Friday, April 10, 2015

Inglorious Westeros: A Song of Ice and Bastards

Way back in late 2001, during my Sophomore year of college, I read a piece on ESPN called "A Few Good Hoopsters," where a new columnist named Bill Simmons used 50 quotes from A Few Good Men as awards for the NBA season. It not only introduced me to Simmons' work, but also to the great possibilities of creative nonfiction writing, which I took up not long after. Ever since then, I've wanted to try my hand at that gimmick, using movie quotes as awards for something. 

And now, here we are. It's time for 50 quotes from the most quotable movie of the last decade, Inglourious Basterds, handed out as awards for Game of Thrones: Season 4, in preparation for the Season 5 debut in a few days. 

Winter is coming!!

-Well Werner, if you heard of us, you probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner takin’ business. We’re in the killin’ Nazis business. And cousin, business is a boomin’!
The mission statement of the Basterds goes to the mission statement of Westeros during Season 4, memorably said by Arya: “Nothing isn’t better or worse than anything. Nothing is just nothing.”

-Actually Werner, we’re all tickled to hear you say that. Quite frankly, watchin’ Donny beat Nazis to death is the closest we ever get to goin’ to the movies.

The most exciting thing for the Basterds to hear goes to the most exciting thing anyone watching Game of Thrones can ever hear: "Trial by Combat." It's a problematic idea, to be sure. Tyrion puts it like this: “Deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods, by having two other men hack each other to pieces, tells you something about the gods.” But whatever, it makes for great drama!

-Well, I’m very familiar with you and your family, but I have no way of knowing if you know who I am. Are you aware of my existence?

To Prince Oberyn Martell, The Red Viper, who went into combat with The Mountain basically saying the same words. 

-And, I would like the United States of America to purchase property for me on Nantucket Island as a reward for all the countless lives I’ve saved by bringing the tyranny of the National Socialist Party to a swift end.

The moment where Col. Landa gets just a little too cocky with his requests goes to The Viper's demands that The Mountain confess his sins. Dude, just stop while you're ahead. 

-You didn’t say that the goddamn rendezvous was in a fuckin’ basement.
-I didn’t know.
-You said it was in a tavern.
-It is a tavern.
-Yeah, in a basement. You know, fightin’ in a basement offers a lot a difficulties, number one bein’, you’re fightin’ in a basement.

The ill-conceived plan that leads to everyone's death goes to the duel between The Mountain and The Viper, which leaves both of them looking like they were part of the basement bar shootout. 

-Bon jorno.

The moment you realize that Lt. Aldo Raine really doesn't speak Italian at all, and the whole plan is about to spectacularly go down in flames, goes to Tyrion's facial expression after The Mountain crushes The Viper's skull. 

-He got outta Munich, became American, got drafted, come back to give ya’ll what fer.

To Arya Stark, who is quickly becoming an adult and a remorseless killer, and seems destined to get her bloody revenge. Stick 'em with the pointy end, girl. 

-Are you mad? What have you done? I made a deal with your general for that man’s life!
-Yeah, they made that deal, but they don’t give a fuck about him. They need you.
-You’ll be shot for this!
-Nah, I don’t think so. More like chewed out. I been chewed out before.

The funniest reaction to a death in the movie goes to the funniest reaction to a death on the show: When Arya and The Hound finally get to the Vail, only to find out that Arya's aunt Lysa died three days earlier. And Arya promptly starts laughing her ass off. 

-That sounds good.
-It sounds like shit, but what else we gonna do, go home?

To the other Stark sister, Sansa, for whom every seemingly good plot development actually just makes her situation worse. At first escaping Westeros seemed great, until her crazy cousin starts freaking out on her, her creepy savior reveals his intentions to jump her bones, and her batshit insane aunt tries to throw her out the moon door. 

-I done my share of bootleggin’. Up there, you engage in what the federal government calls illegal activity but what we call just a man makin’ money for his family sellin’ moonshine liquor, it behooves oneself to keep his wits.

Also to Sansa, who finally seems to be keeping her wits and learning how to play the Game of Thrones, lying to save Littlefinger only because she knows it's in her best interests. 

-Doggy doc’s gonna dig that slug out yer gam, he’s gonna wrap it up in a cast, and you got a good “how I broke my leg mountain climbin’” story. Now that’s German, ain’t it? Y’all like climbin’ mountains, don’t ya?

The craziest strategy in the movie goes to the craziest character in Game of Thrones, Lysa Arryn. I might actually miss her. 

-I can see since you didn’t see what happened inside that the Nazis being there must look odd.
-Yeah, we got a word for that kinda odd in English. It’s called “suspicious.”

To Littlefinger, the most suspicious character in the show. I mean, look at the way he describes himself to Sansa: “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always keep your foes confused. If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next.” Would you trust that person? Especially after the reveal that the death of John Arryn, which set the events of the show in motion, was actually his doing? 

Littlefinger has disappeared for long stretches during the show's first four seasons, but since it increasingly seems like he's behind almost everything, we're likely to see him more regularly. 

-You don’t like them. You don’t really know why you don’t like them, just that you find them repulsive.

To all of the plot lines involving Bran Stark, the white walkers, and whatever supernatural shit is happening north of the wall. I just don't care. The characters aren't compelling, none of it makes sense, and it gets too far away from the conceit of the show: games, thrones, and games of thrones. 

-Now why don’t you try tellin’ us what the fuck happened?

To Hodor, who definitely cannot tell you what the fuck happened. 

-What is that English expression with shoes and feet?
-Looks like the shoe’s on the other foot. Yeah, I was just thinkin’ that.

To Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth, who got their asses kicked at the end of Season 2, laid dormant for almost all of Seasons 3 and 4, and then suddenly reemerged in the season finale as a major force to be reckoned with, with a huge army, funding from the Iron Bank of Bravos, Jon Snow on their side, and Mance Rayder as their prisoner. 

-And where in Paris is this mountain?

The biggest hole in the plan to blow up the Nazi premiere goes to the biggest plot hole in Game of Thrones: Why in the hell anyone cares about the Iron Throne and drab Westeros in the first place. I wondered this during all of the Qarth scenes in Season 2, and wondered it again when the sprawling Metropolis of Bravos was revealed in Season 4. If this world has cities like that, why are characters leaving those cities to go die in the mud of Westeros? It feels a bit like if the US and Russia went to war over Greenland. Just… why? 

-When you join my command, you take on a debit. A debit you owe me, personally. Each and every man under my command owes me 100 Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps. And all ya’ll will get me 100 scalps, taken from the heads of 100 dead Nazis. Or you will die tryin’.
To Jon Snow, who still has his vow to the Night’s Watch. I can't imagine he'll be stuck on the wall for the remainder of the show, but we'll see. 

-Well, I speak the most Italian, so I’ll be your escort. Donowtiz speaks second most, so he’ll be your Italian cameraman. Omar third most, so he’ll be Donny’s assistant.
-I don’t speak Italian.
-Like I said, third best. Just keep your fuckin’ mouth shut. In fact, why don’t you start practicin’ right now.

The worst strategy in the movie goes to all the ill-advised strategies on the show. As Jon Snow memorably rationalizes one of them: “You’re right, it’s a bad plan. What’s your plan?”

-Donny! We got us a German here wants to die for country. Oblige him!

To poor Ygritte, who turned down Jon Snow's requests to go with him to instead stay with the Wildlings and die for her people. Sadly, she was obliged. Although, to be fair, she did have probably the most touching death scene in the history of the show. 

That led to this great exchange between Jon Snow and Tormund--
Tormund: “She loved you.
Snow: “She told you?”
Tormund: “No, all she ever talked about was killing you. That’s how I know.”

-Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein!!

This is exactly how I react every time there's a scene involving Theon Greyjoy and Ramsey Snow. 

-If you ever wanna eat a sauerkraut sandwich again, you gotta show me on this here map where they are, you gotta tell me how many they are, and you gotta tell me what kinda artillery they’re carryin’ with ‘em.
-You can’t expect me to divulge information that would put German lives in danger.
-Well, now, Werner, that’s where you’re wrong, ‘cause that’s exactly what I expect.
To HBO, who surely had a variation of this conversation with the show runners, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, in which HBO requested gratuitous nudity in every single episode, Benioff and Weiss said that they can't seriously be expected to constantly set scenes in brothels for no reason, and HBO retorted with "Well, now, guys, that's where you're wrong, 'cause that's exactly what we expect."

-You know, Utivich ‘n myself heard that deal you made with the brass. End the war tonight? I make that deal. How ‘bout you Utivich, you make that deal?
-I make that deal.
-I don’t blame ya. Damn good deal!

To Benioff and Weiss, who acquiesced to that agreement with HBO, guaranteeing the network gratuitous nudity and constant beheadings, and in return they gained complete creative control over the highest budget any show has ever had. Damn good deal!

-I know this is a silly question before I ask it, but can you Americans speak any other language than English?

Tarantino’s biggest shot at America goes to author George R. R. Martin’s biggest shot at humanity: Joffrey Baratheon, the ultimate archetype for how people will act when they believe they can do whatever they want. Good riddance to the most hated television character ever. 

-I’m French. We respect directors in our country.

Tarantino’s second biggest shot at America goes to Martin’s second biggest shot at humanity: Tyrion’s trial, where everyone that Tyrion ever outsmarted lies on the stand to get their revenge. The lesson, it seems, is that real intelligence will only ever be punished and stymied. Especially when that intelligence belongs to a deformed person bereft of traditional beauty. As Tyrion puts it: “If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.”

-You know somethin’ Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece.

To both Tyrion Lannister and actor Peter Dinklage, who've been killing it since day 1, but seemingly saved their best speech and best acting (respectively) for the end of the trial scene. 

-We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty, they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us… and when the German closes their eyes at night, and they’re tortured by their subconscious for the evil they have done, it will be with thoughts of us that they are tortured with.

To the most tortured cruelty of all, the end of Tyrion and Shae’s relationship. Let's recap: Tyrion knows Shae's life is in danger, so he tries to send her away where she'll be safe, but she refuses to leave. So Tyrion calls her a whore and pays her to go, thinking it's the only way he can save her. To get back at him for calling her a whore, she testifies against him, lying on the stand, telling everyone that she was nothing more than his whore. Then, when Tyrion escapes, he sees her in his father's bed, referring to Tywin as her "lion," just like she used to call him. Then she tries to stab him, and he ends up strangling her to death. Now that's what I call romance! 

The relationship that led to one of the most touching moments of Season 2, when Shae refuses to leave his side saying "I am yours, and you are mine," allowing Tyrion to feel real love for the first time, somehow ended up with this. Hell indeed hath no fury like a woman scorned, called a whore, and paid to go away. 

-You’ve had a nice, long run, Aldo.

To Tywin Lannister, who had quite a run as the most dangerous man in Westeros, but in the end, couldn't escape the sins of being a terrible father. 

-Well, if this is it old boy, I hope you don’t mind if I go out speaking the King’s.

Also to Tywin, who tried to talk his way to a more dignified death, and couldn't quite do it. So he got shot by a crossbow while on the commode. Sorry 'bout ya, bro. 

-I love Rumors! Facts can be so misleading, but rumors, true or false, are often revealing.

To Varys the Spider, collector of all rumors and whisperings. He wasn't a major player this season until the end, when he helps Tyrion escape across the Narrow Sea. I expect him to be a major player in Season 5. As he tells Tyrion during the trial, “Sadly, my lord, I forget nothing.”

-What should we drink to, sir?
-Well, uhh… down with Hitler.
-All the way down, sir.

To Lady Olenna Tyrell, who made sure that a drink caused the downfall of Hitler Joffrey. 

-Basically, we have all our rotten eggs in one basket. The objective of Operation Kino? Blow up the basket. 

To the weddings of Westeros, which just keep getting better and better! That's what happens when you get so many major characters together in a scene--the basket blows up. 

-There’s a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch. Seeing as I may be rapping on the door momentarily… I must say, damn good stuff sir.

To Cersei, who apparently thinks there’s also a level of hell reserved for anyone that ever allows a drop of wine to go to waste.

-Well you don’t gotta be Stonewall Jackson to know you don’t wanna fight in a basement.

The obviousness of the wrong place for a fight goes to the obviousness of the wrong place for something else: the infamous scene of Jamie raping Cersei at the foot of their inbred son's displayed corpse. Wrong place for that!

That scene also led to one of my favorite conversations about Game of Thrones Season 4, from Grantland's "Girls in Hoodies" podcast. 

Girl in hoodie 1: There was a really controversial rape scene in this week's Game of Thrones episode. 
Girl in hoodie 2: Isn't that every episode of Game of Thrones?
Girl in hoodie 1: Well, usually the rape scenes aren't controversial. 

-We just wanna say we’re a big fan of your work. When it comes to killin’ Nazis, I think you show great talent, and I pride myself on havin’ an eye for that kind of talent. But your status as a Nazi killer is still amateur. We all come here to see if you wanna go pro. 

To Tommen Baratheon, who, after being an inconsequential background character for the first three seasons, has officially gone pro as the new King of Westeros, Protector of the Realm. He's either about to become a major character, or die within a few episodes. Given that he seems to be a decent guy, I'm betting on the latter. There's no place for kindness in Westeros. 

-Jew Hunter? It’s just a name that stuck.
-Well, you do have to admit, it is catchy.

To Jamie Lannister, known forever as The Kingslayer for breaking his oath, even though it was to save Westeros from the Mad King setting the realm on fire. As Jamie keeps trying to salvage his honor, he's developing into one of the best characters on the show. 

-The German’s nickname for me is The Little Man?
-And as if to make my point, I’m a little surprised at how tall you are in real life. I mean, you’re a little fellow, but not circus midget little, as your reputation would suggest.

To the touching story Oberyn tells about when he first saw Tyrion, expecting a monster with horns and red eyes, but instead just saw a baby, slightly smaller than normal. And in telling the story, detailing how Cersei wanted Tyrion dead even at that young age, we got this memorable quote: “It is rare to meet a Lannister who shares my enthusiasm for dead Lannisters.”

-Say “Auf Wiedersehen” to your Nazi balls.

To Theon Greyjoy, Varys, and Greyworm, and the audacity of a show to have not one, not two, but three important characters who had to say "auf Wiedersehen" to their balls.

-Now I dunno ‘bout ya’ll, but I sure as hell didn’t come down from the goddamn Smoky Mountains, cross 5,000 miles of water, fight my way through half of Sicily, and jump out of a fuckin’ aero plane to teach the Nazis lessons in humanity. Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac, and they need to be destroyed. That’s why any and every sumbitch we find wearnin’ a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die.

Aldo's wonderful way with words goes to the Hound, who also had quite a creative tongue. During the lead up to the bar fight in the first episode of Season 4, he memorably said, “If anymore words come pouring out of your cunt mouth, I’m going to eat every fucking chicken in this room.” 

-Why do you have your Walther pointed at my testicles?

The best question in the movie goes to the best question of the season, also from The Hound: “Safety? Where the fuck’s that?”

-Now, ‘bout this pickle we find ourselves in.

To the most consistently entertaining pickle in Season 4, the "Arya & The Hound" buddy cop roadtrip comedy, which really never got old. Of all the show's status quos that won't be back for Season 5, I'll miss this one the most. 

-See, we like our Nazis in uniforms. That way you can spot ‘em, just like that. But you take off that uniform, ain’t no one gonna know you was a Nazi, and that don’t sit well with us. So I’m gonna give you a little somethin’ you can’t take off.

The best element of savagery in the movie goes to the fight between Brienne and The Hound, which devolved into one of the dirtiest brawls in the show, involving groin attacks, ears getting bitten off, and rocks smashing heads. 

-I’m more than just a uniform.
-Not to me.

To everyone on the show that isn't taken seriously because of a label that limits them: Brienne as just a woman, Tyrion as just a dwarf, Arya as just a girl, and Jon Snow as just a bastard. 

-Once we’re in enemy territory as a bushwhackin’ guerilla army, we’re gonna be doin’ one thing and one thing only: killin’ Nazis.

To Daenerys Targaryen, and her single-minded quest to free all slaves everywhere. She's across the Narrow Sea doin' one thing and one thing only. 

-Like any enterprise, when under new management, there’s always a slight duplication of efforts.

Also to Daenerys, or Mhysa, who has begun to realize that freeing slaves doesn't simply cure all problems. Liberating cities is one thing, but not leaving them in chaos is quite another. Now she must figure out how to have her cake and eat it too. At least her dragons won't get the cake, because…

-What the fuck are we supposed to do?
-It looks like we’re supposed to have a Nazi premiere.
-Like I said, what the fuck are we supposed to do?

To Khaleesi being forced to imprison her dragons, knowing she must, and knowing it's a terrible idea. I have no doubt there will be consequences. And probably blood. 

But hey, not all's bad for Khaleesi...

-Ooooh, that’s a bingo! Is that the way you say it? “That’s a bingo?”
-You just say "Bingo."

To Daario Naharis, who gets the mother Mhysa of all bingos when Daenerys beds him. 

Which isn't so good for

-When you purchase friends like Bridget von Hammersmark, you get what you pay for. 

To Jorah Mormont, who finally got what he paid for. You have to feel bad for the guy, because he had redeemed itself, except no one knew it, and the past caught up to him. Oh well, at least he's no longer in… 

-Well, we’ll be leavin’ a little earlier.

To all of the consequential deaths in Season 4: King Joffrey Baratheon, Locke, Lysa Arryn, Prince Oberyn Martell, Ygritte, Jojen Reed, The Hound, Shae, and Tywin Lannister. Here's a not-so-touching eulogy from Tyrion: “There’s no kind of killing that doesn’t have its own word.”

-Who has a message for Germany?
-I have a message for Germany. That you’re all going to die. And I want you to look deep into the face of the Jew that is going to do it!

To George R. R. Martin himself, the real madman that’s killing everyone left and right. Just replace "Germany" with "Westeros," and "Jew" with "author," and it's just about perfect. 

-Monsieur LaPadite, to both your family and your cows, I say, “Bravo.” 

To everyone involved with this show. It just keeps getting better and better. To both your families and your cows, I say, "Bravo." 

1 comment:

  1. Watch Online Movies and Free Download HD Print Click Here To Visit