Game of Thrones’ Spoils of War contained a battle that fans are calling the best yet. Admittedly, it was stunning and had everything, burning men, more burning men, dragons and… impossible geography.
If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I can’t stand Game of Thrones with a passion. I can’t make it through an episode without laughing. I don’t hate it because I have any ulterior motive, want to seem cool by going against the grain or picked a side and must be seen to be stubbornly sticking with it. No, I abhor it because it’s incredibly badly made television featuring ridiculously bad storytelling. Its fans (some good, intelligent friends) are naive children blindly following a pied piper’s melody and I treat the show as a yardstick for separating the wheat from the chaff.
You can like GoT, go ahead – love GoT, that’s fine with me, but if you think it’s good in any way shape or form, you know nothing about TV.
Now that’s outta my system…
Yet, for the most part, this battle was excellently staged, so I do feel a little bad for calling the show out on minor mistakes but that’s the role of couchpotato.buzz – to turn you into better writers, directors, editors and telly addicts! If I don’t point these things out, who the fuck else is going to?
The battle started impressively with Bronn, Jaime Lannister and their men impossibly outnumbered by a fearsome Dothraki cavalry. Things were looking bleak for the Lannister army but then, in a fist pumping moment (even for this non-fan!) Daenerys turned up riding one of her dragons and the army’s chances went from “bleak” to “f**ked” in the flap of a wing.
Platoons of archers tried in vain to bring the dragon down but were barbecued in seconds. I had no idea who’s side I was meant to be on, but this was ace!
There followed a tense, high-octane ten-minute sequence in which the dragon and its fire nono-decimated (that’s my new word for wiping out 90%, not 10%) the Lannister army. There was an editing misstep when the pace and mood inexplicably changed when Bronn took it upon himself to get to the giant dragon-killing crossbow, but ceteris paribus, this was an amazing battle scene. Perhaps I had been wrong about Game of Thrones all along…
And then it happened. It was meant to be Act Two of the battle – the quiet moment in a story I always say “because you can’t bang the gong all the time”. The music tempo change and slowed-down speed of the cuts would have made complete sense if they arrived a minute later when Bron was lost in the fog of war, dazed and confused amongst the battlefield smoke. But they didn’t – the change in tempo came when Bron spurred his horse on to ride fast towards the giant dragon-slaying crossbow. When they should have been cranking up the tension with speed, the music, pace and tempo of the editing completely lost any sense of urgency.
Anyway, a couple of clunky edits and controlled chaos shots I’d have chosen differently but so far, so good.
Bronn shot the dragon out of the sky on only his second attempt (the rule of three probably ending up on the cutting room floor due to time constraints) and, after a tumble, the beast and its rider came to rest at the side of a lake. Daenerys dismounted to try to pull the giant arrow from the injured dragon’s neck and from afar, Jamie Lannister saw his chance…
He rides valiantly across the battlefield, spear at the ready only for the dragon to turn at the last second and shoot a giant spout of flame at him. Luckily, someone (presumably Bronn) rugby tackled Jaime away from certain death and into the water where they sank… and sank… and sank to the bottom of the lake.
There’s just one tiny problem – if you didn’t spot it from the above two paragraphs, here’s the whole ten-minute battle (before Youtube takes it down!)
Yes, this may be nitpicky of me, but the devil is in the detail. Daenerys and her dragon were at the edge of the lake and they’ve shown us (less than ten seconds before) how deep the water is from the horse running through it – Bronn tackles Jaime into the lake and they sink at least twenty or thirty metres into the depths of the lake.
Thing is, my young padawan writers, that’s not how bodies of water work – lakes start off shallow and get deeper towards the middle.
Jaime and Bronn would have landed in one to three feet of water but the writers needed an “Is Jamie Lannister dead?” cliffhanger so they CHANGED THE FUCKING RULES OF PHYSICS to suit their script.
I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice – I’m sure you did too, but your brain maybe chose to overlook it and that’s why I’m here.
If you need to create a scene, change the geography of your world around it to suit, not the laws of physics. After all, it’s your world and you can do what you want with it. But nowhere (unless you’ve specifically shown that universal laws don’t apply to lakes in your world!)
In summary: When writing a scene, if you need a character to sink to the bottom of a lake then add a canyon and a cliff edge.
That is all.
Game of Thrones continues Sunday, 13th August on HBO (if they don’t lose it to hackers again!)