One of the things we’ve learned since the Emmy nominations were announced is that the drama series nomination has a particular process (see the last paragraph), namely that three pairs of episodes are selected, and these sets are randomly distributed among the voters. It left us pondering which pairs of episodes HBO had sent out…
... but, thanks to GoldDerby, we need wonder no more. Here’s the pairs:
Now, one can see the logic of these: the episodes all follow on one another, and in particular some of these can be said to carry distinct storylines that more-or-less play out over the pairs. Looking at competitors Homeland and Boardwalk Empire they, too, paired episodes that were aired one after another, so this is probably a typical strategy. But it’s strange that the two best episodes of the season—“What is Dead May Never Die” and “Blackwater”—aren’t included, while three of the lesser episodes (as voted by members of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum) are.
One could understand why “Blackwater”—which is such an anomaly for the show, being focused purely on a single location (not even the first episode of the series managed that)—is not in the mix, despite the fact that it was hailed both popularly and critically as the best episode of the season, and even the series… but “What Is Dead May Never Die” would have paired with the (imperfect) Garden of Bones and have been, all in all, a better choice in the package than Tape A’s first two episodes, which fans and critics alike indicated was overwhelmed with too many introductions and storylines (all of which were necessary, but they didn’t make for the show’s finest moment—in fact, “The Night Lands” is the lowest voted episode (among the hundreds who vote at the forum) not just of the season, but the entire series).
In any case, it’s all rather moot: GoldDerby gives Game of Thrones long odds to win Best Drama, as well it should, as the award’s surely going to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or possibly Downton Abbey, and there’s no episode pairings that will change that.
On a separate but related note, GoldDerby’s rundown of the submissions also notes that Peter Dinklage has submitted “What is Dead May Never Die” as his tape for consideration for the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category. Contrary to the GoldDerby commentators who seem to consider this a terrible choice, looking over our recap of the episode, it has a number of quite varied scenes with Dinklage who interacts with much of the lead cast, showcasing both range and depth in a way that doesn’t get distracted with action sequences and VFX that might otherwise distract from the performance. That said, a commentator there noted no one has won back-to-back Best Supporting Actor awards in 16 years, so the odds are stacked against Dinklage.