Game of Thrones: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken   Books Included 
May 17, 2015 6:59 PM - Season 5, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Arya begins training; Jorah and Tyrion encounter slavers; Trystane and Myrcella make plans; Jaime and Bronn reach their destination; the Sand Snakes attack.
posted by zarq (271 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, that certainly happened.
posted by codacorolla at 7:01 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah. We all knew that scene was coming. But still....
posted by zarq at 7:07 PM on May 17, 2015


I was really hoping she had a knife in that (awesome) dress.
posted by Dashy at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Game of Thrones wikia for this episode is still being updated, but it currently reads:

Summary
In Dorne
Bronn is screwed

In King's Landing
Loras is screwed

In the North
Sansa got screwed

In Braavos
Nobody

In Slaver's Bay
Tyrion is screwed
posted by zarq at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


My twitter timeline is all people reacting with rage and horror. I want to be all like, "You guys, that could have been so much worse! Whew!" but I don't think it would help.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Calculonnooooooooooooo.gif
posted by drezdn at 7:13 PM on May 17, 2015


Well. Winter is here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:14 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I cannot wait for Sansa to join forces with the Tyrells and burn the whole Seven Kingdoms down. Or at least finish off the Lannisters.
posted by topophilia at 7:15 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


IM VERY UPSET but lbr we all knew it was going to happen and especially right after she was like I'M NOT SCARED OF YOU MYRANDA
posted by poffin boffin at 7:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


also why is this post live before the PST airtime

we're gonna get in trouuuble
posted by poffin boffin at 7:19 PM on May 17, 2015


ALSO HA HA HA WOW

cersei really truly thinks she is a cunning and strategic mastermind, a worthy heir of tywin, when in fact she has just proven herself perhaps the stupidest person in the seven kingdoms. i almost pity her right now.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


I cannot wait for Sansa to join forces with the Tyrells and burn the whole Seven Kingdoms down.

That's the thing, there's no guarantee that'll happen, but it feels like the story absolutely needs that. At some point, Sansa needs to stab the everliving fuck out of someone, either literally or metaphorically. Just have an episode 9 called "Sansa" and its just bring various plans to fruition that result in the deaths of certain people, while Sansa smiles and says something appropriate to the occasion.

But I'm not sure anything like that will occur and that's bothering the hell out of me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


cersei really truly thinks she is a cunning and strategic mastermind, a worthy heir of tywin, when in fact she has just proven herself perhaps the stupidest person in the seven kingdoms. i almost pity her right now.

Cersei is the Sarah Palin of the Seven Kingdoms.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:22 PM on May 17, 2015 [52 favorites]


I am so glad that Silicon Valley is available to stream immediately after Game of Thrones. Especially this week.
posted by theraflu at 7:23 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


also why is this post live before the PST airtime

That rule is no longer in effect. It is known.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]



But I'm not sure anything like that will occur and that's bothering the hell out of me.


it's especially upsetting because show sansa is miles more interesting a character than book sansa ever was, presumably because grrm has never actually encountered teenage girls before or whatevs, idk.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:26 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought the reaction shot when Jorah learned of his father's death was really great. Lighting was really interesting on his face with the glinting sea behind him.

I don't know what else you guys are talking about, that's pretty much all I'm going to remember from this episode.

Yyyyep.
posted by curious nu at 7:27 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I felt like overall this was a lot of set-up. Also that sand snake fight scene... yeesh.
posted by codacorolla at 7:29 PM on May 17, 2015


Also did Bronn get poisoned? That seemed a little much for a close-up, and they're supposed to be snake-ish, so...?
posted by curious nu at 7:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I felt like overall this was a lot of set-up. Also that sand snake fight scene... yeesh.

Why didn't he cut the damn whip one of the ten times it was wrapped around his non-sword arm.
posted by curious nu at 7:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


yeah, i assume bronn is not long for this world, which is unfortunate as i find him delightful.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:31 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bronn: "You fought well for a little girl."

If he's not been poisoned yet....
posted by zarq at 7:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also where the heck is Varys? I keep expecting him to turn up in some outlandish disguise.

presumably he is headed for daenerys alone but who knows
posted by poffin boffin at 7:32 PM on May 17, 2015


That seems like an especially lame way for Bronn to die, so I imagine negotiating an antidote will be a plotpoint soon.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:34 PM on May 17, 2015


Has he been in disguise before? I just always imagine him being Varys. I can't imagine his appearance being anything but Varysable.
posted by curious nu at 7:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also I was kind of surprised at how fast Ramsey dropped the act. I guess I'm naive and this season has been kind of low on the horror front, it had to show up sometime.
posted by curious nu at 7:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


soo this was...the third rape that didn't happen in the books? Or did I miscount?
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, one other thing: Are we supposed to think Sansa was a virgin? Because I certainly had the idea she was banging Littlefinger as of last season.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


The kiss in the catacombs is supposed to be a big deal, I think, so yeah, she's definitely been chaste up to this point.
posted by codacorolla at 7:53 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


The scene in the Godswood was beautiful. Loved it.

soo this was...the third rape that didn't happen in the books? Or did I miscount?

Seems like you'd also have to count all the rapes that did happen in the books but didn't happen in the show if you're going there. In any case this doesn't really count. Sansa is taking Jeyne Poole's spot in the books, and much worse happened to her. And she was underage...
posted by Justinian at 8:06 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also I was kind of surprised at how fast Ramsey dropped the act

I guess he figures once they are married it's too late for her to do anything about it. He is wrong.
posted by Justinian at 8:13 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


THE NORTH REMEMBERS
posted by poffin boffin at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2015


I assume the mistreatment of Sansa will be the catalyst which spurs Theon to action on the show and the two of them will act against the Boltons.
posted by Justinian at 8:43 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


anyway 4 more episodes this season and from the titles it seems like we might not get back to mereen until the penultimate ep, which is unfortunate because i want to see more people get fed to dragons.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:43 PM on May 17, 2015


no i don't want a theon redemption plotline, i want a theon gets fed to dragons plotline. or a king's son theon set ablaze by melisandre plotline.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


That was gross.
posted by supercrayon at 8:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


From the funniest line in the entire series to the worst scene in the entire series. What a roller coaster.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


further thoughts: aside from the two buddy cop interludes (jamie & bronn, tyrion & jorah) the rest of the episode was really all about the 4 paths that 4 very different women are taking towards vengeance/justice for themselves and/or for their houses. and presumably next time we see olenna, it will be with whatever thorny tricks she's got up her voluminous sleeves.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:05 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Show Sansa definitely given better treatment. Loved that she had to resort to Mean Girl to escape from Miranda. That's not going to last long.

Boy, Brienne+Pod (Briendrick), Jamie+Bronn (Bromie?), Arya+TheHound, Jon+Ygritte, (and now Tyrion+Jorah [Jorion?]) there have been a lot of really cool duo matchups.

The ending; I think having Theon just watch rather than digitally/lingualy assault Jayne Poole is even more powerful. Ramsay's doing what he took away from Theon's ability to do and he's assaulting and disrespecting the girl who was probably Theon's first fantasy girl (in more ways than one), growing up.

I do not want a redeemed Theon, but I sympathize with his Ramsay Mindscrammble and Maiming.
posted by porpoise at 9:16 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think we're giving the Greyjoy actor enough accolades for the work he has been doing. He has been excellent throughout.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:18 PM on May 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm kind of sick of rape as "edgy TV" yeah, when Battlestar Galactica had the almost rape, it was edgy, and it made my stomach drop. And that was an attempt. This. Ugh. I know what happen to Jeyne in the books, but considering the other liberties they've taken with the store did we really have to go there? I don't need rape to be the reason Sansa (or Brienne, or ThReek or anyone) murders the snot out of Ramsey.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's not going to last long.

idk, i think it might, especially if she remembers all the things peter has taught her about dissembling and spotting their weak points. myranda's weak point is a bright red giant flashing neon sign saying WHAT IF RAMSEY GETS BORED WITH ME. if sansa can play his cruel games or if she can even just deflect as she did with joff (altho ramsay is far smarter than joffrey so that might be more difficult) then she could potentially get ramsay to turn away from myranda after all.

i mean it's more likely that brienne is going to barge in all suffused with the glorious aura of Doing The Right Thing and then everyone's gettin stabbed, but i can dream, can't i
posted by poffin boffin at 9:30 PM on May 17, 2015


Also that sand snake fight scene... yeesh.

Terrible fighting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:43 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


welp that's it for me, books only going forward.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


if your goal is to not have to deal with anymore gratuitous rape scenes then switching to the books isn't actually going to help, alas.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


welp that's it for me, books only going forward.

Uh... are you forgetting that the books are actually much worse? In the books, Ramsay not only rapes his bride but also forces her to have sex with his dogs, whips her, forces Theon to eat her out, etc.

HBO actually toned the scene down significantly from what was in the books.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah but that didn't happen to Sansa and characters are not interchangeable.
posted by supercrayon at 9:59 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


FanFare: Also where the heck is Varys?

It was touching and quite a surprise to have an episode produced by some of the old SCTV staff, using the real actors and sets. When does the real episode air?
posted by juiceCake at 10:00 PM on May 17, 2015


Yeah, I don't get it. The books are and always have been full of these sorts of scenes. The show is no worse and often better. I completely understand people who have a problem with both the show and the books (or haven't read the books) but the "ok thats it, only the books now!" is nonsensical.
posted by Justinian at 10:00 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


The AV club review for experts does a good job of voicing my eye rolling.

Plus good job show of once again making a woman's rape about a man as I feel it's likely that Sansa's rape will wind up being more important to Theon's arc than her own.
posted by supercrayon at 10:02 PM on May 17, 2015 [28 favorites]


I really need the fight between the Sand Snakes and Jamie/Bronn to be scored with Yakety Sax.
posted by topophilia at 10:03 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


The show has considerably passed Sansa's storyline in the books at this point so I guess going forward anything at all that happens to Sansa is technically not in the books...
posted by Justinian at 10:05 PM on May 17, 2015


Yeah but that didn't happen to Sansa and characters are not interchangeable.

I don't understand why it would be OK for those things to happen to Jeyne Poole but not OK for them to happen to Sansa?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Honestly I was expecting the inevitable rape scene to be much, much worse. Not that it wasn't horrific--they could have easily just started it, cut to Threek's face, and gone. (Or not done it at all which owuld have been better).

I'm so looking forward to Olenna getting Cersei. Ep10 is my guess.

And I loved, loved the power dynamics in the scene with Myranda and Sansa in the bath. When Sansa turns her back and tells her to leave--that's power, that's saying "You know and I know exactly what it would cost you to do anything to me. The North will use your bones for toothpicks. GTFO."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


That Sand Snake fight was the worst setpiece on this show yet. Bronn and Jamie looked ridiculous; it was ridiculous that everyone was able to just wander into the palace; the fighting looked amateur. It was surprisingly bad.

Bronn got cut. Is he poisoned now?

I was really hoping that Stannis would attack during the wedding night scene and disrupt everything. (Everyone seems to think the rape was a foregone conclusion, but I really thought they might find a way around it.)

Littlefinger's plan to become warden of the North is revealed! I wonder whether this will also be his plan in the books?

I really like that the Queen of Thorns is back! And she'll be the one to set the High Sparrow on Cersei. So good.
posted by painquale at 10:29 PM on May 17, 2015


The House of Black and White was really well done. It reminded me of the Hall of Heads in Return to Oz.
posted by painquale at 10:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I am now not going to be able to think of Arya as Princess Mombi
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:34 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah but that didn't happen to Sansa and characters are not interchangeable.

I don't understand why it would be OK for those things to happen to Jeyne Poole but not OK for them to happen to Sansa?


I'm afraid we'll find that in either case the real narrative value lies in what it means to Theon/Reek.
posted by rewil at 11:28 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Are we supposed to think Sansa was a virgin? Because I certainly had the idea she was banging Littlefinger as of last season.

Sansa's virginity is actually an important point because it is proof the marriage with Tyrion was never consummated and therefore, she's free to marry again. Littlefinger isn't going to mess with that, as it looks like his plan was to put Sansa in the North so that he can white knight it up, ending the threats of the Boltons and Stannis, which positions him as Lord of the Vale, Lord of the North, and Sansa's saviour.

Of course, I think he's going to find that whatever skills Sansa was learning from him are about to get one hell of an edge, which will wind up cutting in a lot of directions. I hope so. In fact, I kinda hope Sansa gets a little crazy by the end of this all, serving up some Bolton/Frey pie.

Outside of that, this seemed like a pretty meh episode with a big helping of creepy-as-fuck right at the end. I'm tired and all, so I'm not really in a place to make suggestions or see possibilities, but I can't help wondering if there weren't some better ways to stage that final scene. It was less...what's the right word? Sadistic? NSFH? than the book scene with Jeyne, but still - it seems to me you could've cut that scene at the moment Theon closed the door or when Ramsey told him to watch and had pretty much the same effect. Sometimes less is more.
posted by nubs at 11:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


And yes, the narrative value of what just happened to Sansa needs to have payoff for Sansa's character; putting her in Winterfell for this season means a lot of things can move forward and adds weight, but it has to apply to her character arc as well as Theon's and Jon's.
posted by nubs at 11:42 PM on May 17, 2015


Quotes from the episode:

Sansa to Miranda: “I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home and you can’t frighten me.”

Jorah to Tyrion: “I was a cynic just like you. And then I saw a girl step into a great fire with three stone eggs. When the fire burned out I thought I’d find her blackened bones. Instead, I saw her, Daenerys, alive and unhurt holding her baby dragons. Have you ever heard baby dragons singing? It’s hard to be a cynic after that."

Slaver: "The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant!"

Cersei: “Ah yes, the famously tart-tongued Queen of Thorns."
Olenna: “And the famous tart, Queen Cersei."

Cersei: “As for your veiled threats…"
Olenna: “What veil?"

Tyrion to Jorah: “The Targaryens are famously insane. What if she conquers the world, then what? A thousand years of peace and prosperity?”
posted by zarq at 11:42 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Am I the only one who was hoping a Sand Snake would cut Myrcella's ear off in front of Jaime?
posted by corb at 11:44 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was hoping the Faith was going to arrest Cersei too. But yes, it would've been interesting to see Myrcella get maimed in that fight. And now what? With Jaime in the hands of the Dornish, where does that storyline go?
posted by nubs at 11:47 PM on May 17, 2015


I forgot:

Slaver: "It'll be a dwarf sized cock."
Tyrion: "Guess again."

Bronn: "I like to improvise."
Jamie: "That explains the Golden Hand."
posted by zarq at 11:50 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


From the AV Club review - Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (, Unfortunate)
The issue with the show returning to rape as a trope is not simply because there have been thinkpieces speaking out against it, and is not solely driven by the rational concerns lying at the heart of those thinkpieces. It’s also that the show has lost my faith as a viewer that the writers know how to articulate the aftermath of this rape effectively within the limited time offered to each storyline in a given episode and given season. Three of the show’s main female characters have now been raped, and yet the show has struggled to make this a part of their character history—their rapes may function as narrative climaxes, but the rising action has never been particularly well-drawn, and the denouement has been non-existent....I want to believe that this rape is not simply being used as an escalation of Ramsay’s evil, given that it would be highly unnecessary. I want to believe that Sansa’s redemption arc will not simply view her rape as a generic narrative turning point. I want to believe that this rape will be treated like a rape, and justly punished (perhaps by someone who was nearly raped herself earlier in the series). I want to believe all of this because I want to think the show has learned a lesson from the previous instances, and chosen to echo Dany’s marriage to Kahl Drogo by giving Sansa more agency and allowing this rape to remain a rape even after Sansa fights back against Ramsay. I want to believe that if the show is in uncharted territory in terms of source material and chooses to use rape as a narrative tool, they have a good reason, and didn’t just fall back on this as a problem-solving tool.
Yeah. That about gets my feelings better than I can process them right now.
posted by nubs at 12:06 AM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


1.) Well, now we know why GRRM published that boring Alayne chapter where Sansa does nothing more interesting than hanging out with her friend the much nicer Myranda, learning how to flirt, and eating lemon cakes. A bit like he's sending us messages in a bottle from contractual obligation hell.

2.) The realization that D&D have been waiting for Sophie Turner, with whom they have been working since she was a child, to have her 18th birthday so they could film this scene. As someone said on tumblr, "two grown men waited for a girl to come of age so they could have her raped on screen." They initially told Sophie she would be getting a "love interest" this season. I honestly don't know how to process this kind of disgusting situation in a reasonable way because it seems so unfathomably sadistic on all possible levels: to the fictional character, to her large female fanbase, to the young woman playing the role. No words.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:14 AM on May 18, 2015 [80 favorites]


I couldn't fucking believe that Ramsey is that stupid. I figured he was bright enough to confine his violent attentions to women who wouldn't be missed, preying like many men of privilege and power on women without any. Raping Sansa? That's not only evil, it's stupid.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:16 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ramsay has repeatedly shown to let his torture desires get the better of his smarts. Even Roose pointed that out at dinner last episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:05 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


The realization that D&D have been waiting for Sophie Turner, with whom they have been working since she was a child, to have her 18th birthday so they could film this scene.

Or, alternatively, this is the season where the scene occurs chronologically, what with Ramsay marrying Sansa/Jeyne.
posted by Justinian at 5:10 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The realization that D&D have been waiting for Sophie Turner, with whom they have been working since she was a child, to have her 18th birthday so they could film this scene.

Hey, at least they waited until she turned of legal age. That's a good thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:14 AM on May 18, 2015


mediareport is complaining in the other thread about the slow pace of the storylines and blaming the showrunners. I want to tell him about the books so bad. so bad.

The show is moving like lightning compared to the plots in Martin's books! Lightning!
posted by Justinian at 5:14 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hey, at least they waited until she turned of legal age.

Unlike the books where Jeyne Poole was what, 14? And Daenarys 15 or 16.
posted by Justinian at 5:17 AM on May 18, 2015


Daenerys was 13.

Ramsay has repeatedly shown to let his torture desires get the better of his smarts.

Really he and Cersei should get together. Then they could attempt to hatch no end of dumb kneejerk aggressive petty revenge plots on whoever looks at them funny.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:33 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Every time Ramsey smiles I expect a Malcolm McDowell voiceover.
posted by nom de poop at 5:42 AM on May 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I like the notion that Sansa will be Littlefinger's undoing. It was satisying watching him play Cersei like a harmonica, but it will also be satisfying watching his face fall when Sansa has him arrested or whatever.
posted by Rat Spatula at 5:58 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess we're meant to assume from the previews that Theon ends up being Sansa's Renfield instead of Ramsay's? Which I guess is okay considering the alternative but again, I don't really care at all about a redemption arc for him as much as I care about a SAVAGE NORTHERN JUSTICE art for her.

I can't for the life of me imagine how Petyr imagines he's going to get the Vale to fight for Winterfell, no matter who he claims to be supporting, much less on behalf of the crown. Even with the added temptation of being rid of him once and for all might not be enough.

anyway my long-term unrealistic goal is that jamie lounges in the water gardens with bronn as he heals from whatever venom he's likely been stung with, and along the way comes to realise that marrying marcella to trystane is a glorious plan. they can faff about eating locusts and honey while cersei destroys the realm and tommen is dethroned by the holy bullies and dorne can ride in atop the ashes and be like "heeeey guys, sorry we're late, here's the queen!"

also ellaria and bronn could be "boy we like killing ppl" buddies.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:07 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


I don't really care at all about a redemption arc for him as much as I care about a SAVAGE NORTHERN JUSTICE art for her.

I would not mind Sansa putting a sword though Theon. Then again, I would mind an entire episode set at Winterfell as Sansa has very people brought in and she hacks off their heads. What, she's not that strong? Well, get a bottle of wine and pull a chair, we'll watch her saw.

But really, all the Sansa torture has to go somewhere, narrative wise.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The House of Black and White was really well done. It reminded me of the Hall of Heads in Return to Oz.

Thank you! I made that comment when we walked into that room and nobody knew what I was talking about!
posted by Navelgazer at 6:23 AM on May 18, 2015


The Sansa thing shows a complete lack of self awareness on the part of D&D. Do they not read online commentary? Do they not realize that people are sick of the torture porn and that the blooming Dark Sansa plotline, in which Sansa finally has enough agency to avoid rape, is one of the things people liked about their adaptation? I just imagine them sitting at home watching people go OMG on twitter and patting each other on the back. "Look how many people we shocked. We are sooooooooo good at our jobs." *fist pump *
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:29 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just imagine them sitting at home watching people go OMG on twitter and patting each other on the back. "Look how many people we shocked. We are sooooooooo good at our jobs." *fist pump *

While I'm not crazy about them going THERE with Sansa, I find it hard to believe that they're sitting around fist pumping like bad caricatures from a movie.

Do they not read online commentary?

Point blank, online commentary doesn't pay their bills. Game of Thrones is ridiculously successful, so there's probably like them to listen to online commentary.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


So I actually think the Sansa thing is a scene they painted themselves into by their attempt to show only 'exciting' TV and by the elimination of Jeyne Poole. Also - no wonder GRRM is not writing an episode this season, I bet he was like FUCK THIS and went back to writing the book.

But the point of Jeyne Poole was that Theon can be tortured himself, but not watch a young girl be tortured - and they have clearly decided that it's important to keep that aspect of Theon's storyline. But it is at the expense of Sansa's storyline, where at this time she is learning how to manipulate and how to handle Harry the Heir and doing a good job at it. Harry the Heir doesn't want to marry her, but she is making him want to, because she is learning from Littlefinger, but also more importantly becoming herself. That Sansa absolutely would know how to manage Ramsay Bolton. That Sansa is a Sansa that would be able to Margaery-with-Joffery it - to make him want and love her, to play on the fact that she is the key to the North. Why does it matter that they do this to Sansa and not Jeyne Poole? Because part of why it happens to Jeyne Poole is that Jeyne Poole is powerless - a girl playing a role, afraid for her life at any time. But Sansa, acknowledged Northern heir to Winterfell, is anything but, and it chafes to see her adopting the powerlessness of a much lesser character.
posted by corb at 6:40 AM on May 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


Other things - cock merchant is a great line and shows Tyrion being willing to wiggle his way out of everything - but I think it really loses something of his willingness to accept the dwarf jester role in order to survive and to save Jorah.

- I wonder if this means that Winds of Winter is pretty complete - they are obviously building straight at a Dany-at-the-pits scene, which means that they would have straight up nowhere to go unless they are pretty confident of getting a rough copy of Winds of Winter so they can film for 2016.
posted by corb at 6:42 AM on May 18, 2015


Do they not read online commentary?

I, for one, like to imagine this is why Alex Graves isn't directing any episodes this season.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ellaria and Bronn

zomg True Romance!
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:55 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Point blank, online commentary doesn't pay their bills.

Having watched a ton of interviews with them, I get the impression that they really are trying to be thoughtful and put something they can be proud of out into the world. And in the past, they've made decisions based on fan responses to previous episodes, such as increasing the role of Bronn. Other people have characterized them since season one as sitting around and doing calculations of how much they get paid per boob per episode. Up until now, I thought that was a narrow point of view and took a more generous approach to how they were balancing rather complicated and boring parts of the book to keep viewers interested. While compressing Jeyne and Sansa's role does improve a sprawling narrative, the way they've done it throws away the investment they've made in Sansa as a character. A bunch of people saying 'welp, I'm done with this now', doesn't improve their sales either.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Sansa thing shows a complete lack of self awareness on the part of D&D. Do they not read online commentary?

I can't find it now, but I've read somewhere (via a link on a prior GOT FF thread) that D&D agreed to stay off of message boards and away from other online commentary while making and/or airing the show, because they didn't want to get lost in the rabbit hole responding to every criticism of the show.

That said, they probably read it between seasons, and I'm sure their co-workers/staff also read the commentary. Still, it's two dudes making a Mega Boy Fantasy Novel series come to life, and their track record to date isn't positive in terms of treatment of women in the show.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Other things - cock merchant is a great line and shows Tyrion being willing to wiggle his way out of everything - but I think it really loses something of his willingness to accept the dwarf jester role in order to survive and to save Jorah.

First, I think there's still plenty of time for that to happen to Tyrion. I can't believe that good jesters are worth less than a dwarf's penis, but I'm not familiar with that particular fantasy niche market. Second, that whole scene made me happy that we can skip over the despondent Mormont bit, wondering "will he ever come back as an active character in this story, or is he a golem now?"
posted by filthy light thief at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2015


Setting aside how much I disliked the Sansa scene, I'll just say I liked Arya's act of mercy. And then I thought to myself, "Act of Mercy. Heh. I see what they did there."
posted by tempestuoso at 7:22 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


OK, I'm feeling doubly dense. What did they do there with "Act of Mercy"?

I was expecting that bit of mercy to be a play on Arya, seeing if she'd overstep her given role, as she tried to look beyond the door earlier in the episode. I half expected Arya to reply to the father's lament by saying "I just work here, let me get the manager." Other thoughts - the shadowy "father" figure saying "I just want it to end," but does she? I wondered until we heard the girl speak for herself. Also, it's easy to pass off lies to the desperate, they're looking for an answer anywhere they can get one, and I doubt those poor people were trained in The Game, which everyone plays all the time in the House of Black and White. I figure it's a fun way to pass the time, playing "a bunch of lies and maybe a truth."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's because there was nothing of herself in the lie she told? And that its sole purpose was mercy and not personal gain or an effort to cling to memories.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:40 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Cersei's doom now visible from 10,000 miles away

I feel like Theon's redemption is being telegraphed and I don't like it. I don't want Theon to redeem himself and save Sansa. I want Sansa to put up a light in the tower, not because she needs rescued, but to incite the people of the North to turn on their captors. I want somebody to stab Ramsay in the face 500 times. It can be either Sansa or Brienne. Or heck, even Pod.
posted by trunk muffins at 7:42 AM on May 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


In the books IIRC, Jorah does not know his father is dead, but in the show they've made a point of telling him. I wonder if they plan to have that pay off somehow in the future, or if that was just added for parallelism. There were lots of people talking about people knowing other people's dead fathers in this episode:

"I was her father's ward."
"I never trusted your father ... but I respected him."
"At least your father was a good man."

What did they do there...

Arya has assumed a new role. One of Mercy.

(Mercy is the title of a forthcoming, tangentially-related chapter in WoW.)
posted by tempestuoso at 7:45 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


throws away the investment they've made in Sansa as a character

I think this gives Sansa short shrift. Dark Sansa is still blossoming, she's just not quite there yet. Ramsay is the easily the hardest monster she's ever had to fight, she's going to have to level-up to take him out. Her position as heir of the North gives her some breathing space to work out what she needs to do. Joffrey was a little boy, and she had some slight allies in KL.

For me, the interesting thing is what she's going to do with Littlefinger when he comes back to rescue her and finds he's the one who needs rescuing. My hope is that he walks into the great hall of Winterfell to find her sitting in her father's old chair, smiling faintly and drumming her fingers on the arm.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:55 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I support the notion of Sansa getting more skilled in the terrible world she inhabits, but this makes me think: what does she really mean to Littlefinger? Yes, he's playing Cersei (after their delightful staring contest), and she clearly forgot the fact that everyone lies in King's Landing, especially Littlefinger (and DON'T TRUST A TURNCLOAK! You said it yourself!), but what if the Lannisters are the dominant power after the Stannis v Bolton showdown? Will Sansa become another body to climb on his ladder of chaos?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM on May 18, 2015


Isn't Brienne's valryian steel sword Oathkeeper made from Ned's Ice? I'd love to see it hack some enemies of the north to bits, on Sansa's behalf or even by her hand, as unlikely as that would be.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:02 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


But the point of Jeyne Poole was that Theon can be tortured himself, but not watch a young girl be tortured

I have always read it as Theon's identification with Jeyne: someone else forced to wear a different name and forget who they were, under pain and constant threat, because revealing who they really are means being killed. And Theon's "redemption" is not just that he is saving her, but that he is the only one left who knows who she truly is - no one else cares; fArya is just a fiction to them, but Theon knows who she really is and he can't let Jeyne be erased because to do so means that he, too, will be erased. Forgotten. Only Reek. I also think there's some wonderful parallels between Jeyne-as-Arya and Arya as no-one.

That being said, it would be nice to see Jeyne as more than a piece that develops Theon.

I don't want Theon to redeem himself and save Sansa. I want Sansa to put up a light in the tower, not because she needs rescued, but to incite the people of the North to turn on their captors. I want somebody to stab Ramsay in the face 500 times.

I want to see Sansa set these things in motion; I don't want her to light the candle because she needs rescue but to start the uprising of the North because she has successfully brought Theon and some others inside Winterfell to the point of action alongside herself. Sansa lighting the candle for rescue just reduces her agency when it felt like so much of last seasons time with pervy Littlefinger was setting up that Sansa was no longer the helpless girl.

I want to see Stannis show up at Winterfell to be welcomed by Lady Stark, Wardeness of the North, with Brienne standing behind her and the corpses of Ramsay and Roose hanging from the battlements. And then when Littlefinger shows up, Sansa asks someone to fetch her a block.

But I suspect that we will see Stannis start the siege and then Sansa will light the candle and the whole thing will be about Sansa being rescued, not about Sansa rescuing herself.
posted by nubs at 8:06 AM on May 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


poffin boffin, yes, Ice was melted down (heh, I meant reforged) and remade into Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail, as named by Joff.

In the books IIRC, Jorah does not know his father is dead, but in the show they've made a point of telling him. I wonder if they plan to have that pay off somehow in the future, or if that was just added for parallelism.

If nothing else, it was a chance to show that Jorah still values honor. When Tyrion was telling him how his father died, the fact he was killed in a mutiny shocked him. Fighting off wildlings, or dead in the snow when his provisions ran out? Part of being in on The Wall, but back-stabbing is unforgivable.

Similarly, Jorah didn't blink at Tyrion killing his father for trying to execute his son for a crime he didn't commit. But sleeping with the woman you loved? That's a patricide-worthy offense.

BTW: of course Jorah can live off of roots and berries. He is former head of House Mormont and Lord of Bear Island. Hint: bears eat berries and roots.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lighting the candle to be rescued isn't the worst thing a strong woman could do. The show is particularly good at showing strength comes in lots of forms. Including patience, civility and waiting for the right moment.

Old Sansa would have lit that candle already, chances of success be damned. New Sansa will bide her time, assess the situation, gather info and light that candle at the most opportune time for a rescue to have a chance of success and, if she can swing it, make Ramsey pay.
posted by double bubble at 8:33 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


That Sansa absolutely would know how to manage Ramsay Bolton.

This seems like an incredibly optimistic viewpoint that just doesn't match the "reality" (ha) of her situation. What was Sansa supposed to do, exactly? Hide a knife up her dress and kill Ramsay instead of consummating the marriage? That would have been satisfying as hell to watch, but to what end? Roose is Warden of the North and would have her killed immediately, and Walda's baby would be the new heir to Winterfell. If Sansa is dead then there is no one for the North to rally behind, so her act of rebellion would be completely pointless. Or, what - was she supposed to smooth talk her way out of consummating the marriage? That is just not realistic at all. Given all that we know of Ramsay and Sansa's characters, I think that this happened pretty much exactly as it had to: Ramsay was a sick creep but not as violent as he can be prone to be, and Sansa accepted that the consummation had to occur and endured it to get to her next play. That doesn't make it one iota less of a rape, but my take on her mental state and demeanor throughout that episode/scene was "Soon, but not now. Marriage first, revenge later."

I do agree that the likelihood of this being more of a Theon-event than a Sansa-event are high, and that makes me really, really annoyed.
posted by gatorae at 8:38 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I can't for the life of me imagine how Petyr imagines he's going to get the Vale to fight for Winterfell

There are a lot of connections between the Vale and the North; "Fight for Lady Arryn's niece" would get the message across, I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 AM on May 18, 2015


An interesting aspect of the internet today is seeing how many people are saying "It was one thing for this to happen to Jeyne but another for it to happen to Sansa!" with the tenor of somebody claiming the moral high ground.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:41 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Old Sansa would have lit that candle already, chances of success be damned.

She didn't go North with The Hound when he offered to take her home, back when the Starks held Winterfell. She wanted to be middle of all the intrigue and still does, to some extend. There will be no wondering the countryside in rags, ala Arya.

Pretty sure the candle is a trick from Ramsay, so yay, more beatings for Sansa ahead.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on May 18, 2015


Idk that she wanted to actively be involved in intrigues as much as she didn't trust Brienne any more than she trusts Peytr, and for all his many faults at least she knows how far he'll go to keep her safe. safe-ish. "safe"
posted by poffin boffin at 8:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think she's going to light the candle and then immediately the message from Brienne will finally arrive to deliver the OH FFFUUUUU.... moment.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I rather like that candles aren't as romantic as they seem in the real world. The candles certainly didn't help set the mood in the wedding chamber, but rather make it seem like a dark crypt, akin to the scene of Arya in the Hall of Faces.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on May 18, 2015


goodbyewaffles: “soo this was...the third rape that didn't happen in the books? Or did I miscount?”

It's a lot more than that.

The last scene of this episode confirms that nothing's changed on this show. This is exactly how it goes – they draw you in for about half a season before giving the people what they really want: hideous misogyny, rape, molestation, torture and dismemberment.

Really, they pretty much had me fooled this time around. This season has been a lot better than last season – which mostly means, less hideous shit – so they'd convinced me they'd changed and weren't going to pull this exploitative shit anymore. But I should've known.

Ugh. I guess I need to get over it. Still, it's disappointing. If they're going to change things from the book, they could try making it a little less horrible.
posted by koeselitz at 9:16 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


So far, I still think this season is a marked improvement over the books. It would have been great to fully break from the books and not have Sansa get raped, but that bit of terror in the book was important in that mini-arc, and I unfortunately agree with supercrayon's sentiment: I feel it's likely that Sansa's rape will wind up being more important to Theon's arc than her own.

There's a lot of (little) build-ups to Reek becoming Theon again. It wan't Reek who grew up with Sansa, it was Theon. And it was literally Theon who "gave her away" at the wedding (so much symbolism littering this episode) - he named himself a Greyjoy and became Theon for the ceremony, only to be reduced to Reek in the final scene. That must have been so hard for him, the viewer is told. Poor Theon, the viewer feels.

I am foolishly hopeful for Sansa coming out ahead in all of this.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:23 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The idea that GRRM was like fuck this over Sansa getting raped? And that's why he noped out of the series?*

Dude opens the book with the romanticized rape of a thirteen year old girl by a racist caricature. Dude has written multiple books where a major storyline has been WHO'S GONNA BE FIRST ACROSS THE RAPE LINE WITH SANSA???? Last season's creeptastic rape of Cersei that the showrunners or whatever didn't recognize as rape has its origins in a book scene where Jamie, IIRC, shows up and picks Cersei up despite her saying no no no no no and doing her until she starts to like it. Remember the casual rapin' of tavern wenches up and down Westeros to prove just how eeeeevil various military people are?

GRRM has no fucking problem with using rape as a narrative climax and then not paying it out in any way except for manpain developemnt of characters or to show how ~ dark and brutal ~ this world is. I'm all for holding media creators responsible for shitty choices, but pretending this is something that GRRM wouldn't wholly be on board with if he'd ever removed his thumb from his ass in moving plot in the books?

I mean, in my mind, the least GRRM things about the rape are that 1) Sansa is not a tween when it happens, and 2) the media at hand actually treats as rape, and 3) neither dogs nor Threek's tongue is involved, thank the Lord.

* My deeply uncharitable pure speculation guess is that he's pissy they've condensed his intricate, ridiculous, profoundly boring, Rube Goldbergian storyline for getting Tyrion to Danerys. [insert eyeroll]
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:36 AM on May 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Apparently the showrunners have answered that they changed things in the show so that Baelish is completely unaware of Ramsay's proclivities. In which case I have to say, seriously, WTF? Stop giving Littlefinger the idiot stick to make your plots happen.
posted by corb at 9:43 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seriously. Can we discuss the previewed TWoW chapters in here?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:43 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope so and also I want a link to them please.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:45 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some great commentary on why it was shitty to go there, including the best snark ever: 'Hell, let's just nominate it for a fucking Hugo and call it a day.'
posted by corb at 9:46 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: I hope so and also I want a link to them please.

here you go
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh, i thought it was new stuff.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2015


GRRM's response to Sunday night, which I can only characterize as 'I am trying to be a good sport and they're great, but really if these guys had listened to me this would not be happening."
the longer the show goes on, the bigger the butterflies become. And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms, like the one presently engulfing my email.
posted by corb at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2015


no butterflies had been seen in hundreds of years until that one girl went into the fire with some butterfly eggs.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:07 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


From the link in corb's comment above: "Given who Ramsey is, there was no other way for it to be played ... Except, of course, that this is a lie. There were an infinity of ways for that to be played. And they chose to do it this way."

This was my exact thought as I saw that scene unfold. When they were in the Godswood, I thought, "now would be a good time for Bran to do something remotely. It's not in the books, but at least Sansa won't get raped." Then, when they zoomed up on Theon, I thought, "now would be a good time for him to snap, kill Ramsay, throw himself and Sansa over the wall, and run into Brienne, or Stannis, or anyone, and it will be different from the books, but then at least Sansa won't get raped."

But they didn't do any of that.

It seems like this episode was intended to shock, or be some kind of cliffhanger -- but it just left me tired. Very, very tired.
posted by tempestuoso at 10:09 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


If so, then the whole concept of the Mercy chapter (Arya literally play-acting the rape of Sansa (albeit an assault that is just presumed and which we know didn't happen in actuality) is like a meta-conversation on how fucked up and constant this rape-as-entertainment issue is in this show.

And yet, I was fine with the scene last night. It was horrifically disturbing, but not exploitative. In the production notes, the scene was titled "Romance Dies," and that is key to me. As Amanda Marcotte and Marc Faletti note, this is an episode all about Princesses not being rescued. Sansa's arc has, form the beginning, been about a girl with the capital-R Romantic view of the world having those preconceptions destroyed. The failure of any knight in shining armor to rescue her there (even with an almost-knight in notably shining armor waiting just outside the gates to do so) was the last remaining hope for that kind of world. Romance is dead.

Going forward, I don't see how Theon can "rescue" her like in the books. It's just not tenable for a bunch of narrative reasons. I can very, very much picture Theon standing up to whatever Myranda has in store for her, though. But everyone in the north not named Bolton wants to see Sansa sitting as ruling Lady of Winterfell and Wardeness of the North. I don't think it's entirely foolish to picture that happening now.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK SO how likely is it that Petyr's plan is actually to bring the lords of the vale and their army (ies?) to Winterfell to aid Stannis against the Boltons, with the intent of getting himself named Warden of the North (and sansa's husband) and doing way with all the tedious Lannister schemes once and for all? That would likely get rid of the Faith Militant (Melisandre would feed them all to the fires and Stannis & Selyse would back her all the way), which in turn would give him the allegiance of the Tyrells, whether or not he wants it. I'm pretty sure the Tyrells would bend the knee to anyone who got their scions out from a holy death sentence AND rid them of the Lannisters.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not least because Olenna could eat Littlefinger for lunch and still have room for a lemon cake afterwards.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's a long way to King's Landing for an army still north of Winterfell, and Oleanna probably won't put too much trust in Stannis to back a Tyrell side that slaughtered his forces at the Blackwater. Oleanna's got her own ways of handling a situation like this.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:23 AM on May 18, 2015


for those of you who are all FUCK THIS I recommend going back to ADWD and rereading. It's so cool and soothing. I'm like 'oh yes this is what it means to have nuanced plots and not just bullshit invented high points.
posted by corb at 10:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


OK SO how likely is it that Petyr's plan is actually to bring the lords of the vale and their army (ies?) to Winterfell to aid Stannis against the Boltons, with the intent of getting himself named Warden of the North (and sansa's husband) and doing way with all the tedious Lannister schemes once and for all?

I think show-Littlefinger (I feel I have to distinguish them now because apparently show-Littlefinger is a genius plotter who carries the idiot ball an awful lot) is attempting to position himself so that no matter what happens in the North, he comes out ahead. Basically, everyone else fights each other to weakness (if he has to temporarily appear work with Stannis or the Boltons to goad a war with the Lannisters, he will; if both of them are weak enough, he'll take out both and then turn his attention onto KL as Lord of the Vale and Warden of the North), at which point he steps in and takes over. I think we're supposed to be sold on the fact that no matter what happens, everything is coming up Littlefinger.
posted by nubs at 10:45 AM on May 18, 2015


Steven Attewell's piece at Salon describes the Machiavellian plotting this week pretty well.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:12 AM on May 18, 2015






The real interesting quote there -
However, most of HBO’s audience — especially in the U.S — isn’t familiar with a religious social movement emerging from the left rather than the right. The Occupy movement and the Sparrow movement have many similarities (the Sparrows physically occupy the square of the Sept of Baelor, for example), but religious fundamentalism isn’t one of them. Likewise, that same audience would probably not have much context for conflicts between state and church that deal with control over military and judicial power rather than culture war battles over abortion, evolution and gay marriage. But most of HBO’s audience would be familiar with fundamentalist movements that are vocally homophobic — so to spice up the montage where the Faith Militant take over King’s Landing, to really underline the scenes of the holy warriors breaking open wine barrels and smashing the idols of foreign gods, show them gay-bashing male prostitutes and arresting Loras Tyrell and they’ll get the picture.
posted by corb at 11:19 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm like 'oh yes this is what it means to have nuanced plots and not just bullshit invented high points.

Wait, corb. Are you serious?
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:23 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


From Grantland:

That instead of giving the audience the sight of what we’ve long wanted and expected — Reek reclaiming his essentially not-terrible Theon-ness by stabbing Ramsay in the throat — we were given something not needed at all? Sansa’s anguished screaming as she was violently assaulted by her new husband was hideous, full stop. But it was almost worse the way Jeremy Podeswa’s camera lingered on Alfie Allen’s tear-filled eyes, as if his violation was somehow equal to Sansa’s; as if this disgusting act was somehow part of Theon’s long and ugly path to redemption, not a brutal and unwarranted violation. Five seasons in, Game of Thrones is long past the point of earning gold stars simply by showing us the worst possible thing. There’s a fine line between exposing the dirty truth of the world and wallowing in it.
posted by nubs at 11:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Wait, corb. Are you serious?

I mean, kind of. I opened the book on Dany ruling and it was nuanced, with some of the conflicts with the masters/Sons of the Harpy being because she was ordering them to pay economic recompense to the former slaves, and some of them being because Dany declared a blanket pardon for any actions in the sack of the city, including rape, etc. And there's talk about how the Unsullied only died because he was alone visiting a brothel, against custom. And it was just so much nicer to read than 'Welp some Sons of the Harpy exist, they want a return to slavery and are weirdly good at killing badass soldiers and heroes of Westeros. We're going to just...go with that."
posted by corb at 11:34 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Although ugh, reading how Barristan Selmy cut his way out of Kings Landing, unarmed, against ten guardsmen, makes me even angrier that show-Barristan died like a punk.
posted by corb at 11:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


That instead of giving the audience the sight of what we’ve long wanted and expected — Reek reclaiming his essentially not-terrible Theon-ness by stabbing Ramsay in the throat — we were given something not needed at all? Sansa’s anguished screaming as she was violently assaulted by her new husband was hideous, full stop. But it was almost worse the way Jeremy Podeswa’s camera lingered on Alfie Allen’s tear-filled eyes, as if his violation was somehow equal to Sansa’s; as if this disgusting act was somehow part of Theon’s long and ugly path to redemption, not a brutal and unwarranted violation. Five seasons in, Game of Thrones is long past the point of earning gold stars simply by showing us the worst possible thing. There’s a fine line between exposing the dirty truth of the world and wallowing in it.

I've seen this thought expressed so much that I'm definitely not going to dismiss it, but man I disagree with the idea that the camera lingered on Theon/Reek because the moment was about him in any way more than it was about Sansa. That reading simply doesn't work for me. A hint of things to come? Sure. An effective way to keep the scene horrifying while minimizing the amount of titilation any particularly fucked-up fans could try to get from it? Absolutely. But not minimizing Sansa's experience while playing up Theon's. No.

But there's just so much going into why this scene is causing so much anger. Aside from just the content (which is unfortunately pretty par-for-the-course for GoT) there's fatigue, the fact that it happened to a main character, the fact that it's probably the biggest thing to happen so far that is different from the books (even if, come on, this happens in the book, is much, much worse, and just happens to someone readers don't care about as much.)

All that said, I definitely respect those who are just sick of sexual assaults on the show. To me, this is the first one that was done properly and was at all plot-relevant, so it's more a boy-who-cried-wolf issue - they've failed at this enough times that people don't trust them now that they're (I think, I hope?) doing it properly.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


But it was almost worse the way Jeremy Podeswa’s camera lingered on Alfie Allen’s tear-filled eyes, as if his violation was somehow equal to Sansa’s

If, for sake of argument, the camera had been on Sansa, then we would have the same point of view as Theon. Ramsay would effectively be emotionally dominating the viewers the same way he is emotionally dominating Theon, and by extension the show-runners would be emotionally dominating us the same way Ramsay is dominating Reek.

With one difference: had the camera been pointed at Sansa, it would have been our prerogative to look away, or to stop playback, or to interrupt the goings-on in some other way. But Theon couldn't look away. Ramsay made a point of telling him (and us) that. So they showed us him instead. I don't think their intent was to equate Theon's violation with Sansa's, I think it was to make us see how we would feel if we were seeing what he was.

The thing is, I think we all know how we'd feel and we don't need it played out on screen. We don't need to be reduced to some meta-Reek status.
posted by tempestuoso at 11:54 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't decide whether it's extremely nervy or extremely tone-deaf and stupid for a show that has seen many complaints about roles for people of color, particularly black people, to make nearly the entirety of a gang of slave traders black.

Loved the return of Oleanna. I think Diana Rigg is having a blast playing the part, and I wish I could throw shade even half as well as her (and a few other people on this show).

"Guess again!" is now one of my favorite lines from the series.

Agree with others the actor playing Theon/Reek deserves high praise. And, man, he cleans up real nice -- I'd forgotten there was a good looking dude under all that grime and dishevelment.

I won't comment on the final scene. (I guess that comment is itself a comment though.)
posted by lord_wolf at 11:57 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Uh... are you forgetting that the books are actually much worse? In the books, Ramsay not only rapes his bride but also forces her to have sex with his dogs, whips her, forces Theon to eat her out, etc.

man what

what the actual fuck
posted by curious nu at 12:00 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


To comment on a different Sansa moment that I adored: right after she tells off Myranda with straight up Regina George coldness, Myranda closes the door, and we see how terrified Sansa actually was. Her father said, "when a man is afraid is the only time he can be brave." Sansa is growing into her father's daughter.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:05 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can't decide whether it's extremely nervy or extremely tone-deaf and stupid for a show that has seen many complaints about roles for people of color, particularly black people, to make nearly the entirety of a gang of slave traders black.

I thought for a brief glorious half-second that the main guy might actually be Salladhor Saan dispatched on a secret mission to Braavos and beyond by Davos but then as per usual my hopes were dashed.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:17 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


poffin boffin - me too.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:18 PM on May 18, 2015


I can't decide whether it's extremely nervy or extremely tone-deaf and stupid for a show that has seen many complaints about roles for people of color, particularly black people, to make nearly the entirety of a gang of slave traders black.

It's cool, the slavers are black, the slaves are white. It's reparations!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


what the actual fuck

Welcome to the writings of Real Feminist GRRM, who believes that the secret to writing convincing lady characters is to treat them just like everyone else by subjecting them to sexualized violence over and over and over! Also, to perv on their real life actresses and basically make jokes about masturbating to female professionals trying to land an audition!

Sigh.

Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


On a broader view, let's take our semi-okay-not-really-all-that-regular look at the scoreboard!

Of the eight major houses of Westeros at the beginning of the series, where do they all stand?!

STARK - Only one publicly-known to be surviving member, who has just been forcibly married to the beyond-sadistic bastard of the house that arranged for the deaths of her mother and brother! One secretly-alive daughter in assassin-training on another continent, one secretly-alive son chilling with Tonks on the island of misfit storylines, and one secretly alive son learning how to be a tree.

ARRYN - One single, surviving member of the house, left by Littlefinger to learn ladder-standing and helmetless-jai-alai at the accident farm.

BARATHEON All dead save for Stannis of the Ill-Timed Sudden Humanity and his unmarriagable daughter whose night-time lullabies are sung by an unkillable sorceress and are mostly on the theme of how much use her blood could theoretically be put to.

GREYJOY - Quiet. Suspiciously quiet. Hopefully all cramming for finals in their class about how to stab an unarmored man in the back while he's fumbling with his keys and you have a bunch of axes. Also no further possibility of patrilineal furtherance of the line, which they seem to really care about.

TULLY - Dead, held captive by the Freys, or out taking the world's longest piss.

LANNISTER - Shattered from the inside, broke, deeply in debt, universally hated and super-actively courting an open rebellion they have no hope of curtailing, withstanding or surviving.

TYRELL - Largely unscathed, and with the greatest bounty in the seven kingdoms by far. Sucks to have the most important scions being held by religious fanatics, though.

MARTELL - Oberyn was certainly a loss, but if Doran can keep on truckin' until Trystane comes of age, He and Myrcella could make for a lovely royal couple, really. One of the only two familes (the other being Tyrell) that are more or less still together.

BONUS!

TARGARYEN - Queen Danaerys currently putting off plans to invade Westeros so that she can marry Vince McMahon.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:44 PM on May 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


ARRYN - One single, surviving member of the house, left by Littlefinger to learn ladder-standing and helmetless-jai-alai at the accident farm

I'm sure it's just a name.
posted by clockzero at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I dunno, corb, what you call nuance in the last couple of ASoIaF books I call tedious, interminable, pointless bloat.
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


With regard to GRRM's comments on the show:
There has seldom been any TV series as faithful to its source material, by and large (if you doubt that, talk to the Harry Dresden fans, or readers of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or the fans of the original WALKING DEAD comic books)... but the longer the show goes on, the bigger the butterflies become. And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms, like the one presently engulfing my email.

Prose and television have different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements.

David and Dan and Bryan and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can.

And over here I am trying to write the best novels that I can.

And yes, more and more, they differ. Two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, I suppose... but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place.
These are not the words of a man washing his hands of the series. They are clearly a guy who has decades of experience in both written and adapted SF who well understands the difficulties and opportunities involved. I think people who believe GRRM is unhappy (overall) with the show are reading what they want to read into his words and actions. It seems obvious to me he is about as happy as one can be with a superb but imperfect adaptation.
posted by Justinian at 2:29 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


(also, can someone explain to me how people expect the show to be faithful to books which have not yet been written.)
posted by Justinian at 2:30 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]




BARATHEON All dead save for Stannis

AND hot rowboat blacksmith, wherever he may be.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:50 PM on May 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


rowing his way into our hearts and pants
posted by poffin boffin at 2:52 PM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


The Bastard Gendry was given a rowboat with a single, locked-in oar. So he's still trying to figure that out.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:52 PM on May 18, 2015


I was saddened by the brutal treatment of Sansa.

But I'm much more disturbed by this unspoken bias toward brutality as the ne plus ultra of reality, this subtle perception that TV or film which shows us more horrible things is showing us the truth of the world in a way that stories showing us characters feeling joy or harmony cannot or do not. It's a deeply unsettling way to think about the relationship between the world we live in and the meaning of representation. Pain and cruelty are undeniably real, but they are not more real than things which don't cause us the kind of visceral distress to see that things like sexual assault do.
posted by clockzero at 2:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Deadspin: Game Of Thrones Is Gross, Exploitative, And Totally Out Of Ideas (Gawker)

A lot like Gawker AMIRITE?
posted by Justinian at 3:13 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's like raaaaaaain on your wedding day.
posted by davidjmcgee at 3:14 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I stand by my pre-season conviction that the entire Dorne (on camera) plot should have been excised along with the Greyjoy stuff and the plotlines about all those other guys I dont care about heading to Meereen.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on May 18, 2015


I think Dorne would have worked infinitely better if they'd stuck to the succession crisis, myself.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:40 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


...all those other guys I dont care about heading to Meereen.

I dunno, that Quizjax zo Sleestak guy is really starting to grow on me. I think he and Kelly will make a cute couple.
posted by The Tensor at 3:47 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


But I'm much more disturbed by this unspoken bias toward brutality as the ne plus ultra of reality, this subtle perception that TV or film which shows us more horrible things is showing us the truth of the world in a way that stories showing us characters feeling joy or harmony cannot or do not.

Two points:

1. In all fairness to the HBO show, brutality isn't something the showrunners added. The GRRM books are brutal. Sometimes, the show is clueless about the brutality it does portray (like Cersei's rape, which I s2g, the actors handled as rape). Other times, the showrunners bring it to the forefront when it's been downplayed in the books (like Dany's wedding night). Still other times, the showrunners make a decision not to do it (as in not transferring, at least so far, the extended, extended Jeyne sexualized torture to Sansa.)

I mean, we can argue about how the show portrays individual acts of brutality, and we can have arguments about whether that sort of attitude, in general, is worthwhile. But it ain't all on the shoulders of "TV or film", as you put it.

2. In fact, GRRM's books themselves are best understood, I think, directly as a reaction to the norms of "traditional" fantasy, where beautiful people are good (HELLO TOLKIEN), where the just honorable hero doesn't die, where good girls largely stay at home and have romance or only shoot dainty bows or do magic in ways that don't require dirt and blood or sex (HELLO LEWIS YOU HATEFUL PERSON), where good government doesn't require moral compromise or guile, where winning the big battle is sort of the end of the story and most important characters ride a boat to shining paradise, where it's clear who has the right to sit on the throne, where good leaders always make good decisions, etc.

ASOIAF draws inspiration from historical events, and historical characters, but I don't think it's opposite image is reality, or that the impetus to write it was primarily an attempt to comment on or replicate reality, although GRRM's ugly sexism and racism do, in fact, remind me on the reg of how sexist and racist the real world is, particularly white men who generally believe they are liberal and not-sexist and not-racist. Instead, even though Mr. Machine knows that saying a single good thing about GRRM in front of me is an INVITATION TO BRAWL, like -- I think GRRM is basically writing a grimdark AU fanfic in reaction to things like Ivanhoe and Tolkien that have sanitized, too-tidy ideas about how the world works. And it's an impulse I can definitely understand, if not defend in every iteration.

I hereby conclude this semi-demi-sorta defense of GRRM and go back to being really, really, really angry and hateful about everything he says, does, thinks, and writes.
posted by joyceanmachine at 4:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've been thinking about this all day, and what I've concluded is that the problem isn't a rape scene, or even a rape scene involving the wrong characters (I'm kind of horrified by the idea that it wasn't so bad when it was only Jeyne). It's that the scene doesn't flow from the story. I'm not saying I wanted to see Theon be forced to go down on Sansa -- I want to make this SO CLEAR -- but I do think that's Ramsay, and not this kind of evil frat boy. Book!Ramsay's sexuality seems far more twisted to me, and frankly more centered on Theon than on his own wife. Show!Ramsay tearing open a woman's dress and raping her feels to me like Hannibal Lecter hitting someone with a baseball bat. It's just...banal. Just no one in that scene feels completely in character to me, except maybe Theon...and even Theon, I would think, would be more scared for himself than upset for Sansa. I don't know. It is a very shocking scene, but it's a trite shock, and not worth all the ill will it seems to have generated.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:12 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


In fact, GRRM's books themselves are best understood, I think, directly as a reaction to the norms of "traditional" fantasy, where beautiful people are good (HELLO TOLKIEN), where the just honorable hero doesn't die, where good girls largely stay at home and have romance or only shoot dainty bows or do magic in ways that don't require dirt and blood or sex (HELLO LEWIS YOU HATEFUL PERSON), where good government doesn't require moral compromise or guile, where winning the big battle is sort of the end of the story and most important characters ride a boat to shining paradise, where it's clear who has the right to sit on the throne, where good leaders always make good decisions, etc.

And he set off a whole string of people doing the same sort of thing (Abercrombie, Lynch, Erikson, and so on) so people not steeped in the genre might not see what Martin was doing as revolutionary because it seems like it's just another in a line of grimdark. But it isn't. Martin kicked off the movement and moved the needle way over from the Tolkien side of the spectrum to the Donaldson.
posted by Justinian at 5:17 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


1. In all fairness to the HBO show, brutality isn't something the showrunners added. The GRRM books are brutal. Sometimes, the show is clueless about the brutality it does portray (like Cersei's rape, which I s2g, the actors handled as rape). Other times, the showrunners bring it to the forefront when it's been downplayed in the books (like Dany's wedding night). Still other times, the showrunners make a decision not to do it (as in not transferring, at least so far, the extended, extended Jeyne sexualized torture to Sansa.)

What I said above isn't a critique of specific television shows, much less choices made by specific people working in the arts or entertainment, although it's directly relevant to this episode of this show.

The problematic issue for me lies in how depictions of brutality, or of fictive contexts characterized by brutality, tend to be accorded a certain kind of ontological privilege, i.e., that they're regarded as "more real" than fictive contexts that are relatively free of brutality. So my issue is with how people interpret such shows, but to a significant extent, it's also with the way that producers of shows like GoT cynically use (I suspect) brutality to secure credulity, to make the world they're showing us appear unpretentious. They use horrific violence to say to the audience, "We're not protecting you from anything" because people are so accustomed to having TV shows and movies cut away from something awful happening at the crucial moment; this production of "uncensored" realities is the issue. In actuality, they are just as carefully constructed as anything else: the choice to show a teenaged girl being raped by a vicious sadist might be decried as disgusting or gratuitous, but nobody is saying that it is an arbitrary aesthetic choice -- that's the problem. It's part of a conception of the real world which holds that the worst forms of violence are what distinguishes fantasy from reality, but also that violent fantasies are closer to reality than non-violent ones.

2. In fact, GRRM's books themselves are best understood, I think, directly as a reaction to the norms of "traditional" fantasy, where beautiful people are good (HELLO TOLKIEN), where the just honorable hero doesn't die, where good girls largely stay at home and have romance or only shoot dainty bows or do magic in ways that don't require dirt and blood or sex (HELLO LEWIS YOU HATEFUL PERSON), where good government doesn't require moral compromise or guile, where winning the big battle is sort of the end of the story and most important characters ride a boat to shining paradise, where it's clear who has the right to sit on the throne, where good leaders always make good decisions, etc.

I'm sure you're right about that.

ASOIAF draws inspiration from historical events, and historical characters, but I don't think it's opposite image is reality, or that the impetus to write it was primarily an attempt to comment on or replicate reality, although GRRM's ugly sexism and racism do, in fact, remind me on the reg of how sexist and racist the real world is, particularly white men who generally believe they are liberal and not-sexist and not-racist. Instead, even though Mr. Machine knows that saying a single good thing about GRRM in front of me is an INVITATION TO BRAWL, like -- I think GRRM is basically writing a grimdark AU fanfic in reaction to things like Ivanhoe and Tolkien that have sanitized, too-tidy ideas about how the world works. And it's an impulse I can definitely understand, if not defend in every iteration.

I don't think reality is ASoIaF's "opposite" image, either.

Tolkien and Sir Walter Scott probably weren't trying to replicate reality either, were they?

Lastly: you said that those two writers' works have too-tidy ideas about how the world works. My question is this: what is the working of the world? Saying that (e.g.) Tolkien's conception of how it works is too sanitized implies that he's leaving out those aspects of human experience which denote that which is real, and if doing so is sanitization, it must be the case that what he's leaving out is ugly -- in which case, we're back to the idea that ugliness, cruelty, and pain are what's really real, aren't we?
posted by clockzero at 5:49 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


A thread on the blue about this exact subject now.
posted by Justinian at 5:52 PM on May 18, 2015


I was really hoping that they would avoid showing that scene, which they could have done a couple of ways. Firstly that arc could work without the actual marriage ever taking place - you could set it up as something hanging over Sansa, but then either she takes action and escapes, or Stannis turns up and the Boltons are busy with that, or Brienne breaks in...

Secondly, they didn't actually have to show it: we know what happens on a wedding night, we know what Ramsey is - you can cut the whole scene, or end it with Ramsey telling Theon to stay. I thought they might be heading this way after the dinner scene in an earlier episode - where Ramsey uses Theon as a weapon to hurt Sansa, in the same way that he uses Theon to sexually assault Jeyne.

But no: they massively alter Sansa's arc from the books, and then put her through the same horrible scenes that Jeyne experiences in the book. Gratuitous sexual violence, yawn.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Other points: having been on the fence about Dorne, I'm really starting to wish that they'd cut that completely, as well. That garden scene....with the Sand Snakes pulling up their face masks...no-one will ever guess who the three tough female warriors could possibly be! There's little character development, nothing to hold our interest (why should we care about Myrcella or Trystane when they basically haven't featured in the show yet?).

Tyrion getting the sympathy vote again for murdering Shae. Sigh.

Littlefinger casually covering the 1000 miles from Winterfell to KL in apparently no time at all.

OTOH, Tyrion and Jorah generally is still fun, so was Sansa v Myranda, and I'm finding this part of Arya's story far more interesting in the show than in the books.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:26 PM on May 18, 2015


It had to have taken Littlefinger several weeks to make it to KL even allowing for the show's Westeros being smaller than book Westeros.
posted by Justinian at 7:25 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It takes a royal caravan a month. It takes a determined single rider significantly less time than that.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:32 PM on May 18, 2015


There's a limit to how far horses can travel in a day even if you have several and rotate riding them!
posted by Justinian at 7:49 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


2. In fact, GRRM's books themselves are best understood, I think, directly as a reaction to the norms of "traditional" fantasy, where beautiful people are good (HELLO TOLKIEN),

This is a trope, but Tolkein's an imperfect example. His heroes are typically not beautiful people. And many of those he does depict as physically attractive turn out to be cruel/mean/evil/selfish/craven/greedy.

The bad races: goblins, orcs, spiders etc, are uniformly ugly, yes. But the brilliance of Tolkein is he gives us flawed heroes.
posted by zarq at 4:11 AM on May 19, 2015


There's a limit to how far horses can travel in a day even if you have several and rotate riding them!

Our friend Mr. Internet says that the Pony Express, in real life, covered 2000 miles in 10 days with constant rotations of riders and horses, while the US Cavalry says horses could do 60-80 miles a day if you were willing to basically break down your horse. It also says that the Mongols at their peak could do about 100 miles a day. So I think if he were constantly trading out horses, he could maybe make it to KL in seven or eight days, but that would be enormously expensive and certainly attract attention. Assuming he's not trumpeting a direct path from Winterfell, no way he could do it faster than two weeks.
posted by corb at 7:07 AM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


why didn't the eagles fly littlefinger right to mount doom
posted by poffin boffin at 7:14 AM on May 19, 2015 [18 favorites]


He keeps a massive highly-trained unkindness of ravens just for these eventualities when he needs to be airlifted.
posted by Flitcraft at 9:27 AM on May 19, 2015


Here's another aspect: Sansa thinks she is the last Stark. She needs to produce an heir. That could have been the basis of consensual sex (and knocking off Ramsey ASAP).
posted by Dashy at 9:42 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not consensual if you don't have a choice. Her only choices were to resist or submit; she had precisely zero choice as to whether it was going to happen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:49 AM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


why didn't the eagles fly littlefinger right to mount doom

They are busy teaching Drogon about self-esteem because from his perspective his mother doesn't care about him (e.g., never even goes hunting with him)
posted by clockzero at 10:20 AM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was actually having Deep Thoughts about drogon et al while brushing my teeth last night. how does she plan to get these huge fullgrown dragons to westeros? will she fly them there? does she even know the layout of westeros? everyone native-born in her entourage is dead or exiled, how does she even know how to get there? are they going to be stuffed into the holds of wooden ships? that sounds suboptimal. what will they be eating?

idk why transpo and supply logistics are the most interesting things to me in books like this but it's not going away any time soon
posted by poffin boffin at 10:26 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


She could fly them there (I think their current size would allow for that) but her best bet is likely to use the Stepstones into Dorne - which would have made dealing with Quentyn a different thing, I think, if either he or Daenerys had been able to approach it as something other than a marriage but as some kind of a non-marriage based alliance/agreement between their two Houses. Dany could have landed in Dorne to a welcome and had time to organize as opposed to needing to find somewhere on the coast to land and set up camp. Because even if you can fly them there, where can you land and be safe?
posted by nubs at 10:32 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think perhaps the answer to those questions is this: Daenaerys and Cersei are just mirror versions of each other. They both think they're Great Leaders, they both think they're laying out grand plans, and in reality neither of them has much idea of how to use the power they have and they're only good at very short term thinking and going "oh, fuck" when the shit hits the fan.

The stark (ahem) difference being that at least Dany is willing to learn, where Cersei isn't.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:36 AM on May 19, 2015


I was actually having Deep Thoughts about drogon et al while brushing my teeth last night.

heh, his full title is drogon the dragon

how does nobody in the GoT world notice that
posted by clockzero at 10:38 AM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


i think my main issue is not being able to visualize how far away the continents of westeros and whatever the other one is called, where braavos is and whatnot. or even if braavos and pentos and mereen and yunkai are even all on the same continent. and if i go to the wiki to look for maps i will lost at least 5 hours.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:38 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Littlefinger casually covering the 1000 miles from Winterfell to KL in apparently no time at all.
posted by Pink Frost


This has always bugged me. 1 month to travel 1000 miles? No. "Just caught the red-eye in from Winterfell: am I in time for breakfast?"

This is from a website on Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377), specifically the Travel in the Middle Ages section.
"Speed depended on many factors, including the quality of roads, weather, and the nature of the travelling party. One estimate suggests that a small group with good horses could move as much as 30 miles in a single day. On the other hand, a larger group that included pack animals, a cart, or travelers on foot might make only half that distance. This would not, however, include rest days, bad weather or roads, natural obstacles such as rivers and mountains, and so forth."

There is Littlefinger, his driver, two horses for the cart and 2? 4? guards. Plus one, maybe two packhorses if they can't get to an inn and stables every night, two at the most. There would be supplies in the cart, so it wouldn't be able to get any good speed up. Most of the roads that they've travelled look very bad and slow-going. They're unpaved so rain would severely bog the horses down, and go through varied terrain (snow, hills, mud, grassland, temperature changes).

We'll say they can cover 20 miles a day. 50 days to get to KL. 1 day of rest for 3 travelled = 67 days to KL. The (generous) equivalent of 10 days of bad weather that slows things down (going from cold, wintery marshland to the comparative tropics of KL) plus three days because something usually goes wrong somewhere = 80 days to KL.
Almost three months. A half-year round-trip.
"Sure Sansa, I'll leave you here and see you a whole lot later, not to mention the amount of time lost to try to get KL to deal with Stannis who is riding around already on his way to conquering stuff because I don't have a messenger and haven't figured out coded messages."
The reaction time of KL to anything that happens in the North will be so delayed, they needn't have even bothered getting out of bed.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:38 AM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


here you go O boffin of poffins

(huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge image fyi)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:44 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


The stark (ahem) difference being that at least Dany is willing to learn, where Cersei isn't.

there's also the fact that dany was raised primarily by a lunatic with zero life skills (other than petulantly shrieking I AM THE DRAGONNNNN) whereas cersei was raised by the land's foremost tactical cunning genius. and yet of all tywin's kids only tyrion seems to have learned anything useful from him.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:45 AM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


oh wow that's way closer than i thought.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:46 AM on May 19, 2015


so wait, where jorah and tyrion just got picked up was by that smoking sea place, right?
posted by poffin boffin at 10:51 AM on May 19, 2015


Yup, the ruins of Valyria.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:56 AM on May 19, 2015


I sincerely don't mean to downplay the ugly rapey-ness of the episode or the problematic-ness(?) of the decision to show us Ramsay having his way with her (instead of, say, skipping to the next day and having Ramsay boast about it while Sansa looks shell-shocked or otherwise eliding the worst of it).

But:

It's not consensual if you don't have a choice. Her only choices were to resist or submit; she had precisely zero choice as to whether it was going to happen.

I forget the details, but Baelish presented her with a choice about whether or not to go to Moat Cailin (or direct to Winterfell), and she chose to go home, marry Ramsay, and get eventual revenge. Of course Baelish was probably lying about actually accepting her choice if she decided to just keep hiding, but there was a point where she willingly chose a path that was surely going to involve having to have sex with Ramsay.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:36 AM on May 19, 2015


The other side of Lightnin' Littlefinger's trip to King's Landing is Varys and Tyrion's trip across the Narrow Sea, which should have taken probably a few days but based on Tyrion's beard was more like a month or so.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:39 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


there was a point where she willingly chose a path that was surely going to involve having to have sex with Ramsay

Once married to Ramsay she had no choice about whether to have sex with him or not. And frankly, that sentiment is really gross on multiple levels; it's like saying "well she agreed to go back to his place, she knew she was going to have to have sex."

She was placed in a position where her choice was to submit to unwanted sex or walk away from redeeming her family.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:40 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh wow that's way closer than i thought.

They used to be connected by a land bridge in the not-so-distant past, down by Sunspear which is where the Sand Sankes Comedy Troupe is from.

Did anybody else pictures Dorne with more, you know, SAND?
posted by Justinian at 11:49 AM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just realized... do you just not care about spoilers, poffin? This is the book spoiler thread and you haven't read the books? You are brave.
posted by Justinian at 11:49 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, tbh, the Sand Snakes are just cringingly bad
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:52 AM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am seriously pissed about the Sand Snakes, who are a real force to be reckoned with in the books, but here just definitely sound like angsty teenagers.
posted by corb at 11:54 AM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


i've read all the books a bunch of times, but the maps are all on separate pages with no way to tell where they'd be on a full-world map.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:10 PM on May 19, 2015


why don't we get fancy fold-out maps in hardcovers anymore, i hate the future
posted by poffin boffin at 12:11 PM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


here guys I will remind you of good things to ease your sorrow
posted by corb at 12:31 PM on May 19, 2015


Finally watched this last night, as Sunday night I was spending the night in the hospital with my daughter after an emergency procedure to remove the sunflower seed that had been festering in her left lung for a week. (Collapsed lungs: not a good look on an 8 year old!) I had heard noises about what had happened, and so deliberately played Candy Crush on my phone for the final scene to help detach from it. It was still pretty uncomfortable and unpleasant to watch. I am not sure what my feelings are about that scene or the decision to write and film it that way, yet.

Tyrion and Jorah: awesome. Sand Snake battle: CRINGINGLY badly choreographed and filmed, what the fuck? It was like a toddler block fight. Watching Arya slip into that role and deliver the mercy of death to that little girl was both fascinating and horrifying to watch, the more so because of my own recent personal history (see previous paragraph), but I think it is perfect.
posted by KathrynT at 12:37 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Navelgazer: An interesting aspect of the internet today is seeing how many people are saying "It was one thing for this to happen to Jeyne but another for it to happen to Sansa!" with the tenor of somebody claiming the moral high ground.

I don't think it's absurd to claim that it's worse for these particular terrible things to happen to Sansa instead of Jeyne. If these were actual people we were talking about, that would be a reprehensible claim, but they're not. There's no ethical component to consider here, and neither person's suffering exists.

Rather, we're talking about a narrative. The claim is not that it's more acceptable for Jeyne to suffer than for Sansa to suffer, but rather that Jeyne's suffering is different narratively from Sansa's suffering. It means something different when the scared, disposable nobody is further traumatized versus when a female character with burgeoning power and ability is brought low through sexual violence. The former is doubling down, the latter is contributing to the sense than no woman can escape sexual violence in this particular fictional world, at the hands of these particular creators.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:17 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


On the subject of the Sand Snakes fight, this show has never been good at fight scenes. If you want good fight scenes, watch Vikings.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:20 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought the Brienne/Hound fight was head and shoulders above all the other fights they've done. Like it was choreographed by a completely different person or something.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on May 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Though actually I also quite liked the Oberyn/Mountain fight. It's the group fight scenes that don't seem to work.
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am seriously pissed about the Sand Snakes, who are a real force to be reckoned with in the books, but here just definitely sound like angsty teenagers.

Yeah, that was a real gong show - I was expecting badass fighting that left Bronn and Jaime in serious trouble until Hotah showed; instead it was a bunch of slapstick. These are supposed to be Oberyn's daughters, who have learned to fight from him.

I really, really wish that either book or show had chosen to go with "We have Myrcella; by our laws, she is Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. We declare for Queen Myrcella!" Because it would've been so interesting:

-a female claimant;
-the bind it would put Cersei in: not just another claimant, but her daughter and her daughter being in a place that says being a woman makes no difference to her rights and it totally makes her fucking around with Highgarden even worse;
-the bind it would put Jaime in;
-it (to my mind, at least) rather neatly divides the kingdom up - Stannis in the North, the Lannisters hold the middle, and Dorne is causing shit in the south.

Anyways, it probably would've meant another 1000 pages of battles and nasty brutalization of people, so I'm kinda glad they didn't, but part of me thinks it would have been fun.
posted by nubs at 1:28 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Given that's explicitly stated in the books as an option, I'm kinda wondering whether that's where they go with the end of season cliffhanger.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:38 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


> This is the book spoiler thread and you haven't read the books?

I found A Wiki of Ice and Fire and a couple of other resources (Tower of the Hand I think) mid way through season one and spoilered the hell out of myself. Not on purpose at first, but I think I caught something about the Hound and Arya and followed through. Eventually the various fan theories are what convinced me to read the books. Probably not that uncommon an experience since the show started to air.
posted by vbfg at 3:03 PM on May 19, 2015


I think they may have to go there in the books. It's not like the Lannisters will just forgive Myrcella missing an ear.
posted by corb at 3:04 PM on May 19, 2015


I don't think it's absurd to claim that it's worse for these particular terrible things to happen to Sansa instead of Jeyne. If these were actual people we were talking about, that would be a reprehensible claim, but they're not. There's no ethical component to consider here, and neither person's suffering exists.

Rather, we're talking about a narrative. The claim is not that it's more acceptable for Jeyne to suffer than for Sansa to suffer, but rather that Jeyne's suffering is different narratively from Sansa's suffering. It means something different when the scared, disposable nobody is further traumatized versus when a female character with burgeoning power and ability is brought low through sexual violence.


I can see that (and tbh, at this point I don't think there's any "moral" or "ethical" claim to be made either way) but what really bugs the hell out of me in this conversation is the idea that this event changed Sansa's degree of strength, power, or agency in any actual way. What is that argument trying to say, exactly? If it's that Sansa was "strong" enough to prevent it - no. Not in the narrative, and for a million reasons I don't want to even get into that because it will just make me angry for the rest of the night. If it's that the way in which the character is viewed has gone from "increasingly strong" to "laid low," I can I guess kind of understand, but I don't agree at all and still really don't like the idea. If it's that, meta-narratively, culturally, rape survivors are suddenly treated as victims, things with no agency, etc., then I also understand the objection, though I have zero reason at all to think that's the story being told here.

It's like with the question of "is this Theon's moment?" which I think is very key to this discussion (as, from what I've seen, the main arguments "for" and "against" the scene are coming at each other kind of orthogonally, hence the unfortunate degree of vitriol around a tv show and amongst people who would normally handle this sort of conversation a lot more civilly, I think.) I didn't see it as Theon's moment. I saw him as being also involved in Sansa's trauma, and that seeing his reaction was the most tasteful way to show the scene (and I personally think showing nothing would have minimzed it in a way I wouldn't like, and also would be simply confusing, as we're talking about non-book stuff and even non-book-readers tend to use book-reading friends to confirm alluded-to events. anyway...) But, to me, Sansa is so obviously a more central character than Theon that this was unquestionably her story and her moment first and foremost, but now we know it has had an effect on Theon as well, which will probably be important down the line.

Anyway, this was all disjointed, but those are my thoughts right now.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:15 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Once married to Ramsay she had no choice about whether to have sex with him or not. And frankly, that sentiment is really gross on multiple levels; it's like saying "well she agreed to go back to his place, she knew she was going to have to have sex."

As others have noted, she's not real, she's a narrative device, so analogies to real life don't really work. And a narrative of "Dark Sansa is willing to suffer to get her revenge on" is not the same as "Poor Victim Sansa gets raped, full stop."

Is this just another gross violation in a long series, or something closer to James Bond going into the lair of his enemy where of course he's going to be tortured before he gets a chance to kill the villain? Given the show, the smart money is on the first, but I haven't completely given up hope that she's following an Arya-like path of sacrificing herself for the sake of vengeance.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:04 PM on May 19, 2015


It means something different when the scared, disposable nobody is further traumatized versus when a female character with burgeoning power and ability is brought low through sexual violence

I think a full assessment of the narrative change may have to wait to see how the Sansa storyline as a whole moves forward. Although I completely understand lack of trust in the story tellers to pull this off.

My overall instinct is that the disposable nobody is worse, then it really is just pointless "edginess" (i.e. gratuitous rape) pretending to be realism. But if you have a significant character, specifically one who follows the messed up rules of the patriachal society she's stuck in go through that trauma? At least then we're not pulling our punches (as GRRM is wont to do, see Tyrion murdering Shae and getting a sympathetic portrayal). We're being honest that no one (especially no woman) in this world is safe from every kind of shittiness out there. The victims are people who stay people (if hurt and traumatized), and aren't random nobodies we can marry off and ship away. This world sucks.

I hope we see Sansa continue to grow and find a way to move past the trauma. That way we can see that this world sucks, but people can still be strong, even when "brought low." That being raped doesn't erase Sansa's personhood, it's something she endures. Ideally with a little tasteful and lady-like revenge at some point. I'm not sure what that will be, but I'm sure Sansa can think of something delightful.
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:24 PM on May 19, 2015


Given the show, the smart money is on the first, but I haven't completely given up hope that she's following an Arya-like path of sacrificing herself for the sake of vengeance.

It looks to me like they are setting up Arya and Sansa to both learn to survive the world in which they find themselves but to do so in opposite ways. Arya is learning to attack the system from the outside and from the shadows while Sansa is learning to navigate the system from the inside and play the game.
posted by Justinian at 6:26 PM on May 19, 2015


Is this just another gross violation in a long series, or something closer to James Bond going into the lair of his enemy where of course he's going to be tortured before he gets a chance to kill the villain? Given the show, the smart money is on the first, but I haven't completely given up hope that she's following an Arya-like path of sacrificing herself for the sake of vengeance.

My hope (and god-damn do I not want to be putting this much faith in the same people who have handled this so poorly in the past) is that the storyline continues down Sansa's arc as I've seen it this season (an arc which I think has gotten more heft than any other this season.)

Basically, she's learned from Littlefinger, can't really trust him, but has nowhere else to go and knows he won't give her up in any case. She refuses Brienne, not because of mistrust, really, but because she's not as damn foolish as Brienne was in her approach at that tavern and doesn't want to get everyone killed. (This was more-or-less Sophie Turner's reading on that refusal, IIRC, anyway.) Littlefinger talks her into an opportunity to retake her home, a prospect repellent to her in the means but attractive in the ends. They go to Winterfell, discuss plans, Sansa steels herself up for a wedding she doesn't want, knowing it's going to be bad. Littlefinger goes all "Cool, see ya real soon!" Suddenly Sansa is alone - truly alone, with no Hound or Tyrells or Ser Dontos or even Baelish to help her, and the stakes are Winterfell, to which she is, as far as she knows, the only living heir.

So she continues with the plan, as enemies beset her and potential allies show up who she doesn't know if she can trust yet. Ramsay does his best to throw her off her game at dinner, and she remains cold and fierce. She tells off Myranda. SHe remains brave as hell despite how terrifying all of this is. She says her vows in front of the Weirwood Tree (was Bran watching?), bracing herself for what by any modern standard would be understood as rape but in Westeros is just her "wedding night." And then Ramsay makes it so, so much worse than she could possibly be prepared for. Because Ramsay is a sadist and a sociopath who won't be satisfied with anything less than the reaction he elicited.

Yes, we know this about him, and it has been exhausting watching Sansa be constantly under threat of sexual violence (on the show.) I think part of me (I suffer from a lot of anxiety and panic attacks) was strangely relieved to have this even finally past us, so much has the show been hinting at it for so damn long. That's a horrible thing to think about, but I think if they'd done what some have suggested, just shown her harrowed the next morning, I'd still be wondering when they're going to show how awful Ramsay can truly get with her. I think this is her darkest hour.

But there's a reason the episode is titled "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken," and I don't think it's just because the Sand Snakes had the series' lamest battle for a minute in the middle of it. Sansa isn't done by a long shot. Will she light the candle? Will she take charge of Theon for herself? Will she murder Ramsay in his sleep? I don't know. I know she's beyond any mentality of waiting to be rescued by either Littlefinger or Stannis, though. Now comes the stuff I want to see.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


My comment after the episode ended was "I think Ramsay just fucked with the wrong Mexican."

If they keep going with DarkSansa, and of course they'll probably fuck it up but I can hope, I'm wondering how, well, evil she's going to be willing to be to Ramsay when the time comes, and how evil she's going to be willing to be to get there.

That's a horrible thing to think about, but I think if they'd done what some have suggested, just shown her harrowed the next morning, I'd still be wondering when they're going to show how awful Ramsay can truly get with her. I think this is her darkest hour.

Yeahbut, as others have noted either here or in the mefi thread, not actually showing it would probably be less distressing to the considerable number of people who've lived through rape.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:20 PM on May 19, 2015


Yeahbut, as others have noted either here or in the mefi thread, not actually showing it would probably be less distressing to the considerable number of people who've lived through rape.

I absolutely believe and can understand and sympathize with that (though I wouldn't deign to guess that said group is monolithic on their opinions about it, either.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:23 PM on May 19, 2015


Sooo, not to change the subject, but am I correct that Dany never fed any prisoners to her dragons in the books? I found that scene very surprsing and a significant departure from her character thus far. Wonder if they're going to follow up with this. The last time a Targaryan monarch turned to immolation as a form of punishment, it created some significant problems down the line.
posted by skewed at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2015


as others have noted either here or in the mefi thread, not actually showing it would probably be less distressing to the considerable number of people who've lived through rape.

Speaking as a rape survivor, and with the full awareness that other rape survivors disagree, I'd probably be way angrier about AND IT WAS THE MORNING AFTER AND SANSA WAS JUST KINDA BRUISED AND SAD-LOOKING cut-away. I deeply believe that if a piece of media wants to tell a story involving rape in our shitty, rape-culture filled society, the prime fucking directive is that it shouldn't be tucked off to the side. The ugliness and horror and effect on the person who suffers it should be central to the story. You want to do a story about rape? Then tell a story about rape. Make the audience feel what the person being raped feels.

Don't tuck it away. Don't pretend that "strong" ladies aren't subjected to sexual violence. Don't pretend that forced sexual relations for survival is pretty or easy even for ladies as tough and smart as Sansa has become.

I have qualms about how the show showed Theon's face at the end, and I do worry that it'll just be about Theon's Manfeelings or whatever, but I am totally on board with how they actually shot the Sansa-related bits of that scene.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:58 AM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


If it's that, meta-narratively, culturally, rape survivors are suddenly treated as victims, things with no agency, etc., then I also understand the objection, though I have zero reason at all to think that's the story being told here.

I think it's something different - I think it's a burgeoning expression of a lack of faith that the showrunners/storytellers here have the capacity and the chops to follow through on the idea that Sansa will have agency in the aftermath of this. That Sansa will be rescued, but it will be achieved via Theon, Brienne, and Stannis, not Sansa putting to use the skills that she has learned and her own abilities to politic and maneuver.

Looking back over the season so far, I've been disappointed at how Sansa has been treated; the closest bit to agency she seems to have had is the moment with Brienne in the inn where she might have been passing along a bit of a hidden message (and I even had to have that possibility pointed out to me). Outside of that, she's just been along for the ride. I thought when we got to Winterfell and especially after Petyr left we might see Sansa step forward a bit and shaping things; showing she knows the Game and how to play it beyond just putting on a pretty smile and pretending (she did do this at times with Joffrey) but everything about Sansa has been reactive and withdrawn. So I am at the point of saying that I don't trust the show to show Sansa getting her revenge as an active participant of the team that makes it happen, but that she will be carried along by the actions of others. I want to see Sansa planning something and building towards something, where she plays Roose and Ramsay into a bind, not just lifted out of her situation.
posted by nubs at 10:16 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering how, well, evil she's going to be willing to be to Ramsay when the time comes

feed him to the dogs or gtfo
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:23 AM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ideally with a little tasteful and lady-like revenge at some point

Yeah, this. One of the reasons Sansa is generally liked is that she is gentle; she knows the role of a lady and she doesn't play it, she inhabits it. I don't want her feeding people to the dogs (or the dragons) as cathartic as that might be; I want to see her set up situations where social expectation and roles and other things work to leave the people who have harmed and violated her powerless and vulnerable; where the expectations of the North and its justice leave no room for escape; where whatever choices they make they will face bad outcomes (You know, kinda like the situations Sansa has been in since going to KL.)
posted by nubs at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Imagine if she'd married Willas/Loras and learned under the Queen of Thorns.
posted by corb at 12:01 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Imagine if she'd married Willas/Loras and learned under the Queen of Thorns.

not even gonna lie, i spend a lot of time writing that fic au in my head.

(Margaery/Sansa natch, too, given the way that Margaery was walking arm-in-arm with Sansa back in the day and making jokes about lady-on-lady action that went RIGHT OVER SANSA'S HEAD. Throw in how Sophie Turner talks about Natalie Dormer, and I'm theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:06 PM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


I deeply believe that if a piece of media wants to tell a story involving rape in our shitty, rape-culture filled society, the prime fucking directive is that it shouldn't be tucked off to the side. The ugliness and horror and effect on the person who suffers it should be central to the story. You want to do a story about rape? Then tell a story about rape. Make the audience feel what the person being raped feels.

It would be wonderful if showing people awful things on TV like this tended to provoke real empathy and understanding, wouldn't it?
posted by clockzero at 12:08 PM on May 20, 2015


joyceanmachine, I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by nubs at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would be wonderful if showing people awful things on TV like this tended to provoke real empathy and understanding, wouldn't it?

the way the general public looks at rape scenes can be summed up by that gross "we saw your tits" song that whatshisname mcasshat did at whatever awards show last year, which included a shot of jodie foster's gang rape scene from the accused as an example of a sexy nude scene.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:29 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Margaery/Sansa natch, too

I'm holding out hope that this can still happen. Except now Sansa will also bring some of her own hard earned life experience to the table and be more of an equal, not just a student beholden to their training(however awesome and capable the teachers are).
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:39 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


My fevered pipe dream, if Ramsay doesn't get fed to the dogs, is for Sansa to engineer Roose having to execute Ramsay.

And then Brienne Oathkeepers the fuck out of Roose.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:49 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


My fevered pipe dream, if Ramsay doesn't get fed to the dogs, is for Sansa to engineer Roose having to execute Ramsay.

And however she gets them there, right after Roose gives the order, Sansa gives him an arch look and says "My father always said the man who pronounces the sentence should swing the sword. You know, the Northern way." Not that I think Roose would bat an eye at doing the deed, but that little dig about the Starks and their code would be nice.
posted by nubs at 1:11 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


this was spurred by some comments on twitter and this post.

I'd really prefer it if we don't get some righteous agonizing death scene for Ramsay. It seems like we're being set up for a glorious killing and justice revenge, and I think it would be better if that doesn't happen.

How about this: we get some indicators that time passes, and we never see Ramsay again. No explanation, no veiled hints, no winks and nods. Just .... no Ramsay.

Disappearances are often used to instill fear and uncertainty in the targeted group. As long as there's no body, the tension, the lack of knowledge, can never be resolved. And I'm sure the northerners can keep their mouths shut. You know how Ramsay liked to go on those long hunting trips.

Roose has a new potential heir and a daughter-in-law who knows how to play the game. I don't know that he'd get too upset over the open question of whatever happened to Ramsay Snow.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:05 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fine, but then can we have an righteous agonizing death scene for Roose?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:14 PM on May 20, 2015


Ideally both Roose and Ramsay will be rude to a mysterious traveler named Hannibal.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:18 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wish they hadn't cut Wyman Manderly.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:24 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


i literally just read it last week and i still can't remember if he was in the pie or if he made the pie.

what was the deal with the pie
posted by poffin boffin at 3:30 PM on May 20, 2015


it was a very Hannibal pie
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]




Wyman Manderly made the pie with those two obnoxious Freys that came to prance around. He waited until they'd left his house and guest right was over, then baked them in pies for eatings.
posted by corb at 3:34 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I KNOW but who got enpied, was it lannisters or freys.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:34 PM on May 20, 2015


Three! Three Freys in a pie, ha ha ha! ::thunder::
posted by rewil at 3:35 PM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Three shall be the number thou shalt Frey, and the number of the Freying shall be three. Four shalt thou not Frey, neither Frey thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Frey Pies towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:41 PM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


(Book 5 info)The best pie you have ever tasted, my lords. Wash it down with Arbor gold and savor every bite. I know I shall.

God That's Good!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:42 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Worst Pies in London Westeros?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:43 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


i am sad that there doesn't appear to be anywhere i can order emergency pot pie delivery right now
posted by poffin boffin at 3:44 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


don't you live in NYC and possibly Brooklyn? There used to be a place where anarchist boys would bicycle deliver meat pies to you.
posted by corb at 3:49 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, uh, if you like that sort of thing. *shifty eyes*
posted by corb at 3:49 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


here you go poffin boffin.
posted by corb at 3:52 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It looks like show won't have Frey pie and that makes me sad.
posted by drezdn at 3:58 PM on May 20, 2015


No Frey pie. No stirring emotional statement about what "The North Remembers" means in terms of the history of the Starks and the people of the North. No clear motive for Tyrion.
No Kingsmoot. No Aegon. No cyvasse in Dorne.

All these moments, lost. Like heirs and Reynes. Time for the credits.
posted by nubs at 4:17 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


No way there won't be a kingsmoot?????
posted by Strass at 4:20 PM on May 20, 2015


They haven't cast anyone to play the Krakens; my impression is that they've dropped the Iron Islands to the point that we aren't even going to get a throwaway line about Balon's death. Just, you know, to prove Melisandre and Red Rhalloo have some follow-through.
posted by nubs at 4:24 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


They might do a Kingsmoot next season, not sure what the hell they are planning, but if I understand correctly the budget made them choose Dorne or Pyke this year.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:29 PM on May 20, 2015


Then they ran out of budget for Dorne too, apparently.
posted by davidjmcgee at 4:34 PM on May 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


I dunno if the problem is budget, exactly. Writing, casting, costuming, fight choreography...these are things that have been strengths at times but in this case have failed to come together in a compelling whole. Do something, Dr. Bashir! Damn it! Haven't been this frustrated about a casting I was excited about since Olmos on Dexter.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:37 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


the way the general public looks at rape scenes can be summed up by that gross "we saw your tits" song that whatshisname mcasshat did at whatever awards show last year, which included a shot of jodie foster's gang rape scene from the accused as an example of a sexy nude scene

what what WHAAAT??

*not looking it up -- nope, not looking it up*
posted by blurker at 1:41 PM on May 21, 2015


Yeah, that's a thing that actually happened. SCROLL NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW






At the Oscars last year, Seth MacFarlane was hosting, and in between all the other grotesque shit (almost all of it sexist) sang a song called "We saw your tits" featuring basically every top-flight actress in roles where they'd appeared topless. It was stomach-churning to start with, and then they included Jodie Foster's portrayal of someone being gang raped.

The thing that struck me about it was that maybe, maybe, if you squinted really hard, you could see that inclusion as either being really edgy (and still bad) or a commentary on how disgusting the whole spectacle was. Instead, I'm pretty sure, it was some bro-jerk going "heh, tits" and just not caring about the context.

There's a lot of parallels with GoT there.










END SCROLL.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:54 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Folks, this is Fanfare. Please try to stay more or less on-topic and there's no need to link to tangentially-related gross things. If people want to chase them down, Google is there for them. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:00 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing that struck me about it was that maybe, maybe, if you squinted really hard, you could see that inclusion as either being really edgy (and still bad) or a commentary on how disgusting the whole spectacle was. Instead, I'm pretty sure, it was some bro-jerk going "heh, tits" and just not caring about the context.

Pretty sure he understood the context, Seth MacFarlane is a smart guy and does stuff like that intentionally to be edgy.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:03 PM on May 21, 2015


Writing, casting, costuming, fight choreography...these are things that have been strengths at times but in this case have failed to come together in a compelling whole.

Well, filming in a different location typically means a whole different film crew. Second unit director, second unit camera operators, second unit everything. (Though in GoT's case it's probably like third or fourth unit tbh.) So, you can have a great fight choreographer in Ireland where they filmed the Brienne-vs-the-Hound fight (and most Westeros stuff), a decent one in Iceland for the Wall stuff, and a rubbish fight choreographer in Seville, Spain which IIRC is where they're filming Dorne. (And a sort of hit-or-miss one in Morocco where they film the Dany stuff.) So it doesn't surprise me too much that different plotlines filmed in different locations are going to have different strengths and weaknesses (and I'm surprised at times the show isn't more of a stylistic hodgepodge than it is), but I have been surprised and disappointed at how completely lackluster the Spain/Dorne behind-the-scenes crew has been in basically every possible respect. I suppose by the time they got all the footage to the central editing room it was too late to re-shoot anything so probably they just opted to leave a lot on the cutting room floor, which also hasn't done the Dorne plotline any favors but at least has kept us from spending too much time there.
posted by mstokes650 at 4:58 PM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Didn't think of it until today, but perhaps the thing I'll be saddest to see cut (if it is cut) is Septon Meribald's speech. Maybe they'll work it in somehow.

I've said it before, I get that they have to make changes for the adaptation, and in general I've been ok with most of what has been removed and I outright think they've exceeded the source material with some scenes and changes. And the show and the books are two different pieces of entertainment.

But there's some moments and emotional beats that the novels have that are important to the story that I miss.
posted by nubs at 11:04 AM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I get that. I really, really miss Jaime confessing to Tyrion that Tysha was not actually a whore.
posted by corb at 12:34 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


also the "I gave her a gold coin, because a Lannister was worth more."
posted by corb at 12:34 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a rape survivor, and with the full awareness that other rape survivors disagree, I'd probably be way angrier about AND IT WAS THE MORNING AFTER AND SANSA WAS JUST KINDA BRUISED AND SAD-LOOKING cut-away.

I wondered about this, joyceanmachine. Wondered if the showrunners were actually TRYING to learn from their past mistakes, and thought that if this weren't shown to be the horrific thing it was, critics would be all over them for soft-pedaling marital rape and not portraying it as actual rape.

I mean another way they could have gone would have just having Sansa stoically/passively accept the events of the wedding night as an end to her greater goal (sort of like Joan and Herb in Mad Men). And that would have been less viscerally disturbing that what they did portray, but it could have left the question open in some people's minds about whether it was REALLY rape, which would have been an even more troubling outcome.

But I don't know. I am DEEPLY ambivalent about that disgusting scene. But it wasn't sort of ambiguous (as they apparently attempted the scene with Jamie and Cersei to be), and that at least might have been progress in one respect. I'm not defending the scene. Just thinking over the complexities of figuring out the best way to handle a story like this.
posted by torticat at 10:48 PM on May 22, 2015


I really, really miss Jaime confessing to Tyrion that Tysha was not actually a whore.

Yeah, that's a huge moment that is easily overlooked because it seems so small; but it sets up Tyrion's motives during the rest of his escape and onward.

I think it got overlooked/cut because I'm coming to the conclusion that D&D are reading the text very differently from how I do - they are entranced by the big, showy payoffs of the series: The Red Wedding, The Purple Wedding, the Blackwater, Ned's execution, and so on. All they could see was the moment of Tyrion putting a crossbow bolt in Tywin and how satisfying that would be. And it is, but it becomes moreso when you have that moment with Jaime. I love the big payoff moments too, but also the payoffs that come from the quieter setups and surprises.
posted by nubs at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's overly uncharitable to say they nixed the Tysha reveal because they have a more superficial interpretation of the books. Tyrion's motivations post-Westeros are kind of a mess in the books, in my opinion, and I think they recognized that they were going to need to do a complete overhaul of his storyline, if for nothing other than brevity. There's enough time in the books to have Tyrion develop distinct grudges against both Cersei and Jaime, but being set up for murder and execution by Cersei is enough to properly motivate Tyrion I think. The inclusion of Tysha would just become another loose strand, which is not terrible in a multi-book format, but much more irksome in a TV show. I think this might just as well be taken as a sign that the showrunners are willing to make tough choices about limiting the scope of some of his story arcs, something GRRM hasn't been interested in doing for about 15 years (publishing date of book 3).
posted by skewed at 1:32 PM on May 23, 2015


I think they are reading the books differently then I do, which is not to say their reading is more superficial, just focused on different things. They do have hard choices to make; I think a lot of their choices are often good - I applaud how they handled Theon in season 2, which I think is much better than the books; I'm very happy to lose a lot of morose Tyrion travelling this season.

Tyrion and Cersei have plenty of reason to hate each other, but Tyrion and Jaime were always close. Tyrion cutting his family ties completely is important from my perspective. the Tysha storyline was set up right from the first season of the show as well and then not used.
posted by nubs at 2:00 PM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the Tysha thing is like a Chekhov's gun staring everyone in the face and not going off. I think nubs may be right though - that maybe D&D either haven't read or skimmed past the books, so they didn't understand how important some of the emotional beats were - it would explain why we've been missing some of the big ones thus far.
posted by corb at 4:40 AM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, to be clear - I think D&D have read the books, and are quite deeply familiar with the source material. They are fans, through and through. They have been enough little touches and nods (Ser Duncan, Egg, a host of other little background details or notes that are really there for the book readers) to things throughout the series that leave me with no doubt they know the source material deeply. I have no doubt I could sit and talk trivia and history with them all night and have a grand time.

I do think they are making some choices that are based on some different factors/ideas about the series than what I have. I'll try to unpack that a bit.

The book series, as I am currently thinking about it, is intended to be transgressive in two different ways. First, it's transgressive in terms of narrative expectations. This work is (in part) a reaction against the romanticism of Tolkien and the myriad EFPs that have come since; where the bad guys are clearly bad and evil and the good guys are clearly good and just; where the (true) king is always a just and noble man; where the heroes will suffer some travails but prevail in the end; where there are lots of battles, but they are glorious things and any character who dies during them dies well and in noble service and sacrifice; and a "no sex please, we're British" vibe. Martin started with the trappings of High Fantasy and then went Grimdark. Secondly, the books are transgressive in terms of spectacle - giving us the gory fight scenes, the sex, the sexual violence, and so forth. Transgressive spectacles aren't anything new; they show up in lots of action films and horror/splatter films, where the goal is to both delight the audience with the display and also leave them a little repulsed (in a "I can't believe they showed that/that I saw that" kinda way).

I don't view these as two independent things in terms of ASOIAF - having the spectacle in some ways is also part of being transgressive against the narrative expectations. The best moments come when both kinds work together, in a weird kind of harmony. I think of the execution of Ned Stark, where narrative expectation has lead us to believe that Ned is the hero of the story, he'll straighten out King's Landing and save the realm. Then that King's Landing piece doesn't work out, but he'll go to the wall, reunite with Jon, and save the realm from the true threat. And then he gets decapitated in front of a massive crowd screaming for his blood, his children present, and a psychopathic boy-king presiding. Daenerys wedding is an example where I think it doesn't work well: we have a wedding with stabbings and rapes, it's meant to be traumatic because this is a traumatic day for Dany, but it comes across as "look at these savages" racist caricature and then there is an attempt to subvert that with Drogo's gentle treatment of Dany on their wedding night, which still comes across as creepy/rapey to me, and once the wedding night is over, Drogo appears to just use Dany as opposed to being an actual loving, caring husband. So it reads as just plain more transgressive-spectacle. The Battle of the Blackwater is spectacle on the grand scale (blood and gore and bodies everywhere), but it also subverts a few expectations: our hero is a dwarf, who rallies the men into battle. The Hound, who to this point has been pretty much a vicious killer in the employ of a psychopath, breaks and flees the battle to hide in the room of the gentlest woman we've met. The Red Wedding - we expect Robb Stark is going to die (the foreshadowing is heavy), but we don't expect it at a wedding and as part of a betrayal that sees his armies wiped out as well. Tyrion's choices and actions at the end of ASOS - to this point, Tyrion has not really been a killer (I mean, he's killed, but in battle and in self-defense), but here he becomes a man who in cold blood strangles his lover (and whatever Shae thought of Tyrion, he was in love with her) and kills his father as he sits on the toilet and watches him bleed out. It's a wonderfully cathartic moment of Tyrion taking revenge against people who have wronged him, and the conversation with Jaime gives it the momentum to start. It is a great moment of spectacle because of that emotional catharsis for the audience. But instead of Tyrion walking away from it as a righteous killer as he would in a lot of other stories, he is haunted by it. I think there's a bit of narrative expectation being subverted there, and it works because it is true to Tyrion's character; he isn't a man who kills like it is nothing.

D&D have a tough job to do; they have to condense a sprawling, massive set of books (that the author noted he wanted to write because he was tired of the limits of writing for TV) to the TV screen. By my count, they have approximately 70 hours to try to get the story told. That means cuts, and changes and condensing. They have to find shortcuts in the narrative to get characters to certain points (geographic and motivation/development-wise) faster. They have made some great choices in finding those shortcuts - cutting out Tyrion's journey in Essos is great example, because as much as I enjoy fantasy-as-travelog and Tyrion being wandering as to himself and geographically, enough already. Get somewhere. Cutting out Aegon and Quentyn, good. And with some of the big pieces - Ned, the Red Wedding, the Blackwater, and so on they've done fantastic work realizing the scenes. But...

The need for those shortcuts has also meant dropping/missing some of those emotional beats, like the Tyrion-Jaime conversation, Sansa's slower development, as well as having some characters carry the idiot ball at times. And the show, from my perspective, has been far more focused on the transgressive spectacles than the narrative transgressions. There have been a lot of scenes where the feeling I get is a "can you believe we are showing you this?" and I'm thinking here of the sexposition scenes that were heavily present in early seasons and the gratuitous nudity and background rapes and things like putting Theon's torture on-screen. It's a focus on playing up the spectacle over other things that I'm struggling with in terms of the adaption. Some of that might be HBO pressure and the nature of the medium (TV versus novels), but I'm left with a sense that some of it is also D&D. That they are fans, but also fanboys and are delighting in showing us some of this stuff because of the thrill of the transgressive spectacle that both delights and repulses at the same time. And I wonder, because while part of me sees and acknowledges that the choice to put Sansa into Jeyne's storyline does add a lot of momentum, cuts some cruft, and raises the stakes to the events in the North, if part of it was about being able to be transgressive in showing the Ramsay-Sansa wedding night. And in terms of Sansa's storyline, it has me wondering if they aren't after Sansa having a "great" scene in which she stabs Ramsay to death, which again will be great spectacle and cathartic but I'm not sure I've ever viewed show or book version of Sansa as a killer. Not to say she isn't capable, but does the arc go "Sansa as victim - Sansa as killer - Sansa as badass ruler of the North" or "Sansa as victim - Sansa as skilled player of the Game - Sansa as Mistress of her own destiny/skilled ruler".

At the end here, I want to be clear on a couple of points. Martin isn't the first author to do Grimdark or to critique/subvert High Fantasy in this way - others have done it, and I'm also not claiming this is the best example of it. This is the one that has caught popular attention, and so it's kinda ground zero for the discussion of this type of dissection of the tropes of High Fantasy. I also don't think that Martin has always pulled off what he's trying to do well, and there are lots of examples of where he is also doing things for spectacle and where he's laid things on thick enough that its time to consider the point made and move on. Likeswise, D&D have made some good choices and some bad.

Anyways, that was long and no-one reads the threads down here so there you go.
posted by nubs at 9:31 AM on May 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


Very well said, nubs, I guess I was taking your previous post in the wrong way. I agree with you pretty much 100% on the above, though I hadn't articulated some of these issues for myself, so thanks.

Specifically, I think you're dead on about the benefits and drawbacks of Sansa's revised storyline, it's got more narrative punch but seems headed towards a grimly satisfying revenge for Sansa, which isn't what I'd want for her character. I'd much rather see her take what she's learned from her parents, Tyrion and Littlefinger to very slowly manuever herself to victory than to have a glorious moment of revenge. But, most likely it seems we'll get something closer to the latter; you don't spend two seasons having Ramsey rape, torture and kill the weak without eventually providing a grizzly death at the hands of his former victims. Or at least, HBO doesn't.
posted by skewed at 2:00 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks skewed. To be honest, I've been thinking through a lot of things related to this series in the past week and I don't think I was really articulating very clearly and I can see how I was coming across as dismissive.
posted by nubs at 7:02 PM on May 25, 2015


And because it should be part of the discussion of this episode - Maisie William's tumblr post.
posted by nubs at 7:36 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's not actually from masie Williams is it?
posted by skewed at 10:13 AM on May 29, 2015


No, that's the tumblr account of a 23-year-old student named Ryann.
posted by rewil at 10:16 AM on May 29, 2015


Yeah, my bad for not actually digging deeper than the name.
posted by nubs at 10:29 AM on May 29, 2015


It's an easy mistake to miss. :) And I think still relevant, as I've been linking her recaps in each thread this season up to this point, so why shouldn't this thread have its link, too?

I see she just posted this week's, but I haven't actually watched that episode yet. I was wondering if she'd continue or no.
posted by rewil at 10:44 AM on May 29, 2015






I'm at a point where I have a few different responses to this ongoing defense/rationalization of Sansa's storyline and this scene in particular.

First, part of me wants them to just stop talking about it and to shut up; there's nothing they can say that is really going to sway my opinion or anyone else's at this point. They don't see it the way a lot of other people do, apparently, and the ongoing attempt at justification is pointless. A second reaction is some level of curiosity as to why they feel the need to keep trying to rationalize and justify it, this long after, which I think speaks to some level of defensiveness and perhaps a touch of "yeah, maybe we got it wrong or should have spent a bit more time thinking this through"; and a third response, at a more meta-level, is to look at this as an extreme example of the difference that arises between creator's intent and audience interpretation of the work.

At the end of the day, it remains a bad call, and one I think they could have rectified easily - in addition to dropping Jeyne's storyline onto Sansa, give her elements of the Manderly storyline as well. She's getting hurt (provided you really feel the goddamn need to have the horrid wedding night that wasn't necessary to have depicted in books or show - the audience already knows Ramsay is a sadistic, evil shitbag), but she's also then very clearly in a position to fuck up her abusers and the murderers of her family. We get to see Sansa play the Game when the stakes are really high.
posted by nubs at 9:33 AM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Calling it now: Sansa's going to murder the shit out of Littlefinger down the road.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:34 AM on February 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


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