Dragons On The Wing

The current season of Game of Thrones is moving forward at a breakneck pace.  So many big-picture things are happening, it’s easy to forget parts of the story and to overlook the smaller, more evocative scenes that might be giving us some foreknowledge of things soon to come.

We’ve seen the rise of Euron Greyjoy and the further emasculation of sad sack Theon, the obliteration of the sand snakes, Stark after Stark returning to Winterfell, and Sam’s gross yet awesome surgical capabilities.  (Who knew that being a capable doctor just means following a set of written instructions?)  We’ve seen Cersei and Jaime throwing caution to the winds about their incestuous relationship, a bunch of long-anticipated first meetings and reunions, Tyrion’s sketchy abilities as general and war planner, and Bran’s creepy new three-eyed raven personality.  (No wonder the former three-eyed raven became part of a tree.  What living Westerosian would want to hang around with these guys?)  And maybe, just maybe, Littlefinger has maneuvered himself onto Arya’s shrinking death list.

dragon-from-game-of-thrones-season-7And last night, we saw dragons.

Sure, we’ve seen the dragons before, ripping people to shreds, hissing and terrorizing.  But last night, in the fantastic battle of the loot caravan, we finally saw what dragons can do on the battlefield . . . and it’s chilling.  With Daenerys in the dragon saddle, Drogon laid waste to huge chunks of the Lannister forces, leaving dozens of the bannermen of the lion lit up like screaming, flailing torches and turning the wagons of golden booty into melted hells.  Game of Thrones has shown us some epic battles, from the Battle of the Blackwater to the Battle of the Bastards, but last night’s dragon-blasting war scene was the best one yet, a hold-your-breath, what’s-going-to-happen-next jawdropper.   And with the show having no problem with knocking off characters, who knew if Jaime was going to survive his brave yet foolhardy charge at the wounded Drogon and Daenerys?

I’m not sure what I want to see more:  Cersei killed by being immolated in dragon fire, or Cersei killed by the combined talents of Arya and Sansa and the other remaining members of the Stark clam.  Until last night, I would have chosen the latter, but fully knowing what agony befalls the victims of dragon fire is making it a closer call.  And I think it’s high time to introduce the Night King and his staggering, lurching army of the undead to a little taste of what dragons can do, too.

Game of Thrones has gotten so good, with so many interesting things happening to so many characters, it’s painful to contemplate that it’s not going to be on forever.  But for now, we can relish the wonder of dragons — and rewatch the episodes, to make sure we aren’t missing anything.

Lost Magic, Due To Too Much Magic

Kish and I watched the Game of Thrones season finale and came away vaguely disappointed.  It was well-acted and interesting, as always, but vaguely anticlimactic after last week’s big battle — and also unsatisfying because the mystical and magical plot elements seem to be overpowering everything else.

I loved the first season of Game of Thrones because the characters were richly drawn and often highly flawed, the settings were exotic and fascinating, and the intrigue, infighting, and infamous villains made for riveting television.  There was some enchantment and sorcery — such as the mystical bond between the Starks and their wolves — but for the most part the story line focused on families and courtiers vying for power in the nest of vipers that is King’s Landing.  The deaths of leading characters, showing that no one was safe, made the show even more unpredictable and fun.

This year there’s much more magic, and in the finale there was a lot more magic.  There’s a witch who gives birth to black smoke creatures advising one pretender to the throne, a fireproof woman who can command dragons to burn her enemies, the undead marching on civilization, and a swordsman who can change his face.  I recognize that the characters live in a world where such things are more common, but frankly I find the magic kind of boring.  If a character can just command dragons to breathe fire on her enemies, who’s going to be able to stop her?  Where’s the suspense in that?

I’d prefer to see the focus be more on the characters who lack the knack for witchcraft, and who are therefore more vulnerable and interesting than the purveyors of the black arts.  I want to see more of the slippery but apparently decent eunuch who has the best interests of the kingdom at heart, mighty mite Tyrion Lannister, who to his own surprise discovered inner courage and cunning enough to save the kingdom from invasion, the giant female warrior who is devoted to Catelyn Stark, and the unconquerable Arya Stark — among others.  Let me see the nauseating and loathsome Joffrey Baratheon get his much-needed comeuppance by a sword thrust from a brawny arm, and not by the wave of a wizard’s wand.

Getting Ready To Get Back Into The Game

On April 1, HBO will start to air new episodes of season 2 of Game of Thrones. Kish and I can’t wait.

In case you haven’t watched it, Game of Thrones is a show about a mythical land in a medieval time period. The story revolves around kings and contending noble families, as well as a nomadic tribal society. The characters include a dwarf, an incestuous brother and sister, and an insufferable, cowardly youth who now sits uneasily on the throne.

What makes the show especially tantalizing, however, is the more fantastic elements of the plot lines, including sorcery, dragons, and the mysterious “white walkers” who live outside an enormous Wall somehow erected by the generations past — and who inevitably are going to try to get past the Wall as winter comes.

I’m ready to get back into the storyline and to take a dip into the gore that comes with swordplay, executions, and heads on pikes. I want to finally see the “white walkers” contend with the brave outcasts manning the Wall. I want to see Littlefinger betray a few more people in his high-wire effort to keep his hands on the levers of power. I want to see the newborn dragons in action, commanded by the woman who survived the fires with them. I want to see the Starks kick some Baratheon butt. And, most of all, I want to see the callow Joffrey Baratheon squeal like a stuck pig and beg for his life before getting his head lopped off — preferably by young Arya Stark, who took her sword lessons last year.

Let the Game begin!