Six seasons of great writing, directing, and acting, and I think S6/E8 now ranks as my favorite. I have said that before, so there is room for error in terms of what was most recently watched or heard. Think back to March long ago. The Romans may have said the same thing about Brutus’ speech before staying on to hear Antony drop his pearls of wisdom and thoughts on justice. It is enough to say that I loved this episode. Not all of it, I had some complaints, but they are minor quibbles. If you have not watched the episode, please turn back now. Spoilers lie ahead.
Have you watched S6/E8? If not, please come back another day. I say again, spoilers lie ahead.
I have mentioned the risk of seeing spoilers if you proceed, right? Final warning.
1. Go ahead, accuse me of flattery, but for the second time in as many weeks, I recommend checking out lovebyscreenside’s blog for a great S6/E8 recap. I think a recap should be different than a synopsis, and this hits the right notes.
2. Gods be damned! They wasted the Blackfish. Gods be praised, they made the Blackfish into legend. What a character! Ok, truth be told, I may have been a bourbon or two in when I cursed them for leading the Blackfish into an alley. I think he is one of the greatest characters we have witnessed in this show, from the standpoint of the character and from the acting. All for naught.
Ok, ok, set down the glass of melodrama. Not all for naught. Edmure was (seemingly) repulsive. He caved for a wife and child he hardly knew or wanted. Spineless, right? Game of Thrones always plays on layers and subtleties. Edmure may have been trying to play the game two steps ahead of the Lannisters and Freys. Surrender the castle, get a word with the Blackfish in private (and in irons), and see if they might be better off without a siege. Of course if that was his plan, it went, shall we say, tits up.
3. Cannot continue without a proper Blackfish paragraph. Dude-was-awesome. “It’s a trap you idiots.” You just knew he was right, and I loved his sense of resignation. It screamed, “OK, where is that Tarth woman and her squire, time to get them out.” Here is where poetic license kicked in. We all wanted him to get in the boat. At least I did. He is the Blackfish, he is one of the best characters on the show. But “show” is a good word here. What does a one man “show” do in the North without Bannermen? Plenty, you say? Me too! But that is not the way of Westeros. He wanted to fall at Riverrun, and the show needed him to fall at Riverrun (more on that later). [Day after note: I reckon there is a chance that the Tully men got the Blackfish out without killing him. As we’ve learned several times in GOT, you’re not dead until your head is cut off and shown on screen.
4. I intended to get on with the rest of the show, but I had a vision of gut wounds, and it wasn’t pretty. I love Arya, I love the actress who plays her, but stab wounds to the gut require more than the care of a talented stage actress who has made poor choices with boyfriends. I wasn’t down with the “you need rest” scene. Arya needed a trauma surgeon. Weak, but I can forgive them.
5. Back to Riverrun. Edmure laid into Jaime, in a convincing manner. And Jaime replied, in an equally convincingly manner: I will kill all the Tullys to get back to Cersei (paraphrased). We, the audience, wanted Edmure to have some Blackfish backbone. What we got was apparent cowardice. But GOT loves toying with appearances. What we may have got instead was some Tully pragmatism. We have seen it before when Catelyn was initially promised Eddard’s older brother, but grew to love Eddard as Plan B. We may have just seen Edmure realizing that he had a chance to save the Tully Army for another day. [Note 2: Then again, Edmure and his uncle didn’t seem overly fond of one another.]
6. “Pod, you have a keen military eye.” Sarcasm and another instance of good character banter. We saw a lot of resolute stubbornness in this episode, but we also saw a very plausible, reasonable argument for Jaime to allow the Tully forces to march North to help Sansa and Jon defeat the Boltons. Granted, we heard Jaime explain that his only thought in the world is Cersei, but his conversations with and actions toward Brienne cast doubt on his tunnel vision. I think we may have just seen the laying of the foundations for a Lannister march North. I capitalize North here because in this setting it seems more fitting as a proper noun.
How could Jaime march North against the Boltons? Let’s not doubt Jaime’s ability to figure out that the Lannister alliance was with the murdered Roose Bolton, and not the bastard. There is also his complicated “friendship” with Brienne of Tarth. Can’t finish this paragraph without a mention of the awesome scene between Bronn and Pod. They are like Tyrion and Varys. Bronn schools Pod in some “street” fighting tactics and comments on his “magical” appendage. With that, millions of males watching the show thought to themselves “how cool would it be to be the GOT character with the big swinging &^%$”? Fitting, then, that we saw him at the helm of the rowboat, or as Ivy Leaguers might say, the “Coxswain”. [Note 3: I think the Lannister army going north is wishful thinking. But, perhaps Edmure will now be in a position to send help?]
7. Oh Cersei, how we love to hate you…while loving you. What a great scene. The Sparrows come to collect her. “I choose violence.” And the Mountain came to Moses. I wish I were adept with memes, I’d make one that showed Lancel Lannister surrounded by expendable Red-Shirted Star Trek security personnel. If someone makes one of those, please give me a shout out! This scene understandably set the stage for the proclamation that trials by combat would henceforth be outlawed, replaced by…well, the Westerosian version of trial by jury/septon. I think this is misdirection, and I suspect something like the will of the people will demand trial by combat, thereby setting the stage for Zombie Mountain vs. Human. Reminds me of the scene in Gladiator, when the Senator explains, “I don’t claim to be a man of the people, but I try to be a man for the people.” Oh, and- “Please tell the High Sparrow he is welcome to visit anytime.” Yea Cersei! This is Sparta! I predict we will not see Twelve Angry Men anytime soon in GOT.
8. Anyone who has read my blog or seen my photos knows that The Hound is one of my favorite characters. Dude should get a lifelong sponsorship by Chick Fil A. He loves his chicken! I like to think that I am not easily won over by gratuitous violence. But it was awesome seeing him walk into that campground and exact revenge. It got even better with his interaction with Beric Dondarrion. There were some great quotes and witty exchanges in that scene, and the scene before. “You’re $%!+ at dying, aren’t you?” And…”Everyone dies…except this one.”
9. Jokes. I am terrible with jokes, can never remember them. But my desperate joke fall back is an Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman walk into a bar…Tyrion told that joke tonight. Vindication! I am hilarious! Scheduling my night at the Improv now. But in the meantime…the farewell between Tyrion and Varys was one of the show’s best scenes. It more powerfully portrayed friendship than any previous scene of falsely proclaimed brotherhood and loyalty. And that’s how it really is, isn’t it? A sudden subtle awareness that a goodbye is happening, and that it requires more than a “so long”. I realize that the show could be setting us up for that having been a final farewell, but I firmly put myself in the camp of hoping that is not so.
10. Daenerys. I have to repeat my line from last week’s GOT entry. You Magnificent Bastard, I Read Your Book. Thanks Patton, you nailed it. She always walks in Like A Boss.
11. I like to keep things to an easily manageable list of ten, but I am human. It would seem a crime to write or post anything today (at this hour, yesterday and today blends) without mentioning that all of this is such meaningless drivel compared to the horror inflicted on Orlando (and everyone) today. The violence and bloodshed in GOT is fiction and we know it. We like following the intrigue. The violence and bloodshed in Orlando? A cowardly hateful act by a cowardly hateful person.
12. Daenerys and her dragons are awesome, but they cannot be nuclear weapons in the hands of one person/kingdom. I don’t think, and I hope I am right, that Drogon can Greek Fire the slaver ships at whim. For the show/books to remain plausible, armies must have the means to counter the dragons, even if at great cost. I suspect that the Slavers will have prepared some means to make it a legitimate battle. Might we see the Iron Born fleet come to the rescue? Or would that be way too soon and too cheesy?