GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8--Final Run-- Part 5

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Every single Scorpion crew in the bay and on the walls was ready and waiting for an attack. And while Dany was diving at any one cluster, the rest had all the time in the world to line up their shots. Barring one initial volley, the tactical situation for Dany was worse in this episode than the last one, because her targets weren't all clustered together. And yet this time she doesn't take a scratch.
The walls were out of reach, and the boats were all ready, yes, but with the cloud cover, where were they aiming? Given the speed she hit them with, and the time it took for a crew to aim a scorpion, don't think they had all the time in the world by any means. So the way I saw it was that the boats were all kind of clustered, but not in a set formation....each was facing its own way, and they were unsure where she'd come from.

Whereas in last episode, the boats had cliffs on either side and had a clear shot at the dragon.

I think they could have maybe portrayed some of this more clearly, or maybe had someone watching make a comment to help explain, but no such luck. I feel like so many complaints like this could be prevented or addressed with like one line of dialogue.

We haven't really seen it unleashed full force against a structure before now - but it's certainly no more powerful than when the Night King blew up the Wall with an undead dragon. The only thing that got to me was the sheer volume. Apparently the dragons can breathe fire forever, more or less.
Yeah, the amount kind of surprised me as well, but that's because of my D&D upbringing. I don't know if they ever established how often or for how long a full grown dragon could breath fire.

For comparisons to the undead dragon....at that point, I don't even know if it's breathing fire anymore, and the wall was ice rather than stone...and hinted to be magical in nature, too....so it's hard to say if the comparison works.
 

variant

Villager
This is one of the best episodes of Game of Thrones in a very long time, I would say since Hardhome. Season 7 was terrible except for the small portion of Jon's reveal. Season 8 except episode 1 hasn't been good either, up until this point. The show writing simply hasn't been good since most of season 5 with a few good episodes through the remaining seasons.

I feel most people hating on this episode is doing it simply because it's evoking emotions they don't like to feel.
 

Gladius Legis

Explorer
a show that has previously focused on the payout from the long game now feels like it's rushing through unearned plot points (not to mention the discombobulation of the time the last two seasons; how long does it take things to happen, where are people in relation to each other, how much time is passing etc.).
With all these flaws you mentioned (and I agree with), how can you possibly still consider this show "good"? These are fatal flaws in any show, book, movie or what have you, failures of Storytelling 101.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
So, here's where I would disagree with you.

Prior to the last two seasons, the strength of this show has been the intricate plotting and the characters; the growth of the characters and the developments in the plot have felt earned. Even something "shocking" (say, the Red Wedding or Ned Stark at the end of S1) is not shocking in terms of the character or the developments, but was only shocking in terms of the viewer expectations of what should happen in a show.*

It gave the show a very "real" feeling; something which is uncommon, but the idea that this was an inhabited world, with characters and machinations that exist not just on the screen, but beyond it. Much like a good chili, the flavor came because it was allowed to sit for a while before serving up more plot developments.

This is not similar (IMO) to most movies, which suffer from unneeded bloat; movies are closer to the short story, while a good television series (today) can be the full novel.

Anyway, the issue I have had is that while I believe that this most recent episode was, standing alone, quite good, and while some of the character beats made perfect sense (incl. Dany's heel turn), it happened too quickly. There wasn't the deep and satisfying emotional payout I should feel from the development of a plot point that was character driven, as opposed to plot point that are simply plot-driven.

IMO.


*Arguably, the missteps before the last two seasons occurred when a line of plot and characters was introduced and not given proper time, such as Dorne.
Again, interesting because we have agreement and disagreement here.

I agree that the "simmer" (let's call it) of Game of Thrones has been essential to the cognitive workspace that viewers inhabit as they watch it unfold.

But for my part, (more food!) oversteeping something can lead to a bitter, wrong-noted product.

When I look at two of the primary character arcs that were just recently brought to climax, I feel like "more isn't better."

Cersei has been one of my favorite characters. I really liked the way her downfall exposed her core pathos.

Her entire life she gambled on the Lannister brand; her idea of the destiny, reach, canniness, and raw power of her family's legacy and approach (including shrewd, calculating cruelty). The delusion of her (and her family's) invincibility was slowly...and then SUDDENLY pulled back to her...piece by piece...until she was reduced to facing it as a scared child might.

You see that with a lot of people who perceive themselves as invincible (and the evidence of their life supports that idea). The cup of history overfloweth with that narrative when it comes to dictators and strongmen. Interestingly, Tiger Woods downfall has a nice parallel (apex athletes are the most strategically delusional creatures possible).

The suddenness of it was extremely potent for me. That is how it happens. Quick...brutal.

The same goes for Daenyrys. The latent villainy of her bloodline has been there from the beginning...it was a slow, back-and-forth journey to get to the precipice where she would soar away from those earthly shackles or plummet into the destiny she sought to avoid.

Its like "The Killing Joke." One bad day. That is all it takes. In my opinion, the suddenness of it...the potency of losing so much so quickly is what makes it more compelling...more visceral. And more relatable. I think most people in this world haven't lost a ton in a short span of time, so they don't realize how it undoes a person.

Anyway, I thought it was very well rendered precisely for its suddenness. Drawing it out (either temporally or via scene structure) wouldn't have enhanced it for me. It would have damaged it.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
With all these flaws you mentioned (and I agree with), how can you possibly still consider this show "good"? These are fatal flaws in any show, book, movie or what have you, failures of Storytelling 101.
Well, to recap-

You said that this is the worst episode of television, ever.

I disagree. This isn't the worst episode of any series of TV, ever. That's pretty basic- I mean, I'd expect it to win some awards for costume design, special effects etc. if nothing else. There are WHOLE SERIES of television that I can't even stand to watch.

It's not the worst episode of this season (IMO). That was last week' episode. 2 > 1 > 5 > 3 > 4.*

It's not the worst episode of the series; I'd have to think about it, but maybe something Dorne-ish? The Jamie and Bronn go to Dorne episode might be worse.


But, in the end, it was fine. As a stand alone episode, it's quite good! My issue isn't the episode, it's that it lacked the proper framework to get there. I did, however, like some particularly Martin-esque touches. You know, the whole, "Hey, look, it's the amazing Golden Company, famed, feared .... dead. ;) " It would have been even better if we had gotten to know them before the rug had been pulled out.


*My main thought watching it was actually, "At least it's not as bad as last week."

No, wait, that was my second thought. My main thought was, "OF COURSE Eurotrash Greyjoy washes up in Jamie's cave. NOW TAUNT HIM!"
 
Regardless of criticism, from the more literary-cinematic to the more fannish outrage at missed expectations and/or questionable elements of the story, GoT remains quite enjoyable in terms of pure entertainment. That last episode was wildly entertaining television.

That said, the episode was hard to watch: the sheer number of deaths, the wanton violence, the gratuitous gore (more so than most other episodes); and yes, the tragedy of seeing one of the main characters complete her transformation into villainy. But it worked - it was effective. I was wowed. But I ended it in a similar mental space as after watching something like Requiem for a Dream, thinking "that was quality cinema, but why do I need to see that? How does that in any way nourish me as a human being except as yet another reminder of how messed up things can get?"

So I'll add another element: What is it in us, culturally and individually, that so relishes this sort of "suffering porn?" I understand that story requires conflict, that story is conflict and overcoming it and that there's always suffering along the way, but GoT has upped to ante and relies quite a bit on suffering for its effectiveness. Its a bit cheap and speaks a lot to our cultural obsession with pathos.

But...can't wait for the series finale.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Kind of with Lowkey, it wasn't the worst TV ever. Dexter, Trueblood, and How I met your Mother were all fairly unwatchable in the last seasons. This season is more of a let down and a lot of stupid.

Compared to how good the show was the disappointment I think is the thing. Game of Thrones was on a different level early on up there with The Wire, Breaking Bad, Sopranos type quality. Its been declining (slowly) since season 4 and if I had to pinpoint it the death of Joffrey or Tywin.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
(as evidenced by GRRM still being stuck).
I read an article today that the actor who played Ser Baristan Selmy said that Martin was finished with both book 6 and 7, but had a deal with HBO not to release them until after the series was over. I have no idea if that's true or not, but it's a very interesting thing for him to say.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So, basically, at some point Dany snuck into the Iron Fleet and stole all their plot armour. Suddenly the Scorpions go from being turn-on-a-dime railguns that can snipe a dragon out of the air in three high-precision shots and rapid-fire their way through an entire fleet to cumbersome things that take ten seconds to aim at anything and 30 seconds to reload. Okay, this version is more realistic, but seriously, why didn't Dany just burn Euron's fleet to cinders last episode?

And then there followed around an hour of gratuitous dragonning, none of which I can bring myself to give a damn about. What fun is a battle without any good guys?
Hey! We had occasional flashes to Jon running around all confused and upset, with the odd stabby stabby here and there.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I don't think that was portrayed perfectly....they likely could have established the situations more clearly. But I do think there's a difference between ships striking from hiding against an enemy that was unaware of them.
Ships can't do that, though. It takes a loooooong time for ships to come out from behind a cliff and then aim at flying dragons and a queen that are all looking at the island the ships are crawling out from behind. That ambush was some of the poorest writing of the season. Only the Charge of the Night Brigade was worse.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
We haven't really seen it unleashed full force against a structure before now - but it's certainly no more powerful than when the Night King blew up the Wall with an undead dragon. The only thing that got to me was the sheer volume. Apparently the dragons can breathe fire forever, more or less.
And we learned that the Red Keep and city walls should have been built out that rock Jon was hiding behind in episode 3.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Ships can't do that, though. It takes a loooooong time for ships to come out from behind a cliff and then aim at flying dragons and a queen that are all looking at the island the ships are crawling out from behind. That ambush was some of the poorest writing of the season. Only the Charge of the Night Brigade was worse.
They were behind the rocks and waited till the dragons flew into their line of fire. Dany and the dragons were caught unaware.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
They were behind the rocks and waited till the dragons flew into their line of fire. Dany and the dragons were caught unaware.
No they didn't. If you watch the scene, they came out from behind the rocks and shot at them. There were no ships, then *poof* ships with speed boat engines were suddenly well out in front of that cliff face and then attacked with ballistae that can shoot farther than is possible, with pinpoint accuracy at fast moving targets(impossible by the way) while moving up and down on waves. It was a stupid, stupid scene.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
No they didn't. If you watch the scene, they came out from behind the rocks and shot at them. There were no ships, then *poof* ships with speed boat engines were suddenly well out in front of that cliff face and then attacked with ballistae that can shoot farther than is possible, with pinpoint accuracy at fast moving targets(impossible by the way) while moving up and down on waves. It was a stupid, stupid scene.
Eh tomayto tomahto, Max.
 

MarkB

Hero
The opening credits will be interesting next week. That poor King's Landing model's going to be totally trashed.
 

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