Dead Season Discussion: Trials of Ice and Fire (and Mountains) in Game of Thrones Season 4 (Part 4)

Title CardWith the passing of Breaking Bad and Mad Men and Homeland’s nosedive, HBO’s Game of Thrones is as close as America has to consensus television. Adapted from George R.R. Martin’s popular A Song of Fire and Ice book series by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones has racked up Emmy’s and Golden Globes, as well as awards that matter, such as the Peabody and Hugo Awards.

To commemorate the end of Season 4, Jeff (of Slazenger1) and I break down the good, the better, and the occasionally bad of Game of Thrones’ fourth season, which premiered on April 6, 2014 and ended on June 15, 2014.

As per the usual, SPOILERS ABOUND. Also, people die. If that’s a spoiler to you, you have no business clicking on a Game of Thrones link. There are, however, NO BOOK SPOILERS beyond what Season 4 of the show covers.

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Jeff: Now that we’ve checked out the good, the bad and the big, it’s time to hit up our usual round of superlatives. We’re using the same categories as last season, so don’t be mad if we end up repeating ourselves!

Best Performance
Jeff: Lena Headey had a superb episode in “First of His Name,” and Peter Dinklage may have had his best individual moment of the series (not to mention a few nice scenes with Pascal and Coster-Waldau). Even so, I’m going to be a broken record (and a cheater) and make it a tie between Maisie Williams as Arya and Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane. The latter has added even more shades to what was already one of the more complex characters in the book. The former continues to grow as an actress every season (after already killing it by Season 2). Put them together and it’s the show’s best pairing. Tear them apart and it’s the season’s best, well, see below.
Patches: I feel like I talked about all my Superlatives in the first three posts. True to my thoughts in Part 3, I have to give this one to Peter Dinklage. He’s been so good in every scene that it’s easy to take him for granted, but this might have been his best season yet. The climax of “The Laws of Gods and Men” was his best scene of the series and his Beetle soliloquy two episodes later was so good that it transcended its seemingly obvious Emmy-baiting. This season, from start to finish, was a tragic one for Tyrion and Dinklage didn’t disappoint.

Jon s4Worst Performance
Patches: Hmmmm… No Robb Stark anymore. Does that mean Kit Harington’s Jon Snow wins by default? “It’s time to play America’s favorite game show: Happy, Sad, or Constipated! The game where contestants guess Kit Harrington’s facial expression. Remember, folks, you win or you die!” All joking aside, Continue reading

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Dead Season Discussion: Trials of Ice and Fire (and Mountains) in Game of Thrones Season 4 (Part 3)

Title CardWith the passing of Breaking Bad and Mad Men and Homeland’s nosedive, HBO’s Game of Thrones is as close as America has to consensus television. Adapted from George R.R. Martin’s popular A Song of Fire and Ice book series by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones has racked up Emmy’s and Golden Globes, as well as awards that matter, such as the Peabody and Hugo Awards.

To commemorate the end of Season 4, Jeff (of Slazenger1) and I break down the good, the better, and the occasionally bad of Game of Thrones’ fourth season, which premiered on April 6, 2014 and ended on June 15, 2014.

As per the usual, SPOILERS ABOUND. Also, people die. If that’s a spoiler to you, you have no business clicking on a Game of Thrones link. There are, however, NO BOOK SPOILERS beyond what Season 4 of the show covers.

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Jeff: We dedicated an entire part of our season three discussion combing through the show’s “big moments.” We may need more space this year.

Unlike the first three seasons, where it felt like the show was building toward the expected episode nine climax, season four built to several different climaxes over the final 3-4 episodes in various locations throughout the world of ice and fire. Sure, we still got our episode nine showcase, but unlike seasons past, that may not have been the highlight of the year. I personally loved the way the back half played out, with several big moments, and even a small one or two that felt pretty big.

Before diving into climaxes though, we should probably start with the episode two shocker now known as The Purple Wedding. What did you think of Joffrey finally meeting his end, and was the moment robbed of any power by taking place so early in the season?

Patches: Haha. Yeah. I think, more than once this season, I was stupid enough to try and predict what episode something would happen. I don’t think I was ever close. I was either early because 2-3 other important things had to happen first or I was late because I randomly expected everything to be the Episode 9 climax.

The Purple Wedding might have been my favorite scene of the series. It probably was too. Then the rest of the season happened. This scene was great because of what was happening in the background. Don’t get me wrong, Joffrey KILLED IT, before dying, in this scene, as he has for the last three years. He did everything short of snorting and spit-taking during his regal Little Person Show. Joffrey made that scene good, but everyone else made it great. While Joffrey was yucking it up, director Alex Graves went around the horn, getting reaction shots of any character with dignity, taste, or a semblance of decency. And it was beyond powerful.

They’re repulsed. Disgusted. Horrified. Tyrion was flat-out angry, a “weakness” he is usually keen to hide from the world. Sansa’s emotional scars were brutally ripped open. Tywin put on his stoic “this kid is the fucking worst” face. Varys looked like he’d had enough of this shit. Loras stormed off. Margaery looked like she was about to cry, probably because she was about to cry. Continue reading

Dead Season Discussion: Trials of Ice and Fire (and Mountains) in Game of Thrones Season 4 (Part 2)

Title CardWith the passing of Breaking Bad and Mad Men and Homeland’s nosedive, HBO’s Game of Thrones is as close as America has to consensus television. Adapted from George R.R. Martin’s popular A Song of Fire and Ice book series by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones has racked up Emmy’s and Golden Globes, as well as awards that matter, such as the Peabody and Hugo Awards.

To commemorate the end of Season 4, Jeff (of Slazenger1) and I break down the good, the better, and the occasionally bad of Game of Thrones’ fourth season, which premiered on April 6, 2014 and ended on June 15, 2014.

As per the usual, SPOILERS ABOUND. Also, people die. If that’s a spoiler to you, you have no business clicking on a Game of Thrones link. There are, however, NO BOOK SPOILERS beyond what Season 4 of the show covers.

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Patches: We both liked Season 4. A lot. And it makes sense given the show hitting its stride and that it was able to draw upon what, in my opinion, was the best book in A Song of Fire and Ice for source material. That’s not to say it was perfect, however. We’ve talked about the good. Now it’s time for the bad. Did anything miss or just not quite work out as GoT intended?

Jeff: Any discussion of something that didn’t work in season 4 has to begin with the rape of Cersei in episode 3, “Breaker of Chains.” Forget the incest angle, we’re past that. Forget that it took place pretty much on top of their dead son. I’m also going to set aside the debate over the ethics of depictions of rape on television (and in this show), something that a lot of people spilled ink about when the episode first aired. The more minor problem I want to bring up is the complete destruction of Jaime Lannister’s redemption arc. They spent an entire season laying low and successfully rehabilitating this awful character only to undo all of it with this one nonsensical action. It’s not like Jaime is all of a sudden the worst again, but whatever identity he had is called into question. I will say that complex shades of gray (no, not that Shades of Gray) are perfect for this Ned Stark-less world, but this character turn just seems wrong. Oh, and the creative team never meant for the scene to be viewed as a rape anyway, so we’re back to the status quo, I guess?

gameofthrones14_04At the risk of preemptively derailing any discussion of the Jaime troubles, Continue reading