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Rant and Rave Without Repercussion End of The World Edition [Spoilers]

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Okay... I do think I need to get this out of my system to get my faith in television out of this rut and move on with my life and read Tolstoy or something. So bear with me, please. 

The Short Night 1 - Battles and warfare

From the first to the very last second of it, the battle made no common sense whatsoever. 

The offensive strategy was the most reckless, unimaginative, wasteful use of their resources. They threw a 100 thousand strong cavalry out of the window in the matter of minutes, and what’s even worse, risked the reanimation of said 100 thousand warriors. Yes, the Dothraki are excellent riders and their prior choice of weapon is an arakh. But I can think of 5 ideas from the top of my head on they could have utilized them better and longer. Daenerys and Jorah know the Dothraki. Jon, Sam, Tormund, Davos, Beric, The Hound, Jorah, Edd, Gendry and again, JON know the zombie army. Also three quarters of these people are experienced, battle seasoned leaders.

Your best goddamn idea is wasting the largest part of army headfirst and risking its taking a 180 degree turn and charging back at you with glowing blue eyes? And what was their plan if Melisandre hadn’t showed up? They would have sent the Dothraki into the meat grinder with regular arakhs that everybody knows to be useless against the zombies? This was completely unforgivable and irredeemable. 

Why not give the dothraki flaming nets or ropes to stretch between two riders and enclose/cover the zombies if they were going to charge at them? Why not give them flaming whips? Anything to take down as many dead around them as possible? And first and foremost, why have them charge in the first place? Why not have them wait on the flanks and shoot into the dead. There are a hundred thousand of them! If only ONE tenth of the arrows they fire hit a target, they are taking down ten thousands by the minute. Do we remember the orcs firing at the riders of Rohan? Do we remember the undying from 300? These are all visually impressive options that make strategic sense. Later as the dead charge forward and they run out of arrows, the Dothraki could pour in from the sides and hold them back from the castle. 

I hope these brave and loyal warriors find peace in the Night Lands and tell Khal Drogo over a beer what a fuckup his widow’s new boyfriend is.

I don’t know what happened to the trebuchets after about three or four shots. Did they run out of flaming balls? Did they get bored with it? Did they just abandon those structures? 

And then we had a trench. A trench. As in one. Why wasn’t there at least five of that in concentric circles around Winterfell? They have known about this threat for months and months. Did they start building the defense the night before? And why wasn’t the whole entire ground covered in something flammable, like nets or oil or animal fat or tree wax or whatever flammable they have in the north. Why didn’t they have a trench around Bran? 

The walls were so poorly manned as if it had been a regular weekday with no extra defenses. There were no barrels of oil or fat or anything flammable to pour on the zombies, no chains, no burning maces, no nothing to restrain them and keep distance. 

There was also some kind of talk about some kind of high ground in the previous episode. I didn’t see no high ground. I didn’t see no utilization of a high ground. You know, there is a book and its movie adaptation that recounts one of my country’s most renowned (and successful) battles against the Turks in the 16th century. Both book and movie adaptation (as well as actual historical sources) feature a construction named fire wheel. The purpose of this flaming tool was to roll into the lines of the Turks from the hill. It was built of large wheels and other highly flammable substances. The battle happened in 1552, the book was written in 1899 and the movie was produced in 1968. It’s Just saying. 

I will not even get into their lack of backup plan for the case that the dragons can’t light the trench. Thank goodness for Mel ex machina. No thanks to her speed of walking. Or that they had no plan or exit route for all those pathetic, non-badass, weak and dependent women and children in the crypts. 

The whole entire battle stank of lack thought and effort, common sense was not demonstrated for a single second and barely anything that happened had a purpose or made the remotest impact on the course of the battle. The events of the battle were shaped by visual value, sheer luck and ex machina situations. The walking dead flooded the scene, killed every stuntman, evaded almost every named character and then Wolverine ex machina killed the mothership and the dead were no longer walking. The end. The “Great War” for humanity was won in what seemed to be less than a full night while people south of Moat Cailin were watching TV in their sunbeds. 

I don’t expect anybody to be an expert on military strategy, I am not either, but I do expect anybody who takes on writing about a battle, fictional or otherwise, to make the effort of conducting a basic google research, to use their common sense and to put just 10 minutes of brainstorming into each scene before they finalize it. Or heck, delegate all of it to interns if you are too rich and important for proper work ethic. Just. Get it. Done. 

/part 1 is over, bear with me, there will be more. 

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The entirety of last season was spent cajoling and guilting Daenerys into bringing her dragons and armies north. Convincing her that if she is to be Queen of Westeros, she has to take action to confront the biggest threat the 7 Kingdoms will ever face. That this was the true height of her destiny, not fighting Cersei who is in the end just another upjumped noble. The dragons aren't for Cersei, they didn't return to the world for that, these magical beings are here to fight magical beings.

As much as I hated last season, at least this part of it did seem to coincide with the fact that dragons came back into the world after the White Walkers returned. And the comet. And the interference of the Red God and his Essos people who have been supporting Daenerys for some reason at the same time Melisandre over in Westeros is absolutely obsessed with stopping the Army of the Dead. It all makes sense.

But then it turns out that if Daenerys had never come north, had never brought her dragons north, then the Army of the Dead would not have gotten past the wall in the first place. But I tried to overlook that GLARING problem in hopes this season would show that in the end Dany and her dragons would be key somehow.

But no. Her and her dragons and her armies were entirely unnecessary for this fight. Using Bran as bait to lure the Night King could have been accomplished completely without her. The armies were cannon fodder and in no way shaped the Night King's path. The Dothraki have been destroyed, their entire journey a futile one, their culture gone. The dragons weren't even all that useful in the fight since the Night King had a great plan to counteract them. In fact, dragonfire played no role in the story of what happened in the North other than it brought down the wall!

Daenerys then should never have listened to any of the people who told her to come North. She should have done exactly what Cersei did, focused on the game of thrones, and maybe let them take the dragonglass at least in exchange for Jon bending the knee.  The biggest threat to the 7 kingdoms will never even be known by 6 of them, thus can't even be helpful in uniting them.

This is terrible.

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The Short Night 2 - Characters

So Melisandre shows up out of nowhere and nobody asks questions. Well I don’t know what I’m expecting, nobody in this fucking show has conversations with other people since season 5. And I’m sure a secret pact between Daenerys, Jon and Melisandre happened off screen that detailed how she would win this war for them and happen upon Arya at the right moment, give her a rapid coaching session and tell her how to take down the zombie army. Yet for some reason Davos looks at her as though she is a bad a person, as though they hadn’t been buddies a few seasons ago when he asked her to bring Jon back. I suppose Davos remembered his season 3 personality. 

And so did Sam, apparently. All the time spent finding his courage and standing up for the people he loved and cared for went out of the window with 100 thousand skilled Dothraki warriors. How this is in any consistency with his survival of the battle is beyond me. Did he just luck out while he ran around Winterfell screaming like a scared piglet? If so, this dude needs to buy a lottery ticket. 

And they weren’t the only ones. Sansa remembered her season 2 personality too and realized that Tyrion was never a trash bag person to her, unlike she was to Tyrion. Not to say that Tyrion isn’t a trash bag person in general, he just isn’t one to Sansa. Who apparently learned wartime motivation from her favorite mentor Cersei and did as little as her during the Blackwater to keep the spirits of her people in the crypts. 

Our other favorite Stark sister started out with a compelling combat scene, then decided to fall apart because... the enemy kept coming? That’s what they do in battles, I suppose. And then we had another visually compelling scene of Arya hiding from zombies in a library before she is saved (saved?! Why the fuck would she need saving? Is she some kind of pathetic disempowered trash?) by the Hound and Beric (who finally died because he served his purpose which was... saving Arya? I mean if I really stretch it this could be very loosely linked to his season 1 promise to Ned to bring justice to the Riverlands). The she forgets that she’s been falling apart and Melisandre reminds her that she’s a badass empowered boss bitch who will shut blue eyes, as if this line had originally any connection to the zombies at all. So she teleports to the godswood appears in the air out of the blue to kill the mothership because she is badassest badass that ever was or will be. 

And then there was Jon. Who - surprisingly faithful to his personality - proved once again that he doesn’t know shit about anything. Anything being: dragon riding, dragons, the night king, zombies, military strategy, sieges, defense planning, backup planning, resource management, dragonslaying, etc. Jon contributed absolutely nothing to winning this battle/war. He was just there like any other random ass character who also has no plot or purpose. 

I am not quite sure how it is remotely possible that this 5-hour zombie-apocalypse endeavor took out only 6 named characters and left about 10 more with no purpose or plot whatsoever. Wasn’t this our big chance to halve the cast? Why are Varys, Davos, Pod, Tormund, the Hound, Greyworm, Missandei, Gilly, Bronze Yohn, BRIENNE (who we said literal goodbye to last episode and she is still around) all damn alive? 

At least Theon died. The battle was so bad he couldn’t keep watching it, so he was like, fuck it, I’ll even skip overcoming my fear of Euron, I’m done with this show. And the show said, okay, bye Theon, you were the second best Boromir there is. And I suppose I was supposed to feel something? Like how very heroic he was? I was too busy trying to not get a stroke over the dumbass battle so I guess that didn’t happen for me. 

 

 

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Is there already some kind of consensus about the quality of this episode? 

I am curious because when it aired I read a lot of people praising it, but now I am seeing a lot of people criticizing the episode.

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Posted (edited)

I think it's more divided among the casual viewers and the more hardcore viewer. The people who just watch it for the spectacle mostly loved it, the people who are invested in the characters, their individual arcs, the mysteries, etc, are mostly underwelmed and disliked it.

It's basically the TV equivalent of junk food.

Edited by The Scabbard Of the Morning

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All I can think of is what Jaime said. If killing the Night King destroys his army then he would never expose himself.

And that's exactly what happened. Why?! Since when has the Night King become a James Bond villain who had to kill his nemesis himself instead of having a hired goon do it. That was unbelievable. He would have known his death ends everything but takes that risk anyway? Come on. Many more things wrong like the Deus Ex MachArya, Jon being useless. Sending nearly 100,000 dothraki to be slaughtered, etc, etc.

 

Oh and for everyone hoping something else happened with Bran meaning the Night King may be alive in some way. Yeah right. Remember the Great Northern Conspiracy with the Umbers, or how Jacquen was stabbed instead of Arya. Yeah let's keep dreaming.

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I'm coming around.

What's the beef about Arya flying in from offscreen to deliver the killing blow? We were prepared for this in 6.08, "Hardcore Parkour". (In hindsight, maybe The Waif was the better choice because she has the madder hops.)

That's about when D&D decided to BREAK THE WHEEL of several seasons' worth of buildup around Jon, Dany and dragons meaning anything in relation to defeating The Others, right?

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It's a pity that Arya cannot wear the Night King's face. That would be the only way to turn his lame death into something entertaining.

And the fact that plot-wise the poor undead guy served as a starter boss to Cersei is just plain insulting.

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7 hours ago, Runaway Penguin said:

That is why I put in Babylon 5 as an example, because that was exactly what happened in Season 4 (the real end of the saga - Season 5 is basically filler added on top of it when the show after all got the funding). Mid season the Shadow War is concluded with the Big Bads kicked out of the galaxy... Rest of the season is involved with a conflict that is far smaller in scale and importance - but far more personal (Sheridan's forces toppling the Earth dictator). The final three do not necessarily be bigger in raw conflict size, but they should have great personal stakes. It is not "survival" anymore, it is "who gets to steer the future".

 

It worked in the Babylon. Maybe it will work here as well.

Yes but Babylon 5 built up to that conclusion revealing much about the two ancient races basicly using every one for the their own purpose, it was all laid out so the conclusion wasn't just out of no where. The Shadows and Vorlons were mapped out and they didn't actually destroy each other, they just buggered off. (that show has not aged well)

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The Short Night 3  - structure and storytelling 

I think my first blood pressure jump was after six minutes of watching people move around the castle and stare into the camera in complete silence. I mean it’s not like we hadn’t already spent 100 minutes of screen time preparing for this battle. We need more preparation. (The next were the Dothraki - I hope they are drinking Guinness with Drogo in the afterlife, bless their loyal hearts and skilled swordhands - but I’ve expressed my feelings about that one.) 

This whole zombie apocalypse was supposed to be inspired by Helm’s Deep. Do we remember what was THE baseline strategy of the competent leaders at helm’s deep? Wait for the enemy attack. We are here to survive. Sure, that went down the toilet when the old man’s muscles gave in and he loosed his bow, but there was a concept. Nope. Not here. Head first into the meat grinder. 

From then on, the episode was a 70-minute mush of mindless fighting. There was no strategy and thus no sections of the battle that could focus the viewer’s attention. There was just fighting and more fighting and more fighting with little to no distinction about where the battle was going. The shots were so fast and so dark and so impossible to follow that there was no way of finding any structure other than switching to the dragons sometimes (who also had no concept of strategy at all). 

And I personally became immune to the nonstop massacre and inarticulate death screams very quickly. It becomes what one would call boring. We have seen this many times before and frankly stunt zombies killing stunt soldiers does nothing for me. We barely lost any characters whose death weren’t either more than timely or entirely insignificant. The three times I felt a trace of tension (that the “story” and not the dumbass writing made me feel) was Jon almost getting Rhaegal killed, Viserion firing at Drogon and the zombies attacking Drogon. I am worried about the dragons. See, the character building in the show makes me most attached to this non-existent cgi beasts. 

And then the red herring turning point came and the night king just fell from Viserion? That was easy, I guess. And then he didn’t burn. Because dragonfire isn’t essentially the exact same as dragonglass. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been utterly anticlimactic if he did burn. My issue here is the why. WHY the fuck doesn’t dragonfire kill white walkers. What the fuck was the point in the getting Daenerys’s dragons or capturing Viserion if they can’t even kill the goddamn white walkers? Never mind.

Jon decided to kill the Night King and then he decided not to kill the night king because we don’t want no cliches in this episode, no man can kill the Witch night king so a badass strong female character will, because she is no man. Also, Jon had to play Harry Potter in the courtyard with Viserion. See, he missed his brothers. And Jon is technically his cousin. Jon finally stepped forward and he didn’t kill Viserion because Anakin took down the mothership and all the zombies just collapsed.

The Great War, the real enemy, the real threat, the long night was over in half a night without the southern half of the continent’s so much as getting a chill. I could expect some sort of plot twist, but I know there won’t be. This was the time they were willing to spend on the bigger picture, it’s done, humanity is saved, The one ring is destroyed, check check check, let’s get back to the iron throne with the 200 men we have left. Nobody cares about collateral damage, Drogon and Rhaeagl will just clean up the hundreds of thousands of corpses, at least we don’t have to worry about what dragons eat. 

 

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Indeed, the short night was really lacking in dialogue.  Everyone about to die and no one speaks to each other for minutes at a time.  How cutting edge, LOL, not that I really miss the mostly atrocious dialogue but people showing up, standing around with nothing but long stares and not speaking isn't in the least realistic for how humans behave.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, theladyinspring said:

The entirety of last season was spent cajoling and guilting Daenerys into bringing her dragons and armies north. Convincing her that if she is to be Queen of Westeros, she has to take action to confront the biggest threat the 7 Kingdoms will ever face. That this was the true height of her destiny, not fighting Cersei who is in the end just another upjumped noble. The dragons aren't for Cersei, they didn't return to the world for that, these magical beings are here to fight magical beings.

As much as I hated last season, at least this part of it did seem to coincide with the fact that dragons came back into the world after the White Walkers returned. And the comet. And the interference of the Red God and his Essos people who have been supporting Daenerys for some reason at the same time Melisandre over in Westeros is absolutely obsessed with stopping the Army of the Dead. It all makes sense.

But then it turns out that if Daenerys had never come north, had never brought her dragons north, then the Army of the Dead would not have gotten past the wall in the first place. But I tried to overlook that GLARING problem in hopes this season would show that in the end Dany and her dragons would be key somehow.

But no. Her and her dragons and her armies were entirely unnecessary for this fight. Using Bran as bait to lure the Night King could have been accomplished completely without her. The armies were cannon fodder and in no way shaped the Night King's path. The Dothraki have been destroyed, their entire journey a futile one, their culture gone. The dragons weren't even all that useful in the fight since the Night King had a great plan to counteract them. In fact, dragonfire played no role in the story of what happened in the North other than it brought down the wall!

Daenerys then should never have listened to any of the people who told her to come North. She should have done exactly what Cersei did, focused on the game of thrones, and maybe let them take the dragonglass at least in exchange for Jon bending the knee.  The biggest threat to the 7 kingdoms will never even be known by 6 of them, thus can't even be helpful in uniting them.

This is terrible.

 

But according to Missandei, without the Dragon Queen, everyone in the North would already be dead! (or whatever her snarky comment to Sansa was) :lmao:

 

(not sure if D&D actually realize how stupid that was or not...I doubt it)

Edited by The Prince of Porne

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2 hours ago, RhaenysBee said:

<snip> The events of the battle were shaped by visual value, sheer luck and ex machina situations. The walking dead flooded the scene, killed every stuntman, evaded almost every named character and then Wolverine ex machina killed the mothership and the dead were no longer walking. The end. <snip>

Well said, and the whole post is well worth reading.

There was nothing, literally NOTHING said or shown about planning or leadership other than "put Bran in the weirwood and the defenseless in the crypts."

When the episode started I kept waiting for the scene where they give the 2-minute breakdown of the plan, where everybody is posted, where the undead are expected from, etc. It didn't have to be a 32-point plan with logistics, just a general stage-setting for the battle. Pretty much every war movie has one, at least if the battle isn't something that is visually coherent (i.e., you can see the whole battlefield in one shot, including the enemy).

Instead no. We see this big army standing outside. NO DISCUSSION of why they are outside the castle walls instead of inside. NO DISCUSSION of what the plan is. NO DISCUSSION of even the current situation or what was about to happen, and why people weren't still sleeping, instead we went straight from the socializing at the end of epi 2 to armies standing in line prepared for battle. NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST MENTION of any reports from outposts about the progress and location of the enemy. I suspect there weren't any outposts because there was NO PLANNING.

It was, just as RhaenysBee said, a series of visuals that had nothing to do with military logic and everything to do with what could be staged for the camera.

p.s. Really, people are making excuses for using massed cavalry to charge into the darkness? Cavalry is to be used like a scalpel: because of its speed, it is the unit that you can use flexibly and place right where you want it. Step 1, identify enemy weakness, step 2, apply cavalry. And by the way, it's the only group that can efficiently carry out Step 1, so when you send all your cavalry STORMING OFF TOGETHER TOWARD NOTHING IN THE PITCH DARK you are just throwing it away, 100K disciplined and experienced warriors just thrown away.

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2 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

The waste of the entire Dothraki army on an insane suicide charge may be the biggest crime against logic, outside of spending umpteen million dollars and 3 months shooting a battle that could not be seen on the screen.

And the balistas that shot 1 time! ONE!

Or having all armies outsider the walls of a castle instead of manning the Walls?

OR having 2 dragons lost in the midle of a fog for half the ep?

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Just now, Jabar of House Titan said:

At the very least, they should have let Jon kill Viserion.

It was the least! They could have had viserion seeing arya running into bran's direction and jon decide to attack the dragon so that he doesn t kill arya… Something along these lines...

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Or, just a thought here, maybe if the goal was to lure the NK to the godswood they should have pulled out a Picard maneuver and created a hole in the defenses to let the dead pour through, while keeping some portion of the forces in reserve, to you know LURE HIM IN, instead of getting all their people killed and then actually losing and then he comes in and Arya shanks him.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Or, just a thought here, maybe if the goal was to lure the NK to the godswood they should have pulled out a Picard maneuver and created a hole in the defenses to let the dead pour through, while keeping some portion of the forces in reserve, to you know LURE HIM IN, instead of getting all their people killed and then actually losing and then he comes in and Arya shanks him.

Well...

To be fair, that's operating under the presumption that the Night King only wants Bran and doesn't care about anyone else. But based on the way the Night King unleashed the undead on the living, he obviously didn't just want Bran. He wanted everyone else to die too.

But yeah. There's no way that Brienne and Sam should have survived. Sam was absolutely hopeless and was screaming like he was being eaten alive. Brienne was completely swarmed four different times.

Edited by Jabar of House Titan

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