Thoughts on Last Week's Game of Thrones

Season 3 Episode 5,  "Kissed by Fire"

Actually, I'm going to write about two of my thoughts on GOT up to this point. Two complaints, really. (I do like the show overall.)

First, the sides competing for the throne are unbalanced. Daenerys is too strong to make that interesting. She has dragons, a super-trained army, and I haven't seen her make one bad decision as leader so far. So unless she made one in season two (which I haven't seen), she's set no precedent for making mistakes. She's more of an icon than a real person. The only obstacle preventing her from taking the throne is her distance from it. The biggest thing going on is us waiting for her to get there, to finish her road trip. This makes Rob's concerns about winning the war seem small. He's only fighting to be interim monarch. I feel like the only thing to thwart Daenerys is either some act of god - flood, accidental spearing - or the White Walkers descending upon her. If it's the White Walkers scenario, then, in the meantime, we're still just waiting for the big players to get somewhere.

And I had something else...

Oh yeah, this last episode was dangerously close to being just a collection of scenes. Some of the scenes survive alright - Papa Lannister telling his adult children who they have to marry, Jamie and Brienne in the tub - but others don't. John Snow's and what's-her-name's sex scene in the cave felt supremely unimportant (even though he was breaking his vows) because their through line has been so spotty. We haven't seen them  together since maybe the first episode. We've lost the sense of their romantic tension, and so we don't feel the pay off. They're still an entertaining collection of scenes, but if they lose those through, lines it's going to be increasingly difficult to keep those scenes feeling important.


  1. I think you bring up some very good points. I want to tackle the second one first.

    I agree, for the most part, that the show has become too much a collection of scenes. Unless you've read the books, know the arc, and are familiar with each of the characters and his/her qualities, then it becomes exhausting to try to keep up with it all.

    I think we're also starting to realize that the 55 min episode format is, in fact, not the best way for this show to be released. I don't mind it being episodic. The books feel that way. But I do think it would hold together more as an artistic enterprise if they decided to release it all at once (Netflix style), were not as concerned with episode length, and in that way choose mini-climaxes that made the plot--how can I say this--more meaningful, I guess.

    For the first part you brought up, I think Dany is as complex a character as there is in this world, and that will only continue to surface more as the show goes on. I don't think Martin's an idiot. I think he is writing for the readers who wouldn't possibly miss the forest for the trees. We can see the movement of the White Walkers and Dany and the struggles around King's Landing; we know there are dragons and that White Walkers only die by fire; we know that Bran is paralyzed but that he can ride.

    We don't know, however, how all this will fit together (or if it will). And we also don't know the extent to which Jon Snow, Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, Stannis, Littlefinger, Theon, Beric Dondarrion, and especially the Stark children, will have on the story. That's what's exciting.

    And just for the record: The books are actually written as a collection of scenes; each chapter the name of a character. Sometimes we can go 200 pages between times a character shows up. It's annoying sometimes, but I got into it.

    Here's to hoping things hold together.

    1. I'm not saying that Dany's not as complex as other characters (although I do sometimes say that). I'm saying she doesn't have an interesting enough obstacle. Her obstacle is distance from the throne. Even the hobbits, when they had distance from Mt. Doom as one obstacle, also had the orcs and the corruptive power of the ring to worry about.

      Her army and dragons and even claim to the throne seem far above all her competitors. She even has the element of surprise. If, when she gets there, say Rob Stark's army all of a sudden can beat her, that would feel more like a failure of the show to accurately represent the strength of Rob Stark's army rather than a twist.

      I'm not minding the collection of scenes bit, at this point. But I do think they need to be careful.

      I don't think Martin's an idiot, either. Don't worry. :)