Game of Thrones: The Gift   Show Only 
May 24, 2015 7:00 PM - Season 5, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis remains stubborn. Jaime tries to reconnect with family.
posted by zarq (192 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
What's that I hear in the distance? It sounds an awful lot like a bunch of chickens coming home to roost ...

(Meanwhile, we get the what feels like the sad confirmation that the showrunners don't really have a plan for Sansa that involves her actually having any agency. Depressing)
posted by tocts at 7:09 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis remains stubborn. Jaime tries to reconnect with family.

Sounds intense. Hope I can handle the mid-season lull of shitty storytelling that has been bleeding out into most of the first half of the season and looks set to continue into the second thrill-a-minute adventures of this explosive and intriguing fantasy excitement world.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:21 PM on May 24, 2015


This felt pretty prefuctionary in that literally every event in this episode was easily seen when the plots started, of course the religious fanatics are religious, fanatically. of course Mellie The Red Witch wants more royal blood, of course Cersei will betrayed by the guy we hadn't seen in seasons who turned up again dramatically, of course Olenna will threaten to cut the food to King's Landing (uhh tricky that a lot of if not most revolutions happen because of food shortages)

Like all of this could've been done faster?

I, of course, hold out hope all of is merely more fuel for Sansa's flamethrower of justice.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on May 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also everything in Dorne is boring and dumb
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 PM on May 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sansa's chickens may have farther to fly. Even if good people tend to finish last in this story, I don't see psychopath-boy...Ramsay, I mean...ending well.
posted by uosuaq at 7:26 PM on May 24, 2015


I don't suppose Varys is doing anything interesting.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:32 PM on May 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I bet if he had a big nipple on top of his baldy head he would be in every second shot, from just north of his eyebrows and filmed sideways.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:45 PM on May 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


What did Sansa pick up when she talking with Ramsay?!?!?
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 8:58 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Was Daenerys ever aware of Maester Aemon? I'm going to miss him. We shall never see his like again.

I'm surprised Alliser Thorne allows Ghost to roam free now that Jon isn't there. I have a bad feeling that when (or if) Jon gets back, he's not going have a Direwolf anymore. And that last shot of Olly and the grim expression on his face make me suspect that his next arrow is going to be aimed at Jon.
posted by homunculus at 9:02 PM on May 24, 2015


At this point, the only thing I'll really looking forward to is seeing Daenerys and Tyrion together. I just wish Barristan was still there too.
posted by homunculus at 9:09 PM on May 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


What did Sansa pick up when she talking with Ramsay?!?!?

A corckscrew. I don't think she's ruled out rescuing herself at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:21 PM on May 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Man they didn't have corkscrews back then. What would they even need a corkscrew for? Corkscrews weren't invented until like 1700. If they had a cork in a thing back in old Westeros times they would've just lopped the neck off with an axe like it was a real neck. Sansa could have picked up literally anything else. Why not a Nokia 5110 if you're going to do a corkscrew? This is the final straw.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:32 PM on May 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


They have machining tools in Braavos. Maybe Winterfell doesn't like to waste bottles.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:36 PM on May 24, 2015


Machining tools? Oh god it's basically steampunk. *Gollum, gollum!*
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:37 PM on May 24, 2015


At this point, the only thing I'll really looking forward to is seeing Daenerys and Tyrion together. I just wish Barristan was still there too.
posted by homunculus at 12:09 AM on May 25 [+] [!]


yes after spending that whole Metafilter thread last week thinking "No you guys it's gonna be OK Sansa is gonna be a total badass and this is not just going to be more Sansa-Torture-as-a-Plot-Device" I am extremely disappointed and totally OK with Daenerys and Tyrion having a buddy-cop show together.
posted by schroedinger at 10:17 PM on May 24, 2015


Man they didn't have corkscrews back then.

Also dragons.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:40 PM on May 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


(...he said, knowing full well he himself has thrown a hissyfit over the anachronistic use of forks.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 PM on May 24, 2015


Machining tools? Oh god it's basically steampunk .

Glad you caught on. What gave it away for me was the clockwork map that's started out every episode for 5 seasons now.
posted by scalefree at 10:42 PM on May 24, 2015 [24 favorites]


Carnivale used to have a really interesting intro but then the show itself wasn't interesting so that isn't a good metric.
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:48 PM on May 24, 2015


This is the first episode where:

- the dialogue felt less artful
- everything seemed laid out for the viewer, rather than the viewer having to work at it
- characters seemed less like themselves and more like 2D versions of themselves

About the only great things were Tommen saying he loved Margaery to Cersei - a wonderful moment - and Jonathan Pryce who can do no wrong.

And spare me the 'who's prettiest' ridiculous bs - that's the best they can think up as dialogue for that character. sheesh. GoT just went from a thoughtful other-world drama to a bog-standard costume drama... hope it picks up next week.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:10 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting has nothing to do with it. Westeros is the kind of world that has clockwork maps in it. They're not common but they do exist.
posted by scalefree at 11:13 PM on May 24, 2015


Ha, ha. Stupid Sansa. Did you learn nothing from your time with the Lannisters?

Whatever look the High Septon is supposed to be giving the camera at the end totally did not work. Joy? Satisfaction? Constipation? Oldmanitis?
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 11:16 PM on May 24, 2015


Nice job with the Chekov's Dragonglass Dagger there Sam.
posted by KathrynT at 11:27 PM on May 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


spare me the 'who's prettiest' ridiculous bs

Oh, that WAS ridiculous: so the only reason Bronn's arm got nicked last episode was to set up some utterly gratuitious nudity in this episode? And now Bronn's taken the antidote and is apparently instantly healed so it was all totally inconsequential?

GREAT STORYTELLING, GUYS.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:58 PM on May 24, 2015 [19 favorites]


Nice job with the Chekov's Dragonglass Dagger there Sam.

He gave it to be used; we should expect it to be used. Chekhov's gun refers to objects that aren't initially seen as important becoming revealed as such later on. Now earlier on, when Sam first found it, then it was Chekhov's gun. But now it's just a dagger. Made of dragonglass.
posted by scalefree at 12:02 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was stunned that they only used one single shot of Ghost. C'mon, cgi wolves can't be that expensive, can they?
posted by Catblack at 1:18 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that the show has gotten popular enough that we can move from liking it to hating on it. That's the circle of life!
posted by Justinian at 1:51 AM on May 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


That wasn't even a CGI wolf: that was a normal wolf at 150% zoom, which is a thing you can get for free if you have an iPhone and are near a zoo. Even the camerawork on that scene was appalling - where did Ghost go suddenly after magically appearing just as suddenly? Surely he would have gone with Jon? And why was there another (pseudo-) rape scene? And how stupid is everybody in this show? Why does Sexy Witch even exist? Were Sansa's "friends in the north" literally just that old woman? How did they find her if they didn't light the candle? What is happening here? If this show is the condensed version of what is happening in the books then I can't believe anybody in the world would have seriously read the books without turning grey and crumbling into dust like that Nazi guy at the end of The Last Crusade. You would be better off reading a dropped bag of wholemeal flour. Holy god.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:56 AM on May 25, 2015 [20 favorites]


I thought the fighting pits were reopened with the understanding that only free men will fight. So why is the slaver parading slave fighters in front of the queen?
posted by rdr at 2:46 AM on May 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


rdr: Because what the law says and what people do are rarely the same. Tyrion specifically mentioned only free men being in the fighting pits and the slaver paid both Tyrion and Jorah a wage of one coin. Which he said should last them "for life".

Kind of like how corporations which sell clothes don't allow child labor in their offshore contractors. They even say so if you ask them. They say so a lot.
posted by Justinian at 4:20 AM on May 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh, that WAS ridiculous: so the only reason Bronn's arm got nicked last episode was to set up some utterly gratuitious nudity in this episode? And now Bronn's taken the antidote and is apparently instantly healed so it was all totally inconsequential?

I hated this so goddamn much.

When she suddenly cut to the bead I was like OH FUCK I FORGOT IT WAS TYENE. I wanted her to toss it deliberately short and watch Bronn die gasping. Or watch him get it - only to have it not actually be an antidote and make him once again die screaming. Otherwise these three are the least dreaded fucking Keystone Kops vengeance ever.

I did love the sisters doing the 'oh god is she doing this again fuuuuuuuck this is so irritating' thing though.
posted by corb at 4:42 AM on May 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


You wanted Bronn to die? Bronn? You are history's greatest monster!
posted by Justinian at 4:55 AM on May 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Bronn every single time he's on screen, but that scene was basically pointless fan service as it stands.
posted by corb at 5:01 AM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wasn't totally on board with everyone last week who was appalled and going "the whole sansa rape thing was pointless and gratuitous", but this episode then going "ahhh he does it every night!" was kind of ridiculous.

It's like, ok, c'mon guys, we get that he's evil. Really? Paired with the whole "lol i flayed the old lady too and she had a heart attack before i even finished!" thing it felt like it was written by a moody teenager on livejournal trying to depict turboevil.

This is like, worse fanfiction than 50 shades of grey at this point. I can't really say anything but "ugh, yea, you guys are right" to the people who were really mad about this last episode.
posted by emptythought at 5:15 AM on May 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm glad that the show has gotten popular enough that we can move from liking it to hating on it. That's the circle of life!

This is a 100% worthless comment
posted by ominous_paws at 5:26 AM on May 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gotta admit. I did not know that Bronn could sing that well. Deepens my man crush a little more.
posted by Thistledown at 5:37 AM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


So was Sansa grabbing that thing supposed to be a call back to when she was following Joffrey around a few years ago? Did I invent that in my head?

Also, yeah, this season is starting to feel kind of… watered down.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:51 AM on May 25, 2015


A corckscrew. I don't think she's ruled out rescuing herself at all.

What are the odds she knows where the femoral artery is?
posted by fuse theorem at 6:29 AM on May 25, 2015


Not watered down to me so much as needlessly rushed. Like the Sand Snakes thing, I could give you a rewrite right now that would work better --- what we've had of them so far is one mention, followed by intro, followed by fight, then jail. What we needed was to see, say, two of them be approached by the pirate with the info about Jaime, and they could have their mildly ridiculous poison/sexposition scene there, resulting in them gaining the info. They then needed to take that info to Oberyn's lover, and have the three of them need to convince the third sand snake to join in on the kidnapping plot because they need her skills. Third sand snake then needs to be shown devising the kidnapping plan with them, intercut with Jaime+Bronn also planning their attack, with some pretext given for both sides to choose the same place and time. Then they could have their fight, which is better because audience in suspense knowing they will collide, and you can even have your meet cute in prison scene still if you want, which would also be miles better with the T&A gotten out of the way via the pirate. It's basically the same plot, just slowed down a little to give us just a squidge more time with these characters and give them some inner life --- hint at the rivalries between them, different sorts of talents and temperaments, show some lines where they might break apart and bonds which hold them. Two more scenes, that'd do it and I'd bet a grand that they would work for people as characters. And we're not getting it and I don't know why. The Sparrows plot feels similarly rushed to me, though that's been handled a bit better and has miles better actors in it so you don't feel it as much. All that straight-line simplicity, dumbed-down feeling people are complaining of --- it's because they're not taking the time to lay red herrings, give characters alternatives, choices that might tempt them --- like wouldn't it be better if we had a scene with Tommen and say, Kevin Lannister or the head of the kingsguard in which they tried to persuade him to take the hard line, at least laid out what his options were? That would give that much more oomph to Tommen's scene with Cersei, when she reminds him that Marge will likely be the first one killed in such a scenario. If we see Tommen being given two clear options and then picking one, that tells us something about his character. If all we see is him ranting and his mom saying "you only have one choice, here, really" then his succumbing to fate feels inevitable --- yet him riding in with the cavalry will feel hasty and unearned. It doesn't even need to be a big scene --- half a page of dialogue, Gold Cloak exits stage left as Cersei enters. Yet again, not being given it.

It just feels like a juggler who has made an error and is going faster and faster as he tries to recover, but you can see the circle wobbling and you know he's going to drop it all in a bit...
posted by maggiepolitt at 6:30 AM on May 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


Gotta admit. I did not know that Bronn could sing that well. Deepens my man crush a little more.

This is just for you, Thistledown.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:33 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember at the beginning of the series when book fans warned that the Dornish parts would suck and here we are.

There are only three episodes left of this season and this episode only really advanced the Kings Landing plot line and treaded a lot of water everywhere else.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2015


I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Bronn every single time he's on screen, but that scene was basically pointless fan service as it stands.

Most of the "famous" poisons, like arsenic, cyanide and strychnine, require repeated doses/exposure to be deadly. I figured she was trying to speed his reaction to the poison by increasing his heart rate/circulation -- making it move through his system more quickly. He didn't begin reacting until she started flashing him.

Of course, we don't know if the antidote cures the poison or merely alleviates the effects temporarily. Perhaps Bronn's more screwed than we know.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, yeah, this season is starting to feel kind of… watered down.

I guess everyone's point of watered down varies. I said of Sons of the Harpy:

That was the worst episode of this entire series. It was uncomfortably Dr. Who bad, in the sudden loss of any sense for quite a few characters and the Sand Snakes basically stepped outside of the show to make sure you knew they were serious, cool, and bad ass.

And of Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken:

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?

I had hoped they were one offs or in this case two offs of terrible but I'm having that feeling of astounding disbelief at how bad the series has gotten that I had when I saw the Phantom Menace, on video tape, for the first time. It's probably been going downhill for quite some time but the now it's falling off the cliff.

I'll probably did what I did with Doctor Who. Continue to watch it for sentimental reasons until I can no longer bare the mediocrity. I know mediocrity sells and sells big but it's disappointing to see HBO take a flagship show and Lucasize it.
posted by juiceCake at 7:51 AM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]



Most of the "famous" poisons, like arsenic, cyanide and strychnine, require repeated doses/exposure to be deadly.


I can state that this is categorically and demonstrably untrue.
posted by lalochezia at 8:30 AM on May 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


imagine if Game of Thrones had halfway decently skilled and imaginative screenwriters .

what an increasing waste of high-end production budget and quality acting talent this show is as it diverges from the books
posted by Bwithh at 9:07 AM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


turbid dahlia: Were Sansa's "friends in the north" literally just that old woman? How did they find her if they didn't light the candle?

I'm confused on which "they" found "her" (Sansa or the old washerwoman?).

Didn't some old guy also tell Brienne "the north remembers" or something like that? There's also some fan theories about Brienne sending the old lady to Sansa (Reddit thread, spoilers ahoy), and that Brienne was the one who set up the idea of the candle in the window. It kind of ties into Brienne looking out wistfully in this episode, and the fact that Ramsay could have been using that room the whole time and have been none the wiser, making it all a gruesome mistake on Brienne's behalf.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:46 AM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


What really especially didn't make sense to me about the pointless prison boobs was what Bronn was doing in a dungeon in the first place, when Jaime's out and about doing a meet & greet with the princess, virtually unguarded, armed with a bludgeon-tastic hand. If the Dornies trust him so much, couldn't Jaime just say "He's with me"? Should he even need to? Isn't it obvious?

(Also, enough with the singing.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:10 AM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree with the idea that zarq posed upthread, that the poison wasn't acting fast enough ("How is your arm? And how is your head?") so she made it work faster. If that was true, then the character made decent use of her nudity, versus being a set piece as seen in past seasons.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:14 AM on May 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sys Rq, Jaime is still a prisoner but he is also a Lannister, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and uncle (father) to King Tommen and Myrcella. So he's being kept in way that suits his station.

Bronn, on the other hand, really isn't anybody. An upjumped sellsword.
posted by nubs at 10:18 AM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


So he's being kept in way that suits his station.

Despite the fact that they know he's there to take her away.

I agree with the idea that zarq posed upthread, that the poison wasn't acting fast enough ("How is your arm? And how is your head?") so she made it work faster. If that was true, then the character made decent use of her nudity, versus being a set piece as seen in past seasons.

But then she just gave him the antidote. Utterly pointless.

This show keeps putting people in peril, only to immediately yank the peril away without the imperiled doing anything. It's like the ridiculous Stone Men thing a few weeks ago, and that black&white door that you can't enter except okay now you can. Drama doesn't work that way.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:25 AM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Without being too much of an auld wet blanket, I think there's some *very* generous readings of the poison happening above. Personally, I enjoy how GoT can still, even among the present overbearing grimdark, occasionally remind us that this is a universe in which "Cock Merchant" is a vocation, or that Sexy Boner-Activated Poisons are a thing.

And also yes, n-thing that Bronn's poisoning last week seemed to happen only in order to set up some T&A this week. Ker-rist.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:52 AM on May 25, 2015


the character made decent use of her nudity

That... seems like quite a stretch to justify some fairly typical "let's show some nudity simply because we can."

(Maybe the show's setting up for "this is Bronn's love interest" but still: that doesn't need the gratuitous nudity. Maybe it's setting up a "this is how this slow-acting poison works" that will be paid off by a later use of the poison. But that doesn't need the gratuitous nudity either.)

On another subject: Alliser Thorne. Dude, NOT COOL to be all "ha ha Sam no friends left" at Maester Aemon's FUNERAL.

I'm a bit confused by how the show is depicting him: his conversation with Jon Snow on the wall during the battle suggested that he was being a hard-ass because that's what being in command required. But here he seems to be back to pretty much just an asshole again.

("I dreamed I was old.")
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:08 AM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


With all this war 'n shit gobbling up the able-bodied men and farms getting stripped to the last chicken and wheat kernel by every army that passes (when armies live off the land that doesn't mean just shooting deer), I can only assume that when winter does come everybody who's not in a position to ice fish is going to die of starvation. I mean is anyone anywhere stockpiling food?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:27 AM on May 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wonder who the "handsome young man" Littlefinger told Olenna about is. Olyvar, perhaps?
posted by homunculus at 11:43 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tommen, plus some definitive "not Robert's son" proof?

I fear though that it's Robin, and this is simply Littlefinger promising the support of the Vale to yet another House.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:50 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


When she suddenly cut to the bead I was like OH FUCK I FORGOT IT WAS TYENE. I wanted her to toss it deliberately short and watch Bronn die gasping. Or watch him get it - only to have it not actually be an antidote and make him once again die screaming. Otherwise these three are the least dreaded fucking Keystone Kops vengeance ever.

For a moment I thought she a was going to make Bronn strip, but I guess they already filled the male nudity quota for the season.
posted by homunculus at 11:50 AM on May 25, 2015


On another subject: Alliser Thorne. Dude, NOT COOL to be all "ha ha Sam no friends left" at Maester Aemon's FUNERAL.

I'm a bit confused by how the show is depicting him: his conversation with Jon Snow on the wall during the battle suggested that he was being a hard-ass because that's what being in command required. But here he seems to be back to pretty much just an asshole again.


Yeah, that was lame. After all that to have him go back to being just a petty bully feels like a cop-out. I hope that's not all the writers have in store for his character.
posted by homunculus at 11:50 AM on May 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I could be wrong, but as someone who hasn't read the books I'm a little confused about how The Faith/Sparrows got quite so powerful without (to my knowledge) having been mentioned before this season. Apparently they're even ready to run things in Highgarden? Seems a bit odd to have something like the Roman Catholic Church just sort of pop up and it's like "Oh yeah, there's also these guys LOL"
posted by Hoopo at 11:55 AM on May 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had hoped they were one offs or in this case two offs of terrible but I'm having that feeling of astounding disbelief at how bad the series has gotten that I had when I saw the Phantom Menace, on video tape, for the first time. It's probably been going downhill for quite some time but the now it's falling off the cliff.

This entire season is beginning to feel like, bad parts of st: voyager, season 2 of heroes bad. It's doing all the things that people have criticized the series for in an endless tape loop.

Until they actually explained the poison thing, that scene literally seemed to depict the sand snake lady having an enchanted medusa-esque deathcooter which would kill any man who looked upon it.

I mean, would you put that past this show? The red lady already has a glowing magic flamesnatch. This show isn't above magical vaginas.

It probably would have shifted gears for me to ironic hatewatching in the vein of like, mutant x if they did but idk


I'm not some drive by hater either. This season just feels like watching your highschool friend start college and get in to drugs and become really boring and sad. Every episode so far has been a mixture of boring and cringe, while mixing in some of the relatively awful stuff people have(rightfully, but it was at least defend-able) critcized the show for in the past.

Like, the whole jaime rape scene and the occasional helping of cheese you could go "yea, but it's generally not like that". The boobs and constant t&a well, it's hbo. That wasn't specific to this show, that was such a thing that parody videos were made about it anyways!

Watching this and talking about it with people is starting to feel like inviting that one annoying friend that you still like but your other friends are tired of out to the pub. It's getting increasingly hard to defend, and increasingly boring and eye-rolly to watch.

I used to turn off my computer and watch this shit edge of your seat style. Definitely for like, all of seasons 1-3. And for most of season 4. I had a bunch of friends and friends of friends who made a big deal out of watching it. Now? It kinda feels like most people i know, and not just me, are sort of watching it out of obligation to see where it goes.

I really really hope they correct this and it doesn't just go downhill and die a slow death of ending as cringey and bad as like, some syfy channel original series.

(and holy shit, yea, everything they've shown with the sand snakes has been BAD. it's like if someone took the worst parts of some xena-and-quantum leap era show and added boobs. it really is like, worse than the worst of dr who bad)
posted by emptythought at 11:59 AM on May 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


We had a deal, Kyle: That... seems like quite a stretch to justify some fairly typical "let's show some nudity simply because we can."

Yes, a stretch, but not that great of one in my eyes. There have been so many scenes where there were nameless, mute young ladies who simply stood around naked, or got naked, to sex up some central character, if they weren't purely window dressing to remind the viewer "this is where people pay to have sex." And then there's Craster's Keep, after the mutiny, where rape was used as a backdrop to remind everyone "the Night's Watch is made up of rapers and murderers, and these are some really bad guys."

Is nudity necessary to tell any of this story, or specifically that scene in the jail? No, there are more subtle ways to raise a man's blood pressure. But from what we had previously? This was an improvement.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:59 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


the fact that Ramsay could have been using that room the whole time and have been none the wiser,

I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that Ramsay was not actually in the broken tower - that it was just Ramsays' regular room. That we were meant to think that Theon was going to the broken tower, but that at some point between the nod to Sansa and stepping in the door, he decided to tell Ramsay instead.
posted by corb at 12:01 PM on May 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


And really, no, this show isn't "big enough to be cool to hate". The decline has been like a(mild, and obviously not as bad duh) television version of watching a really good friend of mine slowly turn in to a raging alcoholic and huge cokehead. It's like a shell of it's former self that you're not quite willing to give up hope on.
posted by emptythought at 12:01 PM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


According to io9, Tyene's scene with Bronn was the actress's audition scene.
posted by homunculus at 12:04 PM on May 25, 2015


According to io9, Tyene's scene with Bronn was the actress's audition scene.

this is even grosser. that's like porno casting couch shit
posted by emptythought at 12:07 PM on May 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that Ramsay was not actually in the broken tower - that it was just Ramsays' regular room. That we were meant to think that Theon was going to the broken tower, but that at some point between the nod to Sansa and stepping in the door, he decided to tell Ramsay instead.

That's what I thought happened too.
posted by homunculus at 12:15 PM on May 25, 2015


As a warning, that link contains some mild book spoilers in the course of speculating about show runners terrible motives.
posted by corb at 12:19 PM on May 25, 2015


Thinking about Littlefinger's "handsome young man" possibly being Olyvar, if someone were to assassinate him, then the Sparrows would lose their star witness. I'd assume they're keeping him in custody, but Olyvar wasn't unkempt like Loras was at the inquest, so he might not be in one of the cells in the Sept. If he's somewhere reachable, well...
posted by homunculus at 12:35 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think assassination would actually not go well and would work against things. I think much more likely would be, ESPECIALLY considering Cersei has been arrested, "Cersei Lannister forced me to lie about Loras and Margaery because she wanted them gone." I think this might go well, especially because Margaery has been loved as a queen of the people - she's the one that kept the commoners fed and visited orphanages, etc.
posted by corb at 12:37 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Littlefinger, remember when he told Ramsay that he would get Ramsay if he hurt Sansa? Yeah, I don't either.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:47 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


emptythought: And really, no, this show isn't "big enough to be cool to hate". The decline has been like a(mild, and obviously not as bad duh) television version of watching a really good friend of mine slowly turn in to a raging alcoholic and huge cokehead. It's like a shell of it's former self that you're not quite willing to give up hope on.

If we're going for that sort of analogy, I'd say it's more like watching a friend who had such potential just coast by on doing the bare minimum, while having moments of shining that remind you what they could be, to make the slackerdom sting even more.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yea but then i'd have to look long and hard at my self. and self reflection sucks.
posted by emptythought at 12:51 PM on May 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah I agree with emptythought on this too, the show is having a very...True Blood sorta decline, where you star to wonder what it was that drew you in and where that part went.
posted by Hoopo at 12:52 PM on May 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


How did Patrick Bateman find out about Old Lady if the candle wasn't lit in the tower?

I'm not sure if this really needed to be answered. Maybe they did use a candle in the tower. Also the Boltons skin people alive. They can probably get information if they need to, i figure they could probably have tortured a few people and got someone to speak up if they chanced upon someone that knew something. Greyjoy grew up there, he may have had some input into likely culprits. There's lots of things that could have happened, I don't think this is a plot hole exactly.
posted by Hoopo at 1:17 PM on May 25, 2015


No it's not a plot hole it's just ugly and stupid and lazy and unnecessary. An old lady was introduced into the story so she could be tortured and flayed a couple of episodes later to remind us how grimdark and megaevil Ramsay is. Like whatever dudes use some of that flayed skin to make a new drum to beat because this one is old as hell.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:28 PM on May 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


No, because even if she lit the candle, the candle is for Brienne, not the old lady. Only Sansa knew about the old lady. Theon could not have got that from 'I have friends in the North'.
posted by corb at 1:36 PM on May 25, 2015


Youre right. I forgot who the candle was for. Good thing they tortured the old lady first then I guess. Which is definitely what happened because if they tortured some other servants first they definitely would have made a point of showing/telling us. So the old lady told Sansa to light a candle in the tower to summon her northern friends (Brienne) and Sansa figured she would ask Reek to do it for her and Reek dobbed her in. Perhaps the old lady could have been enlisted for candle duties instead? Perhaps the old lady could have done it anyway without saying anything since Ramsay is so obviously bad and Sansa is so obviously in trouble? I mean the old lady had to get to Sansa in a guarded room to tell her about the candle thing in the first place! And since she was the dishwater woman she knew Sansa couldn't get out to light the candle herself! Omg lol!
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:48 PM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


No it's not a plot hole it's just ugly and stupid and lazy and unnecessary

which would have been less so if we saw Ramsay set up a trap to catch the old lady in the act? I'm a bit lost as to what you were getting at above with the question about how they found out about the old lady
posted by Hoopo at 2:13 PM on May 25, 2015


I guess my question rephrased would be: how did they find out about the old lady?
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:19 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


On another subject: Alliser Thorne. Dude, NOT COOL to be all "ha ha Sam no friends left" at Maester Aemon's FUNERAL.

This read to me as more of a warning than a threat.
posted by tyrantkitty at 2:57 PM on May 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mean I get that Theon is from around there and presumably a lot of the Winterfell servants etc. would still be in place (despite about eight or nine massacres) and could therefore conceivably be loyal to the Starks but since I'm not going to give the show the benefit of the doubt any more, they need to make it a bit more explicit. They are very clear with tits but not so clear with their plotlines.

Sansa gave Theon a candle to put in a tower to summon Sansa's friends in the north because the dishwater lady told her that was a thing she should do if she needed help. Set aside the fact that the scenario is dumb from the very start for reasons I extrapolated upon earlier. Theon goes right to Ramsay and shows him the candle, I guess. (That scene was really shittily edited as well, incidentally.) Ramsay heads downstairs and flays the old dishwater lady. Was it a special candle with the old lady's name on it? "SEEKRIT KANDUL - PROPPERTY OV DISHWATER OLD LADY"? Or did she just happen to be the first servant they tortured and, whoop, she just happens to be the right one? Despite her heart apparently giving out quite quickly?
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on May 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


On another subject: Alliser Thorne. Dude, NOT COOL to be all "ha ha Sam no friends left" at Maester Aemon's FUNERAL.

That's dumb as well. 50% of the Watch voted for Jon and gave rousing cheers when Samwell did speeches about stuff. Despite Jon's unpopular decisions, it's unlikely that the 50% went to 0% so immediately.

Also that scene with Dany in bed with Caravan Guy from Orphan Black: that felt really false to me. Like Dany has become some giggling lovestruck schoolgirl. Caravan Guy has nice arms but he talks a lot of shit that I don't believe Dany would have the patience for.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:02 PM on May 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll stop for a while now until I am reminded of another scene that was dumb. So like, nobody else post anything else about this episode.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:04 PM on May 25, 2015


I guess my question rephrased would be: how did they find out about the old lady?

I don't know, man, it didn't really strike me as all that difficult. It's just a Venn diagram of "servants with a pre-Bolton connection to the Starks/Winterfell" and "servants who potentially had access to Sansa since she's been back." Of which the latter circle is by far the smaller, I'm sure.

The thing about the old lady is that she was never a needle in a haystack; the Boltons would be pretty safe in assuming that pretty much every peasant from the lands around Winterfell hates them and thinks of them as usurpers. But presumably they only have so many of their own guys to go around, and they're mostly soldiers, not cooks and washerwoman and so forth. I mean, it seems obvious to me that part of the reason Ramsey's keeping Sansa locked up is that there's any number of people who'd be happy to help her escape if she gave the word. I don't think the old lady flaying was about showing us Ramsey is evil so much as it was about showing that Ramsey is clever enough to sniff out potential rebels in the castle staff. Brienne remains a wild card; neither Sansa nor Ramsey know about her.
posted by maggiepolitt at 3:04 PM on May 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think a major reason he's keeping her locked up is she has bruises all over her motherfucking arms, which Stark loyalists would not keep quiet about.
posted by corb at 3:19 PM on May 25, 2015


50% of the Watch voted for Jon and gave rousing cheers when Samwell did speeches about stuff. Despite Jon's unpopular decisions, it's unlikely that the 50% went to 0% so immediately.

That was before Jon said "Hey, y'all, my first act as Lord Commander is to release the last of the wildlings, who personally killed a bunch of our comrades, and ride out with him to rescue a whole bunch of wildlings, whom you've fought and hatred your whole adult lives in a war that has lasted for centuries".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:20 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess my question rephrased would be: how did they find out about the old lady?

This doesn't need to be answered though. If you're not giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, it's incredibly difficult to discuss any part of the show at all so I guess that's that, but I figure there are enough stupid things about this episode that we don't need to go and make new specious ones.

I don't think the old lady flaying was about showing us Ramsey is evil so much as it was about showing that Ramsey is clever enough to sniff out potential rebels in the castle staff

Not to mention that it drives home to Sansa that there really is no one to help her. Thus the corkscrew (which I'm told is also ridiculous because of reasons) -- perhaps Sansa is going to try and use it to help herself. Or possibly drink all the wine.
posted by Hoopo at 3:39 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's not a corkscrew, actually - she gets it on the battlements, next to where everyone would be training for war. It looks like part of a crossbow to me (see the above?)
posted by corb at 3:44 PM on May 25, 2015


Some kind of crossbow or battlements device? Flaying device? Maybe it was a...plot device?
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:33 PM on May 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


This doesn't need to be answered though. If you're not giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, it's incredibly difficult to discuss any part of the show at all

I was thinking this. There just isn't enough time to show every detail. The show's real problem (which it inherited from the source except not as bad if you can believe it) is that it is trying to show too much not too little. They have to elide these details or the show doesn't ever get finished even after 20 years and 7000 pages 7 seasons.

If you're annoyed by the show then you won't give it the benefit of the doubt on those details. If you're enjoying it you will. But it's not inherently an issue that all the gaps aren't being filled in.

I mean it's trivial to fill in a way Ramsay found the old woman. He's keeping Sansa locked in a room most of the time. Who has access to that room and is alone with Sansa? It can't be more than a handful of people, and the old woman is the most obvious choice. People tend to talk quickly when you flay 'em.

And yeah I don't think its a corkscrew. Corb may be right; it looks kinda like one of those hook things used to load crossbows faster. That makes sense on a battlement.
posted by Justinian at 5:52 PM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was anybody else kinda laughing at Tommen when he declared his love for Margaery. Oh, honey, you're like 16. I know what you're feeling and I don't think it's love.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Of course Cersei's plan backfired and she herself ends up in a cell. We all knew that was going to happen the minute she let the religious fanatics loose. And yet it was zero percent satisfying because it took so long to get there. It was so obviously going to happen that by the time it happened, I was just wondering why it took so long to get there.

I bought into the Sandsnakes using poison that is sped up by the poisoned person's heart rate going up (at least, I believe that was the writers' intention), but just handing over the antidote for really no reason was incredibly dumb writing that makes no sense. Also really makes the scene all about getting some nudity in there.

Bummed Aemon is gone. His scenes have been some of the most bulletproof ones this season, even though that's not saying a whole ton.

I won't give up on the show, but it's getting harder and harder to defend and more understandable when people say they're checking out.

This show keeps putting people in peril, only to immediately yank the peril away without the imperiled doing anything. It's like the ridiculous Stone Men thing a few weeks ago, and that black&white door that you can't enter except okay now you can. Drama doesn't work that way.

Maybe the writers are just waiting for Ghost to show up and write an episode for them.
posted by dogwalker at 6:13 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


...just handing over the antidote for really no reason was incredibly dumb writing that makes no sense. Also really makes the scene all about getting some nudity in there.

I'm holding out hope that maybe it wasn't a complete antidote, and was maybe just something that would keep the effects of the poison at bay for a time? Or maybe it was a different poison that cures the one poison but also kills you slowly? If it's a ploy by the Sand Snakes to keep Bronn alive/useful that would be the most interesting thing that has happened in Dorne so far.

But...I agree with everyone who thinks that this show has gone off the rails. It's disappointing, but at 7 episodes in I can't keep pretending that the show has been good television this season. Even if everything goes "right" in the next 3 episodes (Sansa stabs Ramsey a whole bunch of times then kills Reek, Littlefinger tells Olyvar to recant on Loras so Loras and Margaery go free, Dany kills Jorah but keeps Tyrion around as an advisor, Arya graduates murder school summa cum laude, etc...) the plodding pace and the terrible dialog/acting thus far can't be excused.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:30 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Of all the criticisms I don't get the one about acting. It has remained, in my opinion, top notch compared to most things on television. The only really comparable acting I see on TV these days is on either Hannibal or The Good Wife. And they're both so very different stylistically and scope-wise that it's hard to judge them against each other. Jonathan Pryce and Lena Headey, in particular, I think have been hitting it out of the park this year!

Some of the actors haven't been given a lot of screen time or emotion because of how packed the season is but that's a different thing entirely. Oh, the Sand Snakes first apperance was not so hot but that's one scene in 7 hours of television so ehhh.
posted by Justinian at 8:05 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even if everything goes "right" in the next 3 episodes (Sansa stabs Ramsey a whole bunch of times then kills Reek, Littlefinger tells Olyvar to recant on Loras so Loras and Margaery go free, Dany kills Jorah but keeps Tyrion around as an advisor, Arya graduates murder school summa cum laude, etc...) the plodding pace and the terrible dialog/acting thus far can't be excused.

Eh, characters getting the happy ending audiences want and expect for them happens essentially never in GoT, which is the very thing that made the show compelling in the first place --- when 99% of everything else you've ever watched says the plot is going through Door No. 1, GoT always picks Door No. 2. So I think you're in for some disappointment there.

But overall, while I definitely agree that this season has had some big flaws, everybody bitching up above that this season has been Phantom Menace level bad whereas seasons 1-3 were Citizen Kane level good has their rose coloured glasses on, I think. Dany spent like all of Seasons 2 and 3 wandering around the desert hollering "where are my dragons" at people to very little purpose or interest, and as for wooden acting and cheesy dialogue nothing that's gone on this season has been a patch on the first two years at the wall --- the whole process of Jon becoming a double agent with the wildings and falling in love with Ygrettite was full of nonsensical contrivances which Harrington was nowhere near carrying off. In fact, the rescue of that whole storyline into something interesting and believable with stakes has been one of the triumphs of this season (and the end of the last). Not to mention the Bran stuff, which was so boring and goofy 90% of the time that they cut it out completely this season without a peep of complaint from anybody. And I think there's been a lot of interesting character moments and fun banter this season --- Stannis and his daughter, Tyrion and anybody, Brienne and Pod, Margery vs Cersei, and some of the Arya stuff. I don't think the fact that they fucked up the sand snakes or are trying to cram too much stuff in at once means the show is doomed, doooooomed, woe betide us all, rend garments, gnash teeth. I think people are letting their hatred of the Sansa plot poison their view of the show as a whole.
posted by maggiepolitt at 8:10 PM on May 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


Was anybody else kinda laughing at Tommen when he declared his love for Margaery. Oh, honey, you're like 16. I know what you're feeling and I don't think it's love.
posted by Justinian 2 ¼ hours ago [1 favorite +]


I thought it was adorable. I loved seeing Cersei's face because along with the rage you could tell she was trying so hard to not roll her eyes.
posted by schroedinger at 8:20 PM on May 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll never get over Candlegate.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:21 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it really all that surprising that a terrifying dude like Ramsay would have sources of information about his enemies that we didn't see? Ramsay, having an operating brain cell, suspected that someone would try to rescue or kidnap Sansa. He has eyes on Sansa at all times. So he saw (or someone did) the old lady talk urgently to Sansa. When Reek dobbed Sansa in, Ramsay grabbed the old lady (along with anyone else he's been suspicious of) and tortured her to get the truth and to show anyone else in Winterfell who might befriend or threaten Sansa without his permission that he owns her.
posted by gingerest at 8:35 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm holding out hope that maybe it wasn't a complete antidote, and was maybe just something that would keep the effects of the poison at bay for a time?

Personally, I feel they've pointlessly jerked us around quite enough with that.

Mind you, we've already got athlete's wrist, so, hey, maybe they'll all be triple-bluffs.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:38 PM on May 25, 2015


The other thing that struck me about this episode is that Cersei is probably also going to fall into the "escapes danger without doing anything" when Franken-Mountain wakes up and kills all the religious fanatics. Granted, she was behind keeping him alive and rebuilding(?) him, but not for this specific purpose, since she clearly wasn't expecting the sparrow to turn on her.
posted by dogwalker at 8:51 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm holding out hope that maybe it wasn't a complete antidote, and was maybe just something that would keep the effects of the poison at bay for a time? ... If it's a ploy by the Sand Snakes to keep Bronn alive/useful that would be the most interesting thing that has happened in Dorne so far.

I hope that's it. That would be much, much better than what they appear to have done.
posted by homunculus at 9:03 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh god, I'd totally forgotten about Mountainstein. Ugh. There's no way that doesn't end up being a total shark jump.

In fact, in the case of Mountainstein I'm entirely in favour of the time-wasting peril/non-peril drama-free non-plot. Just have him be alive for one second and then dead again right away. Maybe he could slip and bump his head or something.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:04 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's no way that doesn't end up being a total shark jump.

"Game of Thrones’s attitude seems to be, why jump the shark when you can rape it instead?"
posted by homunculus at 9:27 PM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ugh, that's so... so... wrong about the function and nature of fantasy. That one can imagine any world one wishes doesn't mean.... grrrr... . But I am trying not to argue about it quite so much I will simpy stew in my own ragejuice.
posted by Justinian at 10:33 PM on May 25, 2015


[A couple of comments deleted. Maybe I'm really confused about GoT lingo or references, but if there's a non-gross reason to refer to a female character in the show as "Landing Strip," feel free to let me know.]
posted by taz at 1:57 AM on May 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


Eh, characters getting the happy ending audiences want and expect for them happens essentially never in GoT, which is the very thing that made the show compelling in the first place --- when 99% of everything else you've ever watched says the plot is going through Door No. 1, GoT always picks Door No. 2. So I think you're in for some disappointment there.

I'm not sure that I want "happy" endings for all of the characters, but I would like narratively interesting ones. For example story/character wise, I think it would be more interesting for Stannis to sacrifice Shireen. We've been primed this season to believe that his love for her trumps all, but does it, really? I mean dude killed his own brother with barely a thought. Maybe he can knock up Selyse real quick and sacrifice her+fetus instead?

As far as a "happy" ending for Sansa -- I'm probably in the minority in that I'm OK with how her rape by Ramsey has been handled, but I do want it to mean something. I was actually pleased that Theon didn't end up saving her -- I want to see her do more to rescue herself as opposed to just acting as a catalyst for Reek's transformation/redemption.

Olyvar being the "handsome young man" means that someone (Littlefinger) is in charge in King's Landing. The High Sparrow going from nothing to supreme ruler just doesn't seem credible, armed fanatics or no. Remember that Olyvar was Littlefinger's man from the beginning, I'm sure that particular seed of Petyr's will sprout for something more interesting than just screwing over the Tyrells.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:31 AM on May 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


What if ghost appeared because it was being worged by bron, who was watching/defending Samwell this whole time ?
posted by motdiem2 at 5:58 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I considered the warging possibility, but it almost seemed like it was Sam, which would be satisfying but make no narrative sense.
posted by Night_owl at 7:03 AM on May 26, 2015


I actually liked Tyene using poisons and her sexuality as weapons--it's very Oberyn of her.

The sexualized violence against Gilly that turned into her sleeping with Sam was some goofy bullshit though. A character on this show has literally stated "A girl who is almost raped doesn't invite another man into her bed two hours later." Listen to Shae, writers! Do better!
posted by almostmanda at 8:46 AM on May 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


Shae has been pointlessly murdered voted off the island, sadly
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:52 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did Tyene use her sexuality as a weapon, though? What interest of hers did she advance by taking her clothes off and making a man who is probably her enemy and at best neutral to her priorities admit that she's hot?

That scene made absolutely no sense to me in the context of the sand snakes being putatively badass.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:00 AM on May 26, 2015


Was anybody else kinda laughing at Tommen when he declared his love for Margaery. Oh, honey, you're like 16. I know what you're feeling and I don't think it's love.

Three things: first, as soon as a young lady has her first period, she's fit to be a mother, so by 16 you could have had a couple kids. I know this isn't love, but it helps put the marrying age in perspective for me. Second, royalty don't marry for love, so Tommen's sad profession of love is even sadder/sillier, which brings us to the 3rd point: Cersei's excellently arched eyebrow at the whole scene, which definitely comes from her hatred of The Prettier One (from the prophecy, no spoilers), but could also come from her personal sadness that Tommen hasn't learned that love shouldn't really factor into royal relationships (see: his "dad," who Cersei said she "mourned").
posted by filthy light thief at 10:02 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, also, last week I said: "Bronn is totally going to die of spear-poison," but in my defense that was back when I thought the sand snakes were actually dangerous.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:12 AM on May 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Shae has been pointlessly murdered voted off the island, sadly

Shae's murder wasn't pointless, but it does carry on a theme of using women as disposable plot points for the men's actualization. Shae had to die for Tyrion to be willing to risk everything to go to Dany. A Tyrion in love would never take risks like that - even after killing his father.
posted by corb at 10:12 AM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


If he had just killed Tywin he would still have enough justification for getting out of Dodge. The show has made it plain that no one in Westeros cares about the lives of women, much less prostitutes. Killing her gets rid of a loose end, since without Tyrion in Kings Landing Shae serves no purpose on the show.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:16 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, last week I said: "Bronn is totally going to die of spear-poison," but in my defense that was back when I thought the sand snakes were actually dangerous.

More like garter snakes, right?

(it works on two levels!)
posted by tocts at 10:17 AM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cersei is probably also going to fall into the "escapes danger without doing anything" when Franken-Mountain wakes up

I'm not following this. Is this a book-based spoiler?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:30 AM on May 26, 2015


I'm not following this. Is this a book-based spoiler?

I don't remember which episode it was, but we saw Qyburn next to the Mountain who was covered by a sheet, who he has been experimenting on, who suddenly started twitching a lot. So it's not, like, true Frankenstein, but there's enough of a mad scientist air about it. But even the Mountain I don't think could cut his way through that many fanatics. The point of the Mountain is that he's terrifying one on one, not that he could take down singlehandedly what at this point is an army.
posted by corb at 10:34 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not following this. Is this a book-based spoiler?

FrankenMountain has been established on the show since the closing episode of Season 4 where Pycelle writes him off as a lost cause but Pycelle promises to try to save him using his "unconventional" methods.

Episode 3 of this season also gave us a quick reminder that he aten't dead. Easy friend.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:50 AM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Loved the scene with Sansa bravely telling Ramsey he's a bastard and that he should be worried about having a more legitimate baby half brother, and him arguing back that he's legit now, too, and anyway bastards can be awesome: look at bastard Jon Snow's accomplishment in becoming Lord Commander, oh you didn't know that, Sansa?... That was a win for Sansa though it did not seem to register that way for Ramsey (who was probably too busy gleefully contemplating the sick torture reveal he was about to spring on her). Meanwhile, she's figuring out Ramsey's weaknesses and (hopefully?) plotting about someday being in the right place to start fully exploiting them. Go Sansa.

I could see Ramsey putting his own candle in the window to see who turns up-- and it causing Brienne to show up.

I predict Bronn the Sellsword may eventually ally with the Sand Snakes against Jamie-- who is, at this point, their last, best chance at getting revenge on Cersei. Sort of feel like Jamie sealed his fate perhaps when he coldly told Bronn he'd kill Tyrion, and his cause was not helped by hating on Bronn's vocal stylings, plus the news Myrcella actually is safe and wants to stay and get married-- no coincidence really that Bronn was singing the same song again in jail.

At first glance, I thought the conversation between Olenna and The High Sparrow went terribly for her, but I bet her argument about the food supply and who'll get the blame was a lot more persuasive than it initially seemed.

I was far too distracted wondering if Maester Aemon's body was going to burn or not in that funeral pyre, because 'fire cannot harm a dragon.' He was a true mensch.
posted by hush at 11:02 AM on May 26, 2015 [6 favorites]




, she's figuring out Ramsey's weaknesses and (hopefully?) plotting about someday being in the right place to start fully exploiting them. Go Sansa.

I feel like what they're trying to set up there is not only Sansa finding Ramsay's weaknesses but also becoming the angel on Theon's shoulder to Ramsey's devil --- Ramsey broke him, she heals him and restores him to humanity. If I am correct that that's the direction they're going in, I have considerable trepidations about it. If merely witnessing her torture is enough to inspire Theon to "man up" and take on the role of protector, that's....not good. Hacking and mawkish and depressing, really. But --- and we did I think get a hint of this --- a more cunning Sansa successfully applying her own levers to Theon's wounded psyche to manipulate him into being her ally, that would be a lot more interesting and maybe allow them to square the circle of Sansa as Littlefinger's apt pupil and Sansa in peril and in desperate need of allies. And in a way would actually be the most character-consistent path for her; what saved her from/got her saved by the Hound and won even Cersei's pity for a time was Sansa's innocence and goodness, her wounded Little Bird aura. People want to help Sansa, that's what's kept her going so far.

For myself I find it a little tiresome that the only alternative pop culture has seemed to have come up with to the Damsel in Distress is Tarentino's Bride, that "Sansa having agency"="loses her shit, starts stabbing dudes in the neck with a corkscrew". Because I don't think that's any more realistic in the end. In real life, no matter how spiky her leather jacket, what happens when a 5'2, 90lb chick kicks a 6'4, 250lb muscle dude in the chest is nothing much, because physics. Sand snakes aside, GoT has been pretty decent about showing us what a realistic warrior woman might look like in this world, and Sansa ain't it.
posted by maggiepolitt at 11:33 AM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not following this. Is this a book-based spoiler?

No, just a guess based on how the writers have been following through on their setups this season.
posted by dogwalker at 11:44 AM on May 26, 2015


Sand snakes aside

and of course the Sand Snakes did terribly in the one fight we've seen them in.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:47 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel like what they're trying to set up there is not only Sansa finding Ramsay's weaknesses but also becoming the angel on Theon's shoulder to Ramsey's devil --- Ramsey broke him, she heals him and restores him to humanity. If I am correct that that's the direction they're going in, I have considerable trepidations about it.

I think maybe the candle scandal puts this to rest? While telling Theon to go put the candle in the tower, dangit!, she reminded him of who he was: Theon Greyjoy, enemy of the Starks, all-around ignoble chickenshit. He's not her ally just because they share a common enemy, and it is not at all in his best interests to be sticking his neck out for her. Besides, he already has a master; he doesn't need one more person barking orders at him. He can do that sheepish Stoop of Shame shtick all he wants, but his tattling about the candle is Theon looking out for Theon every bit as much as it's Reek being slavishly loyal to his captor.

Long story short: Maybe she did fix him, and maybe she shouldn't have done that.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:05 PM on May 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


My first thought was it was a leather awl, which would be a much more effective stabbing tool than a corkscrew. I suppose the crossbow thing would better fit why it's lying around out here and not in a leather worker's shop. My hope had been less along the lines of Tarantino's Bride, and more secretly orchestrating a revolution with the help of the Stark-loyal servants. But the show never really showed us a plurality of them, so the loss of the one old woman has probably halted that scenario.


The High Sparrow was painting himself on the side of the People if it comes down to the people vs. the royals, but I think he might be over-estimating how many of the People are glad to be rid of the booze and brothels.


Next episode will be the Mountain smashing down doors and throwing around sparrows while Qyburn rides on his back, Master-Blaster-style.

More seriously, Tommen is not a confident ruler, and without either Cersei or Margaery around, he'll go along with whoever first presents him with what sounds like a good plan to save them. Olenna has good odds, especially now it'll be easier to talk to him directly rather than have to go through Cersei. Pycelle is still around, but he's never been shown to be very persuasive. Littlefinger might take this as an opportunity, but I'm uncertain what line of action he'd propose. Third option is Qyburn approaching him with his secret weapon. Cersei has been the only one to support his work, and he's the only one I have a good idea what his plan would be. ("Mountain, smash!")
posted by RobotHero at 12:11 PM on May 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think maybe the candle scandal puts this to rest?

You could well be right, I'm not sure. I guess my instinct was that Candlegate was like Act Two in a multi-part struggle for Theon's soul which will bear fruit in the finale, and that we'll get some more scenes of Sansa leaning on him. But there are lots of other directions it could go: neck-stabby, Sansa gives in to despair (Miss Havisham/Rochester's wife from Jane Eyre; Brienne/Stannis/Littlefinger on a white charger.
posted by maggiepolitt at 1:03 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Who cares about Theon's soul. Throw him out a window, Sansa.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:18 PM on May 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Overlooking a potential ally here: Walda Bolton. Ramsay has been obviously jealous of a potential more-legitimate half-brother, which could make Walda nervous, and she might be happy if some unfortunate accident took him out of the picture.
posted by RobotHero at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's a good point that Sansa probably couldn't take Ramsay in a fight (unless she caught him *completely* by surprise).

BUT...maybe she'll use the [sharp thing] that she picked up to kill Theon? He's proven himself worse than useless to her, and maybe the shock of seeing her do that would do something to Ramsay? Like convince him that she's willing to be his brutal murderwife* so maybe he'll lay off the actual abuse a little? Or just get his guard down enough that she can stab him?

*hannibal starts soon, murder families for all!
posted by sparklemotion at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sansa could easily catch him by surprise. Pretend to be compliant one night, stabbity stab stab.

A thought just occurred. Maybe she's considering suicide. Stark honour is such that dying nobly to achieve goals, sacrificing oneself for the bigger picture, is something that's bred in their bones. Ned did it, after all (though he wasn't expecting to actually die). I could, perhaps, see a scenario whereby she kills herself, it appears to be Ramsay's doing; the North rises ("The North remembers Sansa!") and/or Roose is forced to execute him for murder. Bonus helping of Littlefinger getting fucked by losing one of his gamepieces.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:05 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Three things: first, as soon as a young lady has her first period, she's fit to be a mother, so by 16 you could have had a couple kids. I know this isn't love, but it helps put the marrying age in perspective for me.

Define "fit". Periods do not equal healthy pregnancies and births. There are very few cultures across the ages where women were actively encouraged to put out babies at 12 or 13. Even if you just see a noblewoman as a political tool and marry her off at 8, she's no use to you if she dies in childbirth. Historically, most men and women did not marry and reproduce until 19 or 20, even in Ye Olde Medievale Europe where GoT is supposedly set. Noblewoman were more likely to be married off at a younger age, but it was highly preferred that they be at least in their mid-to-late teens, and to someone a similar age as them. It's one thing if you're in a polygamous culture (and indeed, that's one of the many reasons you see younger women getting married in those societies), but if you're only supposed to have one wife then you don't want her bleeding out while attempting to produce your heir.
posted by schroedinger at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sansa grabbed a thing and hid it away in her skirts. She also openly challenged Ramsay and GOT AWAY WITH IT. Like she smacked him so hard he got defensive and flustered and than did all sorts of mental gymnastics to make it right in his brain and then mentally scurried away.

Showrunners, this is a good start, but I still need to see a few more examples of that and then have her stab Ramsay in the dick, heart, both eyes and then feed them Roose before stabbing him in the dick, eyes and heart and standing on the corpses in the courtyard of Winterfell and yelling "I am the eldest daughter of Ned and Catelyn fucking Stark and these are the bodies of the people who killed them and dared to fuck with me." THEN she pees on them, then sets the bodies on fire and demands her throne be carried to her, which she is then placed upon and then carried back to the Stark throne room. Then she really starts fucking shit up.

That's what I'd like to see to make this all worthwhile. Still not sure whether she should save Theon.

But that scene isn't going to happen, even if Sansa does get some revenge. And that's the point with all the Sansa abuse over the course of the 40+ hours. People really want to see her hit someone back, preferably lots of people and repeatedly. Ain't gonna happen though, so we're always going to feel a bit dissatisfied by those abusive elements of her arc.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:57 PM on May 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Schroedinger, I'll counter-point with the fact that I have three aunts who were married with children by age 16 (well, one eloped at 14) here in Texas, and my cousins (their children) are all currently between 40 and 50 years of age.

I don't agree with this and think teenagers are hardly fit to marry or raise children myself, but 16 isn't an unremarkable age for locking down the lone identifiable heir to Winterfell if you're in dire need of an alliance to cement your claim to the North, like the Boltons.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:15 PM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's Tommen who is 16, not Margaery. So age of child bearing isn't really relevant. Margaery is, what, mid-20s?
posted by Justinian at 4:29 PM on May 26, 2015


Then she really starts fucking shit up.

I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by KathrynT at 4:30 PM on May 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Margaery is, what, mid-20s?

Natalie Dormer is 33 if that helps any. Dean-Charles Chapman, who plays Tommen, turned 16 while filming this season.
posted by KathrynT at 4:31 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh god, I'm very squicked out now by their nude scene together earlier this season. Tommen's "I want to do this every day!" is very apt, but that age difference between the actors is... *shudder*.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:40 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Dormer is 33 but Margaery is younger.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is she? I'm trying to hunt up something definitive about it and I can't find anything.
posted by KathrynT at 4:56 PM on May 26, 2015


In the show, Margaery is slightly older (link includes information from the books) than Robb, who is 18 in Season 3.

the showrunners don't really have a plan for Sansa that involves her actually having any agency

Sansa is starting to remind me of Beth from The Walking Dead in that regard. It bothered me on that show, too.

I gotta say, though...in both the later TWD threads on Fanfare, and in these recent GoT threads, it seems like the standard conversational approach has become "let's find things to nitpick and criticize".

Both shows vary in quality, sure—and both have made missteps, and a bit of grumbling about things that strain credulity is to be expected.

But, man—we've got an hour-long fantasy drama with stellar production values, absolutely gorgeous sets and costuming and cinematography, and quite a few very fine actors. Every frame is a visual feast.

Is there a better serial fantasy drama that I should be watching instead? Some of the things people are complaining about are just inherent to the fantasy genre, or serial television, or even to fiction in general. (If you want to keep putting people in situations full of adventure and intrigue and danger week after week, sometimes you have to devise scenarios that don't stand up perfectly to rigorous scrutiny.)

So, I say, ease up on some of the scrutiny. I mean, you're breaking out the calipers and poring over the show looking for joints that are out of tolerance, and then you're wondering why you aren't having any fun with it?

It's a TV show about dragons and giants and zombies and knights-errant. If you approach it expecting 100% airtight logical consistency, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.

If you're not giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, it's incredibly difficult to discuss any part of the show at all

Pretty much this.

Anyway. The fundies aren't so fun when they've decided that you're one of the sinners, now are they Cersei?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:01 PM on May 26, 2015 [14 favorites]


.in both the later TWD threads on Fanfare, and in these recent GoT threads, it seems like the standard conversational approach has become "let's find things to nitpick and criticize".

I kind of agree. I mean, I think a lot of the shows talked about on Fanfare are garbage but I try not to go shit in their threads constantly...
posted by Justinian at 5:09 PM on May 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Criticism is conversation.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:31 PM on May 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think a lot of the criticism this time is frustration that the show isn't doing as well as it used to with "keeping all the balls in the air" plot-juggling. It's struggled with that this time around: the Dorne plots in particular have suffered by being reduced to a few quick brush-strokes rather than a richer portrait.

I suspect also that the loss of Joffrey, Oberyn and Tywin's spectacularly charismatic performances is hurting the show by comparison to last season: Peter Dinklage and Diana Rigg can only fill so much of that gap.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:52 PM on May 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


I gotta say, though...in both the later TWD threads on Fanfare, and in these recent GoT threads, it seems like the standard conversational approach has become "let's find things to nitpick and criticize".

I kinda get what you're saying, but ultimately the criticism (for me) is coming from a place of "I want this to be better, and it isn't".

There's two big things I'm having trouble with this season:

The first, and by far most important, is that I feel like the writers have gone from bordering-on-bad to just plain awful as far as the treatment of women in the show.

I can accept a level of "historically accurate*" misogyny in a fantasy show. However, I feel like this season they've just gone overboard with it. I would be ecstatic if we could even get through the rest of the season without another rape or threatening-of-rape scene. I'm not even going to ask that that extend through the rest of the show's run, because lord knows that's never gonna happen, but could we at least make it 3 episodes? Please?

The second, less important but not great, is just the ball juggling (and how badly they're managing it).

I don't have a problem with condensing stuff, and in fact I think the real issue is that for the number of balls they're keeping in the air, they aren't condensing enough. Either they needed to leave a plot or two aside, or they needed to cut the ones they're doing down even more. Instead, we've had way too much "meanwhile in Some Other Place ..." that has led precisely nowhere. The Dorne plot in particular is just boring and pointless -- I love Jaime and Bronn, but that can't carry what has otherwise felt like a ScyFy original movie level of plotting and quality. Cersei and the Sparrows, as well, while not actually a bad storyline has felt dragged out so badly. And the Tyrion/Jorah road trip, while not bad in theory, was condensed enough to feel ridiculous while not enough to get it over with quickly.

I mean, I'd love it if we could get an episode that didn't feel like nitpicking fodder, but these two major things just keep coming up.

* I'm aware this is not necessary not really accurate, I'm just saying I can deal with it
posted by tocts at 6:35 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]




Criticism is conversation.

There's criticism and then there's just constantly ragging on everything nitpicky detail which interferes with other's enjoyment of the discussion. If all somebody does is hate on a show they're probably better off not talking about it at all! There's a balance to be found. I suspect this is something that will be worked out in FanFare Talk as time passes.
posted by Justinian at 7:00 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I feel like this season they've just gone overboard with it.

And that's against the background of last season, which had (a) the Jamie/Cersei crypt scene which the director and showrunners seemed to not even understand as rape and (b) as poffin boffin noted above, the relentless background-rape-as-set-dressing of the Craster's Keep scenes.

It's not just that this season is rapey; it's that they apparently learned nothing from the "ugh, Game of Thrones" reactions last season. They haven't earned any confidence that they can do rape and/or threat-of-rape storylines well; and yet they keep on doing them.

"I want this to be better, and it isn't".

Yes, exactly.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:38 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a better serial fantasy drama that I should be watching instead?

This is kind of the whole thing, though--the reason it's so frustrating--because there isn't a better show. This is the best one, and increasingly often it's like, wait, there's really nothing better than this? It would absolutely not be difficult to be better than this, and if anything has a shot at being better than this, it's the best serial fantasy drama on television, which is...this. This could be better. This could be sooooooooo much better. We know, because it has been.

If you want to keep putting people in situations full of adventure and intrigue and danger week after week, sometimes you have to devise scenarios that don't stand up perfectly to rigorous scrutiny.


But they're not doing that. They're putting people in situations that ought to be the beginning of a huge adventure, and then they're like, Nope.

Where's Arya's adventure this season? There could have been a huge fending-for-herself one after she was turned away from the door, but then they just changed their minds and let her in, and now she's giving corpses spongebaths and mouthing off to Sexy Jesus. Where's Brienne's adventure? She asked if someone needed rescuing, got a no, ignored the no, is now sitting and staring waiting for the no to become a yes.* Where's Tyrion's adventure? One exciting thing happened--his miraculous escape from the Stone Men--and it was omitted; otherwise, he's been in a box, in ropes, in chains, and he hasn't really done anything but go along for the ride. Where's Jon Snow's adventure? He was made class president, but all he's done prior to taking the cool kids on a camping trip just now is hang around the cafeteria. Where's Dany's adventure? Her people are basically in civil war, but she's out for a relaxing afternoon at the fighting pits. Where's Jaime's adventure? He got in a couple fights that each lasted about a second and he's come out utterly unscathed from both, and then he's asked his niece twice if he could please rescue her since he's come all this way and it would be the considerate thing for a girl in her position to do.*

We're seven of ten episodes through the season, and practically nothing has happened, despite many, many, many opportunities for tons of exciting things to happen. The only character development we've seen -- in a show so jam-packed with characters even die-hard fans have trouble keeping them straight -- is in Sansa, Tommen, and, to a lesser extent, Jorah; everyone else may as well have gone on vacation with the wargies, their stories nothing but ellipses.

* I'm not sure if these two damsel-refuses-white-knight subplots are supposed to be some sort of comment, or if they're just a matter of having cake and eating it too, or what. It might be kind of interesting to compare & contrast them. Also I guess maybe Arya counts as a damsel in distress actually seeking help and not finding it (but actually totally finding it without noticing)? And Tommen's got a bunch of damsels to free now, and Sam's on damselwatch, and Reek's sort of damselly, and Tyrion... Come to think of it, pretty much everyone's captive. Even one of the white knights is captive now--two, if you count Sam. Plus one of the captors is now captive. And another captor married her captive, who was (is) an industrial-grade captor, and, and, and... Jeez, I'm gonna have to rewatch the whole thing now, aren't I?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:53 PM on May 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


If the King's Landing story arc happened in isolation, Cersei's plot backfiring on her might have been joyous to see, but coming on the heels of the abuse heaped on Sansa and Gilly it just made me sadder.

Even though Daenerys is fairly well protected by plot armor (and already went through her own hell the first couple of season), it's a bit uncomfortable that her most loyal allies are getting picked off as well...
posted by Pryde at 9:56 PM on May 26, 2015


Where's Arya's adventure this season? There could have been a huge fending-for-herself one after she was turned away from the door, but then they just changed their minds and let her in, and now she's giving corpses spongebaths and mouthing off to Sexy Jesus.

Without spoiling, that's actually pretty true to the books. I take your bigger point though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:09 AM on May 27, 2015


Sys Rq, way to absolutely nail the way that every bit of potential intrigue and adventure so far this season has been Wait Never Minded almost immediately. I mean, they literally skipped the fight with the Stone Men when it happened.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:22 AM on May 27, 2015


just constantly ragging on everything nitpicky detail which interferes with other's enjoyment of the discussion. If all somebody does is hate on a show they're probably better off not talking about it at all!

Dude, you're posting about a fifth of the comments in this thread, taking on all criticisms of the show, including telling people that they're only complaining because it's become too popular and they're hipsters or something , which is basically a way of shutting them down without actually engaging with what they're saying.

Needless hate isn't helpful, but I'm not seeing needless hate here - I'm seeing people who love the show having interesting, fruitful discussions about the current problems they have. This isn't people jumping into the thread all "your favourite show sucks".

On the other hand, It's equally unhelpful for people to go Full Homer and post constantly batting everyone's criticism down, because we should only be talking about how awesome dragons are or whatever?
posted by ominous_paws at 1:35 AM on May 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Dude, you're posting about a fifth of the comments in this thread

Come on, I've posted like 9 comments out of 150+ It's not even close to the most comments of anyone in this thread.
posted by Justinian at 1:45 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I definitely think the show has lost its footing and is just kind of stumbling and lurching ahead, but it's ingrained enough in me now that I'm sure I'll keep watching it out of habit and curiosity, and the vague hope that maybe it'll recapture at least some of the magic, like Adventure Time (somewhat) did.

People have already talked about the cracks that are showing. With most of the main players in the Stark-Lannister conflict gone, the plot is just bouncing around from place to place like a pinball; it doesn't feel tied together, and it feels like they're rushing and sacrificing depth and 'organicness' just to keep pace with it.

This is not a good combination with the general 'tiredness' that tends to affect shows as they go on. I don't know too much about the behind-the-scenes but it feels to me like a show where at least some of the major writing/directing talent has moved on -- characters have that 'photocopied' feel where they're reduced to type by someone who has taken them over without having a full understanding of their depths and subtleties; that is, they've become somewhat like cartoons of themselves. Having to act as conduits for rushed exposition doesn't help. Even the camerawork and general directorial magic feel more basic and crude than before. A low point for me was the Battle at Castle Black -- just felt like re-heated channel5/SyFy-level bombast to me.

Certain characters like Tyrion, Bronn and Brienne remain enjoyable, of course, through the sheer charisma of their actors, but even they feel like they're basically treading water. And how long will they even last?

Plenty has been said about the gratuitous exploitation of nudity and sexual violence. It's like a desperate chef piling salt on everything in an attempt to add flavour. It just ends up gross.

But despite all that -- the core concept/setting of the show is solid and they still have many essentially-great characters kicking about. It's enough to keep my interest ticking over, and who knows, maybe they'll be able to get their act together and make proper use of them.
posted by Drexen at 4:34 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some of the frustration I see here reminds me of my experience reading the first books years ago. After loving the first three, I waited the endless five years for book four to come out, and then found it so boring that I quit halfway through, and I haven't bothered to finish it or try book five. To me the plot problems the show is having simply mirror a problem in the books - I really feel like Martin started floundering and completely lost his way in his own story. I think the show writers are doing their best to improve upon things, and they're having to compress story lines because they know they have less time to finish all this than Martin does.

Which is just to say, I think we just need to hang in there through some rocky bits now and hopefully the ultimate resolution will be worth it.
posted by dnash at 5:56 AM on May 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Where's Arya's adventure this season? There could have been a huge fending-for-herself one after she was turned away from the door, but then they just changed their minds and let her in, and now she's giving corpses spongebaths and mouthing off to Sexy Jesus.

A couple of episodes ago you were complaining about those scenes of Arya on the streets were pointless and showed nothing. Now you're asking for more of that, while ignoring that Arya's adventure is becoming a member of the Faceless Men

Where's Brienne's adventure?
She's been tracking Sansa, bonding with Pod and is currently waiting for a signal to rescue Sansa. We'll see how that goes.

Where's Tyrion's adventure?
He had a most excellent time with Varys before getting kidnapped by Jorah and going another most excellent time before winding up before Daenarys. Though I do miss Varys

Where's Jon Snow's adventure?
Did minor stuff with getting elected and setting up his administration, now off to gather up the Wildings.

The only character development we've seen -- in a show so jam-packed with characters even die-hard fans have trouble keeping them straight -- is in Sansa, Tommen, and, to a lesser extent, Jorah; everyone else may as well have gone on vacation with the wargies, their stories nothing but ellipses.

Yeah, I don't get this comment at all. Brienne has finally come a point where she's welcomed Pod's company and even train him, Grey Worm and what's her name have developed a relationship, Daenerys is slowly learning that being Queen doesn't mean she do whatever she wants, Arya is learning to cull her own temper and become "no one" to some extent, Sam has become more sure of himself, Cersei is about to develop a lot, Lancel has gloriously gone done a wrong path, Jaimie struggling to find who his now, Jon is "killing the boy" and becoming a stronger leader, Jorah is struggling for redemption.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:53 AM on May 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh and Stannis has been greatly humanized, which is putting him into conflict with himself and Melisandre. If he goes for Shireen, that'll also put him in conflict with Davos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


A couple of episodes ago you were complaining about those scenes of Arya on the streets were pointless and showed nothing.

Please go back and read what I wrote then. There's no contradiction. That scene (singular) was pointless and did show nothing. If they'd shown something--if actual events had actually occurred and had actual consequence--they'd have a purpose. As is, she was out on her own for a few hours, for no apparent reason, then she wasn't. Ho hum.

Now you're asking for more of that, while ignoring that Arya's adventure is becoming a member of the Faceless Men


Dude. Even Arya doesn't know what the hell is going on with her plotline. Even she's bored to death with it. At best, she's preparing for an adventure.

Brienne has finally come a point where she's welcomed Pod's company and even train him, Grey Worm and what's her name have developed a relationship, Daenerys is slowly learning that being Queen doesn't mean she do whatever she wants

The first two are two brief scenes apiece, and their conclusions were already strongly implied a long, long time ago; merely making the implicit explicit is not an arc. The third is also nothing new; it's been happening in every episode for the past two seasons -- "slowly learning" is putting it rather mildly.

Jon is "killing the boy" and becoming a stronger leader

It's a great line (and a horribly plot-teasing title), but it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense when Jon Snow's been boldly asserting himself from day one.

Sam has become more sure of himself


Did... Did you not watch the episode we're discussing? That's been completely undone.

Jaimie struggling to find who his now

Hasn't that been his whole deal since S01E01?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


When the one Sand Snake was teasing Bronn by opening her dress and asking him if she was beautiful - was anyone else thinking we were maybe heading for a Crying Game moment?
posted by dnash at 7:57 AM on May 27, 2015


Did... Did you not watch the episode we're discussing? That's been completely undone

What? The guy took a severe beating, and got up anyway and was ready to go another round. How did that undo him being sure of himself?
posted by Hoopo at 8:14 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Literally everyone around him, except Gilly, the baby, and Jon's dog, are out to get him. If not for the direwolf, he would have been beaten to death. "You're losing all your friends, Tarly." I guess that's a sort of certainty, but it's generally not what people mean by "sure of himself."
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2015


If FanFare needed a slogan:


FanFare: Criticism is conversation.

I will also accept

FanFare: I'm aware this is not necessarily not really accurate
posted by RobotHero at 9:02 AM on May 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


it's generally not what people mean by "sure of himself."

When I think 'Sam is sure of himself' I mean, he knows what he wants, who he values, and what he's willing to do to protect them. He will protect Gilly at the risk of his own life, even against his brothers. Even knowing they may kill him. Even knowing they're better than him.
posted by corb at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


He will protect Gilly at the risk of his own life, even against his brothers. Even knowing they may kill him. Even knowing they're better than him.

I really don't view that as character growth. That's been kinda Sam's thing since practically right after he met Gilly.

My major problem with that whole scene (rape threat aside) is that what it should have been was:

1. Bad Guys don't take Sam serious as a threat
2. Sam takes a beating but comes back from it,
3. Bad Guys back down because Sam has shown them he can't just be brushed aside

Instead what we got was:

1. Bad Guys don't take Sam serious as a threat
2. Sam takes a beating and stands up, pretty clearly still not a threat
3. Bad Guys still don't take Sam serious as a threat
4. Direwolf Ex Machina shows up to solve Sam's problems

I mean it was more or less Sam committing suicide by Night's Watch until the writers yet again wrote away the tension 60 seconds after introducing it.
posted by tocts at 9:15 AM on May 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeesh. Sorry; I didn't mean to make things all fighty in here.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:22 AM on May 27, 2015


I think you're both right! Sam definitely demonstrated determination, devotion and bravery by facing off against the rapists, even more so than he has in the past, and that in itself was quite satisfying. However, having Ghost resolve it instead of Sam having to either somehow pull off beating the rapists, or face the consequences of not being able to, is another example of the rather peremptory, writer-driven rather than character-driven resolution that they seem to be turning to more and more. Not to mention that it's another example of a rape scene being used as a gratuitous, lazy way to advance a male character's plot.
posted by Drexen at 9:33 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


That is a fair point - I still don't know what the fuck we were supposed to take with Ghost showing up. Is that to remind us that Ghost is not with Jon and seems to be spending more time with Sam? Is it to suggest that Ghost is really smart and thus knows what Jon would have wanted and is protecting Sam? Or is it because they think we missed seeing direwolves and forgot they existed?
posted by corb at 9:34 AM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I guess that's a sort of certainty, but it's generally not what people mean by "sure of himself."

I've never known "sure of oneself" to mean anything about what others think about you or how many friends you have. It's being confident and self-assured. It's that he's no longer the coward who looked so pathetic and hopeless during his combat training. And still it's not like he ever became some formidable warrior who commanded everyone's respect--I don't see any reason to think he's not still seen as the fat nerd of the Black Watch. And yeah, he probably would have gotten stomped. Nothing was undone in this scene, though, he's still brave and loyal as opposed to what he was when we were first introduced to him.

I agree the wolf thing is lazy though. It pretty much only serves to keep Sam alive another day because no one would buy him taking out 2 guys on his own, short of some Clouseau-esque comedy where he does it by accident.
posted by Hoopo at 10:02 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Re Ghost: Yeah, that's definitely something that struck me. I mean, as far as I can remember all of the previous wolf attacks were because their respective owner was being directly threatened by someone(/something). Now Ghost is, what, some kind of lupine superhero who just roams around magically identifying who are the "bad guys" and attacking them before mysteriously disappearing?

I think the way I would have done that scene is to make Sam's "I'll take my chances" speech a little more dark and furious and credible, make his sword more prominent -- and maybe have the background noise indicate that people might be approaching. Then have the rapists look him over and slope off, sneering. That way there's a credible reason for them to leave, but also an indication that Sam actually has some threat in him, through simple gumption if nothing else.

Oh, or for that matter, just have his facing up to them be enough time for Gilly to smash them over the head with something or splash medieval bleach in their eyes or something. Or just escape, leaving Sam free to walk away, point made! I dunno, just not Superghost. Not that I don't always enjoy badass-wolf moments, that one being no exception!

Just to avoid being all-negative, Aemon's death scene was superb, especially that line about the dream. Brrrr. Also with the slave-market scene -- obviously Tyrion was pretty hilarious, but I really liked the effortlessly laconic and cynical performance of the guy who bought him and Jorah. He said a lot with just his face and shoulders.
posted by Drexen at 10:17 AM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think another option for fixing that scene would have been to simply put Sam in a situation where he could use his actual skills (intelligence, book smarts) to get out of it. I mean, sure, still go for something that forced him to stand up for his principles, but do it in a way that there's something he can actually do to solve the problem besides pray for a miracle.

Given that it feels like they're setting up Sam (and Jon) for a major problem with members of the Night's Watch, that would have also allowed for better follow-up. Sam could have shown his bravery and used his (oft overlooked) skills to get Gilly to safety, but come out of it knowing that this was only a temporary reprieve.

(And yes, seconded, Aemon's death scene was great. He will be missed!)
posted by tocts at 10:34 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder what would happen if they had killed Tarly--I mean in-world, what happens to a member of the Black Watch when thye kill one of their own? I gather they're sent there in the first place because they've done something like that previously. So does life just go on, like "murderers gonna murder"? Do they go to a dungeon? Is there a really shitty part of the wall they send them to?
posted by Hoopo at 10:58 AM on May 27, 2015


I'm pretty sure that the penalty for killing a non-outlawed (by the old sense of the word outlaw, cf. the mutineers at Craster's) Night's Watchman would be similar to the penalty for refusing an order from the Lord Commander.

I mean, they took vows that I'm sure implicitly or explicitly state that you don't kill your own brothers.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:04 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


So those guys could be in some trouble, if the nights watch doesn't completely fall apart under Jon Snow
posted by Hoopo at 12:01 PM on May 27, 2015




I still don't know what the fuck we were supposed to take with Ghost showing up. Is that to remind us that Ghost is not with Jon and seems to be spending more time with Sam? Is it to suggest that Ghost is really smart and thus knows what Jon would have wanted and is protecting Sam? Or is it because they think we missed seeing direwolves and forgot they existed?

I'm afraid that they're setting it up for Ghost to be killed, possibly on Thorne's orders.
posted by homunculus at 12:16 PM on May 27, 2015


So those guys could be in some trouble, if the nights watch doesn't completely fall apart under Jon Snow

I think that if they had killed Sam, they would be in trouble -- Thorne is an ass, but even he couldn't overlook something like that.

As it is though, the "fight" could be chalked up to the troublemakers just wanting to make Sam (who really is not a great Night's Watchman) do some extra training. Thorne is sadistic enough to encourage that, obviously*.

I'm afraid that they're setting it up for Ghost to be killed, possibly on Thorne's orders.

I feel like the parallels between that and what happened to Lady and Nymeria would be so on the nose that the writers wouldn't stoop to that... even this season. At least I hope that they wouldn't.

*this clip is actually interesting in light of the discussion above about Sam's character development. S1 Sam gets hit and lies down and begs for mercy. S5 Sam gets hit and gets up to ask for more. Yeah, he didn't turn into a fighter, but there's no way that you can say that he isn't stronger.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:22 PM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder if Nymeria will ever come up again. I mean, she's just wandering around Westeros, not necessarily dead.
posted by corb at 12:27 PM on May 27, 2015


Westeros’s 1 percent did not particularly aspire to be ruled by a trust fund kid who had just spent the last several years on tour with Phish, picking berries and polishing another dude’s only set of armor.

Gold.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:32 PM on May 27, 2015


I wonder if Nymeria will ever come up again. I mean, she's just wandering around Westeros, not necessarily dead.

Nymeria is in the same camp as Syrio for me.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:34 PM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


That scene (singular) was pointless and did show nothing. If they'd shown something--if actual events had actually occurred and had actual consequence--they'd have a purpose. As is, she was out on her own for a few hours, for no apparent reason, then she wasn't.

First Jaqen refuses her entry, then seeming follows her around the city, most city to see what she's become. Once she's ready to fight and kill 3 men, he steps in and then lets her in . Last time he saw her she was asking him to do her killing. Now she's ready to do it herself. I suspect that's what caused him to reveal himself and invite her in.

Dude. Even Arya doesn't know what the hell is going on with her plotline. Even she's bored to death with it. At best, she's preparing for an adventure.

Most students are bored, until their teacher shows them the point of their seemingly boring chores. Which is exactly what happened here. The trainees wash and clean the bodies with reverent care to preserve and honor them, for future uses of their faces (that's what I think, don't know for sure).

The first two are two brief scenes apiece, and their conclusions were already strongly implied a long, long time ago; merely making the implicit explicit is not an arc.

Actually seeing characters take steps and grow into the direction they're seeming going isn't a character arc? How odd. In particular, Brienne's desire to kill Stannis and avenge Renly is a particularly delicious and startlingly direction.

The third is also nothing new; it's been happening in every episode for the past two seasons -- "slowly learning" is putting it rather mildly.

Earlier in in the season Daenerys did exactly as she wanted and that went terribly. It went so bad, it got one of her advisors killed, another terribly wounded. Now she knows she can't do whatever she wants. That's all in this season, so no idea why you're discounting those developments.

It's a great line (and a horribly plot-teasing title), but it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense when Jon Snow's been boldly asserting himself from day one.

The difference now is that he's Lord Commander of a weak and disorderly Watch. He, like Daenerys, may find that he can't do whatever he wants, he can't just ignore the feelings of those under him.

His plan to bring in the Wildings is great, but he's being a bit too hamfisted about it. He's terrible at politicing, that's what Sam is great at

Sam has become more sure of himself

Did... Did you not watch the episode we're discussing? That's been completely undone.


Nonsense, it's grown. This is no longer the literally quivering coward scared to face others in training. This is man who's still a terrible fighter, got badly beaten and still got up to take on the attackers. Sure, he would have lost, hence Ghost showing up (and it would have been a great chance to show Gilly fighting back also), but the point is that he's not scared, even when he has every reason to be so.

He started the process that made Jon the Lord Commander

Jaimie struggling to find who his now

Hasn't that been his whole deal since S01E01?


But now he's trying to take some responsibility for his children.

Things are getting a bit long winded with all this, so we'll probably to agree to disagree and you can have the last word.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have heard that originally GRRM planned to have a five year gap to allow various characters to mature. Instead we are watching everyone level up first hand, and there is a bit of a feel of watching chess pieces get moved around.
posted by bq at 2:00 PM on May 27, 2015


I have no issue with Ghost showing up. I just assumed that since Jon and Sam are close, Ghost would see Sam as part of his pack.
posted by juiceCake at 3:10 PM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder if Nymeria will ever come up again. I mean, she's just wandering around Westeros, not necessarily dead.

I like to think that she wandered down to the sea and found Gendry washed ashore, and the two of them are slowly making their way to Castle Black together, picking up other discarded characters like the Blackfish along the way.
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, I'm still wondering what happened to the Blackfish too: did he manage to escape after his serendipitous "stepping out for a pee now" decision?

(I had thought for a moment that the grizzled servant that Brienne talked to a few episodes ago was the Blackfish in disguise, but on rewatching, no: just an anonymous The Northman Remembers.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:20 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, he escaped.
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on May 27, 2015


Maybe the Blackfish joined the Brotherhood Without Banners. I keep expecting for them to show up at the Wall at some point. Between word of mouth in the North and all the Ravens Maester Aemon sent out, rumors of the White Walkers should be spreading throughout the Realm by now, and Thoros of Myr is one of the few people who would take them seriously. You'd think the Brotherhood would be anxious to fight in the great war of Light vs. Darkness. Beric Dondarrion might be a wildcard, though: his semi-undead status might allow the White Walkers to control him and turn him into a wight version of Locutus of Borg.
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't recall this being posted in any of the FF threads from last week or this week. Powerful criticism.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:22 PM on May 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


(Note the above link has book spoilers.) Thanks for that link, computech_apolloniajames. You might also want to post it in this thread on the Blue.
posted by homunculus at 11:03 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like to think that she wandered down to the sea and found Gendry washed ashore, and the two of them are slowly making their way to Castle Black together, picking up other discarded characters like the Blackfish along the way.

What is this, Final Fantasy?
posted by Hoopo at 3:57 PM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now his fire has gone out
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on May 29, 2015


Also that scene with Dany in bed with Caravan Guy from Orphan Black: that felt really false to me. Like Dany has become some giggling lovestruck schoolgirl. Caravan Guy has nice arms but he talks a lot of shit that I don't believe Dany would have the patience for.

He was also pretty much Mutt Lang in Nashville so there is that music thing going for him as well.
posted by srboisvert at 2:52 PM on June 1, 2015


Also everything in Dorne is boring and dumb

I like to imagine the entire GoT storyline and universe as an unusually involved Holodeck program. On Federation outpost Deep Space 9, the holosuites have broken and only one program is now available. A late-middle-aged Julian Bashir, burnt out on his life's work as a frontier doctor now that stability has come to the sector, continues to play out the role of Dornish prince, struggling to keep his bitterness and ennui in check.
posted by rocketman at 9:57 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


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