Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) - Game of Thrones: "Battle of the Bastards"

Game of Thrones: "Battle of the Bastards" brings a couple of plotlines to a close and opens the door to the season finale.

This episode is much more focused than the other finalist from the show, and, frankly, it makes a big difference. Only two of the threads are explored, both as final battles. And we get to see the dragons in action, which is pretty fun.

Again, I'm unsure whether this episode would make sense to anyone who hasn't seen the show or read the books, but frankly it was good enough to overcome a lot of that. Just the scene where Tyrion and Daenerys turn the tables on the invading fleet was a pure gold moment. Add in the gritty and horrible battle in the North, and it's just a really solid episode all around.

The good: So much good... the episode opens with a literal bang, and just keeps the tension up for the entire time. I'm not usually a big fan of "fight scenes", but this show does them well. Both the battle of Meereen and the battle for Winterfell were filmed in such a way to make the entire thing come alive. The dragon attacking the boat - I swear I felt the flames as the sailors were burned alive. And Jon's struggles to stay alive on a chaotic and desperate field were terrifying. Rickon's death was shocking, but not unexpected, considering Ramsay's nature (which is made clear in the books). Wun Wun was great in the battle, and his death was suitably sad.

The bad: Anyone unaware of what Ramsay did to Sansa might be a little surprised at that brutal ending... but otherwise my only nit of this episode is the amount of gore. This series really doesn't hold back in showing exactly what happens to the human body when it's abused/dismembered.

Conclusion: This is hard... I think this will stay below Black Mirror, but now I'm conflicted on whether it should be second or third on the ballot.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): I've watched Doctor Who, Black Mirror, Game of Thrones: "Battle of the Bastards", Game of Thrones: "The Door", and listened to Splendor & Misery. I need to watch The Expanse.