Why Everyone Should Re-Watch Game of Thrones

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Hey guys,
I wanted to send you a follow-up to your discussion on the small council. I don’t know if you read any emails outside of the viewer email episode. Even still, incase this could help with the final podcast (if these topics come up), consider it show prep free of charge . I re-watched the season this weekend (it’s a lot easier with only 7 episodes). Included are some foreshadowing highlight points from the episodes, an um-actually to big D, a retort to the shock-value deaths, and a perspective of how the show ends (no theories).

First off, GoT may go down as the most re-watchable series. As we all know, the 2nd or 3rd viewings in hindsight completely change your experience. Foreshadowing is rampant throughout the show. Prophecies, or simple one-liners made in jest, can have significantly different meanings the second time around. Going back to season 7, there weren’t a whole lot of subtle foreshadowing moments. There were obvious ones that we all saw having a meaning from the onset. These include:

Ep.1″ Archmaester Marwyn saying the wall has stood through it all
Ep.3″ Jon says I’m not a Stark as Drogon sweeps by
Ep.6″ Beric tells Jon You don’t look like your fathersuppose you favor your mother
I did notice, however, a few moments that took a new meaning during the re-watch.

Ep.1″ Thoros tells the hound You’re a grouchy old bear. We know Thoros dies from succumbing to his injuries from the polar bear. Or the Hound fails to intervene in time to save Thoros from the bear.

Ep.1″ Cersei says We’re the last Lannisters that count. Oh, what’s that, a baby you say? Well, hopefully he or she counts (if it is real and if it comes to term)
Ep.2″ At the very beginning in the war room, Dany looks onto the map and says Not so many lions while the camera focuses on the lion statuettes. 2 lions in focus up front, 1 out of focus behind them. Obviously, the 2 in the front are Jaime and Cersei. Is the third one Cersei’s baby or Tyrion (if he is indeed a traitor after all)?
Ep.5″ When Jaime enters Cersei’s chambers, Qyburn is whispering I can give you something in the background to which Cersei replies That won’t be necessary. Did he mean a Plan B pill? What else could he mean, since right after she tells Jaime she’s pregnant. Her being preggers must be real.
Ep.5″ Archmaester Marwyn and the other maester bridge club members cackling on about dumb prophecies includes Lodos who claimed the drowned God would rise up and destroy Aegon the Conqueror. They all laughed. GRRM loves for characters to get most of the prophecy correct but miss one part of it. Drowned god is Euron. Aegon the conqueror may be the new Aegon, Jon. Surely Euron isn’t badass enough to kill Jon, is he?
Second, a quick um-actually for Big D. He said they better bring back the Icelandic strongman as the Mountain. That was him. His name is Hafthor Bjornsson and you can see him in the behind the scenes extras in the Dragon Pit. He is 6’9 and Rory McCann (the Hound) is 6’6. But that big dumb helmet and armor doesn’t make him look like the menacing dude he is (black armor makes u seem thinner, or so I’ve heard). There have been 3 actors who played the Mountain. Conan Stevens was in season 1 at the jousting tournament. He is 7’1 and was towering over the Hound. I liked this casting the best: he looked like the Hounds older brother. Season 2 was Ian Whyte at Harrenhall who had some speaking lines that sounded like they came from a Mortal Kombat villain: not very good. He then went to play Wun-wun (much better casting, no true lines). And now it’s Hafthor who looks like the Hound’s younger, roided up Icelandic brother (well not anymore I guess). At only 3 inches taller than the Hound, he doesn’t tower over him like in the season 1 matchup. Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell) is 5’11, so the Mountain loomed over him nicely.
Third, Gene made a good point about surprise deaths just for the shock value. I have to slightly disagree. I wouldn’t want deaths just for shock value, but shock value with a reasonable meaning. Shock value is when Arya stabs Rorge when she is with the Hound. If that happened to a main character, we would all be pissed. If Arya was sentenced to death by Sansa this season in the presence of Bran, it wouldn’t make any sense. (Isaac Hempstead, the actor who played Bran, did an interview for some magazine where he said they shot a Sansa-Bran scene for the finale, but it got cut. Damn these writers. What’s an extra 2 minutes? Ughhh.) But shocking deaths that have meaning have a different word I’d usememorable.

Which episodes would you consider the most memorable of the entire series? Most people would consider these the top 8 in no particular order: Rains of Castamere, Blackwater, Hardhome, Baelor, Winds of Winter, Battle of the Bastards, Lion and the Rose, and the Children (with an honorable mention to The Door. R.I.P. Hodor). There are two themes that encompass all of these episodes: a great battle, or a main character death. These aren’t shock deaths; they’re as if you can see them coming only for enough time to brace for impact. The 2 most memorable deaths are of course the Red Wedding and Ned. The good guys that our social norm has taught us shouldn’t die. Imagine if Jaime had died when he rushed Daenerys in the Burninator battle. In the midst of every soldier withering to ash around him, he charges forward to put an end to the terror. He is going to stop the ruler who wants to burn them all (Mad King callback). Jamie is the knight he always wanted to be in that moment. The music and slow motion looms as Tyrion pleads with him to retreat. In an instant, the dragon comes down and brings it all to an end in a flash. Spoils of War is most likely the best episode of this season, but imagine if it gave us a main character death the likes of Jaime Lannister. It would go down as one of the most memorable in history. Or in the final episode, Cersei nods to the Mountain to execute Jamie. She told Jaime in episode 5 to never betray me again after his meeting with Tyrion. He betrayed her again when he walked away in the finale. It would have been a shocking death with reasoning, albeit not as grandiose as a battle death. Instead, the showrunners are teasing us with good guy deaths now. I would expect that from any other fantasy tale; the worst possible situations abound but they’ll manage to come through it. But not Game of Thrones. This show has continuously found the courage to kill off fan favorites in the past, but not anymore. Hence my bloodlust; I don’t want good guys to unreasonably find an escape route. But deep down inside, as you said Gene, you secretly root against deaths in the moment. We want the good guys to win. Especially in the current climate of superhero media supremacy, we all expect and want a story to conform to the typical fantasy plot. That’s what makes a Ned Stark or Red Wedding death scene so socially ubiquitous. It’s the thing everyone talks about. It’s memorable. And we didn’t get one this season.

Finally, I wanted to comment on your question: How do people want this to end? I’m in complete agreement with Big D. Not happy, not bleak, but a combination of the two. In a perfect world, I would want it to have the same tone as the ending to the Road: hope and despair. That was the perfect ending in my opinion:(SPOILERS) the father spent the whole time trying to protect his son from people who were following them. He inevitably dies (we knew he would but hoped against hope he wouldn’t), and the son is saved by people who followed them(SPOILERS OVER). Beautiful. But you’re right, Gene, people want a happy ending. For as much as they are in awe of GoT for its nonconformity to tradition, deep down they want to believe it all turns out okay. We yearn for social justice wherein the good guys win in the end. Imagine if in the end Cersei or the Night Kings wins. A LOT of people would be pissed off. What a ballsy choice that would be. The good guys don’t always win, and to display that on such a highly watched show would take some serious cojones. We have every other story out there to be happy about. I would fully appreciate a groundbreaking show like this to break ground one last time and not give us what we think will inevitably come. Sad endings haven’t been mainstream in media for a long time, especially in the last 20 years. No movies end like Chinatown or Memento anymore. Popular fan consensus on wanting a good ending may drive executives to demand it. Another viewpoint may be that if it ends on a bleak note, GRRM still has two books to deliver. Aside from the hardcore readers, would the public want to buy a book they know has a sad ending?

In the end, I just hope they can pull together a final season and a series finale on the level of Breaking Bad and the Wire: some happy, some tragic, and everything fitting. Let’s hope they don’t go in the direction of a Lost type finale that leaves so many questions unanswered. I can’t imagine it being in the vain of True Blood or Dexter where everything either got boring or didn’t make sense. And so help me God if we get a Sopranos fade to black ending with a GoT styled Don’t Stop Believing. I’ll be at Best Buy the next day buying a new TV, seeing as I will have thrown the remote, kicked, punched, and most likely set mine ablaze.

Great stuff as always guys! Take˜er easy dude (Goes to make a White Russian).

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