Game of Thrones: The Dance of Dragons   Show Only 
June 7, 2015 7:06 PM - Season 5, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Stannis faces a difficult decision; Jon returns to the Wall; Mace Tyrell visits the Iron Bank; Arya encounters someone from her past; Dany oversees a celebration of athleticism.
posted by zarq (249 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
From the TV Guide description:

"Jon returns to the Wall; Arya runs into someone from her past; Mace visits the Iron Bank; Stannis faces a difficult decision; Daenerys oversees a celebration of athleticism."

Yes, there was a great deal of athleticism. and fire.
posted by Marky at 7:09 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tonight's soundtrack.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:10 PM on June 7, 2015


That was some terrible CGI at the end, there. Maybe last week used up everyone's budget and energies?

Question, because I can't remember from previous discussions and I don't know what's in the books: how come Shireen's dragonscale isn't contagious?

And man, that actress did some heartwrenching shrieks.
posted by TwoStride at 7:14 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good call, maggiepolitt.
posted by homunculus at 7:15 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well that was hard to watch (and hear).
posted by octothorpe at 7:17 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Uhhh Stannis, you know how Ipethgenia In Aulis ...ends right?
posted by The Whelk at 7:17 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, Stannis is pretty much a monster at this point. My fondest desire for the next episode would be for it to end with Brienne killing his hubristic, child-killing ass. Preferably directly before or directly after also killing Melisandrae.

Meanwhile, we had just about the best Dorne segments of the season, probably because nobody was trying to mount a high school stage production of the two musketeers this episode.

Last thought for now: the action in Mereen was a bit hit or miss. It was nice to see a dragon do something and all, but at the same time, the slow, touching ending had the same problem as the slow float away from ZOMG ZOMBIES last week: cinematically nice, but logically ridiculous. How is it possible that a gang of guys surrounded Daenerys with the intent of killing her above all else, and not a single one of them thought to throw one of their apparently infinite spears in her direction?
posted by tocts at 7:18 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


That was incredibly heartbreaking and thrilling. Shireen's eagerness to help her father as he stood by as she burned to death...man. The show certainly isn't taking the easy way out.

The return of Drogon was thrilling, but the city is chaos with no leader. Time for Tyrion to step up again? He's already hacking away at people...

How is it possible that a gang of guys surrounded Daenerys with the intent of killing her above all else, and not a single one of them thought to throw one of their apparently infinite spears in her direction?

Classic crowd dynamics. Nobody wants to be THE ONE to risk their life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also there was a dragon breathing fire on people. Bit distracting, that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:23 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was really surprised at how easily the puny humans were able to wound Drogon. If dragons are that vulnerable, there's no way the Targaryen triplets could have conquered all of Westeros with just three of them. People would have figured out ways to take them down.
posted by homunculus at 7:25 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


They are still in their awkward teen lizard phase.
posted by rewil at 7:28 PM on June 7, 2015 [25 favorites]


Yeah, the dragon skulls in S1 were the size of an SUV. I assume they get bigger.
posted by almostmanda at 7:29 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Overall, another good and intense episode. Most the season has been spent developing the characters and moving them to particular places and now we're getting the payoff.

Also there was a dragon breathing fire on people. Bit distracting, that.

Drogon didn't show up until a bit later. The Harpys had Daenerys and company surrounded and realistically could have all surged forward and attacked. But they weren't trained and insteady moved individually, managing to get killed up by either Jorah, Daarios and Unsullied, who are all very well trained.

If dragons are that vulnerable, there's no way the Targaryen triplets could have conquered all of Westeros with just three of them. People would have figured out ways to take them down.

The Targaryens raised and trained dragons, which is vastly different. Plus their dragons were known to be much larger in size and presumably much more formidable, especially with training. Drogon is essentially just a wild, albeit powerful, animal at this point. Interesting that spears can pierce his hide a bit though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:29 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]




I am honestly still reeling from Stannis not just ordering the burning but actually watching her burn while she shrieked for her father as though he would save her if he only knew what was going on.

#teamwhitewalkers. Maybe Westeros deserves to freeze.
posted by corb at 7:40 PM on June 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


Anybody else laugh out loud when Tyrion told whathisface that Tywin would have liked him? Dude probably thought it was a compliment.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 PM on June 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


Oh, I liked that Drogon was a mean, tough bastard but he didn't simply cause all the Harpies to run and cower in fear with his invincibility. They were doing real damage to him (while admittedly being turned to crispy critters) with their spears and stuff.

Stannis is no longer the mannis.
posted by Justinian at 7:52 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Too many harpies. Like roaches in a church basement....... "Where the hell are they coming from??"
posted by pearlybob at 7:55 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pretty much everyone who exhibits even the slightest bit of nobility is going to be thrown out a window -- I got such a deep feeling of dread when Shirreen got her heartwarming scene about the virtues of education.
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed the Dornish guard knocking Bronn on his ass, and I have prepared a list of other characters I would like to see get an elbow to the face.
posted by almostmanda at 8:00 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ugh. This show is getting worse.

The most compelling part of this episode was Shireen getting burned at that stake. So heartbreaking. Although I thought that her mother would have been supportive of Shireen's sacrifice since she always seemed more creepily devoted to the Lord of the Light than Stannis.

I started getting bored at the Harpies part towards the end. Did anyone else find the ending totally cheesy and unfulfilling? I thought Dany was going to take control of Drogon and starting flamethrowing the remaining Harpies but she just bounced and left the rest of her council to fend for themselves?!?!?
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 8:05 PM on June 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


oops, put this in the other thread at first: I agree that I don’t really see how those spears could pose a serious threat to the dragon if dragons are supposed to be superweapons. If the idiot Sons of the Harpy could wound Drogon, trained soldiers with discipline and tactics could take them down.
posted by gerryblog at 8:06 PM on June 7, 2015


I think that she saw that Drogon would not leave without her and he was going to die if she didn't go with him. And since she was the target of the Harpies they had no reason to die attacking a circle of Unsullied/Daario/Jorah once she was gone.
posted by Justinian at 8:07 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Stannis morghulis.
posted by morae at 8:08 PM on June 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


oo deja vu. Drogon is not full grown, right? I think he's supposed to get a lot bigger at which point I doubt spears will be a big problem.
posted by Justinian at 8:08 PM on June 7, 2015


Also, did the dragon run out of fire at the end? Is this some Anne McCaffrey shit where he's gotta fly off and chew some rocks now?
posted by TwoStride at 8:08 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Stephen Dillane is astounding. His face completely transformed during the father-daughter BBQ.

His eye's doubled in size and quintupled in sadness.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:08 PM on June 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


You guys, let's all agree that no one tells Davos what just happened.

Just find him, hit him over the head with a large object, and send him to a sunny farm in Dorne (Does Dorne have farms? I don't know.). Anyway, tell him that Stannis and Shireen have sent him there to start up a special school, let's say, the Davos Seaworth Center for Grownups Who Can't Read Good. Periodically send him letters from "Shireen", who apologizes for not being able to leave her amazingly wonderful life in order to visit him.

Sure, it will be a lot of work, but as heartbreaking as it was to see Shireen die, it's gonna be heartbreaking times two to see Davos get the news.
posted by redsparkler at 8:14 PM on June 7, 2015 [45 favorites]


Davos Seaworth Center for Grownups Who Can't Read Good.
Just make sure it's built to scale!
posted by TwoStride at 8:17 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am SHOCKED that Hizdar was innocent- I was pretty sure he was going to be one of the hands pulling the SotH's strings.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:21 PM on June 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Dorne trip turned out to be as idiotic as we all thought. "Seriously, dude, you could have just sent a letter. I'm a reasonable guy. I obey my king." What an incredibly dumb side-plot. And while the world is about to burn (or freeze), the Dornish prince's big "condition" is that Bronn get elbowed in the face? Really? Those kind of hijinks are totally out of place now.

And the Arya storyline... could it develop more slowly? Meryn Trant is a monster—we knew that. Now we know he's even more monstrous. And Arya either got away with a lie to Jaqen H'ghar (about the slender man not being hungry), or he let her get away with one, despite him slapping her every time she lied last time. Whatever. Even if she does kill Ser Meryn, he's really small fry at this point.

Also, could we agreed not to post links to the "books included" threads here? People try very hard to post only spoiler-free links. I don't even understand why book readers would insist on participating over here.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:29 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


[UNRESTRAINED SUPERVILLAIN CACKLING IN THE DISTANCE]
posted by poffin boffin at 8:33 PM on June 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Everything about Dorne is the worst.
posted by Justinian at 8:35 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do not want to see how Arya goes about getting closer to her creepy, vaguely pedophilic enemy. Nothing good happens in this show without also being utterly tragic.
posted by theraflu at 8:36 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, could we agreed not to post links to the "books included" threads here? People try very hard to post only spoiler-free links. I don't even understand why book readers would insist on participating over here.

Are you talking about me? The link that clearly said "the other thread"? Sorry, though I can't imagine how anyone could have been misled.
posted by gerryblog at 8:38 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


#teamwhitewalkers. Maybe Westeros deserves to freeze.

This is really interesting take and highlights what's been going on in Westeros. They've been tearing themselves apart trying to figure out who should be the King, while the real threat slowly gathers and moves in to kill them all. A father just willingly scarified his daughter to further his goal to be king. If that's what things have come to in these petty fights, then what hope doe men really have?

Another notes:
It's a shame the Harpy's attacked, Daarios was talking himself into a very good night with Daenerys.

Another Westeros wedding, er engagement, that ended badly.

Emily Clarke was killing it in her attitudes towards Jorah. Hate and revulsion mixed with anger and a fierce longing to be friends with him again. Just really good acting there..

Shame that Tyrion didn't say very much this episode, but at least he did up his battle tally.

The sudden appearance of the Haryps was delightfully creepy, all the more so because it was broad daylight.

Poor Unsullied. Overwhelming numbers are really taking a bite out of them.

Greyworm, where are you?!


What an incredibly dumb side-plot.

I suspect that a lot of the characterization that was developed in Dorne will matter next season. If so, I'm ok with that.

Also, having just rewatched the episode, I'd argue that Drogon wasn't that injured. Clearly he was bothered by some of the spears, but it's doesn't look like he was anywhere close to dying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Let's not forget that, wherever you want to lay the ultimate moral blame, good ol' Ramsay set up the conditions for the burning-at-the-stake situation. Apparently he's even capable of long-distance sadism.
posted by uosuaq at 8:43 PM on June 7, 2015


I'd argue that Drogon wasn't that injured. Clearly he was bothered by some of the spears, but it's doesn't look like he was anywhere close to dying.

I thought Dany left to protect him. If he wasn't being harmed, why did she bail on all her people? Just let Drogon kill all the Harpies.
posted by gerryblog at 8:45 PM on June 7, 2015


Both Arya and Jon's plots seem set up for a major escalation next week, and it's high time we got some Sansa In Winterfell When a the Walls Fell action but

Yeah no I feel like that entire Dorna subplot should've been played more obviously farcical? Cause it see,s like a pointless plot tide pool otherwise?
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think partially because she loves him and he's the only child she's going to have. If someone's beating your kid, you don't pause to ask "how much?"
posted by corb at 8:47 PM on June 7, 2015


If he wasn't being harmed, why did she bail on all her people

He wasn't being harmed, just not that much. But he was going to stay there as long as she was there, and probably get seriously injured. So, she took him away.

Yes, it sucks for her small council and skilled warriors to be stuck in the arena with a bunch of untrained, jumped up rich men. Suck for the Harpys that is .
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I suspect that a lot of the characterization that was developed in Dorne will matter next season. "

What exactly did we learn with the whole Dorne story? That Myrcella's in love and wants to marry her betrothed? That will still happen, per Doran. That Oberyn's paramour, Ellaria, is still super-angry? Well, okay, but she just kneeled to Doran. So if she's planning another betrayal, then that whole arc is meaningless (except that we know it would mean her death if Doran has his way, but Ellaria's a pretty minor character). That Trystane will serve on a small council that doesn't even seem to exist anymore? Exciting stuff.

I just don't get the entire plotline, and most of how it unfolded was super-goofy.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:56 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


What exactly did we learn with the whole Dorne story?

Bronn has a new admirer, Jaime and Bronn are now friends, Bronn might get a new castle/standing, the Prince of Dorn is trying hard to maintain peace, the Sand Snakes and El will be quiet for now and Myercella feels closer to the Martells than the Lannisters, which means Jamie isn't going to get that happy family he was searching for in Dorne.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I assume the Dirne stuff is to establish there are still Succession-approved relatives out there in case the whole damn current Regent/King set up goes sour but did it have to take up so. So. So much time and space?
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


- Shireen dying really got to me, especially since the scene with Davos reminded us of what a good kid she was. Thought about Davos finding out and thought (hoped?), "Surely this."

- The whole Dorne sideplot was, I'm pretty sure, aimed at getting Jaime out of King's Landing so that Cersei could be taken through the whole thing with the High Sparrow without Jaime interfering (and possibly getting himself killed). In-story, my guess is that Doran caught wind of the Sand Snakes' plot, and sent the necklace-viper head present through some cutouts with the thought of having King's Landing send someone to retrieve Myrcella, either succeeding and therefore avoiding the death of a royal princess and the ensuing war, or drawing out the Sand Snakes and therefore exposing their treason and allowing Doran to eliminate them as political rivals. Ellaria makes reference to Doran's disability disparagingly, and with the apparent popularity of Oberyn, I wonder if Doran didn't nudge his charismatic and athletic younger brother in the direction of King's Landing as well. Eh, it's a theory.

- Nice head-fake WRT the implication in the teaser for the episode WRT Thorne maybe not letting Jon and the wildlings in vs. the reality, but could Olly have possibly given Jon a worse stinkeye, short of pointing two fingers first at his own eyes, then at Jon's? I'm surprised we haven't seen Sam find Olly using a cartoon of Jon for an archery target.

- Daenerys apparently has no archers, or somehown no one suggested they work security for the big public event in the city plagued by insurgents, or they all called in sick. Or something. And I'm not surprised that Drogon took a few spears; if you remember the dragon skull at King's Landing (that's Arya touching it), they get a lot bigger, and I'm guessing tougher in the bargain (think of scales the size of dinner plates rather than dimes). Plus, as mentioned above, the Targaryens would have known tactics for using them to strafe armies without running into flights of arrows and the like. I do wonder, if Dany has taken off for the season, whether she's going to work out some of those tactics and bring it back home.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:19 PM on June 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Archers? That's crazy talk.
posted by Justinian at 9:34 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mance was right about dying at the stake.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:42 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


To add another angle on the Drogon/spears issue, the AV Club's reviewer suggests the issue wasn't that Drogon was being hurt, it was that he would have killed everyone in the arena (on both sides) if Dany hadn't led him off.
posted by gerryblog at 9:43 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


You guys, let's all agree that no one tells Davos what happened...as heartbreaking as it was to see Shireen die, it's gonna be heartbreaking times two to see Davos get the news.

I truly regret being all Debbie Downer about this, but don't you think Davos already knows, on some level? He asked to take her with him --- not the first time he's tried to get her away from the Red Woman --- Stannis said no, and he obeyed. I was crossing my fingers he was going to hustle her out of the camp, but no, instead it was, "hey, even though this all happened like two years ago*, I just wanted to take the time right now to give you a really special gift to express my thanks for teaching me to read, almost like I'm pretty sure I'm never going to see you again and this will be my last chance. Goodnight and good luck, if you're still alive when I get back I will totes carve you a matching doe. You're not, like, gonna be, but I've got scrolls to deliver and horrors to turn a blind eye to, so, l8r."

Also, in re Arya --- is it wrong of me that her incompetence here gives me some hope for her soul? If she really had successfully become a cold blooded killer, she would have completed the job she was given then gone trailing after Trant. Not killing Oyster dude properly is going to get her kicked out of assassin school. Probably, anyway, just because I can't see them having us sit through another whole season of Arya the floor scrubber/undertaker.

*or at least months and months ago, in show time
posted by maggiepolitt at 10:02 PM on June 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Stannis is going to need a big assist from the Lord of Light: the Boltons seem a lot more effective at sneaky snowbound warfare than Stannis and his hired hands.

(Ramsay's "twenty men" attack was a good way of showing this without the cost of another big battle scene.)

don't you think Davos already knows, on some level?

Yes, this. He knows Melisandre's twin interests in (a) burning people, and (b) royal blood. But he's always persuaded himself that although Stannis is driven he surely wouldn't do that.

The really chilling thing is: Stannis has known, on some level, and for quite a while; his insistence that Shireen travel with them.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:17 PM on June 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


Everything about Dorne is the worst.

Well just as our world apparently has a Jersey Shore, so to, it seems, does Westeros.

And Dr. Bashir is never the worst. He's like Littlefinger with a different personality. We saw so little of him of course.
posted by juiceCake at 10:27 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dude, that was some fucked up shit right there.

It didn't even make narrative sense. This is just Grand Guignol.

People talked about quitting the show after Sansa's rape.

Well, then.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:45 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well Stannis is all in now? He's put his entire lot with the red God cause

/hiiiis horse was on fiiiire/Alica Keyes

Like that's the kind of desperate crazy thing you do when you're not hedging your bets about surviving this.

Like he's going to be worried about Bolton and winter but he's set up his wife to stab him in the face.
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I suspect that a lot of the characterization that was developed in Dorne will matter next season. "

What exactly did we learn with the whole Dorne story? ... That Trystane will serve on a small council that doesn't even seem to exist anymore? Exciting stuff.


Kevan Lannister is Hand of the King now, so he's probably rebuilding the Small Council. I think Trystane joining the Council is the main thing from the Dorne story that could matter next season. If he becomes a big brother to Tommen, that could give him a lot of influence. Cersei is bound to hate him, assuming she ever gets out. And if he asks to see the Mountain's body, well, that could get interesting.

That's assuming Ellaria and the Sand Snakes don't take another shot at Myrcella on the way to King's Landing (her change in tone with Jaime seemed a bit much), which would be incredibly stupid, and entirely consistent with how ridiculous those characters have been all season.
posted by homunculus at 11:18 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Like he's going to be worried about Bolton and winter but he's set up his wife to stab him in the face.

I thought that was an interesting and effective twist, at least for me --- like 90% percent of Stannis' wife's screen time has consisted of whacking the viewer over the head with two ideas (1) she's a zealous nutcase (2) she hates her daughter, so to have her be the one who cracks, for whom the price is to great to bear, just throws Stannis' inhumanity into greater relief. Particularly since he's been a bit more wishy washy on the whole Red God deal the whole time --- he's been eating up the "this is your destiny, O King" stuff with a spoon, but never seemed to really enjoy the burning people at the stake bits otherwise.

But as for his wife being the one who gets him....given enough time I could see her getting all Act IV Lady Macbeth, but in the short term I think Melisandre can probably talk her round, so if Stannis' fate is to be determined in the finale I doubt it'll be her.
posted by maggiepolitt at 11:29 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just think, in terms of politics, The Seven Kingdoms are pretty ...uhh loosely together at this point. The King on the Iron Throne is pretty weak so everyone is running to sure up their own kingdoms (and while the Lannister gold mines being empty isn't public knowledge, I think all the courtiers suspect it - or at least that they're comically weak right now with no real weight behind them, total one generation upstarts those Lions) So the real conflict is between the ancient and noble houses of Tyrell and Martell making sure they have someone representing them on or near the throne. Maggie being disgraced puts her Queendom in trouble and pisses off the Tyrells (who own all the food) and Marcella marrying a Dornish prince suddenly becomes way way way more important if she's now MUCH closer to the Iron Throne. I don't think Dorne has ever been that enmeshed in the King's Landing authority and while the North is culturally distinct and the Winterfell king is a kind of second king-in-all-but-name, Dorne is basically a foreign country and that's way riskier.

Also cause the leader of Winterfell is basically House Serial Killer and no one expects them to last a generation anyway, and the last branch of the old Baratheon line has basically just committed suicide.
posted by The Whelk at 11:37 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it was pretty obvious that Ellaria sent the necklace doodad? And then Doran was like "for fuck's sake, lady, that's your big conspiracy? You hired someone to make a fancy jewelry box? I am beset on all sides by amateurs."
posted by KathrynT at 11:40 PM on June 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Ok, question: We last saw Jon & his pals leaving Hardhome. On the coast. In ships.

Why did they then immediately land and walk to Castle Black on the north side of the wall? That seems like the last possible thing you would want to do.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:40 PM on June 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Way too many harpies. Like, how does no one notice the production of all these metal masks? Also the unsullied were sorta not all that they were made out to be, but I guess that's fair. Part of danaerys' storyline is learning moments. Tyron is now fully on board Team Dragon I think. Anyways, Mereen is about to get fucked up so none of that matters.

Anyone else think fire woman is maybe rooting for dragon lady and not Stannis? She's on team burn shit. Straight up. Whoever is going to burn shit, that's the team she's on. She's not on team flay folks, but team burn kids isn't much better. She is going to run through all the heirs in the kingdom with smoke demon assassins and leave Stannis' men hating him, so when Dragons show up breathing fire with Danaerys on their backs holding a claim to the throne she'll be all YAY
posted by Hoopo at 11:42 PM on June 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


all Act IV Lady Macbeth

If anything it'll be Clytemnestra in Agamemnon. Stannis sacrificing Shireen is pretty similar to Iphigenia at Aulis (except this time with fire). Agamemnon needs to get his ships to Troy but are becalmed. Artemis demands he sacrifice his daughter. He does, and the winds send him off to Troy. Agamemnon wins the war, returns to Clytemnestra and she gets all stabby-stab-stab.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:51 PM on June 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


So, I'm thinking the Wildings end up merging armies with Stannis after all, in exchange for guarantees on Snow's promise of land to live on, and end up attacking Winterfell as a season finale.

Stannis somehow credits this logical turn of events as the actions of the Lord of Light and manages to sooth his soul about the murder of his daughter.
posted by bswinburn at 11:55 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have always gone in assuming Mellie's crazy prophet eyes are looking beyond Stannis to the end. He's just the most useful tool at the moment.
posted by The Whelk at 11:58 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also: if killing the little girl sends a smoke assassin, if it goes after Roose they're really fucked because then Ramsay's in charge
posted by Hoopo at 12:09 AM on June 8, 2015


How much did I want Shireen to stroll out of the fire like Dany and freak them all the fuck out? THIS much.
posted by ktkt at 12:15 AM on June 8, 2015 [22 favorites]


Yeah, walking to the wall made no sense. The only reason to land all the wildlings on that side of the wall would be if you wanted to, maybe screen them or take their weapons or something on the way through Castle Black, but it didn't look like anyone did that.

And I'm continuously underwhelmed with the Unsullied's skills, although of course they might not have been trained for urban warfare/bodyguard duty. Still, why were there so few of them? Daenerys originally bought 8000 of them, and the Second Sons are, according to the TV series wiki, another 2000 men, so I don't see why she has to go to a huge public event with, what, maybe 10 or 20 of them as guards?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:29 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Catching up on this thread, but right before watching with a group of friends, I was saying that I liked Arya's storyline because it was someone growing through hardship without the creepy overhang of sexual violence that they put on every other character.

Some of that is that she was always a bit younger than the other characters. In fact, that they started putting Sansa in the rapey situations as soon as she was legally old enough was ... crappy.

So, right when it switches to Arya's story, first comment "how much for your little clam?".

Head's turn towards me, "so what were you saying?"

Check the internet. 18 as of April 15th, 2015. The rest of the subplot of evil dude liking very young girls is starting to smell like an ugly retread.

Thanks, GoT, but I really hope you don't go there.
posted by lkc at 12:30 AM on June 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


Hoopo: "Also: if killing the little girl sends a smoke assassin, if it goes after Roose they're really fucked because then Ramsay's in charge"

Not necessarily. Ramsay's a creepy, sadistic, and cunning little fucker, but I'm pretty sure Roose is the better strategist and knows stuff like how to defend a castle. Although, as they pointed out last episode, I think, it's not that hard to defend a castle when your besiegers are outside in the freezing cold and snow, low on supplies, and have just had all their siege machinery destroyed.

Though the smoke assassin was created by having sex with Stannis, so I'm assuming the effect of this sacrifice will be something else.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:32 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Considering how awful this offering to the Lord Of Light was compared to others, not counting the bodies on the beach cause, damn, and cause we know offerings to the Lord Of Light, like ..totally work so far, I assume offering his last in line, his child, the princess of the baratheons who just got a charming reading is fundamental scene, will mean Stannis is now going to get crazy shadow demon powers to do whatever he likes.

Or, it could amount to literal nothing and he put everything into a doomed failed exploit and leaves everyone dead.

I'm kind of okay with both outcomes.
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, I'm thinking the Wildings end up merging armies with Stannis after all, in exchange for guarantees on Snow's promise of land to live on, and end up attacking Winterfell as a season finale.

I don't think the Free Folk are going to follow the guy who burnt Mance. And if word gets around that Stannis sacrificed his own daughter to his new foreign god, that could complicate any attempts to rally the North. The North will be grateful if he rids them of the Boltons and promises justice for Ned and Rob Stark and vengeance against the Lannisters, but he's still going to have a long way to go earn their trust.

Are all of Stannis's remaining forces his own men, or does he still have some mercenaries? The Stormcrows were only 500 men and I had the impression that Stannis was using more mercenaries than that. His own men presumably all worship Tr'hollor, but anyone fighting for him who doesn't is probably not feeling too sure about the man who would be king after that.
posted by homunculus at 12:41 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The rest of the subplot of evil dude liking very young girls is starting to smell like an ugly retread.

Thanks, GoT, but I really hope you don't go there.


Seconded.
posted by homunculus at 12:43 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Welk: "Stannis is now going to get crazy shadow demon powers to do whatever he likes"

Wait, Stannis is going to become a Balrog? Next season is going to be awesome.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:13 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


For a guy who supposedly loves his queen Jorah seems awfully eager to touch Dany given that he has grayscale.

If you're a Son of the Harpy who is tossing spears at a dragon, I'll give you points for courage but it seems awfully parochial. The wheel is starting to turn and instead of putting your hands to the wheel to help it along you're continuing to fight over some petty city bullshit.
posted by rdr at 2:19 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The rest of the subplot of evil dude liking very young girls is starting to smell like an ugly retread.

Thanks, GoT, but I really hope you don't go there.


It's already just about "gone there" as far as the threat of sexual violence. I'd be extremely surprised if anything actually happens to Arya but it's still pointless grimdark. She already wanted to kill that dude!
posted by atoxyl at 2:45 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you're a Son of the Harpy who is tossing spears at a dragon, I'll give you points for courage but it seems awfully parochial. The wheel is starting to turn and instead of putting your hands to the wheel to help it along you're continuing to fight over some petty city bullshit.

How so? I mean, if you're referencing the world-ending Ice Zombie threat, I doubt any of the Harpies have even heard of the Others. Heck, most of Westeros still believes they're a myth. Even Varys and Tyrion, the only two characters (apparently, now that Selmy is dead) not directly at the Wall who have some broader concept of what is good for Westeros, are completely unaware of that angle. They're still just trying to get a decent human being on the Iron Throne.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:54 AM on June 8, 2015


Dany summoned and rode a dragon. She went from having three ill disciplined novelty pets to having her hands on the controls of a baby nuke. If she lives, if anyone lives, she will sit on the iron throne.
posted by rdr at 3:04 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


And as I thought about my last comment, GOT's penchant to explore how fantasy tropes would actually work, and my question about Jorah I realized that Dany may not live very long.
posted by rdr at 3:15 AM on June 8, 2015


[One comment deleted. Probably best to say specifically it's going to the "books included" thread, if linking there ("other thread" could mean a past "show only" thread for example), since not everyone can mouseover to see the url, and some folks really don't want to accidentally catch spoilery stuff in surrounding text. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 3:22 AM on June 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's already just about "gone there" as far as the threat of sexual violence. I'd be extremely surprised if anything actually happens to Arya but it's still pointless grimdark. She already wanted to kill that dude!

Right?
OK, here is what I don't want to happen:
I don't want an actress who has spent 5 years in a role started at 13 who is now 18 playing an underage girl being raped by a pedophile for shock value.
posted by lkc at 4:01 AM on June 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


If anything it'll be Clytemnestra in Agamemnon. Stannis sacrificing Shireen is pretty similar to Iphigenia at Aulis

Clytemnestra is deceived into sending her daughter into a doom she would never have chosen for her, Lady MacBeth browbeats her husband into committing his crimes, claiming he must do so to fulfil his destiny, and is later overcome by her guilt. Stannis' wife has been the fervent "we must obey the Lord of Light" one this whole time; I don't think she makes sense simply as an avenger, she had a big part in this.
posted by maggiepolitt at 4:12 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was chatting online with a friend as we watched that Shireen scene together, and in the heat of the moment I concocted a headcanon that I am adopting as future-fact, because REASONS. (The reasons are: Stannis is a terrible human.)

Friend: (Referring to Melisandre, and commenting on my prior assertion that Stannis is the Absolute Worst)
I still don't like her

Me: Oh, nor I. She's an asshole zealot, and I want her to get, like, frozen into a solid iceblock by that Night King guy (the lich with the crown-like spikes who raised the dead last ep), and just...abandoned by the side of the road somewhere as an ice sculpture, dying slowly from hypothermia while unable to move.
Yesssssss

Friend:
You, i like, lol.
I hope his daughter haunts him

Me: I hope she comes back as a Lich Queen and bros it up with the Night King, and that she finds Stannis, takes him back to where Melisandre is and does exactly the same thing to him, and leaves them both there encased in huge blocks of totally transparent ice that will never melt, so that their dying and decaying bodies are a visible message to ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTS TO BURN PEOPLE ALIVE.

Me: ...I might need to write some fanfiction.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:58 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Please don't do the paraphrase thing, where you say that someone said/implied something they didn't say; also, just generally please keep the conversation about the show rather than directing comments toward other members personally.]
posted by taz at 5:22 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also there was a dragon breathing fire on people. Bit distracting, that.

The dragon came later. Midway through the fight, the Sons of the Harpy had Daenerys and crew surrounded with no hope of escape, at which point the writers pretty much had to fall over themselves to figure out how not to have her die right then and there.

First, it appeared that not a single ranged weapon was brought by any of the Sons -- not even a throwing knife. Second, the Sons decide to go in one at a time, like B-movie ninjas (because why would you use your overwhelming numbers to your advantage?). Then Drogon shows up and starts taking them out, and now all of the sudden they have spears to throw (where the hell were those 2 minutes ago, when the one target they want dead above all others was standing in a loose circle of allies with no protection against ranged weaponry?).

To add insult to injury, after putting a few spears into Drogon, the Sons were kind enough to not throw any at Daenerys while she stood mostly still and completely defenseless next to Drogon to calm him down for about a minute.

As I said: cinematic, but totally ridiculous on a logical level.
posted by tocts at 5:35 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Harpies who came storming through the gates as Daenerys and company tried to make it across the stadium field had the spears. They weren't hidden in the audience, so they could bring their spears.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 5:43 AM on June 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Really? People are linking the books thread with " the other thread"? If you're going to read and play in both (I started reading the book thread out of boredom with how boring the pace was this season), you have to be really careful what you post here. FWIW, in previous seasons folks who have not been careful have been banned from participating in the show-only threads.

Anyway...

Dany summoned and rode a dragon.

We argued about this at my place and I think it's clear Dany didn't "summon" anything. I was getting pissed that Dany was all heaving bosom and no action, so when she closed her eyes I yelled out, "finally!" But the dragon showed up, like, 1 second later and it was obvious I'd misinterpreted the eye-closing: that was Dany heaving her bosom, grabbing her female friend's hand and closing her eyes in helpless resignation. I was so pissed.
posted by mediareport at 5:44 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


As I said: cinematic, but totally ridiculous on a logical level.

Humans aren't logical, the Sons aren't trained fighters and everyone attacking at once rarely happens. There was even a Metafilter post about these dynamics, which I can't find now, but here's the video featuring 100 student sword fighters against 3 expert ones. By any logical measure, the 100 should have easily won, but they didn't because no one wants to actually be struck or die. Which is actually quite logical.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:52 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I liked that the dragon wasn't all-powerful, and think Dany rode off to save it and herself, not her people. Dany's been a shitty ruler of Mereen this season - disconnected, imperious and out-of-place. Maybe they'll have her fly back next episode to save her small circle, but that would surprise me.

And wtf happened to the Unsullied this season? Outnumbered is only part of it; they went from being an amazing fighting force - one of the most fearless in this world - to a bunch of chumps, starting in the first episode and continuing throughout. Rewatch that arena scene and see how easily they're killed. You might also notice how hilariously overbearing the music is during that scene - when Tyrion makes his kill, e.g. They're pumping so much artificial air into this scene because they know they've given us so little up to this point.
posted by mediareport at 5:58 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


And wtf happened to the Unsullied this season?

Mostly just dying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:04 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't want to sound too much like a hate-watcher here; I liked that we finally got a good scene in Dorne - the verbal sparring was one of those wonderful mixtures of political and personal, with strong characters all trying to one up the others, that the show does so well. Loved the look on the king's face when Jaime makes his little "he said it was just a flea bite" crack, which Jaime immediately realizes was a mistake. It's a shame the clumsy, if not idiotic, way the pieces were moved around didn't give us more of those moments, instead ruining the Dorne part of the season with padding and absurdity. I don't see how anyone can defend the arc of that story this season; it was atrociously badly done. The stupid hand-slapping scene was yet another awful treatment of the Sand Snakes; nothing they did with those women comes close to qualifying as character development.
posted by mediareport at 6:32 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sooo, does the sacrifice of his daughter to save his men and the Kingdom make Stannis a bad leader and someone who should not sit on the Iron Throne?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I haven't read the books, but I sort of assume that much of the Dorne stuff was more interesting and more involved in the books because it's been pretty 'meh' for me here in the show and we could've been watching something more interesting (but not more Reek/Sansa storyline because fuck that extra-crispy-bucket-of-rapey-grimdark, although is that some agency I see in the preview for next week?)

And with the "how much for your clam" comment, the person I was watching with pointed out that that was the first sexual thing we can remember being said to Arya. How old is the character? I know the actress is 18, but is Arya also now an adult?
posted by rmd1023 at 6:56 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sooo, does the sacrifice of his daughter to save his men and the Kingdom make Stannis a bad leader and someone who should not sit on the Iron Throne?

Nah.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:05 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dammit Stannis. You couldn't just have been boring and not evil? Even though I kind of wanted you to be evil? At least the episode didn't end with those screams... ugh.

Sooo, does the sacrifice of his daughter to save his men and the Kingdom make Stannis a bad leader and someone who should not sit on the Iron Throne?

First, he hasn't done anything to "save" the Kingdom. He just wants to rule the kingdom. The kingdom would be in better shape if he had: a.) left well enough alone with Joffrey (the rumours that undermined Joffrey's rule were amplified by Stannis) OR since Joffrey was pretty terrible and needed to go: b.) supported Renly (whom the people actually liked).

As far as saving his men -- his men (who are both adults and free men) chose to follow him. I'm not sure that sacrificing an innocent can be justified to bail them out of this. If you had asked the question about whether murdering his brother tainted him too much to deserve the throne, I think it would have been more ambiguous. But this is intended to be a Moral Event Horizon crossing for a character that the show has spent a couple of seasons making sympathetic (well done, show).

Re: Dorne: I'm so happy that Alexander Siddig has finally gotten something to do. He's been wholly underutilized in the world since Deep Space Nine, and I was disappointed in his scenes this season thus far. I mean... he gives good wise-yet-tormented-ruler face, but it's great to see him actually rule too. I also must be some kind of a dunce because I didn't realize that he couldn't walk until Ellaria made the comment this episode -- at which point I was like....oh... fancy chair-throne-thing has wheels.

I also kind of love that Doran is just a reasonable adult. Like, could you imagine a Westeros with Doran in the south and Jon Snow in the North and even Jaime (or better yet Tyrion) in charge of things at the Red Keep? It would be a really boring show but it would make me happy to see it for half an episode or so.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:46 AM on June 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Hoopo: "Anyone else think fire woman is maybe rooting for dragon lady and not Stannis?"

Okay so somebody help me out here, because I keep bringing this up IRL and no one seems to remember and maybe I'm making it up? But I swear I'm not, and yet I don't see any reference to it in the show-only thread for S05 E03 nor on the AV Club review for the same.

When Tyrion convinces Varys to let him out of the box they go in search of a whorehouse and etc. During their travels through Whateversville they pass through a courtyard where some priestess for the Lord of Light is doing the usual "one God only, Lord of Light is the best god, blah blah blah" babble except I swear that the priestess said that the Lord of Light had chosen Daenerys Targaryen as the new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Same exact thing Melisandre spouts except for, you know, different choice of mortal chosen to fulfill the Lord's wishes.

The priestess was even played by a fairly famous actor (Rila Fukushima) which made me think she'd be popping up again in short order, but no sign of her. Maybe she'll appear in the last episode of this season to Show Daenerys The Way to the Throne. Or not, maybe Rila just happened to be near the set that day or something, I dunno.

Regardless, Hoopo, I think you're right and that the Red Priestesses and the Lord of Light cult in general are clearly following their own agenda, probably playing all sides until they see one contender that they should rally behind, at which point they each sink the ship to which they've been attached. Maybe that's what Melisandre was doing this season: "Hey, buddy, kill your daughter in the most horrible fashion in front of everyone and ... uh ... I'm out! Peace!"
posted by komara at 7:47 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whoops, once I got my brain on I found homunculus's comment referencing all this in the S05 E03 thread. Just hadn't searched for the correct words.
posted by komara at 7:58 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Quotes from the show:

Jaqen: "And?"
Arya: "The Thin Man wasn’t hungry today."
Jaqen: "Perhaps that’s why the man is thin."
--
Tyrion: “There’s always been enough death in the world for my taste. I can do without it in my leisure time.”
Hizdahr: "Fair enough, yet -- it’s an unpleasant question -- but what great thing has ever been accomplished without killing or cruelty?"
Tyrion: "It’s easy to confuse what is with what ought to be. Especially when what is has worked in your favor."
Hizdahr: "I’m not talking about myself. I’m talking about the necessary conditions of greatness."
Daenerys: "That is greatness?"
Hizdahr: "That is a vital part of the great city of Meereen. Which has existed long before you arrived and will remain standing long after we have returned to the dirt."
Tyrion: "My father would have liked you."
--
Ser Jorah: "I fight and die for your glory, oh glorious Queen."
Hizdahr: "Your Grace--"
Daario: "Shut your mouth."
--
Davos: "What’s this one now?"
Shireen: "The Dance of Dragons. A true telling by Grand Maester Agon"
Davos: "Well that sounds like a proper story."
Shireen: "Ser Byron Swann wanted to kill the dragon Syrax. He polished his shield for a week, til the steel was like a mirror. Then he crouched behind it, and crept forward, hoping the dragon would only see his own reflection."
Davos: "But the dragon only saw a dumb man, holding a mirrored shield."
Shireen: "And burnt him to a crisp."
Davos: "Thus ending the dragonslaying career of Ser Swann. I made you something, Princess."
(Davos hands her a carved wooden stag.)
Davos: "Do you like it?"
Shireen: "He’s beautiful, thank you."
Davos: "You’re very welcome."
Shireen: "Will you make me a doe, too, so that he can have company?"
Davos: "Of course I will."
Shireen: "But why am I getting a present?"
Davos: "Because you deserve it. My son was always on me trying to teach me to read. Gods, I was stubborn about it. Made it this far without reading, seemed to me I could make it to the grave. I wish Ii had listened to them. This is my own poor way of saying thank you for teaching me to be a grown up. I’ll be gone for a few days, Princess. I’ll want to hear all about the dance of dragons when I’m back."
Shireen: "You’ll just have to read it yourself."
--
Aliser Thorne: “You have a good heart, Jon Snow. It’ll get us all killed.”
--
Doran [to Ellaria]: “Your rebellion is over. You can swear your allegiance to me now or you can die. I believe in second chances. I don’t believe in third chances.”
--
Shireen: "Father. Aren’t you cold?"
Stannis: "No. What are you reading?"
Shireen: "The Dance of Dragons."
Stannis: "What’s it about?"
Shireen: "It’s the story of the fight between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon for control of the Seven Kingdoms. Both of them thought they belonged on the Iron Throne. When people started for declaring for one of them or the other, their fight divided the kingdom in two. Brothers fought brothers. Dragons fought dragons. By the time it was over, thousands were dead. And it was a disaster for the Targaryens as well. They never truly recovered."
Stannis: “'The dance of dragons'? Why is that a dance?"
Shireen: "That’s just what they call it."
Stannis: "Doesn’t make much sense."
Shireen: "I think it’s poetic."
Stannis: "If you had to choose between Rhaenyra and Aegon, who would you have chosen?"
Shireen: "I wouldn’t have chosen either. It’s all the choosing sides that made things so horrible."
Stannis: "Sometimes a person has to choose. Sometimes the world forces his hand. When a man knows what he is and remains true to himself, the choice is not choice at all. He must fulfill his destiny and become who he is meant to be. However much he may hate it."
Shireen: "It’s alright, father."
Stannis: "You don’t even know what I’m talking about."
Shireen: "It doesn’t matter. I want to help you. Is there any way I can help?"
Stannis: "Yes there is."
Shireen: "Good, I want to. I’m the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon, and I’m your daughter."
Stannis: "Forgive me."
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh.... and can we talk about how Shireen is the latest victim of the reminiscing-about-dead-targaryens curse?
posted by sparklemotion at 8:06 AM on June 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


The Lord of Light folks are totally working a different angle. They're killing off all the legitimate heirs to the throne. I bet the royal blood isn't the important thing to make the magic work, that's just what Melisandre is telling Stannis. Stannis is just a tool to get more of that royal blood. And when his usefulness is done, he'll lose a battle somewhere and that'll be the end of that.

I liked this episode a lot, maybe because I was expecting episode number 9 to be the one where someone really important and much loved dies in a devastating fashion. Shireen dying was gut wrenching, but it wasn't plot wrenching like when Ned died and all our expectations were turned upside down. I was expecting Jorah to try to kill Tyrion, or the dickheads at Castle Black to kill Jon Snow, or something horrible to happen to Arya.

Instead we've had two episodes in a row of totally epic fantasy shit - Jon Snow smashing a White Walker in the middle of a zombie battle and Dany riding off on a dragon. With all the grimness of this show, I'm finding the fantasy heroic cheese quite welcome.
posted by natteringnabob at 8:08 AM on June 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Ramsay's "twenty men" attack was a good way of showing this without the cost of another big battle scene.)


I do wonder how he managed to be quite so effective in a midnight raid,nailing literally every important target, but I'll assume they scouted first I guess
posted by Hoopo at 8:20 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think you're right and that the Red Priestesses and the Lord of Light cult in general are clearly following their own agenda, probably playing all sides until they see one contender that they should rally behind

I already rambled on about this at some length, but the Red Priestess Tyrion saw in the East is not the only evidence we have for that. There was a Red Priest sent to convert Robert as well. I think their overall agenda is still unclear, though --- whether they're simply putting a fiver on all the likely looking horses, or whether they're secretly backing one contender and deliberately hobbling the others. So far, all the deeply fucked up murderous things Melisandre has done have actually worked, and the battle he lost was the one where he didn't take her with him.
posted by maggiepolitt at 8:22 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Let's not forget that, wherever you want to lay the ultimate moral blame, good ol' Ramsay set up the conditions for the burning-at-the-stake situation. Apparently he's even capable of long-distance sadism.

I disagree - I think Ramsay only sped things up. Stannis' group was stuck in a snowy mire, unable to move. They were slowly starving, not sure when they would next move. Now they were quickly starving, with fewer horses, and they realize their foes in the north really are better suited for this land (and climate) than they are.

Yes, they scouted his camp before (transcript from the prior episode), identifying that he had "no more than 6,000 men. More than half of those are mounted, however." If they know that much, it's not too much of a stretch to guess they also mapped the layout of his camp, including where the food stores are.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, I really dislike the trope of the villain getting credit for the actions of others (and in reverse, villains saying "you made me do it" when someone doesn't do what the villain wants them to do, like killing their best friend to save a village or something silly, but I digress). Unless Ramsay had his knife to Stannis' throat, Shireen's death was all on Stannis and Melisandrae.

For me, the most heart-breaking part was that when Shireen called for her mother (after first calling in vain for her father to save her), her mother finally showed some compassion. Her mother, who was so ready to burn her earlier, and found comfort in Melisandrae's comments about the Red God purifying her in his flames.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:45 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Unsullied are a battle-hardened elite fighting force. They should not be falling to the weekend-warrior Harpies like battle droids in a Star Wars Prequel.
posted by Auden at 8:45 AM on June 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't think we'll hear from Danaerys' side of the world till next season. There is nothing more to wrap up there: the main arc is that she's got a dragon that loves her with a warm heart. She's shown she can hold on to power with that. We've also resolved the arc for Tyrion and Mormont, as well as Dany's relationship with the ruling class.

I don't think we'll hear from Jon Snow till next season. He showed he is in control of that part of the world and settled things with the remaining wildings.

We won't hear from Dorne and the Jamie until next season. His arc is resolved.

I'm unsure if we'll see Cersei's trial. I guess it could be quick. But if they sentence her to death, I'm guessing we won't see that event (including her possible escape) until next season.

I think this last show of the season will focus on wrapping up the arcs of the two stark women, which now also involves Stannis' attack.

I predict Roose will die. 50/50 on Reek dying.
posted by about_time at 8:48 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else think the Master of Ceremonies looked like Mereen's own Bro Jesus, the version who's all about MMA and bloodsports, and soft on the "turn the other cheek" stuff.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:53 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think we'll hear from Jon Snow till next season. He showed he is in control of that part of the world and settled things with the remaining wildings.

So you don't think that Olly glaring from the gallery was Ominous Foreboding? Hm. Maybe--maybe--not in the last ep.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:10 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think we'll hear from Jon Snow till next season.

I have doubts about this. Sure, Hardhome was a big epic high point for that storyline this season, but they have been not-so-subtly dropping hints of the repurcussions of Jon's alliance with the wildlings from within the ranks of the Night's Watch all season. This episode, we got a bit of a head fake from the writers, with them teasing that Thorne might be the one to defy Jon. In the end, though, Thorne's an asshole, but he's an asshole who follows orders.

Thus, the crisis is averted, right?

Given the return of Olly's stink-eye, and the specific mention of pissed off brothers of the watch, I don't think so. I think there's a pretty solid chance that shit's going down at the wall in the season finale (and sadly for Davos, probably right about when he's arriving to ask for help).
posted by tocts at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I too think we'll see The Wall again, because Davos.

If Ramsay's now legitimized as Roose Bolton's heir, does that mean that the Red Woman could sacrifice him, too? I'm working on my, uh, Christmas wish-list for Santa. :)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:32 AM on June 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


then Doran was like "for fuck's sake, lady, that's your big conspiracy? You hired someone to make a fancy jewelry box? I am beset on all sides by amateurs."

Oh man their silent exchange of glances there was EPIC. Also, I would love to shit a gif of Ellaria coolly spilling her wine on the floor in an epic fuck-you. I started to say that Dorne may not have moved plot - except aaactually now that I think of it, I have an awesome speculative idea.

We've seen an AWFUL lot of Myrcella. And why the fuck is Doran just like 'okay, kingy, you want her back? No problemo!' I know that Doran talks a lot about not killing children, but Tommen is legally an adult, right? What if the point of sending Myrcella and Trystane back with an entourage is because they're going to murder Tommen and trying to put Myrcella and Trystane jointly on the throne?
posted by corb at 9:42 AM on June 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Unsullied are a battle-hardened elite fighting force.

Somewhere, it was mentioned that their training, tactics and equipment are oriented toward open-field, army vs. army warfare. As opposed to asymmetric knife-fights in the alley with groups of counter-insurgents.

In other words, they're the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:49 AM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


What if the point of sending Myrcella and Trystane back with an entourage is because they're going to murder Tommen and trying to put Myrcella and Trystane jointly on the throne?

Given how badly things are going for Tommen and Cersei back in King's Landing, I think it's a toss-up between "sending Myrcella and Trystane is a Dornish plot to seize control" and "sending Myrcella and Trystane is not an in-story plot, but simply a move by the writers to ensure they have some new POV characters to take over the action at King's Landing after Tommen's and/or Cersei's likely demise".

Could be either, could be bit of both.
posted by tocts at 10:04 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget that, wherever you want to lay the ultimate moral blame, good ol' Ramsay set up the conditions for the burning-at-the-stake situation.

If Jon Snow wasn't such a whiny emo git and had put out when Melssiandre said so, then Shireen would still be alive and Roose would be dead.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:27 AM on June 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


> For a guy who supposedly loves his queen Jorah seems awfully eager to touch Dany given that he has grayscale.

Amen! Glad you mentioned this -- I gasped when I saw Jorah take Dany's hand... and then I got distracted and worried when Dany later held hands with Missandei thinking "Oh shit, now she's got it, too??!" (but I'm sure I'm just projecting my own germophobia...) Granted, we're missing some information about how grayscale is actually transmitted. We know Shireen (R.I.P., sweetheart) got it from a sabotaged doll, and we know one can get it by being touched by a Stoneman-- wonder if that means one must have contact with the actual scaly bits on an infected person's skin, or not? Hmm...
posted by hush at 11:26 AM on June 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hope Dany doesn't forget Rhaegal and Viserion, or someone either releases them or increases the guard where they're being kept. After their experience with Drogon, it wouldn't surprise me if the Harpies tried to kill the two dragons who are conveniently chained up.
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]




I haven't read the books, but I sort of assume that much of the Dorne stuff was more interesting and more involved in the books because it's been pretty 'meh' for me here in the show and we could've been watching something more interesting

I haven't read them either, but going into this season I was aware of elements of the Dorne story which sounded really interesting, but the showrunners dropped all that in favor of the clown show in the sands. 'Meh' indeed.
posted by homunculus at 12:26 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


If Ramsay's now legitimized as Roose Bolton's heir, does that mean that the Red Woman could sacrifice him, too? I'm working on my, uh, Christmas wish-list for Santa. :)

I doubt his legal status has anything to do with it. Gendry was viable because he was Robert's biological son, his being a bastard didn't seem to matter one way or the other. The Bolton's were never actual kings, AFAIK, so I'm not sure he's got enough juice (but I'm still not clear on what gives "king's blood" its power.)

I think Theon is probably a better candidate. His ancestors were the Kings of the Iron Islands and his father was one of the so-called "kings" of the War of the Five Kings, so that might be enough to make him a viable sacrifice for Melisandre's purposes.
posted by homunculus at 1:16 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


In other words, they're the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pretty much the entire adventure in Meereen--if not the entire time Dany & Co. have been in Slaver's Bay--has been this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:49 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Stannis, you jerk. Wow, I didn't see that coming. And then you DO see it coming as soon as he walked through the door, and you were like NO NO NO the whole time. No wonder he sent Davos away. Loyal or not, I don't think Davos would have stood by. You can already feel him straining against the expectations of Stannis. The thing I'm most interested in more than any other right now is his reaction when he finds out.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:02 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


So you guys can feel my pain (no spoilers)
posted by corb at 3:15 PM on June 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dany summoned and rode a dragon.

We argued about this at my place and I think it's clear Dany didn't "summon" anything. I was getting pissed that Dany was all heaving bosom and no action, so when she closed her eyes I yelled out, "finally!" But the dragon showed up, like, 1 second later and it was obvious I'd misinterpreted the eye-closing: that was Dany heaving her bosom, grabbing her female friend's hand and closing her eyes in helpless resignation. I was so pissed.


I interpreted this scene as her summoning the dragon. It definitely wasn't played as her just giving up.
posted by JenMarie at 3:17 PM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I interpreted this scene as her summoning the dragon. It definitely wasn't played as her just giving up.

Since she follows it up by showing unprecedented control of Drogon I also thought it far more likely that they didn't think out the timing of his arrival - they fail to think out a lot of stuff like that - than that they meant to show her as helpless.
posted by atoxyl at 3:28 PM on June 8, 2015


I added the EW recap to the sidebar.
"Several weeks ago, the top-ranked reader comment at the end of my weekly Thrones recap, with 133 upvotes from readers, was this effusive comment: “I’ve never liked Stannis more than in this episode. The scene with him and Shireen is one of my favorites this season. His wife’s cruelty is no match for a father’s unconditional love for his daughter.”

...

But this is how diabolically clever the Thrones showrunners are. The scene was a DOUBLE SET-UP. It not only detailed the illness threat of greyscale for the Ser Jorah scene, but also gave us a heavy emotional anchor for the relationship between Stannis and Shireen. It made us believe that even cold authoritarian Stannis would never hurt his daughter. I reeled when I first watched that scene, all the 3-D Jenga plot dynamics at play: Here’s a quiet chatty scene that’s doing all this secret heavy lifting to set-up two huge twists and yet it’s also the fan-favorite moment of the episode. There’s plenty that Thrones accomplishes that’s clearly flashily amazing, but this scene was stealth genius.

The show’s deception was so well plotted, and the twist was so well concealed by the production and HBO, that Shireen’s death remained absent from online fan boards aside from mere speculation in a season where nearly every other major revelations had leaked out. And yet, there’s nobody who can say this move was any kind of a cheat. You can look at Sansa going to Winterfell and debate whether her decision feels believable, but there is zero doubt this outcome comes straight from Stannis’ core character and his entire story arc has been flying straight to this moment—and yet, it was still a shock, which is the best kind of twist.

When the episode aired tonight, I watched the hour with dread. Book-reading fans know this feeling well, from waiting for scenes like The Red Wedding and the Oberyn vs. The Mountain fight. You get this ache in your stomach. You know what’s coming, but since you haven’t actually witnessed it, you’re still morbidly curious and want to see how it plays out.

With Stannis, the man is so logical and sensible in the scenes where we see him interact with characters like Jon Snow, that’s it’s easy to forget that he’s also a religious fanatic. He may not come off like a pinwheel-eyed Lord of Light worshipper like his wife, but he’s still been burning people alive for a while now. Think about that. This guy ordered people to die horrible deaths for seemingly trivial reasons, calling his victims “infidels” (like his wife’s brother and longtime bannerman who refused to tear down his idols). But Thrones is so effective at making characters sympathetic that we have somehow haven’t held that against him. We’ve acted like his penchant for human bonfires is just a weird random predilection—like driving an orange car—rather than condemning people to die the most horrible death possible for faith-based objections.

Not to mention, Stannis also killed another family member, his brother Renly, who was really a pretty decent guy. Stannis has always put his career ambition first—his “duty,” as he sees it. Stannis has faced the “career vs. family” decision before, and made the exact same choice.

And what’s so perfect is, this season viewers who didn’t even like Stannis in prior years were loving his character more than ever. And why not? He respects Jon Snow, he’s going after Ramsay, he corrects grammar. What’s not to like? … aside from the nagging fact that he burns people alive who don’t agree with his religion. It’s as if the showrunners are fully aware we’ve overlooked Stannis’ biggest flaw, let it sit in the background of the show for years, and have now brought it screaming in front of us. Like his poor daughter, we’ve been abruptly moved from being witnesses to Stannis’ executions, to suddenly feeling like we’re one of his victims. If Stannis still ends up fighting Ramsay … damn … who do you even root for there?

posted by zarq at 3:30 PM on June 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


But Thrones is so effective at making characters sympathetic that we have somehow haven’t held that against him. We’ve acted like his penchant for human bonfires is just a weird random predilection—like driving an orange car—rather than condemning people to die the most horrible death possible for faith-based objections.

Also, the fact that there are so many weeks/months between episodes and seasons, I find that I forget that someone did a particular thing like three seasons ago that I found pretty horrible. When I go back and binge watch a series or season all over again (for any show really), some of these character disconnections become more obvious.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:47 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I interpreted this scene as her summoning the dragon. It definitely wasn't played as her just giving up.

I am on the side of her just giving up. More specifically, a lost, hopeless resignation that shook her to her core. And it was this psychic pain that summoned Drogon. Or perhaps the fight from the very beginning was enough to summon him unconsciously. If that's the case, the resignation was "coincidentally" timed. The last time we saw Drogon, was when Dany decided to marry what's his face, wasn't it? She was feeling trapped and Drogon showed up. My guess/read is some psychic connection to the dragons the Targaryens possess That the show has yet to explore.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:48 PM on June 8, 2015


I interpreted this scene as her summoning the dragon. It definitely wasn't played as her just giving up.

I think the clasping of Missandei's hand and closing her eyes was pretty straightforward that they were giving up and accepting their fate.

That was the Nearer My God to Thee moment with death approaching.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:57 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's my read too. Holding hands and closing your eyes is traditional screen shorthand for accepting that you're going to die.
posted by Justinian at 3:59 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also must be some kind of a dunce because I didn't realize that he couldn't walk until Ellaria made the comment this episode -- at which point I was like....oh... fancy chair-throne-thing has wheels.

I'm the same kind of dunce then, too. Didn't notice til that exact same moment.

While watching it I also felt that Dany had given up, but then it did seem like she was summoning Drogon (or at least praying for ANYTHING to save her). It immediately hit me that the likelihood of that doesn't make any sense. Drogon would have needed much more time unless he was already hanging out just near the stadium.

I don't think we'll hear from Danaerys' side of the world till next season.

I can see how that's an option, but I want to know how/if Tyrion and the crew make it out of the stadium. And what is happening with the other dragons now. And I gotta see Greyworm at 100% but that's just a personal wish.

I do think you're correct that the last episode will be Cersei/Sparrow/Kings Landing heavy with a nice dose of the Stark daughters.
posted by dogwalker at 4:06 PM on June 8, 2015


I'm hoping it's ALL DORNE. That would be the best finale ever.
posted by Justinian at 4:10 PM on June 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


if Stannis still ends up fighting Ramsay … damn … who do you even root for there?

Still Stannis IMO. Even after what he just did. Stannis was desperate and he's a fanatic and did a disgusting thing and will probably burn more people if this works for him and makes him even more fanatical. But I'd still take him over Ramsay. Ramsay just lives to cause people pain and would probably burn people too if he weren't busy crucifying them and taking their skin off for shits and giggles. So yeah. They are both terrible jerks. One is banal evil that will be cruel when it's necessary, but the other is outright malignant and dangerous and likes this shit and we probably don't even want to know what he's capable with more power and less constraints.

Sorry, fewer constraints. Don't burn me pls
posted by Hoopo at 4:14 PM on June 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, you definitely have to root for Stannis, you always want lawful evil over chaotic evil.
posted by skewed at 4:19 PM on June 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


All I can say is that Stannis better get some insanely dramatic magic on his side for that. Melisandre assassinated Renly with the power of boinking and supposedly knocked off a bunch of contenders for the throne with Gendry's leeches, so daughter sacrifice better involve a full on firestorm destroying Winterfell's walls or something. I sure hope Stannis got something more specific out of her than "help" before going ahead with this last-ditch non-plan that destroyed his sole heir. (This seems to be my occasional complaint re: Westerosi magic - I never feel like I have much understanding of what it can and can't do. Why couldn't she do the leech thing again from Shireen? Shouldn't she have gotten some magical charge out of burning Mance "King Beyond the Wall" Rayder? I know nobody wants to sit through Magic 101: the Infodumpening, but... it seems like it doesn't have coherent rules for what magic can and cannot do, and I'm not sure how much to attribute to magicians being cagey and how much is just plot-convenient.)
posted by tautological at 4:29 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think their overall agenda is still unclear, though --- whether they're simply putting a fiver on all the likely looking horses, or whether they're secretly backing one contender and deliberately hobbling the others. So far, all the deeply fucked up murderous things Melisandre has done have actually worked, and the battle he lost was the one where he didn't take her with him.

I think, following the idea that the various clergy of Rh'llor are playing their own game, that it's possible they could have actual real powers and they're using them for their own ends. Melisandre could well have known Stannis would lose at the Blackwater, so she engineered to stay away--making him all the more dependent on her and easier to destroy or use as needed, if she's truly backing someone else.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:50 PM on June 8, 2015


Oh man, what if Stannis charges Winterfell and Ramsay charges towards him and they meet and do one of those bro-handshake-hugs and then team up and start torturing people together?!?!

Seriously, when you think about how awful they both are, it seems likely that we won't get to see either of them lose. So they should team up and we can save energy hating them simultaneously.
posted by dogwalker at 4:50 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always hand waved away the magic thing with , well magic is unpredictable, and it actually working is kind of a brand new thing. Dragons come back and the white walkers return and spells start to actually work and everyone is kind of shocked and off-kilter and trying everything. I like to imagine it as a dry riverbed that's getting slowly filled in and sometimes it collects in different little eddies like Mellie here.
posted by The Whelk at 5:21 PM on June 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


The guy who kicked Jorah's ass in the fighting pit was clearly a Water Dancer, like Syrio Forel, and I'm beginning to wonder if that scene was meant to remind us of Arya's training. She doesn't have near that level of skill, obviously, but if she retrieves Needle and manages to give Trant the poison meant for the Thin Man, maybe that would give her a fighting chance.
posted by homunculus at 5:28 PM on June 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am on the side of her just giving up.

Yeah, the slow-mo finger-tightening made me think of that.
posted by corb at 5:36 PM on June 8, 2015


Re: the Water Dancer, I think all six (?) guys in Jorah's fight were meant to be examples of different styles, like Kung fu vs karate, with Jorah being the example of a Westerosi knight. Would've been interesting to learn about the other four.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:28 PM on June 8, 2015


If Ramsay's now legitimized as Roose Bolton's heir, does that mean that the Red Woman could sacrifice him, too? I'm working on my, uh, Christmas wish-list for Santa. :)

At first, I read that as a "Christmas wish-list for Sansa," and the sentence still makes sense.

But unfortunately I agree, "Blood of the Warden of the North" isn't much compared to "Blood of the King." Sacrifice a Bolton and you might be able to get rid of some pesky ants in the pantry, or drive away a particularly persistent raccoon.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 PM on June 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


> I think it was pretty obvious that Ellaria sent the necklace doodad? And then Doran was like "for fuck's sake, lady, that's your big conspiracy? You hired someone to make a fancy jewelry box? I am beset on all sides by amateurs."

> Oh man their silent exchange of glances there was EPIC.

Jaime got a taste of a proper Royal Dornish breakfast: sullen stares, drawn-out silences, chased with some wine for your king.

Also, I would love to shit a gif of Ellaria coolly spilling her wine on the floor in an epic fuck-you.

As you wish (source, LOTS of GIFs, the page may load slowly).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:02 PM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Re: the Water Dancer, I think all six (?) guys in Jorah's fight were meant to be examples of different styles, like Kung fu vs karate, with Jorah being the example of a Westerosi knight. Would've been interesting to learn about the other four.

I thought there were a few more lines about them in the show, but in the transcript (Genius.com annotated "script," possible spoilers in annotations), the announcer just calls them Meereenese champions.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:11 PM on June 8, 2015


I think the clasping of Missandei's hand and closing her eyes was pretty straightforward that they were giving up and accepting their fate.

And if you watch it again, you can see she's as surprised as anyone at her dragon's sudden appearance.
posted by mediareport at 8:24 PM on June 8, 2015


Then Drogon shows up and starts taking them out, and now all of the sudden they have spears to throw (where the hell were those 2 minutes ago, when the one target they want dead above all others was standing in a loose circle of allies with no protection against ranged weaponry?).

Just rewatching - it looks to me like the spears that start showing up are likely being lifted from the Unsullied who have been killed to that point as well as possibly some being brought in by the later arrivals; so not an infinite amount of them, and I suspect that no one was thinking about picking up the spears until the dragon showed up.
posted by nubs at 9:00 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]




Its ok, Shireen is with Oberyn and Lady on the Island of Super Fun Happy Times.
posted by Justinian at 10:04 PM on June 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Would've been interesting to learn about the other four.

One of them was dressed up, long braid, curved blade and all, like a Dothraki warrior (here's where he runs up another dude's sword). I was surprised that Dany didn't seem to have any sort of reaction or recognition to that.
posted by jamaro at 11:12 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Crap, I just had a thought. Do you give your trainee a live mission first time out? I'm suddenly concerned that Arya's little vial isn't going to do what she thinks and it's going to come down to Needle.
posted by Iteki at 12:42 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


We've seen an AWFUL lot of Myrcella. And why the fuck is Doran just like 'okay, kingy, you want her back? No problemo!' I know that Doran talks a lot about not killing children, but Tommen is legally an adult, right? What if the point of sending Myrcella and Trystane back with an entourage is because they're going to murder Tommen and trying to put Myrcella and Trystane jointly on the throne?

I don't think that would work; the patriarchs of Westeros would never accept such an arrangement. Kneel before a female and a Dornishman? Never! Without Tommen, the Lannister's control over the throne would crumble, and Doran's new alliance with it. He doesn't strike me as the type to take such a risky gamble. But I agree that he must be up to something, and it would be truly remarkable for GoT if he's really forgiven the old grudge against the Lannisters.
posted by homunculus at 12:49 AM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


re: the big vs fast gladiator match-up, and Jorah vs the fencer/water-dancer, yet again we find that "armour and a big fucking sword" wins out against some fancy dancing around. I'm surprised given the first fight's similarity to the Mountain vs Viper fight that Tyrion didn't pipe up with a comment.

re: the dragon arriving, reminded me of this Attack Of The Clones scene.

re: Ayra - I'm not sure if she got away with not poisoning(?) the Thin Man because she convincingly lied to Jaqen, or if Jaqen's intention was for her to be at the docks when Meryn Trant showed up, and he was the real assassination target all along.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:38 AM on June 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


So I agree the the Dorne plot lines were, well ... functional at best.

However, I found it interesting to see how life in Dorne contrasted so much with life pretty much everywhere else we've seen. Relatively sane rulers, generally peaceful (the snake ladies aside) and seeming to place a value on aesthetics that other places don't. Granted, we've only really seen the capital and castle, but the tone of the place is very different than anywhere else in the world we've seen so far. Far less sinister.

Anyway, an interesting albeit probably not deliberate contrast.
posted by digitalprimate at 3:52 AM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah also: Jaqen's intention was for her to be at the docks when Meryn Trant showed up, and he was the real assassination target all along.

Totally agree with EndsOfInvention here. There's just GOT to be some relationship between the faceless men and the iron bank. I mean, what the hell was tall faceless dude doing letting himself get captured in Westros in the first place? My guess is the iron bank doesn't need an army because they have the faceless men to, let's say, "settle" matters for them.

So I guess I'm saying the iron bank are the Minds and the faceless men are Special Circumstances.
posted by digitalprimate at 3:55 AM on June 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


Calling it now. Just like the past, i don't know, every season... this is going to be a more solid finale than the actual finale.

Pacing and structure wise this was one of the best episodes of the entire show, though.

I interpreted this scene as her summoning the dragon. It definitely wasn't played as her just giving up.

For what it's worth, i read it this way too. But in a like, wishful way. Like she's just closing her eyes and going "i know you're out there..."
posted by emptythought at 4:23 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Something i just thought of though... How many unsullied are left? This season pretty much has shown them doing nothing but dying, and this episode really seemed to show a lot of them dying. Are there just barracks of them sitting around chilling and playing cards waiting to head across the sea? Or have they all been out in the city getting slowly wrecked, iraq style, this entire time.
posted by emptythought at 4:25 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know what's super-discreet when you're tailing someone through the city? Rolling a big cartful of fish in front of you. And then leaving it in the sun while you "hide" waiting for your intended target to come back outside. And then rolling your now-stinking load into a brothel. If Arya wanted to kill someone, she should just have fed him one of those sun-drenched oysters.
posted by gingerest at 4:42 AM on June 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm so glad I never joined the Stannis love train.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 5:43 AM on June 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Martell buffoon seemed to actually be in his element talking to the Iron Bank, happily wasting their time and flaunting his position. When you owe the bank $100,000, they own you; when you owe the bank $100,000,000, you own the bank.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:02 AM on June 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


She grabbed Missandai's hand (transmitting Stone disease?) ... I read it as giving up. Not a screaming, cowering death but chin up and taking the death solemnly from the fact that she effed up and there is no other end game.

But I'd have to rewind back to what lead up to Drogon visiting her a few episodes back. She was at 'home' but where was she at, what was she thinking, what was her emotional state?

Another thought on the discussion of Targs and Stone disease. I was listening to something over the weekend, probably StarTalk podcasts, that reminded me of a few people who have manged to not catch HIV (that turns into AIDS eventually for most people). And a fiction book that reminded me that not everyone who caught the plague died. What if there's something about her Targness that means she doesn't catch it .... maybe she can spread it (if Jorah has not infected the town like crazy already) but not catch it at all or to a significant enough degree that she is felled by it.
posted by tilde at 6:04 AM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


re: Ayra - I'm not sure if she got away with not poisoning(?) the Thin Man because she convincingly lied to Jaqen, or if Jaqen's intention was for her to be at the docks when Meryn Trant showed up, and he was the real assassination target all along.

I was disappointed with Arya's portion of the episode. I keep wanting her to be the badass assassin they've been foreshadowing her to be, but she stays just on the wrong side of temperamental and self-serving for that to happen. She's consistently almost cool, but always a let down (this season). Would have been pleased if she had killed the Thin Man as she was instructed and then did her recon work. I wanted to see her become a cold-blooded killer. Her blood is too hot and she's too tied up in being Arya.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:35 AM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


On Jorah touching Dany: The greyscale is on his left wrist. But he touched her with his right hand first, then his left hand while helping her off the platform. It's not really clear whether someone who has one spot infected can infect others. Sure the Stone man, who had it all over, could transfer it by a touch, but not sure Jorah can at this point.

Either way, you'd think he'd stay far away from the Queen he professes to love and what to serve. Infecting her after betraying her isn't gonna win you any awards.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The notion that the Unsullied are somehow only good at fighting pitched battles—which is why untrained dudes wearing gold masks that totally obscure their vision can keep kicking their asses—is totally revisionist.

The Unsullied fought urban battles to liberate Astapor, Yunkai, and even Meereen, going street to street in bloody hand-to-hand combat. None of these situations involved pitched fights on a battlefield. I'm sure dedicated folks can come up with reasons why each of those situations was somehow different from the ambush Grey Worm faced a few episodes ago, or the co-ordinated assault during the games from the most recent episode. But I think the justifications are growing desperate.

Mormont introduced the Unsullied by saying, "Some say the Unsullied are the greatest soldiers in the world." For them to even have this reputation with a knight like Mormont, they have to not suck. And we saw one of them get his nipple sliced off without even flinching. But they've been turned into mostly hapless pawns because, it turns out, it's not especially interesting if you can crush every potentional enemy at will, as they did in their first three urban assaults.

But it's some weak storytelling to turn this super-army into a ragtag force that can get beaten by nobodies.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:52 AM on June 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


The notion that the Unsullied are somehow only good at fighting pitched battles—which is why untrained dudes wearing gold masks that totally obscure their vision can keep kicking their asses—is totally revisionist.

I totally and unconditionally agree. I have been entirely unconvinced at the ongoing attempts to explain away the precipitous drop in effectiveness of the Unsullied. There is absolutely zero in-universe reason for it.

Let's not kid ourselves; the real reason is obvious: if Daenerys had a force as good as the Unsullied are supposed to be within the canon of the universe, the writers would have a real hard time executing on the storyline they want to for her (i.e. her starting to lose control of her nascent kingdom). Thus, they've been repeatedly reduced in effectiveness, pegged to whatever level is necessary for a given episode, whether it makes sense or not.
posted by tocts at 8:23 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh it makes sense this time around. Most of the Unsullied we see killed in this episode are by themselves or struck from behind. Those who are actually protecting Daenerys in a circle formation manage to easily kill Harpys with their long spears. But numbers do matter and they would have been overrun if Drogon hadn't show up. Once he kills off many, it should be a cake walk for them and the council to leave the arena.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:41 AM on June 9, 2015


I was watching with rocketwoman, and when Daenerys clasped hands with Missandei and closed her eyes, I screamed out "WARG! She's going fucking WARG on us!"

If only.
posted by rocketman at 8:43 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


FULL FUCKING NICHOLSON
posted by rocketman at 8:57 AM on June 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Someone could be warging into Drogon. We don't know what the hell Bran has been doing all season, and that would give him a real reason to be flying around Old Valyria.
posted by almostmanda at 9:13 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


re: the big vs fast gladiator match-up, and Jorah vs the fencer/water-dancer, yet again we find that "armour and a big fucking sword yt " wins out against some fancy dancing around.

The Water Dancer beat Jorah and was about to kill him when the guy with the spear stabbed him in the back. He was undone by lack of mindfulness rather than lack of armor.
posted by homunculus at 10:33 AM on June 9, 2015


Something i just thought of though... How many unsullied are left?

Dany bought and freed 8,000 Unsullied and the boys still in training. My guess is she still has quite a lot of them, but many of them are probably still in Astapor and Yunkai enforcing her rule.
posted by homunculus at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2015


Yep, like I said, there's always a way to excuse the Unsullied's poor performance. I'm entirely unconvinced. Again, these are supposed to be some of the best fighters in the world. It shouldn't matter that they're "alone" or "struck from behind."

I just don't see how anyone can find the recent portrayal of the Unsullied to be narratively satisfying. The writers didn't have to build them up as super soldiers the first time we saw them. In fact, it would have made more sense, even in season 3 and 4, had they been good but not mega-awesome. It still would have been plausible for them to take over a bunch of slaver cities that had gotten fat and lazy, but at the same time, weakness among the Unsullied would have given Dany even more of a reason to keep building her army in preparation for an invasion of Westeros.

It's okay to acknowledge that the writers made a mistake here, and one that boxed them in uncomfortably, to the point where they had to do a serious about-face about the prowess of these troops. Everyone makes mistakes, and while I don't like this goof and think it was foreseeable and avoidable, I still like the show and am still watching. Dorne is a much bigger disaster.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:37 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Martell buffoon seemed to actually be in his element talking to the Iron Bank

He's a Tyrell buffoon, actually. But yeah, that was the most fun he'd had since the time he got to fetch Tywin's quill.
posted by homunculus at 10:42 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yep, like I said, there's always a way to excuse the Unsullied's poor performance. I'm entirely unconvinced. Again, these are supposed to be some of the best fighters in the world. It shouldn't matter that they're "alone" or "struck from behind."

Heh, reality is always a great excuse! Even the best can be beaten by numbers or struck from behind.

Dorne is a much bigger disaster

Agreed, though I don't have huge problem with the Dorne story arc. The writers made a mistake by only sending Jamie and Bronn. If three or four good men had accompanied them, battled the Sand Snakes and been killed by them and then started facing off against Jaime and Bronn when the Donrish guards intervened, that would have been much more believable, along with living up to their reputation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:51 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The writers didn't have to build them up as super soldiers the first time we saw them. In fact, it would have made more sense, even in season 3 and 4, had they been good but not mega-awesome.

I agree with this so much. The way the Unsullied have been presented this season really makes it seem like the writers had no idea where the story was going when they were introduced. Make all the excuses you want, it would have been more interesting had they not been overly hyped as Best Ever.
posted by dogwalker at 11:02 AM on June 9, 2015


it would have been more interesting had they not been overly hyped as Best Ever.

Instead of The Best Army, they are simply An Army.
posted by rocketman at 11:06 AM on June 9, 2015


The Unsullied fought urban battles to liberate Astapor, Yunkai, and even Meereen, going street to street in bloody hand-to-hand combat.

Nope.

In Astapor, they were ordered to slay the SlaveMasters, which didn't involve that much street to street fighting and they had superior numbers along with the help of three dragons.

The takeover of Yunkai was accomplished by Daario switching sides, pledging the Second Sons to Daenerys and giving inside information, then sneaking within the city walls (with Grey Worm and Jorah) to open the gates. Once inside, the slave soldiers surrendered to the Unsullied and Second Sons with little fight. The city fell in hours.

Meereen was won by the slaves revolting against the Masters and welcoming Daenerys and the Boys.

So your idea of those three cities being taken by the Unsullied in bloody hand to hand combat is mistaken.

The biggest problem with Unsullied is that we never see them using short swords, which would be perfect for urban combat in Meereen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:13 AM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ask the Maester: Dragons, Human Sacrifice, and More Dragons (spoilerish: compares events on the show to the books, but it answers some of the questions in this thread.)
posted by homunculus at 11:17 AM on June 9, 2015


From that article, not a spoiler, but a good summary of why Stannis' actions seem like some weak sauce, plot wise:

So if the device that gets Stannis to the place where he’s desperate enough to burn his only daughter and heir alive is (1) some snow and (2) a sudden and convenient ineptitude at doing war stuff, that feels off to me. Stannis, “the greatest military commander in Westeros” per Davos, is in enemy territory, on the march toward a belligerent castle, and for some reason (i.e., to make this scene happen) he doesn’t have scouts out or watchmen guarding the camp or have his army — made up largely of professional mercenaries who themselves should know better — in the state of alertness necessary in a war. Also: Ramsay is now a ninja. I don’t buy it.
posted by tocts at 11:28 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, it's been a constant refrain that only Northerners can really handle its climate and snow. It's not hard to imagine that a foreign army, stuck in deep snow could be infiltrated by a group of locals under cover of night. That's almost guerrilla tactics 101, possibly 099.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on June 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've been assuming the snow is actually worse than it looks on the show and reduces visibility to almost nothing; it's just that they need the camera to actually see what is going on so they don't actually show a whiteout.

Having the television display nothing but a blank white screen during these scenes wouldn't be very cinematic.
posted by Justinian at 12:36 PM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The biggest problem with Unsullied is that we never see them using short swords, which would be perfect for urban combat in Meereen.

Yea. I swear during their introduction there was some spiel about them being masters of multiple or many weapons. Not just a powerful fighting force, but a widely skilled one with a huge amount of training in general types of combat/martial arts sort of stuff.

Am i hallucinating that? I swear they fluffed this harder than just Mormont saying they were super kick ass. Maybe one of the times they talked about starting them as kids/the castration?

It really surprises me we've ONLY seen them with spears, at this point.
posted by emptythought at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2015


I don't understand the issue with the Unsullied. Are they not like any other military force where a shit ton of bullshit about how great they are is said (and apparently believed) by most everyone involved, much like military forces in our own world? I dismissed the praise and bravado as sales pitches in a very broad sense, not only to those who are in it, but those who may fight against them. Bravado about fighting prowess is rampant throughout the world of Game of Thrones. I'm sure there are some superb soldiers and command staff amongst the not so superb.

Of course, as mentioned above, there is also the typical thing we see in drama, where the Stormtroopers, for example are said to be some of the best shots in the Galaxy or something like that, but 100s of them couldn't hit Han Solo or Chewie to save their lives.
posted by juiceCake at 2:07 PM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Quoting from a transcript of S03E01, on the training of the Unsullied:

Every day they drill from dawn to dusk until they have mastered the shortsword, the shield, and the three spears. Only one boy in four survives this rigorous training.

(The transcript is a little weirdly formatted, but I think it is either the guy selling them, or Misandei acting as translator, who is saying this -- in response to a request to be told about how they're trained).

Spears apparently look cooler, though, so nobody has thought to switch over to the swords they're supposedly trained for in the tight quarters of the city.
posted by tocts at 2:12 PM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "Re: the Water Dancer, I think all six (?) guys in Jorah's fight were meant to be examples of different styles, like Kung fu vs karate, with Jorah being the example of a Westerosi knight. Would've been interesting to learn about the other four"

One was presented as a Meereenese champion (the guy with the Romanesque helmet and leather armor with metal details and a spear). The guy standing next to him in the presentation of the fighters has blue tattoos, a braid, and an arakh, the Dothraki sickle-like weapon that's also used by Daario Naharis, so I think it's safe to say he's Dothraki (how he ended up in the fighting pits is likely to be an interesting story). The black guy with a poleaxe looks very Dornish to me (he's quite similar in clothing and weaponry to the Dornish captain who arrested Jaime, Bronn, and the Sand Snakes). The last one is a generic long-haired shirtless white dude with a longsword and shield, kind of barbarian like, I'm not sure where he's supposed to be from.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:15 PM on June 9, 2015


The Youtube clip of the relevant scene on the training of the Unsullied. (For added laughs, watch it with the autogenerated subtitles on and see what it makes of High Valyrian!)
posted by nubs at 2:15 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


As far as why it all matters, regarding the Unsullied:

They were built up as an amazing fighting force, both by people selling them but also in general by the world they exist in. They have an amazing reputation, even among people we know to be very good, experienced soldiers (Ser Barristan, if I recall, spoke of their prowess). And yet, the moment that was inconvenient for the writers, they turned them into storm troopers.

If the writers needed them out of the way, there's dozens of ways they could have done a good job neutralizing the Unsullied with about 5 minutes of action across an episode or two: a threat pops up that requires sending most of the Unsullied out of Mereen; Daenerys has had to leave a lot of the Unsullied behind to hold the cities she's already taken; Daenerys' own desire to give the Unsullied their freedom finally starts to sink in, leading to many choosing lives of peace; etc, etc, etc. Instead, the writers have bothered not even the tiniest bit, and chose the lazy path of making them shift inexplicably from super soldiers to cannon fodder overnight.

It's bad writing, and it's jarring every time it happens again.
posted by tocts at 2:29 PM on June 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I really, really hate it when people have to carry the idiot ball in order for the story they want to take place to happen. Like, Littlefinger is such a badass of secrets he can compete with Varys, but he can't figure out the guy who publicly flays people alive in front of hundreds of people is bad news?
posted by corb at 2:31 PM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


corb: "Littlefinger is such a badass of secrets he can compete with Varys, but he can't figure out the guy who publicly flays people alive in front of hundreds of people is bad news?"

There is of course the possibility that Littlefinger knows and doesn't give a shit, or that he cares, but considers it a calculated risk worth taking. I'm personally a bit undecided on how much I believe that he actually cares about Sansa beyond using her in his game, although I'm leaning towards "Some, but power is still his first priority".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:42 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Couple of comments deleted - folks, as always, please really limit discussion to the show only, not to other outside sources or the book or the previews or whatever else. I know people have intermediate preferences, but still let's try to keep the show-only thread really just to the show only. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Pretty sure LF doesn't know, otherwise he wouldn't have left her there with Ramsey. He has a thing for Sansa and wouldn't leave her defenseless.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:06 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "He has a thing for Sansa and wouldn't leave her defenseless."

Does he, though? And wouldn't he? I'm unsure how deep that thing really goes. And yes, she's defenseless, but he might well be ok with her being mistreated and raped, as long as she's not killed (because that would screw up his plan). And if he knows the Boltons, he'd know Ramsay was a psycho, but a psycho who knows when to obey his father, and having Sansa killed for fun by Ramsay is certainly not something Roose needs to sour his relationship with the Northerners. So maybe Littlefinger knows exactly (or roughly) what would happen, and is ok with it. I'm just not sure.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:21 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's easy to imagine the Unsullied as an invading force that is without parallel but one who's skills don't translate as well to occupation, particularly against a populace that is at least partially hostile. I don't think this requires narrative-interfering hoop-jumping. But I do admit that I want GoT to be good.
posted by firemouth at 3:27 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


firemouth: "I think it's easy to imagine the Unsullied as an invading force that is without parallel but one who's skills don't translate as well to occupation, particularly against a populace that is at least partially hostile. "

What does this remind us of, I wonder?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:28 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Agreed, it's not totally clear what LF knows and would do. But he did rescue her from the Purple Wedding and keeps kissing her, while obviously making her into an ally.
But!
If he didn't know about Ramsay, who always acts so sweet around him, then when finds out there may be hell to pay, but from Sansa.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:29 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The other thing to keep in mind is that he killed Lysa for her. If it was just for power, he could have cemented his rule in the Vale by keeping her alive longer.
posted by corb at 3:34 PM on June 9, 2015


He has a thing for Sansa and wouldn't leave her defenseless.

He had a thing for Catelyn, but he was still willing to deceive her and throw her under the carriage. I'm sure he has some kind of affection for Sansa, and he'd like to claim her in the end, but he will sacrifice her to further his grand plan if necessary.

My impression is that we're supposed to believe he really didn't know much about Ramsay. The Boltons probably don't leak a lot of information from the Dreadfort, so I can believe that LF didn't have much info to work with. Since he needs her in place to further his plans regardless, he was willing to risk the uncertain, and since he always planned on taking Bolton down, he probably imagines that he'll be able to reclaim her afterwards.
posted by homunculus at 4:23 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone could be warging into Drogon. We don't know what the hell Bran has been doing all season, and that would give him a real reason to be flying around Old Valyria.

I think a warg has to be able to see an animal in order to possess it, so unless he can hop from one animal to the next or grab an animal he sees through a vision, I doubt he could possess it from so far away. And I imagine dragons are probably harder to mind control than normal animals.
posted by homunculus at 5:47 PM on June 9, 2015


The Three-Eyed dude did say Bran would fly, so he may control a dragon one day.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:56 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Having the television display nothing but a blank white screen during these scenes wouldn't be very cinematic.

Although it might make a nice contrast to the scenes of Arya sweeping in complete darkness.
posted by one_bean at 9:36 PM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


homunculus: "throw her under the carriage"

I'd suggest "throw someone under the khalasar" as the GoT expression.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:00 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Comment removed; Show Only really means try not to bring discussion from the books-and-all stuff in the other thread over here, just as a general rule.]
posted by cortex at 8:14 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Been re-watching Season 5 and regarding the Unsullied, they really do seem unsuited to being an occupation force. Even Daario obliquely notes this when he's hunting for Sons of the Harpy with Greyworm. He says the UnSullied stand out like a sore thumb and everyone can see them coming from a mile away. Meanwhile, his Second Sons can blend more easily, which is how they got information to where one of the Harpys was hiding.

Once inside this home, Greyworm notes there's no one inside and is ready to leave. It takes Daario to figure out that someone is hiding behind a wall.

I bring all this up to ponder a few things. Yeah, GreyWorm is cool a, an excellent fighter and a master of using the spear. But has he ever lead? Have any of the Unsullied ever lead, especially during campaigns. How much experience does this current batch have? They were waiting to be sold after all, it's possible they haven't seen much or any actual combat. Their tasks in Meereen seem to be reduced to patrolling and tearing down statues (probably some rebuilding also).

So yeah, against any obvious foe on a battlefield and with the ability to fight as a group, they'll probably be great. They can follow orders fantastically. But against superior numbers in unfamiliar territory, they can't, at this point at least, think outside the box, as Daario so easily does.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The other thing to keep in mind is that he killed Lysa for her. If it was just for power, he could have cemented his rule in the Vale by keeping her alive longer.

I don't know if that's an entirely accurate accounting of what happened. From my perspective, while Littlefinger had plans for Lysa, he had longer-term plans for Sansa. So, when Lysa deteriorated from slightly off to completely unhinged, she transformed herself from a short-to-medium term asset into an active liability that was threatening an important long-term asset. Thus, out the moon door she went.

I'm not saying Littlefinger was planning on killing her then and there from the get-go, but I think he was always planning on killing her.
posted by tocts at 9:54 AM on June 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not saying Littlefinger was planning on killing her then and there from the get-go, but I think he was always planning on killing her.

That's what I assumed too.
posted by homunculus at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2015


Once Lysa pulled the "We're getting married right now" thing, it was just a matter of time. Had she behaved and let Baelish do whatever he wanted, she might have lived for a while though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Three-Eyed dude did say Bran would fly, so he may control a dragon one day.

Bran + Drogon = Brogon.
posted by homunculus at 11:49 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I gotta say, I've never been able to decide whether the use of the name "Drogon" is incredibly lazy, or totally inspired. The world has not seen the like of it since the similarly ridiculous "Eragon", though in that case there's at least the excuse that the writer was quite literally 15 years old when he chose it.
posted by tocts at 12:01 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Drogon is likely named after Jason Momoa's character, Drogo.
posted by zarq at 12:13 PM on June 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


More tidbits and notes from re-watching the first three episodes of Season 5.

*Cersei said Jamie couldn't just Dorne and ask for Myercella back. Hah! Also, this means that Jamie has done something for his real family. But who knows if they'll appreciate it.

*Selyse tells Shireen that she knows nothing about what people are capable of, despite all her book reading. Chilling, because of what Stannis did and that her fanatical Mom actually tried to save her.

* Baelish says he doesn't know much about Ramsay, after meeting him. As for Ramsay, he comes off as a very simple, but eager young lord. So, it sounds like Ramsay isn't known as sadistic psychopath.

* These earlier episodes had much more humor in them. Varys and Tyrion were a riot, shame they didn't travel together longer.

* After Tywin died, the Sparrows definitely sort of invaded the city and/or made themselves known.

* It's really not a traditional tv show, but more of novel. An actual show would move faster and with less characters and plotlines. Others have complained about this, and I agree that the showrunners seem to lose a bit of control every now and then, but overall it definitely works IF you're ok with a lot of parts that are slower as characters and arcs are explored.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:58 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "Baelish says he doesn't know much about Ramsay, after meeting him. As for Ramsay, he comes off as a very simple, but eager young lord. So, it sounds like Ramsay isn't known as sadistic psychopath."

What Littlefinger says and claims to know and what he actually does and does know are almost always quite disparate quantities, though.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


And yeah, Drogon is obviously named after Khal Drogo. Drogon and Daenerys' two other dragons were literally born in Khal Drogo's funeral pyre. -on names are also somewhat common for dragons, one of the most famous and largest was Balerion, the black dread (its skull is seen in one episode, I think), and another of Daenerys' dragons is named Viserion, after her brother Viserys.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2015


Drogon is likely named after Jason Momoa's character, Drogo.

I feel dumb for not realizing this until now.
posted by dogwalker at 2:35 PM on June 10, 2015


Alternately, Drogo was named that because GRRM wanted an excuse to give a dragon the brilliant-stupid name Drogon.

(Incidentally, I have seen the name "Eragon" like a thousand times and have only just now understood how brilliantly dumb it is.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:51 PM on June 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Incidentally, I have seen the name "Eragon" like a thousand times and have only just now understood how brilliantly dumb it is.)

"I have this awesome idea! It's like dragon ... plus one!"

(also, whatever the in-universe justification, Drogon the Dragon remains simultaneously fantastic/dumb)
posted by tocts at 2:59 PM on June 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


tocts: ""I have this awesome idea! It's like dragon ... plus one!""

I see that and raise you ZRAGON. Or, since I'm Norwegian, I'll go one further: ÅRAGON.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:04 PM on June 10, 2015




Or, since I'm Norwegian, I'll go one further: ÅRAGON

that movie was a few years ago
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:57 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Three-Eyed dude did say Bran would fly, so he may control a dragon one day.

Or a... crow.
posted by juiceCake at 6:11 PM on June 10, 2015


Or an owl!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or out another tower window!
posted by jamaro at 7:36 PM on June 10, 2015 [17 favorites]


too soon, jamaro
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:05 PM on June 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Or one of the hounds in the Boltons' kennels when Ramsay and Myranda are nearby...
posted by homunculus at 8:07 PM on June 10, 2015


Re: Sansa/Littlefinger...

-I think it's likely that LF knows/assumes Ramsay is a Bad Dude, if only because he's a Bolton, and the Boltons don't exactly have a sterling reputation. It's even possible LF knows Ramsay is a Particularly Bad Dude, even by Bolton standards. But none of that means he knows the full extent of Ramsay's sadism.

-LF is definitely an ends-justify-the-means kind of guy. I think he really believes that what he is doing is in the long-term best interest of Sansa, and whatever she may have to endure from the Boltons (they're certainly not going to kill her, which would be the only dealbreaker) is just prelude to the eventual payoff. Of course, he never asked Sansa what she wanted, but that's a whole other issue.

-LF may have a thing for Sansa, but he has a bigger thing for power. I think all else being equal, he'd prefer Sansa to be safe and generally happy. But - as the guy who gave that long speech about chaos back in Season 2 surely knows - all else is seldom equal. I have no doubt that he would put Sansa in harm's way, or even completely betray her, if he thought it would further his own ends.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:54 AM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think Breakin' the law is pretty right on regarding Littlefinger and Sansa. Who knows what really lies in his heart of hearts, though. (Littlefinger's, not Breakin' the law's)
posted by firemouth at 9:31 AM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah LF is a guy who used “The only women he’s ever loved” as a pawn in a scheme that tore her family apart and eventually got her killed.

I think if the choice was ever ‘Sansa’s well-being’ or ‘Power’ he would choose Power every time.
posted by French Fry at 9:39 AM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always seen LF's seduction of Sansa as a sort of ego-driven consolation prize to failing with Lady Catelyn. Plus she serves as a great lever for him to manipulate the game. I'm sure he is fond of Sansa but I agree with everyone who thinks his desire for power is his only love.
posted by firemouth at 9:51 AM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


There’s no defending Stannis Baratheon now: The unlikely “Game of Thrones” fan favorite finally crossed the line
"Dear readers,

I have an apology to make. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article defending someone I felt was a chronically under-appreciated character in the “Game of Thrones” TV universe: Stannis “The Mannis” Baratheon, would-be king of the Andals and the First Men and, in my opinion, actually a pretty cool dude! Sure, Tyrion and Daenerys are the flashy characters who get all the love, but Stannis – a besieged underdog, a competent leader, a loving father (uh… my bad) – seemed to be getting short shrift for all the dogged hard work he has been doing since the show began.

Well, I have now had a day to process Sunday’s events, in which Stannis, prompted by religious freak Melisandre, took his daughter Shireen – an emblem, as our recapper Libby Hill writes, of “all things good and loyal and sweet” in the show – and burned her alive at the stake while she sobbed and screamed his name. It was one of the show’s most cruel and heart-wrenching scenes, in a show that wantonly murders adorable doggies in cold blood (RIP, Lady the Direwolf). Suffice to say, this was not a good fatherly move, nor, might I add, is it something a cool dude would do. Or as Joel Johnson aptly put it, in a piece that I am choosing to read as an entirely earnest take: “Opinion: Stannis Baratheon is NOT a Good Dad.”

posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Heh, Joel Johnson's piece is making fun of tweets by Matt and Anil Dash.
posted by Justinian at 11:21 AM on June 11, 2015


Infanticide is the killing of an infant, Anil. Killing one's own child is filicide
posted by zarq at 11:36 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


If only Stannis had followed Maester Aemon's example and voluntarily passed the crown to his younger brother...

...then the North and South would probably still be locked in a protracted civil war so never mind.

(At the beginning of the season I was really hoping we'd get a scene in which Aemon and Stannis talk about power and ambition, but no such luck.)
posted by homunculus at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2015


If Stannis had backed Renly from the beginning, the combined might of their forces (and Renly's connections in King's Landing) might have been enough to drive Joffrey off of the throne, which (if it happened quickly enough) may have prevented Ned Stark's death and hastened his release.

Ned's Not Dead == No need for Robb Stark to do the King in the North thing and march southward. If Robb Stark hadn't declared war, it's likely that the other "kings" wouldn't have risen up either.

Even if Ned had still died, Renly was a friend to the Starks and Ned had supported his claim to the throne (via Stannis). I'm sure Robb and Renly could have worked out some kind of peace. Maybe the Warden of the North gets more power? Or maybe even reinstate the title of King in the North?

But then again... the same good things could have happened if Renly had just backed his brother's (more valid) claim to begin with. So maybe it's all Renly's fault?
posted by sparklemotion at 12:01 PM on June 11, 2015


Renly, with Loras in the K-Guard (and therefore direct access to Olenna, who'd probably be on the Small Council), would have made a far, far better king than Stannis on his best day.

I mean, a Small Council made up of Ned Stark (justice! honour! duty!), Olenna Tyrell (pragmatism and the long view), and Varys (infrermashunz) would be nigh unstoppable. For bonus points, Margaery and Renly's kid(s) marry Sansa and ______'s kids. Or you call off Renly and Margaery, marry Sansa to Renly and Margaery to Robb.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even if Ned had still died, Renly was a friend to the Starks and Ned had supported his claim to the throne (via Stannis). I'm sure Robb and Renly could have worked out some kind of peace. Maybe the Warden of the North gets more power? Or maybe even reinstate the title of King in the North?

Renly proposed those exact things to Catelyn, but he still insisted that Robb swear an oath of fealty to him, and Cat didn't look very hopeful of that happening. Even if Robb was willing, I think he'd have been trapped since he had promised Northern independence to all his Bannermen. It would have been interesting to see how that would have played out.
posted by homunculus at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2015


Yeah LF is a guy who used “The only women he’s ever loved” as a pawn in a scheme that tore her family apart and eventually got her killed.

Sure, that doesn't matter much to him because he didn't really care about Ned. He had no problem removing Ned from the picture, everything else was a spiral out of control.

-LF may have a thing for Sansa, but he has a bigger thing for power. I think all else being equal, he'd prefer Sansa to be safe and generally happy. But - as the guy who gave that long speech about chaos back in Season 2 surely knows - all else is seldom equal. I have no doubt that he would put Sansa in harm's way, or even completely betray her, if he thought it would further his own ends.

He has a thing for Sansa, a thing for power and a thing for killing the Boltons, who killed Catelyn. I'm betting he will mind Sansa being abused by the Boltons, as Catelyn was also. For the moment, he thinks Roose is the biggest problem and definitely has him on the kill list. Ramsey may bump Roose's spot though, once LF finds out what's capable and has been doing to Sansa.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Renly proposed those exact things to Catelyn...

Good catch, I had forgotten that scene. I disagree though that Robb wouldn't have taken that deal if it had ever been proposed to him -- he didn't actually want a war. Again, I'm being optimistic and assuming that something could have been worked out that would have appeased the bannermen, hell, maybe the bannermen wouldn't even have been called yet in this Stannis-is-not-a-dick AU.

(also: is it just me or does that smoke monster not look much like Stannis at all?)
posted by sparklemotion at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2015


He had no problem removing Ned from the picture, everything else was a spiral out of control.

Yep, remember the plan was for Ned to head to the Wall. Which would have worked out splendidly for everyone who mattered (ie only Littlefinger). But Joffrey went all crazy maverick and cut off his head which set the entire firestorm into motion. Without Ned losing his Head the rest never happens. No rebellion, no King in the North, no Red Wedding.

Joffrey was such a dumbass.
posted by Justinian at 1:32 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


He has a thing for Sansa, a thing for power and a thing for killing the Boltons, who killed Catelyn. I'm betting he will mind Sansa being abused by the Boltons, as Catelyn was also. For the moment, he thinks Roose is the biggest problem and definitely has him on the kill list. Ramsey may bump Roose's spot though, once LF finds out what's capable and has been doing to Sansa.

Eh, I don't think he is under any illusions that the Ramsay is going to be nice to Sansa. Now, when he finds out exactly how not-nice he's been...different story. But, as with everything with Littlefinger, his response to that information will depend on the circumstances.

Now, I think LF would betray Sansa if he felt he had to, but that doesn't mean he wants to and I don't believe that's what's going on here. I think this more of an ends-justify-the-means situation.
posted by breakin' the law at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah LF is a guy who used “The only women he’s ever loved” as a pawn in a scheme that tore her family apart and eventually got her killed.

Sure, that doesn't matter much to him because he didn't really care about Ned. He had no problem removing Ned from the picture, everything else was a spiral out of control.


There was more, though. After Ned's death, Tyrion sent LF to meet with Catelyn in order to return Ned's remains and try to get Jaime back. LF tried to convince her that they'd been given a second chance and to come with him, only to be rejected at knifepoint. Once he realized she'd never be his, he didn't miss a beat in lying to her about Arya still being in King's Landing to push her to release Jaime Lannister against Robb's wishes, which he had to know would get her in a lot of trouble. From that point on she was just another pawn to him, and he had no problem with deceiving her and putting her in harm's way.
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


She wasn't in harm's way though, Robb wasn't going to kill her. Sure, he was keen on doing Tyrion's bidding, because he's willing to play the game. But he clearly still wanted Cat and yes, was fine manipulating her, especially it meant she was isolated (his love ain't pure).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:44 PM on June 11, 2015


I disagree though that Robb wouldn't have taken that deal if it had ever been proposed to him -- he didn't actually want a war. Again, I'm being optimistic and assuming that something could have been worked out that would have appeased the bannermen, hell, maybe the bannermen wouldn't even have been called yet in this Stannis-is-not-a-dick AU.

The Bannermen had already been called by that scene, but I think it was shortly thereafter that some of them starting getting anxious about getting home to tend to the crops before Winter. I don't rule out the possibility of a deal, I'm mainly going by Catelyn's reaction to Renly's terms. I certainly do think that if Robb had still been in power when Aemon sent the ravens to warn the Kingdom about the Wildling army and the return of the Wight Walkers (at which point he would have corresponded with Jon too), then he would have tried to reconcile with Renly for the greater good, assuming some other horrible thing hadn't befallen one or both of them by then.

Everytime see the word "bannermen," this song starts playing in my head.
posted by homunculus at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Red Wedding is also King Robb's fault for dissing Walder Frey by marrying Dr. Queen, medicine woman. Even though it was a Lannister|Bolton production, Frey wouldn't have been motivated to cooperate if Robb had married a Frey daughter as intended.
posted by carmicha at 8:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, you guys, if Gavrilo Princip had slipped and fallen in the bath that morning, would we still have an Austro-Hungarian empire?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:41 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is the Mad King the Hitler of Westeros?
posted by isthmus at 11:51 PM on June 11, 2015


Valahd
posted by homunculus at 10:06 AM on June 12, 2015


"Baelish says he doesn't know much about Ramsay, after meeting him. As for Ramsay, he comes off as a very simple, but eager young lord. So, it sounds like Ramsay isn't known as sadistic psychopath."

Remember that the sigil of House Bolton is a flayed man. Ramsey would be the bastard son of a long line of known sadistic torturers.
posted by srboisvert at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


House Stark probably made the Boltons give up the obvious practice of flaying and the sigil is old. So, it's doesn't necessarily mean that Ramsay would be sadistic psycho.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:40 PM on June 12, 2015


Yep, Ned Stark outlawed flaying.

As specialists in extracting information and acquiring intelligence, I don't have a problem believing that the Boltons run a tight ship and that not a lot of information leaks out. Intelligence on Ramsay could be hard to come by, even for the likes of LF or even Varys.
posted by homunculus at 5:04 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


She wasn't in harm's way though, Robb wasn't going to kill her. Sure, he was keen on doing Tyrion's bidding, because he's willing to play the game. But he clearly still wanted Cat and yes, was fine manipulating her, especially it meant she was isolated (his love ain't pure).

Sure Robb wouldn't harm her, but Littlefinger knew it would put her in a precarious position in an already chaotic situation, as it did with the Karstarks. He coveted her, but once she pulled the dagger and rejected him outright, I think he wrote her off and set his sights on the consolation prize. Rewatching that scene and the cold-blooded way he lied to her about Arya, I think he wanted to punish her for rejecting him.
posted by homunculus at 2:06 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, see I took that as Baelish doing what Tyrion asked him to do, i.e. playing all sides. He went there with several goals, personal and professional and with the former dead for the moment (at least in his mind), he did the professional while leaving room to draw Cat back to Kings Landing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:04 PM on June 13, 2015


I think it was pretty obvious that Ellaria sent the necklace doodad? And then Doran was like "for fuck's sake, lady, that's your big conspiracy? You hired someone to make a fancy jewelry box? I am beset on all sides by amateurs."

That's what I thought, but after rewatching the episode and that scene, now I'm not so sure. From the way Ellaria first reacted when Jaime mentioned the necklace, I'm not sure she actually knew what he was talking about, and Doran's glare may have been intended to keep her from asking questions. Maybe Halloween Jack is on to something.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on June 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jaqen H'ghar

Game of Thrones parody of "Peeno Noir" from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
posted by homunculus at 12:45 AM on June 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


“Opinion: Stannis Baratheon is NOT a Good Dad.”
Happy Father's Day, everyone!
posted by blueberry at 10:39 PM on June 21, 2015


Oh ffs not again...
posted by homunculus at 11:37 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


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