Monthly Archives: September 2016

Game of Thrones Season 6 Review: Worst Moments

Despite having improved from last season, there were still many storylines and character moments that were a complete miss this season. Whether it was the filler episodes or the cartoonish villains, Season Six proved that Game of Thrones is far from overcoming some of their missteps in later seasons.

Ramsay

Ramsay’s characterisation this season was one of my least favourite things. Iwan Rheon plays him brilliantly, but his villainous nature was established way back in season 3. We didn’t need more reminders as to why we disliked the character this season, and all of his actions of violence felt far too gratuitous and unnecessary, and it was far too obvious that they were just there for shock value rather than part of any decent storyline. Even genuinely shocking moments such as Ramsay killing his father Roose were not properly expanded on, and it would have been far more interesting to have a scene in which Ramsay reflects on killing the man whose validation he’s craved for years, rather than setting his dogs on Walda and her child.Through Ramsay they wasted the character potential of Osha and Rickon, bringing them back only to kill them off without hearing about what they’ve been through since season 3 was a missed opportunity,   Ramsay was simply a cartoon villain this season, and it feels like the writers wasted the last season they had with his character just for some shock value and cheers when he finally got killed off.

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Dorne

This plotline annoys me far too much to get it all down in a short paragraph, but I will never understand if the purpose of Dorne was for them to end up supporting Daenerys, like the characters do in the books, then there was no reason for the mess the writers created the past two seasons. They didn’t need to kill of Doran, and they could have incorporated at least parts of his plan from the books, and end the season in the same way, with Dorne’s army sailing towards Westeros with Daenerys. They simply ruined it. At least the writers understood the backlash towards Dorne, and only included the Dornish characters in two episodes this season. There are so many problems with Dorne, and I do plan on writing a whole post about it.

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Rickon Stark

Moments like Rickon’s death  in ‘Battle of the Bastards’ were sad, but even then it was hard to feel attached to a character they brought back and gave zero lines to this season. Rickon wasn’t a character, he was a plot device, simply a way to get Jon to charge first. They didn’t bother fleshing his character out at all, and it seemed a waste to kill off an unused character just for shock value. The reintroduction of his character was just another wasted opportunity.

Euron Greyjoy

Compared to Dorne, the focus on the Iron Islanders wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It wasn’t terrible, but it was certainly disappointing. It was great to see Yara again after the mess of the episode she appeared in in Season 4, and while diverging from the books I didn’t mind Theon being back home and it give him some character development after the hell he was put through. They only introduced one new character for this plotline, and it was just.. underwhelming. I’m not a massive fan of the new Greyjoy characters introduced in A Feast for Crows, but I know there are many fans who love Euron Greyjoy’s character and I can understand why.  His entrance in the Kingsmoot is dramatic, and whether you like him or not he’s the character who captures your attention. Not including the Dragon Horn either was an odd choice for them to make, as not only does it cause him to gather more support, it makes for an incredibly dramatic entrance for this character. I can accept the change they made in directly showing Euron killing Balon as the first time the audience is introduced to him, but to me it didn’t make sense why Euron would admit to killing Balon so openly. It made far more sense for Balon’s death to be viewed as an accident by the rest of the Iron Islanders, and it was one of a number of decisions that didn’t make sense in that storyline. Yara and Theon escaping so quickly without anyone noticing and stopping them, as well as Euron’s plan to build a thousand ships with the few men he had left on the Iron Islands just didn’t make sense. Game of Thrones had a serious villain problem this year, and instead of a character that should have been interesting to watch, whether you liked him or not, we just got another cartoonish villain that no one took seriously.

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Meereen

With Daenerys away from Meereen for the majority of the season, the person left to carry the storyline was Tyrion. For me, it was one of the most dull parts of the season. Peter Dinklage is always consistently great in his role as Tyrion, but he got his worst material so far. His storyline this season just consisted of drinking and making awkward jokes with Missandei and Greyworm.  Not even Varys could save it, and it just wasted all the storylines they could have done. Killing off Barristan Selmy last season proved to be a mistake, and I’m still bitter that we won’t get to see his character taking charge. Meereen is far from perfect in the books, but I was never counting the minutes until their chapters were over, unlike the scenes this season. There was a nice scene with Tyrion meeting Daenerys’s dragons, using a story from the books that was nicely incorporated and no doubt led to more people believing Tyrion is a secret Targaryen. Peter Dinklage receiving an Emmy nomination this season therefore felt a little undeserved, as they could have given another actor a nomination. Someone like Iwan Rheon, despite the issues I had with Ramsay this season made Ramsay terrifying and one of the most memorable characters on the show, deserved a nomination for his last season on the show.

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Arya

I’ve already said that many parts of this season were just underwhelming ,and this storyline was definitely one of them. Since Arya has gone to Braavos  it has highlighted how messy the writers make the show when adapting a trickier storyline from the books, such as this one. Arya spent these past two seasons training in a storyline that felt it wasn’t really going anywhere. Lady Crane was a nice character to be introduced, but it wasn’t enough to save the plot. The performance of the events at the Purple Wedding were a better part of Braavos, it was interesting to see how everyone else would view the events in King’s Landing. However, the scenes went on far too long and just appeared to be filler  moments until they could do a dramatic event at the end of the season. Arya disobeying the orders of the Faceless Men was fine enough, but at the the end of ‘The  Broken Man’ the show got ridiculous. Arya strolled around the streets, happily booking her passage home and stopped and admired the view in Braavos. It didn’t make sense that she wasn’t on the run or in hiding. Arya would know the Faceless Men would be after her, and could be anyone she spoke to. But it was the Waif stabbing Arya numerous times, Arya falling off a bridge, the Waif not checking if she was really dead that bothered me. Soon after the episode aired, theories began emerging that Arya planned it and it wasn’t really her and so when next week’s episode ‘No One’ aired everyone wondered what would be revealed. But, no. The plot was just that disappointing,and did nothing to contradict it in one of the season’s worst episodes. Arya somehow magically survived her stab wounds enough to run and jump around the streets of Braavos while being chased, then somehow still had enough energy to fight and kill the Waif. It was one of the show’s laughable moments, and I think that everyone is finally relieved to have Arya away from that storyline now.

 

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Riverrun

I was pleasantly surprised that the show included the Siege at Riverrun, the storyline being one of my favourites from the books. It’s crucial to Jaime’s character development, his relationship with Cersei, as well as making clear of the effects of the Red Wedding and how the conflicts have affected Westeros. I expected to be disappointed, but this shouldn’t have made it on my worse moments of Season Six.First of all, many people who watch the show won’t remember any of the Tully characters like the Blackfish or Edmure. I can’t remember anyone mentioning them since the end of Season Three, and to have them shoved back in just so Jamie and Cersei could be apart for the tial wasn’t good enough. This would have worked a lot better last season, instead of sending Jaime off to the complete shit that was Dorne. The siege itself roughly followed the books, apart from one crucial moment. Killing the Blackfish offscreen. The Blackfish is still alive in the books, and I can understand why the show didn’t necessarily want him to escape in the same way. Even so, with Brienne turning up and trying to get the Blackfish and his army to join Sansa, it would have been better if the Blackfish realised his home was lost and joined Brienne and Pod back to Winterfell. They could have had him return for the Battle of the Bastards, and given him a good battle scene before killing him off if they wanted to. They cast the Blackfish so well, and Clive Russell is a fantastic actor, so this whole storyline just seemed like another wasted opportunity, that had potential for better character moments.

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Episode rating lowest to highest:

The Red Woman

No one

Blood of my blood

Oath breaker

The Broken Man

Book of the Stranger

The Door

Battle of the Bastards

The Winds of Winter

(Also, WHY STILL NO LADY STONEHEART??)

Sarah

 

 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Review: Best moments

(Warning: this post contains spoilers for Season Six , as well as moments from the books)

There was point last year where I considered not watching game of thrones anymore. I hoped, as did everyone that the Winds of Winter would be published before Season Six premiered, and then I could watch the show, with the show and the books being caught up.Season Five, was simply a mess. Even those who haven’t read the books still noticed a drop in the storytelling and the direction the show was taking. The decisions the show runners made in a lot of cases didn’t make sense, and the changes from the book seemed to have no logical reason behind it (i.e Dorne and Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay)

My expectations were low. The endless media stream of how this season was ‘the best yet’ only reminded me of the hopes I’d had for characters last season that were ultimately dashed. I decided to keep watching, because regardless I was going to find out on the internet what happened, and knew my curiosity would get the better of me.

 

 

Best Moments

Every scene with Lyanna Mormont.

A character we have yet to properly meet in the books, she simply stole every scene she was in.  You have to give all the credit to the casting director  who manages to find all the best child actors. I’d much rather have her ruling the Iron Throne than Daenerys.The character was a big hit with the fans, and I want to see more of her in Season 7.

R+L=J

At this point there wasn’t any doubt by numerous fans that this theory wasn’t true. It all made sense, and it was great to finally have it confirmed on the show. They did the Tower of Joy perfectly, and again the casting was fantastic. They found the perfect actor to play a young Ned, and Lyanna as well Arthur Dayne. They kept the main quotes from the books, and the heart-breaking ‘Promise me Ned’. The only issue I have with this scene was that they didn’t say Rhaegar’s name when Lyanna gave the baby to Ned, and so I think some show watchers many not have understood who the father was at first.

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Best episode of the season: Battle of the Bastards /Home/ The Winds of Winter= Overall The Winds of Winter

It would be easy to name the’ Battle of the Bastards’ the best episode of the season, with many already claiming it’s the best episode of the show yet. I can understand why, it was exhilarating to watch, bloody, brutal and brilliant. Miguel Sapochnik masterfully directed the best fight scenes I’ve seen on television, a long unbroken shot at the same level as Jon making the audience feel as if they’re on the battlefield with him, getting a very real image of how the battle is quickly engulfed in chaos.  The pile of bodies is a reminded throughout of the horrific cost of war, and the episode doesn’t glorify it at all. As a watching experience, this could be the best episode of the show.  However looking into the plot and rewatching it again, highlights the weakness of the plot in comparison to the other battle episodes. Either Jon or Ramsay was going to win, and whoever lost was going to die. It was unlikely they would kill Jon off again after the end to last season, and everyone predicted that Littlefinger and Sansa would save the day. Apart from Ramsay and Smalljon Umber there were no characters on the other side we knew, and the two we did you despised. The Battle of Blackwater in season 2 is my favourite because you have conflicted feelings regarding both sides of the battle. There were no real heroes or villains, whereas this episode showed clearly who the good guys were, and who were the bad guys.. In terms of production and visuals, this episode was the best o the season. It was an incredible viewing experience, but looking at the narrative compared to other episodes, it fell short.

 

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Home

After the first episode of the season, my low expectations for season six didn’t change until next week’s episode, ‘Home’. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an episode that I genuinely enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised at throughout.We finally saw Jon’s resurrection, the reintroduction of the Iron Islands storyline and the brief moments we got of Euron were nowhere near as disappointing as the introduction of the Dorne storyline. Balon, a character I thought the show had completely discarded was finally killed off, as he should have been a long time ago. The Ramsay storyline was the only weak point for me, as explained later on. After that the show pleasantly surprised me more than it disappointed me, and this was in large part due to the show branching out and not following the books, or poorly adapting parts, not leaving many disappointing moments for book readers, or plots that didn’t make sense or were expanded on properly. Was ‘Home’ one of the best episodes of the season? No. But I do rank it highly than episodes with far more important and dramatic moments because it proved the show was on a better path this season, and even straying from the books could lead to an enjoyable, mostly well written episode of television.

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The Winds of Winter

The morning after this episode came out I was staying at a friend’s house before I went on holiday that morning. I woke up at about 6am, and just put my headphones in and quietly watched the episode on my phone. I knew that the finale was not something I wanted to be spoiled, especially when I wasn’t certain I would be able to watch it while I was away.  This s the episode I think I’m most grateful not to have been spoiled, because ‘The Winds of Winter‘ is just an incredibly intense episode of television that managed to anger, amaze and frustrate me. Miguel Sapochnik also directed this episode, and I’m sad to hear he’s not directing anything in Season 7 because I want him to direct all the episodes on the show. All the directors bring their own talents to their episodes, but he just makes every look better. This episode didn’t feature the battle scenes of ‘The Battle of the Bastards‘ but Miguel Sapochnik makes the smaller, quiet feel just as intense. The trail was wonderfully executed and edited, between Margaery and Loras at the trail, Cersei watching from her balcony, Pycelle meeting his end by Qyburn and his little birds, and Lancel discovering the wildfire while it was too late. I expected Cersei to blow up the sept, but the loss of so many characters in 20 minutes was unexpected. I really expected Margaery to live and get out. Margaery was arguably my favourite character on the show, and I’m sad to see her go. I wished we got to see more of her plan for the High Sparrow, but I’m glad she went out still being more intelligent and observant than everyone else, and trying to protect her family. Jon being titled King of the North was a nice callback to Robb at the end of Season One, but I really hope Sansa rules over the North in the end. The ending shot was maybe a bit predictable, but it’s about time Daenerys set sail for Westeros, so Season 7 is already looking interesting.

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The Hound

Ian McShane spoiled the return of the Hound in interviews before the season started but it was still an incredibly enjoyable moment to see the cold open in ‘The Broken Man’ showing us the return of a character everyone thought was dead at the end of Season Four .  Ian McShane’ character Brother Ray (who I will always just refer to as Septon Meribald) gave a nice speech to the community in this episode, but due to the episode title, a lot of ans, myself included were expecting the incredible ‘Broken Men’ speech Septon Meribald gives in A Feast For Crows. Even so, they merged parts of the book quite well in this storyline, and it’s good to have the Hound back on the show and I’m intrigued to see what direction this character will go in. (Seriously though please give us CleganeBowl in some form)

The improvement of Bran’s storyline 

Bran’s storyline for the first time, was interesting. I don’t dislike Bran, but I’ve never found his story as engaging as others in the books as well as the show. It was a smart move to keep him out of the uneven last season, and his return and the application of his abilities meant I actually cared when he was on-screen. Bran can show the audience significant moments from the past, and now being the three eyed raven makes his character more crucial, made evident in the interactions with the Night’s King that are bound to be developed further, and witnessing the Tower of Joy and the revelation that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Even smaller moments such as watching young Ned and Lyanna at Winterfell were still just as great to see and I hope we see more flashbacks next season.

 

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Sansa and Jon’s reunion

This scene was so emotional, I couldn’t help but tear up during it. For so long the Starks have been separated, and to finally have two of them reunited was something so unexpected.  Sansa and Jon had never shared a scene previously on the show, and  yet Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner portrayed the relief and shock perfectly. On a show filled with dark moments, especially for the Starks, having a simple moment of happiness for these two characters who have suffered so much was beautiful to watch. Their relationship this season was one of the show’s highlights, and I really hope they stay united next year.

 

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Hodor 

No one will ever see the phrase ‘Hold the door’ in the same way again. George RR Martin revealed this moment to the show’s writers, and they pulled it off in the most heartbreaking and memorable way. Hodor isn’t a character that people are attached to in the same way they are to characters like Jaime or Sansa, but his character was always a constant comforting presence. Hodor was always a fixture in the background, and to show the origin of his name and the part Bran played in causing it all was one of the season’s most surprising moments. Hodor was a loyal and good-natured character until the end, and Game of Thrones made this episode one fans won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Music

I love composer Ramin Djawadi’s score on this show, but in ‘The Winds of Winter‘  alone he produced the best pieces of music on the show so far. The opening sequence of all the characters getting ready for the trial in King’s Landing was stunning, and as the trail started and the events unfolded, the music just managed to heighten everything and the sense of dread and unknown at what was going to occur. The piece of music ‘Light of the Seven‘ is hauntingly beautiful and the trial sequence would have been nowhere near as powerful without the music building up to the dramatic climax of the Sept blowing up. The other piece of music, titled ‘Hear me Roar‘ played over Cersei’s coronation blends together music from ‘Light of the Seven‘ and last season’s ‘Atonement‘. It’s dark, and fits the scene perfectly as Cersei becomes Queen. ‘Tower of Joy‘ is another heart wrenching piece that plays when Ned discovers Lyanna.

 

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Overall this season was a much better improvement compared to last year, and showed they know how to create some of the most memorable moments of television. The casting, directing, and acting are always consistently fantastic, with actors like Sophie Turner, Kit Harrington, Alfie Allen, Lena Headey (and of course, Bella Ramsey) bringing the best performances this season.

The next part looking at the weaker points of Season Six should hopefully be up next week!

Sarah