Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Game of Thrones Quick Episode Discussion/Review - Season 5, Episode 4, "Sons of the Harpy"

Apologies again for the delay, I'm still trying to catch up on sleep/rest/sobriety. Let's leap right into the discussion points; they're going to be a bit more extensive this week.

Watching Tommen try to be king is almost as uncomfortable as it must be for Tommen to actually be king.

Say what you will about Robert Baratheon. He was a lecher, a drunk, and an overall brutal individual, but he would've never tolerated this Sparrow bullshit on his watch. His guards even seemed to know that a show of strength was necessary, but Tommen the Soft (as I've decided to call him) just slunk away. Tywin was a horrible person, but he did manage to keep the city in line. Tommen couldn't control his bladder. And that guy gets to bang Margaery on the regular? A classic story of being born into privilege, I guess.

The exchange between Jamie and Bronn was almost as boring as the exchange between Jorah and Tyrion.

Jamie and Bronn at least had some entertaining lines. But in both circumstances, we were supposed to believe that Bronn/Tyrion is clever for deducing a particular aspect of their traveling companion's story. I didn't find either one surprising or interesting or clever. It was a lazy way of having the one guy "learn" information about the other without the information needing to be specifically shared by someone who wouldn't want to share it.

Also, the conversation between Tyrion and Jorah was utterly unnecessary for the rest of this episode. It should've been jammed in with other, more relevant content. This plays into my fifth discussion point, so stay tuned.

I don't care about the "Sand Snakes."

I know they're supposed to be alluring or badass or both, but they just struck me as petulant children, which I guess they kind of are. They're upset that their father is dead; that I can empathize with. And they live in a world where death happens all the time, so vengeance isn't completely outrageous. Valar morghulis, after all. But for children of a prince, they seem to have no sense of the political ramifications of their planned actions. Furthermore, Ellaria Sand knew exactly what Oberyn was doing when he chose to volunteer to fight for Tyrion. She knew Oberyn was fighting a titan in the Mountain, and that his death was possible. Now she's all whiny about him dying? Skank.

Bitches need to listen to Prince Doran. The man's a Starfleet doctor for crying out loud.

While he was (and still is) vital to the books' progression, Barristan Selmy was completely expendable in the show, and I didn't feel particularly affected by his death (?).

I'm assuming he is in fact dead; he appears as such at the end of the episode, and the reactions around the Internet seem to confirm that. In the book, he fills the role of adviser after Jorah's departure, while Daario fills other..."roles." But in the show, he just seems much older, not as far as age, but in that he's always telling stories about how it used to be. And while they kept telling us how great a fighter he was, we saw him in all of one battle. And he died in it.

All of this leads into my final point...

This show should have 20-episode seasons.

Seasons 1 through 3 were conducted with the elegance of a painter. Season 4 was still good. Season 5 seems to be delivered with a hammer. And not a good hammer like, "Beric Dondarrion died but is alive again!" But like, "Here's information. Here's more information. This character likes this character but doesn't like this character. Facts facts joke facts."

Also, I mean, can we appreciate that it took them about four seasons to get through three and a half books, and now suddenly it looks like we're pushing the rest of book four and all of book five into season five of the show? This can't be by choice; certain stories go together, and there are certain logical ending points for each story within each season. So sometimes, you would need to rush to get to the end of a particular storyline "in time" in a ten episode season.

But beyond that, we're dealing with a lot of new characters, and a lot of old characters in new situations. A bit more exposition to really give us a three-dimensional impression of each character's current status would be wildly helpful; we cared about the Red Wedding because we'd had so much time with Robb and Catelyn. When Barristan Selmy died, it didn't feel like we were losing an important character; it felt like we were losing a guard, because that's all we've really seen of him. But if we had, say, 18 episodes this season, we could've spent more time watching a slow decay of order in the city of Meereen, and more time learning about Barristan, his motivations, what he cares about, and what kind of guy he is. As it is, we got an alley fight.

I feel like Robb Stark when he's talking to Edmure. "Now I have a mill."

Anyways, there are still a lot of interesting questions that give me and my fellow book readers stuff to discuss. We've got some endgames that we still don't know, like Tyrion, Stannis, etc., so the show still has a lot of ways it can re-invigorate me. But there's a lot that's getting swept away, and I'm not liking it.

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