Monday, July 11, 2016

Does Your Opinion on Ghostbusters Mean You're Sexist? An Interactive Guide



Does Your Opinion on Ghostbusters Mean You're Sexist? An Interactive Guide




Hey bro, are you excited to see the new female Ghostbusters movie?
     --Yes-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--No, I’m boycotting it because they’re using Kobe Bryant in the marketing campaign, and he’s probably a rapist. Why does everyone seem to forget this?-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.

No-> Oh, well, is that because you generally hate all sci-fi/franchise movies?
     --Yes-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.

No-> Okay, so you don’t hate sci-fi/franchise movies, but you’re not pumped to see the new Ghostbusters. Do you have mad love for the original Ghostbusters movies?
--Not especially/Haven’t seen them-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.

Oh yeah, they’re classics!-> All right, this is getting worrisome. So you love the original Ghostbusters movies, but don’t want to see the new one. Is that because you just don’t support reboots?
--Yes-> But didn’t you love the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight movies, the Daniel Craig Bond movies, and the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies?
--No, because I refuse to support reboots-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--Yeah man, those movies were dope!-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.

No-> Okay, lemme see if I’m following you here. You love the original Ghostbusters movies, and you have no beef with reboots, but you just don’t want to see this movie. Is that because you’re suffering from franchise fatigue?
--Yes-> But didn’t you see the new Captain America, X-Men, and Independence Day flicks?
--No, I skipped all that junk-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--Yeah man, those movies were dope!-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.
--Yeah, but X-Men (or Independence Day) totally blew, and I’m just done with franchise flicks for this summer-> Really? You’re not even gonna see Jason Bourne?!
--Nope, I’m for real done with franchises for now-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--Oh, hell yeah I’m seeing Jason Bourne!-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.

No-> Right, so franchises and reboots aren’t the problem. Do you just not like the cast?
--Yeah, I just don’t think they’re funny-> Didn’t you see Bridesmaids?!
--Nope, didn’t interest me-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.
--Yeah, it didn’t do much for me-> Well, can you name any comedy that you liked that didn’t have a male lead? Or even a show, like Girls or Inside Amy Schumer?
--No-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.
--Yes-> Are you sure? Seriously, name the movie/show.
--(Success)-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--(Failure)-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.

No, the cast is fine, I just don’t think they should be the Ghostbusters-> Oh, fascinating. Let’s dig into that. Do you just think all franchise anchors should maintain their initial physical characteristics?
--Yes-> Oh, so you’re one of those guys that didn’t want Daniel Craig to be Bond just because he’s blonde?
--Yep, I sure am-> Okay, I don’t understand you at all, but-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--No, that was fine, I just think changing gender goes too far-> So did you also not support the new Star Wars having a girl Jedi?
--Yeah, what was with that?-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.
--No, that was okay because Star Wars can do no wrong-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.

No, franchises can change, it just seems like this Ghostbusters doesn’t respect the originals-> Oh, ummm, okay. Why do you think that? Do you think changing the gender of the protagonists somehow flies in the face of the original intent?
--Honestly, yeah, a little bit-> But why? Haven’t we evolved enough to realize that women can be leaders and heroes, too? I mean, are you okay with a woman President?
--Nope-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.
--Yeah, of course-> Great! So you’re voting for Hillary, then?
--Absolutely!-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--Yeah, I was a Bernie fan, but we only get two choices, so now #ImWithHer-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--Oh, hell no! I just thought you meant theoretically. We need to make America great again!-> Okay, you’re probably sexist, but you’ve got way bigger problems than that.

No, it’s not that they changed the genders, it’s just a lot of little things rubbing me the wrong way, like that SNL-style humor that’s just not funny, and why did they have to make the black girl a subway worker? Isn’t that racist?-> Wait, you do know that the original Ghostbusters were half SNL alums, right? And you know that Ernie Hudson, the black guy, was the only non-scientist in the original, right? That didn’t seem to bother you then.
--Yeah, but that’s different-> Different how? Aren’t you always saying that Anchorman and Wayne’s World are like the funniest movies ever?
--Look, it’s just different, okay? Stop being so difficult!-> Have you watched an Adam Sandler movie in the last decade?
--(Sheepishly)…Yeah-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.

Yeah, I get all that, but seriously, the trailer just doesn’t look good-> Come on. Is the trailer really why you don’t want to see Ghostbusters? Would a bad trailer keep you from seeing the next installment of The Fast & Furious, or any other franchise you like?
--Honestly, yeah, it probably would-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--That’s not fair, you know how much I love the Fast & Furious movies!-> Really? Because you never talk about them nearly as much as you quote that “yes, your honor, this man has no dick” line from the first Ghostbusters.->

Okay, even if it’s not the trailer, I just don’t understand why Hollywood has to trample on my childhood. Can’t I just keep one thing I love without them changing everything?-> Wait, I don’t understand. We’ve already established that you’re totally fine with other franchises passing on to new stars and directors, like Batman, James Bond, Star Wars, and Star Trek. You’re even fine with Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man being played by Brits. So what, you think change is okay just as long as the stars remain men?
--No, it’s not just that they stay men, it’s…-> Oh God, are you one of those people that gets pissed off at the thought of a black James Bond?
--I mean, James Bond is supposed to be white-> Okay, you’re probably sexist, but you’ve got way bigger problems than that.

Look, if I’m being honest, it’s Bill Murray. You need Bill Murray, and I can’t deal with a Ghostbusters movie that doesn’t have him.-> Ummm, did you not know that Bill Murray is in the new one? All of the original Ghostbusters (except Harold Ramis, because he’s dead) have small parts in the new one, and so do Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts.
--Oh, seriously? Damn, you’ve convinced me. I should give this movie a chance!-> Congratulations! You might not be sexist.
--Ehh, I’m still not feelin’ it. You just don’t understand.-> Whoa, dude, you have some sexist tendencies that you should maybe address.





Sunday, June 5, 2016

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S6, E6)



Season 6, Episode 6: "Blood of my Blood"

Last week's rankings: "Hold the Door"

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.


Winning!

1. Life!!

This is the first time since Season 3, Episode 2 (34 episodes ago!) that no one died on screen. Even for a show whose principle tagline is "All men must die," that's still a pretty amazing streak. Given that the final four episodes of the season look destined to be extremely blood-soaked, let's all enjoy this brief respite to celebrate the living. 

2. House Stark

We already saw Sansa and Jon reunite a few episodes ago, and they're headed to rescue Rickon. Bran and Benjen reunited this episode, and they're on their way to Castle Black. And A Girl is no longer just a  girl, but Arya Stark once again, and she's maybe about to join a traveling theater troupe that could land her back in Westerns. All of this seems to portend a possible Stark family reunion at the end of the season, where all six living Starks could be in the same place together for the first time since the series' second episode. 

Of course, the fact that the show is making us hope for this means it won't happen, and I actually think we might get another Stark death this season. The safe money there is on Rickon, but I have a sneaking feeling it will be Sansa. The two big things we needed out of Sansa as a character were for her to seize control of her life, and convince Jon to recapture Winterfell. Now that both of those things have happened, it feels a bit like Sansa's character arc is over, and the she's now expendable to the show. I hope I'm wrong. 

One last Stark thought: Does anyone else get the feeling Benjen might just essentially be a sleeper agent for the Night King? 




3. Daenerys Stormborn, Sun of our Stars

After Seasons 4 and 5 largely tore her down from her pedestal and exposed her as someone who still has a lot to learn about ruling, Season 6 has reaffirmed that she's still one of (fake) history's greatest conquerers. 

4. Queen Margaery

While Houses Lannister and Tyrell are quite pissed at the Crown's new status quo, it feels like Margaery knows what she's doing. Perhaps the biggest lesson she's learned from the Faith has nothing to do with actual faith, but is all about the importance of having the support of the masses--certainly something that Cersei has spent he life giving zero fucks about. 

5. Valerian Steel

Knowing what Sam knows about killing White Walkers, his stealing Heartsbane from his father feels like something of great importance. And a big hint that we haven't seen the last of the ever-cheerful Lord Randyll Tarly. 

Honorable Mention: Flashbacks

Hey, we saw the Mad King!! That leaves his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen as the only major character whose death predates Episode 1 that we haven't met via flashback yet. And I feel like he's definitely coming. 





Losing/Dying

1. House Lannister

Just as Season 6 might be giving us the Stark resurgence we've all been clamoring for, it might also finally be giving us the Lannister downfall that we've clamored for even more ravenously. With Tommen now actively going against the interests of his parents, Cersei stripped of almost all of her power, and Jaime headed for a possible defeat in the Riverlands, the Lannister name has never meant less. 

It will be fascinating to see where Cersei and Jaime go from here. For years now, we've all assumed the show's endgame will principally  involve Jon and Daenerys, while Cersei has just been busy worrying about the Titanic deck chairs that is the King's Landing power struggle. But will the show actually dispense with either of them early? I have a feeling that Cersei will at least live to see Tommen die, fulfilling the prophecy that she'll bury all of her children. But once Tommen goes, which could be any episode, it feels like Cersei will be expendable as well. 

2. Family Dinners

As we saw last season with the riveting House Bolton dinners at Winterfell, sitting with your family around the the dinner table can be a uniquely wretched experience in Westeros, and the reunion of House Tarly did not disappoint. Well, unless you were one of the people at the table. Or those scrumptious rolls that had to go uneaten.

3. Edmure Tully

Poor Ed. When Walder was expositing about "remind them who it was that got married at the Red Wedding," he was really talking to show viewers, who likely couldn't pick Edmure out of a lineup. Well, look at the bright side--while all of his comrades were being slaughtered, he was getting laid, and really, that's not a bad final act before getting chained up and used as a bargaining chip. 

4. Walder Frey

He may be gloating now, but I'm pretty sure the show only brought him back this season to kill him. There just aren't enough episodes left to turn him into a major villain. 

5. Mace Tyrell

When the histories are written of the greatest motivational speakers of Westeros, poor Mace won't even get a footnote. 

Honorable Mention: Spelling and Autocorrect

Seriously, I've been writing these columns for four years now, and I still have to look up how to spell half of these names every time I write them. And don't even get me started on how many times Westeros has gotten autocorrected to "Westerns" without my catching it. Damn you, George R.R. Martin!


Confirmed Kills: 0 (For reals!!)

Season Death Tally: Still 52 (and probably about to skyrocket)





Sunday, May 29, 2016

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S6, E5)




Season 6, Episode 5: "The Door"

Last week's rankings: "Book of the Stranger"

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.


Winning!

1. The Night King

With only 25 episodes left in the series, it feels like this guy is going to be the big winner of just about every episode he appears in until the end. This show is excellent at having a chief villain step out of the batter's box and up to the plate at just the right moment: Tywin when Joffrey died, Ramsay when Tywin died, and presumably the Night King will take on a much more visible role when Ramsay (inevitably, hopefully agonizingly) dies. 

Two important questions: Was he able to see Bran during the warging because Bran accidentally inserted himself too prominently into the past, or because The Night King can simply tell when he's being watched? And second, after touching and basically branding Bran, can he tell that Bran and Jon Snow are related? 

2. Lady Sansa Stark, Wardeness of The North, which Remembers

Of every important character on the show, Sansa is probably the only one who's never won a scene/circumstance/episode due to her own actions. Yes, she "won" when Joffrey decided to marry Margaery instead, or when Littlefinger arranged to have her smuggled out of King's Landing, but those are all decisions that were made beyond her consultation. 

Finally though, in her little chat with Littlefinger, Sansa felt like a winner. The questions were asked, and answered, on her terms, at her speed, and at her insistence. From the moment the conversation began, there was never a doubt who was running it, and that's a new status quo for her. We even saw it later in the episode, in the strategy meeting with Jon. Everything that happened at that particular chess board was due to Sansa's own orchestration--both the elements that she made privy to the room, and the elements that she kept within. 

3. The Targaryen Invasion of Westeros

I thought about placing Euron Greyjoy here, because he was made King, after all. But I withheld calling him a winner for two reasons. First of all, having to drown for a crown made out of sticks looks like a raw deal. Second, and perhaps more importantly, Euron's grand ole plan to gift Daenerys Targaryen both a thousand ships and his "big cock" seems destined to be precisely, ummm, half successful. 

But that successful half (the ships, obviously--get your mind out of the gutter) will hopefully, mercifully, finally, put the Targaryen invasion of Westeros back on track. 

4. Kinvara, High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, the Flame of Truth, the Light of Wisdom, and First Servant of the Lord of Light

For the first 54 episodes of the show, Varys and Littlefinger were the two characters that always seemed like they owned every situation they found themselves in. That changed for both of them this episode. Sansa verbally overpowered Littlefinger, but what made him nervous was the possibility of Brienne killing him. For Varys, the overpowering and the nervousness both came from the same person, and he looked quite uncomfortable indeed. 

For years now, it's looked like the two great hopes for Westeros were Jon and Daenerys. Jon was brought back to life by a red priestess, and now Daenerys has access to an even more powerful and confident one. 

5. Jorah Mormont, Lord Commander of House Friendzone

He finally declared his love for his Khaleesi, and though it wasn't exactly returned in the same manner, her emotional affection for him was laid bare, as well as her commands for his continued health and wisdom. If there really is a way for Jorah to cure his greyscale, his Khaleesi commanding it will expedite its location. 

Honorable Mention: Gratuitous Nudity 

Making a real triumphant return, courtesy of the community theatre in Braavos! And how 'bout those production values, huh? Not bad! Every aspect of the city life we see in Essos just further confirms that it's clearly a much better place to live than Westeros, and all of the idiots fighting over an uncomfortable chair made out of swords are deeply misguided in their life goals. 


Losing/Dying

1. Literally Every Living Thing Hanging Out Under the Weirwood Tree

Seriously, here's the rundown of who was hanging out under the tree: The Three-Eyed Raven, Bran Stark, Hodor, Meera Reed, Summer (Bran's Direwolf), and Leaf and her Children of the Forest friends. So, all of them are now dead except Bran and Meera, who were left wandering alone in the endless winters north of the Wall, with no protection. 

The real loss here, obviously, is Hodor, but if I didn't give him a combined spot with those he died with, there'd just be no room left on the losers list for everything else that happened in the episode. Hodor, you are forever denied the spotlight you so richly deserved. But take solace that you will go down in eternity as the answer to the question, "Which Game of Thrones death most gave you PTSD?" 





Meanwhile, Bran has to live with the knowledge that he ruined Hodor's entire life, and then got him killed decades later. Honestly, if Hodor's life is the price of discovering you can time travel, I think most of us would rather just not know we can time travel. 

Also, we're down to two direwolves, one of which has been missing for the last 53 episodes. 

One prediction, though: Max von Sydow is considered one of the world's greatest living actors, and I don't think he signed on to play the Three-Eyed Raven just to appear in three episodes (nor would the show pay him for such a small amount of screen time). I'm not explicitly predicting he isn't dead, or that he'll come back to life; I'm just saying I don't think we've seen the last of Max von Sydow on the show. Most likely, it'll be an Obi-Wan-type situation, where, even though he's dead, he'll continue to appear in Bran's visions and impart more teachings. 

2. Empowering a Force

We saw it last season when Cersei empowered the Faith Militant, and they inevitably turned on her for her own life of sins. We saw it this week with the Children of the Forest, who created the White Walkers to fight off the First Men, and then eventually died at their hands. And we've seen it with the Republican Party, who spent the last three decades cultivating the vote of the uneducated and prejudiced, and now those people enabled Donald Trump Drumpf to destroy the party (and maybe the country). Empowering a group with the intention of using them to take out your enemies will likely result in them taking you out a bit further down the road. And now Tyrion and Varys are toying with granting power and influence to religious fanaticism within Meereen. Actions have consequences. 

3. Littlefinger

Just a week after I declared him a winner for managing to have every verbal encounter go exactly his way, we finally see him get trounced in one. However, the mention of Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully was interesting, and felt a bit like Littlefinger was still getting his little fingers into Sansa's ears. Sansa has now used that information, as Littlefinger no doubt knew she would. But is it accurate, reliable intel? Or does Littlefinger just want Sansa, and, by extension, Jon, to think it is, for reasons unknown? We shall see. 

4. House Greyjoy

Well, The Kingsmoot didn't go so well for them, did it? Where they're headed is anyone's guess, and here's mine: Dorne. First off, it's warm there, and Iron Islanders all just look fucking miserable. Second off, we haven't seen Dorne in four weeks now, and they have to rejoin the fray somehow. But lastly, surely Yara knows that Ellaria Sand killed the Martells and intends to take the fight to the Lannisters. There are only so many places in Westeros you can go with a fleet of ships, and Winterfell and Castle Black aren't on the list. We know the Greyjoys hate the Lannisters, so maybe an alliance with the new rulers of Dorne makes the most sense. 

5. A Girl

As much as a girl may claim she is no longer Arya Stark, a girl will continue being reminded that she once was. And a girl may also soon recall where Arya Stark hid her sword, Needle. And once a girl reclaims the blade of Arya Stark, she will no longer be just a girl. 

Honorable Mention: The Tormund/Brienne Love Affair We All Yearn For

Look out your window, Brienne!!




Confirmed Kills: 8

*Hodor (killed by a small army of wights, because it was his destiny to die at that moment, in that way, holding that door, because Bran didn't understand his own abilities and accidentally ruined Wylis Hodor's entire life)
*The Three-Eyed Raven (Killed by the Night King, because Bran couldn't fucking listen when he told him not to touch the stove)
*Summer (Killed by an army of wights while protecting Bran, yet again)
*Leaf and three other Children of the Forest (Killed by an army of wights who were controlled by the White Walkers, who the Children of the Forest created to begin with, all because karma's a bitch)
*A White Walker (Killed by Meera Reed when she hurled dragon glass at him) 

Season Death Tally: 52


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S6, E4)



Season 6, Episode 4: "Book of the Stranger"

Last week's rankings: "Oathbreaker"

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.


Winning!

1. Khaleesi the Unburnt, Bow to Her!

Hey, remember when I posited last week that "Khaleesi" was a title that had outgrown its use to Daenerys, and was becoming a bit inconvenient? Ha! Shows you what the hell I know. 

Has the Mother of Dragons officially become the greatest lady badass in television history? Can we invoke the mercy rule on any other contestants? It was exactly 30 episodes ago that Daenerys calmly said "dracarys" to Drogon, taking command of the Unsullied while cooly eliminating the slave lords of Astapor, and then dropping the whip and granting freedom to her soldiers. That was a strong contender for greatest scene in the series, and has remained as such for the subsequent three years. I don't quite think Khaleesi's emergence from the flame-engulfed Dosh Khaleen tops it, but the fact that it's debatable is amazing enough. 

Also of note is the performance of Michiel Huisman, the actor who plays Daario, during that scene. Remember, Daario as a character had yet to see Daenerys withstand fire. He wasn't there in Season 1 when she hatched her dragons in Khal Drogo's funeral pyre. Even though Daario has been following her and sleeping with her for several seasons, he hadn't yet had reason to view her as a pseudo-deity. Huisman played the moment beautifully. 





2. Ramin Djawadi

You don't know who that is, do you? As the music composer for Game of Thrones, Ramin has been the series' secret weapon since the first episode. He's deservedly revered for the show's epic credit sequence music, which never gets old no matter how many time you hear it. Seriously, I've watched every episode 3-4 times and I still don't fast-forward through the opening credits. 

But Djawadi doesn't get nearly enough attention for how much he does in the scoring of individual scenes, characters, and motifs. His best work was on display twice in "Book of the Stranger," first when Sansa and Jon embraced, and then, of course, during the epic emergence of Daenerys through the flames of the Dosh Khaleen. It's the same music we've heard during every great Khaleesi moment, and it never fails to achieve immediate goosebumps. 

3. Hugs

That Sansa/Jon embrace at the beginning of the episode was legitimately the most heart-warming moment in the history of the show, right? And is it the first non-bro hug of actual, genuine affection that we've ever seen? Maybe even the first one that's ever occurred in Westeros? Shout out to hugs. Hugs are the best. 

4. Armies

Okay, big picture talk here. What I really noticed in this episode was all of the main characters gathering into factions and beginning to militarize their forces. While Season 2 gave us the War of the Five Kings (all of whom are dead now), this is looking like a War of the Seven Armies. We have 1) Jon Snow, Brienne, Davos, Castle Black, the Wildlings, Littlefinger, and the knights of the Vale; 2) Ramsay, the Bolton bannermen, the Umbers, and the Karstarks; 3) The Greyjoys and the Iron Islands; 4) The combined Lannister/Tyrell forces; 5) Daenerys, Jorah, Daario, Tyrion, Varys, all of Dothraki, the Unsullied, and three dragons; 6) Ellaria, the Sand Snakes, and the Dornish; and 7) The Night's King and the Army of the Dead. It's looking like all of these factions are about to start going at it, and shit's gonna get real. This feels like the beginning of the endgame. 

5. Littlefinger

In five plus seasons, this guy has never even come out on the losing end of a conversation. His mouth is like Ser Arthur Dayne's double-sword attack. 

Honorable Mention: Brienne of Tarth

A lady always remembers the first time a giant bearded wild man eye-fucks the shit out of her. 




Losing/Dying

1. The Great Khals

Like the Republican Party over the last 160 years, they had a good run. But unlike the Republican Party, this new boss won't be the same as the old boss. 

2. Melisandre

Brienne will want her dead as soon as she confirms that Melisandre was responsible for the smoke demon that took Renly from behind (see what I did there?), and Davos will want her dead when he inevitably finds out what happened to his favorite bedtime storyteller, the Lady Shireen. These bad portents are compounded by the fact that Jon Snow has now been resurrected, which means Melisandre as a character has probably served her purpose to the show. As we saw with Doran and Trystane Martell just a few episodes ago, as soon that Game of Thrones writer's room doesn't know what to do with you, you're done for. 

3. Ramsay Bolton

We just saw what happened to the Great Khals after they threatened to let their armies gang rape a resourceful woman. Ramsay did the same thing in his "Come at me" letter to Jon Snow, which may not prove great strategy. The North remembers, you sack of shit. 

4. Diplomacy

Showrunners Benioff and Weiss said they based Tyrion's strategy off of Abraham Lincoln, who first tried to use diplomacy to end slavery and avoid war. Lincoln failed, and war came. Whether Tyrion's diplomatic attempts will be any more successful remains to be seen, but this is fucking Game of Thrones we're talking about. Bet on war. 

5. Osha

It has to be disheartening for an actress to not be used on a show for over two years, and then be called back for less than five minutes of screen time, just to get stabbed in the neck. Has SAG filed a grievance yet? 

Honorable Mention: The Ale of the Night's Watch

A bunch of dudes, sequestered in the cold at the edge of the world, for thousands of years. Wouldn't you think learning to make a good ale is like the FIRST thing they'd do? In a show with dragons and ice zombies, Castle Black not having a good brew might be the single most unrealistic element. 


Confirmed Kills: 16 (I think)

*2 Dothraki out for a night on the town (both killed by Daario Naharis, one from a broken neck, the other stabbed and then face-smashed by a large rock)
*Osha (stabbed in the neck by Ramsay during a failed seduction attempt)
*13 (my best count) Khals and bloodriders in the Dosh Khaleen (incinerated by Daenerys the Unburnt after openly asking how she tastes)

Season Death Tally: 44


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S6, E3)




Season 6, Episode 3: "Oathbreaker"

Last week's rankings: "Home"

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.





Winning!

1. Ser Arthur Dayne

I don't actually care that this guy died on screen in this episode, or that the character has been dead for over twenty years within the context of the show. Holy shit, this guy is a badass, and he absolutely won the episode, with the help of...

1a. Game of Thrones Fight Choreographers

I mean, am I crazy, or was that like the best on-screen sword fight you've ever seen? Unfortunately, I don't know who to give credit to, because IMDb doesn't list anyone as a "fight choreographer" or anything like that. So by default, let's all applaud Rowley Irlam, who has the most Game of Thrones-y name ever, and serves as the show's lead stunt coordinator. 

2. Varys' Particular Brand of Winning

Varys employed a strategy this week that must seem quite peculiar to all of his co-residents of Westeros and Essos. When he caught the person who had been betraying and aiding in the murder of his allies, he tortured her, raped her, severed her genitals, hung her in the castle square, beheaded her, and then fed her to dogs offered her a bag of money and a journey to a better life. Wait, what? Sure, she fed him information, but still! A bag of money and a cruise to new lands??? If that's the prize for betraying Varys, sign me up!! 

But seriously, this is what makes Varys such a perpetual winner on the show--he (along with Littlefinger) is the only person who understands that winning the long game means not giving into your compulsions to win every confrontation you find yourself in. If it were Cersei who captured someone betraying her house, you know how that would have gone. But Varys instead bargained with his enemy and lavished her with gifts, and has placed himself in a better strategic position for it. 

3. Small Council Meetings 

These just keep getting better and better. Also, when did Mace Tyrell return? How did he find out about the death of Ser Meryn Trant? How did he explain it to Cersei? How did he find out his children were imprisoned? Did he know of Loras' sexual proclivities? We need a Mace Tyrell bottle episode. 

4. Leanna Stark Theories

She's now been the centerpiece of two flashbacks in as many episodes, and they're definitely building to something. Book readers have long theorized about what really happened inside the Tower of Joy, and the idea of finally having that confirmed is tantalizing to them. Why could Ned hear her screaming? 

ON THE OTHER HAND: This episode had a hidden clue that's highly detrimental to the prevailing theories of Jon Snow's parentage. When Arya's a girl's sadistic faceless fighting teacher was grilling her, she asked Arya a girl about her siblings. When Arya a girl responded that she had four brothers, she was hit, because that wasn't true. When she then said three brothers and a half brother, she wasn't hit. So, why wasn't she hit? If the Leanna Stark theories are true, Arya a girl doesn't have a half brother, and the faceless men seem to know these things. There are only four possibilities: Either A) The faceless men for some reason don't know the truth about Jon Snow's parentage, even though they seem to know everything else, B) It's a continuity error in the show, C) Arya a girl really does have a half brother, but it's not Jon, or D) Jon and Arya a girl are half siblings after all. Curiouser and curiouser. 

5. Ser Davos' Pep Talks

"Now go fail again." And he will. 

Honorable MentionArya Stark A Girl

A girl can see again, which sadly means that a girl won't be turning into Daredevil anytime soon. It's a win for a girl, but a loss for me. 





Losing/Dying

1. The Donald Trump of Westeros

We can only hope for an imminent hanging to everyone that points at an entire group of people and says, "They're all murderers and rapists. I want them off our lands and behind a wall." GTFOOH

2. Rickon Stark, Osha, and Shaggydog

I've been wondering where they were for a while, and now I feel bad for hoping they'd return. Ramsay remains the worst. 

While we're here, it's time for a quick direwolf update. We started the show with six: Greywind, Ghost, Lady, Nymeria, Summer, and Shaggydog. Lady, Sansa's direwolf, was killed in Season 1, Episode 2 by Ned Stark, on orders of Robert Baratheon, for the whole ordeal between Arya, Joffrey, and the butcher's boy. Greywind, Robb's direwolf, was killed in his kennel during the Red Wedding, in Season 3, Episode 9. And now Shaggydog, Rickon's direwolf, seems to have met his end. That leaves Ghost, who's in Castle Black with Jon Snow, Summer, who's under the weirwood tree with Bran, and Nymeria, Arya's direwolf, who ran off into the woods 51 episodes ago. I'm particularly curious whether Nymeria will return. The show has always made a point in emphasizing the importance of the wolves, so I have to assume yes. But the when, where, and how will be particularly interesting. 

3. Khaleesi

That title, one of many for Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen, Breaker of Chains, is starting to be a bit of a hassle, right? 

4. Ned Stark's Honor

One of the biggest pieces of "evidence" for the theories of Jon Snow's true parentage is that the Honorable Ned Stark would have never ever had an affair behind his wife's back. But this week, we actually saw Ned's honor take a real hit. All of the stories about how he bested Ser Arthur Dayne proved false. See Arthur Dayne was ready to kill Ned before he was stabbed in the back by Howland Reed. 

To be fair, Ned was likely lying about what happened as a favor to Howland Reed, so he wasn't known as the person who stabbed the greatest sword fighter in Westeros in the back. Just as Ned may be lying about Jon Snow's parentage for the sake of a promise to his sister. The lesson is that Ned was willing to be dishonorable, or even for people to falsely perceive him as dishonorable, as long as it meant helping those he cared most about. It'll be interesting to see if more examples of this arise. 

5. Jon Snow's Karma

When Robb Stark executed Rickard Karstark for disobeying his orders, he began to lose the allegiance of his people, and they eventually betrayed and killed him. When Jon Snow killed Janos Slynt for refusing his orders, the same thing might have happened, and he was eventually betrayed and killed as well. Last week, when Jon was struggling with whether to execute those that betrayed and stabbed him, I was really expecting him to not do it, as an example of how death had changed him. I was wrong, and that didn't happen. Will there be consequences? 

Honorable Mentions: Jon Snow's Pecker and Playing Drinking Games with the Unsullied

Apparently neither make for a great party. 


Confirmed Kills: 11

4 of Ned Stark's bannermen (killed by the badass that was Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy), Ser Gerold Hightower (killed by Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy), Ser Arthur Dayne (*not* killed by Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy), Bowen Marsh, Othell Yarwyck, Olly, and Alliser Thorne (hung by Jon Snow for betraying and stabbing him), and Shaggydog (presumably killed by Lord Smalljon Umber)

Season Death Tally: 28