“Game of Thrones” Season Seven Finale: A Defense of Tyrion’s Plan

By Josiah Wampfler


Season Seven of Game of Thrones came to an end this Sunday with the season finale of the penultimate season: “The Dragon and the Wolf.” It ended a season that has been divisive, worrying, but nevertheless thrilling. So much has happened this season as the show moved from plot point to plot point at a break-neck speed uncharacteristic of the show up until this point. It is this that has caused many to question the writers’ decisions and to worry about their ability to give fans a fitting and satisfying ending next season. And though I was in that camp, worried about the future of the series, this season finale restored my hope for the final season. “The Dragon and the Wolf” managed to not only be one of the best season finales of the entire series, but it actually ended up fixing some of the problems I had with the last couple episodes by burrowing down into what Game of Thrones is all about: Characters.

If you paid any attention to the online chatter surrounding the show, the biggest problem fans had with episodes five and six was Tyrion’s plan. In short, Tyrion suggested that Jon Snow and his merry band of misfits should travel north beyond The Wall to capture a wight. They would then request a meeting with Cersei to show her that the threat of the White Walkers is real and the hope was that Cersei would then agree that they needed to call a truce and join together to defeat the Army of the Dead.

The issue with the plan I will not debate and thought from the beginning was a major issue for the show was the execution of the plan. The show went for fan service and drama over believable character motivation and logic. A plot point they obviously needed to hit was the death of Viserion and his resurrection as a Wight Dragon. But they went about it in the most convoluted and silly way. The show broke credulity with the timeline (there is no way Deaenerys could recieve a raven and fly hundreds of miles north in the amount of time she did), it put characters in needless danger yet almost all got out far too easily, and they made several characters (*cough* Jon *cough*) make horribly stupid decisions just to increase the drama of the episode. It was manufactured and it was Game of Thrones at its worst, this I will not debate.

What I will debate is those contending that Tyrion’s plan was poor writing on the part of the show runners and the way it played out was unbelievable.

The criticism is that the plan is far too dumb to come from Tyrion. Over these last seven seasons, we have come to know Tyrion as a very smart man and a skilled tactician. We’ve seen him brilliantly defend King’s Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater and become Hand of the King to Daenerys due to his wits. Some are saying that it is ludicrous that Tyrion would believe that his sister would agree to a truce and help them fight the White Walkers. He knows that she is a backstabbing, duplicitous woman who will do anything to advance her and her family’s status and power at the expense of any others. He should then know that any kind of truce with her is not to be trusted and she likely wouldn’t even agree to one because she is far too stubborn.

Tyrion does know all of this. He even tells Daenerys in episode six that she is likely thinking of a trap she can lay for them. Yet, he proposes the plan anyway. Why?

The finale confirmed that our instincts about Cersei were correct. Though she initially seems to agree to a truce and pledges her forces to help fight the White Walkers, we later learn she was never planning on following through. She is planning to betray her word, just as we had thought she would do. So that means that the plan was doomed to begin with and, on face value, it seems like poor writing. Isn’t Tyrion far too smart to completely overlook this obvious possibility?

I don’t believe it is poor writing at all. I think that we as an audience have simply been reading it wrong this entire time.

Over the last two episodes, Tyrion has done a pretty good job in explaining the reasoning behind the plan. He knew that, if the war went on, Daenerys was more likely to succumb to her worst impulses and thousands of people would likely die in the process, including his brother and sister. Tyrion, at his core, really does want to make the world a better place. He truly wants peace and has always been striving toward that goal, even while waging war. And despite what his family has done to him, we see that he has a soft spot for them. Even Cersei. It is not a flaw in the show that Tyrion came up with a doomed plan. It is a flaw in Tyrion. This is one of those instances where we as an audience can only watch as a character makes a bad decision. The plan was always foolish to some degree, but it reveals a huge deal about Tyrion’s character, and that is the point.

Tyrion doesn’t fully account for the possibility that Cersei will betray him because he doesn’t truly believe she will. He refuses to believe that even she is truly evil. He refuses to believe that there is no good left in her. And he refuses to let her be killed because of her ego and stupidity. For all of his negativity throughout the show, Tyrion, at his core, is an optimist. And that can be a major flaw for him at times and it can make him vulnerable.

So, even though I was initially one of the haters saying that Tyrion’s plan was another example of the poor writing this season, I have since changed my tune. I reject the notion that the plan does not make sense with Tyrion’s character because I think, like Tyrion, we are not accounting for something. We have at times overestimated Tyrion. We have put him on a pedestal I don’t know if any character can truly live up to. He is smart, but he has flaws. His complex emotions surrounding his family are one of those flaws making him vulnerable. Rather than this being a stumbling block for the show this season, I think this has actually brought us back to what Game of Thrones does best: narrative flowing from character and revealing character in the process. If the show continues to follow that recipe into next season, we will have one hell of a final chapter.

CB Special Podcast – The State of the Thrones

This week, the bros switch it up with a special podcast covering the last two episodes of Game of Thrones (Season 7 Episodes 5 & 6). What did they show do well? More importantly, what is wrong with the show right now? And will it get better? The Cinema Bros are here to discuss the state of one of the biggest shows ever produced. SPOILERS AHEAD.
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  • Hosts: Josiah Wampfler, Sam Wampfler & Jake Wampfler
  • Produced by Josiah Wampfler
  • A Cinema Bros Network Podcast
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“Queen Sugar” & “Atlanta” Reviews – Two Shows Brilliantly Tell Underserved Stories

The film industry, unfortunately, has been lagging behind television when it comes to diversity. Earlier this year, the Academy failed to nominate a single person of color in the acting categories while people of color make up nearly 25 percent of the acting nominations at this year’s Emmys. With shows like Fresh Off the BoatBlack-ishMaster of None and many others, television networks have shown there is a desire in audiences to see diverse casts and diverse stories being told. And now with the release of Donald Glover’s Atlanta and Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar, we are digging even deeper into unique perspectives that have long been ignored by mainstream entertainment and doing it all in an incredibly beautiful and cinematic ways.

Here Joe & Sam’s initial reactions to the first episodes of both Queen Sugar and Atlanta:

Queen Sugar

By Josiah Wampfler

From director Ava Duvernay, who was behind the superb SelmaQueen Sugar is absolutely magnificent. DuVernay, who also directed the first episode, brings all of the cinematic glitz of film to the small screen while also taking full advantage of long-form storytelling. This is a show that may not be for everyone. It is a slow burn family drama that is much more concerned with building connections with these characters than it is with pacing. But if you give Queen Sugar time, the emotional journey it will take you on is truly extraordinary.

And it isn’t that hard to give this show time. From the start, these characters light up the screen thanks to the actors behind them. This cast is refreshingly diverse and superbly talented, especially the main three: Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe. Every one of these actors seems to have a scene-stealing moment in this episode, but the one that really stood out for me was one of Siriboe’s scenes as Ralph Angel. Through a dialogue-less scene, we see three generations of men (Ralph Angel, his son and his father) have a profoundly emotional moment. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and an extremely important moment, as it is far too rare to see intimacy and vulnerability between black men presented in film or television.

Backing up the incredible character work and wonderful narrative is the technical aspects of the show that DuVernay has said she is asked about far too little. On this technical level is where the show really cements itself as essential television and shows her incredible attention to detail. Every frame of the first episode is meticulously crafted by DuVernay so that the end result is a show that is so brilliantly beautiful, I could watch it on mute. But, that would also take away other great elements of the show like its sound design and particularly its soundtrack. The music of the show has been chosen as carefully as all of the other technical elements to create a flavor that is wholly unique and fits every second of footage like a glove.

I’ve only gotten through one episode of Queen Sugar but I can already tell this show is going to be something special. I was an emotional mess by the end of the episode, so I can’t imagine what else is in store for me throughout the rest of this season. Whatever it is, if it is done as well as this first episode, this will be a show that is sure to stand the test of time.

Queen Sugar airs on OWN Wednesdays at 10pm Eastern / 9pm Central. It is also available on iTunes & Google Play.


By Sam Wampfler

I have been a fan of Donald Glover for a long time. I have loved everything he has been a part of all the way back to his early days as a breakout YouTube star. He has always had a knack for making any situation hilarious, whether as himself in his amazing stand-ups or as Troy Barnes in the fantastic show Community. This is why I was so excited when I heard that he was being given the chance by FX to helm his own original show, Atlanta.

I’ll admit that, due to where I grew up and most definitely the color of my skin, I don’t always understand every reference in Atlanta, comedic or otherwise, but this in no way takes away from my immense enjoyment of the first two episodes. Atlanta manages to simultaneously bring laughs and oddly poignant moments of social commentary. It delves into tough topics facing America’s minority population with the gusto of a dramatic show, but uses the back drop of comedy to make these subjects easier to process. This is an absolutely unique and incredible use of the television medium.

Having witnessed Donald Glover’s ability to steal a scene in other movies and television shows, I wholeheartedly expected this to basically be The Donald Glover Show. The fact that I was proven wrong is what makes this show amazing. Each of the three main characters has a unique and interesting role in Atlanta.

Darius, played by Keith Stanfield, is the resident pothead of the trio. Despite my love for Glover, Darius might have actually taken the spot as my favorite character in the show so far. His marijuana induced ramblings are by far some of the major highlights of Atlanta. Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles, played by Brian Tyree Henry, is an aspiring rap artist whose overnight fame seems to be causing him more depression and anxiety than happiness. Glover plays Alfred’s cousin Earn, who figures he can make a little cash by helping to promote his cousin’s new career. Glover has an incredible ability to turn any phrase into a laugh out loud moment. Sometimes even just his reactions to Darius’ musings are comedy gold.

All in all, everything from the script, to the acting, all the way down to the choice of songs on the soundtrack are expertly accomplished. Atlanta is a fantastic show and even though I have only seen two episodes so far I guarantee that it will end in my top favorite shows at the end of the year.

Atlanta airs on FX Tuesdays at 10pm Eastern / 9pm Central. The first episode is available for free on YouTube and the full season is available on iTunes & Google Play.