We react to episode 4 of Season 8 of Game of Thrones. The Long Night is over and now the final war begins, but first drinking and sex and betrayal! It feels like classic Thrones. We endure two tragic deaths Jon can’t say farewell to his direwolf and Dani is oh so close to the edge. The series is truly in its final phase and gas pedal is pushed all the way to floor. We just hope this car isn’t headed off a cliff.
I’m a devoted fan of the world that George RR Martin has created. As you may know about me, I grew up reading Tolkien, playing Dungeons and Dragons, embracing and absorbing the science fiction and fantasy genres in art, literature, gaming, movies, all of it. A Song of Ice and Fire is a universe that does what all great art does – examines the human condition through the lens of a fictional and in this case, fantastical world. The literature of Game of Thrones turns many a fantasy trope on their head by relegating those fantastical elements to history. The current time period of the world to which we are introduced is seemingly bereft of magic and monsters. The game of GOT is human conflict, power, and survival. People are preoccupied with the accumulation of wealth, power and prestige (as humans do), to the detriment of a shared knowledge of history, and appreciation for the fragility of human existence, except when that existence is threatened by the tip or edge of a sword. The Wall and the Night’s Watch are punch lines. These themes dominate the early parts of the story in both the books and the HBO show. Martin does an amazing job of teasing the forgotten history, sprinkling his world with memory, myth, and subtle, unexplained but acknowledged family lore. It is a wonderful approach to a genre tale, because the people like me who love genre worlds are curious and pay close attention to all these elements. We search for connections, fact behind the fantastical, and love knowing more than the characters in the world know. The anticipation, the setup, the reveal of knowledge and amazing experience is why we love this type of world, and why the world of GOT captivates – because it teases the bigger explanation for the unexplained, the lurking threat or moment of epiphany when the currents of the fantastic are revealed to our heroes. Martin’s books are weighty tomes, filled with details that close readings reward. And they are frustratingly slow to reveal that knowledge, but so well plotted to include sprinklings of fantasy elements that keep that longing fed with a trickle of fantasy spirit. The HBO show in its early seasons did a great job of replicating that tantalizing flow of knowledge and wonder. As the show grew in popularity, with characters captivating and repulsive in equal measure (all built 1
upon the rich base Martin created in his books), the show allowed us fans to finally see the GOT world in all its grimy, bloody and human glory. We are enthralled by it.
Martin has been…glacial….in his publication output of the main story. And as a result, given the demands of money, time and artistic desire (which cannot be discounted), the show has moved beyond the books. And it has lost something in that process. Decoupled from the admittedly dense books, the show writers and producers have been able to graft their vision into Martin’s world. Sometimes to great affect, and sometimes to less than ideal results, rooted in a…simplification of approach.
For non-readers of the books, purely watchers of the show, you may not understand that the Night King is only hinted at at this point in the tale written in the books. I have zero doubt that Martin has heavily influenced and guided the introduction of and early interactions with the Night King in the show. And the limitations of the medium of TV, regardless of how creative the team at HBO really is, make it very difficult (but not impossible) to effectively reveal knowledge and wisdom about the Night King in a subtle way. We’ve received teases of lore, smidges of knowledge, hints of speculation – all definitively coupled with a looming existential threat, but often with less than the deft touch of the creator of this world.
That being said, the teases have been relatively effective, peaking our interest in what the Night King is all about, what is his plan, what does he want, what is the source of his enmity to humanity and life, and what could be his undoing. Close readers and watchers THINK they have an idea, but the internet is, at its most effective, a speculation delivery system.
And as Jon Snow has repeatedly emphasized lately in every conversation he has in the show, the Night King and the dead approach to wipe out life in this wonderful universe we love. Nothing is more important than this threat to humanity in this world of Ice and Fire. And it is a credit to the writing and Harrington’s performance that the Queen of Dragons, and others in the North
and elsewhere in Westeros, and we as fans, are all persuaded by him.
Yet, the show has unfortunately devolved to the simplest, surface level explanations or resolutions. Contrary to this, episode after episode has teased the Night King’s power, and his connection to the ancient lore and conflict between the Children of the Forest and humans. And, the books and show have hinted at the connection between the Three-Eyed Raven and the Night King, suggesting a powerful bond, or at the very least, a role the Three-Eyed Raven plays in resisting the oncoming winter personified in the Night King and the dead.
The books and the show have teased deep magic. The return of the dragons, and Daenerys as the Mother of Dragons is the most visible example, but there are regular references to at the very least magical elements to the lore. And as genre fans, it is these elements that need more development. We don’t need a complete explanation, because we never get that, but we love the best fantasy worlds because we get introduced to fantastical systems that have a internal logic, an consistent rationale, and at the same time a fulfillment of our interest in things beyond our senses. We crave deeper knowledge, because from that flows the wisdom at the heart of the tale.
And what we got was the enemy defeated by a knife. Don’t get me wrong – that moment in Episode 3 of Season 8 was a badass confluence of all the Arya training, skill, and magic she possesses, Red Priestess Melisandra’s lore-ifying and the shared knowledge of the capabilities of dragonglass. Oh, and the characters’ speculation that if the Night King is killed, all the walkers cease to exist as well. For me, I loved that Arya struck the blow, if a blow was to be struck.
But we also got the Three-Eyed Raven, with all his powers of sight, warging and who knows what else, as passive bait. We get nothing more of the interesting and unknown connections between the Night King and the Three-Eyed Raven. We get nothing on the Night King’s motivations and history – maybe other than he was created to kill humans?
Bran’s discussion of the role of the Three-Eyed Raven plays in this world in Episode 2 helps to explain my disappointment. The Three-Eyed Raven is human memory, and the Night King wants to wipe out humanity, including its shared history, which we only know through memory. And then Bran suggests that he be bait to draw the Night King to him. This discussion is at the core of why we love this genre – it involves more than simply the clash of swords, the solving problems with violence, the basic human approach to challenges by brute forcing the solution. It teased the “more” that we love in these tales.
And what we got was the existential threat defeated by a knife.
Episode One Zero Six: This Episode is DARK and full of terrors
This is our “Battle of Winterfell” immediate hot take episode. And we feel certain ways and we talk about it. If you are new here, thanks for coming and we hope you come back. If you have been here before, you know the drill and thanks for sticking around.
We do not mince words. This may be one of the best Game of Thrones episodes of the entire series.
Episode 2 of season 8 is classic Thrones in every way. The calm literally before the storm that has been building for multiple seasons. It is quiet and moving and funny and sad and hopeful and ominous and truly something special.
The BrothersGeek instantly react to Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1. It’s hot and heated and oh so fun. We are committed to recording a new episode every week of the final season. We want to hear from you. Watch along with us!
Your faithful BrothersGeek bring you a Game of Thrones retrospective. We recap the most recent season in preparation of the premiere of the final season on 4/14/2019. We discuss our favorite scenes from seasons past, we muse on our favorite quiet, character moments, and we discuss our hopes for the final episodes. Chris and Patrick debate the most recent season’s perceived “failings”. Andrew shares his plans for the season 8 premiere and he hopes he doesn’t upset anyone who might be listening.
We discuss Avengers: Endgame hopes and our plans (or lack thereof) to watch the film on opening weekend.
Chris and Patrick have high hopes for the patch Anthem dropping on 4/8.
Trivia is Game of Thrones themed, because of course it is.
We have returned! After our longest hiatus on record (it might not be but who keeps track), we are back and we behave mostly the same as before. A very special episode as we record on Christopher’s birthday! He tells his birth story and it is definitely as weird as you would expect. The brothers talk Captain Marveland disagree, respectfully, on the film’s quality. We talk Avengers: Endgame‘s market campaign and lament the state of geek culture. Andrew and Chris anticipate the newest novel in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series. All three of us feel certain ways about Anthem for the Xbox One. Chris is reading Marjorie Lui’s MonstressVolume 3. Patrick is reading Robert Kirkman’s Oblivion Song and all three are waiting with high hopes for Game of Thrones season 8.
Trivia is 2018 Box Office Themed and leaves the Boys surprised.
You know? I like the Marvel universe. I know it’s some basic shit. I know there has been a billion of them (21 now) and most are either pretty good, or at least entertaining, so I go see them. I like the universe, I like the connected characters, and I like superheroes in fun costumes!
So here we come now to Captain Marvel, number 21. The first female led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Films is a inferring a new beginning after Avengers Endgame. Robert Downey Jr. will be done, Chris Evans is done, Brie Larson is the future. I am unsure what will happen in Endgame, but I am sure not everyone is going to make it out alive. Before I go any further I should say, I am a white male. I don’t know why that matters, but I feel like I should say it before going any further.
Story (Plot) 3-5
SPOILERS YO! Superhero Origin story, told in kind of a funky-out-of-order-way. Carol Danvers is already on Hala, the Kree homeworld. She already has her glowy powers and she’s learning to be a soldier from Yon-Rogg (played by Jude Law). Carol has no memory of being human. The audience already knows she is…so much of the plot is us just waiting for her to figure out what we already know.
“YADDA YADDA” The Kree and Skrulls are at war. Space and shit, the story has some unexpected turns and I didn’t guess everything and I was pleasantly surprised by some happenings. The most unexpected development is the Skrulls are not really the bad guys. In the Marvel Comics Universe, the Skrulls have always been dicks. It turns out the Kree are the dicks! Carol has been working for the bad guys all along! OH NO! Also I don’t know how I feel about Nick Fury losing his freaking eye from a “cat” scratch. Yep…
Production (Directing, Editing, Music)3-5
Most of this was pretty straight forward. Some of the mystery is lost and Carol finding her past takes too long. I feel like the last fight sequence was drawn out and didn’t have significant consequences. I would have liked her to have fought something that actually given her a more substantial challenge, maybe we see that in Endgame? The tone is just wrong. Captain marvel just has many random lines, scenes and acting choices that doesn’t need to be there. I think the film needs a second cut and some scene retakes.
Music was like every other Marvel movie. The score to put it mildly is not memorable. There is for one notable difference, the inclusion of 90s nostalgia stroking mostly through the use of alternative rock anthems. The clearest example of is Carol’s big fight scene against her former Kree squadmates set to No Doubt’s “I’m Just a Girl”. BEGIN RAGE RANT! It wasn’t even like it was playing the jukebox randomly while they fight, just started playing. THEY ARE ON A SPACESHIP! At the very least in Guardians of the Galaxy the inclusion of notstalgic pop musis is given some context. There is usually a character listening to Quill’s mixtape, so the nostalgia made sense. There is a shot in this scene that she blows up the jukebox, like this is what they wanted to do, the jukebox is supposed to be playing “I’m just a girl”. It’s just playing out of thin air. No, this scene didn’t work, and took me right out of the movie Rant over.
Characters (Likability, Acting) 2-5
I like Brie Larson.. I was really excited for her in this movie. But she is the weakest part of the film. Her character doesn’t really have an arc, maybe this example should go under the review heading of “Directing”, but honestly when people talk to me about this movie, no one really mentions her being likeable or her doing a great job. She was just kinda “meh”. This sucks because I like the actress and the character of Carol Danvers from the comics. She just didn’t work here.
Sam freaking Jackson killed it. The digital de-aged stuff is batshit! After a few scenes, you forget that he’s not 30 years younger! The man is 71 people! This technology has come so far. I thought it looked a bit funky in “Captain America Civil War” when Tony Stark appears as a hologram in which he is 20 years younger. It looked ok, but this movie was damn perfect. I never doubted it for a second. Bravo, Marvel! Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury the best part of the movie. The man is seriously funny. This is bizarre because Nick fury is such a chromogen in other films. Maybe they digitally de-assholed him? Don’t think too hard about that imagery.
And now we turn to Goose the Cat. I have never really been a cat person. So most of the cute factor is lost on me. Sure, I love animals and all, but it’s just a cat. So every scene the movie really wants you to love this cat, I end up going the other way. I start to hate the cat. There are perhaps 5 “ahhh cat” moments. The “ahhh cat” scene I actually liked was the end credit scene. Cats are so awkward when they puke.
Writing (Dialogue, Cleverness)3-5
This movie wanted to Guardians of the Galaxy 3 so badly. But the tone was wrong. Most of the jokes fell flat. Carol’s character never really grows. The majority of the movie is just spent telling us stuff we already know. I had so many questions. Like she has no memory right? How does she know how to ride a motorcycle? How does she know anything about anything on Earth? She should have been really confused, and she wasn’t. There should have been more fish out of water stuff. Are the writers just afraid of making her look like she doesn’t know what she was doing? Because that would make more sense.
Emotions (Was it; Fun, Scary, Sad, Do I care) 4-5
All said, it’s a Marvel movie. The problem is it is not a stand alone movie. It’s part of a bigger universe, so I give it some wiggle room. It adds to an existing narrative that I enjoy. The action scenes are fun, and Carol’s powers are cool. I feel like they steered the wheel too far into making her unstoppable. She becomes too like Superman, too powerful and ultimately boring.
BLACKOUT COMIC BOOK DORK MOMENT! She got her powers from the Tesseract, which makes her about equal to how powerful Scarlet Witch, who got her powers from the Mind Stone. I would love to see them slug it out. It’s just too bad Scarlet Witch is dust right now.
Overall score 15-25
This film pretty low in the list of Marvel movies for me, somewhere between Ant-man and Iron Man 3. I have been pretty hard on this movie until this point, but honestly it was fun. I just wanted it to be great, but then, most of the Marvel movies are not great. They are just good. I am unsure about the future of Marvel movies. I know I will keep watching them.