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Alternate realities

Posted May 23 into Writing by John Birmingham

One of the nice things about writing for a living is the way you get paid to retreat from the world of real things. I've been in full retreat since about 7.30 on Saturday night. The entry below, "Dark Thoughts", was composed in the hours before dawn when I'd woken up, seething and unable to get back to sleep.

I brought myself down to my office, wrote that blog post, and opened up Scrivener. I started to work on a TV script. I can't talk about it in detail because we're still in the early stages of development. But I can say this. I fucking LOVE writing for TV. I get lost in it. Sometimes I get lost in novels too, but not like this. I've been racking up long hours at the keyboard all week. Not because I'm on deadline or under pressure, but because once I step into the imagined world of this show I find I much prefer it to the real world. I don't want to leave.

Even when I do leave, when I push back from the computer and rejoin the family for dinner, lets say, I find myself repeating long stretches of dialogue without realising that I'm doing it.

"What did you say?" Jane will ask. And I have to mutter something about just talking to myself. To be honest, it's a little embarrassing that it's been happening so much.

Still, better than reality.

I don't think the retreat from an unpleasant outer world explains why I've spent so much time so deeply embedded in this new, inner world. I think it might partly have something to do with the structure of storytelling for the screen.

The irreducible element at the core of a screenplay or a teleplay is the scene. Each scene is a world unto itself, but unlike a book it is an almost bare stage. When writing a novel you make everything bigger. When writing a script, it goes the other way. Everything gets stripped back, reduced to essences. It's fascinating, almost mesmerising.

I've now finished the first draft of the pilot for this show. I have no idea whether it will get any further. But even so, even with a chapter of World War 3.1 to write, and a whole novel in the Zero Day Code franchise to finish, I feel myself being pulled back into the world of the TV show, almost as though I am trapped in a dangerous rip.

13 Responses to ‘Alternate realities’

WarDog asserts...

Posted May 23
Just in case it doesn't make it to T, can it reprised in written form?

jl is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23
A fine question!

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 23
It could be, but I really hope to see it made.

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jl mumbles...

Posted May 23
Sounds like great fun, actually. Yeah, I got lost in my latest (an alternate history) pretty bad for the last two weeks; now the rough draft is done. Definitely know what you're saying, JB.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted May 23
I am drawn by the imagery of your writing being caught in a rip, so Australian. Since Saturday I have been trying to follow Alasdair Gray's aphorism "Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation" but it is hard.

Nocturnalist reckons...

Posted May 24
Have you read WALKAWAY yet? That line and sentiment come up quite a bit in it.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted May 25
Not yet, but Cory Doctorow is always on my to read list.

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted May 25
Be interested to get your take on it when you've read it. I don't reread much these days but I'll probably take another trip through it myself soon.

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jason puts forth...

Posted May 23
My favorite thing about writing and others people's writing in some ways is that you get to play in a world where you control almost everything. The good guys normally win or are so heroic it appears to be a win and the bad folks always take a licking. Far removed from the real world but a beautiful place.

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Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted May 23
It sounds like some chicken soup for your soul, and I for one cheer that on. I can relate to how dark these last few days have been, and anything that brightens that, I'm cheering for.

Have fun mate, and I look forward to enjoying more JB content.

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Leftarc would have you know...

Posted May 23
Sounds like good times. As a fan of the West Wing (of which seems to get more and more wistful, and yet further away from reality every single day), and the West Wing Weekly podcast, I remember a quote from the late John Spencer; 'First comes the word'. Early episodes of the podcast tell of how late the scripts were for the West Wing when Aaron Sorkin was writing was because he spent hours making sure it was right. And it was, actors had to read the script exactly, there was no improvisation, and you could not change any of the words. At all.
This is why I imagine TV writing would be a whole rabbit hole to go down. I think the difference between a novel and TV is that there is more setting out, and 'telling the story' for TV. In a book like The Stand, my imagination created how Stu Redman looked and spoke. But then watching the mini series, Stu is Gary Sinise, since then Stu's words are spoken in that Gary Sinise drawl.
And whilst you bang away at Zero Day Code, and since I brought it up, Stephen King also wrote the screen play for The Stand Mini Series. You might be onto something.

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Sparty ducks in to say...

Posted May 23
I'd like me some JB TV.
interesting to note that @pennyred who some people tagged as a good inspiration for whats her name in the time travel books is now a writer on Joss Whedons new series..

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thetick mumbles...

Posted May 26
How is writing for TV different from writing a novel, for example?

I mean, is it that you describe each scene, character actions, lines, etc?

Like, when you write a scene are you laying down the setting, the clothing, etc, or does that get filled in later?

Is it fiction or non-fiction?

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GoT S8E6: "The Iron Throne" Hot Take Pre-Recap

Posted May 21 into Raven On by girlclumsy

I GASPED. I CRIED. I UGLY CRIED. I LAUGHED.

AND I LOVED EVERY MOMENT.

Beloved Throners, I am so, so pleased with that final episode. There was no perfectly happy ending for everyone (because this is Game of Thrones, you were never going to get that). There were, in fact, mostly new beginnings and challenges.

But it was soothing, and I left the world contented. I did not feel like I had been messed with.

I believe this recap, like the previous ones this season, will take me some time, so I wanted to provide an initial set of thoughts and reactions to help fill the gap.

So here ‘tis, a Not-Necessarily-in-Numerical-Order-of-Occurrence-or-Preference, Just-A-Top-Ten-Hot-Take-of-Amazing-Things-That-Happened-Pre-Recap-Recap.


1. TYRION FINDS THE BODIES

This was an acting masterclass from the impeccable Peter Dinklage. Determined to go alone to the Red Keep to see if his brother managed to smuggle his sister out safely, he ends up deep beneath it, where the plummeting structure hit hardest.

Yes, it’s somewhat convenient that in all that mess he can spot his brother’s golden hand - but it still made my heart ache for him. Anguish and tears follow when he digs in enough to reveal their beautiful and miraculously-not-too-busted-up faces. He loathed his sister, but she was still family, and of course Jaime was his best friend and ally. His grief is palpable and real.

2. EVERYONE GETS SCARED

Daenerys’ speech to her all-conquering Dothraki and Unsullied armies is fierce and frightening. She thanks the Dothraki for keeping their promises to kill men in iron suits and burn stone houses; she calls the Unsullied liberators and vows they will not put down their spears until they repeat this “liberation” all over the world.

Ummm, hey, that’s new Dany, what is this rejigged plan, lady? The Dothraki and Unsullied seem pleased - as does her new Master of War Grey Worm - but Arya and Jon watch on with mounting horror, and Tyrion manages to rip off his Hand of the Queen badge in disgust before being seized for committing treason.

Later, Jon visits Tyrion to have the awful conversation about what Dany has become. Tyrion’s statement that she had a series of victories over evil men - and that “we cheered her on” - which resulted in her believing she was ultimately good, was a key summation of the problem with Daenerys’ journey. At some point she crossed a line, but when was it? After which surprising and triumphant display of power? It was also a nod to us as the audience - we ALL cheered Dany along the way. We agreed with the accepted wisdom that she was destined for not just “greatness”, but “goodness”. We were like Tyrion; thinking we were right, but ultimately misdirected.

It’s Tyrion’s unfortunate duty to tell an overwrought Jon all of this - although I would point out here that if Jon had NOT been having doubts, he would not have visited Tyrion at all. If he was committed to all the Queen’s wishes, he would have let sleeping lions lie.

Jon is not convinced Dany is the monster Tyrion accuses her of being; he still hopes for a different path. He hopes with every fibre of his sexy, rugged, being. He keeps hoping and he keeps hoping and he’s straining right at the crotch…. Sorry, what was I saying?

3. JON SNOW KILLS DAENERYS TARGARYEN

Full of passion, lament, despair and proper tragedy, Jon made the ultimate big call - killing his once and always Queen. Daenerys had touched the Iron Throne, but in a moment of self-reflection, chose to ponder her childhood focus on its size and alluded to it not being as imposing as her imagination had constructed it, particularly with the debris of the Red Keep around it.

So Dany never sat in it, never felt the discomfort of its shape and feel. Instead, she tried to convince Jon to join her in her quest to free all the enslaved peoples of the world, following a series of rules she laid out, because she knew what was right and good.

Jon gave her numerous chances to prove his loyalty wrong, to show that she was capable of change and compromise after this horrific unjustified slaughter. “What about all the other people, who think they know what’s good?” he asks. “They don’t get to choose,” comes the reply, and Dany’s fate is sealed. With a deep kiss, he plunges his dagger into her heart, the most awkward incestuous kiss since Princess Leia laid the smackers on Luke Skywalker.

Dany dies in disbelief, the same way Jon himself went at the end of Season 5. He too was tricked and stabbed in the heart, and like Jon, Dany’s corpse weeps blood over a white ground, only this time it was ash instead of snow.

Vale Daenerys Targaryen. You’ll always be my mighty Khaleesi turned Khal-EEEEEK-si.

4. DROGON MOURNS AND BURNS

What utter heartbreak I suffered when Drogon, sensing the loss of his mother, nudged her body with his nose, trying to rouse her. His reaction to roar in anger was understandable, but why did he choose the Iron Throne as his target for revenge burning? We take it that he can sniff out Jon’s blood as Targaryen, thus preventing him from sending Jon out of this world, Varys-style. But although dragons are intelligent, is Drogon capable of understanding what the Iron Throne is, or means, or how it is in a fairly direct way responsible for Mumma going night-night?

I’m more inclined to think he could detect the scent Daenerys left by touching the throne, the last thing she ever touched, and turned his fury on it.

The way he scooped up her body tenderly in one giant claw was also heart-breaking. He flew off, destination unknown, with his mother. In my mind, he’s returned to Valyria, the original city of the Targaryens. He knows how to get there; Tyrion and Jorah saw him flying over it in Season 5. I think he has taken Dany back to her ancestral home; the home of the blood of the dragons.


5. KING BRAN THE BROKEN

A twist that some may have seen coming (especially Bran himself, the clever clogs), but one that I admit I was delighted to have thrust upon me (now if only Jon Snow would thrust himself etc etc), happened in the extraordinarily calm blue daylight some weeks post-Destructathon.

Tyrion is brought before a meeting of The Great Council of Fine High Lords and Ladies and Fancy People and Wait Isn’t That the Way-Too-Old-To-Be Breastfed Kid from The Vale and WTF Was He Off Getting Queer-Eyed or Something This Whole Time Because Damn?


That slap Sansa gave him sure worked a treat.

Grey Worm wants to execute both Tyrion and Jon Snow; Tyrion, as always, uses his words. With no King or Queen, he suggests Bran, the 2TB Hard Drive of Westeros, accept the Crown under a new system in which rulers are elected by the council, rather than inherit the title. Bran’s “Why do you think I came all this way?” response to Tyrion’s entreaty was super cheesy but I LOVED IT and I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK.

Let’s not forget the hilarious moment in which Sam Tarly - present one imagines as the heir to Horn Hill, but also possibly because of his connections to the Citadel - suggests that perhaps everyone should have a say in choosing the ruler because, I dunno, it ends up affecting everyone eventually.

There’s a solemn silence and some serious looks, before everyone bursts out laughing.

Given Australia had an election just two days before this episode which left a number of people fairly dirty at democracy in general, I found this moment quite cathartic.

You don’t jump from absolute monarchy to democracy in half a day in the dragon pits. The compromise agreed to here was much more achievable in this medieval-esque world.

I know some people may be unhappy it wasn’t Jon who wound up on the Throne - what was the point of all that Targaryen/Stark lineage if not to see him take his rightful place? But by what right? He killed a queen; perhaps he no longer has a right. The good he did in taking out Dany does not wipe clean the stain of her blood on his hands.

Besides, it’s not unprecedented. Maester Aemon of Castle Black gave up the throne to become a Maester and serve the Night’s Watch. It was no accident that Maester Aemon was the fellow who told Jon “Love is the death of duty”, the very line Jon quoted to Tyrion in that earlier scene.

6. EDMURE TULLY’S TIGHT FIVE

As a brief aside, I have to mention this, for it brought me much mirth.

Step forth, Edmure Tully, Lord of Riverrun, veteran of two wars and a lengthy imprisonment, groom at the Red Wedding, general toff, man of no real consequence and Westeros’ newest stand-up comedian.

Faced with general silence at the Great Council about whom should be the next king, good old Edmure shakes off two years of irrelevance and delivers the funniest pitch for selection since ex-rugby league player Mal Meninga announced in 2001 he was running for office - only to quit 28 seconds later.

“Sit down, Uncle,” came the polite but firm directive from his supremely serene niece, Sansa. Edmure even stumbled backwards into his chair, his nascent ambition neatly thwarted.

His appearance though did beg the question - where WERE you when Winterfell was under attack by the White Walkers, Eddy? Why did you not send your troops to your nieces’ aid? There has never been a wetter blanket than poor Edmure Tully, but at least he had a shining moment as a brilliant court jester.


7. JON REUNITES WITH TORMUND AND GHOST

Reader, I lost it.

Ned Stark was almost exiled to the Night’s Watch way back in Season 1; it’s where he would have gone for committing treason had Joffrey not been a right little shit and decided to snick off his head. There’s a bittersweet logic to Jon being sent back there, despite having already given his life to it, and despite the very real issue that the Night’s Watch has effectively ceased to exist despite Tyrion’s insistence that there must always be a place for bastards and broken men.

But still, Castle Black is where Tormund Giantsbane and Ghost are, where the rest of the Free Folk are, waiting for the worst of the winter snows to pass before moving back north. It’s a joy to see them again - and for Ghost to finally get his well-deserved pats. Good doggo, Ghost. Good doggo.

We last see Jon accompanying Tormund the Free Folk out beyond the Wall, the place where the whole story began. Is he leaving the Night’s Watch behind, and becoming a true northerner? Is he simply doing his duty and protecting them? Either way, one thing is certain - he’s fully Jon Snow now. He’s part Stark, part Targaryen, but none of that really matters, perhaps it never did. He’s Jon Snow - good man, one-time Jesus impersonator, regretful Auntie-shagger-and-dagger, but his own person, wearing what he is like armour, so it can never be used to hurt him.

How do we know?

BECAUSE HE IS NO LONGER HOSTAGE TO THE MAN BUN.

BEHOLD THE GLORY OF THE RETURNED LUSTROUS FULL HEAD OF HAIR.


Glorious. Glorious. And Jon's also beautiful.


8. STARK SISTERS REPRESENT

Queen in the North!

Arya the Explorya!

Sansa firmly negotiates with her brother - and new king - to keep the north as an independent state. It’s convenient for her, sure, because as Jon Snow has been banished, she will be the head of this renewed state.

But she’s doing it for the right reasons - for her people - and also, DAMMMMNNNN MY GIRL DESERVES IT. She always wanted to be a Queen, but a Queen from fairy tales, who wore pretty frocks and served lemon cakes and stood proudly but dumbly next to a King.

Everything Sansa has experienced and learned has put her in the best position to be the best ruler the North could ever hope for.

And hopefully with her bro on the ? Throne (no more Iron, remember), there will be good relations between the North and the new Six Kingdoms, and the North won’t just huddle itself away and get more insular.

Sansa’s changing hairstyles have always been a talking point in the show, which is why I loved seeing her go full Elizabeth I for her coronation: magnificent, free-flowing red hair:

Arya also got a new ‘do, but she opted for a tightly braided bun, very practical for seafaring.

Arya once told Lady Crane, the actor who played Cersei in that Braavosi theatre troupe, that she would like to see what’s west of Westeros, beyond where the maps end.

And so she does; flying a Stark sigil on her sails, she heads into the unknown once more. She has grown used to a life on the move, and she isn’t about to stop now.

9. BRIENNE GRABS A PEN

In the musical Hamilton, George Washington sings to the petulant Alexander Hamilton that “You have no control/who lives who dies who tells your story”.

Lucky then for Jaime that he had Brienne still watching his back, despite his midnight bolt from their cosy bed at Winterfell.

She takes it upon herself to fill in all the blank pages of Jaime’s entry in the Kingsguard history book - and doesn’t even cast a little bit of shade. She paints him as the man of honour she knew, even when it comes to his death. “Protecting his Queen” is true, sure, but so is “Slipping Back Into Toxic Twincest”. Brienne is nothing if not tactful. I love that she becomes head of Bran’s Kingsguard - once again, she’s the best and most deserving person for the job.


10. THE SMALL COUNCIL NEEDS A SPIN-OFF

The final scene of the new Small Council is GLORIOUS COMEDY and I will not hear a word against it.

From the members wrecking Tyrion’s carefully straightened chairs, to Sam’s pride in his
A Song of Ice and Fire book title, Tyrion’s disbelief at not being mentioned (typical), and the clunky “Long May He Reign” (which will get better, we promise) farewell to Bran, it was a delight.

Sure, Bronn got his Highgarden position a little too easily, but he’s the Master of Coin now! And he wants to rebuild brothels instead of ships! And Ser Davos survived, and is brilliant, and even calls back to Stannis when he corrects Bronn’s grammar. And Podrick Payne has been KNIGHTED!

Bran’s special abilities mean he probably doesn’t need to attend small council meetings - he can just read the mental minutes anytime. But it’s a good sign that he’s there, even for a little while, before deciding he’d like to try to find Drogon. A good move? Who knows. It’s probably worth having a bit of an idea what the world’s remaining nuclear weapon is doing.

Finally Tyrion gets to have another crack at telling his favourite joke:

“I once took a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel…”

But the action cuts away before he can deliver the punchline. Does anyone have one? My attempt is thus:

“The madam said ‘What do you plan to do with those?’ and I said ‘Hind your own beeswax’!”

Look, it’s not great. But the best and shortest I could come up with.

------

I hope you've enjoyed reading this Hot Take Pre-Recap Recap - I'll be back with a full recap as soon as I possibly can! Don't forget this is your last chance to get onboard my Patreon if you want to support my writing. Thank you so much.

8 Responses to ‘GoT S8E6: "The Iron Throne" Hot Take Pre-Recap’

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted May 21
I did enjoy this pre-recap.

But "waiting for the worst of the winter snows to pass before moving back north". Isn't Westeros about to enter a 'long winter' in that case shouldn't they be waiting a long time?

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted May 21
I loved it too, I found it a satisfying conclusion to the story.

I'm so glad that you brought Drogon up, because that whole scene made me wonder how sentient the dragons are? When he first nudged her body it was like Simba trying to wake his dad up (there's a meme doing the rounds on this which is oddly heartbreaking), but choosing to destroy the throne and not the man who actually murdered his mother was super fascinating. Did Drogon understand that it was her pursuit of that chair that destroyed Dany, or did he just not want to kill the only other human he liked, and so destroyed something randomly, which happened to be the throne? But then, if he was just a dumb animal, why pick up her body and fly away with it?

The question of dragon sentience really got me wondering about the scene where Drogon went to the trouble of getting up out of his mound of ash when Jon walked past him to say "hey cuz, 'sup?" Was Drogon one of the many beings who loved Dany who was worried about her state of mind? I NEED ANSWERS!

Also GOOD DOGGO GHOST!! PATS FOR GHOST!!

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Oldy mutters...

Posted May 21
I loved the conclusion. And that small council reminded me of the Vicar of Dibley (which of course is where The Greatjon came from).

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Oldy ducks in to say...

Posted May 21
Also - Tyrion's joke:

Tyrion walks into a brothel with a honeycomb and a jackass.
Madame: What can we do for you?

Tyrion: I need a woman to lay with, for mine has left me.
Madame: Whatever for? And what's with the honeycomb and the mule?

Tyrion: My woman found a genie in a bottle, and he granted her three wishes. The first was for a house fit for a queen, so he gave her this damn honeycomb. The second wish was that she have the nicest ass in all the land, so he gave her this damn donkey...

Madame: And what about the third wish?
Tyrion: Well... she asked the genie to make my cock hang down past my knee.

Madame: Well that one's not so bad eh?
Tyrion: Not so bad!? I used to be six foot three!

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girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted May 21
I've seen that version of the joke doing the rounds on the internet - Lehmo actually a version of it too on Thrones 360 Live.

I didn't want to use somebody else's created joke in my recap without credit, so I invented my own punchline.

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Sparty reckons...

Posted May 21
Just a shout out to all the burgers - based on various recommendations here many winters ago (2008?) - (quite a few years before the TV series) - got into the books - so felt so much "ownership" since the first pilot!
Doubt i would have got into it quite the same way without that early "burger" driven start...

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Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted May 22
I dunno what I'm going to miss more - the show or the recaps!

Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 23
Recaps

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Respond to 'GoT S8E6: "The Iron Throne" Hot Take Pre-Recap'

Dark thoughts

Posted May 19 by John Birmingham

It is 4.25AM as I write this. I'm at my desk because I can't sleep. I'm frightened for the future and angry with the present.
I believe in the science of climate change the same way I believe in the science of the internal combustion engine. They're the same fucking science.
This shit is coming for us, but a lot of people just voted for denial. Oh, they'll dress it up to disguise what happened. They'll say they voted against tax rises, or Bill Shorten or whatever.
None of that matters.
They just voted to waste another three years of the decade or so we have left before the science tells us we're done for.
And I can't sleep.
Because I think we're done for.

28 Responses to ‘Dark thoughts’

Dave W would have you know...

Posted May 19
I pretty much feel the same way, JB. I'm going to detox from news media, left and right, for a while. I'd just like to think happy thoughts for a while, and I reckon that ignorance will be bliss, compared to the toxic rantings from below the line and the sheer mendacity of a lot of the stuff above the line.

I'd like to think that I'd do the same if it had gone the other way, but who can say.

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted May 19
But I'd also like to add: this too shall pass.

The sun came up. Eurovision was glorious. My bacon and eggs was delicious. Whatever happens from here, we should also always remember to enjoy the little things.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 19
I was nauseous all night after watching this election results. Still, feel queasy now. This is a terrible outcome.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 20
The real annoying thing is the lost opportunity. Not just get started properly on climate defence, but to build out the renewables market. It'll grow into a trillion dollar business. And we will be stuck on the outside looking in.

WarDog has opinions thus...

Posted May 20
The economic cost is tragedy, and I think that's what infuriates me most. A party purportedly for business and the economy, keeping us firmly in reverse.

All those jobs that will be created overseas.

I've worked out what I'm going to do with my 15K tax cut. An industrial death robot that I can park at the front door to get you plebs away when everything goes to shit. I might even open it up on KickStarter.

she_jedi would have you know...

Posted May 20
Two things that are deeply annoying me is the economic cost of failing to address this, like you've all said, we're missing out on getting into a trillion dollar industry, AND we're missing the opportunity to transition our coal mining communities to new industry. The people voting for jobs over climate action are, ironically, the very people who will suffer the most when the climate emergency hits us. The rich bastards in the southern states who are voting for climate action actually can afford to deal with the impacts.

The criminal waste of a supposed free market business oriented party clinging to dying industries instead of "letting the market rip" as they like to say is just mind boggling. We're truly through the looking glass now.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted May 19
I too have been quite sleepless, and I usually sleep through all sorts of crap going on in my life. I think this feeling is grief. I too see this as a waste of three years of climate action. Maybe, possibly you could give them their bullshit 2020 Kyoto whatever, but after that they've got diddily. I'm going to try and detox from media. It will be hard; I'm a junky.
Ms insomniac thinks it's Bill. No one like him etc, but I think he would have been ok. I'm more of the view it was lies and strawmen and lack of scrutiny and bullshitting and shouting and refusing to answer questions and the slack oh so slack media. Why does Barry suddenly start today asking Josh the questions that should have been asked weeks ago?
ScuMo has really pulled the wool over people's eyes. They have been hoodwinked. None of them are going to be any better off.
And fuck fat Clive too.
</rant>

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pitpat mumbles...

Posted May 19
Well I didn't think it was going to be the great leap forward more a timid step in the general direction.

I remember a geography lesson ( year 10 I think and we were discussing the geo-politics as it related to the current situation which involved a pretty serious stand off between the USSR and USA. We ended up looking into the effects of 20 kiloton weapon on Brisbane because Bne wasn't big enough to go to war for but big enough to show intent. At an existential level the crater of the explosion would have engulfed the school with probably no warning. That night David Bowie was playing at Lang Park and if I stood on our back fence I could get pretty good sound and Lang Park was lit up with stray strobe lights shooting everywhere. I'd like to say he was playing Starman whilst I stood on the fence considering instant incineration ,but that would just be making the story sound better. Needless to say I spent too much time worried and fairly depressed in a kind of dread and it really didn't help either me or the situation. And it didn't happen. And I said well fuck it, enjoy what you've got when you've got it, try not to piss off too many people, look after your family, change what you can when you can. And Get Some Fun.

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Dirk mumbles...

Posted May 19
Remember the night is darkest just before dawn. Take the time to compose an alternative, regroup the forces of good and strike in force in 36 months. Hold up the mirror to the people what the consequences of the actions of your new government are; either good or bad. If they are the latter promote an alternative. And support people that know what he or she are doing in bringing up alternatives your consistence can cope with.

Climate change isn't the fault of the muslims, the jews, the blacks, the reds or other usual suspects. It's the fault of burning fossil fuels, corporate greed and malicious propaganda instilling fear and bringing false hope. And yes maybe sacrifices have to be made, be they financial ones or changes in our way of life. But compared with the certain death that awaits us all if we will not act - now or in a near future - those costs can be carried.

Invest in research, communication, technology and infrastructure for good of all. Not for it to bring financial rewards to the few. Help those that can't help themselves, and give them the trust no man or woman shall be left behind.

And foremost preach the message of hope. The hope that this dark night will pass. That common sense will prevail, maybe not totally in the coming 36 months, but that it will. We shall overcome, someday.

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20
I think this election shows a lot about Australia. A two speed economy where self funded retirees and rich folks voted against Labor because they didn't want anyone dipping into their pockets, regardless of the consequences for future generations. A geographical divide where those who rely on mining to make a living chose for the short term and those who didn't rely on it chose for the long term. We can't criticize (though i sorely want to) those who voted differently to us and in their own short term interest.
We can criticize how Australian politics is no longer about policies and ideology. It's about personal attacks and media spend or strategy. It's about a blatant grab for power and not about how we move forward as a country.
The thing we need more than anything is what we recently lost, a genuine star in politics. A person who could bring the people together rather than divide them. A person who bought conciliation rather than adversarial attitudes. Sadly I can't see this person on the horizon.
The only real hope i have is the kids. They're brilliant and one day they'll be in charge. Hope I am still around to see that glorious day.

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tqft is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20
As I have said elsewhere, I am angry.
Not hot ranty angry. Cold calculating angry.

I am contemplating what I can do. Not much so far, but the Courier Mail keeps appearing on the edges of everything Qld related.

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WA n'ker has opinions thus...

Posted May 20
Maybe this is like the end of Empire Strikes Back. We'll just have to wait for the Return of the Jedi.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted May 20
Everyone here seems to be pretty much of the same mind. (Probably why we hang around). I was also a bit disappointed. Always a bit meh about 'shit lite' but we needed to take that step away from 'the shit party'. Will it get to the point of civil disobedience (to greater levels than current protesting) from those that believe in climate change? More violence, then more backlash - ideologies seem to be the motivating factor in conflicts and both sides think they are in the right. Face recognition software is getting more prevalent and will it be turned to evil to stop these infarctions getting traction? woah, now i'm sounding paranoid and a bit deranged. I'm shrugging my shoulders and focusing on my 5 acres. Planting more habitat whilst trying to convince my area to do the same so it can be a bit of an island/refuge in the times to come. I don't want my grandkids to be sitting there saying "pop? can you tell us about that time you actually saw a wombat in the wild?"

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jl has opinions thus...

Posted May 20
Two words. "Holocene Extinction." Look it up.

Sobering reading. And it's happening right now with little fanfare.

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted May 20
Like all of you I was shocked and deflated at the result. But like tqft now I'm angry, in a cold calculating way. I had friends joking/not joking about moving to New Zealand on Saturday night, and my first reaction was to get angry and say NO! Stay and fight. Now begins the insurrection. We can't afford to sit back and wait for others to man the barricades, we have to do it ourselves now. Saturday night was the last night where we had the luxury of waiting for others to fix things for us, now it's on us.

So join a political party. Join an environment activist group. Hell, do both. But man the barricades and fight for our country and our future.

Ruth McGowan, sister of Cathy McGowan of Indi fame, wrote an instruction manual on how to get elected as an independent or a minor party rep. https://ruthmcgowan.com/book/. This is the next book on my reading list. We have three years to plan our assault on our democracy and take our country back from the the Shit and the Shit Lite parties. Let's get on with it.

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Oldy puts forth...

Posted May 20
I agree with Jason. We're a nation of 'I'm alright Jack, bugger the rest of you.'

My parents have voted with no fucks given for their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

And I'm done being the only one in the house who gives a fuck.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Leonard Cohen

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20
Three more years of benefits for the rich, benefits for the mining magnates, same for Murdoch Media, three more years of happy clapping godbothering 'have a go to get a go' half baked marketing drivel, three more years without vision other than greed and short term gain. The Murdochracy continues to reign supreme thanks to Voting Public. Enjoy!

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Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted May 21
The last couple of days cold-turkey off the newsmedia. Have. Been. Bliss.

I realise that I've been mainlining that toxic drivel. I know that the writers are under the pump and haven't been allowed by their overlords to give their products the care and critical attention that they deserve. But that doesn't mean that I can't make a healthier choice.

It'll come back into my life. It has to. Burying my head in the sand is also not a healthy choice. The coming climapocalypse does demand action and forewarned will be forearmed.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted May 21
It took science for humans to not be afraid of an eclipse. Science now models what we should be afraid of and preparing for and also what preventative action we can take. Unfortunately Science doesn't fit in with the greed of the fossil fuel devotees andhappy clappers. (Do these churches ever do anything for anyone except their own? Have yet to see a Hillsong sponsored Wayside Chapel or homeless shelter.).
Valueless, self-serving religion is a problem and that same value of self above anything else was evident on Saturday. Science in Australia is dying in the face of greed, fairytales and ignorance.
I guess Invisible Friend will save the day. That's reassuring isn't it?

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Leftarc mumbles...

Posted May 22
Is it too late to tweak Zero Day Code from a novel to a training manual?

insomniac mumbles...

Posted May 22
I was thinking along similar lines this morning. Is JB upset because his apocalyptic novel is about to become a non fiction history of Australia?

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Rob asserts...

Posted May 22
I did vote Labor , mostly because of their IR policies.

But I can see why they lost seats in Tasmania. While their Federal policies and plan was honest, transparent and reasonable, the party itself, especially locally, has an awful born to rule attitude. When the local Labor opposition gets in bed with the Greens and the speaker of the house to ram through far reaching, untested anti discrimination legislation with no oversight from either the Government or the Public service and then calls anyone who objects a bigot, racist , stupid or reactionary , then people just won't vote for them when they get the chance. Transparency in government is a code word for honesty and I'm afraid some of the Labor party machine aren't keen on either transparency or honesty.

The Libs under Scomo really don't have it either. (Never bring an ad man to government, Australia will regret this in no time)

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Himura Kenshin would have you know...

Posted May 22
lotta people here have made some good points I'm not an Aussie like most of you folks so i cant say that i completely grasp the nuance but it has been my experience that people are getting real sic real fast of political parties in general oh sure they SAY that these new taxes will go towards environmental restoration and new "clean technologies" and then 6 months later there's some embezzlement scandal or the tax money has gone to some other different pet project and the climate problem marches on and the other party (take your pick) promises that THEY have the solution it's usually something about keeping jobs and then Again embezzlement scandal or somebody cutting a deal that's detrimental to the average person but great for that politicians (and Friends) pocket and once more the problem marches on been like this for about the last 30 ish years that i can remember it just seems as communication has gotten easier the ability of a politician to make an actually difficult and moral decision has gotten harder Rarer as they try to please everyone to continue holding power

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NBlob reckons...

Posted May 22
An observation or two.
I am pretty much convinced that the worst of Anthopogenic Climate Change is now inevitable. Our economic model is so 'baked in' that any change to minimise CO2 ( & other green-house gases, lookin at you Methane) that is likely, will be undone by the thirst for modernity by the billions still left in poverty. The population bulge will mean that this over-demand will only continue to get worse in the coming decades. I know the 'Africa skipped land-lines' argument, but the likely (as opposed to theoretically possible) ramp-up in low carbon technologies is just not going to be realised in time.
What remains to be seen is the trigger points of cascading consequences; the Methane from decomposing vegetation trapped in permafrost, the release of Methane from deep cold ocean clathrates and CO2 from burning temperate forests. We have some models, some pretty convincing models, but we do not know for sure.
I am not proposing we just throw our hands up in resignation and speed on to our doom in a supercharged V10 Ram pick-up, we will be held accountable by our children and doing anything will be better than nothing. Perhaps, just perhaps we could do enough to prevent some of the worst cascading consequences.
I just think it unlikely, given our experience of 30+ years of knowledge and 2/5ths of SFA action.
I am far from convinced that an ALP Federal government would be substantially more effective at taking action than the LNP. My reading of ALP policies was they didn't amount to much more than tokenism. Remember who disproportionally influences ALP policy; the CFMEU & TWU will not be lobbying for unemployment, despite it being largely inevitable in the coming decades of automation.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 23
This is super depressing.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted May 23
Just one of the services I offer

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted May 24
Don't be too depressed. the Feds control the policy but other forces are at play.
Local governments are doing great things. I see all the tenders so I know how much solar they are installing. Corporations are making great environmental decisions based on financial decisions that also benefit the environment.
Average humans are doing great work .The folks who voted Lib are still installing solar.
Like so many things the ground swell will drive the policy eventually. Always has, always will,.

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Emma mutters...

Posted May 26
I felt exactly the same. But now the dust has settled I am determined to keep using my journalism to promote action. Now knowing that it's not going to be top-down action... somehow the citizens are going to have to move this ship ourselves.

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Raven On Recap: GoT S8E5 "The Bells"

Posted May 15 into Raven On by girlclumsy

Throners.

Beloved Throners.

I have said many things about Game of Thrones.

This is the one thing I never thought I would say.

It goes against every fibre of my being.

Bear witness to this moment.

*Draws a deep breath*

FOR F***’S SAKE JON SNOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE JUST HAD THE GODDAMNED SEX WITH YOUR GODDAMNED AUNTIE.

Seriously, dude, tens of thousands of people had to BURN because Jon Snow couldn’t get his Jon Thomas to rise to the occasion? Because he couldn’t lie back and think of Westeros?

You even SAID “She shouldn’t be alone” and then you TURNED HER DOWN when she NEEDED SOME LOVIN’ because of your PRINCIPLES and seven hells just DO THE INCEST and MAYBE WE WOULDN’T BE IN THIS MESS.

There’s one episode to go, Jon, and quite frankly - I’m starting to think you make some dumb decisions.

And also, while I’m at it, WHAT THE F*** JAIME LANNISTER?!

I backed you last week. I said you left Brienne because your self-esteem had crashed and you had to go kill Cersei, or at least stop her path of destruction. I SUPPORTED YOU when others were saying you were TRASH because you ROOTED & SCOOTED. I had your back, Kingslayer, and you repay me with the most mystifying change of mind since Bran became the Three-Eyed Raven.

I mean SURE, it kind of fulfils the Valonqar prophecy in that he is Cersei’s younger brother by several minutes, and he did wrap his hands around her throat as the life was squeezed out of them both by falling rocks. And SURE, it was bleakly poetic that these two moral vacuums should find each other again in time for the world to literally cave in on them.

But all that self-betterment Jaime did! All those self-help books and personal improvement courses and mantras on cassette! Awaken the Giant Within? Only if by “giant” you mean “Gormless Incest Addict with Neutered Testicles”.

I’m so disappointed in you, Jaime. You had a chance to let Cersei suffer for her crimes, turn a new leaf, and do good with Ser Brienne for the rest of your days. Instead you let yourself slip back into that freaky weird folie à deux with your sister.

Congratulations. You’re basically Fred & Rose Westeros.

These all-too-familial relationships - one concluded, one further complicated - brought me to mind of another power couple, also distantly related.

American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour as “a day that will live in infamy”, and for certain, Daenerys Targaryen created one of those in this episode.

But he’s even more famous for his 1933 inaugural speech in which he declared that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. In this episode, Dany turned her own fear of being alone into fear itself, expelling her pain outwards in a blaze of annihilation.

Was the Targaryen coin flipped by madness, by genetic inheritance?

Perhaps more insight can be gained from FDR’s rather more clever wife (and cousin!), Eleanor, who had lots of wise words about personal development, including:

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

I’ve been blaming Jon for not giving Daenerys a right royal seeing to as the reason behind her flip into the most vicious roaster since Don Rickles. But that’s not entirely fair.

Queen Daenerys had been f***ed over. And she chose to f*** back.

That’s on her.

Jaime saw another way to live, free from his sister’s grip. He chose to grip her back.

That’s on him.

In terms of characters acting, well, out of character - those were stories we wrote in our own heads, narratives we created. Ultimately we want redemption arcs, we want people we like to turn to the light, we want there to be satisfying paybacks and victories.

We want a lot of things in life we don't get.

There is much to discuss, Throners, so let’s fire up the… oh, yikes, too soon.

S8E5: “The Bells”

The drama was present from the first frame of the episode, but the real fury was unleashed in the second half, so let’s establish where all of our key players were before hell literally broke loose.

Varys can be seen penning letters revealing the truth about Jon Snow’s heritage. I felt a little flash of something when I saw the name “Eddard Stark” glint in the candlelight. How long ago that feels. Back then, Varys’ motivations confused me. He was a spymaster and chief conspirer; when he visited Ned Stark in the Black Cells, I could never quite believe him when he said he served the realm. Now, he seems to be the only true champion of the people’s interests.

A servant girl updates him on Daenerys’ physical state - she won’t see anyone, she’s not eating, probably not bathing, eyebags for days, a real hot mess. Varys tells her they will try again tomorrow, and reminds her that the greater the risk, the greater the reward. Does that point to him attempting to quietly assassinate her on Dragonstone, before she can carry out her assault on King’s Landing?

Jon Snow arrives to report on the progress on the Northern forces, but Varys isn’t wasting time with troop movements. He springs the idea of ruling on Jon, who realises his secret has got out. Varys is confident Jon’s coin has flipped on the side of “good guy”, but Jon isn’t having it. “She is my Queen,” he says, shutting down discussion. Jon keeps saying he doesn’t want the Throne, but my sad beloved is already wearing a very heavy invisible crown.

Tyrion goes in to see Dany in the tabletop gaming room, where she appears to be calculating a version of Cards Against Humanity in her head.

She knows someone has betrayed her, but Tyrion is surprised when she says it was Jon. He counters with Varys, but she says he’s at the back end of a human centipede of whispers that began with the former King in the North.

Tyrion says it was right for he and Varys to know that information to protect Dany. However, Dany says they’ve just played into Sansa’s hands - she trusted Tyrion wouldn’t keep his trap shut and Dany will pay the price for it. Tyrion knows he’s screwed up, but uses the phrase “Our intentions were good”. We all know what road good intentions pave.

Grey Worm and two Unsullied guards come for Varys that night, as he writes more letters by candlelight. He burns the most recent one, but one wonders whether he got any out. And who would he send them to? There are big power gaps all around the seven kingdoms.

I liked the touch of Varys taking off his two rings, leaving them behind in a bowl. I have no idea of the rings’ significance - as far as my memory goes, they’ve never been a particular focus of his character. But as a gesture of “the end is nigh, no point letting these be wasted”, it was well-placed.

Tyrion confesses to Varys it was he who outed him to Dany. Varys is not upset; he rolled his dice and got snake eyes. After so many successful outings at the craps table that is Westerosi politics, he had to bust out eventually.

“I hope I’m wrong. I hope I deserve this,” he tells Tyrion with a tone of voice that suggests he doesn’t think he’s wrong at all. Tyrion looks genuinely miserable as he gives his friend and long-time intellectual sparring partner a pat goodbye.

“Power resides where men believe it resides,” was perhaps Varys’ most famous rejoinder - indeed, he said it to Jon Snow earlier that day.

Dany believes the power lies with her, and with Drogon looming out of the blackness, it seems this time she is right. “Dracarys,” she orders coldly, and the Spider is no more.

Vale Varys, technically not a Lord, but worthy of the title nonetheless.

There’s a moment where Jon Snow looks at his Queen, and for the first time, a flash of fear runs across his beautiful face. Oh Jon, I would never make you scared. I mean, as long as you don’t count the now eight years of constant stalking and inappropriate references to what I would do to you should I get you alone.


"Hmm, maybe the Mother of Kittens is a better option."

Dany gives Grey Worm Missandei’s slave collar, the only possession she kept with her when Team Targaryen crossed the Narrow Sea. But Grey Worm tosses it on the fire. He doesn’t want a reminder of his loss; Missandei was his “weakness”, remember? Now she’s gone, he needs to resume peak humano-droid-killer-bot status.

Jon Snow rocks up, and there’s an interesting moment in the subtitles where “Grey Worm” is not translated from Valyrian, but rather spelled out as “Torgo Nudho”. It doesn’t feel like a coffee-cup-esque mistake, so is it reinforcing his return to a more Essosian state?

Torgo Nudho leaves Dany alone with Jon Snow, who once again vehemently denies he wants anything to do with the Iron Throne. Dany says his sister Sansa killed Varys just as much as she did by breaking her oath to Jon; and now the Lady of Winterfell knows what happens to people who try to act on the truth about Dany.

Dany’s eyes are in raw blinkless crazy mode as she declares there is no love for her in Westeros, only fear. “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go and eat Grey Worm” - which is frankly inappropriate so soon after Missandei’s death and also physically impossible.

“I love you. You’ll always be my Queen,” declares Jon, slightly avoiding eye contact. Dany rises from her chair, and asks if that’s all she is to him, his Queen. She goes in for another snog, but Jon once again pulls away.

“All right then,” she says. “Let it be fear.”

Frustratingly, the camera cuts away from the conversation we should have seen, which was Jon telling Dany he’s just a bit weirded out because she’s his aunt and everything, and while he very much WANTS to ride the dragon again, he needs some time to work around the ethical quandaries in his head, having grown up in the non-incestuous North and all that. And then Dany might have said, oh, OK, well it’s super normie for us Targaryens, so I’m ready to bust your nuts as soon as you realise I’m a cool aunt, like, a punk rock aunt, not some fuddy duddy who used to make you cookies as a kid or whatever, and also, I’m feeling particularly isolated right now, and you’re in a prime position to help a gal out, with all due consent of course, I’m not a monster.

In the Dragonstone throne room, Tyrion begs Dany on behalf of the thousands of innocent residents of King’s Landing who will die if she burns the city. He compares them to the slaves of Meereen, but Dany says they rose up against their tyrant overlords, so is it her fault that the people of King’s Landing are too dopey to do the same? Tyrion’s like, bitch please, they’re scared and Dany’s like I know you are, but what am I.

Dany then launches into a worryingly Bond villain-esque speech about how Cersei thinks her mercy is weakness, but it’s actually strength, because Dany is showing sympathy for future generations by wiping out the possibility of future tyrants.

And to be fair, you can’t be held hostage by a tyrant if you don’t actually exist. That’s just basic maths.

As Dany tells Grey Worm to sail the Unsullied to King’s Landing to join the Northern forces for battle, Tyrion panics. He pleads with his Queen to call off the attack should the people turn on Cersei, ring the bells and open the gates. “Give them that chance,” he begs. Dany considers, and eventually nods her consent.

As he leaves, Dany surprises Tyrion with the news that Jaime has been caught trying to cross Targaryen lines to get back to Cersei. “The next time you fail me will be the last time you fail me,” she warns him. Tyrion is in divided loyalty territory now.

The next morning, Tyrion and Jon take a tender back to their forces’ encampment at the base of the cliffs outside the capital. There they are, two little men in a boat, neither able to find their Queen’s sweet spot.

Ser Davos tells them on landing that the rearguard will arrive by daybreak. Tyrion says the Queen wants to attack now, but Jon shows some backbone and declares daybreak at the earliest.

Tyrion asks Ser Davos Seaworth for a favour, something that will call on his smuggling skills. The Onion Knight knows he’s not going to like whatever it is.

That night, Tyrion goes to see Jaime, and there’s a brief moment of levity as he tries to speak Valyrian to the Unsullied soldiers guarding his brother. “We speak the common tongue,” one eventually says with perfect deadpan timing. Clearly the Unsullied are also trained in the speaking style of comedian Steven Wright along with the baby-killing and nads-removing.

Jaime and Tyrion’s final scene together was heartbreakingly good, full of the idiosyncrasies that made us love both of these characters. Tyrion is clever, Jaime is arrogant, both of them love with full hearts - even if it’s somewhat misplaced (particularly in Jaime’s case). In the end, Tyrion accepts that Jaime has resolved to be with Cersei, whether it’s in life or death. He pleads with his brother to make it life, and will help him escape as long as he convinces Cersei to leave with him by boat and sail away to a new life.


"You can sail, you can sail, with the Orinoco flow..."

It’s another insurance policy for Tyrion - he feels he can trust Jaime to order the Lannister troops to stand down, and to ring the bells and save a bloodbath. “Your Queen will execute you for this,” Jaime responds, but Tyrion thinks the life of tens of thousands of innocents is a fair trade for one not-so-innocent dwarf. He may be small, but in this moment Tyrion towers over everyone else in the land.

The pair embrace for what they seem to know will be the final time, with Tyrion breaking down in tears. He credits Jaime with being his only friend, for helping him survive a childhood his father and sister would rather he didn’t. The impending loss of that brotherly connection is more than Tyrion can bear. We talk a lot about Daenerys’ increasing isolation, but Tyrion is also losing friends faster than James Charles post Tati Westbrook call-out.


Unless you also spend your internet time in the black hole of beauty YouTube.

The morning in King’s Landing opens with a shot of the bell tower, the one Tyrion hopes will sound out the news of Dany’s victory in time to save the city a fate worse than death. The last time we saw a bell on Game of Thrones, it was the one from the Sept of Baelor, exploding out onto the street in a cloud of wildfire, crushing several peasants below. One can’t help wonder whether this bell will ring for liberation, or also be unexpectedly complicit in disaster.

We’ve already seen some short establishing shots of the city getting ready for invasion, with smallfolk flooding into the gates, including a mother and her daughter, holding onto a white horse toy for security.

The Hound and Arya, who rode confidently past the Lannister forces to get into King’s Landing, now join the human tide flowing towards the Red Keep, the ultimate stronghold. A newly escaped Jaime is there too, covering his face and hand in an effort to stave off further unwanted questions. But it turns out this time, nobody will care.

The cinematography in this episode is superlative, and not just in the battle sequences we are about to witness; but here, capturing the movement of soldiers into defensive positions, as well as the mad panic of civilians unprepared for what’s about to happen. The last time the city was sacked properly (Stannis having failed at the Battle of Blackwater Bay) was when Tywin Lannister marched his army in during the fall of Dany’s father, Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King. That was nearly a generation ago, so for many people they will be new to the sheer terror of a city-wide freak out, making it all the more intense.

Plus this time there’s a dragon - which makes all that closing of wooden shutters and doors somewhat pathetic.

The Golden Company march out to form the first line of defence at the northern gate, Harry Strickland sitting confidently atop a white horse out front, not even bothering with a helmet. They face the northern forces, the Stark rearguard forming in place, as Tyrion, Jon and Davos keep watch.

Tyrion reminds Jon that the sound of bells means a surrender, and to call off his men. Jon nods. Ever the reluctant conqueror, he would wish to avoid as much bloodspill as possible.

At the Red Keep, The Hound and Arya just make it inside before the gates close, pushing aside that mother and daughter the show has chosen to be our point of view inside the civilian population. They escape to the side before the crowd surges in against the doors, bringing to mind horrible images from the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.

Jaime tries revealing his hand, but luck is not on his side, and no Lannister soldiers recognise him. He flees the crowd to find a back way into the Red Keep.

Out on the Bay, the Iron Fleet watches the sky, Scorpions at the ready. It’s quiet.

A little too quiet.

Something stirs in the clouds high above. Euron tries to shield his eyes from the sun, but this time conditions are batting for Dany. Both she and Drogon have learned from the mistakes that saw Rhaegal taken out, and they are not inclined to repeat them.

Taking her cues from early airborne dogfighters, Dany dive bombs with the sun at her back, making it difficult for the Iron Fleet to get clear shots with their ballistas. Euron orders them to reload, turn and fire again, but it’s no use, the dragon is too close, and Dany is able to dodge. Drogon lets loose the first of what will be many streams of terror breath, then repeats and repeats.

From the aerial shot, there looked like dozens of Iron Fleet ships in the Bay; despite the Iron Islands famous lack of trees. Drogon burns them all.

Dany’s usual triumphant burning music underscores the scene, but in a different key; it is discordant, darker, building a more menacing tone as she heads towards the Lannister defences on the seaside of the Red Keep. Dany keeps Drogon close to the water, long enough for the Scorpions to be pointed low; she then breaks upwards as they fire. The Lannisters don’t have enough time to reload. Drogon burns them all.

All is quiet on the northern front; the Golden Company and Stark/Unsullied/Dothraki forces staring out at each other, waiting for some sort of sign.

Dany told Grey Worm to wait for her signal to attack; he would know when it was time. He steps forward; sensing it isn’t long now.

And something changes in the air.

The Golden Company soldiers feel it, and start to look around. Fear creeps over Harry Strickland’s face.

The gates blow out behind them, shattering stone all over the fancy mercenary army. Strickland’s horse is blown out from under him, landing twisted on the ground.

Grey Worm and the Unsullied charge forward; knowing the nightmarish inferno is probably the sign they were waiting for. Harry Strickland manages to get up as his soldiers burn, but turns to run back towards the blaze as a horde of Dothraki screamers bears down upon him. But it’s Grey Worm who ultimately dispatches Strickland with a spear through the back. Vale, Harry Strickland, you had about three lines in your minor appearances so late in the game.

Sidebar: seeing so many Dothraki was something of a shock, was it not? I thought they had all been taken out in the first charge against the White Walkers during the Battle of Winterfell. Nevertheless, there’s enough here to make a terrifying push into the streets of King’s Landing, their arakhs sweeping Great Grass Sea-style justice through the capital.

The Stark men follow suit, while Dany and Drogon burn the remaining Golden Company members outside the gate, and take out all the Scorpions stationed on the battlements, as well as most of the battlements themselves. We can see Tyrion picking a trail through mounds of bodies.

Watching over all of this from the top of the Red Keep is Cersei, resplendent in red velvet and golden armour. She’s a picture of ill-placed confidence, determined this is not her day to die.

Cersei: We just need one good shot.
Qyburn: Ummm, so yeah, about that. The Scorpions have all been burned.
Cersei: Well, Euron took down Rhaegal, he can do that again.
Qyburn: Hooo boy, so the thing is, the Iron Fleet is f***ed. And like, the Golden Company is mega-f***ed.
Cersei: Pffft, they were just dodgy sellswords and I wasn’t even gonna pay them anyway. Glad they’re dead. Now our fine fighting Lannister boys can get the job done!
Qyburn:

Grey Worm leads Jon Snow, Davos Seaworth and a phalanx of troops towards the Lannister army, and soon the two sides are facing off against each other across an intersection in front of the bell tower.

The leadership group move to the front, and the two sides stare each other down. It’s a callback to season one, to that moment Jaime confronted Ned about Catelyn capturing Tyrion outside Littlefinger’s brothel, when the wolves and lions brawled in the streets. Here they are again, Starks and Lannisters, but this time it’s on a macro scale.

Dany lands Drogon atop a turret on the northern wall of the city, the dragon seemingly inexhaustible despite pumping more napalm into the atmosphere than Richard Nixon.

For a moment, there is silence, the score ceases. The Lannister men throw down their swords; a surrender.

Tyrion can see the bell tower in front of him, and Dany on Drogon up to his right on the city walls.

“Ring the bells!” comes the distant cry, as someone, somewhere, tries to get through to the ropes of the bells and bring the invasion to a relatively peaceful conclusion.

Tyrion waits.

Jon waits.

Cersei waits.

Daenerys waits.

BONG.

The bells start to ring.

Cersei closes her eyes.

Dany’s eyes burn with tears, rage, fear and resolve.

This is the moment.

Eight seasons of build up have led us to this one moment, this one decision for Daenarys Stormborn, of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.

She stood by as her brother was crowned with gold for insolence.

She burned Mirri Maz Duur for effectively killing Khal Drogo.

She locked Xaro Xhoan Doxos in his own vault for arranging to steal her dragons.

She burned the slave masters of Astapor to free and recruit the Unsullied.

She crucified the slave masters of Meereen as punishment for their own crucifixion of slaves.

She burned the Masters’ fleet in the Bay of Dragons for failing to bend the knee.

She burned the Dothraki leaders at Vaes Dothrak for being weak and insulting her status.

She burned the Lannister forces in the Loot Train Battle after her allies from Dorne, Highgarden and the Iron Islands were betrayed.

She burned Randall and Dickon Tarly for failing to bend the knee.

She burned Varys for betraying her trust.

Yes, most of those she punished had blood on their hands as well. But while our girl Daenerys has always had high ideals, her execution of them is as grey as the beard on beautiful Ser Davos Seaworth’s face.

In her final march to the Iron Throne, she has lost two of her dragons, her close advisers Ser Jorah and Missandei of Narth, and half of her hard-won armies. She has lived her life with the one truth - that she was the true heir to the Seven Kingdoms. Now she has discovered that the one person she found love with turns out to have a better claim that her - not only by blood, but by the acclamation and love of the people.

Perhaps her fear of failing made her remember that her ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, did not have a claim to Westeros when he arrived 300 years earlier.

He took it - by fire and blood.

As she pulled Drogon into the sky once more, heading for the Red Keep, I cried out “No, Dany, no! Stop it right now!”

But while Game of Thrones may have had supernatural elements, it was never about superheroes.

Missandei’s last words were “Dracarys”, and that rings in Dany’s ears louder than any bells.

Daenerys Stormborn has made many good choices, many decent choices, and they still happened. But the closer she got to the Iron Throne, the more tenuous her grip on why she wanted it became. Now it is simply about possession, and destruction. She is breaking the wheel; but the people of King’s Landing are the spokes that will go in the process.

From this moment, we never see Daenerys Targaryen’s face again. She is removed from us as a human; we see only the fire made flesh, and the consequences of her terrible choice.

Sidebar: It would have been nice for Bran "Three-Eyed Raven" Stark to give somebody, anybody, a heads-up about that vision he had over a dragon flying over King's Landing. Around season 4 or 5 the shot of a dragon shadow over the capital flashed through one of his visions; we finally saw how it happened in this episode. Damnit, Bran, what's the use of you if you can't give Jon or Arya or even Dany herself a clue? But then, he wouldn't have felt scared by that shot as we did. Bran doesn't feel anything, least of all fear.

Cersei still can, though. She stares out as Drogon approaches the Red Keep, and the truth begins to sink in.

The people begin running again in the streets as the monster lets loose on the civilian population and their homes.

Tyrion is horrified. His victory is turning into a massacre.

The dragon’s movement breaks the spell over the soldiers below, and Grey Worm makes the same choice as his queen - he flips his spear up and kills the Lannister captain.

A frenzy of bloodlust ensues, with the northmen and Unsullied running wild with pent-up fear, anger, and revenge.

Jon Snow experiences the turmoil in a dreamlike state of shock. His breathing slows, his eyes bulge, he tries to turn his men back but can’t. Grey Worm doesn’t care - if he dies today, fine, it’s just a question of how many Lannisters he can take with him as he goes.

Bodies are destroyed, carved up, shattered. At one point a bloke has both hands cut off.

Ser Davos, ever kind-hearted, tries to help civilians escape, but it’s mayhem in the streets.

Jon’s own men begin slaughtering women and children; mothers and daughters.

Jon himself is forced to kill one of his own men who doesn’t take kindly to being pulled off a woman he plans to rape.

This is the reality of ground fighting; you may be on the “good” side, but you are not exempt from the terrors men do when they have no need to think of consequences.

But Jon is processing consequences - he has the brutal realisation that he leads a conquering invasion force, that the Lannister soldiers still standing and helping civilians where possible are trying to protect their home, just as Jon and the gang stood to defend Winterfell against the White Walkers, the great evil.

Jon has always seen himself as a man of honour, Ned Stark’s son. Now he is grappling with his new identity - is this what it means to be a Targaryen?

Jaime Lannister finds his way to the secret entrance to the Red Keep, and finds the dinghy there, as promised.

But he also finds Euron MacGregor, who managed to survive being blown off his vessel only to swim to this exact point of the shore at this exact time. It’s a little too convenient, but we’ll overlook that for the dramatic effect.

As far as he’s concerned, Euron’s f***ed the queen, which makes him a king (his status as King of the Iron Islands being somewhat in flux given his niece Yara has apparently taken them back). Jaime only wants to get to Cersei, but Euron wants to fight the man who f***ed the queen first, saying they’ll talk about Jaime forever if he kills ANOTHER king.

The two have a brutal hand-to-hand fight to the death, with Jaime taking multiple stab wounds before managing to get the sword he picked up somewhere in the city through Euron’s gut. The Kingslayer (x2) manages to stumble off to climb his way into the Red Keep, while Euron dies ecstatic that he killed the Kingslayer. Vale Euron, you crazy bastard.


"What do you mean, nobody ever really liked me as a character?"

With Drogon blasting down the Red Keep’s towers one at a time, and almost the entire city burning below her, Cersei can no longer ignore reality.

She cries as Qyburn tells her it isn’t safe anymore and they should head to Maegor’s Holdfast. She puts her hand in his, literally handing over her authority to him as to what happens next.

Down below, the Hound and Arya have made it to an old Season Seven favourite - Cersei’s GIANT WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP! How great to see it one last time.

Arya has been intent on finishing her list and killing Cersei this whole time, but with the keep under attack, the Hound decides it’s time to lay down the law. He tells her Cersei is dead, no matter what happens, and Arya should go home. He even grabs her and makes her look at him, to see what life is for someone wholly motivated by revenge. You want to be like me? In that moment, Arya is not the stone-cold assassin, but a little girl again.

For almost two seasons, the Hound was her twisted father figure, and it’s fitting in this moment he gives her the greatest gift of all - a mission other than death. He puts his giant hand around the back of her head, easily encasing her skull. “You come with me… and you die today,” he declares, then pats her on the shoulder and walks off.

What do we say to the God of Death? Not today. It’s been a ruling mantra for Arya since her dancing lessons with Syrio Forel, another father figure who made her leave to avoid death.

“Sandor,” she says, using the Hound’s real name for the first time. “Thank you.”

It’s a bittersweet parting, as we know what’s about to happen.

~~~ CLEGANE BOWL ~~~

The Hound greets his brother, the Queen and Qyburn on the stairs, and easily dispatches the rest of Cersei’s Queen’s Guard.

“Hello, big brother,” he deadpans, as Cersei demands the Zombie Mountain stay by her side. Ser Gregor’s red eyes turn on her, and why Qyburn steps in to insist he protect her, he squishes the Hand’s head with one hand, and tosses him down the staircase where he splatters all over the stone work (lucky the keep is about to fall to pieces, that would be hell to scrub out). Vale Qyburn, you creepy bastard.

Cersei does a polite “Well, you two obviously have a thing here, so I’m just going to, yep, I’ll just get out of your way, bye then” move out of the way, allowing the brothers to face up against each other for the first time since the dragon pits. With all the annoying diplomacy of that occasion not here to stop their baser instincts, the pair begin their ultimate annihilation of each other.

Sandor knocks Gregor’s helmet off, revealing his Darth Vader-esque “face”. “That’s what you’ve always been,” the Hound growls, continuing his attack. The writers are no doubt reminding us that while the Zombie Mountain is a terrifying flesh machine with no soul or ability to feel pain, there is a remnant of Gregor still inside, a remnant still motivated to finish what he started when he thrust his younger brother’s head on the fire all those years ago.

Their fight scene lives up to the Clegane Bowl hype, and exceptionally well-choreographed and shot. The Hound delivers blow after blow upon the Mountain, and his plaintive cry of “F***ing die!” will go down as one of the best lines of the season. We all felt you in that moment, Sandor.

Zombie Mountain goes for his finishing move, the one he pulled on Oberyn Martell pre-zombification - the double eye crusher. The Hound screams in pain, but manages to grab his dagger feel his brother’s face, and stab him through the head.

He can barely see, but enough to know the Mountain is just calmly pulling the dagger out of his face, ready to recommence his assault once more. It’s in this moment the Hound knows there is only one option left. After a lifetime of being deathly afraid of fire, he pushes himself forward, and crash tackles his brother through the weakening wall behind them, and the two plummet out and down, into the flames, like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty going over the Reichenbach Falls in the style of a WWE Hell in The Cell match.

Cersei finds her way to the GIANT WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP, just in time for it to poetically, ironically and spectacularly crack right through the continent.

It’s then, with everyone left to her lost, that she sees Jaime, stumbling out of the dust.

They embrace, and no words need to be said between these hopelessly co-dependent twincestors. That is, until Cersei realises she literally has Jaime’s blood on her hands. “You’re hurt,” she says. “It doesn’t matter,” replies her brother.

Jaime leads her all the way down to the caverns under the keep, where the skulls of dragons past are kept. They were once the conquering forces, particularly Balerion the Dread, Aegon Targaryen’s own dragon.

The city built on the site of their conquest is now being destroyed by their descendants.

Jaime leads Cersei to the tunnel out of the cavern, only to find it blocked by debris. He tries to find another way out, but they are stuck. They can’t go forward and they can’t go back.

It’s at this point of realising she has no way out that Cersei breaks down. “I want our baby to live,” she repeats, over and over. “I don’t want to die, not like this, not like this.”

There’s an old tale that Jaime Lannister came into the world holding onto his sister’s foot. If Cersei led them both towards life, it’s Jaime now who leads Cersei towards death.

“All that matters is us," he tells her.

Cersei is calmed, and lets Jaime comfort her, as the world falls in on them.

With apologies to Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson, I present a final song for the Twins Lannister:

It’s a fiery afternoon
In King’s Landing
The big city
Geez, it’s been forty years
Cersei, you were so fine

Beautiful, beautiful girl from the south
I kissed your ass whenever you kissed my mouth
I had Brienne, but she wasn’t for me
You gave me kids, all three

Cersei, Cersei, Cersei, I can’t let you go
All my life, you’re haunting me, I loved you so
Cersei, Cersei, Cersei, I can’t let you go
You’re so crazy
Cersei, baby

Yeah, well it hurt me real bad when you left
But now, I’m too scared of death
To be pissed with you

I’ve had a bun in my tum for so long
I tried to fake it, said it was Euron’s
Outside the Keep
The dragon roars and flames
There goes my Throne
of Games
of Games

Jaime, Jaime, Jaime I can’t let you go
Help me leave this shithole or else it’ll blow
Jaime, Jaime, Jaime Edgar Allen Poe
Was not as crazy
As us two, baby

Cersei Cersei Cersei, look at me and know
All that matters now is how we leave this show
Jaime Jaime Jaime, here come tumbling bricks
Hate mail’s pending
With this ending

When it comes to Cersei and Jaime’s end, we do have to address Cersei’s elephant-NOT-in-the-room: why didn't she suffer more?

Would it have been great to see Cersei stabbed by Arya? Maybe - but then Arya scolded the Freys for killing Talisa, a woman with a babe in her belly, before she murdered them all. Could she have brought herself to do the same thing to Cersei? Isn’t it better for Arya’s future that she reconsider her life of 100% pure vengeance as per the Hound’s entreaty?

So who else was there to do it? Would it have been satisfying to have Euron kill her? For Qyburn or The Mountain to turn on her? For the mob to tear her to pieces in the street? Where would the emotional satisfaction be in that?

And what of Daenarys? She’s ultimately responsible for Cersei’s death with her assault on the Red Keep. Conceivably, a stand off between the two could have been great television. But we know how it would have ended - with Cersei being burned alive. We’ve already seen Varys die that way this episode, so wouldn’t that have been slightly anti-climactic?

Cersei has ALWAYS skated close to the edge of oblivion and somehow got away: Robert Baratheon died before Ned Stark could tell him her children were all Jaime’s; King’s Landing survived the Battle of Blackwater Bay just when she was about to poison herself and Tommen; her father tried to marry her off to Loras Tyrell but she snaked out of it thanks to his death; the Faith Militant threw her in jail but her walk of shame punishment only gave her more justification for their murder; she lied to Jon, Dany and Tyrion about sending her army north to fight the White Walkers to bolster her own position in the south.

With this conclusion, Cersei doesn’t escape punishment, but she gets to face it in the arms of the only adult she’s ever loved, the only family she has left. I felt sorry for her in the same way I felt sorry for Joffrey when he died, despite four seasons of relishing in my hate for the little prick.

These characters were terrible, they did dreadful things, they had golden looks but rotten cores. But to those that would say Jaime’s redemption arc crashed out, perhaps consider instead the good he was able to do before this moment, thanks to his experience in captivity, and with Brienne, and fighting against Dany, then with Dany against death itself. He showed himself to be a man of honour; but still a man with a fatal flaw. If there is a figure worthy of Shakespearean tragedy in all this, surely it is Jaime Lannister.

The final moments of the Hound’s struggle against the Mountain are juxstaposed with Arya making her way through the crumbling city.

There are some incredible tracking shots of Arya scrambling through passages, courtyards and side streets trying to find some way out. Eventually she is knocked down, but the mother and daughter with the white horse toy help her back up, only for Arya to be immediately swept away from them again by the torrential sweep of terrified citizens.

As for Jon Snow, my beloved, still in the centre of the fighting, still in shock, sees caches of wildfire going up all around the city. These were no doubt leftovers Cersei had the pyromancers hang on to after she blew up the Sept of Baelor, you know, just in case. Although perhaps not - you’d think if Cersei knew she still had wildfire she would have tried to better weaponise it to fight dragons.

It’s also a horrible callback to Mad King Aerys wanting to blow up King’s Landing with wildfire back when Dany was being born. Turns out he was just twenty-something years too early.

Jon sees Davos, and understands what’s happening. The Queen he loved, the Queen he bent the knee to, the Queen he insisted others would come to know and love, has gone rogue. He always knew it was a possibility; he said as much to Varys at the beginning of the episode - "It is her choice." But now he sees the full cost of Dany making a terrible decision - and orders his troops to fall back, and get out of the city, lest they be sitting ducks for her barbeque.

Arya wakes, covered in ash and shoot, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the September 11 terror attacks in New York. She coughs up half of Fleabottom realising the bell tower is about to fall on her. She manages to escape its plummet to earth, finding herself in an as-yet-untouched house, facing the same mother and daughter with the white horse.

Arya insists they leave in order to survive. It’s entirely possible she was right to do so, as the house could have been flambed at any moment. But by taking the mother and daughter into the street, she unfortunately guaranteed their doom. In the mad rush, the mother is run over by Dothraki horses, the bloodriders cutting down anyone they see, their tradition for generations before Dany told them to behave better.

Arya tries to help her up, the girl’s cries of “Mama! Mama! Mama!” hard to hear. But Drogon is bearing down on them all, and she can’t move fast enough. “Take her, take her!” she begs, and Arya tries to get the girl away from the direct path of danger. But the girl snaps back, screams at Arya and runs back to her mother - as any scared child would. Arya dives behind a wall just in time to avoid the blow from Dragon that roasts the mother and daughter alive.

When she wakes, Arya is the only survivor. The hero of Winterfell, the girl who slayed the Night King - beaten and bloodied by the collapse of a city under dragonfire.

She sees the mother and daughter’s bodies, entwined in death, the white horse toy still in the girl’s small hand. Arya, not known for her emotions, cannot stop tears sliding down her ashen face. For the first time in a long time, she had put other people's safety over her own single-minded pursuit of her own murder-y goals. And when she failed them, she couldn't just be an expressionless killer. The Hound gave her back some of her humanity.

And then, amidst the smoking and burning ruins, she hears a sound, and turns to find the white horse writ large. Like a miracle, the horse appears in the middle of the street, riderless, saddle-less, with blood on its body and burns on its legs.

Arya approaches the horse gently, and soothes the anxious beast. She mounts the horse and takes off, a lone figure, galloping out of the city, on her way to who knows what.

White horses have all sorts of mythic properties, connected to both life and death in many cultures. Perhaps the most famous quote about them for our purpose comes from the Book of Revelations: “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

Death is the theme that has followed Arya Stark through eight seasons of Game of Thrones, and while she’s promised the Hound she won’t lead a life like his, there’s still a good chance of her saddling up for a vengeance ride at least one more time.

What might Jon say to Dany if he sees his little sister (actually cousin) so badly beaten up from the sack of the city? And what might Dany say to the God of Death, if it comes in the form of a tiny assassin on horseback?

So with apologies to Daryl Braithwaite, Arya gets a song as well:

She survived, way up high
Where Cleganes trade blows
But in the ash, falling thick and fast
With all the innocents she goes
And this whole situation will get her aggravated
She’ll watch the whole world fall apart
She will see the beautiful horse
That manifests her heart
Can’t you hear her?
The girl has a name
Stark of Winterfell, and from there she came

That's the way it's gonna be, little Arya
You’ll go riding on white horses, yeah yeah
Choose whom you want to die, little Arya
But if Jon falls, go pick him up, pick him up

She will go, and you just know
She will get really steely-eyed
And even then, she won’t give in
To Dany’s journey to the dark side
I hear all the people of the north
In one girl’s gutteral cry
You’ll see her try every way she knows how
To make the bad one fly
Can’t you see her?
She’s not on the ground
She’s atop a steed, it’s all quite profound

That's the way it's gonna be, little Arya
You’ll bring death on those white horses, yeah
You will make ‘em cry, little Arya
But if Jon falls please pick him up, pick him up

That's the way it's gonna be, little Arya
Keep on riding those white horses, yeah yeah
Your bro should be the guy, little Arya
Jon may be dumb but pick him up, pick him up

Yay! Best Moments

In terms of emotional punch, Jaime and Tyrion’s final scene was so touching I nearly cried.

In terms of spectacle, Dany torching all of King’s Landing was ferocious, terrifying and incredibly well produced.

Zing! Best Lines

Arya telling a confused Lannister soldier that "I'm Arya Stark. I'm going to kill Queen Cersei" was badass, but just pipped by another Tyrion/Jaime classic exchange:

Tyrion: How did they find you?
Jaime: shows golden hand
Tyrion: Did you ever consider taking it off?
Jaime: Cersei once said I was the stupidest Lannister.

Ew, gross

The gore factor this episode rocketed up on the Battle of Winterfell, which to be fair was a lot darker. Here the blood glistened wet and red in the sunlight, as swords cut through torsos, heads were speared, and did I mention the dude who had both hands cut off? Crazy.

Boo, sucks

Once again, I’ve been sensing there’s a lot of anger about this episode. Yes, there are issues of pacing, and disappointment that character development we have grown to cherish felt abandoned. There’s a valid argument to be made that this season could have done with a few more episodes to build tension (although I would counter that had that been the case, we’d all be reading backlash takes on how slow the action was moving).

But this is the story the way the writers and producers have chosen to tell it, and they are still doing shocking things to upturn our expectations. All of the heroes we built inside our minds were just that - our own creations, not theirs.

I also get the sense some will be angry that the victory of women against their oppressors and tyrants in earlier seasons may have been undermined by the fall of Cersei and Dany into super villain territory. But why do men get a monopoly on power corrupting? To suggest women aren’t capable of making terrible choices as much as any man undercuts the very plea that we be considered on the same intellectual playing field, and susceptible to the same human vices. Women aren’t the problem; untethered power is.

Dany did much that was right in her career as a conqueror. As mentioned, many of her brutal decisions were justified or at least understandable for this kind of world. But tyrants are sometimes good guys first.

Daenerys has committed an unthinkable war crime, and it remains to be seen if she will escape any retribution - or if Arya or Jon or anyone else will deliver justice to her.

There is one episode left.

May we have good fortune in the wars to come.

Goodness me, kittens. I could be completely wrong on all of this. There has probably been a million recaps and reviews and critical think pieces released already that make better arguments than me. I don't even know how funny this recap is, and god knows if I don't bring the funny, what's the use of me?!

It's very late as I finally get this posted, so I want to say a special thank you to all readers for your patience, and a particular thank you to all of my Patreon subscribers for still paying me. This week's Patreon champions are: Anna, Bernadette M, Eoin N, Jan D, Anthony B, Chris L, Patrick C, MTE, Tony L, Jarrah G, Kostas S, Michael C, Sean J-W, Robert L, Jake F, Eric L, Dominic H, Kynan N, Michelle B, and Katie B.

I'm slightly stunned that there is only one more episode of Game of Thrones ever. What am I going to do without you all!?!? The time is upon me to work out some other recap options - but first, let us dance with dragons one final time. Valar Morghulis!

3 Responses to ‘Raven On Recap: GoT S8E5 "The Bells"’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted May 16
I haven't watched this season yet, waiting till all are down to binge and reading other pieces on this episode I was feeling like I was going to skip the season entirely as it seems to boil down Dany's rage as 'Bitches be crazy', your recap gives a depth to her choice I hadn't read and while problematic with all the reasons you outline above I am feeling more like I want to watch it thanks to your take.

It's a shame I was hoping Urine Greyjoy would escape and flee to the Iron Islands only to find Yara sitting on the Salt Throne when he got there.

Also possible another editing mistake https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/14/entertainment/game-of-thrones-jaime-hand-trnd/index.html

And for those of us who watched the Neverending story as children the scene with Arya and the horse was a joy since it looks like Artax escaped the swamp. I assume Natalie has never seen The Neverending Story, the Stu that was promised can bring up to speed on this topical reference.

Someone on twitter did make the observation the scene with Jamie and Cersei was foreshadowed in series one when Jamie pushed Bran out of the window, much as they threw Jamie's characterization out the window this series.

The last episode of Game of Thrones ever airs next week, and the finale will be 1 hour and 20 minutes long.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 16
Look this is not your funniest recap, but I think it's possibly the best one you've done, out of the many many many amazing recaps you've written. I'm in the minority that thought this was a great episode, and I'm so on board with your argument about the issue being unchecked power, not "wimmen" being betrayed by Dany and Cersei becoming supervillains.

I had a long discussion with a work colleague about all this, and our discussion boiled down to "no one is a villain in their own story." Dany's switch to supervillain has been foreshadowed for EIGHT SEASONS as you pointed out; the difference was that her story was told from her POV, and she's the last person to think that she's evil. If her story had been told from the POV of the people she's been conquering all this time, then our take on her would be different. I think the switch from Dany's perspective to the perspective of the thousands of innocents trying to escape their Sept 11/Pompeii was a key storytelling feature - suddenly she's not the merciful conqueror, but a supervillain on a dragon.

People seem to be angry because Dany's switch to supervillain seems too sudden, but they've been building up to this all season. She was raised to believe that she would be welcomed as a liberator by the people of Westeros, but she was smacked in the face by reality when she finally turned up and literally no one cared. And THEN she discovers that her lifelong personal narrative has been a lie, when she finds out Jon has a better claim to the throne than she does. Now that I've had several days to ruminate on this episode, I think it would have been less realistic and out of character for her to NOT burn Kings Landing to the ground, especially after the loss of Jorah and Missandei, and in particular the way Missandei died.

Tyrants, when they realise their grip on power is slipping, their advisors are having second thoughts and the people are maybe not on board with their policies, NEVER say "oops, my bad, I'll just go retire to the Caymans somewhere." No, they double, triple down, and if they have to kill every one of their citizens to make the point that things could be worse if they weren't in charge then they will do so and not think twice about it. And Dany proved she is a tyrant several seasons ago :(

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Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted May 16
Fun fact: I have a box of hammers in my shed that are individually and collectively 100x smarter than Jon Snow.

Good grief, have we ever met a dumber character? He's handy in a fight, but imagine him on the throne, being manipulated by, frankly, anyone, all of whom can outmaneuver him intellectually. He makes Ned look positively sophisticated.

A lot of good in that episode, but the twins' resolution was meh. And quite possibly it's the most GRRM thing in it, the whole 'you thought this was a redemption arc, bwah-ha-ha suffer' thing. As a surprise twist on the valonqar prophecy it was, sorry George, pissweak.

Ah well, only one more to go. Will Tyrion make it to the credits?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1URvDyzh8uI

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Sobering afternoon

Posted May 15 by John Birmingham

I'm prepping for the publicity demands of two books at the moment. ZERO DAY CODE, coming out on Audible, July 4. And THE CRUEL STARS dropping in hardback and ebook later in August.

I've been busy.

I was tweaking the marketing plans for both, going back though my Twitter followers looking for journalists and publications to send samples and freebies.

So many journos have left the industry. So many mastheads have closed down, just in the last couple of years.

And of course there's people like poor Adam Denny, who used to be a regular here, who moved to Alaska to be with a new partner, and down to San Francisco when that didn't work, and who died there, alone. I felt terrible when I came across his Twitter page, and couldnt bring myself to unfollow. It seemed like it would be cruel.

He wasn't the only one who passed. I still follow Sam de Brito and Mark Colvin and a couple of other souls no longer with us. But it was sobering, having seen so many individuals who just sort of dropped out of contact, to then find Adam again, and to wonder how many are gone for good, like him.

7 Responses to ‘Sobering afternoon’

Dirk reckons...

Posted May 15
Sometimes the best tend to go first ...

Begs the question: is that hovercraft of yours Podcast enabled?

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted May 15
I spent a breakfast with him.

I always thought he'd get the better of the Gods of Fate.

Little did I know.

On the Outer Marches
Murph
A guy who teaches history to a few.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted May 15
Those names.

I remember Adam mainly for his fanfic. Think he did a couple for the Axis of Time series. Had a link to that old stuff but it got hoovered up.

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Bangar would have you know...

Posted May 15
Vale Adam

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jl mutters...

Posted May 15
Met a lot of interesting people over the years, others I can only regret I didn't and can't. A proposal; there should be a 'Burger get-together somewhere at a set time and date. Brisbane is fine, but there needs to be a long lead time for planning purposes.

she_jedi mutters...

Posted May 16
I'm up for this!

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NBlob asserts...

Posted May 18
We had a couple of grey, off-label Burger get togethers. I remember one Jen attended via Tele-presence.
Respect to Adam. Adulting is hard.

As for the new Birmo 'Splodey, insert greedy glee emoji.

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The cage, he assured a mortified human race, “was never used and we have no plans for usage”

Posted May 15 by John Birmingham

Did a quick bit for my brother's site about an Amazon patent for 'caged workers'.

Robots will probably kill us all one day — but first, they’ll put us in cages. A truly forward-thinking entrepreneur would get in on this exciting opportunity to grab the first-mover advantage in the cutting edge field of robot slave/worker drone relationships … and a truly forward-thinking entrepreneur did.

Jeff Bezos, come on down!

In 2016, one of the sentient organ banks from Amazon’s terrifying legal division filed a patent application to secure the intriguing idea of caging warehouse workers in the Beast of Bezos’s fulfillment centres. Not because they might run away when they realised what sort of gig they’d signed on for, but because killer robots on the warehouse floor might hyper-efficiently package them up and despatch them in a small cardboard box, overnight, anywhere in the continental US.

Resistance is futile.

which50.com

4 Responses to ‘The cage, he assured a mortified human race, “was never used and we have no plans for usage”’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted May 15
Having a patent is a negative right, so Amazon don't specifically have a right to use this technology, but they can prevent others from developing it, so they're the good guys, right? Right?

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jl would have you know...

Posted May 15
Holy. Sh*t.

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Naut would have you know...

Posted May 15
I have worked at some places that should consider launching a patent dispute

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted May 15
The cage looks like a chicken wire dunny construction with a mechanical claw for arse wiping. Its the kind of thing a thirst maddened bushie with a near-death grin would put together after reading a compilation of Barnaby Joyce tweets.
Everyone knows mechanical claws are only good at shit picking, not wiping. That's why the design was rejected.

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