Top 10 Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions

The ending of this season was amazing!  No joke, I loved it.  So much character payoff, the series went back to a lot of its roots with the political intrigue, and ended on a note so crazy that I had literal chills.  Not to mention, am I the only person who caught this – the dragon that goes evil is the one named after Dany’s piece of shit brother.  It’s too perfect.  I genuinely am amazed no one else caught that.  I swear, the moment the writers were thinking about this season, they knew which dragon to have turn to the Night King’s side.  Can’t wait to see how they finally bring down that monster.  Turns out that most of my predictions for this season were right.  I’m digging that!  I have a gift for predicting this series.  With that in mind, let’s get down to my predictions for the final season of the most epic and ambitious series ever created.

10. Jaime and Bronn take the Lannister army north
Probably my second-favorite scene in the episode is where Jaime chose to finally abandon Cersei.  He’s broken free of his need for her, and now we’ll get to see him get to reclaim his honor.  It truly is a pity that he is almost-guaranteed to die in this series.  I’m assuming it will be when they head back south to deal with Cersei.  Them dying together is fitting.  However, I think that the season will begin with him meeting up with the Lannister forces and persuading them to head north to join the fight against the dead.  Bronn has grown more than a little in this series, and I think he’s going to join him, because while he isn’t itching to die, he’s not going to just wait for the end.  I cannot wait to see what happens to Jaime.  Once the series is over, I’m going to do my top 15 characters list, and he’s going to be on there.

9. The Hound kills the Undead Mountain
Who else could it be?  They couldn’t have possibly made it more clear how their story is going to play out.  The Hound knows that his last battle will be to destroy the brother that he has always hated.  I get the feeling we will see some truly fantastic character development as he confronts all the anger and pain he’s kept inside over the years in one last showdown.  It will probably kill both of them, but it’ll be worth it.  There’s a TON of character payoff coming with the fight between these two.

8. Arya takes Littlefinger’s face
I refuse to believe that her list of names is gone, just because she’s back home.  Arya is still a killer.  And why let a face with as much influence as Littlefinger go to waste?  Personally, I think she’s going to put it to good use.  Or, if nothing else, to have his face in her own little collection of faces.  This girl is going to be getting into some crazy shit this season, and I think we’ll have a truly dark character moment when Sansa sees her taking a face and has to confront that Arya truly has become a Faceless Man.

7. Tyrion and Sansa remarry
It’s a perfect political union.  Sansa knows how to play the game now.  What’s more, she knows that Tyrion is the best of the Lannisters.  Since it’s a guarantee that the Lannister house is going to continue through him as Warden of the Westerlands, having a union between the Starks and the Lannisters through their marriage and child is a perfect course of action.  I also get the feeling that she was genuinely coming to like him before everything with her brother dying forced them apart.

6. Melisandre brings an army of fire priests
The magic of the Lord of Light is something that we haven’t gotten to see a huge amount of.  Magic in this series is rooted in darkness, blood, ice, and fire.  When you have an army of the dead, who have a huge Achilles heel to fire, what better than to have some of those who worship your god come in and bring fire with them?  She said she would have to die in Westeros.  Given how the faith of the Lord of Light is taking root all over Essos, her bringing a ton of priests and priestesses who can wield the flame with her is fitting.  I also get the feeling that it will be Jon who kills her.  He said that if she ever came back to the North, he’d hang her for murder.  Ser Davos said that he’d kill her before he got the chance.  I get the feeling that one of them will make good on that.

5. Jon becomes a dragon rider
I suppose this should be obvious.  I mean, did anyone notice that one of the dragons is named after his father?  Come on!  I guess this is a given, considering that the Night King now has Viscerion under his control, and so we will get an epic battle a lot like the Dance of Dragons between the two.  Part of me is desperately hoping the episodes of the final season are full-length.  As in, well over an hour.  I want to see what it’s like for Jon to learn how to ride a dragon.  The real bummer for me is that I get the feeling we’ll never see Ghost on screen again.  That just kills me.  I miss that direwolf.  But the budget only goes so far, unfortunately.

4. Arya kills the Night King
Why else would they have given her a Valyrian steel dagger if she wasn’t going to do something really badass with it?  Everyone is thinking the final battle will be between Jon and the Night King.  That would be cool, but I get the feeling that Arya will be the one to land the killing blow that ends The Long Night, Part II.  I’m sure their last battle will be insane.  I wanted to say that I still think she’ll be the one to do Cersei in, but I think they’ll keep her in the North (which is BORING!) and have her deal the killing blow to end the War for the Dawn.

3. Euron turns on Cersei
This also feels like a given.  Everyone has said that they think Theon will be the one to kill him, and I don’t think that’s entirely true.  I think it will be him and Yara.  I think he’s going to go back to Pike and rescue her, finding the whole place empty, except her, in whatever twisted torture chamber Euron has for her.  As I said, it feels like a given.  When Euron said he wanted to join forces with Daenerys, it was all to marry her and usurp the throne after doing so to become king.  Way I see it, he will have The Golden Company at his command, so he’ll use that power to turn on her and take the power for himself.  Maybe it will allude to Robert’s Rebellion, where Cersei opens the gates to let him in, and they start sacking the city.  Would be some poetic irony in that.

2. Jon hides the fact that he’s a Targaryan and takes the name Stark
This was also alluded to, when he told Theon that he doesn’t have to choose between the name Greyjoy and Stark.  He can be both.  Jon is loyal.  He’s loyal to his family.  In either the first or second episode of the last season, he’s going to be hit with the fact that he’s the last son of Rheagar, and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.  I think he’ll work with Daenerys to cover up the truth about his name, and choose to leave her as the only Targaryan, in exchange for getting his name and joining their houses by marriage.  It would end a potential war before it starts and secure a large portion of the land.  I think it will be Tyrion who poses this idea to them.  Here’s hoping he can finally convince Jon to lie.

And my biggest prediction for the final season is…

1. The war with the Night King isn’t the final war
Since we know that Cersei is going to take over the country while Daenerys is up north, it’s pretty clear that the series will end with the combined armies that she has left marching south to retake the Iron Throne and end the war, bringing peace to the Seven Kingdoms.  Personally, I’d like to see the very end of the series be set after the winter is over and have some kind of epilogue to show how the story ends for all the great houses.  How the Seven Kingdoms finally finds peace.  But yeah, the War for the Dawn is the biggest fight and will be the most epic, but the true end of the series is going to be much further south.

What do you all think is going to happen?  Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“That which is dead, shall never die.” – Theon’s Balls

Peace out,

Maverick

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SIONR: Stop Complaining About How Short Season Seven of Game of Thrones Is

One of the biggest complaints I am seeing all over the Internet is as follows – “why is this season of Game of Thrones so short?!  Everything is so rushed!  Why can’t they take more time and get to know the characters more?  I mean, all Sam does is move the plot forward!  It’s boring!”  That may be a bit longer than I had thought, but I wanted to basically encapsulate all the complaints that I’m hearing in the same space.  Generally speaking, anyway.  And it’s frustrating.  Because it’s like people haven’t really been paying attention.

Here’s the thing – Game of Thrones is the most ambitious television series ever produced.  There isn’t a single comparison to be made, anywhere.  This series has done with no others have even attempted to do.  Because of that, they have had to make a lot of sacrifices.  There are a TON of plotlines from the books that are either distorted or outright gone.  Why?  Because they don’t have the time, or another crucial element that everyone who is bitching seems to forget about – money.  This series’ price tag has gotten astronomically-large.  A lot of critics have wondered if the series has gotten to the point that it’s too expensive to keep making.  A valid question.  So, when the lead writers said that they only have 13 episodes worth of plot, any normal person would wonder – why not have some filler stuff.  Little things where we take a break and get to know the characters more.  That’s smart.  The simple reality is that doing that takes more time and budget to shoot longer.

I understand how some people are a little annoyed.  Yeah, it’s weird how characters are able to traverse great distances in ye olde times with great speed.  But you know what I do?  I do that thing called critical thinking.  It’s a lost art in the age of conservative and liberal hand-wringing that eschews nuance completely.  How many episodes would they have needed to realistically have Greyworm get the Unsullied to Casterly Rock?  At least two or three.  They have to speed things up.  There isn’t enough plot left to fill in that kind of time.  So yes, Jon Snow made it from Winterfell to White Harbor and then to Dragonstone in the span of a single episode.  Hell, not even that.  The series has at least attempted to make the audience understand that there are weeks going between episodes, but that part has been admittedly clumsy.

And sure, there is a ton of stuff that I’d like to see.  Like, why didn’t Ghost go with Jon?  What a way to have them get to know each other.  Him being the father of a dire wolf with the mother of dragons?  That seems like a good way for them to bond.  I’ve missed Ghost.  He has barely been in the series since the very beginning of last season.  But then I remember – dire wolves have to be animated.  And that takes money.  Money that HBO unfortunately can’t spare.  We may never see Ghost again.  That will suck.  I hope he survives until the end.  There’s only one other dire wolf left.  Thankfully we did get to see that Nymeria is okay.  I’m really glad about that.  Not glad that Arya went back to Winterfell.  I thought her deal with seeing Nymeria and saying she doesn’t belong there anymore took it to mean that she doesn’t belong in Winterfell, so she was going to go south and finish her mission.  But nope.  Kinda disappointed with that.  Not gonna lie.

The point of all this rambling nonsense is that HBO has to do the best it can with what they’ve got.  They are out of plot and the budget just keeps growing.  They’re too invested in this to stop now, but the studio can’t let this series bankrupt them.  From a financial standpoint I understand their problems.  For all of us, it means that we get less show to watch.  But if what we see was like last night, with Drogon setting an entire army on fire, then yes, please, more of that.  I love the political stuff in the series the most, but I got a raging nerd hard-on for how cool that is.  Let’s enjoy how great this series is for as long as we can’t.  One more season, and that’s it.

Until next time, a quote,

“You can’t always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” – Lyrics by The Rolling Stones

Peace out,

Maverick

Critical Examination: The Use of Silence

I just got done watching the season finale of Game of Thrones.  I am in love with this episode.  Most people think the last one was the best of the season, but not me.  This was the one that truly made it for me.  The level of payoff here was just spectacular.  So many great character moments that pay off what we’ve seen about these characters both this season and over the course if the series.  But there was something else that got my attention this season as well – the silence.  So many shots in this episode were marked by absolute silence.  The use of it was so prevalent that it set the stage for the emotional climaxes so perfectly.  It got me to thinking about something that I love – the use of silence in visual mediums.  There are a thousand different ways that it can be used, and I’m going to talk about my favorites here.  I’ll save Game of Thrones for last.

Aliens

There is a great argument to be had about which is the better of these two films.  The original was a better-made film, if you ask me.  Its use of silence was near-constant.  That was a very quiet movie.  We all think of the loud segment where Ripley is abandoning ship, but for the bulk of the film it is pretty damn quiet.  But the sequel, on the other hand, is loud and bombastic.  It’s a movie that almost never takes a break.  However, when it does, we get scenes like the one with Ripley and Newt in the medical room, sleeping.  When Ripley wakes up, she can tell something’s wrong.  Newt can feel it too.  They aren’t alone in there.  She feels above to the bed for her rifle, but it’s gone.  Now she knows that she’s in trouble.  Something is moving.  When she looks, she sees two open tanks with the xenomorph spawning variations.

The silence here is only for a few minutes, but it makes the tension so high that you could cut it with a knife.  And when it all explodes and the two aliens are attacking, you feel the pressure that the characters to.  It’s legitimately scary to see those creepy fuckers slithering around, trying to get our heroine and her companion.  The thing about good use of silence is that I think it is more noticeable in loud movies.  When you have a film that is all about pulse-pounding action, a sudden use of silence makes you take notice.  When it’s done well, it sets the tone for what’s to come.  Another example of this is in Raging Bull, when the screen goes silent as the main character sets himself up for being slaughtered.  It was a great scene where that silent moment has you contemplating, like the character, what is about to happen and how fucked he really is.

Bloodborne

Like all games in the Souls series, this one has a unique tactic for how the game plays.  It uses silence almost entirely throughout.  Over the course of the game, all you can hear is this dead silence all around.  It really gives you a way to take everything in.  The ambience puts you in that shoes of the character, wandering through this world that feels as foreign to us as it does to them.  The only time that the music really turns up is during a boss fight.  Here’s an example from one of my playthroughs.

Notice how quiet it is beforehand?  Then you step into the mist, and the fight is on.  But the thing to notice is that it becomes silent again immediately afterwards.  The game is set up so that you can feel the pensive atmosphere before and after a fight.  Gaming’s use of quiet time can vary, depending on your title.  Most people think of the bombastic nature of Call of Duty games, but there is a wider selection than that, and most of them make great use of quiet time.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I know what you’re thinking – an Uncharted game?  Come on.  You’re just fucking with us now.  This latest entry marked one of the quietest in the entire game.  All four of them have good use of quiet time, but it was at its best in this title.  But there is one scene that stands above the rest when it comes to the use of quiet in story-telling – the finding of the last meal of the Founders of Libertalia.  It’s my favorite scene in the entire game.  I just uploaded it to my channel on YouTube.  Check it out and maybe you’ll see what I’m driving at.

Did you all catch how silence was used?  Granted, there is a score over parts of this, but its use is so quiet that you wouldn’t even notice.  I am certain that was a deliberate choice.  Because, while this is cool to learn about history and what happened to these Founders, that isn’t what the scene is about.  It’s about Nate and Elena and their relationship.  This entire game is about Nate and the relationships in his life.  So, as he is talking about this, you can hear in his voice the passion for the topic.  He loves what he is learning.  Then he is lamenting it.  It has him in the same shot with Elena, and you see the look on her face as he’s talking about it.

It’s in that moment that she realizes that he truly wasn’t here just for some treasure hunt.  This man is driven by a love of history and discovery that gives his life so much.  And she is learning that in order for their marriage to work, the two are going to have to find a way to have the best of both worlds.  The exploration into history, but minus the violence that was doing real damage to them.  All of that done with facial expressions and the use of silence.  It’s incredible.

Finally, we get to what I have been wanting to talk about…

Game of Thrones

Which scene could I pick to talk about the use of silence in this latest episode?  There are so many.  But one in-particular stands out above the rest – when Tommen dies.  Not only is the use of silence and ambient noise so perfect, but I am in love with how it is shot.  The entire scene is done in one take, from one angle.  You see Tommen, looking over the destruction of the Septum, which has resulted in the death of his queen.  You never see his face.  It’s just his backside.  It’s dead silent.  He then walks off-screen.  You hear his footsteps going away, and you’re left seeing the destruction that he was looking at.  There is nothing but this shot for a few moments.  More footsteps coming closer.  Tommen is back.  He’s removed his crown, and then he walks up to the window and swan-dives out.  Holy shit!  I did not see that coming.  It’s so well done!  I could teach a class about the way one angle and ambient noise incorporate so much into this one shot.  By being able to look at the destruction, we are getting a visual representation of the feelings inside Tommen.  When we see him having taken off the crown, that’s a way for us to know that he is done as King.  But it’s short-lived, since he is done with his mortality as well.

Almost every major event in this episode is marked by silence.  It’s so good.  If only we had more filmmakers using that to their advantage.  Whoever did the cinematography for this episode deserves a raise.  A big one.  So big.

So, what do you all think?  What silent moments in film or vidya stuck with you?  Let me know down in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“For what it’s worth, I’ve been a cynic for as long as I can remember.”  – Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Game of Thrones: Season Seven Predictions

Tonight, this sixth season has come to an end.  While most people are in love with the last episode, and it was awesome, this was the episode that I liked most this season.  The level of payoff here was just phenomenal.  I like good payoff.  I’m even able to overlook minor plot holes for the sake of good payoff.  Like why Sansa didn’t tell Jon about her allegiance with the knights of the Vale.  It would have made the battle SO much easier.  This episode at least did acknowledge that her hiding that from him was really stupid.  However, it was awesome payoff, so it was fine.  The last episode was fantastic.  But this episode was better, in my opinion.  The big battles of the series are good, but the thing that I love most about the series is the fact that it has all the political intrigue.  That’s what made this show great, and it’s at its best when we have that.

Which brings me to what I predict will happen next season.  I hope it goes without saying that if you haven’t seen tonight’s episode, there will be spoilers out the ass.  For real, you should have known that.  If you have no seen the episode go watch it legally (or pirate it) and then come back.  I could predict that the next season will be shorter, but we already know that.  I think they said that they have around 13 episodes of plot remaining in the series.  I figure that will get a little stretched out, but not much.  It’s clear that the budget for this show is about to explode, and the show-runners don’t want this series to die before it gets to the end they want.  My unofficial prediction is that the next season will be between six to eight episodes long.  So long as it’s good, that’s fine by me.  This series is riding a high note.  Let’s keep going on that.  Here are my predictions to the next season.

10. The Hound Allies With House Stark
When we see the Hound again, it’s clear that he is looking for some redemption for the things he’s done.  He does not like the person he has become, and he wants to atone for his crimes.  We know that the Brotherhood Without Banners is headed north to help in the War for the Dawn.  I think that he is going to see the Starks on the throne at Winterfell and decide that he can atone by serving them.  He’s a warrior, and now he will have a chance to not just be a dog for someone, but to serve a ruler who is worthy of the name.  I like his arc of redemption, and it would make for a good way for things to go, moving forward.

9. Bronn and Tyrion are Reunited
One of the things that never went away from previous seasons is the fact that Cersei put out a hit on Tyrion.  She offered a mountain of gold to whoever brought her his head.  Now that he is going to be in Westeros again, odds are that she’ll find out that he’s the hand of Daenerys.  So, given that she’s off the deep end now, Cersei is going to try and have that hit completed.  Who would the crown send?  Why, their in-house killer.  But here’s the thing – Bronn is a sellsword first.  He is too smart to cross the Dragon Queen, knowing that killing Tyrion would paint a giant target on his back.  As he said, “no sellsword ever ran from the winning side.”  What I think will happen is that he will see the Lannisters as a bad investment, and go back to someone who he knew made good on his promises to repay his debts.  I am certain that Bronn is going to survive the game of thrones.  Hopefully we’ll get to see why soon enough.

8. Samwell or Gilly Meets Daenerys
The series is known for not just foisting things out of nowhere.  They have build-up, then payoff.  I think that there will be someone who is going to pass the word to Daenerys about what is happening up in the North.  It will lay the seeds for what will happen in the season to come.  Since the Reach is declaring itself for her, along with Dorne, I figure that Dany’s army is going to come that way.  Way I see it, either Sam or Gilly is going to meet her, and they will let slip that the army of the dead is marching south, and that if they get past the Wall, there will be hell to pay.  I kind of hope that it’s Gilly.  Given that Dany seems to want the common people on her side, it would be refreshing if Gilly is the one who makes nice with her.

7. Arya Kills Melisandre and Ser Illyn Paine
We got to see that Arya is back in Westeros.  But she isn’t going home.  She’s headed to get revenge.  The girl is out for blood, and that’s what she will find.  Most of the names on her kill list are gone, but I figure that she’s going to head south.  There’s one destination – King’s Landing.  She wants to get revenge on the people who destroyed her family.  But wouldn’t it be interesting if she runs into Melisandre by sheer chance, and sees a perfect opportunity to get revenge for what she believes happened to Gendry.  The alternative is that she will talk to Melisandre and learn that he’s alive, so she’ll spare her.  But Illyn Paine, on the other hand, is going to go.  I think that his death will tell Jaime that something off.  Word will reach King’s Landing about the death of Walder Frey.  The Twins will be up for grabs, since Arya not only killed him, but killed his sons.  There is no one to take the throne, save Edmure of House Tully.  Not only is he married to a Frey, but he’s the only chance to carry on the line.  Illyn Paine was the one to swing the axe that killed her father.  So he’s going to go.  When Jaime finds out that more people are dying in a way where their throats are being cut, but it’s like no one was there, he will sense that something’s wrong.

6. Bran Expands His Vision Powers
I suppose this is a given, but hear me out.  We discovered that Bran is able to communicate with people through the visions.  That can only mean that he is going to find a way to reach out to people in the world today.  He needs a force to take on the army of the dead.  Who better than a woman who has dragons?  This ties in to another prediction, but I think that Bran is going to find a way to reach out to people with his visions, and that is going to be important.

5. Arya’s Direwolf Returns
In the books, Arya’s Direwolf has started a pack down in the Riverlands.  It is the largest wolf pack ever seen.  It is causing untold hell to the people there, as the wolves are hungry and there isn’t enough to eat.  I think that it will come back in the series.  Maybe she will find Arya, or what I think is more likely – Bran will reach out to it.  Using his Green Seer powers, he will find a way to get word to it and have the wolves head north to fight for House Stark against the army of the dead.  A pack of wolves, several dozen strong, ready for battle.  That would be pretty awesome.

4. Word Reaches Winterfell about Daenerys
This could also be a given, but I think this is important.  Jon Snow told Sansa that now they have a multitude of enemies that are coming for them. Jon has been crowed the King in the North.  That’s important, when it comes to Daenerys.  After all, she is going to be asking for allies to fight against the Lannisters.  I think Jon is going to see a chance to save the North.  He figures that he will pledge the North to Dany, if she comes and helps him in his fight against the dead.  After all, she has dragons now.  Three dragons is one hell of an ally against an undead army, don’t ya think?

3. Bran Finds a Way to Reach Daenerys
Way I see it, this will be right towards the end of the season.  Maybe in the very last episode.  Dany will be asleep or something, and she’ll see a vision.  Maybe something telling her to go to the Isle of Faces, so she is near where Bran is at his most powerful.  There, he will reach out to her and show her the truth about what is coming in the North.  I don’t think that she is going to go all the way to King’s Landing.  I think that she’s going to halt her course when she learns this and then head north to join the fight there.  This ties directly into the top prediction, but I think it will be Bran that makes her chance her mind about where to go.  It will be an awesome scene.

2. Arya or Jaime Kills Cersei
Obviously, she is going to die this coming season.  We all can feel it.  She’s gone from ruthless bitch to Mad Queen.  She used Wildfire to kill tons of innocent people.  Now, it’s going to come to the point that something has to be done about her.  The series has a thing about history repeating itself.  Way I see it, Cersei will be crazy enough to believe that she can fight Daenerys, and when the girl is destroying her armies left and right, that’s when Jaime will realize that something has to be done.  Meanwhile, Arya is working her way closer and closer.  She’ll get into the castle, and learn about her prey.  We’ll get a few episodes where she is studying Cersei.  Maybe a repeat of how she was a servant of Tywin.  Only difference is that this time, she’ll be preparing to kill Cersei.  Now we come to how she does it.  The Mountain guards her night and day.  When would she do it?  I think that it isn’t going to be Dany who heads to King’s Landing.  It will be Euron.  He will be sacking the city, and that’s when Arya will make her move.  And I also think Jaime will be making his move.  What I’d like to see is the two meeting.  Like they are headed to kill her, and both run into each other.  They have a brief confrontation, and Jaime tells her that he will finish this.  She’ll protest, but he’ll assure her that this is something that he needs to do.  Either that, or she’ll be sneaky and during the attack, will kill her.  Then, like the Faceless Man she has learned to be, she will disappear.  Jaime will find Cersei and that’s the moment when his failure as a knight will be complete.  Grim, but hey, it might not work out that way.

And the biggest prediction that I have for the next season will be…

1. The Wall Comes Down
It would be the perfect way to close out the season.  This season will be about the war Daenerys is waging to conquer Westeros.  The final season will be all about the War for the Dawn.  Since winter has finally come, now we will see the army of the dead reach the Wall.  But rather than try to climb up or anything else, the Night’s King will want to make his statement clear about how powerful he has become.  So, he will us ancient magic in order to bust the wall open.  I don’t figure he will destroy all of it.  For one, HBO doesn’t have that kind of budget.  He’ll just blast open part of it, and the army of the dead will seep through.  This will be how the season closes out.  It will be really on, and all the forces of Westeros will be heading to meet them, for the last great war of the Seven Kingdoms.

So, what do you think will happen?  Think my predictions are good?  I will say that of the predictions that I made for this season (linked here), most of them came true.  So it seems that I have a knack for this.  Here’s hoping I’m on the money again.

Until next time, a quote,

“My name is Arya Stark.  I want you to know that.  The last thing you’ll see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.”  – Arya Stark, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Game of Thrones: Season Six, Episode Seven (The Broken Man)

I’ve decided, since almost no one in my inner circle is able to catch new episodes on the regular, and I have to talk about this with someone, I’m going to talk about it with all of you.  Because this episode was so awesome!  Where has this show been?!  With how slow or plodding some episodes lately have been, it’s nice to see this series stepping up to the plate this way.  Ever since the last three episodes of last season, I haven’t been this stoked.  This isn’t one of my technical reviews, so I’m going to skip my formula.  It’s just me talking about what I thought about the stuff in this episode.  Just so you know, spoilers ahoy!  Let’s break this down by plot

First, we’ve got the Hound!  He’s back!  They introduce him in a segment before the intro, so you know that this is important.  Him being back is significant.  I knew that he would be back on the show.  After all, there’s a golden rule when it comes to this series – a character isn’t dead until you see them dead.  Granted, we know that Stannis is dead, but that’s just because the actor made no secret of being done with the series and moving on.  It’s all good.  He was cool.  But we’ve got the Hound back!  This episode was mostly about his story.  But he wasn’t the only broken man in this.  After his round with Brienne of Tarth, he’s now trying to ditch his violent side and start over.  We get to see him and Ian McShane’s character bonding.  How great was that?!  McShane was only in this episode, and he left such an impact.  After the Hound realizes that he is unable to truly leave behind what he’s done and who he’s become, it’s off to get violent, bloody vengeance against the Brotherhood Without Banners.  They better say their prayers right about now.

Next up, there’s all the stuff in King’s Landing.  I honestly had gotten pretty tired of seeing stuff going on there.  It has seemed to be going nowhere.  But now the gloves are off.  Margery is able to secretly pass a note to Lady Olenna, telling her that it’s time to go, and that she has everything in hand.  Trusting her granddaughter, the Queen of Badass Bitch makes ready to go.  But not before putting Cersei in her place in a way that was so awesome that you got to see Cersei have a “I fucking hate you so much look,” know that she can’t do a damn thing in reprisal.  After all, the Tyrell food and army is all that’s holding the city together.  Now Olenna is about to leave, and I figure she’s taking her forces with her.  Cersei is all alone, and now shit’s about to get real.

Speaking of badass queens, we get Lady Lyanna Mormont, Queen of Sass.  That little kid is nine kinds of awesome.  Watching her shut down Jon and Sansa was just priceless.  I like how the series is going back to some of the casualties of the War of Five Kings.  The houses in the North are pretty done with House Stark.  Robb left them all very bitter, and most of their troops very dead.  However, we get to see Ser Davos, the child whisperer, give it to her pretty straight that the Boltons aren’t the real enemy.  It’s the army of the dead.  The Long Night is coming, and the know that the only way to save their skins is to unite as one.  Still, that kid is great.
However, all does not go so well with the other houses of the North.  One of the lords shuts them down so hard that you can practically hear the door slam.  But it’s all good.  Jon Snow got to talk to the Wildlings.  They are critical.  But the conversation ends when One-One stands up and says “Snow.”  That means that the Freefolk are with Jon, to the end.  Feels.
Still, the fact is that their army is shit, and they are no match for their enemies.  Sansa is no fool.  She realizes that they can’t win with their numbers.  So, in a move showing just how desperate she is, she prepares a message to be sent with a raven to Baelish to get the Lords of the Vale to come fight.  The Battle of the Bastards is on, and it’s going to be epic!

Next up, we got Yara and Theon with the Iron-born in Volantis.  Yara’s having herself some fun with a pretty whore, while Theon is very mopey about his lost meat and potatoes.  But we then get to see Yara have a very human moment with him, telling him that it’s time for him to come back to her.  She forces him to drink some ale, fighting to get past all that Ramsay had done to him.  It works.  He’s back.  The two then say that they are going to go to Mereen and meet with Daenerys, getting her help to take back the Iron Islands in exchange for letting them use her ships.  That was pretty nice.  Very feel-good scene.  Plus, it’s nice to see that Yara is just as much a Reaver as the rest of the Ironborn.

Then we get to probably the best scene in the entire show.  One of the best in the series.  Jaime goes to Riverrun to try and get the castle back for the Frey’s.  However, first he has to get rid of Bryden Tully, the Blackfish.  The two have a face-off where they parley, and it’s a battle of wills.  But Blackfish owns Jaime SO hard!  I fucking love that scene.  When you see Blackfish just ripping apart Jaime in every way he can.  He didn’t keep his oath to Catelyn.  He lost his honor killing his King.  He has been kicked out of the Kingsguard.  Jaime walked away from that exchange feeling like a gutless coward who hadn’t accomplished anything.  That look on his face when Blackfish is walking away says it all.  Jaime is another broken man.  He’s lost pretty much everything.  He can’t even keep the last of his children safe anymore.  What does he have?
But here is where we get to speculate.  The next episode promo has him facing off with Brienne.  She’s there to get Blackfish and his army to fight for Sansa.  Jaime is obviously going to try and stop her.  The two are having an argument, and we get to see, once and for all, if Jaime is going to step up and do the right thing.  I am so hoping he does.  We’ve seen that he has it in him.  He doesn’t want to be in this fight.  Now’s the time for him to do the right thing and join with the woman he bonded with on their journey.  We’ve had Theon getting his redemption.  Maybe Jaime can get it too?

Finally, there’s my second-favorite part of the series.  Arya is looking to leave Braavos.  She’s gotten all she can from that city, and now it’s time to head back to Westeros and scratch names off her list.  However, just as things appear to be going well, the Waif appears and guts her like a fish.  The girl narrowly escapes immediate death, but now she’s left making her way through the city, bleeding out, scared to death of the fact that anyone could be the Waif, looking to pounce.  Part of me was hoping to see Gendry make a comeback.  It would have made for a nice close to her part in the episode.  Since now Arya is very much in need of allies.  However, the series has never been that nice to her.  Why change it now?
But as we see in the next episode promo, it is on!  The showdown that we’ve all been waiting for.  Arya and the Waif are about to go head-to-head.  There’s an Internet term that I think describes this so well – Guile’s Theme goes with everything.  Watching the fight between these two is going to be awesome.

This episode had it all.  Everything is building.  It finally feels like we are about to get some payoff.  Characters are being reintroduced and now we have the big showdowns of the season upon us.  The next episodes are going to be so good.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Game of Thrones (Season Six) Predictions

*Warning: I am going to spoil the living shit out of season five of Game of Thrones.  If you haven’t seen it, stop reading now!*

I am sitting here with the fifth season of this amazing series, I am thinking about what’s to come.  It’ll be another month before we get to see what happens next.  Still, I have been pondering what is coming for some time.  It’s hard to see where the series is going to go.  The show-runners are swearing that they are going to make sure this series goes to eight seasons.  I think that’s good.  Part of the problem of season five has been the fact that too much plot was crammed into too few episodes.  They need to space it out more.  It’s clear that they are setting up the final players of this grand game, now that it’s pretty clear that the Long Night is making a comeback.  For those who are hoping that I will comment on the thing that is on everybody’s mind, let me head that expectation off.  Someone on the Internet already spoiled it for me.  I do believe that Jon Snow is dead.  But it’s been made clear that he is coming back to life.  Somebody on the Internet decided to go through the newest trailer with a fine-toothed comb and showed him in a scene riding a horse.  So whatever happens next, he isn’t out of the series.  Moving on, here are my top 10 predictions about what I think will happen this season.

10. The truth about Jon Snow’s lineage will be revealed
I think this will happen right at the very beginning of the season.  There’s a reason.  As I said, I have already had the fate of Snow revealed spoiled by the Internet.  Gotta love insane fandom culture.  But, with that said, there has been a scene in the trailer showing some unknown soldiers fighting it out with soldiers with Targeryan crests on their armor.  I would bet a pretty penny that that is the flashback scene that they have said is coming.  At this point, the truth about Jon Snow’s lineage has been all but figured out by the Internet.  It’s been hinted a ton of times in the series.  Now I think we’ll get a definitive picture.  That’s another hint, by the way.  The fact is that when you have this mystery about Snow’s parentage being so up in the air for so long means that it’s important.  Now we will get to find out what it is.  That’s a great thing.  I bet it will be epic, too.  Seeing what happened in the Tower of Joy.

9. Jon Snow becomes leader of the wildlings
A scene in the trailer showed the wildlings fighting in a battle.  Now that there are thousands of them below the Wall, it’s clear that they are going to have to deal with the free folk now that they are settling down.  When Jon went to meet with the remaining wildlings, they called him “King Crow.”  If that isn’t foreshadowing, I don’t know what is.  These people respect him.  He came and gave them peace when they thought that it was all over.  He even fought beside them, to save them.  However he comes back (I do think he is dead.  But he will be coming back), it’s clear that he is going to leave the Night’s Watch.  Way I see it, he will be going back to them.  He found kinship among their people, and now has earned their respect.  One way or another, he will become a leader among them.  Maybe not the head honcho of the bunch, but still a respected leader behind Tormund

8. Tyrion befriends a dragon
One of the big things about the dragons in Mereen is the fact that they are there and not much is going on with them.  They can’t just leave the series.  Drogon will be dealing with what’s happening to the mother of the bunch and the dothraki.  I have a feeling that that dragon will bond with Jorah.  But I think that Tyrion is going to have some bonding time with the dragons there.  He has been going from strength to strength as the series has gone on.  The previous season had him staring at a dragon in awe and wonder.  That also is foreshadowing if I have ever seen it.  I get the feeling that he will be paying the dragons down in the dungeons a visit, and will make nice with them.  I suppose this is just wishful thinking, but it would still be awesome all the same.

7. Theon/Reek gets his honor back
One of the things that has been such a weird turnaround for this character has been his growth from a friend, to a cowardly traitor, to a broken slave.  Now, he has been given a chance to redeem himself when he saved Sansa.  I think that we’re going to start to like this character more when he is regaining is trying to protect her.  I think that we’re going to see him become more than he has been, and finally regain some of his honor.

6. The Hound returns
As I said, a character isn’t dead until you see their dead body.  When we last saw the Hound, he was being left for dead by Arya.  It was pretty understood that his chances for survival were something between nil and nada.  But we didn’t see him die, so he isn’t.  Given that his brother has been turned into a zombie, it only seems fitting that he is going to be the one who finally puts an end to that monster.  I get the feeling that in the months since we last saw him, he’s got himself some religion.  The fight between the two will be interesting.  You know, because the brother’s a zombie.

5. Sansa takes the throne at Winterfell, and gives Jon Snow his name
Last we saw of the forces loyal to the north, Sansa’s brother was declared the King in the North.  The people who followed him would hold to that.  Sansa will be looking to go to where the people are loyal to her.  She already knows that there are loyal forces in hiding.  If she finds them (and I’m convinced she does), they will see her as the next in the line of succession.  A king can give a person a bastard their name.  I think that Jon Snow is going to get the name he has always wanted from her.  Or, at the very least, the two will be reunited.  About time she had herself some good luck, eh?

4. Arya stays blind
One of the biggest upsets in the last season at the end was Arya losing her sight.  She had this amazing revenge moment.  It was something out of a slasher movie.  But her need for vengeance came at a cost.  Now she is going to have to learn to survive without her eyes.  I think that this is going to be a good thing.  She has become too consumed by her need for revenge.  Now she is going to be able to focus on other things.  Like becoming one of the Faceless Men.  I look forward to seeing how her story pans out.  She’s having a bad day, but it might be better for her in the long run.

3. Daenerys gets a valyrian blade
One of the things that has made each of the great Targeryan leaders what they are is the wielding over valyrian blades while they rode their dragons into battle.  Daenerys has been my least-favorite character throughout the series.  Her vanity bugs me.  She’s so damn smug.  Whenever her ability to lead is challenged by very rational problems, she falls back on the whole “mother of dragons” bullshit.  It’s frustrating.  I don’t get why she’s so popular.  She’s like a millennial.  All smug without having earned it.  It’s time for her to learn some humility.  I daresay, she’s in a situation where she might.  She’s going to FINALLY have to have her skills tested.  I think that her test will end with her wielding a blade that is to her namesake, with drogon being the champion she rides with.

2. War consumes King’s Landing
I think we all knew that this was coming.  The Faith Militant has been reinstated, and they are gaining ground.  We have already seen soldiers from Highgarden squaring off against them.  Lady Olena means business.  I kind of love her character.  She’s the most badass character in the whole series, and she’s old as fuck.  Her grandchildren mean everything to her, and she will do anything to protect them.  Meanwhile, Cersei is on the war-path with her enemies.  With another of her children dead (Maggy the Frog was a prophet!), she is going to be even more filled with unpleasant emotions.  Margery is in the Black Cells, and things are heating up worse and worse.  By the time this season is done, things are going to get ugly as it gets in King’s Landing.  Way I figure it, the place is going to be burning by the time this season is over.

And the biggest thing I think will happen this season is…

1. The Wall is coming down
We all know that it’s going to happen.  The only question is when.  What a perfect way to close out the season.  Everything is looking a little grim.  Things in the north are starting to settle when the Boltons are skinned in the same way as their banners.  Everything looks to be getting to a fever pitch.  Then, the army of the dead arrives at the Wall.  The Night’s Watch is fucked.  Especially now that Jon will be gone.  The Night’s King will do some kind of crazy magic shit, and the entire Wall is going to be coming down.  It would make for a spectacular way to close out the season,  It would set the stage for the War for the Dawn.  Way I figure it, it will either be this season or the next one, but a season is going to end with the Wall coming down.

So, what do you think is going to happen in the season to come?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“You’re in the great game now.  And the great game is terrifying.”  -Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

RAB: Obsessive Internet Culture

*Note: this post is going to contain some extreme spoilers about the end of season 5 of Game of Thrones.  If you do not want to hear it, please stop reading now*

A new trailer for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones dropped (linked here).  I was going to do a First Take post, but then I came across something on my Facebook feed the other day.  It was a post on some geeky page that I follow, where a person decided to post something that basically spoils the fuck out of the biggest question that has been getting on fans of this series nerves since the end of the last season.  I’ll give you five guess as to what.  It was right in the headline!  No click-bait bullshit to compel me.  That I could stay away from.  It was right in the friggin’ title!  So I knew what the post was trying to say the moment it appeared.  It was so frustrating!

I mean, it’s not like I didn’t figure this would happen.  I knew that after Jon Snow was stabbed to shit in the last season that he wouldn’t die.  There’s kind of a reason that you know a character isn’t dead until it’s official.  Plus, were you all watching the scene where Snow and the Night’s King were staring each other down?  That might as well have had a big neon sign saying, “This character is important!”  You had the Night’s King looking at Jon like he found his newest playmate.  Of course I knew that he wouldn’t be dead.  But when you have a post on a site where some obsessive person who has no ability to get outside goes through the trailer with a fine-toothed comb and spoils the answer, then it takes away all the build-up.  It would have been one of those things where viewers would be waiting on baited breath to see what happens to one of their favorite characters.  At least he’s one of mine.  I don’t know about the rest of you.  His character has gotten better and better as the years go by.  It’s pretty awesome.

Which makes me think about how obsessive Internet culture is.  Part of the huge ocean of YouTube stank is videos where people obsessively talk about and deconstruct stuff.  Makes one wonder if sunlight is a thing that people on the Internet know about.  Maybe it’s like the Yeti.  They’ve heard about it, but until they see it, it doesn’t exist.  It really is amazing.  How do people have so much time?  It’s like everyone is now so obsessed with the stuff they love that they have to make sure the every person out there knows how much they obsess over it all the time.

Granted, sometimes it is funny.  I’ll admit that I watch some channels for the express purpose of seeing them dissect stuff.  Until my new job starts, I have to have something to occupy my time.  But these people take it to the extreme!  There’s a fine line between the pretentious overanalyzing that I do and making it abundantly clear that the idea of you touching a sexual organ is an life-long ambition.

Don’t really have anything more to say about that.  It’s just really annoying.  Yeah, this was a random assortment of bullshit, wasn’t it?

Until next time, a quote,

“And now, here’s something you’ll really like!”  -Rocky, Rocky and Bullwinkle

Peace out,

Maverick