Timely Game of Thrones Griping 4: The One With the Giant Honking Battle

By Bob Case
on Aug 7, 2017
Filed under:
Television
This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

I’m still moving, and won’t have internet until Wednesday, so this week’s griping is brought to you by that greatest of all public works projects: Starbucks free wifi. For that reason, it might be a bit on the short side again.

Team Cersei Update

We start with Ser Jaime, Bronn, and company on their way back from Highgarden. They have wagons piled high with gold and grain (or some kind of food). Highgarden appears to have had a great deal of gold squirreled away – we later learn it’s enough to repay the throne’s debt to the Iron Bank. That debt was last important all the way back in season five, when Mace Tyrell got the guy who plays Mycroft Holmes to give them a reprieve through a singing-based charm offensive.I just want to say here that I actually liked Mace Tyrell. I’ll miss him.

Last episode Queen Cersei asked for a `fortnight.` Did an army that`s mostly on foot really go from King`s Landing to Casterly Rock to Highgarden and back to King`s Landing in the space of two weeks?

Last episode Queen Cersei asked for a `fortnight.` Did an army that`s mostly on foot really go from King`s Landing to Casterly Rock to Highgarden and back to King`s Landing in the space of two weeks?

It seems a little strange to me that House Tyrell had this huge amount of money and no one had ever mentioned it before, but on this show things that “seem a little strange” barely register anymore. Bronn and Jaime exchange a bit of banter, where Bronn refers to Highgarden as “the biggest prize in the world.”

“The biggest prize in the world.” What? Look, I know this is a small thing, but every so often this show throws a line in that makes me wonder if they’re even trying, or if they even have an editing process at all. A line like that shouldn’t make it through editing. If nothing else, it should be changed to something like “you’ve just won a great prize,” or maybe “you’ve just won the biggest prize in the Reach,” or something like that. Don’t call Highgarden “the biggest prize in the world” when it’s clearly not. It’s just sloppy. It speaks to a lack of care.

Next Jaime has Bronn and the Tarlys collect the Reach’s last harvest. That’s presumably the last harvest before a winter that will last several years. So… did Jaime just condemn an entire region of Westeros to starvation? I’m not sure. I guess we’ll find out.

Next, Queen Cersei and Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank have a talk. Nothing really happens in this scene. The Iron Bank was owed money, it has now been repaid, and now they’re going to loan Cersei more money. What was this entire mini-plotline here for? I guess it could have some kind of payoff later, but I’m not holding my breath.

With additional funds from Braavos, I can paint maps on even bigger floors.

With additional funds from Braavos, I can paint maps on even bigger floors.

Cersei also name-drops the “Golden Company.” This is a company of mercenaries across the narrow sea that’s quite important in the books. The fact that it’s mentioned here suggests it won’t be the last we hear of them. Or maybe it will, and this is another one of those meaningless “nods” to book readers.

Team Stark Update

The dagger that was used to attack Bran Stark way back in season one has made a highly conspicuous return. First Littlefinger gives it to Bran, then Bran gives it to Arya, then it pops up in Arya’s fight with Brienne. I’m guessing that this is part of the show’s overall efforts to keep track of where the various Valyrian steel weapons are. If I remember right, the list is: Jon (Longclaw), Arya (the dagger), Brienne (the one she got from Jaime, which might be called “Oathkeeper,”), Sam (the Tarly family blade, “Heartsbane” in the books), and Jaime (“Widow’s Wail,” Joffrey’s old sword, referenced again last episode).

I mention this to point out that the characters on this show can give over parts of three separate scenes to establishing the existence, history, and current ownership of one Valyrian steel dagger, but seem completely uninterested in the fact that Bran now knows everything.

And I do mean “everything,” or something pretty close to it. Last episode he seemed to be saying that he can see everything that’s happened anywhere. He now specializes in reminding the audience of the show’s various lowlights, like Sansa’s wedding-night rape and Littlefinger’s “chaos is a ladder” speech. He also knows about Arya’s list and the fact that she was planning to kill Cersei.

You would think that a person who knows everything that’s happened to everyone, or at the very least a whole lot of very private things, would be tactically useful, or at least intriguing enough for those around him to ask some follow-up questions about the nature of his ability and its limits. But instead we get several “Bran acts weird, no one knows how to react” scenes.

It`s always bugged me how so many of this show`s castles seem to be in the middle of vast stretches of wilderness where you`d think there`d be no particular reason to build a huge castle.

It`s always bugged me how so many of this show`s castles seem to be in the middle of vast stretches of wilderness where you`d think there`d be no particular reason to build a huge castle.

Arya makes her long-awaited return to Winterfell, and we finally get what we’ve all been waiting for: a pointless and overlong scene where a pair of guards at the gate don’t recognize her or believe she’s who she says she is. While watching this, I remember groaning inwardly and wondering why it was even here. Well, the post-episode explainer section has a reason: it’s a reference to the Odyssey, when Odysseus returns after years away and no one recognizes him.

Why is there a reference to classical literature here? What purpose does it serve? Why does it need to take nearly three minutes of screen time to complete? Why include a reference so vague is has to be explained in a post-episode interview? Your guess is as good as mine.

Arya tries to find out who’s in charge of Winterfell. “Lady Stark,” the guard tells her. “Which one?” she asks. God dammit Game of Thrones. There are three possible Lady Starks: Catelyn, Sansa, and Arya herself. Catelyn is dead and Arya and everyone else knows it, and Arya is the one asking the question. Unless you’re trying to show that Arya is completely dense, this line should be cut out of a scene that’s already too long.

When that’s finally over, Arya and Sansa have a talk in the Winterfell crypts, a set which shows that this show hasn’t lost its love of filming things in places so dark you can barely see what’s happening. Arya complains that Ned Stark’s statue doesn’t look like him. “It should have been carved by someone who knew his face,” she says. “Everyone who knew his face is dead,” Sansa answers, which is not even close to being true, but whatever. If Highgarden is the greatest prize in the world, then I guess everyone that knew Ned Stark now being dead isn’t much of a stretch.

Some other stuff happens at Winterfell. Bran weirds Arya out, and Podrick points out that with Arya and Sansa back in Winterfell, Brienne has fulfilled the vow she made to Catelyn Stark. “I hardly did anything,” Brienne says, in a bit of unintentional meta-commentary on her character’s role during the last two seasons. Then she and Arya have a long sparring session with live weapons. They seem pretty evenly matched, which would discourage me if I were Brienne, considering she’s much bigger, older, and more heavily armed and armored.

Shouldn`t you be using practice swords or something? You`re gonna put an eye out like that.

Shouldn`t you be using practice swords or something? You`re gonna put an eye out like that.

Littlefinger seems pleased with Arya’s new abilities. He’s going to try and turn her against Jon, or maybe Sansa, or something, isn’t he? And it’ll make no sense and go nowhere. I’m already wincing in anticipation.

Team Dany/Great Big Honking Battle Update

Queen Daenerys and King Jon are on Dragonstone. Jon takes the Queen down into the obsidian mine, which has many primitive, symbolic drawings made by the Children of the Forest, alongside some conveniently realistic depictions of the White Walkers. Dany wants Jon to bend the knee. Jon won’t, because northerners will never accept a southern Queen, a reason which doesn’t quite hold water. Do the northern lords believe in the Army of the Dead or not? If so, it’s an existential threat sufficient to justify a bit of kneeling, isn’t it?

Dany and Jon are interrupted by Tyrion and Varys, who inform them that the Unsullied have taken Casterly Rock, but they’ve lost Highgarden in the bargain. Daenerys is angry, and to my surprise everyone seems to have noticed that Tyrion at this point is borderline incompetent to the point that he could reasonably be suspected of intentionally sabotaging the war effort.

What’s worse, now her armies apparently won’t be able to eat, because “Cersei has taken all the food from the Reach.” All of it? Good lord, how many “teams” did the Tarlys have purloining food from local farmers? The Reach is an area roughly the size of France. And are we to understand that the Dothraki, who are presumably at Dragonstone, have been victualed by the Reach this whole time? Because that would be a logistical nightmare of mindboggling proportions. Let’s just ignore all that and move on.

Next we have a scene with Jon and Davos talking to Missandei. In this scene, we learn that Ser Davos has not yet sorted out exactly what to call Jon now that he’s King. King Snow? King Jon? “It doesn’t matter,” Jon says, except that it kind of does, doesn’t it? You’d think that “do you call Kings by their first name or their last” is something that the Westerosi would have worked out at some point during their centuries of feudal rule. In fact, they did work it out: you call Kings by their first name, like King Aerys, King Robert, King Joffrey, and so on. But Davos doesn’t know that, I guess, which makes no sense, but whatever. Why do I even bother? Just add it to the list of bizarre lines that never should have made it past an editor. Yes, I know that this by itself is not a big deal, but again, it speaks to a lack of care.

This exchange is there to set up the great big honking battle at the end of the show. Jaime’s train of wagons is returning to the capital, but it’s attacked by Dothraki and dragons en route. I feel like I should mention at this point that Team Dany has, so far, lost two entire fleets – Yara’s fleet, lost to Euron Greyjoy, and the ships that ferried the Unsullied to Casterly Rock, also lost to Euron Greyjoy. But they apparently still have enough left to ship this entire giant Dothraki army to the mainland. And so the battle is joined.

It will never stop bugging me that random archers get helmets but the commanders of armies don`t. Dany`s ride on Drogon, repeatedly established to be risky, didn`t even merit a change of clothes on her part.

It will never stop bugging me that random archers get helmets but the commanders of armies don`t. Dany`s ride on Drogon, repeatedly established to be risky, didn`t even merit a change of clothes on her part.

Visually, this was a cool sequence. You got a sense of the Lannister army unsuccessfully trying to maintain order amongst the chaos. You also got a sense of just how devastating a dragon can be to an army in the field. The Dothraki also did that cool standing-on-your-horse-while-riding-it thing, though I don’t know why they did it. Whatever, I like horse tricks, so I’m not complaining.

It’s not clear what the consequences of this battle are. Lord Tarly seemed to say that the gold made it inside King’s Landing but the other wagons (probably full of food) didn’t. I’m also not sure if this is the entire Lannister army or only part of it. In any case, Bronn successfully wounds Drogon with Qyburn’s giant ballista.

The worst thing is that if you miss, that stupid dog pops up and snickers at you.

The worst thing is that if you miss, that stupid dog pops up and snickers at you.

The scene ends with Bronn tackling Jaime into the water to avoid Drogon’s fire, and finally with a shot of Jaime sinking into the water, seemingly comatose. The show seems to be suggesting that he may drown, or something, even though Bronn tackled him into what looked like about four feet of water. In fact, the show’s final shot is a bit confusing to me. I guess we’ll find out next week. I personally doubt Jaime is going to die like that.

That’s all I have for this week – see you this coming Sunday!

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] I just want to say here that I actually liked Mace Tyrell. I’ll miss him.


A Hundred!A Hundred!20209249 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. Rax says:

    No mention of how Dany takes time out of her important army frying mission to fly along the line of wagons (presumably filled with food) to burn them all even though retaking that food (or retaliating for the Lannisters taking it?) was an important reason to even attack?

    • Erik says:

      That bugged me as well. They where clearly winning (even though i’d think in reality the lannister soldiers would’ve turned and fled when that dragon showed up, so they should have been winning more). So why not capture the caravan?

      And i’d like to note that just before the dothraki showed up i though “oh good, no teleporting armies this episode”. Boy, was i wrong.

    • Eckley says:

      Dany being a straight-up sadist who’s basically insane at this point is my Indoctrination Theory of this season. It’s there, clear as day, but there’s just the question of whether or not the writers are going to acknowledge it.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      These were near the enemy castle,and not all of the wagons.Her plan is to starve the enemy,so burning food close to them does make sense with that in mind.Its cruel and shortsighted,but it does make sense.

    • Preciousgollum says:

      TV show gotta have something for the audience to watch go boom!

    • Matt says:

      One of the great mysteries this season is why the writers seem to think starving people out is more humane than burning them.

      Bronn himself describes the horrors of a siege in season 2. “Have you ever been in a city under siege? Maybe this part’s not in your books. See, it’s not the fighting that kills most people. It’s the starving. Food’s worth more than gold. Noble ladies sell their diamonds for a sack of potatoes. Things get bad enough, the poor start eating each other. The thieves, they love a siege. Soon as the gates are sealed, they steal all the food. By the time it’s all over, they’re the richest men in town.”

      This doesn’t seem especially more humane than simply burning down the Red Keep, nor does it seem like it will endear Dany to the people.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        If I understand the thought process,they are counting on the starving people to rebel against lannisters.

        • Matt says:

          So desperate, starving peasants with improvised weapons are supposed to do Dany’s work for her and then, if any of them are left alive and they succeed, praise her for not roasting them? Such a bad plan…

          • Supah Ewok says:

            Nah, civil unrest is a tried and true historical tactic. Part of the systems of obligation that makes up the feudal system is the promise that a lord will protect his land (and the peasants who work them). If the land is ravaged such that the peasantry is starving, it’s not all that difficult to effect a revolt against the lord who broke his obligation in favor of a new one, even if the new one is the one who burnt the crops in the first place. That simply means he’s the stronger, and hence more qualified to fulfill the obligation of protection.

            • Matt says:

              It’s not that I don’t think it could work, it’s that Team Dany and the writers seem to think it would be less bloody and better PR than burning the castle.

              • Supah Ewok says:

                I mean, when you’re dead, you’re past the point of caring about the sensory experiences of your body. Killing is inhumane no matter how you do it, is my position. But in regard to logistical matters, sieges are expensive, both in time and money. And assaults are expensive in body count. I’m actually currently reading The Art of War, and Sun Tzu advocates that sieges are to be avoided unless they are unavoidable. You waste money paying and maintaining your men, you hurt the value of your target (Sun Tzu also advocates quick and decisive action in conquering to preserve the land that you’re fighting over, which depreciates with war damage), you anchor your army to a single place, etc. Most anything to shorten a siege benefits both the conquerors and the citizenry, in the long run, even if it hurts the citizenry in the short term.

                The opinion of the citizenry doesn’t particularly matter once the conquering is done. The peasants of medieval times do not have the knowledge or the means to govern themselves (something that would only change with the invention of the printing press which made books affordable which allowed the lower classes to become literate and hence educated). They need a lord. They may not be happy with Dany after a siege, but quick deliverance of relief and swiftly curbing any alternative choice for ruler, both things a wise conqueror will do, will leave the citizenry no better options than loyalty.

                • Gethsemani says:

                  Real world sieges are indeed miserable affairs, as are real world siege ending assaults. And that’s the entire problem with the Watsonian explanation here: Dany’s plan was to besiege King’s Landing because just sending in three dragons to lay waste to the Red Keep and parts of King’s Landing was too cruel and inhumane. So the humane thing is to starve people dead instead of burning them dead. The Doylist explanation is of course that Dany had become too powerful and needed to have her strength culled so that she couldn’t just steamroll Cersei in episode 2. Which means that everyone acts as if sieges and starvation are not dreadful at all, but attacking enemy citadels with dragons are genocide-grade evil.

                  Also, let’s acknowledge the fact that while peasant rebellions were a common thing in the real world; they a) have not shown up much in the show at all (the BwoB having gotten a bit part), b) have not been talked about in the show at all (the closest we get are the Sparrows, which are a religious movement) and c) tended to end with lots of dead peasants and little change of rule in real life. The idea that it should somehow spark a rebellion in KL is also a way to fill in the glaring plot hole that is Dany et al never discussing what a siege will accomplish, which means that we are sort of guessing that’s the end game.

                  The Doylist explanation for all of this is that the showrunners wants Cersei to be the big bad for this season and they will do absolutely everything to keep her that way, no matter how many idiot balls have to be passed around to the rest of the cast to keep her a credible threat.

  2. Bubble181 says:

    I assume the Arya/Brienne fight is yet another reference (see also: Bronn vs Viper, Robb’s ambush for the Lannisters, etc) to GRR’s pet idea that “light and fast” beats “heavy and armored”. It is occasionally and situationally true, of course, but it’s also tired and played out. Sometimes a tank really will make short work of lightly armored infantry. Otherwise no-one would be *using* heavy armor to begin with.

    The whole commanders-without-helmets thing is pretty generic in all of historical and fantasy fiction, though. I mean, it’s absolutely *wrong*, historically speaking, and it’s not true in the books (where a big deal is made of, for example, Tywin’s helmet with a lion’s head and two lionesses on his shoulders, the Bull’s Head helmet Jeffrey made, and so on), but it’s not something you can really pin on AGOT. Commanders and named characters need to be easily recognised by the audience.

    I’m not up on exactly how omniscient Bran’s supposed to be, but, well, it’s a typical power media rarely use to their full potential. “The White Walkers are 4 days’ march to our North, and will attack at post #17B” seems like useful information. He could unravel half the plots in 5 minutes if he wanted to, but, you know, won’t. Maybe tell people Jon’s a Targaeryen?

    • Grudgeal says:

      I’m not sure you can call something that shows up only twice in the books a ‘pet idea’, especially as it gets just as easily subverted (Sylvio Forel versus Ser Meryn Trant springs to mind, also in Sworn Sword, where Dunk almost dies because he can’t get through his opponent’s plate). I mean, ‘tired and worn out’ was basically how Bronn was able to win in the book, by tiring out an aged opponent using a sword he wasn’t used to on an uneven battleground full of moss and detritus.

      The Robb ambush was more a matter of Jamie sallying out with a small reconnoitring force to kill what he thought were raiders but turned out to be 6,000 heavy horse, followed by Robb ambushing an unexpecting besieging force divided into three camps, at night, with Riverrun’s defenders sallying to his aid. Much more lopsided battles have been won with less advantage.

      Got nothing on the helmets though. Helmets are Hardly Heroic and all that.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        And lets not forget how brienne quickly dispatched those three thugs.But here,she is going easy on arya.And seeing how she was sparring earlier,I doubt she was using a sharp sword with him(even though arya is using her actual weapons here).

        Its a cool sparring match actually,if you look it as that:A sparring match.

        • Ilseroth says:

          This, I like Arya, but you can tell the first couple rounds where Arya just smacks Brienne’s sword a couple times spins and gets into a compromising position were because Brienne wasn’t expecting a legitimate challenge. To her knowledge I don’t think Brienne has met any other capable female warriors, at least in the show that extends itself pretty much to the Sand Vipers and Arya in Westeros at this point.

          That said, after getting flustered she accidentally goes full force against Arya and slams her across the courtyard. Arya does a little spinny getup thing and they have a proper training session now that Brienne is actually gauged into what she actually is fighting against. Is it an equal fight? Hard to say. It’s a show, and more then anything this is to show how formidable Arya is. Not only did she (rather impossibly) murder all the Freys but she’s able to stand toe to toe with one of the best warriors in Westeros. You could call it either way, There were four sparring “matches”, with Arya surprising Brienne for 2 of them, Brienne slamming Arya, then coming to a “draw” (though, Brienne had her sword to Arya’s throat while she was doing her dagger flippy stuff, but I think that was more on the editing team)

          So yeah, if they had just come across each other as enemies, Arya would have technically won simply due to surprise tactics (makes sense, trained as an assassin and all), but I do think that after Brienne got used to a new fighting style she was more then capable against it.

        • Grampy_bone says:

          Right. No matter how fast Arya is she’s not going to hurt Brienne with Needle. Hollywood also likes to pretend longswords are a lot heavier and slower than they actually are.

          • Joe Informatico says:

            Holy crap, Brienne was swinging that thing like it was a sledgehammer.

            • Nimas says:

              I wonder if the Schola Galditoria youtube channel will have a review of this fight at some point. He did a review of a couple of other sword fights such as the Tower of Joy fight.

              • Nimas says:

                Oh hey, speaking of which, he did.

                • ehlijen says:

                  Interesting. But he goes from ‘arya is unsportingly using a sharp weapon for training’ to ‘why is she trying to cut with a blunt weapon?’

                  The obvious answer is: arya doesn’t have a training needle, but needle is blunt, so she uses it like a blunt training sword.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    His criticism is still valid though,because every time she scores a win,its because she is pointing the sharp bit of her sword(or her dagger in that one draw)to briennes neck.

                    But thats consistent with aryas character at least.

                    • ehlijen says:

                      Yeah? Just because she’s pretending that needle can cut for the sake of the exercise doesn’t mean she has to pretend it can’t stab throats anymore. Any straight blade can be shoved through a throat, and even some curved designs.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Sure,you can kill anyone with anything,but the rule is still to not use sharp or pointy objects when you dont intend to do harm to your opponent.At least try and minimize the risk if you are sparing with someone you consider a friend or an ally.

                      Arya is just (over)confident in her skill that she wont slip and harm brienne,hence why she doesnt care that she is using sharp weapons in a sparring match.

                    • Nimas says:

                      Interestingly, according to some of the comments in that video, Arya’s Needle was in the books actually a side sword, which does have actual edges but you’re still mainly going to use it to stab people (which is also in general a far better way to kill someone than a slice).

                      Here is a picture of it based on Martin’s inputs.

      • Joshua says:

        Didn’t Barristan Selmy have a fight like that in ADoD where he just pretty much ignored some of Hizdahr zo Loraq’s guards because their weapons weren’t penetrating his armor?

      • Even LotR did the no helmets thing. I can still see Elrond ordering a bunch of helmeted archers to fight while standing in front of them without one, and one arrow of the resulting volley was close enough to give him a bit of a haircut.

        Wouldn’t a distinctive helmet make more sense anyway? You could show the person putting it on just before the attack, or as part of a getting ready sequence, or heck, have it sitting on their saddle in front of them if they’re on a horse.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          On the flip side,look at what people are (mostly jokingly) saying about Tom Hardy constantly playing roles where his face is being covered.

        • Supah Ewok says:

          The face of the principle actors isn’t only shown for the sake of the audience keeping up with who is where. There is also facial animation that helmets cover, which is a crucial component of acting to convey emotion and subtle tics. Picture the look of horror Protagonist A has at the sight of a burning village. Now imagine it with a helmet obstructing it. Sure, they can remove it for talky bits, but that’s an unnecessary, screen time wasting obstruction that in the end doesn’t accomplish anything. Unless you’re 10 and are seeing a fantasy/historical movie for the first time, then at some point you’ve made your peace with principal characters not wearing helmets.

          The other real important reason is that actors themselves don’t want their face obscured. Every moment of screentime is an item on their acting resume, affecting their jockeying for future roles and pay negotiations. They want to be noticed.

      • Vermander says:

        There are several reasons for the lack of helmets on major characters:

        1) As already mentioned, it makes it harder to tell the characters apart.

        2) It obscures their faces, so you can’t see their reactions, and basically reduces their ability to “act”.

        3) The reduced visibility and overall awkwardness makes it dangerous for the actors during fight scenes. Remember that they’re not actually trying to win a fight, they’re trying to pull off a carefully choreographed moves. I remember reading that there were a couple of nasty accidents do to poor visibility on set, and after that the fight choreographers insisted on no more helmets.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Otherwise no-one would be *using* heavy armor to begin with.

      Heavy rmor wasnt invented for one on one fights though.Its meant to protect you from many blows and shrapnel that can occur during a big army clash,when you dont have to worry about the enemy going swiftly from your front to your flank/back.

      Why brienne is wearing it during a sparring match though,I have no idea.

      But the show has shown many times before how tanks actually can be superior to fast enemies even in one on one.

      • ehlijen says:

        Heavy armour absolutely helps in one on one fights. It drastically increases the amount of precision needed to score a serious wound, and allows for blades to be safely turned with many plated parts of the body.

        And you train in armour at least some of the time, to ensure you know how to handle the weight and balance. Not always, though, as cleaning the armour after is serious work.

        • Olivier FAURE says:

          Yeah, what these “small guy harasses strong guy with armor” fight don’t show is the part where the strong guy gives up, drops his sword, and grabs the other guy to punch him in the face / stab him with his knife. Most realistic medieval duels end with awkward-for-TV grappling.

          > It drastically increases the amount of precision needed to score a serious wound, and allows for blades to be safely turned with many plated parts of the body.

          Like in that fight in the Dance with Dragons book, where Selmy slaughters a gladiator, because the gladiator is half naked and has to spend way for effort to try to hit Selmy, while Selmy just has to poke him with the pointy end.

          • Erik says:

            And don’t forget the fight between Sir Jorah and some overly aggro Dothraki in Season 1, where Jorah took a couple of shots to the torso that would have killed an unarmored Dothraki, before using the next one to get in close and finish his opponent while taking no damage but bruises.

            Armor really does work, and in a battle setting is well worth the tradeoffs. Only in a duel setting, where the extreme hassle of armor during normal peacetime life far outweighs its advantages during the extremely rare moments of danger, is the small-sword and quick technique truly dominant.

          • Nimas says:

            I love the quote I’ve heard from a friend “If you ever want to grapple in medieval times, make sure you carry a Zweihander” (the big double handed swords).

            Basically because with plate armour, large swords with often lack the fine control needed to stab the joints of your opponent (which is how fights typically ended) and much slower (although not nearly as slow as you think) swings along with a really good weapon to parry off someone else’s Zweihander, fights usually ended up where you’d be grappling the other and trying to bash them with the pommel/anything at hand and when you got the upper hand, pull out a knife and stab them through the small openings in the plate to finish them off.

        • Supah Ewok says:

          Cleaning the armor is what squires were for.

      • Considering how strong and fast Brienne is in her armor, she is even faster and stronger without it.

    • Olivier FAURE says:

      I liked that moment in the arena where Dahario Naharis goes all “You see, there is more to fights that size and strength. I know it better than this other guy, with his stupid ‘statistics’ and” and then the big burly guy decapitates the small agile guy, and Daenerys and Dahario start feeling awkward.

    • Matt says:

      Even aside from the armor, Brienne’s superior strength and reach should have easily won her the fight. You simply cannot effectively parry 3 feet of steel sword swung by a 6’3″ woman with a small sword. The blade would be casually knocked aside.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        It does get knocked aside once brienne actually puts some strength into her swings.

      • ehlijen says:

        Even a 6’3″ woman cannot cut steel with sword, and it takes surprisingly little effort to parry, i.e. redirect a committed swing, as ideally the force you exert is perpendicular to the force they exert.
        Arya parrying and blocking Brienne’s swings to the point where she’d suffer light bruises, if anything, is quite believable.

        But in a real fight, Brienne would do what she’s always done in a serious fight: grapple. Not only is it what sword armed, plate wearing fighters often end up doing against each other anyway, she’s also better built for it than most of her opponents.

        • Hector says:

          That statement is absolutely false. First off, trying to parry a military sword is a bad plan in the first place. Trying to do it with a small thrusting sword is madness. Physics does not care how skilled you are – you need a LOT of force to redirect a blow, hence why people started using shields. The idea that you can use your skill to effortlessly tap aside mighty blows is nonsense.

          • ehlijen says:

            No one said effortless. But it takes a lot less than the swing itself takes the attacker, especially for overhead strikes, which brienne did a lot of in that scene and which are a terrible idea due to how easily they can be sidestepped.

          • Joe Informatico says:

            Preposterous. The mass difference between a 3lb longsword and a 1-1.5lb smallsword isn’t enough to matter. The fact that Brienne is much stronger and more massive than Arya (and should also be swinging that longsword two-handed) is the reason Arya shouldn’t be trying to parry the knight’s blows dead-on. It’s just going to tire her out that much faster. But she doesn’t need to. Most of the time, she would only need to knock the incoming strike off by a few inches.

  3. Preciousgollum says:

    Anybody else think that the Dany/Dragon fight at the end of this episode should have just had 2-3 dragons attack the Lannister army, and then fly off I. E hit and run?

    – At least solves some ‘teleporting army’ problems.

    I think that would have been a much better way around the idea, and demonstrate Dany’s WRATH AND RETRIBUTION against the loss of Highgarden/poisoning of Olenna Tyrell (and, having just remembered, would echo the old woman’s last piece of advice).

    Perhaps a Dragon could have been injured by the Ballista, or nearly injured, which then sets in the worry of using them, but it would still inspire FEAR within the Lannisters. Perhaps then, some could change sides (instead of the clumsy episode preview of “I’ve burned the sh*t out of your friends, so join or die” that seems will take place next episode).

    The idea of a Dragon attacking head on, only *slightly* in front of horsemen, who were charging at SPEARS!, seems idiotic, and only for some sort of ‘dramatic’ effect. Would have been better to fake-charge horses (the ‘circle’) and then fly a Dragon along the ENTIRE spear-line and just WASTE EVERYONE.

    Heck, I’d be in awe of a Militarily power who could harass an army with a couple of flying pets, demonstrated as an ever-present danger. Drone strikes?

    Top (Dra)Gun?

    • Steve C says:

      fly a Dragon along the ENTIRE spear-line and just WASTE EVERYONE.

      Yup. I really wanted to see that and was expecting it soon as they started calling “Get in a line!” Still great battle as is. It’s the first battle in a really long time I’ve actually liked. And I liked it a lot. It has plot problems, sure. Still the best action sequence GoT has done to date. I *hated* the Battle of the Bastards (all 3 parts of the battle) from last season. That was crap.

      • Preciousgollum says:

        Oh god yea I HATED Battle of the Bastards. Never have I wanted the protagonists to lose so badly. A complete f**k up which everybody in Westeros should look at and say “You see that Jon Snow & co? They’re f**k ups”.

        To be honest, the recent battle was safe, because it had a ‘Peleanor Fields’ vibe (From Lord of the Rings). The idea that a battle was taking place just far outside ‘The main city’ to not have it featured, with landing flying monsters and gestures of heroics towards said monsters and their riders (Witch King/Eowyn). Important rivers nearby. Horse Charge, flying mounts. Same type of setup.

        Also, from a drama perspective, I think it would have been far more interesting if the Gold had been intercepted, or at least rendered untransportable. In fact, that should have been the point of the having Dragons in a battle – the negation of certain types of wealth and/or safety.

        A big Gold Pile melted from Dragon fire would make for a good visual (and harken back to the fate of Dany’s brother).

        At least the scores would then be somewhat even again. Dany could have got a way to reward successes (Tyrion gets nothing) and have a reason to begin the blockade of kings landing (while retrieving the Gold). There could have been some proper tension around who gets Gold in the ‘Breaker of Chains’ society that Dany is supposedly the very embodiment of to her people.

        Also, the idea of a visual depiction of the Lannister debts through a Public(ly owned) Gold Mound, or a type of man-made/natural wonder, would gel well with the earlier scenes of (Dragonstone) Cave paintings telling history.

        (Instead we got that scene which suggests that cavern-spelunking has sudden romantic implications).

        Dragon perched on Gold, with Dany on top, is like Super Smaug Hobbit Jenga.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Everything about the scene with Tycho seemed to indicate that Dany was going to intercept the gold with her dragons. I’m stumped as to why they then had the gold get inside the walls. What was the point of the scene? Like we didn’t already know from last week that the gold from Highgarden was going to pay the debt? Did we really need 3 scenes this week to establish that?

          • mewse says:

            It was a Joss Whedon-style audience fake-out. They set up about three different Chekov’s Guns indicating that Dany was going to intercept the gold transport, which would bring down Iron Bank ire on Cersei, and then pointedly didn’t do that.

            The rest of this post is.. well.. I have no insider knowledge, but I’d almost call it spoilers, because it fits together so cleanly, it seems pretty obvious that it’s in the general vicinity of the plot arc the showrunners are following.

            Here’s Dany’s current situation:

            1. The gold is inside Kings Landing.
            2. The food is NOT inside Kings Landing.
            3. Dany’s army is still strong, Cersei’s army has been roundly defeated.
            4. Dany has discussed assaulting Kings Landing, but does not wish to do so.
            5. Dany has agreed that the White Walkers are an immediate, existential threat.

            So here is what’s about to happen:

            1. A small portion of Dany’s victorious army will remain to siege Kings Landing. Cersei’s forces have been dispatched, Kings Landing is no longer a real threat, but we don’t want to actually *burn* the city, so let’s just bottle them up until they surrender. (If they were going to assault Kings Landing, it wouldn’t matter where the gold was and where the food was. That they’ve told us the gold is inside the city and the food is outside the city means that we’re going into a siege storyline)
            2. The bulk of Dany’s army, along with all dragons still capable of making the journey, will go north to defend against the walkers. The rest of this season will be primarily concerned with that fight against the walkers.

            What Team Dany has forgotten:

            The Iron Bank is still owed gold from Cersei. And that money is now in Kings Landing, inaccessible behind Dany’s siege (which is being held by the smallest force possible which could contain Cersei’s remaining supporters, to allow the majority of Dany’s forces to go north).

            Somewhere near the end of the season (my money is on the last half of the final episode of the season), the Iron Bank will be sending a force to break through the siege from the *outside*, to retrieve their gold. And when they do, they’ll be bringing a fresh force (mercenaries? folks from slavers’ bay? others?) to support Cersei, which sets us up for the climactic Team Dany vs. Team Cersei fight next season.

    • tremor3258 says:

      I do like the situation it sets up – spear wall against the cavalry to be easily roasted, scatter to avoid everyone being roasted, and be run down by cavalry

      • Olivier FAURE says:

        It’s a really cool setup, but it has the same “problem” as the battle for Castle Black against the wildlings, and a few others: it’s way too long.

        These guys are being swarmed from all sides by elite cavalry, and any defense they try to mount is dissolved by Drogon. For every Lannister we see, we see 10 Dothrakis. There’s no way people would still be standing after 60 seconds.

        • Grampy_bone says:

          Compared to the battle of the Bastards, this one looks like they spent at least 5 minutes on wikipedia looking up medieval battle tactics. It’s pretty good.

          -Tarly points out the army stretched out in a marching line which makes them vulnerable. He’s right! This has happened in several historical battles (Lake Trasimene in the second punic war)

          -Jaime lines up his spearmen as best he can to intercept a cavalry charge. The show does show the horses getting repelled by spears.

          -The dragon is used to punch a hole in the line. This allows the Dothraki to break the Lannister formation and flank around them. Normally this would cause a rout, but…

          -The dragon burns all the wagons behind the lines, creating a wall of firey death for anyone trying to flee.

          -Game over! Dothraki mop up, total defeat for the Lannisters.

          I also liked that Bronn missed his first shot with the ballista. Realistically he should have had a couple guys with him to load it but that can be forgiven for dramatic purposes. The ballista shot downing the dragon but not disabling it is also a nice touch.

          Overall, great battle, makes up for a lot of nonsense we’ve seen from the show before. Hopefully they will keep reading wikipedia and try to stick to reasonable tactics.

      • Steve C says:

        Don’t forget the option to swim across the river/lake* in heavy armor. Assuming they cross the burning line of wagons directly behind them first.

        In other words it was always going to be a total crushing defeat for team Lion. I’m happy that Bronn knew how screwed they were and explained that to the audience before the dragons appeared or even the first man died.

        * As for the river, it’s actually a lake. I thought it was a river too the first time I saw it. I liked the battle enough to watch it again with frequent pauses to really get the details. In some shots it is a river. It’s a river into and out of a lake. The battle itself is happening around the lake part of the river.

        Like Bob, I too was irritated that Jamie seemed to be drowning in pretty shallow water. I was also irritated that they infantry didn’t ford across the river so as to blunt the cavalry charge. On further viewings, I wasn’t being fair. It’s a wide river that no army could ford at that location. Also the dragon landed in a grassy area between the road and lake. Jaime fell into the lake proper. It appeared to be good and deep from other establishing shots from the air. The only complaint that could be made is that the director didn’t provide enough emphasis for the lake given he was going to dunk Jamie into it. (aka Chekhov’s lake)

        • Janie drowning is also symbolic, it’s how he is feeling at that moment. To him it feels bottomless, but it’s probably not that deep.

          My guess is that Daenerys tells Drogon to “grab” Jamie which can become a valuable bargain chip; if not a great de-motivator for the enemy.

          And I’m guessing Bronn will turn out to have his face burned.

          Drogon will be ok (the spear removed), but Daenerys will be a little more cautious on how to deploy the dragons (allowing the writers to nerf their power some).

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    It seems a little strange to me that House Tyrell had this huge amount of money and no one had ever mentioned it before

    They have mentioned numerous times that tyrells are the wealthiest ones,paying for all sorts of things.

    Don’t call Highgarden “the biggest prize in the world” when it’s clearly not. It’s just sloppy. It speaks to a lack of care.

    A character who has,numerous times before,shown that he doesnt care for such things as speaking accuracy says something hyperbolic?How dares he!Seriously this isnt even a nitpick this is just finding pointless things to gripe about.

    So… did Jaime just condemn an entire region of Westeros to starvation

    He probably did.Is this a complaint?

    What was this entire mini-plotline here for?

    To show that cersei can still get support from her wealthy backers.

    You would think that a person who knows everything that’s happened to everyone, or at the very least a whole lot of very private things, would be tactically useful

    He has fallen victim to the knowing-everything-makes-you-a-loon disease.Very few characters escape this illness,especially in television.

    Why is there a reference to classical literature here?

    Why shouldnt it be there?

    What purpose does it serve?

    Off the top of my head:To show the passage of time,as a nod to those who know classical literature,to show how incredible it seems to common people that someone long thought dead could be alive,etc.

    Why does it need to take nearly three minutes of screen time to complete?

    Why should it be shorter?

    Why include a reference so vague is has to be explained in a post-episode interview?

    Why not?

    There are three possible Lady Starks: Catelyn, Sansa, and Arya herself

    You forget that when robb got wed his wife became lady stark as well.Then theres the possibility for jon to have been legitimized as stark and having a wife.And,seeing how arya was just being told that she is considered dead by everyone,she could easily have hope that catelyn was alive after all.

    which is not even close to being true, but whatever.

    Another hyperbole?How dare they!!

    If so, it’s an existential threat sufficient to justify a bit of kneeling, isn’t it?

    Yup.Thats basically what dany told jon.

    But Davos doesn’t know that, I guess, which makes no sense, but whatever

    Yes,this (until recently) illiterate man doesnt know proper protocol and is making jokes about it with his friend.Whats so nonsensical about that?

    Yes, I know that this by itself is not a big deal, but again, it speaks to a lack of care.

    Yes,but this time its not the lack of care of the writers,its the lack of care of the viewer.

    But they apparently still have enough left to ship this entire giant Dothraki army to the mainland.

    Eehhh…The way I saw it,the army was already camping in the mainland,waiting to attack someone.But who really knows at this point.

    I personally doubt Jaime is going to die like that.

    Me too.I was expecting him to be burned to death.But this…Falling in water in full armor should be a death sentence,but he is one of the main characters so he will be alright in the next episode.

    • ehlijen says:

      It is a bit odd that Bran can get through the wall and into winterfell without issue, but arya needs to jump through hoops.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Im iffy about this,but there have been people who knew bran was alive though,right?But how the information is carried between the people in the show,…..I mean its suddenly a secret that jon has died,even though it wasnt shown to be one at first.

    • Matt says:

      They have mentioned numerous times that tyrells are the wealthiest ones,paying for all sorts of things.

      I understood that to mean wealthy in the feudal sense of having a large amount of arable land for food and a huge population of serfs that can also be used as soldiers. While I agree that the Tyrells have been established as wealthy, and perhaps even wealthier than the Lannisters in real terms, they’ve never been described as hoarding gold. For them to suddenly have huge cash reserves, enough to pay off essentially a national debt in a single installment, is sloppy handling of the Lannister debt problem, which was a significant obstacle in earlier seasons.

      A character who has,numerous times before,shown that he doesnt care for such things as speaking accuracy says something hyperbolic?How dares he!Seriously this isnt even a nitpick this is just finding pointless things to gripe about.

      I also found reference to Highgarden as a prize to be confusing. If anything, it is known for its beauty, not its wealth or prestige. In what way does a regionally significant but otherwise unremarkable castle count as the greatest prize in the world? Hyperbole aside, it would be like me calling my local marathon the greatest race in the world. It’s not just hyperbolic or ignorant, it’s actively silly.

      He probably did.Is this a complaint?

      The probably there is the problem. Jaime killed a king for threatening to burn King’s Landing and kill everyone in it – his entire arc has been the rediscovery of his honor. For him to condemn many thousands more to die is a major reversal of his character, something that should be commented on and explored. However, from the scene we are given, we aren’t even sure if this happened. It’s sort of like the end of Mass Effect 3 – did we stop the Reapers only to doom galactic civilization with the destruction of the relays, and kill billions and destroy earth in the resulting explosions?

      To show that cersei can still get support from her wealthy backers.

      For a show known for political intrigue and complex plotlines, it was a simplistic and circular plot. They need gold to pay the bank to hire soldiers – why not just use the gold to hire soldiers and leave the Iron Bank out, particularly when it’s now shown to be really influencing or directing her regime in any way. She planned to take out the Tyrells anyway.

      Why shouldnt it be there? Why should it be shorter? Why not?

      References serve to illuminate themes or characterization by tying them to earlier, well-known works. In this case, we already know that Arya has changed a lot as a person – we’ve seen it happen over several seasons, so the reference doesn’t tell us anything else about her. In the Odyssey, Odysseus finally makes it home only to discover new challenges related to people thinking he’s dead. In the show, there is no new conflict. Arya bypasses the guards without difficulty and Sansa recognizes her immediately. If it doesn’t reveal anything about her character and doesn’t create new conflict, this scene is at best an homage. Homages shouldn’t take several minutes of an already truncated season when there are so many other plots and characters we could spend more satisfying time with. When the audience misses the intended reference, even the purpose of homage is lost, making the entire scene pointless.

      You forget that when robb got wed his wife became lady stark as well.Then theres the possibility for jon to have been legitimized as stark and having a wife.And,seeing how arya was just being told that she is considered dead by everyone,she could easily have hope that catelyn was alive after all.

      Arya must know that Talisa Stark is dead, she knew about the Red Wedding. If she knew Jon became King in the North, she’d probably have known if he had a wife. I’m not sure people thinking you might be dead means you can think other dead people might be alive. It’s not impossible that Arya is ignorant of these things, but it requires very selective gaps in her knowledge.

      Another hyperbole?How dare they!!

      I found it odd that she would say that as she is surrounded by more people who knew his face than in any previous season. Just in Winterfell: Arya, Bran, Jon, Littlefinger, Sansa, and perhaps dozens of his banner men.

      Yes,this (until recently) illiterate man doesnt know proper protocol and is making jokes about it with his friend.Whats so nonsensical about that?

      Davos was a knight for many years before the events of Season 2, and was Stannis’ hand for several seasons. He was always conspicuous about calling Stannis, “Your Grace.” Showing that he doesn’t know the heraldry of every house or that he makes some mistakes of courtly behavior are fine, but to misunderstand what to call a king seems like a gross error.

      Eehhh…The way I saw it,the army was already camping in the mainland,waiting to attack someone.But who really knows at this point.

      Even if the army was camped in the Crownlands or the Stormlands, that would require an enormous overland baggage train to keep them supplied. Also, the Dothraki don’t strike me as the kind of army that would be disciplined enough to camp in one place in a fat, easy-pickings country and await orders. If you set them loose, they raid and rape and pillage – that’s exactly why Dany got the Unsullied.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        they’ve never been described as hoarding gold

        Olenna did agree to pay for half the expenses of the wedding without blinking an eye,on top of everything else she has listed that they have given the lannisters.So yes,they most certainly have(had) hard cash at the ready.

        Granted,that being enough to pay the whole of lannister debt is a bit of a stretch,but not that big of one.

        In what way does a regionally significant but otherwise unremarkable castle count as the greatest prize in the world?

        In the way that they have just plundered a shitton of gold from it,and still having to dispatch a bunch of people to gather the food from the lands it is the center of,.

        his entire arc has been the rediscovery of his honor.

        That was part of it.The other part,spelled out by olenna last episode,is that his devotion to cersei will lead him to ruin.Which is exactly what is happening to him.

        They need gold to pay the bank to hire soldiers – why not just use the gold to hire soldiers and leave the Iron Bank out

        The bank has been described as powerful,so angering them is probably not a good idea.But yes,its not that good of a plot point,I agree.It establishes something that was already established,resolves it by returning to status quo,and doing all of that in an uninteresting manner.

        In the show, there is no new conflict

        Yes and no.The conflict the starks are facing now that they are back together is accepting how broken each of them are.Some more than the others.Its a more mundane sort of conflict than all the battles and backstabbing the show has,but not an insignificant one.Or,to be more precise,it shouldnt be an insignificant one.I dont think the depiction of it is that good.

        Also,this is just a short breather for everyone involved.A stop on their long journey,not the end of it.

        If she knew Jon became King in the North, she’d probably have known if he had a wife.

        Why?She found out about jon accidentally.She hand talked to many people since she returned.

        I’m not sure people thinking you might be dead means you can think other dead people might be alive.

        Why wouldnt she hope that her mother is somehow still alive?Is it that unreasonable for someone traumatized like arya to have a slight,brief glimmer of hope about such a thing?

        He was always conspicuous about calling Stannis, “Your Grace.”

        Stannis wasnt his friend before being his lord though.Also,ned had similar jokes like that with robert when the two of them were alone like this.

        Also, the Dothraki don’t strike me as the kind of army that would be disciplined enough to camp in one place in a fat, easy-pickings country and await orders. If you set them loose, they raid and rape and pillage – that’s exactly why Dany got the Unsullied.

        True,but they arent the type to patiently wait on ships until they are carried from one place to the other.They listen to dany.

        • Erik says:

          They need gold to pay the bank to hire soldiers – why not just use the gold to hire soldiers and leave the Iron Bank out

          The bank has been described as powerful,so angering them is probably not a good idea.But yes,its not that good of a plot point,I agree.It establishes something that was already established,resolves it by returning to status quo,and doing all of that in an uninteresting manner.

          This misses a subtle but important point. By paying back the money before immediately re-borrowing it, Cersei got huge credibility with the Iron Bank – the mention that the Bank had never in its history had such a huge debt repaid in a single payment is a big arrow to the point. By paying back debt 1, debt 2 can be even larger, and the Iron Bank goes from being another adversary trying to suck her dry to being a huge asset, willing to back her expanded plans.

          Much less dramatic than a dragon, but if this was going to be an extended war it would have been much more important. But this is Season 7, so it’s a bit of a wasted effort. :)

          • Blake says:

            Exactly this.
            As long as “A Lannister always pays their debts” proves to be true, it gives them very strong bargaining and borrowing power. If she didn’t pay back the bank then not only would she have a new enemy but they could never play the ‘always pays their debts’ card ever again.

          • guy says:

            I feel like this shouldn’t give her back an unlimited line of credit with the Iron Bank; they doubtless know she seized the gold, and the Lannisters had been missing payments. While this is certainly important, as it means the Iron Bank won’t be giving a “Show the world the Iron Bank will have its due” discount to her enemies, they’ve got to know this isn’t repeatable. They’re probably now reasonably confident she’ll actually try to pay them, but they wouldn’t want to lend her more than they can reasonably expect her to pay off.

        • Hector says:

          I think it’s a pretty huge stretch to jump from “wealthy and able to contribute a good sum to the royal coffers” to “pay off the debts of an entire kingdom”. Also, even a big, expensive wedding is a ridiculous triviality compared to running the entire national budget. If that much wealth was around at all, the debts wouldn’t have been so crippling in the first place. Yes, the Tyrells are very wealthy – maybe even wealthier than any other great house, but they’re not so wealthy that they’re obviously in a better position.

          I’m not saying you can’t sell this. But this is absurdly lazy plotting.

      • newplan says:

        Davos was a knight for many years before the events of Season 2, and was Stannis’ hand for several seasons. He was always conspicuous about calling Stannis, “Your Grace.” Showing that he doesn’t know the heraldry of every house or that he makes some mistakes of courtly behavior are fine, but to misunderstand what to call a king seems like a gross error.

        This is another example of a more general problem with the show – it often fails to distinguish between things the characters know or should know and things the audience knows or should know – with a few exceptions like the mystery of Jon’s parents.

        Dany gets tired of waiting around? Jaime and Cercei somehow know that Dany’s patience has ended so Jaime can come up with a perfect counter the plan by emptying out Castle Rock and attacking Highgarden. Dany could well have lost her patience and attacked King’s Landing but since the audience knows that she didn’t all the characters know she didn’t.

        Yara’s fleet sets out for Dorne? Euron knows so he finds the fleet. At night. In the middle of the sea. Same deal for the other fleet that transported the Unsullied. I was going to write that if he could wipe out the ever multiplying fleets so easily why wouldn’t he attack the main body of the fleet at Dragonstone and strand Dany there and have the Dothraki starve but here’s another piece of knowledge – they make a point to often show the dragons flying over the water. Clearly Euron knows this and doesn’t attack the invisible fleet (that also landed everyone without a port?!?) because he also has out of character knowledge.

        In the actual naval battle how does Euron’s fleet know which ships are Yara’s and which ships are other loyal Greyjoys? It’s at night and foggy and they managed to only board hostile ships? How do Euron’s boarding parties not accidentally kill each other? They’re all wearing the same clothes. This is a significant problem IRL but on the show it isn’t because the audience knows which side is which therefore the characters do.

        Davos was in the room when Sam and Stannis discussed dragonglass in season whatever (somewhere between 4-5) but the audience forgot so Davos, Jon, and Sam all forgot.

        Etc.

        • Matt says:

          I agree this is a big problem, right up there with the time and distance issues.

          A lot of casual viewers I’ve chatted with seem to think there’s a spy in Dany’s troupe or that Tyrion may really be a traitor. I’m not sure if the showrunners intend for there to be ambiguity so that people can speculate (in which case, a lack of resolution of the ambiguity is all the more frustrating) or if they can’t be arsed to give people a better way to know what’s going on.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Now that my griping about Bob’s griping is out of the way,I can focus on something I was wondering during the episode:

    What kind of fire are these dreagons breathing?It cant be pure flame,because that wouldnt have enough time to set things on fire.Plus,it wouldnt be streaming in kind of a straight way.So its kind of a napalm.Could it be that dragons actually produce natural wildfire in their bodies?

    • BlueHorus says:

      ???
      I’m pretty sure dragons have never made any sense, ever.

      If they’re that big, surely the’re too heavy to fly? At least they’d need much bigger wings.

      Eating meat is really inefficient (energywise), how do they get that large? Do they have to eat like, a herd of cows a day? (‘BUT WHAT DO THEY EAT?!?!?!’)

      Where does the fuel for their fire-breath come from? Do they eat dry grass? Rot food in their stomachs and use the gas?

      The answer to this and all the others is just…magic. Physics/science need not apply.

      Of all the unexplained things in GoT to ponder…

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        What can I say,my mind gets hung up on weird things.Even when something is just magic,I still ponder about the rules behind said magic.

      • Awetugiw says:

        I haven’t watched the show, so I can’t say how it is handled there. But in the books, at least, the “what do they eat” question is discussed. Basically, if left to themselves they eat whatever they want, which usually means livestock. (But on at least one occasion, also a human child. Dany is not very happy about that.)

        Your “a herd of cows a day” probably overestimates their appetite, however. As far as I know, neither the books nor the series explicitly state how much a dragon eats. So the best we can do is make an estimate based on how much an animal of that size would eat. There is a lot of uncertainty in such an estimate, of course, since dragons are magical beast that don’t work on the same biological principles that real world animals do.

        Still, let’s try to find at least an educated guess. A blue whale eats, on average, about 1000 kg per day. Now, one could argue that flying is more energy intensive then swimming, so a dragon should eat more. Also, there is the fire breathing thing. On the other hand, a blue whale is significantly larger than a dragon. So overall, I would expect a dragon’s food intake to be pretty similar to 1000 kg per day.

        1000 kg is about one and a half modern cows. Medieval cattle weighed less, so we might expect a dragon to eat , say, two cows and a few sheep per day.

        This is, of course, a very rough estimate. But I’m fairly confident in the order of magnitude that we arrived at. In other words, I’d be very surprised if a dragon ate less than a cow per week, or more than 10 cows per day.

        This means that, while dragons eat a lot, their food needs are a pretty small fraction of the food needs of an army. So having a dragon doesn’t make a huge change to your logistical situation. (Or at least: their food consumption doesn’t make a huge difference. There may be other considerations.)

        • Falcon02 says:

          Another variable to this calculation not taken into account is Dragons at least seem to be more equivalent to Reptiles which are cold blooded… and have much slower matabolisms. For example, Alligators and Crocodiles can reportedly go 2-3 years without food, even though they are Large Reptiles. Of course they’re fairly lethargic and don’t expend energy quite like a Dragon that likes to spend its free time flying around Dragonstone (rather than laying around sunbathing).

          On the other hand Dragons could be more in line with Dinosaurs (which makes sense) which may have actually been warm blooded and more akin to Modern Birds and the Blue Whale analog would be more appropriate. Also, given dragons “make fire” a cold blooded dragon seems appropriate.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Naturally occurring wildfire isn’t that ridiculous. It would be a derivative of the Bombardier Beetle’s defense mechanism. Obviously different chemicals -and maybe it’s a bit much for a dragon to metabolize cows into Octane -but Napalm is really just Carbon and Hydrogen, so some kind of 2-part chemical being expelled into the mouth and directed by breath isn’t too hard to imagine.

      • Awetugiw says:

        Wildfire isn’t chemical, though. (Not ONLY chemical, at least.) It is partly magic, which has been working better now that dragons have returned to the world.

        That does suggest that there is a connection between dragons and wildfire.

    • Vermander says:

      I seem to recall the dragon’s fire being described as black and oily looking and also extremely hot. We know that it’s at least capable of melting steel (the iron throne) and rock (Harrenhall) relatively quickly. I’m sure they adjust the details to fit the plot, but it seems pretty clear that it has some sort of supernatural properties.

      Incidentally, there’s a lot of discussion in universe about how the dragon’s physiology doesn’t make much sense. Several characters mention how scholarly sources acknowledge that they should be much too heavy to fly and no one can seem to agree on what exactly is needed to make the hatch, how fast they grow, how much they eat, or even how they reproduce.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Maybe they are full of hydrogen,flight of dragons style.

        • King Marth says:

          I read a book once that went through this theory, and I like it. Basically, the metabolic pathways for stomach acid also run that same sulfuric acid through their hollow, spongy birdlike bones, reacting to produce hydrogen gas which both keeps them light and allows them to breathe fire by venting the gas and igniting it with a Bombardier beetle-style two-fluid reaction. The amount of acid running through them then also legitimizes the iconic image of dragons sleeping on piles of gold, as gold is pretty chemically inert so it would resist most acids.

          They then must necessarily replenish bone calcium by eating limestone, which even brings in a hint of the Pern dragons and their need to refuel by chewing rock (though I’m pretty sure that firestone in that series was more like coal).

    • Heh – we were discussing this same topic amongst ourselves. “Y’know… based on those troops on the ground, it really doesn’t look so much like the dragons ‘breathe fire’ so much as ‘vomit napalm’.” We got sidetracked before we tried to calculate any of the caloric intake requirements necessary to maintain that sort of lifestyle, reassuring ourselves it was probably Not That Sort of Show.

  6. Olivier FAURE says:

    The final scene was both the coolest and the most frustrating of the season so far. Like others have pointed out, the stakes are poorly defined (how many Lannisters are being attacked? what are they protecting?), and the tactics are kind of dubious (why is Drogon burning the wagons, instead of the conveniently aligned soldiers? why does Bronn have to trek through a war zone to reach the ballista? shouldn’t it be manned at all times? why bring a dragon when you have three?), but what really, really annoyed me was the amount of plot armor Jaime and Bronn had.

    I’m sorry, but no. You’re in the middle of a small army that has just been ambushed by a cavalry superior in both military strength (Dothrakis) and numbers, and any defense you can mount is going to be dispersed immediately (by which I mean roasted to death). There is no way anyone in the army survived. There is no way Jaime would avoid being swarmed to death (he’s one of the only people on a horse, he has fancy armor and a golden hand; he’s a pretty blatant priority target). There is *no way* Bronn would be able to maneuver his ballista once it’s surrounded with hostiles. Or jump far enough away from it that Drogon both misses him and immediately forgets about him instead of taking three seconds to chop on him. Or jump from a horse across another horse to a pool several meters away seconds before being burned to… I’m sorry, when did this stop being Game of Thrones and become James Bond? (also wouldn’t the horses panic and turn tail if you tried to make them charge a giant dragon?)

    It’s especially annoying because the books have a “Brave reckless knight tries to take on a dragon at close range”. The arc ends with him dying horribly over several days, and everyone discussing how suicidally dumb that was.

    • ehlijen says:

      Warhorses were terrifying monsters. They deliberately had much of their self preservation instincts bred out in favour of vicious aggression.

    • Preciousgollum says:

      …Don’t forget how stupid it is for a Dragon to breathe fire while both armies are stuck together in the middle of a clash.

      I can imagine the writers already establishing the HBO full frontal dragon assault, and then realising the obvious tactical problem (i.e FRIENDLY FIRE LOL 😂) and then saying “Well, we need SOMETHING to blow up for the audience!…

      which explains Miss Targaryan’s destruction of The Oregon Trail. And then everybody dies of Dysentery.

      … Also, how da f**k did EVERYBODY get there, even so far as allowing Tyrion (Moments prior, having been casually accused of being a traitor) to casually watch? Just over the hill, the encampment of Glastonbury Festival turned up to see if Ed Sheeran managed to join the Lannisters in battle.

      • Olivier FAURE says:

        I think they’re next to King’s Landing by that point, which means they next to Dragonstone. Presumably Danerys used the last of her ships to ferry the Dothrakis, and then it was a relatively short distance to the column.

        • Preciousgollum says:

          Yea you are quite right, however, it is rather jarring to have Queen Dany bitching and moaning, and not having a clue what to do, and then… SUDDENLY AMBUSH! We really don’t get a good idea of where these armies are coming from, how valuable they are, how many losses they can afford to take etc.

          … I think the suspension of disbelief is sommetimes better achieved if there was at least some foreshadowing, disclosed knowledge, or even a throwaway phrase such as “We’ll hit them when they think they are safest” (or when their pride gets the best of them, or “I can’t attack Kings Landing, but we can put on a demonstration to *ALL* who would *choose* to take arms against (oppose) us.”

          Even something as simple as “Our fallen allies *can*be avenged”.

          … And then have the attack outside Kings Landing.

          For example, Little finger and Varys give off the illusion that they know something that others do not, by their obsequious nature, when they could just be idiots… it doesn’t matter. The audience believe in their wisdom, and/or feels unsettled by their presence… (at least until recently…).

          There was something very weird about this desire to keep everybody safe behind lines, and then suddenly Tyrion and everyone is spectating and commenting on JamieDragonBowl as if they were at a football match.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            The biggest problem of the show is that it does not present the passage of time in a consistent manner.Its very likely that days have passed between dany had that talk with jon and the battle,but the show put them practically one after the other.

            • Yeah the time jumps are weird in GoT.
              Also “it is rather jarring to have Queen Dany bitching and moaning, and not having a clue what to do, and then… SUDDENLY AMBUSH”

              I think a part is missing there. I’m guessing Jon’s words to Dany took root, and that Tyrion came up with a solution, intercept the army.
              Even though the showrunners are no longer following the books they are still suffering the “book to screen” syndrome. Not enough time to show all that actually goes on.

              So we get time skips and pieces that seem to be missing.

              • LadyTL says:

                Several Youtube reviewers I watch have pointed out the time skip problem is the show writers assuming that the audience knows what is going on because they read the books. The problem now is we are past where the books are but the show writers are still assuming the audience knows from “books” how much time is passing.

                • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                  They aren’t expecting viewers to know the specific time passing. They simply don’t care. It’s “later”. I doubt they ever expected people to get so fixated on a fictional calendar. If something is meaningful in terms of time progression, they spell it out. “It will take them a long time to get here” means you shouldn’t expect them to show up in the next episode. That sort of thing.

                  • In movies (take the original Conan movies) there where segments with large vistas and a tiny spec of the main character traveling.

                    GoT had done that sometimes. Like Arya arriving at Winterfell (we see her on horseback looking towards Winterfell).

                    This TV series is cramped for time and budget. A larger budget would have allowed more episodes and more “travel time”. But many people these days don’t want to see characters traveling.

                    That being said we have seen scenes where characters have talked while riding on horses. Now that deliver exposition while transitioning time.

                    I probably couldn’t do time passage any better than the showrunners of GoT did without making the episodes/seasons longer.

                    After all, the only way to indicate the passage of time is by spending time. I guess they could have added a little text in a corner saying “4 days later” but they must have used that from the start of the series, it’s to late to start suddenly doing that now.

          • Grampy_bone says:

            Well it’s been pretty well established so far in GoT that armies can stealth at will and no one ever uses scouts.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Don’t forget how stupid it is for a Dragon to breathe fire while both armies are stuck together in the middle of a clash.

        Which is why they deliberately show the dragon breathe fire before the horses come into melee,and then continues to devastate the back lines while the front is doing battle.

        • Preciousgollum says:

          Horses charging headlong into spears makes zero sense.
          So Dragon opening a tiny path for horses to THEN be seen charging headlong into spears, makes less than %1% sense.

          • They had to sacrifice some of the horses and riders, Dany and Drago had to deal with the supply wagons before those was taken to safety.

            • Olivier Faure says:

              These wagons really weren’t going anywhere. These carriages are slow, the horses we probably panicking with all the fire, and there’s no way the Lannisters could escort the carriage all the way to King’s Landing while under assault.

              • Really? If I was Jamie and the dragon had not set fire to the supply wagons I would have ordered the men to get those wagons into the keep, and if the horses won’t pull them then they would do so by foot instead. If the city comes under siege that grain will be needed.

    • BlueHorus says:

      There is *no way* Bronn would be able to maneuver his ballista once it’s surrounded with hostiles.

      I thought this was going to happen.
      You see, Named Character + Random Ballista immediately equips that ballista with +50 Plot-Guided Bolts of Dragonslaying. Dany knew this (because it was in the script) and that’s why she was so reluctant to send her dragons to the other battlefields.

      She only risked it this time becaues she knew that Euron Greyjoy wasn’t going to be there. He would have killed that dragon stone dead, because he gets +100 bolts.

      …in fact, I’m calling it now – Euron will kill a dragon, later on in the series.

    • name says:

      “I’m sorry, when did this stop being Game of Thrones and become James Bond?”

      Whenever it suits the lazy writers. The entire sequence of events would be stupid by any standards, let alone the standards of a show with pretense of being down to earth.

      I mean, that’s the entire point of these articles. Show is severely dumb and has been dumb for quite a long time now.

      • Calling the shows creators “lazy ” is a bit of a stretch. You’r just sitting there watching the show each week, now that is lazy. :P

        • Droid says:

          And name gets zero revenue for doing so, unlike the writers who expect to get paid for this nonsense.

            • Droid says:

              And it was not my intention to insult you or anyone, even though that is always difficult to do with a TV series with a ton of fans.

              This show is based on a book that prides itself of being plausible, with characters having goals and plans that make sense for them, and acting according to these goals (whether that is to their advantage or disadvantage).
              The show now goes on to show people just twiddling their thumbs / having convenient memory holes / teleportation / instant transfer of knowledge / … for no other reason than that it serves the plot.

              If you like the show for any reason whatsoever, that’s fine. There is no way you could be “wrong” there. People hate Michael Bay movies for being all-spectacle with a ton of plot contrivances. Other people love those movies because they love the spectacle and couldn’t care less about the plot.
              It’s just the stark contrast of the show’s and the books’ goals that gives rise to all this griping, not a belief that you are somehow wrong for liking it.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Another thing I was pondering during that last battle:

    How would battle tactics evolve in a world with trainable flying mounts,like this one?Would such a thing as “really strong ballista” be a rarity?

    Has any fantasy rpg addressed this question already?I mean in a detailed manner and not a hodge podge of reality and asspull.

    • tremor3258 says:

      I remember a couple times in Dragonlance that an issue was, since the dragons had been gone so long, most fortifications and castles had been built without consideration to aerial defense (open courtyards, etc.)

      One of the big exceptions was more or less completely enclosed, covered in arrow slits, and every potential entrance was set up as a killing zone to negate the dragons’ advantages.

      • Joshua says:

        Dragonlance was also relatively low-magic compared to settings like the Forgotten Realms where the prevalence of magic would seem to make castles somewhat pointless. The invention of gunpowder and 200-300 years of refinement pretty much brought an end to castles, along with the wearing of armor. Why would these things exist if magic-users were common enough to make these things obsolete?

        That’s why I prefer my fantasy settings somewhat low-magic like ASOIAF and LotR, or at least where magic is not so reliable as to act as a substitute for technology.

    • Preciousgollum says:

      Presumably, people would be a bit more spread out, as is the case with modern infantry tactics against guns, bombs and artillery.

      Anti-air weapons would be positioned in strong points and garrisoned against enemy infantry attacks (An enemy would focus on capturing these emplacements) in order to be used against the threat from the air. Mobility would also be advantageous, I suppose.

    • Supah Ewok says:

      This isn’t a world with trainable flying mounts. The dragons have been extinct for over a hundred years, and even when they weren’t, they were monopolized by the ruling dynasty who, understandably, would take a dim view on their nobles developing weapons to use against dragons.

      As for in general, ballistae would be a terrible anti-air weapon. They take over a minute to reload between shots, and even a fully trained shooter (which would be somewhat of a rarity in a world without professional armies) would have an extremely difficult time hitting a moving aerial target with a single shot. In real life, we use shotguns for birds for the spread (with the military equivalent being flak), or missiles for which there is no medieval equivalent, barring magic. Your best bet would be volleys fired in the air to mimic shotgun spread, but dragons are usually always heavily armored, and arrows in a volley expend a lot of their kinetic energy on the up swing, and rely on regaining it on the down swing from their accumulated potential energy.

      Fantasy generally uses either ballistae or magic, trying to skate by on rule of cool cuz in a hardcore medieval setting without gunpowder there *isn’t* any technological answer to air units. If you get up to Renaissance and gunpowder, you can conceivably start using grapeshot or some other projectile with spread, although you’d need cannons to fire en masse because they still aren’t meant for hitting moving air targets (sea targets are mostly on a 2D plane; although the vertical due to waves needs to be accounted for, it’s not anywhere close to equivalent to an object with full 3D motion).

      • Matt says:

        I contend that dragons would mean the end of medieval society. As you mention, there is no medieval technological answer to dragons, meaning they can perform reconnaissance and destroy at will. Even castles are of almost no help, given dragon’s ability to melt stone with their flames. All the enemy could do would be to try to mount some kind of guerrilla war, but with medieval technology, such a force would be vastly under equipped and almost certainly starving.

        • Shoeboxjeddy says:

          The reason there WAS a Targaryen dynasty is because the armies of Westeros had no answer to the question “How do you beat an army with dragons at its command?” So it doesn’t end medieval society, it simply changes who is king.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You can load a ballista with grapeshot(of sorts).And naturally,such a thing would be more of a defensive weapon,so many ballistae mounted on walls.Even firing a single bolt each,they would cover the sky with projectiles.

        • Supah Ewok says:

          Fine, let’s assume you finagle a way to hit a dragon with a ballista.

          How do you aim it straight up.

          • guy says:

            You don’t; you put several ballistae on your different towers so they can overlap your fields of fire. You recognize this is a suboptimal plan, but it’s this or nothing.

            • Supah Ewok says:

              What I meant was, dragons are not solely fantasy jet planes. In all depictions of them that I’ve ever seen, they are capable of hovering, like a rotary wing aircraft. A dragon can merely fly high, out of range, and drop behind emplacements. You simply can’t turn the ballistae around in time to counter, and even if you did, you’re now firing *into* the keep. And the same problem exists if you aim very, very high: if you miss, the bolt will fall back down into the keep, with the maximum kinetic energy potential possible.

              There’s a reason why modern aircraft has largely eliminated the idea of entrenched positions. Modern warfare is forced to be mobile. Medieval tech is simply not equipped to do that. I’ve not seen any work of fantasy without gunpowder be able to tell a convincing story of shooting down a dragon besides “the Protagonist is the Goodest Archer Ever”. That includes the modern original Smaug.

              • Very good tactical observations. You forgot something though.
                A dragon that large, imaging having it drop giant boulders down, the risk of being shot is minimal and those rocks would fall straight down, no ballistics or anything else would be able to stop those rocks.

                Hmm! Now I actually hope we’ll get to see some dragon rocks being dropped. Much more precise and could be used inside the keep without hurting civilians..

                • guy says:

                  More precise, but I would not count on more accurate. Unless the dragon is actually hovering, the rocks will not fall straight down, they will start out with forward momentum. Dany doesn’t have any sort of bomb sight, and while the dragons might have some instinctive sense for aiming dropped objects, I’m not sure how well Dany can communicate anything more complicated than “drop on my signal” to them. The higher she stays, the further the rocks go forwards, while lower down they’ve got less momentum and ground fire has more.

                  Plus I doubt the per-rock damage outdoes a trebuchet hurling 200-pound rocks by all that much. It’s certainly a plan, but probably not too competitive with sweeping the walls with dragonfire unless Drogon has a high flight ceiling and a very good eye.

                  • Droid says:

                    “[…] a trebuchet hurling 200-pound rocks […]”

                    From up to 300 metres away!

                  • Supah Ewok says:

                    Yeah, I didn’t want to respond to be a Negative Nancy, but this. Real world pilots require a lot of training to be able to hit even stationary targets from just 500 feet up with nonguided ordinance. Now try that in a world where you’re having to *invent* air combat tactics at all, and you’re not looking at a feasible option (although, for the record, I’m pretty sure dropping a 200 lb rock from 500 ft would be much more effective than hurling it from 300; the falling rock does nothing but gain energy, while the thrown rock loses it after the apex).

                    The other reason is a bit more mundane. We don’t know what the encumbrance limit of dragons are. They’re already breaking physics by flying as is, but carrying around a rock half as heavy as they are might stretch incredulity to well beyond the breaking point. It would certainly have a severe impact on mobility and speed, which could actually allow well aimed ballistae to down it from close range.

                    • Supah Ewok says:

                      In my tiredness from coming home from work, I made an error: a thrown projectile will be at it’s lowest kinetic energy at the apex, not after. The point remains though that a thrown projectile will not have as much kinetic energy at it’s impact compared to when it was launched, *unless* the impact occurs at a lower altitude than the launch, ie downhill (one reason why holding high ground is strategically advantageous). Since castles are generally built on the highest local, accessible ground for this reason, it doesn’t bear comparison.

                    • We saw the dragon “hover” although it was beating it’s wings towards the ground and getting extra lift due to that.

                      But for sake of argument lets assume they have the strength to lift at least a 1oo Kg rock while semi-hovering.

                      And they would not need to be that high. Those giant crossbows seemed to be limited to a 45 degree angle (right?!).

                      And they are slow to turn.

                      I also forgot that after we saw the dragon get shot it fell, and then it got “righted” and pretty much stopped it’s fall. Just watch that part again. I have no idea about the book but the TV series dragon is very strong to stop it’s fall that quickly.

                      I can assume that dive bombing would be very effective. Fly high and then dive bomb. The giant crossbow can’t aim that high.

                      Obviously a good tactician (Jamie?) would soon figure out the issue and order the men to prop the damn crossbow up (aren’t they also called Arbalest BTW?) so they can aim upwards. (But then they’d be vulnerable to low altitude side attacks.)

                      As somebody else pointed out, archers firing upwards at a divebombing dragon would be useless. First off normal arrows bounced off the dragon skin. The arrows that missed will rain down on the archers again.

                      The only issue Id’ have in such a scenario is… When the hell did Dany train to do air to ground attack with her dragons? That would have to be established somehow.

              • guy says:

                I think you’re somewhat overrating traditional dragon aerial maneuverability; they do better than planes but not as good as helicopters and usually aren’t VTOL. Plus, it’s still pretty meaningful to force them to drop below the line of fire of the towers; their wings usually aren’t as tough as the rest of them and may be subject to arrowfire at short range, and a bunch of archers increase the odds of lucking out and hitting the eyes.

                I would also note that it’s usually not a safe assumption that dragons invalidate castles; in most settings including this one, dragons are a rare commodity and traditional medieval armies are not. So castles are necessary for all the reasons they were historically, and dragons must be considered in terms of “how do we protect our castles from dragons?” rather than in terms of “how do we completely restructure our military to best slay dragons?” If dragons are more readily available, more esoteric anti-air capabilities including air superiority dragons are probably also available.

        • Matt says:

          How do you man these weapons consistently? It can be difficult to see a dragon approaching through clouds or fog, or at night, when you would stick out thanks to your torches and braziers. Dragons can approach and immediately begin attacking, so you would have to have the weapons crewed constantly, as any delay would result in the weapons being destroyed.

          How costly and difficult would it be to maintain well-drilled ballista operators at weapons 24 hours a day (at least when you might reasonably expect dragon attack)? Given their speed and mobility, castles and fortified towns within perhaps 50 miles of a known dragon would have to be prepared. Those men wouldn’t be marching or doing other duties.

    • Rodyle says:

      I think either some heavy duty nets, or maybe the balista equivalent of grapeshot. Both of them will properly fuck up the wings of any flying beast.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      Shadiversity looked at this question and decided that the only defense against dragons would be heavy weaponry like Baristas. In the end though, in a world with dragons, everyone is screwed.

    • Syal says:

      I would say chaff. Get some kind of dusty substance that stays in the air, or really thick fires with heavy smoke, and make it so if the dragon wants to hit something accurately it has to go under it. Then pray like hell because they’ll just fire randomly through the clouds until they get tired and need to land.

      Alternately, people get really good at building tunnels.

      • syal says:

        Ooh! Coat a swath of falcons/seagulls/high-jumping cats in pitch, drug them up until they have no sense of self-preservation and use hundreds of them as flying anti-dragon bombs.

        So the battle goes; dragon flies over giant smokescreen, probably kills the oxen leading the smoke source, circles around, fires randomly once or twice, and suddenly the smoke bursts open to reveal hundreds of firebirds streaking upward.

      • That would be a suicide and a obvious trap, drop rocks and other crap down.

        • guy says:

          Doesn’t make it a bad plan; the drops would be completely blind and the dragon can’t even correct its aim based on watching previous drops. Plus, discouraging close passes with dragonfire is a reward in itself. The only downsides from the defender’s perspectives is it’d be pretty hard to prepare and sustain the cloud and it’d prevent them from shooting back, but if they weren’t going to be able to shoot it down anyway…

      • GloatingSwine says:

        “I know, let’s release a thermobaric weapon above our own heads and hope the dragon doesn’t ignite it”.

        Now, the massive explosion that this would cause (particulate matter is very very flammable when dispersed, even if piles of it ordinarily aren’t) might not be good for the dragon either, but you don’t wanna be anywhere near it when it goes off, and certainly not hiding under it.

        • guy says:

          That depends on the material, actually. Being a powder just means there’s more exposed surface area for a combustion reaction to happen. While lots of materials you don’t think of as flammable do react with oxygen and can do so explosively when dispersed as a dust, others are just not combustible period, including sand and concrete dust.

  8. Olivier FAURE says:

    Overall, the episode was okay. The scenes with the Starks were kind of dumb, awkward, and under-exploited, but moving all the same (also IT’S JOFFREY’S DAGGER, JUST SAY IT ALREADY). The scene where the guards stop Arya is inexcusable. We already had one in season 1, that went exactly the same way, except shorter and less dumb.

    The stuff with Daenerys and Jon was garbage. I actually liked her asking him for advice, but the advice he gives is completely useless. (I like to imagine that immediately afterwards Tyrion said “Or else we could use the dragons to attack the Lannister column?”)

    The Tarly+Lannister stuff was both the best and the worst. Aside from the final battle, I liked the part where Dickon complains about killing people he used to hunt with (because YES, that is the sort of awkward problems you run into when you overthrow your liege). The bad part is, it highlights how ridiculous the whole treason is. Why is Randyll Tarly fine with looting all food and riches from the lands he’s supposed to take over?

    And like the show points out, noble families tend to send their kids / nephews / etc to each other, precisely to strengthen ties and avoid that kind of treason. Shouldn’t there have been Tarly’s and/or other Tyrell bannermen in that cathedral Cersei blew up?

    • Matt says:

      I actually hadn’t thought of the fact that surely Randyll Tarly would be the new Lord of the Reach. So Bronn speculating about taking over Highgarden makes even less sense for me now.

      • AndrewCC says:

        Highgarden isn’t the immutable capital of the Reach. It’s only because the Tyrells live there. If Tarly is the new Warden of the Reach, he would stay in his own ancestral home, then Highgarden is just another castle. And Bronn can have it.

        • Matt says:

          I’m not sure I agree with this. Highgarden is a more prestigious and valuable seat for a noble house than Horn Hill. Even though I disagree with his assessment, Bronn calls it “the biggest prize in the world.”

          It’s also not unprecedented – the Boltons move in to Winterfell once they captured it.

          Also, after thousands of years of Highgarden being the capital under House Gardener and then a couple hundred more under House Tyrell, I think it would be pretty firmly seated in custom and in the minds of the people as being the seat of the ruling House.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I actually liked her asking him for advice

      My reaction to that was “No!Dont ask him!He knows nuffin,and he had to be bailed out of every decision he made by someone else!”

      Why is Randyll Tarly fine with looting all food and riches from the lands he’s supposed to take over?

      Id like to know that too.The last we saw him,he was ambiguous about who he is supporting,but practically saying “fuck you” to the lannisters.

  9. BlueHorus says:

    [Arya’s scene] is a reference to the Odyssey, when Odysseus returns after years away and no one recognizes him.

    Why is there a reference to classical literature here? What purpose does it serve? Why does it need to take nearly three minutes of screen time to complete?

    God-DAMN it, GoT. Either turn into terrible, glorious shlock OR make an effort to go back to the intelligent show you were.
    The current state of ‘badly, sloppily written schlock that nevertheless takes itself seriously’ is painful and annoying.

    You can have dick poisons, the Fookin’ Legend of Gin Alley and Euron Greyjoy, OR you can have classical references, believable twists and expect us to take your military conflicts seriously.
    Try to have both, and they undermine each other.

    • Preciousgollum says:

      It does beg the question of how did Bran get in so easily without having the stupid guards scene… I mean, he looks TOTALLY different from Season 1 lol, whereas Arya doesn’t. In fact, maybe having the (Laurel-and-)guard(y) talk against Brandon *I literally know everything but don’t care* Stark would have been a better scene than what we got with Arya.

      Also, I don’t think ‘crippled legs’ are a form of identification, even in Westeros.

      Pointless and irritating scene. It was probably put in just so people didn’t complaint of Deja Vu with Bran & Arya back at Winterfell.

    • name says:

      A completely unnecessary classical reference is the worst kind of shlock. Trying to look smart by emulating “the kind of stuff smart people would do I guess” makes you look dumber than you already are. It just reeks of pretense in the most punchable way.

  10. Rizki Agustian says:

    Am I the only one who was bothered by the fact that Daenerys tried to remove the spear attached to Dracarys IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FROLICKING BATTLEFIELD? There was no reason for her to endanger herself and her dragon like that. She could have just fallen back and tried to treat the wound once they were at a safe distance… She could have died from a stray arrow or, a guy with a spear or something…

    • Steve C says:

      That’s a really good point. Except that I don’t think it was a choice. The dragon was coming down. Period. It was a controlled landing but it wasn’t a desired landing. I’m going to take it as the dragon simply cannot fly with the bolt lodged in it like that.

    • Olivier FAURE says:

      I think it made sense as a panicked reaction. I’m more bothered that none of the Dothrakis who saw their queen land in the middle of a warzone bothered to form an escort around her, or to hunt down the guy maneuvering the highly-visible ballista shooting at her.

      Protect your Queen, assholes.

      • Preciousgollum says:

        …Because they had to mimick the dramatic bits of The Battle of The Pelennor Fields (Lord of The Rings) I.e that bit where Eowyn faces off against the Witch King.

        The problem is that individual acts of heroism make sense in Lord of The Rings, but not so much in Game Of Thrones.

        I really hope the writers show some restraint and KEEP JAMIE DEAD.

        I somewhat enjoyed the whole ‘He’s saved!… Oh sh*t Armour scene… Drowned. Think of all the other people who’s only instinct would have been to get to water and stop the burns… only to Drown, which is like the opposite of Fire, man.

        Bronn being alive is fine. Bronn doesn’t wear armour.

        • Steve C says:

          There’s no chance Jamie dies there. None. Bronn will pull him out of the lake or Dany will by using the dragon. Jamie has to continue to live to be betrayed by Cersei.

          My (small) bet is that Dany will offer a prisoner exchange. Jamie for the crazy Dorn woman and the useful Greyjoy. Cersei will refuse, thereby betraying Jamie. Jamie’s arc will be complete when Cersei orders Kings Landing set on fire and Jamie kills her for it.

          • BlueHorus says:

            I’ll take that bet. I think playing Terrible Predictions is more fun (less cathartic) than endless nitpicking.

            So. He’ll just be alive next episode, and he’ll have one line, like ‘Gee, thanks for pulling me out that lake, and dragging me back to King’s Landing, Bronn! You’re such a bro!’
            (‘…no, you can’t have enough money for a suit of armor as thanks.’)
            Then they’ll never mention it again.

            Jamie is being kept around so that he can finally snap and kill Cersei in a DRAMATIC CHARACTER MOMENT nearer the end of the series.
            While personally I’m hoping for the dick poison (poisoned dicks) to show up again – as a hilariously bad method of murder-suicide – the show will probably go with Steve’s idea of Cersei wanting to burn the city and Jamie killing her. It’s like poetry!

            • I do hope that happens, Jamie kills Cercei would seem fitting. Their decisions have caused all their children to die.
              My prediction. Cercei tries to kill Tyrion and Jamie kills her instead, saving Tyrion (to his surprise).
              I’m also predicting that Jamie at this point is dying due to Recent combat wounds. and they’ll die in each others arms (a nice nod to Romeo and Juliet and a “forbidden” love).

          • Preciousgollum says:

            Yes, you are probably right 😣, including the ‘Jamie kills Cerci’ arc.

            I had earlier written a little twist to that tale, by which Arya fools Jamie into killing Cerci, but everybody pretends that Cerci is still alive (and it becomes ‘no-one’ Arya trolling the kingdom in disguise). Jamie might be the only guy that knows about this, and gets sent off to the loony asylum for ranting about how his sister/lover is dead, and that ‘Cerci’ is a fake.

            And thus ‘Cerci’ (Arya) brings an end to the wars of the living… and maybe does some weird things while disguised as Cerci, for a bit of comedic revenge and damage to reputation for the sake of posterity.

          • Olivier Faure says:

            It would be really neat if Jaime drowned here, then was resurrected by one of the Ironborn priests in Daenerys’ army. (I’m 70% sure they can do that in the books; unless I’m confused and it’s just their weird baptism thing).

            • Droid says:

              As I understood, they just hold you underwater until you stop breathing (from unconsciousness), then drag you back to the shore, pump the water out of your lungs, do a bit of CPR, and you’ll be mostly fine again. Bit of brain damage perhaps, but it’s not like they used theirs anyway.

              • guy says:

                That seems to be about the size of it; they may have some supernatural help to make it always work for some of the priests, but it looks to be mainly CPR rather than raising people from being all the way dead.

      • BlueHorus says:

        So this seems as good a time as any to point out how stupid it is that the Dothraki follow her at all – she’s literally just an ex-slave who burned all their leaders alive, in their holy city!

        See, if she’d tried that shit in the books/earlier seasons of the show:
        1) The Khals (brutal, mongol-inspired reaver warlords, remember) would have beaten and/or raped her senseless the instant she started giving them lip in the middle of their meeting.
        2) The Khals would have definately done something better that wave their arms in panic and looked surprised once she started setting everything on fire.
        3) The hut with all the Khals in it has just burned down, and the only survivor is a smug slave-girl. So obviously, the Dothraki scream ‘That bitch has killed our Khals!’, drag her out of Vaes Dothrak and kill her.

        …oh no, wait. They don’t. They declare her queen, sail across the ‘poison water’ that they hate to go and fight in a foreign country in her name, then spend doing nothing on dragonstone until she remembers she bought them.

        In a way, it’s fitting that they aren’t protecting her in the battle – but it’s obviously not by design or writer intent.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Its kind of hard to defy someone who is literally standing in a live fire without being burned at all.

          • BlueHorus says:

            While it is believable that Dany surviving the fire would surprise the Dothraki (to say the least) – going from ‘what the hell?’ to ‘she’s the queen now, let’s go against hundreds of years of our history and do everything she says’ is somewhat of a stretch.

            And so much of that Dany’s plan relied on the Khals – again, brutal warlords who got and maintain their position by being the toughest, killing-est, raping-ist guy around – NOT hitting her while she antagonizes them. Even out of spite, once they know they’re locked into a burning building. There should have been a mysteriously-unburned battered corpse left in the ashes of that building.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              If you are caught in a burning building would you focus on getting out or punching the person who set it ablaze that is just standing there?

              • BlueHorus says:

                In a one-roomed hut? With four/five other guys already battering at the only door? I’d hit her.
                Especially if I was carrying a weapon, as they all were.

                But the better answer is that the situation wouldn’t have happened because she whould have been attacked before the room ever caught fire. Slave-keeping societies aren’t exactly famous for letting their property get away with insubordination.

      • name says:

        You can’t possibly be bothered by this when a moment later, Jamie sinks to the bottom of the mariana trench that lies underneath what is established to be very shallow water 15 seconds earlier. The show can clearly do whatever it wants when it wants to, don’t be a hater. Make your own show if you are so smart.

        I guess we could argue the whole sinking bit is intentionally surreal or something, perhaps Jamie is going through a hallucination of some sort or some crap like that. But I wouldn’t count on it. My guess is that they’re constantly testing just how dumb they can make the whole thing without being swarmed by complaints and then use that knowledge to gauge how lazy they can be while raking in the cash. The amount of stupidity that constantly just piles on and on is simply not consistent with what you’d expect of fully functioning human beings. At this point you have to assume it’s either intentional or the show is run exclusively by the mentally handicapped.

      • Regarding Daenerys panic, I agree. She felt responsible for Her dragon getting hurt. She saw the first spear but ignored it. She isn’t completely heartless yet.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      There was no reason for her to endanger herself and her dragon like that.

      To be fair,she is not a fighter.Her first reaction is to help her baby.Even though its stupid to try it at that point.Also,if this bolt is made in any competent manner,it should be barbed so you cant just yank it out like that.

      • Ilseroth says:

        This is the exact conclusion I came to was “Why land in the battlefield, you had some control still, land away from the battlefield to do this.” But seeing her hop off and ineffectively start tugging on the bolt, ignoring the war going on around her. She’s used to them being pretty much invulnerable badasses at this point, so she freaked.

        That said, if she had just used all 3 dragons (as opposed to letting the other two just chill) she probably could have just completely destroyed the entire army before a response could be had… I mean, if the enemy has dragons, mobilizing any kind of land army outside of fortifications would be straight suicide.

        The reasoning that they have going for them is that Dany doesn’t want to just melt the opposition and actually be considered a new rule, a better one, not someone who would blow up a major religious building, with all of the priests and a large portion of the nobles and royals in attendance.

        It’s part of the reason they keep having to come up with reasons for her to fail. If she literally just had her dragons, she would be an overwhelming force that could take out armies before they can react. But she also has the largest army. This sucks of course, because that means the only way she can fail is to make her dumb. And since she is reliant on Tyrion, they have to make him dumb. (Unless he actually is a double agent, but the only Lannister he has anything close to approaching decent feelings for is Jamie.)

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          It could be that she used just one dragon because she can only ride one,and her people would be there as well.Having two uncontrollable flame throwers around would end up badly for them.

          • That and the CGI budget. :P

            Also the other two are probably guarding the castle. Unless… where is that E…whatever greyjoy fleet right now? Could Daenerys have been clever enough to have sent them on a rampage there at the same time? (or perhaps she can not instruct them that well yet))

        • Droid says:

          Does the whole Tysha arc exist in GoT? In the books, Tyrion feels deeply betrayed by Jaime because he revealed that Tysha was not a whore after all and Tywin just made him say so to “break” Tyrion. Which in turn made Tyrion respond that he killed Joffrey, just to hurt Jaime. So they’re not exactly buddies, either.

    • Name says:

      You can’t possibly be bothered by this when a moment later, Jamie sinks to the bottom of the mariana trench that lies underneath what is established to be very shallow water 15 seconds earlier. The show can clearly do whatever it wants when it wants to, don’t be a hater. Make your own show if you are so smart.

      I guess we could argue the whole sinking bit is intentionally surreal or something, perhaps Jamie is going through a hallucination of some sort or some sort of bullshit like that. But I wouldn’t count on it. My guess is that they’re constantly testing just how dumb they can make the whole thing without being swarmed by complaints and then use that knowledge to gauge how lazy they can be while raking in the cash. The amount of stupidity that constantly just piles on and on is simply not consistent with what you’d expect of fully functioning human beings. At this point you have to assume it’s either intentional or run by complete mental retards.

    • name says:

      You can’t possibly be bothered by this when a moment later, Jamie sinks to the bottom of the mariana trench that lies underneath what is established to be very shallow water 15 seconds earlier. The show can clearly do whatever it wants when it wants to, don’t be a hater. Make your own show if you are so smart.

      I guess we could argue the whole sinking bit is intentionally surreal or something, perhaps Jamie is going through a hallucination of some sort or some sort of crap like that. But I wouldn’t count on it. My guess is that they’re constantly testing just how dumb they can make the whole thing without being swarmed by complaints and then use that knowledge to gauge how lazy they can be while raking in the cash. The amount of stupidity that constantly just piles on and on is simply not consistent with what you’d expect of fully functioning human beings. At this point you have to assume it’s either intentional or run by complete mental retards.

  11. Harper says:

    I think at this point, nitpicking the show is useless because the very foundation of the show is empty, it collapsed dramatically a long time ago.
    Season 7 is the perfect demonstration of that collapse. One simple change and the whole season is an illogical mess, and that is the absence of Young Griff/Aegon.
    Even if you think Martin put him in the story too late and without buildup, season 7 shows us how essential he is to the narrative, as without him we have a Varys who’s been sitting on his ass for seven seasons( six seasons if you want to be generous in thinking he as planning for Viserys to come in with the Dothraki) and you have an opposing faction for Dany to confront unified under a woman who has no legal claim to the throne and head of a House that’s widely hated, and whose main source of income has “dried up”.

    • name says:

      Well yeah, pointing out flaws in GoT at this point is like pointing out a turd in a septic pit. But when there’s no sign of the sixth book coming out any time soon and you have to watch this thing or have it all spoiled by simply leaving your house and overhearing a conversation… Well, you’re already neck deep in fecal matter, might as well marvel at the delights. It just leaves you in that sort of mood, you know?

  12. Amarsir says:

    “Which Lady Stark?” was obviously stupid to me too, for the reasons noted. However, upon reflection I figured it’s not impossible that there had been a marriage. Perhaps Jon had taken the Stark name and then married. Or Bran (although that’s a bigger leap). Hell, for all she knows Benjen returned from the wall when Jon did and it’s his wife or daughter.

    I mean yeah, the question’s still 90% stupid, in a conversation that should have gone differently in a scene that shouldn’t be there. (TV never even had the “Fake Arya” storyline so there isn’t even that reason for their skepticism.) But I do like the representation of incomplete knowledge. It’s bad enough when people jetpack on this show. I don’t need them omniscient too.

  13. Nessus says:

    So, forgive me if this is answered in the books or something (however relevant the books are to the show anymore), but why do we care about Valyrian steel blades anymore, apart from as some kind of symbol of office? You’ve got some real live dragons now. You can just spend an evening turning a chunk of beach into enough dragon glass to outfit an entire army.

    Sure it’s not as durable as steel, but it’s a thousand times better than only a literal handful of magic steel weapons. Hardest thing about it would be finding someone who actually knows how to lapp stone, and… oh, hey, check out all these neolithic tribespeople refugees we’ve also got now.

    Pedantry:
    From the screencap, that looks like a siege crossbow (or… anti-aircraft crossbow?), not a ballista. “Ballista” isn’t a word for “giant crossbow”: it’s actually a different weapon powered by a different kind of mechanism. Crossbows use leaf-spring arms that flex and snap back. A ballista uses pivoting rigid arms tensioned by a knot of twisted rope at the joint.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      but why do we care about Valyrian steel blades anymore, apart from as some kind of symbol of office?

      Because we cant have randos clash with the threat built up over seven seasons,we have to equip our main characters to have them fight the dead.

    • Olivier FAURE says:

      Obsidian makes for pretty crappy weapons; it can’t go through steel and it shatters on impact so an obsidian sword isn’t going to last long in a swordfight. They’re only useful against White Walkers (the white things that create zombies, not the zombies), so most armies wouldn’t use them.

      Against the zombie army, Valyrian swords aren’t really relevant. In the civil war context, they’re important because they’re a symbol of prestige, and they’re ridiculously sharp and quasi-indestructible. Brienne uses hers against the Boltons, and in that scene she shatters one guy’s sword by hitting it really hard, and generally goes through their armors like butter.

      • Merzendi says:

        Small thing, the showrunners have said that in their universe, dragonglass is effective against Wights as well as Others.

      • Nessus says:

        I was thinking in terms of the White Walker menace. Between the effort to account for Valyrian steel blades and the business about a cache of dragon glass under Dragonstone, it seems clear that the writers are trying to hype the audience for the inevitable major conflict on that front. In-story, Jon and Sam are thinking about that too (though granted Jon has the civil war on his plate in the meantime).

        But if Jon and Dany are allied, or if Dany merely believes Jon about the Walkers even if she doesn’t ally with him, that eliminates the urgency surrounding Valerian steel or dragonglass. Because Dany can easily create dragon glass by the ton if she wants/needs.

        And while obsidian does not compare to steel (or even bronze) as a raw material, against wights and walkers it’s pretty binary: regular weapons are useless, dragon glass works. Something is better than nothing, and winter is coming. You don’t have to get fancy with it: just start cranking out offhand daggers, spear points, arrowheads, even just glass studded clubs and knuckles, or flails that are just a halfbrick of glass on a chain.

    • Vermander says:

      They actually refer to it in the episode as a “scorpion,” which I believe is the correct name for that type of weapon.

      Interestingly, they do exist in universe, and one was actually used to kill one of Aegon’s original three dragons several centuries prior.

    • guy says:

      In the books, it’s indicated that Dragonglass is pretty good against White Walkers but Valyrian Steel just wins; according to legend a hero used a blade of “dragonsteel” and no Wight or Other could stand against him.

    • Droid says:

      Counter-Pedantry:
      Ballista, meaning “thrower”, was the Greek / Roman term for torsion artillery that had non-constant curvature (like a recurve bow). Scorpions were also torsion artillery (with constant curvature, though, like a longbow), so they also did not function like a crossbow. However, the Greeks did use crossbow-like artillery that they may have called “catapults” (I know…) which had less range than the torsion engines that supplanted them during the 4th century BC (the advantage of torsion artillery became obvious when Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great, could siege down cities with outdated defensive artillery in a fraction of the expected time due to superior range and force).

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,I forgot,why did the assassin have that dagger in the first place?Other than joffrey,I cant think of a lannister stupid enough to give such a thing to a random assassin.And I dont remember joffrey having a reason to want to finish bran off.

    • Harper says:

      The book hints that Joffrey did it to impress his father, who he heard talking about how pitiable Bran’s condition was and how he wouldn’t want to live with it himself

      • Olivier FAURE says:

        I actually really liked that reveal, and the fact that it comes way after Joffrey’s death and everyone almost forgot about the incident.

        It’s just one of the hundred things Joffrey did for stupid reasons that screwed everyone up. By the time it’s brought up, it’s too late to do anything about it, and most people who knew or cared are now dead. The fucker basically took the secret to his grave.

    • Joshua says:

      It’s never really explained in the books why the assassin was given a Valyrian steel dagger. Yeah, the “assassin” was just a camp follower and the dagger might make his job easier, but the point was for him to quietly sneak into the room and kill a sleeping child while everyone else was distracted by a fire, so having a dagger be sharper doesn’t seem like a necessity.

      Joffrey isn’t identified as the culprit until the 3rd book, and it came across to me as more of a belated explanation to fill up a plot-hole that GRRM hadn’t yet decided the resolution for when he wrote it. I would think it’s one of his weaker plotlines. He describes himself as more of a gardener than an architect, so I imagine there’s a lot of plot where he lays the groundwork for earlier and decides the answers to later; this was just one of the ones that didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

      It actually would be really interesting if GRRM finishes all of the books were he to come out and say what his initial plans were (originally a trilogy!), and what he came up with later. The R+L=J thing was obviously one of the original plans.

      • Harper says:

        The fact that Tyrion didn’t pursue the dagger plot line when he was in Kings Landing was silly as was waiting so long to address it, but the explanation for Joffrey doing it made sense character-wise. He was seeking Robert’s approval when he was alive and looked up to him and he was stupid enough to give a cutthroat a massively expensive dagger.
        It wouldn’t have been a huge plot hole without Joffrey either, both Littlefinger and Cersei had reason enough to do it

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Sure,but those two would at least have sense to not give such an expensive and recognizable thing to a random cutthroat.

          • Harper says:

            Littlefinger improvising the whole “claim it was my dagger and Tyrion won it off me” thing means he’s ballsy enough to have planned it out that way. He likes to show off to the people he’s screwing over, which is why he mocked Tyrion in Kings Landing by visibly wearing that same dagger

            • Joshua says:

              Littlefinger’s gambit here has always struck me as overly risky*, but it does tend to be in character for him. So far, he does seem to have a bit of plot armor for getting away with these schemes that could easily get him killed for questionable gain, but this particular trait is something I’m willing to forgive for narrative convention.

              *He’s counting on neither Catelyn nor Ned thinking it odd that Tyrion would bet against his own brother in a tournament.

              • Harper says:

                I wouldn’t call it plot armor( certainly not when compared to the kid of plot armor Ramsay and Cersei were given on the show), it fits in with the setting.
                Littlefinger is lowborn, the Major Lords don’t think he’s a threat because they’ve been raised to believe it and Catelyn still sees LF as her childhood friend and the boy who got thrashed by Brandon Stark

        • Joshua says:

          That’s the official “explanation” given in ASOS by Jaime who is merely speculating. I only really recall two instances of “craving attention: 1. The whole cutting out the kittens thing, when he was young. 2. When Joffrey rebukes Tywin for being “cowardly” where Robert would have (theoretically) been bold.

          Other than that, is there a lot in the books that supports this Joffrey emulates Robert idea? When Cersei tries to blame Joffrey’s poor behavior on Robert’s parenting, everyone at the council knows that Cersei herself is the one that Joffrey has been emulating.

          This is definitely a YMMV, but the explanation two books later didn’t work for me. I said plot hole earlier, but that was incorrect. “Unexplained mystery” would have been a better term. I think of it like Lost where in the first episode or two there’s a giant broken statue of a foot that only has four toes, and then they try to “explain” it five years later.

          I tend to dislike the explanation because it requires a specific level of cunning/idiocy from Joffrey that conveniently serves the plot, all in the name of pleasing a distant father who won’t/can’t find out about his actions.

          • Harper says:

            Looking for his approval was probably a stretch on my part. I would now say he was emulating his father rather than seeking his approval, he does hold him in high regard even as much a Mama’s boy as he is. There’s mention of him showing Robert dead or dissected kittens as a young child and he does insult his grandfather by comparing the two.
            Its using the dagger that makes perfect sense to me, he’s a Lannister a Prince and 14, just spoiled and dumb enough to give a cutthroat valeryian steel

          • Olivier Faure says:

            I remember two moments:

            – The “dissected cats” moment; Joffrey shows cats he’s killed to Robert, Robert gets furious and beats Joffrey up, Cersei threatens to kill Robert if he ever does that again.

            – In one of their war councils, Joffrey insults Tywin and goes “My father would never do this, he was the awesomest, he won the war against the Mad King while you were cowering” or something like that.

            The implication is that Joffrey admired his father and listened to him, but since they didn’t interact much, he mostly took after his mother.

  15. Deadpool says:

    Dany flies around in an invincible machine of death… until she encounters the one enemy unit that can damage it: the ballista.

    And instead of letting her ground troops, more or less invulnerable to the ballista, take it down she uses her most powerful asset in a head on Attack against the one thing that can damage it.

    I’m guessing she is terrible at playing rock, paper scissors…

    • Amarsir says:

      Dany shouldn’t even have been doing flybys at that point, since the chance of friendly fire is so great. Come in once to create an opening. Come by again perpendicular to destroy any line that hasn’t collapsed. Then back off, job done. To hang around deliberately targeting wagons and taking the only threat as a personal insult is dumb.

      And yet I never suspected for a second she’d die. Her plot armor is just that strong.

  16. Falcon02 says:

    One thing that’s been bothering me…

    The Starks are (marginally) suspicious of Little Finger. No one trusts him, but he’s walking around Winterfell without a worry because he helped bail out Jon…

    Aside from my general disbelief at him somehow taking over the Eyrie, and getting everyone onboard with it… (Timing of the lady’s marriage and death are a bit… convenient)

    Why has no one seemed to address that Littlefinger was instrumental in the betrayal of Eddard?! When it all went down in Season 1 Littlefinger didn’t seem to make much secret of it at the time (I seem to recall him holding a knife to Eddard in the middle of the King’s Court). So why does it seem like no one wants to hold him to account for his betrayal?

    Is all forgiven because he gave Catlyn Ned’s remains? Has this been addressed some other way that I’m forgetting? Is Littlefinger’s role in betraying Ned actually supposed to be some sort of secret only the audience and Lannisters know? Or are the Starks just too afraid doing anything to Littlefinger would make an enemy of the Eyrie?

    Because each time I see Littlefinger walking around Winterfell, I keep thinking back to his Season 1 Betrayal and how he really should be in their dungeon or something right now…

  17. Wraith says:

    Funny enough Littlefinger trying to show off the dagger to Bran and lie about his intentions was the most in-character thing he’s done in three seasons.

  18. I like how Sansa saying that everyone who knew his face is dead is a self-refuting statement, she being his daughter and all.

  19. I really enjoyed this episode. And when finally Martin finishes the books I’ll enjoy reading those and see how he tackles all this stuff. (and maybe Bob can rant about the books?)

    Dany’s army did take some losses in this fight but should still be quite strong.
    Eron-whatever’s boat army is still strong though.
    Jamie’s army got shredded and lost at least half the soldiers, next ep we’ll see how bad it was.
    The north has less than 10000 men/women/kids that can fight.

    How large is the white walker army now?

    I’m guessing the writers has set things up such that army vs army the dead vs jon’s army+dany’s army vs Cercei’s army are now pretty even.

    Which means it is the “hero pieces” that will determine the outcome.
    Night king, Stark siblings, Jon Snow, Dany, Tyrion, Cercei.
    Some as commanding pieces others as warriors pieces.

  20. I’m gonna predict the ending of Game of Thrones.

    Cercei tries to kill Tyrion and Jamie kills her instead, saving Tyrion (to his surprise). Jamie at this point is dying due to recent combat wounds. and they’ll die in each others arms (a nice nod to Romeo and Juliet and a “forbidden” love).

    Tyrion ends up sitting on the throne with the ruins of a city around him as the Queens hand.

    The white walkers are defeated (for now) and the dragons are patrolling the wall.

    Jon and Dany hook up.

    Bran warns that another winter is coming soon and Jon and Dany start preparing.

    Sansa becomes queen of the north (Jon has no interest in this title).

    Arya goes after Littlefinger and the rest of her list.

    This is stuff that’d I’d want to see done. But the show has surprised me in the past, so we’ll see what the showrunners have planned I guess.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Jon and Dany hook up.

      And thus the show would end the way it began:With incest.

      • I’m not sure what exactly quality as incest. At some level everyone on this planet is related to each other.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/game-of-thrones-are-jon-snow-and-daenerys-targaryen-related-2016-6?r=US&IR=T&IR=T

        As per that chart it looks like Jon Snow is Daenerys Targaryen’s half nephew.

        (I could always pull out the Adam and Eve card, the book mentioning them certainly has no issues with incest but that’s a rather easy target.)

        Heck, even in relatively modern Europe (not that may decades ago) royal cousins marrying cousins was not that unusual either.

        In GoT the two of them hooking up certainly wouldn’t be weird.

        Just checked Wikipedia “or members of the same clan or lineage”, so the meaning of the word itself can have as narrow (siblings) or wide (all descendants of Adam and Eve) as possible depending on the current whims of society.

        • Oddly enough humans have no issues with flowers, plants, horses, pigs, cats, dogs cows/bulls, trees, and food inbreeding. There bringing forth certain genetic traits is desirable even.

        • I read that chart slightly wrong, Jon seems to be the nephew of Dany, not half-nephew. Point still stands though.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I’m not sure what exactly quality as incest.

          Depending on the country,I think its between 4 and 6 steps of separation.Thats about whats needed to avoid certain undesirable genetic mutations.

          As for game of thrones,Im not sure about the show,but I think the books establish that the mad king was such a loon precisely because of all the inbreeding in their family.Also,just because many are doing it does not make it not weird.The lannister thing is certainly thought of as weird by all but the two of them.

          Oddly enough humans have no issues with flowers, plants, horses, pigs, cats, dogs cows/bulls, trees, and food inbreeding. There bringing forth certain genetic traits is desirable even.

          Not quite true.Depending on the animal in question,incest can bring forth a bunch of genetic anomalies,some of which are deadly for the offspring.Also,some of the things that are brought up by such things are usually not good for the animal,even though they “look cute”.Many do find such practices cruel precisely because of that.

          • “certain undesirable genetic mutations” that’s the interesting thing about genetics.
            I forgot exactly how this goes but inbreeding can also strengthen the hereditary genes.

            It’s regarding recessive and dominant genes. If both parents have “positive trait” genes then those will repress the chance for a negative so the offspring of their offspring will never be given negative traits.

            Obviously it can go the other way, if both parents have a bad genetic trait then their children’s children will get it too. (British family’s large ears for example is a milder such trait).

            Eugenics is an old idea (by the cousin of Darwin?) and it may become a thing again when the human race will need to “breed” humans to live in space or on other planets.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              I forgot exactly how this goes but inbreeding can also strengthen the hereditary genes.

              That is true.But,seeing just how many stuff are recessive like that,youll get a bunch of both positive and negative stuff as well.And the thing is,those wont cancel out,leading to the offspring accumulating more and more negative stuff until they either become sterile or start dying very young.

              Eugenics is an old idea (by the cousin of Darwin?) and it may become a thing again when the human race will need to “breed” humans to live in space or on other planets.

              Its been a thing since forever.Thats why inbreeding is rare,because it ends up killing the line.And thats why modern humans are taller,why plenty can drink milk even when they are adult,etc.

              • Droid says:

                “And thats why modern humans are taller,why plenty can drink milk even when they are adult,etc.”

                Aren’t both of those at least partly non-genetic? Humans are taller now because of better, more nourishing food, and people who drink a lot of milk can still do that because the lactase production never stops if it is always needed to break down your food (i.e. if you never stopped eating food containing at least a bit of lactose for long periods of time).

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Partially yes.In cases of milk,you cant just reactivate the lactose enzymes in wild mammals,unless you force them from birth to never have them switched off,by giving them milk regularly.Then their offspring will have a chance to have the enzymes be active for longer after having milk removed from their diet,and so on,and so on.

                  Same with height.Adult person will not suddenly grow taller if they get access to good food.But a developing child could.And then their offspring will have potential to grow even taller,and so on.

                  • Droid says:

                    That’s not what Darwin’s theory says. That’s Lamarck’s theory, the one Darwin’s theory supplanted. Lamarck’s theory states that organisms can pass on characteristics developed during their lifetime to their offspring. The Darwinian explanation is that through selection pressure (whether natural or through breeding), the organism that is most suited to the conditions present (most “fit”) will endure. A consequence of this simple theory is that the ultimate quality to measure an organism’s success is not whether it is better than anyone else at something, but whether it is “good enough” at that same thing. If there is enough food that you never have to spend a lot of energy hunting, about every carnivore will survive. When food grows scarcer, usually the ones least equipped for hunting will die out first. Of course, due to a lot of random factors, this is a probabilistic process, and sometimes luck really is or isn’t on your side. But the trend is there.

                    The Lamarckian theory on the other hand states that all hunters would gradually become more and more “fit” to hunt simply because they do it a lot. And that might be the case in such a scenario, if a species learns a technique from another. So there are scenarios where Lamarck’s theory could be applied, in this case because knowledge can carry over from everyone to anyone; however, that is not true for genetics. Genetic material only comes from one’s parents, and their genetic potential does not change from the time they were an embryo to the time of one’s siring(?). Of course, the genetic material in their body cells changes (getting activated/deactivated as needed), but not that of the cells used for meiosis (creation of sperm or egg cells). Therefore, Lamarck’s theory does not apply.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      Bran warns that another winter is coming soon and Jon and Dany start preparing.

      There hasn’t even been one winter yet.

      Odd cosmology: Winters in ASoIaF last several years but arrive at somewhat unpredictable intervals.

  21. Steve C says:

    One big failing of this episode of GoT is how lame the reunion of Arya and Sansa was. I’m surprised nobody mentioned it yet. There should have been *much* more emotion there.

    Sure they weren’t the best of friends as kids but they were always sisters that cared about each other. The primary reason they were on bad terms the last time they saw each other was because Sansa couldn’t see Joffrey for the monster he was. Imagine how much regret over never making up with a dead sister that was right to hate him. Then Arya is suddenly there at home and Sansa just smiles a little.

    There’s a RL video Maisie Williams made where she shows up unannounced as a surprise visit to Sophie Turner. Sophie does a little happy dance and starts crying. That was just them being normal humans and not seeing each other for a while! Now instead of that, imagine the reaction if Sophie thought Maisie was dead. Sure, the characters aren’t their actors but holy shit. It was two mild hugs and some terrible banter about their dead father! There’s no excuse to squash the real love those two actors share for each other when it comes to a big reunion on screen.

    • I think Sansa felt pensive (right term) due to how Bran was acting towards her. They have all changed since last they saw each other. It’s been many years (longer than what the series have run, right?)

      And Arya was unsure how to treat Sansa, was she Sansa the big sister or Lady Stark now?

      Please note that both Arya and Sana hugged Bran passionately. But hugged each other restrained. The writers wrote that I assume. I explained why I think so a paragraph or so above, no idea if that is what the writers intended though.

      In books we usually get to “hear” the thoughts of the characters. Thankfully the TV series do not do that, it really go well. They tried it with the original Blade Runner and they later discarded that thankfully.

    • “video Maisie Williams made where she shows up unannounced as a surprise visit to Sophie Turner”

      Aw, youtube link?

      • Steve C says:

        I tried looking for it when I made the post. I couldn’t find it again and gave up. I started to feel a little pervy scouring through a bunch of teenage girl videos.

  22. Steve C says:

    Behind the scenes view of the initial dragon attack:
    http://i.imgur.com/mFamH8e.gifv

  23. Cubic says:

    Drogon the Dragon. So it’s come to this.

  24. Anyone else think that Jamies reaction to hearing the dragon is possibly the best face/reaction in the series?
    The actor nailed that look. Give the man an Emmy.

  25. TronCat99 says:

    What really pisses me off is that Highgarden and the Reach have been repeatedly pictured as arguably the most powerful of the Seven Kingdoms…Even with the Tarly troops aiding the (by now) depalidated Lannister forces, vanquishing them should have been a tough feat. Instead we don’t even get a single battle scene nor an exposition on why it was so easy. Sorry D&D but this is bollocks! (I know that this actually refers to the previous episode but I just wanted to get this outta my system)

  26. Christy says:

    Not to leap to the defense of the show, but I think..

    For Bran, they are trying to convey that the character is detached because if you could see all of time and space, perhaps holding onto where you are might be extremely difficult. Not to mention he received a mostly-insignificant amount of training before he had all that info downloaded into his brain. Frankly its amazing he can string sentences together.
    ..plus it could be an “insanity” ploy to ensure the “Lord of Winterfell” title passes him by.

    Arya asking “Which Lady Stark” seems a bit valid, actually. Seeing as she hadn’t known what Jon was up to. He could very well have married a noble woman and had her set up as Lady Stark..

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>