A lot more el­bow room in Wes­teros

Those ‘Game of Thrones’ char­ac­ters needed a good culling to thin all the plots.

Los Angeles Times - - POP & HISS - MARY McNA­MARA TELE­VI­SION CRITIC mary.mcna­mara@latimes.com Twit­ter: @mary­macTV

“You know noth­ing, Jon Snow.”

Were truer words ever spo­ken? First by the doomed Ygritte (Rose Les­lie), then by the spurned Melisan­dre (Carice van Houten) to a man who stupidly thought they were speak­ing of love (or sex) when in­stead they were of­fer­ing ad­vice on pol­icy.

In the face of near-uni­ver­sal rejection, Jon (Kit Har­ing­ton) be­lieved in across­the-Wall co­op­er­a­tion. And like so many starry-eyed cen­trists be­fore him, he died at the hands of his own party.

“For the Watch,” each fel­low Crow cried as they stabbed poor Jon and left him to die in the fi­nal min­utes of Sun­day’s “Game of Thrones” fi­nale, while even the most bat­tle-hard­ened fans gasped their shock onto Twit­ter.

But Jon’s ap­par­ent death (that was a very long shot of blood on snow, and with Melisan­dre now in Castle Black, you never know) capped a sea­son in which even a rape/ in­fan­ti­cide con­tro­versy couldn’t dis­guise one hard truth: Some of these peo­ple have just got to go. For a few very sim­ple rea­sons:

Even with Bran and com­pany on Learn­ing Tree hia­tus, there were just too many plot lines.

If any more lo­ca­tions are added, the open­ing cred­its will last 15 min­utes.

Any scene with­out Peter Din­klage, Maisie Wil­liams or a dragon is never quite as good as any scene with them (though Jonathan Pryce nar­rowed the gap con­sid­er­ably).

Writ­ers D.B. Weiss and David Be­nioff have said they are in the home stretch. Seven sea­sons have be­come con­ven­tional wis­dom, but even should they stretch to eight, they need to at least start wrap­ping things up.

So is it any won­der that this year’s sea­son fi­nale left many of its main char­ac­ters dead, prob­a­bly dead, pos­si­bly dead, wish­ing for death and/or about to rain holy hell on her en­e­mies?

Dead for sure: Myr­cella Lannister (Nell Tiger Free), poi­son-kissed for pur­poses of re­venge by Ellaria (Indira Varma); and Meryn Trant (Ian Beat­tie) stabbed all over, start­ing with the eyes, for pur­poses of re­venge by Arya (Wil­liams).

Dead, if there is a god, many-faced or oth­er­wise: Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dil­lane), who killed his brother, his daugh­ter and thou­sands of Wes­teros cit­i­zens to win the Iron Throne. Pay­back’s a red witch, Stannis.

Not dead, if (see above): Sansa (So­phie Turner) and Reek (Al­fie Allen). Last seen jump­ing off the wall of Win­ter­fell, into what we can only hope is a large and cushy snow­drift be­cause that is no way for ei­ther of them to die.

Blinded, but maybe as metaphor: Af­ter killing Trant, Arya was ap­par­ently stricken blind for break­ing some new House of Black and White rule. Her rheumy rolling eyes were strangely rem­i­nis­cent of the far-sighted Bran, so best not draw con­clu­sions.

Mo­men­tar­ily shamed al­most to death but then just fu­ri­ous: Cer­sei (Lena Headey) was forced to con­fess to the High Spar­row (Pryce) and then walk naked through the streets of King’s Land­ing. Her de­spair was brief (and prob­a­bly not so much about the nu­dity — she looked fab­u­lous and we love the new pixie — as the spit­ting). When she re­al­ized that her new knight in shin­ing ar­mor was the re­vived Moun­tain, who could eat the High Spar­row for lunch, she perked right up.

Nei­ther dead nor shamed but sud­denly sur­rounded by Dothraki war­riors: Whether Daen­erys (Emilia Clarke) is now im­per­iled or em­pow­ered, we must wait al­most a year to dis­cover.

Dur­ing which time Weiss and Be­nioff will, no doubt, be plot­ting the next step of their “All Men Must Die” cam­paign, start­ing, one hopes, with the High Spar­row and his acolytes (did we ever think we’d be root­ing for Cer­sei and the Moun­tain?).

But then zealots are such a bore, and an even big­ger dan­ger to them­selves than cen­trists. Slowly the peo­ple of Wes­teros have risen, some from the dead, to in­flu­ence their own fates, with wis­dom and stu­pid­ity. In one of the best scenes of this sea­son, Daen­erys told Tyrion (and how great would it be if those two just got mar­ried?) that she didn’t want to stop the wheel of power, in which the great houses were spokes; she wanted to break it.

Cer­tainly it’s half­way off the wagon al­ready; this year’s fo­cus on the rise of re­li­gious and pa­tri­otic zealotry in the gaps of war and ti­tle dis­pute proved that. But as in­ter­est­ing as all the var­i­ous robed and mur­der­ous acolytes were, it was get­ting tough to keep track of them (wait, golden masks so it must be Meereen!), and, more im­por­tant, they were tak­ing too much valu­able time away from al­ready es­tab­lished char­ac­ters like Bri­enne (Gwen­do­line Christie). (Se­ri­ously, how did Bri­enne miss the can­dle in the win­dow?)

Bring back Bran and find Queen Mar­gaery (Natalie Dormer), tell us Sansa is alive, Arya isn’t blind and Bri­enne has ful­filled at least one of her oaths. Un­leash the wrath of Cer­sei, and Dany’s dragons and spare Tyrion (Din­klage) and Varys (Con­leth Hill) to the bit­ter end.

Per­haps all men must die, but no one’s said any­thing about women, chil­dren, dwarfs and eu­nuchs.

Who may just wind up rul­ing the world.

He­len Sloan HBO

KIT HAR­ING­TON and John Bradley in a cozy scene be­fore a “Thrones” shocker.

Ma­call B. Po­lay HBO

AN­TON LESSER and Lena Headey in “Thrones.”

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