Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A GoT detractor watches the trailer

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Okay, okay okay. The Season 6 Game of Thrones (GoT) trailer dropped. I promised at the end of last season that I was going to continue with this show for a multitude of reasons, mainly the fact that a space for critique needs to exist, and given its cultural impact and reach, it seems almost irresponsible to not point out its rather glaring flaws and offensive messaging. And this critique really isn’t happening on the scale it should be. Why the vast majority of critics seem to be insisting that the emperor has the best wardrobe ever is beyond me, but if we here on The Fandomentals can shine a light on the issues (and potentially provide entertainment in the process, even), then we’re happy to continue on into the meaningless void that is David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D)’s show.

So with that…

Wow. Trailer. This thing left me so cold and disinterested, that I’m first going to start off this discussion with a recap of my experience as a viewer. Be sure to arm yourself with the Book Snob Glossary, because there’s no calling Carol “Cersei” ever again.


Kylie’s 100% valid reaction shots

When I heard it dropped:

When I finally resigned myself to click the play button:

When I heard the song choice:

Not being able to see what the fuck is on my screen for the first bit:

Seeing Carol’s short, fun summer ‘do:

Watching Ser Hilariously Friendzoned finding the ring:

When Sansa pops up in Night’s Watch clothing

Hearing Saint Tyrion (petition to rename him ‘Gary Lannister’; goes well with Carol and Larry) explaining to someone about how it’s a dangerous game:

When Carol’s all “I choose violence” to Lancel

When I start to wonder if I have leftover broccoli for dinner because at this point we’re literally just being assaulted with random images and I’m zoning out:

Wait was that Brienne killing someone?

Mel popping out her tits:

When I see probably!Yara hooking up with another woman:

Battles and ‘splosions!:

When the parkour happens:

Bran seeing Darth Maul


No seriously, what was this? It tried to take itself very seriously, but as far as I could tell, it was just Shocks™ and blatant pandering to the male-gaze for a minute and a half. And the ruining of an otherwise decent song.


What information we can glean

So whenever a trailer is released, detractors are in a tough spot because, well, “don’t judge something until you’ve seen it,” right? This is why when last week the internet was losing its shit over four women starring in a reboot of a rather campy movie, we here were more of the “okay, chill” mindset. But…I’m about to do some judging.

For one, there is still a fair amount of A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons content that will be “adapted” this season. No matter how mangled and thematically sapped, I at least do have a basic familiarity with a good few plotlines. Secondly, I have seen this. I have seen the pattern of D&D’s writing for five years now, and spent this past year thoroughly analyzing it. Perhaps neurotically so. I’m going to try to keep my speculations in-check, but I really don’t think it’s unfair to say things like, “oh good, Deadpan is still a damsel in distress,” when I’ve spent a lot more energy than I’d care to admit pointing out how their writing of this character is infantilizing.

So without further ado, my thoughts and observations.


1. Sansa is…not all that important, apparently.

After every tear-stained interview about how hurt they were to put Sansa through all that and how much they tried to be sensitive and do this plot with respect to her characterization, she appears in this trailer for one measly second. Less than Theon, less than Ramsay for sure. Less than Euron, the dude no one knows or recognizes yet.

In fact, the lack of focus on the Stark children altogether was rather remarkable, when you get down to it. Instead the focus was like, people reacting to Jonny Cardboard’s death (poor Action Hero™, too pure for this world) and Carol. Because of course that’s the focus.

Idk if this is even comfortable to excuse. We could pretend the lack of Sansa is because Sophie Turner is in too many scenes with Kit Harington and they’re waiting for that reveal, right? Though according to some people, he’s this blurry dude right here:

Whatever. The point of a trailer is to tease what they perceive as the viewers’ wants, right? So of course Mel’s tits and girl-on-girl are going to be in clearer focus than Sansa’s perfect makeup and Night’s Watch fatigues.

At least that beauty is never tarnished.


2. Deadpan’s menz are on the case!

Honestly, at what point is this show just an outright insult to viewer intelligence? Smart breadcrumb, Deadpan. Faabio and Greyscale Jorah could never have found which way you went with the 20,000 hoofprints and piles of shit that were inevitably left behind. And I’m so glad that it enables you to be empoweredly found.

What’s kind of fun about this is that since the show is so off-the-rails, we can pretty much assume that Dany will be leading the troops into Vaes Dothrak, rather than being brought in as a captive.

I’ve gotten some asks about whether or not Deadpan has greyscale, btw, because her hand is bound. She had that at the end of last season too. I think Drogon cut her up on her random joyride? I doubt it’s going to be anything, and chances are, they didn’t even consider the implications of Greyscale Jorah rubbing his scaly hands on Deadpan past “oh look, she finally stops being such a cold bitch to him!


3. Larry loves Carol a whole lot

Remember that scene from the beginning of Season 4 where Carol told Larry he “came back too late” and may or may not have discussed an abortifacient in front of him? Well, neither do Larry and Carol, apparently. They love each other so much, and with that, Larry’s kink for their dead children’s biers, and their matching hairdos, these two are the unstoppable OTP! We can’t choose whom we love!

Also, frankly, what’s not to love about Carol at this point? She’s just like us! Yeah, she “chooses violence” (great dialogue, D&D), but it’s against those evil strawmen homophobes. You show them, Carol! I’ll be rooting for your blue dude that no one is commenting on for reasons yet unexplained.


4. Bran is gonna have lots of visions and Treebeard has a good barber

That or they forgot about Bran’s disability, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, to be honest. He’s having all sorts of visions…of Darth Maul!

I don’t know what the hell this is. I’m loving that he’s out of his wig, but think through that implication too: does ol’ 1000-Eyes-and-Two have a hair salon up there? Whatever, at least Bran’s in the trailer I guess.

Oh and Meera too. Getting saved by a man on horseback, I think. Girl power!


5. Yara the lesbian

This really upset me on just about every level. For one, as a woman who dates other women, I was perfectly happy to have flown under D&D’s representation radar for a while. Especially given what they did to Loras…where was he, btw? Not male-gazey enough, I guess.

But no, we’re getting Yara the lesbian. What does this do? No really. What does this change do? How does it justify itself?

Honestly, one of the most refreshing parts of Asha’s chapters was the fact that she was sexually liberated and empowered, and it was fascinating to see how she navigated probably the most sexist part of Westeros while still banging dudes who never thought to idealize her maidenhood. In fact, the one guy who tried to gets fiercely rejected by her. There was an actual exploration of her womanhood contextualized in the patriarchy, and her preference for men was a rather inextricable part of this.


Not in this case. Not in D&D’s hands. And forgive me for saying but I truly doubt the change to Yara’s sexuality was because they thought it would be a fascinating study in terms of her sense of womanhood and how she navigates the patriarchy. Weisseroff’s patriarchy magically disappears and reappears as the plot demands, so it can’t be the case.

It’s a change for titillation. I promise. And its location in the trailer is beyond transparent.


6. Tyrion’s educating the dum-dums.

I don’t really care who Tyrion was saying “you’re in the great game now” to, but I’m willing to bet it was a woman. Probably Missandei his mouthpiece. What’s an unfortunate implication?


7. Davos and Mel are besties? Or he’s maybe gonna kill Ghost?

Mel’s crisis of faith sounds kinda interesting, I’ll be honest. Not that the conditions that made her have this crisis made any sense, or that I have any faith in D&D’s ability to explore such a topic.

But…are she and Davos like, besties now? Did he just stop caring about Shireen or was Mel’s contrition good enough? Because from what I can tell, they’re both teaming up together to, I don’t know, bang Jon’s corpse or something. Davos is even willing to fight Ghost to accomplish that!

That was the implication, right? And is it just me, or does even Carice van Houten look done with the tit-gig?

Crisis of faith indeed.


8. Hide your Dornish

Um, this is one of those calls I agree with D&D on. They seemed to have gotten the memo that Porne was a miserable failure, because there was not a single Dornishman to be found in that trailer.

However, I am confused on why there was no Sam, given the casting call for the Horn Hill family drama. Is that going to be the fun surprise for us?


9. Dual-wielding Arthur Dayne?

Why not. What’s better than Dawn? TWO DAWNS.

Sure, maybe this isn’t be Arthur, though I have a feeling it is. Either way, dual-wielding swords kinda makes no sense. There’s a reason it wasn’t patched into WoW for a while.

Also the fight is now 2 vs. 6? Is it fair to kvetch about this yet, or should we assume two dudes are off-screen? Is there a reason we couldn’t have had this dream when Ned was alive and it would have made any sort of thematic sense?

Whatever, just watch the gif while listening to this.


10. Ramsay Sue will still be dealing with his daddy issues (and in sharp focus)

Ramsay Sue is such a perfect, nuanced villain. I can’t wait to see how else he proves himself in his dad’s eyes. I hope we get lots of Winterhell family drama. I wonder if Roose will offer up Walda on a silver platter again. But whatever is going on, it was worthy of a fair amount of trailer time, apparently.


11. D&D may have forgotten what they actually wrote

This happens a lot. This year, it seems as though Carol forgot that at one point, she had felt as though Larry “came back too late.” Just, any kind of issue between them at any point is quite obviously dropped.

D&D definitely forgot that Carol confessed to high treason last season, because her head would not be on its shoulders at the moment otherwise. And Lancel probably should have faced some repercussions, unless the patriarchy magically reappeared for two seconds? That kind of makes sense?

And of course, the mutineers at Castle Black forgot about wights being a thing, because they just left Jon’s corpse on the ground. Unburned. Even in a world without zombies rising from the dead, that’s just downright weird. “Okay Olly, he’s dead. What now?” “Anyone for some soup?”


That’s it. That’s all I got. We’re in for one hell of a season!

All images courtesy of HBO

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