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Breaking Bad

Amazing series.  Amazing episode last night.  Talk about a gut punch.

Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros.

(I need to do something about that).

This is the final season of BREAKING BAD.  I think GAME OF THRONES may have a shot at upsetting BB for this year's Emmy (only a shot, though, I think they are the clear favorite), which pits us against their previous season...  but there's no way in hell that anyone is going to defeat BREAKING BAD next year, when their last season is the one in contention.

Admittedly, trying to handicap the Emmys is a mug's game.  You never know.  But for what it's worth, I think this year is our best chance of actually winning one.  Given the splash the Red Wedding made, our profile is likely as high as it is ever going to be.  We had a great season.  If the Academy is ever going to give their ultimate accolade to a fantasy show (something that is by no means certain), it's going to be this year, I think.

But we'll see.  BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN, DOWNTON ABBEY, HOMELAND, and HOUSE OF CARDS will have something to say about that as well.  All good shows, I think.  A couple are great shows.  HOMELAND is the defending champ, MAD MEN's won four, and HOUSE OF CARDS has that whole "gamechanger" thing going for it.  Should be an interesting race.  We'll all know on September 22.


Sep. 18th, 2013 10:56 am (UTC)
What makes Walter White more horrifying than most of the monsters in Westeros is that he would actually know better.

I don't see Walt's attempt to buy Hank's life as a sign of him still being a fundamentally decent person (too little too late; a fairly empty gesture at this point, unlikely to accomplish anything; Hank himself after all realizes that it's pointless; and it doesn't change anything about the fact that Walt has always been perfectly willing to gamble with other people's lifes), but rather as sign for his desire to still view himself as fundamentally decent person. And no, this is not a purely academic distinction.

See, the truly horrifying thing about Walt is that his idea of what a decent person would be is probably not completley misguided (in contrast to pretty much all the beasts in Westeros, who are often mentally ill, deeply traumatized and biographically damaged themselves and/or too dim-witted/myopic to transcend the fucked-up value system of their respective milieu).

Walt has both noble and ulterior motives for nearly everything he does (which makes him very human; I think this actually true for most of us). But he has a preternatural knack for forgrounding his noble motives and rationalizing the ulterior ones away - in his communciations with others, but probably also in his interior monologue - which makes him so much more dangerous (and thus more horrifying) than the average Joe. That phone call to Skylar? Yes, that was clearly him trying to exonerate her. But still, I'm would bet that some part of him completely meant it - only part of him though, because another part of him is clearly smarter than that. And so he gets to vent his spleen, and still have some hope to be the hero after all (to Skylar at least, who realizes what he is doing; maybe at this point he still hopes for some gratitude from her; I wouldn't put it past him), with very little cost to himself (he would have to go on the lam anyway). Walt knows how to do right when it suits him. In spite of everything he still has the right moral instincts - he just habitually chooses differently, again and again and again.

I see some paralells to Tywin Lannister, who also most probably rationalizes most of his atrocities with a concern for the "family" (or rather the legacy of his house), ironically completely destroying the very thing he claims to promote. Like Walt, he has a bit of a history of feeling like the underdog, bullied by the people who looked down on his dad and later by Aerys, a giant chip on his shoulder with regard to being disrespected and a certain intelligence that robs him of the excuses someone like Victarion or the Mountain might have. But I'd place Tywin pretty firmly in the "misguided notions of what a decent person would be"-camp. It's not so much that he repeatedly chooses wrong; it's mostly that he's too myopic to see his actual choices. And he probably has less of a need of still being liked by others in spite of everything, which actually makes him more sufferable in a way. He's a ruthless piece of shit, but at least he doesn't ask for my sympathy. Walt does.

No, the only potential candidate for actually pulling a Walter White in Westeros would be Tyrion.

Edited at 2013-09-18 11:16 am (UTC)


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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