Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6 Review: Where Do We Go from Here?

In these below average reviews/recaps I’ve been doing for the final season of Game of Thrones, I have stuck to a certain structure. I usually give you my overall thoughts, I summarize what happened in the episode, and then I leave with a few parting words.

I’m not going to do that this time around. I’m just going to knock out the spoilers right at the get-go and then just mope a bit.

Side note: I should probably change the title of this post, but I like the consistency.

Here are the spoiler moments for this episode:

  • Dany does in fact officially go Mad Queen
  • Jon, with some advice from Tyrion, kills Dany in the Throne Room.
  • Bran becomes the King of the Six Kingdoms (with Sansa as the Queen of an independent North.
  • Jon is sentenced to the Night’s Watch (once again) as punishment for killing Daenerys.

I’m not actively bothered by any of these plot points. Time is the one thing that’s eating at me. I don’t think enough time went into this season.

Well, in terms of manpower and filming, I’m sure a lot of time went into making this season.

But in terms of the story, I don’t think we had enough time to say good-bye.

In the span of a single season, we saw the fight against the White Walkers, the overturning of Cersei Lannister, the ascension of Daenerys Targaryen, Daenerys’ murder, the upheaval of Westeros’ political system, and resolutions for most of the major characters.

And those last four points happened in this final episode.

It wasn’t enough time to do these characters justice. In my previous posts, I held back from any criticizing because I didn’t want to come across like a petulant fandom that is rife with toxicity.

And I’m not saying that there should be a redo of Season 8.

I just wish the ending had been drawn out a little bit. These last six episodes of Game of Thrones feel so rushed compared to what the first six episodes felt like. And I do miss that feeling of slow build-up, that measured pacing before a final explosion of plot-action.

Regardless, I would still recommend Game of Thrones to anybody. This episode still had its highlights thanks to phenomenal characters played by phenomenal actors.

Side note: Tyrion stole the show in this final episode.

I rate Game of Thrones a…

You know what?

I’ll rate this some other time.

I need to recuperate.

Not only from that ending, but from the fact that the one television show I tuned in for regularly is now over.

What’s next?


Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Review: Turning the Tables on Fate

As I write this, I know that people are going to be steamed at Game of Thrones. This latest episode, “The Bells,” is an emotional wringer. Characters die, and some of their deaths spit in the face of some rampant fan theories. I checked on Twitter to see general reactions, and a lot of people seem pissed that all this character development has “gone to waste.”

That’s the phrase I keep seeing.

“Gone to waste.”

I don’t think that.

Now, I’m not saying I was thrilled to see the destruction in this episode. But I do not think that a single part of the show has “gone to waste.”

One of the things I like about Game of Thrones is the idea that fate is just a word. Sure, beings like the Red God or the Three-Eyed Raven occasionally swagger forward throwing their weight around, but at the end of the day, death is the only sure thing in this world. Magic and miracles are fickle.

Death doesn’t care whether you grew as a person, got your revenge, or met the love of your life. It just is.

So even though Episode 5 of this season wiped out a bunch of main characters, I do not feel as if the whole show has “gone to waste.”

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

So the episode opens with Dany still mourning the loss of Missandei back on Dragonstone. She has not been eating or sleeping. She has been keeping to herself.

I felt terribly sorry for her while watching this because no one goes to her to comfort her or be with her in her hour of need. Her isolation is an awful thing, and I wish someone could have reached out to her.

Varys is taking this opportunity to write letters. Who these letters are for exactly is unknown. We do know that each letter basically contains the secret of Jon’s birth. Apparently, Varys is doing more than talking about betraying Dany. He is actually betraying her.

Tyrion decides to remain loyal to his queen. He tells her that Varys has betrayed her.

As if to underscore that point, when Jon arrives at Dragonstone, Varys approaches him and not-so-subtly tells him that he should be king. Thankfully, Jon remains his loyal self and tells Varys he is loyal to his queen.

However, when Jon goes to see Dany, she is clearly a wreck. She sits alone at a fire with a very uncommunicative Grey Worm nearby. When Jon comes in, she tells him of Varys’ betrayal and, perhaps for the last time, reaches out to Jon. Jon maintains his loyalty to her, but knowing that she is his aunt prevents him (damn) from comforting her in other ways.

Later that night, Varys is arrested by the Unsullied. He’s taken to the beach where Dany, Tyrion, and Jon are waiting.

Yes, you guessed it. Varys is put to death for treason against the queen.

It was a very sad moment because you know that Varys is acting for what he believes to be the good of the realm. When I first saw this moment, however, I couldn’t help thinking about how ardently he used to promote Dany’s cause. His betrayal felt sudden, and I couldn’t blame Dany for wanting to punish him.

Though maybe Dany should consider another form of execution instead of roasting people alive with Drogon all the time.

Just before Dany’s assault on King’s Landing begins, Tyrion begs her to keep the common people in mind, the innocents of the city. He tells her that the bells of King’s Landing will ring when Cersei’s forces have surrendered. If they do ring, Tyrion pleads for Dany to stop her attack on the city. Dany nods once.

Now, Jaime, if you recall, left Winterfell and Brienne to return to King’s Landing and Cersei. He got himself caught by Dany’s forces outside of the city. Dany tells Tyrion about this, and of course, the first thing Tyrion does when he reaches the army’s encampment is find his older brother.

What follows is one of the most emotional scenes in the whole episode. (And there are a lot of emotional scenes.)

Tyrion knows that Jaime is going back to King’s Landing to rescue Cersei or die trying. Tyrion knows that Cersei is a tyrant that Jaime can’t help loving.

But he releases him anyways.

They hug each other one last time, and Tyrion tells Jaime that he (Jaime) is the one person in his (Tyrion’s) life who has never thought of him as a monster. Then they part ways.

The day of the battle arrives, and I honestly thought things were going to go terribly for Dany’s side. Their forces were severely depleted after their fight with the Night King, only one of the original three dragons remains, and the defending army is bolstered by the Golden Company and the Iron Fleet.

But Game of Thrones got me.

Once Dany arrived with Drogon, King’s Landing was doomed.

Drogon set all the scorpions on fire. The battlements never stood a chance. He and Dany just flew by so quickly. The Iron Fleet posed no threat either. Drogon set those poor wooden ships ablaze in seconds. And the Golden Company? They were incinerated.

Eventually, the Lannister forces throw down their arms because they realize how futile it is to fight against a dragon when all you really have are swords. Cersei can only watch in displeasure as the bells of King’s Landing are rung.

Here’s the thing.

Even though the bells were rung signalling the surrender of King’s Landing, Dany decides to burn them all anyway. She starts taking Drogon on strafing runs over the entire city, over soldiers and innocents alike.

Poor Jon Snow, who was leading the Northern forces through the city, has to watch as the scene devolves into chaos. Soldiers on his side, the “good guys,” start rampaging through the streets, slaughtering women and children. Jon actually has to kill one of his own men who was trying to rape a woman.

Aside from seeing Daenerys’ face as she makes the decision to destroy everything, we don’t see her expression at all once she begins. The rest of the slaughter is seen from the perspective of the people on the streets.

However, back at the Red Keep, Cersei is finally persuaded by Qyburn to get the hell out of dodge. She, Qyburn, and the Mountain descend the stairs, hoping to reach Maegor’s Holdfast and survive the onslaught.

Two parties are trying to reach Cersei specifically at this point. Daenerys isn’t one of them. She’s just looking to set everything on fire. Jaime is trying to sneak into the Red Keep to get Cersei out of there. And Arya and the Hound are trying to get inside to murder her.

Let’s start with Jaime.

He has trouble getting into the Red Keep through the front gates, so he goes through the secret tunnel that leads from a cave on the beach to the caverns beneath the Red Keep. Unfortunately, Euron, who somehow survived Dany’s assault on the Iron Fleet has washed up to this exact spot. The two engage in a sword fight, they both get wounded, but Euron gets wounded more.

It was a lot more intense than I’m currently describing it, but all you need to know is that Euron eats it and Jaime makes it (for the most part).

Arya is as determined as Jaime to reach Cersei, but for completely different reasons. However, once they reach the Red Keep, the place is shaking and crumbling apart from Dany’s attacks on the structure. The Hound pulls Arya aside and brings her to her senses. He tells her that no one is coming out of this place alive, and she should get out while she still can. There’s no hope for him, but there’s still hope for her.

For once, Arya chooses life over death.

It was sweet to see this moment of closeness between her and the Hound. But it felt oddly out-of-character for Arya to decide to just leave him.

The Hound meets Cersei, Qyburn, and the Mountain on the stairs as they’re coming down and engages in battle with his brother. Qyburn tries to stop the Mountain from fighting the Hound and gets a skull full of rock for his trouble.

Cersei is now officially alone.

And even though she started this whole thing, I felt bad for her.

God, this episode was all about me feeling bad for people who may or may not deserve it.

The Hound and the Mountain duke it out. It’s epic as fudge. At one point, you think the Mountain is going to pull his Oberyn Martell special on his brother, you know, thumbs through the eyeholes? But the Hound stabs a dagger into his brother’s eye, then pushes him off the building for good measure. Sadly, the Hound also falls off with his brother since it was a whole-body kind of push, and the two Clegane brothers meet death together.

They either splattered on the concrete or the flames from Drogon’s fires consumed them. Either way…oof. There goes the Hound.

Cersei makes it to one of the lower floors of the Red Keep, but she’s all alone. You can see the despair on her face. And just when she needs him most, Jaime appears beside her. He’s made his way to her with two stab wounds from his fight with Euron.

Their reunion, next to Tyrion and Jaime’s hushed good-bye, was strangely the moment that choked me up the most. I never liked Cersei much. She is such a selfish woman, with no thought of kindness in her head. But I felt…moved…by her desperation.

And Jaime has changed so much since we first saw him in Season 1, but he still can’t escape his feelings for Cersei. He traveled to King’s Landing knowing he would probably die, just so he could die with his twin/lover. That whole incest thing is still weird, but now it has a sense of pure sorrow to it that feels earned.

Jaime leads Cersei back the way he came, but the tunnel he used has collapsed from the destruction Dany is wreaking up above. Together, Jaime and Cersei are crushed by the collapsing cave.

Arya’s journey through King’s Landing is the most harrowing one. Following her through the burning, crumbling avenues was exhausting just to watch. It has the same kind of chaos to it that the D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan has. She has some near misses, but she makes it out of the city alive.

And that’s where the episode leaves us.

There is only one more episode to go before the season and the show ends for good.

With most of Season 8 done, I can look back at the show in its entirety.

And you know what?

I can honestly say no matter how the show ends, my time watching it has not “gone to waste.”

Avengers: Endgame Review–Oh, I’m So Old

If anything has made me notice how old I am, it’s the passage of time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Which is kind of sad, media-driven, and pathetic now that I think about it.

Iron Man first released in 2008, and Avengers: Endgame came out in 2019.

That’s eleven years later.

That’s eleven years of my life.

Like anyone else who has been watching these movies since their youth, I was really hyped for Endgame. I don’t want to call it the culmination of years of super hero films again because I’ve done that so many times for work (I write about films, TV series, comic books, and video games) already.

But yeah, Endgame is the ultimate culmination of years of super hero films.

My local theater does not have reserved seating available yet, so when you buy an advanced ticket to a showing, seating is first come first served.

Side note: Danny, I swear to god, if you make one comment about “small towns,” I will punch you. Well, not really. But I’ll figuratively punch you.

I bought my ticket to see Endgame weeks in advance, and when the premiere date finally arrived, I made sure my schedule was clear for the entire day, showed up at the theater at 6:45 in the morning, and waited for my 6:00 p.m. showtime.

As you can probably surmise, I am a dedicated MCU fan.

This review is thus going to be biased as hell.

But I have established this with you guys beforehand, so I think that gets me off the hook.

Also, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, there will be SPOILERS ahead.

The best thing about Avengers: Endgame is how much tribute it pays to the history of the MCU.

One of the things I didn’t like about Avengers: Infinity War was how little time was given to each hero. I understood why this had to be, since Infinity War had to cram so many heroes and so much plot in such a short amount of time, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t wish for more breathing space for my favorite characters.

Endgame gives these characters some breathing space. With that three-hour runtime, the film allows the original Avengers to have these awesome character moments. Like when Black Widow is just sitting in Avengers headquarters, dealing with the aftermath of the Snap, and she starts to sob. That was beautifully acted out, and if the plot had been rushing along like a runaway train, it wouldn’t have happened.

The movie also pays homage to the original Avengers by having them revisit some of their prior stories.

Let me explain.

The basic premise of Endgame revolves around time travel. When Scott Lang is freed from the Quantum Realm by a fluke, he realizes that time passes more slowly there than it does in the regular world. He figures that the Avengers can use this knowledge to travel back in time and reverse the effects of the Thanos Snap.

With this knowledge at their disposal, the Avengers make a time machine and travel back in time to moments where they can collect the Infinity Stones and bring them back to the present. Once done, the Avengers will use the Stones to bring back everyone dusted by the Snap.

Not only does this plan allow the Avengers to be the heroes the world needs them to be, it gives us as an audience a chance to go back to the good old days. We get to see the Ancient One from Doctor Strange again when Hulk goes to collect the Time Stone from her. We get to see Frigga again when Thor and Rocket go to Asgard to get the Reality Stone before she dies. We get to see the Battle of New York when Cap, Iron Man, and Ant-Man finagle a way to get both the Mind and the Space Stone during that time period.

It’s a mega trip down nostalgia way, and if the movie wasn’t already making you prone to tears, these memories might just push you all the way to Sob Street.

Oh, I should also warn you the movie can be very cry-inducing. When I went to go see it, there were a bunch of people ugly-crying all around me. It was fantastic.

The beginning parts of the movie show the Avengers and the world coping with the loss of half of all life. That’s a downer right there. Two of the Avengers, Black Widow and Iron Man, sacrifice themselves to save the world, and that’s a kick in the emotional balls if there ever was one.

Luckily, the movie is also chock-full of humor and epic moments.

My favorite funny part was when Iron Man, Captain America, and Ant-Man were spying on their past selves, trying to find an opportune moment to steal the Space Stone. Iron Man makes a comment about how Cap’s old costume is not doing his ass any favors, and then Ant-Man pipes in, telling Cap not to worry, he thinks his ass looks great, and, in fact, that’s America’s ass.

Can we just stop and appreciate the character of Ant-Man for a second?

Aside from the original Avengers, Ant-Man is one of the few heroes who gets to go on this time-travelling adventure, and I’m glad he did. The other Avengers are our heroes. Ant-Man is us if we got to tag along.

The best epic moment, in my opinion, is not when everyone who was brought back from the Snap joins the fight. That’s second best.

The best moment was when Captain America picked up Thor’s hammer and started using it.

That’s right, folks. The moment we’ve all been waiting for happened.

The theater I was in shook with the roars and cheers of excitement and approval when we saw who was carrying Mjolnir. It was a big fan-service moment, but goddamn it, I don’t care! Service me, Marvel! Service me!

As for the bad qualities of the film, that basically revolves around the time travel aspect.

Time travel is a double-edged sword in stories. It can give you wild situations that provide engaging and unique plots, but it can also become a convoluted mess right quick.

The time-travel rule in Endgame starts out fairly straightforward. Going back in time and altering the past does not affect your future. What it does is create an alternate timeline, a branching path from the original. This is why the Avengers had to go get the Infinity Stones and bring them to their present instead of just murdering baby Thanos.

But if this is the case, then boy, did the Avengers leave a mess of alternate timelines in their wake. In one timeline, Loki stole the Space Stone and is now god knows where. In another, Thanos and his entire army is just gone. In yet another, Captain America lived a different life and now he’s an old man.

That last one still has me scratching my head.

But these temporal gripes do not stop me from liking the movie. I loved Endgame. Even if it didn’t make sense sometimes, it still came across as a loving send-off. It’s like a good-bye message on your high school yearbook from your best friend who maybe didn’t do too well in their English classes.

You can feel the love oozing from every scene, and I wanted to bask in that love for every minute of the movie, even though I made the mistake of drinking a Coca-Cola ICEE during the first half and my bladder was set to explode for the last thirty minutes of the movie.

I rate Avengers: Endgame an if-you-have-been-there-since-the-beginning-of-the-Marvel-Cinematic-Universe-then-this-movie-was-made-just-for-you-and-like-every-hero-in-the-film-it-won’t-let-you-down.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 Review: That Escalated Quickly

The third episode of Game of Thrones left me with so many questions.

With the Night King dead, what did that mean for the story at large? Ever since the opening scene in the very first season, the threat of the White Walkers has loomed over the plot like a tidal wave you can’t ignore. After Arya annihilated the undead threat with a single stab of a dagger, I couldn’t help being a bit stupefied at the prospect of a show without them.

I mean, after facing the living dead, what sort of threat could our heroes possibly come up against that would pose a serious problem?

The answer? Themselves.

Let’s start at the beginning of Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.”

The survivors of the Battle of Winterfell deal with their dead by burning them on great pyres they’ve built in front of Winterfell’s battlements. It’s heartbreaking to see Sansa give her final good-bye to Theon and to see Daenerys give hers to Jorah. We’re reminded that the death toll after last week’s episode was enormous because the smoke from these pyres clouds the entire skyline.

Afterwards, there’s a half-hearted feast in Winterfell’s Great Hall. Everyone is kind of morose after their losses. Who would have figured that Daenerys would be the one to lift everyone’s spirits?

Gendry, looking for Arya so that they can have some more alone time probably, is stopped by Dany in the middle of the feast. The whole room hushes as she speaks to him. She asks him if his father is Robert Baratheon, and at first you think she’s planning to berate him for past deeds that are not his fault. Instead, she names him Gendry Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, lifting him up from his bastard-hood and into a lordship.

This thrills Gendry so much he decides he really needs to see Arya. He eventually finds her doing some target practice with a bow and arrow, and he asks her to be his lady when he is lord of Storm’s End. We all saw this coming, but the look on Gendry’s face when she turned him down still hurt. As Arya told him, she has not, and probably never will be, a lady.

Back at the party, things are tense as fuck for us poor viewers. Everyone is having a reasonably good time after Dany broke the somberness, except for Dany. She looks so alone in the Great Hall. Everyone else is talking and laughing in groups, except for her. Missandei, her only friend, is sitting with Grey Worm, and Dany sits alone, eyeing Jon Snow with…some troubled emotion in her eye.

Obviously, she has not forgotten her rushed convo with Jon about his heritage, and it is seriously bumming her out that not only does he have a stronger claim to the throne, he also has a greater rapport with “her” subjects.

She leaves the Hall alone, and I don’t know about you guys, but I felt a terrible sense of foreboding after that.

Brienne and Jaime, unlike Dany, have a great time at the feast, playing drinking games with Tyrion and Podrick. And afterwards, the moment we all thought about but never seriously considered would happen occurred.

Jaime and Brienne had a…romantic moment.

I won’t go into it too much, since I want to focus more on the endgame of the series. However, you should know their relationship begins and ends in this single episode. Jaime looks to start a life with Brienne at Winterfell, but he ends up leaving to return to Cersei for personal reasons. He told Brienne it’s because he loves Cersei. But something tells me it might be more complicated than that.

Anyways, back to Dany.

After the feast, she heads to Jon Snow’s room, looking to finally talk to him about the bombshell he dropped on their lives. However, the talk does not go according to anyone’s plans.

Dany clearly expects Jon to keep the fact that he is Aegon Targaryen to himself. She still loves him, so she initially pleads with him to keep this information a secret. We’ve been with Dany for a long time, so we should all know by now that she does not beg easily. She is clearly desperate to hold onto what she perceives as her destiny, her reason for living.

However, we’ve also been around Jon Snow long enough to know that he’s no liar. Telling the truth comes to Jon as naturally as a fish swims in water. Dany sees this, and you can tell it is driving her to despair. Jon is also unhappy because, for one thing, he doesn’t want the goddamned Iron Throne. For another, he hates causing Dany this kind of distress. But he can’t seem to understand how the truth of his birth imperils Dany’s claim. I think he cares more about how it is affecting their relationship.

After this gut-twisting conversation, Dany leaves the room and Jon unsatisfied.

So the plan to fight against Cersei continues after the Night King has been finished. Dany plans to return to Dragonstone with her forces by sea, while Jon Snow takes what is left of his Northmen south by land. Sansa isn’t happy about this, and she isn’t shy about letting it show. However, since Jon is King of the North and subservient to Dany, Sansa has to swallow her objections.

Well, she swallows her objections to Dany directly. Both she and Arya do not hesitate to pull Jon aside and say, “Dude-bro, what the fuck is your new queen’s problem, and why aren’t you siding with us?”

Side note: I’m paraphrasing.

This is the moment when Jon decides to tell them that he is not actually a Stark, but is instead a Stark-Targaryen hybrid. He makes them promise not to tell anyone, but Sansa breaks that promise almost instantly to tell Tyrion. I believe we’re meant to assume that she’s trying to cause strife in Daenerys’ home team.

And it fucking works. On the sea voyage back to Dragonstone, Varys and Tyrion have a godawful conversation (godawful because it hurts me to see Dany portrayed as a bad guy) about whether or not Jon would be better suited to the Iron Throne. Tyrion remains loyal to Dany, insisting she be given a chance. Varys seems to have lost all confidence in her though.

And this sea voyage only gets worse.

Tragedy strikes when, while flying in the sky, Rhaegal is struck down by scorpion bolts.

This moment sucked.

Big time.

It always hurts me when the dragons get hurt, and it was particularly hard to see Rhaegal go down for several reasons. For one thing, he was wounded in the Battle of Winterfell, during his fight against undead Viserion. While flying back to Dragonstone, it was clear that Dany was keeping a special eye on him from the back of Drogon in order to make sure he was keeping up. To see him taken down when he was already hurting hurt me.

And the worst thing about it was that it came right out of the fucking blue. At least when Viserion died, you saw the Night King aiming his spear at him. You thus had a little warning.

We as viewers did not know that Euron had brought a fleet of ships up to Dragonstone to lie in wait for them. Well, we didn’t know until Rhaegal was bleeding from his scorpion wounds and falling from the sky.

Euron, the stupid-looking, hateful, wannabe pirate, doesn’t stop with murdering Dany’s green dragon. He fires his scorpions on Dany’s small fleet of ships and sends most of them to the bottom of the ocean. He is somehow able to capture Missandei, one of Dany’s closest friends, and deliver her to King’s Landing too.

Dany, Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Varys head to King’s Landing to try one final time to get Cersei to surrender. Cersei answers with executing Missandei in front of them.

This episode was a major downer. I honestly would rather watch “The Long Night” again than watch Dany, one of my favorite characters, streak down into a pile of piping hot rage. Because that’s where she’s headed, and you can’t really blame her.

Her destiny, the one thing that has kept her going all these years, is threatened by the man she loves. Her children, the dragons, are now down to one. Her armies of loyal Dothraki and freed Unsullied have been decimated. Two of her most trusted advisers, Jorah Mormont and Missandei of Naath have been taken from her.

What else is left to her but fire and blood?

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Review: A Heart Attack Waiting To Happen

Guys, I don’t even know how to write about this episode. It was the most tense hour and a half of television I’ve ever watched.

So let’s get into this.

This third episode of Season 8 was basically the Battle of Winterfell, the fight we’ve all been waiting for. Well, it’s also the fight we’ve all been dreading, but let’s put that aside for the moment.

The Night King and his army arrive at Winterfell and truly show off how outmatched the forces garrisoned at Winterfell really are. The Dothraki charge, complete with cool new fire-swords courtesy of Melisandre, is demolished in the span of thirty seconds after they bum-rush the wights. The Unsullied lines can barely cover the retreat of the other ground forces outside the battlements. If you didn’t already think that the wights are unstoppable, this episode definitively proves that.

The story jumps around between all the beloved characters gathered at Winterfell, making sure that you as a fan are aware of and anxious about their current well-being. Unfortunately, the action during most of the beginning is very poorly lit. It was very difficult to tell what was going on, and I know that bothered a lot of people. I didn’t mind it as much in hindsight because the unknown factor of what was coming out of the darkness added to the stress.

So let’s get into those character deaths we’ve all been waiting for.

Edd Tollet is the first to go, cut down by a wight during the fight outside Winterfell’s walls. His death didn’t surprise you much, but it did cut at the heartstrings because of how quickly it was over. It was like he was there and gone.

Lyanna Mormont bites it next, but even though she was an awesome character, I didn’t feel saddened by her death. She had an epic death. She takes on an undead giant, and even as it crushes her to death in its palm, she stabs it in the eye with a dragonglass dagger.

Beric Dondarrion was the one person who died who I cared about the least. That sounds callous, but come on. I’m not alone on this, right? I would have felt worse if Podrick had died (which he didn’t). Plus, ever since Thoros died north of the Wall, I’ve always felt that Beric’s days were numbered.

Theon Greyjoy. Oof. If you had told me in Season 1 that I would end up caring the most about Theon in the “final fight,” I would have given you the most scathing look I could muster (which probably isn’t all that scathing). His death made me cry. The plan had him at Winterfell’s godswood, protecting Bran from anyone (*cough cough* the Night King *cough cough*) who tried to get him. And that’s what he does. Even when he’s surrounded by White Walkers and wights and he knows he’s going to die, Theon protects Bran. And what killed me the most was that Bran, who has been an utter fucking robot since he turned into the Three-Eyed Raven, showed an ounce of humanity at this moment and told Theon, “You’re a good man” before he died.

Jorah Mormont died doing what he loved: protecting Daenerys from danger. It was sad, but it was not unexpected.

Freaking Melisandre made an appearance that I did not see coming. First she walks up out of the darkness and lights the Dothraki screamers’ arakhs, then she lights up the trench when Dany can’t see it due to the Night King’s storm (yeah, he brings a storm into the mix), then she gives Arya a much-needed pep talk, and when everything is finally over, she walks out into the dawn, takes off the necklace that keeps her young, and crumbles into dust. Huh. Did not see that coming.

The Night King dies. Yup. He dies. And Arya fucking Stark delivers the final blow. She comes out of nowhere like an assassin in the night (which is exactly what she is) and leaps at him with her Valyrian Steel dagger held aloft. He catches her by the throat and by the hand that is holding the dagger, so what does she do? She lets go of the dagger and drops it into her other hand. The Night King never saw it coming.

So this episode does a great job of ramping up and revving the tension it has slowly accrued from previous episodes. The episode is titled “The Long Night,” and that’s exactly what it feels like. A long…arduous…nail-biting…night.

I want to applaud whoever was in charge of laying out the battle plans for the Battle of Winterfell. You can always tell, in the grand scheme of things, who is doing what. Occasionally, when the camera zooms in on some action, it’s confusing as to who is alive or who is undead. But honestly, after the last episode’s copious amounts of breathing room, I was okay with nonstop action.

The one weakness was probably the dragon fights.

Yes, there are fights involving dragons.

It felt like a Transformers fight at times, where it looks like a mess of scales and fire, and it was uber hard to tell if it was Viserion goring Rhaegal’s underbelly or the other way around.

What’s funny is that to summarize the episode is actually very simple.

The Night King and his army attack Winterfell, they kill most of the people there, but they are defeated when Arya kills the Night King.

I didn’t realize this, but Episode 2 wasn’t the only “set-up” episode of this season. Even though “The Long Night” was a highly anticipated episode, given how the Night King is defeated in it means that the actual resolution of the series is still ahead. In a way, this third episode is still setting up what happens next.

And that freaking blows my mind.


Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Review: The Blessed Calm before the Shit-Storm

The first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 felt a bit jarring to me. A lot of meetings happened with only a bit of emotional pay-off to support them.

This second one is a major step up.

Emotional pay-off city right here.

Episode 2, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” did what the previous episode did not manage to accomplish too well. It gave the characters some breathing room to actually interact with each other and have meaningful conversations.

Admittedly, the first episode, “Winterfell,” had a heavy burden to bear. It had to gather every principal character we know and drive them toward Winterfell in only an hour while at the same time dropping some major revelations on certain characters’ heads. (You can read my review for the first episode here!)

But this second episode shines because of all the character interactions and meaningful moments shared between them. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this episode, even though I knew as it drew to a close that it was going to end right as the White Walkers finally arrived at their doorstep.

Guys, the episode next week is going to give me a heart attack.

So let’s dive a little deeper into this episode!

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” starts off with Jaime getting grilled by Daenerys Targaryen in Winterfell’s Great Hall. He announced himself to someone other than Bran, apparently, and so a meeting was called to see if he’s worth keeping around.

He fills them in on Cersei’s betrayal, and Dany is extremely pissed at Tyrion for not seeing through her lies. And when Sansa and Jon state that they think Jaime should stick around to help them in the fight, Dany is even more displeased.

Dany has been worrying me. At first, I thought everyone who has been saying she is coming unhinged were exaggerating things, but this episode showcased how her aggro style of handling obstacles in Essos (which used to cause me to erupt in cheers) is actually kind of fucked up. This turn of events makes me all stressed, because I don’t like thinking of Dany as a bad guy.

Aside from Dany’s sour expression during this meeting, a high note was Brienne of Tarth stepping up to vouch for Jaime. She called him the “most honorable man” she has ever met, which, knowing what she used to say about Jaime’s honor, made me want to tear up. Especially because her actions clearly moved Jaime. People have called him many things, and honorable was never one of them. But Jaime, if you think about it, has always been honorable. He and the rest of the world just ignored that fact.

Tyrion and Jaime put in some brotherly time with each other after Jaime is accepted into the Northern forces, and this reunion is touching because they’ve always been close despite being very different men.

Later, Dany tries to cozen up to Sansa, and it almost seems to work. However, things turn south when Sansa asks Dany what her plan is for the North. Sansa clearly wants the North to be free of the Iron Thrones, but Dany wants to rule all seven of the Seven Kingdoms. Dany gets this wrathful expression on her face that again worries me about her mental well-being.

Sansa indirectly pisses Dany off again when Theon arrives at Winterfell, pledging to fight and die for House Stark in the coming fight. It’s clear that all this loyalty to the North is getting on Dany’s nerves. However, as a member of the audience who has seen the shit Theon has gone through, this moment is undeniably sweet. Theon seems so passive, but by electing to follow House Stark in their hour of need, he is being more proactive and true to himself than he has ever been before.

Jon isn’t helping matters by avoiding Dany during these parts, though I suppose we can’t blame him for that. He found out that his lover is his aunt and that he is more of a claimant to the Iron Throne than she is. He’s got a lot to process.

However, when Tormund, Beric, and Dolorous Edd arrive from Last Hearth, the time for processing comes to a halt. The Night King and his army are only a day away. The fight is going to happen imminently.

Everyone decides to spend their potentially last moments in different ways. I’ll focus on the three most important.

So, first things first, Arya and Gendry get it on.

I won’t hesitate to admit that I was shipping these characters hard. Robert Baratheon’s words to Ned Stark about uniting their houses with Sansa marrying Joffrey came true in an even better way when Arya met Gendry. Even though they didn’t know each other’s heritage at the time, they made for a good match with their respective personalities.

So when Arya came up to Gendry on the eve before battle, I was all for it.

Until they started taking each other’s clothes off.

Mia and Bubba (who are watching the show with me) were present for my squeals of delight when they first kissed. But when Arya started unlacing her shirt, they were also there for my horrified cries of, “Cut to black! Cut to black!”

Arya is a grown woman now. She isn’t the young girl she used to be.

But I still can’t help seeing the young girl she was.


It was like seeing your little sister pop her cherry.

The second collection of characters waiting for the fight huddled around the fire in Winterfell’s Great Hall. It’s Tyrion, Pod, Davos, Jaime, Brienne, and Tormund gathered together, and those scenes were music to my brain. Every word between them either made me want to laugh or cry. It was perfect. That moment exemplifies why Game of Thrones is the best. You care about every one of these characters, and you take in every word they say, eager to hear more.

The scene is made even better by the fact that Jaime takes the time to make Brienne a knight. Only kings and knights can knight someone else, and Jaime is quick to point that out after Tormund asks why Brienne can’t be a knight.

This ties in to the title of the episode, and if you didn’t at least feel the inclination to smile or cry while watching this moment, where is your soul?!

The final part I want to mention is the conversation between Jon and Dany before the White Walkers arrive. Jon finally tells Dany about his heritage and his connection to her, and her first concern is that he has a higher claim to the throne than her.

Honestly, it was disappointing to hear that from Dany. She is just too obsessed with the Iron Throne for her own good. And the horns blaring the undead army’s approach sounded before Jon could say something like, “I don’t want the Iron Throne” or “Are you seriously not going to address the fact that I’m your nephew?”

This episode has me more pumped than the prior one, which is always a good trend to have on a TV show.

If you’re watching the show, be sure to mention what you think and so on and so forth!

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 Review: The Show of Many Meetings


The evening started with screams.

I invited my long-time friends, Mia and Bubba, to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere with me today. They came over early, which may not have been a good plan because we were as tense as a drawn bowstring during the hours leading up to it. We are all avid Thronies, so when the episode (called “Winterfell”) finally began, we trembled and giggled like antsy children.

And right off the bat, the show let us know that it meant business.

The opening sequence was changed.

Normally, when the opening credits appear and the awesome theme song begins to play, we take a tour of Westeros, soaring over a mini-map that unfolds before us, showing us the many locations that will appear in the season.

This time around, our tour was shortened to two major locations: Winterfell and King’s Landing. Instead of roaming the continent, the mini-map instead dived into the respective castles of these two places and showed us their familiar interiors.

Just that change alone had us squealing.

This episode was all about meetings. Those long-anticipated reunions we have been waiting for since Season 7 ended finally happened. Gendry met Arya, Arya met Jon, Dany met Sansa, Sansa met Tyrion, etc. If I listed every new meeting and brief reunion that occurred in this episode, I would be here forever. Even though some of these meetings were woefully short, I enjoyed each and every one.

Daenerys Targaryen arrives at Winterfell with all her pomp and circumstance. While it’s delightful to see people reacting to her dragons flying overhead, I wish people would be more accepting of Dany and the help she is bringing to them. True, Northerners are not a trusting folk, but they should at least have an idea of the threat that is looming over them. You would think they’d be marginally pleased at the big army and two dragons Dany is bringing to their aid. They seriously do not have the leisure or the time to be distrustful.

“Time” is also a commodity in short supply for the episode as a whole. Because of all these reunions, reactions to huge revelations are not always given their due. Bran, at one point, tells Dany that he has seen Viserion turned into a wight, but beyond a slight look of dismay on Dany’s face, this piece of information is not given any more time.

While Dany is getting acquainted with the North, Cersei is patiently brooding in King’s Landing. The Golden Company, the group of sellswords she hired from the Iron Bank, shows up in all its glory, but we have yet to see them in action.

Cersei may not have to face White Walkers (yet), but she does have to deal with Euron Greyjoy, her ally from the Iron Islands. He is a mega-arrogant asshole, and the strange thing is she allows him to be. I’m waiting to see what happens between them. Rather, I’m waiting to see who stabs who in the back first.

Surprisingly, Theon rescues his sister Yara from Euron in this first episode. I felt like grabbing a Staples button and pressing it so I could hear, “That was easy,” in its robotic, dulcet tones. (Let me know if you get that particular reference.) The last we see of them is Yara heading back to the Iron Islands and Theon on his way to Winterfell to help his adopted family.

By far the best part of this episode was seeing Jon ride Rhaegal. That’s right folks, Jon rode a dragon. He and Daenerys are clearly still in love with each other, and they take a flight on her dragons in order to get away for a short amount of time.

Daenerys was the one who suggested Jon hop on, and I’m really surprised she did. She must really like him a lot if she trusts him with one of her babies. Or maybe she secretly hates him and wanted him to fall off (which he very nearly did).

The saddest moment of the show occurred when Dany approached Samwell Tarly in the libraries of Winterfell. After curing Jorah Mormont of Greyscale, Samwell has unknowingly placed Daenerys Targaryen in his debt. She goes up to him, pleasantly prepared to give him a hearty thank you, but her gratitude is marred when she finds out who he is.

If you all can recall from Season 7, Dany burned Randyll and Dickon Tarly, Sam’s father and brother, when they refused to bend the knee. During her conversation with Sam, she’s forced to tell him what she did, thereby scorching any chance the two of them had of being friendly toward one another.

Honestly, you could see this coming a mile away. Daenerys was strongly urged not to execute the Tarlys, but she did anyway. I actually appreciate the fact that her savage nature (which, yeah, I have cheered on in other episodes, but still) is receiving its comeuppance.

However, I’m wincing at Samwell’s tearful response. He didn’t even like his father, but it still hurt him. And seeing Sam hurting hurts me.

Sam finally tells Jon of his true heritage after his encounter with Dany. He strongly urges Jon to take up the mantle of King of the Seven Kingdoms because he is convinced that Dany would not make a good queen after what she has done. (You can’t blame him.) Jon is left pondering what this means for him and his life.

On an equally important note, Tormund is revealed to be alive! He, Beric Dondarrion, and even Dolorous Edd Tollett survived the breaking of the Wall. They are hauling ass to Winterfell to warn the people there that the White Walkers are a day away.

The episode ends with, perhaps, the most unexpected reunion. I was completely caught off guard because I did not think of it at all. Here I was anticipating the Hound and Arya meeting up again and stuff like that, but I completely forgot about the reunion between Jaime and Bran.

The episode ends with Jaime Lannister arriving at Winterfell after fleeing from his deranged sister. The first face he sees is Bran, who has been chilling in his wheelchair by the entrance to Winterfell waiting for an “old friend.” Apparently, by “old friend,” he meant the man who pushed him out a window all those years ago.

I am so pumped for the next episode, you guys. I can’t even with this show.

Have you seen it? Are you going to? It’s one heck of a wild ride (a dragon ride, maybe).