A Bad Pussy by Any Other Name – What We Want & Dread About Season 8 of Game of Thrones

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Maddy subjecting Analyze to his horrible scribbles.

To read the associated diary click here.

Since the final season of Game of Thrones is upon us, I thought this was a perfect moment to begin spreading my wisdom to you all. Therefore I have invited the local jester to join me for our first Critique Geeks outlining exactly what we dread (ooooh, scary) and what we desire (hubba hubba) from season 8. So put on that knight armour you got off Amazon for a discount that doesn’t fit you quite as well as you’d imagined, take out that Emilia Clarke picture you have in your pocket and pull out your Drogon.

Maddy: “He said it.”

Analyze: “Let me just pull out my notes. As you’ll see I have arranged the points alphabetically and divided them by character. After which, naturally, I labelled them all so that I could easily find them with the search function. I- Where’s your laptop?”

Maddy: “What laptop? I don’t have a laptop.”

Analyze: “Then where are your notes?”

Maddy: “I wrote lots of notes. Look.”

Analyze: “That’s… what is that? Those are just scribbles! Are those… are those hieroglyphs?”

Maddy: “Yes. That’s how they wrote back then. I even used a chisel!”

Analyze: “I’m almost sorry I manipulated you into coming here…”

Maddy: “What was that Dr. Qubirī?”

The Mean Girls of Westeros

Dany preparing to get out her claws.

Dany looking none too happy with Sansa’s attitude in a season 8 teaser.

Analyze: “I think we’ll see Sansa manipulate Dany next season. Or at least that they’ll have a Mean Girls-style rivalry because Dany’s on her turf. And, of course, pointless melodrama will ensue. I really don’t want more plots like the one Littlefinger got in season 7.”

Maddy: “Dr. Qubirī, I just want to make clear I have the utmost respect for you and your insightful comments. But I’m afraid I’m going to have to just mildly disagree with you on that.”

Analyze: “…”

Maddy: “…”

Analyze: “What was that?”

Maddy: “I mildly disagree with you.”

Analyze: “You can’t do that. That’s unconscionable! Absurd! That doesn’t even make any sense! Why are you even here!?”

Maddy: “You told the nice police woman something about how I was your tax write off.”

Analyze: “… Continue.”

Maddy: “It won’t be pointless melodrama. Season 8 is going to be rather dark. Lots of death, carnage and ‘da King in da noth!’ scenes. A bit of teenage drama will probably inject humour into it.”

Analyze: “I’d prefer a lethal injection.”

Maddy: “In a season full of dark killing…”

Analyze: “As opposed to light killing? You know, when you wake up early on Sunday morning and decide to get in some light killing before breakfast?! That kind of killing?!”

Maddy: “That is the George R.R. Martin way. As is a love triangle with two girls, who’ve been written to drive men mad, over a SIBLING. Since the audience can’t be tensed up the entire time it makes sense that D&D include some moments of levity to balance out all the atrocities of war.”

Analyze: “I prefer my humour to be intentional… and, preferably, not quite so painful to watch. Plus, they only have 6 episodes left of the entire series. Not wasted on a Sansa and Dany rivalry that’ll just be petty. I would like some decent character development again. Same goes for Tyrion. It would be great for him to reconnect with his darker side, make him less of a goody two-shoes.”

I Drink and I Spew Bullshit

Maddy: “I’d rather they write him as a more competent character. What exactly did he do last season? He hung around, drinking wine. He warned Dany all the time about being bad. And he hung around, drinking wine. The last two seasons he’s mostly been there to make sarcastic jokes, nonsensical statements and simplistic, childish strategies like sending spearmen to do battle in close-quarters. I fear season 8 will continue that pattern.”

Analyze: “Competency would be nice. But Game of Thrones started off as being very much about the darker side of humanity and how ruling means some hard decisions. The characters were supposed to reflect that. Now the characters, especially Tyrion, are just cardboard cutouts of themselves. I would love if the final season brought some complexity back. Give characters like Tyrion difficult choices to make. Especially in the high octane ‘world’s gonna end oh god’ situation.”

Maddy: “So we can get lots of lovely close-ups of his face looking on in horror?”

I bet he misses Littlefinger.

A lovely close-up of Tyrion looking on in horror from season 7.

Analyze: “We’ve had enough close-ups of faces. That alone is not sufficient to get into a character’s mind. I’d actually like to have some intellectually stimulating dialogue this season. Less ‘bad pussy’ and more ‘power resides where men believe it resides.’ That’s how you craft a character you actually want put up with for 10 hours a season and not just jerk it to for 5 minutes.”

Maddy: “Sadly the Imp we saw the last two seasons was even less than a ‘brow-beaten bookkeeper.’ I want Tyrion to demonstrate he’s his father’s son. I want to see him use his political accumen to keep Dany’s Frankenstein alliance afloat. I want to see him study battle strategies in order to devise one for the Night King.”

Analyze: “Then again, I’m afraid they won’t have time for that. I think they’re dead set on having these characters just be ‘vessels for awesomeness.’ The living embodiment of that is probably Arya. I definitely don’t look forward with what they’ll do with her next season. She’ll probably just have wall-to-wall action scenes of her spinning and twirling about. Let’s just hope she doesn’t chunder.”

Unsullied by Logic

Maddy: “But if there’s going to be wall-to-wall action it’d be the perfect opportunity to finally have the Unsullied prove just why they’re considered the best spearmen of Essos. So far they’ve been rather out of their element. A pitched battle would finally allow us to see why their lockstep discipline is so valuable.”

Analyze: “Yes, the 69 remaining Unsullied can together take down one white walker in an epic scene and then, right next to them, Arya can take down 2 dozen with a single flick of her pinky.”

Maddy: “You joke…”

Analyze: “Perish the thought.”

Isn't that just the most adorable little supersoldier.

The Unsullied in phalanx formation.

Maddy: “-but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it. That’s why the show needs to demonstrate that a White Walker cannot just be taken down by random bloke with a knife. The Unsullied working together, forming a phalanx and using battlefield tactics to take down a single elite Walker mook would bring back some realism to these endless battle scenes. To really drive this home it could end with a major character dying.”

Analyze: “That would be fantastic, actually.”

Maddy: “Please let it be Sansa, please let it be Sansa…”

Analyze: “If a major character died in the first episode, now that would get my attention. But, I fear there will be few or very artificial stakes as was the case in season 7. Sadly, it’s far more likely wights will be cut down by Valyrian steel swords and obsidian, even though that makes no sense, like lemmings past their expiration date. That’s, when I really think about it, probably my worst fear.”

And 7-Times Never Scheme, Woman!

Maddy: “If it isn’t Sansa dying in the first episode, then I want it to be Cersei. The previous season set her up as a threat to Dany with her hiring the Golden Company. She definitely outschemed her foes, so I fear that her malarky will take up way too much time this season. And quite frankly, I’m done with it.”

Analyze: “I would actually love to see some scheming between Euron and Cersei. Cersei is playing with fire by employing Euron, she should pay the price for that bad decision. Decisions should have consequences, just ask the Young Wolf. Then again, maybe he’d be for less consequences to bad decisions…”

Maddy: “So more realpolitik? We’ve had seven seasons of it…”

Analyze: “Seven? I remember four seasons of politics and three where succession doesn’t mean shit and the most sophisticated bit of politicking was Tyrion trusting the most moral people in all of Essos, the slave masters, to honour getting rid of the thing that made them rich!”

Tyrion being a fucking dumbass.

The slavers looking particularly trustworthy as they negotiate with Tyrion.

Maddy: “Yeah, but they were all ignoring the real threat. Right now they’re not. The undead army is coming and most of the plot should be focused on that. Not on that AND Cersei throwing a temper tantrum because Jon didn’t pledge to stay neutral.”

Analyze: “Actually, I would say that’s rather the point of the whole thing. That humanity’s infighting prevents it from standing up to the real challenges it faces. If it suddenly disappears now that it’s convenient that would very much clash with the themes the show, or at least the books, were trying to put forth.”

Maddy: “Yes, but the show dropped a lot silly little things like nuance and detail…”

Analyze: “And time and space and sense…”

Maddy: “…that allowed the books to actually present this message. So I fear that D&D won’t be able to pull that off and that it’ll only frustrate the audience and myself.”

Analyze: “As opposed to suddenly humanity being a lovely family that faces all challenges as a unified front because Jon looks just so dashing in black? Now that would be frustrating to watch unfold. This is their last chance to make something good out of it. I want to see them use it. But they probably won’t and that’s, when I really think about it, probably my worst fear.”

I Spy With My Little Eye… the Themes Going Bye-Bye!

Maddy: “It’s sad, but they’ve just gotten rid of the themes altogether. Like the themes on the flaws of a feudal system. Bran graciously decides he’s no longer lord of Winterfell, even though by hereditary law the Northern lords should crown him ‘da King in da Noth’ the moment he is back. If I had my way Jon would give up his title of king to Brandon when he returns. Instead I dread we’ll have a scene where they’ll go: ‘Sup bro?’”

Analyze: “Probably more like:

*Bran:’Sup, I’m the three eyed crow.’

*Jon: ‘Sup, I’m da King in da Noth’

*Arya: ‘Sup, I’m spiderman.’

*Sansa: ‘Sup, I’m useless.’”

Staring daggers... poorly made daggers...

Sansa doing her best to look threatening in the “Crypts of Winterfell” teaser.

Maddy: “Especially if we’re to believe the teaser in the crypts of Winterfell.”

Analyze: “Yes, as the frost comes closer the camera comes closer, Arya draws Needle, Jon draws Longclaw and Sansa… Just stands there, looking. In a menacing way though. Gotta give her that. Like a baby cub showing its tiny little teeth.”

The Battle of the Blue Git

Maddy: “And then they face the Night King, Valyrian steel sword in hand, Sansa staring obsidian daggers. For that glorious battle between good and evil. How likely do you think we’ll get this annoying scene and metaphor, Dr. Analyze?”

Analyze: “I was hoping for an ambiguous ending. Where Jon makes peace with the Walkers. You know: complexity, realism, war’s bad and peace is the way forward. The sort of shit Martin actually believes. But sad to say it’s possible they’ll go with the final battle of good vs. evil. Though they did say they were going to somewhat stick to Martin’s ending, and that’s certainly not what he would write. So maybe there’s hope. But that’s, when I really think about it, probably my worst fear.”

Maddy: “I’m not so sure Mr. Analyze. Martin’s ending relies on the characters going through character arcs. D&D abandoned that writing ‘technique’ a few seasons ago in favour of stereotypical fantasy tropes. They’d rather have brave knight Jon and fair maiden Dany hook up than showing us how Dany balances her Targaryen fire with mercy and compromise.”

Analyze: “If there is a battle of good vs. evil, I at least hope it ends sensibly. They gave the Night King a dragon, an army of wights and dragon-killing spears…”

Maddy: “Aren’t they javelins?”

Analyze: “-and dragon-killing spears. I don’t know how they can ever end this threat realistically.”

Maddy: “By politely asking them to come to the Winterfell throne room to confess all their crimes and then get their throats slit by Arya? Or better yet by uniting the races of men, elves and dwarves into one army to stand against the evil armies of Mordo-… Oh wait…”

Analyze: “And to top it all off Dany will die in Jon’s arms like Ygritte, the music will swell and we’ll cut to a shot of Jon on the Iron Throne to continue the oh-so-wonderful Westerosi monarchy. I think that really gets to the heart of it. I expect Lord of the Rings but not done quite so well. And, dear audience, that’s, when I really think about it, probably m-”

Maddy: “My worst fear.”

Analyze: “…”

Maddy: “…”

Analyze: “…”

Maddy: “=)”

Analyze: “Get out.”

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Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the episodes of the show. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. Game of Thrones is created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, belongs to HBO and was inspired by the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin.

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