• Cyruptsaram

    Why so harsh? The only thing that I could possibly dock marks for is perhaps the scenes felt a little too rushed, but this was by far the best this season, and a top class episode in a series of top class episodes. Cersei’s decisions were justified in her own mind, because she wanted to buckle Margaery’s relationship with Tommen. She’s lost her father, she’s been betrayed by both her brothers and now Margaery’s got her claws in Tommen like she always predicted, why wouldn’t she take risks? I think it worked pretty well. This tactic allowed the writer Dave Hill to show us just how weak the King is in executing his thoughts (he is powerless to argue with Margaery, and even more powerless against the sparrows). Sending Ser Meryn Trant with Lord Mace Tyrell to Braavos, was a nice touch that gives us the feeling that Arya’s path may be crossing with one of those she has on her list!

    In the north, I loved Stannis and Shireen’s scene, beautifully done with an actual emotional relationship between father and daughter that we haven’t seen since Eddard and Arya. Not to mention, Melisandre’s cruel words of wisdom as she reiterates what Jon’s deceased lover once used to say to him constantly, “You know nothing, Jon Snow” – such a brilliant way to end that scene! In Winterfell, there may have only been two characters, but the depth and importance of Sansa and Baelish’s discussion was routed in the recent rumors that have been circling about Jon’s descent. The story of Rhaegar’s love for Lyanna Stark could have great connections. We also learn that for a limit of time Sansa will now be alone in Winterfell while Baelish returns to King’s Landing.

    More comedy gold from Tyrion as he’s now captured by Jorah and heading to the Dragon Queen. It’s great to see Jorah continue to show loyalty to his Queen, and Tyrion’s words really stick through him like a dagger, because he feels entirely guilty for what he did, and continues to regret ever betraying the Khaleesi.

    The best bits came from Dorne and Meereen, I thought. A nice little touch came when Jaime could use his golden hand as a weapon in battles, and the revelation that the ship captain they had traveled with told the Sand Snakes about the Lannister’s arrival. Bronn continues to be a popular character, because is sarcasm is like a drug for the show, and despite the fact that we know at times he can be joking, his loyalty is unprecedented when it comes to completing a job. Whilst their scene may be short, it was great to finally get a glimpse of the Sand Snakes themselves as they plan to intercept Jaime before he gets to Myrcella – this episode was really good at setting up things to come.

    Finally, in Meereen, there was a terrible massacre. On another reviewing site, I noticed a comment from someone who believed that the massacre was very unlikely because the harpies just seemed to slit everyone’s throat without resistance. Unfortunately, even the greatest warriors, be they Unsullied or Second Sons, can be killed in the simplest ways, and that makes this scene all the more visceral. Seeing what was once the greatest warrior of Westeros draw his last breath was a great scene to behold, and that Grey Worm was there with him, just makes this even harder to comprehend. What this episode has done best is put a lot of the characters, most prominently Daenerys, in precarious positions where they are vulnerable.

    At the least, I would give this an eight, which is if I was to be a real stickler and criticize the directing style, but personally, I would give this a 9, purely for great admiration from the new writer, Dave Hill, for deciding to take the risk of going all out violent in his first contribution, and getting pretty much all of it right. Someone else on a commenting section also criticized how violent the episode was – my only retort is “You must be new here – welcome to planet Earth!”

  • Cyruptsaram

    I’ve just realised, the most ridiculous thing about this is that Game of Thrones’ Sons of the Harpy, which is top class storytelling gets a 4/10, whereas Atlantis’ The Gorgon’s Gaze, mildly entertaining and tv trollop gets 9/10 on the same site.

    • ShalkaDoctor

      Well different reviewers and all, but what’s odder is that in his episode 2 review he said that was the weakest of the first four yet it got a 7.5 out of 10?!

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        To be honest, sitting down to watch it for a second time I was expecting the episode to be a lot better than it actually was. Perhaps it was the initial hype of new Game of Thrones which caused me to overestimate it to such an extent

        It’s fairly obvious that he changed his mind since watching it initially and has had 4 weeks to finalise an opinion on the episode.

        • Mark McCullough

          Pretty much this, and a wee bit more that I’ve alluded to above about watching 3 and 4 in a row

  • The Exploding TARDIS

    Hey, Mark!

    I do enjoy your writing from time to time, but recently it seems as though you’ve been rushing your articles (see “Why I Love…” “Why We Love…” articles of recent) and, sometimes, don’t understand what you’re talking about (see: Sciency Wiency and Moffat plotholes)

    My main problem with this is that it seems dragged out and you mainly just needed to send in an article. You’re also detailing what occured instead of what you think of it.

    Anyways, that’s all I have time to say right now, but I hope to read from you soon, and that you do improve in quality. :)


    • Mark McCullough

      I don’t understand why you have criticised my previous work without giving any specific examples of what was actually wrong with them
      Fair enough in your comment with regards to this review being more focused on what happened, I found the episode difficult to analyse like my previous three reviews. However that was due to my main criticism of the episode that not a lot of meaningful stuff happened. I resent the implication that it was written for the sake of it though.

      • The Exploding TARDIS

        The “Why I Love/Why We Love” series does seem a bit rushed on your part, and it seems like you really just wanted an article in. You took what should’ve been DWTV comments and dragged them out. Your understanding of science is schoolboy at best, and occasionally inaccurate. You didn’t seem to understand Moffat’s overall arc, though things had already been explained in the narrative.

        Anyways, you do seem to be contradicting yourself “…not a lot of meaningful stuff happened.”
        “I resent the implication that it was written for the sake of it.”

        If not a lot of meaningful stuff happened, why review? Stuff DID happen, and you pointed them out but you in no way reviewed anything, yet this article exists. Do make up your mind.

        • Mark McCullough

          I can assure you that for the most part the Why I Love series has not been rushed. There have been a rare few occasions where I missed a date or someone pulled out last minute and I covered the article. But for the most part my articles have been in the works from the start of the year, so hardly rushed. Seems weird that you feel they are dragged out too as in most cases I’ve actually had to omit material I wanted to cover otherwise the articles would have been too long. One of the other reasons for the series of tributes was to encourage some involvement from other writers, but so far that has been hampered by exams etc. so hopefully after summer we’ll see more of that.
          Talking about my understanding of Science is an easy accusation to make if you’re not going to use any evidence to back up that claim. I certainly have the qualifications to disprove your claim that my level is school boy at best. But hey if this is about the Kill the Moon article I’ll concede that one was a bit of a stretch.
          If you’re referring to the Series 5- The Time of the Doctor arc, you can see that I understood it perfectly by my summary article posted a couple of days after Time aired. I can see how you might have misinterpreted my two recent theoretical articles about how Moffat could retroactively add the events since then to that same arc to tie up his era. (Even less likely to be true now that he’s staying on for Series 10).
          Onto this review then, and of course it has a purpose, a review is every bit as much about analysing what happened as well as what didn’t. My criticism of the episode was that from the start to the end nothing happened that changed the position of any of the characters. The only saving grace for the episode was the strong character moments, but even they were hindered slightly because they were only reaffirmation of things we already knew about the characters.This review like the rest of the series was written to analyse the episode (not because I had to have an article in). Just because there is less to analyse than usual does not mean that a review should not be undertaken.

          • The Exploding TARDIS

            The Why I Loved series may have been planned, and a lot may have been omitted, but that proves nothing. It was too condensed, and was mainly just rambles. Your argument is like saying that a writer has a series planned, but only knows the overall part, so starts filling a lot of stuff in. The story ends up being too long, and a lot is edited out. That doesn’t mean the story is good, it implies it is far from it.

            The Sciency-Wiency articles haven’t been anywhere near your best, and the science behind them only shows schoolboy understanding, even if you have qualifications, they weren’t shown.
            My biggest problem is different from your understanding of common knowledge, and occasionally: lack of. These articles sort of emasculated the series and stripped away the magic of it. They used to be about: “Hey! There’s this aspect of the show, let’s look at it and see if it’s scientifically plausible!”

            That Steven Moffat plot hole article made no sense, even if you do claim to have understood everything, you either forgot it or just don’t truly understand it.

            Finally, this article: sure, you’re analyzing things, but analyzing doesn’t mean detail everything that happened. It seems your quality of work is SERIOUSLY falling, but that, of course is my opinion.

  • ShalkaDoctor

    I’ve enjoyed reading these reviews up to this point, but seriously Cult Fix? A 4/10? Was the reviewer in a bad mood when he watched this? I don’t know but this seems needlessly punishing and harsh. Almost like it was written to get a big reaction. The text doesn’t justify things either. I hate how much the term “filler” is thrown around. Since when has GoT ever moved at breakneck pace? It’s all about character building and the developments up to events so the payoff becomes so much more rewarding.

    • Mark McCullough

      First off, I didn’t write this seeking a reaction, I was genuinely disappointed by the episode. Secondly it wasn’t based on mood, because I have watched the episode twice, I watched the first four in a row when they leaked, then watched them all live on Sky Atlantic and wrote the reviews then. I was actually sitting down expecting to re-watch an 8 out of 10 episode.

      Unfortunately I realised that whilst strong as an extension of the third episode (Hence my enjoyment of watching them in a row), as a standalone it was not just as good. I have called it a filler episode because nothing major actually happened to one of the main characters. In Episode 1, Jon mercy killed the wildling leader, in Episode 2 Dany opting for execution turned her city against her, and Episode 3 had Tryron’s kidnapping. Episode 4 didn’t really have a significant moment (something I didn’t actually notice until watching it in isolation). This caused me to drop my gut rating slightly to a 6/10 based on enjoyment.

      But then, when I set about analyzing the episode, I realised that of all the characters covered, none of them are in any different position than what they were at the start. Essentially I think the series would have the same narrative if this episode was omitted, and that made it feel like a waste and really annoyed me. As you said yourself “It’s all about character building and the developments up to events so the payoff becomes so much more rewarding.” The first section was done quite well despite the out of character decisions by Cersei, the second part of development to events was where the episode failed miserably. In my opinion it only did half of what an episode of Game of Thrones should do, and didn’t even do that perfectly, hence the 4/10 rating.

      Hope that clears up the verdict for you.

  • The Oncoming Hurricane

    I’m starting to think that the show has now jumped the shark, but in TV terms, I still wouldn’t go as low as 4/10 for this Mark. Maybe 5, but more likely 6.

    But yes, problems abound. Characterisations are now all over the place, we’re being served hamfisted foreshadowing. I’m a book reader, but this doesn’t even make sense on its own terms right now. Look at the Winterfell plot, it makes no sense for literally anyone involved and throws characterisation out the window:

    Roose Bolton: Only holds Winterfell based on Tywin granting him the position of Warden. Getting a letter that says “hey, I have Sansa Stark” (aka fugitive #1) and responding with anything but a raven to King’s Landing alerting them of a possible traitor in the Vale is an insane gamble. We know Roose Bolton is a cautious and calculating man, and we know he only acted for the Red Wedding when he got assurances.

    Littlefinger: The same person who went to great lengths to sneak Sansa out of the capital is now sending a raven to one of the Lannister’s best allies at this point—which also happens to be the family that loathes the Starks and actively betrayed them—to inform them that Sansa Stark is alive and in the Vale? Littlefinger wrote this letter so that Roose would agree to marry Sansa to Ramsay, which does absolutely nothing to strengthen Sansa’s claim in the North. In fact allying with a Bolton is likely to weaken the Northern opinion of her. It would make more sense at this point to declare Sansa Queen in the North, have the Vale rally to her, and ride to Winterfell collecting Northern Lords on the way. Littlefinger knows Stannis is coming with his army to Winterfell and expects Stannis to win, and that after winning he’ll name Sansa “Wardeness of the North.” Why wouldn’t he try to get a letter to Stannis in that case, or at the least, why is he trying to put Sansa in what he knows is about to become an active battle zone? He knows Stannis will want the Stark name to strengthen hold in the North and assumes the man will win. There’s no reason Sansa couldn’t just stay in the Vale with the people who will protect her. If Stannis loses, then come up with a plan where maybe Sansa infiltrates the Boltons (which is still stupid). Littlefinger gets absolutely nothing in return. He hands his biggest asset to Roose Bolton for an “alliance” (?) that doesn’t actually do anything. It doesn’t strengthen his power in the Vale, and marrying Sansa off to the son of the Warden of the North doesn’t put her (and by extension him) in a position of greater power at all. Littlefinger didn’t do simple background research on Ramsay. He literally said the words “I haven’t heard much about you,” yet still arranged this marriage. Perhaps if he asked any Northern Lord on the way to Winterfell (like maybe someone from House Cerwyn when Ramsay just actively flayed the Lord) he could have guessed that this wouldn’t be a good idea. There’s a difference between being a “betting man” and making uninformed stabs in the dark.

    Sansa Stark:

    Sansa has no reason to go along with this. She has the Vale Lords on her side, which is rather important in case Littlefinger mistreats her or say…arranges a marriage she doesn’t want. So she has plenty of agency here. She gains nothing from it: daughter-in-law of the Warden of the North is not exactly a politically powerful position. The only way this would make sense is if she’s an assassin being dropped in to slit throats in the night, which really isn’t Sansa’s skillset. She agreed with absolutely no specifics, and not even knowing the full political situation (like Stannis’s impending attack).

    In characterisation, this is a clusterf**k. In adaptation terms, it’s even worse. That’s the worst adapted plotline so far, but Dorne is almost as bad.

    • Cyruptsaram

      When I think of Game of Thrones, I don’t review according to what happened in the novel, because the opening credits do say “based”. The TV writers are allowed to go their own way with the story, and it shouldn’t matter where they got it from or whether its good in comparison to the novels. To be honest, I think the storyline has improved, but if I hadn’t read the books, I wouldn’t know any different.

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        The stuff about the characters is all based on the show itself. Try reading what I actually said, you can apparently do it.

        • Cyruptsaram

          I was only referring to your final comment about the adaption problems, the rest is fully credible, I wouldn’t argue with that at all.

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            Okay, I’ll retract that. How has Dorne, in particular, improved?

          • Cyruptsaram

            Again, I’ve been a bit misleading, I was referring to Sansa’s story. The big change that happened in High Sparrow about Sansa marrying Ramsay instead of the whole (sour) business with Jeyne Poole was a massive improvement. George R. R. Martin definitely went wrong with that story in my opinion. To be honest, there hasn’t been enough of Dorne to really say anything about it, the Sand Snakes scene was a bit rushed. Although, I do like the Jaime and Bronn partnership instead of one of the Kingsguard heading south.