Television Tuesday :: an HBO season transition (two lists of 5)

18 Jun

Once, a friend and I were on a cross-country roadtrip with my family.  We were at Disneyland and had been waiting in line for the Peter Pan ride for about forty-five minutes in the sun, not moving and surrounded by shrieking children, when we invented a game: it was called the Optimism Game, and it consisted of just… thinking positively.  Things like “hey, we’re at Disneyland!” and “it’s a beautiful day!” and “the tour book said this was a cool ride!” and “when we’re done we can go get milkshakes!”  We continued to play this game during the rest of our trip, combating minor annoyances with ineffable cheerfulness.

I find myself thinking about this game sometimes in life, and I think that’s how I’m going to talk about this season of Game of Thrones.  Like a trip to Disneyland, I do adore Game of Thrones and can chat about it for hours, but like waiting in a terribly long line in the hot sun, sometimes I have aggravations.  I’ve rage-tagged my biggest ones on tumblr and alluded to them here as well; other parts of the internet can and do talk much more intelligently about other weirdnesses that left a funny taste in my mouth.  But there are lovely things, too, and so here is a list of five things I found lovely this season, of varying relevance and size.

5. my khaleesi being awesome.
As before discussed (I also wrote a term paper on this scene, analyzing sentence structures in book vs. TV show, and it was the most exhausting paper I’ve probably ever written, but it was worth it).

4. continuity parallels.
The best ones that I can think of: the time that Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dany (Emilia Clarke) were talking about languages (which was actually just a great little scene in general, because friends) and Dany mispronounced the same Dothraki word that she’d been struggling with in season one when Irri (Amrita Acharia) was trying to teach her things and the time that Gilly (Hannah Murray) told Sam (John Bradley) that he was like a wizard because he could learn things from marks on paper, as in his books, and Sam had specifically said back in season one that when he was a little boy he’d wanted to be a wizard.  Both times, I paused the television and flailed my hands around going “awwww,” because that was lovely.  (Continuity in a larger sense, for example with characters and how they would behave, is not always a thing this show has been super-excellent at [she said, frenziedly pointing at a certain rage-tagged thing], so I get excited when they have it and it’s cute.)

3. Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and her subtext.
Naturally, I am referring to the subtext that my lady-tinted glasses helps me spot.  A friend pointed out that another of her friends had mentioned that yellow roses with red tips (the flower that Margaery handed Sansa [Sophie Turner]) meant, well.  Here’s a good description from “a yellow rose with red petal tips could indicate that you are falling into love from friendship or a plain indication of falling in love with the person you are presenting them to.”  Taaaake that as you will, but that was the same scene in which she mentioned to Sansa that some women like pretty girls (nudge, nudge?) and talked about the complicated art of pleasing women.  I have been by no means active in the “Margaery likes girls” movement, but I fully support the cause and tout it at all possible opportunities.

2. Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in the baths.
That scene.  That scene, though.  One of my people (who is very much not of the internet and rarely does such things) turned into the most spectacular Jamie/Brienne shipper somewhere along the line, and I mean, I definitely am right there with.  I admit I didn’t really have a lot of particular Jaime feelings until Brienne started having them in the books, so it was sort of an adjustment to enter season three actually sometimes having Jaime feelings.  But that scene, just one guy sitting in a bathtub and talking while an excellent lady listened and emoted, was beautiful and heart-wrenching.

1. Jon (Kit Harington) and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) just… in general.
“I want you to know,” I told a friend who hasn’t read the books before the season began, “There was a moment in A Storm of Swords, a specific noticeable moment, where I fell in love with Jon Snow.  I’ve always liked him well enough, but after this, I… officially love him.  And you know I don’t say that lightly about dude characters.”  This was me talking about the cave scene, which is short but fills me with joy.  One of my people and I were warning others that from that scene on, there was not likely to be much happiness to look forward to.  But this is the thing about Jon and Ygritte: some of their stuff is cute and some of it pains me at my very core, but I think the show did it pretty well.  Not perfectly because there is no such thing, and they did change some details, but overall, it made me feel what it was supposed to make me feel approximately when it was supposed to make me feel it.

Now.  When Game of Thrones ends, True Blood begins, and when True Blood begins, I’m writing about it a lot.  Here are five things I thought and/or talked about while watching the premiere episode.

5. aw, Luna (Janina Gavankar).
As per Sunday’s Westeros logic, one of my people and I shrugged at each other when the other person asked “is she really gonna be dead?”  I dunno, probably.  That would be a bummer, I liked her pretty well and also Janina Gavankar has a nice face, but I’ve been kind-of sort-of emotionally prepared for Luna to get killed off since the middle of last season, so although it’s probably awful to say, it wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises to me.

4. this is the thing about Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard).
I am full-naming him because I am being very serious right now.  Sometimes this man is an asshole, Tara (Rutina Wesley) was right.  Of my always boys, he is easily the biggest asshole, and I know this.  I do not excuse it, but I acknowledge it as a fact, because when someone is one of my own, I try to acknowledge both their positive and negative qualities.  But anyway.  Sometimes this man is an asshole, and there is no denying this.  But he is also sometimes not an asshole, and I think it is a learning process: in the earlier seasons, he was definitely like “hey hey Sookie innuendos and stuff~” but then gradually and largely due to magical mind-wiping and lessons learned from it he is now in a place of “okay I am disappointed but I respect your wishes,” and that’s cool.  Attraction at first sight, love gradually (about this, Nora [Lucy Griffiths] was right, and I rather assume that she’s one of the best ones to know these things about him).  Yes, he was an asshole toward Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and I do not deny this, and it makes me a bit sad because I don’t like it when Eric and Pam are on the outs, but you can’t win them all, I guess.

3. Pam and Tara.
Pam and Tara fighting evil, Pam crying her angry tears and Tara snuggling her, Pam and Tara banging on the beach soon after even though we didn’t see it, Pam and Tara fighting with each other because they both have personal opinions and background reasons for how they deal with relationship stuff, Pam and Tara Pam and Tara Pam and Tara.  We sort of got cliffhangered with them, but I’m not too worried yet.

2. Nora, obviously.
My darling.  Of course Pam and Nora don’t get along, and I mean it’s bothersome on one hand because they’re my favorites, but on the other hand Pam doesn’t get along with anyone.  Except sometimes Eric and sometimes Tara.  It feels pretty right.  Pam doesn’t like being ordered around, but in the particular situation it made perfect sense for Nora to be ordering around.  And wow, though, the narrative needs Nora right now.  Yes, Nora was part of the whole Lilith-crazed Authority mess that paved the way for this season, so that’s a thing, and while she had a pretty legitimate arc just over last season alone which was excellent, she has a very personal need to atone and make amends in the grander scheme of the world.  Is Nora the one who’s thinking the most practically about the Billith situation?  Probably-maybe.  Is Nora the one who’s least tied to any particular emotional implications in the situation?  Oh, yeah.  Really her only ties are to Eric and to atoning for stuff, but that means that she can be Mission Girl right now, and probably someone has to be.  (Also, I like that in the course of a conversation, she both talked about how basically she had done her research and snarked at Eric for not having ever done any himself.)

1. a… certain thing about Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll).
Me in an email to a friend, discussing my thoughts about this thing after the first time I watched the episode: “…now I’m just having really vague and uncomfortable Baelish and Sansa-situation feelings sort of.”
One of my people to the group at large after our viewing tonight (hers and my second, the others’ first), with a very loaded tone of voice that we both use when what we mean is that we are thinking about Game of Thrones-related stuff: “Is this reminding anyone else of something?”
That same person, elaborating later on that being reminded (pardon me I am probably not getting the exact phrasing right): “I’m just thinking get away from her, Littlefinger.”

–your fangirl heroine.

oh i see


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