Thursday, June 26, 2014

TV Thursday: Game of Thrones Season 4 Finale – “The Children” (Part 1)

I had a few posts a couple of years ago about this show (mainly talking about my love for Daenerys and her style), but I haven’t really written anything proper to express my absolute obsession with this series. I’ve been obsessed with so many Japanese dramas in the past, but this is the first time I became completely hooked with an American production.

So, season 4 has recently wrapped up (and I’m more than a week late for this post), and it’s going to be another long wait before the fifth season. The waiting period in-between seasons is still fun though, especially when casting news comes out. Anyway, there’s so much to say about the entire season, so I’ll just focus on the finale instead.

Disclaimer: I think of myself as a “semi-sullied” — someone who has read the books only once and not really that privy when it comes to details (It’s a crime, I know). So, forgive me if I miss anything important. Also, it may contain a bit of spoilers.

I got a bit carried away with this post, so I’m dividing it into two parts.

Scene #1: Jon faces Mance… and Stannis comes to the rescue!
 Beautiful army!
Okay, so I was one of those who was waiting for the Stannis moment to happen in the ninth episode and got a bit disappointed when it didn’t. But placing the scene in the finale made a lot more sense, and much longer, better screen time for The Mannis. There’s more interaction with my Jon and more tough-guy-meets-another-tough-guy banter with Mance, which wouldn’t have been effective if they cramped them up in the previous episode after an intense battle. Stannis truly made good use of that money he got after that trip to the Iron Bank of Braavos. That was a beautiful army he’s got there — definitely better than the one he had during the Blackwater. I particularly loved that bit when the One True King and the Onion Knight sort of came out from smoke. Very dramatic. He’s indeed a ham, Renly. A badass ham!

It was also nice to see Mance once again. He’s one of the characters in the show that’s criminally underused despite how much he was featured in ASOIAF. And as lenient as I am with the adaptation (I’m well aware of the limits), they truly failed to develop this character for him to make the exact same impact he had on the books. But, Ciaran Hinds is great in this role despite the minimal screentime.
 Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder

Scene #2: Qyburn starts doing his “magic” on the fallen Ser Gregor; Queen Cersei agrees, and Pycelle is pissed!
"Will it weaken him?"
 "Oh no."
"Well, then. Let's make a creep out of him."

This scene is pretty much a confirmation that we’ll see RS (yup, not LS) in the coming season. So, I’ll look forward to that. And, it’s been more than a week, but every time I remember that close-up shot of Ser Gregor’s infested wound, I get sick to my stomach. Thanks a lot, HBO!

Scene #3: Cersei confronts Papa Tywin, drops the bomb!
“I will burn our HOUSE to the ground before I let that happen!”
 "Really, now."

“I will burn our HOUSE to the ground before I let that happen!” I love Lena’s delivery of this line, especially how she enunciated the word “house” (I’m weird like that). That was so powerful! She’s willing to use all her cards just to not make her supposed marriage with Ser Loras happen, so she can look after her only son. Good thing for her, she won’t know the repercussions of that revelation anymore, at least where Lord Tywin is concerned.

A Tidbit for the Unsullied: In the books, Lord Tywin was planning to marry Cersei off to either one of these dudes –Wilas Tyrell (Ser Loras’ crippled older brother whom they omitted in the show; the real heir to Highgarden), Balon Greyjoy (Theon’s dad. Haha. How fun would that be for her.), and Oberyn Martell (That would have been a treat to see onscreen considering how seemingly close Lena and Pedro had become during/after the show).

Scene #4: Cersei manipulates Jaime again 
Yes, I used the word “manipulate” because that’s exactly how I see it. As much as I like Cersei as a character (Yup!), I don’t really think she has genuine feelings of love for Jaime. Maybe she does love him, but not as much as he loves her. The only thing that makes the incest less abominable for me is that Jaime isn’t simply consumed with lust. He really does love his twin sister as a woman. But no. Incest is still very bad. Very.

Scene #5: Daenerys realizes the hardships of being a queen, chains her beloved babies
The dad who presented his burnt daughter to the queen was absolutely brilliant! He acted the heck out of that scene, and I teared up like a baby. That was one of if not the best acting performances from a series extra I’ve seen so far. I was extremely moved in that less-than-a-minute-scene.

Poor Rhaegal and Viserion, though. When they started wailing after Daenerys turned her back against them, I cried again. But I feel worried for the size of the chains, really. I mean, if Daenerys plans to lock them down there for quite some time, won’t the chains hinder their growth? Remember China’s Lotus Feet? Anyway, I really need to read the books again to remember what actually happened to them.

I do think this was Daenerys’ most boring season so far, which is a shame since she’s had one of the strongest storylines in the first three series. But of course, if a character’s storyline is that strong early on, you’ll expect it to dwindle down a bit right in the middle. It just can’t be helped, I think. And I’m still bummed that they cut off that stolen kiss from Ser Jorah. That would’ve made this season at least a bit more interesting for her.

But there are some exciting stuff happening to her in the upcoming season, so that could offset whatever boredom I felt while watching her during Season 4. And yes. She’s still one of my favorite characters.

Scene #6: The Night’s Watch Funeral – Melisssandre sees Jon “through the flames;” Jon burns the love of his life

 I love Maester Aemon.
 Pyp! :(
 Grenn! :(
 The Real Royal Family
That peek through the flames between Jon and Melissandre was some great foreshadowing right there. I’m really excited about this arc in the upcoming season, not only because Jon is my favorite character (duh!), but also because we’re about to enter the most interesting parts of his storyline.
I never really like Ygritte in the books (because I’m a jealous Jon Snow fan. lol!), but Rose Leslie made it so difficult for me to hate the character in the show. When I first saw her during the second season, I was like, “Dang! She’s so pretty. How can I hate her?” Haha.

As much as Ygritte’s death is crucial to Jon’s development  as a character, it’s still one of the saddest moments for me. I’ll miss hearing “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow.” But, well, it won’t be for long. *winks*

Scene #7: Bran and company meets Leaf and Bloodraven; Bye, Jojen!
When they first showed Leaf, the Children of the Forest’s rep, my initial thought was, “Wow! Is she wearing haute couture?” Haha. I swear, it’s like she’s off to some fashion show wearing a soiled yet well-crafted dress.
And THAT HAIR. So fierce.

While I was quite impressed with how Leaf, looked, I was rather disappointed with the Bloodraven. While reading the books, I imagined him to be a lot older and, well, creepier. Instead of having the tree’s branches grow within his body (at least that’s how I envisioned him to look like), it looked like he was simply trapped among those woods. Hopefully, they give him a good makeover next season.
Many of the book fans were not impressed with the CGI for this scene. They thought the skeletons looked tacky, and the fireball-throwing Leaf a little too “fantasy-like.” I wasn’t really bothered with the fireballs (though it’s ironic how GRRM wanted to get rid of these fantasy stereotypes yet the TV adaptation heavily features them), the skeleton fighters confused me. If I remember correctly, Bran and gang were ambushed by an army of Wights. I thought I’m already quite familiar with those residents North of the Wall (Wights, White Walkers, Others, Wildlings, etc.), but what were those skeletons? Who/what were they supposed to be? Why did they come out of the snow? Because for a casual viewer, that probably looked like they were guards of the Bloodraven. And clearly, they weren’t, after Leaf fireballed the heck out of them.
And boy, the way Jojen was killed felt so rush. As one of the only two actors who’s easily recognizable in the show (at least to the international audience; the other being Sean Bean, of course), I expected Thomas to have more screentime. But again, he was another criminally underused actor in the show. But for whatever bits he was given during his stint, he gave the best performance he could. So, kudos to him!

There are three more scenes left, and those contain the “meaty” parts of the finale. So, I’ll reserve my thoughts on that for another 1,500-word entry. lol.

Valar Morghulis!

Note: I’m starting a simple series here in my blog where I talk about different beauty issues and other women-related topics such as makeup, hair, fashion, skincare, books, and even my favourite TV series (Game of Thrones!) and movies with a different theme every day. So, yeah. Hopefully, I can keep it up. Watch out for tomorrow’s Fashion Friday - Wardrobe Essentials: Must-Have Jacket Styles for Every Woman. Thanks!

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