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Television Tuesday :: a season 6 wrap-up.

5 Jul

Game of Thrones‘ season six was… well, it was pretty all right. I mourn my sweet gay babies Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones), bless them, but overall I am not disappointed and after last year’s mess that’s something, anyway? The requisite list of positives.

11. Davos (Liam Cunningham) finding out about Shireen (Kerry Ingram).
As y’all know, Shireen being murdered was my least favorite thing to happen in season five, and that’s saying quite a lot. So I guess it was a form of catharsis to see Davos finally find out what happened to his favorite girl and get really, truly mad about it. (I also liked that when Jon [Kit Harington] found out he didn’t have Melisandre [Carice van Houten] killed immediately but instead sent her on her way with a warning.)

10. Lyanna freaking Mormont (Bella Ramsey).
What a brilliant, scene-stealing kid. I had never seen her before in my life but my reaction after her first scene was “I’m so proud of her!” Boy howdy I love Mormont women just about as much as I don’t give a damn about the most prominent Mormont man.

9. Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray).
I actually quite liked the Horn Hill scenes, just overall; I liked how nice Sam’s mom and sister were, I liked how awkward Gilly was changing her clothes for the first time ever, I liked how Sam and Gilly both stood up to Sam’s jerk dad, I like how the power of love prevailed. And I really liked the Citadel library, sidenote.

8. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson).
I just really like these two. I was not a big fan of all of the treading water that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) had to do or how pointless most of his scenes felt, and in turn many of Missandei and Grey Worm’s, but Missandei and Grey Worm themselves are always wonderful. I really like how Missandei had no time for Tyrion’s bullshit plans and made no secret of that. I really like how the two of them spent most of the season dressed like dominatrixes/the male version thereof. I also really like that Missandei always calls him by his name in Valryian. That makes me smile a lot.

7. The Dornish matriarchy overhaul.
We had a beautiful moment with Ellaria queen (Indira Varma) and the Sand Snakes (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) in the first episode, one cursory mention around 6.03 or 6.04 of the fact that they’d taken over Dorne, and then treaty negotiations with Olenna (Diana Rigg) in the finale. We didn’t see much of this matriarchy overhaul, but I support it fully. This puts me in the minority and I don’t give a single damn.

6. Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Jon.
Sansa and Jon really didn’t have a relationship before they went their separate ways in season one, but their reuniting was beautiful and their relationship development has been fascinating. The obvious thing to say is that it’s an indicator of Sansa’s increased maturity; it’s also giving her a chance to finally be volatile in productive-to-the-plot ways. Fucking Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is not looking to make this a happy ending, but it’s really interesting right now.

5. Sansa and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie).
Yes. This did not disappoint, Brienne’s loyalty is overwhelming, and I’m glad they at least still have each other.

4. Sansa and misandry.
One of the most brilliant moments this entire season was just Sansa’s facial reactions to Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) being killed by his dogs. Another thing I liked was when she yelled at Jon for not involving her in battle plans even though she knew about Ramsay more than any of them did. I also really liked her reaction to fucking Littlefinger’s completely unsurprising but nasty fantasy scenario: hand on the chest for stop, don’t touch me there, then “it’s a pretty picture” dripping disdain as she walked away. Sansa Stark is done with men and it’s beautiful.

3. Feast for Crows Cersei (Lena Headey).
Otherwise known as: I have been waiting for the Cersei I know from her POV chapters to finally get to show up and that Cersei is insane. Unfortunately, Benioff and Weiss seem too concerned with making the Lannisters sympathetic at times to allow them to be as interesting as in the books, so it was a long time coming for the full reveal. But now, after doing some horrible things and having some horrible things happen as a consequence, the Iron Throne is sat by completely bonkers Cersei, Darth Cersei, Mad Queen Cersei. I’m thrilled and Lena is going to do a great job.

2. The Targaryen-Greyjoy-Martell-Tyrell alliance.
I mean, I’m not keen on the fact that it had to come partially because of Margaery and Loras’ death, but “so Yara goes to Meereen, right, and she hooks up with Dany, and then Varys goes to get the Martells in on it because they have a thing with the Targaryens, and then the Tyrells come too because they’re awesome” sounds… not unlike some of my personal ideal scenarios. The show has less lady-kissing in this alliance (because Margaery is dead now and never confirmed queer, because they haven’t mentioned Nym being bisexual in the show yet, etc.) but it’s still happening.

1. Dany (Emilia Clarke) and Asha-Yara (Gemma Whelan).
But there might be lady-kissing here! It’s now canon that Asha-Yara likes girls (and she didn’t die!) and both actresses have mentioned that there is some definite flirtation going on between these two. They bantered about why Dany should accept these Greyjoys’ offer of ships and alliance, which is because Euron’s offer would come with marriage demands. “And I imagine your offer is free of any marriage demands?” Dany banters. “I never demand, but I’m up for anything really,” Asha-Yara declares, in a conversation that does sound just as Sapphic as my fantasy endings. I don’t know how this is going to go but dear gods let it go right. Because, quoth poor lost Doreah, “love comes in at the eyes,” and those two were making significant eyes at each other. (Also, Dany broke up with Daario [Michiel Huisman] spectacularly.)

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: I can’t quit Game of Thrones.

23 Jun

One, I can’t quit it because I watch it with other groups of people.  Two, because I care too damn much about my girls and foolishly pray that they’ll eventually be done right by.  Three, because at this point I’m thinking of it as being essentially a pinboard for aesthetic so I can cosplay/visualize the books.  Four, I care too much about seeing it through because of the books.  Five, because occasionally nice things still happen.

Occasionally.

I have about fifty varieties of rage about the not-nice things that happened.  Upon repeat viewings with different groups of people, I actually just got up and left the room at the end of episode six (poor Sansa [Sophie Turner] who deserves so much better, who is still acting the hell out of it but shouldn’t have to be stuck in that shithole of a plot divergence); I spent my first viewing of episode nine repeatedly yelling the phrases “oh you evil douchebag” and “fuck you” in echo (poor Shireen [Kerry Ingram] who deserved so much better always); I cringed during the finale but understood sort of why that happened that way because of the plot divergence mess that entire line had devolved into (poor Myrcella [Nell Tiger Free, who is incidentally adorable]).  Etcetera.  The thing that made all of my people angry and/or befuddled I knew was coming, and I don’t know what its outcome will be because I’ve heard so damn many theories, but suffice to say: Kit Harington, you have consistently improved as an actor, good job buddy, Jon will forever be my boy in this series.

But in the grand tradition of this series, here is a list of 5 things that were pretty all right about this season.  Pretty much the only significant 5.

5. By the end of the finale episode, some things were actually sort of where they were supposed to be in reference to the book plotline, mostly.
Arya (Maisie Williams) had been made blind (it’ll go away, don’t worry show friends; I was about to write “it’s a learning experience” but if I do that I also have to qualify that holy shit watching the House of Black and White stuff made me so much more uncomfortable than reading it, and sorry ser who shares my roof who loves Jaqen H’ghar [Tom Wlaschiha], I kept mentally going “John Garrett?”) like she was supposed to be; Dany (Emilia Clarke) had been found by the Dothraki horde (and, book friends, can I just say how happy I am that we didn’t have to actually watch the events of the chapter preceding that in the book, which did make me physically uncomfortable to read); Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) were finally on their way to Oldtown like they should have been oh, at the beginning of the season; Cersei (Lena Headey) had her walk of atonement and that, while horrible to watch, is as it was supposed to be; the Jon stuff resolved as it was supposed to, though it was unpleasant.  At this point the relief of things finally going back on-book almost feels like happiness.  And a different plotline was at an entirely different place than it was supposed to be and I was overjoyed, but I’m not going to talk any more about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

4.  Well, Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) was crazy and did do poison.
When they announced that Tyene was going to be utilizing “double daggers” my initial reaction was to cringe.  I absolutely love book Tyene, as I’ve said before, and for y’all who don’t read the books let me just tell you why without spoiling plot points: book Tyene is Oberyn’s daughter not by Ellaria (Indira Varma) but by an unnamed septa, and she has inherited some of her mother’s devotion, at least outwardly, as well as inheriting her mother’s blonde hair and blue eyes.  She’s feminine and septaesque in demeanor and plays it up, but she’s also devious and prone to using poison as her weapon, her only weapon in contrast to her sisters.  All I needed for the Sand Snakes, really, was for Tyene to be crazy and do poison, but when they announced the double daggers I pretty well abandoned that hope. But!  Though she was Ellaria’s short-haired daughter fighting with double daggers, she coated those with poison and did injury with them, pretty much for the sole purpose of fucking with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) in a way that did have at least some of the crazy cadence that endeared Tyene to me in the first place.  This got carried too far, culminating in objectively one of the worst lines this season, but the initial moment of crazy and poison was perfect (and Obara [Keisha Castle-Hughes] and Nym [Jessica Henwick] sitting behind her rolling their eyes as if to say “come on, Tyene, everyone has seen your boobs, honestly” was perfect too).  This is a comfort, because the entire rest of the Dorne plotline was pretty much a giant mess.  Which sucks, because the Dorne chapters are the reason that A Feast for Crows is probably my favorite of the books, but honestly, deciding not to have Arianne in the show was a terrible decision for the plotline and they didn’t invest nearly any time in it like they should have, and that’s a whole other rant.  Suffice to say, at least Tyene was crazy and did poison.  That’s something, anyway.

3.  Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is so freaking important.
Her relationship with Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), as I said last year, is incredibly important because asexual relationship between characters of color.  And her relationship with Dany is incredibly important because when Dany is having a crap time of it, Missandei is the one she turns to for the truth.  Missandei and Dany spent that entire time in the pit clutching each other and trying to protect each other and yeah, this did make Dany leaving on Drogon’s back a little awkward but that happened in the book so whatever.  Daario (Michiel Huisman) describes Missandei as “the queen’s closest confidante” and says “who does she trust more than Missandei?  Certainly not me” and normally I don’t give a damn what Daario says but that’s lovely and important and I’m glad.  And what’s more, watching her face during virtually any scene where you can see her face is the most telling wonderful thing.

2. Easter eggs for book readers
The scene where Jon reads the letter to Stannis (Stephen Dillane) from Lyanna Mormont (“Bear Island knows no king except the King in the North, whose name is Stark) is a favorite; Sam’s line to Olly, along the lines of “I’ve been worrying about Jon for years… but he always comes back!” is another; certain gratuitous hints about a favorite fan theory that are still not obvious to people who don’t know to be looking for them are others.

1.  SHIREEN FREAKING BARATHEON TEACHING GILLY HOW TO READ
As evidenced by my loud virulent swearing through episode nine, and as evidenced by everything I’ve ever said before, I also freaking love Shireen.  There were theories I had either heard or had that Shireen could be Important, possibly because of her greyscale, so her ultimate fate disappointed me at best and enraged me at worst. But, the scene early in the season, so early that it feels like it was last season emotionally, where she was teaching Gilly how to read brought me the absolute most joy of anything I could imagine.  So there’s that.

–your fangirl heronie.

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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 goldflorist.com: “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.

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