RIP, Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen’s death, having considered its possibility myself ahead of Game of Thrones’ final season as, maybe, an attempt to begin numbing myself to its probability, was the one that I ultimately, and apparently, could not convince myself to prepare for. Continue reading

Game of Thrones “Beyond the Wall” recap: Viserion

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Devastating, just devastating. That’s the one word I could come up with to summarize my emotions after episode six, “Beyond the Wall,” of Game of Thrones’ next-to-last season aired Sunday night. Devastated because the so-called Frozen Lake Battle cost Daenerys one of her three dragons, known more intimately to her as the only three children she’ll ever have. Now one of them, Viserion, is gone, plucked out of the sky by the Night King with a frozen spear and later turned zombie dragon.

The anger and disappointment I experienced came in waves.

First, I was angry at Jon Snow, an all too familiar feeling for me during this sixth season, for either not being tall enough or not trying hard enough to reach Daenerys’ outstretched arm and climb aboard Drogon and get the hell out of there. Instead, he turned to fight some more, keeping Daenerys grounded and her other dragons overhead still in the area so as the Night King could step up, as slowly as is his usual style, to throw his spear through the air and strike Viserion. And then the nerve of Jon to feel embolden to fight even more, soon putting Daenerys herself and now Drogon in immediate danger as well for waiting on him.

All of this just to get to the part when Jon and the two zombies he’s wrestling fall through the ice? For suspense, ultimately just to confirm that no one — Jaime Lannister, Jon or otherwise — can die drowning this season?

So second, that made me angry with the people who wrote this whole ordeal in. If I try hard enough, I can come up with some semblance of reasoning.

It’s gigantic shock value. For a long time, these dragons were thought to be basically invincible. Even as Qyburn introduced Cersei to his dragon-killing crossbow, we collectively still snickered. For a long time, we’ve been formulating this idea that Daenerys herself, when she started toward Westeros, would be virtually unstoppable. This season has peeled back that assumption. This death, quite frankly, is the most impactful of any chipping away at her and their invincibility.

It may certainly be an event that pulls us into backing a very odd collective effort against the White Walkers, a path the previews for the upcoming season finale seem to suggest is coming — Cersei, Sansa, Jon, Dany, everyone banding together to save everyone. You can be rooting for anyone but Dany to take the Iron Throne in the end and still think this was a cheap death, be angered by it, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe in this penultimate season of Thrones nothing is really going to happen. (Not nothing, but, like, kind of nothing, you know?) Jaime and Jon have almost died or just went for a swim or something, some battles have been won and lost and certainly some allies have been wiped out (for all we know, but we don’t really know when it comes to, say, Yara Greyjoy) but in the end everyone’s got to come together to fight the war bearing down on all of Westeros from the north? It would be very odd to see how these clashing sides come together, and maybe it’s happening now, in the finale, so the show’s creators can have a year to think about all those moving parts. (For example, what’s the boundary between when that war ends and the Westeros one starts again?)

With the death then reincarnation of Viserion into a zombie dragon, it’s obvious why a continent-wide alliance matters. Dany’s side kind of needs Qyburn’s Scorpion, don’t they? Or can dragons kills other dragons?

One solution, it would seem, is killing the Night King. This episode showed us what happens when someone (Jon, in this instance) kills one of the Night King’s generals — all the zombies shatter like glass instantly. So, kill the Night King, and you kill anyone he turned into a zombie along with him. (And in a surprising twist, I can actually appreciate the fact that this episode foreshadowed the Night King’s ability to turn Viserion when it brought a zombie polar bear in to attack Jon & Co. in a snow storm.)

And make no mistake: I’d be mad at the Night King for doing what he did, too, but I’m not sure you can be mad at someone you never liked in the first place. It’s frustrating that the writers gave this super-human zombie king beyond-Olympic-level javelin skills, where he can strike Viserion dead with one throw.

This, for me, may be the show’s most heartbreaking moment to date. Daenerys was genuinely heroic in flying from Dragonstone to save one of her last remaining new allies. She could’ve sat at home safely while Jon got what he had coming to him for hatching such an absurd plan — and Tyrion begged her to — but she refused.

She put herself and her children (yes, we’re going to use her word) in harms way. She is unfortunately just one woman, one queen, one khaleesi, one Mother of Dragons, and those dragons are large. She can only ride one at a time. So to see the look on her face as Viserion screamed and fell from the sky, to see her realize she could not protect him was immensely heartbreaking.

This has been a season in which Daenerys has been bullied episode after episode, whether by the repulsive double standard a couple of her advisers have held her to morally, the way she has lost allies as quickly as she gained them, or the number of times she and her advisers have been out-smarted and outmaneuvered, save for one epic victory in the Loot Train Attack. In the case that she ultimately experiences a great eternal victory in the end, this may all be worth it. But where it sits right now, it’s all just plain devastating.

That other thing that happened

. . . . On Arya and Sansa’s growing feud: There’s probably a whole separate post to write about the eerie tension between the Stark girls, if only I actually knew what the hell was happening. It’s a perplexing rift, started when Arya discovers the piece of parchment Littlfinger was hiding — an old letter from Sansa to brother Rob, imploring him to give up his fight, come to King’s Landing and pledge his loyalty to then-King Joffrey. It pisses Arya off, so much so that she now has a fuzzier picture of Sansa’s allegiances.

Or does she? Or is Arya just playing some creepy game in her head? For real, it seems like Sansa thinks Arya is going to kill her. And still I wonder and I think it matters: Did Littlefinger plant the letter for Arya to find? If he wasn’t, why would he not just burn the letter as soon as he received it?

I have more questions than answers.

 

Hello Ladies: The one in Long Beach

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BY ZACHARY WHITE //

Although the satire used in Hello Ladies borders on cruel and unusual at times, the mix of drama and humor in the shows newest episode almost blends perfectly. Stuart Pritchard continues his wild escapades through L.A., this time taking his talents to Long Beach.

While construction workers do the job of repairing the roof of the guest house, his tenant Jessica shares a bed with Stuart as he is unwilling to spend any extra money to put her up in a hotel. He again leads with his characteristic self-involvement, completely lacking social grace, in order to connect with the guys fixing up his house.

His inability to actually be himself around women in order to impress them comes full circle when he does the same to the workers. The writers do a great job of taking Stuart out of high society and throwing him in with a completely different class of people, which could be argued he completely deserves.

Stuart ends up talking the crew into taking him to Long Beach in order for him to score a ‘slump buster,’ and end his bad luck with women. However, when Stuart finally gets to the club with the guys he barely knows, before he has a chance to talk to the slump buster they set him up with, they make him go along with them to ‘f*** someone up.’ Stuart is once again stuck following his earlier proclamations of toughness.

As Stuart runs around with a crowd he is not quite cut out to run with, Jessica watches the daughter of Stuart’s best friend Wade. His daughter asks Jessica about her current relationship status with Glen, which she is not quite sure how to describe to a child.

At the same time, Wade is meeting with his wife after the 30 day period she made him wait to speak to her. He heads to his wife’s work to pick her up, planning on reenacting a scene from his wifes favorite movie An Officer and a Gentlemen, and actually tries to pick her up while she is on the phone in the middle of a conversation, the awkward comedy strikes again as you do not know whether to laugh or just feel sorry for Wade as his marriage sits on the brink of divorce.

After seeing his wife, Wade heads back to pick up his daughter from being babysat by Jessica. As Wade leaves with his daughter, Jessica’s not so clear relationship with Glen gets thrown into the boxing ring of a show. As Jessica breaches the conversation of what their relationship is, Glen quickly puts up a wall, saying he would rather not rush into something neither one of them is ready for. Jessica retreats, trying desperately to hold onto a relationship that clearly is defined by its sexual nature.

The show ranges from sad to pathetic as all three characters continue to fail at any potential for real relationships — and therein lies the beauty of the show itself. The writers do not seem to be interested in writing a story that backs their characters. There doesn’t seems to be any luck or karma working for the group. The brutal honesty of the entire episode weighs you down in your seat, wondering if you should laugh or cry after every at every pathetic moment in their lives. That is the beauty of the show, the characters don’t seem to be getting any better at life.