Peter Fenzel, Shana Mlawski, and Matthew WratherMatthew Wrather recap Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 4, “And Now His Watch is Ended,” inevitably getting sucked into a discussion of the series’ politics and ending up talking about why we always get sucked into a discussion of the series’ politics.
Feedback on the episode or recap? Let us know in the comments.
I really like the comparisons between Daenerys’ conquest of Astapor and Podrick’s conquest of the prostitutes. We rarely see events end up so going so well for one of our protagonists as they did for Dany. Compared to the half victories or total defeats that we are used to in ASOIAF, this episode has always felt out of place to me. The Battle of Whispering Wood felt the same way, but we only heard about that second hand (I think.)
A Redwall solution to a Game of Thrones problem?
Also, may I suggest “sexual therizinosaur”?
Yes, you may.
I’ll preface this by saying that I learnt from my previous experience and watched the vodcast and took notes (albeit whilst drunk, so apologies if this is an unreadable mess). Also I will say that I love me some Fenzel this edition.
I’m going to disagree with your thematic premise, I feel that the main theme of the episode is ‘crossroads’, (not the britney spears film) challenges are faced and dealt with, or not, and new directions are available.. Jamie and Brienne find this symbiotic survival mechanism in the face of death. Bran is still being held back by his ties to his family and feelings of unnaturalness (thats not a word) in the dreamworld . Theon’s storyline is a particular favourite of mine because it deals with so many of my friends that say he has it coming but don’t know how the story goes. Ramsay Bolton is not how I had depicted him but offers a very dislikeable alternative. Daenarys becomes a conquerer, and arguably a betrayer. Sansa is presented with multiple opportunities (the plotlines behind her are, for mine, the best executed so far in ASOFAI).
“They don’t know what being free means”, I’m sure that’s from a movie somewhere sometime and I will remember it and due course and kick myself. Or maybe I’ll buy a slave to kick me on command. SPOILERS Anyway, that’s one of the stories I would like to see developing throughout the Daenarys plotline, and one that isn’t adequately addressing in the books. SPOILERS
I love what fenzel says about condsidering each moment in it essence, because that is exactly how I view the show after reading the book, each decision is weighed (with the 20/20 of hindsight in many case) and I see the characters acting true to how they would be expected to act.
Again I love the identification of that moment between the Lady of Thorns and Cersei. Is it a moment of kinship, of triumph, recognising that in a patriarchal society, that we have both acheived postions of influence, despite our opposing sides. I’m not so sure it is a measure of solidarity as much as it is a testing of hubris on the part of Olenna, and a successful one.
‘Conversations we have around the show become apart of the show’- True, but I would create a dichotomy between the tits and blood viewer compared to the story/ character (as well as tits and blood) viewer. I used to watch the show as part of a group viewing, due to my lack of broadband internet, and there was a group of 5 or so who would get bored at the more dialogue-heavy sections and return at the sound of swords being drawn. After the Blackwater Battle episode I referred to these as ‘Joffreys’, maybe unfairly, because their reaction to the unspeakeable horror of the wildfire destroying half of Stannis’ fleet was ‘wow’, the same as Joffrey’s almost to the second, in the show.
Haha, again my apologies I forgot to proofread my post, and forgot that i had previously edited out the spoilers sections. please feel free to make the necessary adjustments.
Apologies for the comment being far too long
Responding to what Mr. Fenzel said about the moral responsibility of art and whether the responsibility can be fulfilled in the meta-narrative even if the narrative itself doesn’t seem to be making a statement.
I like to think of Game of Thrones as a zen koan of a morality lesson. The story itself seems to convey no information or lesson, but the conversation around it, the attempt to wrest meaning from it, teaches in a way that a surface narrative doesn’t.
I see three categories of moral messages in stories. The first is a simple good vs evil story. The aim is to have the morality be non-controversial. Most comic book stories are like this, where the superheroes and super villains are unambiguously identifiable.
The second kind is the fable or parable. These are stories that have a message, and intend on imparting it to the audience. These can fall flat when characters behave unrealistically, and tend to be best for reinforcing a message already accepted by the audience. The biggest problem with these is that, as the author has complete control over the world and the story, they can justify any message, and so, ironically, require the most scrutiny.
The last kind is the grand narrative, a la Game of Thrones or soap operas, where there is not a central story that is being told as much as many stories being told. The metric on which to judge these is the verisimilitude of the characters, to what extent they do not act out of character. This would be, I think, what Mrs. Mlawski was talking about when she made the dichotomy between the story and the politics of the story. I think that so long as the story runs true, the politics of it, or the judgment of the morality of the politics of it, can be left to the audience. The act of engaging with the material will bring more wisdom to the audience than any morality tale could.