The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Valar Morghulis

Lord Tywin Lannister on the throne.

And so, the fourth season of "Game of Thrones" comes to a close, and what a close. The best show on television left me wanting more, and now the long wait begins before season five premieres. Evenings like this just make me so happy, and remind me why we are, indeed, living in the Golden Age of television.

First of all, some of the story lines which were less interesting to me got some much needed shots in the arm. Now that Bran has reached his destination, I cannot wait to see what happens next. Likewise, while I enjoy the Wall, it never intrigued me the way the events down south did... as such, I think the arrival of Stannis Baratheon and his court will result in just the right amount of spice benefiting both story threads. I look forward to seeing how Jon Snow and Stannis play off each other, and likewise what Melisandre sees in the young bastard.

The penultimate episode of the season, "The Watchers On the Wall" was a terrific action sequence which felt to me very much like the Battle of Helm's Deep from "The Two Towers" but far more real. Yes, this is what a siege looks like... even if giants riding mammoths are involved. And while I knew Ygritte was done for, it was still a heart breaking moment. Shot through the heart, indeed.

The episode prior to that one was terrific, with the shocking end of Oberyn Martell at the hands of the Mountain. I should have blogged about that, but that was a fine example of a guy who could have won if he didn't need to showboat and be a complete asshole. But then I remember that he wasn't doing it for Tyrion. He wanted the Mountain's confession and he died getting it. What this means for the next season, I have no idea. But they did cast a lot of new Martell characters.

But tonight's episode, the season finale, was pure, bittersweet, cathartic bliss. It's the mark of a great series when I don't question how a character will escape a precarious situation, but will they escape the precarious situation. I honestly believed Tyrion was dead. After Ned Stark's beheading, all bets were off. Hell, last year ended with the Red Wedding, I could easily see Tyrion dying. So I was relieved when Jaime showed up to help his brother escape.

More shocking was when Tyrion went to the Tower of the Hand to confront his father, Tywin. I honestly don't know what was going through his mind as he did that, but I just about fell out of my chair when he discovered Shae in Tywin's bed. Of course, despite all his supposed hatred of whoring, Tywin hired whores.. and to think, a few weeks ago I was wondering if he had gotten laid since his wife died. But that makes perfect sense. To Tywin, appearances were everything, as long as he's not publicly seen with them. He wanted to be respected and feared. And perception was the key to his power, which was made obvious when we found out he was not as rich as we once thought. But that was the final stab in Tyrion's heart, I didn't think anything could top Shae testifying against him, but this did it... and what followed was heartbreaking.

Then came the scene, where Tyrion confronted his father one last time. The scene was bittersweet, cathartic, and wonderful all at once. Tywin Lannister. The Lion. The Warden of the West. Hand of the King. Most powerful man in the world. Died on the crapper. For personal reasons, given my relationship with my father, this was very cathartic. But it was also bittersweet since Charles Dance as Tywin was one of my favorite performances in the series, and I'm going to miss him. But I loved it because, well, how often do we see characters as dignified as Tywin always presented himself die such an undignified, inglorious death? It's just never done. He was, by many appearances, the Big Bad of the series up until now. Imagine, for a moment, Lex Luthor, or Norman Osborn, or Gus Fring, or Demona dying on the toilet. It's never done, and yet... it was perfect. The climax of four seasons worth of material... every scene led to this moment. Combine that with Cersei confessing to Tywin that the rumors of all her children being conceived by incest with Jaime were true, and I am so happy this episode aired on Father's Day.

Lord Tywin Lannister on the throne.

I am relieved Tyrion survived, as a character I've identified with since Day One, I'm glad he had this moment. But I don't think it will come as a relief to him. His entire support network (yes, he did have one) is now gone and he is a fugitive. What this means for him in the fifth season, we don't know yet. But I imagine all of the Lannisters are in peril now that the father of the pride is now gone.

It was a beautiful ending for a beautiful season of a beautiful TV show. I look forward to the Emmy nominations, because while I know it will not win, I believe the show deserves the recognition of being nominated. Likewise, I think both Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance have more than earned their nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series. Their last scene together alone is worth the price of admission for the whole series. Wonderful, just wonderful.

My final grade for the season finale is an A+

What am I doing now? Well, I need a new TV show to obsess over now that season four of "Game of Thrones" is over. I've been watching "Mad Men", "The Walking Dead", and I plan to give "Dr. Who" a second chance as well as check out season three of "Sherlock" and the debut season of "True Detective". But, honestly, "Mad Men" is winning right now, and I have A LOT of that to watch.

15 comments:

  1. What were your thoughts on the Arya-Hound and Sansa-Littlefinger plots of the season?

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    1. I loved both plot lines and I cannot see where they go.

      Sansa is no longer a child and Littlefinger has a blind spot where she's concerned.

      Arya has been getting more and more awesome every season, and that scene where she left the Hound was just cold. I loved it. Maisie Williams is such a brilliant young actress... what the fuck is Chloe Bennet's excuse?

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    2. "what the fuck is Chloe Bennet's excuse?"

      Well for one she's dealing with hack directing and piss poor material. Where as Williams gets great directing and inspiring material to work with.

      But other than that, Bennett has no excuse. :p

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    3. "what the fuck is Chloe Bennett's excuse?"

      I'd like to remind everyone that Bryan Cranston didn't exactly have stellar acting gigs prior to Breaking Bad and I'm pretty sure he'll get some unworthy gigs in the future like a Blue Sky Studios film.

      Blasphemous to say? Maybe but I say all this as someone who not only likes Breaking Bad (It's on my list of favorite shows) and has him as one of my favorite actors. Here's the thing, say you never watched Breaking Bad and the only exposure you had to him were a few episodes of The King of Queens that he guest starred in?

      He was terrible in that show. The show sucks anyway so, yeah. Not a perfect acting environment for him. Would you hold it against him even if you had watched Breaking Bad?

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    4. Having seen A LOT MORE of Bryan Cranston's work prior to "Breaking Bad", I am going to hideously disagree with you. He was terrific in "Malcolm In the Middle", in that one episode of "X-Files" he did, as Tim Watley on "Seinfeld", and other appearances I've seen him in.

      And, dude, did you just compare Chloe Bennet to Bryan Cranston? Are you high or just incredibly stupid?

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    5. I didn't say those shows were terrible. I mentioned one example of a terrible work he's in as an example. Not to say his other work like in Malcolm in the Middle, Seinfeld and The X-Files were bad. No, far from it.

      Next time, don't have a temper tantrum because you misunderstood my point.

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    6. No, I understood your point just fine. I thought it was a moronic point to make.

      Chloe Bennet cannot act. I don't know why she was hired, but it certainly wasn't because of her talent as a thespian. Even people I know who can still tolerate the show think the character is disgusting and the acting is in the toilet.

      But, as this is a "Game of Thrones" commentary, let's work this in to being on topic. Maisie Williams is excellent, and can deliver a powerful performance without having to even say a word, as her final scene with the Hound proved.

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    7. Just saying you don't need to hold it against her, for all we know, she could have a big break for her that could show how talented she really is. I mean, you don't see me calling Angus Macfadyen a terrible actor because he played a chucklehead in Warriors of Virtue.

      But as for Game of Thrones, did Daenerys make an appearance in this episode at all?

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    8. Here, enjoy some more of the Piece of Shit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S96Yqzg6JHU

      "But as for Game of Thrones, did Daenerys make an appearance in this episode at all?"

      Yes.

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    9. I'll take it over Wiggle, not a bad song actually. Didn't know she could sing too.

      Actually I've been curious on the subject of George R.R. Martin for quite some time, I found a rather obscure Sci-Fi project of his called Doorways, are you familiar with it?

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    10. "Didn't know she could sing too."

      After watching that video, I'm pretty sure she can't.

      "Actually I've been curious on the subject of George R.R. Martin for quite some time, I found a rather obscure Sci-Fi project of his called Doorways, are you familiar with it?"

      I've heard of it, but that's all.

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    11. I've heard of Doorwars thanks to Sliders as apparently the creator was up for a writing gig for Doorways (thanks to his manager specifically) had that gotten past the pilot stage.

      I do also know there's an IDW comic which Martin himself praised so I'm one who's particularly curious about it.

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  2. I'm behind on my Game of Thrones viewing and haven't seen the season finale Tell me, did they manage to work the line about how 'Tywin Lannister, in the end, did not shit gold' into the show?

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    1. Nope. The line isn't in there. To be honest, I think a one-liner like that would have killed the mood of the scene.

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  3. I was disappointed they didn't include Tyrion learning from Jaime the truth that his first wife, Tysha, wasn't a whore as Jaime and Tywin had claimed (especially since they did mention what happened with her in Season One), but I guess they wanted the emphasis to be on Tyrion's relationship with Shae when he confronted Tywin and killed him for calling someone "whore" again after warning him not to (in the book, that someone was Tysha), since Tyrion and Shae's relationship was genuinely affectionate in the show and not just her pretending for him. In the books, Jojen isn't dead yet, but he's probably not long for the world and will die because he chose to help Bran anyway, as he did here, and it makes dramatic sense. Brienne fighting the Hound for Arya and Arya choosing not to go with her was a nice addition to the story, I thought. Cersei's threat to Tywin was an interesting addition; I always wanted him to hear the truth about the incest. But I wish we'd seen Melisandre killing Orell the wildling skinchanger's eagle with a fireball when Stannis's forces attacked, like in the book.

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