Monday, May 23, 2016

Game of Thrones, Season Six: Episode 5

That moment you realize you're at a Norwegian black metal festival...
....and you like it \m/
Well well well. I still don't know the title of the actual most recent episode of Game of Thrones, but I have a suggestion:

W. T. flabbergasting F.

More than a few things I didn't see coming with this episode and now I wonder whether I should quit the rest of the season after all. I thought it was a pretty rough episode in many ways, but there were a few things here I wished I read in a book first. More after the break.

It's weird how a small thing like Hodor's "Hodor!" can have such an impact. For untold aeons we've been wondering; many theories have been put forth. I suspected that the word was indeed a warbling of a word (though I thought it was "Others!"), but MAN. That took me completely by surprise. Hodor! What a twist, in a way! Although it relies on the characters actually speaking English. Which makes the whole "What does Hodor mean?" thing kinda pointless. So yeah, I was touched by the revelation but I also find it to be rather weak. Also not sure I understand how it could come to pass but that's magic. Kinda neat how Bran sees Hodor in the past yet it is right now the man actually begins to say "Hodor" but backward in time kind of thingamagog. Wow.

Everything else regarding Bran's plotline fell totally flat for me, though. The revelation that the Children of the Forest made the Others (by jabbing a huge dagger deep into a random guy - according to the show of course) was, to me, uninspired and if this is the backstory in the novels I will be severely disappointed: the mystery of that first sighting of the Others in the dark northern woods, in the prologue of A Game of Thrones, was so awesome that it would be hard not to disappoint, I guess; but the way these guys come waltzing into Bloodraven's cave like a band of reaving Iron Islanders kind of takes away their mystical power. When Meera throws a spear and defrosts an Other right away, they lose threat as well. The whole sequence in fact became too over the top for me, and I guessed that there would be undead swarming the tunnel roofs because Peter Jackson and yup they did. I thought some of the acting throughout this major sequence was off as well, although I think Meera Reed was great. They could have chosen something more interesting for Bran and Bloodraven to be weir-watching before the Night King arrived.
All in all, the undead and the Others are the "most fantasy" elements of the show and while cool it just pales in comparison to stronger storylines with less fantastic elements. I also still think that they did a terrible job with the look of the Others, especially compared to the esoteric descriptions found in the novels...I believe the word I'm looking for is "underwhelming".
I do like the look they went for with the Children of the Forest, even as they do feel weirdly out of place in the larger, more realistic looking setting.

...though who knows which parts of this episode are actually supposed to be in an Ice and Fire novel? I hope that Tormund and Brienne meet in the books, the actors are having so much fun with it as the very short scene between them in this episode shows.

The introduction of a new Red Priestess comes as a surprise as well. I thought the scene felt awkward, to be honest, but Tyrion was better than he's been for a while.

Dany and Jorah was a nice scene. I shall even admit to choking up a bit. Perhaps because Dany finally showed some tender emotion.

Littlefinger, whose teleportation powers continue to impress, I was surprised (again) by this scene but Sansa fortunately acted reasonably. She kind of spoke for all of us, didn't she. I wondered where this scene was going but I did not expect Littlefinger to make excuses like he did; is this the first time I've felt him be powerless? And what was the point of the whole story of gathering the armies of the Vale if Littlefinger now just backs off and goes m'sorry? And what was Littlefinger's plan in regards to Roose and Ramsay? It feels a bit unresolved.

All right, then there was the Arya No One scene which felt too long and functioned like a recap of season one. The sudden close-up of a two-warted penis also certainly caught me by surprise. I'm not sure I would have bothered spending so much time on the troupe's performance which was basically Ned Stark's story, but that's me.

The Kingsmoot then..I actually liked more than I expected, though it irks me how different Euron Greyjoy is to his book counterpart. Nice actor, though. Love the surroundings and the drab colors and the banners. They really nail down a certain aestethic. The Greyjoy siblings are great actors, and in this scene they portrayed feeling small in Uncle Euron's shadow excellently. And despite me finding a lot to complain about in Feast and Dance, I miss Aeron Damphair and Victarion, and the Reader, and all the other minor Iron Islands characters - I really like the Viking-Chthulhu-Medieval blend.
But why doesn't Asha look like Asha anymore? Age?
At any rate, I don't know if I ever disclosed this secret before, but I'm a fan of Asha Greyjoy. Not a favorite character, but definitely high on the list. Far, far away from the High Sparrow. Who was blessedly (!) absent today, that's a POINT.
I wish they used more of the dialogue from the book. Well, that's my general opinion of the show too, I think Martin already wrote great dialogue that would be just as good on the screen. And they should have had some of the other claimants present themselves to suggest a larger / wider setting (say, Erik Ironmaker and Lord Dunstan Drumm). I don't know. And last but not least, in a show that can have an undead army attack, they could have given us the mighty Nagga's Ribs.
So, a little disappointing but also something I enjoyed. Greyjoyed, even.

The small things:
Loved seeing a needle in Sansa's hand - she's home.
The Blackfish and the Tullys and Riverrun mentioned - and half the world has forgotten them
Ser Davos... Ser Davos. Great actor, I've really come to like his portrayal of the Onion Knight, but I don't really see his motivation for hanging around, or it hasn't been told clearly enough

But hell. HODOR. I can't quite grasp the fact I now know why he says HODOR. And that I'm disappointed (a bit) that it was because of weird magical time shenanigans.

This is one of those episodes I just want to see again right away - so weird to have questions answered even as new ones arise. I can't get over the whole Bran/Bloodraven/Hodor thing. That was it!?! But also, that was it.

And how the dynamics of EVERYTHING change so fundamentally. A Game of Thrones ,,, will never be what it was.

Now to catch a peak at the world's reactions to the episodes, and to see next week's trailer, to better decide whether to jump off the train now or not. Probably not, knowing me.

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