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

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

Dead Season Discussion: Trials of Ice and Fire (and Mountains) in Game of Thrones Season 4 (Part 1)

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: Jeff, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be here with you once again for another Dead Season Discussion!

Jeff: Indeed! After bombarding everyone with 24 for a year, we’ve let our duties slide a little bit (well, there was that little comedy show). Now we’re back in full “better-late-than-never” mode!

Patches: Hahaha. Doesn’t that imply that we usually operate in some other mode most of the time?

Jeff: How about “always late, but never better”? Hmmmmm, maybe that implies that we never improve. Maybe we should just take it from Gandalf.

Patches: I’m down with that. I’ve used “A teacher can’t be tardy” once or twice in my day. All I know is that I’m really glad that we don’t have some sort of a shtick for our reviews. You know, the “Best and Worst” of something or “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” of something else. I’ve seen some websites do those things incredibly well, but we would be so screwed for our Game of Thrones write-ups. “The Good, the Also Good, and the, Like, One Thing That’s Not Good” of Game of Thrones Season 4!

Long story short, we love this show. What jumped out at you this season? Why was Season 4 so damn good?

Jeff: You know what Patches? You might as well just go back and read our Season 3 discussion. Combine skilled adaptation, assured direction, a mostly-pretty-great cast and the best book in the series and you get Game of Thrones Season 4 (and 3). I’ll try to speak in generalities for a little while here and then throw it back to you before we get into specific stories or moments.

The character moments and pairings remain great, but different characters come to the fore than in seasons past. Tywin and Jaime take a bit of a back seat after a stellar Season 3, but the both still have some great scenes with Tyrion that reveal new depths of their enmity and love, respectively. Oberyn Martell was a wonderful addition whose every scene was better than the one previous. Brienne and Pod offer a nice odd couple pairing. Davos gets some brief chances to shine. Even some of the boring ol’ crew at the wall–and trusty Sam–get their moments of glory.

Best of all, the Stark girls both hit new highs, in my opinion. After episode 7, I noted that Continue reading

Dead Season Discussion: Knocking Over the Board in Game of Thrones Season 3 (Part 4)

Title CardWelcome to the second installment of Dead Season Discussion, where Jeff of Slazenger1 and I discuss Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not only is Game of Thrones more popular than our first effort, ABC’s Last Resort, but it’s also a better program, meaning we probably won’t spend 2,000+ words discussing what we didn’t like about the show.

If the title didn’t make SEASON 3 SPOILERS obvious, then you need to start paying attention while you read. Oh, and also, book 3 spoiler alert. There are, however, NO spoilers from later in the book series, beyond what season 3 of the TV show covers.

For the final part of our Game of Thrones Season 3 analysis, we go back to the well for some more superlatives. If you haven’t read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 yet, here are the links. This time, though, there’s no theme. They’re all Reviewer’s Choice! Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Best Main Theme (Patches)
Ramin Djawadi: I have been a big fan of Ramin Djawadi’s work ever since his incredible soundtrack for EA’s 2010 Medal of Honor reboot. Although the Game of Thrones soundtracks aren’t at that level, the show’s main theme is the best theme song on television. It’s so good that I can’t watch an episode without watching the opening.

Most Blatant Ripoff of The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (Jeff)
Tyrion Lannister: The books make Tyrion sound ugly to begin with, something that couldn’t really be helped once Peter Dinklage was cast in the role. After Tyrion gets his face slashed during the Battle of Blackwater, the books frequently discuss his apparent lack of nose and general disfigurement. Rather than cause viewers to puke up lamprey pie every time they saw Tyrion, the TV team decided to go the CW route of “guy with a sexy scar.”  Probably a good move. Continue reading

Dead Season Discussion: Knocking Over the Board in Game of Thrones Season 3 (Part 3)

Title CardWelcome to the second installment of Dead Season Discussion, where Jeff of Slazenger1 and I discuss Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not only is Game of Thrones more popular than our first effort, ABC’s Last Resort, but it’s also a better program, meaning we probably won’t spend 2,000+ words discussing what we didn’t like about the show.

If the title didn’t make SEASON 3 SPOILERS obvious, then you need to start paying attention while you read. Oh, and also, book 3 spoiler alert. There are, however, NO spoilers from later in the book series, beyond what season 3 of the TV show covers.

For the last two days, we’ve discussed Game of Thrones’ third season. Today, we get a little deeper with our look at the best/worst performances, episodes, and scenes of the season.

Patches: Let’s move to our trademark superlatives, which aren’t really trademarked as much as we are the only people to call them “superlatives.”

BEST PERFORMANCE. Who ya got?

Jeff: I’m going to go with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister. Guy will probably never get an Emmy for this, but deserves one for the Hot Tub scene alone.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Patches: Coster-Waldau’s versatility and growth makes him my choice too. I’ll still give a shout-out to Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. He absolutely OWNED this season, mostly while seated. I would watch an entire episode of him writing letters, then ripping apart anyone who interrupts him. Continue reading

Dead Season Discussion: Knocking Over the Board in Game of Thrones Season 3 (Part 2)

Title CardWelcome to the second installment of Dead Season Discussion, where Jeff of Slazenger1 and I discuss Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not only is Game of Thrones more popular than our first effort, ABC’s Last Resort, but it’s also a better program, meaning we probably won’t spend 2,000+ words discussing what we didn’t like about the show.

If the title didn’t make SEASON 3 SPOILERS obvious, then you need to start paying attention while you read. Oh, and also, book 3 spoiler alert. There are, however, NO spoilers from later in the book series, beyond what season 3 of the TV show covers.

Yesterday, we looked at the season as a whole. Today, our Skype-based discussion and analysis covers the big moments of Season 3.

Patches: I spoke earlier of the book having many “big moments.” Maybe this is the time to take a closer look at those. With what should we begin?

Jeff: I think it might be best to go chronologically through the season. I’m not sure how much time we want to spend on each moment and I’m also not sure what really defines “big” moment, but the season had a few that are worth talking about. Unless you can think of something earlier, perhaps the first big shocker was Jaime Lannister losing his sword hand at the end of episode 3, “Walk of Punishment.” Continue reading