CRRRaSh! 258 Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier Special

By Roy Mathur, on 2019-04-17, at 00:06:00 to 06:35:25 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

I May (Have) Be(en) Some Time

This took a while to put together, and then I fell asleep around midnight last night when it was supposed to be taped. Now it's frighteningly early.

The Last Season

This is the final season of GoT, and I thought I'd celebrate with a recapitulation of what is happening in the GoT universe. There are going to be spoilers of the season 7 finale and the season 8 premier, so if you haven't watched those yet, please skip this podcast episode.

I won't be covering each new episode of GoT, just the first and the last because GoT has been a huge global cultural phenomenon. Do you remember the Tube posters in London?

It's also important personally because this is my last dance with the franchise. There is supposed to be a prequel show in the works, but I have absolutely no interest in that. I never read the books and, given how far it has strayed from the text, I'm glad I didn't, so for me, the TV show is all there is.

And this is it. This is the final act. Winter is here and "What is dead may never die."

Production

Got is a Home Box Office (HBO) TV show, that started in 2011, based on genre author George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels. According to Martin, it is based on the bloody War of the Roses fought for the crowd of England, by the ruling House of Lancaster and the challenging house of York, in medieval England between 1455 and 1485.

It was co-created by showrunners David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, who also do some of the writing and directing, but this is a big project, so others were brought in too.

Each episode costs between USD 6 and 15 M (in the latest season) to make and earns about 1 billion per year through HBO subscriptions. It is filmed in Northern Ireland and, according the government there, brought USD 224M in, from an initial government investment of 18M.

Cast

The cast is huge, varied, largely sourced from the UK, and consists of mostly, before the show started, unknown actors.

Though there are a fair number of well known character actors, playing roles, there aren't actually any genuine Hollywood royalty in the cast.

Some like Maisie Williams and Richard Madden and others have built careers based off the back of the show.

Some of the main actors (e.g. Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington and others) are the best paid and can earn about USD 500,000.00 per episode.

What Happened Before: The Dragon and the Wolf Season 7 Finale

Daenerys Targaryen's huge army surrounds King's Landing in a massive show of power. After demonstrating a White Walker, Daenerys and Jon Snow negotiate an alliance against the Night King and his undead army, with Cersei. Cersei Lannister's cooperation is only as a ruse and she has sent Euron Greyjoy on a secret mission to hire the elite Golden Company of mercenaries in Essos to double cross the alliance.

Theon makes peace with Jon Snow, then sets off to rescues his sister Yara from Euron.

At Winterfell, Sansa and Arya kill Little Finger for his constant betrayals.

Samwell Tarly and Bran Stark work out that Jon is actually the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

The set piece season finale is Daenerys Targaryen's dragon Viserion, killed and reanimated by the Night King, is used to break through the wall.

What Happens Now: Winterfell Season 8 Premier

Euron has returned with the Golden Company to King's Landing.

Qyburn tells Bron that Cersei has instructed him to go north and kill Tyrion and Jaime with Joffrey's crossbow, if the war with the Night King doesn't.

Theon rescues his sister Yara from Euron. Yara goes back the home to reclaim the Iron Isles, which, should Daenerys's suffer defeat in the war, will provide refuge. Theon returns to Winterfell to join the Starks.

North at the wall, the Night King has left a horrifying circle of seven (I think) severed limbs representing the seven kingdoms.

At Winterfell, Tyrion looks disturbed when Sansa tells him that Cersei will betray them.

Samwell Tarly finds out that Daenerys incinerated his father and brother.

At the end, Samwell Tarly reveals to Jon that his real name is Egon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark and heir to the Iron Throne.

What I Thought

It Looks Spectacular. The massive armies seen marching from a distance, the scale of the landscape, the dragons... this is all building up to a massive apocalyptic zombie war finale.

There are sections that are a bit talky, but that isn't new to GoT. I know some people like this, but I never have. I'm more of an old school sword and sorcery fan, sure Tolkien, but otherwise tight dialogue and fast paced action for me. Hopefully, given that there are only six episodes in the last season, they will keep the waffle to a minimal.

Also, I wonder if the speech only sounds UK English because the cast use loose variations of the UK English dialect. The scripted dialogue sounds American, as well I suppose it should given that GRRM is American. I think there's a scene when someone is asked how they are and they reply, "I'm good", which isn't particularly UK colloquial English, but given the loan phrases from American English in our language, who knows? It's not a big thing, but I am really noticing it this season. It's possibly taken me so long to pick up on this because my ear is used to, and attuned, at least for a number of years, to American English. A bit of an obvious thing, but something that I only just noticed.

I'll allow the stupendous amount of hugging and sentimentality as people reunite with old friends; some of whom are on opposite sides now.

There's more with dragons, which is good because this show sometimes feels like a purely historical drama; like a mashup of the War of the Roses and a Borgia court intrigue. I would have liked more magic over the course of the series and that flaming sword just annoys me, maybe because I'm a Tolkien fan; why isn't it glowing blue? Why? Yeah, the fire god thing, but still.

I think did mentioned this a while ago, but there is a map of the GoT world at Digital Spy. I don't know the exact scale, the part of the world that we wee doesn't seem that big. Also, I'm glad I don't live in Winterfell, it's so far north it looks cold. Far colder than the nearest IRL equivalent, perhaps just south of Hadrian's Wall in the UK. Brrr. Might be OK for sledding.

Verdict? It's exciting and I appear to have written a lot about it, so I'd say it's worth watching. For me, it's the last thing I'm taking from GRRM's gritty fantasy universe, so I'm going to try and appreciate it fully. Five episodes left.

Next GoT on CRRRaSh

Expect a Game of Thrones Season 8 Finale special episode of CRRRaSh!

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