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Game of Thrones season 7 trailer #1 (analysis)

Winter is finally here! We have waited long enough to see the first trailer of season 7 and it didn’t disappoint. Season 7 is looking more expensive and epic than ever. Let’s break down the bunch of shots we received today. Don’t read further if you don’t want to be spoiled! 

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  • This scene definitely takes place in the courtyard of the Red Keep. It seems like there are more men standing there. At least six men can be seen. Since there is a big map of Westeros laying on the ground of the courtyard, I assume they want to discuss war strategies there. Given the spoilers, we know that House Tarly allied themselves with the Lannisters. This could be Jaime Lannister, Randyll Tarly, Dickon Tarly standing among some soldiers there.

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  • Cersei Lannister is approaching these men. Of course, our Queen wants to attend the war council as well. Is she wearing a winter’s coat? Hard to say so.

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  • Grey Worm and the Unsullied reach Dragonstone for the first time. It seems like the Unsullied got new armour. The three dragons on the armour is a nice touch!

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  • This table is from the war council in Dragonstone. Remember Stannis and Melisandre having sex right on the table way back in season 2. That’s the one. These first three shots indicate that Daenerys and Cersei are plotting war against each other.

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  • Someone is cleaning a dagger. I think it’s the hand of a young girl. My money is on Arya Stark, after she has killed some more Freys at the Twins.

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  • Another shot of Arya. This time she is travelling through the Riverlands after she has left the Twins.

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  • Another look at the great map of Westeros in the Red Keep. This scene probably takes place earlier than the first shot of the trailer. Jaime and Cersei are trying to recreate an XXXL-sized map of Westeros to help them discuss war strategies, which will be necessary after Daenerys’s arrival.

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  • Cersei during the war council in King’s Landing. Her black clothing proves that she’s darker and more evil than ever. She makes the attendants of the council sure that the Lannisters will clear everyone out of their way.

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  • The next shot indicates that Cersei isn’t telling lies. The Lannister army marches to Highgarden to sack the city. The Lannisters need the resources to avoid more problems on their part.

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  • We can see Jaime, Qyburn and the Mountain standing next to Queen Cersei. This might be an important event since they are all together. Do they receive someone important? Perhaps Euron Greyjoy?

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  • Jaime’s looking quite concerned about Euron’s alliance. Euron wanted a marriage alliance with Daenerys but since that didn’t work out for him, he might try to get in favour with the Mad Queen. He could come up with the same proposal and we know that Jaime wouldn’t be too keen about that.

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  • Cersei probably wouldn’t be delighted about Euron’s proposal either. They need a strong alliance anyway.

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  • Tyrion enjoying the view of Dragonstone. I think this might be the first scene where they show us Drogon. Tyrion would want to spend a moment alone since he’s closer to attacking his siblings than ever.

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  • What a breathtaking view and that’s before Drogon emerges. This scene could easily take place in the first couple of episodes.

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  • Daenerys entering Dragonstone as well. Notice the big dragon head right before the gates. This is the first time that Daenerys enters Dragonstone in season 7.

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  • Going back to the very place where you were born. It definitely makes Daenerys emotional.  Varys and Grey Worm are standing right next to her.

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  • Daenerys touching the sand. Just like Tyrion, she’ll need a moment to retreat in silence and process the things that are happening to her. It’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster for the Dragon Queen! She could never connect so closely with her family.

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  • Daenerys in her Throne Room. Just like Cersei, she might receive an important visitor. Could it be Jon Snow? Or perhaps Melisandre?

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  • Then the action starts right away! The Unsullied attack Casterly Rock.

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  • It’s going to be a tough situation for the Lannister soldiers since Casterly Rock was quite abandoned. Grey Worm would probably lead the attack on Casterly Rock with the aid of Tyrion. It was Tyrion’s idea to have the Unsullied sneak into Casterly Rock via the entrance where he lured whores into.

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  • A shot at Winterfell. Brienne has returned to Winterfell (probably at episode 1). The King in the North has gathered the Northern Lords to discuss how the North will be ruled. Sansa and Davos are definitely acting as Jon’s right hands

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  • Littlefinger resumes his plan to turn Sansa against Jon Snow. Sansa could be watching how Jon is leaving Winterfell. LF might tell her that it’s the moment to finally act and take matter into her own hands.

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  • The Gate of the Wall is opening for someone. Bran and Meera are probably standing before the Wall’s gate.

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  • What a cool shot! Given that there’s a lot of fire in the scene, I think this shot takes place during the naval battle between Team Yara and Team Euron. Theon witnesses how his sister gets captured. Will he finally step up?

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  • We can assume that Melisandre allied herself with Daenerys Targaryen. I can’t believe that Daenerys would want to welcome her into her team. We already know that Varys isn’t to keen on the Red Priests and besides, he has found out about Mel’s failures. Melisandre tells Varys that she’s leaving Westeros soon right before seeing Jon arriving in Dragonstone as well. How would Davos react to that? I don’t think Melisandre will get much screentime at all this season. This could be one of the few scenes she’s appearing in.

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  • A shot from the wight hunt. Some free folk are entering Eastwatch-By-The-Sea.

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  • Someone’s or something’s watching Arya Stark from a distance. Could this be Nymeria? From Arya’s facial expression, she might be quite surprised.

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  • Another scene of the wight hunt. This shot could take place at the frozen lake. The weather conditions are very dire. White Walkers might be very close here. Among the 11 men are: Jon, Tormund, Jorah, the Hound, Thoros, Gendry, Beric. It looks like they are surrounded by wights.

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  • Littlefinger after he has been put in his place by Jon Snow. Littlefinger won’t be happy about the way Jon’s treating him and start to turn more evil against the King in the North. Expect him to be the major antagonist in Sansa and Arya’s storylines this season.

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  • Dothraki ambushing the Lannister and Tarly army. Hell yeah!

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  • This scene probably takes place during the naval battle between Euron and his cousins. Expect a major loss on Yara and Ellaria’s part. This looks like a promising scene!

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  • Daenerys and her Hand discussing the attack of Casterly Rock? Both aren’t looking very optimistic.

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  • Some new armour for The Mountain! (His previous one got damaged anyway). This armour makes him really badass, though.

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  • Hmm difficult to see. This shot suggests that soldiers are trying to sneak into somewhere close by a river or sea. My money’s on Ironborn entering a ship. Probably Euron’s men.

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  • Jon pushing Littlefinger against the wall of the tombs beneath Winterfell. Littlefinger could tell Jon about his feelings for Sansa and I imagine that Jon doesn’t take that too well.

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  • Another shot of Unsullied managing to entering Casterly Rock. This really looks like a promising battle.

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  • Arya looking under her bed. Is someone trying to attack/kill her? Perhaps Littlefinger might want to get rid of Arya all the same.

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  • Is this ser Jorah’s hand? It looks like someone with a serious condition of greyscale. I don’t think it’s a wight, though. Is Jorah finally getting a cure for his disease?

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  • Dothraki ready to kill off some Lannister soldiers. I’m really looking forward to see this epic battle!

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  • Jon and Tormund running away from some danger. Probably the Night King and his army. Jon is looking good in this wildling’s clothing.

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  • Right before the attack on Casterly Rock, Grey Worm wants to say goodbye to Missandei. Maybe for the last time. Missandei seizes the opportunity to study Grey Worm’s trained body.

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  • Another kind of boatsex! Yara and Ellaria Sand come across very well. This scene could well be happening right before the naval battle.

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  • Daenerys pushing the lion statue. She’s ready to get rid of the damned Lannisters.

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  • And so does she! Bronn and Jaime can barely escape Drogon’s wrath.

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  • We are so ready for season 7! This last shot proves that we are getting at least one another Battle of the Bastards scaled episode. I’m definitely hyped.

Game of Thrones season 7 premieres July 16th. For those who wants to rewatch the whole trailer, here you are: 

La La Land Review

In de review zitten er spoilers! Verder lezen is dus geheel op eigen risico. 

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Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) en Mia (Emma Stone) spelen het verliefde koppel in La La Land.
Je kon er de laatste weken gewoonweg niet om heen kijken: La La Land is een regelrechte hype. De film verzilverde al zijn nominaties op de Golden Globes en werd maar liefst 14 keer genomineerd voor een Oscar! Dat zijn evenveel nominaties als ‘Titanic’. Als La La Land effectief meer oscarbeeldjes zal binnenhalen als ‘Titanic’, is nog de hamvraag. Ryan Gosling en Emma Stone waren voor mij alvast op hun best in het schitterende ‘La La Land’. Een titel die je bijna niet serieus kan nemen en weg doet dromen naar een idyllisch wereldje waar je stoutse dromen uitkomen. Blijkt dat nu net te zijn wat La La Land wil bereiken.

Another Day of Sun’ / ‘Een ander dagje gevuld met zonneschijn’

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Mia’s dromen worden met de grond gelijkgemaakt in La La Land.
Van een geweldige openingscène gesproken! Het zag er allemaal over-the-top uit, maar dat vond ik helemaal geen probleem. De eerste vijf minuten brachten mij net in een extase en ik kreeg onmiddellijk een hongertje naar meer van die activerende scènes. De scène deed me ook weer even terug denken aan de filmklassieker ‘Grease’. Vervolgens ontdekken we dat Mia’s leventje allesbehalve zo ‘volmaakt’ is als de openingsscène. De opener was glamour and glitter, typisch Hollywood zonder meer. Mia’s leven is eerder een sleur geworden omdat ze haar dromen helemaal zag instorten. Ze zit net zoals vele anderen in de ellenlange file en wordt dan nog eens onbeleefd behandeld door een langsrijdende Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) die later haar hele leven op zijn hoofd zal zetten. Mia werkt in een coffeeshop en wordt allesbehalve gerespecteerd. Ze is eigen een nobody in een stad vol met sterren. Let vooral op de chique dame die de coffeeshop binnenwandelt en een cappuchinootje bestelt. De zaak stelt voor om het drankje op de rekening van de zaak te zetten, maar de rijke dame staat erop dat ze zelf betaalt. De vrouw zou Mia moeten zijn, maar dit is helaas niet aan haar besteed. Momenteel is ze nog een pareltje dat verscholen zit in een schelp die op openspringen staat. Mia doet auditie na auditie en ondanks haar talent, wordt ze snel vergeten door de castingbureaus. Qua uiterlijk springt ze er ook niet meteen uit. Ze bezit eerder het imago van een grijze muis, ook al is de film rijkelijk gevuld met prachtige kleuren. Voor Mia was het dus zeker niet nog een dag vol met zonneschijn…

‘Someone in the crowd’ / ‘Iemand buiten de schijnwerpers’ 

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Mia besluit om niet langer de grijze muis te spelen in de film van haar leven.
Het zijn vooral de vriendinnen van Mia die haar in de juiste richting duwen. Mia moet zich niet langer blijven opsluiten, maar zelf kleur geven aan haar leven. Ze gaat naar een decadent feestje en probeert meer op zoek te gaan naar haar identiteit. Is ze iemand die voor de rest van haar leven buiten de spotlights zal leven of beslist ze om eindelijk de schijnwerpers op zich te plaatsen? Mia beleeft even de tijd van haar leven, totdat ze bij afloop van het feestje ontdekt dat haar auto weggetakeld werd. Dat wordt dan maar een wandeling voor onze Mia! Onderweg wordt ze verleid door het prachtige geluid van de piano in een restaurant. Ze twijfelt niet en wandelt onmiddellijk binnen. Wat ze ziet, bevalt haar zeer.

‘Mia’s and Sebastian’s theme’ / Mia and Sebastians themanummer

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Sebastian leeft net zoals Mia in een wereld vol met teleurstelling en leidt aan een identiteitscrisis.
Het eerste hoofdstuk van de film focust vooral op Mia’s leven tot op het moment dat ze de pianist ontdekt. Laat die pianist toch niet Sebastian zijn! We krijgen een (verkorte) blik op het leven van Sebastian die van zijn leven een puinhoopje gemaakt heeft. Zijn relatie is op de klippen gelopen en hij geraakt niet echt aan de bak als jazz-artiest. Zijn droom is om de jazzmuziek te doen herleven, maar helaas sterft dat muziekgenre aan een vlug tempo uit. Hij werkt in een restaurant en heeft net zoals Mia de rol van grijze muis aangenomen. Hij is extreem getalenteerd, maar zijn talent wordt allesbehalve op prijs gesteld. Wanneer hij de kans grijpt om zijn talent te laten horen, wordt hij ontslagen door zijn baas. Opnieuw een slag in het gezicht van Sebastian. De enige die zijn talent blijkt te appreciëren is Mia, die toevallig het restaurantje binnenwandelde om de prachtige pianosolo nader te beluisteren. Mia wil Sebastian  vertellen dat ze zijn muziek enorm mooi vindt, maar vooraleer ze drie woorden kan zeggen loopt Sebastian haar schaamteloos voorbij. Het nummer dat Seb speelde, zou hun themalied in de film worden en meerdere keren gespeeld worden in ‘La La Land’. Het staat immers symbool voor de eerste ontmoeting tussen Sebastian en Mia.

‘A Lovely Night’ / ‘Een lieflijke nacht’ 

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De ene nacht die alles deed veranderen: de vonk tussen Seb en Mia is duidelijk overgeslagen.
Het lot bepaalt dat Sebastian Mia terug tegen het lijf loopt op een feestje. Sebastian speelt in een weinig voorstellend bandje en Mia besluit om ‘wraak’ te nemen op Sebastian voor haar zo voorbij te lopen. Ze vraagt ‘I Ran’ van A Flock of Seagulls aan, een steek onder water voor Sebastian aldus. Mia heeft onmiddellijk de aandacht van Seb getrokken en de twee gaan voor de eerste keer een gesprek aan. Mia vindt Sebastian aanvankelijk helemaal niets voor haar en vice versa. Toch is het overduidelijk dat de vonk tussen de twee is overgeslagen is. De chemie tussen de twee is voor een blinde zelfs zichtbaar en duurt dan ook niet lang vooraleer Sebastian Mia terug opzoekt in de coffeshop waar ze werkt. Na haar werk besluit ze om samen met Sebastian de stad beter te verkennen. Seb neemt haar mee naar een jazzclub en vertelt passioneel over zijn grote liefde, jazz. Mia die jazz aanvankelijk maar niets vindt, begint door Seb het muziekgenre meer te appreciëren. Mia vertelt ook over haar grote passie: acteren. Beiden vertellen mekaar hoe ze hun dromen zagen instorten, wat uiteraard een aangrijpingspunt schept tussen de twee.

‘City of Stars’ / ‘Stad vol met sterren’ 

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Sebastian heeft een nieuwe passie in zijn leven gevonden: Mia
Het nummer dat het meest bij bleef na de film was ‘City of Stars’. Door de dag betrap ik mezelf erop dat ik het ongegêneerd meefluit. Seb wandelt op de pier richting thuis, al denkend aan zijn nieuwe passie: Mia. Hij vraagt zich af of deze droom ook op niets zal uitslaan. Mia neemt een belangrijke stap in haar leven en maakt komaf met haar vorige zelve. Eerst heeft ze het moeilijk om haar recente vriend zomaar opzij te schuiven, maar wanneer alle factoren haar in die richting duwen, gaat ze uiteindelijk de uitdaging aan. Ze kiest volledig voor Sebastian en geeft de relatie een kans. Seb neemt haar mee naar een planetarium waar ze letterlijk van verliefdheid door de sterren gaan zweven. Ze bevinden zich letterlijk in een stad vol met sterren. Hun leventje lijkt perfect te gaan totdat Seb een oude schoolvriend tegenkomt. De man, genaamd Keith, stelt Seb voor om samen met hem een bandje op te richten. Hij probeert Seb te overtuigen om zijn aanvankelijke droom een andere wending te geven en open te staan voor vernieuwingen. Seb grijpt de kans en staat aan het begin van een doorbraak in de muziekwereld. Hoe langer hoe meer geraakt hij verzeild in de wondere wereld van de sterren waar hij Mia niet langer meer terugvindt. Mia beseft dat ze Sebastian kwijt is aan het geraken voor iets wat hij niet eens als zijn droom beschouwde. Seb maakt Mia duidelijk dat het tijd is om te ontwaken uit die droom en eindelijk iets van zijn leven te maken. Seb schuift al zijn dromen opzij en begint Mia stilaan te verliezen. Mia, die meer en meer vereenzaamd blijft stuiten op de ene teleurstelling na de andere. Het komt zelfs zo ver dat ze er vrede mee neemt om haar acteercarrière op te geven. Mia geeft net zoals Seb al haar dromen op en maakt komaf met haar leven als actrice en met haar relatie met Seb.

‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ / ‘Auditie (Het zijn de dwazen die dromen)’

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De film wordt opzettelijk minder kleurrijk..
Sebastian ontdekt dat Mia gevraagd wordt om auditie te doen voor bij een belangrijke castingbureau. Hij weet hoe belangrijk deze droom voor Mia was en twijfelt geen seconde om haar te overtuigen om de auditie toch te doen. Geen gemakkelijk klusje want Mia geeft aan deze droom al lang begraven te hebben. Op aandringen van Seb, besluit ze om de auditie dan toch maar te doen. Haar leven verandert voorgoed. Het zijn misschien wel de dwazen die dromen; het zijn zij wel die tenminste geen schrik hebben om te dromen. Seb en Mia bevinden zich op het hoogtepunt van hun carrière. Hij heeft veel succes met zijn muziekbandje en Mia is een steractrice in Hollywood geworden.

‘Epilogue’ / ‘Epiloog’ 

Vijf jaren later is Mia nog steeds een succesvolle actrice en keert ze even terug naar de coffeshop waar ze werkte. Ze wordt als een diva behandeld en krijgt zelf een koffietje aangeboden op de rekening van de zaak. Overal hangen er posters van Mia en ze wordt door iedere voorbijganger opgemerkt. Sebastian heeft ondertussen zijn droom toch kunnen waarmaken en heeft een eigen jazzclub geopend waar hij de jazzmuziek heeft kunnen doen herleven. Mia is ondertussen getrouwd met een oudere man en heeft er al een dochtertje bij. Ze woont in een pracht van villa! Mia en haar man besluiten om de stad nog maar eens in te trekken en maken een tussenstop in de jazzclub van Seb. Mia realiseert haar dat Seb zijn droom heeft kunnen waarmaken en de confrontatie is zwaar. Seb ziet hoe ‘gelukkig’ getrouwd Mia nu is en besluit om hun themalied voor een laatste keer voor het publiek te spelen. Er wordt nog enkel gefocust op de twee en vervolgens zien we plots terug de scène waar Mia en Seb elkaar voor de eerste keer ontmoet hebben in het restaurantje. Seb stelt zich voor hoe het geweest zou zijn als hij andere keuzes had genomen. Hij zou haar dus niet voorbijgelopen zijn geweest, hij zou nooit zijn ingegaan op Keith zijn voorstel, hij zou samen met Mia naar Parijs zijn getrokken en daar een leven met een huisje, tuintje en kindje begonnen zijn. Helaas is het zo niet uigedraaid en moeten ze zich tevreden stellen met de realiteit. Mia vraagt aan haar man om de jazzclub te verlaten en gunt Seb een laatste blik. De twee glimlachen naar elkaar, wetende dat ze beiden hun droom hebben kunnen verwezenlijken. Helaas hebben ze hun droom samen daarvoor moeten opofferen.

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Mia en Seb nemen afscheid van elkaar.

HET VERDICT

‘La La Land’ is een streling voor het oog. Elke filmliefhebber moet ‘La La Land’ gezien hebben, zonder twijfel. En zelfs zonder een grote filmfanaat te zijn, moet je weinig moeite doen om de film te appreciëren. ‘La La Land’ is een meesterwerkje op zich: vanaf de muziek, tot de regie en het acteerwerk. Alles is prachtig. De lovende reacties van de filmwereld zijn vast en zeker verdiend en ik ben ervan overtuigd dat de film zal scoren tijdens de Oscars. Het einde van de film was misschien niet het typische Hollywood-einde wat de kijker zou verwacht hebben, maar dat vond ik net het mooie aan de film. Ondanks het feit dat de film wordt voorgesteld in een overdreven Hollywoodachtige stijl en er soms geknoeid lijkt te zijn met het kleurenpallet, is deze film allesbehalve de typische Hollywood romantische clichéfilm. ‘La La Land’ verraste me positief en ik ben er zeker van dat ik de film binnen de vijf jaren talloze keren herbekeken zal hebben.

SCORE: 98%

Verhaallijn: 9,5/10
Acteerwerk: 9,6/10
Romantische factor: 10/10
Cinematografie en regie: 10/10
Compositie (met daarbij de soundtrack): 10/10

Top 30 best Game of Thrones episodes (2016 edition)

 THE BEST 30 EPISODES OF 2016

We’ve already reached the last year list of 2016: the 30 best episodes of 2016. First, I want to thank the users of the IMdB-board ‘Game of Thrones’ and the Redditors of r/GameofThrones. The results this year were surprising, to say the least. Let’s not wait any longer and count down the very best thirty episodes.

A throwback to last year’s top 5:

  • 5. The Rains of Castamere
  • 4. The Children
  • 3. The Winds of Winter
  • 2. Hardhome
  • 1. Battle of the Bastards

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Director: Mark Mylod

‘The Broken Man’ contains a lot of memorable moments. Sandor Clegane returns as a broken man, trying to find a greater meaning behind his survival. Yet, he learns that killing is necessarily in this cruel world but that he can use his fighting skills for better purposes. That’s why he decides to join the Brotherhood later on season 6. We also have some great dialogues in the Broken Man. Do you recall Olenna and Cersei’s final confrontation? The acting was superb there. We’ve also had this touching scene where Olenna has to say goodbye to her granddaughter, Margaery. I admit, the two parting ways was very emotional. Septon Ray is another great character who was introduced in the Broken Man. His dialogues were strong and well-acted.Another great return in the Broken Man: The Blackfish. It was a great idea to bring this legendary warrior back into the story. Unfortunately, he didn’t last too long but he had some great last scenes, though. Good to see a resolution to his arc. In the Broken Man, we also meet Lyanna Mormont who later turns out to become a big fan-favourite. The cinematography was very beautiful in this episode too (e.g: Jaime’s close-up when he’s waiting for the Blackfish or Theon and Yara’s close up when they decide to leave Theon’s past behind. Beautifully done!) One thing I didn’t really like in The Broken Man was The Waif stabbing Arya. The scene was unnecessary and only served to increase the show’s shock value. For the rest, it deserves to end at #30 and to gain 8 spots in our list.


The Hound’s long-awaited return in ‘The Broken Man’. (HBO)

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Director: Brian Kirk

As the Tournament of the Hand of the King continues, we find out more about the suspicious death of Jon Arryn. Not only we have a kind of Cleganebowl, but we also meet House Tyrell by the introduction of ser Loras Tyrell. The build-up in this episode is excellent. We feel that a war between the Lannisters and the Starks is about to start, which causes the first casualties: Jory Cassel. The bloody confrontation between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister was tense and a great ending to a great episode. Besides, we are also introduced to the Vale and its crazy residents. It’s also the moment where you start to really feel for Tyrion’s character. In the Wolf and the Lion, we also get a well-written dialogue between Cersei and Jaime about their wedding. One big theatre that causes the Seven Kingdoms to stay together for more than seventeen years. The Wolf and the Lion is another excellent episode, filled with well-written dialogues and decent action scenes. Unfortunately, The Wolf and the Lion loses 8 spots this year.

Ned Stark and Barristan Selmy talk about their opposition in the past. (HBO)

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Director: Alik Sakharov

Tyrion sealed his fate by choosing for a trial by combat. He receives three visitors the day(s) after his trial. His brother, Jaime, who would want to fight for Tyrion but admits that he could never win because of his lost sword hand. Another visitor is Bronn, Tyrion’s ‘best’ friend. Yet, Bronn chooses for gold instead of honor which fits his characters perfectly. Help comes from a strange corner in life. Oberyn visits Tyrion at night to tell Tyrion about his lust for revenge after the Lannisters killed his sister he loved so much. He decides to fight for Tyrion in order to seek his long-awaited revenge on the Mountain. The backstory, the acting, the raw emotions… Everything is great in the scene between Oberyn and Tyrion and has become as one of Game of Thrones best scenes. This slower episode contains a huge amount of dialogues: Arya and the Hound, Melisandre and Selyse, Daenerys and Daario, Daenerys and Jorah, Brienne and Hot Pie, .. I understand why a lot of people think of ‘Mockingbird’ as a boring episode but the quality of dialogue is incredible here. I loved the backstory of the Hound when Arya wants to treat his wound. The episode ends with a major death: Lysa Arryn is pushed through the Moon Door by Petyr. Petyr Baelish shows again how far he’d go to achieve his goals. We didn’t cry for Lysa but the acting in those scenes was perfect. Great episode! ‘Mockingbird’ gains 15 (!!) places on our list.

Oberyn emotionally tells Tyrion why he’s longing for vengeance. (HBO)

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Director: Daniel Sackheim 

‘The Book of the Stranger’ is an emotional rollercoaster, for sure. We start with the reunion between Sansa Stark and Jon Snow. We’ve waited for this since many years and the payoff was great. I’m sure many people have shed a tear there. Sansa and Jon also share their first conversation. The first seeds of the war between the Starks and the Boltons is planted in the Book of the Stranger. Sansa convinces Jon to fight the Boltons and to take their home. Yet, Ramsay influence even increases now that he’s got Rickon Stark. This episode also marks the return of Theon to Pyke. Yara witnesses how much Theon’s character has changed and the confrontation is hard. Another ‘Reek’ emerges in the form of Loras Tyrell’s character. We see how strong sister’s love can be this episode. Not only when it comes to Sansa and Jon or Theon and Yara, but also to Margaery and Loras. Margaery tries to make Loras believe in himself, but fails nonetheless. The ending was not everyone’s cup of tea. Many grew tired of Daenerys’s ‘epic’ scenes where she’s portrayed as a god but I think this could mark the beginning of Daenerys’s madness. She took a lot of pleasure in burning the khals and thought of herself as a goddess. We also lose one of our great characters: Osha. To be honest, her arc was very disappointing last season. It was still a pity to lose her. ‘The Book of the Stranger’ ends at #27 and loses quite some spots (14!). I am still happy it made the top 30, though.

     The first Stark children to reunite after the War of the Five Kings. 

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Director: Alik Sakharov

‘The Climb’ is a great episode which contains a good balance between action scenes and dialogue. The Climb can be viewed as a metaphor. Jon Snow, Ygritte, Tormund and the other Wildlings literally climb the Wall. On the other hand, Littlefinger explains his strategy to Varys. He likes to cause chaos in order to gain influence. He sees is it as an opportunity to climb the ladder even though the risk exist that he could fall off the ladder. The dialogue between him and Varys can also be considered as one of the very best scenes of Game of Thrones. The climbing of the Wall itself contains a lot of beautiful scenes (esp. the ending when Ygritte and Jon are standing on top of the Wall). Theon’s physical and mental torture continues. The plotline in King’s Landing is more intriguing than ever now that the Tyrells try to climb the ladder as well. For them, it ends badly. Tywin Lannister found out about their plan and puts a plan on the table to prevent it at all cost. Sansa didn’t take the opportunity to climb the ladder (she didn’t go with LF) and stays behind. Heartbroken. Arya meets the Red Woman, Melisandre in an interesting scene. The show also uses a fascinating way to foreshadow future plotlines (Arya meeting Melisandre again / Arya killing lots of people). ‘The Climb’ is a very decent episode and manages to climb 3 spots on our list.

Littlefinger reveals his strategies to Varys. 

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Director: Daniel Minahan 

‘You Win or You Die’ starts with an incredible dialogue between Tywin Lannister and his son Jaime. It’s always entertaining to see the first scene of a great character again and Charles Dance does a great job portraying him. It’s a great addition to have him among the cast. Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister, another awesome dialogue, where the legendary phrase comes from: ‘When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.’ We realized how ruthless Cersei can be right there. A dark tone starts to take over this episode. We feel that things are going very wrong. Certainly after Robert Baratheon’s death. A pity to lose him so soon in the show. ‘You Win or You Die’ has a lot of other great moments: Jon finding out he becomes a steward not a ranger and later say his vows together with Sam, Khal Drogo’s speech about invading Westeros and of course Joffrey’s declaration as King of the Seven Kingdoms. It’s right here where I really became invested in the show. The pace, the perfect balance between action and storytelling and the written quality was incredible in this episode. Good that it still makes the best 25.

Jon is disappointed with the results. I hope you are not. 

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Director: D.B Weiss

‘Two Swords’ had my favorite opening scene of all episodes! The forging of ‘Ice’ was an excellent opener to an equally excellent fourth season. It marked the fall of House Stark and victory of House Lannister (if the Red Wedding wasn’t heartbreaking enough, though). The aftermath of the RW is still very present in ‘Two Swords’. Sansa still has difficulties to put everything in perspective, while Jon remembers Robb. This episode also introduced the wonderful character ‘Oberyn Martell’. His introduction fitted his character so well: swift and as dangerous as a viper. Oberyn immediately stole all of our hearts. The best moment in Two Swords involved Arya and the Hound. Arya meets Polliver once again and seizes the opportunity to take Needle back and to seek revenge for Lommy. She manages to fulfill her wishes and crosses off another name off her list. The first episode was excellent and the best season premiere to date. The episode climbs 2 spots this year!

The Hound wants some chicken! 

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Director: David Nutter

Theon’s evil side starts to show in ‘The Old Gods and the New’. The start is very powerful, with Theon beheading ser Rodrik Cassel. The acting in this scene is amazing: props to Hempstead-Wright and Allen. Jon meets Ygritte is an iconic moment on the show and will become one of Jon main’s storylines throughout the tv-series. The riot in King’s Landing provides the needed suspense and shock to a slower second season. Arya and Tywin’s conversation is another well-written scene in the sixth episode. The overall pace and plot development is one of the episode’s main strengths. Theon’s evolution has become more intense and interesting than ever. The notorious ending where Daenerys shouted in agony for her dragons wasn’t loved by anyone, though. ‘The Old Gods and the New’ loses five spots this year.

‘Where are my dragons’? 

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Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Jon Snow starts his voyage to Hardhome, while Maester Aemon watch ended for good. ‘The Gift’ is a very darkish episode in my opinion. Sansa’s situation is depressing. We see how Sansa begs Theon to help her and when we think she’s finally about to be helped, we misplaced our trust in Theon. We are back at square one. Aemon’s death was a both heartwarming and sad scene. Stannis’s situation looks depressing as well. Melisandre tries to make Stannis sure that the Lord of Light needs Shireen so they can win the war in return. Olenna’s trying everything she can to get her grandchildren out of prison. Her conversation with the High Sparrow didn’t go as planned so she seeks a last resort: allying with Littlefinger. The conversation between those two is great (esp. the acting). Cersei finally gets what she deserves in ‘The Gift’. Her plan backfires and the Lion Queen herself ends up in prison. We happily watch her being thrown into prison but it’s also frightening to see how much influence the High Sparrow is gaining. ‘The Gift’ also marks the meeting between Daenerys and Tyrion! Something we’ve been wanting to see for a long time. ‘The Gift’ may be a slower episode, the written quality is almost back at the level of previous seasons.

Serves you right, Cersei! 

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Director: Alan Taylor

Tyrion wakes up after almost being killed at the Battle of Blackwater. His face is scarred for good. Stannis suffered a great defeat and has retreated to Dragonstone where he’s consumed by Melisandre’s vision. ‘Valar Morghulis’ serves as an excellent build-up to the third season: the marriage proposal of Margaery Tyrell, Brienne’s quest with Jaime, Robb’s marriage with Talisa. All of this will have a bigger meaning in the third season. Most arcs have a decent resolution: Arya escaping Harrenhal and meeting Jaqen once again, Bran and Rickon escaping Winterfell after it is burnt down, Theon’s rise and fall, Daenerys prophetic dream. Those are all memorable scenes so the episode didn’t bore us for one second. The last scene was terrifying and quite a dark ending to the second season. The second half of the second season was quite strong and it ended on a high note. Too bad ‘Valar Morghulis’ lost 5 places this year.

I am Hers and he’s Mine. 

THE BEST 20 EPISODES

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Director: Alex Graves

‘Kissed By Fire’ is one of my personal favorite episodes and I’m glad to see the episode climbing on our list. The episode starts with a great fight between Beric and the Hound. Beric is later brought back to life by Thoros (which paralleled nicely with Jon’s reanimation (mind the soundtrack during the fight and the ending of ‘Home’). Jon and Ygritte finally took a big step in their relationship. Qyburn proves Jaime that he’s an excellent Maester and removes his hand with ‘pleasure’. There’s a heartwarming scene between Arya and Gendry. Robb has a chilling scene where he beheads Lord Karstark. The acting, soundtrack and sphere are absolutely stellar here! We are introduced to the family Baratheon of Dragonstone. We meet the sweet Shireen who immediately becomes one of the nicest characters in Thrones. Jaime has a beautifully written and acted (!) dialogue with Brienne about the murder of the Mad King. Tywin puts his plan forward to end the Tyrell marriage plans before it can come true. ‘Kissed By Fire’ is another excellent Thrones episode with very well-written dialogues (Jaime / Tywin and his children) and great memorable scenes (Thoros vs. the Hound / beheading of Lord Karstark). Five spaces up this year!

Jaime bares his heart to Brienne. 

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Director: Daniel Minahan 

Daenerys discovers that she’s the dragon’s daughter after she finds out that she’s fire-resistant. She finally steps up against her evil brother and lets Khal Drogo burn him to death. Poor Tyrion is still locked up and chooses for a trial by combat (a choice he later makes again). The fight between Bronn and ser Vardis Egen was an awesome one. Since this season, ser Bronn became very popular instantly. Ned Stark sits on the Iron Throne for a short time, which was nice to see. The choices he made are honorable but not so clever. Joffrey declares his love to Sansa but we all know this will all hit back right into Sansa’s face. Ned does a major discovery: he finds out that Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are not Robert’s children. ‘A Golden Crown’ ends with one of the best death scenes in Game of Thrones yet: Viserys’ golden crown. Viserys seemed an interesting villain. Too bad we didn’t get to see more of him. This episode gains 3 spots on our list and enters the top 20.

Ned wakes up after being ambushed by Jaime Lannister. 

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Director: Alik Sakharov

‘The Laws of Gods and Men’ loses a great amount of places this year (-7). Although Peter Dinklage is giving the best of himself in this episode, the Laws of G&M possesses some flaws. Yara’s rescue plan was badly-written and too hurried. They better didn’t include it, as it made no difference to any storyline. Daenerys’s scenes were ok, although they started to drag a bit. It got really interesting when King’s Landing came into the picture. All of the scenes were amazing and Dinklage last speech was the best he has done in the show up to now. The emotions he conveyed to the small screen were one of the very best I have ever seen. Dinklage was really robbed of an Emmy that year. I’m sad to say that this episode didn’t make the top 10 this year! Hopefully next year!

Tyrion’s breakdown in ‘The Laws of Gods and Men’.

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Director: Jeremy Podewsa

‘Home’ brought us a lot of memorable and iconic scenes in Game of Thrones. First and foremost, we have Jon Snow being brought back to life. A moment where we’ve secretly hoped for and assumed to come true. The scene itself was a bit predictable but it served its purpose: cheering viewers! Not only good things happen this episode, you can think of the death of Lady Bolton. Poor Walda Bolton didn’t deserve this fate at all and we didn’t see this one coming. Or at least, not so cruel. Ramsay revealed himself to be the main villain of the sixth season and was declared as Lord of Winterfell. The Greyjoys came back into the picture and we met a new member of the family: Euron Greyjoy. His introduction was quite memorable as he immediately killed his own brother, Balon. The Ironborn finally seemed to get a more extensive arc this year and it didn’t disappoint (like Dorne). The Red Woman was a bit disappointing, but things really took off with ‘Home’. It was also nice to see Bran Stark again after an absence of two years. His vision with a younger Hodor was really fascinating. Good to see Wun Wun again in action in ‘Home’. This year, ‘Home’ loses 7 spots and ends at #17.

Tyrion meets Viserion and Rhaegal. 

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Director: David Nutter

A big surprise right here! Although Mother’s Mercy has its flaws, there were some truly excellent moments in this episode. I think most people will agree when I tell that I didn’t like Stannis’s resolution. It was rushed and he didn’t get the resolution he deserved. Encountering Brienne seemed a cheap way to finish his storyline. Other than that, I really liked this episode. Sansa and Theon’s escape was quite engaging, even though surviving the jump seemed a bit too lazy-written. Arya’s revenge on Meryn Trant was amazing, nothing to remark about that. The Dorne’s resolution was OK, it was the only logical ending it could provide and it was foreshadowed at the beginning of season 5 that another child of Cersei would die.  Afterward, I would have loved if Doran Martell worked together with Ellaria the whole time, revealing his master plan. Daenerys is captured by Dothraki. Nice to see those men again! I loved hearing their soundtrack after a long absence. Cersei’s Walk of Atonement was one of the very best scenes in Game of Thrones. The acting from Headey was sheer perfection! She made this episode together with Williams and Harington. The closing scene was the perfect ending scene to a dark and depressing season 5. Jon’s arc was one of the very best character’s arcs the show has seen.

Cersei’s Walk of Atonement 

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Director: David Nutter

Stannis’s camp is attacked by Ramsay Bolton and his 20 men. His army is starving and a lot of sellswords deserted him, he sees no other option than offering his daughter to R’hollor. Meanwhile, Daenerys decides to leave Meereen on Drogon’s back after the Sons of the Harpy attempt to assassinate her. The first half of the Dance of Dragons is quite slow which is weird because we usually see a more intense episode 9. Things really take off during Shireen’s death scene. Her death remains the most emotional one in the history of Game of Thrones (which means quite a lot since so many characters died). The acting of Kerry Ingram was on point, so was Dillane and Fitzgerald. Daenerys’s screentime is greatly expanded in ‘The Dance of Dragons’ and it gets really intense when the Sons of the Harpy attack Daenerys Targaryen. Drogon senses that his mother is in trouble and comes to rescue her. Her mounting Drogon is a moment where we’ve waited for since the beginning of Game of Thrones. The soundtrack that went along with that scene was very epic! ‘The Dance of Dragons’ does a good job this year and manages to climb 2 spots!

Drogon comes to the rescue!

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Director: Alex Graves

‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ keeps it precious fourteenth spot and I don’t complain. This episode is one of the more eventful episodes in a slower third season. We see Jaime breaking down step-by-step and we learn more about Varys’s backstory. The situation in beyond the Wall has taken a 360 degrees turn as the Lord Commander is shockingly killed in a mutiny by men of the Night’s Watch. Craster finally gets what he deserves, though. The scenes in King’s Landing are more interesting than ever: Margaery clutching her claws into Joffrey, Olenna and Varys’s conversation about his plan, Margaery bonding with Sansa. All of the scenes were well-written and the actors did a wonderful job. Thoros confronts the Hound and Arya is able to avenge the butcher’s boy. The greatest scene in this episode is Daenerys commanding the Unsullied army. The scene has even grown into an iconic moment throughout the series. ‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ ends at #14.

‘A dragon is not a slave’!

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Director: Tim van Patten

This iconic first episode can not miss our list, of course. ‘Winter is Coming’ got the party started. We first met House Stark: a happy family who happen to live in the cold North. We discover that there icy creatures beyond the Wall that are killing off humans. The Stark children all get a direwolf puppy and we are introduced to King’s Landing where the King and the Queen lives. Even though, nothing too great happens in the first episode (apart from Bran’s discovery) this episode is a bit nostalgic and a decent introduction to the series. We get a bit of everything in the series’ premiere: violence / nudity / .. Typical HBO-stuff but it’s a good way to introduce us to the wonderful world of Game of Thrones. ‘Winter is Coming’ impressively climbs 11 spots this year.Wow.

Daenerys meets Khal Drogo in ‘Winter is Coming’. 

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Director: Alex Graves

Too bad to see one of my personal favorite episodes fall so hard. ‘The Children’ gets pushed out of the top 5, ending at #12 this year. The Children is a beautiful episode. Not only the soundtrack, but also the conclusions to several character arcs. Tyrion, for example, had an amazing arc in season 4, arguably his best one throughout the series. Him killing his own father is a major development in his arc and serves as a complete change in his storyline. Arya is another character who gets a wonderful ending. She finally leaves the past behind and tries to start a new life in Braavos where she has always dreamt of. Jon says goodbye to the love of his life, Ygritte and Bran finally reaches his destiny. The episode causes a lot of major changes in the great game as the major player, Tywin Lannister, is killed off and Tyrion is on his way to support another Great House. ‘The Children’ is more of a poetical episode. A goodbye to a painful past. It ends at #12 on our list.

Tyrion and Jaime part ways. 

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Director: Alan Taylor

The aftermath of Ned Stark’s death is still very present in ‘Fire and Blood’, which is of course very logical given that Ned Stark was Game of Thrones’s main character. Robb and Catelyn Stark decide to not longer hide and to start an open rebellion to the crown. Poor Sansa remains in the capital and finally came to the conclusion that Joffrey is no more than an evil prick. His character is fully developed and becomes the main villain of the TV-series (during the first three seasons). Jon and Daenerys take major decisions: Jon stays within the Night’s Watch and goes on expedition beyond the Wall because he realizes that whatever lurks beyond the Wall is far bigger threat than the war against the Lannisters. Daenerys burns Drogo’s body and hatches her dragons. We first meet Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal in an breathtaking closing scene. ‘Fire and Blood’ is an emotional ending to an excellent first season. This year, the episode almost managed to make the top 10. It ends at #11.

‘Blood of my Blood’… 

…2016’s TOP 10 EPISODES

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Director: Alex Graves

One of the most satisfying deaths in Game of Thrones happens in this episode. ‘The Lion and the Rose’ mainly centers around Joffrey’s marriage with Margaery Tyrell. Though, we all know that a wedding without at least one death is a dull affair and so Joffrey dies. Poisoned, he dies in the arms of his mother. Never we yelled so much after this pain in the ass died. For once, we were Littlefinger very grateful. Let’s not forget Olenna Tyrell’s part in it as well. The Lannisters start to have casualties as well. Not only the wedding appears, but also Roose Bolton returns home to the Dreadfort. We meet Walda Frey, Roose’s new wife. Roose doesn’t exactly thank Ramsay for running the Dreadfort in his stead. He has to make up for Theon’s brainswashing by making sure Moat Cailin is theirs. Melisandre burns another innocent lives and Bran gets closer to his destination. This episode is all about the Purple Wedding and it didn’t disappoint. The costumes, set, acting, everything was great about King’s Landing this episode and we finally got the long-awaited death scene. ‘The Lion and The Rose’ ends at #10, losing one place.

Joffrey gets his right cake served. 

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Actor: Neil Marshall

‘The Watchers on the Wall’ was one epic hour in Game of Thrones, no doubt about that. The storytelling wasn’t at its best but that’s ok. The prime focus was the battle and the action scenes and those were on point. The visual effects in this episode are great as it looked more like one short action movie rather than a TV-series. Storywise, I liked Blackwater more but the fighting scenes were way better in this one. Almost everything was present in this one: a strong build-up to the war itself and a great resolution. Too bad they didn’t include Stannis’s army invasion at the end of this episode but I understand the reasons why they didn’t. We also lose our beloved cast member, Rose Leslie, as the wildling Ygritte. The Watchers on the Wall really was another rollercoaster of emotions! It ends at #9 this year.

‘We are the Watchers on the Wall!’

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Director: Jack Bender

‘The Door’ provided another heartbreaking scene that no one saw coming: Hodor’s revelation. A seemingly unimportant character that surprised us all, was the sweet giant Hodor. We found out that Hodor is rather a contraction of ‘Hold the Door’, a phrase he kept repeating since Bran entered his mind in the past. Due to the trauma, he kept repeating Hodor all over again in order to save his friends from the Army of the Death. His fate was heartbreaking but the CGI that was used and the costumes were all amazing. Bran’s storyline in season 6 is at his best since he learned the ability to not only look into the past but also influence it. Besides the scenes beyond the Wall, we also got the Kingsmoot. Some people found it rather disappointing but I was ok with it. I think I expected a bit too much of Euron’s character, as I found the character to be a bit bland in ‘The Door’. Other than that, he still has the chance to evolve and we didn’t get to see him much at all. It’s still too soon to draw conclusions. Arya gets another task: she has to kill the main actress of a theater company. The woman, Lady Crane, seems rather friendly and compassionate. Arya’s slowly starting to turn against the principles of the Faceless Men. ‘The Door’ is a devasting episode which kept me open-mouthed by the end. The Ironborn seem to be more interesting than ever and it’s nice to have seen Jon leave the Night’s Watch (for good, hopefully). The Door keeps its eighth spot.

‘And he held the door.’

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Director: Alex Graves

A newcomer in our top 10 is ‘The Mountain and the Viper’. Perhaps this is the best 1v1 combat I have ever seen in Game of Thrones. It was brutal and emotional at the same time. We started to care for Oberyn Martell and to see him go out in a way like that was gut-wrenching or better formulated, mind-bending. The worst death a character can receive, that’s for sure. At least, Oberyn achieved his goal and got ser Gregor confessing his crimes. Another heartbreaking scene is the exile of Jorah Mormont. Daenerys feels deep inside that there’s no one more loyal than Jorah, but if she wants to become a capable leader, she needs to punish those who betray her. The scene is sad, esp. when Jorah admits that he loves Daenerys. We also see Sansa’s character becoming darker and she’s starting to apply what Littlefinger taught her. Ramsay, on the other hand, manages to take Moat Cailin with the help from Theon and gets rewarded. He’s legitimated by Roose Bolton and father and son head to their new home: Winterfell. Yeah, it still stings! ‘The Mountain and the Viper’ isn’t the most eventful or best battle episode but the shocker at the end was well thought out and not only there for shock value. Oberyn had an amazing arc and still today, he’s regarded as one of the best GoT characters even though he only appeared in 7 episodes.

Jorah’s heart is broken.. again! 

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Director: Alan Taylor

Another iconic Game of Thrones episode makes a big climb on our list. ‘Baelor’ is the first true shocking episode of Thrones which revealed its cruel nature. No one would have guessed that the show dared to kill off its central character, but here we are. In ‘Baelor’ we are introduced to Lord Walder Frey, a man we would rather not meet. We also learn more about Khal Drogo’s fate and the fact that he won’t live long anymore. Daenerys’s arc becomes more interesting than ever now that she has to lead the Dothraki herself. The war between Robb and Tywin is the main storyline in Baelor and it’s a pity we never got to see the actual battle, but what comes after the battle is the true shocker and no battle could have filled that gap. The acting, the storytelling, everything about this scene gave me shivers. I remember myself to be very quiet after this episode ended. It still hurts to watch this. ‘Baelor’ ends at #6 and climbs 6 places!

‘Can you bring back a man without a head? Not six times, but once?’

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Director: Neil Marshall

I am glad that ‘Blackwater’ makes it to the top 5 this year! What a great battle and way of storytelling it was! I loved the slow but imminent build-up, the careful use of CGI, the written quality of the dialogues. In my opinion, this is the best battle episode we have had in Thrones. Not because of the visual effects but of the well-written story. This war is so complex because we don’t know which side we have to root for. The outcome was so uncertain, that’s what made this episode so tense. No important character dies during this episode, but it still manages to hold a lasting impression on its viewers. The Wildfire explosion, for instance, was a great visual scene. Even better than the one we got in ‘The Winds of Winter’. I loved how there was a good balance between the actual battle scenes and the dialogues. It provided a better build-up to the ending of this wonderful battle. Blackwater ended at #5.

‘But now the rains weep o’er his hall and not a soul to hear.’

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Director: Miguel Sapochnik

One of the best visuals I have ever seen during a battle on the TV-screen is, without a doubt, during Hardhome. Not only it marked the first dialogue between Daenerys and Tyrion but also introduced us to the Night King himself. We briefly saw him in ‘Oathkeeper’ but we first saw him in all of his glory, showing his powers to us. Just like Jon Snow was, we were all terrified of the ending scene where the Night King raised the wildlings from the dead. All of the scenes in Hardhome were amazing and the battle itself kept us at the edge of our seats. ‘Hardhome’ also showed us Cersei in imprisonment and how low she has sunken when she had to drink water from the ground. We still didn’t feel bad for her, though. Too bad, this visual wonder called ‘Hardhome’ doesn’t make the top three this year. Still, it ends at a beautiful 4th place.

Daenerys and Tyrion talk about their cruel fathers.

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Director: David Nutter

‘The Rains of Castamere’ is the episode where everybody refers to when talking about Game of Thrones. This is how cruel the show can be. They make you care for characters for almost three seasons and you’d expect to see a good ending for them because they have suffered more than enough, and then you get this. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is like an episode I like to rewatch soon. Not that it is bad or too cruel but because of the raw emotions Michelle Fairley and Richard Madden pulled off during the last 15 minutes of the episode. Fairley really deserved that Emmy, though. Other scenes worth mentioning are the Daenerys’s invasion of Yunkai (too bad we didn’t see a bit more of the battle, though) and Bran and Jon almost meeting each other. Bran also makes a very vital discovery when he accidently enters Hodor’s mind. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is one of the iconic Game of Thrones episodes that SHOULD end high on the list. It’s this episode that made Game of Thrones of what it has become now.

Arghh.. It still hurts! 

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Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Unfortunately, Battle of the Bastards lost its first position. The episode was the first battle episode with a very positive outcome! Oh, we did all sheer when Sansa and Littlefinger (yeah even Littlefinger) showed up during the battle with the knights of the Vale. The battle was stunning, given that the budget was even higher this season, the CGI was breathtaking. The battle in Meereen, for example, was wonderful to see. Daenerys flying on Drogon and setting the slaver’s fleet on fire was the best visual scene I have seen in Game of Thrones up to now. The battle was very impressive as well, something I have never encountered in any series before. Miguel Sapochnik has outdone himself in Battle of the Bastards and it’s great to see his episode end so high on our list.

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Director: Miguel Sapochnik

‘The Winds of Winter’ deservingly ends at the highest position of our list this year! What a great episode it was! The storylines wrapped up and most of them had a breathtaking conclusion (e.g Bran finding out about Jon’s parentage / Cersei having her vengeance on her enemies and becoming Queen / Jon becoming King in the North / Daenerys sailing to Westeros / Arya killing Walder Frey / Sam arriving in Oldtown). We have all waited a long time to see these things play out in Game of Thrones! After having more depression season finales (e.g. Mother’s Mercy), we end with a positive note: Daenerys allying with House Tyrell, Dorne and Greyjoy and sailing to Westeros. The soundtrack used in this episode is the best the show has had up to now (e.g: Light of the Seven). The cinematography is another wonderfully executed aspect of this episode. Sapochnik did an amazing job again. We hope to see him directing one more episode before it all ends. ‘The Winds of Winter’ won this year, but I am certain that we still haven’t seen the best of Thrones yet. We shall see next year!

RIP Queen Margaery – Queen of our hearts! 

Thanks for all of your votes! I hope to see you next year again. 

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Arya Stark: an elaborate analysis of the character

SEASON 1: SHAPING ARYA’S IDENTITY

  • Introduction to Arya’s main interests: ‘death‘ (e.g. from her facial expression when she saw ser Hugh of the Vale dying to killing a boy by accident) and ‘warfare‘ (e.g: she’s rather interested in developing her fighting skills than learning embroidery; then improving her fighting skills with Syrio Forel)
  • Shaping Arya’s character: character traits* (‘outcast‘ just like Jon, that’s why the two like each other so much; behaving like a ‘tomboy‘, strong feeling for justice (typical Stark trait) and not holding her tongue for anyone. Ned Stark’s death fueled her lust for revenge and bringing death to those who have wronged her.
  • Early seeds in Arya’s arc which will come to fruition later: Season 1 laid the basis for Arya’s hatred toward the Lannisters (esp. Cersei and Joffrey) for killing Ned and Nymeria and to betray their House >< Arya will somehow exact revenge on the Lannisters in S7-8; Arya saying goodbye to Jon <> Jon and Arya being reunited in S7-8; Arya and Nymeria part ways <> Arya and Nymeria are reunited in S7; Arya hating the Hound for killing the butcher’s boy <> Arya punishing The Hound for killing Mycah by bringing up evidence so his trial by combat in S3 can take place; Arya and Sansa arguing and not liking each other <> Arya and Sansa clash in S7; Ned telling Arya that the Starks need to work together if they want to survive winter <> Littlefinger playing out Arya and Sansa and later failing to do so in S7; Arya learning about Braavos <> Arya sailing to Braavos in S4; Arya seeing Syrio Forel getting killed by Meryn Trant <> Arya murdering Meryn Trant to exact revenge on SF in S5  
  • The encounter with Syrio Forel and how it shaped her character: philosophy behind the gods and belief (‘death’ being the only true god there is) as Arya is inspired by it in later seasons.
  • Set up for S2: Jaqen H’ghar in the cage; meeting Gendry, Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands; Yoren bringing her to safety
  • Arya’s evolution in S1: from struggling with her identity (e.g: not feeling like a lady) to being forced to lose her own identity (e.g: having to flee KL and taking on the identity of Arry)
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Arya Stark in season 1- HBO

 

SEASON 2: ARYA STRUGGLING WITH HER OLD IDENTITY (OPTION 1: CHOOSING FOR HER OLD IDENTITY)        

  • Meeting Jaqen H’ghar and his lasting impression are Arya’s main developments in the second season. Arya comes in contact with Jaqen (we don’t know whether it was orchestrated or not) — Arya’s again confronted by another method of killing (which seems to fit the true nature of her character) — Arya getting acquainted with the Faceless Men
  • Continuing the shaping of Arya’s character: being groomed by two men with strong and sharp philosophies: Yoren (wanting to tell Arya not to become obsessed with thoughts of revenge as he was) and Tywin (furthering the oppression of her identity and become ‘no one’)
  • Early seeds in Arya’s arc which will come to fruition later: Yoren telling about his prayer <> Arya being influenced by Yoren’s philosophy uses her own prayer of doomed men throughout S2-S8; Arya losing Needle because Polliver stole it from her <> Arya retrieving Needle from Polliver in S4; Polliver killing Lommy Greenhands in a cruel way <> Arya mimicking Polliver’s way of killing Lommy to kill Polliver himself in S4; Arya meeting Littlefinger in Harrenhal and learns more about his traitorous nature <> Arya executing Littlefinger in S7; Jaqen H’ghar giving the coin to Arya in order to seek him in Braavos <> Arya seeking out Jaqen H’ghar in Braavos in S5
  • Arya’s main interest being triggered again: ‘death‘. Arya has to become ‘the god of death’ herself. In season 2, she has the power to decide over the death of multiple characters (e.g the Tickler, Amory Lorch, ..)
  • Another layer to Arya’s character: being extremely short-sighted (e.g.: killing three of her ‘minor’ enemies instead of ending the war immediately by ordering Jaqen to kill Tywin or Joffrey; wanting to kill Tywin in a rage without thinking about the consequences for herself)
  • Set up for S3: the Brotherhood Without Banners frequently being mentioned by the Tickler; Arya choosing not to travel with Jaqen H’ghar but to go to her family instead
  • Arya’s evolution in S2: being fueled by the opinions of strong men (Tywin, Yoren and Jaqen), she struggles with herself as she has to choose between her two identities, Arya Stark and Death (to exact revenge on her enemies [Jaqen’s offer to follow him to Braavos] or (to NOT exact revenge on her enemies and to go back to her family) [Yoren’s advice to not make the same mistake as he did]. She ultimately chooses for the latter.
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Arya Stark in season 2 – HBO

 SEASON 3: ARYA BEING DRAWN TO HER OTHER IDENTITY (REALIZATION THAT OPTION 1 DIDN’T WORK OUT WELL)       

  • Arya starting her quest to find the remaining members of her family. In episode 2, the quest is being interrupted by the meeting with the Brotherhood Without Banners. She’s confronted with her past once again (reunion with the Hound). The Hound brings up Arya’s identity again (‘What in the seven hells are you doing with the Stark bitch’?).
  • Arya’s main quest is to go back to her family => quest in interrupted but later continued by the Brotherhood Without Banners => quest is interrupted again when the BwB decide to travel south first => Arya had enough of delaying her quest and decides to travel by herself once again => The Hound kidnaps her and decides to bring her home in exchange for ransom
  • Another piece of evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: Arya demonstrating to Thoros that she can fight but Thoros easily defeats her; Arya trying to kill the Hound with a rock while he’s asleep. Another, more humane layer of her character: ‘grief‘ and ‘empathy‘ (grief: to Thoros ‘Can you bring back a man without a head?’) (empathy: to Gendry: ‘You can be my family’)
  • Early seeds in Arya’s arc that come to fruition later: Arya saying goodbye to Hot Pie at the Inn <> Hot Pie being the key to linking Arya with Brienne’s storyline in S4; Arya meeting Melisandre and adds her to her prayer <> Arya will confront Melisandre once again in S7-8; Melisandre foreshadowing Arya taking on her new identity (eyes she’ll shut forever) <> Arya chooses a new path onwards S5
  • Arya being confronted another time with the notion of ‘death‘: Arya experiences first-hand how the Red God brings Beric Dondarrion back to life. The different views on ‘death’ remains a strong influence on Arya’s arc. This time, Arya realizes how much ‘death’ can be controlled by outside forces and later by herself. Arya learns more about the Red God.
  • Planted seeds from previous seasons coming to fruition now: Arya confronts the Hound of killing the butcher’s boy when they meet again in the same inn; Arya seeking revenge for the butcher’s boy; Arya loathing the Freys for what they have done to her mother and brother <> Arya assassinating Walder Frey for orchestrating the Red Wedding in S6
  • Another major tragic event in Arya’s life leads her further to her embracing new identity ‘death’ (e.g: the death of her brother and mother)
  • Another man ‘grooms’ Arya (mind parallels with Sansa’s arc). The Hound points out that Arya is way too soft and won’t survive if she doesn’t kill more easily. Arya’s appalled by the Hound’s philosophy at first.
  • Set up for S4: The Hound being redeemed in Arya’s arc (starting with him bringing Arya home and not to the Lannisters); Arya killing her first man on purpose and being drawn to her other identity, ‘death’.
  • Arya’s evolution in season 3: Arya first wants to seek out her family and by many struggles on her path, she finally reaches her destination. Being disappointed and hurt all over again, she’s becoming more drawn to her other identity, ‘death’.

 

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Arya Stark in season 3 – HBO

SEASON 4: ARYA EMBRACING HER NEW IDENTITY (CHOOSING FOR OPTION 2)           

  • Arya’s quest is continued, even though she is convinced it won’t work out well this time. The Hound decides to bring her to the Vale, to her aunt Lysa. On their way, they encounter Polliver. Arya first gains respect for the Hound when he helps her clearing her enemies out of her way. She’s slowly starting to understand the Hound’s philosophy behind his killing. When he talks about the backstory of his burned face, Arya starts to respect him even more. She starts to care for him (e.g treating his wounds). When the Hound and Arya arrive at their destination, Arya isn’t disappointed when she finds out that her aunt has died. Arya later encounters Brienne of Tarth who offers her the choice to travel with her as she will bring her home. She grabs the chance to escape both Brienne and The Hound as they are fighting each other. She wants to fulfill her quest on her own, as she always intended to do. Others slow down her path. Arya has fully redeemed the Hound, he’s no longer part of her prayer. She decides not to kill him but leaves him alone to die. She no longer wishes to exact revenge on him. We later learn that the Hound is still alive, due to Arya’s choice not to kill him. Arya travels to a nearby port and speaks to the captain of the ship. She first wants to travel to her half-brother, Jon Snow. The captain brings up ‘Braavos’ again and Arya decides it’s time to leave her old identity behind and to embrace her new one. With the realization that her old identity only caused her a lot of pain, she looks at Westeros for one last time and decides to move on in her life and to leave ‘Arya Stark’ behind for good.
  • Early seeds in Arya’s arc that come to fruition later: Arya having respect for Brienne as a warrior when they first encounter <> Brienne and Arya spar with each other in S7
  • Planted seeds from previous seasons that come to fruition now: Arya retrieving Needle and exacting revenge on Polliver for murdering Lommy; Arya chooses to sail to Braavos to seek out Jaqen H’ghar
  • Arya’s becoming more fascinated with/drawn to her other identity (g: her facial expression when she kills Polliver; telling the Hound that she likes to see Braavos one day; embracing another identity when they encounter the father and his young daughter in the Riverlands (playing the Hound’s daughter); The Hound making her realize that she needs to become a killer just like him if she wants to survive.; When she gets the chance to travel to Braavos, she no longer chooses for her family.)
  • Another evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: when the Hound is insulting Syrio Forel, Arya attacks him with Needle. The Hound responds angrily and slaps her.
  • Arya being confronted with ‘death‘ again. This time, she encounters a dying man. They talk about the whole notion of ‘life’ and ‘death’. Arya learns that ‘death’ can also be a gift, to release someone out of his pain.
  • Set up for season 5: Arya decides to start her quest alone this time. She chooses to leave her old identity, Arya Stark, behind and sails toward a new destination, Braavos.
  • Arya’s evolution in season 4: Being more and more drawn to her new identity, Arya takes the decision to leave old Arya behind to give her other identity a chance.
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Arya Stark in season 4 – HBO

 

SEASON 5: ARYA’S TRAINING TO FULLY POSSESS HER NEW IDENTITY AND HER FAILING TO DO SO

  • Arya starts her new quest, alone this time. She has fully embraced her new identity and seeks out Jaqen H’ghar, someone from her past as ‘Arya Stark’. The Faceless Man doesn’t let her inside the House of Black and White, which frustrates Arya. Arya drops her coin in the water and decides to give up on her quest already. The Faceless Man realizes that by dropping her coin into the water, Arya fully left her past behind. She also demonstrates to have a passion for killing as she kills the street thugs. The FM takes the decision to let Arya in, but Arya keeps referencing to him as Jaqen H’ghar as he wears the identical face. Jaqen makes Arya sure that he is no one, just like she has to become. He teaches Arya about the one true god, the Many-Faced God or ‘death’; an identity Arya has to take on herself. Arya plays the Game of Faces, a game she has played many times before (e.g: when meeting Tywin she had to play someone else). Arya also has to get rid of the things that remind her of her ‘old self’. She fails to do so, as she hides Needle somewhere. Arya quickly becomes good at telling lies. She’s permitted to the Hall of Faces and gets her next task: becoming someone else. Arya already knows how it feels to play someone else (e.g: Arry), so she has no trouble to embrace a new identity. In reality, Arya is finding herself once again during the training. She has to apply everything she has learned from others (Yoren forced her to play Arry; The Hound taught her more about killing an ill man; ..) to find herself again. She then crosses paths with another strong character trait of herself: lust for revenge. Arya bumps into Meryn Trant in Braavos and immediately follows him. Arya returns to the House of Black and White and the Jaqen realizes that Arya hasn’t left her old identity behind. Jaqen actually is a supporter of a combination of Arya’s identities (= a Faceless Man who has to clear out Arya Stark’s enemies /Arya and death combined.) Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif are both ‘no one’, both have been set up Arya’s quest to let her find her new identity. The Waif is, in contrast to Jaqen, a supporter of regular training and wants Arya to follow the same training as any other FM. Arya then betrays the FM and steals a face from the Hall of Faces to murder Syrio Forel. Jaqen and the Waif aka ‘no one’ seemingly punishes her, but she only goes on with her training. Arya is experiencing an illusion set up by Jaqen H’ghar. The Waif suddenly takes off her face and puts on the face of Jaqen. Arya suddenly sees her own face on Jaqen’s, an illusion to test if she’s afraid of her own mortality. If she wants to fully possess her new identity, she needs to not fear death any longer. She actually proves to be scared when she sees her own face and loses her sight. In fact, Arya isn’t really punished but rather advances in her training because there’s still a lot of work to do. She is made blind by Jaqen, so she can learn to rely on her other senses. Jaqen knows that being made blind will be in her favor sooner or later.
  • Planted seeds from previous seasons that come to fruition now: Arya seemingly met Jaqen H’ghar, but it is really him?; The Hound learned her to give someone the quick mercy of death. Arya applies what he has taught her in a different way. She let an ill girl drink from the poisoned water. She dies thereafter.; Meryn Trant being crossed off Arya’s prayer and Syrio Forel being avenged.
  • Arya’s training consist of steps she has already taken in her life: taking on another identity (Arry vs. Lanna; as she was being forced by Yoren), giving the quick death of mercy (the dying man vs. the little dying girl; as taught by the Hound). It is Jaqen’s intention to let Arya have a blended identity: old Arya bringing death with the guise of Many-Faced God or Arya killing her enemies with many other faces.
  • Early seeds that will come to fruition in later seasons: Arya plays against the rules of the FM and becomes the enemy of the Waif. The Waif doesn’t want her to become Faceless >< Arya can clear the Waif out her way in S6; Arya secretly hides Needle >< Arya retrieves Needle in S6.
  • Another evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: using a face from the Hall of Faces to kill Meryn Trant without thinking about the consequences of it
  • The FM seem to watch Arya’s steps extremely closely. How would they retrieve Arya’s coin from the water otherwise? They know that Arya has hidden Needle from them, they know that she went to see Meryn Trant. Jaqen knows about this and supports her ‘rebelling’, but the Waif doesn’t approve.
  • Set up for season 6: Arya being made blind references a new step in her training, she’s almost there. She may have the support of Jaqen H’ghar, but with playing against the FM’s rules, she has become the enemy of the Waif.
  • Arya’s evolution in season 5: Arya accepts her new identity and wants to be trained to become no one. She’s still struggling a lot to leave her old identity behind and fails nonetheless.
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Arya in season 5- HBO

 SEASON 6: ARYA FINALLY TAKES ON HER NEW IDENTITY            

  • Arya’s still blinded and has to fulfill another task: to rely on her other senses. The Waif visits her and continues to taunt her on purpose. She wants to break her both physically and emotionally. Jaqen H’ghar also comes to seek her out and because of Arya’s strong determination of becoming faceless, Jaqen decides to permit her to enter the HOBAW again. Despite Jaqen has proven the Waif that Arya has a strong determination to become faceless, she still believes she isn’t one of them. The Waif continues to train Arya and against her expectations, the Waif is proven to be incorrect. The Waif desperately tries to confront Arya with her past so she can make a mistake. Arya Stark passes every test she has to go through so the Waif fails. Jaqen H’ghar is proven correct this time, much to the Waif’s annoyance. She’s permitted to see once again. Jaqen still supports Arya to have a blended version of her old and new identity and gives her another task. He confronts Arya on purpose with her old identity: she has to watch a play about her family. He realizes that Arya will fall back to her old identity and so gets against the principles of the Waif. He tells Arya that ‘one way or another, a face will be added to the Hall’. Or it will be Arya’s or The Waif’s, as he realizes that the Waif will come after her once she betrays the FM. Arya has gotten the instruction to kill Lady Crane, someone who reminds her of her mother. Arya starts to ask questions about Lady Crane to Jaqen, meaning that she’s starting to feel empathy for Lady Crane. Jaqen realizes that Arya’s beginning to indeed betray the FM and sends The Waif after her. Arya suspects Bianca, the younger actress, to have paid the FM but in fact, it is Jaqen who has set up the entire murder on Lady Crane. Arya starts to care more for Lady Crane and is visibly touched by the performance. She betrays the FM and tells Lady Crane that Bianca wants her dead. Being sent by Jaqen, the Waif witnesses Arya’s betrayal. Arya’s ‘final’ task was never to kill Lady Crane, but to kill ‘the Waif’. She has gotten to the point where she almost became no one, but he wants her to keep her identity in a way. Jaqen sends the Waif and ask to not let her suffer. Of course, he knows that the Waif won’t treat her softly, but he has to remain in his role. His plan has been working out up to now. Arya retrieves Needle, fully embracing her old identity again. She even decides to travel to Westeros again, but Jaqen won’t let her go until she’s fully passed his test. The Waif indeed finds Arya and stabs her to let her suffer. She’s convinced that Arya won’t make a chance against a trained Faceless Assassin. The Waif a different face again and murders Lady Crane. Lady Crane has sparked the memory of Arya’s mother, Catelyn Stark. So Arya does everything to fight back against the Waif. Arya’s blindness indeed had a critical meaning after all, because Arya is able to kill off the Waif in the dark. She has fully passed her task and Jaqen got rid of the Waif as he wanted to. He tells Arya that a girl finally is no one. Arya tells Jaqen that she’s Arya Stark of Winterfell and that she’s going home. This is what Jaqen wanted the whole time. Arya leaves the HOBAW and Jaqen remains behind with a smile on his face. Arya uses her recently acquired identity to kill off Walder Frey. She has become the Many-Faced God who comes the bring the Gift to everyone on Arya’s list. She’s able to kill Walder in cold blood and fully acquires all of the skills a FM possesses.
  • Another evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: walking and staring publicly on a bridge in Braavos while she betrayed the Faceless Men was a short-sighted and stupid decision
  • Planted seeds from previous seasons that come to fruition now: Arya being blinded had a purpose and was set up by Jaqen H’ghar; Arya’s wish to become a highly-trained assassin came true; Arya can clear the Waif out of her way; Arya avenged the Red Wedding by giving Walder Frey the same death as her mother’s.
  • Early seeds that come to fruition in later seasons: Arya has left the HOBAW and decides to travel back to Winterfell >< Arya arrives in Winterfell in S7. Arya murdered Walder Frey to avenge the Red Wedding, yet she there are much more Freys to take care of >< Arya will go RW on all of the Freys in S7
  • Jaqen H’ghar promised her way back in season 2 that he would teach her how to get rid of all of her enemies. He fulfilled his part and taught her so. Arya’s endgame has become clear now in ‘Game of Thrones’. She has to clear out some major players out of the Game. She brings death.
  • Set up for further seasons: Arya using her new ‘powers’ in future seasons.
  • Arya’s evolution in season 6: Arya’s quest to acquire the powers to become a highly-trained assassin came with many up’s and down’s. She always wanted to become a trained warrior (hence she trained with Syrio Forel way back in S1). She’s now ready to bring justice to those who wronged her.

 

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Arya Stark in season 6 – HBO

SEASON 7 AND 8: ARYA’S NEW IDENTITY DOESN’T FIT IN HER PREVIOUS LIFE ANY LONGER.

  • Considering the leaks are true, we already know some parts of Arya’s storyline in season 7. Allegedly, Arya holds a banquet to poison all of Walder Frey’s sons. She also frees Edmure, so chances are great that Edmure get back Riverrun. Before Arya reunites with Sansa and Bran at Winterfell, she meets Nymeria again. Then she finally sees her sister and brother again, but as we learned in season 1, Arya and Sansa don’t get along well with each other. Littlefinger will take advantage of the situation and play out Arya and Sansa against each other to get rid of Arya. Arya doesn’t trust Littlefinger from the beginning as she saw him together with Tywin Lannister in Harrenhall. LF makes Arya sure that Sansa never was a true Stark by heart and wrote a letter to Robb to swear fealty to Joffrey. The two will almost come to a clash. Perhaps Arya will threaten to kill Sansa? Bran tells Sansa that Littlefinger is setting her up against Arya Stark. Sansa Stark takes a firm decision and shows her loyalty to her family by ordering Arya to have LF executed. Arya indeed executes LF.
  • Major conclusions in season 7: Arya and Sansa finally learn to work together, as Ned told Arya to do so way back in the first season. The sisters learn that the Starks must always work together if they want to survive winter. Arya and Sansa’s relationship will the prime focus in Arya’s storyline next season. Next to that, Arya will also reunite with Nymeria which is another great resolution in her arc. She’ll also spar with Brienne of Tarth, who she encountered in S4. According to the leaks, Jon finds out by a raven that Arya and Bran are in Winterfell. Jon and Daenerys travel North in the season finale, while Bran and Sam solve the puzzle behind Jon’s legitimacy.

How will Arya’s storyline end in season 8? Two theories on the subject matter: 

THEORY 1: We know that the Waif spoke against Arya’s rebellion during her Faceless training and she can’t be the only one there with this opinion so the theory could go as following: Arya  stays in Winterfell, meanwhile the Faceless Men are looking for Arya to execute her for rebelling against them. After season 7, Arya thinks that she’s safe and sound with her family but then one of the Faceless Men shows up and almost manages to kill Sansa Stark. The Faceless Men wears the face of the Waif. Arya’s able to intervene but realizes that she isn’t safe in the North any longer so she travels South. She doesn’t want to bring Sansa and Jon in danger. With Nymeria by her side, she travels South to King’s Landing. She decides to take off the last two names on her list: the Mountain and Cersei Lannister. On her way to King’s Landing, she crosses paths with the Hound who was also present during the Dragonpit Parlay. Arya tries to convince him to fight the Mountain. The Hound thinks that it’s true madness  to fight the Mountain but Arya explains to him that she’s a trained assassin now. The Hound agrees if he gets to finish his brother. Arya first kills Qyburn and decides to wear his face. She first attacks the Mountain by surprise. It is the Hound who’s the one to finish him. We’ll get an amazing fight scene where Sandor is finally able to kill his brother. Unfortunately, Sandor is mortally wounded. Cersei, who’s left unguarded now that the Mountain is gone, is visited by Qyburn in the Throne Room. Qyburn tells Cersei that Arya Stark came to King’s Landing to kill her. Cersei instructs Qyburn to find the girl and to bring her to her. Qyburn takes off his face and tells Cersei that that wouldn’t be necessary. Arya reveals herself and mortally wounds Cersei with her knife. She brings forward Nymeria to finish Cersei for once and for good. She leaves the Throne Room and finds a dying Sandor Clegane. Sandor asks Arya to kill him this time, telling her that she has become a real killer. A better killer than he ever was. Arya stabs him fatally in the heart and leaves King’s Landing, hearing the bells tolling in the background. In the Riverlands, she finds out that the White Walkers have already invaded the North and will soon take the Riverlands as well. Not wanting to bring her family, she decides to stay in the inn of the Riverlands where she has another encounter with a Faceless Assassin. She quickly leaves the inn and heads more North where she finds herself in the middle of a battle. She sees Jon Snow among the men fighting and witnesses how Jon is about to be killed by a group of wights. Wanting to warn her brother, she is a by attacked Wight from behind and is heavily wounded. Collapsing on the ground, she shouts for Jon who doesn’t seem to hear her. Arya dies with Needle between her frozen fingers. Nymeria doesn’t want to leave her side. Having to flee the battlefield, Jon finds his sister back frozen to death. At first, he doesn’t know her but he seems to recognize Needle and Arya’s direwolf. Much to his anguish, he collapses after realizing that he has found back his sister. Jon, being in tears, takes Needle from Arya’s frozen fingers and takes her body South to burn her before she turns into a whight.

THEORY 2:  Arya will not kill Cersei as she has chosen to return to Winterfell, not to cross off another name of her list. She meets Daenerys Targaryen and is reunited with Jon Snow in S8. The reunion will be heartbreaking, of course. Daenerys finds out about Jon’s legitimacy and responds in a way no one would have ever guessed. Daenerys eventually becomes the true villain of the series. After she has found out that Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne, she desperately kills Jon Snow out of anxiety to have her power taken away by him. Jon, who really loved Daenerys, passes away. Daenerys thinks that they are plotting to clear her out of the way, just like they did with her father. She claims to be the Prince Who Was Promised and believes that she’s the one to save Westeros, not Jon Snow. It’s ultimately Arya who avenges Jon Snow’s death and kills Daenerys with Needle. Arya has always been short-sighted and quick of temper, she’ll seal the fate of Westeros by killing Daenerys. Westeros will ultimately fail during the invasion of the White Walkers and Cersei, who’s left alone with Jaime, experience first hand how the world collapses. Cersei will try to blow up King’s Landing with wildfire when the WW reach KL. In a final confrontation with Jaime, Cersei will try to blow up King’s Landing and therefore kill everyone inside King’s Landing including herself and Jaime. Jaime will try to stop this madness and tries to stop her by killing her. After realizing that he killed the only woman in his life, Jaime is so heart-broken that he doesn’t give a shit about the world anymore. He’ll die during the final explosion in King’s Landing, with a dead Cersei in his arms.  Wouldn’t that be symbolic: together coming in the world and together leaving the world? Cersei becoming the ultimate heroine by saving Westeros from the doom, while Daenerys became the outright villainess. Back to Arya, Arya will die trying ferociously to save Westeros, but is frozen to death with only Needle between her frozen fingers.

Arya’s main focus has always been the notion of ‘giving death’, so I do think she’ll kill off a major character during her endgame. My bet is on either Daenerys, Jaime or Cersei. She told Jaqen in season 6 that she would go back to Winterfell, so I don’t think she’ll travel to KL first. According to the leaks, Arya goes to Winterfell after having the Freys all murdered. I think she’ll stay in the North, as she has already been in King’s Landing once. Her endgame will take place in the North, defending her family with Nymeria by her side. Arya’s known for taking short-sighted decisions, so it wouldn’t be too weird for her to kill the murderer of Jon Snow, Daenerys, and thereby sealing the fate for Westeros, having killed the Prince Who Was Promised. 

Which theory do you like the most? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Arya in season 7 – HBO

Top 50 Best Game of Thrones Characters (2016 edition)

Another year passed by and so did the sixth season of Game of Thrones. What a lovely season it was! The Starks took back Winterfell and Lady Sansa got justice for what was done to her. Arya got to cross off another name from her list and Daenerys’s wish finally came true. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of tragic events. We got to know the real meaning behind Hodor’s hodoring and the tragic fate of this hero; We lost our favorite Queen, Queen Margaery Tyrell and her father (Mace) and brother (Loras). Thank the gods that Jon was brought back to life this year! Let’s not lose any more time. We are going to count down this year’s 50 best characters from Game of Thrones.  But first, let’s take a look at last year’s top 5 characters again! Will Tyrion Lannister remain at the top?

5. Ned Stark

4. Jaime Lannister

3. Arya Stark

2. Jon Snow

1. Tyrion Lannister

Special thanks to:

  • IMdB-board ‘Game of Thrones’
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Top 50-41 of 2016

Mountain.001.jpegThe Mountain loses 2 places this year! Ser Gregor Clegane has not been so fortunate in Game of Thrones throughout all seasons. In the season finale of season 6, we found out what Qyburn has done to him. He looked awful, but do we really care about this guy in the end? I mean, he’s the worst person in Westeros, right? And right now, he’s having a great time torturing Septa Unella. Well, you know, what goes around comes around. Serves you right, Frankenmountain. 

Yara Greyjoy.001.jpegFinally, she makes this list! Yara Greyjoy returned in season 6 with full vengeance. I have to admit that Yara had a weaker part to play in season 3 and 4, but she managed to become one of my favourite characters in season 6. Yara Greyjoy made her brother find himself again and traveled together to Queen Daenerys Targaryen with him. She could even intimidate the Mother of Dragons. Yara is a badass character and I love to see more scenes of her with Dany. Welcome in our list, miss Greyjoy. 

Gendry.001.jpegOur friendly Gendry isn’t lucky this year. He hasn’t shown up in more than three years and we can only guess about his whereabouts. Some think he might still be rowing. Well, when he returns he will make up for a very muscular guy. This blacksmith has everything: the looks, the brains, and the right family name. Except, he’s a bastard. Let’s hope he’ll make a wonderful return one day and that he’ll be legitimized. Hopefully, he doesn’t bump into Melisandre again. Have fun rowin’, Gendry. But don’t forget to be around in the top 50 of next year! 

Mance Rayder.001.jpegThis is a surprise! Welcome, Mance Rayder. Before we got to know you better, you were taken away from us. But you weren’t a bad guy at all. Mance actually cared for the people that lived beyond the Wall and wanted to save them. He even sacrificed his own life to remain loyal to his people. I am glad that he’s part of our list. Long live the king-beyond-the-wall! Well done, Rayder! 

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It looks like Mance Rayder took one of our favorite giants to the list. Here’s Wun Wun! We met this awesome giant in Hardhome where he survived the attack of the Night King and his army of the undead. Wun Wun was one of the first to make an alliance with Jon Snow in order to survive in the North. He fought for Snow and made sure the Starks got their home back. He even sacrificed himself. We will never forget this noble act Wun Wun. Welcome at #46! 

Meera Reed.001.jpegMuch to my surprise, she didn’t make last year’s top 50. Perhaps that was because of her one-year break during season 5. This year she returned and kicked some ass. Meera was one of the few to kill a White Walker in season 6 and she made sure Bran could escape safely during the attack of the Night King. Meera also was the one to shout the infamous sentence ‘Hold the Door’ to Hodor, which led to his sacrifice. Meera was always there to protect her brother Jojen and she’s now doing the same for Bran. This girl really deserves a spot in our list. 

Beric Dondarrion.001.jpegAnother newcomer: Beric Dondarrion. And his return to season 6 might contribute to the fact that he finally made this list. Lord Beric has been a very lucky guy, being brought back multiple times. Yet, he doesn’t consider himself very lucky. Beric has always been on Thoros’s side and this season he and Thoros decided to let in The Hound in their group. Who has ever thought the three would work together in the end. I cannot wait to see the threesome in action. Welcome in our top 50, Beric. 

Night King.001.jpegSlowly but surely this creepy man is gaining more power in Westeros and over this list. He goes forward 7 pieces in the Game of Characters. This season, we learned more about the Nigh King’s background. He was an actual human created by Leaf, a Child of the Forest, in order to protect themselves against the human kind. Their plan backfired and the Children of the Forest got extinct by the hands of the White Walkers. The Night King can also be blamed for the deaths of thousands of people and animals, including ‘Hodor’, ‘Summer’ and the ‘Three-Eyed Raven’. Where will he end next year? This creep gets scarier every season. 

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Our good old King Robert is still on the list. But time didn’t treat him well, though. Robert loved drinking, whoring and of course eating. This Baratheon king got the game all started when he asked Ned to become the Hand of the King. Poor King Robert never realized that he didn’t have any children with Cersei, in the end. Well, he did have a lot of bastards! You might be gone for 6 years now but you are still in our hearts. 

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He didn’t have a lot of screen time in season 6 but he had one hell of an introduction last season! Euron Greyjoy traveled around the world and made his way back to Pyke. He claimed the Salt Throne and won but there’s still a problem he needs to take care of: Yara and Theon Greyjoy. We saw Yara earlier in this list, I suspect Theon to be a lot higher. Nice entry Euron and good luck with your thousand fleets! 

Top 40-31 of 2016

Roose.001.jpegAnother great character that we lost in season 6: Roose Bolton. Roose Bolton reminded us of Lord Tywin Lannister. He was cunning and mysterious, and we’ll never forgive him for betraying the Starks but he wasn’t the worst villain in the end. His bastard was. We’ll never find out if Roose underestimated Ramsay or if he was planning to get rid of him all along. We’ll surely miss this great character, portrayed by. This year, Roose remarkably loses 13 places and ends at #40. 

Ygritte.001.jpegBIGGEST LOSER OF 2016 ‘You know nothing, voters!’ Ygritte loses a huge amount of places (14!) this year. This girl, who was kissed by fire, was Jon’s first and only love. Ygritte never minced her words and genuinely loved Jon Snow, which is rare in the TV-series. Our hearts broke when Ygritte was killed by Olly a few moments after she was reunited with the love of her life. Well, it was an awkward reunion, to be honest. We’ll never forget her last words: ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow’. You were an amazing character Ygritte! Rest in peace. 

Blackfish.001.jpegLook who we have here: Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully! Our favourite Tully returned briefly last season. His dialogue with Jaime was awesome as we learned that he hasn’t lost a bit of his personality. He was as sharp as ever. Brienne of Tarth tried to convince the Blackfish to fight for the Starks but just like his father, he remained stubborn and continued to fight for his home, Riverrun. Many fans were disappointed in the way the Blackfish went out. Well, we never got to see it! This legendary fighter may have gone down but we’ll never forget him. He even wins one spot on our list this year. 

Arthur.001.jpegWe have waited a long time to see the best swordsman Westeros has had: ser Arthur Dayne. Man, this guy was impressive. He didn’t have a lot of screentime and I hope we’ll get to see him again one way or another because he looks like a great character. Ser Dayne was about to win in a combat (1v4) but if Howland Reed didn’t kill him from behind, he would have won. At least, Dayne went down as an honorable fighter. Welcome in our list, Arthur Dayne! 

Jaqen.001.jpegA Man has lost 10 places this year. A man is not pleased! We all have to admit it. Jaqen’s arc in season 6 wasn’t the best, though. He had very little to work with and his storyline started to drag. Overall, Jaqen still remains a charming and mysterious character. His character has served its purpose: he made a faceless assassin of Arya Stark. Perhaps, we’ll see him once again but I really doubt that. It would be a nice surprise. Jaqen ends at #36. 

Khal Drogo.001.jpegThis is a big surprise! Khal Drogo impressively earns 11 spots on our list this year! Is it because Daenerys was reintroduced to the Dothraki this year? Well, it may be a contributing factor. Khal Drogo was one of the greatest fighters we have seen in Thrones and Jason Mamoa was excellent in his part. I feel like his character went out way too early… He has a wonderful part to play and I am glad he’s still popular after 5 years of absence. Well done, Drogo! Hopefully, you can make it to the best 30 next year. 

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Who do we have here! I am happy that this awesome character finally makes our top 50! Edd was great and funny in season 6. His look at Tormund’s flirting face to Brienne was priceless. We would have never guessed that he’d last this long but here we are. Edd made it even to Lord Commander in the sixth season. He has always been a very loyal character, supporting Jon even after his death. This great man deserves his entry in our list. Welcome, Eddison. 

Catelyn Stark.001.jpegWhat a great character she was, our Catelyn Stark. This woman had a hard time in Game of Thrones, losing almost all of her children and her husband. Catelyn Stark was a fierce and strong character and Michelle Fairley did a wonderful job breathing this character to life. Many hoped that Cat would have made a vengeful return but the show choose not to go in that direction. Apart from that, we’ll always consider Catelyn as one of the strongest female characters the show has ever had. It’s a pity that she has lost 9 places, though. 

hodor.001.jpegHold the door! Hodor enters this list at #32. He all surprised us in season 6, didn’t he. We would haver never thought his character would be of such relevance in the most recent season. We learned more about Hodor’s background. His actual name is Wyllis and he was a stableboy in service of House Stark. When the Bran Stark entered the mind in the Hodor of the past, he linked both Wyllis and Hodor’s minds. Hodor’s mind was broken and he could only utter one phrase to save his best friends: ‘Hold the Door’, ‘Ho the Dor’, ‘Hodor’. Arghh, never was a character’s death so devastating. Welcome in the top 50, Wyllis!

Melisandre.001.jpegToo bad, the Red Woman doesn’t make the top 30 this year! Melisandre had an amazing arc in season 6 as we got to see a more vulnerable side of her. Van Houten did a terrific job, especially during the infamous transformation scene! I am bit upset that this character lost 9 places. Even after more than 4 years of having her in the show, she never failed to keep my interest. She’s such a well-written gray character. Melisandre had interesting story arc so far, but the second half of season 6 was a bit disappointing for her. She barely appeared! Besides that, I am happy that Mel is still part of our list. 

Top 30-21 of 2016

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We open our top 30 with a real pain in the ass, named Joffrey Baratheon. Although the character is despicable, the actor Jack Gleeson did an amazing job portraying king Joffrey Baratheon. One of the few deaths we weren’t upset about was Joffrey’s, even though he really suffered in the end. Joffrey got his right cake served. He reigned for almost three full seasons and made up for one of the best written and acting villains in the history of television. This year, he has lost 2 places on our list. 

Aemon.001.jpegOne of the characters we really miss is Maester Aemon! Actor Peter Vaughan passed away this month so that might contribute to his increased popularity this year. He goes 8 places forward in our list. Aemon Targaryen was a kind and wise man, one of the few truly inspiring people in Westeros. He gave up his claim to the Iron Throne and allied himself to the Night’s Watch where he became Maester. Aemon could never really process what the Lannisters did to his family.. The poor man! We shall never see his like again. RIP Peter Vaughan (and Aemon Targaryen). May you forever live through the eyes of  your character. 

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Wow, what a climber! Samwell climbs 14 places this year. Impressive, man! Samwell had an interesting arc last season. He didn’t appear in many episodes but it was cool to see him in the South this time. We got to meet his family (and his unsympathetic father), and we finally saw some of Oldtown! Season 6 was, without a doubt, Samwell’s most interesting season. This might explain the increase in the popularity of his character. Hopefully, Sam’s dream comes true next season and he can become a Maester of the Citadel. 

Barristan.001.jpegAnother huge surprise right here! Barristan Selmy climbs 16(!!) spots in our list. This skilled warrior was super loyal to the kings and queens he served, yet he was never really satisfied. He always served a king who wasn’t worth to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. When he was dismissed by King Joffrey, he decided to meet Queen Daenerys Targaryen and realized that she was worth fighting for. Barristan gave his life to defend Daenerys’s and died. He was a truly inspiring figure and he hasn’t been forgotten at all. Very well done, ser Barristan! 

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No man can pronounce ‘Khaleesi’ better than Jorah Mormont. Our favorite bear loses 7 spots this year but he still manages to make the top 30. Oof. Jorah hasn’t been the luckiest guy in the series: being exiled to Essos, being friendzoned by the woman he’s head over heels in love with and contracting grayscale. Yet, Jorah doesn’t give up on life and keeps fighting for Daenerys Targaryen.  He ends at #26 this year. 

Ramsay.001.jpegThe main villain in season 6 was Ramsay, no discussion about that. Ramsay’s power increased last year as he became the Warden of the North after killing his own father in cold blood. Ramsay became more sadistic than ever: killing Roose, Walda, Walda’s baby, Osha and Rickon. That’s an impressive list. Just like he deserved, Sansa gave him a gruesome death. This was without a doubt the most satisfying death ever on TV. Iwan Rheon was amazingly good as Ramsay Bolton. He ends at #25 in our list. We’ll miss you in the show, Iwan! 

Bran.001.jpegBIGGEST CLIMBER OF 2016 Bran Stark finally returned in season 6 and his storyline was very impressive! Under the supervision of the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran learns more about Jon and Hodor’s past. The latter’s past was horrifying for Bran. Bran Stark realized his fate in season 6, he had to become the all-knowing Three-Eyed Raven. He’ll be one of the frontline players in the great war to come. Bran climbs 23 (yeah, this is really remarkable!) spots in our list. Congratulations, Isaac! We’d love to discover more of your visions next season. 

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One of my personal favorites is Olenna Tyrell. Unfortunately, she loses 2 places in our list this year. I am glad she still makes the 23 best characters. Olenna became a more prominent character in season 6. She finally decided to do something about her grandchildren’s situation and marched her army to the Sept of Baelor. Thanks to Margaery, she decided to leave King’s Landing and thereby escaped death. A smart move by Olenna. She was the only one who could put Cersei in her place and leave her speechless afterward. Olenna didn’t win the game, though. She lost all of her family and is heading toward her end game: avenging her family. She ends at #25. 

Lyanna Mormont.001.jpegHIGHEST NEW ENTRY OF 2016 What an entry for the ruling lady of Bear Island, Lyanna Mormont! We met this little girl last season and found out that she isn’t someone to handle with kid gloves. Lyanna is a fierce leader and was one of the very few who dared to put trust in Jon Snow. Her speech in the season finale gave me goosebumps. She even looks like a young version of Olenna Tyrell! This kid outmaneuvers  everyone from a political viewpoint. Joffrey and Tommen could have learned a great deal from this young lady. Excellent work, Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island! 

Robb.001.jpegThe Young Wolf almost made the top 20! Robb Stark is the second Stark kid in this list and I’m certain we come across even more of them much higher in this list. Robb wasn’t a fortunate character either. The biggest mistake he made was falling in love with the wrong woman. His death scene became one of the iconic moments in Game of Thrones. Robb Stark loses one spot this year and ends at #21. 

THE 20 BEST CHARACTERS OF 2016 

Margaery.001.jpegOne of the devastating losses in Game of Thrones so far is Margaery Tyrell’s death. We met this Queen in season 2 when she was still married to Renly Baratheon. Margaery was fit to rule and groomed by no better political ruler than her grandmother, Olenna. Queen Margaery was obviously trying to win the Game. She was succeeding in getting her brother out of prison and managed to be freed without doing the Walk of Shame. Margaery was the only one who didn’t underestimate Cersei and therefore outsmarted everyone in the Sept of Baelor. Margaery Tyrell was without a doubt one of the most intelligent characters and Game of Thrones and will be terribly missed next season. At least, she went out with a BOOM. The Queen of Hearts loses 7 places this year and opens our top 20. 

Tormund.001.jpegWhat a climb! Well, Tormund is experienced in climbing as we recall. He goes 17 (!) steps forward this year and ends at #19. This wildling fellow wasn’t as popular when we met him in season 3. Slowly he turned into one of the good guys who became part of Jon’s most loyal men. Tormund valiantly fought next to Jon’s side in the Battle of the Bastards, wanting to save his people from Ramsay Bolton. Tormund has won our hearts! And Brienne Tormund’s! 

Sansa.001.jpegI am glad that Sansa Stark made it to the top 20. To be honest, I expected her to be a bit higher! Sansa had a breathtaking arc in season 6. She was finally able to take back what was hers and to take revenge on the man who abused her both physically and mentally. Sansa was also the first to be reunited with another ‘Stark’ kid, Jon Snow. The arrival of her and Littlefinger was another amazing scene during the Battle of the Bastards. Sansa’s character developed wonderfully this year. Too bad, she loses 1 spot in our list.

Theon.001.jpeg What a stunning character development did Theon have up to now. From being an arrogant prick to becoming a true villain who then got tortured and mentally broken, to later finding ways to redeem himself. Theon Greyjoy is one of the great examples of how well-written the characters are. Theon managed to find himself once again with the help from his sister, Yara. He again has a goal to fulfill in the greater game. Theon loses 2 spots this year, ending at a well-deserved 17th spot. 

Brienne of Tarth.001.jpegAnother great climber in our list: it’s Brienne of Tarth. Brienne had a disappointing arc in season 5, but redeemed herself once again in season 6. Brienne kept her oath to Catelyn Stark and returned Sansa, together with Podrick, safely to her brother. She also became Sansa’s loyal right hand! It was beautiful to see how relieved Brienne was when Sansa accepted her proposal. Brienne is one of the most loyal servants, if the not the most loyal servant, in Game of Thrones. I hope to see more badass fights of this warrior woman! For now, well done Brienne! You end quite high in this list, at #16. 

THE 15 BEST CHARACTERS OF 2016

Stannis.001.jpegStannis Baratheon gets knocked out of the top 10 and ends at #15 this year. It’s a year since he’s gone now and the show has never been the same since his death. Stephen Dillane did a terrific job by bringing this great character to life. Stannis was a troubled man who had to choose between the good and the evil. The many disappointments in his life lead him to choose a darker path. In a moment of total desperation, he decides to burn his daughter at the stake and thereby lost a great deal of his army. He fought and he lost. May you rest in peace, Stannis Baratheon. The one true king! 

Bronn.001.jpegDon’t say it. Don’t fucking say it.’ This is our man, Bronn. Bronn earns 4 spots in our top 50 this year. Bronn did quite well for himself: from being a cut-throat to being knighted after the Battle of Blackwater. Bronn was always seen next to Tyrion’s side but since season 5, it looks like he has become Jaime’s right hand. Jaime and Bronn together went on a mission to Dorne, which failed. Thereafter they traveled to the Riverlands in order to give Riverrun back to the Freys. This time they won. Bronn is a man of few words. He says what he thinks and doesn’t give one shit about anyone else. Way to go Bronn! 

Petyr.001.jpeg‘The climb is all there is’. He was right, after all, our Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger. This sly master manipulator manages to climb three steps this year. Petyr had some interesting stuff to work with this year. He tried to convince Robin Arryn to bring The Vale into the fold when it comes to the war against the Boltons. Sansa first rejected his offer but later realized that they need him at all cost. When Petyr and Sansa arrived just in time to save Jon and his army, the smug look on his face was priceless. What a great character he is. Well done this year, Littlefinger. I can’t wait to see more of your scheming next season. 

Varys.001.jpegAnother climber in this list. If there is someone who rivals Littlefinger, it is Varys without a doubt. Varys is as manipulative as Littlefinger but there’s one big difference: Varys is actually one of the good guys. Since season 5, we’ve found out that his true loyalty lays with the Targaryens as he’s a loyal supporter of Daenerys Targaryen. Varys’s best friend throughout the series has to be Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion didn’t really trust him in the beginning, but later he realized that Varys is one of the few genuine friends he has got. Good job this year, Varys! 

Oberyn.001.jpegExactly like last year, Oberyn Martell almost (!) made the top 10. Too bad, he didn’t succeed in entering the list of 10 best characters but this is a great result after all. Oberyn didn’t appear in many episodes, yet he’s considered as one of the best characters the show has ever had. Everything was great about this character: the acting, the storyline, the fighting, his dialogues. He had an impressive arc which ended with a major death scene. Oberyn was so popular that the TV-series took the step to introduce Dorne to us. It turned out not be as great as Oberyn’s character, though. 

THE 10 BEST CHARACTERS OF 2016

Cersei .001.jpegWe kick off the top 10 with a great character: Cersei Lannister. Cersei’s arc was a hell of a roller coaster filled with emotions. Cersei never was a gentle lady but we surely can sympathize with her. We witnessed how she slowly loses everything she holds dear: her children. The price she has to pay for the Iron Price is enormous. During the coronation, you can see how cold and broken Cersei’s character has become, only filled with hatred. Cersei is without a doubt one of my favorite characters which may have ended higher on this list. Unfortunately, she has to set 2 steps back. 

Daenerys.001.jpegThis Queen with way too many titles manages to climb one spot in our top 10 best characters! Very well done, Dany! Daenerys pleased us this season with great speeches and flying demonstrations on her favorite dragon, Drogon. Her actions scenes in ‘Battle of the Bastards’ were epic and one of the best the show has ever seen. In the season finale, Daenerys took a huge step in her arc and finally decided to travel to Westeros with her army. I am certain Daenerys will end higher on this list next year! For now, she ends at the ninth place. 

Tywin.001.jpegAnother great character right over here! Tywin Lannister was the most intimidating character the show has ever had. As strong as a lion, I’m sure he’d make a very powerful and good ruling king. Tywin was absolutely winning the war but his only flaw was underestimating Tyrion. This meant his undergoing. Tywin was a cold and cunning strategist who went great lengths to achieve victory. Rest in peace Tywin Lannister. Yes, now the rains weep o’er his hall and not a soul to hear. 

Hound.001.jpegHe made a surprising return in season 6; everyone’s favorite big hound ‘Sandor Clegane’! Sandor took a step back from all this killing and found peace in his life again with the help from Brother Ray. When Ray and the other villagers got slaughtered, the Hound decided to start killing again. He bumped into the Brotherhood Without Banners and became part of the group. It was a glorious moment when we realized that Sandor Clegane returned to Game of Thrones. This guy delivers the best one-liners in the show. Let’s get out with one of his. ‘Fuck the King’. 

Ned .001.jpegI am sorry to inform you that Ned Stark has been thrown out of the top five. This also means we will welcome someone new in our top 5 best characters of 2016. It all started with good old Ned Stark. You may be gone for more than 5 years, but you’re still one of the most popular characters the show has ever had. Ned even appeared in the most recent season as a younger version of himself. If you would live right now, you’d probably be proud of Sansa and Jon. Those two managed to get Winterfell back and reclaim it in the name of House Stark. For now, Ned ends at the sixth spot. 

WE ARE ENTERING THE TOP FIVE. 

But before that, I first want to mention the characters who were thrown out of the top 50 this year:

  • Tommen Baratheon (2015: 49th place)
  • Gilly (2015: 45th place)
  • Alliser Thorne (2015: 44th place)
  • Osha (2015: 41th place)
  • Missandei (2015: 38th place)
  • High Sparrow (2015: 35th place)
  • Thoros of Myr (2015: 34th place)
  • Yoren (2015: 33th place)
  • Shireen Baratheon (2015: 32th place)
  • Viserys Targaryen (2015: 31th place)

THE GREAT GAME: THE BIG FIVE 

Davos.001.jpegThe biggest surprise of 2016: Davos Seaworth enters the top 5! This makes me really happy! Davos chose Jon’s side last season and it turned out to be an excellent choice. He’s the perfect loyal right hand to Jon, just like he ever was of Stannis. He even fiercely fought together with Jon Snow in the war against House Bolton. Davos also got his revenge for Shireen’s death by letting Jon banish Lady Melisandre. Davos is the one and only to take over Ned’s position in this list. Only honorable men can take the 5th spot. Well done, ser Onion Knight. 

Arya.001.jpeg BEST FEMALE CHARACTER OF 2016 Arya no longer has a spot in the top 3, but she still manages to hold the title of ‘best female character in Game of Thrones (2016)’, which already is spectacular. Some people think Arya had a disappointing arc in season 6 and I (partly) agree with that. Arya’s return to Westeros in the season finale was badass and I can’t wait to see more of her now that’s she’s right back in the game. Being ‘successfully’ trained as a Faceless Assassin, you better watch out for this serial killer. Congratulations, Arya! You did very well this year. 

Jaime.001.jpegThis year, Jaime swaps places with Arya Stark and I’m OK with that. Jaime has always been a strong character. Even stronger in season 6, though. His dialogue with Edmure was great, as was his little moment with Brienne of Tarth. Season 6 was all about Jaime’s complicated relationship with Cersei. After the death of Myrcella, they found a way to grow closer again. When Jaime returns to the Red Keep after taking Riverrun from the Tullys, he clearly is upset with Cersei’s actions (which resulted in their last son’s death). I am curious to find out where they will go from here. Welcome in the top 3, Jaime fockin’ Lannister!

PP.001.jpegAnd yes, it happened! Tyrion no longer maintains his first position in the list. Other than that, Tyrion is without a doubt a wonderful character with witty dialogues and beautiful character development. To be honest, his storyline in season 6 was quite disappointing. He did nothing else than advising Daenerys and hardly developed. His best moment was when Daenerys made him Hand of the King once again. Tyrion in season 1 up to season 5 had an am-az-ing arc and only for that he right away deserves a spot in the top 3. I am sure his popularity will increase again when he’s reunited with his family next season. Still, Tyrion Lannister ended super high on this list! Congratulations!

THE BEST GAME OF THRONES CHARACTER (2016 EDITION)

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BEST MALE CHARACTER OF 2016 Congratulation Jon Snow. What an amazing arc did he have in season 6? This man truly deserves the first place on our list. Being brought back from the dead by Melisandre, taking revenge on ser Alliser Thorne and Olly, starting and winning the war against the Boltons and finally becoming the King in the North. He must have been the luckiest man around this time. We got to know Jon Snow as a rather dull and uninspiring character but it turned out that he’d become the big hero of the story. We even discovered his parentage in the most recent season finale. What a wonderful season it was… I am eager to find out what will happen to him next season now he’s proclaimed as King in the North. Congratulations, Mr. Snow! 

I hope you like this list! Let me know in the comments below. Thanks again for voting! I hope to see you again next year around the same time. Will Jon Snow keep his first spot or will Tyrion take it back from him? We’ll find out next year. But first, Winter is Coming! (Please fill in the poll below)

If more than 70% answers ‘yes’, I’ll organize ‘the top 50 best Game of Thrones episodes of 2016’ the week before New Year.

Top 20 Westworld characters of 2016 !

The results are in. The votes are counted. Which Westworld character can be considered as the very best character of Westworld? Which characters made the top 20? Let’s take a look at that! Be aware of spoilers! 

20. New Clementine Pennyfeather

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This pretty host replaced the poor decommissioned Clementine Pennyfeather. She actually never could replace the former Clementine, but I can’t say I didn’t like her. Even for her limited screentime, she still made it to the top 20. The poor girl got throat slit by Maeve! I hope she’s alright, though.

19. Marti

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Even though she appeared in only one episode (The Stray), she did make a lasting impression on  the viewers. Marti was an awesome guest in the park who decided to team up with Teddy. She wasn’t scared of some action but when the masked men of Wyatt were simply too strong to fight, she had to flee away. I hope to see you once again, Marti!

18. Angela

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This super sexy host made it the top 20! Angela even has multiple stories to tell in Westeros, if you might have remarked that. Many years ago, she guided the guests to Westeros but nowadays she likes to keep up with the Man in Black and Teddy. Angela is certainly a mysterious character and we can’t exactly tell if she’s good or bad.

17. Peter Abernathypeter abernathy original host westworld.png

Louis Herthum was simply amazing in Westworld’s first episode! The actor truly deserves a nod for his dialogue with Dr. Ford. I have never seen such a convincing robot before. Mr. Abernathy got decommissioned rather soon. Too soon, if you ask me. Fortunately, the decommissioned Peter might play a key role now that Charlotte Hale has big plans to bring down Robert Ford for once and for good.

16. Charlotte Hale

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After talking about this Charlotte Hale, here she is. She shines at the #16 spot, even though I thought she would have ended up a bit higher. Hale is a cunning, young businesswoman who goes very far in getting what she wants. She isn’t scared to clear everything and everyone that’s standing in a way. If this will get a good ending isn’t certain, though.

15. Theresa Cullen

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In my humble opinion, I think she deserved a spot in the top ten at least. But it’s good that she made the top 20! Theresa was a strong and determined woman, whose job was of such importance for her that it literally killed her. Theresa ambition in bringing down Ford caused her own undergoing. Theresa wasn’t an interesting character in the first couple of episodes, but she still went out with a shocker! Her last scenes proved how good Knudsen can deliver. It made me realize that the show got rid of her way too soon.

14. Lee Sizemore

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Lee is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea and honestly, I can understand that. He’s a prick and he can really work on my nerves at times, but he’s true to himself at least. I doubt whether Lee is really the bad guy in the end, but I have a bad feeling that he won’t last long. The chance of him dying increased considerably now that he secretly works together with  Charlotte Hale. Just think about what happened to Theresa..

13. Teddy Flood

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Ah, this poor host didn’t make the top 10. Teddy isn’t very lucky, is he? He died so many times in the show, that I lost count. Teddy has a soft spot for Dolores, but his hatred toward Wyatt is what fascinates us the most. He’s got a mysterious past as well. I’m looking forward to find out what he really did to the little town. Did he really shot the people there? Was this why he got this miserably written loop? And what did he share with Dolores in common back then? We don’t have to wait too long to find out.

12. Lawrence / El Lazo

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We saw multiple facets of Lawrence’s character. That’s what makes him so interesting. We first get to know Lawrence as a criminal being almost executed, before being saved by the MiB. Or was it really ‘saved’? The MiB let Lawrence suffer and kills his loving wife. We start to feel sorry for his character, especially after he got killed off by the Man in Black only to retrieve more answers about the Maze. But then we met ‘El Lazo’, another layer to his character. El Lazo is the treacherous leader of the Revolutionaries. He isn’t as modest as we thought he was, but he’s a great character nonetheless.

11. Old Clementine Pennyfeather

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No one can replace good old Clementine. This kind host met a rather sad end, only to fulfill a part in Charlotte Hale and Theresa Cullen’s evil plan to bring Dr. Ford down. Clementine was Maeve’s best friend as the two always worked side by side. She also worked as a whore to send money to her family. The poor girl suffered a lot, but deep inside we all hope she’ll get her revenge. In some way.

THE FINAL TEN

10. Logan

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He’s not the most friendly guy out there. Doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a bad character, though. Logan was introduced together with his friend William. The two are literally each other’s opposites. Logan is arrogant and full of himself, where William is less secure of himself and rather caring towards the hosts. Nonetheless, Logan is a skilled player of the game and knows his way in Westworld. He made it to the top 10…

9. Armistice

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I am glad she made it to the top 10. This character has been terribly underused! Armistice is a strong female outlaw who’s desperately seeking revenge on Wyatt. She wears a snake tattoo on a body, which is painted red with the blood of her enemies. Only the head of the snake isn’t painted, which means she still has to encounter Wyatt. Armistice is a total badass and  I’d love to see more of her. She ends at #9!

8. Elsie Hughes

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I didn’t think she would end up this high, but here we are! I don’t complain. Elsie is a nice and smart character whose ambition stretched a bit too far. Her investigations led to a big discovery, so she needed to be killed off before the secret could be revealed. Was she really killed off? We actually can’t confirm this, but if this is the case, then I’m really sad. Right before she got so fascinating, we lost her. A well-earned 9th place, Elsie!

7. Hector Escaton

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He ends up a bit higher on this list than his companion Armistice. I’m cool with that. Hector is one of my personal favourite characters in Westworld. He simply doesn’t give a shit about being the bad guy and his arrivals in Sweetwater are always the very best! I only wonder, will we ever hear his awesome speech at the end of his massacre? Who knows ?!

6. William

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Many speculate whether William is the Man in Black in the future. This theory still has to be proven correct, but proof is piling up. I still consider William as a separate character, though, until the theory is proven correct. William is the exact opposite of his companion Logan. Not until the last episode, he really stood up for himself and stopped being submissive to Logan. He seems to genuinely care for Dolores and is, just like us, interested to find out why Dolores is starting to become more conscious about her existence.

5. Dolores Abernathy

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The real surprise on this list! I really thought Dolores would end up in the top 3 or so, but I like a good plot twist. We experienced Dolores character development very closely and she’s considered to be the main character in the show. Dolores is seeking answers to the questions about her existence. She feels like the real world is calling her and I can’t wait to see her escape Westworld. Whether the latter comes true is very questionable. Too bad she didn’t make the top 3!

4. Maeve Millay

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According to the voters, Maeve Millay is the best female character in Westworld. I wished to see her even higher, but a spot in the top four is pretty cool. Maeve got an impressive storyline in the show and she’s the first host seeming to succeed in her plans up to now. Maeve is gathering an army to get out of Westworld. We will find out next episode if her plans come to fruition.

THE BEST THREE 

3. Bernard Lowe

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This character received a mind-blowing development, which we didn’t saw coming. Bernard seemed to be an intelligent, good guy with a sad past. But when we found out that his whole existence was a lie, we felt more than only sorry for him. Bernard was one of the few people who really cared for the hosts, but now we understand why. Bernard still is a good guy and I’m glad he ended up this high.

2. Dr. Robert Ford

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He almost earned the #1 spot, but the honor is for someone else. Still, he ended up extremely high as I expected him to be. Dr. Ford is played by veteran actor sir Anthony Hopkins and with someone of his reputation, I suspected Ford to become a great character. Hopkins was one of the main reasons I wanted to try out this show. One thing I didn’t regret. Good job, Dr. Ford! You well deserved the second spot.

1. The Man in Black 

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Ow yeah! The Man in Black is awesome and even though we don’t know his name, he’s still the best character in Westworld. We got to know him as a pretty twisted guy, but in the end, his intentions might not be as bad as we thought they were. As you can read above, many suspect the MiB to be William. The theory still has to be proven right, though. We are heading toward the last episode and I’m sure that we will find out whether the MiB finally reaches his destination: the Maze. This rich board member is a longtime visitor and I hope he can maintain this high spot for an even longer time. Congratulations, sir whoeveryouare.

Word of thanks

For everyone who voted! Thanks for taking the time to vote! I hope you’ll all enjoy the season finale of Westworld. Hopefully you are all back to vote once again next year!

  • Thank you IMdB-members of the Westworld board.
  • Thank you Redditors of the subreddit r/Westworld.

Love,

Yelmer!

Westworld: season 1 reviewed

TO BE UPDATED [8 dec 2016]

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The wonderful first season of Westworld has come to and end, unfortunately. We got to know plenty of awesome new characters like the Western girl, Dolores or the creepy creative director Robert Ford. There were some mind-bending theories and unexpected twists, but also the soundtrack was sheer perfection . In this review, we count down the very best episodes of Westworld and gave each episode a number of points. The good and less good aspects of each episode are thoroughly discussed. Let’s do this! 

10. The Stray (Season 1, Episode 3): 81,84%

Directed by Neil Marshall; Written by Daniel T. Thomsen and Lisa Joywestworld-ep03-ss05-1920.jpg
William drags Logan off on a bounty hunt. Dolores asks Teddy to teach herto shoot, but her programming prevents her from firing a gun. Ford changes Teddy's backstory for his new narrative, in which he is pitted against rogue outlaw Wyatt. Ford also tells Bernard about his old partner Arnold who died in Westworld after trying to make the hosts conscious. Bernard is worried about the effect their conversations have had on Dolores but she promises to keep quiet and follow her loop. Elsie and Stubbs are sent to capture a stray host. They find him trapped in a ravine and when Stubbstries to retrieve his head, he wakes up and attacks them before smashing his own head in with a rock. Dolores is attacked by bandits at the homestead, one of whom drags her into the barn to rape her. She steals his gun but is unable to shoot him until she sees him as the Man in Black. Dolores escapes, stumbles into William and Logan's campsite and collapses in William's arms.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive

Teddy’s character is getting more interesting. Ford has given him a backstory, which includes the ‘supervillain’ Wyatt. Wyatt possesses an army of big, masked man that cannot be killed by the hosts (?). Along with Teddy, we meet the guest ‘Marti‘. Marti seems to be an adventurous young lady with stamina. She’s a nice new character and it would be nice if the showrunners explore her character more in future episodes. It’s good that Teddy will not stay by Dolores’s side the whole time, but rather has a storyline of his own. 

+ It’s good that we get the chance to explore the park some more. William chooses not to stay in Mariposa and to become a bounty hunter. He’ll track and trace the outlaw ‘Slim Miller’. I am curious to find out what’s hidden deeper in the park. Logan is not as enthusiastic as William, so I’m certain the two will have a major disagreement rather soon than late. William appears to be a well-written character and I expect a lot of development on his part. When a strayed Dolores bump into William and Logan, we know that William’s storyline really has taken off. I think the two will cause some major developments in the plot of the story. 

+ Elsie has become more likable, due to the extended screen time they gave her. Stubbs, on the other hand, remains a bland character in my eyes. Elsie is a smart character with whom we can sympathize a lot. She discovers that things aren’t going as they should be. The host, the woodcutter, has been wandering from his loop on purpose. 

+ Another strong character this episode is ‘Bernard Lowe’. Last week, Maeve’s character was explored thoroughly. This episode is Bernard’s episode. We learn that he had a young son who passed away, much to Bernard’s grief. We see how sympathetic and loyal he is toward Dr. Ford and he asks the same questions as we have been asking: ‘Who the hell is Arnold’? 

+ Arnold seems to be a big deal in Westworld. The man may not be alive any longer, he still has an extremely important function in the story. It appears he’s the voice that speaks to Dolores. It’s good to have some backstory about Arnold and Robert’s lives before Westworld was actually set up. We learn that Arnold was obsessed with creating consciousness within his hosts. It consumed him totally that he died inside the park. Was he killed by someone else? Did he commit suicide? Or was it really an accident? We have to find out. Ford shows a picture of him and Arnold to Bernard, so we know that Ford isn’t telling lies. But why would Arnold still have a story to tell? Why does he want Dolores to find out about something? I don’t think we can fully trust Dr. Ford.. 

+ Strong acting performances by James Marden (***),  Evan Rachel Wood (***), Anthony Hopkins (***), Jeffrey Wright (****) 

Some nice CGI here! Wonderful effects have been used to create a younger dr. Ford. 

Negative

– This episode is very heavy (perhaps too heavy) when it comes to backstories and character development. Don’t misinterpret, this is a good thing but I understand that his could be a bit too much at once. We are introduced to Arnold and his backstory. He seems to be a big deal suddenly and it can be a big pill to swallow. The episode primarily focuses on Bernard and Teddy’s backstories. Their backstories are interesting, but I would have liked to see a bit more action. (see next point).

– A lack of action and actual plot development. In this episode, backstories of the main characters are put central. We had some action when Wyatt’s men attacked Teddy and his crew. This was nice but I would’ve liked if they explored this some more. It could have been bigger, more impactful… It all went so fast! 

– Good that they left out Sizemore this episode. Stubbs got more screentime, but he still doesn’t leave a lasting impression. I can’t really relate to his character. He lacks strong features, a strong background. The acting skills of Luke Hemsworth aren’t bad, though. I hope they’ll have something more interesting in store for his character. 

– There’s a theory that there are multiple timelines in Westworld. If this is the case, the storytelling gets very complex. Maybe even too complex. The viewer almost has to rewatch each episode to get a clear image of what’s happening. It can get too confusing for the modest viewer. 

9. Contrapasso (Season 1, Episode 5): 83,88%

Directed by Johnny Campbell; Written by Dominic Mitchell and Lisa Joywestworld-contrapasso-image-6.jpeg
Elsie discovers that the stray has been transmitting information outside of the park to an unknown party. On his journey to find Wyatt, the Man in Black kills Lawrence. He is then confronted by Dr. Ford, who assures him that he will not stop his efforts to find the maze. Dolores, William, and Logan travel to the town of Pariah, where they meet criminal gang leader El Lazo, a.k.a. Lawrence, who tasks them with stealing a wagon of high explosives from the army, a mission they complete successfully. Dolores realizes El Lazo intends to keep the explosives for himself rather than selling them. The ex-Confederates realise this, and apprehend Logan while William and Dolores flee. Maeve awakens in the control center and tells a technician that she wants to talk.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive

+ Nice to see another location in the park, namely Pariah. It all seems more dangerous and darkish and the storylines get even more intense. Logan is having his best time in Pariah, in stark contrast to Dolores. Dolores is forced to take on the role of the ‘bad guy’, but in the end, she finally decides not to play the damsel any longer. We have got some nice character development for Dolores’s character this episode. William also makes some important decisions. He no longer wants to be submissive to Logan and leaves Pariah together with Dolores. The scenes in the Pariah were enjoyable and the war declaration between the Conferados and El Lazo added some action to an otherwise slower episode. 

+ Elsie Hughes became more likable this episode! The moment where she confronted the creepy ‘necroperv’ was funny, but she’s also a smart character with the right sense of justice. She feels that there’s something going on and investigates the woodcutter before he disappears into ashes. She discovers a transmitter that was used to smuggle information from the park. We don’t know who’s behind this espionage, but this was a very clever move by Elsie. Nice character! 

+ The Man in Black got some less eventful scenes, but there was one fascinating dialogue between him and Ford this episode. I could feel the (hidden) danger between those two and Ford subtly made him realize that every step he takes, is extremely considered.

+ Acting performances by: Evan Rachel Wood (***), Jimmi Simpson (***), Ben Barnes (***) 

+ A pity to leave out certain characters (like Maeve), but on the other hand is was a good moment to concentrate more on specific character storylines! Dolores, Lawrence, Logan and William’s storylines developed nicely. 

Negative

– The theory about the multiple timelines is becoming more likely, but it can cause some confusion! This episode, we find out that Lawrence was killed (or rather ‘decommissioned’) by the MiB and a few moments later he’s brought back to life and plays the leader of the Revolutionaries ‘El Lazo’. Is this a proof that there are more timelines in Westworld? I think so! But it’s all very confusing, though…

– Many characters are left out in this episode or don’t have much to contribute (e.g. Maeve / Bernard / Theresa / ..). Especially Maeve’s screentime being reduced drastically is a pity. Her storyline got pretty interesting last episode! I think they decided to slow down her plot development a bit, which is ok. 

– Aside from the war declaration between the Revolutionaries and the Confederados, there was a lack of action/true plot development in this episode. There was a lot of storytelling and long dialogues in this episode. I think this is due to the fact that we are halfway through this season and things are building up to something big. 

8. The Adversary (Season 1, Episode 6): 84,02%

Directed by Frederick E.O Toye; Written by Halley Gross and Jonathan Nolan

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The Man in Black and Teddy continue their journey to find Wyatt. At a Union Army outpost, the soldiers recognize Teddy as an accomplice in Wyatt'smassacre of his unit. Teddy escapes by killing all of the Union soldiers.Lee, distraught over Ford rejecting his narrative, drunkenly disrupts park operations by urinating in the control room. He is interrupted by Theresa, who introduces him to Charlotte Hale, a Board representative sent to observe park operations. Theresa breaks off her relationship with Bernard. Bernard finds out that Ford has secretly been keeping a family of hosts. Elsie continues to investigate the glitches and warns Bernard that Theresa has been smuggling data out of Westworld, and that the first generation hosts have been re-programmed by someone calling themselves Arnold. However, she is abducted by an unknown assailant. A child host kills his dog, telling Ford that Arnold told him to. Maeve threatens and bends Felix and Sylvester to her will and convinces them to change her programming.The duo set her awareness rating to its maximum limit.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive 

+ Strongest aspect of the episode was Maeve Millay’s impressive arc. She’s making some huge leaps in her storyline and things are beginning to become truly interesting. She discovers her own nature (e.g. all that she is saying is scripted and doesn’t come from her own mind). Her reaction when she discovered how her kind is being constructed was priceless. The acting, raw emotions were Emmy-worthing. You did a wonderful job there, Thandie Newton! The soundtrack accompanying the scene made it even much better.  Up to now, it’s my favorite scene from Westworld yet. Maeve undergoes a huge transformation in this episode. She first wants to meet her ‘gods’ again by causing herself to die. She already realizes that she can die multiple times to be later brought back. Now, she wants to meet the people pulling the strings. Shocked but also appalled, she discovers the truth behind her existence. She had enough of people messing with her mind, now she wants to be the one in charge. She then commands Felix and Sylvester to increase her general intelligence all the way to the top. Things now really have gotten intense for Maeve’s character and I look forward to seeing how this will develop from here. 

+ Teddy’s character finally has gotten more interesting. Pairing him up with the Man in Black was a clever move. I really like the dynamics between the two characters! Teddy commanding a gatling gun was awesome. Finally, his character gets some better stuff to work with. Yet, him dying again at the end was a bit disappointing. 

+ Elsie’s journey is continuing to get even more intriguing. She found out that Theresa Cullen was behind the strayed host. She was the one who tried to smuggle data out of the park, yet her intentions remain unclear. Elsie stumbles upon even more worrisome discoveries. Someone, most likely Arnold, has made changes to the core directives of the 1st generation hosts. She then gets grabbed from behind by someone unknown. Hmm a cliffhanger, I hope we’ll get an answer next week. 

+ Theresa’s character has been improving since the last two episodes. Now that we’ve found out that she’s smuggling data out of the data, we can consider her as one of the main villains. She makes up for an interesting villain, in my opinion. She’s a very gray character, as we feel sorry for her for breaking up with Bernard (even if it’s harder for Bernard, though). I hope her character get fleshed out even more. 

+ Interesting introduction to Charlotte Hale’s character, the board’s executive. We don’t know much about her, so I can’t jump to conclusions. She seems to be a bit sly, playing with Lee like that. 

+ Good to not focus on Dolores’s storyline this episode. A break in her storyline gives the chance to other character storylines to develop. 

+ Acting performances from Ed Harris (***), James Marsden (***), Jeffrey Wright (***), Thandie Newton (*****)

+ Vitamin String Quartet’s version of Radiohead’s Motion Picture Soundtrack along with Maeve’s discovery was sheer perfection. 

Negative:

– The Man in Black’s journey is getting even more complicated than before. We can conclude that there are even 3 timelines now, as we’ve seen Angela’s character in three different roles. It’s getting too complex for me. The ending scene where the MiB explained his past and the fact that the Maze was shown to him when he intended to kill Maeve and her daughter. This scene raised more questions than rather giving answers. The mystery behind the Maze is getting too imposing, too complex. 

Lee Sizemore’s character hasn’t won any sympathy from me at this point. I can’t stand him and wouldn’t mind if they have left him out of the story. I don’t like the actor nor the character. 

Ford’s contribution this episode wasn’t too interesting. It wouldn’t hurt to leave him out one episode. 

– Even though the character is sympathetic, Elsie’s abduction was way too predictable. The scene was a bit cliché. 

7. Chestnut (Season 1, Episode 2): 85,28%

Directed by Richard J. Lewis; Written by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy
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Logan and William come to Westworld for a good time, but the latter is reluctant to indulge. Though Bernard secretly questions Dolores to make sure nobody has tampered with her, Dolores' contact with procuring madame host Maeve results in her malfunction as well. Maeve is taken in for maintenance but unexpectedly awakes and witnesses damaged hosts, including Teddy, being hosed down. The Man in Black abducts outlaw Lawrence from his own hanging, demanding that he tells him the location of the maze. Lawrence's daughter gives him his next clue. Ford vetoes Sizemore's new narrativcalling it cheap titillation that underestimates the guests. They will useFord's narrative instead.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive

+ Another, more fascinating point of view on the daily goings on in the Westworld park. We are again introduced to the park through the eyes of two visitors, named William and Logan. I like this way of introducing more than the one in the series’ premiere. We find out how we can enter the park and what procedures we have to go through. 

+ Decent new characters introduced. We meet William and Logan, who both travel to Westworld. We don’t know when this exactly takes place. For William, it’s the first time. Logan, on the other hand, is an experienced visitor in the park and knows how the game is played. He can hardly contain himself to show his friend William the park. Even though they are good friends,William and Logan are each other’s opposites. William is a calm and  reserved man who shows a lot of empathy towards the hosts. Logan is arrogant and has a cocky attitude. He doesn’t care about the feelings of the hosts at all. We rapidly empathize with William and classify him together with Dolores as the series’ male and female protagonists. 

+ Dolores’s quest has started! We feel that things are seriously going wrong. A voice in her head tells her to ‘remember something’. During the night, she goes to the ranch to retrieve a gun from under the sand. It’s obvious that she’ll use it rather soon than late and that utter chaos will erupt. We don’t know whose voice we’ve heard, so I’m eager to find out who’s instructing Dolores to go against her nature. Dolores has become an even more interesting character for me now. 

+ Maeve Millay gets a late but awesome introduction. She’s become the show’s favorite characters in an instant. We find out that this host, just like Dolores, is beginning to malfunction. She’s o the brink of being decommissioned, but the friendly Elsie Hughes made some smart alterations before that could happen. Maeve’s backstory is interesting and touching. We feel that she had a painful past and that her storyline crossed paths with the MiB. Why he came to seek her is still another mystery. 

Acting performances by: Jimmi Simpson (***), Clifton Collins Jr. (***), Evan Rachel Wood (***), Anthony Hopkins (***), Thandie Newton (****)

+ The Man in Black’s mission is getting a bit more interesting but is still VERY confusing. I like the new character, Lawrence and the two together made up for a nice duo! I have no idea where their characters are heading to and why the Man in Black has chosen for Lawrence. It seems that these two are familiar since the MiB visits the park for 30 years. The mystery is intriguing, but I hope that there’ll be more clarity in his storyline soon.  

+ Soundtrack was very good again. No outstanding tracks. 

+ An interesting ending to this episode which will lead to even more developments in the characters’ storylines. Dolores and William met each other and (obviously) a spark between them shot out. I’m curious to find out how to two will interact with each other. Can artificial intelligence truly fall in love with an actual human being and vice versa? We’ll discover that soon. The big ending was Ford’s new project which will involve a church. Is he going to introduce ‘a religion’ among the hosts? Or is he up to something entirely else? Fascinating theories are already going on! 

Negative

More mysteries… It’s piling up! Dolores’s character may have an interesting development up to now, but the mysteriousness about her character is really getting confusing. It’s interesting for sure, but I’m afraid to be disappointed because I have literally no idea where her character is heading to. Is Dolores becoming conscious just as Maeve? Or has she done something in the past that she wants to rediscover in the present? It’s difficult to handle all of this. The same goes for the MiB. I like the character and the actor but I no idea where they are going to with his character. Let’s hope for the best. 

Quarterman’s character is getting even worse. The acting, the character itself, his attitude, .. I just don’t like it at all. I’m not enjoying his presence on screen at all. Knudsen’s character has progressively gotten better, to be honest. Her relationship with Bernard is interesting and I like to find out how the others will react about that or if they keep it secret. Her acting skills have gotten better too.  

6. Dissonance Theory (Season 1, Episode 4): 86.76% 

Directed by Vicenzo Natali; Written by Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Nolan

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Logan wants to finish the bounty hunt and mocks William for bringing Dolores along. Meanwhile, the Man in Black is hunting snakes and finds Armistice with her snake tattoo. He breaks Hector out of prison for her, and she tells him that the tattoo represents all the men she has killed in revenge for the massacre of her village, and that the last piece will be for Wyatt. The Man in Black sets off after Wyatt, rescuing a tortured Teddy. Theresa takes over the investigation into the stray, not trusting Elsie and Bernard. She meets Ford about his new narrative, but he flaunts his power over Westworld and warns her not to interfere. Maeve is having visions of wiped memories, and during Hector and Armistice's attack on the townshe finds a bullet in her unscarred belly with Hector's assistance, proving that her visions are real. They kiss passionately as the sheriff bursts in and opens fire on them.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive

+ Dolores’s quest is becoming clearer. Her storyline is beginning to resemble that of the Man in Black’s: both are heading toward the same destination, the Maze. It’s obvious that the two will meet in the end, if their timelines aren’t different, though. I’m getting more convinced of the theory that the MiB = William, which would make sense if being true. Dolores relationship with William is another interesting aspect of the show. 

+ Maeve was, without a doubt, the best character of the episode. Her storyline is getting really intense, now that’s she starting to discover the truth behind her existence. I kind of feel sorry for her, knowing that she will  find out about her wretched life rather soon. Her scene with Hector Escaton was amazing and I like the chemistry the two hosts are having with each other. 

+ The Main in Black had some brilliant scenes this episode! To be honest, this was his best episode to date. Him meeting Armistice was cool. The backstory we got behind Armistice’s snake tattoo was a nice addition as well. We now understand her character much better than before. The MiB behaved like a real badass when he and Lawrence went to the prison to free Hector Escaton. I loved those scenes! His storyline has gotten more fascinating this episode. The next step in his quest is meeting Wyatt, who appears to be the great villain in multiple characters storylines (Teddy, Armistice). I can’t wait to meet the man in the show (if he exists at all). 

+ Oustanding soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi! The show brilliantly included ‘Carmen‘ from Bizet to mark Escaton’s surprise visit to Sweetwater. The way Armistice went out was awesome! The same can be said of Escaton and Millay. 

+ Overall pace and tone of the episode was great. There were a lot of great scenes (when it comes to acting, but also relating to storylines/character development). The episode didn’t bore me for one second. I’m really starting to relate to the characters. It feels like things are really getting set into motion now. 

+ In the beginning, I didn’t really like Theresa’s character. She seemed to be a bit dull and I wasn’t convinced by the actress portraying her. I have made up my mind, though. Her conversation with Dr. Ford was one of the show’s best scenes (regarding acting). Dr. Ford was terrifying and it is nice to see Theresa becoming the antagonist in Ford’s storyline. She would seem to be a nice villain and the acting performance of Knudsen was on point here. 

+ Acting performances by: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (***), Rodrigo Santoro (***), Sidse Babett Knudsen (***), Anthony Hopkins (***), Ed Harris (****), Thandie Newton (****)

Negative

– Even though I like Dolores’s quest, it’s getting forward incredibly slow. The character development is treated in a very careful way and piece-by-piece we are getting more information about her past and present. I don’t think we fully know Dolores’s character yet, which might be positive as we can expect an unexpected plot twist this way. On the other hand, it can annoy viewers because they have to put every piece in the correct way. It’s advisable to rewatch the past episodes to keep track of Dolores’s storyline, otherwise, it can become a real mess and the viewer doesn’t comprehend what’s actually going on. Doesn’t take away the fact that the show is very well-written. Maybe it’s a bit too complex? 

– Apart from the fact that Ben Barnes is doing a good job in playing Logan, I can’t really relate to the character. In my opinion, he’s becoming a ‘cliché’ villain in William’s storyline and we saw this one coming from miles afar. It’s obvious that the two will have a violent confrontation in future episodes. Therefore Logan’s character is a tad too predictable. 

5. The Original (Season 1, Episode 1) : 86,96% 

Directed by Jonathan Nolan; Written by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy
westworld-the-original.jpg
Teddy and Dolores, two romantically-linked robotic hosts of theme park Westworld, are attacked by the Man in Black, a mysterious human guest who is searching for a maze. When the hosts begin behaving strangely, Bernard traces the problem to errors in predecessor Dr. Ford's reverie code. Cullen orders Hector and Armistice's attack on the town brought forward to cover for the removal of all the affected hosts. Dolores' father Peter finds a photograph that a newcomer left behind and malfunctions. When Dr. Ford interrogates him, Peter quotes Shakespeare and vows revenge upon his creator. Peter is retired from service. Dolores is interrogated and found to be functioning normally. She is wiped and relives her day with a new father, but unknown to management breaks her programming to casually kill a fly.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive

+ Character introductions were good. We already sympathize with Dolores’s character. She seems to convey a strong message to the world. If her character is trustworthy is not so certain, by the end of the season’s premiere we found out that Dolores lied the whole time during the interview with Stubbs. It’s obvious that she’s up to something and we’ll get to know more about that as her storyline develops in future episodes. For now, she’s already one of my favorite characters in the show. Another interesting character is Anthony Hopkins’s ‘Dr. Ford‘. We don’t know if he’s one of the good guys, but I already like the grayness of his character. Just like in real life, the characters aren’t 100% good or evil but rather something in between. Although, we’re not so sure about the Man in Black… The MiB’s introduction was the best in ‘The Original’. He really seems to be a super bad guy who severely misuses his power in the park to treat the hosts as he likes. He definitely has something interesting on him. I love to see more of the Man in Black. Another great introduction is that of Hector Escaton and his companion Armistice. Both are very interesting characters. I only hope the show will expand their screen time! 

+ Outstanding soundtrack this episode! Worth mentioning: Ramin Djawadi’s version of ‘Paint it Black‘ along with Escaton’s introduction was a hell of a moment and set my expectations for the show quite high. 

+ Acting performances of the following actors: Evan Rachel Wood (***), James Marsden (***) Anthony Hopkins (***), Ed Harris (****), Louis Herthum (****) 

+ Symbolism: the meaning of the ‘fly’ through this episode: the fly represents ‘real life’, the host ‘artificial life’. In the beginning, we see how artificial life cannot kill any living creature. The last scene involves Dolores killing a fly so therefore being able to kill human guest which is a remarkable step forward in the overall storyline. ‘These violent ends have violent delights’: will this have a particular meaning after the last episode of season 1? The picture Peter Abernathy found doesn’t mean anything important now, but that might change in future episodes.

+ Decent pace. The central storylines are developing slowly, but that’s ok. There’s a lot to cover and we first have to be introduced to the characters. This episode was mainly a set-up and I expect things to actually take off in next week’s episode. 

+ Interesting setting. Beautiful landscapes. HBO lives up to its reputation! 

Negative 

–  Uninteresting characters include Lee Sizemore and Ashley Stubbs. I don’t really dislike Stubbs, but I don’t find him very interesting right now. Sizemore is an annoying and predictable character. He seems to be a bit antagonistic too. Maeve Millay and Theresa Cullen didn’t impress me, but I can’t jump to conclusions because they didn’t have much screen time up to now. 

A few bland acting performances: Luke Hemsworth (**), Simon Quarterman (*)

– Too much mystery behind the Man in Black’s motivations. This could all be part of the storytelling and I understand that. On the other hand, it could also cause a lot of confusion among the viewers. We don’t really understand why the Man in Black wants to find out about the Maze because we have no idea what the Maze is about. The writers of the show should have given us more information about this mystery. Now, we don’t really ‘care’ about this quest. 

4. Trompe L’œil (Season 1, Episode 7): 89,90%

Directed by Frederick E.O Toye; Written by Halley Gross & Jonathan Nolanwestworld0003.jpg
It is revealed that Theresa and Charlotte are both secretly stealing Dr. Ford and Bernard's research for the board so that they can oust Dr. Ford from the park without fear of him destroying his work in retribution. They engineer an event to demonstrate that Dr. Ford's updates make the hostsviolent and uncontrollable in their narratives. Bernard is blamed for theupdate of untested faulty code and is fired as result. William and Dolores grow closer; he realizes that the park is not meant to cater to a person's base desires, but to reveal their true character. The train is thenattacked by the Confederados, forcing William, Dolores, and Lawrence to flee. They are saved when the Confederados are ambushed by the Ghost Nation.They reach a canyon and part ways with Lawrence. Meanwhile super-intelligent Maeve finds Clementine retired by the staff. Maeve decides to use thetwo technicians and escape the park. Bernard takes Theresa to Sector17; inside a hidden lab she finds design plans that reveal Bernard is a host. Dr. Ford appears, reiterates to Theresa that he has complete control overthe park, regardless of what the board thinks, and instructs Bernard to murder Theresa.

Source: Wikipedia

Positive:

+ Westworld’s biggest WTF-moment yet: the revealing of Bernard’s artificial nature. The whole build-up to this moment was excellent. We had Theresa Cullen conspiring with Charlotte, but the whole thing backfired. The two messed with Clementine’s storyline in order to weaken Ford’s position. The first head to roll is Bernard’s. We see how annoyed Ford becomes when Theresa and Charlotte begin to corner him. And that’s when Ford becomes the most dangerous. Bernard lures Theresa into Ford’s trap. Theresa finds out that Bernard existence is a constructed lie by Ford to maintain control over Westworld. And that’s when Ford reveals himself. Bernard and Theresa are left confused, knowing that they had a genuine relationship with each other. Ford orders Bernard to finish off Theresa and to kill her in cold blood. The whole sequence is a masterpiece. 

Dolores and William’s relationship is interesting. I like to see how the love between a human and AI plays out. Both are having a fascinating arc right now. 

Introduction to the Ghost Nation and what they are capable of. The attack of the GN was interesting and provided for some action the show lacked up to now. I’d like to see even more of them. 

Poor Clementine’s fate. Clementine had her best storyline this episode, however it was a bit heartbreaking to be honest. Clementine is used as a tool to get Ford out of the control. She then gets decommissioned before the eyes of Maeve Millay, who gets emotional of seeing her only best friend biting the dust. 

+ OK to shorten Maeve’s storyline this week. We had a heavy-Maeve episode last week. It’s good to slow things down for her.

+ Good to leave out the Man in Black this episode. His arc got a bit too mysterious and complex for me. I didn’t mind that they didn’t show him this episode. Otherwise I had the feeling that they were dragging her story way too much. 

+ Acting perfomances by Angela Sarafyan (***), Sidse Babett Knudsen (****), Anthony Hopkins (****), Jeffrey Wright (****)

+ The breathtaking view when Dolores and William escaped the Conferados and Ghost Nation and stood on the top of the mountains. Wow! 

Negative

– Almost no development in Maeve’s storyline. Her scenes are getting somewhat repetitive. It would have been a better choice to leave her out completely and to focus more on Ford’s storyline. 

No decent resolution to Elsie’s storyline. Is she dead or did she survive? I hoped to get more answers this episode, but this did leave me behind unsatisfied.