Game of Thrones Season 8 Talkback

Josh and Danielle discuss what happens in Season 8

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Talkback

Danielle

I think the biggest problem the show has had since the beginning of season 7 has been the fact that they took one of the most complex stories, probably in television history, and tried to cram it into thirteen episodes. While a lot of the things that have happened in season 8 make sense, we just didn’t really have the time to understand it for ourselves. Whereas Game of Thrones used to have very long, drawn out plot lines that can shock you but simultaneously make perfect sense and are understandable conclusions. This season, they just didn’t give themselves the time to draw everything out, which I think is what leads to sloppy writing and things not making sense. George R.R. Martin said that in order for the show to do justice, they would need five more seasons, but I think the show would’ve been so much better off even with one extra season.

Josh

I think that the collision of all the endings of the different storylines – like the Night King’s side with the Battle of Winterfell and the other side with Cersei in King’s Landing – coming together and cramming everything into one episode just led to not enough story, but just trying to get stuff onto the table. It seemed like they were just trying to check off the boxes on their to-do list, and it just felt too sped up.

Danielle

I guess let’s start with the general plot of the season. Does it make sense? Are the events logical? I think there are two sides to it.

Josh

Personally, I think that it does make sense. The way that they chronologically ordered the plot was very good like how they went from the Battle of Winterfell to the Battle of King’s Landing. However, I think the timing was the only thing that bothered me in the sense that the Battle of Winterfell was too short. Despite the timing, everything else kind of made sense for me, and I agree with what happened after.

Danielle

I think that it makes sense. Look, I have said since I began watching the show that the Night King was never really interesting. If I wanted to watch a zombies vs. humans show, I’d watch The Walking Dead. I think the best part of the villains of Game of Thrones is that they aren’t black and white, unlike the Night King, who is just seen as pure evil. So I don’t have a problem with just getting the Night King out of the way so we can focus on the things that have made Game of Thrones so good. However, the show has built up its entire theme that in the face of an existential threat, political bickering means nothing. But the Battle of Winterfell was basically just as long as the Battle of the Blackwater, when Stannis was repelled. Dany labels the fight against the dead, “The Great War,” and the fight against Cersei, “The Last War.” But honestly, it should sort of be the other way around. In order for Thrones to be true to its themes, fighting death should have been the ultimate fight.

Josh

Speaking about the Battle of Winterfell and how it was all crammed into one episode, what did you think about the deaths and the timing for all of it?

Danielle

First and foremost, it was a visual masterpiece.. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen. But they’ve been built up since season 1, episode 1. For them to die in a single episode, was a bit disappointing. The part that still has me confused is when Arya killed the Night King. I know this a bit of a controversial point, but personally, I think it should’ve been Jon or Daenerys to kill him. They’ve been the ones foreshadowed to be the Prince or Princess that was promised. The whole reason that Jon was resurrected was because the Lord of Light had bigger plans for him, and he was supposed to be the savior of the world. For Arya to be the one to kill the Night King with her assassin skills makes sense for her own plot line and is logical, but ignores all too many other plot lines within the show.

Josh

I agree and kind of disagree. I agree in the sense that it does ignore Jon and Daenerys’ plotline and how each was  hyped up to be the person to save the world. But personally, I think Arya’s purpose was fulfilled in the end by killing the Night King, and it’s almost as if she comes to terms with the reason why she’s so messed up and corrupted. Her plot line through the entire series comes to a close for me. It also gave it a little Game of Thrones plot twist at the end because I didn’t really expect her to kill the Night King. With the Night King looking at Bran, when Arya comes out through mist to stab the Night King, I thought it was the coolest scene.

Danielle

Definitely that piano soundtrack as well made the scene. For Arya, who has been forever obsessed with the concept of death, and has served the God of Death, to look death in the face and defeat it is quite poetic. But I can’t ignore everything that Melisandre has predicted and done in the past. Speaking of her, what do you think of her role in the Battle of Winterfell?

Josh

Honestly, from the beginning parts of the series, Melisandre played a really pivotal part, and I didn’t think that she would make it until Season 8. I thought that the prophecies that she made about Jon didn’t really come true because he didn’t really kill the Night King and become the Promised Prince. But at the same time, I think that that aspect of Game of Thrones – the mysterious, religious side of it – always did play a big role in the show, as it was Melisandre that brought Jon back. I think that it did make sense, and personally I was satisfied when she dies at the end of the Battle of Winterfell. By giving up her life, I think she thought that her purpose was fulfilled to serve the Lord of Light, and I thought that her purpose was fulfilled.

Danielle

Look, the dragons in this episode were important, but it was Melisandre who really saved the day. She said to Varys last season that she had a larger role to play in the wars to come, and she truly lived up to that. Let’s talk about some of the other major deaths in the episode.

Josh

For me, I thought that all the deaths were too exaggerated and too dramatic, except for Theon’s. When Theon and Bran are the only ones facing the Night King and his army in front of the tree, Bran tells Theon that he’s a good man, which makes Theon realize that this is how he has to die. He dies understanding that he was forgiven of his sins against the Stark family. I thought that the length of his death scene was justified, but the other scenes for Lady Mormont, Jorah, and Berric were too dramatic for me. It was almost as if the directors were forcing us to give them a big goodbye and see them as these huge characters. However, it didn’t really seem too Game of Thrones like, you know?

Danielle

I agree and disagree. I would agree that Lyanna Mormont’s death was a bit of fan service. But Jorah has been in the show since season one, and I think Theon’s acceptance of his death after he realizes he’s made up for what he’s done to the Stark family was really powerful. Jorah died the way he would have always wanted to die: defending Daenerys. And Berric’s death was interesting as well. He was revived 19 times, just so that he could ultimately sacrifice himself to save Arya. So yeah, it was dramatized, but if you’re not going to dramatize Berric saving Arya who went on to save the world, what are you going to dramatize?

Josh

So, to get into Episode 5 and the buildup to it, let’s talk about episode 4. At the end of episode 4, Missandei gets killed, which changes the points of view of Daenerys, Grey Worm, and Tyrion. What do you think about the events that happen in episode 4 and the building up to episode 5?

Danielle

I think in every scene with Dany in episode 4, you watched her take another hit. Whether it be in the Great Hall in Winterfell, the scene with Jon when he refuses to keep his identity a secret, and then of course, the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei. So yeah, all that made the audience able to predict her descent into the “Mad Queen”.

Josh

I agree; I think that all the things that happen in episode 4 show us the downfall of Daenerys. I think she becomes less and less of the queen she was before— like in the earlier episodes, she had a smile on her face as she liberated the slaves, but now, she’s just going at Cersei for vengeance. It kind of agrees with that saying in the show that “When a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin,” and in episode 4, Varys says it again saying that the coin hasn’t really landed yet for Daenerys. I think Episode 4 is really pivotal because it’s trying to decide on whether Daenerys is going to be a good queen or a bad queen. And I think Missandei’s death really gives Daenerys a reason to fight for her throne.

Danielle

So you talked about Varys, and in talking about satisfying ends to character arc, I don’t know that we got that with him. He stayed true to his character by supporting Jon, which I liked. But I didn’t like how Tyrion just snitched on Varys because Tyrion himself realizes Jon would be the better ruler, but doesn’t want to abandon the investment he’s made in Daenerys. I think going back to what we said about prophecies, Melisandre told Varys that he had a larger role to play in the wars to come, and with his death in Episode 5, I found myself questioning what that larger role was. Unless we see one of his actions come to fruition in Episode 6, he did not have that big of a role, except for the fact that he perfectly predicted Daenerys’ descent into madness.

Josh

I kind of agree with what you’re saying, but I think Varys’ role in Game of Thrones and his role in episode 5 was to plant his opinion in Tyrion, and I think Tyrion realizes that Varys was correct when he sees Daenerys burning down King’s Landing and the Red Keep. I think Varys’ role was to suggest his own opinion to the other characters, and he was correct in the end. For instance, Jon Snow wasn’t really thinking about any of the throne stuff and what Varys was talking about. When Varys dies, Jon sees what Dany might become. And when she starts burning innocent people, he finally decides to go against her.

Danielle

Yeah as Jon looks at Drogon burning down King’s Landing, he has that look in his eye in which he knows he has made a colossal mistake in supporting her. But I want to talk more about Dany’s descent into to the Mad Queen. As much as we did get that build up in Episode 4, I don’t know that we had enough of it in the episodes prior. It’s definitely one of the bigger debates now, the argument of whether or not her actions were out of line with her character or if it was a natural culmination. She’s said in the past she would lay waste to cities, had a vision of ash in the throne room, and when she burned the Tarlys alive, we got hints that she might do something crazy, but I don’t think we got enough.

Josh

I think that if there wasn’t episode 4, I would’ve been kind of iffy on my opinion of Dany. But because of episode 4, with her spiral into depression, it all makes sense now. Yes, it should’ve been drawn out more, but without episode 4, we wouldn’t have been able to see clearly what was happening.

Danielle

My biggest problem is that whenever she’s used violence before, it’s always had a purpose. She only ever burned something alive when it was in defense of the quote on quote innocents. She’s always been a champion of the downtrodden. So to burn all of the citizens of King’s Landing is out of character, and the only reasonable explanation is that she’s psychologically crazy.

Josh

I completely agree with you. I think that there was a lot of irony in episode 5. Like you said, she was the champion of the downtrodden, and now she’s burning innocent women and children, and you can see in episode 5 the burning from their perspective. And I think Tyrion said, “Don’t become the thing what you’re trying to destroy.” When Cersei dies, it was ironic that the way that Cersei dies and how Daenerys is shown in the episode are completely opposite of each other. They kind of switch places, and Cersei is seen to be this human being and not the monster, but Daenerys is pretty much combined with the dragon being seen as one entity and one monster.

Danielle

So moving forward what are your predictions for the final episode of Game of Thrones?

Josh

Personally, I think that Daenerys isn’t going to make it to the Iron Throne, and I think Jon is going to end up on the Iron Throne. If not, I think that there won’t be an Iron Throne with each region of Westeros governing itself. I also think Dany may die in the end.

Danielle

Dany absolutely is not going to end up on the Iron Throne. There’s no way Jon lets her get away with what she did. Tyrion has finally realized he bet on the wrong horse. Sansa has always distrusted her. She has no one except Greyworm, who’s only a military commander. Essentially she has no one left.