Caroline, Jess, Kylie, and Julia are joined by Fandomental-newbie Michael, who is no stranger to the Salt Throne. They tucker in for the penultimate episode (YES!) of Game of Thrones Season 7, “Beyond the Wall,” which is sure to be a doozy given how much Benioff & Weiss pride themselves on penultimate episodes. Because…they can. It’s like poetry, it rhymes.
If you’d like to play Book Snob BINGO, cards may be found on Kylie’s personal blog here. Otherwise, you can find an archive of our livechat just below, or have some fun in our comment section, underneath the “you may like” section. Things are a good deal snazzier ’round here tonight!
Our reactions to this episode
Well that was a thing I spent 70 minutes watching. You know, I fully expected to have the experience of not really feeling anything, but knowing viewers would think the battle was cool, and wishing I could be compelled. With “Battle of the Bastards” I could tell it was well-done, though I found the stakes wanting.
I…don’t even know what to say about this “battle.” Dead things fear the water, except when they don’t? It was just random smashy, but not even in a stylistic kind of way. And the contrivances were at the point of distraction.
Highlight: Okay, so I laughed and laughed and laughed at the final Sansa/Arya scene. I mean it’s sexist and absurd, of course. Who in their right mind writes sisterly bonding as threatening murder? And who thinks this is anything we’d want to watch? I get that there’s plenty of Sansa-hating to go around, but aren’t we supposed to want to root for this family at the end of the day?
However. When Sansa finds a messenger bag full of faces, I lost myself to a mirth that transcended the seemly. Especially followed by Arya doing her best impersonation of The Asshole. I’m starting to believe those honeypots about her actually being The Asshole. That’s why Nymeria didn’t trust her!
Lowlight: Is the Sansa/Arya stuff also allowed to be my lowlight? Or how about Sansa making the very good decision to send Brienne as a proxy, but doing so in the most asshole-ish, mean way. Don’t take out your stress on her! Why can’t there be any positive female interaction?
Then there’s the “smashing the patriarchy” explanation Arya gave to her murdering, or the fact that we had to be reminded how much sewing is for stoopids and how Sansa is apparently this horrible, materialistic person for navigating the world in accordance to her socialization (and also then turning that against everyone and getting them Winterhell back, as she pointed out)… Yeah, this is totally the show of #WomenonTop.
I miss Cheryl.
I feel like in the future, when the world has caught up to The Fandomental and noticed how badly written this show is, there will be paper written about the pacing of the past two seasons and how horrible they are. Like, this episode ran ten minutes over, poor John Oliver got pushed back fifteen minutes, so that Arya could be catty at Sansa and so that dudes not wearing hats in a snow storm can remind us of crap they did in season 1. Use your time better!
Highlight: I’m going with Sansa finally saying what everyone has been screaming at their computer screens for more than a year now. Yes! We know, you did everything and Jonny got all the credit. It was horrible. That battle last year was the dumbest. Also, stop calling it “The Battle of the Bastards.” Please.
Honourable Mention to Aray’s purse and its Patriarchy Smashing faces.
Lowlight: “Look Deadpan, allow me to explain to you how you’re wrong and need to listen to me. Now proceed to be unjustly paranoid about me talking about your mortality so the fanboys can talk about how crazy you are on reddit.”
I’m not gonna even bother with the timeline. I’ll save it for the podcast.
Highlight: As our resident costume person, I’m going to go with my highlight as Dany’s white fur dress. It literally made me laugh out loud it was so poorly designed. First and foremost, it made no sense in-universe. Wearing fur on the outside of a garment provies little warmth, if any at all. Outside fur is mostly decorative. Additionally, she had no indication of anywhere near enough layers to survive the cold in the north. She did not even have a hood option! How did her ears not freeze off? Also, I don’t know where they imported that fur from. What creature produced that fur? How did it get those intricate patterns? Why did she not have a fur cloak as well? So many questions! As for the real-life explanation, I’m sure it went something like “we’ll make another identical dress, but this time in white fur!” and that was the beginning and end of it. And let’s be clear: this costume as ugly AF. One of the worst on the show by far. I feel true sympathy for any cosplayers who pour their effort and skill into re-making this atrocity. And Michele Clapton is a professional designer.
Lowlight: The conversation between Tyrion and Dany in the maproom (with the candlestick!). It was too long, too fellating of Tyrion, and too contrived. The whole thing felt extremely patronizing to the point that I personally felt insulted, as if Tyrion were talking down to Dany like she was a little girl who didn’t know anything. Dany’s whole “I’m just a young girl foolish in the ways of war” shtick in the books is meant to be ironic and also a manipulation technique. Here, it’s like D&D just took it at face value. Tyrion needs to control Dany, that’s the only way this will work! The same dynamic appears with Jaime and Cersei – Jaime promises to control the “Lannister forces” (AKA, Cersei), and Tyrion promises to control his crazy lady too! Damn these women and their erratic behavior! UGH.
What can I say? No, really. I couldn’t pick out anything particularly egregious, but… there was just nothing. The Arya/Sansa conflict was awful, and the character gumbo was overcooked, for sure. And the teleportation… this is definitely the episode which lets you know that they’ve stopped caring about any semblance of logic, and that the effects are the only thing drawing in the viewers.
Highlight: The concept of Viserion’s death, is the only thing I can say. And that’s the concept, because it’s definitely… checklist effect; and the reaction to it from Daenerys is somewhat lacking (and only fuels her “romance” with Jon).
But there was definitely something very touching about it, in a sort of “I am the last of the giants” way. Not the biggest fan of the ‘gripping’ ending of him being chained, but it’s something I suppose I can project book potential onto.
Lowlight: The dialogue was just so, so tedious with the gumbo. Every interaction between the two seemed like the writers brainstorming, “so what do these characters have in common?” Jorah and Thoros have to talk about Pyke, Jon and Jorah have to talk about Longclaw, Gendry and Sandor have to talk about the time the Brotherhood sold him to Melisandre. And his subsequent sexual assault which we should just get over, charming!
The worst would probably have to be Sandor and Thoros talking about genitalia.
Speaking of dialogue though, the situation doesn’t get much better with Arya and Sansa. The logic behind Arya’s hatred of Sansa simply doesn’t add up, and then the confrontation… it’s awful. I don’t know how Sansa, as a hostage, writing a letter demanding fealty warrants her attempting to murder her?
At least boatsex next week will have more comedic value than her finding Walder Frey’s face in her handbag.