Welcome back to a bit of table-setting for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. So far I’ve covered the Lannisters. Today we dragon.
There’s a lot in the trailer for the Targaryens. Dany lands in Dragonstone, engages with the Lannister forces, and fights a naval battle (maybe against Euron?) that looks like a Targaryen loss. Reading between the lines, it looks a lot like a secondary force led by Tyrion captures the Lannister home base of Casterly Rock, way over on the west side of Westeros, using Tyrion’s insider info. For all we know this could be Dragonstone or Storm’s End or some other eastern castle, but Tyrion did dangle the prospect of attacking Casterly Rock rather enticingly in Season 6.
And oh yeah, Drogon is fuckin’ HUUUUUGE now.
Dany’s inner struggle is two-sided. On one side she is the responsible, caring ruler, “Mhysa”. On the other, she is the vengeful, bloodthirsty conqueror (team slogan: Fire and Blood™). The responsible ruler, once getting the lay of the land in Westeros, would immediately go to the aid of the Northerners, who are fighting the true threat to the realm. Dragonfire would be invaluable against wights, and dragonglass – the obsidian that is mined on Dragonstone – is needed to kill the White Walkers. Not only that, there is a shot in the trailer of Jon and my boy Davos on a southern beach somewhere, which could indicate the Starks trying to forge an alliance with Dany for exactly that purpose.
I don’t think it’s gonna happen – at least, not this season.
Game of Thrones is full of villains becoming, if not heroes, then at least a lot more sympathetic to the average viewer. Think Jaime, or Theon. It’s a little light on heroes becoming villains. But think of how the Targaryen forces will be viewed when they show up in Westeros. You have the daughter of the infamous Mad King. She has actual dragons, which are the GoT equivalents of nuclear weapons. She has an army of slave soldiers, a number of mercenaries – of low repute in Westeros – plus the Dothraki, known for rape, pillage and enslavement, and a force of equally rapey Iron Islanders. Her main advisor is the infamous Tyrion Lannister, publicly considered a demon and blamed for killing his nephew, the king. Many Westerosi are going to see her as an invading villain – and are we so sure she isn’t? The lore of the show and books features a few occasions of “dances of dragons”, meaning rival Targaryen claimants destroying themselves fighting for the Iron Throne. Typically these feature a Blackfyre, whose sigil is a black dragon. Guess who else dresses in black and is kind of a dragon really? Right guys? In many ways the main point of the show is how we humans fight amongst ourselves while the real threat, environmental catastrophe, creeps inexorably closer. What could sum that up more perfectly than Dany and Jon fighting, despite being kin?
That said, Dany’s dark side, and Tyrion’s, gets a lot more play in the books than has happened in the show so far. I think Danny will waste a season torching up pretty much everyone in Westeros, but eventually she’ll come around.
I’m going to do episode recaps of GoT this season. Why? To see if I can, and plus I’m totally obsessing about it anyway.
Before we get there, I just want to go over where we stand before the season starts, what we can deduce from a close reading of the trailers released to date, what the books might hint about things, and where we might imagine things will be going.
So: don’t read this if you aren’t up to date in the show, or if you’re trying to avoid the trailers, you precious trembling jewel you.
I’m going to break this into separate posts by house. Let’s start with the Lannisters.
For your reference, here’s the latest trailer, which contains the most stuff:
Cersei has eliminated all her enemies in King’s Landing, lost her remaining child, and taken the crown herself, with Jaime standing grimly by her. Now she must defend herself from her various external enemies: the Starks to the north, the Martells and Tyrells to the south, who are now allied with Dany Targaryen, who is closing in to the east. Plus we have Euron Greyjoy’s Iron Islands to the west. That said, smart money is on a Lannister-Greyjoy alliance, as in the trailer we see Greyjoy ships in King’s Landing, and they don’t look like they’re fighting. We do see multiple shots of Lannister forces fighting Targaryen-allied Unsullied and Dothraki. And we see a field of fire with Jaime galloping through it alone, not happily, which makes me suspect at least one battle goes poorly for the lions.
In the books, the witch’s prophecy about Cersei states that a) she will see all her children die and b) she will be killed by her brother. Given a) has borne out, if b) happens, which brother? In the books she assumes it’s Tyrion, but consider the irony if Jaime does it. It would make him a king-killing kinslayer twice over. What fresh atrocity must she be planning for him to go through with it? And how long does she have left?
My guess is Cersei lasts until the final season. This season we can look forward to Cersei taking on the Tyrells, Martells, and Dany. Think how nasty things are going to get between her and Tyrion, and how torn Jaime will be.
A much more powerful description-cum-endorsement here courtesy Emily Nussbaum:
The first season, which was adapted from a novel by Tom Perrotta, struck many viewers, not unreasonably, as a huge downer. It was gorgeous and ambitious, but watching could feel like listening to Portishead while on codeine, recovering from surgery. (Which I’ve done; it has its charms.) A switch flipped in the sixth episode, a wrenching, witty gem called “Guest,” which focussed on Nora (played by Carrie Coon), a woman who lost her entire family in the Departure. “Guest” had a dreamlike plot—Nora, who works for the Department of Sudden Departure, realizes that her identity has been stolen—that felt newly confident, imagistic and musical. In the second season, the show levelled up again, injecting dark humor and a rude visual playfulness, much of it the contribution of directors like Mimi Leder. Now, in Season 3, “The Leftovers” has become the everything bagel of television, defying categorization. It’s at once intimate and epic, giddy and gloomy, a radical emotional intoxicant. It’s still a hard sell. You try telling people that a drama about dead children and suicidal ideation is a hilarious must-watch, then get back to me. But, as an online acquaintance put it, it’s gone from a bummer to “a bummer party.”
The decision, which set a uniform spending requirement of 5 percent on programs of national interest (PNI, which includes dramas, documentaries, some children’s programming, and some award shows), means a reduction in spending requirements for some broadcasters.
Lookee here, Bell launched an over-the-top TV service and it’s not terrible. (Full disclosure: I work for Bell Media.) It’s bundled with Fibe Internet which is too bad, but the low end is a $15 skinny basic, and the “good” package for $43/mo is most of the channels most people might want. Sucks that they’re still charging $25 for HBO though.
Didn’t realize this adaptation is run by a Breaking Bad writer, Moira Walley-Beckett.
With her TV series, Walley-Beckett is trying to solve a riddle: If everything about “Anne of Green Gables” is what prestige TV usually avoids, how do you adapt it in a way that is both sufficiently sophisticated and yet not a betrayal of the source material? Can Anne Shirley, the yummy pleasure who has flourished by cheerfully gliding above her trauma, be transformed into an almost-antiheroine who, in the fashion of contemporary television, has to grapple with her awful past directly? And can she do so whil