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‘Game Of Thrones’ Final Season Opener Exceeds Hype

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Game Of Thrones Season 8 debut. BTW – we’ll be reviewing and recapping every episode of the final season of the HBO series right up to and including the May 19 finale. Related Story ‘Game Of Thrones’ Cast Reflects On HBO Blockbuster Before Final Season Debut Ending with a stare…

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Final Season Opener Exceeds Hype

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Game Of Thrones Season 8 debut. BTW – we’ll be reviewing and recapping every episode of the final season of the HBO series right up to and including the May 19 finale.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Cast Reflects On HBO Blockbuster Before Final Season Debut

 

Ending with a stare down that was literally years in the making, Game of Thrones kicked off its final season tonight with sex, dragons and, if they had electricity in Westeros and Essos, rock’n’reckoning.

As the Season 7 finale of August 27, 2017 proved, the dragon emboldened Night King is on the move in the North, but the true death stare came right toward the end of Sunday’s “Winterfell” episode. That poignant moment happened when the crippled but prophetically endowed Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) came to a prolonged and near silent public face-to-face with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

Back in Season 1 of the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss executive produced drama, the incestuous brother of Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) tossed the second son of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) from a Winterfell window when the boy spied the siblings in coitus. After a series of events that helped bring the battle for the Iron Throne to new depths, the stand off is the first time the two have met since the first season and obviously a defining storyline for the final season.

In the teaser for next week’s second episode, the man mockingly called the “Kingsplayer” is seen face-to-threatening face with another royal.  Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) tells the Coster-Waldau portrayed Jaime of the long nights she has pondered and plotted revenge on those who hurt her and her family, with more than daggers in her voice. A play that sweeps the table with the set ups that tonight bathed in and, as winter is distinctly coming begins the cold art of destruction of enemies and hierarchies to come over the next several weeks — which is A-OK with me.

Additionally, in the packed affair this week on GoT, there was a fight night countdown clock start on the premium cabler, a new opening (see below), a fiery warning from the Night King and a royal march through the North with “the greatest army the world has ever seen,” as Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) says with no hesitation later on. That great force was made much more apparent with the sky bound revelation to the untrusting people of the North that the Mother of Dragons is not just a title for Daenerys Targaryen.

Amid “eunuch jokes” from the once-exiled princess’ righthand Tyrion, GoT had a genuinely hilarious and stunning duel dragon ride on Sunday by now lovers and possible relatives Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys and a full-on both touching and awkward Stark family reunion of Harington’s character, Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran and more flew throughout the visually and narratively tenacious nearly one hour David Nutter directed season opener.

There was a blunt unveiling of Jon Snow’s true linage near the end by his best friend Samwell Tarly (John Bradley). The brevity of conversation puts the once dead character assumed up until last season to be the bastard son of Ned Stark in a new role, for him and the show. A role that lines up a probable throne conflict with his lover Daenerys, his supposed family and the deep plots of the whole series based on George R. R. Martin’s writings.

Simply put, tonight’s episode added up to one of the best ever for one of the best dramas in the history of the small screen.

If the first episode of this concluding season is any indication, the eighth and last run of the multiple Emmy winning HBO series is also going out larger than ever. And that’s despite a short-ish leak of sorts earlier this evening of the S8 opener on GoT’s WarnerMedia corporate cousin DirecTV Now

Or, leak and a possible minor rating impact aside, to paraphrase hip-hop icons Public Enemy, believe the GoT hype. Perhaps any other show would have buckled under the expectations of this season. Instead, over pitched and delivering Thrones is flexing its muscles and wings with more strength without losing any of its traditional formats and pacing.

To that endgame, “Winterfell” does more than hint that the raucous six-episode final season is clearly intending to render the famed and bloodthirsty “Red Wedding” episode from the near end of Season 3 as a mere paper cut.

As a clue, I’ll point to ruthless, deceptive and consistently murderous Cersei’s reply of simply “good” when informed that the Night King’s army of the Dead have broken though the protective wall of the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms . For all the secrets of the last season of GoT that Benioff and Weiss have kept under lock and key, we know that there is a huge battle for the Iron Throne and the living to come. Which means, to quote a certain Daniel Day-Lewis move, there will be blood, an ocean of it before this is all done and someone sits on the throne – with my bet being either Tyrion or Arya

In another sense, tonight’s episode of the series that GoT guest star and Deadwood mainman Ian McShane once described as “tits and dragons,” was also a battle of the best lines, courtesy of Dave Hill’s script.

“You want a whore?” Headey’s Cersai tells the arrogant Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) as he clumsily tries to seduce her, only to have the queen seduce and dismiss the master of the Iron Fleet. “Buy one. You want a queen? Earn her.”

Clarke’s Daenerys and Harington’s Snow have corresponding quips and true romance of Cersai’s height too. “Then I’ve enjoyed your company Jon Snow,” Clarke utters when the former King of the North worries what to do if her dragon Rhaegal doesn’t want to be ridden by him. “You’ve completely ruined horses for me,” Harington’s Snow admits when the duo and the dragons land in an isolated part of the North for some warm affection of their own.

Another scene involving Daenerys occurred earlier in the episode when Sansa is taking digs at the army that intends to conquer the Seven Kingdoms with some winged and fire breathing help. “What do dragons eat anyway?” Sophie Turner’s Stark mocks as she wonders how the North will feed the troops and beasts of the Khaleesi. “Whatever they want,” replies Daenerys in a verbal TKO.

However, the best and most telling line has to go to the now freed Yara Greyjoy. The  Gemma Whelan portrayed character sums up GoT in a mere six words when she says of the Night King’s oncoming army that “what is dead may never die.”

Stay tuned, very tuned

Dade Hayes contributed to this report.

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On Game of Thrones, humanity has plot armor.

There’s no way humans should win this battle. Jon Snow et al. face impossible odds, and yet … HBO The Best College Gymnast in America Is Also the Most Hated What Happened to Winter on Game of Thrones? Even Instant Replay Couldn’t Ruin the Most Exciting Soccer Match of the Year The Stormy Story of…

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On Game of Thrones, humanity has plot armor.

There’s no way humans should win this battle.

Jon Snow battles White Walkers in Game of Thrones.

Jon Snow et al. face impossible odds, and yet …

HBO

I can’t tell you how Game of Thrones ends, but I’m pretty sure I can tell you how it doesn’t. From the beginning, the series has depicted a world in which attempting to appeal to others’ sense of a higher purpose is the quickest way to get yourself killed. (Just ask Ned Stark’s severed head.) Viewers have known from the beginning that humanity is facing an existential threat from the army of undead known as the White Walkers, but the show’s characters have discovered the looming crisis only gradually, and they’ve been slow to reckon with the little they do know. Now, with the Night King’s masses marching south from the sundered Wall, there’s no doubt that the threat is real. And yet, with only five episodes of Game of Thrones remaining, the human race is resolutely failing to rise to the occasion. Jon Snow’s attempt to form an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen has created dissension instead of unity, with some northern houses deserting the cause and others, like poor little Lord Umber’s, left unprepared and undersupplied. Despite having pledged her troops, Cersei is merely lying in wait, hoping that the rival armies weaken each other enough for her to conquer whatever remains.

There is only one plausible conclusion to this saga, and it’s that humanity does not survive. Westeros’ various factions either never get it together at all, or they realize, too late, that even the divisions between them that have lasted for centuries pale next to the gulf between the living and the dead. In the first season, Cersei explained the struggle for power to Ned Stark—who, at that point, still had his head—as one in which “you win or you die,” and the years that followed have uncovered little evidence of a third option. No one’s negotiating peace with the Night King.

The facts on the ground in Westeros are different than those in our world, but human nature is constant across universes, and what we’ve seen of Game of Thrones’ take on it is unsparingly pessimistic—and entirely warranted. The series’ utility as an allegory of climate change can be overplayed, but to the extent that it reflects our ability to band together in the face of looming catastrophe, it’s all too accurate. Last year, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that irreversible changes could set in as early as 2030 and that preventing them would require a massive and unprecedented transformation of the global economy. Faced with a clear deadline and overwhelming scientific consensus, we’ve done … “nothing” seems not too strong a word. There’s nothing remotely approaching the kind of unshakable public resolve that would move politicians and industry to prompt, decisive action. Some of us are pretty upset about the whole thing, but others are either too flush with fossil-fuel cash or too busy drinking from Liberal Tears mugs to admit the problem exists. (As I am currently writing about a popular television program rather than chaining myself to the doors of the Environmental Protection Agency, on a global level I’m not accomplishing much more.)

What little we know about Game of Thrones’ final season suggests the series will at least flirt with the possibility of mass extinction. The episode-length Battle of Winterfell will likely fall in the season’s third episode, directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who’s directed the series’ previous blowouts. (Given that the troops are already assembled, it seems unlikely the show would wait until the fifth episode, also directed by Sapochnik, to play that card.) That means the human armies will make a do-or-die stand at Winterfell, and unless the series plans to spend three full episodes on the comparatively unimportant question of who ascends to the Iron Throne after the Night King’s defeat, my guess is that humanity will lose that battle. And since every human killed is not just a loss for one side but an undead addition to the other, that ought to be the ballgame. As a viewer, I’m rooting for Jon Snow and co. But if I were an Essos gambler laying a bet, I know whom I’d put my money on.

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There’s just one problem. The show that became famous for its willingness to kill off seemingly essential figures has grown less and less likely to do so. Even before Jon Snow came back from the dead, viewers had begun to develop a sense of which characters were essential to the series’ endgame, and thus impossible to kill off. You didn’t need Ramsay Bolton or even Littlefinger to tie up the story’s loose ends, but it’s impossible to imagine Dany or Jon getting axed for shock value. There was no chance the High Sparrow would dethrone Cersei for good or that Arya would fail the Faceless Men’s tests. The show’s core characters had acquired what fans call “plot armor,” which meant that any time the odds seemed truly hopeless, when they were backed against a wall and there seemed to be no way out, we knew the question wasn’t if they’d escape but only how.

Now that the series is almost over, individual characters are finally losing their invulnerability. (For all we know, any of those essential figures could buy it in Episode 2.) But there’s still one suit of plot armor left, and it’s the biggest and clankiest of all. I don’t know which humans will survive till the end of Game of Thrones, but I feel certain humanity will—that the series will end in a Westeros in which the Night King has at least been beaten back, if not wholly defeated. The logical endgame to the precepts Game of Thrones has espoused is the Night King grinning on the Iron Throne, surrounded by his army of the dead, but HBO hasn’t invested close to a billion dollars to tell a story whose moral is that humanity is screwed. Victory will come at a cost, but that cost will be paid; life, of one sort or another, will go on. There are, unfortunately, no such guarantees in our world. We might lose our battle, and there will be no one left to appreciate the plot twist.


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‘Star Wars’ actor Mark Hamill says Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill, known for his role as the iconic “Star Wars” character Luke Skywalker, revealed this week that the Jedi Master didn’t die a virgin—at least according to his own imagination.The 67-year-old actor was responding to a question asked on Twitter a day after the Star Wars Celebration fan experience wrapped up in Chicago, telling fans…

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‘Star Wars’ actor Mark Hamill says Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill, known for his role as the iconic “Star Wars” character Luke Skywalker, revealed this week that the Jedi Master didn’t die a virgin—at least according to his own imagination.

The 67-year-old actor was responding to a question asked on Twitter a day after the Star Wars Celebration fan experience wrapped up in Chicago, telling fans the hero’s story was in their hands.

‘STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER’ FIRST TRAILER RELEASED

“Make up your own backstory,” Hamill wrote. “It’s undetermined, but in the one I made for him myself, the answer is: no.”

Hamill’s answer led fans of the space opera to sound off, many of them mentioning Mara Jade, a character from the Legends series in the Expanded Universe (EU) of “Star Wars” media, such as books and video games. In these stories, Jade and Skywalker are eventually married and have a son, Ben Skywalker.

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However, the EU was deemed non-canon, or no longer part of the official story, when The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012. In other words, Luke was single again.

But many of the “Star Wars” fans seemed to take Hamill’s advice, leaving it up to their imaginations.

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Jordyn Woods Says She’ll ‘Always’ Love Kylie Jenner

Jordyn Woods I’ll ‘Always’ Have Love for Kylie 4/19/2019 12:50 AM PDT EXCLUSIVE Jordyn Woods is hesitant to come right out and say it, but the message is very clear … she’s still got love for Kylie Jenner. Jordyn and her mom, Elizabeth, were at LAX Thursday when we asked Jordyn if the support she’s received…

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Jordyn Woods Says She’ll ‘Always’ Love Kylie Jenner

Jordyn Woods

I’ll ‘Always’ Have Love for Kylie

4/19/2019 12:50 AM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Jordyn Woods is hesitant to come right out and say it, but the message is very clear … she’s still got love for Kylie Jenner.

Jordyn and her mom, Elizabeth, were at LAX Thursday when we asked Jordyn if the support she’s received from Jada Pinkett Smith and family helped her through her ordeal with the Kardashian-Jenner fam … she tells us it’s bigger than that. Much bigger.

It gets real interesting, though, when our guy asks if she hopes to rekindle her friendship with Kylie — she gives a rather broad answer … before Mom comes to the rescue.

Check it out for yourself … Jordyn eventually says she’ll “always” love her former BFF, but it takes some coaxing. Her mother’s much more direct.

Regardless, Jordyn’s fallout with Kylie has only made her more popular. Girl’s signing autographs and posing for pics everywhere she goes … even when it’s not a celebrity hot spot.

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