Opinion, Podcasts, Politics, TV

The Final Things I Wanted To See In Game of Thrones

After eight years and 73 episodes, the final end credits have played out on Game of Thrones. Today is the first Monday after the end and I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself. I’m not even sure whether or not I’m content with how the whole shebang finished. Certainly, the amount of debate that the ending has brought suggests that while some, like me, are satisifed there will be thousands of avid fans who wanted so much more. For the record, no, I have not signed the petition to remake season eight. As much as I sense that the season was rushed, it’s insulting to so many people involved in the show’s production. If you’re not happy with how something ended, take the effort to create something yourself. Having said that, here’s a list of the things I wanted to see.

  1. Closure. Jon became Queenslayer, the wheel was broken and Bran was crowned the new King. Who’d have thunk it? If those were the bullet points around the show’s ending, there was a nod to John Hughes in how the second half of the finale went of tying up loose ends. Bronn got Highgarden, though it would have been nice to see him lord it up. Tyrion became Hand to The King, more as a penance than a reward. Similarly, Jon returned to The Night’s Watch to spend his life sentence with Tormund and Ghost. His arc now resembles that of Aemon Targaryen; being a potential heir to the throne yet finding himself protecting the realms of men with duty presiding over love. Sansa became Queen of The North, evoking Elisabeth I in ruling alone and forgoing children. Her sister became Arya The Explorer. Brienne joined The Kingsguard, Pod was knighted and Sam became Grand Maester, (though does that mean he’s left Gilly, Lil Sam and even Lil’r Sam in Horn Hill?). It was all a bit… cosy, part of me wanted a truly ambiguous ending to keep me guessing. One suggestion doing the rounds is Drogon landing in Volantis to leave Dany’s body with a Red Priestess with the final shot being her gasping for breath after her resurrection. Would have been… interesting.
  2. A New Power Structure. For all the expectancy around The Mad Queen’s demise, it was Drogon that took the decisive step. Having realised that Jon wasn’t responsible for her death, rather her power crazed quest for The Iron Throne was, he turned his heartbroken fury and fire to the seat that is now a molten puddle. Quite what Drogon appreciates of politics is anyone’s guess yet you’d hope they’d spent some time extrapolating the extent of a dragon’s intelligence. Maybe a bit more time for Dany to explain to Jon her almost telepathic link with her dragons in an effort to add some meat to Jon as Aegon Targaryen so it didn’t look like such a pointless reveal too. In any case, the feudal system is over and rulers will now be chosen in The Dragonpit, which calls into question why so much was made of Cersei’s pregnancy/courting of Euron and Dany’s infertility/courting of Jon as none of it mattered in the end. The King was picked and he couldn’t even bear children. I was close with my prediction of a new council though the show failed to explain how The Dothraki would have taken the news of Dany’s death. Would they have casually returned to Vaes Dothrak? What about how the rest of the Six Kingdoms would have taken it? For all the lolz that Sam’s suggestion of democracy brought, there was a point to be made of how the masses would have taken the news. Aside from some Northern folk and the ashen remains of King’s Landing we only truly saw the main players. We didn’t even find out how followers of the Faith of the Seven took the destruction of The Sept of Baelor. Did they revolt? Did they rejoice? Did King’s Landing become a totalitarian state ruled by fear? The council that did get to decide the fate of Westeros had a mismatch look to it; less who was worthy to sit on it but who, of even minor importance, was left. Even Ser Davos didn’t think himself worthy, Edmure Tully laughably didn’t and we didn’t even see how Gendry would behave as a Lord. At least we got to see the benefits of titty milk to Robin Arryn.
  3. Gendry to land a telling blow with his warhammer.Two battles and not a single warhammer in sight. Disappointing.
  4. Revealed: Tyrion is also a Targaryen.He’s not even important enough to be in the official account so no-one really cared, even if he did get to decide the next ruler, while in chains.
  5. Revealed: The identity and motive of The Night King.Likely to be included in the Bloodmoon prequel which is under development.
  6. The Valonqar prophecy comes true.  Maybe this’ll come out in the books. One of the aspects of the final season that should be noted, and the TV show in general, is how it’s steered away from the eccentric, magical theories in the books to centre on the characters. No Dragonbinder, no ‘Feagon’ and no Lady Stoneheart. If you did want to hear some in-depth discussion of what’s been missed from the books I’d recommend listening to the SpoiLore Editions of the Game of Thrones podcast by Baldmove.com
  7. Arya ticks off her kill list. The theory that she would kill Dany after face-swapping proved to be just that. In any case, her ninja skills would have to get her past Drogon.
  8. Happy Endings.There were certainly some happy endings for many of the supporting cast, perhaps they were too happy for many.
  9. Bran warging.Strangely we didn’t get much warging, or did we? There is a truly staggering theory that suggests that Bran has been planning this from more or less the start. I imagine if you rewatch the show from the beginning knowing he ends up on the throne, every decision works in his favour. Bran always seemed to know where everyone needed to be. Like the ultimate tactician, was he playing the Game of Thrones the entire time? Did he warg into Dany when she laid waste to King’s Landing and did he warg into Jon when he killed her? Did he ensure her closest advisers and one of her children died in front of her to push her to the edge? Did he ensure Sam told Jon at just the right moment to raise the stakes?
  10. Samwell Tarly becomes George R.R. Martin.Talking of Sam, in a truly meta moment we saw him present A Story of Fire and Ice.
  11. The Prince That Was Promised.Another for the books as the show couldn’t be bothered with it.

 

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Film, Music, Opinion, Podcasts, TV

Top Ten Tings of 2018

Films

Swinging into top spot was arguably the greatest animated film I have ever had the pleasure to see and it only came out a few weeks ago. Seriously, if you’re reading this and unsure whether to drop into your multiplex close the computer screen, get to the cinema and thank me later. It’s jaw-droppingly great.

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  3. Avengers: Infinity War
  4. Black Kkklansman
  5. Black Panther
  6. Widows
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody
  8. Creed II
  9. The Death of Stalin
  10. Ghost Stories

 

Albums

Testament to how little space there is on my record shelves, I have physical copies of only half of this years top ten. Shameful I know, especially when I have one of the greatest record shops in the land on my doorstep in Beartree Records. In the case of top spot, I may have gone overboard with three yet this is what happens when my favourite band decides to open an exclusive shop in town. Even before hearing the album I had gold, silver and cassette copies but it took an evening in the bath for the long-player to finally hit home. Some albums just need a bit of dedication and judging by the critical reception that gold copy will remain unopened.

  1. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino
  2. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
  3. Goat Girl – Goat Girl
  4. Sunflower Bean – Twentytwo In Blue
  5. Miles Kane – Coup de Grace
  6. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
  7. Dream Wife – Dream Wife
  8. Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar
  9. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears
  10. Hinds – I Don’t Run

 

TV Shows

There are some TV shows that are considered compulsive viewing. Not simply for plot twists but because you appreciate that most of the country has already seen it and you don’t want to miss out. That was the case with Killing Eve where I would see the show mentioned by friends on social media, then websites. Before long I had recognised Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh before even settling down to watch it. Sadly I devoured it in the space of a week. I am willing to argue that Bandersnatch is neither a film nor a TV show, it’s something uniquely brilliant that I have spent years wondering if it was ever possible (nice one, Charlie Brooker)

 

  1. Killing Eve
  2. Atlanta (S2)
  3. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
  4. The Haunting of Hill House
  5. Narcos: Mexico
  6. Making A Murderer: Part 1
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale (S2)
  8. Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema
  9. Sunderland ‘Til I Die
  10. Luther (S1 – 4)

 

Live Performances

Yes. I’m counting theatre and live orchestras alongside concerts.

Yes. Having seen Hamilton I now fully appreciate the hype (as does the lucky girl who got my spare ticket as I may have made her entire year).

Yes. More bands need to visit Sheffield.

Yes. I probably need to go to the theatre more often.

  1. Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre, London
  2. Arctic Monkeys at Sheffield Arena
  3. Game of Thrones Live at Manchester Arena
  4. Wolf Alice at Manchester Victoria Warehouse
  5. My Dad Wrote A Porno at Sheffield City Hall
  6. Goat Girl at Picture House Social, Sheffield
  7. Flight Of The Conchords at Manchester Arena
  8. Courtney Barnett at Manchester Academy
  9. Sunflower Bean at Leeds Festival
  10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

 

Podcasts

I really do need help. That my top two podcasts of the year centre on porn and murder indicates that I really have a depraved mind. Strangely, both have mentioned each other during the year as if both appreciate the same disturbed set of listeners. It’s not just me!

  1. My Dad Wrote A Porno
  2. S’laughter: True Crime Podcast
  3. Distraction Pieces
  4. Reasons To Be Cheerful
  5. The Totally Football Show
  6. The Cinemile
  7. Football Weekly
  8. United We Stand Podcast
  9. The Adam Buxton Podcast
  10. Myths and Legends
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