Game of Thrones: First of His Name
May 4, 2014 10:50 PM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Many reunions, and many more bloody ends, in the fifth episode of Game of Thrones.

Poor Sansa. Poor, poor Sansa. OTOH, Cersei seems to be much more lucid than in recent times. . . which makes me suspicious, tbh.
posted by KathrynT (367 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Heck, poor Littlefinger.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:51 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I liked Cersei's line about little girls in light of the last few episodes.
posted by Justinian at 10:52 PM on May 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Tonight we learned that Littlefinger was the one who kicked off almost all the events of the series by putting Lysa up to poisoning Jon Arryn and writing to Cat to blame the Lannisters.

"WTF is Littlefinger's end game???" continues to be one of the most intriguing open questions of the series.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:52 PM on May 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


i am installing a find/replace script to change the name to Game of Egregiously Gratuitous Unnecessary Rape Scenes and i feel good about this decision since everything else is terrible
posted by elizardbits at 10:53 PM on May 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


i cheered at my tv like i was 12 again, and had just beat a really hard boss in metroid prime or something when bran warged in to hodor and started kicking ass.

like, holy shit.

the feels though, when hodor regains control and looks at the blood on his hands like "oh my god... what did i do"

I liked Cersei's line about little girls in light of the last few episodes.

watch people still not give it a rest that they just "dropped the effects of that scene" or that she's like, not upset enough to meet their standards or whatever.

they're pretty much beating us over the head with how much she realizes everything sucks for women in this universe, like almost to the exaggerated level of the lady of the eyrie recapping everything littlefinger did again.
posted by emptythought at 10:54 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Game of Egregiously Gratuitous Unnecessary Rape Scenes

Nobody got raped tonight, though. In fact, was there even any nudity?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:54 PM on May 4, 2014


no, but now that everyone has mounted that horse they're not getting off any time soon
posted by emptythought at 10:56 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"WTF is Littlefinger's end game???" continues to be one of the most intriguing open questions of the series.

I think he's been pretty open about that: he wants everything. To rule it all. And he's on his way: he was named Lord Paramount of the Trident making him a Great Lord which gave him the social standing to marry Lisa Arryn making him Lord of the Vale. He's now Lord of 2 of the 7 (8, technically…) kingdoms.

i am installing a find/replace script to change the name to Game of Egregiously Gratuitous Unnecessary Rape Scenes and i feel good about this decision since everything else is terrible

What was egregious? There was no nudity. And it makes perfect sense in context. These are rapists and killers who have a woman captive. They're not going to be discussing the merit of women's sexual agency over tea.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:57 PM on May 4, 2014


The themes of this episode where REALLY explicit. Like, it was in every plotline: The weak and marginalized against the powerful and the strong. Dani's slave rebellions being crushed, Arya's sword master being killed by a fool, Pod killing a Kingsguard from the back, that same scene repeating with Jon, Bran saving everyone via Hodor, even the Crown's dependance on the Tyrells for money and debts to the Iron Bank. The line is clear, being powerful doesn't mean you're invincible, and successful attacks will come from where you least expect.

FUNNY HOW WE HAD A LOT OF SANSA IN AN EPISODE WITH THESE THEMES.
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 PM on May 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


I liked how Craster's daughter-wives took back some of their agency tonight. They're done with men and are gonna go do their own thing now, thanks.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:57 PM on May 4, 2014 [13 favorites]




In fact, was there even any nudity?

I guess they felt that kid had grown too old to actually show him breastfeeding anymore.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:00 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is kind of like they took a look at Meera, thought, hey, here's a woman who's plot line doesn't have any rape in it at all let's fix that.
posted by rewil at 11:00 PM on May 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Oh my god, when Bran was looking at that tree, I couldn't help but picture the Fantastic Mr. Fox there, doing the Clooney whistle thing, so I whipped up photoshop to make that a reality.
posted by mathowie at 11:02 PM on May 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Seems like they've dialed back the sexposition this season quite a bit. There hasn't been anything comparable to Bath Time With Viserys much less 2 Girls 1 Littlefinger. There have been those few scenes with Oberyn and Ellaria but they're positively tame by comparison.
posted by Justinian at 11:03 PM on May 4, 2014


Why does everyone think egregious means naked

do you not have access to dictionaries

where in my comment did i mention nudity, did i use a secret code, please explain
posted by elizardbits at 11:04 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


The themes of this episode where REALLY explicit.

Yea, i mean i know i just touched on the Lysa and Littlefinger scene above, but that was like club over the head explicit. Like how he and Olenna both had scenes clarifying the purple wedding super explicitly.

I feel like the entire show is getting dumbed down to some super easily to swallow level like some kind of saturday morning cartoon masters of the universe shit. and every episode this season has been on a downward trajectory in this regard, imo.
posted by emptythought at 11:05 PM on May 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Elizardbits, i think everyone is disagreeing because like... no actual rape happened on screen. There was the threat of it, which i agree is lazy for reasons mentioned in previous threads, but it doesn't really change the fact that there weren't any rape scenes in this episode.
posted by emptythought at 11:06 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


dumbed down to some super easily to swallow level like some kind of saturday morning cartoon masters of the universe shit

Whoa, whoa, whoa. No.

Masters of the Universe was on weekdays.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:07 PM on May 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Why does everyone think egregious means naked

do you not have access to dictionaries



e·gre·gious [ih-gree-juhs, -jee-uhs]
adjective
1. extraordinary in some bad way; glaring

The scene just didn't seem especially bad, especially compared to other rape scenes in the show. The bad guy hoisted her up, made some threats, then left. She wasn't stripped naked, wasn't harmed at all (though maybe he cut her, I forget).
posted by Sangermaine at 11:07 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


When Cersei was talking to Margaery about Tomen, it felt to me like she was being genuinely candid and diplomatic in reaching out to her, and Margaey blew it. Did anyone else feel that way?
posted by homunculus at 11:08 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


The scene just didn't seem especially bad, especially compared to other rape scenes in the show

It was harder to watch for me than anything else this show has put on screen.
posted by KathrynT at 11:09 PM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I thought that scene was another example of Show Cersei being much less of an idiot than book Cersei, homunculus.
posted by Justinian at 11:10 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


The scene just didn't seem especially bad, especially compared to other rape scenes in the show.

That's nice. Nevertheless at no point did I claim that I was offended by some imaginary nudity. Please refrain from rephrasing my comments to suit yourself.
posted by elizardbits at 11:11 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


When Cersei was talking to Margaery about Tomen, it felt to me like she was being genuinely candid and diplomatic in reaching out to her, and Margaey blew it. Did anyone else feel that way?

Yeah, a bit. But, then, I thought Cercei was going to bite Margaery's head off for making presumptuous eyes at Tommen, and was pretty surprised when she was (wisely) all chummy instead.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:12 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


GrapeApiary's prediction about Bran warging Hodor came true, but once again I thought he didn't really have a choice. It's a slippery slope though, and probably only a matter of time before he abuses it.
posted by homunculus at 11:12 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nevertheless at no point did I claim that I was offended by some imaginary nudity.

Who said you did?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:12 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


The thing is, I think Cersei is being completely clear-eyed and open now. It's the Family Business. She's only got one son left, a daughter down in Dorne. I think we can take everything Cersei is saying at face value. She's all out of cards save the "getting her brother killed for murdering her son" one, but she mostly seemed resigned to her fate, weary. Tommen in King, Joffery is dead, why even not be Loras' wife? Who cares? Lots of wine.
posted by The Whelk at 11:12 PM on May 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


When Cersei was talking to Margaery about Tomen, it felt to me like she was being genuinely candid and diplomatic in reaching out to her, and Margaey blew it. Did anyone else feel that way?

To me it read like Cersei was baiting her to say something bad about Joffrey, at which point she could flip out on her for hating him. The entire thing felt like a police interrogation with leading/trick questions. I think Margaery handled it really, really smoothly by basically just letting Cersei lead it without really walking down any corridors of it too far and getting walled in.

I still, honestly, don't totally believe that Cersei is on board with Margaery marrying tommen.
posted by emptythought at 11:13 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I took it as her pragmatically deciding to play it straight for Tommen's sake so she does not lose another child.
posted by rewil at 11:13 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing is, I think Cersei is being completely clear-eyed and open now. It's the Family Business.

The BEST part was the look on Tywin's face where you can see him wondering if she's just saying what he wants to hear or if he's actually underestimated her.
posted by elizardbits at 11:14 PM on May 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Please refrain from rephrasing my comments to suit yourself.

No one's rephrasing anything, I think you're just misreading us. We're saying, "We don't think it was 'egregiously gratuitous', they didn't even show any nudity".
posted by Sangermaine at 11:14 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was going to make one of these myself but, predictably, someone beat me to it: Mission Accomplished.
posted by Justinian at 11:16 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Michiel Huisman, the actor who plays Daario 2.0, is also on this season of Orphan Black. It must be fantastic as an actor to be on both GOT and OB. Now if only they could clone dragons...
posted by homunculus at 11:18 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


The entire thing felt like a police interrogation with leading/trick questions.

YES THIS I kept waiting for her to whirl around and say AHA but ugh Margaery is so fucking gloriously magnificently cunning, so completely believable and help i love her so much QUEEN MARGAERY FOREVER
posted by elizardbits at 11:19 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


GrapeApiary's prediction about Bran warging Hodor came true, but once again I thought he didn't really have a choice. It's a slippery slope though, and probably only a matter of time before he abuses it.

Hasn't he already, though? It was incredibly sad seeing Hodor's horror at what he'd been made to do when he regained control of his body. Bran doesn't seem to care much about Hodor's feelings on being his warrior robot.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:22 PM on May 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Things to consider:

Is Cersei genuine in seeking Margaery's help? Did Margaery threaten Cersei with the comment about to call her?

Tywin told Cersei a family secret (about the gold mines). Is he grooming her to be his heir?

How does Bran's actions as Hodor affect Hodor?

Is Poderick awesome or what? Is Breinne awesome or what?

How deeply will the Hound's lessons affect Arya? Will Arya rub off on the Hound?

Can anything be more creepy than Lysa's screams while having sex?

Lysa is unstable. Is that a good spouse for the man who helped murder an unstable king?

Aren't you happy that Lysa's son is no longer breast feeding?

Isn't Ser Jorah a great friend to Daenerys?

Where are the dragons? Aren't they something one wants to keep tabs on?

How great was it to see the mutineers killed, their leader stabbed by a woman, the entire Keep burned and the survivors saying "fuck you, we'll go our own way" ?

Jon Arryn, Ned Stark and King Joffrey were all killed due to Baelish. Is he going to end up on the throne?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:28 PM on May 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


i didn't realize we were going to have so much homework mr blatcher can i be excused i have a note from my doctor
posted by elizardbits at 11:30 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


There was a refreshing amount of "Everyone in King's Landing suddenly starts being honest with each other" this week. I don't like it. I think it bodes ill.
posted by KathrynT at 11:30 PM on May 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


When Cersei was talking to Margaery about Tomen, it felt to me like she was being genuinely candid and diplomatic in reaching out to her, and Margaey blew it.

Margaery didn't blow, she was noting the shift in power dynamics and telling Cersei fuck you. Remember the scene from last season when Cersei told Margaery she'd have her strangled in her sleep if she ever called her sister again? Yet Margaery called her sister anyway this tIme around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 PM on May 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


I shall be ell oh elling all week at Sansa trying to sleep, and the mental image of Tywin interacting with ol' King Robert

It occurs to me that I'd very much more enjoy a Game of Thrones where all the torments were petty and continuous

It also occurs to me that is basically Blackadder; and yes, a Blackadder with an ensemble cast and multiple interwoven plotlines, I would enjoy this thing I would.
posted by furiousthought at 11:37 PM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


Someone on Reddit pointed out that we're now halfway through the season, and if we end up having 9 seasons as predicted then we're also now halfway through the whole show.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:37 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yet Margaery called her sister anyway this tIme around.

Right, but is it because she can't resist fucking with Cersei or because she is smart enough to realize that that might have been a concession Cersei was forced to make in order to get on Tywin's good side?
posted by elizardbits at 11:40 PM on May 4, 2014


Also, the next time I want to hear "I bet yooo fight with honor well I fight dirty and I'm going to winnn" it had better be some lowlife trying to fuck with Brienne and she cuts him clean in half without breaking stride
posted by furiousthought at 11:46 PM on May 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Margeary is a Tyrell, who are keenly aware how much the Lamnisters need them. It was a slap and a note that Margeary tried to make nice before, now she doesn't need Cersei.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:49 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


The entire thing felt like a police interrogation with leading/trick questions.

That's what I was expecting, but then it didn't seem to go that way.

I took it as her pragmatically deciding to play it straight for Tommen's sake so she does not lose another child.

That's what I concluded too. Of course I could just be falling for Cersei's willy ways...

The thing is, I think Cersei is being completely clear-eyed and open now. It's the Family Business. She's only got one son left, a daughter down in Dorne. I think we can take everything Cersei is saying at face value.

I agree. And then her scene with Oberyn seemed to reaffirm that interpretation.
posted by homunculus at 11:55 PM on May 4, 2014




From that article:
Last year, the producers made a pact that they would no longer read comments on the Internet.

God, why can't more people do this? Pizzolato sure as hell should have done this with true detective. I hope they ignore the internet until the last episode of the last season has already aired.

Trying to argue with or placate internet fans is generally the road to making an ass of yourself, or getting catch 22'd into such.
posted by emptythought at 12:07 AM on May 5, 2014


and if we end up having 9 seasons as predicted

They are aiming for 7 seasons, not 9.
posted by Justinian at 12:12 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Margaery didn't blow, she was noting the shift in power dynamics and telling Cersei fuck you. Remember the scene from last season when Cersei told Margaery she'd have her strangled in her sleep if she ever called her sister again? Yet Margaery called her sister anyway this tIme around.

That's all true, but if her goal is to become queen, I'd think it'd still be more practical to make peace with Cersei if the opportunity is genuine rather than further antagonize her.

This is exactly the kind of mistake that Cersei always made a lot, contrary to her father's advice to Joffrey.
posted by homunculus at 12:26 AM on May 5, 2014


I am very happy that we got to see more of the adventures of Brienne and Pod. Now if only Ser Pounce could join them...
posted by homunculus at 12:38 AM on May 5, 2014


> Hasn't he already, though?

Yes, but the prediction was that he was going to do it again in this episode.

It was incredibly sad seeing Hodor's horror at what he'd been made to do when he regained control of his body.

It was sad. Poor Hodor. My guess is that Hodor is not going to trust Bran so much after that.

Bran doesn't seem to care much about Hodor's feelings on being his warrior robot.

Jaeger Hodor? I imagine Idris Elba in a Jaeger screaming "Hodor!" as they fight a Kaiju.
posted by homunculus at 1:25 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's kind of funny that Locke, the man who crippled Jamie, was killed by Bran (via Hodor), the boy who had been crippled by Jamie.
posted by homunculus at 1:48 AM on May 5, 2014 [22 favorites]


When Cersei was talking to Margaery about Tomen, it felt to me like she was being genuinely candid and diplomatic in reaching out to her, and Margaey blew it. Did anyone else feel that way?

That's how I took it. I think that Cersei was being completely straight with Margaery and extending an olive branch, but Margaery decided to play Ingenue in the bitchiest way possible and throw that olive branch in the dirt, basically out of spite.

I think Margaery's likely underestimating Cersei (and Tywin) and overestimating her power and the power of being queen. If Margaery were sensible, she would consider for a minute how worrying it is that arguably the most powerful and beautiful woman in Westeros would be in such a pathetic position, and she also wouldn't burn bridges unnecessarily. But Margaery's busy being cocky (and shortsighted, and reckless). I'm sure life will knock that out of her, ASAP.
posted by rue72 at 1:53 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, just thinking about Cersei and Margaery's conversation a bit more, it actually was paralleled in Lysa and Sansa's conversation. *Sansa* handled things masterfully, I think. She left that conversation stronger and with more information than she went into it, she turned her weakness into a strength (even as Lysa tried to turn Sansa's strength -- her beauty and birth -- into a weakness and reason to attack her).

Neither Cersei nor Margaery left their conversation better off, they both probably could have handled it better.

Poor Hodor. My guess is that Hodor is not going to trust Bran so much after that.

I thought that Bran was going to warg into the head rapist/mutineer and have him kill himself, so I was *sort* of relieved when he warged into Hodor again instead. But then after seeing the look on Hodor's face when he saw the blood on his hands...

Bran needs to stop this warging-into-humans thing before he makes an enemy of someone who's less of a gentle soul than Hodor is, or before he turns Hodor into less of a gentle soul. The theme of the weak attacking the strong probably applies to Bran/Hodor as well, not just in terms of Bran and Hodor working "together" to protect themselves, but also in terms of Bran hijacking Hodor's body.
posted by rue72 at 2:09 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have to say I liked the visuals of Cersei and Oberyn's walk, both of them black and gold.
posted by rewil at 2:37 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I liked Lysa's style. Get your fiance to agree to marriage and have the priest waiting outside the door! No need to brush your teeth, Peter, it's orgasm time.

Isn't there an implication that warging into humans is difficult, and Hodor being slow makes it easier for Bran? Otherwise, if I was Bran I would be all "smuggle me into King's Landing for a rash of tragic Lannister suicides."
posted by viggorlijah at 4:05 AM on May 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


I liked Lysa's style. Get your fiance to agree to marriage and have the priest waiting outside the door! No need to brush your teeth, Peter, it's orgasm time.

Lysa is literally a lady on the street and a freak in the bed.

Littlefinger didn't seem very into it, but I frankly think she's a pretty good match for him. Who else would have been able to pull a fast one on him like that?
posted by rue72 at 4:12 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Was the Littlefinger self scooby-doo moment (it was me all along!) in the book? I can't remember.
posted by shothotbot at 4:26 AM on May 5, 2014


I really liked this episode. Lots of what Game of Thrones is good at -- deeply encoded, yet carefully diplomatic discussions, some rollicking and bloody swordplay, and delightfully dry humor. I really loved the pairings of Brienne and Pod, Arya and The Hound, and Sansa and Lyra.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:31 AM on May 5, 2014


That's all true, but if her goal is to become queen, I'd think it'd still be more practical to make peace with Cersei if the opportunity is genuine rather than further antagonize her.

I strongly disgree. Margeary tried to be nice before and got insulted, then threatened by Cersei. There's little reason for Margeary to act nice and be diplomatic know, especially when she knows her family is keeping the Kingdom afloat and they just murdered the monster King.

Margeary is going to be Queen anyway, she knows it. There's every reason in the world to let Cersei know she's not to be fucked with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maaaan, I was freaking out at the Bran stuff, especially the last battle scene a Craster's Keep, just waiting for it all to go horribly wrong(er).

Even when Jon Snow was reunited with his dog, I kept waiting for, like, a tree to fall on it or something.

Count me in among the perplexed w/r/t Cersei in this episode. If she's finally decided to start playing ball, it seems like a very fast transition (especially the part where she's now willing to admit Joffrey was a monster), but none of her actions really make sense as part of some kind of deep, long game. I'm left assuming she's to be taken more or less at face value, but again, if she's reasonable enough to concede that Joffrey was horrible and Margaery is probably going to wind up marrying her second son now, she ought to be reasonable enough to consider that Tyrion had no good reason to kill him.

Or maybe this is all setup for her to make tentative overtures toward playing ball, only to flip the table again when Tyrion is found not guilty? (NB: I say "when," but I am not a bookwalker and do not know how that turns out.)
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:56 AM on May 5, 2014


All I could think of during every scene with Lysa/Littlefinger.
posted by almostmanda at 5:58 AM on May 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Was the Littlefinger self scooby-doo moment (it was me all along!) in the book? I can't remember.
I don't think it was! When that scene happened I was shocked. And am I someone who is easily shocked? No. I was shocked.
posted by Night_owl at 6:04 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Later it turns out Littlefinger is also responsible for all the missing socks in Westeros.
posted by The Whelk at 6:12 AM on May 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


Also, petition for an episode entirely of Brienne and Pod Learning And Growing.
posted by The Whelk at 6:14 AM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


Count me in among the perplexed w/r/t Cersei in this episode. If she's finally decided to start playing ball, it seems like a very fast transition...

Joffrey's murder broke her, in a lot of ways. She got hit with a huge wrecking ball and is just trying to protect what matters to her, the remaining children. "What good is power if one can't use it to protect the ones we love".

Also, I wish we had gotten scenes of King Robert slapping Tywin on the back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Argh, never watch the previously on! I was just sitting there counting down until when Bran warged into Hodor again, given they showed the first time.
posted by gaspode at 6:27 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Cersei has three scenes in this episode. In two of them, she speaks directly to those who will be judges at Tyrion's trial (Oberyn, Tywin). In the other, she speaks not to the judge (Mace Tyrell) but to his daughter, because Mace is basically an idiot and won't understand any of her insinuations, and because Olenna has apparently made good on her conversation last week and hightailed it for Highgarden, leaving Margaery the real person in charge of the Tyrells in King's Landing.

Cersei is on her best behavior because she has a specific goal: getting Tyrion executed for murdering Joffrey. She is doing what is within her means to make the judges predisposed to her side of the story.

Margaery feels comfortable with the "sister" line because she knows that if Cersei is approaching her this way, Margaery has the upper hand. Margaery probably realizes that Cersei has no love for her, but that Cersei's opening this discussion instead has everything to do with Cersei needing the Tyrells both for the trial and for the wealth of Highgarden.

It's still probably rash to pull out the sister line, though, which just serves to emphasize that Margaery isn't as good at the game as Olenna yet (though she's very, very good). Cersei won't forget a slight, and I feel like Olenna would have kept that to herself.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:28 AM on May 5, 2014 [20 favorites]


Olenna has apparently made good on her conversation last week and hightailed it for Highgarden, leaving Margaery the real person in charge of the Tyrells in King's Landing.

We saw Oleanna pay her respects to Tommen, though, right?
posted by gaspode at 6:32 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


In the Cersei/Margaery scene, it was evident that Margaery is clearly a younger version of Cersei, without the wine and the bitterness:
- they both married someone they didn't love for power
- they're both highly manipulative 'politicians' in service of someone else (Tywin/Olenna)

It's easy to imagine an older Margaery, sipping wine after decades of politicking and a disappointing life...
posted by Riton at 6:39 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing is, I think Cersei is being completely clear-eyed and open now. It's the Family Business. She's only got one son left, a daughter down in Dorne. I think we can take everything Cersei is saying at face value.

I agree. And then her scene with Oberyn seemed to reaffirm that interpretation.


Maybe I'm the overly cynical person about Cersei. Here was my thoughts:

-Joffrey is dead; she blames Tyrion for it.
-Her father and Oberyn are two of the judges in Tyrion's trial.
-She is therefore doing whatever she can to be on their good sides so that the verdict rendered is the one she wants.

She will do whatever it takes - marry Tommen to Margaery, accept her duty to re-marry, and on, to make that happen.

Tywin saw through it, I think - his reminder that they couldn't discuss the trial; but she still made her point.

Bran doesn't seem to care much about Hodor's feelings on being his warrior robot.


This was the most horrific scene in the episode last night; Bran taking over Hodor, Branodor killing Locke like it was nothing - no hesitation, even; Hodor's horror at the blood and the body when he returned to himself; and then Bran calmly issuing orders to him. It was one of the most dehumanizing moments of the series for both characters, and I would say was this week's rape. But judging by the reaction of those I was with at Locke's death, I guess maybe the point was lost - or am I the one missing the point?
posted by nubs at 6:43 AM on May 5, 2014 [26 favorites]


gaspode: "We saw Oleanna pay her respects to Tommen, though, right?"

I don't think so. Olenna would have been sitting with the Tyrells at the coronation, and when the camera pans over them it's just Mace, Loras, and Margaery. Also, Diana Rigg has no credit in this episode. I think the lady you saw was just a courtier dressed in a similar style.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:55 AM on May 5, 2014


Was the Littlefinger self scooby-doo moment (it was me all along!) in the book? I can't remember.

Almost positive it did because my reaction was "oh yeah that's right" and not: "Ah! he did?!"

Have mixed feelings on this episode. Found it hard to enjoy. I feel like they're taking Cersei in a different direction then she goes in the book.
posted by royalsong at 7:02 AM on May 5, 2014


Thoughts about Baelish's behind the scenes plans:He had Lysa poison her husband, Jon Arryn, because he figured out a secret that could decouple the Lannisters from power. So Baelish protects the family in general, so they can elevate him to power, but he wants Tyrion out of the way (planting the Tyrion's dagger on Bran's assassin).

He sees Tyrion as a threat long before Tyrion actually rises to any sort of power. Before Tyrion himself sees his potential.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


shothotbot: "Was the Littlefinger self scooby-doo moment (it was me all along!) in the book? I can't remember."

Yes, but not quite like this, and not at this moment. This confession hasn't happened yet in the books.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:04 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I actually fell asleep during this episode.
posted by desjardins at 7:09 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as a book reader I found this episode incredibly boring. Even the Craster's Keep fight was a snooze.
posted by codacorolla at 7:11 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


It was incredibly sad seeing Hodor's horror at what he'd been made to do when he regained control of his body. Bran doesn't seem to care much about Hodor's feelings on being his warrior robot.

Hodor is going to come unhinged. Imagine coming-to and you're covered in blood, wtf? For some reason I keep thinking of that scene in Memento where the main character wakes up with a bottle of booze in his hand (that ten seconds ago he grabbed for self-defense purposes) and asks himself Am I drunk? I don't feel drunk.

That, but with mangled bodies.

I agree with the statement about not watching the Previously On... segment. It's so heavy-handed.

The victims of Craster's Keep versions 1 and 2...I hope they turn up again as a roving band of warriors.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:14 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Go-Go-Gadget Hodor!
posted by pwally at 7:15 AM on May 5, 2014


Well I guess we are getting the Brienne and Pod show.

I'm not sure about Cersie and Margary. I have to side with the folks who say that Cersie was going after her as the key to the third judge in the case, and not as a real opening salvo to any sort of uneasy peace. They even spelled it out in her conversation with Tywin; you don't make [something] with people you trust. Don't recall the exact wording but he was talking about the intermarrrying.

Lots of double meaning talk from M about Tommen's right to be there.

I'm curious to see what's on the boat. Or what is the boat, assuming Oberin would have it searched thoroughly upon and during sailing. Maybe it's just a symbol. Come home to me.

I was surprised Littlefinger and Lysa had had "their wedding night" as she put it. Or that she let him escape unmarried to start (though she corrected that as soon as possible).
posted by tilde at 7:21 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as a book reader I found this episode incredibly boring.

As an Unsullied, I think this was the best episode so far this season. I guess I can take that as validation of my decision to watch the show unspoiled.

I'm happy that Dany is being made to learn that conquering is not the same as ruling (not that that's a recurring theme at all)

I'm a little torn over the fact that Arya hasn't figured out a way to deal with her limitations as a fighter yet. The wants-what's-best-for-the-Starks me was hoping that getting the Arya-sized sword back and her previous success with letting people underestimate her so that she could get close enough to strike would turn her into the killing machine of my hopes, but the wants-an-actually-interesting-plot-at-a-meta-level me is happy that it won't be so easy.

Lysa's instability is going to be very dangerous for Littlefinger (even though he needed it to get to where he is now). For a moment (when they first reunited/did the reveal) I thought that maybe she wasn't as crazy as we had been led to believe. But then that scene with Sansa...

Sansa though, I think she can handle this for now. I mean, she survived King's Landing. I bet she doesn't even end up engaged to the crazy child this time.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:28 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's just me, but it tripped me out a little that the kid who plays Robin has barely seemed to age at all since he first showed up in season one. That probably wouldn't be quite as jarring, I guess, if not for the fact that Bran has gone from towheaded moppet to basketball player in the same span of time.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:29 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


it tripped me out a little that the kid who plays Robin has barely seemed to age at all since he first showed up in season one.

I don't know how they managed it (maybe they cast an older kid who was already small so the aging isn't as pronounced, maybe it's just luck) but the effect is perfect. The craziness in the Vale has stunted him both mentally and physically.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:34 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Turns out a strict crazy milk diet isn't very nourishing
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on May 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


When Jon stabbed the mutineer guy through the back of the head so the sword came out his mouth - was I the only one wondering if such a stabbing is anatomically possible? You'd have to poke right through where the spine joins the skull? I just felt like it's the kind of thing writers would cook up thinking "Wouldn't really happen but damn it would look so totally awesome, dude!"
posted by dnash at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


dnash: "You'd have to poke right through where the spine joins the skull?"

The First Men had some bitchin' recipes for steel, yo. You could even cut a tin can with it (but you wouldn't want to).
posted by barnacles at 7:43 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


And their garden weasels were unstoppable.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:52 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Even the Craster's Keep fight was a snooze.

I thought it was pretty hilarious:

"Okay guys, there's going to be a new moon tonight, they have no guards, and we're all wearing black. We can stealth in and slaughter them all and no one will even see us coming."

[ 5 minutes later ]

"LEERRRRRROOOOOOYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!"
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:00 AM on May 5, 2014 [40 favorites]


Was the Littlefinger self scooby-doo moment (it was me all along!) in the book? I can't remember.

Yes, in ASOS Chapter 80. The reveal came sooner on the show than in the book, though, as most of the rest of the Sansa events last night were from Chapter 68.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:04 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


It worked quite well in the show for me as a "holy crap Littlefinger caused all this" revelation.

Did he have much of a plan for what would happen after Jon Arryn was dead? Or was it more of his "cause chaos, climb ladder" fuckery? Was that when he ascended to Master of Coin?

(Or maybe I'm asking questions which are only answerable with spoilers at this point, in which case never mind.)

In other business:

1. Littlefinger's gift to Robin: a crystal bird. Which Robin almost immediately makes fly out of the moon door.

2. Poor HODOR, sweet giant. That was a real loss-of-innocence moment and I agree with all the comments above: it may have been necessary in the moment but it was NOT RIGHT.

3. There may not have been explicit rape this episode, but there was sure as hell a big rape threat. Also apparently the woods around Crasters' Keep echo with the screams of women because THESE ARE BAD MEN, SEE.

4. THAT'S IT for the Locke plot? I feel somewhat cheated. And Bran and company are the only people who know that Locke was not what he appeared to be.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:17 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Did he have much of a plan for what would happen after Jon Arryn was dead? Or was it more of his "cause chaos, climb ladder" fuckery?

1. Pit two Houses against each other
2. Align with one side.
3. Help them win
4. Profit and a Lordship!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did he have much of a plan for what would happen after Jon Arryn was dead? Or was it more of his "cause chaos, climb ladder" fuckery?

Littlefinger has a general idea of what he wants to happen, which is why he had Arryn killed because he knew it would lead to Robert bringing Ned to King's Landing and create the opportunity for Lannister-Stark fighting.

Littlefinger's strength, though, is going with the flow. He can plan the broad outlines but not the specifics like Ned's beheading or the dagger used by the assassin who came for Bran. But he's able to take advantage of these quirks as they come up.

Was that when he ascended to Master of Coin?

No, he had held that position since Robert's reign. He was Master of Coin when the series began.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:24 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Littlefinger has a general idea of what he wants to happen, which is why he had Arryn killed because he knew it would lead to Robert bringing Ned to King's Landing and create the opportunity for Lannister-Stark fighting.

No, he had Lysa write a letter to Cate, blaming the Lannisters. HE STARTED THE WAR.

Then he gave Tyrion's dagger to an Bran's assassin, which put Tyrion in the hot seat. He's really thought this through, meaning GRR Martin did a helluva good job of character plotting with the character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Then he gave Tyrion's dagger to an Bran's assassin, which put Tyrion in the hot seat.

Except Littlefinger was not at Winterfell after Bran's fall. He said the dagger was Tyrion's when Cat brought it to KL; that's how he put Tyrion in the hot seat and furthered the Stark-Lannister tension, but I don't believe the show has definitively answered yet whose dagger that was...
posted by nubs at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


4. THAT'S IT for the Locke plot? I feel somewhat cheated. And Bran and company are the only people who know that Locke was not what he appeared to be.

I agree. And Bran knows he was not as he appeared, but has no idea who he was working for. That is particularly unsatisfying.
posted by GrapeApiary at 8:38 AM on May 5, 2014


The thing about Littlefinger is that he bobs and weaves so much that no matter what happens he could claim that it is all going according to his plan. I'll admit that I had underestimated him -- back in early scenes like this one, I was like "Carcetti dude wtf makes you think you can be king?" But apparently he plays at a higher level than I had thought.

That being said, it sounded this episode like Lysa and Littlefinger have been married (in secret -- maybe before the old gods?) since before all this began. If that's true, what did Littlefinger think would come of trying to beg Cat to take him?
posted by sparklemotion at 8:42 AM on May 5, 2014


but I don't believe the show has definitively answered yet whose dagger that was...

True and I don't know if it's ever answered in the books (only read the first one and little of the second). But the Baelish says the danger was his and he lost in a bet with Tyrion. That works, since the danger is a fancy one belonging to a rich person and it sounds exactly like Tyrion's reputation, the drunk dwarf gambling.

So it doesn't matter if the assassination of Bran succeeds or not, the dagger will be found and Littlefinger can point the finger where he wants it to go. Especially since can target Catelyn and use their past relationship to be her friend and thus push Ned to do or think certain things. He even notes that the Starts are foolish and quite to anger, which makes them perfect for manipulation. Tywin probably would have seen through him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2014


but I don't believe the show has definitively answered yet whose dagger that was...

True and I don't know if it's ever answered in the books

I'm pretty sure that it's definitely been confirmed that it was Tyrion's dagger -- I can't remember if it was just in the first book or if the show had him saying it, but at some point Tyrion says something to the effect of "Yeah, I recognize that dagger, it's mine".
posted by sparklemotion at 8:47 AM on May 5, 2014


That being said, it sounded this episode like Lysa and Littlefinger have been married (in secret -- maybe before the old gods?) since before all this began.

The read I got from that scene was that they've been having lots of (incredibly unsettling, no doubt) sex, in secret, but weren't, you know, married. I think he managed to get her to go along with his stuff by promising to marry her. Then he finally agreed to it last night, thinking he'd have a little while to prepare, and she surprised him by having the ceremony basically ready to go on the spot.

As far as what she'd think of Littlefinger begging Catelyn, I don't know, I assume the current state of affairs is not exactly how he wanted it to turn out. It doesn't seem like marrying Lysa was Plan A, but he had her in the holster and now he's going that route with it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


She said they'd slept together (we had our wedding night), but they weren't married. Lysa, second Tully girl, was married to The Lord of the Vale.

I always wonder why Tywin didn't have another bunch of children to marry off. I suppose after Tyrion he didn't want to risk more dwarf children.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:51 AM on May 5, 2014


That being said, it sounded this episode like Lysa and Littlefinger have been married (in secret -- maybe before the old gods?) since before all this began.

I think Lysa said that they already had their 'wedding night', not that that the were already married. They just made the beast with two backs.

On preview. Yeah, what was already said directly above...
posted by xorry at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cersei has three scenes in this episode. In two of them, she speaks directly to those who will be judges at Tyrion's trial (Oberyn, Tywin). In the other, she speaks not to the judge (Mace Tyrell) but to his daughter, because Mace is basically an idiot and won't understand any of her insinuations, and because Olenna has apparently made good on her conversation last week and hightailed it for Highgarden, leaving Margaery the real person in charge of the Tyrells in King's Landing.

Yo but I'm pretty sure the third judge is ol' Mister fake-hunchback Maester Pycell (I think that's how you spell it?) and no relation to Margaery and Olenna at all. You know, as Tyrion says, "he'll vote exactly as my father tells him to vote"? Who Cersei just straight-up bullied at the wedding?
posted by furiousthought at 8:53 AM on May 5, 2014


I always wonder why Tywin didn't have another bunch of children to marry off.

His wife is dead. I guess the real question is why didn't he remarry.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:53 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always wonder why Tywin didn't have another bunch of children to marry off. I suppose after Tyrion he didn't want to risk more dwarf children.

I think Tywin thinks love is a liability and he didn't want a bunch more liabilities running around.
posted by rue72 at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2014


Third judge is Mace Tyrell - He, who is dismissed by his Mother, Olenna, when the adults are talking.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:55 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The dagger is not Tyrion's. I don't think the show has revealed whose it was though.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:56 AM on May 5, 2014


I'm pretty sure that it's definitely been confirmed that it was Tyrion's dagger -- I can't remember if it was just in the first book or if the show had him saying it, but at some point Tyrion says something to the effect of "Yeah, I recognize that dagger, it's mine".

Nope, you're confused. It was Littlefinger who said that he recognized the dagger as his when Cat showed it to him in S01E03. Littlefinger then claimed he'd lost it to Tyrion in a bet. When Tyrion was asked about the dagger in his trial in S01E05, he denied that he ever owned it.


I don't believe the show has definitively answered yet whose dagger that was...

It has not, and the scene that revealed that in the books was in S04E02 but the show did not include the relevant dialogue. At this point I have to assume that the show is either going to leave it as an open question or change the perpetrator.

If you want to know who did it in the books, after some searching I found a page that answers that mystery without spoiling any other events: Who sent the assassin to kill Bran?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:57 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tywin hasn't remarried because he loved Joanna too much. And since he's in charge, he calls the shots on who has to enter these dynastic marriages. He also has plenty of children to marry off (or he did, anyway, before Jaime spurned him).
posted by ocherdraco at 8:58 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


But the Baelish says the danger was his and he lost in a bet with Tyrion. That works, since the danger is a fancy one belonging to a rich person and it sounds exactly like Tyrion's reputation, the drunk dwarf gambling.

Littlefinger says it was his and he lost it gambling with Tyrion - the bet was on a joust between Jaime and someone else; and that Littlefinger bet on Jaime and lost.

As Tyrion later notes - he would never bet against Jaime.

The one true thing Littlefinger has said: Never trust him.
posted by nubs at 9:03 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ah good point. So Baelish just took advantage of the chaos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on May 5, 2014


It doesn't seem like marrying Lysa was Plan A, but he had her in the holster and now he's going that route with it.

He wed her and he bed her (consummating the marriage is important); he is now married to the Lady of the Vale and the step-father of the Lord of the Vale. Titles breed titles...
posted by nubs at 9:07 AM on May 5, 2014


So Baelish just took advantage of the chaos.

It's a ladder.
posted by nubs at 9:09 AM on May 5, 2014


So Baelish just took advantage of the chaos.

Yup. As we now know from last night's reveal, Littlefinger was deliberately trying to pit the Starks against the Lannisters. Although Littlefinger may not have known who was behind the attempt on Bran's life, trying to get Cat and Ned to think that it was Tyrion was another opportunity to foster enmity between those families.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:09 AM on May 5, 2014


Cersei is on her best behavior because she has a specific goal: getting Tyrion executed for murdering Joffrey. She is doing what is within her means to make the judges predisposed to her side of the story.

Exactly. I felt like this was obvious! Maybe this is the reason we are being hit over the head with some plot points? Cersei's character gas fully been established at this point: bitter woman who resents her lack of power, mother who dotes on her children, replaces 'a Lannister always pays his debts' to with 'Cersei Lannister always gets payback for real (or imagined) slights against her.'

The look she casts up at Margaery when M and Ztommen are making calves eyes at each other? Real Cersei. Cersei with Margaery on the balcony? Fake, obviously calculating Cersei-- look what a good daughter I am! Dad will find out and make me his favorite now! Which carries over into the scene with Tywin where she us all dutiful daughter, hammering home the family duty script and 'Gosh, it's so sad my stupid brothers don't understand family duty, right, Wise Daddy?! Remember how Jaime told you no?!' Tywin saw right through that, hence the little lecture on how as a judge he needs to be impartial, Yara yada.

So then Cersei takes on judge Oberon, appealing to him--someone who is deeply mourning the death of his sister and her kids--as a mourning mother herself. A part she plays well because yes, she honestly does very much love and miss her kids.
posted by misha at 9:15 AM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


As far as what she'd think of Littlefinger begging Catelyn, I don't know, I assume the current state of affairs is not exactly how he wanted it to turn out

In Littlefinger's ideal world he would have married Catelyn when they were young. He was in love with her, she thought of him as a little brother (they were fostered together). When he realized he would never have Cat, he cultivated Lysa's obsession with him, which is now bearing fruit.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:29 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


She said they'd slept together (we had our wedding night), but they weren't married. Lysa, second Tully girl, was married to The Lord of the Vale.

Just a quick who's who and some history here because my wife and brother-in-law were confused a bit last night (the show has touched on all of this, but back in season one):

-Catelyn Tully was betrothed to Brandon Stark, Ned's older brother.
-Lysa Tully is Cat's sister.
-Petyr Baelish was fostered at Riverrun with the Tully girls, and fell for Cat. He fought a duel with Brandon for Cat's hand and lost. And then there's some history between Lysa and Petyr as well.
-Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon are fostered at the Vale, by Jon Arryn.
-In the lead up to the Rebellion, both Ned's father and Brandon Stark are killed by the Mad King after the abduction of Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister, and betrothed to Robert) by Rhaegar Targaryen. The Mad King then calls for Jon Arryn to surrender both Ned and Robert to him.
-Jon Arryn refuses and raises his army.
-Ned weds Cat in his brother's place.
-Lysa is wed to Jon Arryn.

These weddings seal the alliances between the North, the Riverlands, and the Vale to support Robert Baratheon's rebellion against the throne.
posted by nubs at 9:30 AM on May 5, 2014 [16 favorites]


Cersei's character gas fully been established at this point: bitter woman who resents her lack of power, mother who dotes on her children, replaces 'a Lannister always pays his debts' to with 'Cersei Lannister always gets payback for real (or imagined) slights against her.'

And isn't as smart as she thinks she is, which is why I don't think she's playing to the judges for Tyrion's death. She isn't that subtle, though she may be growing. We'll see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on May 5, 2014


"Was the Littlefinger self scooby-doo moment (it was me all along!) in the book? I can't remember.
posted by shothotbot at 7:26 AM on May 5 [+] [!] "


I didn't think so either, but then I checked the books' wiki and there it was! So I'm confused as well. 2) as Nubs points out, there were a series of marriages made to lock the kingdoms to Robert and against any Targaeryen return, and what we're piecing together is a steady series of events to break those marriages and ties across those families.
posted by stratastar at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The one true thing Littlefinger has said: Never trust him.

What a Cretan.
posted by goethean at 10:09 AM on May 5, 2014


The Grantland recap.
posted by nubs at 10:12 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


as Nubs points out, there were a series of marriages made to lock the kingdoms to Robert and against any Targaeryen return, and what we're piecing together is a steady series of events to break those marriages and ties across those families.

The last marriage in that series occurs after the Rebellion, and is the joining of Robert and Cersei, which gives an alliance by marriage or common cause between Baratheon-Lannister-Arryn-Tully-Stark; it leaves out the Greyjoys, the Tyrells and the Martells (Dorne). The Greyjoys rebel a bit later, and lose - and Ned takes Theon as ward and hostage against future behaviour.

Had Robert had enough sense to find a means to solidify things with the Martells and the Tyrells (though Stannis is married to a Florent, one of the houses that is loyal to the Tyrells), then the Seven Kingdoms would have been one fist - which Tywin notes is the King's job.
posted by nubs at 10:22 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Third judge is Mace Tyrell - He, who is dismissed by his Mother, Olenna, when the adults are talking.

Fuck, everyone agrees with you, you must be right! I blame Dinklage's accent and not myself!
posted by furiousthought at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


From Grantland: "Nü Daario"

Spot on.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:48 AM on May 5, 2014


the recap made me think about Cersei's line just before she goes to talk to her father and annouce she's ready to be in his good graces again "You always love your first born, no matter what they done."

Cersei's technically the first born.
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


-In the lead up to the Rebellion, both Ned's father and Brandon Stark are killed by the Mad King after the abduction of Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister, and betrothed to Robert) by Rhaegar Targaryen.

Note that Brandon Stark was riding around screaming about how he was going to murder Rhaegar and telling everyone within earshot that he was going to kill the guy. I believe that's a capital crime regardless of any supposed abduction.

So the Mad King was definitely totally mad but a real case could be made everything that has happened was Brandon Stark's fault for being a hotheaded crazypants.
posted by Justinian at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Note that Brandon Stark was riding around screaming about how he was going to murder Rhaegar and telling everyone within earshot that he was going to kill the guy. I believe that's a capital crime regardless of any supposed abduction.

The method of execution deployed was beyond cruel, however.
posted by nubs at 12:23 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The First Men had some bitchin' recipes for steel, yo. You could even cut a tin can with it (but you wouldn't want to).

And Jon Snow's sword is Valyrian steel.
posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


That made his fight against Johnny Two-Daggers fucking infuriating. You have a guy who (supposedly) is one of the best fighters of the Night's Watch using ancient superior technology that people kill to get ahold of, and he's being clowned on by a guy blocking with two combat knives. Absolutely idiotic and character breaking, not to mention poorly shot and choreographed.
posted by codacorolla at 12:46 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


That made his fight against Johnny Two-Daggers fucking infuriating. You have a guy who (supposedly) is one of the best fighters of the Night's Watch using ancient superior technology that people kill to get ahold of, and he's being clowned on by a guy blocking with two combat knives. Absolutely idiotic and character breaking, not to mention poorly shot and choreographed.

Plus, he had a good, what, 3-4 more feet of reach by dint of having a sword vs knives? And how the hell could the knives hold a Valyrian blade? It should have been "slash, dead, fight over".
posted by The Michael The at 12:50 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


They made a point, earlier in that episode even of pointing out that guy is an ass kicking machine though and was like, a legendary cuthroat thief/fighter.

Not that Jon is some random noob or anything, but it would have been a bit disappointing if he just ganked the dude instantly.

It also seemed to be making the point that they were in pretty close quarters with lots of beams/the fire/etc in their way and not much room to maneuver, which gives an advantage to having something shorter you don't need to swing around as much.

I'd posit that the reason he didn't just shatter the knives is that he only got a really good swing going a couple times, and even when he did it was sort of clumsy and not some big power strike.
posted by emptythought at 12:52 PM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


It feels like the last two episodes (last night and last Sunday) are really below par for cinematography and direction compared with all previous shows. The pacing seemed off, the knife fight was terrible, a lot of A/B dialog shots. Ick.

Was there a change in staff? Or are we just expecting far too much of what is going to be close to 80 hours of filmed entertainment? I guess it's easy to forgot just how much we're asking of these new "Golden Era" TV shows.
posted by lattiboy at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2014


The episode did seem off lighting wise, particularly when Daenerys and Jorah were talking. Both their faces were in deep shadow.

Jon's fight made sense since he was dealing with someone who was very good at fighting against Knight tactics.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2014


They made a point, earlier in that episode even of pointing out that guy is an ass kicking machine though and was like, a legendary cuthroat thief/fighter.

Not that Jon is some random noob or anything, but it would have been a bit disappointing if he just ganked the dude instantly.

It also seemed to be making the point that they were in pretty close quarters with lots of beams/the fire/etc in their way and not much room to maneuver, which gives an advantage to having something shorter you don't need to swing around as much.

I'd posit that the reason he didn't just shatter the knives is that he only got a really good swing going a couple times, and even when he did it was sort of clumsy and not some big power strike.


Except nothing that happened in the fight made that guy look like an ass-kicking machine, it just made Jon look like a fucking moron who can't fight. The most the guy ever did was block Jon's awkward swings, he never displayed anything remarkable or that would back up the constant talking up the other characters had given him.

By having him block the Valarian steel with daggers at all, instead of having the sword cleave right through, you also destroy the deliberate world building that went into it being a Big Deal that Tywin gave Valarian steel to Joffrey.

Why not have a scene in a more open space (there's nothing that dictates those two should face off in a cramped little hut) and actually have the guy dodging Jon's attacks? Why not show off his fighting skills? Why not have Jon actually get in a decent strike that breaks one of his daggers to add a little bit of tension to the fight? I can think of a dozen ways off hand that you can make that fight better and actually fit with what they've been saying about the characters.

Like a lot of stuff that happens on the show, it's directly against the characterizations and world-building that they've been setting up. It's also telling and not showing - even worse, it's telling and then showing the opposite. More than anything it's really, really lazy and cheap looking.
posted by codacorolla at 1:04 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


He even notes that the Starts are foolish and quite to anger, which makes them perfect for manipulation.

Whereas the Finishes are patient and always get their way in the end.
posted by homunculus at 1:09 PM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Is Valarian steel supposed to able to cut through daggers?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on May 5, 2014


Loved the ep! By my count every single scene included a named female character (if you count Meera for the entire Keep interlude). Wish I wasn't so go smacked about this. But, since I am, yay for game of ladythrones. Agree on the above comment re. the violation of Hodor, I shed an actual tear.
posted by Iteki at 1:14 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Littlefinger would have greatly appealed to younger me. I too came from humble beginnings and found myself moving in circles occupied by people of higher birth, many of whom made no secret of the fact that they felt I didn't belong. I often fantasized about bringing the whole societal structure we were in crashing down around their heads. Which leads me to believe that Littlefinger, like the Joker, isn't after anything more than watching the world burn.

Major props to the actor portraying Hodor. After Brandon leaves his mind, he made the simple utterance of "Hodor..?!" as he stares at his bloodstained hands into "My God...what have I done or been made to do?" in my ears.

I'm among those who felt exasperated by the Jon Snow fight scene. Your sword has a pointy part, not just a blade, dude. Jeez, you really do know nothing, don't ya?

I feel like Bronn, Brienne, Tyrion or any of the other combat pragmatists in the show would have finished that dude in about 5 seconds, cramped quarters or not. I think the writers could have gotten a lot more out of that scene by having the dude boast about being a notorious bad ass, then having Jon beat him pretty badly, then having the dude whine and wheedle and plead for mercy, which Jon -- stupid, noble Stark that he is -- would have granted, and *then* have the Craster woman stab Two Knives in the back...as he attempted to stab Jon in the back.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:29 PM on May 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Not that Jon is some random noob or anything, but it would have been a bit disappointing if he just ganked the dude instantly.

The whole "Return to Craster's" storyline bugged me for a lot of reasons. First you had the over the top villainy ("I'm drinking from a skull! While women get raped behind me!") (and i get the point of the skull and the exposition, it was to remind everyone of who these guys were because you haven't seen them since like SE03e04, I think). Then, the capture of Bran and gang which leads to the inevitable "threaten the female character with rape" scene...and then the incredibly dumb full on assault of the camp by Jon's party (come on, it's night, they are drunk, a few well placed arrows and some sneaking would mean half the deserters are dead before they even knew you were there) to that fight.

I think that one of the things they were doing was trying to show us that honourable people can win in a fight against guys like Two Daggers, who was using every dirty trick in the book. But I was hoping it would be Jon who surprised him with something sneaky and underhanded...though having one of Craster's wives do it was good too. And Jon's sword through the back of the head was a nice call back to what Two Daggers did to Craster, which was a knife up through the chin...both men die with steel in their mouth.

Anyways, I guess the whole point of it is answered in the final moments - Ghost returns to Jon, which is the symbolic indication that Jon has come back to being who he is supposed to be.
posted by nubs at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Lysa's instability is going to be very dangerous for Littlefinger (even though he needed it to get to where he is now).

I think Lysa's instability is going to be very dangerous for Lysa. Littlefinger doesn't like wildcards is probably already scheming to get her out of the way and make himself regent.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


Obvious Culture agent Podrick is doing a surprisingly okay job keeping up his cover in the face of his partner drone fucking about setting rabbits on fire and effectoring his horse for its own amusement, that's all I'm saying.
posted by emmtee at 1:42 PM on May 5, 2014 [30 favorites]


I felt like you could see Littlefinger's brain go into the lightning round mode when she opened the doors and brought in the priest to marry them immediately. He's speeding up the timeline for her death for sure.
posted by GrapeApiary at 1:43 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


By having him block the Valarian steel with daggers at all, instead of having the sword cleave right through, you also destroy the deliberate world building that went into it being a Big Deal that Tywin gave Valarian steel to Joffrey.

Valyrian steel is lighter, stronger, and sharper than other steel, but it doesn't magically just cut through everything. There's a big difference between another piece of steel and the book Joffrey cut to pieces with his sword - and even that takes a few swings. That being said, someone wielding a bastard sword of it against a knife fighter still shouldn't have had a big problem.

Valyrian steel is highly prized because of its strength versus the weight; and because the secrets of making it are lost. Owning Valyrian steel is a status symbol, and it was a Big Deal because House Lannister did not have a Valyrian sword in its possession; it was one thing that money could not buy.
posted by nubs at 1:53 PM on May 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


That made his fight against Johnny Two-Daggers fucking infuriating. You have a guy who (supposedly) is one of the best fighters of the Night's Watch using ancient superior technology that people kill to get ahold of, and he's being clowned on by a guy blocking with two combat knives. Absolutely idiotic and character breaking, not to mention poorly shot and choreographed.

I know this'll be unpopular around here but the meat-and-potatoes fight choreography in Game of Thrones has rarely been very good; it is generally masked by editing and excellent costumes.

I've learned to look past it most of the time, but occasionally it gets in the way of character points. One example was the Bronn vs. knight fight in the Eyrie – rather than using his dirty tricks to gain some sort of actual advantage Bronn just keeps retreating until he gets himself trapped next to the Moon Door. Only later, when I read some op-ed about the episode, did I figure out OHHHH Bronn was supposed to be out-strategizing the knight and teaching us lessons about fighting with honor! (Or for that matter that Bronn had a name.)

The major counterexample I can think of was the Hound vs. the Mountain in the first season – that was a really cool trick. Also the Jon Snow vs. Coran Halfhand fight was pretty good and the Beric vs. Hound fight, well, it's hard to fuck up a fight with flaming swords (though, pushing Arya out in the middle of it like she'd be that stupid was super stagey of them).
posted by furiousthought at 2:26 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Valyrian steel is highly prized because of its strength versus the weight; and because the secrets of making it are lost.

And it was made with magic, right? So how could they just recast Ice?
posted by shothotbot at 2:45 PM on May 5, 2014


I would imagine in my ignorance of the subject that it is the steel itself that is special and the making of which has been forgotten, and recasting it just melts it into a new form. Unless in their and our world melting and recasting screws up with what makes steel steel?
posted by Iosephus at 2:54 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


And it was made with magic, right? So how could they just recast Ice?


From the Game of Thrones Wiki:
Skilled smiths can reforge Valyrian steel weapons by melting down existing ones, but it's a difficult process. Two smaller Valyrian steel swords can be made out of a larger greatsword, or a large greatsword made by melting down multiple smaller swords, but the amount of Valyrian steel in the world is finite and extremely rare. The master-blacksmiths of Qohor are noted as being among the few who can successfully reforge it - though even they don't know how to make entirely new Valyrian steel. As in the series, the maesters of the Citadel possess some meager skill with the material, if only to provide Valyrian steel links to the few maesters who study magic. Only 1 in about 100 Maesters has a Valyrian Steel link in his chain, and the Archmaester of the field also possesses a ring, a rod, and a mask made from the metal. The rarity of such links isn't because it's a difficult practice to master, but because most Maesters are notoriously anti-magic, whilst others even refuse to believe such a force still exists in the world, or that it ever did to begin with.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:59 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The fight fit the narrative theme of the episodes, winning attacks coming out of nowhere by the powerless and honor/nobility being overrated and possibly a hindrance.
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


And it was made with magic, right? So how could they just recast Ice?

There are three living smiths
posted by nubs at 3:19 PM on May 5, 2014


I feel like not much really happened in this episode apart from setting up the status quo. Shorty basically said she's not going to take her dragons and Spartans and fuck up Westeros, she's just gonna chill at home. Tallboy and Pod travel like three miles down a road and then set up camp. Queen Sultry and Queen Stabby have a little chat about Far From The Tree, and what a nice boy he is, such a good boy, and Stabby cries to El Gaucho later and gives him a boat. Carcetti marries the Borg Queen. We all knew that Snow was going to fuck up that camp but I guess it's pretty embarrassing that he got beaten by that guy from Pacific Rim. I think my favourite part is The Hound and Smuggles, is it just me or is their partnership custom-designed for some shenanigans down the track with Tallboy and Pod? Does that happen in the books?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:29 PM on May 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


Oh! And Ghost fucked that dude's shit. The best! Also, poor Hodor.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:33 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think my favourite part is The Hound and Smuggles, is it just me or is their partnership custom-designed for some shenanigans down the track with Tallboy and Pod? Does that happen in the books?

I won't answer that and spoil it for you. I will say I don't get why people think they're some pair of traveling buddies. She's not with him by choice, she sincerely hates him, and she has repeatedly said (in this episode too!) that she wants to kill him.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:42 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Still it would be amusing for them to meet and go " Ah I see you too have an opposite gender gigantic warrior companion!"
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on May 5, 2014 [19 favorites]


I will say I don't get why people think they're some pair of traveling buddies.

Oh, I know that they're not. But still.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:55 PM on May 5, 2014


House Lannister did not have a Valyrian sword in its possession; it was one thing that money could not buy...

Fun fact: at one time, House Lannister did own a Valyrian blade, a greatsword called Brightroar. It was lost centuries ago when one of their patriarchs sailed off to explore the smoking ruins of Valyria, never to return. Tywin's youngest brother, Gerion "the Cool Uncle" Lannister, went east in quest of the blade about ten years before the beginning of the series--also never to return.

You can't exactly buy Valyrian swords in the shop, no, but Tywin seems to have made it a point of style to acquire Oathkeeper practically, through acquisition and commission.
posted by Iridic at 3:57 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


And I was just talking with a co-worker about the reveal of the Who Killed Jon Arryn moment, and I said what makes it fun for me - both this one and the Purple Wedding mystery - is that solving the mystery in no way simplifies the story, like you would expect.
posted by nubs at 4:09 PM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


You can't exactly buy Valyrian swords in the shop, no, but Tywin seems to have made it a point of style to acquire Oathkeeper practically, through acquisition and commission.

It's mentioned in the books that, after the loss of Brightroar, Tywin approached several other Houses with Valyrian swords and attempted to purchase them. Regardless of their financial state, none would sell. He had to acquire it in a practical manner because no other option was available.
posted by nubs at 4:13 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Carcetti marries the Borg Queen.

Do Ser Fedora of Friendzone next
posted by middleclasstool at 4:27 PM on May 5, 2014


I'm not a sword geek, but the sword geek I do know took real issue with a priceless sword being melted down and recast. Evidently this is a common trope that drives sword geeks crazy because casting molten metal looks way cooler (so that's always the way it's done in Ye Olde Period Pieces), but ultimately results in worse steel.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 4:30 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, the melting of Ice, the Stark sword, was about the symbolic destruction of House Stark by the Lannisters as much as it was about getting two new swords.

Plus, this is semi-magic steel so who knows what properties it has?
posted by Sangermaine at 4:35 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


middleclasstool: "Do Ser Fedora of Friendzone next"

I know you're just bringing it up as a joke, but I hate the "friendzone" characterization of Dany's relationship with Jorah. Especially when it people imply that Dany just dismisses him. Danaerys really values Jorah; she is acutely aware of the fact that she could never have gotten this far without him. Unless Tumblr is lying, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:41 PM on May 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


(Of course, my main objection to that characterization is that friendzoning is a specious concept in the first place.)
posted by ocherdraco at 4:42 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


My favourite part of this episode was the point where Tywin admits their mines have run dry... and the Crown, which is closely entwined with the Lannisters, owes the Iron Bank a fortune. So at this point the North and the Iron Islands are busy killing each other, the Riverlands have bled in the war and the Vale is withdrawn. The power base of the Lannisters is crumbling, the Dornish hate them but don't seem to be too interested in the rest of the 7 Kingdoms. The Tyrells seem to be on the ascendant, but is even their power enough to control the realm?

Cersei was great today and I loved the Arya's new lesson on pragmatism courtesy of the Hound.
posted by ersatz at 4:48 PM on May 5, 2014


I know you're just bringing it up as a joke, but I hate the "friendzone" characterization of Dany's relationship with Jorah.

Yeah, just being flip. Dude can't exactly pursue a queen romantically and can't help that he loves her. Plus he actually does seem to have noble intentions with her. And she does seem to value his friendship and counsel.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:07 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's actually one of the least icky/issue-filled relationships on the show
posted by The Whelk at 5:23 PM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


My favourite part of this episode was the point where Tywin admits their mines have run dry... and the Crown, which is closely entwined with the Lannisters, owes the Iron Bank a fortune.

Yes, and isn't it interesting how Littlefinger was Master of Coin for a while?
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:41 PM on May 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


Very much enjoyed the episode.

"What has Hodor done?" was a terrific moment.

I love the fact that Lysa is far too unstable for Littlefinger to properly control her.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:15 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah Littlefinger prides himself in knowing how predictable people are and how they'll react to things, Lysa is straight up pants on head crazy and likely to do anything for whatever reason she dreams up. Dangerous.
posted by The Whelk at 6:16 PM on May 5, 2014


This was a good Sansa episode. More Sansa, please.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:23 PM on May 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


While I agree with those who say the fight scene was lazily shot, what I did appreciate was the gorgeous autumnal mood lighting of the scene shot with Cersei and Oberyn. Winter Is Coming.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:52 PM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah Littlefinger prides himself in knowing how predictable people are and how they'll react to things, Lysa is straight up pants on head crazy and likely to do anything for whatever reason she dreams up. Dangerous.

As he illustrated with Ser Dantos last week, Littlefinger doesn't keep dangerous coconspirators around for long. Now that he has her title, I don't think Lysa Arryn is long for Westeros.
posted by Uncle Ira at 8:34 PM on May 5, 2014




But judging by the reaction of those I was with at Locke's death, I guess maybe the point was lost - or am I the one missing the point?

I don't think that you are missing the point. I think that Locke needed killing but it was shitty that Hodor had to be the vessel. But then, maybe he will get a taste for it? Perhaps it wasn't horror at what he had done, but a shocking realisation of what he can do?
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:37 PM on May 5, 2014


Valyrian steel must be pretty damn good if you can make a sword suitable for anything but clubbing a sleeping person to death simply by pouring into it a mold. In this world swords get their properties at the forge, using a combination of skills involving tempering and reheating and reforging and all kinds of stuff that takes an apprentice a decade or more to learn.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:45 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Their molds are really good tho.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:54 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


(In fairness, the scene of sword-shaped molds being filled with molten metal can probably best be regarded as artistic license -- it communicates swordness to the audience. In real life swords start as billets that aren't remotely sword shaped and get that way, along with a number of their properties including carbon content, mostly with a hammer.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:55 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


"WTF is Littlefinger's end game???"

Getting things ready for when the Mother of Dragons, her kids, and her army show up. That'd be my guess.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:34 PM on May 5, 2014


I don't think that you are missing the point. I think that Locke needed killing but it was shitty that Hodor had to be the vessel. But then, maybe he will get a taste for it? Perhaps it wasn't horror at what he had done, but a shocking realisation of what he can do?

Yeah, I had a moment when Bran was yelling at Hodor to cut him free where I was worried Hoder was going to go all Vincent D'ofreio in Full Metal Jacket on him.

There was some glorious side-eye in this episode, first from Margery to Cersei and then Sansa when Lysa had her in a headlock. I think the girl may be growing a backbone; she had a glint like "I did not escape from King's Landing for this." Maybe Arya will show up and they'll jailbreak together.

Also, for meta plot reasons it really feels like Tyrion needs to stay alive; thinking about how they could write that, though, it's making me rethink whether or not Tywin knew about --- and approved of --- the Tyrell's involvement with murdering Joffrey. If Tywin knows for a fact that Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey, that would be a reason to get him off. A sturdier excuse than merely not wanting him hanged because he's a Lannister (what is the appropriate punishment for Lannister-on-Lannister crime, in Tywin's mind? One wonders.).

Third thing --- I feel like the Lyssa - Cat - Peter triangle is one I've seen before in some famous work of literature --- the boy next door who pines for the elder daughter while the younger one crushes on him. But it's not coming to me. Also Lysa being 10lbs. of crazy in a 5lb bag makes me think she's got to get got as well --- but I dunno, on a meta level it felt like the show was really digging into the Vale and getting us comfy for a nice long haul. Loads of Gothic atmosphere. One hates to think of the poor set dresser spending ages guttering the candles for just a scene or two, and the font of goth is Lysa, which makes me think she'll be around for a whole yet. (though hopefully not delivering such heavy-handed exposition.)
posted by Diablevert at 10:47 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was one of the most dehumanizing moments of the series for both characters, and I would say was this week's rape. But judging by the reaction of those I was with at Locke's death, I guess maybe the point was lost - or am I the one missing the point?

I don't know, nubs, but if you are missing the point, you seem to be in good company here. :)

In the books, it's an abomination (according to one wildling at least) to warg into the mind of another human. So it's definitely a gray area.

Still, I'm not on board with calling Bran's warging something akin to rape. I feel like to some degree that is imposing real-world ethics on a magical alternate reality. We don't have the power to take over another person's body to do our will. But if we did, would it be considered absolutely unethical to use that power in self-defense (including defense of the wargee)? Doing what the other person would certainly do if he weren't physically or mentally limited? When would rape ever fall into category like that?

Hodor's whole purpose at this point in the story is the protection and transport of Bran. There is no way he would stand by to watch Bran carried off, Meera raped, and Jojen and himself probably killed, if he understood his own power to break his chains. Bran didn't override Hodor's will or purpose, he augmented it. (Also Jojen, who understands warging and has warned Bran of the dangers, and who seems to function as a guide and conscience to the group, gave his nod of approval.)

Hodor's bewilderment at his own bloody hands does suggest how this could be problematic (or "an abomination"). But it's also ambiguous whether Hodor's dismayed, simply confused, or surprised at what he's managed to accomplish.

At any rate, Bran hasn't used this power in any but the most dire situations, and it's hard for me to understand faulting him for using it to save his group from a much worse fate.
posted by torticat at 1:12 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bran hijacked Hodor's body and used it like a weapon, like a tool. He transformed Hodor from a *person* into a *thing.*

Bran and his friends definitely needed that "thing" (that weapon, that tool) right then, and so it's easy to forgive. But it's still scary to see a person made into an object. It's also scary to think that Hodor's humanity, his personhood, is entirely at Bran's discretion. If Bran decides he needs that particular object/thing/tool/weapon, Hodor doesn't get to be a human being anymore, all he gets to be is an object/thing/tool/weapon (for Bran to weld as he sees fit).

Hodor apparently has some kind of disability but he's still a human being as much as anyone else is (as much as Bran) and it's frightening to see Bran strip that away without a thought, even if it's while Bran is fighting for his and his friends' lives.

I do think that Hodor's bewilderment, his dissociation from his body and its actions, is meant to be chilling. I don't know how Hodor felt in that scene, but that's how I felt. And to me, Hodor seemed anguished, too.
posted by rue72 at 2:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


Hodor!
posted by Justinian at 2:41 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have to say I liked the visuals of Cersei and Oberyn's walk, both of them black and gold.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It was a beautiful shot. Cersei's golden hair and black dress with golden highlights and Oberyn's black hair and golden clothing with black highlights. Really well done.
posted by Justinian at 3:09 AM on May 6, 2014


Bran worging into Hodor touches many of the same notes as Daeny crucifying the masters of Meereen. To serve the greater good, Bran committed an act of evil. Pragmatism, corruption, both, or neither? For Bran, it's hard to argue that there had been many options aside from using Hodor, but it also goes without saying that turning people into things is a Bad Thing.

Part of me had thought that Bran was going to worg into Hodor, and then have Hodor simply shout "JON!"
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:39 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting,I don't get the Bran did evil act idea. It was pragmatic, he takes no joy in it and arguably took far too long to warg into Hodor.

Not the best of acts, but hardly evil.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


That should be "the IDEA Bran did..."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:37 AM on May 6, 2014


Littlefinger is a snake and Lysa is a mongoose. A crazy-ass mongoose. Fortunately there's a moon-door there to even the odds.

I asked a similar question about the direwolves previously so I apologize for asking for this sort of favor again, but can someone please catalog the existing Valyrian steel swords in the Show? I can't even recall who received the other of the two Tywin forged from Ice.

I'd look this up, but I'm afraid of spoilers to the effect of: Humdinger, wielded by Badass-That-Hasn't-Been-Introduced-In-The-Show-Yet
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:16 AM on May 6, 2014


How is the Iron Bank supposed to impose its will on all the world*? You owe them money, dont pay and then...so what? The bank goes bankrupt is the answer in medieval Europe, as far as I know. Happened to several Italian banks who lent to the wrong prince.

*does the planet have a name by the way? We know Essos and Westeros.
posted by shothotbot at 6:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I believe Jaime got the other Valyrian sword and gave it to Brienne. It's called Oathkeeper.
posted by lunasol at 6:20 AM on May 6, 2014


So Tywin kept one for himself? I mean, I would, but I wasn't sure if he did.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:21 AM on May 6, 2014


How is the Iron Bank supposed to impose its will on all the world*?

Judging from the previews, this will at least be partially answered in the next episode.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:24 AM on May 6, 2014


How is the Iron Bank supposed to impose its will on all the world*? You owe them money, dont pay and then...so what? The bank goes bankrupt is the answer in medieval Europe, as far as I know. Happened to several Italian banks who lent to the wrong prince.

Someone mentioned in season three - Tyrion I think - that the Iron Bank deals with delinquent rulers by funding the ruler's enemies.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:26 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


So Tywin kept one for himself? I mean, I would, but I wasn't sure if he did.

I think there's confusion about your question, and which sword you meant by "the other of the two". So, to clarify:

Ice was re-forged into two swords:

One was given to Jaime, who did not name it, but gave it to Brienne, who named it Oathkeeper.

The other was given to Joffrey, who named it Widow's Wail (and cut Tyrion's book gift in half with it).

I'm not sure there's been anything in the show to indicate where the latter is, now that Joffrey's gone and Tommen has been crowned.
posted by tocts at 6:29 AM on May 6, 2014


I imagine the Iron Bank is (judging from Tywin's admission that he can't touch them in any useful way) has their own spy and rogues network, and defaulting on your huge loans might cause the "unexpected" appeareance of several rebellious lords all over your soon-to-be-former landholds. You might also want to beef up on bodyguards and food tasters, you know. It is after all a bank that can apparently finance a huge kingdom that is otherwise pretty much broken for years and yeas, and still keep going as a strong bank. That's a nasty critter to rub the wrong way, IMHO.
posted by Iosephus at 6:30 AM on May 6, 2014


So Tywin kept one for himself? I mean, I would, but I wasn't sure if he did.

Jamie got the larger sword and gave it to Brienne who named it Oathkeeper.

Joffrey was given the smaller sword at his wedding breakfast and named it Widow's Wail. We last saw it lying on his body in the sept.

(As an aside: I assume that Jamie giving away such a precious, and hard-acquired, tropy is kind of a big old fuck-you to Tywin?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:30 AM on May 6, 2014


Ahh yes, Joffrey. Somehow forgot about his. Oathkeeper, I remembered. Thank you much.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:31 AM on May 6, 2014


(As an aside: I assume that Jamie giving away such a precious, and hard-acquired, tropy is kind of a big old fuck-you to Tywin?)

Mentioned in the other thread: it's a two-handed sword. Tywin giving it to Jaime was a fuck-you in itself.
posted by almostmanda at 6:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm beginning to wonder how much apophenia plays into our reactions to this show.

e.g. The Whelk's comment:

The themes of this episode where REALLY explicit. Like, it was in every plotline: The weak and marginalized against the powerful and the strong. Dani's slave rebellions being crushed, Arya's sword master being killed by a fool, Pod killing a Kingsguard from the back, that same scene repeating with Jon, Bran saving everyone via Hodor, even the Crown's dependance on the Tyrells for money and debts to the Iron Bank. The line is clear, being powerful doesn't mean you're invincible, and successful attacks will come from where you least expect.

I get that we like to pull out themes for each episode (TWO SWORDS! BREAKING CHAINS!) but can we really say that "power dynamics" is a theme as such? Power is one of the themes of the entire show, as it is in many shows where conflict moves the plot forward.

I think this also runs up against a form of Poe's Law along the lines of "Any sufficiently realistic representation of real issues can be used to support any perspective or philosophy." Like the blind men and the elephant, I wonder if that theory is based on a very selective interpretation of what actually happens in the show.

Which I think brings me to my self-examination - is this show/series truly commentary on the patriarchy? It was suggested earlier, and I really Bought Into the idea that Martin's main thesis of the show was "look how fucked people get when The Patriarchy is in charge" (drawing additional support from "But if you read is earlier novels..."). I do love that philosophy, but I worry that it's really just kinda spurious.
posted by rebent at 6:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is after all a bank that can apparently finance a huge kingdom that is otherwise pretty much broken for years and yeas, and still keep going as a strong bank. That's a nasty critter to rub the wrong way, IMHO.

I guess it says more about me than the show that I find the dragons and magic OK but a historically unbelievable bank gets under my skin. I guess I can just tell myself its magic.
posted by shothotbot at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


*does the planet have a name by the way? We know Essos and Westeros.

No. Though this map indicates there's another continent to the south, named Sothoryros. Martin has a real flair for continent names.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well for one thing the show and book are things created by people, not randomly thrown together, and people have agendas and points of views and opinions. Broadly out, saying the real villain in Westeros/Essos isn't any one person, but a patriarchal feudal system that runs on misery doesn't seem like an absurd or out of place takeaway.
posted by The Whelk at 6:47 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


To us it does not seem like an absurd takeaway but I could imagine many less-liberally-minded people being confused by that takeaway and saying that the true takeaway is something like "Everyone is evil, even the little girls, and so it's ok to do whatever it takes to get ahead"
posted by rebent at 6:54 AM on May 6, 2014


Has GRR Martin ever said the series was feminist?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on May 6, 2014


He did say it was written as a reaction to 80s Style Extruded Fantasy Product, a kind of "uh guys, this feudal fantasyland you admire so much would be ....really fucking awful to live in!"

I think the fact that the books and to a greater extent, show, focus on characters who have been put outside the system or have no power supports this. And this episode drove home " even if you are at the top of the system, you're still vulnerable." and from a meta-narrative perspective, we're roughly halfway through the expected run, now is an excellent time for the power structures to sway and crack in the winter winds.

If the king can't be safe at his own wedding than no one is safe.
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


If the king can't be safe at his own wedding than no one is safe.

And a fantasy book where Robb Stark dies, anyone can die.
posted by shothotbot at 7:09 AM on May 6, 2014


(As an aside: I assume that Jamie giving away such a precious, and hard-acquired, tropy is kind of a big old fuck-you to Tywin?)

Not only that, but giving it to someone who was on a mission to keep her (and his) oath to the Starks.

I guess it says more about me than the show that I find the dragons and magic OK but a historically unbelievable bank gets under my skin. I guess I can just tell myself its magic.

Well, the Iron Bank is in Braavos, also the home of the Faceless Men (ie, the secretive band of ninja assassins that Jaqen H'ghar is a member of. I'm certain the Iron Bank uses them to punish debtors and they certainly use magic, so ... yes! It's magic!
posted by lunasol at 7:14 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Which I think brings me to my self-examination - is this show/series truly commentary on the patriarchy?

For one thing, this will depend on your definitions of "is" and "truly".
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:15 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Even though Sticherbeast's comment sounds facetious. it's exactly right. Even without getting into a discussion of authorial intent, the stories don't write themselves. I'm not saying Martin is Baudelaire, but putting the words to paper takes conscious choice, and his choices lead to a pretty strong argument that the nitty gritty details of a world like this are full of cruelties and inequities. These themes, especially in the first book, aren't emergent from the plot, they're inextricably tied.
posted by mzurer at 7:21 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


In other words, what does it mean for you to say that anything "is" a commentary on anything? "Is" it a commentary on xyz because you yourself can divine a satisfactory interpretation to bolster that theory? What sort of test would you apply to a work to see if it "is" one thing or another - is it purely subjective, or if not, then what objective parts of that test would exist? With regard to "truly", does that entail exclusivity, i.e. the show/series is a commentary on the patriarchy and not significantly anything else? If not, then what does that mean?

I'm not needling to be a cock, these are genuine questions from me. If your question had only been intended to be rhetorical, then feel free to ignore me and my powerful stench.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:21 AM on May 6, 2014


Even though Sticherbeast's comment sounds facetious.

Nope, not facetious! :)
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:22 AM on May 6, 2014


*hi-five*
posted by mzurer at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2014


I guess my fear is that, there are a lot of people I respect who despise this show because of the cruelties, rapes, etc that it portrays; their argument being that the show glorifies rape and violence.

I choose to defend it and say "Oh but you see, these portrayals are good because they show how bad patriarchy is - if you dislike those scenes, that's because you agree that the patriarchy is bad."

I don't want to be on the wrong side, here. I can't support something that "is bad" because that would make me a bad person. But, I also can't not support something that is secretly good because that would make me a simpleton.

These are very juvenile ways to interact with my own emotions and those of other people around me.

But I put too much weight on the idea that "it has a rape in it and that's icky, so you're a bad person for liking it." If I can prove that person wrong, then I'm OK and I'm still a good person. But, if I can't prove them wrong, then they won and they have the right to look down on me. I have to be right to be safe.
posted by rebent at 7:30 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked how Craster's daughter-wives took back some of their agency tonight. They're done with men and are gonna go do their own thing now, thanks.

While I get why that'd be satisfying for the viewers at home, that whole scene seemed uncomfortably audience-pandering to me-- especially when the wives opted to burn their perfectly good keep to the ground just-- why?-- to spite a bunch of asshole guys who are now dead anyway? The show has already suggested strongly that these are not women capable of much fighting, or of fending for themselves out in the wilderness north of the Wall; otherwise, what was to stop them escaping or staging a coup a long time ago? Realistically, I feel like they're just going to take all their newfound agency and wander around in the cold until they starve, or run into some other outlaw band and come in for another round of beating and raping.
posted by Bardolph at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2014


Though this map indicates there's another continent to the south, named Sothoryros. Martin has a real flair for continent names.

I keep hearing the place-name criticism a lot, but most real world place-names are just as literal and obvious. They're just in foreign/ancient languages.

"England" just means Land of the Angles. "Europe" has uncertain etymology, but one theory is that it comes from a Semetic work for "west", another is that it comes from Proto-Indo-European for "broad of aspect", which basically would just mean that it's a big place or "the world". Amsterdam just means the dam of the Amstel. York probably just means "place of the yew trees".
posted by spaltavian at 7:36 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


The show has already suggested strongly that these are not women capable of much fighting, or of fending for themselves out in the wilderness north of the Wall

Who do you think was doing all the work to keep Craster's Keep going? I rather doubt it was Craster himself who got all the food, chopped all the wood, and made the clothes and other household goods. These women have lived all their lives north of the wall. They may not be fighters, yet, but I'd be surprised if they didn't have lots of survival skills.
posted by Area Man at 7:38 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


North America - South America not particularly clever either.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:38 AM on May 6, 2014


Those names are all a lot more flavorful and interesting than names that are just plays on the cardinal directions. They tell us a lot more!

In fact, place names are generally fascinating and show where people came from in the new world--rivers are named after rivers back home. I mean, "America" is a version of Amerigo, and there's a whole bunch of political worldbuilding packed into that.

I don't hold it particularly against GRRM, but they're not great placenames, no.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:41 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


While I get why that'd be satisfying for the viewers at home, that whole scene seemed uncomfortably audience-pandering to me-- especially when the wives opted to burn their perfectly good keep to the ground just-- why?-- to spite a bunch of asshole guys who are now dead anyway?

I see it the usual up and down beats of storytelling. You can't just have bad shit repeatedly happen and expect the audience to stick with you. There have to be small victories or some such to sustain interest. So yeah, one woman stabbing Karl, which gives Jon an opening to kill him fulfills a certain emotional narrative, for me at least. It doesn't make everything right, but it does appeal a sense that there's justice, somewhere, somehow.

As to burning down the house, that made perfect sense. The women were horribly tortured and held captive, so now that they're free, their first act is to get rid of the place that has so many bad memories. They can build another house.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Who do you think was doing all the work to keep Craster's Keep going? I rather doubt it was Craster himself who got all the food, chopped all the wood, and made the clothes and other household goods. These women have lived all their lives north of the wall. They may not be fighters, yet, but I'd be surprised if they didn't have lots of survival skills.

Oh, yeah, I don't doubt that the wives could have done fine maintaining the keep and leading a wilderness-outpost kind of frontier life. Except that they burned the keep to the ground, so what are their options now? If they were capable of an itinerant, roving-band lifestyle like the Wildlings, wouldn't they have escaped a long time ago?
posted by Bardolph at 7:50 AM on May 6, 2014


If they were capable of an itinerant, roving-band lifestyle like the Wildlings, wouldn't they have escaped a long time ago?

I'm sure they've been capable all along, they just didn't realize it. Abuse fucks you up in the head.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:55 AM on May 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


Around here we have a lagoon that goes by the (possibly world-record levels of geographical naming lazyness) remarkable "Salty" (La Salada). People and placenames, what can you do...
posted by Iosephus at 7:56 AM on May 6, 2014


they're not great placenames, no.

Won't you take me to...
[funk riff]
Planky Town
posted by Iridic at 7:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I had the same reaction to burning down the keep, but it also reminded me that the elementary school in Sandy Hook has been demolished after the shootings there. They will build another.
posted by mzurer at 7:59 AM on May 6, 2014


To us it does not seem like an absurd takeaway but I could imagine many less-liberally-minded people being confused by that takeaway and saying that the true takeaway is something like "Everyone is evil, even the little girls, and so it's ok to do whatever it takes to get ahead"

If you want a story with an unequivocal moral you want a fable, or possibly Pilgrim's Progress. Otherwise you're stuck with literature, which always contains the seeds of its own deconstruction. In general I stand with Oscar, myself -- a book is either well-written, or it is badly written, that is all.

Nabokov is my favourite writer; most of his books are an elaborate double bluff of one kind or another, and one of his favorite tricks is to make you sympathise with a monstrous protagonist. I would argue that Nabokov is always clear that the protagonists are still monstrous, that that's one of the important themes his writing is concerned with --- the extent to which artistry, intellect, talent are taken as excuses for cruelty and vanity. The Original Sin in all his works is dehumanisation, treating other people as objects (but this is always a temptation, because only by objectifying another can they become the perfect vessel to fulfill our needs). But: do most people who read Lolita get that? Probably not. Certainly a lot of them never get that far --- they get sucked in by the beauty of the writing, the sinuous pleasures of Humbert's voice, and they never see beyond their sympathy for him. They excuse his crimes, fail to acknowledge their gravity --- less so than Humbert does himself, by the end. Does that make Nabokov a bad writer? I wouldn't say so. Does that mean he shouldn't risk writing about such things, shouldn't risk writing in the way that he does, lest he turn our precious little reader heads? I wouldn't say that either. What we bring to a book and what we take from it is on us; the artist can only speak the truth as they know it. As in all forms of communication, the meaning lies between, in the space between intent and understanding.
posted by Diablevert at 8:05 AM on May 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


I imagine they would want to set up somewhere off the beaten path. The whole reason the Night's Watch had to deal with Craster at all is because his keep is located strategically on the path north, right? Staying there would make them an easy target for the army that's marching south. Not to mention, they probably don't trust the Night's Watch enough to stay there, considering what they just went through.
posted by almostmanda at 8:07 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Has GRR Martin ever said the series was feminist?

Here's what I found after a quick Google search, in an interview with the UK Telegraph:
‘There was a period in my life when I would have called myself a feminist, back in the seventies, when the feminist movement was really getting going and growing out of the counter culture of the sixties,’ he says. ‘But the feminist movement has changed. Sometime in the 80s and 90s I read some pieces by women saying that no man can ever be a feminist and you shouldn't call yourself that because it's hypocritical, so I backed off. I thought if the current crop of feminists believes that no man can be a feminist, then I guess I’m not one.’

.....

Yes, you're right I've never been an eight year old girl,' he says, 'but I've also never been an exiled princess, or a dwarf or bastard. What I have been is human. I just write human characters.'
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think a lot of GRRM's placenames are quite poetic and evocative. However, it cracks me up that according to the map linked above there's a stretch of woods just north of The Wall known as The Haaaaaaaaunted Foooorest.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Viewership was up again to a new record this week. Dogecoin GoT to the moon!
posted by Justinian at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2014


I think a lot of GRRM's placenames are quite poetic and evocative

Some are good, some are bad. The continent names are stale, but places like:

-Winterfell
-The Dreadfort
-The Hellholt
-The Drearfort (Littlefinger's mocking name for his ancestral hold)
-Storm's End

I quite like. I guess it's a bit like the real world - some place names are good, others are just markers.
posted by nubs at 9:31 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


You have a guy who (supposedly) is one of the best fighters of the Night's Watch using ancient superior technology that people kill to get ahold of, and he's being clowned on by a guy blocking with two combat knives.

Recall that in the first episode of this season, Oberyn Martell, one of the finest warriors in Westeros, reminded a Lannister that a long sword was a poor choice in close quarters, shortly after stabbing him in the hand with a dagger.
posted by IanMorr at 9:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [9 favorites]




Why is "Dark Sister" listed under "Valyrian Steel Swords" despite only appearing as a mention while Heartsbane, Brightroar, Lady Forlorn, etc are listed down below in the middle of a bunch of paragraphs about Valyrian Steel in general? That don't make no sense at all...
posted by Justinian at 10:41 AM on May 6, 2014


Because Dark Sister was mentioned in the show, and the other swords have not been yet.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:48 AM on May 6, 2014


Curse your logic.
posted by Justinian at 10:52 AM on May 6, 2014


FAMOUS MONSTER: Someone mentioned in season three - Tyrion I think - that the Iron Bank deals with delinquent rulers by funding the ruler's enemies.

And meanwhile, the phone is ringing at Dragonstone.

"Yea, hello, this is Julie with the iron bank of bravos? Yea, just had some questions about your loan application... You say you're the rightful king?"

rebent: To us it does not seem like an absurd takeaway but I could imagine many less-liberally-minded people being confused by that takeaway and saying that the true takeaway is something like "Everyone is evil, even the little girls, and so it's ok to do whatever it takes to get ahead"

I think it's a bit disrespectful and freighted to say that anyone who thinks that is "less liberally minded" or somehow like, regressive or whatever. I think there's absolutely a point to be made that "look at how fucked the patriarchy is!" is a conclusion that people want to take from it that it's possible to take, but not like some blatant message inherent in the show.

There's just as valid of an argument to be made for that to just be like, incidental in the plot. It's not as fun for the huge tumblr fanbase of the show to slap each other on the back about, but the idea that it's just pooping on the perfect magical fantasy world full of gallant knights and lighthearted adventure is a blatantly more obvious premise.

rebent: But I put too much weight on the idea that "it has a rape in it and that's icky, so you're a bad person for liking it." If I can prove that person wrong, then I'm OK and I'm still a good person. But, if I can't prove them wrong, then they won and they have the right to look down on me. I have to be right to be safe.

This is a fools game in its own right, however. If you let someone else say "if you like this thing i think is bad you're a bad person", you're essentially telling them you are allowed to ad hominem me or something along those lines.

The whole "SJW" internet culture has created this idea that there are things that aren't just uncool to like, but are "problematic" and therefor you're inherently a shitty person if you like them. There's been some discussion on how you can like them if you just admit they have issues(or that they're awful, depending on the level of absolutism in that person) but... yea.

You don't need to prove them wrong because their opinion doesn't fucking matter. You can just say "I recognize what you're talking about, and i don't deny that it exists, but i still enjoy this media despite those issues" and then end the damn conversation. Because that shit is almost cultish, and they expect you to either accept their road that anything they think is bad is basically blasphemy, or you're an infidel and actively making the world a shitty place or something.

Opt out of the whole game. Something can have issues and still be good, nothing is black and white unless you're 13 years old and think you're making the world a better place via the internet.
posted by emptythought at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, what would be the FeBoB's (Iron Bank of Braavos) plan to recoup their investment in the 7 Kingdoms if they decide to flip the table on the current King and the Lannister/Tyrell alliance?

1. Fund Stannis' rebellion
2. investment capital goes up in the flames of war
3. ...
4. Profit!

Stannis on the throne doesn't somehow produce a new liquid asset stream that can fund the payments with interest to the bank. Sure, it can serve as a salient example to other debtor kingdoms, but, what now? Do they do the same thing to Stannis when he misses a payment?

The 7 Kingdoms need to refinance.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:51 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would assume some sort of asset seizure would be involved once the new guys are in power, or during the chaos? It's like "Yea, you're in control now, but we've just taken a whole bunch of the gold/supplies/weapons/etc they had here before you even settled in and noticed they were here".

That, or they then profit from interest and such on new deposits, business loans, etc from a now thriving empire.

It's a huge, corporate seeming bank everyone knows about. If something like the Lannisters defaulting happened they would just write it down and make money some other way. Whos to say they even actually gave the lannisters anything of value, and haven't just essentially given them some sort of funny money kind of credit and it's all just BS between essentially, two large banks?(seeing as how the lannisters are regarded as not just the richest family, but the richest house/kingdom/etc).

I feel like if they've been successful this long magic isn't necessarily the explanation, but just smart bullshitting like banks now that the bravosi government looks the other way on. After all, it's said that they have so much fucking gold that they can't even store it on land in their bank and other structures, and have barges piled with it in the harbor guarded by battleships. sorry if that's considered a spoiler? i don't know if they'll ever show it in the show, and it's been brought up in the books much earlier... which i haven't read, it's just been posted on here before.
posted by emptythought at 12:56 PM on May 6, 2014


Onion Knight was talking about the barges a couple eps ago.
posted by ursus_comiter at 1:06 PM on May 6, 2014


their first act is to get rid of the place that has so many bad memories. They can build another house.

You would think that, in their minds, they would also need another man so they could continue producing boys to keep the walkers at bay. Seems like most of Craster's daughters bought into that whole superstition (and who knows, maybe it's not all superstition--the walkers DID take their sacrifices and leave them alone). That's another whole issue related to their staying north of the wall--even setting aside whether they are able to build a new house and recover from decades of abuse.
posted by torticat at 1:17 PM on May 6, 2014


Whose to say they stayed north of the wall at all? plenty of wildlings and other people seem to have made it across. They burned the place down and then went to go do their own thing.

Whats to say they won't go burn down that whorehouse Mr. Slayer sent his wife to?
posted by emptythought at 1:24 PM on May 6, 2014


I choose to defend it and say "Oh but you see, these portrayals are good because they show how bad patriarchy is - if you dislike those scenes, that's because you agree that the patriarchy is bad."

I'm in kind of a similar boat; I find the books very feminist (the show notably less so). But I think relying on authorial intent is kind of shaky. If someone finds the books or the show gross and overly rapey and doesn't want to watch it for those reasons, that's fine. Personally, I think the feminist view of it and the idea that the ultimate antagonist is the patriarchy / kyriarchy is a defensible one, and anyone who would write you off solely for liking the work is on kind of shaky grounds as a result.

But the flip side is the issue of race -- the books and show both are kind of undeniably problematic (yes, I used the word) racially, starting from the very beginning, where the Brown Horse Loving Savages are Tamed by the Love of the Blondest Girl in the World. And they. . . don't really get better. I like them despite this flaw, and I don't feel like it makes me an inherently shitty person or anything. But I do think it's not great when people take the correlation in the other direction, and say "I like this work, and I am not an inherently shitty person; therefore, it is not problematic." It's OK to like stuff that is racist or sexist, but don't try to pretend that the problems don't exist. And if I had a friend who said "Oh, I can't get into GoT / aSoIaF because it's just too grodily racist," I don't think there's any better response to that than "Yeah, I can see that."
posted by KathrynT at 1:31 PM on May 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


I thought the women at Crastor's Keep would want to move, so they wouldn't be on the Night Watch's route north anymore. I'm sure all of them would rather never see another Night Watch man for the rest of their lives. They might scatter into the woods somewhere or join up with Wildings. I don't know that they'll all want to stay in a group or stay north of the wall particularly.

The Iron Bank can just kidnap and hold people for ransom if they don't get their money, can't they? Westros isn't really a bureaucracy yet. All those "traditional" (ie, more physically coercive) ways of getting money from people are still considered fair game, I think.

But the flip side is the issue of race -- the books and show both are kind of undeniably problematic (yes, I used the word) racially, starting from the very beginning, where the Brown Horse Loving Savages are Tamed by the Love of the Blondest Girl in the World. And they. . . don't really get better.

I agree. This really does bother me about the show, on a visceral level. That closing scene at the end of last season when all the brown slaves feted Dany just *bothered* me, it almost turned me off watching the show for good. It's not that it doesn't make some sense storywise...I don't even know what it was about it that bothered me (besides the obvious White Savior-ness of it all), to be honest. Scenes like that make it extremely difficult for me to root for Dany, and I don't know if that's part of the point or if those scenes are just tone deaf?
posted by rue72 at 1:38 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Economy and the Iron Bank.

If Winter is coming, it makes sense to back Highgarden; buy foodstuffs low and sell high. Starve out your enemies ... you can't eat gold.

I think the the Winter is like a recession.
posted by tilde at 1:40 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Daeny had been more or less the textbook example of a White Savior for a good long while. This latest episode appears to be problematizing this, so we'll see where this goes.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:43 PM on May 6, 2014


I choose to defend it and say "Oh but you see, these portrayals are good because they show how bad patriarchy is - if you dislike those scenes, that's because you agree that the patriarchy is bad."

I acknowledge that this is a way to read a lot of the sexual violence on the show, and I can see where you are coming from. But Jaime raping Cersei doesn't fit in with that, and I think that's a lot of why that scene in particular really upset people. It seemed like broken storytelling. The show spends zero time sympathizing with the Legitimate Rapists at Craster's Keep (and seems to use rape as shorthand for Evilest Thing Ever there), but continues on like Jaime is just this poor, humbled guy who's just trying to do the right thing. The show wasn't on Cersei's side on that scene. Either the creators didn't realize they were filming a rape scene (which seems to be the case), or we're supposed to believe Cersei deserves this for all of the bad stuff she's done. Neither of those scenarios makes me feel great.
posted by almostmanda at 2:08 PM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Daeny had been more or less the textbook example of a White Savior for a good long while. This latest episode appears to be problematizing this, so we'll see where this goes.

I actually thought that treating Grey Worm and Missandei as real characters with their own ambitions, abilities, and feelings was what was complicating the White Savior thing. Not so much that as soon as Dany was out of sight, the freed cities turned into choatic shitholes.
posted by rue72 at 2:09 PM on May 6, 2014


rue72 i interpret that less as "we can't rule ourselves without white people!" and more as "being a savior is more complicated than invading and running away"
posted by rebent at 2:14 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


rue72 i interpret that less as "we can't rule ourselves without white people!" and more as "being a savior is more complicated than invading and running away"

I think that's what they were going for, but it bothered me in the same way that it generally bothers me that Essos as a whole seems to exist as the JV version of Westeros. Like Essos is only important in terms of Westeros, just like the people there are only important in terms of what Dany learns from them (or more precisely, from ruling them).

I think they're *trying* to flesh out Essos more and *trying* to flesh out Eastern characters more and *trying* to complicate the White Savior storyline more, and I give them props for that, but something about seeing it onscreen leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, and I also think they're ultimately still failing to actually make Essos feel like as much of a "real" place as Westeros and for the people there to feel like "real" people in the way that the Westerosi do.
posted by rue72 at 2:24 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't that an inevitable emergent property of spending 95% of screen time in Westeros?
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I actually thought that treating Grey Worm and Missandei as real characters with their own ambitions, abilities, and feelings was what was complicating the White Savior thing

I agree that that helps. I think also the slaves of Mereen may have been a mix of colors (?) which might be an attempt to shake things up a bit.

The source material is a real problem, as KathrynT said. Still, I hate it when, instead of trying to mitigate the problem as much as possible, the show super-mega-amplifies it as it did in the final scene of last season. Ugh.
posted by torticat at 2:49 PM on May 6, 2014


Either the creators didn't realize they were filming a rape scene (which seems to be the case)

Shoutout to the fact that i, and others i've talked to still don't buy this. It's like a kid who got busted for having his friends over when his parents were out of town saying "I had no idea they were smoking weed in the basement mom!" when he in fact handed them the lighter and the bag of weed he had picked up earlier that day.

They have all the reason in the world to just go "Wut?" instead of going "yea, what of it?" especially since they've already said they don't read stuff online, and don't want to engage with people on stuff like that.

I read that response as an attempt to duck the conversation, not some definitive statement of Ultra Truth and what they really believe. It really seems like they all huddled and said "Ok, so we're gonna approach this from the space of it wasn't what we were doing so we don't have to answer a whole other series of hard questions".
posted by emptythought at 3:04 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the last season finale was uncomfortable; I sort of withheld judgement to see if they really were trying to sell a pure "dany is awesome" line or if the whole thing was going to blow up in her face. Still pending, really.

But while I agree with Rue that the Essos characters/continent are more thinly characterised than the Westeros ones, structurally I don't know if the show has a way around that. Which is not to excuse it, just to say that I literally don't see a way for them to write their way out of it --- I mean, I guess a show in which Dany never actually invades the Seven Kingdoms and remains a looming off-screen threat for 90% of the cast for the rest of the series while consolidating an Eastern empire could be interesting, but I don't think GRRM's perversions extend to subverting the structure of drama itself. I mean, a huge epic fantasy saga that ended in an utter whimper, with all of our protagonists dead and Petyr Baelish ruling over a rump set of kingdoms while trying to broker peace/put down peasant rebellions in the rest and Dany stuck upgrading the sewer system beneath the salve quarters in Sphinx-pyramid-opolis could be done, I suppose. But Martin seems like more of a bloody restoration playwright than an absurdist one.
posted by Diablevert at 3:07 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the whole thinly-characterized quasi-Afro-Asian thing with White Savior To The Rescue could arguably be YET AGAIN MOAR DUMB FANTASY TROPES he may or may not be working around towards subverting. Because come on, it's not like these stereotypes don't infest most of the genre, now, is it?

or not. sometimes a turd is just a turd.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:10 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I cannot talk about what is going on with Dany because of stupid spoilers. :(
posted by Justinian at 3:15 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I actually thought that treating Grey Worm and Missandei as real characters with their own ambitions, abilities, and feelings was what was complicating the White Savior thing

Enh. Martin and D&D are too talented to have those characters be completely cardboard, but they're still far more thinly characterized than most of the other characters on the show. It feels like they exist in Daeny's universe, and not the other way around.

It is good to show that the freed city-states of Essos do not simply have Happily Ever After endings. Westeros is a basket case, too. That's why we tune in every week.

It would appear that Daeny, Missandei, Grey Worm, Jorah, et al. are each moving in directions to show that life will not be so simple as having the dragon-y blonde roll into town and solve everybody's problems for them. If Daeny wants to be a queen, she will have to rule. She will also have to contend with the fact that everybody, including the freed slaves, will have wills, plans, plots, and flaws of their own.

I can't guarantee that the result will completely redeem everything, but the seeds are being sown for something even more interesting than what had come before.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:17 PM on May 6, 2014


But while I agree with Rue that the Essos characters/continent are more thinly characterised than the Westeros ones, structurally I don't know if the show has a way around that.

I think that one way that they could have handled things better, within the space/time constraints they have with regard to the Essos storylines, would have been to make the dynamic less White Savior/poor browns and more about the clash/interplay of cultures that Dany and the people around her are trying to navigate. They've done that very well actually, I think, with Theon's storyline. He's struggled a lot with legacy, figuring out the dynamic between word/image v. deed, navigating different cultures at once, feeling neither fish nor fowl, etc. We've spent very, very little time on the Iron Isles and met very, very few fleshed-out characters from there, but their culture and people have a depth to them that I feel is still largely missing from how Essos is handled.

Since we actually have had to spend a fairly significant amount of time/story space in Essos and are looking to spend quite a bit more, seeing as Dany has been there for a long time and will likely be for the foreseeable, I think that it would also have helped to have cut down on the Dany-centric stories with at least more vignettes or sideplots involving other characters around her. I think that, as relatively thin as Missandei and Grey Worm's characterization and plots have been so far, they've still done a lot to kind of relieve the feeling that This Is Dany's World They're Just Living In It syndrome that feels like it warps everything happening in Essos.

Since the books use POV narrative, and Dany in particular is not the *most* reliable narrator (I honestly do think that she's got some kind of psychosis brewing), I think that the feeling that Essos is a cardboard world constructed to educate Dany as a ruler actually might make some sense -- in her eyes, that could very well be what Essos is. But within the show, which uses a pretty objective narrative style, I don't think that works very well, and the perspective should be more split or differentiated from Dany's than it's been so far.
posted by rue72 at 3:32 PM on May 6, 2014


I think that one way that they could have handled things better, within the space/time constraints they have with regard to the Essos storylines, would have been to make the dynamic less White Savior/poor browns and more about the clash/interplay of cultures that Dany and the people around her are trying to navigate. They've done that very well actually, I think, with Theon's storyline. He's struggled a lot with legacy, figuring out the dynamic between word/image v. deed, navigating different cultures at once, feeling neither fish nor fowl, etc. We've spent very, very little time on the Iron Isles and met very, very few fleshed-out characters from there, but their culture and people have a depth to them that I feel is still largely missing from how Essos is handled.

Sure, that's a great counterexample. And I think a huge factor with regard to why the Iron Isles feel more real than Essos is because the story that has been going on there has always had a personal edge. We see how the culture works through the lens of seeing what individual characters want and need. We get a sense of what they value through the individually-motivated actions of various characters - many of them wildly imperfect, or even downright despicable.

In Essos, on the other hand, most of the characters aside from Daeny and Jorah have much more broad-gauge concerns. "I do not want to be a slave" and "I willingly join the queen's army" are both very broad concerns. Generally speaking, Essos appears to be populated by Sinister Slavers and Noble Freed Slaves. (What is life like for the people who can't afford slaves?) What I'd like to see are more freed slaves, et al. who have finer-grained, personal wants and needs - including conflicting goals, or even not-great goals. That's the stuff which keeps stories interesting.

It appears that we may be moving in that direction, but we'll have to see, I guess.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


In Essos, on the other hand, most of the characters aside from Daeny and Jorah have much more broad-gauge concerns.

Of course they do. But we only see them through the eyes/narrative of Daeny, who's all about freeing people, not so much with getting to know them.

The character is enjoyable and interesting, but she's been ego tripping for a while now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:52 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


In conclusion, Essos is a land of contrasts. Thank you.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:56 PM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think they're *trying* to flesh out Essos more and *trying* to flesh out Eastern characters more and *trying* to complicate the White Savior storyline more, and I give them props for that, but something about seeing it onscreen leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, and I also think they're ultimately still failing to actually make Essos feel like as much of a "real" place as Westeros and for the people there to feel like "real" people in the way that the Westerosi do.

I very much agree that the racial issues in both book and show are problematic, and are one of the warts of the series. I think they are trying, but there's a big difficultly on the show in terms of the number of characters and screen time; the books have more luxury that way, and the choice there to always give us POV characters who are from the "majority" (in terms of the western, white) view is the difficulty - we see these locations and people through the narrator's eyes (and I'm a bit divided on how fair it is to say those are also GRRM's eyes; he does work with making the narrator unreliable in the sense that their perceptions and understandings are flawed; but there is likely some of his internal assimilation of these narratives as well. I seem to recall an interview where he mentioned that given his age and the era in which he was raised, this may well be a problem in his writing - so kudos on the awareness, would love to see some steps towards addressing it).

Anyways, as a result of the show's need to compress things, I think we're getting some cardboard everyone. My currently example of the week is the boys at Craster's rape shack, who were cartoony villians with no apparent plan or depth of thought except "let's stay at Craster's" for the upcoming winter. The women of Craster's at least got some agency this week; I'm hoping we see some similar examples with the people around Dany. Because the boys at Craster's only serve to further Jon's story; I don't want the people of Essos to only serve to further Dany's story but would like to have some living, breathing, fleshed out characters there for her to interact with. Especially since the story is going to have her sit down and attempt to rule there. At the end though, this is the story of a few key people (and yes, the fact that those key people all seem to be white isn't great) at this time in history, and I suspect that we will see continued focus on our main characters at the expenses of this.

I could be wrong; I hope I am. I get that they have to make choices in telling the story, I'm just sad that the same choices as always wrt minority characters are being made in GoT/ASOIAF.
I've never had a problem with saying that I love the series, and that it has issues. Everything does. If I wait for the perfect grimdark fantasy series - that can be both hit that grimdark itch I have and address/subvert all the social concerns and stereotypes of the genre; well, I'll be long dead before it comes out (And I can say the same about epic fantasy and lots of other genres). I applaud Martin for deconstructing/subverting many of the tropes of modern fantasy, but I believe that there is also a limit to how many you can subvert when you are using the very form of modern fantasy as the vehicle (the same as there was a limit to how subversive the Simpson's could be with regard to television and cultural media - when you use the form itself, you can only take it so far).

In conclusion, contrasts. Many.
posted by nubs at 4:06 PM on May 6, 2014




Game of Thrones Makes History With 200,000 Strong Torrent Swarm

This is a larger horde than even Khal Drogo had.
posted by nubs at 4:15 PM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


They are paying the Iron Price!
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


We do not sow is replaced by:

We do not leech
posted by nubs at 4:30 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


surely We Do Not Seed?
posted by rebent at 4:33 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


But if you aren't seeding, you are being a lousy torrent user aren't you? Maybe I don't know the terms/etiquette and should keep my mouth shut.
posted by nubs at 4:38 PM on May 6, 2014


Well, the Ironborn aren't exactly the most courteous Sea Users in Westeros.
posted by codacorolla at 4:42 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, but I figure if anyone is leeching it's the Boltons.
posted by nubs at 4:49 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah House Serial Killer isn't very generous.
posted by The Whelk at 4:50 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


barely even tangentially thread related but i read an ASOIAF/Love Actually xover fic last night and it was fairly delightful
posted by elizardbits at 5:47 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can we all agree that the room dividers/screens in Meereen are gorgeous? I will pay any amount of money for these screens. Omg.
posted by dmd at 6:30 PM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


That was the nicest set of all the sets I've seen so far, and there have been some lovely sets.
posted by jessamyn at 6:37 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Links please, elizardbits!
posted by viggorlijah at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2014


Can we all agree that the room dividers/screens in Meereen are gorgeous?

YES. I need a higher resolution screen shot so that I can work up a cross stitch or knitting (or hell, even bead weaving) pattern featuring them.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:40 PM on May 6, 2014


linkyhere
posted by elizardbits at 7:43 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


That is surprisingly spot on.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:57 PM on May 6, 2014


I don't know much about wooden dividers but I feel in my belly that those are Huanghuali.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:31 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Some good images here, in an interview with the set designer, Deborah Riley (go Aussie go!)
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:35 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


He did say it was written as a reaction to 80s Style Extruded Fantasy Product, a kind of "uh guys, this feudal fantasyland you admire so much would be ....really fucking awful to live in!"

Tangent on this, I have been meaning to note some influences I think I see. Which are not quite EFP but a couple of which were the height of commercial fantasy circa 1989. Please note, I have not sallied forth to support these observations with supporting matter in the form of GRRM quotes or whatnot. Intentionality counts for nothing; what I see is what I see.

The four things from the 80s I see feeding GRRM's GoT books are:

Robert Silverberg's Majipoor stuff (possibly EFP, I don't recall. I do remember enjoying the first book or two). One of the originators of the big world trope, where the size of the planetary location used as a setting is somehow more hugerer than lil ole Terra.

Brian Aldiss' Helliconia Trilogy, also of the big world ilk. Set on a binary star's planet with eccentric seasonal duration as a result. The big carryover to GoT? The Long Winter. Not really EFP, Aldiss is too literary. I think he was more going for crossover fantasy lit success, like, say, Ubik.

The Aspirins' Theives' World anthologies. These books took a concept from role-playing games - the persistent fantasy world setting - and threw a significant number of the most popular F&SF writers of their era at it. Each writer was encouraged to create a character that was their primary protagonist and all the writers would set the stories in roughly the same time and place, a neglected outpost of an empire. When the authors started killing off one another's main characters, all hell broke loose.

This series was very commercially successful and spawned another shared-milieu fantasy series, one that is not very much like GoT but with which you are nonetheless familiar.

That series was Wild Cards, which posited a world in which a virus (or something, memory fades) has caused a subsection of the contemporary populace to suddenly develop superpowers. So… like the X-Men or what not, but written to contemporary eighties standards of sex and gore, by a competitive set of authors much as was Thieves' World. The effective captain of the Wild Cards ship? None other than GRRM.

Wild Cards is actually most like a few other contemporary supermutant projects such as Unbreakable or Heroes. But given GRRM's involvement and the undeniable debt it has to Thieves' World, it has to be here.

The no-holds-barred intrigue of the TW and WC projects seems to be a precursor to the 'no protagonist is sacred' approach we see in GoT. Another thought that has occurred to me about those anthologies is that in a way, they translated some of the highly competitive aspects of television writing to genre prose. One can't but wonder, could GRRM be mining the GoT writers' room for the same dynamic as he trundles forth in search of his endings?
posted by mwhybark at 9:58 PM on May 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


Jaime's rape scene last time followed by "anyway, Jaime's getting favorable again!" kind of reminds me of "Breaking Bad" and the way it handles the "ups and downs" of significant character-affecting events.

They take advantage of most viewers' automatic identification with whomever is owning the story at any given time and it's also possible too that they were tone-deaf, but I think there's a whole story of meta-manipulation at play, which includes establishing an "evil watermark baseline" that is very fluid and dynamic sloshing between characters before settling and getting sloshed around again, and is hard to gauge at any given time, but builds up across all of the characters, leaving few "unsullied."

Dany doesn't seem all that different from her brother if you view her as someone who has just been suppressed for a long time and is starting to become megalomaniacal (it just looks good so far because the "saved" have always been so desperate), but has the same ambitions and sense of entitlement to possess unbridled power that she has direct control over and does not need to contaminate her own hands in order to execute her demands. Her brother was insane for thinking the Dothraki wouldn't screw him over regardless of what happened from point A to B, expecting them to behave like trained dragons -- they would inevitably throw him aside not because they're evil "brown people" but what would be the purpose of a nomadic conquering people that is totally bad-ass to forever serve under another, without maintaining sovereignty at the first sign that they're being trifled with?

Dany in many ways is less naive, or has had a quick series of lessons in that have given her some insight, and all along we've been sympathetic to her for reasons that are valid and sympathetic, but ultimately we have no idea what her potential for evil will be since bad things mostly have been happening to her and she's been saving people who have mostly been horribly treated by bad people, and it's certainly possible that she'll take the whole "well so far everyone has been cool with me and I'm awesome, so anyone else can burn including any of you who decide not to like me" tack once her efforts to maintain control start to crack with dissent or resource problems, bringing you back to the Mad King wanting to immolate everybody.

If a show wants you to see a character in a totally unfavorable light forever, they show the character issuing terrible demands and not really doing a whole lot on their own. c.f. Tuco's uncle and the Murder Twins in BB, Cersei establishing herself in season 1 as the "wolf pup killer" and being a general "off with their heads" asshole along with her son.
posted by aydeejones at 10:17 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


In the second season I decided that the Daenerys storyline was playing kind of like a Conan story. I think it was around the House of the Undying bit. Somebody underestimates how completely awesome Conan is, and then dies an ironic death of some kind.

In Ana Mardoll's criticisms about the Narnia book Voyage of the Dawn Treader, she notes how Prince Caspian, after pronouncing there must be no more slavery on the Lone Islands, sails off to the next island, never to really examine how that plays out. So if Daenerys has to return to her earlier conquered cities to ensure the "no slavery" thing sticks, it's still a step up in complexity from some of the things out there.
posted by RobotHero at 10:45 PM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've always taken the books as a commentary on feudalism & the way that EFP fetishises medieval life instead of looking at the more-realistic (and often more interesting, narratively) scenarios that can happen when power is distributed based on a combination of strength, money and religion/superstition. The TV show seems to be keeping this up although I won't be surprised if the theme gets weakened just because its a group work of art rather than a solo piece.

People think it'd be great to be a king, or a princess, or a wizard, but forget the problems that real power creates. And fantasy tales often have some unrealistic responses to that: "just follow your true nature" is actually really difficult advice to follow if your whole world is feudalistic. Robert, Ned, Cersei, Sansa, Robb and Jon (etc etc) have a shitty time playing by the rules. But by stepping outside the system, Brienne, Arya, the wildlings and Bran just switch one set of problems for another. They can't win, because there is no such thing as winning in this game.

Feminism gets folded into this, as it is a critique of old power structures, but isn't the main point. This feminist is kind of hoping that the series ends with the ostensible winner establishing a proto-democracy, or at least some kind of analogue for the Enlightenment.
posted by harriet vane at 11:08 PM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


%n: "So, what would be the FeBoB's (Iron Bank of Braavos) plan to recoup their investment in the 7 Kingdoms if they decide to flip the table on the current King and the Lannister/Tyrell alliance?

1. Fund Stannis' rebellion
2. investment capital goes up in the flames of war
3. ...
4. Profit!
"

There are an awful lot of people living in Westeros. Westeros hasn't allowed out-and-out slavery for millennia. Essos, on the other hand ...?

There's a lot more wealth in ole Westeros than just available by capture/mining. Wouldn't surprise me at all if the Lannisters decided to start surreptitiously cashing in on the people living in the hinterlands.
posted by barnacles at 3:42 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


People think it'd be great to be a king, or a princess, or a wizard, but forget the problems that real power creates.

Not only that. I'm sure plenty of Kings of Spain would kill for some air conditioning when the weather got hot, a magic horseless carriage that goes twice as fast as a galloping horse, and a proper dental care plan.
posted by ersatz at 4:14 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't surprise me at all if the Lannisters decided to start surreptitiously cashing in on the people living in the hinterlands.

Well, that plan worked out well for House Mormont, didn't it?
posted by absalom at 5:59 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


That Hodor thing was, indeed, fucked up, and I don't recall it happening in the books either.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:09 AM on May 7, 2014


I don't recall it happening in the books either.

I am pretty sure it was there and, if I recall correctly, Hodor is traumatized by the experience of being warged into.
posted by shothotbot at 9:37 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure it was there and, if I recall correctly, Hodor is traumatized by the experience of being warged into.

That's what I remember, too.
posted by KathrynT at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2014


They can't win, because there is no such thing as winning in this game.

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die
                                   +
               Valar morghulis, all men must die
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               No one wins the game of thrones
posted by Green With You at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


small alteration:

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die
+
Valar morghulis, all men must die
=
No men win the game of thrones
posted by Iridic at 10:24 AM on May 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


So what you're saying is that Ser Pounce, not being a man, could win.
posted by desjardins at 10:26 AM on May 7, 2014 [20 favorites]


King Pounce, forever may he reign!
posted by desjardins at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2014


I remember him getting warged into, but not killing anybody- did that happen?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2014


Iridic, you're assuming that there's a gender element in the original High Valyrian. That could simply be an artifact of translation.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about emptythought's comment about the season feeling dumbed-down. With the earlier episodes I hadn't agreed, but this last one definitely had some credulity-stretching exposition dumps (Lysa: "hey, remember that time I murdered my husband on your instructions? That was awesome, right?").

Maybe I'm giving them too much credit, but a lot of the storylines in the past couple episodes have seemed rushed. Like they're hustling through a bunch of plot points, painting in broad strokes, in order to get us caught up to a certain point. Could be wrong, but I get the feeling that there's some big Thing coming up, something they want to be able to lavish some attention on. But I'm not sure what it could be, really. I suppose tyrion's trial could end up being the Westeros version of Inherit the Wind, but really that feels like more of a one episode showpiece than a multi-episode arc, something that you'd need to clear the decks for.

I mean, we do have half a season left, it's not like there isn't time to introduce a new complication, it just seems weird to me that I can't even see the glimmers of it yet. I know book readers must be going "Mmmmmphrgh!" behind their gags, but I'm curious what you guys think it could be...Dany's just been firmly set up for a long, sloggy stretch of non-excitement. I guess the Wilding army/White walkers could show up? Or Stannis and the Onion Knight could get a fresh cash infusion and take King's landing in a surprise attack. God knows what littlefinger's up to, long-game wise, but for the mo he and Sansa seem booked for a bit of domestic drama. Obviously either Arya and the Hound or Brienne and Pod should run into the Mountain soon, he's been foreshadowed a bunch this whole season and I believe they have a new actor in the part. But that seems like a minor plotline. Boltons v. Greyjoys, ditto. And while it feels like Bran's been advanced a space it seems like he'll have a lot more to go before his story comes to a climax worthy of a season-ender.

I guess if I had to bet myself I might go with an attack on the wall as the Big Event, something that could thrust Jon into formal leadership. But what do you guys think?
posted by Diablevert at 10:54 AM on May 7, 2014


Mmmmmphrgh!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:02 AM on May 7, 2014 [14 favorites]


I agree that this season feels more plot driven, with the episodes functioning as checkin points and not so much as development.

With the reveal of Baelish's plans and how long they've been going, along with the sudden appearance of Ser Pounce, let's just say that things are about to get realllly interesting.

Never mind the Red Wedding, wait until the fallout from the Blue Litterbox occurs!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:05 AM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've been happier with the pacing this season - last season had its moments, but there was a really strong sense that it was just dragging its feet until it could get to episode nine and kill a bunch of people.

The preview for the next episode showed Theon's sister, so if I had to guess, I'd say that probably they're building to Tyrion's trial for the episode-nine Big Moment, but unlike last season they're doing a lot of interesting shit with other storylines on the way there.

I'd think an attack on the Wall is as sound a bet as any; they've only been building up to a Wildling attack on Castle Black since last season. The show has definitely had some spotty pacing in parts, and whole storylines that are mostly just the show checking in with someone every week or so, reminding us that they're there, and also reminding us that something is going to happen, whatever it happens to be. A little more balance of buildup versus payoff would be nice.

Everything I've read has suggested that the show seems to be more comfortable departing from the books at this point (I haven't read more than a couple pages of any of the books and I'm not going to, so I'm really only guessing here), which I can only see as a good thing because so much of the show's pacing trouble seems to have come from the habit of treading water until they can get to the next Big Event from the book.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:07 AM on May 7, 2014


The preview for the next episode

gah, I'd been trying to avoid seeing that.

Rewatching the episode last night, a couple of extra things:

1. Jojen tells Bran that all of them, "even Hodor", are there to guide him to the tree. On second viewing, that comes across more as Jojen telling Bran to use Hodor as a tool; emphasised later by Jojen's nod to Bran as Locke is taking him.

2. Jojen's predictions to Karl come across at the time as Jojen desperately trying to distract Karl, but they all come true: "I saw you die tonight. I saw your body burn. I saw the snow fall and bury your bones."

3. Arya pretty much flat-out attempts to kill the Hound: I think he's expecting her to try some fancy water-dance sparring, but she goes straight for a hard poke with the pointy end. Am I reading his reaction right that he's surprised by that?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:06 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]




Also: this episode we had a callback to Pod's "spear through the head" killing, and later Karl's "sword through the head" death.

Back in The Rains of Castermere, Arya told the Hound: "Someday I'm gonna put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:13 PM on May 7, 2014


She's so precious, how can you not like her?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


3. Arya pretty much flat-out attempts to kill the Hound: I think he's expecting her to try some fancy water-dance sparring, but she goes straight for a hard poke with the pointy end. Am I reading his reaction right that he's surprised by that?

That's how I read it. I think that was the first time he hit her.
posted by homunculus at 12:54 PM on May 7, 2014


I think that was the first time he hit her.

He knocks her out to keep her from running into the Red Wedding.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:57 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


> you're assuming that there's a gender element in the original High Valyrian.

S03E03:
Missandrei: ... Valar morghulis.
Daenerys: Yes. 'All men must die', but we are not men.
posted by nangar at 1:11 PM on May 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


Let's nix the discussion of previews, please. The spoiler policy says no discussion of events beyond the episode the thread is about.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:47 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, my bad.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2014


Valar is gendered male. Here's David J. Peterson (who does the languages for the show) when asked about what the non-gendered version would be:
The High Valyrian word for “woman” is ābra. The collective is ābrar, and while that can refer to all women, it can also be used to refer to humanity in general (i.e. men and women). So Ābrar morghūlis can mean “All people must die”. Of course you could also say Tolvys morghūlis, which means “Everyone must die”. Plenty of ways to talk about mass death in High Valyrian.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ah, you're making me all wistful for Jaqen H'ghar.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 2:38 PM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


The exclusively feminine version is juliānna margūlies.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:38 PM on May 7, 2014 [17 favorites]


David J Peterson was on the Nerdist podcast recently
posted by vbfg at 3:33 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Be
fore I really engage in this thread, I have a question:

Is it just me that thinks everyone in this episode is having very sudden, very honest conversations?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:04 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would use the word genuine rather than honest, in the sense that I think a lot of the emotional content behind the words present is genuine, even if the motives are a bit more inscrutable/hidden. The AV Club review had some interesting thoughts in it, describing this week as almost a "chapter between the chapters" where we take a step back and get some texture and a bit of depth.

But the Game goes on, and I think this summation of the conversation between Margaery and Cersei is perhaps the best:

"The two discuss their ever-shifting relationship and whether Margaery might be interested in being queen yet again. And it’s clear that they’re both playing a game and, crucially, both know they’re playing a game. At the same time, however, they both seem to enjoy playing it so much that it seems to almost become a lazy weekend activity, a few women batting bon mots back and forth in between rounds of bloodshed. And the way MacLaren keeps playing with their relative positions in the frame in very subtle ways, by having one lean forward or lean back to reflect the war of words, is masterful as well, culminating in that great line from Margaery about not knowing Cersei’s relation to her once she’s married to Loras and Lena Headey’s absolutely perfect facial expression in response."
posted by nubs at 7:13 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


He knocks her out to keep her from running into the Red Wedding.

Oh right, I forgot about that.
posted by homunculus at 7:23 PM on May 7, 2014


God yes. That scene was perfection from beginning to end.


It was two women very suddenly learning to understand each other.

I've just finished watching and OPINIONS I HAZ SO MANY but I'm going to go to bed instead.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:26 PM on May 7, 2014


It was two women very suddenly learning to understand each other.

eeehhhh...my gut thinks Cersei was screwing with her.*

[* i think I might be an embarrassment to the women power movement]
posted by double bubble at 7:30 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hope some of The Hound's wisdom rubs off on Ayra. I'd hate to see her try some water-dancing on some guy with "armour and a giant fucking sword" and fail again.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:56 AM on May 8, 2014


Can we all agree that the room dividers/screens in Meereen are gorgeous? I will pay any amount of money for these screens. Omg.

That was the single most beautiful set they have ever had on the show. I want a room exactly like that.

eeehhhh...my gut thinks Cersei was screwing with her.*

I don't think so. They're both playing the Game obviously, but there seemed to be a genuine honesty between the two; we're both essentially powerless, so we have something in common at least.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:02 AM on May 8, 2014


I don't think so. They're both playing the Game obviously, but there seemed to be a genuine honesty between the two; we're both essentially powerless, so we have something in common at least.

I dunno, man. Cersei's make-peace stance seemed frankly out of character. Throughout the show, she's been extremely possessive of her children and very ambitious, constantly scheming for power. You could read her actions this week a couple ways: uno, Joffrey's death really has broken her spirit and she has resigned herself to powerlessness, with her final wish simply to see Tyrion dead and after that she basically doesn't care what happens to herself. Dos, this is a bluff; she wants Tyrion dead all right and she's willing to grit her teeth and play nice with the other children to get that to happen...and after that, we'll see.

I'm more inclined to 2 myself. It's very rare for anybody's personality to turn on a dime, and just last week Angry Drunk Cersei was alive and well and freaking out about Tommen's guard situation. I think ADC is in hiding, not dead, and much like a toddler it's when you notice everything's gone quiet that you really have to worry. I wouldn't put much past Cersei if she truly feels she has nothing left to lose, and if Tyrion survives his trial --- meta-plot-logic leans that way --- she will feel that.
posted by Diablevert at 5:58 AM on May 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


As much as I do think Cersei is grieving for the little shit, I also think that Joffrey's death was as much a relief to her as to anybody. She no longer has to worry about throwing shade for him (not that she was any good at that), deal with his contempt for her, or have to absorb the consequences of his horrid actions that she helped support.

And I think with that weight off her shoulders, she does has gotten some perspective. Enough, at least, to see how Margaery can benefit Tommen.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:26 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, Ursus. What was her line? "We both knew what he was" or something?

That's what I mean about it being a genuinely honest moment. She's saying stuff that she has probably only barely admitted to herself about what a monster her son was.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:19 AM on May 8, 2014


I just finally watched the episode a second time, and I think Cersei's motivation is supposed to be manipulating people for the upcoming trial, but yeah, it's not entirely clear. She does noticeably swallow quite a bit of rage when Margaery calls her sister, though.

Arya, try stabbing The Hound in the unarmored neck next time!
posted by furiousthought at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2014


Stab him in the face while he's asleep. If he's a sound enough sleeper that you can slip off for some water dancing undetected, you can manage that.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2014


Remember when she tried to bash his skull in with a rock? Awake, instantly. He's safe from her, for now I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:41 AM on May 8, 2014


I think she is also realizing that she can benefit from the protection of a large, skilled, soldier who has a monetary interest in keeping her alive. None of his actions would lead her to believe that he wants to do anything more than return her to her family (such as it is, and for a price) so why wouldn't she stick with him for now?
posted by sparklemotion at 11:04 AM on May 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


i donno Sparkle Motion, I've never taken Arya as someone who is interested in securing protection, from anyone. she's constantly running away, on her own. I think the reason she doesn't run away from The Hound is because he's taking her where she wants to go. The second he said "Well, your aunt's out, back to King's Landing with you" she'd be right off (unless KL is also where she wanted to go).
posted by rebent at 12:03 PM on May 8, 2014


Looking forward to Arya getting news about the Purple Wedding, now that I think of it...
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:49 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cersei's make-peace stance seemed frankly out of character.

The A Cast of Kings podcast made an interesting observation: Cersei's scenes with first Margaery and then Tywin would make more sense if they were swapped.

With Tywin she's acquiescing to his "the legacy is all that matters" autocracy, by consenting to both Tommen's marriage and her own. With Margaery she's enacting that by brokering the Tommen/Margaery marriage.

My take on it: Cersei's finally realized that although Jamie might love her in their twisted incesty way, he can't protect her and he doesn't respect her -- the rape, obviously, but also his words before the rape naming her "a hateful woman". She's done with him. But by playing the dutiful Lannister child she can gain Tywin as a protector.

It's kind of working too: Tywin had previously been very dismissive of her claims, but in this scene he's discussing family and crown business with her almost as an equal.

She capitalizes on it: "It's for the good of the family, I understand that. I'm not sure my brothers do." Yes, partly it's that she wants Tyrion punished and is trying to manipulate Twin's perception of him. But the choice of "brothers" is also a notice to Tywin that actually she's the only of his children willing to accept familial responsibility.

I suspect also she's doing a lot of "it could be worse" thinking: Tommen will need help to rule, especially if he's to avoid being simply a figurehead for Tywin, and a popular and politically-aware queen would be a big asset to him.

And for Cersei, Loras is certainly a "could be worse" choice. He's not particularly bright and he's not particularly ambitious. He's not into girls so he's not going to make unwelcome sexual demands on her, as it's suggested that Robert did. It'll be a marriage of convenience. She'll have to bear an heir, but fathering children outside the marriage isn't a new thing for her; maybe she and Loras will come to some arrangement.

But conversely, I think Margaery is over-confident -- her "I haven't even given any thought to it" demurral was utterly unconvincing given that both we and Cersei know that she's a political player, and her "sister or mother" was a deliberate knife-twist.

(Also yes, Lena Headey is *really* doing great work.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:52 PM on May 8, 2014


and her "sister or mother" was a deliberate knife-twist

See, that was the one part of that conversation that rang false for me. They were both being genuine to each other--I mean seriously, Cersei criticizing Joffrey in no uncertain terms?--followed by the sister/mother thing from Margaery.

I think the show is trying to show that for all her instruction at Olenna's feet, and her own innate talents and skills, she's still a very young player of the game, and makes missteps. That or she was relishing the fact that not only was Cersei not in control and had to basically suck up to her, and subtly pointing out that as soon as Margaery and Tommen are wed, Margaery becomes Queen Regent (I think). So Cersei's about to lose her third son--this time to another woman, instead of death--and her only daughter is cavorting in the Water Gardens down in Dorne. And with all that, Cersei loses all her power. Which, I think, explains the deferential tone and almost-speaking-as-equals when she has her conversation with Tywin.

(Also, notice how he pours her a glass, but not himself? He's been paying attention. I'd frankly be surprised if he didn't know about Jaime/Cersei; having a full-blooded Lannister sitting the throne, even if that couldn't be publicly acknowledged, would probably outweigh the "urgh, incest" reaction. One also wonders about the baby described in S1 when the court is visiting Winterfell. Did he really die of natural causes? Seems like he was the only child Robert ever fathered on her, and neither she nor Jaime would be happy about that. Poisons seem to crop up everywhere in Westeros, so I have to wonder if she poisoned the baby.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:07 PM on May 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


How is no one talking about the final scene with the white walker transmuting the baby?

I'm pretty sure that's new information than even the latest books have about them.
posted by flaterik at 2:05 PM on May 8, 2014


with all that, Cersei loses all her power. Which, I think, explains the deferential tone and almost-speaking-as-equals when she has her conversation with Tywin.

I gotta say, FFFM, I don't buy it. First because neither her recognition of Joffrey's monstrousness or her dutiful daughter routine are new. She had a scene with Tyrion late last season, just after he marries Sansa, where she openly admits she knows Joff's a monster. (even if she hadn't I think you could make the case from her scenes with Joff alone, the way she reacts to him). And also last season, she approached Tywin and argued he should trust her more, that she was the truly loyal child and thus his proper heir. Tywin shot her down that time, partially because of her inability to rein in Joff. But he took her seriously.

Second, we already know what happens when Cersei is put in a situation she doesn't like and is powerless to prevent it. And it's not "calmly reconciles herself to it as best she can". It's "maintain outward appearances while quietly seething with rage and find ways to secretly take your revenge and acquire power". Get stuck married to someone who doesn't love you for dynastic purposes? Secretly cuckold him and deny him an heir. That's the Cersei way. She was willing to kill Tommen herself rather than see him taken from her. And now she's just going to hand him over to Margery without a peep? The woman who was petty enough, a mere three episodes ago, to rip leftover scraps of food from the mouths of the poor purely to dick over that same Margery?

It's possible that the show is trying to play this straight, that Cersei is now a reformed character, all set to marry Loras and molder away in a tower somewhere in Highgarten for the rest of her life. But I think it'd verge on bad writing if they are, because they haven't given us anything up to now to show her moving in that direction. Like I said, ADC was in full effect just last week. Grief changes people, but my guess is that it's just made her more patient, not less venomous.
posted by Diablevert at 2:07 PM on May 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


How is no one talking about the final scene with the white walker transmuting the baby?

That was in the previous episode.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


flaterik: because that was the previous episode.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:12 PM on May 8, 2014


Diablevert, I don't think there's any less of the vicious, cunning, basically evil woman inside Cersei. The conversation struck me as a direct mirror of the one she had with Catelyn at Bran's bedside. A rare moment of unguarded honesty.

Yes, she's referred to Joff as a monster before, but never so explicitly, and never with any consideration for the implications of his behaviour on others, especially his wife.

And by bringing up Tywin you're proving my point: previous seasons he saw her as pretty useless. Now he's seeing her as a valuable tool (partly aided by the over-the-top good daughter routine) and treating her almost as an equal. (Tyrion being in jail and Jaime being something of a failure may also have something to do with this as well.)

I do have a question though. Jaime can't inherit Casterly Rock. Tyrion seems unlikely to, and Tywin has made it perfectly clear that no matter what, he won't. So does that mean it becomes Crown property whenever Tywin dies (no heir), or is Loras going to be expected, somehow, to be Lord of Highgarden and Casterly Rock, with Cersei as heiress?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2014


Even if none of Tywin's kids could inherit, there are still others in the family. We saw a nephew at one point.
posted by Area Man at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


It looks to me like Tywin can bequeath it as he likes, as long as the heir is legally recognizable, as he insists that it won't go to Tyrion, who obviously stands to inherit it by rights otherwise. There are a lot of Lannisters around, so it's really whichever one Tywin chooses, I guess. It would seem out of character for him not to have his affairs in order regarding something that important.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:30 PM on May 8, 2014


True, but do you really think Tywin would allow Casterly Rock out of the control of the immediate family? Especially given the revelation about the gold mines. The Lannisters are soon not going to be the richest family. The Tyrells are. Thus Lannister on the throne, direct descendant Lannister in Casterly Rock, and a double dynastic marriage to the Tyrells.

Tywin won't see the Lannisters humbled. Not on his watch. And Cersei's the only viable direct heir at this point, who has been playing the Game for a lot longer than any distant cousins or nephews would have been, and trained in politics/strategy by Tywin himself.

It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:31 PM on May 8, 2014


The conversation struck me as a direct mirror of the one she had with Catelyn at Bran's bedside. A rare moment of unguarded honesty.

Remember the thing about that earlier conversation, though. Cersei was visiting Catelyn because Bran has just fallen and was in a coma, and Cersei tells her about her dead first child. Basically she visits a grieving mother, who is grieving because of something Cersei basically ordered Jaime to do, and uses it as an opportunity to spit at the gods and one up Catelyn.

There's honesty in that scene, but it's far from unguarded.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:36 PM on May 8, 2014


One also wonders about the baby described in S1 when the court is visiting Winterfell. Did he really die of natural causes? Seems like he was the only child Robert ever fathered on her, and neither she nor Jaime would be happy about that. Poisons seem to crop up everywhere in Westeros, so I have to wonder if she poisoned the baby.)

I thought that story seemed like a Chekhov's Gun at the time, and for some time I was half-expecting it to be revealed that Gendry was that baby. That Cersei, wishing only for children sired by Jaime, had conspired to kill her first child sired by Robert. That the child had then been saved and secretly spirited away to safety by someone. And then, when the time was right, Robert's true heir would be conveniently rediscovered by some schemer and used to usurp the crown.

But we're now in season 4, and Gendry's been gone for ages, so I guess I was wrong.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:00 PM on May 8, 2014


Plus the ages wouldn't work out right. Gendry's the same age as Joffrey, even aged up for TV.

There's honesty in that scene, but it's far from unguarded.

We'll have to agree to disagree on that point.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2014


Plus the ages wouldn't work out right. Gendry's the same age as Joffrey, even aged up for TV.

Ah, fair dos. In any case, I thought it might not be Gendry, but rather some as-yet-unintroduced character, who turned out to be the living heir. But if that storyline was going to happen, I'd've thought it would happen before Joffrey's coronation. In any case, I'm sort of disappointed it never went in that direction, even if it would've been a bit Days of our Lives.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:20 PM on May 8, 2014


Even if none of Tywin's kids could inherit, there are still others in the family. We saw a nephew at one point.

There is also Tywin's brother, Kevan Lannister, who I think last showed up when Arya was Tywin's serving girl at Harrenhall.
posted by dis_integration at 3:23 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dammit. That's what I get for watching two episodes in one night.
posted by flaterik at 3:23 PM on May 8, 2014


On the upside, there's 431 comments on the previous episode's post for you to read.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:32 PM on May 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Tywin sees Kevan the way Denethor saw Faramir: "I know his uses and they are few." (Which, let's be honest, is basically how Tywin sees everyone). Kevan's a follower, not a leader.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:49 PM on May 8, 2014


I WAS dangerously close to getting some work done.
posted by flaterik at 3:51 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good thing we saved you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:58 PM on May 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've wondered whether Cersei smothered that baby.
posted by bq at 6:08 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


George RR Martin defends sexual violence in his books

Excerpt:

The author also responded at length on his blog to the particular issue of Jaime's rape of Cersei, saying that in the books, "though the time and place is wildly inappropriate and Cersei is fearful of discovery, she is as hungry for him as he is for her".

"The whole dynamic is different in the show, where Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer, and he and Cersei have been in each other's company on numerous occasions, often quarrelling. The setting is the same, but neither character is in the same place as in the books, which may be why Dan and David [show creators David Benioff and DB Weiss] played [it] out differently. But that's just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection," said Martin.

"If the show had retained some of Cersei's dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression – but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline. That's really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing … but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons."
posted by whorl at 6:36 PM on May 8, 2014




Obviously we get Lancel, Lord of Casterly Rock. Best man for the job.
posted by RobotHero at 11:53 PM on May 8, 2014


So does that mean it becomes Crown property whenever Tywin dies (no heir), or is Loras going to be expected, somehow, to be Lord of Highgarden and Casterly Rock, with Cersei as heiress?

I believe it's established that women can inherit in the absence of male children. So Cersei would be Lady of Casterly Rock in her own right, with Loras potentially being the guardian of any male children she sired, which would be the Heirs to Casterly Rock.
posted by corb at 12:28 AM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maisie Williams seems like a most excellent kid.
posted by gaspode at 5:14 AM on May 9, 2014


Poisons seem to crop up everywhere in Westeros, so I have to wonder if she poisoned the baby.)

Didn't she say though that you always love your firstborn?

Queen Cersei's Parenting Advice: the premier magazine for new mums in Westeros
posted by ersatz at 6:04 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


The conversation between Margaery and Cersei read to me as an indication of their respective places in all this. Now that her son the King is dead and her lover/co-conspirator/brother is definitively not a reliable ally to her anymore, she pretty much has no assets left, no leverage to speak of, and she knows it. She's gone from someone who could threaten to have Margaery killed for calling her "sister" to someone who just had to stand there and take it, lemonface and all, when Margaery dropped that mother/sister bomb.

Having an insane king for a son isn't all roses, but it gave her a certain amount of leeway that she just doesn't have anymore. Tommen has his head screwed on straight and is betrothed to a Tyrell; he may look favorably on Cersei, but he's not a weapon she can point at people, the way she could with Joffrey.

Essentially she was making nice with Margaery, and bearing her slings and arrows, because without Margaery in her corner she has nothing at all. She's scrambling for assets right now. So she allows a moment of apparent vulnerability and honesty. A bit of bonding.

Margaery, on the other hand, has been playing the game at least since marrying Renly, and her PR campaign managed to get the public at least a little on Joffrey's side, which is basically a miracle. She doesn't have Cersei's long experience, but she's gifted in her own right. She's in a pretty good position right now; the only indication of their disparity in experience is that the mother/sister line amounted to getting ahead of herself a bit. She was showboating, doing an endzone dance for a touchdown she hasn't quite won yet.

Cersei is a lot like Littlefinger: only an idiot would trust her. But unlike Littlefinger, she has no leverage at all.

And if she has a fatal flaw (she's actually got several, but whatever), it's a lack of self-awareness. She knows her limitations in terms of social hierarchy, but not in terms of her own self. One thing we've seen consistently over the course of the show is that she's really quite good at setting a plan in motion, but has no particular ability to control it once it's off and running. Again with the Littlefinger comparison: Littlefinger's plan is almost certainly very well-defined at every step. Cersei's is well-thought-out in the beginning, but everything after the early going is a little hazy.

She's cornered right now, which makes her dangerous. But her lack of self-awareness means not only that she's even more dangerous for it, but that she has no idea exactly how dangerous she might be.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:09 AM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


hodor.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just a stray observation: it's interesting that the word valar means "men" in High Valyrian, whereas within Tolkien's legendarium it means something like "gods" in Quenya. An interesting parallel of Martin's greater interest in humanity over Tolkien's appreciation of the divine and transcendent, perhaps.
posted by clockzero at 3:58 PM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hodor?
posted by homunculus at 5:29 PM on May 10, 2014


The Legend of Hodor
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on May 10, 2014






They spelled "lose" wrong. I want to punch them.
posted by Justinian at 12:30 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Rewatching this episode and Tywin says "The crown owns the Iron Bank a lot of money."

I'm confused on the debt here. Didn't the Lannisters lend the Crown money? Presumably, they had money to lend for a while, then gold mines ran dry. Then the Lannisters borrowed from the Iron Bank to keep the Baratheon kingdom afloat, right? So doesn't the Lannisters owe the Iron Bank, not the kingdom per se?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:27 PM on May 11, 2014


The crown, or rather Littlefinger acting as Master of Coin, borrowed from both the Lannisters and the Iron Bank.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:56 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


They spelled "lose" wrong. I want to punch them.

And "it's." And "mother's." And "Son, Happy Mothers Day to my favorite aunt" just plum doesn't make sense, even with a family tree like a flagpole.

Punch away, is what I'm saying.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:19 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you click on the image it actually says "From Your Son, Happy Mothers Day to my favorite aunt". But they still deserve all the punches.
posted by Justinian at 9:15 PM on May 11, 2014




was that out loud?
posted by homunculus at 10:52 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


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