Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.

***

Ask Me Again in 10 Years

Mere hours before “the finale endured round the world,” my mother-in-law confessed to an assemblage of friends and family members congregated around her dinner table that she had never actually seen The Sopranos.

“I don’t think we even had an HBO subscription back when it was on,” she conceded. However, before she could even finish asking if it was “really worth going back and watching?” a Greek chorus of ‘absolutely’s and ‘without a doubt’s and ‘even you would love it’s positively enveloped her.

A full twenty years after its January 10, 1999 premiere, that is the kind of rarefied adamancy David Chase’s golden age crime drama still commands.

Which got me thinking about what other high-profile series the collective we can universally agree are worthy of one’s weighty while…

Mad Men? Yes.

Lost? No.

Breaking Bad? Hell yes.

Dexter? Hell no.

The Wire? Friday Night Lights? As long as you pretend their second seasons don’t exist.

Game of Thrones?

I’m not quite sure.

The imp is right.

There is, indeed, nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. And nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.

But where exactly does a good story’s power reside?

Does it emanate out from a well-considered narrative core? Does it rest precariously on diligently-whetted peripheral edges? Or does it rely entirely on “the pointy end” of its conclusion.

The answer to that fateful question, whatever we (/Twitter) ultimately decide it to be, will reverberate through the annals of television history. Because, like Tyrion, showrunners David Benihoff and D.B. Weiss have made many terrible mistakes over Game of Thrones’ final two seasons, but, unlike Tyrion, they’re going to spend the rest of their lives unable to fix them.

Now that we’ve made it through all 73 episodes, would you feel comfortable looking someone in the eyes and promising them it’s worth dedicating 3 days and 34 minutes of their life to this show? Because I’m honestly not sure I would.

As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” As Ben Franklin once wrote, “Lost time is never found again.” As Dion Boucicault penned, “Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.”

And, personally, now that my watch has ended, like Jon Snow, I do feel a little dead inside.

Like Jon Snow, I am left wondering if I did the right thing; investing so much of my time, passion, and mental energy on this show.

To paraphrase the High Sparrow’s remark to Margaery in the fourth episode of season six, Benihoff and Weiss are wearing years of our lives on their back. And, until today, we’ve been more than happy to give those years to them. But it feels like we cannot hide behind small mercies anymore.

Sometimes duty is the death of love.

Sometimes, the decision about what’s best for everyone should be left to, well, everyone.

So, in the end, was it right? What I did? What we did?

Because, at the moment, it doesn’t feel right.

Ask me again in 10 years.


 

Break The Wheel of Hot Takes

I’ve thrown an entire, still-expanding list of grievances down at the bottom of this piece, but this is a fiery observation I haven’t seen anyone else make:
 

Bran is QAnon.
 

“It Is Known”

Welp, only one “HAD TO HAPPEN” happened, just two “SHOULD HAPPEN”s transpired, and absolutely zero “COULD HAPPEN”s or “PROBABLY WON’T HAPPEN (BUT IT WOULD BE COOL IF IT DID)”s came to pass.

Better luck next series…

HAS to happen:
  • Jaime = the valonqar
  • Bran = the voice inside the Mad King’s “Burn them all!”-filled head
  • CLEGANE BOWL!!!
  • An explanation as to why Bran was in warg mode throughout the entire battle
  • The end of Tyrion’s “honeycomb and jackass” joke
  • SHOULD happen:
  • A Night King defeat by no later than Episode 4
  • A Valyrian steel sword and/or Unsullied Spear though Dany’s back, courtesy of Tyrion or Grey Worm, respectively
  • A Daario update
  • An appearance by Howland Reed
  • An on-target shot by Chekhov’s Scorpion
  • An acknowledgement that a throne you can ride (e.g. a horse, a dragon, a ship) is better than a stationary one made of iron
  • COULD happen:
  • Tyrion = a Targaryen
  • Syrio Forel = Jaqen H’ghar
  • Arya = Dany’s killer
  • Tormund = Brienne’s rebound
  • PROBABLY WON’T happen (but it would be cool if it did):
  • Varys turns out to have been a merman who can send messages via candles
  • Westeros becomes so uninhabitable all surviving Westerosi are forced to join Arya in exploring “what’s west of Westeros,” thus becoming a mysterious Other ‘invading’ a foreign land via a once-impenetrable barrier
  • Elephants
  • * One could argue Tyrion unintentionally valonqared Cersei when his promised escape route became an impenetrable “choke” point
     

    Valar Morghulis

    “It often comforts me to think that even in war’s darkest days, in most places in the world absolutely nothing is happening.” — Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully


     

    Ba Dum Tssshhh

    “Love is the death of duty.” — Jon
    “Did you just come up with that?” — Tyrion
     
    “I’m not sure I get a vote, but aye.” — Davos
     
    “What’s this?” — Tyrion
    A Song of Ice and Fire, Archmaester Ebrose’s history of the wars following the death of King Robert. I helped him with the title…” — Sam
     
    “The Master of Coin looks forward to helping the Master of Ships. But first he has to ensure we’re not wasting coin, or soon there won’t be no more coin.” — Bronn
    “Anymore.” — Davos
    “You Master of Grammar now, too?” — Bronn
     
    “I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel…” — Tyrion
     

     

    The HoF of GoT GIFs

     * My fellow recappers/reviewers, feel free to pilfer from these, or any other GIFs from the Just a Game of Thrones archives, anytime

    Get Them Hands Up:

    Ice and Fire:

    Flame of Thrones:

    The Queen in the North:

    Fake News:

     

    Sword to my Throat, I’d Bet _____ Wins the Game of Thrones

    This prediction section was subject to, and effectively did, change each week. But, unlike the showrunners, I totally stuck the landing:


     

    The Airing of Grievances

    (including, but not limited to…)

  • how did Jon pass Grey Worm on the street on his way to the Red Keep only to then see him again at the top of the stairs?
  • how were there no Unsullied posted up outside the throne room door?
  • how does Drogon understand the concept of poetic symbolism so well he knew to melt the Iron Throne?
  • why is there still a Night’s Watch?
  • why does Jon think he can just come back to Ghost after that shitty post-Battle of Winterfell goodbye?
  • why was there a plastic bottle behind Sam’s foot at the Lord’s moot?
  • how did Robin Arryn get so studly?
  • where were Howland and Meera Reed?
  • what was the significance of the spiral pattern thing?
  • who received Varys’ revealing letters?
  • what was up with the pale mare?
  • why focus so much on the R+L=J reveal when it ultimately didn’t matter all that much?
  • what happened to the red priestess Kinvara?
  • what did/do the Faceless Men want?
  • what about the Iron Bank?
  • what about the Dothraki?
  • what about Daario and his Second Sons army across the Narrow Sea?
  •  
    “There’s no story so good a drink won’t make it better.” — Thoros of Myr