Monday, June 8, 2015

Game of Thrones Quick Episode Discussion/Review - Season 5, Episode 9, "The Dance of Dragons"

With the title, it was obviously looking like it was going to be a Daenerys-heavy episode, but now that Tyrion is in the mix, I wasn't dreading it like I had for the past 1-2 seasons.

Also, historically, episode 9 has been the "King Shit" episode of the Game of Thrones season. The first season it was Baelor, with the execution of Ned Stark. Season two, episode 9 was the battle of Blackwater, which gave us some of the best King's Landing scenes in the whole show. Season three yielded The Rains of Castamere and the Red Wedding. And last season's ninth episode was the longest episode in series history, and probably the most epic: the defense of The Wall against the wildling horde.

Would this season's ninth episode live up to its predecessors?

Ehh...not really.

Dorne was kind of fun this time.

I like Prince Doran Martell. He seems like how I would be if I were some form of royalty: methodical, thoughtful, not doing a whole lot of moving around. His "negotiation" with Jamie and Ellaria was entertaining if predictably boring. And Bronn's price for freedom made me laugh out loud.

And Tyene is still a babe. I wonder if her seduction of Bronn will have further implications, or if it was just for fun. I'm not upset either way.

I don't understand Ellaria though. She's like totally over her plot now? Or she's still playing coy and plans to yet exact her revenge? And are the three Sand Snakes over it? I just, I don't understand.

Good to know that the writers were comfortable making Meryn Trant an all-around terrible shit.

My guess is he's not long for this world, though. Also, am I wrong in thinking that Mace Tyrell coming to an accord with the Iron Bank was a relevant event that got kind of glazed over?

Aww, Shireen.

I haven't checked Reddit yet, but my guess is that Stannis lost every fan he had. Religious fanatics eventually act fanatical. Every ounce of goodwill he generated this season burned up with Shireen. I don't know what Davos is going to do; I have to think he'll be utterly crushed. I know that Book Davos has all sorts of fun stuff on the docket, and this event maybe releases him from Stannis to go do those things. If we hear anything about Wyman Manderly in episode 10, I'll be jazzed.

Jorah's not a great fighter.

He kept getting saved by luck or opportunity while he was in the fighting pit. I'm okay with it because Jorah's supposed to be like 60 years old and not terribly nimble, but it certainly makes for some frustrating TV. The one advantage to it is that, with Jorah's greyscale, his mortality is completely on the table. So there was always the possibility that he would actually be killed in the pits, adding drama and tension. Still, because the greyscale doesn't seem to have "served a purpose" yet, I felt like he was safe until we know why he has greyscale. Not like how he got it, but why the writers gave it to him.

Which leaves us with...

Guess who's back. Back again. Drogon's back. Tell your- OH GOD I'M ON FIRE!!!

Look, I knew it was coming. The books have something similar happen, except the circumstances are less heroic for Drogon. Him showing up to save the day as the Sons of the Harpy close in on Daenerys was great TV, and I mean, a dragon is a dragon. Skyrim nailed dragons, and Game of Thrones is doing a good job as well.

I liked how the scene built up, how the Unsullied were actually effective in combat against these assassins this time (cough cough Barristan and Grey Worm cough cough), and I actually, for the first time, liked Daario's comments and posture. But there's a weakness here that kind of gets ignored, maybe because so many show-watchers are also book-readers, or maybe because people just don't care that much about villains. But I have no idea who the Sons of the Harpy are.

Okay, that's not true. I know they're folks who don't like that Daenerys is ruling Meereen, and they have some level of preference for slavery. But like, are they from Meereen? Are they from the other cities in Slavers' Bay? Do they have demands? Are they "represented" by other people, people who serve in some official capacity? Do they have only a solitary goal of deposing Dany? Do they have leaders? There seem to be a lot of them, which means tons of these masks are getting made. Is anybody looking into them? It seems insane to think that a terrorist group with high-level kills on record would be treated like just some other gang. They found the one guy hiding in the wall, and that's the extent of their investigation?

That's the part of the story in Meereen that doesn't jive for me. I need my villains to have motivations, reasons, some kind of explanation for their behavior. Tywin had a reason. Roose Bolton had a reason. Walder Frey had a reason. At this point, we even have a rough idea of what the White Walkers want (the death of everyone and everything). But the Sons of the Harpy haven't been given depth at all. So to me, they're still basically just psychopathic killers, without any end in mind. And that doesn't work for me.

Looking forward to episode 10...

I'm hoping that, since this episode nine was a little lacking, episode ten will be strong. I'm expecting Arya to find a way to kill Meryn Trant, Cersei to receive punishment for her "crimes," Tyrion to start managing Meereen, something to happen at The Wall (no spoilers), and some sort of payoff between the Boltons and Stannis' army.

We'll see what actually happens.

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