Warning: Major Spoilers ahead.
I am a pretty big Game of Thrones nerd. When I was reading the books, it was taking me two weeks per book because I was so engrossed in the story. I am a sucker for big strategy and the supernatural. The books hit all the right notes for what I enjoy and as the story raged on, it went from classic battles and the supernatural twist grew with Dany’s dragons.
As time went on I grew to enjoy characters and despise others. Unfortunately the author, George R.R. Martin, sucks at writing the books and it has been almost 8 years since Dance of Dragons was released. The whole thing is BS because he blamed the massive wait between Storm of Swords and Feast for Crows on what he dubbed the Meereenese Knot. In short, he had to start tying the story back together to get everyone to regroup. He managed to do this by splitting the characters up in two books while running the 5th book during the same time frame as the 4th. People have shuffled the chapters together in the two books to give someone a massive read, but the chapters would be chronologically correct in a Feast for Dragons.
With the Meereenese Knot settled, why has it taken 8 years for the next book to be released? In the meantime the HBO show has overtaken the books and the producers are running on their own creativity to complete the saga. Unfortunately, the show writers have resorted to cheap tricks like time travel to put key people in certain spots without the proper travel time table. Entertainment wise, whatever, but I was pretty disappointed that they cut Lady Stoneheart out of the show and it gives me the impression that she doesn’t have that big of an impact in the show. Perhaps she plays the role of Beric Dondarrion from the show and saves Arya last minute, but why Beric over Lady Stoneheart? Again minor gripe.
So with Season 8, we finally get to the epic battle between the living and the dead. I had been waiting for this moment since the Walkers were first introduced in the very beginning of the saga. In episode 2 when going over the strategy Bran brings up a deep point about how humanity is remembered by the memories and if the Night King wants to destroy humanity, he has to kill the Three Eyed Raven. I appreciated that line because it is true. Our humanity is tied to our history. It was pointed out to me that these theme is popular among fiction as The Giver is also based on this concept. If everyone was suddenly struck with amnesia, how would the world operate? How would we move forward? What would be the point?
When the episode first started, I was hyped up. The only reason why I am even interested in Trump’s presidency is because I see the massive levels of strategy that is going on behind the narratives. Strategic deception is an art and I wanted to see what some of the top minds of Westeros came up with in order to defeat an unholy enemy. Let’s just say, I was pretty disappointed.
Just starting the episode from the beginning, the Red Woman just manages to get around the massive army of the dead and no one fires on her? She then goes up to the Dothraki cavalry who were using standard weapons and casts a spell to set the weapons ablaze. First off why are they using standard weapons when dragonglass is the key to defeating the Army of the Undead? The flames help as the undead are weak against fire, but what if she never came? Then to make matters even more puzzling, Jorah Mormont leads the charge into the darkness of the night with the Dothraki cavalry where they are wiped out like it was nothing. Who was the brainchild behind this? All this and they only shot one round from the trebuchets? Just keep shooting. Then you have Dany and Jon just perching watching the Dothraki get destroyed? When a person gets killed, they can be revived and now the Army of the Dead has warriors and horses. Awful.
Next was the defenses. You had factions outside the walls with a spike fence that was to be set ablaze by a dragon. This should have been done from the start as it would have given the warriors more light and they didn’t have to rely on a witch to light it up. I will chalk that one up to dramatics, but if you noticed, the spikes on the inside of the wall were fixed with dragonglass which killed the undead as they hit it. Why not do this on the outside as well? Again makes no sense. Then we have the weak hanging out in the crypts were they were unsurprisingly getting killed by the raised dead from inside the crypts. That is like hiding in a cemetery during a zombie attack. You would think that when you have the all knowing Bran on your side you would ask some questions about how to properly protect the people.
Moving forward, Dany starts using her dragon and so does Jon. They then get into a battle with the Night King in the sky which was pretty cool. The only issue was you couldn’t really see a lot that was going on during this time through the smoke and ice storm. Jon managed to take down the Night King’s dragon, but his dragon is hurt which grounded the two of them. The Night King then survives the dragon fire and while marching towards the castle, stops momentarily to raise the dead again. I appreciated this move. Why waste your time with a mortal like Jon when you can just have your thousands of minions handle it? It just shows that the Night King had his eyes on the prize and he was not going to be distracted by silly things. In the mean time, Dany grounded her dragon where it almost died because she forgot that dragons could fly.
In the meantime, the castle was completely overrun, but it wasn’t. I don’t understand the views of the castle being fully invaded but there are only a few walkers inside the halls. Some just wound up in random rooms? It leads to Arya, the hound, and the Red Woman up in a keep saying that she is the killer of all eye colors. Outside, Jon is working his way to Bran, and the few remaining main characters are still holding on. In the Weirwood Forest, Bran is being protected by Theon Greyjoy and the Ironborn. They slowly get picked off and in a final act of bravery, Theon reclaims his manhood by being the only person to get killed by the Night King.
The most frustrating part was how the Night King was defeated. I am all for Arya being the one to kill him. This isn’t some male privilege argument. She has the talent to take him on and win, but the killing was totally unrealistic. When something seems unrealistic in Game of Thrones, it is an issue. First off she swings in like Tarzan as the Night King was reaching for his sword. How did she get into the forest? Last we saw of her she was trapped in a keep. Assuming she is cat woman, how did she go unnoticed past the hoard of walkers that the Night King was just in? The Wights were there as well and they are more sentient than the revived dead. Where were they the whole battle? There wasn’t even any dialogue either. Just all the walkers dying.
The whole thing just seemed like how could we do this and they just gave up instead of changing something they already filmed. This is the last season and who knows if we will even get the books. Also were there any deaths that people care about? From screen time, I would think that the biggest death would have been Jorah Mormont. The guy fell in love with a girl that could have been his daughter. It was weird. She also sacrificed him like a savage which is only going to continue her dive into madness just like her crazy father.
Three episodes left, let’s see how much Aegon broods moving forward.