Act Four Live: Pop culture with Alyssa Rosenberg (April 29)

Apr 29, 2019

When the credits come up at the movies, the pages in a book run out, or the last commercial rolls over the end of a television episode, the story might be over. But the discussion is just getting started. Here at Act Four, we’ll get together every week to talk about the best (and worst) in pop culture. We’ll also try to sort out why the stories we love mean so much to us, and what they mean for the rest of the world.

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! How are you all doing after last night's long (and murky) "Game of Thrones"? Perhaps even more importantly, how are you hanging in there after "Avengers: Endgame"?

I had a couple of folks ask last week if I could do an extra hour of the chat that would only be "Game of Thrones" questions to leave space for other topics of conversation. I can't this week, unfortunately, because I have to attend a mandatory sexual harassment training (and because I have a whole bunch of copy to move in my other capacity as an editor), but how would folks feel about scheduling the chat at noon the next couple of weeks and going for two hours? If y'all are amenable, we'll do a "Game of Thrones" hour at noon and an everything else hour starting at our usual time.

I will have to watch again, but... as Sansa is heading off to the cypts, didn't Arya give her the dagger and say "stick em with the pointy end?" Yet later in the episode Arya uses the same dagger to kill the Night King?

I believe Arya gave Sansa one of the dragonglass daggers that Gendry's been forging in the armory, not the Valyrian steel dagger that was initially sent to kill Bran and that Arya eventually used to dust the Night King. 

At first, I was really upset with the ending of the episode - we didn't learn anything about the Night King's story, motivations, or characters, and the ending didn't really accomplish anything. It all just ended in what seemed like a pointless way. Then I thought that unsatisfying resolution was probably peak GOT, attempting to subvert the climax we had been expecting for years. Do you agree?

Well, I'd look at it in a slightly different way. George R.R. Martin has always said he's interested in what happens after the Hobbits return to the Shire and everyone has to figure out how to go on living their lives. Ultimately, the Night King isn't the problem with the Game of Thrones: people are, and the only way through that problem is to try to keep plugging away at the problem of governance. Or, as Buffy Summers once put it: "Life's not a song / Life isn't bliss / Life is just this / It's living." The technical Song of Ice and Fire may be over, but in Martinian fashion, our characters have to figure out how to handle all the problems that bedeviled them before the Night King blasted down the Wall. Maybe now the wildlings will be safe, which could take some pressure off the North. But there is a whole lot of trouble waiting further South, that trouble has formed the bulk of the show's conflict, and of course it makes sense that the characters have to deal with it. I may not have liked "The Long Night." But I actually quite like that this is what the endgame looks like.

The army of the living left A LOT to be desired in their battle strategy, but conversely, what was the Night King thinking? The living basically GAVE him the Dothraki army, but he waits until the middle of the battle to raise everyone? That's just insane. If I'm the NK - I turn the Dothraki around and let the blue-eyed Dothraki army charge right back at the living. Good grief.

Yeah, is there something in the water in Westeros that breeds strategic idiocy? If I were the Night King, I not only would have done that, but I would have raised the dead continuously. It would have been a stroke of genius on both a tactical and morale level. If you have that many troops and they can't actually be permanently eliminated, you should obviously keep throwing them at the defenders, both to exhaust them, and because if they know earlier that their foes will rise, you'll have a lot more people freak out and break ranks.

That said, two totally conflicting points. I will NEVER begrudge anyone the opportunity to take a moment to stunt on Jon Snow. And also, the bigger strategic mistake is to stroll in a leisurely fashion across the Godswood rather than taking Bran out immediately.

If the war against the dead is all that really matters, why are there still three episodes left, including the "final" war? Seems so anti-climatic to have the war of the living against the dead come first, no? We killed the Night King but now we're afraid of Euron Greyjoy? Huh?

See my answer up above: the Night King is, I think, kind of a Macguffin. The real story is about how humans interact with each other, and what power encourages them to do to each other. It's not so much that we're afraid of Euron Greyjoy (I, at least, find that randy pirate downright irksome), it's that human beings can do a tremendous amount of damage to each other without any kind of supernatural intervention, and that capacity for damage is left over even when the standard fantasy existential threat recedes or is defeated.

I've been thinking the biggest things in cultural and entertainment are these massive tentpoles like the MCU/DCU and GoT and then true crime, which is comparatively all over the place. I think they can both be seen as a desire for our society to be more in order than it is. But the I'm kind of tired of the whole tent pole mentality, so I'm glad there is a thriving alternative, but while I like examples of true crime inspired work, I wish that it wasn't the most readily available alternative.

I am so glad you raised this, because it gives me an opportunity to link to this excellent essay by the consistently outstanding Wesley Morris in praise of the romantic comedy. As he writes, "This was work determined, across the whole history of cinema, to find something funny about loneliness, curiosity, attraction, intimacy, conflict and rapprochement. So maybe it’s the most featherweight of genres — but maybe it’s also among the most important. This is moviemaking that explores a basic human wonder about how to connect with a person who’s not you. And here we are dancing on its grave."

It isn't merely a problem that we're tied up in tentpoles; it's that we're tied up in tentpoles that all have the same stakes and all say the same things about a few people getting together to tackle catatrophic -- though ultimately not structural -- problems. There is no major counterweight that offers a positive vision for human behavior that gets people talking in the same way. I'd argue that's a problem for our culture at large, not just for our sense of boredom or engagement.

While I ended up liking the role given to Arya at the end of the episode, overall I was let down by last night's episode. From your review it sounded as if you were as well. Between the darkness and not being able to see much of what was going on, to not many story lines being ended (aka killed off), to Jon Snow's continued uselessness in major battles it just wasn't great. Oh well, I am still excited to see the final 3, but the battle was not as good as it could have been.

I want to use this as an opportunity to address something that's come up from folks who didn't share my sense of disappointment: that I should have just watched the episode streaming, where it seemed to have experienced less problematic compression, or that I should have had my television calibrated differently. This is a pretty weird excuse to make on behalf of a gazillion-dollar fantasy franchise! As Matthew Dessem pointed out at Slate, there's a long tradition of music engineers testing to see how songs will sound when they're played under sub-optimal traditions.

"If TV directors aren’t already making a point of running their work through the worst compression algorithm any cable company uses," he argued, "then watching it on a cheap LED screen in a room with plenty of natural light, it’s probably time to start."

Also, it's frankly ludicrous to either assume people will know what settings on their television will optimize the appearance of an episode if you don't tell them in advance that they ought to make changes, or to suggest that they switch to streaming in mid-gallop. If you're going to spend that much money and energy, you really ought to do the basic work to make sure an episode this big is, at minimum, comprehensible.  

Alive or dead?

I believe he appears in next week's preview.

So the fact that the Night King can ride Viserion and was not burned to death by dragon fire means he has to be a Targaryen, right? Perhaps the "first" Targaryen? Except, now that he's dead - who cares? Why bother with the (potential) reveal? Am I missing something?

This seems like a fairly comprehensive debunking of the evidence for that theory, but also, yes, I don't think it matters at this point. 

I feel like Jon bran and dondarrions character development for 8 season was for this exact episode and they just said screw it and tossed away any notion of the prince that was promised“azor ahai” . Jon was meant to have a one on one with the night king and then out of nowhere Arya whose become this indestructible assasin swoops in a takes the glory. Now I don’t mind Arya being this assasine and killing the people on her “list” and redeeming the stark family “killing Walder Frey” and even maybe killing Cersei, but her jumping out of nowhere to kill this demi god who only comes around once every thousand years felt like it was forced upon us and just multilated jon bran and dondarrions well written character arcs. I’m all for powerful female characters, dany I hope takes the 7 kindgdoms and Brianne of Tarth spent seasons proving to us she was to be taking seriously ex “going toe to toe with Jamie and then beating the hound”....only for Arya to make her look stupid after spending 4-5 episodes with the many faces, while almost getting killed by the waif? HBO just didn’t care at all about the storylines of Martins characters and took it upon themselves to make this new Arya this untouchable superhero. Very disappointing.

Oh, I don't know about that! The show has spent an equal amount of time getting Arya set up to be an unbeatable assassin and muddying the idea that the Prince Who Was Promised actually has to be a man. I think it was entirely plausible if not terribly well-executed. Among other things, Arya sneaking around the library makes more sense if she's going to take a White Walker's face, which is something you'd want to make clear in the final showdown.

The light from the Dothraki's swords being extinguished one by one was great. Then, nothing but a big cloud of bodies flying around. I gave up trying to distinguish who was where and who was still alive. I was left looking at my watch, thinking how much longer is this dark cloud of dust going to go on for.

That was SO well done, given how it whiplashed the hope that Melisandre had briefly kindled, gave a sense of the scope of the battle and helped fuel the dread that the episode built extremely effectively in its opening minutes.

Thousands and thousands die yet I think expect for Iain Glen's character, nobody who gets their name during the opening credits did?

Maybe having the characters mostly strap on their trusty plot armor was the subversion of expectations? Maybe the show has a whole lot of very specific plans for folks over these next three episodes? I'll be curious to see what happens, but I'm definitely feeling guarded.

It's Night King and the army of White Walkers are suppose to be a stand-in for climate change, maybe it's not so bad it's shown we can beat them? Hope isn't a bad thing although it's taken for granted and somewhat unchallenged we are living in some of kind of end times. I suppose I'm reaching.

I've always found that metaphor to be a bit of a reach, and it would sort of be a violation of GRRM's structural analysis to suggest that we can undo climate change by...stabbing a personification of it?

Is it like in "Bladerunner 2049" where the whole movie we are being lead to believe Ryan Gosling's character is actually the long-lost son of Harrison Ford's Decker and Sean Penn's Rachael and then they subvert our expectations by making it A WOMAN although it's a woman we in the audience have only seen in one so-so scene where she was a bit dull (which is very different from Arya). We in the audience are invested in Ryan Gosling's character and we might be cynical in our heads and say, "C'mon movie, we all know Ryan Gosling is the long lost baby," but even the twist doesn't change how invested we were in Ryan Gosling's character. I just want to also show a good example of subverting audience expectation. Season Two finale of "The Americans" where Jared relieves he murdered his whole family. Totally didn't see it coming, totally fit into what we had been shown before and totally resonated because Jared murders his family for the same lie of his Soviet sleeper cell parents that the characters we are invested in, Phillip and Elizabeth, are lying to their own kids.

I'm just going to post these comparisons because I like them!

It's interesting and maybe surprising to me that Daenerys seems to now be acting as if her most important goal is to get herself on the Iron Throne. Particularly between when she lost her first position of power (when Khal Drogo died), and when she went on to at least improve the conditions of (if not necessarily liberate) many oppressed people in Essos, it seemed to me like she felt a calling to try to "break the wheel" for people throughout the world from, you know, being ruled by kings and enslavers and aristocracy in general. Do you think I was just reading too much into her earlier drive or motivations from a 21st-century U.S.A. perspective, i.e. wishfully thinking she wanted to fight for what I might personally think of as liberation? Or do you think her perspective has been intentionally presented as having shifted in these ways during the course of the show? I do think that she was *first* shown to us as just wanting to (a) survive and (b) retake the Throne for the Targaryens, when Viserys was still alive (and trying to control/manipulate her toward those purposes himself). But I really had the impression her goals had evolved in later seasons, and maybe now they've evolved back closer to where they were in season 1?

We actually addressed this in last week's newsletter! Email me at alyssa.rosenberg@washpost.com, and I'll forward it to you.

I don't know if you review them, but there are a whole bunch of anti-abortion movies that get made and don't have the worst box office either even if it seems like they're not on the pop culture radar. Kind of wonder if we'll ever a major motion picture about Savita Halappanavar, who died in an Irish hospital while miscarrying at 17-weeks pregnant. She herself wasn't a Roman Catholic, but her death was a major part of Ireland, who only came second to the Vatican is how dominant the Catholic Church was in its governance, holding a referendum causing abortion to be legalized although still with far more restriction than places like the U.S. or the U.K. www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2012/11/16/irish-abortion-debate-after-womans-death-resonates-in-u-s Even if it isn't a movie on the real Savita Halappanavar, but a stand-in character with the same basic elements.

I don't believe there's been a movie adaptation of her life or anything based on it. But we did publish a really interesting piece last week (that I edited) about the movie "Little Woods," which the author argues flips the script on abortion in movies in some interesting and effective ways. Might be up your alley!

I am trying to give Game of Thrones some leeway and not judge it by the standards of George R.R. Martin's books...but I can't help but think the show violated it's own logic last night. My biggest qualm: The night king is unaffected by dragon fire, but Valyrian steel can explode him. So dragons, which have been established over and over as the premier magic of this universe (remember a baby dragon completely wrecking a whole coven of powerful warlocks in season 2?), is completely ineffective against the night king. Ice wins out over fire. That is fine, you can establish that rule if you want to...but then I don't think you can use Valyrian steel. This steel is special and magical ONLY because it was forged by dragon fire of past empires. The weapons are precious because people lost the knowledge of how to forge steel that strong once dragons went extinct and it became impossible to forge. So, if pure unfiltered dragon breath can be dusted off, does it make sense for second hand magic dragonsteel to be the achilles heel? Valyrian steel wasn't even a thing the last time the white walkers attacked Westeros tens of thousands of years ago, or when they were created by the children of the forest, why would white walkers have an allergy to it? Obviously this is very nerdy nitpicky, but I feel like last night a number of similar plot points began to pile up. Bran and his 8 year journey into magic was apparently...completely pointless? All of the visions of a reborn Azor Ahai weren't just misread badly by mystics...they apparently were all just completely fake? Jon and his connection to the Night King came to nothing, Stark blood wasn't important to anything, Dany and her dragons somehow made near minimal impact on the battle. Ghost continues to just....hell I don't know. It just felt a bit odd. Do you think this is due to the show simply not having time to wrap up or deal with various threads and having to make deep cuts to reach the end, ...or did they just forget/abandon them through sloppiness?

I am genuinely unsure about this, and I'm interested to see how the next three episodes play out. I don't know if "Game of Thrones" is going to have room to explore this, but one of the things that's always interested me about Martin's novels is how they play with the idea that magic was discredited and seems to be returning the world, but that it's a force that people have trouble interpreting and taming, which could be the explanation for some of these seeming dead ends. That's a very interesting concept. I don't know how the show is planning to handle it, if at all.

Apparently, as compensation for having astigmatism AND hyperopia AND strabismus, I have been given a superhuman ability to distinguish between black levels, because I didn't have an issue seeing anything on my TV (and this was with slightly delayed [and presumably compressed] streaming). Maybe the scenes with Jon in the halls that were backlit with zombie-dragon-fire came off really dark in comparison, but really, the regular fire haze seemed plenty adequate to cast light, albeit orangeish, on the rest of the action. I wonder why so many people had a different experience?

I actually think the compression on streaming was less problematic than the streaming on cable for many people. See that Slate piece I linked to above.

I'm sooooo excited for this I had to post on Friday, but with the end being here for Avengers, Infinity Saga, where do you think this places the Russo brothers on the layperson's list of best directors ever? I grew up on '80s and '90s culture, so of course Spielberg is on my list. Because I loved Momento, Inception, the Dark Knight Trilogy I put Christopher Nolan on that list. And because I've watched the TV series he produced (and possibly directed: Lost, Alias) before he became Mr. Hollywood, J.J. Abrams. But really, the amount of planning, people management, sense of what is entertainment, to put such a production together, do the Russos get catapulted to the tier of tiers of Hollywood Directors? And if you want to comment, how about best producer, Kevin Feige or JJ Abrams (I had to IMDB it and realized Abrams produced the shows I listed, didn't necessarily direct them.)

I think the Russos are very good at producing reasonably appealing mass entertainments. I do not, I'm afraid, think they belong anywhere on a list of genuinely major artistic talents, at least not yet. Yes, the logistical feat of putting this sort of movie together is considerable, but the Marvel movies are also managed from above in a way that limits directorial discretion. It's also the case that the Marvel movies have become increasingly undistinguished as action movies, which strikes me as a major flaw for an action franchise. Maybe the Russos will go out and do some genuinely creative stuff on their own. But for now, if I was picking a pair of siblings to make an all-time great directors list, the Russos are no competition for the Wachowskis.

Top tier cities have several neighborhood with skyscrapers, and their dogs and living spaces are smaller. I like large dogs and a living room, so DC suits me fine.

Yeah, I think living in a mega-city rather than a medium-sized city is overrated, or at least, would not be the right thing for many, many people, including me. Of course, it's different if you're very rich, but relative affordability and walkability are not minor things.

I reading how fandom theory that Missandei is actually one of the Faceless Men. I think fandom theory is a sign of when the audience thinks the show is less obvious than it is. Like look up the Lannister honeypot theory of Talisa in Season Two when it was obvious of her first second of screentime she was Robb Stark's love interest yet we spend a whole season drawing it out so some fans fill it in with sometime more interesting. Or Megan in "Mad Men" being Sharon Tate stand-in when most of her role that particular season was just waiting around for Don to come home so he could ignore her. The breakup of their marriage was drawn out so fans fill it in something more interesting.

I think that people often treat complexity as a sign of greatness, and as a result, try to come up with proof that a show they love is even more complex than it actually is as a way of justifying the energy they're putting into it. I wish this wasn't the case. You can just love the things you love without having to love them in a way that's intended to justify your affection.

Hi Alyssa, Non-GOT comment here! You've discussed this here before, and I couldn't help but think of you when I saw the Godfather, Pt II in theaters (first time ever) last week. It was very cool, and definitely a different viewing experience, but holy cow, I totally forgot that the opening includes Vito's brother getting shot and his mom pleading for his life, only to be killed by the local don. Took a whole different meaning now that I'm a mom, as did Michael's shutting the door in Kay's face later in the movie. I joked with my friend that we're not going to anymore movies except Pretty Woman, because I know there's nothing that will make the MomTears start!

My husband and I absolutely have a picture of our baby watching the baptism scene in "The Godfather," because we are nerds and also despite the new WHO guidelines, letting the kiddo have five minutes of screen time in the first year does not seem likely to be a total disaster. But yes, it's a totally different set of movies to watch as a parent, both for the violence, and for the parenting decisions and parenting hopes and fears that are the substance of so much of the films.

What was Bran doing all episode?

Unclear? Taking a really potent edible?

In my internet travels today someone mentioned the some of the dead in the crypt becoming undead? I don't remember seeing that or my screen was too dark. I thought some night walkers were tunneling into the crypt.

I believe you are correct.

It appeared that Theon had healed remarkably well from his days as Reek. He even seemed to have fingers in his gloves in one of the close ups. Anybody else catch that?

Oh, interesting point. I'm not sure the show did all the hand-mutilating stuff that the books do.

(SPOILER ALERT) What did you think? For me....wasn't perfect, (hated Steve's ending), but it was awesome and a perfect cap to 11 years. Easily in my top 3 Marvel movies.

Oh, I actually think I had a diametrically opposed reaction! I *loved* Steve's ending and was kind of underwhelmed by the rest of the movie. I'll write about it more later in the week.

Just thought it should be mentioned that it's not Buffy who sings that line - it's Spike.

This is what I get for looking up my lyrics on Genius and not just rewatching the whole episode.

"If I were the Night King, I not only would have done that, but I would have raised the dead continuously." It seems like he can't. This felt like him raising all the dead after the Battle of Hardhome, except this time it was during a lull in the battle instead of at the end. Maybe he can only do it once, or he needs relative quiet to do it.

That would be the most amazing check on an otherwise near-omnipotent character's powers. Maybe that's why the White Walkers don't talk.

I like him as an everyman character, but his comportment before the battle was quite lacking. I couldn't tell through the dark of war. Is Sam dead?

I do not believe so.

Liked it despite wonky plot points and conflicting/murky time travel rules. Some really good stuff from the OG guys, especially Downey, and a nice turn by Paul Rudd. Never liked Thanos much, too much of a half-baked Darkseid ripoff. But - lots of spectacle, more heart than I expected, and a nice curtain call for everybody at the end. Also - that was some GREAT old age makeup/special effects.

That's one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done incredibly well. They've gotten SO good at aging people up and down; that's actually one of the things "Captain Marvel" did best with Nick Fury.

We saw the Dothraki pretty much get completely wiped out, the Unsullied got pasted hard too, so does Dany have an army left? Also did Rhaegal get taken out? Finally, what happened to the Dothraki women and children? Did they get left on Dragonstone?

Unclear! It's all unclear! Also, how many ships is Yara going to be able to gather in the Iron Islands?

My first instinct was to agree with your recap that the Battle of Winterfell felt weirdly safe for Game of Thrones after all hype around major characters dying, but I also still feel pretty shaken by the intensity of the experience a day later, so I'm reluctant to call the episode a complete disappointment. I can't stop thinking about how the heroes mostly survived but allowed hundreds of other people (especially the Wildings, Dothraki, and Unsullied) to die. I hope the show follows through on exploring the aftermath of the battle and the weight of all that death.

If the show does address the toll of basically allowing thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of people to get slaughtered, that would definitely be interesting and an intellectually valuable exercise. The trailer for the fourth episode does not suggest that this is the tack the series is taking, so we'll have to see!

If you are willing to chat from 12 to 2, I will be here for all of it, even though I don't watch GOT. Thanks!

Roger. For the next three weeks, we'll do that, and I'll also be doing the Post Opinions Twitter chat on the Monday after the "Game of Thrones" finale.

I’ll admit the episode had major flaws (starting with how hard it was to see) but I still really enjoyed it. With only three episodes left it got me thinking about recent pop culture phenomena- I would put this up with Harry Potter, and I can’t think of anything else that is particularly close. Do you think there’s anything on the horizon to take GOT’s place? Or are we lucky to just experience two of these things in the last 20 years?

Let's discuss in this week's newsletter!

As I read through various articles and comment sections on GoT over the last few weeks, I kept thinking back to the community's reaction as Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica was airing. The tremendous buildup (The Plan! The Final Five! Starbuck! Earth!) of myth and lore over the previous seasons ended up falling flat on its face as the series concluded, and ultimately the fan theories were a heck of a lot more interesting than what the writers came up with. While I'd agree with a lot of your points about what didn't work last night, the one that I think has to be made is that of all the ways to conclude a mysterious 8 year arc, having a bad ass ninja kill the Head Vampire was among the least satisfying ways it could have gone down. So much of the richness of the show just vanished last night.

I don't necessarily feel that way, but then, I wasn't that invested in all the Night King mythology in the first place. That said, I agree that there's an element of anti-climax to this, and I can see how folks feel disoriented by the show pivoting with three episodes left to go.

I changed the settings on my TV for brightness and eliminated glare and light and was finally able to see the episode much better, thus my critique was affected positively.

Little tricky to do in the midst of an episode that I have to take ferocious notes on in order to hit an exceptionally tight deadline to file a recap! You have luxuries that I don't. Also, only part of my critique was aesthetic. And also, you really should not have to do that for an episode of television to be comprehensible. Don't let megacorporations put you in that position!

So far, I've loved how the old religious seem to "work" and reflect real powers in the world while the Seven is obviously made-up and impotent. That said, Melisandre was not the most accurate prophetess throughout the series. It seems clear to me that her prophecy is really nothing more than guess-work even as she can channel something authenitc and powerful. It may make sense for a religous person to think that the major events of your own time are the apolocalyptic events foretold in your sacred tradition - there have been dozens of false messiahs throughout the history of organized religion. I would be very happy if the entire Azor Ahai thing came to nothing at the end of the series.

Yes, I can definitely see that leading to interesting places. One of the things about religion that's genuinely powerful to a lot of people is a sense of mystery and things beyond their comprehension. "Game of Thrones" builds that sense of awe and terror better than nearly any other fantasy franchise running.

"one of the things that's always interested me about Martin's novels is how they play with the idea that magic was discredited and seems to be returning the world," Sort of like an inverse Tolkien?

Yup!

Not a question just an irritation with everyone complaining how dark the filming was. It was a night battle. I adjust the film look a lot depending on the channel and the show. It is NOT hard. it is just pressing a button on the remote and deciding if which view looks best. Takes less than a minute. I will be 70 this year and when I was young you actually had to get up off the couch to change channels and make any other adjustments all while trying to get the rabbit ear antenna to bring in the picture at all. Rant all done. I loved the episode and was "on the edge" of my seat fearing the worst for everyone. Loved that Arya got in the final cut to take down the Night King. The look on Davos face as he watched the Red Woman collapse after removing her necklace as the sun rose was amazing. He has always been a favorite of mine. Will miss Jorah and Lady Lyanna Mormont. The real fight now begins in King's Landing.

It's not hard, but if it's a problem caused by lighting decisions and bad compression by the cable companies, that's a problem that SHOULD be fixed on the back end rather than offloaded onto viewers.

What? How do I watch by streaming as opposed to just on TV when I have HBO?

Exactly.

So it seems to me that Cersei is banking (see what I did there?) a lot on the Golden Company. However, I keep thinking that the sellswords she hired may not be as trustworthy as she thinks. Dany's ' boyfriend from Essos (who is presumably still holding it together over there) headed up a company of sellswords, and he should by now have amassed enough wealth and power ruling over Dany's cities to make a pitch for help from the Golden Company as well. In the end, I think the Golden Company will opt to fight for the "known" (their colleague Daario Naharis) rather than an unreliable, debt-shirking "unknown" (Cersei). I predict that there will be a scene much like the scene where Dany took control over Unsullied and promptly instructed them to kill the Masters.

Maybe!

So I guess the Black Widow movie is definitely a prequel?

If it's not just a bit of misdirection prior to "Endgame."

Folks, I have to run to this mandatory training. We'll be back with a super-sized chat on Monday. See you then!

In This Chat
Alyssa Rosenberg
Alyssa Rosenberg blogs about pop culture for The Washington Post's Opinions section.
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