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  #151  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:11 AM
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Agree, though I'm not sure how they could have done it better. The Night King had to die this season; would it have been better to draw it out? I don't know the answer, but I'm with you in thinking that the Night King and thus the entire threat of White Walkers and zombies are just gone seems somehow anticlimactic.
I think the problem isn't so much with the anti-climax of the Night King's death, but as you say, where does the series go from here? Now all that's left is the Game of Thrones part, now that the the Song of Ice and Fire part is all wrapped up and Fire won.

Consider this alternate episode. Winterfell is set up like we saw it, except the Dothraki are kept off to the side like an actual cavalry would be. A horde of wights, commanded by the White Walkers we saw from the end of Ep 2, rushes the defenses set up around Winterfell. The Unsullied, the Wildlings, the Northmen, everyone is caught off guard by the ferocity of the surge. They have to fall back almost immediately just as Drogon and Rhaegar start strafing the undead army. Several strong by expendable characters (Beric, Jorah, Theon, Edd, maybe Samwell and some others for a real gut punch) are overrun, their past successes having left them unprepared for the raw force of the rushing attackers. However, we the audience quickly realize that while the wights have speed and numbers, they lack a cohesive strategy. We see our heroes recover from the initial surge and establish defenses -- Jon Snow, Arya, Tyrion, Lady Mormont, and others display their tactical prowess by holding their respective sections of the castle. The Dothraki, seeing their window has opened, rush in and mow down the remaining wights who haven't been burnt by dragonfire.

The battle is won, but at some personal cost to each of the main characters. As the dust settles and the sun comes up, though, the White Walkers are still standing on the far side of the field. Why didn't they attack? Where's the Night King and Viserion? Cut to Bran, unscathed in the godswood, coming out of a warg state -- the battle, he says, has just begun. Cut to Kings Landing, where we see the same dragon shadow flying over the city that we saw in season 4. Roll credits.

(Also, imagine all of this where someone fixed the goddamn lighting.)

Episode 4

Cersei, having ignored the warnings about Winter coming, now finds herself staring at the Night King, perched atop Viserion just out of range of her anti-dragon artillery. Still smugly satisfied with Qyburn's creations, she wonders how one White Walker is any threat at all. However, King's Landing, being a city of a million people, is full of dead bodies. The Night King raises all the dead in the city, who bust out of crypts (in KL instead of Winterfell) and start tearing the place apart from the inside. Cersei and Qyburn are caught completely off guard, as they should be for how little credence they've given to this threat. One by one Cersei's loyal defenders are picked off as we see the city slowly crumble and start to burn, forcing them deeper into the bowels of the Red Keep. As they make their way to the escape boats they have as a last resort, Euron bites it, leaving only the undead Mountain to defend the Queen. The UNDEAD Mountain. Cut to the Night King, with a sudden moment of clarity and a little waggle of his nose. Cut back to the Mountain, whose eyes turn blue. The Mountain crushes Cersei in the most satisfying of fashions. The Night King raises a second army of the dead from the corpses around him and begins marching north, where the actual epic battle will take place in Episode 6 at The Twins.

I'll stop there, but I think this is all much more satisfying than whatever they have cooked up now, which is likely 2 episodes of intrigue and bullshittery followed by something boring happening with Cersei.

Last edited by steronz; 04-29-2019 at 08:12 AM.
  #152  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:23 AM
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But don't get me wrong, I like the intrigue and bullshittery, but I think my proposal still leaves all of episode 5 and about 25 minutes in episode 6 for politicking and backstabbing between Daenerys and Jon, which would be plenty.
  #153  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:24 AM
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Martin gave up on the books and turned it over to the TV people. So what you get is a TV show. Why should anyone expect different?

My biggest issue is the whole Dothraki army wiped out that fast?
  #154  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:25 AM
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I had no problem seeing the characters but the overview of the battlefield was too dark for me. Am I correct in thinking that:

-1st line of defense: dothraki cavalry
-2nd: regular infantry
-3rd: trebuchets
-4th: elite spear infantry
-5th: trench + walls which had a small amount of archers on them

I'm no expert on medieval warfare but I do know that's not how you defend a city in the Total War games
  #155  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:28 AM
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I agree with the criticisms of it being tedious and having the Night King being a load-bearing boss (not quite the right trope but I can't think of an exact match) means the audience spends minutes just sitting there guessing who's going to get the one-hit kill.
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  #156  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:31 AM
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Anyone else thbought for a second that Theon was going to get up and charge the Night King again?
Yes, and he should have, by the logic of the episode. Jorah was stabbed in the chest and heart area several times and kept on fighting. Theon got stabbed once, in the side, then just laid down and bled on the Night King for a minute or two before closing his eyes.
  #157  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:31 AM
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Ok, so I watched it on a train, in daylight. Could barely see a thing for large chunks. I wasn't sure what happened to the living dragons. I assumed at least one was dead, possibly both given they weren't helped Danerys or Jon at all.

Ghost? I saw him at the start (or was it the portrait of ghost like last week?) Did they kill him off? Shockingly bad treatment for the last Direwolf in play.

Dothraki were shit. I guess it was largely helpless sheep farmers they trained against.

And even if a mention, when Tyrion was talking about being the one who won the battle of blackwater, at least he could have mentioned WILDFIRE, which would have been REALLY useful there, even if they couldn't get any.

I would have thought Theon would have had a better chance that Arya to get the NK, great fighter, and I was supposing the other 11 odd white walkers wouldn't have let him near the NK. And those other 11 white walkers weren't much use against Arya either.

I do like the term "Load bearing character" though.

And half my enjoyment of this episode will probably come from Ozzieman's commentary.
  #158  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:37 AM
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Ghost? I saw him at the start (or was it the portrait of ghost like last week?) Did they kill him off? Shockingly bad treatment for the last Direwolf in play.
Technically, Nymeria is still in play.
  #159  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:46 AM
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Technically, Nymeria is still in play.
Was Ghost in the Dothraki charge? I saw he was around and I was looking forward to some badass wolf action about three seasons since anything like that, and then I forgot about it.

Was Ser Friendzone in the Dothraki charge? Did he manage to get back?
  #160  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:48 AM
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You know... This series costs millions of dollars. You'd think they would allocate a couple/few hundred for a good light meter. It reminded me of the scene in And God Spoke where the cinematographer said that he has a light meter from a great cinematographer. The latter gave it to him saying, 'You need this more than I do.'
It was annoying, especially with battles like Helm's Deep to think about. But before the actual fighting started I worked out they were doing it on purpose. Your enemy can see in the dark, but you can't. And you folks sitting at home? We can't ship you a combat zombie, but we can at least give you an idea of how disoriented the good guys are and how fast death can come, seemingly from nowhere. Even now, after the zombies are all redead and the fight is over, nobody is quite sure who all survived.

I was disappointed Tyrion didn't develop any useful tricks from his fireside chat with The Guy Who Knows Literally Everything. Or maybe he did--the only useful thing to do, apart from running far and fast from Winterfell, was to hide for as long as possible.
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My biggest issue is the whole Dothraki army wiped out that fast?
I imagine it surprised the hell out of them as well. The enemy was vastly underestimated, it was going to be a long night.
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Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 04-29-2019 at 08:51 AM.
  #161  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:52 AM
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Was Ser Friendzone in the Dothraki charge? Did he manage to get back?
Yes, a bunch of riderless Dothraki horses returned and then an injured Jorah. When Dany's dragon got injured/killed he fought alongside her but died in the end.
  #162  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:53 AM
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Was Ghost in the Dothraki charge? I saw he was around and I was looking forward to some badass wolf action about three seasons since anything like that, and then I forgot about it.

Was Ser Friendzone in the Dothraki charge? Did he manage to get back?
Yes, yes and yes.
  #163  
Old 04-29-2019, 08:55 AM
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The disappointing part is the whole "make it look like *character* is surely dead, then have them survive for no reason" is absolutely the opposite of what made Game of Thrones good. It was not necessary to show Grey Worm on the very front lines right before the army of the dead is shown completely deleting the front ranks of the unsullied just to have him pop up completely fine in a different spot. It wasn't necessary to have Sam go down something ridiculous like five times and survive them, half of them without anyones help. It wasn't necessary to show constant cuts of Jamie Brienne and Pod completely overwhelmed by zombies without any room to even swing their weapons. Theon dying defending Bran was a great moment, but Jorah becoming the martyr of all friendzoned nice guys was the most generic and cliche moment of the show.
  #164  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:08 AM
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I don't think the tactics were that bad. The Dothraki fight by charging across the steppe on their horses and mowing down infantry. So that is how they were used. The battle plan was designed to get the Night King in the open where Dany could kill him with dragon fire. So they had the Unsullied and the rest of the infantry make a stand while they strafed the wights with two dragons. The night king then used his dragon to fight the other two so they fell back behind the wall and trench since they didn't have anymore dragons to help.

If the night king had not been immune to dragon fire it would have worked. With the Dothraki, the Unsullied, the archers, the trebuchets, and the dragons it looked like they had killed most of the night kings original army. They successfully lured the night king to Bran as well.
  #165  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:09 AM
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Do we have any idea how many are left at Winterfell? We know that Cersei has 20,000+ and I'm wondering how large a force can be massed against her. And who gets to kill her in the end? Or does the show end with everyone else dead and her on that stupid, uncomfortable throne?
  #166  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:13 AM
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I'm with you Meanjoe. I thought everyone would be as pleased as me. I guess I should have known better! I loved everything about this episode. It was everything I hoped it would be and more, given that unexpected ending. I mean I'm sure others knew what was going to happen all along but despite my great love of theory videos I have never seen one that went past a "possibly Arya" but that's usually reserved for killing Cersei, not the NK. I loved that it was her. It was so fast paced I didn't shed a tear until Theon's scene. And those who say none of the main characters died... I considered Jorah a main character. He's gone through so much and he's always been one of my favorites.

I still say this ain't gonna be a happy ending though, not for the series.
  #167  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:17 AM
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Maester Aemon died of old age seasons ago!
Dang.
  #168  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:22 AM
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Night King Theme is up and on Spotify. Only piano use i can think of other than this is "Light of the Seven". I quite liked the new piece. Seemed to say "This is what the end of the world is like."
  #169  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:23 AM
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Cersei does not have a dragon or wights so that battle will be very different. A dragon can wipe out a lot of soldiers quickly as we already saw.
  #170  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:25 AM
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Oh and btw....all across internetland is the acclaim about not being able to see shit. I watched on my monitor and it was fine. I mean at least I felt that what I couldnt see was on purpose. I DID have to back up some at times, cause I felt i wasn't taking it all in correctly.
  #171  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:29 AM
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Oh and btw....all across internetland is the acclaim about not being able to see shit. I watched on my monitor and it was fine.
Most people don't have monitors. I'm sure it looked fine in a darkened editing suite, on high-end monitors. We have a consumer-grade Vizio HD TV, and our house has windows.
  #172  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:37 AM
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Anyway, this is not the battle George R.R. Martin would have written - at least back when he was writing the first books. I'm not so sure about now. There was too much fan-service, too much writing in the service of cool visuals. A dragon battle in the moonlight? That sounds cool, and SFX says we can do it in budget because it'll all be in silhouette. Call the script guys and tell them to make sure there's a moonlight dragon battle.
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This is a reminder that the books do not exist in this thread. If you want to imagine what the sainted GRRM would have written if he had ever gotten around to writing imaginary books, you can take it up in the book thread.

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  #173  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:39 AM
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Martin gave up on the books and turned it over to the TV people. So what you get is a TV show. Why should anyone expect different?
Ditto
  #174  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:40 AM
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Cersei does not have a dragon or wights so that battle will be very different. A dragon can wipe out a lot of soldiers quickly as we already saw.
Yes, but they've shown that they can hit and injure a dragon, so the dragons are not invulnerable.
  #175  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:43 AM
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I hope we don't have another episode-long battle. For one thing, without zombies, zombie dragons, and ice-demons, the threat couldn't possibly approach what we saw last night. For another, the human intrigue is usually a lot more fun, IMO. ISTM that Arya could probably use her face-stealing powers to kill Cersei all by herself without much trouble, but there will probably be more to it than that.
  #176  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:44 AM
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I'm not quite as negative as some of you... but I think it was a big disappointment overall.

(1) We watched it via cable on-demand on a fairly nice HDTV, with the lights out, after dark. It was confusing, but I didn't think it was more confusing than intended. If they both wanted people like me to have the intended cinematic experience, but also allow people to watch on laptops in normal lighting, maybe they should have released two versions?

(2) My biggest criticism is that all along, I've made fun of people who wonder who will end up in the iron throne, because the series has set us up to think that that's not what really matters, what really matters is this existential threat. The final conflict in the series should be humans vs WW, not humans vs each other. (That said, if the night king was going to die, Arya was as good a person as any to do it, better than most.)

(3) It is ridiculous and infuriating how few consequential characters died

(4) The one thing the episode did genuinely quite well was convey the sense of dread and hopelessness. It also aimed to convey a sense of battlefield fog-of-war confusion, and did... but that got a bit old after a while.

(5) Lady Mormont went out like a boss. Of course.
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  #177  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:45 AM
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Yes, but they've shown that they can hit and injure a dragon, so the dragons are not invulnerable.
That was with one single ballista, if she gets a good number of them they could do some damage.
  #178  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:47 AM
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Exactly. So Dany can't just swoop in whenever she wants and burn Cersei's troops freely.
  #179  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:49 AM
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Most people don't have monitors. I'm sure it looked fine in a darkened editing suite, on high-end monitors. We have a consumer-grade Vizio HD TV, and our house has windows.
Dale being pedantic moment #3444: Most people don't have monitors?? Don't most people have home computers?

I guess what I was saying was...I suppose I should be glad PS3 stopped supporting HBO Now
  #180  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:51 AM
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Dale being pedantic moment #3444: Most people don't have monitors?? Don't most people have home computers?
Different kind of monitor.
  #181  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:54 AM
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Exactly. So Dany can't just swoop in whenever she wants and burn Cersei's troops freely.
She can if she has anybody with an elementary knowledge of tactics advising her. But she has Jon and Tyrion, so she's screwed in that department.
  #182  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:54 AM
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remember the blackwater battle was also at night. Not as long or as big but it was dark.
  #183  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:55 AM
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Exactly. So Dany can't just swoop in whenever she wants and burn Cersei's troops freely.
I'm pretty sure both dragons were badly injured in the battle, which is why they stopped participating. I would expect that Dany's airforce is off the agenda for the time being.
  #184  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:57 AM
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how many unsullied were left alive? Hard to tell
  #185  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:59 AM
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how many unsullied were left alive? Hard to tell
I'm sure we'll find out next episode that at least some survived, but it seemed from the shots we got after the battle that the only ones alive were Grey Worm, Tormund, Brienne, Jamie and Pod.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:06 AM
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The number of people in an army from one episode has basically no relation to how many are in an army the next one. Plot needs, not logic or consistency, will drive everything. See the Iron Islands fleet, or Unsullied from last year to this one, or Highgarden's strength.
  #187  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:06 AM
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So it was even more surprising that Bran's contribution to the battle was looking through some Raven eyes and not telling anyone anything or doing anything.
Not sure how much reconnaissance was going to help. NK was coming to Winterfell (because that is where Bran was). There were two mighty shitloads of them, which Bran could have determined well before the battle. So, not sure what more info would have been useful.

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In season 6, when the sisters seemed to be at odds, Arya gave Sansa the Valyrian dagger to prove she trusted her. But she must have gotten it back before the battle. She would never have given such a special weapon to Sansa when she couldn't use it.
I actually thought that went the other way, and Sansa gave it to Arya? She had it when she sparred with Brienne (IIRC) (but that was pre-tension, wasn't it, so you are probably right) But I'm positive it was what Arya used to deal with Littlefinger, so Sansa must have given it back at some point.

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He **did** sense her coming, that cartoonish leap.
Turned around and caught her by the neck. Her dagger fell. She caught it and stabbed.

Here someone made a GIF of it.
And looking at the GIF, you can see one of the minor WW responding to something behind/to the side of him, which was presumably Arya passing by.

Last edited by Folacin; 04-29-2019 at 10:07 AM.
  #188  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:07 AM
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I don't think the Iron islands sent people did they? If not they could be in the next battle.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:08 AM
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Anyone else thbought for a second that Theon was going to get up and charge the Night King again?
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Yes, and he should have, by the logic of the episode. Jorah was stabbed in the chest and heart area several times and kept on fighting. Theon got stabbed once, in the side, then just laid down and bled on the Night King for a minute or two before closing his eyes.

I was actually hoping that this would be the case. I thought that he was going to charge the NK and stab him in the back.

It would have been the ultimate redemption for the guy who was one of the biggest backstabbers in the series.
  #190  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:15 AM
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I found the episode a bit disappointing, but nowhere near as bad as most of the people in this thread.

As far as the Night King getting killed so "easily": I think that was fine. Look back to Season 1. Ned Stark was the main character, the 'hero'...and then he was dead. Just like that, with no fanfare, no heroic end...he just got his head chopped off. Now, in Season 8, we have the Night King: the villain, the Big Bad Evil Guy, the 'real enemy'...and now he's dead. No great standoff between the Hero and the BBEG; he just gets stabbed and dies. Like so many 'major events' in history, they just sort of 'happen', without any great fanfare.

I thought the lighting and the overall camerawork were appropriate for the episode. It was frustrating not being able to tell who was who in a lot of cases, but I think that was completely intentional, to give the viewer a sense of how the battle was from the standpoint of the defenders. It was dark, and chaotic, and confusing.

My biggest problem was that all of the main characters were saved almost entirely by plot armor. Pretty much everyone involved in the actual fighting came to exactly the end that the standard 'fantasy narrative' dictated:Brienne saves Podrick and Jamie saves Brienne (I actually thought that Brienne went down, but others are saying that she was there at the end); Edd saves Sam, and dies heroically; Jorah saves Daenerys, and dies heroically; Theon defends Bran, and dies heroically; Arya the Assassin saves everyone. It was all very neat and tidy...and I would have much preferred one of the 'favorites' to meet a sudden and unremarkable end.

And now that the existential threat has been taken care of (or so we assume, anyway), we go back to the 'main' storyline - the Game of Thrones. I predict that in the end, nobody sits on the Iron Throne, because it, along with most of King's Landing, will be destroyed. Whoever winds up the 'winner' in the South will rule over a broken kingdom.
  #191  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:16 AM
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I don't think the Iron islands sent people did they? If not they could be in the next battle.
Yara will want revenge on Euron, so yes, I assume we'll see her and her troops again.

So who was that in one brief scene who looked like Yara Greyjoy?
  #192  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:29 AM
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A few random thoughts:

So apparently the battle between the Army of the Living against the Army of the Dead went down much like we discussed last week:
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Right, so in the hypothetical battle envisioned by Sam Stone, both armies lose half of their combatants. The NK's army of wights goes from 50K to 25K. The 25,000 wights that are "killed" by dragonglass, Valyrian steel, or fire stay dead.

However, the army of the living also sees its numbers reduced from 50K to 25K, and the 25K that are killed are immediately raised as wights, so it's actually now 50K wights against the remaining 25K living.

Regardless, in such a battle, there's really no way for the living to prevail in a normal straight-up fight. The only way to win is to take out the Night King and the other White Walkers.
The main difference is that it seemed evident that the the two armies were not evenly matched up in numbers at the beginning of the battle. Instead, the living were apparently outnumbered by the undead, possibly by several orders of magnitude. On that note, it seems like a better battle plan would have been to take on a defensive posture against the attacking forces behind the walls instead of taking them on head-on in the field, especially if the size of the attacking force was unknown.

In the one instance when the NK ended up alone in a face-off with Jon without any supporting forces, he promptly raised up the surrounding casualties as wights, just as predicted.

So with that being the case, there was really no point in taking on the undead in the first place. It seems that more effort should have been spent on drawing the NK out into the open sooner, and that more attacks should have been aimed directly against him than were shown.

On another note, how pathetic is it that two live dragons were unable to stop one undead dragon? At the climax, the one undead dragon was rampaging through the castle and about to flambe Jon with blue fire, and the other two dragons were nowhere to be seen.
  #193  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:34 AM
Dewey Finn is offline
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When Dany blasted the Night King with a long shot of dragonfire, he seemed unaffected and was just standing there, I think smiling, when the fire and smoke cleared. Was that what was expected or was the intention that he has the same invulnerability that she does to fire? Perhaps he's a Targaryen? On the other hand, I really doubt we're going to revisit anything to do with the Night King or the Children of the Forest.
  #194  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:34 AM
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Put me on the list of those who were completely swept up in this episode. I thought the darkness and the clouds added some "fog of war" realism. Showing the Dothraki fires go out was an effective (and cost-effective) way of giving an "uh oh...." sense.

I thought for a moment that Sansa and Tyrion were about to commit murder-suicide....very glad that didn't come to pass.

Kudos to all of those last week who foresaw the problems of hiding in a crypt.

Bran sure is a worthless lump, isn't he? His role in the big battle was: bait? Did warging into the ravens provide any useful intelligence?

Not only did the battle look like Helm's Deep, but the demise of the Night King sure looked a lot like Merry and the Witch-King of Angmar.

(In fairness, all Storming the Castle battles have to follow a similar pattern or they'd be excruciatingly boring.)
  #195  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:36 AM
Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by robby View Post
So with that being the case, there was really no point in taking on the undead in the first place. It seems that more effort should have been spent on drawing the NK out into the open sooner, and that more attacks should have been aimed directly against him than were shown.
The wights would have attacked even if the Dothraki hadn't charged into battle with swords aflame. Perhaps this way the battle takes place far from the castle? Also the Dohthraki had no idea what they were up against, and riding into battle is their thing.
  #196  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:37 AM
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So with that being the case, there was really no point in taking on the undead in the first place. It seems that more effort should have been spent on drawing the NK out into the open sooner, and that more attacks should have been aimed directly against him than were shown.
In the post-show feature, the show runners said that the plan was indeed to draw the NK out into the open. But when Dany saw the Dothraki massacred she jumped on her dragon prematurely (forcing Jon to follow) and threw the plan out the window.

If the plan centered on taking out the NK, turning some Valyrian steel swords into Valyrian arrowheads would probably have been smart.

Last edited by jsc1953; 04-29-2019 at 10:41 AM.
  #197  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:54 AM
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The night is dark and full of terrible blurs.
  #198  
Old 04-29-2019, 10:57 AM
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In the post-show feature, the show runners said that the plan was indeed to draw the NK out into the open. But when Dany saw the Dothraki massacred she jumped on her dragon prematurely (forcing Jon to follow) and threw the plan out the window.

If the plan centered on taking out the NK, turning some Valyrian steel swords into Valyrian arrowheads would probably have been smart.
Their plan was flawed anyways because they didn't know NK was immune to dragon fire.
  #199  
Old 04-29-2019, 11:01 AM
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So did Arya even use her detachable-head spear at all? Or is that for a future battle? Or was it just a Macguffin to get some Arya-Gendry sexy time last episode?
  #200  
Old 04-29-2019, 11:03 AM
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So did Arya even use her detachable-head spear at all? Or is that for a future battle? Or was it just a Macguffin to get some Arya-Gendry sexy time last episode?
It was the spear she was using to kick ass at first. Though the design notes made it look detachable I guess it was just showing a dragon glass head inserted into a wooden spear.
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