It’s the end of season four. What have we learned? Well, nothing! Nothing…except Jimmy and Tom are still loving the hell out of Game of Thrones.
Here they chat about the episodes “The Watchers on the Wall” and “The Children”.
tomk: So there were some really hard-hitting deaths for this last pair of season four episodes. I refer, of course, to Pip and Grenn, two of Jon’s four close friends in the Night’s Watch.
jimmy: Not appearing in the main credits and being friends of those that do is dangerous business.
tomk: The opening credits for “The Watchers on the Wall” did only list five actors, and Kit Harrington was the only cast member to have his name listed alone.
jimmy: You know, there are a lot of other great things going on, but if this was simply called “Wall of Snow” and focused on just that storyline, it would be worth watching on it’s own.
tomk: You just want to fight a giant with a scythe.
jimmy: Well, no. But I’ll watch someone else do it.
tomk: The battle at the Wall may not have been as dramatically satisfying as the Battle of Blackwater Bay, but it sure was thrilling on other levels.
jimmy: Maybe not for Ygritte.
tomk: Not so much for Jon either.
Or Pip or Grenn. Though the producer commentary only talks about Grenn. None of Jon’s friends die in the book during that battle.
jimmy: It’s Game of Thrones; someone has to die.
tomk: There isn’t much in the ways of dramatic stakes if no one we care about dies. Even Mance and Tormund survive on the Wildling side.
jimmy: I was a bit surprised Ygritte died though. I thought she and Jon would have more time together.
tomk: Oly had his reasons. Ygritte killed his father.
And he did say he was the best archer from his village.
jimmy: The narrative made sense; it was just heartbreaking.
tomk: That last shot of them certainly was. The battle had some emotional highlights. The oath recited by the doomed men as the giant stormed forward. Sam being brave. Slint hiding. Sam letting Ghost out.
Plus, we got the closest we’ll ever see to Thorne being reasonable, and he was something of a badass in the fight before he got wounded.
jimmy: Especially contrasted with Slint.
tomk: Slint apparently discovered that grabbing a gang of thieves out of Fleabottom is not the same thing as fighting a Wildling horde.
When Sam is braver than you, you officially suck.
jimmy: Hey. That does a disservice to Sam.
tomk: Even Sam would agree with that many times. He’s gotten better, but he was still petrified.
jimmy: You can’t be brave unless you are scared.
tomk: But before we go too much further, there’s a small scene in episode eight where Jon, Sam, Pyp, Grenn, and Dolorous Edd are chatting about whether or not Gilly was killed in Mole’s Town. It’s a nice scene, especially since it’s the last time the five of them get together.
But seeing Sam do awesome stuff, even if it is reloading crossbows and keeping his head down until he can open the pen Ghost is in, is still really cool.
jimmy: Sam’s a great character. They’ve done a nice job with him as he started off being betrayed as such a loser. Now some still see him that way, but he’s killed a White Walker and stands up for what’s right when it counts.
tomk: He got a girlfriend!
And a baby named after him!
jimmy: Who else has done that???
tomk: Um…Ned almost had a baby named after him!
jimmy: So you mentioned earlier about Grenn’s death defeating the giant and that he is still alive in the book. At this point, what are deaths are different from the books?
tomk: At this point…Grenn and Pyp are still alive in the books.
That’s about it.
jimmy: Those actors must have been pissed.
tomk: Well, I don’t know about Pip, but the Grenn guy apparently took it in stride. A lot of those actors haven’t necessarily read the books.
jimmy: Also taking death on stride and having not read the books…Charles Dance.
tomk: Considering Dance learned Tywin’s fate from a random fan, yes. Yes, he did.
How do you feel about the last moments in Tywin’s life?
jimmy: A bit surprised, especially for him to go out so undignified. But fitting I suppose.
tomk: Well, Tyrion has now killed both of his parents. One of them intentionally…
jimmy: Well, one of them deserved it…
tomk: So, which “whore” was Tyrion angriest about when he talked to Tywin?
jimmy: Well, Shae is quite literally very fresh, but he never seemed to get over the one he was married to before the series began.
tomk: I think the book makes it more explicit it is the one he was married to before.
jimmy: Tyrion’s got A LOT going on in those moments.
tomk: In fact, the parting of Tyrion and Jaime is different in the book since you ask about such things. Tyrion has always been grateful to Jaime for setting up the whole prostitute thing, but in the book, Jaime confesses that Tyrion’s bride really wasn’t a whore. She really did love him. So, Tyrion tells Jaime he really did murder Joffrey and leaves on the ship.
jimmy: Why would he tell Jaime that?
tomk: He was hurt to learn Jaime lied to him about his brief marriage and happiness.
That it wasn’t all a set-up and that Jaime went along with ruining his chance for happiness with that girl.
tomk: Granted, Jaime didn’t have a lot of choices, and he seems to regret his actions which is why he comes clean in the first place.
Here, at least, the brothers part still close in a manner that is sure to be helpful in the future.
jimmy: In your initial reading/viewing how did you feel about Tywin’s death?
tomk: Fitting on a literary level since it’s Tyrion who does it and it fits the sort of world the show is set in that the big, bad, scary warrior and administrator Tywin Lannister died on the toilet after screwing a whore.
jimmy: And killed by an imp.
tomk: It’s hard to say Tywin didn’t have it coming though this is probably yet another somewhat anticlimactic death depending on how you look at it. Only characters we cheer for like Oberyn and various Starks seem to die horrifying deaths.
jimmy: That’s a good point. Trying to think what the worst “villain” death has been so far…
tomk: Who can we consider a villain that has died? Joffrey? Tywin? Craster?
That one White Walker?
jimmy: Yeah, there’s not much to choose from.
tomk: There really aren’t that many straight villains.
jimmy: And Game of Thrones is generally about tearing out your heart, hence the “good guys” die so often and so violently.
tomk: Maybe it will end well.
I mean, not for the Hound by the looks of things.
jimmy: Look, unless I see the guy get a sword through the face, I’m thinking he’ll be back.
tomk: Might be good thinking, but he did lose an ugly fight.
jimmy: And to a woman.
tomk: A big woman.
jimmy: And by the looks of it, the best fighter we have seen on the show.
tomk: Well, unless Arya gets better.
jimmy: That’s true.
tomk: She just paid the fare to Braavos.
jimmy: That’s one powerful coin she had there.
tomk: Yeah, but she can only use it once.
jimmy: Once is all you need.
tomk: If only she knew Brienne was on the level…
jimmy: I guess she has no reason to trust her, but man, no one trust anyone. Given where that usually gets you as a Stark..:maybe she has a point…
tomk: Very true. Arya and Sansa have both learned that lesson.
Though if I use Sansa as a segue, I mentioned the show has used up most of the Sansa material from the books at this point. The same is true for Bran, though his story turned out very differently. At no point in the books was Bran captured by the Night’s Watch traitors, and Jojen was still alive when they found a safe place to stay with the Three-Eyed Raven and…well, the Children of the Forest.
jimmy: Interesting. That’s going to be all characters very soon.
tomk: True, but what an ending to Bran’s story for the season! The Three-Eyed Raven! Wights in the snow! Hodor bashing skeletons! The Children of the Forest, a race Maester Luwin once told Bran were long gone along with the giants!
jimmy: There was a point during the battle with the Wights that the Ms. and I looked at each other and were like “are we watching the right show?”
tomk: What makes you say that? Some leafy little person chucking fireballs is a bridge too far for you?
jimmy: There’s been some fantastical elements in the show, but this was straight out of a Ray Harryhausen movie. And then the sprite shows up.
tomk: The Children of the Forest, as they are called, are sort of elves for GRRM.
jimmy: It was a great scene, it was just more “fantasy” than we’re used to see on the show…with three dragons…
tomk: And ice zombies and prophetic dreams.
I get your point, though. I was taken a little off-guard myself the first time I saw that. GoT is still a fantasy show, but it’s generally more grounded in medieval warfare and politics. The magic is subtle and aside from dragons and the occasional giant, not very showy. Plus, the dragons have been growing in the background for ages, but the Children are just a weird thing that seems to pop up out of nowhere.
jimmy: Exactly. It was awesome, but just more in your face than usual. More of a LOTR feel than a “someone’s head is going to get crushed like a melon” feel.
Plus those skeletons were creepy as hell and all stabby.
tomk: And stabby skeletons aren’t new. Maybe they haven’t moved that fast before, but Bran’s group was probably going to run into them sooner or later.
jimmy: And unlike the Hound, they made sure to let us know that Jojen was dead…by killing him like three times in 30 seconds.
tomk: His eyes were turning blue. He wasn’t going to stay dead. Or he will but he won’t hold still. It’s complicated.
jimmy: I have blue eyes…should I be worried?
tomk: Ice blue?
tomk: You’re probably safe.
Unless you live in the outskirts of Meereen. And look like a goat. Or a small girl.
jimmy: Definitely not like a small girl at least.
tomk: Then good news; Drogon will not barbecue you for looking at him cock-eyed.
tomk: And isn’t that just like some parents: punish the younger kids for what the oldest does to act out?
jimmy: That just seems like a bad idea all around.
tomk: We should feel bad for the two smaller flamethrowers with wings.
Those deadly, scary, angry flamethrowers with wings.
You know it’s going to go bad when someone tries to let them out.
jimmy: Exactly. And it seems like that would only make them scarier and angrier.
tomk: So, I am sure that locking them up will not cause any problems in season five.
jimmy: I can’t imagine it will.
tomk: Did anything get better for anyone?
jimmy: Have you seen Game of Thrones before?
So, I know the answer.
And there was something that was sort of better…Jon Snow wasn’t killed by a horde of Wildlings!
jimmy: Pfft! Jon can’t die.
tomk: Well, apparently, Stannis can move a huge army across the land North of the Wall without being seen.
jimmy: I was surprised when Stannis showed up.
tomk: Why? Davos was the only guy in Westeros who listened when the Night’s Watch asked for help against the Wildlings.
And then Davos convinced Stannis.
Plus, Melisandre said it was a good idea.
When the two of them agree, you know Stannis will see the wisdom of that movie.
jimmy: Yeah, because they don’t agree on much. Do you agree with Jon that Ned would have taken Mance prisoner and listed to what he had to say?
Jon’s not that good a liar.
jimmy: That’s true enough.
tomk: But Mance is a prisoner now. Stannis won a victory. Jon didn’t die. Dany locked up two-thirds of her dragons and not the one causing problems. Arya is going to Braavos. The Hound may be dead. Brienne is a badass. Bran finally met the Three-Eyed Raven. The Children of the Forest are real. The Wall still stands. Ygritte died, but Tormund Giantsbane didn’t. Anything else jump out to you, Jimmy?
jimmy: I’ve got a bad feeling we’ve not seen the last, or the worst, of the Mountain.
tomk: Didn’t Cersei give him to Qyburn?
jimmy: Yes, to save him in “unnatural” ways.
tomk: Well, giving anyone to an ousted Maester can’t be a good idea.
jimmy: Pycelle will tell you that.
tomk: Yeah, but who listens to him?
jimmy: Not Cersei, that’s for sure.
tomk: Well, no. Everyone else just knows it’s a bad idea.
jimmy: I think we’ve covered or at least touched on most things in these two episodes. A lot happened. And while Cersei will not be happy about the death of her father, I think we can safely put her arranged marriage to Iron Fist to rest.
tomk: And that pleases everybody.
jimmy: Except everyone besides Ryan that watched Iron Fist.
tomk: He’s still on GoT in season five!
jimmy: I don’t mind him on Game Of Thrones; I just wish he had stayed there.
tomk: Well, you’ll see why he didn’t at some point.
jimmy: That sounds very…ominous.
tomk: Shouldn’t it?
jimmy: Yes. Yes it should.
tomk: Any final thoughts on season four?
jimmy: It took awhile, but the show is finally getting good. :-p
Seriously though, I think season three had a few more shocking moments, but this doesn’t let off the throttle. Main characters are still dying or assumed dead at a high rate. And while it’s all good, the goings on at and beyond the Wall grows more and more interesting.
We’ll miss Pip and Grenn and Ygritte. Even Tywin, who was a great character. But we won’t miss Joffrey. Rot in hell, you bastard.
tomk: We still have Ramsay!
jimmy: Hopefully not for much longer.
And so our Watch continues. Next time, Tom and Jimmy will cover the start of season five with the episodes “The Wars to Come” and “The House of Black and White”.
Weekend Trek “Ship In A Bottle”
Vikings: Valhalla “Pieces Of The Gods”
Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #52 (September, 1967)