(Photo Courtesy of NRCC)
Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.
Rusty: First of all, not to toot my own horn… BUT I TOTALLY CALLED THAT VARYS WOULD PUT TYRION IN A BOX LAST WEEK. Granted, Tyrion wasn’t in the *same* box as the other dude that Varys has in a box. But, it seems to me that a major plot point in season five will inevitably be how Varys is creating a menagerie of box-people.
I’m a little back and forth about the finale. Mainly because I’m just not all that satisfied with whatever is going on with Bran and the (now) wonder twin. RIP boy twin. Too bad that you made it so far only to get shanked by a bunch of bones. I got a very “Evil Dead” vibe from that whole sequence. I’ve been pretty good at swallowing all of the fantasy that Game of Thrones has thrown our way so far. But, I felt myself majorly having to suspend my disbelief at some elf throwing magic molotov cocktails at CGI skeletons. What did you two think of that whole sequence?
Turns out the title of the episode, “The Children”, didn’t have anything to do with the current children we have in play. Instead, we were introduced to this new coterie of fantasy; creatures older than mankind who have been watching over Bran. The old guy at the end said to him “You will never walk again, but you will fly.” ….On a dragon??? On Hodor’s back? Why do we have to wait a whole year to get the answer to these important questions?
Another aspect of the finale not sitting well with me is that Tyrion managed to dispatch Tywin prior to getting stuck in a box. I liked having Tywin around, if only because he’s one of the few characters on this show who actually made shit happen. Who is now going to step up to be the Hand to the King? Jaime Lannister? He and Cersei are ready to let their freak flags fly high in King’s Landing. Now that Tywin is dead, I’m not sure how long the Lannisters will be able to reign. You know it’s bad when Varys is hopping a boat to get out of dodge.
And what of Daenarys’ children? From what I interpreted, there’s still a dragon on the loose, correct? How long will those poor dragons have to stay in the catacombs? Is there a Cesar Millan type Daenarys can call to get a little training? Can she stop by a Red Box and pick up How to Train Your Dragon? She’s gotta figure that out. Also, poor Jorah! Because why not!
I haven’t even TOUCHED what happened up north. Stannis is close. Like real close. I’m also not feeling very comfortable with how close and flame-y the Red Witch was to Jon Snow. Man, he probably should just stayed away from women, because it seems like Jon doesn’t have much luck in the lady department. I hope the Red Witch doesn’t leech Jon like that other bastard last season. Speaking of, where did that guy go?
Alright, I can’t wait to hear what you two have to say about this finale! I’d give it a B.
Also, what were your favorite episodes this season?
Marci: Wow – a shit ton to react to in that finale!
Rusty, as I was watching Tyrion escape I actually was thinking that you DID call it pretty incredibly on the mark. I wonder where Tyrion, Varys and the box are now headed (and what they will do when they arrive). I figure it can’t be too bad of a place if Varys decided to hop on board as well (PUN INTENDED).
Unlike you, I didn’t mind Tyrion killing Tywin and I kind of love how it went down. They cut to a shot of Tywin’s quarters with a large Lannister lion adorning it and it was such an amazing shot to see before the ultimate bathroom confrontation. If only Tywin was eating more bran, or taking Metamucil on the reg – maybe he wouldn’t have been caught with his pants down, and would have had a chance. I do agree that I’ll miss the crazy conflict he made happen, but I’m sure George RR Martin has other tricks up his sleeve.
I was more upset about the death of someone else…and I think you probably know who… THE HOUND. WTF, mate?! If that scene was in a book that I read then color me forgetful because I was very taken aback as it was unfolding in front of my eyes. The two lovable duos we’ve been sitcom-forecasting for finally met up and immediately comedy ensued they fought to the death. And although my favorite guy to love/hate ended up losing this battle, I gotta give it up for Brienne – bitch can fight! So far she’s held her own with Jamie Lannister (with both hands!) AND The Hound. I say the WWE should make the next big matchup in a Wrestlemania Brienne vs The Mountain (granted that crazy witch doctor can bring him back to life).
Just as Zac was sad about Ygritte kicking the can, I am upset about The Hound. In the words of Boyz 2 Men “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday…” But hey, at least Ygritte got a proper burial, so Zac will sleep well tonight.
Bran’s plot continues to be weird and suck. That skeleton fight was so boring and sorry that Jojen died but again…didn’t really care. I was more upset about the dragons being locked in the Catacombs then I was about super twin getting shanked in the heart with a bone. But I guess that’s okay, since Jojen “knew he was going to die anyways.” No biggie, right? And yes, Rusty I agree that Bran is going to fly as one of those dragons eventually but….
Oh wait, sorry I just fell asleep because that storyline is so boring.
I’d give the finale a B+. It wrapped up a bunch of stories in a pretty quick timeframe, and killed a decent amount of main characters in 66 minutes. If only we didn’t have to watch Bran & company visit the tree from The Lion King (on the outside, on the inside it was more like the murderer’s estate on True Detective. I kept waiting for Matthew McConaughey to pop up and start talking to Hodor about how time is a flat circle. To which Hodor would reply: “HODOR!”)
But I am getting off topic. Zac, what’d you think of the finale?
Zac: By the sounds of it, I liked the finale more than you guys did. I’d give it an A. Just like any other week, time absolutely flew by. I failed to notice the added minutes due to my complete engrossment in the episode. Right from the get-go, plot lines were already unfolding in new directions or being tied up.
I’ll admit that if we were live-blogging this episode, I totally would’ve said that Jon Snow was going to do die. By all accounts it appeared that he was ready to assassinate Mance Rayder and subsequently fail to live and tell the tale. However, who ultimately prevents such a violent end to Ygritte’s former other-half? Stannis. While I was by no means thrilled to see Stannis stare down the King Beyond the Wall, I was encouraged to see that Stannis will likely be a part of an interesting storyline moving forward. Finally he will stop sulking around and proclaiming his rightful rule, and now he actually will move to enforce his god-given, and now Iron Bank aided right to the Iron Throne. Like you Rusty, I too am wary of the lingering exchange between Jon Snow and Melisandre at the end of their scene. Apparently Jon’s got a thing for redheads. This storyline will be interesting moving forward, especially with the pending arrival of my Whitewalkers. I’m excited to see Melisandre’s Lord of Light take on army composed of Ice.
I also view Bran’s storyline a little more optimistically than both of you do. For three seasons we’ve been building to a greater involvement for Bran Stark. Though I’m entirely unsure of what’s ahead for Bran, I’m curious to see who and what The Children are. By no means am I a fan of heavy CGI use, but I didn’t think that scene was particularly overpowering from a special effects standpoint. Anytime we get to see Bran use Hodor as a killing machine is a bonus. We also got a little direwolf action. Quick question though. Why don’t the direwolves kill more bad guys? Jojen’s death was sad, but I can’t say that death was nearly as moving as others the last few weeks. Nice gesture on his part to sacrifice himself to lead Bran to his new posse. It was also nice of that little girl to make Jojen explode so he didn’t have to bare the likely transformation into an angry skeleton. Like I said though, it’ll be nice to see Bran actually have something to do going forward.
Shifting away from the North, I thought Daenerys’ decision to punish the dragons was a disappointing one. Who knew that dragons had a taste for toddler? I think it’s time for Daenerys to move on from Meereen. If you’re going to spend so much of your time dealing with moral dilemmas, at least do it within the confines of King’s Landing as the ruling Queen. Also let the dragons live their lives! They did mention that Drogon, who I believe is the biggest and baddest of all the dragons, is still unaccounted for. By holding the dragons down, I believe you’re ultimately setting yourself up for a triumphant re-arrival into the world. Hopefully we’ll see that very early in Season Five.
Marci, I also thought the end of the Hound was disappointing. However, if given the choice to have Brienne or the Hound live, I’ll choose Brienne every time. I’d pay to watch that wrestling match as well. Although I don’t think anyone’s head has ever exploded within a WWE ring. The Mountain’s skill-set might not translate to such a fan-friendly environment.
The shock for me was Tywin’s death. Did not see that coming at all. I did predict that Jaime would help his brother, but not that Tyrion would proceed to kill his father prior to his departure from King’s Landing. I liked how Tywin was killed in such a weak way too. For the first time he was talked down to by Cersei. Then his son, who he sentenced to death, murders him in the john. Such a surprising, but fitting end to the Lannister patriarch.
Rusty, I think this season was their best yet, and because of that belief, it’s difficult to choose a favorite episode or two. I would say the Purple Wedding and this episode were my favorites though. Positivity was so scarce this season, but those two episodes offered hope and revenge for some of the more central and likable characters.
Two questions from me. 1. What did you guys think of the ending with Arya? 2. What storylines are you most excited to follow as the show moves forward into Season Five?
Rusty: I liked that we ended with Arya on a ship that was sailing into the unknown. She’s currently headed for Bravos. I can’t think of any main characters that are there at the moment, no? Stannis and the Onion Knight split. Unless if Tyrion and Varys end up there, Arya might be doing her own thing early on next season. Also, with Arya’s (sort of) act of mercy with the Hound, can we assume that there’s still a sliver of humanity left in her? Or was that just one final way to twist the knife in her ward?
Marci, Brienne is pretty badass. She’s had some pretty epic battles over the last few seasons that we’ve gotten to know her, most notably against a giant bear (my favorite one-on-one battle this whole show ever did). Now that she let Arya slip through her fingers, I wonder if Brienne will eventually find her way to Sansa? No Sansa at all in these last two episodes. This allows her to percolate more quickly over to the dark side.
I’m most looking forward to see whatever happens to the Lannister family now that Tywin is dead. The Tyrells are formidable, and Margaery has firmly replanted herself next to Tommen. Zac, it didn’t even occur to me that Bran would eventually take over the mind of the dragon, but that sounds like a possibility, and I GUESS I’LL continue to follow Bran and his band of weirdos around Westeros.
It’s funny, because now that I think of all of the characters, it’s hard to choose a favorite! Same thing with favorite episode. This season was solid from week to week. I couldn’t sleep last night, and trolled the internet for quick takes from this season. I fell upon a BOOK SPOILER, because apparently Book 3 ends with quite a reveal in an epilogue, and I guess fans were expecting that twist to happen last night (Spoiler alert: here). I’m not going to talk about it on this recap, but I have some theories about it if it comes to fruition. We can talk about it during next season’s recaps!
Marci: I’m glad Arya was able to use that coin – with the inscription “Valar morghulis” (which means “All men must die,” by the way…) It will be interesting to see what awaits her in Bravos.
Rusty – I was surprised they didn’t include the spoiler that you linked to, as I had read it at the end of book 3, and was actually waiting for them to pull that out as the last scene of this season. But I do think it might be good that they waited, because although it would leave us with a HUGEEEE cliff-hanger, it opens up a can of worms the size of Drogon the dragon. I think it would be an interesting starting point for a shocker at the end of episode 1 next season (let’s see if I have the crazy GoT foresight that Rusty seemed to tap into with his Varys perdiction)…
Onto Daenerys – I feel like chaining up the dragons was a bad idea. I think it’s going to really piss them off and maybe make them lose trust in her or allegiance to her. Or maybe they are like dogs and a bit of discipline makes all the difference. Watching the scene where she left them chained up reminded me why I’m such a horrible dog trainer – it made me so sad to see those computer generated dragons being left tied up in the Catacombs – and they aren’t even cute looking! I probably would have released them and given them some a rawhide or something. I also hope she moves on from Mereen and makes a run to take over King’s Landing.
I find myself most looking forward to the Lannister storyline as well – although I’m not sure it will be quite as interesting with Tywin out of the picture. The biggest storyline for them now is how the world will react to Twingate going public. The US Weekly editors in King’s Landing are probably giddy with excitement – this is the story of the century! (Though the Daily Mail in Westeros has already been running this theory as a cover story for years.)
It’s hard to pick a favorite episode of this show, since they are all so jam packed with excitement. I think The Red Wedding, although morbid, has to be up near the top for me, just because of sheer insanity with the damage one episode could cause. This was my favorite season so far though. And lucky for us, I think it’s going to keep getting better and better as it goes.
I also feel that maybe I was a bit harsh when grading this episode – obviously Game of Thrones is like one of my best honor students, so maybe I’m a bit hard on it, and I expect every episode to be absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed the finale, and I’m sad it’s over. What the heck are we all going to nerd out over for the next 6 months?! Makes me wonder if I should start reading book 4…
Zac: I did stumble on that spoiler that you are referring to as I searched for recaps this morning. I’m a little disappointed that I know that will happen now. If I had no prior knowledge to what appears to be forthcoming, I would’ve been pretty shocked. Since both of you were pretty turned off by the magical happenings involving Bran Stark, aren’t you a bit skeptical as to how they put forth this character? I’m undoubtedly curious, but I can’t say I jumped for joy upon reading about it.
Arya’s ending was fitting. My interpretation was that she let the Hound suffer rather than give him the quick death that he so desperately preferred. I think Arya’s decision to leave the Hound to a slow demise was a result of the Hound’s teachings. Compassion was certainly not a teaching point for the Hound as the duo made their way across the Northern countryside. I was a little bummed to see Arya separate herself from Brienne. Brienne and Arya (and Podrick) certainly would’ve made for an interesting storyline. However, her use of the coin and her departure in the direction of Braavos was at the very least optimistic. They did show Jaqen H’ghar in the opening previews, which had me hopeful we’d the ruthless face-changer once again. Perhaps we will see him sometime in the future.
I too have no idea as to how the Lannister family copes with Tywin’s death and Tyrion’s escape. The most powerful family in Westeros has come undone this season. Will Cersei and Jaime attempt to piece together what’s left and help Tommen maintain a hold of the Iron Throne? I would assume that’s where the show might be headed in the near future, but even that belief is very much in question. Were you guys excited to see Tywin’s death? I thought that was an incredible scene. Charles Dance, who played Tywin, will certainly be missed as he was a weekly source of meaningful villainy. I don’t sense nearly the same rejoicing that took place following Joffrey’s death. Perhaps there’s a level of badassery to Tywin’s cold and calculated actions as opposed to Joffrey’s petulance.
Lastly, if I had to make one prediction, and this will come as no surprise to either of you, but I believe the Whitewalkers have to play a more prominent role next season. Winter has seemingly been coming for the past two seasons. Eventually it actually has to come right?
Marci I’m also tempted to read the books to pass the time before Season Five. Should I read the first three books? Or should I just hop in and read the fourth?
Marci:I know we are getting way into this spoiler now, but I am actually pretty excited to see what the heck happens with that storyline. I have so many questions about it, but I won’t ask them here since most people probably don’t want to be spoiled.
Regarding Arya’s riding off into the great unknown, I think that at the end of this season, as opposed to last, all the remaining Stark children seem to be in a much better place. Arya is safe (for the moment) on the boat. Bran has finally found that tree he was looking for, and seems welcomed there by The Children. Sansa, though possibly turning over to the dark side, is being looked after by her weird protector Littlefinger. Even the bastard Jon Snow is in a pretty safe spot, but it remains to be seen what will happen between him and Stannis’ weird ladylove. The Lannisters on the other hand are in a downward spiral. Oh how the tides have changed!
I agree that the Whitewalkers are going to have to play a slightly larger role next year. For one thing, as you said, we can’t wait for “Winter to come” forever. And secondly, now that we’ve lost some of our real great villains (Joff, Tywin, The Hound, etc), we need something else to keep moving the story forward. One more thing to note though, while speaking of villains: no Boltons around last night during the finale. Wonder what kind of role they will play next season…
Zac, reading the books is a bit of a double edged sword – for one thing, if you watch the show first, when you’re reading the incredibly long, detailed books, you know literally everything that is going to happen (which can be a little boring). The show sticks really close to the source material. But, on the other hand, you get a lot more information about each character, and it also makes it easier to follow the show (and remember everyone’s names). But if you didn’t want to read what you’ve already watched, you would not be lost if you hopped in and started with book four. The only problem is, it could make it a bit less fun to watch next season if you know what’s coming (or at least it will prohibit you from making fun, crazy predictions like Varys sneaking Tyrion out in a box).
But whether you choose to read the books or not, we THANKFULLY have another season of Game of Thrones coming our way eventually (but probably not until April 2015. Sigh.). Until then, thanks for recapping with us every week, and remember: never challenge Brienne to a fight.