical courtroom lawyers, but still, season after season even when I think the show might start losing its juice and will likely end soon, they spin things around and bring enough freshness for me to crave at least a few more seasons. These lawyers have some tricks up their sleeves, and they know how to use them.

So, to sum up, if you’re going to do a finale for a season or for the end of a show, make it bloody count. Because it will have an impact on who continues to watch your show, and who praises or curses your show after it’s all done.