Off Topic: Game Of Thrones

Normally the question is: did you enjoy last night's episode.

Today the question is: how much did you enjoy last night's episode.

Today the question is: was last night's episode of Game of Thrones the best episode ever?

Damn. Just damn.

Seriously, last night's episode was like fan fiction, and not in a bad way. In ways that mostly made sense. In Game of Thrones we've become accustomed to bad things happening to beloved characters. Last night was all about goddamn JUSTICE being served. It was about revenge. Like the purest revenge. Last night's episode was like a violent apology for six seasons of pain.

It also featured on of the best large scale battles I've ever seen in television, cinema... anything really. It was incredibly shot, claustrophobic, powerful, nerve-wracking, euphoric. Holy shit. It was truly something spectacular.

In terms of pay-off it was probably one of the best episodes of television I've ever watched. There, I said it.

How did you find it?


    Charge up a hill into cavalry and archers on your own!!! Don't tell your brother about the 1000 odd mounted knights you have in reserve, it's a minor detail. Otherwise yeah, it was a good episode.

      Did Sansa do that intentionally all along? ORRR did she not know until the last minute that little finger would rock up.

      I personally think Sansa knew, and knew that John would be too eager once Rickon was brought into the mix. She relied on his pigheadedness to expose the Bolton formation to a cavalry charge and decisively seal the deal.

        I personally think Sansa knew as well. But for different reasons.
        I think Sansa knows that once all is said and done, there is going to be a political stoush between her and Jon (since they believe Bran is dead) for the Lord/Ladyship of House Stark. She intentionally withheld information so that not only would she be the one to save the day, but so that Jon would get humiliated. This will possibly have Jon's men look towards Sansa as the de-facto leader and/or have Jon defer more and more towards her.

        Either way it's an awesome power play from one of the coolest (surviving) character in the show.

          Also, Jon might have been killed... which would have saved her a later confrontation.
          The other thing is that she needs to get the North lords to support her if she's going to keep the castle from the Lannisters. They might not back her if she has an army of Wildlings. Getting them killed would save her from that confrontation too.

          Nah.....Jon has no intention of taking over as Lord of the North. He has said as much many times.

        She disappeared at some point, and came riding in next to Littlefinger during the Vale charge. Yeah, she knew.

    I must be the only person that didn't find it on par with the rest.
    Even my wife was gushing about the ep.
    The production felt rushed, the CGI looked lacklustre compared to previous episodes, and the plot was surprising only because there were no twists and everything went "happily ever after"
    Maybe on third or fourth viewing my opinion will change but I honestly felt like they thought they needed to conclude every plot before the last ep so they can use it to setup next season.
    For mine, was definitely one of the weaker eps.

      I have to agree with you. For all the hype it was such a let down.

      I still feel the CGI on the dragons in particular just looks dated. At least it's a step up from last season's Dany flying away on a dragon out of the arena that just looked like CGI from the 90s. Where physical effects are you used though, that's where GoT is amazing

        It's pretty danged impressive for TV. It's not like they're working with film budgets on these things

      I have no idea why you are still watching.

    Overall it was great, but I felt that there was little tension because it didn't feel like Jon Snow was going to die.

      He should have. So many "convenient" escapes in that ep.

        I think that was kind of the point though, putting on my Tinfoil hat I would think that's the shows way of saying the Lord of Light is looking out for John, he told the Red Witch to not bring him back, so the LoL protected him. The scene that sticks in my mind is where the hail of Arrows lands around him almost leaving a comical Jon Snow outline on the ground.

          Oh it was the point for sure, but it still felt cheap.

    Oh my god the body piles, the phalanx, the giant and the severe beating... An episode I will never forget. This was justice.

      I found the huge body piles ridiculous, they wouldn't form naturally on a battlefield and unless the bodies/people were crawling on top of each other, or there were troops secretly sneaking around the field making piles of bodies it didn't make sense.

      Looked great and the crush was amazing, but once again didn't seem very logical at all...

        If the battle was localised to that band where the 2 cavalry charges met, and they were constantly being hammered by arrow fire... I don't find it that unbelievable that there were walls of bodies. There are similar stories from places like Agincourt.

        Battle seemed somewhat based off this - although I thought Jon Snow would somehow trick Ramsay and surround him (a smaller force somehow encircling the larger superior force was exactly what happened at Cannae. Jon Snow was a terrible military leader.

        Many have thought that the piles of bodies like this is somewhat plausible.

    I loved the way the battle for Winterfell's was done, obviously less than happy about Rickon and Wun Wun dying.

    The only issue I have with what has gone from medieval political intrigue to all our hero fantasy is that there has been no explanation for why Daenerys has full control over her dragons. Like the whole reason she was captured by Dothraki was because Drogon dumped her last season. Now she gives an inspiring speech and recruits the Dothraki and the dragons are obedient again? I just kinda wish they'd have at least inserted some throwaway line of dialogue to address what was once a major plot hurdle.

    But anyway, great episode. It really was cathartic.

      Because maybe she wasn't confident? Maybe her doubts led the dragons to not respect her. Now that she's slaughtered the other Dothraki Khals and got her mojo back, Drogon et al are totally respecting this angry fire blooded Queen who is pissed off at the world.

      I for one welcome our new Dragon Queen Overlord.

        To piggyback off this, you could say her emergence through the physical fire after slaughtering the Dothrakis is another sign that she transcended her old persona and became the GoT Jean Grey...

        Also, hi Ash.

          Ahhh harro!

          Yeah I see that as the turning point for her. Enough politics, leave that to the advisers, she's all about REIGNING HELLFIRE FROM ON HIGH!!! *rides dragon into the sunset*

      If I remember correctly wasn't Drogon injured after he took her away from the fighting pits? I just assumed he was chilling and getting his strength back.

      obviously less than happy about Rickon and Wun Wun dying.

      Two beefs. Firstly .... dodge, Rickon! DODGE! Secondly, give that giant a freaking weapon .... or tree .... something!

      Apart from those two things, rock solid episode. I can't think of a better way for that bastard Bolton to die.

      Last edited 21/06/16 2:30 pm

        I know right I was thinking the whole fight if they just gave him a club he'd have owned 20 soldiers per swing

    Disappointed at:
    - Rickon did not know how to Zig-fucking-zag.
    - No Ghost. Although this could also be a Proud of.
    - Common negative, Sansa not letting Jon in on the possibility of the Vale knights.

    Absolutely loved the Dragon scene. Dany looked in power. Laughed my ass off at the Dothraki Horde charging towards the cities gates.
    Gutted for Yara and Theon having to abandon the good ol' 'raiding and raping' motto.

    I'm definitely more amped for TWOW release though.

    So we saw that wanker SmallJon Umber die. What about Lord Karstark?

    Last edited 21/06/16 11:29 am

      Me and my missus were both screaming 'why isn't he zig zagging' and 'Has he never seen Apocalypto'. Then we both realized that we have never run down a field being shot at with arrows so as much as we think that we would zig zag, I kinda think I would just try and bolt it.

    My favourite character Yara/Asha had a major episode so I'm happy. It will definitely no doubt in badly for some involved, I fully expect that yes.

    John Snow master tactician abandoning his entire battle plan right off the bat pissed me off too much.

    Like, I understand why he did that, but it just didn't make sense to me regardless :/

      Is he a master tactician though? As I've said above, I think Sansa banked on him breaking his plan at the sight of his brother being used as bait. Oh it was good.

    Cersai is going to be burning down the house next week.

    Tommen fans, all one of you, prepare yourself to see your king fall.

    Another Off Topic Game of Thrones article? Damn. Just damn.

      And they coincidentally come out a day after the new episode aired.

      It's almost like there is a new got thread every Tuesday...

      I'm with you there. I tried watching it, got through (begrudgingly) the first 2 seasons & gave up. It just wasn't for me. Maybe one day Off Topic will be about something I watch like Silicon Valley, which has just been awesome this season.

    Sooooooo....who's for some Lady Stoneheart next ep? ;)

      Still not expecting it to happen personally, feels like they've left it too late at this point - though I'd love to be proven wrong. Does looks like we're finally going to get the Dance With Dragons epilogue next week though.
      Varys is on a 'secret mission, white raven flying in the promo....

        Never give up, never surrender!

        I just wonder why they bothered to bring back Thoros and Co. though? There aint much there otherwise.

      I would have thought that the return of Berric Dondarion would imply that Lady Stoneheart isnt going to be making an appearance. Would love to be proved wrong though.

        Perfect timing for the return though. Jamie has just shamed the Tully forces, and the Frey's are sitting pretty. Time for a take down...

          In the books Berric sacrifices himself to revive Catelyn. The fact that he is still alive suggests he hasn't/won't do that as her body would have decomposed long ago. So unless they have changed it from the books and Berric doesnt sacrifice himself but Catelyn is still revived by Thoros, then it pretty much wont happen.

          Like I said, I really hope I am wrong. It is still one of my favourite moments in the book.

      With Brienne and Pod off on their own, it could happen.

    The battle scene had some amazing cinematography. They captured the chaos of the battlefield really well, as well as the panic of being crushed under a mound of people. Really good episode all in all. Very sad about Wun Wun's death also.

    Win. Not perfect, but win.

    And Sansa's smile at the end. Perfect.

    That battle! Faaaark! Puts those medieval reenactors to shame.
    So nice to see Ramsay converted to poo as well.

    Fuc*ing amazing. Best battle scene ever commited to camera.

    It was a great episode, and brilliantly filmed, but I'm so utterly perplexed by why Sansa was so secretive about everything. The only reasoning that really makes sense to me is 'she did it because it would result in more compelling television', which is a bit disappointing from a writing perspective.

    Unless they actually get into this next week and deal with my complaint here. My guess is that it's a GRRM idea that didn't quite translate to the screen well.

      Jon already refused her suggestions for help. Double if he knew it was from Littlefinger. (the man who all but allowed his father to be killed that started this whole mess) if they arrive BEFORE the battle it would become a massive and many month long siege. She told you in the conversation with Jon what she was going to do, or more correctly what they should do to counter Ramsey.

      While in theory that means she used her family and army as fodder and lead to her brother dying but even she couldnt be blamed for that. He was dead one way or other.

    Been a while since i yelled at the screen. The battle just kept going and going, so i started to wonder if the knights would show up at all.

    Don't Gizmodo and Kotaku editors talk to each other? There's already a comprehensive summary of the episode and conversation on Gizmodo...

      Off Topic is a recurring community discussion thread for Kotaku and Mark is choosing to make the weekly thread about Game of Thrones for the duration of the season because it's a popular topic. Additionally, not everyone regularly reads both sites.

        +1, I've read gizmodo once, accidentally, in the past year

        That doesn't answer my question but thanks for clarifying...something.

    11 out of 10. Everything, just everything. not sure when I felt more like crying a) when the big guy fell b) when they finally hung up the Direwolf standards.

    PS I would gladly feed every single person who uses the words 'zig zag' today, to Ramse- er Sansa's dogs. You are not funny and you are certainly not clever.

      ? How? It's a valid point. Running in a straight line is predictable for the archer.

        I'd think after hanging with Ramsey for a while he's probably not entirely there mentally.

        1) he is a kid running for his life, he sees safety charging straight for him, he is going to go for it, HE IS A KID who is scared. By the time he was taken from his family he wasnt trained in military matters, so how would he know what to do. 2) Ramsey has been established as a deadshot with a bow, so it doesnt matter if he runs left and right (which will slow him and put him in danger for longer) or runs straight, Ramsey is going to make the shot because 3) The writers wanted him dead either way, so doesnt matter what he did.

        The zig zag argument on Prometheus was pathetic enough. Seriously what did those people expect her to day? Stop. Turn around. Do some quick maths in her head. Is the ship longer lengthwise or width? Will it fall X, Y, Z? So should I zag to the left, or zig to right the best thing to do? even if I miss how will the ground impact affect my ability to escape the dust cloud. No she was just running from the big bloody thing falling from the heavens. From her point of view it would have just been this huge shadow decending on her. The argument over that was lame enough, we dont need some a powerful moment like this to be ridiculed by sheeple who like to think they are smarter than everyone else. More cynical maybe.

        Last edited 21/06/16 1:01 pm

          Agree with this point.

          I was kind of thinking the same thing in terms of why didn't he zig-zag, but the reality is he was going to die and if Ramsey had missed the shots because he was zig-zagging, he would have just got all his archers to shoot a rain of arrows at Rickon anyway.

          From a story perspective, it makes us hate Ramsey all the more that it was his arrow that killed him rather than some random arrow.

          One thing I didn't understand was how Ramsey didn't see his hounds while he was tied up or why they weren't out of the cages before Sansa arrived to his cell. Was there a back-door to the cages?

      Double Posted for some reason.

      Last edited 21/06/16 12:36 pm

    It was good, but felt really rushed. I don't understand how Yara and Theon got to Mereen that quickly, nor how Jon didn't die (If he was crushed to death it would have improved the episode immensly, without his, or any other main character's death, except before and after the crush, the battle felt less powerful than it should have) Ramsay's death was a bit disappointing honestly and they foreshadowed the hell out of it so it certainly wasn't a surprise.

    The stand out scene had to be Jon Snow in the midst of the battle just as the mounted knights came to meet each other, that prolonged shot immediately afterward felt gritty and dangerous in a way that most films don't manage, I was pretty disappointed that they followed it up with more of the crutch-for-bad-choreography 3 cuts a second editing immediately afterwards, it just wasn't any where near as powerful. The crush was great, I really wish at least one major character had died though as I mentioned before, Tormund or Jon would have been good choices. I was very glad Sansa didn't do the whole "Jon Snow you monster" thing after seeing Jon destroying Ramsay's face, but I would have liked a bit more of a satisfying and personal revenge on Sansa's part rather than the final, slightly lame, conversation that ended the episode. Lyanna Mormont could have improved this scene immeasurably, even if it wouldn't have made an awful lot of sense for her to be there at that moment.

      Simple how Jon didn't die - The god(s) favour him. The battle has cemented that fact for me.

      Editing was great from my seat.

        For the most part I did like the editing, but I hate the trend of really fast cuts that has been really prevalent in cinema and TV of late: it makes the action hard to follow (and usually not in a good way) and the long (no doubt very expensive) shot beforehand was so good that to go back to those rapid cuts was a real shame.

        I will admit the rapid cuts worked in the crush, from Jon's POV it would be that frantic, claustrophobic and violent assault on the senses that such rapid cuts apply, but in the earlier battle sequence it just lost the chaotic feeling that the longer shot immediately beforehand conveyed so well.

      why are people so surprised when this show foreshadows things? Sure it has its huge Ned Stark death and Red Wedding type things but for the most part, the point of the show or writers is not to surprise us. Its about creating a realistic setting and logical lead up to how things play out. We all know that is how Ramsey was going to do out and by who, that was the point of the season. Likewise the Tully's turning up. Sure its fantasy but so much of its storytelling builds to unsurprisingly moments because that is its style.

      One character? Three characters died.

      One of the surviving Starks. That is huge. Poor Wun Wun who with his dying breaths reclaimed Winterfell for a family/race who should be his enemy. Ramsey whose death was about the only absolute this whole season.

        I'm certainly not surprised when they foreshadow a major event, but when half way through the episode I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that Ramsay's going to be killed by his dogs it kills the scene when it does eventually roll around.

        Yeah, Rickon died, but his role in the story had been totally pointless up until his death and Everyone but Jon knew it, Wun Wun (and believe me I wanted Wun Wun to be so much more than this, but I don't think he was) was just another giant who died in the exact same way as the other two because they only seem to exist to open, break down or try to open doors or passageways and Ramsay ended up dying in a super telegraphed, rather awkward morality play sort of way that was rather unsatisfying. All of these deaths were outside of the context of the actual battle, and that leaves it feeling hollow, even if they had just introduced a wildling or two to be killed it might have been OK, but as it was the battle felt like one of those dumb fantasy battles in which all of the main characters survive that the show has typically stylistically shied away from.

        The only named character to die in the crush was Small Jon Umber and he was, up until that moment, on the winning side. For me the lack of a loss of a major character within the battle in which there were literally mounds of corpses undercuts the brutal nature with which it was built; next episode we'll forget about all of the soldiers that died and it's all fine that they did because all of the named characters made it out just fine. It probably only annoys me so much because the battle scene was so fantastic outside of that fact.

          each to their own, I felt the deaths in episode were some of the most memorial and haunting. Rickon was the futility of it all. Ramsey died the only way he deserved to die. But Wun Wun tore me apart, he was so much more than what you think he was. Hell it was even his deciding vote the other week to go to war. Even though personally, like so many of the wildings he had nothing to do with this war but fought loyally and with honour and his last act he heroic died so that other may reclaim their birthright. the death of Ramsey was always going to feel unsatisfying but that is due to how many times we are wished he could die over and over.

          You forget this is only a 10 hour a year tv show not every one can have huge epic stories. sure it would have been nice to see wun wun do more but this whole show is not about the wildings or giants. it has always been at its core a tale of the Starks. likewise sometimes shorthand needs to be employed in story telling, that doesnt mean (like others seem to think) the writers have no talent it means they only have limited hours, limited stories to tell with a huge cast.

          not sure who else in that battle could have died obvious Davos story is not yet complete. Clearly Jon was not going to die, likewise Sansa, so really not sure what other characters you were expecting to die in that battle. but hey each to their own.

    I wasn't a big fan of the battle. The whole thing felt like one scene setup after another. From the predictable arrow in Rickon when he looked 'safe', to Jon charging so far ahead of his army and being saved, to the damn Giant going in to battle without a weapon.

    Felt like they were going too much for a "Saving Private Ryan" beach feel than story or accuracy. Something just felt really 'wrong' with the whole way it was done. I think I have just seen too many movies, and can see a scene setup from a mile away :( I need to chillax more

      um okay, or maybe your expectations of what writers and directors are capable of within the constants of tv, even with a budget like this. even with it was still one of the most stunning medieval style battles even filmed.

      ever stop to think of course rickon was going, it was clear that he was going to die exactly like that. it wasnt supposed to be a plot twist. it was suppose to be futile. Giant did go into battle with a weapon. himself. he did get the MVP even without a weapon.

      i dont think the problem lies in what they made just some people let their expectations get the better of them and others think they can direct and make something better from their own sofas.

      what I saw was a heart-wrenching technical achievement well worth the five years wait to see the Direwolves standards on Winterfell again.

    I rather enjoyed it. No great surprises, but entertaining as hell.

    And yeah - where was Ghost? He'd be able to look after himself on the battlefield surely, and rip out the odd throat as well.

      They spent all their CGI budget on dragons and the giant. :P

    It'll be interesting to see how far off it branches from the next book. It was a good episode. I'm not sure if it's the 'best' episode yet, personally I find the political games of chess of the earlier seasons far more interesting than what was basically the 'action' episode of the season. I can't help but feel though that people are saying it's the best episode simply because Ramsey died. Tbh (possible unpopular opinion incoming), Ramsey was one of my favourite characters because he was written and played brilliantly. Some of the 'good guys' like Sansa or Arya have just been written so poorly that I'm more invested in what happens to a well developed, but evil character.

      Ramsay was a great character and a great actor for sure, but he was pushing his welcome I thought. There's only so long a 'mad dog' character can stay around before they start to get tedious, and I think it would have gotten very much into that territory if they'd left his death any later.

      I don't think he was ever a particularly interesting villain. He was always a bit too much of a one-note bad guy compared to many of the other more complex antagonists and lacked the supporting characters that made Joffrey work despite being a similarly psychopathic character.

      Last edited 21/06/16 8:25 pm

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