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Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones – Arya Stark (McFarlane)

After enjoying Jon Snow and The Night King, I decided to keep up on the Game of Thrones line with Arya Stark. For what it’s worth, I probably won’t pick up Daenerys, the likeness is just too off in the face and she is overall too large. Maybe if I found her for cheap but at the moment, I don’t plan on it. I am looking forward to potential future waves of these figures, despite the disappointing series finale.

There isn’t really anything to add about the line in regards to Arya that hasn’t been said already about the previous two figures I’ve talked about. She shares most of the same high and low points. The detailing is really nice on her sculp and accessories, though, her likeness is a bit off on the head sculpt. Jon, Arya, and Dany all have this weird slightly squished look going on and the noses all seem a little too large. John fares the best, Arya is ok, but it really shows on Dany, which is why I am skipping her.

Arya does have a few issues not as present with Jon though. Her skirt isn’t as forgiving as Jon’s long coat, so her hip articulation is pretty useless. This also means all of her leg articulation is pretty useless. I may run some slits up the sides or something on mine just to let her legs have some freedom. Jon Snow’s outfit has opening and some layering going on so it allowed motion. The Night King also had slits up the sides of his skirt piece by design.

Arya also has nowhere to store her weapons. None of the figures do, actually. Some scabbards would have been nice on Arya and Jon. Jon sort of got away with this because his dagger could be slipped under his belt. the Night King barely uses his weapons in the show and seems to just pass them off to lackeys when he isn’t using them so he didn’t really need anything. Arya doesn’t get the luxury of a belt or any sort of scabbard or a zombie follower to carry her sword, so she has no way to just stand in a neutral pose while still armed.

If you are a fan of this show but not really super into the figures, Arya isn’t awful but she would be an easy pass in favor of Jon or the excellent Night King. Like I said, I am still looking forward to more from this line, but I worry the much hated finale will kill any chance of more being made.

Game of Thrones – The Night King (McFarlane)

After being satisfied with Jon Snow, I decided I’d add another figure to my little Game of Thrones collection with the Night King. Mostly because Dany and Arya weren’t available, but having a villain, however lame his ending ended up being, is always fun.

The Night King continues the bar set by Jon Snow, he has a lot of nice detailing going on across his armor and in this case his face. Being a White Walker, which is essentially zombie, his skin is a bit decayed and creepy looking. This is also where his blue coloring comes from. He is a lot more clean looking than your average zombie however, but I guess that’s part of what makes him the leader of the undead army.

The articulation is pretty nice as well, the long coat is designed in a way that it doesn’t really hinder his leg movement much, which is a nice plus. Rubber skirts on figures tends to completely kill any hip articulation, which makes everything else below that useless as well.

He also includes two weapons. One is a sort of Ice Sword, though it has a long handle and is curved making it more of a sharpened Ice club really. He also has his “iconic” Ice Spear, that he used to down Viserion. He can mostly make the throwing pose but he only has “grippy hands” so he can’t pose with a fingers out “javelin pose” like he does in the show. Not a huge loss, but kind of annoying. The weapons look nice, though they also feel a little fragile.

The Night King is pretty nice on display. He can pose pretty well, though the character in the show never really did a lot of cool poses aside from stand around looking menacing before dying.

Game of Thrones – Jon Snow (McFarlane)

So, now that Game of Thrones is almost over, McFarlane Toys has decided to make some action figures for it. I imagine that part of the last minute feel is that Funko previously held the license, preventing anyone else from making figures. I mean there are a lot of properties that get toys after the fact, but this feels like odd timing.

This is also the first McFarlane toy I have bought in a long time. I’m talking possibly close to like 15 years or more long time. Last time I even thought about McFarlane, they made a lot of Spawn figures, and they made a lot of oddball stuff like, KISS or random Anime figures. Also, “figures” was a very operative term, since most of their stuff were basically “statues with joints”. They tended to be a kind of brittle on the plastic quality.

They apparently caught up over the years though at some point. The plastic on Jon Snow here is comparable to any other mainline US toy line, maybe a little stiffer than your average Marvel Legends, but it doesn’t feel like I’m going to snap apart the joints just by looking at it, the way a lot of older McFarlane toys (and modern NECA) toys feel.

The articulation is also pretty good. He doesn’t have any double joints on elbows or knees but otherwise everything is nice universal joints all around. This is definitely a nice pleasant surprise since it means he can actually make more than 1 pose and one sort of pose.

The sculpt and paint are also pretty good. The head looks like Kit Harrington, albeit a squinty brooding Kit Harrington, but it does look like him. The quilted armor overcoat he is wearing has all sorts of little nicks and dings detailing to it and there are all sorts of nice little silver buckles details on his belt and other parts. He also is a few different shades of black and dark brown in his armor, and not all just one color. The beard also looks pretty good, a point that is often easily screwed up on some figures where it looks too painted on.

This figure, and the other figures in the wave seem to more closely follow the Season 7 look vs the current Season 8 look, though most of the character don’t really change their look a while lot throughout the show. Jon has two accessories, one is Longclaw, his sword, with a little wolf head sculpted on the hilt, and the other is a dragonglass dagger, useful for stabbing white walkers.

One last thing to mention, this figure is definitely better than the previous Funko figures. I only have a few of the older line but I can say these are definitely a better likeness on the heads. That said, the two lines go together pretty well. The style is very similar and mixing them together shouldn’t be a problem, especially if McFarlane doesn’t release more, since the Funko line could help fill in some of the gaps in characters.

Game of Thrones – S07E07 – The Dragon and the Wolf

So, the season finale.  Though there were only 7 episodes this season, the last two have been longer so it’s sort of like getting 8.

The first half of this episode deals with the fallout from last episode, specifically, the meeting of our two groups for their negotiated truce.  Cersei caves essentially immediately after seeing the dead solider, but she demands Jon not take sides between her and Dany, which he’s already done.  So they have a little disagreement and Tyrion goes and convinces Cersei to side with them.

Euron Greyjoy, for all of his grandiose behavior, immediately runs away back to the Iron Isles, after learning the dead army can’t swim.  I have to wonder if this will come back to haunt him, The Iron Isles are pretty far north, it’s possible that during the long winter, they could become less of an island and more of a hill in the middle of a sheet of ice.  Probably not so much though since it was all a ruse for Cersei to send him off on a little fetch quest for more men in the form of The Golden Company.

Jon and Theon finally have a little heart to heart chat, Jon basically tells Theon that he’s a dick and he should go back to being a Greyjoy, even though he was brought up and treated right by the Starks.  Not in so many words, but you know, Theon basically betrayed Ned Stark and his family.  No redemption for Theon.  Except he’s still trying real hard for it as he heads back to his men to try to convince them to help rescue Yara.  I’m kind of inclined to agree with his men, Even if Euron hasn’t killed her, they aren’t any match for the Iron Fleet or Euron Greyjoy.

Meanwhile Littlefinger’s little games come to a climax finally.  Sansa finally wakes up to his constant lying and deceptions, though it’s not entirely clear if Bran simply told her the reality of the situation (he can basically see all time now or something) or if Arya convinced her of the reality of the situation.  Whatever the case, it’s used as a vehicle to wrap up a few loose ends somewhat unceremoniously.  Basically Littlefinger was behind driving Catelyn Stark and Lysa Arynn apart, he conspired to kill Jon Arynn, and he tried to kill Bran Stark.  So Arya cuts his throat.

The growing tension between Jaime and his sister also finally reaches an climax.  Jaime finally voices a lot of his concerns with her crazy obsessive behavior and Cersei basically tells him she’s pissed for his disloyalty.  She sort of threatens to have The Mountain kill him, but he leaves without a fight.

Then of course the final official reveal of Rhaegar and Lyanna.  Sam comes to Winterfell and has a little chat with Bran, and they put the pieces together about how Jon Snow is really the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryan and Lyanna Stark, and that is real name is Aegon Targaryen, and that he is the true heir to the Iron Throne.

Finally, the army of the dead makes it to Eastwatch and they use the captured undead Dragon to bring down the wall.  Except now the dragon has Ice breath instead of fire, wouldn’t that just reinforce the wall?  I don’t know.  Chances are the 7 kingdoms will be pretty safe though, it took the undead army a very long time to walk the little bit from Hardhome to Eastwatch, at this rate it will take at least 3 more seasons to even reach Winterfell.

So on the season as a whole.  It’s been, pretty good, though it feels less and less like Game of Thrones as it started out.  There were barely any meaningful deaths, for example.  There were plenty of chances.  I like Jaime, but having Cersei kill him would have been a very classic GoT move.  Ser Jorah, Tormund, most of the band that went north to capture the undead soldier, they could have all been killed off at any point with no real impact.  The whole thing is starting to feel a little watered down.  Everyone left feels like they are covered in layers of plot armor with no real threat feeling like much of a threat anymore.

Everything is becoming really predictable too.  I mean we have one season left, so, the army of the dead will march on Winterfell, which will probably fall, they all will retreat to King’s Landing where Cersei will have Euron and the Golden Company waiting, they will have to beg for help or whatever.  Still, plot armor.  Everyone seems too protected.  I can’t imagine too many others aside from The Mountain, Cersei, Euron and maybe Theon end up dying.  Maybe Tyrion and Davos, just to give the “Good Guys” someone to kill off.  I doubt Jon or Dany get killed, they are obviously being built up to sit together on the Iron Throne in the end.

Game of Thrones – S07E06 – Death is the Enemy

So, despite the pretty cool little battle, despite the extra long length, despite the little fellowship of heroes, I have to say, I found this entire episode really unsatisfying.  I think the main part is just, is a shinning example, of all of the nitpicky problems with the series this season.  Problems that are easy to overlook and ignore, except when they are all crammed into one episode.

There were two focuses here plot wise, the mission to capture one of the undead soldiers and the drama between Sansa and Arya.  I’m going to touch on the Arya/Sansa thing first.  I like Arya, but she has taken a sudden and weird turn.  Maybe she isn’t even Arya, with the whole Faceless God thing going on, but she seems needlessly sinister.  No, she and Sansa have never really gotten along, and no, I don’t like Sansa, but Sansa seems to be reverting to her spoiled winey princess Sansa from the early episodes a lot and Ayra is just suddenly evil.  She all but threatened Sansa for starters, like literally “I can just take your face and become you”.  She also seems to be making rash and unjustified actions over that dumb letter she wrote way back in like Season 2, asking Rob to side with Cersei.  The letter was years ago, and she was clearly under a ton of duress and basically a prisoner.  The whole situation feels a little ridiculous.

There’s some speculation that Arya will go to King’s Landing for the little meeting as Sansa, and she will kill Cersei, which would make some sense.  The whole prophesy thing is that Cersei will be killed by the Volenquar, which is “little Brother”, but they keep pushing how Arya, despite being a girl, acts more like a boy, not to mention she could end up taking the face of Jaime or Tyrion for the actual act.

Anyway, onto the who Fellowship of the Zombie, or whatever.  There was a lot of little chit chatty conversations pushing the story of the these characters along a bit.  My problems all tend to come from the battle.  For starters, the group ends up trapped on an island surrounded by the dead.  They somehow survive this for the time it takes for Gendry to run all the way back to Eastwatch, for a Raven to fly to Dragonstone, and for Dany to fly from Dragonstone to the north.  It’s all very contrived, and not awful in itself, except it’s not the kind of way this show has been run from the start.  It’s very “TV Show convenient” instead of “Epic Game of Thrones Fantasy”.

The battle itself was very confusing, confusing because people kept dying, except no one “important” dies, there seemed to always be a convenient nobody that showed up out of nowhere to be killed.  Like literally from nowhere, the scenes surrounding the events would just show our heroes, when someone needed to die, it would be some noname FreeFolk soldier.  Well, aside from Beric’s buddy.  It seemed really clear he was the patsy even last episode because he’s the one I didn’t immediately recognize as anyone.

I kind of feel like this group was just too protected by Plot Armor.  For example, there was a close call with Tormund.  There really isn’t any reason Torbund couldn’t have been killed off in classic GoT style, aside from fans like pairing him up with Brienne.  Beric would be another one to be disposable, aside from they never really explained very well his purpose to keep being revived.  Then there was Jon’s “death” which served absolutely zero purpose than to suddenly make Dany decide she loves him I guess.  A better rework, Jon is close to being killed, Beric jumps in and saves him, now Beric had a purpose, save Jon, the obvious contender for future king.  They even have connections through The Lord of Light.  Instead Jon gets saved, literally from nowhere by Benjen, who rescues him, then sacrifices himself for Jon’s escape.  Like I said, “TV Show convenient”.

It’s just sloppy.

They made a big deal about how this season would be 7 episodes but be more epic, it just feels rushed and too compacted.


Game of Thrones – S07E05 – Eastwatch

I just want to say, this show is really starting to show itself as a TV show, now that ti’s well surpassed the books.  Yes, there were pulls from the books, however out of order they may have occurred, but now there is definitely a lot of “showey” things going on.  For example, a happenstance gathering of hero characters.  There is also a LOT of time compression, which wasn’t quite as using in the earlier episodes.

I only really bring up the time thing because it was sort of brought up.  Sam mentioned that it had been years since he had seen Bran.  Which means a lot more time has passed than really shown.

On the whole, this was a very talky set up the future episode.  Jaime is clearly more and more disturbed by Cersei’s actions.  Though she kind of regains his trust by claiming to be pregnant with his child, though I feel like that’s probably a lie.  Tyrion still seems to have some doubts about Dany, after she has her dragon toast Randall Tarley and his son.  Tyrion seems to get over it a bit, and through Davos and Bronn, Jaime and Tyrion have a little meet up at the request of Daenerys.  Dany wants to discuss a truce to allow them to fight off the army of the dead currently marching down from the North.  As part of this meeting, Jon is going to lead a group to capture one of the dead army soldiers in order to show proof that the army is real.

This is where the “happenstance” gathering of heroes come into play.  Now cured of his Grayscale, Ser Jorah returns to Dragonstone and joins Jon’s band.  Davos, while dropping Tyrion off for his meeting heads into Flea Bottom and recruits Gendry, who is no longer rowing, who joins the crew.  After they arrive at Eastwatch, they pick up Tormund Giantsbane who is leading the Wildlings at Eastwatch along with a couple of prisoners they had in a cell, Sandor Clegane and Berric Dondarrion.

All of these random folks around the world, all brought together conveniently to form a nice little hero party of warriors.  Also Gendry looks a hell of a lot like Christian Bale now.

There is also something up with Littlefinger.  But then, Littlefinger is always up to no good.

There’s only two episodes left.  I imagine the next episode will deal primarily with capturing the zombie soldier.  And probably a bit of whatever Arya caught Littlefinger doing.  The last episode of the season will be the meeting between Cersei and Dany, and Cersei trying to pull some betrayal because she is a stupid bitch.  This will all set up the final season with the battle against the army of the dead and whomever ends up on the throne.

Oh and Gilly and Sam came across and blew off a little bit about Rehgar Targarion having his marriage annulled and being remarried in a secret ceremony.  Because someone realized that it doesn’t matter if Jon is the son of Rehgar and Lyanna Stark, he would still be a bastard with no claim to anything.



Game of Thrones – S07E04 – The Spoils of War

So yeah, definitely one of the best episode of the series, though if I had them all laid out there might be better in there somewhere.  I kind of feel like the clear simplifying that’s been going on is really helping things a bit, there’s isn’t anything going on over seas anymore really, there’s not random places we don’t really care about like Dorne or Riverrun.  This particular episode essentially just had three main events, and all of them pretty good.

Firstly was Arya Stark’s return to Winterfell and her reunion with Bran and Sansa.  Arya has long been one of my favorite characters.  Her entire story is very adventury and has had so many twists and turns.  She’s also turned into this crazy bad ass assassin killing machine along the way.  Everything here was so well done.  Her getting stopped at the gates was a nice reflection on how she’s been treated in the past.  Her and Sansa meeting again, despite not really getting along in the past.  Even while it’s clear Sansa is less of a snobby bitch, Arya is still making jabs at her over the whole Lady Stark thing.  The reunion with Bran and her receiving the dagger from Bran seemed like a bit of foreshadowing as well.  This knife very likely belonged to Jaime or Cersei, who are the most likely people who ordered the assassin against Bran.  How appropriate would it be if that dagger were to be used against that very same person in the long run end game of things?

Then there was her little sparing match with Brienne.  Both so similar in their desire to buck the normal trend of Ladies but both so very different in their methods.  And such a contrast in fighting styles.  They both clearly enjoyed it and it was nice to see Brienne not stop halfway to apologize for kicking over Arya.

The middle act was a short scene with Jon, once again trying to convince Dany to help him fight the Night King.  She still says not until he bends the knee to her, so, in the end, not much has changed on that front.  Theon also returned from his crushing defeat at the hands of Euron Greyjoy, and ran into Jon, who was not particularly happy to see him.  Seriously though, FUCK THEON.

Then we wrap up with quite possibly the best battle of the series.  Everyone last season was raving about Bastard Bowl, but this battle was definitely better.  The battles in general keep getting better, I remember being supremely disappointed by how tiny the Battle of the Blackwater felt.  This battle, despite just being an attack on Jaime’s little convoy of gold, felt pretty grand.  It’s an interesting pairing to be sure.  Jaime has the Lannister Army, but it’s not super clear if he has all of it, the best of it, I imagine there ares some left in Highgarden and some still in King’s Landing.  Meanwhile, they are facing the Dothraki, who are not as well armed and armored, but they are much more berserker in their fighting style and certainly not any sort of force that the Lannister soldiers have ever faced.  This kind of cuts both ways though, since the Dothraki likely haven’t faced a ton of heavily armored soliders.

Then there is the dragon, and Dany.  Definitely something Jaime and his men have never seen or faced.  The dragon alone could probably have wiped out the entire force.  Maybe.  as Bronn demonstrates late int he battle, the dragons are not as invincible as everyone thinks.  I imagine that King’s Landing will be outfitted with a great many of those giant catapults on it’s battlements in preparation for the inevitable attack by Dany’s forces.

What I particularly liked was how the battle kind of had me rooting for Jaime and Bronn.  The Lannisters are arguably the “bad guys” in the series, but I rather like both Jaime and Bronn.  Cersei is evil, these two are more just along for the ride.   I’ve also never been particularly fond of Daenerys either, though it’s clear the series is pushing her to be a top level hero character I’m supposed to love.

There was also a bit of possible set up and foreshadowing going on with Bronn.  Before the battle, Bronn was complaining that Jaime still hadn’t given him a castle yet, as promised.  While he seems to enjoy hanging around with Jaime, he also seems to be getting a little disgruntled at how things are going.  He’s essentially in it for the money, he’s not necessarily loyal to the Lannisters.  Keep in mind, that he started out in the service of Tyrion way back in Season 1, Tyrion being on the other side of the battle here.  Then there is Jaime, who, while loyal to his sister, seems to be getting increasingly frustrated by her crazy.  They no longer have any kids connecting them to each other either.  He’s also just learned that Tyrion was not responsible for killing Joffrey, which was the catalyst for Tyrion ending up in prison and killing their father and basically siding with Dany in the first place.  Perhapse something may come of all of this in the next episode,  considering both Jaime and Bronn survived the battle.  Then again, Jaime did try to run Dany through with a spear and Bronn did shoot Drogon with a giant crossbow bolt, so Daenerys likely isn’t going to be in a very forgiving mood if these two end up being prisoners.  There could be another angle here though, Tyrion kind of owes Jaime for freeing him before, Tyrion also seemed to have a bit of regret while watching the Lannister army get slaughtered by the Dothraki.  Perhapse Tyrion may end up betraying Dany and returning to King’s Landing.


Game of Thrones – S07E03 – The Queen’s Justice

A lot of talky set up in this episode, though it’s still all good stuff.  The opening chat between Deaneries and Jon was particularly great.  Both standing their ground against each other, both justified in their position against each other, both wanting each other’s support.  Layered in was the pretty good reunion of Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister.  I particularly love when Tyrion was complaining that Jon makes him look like he is a failure at brooding.  Ultimately Jon and Dani both come to a bit of understanding of each other’s position.  Dani grants Jon the right to mine Dragon Glass, though she does not pledge her support to Jon’s cause.  I kind of wonder what she will think of Jon when she learns of his true heritage.

On a side note, there is also a little interesting conversation between Varys and Melisandre, it’s very cryptic but it helps push my little theory more about Agents of the Gods or whatever you want to call them.  These two are definitely two of those, more than meets the eye lurking int he shadows bunch I mentioned a few week ago.

Euron returns his prisoners to Cersei, much to her joy.  The justice she dispenses to Ellaria Sand is pretty good, though the scene is a little clunky and repetitive.

Meanwhile Sansa Stark is showing her leadership prowess again in the North, with concern about how much food stock there is to last through the long winter.  At least someone is thinking ahead, sure they need to survive the Lannisters, and the Night King, but they also need to survive the Long Winter itself.  and unfortunately War consumes a lot of the resources needed to survive.  We also get a nice reunion between Sansa and Bran.  Sansa suggests he is still Lord of the North but Bran doesn’t want the job now that he is the Three Eyed Raven.  Sansa really doesn’t seem to want Jon in charge, which feels like it might become a problem in the long run.

Things wrap up with Dani’s forces taking Casterly Rock, and rather much more easily than expected.  It turns out it’s a bit of a trap.  Euron Greyjoy had swept in behind them and torched the ships that they arrived on, trapping the Unsillied forces on the main land.  Meanwhile most of the Lannister force was off with Jaime Lannister taking Highgarden.  Jaime grants Lady Olenna an easy death, though they have a little chat about how evil Cersei is, and in her last moments, she reveals to Jaime that she knew Joffrey was his son and that she was the one who killed him.  That’s one little mystery solved, though honestly, while tyrion was tried for the crime, she was the one I suspected was the real culprit.  It was pretty obvious that it wasn’t Tyrion to be sure.

I wanted to wrap up today’s post with a bit on Jaime Lannister.  Most of the villains of this series, for who they are, are pretty despicable, with the exception of Jaime.  Oh yes, he has done some disreputable things in his time, but for the most part, he’s just doing his best to do his job and deal with his sister.  He has proven repeatedly, like with Lady Olenna, or when he took Riverrun, and with Tyrion, just to name a few, that he has some level of sympathy and is not really cruel.  Basically, despite being on the “bad guy team” he’s still pretty chivalrous and just does what needs done.  There seems to be a lot of build up to him betraying Cersei, though who knows how that will turn out for him, or Cersei.  He isn’t too happy about Tommin or how the throne was claimed, he doesn’t really like how Euron’s playing out, there was the nudging by Lady Olenna before her death, there’s just lots of set up to provide doubt in Jaime’s mind about the way things are going.  Also notable, because they pointed it out this episode, he has a sword of note, since it’s a Valyrian steel blade.