February 26, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

The Westeros Watch Part Twenty-Five

Jimmy and Tom close out season five with the episodes "The Dance of Dragons" and "Mother's Mercy"

Tom made it clear he didn’t care for the Dorne storyline.  How did Jimmy feel?

Well, he has some thoughts as the two guys discuss the final two episodes of season five, “The Dance of Dragons” and “Mother’s Mercy”.


jimmy:  So, in most cases I’ve had some idea who has died because they are no longer on the show when I see promotional material, or they are on other shows, etc., but I generally don’t know when or how they died. Jon Snow was a different case. I knew he was going to die in that last episode…because when it happened, the INTERNET WOULD NOT SHUT THE FORK UP ABOUT IT!

And of course I know he is back shortly into the next season and is still around today…but Ms. Impossible doesn’t know any of this and she was absolutely crushed by the finale.

tomk:  My wife almost quit the show over that death.

jimmy:  Same.

tomk:  I knew it was coming since that’s the last chapter of the fifth book, and Martin just kind of smiles and says, “Oh, you think he’s dead,” when he’s asked about it.

jimmy:  There’s been a few Walking Dead deaths that have elicited a similar reaction.

And that was the last we ever saw of GRRM…

tomk:  Mostly. There’s some Arya, Jaime, and Iron Islands stuff he wrote that goes into season six, maybe a little of Bran’s training, but everything else he wrote is done.

jimmy:  Fair. But I meant that was the end of the last book that has come out.

tomk:  So far, yes. He also gave the producers a couple future plot points and a general ending, but not much else.
Heck, Stannis and his family, Mance Rayder, and Barriston Selmy are all still alive in the books.

jimmy:  I know people give GRRM slack for not having produced the next book. And I know the books are different than the show. But it has to put him in a weird spot now that the show has surpassed him. He either needs to write things very similar to the show and have people think “I already know all this” or he has to depart greatly from the show and potentially piss fans of the show off. I know the show departs from the books, but this seems to have a bit of a different feel to it.

tomk:  The show by this point has greatly departed from the books. Book Davos isn’t with Stannis because an incredibly overweight Northern Lord says if Stannis can bring Rickon Stark back from the island he’s hiding on, the Lord will throw in with Stannis.

And that’s just one example. Martin doesn’t have to worry much about that.

jimmy:  So he likely can’t write “what’s on the show” in any case.

Outside of like, “yeah, Jon’s not dead” and “The Walkers show up at the Wall at some point” or whatever.

tomk:  Like I said, he gave them a handful of future plot points and a rough idea of the ending. That’s it.

Apparently, Shireen’s death and what “Hodor” means came from Martin.

jimmy:  Shireen’s death was horrible. I found it worse than Jon’s, but probably because I knew the latter was coming.

tomk:  Stannis almost certainly sent Davos away for a fruitless mission to Castle Black because of it.

jimmy:  Oh for sure. You know Davos would have stopped him or ran off with her.

tomk:  He would have tried. Look at that nice scene they had together before he left!

And wait until he finds out it was Melisandre’s idea…

jimmy:  He despises her as it is.

And that it was all for naught…and in fact, probably led to Stannis’ downfall.

tomk:  It did seem to melt the snow.

But Ramsay has already killed a bunch of the horses and the disgusted sell swords ran off with the rest.

jimmy:  The Battle of Winterfell did feel like it was straight out of season one though where we see the prologue and epilogue but miss everything in-between.

tomk:  He was heavily outnumbered. There were other plot lines. That was only ending one way.

jimmy:  Pfft! Logic.

tomk:  I asked this before, sort of…did you really care about Stannis?

jimmy:  I was mostly indifferent. He definitely wasn’t on The List. I respected his claim for the Throne, and he’s not the only one to get his hands dirty to get what he wanted/deserved. But the killing of Shireen was a turning point. He got what he deserved.

tomk:  That’s a fair assessment. Even Mrs. Stannis wasn’t onboard for that one, and I seem to recall she was cool with burning her (adult) brother.

jimmy:  I think she had the pom poms and cheerleader outfit for that one.

tomk:  Who doesn’t?

jimmy:  The one on fire?

tomk:  He had one stashed away for her.

But yeah, Shireen was the metaphorical bridge too far.

So, was Stannis’ death satisfying?

jimmy:  As a whole…I’d say no. But it kept with Game of Thrones tradition of the “villain’s” deaths being low key and the “hero’s” been heartbreaking. It did flow and was a natural progression for his story. It was good to see Brienne get vengeance for Renly…even if she did abandon her post at exactly the moment Sansa needed her.

tomk:  Eh, Sansa found a back-up savior.

Plus, Stannis went out like Stannis. No complaining. No last words. It was always about duty and responsibility. No excuses.

jimmy:  That’s true. Even when the Bolton’s arrived and he knew he was done for he just drew his sword and went to war.

tomk:  He knew he was going to die when Brienne showed up. No resistance at all.

jimmy:  I think he was probably going to die anyway.

tomk:  Look, just because you knew that as the mostly omniscient home viewer doesn’t mean Stannis knew that.

jimmy:  I think he did. He was bleeding out pretty badly. But anyway….

I know you said Stannis was still alive in the books. I can’t remember if you said if there was a “Battle for Winterfell” similar to this?

tomk:  Not yet.

Stannis in the books leaves his family at Castle Black (and possibly Melisandre as well), but takes advice from Jon on how to rally all the smaller Northern lords to his side. He gradually builds an army and camps out near Winterfell when the snow starts falling. And then Theon and the girl he rescued show up.

And…that’s about it.

jimmy:  At least they kept the Theon rescue/escape part the “same”. And let me guess, this is where in the books we learn Reek is Theon?

tomk:  More or less. It’s heavily implied as it goes forward.

But hey, he shoved Nasty Girl off a wall before they made a jump for it into what I am hoping was a really soft snowbank.

jimmy:  Yeah, we won’t miss Forking Ramsay’s friend with benefits.

tomk:  Too bad it wasn’t Ramsay.

jimmy:  He was too busy accepting people’s surrender.

tomk:  Class act, the Boltons…

jimmy:  So that’s Jon and Sansa and Theon and Forking Ramsay and Stannis and Brienne covered. Back at the Wall we’ve got Sam heading out to train to replace Maester Aemon.

tomk:  Sam would make a good maester.

jimmy:  Well, everyone knows he won’t make a good fighter. Though he’s killed a Walker, etc.

tomk:  No one believes him there aside from Jon.

jimmy:  Would you?

tomk:  I’d have to believe in White Walkers first. I’m not sure the guys who stabbed Jon get that.

jimmy:  Good point.

tomk:  True, even people who know the Walkers are real were reluctant to open the gates to the Wildlings, but that really was the only sensible solution. The less Wildlings the Walkers grab, the better.

And Sam will learn more at the Citadel to help out in the fight (maybe).

jimmy:  Assuming he even makes it there and back.

tomk:  There and back again is for hobbits.

jimmy:  He’s kinda like a big hobbit.

tomk:  Kinda.

jimmy:  So where to next? Dorne or Kings Landing?

tomk:  Dorne sucks. Let’s go there.

jimmy:  lol

tomk:  Jaime got a nice moment before getting a horrible one. Bronn maybe got a date for Saturday night.

jimmy:  The father reveal followed by the “ah crap, I’ve been poisoned”?

tomk:  That or the “The King’s Landing daddy-daughter dance is going to be so awkward!” moment.

jimmy:  lol, you are on a roll today

tomk:  I’m snowed in for the day.

jimmy:  That sucks. I’m not. That sucks too.

tomk:  Sort of.

jimmy:  So, I know you don’t like this Dorne storyline, but do you side with Elaria or Dr. Bashir here?

tomk:  I was hoping Prince Doran would be the political mastermind from the book. Elaria isn’t much of a character, but she has more personality than Doran. And those are two pretty good actors in nothing roles.

jimmy:  It’s hard not to want revenge for Oberyn’s death though. And TV Doran seems as useless as Tommen.

tomk:  That’s why it works in the books. Every character that you might underestimate for some reason turns out to be a heck of a lot more competent. Tommen is still a kid, so he can be excused, but super smart Doran just doesn’t appear.

jimmy:  That’s too bad. He does seem like a bit of a waste in the show.

tomk:  They could have done more, but, well, you’ll see.

jimmy:  I will.

So, let’s talk about Cersei’s walk of atonement.

tomk:  I asked my brother recently if he watches the show. He said no but he does apparently have Septa Unella saying, “Shame!” over and over as his ringtone.

jimmy:  Dear God. I hate that so much.

tomk:  You have some issues with nasty authority figures.

jimmy:  Yes. I’m aware.

tomk:  Fun fact: that’s not Lena Headey’s body. She has a no-nudity clause or something.

jimmy:  I assumed as much. They did a hell of a job CGI-ing her head on there though.

tomk:  The High Sparrow must be working extra hard to make you like Cersei.

jimmy:  I wouldn’t go that far. I have issues with these kinds of religious fanatics as well.

tomk:  Maybe they can destroy each other!

jimmy:  Maybe.

I did wonder if cutting off Cersei’s hair was also to appease Lena Headey.

tomk:  She was probably wearing a wig anyway and that’s from the book.

jimmy:  That’s what I mean, so she wouldn’t have to wear the wig any more. But if it’s from the book, it’s from the book.

tomk:  Both can be true!

But the haircut is meant to humble her. She has pride in her golden hair, so cut it off.

jimmy:  Yes, I can see that.

tomk:  And then toss more characters Jimmy hates to really make him question how he feels.

jimmy:  And hey! The Mountain just got even scarier!

tomk:  Qyburn does good(?) work.

jimmy:  We haven’t been left to wonder much about why he was disbarred, or whatever they call it.

tomk:  Forbidden experiments.

Clearly he has pushed the bounds of science too far. He’s made the Mountain more machine now than man, twisted and evil(er).

jimmy:  There’s still good in him. Hmmm…maybe not.

tomk:  The books are vaguer. Qyburn introduces the silent giant as “Robert Strong” or something and it only hints it’s the Mountain under the helmet. As with Selmy and other disguised characters, you won’t fool anybody with a TV show.

jimmy:  So, it seems pretty clear that Cersei just said/did what she had to to get the hell out of there, stopping short of admitting to incest with Jaime.

tomk:  Yeah, well, she sure learned her lesson. I’m sure she’ll be a kinder and sweeter person from here on out.

jimmy:  Heh. If anything, it just pissed her off more.

And made her more dangerous.

tomk:  It was that or everyone ended season five in the worst place possible.

jimmy:  Including Arya.

tomk:  She forgot that No One doesn’t hold grudges.

jimmy:  But damn, she killed Meryn Trant good.

tomk:  He had it coming.

Even the actor playing him thought so. Apparently, they didn’t tell him right away Meryn Trant likes ‘em young.

jimmy:  Yeah, that was pretty disturbing and worthy of Arya’s wrath on its own.

tomk:  But as much as he may have deserved it, that isn’t the Faceless Men’s mission.

jimmy:  Yeah. She let old Oyster Bay live.

tomk:  The Waif probably dealt with him. Maybe. Probably. I dunno.

jimmy:  You can’t escape from No One.

tomk:  No One knows where you sleep.

No One has many faces.

jimmy:  No One is pretty sleepy.

tomk:  No One had a rough day of doing Nothing.

But at least No One can still see people coming. Arya can’t.

jimmy:  That’ll get better. Like being turned into a newt.

tomk:  Remember when I said I asked my brother if he watched the show? It was to show him a video someone made splicing GoT with Holy Grail. That guy was present for Cersei’s walk as the High Sparrow was discussing her crimes.

jimmy:  Heh

Surely we can’t only have Cersei have a “happy” ending this season. What about Dany? Aw, crap…

tomk:  She got to recreate Ryan’s favorite scene from Attack of the Clones.

jimmy:  I never thought of that, but you’re right!

tomk:  You really hate those Harpy guys too. Turns out Sons of the Harpy are flammable.

jimmy:  Good.

tomk:  Granted, that wasn’t all of them, but Drogon was hanging around for a reason, narratively speaking.

Oh, and he still isn’t full sized.

jimmy:  But big enough for Dany to ride, which was awesome.

tomk:  Dragons in this setting will only ever accept one rider. And no other dragon will accept Dany as long as Drogon lives.

jimmy:  Was that in the show? So she won’t be able to ride the other two?

tomk:  Not in the show. One of the books, I think. But Drogon was always her favorite.

jimmy:  No Tom, she loves all her dragons equally.

tomk:  Ok, well, Drogon liked her better than the other two did. He was always hanging around his Dragon Mama.

He was bigger and smarter and more dangerous than the other two.

jimmy:  No doubt about that.

tomk:  And then, after rescuing Dany and introducing several Sons of the Harpy to the concept of the third degree burn, he took a nap.

jimmy:  Well, he was wounded

tomk:  He’ll sleep it off.

Meanwhile, Men Who Love But Can’t Have Dany are hot on her trail.

And Tyrion is once again running someone else’s kingdom.

jimmy:  Tyrion gets shit done.

tomk:  He does. And Jorah came in handy. And Dany’s fiancé…well, that was something else. I’ll bet he’s no fan of the fighting pits now!

jimmy:  Well, I guess that wedding is off. Seriously, don’t get married or engaged or anything of the like on Game of Thrones.

tomk:  If you’re lucky, you’ll just be finding relief screwing your twin.

jimmy:  Geez…

When the Harpy attack started though, I did think Hizdahr was behind it, or at least involved.

But now he’s forking dead.

tomk:  Or you can be Ned Stark and make things work, producing five children, some of whom may live past the finale.

jimmy:  Maybe.

tomk:  Well, season five was a bit of a downer for a lot of people. What did you think?

jimmy:  Still good. I wonder how I would feel if I hadn’t known about Jon in advance as it barely fazed me when it happened. I didn’t mind the Dorne stuff. If anything, I hated the High Sparrow stuff more. And Hardhome was just awesome.

tomk:  It’s still a great show, but with Stannis dead, you can see the writers simplifying the plot with less loose ends. That trend should continue.

jimmy:  Yeah, that’s one less person fighting for the Throne. Even the Boltons are not that ambitious. Just huge asshats.

tomk:  To a lesser extent, Mycella’s death also simplified the narrative.

jimmy:  Oh, I don’t know. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this Lannister/Dorne fued.

tomk:  Yeah, but it gives Cersei one less character to care about. As noted, that is her only redeeming characteristic.

jimmy:  Yes. Just Tommen remains now.

tomk:  And he’s a useless kid.

jimmy:  That’s for sure. But his mommy still loves him.

tomk:  Well, anything else to add here, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Looking forward to season six. It sounds like we are completely done with Martin from here on out. Or close to it.

tomk:  There are a few minor plot lines and we get Bran back. Did you miss him and Hodor?

jimmy:  For sure. You?

tomk:  Who doesn’t miss Hodor?

jimmy:  He’s been using the hiatus to catch up on all the albums he’s missed.

tomk:  Wouldn’t you?

jimmy:  Yes. And catch up on TV shows I missed.

tomk:  We should go do some of that, then. Catching up on TV shows. I know just the one! Actor Ian McShane once described it as just “tits and dragons”!

jimmy:  I do enjoy both!

tomk:  Then let’s go!

And so our Watch continues.  Be back here soon as we start season six with the episodes “The Red Woman” and “Home”.