Best Episode: Hardhome (8)
MVP: Stephen Dillane
I have been watching Game of Thrones since season one. Along with Orphan Black it’s been the one of the only shows on television that I can manage to get really excited about. Actually that and Penny Dreadful but when it came down to deciding between HBO and Showtime (unfortunately money’s tight and I couldn’t do both) there’s was no question for me.
Boy I should have gone with Showtime. I waited. I did. From the moment I heard the Sansa is going to Winterfell as Sansa Stark rumors I listened to the people who were telling me let it play out, see where it goes… Although I’m not entirely onboard with the idea that you can’t judge a show until you’ve seen it’s whole season I was trying to be open-minded.
In truth for me Game of Thrones had some problems in season three. Started to have bigger problems in four and went completely off the rails in five. Seriously four out of ten stars is being kind. I’m using this week on my Tumblr to rant and purge myself of the disappointment and then be done with it.
I am going to try to keep it simply to what I see as the biggest problems with this season. Here I’m going to try not to get into the books too much although that’s always the issue with any adaption. If you’re going to change things and streamline things from books like these with such passionate followings it’s probably better for you if you change for the better or attempt to make a story-line stronger. It wasn’t just changing things from the books this year. Within the world of the show itself major logical fails and character problems became too much to hand wave and it all just started piling up.
Little consistency issues add up: I’m starting with this because it’s probably the easiest fix. Cersei three children versus four children. Which was it people? If you changed the story in season one to make her more sympathetic fine but the problem is you never remembered it. Then there’s the Lannister necklace, “Only two in the world like it,” according to Cersei but fans pointed out in two seconds that there’s at least a third. The one Joffrey gave to Sansa… which lead to the on-line theory that it was a Cersei set-up which turned out to be giving the show more credit than it deserved. If the fans can keep tracks of this stuff then you can surely hire someone to do it for you. Oh! Melisandre should be one color please. I checked. It was not just my television.
Dorne: Lots have been written about Dorne including the “bad pussy” line that made me laugh out loud. Seriously, I give so much credit to the actors in this show. They can almost sell anything.The worst part is that it wouldn’t have taken much for Dorne to be good or amount to something. Considering the history of the Martells and the Lannisters you actually could have hit some of the same notes of Jaime’s wonderful Blackfish conversations. You actually could have made Jaime come to some stark realizations about his family and his place in the world. I think it would have been more interesting if Myrcella had a lot smarter and maybe realized why they wanted her dead and maybe school her clueless father. But no! None of that. Doran is yet another Lannister butt kisser and Ellaria’s plan is only rivaled by Jaime’s in its stupidity.
The best part was Jerome Flynn singing Dornishmans Wife but yeah, it wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile. They didn’t even do Jaime burning the letter which has some strange implications regarding where they may be going with his character and their relationship. Aside from all that there was a lot of hype that Dorne would be important and better than Jaime’s story in the Riverlands… Still waiting for that to work out. There was a lot of potential here and it was just wasted. Absolutely squandered and there’s no excuse for that especially when the excuse for everything seems to be that there’s not enough time or it doesn’t amount to anything in the end. Because the stupid murder of “I’m down with being an incest baby,” Princess didn’t do it for me at all.
Sansa/Jeyne: If you follow the show pretty much everything has been written about this one. I never once found an argument that worked for me in terms of Roose and Littlefinger’s actions not to mention Sansa’s. It ruined the entire Northern Arc in my opinion and took that whole wonderful story and made it about rape. The writer’s justified Sansa’s decision to follow Littlefinger’s plan because it was a chance for revenge at the people who murdered her family and stole her home. Except they forgot to put in a plan and then they actually said the rape gave her a reason to really hate Ramsay! She didn’t have that before she was assaulted?This is another one that could have worked. Have Sansa go with Littlefinger as Alayne and they work behind the Bolton’s back to get rid of them. There is so much in the Winterfell storyline that there really doesn’t have to be a marriage at all. The threat of her real identity being unmasked would hang over her. Theon would be conflicted. But the fact that they couldn’t even bother to keep Littlefinger with her in Winterfell says it all for me! He is perhaps the most important relationship she has in the books but they pulled him to only muddle up the King’s Landing storyline.
I tried. I was willing to accept them going another way but nope it was off the walls with Theon at the end. Sansa Stark doesn’t exist anymore and there’s nothing that will convince me otherwise.
Why on Earth is the excellent Michael McElhatton playing second fiddle to the amazing adventures of Sadist Ramsay? I still can’t believe we essentially had the Battle of Ice and Roose didn’t even bother to make an appearance in it.
But to be honest I think my biggest problem with this season and the adaption overall is that they’ve gone so hard on the shock scenes and the ugliness and stripped the story of its beauty and hope. Hence Sansa being raped. Gilly being almost raped. Ellaria being Princess Vengefulness instead of her great stuff about the unending cycle of violence probably costing her even more before it’s over. Boob activated poison. The murder of a dumb teenager girl. Dany generally being all over the place and feeding people to her dragons. Meryn Trant! That’s kind of like Sansa in Winterfell. We already knew he was horrible. He’s been on Arya’s list forever and the reasons were well known. But let’s waste a whole lot of time making it clear he’s a pedophile and then if you forgot that from last episode let’s have even more time spent on him beating up young girls because we don’t think it’s clear why she’s killing him. Ugh. I always tell people that yes the novels are dark but there are also moments of beauty. There are even moments of hope for the poor put upon Starks.
Even the biggest hell yeah moment of the series, Daznak’s Pit, they choose to lead into it with the screams of a young girl (a character given even more emphasis in the show probably for this reason) being burned alive by her father and his witch. Interesting choice especially since it hasn’t happened yet in the book, there were other options to lead into Daznak’s and the set-up for Stannis actually ordering her sacrifice was lacking to say the least.
There are still great things about the show. Namely the acting. I’m not a big fan of television Cersei but Lena Headey knocked it out of the park. (Although even here if you’re going to get Charles Dance to come back and play a body why not just skip that part and bring him and Bean, Addy, Gleeson and use footage of young Sansa and Lady and add her hallucinations to the Walk of Shame.) Stephen Dillane is one of the best actors they ever had on the show. I already mentioned it was insane McElhatton wound up being so wasted in Winterfell because he’s always excellent. The score is fantastic and I love the use of the natural locations my favorite being those gorgeous scenes with Dany at the end.
So thank you for letting me rant some more. I’ve been disappointed in the show before- this is the show that quite frankly really made me look at how women are depicted closely for the first time ever. But so much of this season just seemed lazy and could have been helped with a few easy fixes and then the violence and the shock value over all other things. It’s just disappointing to invest so much time into something and then come away with the opinion that the people behind it just don’t care anymore.
I gave myself until this Sunday to get it all out but I’m probably going to write more honestly because the strange thing is the show, some parts of the fandom, the hype and some of Martin’s statements are changing my views of the books. Not for the better either and that is a very weird thing to have happened to me concerning my love for a book.