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Count Balerion

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  1. Here's what an Unsullied friend of mine had to say about the episode: "One question: WTF??" The big black letters are in the original.
  2. I'm going to have to give this a 6. I just don't think the good makes up for the bad and mediocre. Apart from being horrible in itself, the burning of Shireen doesn't make sense to me. I don't see Stannis killing his only heir. Book Stannis would have told Melisandre to pray harder. It also has the unfortunate effect of taking away any sympathy we might have for Stannis; and I'm left with the sneaking suspicion that the show is going for shock value at the expense of plot and character. It's true that there were some incidental merits in this segment: Shireen's conversations with her Onion Knight and with Stannis, which were well acted and touching; Selyse… But they weren't quite enough. Daenerys: Drogon was cool, and the dialogue was decent. I think the fighting went on a bit too long, and was confusing. Dorne started out passably, now that Doran actually got to do something. Then it went downhill. I liked Ser Alliser. Braavos tended to drag; Mace was mildly amusing. I found the pacing in this episode rather poor in general.
  3. GOT, season 5, episode 8 I guess I'll go with 9 for this one. My complaints were relatively small, and I thought the good was quite good. The Sansa/Theon/Boltons segment was brief but excellent. Cersei, also rather brief, was decent; it's good Kevan is coming back. I did wonder whether Cersei will end up confessing on account of Tommen, although then he would lose his throne, but maybe he would at least start eating again. I'm also glad Arya has finally been allowed to get out of the HOWAB and actually do things. They seem to have moved quite quickly after a rather slow season. I loved the scenes with Daenerys and Tyrion. If I were going to criticise them, I might say that Daenerys trusts Tyrion rather quickly. Also, Jorah being exiled a second time is slightly anti climactic. But the wheel more than made up for that. Again, I only have a couple of small complaints about The Wall segments. One being that I don't much care for Olly. The other being that the fight went on a bit too long. On the other hand, they do need to remind people that the Others/White Walkers/Whatever are a serious threat. I thought Jon's and Tormund's speeches were excellent; and I even liked "Karsi", even if I only know who she is thanks to the wiki.
  4. Up at the Wall, we got a moving death scene for Aemon (bonus for Egg) and Sam/Jon farewell. "You're losing your friends": is that a threat? While its nice that Sam gets to be a hero, the love scene was far too long. Pacing has been a problem this season generally: things that should be savoured are often rushed, while less important (or downright unnecessary) scenes tend to drag. Stannis had an excellent scene; he's one of the characters who have actually done fairly well this season. Winterfell: I liked the scene where Sansa confronts Theon, and it's interesting that she is planting doubts (or stoking them) in Ramsay's mind. I still don't like the whole Ramsay rape plotline. Dorne moved up a bit for the exchange between Jaime and Myrcella. Unfortunately, despite the Dornishman's wife song (finally, speech recognition), it went right down again for the Bronn/Sand Snake scene. The show writers seem to have inherited Martin's penchant for spending too much time on tangential material, and… I can't get speech recognition to type the third person plural possessive pronoun… theirs isn't anywhere near as good. Slavers' Bay: The D&D sex scene… well, at least it included Daenerys, and I liked the book references; but still: please God, no. The fight scene seemed a little long. It was pretty cool to see Tyrion and Jorah meet up with Daenerys, although I was expecting a certain animal to turn up, especially since it had been foreshadowed. I dare say that will happen later. King's Landing was pretty good this episode. I like the chap who plays the High Sparrow, so it's nice to get more of him. We also got a lot of QOT, which is always good. She doesn't seem to be as good a politician (or at any rate as good at dissembling) as Cersei. Speaking of which, her scene with Tommen was an interesting blend of heartfelt sincerity and shameless lying. Anyway, one can't help feeling a little sorry for her. Rating: 8
  5. Season 5, episode 6 Even though the inquest scene and parts of Winterfell were excellent, I'm going to have to give this a 7. I'm deducting (gee, speech recognition; that was hard, wasn't it) because 1) the going was rather slow, especially in the first third or so; 2) I promised myself I would take off points if Sansa got raped or tortured. I grant that it is plausible (even probable) that Ramsay would do either, or both, of these things; and it may even be in WOW for all I know. But Sansa has suffered enough. I did enjoy Sansa calling out Myranda and showing her she wasn't afraid, and her exchange with Theon. I thought KL was really quite good this time. The tension is mounting there at least. Now will QOT take down Cersei? I suspect that Lancel, who knows quite a bit about Cersei's past shenanigans (and alluded to them at the beginning of the season), will help bring about her downfall. Dorne was better this time. It remains the weak link of the season, leaving aside the Iron Islands and Riverlands, which don't feature at all. I still object to Ellaria insisting on the futility of vengeance in season 4 and wanting Myrcella dead or mutilated in season 5. Tyrion/Jorah was OK, with a nice reminder of the Old Bear (speech recognition thought I'd said Old Beer). So was HOBAW (especially the Waif), although I confess I don't much care for that storyline even in the books.
  6. I'll have to go with 7.5/8, because I'm deducting for killing off Ser Barry, and parts dragged. The good was extremely good, however. The Wall had some of my favourite parts this season. I loved Aemon and Lord Snow coming into his own. The wildling chap is excellent (no HAR, though). Are they foreshadowing something with Oldtown? Good. But does it make sense for Stannis to bring the wife and daughter along on a forced march? Why is Shireen talking about the crypts in Winterfell? Speaking of Winterfell, this was perhaps the weak link in the episode. Parts of it dragged, and parts were confusing. Sansa meeting Theon (would he be recognisable? His sister didn't recognise him in the book) was a tad underwhelming, although the bit where Ramsay forces him to apologise is cool. The best scenes were any that Roose was in (speech recognition thought I'd said "Roose was Theon"). I'm glad GW at least is still alive, although I can't quite get into the GW/Miss romance. The dragons were cool, but I was afraid for a moment that they were going to cut through to Fire and blood too fast. I liked Daenerys's scenes with Harzoo and Miss. Tyrion/Jorah is also better this week, with Valyria, Drogon (I can't remember: was Tyrion's dragon fixation mentioned on the show?), and bonding over poetry. I guess now that they've shared the Stone Men experience, they're BFF?
  7. So… They killed SB and kept… Daario? Bleergh. Maybe I should bring down my rating. Oh well, there's always next week. Did they ever explain Ellaria's change of heart concerning the futility of revenge and all that? And do we even need the SS?
  8. Season 5, episode 4 I guess I'll go with 8 again. The episode was decent enough, and there were plenty of things I liked and nothing I really hated. But I wouldn't say there was anything epic either; and like the corresponding books, the show has segments where one wonders why they're spending so much time. KL is moving fast, and the dynamic between Cersei, Tommen, and Margaery is certainly getting complicated and interesting. Cersei seems less idiotic than in FFC, but in the long run her decisions are still stupid. The reign of terror is good, but too long. Apart from a nice Stannis-Shireen scene, the Wall is a little lacklustre. So is Dorne, despite the amusing banter. Interesting that they had two different segments giving different points of view about Rhaegar, making one wonder if some 'orrible revelations in 'igh life are in the offing. Even if it was only a shout-out, it was still enjoyable. Essos good, but short. LF and Sansa continue to mystify. Is he pro-Stannis now? Was Sansa coming on to LF (please God, no)?
  9. Not sure whether to go with 8 or 9 Arya was quite good, especially Needle--although what moved me most about that may have been remembering the passage from the book. King's Landing: My reactions to this were very mixed. I don't know if Tommen as sex god is worse than Tommen as cute kid; but I don't care for it. Cersei and Margaery are being charming and devious, which is as it should be (although they are rather obvious); and the ominous bit where everyone is laughing as Cersei stalks off is good. I do not like the changes to the High Sparrow storyline very much. Firstly, I don't see the need to turn it into a coup; in the book, it is because the High Sparrow is also the High Septon that Cersei has to curry his favour. Secondly, and possibly as a consequence, the quid pro quo is missing. Cersei's motives are therefore not entirely clear; I dare say she needs allies, and perhaps hopes to use the sparrows against Margaery. But why would she join forces with egalitarians? I did like the actor for the High Sparrow. Winterfell: This may have been the best part. Brienne and Pod were much better. Sansa and Roose were excellent. I don't know (or have forgotten) the identity of the lady who welcomed Sansa to Winterfell with "The North remembers"; but I really loved that bit. I did wonder about a couple of things. First, Ramsay. I don't want him to do anything horrible to Sansa; but I don't want him to become harmless, either. My guess is that he is on his best behaviour as a result of Roose's lecture (which was also very well done). Second, LF: what is he up to? Is he on Bolton's side, or does he really expect Sansa to be able to exact he revenge (and then he can marry her and rule the North with/through her)? If the latter, how is she supposed to do this? By inspiring the Northerners to rebel? The Wall continues to be pretty good. Stannis gains from being there (as he did in the books as well); and Davos gets to do something other than say "You said it". JS was good except for one thing: they left out the part where it looks as though Jon might show mercy and JS goes back to being defiant; this makes the execution much more ambiguous than it is in the books. Volantis: So so. The brothel scene was too long. The dialogue between Tyrion and the eunuch, of course, was amusing; and I liked the red priestess (plus Valyrian). The cliffhanger ending was pretty effective. I guess I'll go with 8.
  10. Season 5, episode 2: 9 (strictly speaking, more like 8.5) Much better than last episode. It helped that there was less hopping about; the pacing was better. Also, having set things up they can now have things actually happen. Braavos was very cool (although it could use more colour). MW speaks Valyrian quite well. Brienne/Pod/Sansa/LF: Very good. But Sansa is still trusting LF too much. Of course, she doesn't know Brienne from a hole in the wall; but isn't it suspicious in the least that LF is trying so hard to keep her away. (In fairness, maybe Sansa just doesn't buy the shadow story.) Dorne good but short. Kevan defying Cersei: In itself, I thought the scene was excellent. I did wonder, though… In the book, K defies her (or at any rate refuses to serve her) because he doesn't think she's fit to rule; in the show, it's because she's only the queen mother. So it seems more a matter of pride than of Cersei's fitness. Perhaps this is because the conversation is at a council meeting rather than in private. Once again, the Wall was well done, and Stannis comes off better here. I could quibble at Sam suddenly having the courage to address the entire NW, but it's arguably more effective than his politicking in the book. (To be honest, Jon becoming Lord Commander as a teenager isn't the most plausible thing anyway.) Okay. I enjoyed the Meereen bits, but I found myself wondering where they were going with this. My theory is that Daenerys putting the freedman to death for murdering the accused Harpy is the act that leads the aristocracy to pursue peace. SB telling Daenerys about the Mad King was excellent (although her reaction seemed quite calm, considering). I loved the scene with Drogon at the end.
  11. Me too. Interesting point about acting vs. dialogue. And I dare say there will be Frey blood sooner or later.
  12. Once, I was confused because I hadn't read the books; then I was confused because I had.
  13. I gave it an 8, but could just as easily have given it a 7. I don't think I've ever given anything lower than 7, which I gave to an otherwise pretty good episode because of the infamous crypt scene even though the same episode also had an excellent Tywin-Tommen scene IIRC. This episode was mostly pretty average stuff, without a lot of excitement, although some things that were set up in the episode might be interesting later. There is also a partly understandable tendency to jump about a lot between very short scenes. Things I liked: The opening scene was pretty decent. Some amusing dialogue between Varys and Tyrion. Some of the Daenerys stuff, especially the dragons. KL was OK. The Wall seems actually to have gotten better. Good scene between Jon and Mance. Things I did not like: Brienne is rather rude. Loras: blergh. Dubious: Jaime sounds a lot like… Cersei. Yunkai allowing former slaves on the council? The Sansa scene was good in itself (albeit very short); but aren't they leaving the Vale rather precipitously? I guess the characters jump about too.
  14. I just watched Episode 10 last night. I thought it was excellent and give it a (great; now I have to spell out the indefinite article for it) 9. Highlights: Stannis meeting Jon. I haven't cared much for show-S; but he was good in this scene. And pretty much everything in the far north. "And now their watch is ended." (Wow, speech recognition thought "is ended" was Missandei. I didn't even remember adding her to the dictionary.) The dragons shrieking plaintively after Daenerys. Although now I'm wondering why so many people in Meereen seem to speak English, I mean Common Speech, I mean the Common Tongue. The Hound's last scene Tyrion perhaps wasn't quite as good as I expected, but still good enough for a 9.
  15. Episode 9: actually pretty good on the whole, although it's hard for me to judge action-y stuff. The mammoths and giants were cool. The dialogue was decent, with a bit too much whispering. I like the way they have AT show some leadership and even take a sort of a stab at being statesmanlike. On the debit side, Jon's leadership was downplayed at a time when he should be coming into his own (part from the end), and I found the J-Y scene rather rushed. Showing Y's conflicted feelings worked well, though. I guess I'll give it a 9; it helps that they stayed focused instead of hopping about.
  16. Episode 8: This was a fairly decent episode, but the quality varied significantly from one scene to another (or sometimes even in the *same* scene). I continue not to care all that much for the bits in the far north. The Night's Watch was OK, Mole's Town so so. 7 Grey Worm/Missandei romance? Uh oh. It seems they could come up with better stuff to spend time on, and the dialogue isn't of the most brilliant. The actors are good, though; and perhaps the scene was intended to showcase their talents. 8 Theon/Ramsey and Vale both pretty good, 8-level stuff. The series successfully shows that Ramsey is evil in an understated, insouciant kind of way. For the Vale, they seem to be changing a lot, and I'm not always sure why (which applies to the show in general); but Sophie Turner's performance in particular made it worth it (bringing it up perhaps to a 9). Of the shorter scenes, I was least impressed with the LF/Robin scene, but liked the rapport between Arya and the Hound. The scene where Daenerys tries SJ was well done, an 8.5 or possibly a 9. Very good acting from Ian Glenn, and SJ seems less a jerk than in the books. But it would have helped if the part had been more substantial this season. Tyrion/Jaime was well acted, but I had to wonder why we were spending so much time on beetles. The show people do come up with odd dialogue at times. Jaime really did have a point. 8 Combat scene: excellent work from Pascal. 9 Final score for this episode: 8
  17. Episode 7: I initially voted 9, but upon reflection took it down to 8; perhaps it should be 8.5. All the scenes with Tyrion were excellent, not only because of PD, but also thanks to NCW, PP, and the chap who plays Bronn. Sansa was also excellent, and the scenery looked lovely as well. It did seem a tad short, and I missed certain things from the book. I think Robin was handled decently, at first trying to help Sansa, then accidentally messing up, then throwing a temper tantrum and smashing the castle. Some of the changes seemed harmless, but also unnecessary. Of the other segments, the only ones I disliked were Mountain, Daenerys/Daario, and Mel; at least these were mercifully short, though. Nice to see Ser Jorah allowed to do something. Brienne was pretty good, but I wondered why she couldn't figure out for herself that asking after Sansa by name might not be the best idea.
  18. Episode 6: this was heading into solid 8 territory until the trial, perhaps even including the trial until PD pushed it up to 9. Most of the other segments were of either 7 or 8 quality. I'm not sure why they changed the Daenerys segment so much from the books; I suppose they wanted to highlight the crucifixion issue, or maybe they thought the masters had acquiesced too easily in the books (although that's not really the case). Still, it worked decently well. Ramsay dragged a little, and I could've done without Oberyn/Varys.
  19. Episode 5: I ended up giving this a 7. None of the segments was as bad as the crypt scene in episode 3, but none was as good as Tywin/Tommen in the same episode; so it averaged out the same. I find the stuff invented for the show to be rather hit or miss; and the episode seemed to me to have too much whispering. I did find the Vale segment quite well done, however; particularly Lysa switching between being kind to Sansa and becoming insanely jealous. I prefer Martin's timing of the bombshell about JA's murder. Not fussed about niece vs. bastard, but Donald Duck did come to mind. Daenerys was also pretty good, albeit rather rushed. She appears to be very well informed about events in Westeros, though. Those were the highlights. I guess there weren't any screaming lowlights, as such. I did wonder why Westeros seemed so unscathed, even bucolic. And OB bonding with Cersei and forgetting to be sarcastic? Now that I mention it, Cersei and Margaery are getting along pretty well too; of course they're not supposed to be openly hostile yet, but wasn't Cersei nasty to Margaery just a few episodes ago when the latter presumed to call her sister? For some reason, the Tywin scene didn't grab me as much as one would have expected, either. Anyway, that's enough nitpicking for now.
  20. Episode 4: I keep going back and forth between 8 and 9. The Meereen segment was quite good, although at first I wondered what on earth was going on. Grey Worm's speech was very impressive, and Ser B finally gets to do something. Although speaking of doing something, I'm feeling the force of the complaint that Jorah doesn't get to do very much. I also wonder if it would've been better to place this segment at the end. Anyway, I enjoyed almost all the segments, especially in the first two-thirds, but would single out all the scenes with Jaime; the Queen of Thorns; and Ser Pounce turning up after all. BIG SCREAMING SPOILER: SP ends up ruling the Seven Kingdoms when the series is over. And I liked the Night's Watch better than usual, although I got a bit lost north of the Wall again. I used to get confused because I hadn't read the books; now I get confused because I have. Superb landscapes, though. I also hope that was Coldhands. I'm not terribly sure about the CK plot, although Jon's speech and interaction with SA were very good.
  21. I really don't like how they had her lock X and the handmaiden in the tomb. I could see killing them, but that's too horrible and IMO out of character. So I just pretend it didn't happen. WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS was also kind of lame.
  22. I gave it a 7, although Tywin and Daenerys almost raised it to an 8, and there were some good references to earlier seasons in the Sansa and Cersei scenes (that alliterates). The QOT also didn't disappoint. And the Pod farewell, quite touching. Mainly Charles Dance raises the bar in practically every scene he's in, although The principal reason I gave a star to the Daenerys scene was the Valyrian speech. And I'm now wondering if the Unsullied's training included voice lessons. Not too sure about the Arya/Hound scene, though it does give the perspective of the ordinary people, which is a pretty important theme in the books. Even less sure about the wildling raid, which shows us that that cannibal guy is icky, which we already knew. Of course it segues into the Night's Watch, but I'm not sure it was needed. Good to see more of Aemon. Too much sex, of course, and of not terribly good quality; but that comes with the territory and is true of the books as well.
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