Lord Parramandas's Written (and possible video) Reviews - Season 8

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:15 pm

UPDATE: There will be no more reviews from my side. I'm done with this site and its increasing toxicity.

Opening this thread to post my reviews for S8 episodes when they air. The reviews are usually show-only related, with all background info being taken from "History and Lore" episodes which are canon to TV series. If by any chance book speculation is included (which is very unlikely), there is notification about it at the top and again at the very part in the review which includes it. So book readers and non-book readers alike, you're all welcome to read them. If there will be video review included, there will be a link to my Youtube channel. For videos for already aired episodes from previous seasons, check my other "Memory Lane" thread.

S08E01 - Winterfell (complete)
S08E02 - A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (complete)
S08E03 - The Long Night (complete)
S08E04 - ? (incomplete)
S08E05 - ? (incomplete)
S08E06 - ? (incomplete)

My youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR_LIi ... 2ZcwyBdVGw
Last edited by Lord Parramandas on Wed May 15, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:06 pm

In darkened crammed room, Lord Parramandas takes a dusty old tome from the shelf. There're no drums pounding this time, no banner with an elephant being raised atop the tallest tower. Only an isolated room with a table in the midst and a candle providing light. Lord Parramandas opens the dusty tome. There are 67 chapters already written... 67 chapters of hype, happiness, thrill, emotion. But there towards the end, there are 6 chapters still blank. The final pages to be filled in order for this journey to be complete. Lord Parramandas thinks of everything that happened, everything that will happen. And then in the midst of this serene environment, he takes a deep breath, picks up a quill and writes: »This is the beginning of the end...«

68 – WINTERFELL
This is the beginning of the end. In past 8 years, I've made a long journey, accompanied with all kinds of emotions and thrill and now, I need to brace myself to reach the destination. I don't feel any need for intense speculation, for making »scenes« with my review, for passionately defending show and trying to push myself in the light. That phase is long over. What remains now is the emotional goodbye to this long journey, the desire to get enriched when the cycle finally closes, the wish for tears of joy and sadness at same time when the final scene airs in front of my eyes... the wish for this show to create a lasting legacy in my heart, to stand true to its current status of being part of my »golden trio« of TV shows. As I'm preparing to write this first chapter, I feel the time of me being »formal« and sticking to the rules with review structure is over... now it's time to look deeper, beyond the layers of storytelling. It's time to look into the heart and soul of the show.

So »Winterfell«, the very last season premiere. First thing first, there is a new title sequence that I plain love. Second thing, Jacob Anderson got added to main cast which resulted in me needing to edit my main characters' appearances chart by adding him. Third thing, the song from first episode's credits played in credits this time. Here it is, three facts that I needed to include.

Now to the TV piece itself. It pulled at my heartstrings, that's what I need to say first. I don't know whether it is due to story itself or the fact that I need to prepare myself for closure, but I never felt like this before at the beginning of the new season. I pressed the »Play« button with shaking hand, my heart being so filled with positive anxiety, and through entire episodes and beyond, I could feel hard heartbeats. If a TV show is capable of pulling a string like that with me (and so far, there are two others that did in my case), then I know it's one of my favorites. GoT did pull strings in the past for me, especially on rewatches, but now I'm more sure than ever that it's part of my golden trio.

As for story itself in this episode, it's a prologue to the final stage. There's no »big moments«, no action scenes, no major deaths or some shocking moments. It's mostly interactions, subtle moments, reunions, a pleasant dragon flight and a horror-movie-scene. But is that bad? I wouldn't say so. As I said so many times before, the character interactions and their body language are the key for me to love the episode. If I'm not »pulled in« in a way that I feel I'm in there and know those characters, then no action scene can save the show for me. And »Winterfell« was very succesful with this.
What should I touch first? Is there a point of recaping the scenes? Or maybe I should rather touch the heart and soul... which are characters themselves. I can say that this episode truly shook things up regarding »rooting« for characters in my case. Characters made me have doubts, same characters sparked a positive feeling a moment later. But what I loved is how grounded story felt. No reliance on drama, big scenes... every scene felt real to me, like it was happening in real life.

For example, let's pick the very awaited reunion between Jon and Arya. I kept thinking prior to it: »So yet another dramatic Stark reunion is on horizon. Works once, works twice, but i don't think it will work for third time.« But then I watched the scene and I was like »But this is actually really beautiful!« Why? Because it felt so grounded, so spontaneous, so »fresh«. No dramatic music or deep stares before the hug. Just Arya's otherwise cold expression lightening up after exchanging some words and jumping into Jon's hug. While not being the biggest Arya fan, this scene truly got to me in right manner and I was so happy to finally see Arya »vulnerable« again. I was honestly worried for her in S7, the cold manner she was developing like she's slowly dying on inside. Now I can say I feel very happy about her character and I can't move past the fact how that hug reminded me of every moment when me and my girlfriend are reunited, considering we live in different countries and are able to meet a couple times a year.

And I truly loved that bit when Jon is trying to team with Arya against Sansa (like they did when they were kids) and Arya simply responded »Sansa is the smartest person I know.« which was a truly nice response to Sansa's remark previous season that Arya is the strongest person she knows. Yes, memories remain but life changes and for me, this scene indicated how that sibling rivalry is finally over and that Arya is making a firm step into new era.
Speaking of Sansa, I'm a big fan of her and she's my favorite GoT character and also one of my favorite female characters overall. Rewatches only amplified my like for her. In this episode, she caused me both doubts and positive feelings. On one hand, she had some very rough moments when I felt she could have been less harsh. I get an impression she keeps a lot of anger on inside and it's affecting her mentally. At same time, I loved the »Of course I do!« remark to Jon. It made me think about her as a character... after all, she's young with a lot of pressure being put on her. Sure, she likes being Lady of Winterfell but the job comes with responsibility and the thread I noticed when rewatching previous seasons is that she really cares about her family underneath her rough facade. So her coldness to Dany... it may be unpleasant on sight, but I feel it's natural for someone like her. Another thing... I love Littlefinger is out of the picture. I'm way more relaxed watching Sansa's scenes now, knowing she's fully making her own decisions now, whether they're right or wrong. On long scale, I truly hope she softens up or does something really good on long term that would benefit her family.

There are other reunions through this episode... Jon & Bran, Sansa & Tyrion, Arya & Sandor, Arya & Gendry... and every reunion works in its own way. Feels natural, grounded, fresh... for an episode packed with reunions, I'm glad they didn't go dramatic route.

But in the midst of all these reunions, there was one not-so-pleasant one that truly shook things up. Samwell and Jorah, by the former meeting Dany for first time. I knew that Dany burning the Tarlys will have unpleasant results and there was really something that bugged me with that action. And Sam's reaction proved it. Randyll was an awful person and a terrible father and I didn't feel any sad at all when he died (although I wish he wasn't burned but executed more properly). But even his death triggered an emotional reaction in Sam. But that wasn't the worst... not at all. He kept clinging to the hope that his brother is now a lord but got to know he got burned alongside as well. And here I'll point out that I truly don't approve Dany burning him. She could have easily executed Randyll and kept Dickon captive... as far as we know, him watching his own father die could have triggered a change of heart in him. But you reap what you sow... Sam was driven to tears and I could see on his face that he started harboring resentment towards Dany. Probably my very favorite scene from this episode but at same time very sad. Now it seemed a firm wedge was driven between him and Jon, who used to be best friends.
So if I maybe touch Jon and Dany at this point... they both gave me very mixed feelings. They're two good people overall but they're just as flawed as everybody else. Now their »mistakes« are coming to the scene. Jon is losing support of Northern lords and Dany doesn't even seem to be trying to earn their support at this stage. She believes everyone needs to follow her as she's the queen and with Jon being her lover, apparently that seems a good reason enough. In my eyes, I feel Dany needs to prove herself being worthy of bending the knee to, like she did to Jon in »Beyond the Wall« when she rescued Jon and co. from the army of the dead. The way she arrived to Winterfell... the »smug« face expression when people got terrified of dragons... why was that necessary? I feel she would suceed by making people love her, not fear her. If she means to rule, people need a reason. Jon on other hand, I generally like him but at this stage, love is showing its flaws. I often say falling »too quickly« in love can result in too harsh decisions and too narrow-minded perspective. And I believe Jon is dealing with this grip at the moment... if he loves Dany, that doesn't mean everyone will follow him. So on overall scale, I wish these two find a way to make the people happy and don't rely on »I am your ruler!«

Speaking of Jon and Dany, the next part is... the dragon flight! Possibly one of the most »feel good« moments in this episode for me. The nagging question... »Will Jon ride the dragon?« The answer is »Yes!«. But this was a hyped dramatic moment that would probably happen in crucial moment... sadly or not-sadly, it wasn't the case. It happened spontaneously, with no particular reason... and I loved it! It truly reminded me of Harry Potter flying on Buckbeak in third movie (a movie that still gives me sooo many special feelings) – the serene feel-good atmosphere which kind of makes you see happiness and joy in the world. And this is exactly how i felt while watching Jon ride the dragon... I kept smiling and laughing all the time during this scene as it was a beautiful and yet funny scene. That part of him flying across the walls of Winterfell especially. I only imagine what Varys, Tyrion and Davos were thinking. And then him and Dany landing in that waterfall pit and sharing the kiss of love... what is more beautiful than getting away from everything with the person you love? Trying to forget all the daily stress, all the worries and being with the most dear person in that moment... yes, I'm a romantic at heart and that's how I felt in that moment. A year ago, such scene wouldn't get me... now it does!

So what remains? I've been writing for so long already. Oh, I know... elephants! Or rather »No elephants«. Oh I really wanted to see the elephants. And so did Cersei apparently. »What about elephants?« - »I so wanted those elephants«. Haha I did expect that there would be no elephants and I was truly glad the show adressed it. Yes, those poor elephants would suffer a lot on ships. But on negative part, Cersei has less power than she wanted. As for King's Landing as a whole, it nicely set figures into space for whatever is coming. The army is here, Euron and Cersei started sleeping together (the two main antagonists finally »teaming up« on body level as well), Euron is his typical psychopathic self... but probably the biggest surprise was that Bronn didn't leave with Jaime and seems to be taking a very antagonistic route now. Yes, as i said in my last year's review, I felt he was taking a dark turn after sack of Highgarden. Something just didn't click right in those scenes and the increasing hostility he showed to Jaime... I wonder how will it occur. Overall, Bronn is one of my favorite characters regarding one-liners. »There's no cure for being a cunt« still remains one of my favorite quotes. Whatever turn he makes, I'm sure he'll remain entertaining.

Touching Theon a bit, the big Yara rescue mission turned out to be exactly the opposite of what I expected. Back in S7, I thought it would be the remainder of Theon's and also Euron's story... the real story came to an end after one scene. It really was just that... a rescue. And it gave me the vibe that Yara's story is fully finished at this point and that her and Theon parted ways forever. I guess she went to go back to Iron Islands and will remain there for the remainder of the show. I grew to be really fond of her character and I would be happy to see that she's one of those who makes it. As for Theon, I believe he won't... he's traveling to Winterfell now to embrace his Stark side, after he proved to be a true Greyjoy as well by rescuing Yara. Like Jon said, he can easily be both.

Okay, I'm really feeling drained now... but some more bits need to be featured. Sam and Jon... the two best friends but now their friendship was put to the test. Sam finally revealed the truth to him, seemingly also to make sure it's not Daenerys who ends up on the throne. It's sad... seeing Sam taking such angry turn now as much as I understand him. And Jon... he couldn't stand the idea of his father (who was not biological father) lying to him whole life. That scene truly made me wonder what would happen next...two characters I really enjoy both brought to such unpleasant point.

Are we there yet? Is this the end? Sadly not... phew, this is taking longer than I thought. Do I need to keep recaping every scene? Or is it enough to say that the whole undead Umber scene creeped me out? First thing first, I was sooo woried for any of those 3 characters dying. I was happy to see both Tormund and Beric alive after their uncertain fate at the end of S7 but I was sure at least one of them will bite the dust. Luckily, it wasn't the case... the castle was slaughtered beforehand to send a message. But the kid nailed to the wall suddenly reanimating... it's like my heart skipped a beat. Now we're getting the real taste of what means if army of the dead comes south. Death and horror and i imagine it would be outright terrifying when they arrive to Winterfell.
Okay, I promise you, this is the last bit. The final scene includes a stranger in a strange land... no I'm not speaking about the episode from LOST, but about Jaime arriving to Winterfell, alone, wrapped in a cloak. I wasn't sure in S7 if he went completely alone or if he intended to bring an army... now I know. He's just one man at this point, one man trying to do the right thing and it reminded me of why he's one of my favorite characters. Leaving Cersei and coming here alone... that was a huge step in his development and I eagerly await what comes next. Guess who he met first... Bran.

Okay, I'm getting truly drained now. I've been writing chapter 68 for over an hour now and I started feeling light-headed. I guess this is the point where I need to pull down the quill and get some rest. But some final words: »Winterfell« is a beautiful and serene episode that truly pulled my heartstrings. I'm really not sure where to put it on my ranklist... I believe somewhere in my 9-rated section, ahead of »Dragonstone« but behind »Two Swords«. I'll think a bit and make my decision. The emotional journey is coming to an end... and I hope I fullfil the feeling of enrichment and emotional closure like I hope to. With best regards from Lord Parramandas!

Lord Parramandas closes the big dusty tome and returns it to the shelf. He leaves the darkened room but leaves the door unlocked for any eyes to read his latest writing. Outside,he removes the elephant-and-castle-badge and continues his life as Erik, the 23 year old Chemistry student, while waiting for next week when it will be time to step into the lord role again.

User avatar
Chilli
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:40 pm

Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:02 pm

Very nice review! You are only 23 and a chemistry student? From reading your review I thought you were older and studied something like literature or languages. That's a compliment by the way. It shows that you are really mature at such a young age.
English is not my first language, I don't even know what my first language was since I'm adopted from a country very far away. A country with many languages and cultures. But this makes that I'm not flawless in writing.
But I liked what you wrote and I liked the style. I hope you keep on doing that for the remaining 5 episodes.

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:18 am

Chilli wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:02 pm
Very nice review! You are only 23 and a chemistry student? From reading your review I thought you were older and studied something like literature or languages. That's a compliment by the way. It shows that you are really mature at such a young age.
English is not my first language, I don't even know what my first language was since I'm adopted from a country very far away. A country with many languages and cultures. But this makes that I'm not flawless in writing.
But I liked what you wrote and I liked the style. I hope you keep on doing that for the remaining 5 episodes.
Thank you! I appreciate it! Yes, I'm young and English is not my first language either so I'm sure I make mistakes in my English text as well.

Dame of Mercia
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:43 am

Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:17 pm

Well I'm not young Lord P, - think of me as being up there in years with GRRM but he's a few months older than me. That's a good thing about GoT/ASOIAF show/books, they can appeal to a wide age range. (I don't find that liking the books means I have to dislike the show). You managed to encapsulate the events in the first episode correctly (in my view anyhow). I didn't mind the first episode being a setting the scene episode - except that the scene at the Last Hearth I did find horrific and I felt sorry for little Ned Umber.

Well, I'll look forward to reading your next review in due course.

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:00 pm

Just an update: my review will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm a bit too busy this evening with university stuff.

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:45 pm

The dusty tome lies still on the table in the darkened room. Suddenly the door opens and a figure enters. That person sits at the table, lights the candle, puts a green/yellow badge with white elephant on his chest and opens the dusty tome on chapter 69. Lord Parramandas gazes into those empty pages still waiting to get filled. So little left and yet its almost too much when it comes to emotions. He grabs the quill and starts writing:

69 – KNIGHT OF THE REALM
I don't know how to begin this because the show is really pulling my heartstrings almost too much this year and this episode was no exception. Deep down, I feel this episode was a subtle goodbye to many of the characters we've been following. I already feel anxious and thrilled at same time for the chapter that arrives in a few days and which will give me an answer to this question. But before I embark on this journey, before I say final or not final goodbye to the characters, there's one firm goodbye I need to say first… goodbye to the writer Bryan Cogman who was present from S1. »Cripples, Bastards and Broken THings«, »What is Dead May Never Die«, »Kissed by Fire«, »Oathkeeper«, »THe Laws of Gods and Men«, »Kill the Boy«, »Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken«, »Blood of my Blood«, »The Broken Man«, »Stormborn« and now finally »THe Knight of the Realm«. The 11 chapters out of from this man and this is his final piece in the overall puzzle. I appreciated every chapter that came from the quill of this person and with this episode, I can say I got emotionally satisfied as well.
Now to this chapter itself, I don't think I should waste my breath recaping every scene. So I'll go through it in a bit different way. Thinking of describing this episode in a few words, several lines come to my mind. »Nothing is or will be like it used to be anymore«, »Calm before the storm«, »Time to say goodbye!« All these three lines apply to how I felt through this episode.

War is coming… the most terrible battle in the history of GoT. And I guess this war will be so terrible that the usual »calm before the storm« moments had to happen an episode before instead of in first half of the battle episode. And I never felt so uneasy before the battle as I did in this episode. Another thing… almost all the main-cast characters are at the same place now, save for Cersei, Bronn and Melisandre. There's no »plot armor« anymore. Things can go in any direction now. So when I saw all the preparations such as dragonglass barricades, weapons being forged, making the plans to place Bran in godswood, people moving to the crypt to hide and all the relaxing moments the characters spent before the dread began, I could almost feel the dread myself. How does it feel when only one day remains before the world turns to horror? I rather not imagine myself.

But before I focus on the dread itself, let's remember some of the other moments that were more part of the larger scale than the incoming battle. Jaime got judged in front of Daenerys and got saved thanks to Sansa and Brienne mostly. Kind of another »blow« for Daenerys that world is not as black and white, and revenge not as poetic as she may believe.
SPeaking of Sansa and Daenerys, I so liked that they finally had a sit-down and talked as two grown ladies should have. Certainly better than just throwing sharp stares to each other. I enjoyed both through that scene as they both raised valid points… such as Daenerys pointing out how her love for Jon brought her to the north, and Sansa pointing out how men do stupid things for love (and I believe that so do women). But the seemingly peaceful resolution got really tense after a short line: »What after? What about the North?« and Dany's face so tightening up. The hints that were thrown regarding her in past episode kind of not give me the good vibe. But on other hand, I absolutely love the writers paid attention to this side of Daenerys. After all, she's a flawed person herself like everybody else and who knows where her journey is headed. Regarding the attitude I saw from her, it can go both ways. Sansa might be too blunt on other hand, not warm enough in these moments, but at the same time, I love how she stands for herself. Definitely a true northern lady. BTW. I love her outfit this season.

What else? Arya had a more »wild« night and »hooked up« with Gendry in order to know how it »feels like« before she supposedly dies. I'm more of a sensual person on the inside so that love scene didn't really work well for me. But on positive note, it was very in-character for Arya and I especially loved how she showed some of this human side again. I remember all the moments in previous season when she gave me such unpleasant chills with her cold attitude… and this season, I'm waaay more fond of her and I actually enjoy her a lot. Gendry on other hand… I don't know but I feel this may have really been his last night on this world.

And if Arya's scene didn't get me that much, a certain reunion certainly did. Theon returned to Winterfell to do his duty to House Stark. »You can be a Greyjoy and a Stark« is what Jon told him at Dragonstone previous season. He did his duty as a Greyjoy and freed Yara, now he'll do his duty as a Stark. And Sansa greeted him with a tight and warm hug… no words needed to be exchanged, her eyes said it all. Being a hug-loving person myself, that scene truly touched me.

There are many other moments I could point out, mostly characters enjoying possibly their last time together. ANd I loved all those scenes. GoT is a very grim show overall and I always love when the characters get some of this mutual time when they're actually able to relax a bit and be themselves. And with the inevitable horror ahead, those scenes only felt more powerful. For example, the talk at the fire between so many characters… and Tormund revealing his story about giant's milk. Makes me wonder what the white substance the wildlings were drinking in previous seasons was… the one that made Jon almost gag when he entered Mance Rayder's tent. Who knows, maybe fermented giant's milk is an answer. And then this funny talk turned serious and emotional when Brienne got knighted by Jaime. Okay, I'll admit it… »ser Brienne« sounds awful to me, as »ser« really seems like a male prefix. I'll stick to »lady Brienne« or just »Brienne« in my further text. Nevertheless, I feel this was some sort of inner climax for her arc, finally getting the knight title which she in my eyes very deserved. I only feel worried now what awaits her in the upcoming battle.

And at this stage, the time for hanging out is coming to a closure. Relaxing tone is disappearing, dread is starting to creep on the castle. Less and less time remains. Grey Worm and Missandei kissed for last time (and I believe it was their last time together), ser Jorah was given Heartsbane to use it in upcoming battle (and I believe he won't return from it), the company at the fire sang their final song called »Jenny of Oldstones« (and I believe several will never return)… see the pattern? SOmething terrible is on horizon, something that will change things, make them nothing like they were before.

But there was another dark shadow lying over the castle… the truth. »My name… is Aegon Targaryen«. Yes, Daenerys got this hard truth that her life was a lie all along… she's not the last Targaryen and even worse, she's not the next in line for the throne. And the look in her eyes meant nothing well. Was that anger? Disbelief? Fear? I truly hope she pulls out of this in good manner. It seems the romantic love days between her and Jon are over. But before they could talk this through… three blasts. We all know what that means.
If this was beyond the Wall, the reaction would be »Run!«. Now there's nowhere to run anymore, nothing standing between the castle and the army of the dead. The shot of the skeletal horse's leg stepping on the snow, the well known soundtrack from »Hardhome« and »The Door« playing… we all know what this means. And at this stage, I feel literally nobody is safe and that the named body count will be much larger than in any war before. Who will fall and who will make it? By my count, there's 25 named characters present in Winterfell, maybe even more if I forgot anyone. And also a direwolf and two dragons. I thought a lot about the army of the dead before and how the war will happen, but I never and I really mean never assumed so many characters will be present at the same time. But now, this makes me truly excited and emotional at same time. The horror tale that has been building up since episode 1 will truly happen now and I feel it will be without mercy.

So this is it for this time. This episode has been very emotionally charged and one of the most quality ones regarding the interactions. It almost feels forever ago now when the characters were split over the continent… when power struggle for the Iron THrone was the main story, with Jon being at the Wall and Daenerys across the narrow sea, disconnected from the central story. The days when characters like Robb, Joffrey, Tywin, Margaery, Olenna, Ramsay, Stannis, High Sparrow and Littlefinger existed feel like in different life. Now all the ties were brought together and formed a big tangle which needs to untangle in the last 4 chapters. This is it now… the untangling, the resolution, the end stage.
As for the episode, it just narrowly misses my 10/10 rated episodes due to being a build-up one without some big moments. But the emotional strings were really strong and this episode surely lands high among my 9/10 episodes. I'll firmly rank them when the season is over. But my biggest question is if any can beat »Battle of the Bastrds« and »The Winds of Winter« and earns a new no.1 spot on my ranklist. If there's any episode i firmly believe it can, it's the next one.

Whoever reads this dusty tome, this means you came to the end of this chapter. With best regards from Lord Parramandas.

The quill falls from Lord Parramandas's shaking hands. He closes the tome and stares into the candle flame. The end is near… soon, the emotions will be tested to full extent and then it will be over, forever. He blows the candle, removes the elephant badge and exits the room. He's not Lord Parramandas anymore, only Erik. But he knows that he's destined to step into this room 4 more times and take the lord's mantle. He takes a deep breath and locks the door, returning to his daily life.

User avatar
Chilli
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:40 pm

Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:44 am

Another great review dear Lord. I also like the introduction and outro, makes it even more special.
For me it's a top 3 episode because it was so emotional to see them spending their last hours all together in Winterfell.

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:17 pm

Chilli wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:44 am
Another great review dear Lord. I also like the introduction and outro, makes it even more special.
For me it's a top 3 episode because it was so emotional to see them spending their last hours all together in Winterfell.
Thank you! I have some criteria when it comes to sorting episodes into my 1-10 scale (in case of GoT, it's 7-10 scale) and this episode lacks "the big moment" to make into the 10/10 ones in my case. But it's certainly among my very high 9/10 ones.

User avatar
Lord Parramandas
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am

Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:00 pm

It is the middle of the night and cold winds are blowing outside. A lone figure is pushing through the winds, almost not being able to see ahead. The abandoned ancient building looms ahead in the darkness, its windows dark, its stones crumbling. The traveller finally reaches the heavy door, searching for key to unlock it. He enters and looks around... the place is dark, empty, abandoned, with the only noise being the wind and the only light coming from the gaps in the walls. He knows where he needs to go... descending the stairs into the deepest levels of this place with the torch in his hand, he finally reaches it. The vault, the place where it is kept. The traveler puts on a cloak, embodied with white elephant on green field in gold frame. The key enters the keyhole, followed by clank sound and the ancient door opens into darkness. There it is... right where he left it previous week.
Sitting down on the only chair at the only table in the room, Lord Parramandas lits the candle. His still-teary eyes stare into the candle at the table. He remembers the days when the banner used to fly at the top of the tallest tower, when drums were pounding to signify his arrival. Now this is all that is left... a big dusty tome on the table, awaiting for its pages to get filled. Lord Parramandas opens it at chapter LXX, takes a quill, and starts writing:


70 – THE LONG NIGHT

The longest night in their lives happened and not everybody survived till dawn. The closure to the longest on-going conflict, dating back to the events of Chapter I in this dusty tome. Now it's over...now we're allowed to breathe again. What should I say? I believe no writing can justify what I felt on the inside but I have this duty to fill these pages. How did I finish last time? Counting 25 named characters being present at Winterfell before army of the dead arrived? Well I can say that for at least 7 of them, this was a closing chapter.

Darkness, cold, fear... these are the three words to describe the first stage of this episode. The last moments before hell begins, the pulsing soundtrack adding to tense atmosphere, the pitch darkness ahead to make sure we don't see what lies beyond. Everythign regarding that was executed perfectly in my opinion. If previous episode was »Calm before the Storm«, these final moments before the battle were »Fear before death«. I can't remember if I was ever this nervous before... this worried for characters. The question of the day... or should I say, question of the night, was who will await dawn.

And then a lone figure on the horse appeared, a person who we haven't seen in a long time, a person in such need for a closure. Yes, Melisandre returned just like she promised, one last time before she's allowed to die. In my eyes, she has always been interesting character with a very dark journey overall. She comitted so many dark acts, crossed the moral line so often and yet every moment of her only made me want to get to know more about her and her role in the story. When she departed for Volantis and made a promise to return one last time, I was thinking what on Earth can she do regarding story except die? I never paid much attention to that story point but I'm glad I was proven wrong. Even in her first appearance in this episode, she lit the Dothraki blades on fire, providing light and weapons to fight the undead. The epic charge happened into the darknes... and as quickly as those blades lit up, they also got extinguished. When you fight the undead, the silence can mean only one thing... the undead won. Named casuality no.1: Qhono, former warrior in service of khal Moro and then commander of Dothraki forces in Daenerys's service. He went like he was supposed to... with arakh in his hand.

Yes, what the characters fought in this episode was unlike anything before. This was no battle between two armies where commands are spoken, where they assemble lines and strategically try to win for a higher purpose. This was a battle against death. What is the purpose of death? The end of everything.

When I was watching this, I remembered another very treasured journey of mine through the world where characters are trying to survive in the world infested with »walking dead«. Where the hordes of living dead are very very dangerous threat and one wrong move can mean death. But during this Chapter LXX, I realized... if these characters were fighting the undead from that other world, they would have won and wouldn't even lose many people. They had everything prepared to repel the dead, including two grown dragons, armies fron the North and Vale, wildlings, Unsullied and Dothraki and the weapons to kill them. They had multiple lines of defense, plans if another plan fails. But what they really fought against... not even the strongest army they assembled could withstand death itself.

The Unsullied held formation, the archers shot, the dragons burned the corpses... but people tire and the dead do not. Unsullied's formation wasn't enough to prevent the undead to swarm them, the archers on the wall weren't numerous enough to kill every undead, and the dragons became almost useless when the terrifying snowstorm fell upon Winterfell. The initial plan was gone, people got slaughtered and had to withdraw back to Winterfell. Sam got nearly killed, only to be saved by Edd... only for Edd to be killed in the process. Edd spoke about his own death so many times, being ready to die more than often... and now he did, like it suits man of the Night's Watch. I could technically say the Night's Watch now really was no more.

I could go on and on recapping every scene but I see no point in that. Let me focus on one of my favorite themes in this episode: vulnerability.I can't recall any battle or any episode when it would be present in such massive extent. No matter how brave the characters tried to be before the fight, how they tried to sound confident, how they're not scared or anything... when death came, even the bravest person got afraid. Take Arya for example... when the battle already got from bad to worse and the undead climbed over the walls and entered Winterfell, slaughtering everyone in their way, Arya charged into them and started killing them almost superhero-like with her new weapon. Other people were giving up, but she was there, killing them full-force... but only to some extent. The face of confidence suddenly turned to face of fear. The character who seemed the most mentally tough at this point was reduced back to a young girl as she was. The fighting turned to running for dear life.

Second moment of vulnerability... the elder Stark sister who took a bit of a backseat in this episode as she's not a fighter but still tried to stay strong for her people. She was initially present on the battlements but when the army of the dead and the snowstorm approached, her expression became pure fear. Despite her »I need to be here for my people« objections, she eventually retreated to the crypt and remained there, still scared for her life. Especially the moment when the soldiers tried to enter the crypt and everyone stared in horror hearing them being slaughtered outside. I can't recall the last time I saw Sansa so vulnerable since she escaped Winterfell in S5.

And the vulnerability just as easily applied to other characters. The Hound completely gave up, knowing that they fight death and it was only Beric pointing at Arya fighting and running for her life that made him pull out of the trance. Meanwhile, a less prominent but still very memorable character also suffered a collapse of tough outlook and experienced a gruesome death. When I remembered Lyanna Mormont saying she wants to fight, I was worried they'll make her a bit too strong for a character in early teens. I was so glad I was proven wrong here. During the already big chaos, an undead giant broke through the gate of Winterfell (mirroring Wun Wun's scene in Battle of the Bastards) and Lyanna was in the way. So she first got slammed by the giant and then when she made her final charge, the giant picked her up and literally crushed her spine... but not before she managed to stick the dagger into his eye, killing him on spot. So Lyanna is yet another casuality of this great war and she was a proof that even the kids are not safe.

The situation got worse. The undead now swarmed the castle and nobody could hide anymore. Arya was running frightened through abandoned halls of Winterfell, even withstanding hide-and-seek situation in Winterfell's library that really reminded me of another »walking dead« story, only with even more horror. And it was eventually Beric and Sandor who rushed to her aid... but not without casuality. In effort to save Arya, Beric got injured and then sacrificed himself to protect Arya from harm. His last stand kind of resembled crucifixion, protecting Arya with his own body while getting stabbed multiple times. When they finally retreated into empty room, there wasn't even enough energy in him to say final words. Yes, he got brought to life 6 times, his 7th death was final and he served the purpose.

I think at this point, I should bring the most horrifying figure into the game... The Night King. His death was deemed to be the key to defeat White Walkers since the revelation previous season that a death of a White Walker means death of all the reanimated corpses by that Walker. Regarding theory, everything needed to know about defeating army of the dead was known at this point. But regarding actual life situation, it was a tiny bit harder as the army of the dead was clearly winning the war and there was no way to even get close to the Night King, at least not as long as he was on top of his dragon. In this chapter, he was conveniently absent from the screen most of the time and I kept asking myself when will he make an appearance. So many of those moments when dragons appeared and I kept observing if the dragon has blue eyes. The snowstorm really added a lot more tension regarding him.

But then he finally appeared and made the matters from »worse« to »worst«. Riding through the mist on his undead dragon, he was the most formidable foe among them all. I pretty much knew what was coming… the battle in the sky. Repeating the story of Vhagar and Caraxes from Targaryen civil war. And so the battle happened, with undead Viserion gaining the upper hand over Rhaegal. No wonder as with being undead, he didn't feel anything. But then came the »twist« compared to Dance of Dragons… there was one more dragon present. Yes, Drogon joined the fight and together with Rhaegal, they managed to throw Night King from his saddle. But in the chaos, Jon got thrown from his own saddle as well.
The most formidable foe was on the ground and exposed to attack. Just one Dracarys should resolve the war, right? But Daenerys didn't know what we did… that Night King is immune to dragonfire. I very much remember the scene in chapter LXVI when he was able to simply walk through dragonfire. And so happened here… Drogon blasted him with dragonfire, only for Night King to emerge unscathed. And when you think it couldn't get any worse… exactly that happened.

Not only that the Night King survived, he also managed to chase off Drogon, un-saddle Jon and then make nightmare turn into deepest hell by raising his hands. All the dead soldiers that got slaughtered by army of the dead reanimated and joined the Night King's army. And not only them… also all the buried Starks in the crypt where nobody but Sansa even carried a dragonstone weapon.

The battle was lost at this point. What started as a battle now became a bunch of characters desperately trying to survive the endless waves of undead. Jaime, Brienne, Sam, Tormund, Podrick… fighting for their last breath as more and more undead warriors swarmed the castle. Down at the crypt, unarmed women and children got slaughtered by reanimated Starks while others could only stand and watch. Sansa and Tyrion were hiding behind the crypt, knowing they can't do anything but perform their final stand when the fight happens. The way how they looked at each other and at Sansa's knife, I even wondered if they were planning to make some suicide pact if things get too bad.

Jon was on the ground surrounded by living dead. Everything seemed lost for him if Drogon didn't show up in right moment. But in effort to save him, he got swarmed by the undead warriors and Daenerys had to jump from his saddle, losing the asset of her power as well. This was it. The two most powerful people suddenly became just two normal figures on the battlefield. Another recurring theme of vulnerability… nothing is left when all the assets are taken away. Just an ordinary person. I truly love how they were handled here.

The sad piano theme started playing (likely a homage to Sapochnik's S6 finale) and here is when I was really brougt to tears. This wasn't a battle anymore… I felt that no matter what happens the result was already devastating. Now that every last line of defence was taken away, the Night King and White Walkers advanced to Winterfell. Not like soldiers, like lords or kings… like winners. Everything was gone at this point… Winterfell was a slaughterhouse, the undead Viserion started to torch the castle, collapsing hundreds of years old towers. And while Jon tried to run after the Night King, Viserion cut off his path and trapped him in the corner. As for Dany, she was now a helpless lady trapped in the open with no army or dragon to protect her. But even in the darkest nights a ray of light can shine… in form of her first true friend. Ser Jorah, her loyal bodyguard and friend who always returned to her no matter how many times he was sent away… he lived to his word in this scene. Trying to repel the undead, he got mortally wounded and he yet kept going as long as possible.

In Winterfell, everything finally came to the climax. THe Night King and the White Walkers finally reached the Godswood where Theon and a group of Ironborn were making their last stand protecting Bran. By the time Night King arrived there, Theon was the last man standing and I very much knew this was a closure of his book as well. He fulfilled his duty as a Greyjoy, now he fulfilled his duty as a Stark, protecting Bran with last breath. Knowing he'll die, he charged against the Night King, only for the latter to stab him in the gut and leave him to die. An expected but very emotional closure for another major character. Thinking of Theon back in S2 when he took over Winterfell and then through all his journey as Reek when I thought he would never fully recover… but he did, he did way more than that. So all in all, I love how his story finished.

The final stone has fallen. Nothing now stood between the Night King and the new THree-Eyed Raven. Everything was on verge of the end, from Jorah making his final stand, to Jon trying to hide from Viserion. The Night King finally stood face to face with his nemesis with death and destruction surrounding them. He raised for his sword…

»I see darkness in you. And from that darkness eyes stare… blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes. Eyes you'll shut forever« - A simple line back in chapter XXXVI, refering to Arya's future kills. But back then, I would have no idea what »blue eyes« meant. But when Melisandre recalled this line in this episode, I got a clear idea. When Bran handed Arya Littlefinger's valyrian dagger, I had no idea what it meant… but now, it became clear. It wasn't Jon, neither Daenerys who was the last piece of the puzzle. It was Arya! The person holding the key to defeat the Night King and put an end to army of the dead. As soon as Night King raised the sword, Arya appeared behind him, with full intention of killing him… but then the Night King caught her mid-air causing her to drop the dagger. My thoughts in that moment: Arya is a goner. Bran is a goner. The war will not end in this episode. But then she caught the dagger mid-air… and pushed forward. This was it… removing a piece from domino structure results in entire structure collapsing. And shoving the dagger into the Night King resulted in entire army of the dead…. Dying. It was over. The battle was won. The most horrifying threat was gone.

Arya being the one to deliver the killing blow… I loved it. I think of it and I realize that no character was as stealthy as her. I don't think any other character would have been able to sneak into the godswood without the undead army sensing them. And Bran was warging all the time during the battle. Is there a possibility he was waiting for Arya to get into the position? Any way, I LOVED it! I loved that a different character got this opportunity to shine and that the story didn't need to rely on Jon and Dany to save the day. And let's not forget, Jon and Dany both had an amazing part themselves, at least as far as I'm concerned.

The war is over. The Night King is dead… but there are some loose ends to be tied. More exactly, this episode was a closing chapter for two more major character. As soon as the living dead collapsed to dust, so did ser Jorah. The wounds were too severe, there was no way of him surviving. And that was the second time when I was brought to tears. I never ever saw Dany cry as much as she did in this scene and when I see something like that and have to say goodbye to one of my favorite characters, I cry myself. I can easily label Jorah's death as the most emotional so far for me, despite many deaths already being so effective. Rest in peace, ser Jorah Mormont, forever loyal friend!

And the final well-earned closure goes to lady Melisandre. She promised to fight one last time before she dies. She fulfilled her purpose in this episode and was finally allowed to die. After the battle, she wandered onto the field, took off her necklace, the source of her life force, and died peacefully. I remember Melisandre saying many seasons ago how she's been fighting for a long time… and living for hundreds of years and not being able to die was indeed a fight. Whoever she was before becoming a priestess, the final piece of the puzzle came into place with this episode… she was alive for so long because she had a purpose to fulfil. It makes me wonder if it was even possible to physically kill her prior to this episode. What if the Lord of Light didn't allow her to die in first place? In any way, she went out in a way she always wished to… peacefully with her purpose being fulfilled. She was an intriguing character for me and her death was incredibly effective closure for her in my case.

This is it. That's the end of this chapter. As I said above, there're no words to properly describe my journey through it… but I hope that whoever reads this tome, you get the idea of how much this part of the story touched me. It goes deeper than any other chapter before. It achieved almost the impossible of making me get emotionally invested into every character int his episode and it had everything I love, everything that makes a journey beyond great. And now at this point, I, Lord Parramandas, world traveler, keeper of the lore and master of the tome, give this chapter the mark that goes above all others… the mark that will put this chapter at the very top of my ranklist, ahead of all previous 69 chapters. Remembereing my journey between the worlds, only two occasions come to my mind when I gave such mark. Both are connected to distant memories of an incredibly emotional journey on the mysterious island, with damaged souls trying to find themselves and start over while being trapped in a thousands year old feud between light and darkness. I know this world will soon call me back to experience it all over again… but now I'm proud to admit that »The Long Night« wears the very same mark which will never fade. It much very earned it in my book. And no matter what kind of words I catch about it when I return to civilization, or what I read about it in other tomes written by different world travelers, this tome will forever bear a mark… even long after my time.

The candle nearly burned out. Lord Parramandas finally drops the quill and closes the tome. His head feels light, his eyes barely see anymore. But as he clutches onto this tome, he knows that he just poured his mind and soul into those pages. His time is coming to an end, but the ink is dry, the past is written. He stands up, removes his cloak and moves to the door, throwing a look into the room. 3 more days… no more, no less. That's the remaining time he's destined to spend in this room. After that, there will be no more Lord Parramandas. The only identity of the world traveler left will be the one he's known by when he lives hidden in plain sight among the people. But at same time, he knows there are many more worlds to discover… and that after enough time passes, the world calls him back. He closes the door, ascends the stairs and exits into bright sunlight. Taking a deep breath of cool fresh air, he returns to his life .

Post Reply
  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests