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 GAME OF THRONES: The Good, the Bad and the Possibilities. Shocking to Some but Groundbreaking to Many           I used to do film reviews...

GAME OF THRONES: The Good, the Bad and the Possibilities




GAME OF THRONES:
The Good, the Bad and the Possibilities.


Shocking to Some but Groundbreaking to Many

          I used to do film reviews for the newspaper Times Journal(International Edition) and the magazines Prime Weekly Editions, Celebrity World, Playhouse, TV Star Guide (later Atlas TV Guide) and MOD, until I went on a hiatus in 2014. I stopped watching movies and, afterwards, when my television conked out, I also stopped watching TV series. I can proudly say I survived three years without watching movies and television.
          When my Mom passed away last October 2017, our home felt so lonely. It’s just my “jurassic” laptop and me, writing stories and comics scripts, and the occasional Internet surfing and blogging. Knowing my predicament, a friend gave me an LED television and a DVD player. I couldn’t watch TV programs because the signals in our area was really terrible. They say I needed a signal booster, they called it “TV Plus.” I haven’t really buy one yet. My niece and another friend provided me with bundles of DVDs to watch. That’s what’s keeping me out of boredom.
          Boy, oh boy, I really missed a lot! The more than three years that I wasn’t able to watch a full movie or a single episode of a TV series, I really, really, missed a lot!
          Now, on to why I wrote this blog post.
          Last January 15, 2018, I started watching HBO's Game of Thrones one season after another. Though I heard about it from friends, I was still, shall we say, got “surprised” by what I viewed. At first I thought I was watching an x-rated TV series (That’s not even possible here in the Philippines?). There are scenes containing full frontal nudity (men and women) and sexual acts complete with dialogues containing 4-letter-words unbleeped, and this is for television, you know. I’d say I am really, “definitely,” behind on my TV series.
          After watching four seasons of Game of Thrones, I initially made the impression that there were too many unnecessary scenes containing nudity and sexual acts. I could enumerate more than 20 acts of sexual perversion, deviance and paraphilia shown in the TV series from incest to pedophilia, to blatant homosexual acts. Some I find quite degrading to women, initially. As I, however, talk to other people that have watched it, including feminists and women empowerment advocates, I got quite different feedbacks. It made me wonder, did the standards of television viewership in my four year hiatus made a galactic remodeling? And the social and moral standards, for that matter, had a gravitational shift or a time warp?
          I did background research on George R. R. Martin's novel-turned-television-series, A Song of Ice and Fire, most of the episodes of which were written and produced by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. I watched the series again. It dawned on me why the series is such a big hit everywhere and why even feminists like it. I have so many adjectives for it, but two stand out – Unique and groundbreaking!
          I watched it three times, all seven seasons, and I still like to watch it again. That’s how good the series is. And I can’t wait to see the final season!

Climax of Season 1:
Daenerys and one of her three newly-hatched dragons,
coming out after the fire unburned.
          Ah yes, about my initial comments about the sex contents. At first glance, especially for a conservative person, it would be shocking. When you analyze the storyline, however, there are some merits in the inclusion of the sex scenes. I said “some” because there are sex scenes that I still believe were unnecessary. It can be appreciated, though, that these nudity and sex scenes were reduced in the later episodes. In a stricter point of view, the series is not actually degrading to women, but on to the contrary, promotes women empowerment. Yes, many of my female friends agreed. Hahaha!
          From the queen to the priestess, to the prostitutes; mother, daughter, sister; heroine or villainess, whether directly or directly, there is that impetus on women empowerment. If you didn’t see it and you only saw the bouncing boobs and butts, and the undulation in the copulation, then it is you who has the sexual perversion.

Dissecting the Nitty-Gritty

          My editors that I used to work with always say that I’m a very keen observer. Well, I already said that this is a unique and groundbreaking series. Okay, it’s a great series! It is, however, not one without flaws. When I make reviews of write-ups, stories, books, TV series and films, I look for holes in the story plot. And even my critics say I’m good at it.
          In Game of Thrones, I found quite a few. There are a couple as early as in the first two episodes of the first season. Recall the deserter that was beheaded by Ned Stark (portrayed by Sean Bean). How in the world was he able to get to Winterfell? The deserter and his two companions were investigating a wildling camp, and that’s north of the wall, when they encountered the white walkers. Again, how did he get to Winterfell which is south of the wall? If he passed through the wall, he would have been captured and beheaded then and there for deserting his companions. That’s one!
          It is also in the first episode that Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was pushed from a tower window by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) after the boy saw his incestuous undertaking with his sister, Cersei (Lena Headey). Brandon went into a coma. How long exactly was he in a coma? How did they feed him? I don’t think there’s dextrose is that time setting. So, how did Brandon stayed alive for such a length of time in a coma? And it’s a long time, because when he was climbing the tower his direwolf was still a pup, but when an assassin tried to murder him while he was in bed still in a coma, in the second episode, his wolf which save his life, was fully-grown.
          Let’s skip to the big question marks, in the 66th episode (Season 7), where did the white walkers get the four gigantic, mile-long, iron chains they used to pull the dead dragon, Viserion, out of the freezing water? Furthermore, how did they tied it to the body of the dragon under the water when the surface is covered with ice? Even if it’s not covered with ice, who tied the humongous chains to the dragon when they can’t swim, more so dive, in the freezing water?
          Now let’s go to other questions. That of loose ends. What happened or will happen to the masked woman in Qarth (named Quaithe in Martin’s books) who told Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) of the whereabouts of Daenerys’ dragons in Episode 17 (Season 2)? What happened to the little girl that threw a ball containing a scorpion-like creature that tried to kill Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) in Episode 21 (Season 3)? Lest they forget. Who were they? What role will they play in the final season? What role will Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) and the Second Sons, the priestest in red Melisandre (Carice van Houten), Jaqen H’aghar (Tom Wlaschiha), and the Night Watch acting-in-command Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton), play in the finale? It’s going to be quite a big surprise.



Power: Something to Learn from the Game 
          As the title of TV series suggests, the Game of Thrones is about the attainment of power. Although its book title version, A Song of Ice and Fire, maybe subtlely misleading, it does have a hidden meaning. You see, scientifically speaking and within the right condition and parameters, when you mix fire with ice, heat with cold, you create a storm. Yes, storm, Nature’s most powerful cataclysm. 
          You can’t help but admire the mind of its author, George R. R. Martin, for conceptualizing the setting and characterization of his novel, and David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Vanessa Taylor, Dave Hill, and Martin himself for writing the teleplay. Both novel and TV series, to me, is a one-in-a-lifetime masterpiece. Not only because of the panoramic storyline and cinematic special effects, but because of the richness of its characters and dialogues. Talking about “power,” this masterpiece has a lot of it.
          Dissecting Game of Thrones, power has been defined and described in several instances in the series, from one character’s viewpoint to another. What is really power? From where does it evolved?
          The character Peter “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) said “Knowlege is power,” perhaps borrowed from the English philosopher and statesman, Francis Bacon’s words “Knowledge itself is power.” This he said to Cersei, telling her that he knows about her “incestuous” secret. Lord Baelish’s so-called power immediately succumbed when Cersei ordered her guards to seize him, cut his throat, and “Stop, oh wait, I changed my mind, let him go.” Then Cersei told Lord Baelish, “power is power” (Episode 11, Season 2).
          Honor brings power. This seems to be the case with Robb Stark (Richard Madden). He gained power slowly by inheriting the honorable qualities of his father, Ned Stark, and at the same time getting the respect of his father’s bannermen. Though that same honorable quality led to his father’s downfall and death. Robb, however, added another quality – cunning. He won one victory after another against the Lannister forces with fewer yet more dedicated men who believed in his leadership. Then came love, which, if we go by romantic philosophy and biblical perspective, is the most powerful energy in the universe. Robb fell in love with a Volantis healer, Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin). Indeed, for because of love, Robb forsook his pledge of marrying one of the daughters of Walder Frey (David Bradley) as arranged by his mother, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), so that Lord Frey would open his gates and they could cross the Trident and proceed onward south to battle (Episode 9 Season 1). This single act of choosing love over honor caused him the war, his and his mother and wife’s lives (Episode 29 Season 3).
          Wealth is power. This seems to be the belief of the Lannisters who “always pay their debt.” They have demonstrated this in many occasions in the series. Yet even they became overwhelmed by heavy debts and needed to steal the Tyrell gold to pay the Iron Bank. True, they wielded power with their wealth, but power without assurance of hold, since “loyalty cannot be bought indefinitely.”
           People power! The series also gave glimpses of it. King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) certainly got a taste of it when he got hit in the face by some sort of shit bomb. It, however, turned into mob rule and Sansa nearly got raped because of it (Episode 16, Season 2). They also tried using “people power” against Daenerys in Essos (Season 5). It was later revealed, however, that the people power instigated by the Sons of the Harpy was financed by the oligarchs of the kingdoms that Daenerys earlier liberated. Hmmm.... seemed just like what happened in the Philippines, in the EDSA Revolt of 1986, only a different outcome. When people let themselves be used for political motives, it is they that will suffer in the end.

           The power of religion and of the church, the series had that too (Season 6). It was a battle of cunningness between an evil scheming queen-regent Cersei and the Faith Militant fanatics led by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). At the beginning, the “faith” was seemed to be winning as it was able to punish Cersei by imprisoning and torturing her, and afterwards making her do the “walk of shame” totally naked in the streets of King’s Landing. It ended, however, in gloom and doom, as Cersei blew-up the Sept of Baelor with wildfire, killing the High Sparrow, Margaery (Natalie Dormer), Mace (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) and Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones), Lancel (Eugene Simon) and Kevan Lannister (Ian Gelder), along with hundreds of King’s Landing nobles and the Faith Militant. Young King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), Cersei’s remaining offspring, committed suicide after what happened. In a battle between evil and false faith, it is the innocents that bear the worst tragedy.         

          Having a large army under a strong leadership is power to the Dothraki. Then again, Daenerys awed the Dothraki hordes when she emerged from the burning temple of Dosh Khaleen that killed all their Khals unburned, and united them into one khalasar (Episode 54, Season 6). A young girl sold as bride to Khal Drogo by her brother, Viserys Targaryen, who wanted such an army to regain the Iron Throne. She became the “Mother of Dragons,” for just like her dragons, she is “fire made flesh, and fire is power” (Episode 15 Season 2).
            Truly, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by dragons and the awesome power that emanates from them. Ah, but there’s one character who defied this logic – the Night King. In fact, he killed one of Daenerys dragons, Viserion, with an ice spear, and later brought it back to life to become one among his minions (Episodes 66 and 67, Season 7). His power is of the supernatural kind.
           In the final season, which power will win?

 
How It Could Possible Ends
          More questions, this time conceptualizing the possibilities: How do you fight the Night King riding a zombie dragon that breathes out laser-like ice that can destroys stone walls? Will Daenerys gets pregnant by Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) or shall we say Aegon, his true-born Targaryen nephew? How will Winterfell feed Daenerys army of Dothraki and unsullied and two huge dragons? What will happen when the Dothraki horde face the walking dead army? How good are the warriors of Golden Company in battle? Who will they face on the opposite camp, Naharis’ Second Hands, Grey Worm’s Unsullied or the Dothraki? Will Jon Snow become king of the Seven Kingdom? There are lots to imagine and expect!
          Indeed, a lot of rumors have been circulating in the Internet of how the series will end. Some are saying this and that character will die in the finale. This is or that character will sit on the Iron Throne at the end.
          As a concept maker and writer myself, I would love to inject my ideas on the storyline of the final season, if I still could. Having watched the series four times, I seem to learn how Martin's mind works. Allow me to summarized it in two sentences:
          1. Every deed you do has future consequences that could complicate things.
          2. No matter how you plan or prepare for something, there will always be surprises to encounter.
          The way I see it, Daenerys, played by my now favorite actress Emilia Clarke, would be one of the casualties. Some said that Clarke herself hinted about it in an interview. Let’s presume that is the case.
          As to how Daenerys’ life would come to an end. Let me continue to conceptualize and answer my earlier questions. The Night King cannot be killed merely by dragonglass or dragon fire, or Valyrian steel sword like the other white walkers, unless the sword is stabbed through the heart. Brandon as the Three-Eyed Raven will reveal that it would take the fire in Daenerys’ heart to do it. This is akin to the legend of R’hllor, the lord of light, who forged the sword Lightbringer and plunged it in the heart of his wife Nissa Nissa to defeat the darkness of the great Other, which was briefly explained by Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye). 
          Brandon would offer himself as lure as the Night King wants to kill him. Daenerys upon learning Jon Snow as Aegon, her nephew, will offer her life and will ask him to stab her heart with his Valyrian sword. He will refuse and suggest an alternative. The Night King and the army of the dead will attack Winterfell. The undead dragon Viserion will be killed by the combine attack of Daenerys riding her lead dragon, Drogon, and Jon Snow riding Rhaegal. The Night King will fall to the ground burning but remains alive, while Daenerys and Drogon will be mortally wounded. At this point, she would again ask Jon Snow to pierce her heart with his sword. “It’s the only way!”
          With the sword bathed by the blood from Daenerys’ heart, Jon Snow confronts the Night King, defeats and stabs him with his sword in the heart. Drogon before it dies will spew his last breath of fire to the Night King, and he disintegrates into ashes. Upon the Night King’s death, all the white walkers also disintegrate. Of course there is still this lingering question about Azor Ahai that would save the day. I think this would probably be Arya Stark. We should remember the red priestess, Melisandre, vision of her: “I see darkness in you, and in that darkness, eyes staring back at me, brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you'll shut forever....” So, it’s either Jon Snow, a Targaryen, or Arya, a Stark, who would kill the Night King.

On the covers of Entertainment Weekly (June 2-9, 2017), the lead actors and actresses
of the blockbuster hit TV series Game of Thrones: Kit Harrington as Jon Snow (left),
and Isaac Hempstead Wright as Brandon Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark,
Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark (right).
          Next, Jon Snow and the remainder of his and Daenerys’ army will face Cersei who now has the Golden Company and Euron’s fleet at his command. Of course, Jon Snow and Daenerys will win, as there are other allies still in the waiting, the Knights of the Vale, the Dornish Army, the Second Sons, and, if and when Theon Greyjoy rescue his sister Yara, the Ironborns loyal to them. As to Jon Snow becoming king, it may not happen. That is to say even though he is really not a bastard but Aegon Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Remember Episode 41 (Season 5) when Cersei as a young girl, in a flashback, ask a witch three questions? It was revealed there that she will be dethroned by a younger and more beautiful queen. Got the drift? Now, if Daenerys dies in Season 8, who did the witch fortell to become queen after Cersei? That would leave one option – Sansa Stark. If Sansa becomes queen of the seven kingdoms, then that would make Arya a “princess” fulfilling the Azor Ahai prophecy – “the prince (or princess) that was promised.” Incidentally, the third question and the answer to whatever it is was not yet revealed, another source of would-be scenarios to conceptualize for the final season. If I would have it, Daenerys will be resurrected by the red priestess just as she brought Jon Snow back to life. Cersei, on the other hand, will die in the hands of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), after she and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) fight side by side against the latter’s older brother Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson).

Daenerys arrived at Dragonstone,
home of House Targaryen
(Episode 61, Season 7)
          One more reason why Daenerys should survived the eighth season is that she has been consistently in the highlights of most if not all the seven seasons. In Episode 10 (Season 1), Daenerys burned the dark witch alive alongside her husband, Drogo’s remains, and her three dragon eggs, and walked into the flames herself. After the fire died the following morning, Daenerys rose, unharmed, flanked by three newborn dragons. Jorah and the Dothraki left with her knelt in awe. In the Episode 20 (Season 2), Daenerys retrieved her three dragons in the House of the Undying and the dragons started spewing fire for the first time upon her command killing the warlock Pree. In Episodes 24 and 30 (Season 3), Daenerys freed the Unsullied and they became her army, and later freed the slaves of Yunkai which called her “mother.” In Episode 49 (Season 5), Daenerys and her companions were attacked by the Sons of the Harpy. Just as all hope seemed lost, Drogon arrived, and she mounted it and flew away from the pit, her followers watching in awe. Incidentally, on that same episode, Jorah Mormont, who was infected with touch-contagious grayscale, held Daenerys’ hand when he tried to save her from the attackers. It was never explained why she was “not affected.” My explanation, she is immune as dragonblood flows through her veins. In Episodes 54, 56, 59 and 60 (Season 6), Daenerys was the central character that saved the day and created the climax. These she repeated in Episodes 64 and 66 (Season 7). So, how can you kill-off such a character, more so the favorite of fans.
Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter dinklage,
one of the central characters,
on the cover of Atlas TV Guide (May 2012).
          By the way, it was hinted in Season 7 that Cersei is pregnant, contrary, also to the witch’s foretelling that she would only have three children. How is this resolved? Two ways, either she dies before giving birth or, in my concept (thinking for a sequel), the child inside Cersei’s womb is not actually hers, but of a succibus. Hahaha!
          How about Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) becoming wardeness or better yet, queen, of the North and marrying The Hound? Odd? And Arya Stark ending up with Gendry (Joe Dempsie)? How about Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) finally settling down with the “right” lady? Maybe it’s not the Hound that Sansa would marry; may be it’s the Imp? The possibilities are countless! All one’s need is an active imagination.






Now How About This Excerpts I Concocted for Season 8

          Arya Stark and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane confronting Cersei, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane and four Lannister soldiers. A fight ensued. Arya fighting four Lannister soldiers, while brothers, The Hound and The Mountain face off. In the fight, Gregor’s helmet was thrown off revealing his Frankenstein-like face.
          Sandor: “How did you let them make you so ugly!”
          Gregor is enraged and attacks Sandor furiously. Both are wounded, Sandor stabs Gregor right where his heart is, but The Mountain remains alive. He gains the upperhand and was about to crush Sandor’s skull (just like what he did to Oberyn in Episode 37, Season 4), when Arya jumps on top of his shoulder and stabs her Valyrian sword into the center of The Mountain’s head. The Mountain falls down, finally dead.
          Cersei tries to escape but is cornered by Sandor. She gets hold of a nocked crossbow and points it at Sandor but is parried away.
          Cersei: “Go ahead, kill me!”
          Sandor: “No, I won’t kill you.... Someone else has a better reason for that. And you’re on top of her list.”
          Enters Arya Stark.
          Arya: “It's time you pay your debts, Cersei Lannister. Isn't it a well-known saying that 'Lannisters always pay their debt!'”
          Cersei: “I don't owe you any debt!”
          Arya: “Oh, but you do. You owe me a great deal of debts - those precious to me that died because of you.”
          Cersei: “Get on with it then....”
          Arya: “I’ll give you a chance.... a chance which you didn’t give my father.”
          Arya kicks the crossbow towards Cersei.
          Arya: “Pick it up! You got one shot at me, close range!”
          Sandor: “Hell, why don’t you just kill her and get it over with!”
          Arya: “It wouldn’t be fun!”
          At this point, Cersei picks the crossbow and shoots. Arya pushes Sandor aside and still able to veer away from the arrow at the same time throwing her sword, Needle, into Cersei’s heart.
          Arya: “Now, that’s fun!”


There Must Be a Sequel!

          Yes, a sequel! Or maybe a prequel that would tell the beginning of it all. HBO, the author, the producers, should be contemplating on it right now. A great series like this can’t be without a prequel/sequel. That’s close to blasphemy!
          Let me see, they already have kingdoms and realms, armies and battles ala-Lord of the Rings, witches and warlocks, priestess and incantations, faceless people(?), lord of the light, god of death, old gods and the new, three-eyed raven, children of the forest, wargs, cannibals, giants, mastodons, dragons, walking deads, the mixtures of fire and ice, what else can be added to the cauldron? In my concept of the final season, I would have already added incubus and succibus. I have some more ideas!
          Many of the notable characters would have perished in the events of the final season, like Varys (Conleth Hill) and the priestess in red Melisandre, which the latter fortold in Episode 63 (Season 7). Possibly, all the villains, with the notion that something of their remnants remain to become the antagonists in the sequel. By the way, there could be more dragons to see. As Drogon was seen in Old Valyria, probably “gallivanting” on its own. Surprise! Surprise! Drogon could have laid two dozen eggs!
          How about Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) becoming Arch Maester and discovering more secrets in the books and ancient records inside the Citadel?! Or Arya Stark fulfilling her dreams of adventures "west of Westeros?" Oh, my mind is flooding with concepts!

Emilia Clarke, playing Daenerys Tragaryen,
on the covers of Entertainment Weekly (March 20-27, 2015)
and Rolling Stone (July 13-27, 2017)
          Believe it or not, one of them if ever is bringing Daenerys back alive (if indeed she dies in Season 8), and her having an heir to the throne. The dark witch’s curse that she would not have children? Fuck it! It can easily be resolved, and I know just how. Daenerys and Emilia Clarke should also be on the sequel. Well, I love the character and I love the actress!
            And what about a prequel? The story of how it all began?!


A Tagalized Version?

An illustration of Daenerys and her dragons,
Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal,
on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland
(May-June 2016)
          First of all, with the Philippines’ predominantly hierarchial double standard of morality, the mere mention of this possibility already created tons of goosebumps.
          I think, however, that the majority of the Filipino population like the idea. A network, I heard, was thinking of doing it. Of course, it will encounter monumental obstacles. The Catholic church hierarchy, for one, will vehemently object, and they will use every fang and claw they have to prevent the idea from getting even to first base. This is how backward their views on the subject of sex.
          In Tagalizing the dialogues alone, it will encounter problems. How will they translate sexual words like cock, cunt, and fuck, when its Tagalog equivalent – titi, puke and kantot – is taboo even in the Language and Science subjects in school? Some Filipinos have a distorted idea that words pertaining to genitals and sexual copulation cannot be spoken aloud in the native tongue while it is totally okay to say it in English or Spanish. It wouldn’t be the same if they used rhetorics. The impetus will diminish. How about bleeping it? Well, the series would be turned into a hanged-up phone. It would just irritate the viewers.
          How about the nudity and the sex scenes? That would be an even larger bite to swallow for the local censors. They would put black covers over it or chop it up completely? That would create a rumble. I don’t think the author, the directors and the producers of the series would even agree to that.
          In my opinion, however, in this Internet Era, series like Game of Thronesno longer pose anything sexually offensive to anyone? The real porn, the dirtiest of smut, are scattered everywhere and neither the self-proclaimed morality advocates nor whosoever authorities are doing anything about it. They can’t even agree on how to handle the growing problems of drugs, pedophile priests and teenage pregnancies.
          My suggestion to the  local big networks, go for it, Tagalized it, be Philippine television’s groundbreaker. Better yet, if you have the budget, produce such a series that you can call as “groundbreaking.” Need a concept, give me a call or post a message here!

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