We Need to Talk About Game of Thrones I Guess
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We Need to Talk About Game of Thrones I Guess

August 26, 2019

So, the Internet has lost its mind. I include myself in that description I cannot open my YouTube homepage
without a flood of angry Game of Thrones hot takes, and here I am a month late to
the conversation just adding to that deluge and I’m sorry but you know
sometimes you’ve got some feelings and you just… you just gotta monetize them. How did this cultural landmark one of the most popular television shows in
history critical darling and commercial success a show that unequivocally
changed the way television was made End in such a trash fire? it’s not like
there was a change in the creative heads the show runners were always the same
cast was almost uniformly the same so like, what the hell? So, this is yet another autopsy on what I think the hell happened and for the most part I’m going
to keep this to a discussion of the TV show we could get into discussions of
author intentionality and adaptation but I’m gonna stop you right there because I
don’t care this is an adaptation therefore every creative decision should
stand on its own regardless of whether it was in the books or not or how you
think George RR Martin is going to go with it whatever. Because the books
aren’t done yet. The show is. what your whingeing about.
I’m not whingeing.
Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something that’s whingeing. The most common talking point in the wake of the finale of Game of Thrones is that the writing
was bad so with the popular thing always comes controversy and Game of Thrones
was no exception from day one we had hot takes about its portrayal of gender
about its portrayal of race sexual violence exploitation you name it your
mileage may vary on how much you’re willing to put up with I was willing to
roll with the problematic elements you know not ignore them but accept them.
But the critique of sexism and racism in media is not not relevant
to the discussion of bad writing. When you default to stereotyping you’re being lazy
and thoughtless which generally makes for bad or at least uninteresting
writing dwarfs have mad hops for more on that see the Bright episode.
“Fairy lives don’t matter today.”
But at the same time no piece of media is ever going to be
ideologically pure and it’s unrealistic to expect that.
“Shame. Shame” Critics and fans alike have been discussing the problematic elements of Game of Thrones since the
day it debuted for some they were too much, and these people stopped watching. I know a lot of these people for others people
like me they digested it. Yep. Sansa’s getting raped and Theon has to watch but we accepted it and continued to
watch because hey surely this is leading up to something riveting or at least
poignant it’s not like critique of Game of
Thrones is anything new but it’s it’s different now before it was about like
how the thing is problematic. “We’re not attacking Kings Landing so that you can rape the Queen.”
“I’m not going to rape her I’m going to fuck her.”
Or when is it okay to have a rape scene. Now the discussion is more about like structure and planting
and payoff and character development and screenwriting and audience expectations
and subverting expectations. “Sir Bronn of the Blackwater, Lord of Highgarden, Lord paramount of the region, master of coin.” but there’s more to it than that in fan
culture in general especially for a long-running beloved series like Game of
Thrones we may eventually run into the which might make you defend a thing way
longer than you should have after all you’ve watched and re-watched all of the
seasons multiple times you have a dedicated Twitter account just for live
tweeting Game of Thrones yeah okay everyone can fast travel all of a sudden
when distance was a huge tactical consideration in early seasons but
whatever it’s fine I’m fine I’m sure this is because the story needs to head
somewhere important season seven wasn’t bad
they were just building up to something cool give them a chance. What I hear really often probably even more often than I don’t watch the show is I stopped
watching the show usually around season five when it really started to go off
the rails but either way don’t worry we’re going to do a quick recap for the
benefit of the people who stopped watching the show who never watched the
show and probably the people who everyone needs a quick recap anyway and
by quick I mean about half the runtime of this video and I’m also about to
steal a lot of jokes from Gay of Thrones so sorry Jonathan Van Ness you’re just
too difficult not to steal from strap in season 1 basically a murder mystery
surrounding the line of succession for the Iron Throne after the last hand of
the King dies. Hand of the king is basically like the Grand Vizier let’s say.
“She says Jon Arryn was murdered.” episode 1 ends with a child witnessing
some incest and Prince Charming from Shrek 2 aka brother D pushing the
child out of a window presumably to kill him but he fails the King asked Sean
Bean to be the new hand of the king after the old one dies mysteriously so
he goes to King’s Landing with his two daughters he engages daughter Sansa
to the evil Prince she’s thrilled but eventually Sean Bean discovers that
the prince is the incest bastard of Lena Headey and brother D.
“Robert Baratheon, black of hair Joffrey Baratheon, golden head.”
And not the legitimate son of the King, Bobby B. “You heard the hand, the king’s too fat for his armor. Go find the breastplate stretcher.” But Bobby B dies, Sean Bean gets beheaded, and a big ol’ war begins. Sean Bean’s people
fighting for independence, and everyone else fighting for the throne and also
Lord Life Alert over here is like hey I’m in the war too but nobody cares
daughter Sansa becomes a captive other daughter Arya escaped and is angry
meanwhile across the sea the deposed king’s daughter Daenerys gets married
off to this guy and raped but then her husband learns to respect her, and it’s fine. But oh no, he’s dead and but then she gets some
dragons and up north Jon Snow discovers some ice zombies.
Season two big ol’ war for succession Bobby B has two brothers, plus
inbread bastard King plus Sean Bean’s son and also Lord of the no one cares
islands is like hey I’m in the war too but nobody cares ending in a big battle
led by Peter Dinklage. Evil inbred bastard Kings side wins but Charles
Dance is the real power behind the throne and also the best character in
television history, do not @ me, he just is. Meanwhile Sean Bean’s people are
winning the war for independence and Sean Bean jr. is supposed to marry Lord
Life Alert’s daughter, but then he marries Oona Chaplin instead. Fun fact that’s
Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter. Up north more zombies. Season 3
no one is grateful to Peter Dinklage for his role in the big battle ah well he
gets to be secretary of the Treasury anyway Arya is still angry. Sansa is no
longer evil inbred bastard King’s fiancee, Natalie Dormer is Arya is kidnapped by
this guy he’s called the Hound don’t worry he’s great brother D had a
genuinely wonderful redemption arc with Captain Phasma seriously it’s some of
the best television in all of the television Sean Bean Junior’s campaign
is no longer going so well They plan to wed a different Lord to Lord
Life Alert’s daughter that Sean Bean Jr. was supposed to marry but instead the
wedding ends in a massacre and the whole family is slaughtered this is the
infamous red wedding the war for northern independence is over Across the sea, Daenerys has been using those dragons to “liberate” a bunch of slaves.
Season ends with her big white Savior moment. Season Four
Evil inbred bastard King is poisoned at his own wedding Peter Dinklage is
framed for it Sansa escapes to the north with the help
of totally trustworthy–You know what? I’m just going to steal another thing from Gay of
Thrones–vintage Alan Cumming. Doe-eyed inbred bastard King is now king Natalie
Dormer is engaged to him after a rigged trial Tyrion demands a trial by combat
which goes well for him until it doesn’t His Brother D sneaks him out of the
city, but not before he murders Charles Dance and also his girlfriend, but don’t
worry, he’s still totally sympathetic. Arya’s travel companion, The Hound loses
in battle to Captain Phasma. She escapes him and decides to leave the country to
go to assassin school up north there’s a battle between these people, who are
trying to escape the ice zombies and the border patrol Jon Snow is a part of
his love interest dies Daenerys conquers another slave city and decides to rule
it instead of coming to Westeros child who was pushed out of the window in
season one he’s like learning omniscient mind powers from Max von Sydow Season 5
Tyrion, with the help of lord Dr. Evil is running around Essos, trying to
find Daenerys. Cersei tries to exploit rising religious extremism in the
capital which oops really backfires on her once they find out about all those
inbred bastard kings there’s a really dumb subplot involving this guy’s people
that gets dropped the following season It’s awful. “You want a good girl, but you need a bad pussy.” Bobby B’s brother, the guy with the strongest claim to the throne
burns his daughter to death because he thinks that will give him some fire
magic to win a battle it doesn’t “Congratulations, you played yourself.” Arya goes to ninja school, decides it isn’t for her and leaves Daenerys is bad
at ruling a city whose culture she does not understand her dragons are unruly
she’s bad at everything eventually there’s a pro-slave rebellion. She almost
gets killed, but don’t worry, her main dragon saves her his name is drogon Jon
Snow tries to help the free folk they were battling in the previous season
because it turns out those ice zombies are raising an army of regular zombies
and the more dead bodies they have the bigger their army gets. His border patrol brothers stab him to death because they don’t like that he’s helping the
foreigners he’s dead Sansa–
“You’ve known Sansa since she was a girl. Now watch her become a woman.” So here is where we pretty much completely run out of books to adapt. Season Six
Jon Snow gets resurrected by the woman who talked Bobby B’s brother into
burning his daughter alive. Daenerys is captured by the people she married into
in season one and is forced into captivity with the other Khal widows but
manages to wow them all by murdering all of their kings with fire, but you know, she
herself is immune to being set on fire which means she’s the Khal now, because
that’s how their society works. So she reunites with her dragons and manages to
do one-two punch of liberating Meereen from the pro slave rebellion Lord of the
no one cares island gets thrown off a bridge by Hot Topic Pirate aka the worst character in the show. “And I’m going to galavant right over and give it to Daenerys
Targaryen along with my big cock.” Or possibly any show. Arya murders the
entire house of Lord Life Alert and then feeds them to him and then kills Lord
Life Alert. Tyrion becomes hand of the queen for some goddamn reason I don’t
know probably because he’s played by Peter Dinklage then it’s off to Westeros
for Dany and her entourage with the help of Lord No One Cares Island’s daughter
and the iron fleet, which I haven’t mentioned yet but they’re about to get
real frustrating Sansa escapes and reunites with Jon Snow.
They reclaim Winterfell for the Starks and feed…
“My hounds will never harm me.” “You haven’t fed them in seven days. You said it yourself.” to his dogs. It is an empowering feminist moment oh and Cersei blows up
the Vatican wipes out their religious extremists and her adversaries in the
aristocracy and parks herself at the balcony drinking wine where she will
stay for the next two seasons but not before her last child kills himself. Season Seven
Okay, it’s about to get really dumb.
“It’s a pretty song. I’ve never heard it before.”
“It’s a new one.”
Wee! Daenerys and Jon Snow have a meet-cute. “I mean no offense, your grace, but I don’t know you.” “In the time since he’s met me,
he’s refused to call me queen, he’s refused to bow, and now he’s calling me a
child.” “I believe he’s calling all of us children.” “Figure of speech.” They spend most of the season faffing around whether Jon Snow will bend the
“Bend the knee.”
“Bend the knee.” “Bend the knee.”
–on behalf of the North after he helps Dany take the throne, debate about whether or not to fight the
White Walkers or go after Cersei first Daenerys battles the Lannisters a bit,
Jon Snow and Daenerys **** and then, okay, this is where it gets really dumb. All right, so everyone is like, hey the big existential threat is the ice zombies
how do we convince Cersei to like stop fighting us so we can deal with the
existential zombie threat I know let’s send the Magnificent Seven north of the
wall to get like a sample zombie so they do that and it is the dumbest thing but
you like me are willing to give these showrunners the benefit of the doubt
like oh boy you know they’re just doing this dumb thing to get to the good stuff.
So they get stuck, and Bobby B’s bastard son has to go do it chariots of
fire and send a note to Daenerys to please come save us which she does
risking her life to do so but loses a goddamn dragon in the process but
whatever she saves their asses and it is here only after she risked her life and
lost a goddamn dragon that John is like okay I will bend the knee and Daenerys
is like okay well I already ate some humble pie to save you so I hope I am
worthy of this because I know this is a big deal not only for you but you know
for Humanity to you know survive so then they fast travel to King’s Landing and
show Cersei the zombie and they’re like trust us. I know this is just one, but
there’s a lot of these. And Cersei’s like oh okay truce and also I will send
soldiers to help you fight the ice zombies. But guess what, she’s lying!
“You pledged our forces to fight our common enemy.”
“I’ll say whatever I need to say to ensure the survival of our house.” And it is only then that brother D’s like, you know, I think I’ve had enough of your conniving and evil and blowing up St. Peter’s Basilica.
So this whole stupid subplot was not only a total waste of
time but they lost their resurrection expert and gave the Night King a goddamn
dragon in the process. Go team. Season 8 episode 1 everyone arrives at Winterfell
Cersei fucks hot-topic pirate the North is racist I guess episode 2 zombies are
coming oh no a lot of dialogue basically reads like a big send-off to all our
favorite characters this will go down in history as the last
decent episode of Game of Thrones and also a massive waste of time that gets
totally shat upon later. Oh, it also turns out that Jon Snow is not a bastard but is in fact the rightful heir to the throne. “My real name is Aegon Targaryen.” And also Daenerys’s nephew.
Weeeeeeeeeeeeee. Episode 3
The big battle. The biggest battle, which almost all of the major characters
survive and it is resolved when Arya stabs the main ice zombie, the Night King with a special blade, and then they do the fantasy trope thing of you know oh you killed the main
one the Eye of Sauron is exploded so all of the the orcs are dead now. So yeah, so
that that’s the end of that, I guess. No more ice zombies. Really. And we still
have three episodes to go. And they’re all 90 minutes each oh good
episode 4 I want to die time to head south and conquer Cersei only on the way
hot topic pirate shoots one of those indestructible dragons out of the sky
with TWO million-to-one shots from a mile away
which the dragons did not see also somehow they captured Daenerys’s
gal-pal but no one else, and guess what happens to her yep yep also everyone
kind of wants to do some treason on Daenerys for some reason even though she
has by this point done nothing wrong. “Have you considered the best ruler might
be someone who doesn’t want to rule?” “We’re discussing treason.”
She’s like a literal war hero, but Lord Dr. Evil’s like hmm I don’t know I was supporting her
for like half of the entire show but I got a hunch.
“He’s temperate and measured. He’s a man, which makes it more appealing to the Lords of Westeros.” episode 5 kill me time to invade King’s Landing but not before burning lord dr.
evil alive because he’s doing some treason. The invasion succeeds,
and it is absurdly one-sided and easy turns out it does not matter at all that
Daenerys lost half her forces or two of her dragons they invade the city in like
90 seconds and Tyrians like okay when they ring the bells–
“Ringing the bells.” “When the bells ring.”
“If the city surrenders, they will ring the bells and raise the gates.” “I’ve always hated the bells. They ring for horror. A dead King, a city under siege.” “They’re welcoming a new king.” “I’ve never known bells to mean surrender.”
“If the city surrenders they will ring the bells and raise the gates.”
And then the bells ring, and then Daenerys is like no I think I’m gonna go do some war
crimes and then like does 9/11 times 100 “9/11 times a hundred. Jesus, that’s…”
“Yes. 91 thousand 100.” Episode Six. I long for death. Triumph of the will shots all
around Danny does her big fascism speech and scary foreign language and Nazi
clothes The only non-white characters left
in the show are the people who are really into it.
Tyrion’s like, well, the madness has taken her we should probably put her down like
Old Yeller “It’s a terrible thing I’m asking. It’s also the right thing.” And Jon Snow, who has done nothing all season but say she’s my queen–
“She is my queen.”
–is like no, but then he goes and puts her down like Old Yeller
her one surviving dragon in a fit of rage burns not the person responsible
for her murder but the symbolism and then he flies away with her corpse there
is a trial in which the prisoner is allowed to nominate the new king which
no one has discussed in the intervening months apparently.
“And who has a better story than Bran the Broken?”
And yeah, the the omniscient guy ends up on the throne
and we get our John Hughes ending where the Kinslayer and the Queen Slayer just
gets to go up north to snowchela and and all of these people whose God Queen
has been murdered by this guy are like well okay I guess we’ll agree to
disagree and birthright monarchy is over we have aristocratic oligarchy now
instead, which is totally better. The end. so the ending was um was bad it was
quite bad but the ending was in fairness foreshadowed by other things being bad
so it’s not original of me to suggest that Game of Thrones took a sharp dive
in quality after season 4 some have blamed that on the show running out of
source material others have said as much as the lack of interesting new
characters as all your faves were rapidly dying off which they weren’t
really in the books whatever I’m not here for that
so what really changed well as I see it there were two main storytelling
component shifts one that characters let’s take for instance Tyrion who are
defined by their intelligence and ability to read the writing on the wall
as far as Westerosi politics go “My brother has his sword, and I have my mind. And a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” suddenly he had to
take a whole bunch of stupid pills in order for the plot to get where it
needed to be and number two where in earlier seasons the plot was highly
motivated by the social trends of its fictional world see the rise in
religious extremism in season 5 the show completely opted to ignore them in later
seasons because it was simply inconvenient to the plot.
Writer and researcher, Zeynep Tufekci, wrote a blog entry for Scientific American, in
which she posited that the shift lying in the fact the first few seasons were
dominated by sociologically driven storytelling ie characters responding to
a broad physical and social institution and that the latter seasons were driven
by psychologically driven storytelling as in driven by the characters
themselves and therefore we’re more in line with typical Hollywood storytelling
I half agree with this the show’s plot and point of view has always been
extremely character driven and always extremely in line with Hollywood’s
storytelling in that way the plot is driven by a few powerful people trying
to figure out how best to manipulate the society they lived in to their will. “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” But I will agree that earlier
seasons had the main characters making decisions less based on personal whims
and more in response to social trends We had war, politics, religion, and so on. But really where things fall apart can be
traced to one underlying main problem the showrunners had a destination in
mind and a set length of time to get there meaning they had to bend the
character actions and world around the destination rather than allowing the
characters in the world to reach the destination organically.
But the problem is the characters they wrote kind of developed a life of their own and the
characters in the show are not the same characters as the characters in the
books some see this clusterfuck as a problem of having a planned ending
although I personally think you always kind of need to have a good idea of
where you’re going in a series it’s just that whenever you’re working towards an
ending you kind of have to accept that you might not get there the way that you
think you will or in how long you think it will take. Right buddy? seems take time to write it 1,500 pages long some people can’t even read them So before we really get into where we got first let’s talk about how we got here so stop me if you’ve heard this about
Game of Thrones it’s fantasy for people who don’t like fantasy this was a
popular selling point in the press back in the show’s first few seasons and
given the different landscape of the time it’s easy to see why. Fantasy did
well in film, television not so much. When Game of Thrones debuted, prestige Soprano-style television that happened to also be genre fiction was mostly non-existent
and/or relegated to cable networks like SyFy then called the SCI FI channel. It
was a kind of thing that had a cult following on LiveJournal not the kind of
thing your cousin Brian who still tailgates at Penn State despite having
graduated a decade ago would have any interest in discussing at the family
reunion this dichotomy is of course complete nonsense
there isn’t anything appreciably non-fantasy about A Song of Ice and Fire
that sets it apart from the rest of the genre but try telling cousin Brian that
in 2010 but only nerds appreciate that kind of nuance so in order for a fantasy
show to be worth the time and interest of non-genre fans on a premium
subscription channel, it can’t just be regular fantasy with its you know
wizards of great import and prophecies and heroes what were destined No it had
to be hot fantasy that fucks the word of mouth narrative around the show quickly
devolved into a message of see how Game of Thrones subverts fantasy expectations
because we’ve never read a fantasy book besides Lord of the Rings before see
this isn’t your wide-eyed brotherhood of man too much hugging and forehead
kissing fantasy for nerds this is hardcore violent darkly cynical titty
besotted fantasy hot fantasy that fucks “Thank gods for Bessy and her tits.”
Game of Thrones also came about at the dawn of what has become to be known as the
golden age of television we could go on for a while as to the validity of this
label but for now let’s just take for granted that, yeah, sure this is the
golden age of television. Here we are this is it.
What does that mean? Broadly, the golden age of television is marked by a
period of serialized prestige drama that debatably began with The Sopranos and
has now become an oversaturated market with not only cable and premium channels
ie HBO and Showtime but with streaming venues themselves
less encumbered with budgetary constraints like Amazon and Netflix not
only piggybacking off of the success of premium cable but sometimes outshining
it we’ve hit a period of over saturation that is referred to by some as peak TV
and while that might lead to some truly excellent polished high budget art that
we’ve genuinely never seen before the push for networks is more to become
the next big thing so when you’re writing your series novel comic TV
whatever there are broadly two ways you can go about it you know the ending or
you don’t Breaking Bad is widely considered to
have one of the best most coherent most satisfying finales and all of prestige
television according to creator Vince Gilligan it was designed to be closed
ended and not have even the possibility of going on indefinitely it’s really
incumbent upon us to bring it to as satisfying a conclusion as possible and
the only way we’ll have a chance at doing that is to know exactly when it is
that we’re going to end and also to have that ending not be too far off in the
future on the other side of the coin you have shows like Dexter and Lost, where
the showrunners had no end game plan, and Lost is perhaps the most emblematic of
the problem of a concept with no end game in mind JJ Abrams is infamous for
his mystery box approach to storytelling that presenting an audience with a
tantalizing mystery let’s say about someone’s mysterious parentage–
“For my family. They’ll be back.”
–is a great way to keep them engaged, whether you know the solution to that mystery or not but
planned finales can also create problems Vox writer, Emily VanDerWerff, wrote about
the danger of planned finales in the wake of Game of Thrones she points to
Breaking Bad as an example of a show that found a way to thread the needle of
planned finale with the organic storytelling that comes with television
and after Gilligan and company meticulously plotted season 2 they more
or less plotted the rest of the show on the fly.
According to VanDerWerff, “This is the paradox of TV you’d think that having a
satisfying ending would require having a rock-solid plan to get to that ending
but the opposite is often true because the more you know about how
a story is going to play out in the macro the more the micro just becomes a
series of items checked off a list.” knowing the goal you are working towards
is great but only if you leave room for the fact that characters and the
relationships can change during the life of the show even if you totally know
where the show is going so with Game of Thrones that was a benefit and a
handicap the showrunners knew where they were going, even if the actors didn’t. “Jon’s eyes open as well, already filling with tears for a moment neither movies as if
moving will make this real we see John with his hands still on the hilt of the
dagger he just lodged in Dany’s heart her strength leaves her and she
collapses to the marble he keeps her in his arms and she falls.”
“And then raises his sword to strike, but something is hurtling toward him out of the dark.” “Standing before the iron throne Dany steps forward and they plunge their
knives into him he takes more punishment than Hodor took at the door then Barret
took in the gray–”
And in broad strokes, I don’t doubt that where D&D ended up was
where Martin intended to go however they create big problems in that taking
shortcuts making character changes and cutting certain characters and subplots
altogether they’ve written a different story to the one that Martin wrote their
characters are different characters than the ones Martin was writing Cersei is
different Daenerys is different Tyrion is way different. Damn you, Peter Dinklage
for just being so ding dang dong charismatic and handsome we can’t make him the bad guy who cares
if he strangled his lover in a jealous rage
or in self-defense as it is in the show I guess that’s what we’re going with. “I’m sorry.” Yeah see, the way this arc played out was a red flag. This scene makes no
sense given how both Tyrion and Shae evolved away from their characterization
in the book. “I am yours and you are mine.” while still getting their book ending so
the showrunners were given a destination but when the show they wrote in the
characters they created kind of went in directions that did not work with that
predetermined destination or at least we’re going to have to take a very
different way to get there who cares let’s do it anyway so no discussion
about prestige television is complete without a talk about The Sopranos, and
this will spoil how The Sopranos ends, so fair warning. “You know, I still have people asking me what the hell was that last episode? Like…” The Sopranos begin the era of prestige
television drama in earnest like Game of Thrones it was a massive
critical darling and commercial success out of the gate so like Game of Thrones
when The Sopranos ended after six seasons there was a lot of buildup for
how it would end Would one of Tony’s many enemies gun
him down? Would he slaughter all of his enemies in some Pyrrhic victory how
would his relationship with dr. Melfi play out would he walk away from the
life altogether we get answers to some of these questions. Dr. Melfi cuts him
off when she realizes Tony is a lost cause and Tony does not walk away from
the life the final scene in the show takes place at a diner where Tony is
scheduled to meet his family for a regular dinner
Carmela shows up his daughter has some difficulty parking. But then we notice
that several of the other patrons in the diner are acting kind of suspicious and
giving Tony the side-eye. Journey’s Don’t stop believin increases in volume to the
point that it’s almost overwhelming there’s this really dissonant dark
comedic tone the scene is building and building in tension and then…. it cuts to black, and that is the end of The Sopranos and as with Game of Thrones 12
years later people lost their shit made a lot of people angry creator David
Chase knew how it was going to end for a while saying no one was trying to be
audacious honest to god we did what we thought we had to do no one was trying
to blow people’s minds or thinking wow this will piss him off people get the
impression that you’re trying to fuck with them and it’s not true.” I actually really liked the ending of The Sopranos. I think it works both thematically and
dramatically. Tony might have died in the moment it cut to black or he may just
have had a boring dinner but as long as he’s stuck in that life he’ll always be
living on a knife’s edge. “Would I have done anything differently with the ending of the show? I don’t think so.” But The Sopranos set the stage for memorable
endings and another lesson was learned here the wrong one in my opinion a
memorable even controversial ending is the same as a good one. Fan service also merits discussion here because fans in recent years have had a much more active
role in shaping media typically the longer a thing goes the more fan service
gets jammed in to keep people engaged and not all fan service is bad one of
the positive changes from the books is the fight between Brienne and the Hound
in season four “You’re the wrong one to watch over her.” “That’s what you’re doing? Watching over her?” “Aye, that’s what I’m doing.” in the book The
Hound goes down from blood poisoning from a stupid wound he gets in a bar fight but in the show you have two characters
you both care about fighting over Arya to the death? Like, I want them both to wi–No! No, my children! I’m screaming. So… Cleganebowl. At best, Cleganebowl is/was a fan theory that combined both book and TV lore a lot
of internet meme culture and the burning desire to see this giant man kick the
ass of this other giant man and a revenge fight so epic that it would rock
the foundations of Westeros itself. “You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”
Get hype. See, the Hound looks the way he does and is afraid of fire because his
brother the mountain shoved his face into a fire when they were kids and ever
since then he’s wanted him some revenge for that and some other things all about
that revenge just really really hates that mountain that rides. Hates him.
“My brother’s alive.”
Hates him, the Hound. “We come across my brother, maybe we can both cross a name off a list.”
Wants revenge and well yeah the meme itself was a lot
of fun and we got hype and everything, as a dramatic plot point it’s um it’s
really fucking dumb one not only is the mountain functionally dead by this point
like Oberyn Martell killed him and what we have now is basically just a
mindless zombie that does whatever Cersei says. But two, the books make it
pretty clear that Sandor is finally at peace with himself and his need for revenge.
“If the gods are real, why haven’t they punished me?”
“They have.”
Revenge being mistaken for justice is a big thing in the books and we will get to that later
his arc wasn’t about getting revenge it was about moving past that in the show, I…
“You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane. It’s not too late
for you.”
“Never too late to stop robbing people to stop killing people start
helping people never too late to come back.” One season later “You know is coming for you. You’ve always known.” One season later Who was forcing you to do this? He’s like a zo– he’s dead he’s a shell he’s a zombie
Cleganebowl happens while Daenerys is doing some war crimes and King’s Landing
is burning they’re fighting for nothing the hound has long since moved on this
has not been his motivation for a while Gregor is an empty zombie shell and the
world is ending outside and everyone here is about to die anyway so who cares
The Hound isn’t even fighting for Arya he’s not protecting anyone “Look at me. Look at me! You want to be like me?” You two rode a thousand miles on horseback
together and you only now decide to have this conversation? “Go home, girl. The fire’ll get her or one of the Dothraki.” Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Also Arya murdered all of House Lord
Life Alert and baked them into pies and fed them to their father. I’m pretty sure
her revenge quest is shot the moon in comparison to yours, sir. “I’m no sir.” So Cleganebowl had no reason to exist other than the concept becoming mimetic
on a god tier level “Yeah. That’s you.” “That’s what you’ve always been.” fanservice also comes with the
double-edged sword of in this case the show’s self-imposed burden of needing to
be smarter than the fans which becomes harder and harder in a world with
massive subreddits dedicated to theorizing about the thing in incredible
detail so somewhere along the lines, subverting expectation stopped being a
thing one did because it benefited the story and more a thing one did because,
well… “We hoped to kind of avoid the expected.”
“She seemed like the best candidate provided we weren’t thinking about her in that moment.” this isn’t necessarily unique to Game of Thrones Westworld creator and showrunner
Jonathan Nolan admitted that an episode from season two had to be rewritten
after reddit fans guessed a major upcoming twist reddit has already
figured out the third episode twist said Nolan so we’re changing that right now
it’s annoying sometimes when people guess the twists and then blog about it
you can’t complain when people are that engaged,” he added. “It’s very gratifying,
but stop doing it please.” I can’t help but think that fans should be allowed to,
like, gather in groups online and theorize and have fun without networks
like watching in and going oh no they figured us out we better go change the
show because we only exist to outsmart reddit like you don’t have to be
unexpected for the sake of being unexpected. But when your show is kind of
known for that…
“We hope to kind of avoid the expected.”
“These people have guessed the secret that I’m gonna reveal in book 6. People have already guessed that here,
and book 2 is just out. You really have two choices there you can ignore it and
proceed with your plan despite the fact that some people know where you’re going,
or you can get all panicky and say, oh my god they figured it out I can’t let that
be I’ll have to change it I’ll have to go in a different direction. And I think
some writers do that, and I think that’s always a mistake.”
“You know, if you’ve planned your book that the butler did it and then you read on the Internet someone
has figured out that the butler did it, and you suddenly change in midstream and
it was the chambermaid who did it then you screw up the whole book.”
So, I’m not saying that Benioff and DB Weiss were writing the
show with the intention of both indulging in fanservice while also
avoiding correct fan theories I’m just saying this culture inevitably
influences and infiltrates the writing of a show that was already handicapping
itself by limiting its runtime for no reason except that you’re really over
the show that made you famous and you got a Star War you need to go ruin–I mean, make.
“Why is it ending?” “I don’t know. Ask Dave and Dan when they come through. We could have gone to eleven twelve thirteen seasons but they I guess they wanted a life.”
The journalist who reported that quote from Benioff
diplomatically described his reaction to it as frustrated in hindsight that’s a
bit of an understatement seeing as any thematic coherence in the series
fell apart after Martin stopped being actively involved in the production
after wouldn’t you know season four what are the odds but to me it betrays a
certain lack of curiosity on the part of Benioff and Weiss and it makes me wonder
why are they even dedicating their lives to storytelling if they are so
uninterested in themes especially given that they adapted a book that was so heavy with them.
“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Stories. There’s nothing in the world
more powerful than a good story.” Yeah, so this series functionally ends with these
two chucklefucks like fetishizing storytellers as the most important
people to ever exist but yeah themes are for eighth grade book reports we want to
avoid the expected because that means it’s bad. Okay. “And who has a better story than Bran the Broken?” Aggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! So you might be asking did you really just spend 45 minutes whinging?
“I’m not whinging.” “Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something. That’s whinging.” And you didn’t even get into any specifics? Yep. yeah we got about 10,000 words worth of
our whinging.
“That’s whinging.” In our Google Doc before we realized that this
was this is gonna be two-parter yep it’s two-parter sorry and this part is the
sponsored part are you interested in thematic coherence? Do you have a book
report you need to write? Are you in the 8th grade
don’t have time to read the Song of Ice and Fire well why not listen to it using
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like Game of Thrones is 33 hours long and that’s a lot–to which I say, the first
book I recommended for audible was Disney War and that sucker is three
hours longer and it’s also 33% shorter if you listen to it at 1.5 times speed
like I do right now I’m listening to the Hugo nominees for best novel if you
didn’t hear Angelina and I are actually nominated for a Hugo this year for our
Hobbit duology hey I might get to meet George RR Martin at his losers party.
Oh no. I’m going to let best-selling author John Green deliver the URL information
for how you could start listening with the 30-day trial and your first
audiobook is free you can go to audible.com/LindsayEllis that’s
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and an I, two L’s and an S to 500500 and get your first audio book free I’m glad they let me keep the same URL

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  1. Glad I never watched the show. Got sick and tired of people telling me how great it is and to watch it. Well look how that turned out lol

  2. How I Met Your Mother is a good example of a bad ending bc the show committed to an outcome in season 1 that didn't end up fitting.

  3. I debate the point GoT wasn't different. I remember reading Game of Thrones when I was 16 and it was a revelation and going, oh hold on fantasy of this type can actually be really amazing. It kind of ruined most fantasy for me and I'd read hundreds of shit fantasy novels by that point.

    Now much much older I realise there is really good fantasy out there and since 2000 a huge amount of great fantasy has come on the scene. But late 90s early/00s teenage me discovered very little of it devouring fantasy books in the libraries and bookshops I had available to me. But there really is not a huge amount compared to say, great sci-fi. Most of the most popular fantasy novels for adults in the post ww2 era were Tolkien/ Tolkien-esque bollocks. It's not the violence, sex or whatever it's the blandness of the prose, the tediously generic nature of everything and just the paucity of ambition of most fantasy writers that gives people that impression.

    I think the best comparison is to compare the ASOIF books to The Wheel of Time books which were the biggest fantasy books of the 90s before Game of Thrones. Cause the difference is night and day.

    Also less so now but historically the really interesting ones, the Gormenghast books for example, were usually considered apart from the fantasy genre.

  4. I just spent the whole afternoon reading MrBtongue's extended game of thrones complaining, he said that the GoT would end up being hated before the last season was over after season 6. Honestly I skipped s5 and s6 only returned for the last 2 seasons so I actually never seen more than few scenes of the Dorne plot. I ragequit after Selmy pointless death.

  5. The reactions from the cast as things were read out…

     None of them looked happy at how things were to play out (and who could blame them, those poor souls!)

  6. Yea, i watched the series, after reading the books…. liked it…then the last two train wrecks of season 7 and 8 happened… then I watched to see just how bad it would get…. oh my!

  7. Contents!
    i – writing bad : 2:05
    ii – sunk cost fallacy : 4:21
    iii – show summary/ re-cap : 5:36
    iv – story telling shift : 20:53
    v – "fantasy for people who don't like fantasy" : 23:45
    vi – the planned ending : 26:49
    vii – fan service : 33:00
    viii – subverting expectations/ a need to be smarter than the audience : 37:26

  8. Seasons 1-4 (when Dumb and Dumber had the books as source material): characters, driven by a combination of circumstances and personal psychological factors, drove the story.

    Season 8: the characters are moronic meat puppets who do whatever the preconceived plot requires of them, whether it makes sense or not.

  9. That Youtube feature to translate titles and descriptions for an English video is SO DUMB! Holy crap! They should demonetize less and concentrate of getting their s**t together.

  10. Read all the books before the show came out and I genuinely could not sit through the show that followed the books because it was so dumbed down and hollywood/american-ised. I started watching after they passed the books and I hated it. Literally the worst written characters and plot ever. I felt bad for the actors, especially Emilia. No matter what dany's character did it was wrong, they wrote her into a corner and it was shite. Also the whole Jaime thing.. ugh. /rant over

  11. "Themes are for eight grade book reports" is what I'd expect to be slurred out by a very drunk former Star Trek writer at a local Comic-Con after one too many nerd questions. IT is not what you want to hear from a man whose being paid 10's of millions to adapt GRRM's ASOIAF. Themes are for the great stories, the epics with worlds and characters so magically complex they enable the readers to explore seemingly unrelated concepts in their own lives and consider contemporary issues in new ways. Herbert's Dune Series, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion, Asimov's Foundation Trilogy are all examples of the great works of fantasy which do this well.

  12. 9-11 x 2,356 more like it. Also, why does dragon fire not harm the Night King, but a dragon bone / Valyrian steel dagger does? That show was hot garbage. Read the books, people.

  13. OMG you are awesome! Yes, we are winging about the writing. I think fans have angered the movie gods. And in hindsight, the Dothraki were right to fear crossing the Narrow sea….

  14. "What I hear often [….] 'I stopped watching the show' usually around season 5….
    That's exactly the point where I stopped watching. Season 5 episode 5 was the last episode I watched. Like if you did too at season 5.
    Or don't….If you think that this is click-bait.

  15. Ho do you plan an ending without spoiling the books ending, when both should have the same ending ? Easy:
    1. You make an ending that is not the end…more like an intermediate point;
    2. You make an ending that is not the books ending…
    3. You make an ending in which the events are shown from one (narrow) POV. Then in the books, you present the other (wider) POV. So, same events – different POVs.
    4. You make an ending… well, a combination of all of the above.

  16. As much as I enjoy being surprised by a plot, I also love theorizing about something I love and finding out I'm right. What's the point of doing that if I know by saying it it might literally change it

  17. Another good example of where a planned ending failed was the How I Met Your Mother finale. Clearly they knew how the story would end from season 1 but their characters evolved in a way that didn’t align with the original ending. Resulting in a disastrous conclusion 🤦🏾‍♀️

  18. Shae testified against Tyrion knowing he would die for it, nevermind the "disloyalty". Had that coming a mile away 😀

  19. One observation I feel compelled to point out, because it was one of the ( sadly rare ) instances where the show didn't have book material to reference and chose to handle a situation in a way I liked, was Stannis's sacrificing Shirene. Not that he chose to sacrifice her, that's of course horrible, but the fact that he chose to do a horrible thing that was a progression of the horrible things he'd been doing all along, but there were some actual repercussions to it. This is contrary to your example of Cersei blowing up the Vatican and there being no real consequence. ( I agreed with that, it drove me nuts )

    Shirene I thought though was an example of a monstrous act with a direct consequence. So magic lady tells Bobby B's brother ( I'm borrowing that because it's gold ), to burn your daughter because it'll melt the snows. And that's exactly what happens, he burns Shirene, boom, they're no longer trapped. The real consequence though is to a lesser extent Stannis's wife killing herself ( But let's be real she was A) The worst and B) Stannis never cared much about her anyway ), and to a greater extent, the bulk of Stannis's army deserting him and making the forthcoming battle all but impossible.

    So, yeah, thoughts. Stopping here before I keep going. ( Sorry I never reply to Youtube videos ) Really enjoy your work!

  20. If you like this, check out Lindsay's take on what the hell happened to the Hobbit: "The Hobbit, a Long-Expected Autopsy." Brilliant analysis, as usual, maybe her best work, though her final take on GOT ("Dragon Lady Bad") is up there.

  21. Yup. I don't think having a set ending was bad, I think the problem was they "kind of forgot about" the set ending and wrote a completely different show for several seasons and then only gave themselves a couple episodes to suddenly veer into the set ending.

  22. Even if I could agree with Bran being chosen king (and I don't), there is no way he should have gained six of the seven kingdoms.

    First, the North has the only significant fighting force left in Westeros, unless we assume the Dothraki and/or Unsullied plan to conquer Westeros for themselves (or serve Bran or another lord). Given the family ties between the North, Riverrun, and the Vale, the only reasonable possibilities were Sansa becoming Queen of the North or claiming the Iron Throne herself. I'm not sure Jon could challenge Sansa anymore for the loyalty of the North.

    Dorne suffered little from the war and were far to the south. Who had the strength or desire to tackle the "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" people of Dorne? The Kingdom of Dorne would have demanded independence, just like the North.

    What about the Iron Isles? The Iron-born should have left as well. They no longer had much in the way of fighting men, but they had the only remaining navy. Who is going to waste labor and resources to build a navy just to keep the Kraken in the fold?

    Each of these three kingdoms had a proud history of independence. They would not stay on bent knees when there was no power remaining to hold them down.

    What a flawed ending.

  23. I love how you're ashamed of doing a commercial in the end. You're dying of shame and self-hatred and it's kind of satisfying to watch for some reason.

  24. o personally think house md had one go the best endings characters held true to the end and stayed creative while remaining believable without giving into spectacle or failing to wrap up satisfyingly

  25. I mean if someone guesses your twist, doesnt that make it a good twist? Because it makes enough sense and was properly foreshadowed enough for someone to come to the conclusion of it happening?

  26. I am so happy watching all these video reviews of movies and shows I have zero interest in watching because they are tedious balderdash. I can understand some of the cultural and social impact of these stories without having to endure them. Thank you!

  27. Lindsay I love watching your videos, so much so that you are the reason I turned off ad-block on Youtube. I want to support all the hard work you clearly put in to your amazing content! IDK if this is relevant/important/useful/necessary but I noticed you don't put mid-roll ads on your videos. Especially if they're as long as your Game of Thrones ones (or pretty much any of the ones you make these days) I would be more than fine sitting through mid-roll ads 🙂 You are one of my favorite creators on the internet and I want to support your awesome work!! I hope this doesn't come off as preachy or obnoxious unsolicited advice. If you don't want to do mid-roll ads then good for you! I just want you to know you have a fan-base who supports you and wants you to be able to support yourself lol

  28. I think if the fans can guess the ending, that doesn't mean the writing was bad or the ending now needs to be changed. I think it's actually good to have some quality foreshadowing.

  29. You can really see where the series went to trash. No build up to pay off, no twists and shocking turns. Just drama. It all became "fuck you I'm the best," let me kill everyone I hate-drama. I can't believe they killed Natalie Dormer like wtf. Best character.

  30. I know its been a month but just…the thing that gets me is that John STILL wasn't the legitimate heir over Daenerys. Rhaegar never ascended to the throne because he died before the Mad King…which means the line of succession would run through the rest of the Mad Kings kids FIRST before going to Rhaegar's kids.

  31. so, just finished viewing her review of the series – why were people so enthralled? are audiences really that desperate for wanton sex and violence?

  32. Heh. Lindsay, I agree with you and I don’t. Yes, I don’t feel you’re giving the writers enough credit, but your delivery is, and forever shall be, a delight. Please keep going and know that you’re doing wonderful work.

  33. It is possible for Robert to be Joffreys son. Robert has black hair because black hair is a dominant gene: B. This means it’s possible that Robert could have a blond gene: b. Though it’s unlikely that Joffrey, Marcela, and tommen got Roberts blond gene, it’s still possible. There is 50% chance for each child to be blond. But we don’t know if Robert had a b gene in the first place.

    bb= Bb, Bb, bb, bb

  34. Not that it matters to anyone here, but Lost had an endgame planned. Your confusing JJ Abrams—who had little to do with the overarching story of the series—with the showrunners Cuse and Lindelof who have said they had a beginning, middle and end of the show. They talked about this a lot. They negotiated with ABC in Season 3 and told them they wanted the show to have a finite lifespan, just like the other shows you praise. The quality of the show actually dipped there in the first half of Season 3 because they were basically treading water. When ABC let the showrunners finally begin to move the story to the end they wanted, the show again became one of the best things on television and it remained that way. You know, Lost was fantastic and it ended fantastically. It was nothing like the clusterfuck of the last half of GoT. Season Six of Lost was completely consistent with the themes and characters established and brought the show to an immensely satisfying conclusion. The mythos of the island was steadily revealed without losing all of its mystery and power because the show remained true to what it established in the very first shot of the show: we are experiencing everything from the limited POV of the characters. Anyway, just wanted to say that because people seem to be dumping on Lost and Sopranos in these hot takes when they were not anything like the failure of GoT which wasn’t a show that was great until the last episode. It’s been declining and declining for years.

  35. Season 4 is where GOT started to go wrong in my eyes. I never saw Tyrion as a murderer, least of all his own father, no matter how hurt he was. I also thought it interestingly convenient that of all the women to choose from in KL, Tyrions father (im blanking on his name) just so happens to pick the one Tyrion loves?? And this was supposed to be an accident or on purpose, I cant remember?? Either way its a bullshit and silly writing decision as it had no purpose other then sending Tyrion into such a rage that clearly he must now murder the both of them. Thats not who he is, regardless of how much pain he's in.

    So from that point forward (besides the RW) is when I mostly checked out of GOT, tho I continued watching thru season 6 (but no further HELL no), as those things started to creep in and the quality slowly but surely went down overall from there.

    And the general killing his OWN DAUGHTER that hes proven he loved (who of course was a sweet innocent angel how the more horrifying) just cause his sexy mystery magic woman who he wants to bang says so. Again, the man is not a maniac, and I dont care how fucking persuasive she is. That's nonsense. I guess the show felt we all had snuff film dreams and what better ways to satisfy them huh???

    You know, if GOT just concentrated on quality storytelling and limited the pointless murders of characters we'd all grown to love (other than Ramsay), it would have been just as good, just as compelling hell, much more so. Sad that it always had to take the "shocking" way out. Those are such copouts.

    (I never followed the books so I dont know if any of these events transpired as shown on TV in the books.)

  36. “Hot fantasy that fucks…” Yes, that is very accurate! It pretty much sums up what in my mind has always been wrong with this show…I personally didn’t like this adaptation of song of ice and fire because of that reason. Especially in the early seasons the show seemed so focused on being edgy, and showing a lot of needlessly explicit sex scenes and edgy dialogue scenes… Unfortunately this also means that a lot of actual backstory and lore from the books never found their way into the series either. Kind of a shame, since that lore is very mysterious and interesting.

  37. The best part was someone had leaked the plot for the entire 8th season and the leak was pretty accurate too. So they didn't even surprise anyone with their subverting expectations bullshit.


    I HATE when writers just have to EDGY, RAD and "avant-garde". JUST WRITE AND SHOW THE SCENE YOU FUCKING JACKOFFS. The Sopranos ending would have been no doubt great if it wasn't for the fade. JUST SHOOT THE ENTIRE FUCKING SCENE YOU FAGGOTS, STOP BEING BEYOND FUCKING RETARDED.

    That was SO PATHETICALLY a slap in the face to an entire fandom in the gayest of faggotry desires to be "different" and SO! ARTY! Its just stupid. I dont care how you try to dress it up, its contrived and above all, dumb. Its not edgy, its not sUbvErTinG ExPeCtAtiOnS so bring on those emmys!, its LAME. Its like what a high school film student would do for effect. The fact these fools actually even thought and framed it as a choice only LEET screenwriters would even conceive of made me want to beat the shit out of them.

    All they had to do was finish the scene, just show whatever they wanted to show, and it would have been legendary. The Sopranos head writers deserved to bitch slapped into next year for that painful fifth-rate amateurish nonsense. I don't give a FUCK what we're supposed to presume IM NOT HERE TO PLAY A MOTHERFUCKING GUESSING GAME! IM HERE TO SEE A STORY, NOT PLAY FILL IN THE GODDAMN FUCKING BLANKS! AND YOU CANT VERY WELL SEE WHATS HAPPENING IF THEY CUT THE SCREEN OFF ON ARTISTIC (COUGH, HEAVE) PURPOSE. Goddamn fame had gone to those goddamn fools' minds. Morons. They deserved ALL the backlash they got for that.

  39. Poor GRRM. Never should have let D&D take over. They were just fucking worthless pieces of shit and complete hacks. I hope they live a miserable and frustrating life from now on. Now they are going to destroy something that was once scared and already shit all over by Disney. Nice. Things just keep getting better. Letting these two pros touch SW is like letting a convicted child molester open a daycare. Because clearly, they are so qualified and deserving.

  40. My ex best friend actually loved S8 and S7 more than previous seasons. She didn't like S3 and S4 and I was like… wtf.

  41. 23:34 lmao, where is that bit with George RR Martin refusing to read to that crying child from?
    Edit: Nvmd, just saw the watermark. It's from FunnyOrDie.

  42. 35:47, I would've loved to have seen where Sandor's life in the village had went had it not been sacked. That would've been just a lovely character arc for someone who was so hate filled and nihilistic at the start.

  43. At like 37 minutes, there was a sudden scream for absolutely no discernible reason and I cannot determine what the fuck that was about lol great video

  44. I think Hollyweird and its weirdos are no longer interested in entertaining. They want to outsmart their audience, "subvert" their "expectations" and actively resist giving the audience ANYTHING it wants. It's snobbery. It's a world view of audience as deplorables. It's: I'm better than you and deserve the $250 million Netflix is giving me to come up with a show as popular as GOT despite having destroying GOT. We live in the age of elite wannabees, from entertainment to politics to daily life ("I paid $30 for this bottle of olive oil").

  45. I wonder if the last couple of seasons were shat out with the aid of a laxative since George R.R. Martin hasn't had inspiration to write the series since 2011 but they still needed to wrap it up somehow.

    Also I'd never heard of the pitch "fantasy for people who don't like fantasy," but then again I showed up a couple years late to watching. That line immediately turns me off if you're talking about a TV show, because that tells me it's going to be like every other TV show out there during this "Golden Age"……. Y'know, historians name eras after their end for a reason.

  46. The book was successful so they stretched it out to a series which forced the plot to get stretched and stuff added until it lost cohesion. The TV show was that but without writing talent.

  47. @Lindsay Ellis 17:12 Million-To-One shot against a dragon – Were you referencing "Guards! Guards!" by Terry Pratchett here?

  48. Sorry, I can't deal with the fact that Varys and Daenerys died and f**king Bronn, not only he lived in the end, but he become Lord of the Reach. How that crap have any sense at all?
    F**K YOU D&D!!

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