GAME OF THRONES: The Roundtable

The FOTS team comes together for a freewheeling chat about Season 4, and it gets intense.

What follows is the transcript of our chat. We couldn’t possibly cover everything, but we tried. References to the books are plentiful, but spoilers are redacted. It has also been edited for clarity and grammar, which took a very long time.

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David: So hey, everybody! Let’s get the ball rolling: was this the best season of Game of Thrones, or what?

Rachel: Or What.

Nathan: It had some great moments, but it left me feeling pretty empty on the whole — the other seasons left me craving more, not so much with S4.

Chase: I was really apprehensive the first half of the season, but After 5-6 episodes of setup they finally got the ball rolling in the second half. Was it the best season yet, though? I wouldn’t go that far.

Rachel: I feel we came leaps and bounds in character development, relationships, and plot, but Season 3 would still be the best, IMO.

David: Okay, so I’m clearly alone in that view. That’s fine. Just to clarify: Nathan, you’re the only non-reader in this group, right?

Nathan: Yes, but I’ve had so much spoiled for me that I might as well have read it.

Rachel: For shame, Nathan. For. Shame.

Chase: “Bookreader.” The Mudblood of Game of Thrones fandom.

Nathan: S1 ended and it was all “Whoa, Ned’s dead! War is coming! Dragons!” S2 ended and it was all “Whoa, Blackwater happened! Dany raided Qarth! Things are really moving!” S3 ended and it was like “Dany is the Mhysa! Dragons are awesome! OMG Red Wedding! So much is happening!!!” But S4 be all “Errbody dead, dragons in chains, folks be getting on boats.”

David: I think there are a LOT of things the show is actually doing better than what was on the page, particularly with characters like Tywin and The Hound, but even I couldn’t help be annoyed by a few of the choices they made this year. For example, the overindulgence at Craster’s Keep.

Rachel: All versions of art should be judged on their own merit. Season 4, in particular, is tough for fans of the books. I think if you take it on its value alone, this season was about each character deciding their course and finally figuring out the path each would take. There were beautifully handled, quiet moments without the torture porn or just…you know, porn…that allowed real connections and characterized these archetypes as actual people. It’s something that needed a visual medium like television. So for the characters, I think this season is a success over the book. For shock and awe, the books handled things better.

Nathan: With the exception of Viper v. Mountain. That was a pretty powerful scene.

Chase: Well put, Rachel. For all the huge battles and CGI dragons, GoT always works best in its quiet moments. Like Oberyn in Tyrion’s cell.

David: Or Jamie and Tyrion in Tyrion’s cell.

Nathan: Or any scene with Tyrion.

Chase: David, you say people’s feeling this season come from the lack of the “good/heroic” Stark family to follow and stand in for the viewers. Still feel that way?

David: I’m not sure I can speak for others, but I can imagine how punishing it must be (particularly after the Viper/Mountain fight) to feel like there’s nothing left worth rooting for.

Nathan: I’m inclined to agree with you there, David. I’m still not over the Viper.

David: So we’re talking “most shocking moment,” it was obviously that. Because — GEEZ.

Rachel: For me, the Hound/Brienne fight was more satisfying than the Mountain/Viper. Not as shocking, sure, but in more ways more brutal.

David: And that wasn’t even in the books, so that’s an example of the show taking these characters that it’s developed so well, and using them in unexpected but satisfying ways.

Nathan: Well if brutal = satisfying, then sure. There was definitely a lot of “please just stop” for me watching that one. It’s a hard scene to watch when you’re so invested in both of them.

Rachel: Well, it made more sense than the fight in the books and gave Brienne and the Hound equal weight. Season 4 might have had the best performances so far on the show. Give it all the awards.

Chase: It’s also a good show of the series’s ambiguity. Both fan favorite characters. Both wanting to protect Arya Stark. Who do you root for?

Nathan: Exactly. I was terrified Arya was going to stab Brienne in the back.

Rachel: You have to root for Arya: someone who has lived her life rebelling against authority finally has a moment of freedom, even from those who want the best for her.

David: All Brienne had to do was show Arya that bread wolf. Did Pod eat it?

Nathan: Probably. Pod is something of a screwup. Except in the sack.

Rachel: The wolf was most likely on the horse.

Nathan: Oh yeah. Which Pod screwed up.

David: So it’s still Pod’s fault.

Chase: Let’s pour one out for Rory McCann. AMAZING death scene.

Rachel: Is it a death scene?

Nathan: He’s not dead until we watch him die.

Chase: Oh geez. [REDACTED REDACTED]

David: The show says yes. The books just like keeping you busy with theories.

David: Who is this season’s MVP?

Nathan: Performance: Tyrion. Character: Oberyn.

David: I have to stick with Peter Dinklage, because he had an incredible monologue about every other episode and killed it.

Rachel: B*tches, please. Peter Dinklage is the only answer.

Nathan: They could’ve just given him the statue during the court scene… and then there were like three more great episodes for him. Definitely “killed it” there at the end. Har har har.

Rachel: The point is, Dinklage never needed a monologue. Just the moments played on his face can surpass anything Emilia Clarke pouted through this season.

Chase: I know everyone loves Dinklage. That’s a given. He’s always great. But for me (and I know this isn’t a popular opinion), I thought his big trial scene was a little bit hammy. I didn’t love it. For me it had to be Maisie Williams’s Arya. She’s so great for someone so young. She’s also arguably the only character who understands the morality of the show – that there is none. When she hears that Lysa Arryn is dead, she just laughs at that twist of fate. Her scenes with Tywin (S2) and the Hound (S4) were the highlights of their seasons. She’s incredible.

David: Her laughing at the Bloody Gate is one of my favorite moments, for sure.

Rachel: Maisie Williams gets silver. She also has command of her character outside of dialogue. She is always present in every scene, never breaking. It’s a pleasure to watch her.

Chase: And she’s so YOUNG. She acts circles around Kit Harrington’s pouts.

David: Yeah, I really needed Harrington to step up big this season, and he’s improving, but… you know.

Nathan: I’m still not sure if I was underwhelmed with Ygritte’s funeral because of Harrington, or just because I really wanted the episode to move on.

Chase: I thought that scene was fine, but him pouting directly into the camera…not so much.

Rachel: I just have very little “give a crap” for Ygritte. And the showrunners’ decision to have her save a baby in order for the audience to care when she dies is such a ridiculous miscarriage of screentime and manipulative writing.

Nathan: I thought it was a tidy way for Sam’s girl to survive the event.

Rachel: If someone didn’t shoot her with an arrow soon, I was planning to claw my eyes out.

Chase: You’re so hard on young female actresses, Rachel. first Shailene Woodley and now this? Haha

Nathan: For you, Rachel:

David: Ollie’s hero pose…

Rachel: Excuse me, I adore Maisie Williams, I’m fairly sure I said that. But I blame the writing for Emilia Clarke, and Rose Leslie did a bang-up job telling Jon Snow he knows nothing….just never rooted for Ygritte. Always found her actions deplorable.

David: So if the Jon/Ygritte doomed romance didn’t work that well, whose fault is that? Because I’ve never had a problem with Rose Leslie.

Rachel: It has nothing to do with performances. Ygritte is a Wildling, plain and simple, but one full of selfish reasoning and emotions over that of Mance. She would kill a child to advance her plight but save a baby the next moment because….Plot! Jon Snow loved her because he got to sink the snake in the pit, plain and simple. It just wasn’t, on screen, a love story.

Nathan: It was fine last season, but it was just her being pissed off all season that didn’t work for me. I get it, Ygritte. You “hate” him. We all totally buy it. Stop reminding us. We know you aren’t going to be able to kill him. Even as a non-reader that moment seemed terribly predictable for a show that lives to surprise its viewers.

David: I promised I wouldn’t put on my “well, in the books…” hat, but that’s one moment that really did suffer in adaptation… originally, she’s killed in a volley of arrows as part of a group, and Jon is wracked with guilt because he thinks it might have been his.

Chase: But that story is so symbolic of [REDACTED THEORY]!!! GAH!

David: Stop that!!!

The Viper and the Mountain just hangin’ out

Nathan: Bronze would go to Pascal in my book.

Rachel: Agreed, Nathan.

David: Man, how about Pedro Pascal. Created such an indelible character SO quickly.

Chase: YES! Another of the great performances from “lesser” characters this season. Christie’s Brienne, McCann’s Hound, and Pascal at the top of the list.

David: It seemed too good to be true, and it was. The thing that was awesome about Oberyn was that he was the only one who seemed to be having any fun…

Rachel: Or that he “gets it” like Arya.

Chase: His “Tell your father I’m here, and the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts” was a highlight of the season for me. The Viper is a fan favorite even in the books and he absolutely killed it. So sad we only got him for 8 episodes.

Nathan: And points for being an openly bisexual hedonistic protagonist.

David: He swaggers into King’s Landing, this pan-sexual demigod, and you’re like “This guy is cool! Oh man, AND he’s heroically seeking vengeance against the Lannisters?”

Nathan: Not many of those around.

David: And then the show takes your excitement over him and smashes his head. It’s like a reverse Nikki/Paulo.

Chase: Oberyn’s problem is that he never wanted to just kill the Mountain. He could have dispatched him easily. His need to draw out that confession is what gets him killed. The show destroying him with his “quest for justice.” THERE’S some darkness for you. Killing is okay — justice is unacceptable!

Nathan: Can we talk about how pissed we’re going to be if we end up with “Zombie Mountain” next season?

David: Ah, yes. So unfair.

Chase: You’re going to end up with Zombie Mountain. They made that clear.

Nathan: He’s supposed to be dead. Super dead. Painfully dead.

Rachel: He’s Bane.

David: Does it even count as justice by Oberyn’s standards?

Rachel: Oberyn was never out for “justice” — he was out for vengeance and exposure of his own “truths.” Justice can happen in private. Vengeance demands an audience. Thus, his downfall.

Chase: That’s the thing about being a book reader. On one hand you know what’s coming. You get these great foreshadowing shots of Melisandre looking at Jon in the finale. You understand who the man in the tree is. But on the other hand it can RUIN your enjoyment of an episode. The perfect example is “The Watchers on the Wall.” A wonderfully made episode, helmed by the amazing Neil Marshall. An exploration of the Watch’s bravery, loyalty and discipline. But then you know Stannis is supposed to show up at the end of that fight, and it doesn’t happen, so instead of enjoying the excellence you just saw you end up saying “Wait, that’s it? Where’s Stannis?” Your subverted expectations screw you.

David: I agree; it definitely hampered my enjoyment of “Watchers on the Wall” the first time. And here, in the finale, everyone is freaking out because they didn’t include a certain something from the epilogue of A Storm of Swords.

Chase: Whch the internet decided to spoil for everyone anyways.

Nathan. I thought that was pretty funny that they did that. The internet, spoiling everything like that. Stupid internet.

David: Well, these secrets have been pent up for YEARS. We were supposed to have dropped all of our largest bombs by the end of this season. It was going to get easier.

Chase: If this show has taught us anything, it’s that you can hide huge secrets from the masses for years if you just put them in a book.

Nathan: Haha. What are the book fans going to do now? It’s been four years of “big things coming, just you wait!”

David: Now it’s “I DON’T KNOW IF THIS WILL STILL BE GOOD, YOU GUYS”

Nathan: Pretty much.

Chase: There’s still things, but the show already has a big challenge on its hands streamlining the Book 4/5 storylines into one.

David: Oh, I think they can make something out of books 4 and 5.

Rachel: I think they have earned the benefit of the doubt. However, there were moments in this season meant JUST for readers. For example, the necklace scene in the Purple Wedding. Can we talk about that, instead of harping on things that haven’t happened yet?

Chase: Right? Everyone’s most hated character died and we haven’t even talked about it.

Nathan: It seems so long ago.

Chase: And the PW is probably an IMPROVEMENT on the books. The way Joffrey uses that moment to piss of almost everyone in attendance.

David: One of the many, many things the show does so well — taking a thoroughly despicable character and actually making you feel sorry for him at the moment of his death. I couldn’t believe these things the show was making me feel about Joffrey.

Nathan: Not so much for me. After his book-slashing and Tyrion-shaming, I couldn’t have cared less that he wanted his mommy at the end.

David: More that you’re like “oh yeah, this is just a kid.” A real s—y kid, but a kid. I just wish Jack Gleeson wasn’t so determined to go build houses in third world countries and quit acting.

Rachel: Joffrey, as a character, had run his course, however.

Nathan: He seems like he’s got a good head on his shoulders. The actor- not Joffrey, obviously.

Rachel: Jack Gleeson’s performance…DAMN!

David: I gotta be honest, you guys…my breakout character this year was definitely Ser Pounce.

Nathan: Here it is.

Chase: Ser Pounce!

David: Since Ser Pounce is one of only four characters left in King’s Landing, we better be getting more of him. Maybe Tommen will make him Hand.

Nathan. Paw. Paw of the King.

Rachel: I prefer direwolves to kittens. And really, with that symbolism? *eye roll*

Chase: This is another good move by the show. A 7-year-old Tommen hating beets would have been awful.

Rachel: Aging him was the right decision. It makes Margaery less of a creeper.

David: And it STILL didn’t feel like Tommen aged as quickly as Bran.

Chase: OMG I watched the Season One finale again recently, and Bran looks 10 years younger. He went full “Walt.”

David: I think he has a unibrow now. I think he’s old enough to run for office. Back to King’s Landing — man, I’m really going to miss Tywin.

Rachel: I already miss his conversations with Arya. I think that’s where he shone the best, where we — the audience — were allowed inside his head. I missed that since he took residence at King’s Landing.

Chase: Oh yes. A huge improvement on the book character, impeccably acted by Charles Dance.

David: Dance was incredible and will be hard to replace. He was evil, but so pragmatic he didn’t generate as much hate, though he totally had that crossbow coming and then some.

Nathan: Despite his usually despicable behavior toward his children, he was a character that I loved to watch in every scene he was in. From the moment we meet him, gutting a deer, he asserts himself as a major, competent player in the game of thrones and a fearsome enemy of most of our beloved protagonists. While it was a powerful scene for Tyrion as a character, Tywin’s death leaves a vacuum in the kingdoms, as well as in the show, and only further causes me anxiety for what might fill those four seasons worth of well-developed character in what’s yet to come.

Nathan: I also want to throw some love to Grey Worm and Missendei’s moments this season- some of the best scenes we got in Essos.

David: Yes — I loved their scenes this season… but is anyone else getting a Luke/Leia vibe off them? The way she keeps asking if he remembers his family?

Nathan: Uh oh. Good point. Hadn’t considered that.

David: That’s not a book spoiler, at least not yet. So it’s up for debate.

Rachel: No, David. Just…no. We have enough of that over in King’s Landing. The people NOT siring dragons are the only reason I can stomach anything happening in Essos.

Chase: Grey Worm is another side character they’re developing really well. And Tormund Giantsbane. His development is wonderful for humanizing the Wildlings, keeping them from just being a horde of evil. They want on the other side of the wall for safety from the White Walkers. The killing is incidental to get there if they have to.

Rachel: Any love for Friend Zone’s gut-wrenching dispatching by B**** of the Dragons?

David: He had it coming.

Nathan: It upset me greatly. Sure, he was ultimately responsible for the death of her husband and child, but he felt bad about it.

David: I guess he could have just said the pardon was forged? I mean, who’s going to know?

Nathan: Barristan would’ve known, David. I’ll bet he’s seen those.

Rachel: He should have let her drink the poison. They killed the wrong Targaryen.

David: WHAT? HUH?

Chase: Woah, woah. Are you Pro-Viserys?

Nathan: Yeah, back that train up, Shepherd.

David: Are you #TeamViserys?

Nathan: That’s not even a hashtag. NO ONE is team Viserys.

Chase: I mean, I’m about as politically pro-Targaryen as they get, but I can’t support that.

Rachel: No. I’m Anti-Dragon Lady….

David: What’s the problem? How she’s freeing slaves? How she’s the one with the claim to the throne? How she’s got wicked awesome dragons?

Rachel: Look, even in the books she started off as such an interesting character with — pardon the pun — fire in her belly and determination. Sticking her in this land of slave-freeing and putting her on the throne where she is constantly second-guessing herself…she falls to putty in the hands of other men. She’s a disgrace. She has FLIPPING dragons. USE THEM!

Nathan: The chaining them in the basement scene broke my damn heart. I had to pause and hug my dog.

David: It was worse because she was punishing those two kids for what the third was doing. That’s just bad parenting.

Nathan: I have a hunch that a bald man with a box is going to make her life a whole lot easier next season. Maybe she can go back to the Fire & Blood thing.

David: Ain’t no party like an Essos party.

Rachel: The chaining of the dragons, however, was the most poignant scene in her story, thus far, and almost gave me cause to change my mind. But then I thought…no, screw you guys.

Chase: You can’t deny that her story drags in Mereen, but it’s a learning experience for her. She’s learning that it’s a lot easier to win a throne than to rule. It echoes Robert Baratheon from Season One. And if there’s anything you easily identify with Dany, it’s the dragon. I mean, Mother of Dragons is at the very front of that long procession of titles she carries, but now she’s in a spot where, to be a good ruler, she has to chain her dragons. She has to separate from her most identifying feature and the real source of her power. Without those dragons she’d be nothing, but now she has to rule without them. Talk about “Children.”

Nathan: How hard it is to balance being the breaker of chains AND the mother of dragons… as she chains her dragons.

Rachel: My annoyance comes from her dependence on other people. Still such a child, I understand, but she should not stand steadfastly righteous in front of others whilst changing her mind all the damn time. She can be flawed, but she should at least recognize it. Even her white hair is a symbol of her supposed purity. Ugh. And the Iron Throne should be melted down. None of these people are worthy. The closest? Jon Snow, I guess, but not as portrayed by Kit Harrington — the poor man’s Boo Boo Stewart. I hate everybody.

David: I liked it better when there were five different kings. Robb had a good thing going.

Rachel: I miss Robb. He only wanted to get it on with a purty nurse.

Nathan: I’m excited to meet the rest of the Martells next season. Maybe Doran would do well. Minus the whole cripple thing.

David: My impression of Doran from the books is something like Ed Norton in “Kingdom of Heaven.” So, yes.

Nathan: “If you liked the exciting Oberyn Martell … then you’re going to be pretty underwhelmed by his brother with gout.”

David: So what was your favorite episode?

Rachel: “Mockingbird.”

Nathan: “The Mountain and the Viper.

David: I think that was my favorite, too. It built so beautifully, and gave us a genuine shock, not a cheap one. People are still talking about it.

Nathan: SO much happens in that episode and then it punches everyone in the gut at the end.

David: And that Tyrion/Jamie scene — the story about Orsen — was fantastically told.

Nathan: With you 100%, David.

Rachel: I think “The Mountain and the Viper” is the flashy pick, as would be “The Lion and the Rose,” but all of that quiet character development we’ve been speaking of? Happened in “Mockingbird.”

Nathan: Yeah, but Sansa’s moment in “Mountain and Viper” was pretty fantastic. And the Arya laugh.

Chase: I’m going with the premiere, “Two Swords.” The way it set up the season’s themes. Oberyn’s first appearance. How Jorah tells Dany that dragons cannot be tamed, even by their mother, sets up her chaining them. Arya gets Needle back in that awesome chicken-themed battle at the inn. It starts with Tywin forging the two swords from Ice, the great Valyrian sword of the vanquished Stark family, how symbolic! We get this great intro focused on Tywin, and then the whole season is focused on his eventual downfall!

Nathan: That’s a solid pick, Chase.

Rachel: True, true, but I think they could teach an acting, screenwriting, and directing course on the last scene in “Mockingbird” with Oberyn and Tyrion.

Chase: Speaking of mockingbirds, let’s talk about Littlefinger. How much has the story turned by his hand?

Nathan: My man Carcetti!

Chase: He killed Jon Arryn. He told Catelyn the dagger was Tyrion’s. He killed Lysa Arryn.

Rachel: Without Littlefinger, there is no Game.

David: Carcetti — I mean, Littlefinger — what’s your read on him? I struggle with him being responsible for SO MUCH of what has happened, but I’m coming to grips with it.

Nathan: Yeah, that was a shock.

Chase. Except for Littlefinger’s gravely rasp! I think Littlefinger personifies how power doesn’t always reside with the King. The two most influential people in the capitol may be Littlefinger and Varys.

David: And they’ve both LEFT the capitol. All seven hells will break loose.

Rachel: How could Littlefinger even know the scope of his actions to win Catelyn…to win power? Little desires of power from each person Littlefinger touched (ha) continued the machine he set in motion. It’s genius. He might have pulled a few strings, but he could have never imagined how much damage those few strings could reap.

Chase: Both Varys and Littlefinger get it. They know how to play the game. But I have to give props to the eunuch for coming to Tyrion’s aid, even after the trial. He said he’d never forget how Tyrion saved the city, and he didn’t.

Via Grantland

Rachel: Best moment?

Chase: Jon Snow’s Ygritte funeral pyre. Right, Rachel?

Rachel: …………

David: Gosh…I kind of want to say Tyrion’s closing argument.

Nathan: For the fans? Joffrey’s death. For the critics? Tyrion’s trial.

Rachel: Totally Tyrion’s big “F-you.” or “F- the Lannisters.”

Chase: Going with my love for the quiet moments, it’s Oberyn and Tyrion in the cell. That was fantastic. And I think it trumps Tyrion’s last stand at the trial.

David: I do love that speech. Pascal and Dinklage are…man, you know how good they are.

Rachel: I also submit Arya’s sewing of the Hound’s neck and his pleading for her to kill him. Those moments, when he still fears the fire so much. Brilliant.

Chase: Him pleading for her to kill him is excellent. He tries to get her enraged. He pleads. And she’s content to let him suffer. Either way she gets a name off her list.

Nathan: You actually feel bad for the Hound by the end. Never thought I’d hear him beg.

DJ HODOR!

Nathan: Did anyone else think it was funny that in the finale, it was the scene with the skeleton warriors being firebombed by magical elf-children that we gave the least f–ks about?

David: Yes, let’s talk about MAGIC. Magic? Magic!

Chase: LOL. Those CGI skeletons made that the most expensive scene in GoT history.

Nathan: Also… couldn’t they have warned them about that? You’d think in ONE of the many visions they’d be all — look out for the wights. Considering you’ve got a cripple, a mongoloid and two tweens alone in the wild. Maybe a heads-up about the undead.

David: At the very least, Ser Keebler could have sent out elf-girl just a few minutes earlier. Kind of cheapens Jojen’s death a bit. “He knew he was going to die.” BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T STOP IT.

Rachel: The Magic demands a sacrifice.

Chase: It’s worth noting that Jojen is alive in the books.

David: (for now)

Rachel: I care the least about the Dragons, White Walkers, Magic, Trees, Flying, Skeletons, and the Children. It’s just not the most interesting thing about the show.

Chase: In the books, Magic is tied to the return of the dragons. That connection hasn’t been made on the show.

Nathan: It’s odd that they’ve built so much on the low-fantasy high-intrigue world and now it’s all going off the rails into Magictown. Like the “Night King.”

David: Does that feel like a bait-and-switch? That GRRM has made a point to subvert all these fantasy tropes, only to be like “haha, no really, it’s been magic the whole time?” I guess it depends on just what Bran’s destiny is.

Rachel: Yes. Yes it does. But the show does not have to fall into that trap, and I really think it is a mistake to do so.

Chase: They can have the magic if they just downplay it. we’ve had warging and dragons from early on, and no one seems to buck at those.  Let’s note that Beric Dondarrion already came back from the dead…

Nathan: …And promptly fell off our radar. He wasn’t a huge plot point. When the magic is all up in our face as the future of a whole storyline, it’s jarring.

Rachel: Tolkien did it best, working with “human” emotions in the face of mystical intrigue. And Martin COULD follow suit…not eclipse, not come close, but try.

Chase: Heresy, I know. But I’ll take A Song of Ice and Fire over Lord of the Rings.

Rachel: What…the…

Nathan: Get out, Chase. Leave through the moondoor.

David: Tolkien never made us sympathize with an Uruk-hai, though.

Nathan: Just like we don’t sympathize with White Walkers.

David: GRRM takes Tolkien to its logical conclusion. What are Aragorn’s tax policies, defense strategies, surely someone in court disagrees with him, he can’t always be right, etc. That said, and I can’t even believe we’re having this conversation, you’re wrong, Chase.

Chase: For all of Tolkien’s “even small hobbits can have a huge impact” themes, you never spend any time with a peasant huddled scared in a church in LoTR.

Nathan: Yeah, but GRRM is working with a few extra pages.

David: Just a few.

Via Grantland

David: So, last question: with the show heading into such uncertain territory, how worried are you that this is as good as it’s going to get?

Nathan: VERY.

Rachel: Worried.

Nathan: If the smug bookreaders are worried, I’M worried.

David: We, at least, don’t know how the series will end. The showrunners do.

Chase: I’m not worried. I’ve always said I see books 4 and 5 as moving people into place for the finale. It sucks, but it has to be done. If the show can streamline that, then I’m not all that worried about next season. I think theres still a lot of good stuff on the other side. You’ll never meet a bigger ASOIAF theories guy than me (I have a 1300+ word nerd dissertation on who Jon Snow’s mother is that I can send you) and I think those things point to a powerful ending.

Nathan: I’m not too worried to stop watching. I guess I’ll put it that way.

Chase: The question is, how much patience do fans have for these characters to spread out even more? We’re heading to Essos with Tyrion. They’re already scouting locations in Spain for Dorne. We’re going to spend a lot of time on Pyke. How well can the show sustain that many different storylines?

David: It won’t be long before the world actually begins to contract. I know the book series grows more sprawling with each installment, but the show can’t feasibly operate that way. B&W would sooner cut entire dispensable subplots than let this thing get bogged down, and they have a seven-season goal.

Chase: It’s not a secret that we’re heading into lean years story-wise, but this is a chance for the show to thrive where GRRM has faltered by streamlining the story. Benioff and Weiss have earned the benefit of the doubt, and it’ll be exciting to see where they take us next. Anyway, this was fun.

Nathan: Good talk, guys. Think we have some good stuff. Would enjoy doing this again on another topic.

David: And we got through it without anyone bringing up Cersei’s rape!

Rachel: NOOOOOOO

 

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