Game of Thrones: The House of Black and White   Books Included 
April 20, 2015 5:08 AM - Season 5, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Arya arrives in Braavos. Pod and Brienne run into trouble on the road. Cersei fears for her daughter's safety in Dorne as Ellaria Sand seeks revenge for Oberyn's death. Stannis tempts Jon. An adviser tempts Dany.
posted by filthy light thief (119 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
First thoughts, related to the books:
  • I'm glad Lollys wasn't raped, so there's that
  • Does Gilly's talk about greyscale replacing Tyrion's adventures, and other moments where we learn of the disease?
  • Is there a written law in Meereen?
  • A nice way to truncate the repeated killings by the Sons of the Harpy and the increased tension over the shadow war, without adding a lot of new characters, when Dany took the sons and daughters of the noble families as apprentices or whatnot to hopefully avoid further killings

posted by filthy light thief at 5:29 AM on April 20, 2015


I absolutely loved the scene with Varys & Tyrion in "the box". Sure, it's non-canon, but it's so fun to watch those two interact!

Alexander Siddig is perfect as Doran, though perhaps he's not as I pictured the character in my head up to now. It was a brief scene, but introduced the character and his personality very well I thought.

One change I am not sold on – though no doubt show-fans will be pleased – is the return of Jaqen/No-one. Who's gonna push Balon off a bridge if he's in Braavos? Nor am I sold on the encounter between Brienne and Littlefinger & Sansa. Pod brought up a great point ("neither seemed to want your protection") but I'm guessing Brienne will follow them north, and perhaps play a role later on.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:40 AM on April 20, 2015


I was thinking the Gilly talk about greyscale might be a way to re-insert it into the narrative so the audience makes the connection if/when Tyrion's turn comes around.

to my eye, the show is already making a lot of smart decisions to compress narratives and force more characters to collide, which makes for much better television than what GRRM does in the most recent book. Brienne's storyline is a great example: In the book, she's ambling around with characters who are basically unrelated to anything else in the entire world, getting very little accomplished very slowly until a final scene that exists more to tease than to reveal or push forward. but now she gets to both maintain forward momentum and deal with the emotional crisis of being a person who exists to serve that's been doubly rejected by those she was sworn to protect.

Siddig was great in his small amount of time -- he comes across immediately as intelligent, weary, and deliberately restrained (while besieged both from without and within). having Ellaria be the one coming to him in that scene was another probably-smart compression to maintain viewers' emotional connection.

I assume the show has forgotten entirely about Balon or any Greyjoy not named Reek.
posted by Kybard at 5:47 AM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's no real need to bring up Balon. The Ironborn have been run out of the North and are fuming on their island. Little reason to bring them in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:55 AM on April 20, 2015


Am I remembering correctly that last season, when Brienne came across Arya and the Hound, she tried to get Arya to come with her? And then Arya said, if you served my mom, why do you have a big ol' Lannister sword?

If so, then there is a really lovely parallel between the scene where Arya rejects Brienne, and where Sansa rejects Brienne -- Arya makes her decision based on her knowledge of weaponry. Sansa makes her decision based on a social read of just how far she can push the situation with Littlefinger.

But how did the two sisters get to that placer? Awful ugly hard experience. And where are they both going? On journey-apprenticeships to MURDER.

(Also, I love Action Brienne SO MUCH. Has Podrick seen her in action before?)
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:26 AM on April 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


"HELLO SECRET SANSA STARK FOR WHOM ALL OF WESTEROS IS SEARCHING" says Brienne, loudly, in an inn.
posted by lalochezia at 6:33 AM on April 20, 2015 [36 favorites]


Podrick presumaby saw her fight the hound, another big departure from the books where the only time she maybe sees the Hound is when he's maybe possibly on the Quiet Isle perhaps.
posted by LionIndex at 6:34 AM on April 20, 2015


Am I remembering correctly that last season, when Brienne came across Arya and the Hound, she tried to get Arya to come with her? And then Arya said, if you served my mom, why do you have a big ol' Lannister sword?

No, the Hound noted the Lannister sword.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on April 20, 2015


No, the Hound noted the Lannister sword.

Gotcha. I was digging around, trying to remember who said the line. Thanks!
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:43 AM on April 20, 2015


OH GOD I love all these departures from canon, I love them so much, I clutch them to my bosom and weep tears of jOY
posted by poffin boffin at 6:50 AM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


did you say towers of joy?
posted by lalochezia at 6:52 AM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's something very meta about the creators teasing Pod and Brienne being so near to Baelish and Sansa and then having them miss each other, only to meet in the very next episode. They were messing with us, in a fun way.

Drunk and bitter Tyrion is hilarious. Varys: Are you going complain about the futility of life the entire trip?! Tyrion: You're right, there's no point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 AM on April 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


Alexander Siddig is perfect as Doran, though perhaps he's not as I pictured the character in my head up to now. It was a brief scene, but introduced the character and his personality very well I thought.

ok first of all alexander siddig is perfect as ANYTHING, anything at all ever. But yes, canon!Doran is an enormously obese man as well as laid low by terrible gout, right?

indira varma is still welcome to just step on me whenever she wants, let me state this for the official life record

ACTIONBRIENNE was amazing and Pod's face post-brawl was the very best face, but unfortunately Brienne still remains ridiculous when not cutting down her enemies. "Sansa's not safe with him!" Um, certainly she would be safer with someone with the brains to disguise her rather than braying out her name in the middle of a crowded tavern, you nitwit. and while her dogged and relentless sense of honor has been a great defining character trait, i can't help hoping she ends up gaining some practical street smarts as well, so to speak.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:55 AM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


i was admittedly a little disappointed by the vote, though, as we were robbed of sam's maiden voyage into politics, going around and talking people into voting for jon. gilly's "i know S" and the whole scene with shireen made up for it, though
posted by poffin boffin at 6:59 AM on April 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Um, certainly she would be safer with someone with the brains to disguise her rather than braying out her name in the middle of a crowded tavern, you nitwit. and while her dogged and relentless sense of honor has been a great defining character trait, i can't help hoping she ends up gaining some practical street smarts as well, so to speak.

There was a lot of black and white thinking in this episode, with lots of potential or real fall out from it. Daenerys is the obvious one, but Jon is notable also, what with him turning down the Stark name for honor. Arya didn't fair much better, but at least she'll be getting training.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 AM on April 20, 2015


I'm totally looking forward to Jamie and Bronn's Excellent Adventure.
posted by Bunny Boneyology at 7:08 AM on April 20, 2015 [13 favorites]


If so, then there is a really lovely parallel between the scene where Arya rejects Brienne, and where Sansa rejects Brienne

The difference being that Sansa presumably knows that rejecting Brienne is basically sentencing her to death.

That's cold, Dark Sansa.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:14 AM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Loving how the show is editing the fat and cellulite out of the plot!

Yeah, I was a little disappointed with compressing down Sam's politicking, but that's the same situation as Tyrion's background scheming (big ol' iron chain, greek fire) to win the battle of Blackwater Bay.

That bit of choreography where Brienne shatters the horseman's sword then runs him through the neck was really sweet.
posted by porpoise at 7:18 AM on April 20, 2015


Oh, with Brienne and Pod actually having momentum, does that mean we'll be meeting LSH this season?
posted by porpoise at 7:19 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The difference being that Sansa presumably knows that rejecting Brienne is basically sentencing her to death.

Watch the scene again. Sansa comes off as cold, but there's a lot of conflicted stuff in her face and eyes. She's carefully watching Baelish, but also looking thoughtfully at Brienne. I take it that she's measuring up her chances of going with Brienne. Had there been less guards, she might have done so.

But mostly, it's in Sansa's interest to not cross Baelish until the right time. Otherwise she's dead and she's knows it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


also i loved how they made lollys an actual particpating speaking character, even if it was just to deliver some motive/exposition for bronn
posted by poffin boffin at 7:26 AM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I think this marks the first time in history that the show put a female character's clothes on, gave her a lot of speaking lines, and redacted her sexual violence.
posted by KathrynT at 7:39 AM on April 20, 2015 [27 favorites]


One change I am not sold on – though no doubt show-fans will be pleased – is the return of Jaqen/No-one. Who's gonna push Balon off a bridge if he's in Braavos?

Well, correct me if I'm wrong but that's never been confirmed. Officially Balon "fell" off a bridge, but someone had a vision/dream that makes us think it was a Faceless Man, right? But no confirmation of it that is the case, or if said Faceless Man was Jaqen. I like to think it was myself (and that he has now gone on to Oldtown to be Pate).

Again, it's reflective of the need of the show to tighten things up and not get too cluttered - why introduce new characters at the House of White and Black when you can use a familiar face?

and while her dogged and relentless sense of honor has been a great defining character trait, i can't help hoping she ends up gaining some practical street smarts as well, so to speak.

To me, the whole point of Brienne's storyline has been to show her learning the hard truths that Jaime learnt as a young knight - you start with noble intentions, but they make you swear vow after vow after vow, with no one to help you understand what to do when your vows come into conflict with one another, and how to prioritize and manage those moments. She carries "Oathkeeper" both as a reminder of her oaths and because trying to keep them will cut you.

"You have everywhere else to go" is an awesome line, and nicely resonates for a lot of the characters tonight.
posted by nubs at 7:57 AM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Any faceless man can be Jaqen. There is no Jaqen.
posted by fancyoats at 8:30 AM on April 20, 2015 [14 favorites]


seeing Poderick comically imperiled in an actual FOR REAL MOTHER OF GOD FANTASY STORY SWORDFIGHT ON HORSEBACK has done nothing for my confusing feelings toward the hapless Pod.
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 AM on April 20, 2015 [4 favorites]




Which is at least a point for Brienne, she didn't blurt out that Arya's alive in front of Littlefinger. Not that he'd have much of a chance of tracking her down, but Brienne didn't know that.

After reading about Alfie Allen's pre-season interview about the hardest thing he had to watch being filmed this season, I've had The Fear about what they were doing to Sansa's storyline -- but maybe Brienne will end up saving the day? God I hope so.
posted by rewil at 8:40 AM on April 20, 2015


"HELLO SECRET SANSA STARK FOR WHOM ALL OF WESTEROS IS SEARCHING" says Brienne, loudly, in an inn.

Christ, seriously. That was infuriating.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:51 AM on April 20, 2015


"HELLO SECRET SANSA STARK FOR WHOM ALL OF WESTEROS IS SEARCHING" says Brienne, loudly, in an inn.

I don't think it was stupid, just a calculated risk. She was probably hoping that in front of so many witnesses she would have leverage. After all Brienne was seriously outnumbered. She refrained from mentioning Arya so the loud mention of Sansa was probably a very deliberate ploy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on April 20, 2015


No, it was fantastically stupid, as Sansa is still under suspicion for Joffrey's death, and presumably Cersei would pay plenty to hear news of her whereabouts. Those weren't witnesses who could somehow be leveraged, they were a bunch of unknowns who are now brand new danger points for Sansa.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:02 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am guessing before he left the inn Littlefinger arranged for everyone in earshot not on his payroll to be conveniently dead soon.
posted by rewil at 9:05 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think it was stupid, just a calculated risk. She was probably hoping that in front of so many witnesses she would have leverage.

It struck me as an attempt to be similar to how Cat played it when she arrested Tyrion back in season 1; once her identity was known, she took the time to call out every man in the place loyal to her to ensure that she could (a) effect the arrest and (b) lay a false trail for where she was going so that any pursuit would be thrown off.

But I'm mystified as to Brienne's play here - I guess she was just trying to avoid a huge fight at the inn by being very (very) open and public about what was going on? Or was she trying to hint to Baelish that Brienne could make a big scene and cause all sorts of problems for him and his plans? I figured she was angling to join Baelish as an additional protector for Sansa (let me join your company, as an additional sword, sworn to your service), which might have been the smarter plan...but that wasn't it at all.

Pod was right, they should've kept their mouths shut and followed them and waited for an opportunity...which is what I guess they wind up doing anyways, except now Baelish might be keeping an eye out? Or is this just another example of how Brienne needs to learn a bit more about how to function in the real world?
posted by nubs at 9:13 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, Petyr Baelish could have easily had everyone in the inn killed. Not sure if he did that, but he could.

Brandon: “Watch the scene again. Sansa comes off as cold, but there's a lot of conflicted stuff in her face and eyes. She's carefully watching Baelish, but also looking thoughtfully at Brienne. I take it that she's measuring up her chances of going with Brienne. Had there been less guards, she might have done so.”

Agreed. It's actually rather hard to claim that Sansa "rejects" Brienne; she does not say anything very positive or direct at all:
[Brienne:] Lord Baelish. Lady Sansa. My name is Brienne of Tarth.
[Petyr Baelish:] We've met, with Renly Baratheon. What did he say about you? He said: your loyalty came free of charge. Someone appears to have paid quite a bit for it since then. [beckons his guards to allow her to approach]
[Brienne:] Lady Sansa. Before your mother's death, I was her sworn sword. I gave my word I will find you and protect you. I will shield your back and keep your counsel, and give my life for you if needs be. I swear it by the Old Gods and the New.
[Petyr Baelish:] Please, lady Brienne. No need for such formality. You were Catelyn Stark's sworn sword?
[Brienne:] I was.
[Petyr Baelish:] Strange. I knew cat since the time we were children. She never mentioned you.
[Brienne:] It was after Renly's murder.
[Petyr Baelish:] Ah, yes. You were accused of killing him.
[Brienne:] I tried to save him.
[Petyr Baelish:] But you were accused.
[Brienne:] By men who did not see what happened.
[Petyr Baelish:] And what did happen?
[Brienne:] He was murdered by a shadow. A shadow with the face of Stannis Baratheon.
[Petyr Baelish:] A shadow... with the face... ? This woman swore to protect Renly, she failed. She swore to protect your mother, she failed. Why would I want somebody with your history of failure guarding Lady Sansa?
[Brienne:] Why would you have any say in her affairs?
[Petyr Baelish:] Because I am her uncle. I married her Aunt Lysa shortly before my beloved's untimely death. We're family now. And you are an outsider. Forgive me, Lady Brienne. But experience has made me wary of outsiders.
[Brienne:] Lady Sansa - if we can have a word alone...
[Sansa Stark:] No.
[Brienne:] Please, my Lady, if I can explain...
[Sansa Stark:] I saw you at Joffrey's wedding bowing to the king.
[Brienne:] Neither of us wanted to be there... sometimes we don't have a choice.
[Sansa Stark:] And sometimes we do. You should leave.
[Petyr Baelish:] We don't want our new friend wandering the countryside alone. The roads in these parts aren't safe. Why don't you stay?
When Sansa answered "no" quickly to Brienne's request for a private discussion, it immediately struck me that Sansa doesn't really have the power to grant or deny such a request, and she knows it. Petyr would never allow her to be alone with Brienne, and she knows it; so she's not pushing Brienne away, she's saying, no, unfortunately we can't have a word alone. She mentions seeing Brienne bow to Joffrey, but she doesn't draw any clear conclusions from that; it sounds like she's actually just asking Brienne what her perspective on Joffrey was, to see if she could trust her. It's natural to read the "Neither of us wanted to be there... sometimes we don't have a choice" / "And sometimes we do" exchange as Sansa saying that Brienne could have refused to bow to Joffrey, but I doubt it, considering Sansa's intimate knowledge of what happened to people (particularly women) who refused to bow to Joffrey. It seems more likely to me that Sansa's comment there is intended to lead into her next line: "And sometimes we do [have a choice]. You should leave." She's suggesting to Brienne that staying there in that inn is really not likely to be good for her health. Thankfully Brienne was prepared, and had the awesome Podrick get some horses ready for a quick escape.
posted by koeselitz at 9:15 AM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


She's suggesting to Brienne that staying there in that inn is really not likely to be good for her health. Thankfully Brienne was prepared, and had the awesome Podrick get some horses ready for a quick escape.

OK, not a bad read. I guess I viewed the whole thing as a bit of an attempt to get Sansa alone so Brienne could take off with her, so it just felt really weird. Re-reading the dialogue helps see what was going on there.
posted by nubs at 9:27 AM on April 20, 2015


Pod was right, they should've kept their mouths shut and followed them and waited for an opportunity...which is what I guess they wind up doing anyways, except now Baelish might be keeping an eye out? Or is this just another example of how Brienne needs to learn a bit more about how to function in the real world?

Maybe Brienne will learn to listen to Pod? She could use his advice.
posted by Area Man at 10:10 AM on April 20, 2015


She seems to view him as mostly kind of dimwitted, which is partially true at least, but she doesn't seem to have given it the amount of thought necessary to realize that however goobery he appears, he was still the reasonably trusted confidante of one of the smartest men in Westeros. i mean, pod when we first met him was the kind of guy who would have blurted out OMG LOOK IT'S SANSA OVER THERE instead of saying "don't turn around but sansa stark is in the corner with petey b", so presumably he has learned some level of real life applicable wisdom. anyway i hope they stick together for a while this season because they complement each other in a pretty satisfying way, without the painful awkwardness of the adventures of jamie and brienne.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:18 AM on April 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


I like Pod a lot; he's a bright guy who is just begging for someone to teach him some skills. He learned a bit from Tyrion, in terms of politics and subtlety (though I feel it was mostly through osmosis rather than anything deliberate), and he's going to learn something (maybe fighting) from hanging with Brienne.
He's also stubbornly loyal. But he's usually overlooked or treated as a nuisance.

Hm. Pod for King.
posted by nubs at 10:29 AM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Somewhere, someone is working on a "Pod is a secret Targ" theory.
posted by Area Man at 10:45 AM on April 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


The interesting thing about reading the scene as Sansa saying "I am not safe here, and neither are you" is that it means Podrick is wrong later on when he suggests that maybe the Stark sisters don't want Brienne's help. Yes, that is sort of a reasonable impression from the outside, but I'm hoping Brienne learned from her interaction with Sansa that Sansa is in a pretty tight spot at the moment. In any case, Sansa is certainly safer with Brienne following and watching to make sure Petyr Baelish doesn't pull some hideous shit, which is what I expect him to do.

Not sure who he's going off to marry. Or perhaps this is just rushing us along to Sansa's betrothal to Harrold Hardyng? That seems like a bit of a jump forward, but I'm not sure what else to think. I guess it's most likely that this is just another case of us going off-book.
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 AM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


also presumably jamie's "letter from the king" to bronn is fake, no? otherwise the whole "i can't inherit ahead of my mean sister" and "mean people get what's coming to them" conversation seems like a waste of time.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


That conversation was already really weird. Did Bronn really promise to marry this person without knowing he wouldn't inherit the castle? I feel like that seems pretty distinctly unlikely. It seems like there must be something else going on, I agree.
posted by koeselitz at 10:53 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


he actually marries her in the books, and of course kills off the older sister (and her husband, iirc), but since my last reading was probably 3 years ago i can't remember if he went into it not knowing she wasn't the heir. i agree that it is wholly unlike him.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2015


Pod is a secret...
posted by drezdn at 11:00 AM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


In his jail cell converation with Tyrion last season, he was fully aware that Lollys wasn't the current heir and obliquely remarked about sisters having a way of having bad things happen to them.
posted by LionIndex at 11:00 AM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Did Bronn really promise to marry this person without knowing he wouldn't inherit the castle? I feel like that seems pretty distinctly unlikely. It seems like there must be something else going on, I agree.

IIRC, Bronn sets a series of events into motion that lead to resolving this situation (starting with the name of his son).
posted by drezdn at 11:02 AM on April 20, 2015


PODRICK TARGARYEN
posted by koeselitz at 11:05 AM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would be a great call back to the Dunk and Egg stories.
posted by drezdn at 11:08 AM on April 20, 2015


“Brienne kneels before Sansa in an exact mimic of the oath she made to Catelyn Stark,” Christie says. “And Sansa says, ‘No.’ But in the script, it says there’s the tiniest look in Sansa’s eyes. The script says the look is telling Brienne: ‘Get the f–k out of Dodge.’” - Gwendoline Christie interview in EW.
posted by Area Man at 11:14 AM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh man, Gwendolyn Christie is in The Force Awakens? That is awesome!
posted by koeselitz at 11:20 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, Gwendolyn Christie is in The Force Awakens?

Yeah, still looking for the Stark girls too, I think.
posted by nubs at 12:23 PM on April 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


And dodging the Red Emperor's apprentice, Darth Stannis, no doubt.
posted by koeselitz at 12:41 PM on April 20, 2015


"Lady Sansa. Before your mother's death, I was her sworn sword."
"Yeah, but she's dead. Before that?"
"King of the Seven Kingdoms, Renly Baratheon."
"Also dead. And before him?"
"The Jedi Master Mace Windu, Lady Sansa"
"Seeing a pattern here, Brienne. Who was before him?"
"...Greedo, my lady."
"I'll pass, thanks."

posted by leotrotsky at 12:42 PM on April 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


Honestly, with Brienne's track record, we should start campaigning to have her appointed to the Queen's Guard.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:47 PM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm about halfway through reading A Feast For Crows, and had never seen an episode of the show until I watched this last night.

Everything is somehow concurrently familiar and confusing.
posted by schmod at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, Brienne does seem to possess all of the subtlety of a falling anvil. On the other hand, anyone familiar with the extensive works of one B. Bunny can attest that seeing people find themselves in the path of a falling anvil can be strangely satisfying.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


indira varma is still welcome to just step on me whenever she wants, let me state this for the official life record

Just to twist the envy knife a little--Mrs. Example and I saw her in Titus Andronicus at the Globe last year. We were right up against the front of the stage, and got so close to Indira Varma that we actually had to duck out of the way of her feet a couple of times. WHO WANTS TO TOUCH US?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:11 PM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


also presumably jamie's "letter from the king" to bronn is fake, no? otherwise the whole "i can't inherit ahead of my mean sister" and "mean people get what's coming to them" conversation seems like a waste of time.

I think it was there to show that Bronn is adapting to court life fairly well, despite his humble beginnings.
posted by codacorolla at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The inn was probably in the riverlands somewhere, and still not too far from the Eyrie, so there's a good chance that some/many of the people in the inn would be loyal to the Tullys and/or the Arryns.

They could be on the High Road (from Eyrie), the River Road (to Riverrun), or the King's Road, or some smaller road presumably along the Blue Fork (toward Fairmarket and the west coast) if they headed due west.

The inn at the intersection of the High Road and the King's Road is the Crossroad's Inn where Cat did her thing and which we later saw numerous times. This didn't look like it, though.

As someone said in an previous thread, it's very unclear where Littlefinger and Sansa are going. But Sandor and Arya were coming back from the Eyrie while Brienne and Pod were headed for the Eyrie when they had their encounter, and now Brienne and Pod have turned back and have crossed paths with Littlefinger and Sansa leaving the Eyrie. The Crossroads Inn would actually make a lot of sense because why would Brienne and Pod be going west of the rivers?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:53 PM on April 20, 2015


Let us remember that a major aspect of Brienne's character is not just honor, but a seeming belief that honor must be guileless to be true.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:56 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, maybe I missed something or I'm just not thinking it through, but say either Sansa or Arya had agreed to go along with Brienne. What then? Where does she take them? King's Landing? Winterfell? The Sapphire Isle?
posted by Navelgazer at 2:57 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone said in an previous thread, it's very unclear where Littlefinger and Sansa are going.

They're heading West, where "Cersei could never reach Sansa". Here's a map of Westeros. The Eyerie is west of Baelish Keep and going further west are the Iron Islands, which wouldn't make sense to go to. So maybe Baelish is just lying his ass off and keeping his cards close to his chest? There was a marriage proposal, could Balon be trying to wed Yara to Baelish? There's no way she's consent to that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:01 PM on April 20, 2015


They're heading West, where "Cersei could never reach Sansa".

I think the key is trying to figure out where "Cersei could never reach Sansa". Cersei is the Queen Regent, so she still has a fair bit of reach over most of Westeros - at least, I think a great many people might try to curry favour with her by bringing her Sansa. So maybe it's more who (a) wouldn't necessarily look at Sansa as a means to getting in good with Cersei, but more likely as a means to their own ends and (b) would not be easily intimidated into giving her up by force of arms.

Which immediately makes me think of the Vale, but I guess that's not what we are doing. Won't be Dorne; the idea of Baelish and Yara would be incredibly funny, but I don't think we see the Ironborn this season, do we?

also presumably jamie's "letter from the king" to bronn is fake, no?

I doubt it; Cersei is quick to promise and throw Tommen's authority around. Whether or not Cersei intends or if either she or Tommen are around to actually make good on that when the time comes is another question.
posted by nubs at 3:24 PM on April 20, 2015


The greatest thing about this season and any seasons to come is (and will be) the sweet, sweet tears of the most fanatical book zealots. They are raging already on westeros.org. Apparently the show is now nothing but Benioff&Weiss "fan fiction".

It warms my dead heart.
posted by Justinian at 3:33 PM on April 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


What is dead may never die, but needs lots of statins, regular exercise, and to lay off the fatty o-toro you've been overfishing. Kraken? Shmaken!
posted by lalochezia at 3:38 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The greatest thing about this season and any seasons to come is (and will be) the sweet, sweet tears of the most fanatical book zealots.

I guess I'm not a fanatic then. I love the books, but accepting that book and show are two related but different products has been key to me enjoying them both.
posted by nubs at 3:50 PM on April 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, no, that's how I feel as well. But there are none the less some people who are raaaaaaaaaaging already.
posted by Justinian at 4:02 PM on April 20, 2015


Can someone remind me, back in season 3, who were the three people named by Melisandre when she torched the Gendry leaches? In the book equivalent it was Balon, Rob and Joffrey, but I can't remember if the show subbed in Tywin for Balon. If not there is at least foreshadowing in the show for Balon taking his fall.
posted by arha at 4:11 PM on April 20, 2015


In the show, it's Robb, Balon and Joffrey.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:17 PM on April 20, 2015


I'm pretty sure it was still Balon. They were the pretenders to the throne. IIRC, before that episode aired people were wondering whether she'd name Balon given that the Greyjoys were downplayed in the show, but she did.
posted by painquale at 4:18 PM on April 20, 2015


I'm not sure we need everyone pairing up and questing all over the continents. Bronn seemed to enjoy the lordly life, I would have much preferred him scheming delicately at home with his new bride Lovely Lolly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:29 PM on April 20, 2015


I think the key is trying to figure out where "Cersei could never reach Sansa".

The Wall? North of the Wall? That makes no sense. Unless Baelish wants to marry Sansa off to a Wilding and join forces with them?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:49 PM on April 20, 2015


The needlessness of the Night's Watch tallyers smashing the vase made me laugh. No reason to be so dramatic, guys! You could have just turned it over!
posted by painquale at 5:24 PM on April 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


Especially since the voting tokens are basically shards of pottery and one of the guys doing the tally is a blind dude.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh snap, is Littlefizzle taking her to Bear Island, known West-side bastion of Stark loyalty and strong believers in females inheriting property?
posted by Rat Spatula at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


When you're counting votes and you cut your hand open that means somebody voted Republican.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2015


They are raging already on westeros.org

Heh, that's kinda funny seeing as in the last season they were quite happily imagining "Tumblr" getting in a rage over various developments. Otherwise, I agree with nubs.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:58 PM on April 20, 2015


I liked Maester Aemon's look of old man satisfaction after voting for Jon. I shared in his triumph. Highlight of the episode, I thought. And Jon took the last episode too. After so many seasons of dull Jon segments, the Night's Watch is something I look forward to.
posted by painquale at 6:02 PM on April 20, 2015


I think the key is trying to figure out where "Cersei could never reach Sansa".

Well, in this very episode they make a point in a different scene of saying how hard the North is to control from way down in King's Landing...
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:24 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


But Roose rules the North, and he's Lannister ally.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 PM on April 20, 2015


Yes, he was a Stark ally at one point too. Bolton is an opportunist...I don't know, it makes some sense, but it would be really weird. I just don't think Petyr is Ramsay's type.
posted by nubs at 8:16 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: i was admittedly a little disappointed by the vote, though, as we were robbed of sam's maiden voyage into politics, going around and talking people into voting for jon.

I was thinking on this, and the TV Sam is actually bolder than the Book Sam from early on, which helps shorten that internal politicking with some open politicking as Sam the Bold. Calling out Slynt the Baby Slayer as a coward was bold as Sam, and a bit of politics in its own right. Slynt is Thorne's lackey with clout, except the men of The Night's Watch don't care about who you were, but who you are now, so Sam cut down Thorne's support without attacking Thorne directly, then built Jon up. Still, I wonder how the show will play out the future internal division in the Watch, and Sam's send-off with Gilly.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 PM on April 20, 2015


Someone with a military history on a leftist GoT listserve I'm on was mentioning this morning just what a cutting insult it is that Sam calls Slynt "Lord." For me it was all about the off-handed "her name's Gilly," line. Sam is completely out of fucks to give about what Thorne or Slynt think of him. Sam and Gilly are among my very favorite things in this show now.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:23 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Oh snap, is Littlefizzle taking her to Bear Island, known West-side bastion of Stark loyalty and strong believers in females inheriting property?"

That's a really good guess, especially given that the episode featured that bit about Lyanna Mormont's response to Stannis. But Bear Island is even more northerly than Winterfell. What they might be doing is taking a ship out of Seagard and sailing way up the coast to Bear Island. They'd have to run the gauntlet of the Ironborn, though.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:06 PM on April 20, 2015


The quick sword-smashy neck-stabby fight was perfect and I'm glad they didn't overplay it. Just Brienne showing some chump what valyrian steel does.

And at least Brienne arranged her escape first, so she's learning how not to be quite completely guileless and blundering.
posted by nom de poop at 5:27 AM on April 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just Brienne showing some chump what valyrian steel does.

Yeah, this was my favorite Action Brienne detail--Oathkeeper just shatters the guard's blade like it's nothing. They don't overplay it, no slow-mo or zoom or intense musical cue or anything, it just hits and then it's gone.
posted by Kosh at 5:47 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling Sam isn't going to Oldtown in the show.
posted by drezdn at 5:53 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


They don't overplay it, no slow-mo or zoom or intense musical cue or anything, it just hits and then it's gone.

Yeah, that was a cool moment. I sat for a minute going "now how did she manage th - oh, right, Valayrian steel."
posted by nubs at 7:51 AM on April 21, 2015


My guess is that Sam will still be sent away on a trip, whether or not it’s specifically to Oldtown—for narrative purposes, Jon still needs to lose his best friends and advisors as Lord Commander—but the motivation will be to save Shireen, instead of Mance and Val’s child.
posted by nicepersonality at 7:53 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's no way that Pod is either a Lannister or a Targaryen. The Targaryens have platinum hair (like Aemon and Daenerys and Viserys) and the Lannisters are blondes.

On the other hand, he could be a secret Baratheon. He and Gendry look enough alike. I forgot who he was in the season premiere and thought he was Gendry for a minute there.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:03 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that was a cool moment. I sat for a minute going "now how did she manage th - oh, right, Valayrian steel."

Unlike poor Jon Snow, who had Valarian steel, but still stumbled around in his fight against King Cutthroat of King's Landing who only had two long daggers.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:39 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just don't think Petyr is Ramsay's type.

But Sansa might be.

Since Littlefinger gets power from being Lord Protector of the Vale, I don't think he will try to marry anyone which leaves marrying off Sansa to one of the great houses.

- The Vale: Robin is the heir and as cousin to Sansa he would make a natural choice but it's clear the show isn't doing that what with them leaving Robin behind to be warded by the Royces.

- The Riverlands: Once ruled by the Tullys, now ruled by the Freys. While Walder is probably still looking for his next bride after the last one got her throat cut by Catelyn, I don't think it will be Sansa.

- The Westerlands: Ruled by Lannisters. Not happening.

- Dorne: In the books, there are two sons - Quentyn and Trystane. Trystane is engaged to Myrcella in the books and the show. That leaves Quentyn but they have not mentioned him in the show so far. However, Dorne has the distance from King's Landing and a hatred for Lannisters that would make them natural allies to the Starks.

- The Reach: The Tyrells already tried that and Tywin and Petyr put a stop to it. If Margaery does marry Tommen, maybe they will try again. I guess we'll know if Loras makes any trips home in the next few episodes but it seems way too risky.

- The Stormlands: The ancestral home of the Baratheons. Stannis already has too many ladies and I don't think Selyse is going anywhere soon. Unless Petyr is planning for an accident to happen on the wall. Maybe one of his spies has found Rickon and they plan to draw up marriage papers for the little lord of Winterfell and Princess Shireen? Sansa would be Lady Regent to Rickon until he comes of age in this way-too-happy scenario.

Or, Littlefinger could try to arrange a marriage between Robin and Shireen but it's weird they left Robin behind if that's the scenario. Still they're close to the same age and I don't think poor Shireen has many suitors due to her condition. Maybe Littlefinger didn't want to risk Robin insulting Shireen before the deal was made.

- The Iron Islands: If Theon had escaped with Yara/Asha then this could be a possibility. Otherwise, unless they bring the Greyjoy uncles into the mix, the only dude left for Sansa to marry is Balon Greyjoy. On the bright side, Yara/Asha would make a cool stepdaughter.

- The North: While it would make sense why Roose would agree to the idea - a Stark daughter gives the Boltons legitimacy and the prospect of Ramsay siring children of his own makes him less likely to kill off any kids Roose may have with Fat Walda - I cannot understand why Littlefinger would agree to this. He has to know their reputation. If not, Sansa being of the North could fill them in. They're pretty open about the flaying thing.

And that's assuming she's not headed off to Essos or the Summer Isles. Since Varys is aligning himself with Daenerys, it would be interesting if they headed to the Wall and Littlefinger tried to align himself with Stannis. I don't see Stannis biting, however.
posted by bgal81 at 10:03 AM on April 21, 2015


Unlike poor Jon Snow, who had Valarian steel, but still stumbled around in his fight against King Cutthroat of King's Landing who only had two long daggers.

Yeah, I still don't buy Valyrian steel being magically able to cut through/destroy other blades - it's supposed to be lighter, stronger, and sharper, but not a light saber. Still, a cool visual and no reason to think that moments like that wouldn't happen when a steel sword of much higher quality hits one of lower quality - as I recall the visual, the blade shattered rather than got sliced.
posted by nubs at 10:11 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


That leaves Quentyn but they have not mentioned him in the show so far

quentyn is the one who eventually gets fried by dragons, isn't he?
posted by poffin boffin at 10:32 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


not that i necessarily expect that book canon to play out in the show, i'm just wondering if i am remembering the right guy.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:33 AM on April 21, 2015


Yeah, he's royal Dornish toast.
posted by rewil at 10:36 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


The story of Quentyn was what secured my belief that the Martell family words should be changed to "We Need a Smarter Plan".
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:03 AM on April 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


House Martell
Sigil: Red sun pierced by a gold spear
Words: "I've made a huge mistake"
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:13 AM on April 21, 2015 [26 favorites]


I think Littlefinger's current plan for Robin is for him to die of exertion at the hands of the Royces, which would make him the true lord of the Vale instead of just Protector.

I'm still banking on them going to Riverrun, where maybe Edmure or Brynden are still hanging out, but I don't know that they have very high opinions of Baelish; they certainly would be familiar with him, which doesn't necessarily bode well.
posted by LionIndex at 11:18 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


ach, I love the "just Brienne showing some chump what valyrian steel does" observation, because it highlights the progression of the fight as a whole:
  1. Pod, a chump, throws a rock at a mounted, armed, armored man. This is not an effective attack.
  2. The mounted, armed, armored man attacks him and is rebuffed by Brienne, who is,
  3. Carrying a weapon so much more powerful than the original attacker's that he's pretty much as feckless/fucked as Pod was at the start.

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:22 AM on April 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


where maybe Edmure or Brynden are still hanging out

Isn't Edmure being held as a hostage chez Frey, or did that not happen in the show?
posted by Kosh at 11:36 AM on April 21, 2015


As I recall, Edmure has not been seen since being taken for the bedding. Bolton and Frey had a conversation the morning after, and while both were pretty happy with their gains, I don't recall specific mention of the fate of Edmure (and can't find anything here)...Since the Freys become Lord of Riverrun and the Riverlands, it would seem to me that for the sake of simplicity for the show, Edmure was likely killed because why keep him around? We're not going to get the mockery of a siege of Riverrun. Though there was lots of mention of the Blackfish, so maybe the Tullys still have a role to play.
posted by nubs at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2015


Hm. Well, not up on her blog, but here is Chrys Watches Got on imgur...

reveeeeeenge!
posted by nubs at 1:54 PM on April 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Okay that is fucking hilarious. I admire your dedication to method acting LOL.
posted by localroger at 4:39 PM on April 21, 2015


ugh, pink

it's not even wednesday
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:45 AM on April 22, 2015


Some thoughts on LF's game with Sansa. Let's say he goes North (he seems to be heading that way), this allows the showrunners to replace the fArya story with Sansa being betrothed to Ramsay. This is a lot simpler for the audience because almost nobody will remember who JPoole is; it also makes the rescue and Jon's decision to march more interesting / reasonable. It does make Reek's job less important, since some northerners would actually recognize Sansa. This also makes the "traumatic scene" something obvious (or perhaps she has to kill a man).

Some of the objections aren't as serious as they seem.

Sansa is an enemy of the crown, and the Boltons owe their position to the Lannisters. The Boltons might be more interested in keeping Sansa safe than it seems. LF makes clear on the boat that his new predictable friends are the Tyrells. The Tyrells are busy seizing power from the Lannisters, and LF knows this and appears to be helping them. The Tyrells have even less interest in the North than the Lannisters do. Tyrion was found guilty for the poisoning; Sansa could be declared innocent once Cersi is pushed aside. LF can broker a deal with the Boltons; they keep the north (a fait accompli) with much more legitimacy thanks to Sansa, and their debt to the Lannisters is wiped clean.

Isn't Sansa already married? Her marriage to Tyrion can be annulled as it was never consummated (a traumatic scene where this is proven?) and Tyrion was already married (if someone can vouch for this).

What LF gets in return isn't clear. It will cost him greatly in the Vale; Sansa is his marriable heir to Harry, and that she is known as Sansa is what ties some of the Vale lords to him. It doesn't cause the chaos he needs to advance. Unless he knows that Sansa will rally the North against the Boltons, and that Ramsay will push her to kill. He will save her again, and have accomplished seizing the North in her name. Now that Jon has refused, this gives Stannis the opportunity to put a Stark in Winterfell, for which LF can demand something without making his role obvious to the Tyrells. LF's actual plan is probably more complicated and less foreshadowed than that, but it's a guess.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:27 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree with you that dropping Sansa into the Winterfell pot raises the stakes/tension of that storyline in an amazing way. I disagree that it leaves Reek with less importance; Reek's arc becomes an very strong one of redemption as he will be placed to protect his foster sister (and we know Theon considers the Starks his true family, in retrospect) against Ramsay. (If this is the direction of the story: Please, by the Seven, by the Old gods and the new, no wedding night as it happened in the books though. Please.)

The Boltons would like to have her as it solidifies their hold on the North if Ramsay marries a Stark (which is the rationale for the fArya storyline in the books), but fArya came from the Lannisters - Sansa doesn't, and is in fact being sought by the Lannisters.

So it potentially gets the Boltons in hot water with the Lannisters, but Winterfell is a long way from KL, and winter is coming. Spin it right, and the Boltons can say they found and rescued Sansa and have brought her back home, which should be nice PR with the Northern Houses, and the Lannisters might just not be pissed off enough to march through a hostile North (and let's face it, the North will always be hostile to the Lannisters) in the long autumn of Westeros. If they do, they rally the North against the Lannisters...again. Or Cersei might show a moment of political common sense and realize going along with the fiction of allowing Sansa to return home goes a long way to securing the peace.

What does Littlefinger gain? A second power base and more destabilization in the realm. Sansa's mere presence in the North might just rally the North to her over the Boltons, who aren't loved to begin with - or, if Sansa needs to kill or otherwise be defended from Ramsay's depredations, that could be the spark to unite the North as well. Best case scenario - Sansa as Lady of Winterfell, with the loyalty of the Northern Houses and she marries Harry the Heir from the Vale after the Boltons are cast down; Littlefinger would have (or think he has) two regions on his strings, and both are geographically difficult to reach/engage.

If this is his plan, it's precarious and prone to a lot of problems along the way - Ramsay is a psychopath barely on a leash, and putting Sansa in his reach (or that of his girls) could cause unforeseen outcomes. It didn't matter with fArya because she was a fiction that pretty much everyone important agreed upon. And putting Sansa in Winterfell ahead of her marriage to someone in the Vale could cost him the Vale...unless he's got some other plans in motion we haven't seen yet. And Stannis could upset many, many things if this is Littlefinger's plan - because Stannis would jump through fire (and could!) at the chance to have Sansa in Winterfell, endorsing him for the Iron Throne.
posted by nubs at 1:59 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sansa as a tool for Stannis would also replace Manderley's vow re: rickton without having to resurrect that whole storyline.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:38 PM on April 22, 2015


As long as we still get Frey pie.

House Manderly: You Want Pie With That?
posted by nubs at 2:56 PM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, after all this rampant speculation, I'm betting that at the first major, major depature from the book storyline, show only fans are going to have a moment like we've had these past few years: Enjoyment at watching someone else lose their shit over the show.
posted by nubs at 3:12 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


*i fucking love the mormonts*

I hope that Sansa isn't replacing Jeyne as fArya, and don't think the audience needs to remember Jeyne for that plot to work - we just need to hear that Ramsay is getting married to Arya and then have Theon/Reek reacting to someone we know is obviously not Arya. She can fill in the backstory later if need be. (That said, it's not like I've been aching for this show to feature any more sexual violence or Ramsay scenes, let alone both at the same time.)
posted by Navelgazer at 3:50 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing that makes the "littlefinger wants to marry Sansa off to Ramsay" idea seem non-tenable to me is the whole "Sansa being married already" aspect - what incentive does Cersei have to grant the annulment?

(Well that and it's a rickety-ass scheme that could go sideways for a thousand reasons and one, but that's par for the course in Game of Thrones...)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:58 PM on April 22, 2015


Still, a cool visual and no reason to think that moments like that wouldn't happen when a steel sword of much higher quality hits one of lower quality - as I recall the visual, the blade shattered rather than got sliced.

Maybe the point is not that the sword is really good but that Tallboy is a powerful badass who will destroy your shit.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:09 PM on April 22, 2015


I'm sticking with the 'superior steel' trope; blade shatters sometimes happens between peer metals by seriously poor chance or very poor technique, but superior-steel/meteorite-steel/whatever shattering inferior is a well worn trope.

Personally, I liked the choreography - overhand power stroke, no surprise that it shattered overhand guard, follow through to maximize shoulder damage, recognize the lack of defense, stab through the gorget-less throat, recover. Tend to Pod.

I like that most people in GoT will clean off their weapon after a fight (even if cursorily) before putting it away whereas the only person in TWD who has ever been shown cleaning off a weapon is Morgan (who does so routinely).
posted by porpoise at 7:26 PM on April 22, 2015


Maybe the point is not that the sword is really good but that Tallboy is a powerful badass who will destroy your shit.

Eh, we've seen her fight two of the finest warriors in Westeros (Loras and Jaime) and never shattered their swords, despite the impact between the two being likely greater in those cases. I think this is just Oathkeeper being awesome (will we ever see Oathkeeper go up against Longclaw? That could be fun. Brienne is almost certainly the superior fighter there, but Jon is no slouch.)
posted by Navelgazer at 8:40 PM on April 22, 2015


Just realized that by sending Jaime south to investigate suspicious doings in a hostile court, the show is putting him through Ned Stark's paces. This could be interesting.
posted by Iridic at 9:32 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


we've seen her fight two of the finest warriors in Westeros (Loras and Jaime) and never shattered their swords,

IIRC correctly, both fights did not involve Valyarian steel versus castle forged steel; the blades in both fights were of a similar quality.
posted by nubs at 9:47 AM on April 23, 2015






we've seen her fight two of the finest warriors in Westeros (Loras and Jaime) and never shattered their swords,

IIRC correctly, both fights did not involve Valyarian steel versus castle forged steel; the blades in both fights were of a similar quality.


This is exactly what I'm saying, yeah.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:43 AM on April 25, 2015


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