Game of Thrones Griping 4: The Gospel of Jon

By Bob Case
on Feb 17, 2017
Filed under:
Television

184 comments

This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

Season six is a mess. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. It starts with nonsense, ends with nonsense, and the middle part is crammed with whatever leftover nonsense they could scrounge up from the bottom of the pan.

One of reasons I’ve had trouble explaining my problems with Game of Thrones to people is that when they ask me “what don’t you like about the writing?” the nearest thing I can give to an accurate answer is “almost everything.” But that sounds churlish and isn’t particularly useful as criticism. I have to organize my griping somehow, and splitting the show up into smaller chunks and them dealing with them in mostly-chronological order is the best solution I’ve come up with. So it makes sense to begin the proceedings by recounting the story of the almost completely meaningless death and resurrection of Jon Snow.

The whole sequence can help illustrate why opinions on the show can differ so much. For those who still trust the writers, and who are still emotionally invested in the show, I suppose I can see how Jon Snow’s death and resurrection was a source of drama and excitement. But for those of us on the wrong side of story collapse, it almost seems like the writers are deliberately yanking our chains for their own amusement. I’m writing this whole thing at least in part as an attempt to form a sort of venn diagram between the two groups. Where is the overlap? Where are the parts of the story that bother all of us? Maybe I can at least describe what this whole mess looks like to me.

The Gospel of Jon

Those of you who watch the show already know that season five ended with Alliser Thorne, Olly, and a dozen of their stooges going all Julius Caesar on Jon Snow for supposedly betraying the Night’s Watch. The opening shot of “The Red Woman” (season six’s first episode) picks up where we left off. Thorne and his co-conspirators apparently just left the body lying in the castle courtyard. Maybe they expected the janitorial staff to take care of it.

I know it looks bad, but a few scoops of sawdust and some Formula 409 will clean that right up.

I know it looks bad, but a few scoops of sawdust and some Formula 409 will clean that right up.

Later, Ser Davos discovers the body, and he, Edd, and a handful of loyal brothers barricade it inside a room in the castle for some reason. No one – neither the people who killed him nor the people who find him later – ever seems to consider burying Jon, or burning him, or holding a funeral, or doing any of the things one customarily does with a dead body. No explanation is given for this. Of course, WE (as in the audience) know the reason: for months, the show’s marketing has been teasing, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face, the possibility that Jon will be resurrected somehow. So his body needs to be kept intact and above ground until that can be arranged. This is a small point, but it establishes the show’s most consistent pattern: things happen not because they make sense, but because the writers want to set up a dramatic moment for later.

Ser Davos appears to be in charge, despite the fact that he’s not a member of the Night’s Watch. In fact I’m not sure why he’s here at all. The show makes no attempt to explain why Stannis’ former Hand of the King is now willing to fight to the death to defend the corpse of a man he never held any allegiance to in life. I suspect that this is just the role the writers like for Davos: he locates the most protagonist-y character in the immediate vicinity and appoints himself their loyal ensign. In any case, soon Thorne and company show up to try and talk the loyalists down, and at this point we have to rewind a bit to discuss how Thorne’s actions don’t make any sense either.

His stated reason for their betrayal is that Jon Snow let the wildlings through the wall. But it wasn’t as though they didn’t have any warning of this – Jon announced his intentions pretty clearly beforehand. Given that, you would have expected the conspirators to turn on him before the wildlings came through, not after, so as to prevent it from happening. Instead, they waited for their Lord Commander to let thousands of his new, heavily-armed friends through the wall, and then ventilated his torso through a dozen holes.And if you’re thinking that they did it this way because this is the way it happened in the books, it didn’t. Without going into too much detail, in the books everything plays out so differently that it’s difficult to even compare the two.

Of course, once again WE know why they turned on him when they did. It’s because the writers wanted Jon to die at the end of season five and be resurrected sometime in the beginning of season six, and if that couldn’t happen with a sensible chain of cause and effect then by R’hllor it would have to happen without one. So Jon Snow is deliberately killed to death in a public place while an entire army of people – who outnumber the Castle Black garrison many times over, and who will almost certainly object to this development – is camped just a short distance away.

Knowing this, Edd goes off to tattle to the Tormund and the wildlings, who are understandably angry that their main ally in the Night’s Watch has been betrayed and murdered by his own officers. They storm Castle Black, much to everyone’s completely inexplicable surprise, and capture the mutineers.

Of course, through all this Jon is still lying on a wooden table in what I guess is the guest dining room or something. It’s a good thing it’s a cold climate or he might be getting pretty ripe by now. It’s time for Davos to ask Melisandre to bring him back from the dead. This is starting to get repetitive, so I’ll just list the problems as quickly as I can: Davos has never seen Melisandre do this before and has no reason to believe that she can, Melisandre herself says she can’t, if she could why wouldn’t she have done it for the hundreds or possibly thousands of people who have died fighting for Stannis in multiple previous battles, or for Stannis himself considering she just came from the battlefield where he died, it violates her own clearly-stated “only death can pay for life” rule… whatever. WE know why Davos is so sure this will work, because we know that the writers want their main character back. So Davos gives everyone’s favorite red woman a pep talk and a couple scenes later Jon Snow is back amongst the living.

Things don’t start making any more sense from there. Jon has Thorne and his stooges hangedSo much for “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”, then hands Edd his cloakIs it some kind of symbol of office? That would be pretty confusing, considering that Edd himself – and half the Night’s Watch – wear cloaks virtually identical to Jon’s., says “you have Castle Black”Is Edd the new Lord Commander now? I thought Lord Commanders were elected. That used to be a major setting detail that once had its own storyline., says “my watch is ended”So I guess his death released him from his vows, in which case under what authority did he hang all those people? Under what authority did he appoint Edd the new commander?, and walks out of the castleWhere is he going? And wherever it is, shouldn’t he dress more warmly? He just gave away his nice, warm-looking fur-shouldered cloak..

You know, sometimes the show has some very artfully-framed shots. If the writing could equal some of the visuals I`d be out of a job here.

You know, sometimes the show has some very artfully-framed shots. If the writing could equal some of the visuals I`d be out of a job here.

This is the point in the post where I have to explain why I described this whole thing as “almost completely meaningless” back in the first paragraph. Remember that people coming back from the dead is supposed to be roughly as impossible in Westoros as it is in real life. Then consider that this entire sequence has virtually no effect on anything else in the story. Immediately after his resurrection, a couple characters get to express… well, if not shock, at least mild bewilderment at the fact that Jon is alive. Davos gives him a short “this is weird, but let’s get on with it” refresher, and then Edd notices that Jon’s eyes aren’t blue (so at least he’s not a wight). Then Tormund makes a joke about his penis.

And that’s it. That is more or less the last time that what should be a miraculous event is ever mentioned by anyone. Later, Jon, Sansa, and Davos seek the military support of several northern lords. If any of these lords are unsettled by the fact that they’re talking to Westorosi Jesus, they certainly hide it well, and it never comes up in any of their conversations. Do they care? Do they even know? It’s not like it was a secret. Anyone who could wander into the courtyard at Castle Black would have witnessed, firsthand, Jon Snow being turned into a human pincushion and then walking around none the worse for wear a short while later.

In real life there’s a story about a guy who supposedly came back from the dead, and they made an entire religion out of it. So you’d think a story like that would spread pretty fast. It certainly spread quickly among the wildlings, who Tormund says regard Jon as some kind of god now.That particular hook is never revisited, by the way. By the end of the season Jon will treat with Ramsay prior to their battle. Ramsay was well informed enough that he knows how many men are in their army. He knew Sansa sought refuge at Castle Black from the beginning. He even knows about Jon’s reputation as a great swordsman.Which was news to everyone else, including the audience. But, ever the soul of good manners, he’s too polite to mention that one time Jon died and came back to life.

Does Sansa even know? This is a serious question. During one of their dialogue scenesIn episode four, “Book of the Stranger.” Jon seems to allude to it, saying “I can’t stay [at Castle Black]. Not after what happened.” “What happened” presumably refers to the stabbing, which means he must have told her about how he got better, right? But you’d think that would be a bigger topic of conversation. In that same scene, they have time to talk about the kidney pies they used to eat as children, and about what a brat Sansa was when she was younger, but no time to talk about how Jon Snow has kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleeding choir invisible. If one of my siblings had conquered death itself, I would consider that more important than the kidney pies Old Nan used to make. But I guess the Starks have different priorities.

THIS IS AN EX-PROTAGONIST!

THIS IS AN EX-PROTAGONIST!

Of course, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, WE know why no one mentions it, don’t we? Jon Snow was killed off for the sake of hype, and then resurrected for the sake of more hype, and once all the hype had been cyanide heap-leached out of the proceedings they flushed the depleted ore down the memory hole and carried on as though none of it had ever happened. That’s the long and short of it. What are the tangible effects of the whole sequence on the show as a whole? They milked a couple of scenes’ worth of an Achilles-sulking-in-his-tent story out of it. And that’s a story that doesn’t hang too well on Jon, whose demeanor typically runs the full gamut from “somewhat miserable” to “extremely miserable.”

Aside from that, the fact that he technically died allows him to exploit a loophole in his Night’s Watch vows. So, some legal mumbo-jumbo and a bit of moping. That’s what they got in exchange for turning causality and common sense into a tangled mess. For having the entire north respond to man literally rising from the dead with the rough equivalent of “meh.” That was the end product of all the teasing and speculation.

Of course all of the above can be dismissed as just nitpicking, as usual. I can’t even claim that it isn’t. But to that accusation I would say this: wasn’t I supposed to care about this? Wasn’t Jon’s death supposed to be shocking and sad, and his resurrection a triumphant and dramatic moment? Wasn’t I supposed to take to Twitter, or the comment section of my favorite blog, or my water cooler at work on Monday, or wherever, and talk about this with all my fellow fans, because we all care about it so much?

If so, then do me this favor: don’t ask me to care about something and then ask me not to think about it. Don’t bring someone back from the dead and then ask me not to think about the implications for the setting and those inhabiting it. Don’t write the circumstances around his death and resurrection so that they’re shot through with characters behaving in confusing ways, contradicting previous story elements, and generally just not making any sense. And then, once you’re done, don’t dump the whole thing overboard and carry on as though it never happened. On second thought… maybe that’s the best thing to do.

This whole Jon Snow bit ended up being longer than I anticipated. To be honest, it’s only maybe the third or fourth worst-written thing that will happen in the north this season. Best of all, its weaknesses are pretty much self-contained – you can just pretend the whole thing never happened and the rest of the plot is mostly unaffected.

Next week we’ll look at Sansa’s not-very-promising early career as a Dame of Thrones(TM), and, if there’s time, the 100% Colombian-grade pure awfulness that is Ramsay.

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From the Archives:

  1. Nick says:

    For what it’s worth, Jon’s resurrection also makes him a possible candidate for being the reincarnation of R’hllor, Lord of Light – which has some value in paying off foretellings.

    • BenD says:

      You know this, and we know this, but what’s alarming is that apparently no one of Westeros, including Davos and Melisandre, knows this.

    • Geebs says:

      That, and it’s literally the only way he can be released from his vows to the Night’s Watch. Which is the whole point and is, to be fair, explicitly mentioned in the show.

      • Geebs says:

        I also take issue with the “resurrection is rare and unique to the show” thing. Other characters back from the dead in the books include Dany (fire), Catelyn (stabbing and drowning), the Hound (kinda), the Mountain (poison), Euron (drowning), and Beric Dondarrion (literally his only character trait).

        Oh yeah, and all of the wights, White Walkers, and three members of Mastodon.

        Other than that, yeah, pretty much nobody.

        Also, three dragons.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          Not sure about how the show handles these, but-

          -Dany never died. She’s immune to fire, and was never burned int the first place.
          -Catelyn is a couple of steps away from being a zombie. She’s kind of a monster now.
          -The Hound never actually died either, he was just left for dead by Arya.
          -The Mountain seems to be some kind of zombie as well.
          -They’re not actually drowning- they’re just getting water in their lungs, at which point they’re quickly saved by the priest.
          -Beric Dondarrion was where the books introduced resurrection, while also showing its consequences. We saw how he was coming back less and less each time, and how eventually he had to die permanently in order to bring back Cat.
          -The rest are, of course, monsters and zombies.

          So, yeah, actual resurrection is pretty rare, and resurrection that doesn’t substantially change the person who died is still unknown.

          • Geebs says:

            On the other hand, maybe Jon never died and was just in shock from blood loss and cold from being in the snow. Nobody examines him who is qualified to be able to tell whether he’s really dead.

            Most of my other examples were of characters who were reputed to be dead. My point is, people in Westeros meet people who are supposed to be dead all of the time.

            Oh yeah, also Khal Drogo (sepsis).

            • King Marth says:

              This is the primary thing that came to mind here – before proper medicine, people were really bad at knowing when people had progressed too far for even the medicine of the time to save. The possibly-apocryphal origin of the ‘graveyard watch’ and ‘saved by the bell’ sayings is that coffins were buried with a thread leading aboveground to a bell, which some unlucky person had to watch for a day or so in order to dig up people who woke up in the coffin and rang the bell to get out.

              Death is a process, not a binary state. Of course, when you don’t know about gangrene and your primary blood-related medical technology is removing more blood, the lines seem a lot sharper.

              • Ravens Cry says:

                That whole ‘saved by the bell’ actually came from boxing and similar sports, since the bell ringing to end a round would give someone close to losing a reprieve. And the ‘dead’ in ‘dead ringer’ comes from ‘dead’ as in exact, like ‘dead reckoning’ or ‘dead on target’. ‘Ringer’ was in the sense of of a switch in a sporting event, like horse racing.
                So, yeah, definitely apocryphal.

            • Joe Informatico says:

              It should also be noted, most people in the books don’t want to believe in resurrection. Robert Strong is the same size as The Mountain, and wears his armour, and is loyal to the Lannisters, but they always refer to him as Robert Strong. No one wants to publicly claim that Strong is Gregor Clegane, whatever they think in private.

              In the show, even the average viewer is savvy enough to realize Qyburn just reanimated Ser Gregor, so they don’t even bother with the whole Robert Strong shenanigans.* The book reader assumes that too, but I wager it’s easier for a reader to accept the superstitions and self-deceptions of these pseudo-medieval people Martin has done a lot of world-building around, than for a television viewer to see a bunch of established characters be willfully obtuse about undead Gregor in a world full of zombies and dragons.

              *I assume they didn’t go with Ser Barristan Selmy going incognito as Arstan Whitebeard when he first helped Dany for similar reasons. In the book, neither Dany nor Ser Jorah have ever seen Barristan before, so the reader has few clues as to Arstan’s real identity until his reveal. But the TV viewer is going to see the same actor who played Barristan show up, so why bother with the deception?

              • “But the TV viewer is going to see the same actor who played Barristan show up”

                Very good point. There is a lot of meta knowledge like that in the TV show. The audience are observers rather than readers.

                A writer can hide or surprise a reader by only mentioning someone by name. “This is Shamus” and with no description a writer can surprise the reader by describing their look to be the same as Josh’s look.

                It ties into the Unreliable Narrator that any writer can have fun with.

          • Legendary says:

            Dany’s not actually immune to fire – she just miraculously survived that one time because dragon magic. GRRM’s stated that if she were tossed into a different pyre, she wouldn’t be so lucky.

        • Core says:

          The majority of times magic or the supernatural is used in the show, it’s to change the course away from ‘historical-ish’ logic. Like when it’s obvious where Breanna’s story as a sworn knight would end without the blood magic assassination, or what would happen to Cersei, repeatedly, first during the siege and then during the trial at the Sept, if fantasy C4 wasn’t a thing that existed, or how powerless Jon’s rhetoric would’ve really been at the keep. All those bits are meant to show just how powerless individuals can be at the hands of society. Then it introduces magic to create a branching path simply so that the story could go on somehow even after teaching that to the reader/viewer.
          And if you take the man in the roots, you’ll get an argument for how the real equivalent of GOT magic is simply… awareness of realistic historical tropes, the lack of which is what hammers each character in the show.

  2. Star Child says:

    don’t ask me to care about something and then ask me not to think about it

    I’m not seeing a problem?

  3. Mr Compassionate says:

    (he’s too polite to mention that one time Jon died and came back to life) That got a big laugh out of me. And oh gods the Ramsey foreshadowing. His comic and excessively unrealistic villainy was funny back in the day but the longer he lived and the more flamboyantly evil he became the worse it got. I didn’t even feel good about his death, only regret that he plagued the show for as long as he did.

    I’m not usually one to use the word “hate” but it’s not like I even disliked him in the way the writers intended, I hated the writers for making him an infallible Author’s Pet Villain who won all the time, fought shirtless while duel wielding, slept with all the hottest babes and never showed any weakness either emotional or physical. I’d make a joke about him being a character more suited to X pulpy dumb show but I literally can’t think of a show where somebody as cartoonish and violent as Ramsey would fit in.

    • TheJungerLudendorff says:

      Mad Max mayhaps?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      If he won all the time he wouldnt have died.He slept with ONE hot woman and raped another.Thats less than some of the heroes.As for his weaknesses,are you calling his groveling in order to not be a bastard a strength?What about his pride and overconfidence that got him killed in the end?

      • Harper says:

        He fought bare-chested against armored Ironborn, Asha/Yara’s “best killers”, he somehow destroyed an entire army’s supply lines, horses and siege weapons with “twenty good men” and then fought Stannis’s remaining army wihout getting a scratch, and then he fights in the “Battle of the Bastards”, manages to kill the Giant before he finally goes down.
        All that and his blatant kinslaying that he gets aways with makes his plot armor so blatant and so heavy its beyond parody. He only dies because the writers wanted the “Chosen One” to take him down

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          He fought bare-chested against armored Ironborn, Asha/Yara’s “best killers”,

          The “viper” performed a similar feat.Its not an uncommon trope that a lightly armored/unarmored fighter can find a chink in the heavily armored foe.Also,he is not alone in that fight,which significantly improved his odds.

          he somehow destroyed an entire army’s supply lines, horses and siege weapons with “twenty good men”

          Yes,an army unaccustomed to the terrain,and under the cover of darkness.Also,like stannis said,the guards either fell asleep or conspired with the enemy.

          and then fought Stannis’s remaining army wihout getting a scratch,

          A severely weakened army.The odds were at least 5 to 1,judging by the scene that shows the two armies.Also,seeing how he fights with bow and arrow in the next army fight,its likely he did the same here.

          But Ill admit that it was stupid to charge out.Still,fits with his impulsive and overconfident flaws.

          and then he fights in the “Battle of the Bastards”, manages to kill the Giant before he finally goes down.

          He delivers the final arrow into a giant who was already dying.Thats more akin to him giving jon the finger than him being any kind of a badass.

          • Harper says:

            The “viper” performed a similar feat.Its not an uncommon trope that a lightly armored/unarmored fighter can find a chink in the heavily armored foe.Also,he is not alone in that fight,which significantly improved his odds.

            This literally made me cringe because I pictured your spine as you bent over backwards to excuse this. Oberyn had ROOM to move and he had leather armor. It would’ve been nice if he had a helmet like he did in the books but he still wasn’t naked from the waist up in an enclosed space as Ramsay was. And Ramsay didn’t use his soldiers as a buffer to protect his naked form, he jumped into the fighting.

            Yes,an army unaccustomed to the terrain,and under the cover of darkness.Also,like stannis said,the guards either fell asleep or conspired with the enemy.

            Another cringe, Ramsay was as familiar with the terrain as Stannis was. If you happen to look at a map you’ll notice that Winterfell is very far from the Dreadfort( for nerd points, almost 350 miles).
            There’s no way Ramsay would be familiar enough with the terrain to sneak his twenty men into the the camp of a very sizeable army and even knowing the terrain, twenty men is not a sizable enough force to completely cripple an army that size.

            But Ill admit that it was stupid to charge out.Still,fits with his impulsive and overconfident flaws.

            Not if Ramsay knows how much plot armor he’s got, at that point even he has to suspect the “Gods” favor him for getting away with it all.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Oberyn had ROOM to move and he had leather armor.

              Which wouldnt have helped at all against that sword.Also,shame he too didnt have something to protect his face,like a helmet.But I guess the lack of helmets bothers you only sometimes.

              And Ramsay didn’t use his soldiers as a buffer to protect his naked form, he jumped into the fighting.

              Yeah,its not like those soldiers didnt jump in immediately as he did,blocking everyone but the one guy ramsay attacked.Oh wait,thats exactly what happened.

              Another cringe, Ramsay was as familiar with the terrain as Stannis was. If you happen to look at a map you’ll notice that Winterfell is very far from the Dreadfort( for nerd points, almost 350 miles).

              Indeed,very cringy from you.You really think that living in one place for months is the equivalent of just arriving there in terms of familiarity?And then Im the one who has to bend over backwards to offer counter arguments.

              There’s no way Ramsay would be familiar enough with the terrain to sneak his twenty men into the the camp of a very sizeable army and even knowing the terrain, twenty men is not a sizable enough force to completely cripple an army that size.

              Really.You are going to nitpick the scale of things in a tv show.The thing that is the most often excused break from reality.Ok then,if its a battle of nitpicks you want,Ill deliver:
              It wasnt a group of twenty men,it was a group “reported as twenty men”.Davos is the one delivering the report he got from panicked guards(who were probably sleeping when the thing happened).

              Not if Ramsay knows how much plot armor he’s got, at that point even he has to suspect the “Gods” favor him for getting away with it all.

              Pathetic.Im done with you here as well.Better luck next time.

              • Harper says:

                Which wouldnt have helped at all against that sword.Also,shame he too didnt have something to protect his face,like a helmet.But I guess the lack of helmets bothers you only sometimes.

                It would’ve helped more than NOTHING which is what Ramsay had, and as I said Oberyn had room to move around and dodge the sword.
                And who says the lack of helmets doesn’t bother me? It bothers the hell out of me that only the redshirts get helmets and the Nights Watch doesn’t have hats in zero degree weather when the books make sure to bust this trope.

                Yeah,its not like those soldiers didnt jump in immediately as he did,blocking everyone but the one guy ramsay attacked.Oh wait,thats exactly what happened.

                He still JUMPED into a sword fight with a fully armored opponent, the fact that ylou can excuse such blatant stupidity and plot armor is egregious and its insulting to your own intelligence.

                You really think that living in one place for months is the equivalent of just arriving there in terms of familiarity?And then Im the one who has to bend over backwards to offer counter arguments.

                They would probably have a passing familiarity but again, they’re not natives. And again, it wouldn’t be enough to sneak into a camp that size and disrupt it to such a degree.

                Really.You are going to nitpick the scale of things in a tv show.The thing that is the most often excused break from reality.

                I’m not going to give it an excuse that the books don’t have to rely on and even take pains to avoid. Every battle in the books is described with accurate tactics and use of the terrain and geography. You’re presenting me with a Zack Snyder-produced version of a graphic novel and telling me to accept it, and I can’t. The sheer potential wasted with this show is just depressing.

                Ok then,if its a battle of nitpicks you want,Ill deliver:
                It wasnt a group of twenty men,it was a group “reported as twenty men”

                Actually Ramsay was the one who suggested that Roose give him “twenty good men” and that would be all he needed, befitting his status as an Evil Mary Sue

                Pathetic.Im done with you here as well.Better luck next time.

                You’ve said this before. I’m still perfectly willing to have a civilized discussion with you, I would really like you see the manner you excuse such blatantly bad writing.
                You’re definitely not alone, there’s a lot of smart people who don’t realize just how bad this show is and I’m really fascinated as to why.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You’ve said this before.

                  I wasnt clear enough then,I meant that part of the discussion.Im never completely against talking to anyone,just on topics I see no point in continuing.The only reason I am responding here now is this:

                  You’re definitely not alone, there’s a lot of smart people who don’t realize just how bad this show is and I’m really fascinated as to why.

                  Ive talked about this at the very first post of this series.The thing is,most of us who like the show dont care about WHAT the story is saying,we care about HOW the story is saying it.The cast of the show is still mostly brilliant,even though many of the heavy hitters(most notably Charles Dance) got offed.I may agree with MrBtongue(and you) on some things when it comes to the writing of the show,and I may disagree with others.But ultimately,it was the acting that drew me to this one,and its the acting that keeps me still interested.

                  • Harper says:

                    Almost everything about Game of Thrones is high quality, except the writing and that’s why I hate it.
                    The season 6 finale in Kings Landing is masterfully produced, its score, the acting the cinematography, etc, etc, and all that talent that goes into it is wasted on such ridiculous plotting and logic.
                    The writing is even worse than it is because its most often replaced great writing, there’s no excuse from a technical perspective of replacing Euron’s appearance and dialogue from the books with what they give him in the show, it wouldn’t have cost them anymore than they spent to do that and you see the same kinds of changes all throughout the show

                • “there’s a lot of smart people who don’t realize just how bad this show is”

                  A very weird statement. If the show was bad it would have been canceled long ago.

                  And before you say “A lot of good shows are canceled after a season sometimes” no they aren’t, if they where good they would not be canceled.

                  You may think the show is bad, but I know for a fact that it is not as I think the show is good. That negates your point of view. Now if you ask somebody else they ma say they think it is bad, then you ask another who say it is good. They negate each other.

                  Now once you have asked all who have seen it if it is good or bad you probably will find the statistics close to 50% good and 50% bad. Which would make Game Of Thrones a “average” show.

                  Which I have no issues accepting in general. Among fantasy shows it’s one of the best but in general it’s a OK show. There are better shows but in other genres/genres combinations.

                  • Harper says:

                    If the show was bad it would have been canceled long ago.

                    And before you say “A lot of good shows are canceled after a season sometimes” no they aren’t, if they where good they would not be canceled.

                    Irrefutable logic there, but if you actually want to be serious, would you mind defending “You want a good girl but you need bad p***y”, or perhaps “Where are my niece and nephew? Let’s go murder them!”?

                    Its badly written, that’s it. Most of the show is very poorly written, especially when compared to the material it was adapted from

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    And before you say “A lot of good shows are canceled after a season sometimes” no they aren’t, if they where good they would not be canceled.

                    Faulty logic.Sometimes the network simply doesnt believe in the show to promote it enough,or put it in a good slot,so it has bad ratings despite being good.Sometimes the network simply doesnt even pick a show,then another network picks it and it end up being a smash hit.Dont equate network inner workings with the quality of shows that they pick up or cancel.

                    • Syal says:

                      Thinking of Firefly there. Maybe Family Guy.

                      And of course, a show can become worse over time, and viewer inertia will carry them a while. Game of Thrones was good enough early on to get to Season Six, but that doesn’t mean it’s good currently.

                  • Richard says:

                    “A lot of good shows are canceled after a season sometimes” no they aren’t, if they where good they would not be canceled.

                    That’s simply utterly wrong. Here’s a few reasons:
                    a) The network executives (NEs) making the commission/don’t commission and budget decisions do not have perfect knowledge of the future popularity of any given programme.
                    – In fact they have very little information about the current or even past popularity. These decisions have to be made quite early in the first run of the previous series, and sometimes before the first episode is even publicly broadcast.
                    Test screenings make or break shows.

                    b) NEs will sometimes cancel things that their predecessor brought in – even if it’s good – so that a project they really believe in can be made instead.
                    And sometimes it seems in retrospect that they were right to do so.

                    c) Budgets often put NEs into a position of deciding between underfunding two series, cancelling one and fully funding the other, or vice-versa.
                    There are plenty of cases where all three options were arguably correct.

                    d) NEs don’t know when a series is going to “jump the shark”.
                    They don’t know whether the writers genuinely have the ideas and the skills to complete another series with a given budget.
                    For example, it has often happened that a good series was cancelled to give another sufficient budget, only to discover that they’d actually run out of ideas or skill and the opposite decision should have been made.

                    e) The schedulers don’t have perfect knowledge and can destroy a good show by running it at the wrong time, in the wrong order (because they assume monster-of-the-week but it’s actually an arc), on a channel with the wrong audience – or just get shoved out of the way into a bad timeslot by a one-off event.
                    And yes, sometimes Network A runs their existing cult-something at the same time as Network B’s new shiny, in the hope of killing off B’s new hotness.

                    f) Sometimes an unexpected tragedy occurs in the real world that suddenly makes the core premise of a new show seem ridiculous, or even too controversial to contemplate.

                    Finally, shows simply aren’t objectively good.
                    That’s a subjective decision –
                    you really like something, I don’t, and that’s fine.

                    If you were the NE, you’d pick yours first, and I’d pick mine.
                    That’s despite the fact that they’re both really good.

            • Sannom says:

              “There’s no way Ramsay would be familiar enough with the terrain to sneak his twenty men into the the camp of a very sizeable army and even knowing the terrain, twenty men is not a sizable enough force to completely cripple an army that size.”

              I wonder how much of that trope we owe to all the stories who used that trope in “modern” times, which lead to writers applying it everywhere without thinking of the basics of how it works in those stories, namely that they often involve blowing up munition depots and the likes. Obviously they couldn’t do that in GoT, so instead we have to believe that twenty men on foot managed to set dozens of tents and chariots on fire, in the dark and without ever being spotted.

    • King Marth says:

      An unnecessary author’s pet villain and a protagonist who was killed and brought back to life with zero fanfare… isn’t this just the Mass Effect analysis over again?

  4. Jokerman says:

    Game of thrones seems to have been struck by “We need people to talk about it” syndrome, where they need something ‘big’ something ‘shocking’ that will ‘get the fans talking’ The Sopranos was rampant with this in it’s last series.

    Jon Snows death seems to have that in mind, and little else… not thoughts to how this would effect the plot, characters, no plans, just consumed by the need to have that big shocking moment no matter how much it pulls, stretches and strains the plot to make it happen.

    • sona4 says:

      I really worry about how it’s going to end because of this. It reminds me of how in a lot of Kojima’s work you have an ever escalating series of twist, conspiracies, and revelations that just compound until the game finally ends. You end up with a situation where you’re basically seeing the “No, I am your father.” ESB scene on repeat without ever actually getting to the part where the implications of that scene are felt. Instead C3PO is actually a tuba, the Sarlacc was the trash compactor monster’s cousin, Alderaan was an inside job, so on and so on.

  5. Shen says:

    Worth pointing out that magical resurrection WAS already set up in the show and implications discussed (that one guy with the flaming sword was very much stuck in the revolving door) but that doesn’t really excuse the complete lack of fallout when it happened here.

    • Baron Tanks says:

      Yes. The way that Melisandre and the Red Priest make a big deal out of this (both in the show but moreso in the books), how it’s a violation of nature and it should not be done and if you do, it has dire consequences, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. While I also fell off the bandwagon pretty hard in season 5 and agree with most what’s written here, at least to a certain extent, I still had some faith in the writers. I kept waiting for some consequence to the resurrection, kept studying Jon, see if something’s different, something off about him. But nothing, zip, nada. Just some scars (presumably) hidden under his clothes. Just another example of the writers having no grasp on the world they’re working with and the expectations that come with it (both from the characters as well as the audience).

      GRRM is not flawless, far from it. In fact I find his books to become a slog after the first three, most likely due to a lack of a stringent editor, but on the show his guidance is severely missed. The writers are just playing dollhouse with the characters and pieces they’re given, without a proper understanding what’s going on. I’m not looking for a one to one adaptation of the books, I feel an adapatation should play to the strength of the medium its portrayed in, but at this point the show is not even able to maintain consistency with what was established in its earlier seasons. And as pointed out, it only gets worse from here…

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Why does the shoe have to immediately drop?The establishment of resurrection was seasons before jon had to be brought back.So why should the consequence of this happen episodes later?Heck,hodor was established practically at the start for a payoff that happened 6 seasons later.Thats 6 years to give us the three word payoff.

        • Baron Tanks says:

          That’s fair enough, the payoff does not have to be immediate. But I was looking at least for a slight hint, that there’s anything wrong or ‘off’ about him. Not to get too much in the nitty gritty, but the other resurrected character we know of, Berric Dondarrion stresses how it is unnatural and how it has a heavy toll on him, both physically as well as his mental state and memories. Jon immediately reverts to the same Jon Snow as before, with no hint of change by either him or those observing him. I feel that goes against what the show established. Now granted, I may eat those words if like you suggest it comes back down the line. But with my perceived decline of storytelling quality I just do not have that faith in the showrunners at the moment. So maybe my conclusion is hasty, but I feel an opportunity for storytelling was missed here.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            True,but that other guy was raised half a dozen times,and this is jons first.

            Also,like Ive pointed out in my other comment,melisandre does state that her magic is the strongest with kings blood,and jon does have kings blood.

            • Baron Tanks says:

              You raise good points and I can’t disagree with them. I guess we’ll have to give the show the benefit of the doubt. Here’s to hoping they’re actually playing the long game.

              • Harper says:

                At this point the show doesn’t deserve it. How many people who saw Arya get stabbed in the guts gave the show the benefit of the doubt? It’s Jaqen in disguise! Its a trick, somehow!…….. Er, no its just Arya getting stabbed and surviving because the plot demanded it, no long game involved

          • Shoeboxjeddy says:

            Nothing wrong with Jon? He immediately quits his work with the Night’s Watch and doesn’t want to fight anymore. That’s pretty un-Jonlike. He seems more hopeless in general than he ever has before. Don’t get it confused, he’s always been dour, but he’s never been like “everyone will die and the fight is pointless” like he is for a while after his resurrection.

        • nessus says:

          IIRC Hodor isn’t set up for anything until season 6 where we see via Bran’s memory-warging that he wasn’t always the way he is. There were no foreshadowing hooks or question marks attached to him before that reveal. Before then he was just a big mentally challenged dude: likable, and served a role as Bran’s beloved beast of burden, but not much else.

    • ehlijen says:

      Sort of. None of the characters present then were involved with any of the ones who should have reacted more now.

      It’s one thing to not want to repeat the same bit of world building for the audience, but quite another to not have characters react to miracles.

      This was an opportunity that was squandered. A different priest performed this miracle, she could have given a different view with new insights for the audience. These were different characters being faced with resurrection, they could have shown different opinions on the matter. It was Jon’s first resurrection as opposed to the other guy’s umpteenth, that could have give an opportunity for different explorations of the newly risen thoughts on the matter (Jon showed some reflection, but not nearly enough given the miracle’s magnitude).

      Also, the last other resurrection was several seasons ago, a refresher on the fact that it’s a Big Deal would not have hurt.

  6. Galad says:

    Great post, MrBTongue. Only point I disagree with is that it’s not mentioned that Jon is a good swordsman – I’m pretty sure there should be scenes in previous seasons that establish this, but that’s a minor point. I don’t suppose everyone would be too awe-struck to ask Jon about it.

    Also, someone remind me please, how did the events around Jon’s death and resurrection play out in the books (with spoilers if you’d like, for the benefit of the three people here that have not read the books and intend to do so)? I do recall fondly that time some 3-4 years ago when I was reading the relevant book at 3 am on my computer screen and cried at Jon’s death.

    • Baron Tanks says:

      Someone else may correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I recall the books so far left off with Jon dead on the ground (or at least, a cut to black). A resurrection is widely expected and anticipated, but if you don’t count Winds of Winter as it hasn’t been published yet, Jon is presumably still dead or at the very least his status is in limbo.

    • ehlijen says:

      From what I remember, Jon has only just been killed in the books. His resurrection, if it’s going to happen, is yet to come.

    • Joshua says:

      He died at the end of Book 5 (released in 2011, I think?). Book 6 has not yet been released, so there’s no official discussion of his resurrection, yet. It’s speculated that since Jon made mention of certain freezing chambers in the Wall, they will be storing his body there.

      As far as his death, I felt it was a bit contrived. He does plenty of things that irritate the entire Night’s Watch, including letting the Wildlings through and giving them access to some of the castles along the Wall. The final straw was when he announced he was going to march south and attack Ramsay. This meant both abandoning the Wall and involving themselves directly into the politics of the realm, which was a pretty severe violation of oaths.

      The contrived part for me is the “Pink Letter” that Ramsay sends to Jon which provokes him to attack. There’s a lot of speculation about this letter, because it contains a lot of information that only Ramsay would know or say, and other information that is either not true/confirmed or likely for him to know about or care. There is a *lot* of speculation about this letter from fans. I found it almost to be a letter from GRRM himself as a meta-plot element designed to withdraw Jon Snow’s plot immortality and get things moving along.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        My take on the pink letter was that Ramsay was bullshitting in order to provoke Jon. Ramsay had to make some guesses, and got them wrong. It fits his personality well enough.

        • Harper says:

          The chapters released from TWOW pretty much confirm this, Stannis is going to absolutely destroy the Frey/Bolton army sent against him in the Battle of Ice
          Though Mance Rayder has almost certainly bee captured and the spearwives killed

        • Joshua says:

          If it was in fact Ramsay, that means that Mance Rayder was in fact caught and killed (off-screen, as it were) despite being previously shown to be a master spy. It also means that he willingly divulged information to Ramsay that the latter wouldn’t have thought to even ask about, presumably under torture.

          So, while Ramsay is presumably torturing him, Mance says “By the way, I’m really the King beyond the Wall, Jon Snow publicly executed a fake instead of me which could embarrass him politically, I have a child, yada yada yada”. Although Ramsay is somewhat cunning, he hasn’t indicated that he’s very much aware of political situations outside of what’s immediately in front of him.

          There’s speculation that the letter was instead written by Mance, or perhaps others like Stannis or Manderly, but there’s too much information shown that not any one of these characters would know everything and care about (why would any of them mention Reek?).

          I guess we’ll see when the book finally comes out.

          Also, while searching around I found this thread which comes up with some of the same analysis of Book vs. TV, and how the TV version makes little sense:
          http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Bastard_letter

          • guy says:

            As of the last scene in winterfell, Mance’s cover was blown and at least one of his team didn’t make it out. The letter doesn’t seem to indicate any definite knowledge of anything they wouldn’t have known.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            No, the letter doesn’t require Mance to have been captured at all. The letter has verifiably false information in it, which means that Ramsay is just guessing at some of it, and a guess can turn out to be either right or wrong. Also, it wouldn’t be hard for him to get some very public news about what’s happening at the wall. There are Lannister plants there, after all.

            I don’t see why Stannis or Mance would right it. My impression was actually that something disastrous had happened for Ramsay, and that the letter was a desperate attempt to lash back out at Jon. I don’t think Ramsay had much of a clear idea of what it would do for him; he’s not really politically astute, so he fell back on cruel taunting because it’s what he knows. To any extent that he succeeded in baiting Jon into getting himself assassinated by his own men, it was probably accidental.

            • Harper says:

              I’ve read speculation that Ramsay has killed Roose and Fat Walda by the time of the pink letter, so he probably has his hands full covering it up. And Hosteen Frey is presumably in big trouble engaging Stannis.

    • Wraith says:

      Unmarked spoilers for ADWD

      Basically Jon commits a series of actions that anger the conservative faction within the Night’s Watch, which is led by the head steward Bowen Marsh (who IIRC gets a cameo in one of the S6 episodes but is otherwise cut). Firstly they’re unhappy that Jon is basically an upstart who won the Lord Commander’s office through the backroom machinations of Sam.

      To briefly sum up the election (which was totally cut from the show), the three main candidates are two senior commanders who despise each other, and Janos Slynt who is backed by Alliser Thorne and his cronies. The two other guys split the vote and Slynt gradually gains ground, so Sam visits them and convinces them to throw their votes behind Jon as a dark horse candidate because Slynt and Thorne are just that disliked.

      Next, Jon starts taking actions that are deeply unpopular with the conservatives. He negotiates with Tormund to bring the remnants of Mance Rayder’s army through the Wall to settle in the Gift, which the conservatives view as a betrayal both of their oaths and of the memories of the dead brothers who perished in the recent battle. Jon also allows wildlings into the Watch if any desire to join up and fight the Others. Then he sends Mance Rayder (who is NOT dead in the books, but is actually saved by Melisandre, who disguises Rattleshirt as Mance using magic and burns him instead) on a secret mission south to Winterfell to save the fake Arya (whole other can of worms). Then Alys Karstark arrives at the Wall seeking asylum – her evil uncle is attempting to marry her to one of his sons in order to claim Karhold (whole other can of worms). Jon marries Arya to the new Sigorn of Thenn. For both these actions the conservatives object because Jon is starting to interfere with southern politics, which is a big no-no.

      The big thing though that starts the dominoes moving though is Hardhome. Jon doesn’t go to Hardhome in person, he sends a bunch of brothers and Wildlings on Stannis’s ships to evacuate the Wildlings at Hardhome by sea. He later gets a letter from then claiming the effort is disastrous – Stannis’s mercenaries are running off to enslave their charges in the Free Cities, and more dangerously there are “dead things in the water” attacking them. So Jon decides he will lead a large overland ranging to relieve Hardhome – the conservatives object because they don’t want to waste even more strength saving Wildlings.

      Then the Pink Letter arrives as Jon is preparing to head beyond the Wall. It’s apparently from Ramsay, who boasts that he’s destroyed Stannis, captured Mance Rayder, and demands the return of Theon and “Arya” (who Jon does not have). It’s full of little inconsistencies (the big one is that Theon and “Arya” are WITH Stannis’s army so if Ramsay has defeated Stannis he should have found them) so there’s a lot of fan speculation as to whether it actually is from Ramsay (it probably is but I personally think Stannis fakes his death, whole other can of worms). Jon is furious and changes his plans, calling for Wildling volunteers to march south and destroy Ramsay at Winterfell.

      This is the moment where the conservatives decide they have no choice. This is a huge no-no and would probably mean the end of the Night’s Watch. Jon is suddenly distracted by a big commotion (one of Stannis’s wife’s knights attempts to do something stupid with the Wildlings and gets caught by Wun Wun the Giant, whole other can of worms) and so in a spur-of-the-moment decision Marsh and his cronies decide to stab Jon to death while they have the opportunity, and the chapter ends.

      There’s a lot of huge differences between the book and show that make the betrayal make a lot more situational sense and the mutineers have much more understandable motives. In the books, it’s not a premeditated ambush, but an attack of opportunity spurred by desperation. Notably, Alliser Thorne is NOT involved in the mutiny in the books. This also explains the hole of “why would they do that if the Wildlings are camped next door?” – they know that, they just truly believe they have no other choice.

      Secondly, it’s extremely important that Jon DIDN’T go to Hardhome in person in the books, and that no veterans of Hardhome are at the Wall. In the show, there are Night’s Watch brothers who actually go to Hardhome and survive – they’ve personally witnessed the existence of the White Walkers and can relay that back to their brothers back at Castle Black. In the books, the White Walkers are still relatively unknown – only Sam has encountered them and lived, but no one believes him (except Jon). Therefore, in the books WE THE READERS know that the Others are real and Jon actions are absolutely necessary, but the CHARACTERS don’t; and it’s this uncertainty that gets Jon killed, because the conservatives believe he is taking extremely unorthodox actions for no real reason. This is a massive plot in the show, where logically EVERYONE should know that the White Walkers are real and that Jon’s actions are necessary; additionally, in the show the Pink Letter doesn’t arrive until the NEXT SEASON, so the mutiny by Thorne is even more baffling.

      The vast differences between how this situation plays out in the show compared to the books are like a microcosm of both – the books are a universe where action is driven by characters and their motivations, while the show is a universe where action is driven by plot convenience and writer fiat.

      • Grampy_bone says:

        Much of your defense of the books is supposition which doesn’t come across clearly in the text. I read the books and it seemed the main beef of the mutineers was Jon let the wildlings in. That’s pretty much it. Maybe all that other stuff contributed too but who cares? The results are the same. So the show latches onto the main plot point and cuts all the extraneous, long-winded, meandering crap that GRRM desperately needs to have edited out of his books.

        Reading ASOIAF reminds me constantly of the ‘unabridged Princess Bride’ that William Goldman refers to, where he talks about the book being full of pointless political diatribes which his dad just skipped whenever he read it to him.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          People are unhappy about him letting the wildlings in, but it’s his call to ride south which triggers the assassination. Also, Janos Slynt had his own loyalists who weren’t happy about him getting his head cut off.

          I don’t really thing calling it “supposition” is reasonable. There was a long, long build-up of the political situation. Jon’s election was contentious in the first place. The timing of the assassination pretty solidly connects it to his call to ride south, and the reasons why this is a problem are well-established.

          • Joe Informatico says:

            It’s definitely the call to march on Winterfell that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the traditionalist wing. It’s one thing to make unprecedented shows of leniency and diplomacy towards the wildings–it’s an extremely unorthodox approach, but at least it’s related to the defense of the Wall (if we make peace with them, we don’t have to defend against them). But turning the always apolitical, always neutral Night’s Watch into kingmakers, that’s going too far.

        • guy says:

          They’re decidedly unhappy about the Wildlings, but it’s Jon’s decision to intervene in Westeros politics that makes them actually mutiny.

          However, the White Walkers being real and active is a completely uncontriversial position on the Wall by now. The Wight attack, which plenty of people witnessed, is pretty strong evidence by itself. Sam is the only person to have personally killed a White Walker, but several of the people who saw him do it made it back, and I’m pretty sure there were other survivors of the battle.

      • Godbot says:

        Damn! That is a very thorough explanation. Thanks for putting it together!

      • Darren says:

        Maybe only Jon and Sam believe in the White Walkers, but the zombies are pretty well established by that point in the books, and Jon’s point that any Wildlings who are left to die beyond the Wall will rise up as part of a much more dangerous army are entirely correct.

        Your political point about the Night’s Watch fighting is correct, but remember that Jon advocates siding with Stannis because Stannis is literally the only contender to offer any real support for the Night’s Watch in defending against the coming horde of undead.

        Anyway you look at it, in the books the impression that is conveyed is that the conservative members of the Night’s Watch would rather they and perhaps the entire continent die at the hands of zombies than deviate from the current status quo.

      • Greg says:

        IIRC there is one other motivation for Jon’s assassination: When he reads the pink letter and declares his intention to march south he also reveals that Mance Rayder is still alive and cooperating with Jon. As far as Jon’s brothers know he knowingly spared Mance and possibly sent him to instigate his attack.

        This build up makes it perfectly rational for any member of the Watch who didn’t absolutely trust Jon’s motivations to believe that he has been purposefully conspiring to gain political and martial power for his own purposes.

    • Piflik says:

      As of now, since Winds of Winter is still unreleased, Jon is stabbed a few times, but not (yet) dead and not resurrected.

    • djw says:

      I’m pretty sure Melisandre never left with Stannis in the book, so the time between Jon dies and Jon lives might end up fairly short, as measured by characters in the book (granted, 11 years and counting for those of us reading the books).

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is the first time that I must say:You are wrong about everything.Well,maybe not the last two paragraphs,but everything before that.Let us begin.

    .
    .
    .
    Thorne and his co-conspirators apparently just left the body lying in the castle courtyard. Maybe they expected the janitorial staff to take care of it.

    No,his body was deliberately left there as a message.Which can easily be seen by the literal message that was left next to the body.

    Later, Ser Davos discovers the body, and he, Edd, and a handful of loyal brothers barricade it inside a room in the castle for some reason. No one – neither the people who killed him nor the people who find him later – ever seems to consider burying Jon, or burning him, or holding a funeral, or doing any of the things one customarily does with a dead body.

    Um,since when does a funeral take place immediately after you discover a body?Where the lanisters wrong to hold a days long wake for every one of their dead?And as Ive pointed out earlier,the people who left his body left it there for a reason.Why would they then bury(and thus respect)someone who they deliberately killed and disrespected?As for those who locked his body in a room,how are they going to hold a funeral while surrounded by people who deliberately dont want jons body to be respected in such a manner?Are they supposed to sneak out at night and hold an impromptu burial?

    Oh,and how about those bodies that rose in the beginning of the show,when the nights watch first learned about the white walkers?Those were also left outside for a while before being buried.The meisters are often showed messing with dead bodies during the show,and the castle black has(had)a meister and his apprentice.This is not an uncommon practice.

    for months, the show’s marketing has been teasing, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face, the possibility that Jon will be resurrected somehow.

    And Ive known about it before he was even killed,due to a spoiler that slipped into my ears about jon dying and resurrecting in the books.So are we to blame the books for this too?

    Ser Davos appears to be in charge, despite the fact that he’s not a member of the Night’s Watch.

    What does it matter?Those who still care about jon enough to rebel against the others practically gave away their nights watch status.

    In fact I’m not sure why he’s here at all.

    Because stannis told him to come back.

    The show makes no attempt to explain why Stannis’ former Hand of the King is now willing to fight to the death to defend the corpse of a man he never held any allegiance to in life.

    Except it does.He came to convince jon to give aid once more.He conversed with the man before,he came to respect him.He knows that those who dont care about jon dont care about winterfell either.So whom is he going to turn then now that this split has happened?Those who still care about jon,or those who dont?

    His stated reason for their betrayal is that Jon Snow let the wildlings through the wall. But it wasn’t as though they didn’t have any warning of this – Jon announced his intentions pretty clearly beforehand.

    Yes,when he was about to set off to the north,where he was likely to die.Why murder a man who has a high chance of dying anyway on his stupid quest?

    Given that, you would have expected the conspirators to turn on him before the wildlings came through, not after, so as to prevent it from happening.

    When?You mean when he was surrounded by white walkers and likely to die?Or after that,when he had two armies,both of which outnumber castle black,around him?What wouldve that accomplish?

    So Jon Snow is deliberately killed to death in a public place while an entire army of people – who outnumber the Castle Black garrison many times over, and who will almost certainly object to this development – is camped just a short distance away.

    No,he was deliberately killed in a public place because they wanted to send a message to the rest of the nights watch.And if they dealt with the few remaining loyalist,the wildlings wouldnt even learn about this thing for quite a while.

    They storm Castle Black, much to everyone’s completely inexplicable surprise, and capture the mutineers.

    The surprise was that someone managed to slip away and tell the news to the wildlings,not that they would be angry about it.

    Davos has never seen Melisandre do this before and has no reason to believe that she can,

    He has seen her summon a literal demon from her womb however.And since bringing people back from the dead was established earlier within the dog/arya story,it stands to reason that legends about this are not unheard of.

    Melisandre herself says she can’t, if she could why wouldn’t she have done it for the hundreds or possibly thousands of people who have died fighting for Stannis in multiple previous battles,

    She kind of did observe someone do it however.So she knows it can be done.As for why she didnt attempt it with someone else,maybe she did but failed?Anyway,she explained multiple times before that her magic mostly relies on blood of a king.So even if she did try to resurrect someone else,it wouldnt have worked because she lacked the key ingredient she had now.

    WE know why Davos is so sure this will work, because we know that the writers want their main character back.

    Or,you know,because he personally witnessed her summong A LITERAL DEMON FROM HER WOMB.Its tough to not believe in her powers after that.

    So much for “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

    Um,he does swing the sword that cut their ropes.Or are you expecting that now he has to execute each and every one man by beheading,no hangings allowed?I mean really…

    Is it some kind of symbol of office?

    Again,dont be too literal.Its just a symbol that he is done with the nights watch.

    Is Edd the new Lord Commander now? I thought Lord Commanders were elected. That used to be a major setting detail that once had its own storyline.

    Except that the castle was practically conquered by wildlings now.This alone wouldve changed things significantly.Besides,even if this wasnt the official change of leaders,this is someone who practically everyone present respects tremendously telling them his opinion.They dont have to listen,but they most likely will.

    So I guess his death released him from his vows, in which case under what authority did he hang all those people?

    Under the authority that he was the one they killed.And the authority of a bunch of people who supported him allowing him to do whatever he wants.

    Where is he going?

    To retake winterfell,obviously.

    And wherever it is, shouldn’t he dress more warmly?

    Again,you are being too literal with a symbol for no reason.

    Remember that people coming back from the dead is supposed to be roughly as impossible in Westoros as it is in real life.

    Except it isnt.Even discounting the white walkers,we saw someone do it practically as a matter of fact just because he could.

    Immediately after his resurrection, a couple characters get to express… well, if not shock, at least mild bewilderment at the fact that Jon is alive.

    Yes,how dare those characters that saw and fought walking corpses(and not to mention A FREAKING DEMON COMING OUT OF A WOMANS VAGINA)not be shocked by another corpse coming back from the dead.Thats like being shocked when you see a car driving without a horse immediately after you get off a plane from a trans atlantic flight.

    If any of these lords are unsettled by the fact that they’re talking to Westorosi Jesus, they certainly hide it well, and it never comes up in any of their conversations.

    There are no telephone,internet or cameras in this world.So “Jon snow was stabbed,but now is a ok” is not something many people would interpret as “He was stabbed to death,but was resurrected”.Not to mention that even if they actually believed the fairy tale that they were told about someone actually dying and being resurrected,this is something that theyve heard at least legends of.Thats like them being surprised that the stories they heard about dragons arent just embellishments.Weird things like that are part of their world.They hear stories like that all the time.Doesnt mean that they have to always believe them,or that once they do believe its an unexpected thing.

    He even knows about Jon’s reputation as a great swordsman. Which was news to everyone else, including the audience.

    No it wasnt.It was established multiple times.

    “What happened” presumably refers to the stabbing, which means he must have told her about how he got better, right?

    Why?I was betrayed and stabbed would be enough.He doesnt have to tell her that the stabbing was fatal.

    WE know why no one mentions it, don’t we?

    Yes we do.Because it happened in the books,and this is still an adaptation of the books.But we cant blame the books now,can we?Thats too sacred of a cow to even touch.We may only refer to it vaguely,in a whispered annotation.We mustnt dare to even describe anything of substance,lest we open the books to any possible criticism.

    Tl;dr this entry was a big disappointment.

    • Darren says:

      This is a good post. I’m not really enjoying this column. This guy isn’t nearly as rock-solid in his arguments as Shamus is, and he’s not doing nearly enough to lay the groundwork for his arguments given that, as you point out, we aren’t seeing anything new with Jon’s resurrection and a lot of this stuff comes directly from the books.

      • “This guy isn’t nearly as rock-solid in his arguments as Shamus is, and he’s not doing nearly enough to lay the groundwork for his arguments” No idea if Mr.BTongue has all this written out before hand or not.

        Who knows maybe he can do a video with all of this stuff fixed. (making these blog posts a sort of beta run).

        He’s read the books and seen the TV show, it’s impossible to separate the knowledge of the two, and it’s impossible to remember all the differences of the two.

        The books I’m assuming can be easily searched. But I don’t think there are searchable transcripts of the TV show (just subtitles wouldn’t be enough). And re-watching the entire show is probably out of the question.

    • Mousazz says:

      Thats like being shocked when you see a car driving without a horse immediately after you get off a plane from a trans atlantic flight.

      I dunno, if I was a mid-19th century person who got transported into the modern day, been flown in a plane, and only saw my first car after getting off, my first thought would probably be something like “Wait, they have land planes/horseless carriages too?!?”

    • The Other Matt K says:

      “Tl;dr this entry was a big disappointment.”

      Yeah, I have to agree. I’ve been very unhappy with the last few seasons of the show, but these posts are focused on such petty details that it actively undermines criticism of the genuine mistakes that the show has made. He even admits that most of the column is nitpicking, in which case… don’t include it! Focus on the real points!

      Shamus has occasionally talked about how, once a story starts to unravel, the audience will become much less forgiving about even small inconsistencies, and start noticing minor nitpicks that normally they would gloss right over. However, I think there is also a level beyond that, where once a reader has starting disliking a book (or a show, or a game, etc), they will actively invent complaints about the content, just for the sake of having more to complain about. I know I’ve done it myself, and that is what it feels like we have here – there are one or two decent points in the post above, but 90% of the complaints seem to require an intentional misreading of the situation in order to have any substance to them. Which is disappointing, because there are plenty of legitimate complaints to be made!

      Also, just because I don’t want to sound like I’m attacking the writer as intentionally misleading the audience – I don’t think that is the case at all. Like I said, I know I’ve made similar arguments about shows or books that I’ve grown frustrated with. Once one starts complaining about something, it can feel cathartic to just keep cranking out accusations about perceived flaws. It just… this feels more like something suited to, say, a college kid’s livejournal post, rather than an informed analysis on a professional blogger’s site.

      • *nod* the Spoiler Warning crew tend to get quite salty at the end of as season too, even if they really like a game. If you are looking for flaws you will find them, even some that aren’t really there.

      • Blake says:

        I agree.

        GoT hasn’t reached story collapse for me, but I’m reading all these posts out of interest in opposing positions.

        I found pretty much all the points in this post contestable as they were pretty in line with the world as it has already been established.

        I found Jon’s death to be a surprise simply because he was clearly an actual main character, but the motivations fit. Those guys in the watch already hated Jon enough, and when he left to go get Wildlings they probably all got drunk and decided to murder him when he got back.

        His resurrection was not a surprise at all though, within an hour of the death being aired I correctly guessed what would happen next. Melisandre had seen a priest revive someone, who also said he didn’t have the power to do so, he just asked the god nicely and for whatever reason the man came back. Melisandre just does the same thing here with the power of all that king blood to back her up.

        This felt like logical story progression for me.
        MrBtongue could argue about why the writers shouldn’t have gone down that path, and could have set things up differently. But everything that happened to Jon as a result of his decision to rescue the Wildlings felt like the expected outcomes considering the set up.

        It’s much like the arguments about the Sansa rape situation. From the moment she was on the path to meet Ramsey it was basically inevitable. Everything there played out the way you would expect it to.
        The only way to prevent it without giving her plot armour would be for her to have gone there to fight not to marry, changing that entire story for the season, but ultimately leading to the same outcome.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I fall somewhere between the two positions.

      Much of this complaint is that the story isn’t doing anything with this stuff. Why bother killing Jon? Why not just let him break his oaths? It isn’t like he hasn’t done it before (albeit, under orders from the Half-Hand, and the technical difference between sex and fathering -Jon still considered it oath-breaking). Or invoke some ancient law that allows a Brother of the Nights Watch to be restored to the Succession. Stannis has already suggested it. Tywin invoked a similar precedent to get Jaime out of the Kingsguard. There are real world analogs of priests being restored to the aristocracy.

      But they decided to kill Jon rather than exercise those other options. They should do something with this. And they really don’t.

      I consider the problem to be one of focus. For all the Julius Caesar imagery, there’s a reason that the play is often thought to be the tragedy of Brutus, not of Caesar (Caesar, after all dies, in the third act). The interesting part of the assassination of Jon Snow is Aliser Thorne. But Thorne isn’t a viewpoint character in the show (though the actor does a great job of projecting “Brutus” with what little screentime he has).

    • ehlijen says:

      So Davros saw the shadow assassin being created. An unholy monster of darkness that then went on to do a terrible thing. Why would he conclude from that that Melisandre can bring someone back to live as anything but a shadow monster?

      If anything he should have made sure Melisandre doesn’t get her hands on Jon’s body.

      And while he had talked to Jon for a bit, I never got the impression that the two of them had formed a true friendship, let alone the kind that would see one defend the body of the other with his life.

      As to the mantle as a symbol, symbols are nice to have, sure. But here it intruded on the believability of the scene. Simply put, Jon should have been walking into his quarters to pack or to the stables to get a horse, not out the gate without cloak, mount or gear. It was that simple.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        But then it wouldnt have been SYMBOLISM™.

        As for davos,he really was grasping at straws.Though I dont remember if he was with her when they met the red priest.But its not unlikely that rumors about that event spread around since she did have a bit entourage on that trip.

      • N”on should have been walking into his quarters to pack or to the stables to get a horse, not out the gate without cloak”

        Well. just look at the photo in the blog post of Jon. Then think of these lyrics “The Cold doesn’t bother me anymoore, let it gooo (the coat) let it gooo….”

    • “Or,you know,because he personally witnessed her summong A LITERAL DEMON FROM HER WOMB.Its tough to not believe in her powers after that.

      So much for “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

      Um,he does swing the sword that cut their ropes.Or are you expecting that now he has to execute each and every one man by beheading,no hangings allowed?I mean really…”

      I’m just guessing that this is due to (Mr.BTongue’s) selective memory, if he had remembers them he’d have mentioned them or not made his critique self-contradicting.

      Kinda ironic that Mr.BTongue faces critique of his writing where he critique how somebody’s writing is worse than somebody else’s writing. *laughs*

  8. sona4 says:

    I’ve felt for awhile that one of the show’s conflicts is that it wants to have a medieval society but also seems to really not want to write religion or religious people. So you end up with this kind of vague secularness to the show like people ignoring that a foreign priest is resurrecting people or blowing up the pope and the mega-chapel getting you a crown instead of a noose. I can see these things kinda sorta making sense in the head of a writer who is thinking of popes and priest as purely political players\plot devices and is thoroughly uninterested in religion as a larger element in Westeros until the plot demands they acknowledge it.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      That’s a weakness of the books too, but it’s also not uncommon with a lot of older (say, 1970s through 1990s) fantasy fiction, at least in the English language. Even when the characters know the gods are real! There are exceptions (I personally find Lois Bujold’s Curse of Chalion quite good in this respect) but by and large that’s the norm for this era.

      In fairness, you can only embody a historical period and mindset to a certain extent before you start to put off readers with how alien the whole thing is to a modern mentality, as Ada Palmer argues here. Even a very devout person of today would find the mindset of a medieval believer very alien. But there must be a happy medium.

    • ? says:

      I think we didn’t see the aftermath of blowing up the Sept of Baelor yet. Immediately after explosion, yes, Cersei can wear a crown and sit on the Iron Throne because Qyburn eliminated her political opponents and all Faith Militiant and most of Sparrow supporters died in the explosion. There is literally nobody in vicinity that can oppose her and people of King’s Landing are quite naturally shocked and unorganised. To a certain extend ruling through terror works. But we don’t know how everyone else reacts until we watch the coming season. I fully expect Cersei to fail miserably. The only questions are who is going to crush her and is Jamie going to betray her? Are Tyrells going to besiege the city? Or is it going to be a race between Jon and Denearys to grab King’s Landing?

      Medieval people still murdered bishops or even popes (but comparing High Septon to Pope gets weird when Faith of the Seven is exclusive to Westros and isn’t even the only one available) and got away with it. Some kings did it personally and during a mass.

  9. Lee says:

    In truth, Jon’s death in the books wasn’t that different. The real difference was that his betrayal of the watch wasn’t the fact that he let the wildlings through, but that he was leaving Castle Black to go run off and save Winterfell. Other than that, pretty much the same, he gets himself stabbed. The books give a little extra plausibility to a (still in the future) resurrection, by having Jon warg into Ghost while he’s dead.

    Jon was shown in the shows teaching the new recruits swordplay, because he was taught for years while growing up in Winterfell. He also fought an defeated an Other with his sword in the show. Stories of his swordsmanship are understandable. Also understandable is that you don’t bring up your opponent’s apparent resurrection when you’re about to start a fight. It’s bad for morale.

    A lot of the problems being brought up are like this. They’re not particularly big problems if you try to rationalize them. I’m not saying it’s a good adaptation, because I do think there are problems. But the ones listed here are weak, honestly.

    • Harper says:

      In the books, Jon is much more competent, more forward-thinking etc. And that’s why he gets stabbed.
      Its more than a few of the Watch hating Wildlings, its that the Watch isn’t a political entity and Jon realizes that’s impossible when the Realm is in such a state and the White Walkers are coming.
      Its more than letting the Wildlings in that gets him killed, its giving them land, making a some of them nobility and marrying them off to Northern nobility, helping Stannis and planning to attack Ramsay.
      And so his murder is much more understandable in the books

  10. deiseach says:

    Only just noticed the Garrincha reference in your bio. Hipster, but in a good way.

    (And yes, I have watched your video about soccer.)

  11. Mr Compassionate says:

    To the people here saying the criticism is weak I’d say that much of what I see coming from both sides is subjective opinion of what Westerosi people think. Disagreements like this arise because Game of Thrones does a poor job of showing the opinions and perspectives of the general populace within it’s world and as a result we can only speculate as to how much the people know or how much is rumored.

    How many people like X nobleman/woman and how many people are scared of them? Do many people know much about Jon Snow south of the wall or do they not care? Do people respect Ramsey Bolton? How many of the people who witnessed Jon emerge from the morgue spread the word? There is so little evidence to solidify any particular perspective that we’re left supporting the events we assumed on our first watching.

    They could solve this by having a few more scenes or even characters dedicated to having conversations about general rumours.
    ‘The Watch say they’ve fought White Walkers and that a Stark Bastard named Jon Snow defeated one of their leaders using Longclaw’
    ‘Oh yes, everybody knows Ramsey killed his dad but the last captain who spoke out got thrown to the dogs’
    ‘Word is the commander of the watch has gone turncoat, hanged all who oppose him and let wildlings flood through the gates. I hope Ramsey flays him as he deserves’

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      See,this is a good criticism.The most we see from common people are how they regard the lannisters and how they regard danny.Neither of which is surprising.

      • MarsLineman says:

        I agree. While it’s true that screen time is valuable, the time otherwise spent on useless asides (like the sideplot with the mutineers) could be better spent establishing some sort of common voice, or ‘chorus’.

        The problem is that this issue also exists in the books, largely due to the POV structure (which limits the readers’ perspective to the few nobles whose perspective we share). Davos is the closest we get to the perspective of a Westerosi commoner

        • Harper says:

          Martin definitely needs to write more diverse PoVs but the opinions and status of the smallfolk are still explored throughout the series. Davos is lowborn and Areo Hotah is a former slave, but Sansa, Brienne and Arya’s PoV’s frequently explore the “chorus” that you describe.
          I just reread Sansa’s last chapter in ACOK and it beautifully demonstrates what people think about the Lannister’s and Stannis’s accusations against them

          • Vermander says:

            I agree that Arya and Brienne’s chapters both give us some good perspective on how the ongoing wars are hurting the common people. In general, most of the commoners they meet don’t really seem to distinguish much between the Starks, Lannisters, Tyrells, etc. They don’t really have any insight into the causes of the war beyond rumors and don’t feel that have any personal stake in the feuds between the families, they just know how it affects them personally. There’s no Westeros version of CNN or BBC they can tune into.

            In the books, the Sparrows actually start out as a movement of the common people who are fed up with being terrorized by the nobility and ignored by the church, but the show portrays them much less sympathetically.

            • Harper says:

              The show seems to treat all religion like crap, the only positive religious figure, Ian McShane’s character is basically an agnostic. What it did to the Sparrows is unforgivable

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                To be fair,the show treats everyone like crap.Even ned,the most positive character show,was portrayed as a lecherous guy for 6 years,before the truth about him was revealed.

                And while having the westeros inquisition was a bit iffy,how the sparrow acted and who he chose to punish actually made him into an actual good guy.

                • Harper says:

                  To be fair,the show treats everyone like crap.

                  If this was in terms of adapting the characters, then you’d be 100% right, but “the setting is awful” excuse doesn’t work here.
                  With Ned the worst thing the show did to him was make him a braggart. In the books Ned Stark would never brag to his children about the Tower of Joy as Bran seemed to imply in the show. That change was baffling to me, that whole experience would have been too painful to even bring up for Ned.
                  He has certainly described Ser Arthur Dayne to his children, but only in the context of great examples of knights.

                  And while having the westeros inquisition was a bit iffy,how the sparrow acted and who he chose to punish actually made him into an actual good guy.

                  Wow, no, he’s not sympathetic in any way… Did you miss the part where he carved a seven-pointed star into Loras’s forehead for being gay? Or persecuting a woman who is wildly more sympathetic than she is in the books( Cersei)?
                  In the books, Cersei is targeting Margaery because she might be the younger queen mentioned in the prophecy and she’s an imagined threat to her relationship with Tommen. In the show the threat isn’t imagined, Margaery is actively raping her son and manipulating him to isolate him from her.
                  And in regards to the treatment of religion, the show Sparrows might as well be Al Queda, there’s no nuance to that depiction at all.

                  • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                    Saying Margaery is raping Tommen is a screwed up thing to say. In the context of THEIR society, both characters are of age and both are consenting. The age of consent in our world has no bearing on this situation.

                    • Harper says:

                      Saying Margaery is raping Tommen is a screwed up thing to say.

                      Absolutely not, Tommen is protrayed by an older actor when the rape occurs but chronologically he is around the same age as the first actor, which is about 10-12, that is absolutely rape.

                      In the context of THEIR society, both characters are of age and both are consenting.

                      Absolutely not, Westerosi nobles are commonly betrothed at that age but the marriage isn’t consummated until later. Within the culture, its still rape, and regardless of whether the culture permits it, it’s the writers of the setting and story that morally permit it.
                      D&D purposefully recast the role to make the rape less gross.

                      The age of consent in our world has no bearing on this situation.

                      Yes it does, just like our conceptions of murder, misogyny, classism, etc, etc. It all matters because the George RR Martin’s explicit purpose in setting his story in a medieval feudalist culture is to criticize it.
                      Cersei is pissed at her world becuase its so patriarchal, just because she can’t conceive of a society without it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect her. The same with an obviously older woman( Natalie Dormer is in her thirties but lets be generous and say Margaery is in her twenties) is sexually manipulating her chronologically not-16 year old son

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Like Shoeboxjeddy says,why are you projecting modern world morality onto that world?

                    Also,while loras received his punishment for being gay,its not like he did not deserve punishment for his actual scheming he and his family did.And just because cerseis motivations are understandable does not make them less evil.

                    • Harper says:

                      why are you projecting modern world morality onto that world?

                      Because that’s what Martin meant for us to do when he wrote his story in this world. Portraying a world that is heavily patriarchal, feudal with heavy emphasis on chivalry and warfare is not his attempt to endorse it, its to explore the ramifications of such a society on the psyche’s of his characters.
                      Characters like Cersei are self-hating wrecks because they exist in a world that hates them and treats them differently for their genitals. Characters like Jaime are nihilistic jerks because they’re exposed to the horrific realities of following the code of chivalry

                    • @Harper “Because that’s what Martin meant for us to do”
                      Now you are making assumptions about what R.R.Martin’s intentions are. Has he stated such in interviews or when talking about his books?

                      You can not infer the views of a author by their writing, that would be akin to stigmatizing someone.

                    • Harper says:

                      Has he stated such in interviews or when talking about his books?

                      He has actually, thanks. He’s stated multiple times that he’s made the world to deconstruct the standard medieval fantasy world by showing the realities of that world as it was in our own history.

            • MarsLineman says:

              I agree that the books do a much better job of fleshing out the experience of the common folk. The problem, though, is that without any PoV chapters from the perspective of a Westerosi commoner, there aren’t any characters that are easy to adapt to the television format; there are no easily identified common voices (as a primary character voice).

              The early seasons of the show invented a character to serve this purpose (the red-headed prostitute Ros), and the Dothraki women in Dany’s service served the same role for the Dothraki side of the GoT universe (“It is known…”). But later seasons of the show don’t seem to have found a way to give the viewer this much-needed Westerosi-commoner perspective, even though there have been attempts at such a perspective on the other side of the GoT universe (via Daario, Grey Worm, and Missandei).

              • Harper says:

                Why couldn’t the show adapt the actual narratives from the books where the PoV characters actually do heavily interact with the smallfolk, Arya and Brienne’s in particular are partly dedicated to showing the effects of the Lannister’s razing of the Riverlands and the War of Five Kings on the common people

                • Vermander says:

                  I think most of the impact would be lost with TV Brienne. Book Brienne is a much more sensitive, empathetic character, who struggles to balance her desire to be a hero with her abhorrence of bloodshed and cruelty. Witnessing all that horror and suffering has a profound effect on her, which culminates in her finally having to actually kill another person (four books into the series!).

                  TV Brienne pretty much seems like a remorseless killing machine at this point.

                  Arya still had some of those moments though, like her (eventual) friendship with Hot Pie or when she and the Hound ate with that farmer in the Riverlands.

    • “They could solve this by having a few more scenes or even characters dedicated to having conversations about general rumours.” The series would need twice as many episodes to do all that sadly.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Personally,a much better thing to complain in regards to jon snow is that he really does know nothing.Every battle he fought,he lost.It just so happens that every time there was someone there to rescue him.And yet people still follow him as this great leader,despite his abysmal track record.

    • Baron Tanks says:

      So true, that and his pouty faces really makes him grate at times in the show. It’s like, egh, we get it, just get over it.

    • Vermander says:

      I think he did a pretty decent job during the Hardhome incident. That was basically a hopeless situation, but he managed to get as many people into the boats as he could and it likely would have been much worse if he wasn’t there.

      There’s been some other small moments where he’s demonstrated some leadership ability, but the show keeps insisting on having him drop everything and dive headfirst into the most dangerous part of every battle, which is probably not a good quality in a leader.

      The show doesn’t really emphasize the importance of class distinctions in medieval warfare. As a noble’s son (albeit a bastard) Jon has had at least some martial training (in fact we know he trained alongside Robb who is a pretty great commander in his own right) and has grown up expecting that he will one day lead other men on the battlefield. Even on the Wall, which is supposed to be a somewhat democratic institution almost all of the major offices are held by nobles. So a lot of the veterans may have more practical combat experience than Jon, but he’s still the kind of person they would naturally be expected to follow.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I think he did a pretty decent job during the Hardhome incident.

        Which also wouldve been a disaster if not for his luck in inheriting a valyrian steel sword.He is lucky way more often than he is capable.

    • Droid says:

      Robb won every battle, and lost his war and his life with it. Maybe Jon has had a bad battle record, but his strategic goals (getting rid of the white walkers, or stopping them, mostly) are seeing some progress, and somehow he’s also still alive.

  13. Harper says:

    How about the fact that Jon Snow kills a child by strangulation and its never brought up again?
    Its presented like its morally right, maybe because the actor who plays Olly had a growth spurt between seasons, but Jon kills a child who saw his whole family butchered and eaten by Wildlings.
    They could’ve at least presented it as an effect of Jon’s resurrection. The way resurrection works within the universe is that the person is fundamentally changed by it, Beric and Lady Stoneheart confirm this.
    IF just one person might have come up to Jon and complained about him executing a child, that would have been… better, not great but better.
    There’s a wierd morality on the show that may not be promoted but its certainly not condemned, like Olly’s death, Tommen’s rape and manipulation by Margaery, Sansa sicking feral dogs on Ramsay, etc, etc

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      Olly is a MAN of the Night’s Watch. He gave up any protection of being a child the second he did that. Not that Westeros HAS any special protection for children, it very much does not. Olly also gutted his commander with a knife, which means the sympathy flowing in his direction is zero. It’s not like he simply watched, he was the killing blow!

      • Harper says:

        Olly was 13, 14 at the most-in universe when he was killed and yes, Westeros does have a taboo against killing children as Theon clearly finds out.
        He was traumatized with the deaths of his parents, Jon Snow would understand that.
        Again, its wrong in-universe and out

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          How is it wrong?Even in reality,a child of that age that kills someone has high chances of being judged as an adult and even sentenced to life in prison or death,depending on the law of the country they are in.

          • Harper says:

            How is it wrong?Even in reality,a child of that age that kills someone has high chances of being judged as an adult and even sentenced to life in prison or death,depending on the law of the country they are in.

            Its wrong because he’s a traumatized kid which Jon is well aware of and if he refuses to kill Ygritte because she’s a woman, he’s sure as hell not going to kill a kid who saw his family killed and eaten. And with what authority?

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              He refused to kill ygritte because he banged loved her,not because she was a woman.

              And his authority is that these people murdered him in cold blood,when he was defenseless.

              • Harper says:

                He refused to kill ygritte because he banged loved her,not because she was a woman.

                Not the second time, the first, when he meets her. He has no attachment to her in the beginning, only his own moral objection to killing a woman.
                And Jon would certainly consider the circumstances that led to Olly joining Thorne and the other traitors.
                Do you not realize how much you have to bend over backwards to justify the logic of this crap show? Is it even worth it? Excuse it as trash tv and be done with it, don’t use this flimsy as hell logic to justify the writing as anything other than trash

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Yes,you just use flimsy as hell logic to justify a person WHO STABBED SOMEONE TO DEATH should be treated as an innocent.Im done with your inane arguments.

                  • Harper says:

                    Yes,you just use flimsy as hell logic to justify a person WHO STABBED SOMEONE TO DEATH should be treated as an innocent

                    No I used the logic of the actual CHARACTER. Jon Snow has a character, contrary to reports that he’s just a piece of cardboard.
                    He is his “father’s” son at the end of the day and the thought of what his father would do influences his own actions CONSTANTLY

                    • Syal says:

                      Ned Stark killed a Night Watchman for losing his nerve and fleeing his post after being the only survivor of a massacre, because Oath-breaking only had one penalty. Olly’s far worse than a deserter.

                    • Harper says:

                      Olly is a child, Ned Stark would not kill a child

                    • ehlijen says:

                      No, Olly is not a child, in name, act or legally. In this world, puberty means adulthood. Olly took a man’s oath to join the night’s watch. And he doesn’t act like a child, as children don’t murder people for their political decisions. Olly was, acted as and acted like an adult.

                    • Harper says:

                      No, Olly is not a child, in name, act or legally. In this world, puberty means adulthood.

                      You’re not getting it, in the minds of Ned Stark and the kid he raised, Olly is not a man, he’s a child

                    • ehlijen says:

                      Based on what evidence? Ned never met Olly, so he thought nothing of him. Jon did kill him, so clearly he was either not seeing him as a child or he had no problems killing him anyway.

                    • Harper says:

                      Based on what evidence? Ned never met Olly, so he thought nothing of him

                      Based on Ned’s character, as written by George RR Martin, he abhors the murder of children and Olly was a child.

                      Jon did kill him, so clearly he was either not seeing him as a child or he had no problems killing him anyway.

                      Yeah, hence my complaint how it was totally out-of-character and morally abhorrent

                    • ehlijen says:

                      Or maybe you are wrong and Jon did not see Olly as a child.

                    • Harper says:

                      Or maybe you are wrong and Jon did not see Olly as a child.

                      The piece of cardboard that charged blindly into a battle with enough plot armor to match his stupidity may very well have seen Olly as a man but that piece of cardboard is about as far-removed from the character of Jon Snow as you could get

        • Shoeboxjeddy says:

          Westeros has a taboo… but it’s not particularly a strong one. One of the very first actions of King Joffrey was to have like 20 kids killed and he got away with this scot free. Theon is in trouble with his CONSCIENCE for killing those kids, the offense to the North is much more about his oath breaking with the Starks. In any sort of raid situation, kids are cut down as a matter of course, there’s NOTHING about leaving the women and children alive even if you’re enemies in this world. Finally, Marsella and Joffrey were both assassinated, which is bad because they’re nobility, not kids.

          • Harper says:

            One of the very first actions of King Joffrey was to have like 20 kids killed and he got away with this scot free

            He didn’t get away scott free with that, people were pissed. The Kingslanding riot wasn’t just the result of starvation it was the brutality of the Lannister rule, Joffrey’s in particular.
            And within both the book and show the common people and nobility alike despise the person responsible for killing those bastard children( Joffrey on the show and Cersei in the books)

            Theon is in trouble with his CONSCIENCE for killing those kids, the offense to the North is much more about his oath breaking with the Starks.

            Its very clear from the responses of people in the North, Ser Rodrik in particular cannot even comprehend the savagery of killing children. He’s horrified at the “deaths” of the youngest Stark boys and absolutely thrown by Theon’s willingness to hang his own daughter.
            Even more, a big part of Ned’s character in both the book and show is his hatred of harming children, he despises the Lannisters for killing Rhaegar’s trueborn children and won’t even entertain the idea of killy Dany. How likely is it for the boy he raised as his son to believe the exact opposite?

        • xedo says:

          The taboo Theon breaks isn’t so much about killing children… it’s speculated that Theon’s life goes to hell after killing the miller’s children because he had been sleeping with the miller’s wife once upon a time, and one of the kids was his own. That would make him a kinslayer, and therefor cursed. At least, that’s speculation from the book. I wholeheartedly admit I dropped out of the show where they might have gone a different way.

          • Harper says:

            I like that theory a lot, and its definitely seeded like the Oberyn-poisoned-Tywin theory, but we can clearly see through Rodrik’s reaction that killing children is taboo. Ser Rodrik almost can’t conceive of it and is stunned when Theon shows him Beth with a noose around her neck

            • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              I’m curious about the method.

              In real life militaries, method of execution is a way of distinguishing soldiers and spies. Soldiers are shot, spies are hanged. When Major John Andre was offered a last request after his tribunal, he asked to be shot in his uniform. George Washington regretted that -having been tried and convicted as a spy, he could not grant him a soldier’s death. (Had they been able to get their hands on Benedict Arnold, they probably would have drawn and quartered him.)

              So I’m curious if that’s the reason Jon hangs the assassins, of if they just thought a mass beheading would be a pain to film.

              • Vermander says:

                I’m guessing hanging them all at once was simply more practical and dramatic than beheading them one at a time.

                For much of western history common criminals were usually hanged. Beheading was reserved for important people, and in some cases only royalty could be beheaded with a sword instead of an axe.

              • ehlijen says:

                We saw a deserter being beheaded with a sword in the first episode (with no indication of nobility, as far as I remember). But what these people have done wasn’t desertion, it was oathbreaking and betrayal.

                I’m unsure as to whether that is sufficient difference for the choice of method.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Yeah,the mass hanging was probably just a time saving measure.The fact that it had that “tv hanging” silliness to it,where it merged two hanging methods together into one,is a clear indication of that.

        • ehlijen says:

          Olly may have been young, but he was no child. The show has gone out of its way to inform us that women are considered adult at the time of their first menstruation (usually 13-14 years of age) and they routinely get married or engaged at that age. Boys are expected to be squires or apprentices by that age, or work on their family’s farm, well on their way to taking up a profession or earning a knighthood.

          Olly was allowed to take the oath of the night’s watch. That means he is now an adult with adult responsibilities, a man of the night’s watch.

          Finally, his crime wasn’t that of a traumatised child, it was that of an oath breaker and murderer. He didn’t try to murder a wildling, he didn’t try to desert. He murdered his appointed commander and brother in arms. He not only betrayed Jon but the entire Night’s Watch by taking up arms against one of his brothers. If he did it once, what’s to say he’ll never do it again? He wasn’t exactly repentant, either.

          As to the punishment, what choice did Jon have? He couldn’t just let Olly off the hook, he’d proven he was too dangerous for that. He couldn’t send him away; the Night’s Watch is where criminals are sent to, not from. Lifelong incarceration? When personnel and supply shortage already plague the nights watch?

          Execution was the required punishment for the crimes Olly committed, both by the Night Watch’s laws and by circumstances.

          • Harper says:

            Boys are expected to be squires or apprentices by that age, or work on their family’s farm, well on their way to taking up a profession or earning a knighthood.

            Its still taboo to kill children and squires.
            Rodrik Cassel hates it, Ned despises it and the man Ned Stark raised as his own son would not be able to kill a child.

            Finally, his crime wasn’t that of a traumatised child, it was that of an oath breaker and murderer.

            Again, Jon would understand the trauma Olly experienced, he empathizes with people, that’s a huge part of his character. He wouldn’t hang a child for following the older traitors.

            As to the punishment, what choice did Jon have? He couldn’t just let Olly off the hook, he’d proven he was too dangerous for that

            Jon Snow was raised by the man who willingly threw away his title of Hand of the King in objection to killing pregnant Dany, who despised what the Lannisters did to Rhaegar’s trueborn children. When the man who he idolized his entire life believes this, you can best be sure that Jon Snow believes this.

            Execution was the required punishment for the crimes Olly committed, both by the Night Watch’s laws and by circumstances.

            Except Jon Snow abandoned the Nights Watch immediately after killing them, he might as well have put a noose around his own neck

            • Syal says:

              the man Ned Stark raised as his own son would not be able to kill a child.

              I think you’re misreading Ned Stark. He sent his favorite son to the Wall for the sake of his family’s respectability; he volunteered to kill his daughter’s direwolf knowing it had done nothing wrong. He killed Arthur Dayne. He wasn’t someone who shirked from unpleasant tasks. (I don’t remember the thing with Dany, but late-book Ned was trying hard to save Robert from himself.)

              • Harper says:

                I think you’re misreading Ned Stark. He sent his favorite son to the Wall for the sake of his family’s respectability;

                He didn’t send him, Jon volunteered.
                Ned initially resisted letting him go because of his youth. He raised Jon as his own son, trained him and educated as well as his real children, he never intended to send Jon anywhere where he couldn’t protect him.

                he volunteered to kill his daughter’s direwolf knowing it had done nothing wrong.

                He was obeying his King and he did it himself to make the death quick.

                He killed Arthur Dayne.

                That was self-defense and to rescue his sister, and Arthur was a grown man.

                He wasn’t someone who shirked from unpleasant tasks. (I don’t remember the thing with Dany, but late-book Ned was trying hard to save Robert from himself.)

                He refused tasks he deemed dishonorable, as he deemed killing Dany. He was disgusted by the killing of Rhaegar’s children and would not have ordered it if he had gotten to Kings Landing before Tywin, in fact he would have protected them from Robert and Tywin both as he protected Jon

            • ehlijen says:

              Killing squires is not taboo. Squires are expected to fight, and thus they get fought against. When two people try to stab each other with sharp metal bits, people die, even squires.

              Ned Stark absolutely would have killed Olly. He is introduced to the viewers beheading a man for fleeing from the white walkers. We saw the man had good reason to run, and we saw nothing of this man taking oaths. The scene had Ned Stark execute a man the audience had every reason to empathise with simply because Ned told his sons it was the law. Why would he not execute the traitor and murderer Olly, who is a full adult in everyone’s eyes at that point?

              Olly is not a child. His trauma does not excuse turning on his commanding officer and shoving a knife in his belly.

              Jon trusted Olly against all evidence and indications, and it got him killed. He is not going to make that mistake again.

              • Harper says:

                Ned Stark absolutely would have killed Olly

                As I said before, Ned would not have considered Olly a man, he didn’t even thin Jon was old enough to go to the Wall. And both Ned Stark and Jon Snow would empathize with Olly having his family killed and eaten

                • ehlijen says:

                  Not to the point where they would have pardoned a known murderer and oathbreaker. Yeah, it sucks that Olly died that young and had shit life even before, but he also made an oath not to do the very thing he did (which was also a crime to begin with).

                  The very first scene of Ned was him talking about how duty demands difficult tasks and a lord should still perform them. Ned would not have spared Olly. He’d have felt bad, but he wouldn’t have spared him.

                • Why was Olly sent to the wall? And do really the Nights Watch accept children at all? If so then Olly was not seen as a child by the Nights Watch.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I dont remember precisely,but I think he wasnt sent,he got there because his whole family was murdered by wildlings.

                    • ehlijen says:

                      Yes, soon after which he took the black due to a combination of wanting to fight wildings and having nowhere else to go. And the Night’s Watch accepted him, i.e. treated him as an adult.

  14. Dev Null says:

    [No one] ever seems to consider burying Jon, or burning him, or holding a funeral, or doing any of the things one customarily does with a dead body.

    and then Edd notices that Jon’s eyes aren’t blue (so at least he’s not a wight)

    I think this bit was the straw that hammered the pulped corpse of the camel into the sands for me. Leaving a body in state for a few days is a common enough funeral practice around the world, but _these_ people burn their dead _precisely because_ they otherwise have a habit of getting up and walking around eating people. So Jon pops up again; why isn’t everyone’s reaction to shout “Killitkillitkillit!” and start beating him with swords? Or, y’know, at least to scratch him with an obsidian knife?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The only bodies that arose inside the fortress were the bodies that were recovered from north of the wall.And those were not burned immediately because even the watch followed the practice of leaving the bodies to rot for a bit(the meister wanted to examine them,or it was a wake,I forgot which)before the funeral.The practice of burning the bodies is a new thing that they started doing after that one incident.And even then,they did it to bodies from north of the wall.

      Jons cause of death on the other hand was known.They had no reason to suspect that he would suddenly be zombified.

      • Dev Null says:

        The fact that it’s a new thing – that they’re presumably doing because they are quite rightly terrified – is all the more reason they shouldn’t forget to do it. And they have no idea how the zombie-resurrection thing works. I don’t know about you, but if the dead start rising and eating people in my town? I am _not_ going to say “Oh, we don’t need to burn _that_ corpse; he came from the other side of the railroad tracks. Railroad tracks probably stop dead-raising-magic, don’t you think? Lets lock ourselves in a small room with it and see!”

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yes they do have an idea.White walkers are not a new thing that just appeared out of nowhere.They were a thing before,and now they have just returned.Just because they stopped practicing the old ways that were meant to deal with white walkers does not mean they completely forgot about them.

          • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I’m still on the list to get the DVDs, so I’m only going off synopses: is there any indication that these episodes last any longer than a day, two at the most? Stannis sent Davos back to Castle Black the day before he killed Shireen. His wife committed suicide and Melissandre deserted him the next morning.

            Davos arrives at Castle black the morning after Jon’s murder. They spend the whole day defending the body. Melissandre arrives in the middle of the day. They spend the afternoon getting word to the Wildlings and convincing her to revive Jon (also, Davos spoke with Gendry, so it is entirely possible he knows about Thoros of Myr and Barick Dondarion).

            Melissandre revives Jon sometime the evening of the first day or early the second.

    • Twisted_Ellipses says:

      So the Night’s Watch can’t bury, because they want everyone to know he’s dead. His allies can’t bury because it would take too long and later they’re trapped in a building & a little preoccupied. His allies don’t know what to do with him, but have him on the table in full view in case he turns.

      Ser Davos appears to be in charge, despite the fact that he’s not a member of the Night’s Watch. In fact I’m not sure why he’s here at all. The show makes no attempt to explain why Stannis’ former Hand of the King is now willing to fight to the death to defend the corpse of a man he never held any allegiance to in life.

      Stannis (the man he owes his whole status to) is dead, he doesn’t have anywhere else to go. He’s worked closely with Jon as a bridge between him and Stannis, which makes him and Jon loyalists in the watch targets. The leader of the watch is dead. Davos has a cool logical head in a room of full of panicking people, why wouldn’t he take charge?

      In real life there’s a story about a guy who supposedly came back from the dead, and they made an entire religion out of it.

      White walkers (who come back from the dead). Red witch. Giants. Skinchangers. The wall is a strange place.

  15. Godbot says:

    Good analysis Bob. As a longtime fan of the books who has never watched the show, I find the differences in adaptation – where they succeed and where they fail – fascinating. And many would say there is more to be learned from failure.

  16. Henson says:

    Grammar Nazi Brigade! Assemble!

    Second paragraph: “them dealing with them”, extra first ‘them’.

    You’re welcome! Ten hut!

  17. Matt Downie says:

    I agree with much of this.

    Although some of it isn’t as bad if you take a less negative approach – if Sansa doesn’t take an interest in his resurrection, then the most sensible explanation is he just told her, “I got injured” or something like that.

    There’s an added downside to the Jon death and resurrection: when he fought Ramsay’s army (single-handed for a while) I realised that he couldn’t really die here, even though he was doing the sort of thing that ought to get you killed in this universe, because the show already killed him off too recently, so killing him again would be stupid.

  18. Syal says:

    Haven’t seen the show, so, book explanations for scenes that aren’t in the books:

    As stated above, Book Jon does a lot more than let the Wildlings in; he reinterprets the whole Oath of the Night’s Watch, and the old guard kill him out of desperation.

    From Beric and Catelyn it seems like a red priest can only raise one person at a time, and the only mass resurrections have been the zombie monsters by the Walkers. Book Melisandre is away from Book Stannis, who is also still alive for the time being.

    I’m assuming the cloak is more of a badge than the Chief’s Hat; grunts give their badge to the Chief, but the Chief can’t do that so they just hand it to whoever. Quitting doesn’t fit with Book Jon, though; loophole or not, he knows the Wall matters. He might leave for a while but he’d come back.

    Jon is not the only person to come back from the dead in Westeros, and the reaction has generally been “man, someone told me you were dead, that guy was an idiot!”

    Book Sansa/”Arya” hasn’t taken shelter at the Wall, so if Ramsay says it he’s making it up. Jon was the best swordsman of the Stark children, but I think his reputation came from killing Qhorin Halfhand. Ramsay may or may not know about either of those events.

    • Vermander says:

      The whole handing off the cloak thing didn’t bother me much either. How many members of the Night’s Watch are even still alive on the show at this point? No more than a handful from what I can tell. Why even bother with another election right now. Since Pip and Grenn are dead on the show and most of the other named characters don’t exist, it might as well be Edd. He’s one of the only semi-competent ones left.

      • “Why even bother with another election right now. ” I was wondering about that.
        Who would was second in command would have been (normally) become the commander if the current commander died? The guy (I forget his name) than Jon hands his coat (with markings?) to was that Jon’s second in command?

        In that case Jon symbolically said “I’m dead, your the commander for now”.

        • Syal says:

          Judging just by Btongue’s quote (haven’t seen the scene), if the Wildlings stormed the castle for Jon’s sake, “You have Castle Black” could also mean “I give Castle Black back to the Night Watch.”

  19. Jabrwock says:

    Sounds like someone needs a visit from Convincing John. :D

  20. Sannom says:

    There is another website out there, called The Fandomentals, that counts Book Snobbery and GOT Dislike among the pillars of their content, and their critics are pretty much the same as what Bob says here. They’re just usually funnier because their loathing of the show as an adaptation reached critical mass and so they refuse to use the proper names of the places and characters when speaking of the TV series, hence why their reviews and critics refer to Carol/Cheryl Lannister, Larry Lanister, Saint Tyrion, Brienne the Brute, Porne, Deadpan Stormborn, Satannis and Meli-sans-bras. I recommend their GOT stuff, it’s usually very good.

  21. “If so, then do me this favor: don’t ask me to care about something and then ask me not to think about it. Don’t bring someone back from the dead and then ask me not to think about the implications for the setting and those inhabiting it. Don’t write the circumstances around his death and resurrection so that they’re shot through with characters behaving in confusing ways, contradicting previous story elements, and generally just not making any sense. And then, once you’re done, don’t dump the whole thing overboard and carry on as though it never happened. On second thought… maybe that’s the best thing to do.”

    *cough* Commander Shepard *cough*

    You have just listed the entire reason why my play of Mass Effect ended after game 1.

  22. The TV show seems to divert so much from the books that I might just enjoy reading the books, but I’m not touching the books util R.R.Martin has finished them. I hate watching or reading things that are not guaranteed to have a proper end (been burned too many times).

  23. “wasn’t I supposed to care about this?” Well Mr.Btongue, sounds to me like you do care a lot otherwise you would not have bothered to write all this stuff. Hehe!

    Also, you may say you did not care about Jon’s death and then resurrection (which is yet to happen in the books? We’ll see how R.R. Martin handles that, maybe he actually let Jon remain dead?), but have you seen all the people on youtube and their reaction to Jon getting stabbed? It was the red wedding all over again, only a lot more tears.

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