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Stormborn: The Sand Snakes fall to Euron

Euron

Photo courtesy: https://pixel.nymag.com

And so it begins. Arya Stark’s cold open in Dragonstone is passed, Ed Sheeran is gone and it’s back to business as usual in Westeros.

As much as viewers have been questioning the role of Dorne and the Sand Snakes in Game of Thrones narrative, it was somehow sad to watch Obara and Nymeria fall at the hands of Euron Greyjoy.

Euron is certainly not messing around with this villain thing. Compared to Joffrey or Ramsay, his bloodlust actually matches his battle skills, and with a dash of glee as promised of his character. He is not like Joffrey who hid behind the crown like the coward he was. Nor is he like Ramsay who didn’t prove to be much of a fighter when he was finally thrown in the real battlefield by Jon Snow. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment as a psychopath was turning Theon into Reek. Poor Theon, not the kind of man you want fighting beside you in a battle. Poor Yara. Poor Ellaria. There goes part of Daenerys’ alliance.

Good thing she has her eyes set on the North courtesy of Melisandre who comes knocking at Dragonstone and convinces Dany to summon Jon Snow.

“Tell Jon Snow that his Queen invites him to come to Dragonstone. And bend the knee.”

She may be the Mother of Dragons but she is rather demanding. To summon our noble King in the North like that, asking him to bend a knee. Lyanna Mormont must hear about this.

Oops, Lyanna Mormont does hear about it. And like everyone in the council at Winterfell, she doesn’t appreciate the rest of Westeros taking the North granted.

“I mean c’mon, who do they think we are. We are the effin North for God’s sake. We remember. Ask Ramsay. Ask Meryn Trant. Ask Polliver. Ask Walder Frey, his baked sons and the entire males of House Frey. Yes, I am reciting Arya’s kills like I was there but who asked for your opinion. I am Lady of the Bear Islands.”

Even with the council’s disapproval, including Sansa’s and a creepy look from Littlefinger (I expect more scenes where Jon chokes Littlefinger), he still rides for Dragonstone because he needs Dragonglass to kill the White Walkers and Dany’s home is full of it.

The people’s enemy Cersei Lannister continues to plot. Looks like her minion Qyburn has found a way to kills Dany’s dragons. This episode couldn’t get any luckier for Cersei. Her ally Euron is killing her enemies for her. Dany’s dragons are not all that powerful. Arya is now heading North instead of South. Someone send a raven, what a lucky day for the Queen!

Missandei and Grey Worm, you beautiful creatures. Grey Worm, the Unsullied, teaching men how to love since 1934.

Seriously, Sam I cannot stand your scenes this season. Nope.

Dragonstone: “Tell them Winter Has Come”

Arya Stark

Photo credit: http://www.smh.com.au

The opening scene. The brutality of it. The humour of it. The march after the killing. The victorious music. The quotes.  “Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe.” Arya Stark’s revenge on House Frey was legendary – the best thing that happened in Game of Thrones season 7 episode 1.

Channeling what should have been her mother’s responsibility (had Benioff and Weiss revived her from the dead) as Lady Stoneheart, Arya transforms into a Faceless Man, gathers the Frey men for a feast a la The Red Wedding and poisons them all.

“When people ask you what happened here, tell them the North remembers. Tell them Winter came for House Frey.” Arya Stark has never been this quotable in all the six seasons on Game of Thrones. Atta girl.

Then she marches away, fiercely, eyebrows on fleek (as always).

In Winterfell, the woes of the King in the North begin. While holding a council on how to best fight the White Walkers, the first sign of tension between Jon Snow and Sansa Stark rears its ugly head. Then we catch a glimpse of Littlefinger, eyes gleaming with satisfaction as he watches the fire he ignited start to burn. Piss off you old prick.

It’s a good thing Sansa puts him in his place later. “No need to seize the last word Lord Baelish, I’ll assume it was something clever.” Damn, the Stark girls are on fire with the one-liners in this episode.

OMG Lyanna Mormont. The Lady of the Bear Islands is in her fiercest behavior as usual defending Jon’s honour. “I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me.” Lyanna Mormont, never change please.

In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, err  I mean Three Kingdoms (reality check from Jaime Lannister) is preparing an offensive against Daenerys Targaryen. Cersei being Cersei, has enemies everywhere and not enough allies to take on a girl with three dragons.

Enter Euron Greyjoy, the newly crowned Lord of the Iron Islands with his fleet of a thousand ships. Aye, exactly what Cersei needs. Oh and he brings with him a marriage proposal, taking a swing at Jaime’s one handedness while at it. Just rude, very rude. You don’t point out a man’s physical inadequacy in front of his lady err sister.

Watching Euron in action, we have no doubt that he will be a worse villain that Ramsay Bolton and Joffrey Baratheon combined. The beard helps. I’m not sure about his costume though but it’s Euron so anything is possible. Also someone needs to explain his uncanny resemblance to Theon Greyjoy’s Alfie Allen. Anyone?

Samwell Tarly. Nope, not gonna talk about it. The bed pan. The food. Moving on.

Hey look, it’s Ed Sheeran debuting a new single as a member of the Lannister army. I have to say he looks out of place but it’s Ed so he is allowed to look out of place, especially with that kind of voice. Also, Imma need that single on iTunes ASAP.

Welcome home Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen. Westeros has missed you. Dragonstone has missed you. And so it begins or as Dany says, “Shall we begin.”

 

Learn from Game of Thrones

Learn from Game of Thrones,

Live in the now,

Tomorrow is never guaranteed,

Always be prepared like winter is coming…

Sexposition – cinema aesthetic or manipulation of the audience?

the cast of Game of Thrones

the cast of Game of Thrones

Sexposition, not to be confused with sex position, is an art in cinema that involves narrating the history of a character (background information) against a backdrop of sex or nudity. In short it is using sex for exposition, hence the portmanteau SEXPOSITION.

This term was coined by US blogger and critic Myles McNutt in reference to the critically acclaimed fantasy series Game of Thrones (GOT).  Premiered in 2011, GOT blends the political tug of wars of the seven noble families with explicit sexual content in a rich plot where you either win or you die. However, for a sexual scene to qualify as sexposition, it has to contain the element of narration as the major activity with sex or nudity on the background as a minor mise en scene. According to the Guardian UK (2012), sexposition has always been there looming in the background in shows like The Sopranos, vampire show True Blood and Deadwood. However, it is its conspicuous use in Weiss and Benioff’s Game of Thrones that caught the attention of critics and made the word a cultural meme.

This technique is used to arrest the attention of the audience and thus manipulate them to remain glued to the screen. Audiences have little patience when it comes to what they watch, and boring scenes even in good shows will only make them change to other channels. Or worse, switch off the TV set completely. For advertising purposes, audience ratings are important for any TV show as this ensures profit for the TV station. To escape cancellations by their host stations, TV show creators have to come up with ingenious techniques to keep ratings up.

And what better way to use humans’ greatest weakness: SEX. Humans by nature are sexual beings. Sex grabs the attention and maintains it. And the media, in its role to influence has built upon this reality under the dogma that sex sells. Traditionally an advertising adage, ‘the sex sells’ is slowly gaining prominence in mainstream media and programming. Use of sexposition openly exploits and manipulates the sexual side of human nature as TV shows demand attention. Information about a character’s history, either through monologue or dialogue sounds like crap to the ever impatient audience, spicing such scenes with sex and nudity in the background will keep the audience addicted and skyrocket ratings.

Some critics have been rather reluctant to applaud sexposition. James Poniewozik, an American critic says excessive use of sexposition insults the intelligence of the audience. By using this technique, show creators are of the idea that audiences have to be lured and somewhat aroused by sex or nudity in order to pay attention.

Manipulation or not, the aesthetics behind sexposition are working. Since its inception in 2010, Game of Thrones has become a successful series, both critically and financially. It is the most watched TV series of 2012 with the premier of the 2nd season to its third episode hitting 6.3 million viewers according to EW. The show has garnered 26 Emmy nominations in 3 years, according to emmys.com, 2 Golden Globe nominations among other notable nominations and awards. It has also turned little known British actors into household names. Going by this alone, the art of sexposition used in the show was a major boost, drawing audiences and ever keeping ratings and reviews high. Internationally, GOT has been a hit even in Kenya. As I am writing this, a student in Moi University is downloading the latest episode while another one is engrossed in the constant outbursts of the mad child king Joffrey Baratheon as he rules the Iron Throne with an iron fist.

Game of Thrones creators Benioff and Weiss have previously stated that the use of sex and nudity in the show represent the pervert side of the audience. Although in employing such technique, a question lingers: who is the pervert? Is it the audience that consumes the content or the media that produces the content?

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