Timely Game of Thrones Griping 1: This Is Already So Dumb I Can’t Even

By Bob Case
on Jul 17, 2017
Filed under:
Game of Thrones
This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

For the first time, I’m going to attempt to complain about Game of Thrones in a timely manner.
This is a momentous occasion. In the past, I’ve griped about things that I had months to process – episodes that I was able to watch at least two times, episodes that I had time to digest afterwards. Now, I’m trying to gripe about something that just happened a few hours ago (as I’m writing this). So it may  be a bit sloppy, a bit undercooked. But never let it be said that rudimentary standards of quality got in the way of my can-do spirit. Here goes.

This Is Already So Dumb I Can’t Even

We start at the Twins. Walder Frey (not actually Walder Frey, it’s obviously Arya in disguise) is giving a speech to his assembled family. We can already tell that the murder of the real Walder Frey has gone undetected, as has the murder of two of his sons, as has the act of baking those two sons into a pie for Walder Frey to eat (or possibly just look at) before he died.

So while she wasn’t busy making two different disguises, murdering the Lord of a major house, killing his two sons, butchering them, and baking them into a pie, Arya also managed to find time to poison the wine of what looks to be at least twenty people without anyone noticing.

Hey, at least it wasn`t Merlot.

Hey, at least it wasn`t Merlot.

I’m tempted to ask all sorts of questions, like “how exactly did she pull this off?” and “how exactly DOES this whole face-swapping thing work, since that was never really explained,” and “seriously, how do the faces work, because Arya is clearly physically a much smaller person than Walder Frey,” and “how is she possibly going to get away with this, since presumably House Frey has guards, and she pulled her face-mask-thing off and admitted to her crime in front of a half-dozen (at least) witnesses, and she’s still inside the castle,” and other questions along those lines.

And that’s just the logical stuff! What about the fact that I’m supposed to cheer for an entire banquet full of people choking and vomiting on their own blood, and overlook the act of involuntary cannibalism that preceded it last season, and the fact that the writers attempted to justify all this by having their designated murder victims cackle about the Red Wedding in a way so obvious and on-the-nose that it would make a rookie fanfic writer blush. And then, I wonder why this scene was even included – we already saw Walder Frey and his two sons die, why do we need to spend an extended cold open watching a room full of unnamed Freys get killed? And then, just to rub salt in the wound, they went to the “The North Remembers” well again. But then I realized I couldn’t even.

I tried to even. I tried to divide my own feelings about this scene by two several times, but I only ever ended up with fractions, never with a whole number. So I’m afraid that, despite my best efforts, I literally can’t even. Watch me try to count to ten: one, three, five, seven, nine… dammit! I literally can’t even! I thought I would have some sort of brief respite before the show got so dumb that I couldn’t even. But I didn’t. Let’s just try and move on as quickly as possible.

Let’s Try This Again

I didn’t want to just poop on the show. I wanted to be as fair as I could. And it gave me an opportunity! There’s a very cool shot of a gathering front of clouds, and the White Walkers and the army of the dead emerge from it. Moody, evocative, menacing: visually, this show continues to be very good. I hope I’ve been clear over the course of this series that my problem is specifically with the writing. Almost everything else is good.

It culminates in a shot of what I think is supposed to be ice-zombie Wun Wun. Am I wrong? But isn’t the army of the dead north of the wall still? And Wun Wun, when last seen alive, was south of the wall. So this is already confusing. The wall is supposed to the practical and existential barrier between the White Walkers and Westeros, so whether something is north or south of it is really quite important, both pragmatically and thematically. But whatever. Maybe it’s another giant or something.

Look how tall he is! He must be over six feet tall.

Look how tall he is! He must be over six feet tall.

In the next shot, we have Meera and Bran arriving at the Wall, and Edd opens the gate for them. At this point, under normal circumstances, I would point out that Edd is apparently the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch despite never having been elected (as far as we know), which is how the Night’s Watch chooses its commanders, which was definitively established in previous seasons. But whatever. On the list of things about Game of Thrones that don’t quite make sense, this doesn’t even make the top twenty, so I’ll just skip it.

Moving on, Jon is making plans for the defense of the north against the White Walkers. Everything the northern lords have said and done prior to this moment indicates that they don’t even believe the White Walkers exist, since they’ve never acknowledged them as a threat before (with the possible exception of Lady Mormont). But now Jon is organizing them to defend against something they never seemed to believe in before. Maybe he convinced them offscreen or something. On the list of things about Game of Thrones that don’t quite make sense, this doesn’t even make the top five, so I’ll just skip it.

It’s time now to figure out what to do with the castles and lands of Houses Karstark and Umber, who fought for Ramsay last season. Lord Royce brings this up (why him? He’s a Vale lord, not a northern Lord). Sansa now publiclyCorrect spelling! contradicts Jon in front of all the northern Lords, which Littlefinger seems to like for some reason, because Littlefinger no doubt has some kind of scheme that involves pitting Jon and Sansa against each other. Littlefinger’s last scheme was completely bonkers and made no sense, so it’s reasonable to expect his current scheme has similar qualities.

Then Jon asks the son and daughter of houses Umber and Karstark to pledge loyalty to him, and they do, and this is treated as though it’s some kind of inspiring moment even though none of us have ever met either of these characters before. I don’t know, maybe this will pay off later. I’m trying to even here. I swear to the seven gods I am. Another significant glance of significantness passes between Littlefinger and Sansa.

Now that he`s King, Jon gets to wear an even furrier furry-shouldered cape.

Now that he`s King, Jon gets to wear an even furrier furry-shouldered cape.

Now there’s a strategy discussion between Sansa and Jon. This is not all bad. It’s nice to see a brother and a sister be supportive of each other even as they disagree. “There’s a wall between us an the Night King,” says Sansa. “There’s nothing between us and Cersei.” Apparently Moat Caelin, the heretofore impregnable chokepoint in between North and South, just doesn’t exist at all anymore. That’s no great loss, it hasn’t followed any consistent rules since season four. Whatever. On the list of things about Game of Thrones that don’t quite make sense, this doesn’t even make the top ten, so I’ll just skip it.

I Didn’t Think It Was Possible For This To Get Even Dumber, But It Did

I feel like I have to backtrack a bit here. I didn’t have time in the last series of articles to get to Euron Greyjoy. But I’m going to try and cover him and his ridiculous existence as quickly as I can.

During season six, Yara and Theon Greyjoy went to the Iron Islands, where a new King or Queen was to be selected via a “Kingsmoot” – elected by the Lords of the Iron Islands. Yara stands for election, but is defeated by Euron Greyjoy. Euron Greyjoy is a guy no one has seen for a decade or so. He even admits to killing the King – his own brother. Then he promises to seduce the dragon queen (Daenerys) and give her his “big cock” (that’s actual show dialogue, by the way).

The Ironborn elect him King, despite the fact that his plan is completely ridiculous and embarrassing to even describe. He’s going to travel to a different continent and seduce a Queen most of them have probably barely even heard of? Whatever, apparently that sounds reasonable to them. They anoint him King by drowning him, dragging him back onto the beach, and hoping he doesn’t die.

Then he says “where are my niece and nephew? Let’s go murder them!” (incidentally, that is also actual show dialogue). But he was too slow! While he’s busy drowning, Theon and Yara sneak away and steal the entire fleet. No, seriously: the entire fleet. We’re told it’s a thousand ships.

How did they do this? Who did the ships belong to before? If it was the Lords at the Kingsmoot, why did none of their captains ask “what happened at the Kingsmoot” or something similar before allowing their ships to be commandeered? If the Lords didn’t own them, who did? And if Theon and Yara have enough people loyal to them to crew a thousand ships, why are they running away from a few dozen yahoos on a beach? None of this is ever explained.

Then Euron, the new King, who has just had his entire fleet stolen, instructs his new subjects to build a NEW fleet. “Build me a thousand ships,” he says, as though he were asking them to pop down to the corner store for eggs and flour. That’s the last we hear of Euron Greyjoy in season six.

Now Euron Greyjoy is back. He has his thousand ships, apparently. They built them, just like that. Who knew it was that easy? On the list of things about Game of Thrones that don’t quite make sense, this… is actually maybe tied for the single biggest one. But whatever. Maybe it’s only second.

Did I mention how big my cock was?

Did I mention how big my cock was?

He offers his fleet in exchange for Cersei’s hand in marriage. Cersei does something absolutely shocking: she says something reasonable. She refuses his offer, on the grounds that he’s completely untrustworthy, having betrayed and murdered his own King and brother. By god, she’s right! No one should take this ridiculous person seriously! Well, he promises to return with a gift, he doesn’t say what, and leaves the scene. I fully expect to be disappointed.

The Samwell Tarly Section Actually Isn’t Dumb

Samwell Tarly is in Oldtown, at the Citadel, the center of learning in Westeros. Being a new arrival, he has to perform menial tasks, like emptying chamber pots, spooning out soup, and weighing the livers of dead alcoholics. What he wants is to get access to the library’s mysterious secret section, which is behind a locked gate. He asks a Maester about it.

The (unnamed) Maester gives a speech upon learning that Sam has seen the White Walkers. He says that he believes him, but that every winter before this has ended, so Sam doesn’t get access to the secret section of the library. This doesn’t quite make sense, because you’d think the existence of a giant undead army led by powerful supernatural creatures would be of interest to the Citadel. You’d think he’d at least ask some follow-up questions about this existential threat to the entire continent. But he doesn’t.

However, this is not entirely dumb. So I’ll give it credit for that. Sam is not a Maester, so he doesn’t get access to the Maester section of the library. If nothing else, it’s consistent.

So the next scene, Sam steals the keys for the secret section of the library and relieves it of a few books. On what, we don’t know yet. Presumably something to do with the White Walkers. He later mentions obsidian deposits under Dragonstone. He also meets briefly meets Jorah Mormont, who is not exactly in great shape if his infected arm is anything to go by.

There Is A Celebrity Called Ed Sheeran

I`m in love with the shape of you.

I`m in love with the shape of you.

He’s a singer and a songwriter. Apparently Maisie Williams (Arya) is a fan, so he got a cameo in this episode, which the Independent has already described as “painfully unsubtle.” I’m not sure what the point of this whole scene was, other than to get a non-actor celebrity onto the show. If so, then mission accomplished, I guess.

What Am I Even Using These Titles For At This Point?

There’s a scene with the Hound, Thoros, and Beric Dondarrian. They’re traveling north, and the Hound sees a vision in the flames, the significance of which is not clear yet. The scene ends with the Hound burying two people, which I’m pretty sure are the same people he robbed while traveling with Arya in a previous season. He buries them, and gives them the best epitaph he can manage. “I’m sorry you’re dead. You deserved better.”

This is… not bad. It’s like a much better show suddenly invaded Game of Thrones and stole a scene away. It’s human, it’s low-key, it’s affecting. Okay, credit where it’s due, this part I actually liked.

Now it’s time for Team Dany.

Team Dany. I thought they should have used the Reservoir Dogs music for this shot.

Team Dany. I thought they should have used the Reservoir Dogs music for this shot.

This is what we’ve been waiting for for several seasons. Team Dany has arrived in Westeros! It features Daenerys Targaryen (quarterback), Tyrion Lannister (slot receiver), Grey Worm (best boy grip), Missandei (assistant proofreader), and Varys (special teams coach). Not pictured are Ellaria Sand (goalkeeper), Yara (assistant to the regional manager), and Olenna Tyrell (house minority whip).

Dragonstone is… deserted. Which is a little strange, considering it’s a major fortress whose strategic value was aptly described by Jaime earlier in this very same episode, and was considered the most likely target for a Targaryen invasion. But House Lannister never tried to secure it. Perhaps they were too busy painting maps on the floor and designing this fall season’s evil shoulderpads.

Two separate dramatic door-opening scenes later, they’re in the throne room, and then in this episode’s second “giant map of Westeros” room. The music swells. “Shall we begin?” Dany asks.

I’m not sure what exactly happened this episode. Several people prepared to do things, or moved in the direction of doing things, or signaled their intentions of doing things, but for all of that, nothing much happened. The closest thing to something actually happening was the almost-alliance between Cersei and Euron. But they punted on that, too, for who knows how long. Dany hasn’t actually invaded anything but an empty castle yet, but is planning to, the White Walkers haven’t done anything but walk ominously towards the camera, and the Hound and co. are going north to do something or other, but we don’t know what.

I know it’s just the first episode. But last season half the storylines spent eight episodes doing little more than wheel-spinning, so now when I see an episode of wheel-spinning I brace myself for seven more.

That’s it for this week – however, I’m going to leave you with several unresolved questions from previous seasons, and we’ll see if they’re resolved this season or not.

1: Jon Snow died and was resurrected from the dead. For the entire last season, it was left ambiguous whether Sansa, Littlefinger, or any of the northern Lords knew about this. Will we learn whether Jon Snow’s death and resurrection is considered important enough to be mentioned by someone – anyone – this season?

2: Melisandre was banished to the south for burning Shireen. She had the ability to raise people from the dead (see Jon Snow, above). This would seem to be a useful ability, either in peacetime or wartime. Will we ever hear from her again, or will anyone mention the fact that she can raise people from the dead? Even if the limits of this power of hers aren’t clear, you’d think someone would want to work out exactly what those limits are. The ability to raise people from the dead is quite significant.

3: Cersei is a mass murderer who exploded the most sacred site in Westeros, killing multiple nobles and members of the royal family, as well as a major religious figure. Does anyone care? For instance, does her own brother care? He never mentions it in their only scene together. It seems like someone should care about this.

4: This is a relatively small point, but Jaime seems to be still quite devoted to Cersei. Does he know that she slept with his cousin, Lancel Lannister? That was one of things she was on trial for – the trial that her entire season six storyline built towards. That was an act of brazen infidelity. Do Cersei and Jaime have an open relationship or something? If so, that’s fine, but it seems like something that one or the other of them should have mentioned by now.

5: Keeping on the Lannister subject, Tyrion was shown in earlier seasons to be quite fond of his niece and nephew, Myrcella and Tommen Baratheon/Lannister. Later, Ellaria Sand murdered Myrcella with poison. Does Tyrion know or care about this? Will it ever be mentioned again?

Just keep the above questions in the back of your heads. This may or may not have been obvious from everything I just wrote above, but I don’t exactly have high hopes for season seven at this point. But maybe things will improve from here. Until then, I’ll see you next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

 

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Footnotes:

[1] Correct spelling!


A Hundred!2016There are 136 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Angelo says:

    If you can’t even, try to eleven.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What about the fact that I’m supposed to cheer for an entire banquet full of people choking and vomiting on their own blood, and overlook the act of involuntary cannibalism that preceded it last season

    Ill skip the gripes above this(lets just say “a wizard taught her” and move on),and focus on this.Why do you think you are supposed to cheer?Just because arya is one of the characters we follow does not mean she is good.We also follow cercei,but she is most definitely not good and her actions are not to be cheered.So why should you cheer for psycho arya(Psycharya?Psaryacho?).This was clearly an establishment for the later scene where you are supposed to feel bad for her contemplating the brutal slaughter of lanister soldiers,because she is just that far gone.

    • BlueHorus says:

      Why do you think you are supposed to cheer?Just because arya is one of the characters we follow does not mean she is good…this was clearly an establishment for the later scene where you are supposed to feel bad for her contemplating the brutal slaughter of lanister soldiers, because she is just that far gone.

      Going by her other murders, the show works pretty damn hard to make them come across as ‘badass revenge’, and her as a good(ish) guy.
      They changed plot details to make her victims cartoonishly evil (like Meryn ‘beats-&-rapes-little-girls’ Trant or The ‘Hates Arya Just Because’ Waif).
      She doesn’t kill Lady Crane or the moneylender she was assigned to (‘cos that’d be wrong, see?).
      Of course your opinion is up to you, but I’m pretty damn certain they want you to root for her.

      …but the writers don’t seem to believe in consistency either, so their portrayal might well change from scene to scene.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ok,lets establish a scale from a clear villain(cersei)to a lear hero(jon):

        When someone does her wrong,cersei sentences them to prolonged gruesome torture.When someone does something bad to her,she keeps a grudge for years,reveling in any chance to do them harm.She is perfectly at ease with executing people whose only crime was following orders of someone who opposed her.

        When someone does him wrong,jon sentences them to a quick death*.When someone does something bad to him,he is willing to forgive them and give them a second chance.He is willing to spare the people whose only crime was following orders of someone who opposed him.

        Now lets look where arya falls on that scale.When someone does her wrong,she kills his kids and feeds them to him,before killing him.Thats closer to the villain side.She proceeds to kill people whose only crime was following orders of someone who opposed her family.Again,villain side.And she holds a grudge so long that when a man begs her to mercy kill him,she just watches him writhe in agony,then proceeds to rob him before going away.Definitely villain side.

        Yes,she has her reasons.But cersei also had her reasons(protecting her children and her family,being sold to an older man when she was young,etc).If not outright as evil as cersei,arya is still closer to her than to a good guy.Just because some people she killed were also bad does not make her good.

        *If we go by what was shown,a hanging that killed people in seconds,instead of dozens of minutes it would take for someone to suffocate in such a botched hanging.

        • Syal says:

          Are we assuming the writers are fully aware of the implications? Because I’ve seen Optimus Prime shoot a crippled old man in the back of the head, and I don’t assume things like that anymore.

        • Shoeboxjeddy says:

          The implication of the Hound bit is that she couldn’t actually force herself to kill him, even for her precious Kill List. So that was actually a POSITIVE portrayal and made his return to health possible.

        • Matt Downie says:

          As far as I can tell, Arya has only killed people who did something to deserve it. (Note how she spared the Frey women.) That seems to suggest we’re supposed to be on her side, even if her methods are pretty sadistic.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Still doesnt make her a good guy.Someone to root for,sure.But you can root for bad people when they are up against worse people(dexter).

            • TheJungerLudendorff says:

              Which would prove Bob’s case wouldn’t it?
              The writers made a (for many people) unlikable or distasteful character that we are nevertheless supposed to root for.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Whats wrong with that?There are plenty of such characters in other works.Dexter,as Ive mentioned above.Some who you you are meant to root for and want to see punished at the same time.

                • Naota says:

                  Precisely this. It’s not really fair to claim that a writer is “doing a character wrong” because they aren’t moral, yet are written in a way the audience is meant to root for. These are fictional stories, and goodness is both subjective and relative.

                  Sweeney Todd is a veritable serial killer, yet audiences root for him because he inhabits a world that’s fittingly vile. Kaiser Soze is unabashedly a villain, yet The Usual Suspects gives him the spot of honour. Walter White is a horrible, cruel, hypocritical, and arbitrary person, yet he’s the beloved star of one of the most well-regarded series on television.

                  People can like villains; they can like sadists and murderers and sociopaths who do “good” only by harming those worse than themselves; they can root for cruel and vindictive people for no other reason than the fact that they are compelling to watch. And that’s absolutely fine.

      • Nessus says:

        I agree: the way the show is composed, we’re clearly meant to be rooting for her. Buuuuut with a few caveats:

        I think Daemian Lucifer is also right in that she’s supposed to come across as someone who’s been molded by trauma into a psycho. I think the showrunners are going for a “Punisher” sort of thing, wherein the audience roots for her as an avatar of righteous retribution power fantasy, and fistpumps when she takes out awful people in grand style, but also feels uncomfortable and doomy about how eager she is to cross lines and tear herself down in the process.

        IIRC Arya doesn’t fail to kill the moneylender out of sympathy, but rather becau-SQUIRREL!

        I’ve not read the books, so I don’t know what the situation is there, but in the show, the Waif doesn’t hate Arya for no reason. The waif and Jaqen are using a “good cop, bad cop” indoctrination method on Arya, wherein Jaqen plays avuncular mentor, and the Waif plays drill sergeant. As such, it’s her job to be mean and to ride Arya hard, regardless. Add to that the Waif cottons early to Arya’s intent to exploit the cult to get Batman training for her grudge list, so she considers Arya a waste-of-time traitor-in-waiting, and is looking for excuses to wash her out (with extreme prejudice, because death cult).

        She’s antagonistic to Arya, and that is intended to make her a villain of sorts, but she has legit reasons, and ignoring or overlooking them is kinda falling right into the “protagonist centered morality” trap the show writers were setting. I think the writers kinda wanted people to to blank out and go “boo mean grl Y U so mean to bae?”, even though the situation is very grey vs grey at best.

        …Which is arguably cheap and contradictory in it’s own right, but that’s a meta-problem. Along with the whole thing of “Why are Jaqen or the Waif consistent characters anyway, when their philosophy says they should just be masks worn by random cultists on different days”.

    • Confanity says:

      You say

      This was clearly an establishment for [a] later scene…

      …but the problem is that it’s not clear at all. What you’re doing right now is giving us a hopeful bit of head-canon, but until such a scene actually emerges, we just don’t know. See, part of the problem here is something that Shamus has mentioned a number of times: that sooner or later, noticing problems with a plotline forces you to stop giving it the benefit of the doubt. And once that point has been passed, you can no longer accept hopeful explanations about what scenes are “clearly” coming that would make current Problem X okay.

      If and when it comes out that they’re making Arya into a monster on purpose in order to make a point, then we can take that into account when judging Arya’s psychopathic scenes. But until that time, it remains possible that the show really is, however unintentionally, asking us to cheer for crazy violent revenge gorn.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Arya is a monster.On purpose.It was established in the earlier seasons.And the two scenes she has in this episode are clearly connected.Ill grant you that you cant infer what the point of the intro scene is before you reach that later one,but Bob wrote this after watching the whole episode.

        • BlueHorus says:

          You see monster, I see cackhandedly-written ‘badass’.

          Now Book Arya is creepy, callous and disturbing. You can tell this because she murders people she doesn’t know, for not-always-clear motivations, who might be innocent or guilty – she just doesn’t care, probably becaues of what she’s been though. She killed her way out of Harrenhal (random guard). Instigated a horrible coup in Harrenhal. Killed a random Nights Watch deserter in Braavos that she didn’t know because…well, it’s complicated.

          If I’d – once! – seen Show Arya do anything as morally questionable as the above, I’d buy your theory. And no, being vicious and OTT in your badass vengeance does not count. Nor does the Blue Peter-style ‘here’s someone I killed earlier’ like the Frey kids.

          The show has bent over backwards to justify the murders she commits, butchering her storyline in the process.

          I think ‘head-canon’ is right; the show has just not demonstrated the intelligent, thought-out writing that you’re attributing to it.

          • Metheos says:

            Did you just say that it was morally questionable to start a coup at a forced labor camp run by people who freely committed murder, rape, and torture on civilians within and without, and which was run with the express purpose of destroying the army of her family? You seriously have a problem with her killing a guard that was keeping her imprisoned at that forced labor camp? I’ll just leave a quote from someone else:

            “Yes, the guard was not the number one responsible for the situation there; he was a gear in the system. But the system he was serving was taking away the freedom of civilian people, to be forced into labour as slaves in what is awfully similar to a concentration camp. He was “only doing his job”, that does not make him a target as an individual but it makes him the fairest of games IMO: his job is to actively enforce this system. Anyone in Arya’s situation has an undeniable right to attempt to free themselves. Putting moral constraints about the life of the guard is the morality of the oppressor, especially designed to keep the oppressed in order. The “innocent guard” mentality takes, indirectly, the side of the victimizer.”

            • BlueHorus says:

              No, I didn’t. I said as morally questionable.

              Here’s the way I see it. The gate guard was just a guy. Probably a nasty one – but the point is that Arya didn’t give two screws about him; she slits his throat then walks away without a glance.
              Quick, efficient, callous. Creepy.

              My argument is: if that plotline had been done by the show, that guard would have spent 90% of his scene talking about how he’d just raped someone and how great it was to rape people, and then 10% dying horribly. Or – as happened – it wouldn’t have been her doing the killing.

              • Metheos says:

                Someone who’s been imprisoned in a labor camp doesn’t “give two screws” about a person keeping them in there with the threat of violence and death? Of course not; why should she be obligated to care about the life of someone who doesn’t have the slightest concern for her life? The guard was “just a guy?” Most of the genocides, pogroms, and massacres in human history have been committed by unremarkable people like that. The “just following orders” excuse may be enough when arguing that the guard isn’t irredeemably evil, but it fails miserably as a justification why the prisoners at that camp are morally obligated to let themselves be worked/starved/beaten to death. Every single prisoner at Harrenhal had complete justification for killing any and all guards there.

                And of course the killing was efficient; when you’re trying to sneak out of a heavily guarded fort and getting caught means death, how else would you do it? Should Ezio Auditore, Agent 47, or Solid Snake start angsting about every guard they kill in precisely that manner?

                • Decius says:

                  >Should Ezio Auditore, Agent 47, or Solid Snake start angsting about every guard they kill in precisely that manner?

                  Absolutely they should. Or at least recognize that they are well on the way to Evil.

                • BlueHorus says:

                  The “just following orders” excuse may be enough when arguing that the guard isn’t irredeemably evil, but it fails miserably as a justification why the prisoners at that camp are morally obligated to let themselves be worked/starved/beaten to death.

                  Who said that the prisoners were obligated to stay? I didn’t. As above: no, it wasn’t wrong for Arya to kill the guard to escape.

                  It’s the attitude she shows. For a lot of people, killing another person is a big deal. Particularly close up and facing them. Not so for her.

                  You may not care; I found it creepy.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Sure,if you discard all the scenes when she was a sadistic little psycho,then yeah we didnt see her do anything morally questionable in the show.

            • BlueHorus says:

              As morally questionable.

              But…I think this won’t go anywhere fruitful.
              I see tawdry, simpistic revenge porn written by hacks; you see…something else.

              The difference is ultimately in the eye of the beholder and ne’er the twain shall meet.

    • Sannom says:

      Coding, I guess? Cersei has been coded as a stupid, conceited villain since the beginning, even when the show makes changes that actually makes her competent, smart and a feminist icon compared to her book counterpart. Whereas Arya is mostly painted as justified in her vengeance or otherwise as a good person who set out on the wrong path and could be righted again.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ehhhh….Maaaybe.There are plenty of talks cersei has that show why she has turned into such a bitter woman,and she too has clear motives for doing the evil deeds she does.And while arya is not as bad as her YET,she is practically on the same path of loathing everyone but her closest family.

      • Joshua says:

        Maybe the use of Lena Headey changed that portrayal to make her more competent, because she wouldn’t want to play that dumb. Maybe it’s just a villain upgrade because Ramsay was treated the same way?

  3. Da Mage says:

    The one thing that is sitting in the back of my mind is that the whitewalker killing ‘stuff’ is turning into a mcguffin. GoT has been pretty good at avoiding those sorts of fantasy cliches, but now we have Sam sending a message to Jon after finding from a secret book about the one thing that can stop the whitewalkers……I just hope that doesn’t get lazy.

  4. JDMM says:

    The Ed Sheeran scene is one of those scenes to show the enemy soldiers aren’t simply monsters, not sure how effective that is if she can murder like several dozen Freys and be obviously morally sanctioned with all of them but still.

    My problem with the poisoning scene is that it’s been done, it’s a certain Breaking Bad purge done again

    In any case I’m more here for plot conclusion more than anything, if I’d cared more about quality I would have likely stopped when season 2 started stretching out Theon’s arc

    • Falcon02 says:

      Yeah, I can’t say I’m familiar enough with Ed Sheeran to have picked up on the cameo and noticed any “hamfistedness”, so I took it at face value. But what you said is what I took away from this scene.

      Arya’s improbable planning/execution and escape aside, Arya had just indiscriminately wiped out just about the entire power structure (we’re lead to believe it’s everyone immediately under Walder Frey) within the Twins.

      She then runs into these average Lannister soldiers, and they don’t talk about the traitorous Starks or much in the way of the politics or people Arya cares about (hate or love). They talk of their home and families, reminding Arya that the average soldier are people too. She seems to connect a bit with them and seems to accept this humanization.

      What, if anything, Arya does with this in the future is to be seen. She could continue her killing rampage without any regard to the common soldier, or she could actively try to avoid such “collatoral damage.” However, if they are truly trying to show Arya’s disconnect/”psychopathy” I was half expecting them to show Arya killing her new Lannister “friends” in the middle of the night before moving on her way.

      If they just dispose of it and continue on like nothing happened (no effect on Arya’s actions, no real mention to “Lannisters are people too”) then I definitely would look back on this scene as just your typical “fan-service” celebrity cameo to give Maisie Williams the chance to fan-girl on set.

    • Steve C says:

      The Arya-eats-with-cameo-boy scene is strange. One thing yet to be mentioned here is that it was also about guest-right.

      Arya just finished killing the Freys for violating guest-right. Here she is in her next scene as a guest of her enemies. Will they attempt to kill her? Will she kill them? (Obviously she won’t die, so no “attempt” qualifier for her.) Or will this band of killers with a serial killer have a nice little meal and go about their ways as humans.

      It was an interesting little scene and served to humanize both sides. It was (like the rest of the episode) fucking boring as hell.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Maybe it’s another giant or something.

    It is.There are other giants in the crowd.Why would you think it was that specific giant?Do you think all giants look the same,you giantist?Nah Im kidding,I thought it was wun wun as well until I saw there are other giants in the group.

    this doesn’t even make the top twenty, so I’ll just skip it.

    this doesn’t even make the top ten, so I’ll just skip it.

    Maybe it’s only second

    2:

    4:

    Aha!You can even after all!

    And if Theon and Yara have enough people loyal to them to crew a thousand ships, why are they running away from a few dozen yahoos on a beach?

    Yeah,the scale of these things gets really stupid at times.Which is puzzling,since they CAN show scenes where thousands of people do things,so why dont they at other times?But whatever,maybe its a budget thing.Its not that big of a deal.Not when compared to a brand new character we never saw before but is oh so important right now.

    You’d think he’d at least ask some follow-up questions about this existential threat to the entire continent.

    But he doesnt believe that its an existential threat to the entire continent.He believes that sam saw the undead,but not that they are as cataclysmic as sam says.He thinks that like everything else this too will just pass.

    Which is both kind of true and untrue.Its true that life will go on,but its untrue to believe that you can just go away from the world and never lift a finger and nothing will bother you.He cant be blamed though.When you read about thousands of false cataclysms in the past,its hard for you to believe in the true one.

    Several people prepared to do things, or moved in the direction of doing things, or signaled their intentions of doing things, but for all of that, nothing much happened.

    Yeah,it was too much establishing scenes,not much happening.Kind of an underwhelming opening.

    the White Walkers haven’t done anything but walk ominously towards the camera

    As they have done from the start.They are the most accurately named zombies ever.They are white,they walk,and thats it.

    • Baron Tanks says:

      Except in Hardhome. Damn, was that a good episode and one where they one upped the books definitely by instantly contextualizing the existential threat of these White Walkers. Especially in the final shot where the Night King raises all the freshly killed at once. As opposed to the books where we are still taking point of view characters on their word saying, no trust me, this is a really big deal and we can’t just sit behind our wall. The books have been good at displaying the small scale horror of being trapped alone with one of them or your friends coming back from the dead to fight you. But they haven’t shown the scale of the problem, the possible apocalyptic nature of it in an effective way. As always, this could still be coming in future books. But right now the show wins this one hands down in my book (no pun intended).

    • Wolf says:

      That line about the many prophesied cataclysmns of which none ever happened made me think of survivorship bias so hard. Of course none of them ever wiped out all humanity. How would you have heard about that one?
      That being said I always kind of liked the maximum neutrality keepers of knowledge trope. It sometime produces interesting non-violent obstacles in the story.

  6. rer says:

    “But never let it be said that rudimentary standards of quality got in the way of my can-do spirit” *looks to the last time he uploaded a video*

    • Droid says:

      That only means his videos aren’t delayed because of quality standards.

      It could well be that video making was just made impossible by that pesky real-life stuff everyone is always talking about.

      What!?

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And to answer those five questions:

    1: Well they did make him king,and they believe his stories about white walkers.So they probably heard that he died.And thats about as much as theyll mention that whole thing,I guess.

    2: Ehhh….Its the classic “banish the necromancer” thing.It may be useful,but its not honorable.Jon does have the same flaw as nedand robb.

    3: Well some people do care,seeing how she can muster support of less than half of the continent.They probably arent going to specifically say anything about the incident.Which is not that big of a problem.We know why she doesnt have the support of so many,so there really is no point in putting into words what we already saw has happened.

    4: He never had a problem with her fucking others before,so why start now?

    5: He probably only knows that she is dead,but not how or by whos hand.Maybe it will be brought up at a key point later,when the alliance on their side needs to be shaken.

  8. Radiosity says:

    “I literally can’t even.”

    How odd.

  9. Cubic says:

    That Daeny scene reminds me, GRRM was never any good or believable with battles or strategy. (He has so far prefered to focus on treachery and torture.) A bit of a limitation for an epic fantasy series.

  10. BlueHorus says:

    I want the numbered List of Things That Don’t Make Sense in Game of Thrones. Please.

    It sounds like fun!

    • tremor3258 says:

      Seconded.

      “How do they eat?” with Winter is Coming feels like it should be a bigger issue for a lot of these groups than it has been, yet.

      • Olivier Faure says:

        Especially since Book 4 ends with Jaime going “Shit, winter is here and we haven’t stocked enough reserves. This is going to suck so hard”; and in book 5, Jon hade to take a massive debt to the Iron Bank to be able to import enough food to sustain the wildlings he let through the wall.

        Actually, I was kind of disappointed that Book 5 did not really address how screwed everyone seemed to be after Jaime’s last chapter, and how utterly insane it is that people keep fighting in those conditions.

      • Joshua says:

        Thirded. Winter is going to last for maybe ten years, is imminent, and no one in the nobility seems to care that peasants are being slaughtered by the thousands and that their crops are being stolen or burned.

        This years-long season thing has been around for centuries, as has war, so you would think people would kind of have the “let’s not battle each other to the point of everyone starving” figured out.

        • ehlijen says:

          Maybe, maybe not. It’s incredibly easy to forget what a lack feels like if you’ve spend a decade not wanting.

          As an aside, how exactly do you keep food for years without preservatives, canning or fridges? Even with those, you’re looking at limited options to last all ten years to my knowledge.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            There are ways to keep some food edible and unspoiled for years actually.Meat can be covered in salt and buried,which would keep it edible for a long time after you rinse all the salt away.Lard can also be used as a preservative.And then there is honey,which can last for very very very long time.

            The real problem is getting all those resources in time,while also having enough food to last you while you are gathering everything,AND having a war on top of that.So yeah,if they had peace and a couple of years of accurate advanced warning,they couldve gotten through a decade long winter with minimal casualties.

            • tremor3258 says:

              Food preservation in the old days was more expensive than on-the-hoof, but could be done. But you needed time, a lot of food, and money for all the supplies.

              And Westeros seems low on all three.

          • Gethsemani says:

            Grain can be stored pretty much indefinitely, years on end in normal European conditions if needs must (with some loss from pests getting into your grain storage). And as anyone in a sub-arctic country knows, once it drops to below freezing outside you only need a shed with a locked door to keep animals out and you’ve got yourself a freezer. The problem is not that food can not be stored for years during a winter, the problem is that you’d need absolutely insane amounts of space for storage to get by a decade with barely replenishing and you’d need to work the reserves up during all those years of summer, which would require you to set aside a significant part of each harvest.

            Neither book nor show has ever told us about people preparing for the coming winter, so my prediction is that killing the White Walker King Dude will instantly dispel the winter or some similar hogwash. Otherwise, the only realistic implication is that everyone has to migrate to Dorne and away from most of Westeros.

    • Wraith says:

      I think my favorite Gaping Plot Chasms That Were Never Addressed are from the end of season 5:

      1. Jon + multiple Night’s Watch brothers survive a full-on battle with the White Walkers and are thus credible witnesses to their existence. This completely justifies Jon’s radical actions regarding the Wildlings. Alliser, Olly, & co murder him anyways.

      2. If Ser Alliser wanted to murder Jon and prevent him from letting more Wildings through the Wall, why did he open the gates to them when they were helpless on the other side?

      3. Jon & co travelled to and from Hardhome by boat. The Wall has a castle on the eastern coast called Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, which was at the very least explicitly acknowledged to exist in last night’s episode. So, WHY DID JON & CO DISEMBARK FROM THEIR BOATS BEFORE REACHING THE WALL AND THEN TRAVEL 150 MILES OVERLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER WITH WHITE WALKERS ON THEIR TAIL JUST TO END UP TRAPPED ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE WALL AND RELIANT ON ALLISER’S SENSE OF DUTY TO SURVIVE?!

      • BlueHorus says:

        Okay, this game is fun.

        1) The Faceless Men are obviously a bunch of incompetent street thugs who don’t always deliver on their contracts and have a ‘just kill anyone, that’s close enough’ policy to their murder.
        Why haven’t the authorities of Braavos done something about the dead-people’s-face-stealing assassins’ guild that chases people through crowded streets with drawn knives AND STILL FAILS TO KILL THEM?

        2) When faced with the prospect of death by ice zombie, both Old Tree Guy and Bran Stark decided to lie at the base of magic trees in order to have sprit/time-travel visions. Why don’t they find a different tree some time later when they’ve made their escape? It’s not like the past is going anywhere.

        3) Why was Doran Martell the only person in Dorne who realised that, angry though they were, his Knigdom couldn’t win a war against the other Six Kingdoms by itself? Did he even try and explain this to anyone around him?
        Also, doesn’t anyone in Dorne care that their liege-lord was murdered by his brother’s wife and bastard children?

        4) After Killing Doran Martell, the Sand Fakes then teleport onto a boat to kill his son Trystan. Why? He’d managed to win over the Queen’s daughter, setting him up to be the consort of the second-in-line to the throne. If you have teleport power, why not kill Tommen and leave Myrcella alive so Trystan & Myrcella’s Dornish kids inherit in time?

        5) Varys turned up in Dorne to spread his palms and say ‘Fire and Blood’ dramatically to the assembled ladies of Houses Martell and Tyrell. Did this conversation happen directly afterwards?

        Olenna: So. What’s the pla-

        Varys: Right. Sorry. ladies. I have to go now, back to Mereen. No time for strategy talk.

        O: Wait, what? Why?

        V: So I can get on a boat and come back here, of course.

        O: What?

        V: Oh yes. I’ll be back with Dany; we’ll have a strategy meeting then.

        O: Why can’t you do that now?

        V: Because I have to be on the boat with Dany as she comes here with her army.

        O: You do? Why?

        V: It’s more dramatic that way.

        O: Dramatic?

        V: Yes! It looks good.

        O: But that’s completely illogical!

        Sand Fake 1: Makes sense to me!

        O: Glares at Sand Fake, then looks at Varys. But – you could be here, making secret alliances and laying the foundations for her arrival.

        V: Why would I want to do that?

        O: Wha – why would you not want to do that? That’s even what you’re here to do right now!

        V: Yeah, and I’m done. Now I’ll be back in a couple of months. Sailing takes ages, you know.

        Sand Fake: You should try teleporting! It’s great!

        O: But all you did was walk in and say “Fire and Blood!” Now you’re leaving?

        V: I know! Dramatic, wasn’t it? Anyway, see ya. Turns.

        O: Come back!

        Sand Fakes: Bye! They wave.

        V: Bye! We’ll talk later. Leaves.

        • guy says:

          I dunno, they might have a point with 3. I mean, Dorne spent a big chunk of its history fending off people who controlled the other six kingdoms and also had dragons.

  11. Syal says:

    It’s a well-known fact that putting poison into alcohol will affect all the alcohol within a hundred yards, and a Frey-known fact that “Lord Frey” is actually several dozen people who look alike; Walder is constantly changing size.

    Moat Cailin was a defense against land forces, but someone with enough ships can just sail around it like Stannis did. Apparently you can just sail around the Wall too, so there’s the question of if the Others can’t cross water or something. Maybe that’s why it’s an ice wall. Seems like something people would mention. The climactic battle will be people throwing water balloons at the Walkers as fast as they can.

    Euron’s “ships” are just people doing the deadman’s float. It’s a compromise tactic.

    …so, Beric’s alive? Didn’t he die three books ago?

    …so Euron’s becoming king now? Didn’t he do that three books ago?

    • TheJungerLudendorff says:

      I guess it makes sense that the Others wouldn’t know how to sail, since they’re ice-zombies and all.

      Even if some of them could sail, I doubt they would be numerous enough, or have enough ships, to quickly sail the whole shebang around the wall.

      • Droid says:

        I think Syal was talking more along the lines of a Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-style walk on the sea floor.

        • Syal says:

          That would be interesting, but I did mean ships; in the books, the forest is as wide as the Wall, so why not cut down trees, build some boats and sail on around to the main world. They’ve had hundreds of years or so.

          • TheJungerLudendorff says:

            I guess it depends on how much skilled labour and carpenting knowledge they have.
            There must be at least some sentient beings with higher intelligence among the ice-zombies, like the zombie king. But building proper sailing ships requires a lot of craftsmanship, as well as stuff like ropes, tar, sails and whatnot.
            Rafts would be easier to do, but it would still require a bunch of ropes, coordinated rowing, zombies not falling off the raft and so on.

            Or they could just use one of those magical plot-teleporters so many characters seem to have. That would work too.

    • epopisces says:

      As someone who doesn’t know the lore, maybe this is ridiculous, but. . .if Winter is super cold (and super long) wouldn’t the ocean near the wall eventually freeze, or at least freeze enough? According to NOAA the saltwater freezing point is only 4 degrees colder than normal water. The motion of the water would keep it from freezing unless it was even colder of course, but with years-long winter I imagine a nice little ice bridge around the wall would make this easy for the shufflers, wouldn’t it?

      • TheJungerLudendorff says:

        That actually sounds like a very good explaination.
        I mean, the Wall is literally made of ice. There must be some amount of frozen ice on the water (less since it’s an ocean, but still).

        It is a bit suprising that the original builders failed to account for that, but maybe those mechanisms/tactics were simply forgotten.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Seeing how the wall was infused with magic,maybe the surrounding waters were as well.Or,there are some strong currents in those regions,preventing permanent ice from forming.Or the wall actually does extend somewhat over the water.

      • Dev Null says:

        Or, y’know, just build a little wooden bridge around the end of the wall. Or have all your zombies push rocks in the water til it fills in. But the ice wall makes so little sense in the first place that you pretty much have to stick your fingers in your ears and drown out the engineers by chanting “MagicMagicMagic” over-and-over. So at that point adding “..and the magic means they can’t get past, ok?” seems like the least of your troubles.

  12. Paul Spooner says:

    Missing article break causes front page GoT flood.

  13. Alan says:

    “Where are my niece and nephew? Let’s go murder them.”

    In context, is this line less stupid?

  14. Commento says:

    Even thought i thoroughly enjoyed the show’s return and can’t wait for the next episode, I absolutely agree with Bob for the most part in this and the rest of the series. I know that the writing has come off the fairly good details-first narrative it seemed to start with and careen into a mass effect style drama-first collapse – It’s just still really enjoyable to watch for me. In fact, Mass Effect 3 was really enjoyable for me too, until the sour ending. Though I really don’t understand the hang-up on wun-wun. Multiple giants have been seen in previous episodes of the show, there are even multiple giants in that scene, infact there are even multiple giants in the screenshot of the scene chosen to illustrate the point so I think that’s more a bob-mistake than a writing one

  15. Talifabian says:

    I still want to know why books on fairy stories and weapon ornamentation are in a “restricted” section.

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      It doesn’t seem to be restricted, just for trained Maesters only. My guess is that the books are both older and more valuable, so those not fully trained are not allowed access, the risk of a priceless artifact being ruined is higher if they were allowed to look.

    • guy says:

      If the novels are any indication, the Maesters know the fairy stories were true and are trying to get rid of them. According to Sam’s scenes, the dragons were all dead because the Citadel killed them.

    • newplan says:

      Because there was a restricted section at Hogwarts and everyone loves Harry Potter, right?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because they are rare old books that not every filthy apprentice should put their grubby mitts on.

  16. Noah Gibbs says:

    Keep using the titles. Something of this length and complexity needs to be broken into sections, just to provide the readers with a breather.

  17. Matt Downie says:

    If you look at the show through pre-story-collapse eyes, most of these things are fine.

    Arya magically disguised herself, put some poison in a barrel of wine, and ordered the servants to distribute it. Isn’t it a more exciting opening to see a dramatic ‘surprise’ mass murder than to watch the mechanics of it? The point of her later scene was to see her conflicted between murdering them all to be on the safe side and reclaiming her humanity.

    Euron said “They stole my best ships”. They didn’t steal all his ships (they didn’t have enough people to do that). So he didn’t have to build/steal/buy a thousand ships. It was a bit implausible, but not as implausible as that.

    Jon presumably persuaded the Northeners that the White Walkers are real during a scene we didn’t see. They’ve accepted him as leader, why not take his word for it? The Wildlings would back him up.

    As for what happened this episode: Scene setting, mostly. And there was a shared theme. Jon has returned to his family home. Dany’s returning to her ancestral home. The Hound’s returning to the scene of his crime. Arya’s heading back to King’s Landing.

    • newplan says:

      Euron said “They stole my best ships”. They didn’t steal all his ships (they didn’t have enough people to do that). So he didn’t have to build/steal/buy a thousand ships. It was a bit implausible, but not as implausible as that.

      Right, they stole enough ships to transport all of Dany’s army but not enough ships to stop him from building back to a thousand ship fleet. Oh and his best ships were captained by men who were loyal to Yara over him, apparently.

    • Wraith says:

      1. Which still doesn’t answer how tiny little Arya could pass herself off as a grown man, face disguised or no.

      2. I went back to watch that scene and you’re actually correct, the Drowned Man does explicitly say “best ships”. Which actually begs the question of why Euron had the Ironborn build a thousand ships and spent the entire rest of that season doing so when he only needed a few dozen high-quality ones.

      3. Remarkable that he never managed to convince the Night’s Watch as a whole of their existence despite having several very credible witnesses within the order close at hand, to the point that a faction within the Watch literally murdered him for taking radical actions in anticipation of the arrival of the White Walkers.

      • TheJungerLudendorff says:

        Also, some of those northern lords should probably have mentioned that they were indeed convinced. Or just make that into a scene on itsself.

        Considering how much screentime was dedicated to people not believing in the White Walkers, it seems appropriate to actually work things like this into the story (as we get to see it).

  18. newplan says:

    Then he says “where are my niece and nephew? Let’s go murder them!” (incidentally, that is also actual show dialogue). But he was too slow! While he’s busy drowning, Theon and Yara sneak away and steal the entire fleet. No, seriously: the entire fleet. We’re told it’s a thousand ships.

    How did they do this? Who did the ships belong to before? If it was the Lords at the Kingsmoot, why did none of their captains ask “what happened at the Kingsmoot” or something similar before allowing their ships to be commandeered? If the Lords didn’t own them, who did? And if Theon and Yara have enough people loyal to them to crew a thousand ships, why are they running away from a few dozen yahoos on a beach? None of this is ever explained.

    The stealing of the ships is plausible because the captains know Yara from her years of reaving when she was the best of the iron born* and so are loyal to her as shown earlier in the Theon story when the ship captains** and crew weren’t loyal to Theon because they hadn’t seen him do anything. When Yara and Theon go to steal the ships the captains go along with it because of their loyalty to Yara. Of course if they were that loyal to Yara why didn’t they vote for her in the kingsmoot? Well, they were loyal enough to her to help her steal the fleet but not loyal enough to want her as queen. Of course you’d think that the level of loyalty for voting someone queen would be lower than the level of loyalty needed for stealing a ship under your command but nope, the Ironborn just love stealing things.

    *Because of course she is – just like Brianne isn’t extraordinary for being a woman who’s a somewhat competent fighter but who has good character and is a decent person but instead is a completely impossible best fighter in Westeros contender.

    ** and yes, it absolutely has to involve the captains unless Theon and Yara only stole like 2 ships – which they didn’t.

  19. Vermander says:

    I agree that it’s weird that they did two separate “Arya kills the Freys scenes” spread out over two seasons. Especially since it required fake Walder to actually say “I know we don’t normally have two feasts back-to-back like this…”

    It was confusing enough to imagine how she could have killed two of Walder’s sons in their own castle, butchered their carcasses, then baked them into pies with none of the kitchen staff even noticing. Now we have to assume she also dragged off Old Walder’s corpse and stashed it somewhere, then took his place (as far as we know Faceless men can’t change their height or body mass), ordered the servants to prepare a second feast, and poisoned the wine.

    Wouldn’t it have been better to just have her just poison the wine at the first feast and kill everyone at once (including old Walder)? Or better yet, have Arya join up with the BWB upon her return and take the place of Lady Stoneheart on the show. That way she has lots of people who can help her pull off the massacre.

    • Oliver Edleston says:

      I do wonder if we’re going to get a “shocking” scene where Jon/Dany “dies”, but it turns out it’s actually Arya and Jon/Dany are safe all along.

      Not having watched the show since a few episodes in to season 2, I have no idea if murder needs to have happened for face stealing to take place. Though from Bob’s articles thus far, I doubt the writers have themselves kept track of such niggling details.

  20. Galad says:

    I watched the episode with the specific intent of reading this later, and boy was that a good one. The show’s become somewhat like a fast food snack – tasty, but not memorable. Bonus points for turning into a teenage girl that can’t even, Bob :)

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,to everyone who loves these entries,you should also check out The Doms upcoming lost in adaptation talk about the game of thrones.He starts with a brief history of westeros,and is going to follow that by a comprehensive look at the books and the show(at least thats what he did with other long series,like harry potter).Basically,he starts by checking what stuff were adapted faithfully when transitioning from the books,what was changed and hatcheted,and in the end he summarizes by whether the adaptation was a good job despite being unfaithful to the source/bad job despite being faithful to the source/something in between.

  22. Steve C says:

    Dragonstone is deserted. That raises a great deal of questions with no answer like why Dragonstone is deserted. That is not the foremost question for me. The question I immediately had was how is Dragonstone deserted.

    Wasn’t Dragonstone a fief? Stannis’ fief and he’s dead, sure. But where is everyone else? Where are all the women, children, sick and infirm? Where are all the people that comprise the manpower that run a fief that would have been left behind when Stannis went on campaign? All the people who would have been a liability to bring with an army? Did he bring every single person with him regardless? Are they all dead offscreen somehow? Is thinning out the deadwood what happened when Stannis burned all those people alive a few seasons ago?

    Why Dragonstone is deserted is a question with no good answer. How the hell is this castle vacant makes even else sense!

    • TheJungerLudendorff says:

      Also, its an old, major fortification a stone’s throw from the capital.

      You would think that people from the capital (like Cersei) would pay attention when things happen to Dragonstone.

      • tremor3258 says:

        I’m as up on the strategic positioning of everything about as well as Ceresi, but isn’t Dragonstone the castle controlling access to King’s Landing by sea?

        • guy says:

          Not exactly, but it’s relatively close by, strategically speaking. I don’t think it can be said to control sea access, but if someone is trying to attack King’s Landing by sea from the other continent, they’d want to use it as a staging point, and if they did bypass it then the Westerosi fleet could dock there and be in position to strike at any isolated sections of the invasion force or any supply convoys.

          • guy says:

            Basicially, it is fairly important to naval warfare, but it’s not like with Constantinople, where the outer fortresses could actually seal the sea accesses.

            In the books, Tyrion had a similar setup hastily constructed for the battle of the Blackwater, to raise a chain that ships can’t pass. Since he was under a lot of time pressure, they weren’t that well-defended against a land attack, but the attacking fleet didn’t know about the chain until it got raised behind them, and shortly afterwards they were too busy being on fire to do something about it.

          • tremor3258 says:

            Okay, so Gibraltar more than the Dardanelles in terms of controlling sea access, got it, not quite the be all and end all, but ludicrously nice if you want to move things by ship (and before railroads, boat travel is almost always faster and easier on average when moving any large amount of anything, like, say, food for your city)

      • ehlijen says:

        Not just pay attention. If it’s empty, she should seize it. A fortified position that Dany would have to attack before she can land, and where her dothraki count for nothing, would let her forces bloody the invaders fiercely before they took the castle.

    • Gethsemani says:

      This was my reaction to. The plot contrivance needed to make a major citadel deserted is staggering. Even if Stannis took all his able-bodied soldiers with him, there would still be several dozen poorly trained men-at-arms and a castle staff of hundreds of people around to man the thing. You don’t just haphazardly leave your home base and the center of your tax collection and naval might deserted when you decide to go campaigning. It is just such incredibly sloppy writing, really highlighting how it was more important that Dany quickly got a cool base of operations and a few wicked scenes of her checking out her new seat of power (and give her control of all that dragonglass Sam talked about for future plot) then it was to maintain the world’s internal consistency.

  23. Last time, we heard about how Cersei isn’t fit to be a leader, and would have no underlying supporters, even if she was, strictly speaking, the person who ought be atop the leadership chain, given the present lines of succession. OK, got it: “a true leader would be superior to someone who fits their technical rules of order! letting her lead? this is SO WRONG.” So noted!

    And this time, we hear that Edd is apparently someone who fell into a leadership position! “But what about the technical rules of order?! why aren’t they adhering to them? this is SO WRONG.”

    I mean, either one by itself would be kind of a “yes, you might be nit-picking, but I see where you’re coming from” sort of analysis of the fridge logic. Asking me to consume both? I just kind of roll my eyes and go “yeah, you’re just kind of picking things apart not on principle, but for sport.” I’m sure that’s gobs of fun for someone! It doesn’t make for analytic prose I will especially take seriously, though.

    • TheJungerLudendorff says:

      Actually, I think that both of his complaints were about a lack of reactions from everyone else.
      Most of the Lannister, Vale, and religous leadership just got massacred, and Cersei is the blatantly obvious suspect. And she’s already reviled by much of the nobility and commonfolk. So why is everyone just rolling over and letting her do this?

      Edd is more of a case of how he gained legitimacy as the head of the Watch, since he got the job in a way that blatantly flaunts most of the succession rules for that position. Which makes it weird that nobody seems to have any problems with it.

      • ehlijen says:

        The watch, while divided, at least has a common purpose and an immediate outside threat to encourage banding together. The remaining major factions in and around King’s Landing do not (as far as they believe), and thus are happy to wipe each other out before the zombies even get there.

      • I guess my core question would be “yep, Cersei looks guilty as damn hell… but who the hell is going to step up and fill that power vacuum instead?” It’s not like there’s someone on her doorstep with the firepower to take her down. As sketchy as it is, there’s no one kicking around in the neighborhood with a more legitimate claim to the throne. “Omigod, why are folks rolling over for Cersei?!” is understandably uncomfortable, but I’ve yet to hear what other course of action should have been taken and by whom.

        “Hey. I’m here; I’ve got at least a reasonable argument for being here; I’ve got a personal guard who will rip you to bits if you disagree.” That probably doesn’t even qualify as a junta or anything. I’m not holding my breath that Coalition of Peasants Guild #374 is going to automagically coalesce and usurp power.

        • TheJungerLudendorff says:

          I think this is one of those classical situations, where a story creates an unlikely scenario, and then doesn’t justify it.

          There are definitely possible explanations for why Cersei is still Queen, but because the show doesn’t give us anything to work with, we can only raise our eyebrows and either accuse the writers of failing to build a proper foundation for their story, or come up with theories to explain the situation.

          And since we can debate both viewpoints without being able to conclusively prove either of them wrong, we’re kind of stuck.

  24. Gethsemani says:

    I suppose it is a minor nitpick, but why is Jon Snow allowed to speak on behalf of house Stark? Especially when the legitimate heir to House Stark is sitting right next to him and is obviously an active part of the discussion? It defies belief that he was made King of the North in the first place, but even allowing for that, there’s no way he can become a Stark, since the only person that can legitimize him (his supposed father, Ned) is dead. I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not lost faith in D&Ds writing last season, but now it won’t stop bugging me that Sansa apparently just rolled over and gave her inheritance away to Jon for no real reason.

    • CliveHowlitzer says:

      I’ve played enough Crusader Kings 2 to know that as a bastard of Ned Stark. Jon Snow would have a weak claim to his titles that could be pressed in war if the titles were held by a woman or in a regency. Therefore, he could claim them. Clearly Sansa immediately surrendered the titles to him, perhaps losing her own claims in the process. What a sucker!

      That and the show is stupid and seems to change its laws on succession on a day to day basis.

      • Grudgeal says:

        More likely she fell victim to a “Jon Snow for King of the North” faction, because of the immense opinion penalties against her regent.

        • Vermander says:

          Besides the obvious sexism, Sansa is also a weak candidate because she’s been married to both a Lannister and a Bolton, and held captive by both of those families for extended periods of time, so I’m pretty sure a lot of people will view her as “irreparably compromised” no matter what she does to prove them wrong.

          It’s pretty weird that no one seems to have problem with Jon Snow leaving the watch though (assuming that they don’t all know that he’s undead). Especially considering his father was shown personally beheading a NW deserter in season one.

    • Vermander says:

      Rob actually designated Jon as his heir in his will when it was assumed that Bran and Rickon were dead, although I’m not sure what happened to his will on the show (Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover had taken it to Howland Reed in the books, but I’m not sure any of those people exist and/or are alive on the show). Now that Bran has returned the issue might get cloudier.

      The legality of the will is somewhat dubious anyways, since Jon was sworn to the Night’s Watch when it was written.

      So basically, the Northern lords would need to decide whether they want to acknowledge a bastard/deserter who maybe or may not be an undead abomination, a woman who was previously married to not one, but two of their worst enemies, or a crippled child as their new overlord.

      • guy says:

        Standard practice would be to take door number 2 and give Bran a regent.

      • Xapi says:

        The thing is that Rob was King in the North. So it was in his power as King (it is Kings who can legitimize bastards in Westeros, not parents) to legitimize Jon Snow and release him from his NW vows.

        It seems that he signed a will in front of qualified witnesses that both those things were to happen contingently upon his death.

        • Malimar says:

          Which happens to have been the same thing Stannis offered Jon — legitimization as a Stark and release from his NW vows, in exchange for supporting his claim as King. Jon turned him down, because vows are vows (and also there may have been some bit where Stannis wanted the support of the NW, and the NW takes no part in the quarrels of the Realm; some of the details of the deal were left as subtext).

    • Malimar says:

      This isn’t CKII — by the laws of the Seven Kingdoms, the father can’t legitimize a bastard, but the king can. This is why Ramsay Snow became Ramsay Bolton: Joffrey (or was it Tommen? I forget the timing) issued a decree.

      And (in the books) the previous King in the North did issue such a decree legitimizing Jon and naming him his heir. I forget if the show bothered with that crucial detail.

  25. KarmaTheAlligator says:

    Pretty sure that in the books, Jamie learnt ages ago that Cersei slept with Lancel while he was gone (I think that’s even why he’s gotten so cold with her), but I could be remembering wrong.

    • Grudgeal says:

      Tyrion revealed it during his escape, since Jamie revealed the truth of Tysha (remember her? Because the showrunners sure don’t). Jamie then spends a lot of book four mulling it over until Lancel confirms it, which finally kills what was left of their ‘relationship’.

      • KarmaTheAlligator says:

        Cheers for the refresher. So the show didn’t have Tyrion say anything?

        • Wraith says:

          Correct. They cut everything about the Tysha plot and Tyrion and Jaime having a falling-out. Despite putting in a not-insignificant amount of legwork setting up the Tysha plot.

          Q U A L I T Y W R I T I N G

      • Bunkerfox says:

        Does bug me how in the series they still kinda sort of are a thing, but in the books they’ve had a pretty big falling out and aren’t talking to each other

        • BlueHorus says:

          Well, Jamie has had years of of Cersie being married to Robert Baratheon to contend with. And standing guard while Robert cheated on her with whores. So he may well have got used to not having her for himself, whatever he wants.

          BUT. She still still blew up the biggest with Wildfire, which is bordering on an Aerys-level of crazy and a better reason for their mistrust. They hinted at the split in the show: while she was being crowned, Jamie walked in and gave her a ‘what have you done I don’t feel like I know you anymore’ kind of look.

          All of which seems to have been forgotten.

  26. Malimar says:

    If you’re me, and you’ve never heard of Ed Sheeran before this post, his cameo in this episode was not out of place or strange at all.

    The song he was singing, on the other hand… In the books, the context for the “hands of gold” song was Tyrion’s relationship with Shae, and Tyrion had the bard who wrote it killed before he could go public with it.

    In the show, the context for this song is “who cares about context, screw making sense, any song will do, let’s throw it in”.

  27. Fade2Gray says:

    Hmmm. This Waypoint article comparing GOT to Pro-Wresting seems coincidental.

  28. Preciousgollum says:

    I KNOW HOW GAME OF THRONES SHOULD END!

    Arya kills Cercie (and having Jamie Lannister be the unwitting technically actual killer of Cercie), with some face swapping and Glamour Tricks, and then goes on to assume the role of ‘Queen Cercie’, while making decisions that have been backed in coalition with (and maybe also affecting a little bit of ‘eccentricity’ as a bit of revenge) both John Snow and Danny, Tyrion etc.

    In other words, Arya learns to be an ACTOR, and rules over Westeros for a bit, as a puppet ruler, until the ‘Lannisters’ are slowly dissolved from the future history books, and nobody is hated. A proper transition, solution solves the countless wars that the peasants are suffering under, and negates the need for too many pandering or sh*tty special effects & battles, which are played out in fantasy, in favour of proper CHARACTER DRAMA.

    … and sets the scene for the conflict with THE WHITE WALKERS, which would then probably end with some sort of… ‘there must always be an [insert] sacrifice’ (similar to Warcraft Lich King) (“I look into the fire, and I see only Snow…” nudge nudge wink wink dead guy “you are good at ruling” Ice Zombies & Giants.

    (P.S even Robert Baratheon and Jeoffrey would then have got their wish for a ‘Standing Army’, which solves all the Medieval crappiness that they had so many problems with and which undermined them).

    • Preciousgollum says:

      I can also imagine ‘noble’ Jamie Lannister, after finding out about the Arya/Cercie switch, and shouting:

      “She’s not Cercie, The Queen, that’s not really her; she’s dead, I killed her!”… while being carted off to Westeros Mental Asylum and living the rest of his days as a ‘certified’ loon (probably at the Maestor’s Keep).

      Perhaps Tyrion goes and visits Jamie ‘Goldfingers’ Lannister and Jorah ‘Greyscale’ Mormont from time to time and chat about their shared experiences of unrequited love lol.

  29. tdcoish says:

    Surprised to see Tyrion out of position as the slot receiver. Very versatile player. He usually plays half-back.

  30. AdamS says:

    Finding out Maisey Williams is a fan of Ed Sheeran might be the single most personally-disappointing discovery I’ve made about this show.

    • Malimar says:

      Following her on social media, one discovers Maisie is basically your standard-issue teenager. I don’t know anything about Ed Sheeran, but I imagine on the basis of her liking him that he’s the kind of thing teenagers like.

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