Friday, June 19, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale

Jon Snow and Sam
"So it turns out, I really do know nothing."

I wanted to wait a while to let the Game of Thrones finale settle before I wrote about it. It was a strange season and although I still like the show, it wasn't as great as it has been. Then again, it's a long narrative, so there's going to be peaks and valleys while it unfolds. Overall, it just felt a little rushed, particularly the last episode, which could have easily been half a season on it's own.

By now if you haven't seen it and haven't been spoiled, you probably aren't reading this stupid blog either. So, Jon Snow is dead. That's the big thing, so let's get it out of the way. Instantly everyone has been developing fan theories about how he might be resurrected, etc. I say relax. It's a story, let it unfold. But as far as I'm concerned, he's dead. Trying to predict the next chapter is fine to a point, but I think there's more enjoyment in allowing it to surprise you. I'm more concerned with what his death means to the characters that remain.

Arya and Jaquen

Arya's story took a turn. It felt rushed, though. That whole assassination may have been cool and in many ways satisfying, but it didn't feel earned. Which could be argued is the point since she then got her punishment for going against the will of the many faced god. But it could have still been developed a little better and the killing itself didn't need to seem like Arya had been training with Tarantino.  I'm curious where this goes next though since Arya has been my favorite character from the start. I had chills when she finally got on that boat last season, feeling like she was finally headed somewhere resembling what she wanted. This season she's wrapped up early and with the prospects not looking good. But something tells me there's more to it. The girl is a fighter. She's not gonna let a little blindness get in her way.

The whole Uncle Dad scene between Jaime and Myrcella was odd. I guess it was touching to see Jaime (a character that I think in light of his layers being uncovered, was never a true villain no matter what he did), have that moment with his daughter niece. But then, it's still disturbing that it's couched in a "love cannot be denied" conversation about his sister.  And then the twist of having that moment only to immediately have the daughter succumb to poison was a blow to this guy that I'm not sure he can take at this point. I bet Cersei will lose her shit. Speaking of which. . .

Cersei's parade of shame
Justice? I don't know.

The parade of shame. That was a long, odd moment. I can see how people would say it was too long and unnecessary and it was just for the sake of some perverse titillation. I can see that, but I don't agree. I think the scene works because it does something this show does very well. It plays with how you feel about characters. This is usually because the characters and situations are so complex that you can find yourself hating them and agreeing with them at the same time. In this case, I think many of us have come to hate Cersei above all others on the show. Joffrey deserved his choking death and it was satisfying to see, but she was the one that not only enabled his sociopathy, but she encouraged it. She took real joy in watching him torture others. And there's everything she's done since. But still, by having this moment of her walking, humiliated, naked, vulnerable and in danger as the masses ridicule and spit and throw excrement at her, it starts to make you wonder if maybe it's too much. IS it justice? Or is it vengeance? Not so much that she doesn't deserve it, but that maybe taking satisfaction in it makes us too much like her. There's the added level that the people responsible for her comeuppance really symbolize some of the worst religious fanaticism that actually exists in our world. It's no secret how anti-religious I am, so I'm sure that plays into it for me, even if she's the one that brought them into power in the first place.

The movie Irreversible, by Gaspar Noe, opens with one of the most horrendous murders I've ever seen on film. It's presented in graphic detail as a man's face is literally bashed in for no apparent reason. It's senseless and shocking. And then you realize the movie is told backwards and as we slowly realize this was an act of vengeance. But then what could possibly deserve vengeance of this magnitude? Eventually we get to the horrendous rape scene, also presented in graphic and painful detail, that lead to the revenge murder. And now you're questioning whether that truly justifies the opening. Are you left with "well this is not as horrible" or are you left with "well, yeah, then that guy totally had that shit coming"? I don't know. There are no easy answers. And I kind of got that feeling from Cersei's parade. Yeah, she didn't change and if anything, she's now more determined to get her vengeance, but it's more about our reaction. And I would suggest that Arya's moment is tied to this.

And so is Stannis's story. He quickly realized, in the most rushed part of the whole episode, that everything he sacrificed, such as his daughter, was for nothing. Was it worth it for him?  Clearly not. And in his case it wasn't even about revenge, but about ambition, no matter how much he told himself it was something else. But more importantly, Brianne's need for vengeance makes her a complete failure as a knight.

Theon and Sansa Jump
Leap of faith desperation.

And that's that, for a year, I guess. Is Daenerys going to be made a slave by that Dothraki horde? There's no way they are going to just accept her. Did Sansa and Theon make that jump? And where the hell is Little Finger? I'm sure there will be more complexities next season and more controversy and more fan outcry about deaths. I'm looking forward to all of it.

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