Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 4: Throwing Spears At Scorpion-Covered Heads

A weekly conversation between an avid Game of Thrones fan, and someone who has actively avoided it until now.

Haley Cullingham is a senior editor at Hazlitt and Strange Light, and an editor-at-large for...

Scaachi Koul is a senior culture writer at BuzzFeed News and the author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter....

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Haley: No. “Boobs: A History of Boobs” deserves better than this.

Scaachi: I am very interested in Queen Braids these days, and her various nefarious efforts against her elf-like daughter-in-law. Who I am not and will never be interested in is Jon Snow, who is presented with a pretty spectacular set and somehow manages to eke out, “Mm, no sorry, I dated a dead girl and now I can’t.”


Haley: Yeah, Best Boobs of the episode to Melisandre. But I am shocked that Cersei is what you want to talk about! THE SAND SNAKES, SCAACHI! Throwin’ spears at scorpion-covered heads!

Scaachi: Oh yeah, what was that!? (I also found it very funny that this lady literally said, “you can pick war or peace” and everyone was like, “YEAH WAR.”)

Haley: So, the Sand Snakes are the (illegitimate, but that matters less in Dorne) warrior daughters of a beloved character who got his head popped like a rogue balloon last season while trying to avenge his dead sister. Now, his lover has rallied his kids to murder (I think?) Cersei’s daughter in REVENGE. Or maybe just kidnap her. But, based on the spear-throwing, I’m going with murder. So, while Jaime is scuttling around Dorne trying to avoid starting a war, these ladies are deliberately gunning (non-canon pun for ya!) for one.

Scaachi: Here’s a question: is this show “good?” Like, how will it be remembered years down the line? Will it be considered one of those shows you HAVE to watch, the way people talk about The Wire, or will it be a show that people feel strongly about, one way or another, like The Sopranos, or will it be like Battlestar Galactica, another show that I do not care about but A BUNCH OF PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT.

I am always interested in the legacy of a show, particularly since now that legacy can start immediately after the first season because Internet Is Forever.

Haley: Yes, this is a very interesting question! I would say none of the above. It’s too uneven to end up like The Wire, (that “You know nothing, Jon Snow” moment was painfully bad), and I think the legacy of Battlestar Galactica is very much about a group of people feeling as though everyone should love this thing that not very many people have heard of, and GoT is everywhere. And I don’t think it will ever be considered as seminal as The Sopranos. I think, ultimately, it’s a little like Lost, in that its legacy will depend on how well it can write its way out of this whole mess. And, now that it’s moving away from the source material, I think it will become easier to make comparisons to other shows like the ones you mentioned, because it has to stand on its own two feet more these days.

Scaachi: Well, do the books end in a way that you think will be satisfying for the series? I’m not entirely sure how close to the source material GoT is, but it seems people like the book more than the show (which can be said about almost any adaptation, I guess).



Haley: Yes. This is your life now.

Scaachi: I think something I struggle with in this show is how everyone’s motives for nearly everything is “revenge.” My name is Bad Hair; you killed my father; etc., etc. How does a show where the basic motivation is “WELL YOU DID IT FIRST!” sustain itself?

Haley: Yeah, I agree with you. The books are able to create complexity to match all of that tension, but the show can’t really do that. It’s almost like suspended disbelief: You either buy in to this universe and decide to accept the tension on its own terms, or you are very, very bored. That’s part of why I find it so interesting that so many people love the show without having read the books: clearly the show has succeeded at creating that depth so far, but I think the sustainability is definitely in question. But they’re definitely veering away from the original storyline in a way that makes it more watchable, I think.

Scaachi: What does ol’ R.R. think about the show? Also how many of that hat does he have and will he give me that hat.

Haley: I would watch a show that is just your quest to get that hat from him. He is very involved with the show and I suspect he likes it more than writing the books and that is why I fear the soft-cover closure I so deeply crave will never come. At one point last year, I believe, they ordered him to take a break from the show to write the book. GET OUTTA HOLLYWOOD, GEORGE!

Scaachi: Ugh, I know, he is so industry.

I do appreciate the show on the same level that I appreciated reading Lord of the Rings, which is that there is a level of commitment and focus to create that intricate a world and also to bring people into it and make it engaging. I’m not a big fan of fantasy literature or shows or movies, but I am getting into it.

Or maybe it’s just that I want to know who is behind those creepy-ass gold masks that are murdering everyone.

Haley: Does it bother anyone else that these people are running around slitting throats and nobody was like, “Hey, fellow Unsullied, maybe it’s time we added a protective collar to our Fighting Outfits”?

Scaachi: THAT’S the logic you’re trying to pick apart here? WHY IS NO ONE IN JON SNOW’S UNIVERSE WEARING A HAT? IT LOOKS COLD THERE! Like that lady whips off her dress and there aren’t any long-johns underneath and she isn’t freezing to death? GIRL, I SEE YOUR NIPS, YOU ARE COLD, PUT ON A SWEATER.

Haley: Oh, she’s magic. She doesn’t feel the cold because she worships the Lord of Light. Geez, Scaachi, sometimes I wonder if you’re even paying attention.


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