Timely Game of Thrones Griping 2: The Wages of Adaptation

By Bob Case
on Jul 24, 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.

When last we saw our heroes, Team Dany was at the (conveniently empty) castle of Dragonstone about to plan an invasion, Euron was galivanting off to parts unknown to deliver an unknown gift to Cersei, Arya was off to kill Cersei, and the Hound and company were heading north to do… something or other. Sam is in Oldtown noticing conspicuously circled things in restricted books and nearly getting infected with greyscale (It’s transmitted through touch, Jorah. Keep your hands to yourself!). Jon, Sansa, and Littlefinger are at Winterfell, not really doing much so far. Bran is finally south of the wall. I think that pretty much covers everyone.

The Wages of Adaptation

We start at Dragonstone. The first part of the scene consists of Dany’s brain trust repeating things we already know. Among its other faults this show has a habit of repeating exposition two and three times. To me it feels like padding.

But the scene quickly improves. Dany confronts Varys about where his loyalties lie – in the show-continuity, he’s twice conspired against the King he was supposed to be serving, and Daenerys is understandably wary of his intentions in the future. Varys gets to give a good speech explaining his own actions. It one way, it clarifies the character. In another way, it muddles practically everything that’s happened so far.

This is one of those moments where I feel I have to bring in book knowledge, because it affects how I think this character is supposed to be viewed. To give you the reader’s digest version, in the books there’s another Targaryen: Aegon, a son of Rhaegar’s. Varys and Illyrio (the merchant who originally brokered the Daenerys-Drogo wedding in both books and show) have been keeping his existence secret for quite some time.He’s also probably not an actual Targaryen, but that’s a whole other story. Aegon, to Varys, is the perfect monarch: one who’s been trained since birth with not only the necessary skills, but also (Varys hopes) the necessary appreciation for his duty to the common people of Westeros.

In the books, Aegon’s existence is the revelation that makes many of Varys’ mysterious actions retroactively make sense. In the show, Aegon never appears. Not only that, but Varys also admits that it was him who sent the assassin after Daenerys. In the books the assassin was motivated by a public offer of a lordship for whoever killed her – a scheme thought up by Littlefinger, not Varys. Suddenly Varys has a whole lot of splainin to do, to both Daenerys and the audience.

TFW when your character`s primary motivation has been cut for time.

TFW when your character`s primary motivation has been cut for time.

Daenerys asks “Before I came to power, you favored my brother. All your spies, your little birds – did they tell you Viserys was cruel, stupid, and weak? Would those qualities have made for a good King, in your learned opinion?”

That’s a very good question. It’s one Varys doesn’t answer. Instead, he skips ahead, past his reasons for supporting Viserys, and to his ignorance of Daenrys’ qualities as a leader: “Before your marriage to Khal Drogo, Your Grace, I knew nothing about you, save your existence and that you were said to be beautiful.” That’s not an answer to her question, of course. Varys doesn’t have an answer, because the show itself doesn’t have an answer.

I don’t mean to be too critical. This is one of the challenges of adaption. After watching this scene, I immediately became suspicious of something, and headed to wikipedia to check. Yep, suspicion confirmed: this is a Bryan Cogman-written episode. Though Bryan Cogman has written his share of nonsense on this show, he, much more so than the showrunners Benioff and Weiss, he at least occasionally gives the impression that he wants characters and their actions to stand up to scrutiny. Here he does the best job that can be expected in writing Varys out of this particular corner.

But I can’t help but be frustrated by the whole process. Varys is a favorite character of mine in the books, and in the show his actor (Conleth Hill) I think portrays him very well. Why did they have to cut Aegon? They couldn’t have cut the ridiculous Euron instead? Or some of Arya’s stickfighting scenes? Or the two separate scenes, both excruciatingly long, where Tyrion tries to play drinking games with a pair of teetotalers? Or the scene where Tyrion convinces the clergy of R’hllor to support Daenerys, when the audience had already been shown they were doing that anyway? Or – I should just stop, or we’ll be here all night.

Next up is Melisandre, who’s arrived at DragonstoneI like to think that Gendry rowed her there.. She tells Daenerys about the whole “Prince who was promished” prophecy, which Missandei points out can also refer to a Princess. Melisandre also tells her about Jon Snow, who she apparently didn’t know was King. Cersei and Jaime knew that before Daenerys even arrived, right? And Team Dany has been at Dragonstone long enough that Melisandre heard it about it and had time to travel here, and – you know what, nevermind. The logic by which characters on this show know some things and not others is completely opaque to me. Also, even when Melisandre specifically mentions Jon Snow’s connection to the Lord of Light, his death and resurrection once again go conspicuously unmentioned. I should probably stop harping on that. We’ll see if I can contain myself.

Of all the things that movies and TV shows put in medieval castles almost every time, `braziers lit in the middle of the day` is the one that makes me scratch my head the most.

Of all the things that movies and TV shows put in medieval castles almost every time, `braziers lit in the middle of the day` is the one that makes me scratch my head the most.

Tyrion sends a message to Winterfell, which arrives in the very next scene. Despite Daenerys making a big deal of the whole “kneel before your rightful Queen” thing, Jon and company don’t even mention it. I couldn’t tell from the shot they showed of the message, but it seems like Tyrion might have left that part out. Either way, the Winterfell brain trust has decided that meeting with Team Dany is too risky, at least for now. This makes sense, as you would expect powerful nobles to be alert to the possibility of betrayal, and to show some concern for their own personal safety. This brings us to our next scene, in King’s Landing.

The Scene Where Powerful Nobles Show No Concern for Their Personal Safety

A bunch of Tyrell bannermen are standing in the throne room. Why? I’m not sure. As Cersei helpfully explains, the house they’re sworn to is in open rebellion against the Iron Throne. So why would they agree to go to the Red Keep, unarmed and unarmored and surrounded by Lannister guards? It can’t be because they were captives – one of them is Lord Randyll Tarly, Sam’s father, last seen at Horn Hill safe and sound. I mean, Cersei is still wearing the same dress she wore when she killed the head of House Tyrell and his two children. That’s the whole reason they’re in rebellion, isn’t it? Isn’t this reckless past the point of sense?

Am I the only one that finds the Kingsguard`s new eeeevil uniforms comical?

Am I the only one that finds the Kingsguard`s new eeeevil uniforms comical?

“If my Queen summons me, I answer the call,” Lord Tarly explains, “and I’ve heard what she does to those who defy her.” This is what I’m talking about when I say the balance of power on this show operates by Calvinball rules. The rules of succession by which Cersei became Queen are never explained, and yet Lord Tarly considers her legitimate to the point of overlooking her mass murder and the extremely suspicious death of the old King. And how is it that House Tyrell is in open rebellion without any of its bannermen? Doesn’t seem like that would be much of a rebellion. I assume there’s supposed to be some sort of tension in this conflict, but I can’t get invested in it when I have no clues as to what the relative strength of each side is.

To top it all off, Randyll Tarly appears to intend to fight for House Tyrell. So why would they even let him leave the castle? Jaime doesn’t blanch at his sister blowing up the Great Sept, with many of her own relatives inside it, but apparently detaining the opposing side’s most capable general before an upcoming war is a bridge too far. The scene ends with Lord Randyll’s decision ambiguous.

As a side note, the guy who plays Lord Randyll’s son Dickon is both conspicuously named and played by the guy who played Billy Bones on Black Sails. He’ll probably be important later.

We check in briefly with Ser Jorah and Samwell. Jorah will only be allowed to stay one more day. Sam is appropriately concerned. Is he really just going to stumble across a cure in some old book or something? Probably.

Medieval apothecaries didn`t have access to modern skin moisturizing creams.

Medieval apothecaries didn`t have access to modern skin moisturizing creams.

Team Dany Invasion Planning Committee

We’re back at Dragonstone. Lady Olenna, Ellaria Sand, and Yara are all here, so it’s all hands on deck. First up: the show acknowledges that Ellaria Sand killed Myrcella! I admit, I expected them to just flush that down the memory hole. I suspect that this is another bit of continuity clean-up that wouldn’t have happened had Benioff and Weiss written the episode.

Queen Daenerys doesn’t want to attack King’s Landing. Apparently it would cause too much death, and she doesn’t want to be “Queen of the Ashes.” She is, however, willing to attack all the “capitals” (not really the right choice of word) around King’s Landing, which will cause less death for reasons I’m not sure I entirely understand. Yes, King’s Landing is a densely populated city, but it’s not like you have to burn the whole thing down to take it. Do you? Does Dany have control over her dragons or not? Once again the characters on the screen seem to have access to a secret set of rules and constraints that are never provided to the audience.

No time to worry about that. Tyrion has decided that the Dothraki and the Unsullied – also known as basically Queen Daenerys’ entire army – can’t be used for PR reasons. Instead, Yara and Ellaria are going to Sunspear to collect the Dornish army. I just want to briefly point out that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes have killed the Prince of Dorne, his bodyguard, the King’s sister, her fiancee (and the heir to House Dorne), and even the poor sap who told them Jaime and Bronn were in the country in the first place. They kill practically every named character they come across. I have no idea why anyone considers them trustworthy enough to team up with.

I have a feeling they`re going to get a lot of mileage out of these props.

I have a feeling they`re going to get a lot of mileage out of these props.

Tyrion reveals the final wrinkle in his brilliant plan: the Unsullied and Dothraki will attack Casterly Rock. Unlike having them attack King’s Landing, this won’t be a PR problem, for reasons we’re not privy to. This plan seems to impress everyone at the table. Casterly Rock is the seat of Lannister power, somehow, even though the Lannisters have been powerful for six seasons and counting without us ever even seeing it. What will Cersei not be able to do anymore without it? Who knows. We’ve already established in a previous season that the Lannister gold mines have run dry, so it’s not that. And the foods that feeds the city comes from the Reach, or so we’re told. Maybe that’s where the Lannister army comes from? But I thought that army was at King’s Landing?

I can come up with answers for these questions, and probably you can too. Unsatisfying answers, true, and answers that just lead to more questions, true, but answers of a sort. The thing is, I really shouldn’t have to, and neither should you. If I have to put your story through an entire interpretive gymnastic routine in order to make it coherent, you’ve done something wrong.

The Grey Worm/Missandei Scene Was Actually Very Good

Let’s not dwell on the bad stuff. The Grey Worm/Missandei scene was good – not only good, but, in my opinion, good in a daring way. Conceptually, this scene is one hair away from being completely ridiculous and cringeworthy. It must have taken some nerve to even write it. But I think the outcome is touching, simple, and real.

It’s surprising to me because of one particular thing. Grey Worm is a eunuch, and up until now this show has been consistently obnoxious about its eunuchs. In seasons five and six Varys could barely get a word in edgewise without someone finding some new way to point out that he doesn’t have a penis. And yet here, Grey Worm’s condition is treated as a source of first shame, and then relief as Missandei accepts him for who he is anyway. So, good on the show for that.

Back to Ser Jorah: yep, Sam just stumbled across a cure in some old book. The Maesters don’t use it because it’s “too dangerous,” despite the fact that greyscale is firmly established to be a terminal disease in cases like Jorah’s. But Sam, who has learned to be a surgeon in record time, won’t let that stop him. We’re treated to an overly long and wince-inducing barely-anesthetized surgery scene. Wahoo.

Sam has seen a zombie army and cured greyscale. Surely that must merit some extra credit?

Sam has seen a zombie army and cured greyscale. Surely that must merit some extra credit?

At the by-now-familiar inn at the crossroads, Hot Pie returns to inform Arya that her brother is still alive, and King in the North now. How exactly Arya didn’t already know this I have no idea. Didn’t she masquerade as Walder Frey for a fortnight, at least, if her dialogue is to be believed? No one at The twins even mentioned in passing that there was a brand new King in the realm? Well, I guess Cersei has Hot Pie to thank that she won’t eat Jaime in an omelette tomorrow morning.

The message Sam wrote to Jon last episode, about the dragonglass underneath Dragonstone, must have been delivered by an extra-slow raven or something, because it’s only just now arrived in Winterfell. Jon announces that he’s going to Dragonstone to meet Queen Daenerys, a decision that, judging by Sansa’s expression, he didn’t bother sharing with her beforehand. Withholding key decisions from his closest allies: that’s the natural knack for leadership that made him King in the North. He puts Winterfell in her hands until he returns. You probably think he should’ve warned her about that, too, but that’s why you’re not King in the North material and never will be.

Littlefinger, standing in his designated lurking spot, seems to approve. Later he schemes in Jon’s general direction down in the crypts. Jon chokes him a little and then walks off. They don’t seem to get along well. It’s still not clear what Littlefinger is trying to do here, but I’m reasonably certain that when we find out it’ll make no sense.

The family crypt. This seems like an appropriate place to creep on your sister.

The family crypt. This seems like an appropriate place to creep on your sister.

Arya is traveling north to Winterfell, and meets Nymeria. This scene isn’t bad, though I expect we’ve now hit our direwolf quota for the season. Enjoy this scene, because it’s all downhill from here.

All My Least Favorite Characters in One Sequence!

I don’t like Yara because she rapes sex slaves and tries to shout and browbeat Theon’s horrific abuse away, I don’t like Ellaria because she’s killed not one but several innocent people and is a complete inversion of her much better book incarnation, and I don’t like Euron because everything about him is ridiculous. I don’t like the Sand Snakes because… well, do I even have to explain? Theon is ok though. It’s too bad he’s stuck with this bunch.

Yara and Ellaria have barely learned each other’s names before they’re diving into each other’s pants, only to be rudely interrupted by a long, dark, confusing, and shakicammed-to-high-heaven battle sequence. Two Sand Snakes are killed (maybe more? I couldn’t actually keep track), and Ellaria is captured.

It ends with Euron holding an axe to Yara’s throat and mocking Theon for being a “cockless coward.”It was nice knowing you, show without constant eunuch jokes. Theon was apparently expected to do something here, but I’m not sure what. Euron was holding her hostage, right? If Theon had rushed him, wouldn’t Euron have just killed her? So what was he supposed to do? He decides to jump overboard, saving his own life, and I guess we should be disappointed.

TFW your brother decides not to provoke someone into killing you.

TFW your brother decides not to provoke someone into killing you.

Now Yara and Ellaria are both in Euron’s clutches. Since it seems pretty obvious that they’re trying to make Euron the next Ramsey, I’d say they’re both in for some gratuitous torture. Established as love interests in one episode, fridged the next. This show is nothing if not efficient. Maybe it’ll prove me wrong. I was wrong about Myrcella’s death not being mentioned, after all. We’ll see.

See you next week.

 

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Footnotes:

[1] He’s also probably not an actual Targaryen, but that’s a whole other story.

[2] I like to think that Gendry rowed her there.

[3] It was nice knowing you, show without constant eunuch jokes.


A Hundred!2010There are 130 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Bubble181 says:

    Tarly’s bowing to Cersei makes some snese: he’s *scared*. “We’ve seen what you do to people who oppose you” – you know, blow them up wholesale. So…Yeah, let’s at least pretend to her face to be listening and accept her legitimacy.

    As for the difference between attacking King’s Landing and Casterly Rock – ok, so you’re not European, and perhaps you’ve never seen a castle? It’s…Not the same as a city. Cities might have (usually had) fortifications and might last a long time, and castles might have (usually did) have plenty of people living around and in them, but there’s a difference.
    A large medieval castle might have a thousand civilians and a few thousands troops garrisoned. A large medieval city might have upwards of a hundred thousand citizens, and a military presence roughly the same as that castle – though usually less. Conquering a castle by pretty much destroying it is OK, conquering a city by reducing it to rubble is not OK.
    The importance of Casterly Rock is largely symbolic – it’s theire seat of power. It’s the Keep of the House Lannister. It’s the Seat of the Warden of the West. A House that can’t hold on to its own Keep loses face, and loses support. It’s your hinterland, your heart.
    Cersei is isolated in the Red Keep, barely in control of the city, and her support outside is small – pretty much just her own House and its bannermen. Taking Casterly Rock would free up a whole bunch of the bannermen to say “well, you’re finished, good luck, we’re out”.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Tarly’s bowing to Cersei makes some snese: he’s *scared*. “We’ve seen what you do to people who oppose you” – you know, blow them up wholesale. So…Yeah, let’s at least pretend to her face to be listening and accept her legitimacy.

      What doesnt make sense is him openly admitting to her brother that he has no plans to support her.

      • newplan says:

        …or voluntarily making a trip to see her in person when she just murdered a bunch of lords who were mostly kinda allied with her. That didn’t make sense either.

        Robert and Ned rebelled rather than accept an invitation from the mad king and he had a hell of a lot more support than Cercei does.

      • stratigo says:

        It is super bizarre that Tarly comes to king’s landing,

    • Wraith says:

      Targeting Casterly Rock over King’s Landing makes absolutely no sense on any level. The writer is just feeding us bullshit excuses to draw shit out.

      Taking King’s Landing gives you the Iron Throne. During the War of the Five Kings people were loyal to Joffrey because he was the claimant on the Iron Throne. Simply possessing the Iron Throne gives your claimant immense amounts of legitimacy.

      It’s also right there. Right across the bay. Right there. Casterly Rock is ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CONTINENT. The show has always played fast and loose with geography and logistics but come the fuck on. You’re going to sail your fleet around the entire continent or have your army march across hundreds of miles to take a much more fortified target because you’re afraid potential civilian casualties in King’s Landing will give you bad optics? Cersei BLEW UP the fucking Pope of Westeros and her optics are fine. I don’t think anyone in-universe actually gives two shits about civilian casualties.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Yes, but you see, Cersei is the BAD GUY… Errrr, lady. The bad people never need to worry about those little things, while the good guys do.

        For reasons.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Since it seems pretty obvious that they’re trying to make Euron the next Ramsey

    Good luck with that.Ramsay at least had charisma.This idiot?Charisma is his dump stat.Most likely because he used it all to boost his constitution up,seeing how he not only survives being beaten and stabbed a bunch of times,but isnt hindered at all by that.

    • TheJungerLudendorff says:

      Utterly obnoxious AND unkillable! A perfect example of how not to do a GMPC.

      • Galad says:

        On the upside, if you’ve stopped caring about things making sense in the show, and just want to be entertained by it, Euron’s pretty much the guy you want! Now with 30% less on-screen sadism and 80% more unpredictability!

    • BlueHorus says:

      Taking bets now!

      Coming up next on the regular GoT Torture-Revenge cycle: Yara Greyjoy, Ellaria Sand, Euron Greyjoy – and long-term contestant, Theon Greyjoy!

      How long with Euron last? Can he beat record-holder Ramsey Snow in the Plot-Armored Villain category?
      Who will be the one to finally kill him? What horrible means will they use? How many minor characters will he kill before his plot armor runs out?

      Place your bets now!

      My bet: Theon will kill Euron and rescure Yara, and the killing will magically cure his PTSD. Someone will make a ‘Now you’re a man again, Theon’ comment, and make him the King of the Ironborn, while Yara (who’s a much better choice) is standing right beside him.

  3. newplan says:

    We can cure greyscale but it’s too dangerous because you could catch … greyscale! (which we can then cure*). Wut?

    Jaime killed the mad king back when he had ideals and was conflicted about it because he was merely thinking about … planting wildfire to massacre people. Now his job is to recruit people to work for the mad king and he doesn’t seem to think too deeply about it.

    * and presumably the cure procedure is not as much of an ordeal when it doesn’t cover half your skin

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      We can cure greyscale but it’s too dangerous because you could catch … greyscale! (which we can then cure*). Wut?

      Nothing says that the procedure is 100% successful,or that it will succeed this time.Well,nothing other than the fact that these are named characters,so of course it has to work perfectly.Though if this were one of the earlier seasons,it would totally fail and same would end up either dead or greyscaled himself.

    • Abnaxis says:

      Jaime killed the mad king back when he had ideals and was conflicted about it because he was merely thinking about … planting wildfire to massacre people.

      Remember back when people gave Jaime shit constantly for killing a king nobody liked, who was at the time tearing his own kingdom apart in the throes of madness?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Also,the mad king didnt have a vagina that jaime was pounding from young age.

        • Abnaxis says:

          I was more referring to the universal Westerosi attitude of “yeah the Mad King was a dick but you TOTALLY broke your oath and stabbed him in the back so I’m going to look down my nose at you” in the early seasons.

          Now they crown the jackass that lays waste to half the gentry and never mention it again.

  4. KarmaTheAlligator says:

    The thing about the braziers lit during the day… Aren’t they in the North, where it’s freezing all day long? Would make sense to have readily available sources of warmth.

  5. stratigo says:

    About the braziers, imagine you’re some schmuck assigned to guard walls all day in the freezing cold of a northern winter. You’d freeze to death if there weren’t braziers to loiter around while you are guarding/slacking off.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Isnt the main point of braziers not to provide heat(though they do,if you are close to them),but a constant source of fire unaffected by the wind which you can then use to light a fire somewhere else when you need it.

    • Torsten says:

      Saying this as someone living up north, braziers like you see in most films and tv series are useless for warmth unless you stand so close you risk your clothes catching fire. Especially since they’re never in places where wind doesn’t just blow the warmth away.

      What are they supposed to be burning on those braziers anyway? Nobody ever loads them and we never see massive storages of coal or firewood anywhere.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        It should be coal,but I never saw any coal on the show,and coal mines are never mentioned.Soooo…wood?I guess.

        • Droid says:

          Their level of iron and steel crafting is probably beyond what is economically feasible with wood alone. Not that it’s impossible, but you would not see any random knight run around in plate if manufacturing said plate involved sacrificing half a forest to a smith fire.

          • Abnaxis says:

            Coal-fired forges and steel are pretty consistent in the show, I think. I dunno if it’s plenty enough to heat with, but they at least have some access to it.

          • Tuck says:

            Until the late 18th century, charcoal was the primary source of fuel for smithing work (along with most other industries). Coal was not mined extensively until the Industrial Revolution.

      • evileeyore says:

        Where there is flickering flame… there is wood.

        A coal fed brazier kept for warmth or “a place to get fire from” is kept as coals. These burn longer, but not as hot (and longer is more important than brighter and hotter).

        If you need light (flame) or extra heat (same) you’d stoke or stir it, to feed air to the coals and move an unburnt section to be lit. This reduces the lifespan of the coals however.

  6. JDMM says:

    Melisandre is easy enough to explain if you assume she used her future-sight powers however if you believe she used them, then what was misreading Stannis’ future to her? An error she got over when she resurrected Jon? Possibly too complicated for what has become a bit character

    As to the whole throne room plot I’d say that’s one of them trust created plot holes, it’s easy enough to imagine that outside the throne room and through the city are a couple of thousand soldiers with orders not to trust anyone and to be on the look out for ambushes but to expect that we sort of have to assume the world the writers have created would allow that and that’s been made rather difficult what with the question of how Cersei got to Queen not being explained

    Something of the same thing with Tarly, I can see the logic (they detain him and likely enough Reach soldiers march for Dany to win anyway, let him go and promise him power and say Dany will betray him and if he takes that offer Cersei wins) but again that presupposes the belief in a writer who thought these things through

  7. Darren says:

    Your defense of Aegon as a character is the final proof I need that you and I do not share any opinions on Game of Thrones and can safely ignore each other.

    A new, incredibly important character introduced thousands of pages into a series with a set endpoint (the confrontation with the Others coupled with the ascension of Daenarys, at least by the rules of storytelling) without any buildup or foreshadowing, revealed to the audience by Tyrion without any real explanation for how he deduced the identity, and completely disrupting the major story lines of the series? That’s terrible. However realistic it might be historically and however much it makes sense of Varys’ plan to place the rival Targaryen claimants in the path of the Dothraki, it’s handled poorly and demolishes narrative momentum. And is still unresolved!

    It’s the Game of Thrones equivalent of a fan asking, “But where is Tom Bombadil!?”

    • JDMM says:

      If you think, as I do and I assume Bob does, that Aegon is a Blackfyre then the foreshadowing was the constant references to the Blackfyre conflict, making the Blackfyre conflict the big previous Civil war, having a prequel series dedicated to the Blackfyre conflict, constantly referencing the major mercenary company as created from the Blackfyre rebellion etc
      Furthermore there was all that stuff about Varys being a believer in the constructionist thought of political power “[power is] a trick, a shadow on the wall” and then he would just turn out to a restorationist because someone has the right blood?
      I’d personally liken it to the Scouring of the Shire, cuttable but you have to be careful about it

      • Darren says:

        I could see likening it to the Scouring of the Shire in that it is also an unfilmable element that would do far more harm to an adaptation than good.

        • Harper says:

          More harm than erection poisons and the Punisher!Hound? I don’t think it could get much more unfilmable than what they’re actually filming

          • Darren says:

            “Unfilmable” in that there’s no way to accurately do it justice without derailing what the average audience member would find to be a satisfying story.

            If you don’t care about the audience walking away happy, nothing is unfilmable.

            • Harper says:

              The fact that GoT has such a happy audience baffles me beyond belief, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an audience that would want to see the actual book’s narrative played out on television rather than this schlocky mess.

              • evileeyore says:

                I try to believe that the “happy” viewers are only there for cgi dragons, occasional nudity, and watching the writers drive an excellent story off a cliff.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Nope.We are there for The Dinklage.

                • Harper says:

                  But its not just the masses liking this show, its critics and people who should know better. Avclub gives every episode a glowing review, even as they continue to become more and more incoherent. Emmy’s were awarded for writing which included such dialogue like “You want a bad girl but you need bad p***y”!!

          • BlueHorus says:

            Wait, what? Erection poisons? Like poisoned dicks? What did I miss? That sounds amazing.

            To agree with Evileyeeyore above, I keep watching the show to see the terrible car crash they make of the story…and laugh.
            Seriously, it’s up there with Battlefield Earth and The Happening in terms of ‘Truly Glorious’ storytelling.
            YMMV of course.

      • Harper says:

        Its cuttable if you also cut out Varys, otherwise the character has no point and is remarkably incompetent a la the show

      • AzzyGaiden says:

        The Blackfyre theory has never rang true with me. Either Aegon is real or he’s not. It’s irrelevant either way; like you said, Varys has been very clear about his philosophy on the nature of power. While you’re right that he has no reason to support a Targaryen just because of the name, it would be equally out of character for him to be supporting some random because both of them happen to be members of the same near-dead house that nobody in Westeros knows about.

    • Droid says:

      The books mentioned that both Robert and Ned still thought about or that their actions were influenced by the Sack of King’s Landing and the supposed death of Aegon by the hands of Tywin’s lackeys.

      Also, all Aegon did up until the point Tyrion meets them is hide and learn stuff. People would have hated it way more if we got some chapters devoted to Aegon doing something of no importance whatsoever. Like Arya’s training scenes.

      I agree with JDMM above that it is more akin to cutting the Scouring of the Shire. Or, to use a character instead of an event: Faramir. Sure, they could have cut him, and just left out the part where the hobbits are caught by his men, or his desperate charge on Osgiliath, or his very short scenes with Eowyn. And they probably should have cut his pyre scene just for the sake of not having Denethor run … *sigh* whatever. My point is, bringing in an important political character late (Faramir could have easily stirred up trouble, echoing his father’s belief that the Fellowship basically killed Boromir) is not always a bad thing. It can pay off having someone with an identity and a name be present who, in Faramir’s case had a reasonable chance of inheriting the throne, even if he lacks ambition for the throne himself, and back off in favour of someone else without use of threat or violence.

      • Joshua says:

        Tom Bombadil serves little purpose in the overall plot of the books beyond hooking up the Hobbits with some swords. I would argue his real purpose is for more side trek world-building and to shoe-horn in an existing character of Tolkien’s than to serve any real narrative purpose in LotR. His insertion is more like the feel of the Hobbit, where the protagonists essentially go through random encounter after random encounter before they get to their destination, all part of Tolkien’s purpose of show-casing his world.

        So, I’d concur that this character is more like Scouring of the Shire: actually tied into the main plot, but removable as long as you remove the other references to Sharkey and the pipeweed.

        • SKD says:

          I felt that Tom Bombadil was supposed to be an element of hope, an incorruptible point of light to show that no matter how dark things became the dark could not extinguish all light. After all, when Frodo tried to give him the ring he treated it as a toy and demonstrated that it had no effect on him where the Elven Lords and Gandalf could only resist the corruption of the Ring’s power by refusing to take it when offered.

          It was my impression that Bombadil was likely on of the Valar which would place him above Sauron on the Middle-Earth mythological power-scale and on par with Sauron’s master Morgoth.

          While I would have enjoyed seeing him in the films, his exclusion was one of the changes I could accept as it added very little to the core story of the Lord of the Rings.

    • Harper says:

      without any buildup or foreshadowing, revealed to the audience by Tyrion without any real explanation for how he deduced the identity, and completely disrupting the major story lines of the series?

      Except there was foreshadowing, the Mummer’s Dragon is brought up in prophecy, Jon Conn is mentioned, the baby Aegon is mentioned, etc, etc, and as Bob mentioned Varys’ machinations all make sense with his perfect Prince in mind.
      And it jump-starts the endgame, destabilizes the old power structures, brings in the Dornish, and helps push out Cersei.

      • Vermander says:

        I agree. Aegon himself is not actually supposed to be a major character. His reveal is supposed to show us what Varys has been working on all along. It doesn’t feel like a cheap twist, because it all makes sense and the clues were there the whole time (the Mummer’s Dragon in the prophecy, the mentions of Jon Connington, the fact that no one has been able to contact or hire the Gold Company despite several attempts, etc.).

        It also explains why Varys and Illyrio haven’t done more to support Dany, or why they bothered supporting an obviously unstable loser like her brother. Viserys and Dany were never supposed to succeed. Their Dothraki invasion was supposed to fail after it had “softened up” the Kingdom.

        Once we learn about Aegon, we finally understand what Varys has really been doing all along. We also learn that he’s incredibly arrogant and a huge hypocrite. He claims that everything he’s doing is for the greater good, but he keeps sabotaging, torturing, and murdering good people and even innocent children (the “little birds” who are child slaves whose tongues he’s likely removed) to achieve his goals with a “break a few eggs to make an omelet” attitude.

        • Droid says:

          Riiight, I totally forgot the “The Golden Company broke their contract. They’re the one company that never did that!” line in the books. And the other 99 like it.

        • Joshua says:

          The foreshadowing is there in Clash of Kings, but it probably would have helped to either have had more clues or to not bring him in so late.

          • Grampy_bone says:

            It’s an indictment of Martin’s writing style more than anything else. You just can’t write a thousand-page doorstopper novel with no ending and a hundred unresolved plot threads, with 5+ years between installments, and expect everyone to be able to follow it all. It’s not remotely good writing to say “oh that was foreshadowed two books back” when that could easily have been fifteen years ago.

            J.K. Rowling got her novels out pretty quick, Tolkien wrote the whole trilogy as one book that the publisher split up, etc. It’s clear that Martin is pantsing and is struggling under the weight of it all.

            • BlueHorus says:

              Also related: peppering your story with foreshadowing and hints is good and all, but in a storyline this big, they slow the pace down even more.

              A Dance With Dragons may well have have had a dozen subtle hints about coming events, and the stuff that happened might well all have been foreshadowed in previous books – but I wouldn’t know, becaues I was too busy shouting ‘I DON’T CARE! TELL ME ABOUT TYRION BEFORE THE DAMN BOOK ENDS!’

              It makes me wonder if GRRM’s editor died or something.

    • Grampy_bone says:

      I don’t think he was specifically defending the character of Aegon himself, only that his plot element helps to explain other mysterious plot elements, which become unmoored in his absence. But don’t let me put words in Bob’s mouth. I agree with you that the random extra prince storyline is pointless and dumb.

      • Joshua says:

        If nothing else, dumb because it’s just a threat of more subplots coming in the next few books, much like I felt about Euron. Oh wait, since we’re already waiting to hear the resolution of about 12* different groups of people, let’s add a few more new ones to keep making the tale more unwieldy than it already is.

        * at the least. I didn’t feel like counting.

    • Guile says:

      Well, we didn’t actually have to see Aegon. Varys could just admit, ‘I had my own claimant to the throne lined up, who has actually been trained from birth for the job. And then you showed up.’

  8. Coward says:

    Watching the sea battle all I could think of was your commments last week about Euron’s Insta-fleet. Yara stealing the whole fleet now makes even less sense and was completely unnecessary: the writers could have just said she stole, say, a third of the fleet, which would explain how Euron was able to attack and defeat them with the remaining fleet in a matter of weeks. Instead the entire fleet is defeated by the NEW ships Euron built after she left, leaving the status quo (Euron in charge of a vast fleet with no competition) intact… so dumb.

    Also: the Nemirya scene seemed like it was actually saying something interesting and giving some weight to Arya’s decision to become a non-person avatar of the god of death, for the first time ever. Nemirya seemed not to recognize her, which at first I thought was an actually clever choice saying “You are not Arya anymore. You think you can go home again but you can’t. You are dead to your family.” But sadly, because Arya is a Mary Sue whose every choice must be consequence-free and maximally badass wish fulfilment (see also Jon, Danaerys), I’m sure I’m wrong in my reading of that scene.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      which would explain how Euron was able to attack and defeat them with the remaining fleet in a matter of weeks.

      If we ignore the fact that he found them in the dark,on some random stretch of the ocean.

      • BlueHorus says:

        Something that always bothered me about Euron’s new fleet – don’t the Ironborn live on barren islands? Where you can’t farm? And – crucially – have litte/no forests to make ships out of?

        That’s WHY THEY’RE PIRATES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

        Of course, maybe I’m wrong, and it’s not like the show cares either way anyway.

        • Wraith says:

          Yeah. I’ve seen apologists look at a certain map and point out that there’s a whole big forest right across the bay near the Neck. But that just raises further questions! Such as, if this is where the Ironborn got their timber, did they just sail across the bay with the ships they don’t have and just take all the trees, and no one over there had a problem with it? They are AT WAR with the rest of Westeros and have been for years (conveniently, this didn’t prevent Theon from just finding a ship to take him from the North to the Iron Islands last season either).

          Ouroboros of nonsense. I’m really proud of myself for coming up with that phrase now.

          • BlueHorus says:

            Perhaps a Mobius Strip? The way the rules seem to flip around, or not apply to certain people, and common sense need never apply in the show would imply something like that.

          • Malimar says:

            The Ironborn did conquer and control most of the foresty North for awhile there, and I don’t think were ever explicitly driven out (if they were, it was offscreen). Which has been entirely forgotten by the show, because of course it has.

        • Lazlo says:

          What keeps bothering me about that fleet is, while I could be wrong about this, it really looks like those ships were designed by someone who doesn’t actually understand how sails work.

          • ehlijen says:

            It’s no worse than Return of the King, when the corsair ships full of ghosts glide into port under full sail…and then stop, sails still full of wind.

            • 4th Dimension says:

              Maybe they were powered by ghostly winds and currents?!?

              Makes more sense than normal humans doing the same.

              • ehlijen says:

                That they sailed under supernatural wind is one thing, but a sail ship stopping dead in its tracks with the sails full is like a car’s wheels still spinning after it stopped moving. It looks exactly like what it is: a goofy sign that the CGI animator doesn’t know their craft.

    • Syal says:

      the writers could have just said she stole, say, a third of the fleet,

      They did; Theon and Yara stole one hundred ships, and it was stated the fleet had more than that before they started building new ones.

    • BlueHorus says:

      The Nemirya scene seemed like it was actually saying something interesting and giving some weight to Arya’s decision to become a non-person avatar of the god of death, for the first time ever.

      Huh? Remember, Arya flunked out of assassin school by killing one of her teachers. She also failed to kill any of her targets while she was there.
      She may have stolen the technique of wearing faces (and impersonating old men), but she’s a long way from being a true follower of the Many-Faced God. She’s killing people on her personal list, even considers that she has a home – not things that No-One would do.

      Now, if Nymeria was nervous about meeting Arya because they have a psychic link and the wolf knows exactly what horrible stuff she’s done, then maybe the show is finally getting around to acknowleding that their depiction of Arya might be a bit unsavory.

      • Wraith says:

        I think it was Bob who actually brought to my attention how Jaqen basically has no clue what is going on or what he’s supposed to be doing throughout that whole Braavos arc.

        I think it would be hysterical to go back and rewatch those seasons with the perception that Jaqen isn’t a master assassin fanatic but actually just a really confused man who has no idea what is going on and is just rolling with it to prevent this crazy, murderous little girl from killing him. Oh shit I thought the Waif was going to get her under control fuck she just murdered her too. I’ve fucked up real bad, what do I say now? “At last a girl is no one.” Whew she seems to be happy with that answer. She’s leaving holy shit thank the Many-Faced God.

        EDIT: It was actually a user called Bluehorus in the comment section. Brilliant post, that.

        • BlueHorus says:

          Thanks! :)
          My revised opinion of that scene:

          “Wait, what? What’s going on? Is that someone’s face? I gotta be honest, man, I was suuuper baked last night. I know one of you babes came and asked me something, but I couldn’t remember who. I think I nodded, sounded like the best way to get them to go away?
          …seriously, you gotta stop asking me stuff while I’m high. I don’t make good decisions!”

    • Fade2Gray says:

      Yeah… The whole Newer-Better-Insta-Fleet vs the Older-Conveniently-Pocket-Sized-Fleet thing killed any investment I had in the outcome of that battle. What did any of it matter if the loser could just snap their fingers and make another fleet appear so long as writer fiat was on their side?

      • Malimar says:

        I was uninvested because I hated literally everyone and everything involved in that battle. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes, Theon and Yara, Euron and his stupid conjured fleet, even the dumb plan to besiege King’s Landing with Dornish and Reach troops. One of those situations where you cheer for the battle itself to be maximally destructive because you hate both sides.

    • Talifabian says:

      I also enjoyed :
      Successfully finding an enemy fleet, in the open ocean, at night

      Successfully using catapults against an enemy fleet, at night (Hint: artillery solutions in naval combat under the best of circumstances were a nontrivial problem right up until computers and radar were developed)

      And ALSO featured *cough* “Viking longships” using something like a Roman corvus, except it doesn’t appear to be mounted on a rotating base, so it can only go straight ahead, and is thus only useful AFTER you have rammed (and therefore almost certainly sunk) another ship

      • Alex Broadhead says:

        I liked that they kept projecting fire bolts at the f#$%ing ship that their own leader was boarding. Seems like that might be bad for morale and/or job security.

  9. Mr Compassionate says:

    I think I might dislike Euron Greyjoy even more than Ramsey. At least Ramsey didn’t magic an armada into existence or gain control of a country purely by talking about his penis. Sure Ramsey used Klingdon succession but he had the decency to lie about it instead of boasting about the murder to the rest of the government.

    Again it seems like all the most plot relevant characters are noclipping and godmoding more and more in this last season squeeze. Aria noclipps over the sea, into Walder Frey’s room, ghosts all the guards and ninjas Walder’s sons into a pie. Euron cheats an armada into existence, Jon respawns and brainwashes all the noble lords. Dany gets an empty castle and Cersei gets no heat for blowing up politicians. Anybody worth anything has discovered the best cheat codes.

  10. Wraith says:

    The whole sequence with Tarly and the Lannisters made me extremely angry.

    The writing on the show has pretty much become an ouroboros of nonsense at this point. They make excuses for why characters act like idiots or lunatics rather than realistic human beings and it’s like I’ve found some They Live sunglasses. Like when Tarly talks about why his loyalties are divided and spews a bunch of nonsense excuses, I don’t hear the words he’s saying anymore but rather just “Because the writer says so”.

    The show’s version of Westeros has basically become a caricature of itself. Just murder everyone and everything will be cool. No one cares. If someone does, just murder them. It’ll be cool with everyone else. You win the game of thrones by just murdering everyone because no one holds tyrants responsible for their crimes in this world.

    Cersei BLEW UP the Pope of Westeros and exterminated an entire great house and everyone seems to treat as business as usual rather than a horrific crime. What the fuck is going on anymore?

    • AzzyGaiden says:

      Yep. The lack of a book to adapt has really exposed the hackery of these writers.

      It reminds me a bit of the second season of Rome, where the writers, rushing their way to an ending and with a truncated season, crammed 20 years of history into seven episodes, cutting any storyline or character that wasn’t crucial to the main plot, and turned a large number of the previously likable-but-humanly-flawed characters into sadists, murderers, rapists, or all three.

    • Kavonde says:

      One excuse might be that people don’t know it was Cercei who bombed the Sept. But if freaking Hot Pie knows she did it and can just casually mention it in conversation, that explanation goes right out the window.

  11. LB says:

    Hey Bob, I’ve been reading your series the whole time, I just didn’t really have anything to comment about. But I just wanted to say I REALLY appreciate your critical take on it, you have no idea how satisfying and cathartic it is after sitting through these eps to have someone point out the ways the show has gone so stupid and simplistic and ill-thought out. (Especially from someone who has done their research into the books and still understands the pressures and limitations of making a TV show!)

    The amount of people who love it even as it continues to stratify into The Obvious Good Guys and the Obvious Bad Guys and how everything feels like filler and makes no sense – make me feel like a madman, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  12. Matt says:

    A bit of fridge logic I stumbled into this morning: how the hell is Daenerys sending ravens? It does not appear that she has a maester with her in her entourage. In fact, maesters seem to be an entirely Westerosi institution.

    Further, if Stannis totally abandoned Dragonstone as we are led to believe, he would have taken Dragonstone’s maester(s) with him north, along with any ravens. Certainly given the state of the castle any remaining ravens would be dead or feral at this point.

    So how the hell is Dany sending all these messages?

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      It would be a solid assumption that Varys can hook her up with some Ravens. Or Olenna would be a solid next choice.

      • Matt says:

        Maybe I am misremembering, but I thought ravens could only be trained to fly to and from specific castles. In that case, why would Varys or Olenna have Dragonstone-trained ravens?

        I realize I’m picking a bit of a nit here, I suppose what I really object to is the casual way the “send a raven” line is tossed off by Dany, when communication is such a major factor in the books. Also the thematic speed at which messages seem to arrive.

        • Joshua says:

          The books seem to be really cavalier about the Ravens too. They might make some token fuss about ravens being shot down occasionally, but there still seems to be almost internet-reliable instant communication when the plot demands it, and complete blackout when the plot demands that too.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Ravens are actually not just dumb animals,but uber smart pan dimensional beings who only project into the westeros a three dimensional bird like object in order to observe these funny little humanoid creatures doing their funny little things.They carry messages for them left and right because they enjoy reading those,and the reaction of the funny little bipeds when they get the messages.

        • Falcon02 says:

          I believe (at least going from the real world Homing pigeon equivalent) that’s it’s more the other way around. Dragonstone would need Winterfell trained ravens.

          So, taking the way homing pigeons worked and applying it to Ravens… Winterfell would provide Dragonstone keep with Winterfell trained ravens, who’s “home nest” was in Winterfell. Thus when Dragonstone keep wanted to send a message to Winterfell, they’d need to find a Winterfell Raven, attach a message to it, then release it.

          This means :
          A.) Dany could have gotten a Winterfell Raven from really anyone else who had a Winterfell Raven they were willing to part with.
          B.) Just because someone has *ANY* Raven does not mean they have a raven required to communicate to the place they want to talk to… (All out of Winterfell Ravens, but got plenty of Casterly Rock Ravens no one has any use for).

          However, the show does seem to ignore any logistics of this, and acts like all you have to do is find a “trained raven” somehow tell it where to go, and it will go…

          • Bubble181 says:

            While it’s, admittedly, *really* flimsy, either in the main books or in one of the Dreamsongs stories set in Westeros, it’s mentioned that mail Ravens are semi-magical birds, smarter than average ravens and a LOT smarter than “normal” carrier pigeons. Though they still do play fast and loose with the rules. They’re supposed to be somewhere between “real life homing pigeon” and “Harry Potter Magical Owl delivery System That Can Track Down Hidden Wanted Criminals Abroad”.

          • Steve C says:

            I’m with Bubble181. I really cannot see Westeros Ravens as homing pigeons. They do not use the same logic. Ravens in GoT are omnidirectional. Homing pigeons get carried then released to send a message back.

            Falcon02, imagine the next step. After a message is received, how does does someone send a reply via raven? If it was a by homing pigeon logic it would already be home. It would need to be a different bird. Very quickly all the birds end up at their home roost. There would have to be humans transporting the ravens in cages to get them to castles. This isn’t happening in GoT. Ravens do something different than homing pigeons.

            • ehlijen says:

              It’s not shown in the show, but it is how it works, at least according to the Song of Ice and Fire RPG, for most ravens. Some of the smartest ones know two or three or in rare cases even more destinations, but a message relay system and a constant trade in ravens to maintain mailing capabilities is part of the setting.

              The show likes to brush stuff like that under the table, though. The closest it has come to being shown was the rangers of the night watch taking castle black ravens with them on their scouting mission.

          • What about “who to go to?” Ravens (or crows or both, I confuse ’em) can recognize and remember specific humans (and hold a grudge).

          • Alex says:

            Crows are smart. If nothing else, I’d gladly accept that Westeros ravens are smart enough to seek two locations and not just one, in which case you only need human couriers transporting ravens during the initial training stage, or if you are travelling somewhere outside the existing raven network.

  13. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    I like Euron more than Ramsay in that we haven’t had to watch him torture anybody yet, his skills are informed by his background so far (expert sea captain and raider because he’s been… a pirate captain and raider for years and years now, that checks out), and he is making the narrative more interesting and not less so far. I am excited to see Theon fight against his PTSD to help his sister. I was NOT excited for 3 years of “Theon gets mentally and physically tortured with no hope of rescue or allies of any kind.”

    It helps that killing the Sands is not a strike against him, as killing various characters made Ramsay more and more annoying. If he kills Theon or Grey Worm, then I might be gettin’ annoyed.

    • .Kavonde says:

      I’m in agreement. Euron’s definitely less egregious a GMNPC than Ramsay was. Though Theon’s story would have been a lot better if, like in the books, he’d disappeared for a couple of seasons and all the horrible tortures he suffered could have been described but left largely to our imagination. Having to check back in on the Ramsay Snow Happy Fun Hour every episode got really old, and wasted a lot of time that could have gone to fleshing out other storylines, including certain stonehearted cut characters, or checking in on side characters that were out of the spotlight but going to be important later. Plus, we wouldn’t have had Shirtless Master Swordsman Ramsay, and the show would be objectively better for it.

  14. MichaelGC says:

    Blimey. If we removed the letter ‘y’ from the alphabet this lot’d be boned.

  15. Joshua says:

    Slightly off-topic post to comment how recent reports indicate that Winds of Winter might be released sometime this year. However, GRRM has since commented that completion is still months away and now the book *might* be released in 2018, if he doesn’t get distracted with releasing his prequel first.

    Beyond ridiculous.

    • Malimar says:

      The ridiculous part is that anybody might rely on “recent reports”. The book isn’t done until GRRM posts on his blog that it’s done, which he hasn’t, so it’s not.

    • Retsam says:

      I know that being angry about Winds of Winter taking so long is all the rage right now, but it’s not particularly surprising. There was a 6 year gap before A Dance With Dragons came out, in 2011, and a five year gap before A Feast For Crows (despite it being the second shortest book in the series, after Game of Thrones).

      And the show has doubtless taken away some (perhaps quite a bit) of his writing time. For the book to have been out by now, he would have had to significantly picked up his writing pace.

  16. Fade2Gray says:

    …and that brazier is terrible! It looks like its sitting on a wooden floor, and there’s no way the sides could stop burning embers from falling out. Westerosi fire codes must be really lacking.

    I completely agree about the Theon/Yara/Euron standoff. From what I’ve read, most people think it was an incredible character moment. It might have been if there had actually been something Theon could have clearly done to confront Euron. I’m guessing Theon was just supposed to throw his sword and pray it hit Euron, and not Yara, before Euron could slit her throat. That perfectly reasonable coward!

  17. Chris Davies says:

    Taking Casterly Rock makes sense to me. Obviously it has no strategic importance, but this isn’t a war for positional advantage and won’t be solved by pitched battles. The battle is between de facto queen Cersei and de jure queen Dany for the hearts and minds of the wavering forces as represented by Lord Tarly.

    The only thing Cersei has going for her is fear. She has no claim to the throne in her own right, but she has demonstrated she can arrange for the brutal death of anyone who questions her right to rule. Ultimately though the leader of a great house has very little to fear from her if it were demonstrated the Lannister army isn’t even capable of holding its own territory.

    • Grudgeal says:

      That strategy made sense for Robb Stark in A Clash of Kings, who was already in the Riverlands next door to the Westerlands. Deadpan and her cohorts are on Dragonstone, on the other side of the continent, about a thousand miles away as the raven flies.

      I’m quite sure a lot of wars would be planned differently if armies could instantly teleport and had no need for logistics, but in any system where those two have to be taken into account attacking a target on the other side of a continent the size of South America to ‘win hearts and minds’ when she could simply cement her legitimacy by attacking the Red Keep, which is a few miles away, makes no sense.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        This, so much this. The show displays typical Hollywood approach to realities of war, and that is that they have no fucking clue what it’s about. All battles devolve into confused melee and it’s totally fine to launch thousand miles over the sea invasions, because “all it takes is some sailing right?” Ughhhhh. The number of things that can go wrong with such a plan means it is DOOMED from the start. If this was real world. But it’s not sooo, expect a bunch of Dothraki savages with no siege warfare or ways to resupply to have taken a House’s main fortress by the next episode?

        • Kavonde says:

          Are they even sending the Dothraki? Tyrion only mentioned the Unsullied. As far as I can tell, the Dothraki horde is just floating vaguely out at sea somewhere, waiting for someone to tell them where to go.

  18. Grampy_bone says:

    Great stuff. Can you do Walking Dead next? Another good show run into the ground…

    • Kavonde says:

      Walking Dead would be an interesting topic. It’s a good show that was run into the ground, but then it started getting good again, then it was run back into the ground, then it stood up again, then it went back into the ground. I haven’t seen the last season, but from what I hear, it went through that whole cycle again in just twelve episodes.

  19. Rali says:

    So when this series ends are you thinking of doing a retrospective series where you review the series and write about what you ended up liking/hating in the long run?

  20. Walter Kolczynski says:

    One thing that you have to realize about the show is that the time at the different locations is different and moves at uneven rates with little or no indication of how much time has passed (by design or not). This is a storytelling flaw in its own right, but once you realize this, many (not all) of the timing nitpicks evaporate.

  21. Theon seems to have grown some. “Reek” would have surrendered. But not-quite-Theon-again escaped. If that pays of later we’ll see I guess.

    BTW! Bob.
    At what point did the showrunners run out of “books” ?

    I’m sure the showrunners was able to whisper in R.R. Martin’s now and again and get some answers back about things. (didn’t R.R. Martin also pull back pretty much all his involvement with the TV show so he could focus on his books?)

    But I’m not sure even R.R. Martin truly knows what his characters will do until he’s written at least one pass of a chapter.

    So I’m guessing that the showrunners had to envision what R.R: Martin had intended and what seemed “natural” for the characters.

    Without having read the books I have no clue how well they have managed this.

    As long as Jon, Arya and Tyrion survives the Game Of Thrones final episode I’m pretty happy with the entire TV series.

    And I’ll be looking forward to R.R. Martin later finishing his books so I can see the path(s) not taken, the other retelling of this saga. I suspect they are different enough that I can enjoy them as two separate sagas. But similar enough to feel familiar and easy to get into.

    • ehlijen says:

      Actually, I think Theon is absolutely-Theon-again. Loyalty and bravery had never been his strong suits, even before the torture, nor his relationship with his sister the strongest.

  22. shadr says:

    Good stuff as always Bobby. I thought the Grey Worm/Missandei scene was decent too, just dragged on far too long. I get that they wanted to humanize them, but Christ was it awkward to sit through that, even alone. Disagree with your characterization of the “cockless coward” line though. It didn’t seem comedic to me, just Euron being Euron.

    As dumb as that whole scene was, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout it. It’s unintentionally the most hilarious scene from the series in a while. The facial expressions the actor who plays Euron makes was really funny to me.

    Speaking of, how did Euron find them? They were sailing south for Dorne, so how did Euron know this? Was he stalking around Dragonstone with his fleet waiting for ships to sail, somehow not get seen, and somehow know his “prize” would be on the right ship? Was there an informant among Yara’s crew, and if so, how exactly did they relay information to Euron that quickly? It’s not like they could send a bird or something.

    The popular theory is that Olenna informed him, in order to goad Daenerys into taking more aggressive action against King’s Landing, and that’s the one that makes the most sense I suppose. At this point though, the show’s writing is so bad that I wouldn’t be surprised if they just ignored this all together.

    • ehlijen says:

      Dorne and Highgarden had declared for Daenarys, as far as I know. So ships sailing between Dragonstone and Dorn would be no surprise, and given that medieval sailing uses mostly terrestrial nagivation (i.e. following the coastline whenever possible), an experienced pirate captain can be expected to successfully waylay ships on that route.

      And he’d know, or have people who know, which of the ships stolen by Yara and Theon would be the most prestigious and thus likely her flagship. So if he encountered it, he’d know she’s on it.

      Whether he actually expected to run into her that night before seeing that ship…we’ll never know?

      I do not believe that either of the women he captured are the ‘gift’ for Cersei he promised, though. I think that gift will be a dragon, once Euron pulls Dragonbinder out of the writer’s ass.

      • Gethsemani says:

        Some of your explanation can work, but here are my gripes:
        1. The show continuously shows us ships sailing straight into the ocean and the opening shot of the flotilla shows us that it is too large to be near any land, or it’d risk losing a lot of ships.
        2. Euron is an experienced pirate sure, but that does not tell us how his entire fleet managed to sneak up on Yara’s fleet. This is the age when the time from spotting a sail on the horizon to being close enough to shout is measured in hours or days if the ships aren’t approaching one another. Yara’s fleet should have had plenty of time to detect the other massive fleet.
        3. How exactly did Euron attack at night? This is, as you aptly point out, a medieval fleet. They have, at best, a bunch of lanterns lighting up the deck so people don’t trip. They have absolutely no way of tracking a target during the night.
        4. Ties into 3. How did Euron find the absolutely right ship in a massive fleet of many stolen ships at night? It only makes sense from a drama first standpoint that of course Euron has to duel the Sand Snakes and Yara, but from the details first perspective that ASOIAF has and GoT started with, it’d require a lot of explanation.

        The problem for most of us complainers, though, is that we simply don’t trust the writers anymore. And when we don’t do that, we see all the flaws in their writing. If you just turn your brain off and admire the spectacle, GoT is still great watching.

  23. slipshod says:

    You recognized Billy Bones! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has watched Black Sails . That show is flipping amazing.

    As for the lit braziers… could they not be providing warmth? I’ve definitely had a fireplace going outside before for exactly that purpose, regardless of the time of day.

    • Alex says:

      I’ve only watched the first series of Black Sails, but I’d also recommend it based on that. It’s far better than you’d expect of something with Michael Bay’s name on it.

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