Game of Thrones: High Sparrow   Books Included 
April 26, 2015 7:19 PM - Season 5, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Things happen and it's not like the books!

Cersei meets the High Sparrow after learning of a clergyman's embarrassing tale. Meanwhile, Davos talks to Jon about the future of Winterfell, where Ramsay Snow has the real Sansa Stark is to be his bride; Arya grows impatient doing menial tasks in the House of Black and White; and Tyrion searches for more comfortable surroundings on a long trip with Varys.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (175 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm dying to know what Littlefinger's plan is. In no way is he planning a real alliance with Roose Bolton. Roose killed Cat.
posted by painquale at 7:52 PM on April 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


It sounds a little far-fetched (like, when would this alliance have been forged), but could Littlefinger be working with Stannis? He (Littlefinger) has just done the one thing that could get Jon to send the Night's Watch to Winterfell.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:54 PM on April 26, 2015


I'm pretty sure his plan is to get Sansa married to Ramsay, get her installed in Winterfell, and then arrange for an unfortunate accident to befall the Boltons. That's the general MO so far.
posted by Justinian at 8:01 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Littlefinger came just short of explicitly telling Sansa to kill the Boltons, so I'm not sure what else to the plan there needs to be. From the maid's comment about the North remembering, you know the house staff would kill the Boltons as soon as Sansa asks them to.

How Sansa killing the Boltons helps Littlefinger, I don't exactly know, unless he thinks Sansa is completely on his side.
posted by LionIndex at 8:04 PM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whatever Littlefinger's up to, he'd better do it before Myranda kills Sansa.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:05 PM on April 26, 2015


I'm pretty sure his plan is to get Sansa married to Ramsay, get her installed in Winterfell, and then arrange for an unfortunate accident to befall the Boltons. That's the general MO so far.

Sansa doesn't need to be installed anywhere, she's a Stark.

Baelish clearly has plans for Bolton deaths, because of his love for Catelyn. Perhaps he wants a reverse of the Red Wedding, where the Boltons are slain at the wedding of Ramsay and Sansa. Again, it doesn't matter if the marriage is consummated, as Sansa is Stark and rightful heir.

Then, if Baelish marries Lady Stark....hello sweet, sweet power
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:10 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]




The block was pre-fetched!!!
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:33 PM on April 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


I suppose I can't complain too much that the line was "Olly, fetch me my sword," instead of "Edd, fetch me a block."
posted by ocherdraco at 8:43 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


They say it's going to be different, but given their track record I am afraid of what they're doing with Sansa. The book was bad enough, and the TV version generally skews worse.
posted by rewil at 8:57 PM on April 26, 2015


He's taking the hobbits Stark girl to Isengard Winterfell!
posted by nubs at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


At what point do we lose the show/books only threads? Because half the plots are not in the books at this point. Maybe more.
posted by Justinian at 9:13 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]




"Olly, fetch me my sword," instead of "Edd, fetch me a block."

But since we're quibbling, the 'block' line is much more ominous than 'sword.' It gives Slynt plausible denial that Jon's actually going to go through with it.

I felt that this was a nice mirror of the opening of the story of Ned doing what needs doing. Almost sets up Jon to get set up later on. To paraphrase the late Tywin, what's with the North's obsession about huge swords? Longclaw's almost as big as Ice.

Also like the departure from the books for Sansa, but between Ramsay promising Littlefinger, of all people, that he won't harm Sansa and his brood of sadistic murderesses I wonder how Sansa is going to make it and murderate the Boltons.

Pod & Brienne getting for real with each other, "I suppose that's more important." Indeed.

The Nameless Men obvious surveils Arya. It always bugged me that they let her get away with not tossing her sword.
posted by porpoise at 9:20 PM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


margaery: oh and i wanted to tell you
cersei: ugh, wot
margaery: totally fucked your son last night
cersei: that's -
margaery: like, we fucked a whole lot. he is good at fucking. i like his penis
cersei: um, ugh, you're just -
margaery: over and over again. lots of fun positions too.
cersei: you're seriously going to die
posted by koeselitz at 9:46 PM on April 26, 2015 [19 favorites]


How old is Tommen in Show-lore?
posted by Justinian at 9:52 PM on April 26, 2015


I assumed Littlefinger isn't saying Sansa should kill Ramsey herself but like, be on board with the murdering the Boltons plan when it does come up (I mean, last time you murdered somebody as part of a plan you didn't even know! Think how much better you'll be this time!) . He is totally saying they're going to die tho.
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 PM on April 26, 2015


How old is Tommen in Show-lore?

I'm not sure but I could swear they recast him and aged him up between seasons at some point.
posted by sparkletone at 11:03 PM on April 26, 2015


Name-checked my man, calling it: called it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:03 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


How much loyalty do the Boltons command? Gotta think nobody would mourn them if the only Stark in Winterfell just happened to arrange their deaths.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:08 PM on April 26, 2015


I'm pretty sure House Serial Killer has few friends out in the world and could be swept away with little fuss if there was like a modicum of honest effort to do so.
posted by The Whelk at 11:11 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


"There is but one God. A girl knows his name."

OMG IS JAQEN H'GAR REALLY SYRIO FOREL FOR REAL
posted by KathrynT at 11:16 PM on April 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


And I'm guessing that Tommen is like 16-17. Because of when Cersei and Robert were married, I don't think he can be much older than 17 or 18, period. The actor who plays him turned 17 during the filming of this season, which means that his naked scenes with Natalie Dormer are actually a little creepy!!

Speaking of Margaery, the scene with Cersei ("Anything I can do for you. Anything at all") was the single most deadly combat I think I've ever seen on this show. Like, Brienne and Jaime going at it with swords was not as close to fatal as that was. Chills.
posted by KathrynT at 11:21 PM on April 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


Tommen looks about 12 to me in the sex scene with Margaery, which makes it super extra creepy.
posted by ktkt at 12:14 AM on April 27, 2015


show tommen is meant to be 16, i think? in book canon he's 11, which, ew.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:59 AM on April 27, 2015


and once again i must mention how much i love each and every departure from book canon.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:00 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I love them in and of themselves and for the sweet, sweet tears they induce in some folks.
posted by Justinian at 1:57 AM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


At what point do we lose the show/books only threads? Because half the plots are not in the books at this point. Maybe more.

I get what you're saying, but I still think there's plenty of scope for us to spoil them (I mean, there's only 12 posts in the current show-only thread, and there's three discussion points in there that we know the answers to (which Queen did Jorah mean?, hints that the Mountain isn't dead, whether an actress will reappear). Not to mention someone who's already sick of the pace of Arya's storyline...

And even though the show feels very different, a number of the plotlines are still close to the same: Arya, Tyrion (with a chunk removed), Cersei, Jon's is close. I'd feel constrained if we couldn't talk about this episode without being able to talk about what happens later (see e.g. my next post).
posted by Pink Frost at 2:27 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, some interesting stuff here:

The High Septon caught in the brothel. A departure from the books I think, and a very effective one. Emphasises the reforming nature of the Sparrows, and sets up a walk of shame for the Septon that will presumably be echoed by Cersei later in the season.

Loving Margaery. Playing the game at a different level from everyone else, and always has been, right back when she suggested that Renly could get in the mood for procreation with her by fuckin her brother first. A little weird watching Tommen having sex even though I know he's not a kitten-loving child in the show...(and I'd always assumed they weren't having sex yet in the book, but who knows...)

Sansa replacing Jeyne/fArya as betrothed to Ramsey, as some of you predicted last week. Don't think the show version of their marriage could possibly be as bad as the book (which apart from Ramsey involving Reek/Theon hints at bestiality). But some grim stuff coming anyway.

Starting to wonder if we'll get Brienne as a washerwoman in Winterfell. Her helping Sansa to escape would fit with her story, and with the way it happens in the books [though I guess there's no guarantee of the battle of Winterfell happening in the same way as the books. Though with Stannis preparing to go south already, I'd say it's a definite possibility].

We seem to be rushing through Tyrion's arc, I'm picturing the showrunners saying 'see George, all you need to do to resolve your plotting difficulties is not include all those pointless subplots'.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:45 AM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Not to mention someone who's already sick of the pace of Arya's storyline..."

I've basically been waiting for Arya in Braavos since the show began. It's my favorite storyline. I can't wait for her to kill the Night's Watch deserter.

Is it just me, or is anyone else a little uncomfortable as the show moves into unknown territory? It's not that I share the book fanatics' sensibilities, it's just that my whole experience of the show has been shaped by knowing (mostly) what's going to happen and suddenly I'm watching it a whole new way. Last week, in the tavern, I absolutely loved it. This week, I wasn't as sure that I loved it. It's weird.

I was distracted in finding the actor, Gwyneth Keyworth, who plays the prostitute that Tyrion speaks to very familiar -- I then looked her up on IMDB, I can't see how I've seen her before. I only watched the first episode of Misfits and only a few episodes of Sarah Jane, so maybe I'm just getting old and everyone looks familiar to me. Same with Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow -- he's way more familiar to me than a perusal of his work suggests he would be.

One of the things that most intrigues me in the books is the role of R'hllor and his clergy in the war to come.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:18 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh man half the first part was me shouting WHAT NO at my screen. Like, how the fuck will they deal with Margaery if her and Tommen are having the sex? And yeah is Brienne a washer woman WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING I do not know.

However, I will forgive it all for Syrio Forel hope.
posted by corb at 3:34 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


whether an actress will reappear

Lady Stoneheart Truthers!

I love those guys.
posted by Justinian at 3:49 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


If Tormund takes the place of Mance, it's possible we'll get a Brienne/Tormund team-up, or even a Podrick/Tormund team-up. Those are character meetings I never would have envisaged.

Ramsey is going to have Sansa, Tormund, Brienne, Podrick, and Reek all gunning for him from within the walls of Winterfell, and he'll have to deal with Stannis (and Manderly?) from without. That's a lot of people who might kill him! I assumed that Tormund would take Mance's place as the spy within Winterfell, but now I think they might replace that storyline entirely with Sansa's and Brienne's.
posted by painquale at 3:52 AM on April 27, 2015


Same with Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow -- he's way more familiar to me than a perusal of his work suggests he would be

He'll always be the Infiniti spokesperson to me. I may have only seen one or two other things that he's ever done.
posted by LionIndex at 4:07 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I felt that this was a nice mirror of the opening of the story of Ned doing what needs doing. Almost sets up Jon to get set up later on.


It also was a nice mirror for last week, when Dany didn't do the head-choppin' herself-- good set up for the massive amounts of growing as a leader she needs to do.
posted by damayanti at 4:56 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Olly, fetch me my sword," instead of "Edd, fetch me a block."

The real problem is that I'm already Edd deprived as it is and I thought, " yes, he will finally get to do something!" But no, that young upstart gets it instead. Am I the only person who wishes that kid would go back to whatever show-only hell he came from? He gives me the creeps.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:25 AM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


So what the heck is happening with this greyscale thing
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:27 AM on April 27, 2015


Like, how the fuck will they deal with Margaery if her and Tommen are having the sex

Cersei is going to be in cahoots with the High Sparrow so she won't really need evidence (or a book's worth of plotting) at all. What, with Robert Strong kicking around, we can maybe skip over to Clegane bowl in this season. Instead of being a brother on the Quiet Isle, the Hound joins the sparrows.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:34 AM on April 27, 2015


So what the heck is happening with this greyscale thing

I'm betting Stannis's daughter has some sort of magic power. Greyscale probably links her to some animal or forest creatures.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:44 AM on April 27, 2015


The Hound joining the Sparrows is a neat idea, but I have a hard time imagining him meshing with them. They're a militant religious order burning with conviction. The Hound's after solace and the monastic life.
posted by painquale at 5:48 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was trying to explain the difference between the White Walkers/Others and the wights to a friend of mine. For about five solid minutes he thought I was saying "whites" and was talking about two different racial groups of ice monsters. That has nothing to do with this episode per se but it was pretty funny.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:19 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Gendry cannot still be rowing that goddamned boat.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:21 AM on April 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


He's never rowed before, he just might be going in circles. Or he ended up on the island that Oberyn Martell retired to and doesn't want to leave that party.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 AM on April 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


koeselitz: margaery: oh and i wanted to tell you

Right after calling the Dowager Queen a super-lush. "We don't start drinking in the morning, like you." Damn, that was cold. I know some people think Margery is being foolishly bold, but I read (and hope) that she's baiting Cersei into doing something really dumb, like a more skilled fighter will bait an opponent into leaving themselves open for a finishing blow.


tofu_crouton: Cersei is going to be in cahoots with the High Sparrow so she won't really need evidence (or a book's worth of plotting) at all.

In the books, didn't she try to win over the sparrows, only to realize they were uncorruptable? She was trying to butter the "High Sparrow" over by elevating his status, which is not his style (giving away his shoes, deflecting the notion that he's better than anyone, even when people follow him and lay praise upon him). I honestly don't see this going well for her.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:04 AM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Littlefinger, to Ramsay: "You're a lord I haven't heard much about!"
mrjohnmuller, to his tv: "Like fucking hell you haven't"
posted by mrjohnmuller at 7:23 AM on April 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, in the books, it was a tremendous political miscalculation for Cersei to align herself with the sparrows, and they end up having her do the naked walk, much like the High Septon just did.

I felt like this episode brought the show into closer alignment with the books, if anything. Previously, we had no real idea of what would happen with Sansa, but now she's just filling out the fArya plotline. Tyrion is right back in sync with the books now that his road trip with Varys is over. The only real wild card is Jaime and Bronn's excellent adventure, but that may just take the place of the Arianne Martell chapters from the books. Om the plus side, if Stannis is heading for Winterfell in two weeks, we'll be past the books in that plotline fairly quickly.
posted by LionIndex at 7:27 AM on April 27, 2015


So Jonathon Pryce as the High Sparrow is particularly amusing because first I was like "Wait! That guy played Kiera Knightley's father in Pirates of the Caribbean. What's his name again? WAIT! Jonathon Pryce? He was the Engineer in Miss Saigon!"
posted by ChuraChura at 7:47 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


LionIndex: Yeah, in the books, it was a tremendous political miscalculation for Cersei to align herself with the sparrows, and they end up having her do the naked walk, much like the High Septon just did.

Exactly. In the TV world, she seems to have forgotten her sins that could put her in the High Septon's footsteps. Disregarding the "slander" of incest, there's the fact that she slept with her cousin, who is one of the more active young sparrows. He already told her he was sorry for leading her astray, to which she laughed.

m the plus side, if Stannis is heading for Winterfell in two weeks, we'll be past the books in that plotline fairly quickly.

Or they'll let that plot lie fallow for a while, like Dany who didn't appear in this episode. In a ten episode season, you can skip one thread for a few weeks and not look like you're completely ignoring that corner of the world.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:50 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Don't crush my dreams before lunch.
posted by LionIndex at 8:00 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in the books, it was a tremendous political miscalculation for Cersei to align herself with the sparrows

It's an interesting miscalculation where Cersei assumes the High Sparrow is playing the same game she is - to amass power and influence. Much like Ed Stark made some assumptions about people playing the game for honour.
posted by nubs at 8:29 AM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like this substitution of Sansa for Fake Arya, as I think it's going to improve Theon's plotline when we get to DWD and he has to rescue her.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:46 AM on April 27, 2015


LionIndex: Don't crush my dreams before lunch.

Sorry, I didn't know that was your dream. I've gotten the impression that the TV show is intended to follow the books approximately at one season per book, which is why season 6 might get into unpublished territory, and season 7 definitely will, unless GRRM shifts into overdrive and cranks out two books before April 2017, when season 7 is likely to start.


It's an interesting miscalculation where Cersei assumes the High Sparrow is playing the same game she is - to amass power and influence. Much like Ed Stark made some assumptions about people playing the game for honour.

I agree with the first notion regarding Cersei, but I don't think Nedd thought everyone played for honor, rather that honor was valued and respected by others in places of power. I think he recognized his sense of honor was more strict than almost everyone around him, otherwise he was much worse at politicking than I thought.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:46 AM on April 27, 2015


I like this substitution of Sansa for Fake Arya, as I think it's going to improve Theon's plotline when we get to DWD and he has to rescue her.

It was interesting that Theon might start shaking his identity of Reek now, first when recoiling at the flayed corpses of the lord and lady of wherever, and really being pushed to consider his potential for acting against (or at least without) the Bolton's directions when he saw Sansa enter Winterfell. He's not completely broken and numb to the terrors around him, which gives me hope for something resembling the in-book arc.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Littlefinger might be making a terrible miscalculation by entering into a deal with the Boltons.
posted by drezdn at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I felt like this episode brought the show into closer alignment with the books, if anything. Previously, we had no real idea of what would happen with Sansa, but now she's just filling out the fArya plotline. Tyrion is right back in sync with the books now that his road trip with Varys is over. The only real wild card is Jaime and Bronn's excellent adventure, but that may just take the place of the Arianne Martell chapters from the books.

The thing is, I not only disagree, but it is driving me crazy, because I know the showrunners know the ending of the books, and presumably some major plot points. So does Littlefinger sending Sansa to Ramsay instead of Harry the Heir mean that the Sansa/Harry the Heir plot doesn't end in anything or she doesn't marry him? Does it mean that Sansa is not as important in the end as we thought, because her plotline can just be shifted? Or is this going to take place and THEN Littlefinger is going to betroth her to him?

It especially drives me crazy that their reasoning was just 'well, people already love Sansa and will care what happens to her.'
posted by corb at 8:53 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


So does Littlefinger sending Sansa to Ramsay instead of Harry the Heir mean that the Sansa/Harry the Heir plot doesn't end in anything or she doesn't marry him? Does it mean that Sansa is not as important in the end as we thought, because her plotline can just be shifted?

It means that in the show, this is the way things are unfolding. It says nothing about the importance or direction of where the book plotlines are going; those will have their own payoffs (or not) as the case may be. But at this point, I think trying to extrapolate the importance of a plotline in the books from what happens to it on the show is not going to be a profitable exercise. The beginning of this season marks the start of two alternate timelines for the world of Westeros - one will unfold on screen, one on the page. How each story develops and ends from this point on may or may not be a good reflection of the other.


but I don't think Nedd thought everyone played for honor, rather that honor was valued and respected by others in places of power.

Yeah, it is perhaps better to say that Ned miscalculated the value of honor; and Cersei has miscalculated the value that the High Sparrow places on prestige and position.
posted by nubs at 9:03 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]




What's his name again?

GOVERNOR WEATHERBY SWANN
posted by poffin boffin at 9:43 AM on April 27, 2015


I pretend that the show and the books are different people re-telling a major event from a long time ago, the differences are caused by the historical equivalent of a game of telephone.
posted by drezdn at 9:43 AM on April 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


I like that! It's like looking at the Grimm version of a fairy tale vs the Perrault version.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:52 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sansa Stark’s own “Game of Thrones”: Don’t call it Stockholm syndrome — she’s a survivor

One of Littlefinger's lines to her was ominous for its ambiguity - "you have been a witness to violence since the death of your father, now [that can change, or something like that." I heard both "you've watched terrible things happen, now is your chance to be terrible in return," and "now you get to experience the terrors first-hand." I know Baelish loved Cat and shifted some of that to Sansa, but doesn't he love power more?

She's a survivor now, but what will she become? Dun-dun-DUNNN! Tune in to the next episode!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:59 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of hoping that Ramsay will not be as brutal to her as he was to Jeyne - she's more important, and I can't remember offhand, but wasn't part of his anger at Jeyne the fact that she was a disposable fraud who didn't even try? Sansa I feel like is way better at smiling prettily at monsters for survival.
posted by corb at 10:04 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I understand why this plot change makes sense and I'm not surprised, but it is just so horrible to see her having to be engaged to Ramsey Bolton when she's already been engaged to Joffrey.
posted by Area Man at 10:13 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ramsay had those women who helped him torture Reek and hunt that woman in the woods. I wonder if, rather than torturing Sansa, he'll force her to help him torture other people?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:14 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh man, or make her torture Theon?
posted by corb at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't want to watch any more torture! Those are my least favorite parts of the books by a long shot and I find actually seeing that stuff way too disturbing.
posted by Area Man at 10:24 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


yeah, they have just been doing too much setting that up. But maybe what it is is the hunt through the woods thing.
posted by corb at 10:34 AM on April 27, 2015


The potential for horror in Winterfell is pretty high, but I also have hope – between Sansa's feigned courtesy to Roose, and the servant's reminder that "the North remembers" – that we may see some moments of Supreme Awesome in Winterfell this season. I don't know if we'll see her holding a bloody dagger over Roose's corpse, but I'm actually more confident now she'll end as Queen in the North. The road there might be pretty darned dark, though.

Events in King's Landing are proving to be (so far) more interesting and juicy than in the books. Perhaps that's because Margaery is a far more fleshed-out character in the show, and watching her spar with Cersei is delightful.

I confess I got misty-eyed when Arya held Needle – is this the most emotion we've seen out of her? I very much look forward to watching her "cockles & mussels, alive alive-oh" phase.

Qyburn had my favorite line: "Shhh. Easy, friend."
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 10:47 AM on April 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the pan over to Ramsay's Sadistic Fangirl Gallery watching Sansa didn't bode well.

Speaking of Margaery, the scene with Cersei ("Anything I can do for you. Anything at all") was the single most deadly combat I think I've ever seen on this show. Like, Brienne and Jaime going at it with swords was not as close to fatal as that was. Chills.

Yup! I think I was also just saying "holy shit" at the screen for a full minute there. Additionally, as creepy as the age-difference is, that Tommen-Margaery post-coital scene was one of the healthiest relationship scenes we've ever seen in the show.

So here's my question: We've got the Iron Bank, we've got the Sparrows, and we've got a drunken, desperate Cersei (portrayed amazingly by a never-better Lena Headey) but the situation right now seems to be that Cersei is out of power. She needs to default (probably not difficult with Mace Tyrell as Master of Coin, especially considering how beneficial that could be to the Tyrell family if played right) and needs to reinstate the Faith Militant. So how will she be in the position to do these things? Will she be shoving Margaery into the cells sooner than expected?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:53 AM on April 27, 2015


Oh Qyburn, I can never remember his name so I just call him Measter they Called Me Mad At the university.
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on April 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


drezdn: “I pretend that the show and the books are different people re-telling a major event from a long time ago, the differences are caused by the historical equivalent of a game of telephone.”

I think you mean "A GAME OF TELEPHONES"
posted by koeselitz at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


Oh Qyburn, I can never remember his name so I just call him Measter they Called Me Mad At the university.

Herbert Westeros
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


I very much look forward to watching her "cockles & mussels, alive alive-oh" phase.

I wonder how they're going to handle all her faceless training. presumably they won't actually be bringing in a handful of different actors and will just do it with makeup and costuming and hair work.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:11 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Additionally, as creepy as the age-difference is, that Tommen-Margaery post-coital scene was one of the healthiest relationship scenes we've ever seen in the show.

TOTALLY. I mean, let's face it: if you're Margaery, or really any woman of noble birth on this show, and you have to get married to some dip in a crown in order to have any kind of hope of security and prosperity -- you could do a LOT worse than Tommen. In fact I can't think of another king or potential king on this show who I'd rather be married to. Stannis? No. Robb? He's sweet but dim. Robert Baratheon? Seven hells, no. Viserys? Eeeeeuuugh no no no no no.
posted by KathrynT at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah. Tommen is young, and that might be motherfucking grating, but I imagine in Westeros you keep your damn mouth shut and try to do your best because a young, kind guy is INFINITELY BETTER than an old sadist.
posted by corb at 11:14 AM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Tommen-Margaery post-coital scene

At the start of that scene, Mr. Machine was on the couch next to me.

At the end of the scene, he was on the floor WRITHING IN EMBARRASSMENT because of how exactly the script and the actor had nailed the way that he, Mr. Machine, would have acted at the age of seventeen after having sex with Grade A No. 1 Crush Object Total Hottie Margaery Tyrell.

Down to the wistful little CAN'T WE STAY IN BED AND JUST HAVE SEX ALL THE TIME???? comment. That produced a particularly loud, manly squeak of secondhand shame.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:22 AM on April 27, 2015 [29 favorites]


Also, I'm fully aware that other scenes besides Tommen-and-Margary and Margaery-and-Cersei scene happened, but to be entirely honest, I had difficulty making out any of the dialogue because of the high-pitched squealing noise in my head left over from the Sansa storyline. Like, the shot of Sansa's face when she walks back into the little bedroom at Winterfell. And then the old lady who turned down the bed turning to her and telling her welcome home.

THE NORTH REMEMBERS

WITH FLAYED BODIES OF OLD LIEGES OF THE STARKS DRIPPING BLOOD IN THE COURTYARD

THE NORTH REMEMBERS
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:30 AM on April 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


But no, that young upstart gets it instead. Am I the only person who wishes that kid would go back to whatever show-only hell he came from? He gives me the creeps.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think this, but I have the feeling that Olly will be the one to assassinate Jon (or at least be the first dagger) once the rest of the Night Watch deem that Jon's gone too far in assimilating the Wildlings. The Wildlings slaughtered Olly's entire family, so it's not like he won't have cause.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


joyceanmachine: At the end of the scene, he was on the floor WRITHING IN EMBARRASSMENT because of how exactly the script and the actor had nailed the way that he, Mr. Machine, would have acted at the age of seventeen after having sex with Grade A No. 1 Crush Object Total Hottie Margaery Tyrell.

And she's totally happy with her relationship with the young king, which made it all the more awkwardly cute/ charming/ something. Of course, she's playing him, but if the worst thing your king wanted of you was polite, kind sex all the time (and you could tell him "we should catch our breath" and he'd be "OK, that's fine"), you've clearly hit the Jackpot of Kings.


THE NORTH REMEMBERS

WITH FLAYED BODIES OF OLD LIEGES OF THE STARKS DRIPPING BLOOD IN THE COURTYARD

THE NORTH REMEMBERS


Writing it like that, it sounds like the north is happy to see old lieges flayed, which might actually be true, as we rarely see anything from the point of view of the low people who fill this world. We imagine the north is a just and fair place, thanks to the rule of the Starks, but what if they're lax on their liege lords' treatment of their folks?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think, though I could be wrong, that is actually something we see a lot of in the books - how the smaller Stark-ruled holds function. And we also see it with regards to the small stuff - for example, Jorah Mormont had to flee because he sold poachers as slaves, because Ned Stark was not about to let that shit slide (and called him a 'traitor' for it). In a Ned Stark led world, I imagine cold justice reigns - which is shitty, but maybe better than other places where they don't even have that.
posted by corb at 11:48 AM on April 27, 2015


Then again, he also sold slaves. That kind of thing really should come with some cold justice.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:55 AM on April 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


By the way, there is something really interesting going on with ladies and armor in this episode.

Remember the whole bit with Sansa taking off her gloves and how the show lingers on it, shows us the stripping-off of the gloves and the handling of them and the putting back on of them? It's interesting both in the sense of a metaphorical AND NOW THE GLOVES COME OFF IN PLACE OF A DARK LORD YOU SHALL HAVE A QUEEN NOT DARK BUT BEAUTIFUL AND TERRIBLE, but also in the sense of that old quote she had about courtesy being a lady's armor, right? Like, that long, tense moment where she and Roose Bolton meet each other, and you aren't sure how she'll respond. Despite what she agreed to up on the ridge with Littlefinger, would she tell him he was a murderer? Would she slap him? Would she show any sign?

But no, she greets him and is flawlessly polite to him and it doesn't feel powerless. In fact, Sansa and her ability to keep up standards of behavior to absolute monsters is power.

It's particularly interesting, by the way, looking at Sansa in this episode being a mirror for Brienne. I mean, this episode was about Sansa using her courtesy and her training and her brains and Littlefinger's affection for her/his obsession with Catelyn, plus and how badly the Boltons need her to legitimize their claim -- all traditional lady sources of power, birth and breeding and beauty and brains, right? And Sansa is putting it the fuck on and using it to step into her revenge of murdering the fuck out of people.

In contrast, Brienne and Podrick's big scene together this episode invovled Podrick taking off Brienne's physical armor -- not a traditional lady source of power. And while Sansa is lying left and right and not having a single, single, single emotionally honest reaction after that outburst with Littlefinger because she can't fucking affford it -- there Brienne is, letting it all the fuck hang out with Podrick. Like, the brutal way the camera holds on her face while she talks about Renly telling her not to cry because of nasty little shits? I love that this show lets Brienne be sweaty and dirty and tired and flawed and less than perfectly patient and yet still hold our interest absolutely when she is onscreen.

I love, too, that the show doesn't think less of either Sansa or Brienne for being who and what they are -- it's something that GRRM has difficulties with, I think, particularly in the early books. But in the show, Sansa and Brienne, two daughters of two lords, using different tools, equipped with different armor, in totally different circumstances, they are

both

out

for

some motherfucking blood, straight from the veins of the people who killed the people they loved.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:07 PM on April 27, 2015 [43 favorites]


In a Ned Stark led world, I imagine cold justice reigns - which is shitty, but maybe better than other places where they don't even have that.

But I could imagine that Mormont was generally a good guy, with his sole (and major) infraction being the selling of poachers to slavers. What if he only jailed poachers, or whatever it was you are supposed to do to poachers? In the eyes of the Starks, he could still be a good guy, but in the eyes of the people who were trying to get some food from their lords massive estates, food which he clearly didn't need, any punishment for poaching is like putting a street urchin in jail for stealing bread from a well-stocked baker. The baker wouldn't miss a loaf or two every few days, and that food is sustinence to a starving child.

And with that I'm thoroughly into "what if" territory, which has not been addressed through the books or TV, so I'll stop there.


both out for some motherfucking blood

Great recap of some contrasts I didn't pay enough attention to when watching this episode, though I did pick up on the book vs show handling of Brienne's love of Renly. In the book, it feels like some mix between adoration and misplaced romance for someone she probably can't have (was Renly's sexuality ever nearly as explicit in the books as in the show?), where here we see her respect for him as a person and a ruler, which mimics Brienne's regard for Catelyn in the show. That bit of backstory made both Renly and Brienne more appealing characters.

And then there's Pod's responses to Brienne's barbs, which Brienne retracts in light of Pod's responses. Then Pod as a concerned and compassionate listener to Brienne's tale of the fateful ball. Brienne and Pod Show Forever!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:19 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hadn't made that connection about Olly – that he'd end up as one of the conspirators – but now that I think of it, wasn't Jon's steward (Cheswick or something?) one of the brothers who stabbed him, weeping all the while? And now Olly is Jon's steward, and clearly worships him, but as mentioned clearly has no love for the Wildlings.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 12:26 PM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


That makes a lot of sense. I had pictured it that, once sent on patrol, Thorne would be able to sow dissent away from Jon's supporters at Castle Black, but Olly seems more thematically resonant.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:31 PM on April 27, 2015


Since we are already talking about plot points from the books that haven't been revealed in the show yet, I am curious how people are interpreting the discussion between Pod and Brienne where she offers to start training him. Does this mean we'll be getting Lady Stoneheart soon?
posted by daq at 12:39 PM on April 27, 2015


i can't really remember that part of the books so all i am expecting is a comedic yet inspirational training montage with triumphant action music.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:54 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I loved all of the changes from the novels. This was the best episode not only of this season, but since the mountain squished the snake.
posted by codacorolla at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm really hoping that Jorah is headed to Daeny direct, and that we're spared his glum, interminable trek across country.
posted by codacorolla at 1:02 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think we will ever see Lady S.H. (now that I've put that in writing, she will appear next episode.)

You know what I don't get about Brienne's backstory? She is heir to a entire island of a decent size, right? I'm surprised there wasn't at least one nobly-born guy willing to at least pretend to like her when lordship over Tarth was at stake.
posted by Area Man at 1:17 PM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


That makes a lot of sense. I had pictured it that, once sent on patrol, Thorne would be able to sow dissent away from Jon's supporters at Castle Black, but Olly seems more thematically resonant.

Jon played the situation perfectly; he opened with a joke (one in which Thorne expected to be the punchline and then wasn't); showed respect to Thorne for his abilities, knowledge, and courage; showed respect to Slynt with that appointment (hell, the man is a lord, and he is being given a castle to oversee, repair, and maintain - exactly what a Lord should expect) and then refused to back down. Thorne may not like Jon, but he doesn't have to - Jon acted as the Commander of the Night's Watch throughout and Thorne respects the office if not the man. And Jon showed his respect for Thorne in terms of his skills and abilities - just as Thorne did for Snow during the defense of the Wall.

Slynt did not act as a man of the Night's Watch, and that (to me) is why Thorne steps away from him - Thorne is an ass, but he knows what the Night's Watch is and how it needs to function.

None of this precludes Thorne from stabbing Jon when the Wildling situation gets out of hand and the proposed march on Winterfell comes up (assuming both do); Thorne will still be acting from his dedication to the form and function of the Watch (and Jon arguably isn't at that point). And having Sansa in Winterfell will make Jon's decision all the more believable.
posted by nubs at 1:18 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Justinian: Lady Stoneheart Truthers!

I love those guys.

Heh :). 3/9 nevah forget. That wasn't actually what I meant...there was this:

>I recognized Rila Fukushima, think we'll see her again?

>>I assume so. I don't see her being cast for only one appearance.

She played the Red Priestess, so as far as we know it is her only appearance. A minor point compared to the other two, but still an interesting* reminder of what we know vs what they know.

*I may be overstating this.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:23 PM on April 27, 2015


You know what I don't get about Brienne's backstory? She is heir to a entire island of a decent size, right? I'm surprised there wasn't at least one nobly-born guy willing to at least pretend to like her when lordship over Tarth was at stake.

It's not worth much, as we saw when Jamie had to bluff to save her life - he convinced them it was called The Sapphire Isle because it had sapphire mines, but really it was because the sea is so blue there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:32 PM on April 27, 2015


"A GAME OF TELEPHONES"

In the Game of Telephones, you win or you purple monkey dishwasher.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:39 PM on April 27, 2015 [25 favorites]


I'm surprised there wasn't at least one nobly-born guy willing to at least pretend to like her when lordship over Tarth was at stake.

Oh I'm sure there are, but I think Brienne has a rule that anyone who wants to have her has to best her in combat. No one has!

In short, they can pretend to like Brienne, but she has to like them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:42 PM on April 27, 2015


I don't think we will ever see Lady S.H. (now that I've put that in writing, she will appear next episode.)

She better not. I already accepted that LSH wasn't going to appear and told my show-only significant other about her. She will be unhappy with me if it turns out I spoiled it.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:28 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not worth much, as we saw when Jamie had to bluff to save her life - he convinced them it was called The Sapphire Isle because it had sapphire mines, but really it was because the sea is so blue there.

Sure, but to an impoverished third son or something, it's still a lordship.
posted by corb at 3:21 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they don't meet Lady Stoneheart, I think Brienne and Pod will end up a Greywater Watch. They're in the right place. (Plus, y'know, Howland Reed could just tell everyone who Jon's parents are...)
posted by eruonna at 4:20 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, but to an impoverished third son or something, it's still a lordship.

And at the risk of being a Book Wanker, the scene in the show combines two scenes in the book. In the book, her wedding plans fall through for various reasons, and she's only mocked by one prospective husband. The mockery comes later, when she's with Renly's army, but is similar to the mockery in the show.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they don't meet Lady Stoneheart, I think Brienne and Pod will end up a Greywater Watch. They're in the right place. (Plus, y'know, Howland Reed could just tell everyone who Jon's parents are...)

I heard a convincing argument this weekend that Benjen Stark knows as well, and is still alive somewhere, narratively waiting for the moment to be right to run into Jon again.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:32 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they don't meet Lady Stoneheart, I think Brienne and Pod will end up a Greywater Watch. They're in the right place. (Plus, y'know, Howland Reed could just tell everyone who Jon's parents are...)

Unless Howland is the High Sparrow....

Littlefinger, to Ramsay: "You're a lord I haven't heard much about!"
mrjohnmuller, to his tv: "Like fucking hell you haven't"


On reflection, this scene bothered me a bit. Roose reminding Ramsey he was a bastard seems strange. But more so, LittleFinger putting himself in serious harms way by going to Winterfell. He seems to be placing a lot of faith in the most treacherous and evil House in Westeros to not act treacherously or evilly.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:32 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have to imagine that Littlefinger's personal guard is selected from knights who took levels in "getting Littlefinger the fuck out of places."
posted by Navelgazer at 6:40 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Littlefinger's whole schtick is that he's not a threat to anybody. By the time the Boltons (and us) figure out what he's done, it'll be too late.

Prediction/hope: Ramsey has his fun with Sansa, and then turns her loose in the forest for his usual endgame... where he runs into Brienne.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:37 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Brienne will grunt like she just served a tennis ball and then there will be a sound like THWICK and Ramsey will look surprised.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:40 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Even Ramsay isn't stupid enough to murder his own high-born wife.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:47 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


He hasn't murdered Theon either.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:56 PM on April 27, 2015


Even Ramsay isn't stupid enough to murder his own high-born wife.

On the one hand, that's a lot of faith to place in somebody who seems to go to torture and murder as a first resort.

On the other hand, there's so much, as Sansa learned in the capital, that isn't murder...
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:02 PM on April 27, 2015


Even Ramsay isn't stupid enough to murder his own high-born wife.

Yeah, I wouldn't think so. Though Book Ramsey is certainly doing some horrible things to his wife, and most people think she's Arya.

I was thinking more that LittleFinger was potentially at risk though, not Sansa. Now that Bolton has Sansa, he can marry her pretty much whether she likes it or not, and that gives him the Stark lands. I'm not sure he needs LF after that. [Though for plot purposes I suspect he'll live a while longer]
posted by Pink Frost at 10:08 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The whole book/TV divergence thing has made me think:

Why the everloving fuck hasn't GRRM's publisher sat him down and said "Hey, Gurm. See this lady on the other side of the table? She's ghostwriting the next two books. Tell her what happens, you'll get final approval in three months when she's finished them."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:12 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because GRRM would never accept such a thing?
posted by Justinian at 10:33 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Lady Stoneheart - the zombie Catelyn Stark - will almost definitely not be in the show. This is from an interview with Alex Graves, the director of last season's finale among other episodes, talking about whether she would be in that episode, although it has broader ramifications I think:

“It’s a great question, because it’s all I asked about last year when I was doing [the episode with Brotherhood Without Banners leader] Beric Dondarrion – who ultimately is the person who finds Catelyn and turns her into Lady Stoneheart. But no, they didn’t do it. It was never on the docket to do this season – ever... They [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] have such a challenge adapting the books into a really focused television experience. It’s very hard, it’s very complicated, it’s much harder then they’ve been given credit for, I think – and they do a brilliant job. But to bring back Michelle Fairley, one of the greatest actresses around, to be a zombie for a little while – and just kill people? It is really sort of, what are we doing with that? How does it play into the whole story in a way that we’re really going to like?”

Heh. He goes on, when asked about whether she'll be in the current season 5, to make some winks and nudges about 'oh, who knows, tune in and see, that's a secret!' - but it's hardly a secret when he's basically just come out and said that they regard that as a pointless subplot that they don't really like.
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 PM on April 27, 2015


It's probably pretty easy for a publisher to say to Gurm "These books must be released. Nobody will ever know it's not you. Accept the new reality or never see your books published period." (Not that I think 6 or 7 will ever be published, tbh)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:28 PM on April 27, 2015


If somebody said that to GRRM he would immediately post it on his blog and then find a new publisher who would more than happy to roll in the big bucks he generates. The blowback on the publishing house would be immense.
posted by Justinian at 11:31 PM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Even Ramsay isn't stupid enough to murder his own high-born wife.

Lady Donella Hornwood would beg to differ.
posted by The Tensor at 11:36 PM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Accept the new reality or never see your books published period.

GRRM isn't some sort of indentured book slave, you know. And I'm pretty sure you can't say "you'll never work in this town again" to one of the most successful living authors without him laughing in your face.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:47 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


i hope he's working on a 300k DumbleDobby fic
posted by poffin boffin at 12:11 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


He's writing AU mad men fanfic that takes place in Questeros.
posted by The Whelk at 12:16 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mostly I think he's just cashing the checks from as many merchandising and licensing deals as he can find. He probably spends half his day just signing his name on all the checks.
posted by Justinian at 1:47 AM on April 28, 2015


(To be clear, I love the guy. This is meant in good humor. Mostly.)
posted by Justinian at 1:48 AM on April 28, 2015


He's actually planning on dying before finishing the books, just to really drive home the central themes of the series.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:15 AM on April 28, 2015 [20 favorites]


I really enjoyed this episode and Sansa's return to Winterfell, because I am now hoping Sansa serves family members baked into pies to their close relations. I am not particular as to which Bolton needs to be served to which Bolton, I am just down with Sansa planning a beautiful and gracious lady's feast with special pies.
posted by lillygog at 4:36 AM on April 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Something is going to happen at Winterfell. The serving woman commenting 'The North remembers' to Sansa is one thing - interesting in the absence of Lord Manderly and the other northern lords so far - but did anyone see the dramatic pan to a small crowd of women staring at Sansa?

My first thought was that these must be the wildling women from the books, sent from the wall alongside Mance Rayder on a rescue mission for the fake Arya, the ones who end up conspiring with Theon. But Mance is dead in the show. Definitely dead. And there has been no foreshadowing for these women so far. What's going on? Maybe they're victims/survivors (somehow) of Ramsay Bolton's attentions? I hope this isn't a red herring.

Also: Brienne is seriously on a crash course with some big choices here. She's on her way to Winterfell to fulfill her oath to protect Sansa, which very definitely means pulling her out from under the Boltons' noses.* Brienne also has no reason to love the Boltons, after that business with the bear pit.
However the Boltons are currently building up to a war with Stannis Baratheon, who Brienne swore an oath to kill, restated to Pod just this episode. I foresee some hard choice between spiriting Sansa away to friendly-ish forces (now that Jon Snow turned him down, Stannis is looking for a Stark to win him the trust of the North) and getting sweet sweet revenge for Renly. Conflicting oaths, rather like Jaime, no?

Really enjoying Brienne's plotline in the show compared to her meandering about in the books. Fine, the stuff with the Hound on the island was good and there was that wonderful speech by the septon but this is so much more purposeful. You don't find yourself constantly going 'No Brienne, the opposite direction'.

* Whether Sansa at this point would agree to any of it remains to be seen. She turned Brienne down once and might be building up to being a serious player through the Boltons. If she doesn't get tortured first.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 5:40 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


ocular shenanigans: that was Ramsay's Sadistic Fangirl Brigade - nothing good for Sansa there.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:47 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't know that was your dream. I've gotten the impression that the TV show is intended to follow the books approximately at one season per book, which is why season 6 might get into unpublished territory, and season 7 definitely will, unless GRRM shifts into overdrive and cranks out two books before April 2017, when season 7 is likely to start.

Well, I was half-joking. I had seen things saying that this season was supposed to go beyond the currently published books but after snooping around a bit, it looks like the showrunners are saying that that's a misinterpretation of their comments and the show won't be spoiling the books this season. The half of me that's not joking is just concerned because what I know is left of plot from the books that they have left to cover is pretty thin, even for the remaining 7 episodes of this season; especially so since some things seem like they're being accelerated. Tyrion's journey entire journey down the Rhoyne with Griffs Jr. and Sr just got excised in favor of sitting in a box with Varys, and that only took two episodes. Bran's already done. Sansa is technically done with her book plot, but she's such an overachiever in the show she's starting to finish other people's plotlines for extra credit.

So, the plotlines that we have left are: Bronn and Jaime (who apparently arrive in Dorne next week, based on the preview at the end of this episode) doing whatever non-book stuff they're doing; Arya's faceless training (blindness and then killing a guy with a coin); Cersei getting into it with the Faith; Jon brooding at the wall (and he doesn't even have the whole protecting Mance's kid thing to deal with); Tyrion's travels and possible slavery; and the situations at Winterfell and Meereen, which are really just setups for battles that should appear early in TWoW and we're already significantly through Dany's DwD plot. All that just feels more like 3 or 4 episodes to me, not 7. I just felt like the last two books were a whole lot of people sitting around stewing, and the part of me that wasn't joking was hoping the show would pick up the pace a bit. But, alas, that seems to not be the case.
posted by LionIndex at 5:51 AM on April 28, 2015


Even Ramsay isn't stupid enough to murder his own high-born wife.

Roose would probably straight-up murder him in return. Like. Straight-up. That scene with Theon as serving-boy showed us that Roose knows his hold on the North is shaky to begin wtih, even shakier with his jackass son wandering around murdering the shit out Stark liege lords in the most brutal, public ways possible, and then Sansa Stark comes riding back into Winterfell, beautiful, quiet, and tragic, looking just like her mama, behaving just like the great lady she was always raised up to be, and his son kills her? In the woods? Like an animal? After fucking her?

I mean, I have no doubt that Roose and Ramsay are abusive, horrifying fucks who don't care about rape and murder normally, but Roose Bolton knows that he is hanging onto Winterfell by the skin of his teeth and will have an armed, we-have-lost-everything, there-is-nothing-left rebellion spring up if he so much turns his back to piss off the parapets. Whereas if Sansa is alive and married to Ramsay, then whenever Roose and Ramsay march off to war, those liege lords would have the psychological/social barrier of rising up against the last remaining living legitimate child (as far as they know) of Ned Stark.

So.

Yeah.

(Which is also to say that there's an interesting contrast -- as long as Sansa plays the game of high-born lady wife-to-be whose cooperation will help them secure the north, she's safe-ish from Ramsay through Roose. That same role/performance is what specifically makes her a target to the Ramsay Bolton version of Snape Wives on a Plane. Dollars to Westerosi donuts, they read her meek and mild act as weakness and go after her. In which case, you heard it first here -- PIE TIME?????)
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:20 AM on April 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sansa is becoming one of my favorite characters, which I didn't expect.
posted by Area Man at 6:24 AM on April 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


but did anyone see the dramatic pan to a small crowd of women staring at Sansa?

That's Ramsey's entourage. Two of them are even named: Myranda and Violet. They helped castrate Ramsey in season 3, and Myranda and Ramsey hunted down another woman in season 4. I think they haven't really been noticed as recurring characters because they played no role in the books, but they'll almost certainly become more important characters as they antagonize Sansa this season.

I am now hoping Sansa serves family members baked into pies to their close relations.


Lemon cakes, surely.
posted by painquale at 6:29 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that Bolton has Sansa, he can marry her pretty much whether she likes it or not, and that gives him the Stark lands. I'm not sure he needs LF after that.

An heir would help tremendously, so that gives her a couple of years if she doesn't die in childbirth or "die" in childbirth. I think he's taking his elevation from bastard to heir as seriously as he can.
posted by tilde at 7:03 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz: Even Ramsay isn't stupid enough to murder his own high-born wife.

The Tensor: Lady Donella Hornwood would beg to differ.

Thanks for saving me the trouble of looking up Lady Donella. The I vividly recalled the imagery of her grisly end, but I couldn't remember who she was sort of married to in the books. I thought it was Roose's Fat Walda who didn't fare well, but then found I had again mixed father with (bastard) son.


You Can't Tip a Buick: He's actually planning on dying before finishing the books, just to really drive home the central themes of the series.

I wish GRRM no ill will, and I hope he has a long and happy life, but turning your books over to someone else is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it could greatly improve the series, as seen with Brandon Sanderson finishing The Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan's death. Seriously, without Sanderson, there would be no scene with Matrim creating detailed backstory for some sneaking around, which was a glorious moment of sheer glee for me. (Here's one of his lengthy back-story bits, and while it's not the one I remember, I think it's still a good example of the whimsy Sanderson brought to the books and characters that is fitting, even though it was missing from the work of Jordan.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 AM on April 28, 2015


ocular shenanigans: that was Ramsay's Sadistic Fangirl Brigade - nothing good for Sansa there.

Oh dangit. That's worse than I thought. Bad stuff coming down the line then, regardless of what Ramsey himself does.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 7:28 AM on April 28, 2015


"There is but one God. A girl knows his name."

OMG IS JAQEN H'GAR REALLY SYRIO FOREL FOR REAL


I took this bit of shared language to be a Braavosi saying, as the House of Black and White is well-respected there, and it seems that HoBaW's "house god" is Death, even though all gods are worshiped there.

(Really, I'm not trying to snuff out all the hopes and dreams in these threads, I swear. I hope for Syrio's return, too, but I realize that it's rather wishful thinking.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:31 AM on April 28, 2015


The point is more, how would Jaqen H'qar know that Arya already has had this explained to her and already knows the name of the one God, if he's not Syrio Forel, who already explained it? Not just that he used similar language.
posted by corb at 7:34 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah what corb said. I personally have no real investment in the Jaqen / Syrio theory, I found it to be a weak frame to hang hope upon by a legion of fans who hadn't yet confronted the fact that people die like crazy in these books. And yet the minute he said "A girl knows his name" I shrieked aloud.
posted by KathrynT at 8:35 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wish GRRM no ill will, and I hope he has a long and happy life, but turning your books over to someone else is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it could greatly improve the series, as seen with Brandon Sanderson finishing The Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan's death.

Nah, he should do whatever he can to make sure that it's not possible for anyone else to complete the series after his death — like, talk with his lawyers about drafting a will that prevents anyone else writing authorized ASoIaF books.

Maybe he could even do the Full Chaucer; he could end TWOW with Septon Meribald giving a long, tedious sermon that's totally out of keeping with the rest of the series, and then die before coming out with A Dream of Spring.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:05 AM on April 28, 2015


I took this bit of shared language to be a Braavosi saying, as the House of Black and White is well-respected there, and it seems that HoBaW's "house god" is Death, even though all gods are worshiped there.

yeah, same here. but then again, didn't he know she was arya stark without her ever telling him anything?
posted by poffin boffin at 9:49 AM on April 28, 2015


The point is more, how would Jaqen H'qar know that Arya already has had this explained to her and already knows the name of the one God, if he's not Syrio Forel, who already explained it? Not just that he used similar language.

Because the whole point of their one god, The God with Many Faces, is that s/he's represented in every religion in some way, thus Arya already knows its name, as does every other person in the world. There aren't statues of multiple gods in the House of Black and White, there are multiple statues representing avatars of one god there.

Doesn't mean that the Kindly Man/Jaqen aren't Syrio necessarily, but Arya knowing the name of the god isn't proof of that.
posted by LionIndex at 10:45 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sansa is becoming one of my favorite characters, which I didn't expect.

One of the areas the show has exceeded the books is with Sansa; she's a much more active character on the show - she has to be, because she's highly internalized in the books, which you can't translate to the screen. But being an active character instantly makes her more interesting and enjoyable. The most recent preview chapter of TWoW was a Sansa chapter and I enjoyed it (despite some really horrible formatting and need of a few edits) because Sansa was an active participant in the plans and schemes around her, instead of being on the sidelines.
posted by nubs at 10:46 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


she has to be, because she's highly internalized in the books, which you can't translate to the screen. But being an active character instantly makes her more interesting and enjoyable.

The other part of it is that GRRM is not-great at writing about the emotional states of ladies who conform to gender norms. He does pretty well with Arya and Brienne, possibly because they're written from the start as outsiders who rebel against fixed social roles. He empathizes, I think, very deeply, who people want to be knights and fighters, but are kept from doing so -- he tells very real-feeling, very nuanced stories about how they think and feel.

But when it comes to more traditional girly girls, he falls down. Remember that awkward-ass stuff about Cersei wanting to have a penis. And Sansa, who is a naive and overly trusting in the first few books -- but where is the authorial empathy for why Sansa thinks and feels that way? The reader is practically invited to have contempt for her, in a way that we aren't invited to have contempt for Brienne's dreams of becoming a knight. Remember, too, the travishamockery of Danerys's wedding night with Drogo, which is utter 90's bodice-ripper territory, right on down to the only word that Khal Drogo knows being 'no'????

I mean. This is not entirely to shit on 90's bodice-rippers. I've read a lot of them! I've enjoyed a lot of them! Formative time in my youth was spent smuggling home romance novels with covers of kilted, bare-chested men and the busty redheads in ahistorical clothing who loved them!

But damn, yo. If GRRM is going to spend so much time subverting the tropes about dwarves and bastards and honorable fighters and beautiful people automatically being good and all girls wanting to marry a prince and live happily ever after -- given how much energy GRRM spends on subverting the stories we expect from knightly fantasy to make something he feels is more "real" and in accordance with how humans actually work, given how much sympathy he has for Tyrion who STRAIGHT UP MURDERS A FORMER INTIMATE PARTNER AT LEAST PARTIALLY FOR SLEEPING WITH A DUDE SHE COULDN'T REALLY SAY NO TO, he really couldn't spend a little more time thinking about how not-Brienne and not-Arya kinds of ladies think and feel?

tl;dr: Sansa Stark is my no. 1 Westeros girl always and forever, and if the most recent release of TWOW was a Sansa chapter, I might try to bury my blazing hatred of ADwD long enough to read it.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:48 AM on April 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


tl;dr: Sansa Stark is my no. 1 Westeros girl always and forever, and if the most recent release of TWOW was a Sansa chapter, I might try to bury my blazing hatred of ADwD long enough to read it.

It was a pretty good chapter. I'd get out the shovel and start digging.
posted by Area Man at 12:08 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"There is but one God. A girl knows his name."

OMG IS JAQEN H'GAR REALLY SYRIO FOREL FOR REAL


Can someone remind me of the backstory here? Obviously something Syrio said, but I can't remember the conversation at all...
posted by Pink Frost at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2015


"And what do we say to the God of Death? 'Not today.'"
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 1:45 PM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Syrio Forel, while training Arya, "There is only one god, and his name is Death."
posted by corb at 1:47 PM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not just one time, either -- it was something he said over and over. "There is only one God, and his name is Death. And what do we say to Death? Not today!"
posted by KathrynT at 2:53 PM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ah, thank you all kindly.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:57 PM on April 28, 2015


yeah thanks, because that's what I remembered, and when everyone was jumping at this as a clue that he was really Syrio, I thought I had forgotten something significant.
posted by skewed at 11:02 PM on April 28, 2015


The line about death could be coincidence, but there's definitely no reason for a faceless man to be imprisoned. Whether he's Syrio or not, he was there to keep an eye on her. (Or possibly Gendry, although that's more of a stretch.)
posted by snofoam at 5:50 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting argument, but I think I prefer an interpretation according to which Faceless Men are not all-powerful, and Jaqen legitimately got imprisoned. That would allow him to only take an interest in Arya after being saved by her.
posted by painquale at 6:30 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Faceless Men are still men, especially when they're not doing their Faceless Man thing (killing in secret). I can imagine going into "Faceless Man mode" and being a super badass, but once that effort is over, Faceless Men can relax and be just another guy (or lady), and they're more likely to make a mistake.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:46 AM on April 29, 2015


Or situations where getting caught furthers the agenda of the Faceless Men more than the notoriety of killing twenty gold cloaks would, because doing that would pretty much out you as some kind of assassin, and there goes your organization's whole notion of relative secrecy. Everyone seems to know the FMs exist, but not how they operate.
posted by LionIndex at 7:59 AM on April 29, 2015


It seems to me that Braavosi culture in general venerates the God of Death, and the whole thing in which Arya presenting the coin and saying the words are enough to compel Braavosi traders to provide free passage show that the Faceless Men receive a great deal of deference. But that doesn't make every Braavosi a part of the cult/secret society/assassin's guild.

Syrio's whole attitude also seems more appropriate for the swashbuckling, experienced 'bravo' that he was presented to be, than the wry fatalism of the Faceless Men and Sexy Jesus. After all, Syrio's response to 'all men must die' is 'not today!' If I were to imagine a secret role for Syrio, it would probably be as an agent for some less exotic Braavosi political interest, possibly with some pre-exsting relationship with the North or the Vale, thus explaining Ned's comfort level.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:30 AM on April 29, 2015


Chrys Watches GOT

Mom, what do you think of the Casterly Rock home for the elderly?
posted by nubs at 9:05 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, it doesn't smell like piss and shit, so there's that. I'm not clear how fantasy-realm elderly care facilities smell, as I haven't read any books that go into those details.

On the other hand, I'm sure the Casterly Rock home for the elderly is nicer than sending your mum to go hunting in the middle of winter. (Is this a thing in the books, or are my head-canons getting mixed up?)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:15 AM on April 29, 2015


I'm not clear how fantasy-realm elderly care facilities smell, as I haven't read any books that go into those details.

Well, this is Westeros, so they do probably smell like piss, shit, blood, vomit, broken oaths and dreams, and fucking Moon Boy.
posted by nubs at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2015


The Walder Frey home for the terminally lecherous murderly betrayers seems to be a model too....
posted by lalochezia at 11:16 AM on April 29, 2015


They sent a faceless man after Dany, no? Some sort of scorpion that the big fat guy with the funny name killed? Am I remembering that completely wrong. Did GRRM ever mention why they didn't try to finish the job? Seems like a crappy job by the Faceless Men, maybe they're not really super human.
posted by skewed at 11:34 AM on April 29, 2015


Did GRRM ever mention why they didn't try to finish the job? Seems like a crappy job by the Faceless Men, maybe they're not really super human.

They did send one after Dany. Remember that Varys is the one to arrange that and he had some ambitions relating to the last of the Targaryens.; at the time that attempt is set in motion, Viserys is still alive, so killing Dany might not impact those...but by the time of the attempt (which is a wineseller in the market, offering Dany poisoned wine that Mormont intercepts - the scorpion in season 3 appears to have been sent by the Warlocks of Qarth), two things have changed:

1. Viserys is unexpectedly dead;
2. Ned Stark, after conferring with the King (on his deathbed), had asked Varys to call it off - Varys replies that it is too late.

Which lead me to think that either the Faceless Men got in touch or Varys was able to reach them in order to prevent a second attempt.
posted by nubs at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


They tried to get Dany assassinated, but I don't think the Faceless Men were hired to do it. There was a conversation about the ridiculous cost of having a mere merchant killed, never mind a princess.
posted by LionIndex at 12:19 PM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seriously? Guy who can change his face on demand and can basically kill anyone got caught doing something and is being sent to the wall and he isn't doing it on purpose? In what world does that make any sense? I'm sure someone could kill him with an arrow or in a sword-fight, but the dude isn't sitting for days in a wooden jail wagon if he doesn't want to.
posted by snofoam at 12:21 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


it was a different assassin crew, the sorrowful men, or whatever they're called. they apologize to their victims before killing them, and dany's attempted murderer with the scarab that turned into a scorpion whispered "i'm so sorry" as he released it at her.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:22 PM on April 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


oh, jeez, I'm mixing up my assasin cults now. I thought the faceless men said "I'm so sorry". Well that makes more sense now.

snofoam, those are good points. Hopefully either GRRM or the showrunners will clear that up exactly what the Faceless guys can/can't do, because as of now it seems they sometimes are all powerful and sometimes not. So unless there was a reason for Jaqen to get caught, you're right it doesn't make sense. But I'm not sure if the idea that he was already following Arya at that point, or that the Faceless Men have been keeping an eye on her since whenever makes much sense either.
posted by skewed at 12:41 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seriously? Guy who can change his face on demand and can basically kill anyone got caught doing something and is being sent to the wall and he isn't doing it on purpose? In what world does that make any sense? I'm sure someone could kill him with an arrow or in a sword-fight, but the dude isn't sitting for days in a wooden jail wagon if he doesn't want to.

I agree. But a Man doesn't kill unless he's paid to. Death is a gift.

If he can escape any time he wants, it seems perfectly reasonable to wait until he can do so without arousing any suspicion, right? If he goes changing his face and escaping while making superhero-type kills of everyone in sight, that's going to get people talking. The Faceless Men's MO seems to be maintaining invisibility as much as possible. There's a bunch of reasons to stay in that cage that have nothing to with Arya.
posted by LionIndex at 12:43 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Faceless Men's MO seems to be maintaining invisibility as much as possible. There's a bunch of reasons to stay in that cage that have nothing to with Arya.

In fact, escaping once up at the Wall is a perfectly fine plan - lots of chances for him to slip away from the Watch and disappear. The question that is of more interest to me is what he did to get into the Black Cells.
posted by nubs at 12:57 PM on April 29, 2015


In fact, escaping once up at the Wall is a perfectly fine plan - lots of chances for him to slip away from the Watch and disappear. The question that is of more interest to me is what he did to get into the Black Cells.

There's no way the guy just got caught doin' some crimes, and even if that did happen we would have heard a minstrel singing about the cop who apprehended the faceless man and got promoted to sergeant. He's in there on purpose. There could be some other reason to go to the wall, I suppose, but I think it is more likely that he was watching Arya, saw that she was in the care of wall recruiter guy and then got himself sent to the wall to keep an eye on her.

Even if you assume that he didn't get on the wall train (people all over the world, join hands!) on purpose, why would he plan to escape at the remote wall where you are sentenced to death if you try to escape, versus right in King's Landing? (Not to mention that you don't have to go all the way up to the wall in a cage.)
posted by snofoam at 1:18 PM on April 29, 2015


You aren't sentenced to death unless you've taken your vows, but it's one heck of a lot easier to disappear from Castle Black, change your face, and never be seen again than to change your face and disappear from inside the cells of the Red Keep. He was in the "black cells" which are reserved for the worst criminals, and those aren't exactly places you can just disappear from (both Ned and Tyrion have been kept in them).

I'm making the big assumption that whatever Jaqen's job in Westeros is (simple theory - he's in transit to go kill Balon Greyjoy over on Pyke), he's not really supposed to draw attention to the fact that a Faceless Man is around. The fact that it happened in the capital probably makes that even more important. So he got caught doing something and it was easier to submit to arrest and bide his time looking for an escape chance than to make a show of his abilities. He also seems an exceedingly patient man:

"Speak the name, and death will come. On the morrow, at the turn of the moon, a year from this day, it will come. A man does not fly…but one foot moves and then another and one day a man is there, and a king dies."

And, interestingly, Jaqen references the Red God, not the god of Death:

"The Red God takes what is his, lovely girl. And only death may pay for life. You saved me and the two I was with. You stole three deaths from the Red God. We have to give them back. Speak three names, and a man will do the rest. Three lives I will give you. No more, no less. And we're done. "
posted by nubs at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't find it that hard to believe that a Faceless Man could get busted for something in King's Landing, or even just get on the wrong side of someone powerful. All it needs to be is a situation where he can't escape capture long enough to change his face.

They wouldn't know he was a FM unless he did something stupid, like change his identity while in custody. Finding someone new in the cell would be mighty suspicious, to say the least. He's pretty much stuck at that point, so taking an assignment to the Wall would be an easy out. Once you're up there you can head out to Mole's Town one night and change you identity on the way - now you're a traveler in the North, not a deserter from the Wall.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:39 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or, what nubs said. : )
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2015


There are a lot of powerful agents in King's Landing. It's easy to imagine a Faceless Man getting away from, say, Slynt. But if the Faceless Man were pushing up against a figure with narrative invincibility like Varys, it's not obvious what would happen. If Varys's birds told him that a Faceless Man was poking into his business, I don't doubt he could arrange his capture.
posted by painquale at 1:45 PM on April 29, 2015


They wouldn't know he was a FM unless he did something stupid, like change his identity while in custody.

Jaqen is actually kind of a clumsy actor, as revealed when he refers to himself as pig boy while wearing Pate's face. Even Sam feels like something about Pate is off.
posted by painquale at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


And, interestingly, Jaqen references the Red God, not the god of Death:

From what we've seen of R'hllor I'd say he and the god of death are at the very least on a friends-with-benefits basis. The rhetoric's all about life and light, but most of the time when we see R'hllor being venerated it's Melisandre murdering people in one of the worst ways there is to die and calling it a sacrament.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could be. Fire and blood. Both 'red.' That would seem to be a bit of a departure from the books, in which I seem to recall there being a god of death that is opposed to R'hllor, and associated with the supernatural forces of Winter — although it's possible that the Braavosi worship an aspect of R'hllor that emphasizes death as a part of life, given the monotheistic doctrine of R'hllor worship; or even that the showrunners have elected to treat the death god who is opposed to R'hllor in the books as more akin to a satan-like Adversary whose existence is part of R'hllorism (what an unfortuante looking word), rather than an actual competing god.

Edit: some background from Westeros.org
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:21 PM on April 29, 2015


Braavos is an odd place - founded by runaway slaves of the Valyrian Freehold, all gods are worshiped there. Might just be the place where any odd offshoots/conceptions of Red Rhaloo would be found.
posted by nubs at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2015


nubs And, interestingly, Jaqen references the Red God, not the god of Death:
"The Red God takes what is his, lovely girl. And only death may pay for life. You saved me and the two I was with. You stole three deaths from the Red God. We have to give them back. Speak three names, and a man will do the rest. Three lives I will give you. No more, no less. And we're done. "


Well, in this instance Arya saved the trio from burning to death. It's possible Jaqen knows the Red God requires his life payments, without inferring that red god == Death. By insisting she balance the scales he may have been trying to stop the Red God from interfering/waking/etc.

There are worse things than death, after all.

And that instance makes me wonder - Jon Snow 'saved' Mance from burning to death. Does this mean the Red God has it in for him now?
posted by coriolisdave at 6:12 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does Jaqen reference the red god in the show, or just the books? Because if it's just the books, I think it might be likely that George just hadn't worked out the kinks of the FM yet, and thought at that point that they'd be linked to R'hllor.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:31 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does Jaqen reference the red god in the show, or just the books? Because if it's just the books, I think it might be likely that George just hadn't worked out the kinks of the FM yet, and thought at that point that they'd be linked to R'hllor.

Both. I think the argument for the Red God that coriolisdave makes above makes sense - the three were saved from fire, therefore R'hllor is owed three...but then I would have expected the use of fire in those deaths.

And then I realize I'm becoming the kind of pedantic nitpicker that I don't like to be. Because we can also look at it and say that Arya had the choice to save or to let them burn, and R'hllor isn't owed anything at all; the gods get what they get when mortals determine it.
posted by nubs at 9:46 AM on April 30, 2015


Westeros has some recapping with book analysis, for those who are interested.
posted by corb at 11:10 AM on May 4, 2015


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