Why Game of Thrones was next to perfect

BusterAg
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The tantrum thrown by Daenerys, (where she slaughters the group of people that symbolically represent the common, non-elite people as a whole), was not only foreshadowed, it was not only planned from the beginning, we, as fans, were set up to be culpable in that slaughter.

Tyrion tells as us much when he was talking to Jon. We cheered Dany on when she was killing bad men, tyrants Dothracki raiders and slavers (and she got to choose who were bad men, but we generally agreed with her). Her penchant for violence was always there. What happened was, all of the sudden, we disagreed with her on who the bad men were.

Daenerys had a heart for slaves. In her mind, slavery was bad, and people that did not denounce slavery were evil. She killed them indiscriminately.

Daenerys also believed that the iron throne was hers by right. At first, it was by birthright, but, by the end of the show, when she didn't even have the best birthright claim to the throne, it was hers by "right" based on her life, her achievements. What was she good at? Conquest.

The people of Kings Landing stood opposed to her claim for the throne. It is pretty clear that, if the people were given a choice, Jon Snow was more loved, had a better birth claim, and would have been given the throne. Those people, just like the slavers of Astopor and Yunkai, were an obstacle to Daenerys getting what she wanted.

We cheered Dany on when she was killing people we disagreed with. The executions of Astopor and Yunkai were cruel and indiscriminate, but who cared? The deaths of the Tally's were harder to swallow, but still overlooked. Be in Dany's way, and you get blood and fire. She got to choose who the bad people were. And the bad people got torched.

The reason why "The Bells" was so bad was because we believed in Dany. We agreed with her. We accepted her violence as a necessary evil. We agreed that she should use her extraordinary power to further her agenda. Break the wheel. And then, suddenly, we didn't agree with her. The biggest problem, was her getting to choose the bad people. She was used to that. We reinforced that practice. But, what had we created? She had the power to destroy given to her by magic, and the power to choose who to destroy, given to her by us (at least in part). We, the fans, were made culpable to the slaughter by supporting her, as much as Tyrion was. We were surprised that she went as far as she did. We should not have been. The whole point of the show was that we should not have been surprised at that action, but we were. And we mourned when it happened.

The way that the show walked that line, getting us to agree with Dany, investing in her, but making the slaughter not out of character, and, out-of-line for the story based on the long line of killed people in the series, was, in my mind, amazing. It worked in glorious fashion.
Brian Earl Spilner
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Ok but, why did you create a separate thread?
WestAustinAg
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I agree with OP. I'm convinced that though there were serious shortcomings with the last season the story arc made sense. Viewers were set up to like Dany and her under dog ethos...and we mostly were ok with her heartless acts as something that could be forgiven in pursuit of a noble goal Then she showed that she was deceptive in language all along. To her, as with all dictators, liberation meant conquering.

This was true of the Spanish as they conquered Central and South America. This was true of Hitler. This was true of the Soviets. This was true of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.
BQCadet
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Brian Earl Spilner said:

Ok but, why did you create a separate thread?
Because his excellent and very valid point would be lost in all of the ZoMg ThEy RuInEd ThRoNeZ
powerbelly
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Almost everyone has zero problem with the story arc. It is the way they went around the last 2 seasons that is the issue.
My Dad Earl
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BusterAg said:

The reason why "The Bells" was so bad was because we believed in Dany. We agreed with her.
I don't agree with this. The Bells was so bad because there was no depth to why Dany took it all out on the citizens of Kings Landing, especially when they had already surrendered. I see what the writers were trying to do and I have no problem that she ended up mad (I think it's a brilliant ending to her arc), but her downfall to madness should have begun a season or two ago rather than two or three episodes ago.

I hated Ned Stark's beheading and The Red Wedding, but I have a crystal-clear understanding of why they happened and it made for a beautiful contribution to the story. I'm all for a shocking tragedy in a story as long as it is well thought-out and developed. Dany's tragedy was not.
chipotle
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It was unnecessary for such a turn and even with all you wrote that mass killing of innocents made zero sense. The better alternative was the Lannister army not surrendering, the bells never rang and dany is forced to continue the fight with the consequence of civilian casualties. Jon and Tyrion can continue not liking it but still be conflicted and the final nail in the coffin to force Jon's hand is Dany and Sansa's differences.
Luke Smith
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There's a difference between foreshadowing and a logical character arc though. Yes, the evidence was there for Dany to go mad, but they did a terrible job getting us there.

Dany has a history of burning people. But they have always been bad people, or people that in one way or another deserved to die.

The story has also foreshadowed that Dany can be merciful, and listen to reason.

I have no doubt that Dany going mad is what George R.R. Martin intended. But the show did a terrible job getting us to a believable spot for that to happen.

I get it, Dany was pissed that her dragon was shot down and Mrs Sunday was beheaded, Jon spurned her. This would lead me to believe she would go fire and blood on Euron's fleet, the Lannister Army and Cersei.

She could have flown in, destroyed all of the fleet, and the scorpions and then gone straight for the red keep and taken out Cersei. But the story had given me no reason to believe Dany would murder thousands of innocent men, women and children on the drop of a dime.

Yes. She was distraught. Yes she felt alone. But the story had given me no clues that Dany had it in her to murder so many innocent people.
Luke Smith
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About the Mad King -

Quote:

Aerys seemingly began as a benevolent ruler until he was overwhelmed by the so-called Targaryen madness, as a result, he began displaying traits of intense psychopathy, insanity, and sadistic intentions, exacerbated by hallucinations, schizophrenia, and paranoia regarding his own claim to the Throne, to the point where he burnt anyone he believed was against him, until half of the people whom he ruled were already against him.

At no point do we get to see this gradual turn in Dany. We go from benevolent ruler who only takes the lives of evil men and those who betray her to killing any innocent person in her way
expresswrittenconsent
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The ending sucked because of the stupid council who chose bran at the end. I didn't see that mentioned in the above love letter.
digital_ag
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I simply reject the idea that Dany's descent was "foreshadowed".

What makes Thrones great is the complexity of the characters within the context of the situation they're in.

We understood why Jaime pushed Bran out the window despite it being abhorrent. He found himself in a very tough situation and made a logical choice to eliminate a threat. That's like the first real action we see him take (along with laying sister pipe). The foundation for his character is set right there and that's what makes his redemption arc so compelling. Then they just throw it in the garbage in the last two episodes.

That's a common theme for the last season.

For all the "foreshadowing" done with regard to Dany being a mad queen, how many times did they reinforce "I'm not my father". It's a lot. Dany's complexity is always about riding the line between justice and tyranny - the situations she's put in are a lot like the Jaime situation above, two hard choices. Her whole arc is about learning to rule without giving in to her Targaryen madness (we all have a darkness inside us). Her entire arc. Then they just throw it in the garbage.

If mad queen was the real ending they needed to start the descent much earlier and develop that storyline beyond oh no Jorah oh no Messandei oh no Rheagal time to roast some kids.
My Dad Earl
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expresswrittenconsent said:

The ending sucked because of the stupid council who chose bran at the end. I didn't see that mentioned in the above love letter.
I think OP is specifically talking about "The Bells" episode.
expresswrittenconsent
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My Dad Earl said:

expresswrittenconsent said:

The ending sucked because of the stupid council who chose bran at the end. I didn't see that mentioned in the above love letter.
I think OP is specifically talking about "The Bells" episode.

I assume he is talking about the entire series. Nobody thinks the episode "the bells" sucks as a stand alone. It was beautiful freaking amazing TV as a stand alone episode. The problem is her "turn" wasnt properly foretold (in the prior 70 hours), and that the destruction a dragon is capable of in this episode kind of ruins the previous episode where it was really really really easy to kill a dragon.
Champ Bailey
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I loved this season. The past two seasons have been great. Hands down better than season 5.

The best is the 3ER playing the game perfectly to rule Westeros for eternity.
Urban Ag
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chipotle said:

It was unnecessary for such a turn and even with all you wrote it that mass killing of innocents made zero sense. The better alternative was the Lannister army not surrendering, the bells never rang and dany is forced to continue the fight with the consequence of civilian casualties. Jon and Tyrion can continue not liking it but still be conflicted and the final nail in the coffin to force Jon's hand is Dany and Sansa's differences.
They should have just positioned the Mountain at the bell tower and when the people start calling out to ring the bell, the Mountain slowly raises his hand and does the finger wag "oh I don't think so" and then everyone just kind of shuts up.
Furlock Bones
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it wasn't perfect. nothing can be. the last season in particular but also season 7 were bad. just really, really bad.
Prosperdick
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I still don't know why they went through all the trouble of tracing Jon's lineage, even to the point of having Sam discover the marriage annulment, just to have Jon go hang out with wildlings north of the wall.
Champ Bailey
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Prosperdick said:

I still don't know why they went through all the trouble of tracing Jon's lineage, even to the point of having Sam discover the marriage annulment, just to have Jon go hang out with wildlings north of the wall.


It's part of the many reasons Dany lost it.
powerbelly
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Prosperdick said:

I still don't know why they went through all the trouble of tracing Jon's lineage, even to the point of having Sam discover the marriage annulment, just to have Jon go hang out with wildlings north of the wall.
That was key to Dany losing her mind.
FightinTexasAg15
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Prosperdick said:

I still don't know why they went through all the trouble of tracing Jon's lineage, even to the point of having Sam discover the marriage annulment, just to have Jon go hang out with wildlings north of the wall.
Because nothing drives people crazier than their nephew refusing to have sex with them
KidDoc
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I cannot point to any specifics, maybe I can with a rewatch, but I thought this would end with her losing her mind back on May 3rd and said so in the mega-thread.

The foreshadowing was there it just wasn't shoved into your face. I think it was mostly in how much she seemed to enjoy the violence and her brooding nature that started to become more apparent after Jon became Aegon.
Urban Ag
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FightinTexasAg15 said:

Prosperdick said:

I still don't know why they went through all the trouble of tracing Jon's lineage, even to the point of having Sam discover the marriage annulment, just to have Jon go hang out with wildlings north of the wall.
Because nothing drives people crazier than their nephew refusing to have sex with them
It's ruined Thanksgiving so many times.

This is known.
Vernada
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I don't really have a problem with the way things wrapped up.

I think it's obvious though that at LEAST two more seasons were needed to tell the story properly.
BusterAg
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KidDoc said:

The foreshadowing was there it just wasn't shoved into your face. I think it was mostly in how much she seemed to enjoy the violence and her brooding nature that started to become more apparent after Jon became Aegon.
This is my first point:

She has always been brutal, violent. Crucifying slave owners. Executing the Astopor masters just after striking a commercial deal. Burning the leaders of House Tally due to their pride. Locking up the shipmerchant in his own safe in Qarth.

She burned everyone who ever stood against her. She liberated slaves, willing subjects. The biggest difference was, we didn't protest, because we didn't like the people she killed, and liked the people she liberated. In KL, the people rejected her, in her mind, for Jon. They got burned. We should not have been surprised.

In her mind, the people in Kings Landing were no different than the slave owners of Astopor. It is not her brutality that we disagree with, it is who she used it against.

My second point is, that the biggest impact that the series has, is that her behavior surprised us. We were set up to be surprised, the same way that Tyrion was. So, it had to be developed, but not so in-your-face.

By setting up the turn in this way, where we accepted her brutality when we agreed with it, but were surprised at her brutality when we didn't, we were, as fans, also culpable in the genocide. We rooted her on. But, many of her actions, well before the KL massacre, were extremely evil. We, as fans, in a sense, put an evil dictator in that place. You can't do that if you rub Dany's decent to madness in our faces.
BusterAg
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I find this series to have some parallel's to Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5.

How do we justify the bombing of Dresden? How did that happen? Why did those people deserve it. Why didn't a whole bunch of American generals hang for war crimes?

Vonnegut says it is an incomprehensible part of the human psyche, and will drive the witnesses of it to madness.

GOT tells us that the bombing of Dresden is an unavoidable byproduct of the human desire for leadership and power, and we, as GOT fans, put Dany on the throne, and are therefore just as culpable of the massacre at Kings Landing as Tyrion was.
BusterAg
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Luke Smith said:


At no point do we get to see this gradual turn in Dany. We go from benevolent ruler who only takes the lives of evil men and those who betray her to killing any innocent person in her way
Who gets to choose who is evil?

The heads of houses at Yunkai? Were all of them evil?

These were the people of Kings Landing, and they rejected her, just like the Tully's did. They got the fire and blood that they deserved for loving Jon more.
Urban Ag
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Vernada said:

I don't really have a problem with the way things wrapped up.

I think it's obvious though that at LEAST two more seasons were needed to tell the story properly.
I think that had they just stayed with one hour, 10 episode seasons for S7 and S8 (with a couple of longer ones) they would have had adequate time to finish this out with a much better product. Slow it down and add more dialogue. More back history on the NK and WW. More time spent on the strategy for the defense of Winterfell and how to kill the NK. More smart dialogue as opposed to all the rushed drivel.

Also, more episodes would mitigate much of the "time travel" aspect of it where one character is in KL and then the next time you see them that episode they're at Winterfell. Long travel should occur off screen between episodes and then back it up with some dialogue like "your Grace, the Unsullied have been marching east for 12 days, we should expect them to Dragonstone within three days if the weather holds" or something like that.

I still enjoyed S8 but like S7, they tried to pack too much in to too few episodes. Quality suffered.

BusterAg
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My Dad Earl said:




I hated Ned Stark's beheading and The Red Wedding, but I have a crystal-clear understanding of why they happened and it made for a beautiful contribution to the story. I'm all for a shocking tragedy in a story as long as it is well thought-out and developed. Dany's tragedy was not.
I strongly disagree here. The reasons are pretty clear cut in my mind, and very well developed. They were just slow-played on purpose, and decorated as justice, to get the reaction that we did.
BusterAg
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Prosperdick said:

I still don't know why they went through all the trouble of tracing Jon's lineage, even to the point of having Sam discover the marriage annulment, just to have Jon go hang out with wildlings north of the wall.
Burning KL was as much about keeping Jon off the throne than it was about revenge against Cerci. Dany didn't care if Jon was the rightful heir, she was going to take the throne by force. That included breaking the will of a people that had clearly rejected her in favor of Jon (in her mind).
BusterAg
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Urban Ag said:


I think that had they just stayed with one hour, 10 episode seasons for S7 and S8 (with a couple of longer ones) they would have had adequate time to finish this out with a much better product. Slow it down and add more dialogue. More back history on the NK and WW. More time spent on the strategy for the defense of Winterfell and how to kill the NK. More smart dialogue as opposed to all the rushed drivel.

I still enjoyed S8 but like S7, they tried to pack too much in to too few episodes. Quality suffered.


I do agree with this.

The point of the NK was that, when we really have to, we can come together for a common cause, and quit petty squabbles. But, that never lasts long.

The NK was just a plot device to get the North, the Wildlings, the Unsullied, the Dothracki, the Lannisters (save Cerci) all working together, for a time.

2 more episodes this season on the dialog (which made this show so good) laying out the themes and Dany's perceived rejection more clearly would have been better.
PatAg
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BusterAg said:

Luke Smith said:


At no point do we get to see this gradual turn in Dany. We go from benevolent ruler who only takes the lives of evil men and those who betray her to killing any innocent person in her way
Who gets to choose who is evil?

The heads of houses at Yunkai? Were all of them evil?

These were the people of Kings Landing, and they rejected her, just like the Tully's did. They got the fire and blood that they deserved for loving Jon more.


What? None of what you wrote makes sense nor was deported on screen
Tobias Funke
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By "next to perfect", I assume you mean "back to back with episodes of Barry and Veep"?
BusterAg
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PatAg said:

BusterAg said:

Luke Smith said:


At no point do we get to see this gradual turn in Dany. We go from benevolent ruler who only takes the lives of evil men and those who betray her to killing any innocent person in her way
Who gets to choose who is evil?

The heads of houses at Yunkai? Were all of them evil?

These were the people of Kings Landing, and they rejected her, just like the Tully's did. They got the fire and blood that they deserved for loving Jon more.


What? None of what you wrote makes sense nor was deported on screen


Watch the scene with Tyrion and Jon when Tyrion was in prison again. Also, if you rewatch the episode key in one the word "choose" everytime it is uttered.
jeffdjohnson
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It was too ambiguous whether Dany was full of rage or madness. But consider what had just happened to her prior to episode 5. Her most trusted adviser Jorah dies. She loses half of her Dothraki/Unsullied army (which she needed to fulfill her one desire to take the throne). She loses a second dragon. She loses her next most trusted adviser Missandei. Another inner circle adviser Varys betrays her. All of these things happened between the end of episode 3 and episode 4. What is that, 75 minutes of screen-time?

All of those things combined could conceivably push her to the point of rage/anger that was required to firebomb Kings Landing. She was unchecked by advisers and backed into a corner. I see what the writers were trying to do. They just needed to stagger all of her losses and give her more time to let her anger grow.

I'm a fan of Season 8. The story elements were there, they just needed to tweak it around the edges and let parts of the story breath a little. That didn't ruin my enjoyment of the series or season. There was some pretty epic **** that went down. If people want to focus on water bottles/starbucks cups or gripe about the missed storytelling opportunities, then so be it. No one is wrong here. Entertainment is subjective. I was entertained.

Urban Ag
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Finished my third viewing last night and I agree, I still liked the season. I never seriously considered that Dany would go full mad king. So when she did in E5 it becomes an obvious conclusion that Jon is going to have to kill her. And that is what gave me the most concern for the finale'. Although a lot of things could have been improved this season, I was onboard for the most part right up until the aftermath of Jon killing Dany.

I don't know what to think about Drogon torching the throne, grabbing Dany, and flying off. I didn't love it or hate it. It's just so abrupt. Dany's dead, the last dragon flies away.

Why Grey Worm holds Jon prisoner instead of executing him on the spot. Or executing both him and Tyrion. What happens now? Where do the Dothraki go? Then we get the council, which was not very good. And what power does the council really have over the Unsullied? Was the implied rational that basically with Dany dead and Drogon gone, the Unsullied and Dothraki were outnumbered and had to concede to the council?

That whole 10-15 minutes was just clunky. Just some additional dialogue explaining what has happened in the two weeks or so since Dany was killed would have been so beneficial.

Then it picks up with the Unsullied leaving and Starks saying their goodbyes. IMO, it got great again right there. Brienne finishing Jamie's page was a nice touch. And I actually like the small council meeting. The exchanges were good. The final scenes of Arya, Sansa, Jon moving on were beautifully shot, the music was amazing, and I damn near had to wipe a tear.

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