Beware…this list is dark and full of terrors. Meaning watch out for spoilers if you aren’t caught up on the show.
To say that people are all whipped up about tonight’s Game of Thrones premiere would be an understatement. Like, on par with the proclamation that Hodor has a limited vocabulary, or that some folks on Twitter got a little upset when Lady Stoneheart failed to appear in the last episode. The HBO series enters its fifth season riding high in the ratings and our cultural imagination, and departing even more significantly from George R.R. Martin’s original book series (as multiple sources have noted, key elements of Martin’s story are still very much in process despite the fact GoT is still very much in production).
The show also returns towing a large number of cliffhangers. Like, what’s going to be the upshot of that Stannis Baretheon/Jon Snow/Wildling dance party? Will Daenerys’ tough love management style ultimately result in chaos and mutiny (human and/or dragon), or can she make a run on King’s Landing? Is the Hound dead, or was it just a flesh wound? Do Arya and Sansa ever find each other, and if so, whose makeover will be most convincing? Will Tommen end up his mother’s mouthpiece, or his wife’s? Will the Iron Bank foreclose now that the Lannisters have been formally separated from their patriarch, or is a short-sale still possible? Might the bone-dry, pithy intellectualism of new tag-team-on-the-run Tyrion and Varys end up evaporating all the water in the Narrow Sea? And what about the Sand Snakes? Great Oberyn’s ghost, the Sand Snakes are coming!
We asked the Kingdom of Entropy, descendents of the First Bloggers, to name some favorite moments from the show thus far, and consider whether it might have already jumped the shark in some respects (or in GoT terms, exited our good graces through the moon door).
Sara Finnerty Turgeon
I loved the first season for the scenery and the landscapes. I loved the NORTH and the idea of a seventy-year winter. I couldn’t quite keep track of the characters but I figured it was like reading an experimental novel–just go with it. When Ned Stark died, in a way that there was no way that dude could survive, I knew this show was NOT like other shows. Do not form emotional attachments to anyone or try to predict what will happen.
My favorite death is Daenerys Targaryen’s brother Viserys (obviously I had to look up that name) because I hated that guy and his death was fantastic and satisfying. I was disappointed in Joffrey’s death. Too easy and too painless.
I am not sure the show could “jump the shark.” It is a world where anything is possible. Alliances shift. The good and moral people are punished for being stupid. Magic is possible. White walkers. Eternal winter. I can’t wait to see what will happen next!
One of my favorite dialogues was in season one (1.6) when Tyrion is trapped in a cell. He tries to bribe the guard with gold, though he doesn’t have any on him. He tries to explain: “Sometimes possession is an abstract concept.”
Most jaw-dropping moment for me was when The Mountain defeats Prince Oberyn. Not because I was necessarily surprised he lost, but how gruesome it was, the sound of his teeth hitting the floor and his face being torn apart.
The love story between Jon Snow and Ygritte is one of my favorite relationships, because she’s such a badass and he’s such an innocent really, as it starts. And of course there’s never a point that she’s not really a threat to him, even during their tryst in the cave I was a little nervous. Hers was a shocking death, but a poignant scene.
There are many fantastic deaths to choose from, obviously, but I have to go with the epic Joffrey poisoning scene as my favorite; it totally blew up the beginning of season four. It’s like the Citizen Kane of GoT death scenes, really. A once innocent lad who (thanks to his mother) rises to power at a young age, becomes so enthralled with himself and successful in his tyranny that no one dares exist in his world but to serve him. Then, just as the puppet dance of his megalomania reaches it’s zenith, that tricky human frailty emerges, and a king becomes a whimpering boy, in an ultimately lonely death. The only way it could have been better is if they’d put his head on a stick, Ned Stark-style, afterward. That could have been special.
The evolution of Jamie Lannister’s character has been one of the more interesting and challenging to watch over the course of the series, going as he has from incestuous, arrogant, kingslayer prick to incestuous, arrogant, kingslayer prick with a conscience, to lovelorn solid gold washout with no real claim to power that remains.
The relationship that developed between Jamie and Brianne was surprising and welcome (and of course we know Brianne loves him well before Cersei confronts her about that at the Purple Wedding – great moment there), as was his choice of brother over father when it mattered most. The possibility of Jamie’s character being redeemed in any credible way, however, ended for me with the controversial rape scene at the death altar. His relationship with Cersei also just seems hopelessly tangled up in the more gratuitous, soap opera aspect of the show. The Erica Kane of Queen Regents, she is.
One of the most WTF moments, for me, was the realization that the role of Daario Naharis had been recast, with Michiel Huisman from Treme, Nashville, and Orphan Black, who looks nothing like the original actor. He’s handsome and all, but I’ve never felt like he fits on the show. He’s one of those dudes whose hair and general look is the same in almost every role he plays, for starters, and I keep thinking he should just go off and play guitar with Rayna James instead of running around with a sword.
I feel like the Viper’s death is the closest the series has come to jumping the shark, because even though I LOVE that scene, once he began the teasing moves, and demanded The Mountain confess, you knew Prince Oberyn’s moments were numbered. That ol’ if-it-looks-too-easy-it-probably-is trope seemed in full effect almost from the start. When the motionless Mountain suddenly grabbed Oberyn, it was shocking (and I let out a little scream when it happened, I do confess), but it’s more what I expect from a Terminator film. The head-crunching was a nice touch, tho.
This is right before Season 4 was coming out: My boyfriend power-watched most of GoT without me cause I was like, it sounds ridiculous and silly. And then I was intrigued but didn’t want to watch 30 hours of TV, so I just read the detailed episode synopses and was frequently like, wah? Also it was hard for me to keep track of everybody. And so really my favorite moment is reading about the Red Wedding while I was riding the T home and being like dang, what a bad party host.
I’m sad that one lady who was the queen of the Aerie died though, that lady who had the creepy relationship with her 8-year-old son. I also like the Mad King guy, even though he’s been dead for the whole time. I’m pretty sick of the Wall. Enough already with the Wall. I mean, it’s a Wall.