Before I get into this week’s plot line power rankings, let’s get a few things out of the way.
Is the idea to trek north of the Wall, capture a White Walker and bring it back to Cersei in King’s Landing still a dumb idea…if not the dumbest idea ever?
Is it a little hard to believe that Gendry was able to hoof it back to the Wall as fast as he did and that word got to a Maester so quickly and that a raven made it to Dragonstone double time and that scroll then got to Daenerys (Danys to only her relatives, thank you much) in no time and she was on her way to rescue Jon and his boys just in the nick of time?
Does this beef between Arya and Sansa seem even more frustrating than it is because of how quickly that beef has been ramped up?
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s just all collectively admit that Game of Thrones has turned a corner. It’s no longer the twisted, head on it’s ass fantasy where anyone could die at any time that we all fell in love with. It’s now an amazing, science fiction fantasy show. And this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In the early stages, killing off major characters was shocking, but if you think about it, it was also easy. Now, with everything having become narrowed and more focused, it’s become increasingly hard to do. We might have believed Jon Snow was dead if his death had happened at the end of season two, but by the time it happened at the end of season five, we thought it was maybe possible, but we also largely dismissed it because of how important he had become to the story. Jon literally couldn’t die.
Not yet at least.
Similarly, unless this show ends with either Cersei or the Night King winning (which is still a distant possibility,) the show’s tendency to award the villains with key wins and the heroes with crushing losses was eventually going to end. Again, if the Battle of the Bastards had happened in season two or three, Ramsey probably would have won. But it didn’t and as a result, he didn’t. Thrones was going to become less of a subversive, sprawling, genre-challenging epic and more of a conventional television show at some point and that time has come. It’s that new reality, coupled with the abbreviated season, that has made this current season feel so different. Not worse, just different. Gendry was able to cover so much ground so quickly because that’s what happens on normal television shows. On the flip side, we can spend an entire season tracking Daenerys’ slow movements through Essos because that what Game of Thrones did because back then, the show’s movements were dictated by the books. That’s no longer the case.
And this probably isn’t a bad thing. It can be a mildly frustrating thing, but certainly not a bad thing. I think anyone taking issue with the show, how quickly it’s moving, how it’s plots are becoming easier to question and poke holes in, needs to re-calibrate how they think of the show. It’s still ground-breaking and it’s still some of the craziest shit we’ve seen and will see on television for some time. It’s just not the ground-breaking show we originally got hooked on. It’s grown up and like with any relationship that covers a chunk of your life, things change. You stay friends, though. You just know that your friend is a little different these days.
Here is our song of the week.
On to this week’s power rankings.
Game of Thrones’ Plot Line Power Rankings: ‘Beyond the Wall’
1. Jon’s Boys Weekend Beyond the Wall
So we already talked about Gendry’s impressive long-distance running ability, so we won’t rehash that. Can’t stop us from still being pretty impressed by it though. I mean, it sure seems like when the whole gang was walking, they covered some ground. Now unless they just walk really slow, which is possible, given their big boots and desire to chit chat, Gendry had to have all out sprinted at least a couple of miles. And he did it all bundled up, with at least ten pounds of the best winter gear the REI store at Eastwatch has to offer. What can’t that kid do?
I did enjoy the various pairings the show gave us as the dudes embarked on their poorly conceived mission, whether it was Jon trying to give Jorah Longclaw, Gendry trying to convince the old bros that getting naked with Melissandre wasn’t a good thing or Jon and Beric talking shop about dying and being brought to life. It’s always comforting to find someone who you share a unique hobby or similarity with. In this case, not many other people can have much of a conversation about dying and then not dying. Unfortunately for Jon, even Beric can’t really give him a reason why he was brought back other than the company line that the Lord chose him. I feel you Jon. I like to know reasons too.
The winner for best bro-versation was the one between Tormund and the Hound though. Hands down. God I love Tormund so much. He’s not my favorite character, but he’s definitely in the top 5.
So I was understandably a little on edge when it seemed like my boy might not make it.
Of course he did make it because at this stage of the game Game of Thrones only kills bench players and former all-stars nearing retirement (i.e. Lady Olenna.) I do think that’s become somewhat of a problem for the show because this is now the second of two major battles staged this season and in each, every major character made it out alive. The show’s running the risk of losing the one thing that it had plenty of – stakes. At some point we’ll still marvel at the spectacle of their battles, but the emotion won’t be there because we know that the key players involved are safe. That could be a problem. Kind of like being trapped on a slab of rock in the middle of a partially frozen ice lake, surrounded by ice zombies who never took swimming lessons at the YMCA north of the wall.
And once again the show tried to mess with our emotions by having it appear that a major player was submerging and sinking to their death. First it was Jaime and this week Jon. Guess what? They both survived. You know, I can feel myself getting a little critical of the show as this goes on. The coffee is kicking in. So I’ll take a step back and just say to the show, hey, cut that shit out. Stop trying to be sneaky or thinking that you have us so wrapped around your finger that for a minute we’ll actually think Jon isn’t going to make it. Stop putting Jon’s life in jeopardy if you’re not going to kill him. You could have killed Jorah. No one would have really complained. Oh cool, you killed Thoros of Myr. Sweet.
Hold on, this is Thoros…
He’s dead. May your sweet man bun sing with the eagles and fly with the Byrds.
Game of Thrones is a little trapped right now and it’ll take more than Uncle Benjen coming flying in at the last minute to save them. This will become even more of an issue if we make it through next week’s finale and everyone is still standing.
2. Stop Dragon My Heart Around
You know, I stand by this tweet.
It was kind of a bummer to see one of the dragons go down. He had so much life ahead of him – dragon school, finding a lady, starting a family. Now he’s a freaky zombie dragon and I’m not sure my emotions are ready for dragon-on-dragon combat. I certainly don’t think Daenerys is. Yo, that’s going to be something, huh?
Speaking of something, I don’t know where Daenerys gets her clothes, but she is literally ready for any situation at a moments notice. Her winter clothing line looked fierce as hell, also super comfortable and totes warm. Plenty of pockets to store tissues as you mourn the loss of one of your dragons – sore subject, sorry for bringing that up.
More importantly, are you buying the Danys/Jon thing? I feel like I am, but then again, sometimes I’m not. I just asked Elyse, my co-host on The Differing Opinions on Drake podcast, what she thought and she responded with a less than convincing “when he has his shirt off.” Danys did see the stab wounds though, so if she asks again about this whole getting stab in the heart thing, it’ll be a lot harder for Jon to shrug it off as Davos just talking smack.
“No really, let’s talk about Ser Davos saying you were stabbed in the heart.”
“Ah, Davos wasn’t speaking literally and uh…”
“Dude, I saw the stab wounds.”
“Well uh…you know…”
“Yeah, I know it looks you were stabbed multiple effin’ time. Possibly enough to not be here right now.”
“It’s a long story, Danys.”
“I have time.”
“We don’t really, though. Things are moving very quickly this season.”
I don’t know if they’ll get together or not. But it might make things a little easier for Jon if they’re a couple when he returns to Winterfell and tells those grumpy bastards that on one hand, he secured a bunch of dragon glass but on the other hand, he pledged his loyalty to this super hot dragon queen. There has been literally nothing we’ve seen in the North to convince us that will go well.
Speaking of the north…
3. The North Remembers Everything Except for the Fact That You Know the North Remembers
Hold, on let me clear my throat.
Okay. I’m ready.
WHAT THE (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ARYA???
I’m pro-Sansa in this situation and I’ll tell you why. Let’s say you had a sibling and let’s say that at some point, you stayed home to run the store your parents had run their whole lives, while your sibling went off to college. A few years later you’re doing an okay job running things, the employees are somewhat happy and business is solid. Things are pretty okay. But then your sibling suddenly returns and while you’re initially thrilled to have them back, you become increasingly annoyed as they question how you’re running things, why you’re keeping certain employees around and wondering why you haven’t opened up another store to expand the business. At first the questions are fine, but after a while, they become more and more frustrating. You’ve been there all along, you know why things are the way they are. Your sibling lacks context, but because because they read a book about some bullshit psychological theory at school, they think they know better than you.
If you were the sibling who had been there the whole time, how would you feel?
Yeah, probably pretty annoyed. Of course you’d also be freaked the hell out once you discovered your siblings collection of faces, but that’s for another metaphor.
At this point, this is kind of a betrayal, an affront to all of the time we spent with Arya, becoming invested in her character and her story. We rooted for Arya to succeed probably harder than any other character. We rooted for her to kill the people on her list and eventually return to Winterfell. Well, now that she’s back she for lack of a better word – sucks. For all of her training, she’s still a step behind Littlefinger and isn’t even smart enough to see that. And Sansa had a good point when Arya brought up Ned’s beheading. Yes, Sansa was up there on stage and technically did nothing, but Arya was there too and she didn’t too jack as well. Arya then is going to say she’s been through some shit since…dude Sansa was raped on a regular basis!
If only there was someone around here who could maybe shed some light on the situation…
Hmmm….maybe later I guess.
We just have to hope that this is somehow going to pay off and flip and Arya was in control the entire time. If not and Arya ends up fully turning on Sansa, that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow.