I finally caught up on Game of Thrones, and I have some thoughts. (spoilers ahead, possibly)
1. The Dance of Dragons is a HORRRIBLE episode of television. Just awful. Not only because it relishes the burning-at-stake of a child, but because it was just shit editing. First of all, that wretched scene went on for wayyyyyyy too long. We get it. Stannis is awful. Shireen’s dying. She’s in pain. Her mother didn’t really hate her after all. Okay. We don’t need a minute and a half of hearing it all. We don’t need to linger on faces that expressed everything so quickly. We are learning nothing new. Cut to the chase, dude. And THEN! Oh no! what’s going to happen in Meereen? Khaleesi, you in danger, girl. They’re surrounded! The bad guys are surely going to get them! there’s clearly no way out of this! I mean, look at all these bad guys! Our favorites are in the middle of this circle of pending violence! Oh no! Oh no. No, seriously. They’re gonna die, right? I mean, that’s why all the bad guys are here. But they are just looking worried. O no. Don’t get them, bad guys. Waitaminute. This feels like they’re vamping (stretching time) because Drogon had to stop to pee or something. Way too long. Killed momentum. Gave us time to think. Never a good idea in chess.
Which leads me to my next point....
2. Season 5 feels like we’ve gone from playing chess to checkers. The beautiful complexity and the twists we didn’t see coming are now being spelled out for us. And with the “previously on” recaps at the start, it feels like we’re cheating. Like at first, they shoved us into this maze, and said, “good luck!” and we went and found our way here. And now some guy has shown up and taken our hand and is leading us through the maze, pointing out things we should notice and remember. And here, I thought the Game of Thrones was about paying attention. Guess not! So my real complaint, I think, is
3) When you are telegraphing your moves and reminding people of what is important information in that throwaway line 26 episodes ago, DONT GET ALL MAD WHEN THEY DON’T BELIEVE YOU WHEN THE CAMPBELLIAN HERO DIES. Oh, this ruined your ad campaign? TFB, buddy! YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELVES. You have simplified the forsadowing. You have a distrustful audience that you have earned. Don’t be surprised when they figure things out before you’ve told them. Do you guys need to have a workshop with The 100 writers on how to pull the rug out from under the audience? Talk to Penn & Teller about misdirection? Sure, expectations were low, but they aren’t anymore. We’re onto you. Raise the stakes accordingly. The beauty of Battlestar Galactica’s 33 is that it doesn’t waste time with exposition. It moves forward. The Good Wife moves forward constantly. That whole Marcella storyline—the one where she looks like a Disney Princess—was ridiculous. That was treading water. That was tying up loose ends and maybe planting a new story seed. Meh. The visit through Valyria felt like too soon for a payoff like that. Aren’t there supposed to be weeks and weeks of silence about creatures before we see them? Mentioned once in episode 15 and then we see them in episode 48? Isn’t that in the rules y’all set??
Sorry for the tangent. I apparently have strong feelings about this.
4) Isn’t Brienne the ultimate underdog at this point? She means so well, but is marching to the beat of her own drum that is not what everyone else hears. I’m glad they included the moment where Jamie sails past Tarth. It was sweet for the characters and nice for us to see this island that gave us this great character.
5. I need to see this map of Westeros, in full, because I swear those opening credits put Dorne north of Meereen. Maybe that’s just my brain insisting that Meereen is La Rochelle, France because the landmasses are similarly shaped.
6. This one sounds awful, but I gotta say it: wouldn’t it have been more tragic if Theon had brain damage that took his memories? Like the love for Sansa would still be there, but he wouldn’t ever remember why. Those connections were severed. But I suppose this makes sense, though, because Ramsey likes to torture the mind by torturing the body, and he stays away from the head. Still, though, with all of Reek’s shaking, I thought he’d been beaten about the head at some point, thereby triggering the shakes and possibly erasing memory. Am I alone here?
7) I really missed Michelle Maclaren’s direction this year. She did some solid episodes. No women directors last year, and I think there’s none this year, either. Bummer.
tl;dr Editing is very important in storytelling. We live in the age of binge watching and repeat viewing on-demand. We don’t need hand holding to put puzzle pieces together, and don’t be surprised when we do. LIfe-in-the-balance season-ending cliffhangers are dumb.
And it really bugs me that they call it a “fan theory.” Because it’s right. They’ve spelled it out all season, and a bit before. But whatever. How soon is April?