Write Your Screenplay Podcast
Game of Thrones Episode 2: How To Make Them Care
Game of Thrones Episode 2: How To Make Them Care If you’ve been listening to this Game of Thrones podcast series, you know we’re looking at each episode of Season 8 and talking about how it works in relation to the overall engine of the series, and what you can learn from it as a screenwriter. We’ve talked about the idea that an engine gives you a way to replicate a similar structure in each episode in order to create the same feeling in a different way. This is exactly what’s happening in Episodes 1 and 2 of Season 8 of Game of Thrones; they’re actually doing the same thing. These Game of Thrones episodes are structured the same way. Both are replicating a series of connections and reconnections of old characters we’ve known and loved who are finding the irony in meeting again. Each episode takes one step toward complicating the relationships between Bran and Jaime and between Daenerys and Jon. Episode 1 of Season 8 culminates in Jon finding out from Sam, “You’re actually Aegon Targaryen. You’re the heir to the Iron Throne!” Episode 2 of Season 8 culminates in Jon sharing that information with Daenerys, who is none too pleased about it. Episode 1 of Season 8 also starts to chip away at our belief in Daenerys as a capable ruler. In Episode 2, she is making even worse and more selfish choices. She almost fired Tyrion because he trusted Cersei, even though that was a move she backed. She is trying to manipulate Sansa, but doesn’t seem willing to give Sansa the one thing she wants which is the freedom of the North. Then, when Daenerys finds out her lover is actually her nephew, rather than being horrified about their relationship or happy that the rightful heir should take the throne or even conflicted about what to do, we see her immediately turn toward power. She’s upset because that would give him the right to the throne. You can see what’s happening, right? Episode 2 is a replication of Episode 1. We’re going on a similar journey. Episode 2 has a slightly different tone because it’s happening right before the culmination of the final big engine that has driven Game of Thrones through all eight seasons, and what we’ve been hearing since Season 1, Episode 1: “Winter Is Coming!” We have been waiting for winter to come, and waiting and waiting and waiting. Then we find out winter has come, and yet we’re still waiting for winter to come. We get a couple of battles with the undead, and we’re still waiting. But now the undead are here, they have a dragon nobody else knows about, and they’re headed toward the gates. We have one day left. It reminds me of that great song “One Day More” from Les Misérables. That’s the tone of this episode. Everybody is preparing to die. They know they’re going to die and they have their last moments together. Episode 2 isn’t especially dramatic, even though some wonderfully dramatic things happen in it. Arya is having sex for the first time, which is interesting on a couple of levels. For one, over eight seasons she has actually turned into a young woman, but we still remember her as a child. By creating a love affair in the middle of this, it feels extremely complicated because she’s having sex with a character we have come to understand is an adult while we still see her as a child. Once again, we have an ethically complicated love story happening, something that makes us a little bit uncomfortable. We have an absolutely beautiful moment with Brienne. She gets the wish she didn’t even know she had, to be a knight. It’s the one thing she could never do and it happens through Jaime, who has a long and complicated relationship with her.