Everyone knows how much we love reading here at Knockin' Books. But what you may not know is that we sometimes grudgingly put our books down and watch a little quality TV. (Note how we said quality. You’ll never catch us stooping to the level of reality TV)
With that in mind, here’s the weekly Westeros wrap-up, aka, a discussion of Game of Thrones, Episode 10 (The Winds of Winter) between Scott (the Design Dude) and Jennifer (Editorial Staff).
Time to get this party started!
Jennifer: First of all, I’m pretty sure that was the best season finale of any show I’ve ever seen in my life. And after the crap-fest of a season finale we suffered through with Walking Dead, I feel extra happy about it. I gotta start with Cersei. OK, I understand that she’s a terrible, terrible human being. But after all the crap that had happened to her over the past two seasons, I was starting to feel bad for her. I’m not happy that Margaery is dead because I really liked her, but seeing Cersei get her revenge (spectacularly, explosively) on everyone who hurt her with one well-orchestrated explosion and a couple of well-timed stabbings, well, it was empowering. I think women everywhere sat up a little straighter and basked in the glow of the girl power (and, you know, the explosion).
DesignDude: There's so much going on in this opening sequence, I'm just going to list my thoughts out:
Jennifer: I shouldn’t have enjoyed watching a nun get tortured, but…I did. That’s what this show does to me! Makes me almost ashamed of rooting for horrible people. That’s not just good writing, it’s epic.
Can’t express how much I loved watching grandma Tyrell put the Sand Snakes in their place. Can’t imagine they’re too accustomed to back talk. Absolutely GENIUS plan that Varys came up with to get Dorne and the Tyrells (what’s left of them, anyway) on Dany’s side. I can’t imagine even the mighty Lannisters stand too much of a chance against an army of Dothraki, Unsullied, Dragons, Tyrells, Yara’s fleet, Dorn soldiers…damn. I almost (but not really) feel sorry for Cersei.
Gotta say, on a purely aesthetic note, I was disappointed to see Dany dump Daario. There’s a pretty substantial lack of hot dudes on the show (I still miss you, Khal Drogo) and I could’ve argued that Daario was even hotter than Jaime Lannister (the fact that Daario wasn’t fucking his sister—that I know of—gave him a slight edge, I’d say). He will be missed.
DesignDude: The ability of this show to cause such extreme shifts in empathy/hatred for so many different characters is truly amazing. I delighted in Cersei's complete and utter destruction of her enemies at the beginning of the episode and was equally excited to see Dany's fleet begin the journey towards King's Landing that will ultimately result in Cersei's downfall and possible death (although I doubt it). The writers, actors and directors have created amazingly complex characters that make it easy for viewers to become emotionally invested in.
With Walder Frey gone (more on that later), the Iron Islands still in the process of building a new fleet, the North standing behind Jon and Littlefinger always being a wildcard, it doesn't look good for house Lannister. Tyrion has positioned himself to be the one Lannister who can pick a leader worthy of actually following. The best part is that his devotion to her isn't a power play. Like almost everyone else, he truly respects her and believes she'll unite the seven kingdoms in an uneasy peace no one will dare challenge.
Jennifer: I LOVED Tyrion’s I-don’t-believe-in-anything-but-I-believe-in-you speech, and the fact that Dany made him the Hand of the Queen. It was a touching moment in a show that doesn’t have many touching moments.
Looks like the witch’s prophecy is coming true all around. Cersei’s kids are dead and there’s a younger prettier woman on her way to take over the kingdom. The only piece left is that she’ll be killed by her little brother. You’d automatically think that would be Tyrion, but my money’s on Jaime. He didn’t look too thrilled to see her sitting on that Iron Throne, and he’s already offed one mad King. I have a feeling he’ll be offing a mad Queen this time. (Besides, I kind of hope he ends up with Brienne. I’d like her with Tormund, too, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Jaime and Brienne. What can I say? I love a happy ending.)
The only blight on the episode was the presence of Sam and Gilly. Have I mentioned I just don’t give a crap about them? Come on…what a waste of precious finale time they are. And in the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that…
I KNEW Jon was a Targaryan!!
I’m glad Sansa gave Little Finger a mild smack-down, but I can’t imagine this is going to end well for her. I don’t think anyone who’s ever given Little Finger a smack-down has lived to tell the tale for too long.
And I love Dany, I really do. But I’m thinking, at this point, my favorite female character on the show is little Lady Mormont. What a badass! I just want to take her with me everywhere I go so that she can glare at people who annoy me.
When everyone pledged their loyalty to the new King of the North, the little neglected bastard who wasn’t even allowed to sit at the same table with the Starks when he ate dinner…it got a little dusty at my house. I wasn’t tearing up, mind you. I’m not a crier. It was just a little dusty.
I know I’m all over the place in this discussion…it was just so exciting…
DesignDude: I don't know if Jamie will actually kill Cersei but the look between them at the end might have signaled the final straw that broke the love he had for her. The enormity of her actions, the death of his last child and her immediate power grab for the throne won't sit well with him. She pretty much did the same thing he killed the Mad King to prevent. Once Dany takes over King's Landing—and she will—I predict Tyrion will spare Jamie (they've always had each other's backs) but will recommend Cersei be executed with Jamie's blessing.
Jon not being Ned's son has to be the worst kept secret in modern television. And yet, the reveal executed with the abrupt shift from infant Jon to the modern Jon was still emotionally powerful. That said, many questions still remain. Were Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna married before Jon (probably not his real name) was born? If not, he'd still be a bastard. If so, he'd have more of a claim to the iron throne as Rhaegar's one true heir than Dany who is simply his little sister. On the other hand, we're not even 100% sure Rhaegar is the proud papa. Is it possible someone else is Jon's daddy? Nothing is off limits with this show.
As for little Lady Mormont, I could be wrong but I think she's crushing on Jon just a bit or maybe a lot. She was giving him a pretty big smile and she's right around the age when boys stop having cooties and start looking kinda cute. I'm not the best judge but based on his internet popularity, I'm guessing Jon is easy on the eyes for lots of ladies out there. Also think it's fairly common for really young girls to be married off for realm-building purposes. That said, she crushed that speech. If she ever did a TED Talk, it might break the internet.
Something tells me we haven't seen the last of the Red Witch. I suspect she's going to join back up with the Brotherhood who are currently chillin' with the Hound.
Like my fellow Knockin' Books staffer, I too have no interest in Sam getting his library card. Yes, I know he's probably looking for some bit of ancient wisdom/knowledge that will help defeat the Night King but do we really have to waste precious time watching him get there? Can't we just kinda assume he's digging through scrolls as fast as he can?
Jennifer: I’m too old to judge Jon Snow’s hotness. Makes me feel like a creepy cougar. But I do think little Lady Mormont was making eyes at him. He could do worse. She’s all kinds of awesome.
Nothing surprises me on this show. Jon could be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, or he could belong to someone else entirely. I’m betting that Jon doesn’t want the Iron Throne, though, and would be happy to let Dany rule. He’s a reasonable guy, after all, and she’s obviously the best choice for Westeros. I mean…dragons and all. And I think she’d be fine letting him keep the North. It’s cold there, and so far, I haven’t seen that she has any kind of Winter wardrobe.
If I were Jon, I think I would’ve kept the Red Witch around. Seems like she could be downright useful when the White Walkers come. But I understand that it wouldn’t look good for him to keep a child murderer around.
I’m fine with assuming Sam is leaning as fast as he can. I’m good with never seeing him again. I don’t want him dead, but off-screen (like, forever) would be super nice.
Now I have to talk about my girl, Arya. SHE SLICED UP FREYS AND BAKED THEM INTO A QUICHE!!!! After Ramsey, Tommen and the High Sparrow, the last name on my must-die list was Walder Frey, and Arya dispatched him nicely, all with a sociopathic smile on her face. The Starks send their regards, Walder! Suck it.
When she was smiling at Jaime Lannister, I had no idea it was Arya. It wasn’t until she was alone with Walder that I figured it out. (And loved every minute of it) I am curious, though: Does Arya now have access to a bunch of faces? Did she steal a few on her way out of Bravos?
All in all, this was a girl power episode. Cersei, Dany, Sansa, Arya, grandma Tyrell and little Lady Mormont. I almost wished Sansa was named Queen of the North so that we could have a girl fight next season for the Iron Throne. But, I think we all can agree that Jon will be the better ruler. Sansa’s come a long way, but she’s still a little bit of a whiny, entitled wuss.
DesignDude: For all the internet uproar about Game of Thrones being hostile towards women, there are many who believe it's strongest characters are women. Personally, I don't think women have been brutalized any more than men. The Seven Kingdoms is a rough neighborhood and doesn't favor either gender.
The sad fact is that most of the women have gained power as a direct result of men (and sometimes other women) underestimating them. Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark and the High Sparrow all took Cersei too lightly. Countless men have insulted Daenerys. Neither the Hound nor Jamie gave Brienne enough credit. Arya has gotten the better of several men who mistook her for a harmless girl. Lady Olenna Tyrell has outsmarted naive men throughout her long life. Ellaria Sand and her sandsnake daughters were certainly able to take down Prince Doran without much trouble. Dudes better keep eyes on these ladies if they don't want to end up like all the other fools who didn't take them seriously.
My guess is that Arya learned how to carve out faces as part of her training in the house of black and white. Don't know where she got the face she was using to get close to Walder Frey but I'm hoping she swiped it from the faceless dude as a "your welcome" gift for not killing him. Hate to think she murdered some poor girl so she could cross another name off her list.
Speaking of her list, I believe Cersei now moves to the top. Everyone is assuming Cersei is going to be taken down by Dany but I wouldn't be surprised if Arya tries for the prize herself.
As for Jon and Dany, there are lots of Thrones fans that think they'll end up as a couple. Dany certainly seems intent on using her availability for marriage as a potential bargaining chip if necessary. Maybe that's how she'll bring the North into the fold. Of course, if they turn out to be aunt and nephew, that would get kinda icky. Not Cersei and Jamie gross but still nasty.
Jennifer: I kind of hope Arya does get to cross Cersei off her list. I think she’s earned it (after having to see her father beheaded and everything she’s been through since as a direct result of Cersei’s actions). I still think it’ll be Jaime who does the deed. Unlike Cersei, there’s still good in him. He won’t let her kill everyone, which seems to be the way she’s going.
Not liking the idea of Dany and Jon as a couple. Maybe he’s her nephew, maybe he isn’t, but I just don’t see them working out in the long run. I haven’t seen them onscreen together, but I’m betting they have no chemistry. They’re both just too…cute. I dunno. I’m sure there are plenty of Dany/Jon shippers out there who would disagree with me.
I’m wondering if given a second chance, will Arya try to kill The Hound? I hope not. Their travel adventures were some of my favorite moments of the show’s past seasons.
DesignDude: One last thing I meant to address earlier, not really buying the conversation between Jon and Sansa where she casually apologizes for not telling him about the Vale army being on their way and he just as casually brushes it off by simply saying they need to "trust each other." Hundreds of men may have needlessly died because she didn't provide him with that information. Jon could have easily died before they arrived. At best her actions were stupid. At worst, it was a significant betrayal. Jon's an amazingly good dude though. Being treated with disdain by his own family while growing up and not becoming hateful and bitter seems absolutely amazing.
Jennifer: I’ve often wondered if Jon is TOO good to make it in Westeros. (I guess technically, he didn’t make it. He did die.) Having to make tough choices seems to get to him more than it does the other characters. I hope it’s not his inherent “goodness” that is the (final) death of him. Dany is good too, but she definitely has a tougher edge to her.
All in all, though, it was an AMAZING episode. I’m afraid I’m going to need a support group to get me through until next year. Seriously, is it too much to ask that HBO give us a few extra episodes? Maybe a mid-season movie or something? Anything?